Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller, Hope Lutheran, Aurora, Co., and co-host of Table Talk Radio, discusses Mystical Worship with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 40:28, 16.2 MB, 2011-Aug-17).


 

Pastor Timothy Ostermeyer of Hope Lutheran, St. Ann, Mo., and Pastor Timothy Rossow of Bethany Lutheran, Naperville, Ill., discuss Matt. 16:13-20, "You are the Christ", with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-18)


 

Dr. Ken Bailey, Lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament Studies, discusses interpreting the parables of Jesus with Pr. Todd Wilken. (from the year 1999)

1.

Part 1: Introduction and The Friend at Midnight - Luke 11:5-8 (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-08)

2. 

Part 2: The Lost Sheep - Luke 15:3-7 (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-09)

3.

Part 3: The Lost Coin - Luke 15:8-10 & The Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-32 (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-10)

4.

Part 4: The Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-32 (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-11)

5.

Part 5: The Unjust Steward - Luke 16:1-8 (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-12)


Dr. Kenneth Bailey's Book, Finding the Lost: Cultural Keys to Luke 15.

Finding the Lost Cultural Keys to Luke 15


Pastor Kevin Martin of Our Savior Lutheran, Raleigh, NC and Pastor Kevin Golden of Village Lutheran, Ladue, Mo. discuss Matt. 14:22-33, Jesus Walks on the Sea, with Pastor Todd Wilken. (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Aug-04)


Pastor Jonathan Ferguson of Peace Lutheran, St. Louis, Mo, and Pastor Ralph Patrick of Peace with Christ Lutheran, Fort Collins, Co. discuss Matt. 14:13-21, Jesus Feeds the 5000, with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:17, 21.8 MB, 2011-Jul-28)


 

Pastor Timothy Landskroener, Epiphany Lutheran, St. Louis, Mo., and Pastor Thomas Messer, Peace Lutheran, Alma, Mich., discuss Luke 5:1-11 with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Jul-21).


 

(HT: Issues, Etc., Blog post of the Week (2011-Jul-15) quoting from Pr. Larry Peters' blog posts here and here:

)

In 1858, (C.F.W.) Walther preached on Reformation: "It is true that of all the church bodies which have left the papacy, it is precisely the Lutheran Church which is accused of retaining many papal abuses and of having been the least successful in cleansing itself. It is pointed out, for example, that in our church priestly clothing, church ornamentation, pictures, altar, crucifixes, candles, confession, the sign of the cross, and the like are still apparent. But, my friends, whoever regards these innocent things as vestiges of the papacy knows neither what the papacy is, nor what the Bible teaches. The very fact that the Lutheran Reformation was not aimed at indifferent adiaphora, but retained those things which were in harmony with God's Word, shows that it was not a disorderly revolution, but a Biblical reformation; for whatever did not agree with God's Word was unrelentingly cleansed from the church by the Lutheran Reformation even though it seemed to glow with angelic holiness."

Neither was Walther concerned about offending those who called such ceremonies, liturgy, vestments, and customs "catholic." Walther was not concerned about offense nor was he concerned that others might "misunderstand" what they saw and heard in the Missouri Synod on Sunday morning. To a Synod convention he proclaimed: "We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Papism in outward things. It is a pity and a dreadful cowardice when one sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American sects, lest they accuse us of being papistic (i.e., too catholic!). Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that the sects can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them? We are not insisting that there be uniformity of perception or feeling or of taste among all believing Christians ­ neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he is. Nevertheless it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extend that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are addressed or instructed (Will Weedon noted if he were writing today, he'd no doubt add: they look like movie theaters in which the hearers are entertained!), while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world."


The fuller quote from C.F.W. Walther: 

"We know and firmly hold that the character, the soul of Lutheranism, is not found in outward observances but in the pure doctrine. If a congregation had the most beautiful ceremonies in the very best order, but did not have the pure doctrine, it would be anything but Lutheran. We have from the beginning spoken earnestly of good ceremonies, not as though the important thing were outward forms, but rather to make use of our liberty in these things. For true Lutherans know that although one does not have to have these things (because there is no divine command to have them), one may nevertheless have them because good ceremonies are lovely and beautiful and are not forbidden in the Word of God. Therefore the Lutheran church has not abolished "outward ornaments, candles, altar cloths, statues and similar ornaments," [AP XXIV] but has left them free. The sects proceeded differently because they did not know how to distinguish between what is commanded, forbidden, and left free in the Word of God. We remind only of the mad actions of Carlstadt and of his adherents and followers in Germany and in Switzerland. We on our part have retained the ceremonies and church ornaments in order to prove by our actions that we have a correct understanding of Christian liberty, and know how to conduct ourselves in things which are neither commanded nor forbidden by God. 

We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. The Roman antichristendom enslaves poor consciences by imposing human ordinances on them with the command: "You must keep such and such a thing!"; the sects enslave consciences by forbidding and branding as sin what God has left free. Unfortunately, also many of our Lutheran Christians are still without a true understanding of their liberty. This is demonstrated by their aversion to ceremonies.

It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when a person sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American denominations just so they won't accuse us of being Roman Catholic! Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that they can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?

It is too bad that such entirely different ceremonies prevail in our Synod, and that no liturgy at all has yet been introduced in many congregations. The prejudice especially against the responsive chanting of pastor and congregations is of course still very great with many people -- this does not, however, alter the fact that it is very foolish. The pious church father Augustine said, "Qui cantat, bis orat--he who sings prays twice." 

This finds its application also in the matter of the liturgy. Why should congregations or individuals in the congregation want to retain their prejudices? How foolish that would be! For first of all it is clear from the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. 14:16) that the congregations of his time had a similar custom. It has been the custom in the Lutheran Church for 250 years. It creates a solemn impression on the Christian mind when one is reminded by the solemnity of the divine service that one is in the house of God, in childlike love to their heavenly Father, also give expression to their joy in such a lovely manner. 

We are not insisting that there be uniformity in perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians-neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he. Nevertheless, it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world. 

Uniformity of ceremonies (perhaps according to the Saxon Church order published by the Synod, which is the simplest among the many Lutheran church orders) would be highly desirable because of its usefulness. A poor slave of the pope finds one and same form of service, no matter where he goes, by which he at once recognizes his church. 

With us it is different. Whoever comes from Germany without a true understanding of the doctrine often has to look for his church for a long time, and many have already been lost to our church because of this search. How different it would be if the entire Lutheran church had a uniform form of worship! This would, of course, first of all yield only an external advantage, however, one which is by no means unimportant. Has not many a Lutheran already kept his distance from the sects because he saw at the Lord's Supper they broke the bread instead of distributing wafers? 

The objection: "What would be the use of uniformity of ceremonies?" was answered with the counter question, "What is the use of a flag on the battlefield? Even though a soldier cannot defeat the enemy with it, he nevertheless sees by the flag where he belongs. We ought not to refuse to walk in the footsteps of our fathers. They were so far removed from being ashamed of the good ceremonies that they publicly confess in the passage quoted: "It is not true that we do away with all such external ornaments."

"Explanation of Thesis XVIII, D, Adiaphora, of the book The True Visible Church", to the 16th Central District Convention, beginning August 9, 1871, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, translated by Fred Kramer, printed in Essays for the Church, Vol. 1 (C.F.W. Walther, St. Louis: Concordia, 1992, pp. 193-4).

Part 1:

(mp3, 35:06, 14 MB, 2011-July-13)

Part 2: 

(mp3, 42:26, 17 MB, 2011-July-13)

Pastor (now President) Matthew Harrison discusses the Lord's Supper with Pastor Todd Wilken (originally broadcast on Sunday, 2005-Mar-20)

Issues, Etc., Classics (before June 30, 2008) originated at KFUO-AM in St. Louis, and were broadcast on other stations around the country. Phone number and address mentioned are no longer valid.


Pastor Hans Fiene of River of Life Lutheran, Channahon, Ill. and Pastor David Boisclair of Faith & Bethesda Lutheran, St. Louis, Mo. discuss Matthew 13:24-30, “The Parable of the Weeds” with Pastor Todd Wilken. (mp3, 54:43, 22.0 MB, 2011-July-14)


 

Mrs. Kelly Klages, Confessional Lutheran Ecclesiastical Art Resources, discusses the Teaching of Hymns to Children with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 26:19, 10.5 MB, 2011-Jun-29)


 

“I know for a fact [that] the one who has to preach and expound the Scriptures and has no help from the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, will make many a pretty mistake.”

The Adoration of the Sacrament, Luther's Works, AE, 36:304

(HT: A-Mayes-ing Grace Blog)

Pastor Kirk Clayton of Zion Lutheran, Mascoutah, Ill, and Pastor Christopher Esget of Immanuel Lutheran, Alexandria, Va. discuss Luke 14:15-24 with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:29, 21.9 MB, 2011-Jun-30)


 

Master H is 3 years old! The Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

HT: Pr William Weedon

Additional comments by Pr. Randy Asburry:

Who says young children "can't" learn the Catechism by heart? That's a claim foisted on parents, teachers, and pastors by many who would rather leave such learning for later years and upper grades - the time when such learning by heart is much, much more difficult.

But this father shows that children - quite young children - can and do learn the Catechism by heart. Not only is this funny and cute, but it's also impressive and worthy of all imitation. And take special note of the great expressiveness with which this young lad recites the Catechism part on Baptism. While this little guy may not "understand" every term or concept which he speaks now, such learning and growing will take place for all of his life. Here he shows that the vessel is well prepared for being filled with the draft of God's meaningful Word.

President Matthew Harrison, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, discusses Preaching with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 20:28, 8.2 MB, 2011-Jun-29)

See also President Harrison's article, "Preaching Is All About You"

And Pastor Wilken's article, "A Listener's Guide to the Pulpit" (or printable pdf)


 

How To Be an Awesome Lutheran Father: Director's Commentary

Of all the Sunday morning services that I attended in my youth, the one I remember most was when I was in fifth grade.

Unlike many congregations, which have two seats on opposite sides of the chancel for acolytes, the congregation my father was serving at the time had the practice of requiring acolytes to sit next to each other in the front row. Like many other practices in life, this practice generally worked out just fine. Except for when the people involved sinned. And that's what I was doing that morning when, instead of listening to my father's sermon, I was joking around with my friend and co-acolyte, Michael.

I'm not sure what we were snickering about. But whatever the source of the laughter, it was loud enough to cause my father to stop in the middle of his sermon and tell me to be quiet because what he was saying was important. And while I certainly was terrified in that moment (I know it was a long time ago, but the good folks at St. Peter's might want to give that acolyte robe one more trip to the dry cleaners), the emotion I remember feeling most strongly was embarrassment.

But as embarrassing as this was for me, what I didn't realize until I had kids of my own was that this was even more embarrassing for my father. You see, no decent father ever wants to bring attention to the fact that his child is being terrible. And he especially doesn't want to bring attention to that when he's doing his job. But any decent electrician father in the world in the world would dive headfirst into that embarrassment if that's what it took to stop his daughter from sticking a fork in a light socket. Any loving chemist father would scream at the top of his lungs to stop his son from taking a sip of hydrochloric acid. And any pastor father worthy of either vocation would call out his kid from the pulpit if that's what it took to let the kid know that busting a gut over Jeffery Dahmer jokes during the Divine Service is not acceptable.

So while, at the time, I loved my father in spite of that moment, as I've grown older and grown in the faith, I've come to love my father even more because of that moment. Because that was a moment in which my father taught me that, more than anything else in the world, he wanted me to be a Christian. And if the only way he could smack some Christian piety into me was to embarrass himself in front of the entire congregation, then so be it. Because my soul was that important to him.

And so, if you want to be an awesome Lutheran father, that's how you do it, folks. And, in the offhand chance that you don't have a pulpit from which to yell at your rotten kids, here are a few other ways to increase your concordiaWEsomeness:

Dr. Burnell Eckardt, Jr., pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran, Kewanee, Ill., and editor-in-chief of Gottesdienst, a quarterly journal promoting the historic liturgy, discusses the Arminianism of "Contemporary" worship with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 26:28, 10.6 MB, 2011-Jun-22)


 

The Hubris of Contemporary Worship

A couple of weeks ago my junior high choir sang a Kyrie by 16th-century composer Leonhard Lechner for the Divine Service. They sang it AS the Kyrie, so the assembly stood for prayer as the choir sang this. It was sung as originally composed, in beautiful 3-part a cappella counterpoint, and so we experienced the music as it was intended and conceived by the composer. Judging from comments I received afterwards - including from a young mother who exclaimed how much her baby enjoyed the piece - I dare say it worked as well for us in 2011 Chicagoland as it did in 1560s Germany. My young choir enjoys singing it as well.

And yet many in the church today believe that both congregations and singers, especially young ones, can only connect with the most recent of musical constructs. If something historic is done, then it at least needs to be done in a "contemporary" way. Now I am all in favor of new interpretations of existing melodies. It is a time-honored church tradition after all, and one of the strongest arguments for using traditional hymn melodies is their objective strength, i.e. they are sturdy enough to "hold up" various styles and musical treatments.

But it struck me after the service that all this emphasis on "new", "fresh", and "contemporary" assumes that somehow singers and congregations today are different than those of previous generations. Somehow what has served the Gospel well for dozens of years and even dozens of generations can no longer "work" today. No reason is really ever given for this, it is just assumed that "that was then, this is now." But do we really have different chromosomes, brain cells, and hearts today? Has our technology or our culture really changed us that much? Or are we in 21st-century America just full of ourselves. I think it is the latter. The church suffers because of it. The proclamation of the Gospel suffers because of it.

I say this as a composer, an improvisor, and as a church musician who embraces the musical developments of our age: let us constantly learn from the great musicians who have gone before us, and have the humility to let their voices speak. They usually have much better things to say than we do.

Pastor Kevin GoldenVillage Lutheran, Ladue, Mo. and Pastor Scott Klemsz, Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Salinas, Calif. discuss Matt. 28:16-20 with Pastor Todd Wilken. (mp3, 54:22, 21.8 MB, 2011-Jun-16)


 

Pastor Jon Sollberger, Immanuel Lutheran, Louisville, Neb. discusses entertainment worship versus the Divine Service with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 28:23, 11.4 MB, 2011-Jun-13)


 

HT: Pr Jeff Hemmer on his blog, Hemmersphere

“To neglect your church, your prayer, your Bible study, your devotions, is to tell God that you have no desire to grow, to become more and more His child, that you are satisfied with being a weak and shaky Christian, and that you have had as much as you want from Him. How perilously such a person is slipping away from God. Everything that is not in accord with God's will is given over to death and the power of darkness. But, my friends, if we cling to Christ and His Word, growing daily in the will of God, striving to bring our lives into harmony with that will, what strength is ours, what then can harm us? When we are given over to the will of God, nothing can destroy, no more than God and His will can be destroyed. The unshakeable strength of the will of God is in us, though the world turn upside down.” (Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 245.)

Some opportunities for growth (from Pr. Hemmer):

  • If you attend church less frequently than you should, set a goal to attend every Sunday that you are healthy.
  • If you do not currently attend Bible class (or Sunday school), set a goal to grow in the Word by studying it at Bible class.
  • If you do not currently have family devotions every day, set a goal to begin using Treasury of Daily Prayer (with accompaniment) or Portals of Prayer for family prayer and devotions every day.