Monthly Archives: April 2013

David P. Scaer on the “Perfect Law of Liberty”

[James 1:25] is the only New Testament reference to “Law” as perfect. Here again James is grossly misunderstood if this is seen as a reference to the lack of imperfections in the divine law. This is not a hymn praising God’s written revelation. The word for perfect (τέλειος) and its cognates suggests bringing something to perfection or completion, as discussed in connection with James 1:17. James in all citations (1:4, 17, 25; 2:22; 3:2) is consistent in understanding perfection as bringing something to completion. For James the perfect law carries with it the concept of Christ’s fulfillment of God’s requirements through His holy life and His atoning death. The Law has been fulfilled not through a divine sovereign act of arbitrary abrogation but by Christ’s satisfying the divine requirements of the Law with its demands. Thus the Law is not presented to the Christian with its demands only, but also with the fulfillment of these demands. To the non-Christian the Law appears revealing the wrath of God because he has not yet recognized Christ as the Law’s perfect answer. But to the Christian the Law appears with Christ as its perfect, completed answer. Christ has absorbed the accusations of the Law together with its wrath into Himself, and the Law without its threats appears to the Christian as providing guidelines for His life. In traditional dogmatic theology this is called the third use of the Law. In Christ the tension between the Law’s threats and the Gospel’s promises is resolved.

The Law now answered and fulfilled in Christ is not only called “the perfect law” but also “the law of liberty,” since the Christian is free from the Law’s accusations even when he fails. The Christian’s failure is already resolved by Christ’s fulfillment of the Law’s demands by His life and His payment of the Law’s penalties by His death. Christian freedom means a certain recklessness in doing good. Without the fear of the Law’s accusation in his life, the Christian becomes uninhibited in accomplishing what God wants done in His law. The Law without Christ is constricting and burdensome, but with and in Christ a new positive dimension is opened. It is really a different kind of law. Christ has made it radically different.

James: The Apostle of Faith, pages 67-68

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How ‘Bout Some Sanctification?

To say firstfruits means there are more gifts to follow. With every gift, God pushes our hands wider open to receive a still larger gift. The bother with us is that we often hold our hands open just enough for little gifts in fear that if the gifts get too big they may overwhelm us. The gifts may begin to take us over, and we may not be able to manage them.

This is a genuine danger, for that is the way of gifts. You know how uneasy you get if somebody gives you lots of gifts – and rather big ones too. This uneasiness is born of our habit of doing deals. Before God it is completely out of place. We can only have such an uneasiness before God if we are still thinking of doing a deal with Him. That we nevertheless have such uneasiness is betrayed by our notions of not letting our religion go too far, not too much Word of God, not church every Sunday, or not devotions every day. Some parts of our lives we simply must keep under our own control. To the extent that we still negotiate terms with God, we are setting ourselves up for a fearful crash. The God that can be negotiated with does not exist. If that is the one with whom we think we do business, our end is darkness.

As we live as the children of the Father of lights, the giver God, He will keep on pouring out His gifts, and they will overwhelm us more and more. The Epistle of James is mostly about what God’s gifts do to us, how they work out in our lives. Nothing remote or beyond the bright blue sky about this. The gifts shape how you use your tongue, how you treat widows and orphans, the hungry, people with money, people you employ. James points out that if you think your religion is just a good deal you have done with God for yourself, you have had it.

But in James 1, we get the starting point: The giver God, from whom comes every good and every perfect gift, has made us His children with His word of truth. As God  pours the gifts, with each fresh gift, He gives us another nudge, “Come on, join in My game. Help Me give My gifts away.” God’s children play the game their Father’s way. To everybody else, to the deal-doers, it looks crazy, but, in fact, it is the best fun in all the world.

With hands held wide to Him for His gifts, we will be moved and shaped by those gifts forward from firstfruits to the final joyful harvest. When we shall “sing unto the Lord a new song; for He hath done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1).

Norman Nagel, Sermon for Easter 5 (1967) in “Selected Sermons of Norman Nagel“, pages 136-137

Easter 4 – 1 Peter 2:11-20

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            It has been said about Christians that we are not good citizens. Saint Peter calls us sojourners and exiles. He also urges us to keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. The apostle’s words just spoken should put to rest that Christians cannot be true to our heavenly Father and a loyal citizen. This is why Christians have been persecuted as enemies of the state in times past. Though persecution of Christians is no longer sought in our time, there are still a few enemies of the faith around who says Christians hinder the welfare of the state.

Consider the recent debate in Springfield about same-sex marriage. Our district president joined the other two Illinois LCMS districts, as well as other religious leaders (including those outside of Christianity!) urging our legislature not to pass legislation allowing same-sex marriage. Here we see where Christians may speak up properly about an issue to the governing authorities. It was interesting to see comments on the Internet about Christians doing so. Many made the comment that the Church should shut up, mind their own business, and leave government to the government. That is what we seek to do: leave governing to those elected to serve. Nevertheless, Christians have every right as sojourners and exiles to speak up about particular issues. The problem comes when Christians place more trust in government than in God’s holy Word.

So let us consider how we baptized Christians prove ourselves to be good citizens because we regard ourselves as strangers and pilgrims in this world. First, we abstain from fleshly lusts that children of the world indulge. Saint Paul tells the Christians in Colossae: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Hebrews chapter 13 says: Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

If you grew up with siblings around your age, you know that you are not always going to get your way. Even if you are an only child, mom and dad made sure you had what you needed, but you didn’t get all that you wanted. Those who get everything they want tend to be conceited. They expect everything to go their way. When matters do not go their way, they erupt in anger and do everything in their power to make it so. A sojourner and exile in this world looks at how everything seems to favor children of the world and, because of the sinful nature, becomes haughty. Why can’t things go my way just for once! Why does it seem that no one listens to me or listens to God’s Word?

Listen again to Saint Paul in Colossians: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. This doesn’t mean that we are to withdraw from the world and ignore what is happening. This also doesn’t mean that we should try to set up a theocracy, a God-government in this world, believing that we can make this world look like heaven. What Paul drives at, and what Peter also drives at in the Epistle, is that we live a way of life that attracts the attention of children of the world. We live that children of the world look at us and say, “Boy, those Christians live as they believe. They have conviction. Maybe there is something about them that is honorable and worthy of praise.”

We live a way of life that attracts the attention of the children of the world not to earn our salvation, for Jesus Christ has earned forgiveness of sins and eternal life by His innocent suffering and death. We live as sojourners and exiles in order to give glory to Christ. We live this way to shut up the naysayers who wag their tongues about how Christians are “Sunday morning believers” only to live like children of the world the other 6.5 days of the week.

We prove ourselves as good citizens of the world when we are subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. This means we pray for President Obama, even if we did not vote for him or even if we litter our Facebook page with anti-Obama invectives. Remember that our heavenly Father has given us government for good order in the world. It does a Christian no good to destroy our neighbor’s reputation…and President Obama is our neighbor, as is Governor Quinn and Mayor Porter and all public servants of the government. Yes, we live as people who are free. But no, we do not use our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

It has been said of Christians in days of old: “See how they love one another.” This love is not merely given to other Christians. Love is shown to all people, especially to those of the household of God, but also to those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. Children of the world act as if there is no other person in the world but themselves. Let others fend for themselves; I have my own life to live. Not so for a Christian. Even though we are sojourners and exiles in this world, we honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. But I don’t like my neighbor, and she doesn’t like me. That’s not an excuse. Your neighbor, whether or not he or she believes in God, is someone for whom Christ died.

Christ died for your sin too. Consider His conduct among the Gentiles. We heard how Jesus conducted Himself in last week’s Epistle. We will fall short in living as sojourners and exiles in this world. We will not live as our vocation, our calling in life, expects us to live. Christ’s perfect obedience is appropriated to us by faith in Him as the Savior of both Jew and Gentile. We fall short in nothing, we lack nothing, when we are in Christ and Christ is in us. The enemy that desires to vanquish us and trample us underfoot now lies vanquished and trampled underfoot in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.

What does it matter if the world continues to grow worse? What does it matter if children of the world mock and revile us for holding to convictions that are unpopular? What does it matter if our favorite candidate loses? What does it matter if the world ends tomorrow? We are sojourners and exiles. We live as dutiful servants of all. We pay our taxes. We pray for our leaders. We aid our enemies when they need our help. We are free, but we do not use freedom as a license for sin. We walk in the footsteps of Jesus, following His pure example. When we fall, not if, but when, He picks us up, forgives our sins, and bids us walk with Him through this pilgrim land.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

Third Sunday of Easter – 1 Peter 2:21-25

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            Blessed Martin Luther says about today’s Epistle: “A Christian, just because he is a Christian, is subjected to the dear cross, so that he must suffer at the hands of men and of the devil, who plagues and terrifies him with tribulation, persecution, poverty, and illness and inwardly, in his heart, with his poisonous darts. The cross is the Christians’ sign and watchword in their holy, precious, noble, and blessed calling, which is taking them to heaven. To such a calling we must render full due and accept as good whatever it brings.”

Bummer! Why did Saint Paul have to say that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God? Aren’t Christians supposed to live their best life now? Whatever happened to victorious Christian living? Isn’t everything hunky-dory now that Jesus is raised from the dead? The victory is won! Eternal life is ours because Jesus lives!

This is true, but consider also that so long as you are here on earth, you are not clothed in God’s colors, but in the colors of the devil. The devil’s children should be bound in chains and should suffer all manner of misfortune. The devil’s children have all the world’s pleasures. They are wealthy and powerful. They enjoy honor and money to the full. They even put on God’s clothes and take God’s name as though they were God’s favorites.

What about us Christians? We are the heretics. We are under God’s wrath, not them. Everything is backwards. We are called children of the devil, and the devil’s offspring are called God’s children. That smarts. Heaven, earth, and all creatures cry out in complaining protest. They are unwilling to be subjected to vanity and to suffer that the wicked abuse them to the dishonor of God.

We are still sinners according to the flesh. We deserve all the earthly suffering that comes our way. We also deserve eternal damnation. In repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, through the daily appropriation of the forgiveness of sins, suffering is no longer a punishment of sin properly understood. The true punishment of sin is not every earthly calamity that happens to us, but eternal damnation. That’s hard to swallow every time something bad happens to us.

The cross is with us every step of the way this side of Paradise because of Jesus, the Sin-Bearer, whom we confess as God and Savior. The confession of Christ entails persecution. Saint Paul tells Saint Timothy, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Not a lot of joy there, eh? There is joy in bearing the cross because Christ first bore the cross for you. Your burden is made light in His burden. This is what Saint Peter means when he says that Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. You need not go looking for a cross to bear. Crosses will find you. Perhaps you are bearing a few right now. Crosses look like a sick spouse, or an unbelieving spouse. Crosses look like slavery to an addiction. Crosses look like failures among family and friends.

Imposing a cross on yourself is as bad as trying to save yourself from sin and wrath. You can’t do either thing. Consider Jesus Christ, Who came into this world as God made flesh in order to bear a cross His Father imposed on Him for the life of the world. Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God, the Scapegoat Who bears the sins of the world upon His back. He goes uncomplaining forth into the wilderness of sin and death to suffer what you deserve because of your rebellious, disobedient nature. Jesus is the ultimate example of cross bearing because only He can bear your sin to death in order that you might have forgiveness and life.

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. Sin and deceit cling to everything we think, say, and do. Christ never sinned. Christ never lied. Nevertheless, He bore in His body the punishment you deserve for sin and deceit. By His stripes you are healed.

When He was reviled, He did not revile in return. Those who stood under His cross and mocked Him look a lot like you. Consider all the times you misuse the Name of the Lord your God. Consider all the times you remained silent when you could have spoken to defend and speak well of Christ, the hope in you for eternal life. Nevertheless, Jesus sought you out when you strayed from Him and when your mouth spoke evil of Him. He carried you back to the flock, forgiving your sin, washing you clean in baptismal water, and feeding you with His Holy Body and Blood.

When He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Never once did Jesus threaten His Father for forsaking Him. Never once did Jesus call it quits in His work of salvation, from His humble birth to His callous death.

As Jesus died to sin and lived to righteousness, so do we as we follow Him through the valley of the shadow of death to eternal life. We bear our crosses with Christian patience, praying that they may be taken from us. Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won’t. All crosses find their end in Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, Who will raise this imperfect body and make it a perfect body. When the mortal body is cast aside and changed, all crosses will end, especially the greatest cross of all that awaits us: the cross of death. Death has been swallowed up in victory.

God forgives you and remits the eternal punishment for the sake of Christ the Lord, desiring that you patiently endure the lesser suffering for the utter mortification of the sins inherent in your flesh and blood. Christ has gone before and left you an example of perfect patience under the most intense suffering, an example equaled nowhere in the world. The Supreme Majesty, God’s own Son, suffered in the most humiliating manner the extremity of torture, pain, and anguish in body and soul, something intolerable to mere human nature; and that innocently, and for us condemned sinners – for us strangers now made friends in His blood and righteousness.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

Luther on Vocation and Sanctification

From Luther’s exegesis on 1 Peter chapter 2:18-25:

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to the kind and gentle but also to the overbearing. For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if when you do wrong and are beaten for it, you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it, you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.

So far St. Peter has taught us that we must be submissive to secular authority and show it honor. In this connection we have stated how far this power extends and that it should not meddle in matters pertaining to faith. This is stated about government in general and is a teaching for everyone. But now the apostle continues and speaks of the kind of power that does not extend to a community but pertains only to particular persons. Here he teaches, in the first place, how servants should conduct themselves toward their masters. This is what he means:

Manservants and maidservants are Christians just as other people are; for they share the Word, faith, Baptism, and all blessings with everyone else. Therefore before God they are just as great and high as others. But according to their outward way of life and before the world there is a difference. They are in an inferior station and must serve others. Therefore since they are called to this estate by God, they must let it be their duty to be subject to their masters, to look up to them, and pay attention to them. From this the prophet David draws an excellent analogy and points out how they should serve. “Behold,” he says in Ps. 123:2, “as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God.” That is, manservants and maidservants should fulfill the wishes of the master or the mistress with humility and fear. God wants this. Therefore it should be done gladly. You can be sure and confident that this is pleasing and acceptable to God if you do it in faith. Consequently, these are the best good works you can perform. You need not go far afield and search for others. What your master or mistress commands, this God Himself has commanded you to do. It is not a command of men, even though it is given through men. Therefore you should not consider what kind of master you have, whether good or bad, friendly or irritable and angry; but you must think as follows: “The master may be as he wants to be, I will serve Him and do his bidding in honor of God, because He wants me to do this, and because my Lord Christ Himself became a Servant for my sake.”

This is the true doctrine. It should be taught constantly. Today, unfortunately, it is disregarded and suppressed. But only those who are Christians teach it. For the Gospel preaches solely to those who accept it. Therefore if you want to be a child of God, impress this on your heart, so that you serve as if Christ Himself were ordering you to do so, as St. Paul, too, teaches in Eph. 6:5–7: “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, etc.” Thus he also says in Col. 3:24: “You are serving the Lord Christ.” Would that priests, monks, and nuns were in such a station! How they would thank God and rejoice! For not one of them can say: “God commanded me to celebrate Mass, to sing matins, to observe the seven canonical hours with prayer, and the like.” For they do not have a single word in Scripture about this. Therefore when one asks them whether they are certain and convinced that their station is pleasing to God, they say no. But if you ask a lowly housemaid why she washes dishes or milks the cow, she can say: “I know that what I do is pleasing to God, for I have God’s word and command.” This is a great blessing and a precious treasure of which no one is worthy. A prince should thank God for being able to do work of this kind. It is true that in his position he can also do what God wants, namely, punish the wicked. But when can he perform such a service properly? How rarely it happens! But in this station everything is ordained in such a way that if they do what they are ordered to do, all this is pleasing to God. God does not consider how small the works are; He considers the heart which serves Him with such small works. But here, too, it happens as it does in other matters. No one does what God has commanded. But when man institutes something, and God does not command, then everybody comes running.

So you say: “What indeed am I to do if I have a queer and illtempered master whom no one can serve satisfactorily? One finds many people like this.” St. Peter answers: If you are a Christian and want to please God, you must not ask how eccentric and rude your master is; but you must always turn your eyes to what God commands you to do. Therefore this is what you should think: “In this way I shall be serving my Lord Christ. He wants me to be obedient to this rude man.” If God were to order you to polish the shoes of the devil or the worst rogue, you would have to comply. And this work would be just as good as the greatest work of all, because God orders you to do it. Therefore you should have no regard for any person in this matter, but you should regard only what God wants. Then the most insignificant work, if it is done properly, is better in the sight of God than the works of all the priests and monks put together. If a person is not persuaded that this is God’s will and good pleasure, then nothing else will help. You can do no better than to comply; you can do no worse than not to comply. Therefore one should do this “with all respect,” as St. Peter says. One should proceed in the proper manner, since it is God’s command, not the command of men.

And here, of course, St. Peter is speaking of servants as they were at that time, when they were slaves. In some places one still finds people of this kind. One sold them like cattle. They were mistreated and beaten by their masters, and the masters had so much freedom that they were not punished, even if they killed the slaves. For this reason it was necessary for the apostles to admonish and console such slaves by telling them that they could serve even irritable masters and even suffer harm and injustice from them. He who is a Christian must also bear a cross. And the more you are wronged, the better it is for you. Therefore you must accept such a cross willingly from God and thank Him. This is the true suffering that is pleasing to God. For what would your boasting of the cross amount to if you were severely beaten and had deserved it? Therefore St. Peter says: “For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly.” Such suffering is pleasing and acceptable to God. It is a real service to God. Behold, here the truly precious good works we should do are described, and we fools have trampled this teaching underfoot and have invented and proposed other works. We should lift up our hands, thank God, and rejoice that we now know this. The apostle continues:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but now have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

This is what we have said, namely, that servants should impress it on their hearts and be moved to do and suffer willingly what they must, because Christ did so much for them. They must think as follows: “Since my Lord served me even though He was not obliged to do so, and since He sacrificed life and limb for me, why would I refuse to serve Him in return? He was completely pure and without sin. Yet He humbled Himself so deeply, shed His blood for me, and died to blot out my sins. Ah, should I then not also suffer something because it pleases Him?” Now he who contemplates this would surely have to be a stone if it did not move him. For if the master takes the lead and steps into the mire, it stands to reason that the servant will follow.

Therefore St. Peter says: “To this you have been called.” To what? To suffer wrong, as Christ did. It is as if he were saying: “If you want to follow Christ, you dare not argue and complain much when you are wronged; but you must suffer it and be forgiving, since Christ suffered everything without any guilt on His part. He did not appeal to justice when He stood before the judge. Therefore you must tread justice underfoot and say: ‘Thank God, I have been called to suffer injustice. For why should I complain when my Lord did not complain?’ ”

And here St. Peter has taken a few words from the prophet Isaiah, who says in chapter 53:9: “Although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth.” Likewise: “With His stripes we are healed” (v. 5). Christ was so pure that not a single evil word was on His tongue. Had He been treated as He deserved, everybody would have fallen at His feet and held Him in affection. Furthermore, He surely had the power and the right to avenge Himself. Yet He permitted Himself to be reviled, scorned, blasphemed, and even killed; and He never opened His mouth. Why, then, should you, too, not suffer this, since you are nothing but sin? You should praise and thank God for being worthy of becoming like Christ. You should not murmur or be impatient when you are wronged, since the Lord neither reviled nor threatened but even prayed for His enemies.

So you might say: “Do you mean to say that I should justify those who wrong me and say: ‘They have done well?’ ” Answer: No. But you should say: “I will suffer this very willingly, even though I have not deserved it and you are doing me an injustice. I will suffer it for my Lord’s sake. He also suffered injustice for me.” You should leave the matter to God, just as Christ leaves it to His heavenly Father. God is a just Judge. He will reward it richly. St. Peter says: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree”; that is, He did not suffer for Himself. No, He suffered for our benefit. We crucified Him with our sins. We are still far from suffering what He suffered. Therefore if you are a pious Christian, you should tread in the footsteps of the Lord and have compassion on those who harm you. You should also pray for them and ask God not to punish them. For they do far more harm to their souls than they do to your body. If you take this to heart, you will surely forget about your own sorrow and suffer gladly. Here we should be mindful of the fact that formerly we, too, led the kind of unchristian life that they lead, but that we have now been converted through Christ, as St. Peter concludes when he says: You were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

But this is a quotation from the prophet Isaiah, who says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (53:6). But we have now acquired a Shepherd, says St. Peter. The Son of God came for our sakes, to be our Shepherd and Bishop. He gives us His Spirit, feeds and leads us with His Word, so that we now know how we have been helped. Consequently, if you realize that your sins have been removed through Him, you are His sheep, and He is your Shepherd. Moreover, He is your Bishop, and you are His soul. This is now the comfort all Christians have.

LW 30

Liturgy: Lighten Up/Tighten Up

In the context of the Lutheran “worship wars” the word [liturgy] has positive and negative associations with it. Some esteem it and some despise it, pastors and parishoners alike.

Further, each person may have a different connotation of what the word “liturgy” actually means, particularly as it pertains to Lutheran liturgy. To be sure, Word and sacrament need to be at the center, but what each person specifically understands “liturgy” to imply can vary unless specified….

[T]he specific contents and order may not be common reference points with a generalized use of the word “liturgy.” The word can be used to refer to a general framework, but also to a specific prescribed order. As such, given our “worship wars” context, care should be taken when speaking about liturgy, so that our assumptions do not make out of us, what we tell our children they will….

[B]oth the “Liturgical-Repristination” and the church growth imperatives on the worship service of the church are objectively evaluated [by James Alan Waddell] in light of the Lutheran confessions. He considers them both illegitimate based upon the scriptural and confessional standards adhered to by our church body.

Summing it up, there is flexibility, within limits, where uniformity cannot be legislatively imposed, but where there are indeed non-negotiables (both theological and structural) to Lutheran liturgy. In short, Waddell puts it this way, “Lutheran theology is for Lutheran Worship.” It is specific to my tradition, but it’s helpful to our greater dialogue because of the emphasis on the theological thoughtfulness that is significant for the church and her worship to consider.

Thus, the liturgy, regardless of the variable forms it takes, it’s still the story of the church. As the third article reminds us, it’s about the “community of saints” gathered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ for “the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” It’s the same story that the first disciples gathered around, the same message they taught, and the same Gospel they proclaimed.

– Rev. Lucas Woodford, “Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?”, pages 180-183

As a pastor who uses the liturgy exclusively in a parish setting, I am willing to allow my more “contemporary” brethren some flexibility within limits. It would be pleasing to have my brothers using a service book of our synod on an exclusive basis, but barring such desire I would like to see Lutheran theology in Lutheran Worship among all my brother pastors in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

I am willing to lighten up. Are others willing to lighten up with me? Are other brothers willing to tighten up their practice in kind?