Rev. William Weedon presents on "Why you should stay Lutheran: It's all about conscience" at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana . January 20, 2014.

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A Reading List for Lutherans (pdf, 2 pages, 119 kb)



 

Pr. Sam Schuldheisz joins the show to discuss four practical ways to exercise the imagination.

Then (begins 22:22), Pr. Bramwell discusses how the bibliographical, internal evidence, and external evidence tests help us know whether or not we can trust what the New Testament says. How does the historical method answer the question of whether or not the New Testament is trustworthy?

 

(mp3, 54:20, 49.7 MB, 2021-Feb-15)

 



 

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In the last episode, we discussed the Wittenberg theologians' (mainly Luther and Melanchthon) gradual shift on their theological stance regarding offering not just disobedience to the governing authorities, but also resistance, and if necessary, armed resistance. In this episode of The Gottesdienst Crowd, we take up part two of what is now a three-part series. Here we dive into the events that happen after Luther's death, focusing on the events surrounding the city of Magdeburg and The Magdeburg Confession

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Host: Fr. Jason Braaten



Pr. Sean Daenzer discusses Teaching God’s Word at Home with Pr. Todd Wilken on Issues Etc.

(mp3, 35:24, 32.4 MB, 2021-Feb-05)

 



 

Pr. Sean Daenzer discusses Things We See in Church with Pr. Todd Wilken on Issues Etc.

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1. Part 1 (mp3, 57:35, 52.7 MB, 2020-Sept-25)

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2. Part 2 (mp3, 57:34, 52.7 MB, 2020-Oct-15)

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3. Part 3 (mp3, 1:12:08; 66.0 MB, 2020-Nov-05)

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4. Part 4 (mp3, 1:19:48; 73.1 MB, 2020-Nov-19)

 



 

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The times we are living in and through have raised a number of questions about the obedience we owe the government. We have begun again to wrestle with similar questions as the magisterial reformers, especially our Lutheran fathers in the faith: Luther, Melanchthon, Amsdorf, etc. To what extent should the governing authorities be obeyed? How are we to make those judgments? Is there a biblical and confessional framework for deciding these things? David Ramirez (pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Union Grove, WI) will walk us through the history.

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Host: Fr. Jason Braaten



 

250 This is enough of an explanation of what stealing is. Let the commandment not be understood too narrowly. But let it apply to everything that has to do with our neighbors. Briefly, in summary (as in the former commandments) this is what is forbidden: (a) To do our neighbor any injury or wrong (in any conceivable manner, by impeding, hindering, and withholding his possessions and property), or even to consent or allow such injury. Instead, we should interfere and prevent it. 251 (b) It is commanded that we advance and improve his possessions. When they suffer lack, we should help, share, and lend both to friends and foes [Matthew 5:42]. 252 Whoever now seeks and desires good works will find here more than enough to do that are heartily acceptable and pleasing to God. In addition, they are favored and crowned with excellent blessings. So we are to be richly compensated for all that we do for our neighbor’s good and from friendship.

Luther, Large Catechism I:250-252

 

After my sermon a couple of weeks ago, I was asked why I had referred to the government lockdown of businesses as stealing. To consider that, we must first reflect on the Seventh Commandment. In the Small Catechism, you learned that here God instructs you to protect the possessions and income that He has given to your neighbor. God desires that you be content with what He has given you and not scheme to take your neighbor’s property in a way that may appear right or in any dishonest way. Instead, He commands that you help and be of service to him in keeping it so that you improve and protect them. There are no exceptions to this, even in the case of the government or someone who feels like it is the right thing to do.

What is the connection to the lockdowns? Consider what the lockdowns have done. While large corporations, strip clubs, and casinos were kept open, many restaurants, bars, and small family-owned businesses have been crippled and forced to close. Owners had their businesses taken from them even though there was no proof that they were spreading the disease. They had to lay off employees, denying them wages. It was not the business, but the government that was stealing the wages. This leads to more stealing as taxes are increased on our neighbors. Work is good and holy under this commandment, but more people are once more living off the government instead of working for the good of our neighbors. Meanwhile, the government chooses to print money which leads to inflation and theft from our neighbor as prices escalate. Before COVID we were at record low unemployment, but lockdowns have forced people back under the umbrella of the government, closed legitimate businesses, and punished our neighbors. To quote Luther, the lockdowns have impeded, hindered and withheld our neighbor’s property.

The argument has been made that this will save lives, but the actual evidence is that depriving our neighbor of his business has not in any way slowed the spread or “saved a life.” States where the lockdowns are harshest have not slowed the number of cases. The actual fact is that people’s lives are being shattered, families are being torn apart because of financial tensions, drug and alcohol use has increased, and suicides are rising to all-time highs. Meanwhile, while I give thanks that we have not hindered people from supporting major corporations who employ our neighbors, we cannot condone the stealing from other neighbors. In the church, we must help our neighbor to improve and protect his property and business because it has been given to him by God. Let us speak up for our neighbor and protest the government selectively stealing from him.

Of course, stealing property and livelihoods has been coupled with stealing lives. Who has suffered the most from this? Who has had the most stolen from them?  The elderly, who have had their families stolen from them to “save lives.” Perhaps, the poor around the world who are being neglected while we who have so much are living in fear of a virus that 99+% of us will survive. And what about the children? Young children are not learning anything but fear and trembling as adults cannot smile and laugh with them, hug them, play with them, and when necessary express their disapproval. Children are not benefitting from in-person learning as many schools have closed. We push them into a bubble and forbid their interaction so that suicides increase. Surely, there are countless others who are falling between the cracks. Lord, grant that we repent of this behavior and wisdom finally prevails so that we once again recognize the importance of a free and open society if there is to be good for our neighbor.


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Who are the men behind the liturgical renewals within our Synod? Who are the men at the tip of the spear when it came to talking about the importance of retaining the historic liturgy, rites, and ceremonies of the Western Church? The next installment of the liturgical biographies we're going to cover is Paul H.D. Lang. Mark Braden (pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Detroit, MI, and Departmental Editor of Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy) walks us through his early ministry, highlights some of his writings, and then dives into two of his most notable works: What An Altar Guild Should Know and Ceremony and Celebration.


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In my experience, preaching for the high feasts (Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter) are the most difficult. There is always that pull to bring out the best, to preach so that people will come back the next Sunday, to wow the crowd with your deep theological insights, high-sounding poetic words and rhetorical flourishes. In short, there's a pull to be cute and edgy. But when you read our forefathers' sermons for these days, they don't fall into this pit. They take seemingly simple biblical truths and open them up for the hearer to bask in their simple but profound glory. Dave Petersen (pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN, and Departmental Editor of Gottesdienst: the Journal of Lutheran Liturgy with his column "Commentary on the War") shows us how C.F.W. Walther preached one Christmas day. We look at this sermon and see the beauty in simplicity and the glory of God's truth in the well-known Gospel message.


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As always, The Gottesdienst Crowd would be honored if you would Subscribe, Rate, and Review. Thanks for listening and thanks for your support. 

Host: Fr. Jason Braaten