What Does This Mean?
Here you’ll find some answers to the meaning of the Christian faith and life.
Retiring the Reformation
The Reformation’s 500th anniversary is next year. Preparations have already begun to celebrate this milestone of five centuries. Every week I seem to get one or two companies with Reformation travel packages for trips throughout Germany. Our church body has frequent publications, Concordia Publishing House has Reformation 500 products, gear, and even home furnishings. Our seminaries and universities, districts, and churches are planning what they too will do. It’s a big deal, and it needs to stop. Retire it!
Should we bother celebrating the Reformation if no one cares? Maybe the historical sights are nice and the history lesson could be worth while, but really does anyone care about the Reformation? Does the theology matter, does truth matter? It’s 2016, what’s the big deal about 1517? So history happened, it does everyday. Martin Luther stood up to the Roman Church, it would have happened eventually. Justification? Solas? Book of Concord? Book of what? Latin? Justification, what kind of jargon is this? Retire it!
Who cares about being declared righteous for Christ’s sake? My good works show God that I love Him, though I admit I often feel empty, wondering if they are enough to please Him. Then again, the things I really care about and believe in is how I’m moved by God. After all, when you can feel the Spirit move you what more do you need? Some weeks are better than others but I know God’s still there. He speaks to me through friendships, and moments of personal inspiration. As to my relationships, my most personal ones, maybe people in the 1500s thought God cared about marriage and identity in Christ, but that’s outdated religious babble. Maybe Luther cared about faithfulness to the Bible and the common person knowing God’s Word, but today’s different. Today I still care about the Bible, but it’s not like I need to read it everyday. It’s all Greek to me! I think what God wants is for me to find in the Bible my own spirituality, my own sense of identity. He doesn’t want me to be tied down by the details, I’m my own individual, I mean didn’t he create perfectly or evolve humanity into what it is today—something like that.
God wants me to be happy. Maybe that’s the real reason for the Reformation, my personal freedom from the Catholic church. But even today they try to promote Christian families, Christian values, Christian sacraments—hello, not everyone is a Christian! Lutherans can’t seem to reform themselves apart from those things, so did it really succeed? I think Christianity should be more open to new ideas, new beliefs, and a new identity. The old, stingy, Reformation theology needs to go, retire it. I want a Christianity more like me and less like Christ…oh wait a second.
Keep Christ in Christianity, Happy Reformation! (And a blessed All Saints Day–Nov.1)
Who Am I?
Does it ever seem that life is a whirlwind of constant change? One moment is fleeting unto the next? Do you ever wonder who you are or maybe who you are supposed to be? What’s my purpose in this inconsistent, always new, twisty (and problematic) world?
If tv shows are our source for answers we’d wonder if lasting friendships and casual sex is the solution. However, the voids we tend to share aren’t filled through loving friends (as great as those relationships can be) nor through sexual self-gratification (which isn’t a real relationship at all).
If commercials are our source for answers we’d wonder if diet pills, clothes, or the newest tech is the solution. However, the voids we tend to share aren’t filled through these material ‘goods,’ they possibly make things worse.
If finally, we, of ourselves, are the source for answers we’d wonder if our best was good enough and if our worst days are telling of who we really are. We are not the solution. The voids we tend to share aren’t filled by vain words and bankrupt mantras like, “just do you,” “live your truth,” or “you only live once (YOLO).”
Who can really live like Hollywood, spend like crazy, and pep-talk themselves through life? Only those who are not truly happy with their lives. The dark secret of having everything and being everything is that you are ultimately nothing. Reality’s shadow lurks over the minute men of this world. The minute men and women of objectification, vanity, and egoism are here today and forgotten tomorrow. And when people live like that isn’t true all their lives, reality has a way of lunging from the darkness (perhaps at the end of their life) and stirs up that are old question again, “Who am I?”
Who are you? The solution to that problem, to that crisis of conscience, rest upon the the one in whom has rescued us from sin and is our Savior, Christ. In Christ you are everything you need to be because He is all you ever need.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Life Matters, No Matter
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. —Jesus (Jn 10:10)
The thief is Satan and his weapon of choice is temptation. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Evil is all around us in thought, manifest in sins of word and deed. Jesus came to destroy the power of sin, death, and deliver us instead into eternal life through faith. Faith is our shield from Satan and our sword for battle is the Spirit, the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6). Still, while Christ remains the victor forever, Satan remains at the helm of temptation, seeking to destroy life redeemed in Christ. He wants children to remain unborn, the born in sin to remain without Baptism, or better yet, murdered by abortion. He hates babies because Jesus became flesh, was begotten and incarnated into Mary’s womb. Jesus was a babe, permitted to be born, and ultimately escaped Satan’s every effort to murder him.
Every January hundred of thousands make a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to voice their support for life in The March for Life—an event as old as the Roe v. Wade decision (1973), which legalized abortion on demand. For over 40 years the King of Thieves has stolen away our children through temptation’s smokescreen of legality and choice ideology. He has told women that their choice is good and their only option is abortion. His whispers both convince women and confirm them in one way, to freedom and in another way putting ease to their fears. What really happens is that abortion does not give freedom or leave fears behind, it marks a woman for life. Some embrace the mark, and call it good. But a life taken is always a life marked with darkness. Christians cannot forget this. Christians ought to be prepared to know that whether a woman understands her mark or not, they are called to be the voice of light. We cannot forget the death of the unborn child. We cannot forget the woman marked with this darkness. We cannot forget that women who embrace the darkness need the Law and the Love of Christ. We cannot forget the women who have lost their motherhood, or the men who have lost their fatherhood. No matter the situation, by choice or by corrosion, Christ loves the lost. Because they matter to Him—the unborn to the elderly, the healthy and ill. He died for the lost, the broken, the shame-ridden, the happy, and sad. And, He died for you! Christians are called to pray and voice the truth of the Gospel, that Jesus came to establish a life of faith and an abundant life eternal! Christians have God’s Word, science, and philosophical truths that together coincide in making the case for life.
To supplement your conversation with anyone, Christian or not, provided here is an acronym called S.L.E.D. This tool serves to establish the personhood of the unborn—use it in love:
Size—Level of development—Environment—Degree of dependency
If value is measured by size, larger people are more human than smaller ones and generally men become more human than most women. Size determines nothing!
If value is measured by level of development, embryos and fetuses become, to some, less than human. The logical extreme of this view uncovers the absurdity that a four-year-old child is a lesser human when compared to a more developed fourteen-year-old.
If value is measured by environment, how does a journey of eight inches down the birth canal suddenly change the unborn nonhuman to the born human? Where you are does not establish who you are intrinsically!
If value is measured by degree of dependency, at what point is someone truly independent? The subjective nature of dependency reaches beyond a child in the womb, from needing insulin medicine or an inhaler to the very basic needs of food and water. Each comes from outside of an individual, making all people dependents to some degree.
Everyone is equal in their personhood because they share a common human nature. Humans are valuable themselves, not for anything else they can be or do. Individuals have intrinsic value. And this innate worth, comes from the hand of God who created you!
Want a longer explanation? Click here: The Implicit Justification of Abortion via Existential Philosophy
Religion is for the weak
Religion is for the weak. What does this mean? The fact that religion is cited so often as the reason for so much of the world’s present evil makes this statement seem oblivious to reality. Religion isn’t for the weak, but makes people weak. Religion isn’t for those who are in need, it creates needs by stripping people of their mind and resources. Religion strong-arms its way into homes, creates wars, and divides families. Religion is essentially abusive, cultic, and needs to go… or so it seems.
Perhaps you believe that religion is the root of all evil. Maybe you even think that we need less religion and just Jesus… or nothing at all! But think about this, to dismiss religion isn’t simply to forgo fairy tales but to forfeit all that humanity has done in the name of religion. For Christians this includes a preeminence in healthcare and education, renown scientists and philosophers, humanitarian aid and ongoing care in the world. I agree, in the name of religion many evils have been done, even within Christianity. But haven’t agnostic and atheists done atrocious and grievous deeds too? Where is the call of the culture to cast them aside? Crickets! The silence of humanity for the evils of the so called “non-religious” and the uproar over the evils of the “religious” is both laughable and sooo not funny.
What’s the solution? Jesus, who existed in history, calls himself God and proves his point by dying and rising from the dead. I’d say that the historical evidences from eyewitnesses, secular and friends, to the Christian religion make a good case. But that’s a topic for another post. This Jesus who dies and rises for your salvation came not for those who think themselves strong, powerful, or rich. Jesus comes for all people lost in their sins–that includes the poor and the rich–it’s everybody! Someone once said of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!” It’s true, Jesus comes to save us from our greatest weakness…ourselves, our sinful selves. Religion is for the weak, and Jesus is YOUR true strength and refuge. His sacrificial love saves. No other religion can truly claim that, neither can anyone claim this, none but the one Lord and Man, Jesus Christ.