The Pastoral Epistles, Smalcald 3:10, and The Holy Things

Rome contends that pastoral authority flows from the pope on down. (They do concede the pope stands in for Christ, but then give him the authority to just make up stuff that Jesus never said.) The Reformers, having actually read the scriptures, reject this outright. The Pastoral Epistles (Timothy 1&2, Titus) are directed at pastors – that is, those who have pulpit, font, and altar and spend their days tending to the flock where they are located. Ie. the Church in Corinth, the Church in Ephesus, the Church in Philippi, etc.

The Apostolic era had an office we no longer have, Apostle: A group of men who preached wherever they willed, established churches, and appointed the first pastors. They were immediately called. Jesus looked them in the face, said, “You are now a fisher of men”, and appointed them to their holy office. But after the ascension, Jesus only appointed one more man to serve such an office – Saint Paul, who would serve as missionary to the Gentiles. It’s worth noting that tradition tells us the other apostles by common agreement still divided things up, and set off for their respective places of service and death. This was by their own agreement and for the sake of good order however, not by Divine Command.

Pastors have a Divine Call. It is a Divine Command to preach. But it is mediated through the church. The people of God in a place, along with the clergy of that place, all agree and testify that “this is the guy whom God has called to be pastor.” In our current system, the testimony of the laity is given through the Divine Call document itself. The testimony of the local clergy is given by their attendance and participation in the installation rite – the worship service. But it is a call to a place. Pastors don’t wander about. And when the pastoral epistles refer to “Bishops” or “Elders” (Two ways of translating the same word “Episcopos”), it means the local pastor and nothing more. Since the close of the apostolic era (the death of Saint John), there is NO OTHER DIVINE OFFICE in the church than the pastoral office.

After the apostles could no longer be consulted, a member of the local clergy was set apart at “first among equals”. He was a pastor recognized for his wisdom, who would advise and administer various matters on behalf of the clergy and local congregations. But he was a pastor. He had his own parish where he was shepherd. To pastors in other parishes, he was an assistant. That this assistance took a certain form of headship in no way changes that “bishops” (as they were now called) were servants to the other pastors. The one Divine Office was still the Pastoral one. It remains the highest office in the church. Any superior office we create is inferior to that one. And even in times of schism or unfaithfulness, it was recognized that, if you wanted to get rid of a faithful teacher, you couldn’t order him to teach unfaithfully, he had to be unjustly removed (i.e. Athanasius, on five separate occasions, many faithful pastors in the LCMS removed under the false charge of “being too brash and unloving”, etc.) If left in the pulpit, it was his. He would preach the Word as he was commanded.

Over time, the assistant function took on more and more responsibilities. By the time of the Reformation, bishops had an altar and pulpit (Rome has never been so godless as to remove bishops from at least that vestige of faithfulness!) but they spent so much time doing paperwork that they seldom if ever saw them. Assistants would tend their parish, while they attended to interloping into other parishes. Smalcald 3:10 lays it out bluntly and severely. It’s worth considering how our confessions define the Divine Office:

If the bishops would be true bishops, and would devote themselves to the Church and the Gospel… But because they neither are, nor wish to be, true bishops, but worldly lords and princes, who will neither preach, nor teach, nor baptize, nor administer the Lord’s Supper, nor perform any work or office of the Church…

Today we have an even worse situation. The men who assist local pastors are no longer themselves pastors (with few exceptions). We take men out of the pulpit and away from the hospital room and death bed where they used to minister, put them in an office and make them sign forms all day. They neither “preach, nor teach, nor baptize, nor administer the Lord’s Supper”. I’ve said it rather flippantly before, but it is true, “We take men out of the Holy Office, make them middle managers, and then are shocked to discover them acting like it.”

The good news is that things are already changing. Financial pressures are forcing men  back into the parish. Perhaps not the current crop of executives. But I suspect that each time a group retires, one or two more will be “part time” at the DOB (District Office Building), and part time in a parish. Eventually, the problem will be solved. This already applies to our Synod Office Building. (Acronym Omitted) The early signs are good. Stewardship executives are now in the parish, and as of a year ago, so is the synod University Rep. If we will not be faithful for it’s own sake, God will bring it about through attrition.

Until then, pastors will be guided by their assistant/bishops as far as they are faithful. But since the office itself is now unfaithful (See above), pastors will more likely be guided by the Pastoral Epistles. And that’s ok as well. God gives his word so we would know what faithfulness is, and so that we would know when to heed the advice of others, and when to say “This is not the voice of my shepherd. I do not recognize this voice and will not heed it.” And that is a great comfort. The Church will endure. Our institutions may be tottering. But until they return to the Word of the Lord, I can think of nothing better for them to do than that.

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November: Write a Book Month

November is write-a-book month.

I’ve done it before. Evolution: A Defense Against was a one-month book. But I did it in August, not November. August is a light month for pastors. I already had all the research finished, an extensive outline, and had a lower pastoral caseload at the time than I’d had in my ministry before or since. I even remember thinking, “A pastor would have to be a fool to try and write a book in November.

But I have an idea. And a dream.

This year I also have lots of shut-ins, meetings scheduled throughout the month, new members coming in, catechumens needing instruction. In addition, I also no real outline, and no research done. It’s a topic where I’m far from expert. So, scattered ideas and a dream are really all that I have.

Also, with Evolution, the edit was harder than any other book I’ve written. I had to take a three month break just to figure out how to solve the problems that the quick-write process caused me. So, odds are, at the end of the month, I’ll be hoping no one asks me how it’s going. In fact, odds really are that in about two days I’ll just give up and move on, because this is pretty obviously a terrible idea in many ways.

But I think it’s a book that needs written. So let’s see where we are in 29 more days!

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Bearing Lies

At the trial of our Lord, lie after lie was told about him. Nothing has changed in 2000 years.

In my daughter’s class, the teacher boldly (and falsely) proclaimed that Religion has been responsible for more wars than any other cause. This is a blatant falsehood, invented in the 1800’s by secularists to tar the church with blood that was not even on her hands. (In actuality, even secular historians who are honest peg the number at somewhere just below 7% of wars conducted in the name of religion.) The two centuries since this lie was begun have only proven the secularists to be ghoulishly wrong. The blood they attribute to us is on their own hands. 

True, there have been wars in the name of religious. The crusades is of course the most famous example. But one should really call that the “counter-crusades”. It was a misguided attempt to take back what had been conquered by others in the name of their own religion. That’s generally left out of the fact-sheet. And its telling that this lie was proclaimed not during study of the initiating religion, but during the unit on the counter-response religion. 

A better example (And perhaps one of the best examples in Christian history) would be the Thirty-years war. It was explicitly religious and was fought between differing Christian factions. But, like most religious wars, it was small – localized. Religious wars tend to be that way. It takes a mix of religious fervor mixed with eschatological apocalyptic nationalism to bring off a real religious war. And that’s a strange and difficult mix. You don’t often find it on a large scale. Although it does tend to manifest in the one religion responsible for 2/3 of all religious wars. 

What we do find on a large scale is secularist power-games leading to mass death. World Wars 1 & 2 are international examples of the phenomena. In both cases it was secularist utopians who led otherwise peaceful citizens into the jaws of death and the mouth of hell. But even that pales to the secularist slaughter of their own citizens: Holodomor, Great Leap Forward, Khmer Rouge, Holocaust, etc.

It was secularist leaders in each case that instituted them, and a compliant and lazes faire secularist world order that allowed them to continue. Think “Boat turned back to Germany by FDR”, or “Walter Duranty” for only a couple of examples. In modern times, you might mention The Uighers and Corporate acquiescence. I assure you, Nike, the NBA, Disney, etc. aren’t going along with the imprisonment and slaughter because of too many Christians in their ranks.

There is this false idea that one can be dispassionate about religion – that one can be objective about everything, and have convictions about nothing. This is secularist nonsense. And it is dangerous. To speak without a point of view would be like having a blind man describe the visual sensation of a sunset. And those who claim to teach with no moral convictions would have (in the past) been considered dangerous loons. Now we laud such foolish delusions. Yes! We say. Just teach that 2+2 = 4. That’s all we need.

But education must of necessity go beyond such simple things. Eventually a moral judgement will be reached. (Some topics can not be taught dispassionately. Crusades, McCarthyism, etc.) And 2+2=4 is only true in an ordered world. Some are now even fighting against this as a dangerous imposition of various shade-related supremacies. 

To be told I am hopelessly biased by those who can not tell the difference between boys and girls is so far beyond parody that even Kafka is looking for his shocked face. And yet, here we are. 

How does the church respond? We speak the truth when possible. We silently endure slander when we must. But at all times, we confess our Lord, who created the heavens and the earth. And we serve our neighbor, who was given to us by our Lord that we might love him. 

And if that brings on us scorn and reprobation, it is only what our Lord foretold. Our reward, like our kingdom, is not of this world. 

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Master Class in Catechesis Now Available!

After many delays, this summer’s Master Class in Catechesis is now available online! (Click HERE to sign up)
If you haven’t been able to attend a Continuing Education class recently, here’s your chance to attend virtually.
Topics covered include:
• Models of education & Scriptural Catechesis
• Teaching using Narratives & Proof Texts
• Pre-postmodern principles of interpretation
• Catechesis in a non-Christian World
• Apologetics & Catechesis
• Extra Bonus Lecture! “Worthy and Well Prepared: Teaching Closed Communion”.
If you wanted to attend, but couldn’t make it now you can attend virtually. (Click HERE to download)
Thanks to generous support from my congregations and Thrivent, I am offering a special discount to pastors who either don’t have money in the budget for Continuing Ed, as well as worker priests, who don’t have time or money for suck luxuries. (Scroll Down learn more about this special offer!)
If you would like to sharpen your skills at teaching the catechism this class is for you. I’ve made it downloadable (both Video and Audio so you can watch or listen in the car). (Click HERE To get it)
Just head over to Gumroad, click and you can start downloading today! (The Link is HERE)
If you haven’t bought Catechetics: Fixing Confirmation, you’ll want to do that first. This class takes a deeper look at issues raised in that book. So click HERE to get Catechetics, and then Click HERE to get the Catechetics Master Class!

Special Offer #1: This week only! In Honor of Reformation Day, if you are one of the first 10 people to get my master class, you get a $25 discount! That’s right, instead of the usual price of $150, it’s only $125. And you don’t have to pay for travel or hotels! What a bargain! (Enter code “REFORMATION” at checkout)

Special Offer #2: I believe every pastor should have the opportunity to attend advanced classes on Theology and Pastoral Practice. But money isn’t always available. I would like to do my part to fix this:

If your C.Ed budget is less than $200, the class will be discounted to 50% of your C.Ed budget. (That should provide you enough to attend the class and still buy a couple of books for the year.) Just contact me and I’ll send you a personalized discount code you can use.

If your C.Ed budget is $0, or if you are a Worker-Priest (you work a secular job to cover family expenses/health insurance, etc.) the class is free. (US & Canadian Pastors in the LCMS & LCC only.)

I can’t offer you the book for free, because that does cost me money. But I can do this: Contact me, and I’ll send you a signed copy of Catechetics for my cost. ($12, includes shipping to you.) The class will still be free! What’s the catch? I only ask that if you find it useful, you tell other pastors about it.

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Partying Like It’s 1999

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth having a blog – what with everyone on the Facebook and the Twitter and all. Is there still room for old-school blogging?

With Facebook down – evidently not just a server problem, someone managed to delete them from the DNS (cartoonish super-villainy, but an impressive achievement) I’m glad I still have my old-school blog.

And with the Facebook down, we can all go outside and enjoy the day.

I even took a bike ride. To the driver’s license office. Because my license expired last week. Oops.

UPDATE: And now I’m having visions of alternate futures. In one, someone hacks the website of Sinecurist Lane Seitz and DP’s can not longer automatically access SET forms. It’s a dystopian nightmare: They have to talk to pastors personally, 1 on 1, and ask them how much of scripture they are willing to ignore for the sake of their bellies (Let’s be honest, that’s the point of the SET form. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t ask about personal preferences regarding scriptural doctrines.) Can you envision a worse fate for church officials than having to actually talk to pastors? About what is clearly taught in the Bible? Beggars the imagination to even think about it.

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Sermon for Last Week

With the tri-point parish, one casualty has been that, even when I want to post a sermon, I generally don’t think about it until late in the week, and by then, everyone has moved on. But I did want to post last week’s sermon. It’s an explanation of the Third Commandment. Especially given the recent spate of government mandates forbidding the church to meet (this has been tried before), and the church’s willingness to obey such godlessness (Ok, I’ll concede obeying them is new. We need to up our game a bit.) a refresher on the Third Commandment seemed like a good idea. The text is the account of Jesus healing the man with dropsy (Luke 14).

Today’s Gospel teaches us how we are to keep the third commandment. The leaders are testing Jesus. There is a man before him who had dropsy. They want to know if he will heal someone on the Sabbath. Dropsy meant he was retaining water. It could have been a number of different diseases – kidney or heart perhaps, maybe something else. But the upshot was, he was sick, possibly dying. And so they put this man before Jesus and then “watch carefully”. Because if Jesus heals the man, they have him for breaking the Sabbath, the day of rest.

What utter wickedness: To use a sick man as a pawn, firmly believing it is a sin to heal him of his disease. They can’t heal him. Jesus healing is miraculous. They know it is from God. They do not care. Jesus elsewhere points out to the Pharisees that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” God doesn’t create us so that the Sabbath can be observed. God gives the command that we keep the Sabbath day for our own good. And its true. Even secular sources agree that a day of rest is helpful – studies have shown one day of rest in seven actually increases overall productivity more than working every day. But it isn’t just for the sake of our bodies that a day of rest is helpful. God gives the Sabbath to Israel so that they might honor and worship the Lord.

Let’s back up a minute though. If we’re talking about the Third Commandment, Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, what exactly is being commanded here? What do we do with the Sabbath day? In the strictest sense, the command to remember the sabbath day and keep it holy doesn’t apply to us anymore. That was a command given to ancient Israel. They were to stop all work one day a week and rest, as a remembrance of our Lord God who created the heavens and earth in six days, and rested on the seventh day. This day of rest was a permanent reminder of The Lord God who created all things. This was sufficient on its own to set the people apart from the idol worshipping nations around them. The pagan gods of the Canaanites didn’t require a day of rest. The god of this or that thing – fertility, the weather, the sheep, the mountains, the oceans – they didn’t require such devotion as this. By reminding themselves each week of who the creator of the world really is, they would be set apart from the idolatry of the people around them.

That commandment is no more. Jesus says repeatedly that the Sabbath rule is fulfilled in him. Jesus dies on the cross on Friday, and then takes his Sabbath rest in the tomb on Holy Saturday.  The day of the Sabbath no loner applies. In the New Testament, the worship of the people is moved to Sunday: The Lord’s day, the day of his resurrection, the day of the new creation, the day of his triumph over death, hell and the devil.

We are no longer commanded to rest on a specific day. So why do we keep teaching this commandment to our children? We don’t do it just for some sense of nostalgia, or because we are really big history fans. This commandment does has a meaning and purpose to us today. For Ancient Israel it was to set them apart from the surrounding nations, and to take time to honor the Lord God, the creator. The specific command “Don’t work on Saturday” is gone. But the overall lesson remains. We are set apart by God as his Holy People through Baptism. And we are to take time to honor the Lord God, who not only created us, but also redeemed us by His blood, and now makes us holy through his bride the church.

The command now is not “Stop working” as if the outward show fulfills the commandment. Instead, we are to make the day holy. How do we make a day holy? Our Lord created the days. Se set up the world to run the way it does with days and months and seasons. Paul tells us in his Epistle to Timothy, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” That is how we make a day holy. The Word of God and prayer. We stop what we are doing, and gather to hear the Word of God and to respond in prayer.

In the Large Catechism, Luther explains it to the children this way:

Not in this manner, that with folded hands we sit behind the stove and do no external work, or deck ourselves with a wreath and put on our best clothes, but that we occupy ourselves with God’s Word…

…we Christians ought always to keep such a holy day, and … daily be engaged on God’s Word, and carry it in our hearts and upon our lips… At whatever time, then, this is being observed and practised, there a true holy day is being kept; otherwise it shall not be called a Christians’ holy day. For, indeed, non-Christians can also cease from work and be idle…

But God’s Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all…

For this reason, fixed places, times, persons, and the entire external order of worship have been created and appointed, so that it may be publicly in operation. Since, therefore, so much depends upon God’s Word that without it no holy day can be sanctified, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this commandment, and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose.

This is why the church sets aside a time to come together to hear and learn the word of God, and to teach that word to our children, so that they would also learn it, so that they would also honor and sanctify the Holy Day. We gather because as the church, our Lord commands to do so. Not for the mere observance, as if the outward show earns us something. But because the Spirit works through the Word preached here, faith is created and strengthened through the reading and preaching of the Word. Because the church comes together as the body of Christ, in unity joining together as one in hymns, prayers, thanksgivings.

And especially we come together because of the command of our Lord Jesus, who commanded us to observe all things that he taught. What has he commanded? The public preaching and teaching of his word for the forgiveness of sins, the baptism of all who would receive this salvation, and the eating and drinking of his body and blood. It is in the sacrament that Jesus teaches us that the giving of his body and the shedding of his blood is for the forgiveness of sins. That is the great gift of the Divine Service, that we receive the Word and promise of God, and that we eat and drink the crucified and risen body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. And when we take eat and take drink, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. We become witnesses to his death and resurrection as we obey his command. That is the churches great work of evangelism. To gather and receive the body and blood.  And again, the command is not given just so that we can show our obedience. As we sing in the famous communion hymn “Lord may thy body and thy blood, be for my soul the highest good.” We are strengthened in the faith, we are given again the forgiveness and salvation which Jesus won for us on the cross.

We come together because Jesus wants to heal and restore all of us poor miserable sinners. As he himself teaches us “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” In the preaching of the word, in the body eaten and the blood shed we find our rest. Not just  a rest in this busy and weary world, but a rest for our souls in Christ.

Jesus previews all of these good things in the miracle today. He does not leave that man with his illness. He heals him immediately, and then rebukes the Pharisees – turning them to the Word of the Lord. It isn’t about blind obedience he says. It is about receiving the gifts and good things of God. And we don’t presume that we are worthy of these things, or that we are strong enough on our own to do without them. Instead we receive them humbly. We come and sit in the low place, and wait for our Lord to invite us up. Come and sit here at the head table, and eat and drink and be honored as beloved friend of the bridegroom, as a child of the most high. And we respond with our praise and thanksgiving, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared in the sight of all people. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, World without end. Amen.”

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Evolution: A Defense Against. Sorry to Have Been Right

In my book, Evolution: A Defense Against, I spend the first 111 pages showing that secular materialism (Evolution without interference from a divine being) is not tenable. Then, in the last chapter, I warn against secular materialism as a driving principle for ordering society:

They (Secular Materialists) see life as a struggle for power among groups or classes of people. The strong will survive. The weak will be destroyed. But in this Darwinist hell, the underclasses continually rise up, and must be controlled by various means by the upper classes. If the upper classes fail to control the proletariat, then the fittest survive, the former rulers become the oppressed, and the new rulers become the oppressors, who will also find themselves continually fighting for survival. In such a world, there is no place for family, because family implies love and self sacrifice. Love goes against the Darwinian vision of every being out for its own survival. Virtues such as duty, honor, sacrifice, or love have no place in an arena where only the strong survive.

Such a vision of secular materialism has been tried. Gulags, re-education camps, enforced famines, and mass death have always followed such policies and visions. North Korea continues to severely oppress its own people in an attempt to impose their atheistic utopia. Such a utopian vision is not worth contemplating, let alone instigating….

With no higher purpose than survival, there is no reason to strive for higher virtue, and no cause worth sacrificing for. Unless it brings satisfaction to the individual in some tangible and immediate way, there is no reason to pursue it. Why would there be? In a directionless and random world, you must take what you can get, while you can get it. If that is sexual independence, then one must sow many wild oats. If it is power, then climb the political ladder. If wealth, then amass it. But, in all these things there need be no regard for others. Those whom you crushed in your quest were less fit. The only caveat is you better hope you are not the less fit one.

At the time I wrote it, I feared it was too far fetched. Would people read the book, follow along with the scientific definitions and argumentation, and then at the end say, “NON SEQUITOR! He jumped the Shark!”. I didn’t hear that in the fist two years of the book’s release. And I suspect now I never will.

This saddens me. I wish I had heard people say it. I wish they still would. I would be thrilled to know that such a vision can not realistically happen. But alas, it already is. I mentioned some aspects that were rearing ugly heads at the time. Now, with COVID, we are seeing a full-fledged denial of our humanity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently changed their website (they say it was a migration, and nothing was “scrubbed”). They no longer stress the importance of children seeing faces. Anyone who has ever seen a baby knows the importance of facial expressions. They will mimic them, even changing their mood to match your expression. Peek-a-boo is based on this truth.

Meanwhile, it can’t only be pastors who are noticing the cruel torture and harmful effects the lockdowns are having on the elderly, especially those in nursing homes. If you look up experiments in isolation, you can find a study of Rhesus monkeys – such experiments were considered too brutal for human experimentation. Except the results were so dramatic, they were deemed too unethical even for animal experiments to continue. So ethical scientists don’t perform isolation experiments on animals anymore.

Let me repeat that: ETHICAL SCIENTISTS DON’T PERFORM ISOLATION EXPERIMENTS ON ANIMALS.

And yet we are doing large scale isolation experiments on humans. Not with informed consent, but by fiat from above. Masking and isolation are being imposed. And the masters of these experiments – the “Scientists” whose expertise is beyond question – are materialist monsters who do not bother to follow their own rules.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I heard from a pastor friend who warned me about these men. He said, “They’ve had a plan to lockdown America to fight a supposed pandemic. They published papers on it in the 1990’s, they just haven’t gotten to try it out.” Well, they’ve tried it out. It failed. And now they are doubling and tripling down. They are grasping to hold onto their power. They do not want it to go away.

This is no longer about science in any meaningful sense. Nor are the supposed experts able to explain what expertise they have that says human beings are better locked away from loved ones than being able to see them.

This whole thing is monstrous. And I wish I hadn’t been right. But I knew I was. I wish I hadn’t been right so quickly. But here we are. We need to pray that our leaders be brought to repentance or brought down. And that our nation regain its sanity. We can’t continue to live these lives of isolated despair.

For those who seek a better answer, I recommend going to church. For those who wonder why our leaders are so far removed from reality, I recommend “Evolution: A Defense Against.” The darkness of the soul I describe above is really what many people believe to be true. And in Evolution: A Defense Against, I explain why that dark path is untenable. I think there is a better way. A way of light and truth and beauty.

(Also available on Kindle!)

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Nursing Home Access: Impenetrable Wall

Pastors are still being kept from providing pastoral care to our members in nursing homes. This is obscene, and the laws designed to keep this exact scenario from happening are being used to enforce the policies. It is a truly wicked situation. Members are suffering, and pastors are beginning to show signs of PTSD, at least in my conversations with them. (Except there is nothing “post” about it. The horror drags on.)

I’ve put together the following. It fits on a business card, and can be carried by members. If they are admitted to the hospital or a nursing home, they can show it, and (in theory) the hospital should contact the pastor to do a “compassionate care” visit, even if the facility is under a COVID lockdown. It has two significant limitations: 1) Many nursing home residents aren’t aware enough to show this, and 2) I don’t know if it will work even if they were.

That’s the problem. I’m not a lawyer. The synod has lawyers on retainer. You would think this might be a priority for them. But the truth is, our synod’s leadership isn’t being kept out of nursing homes, because they don’t generally serve congregations. So they don’t even know it’s a problem.

We have a crisis of basic pastoral care. And I’m not hearing much of anything about it from those who are overseers in the church. So, maybe one of my dedicated readers will see this and forward it to someone who can make a difference.

Here’s the proposed card. Front:

And here’s the back:

Here’s the text, in case you want to copy/paste it:

Please Contact The Reverend Martin Luther at ###-###-#### to arrange for a Compassionate Care Visit.
Thank you.

I am requesting access to clergy of my choice in accordance with RFRA and RLUIPA. This is a request for a visit for the purpose of “Compassionate Care”, in order to meet my need for religious and spiritual support, in accordance with federal law and HHS memo Ref #QSO-20-39-NH, which says that “Compassionate Care Visits, and visits required under federal disability rights law, should be allowed at all times, regardless of a resident’s vaccination status… or an outbreak.”
If you do not believe that this request should be granted, please contact the facility Ombudsman.

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Bible Study Suggestion

A lot of pastors have been reading through Catechetics this summer, and it looks like a fair number will be adopting Teach These Things in the fall for Catechism instruction. That’s great news! Thanks to everyone who has taken a chance on my materials. I appreciate it. And the feedback I’ve gotten makes me more appreciative. I’m glad my materials can help pastors with instructing their members.

But there is another book that has been slowing in sales. I think it may be partly because of the increase in interest with my other books, and partly because Amazon wasn’t listing it even when you type in the title. (I think the latter problem is fixed).

The book is Evolution: A Defense Against. It’s been a bit of a sleeper hit so far. But there are two groups that have responded with – excitement is actually too modest a word. “Voracious excitement”, maybe? And their response means I’m hitting my target.

The first group is pastors with a scientific background. By this I mean more than just “I took Chemistry in College”. I mean pastors who are second career, and their first career was in an active scientific field. This is a small group among our pastors, but an important, and often overlooked one. In many cases, they can and still do engage with the latest scientific literature. That has made them invaluable in the last two years or so, when we were all told to “listen to the science.” They were able to separate fact from fiction, and give us a reasonable and faithful path through the madness. But it also means they know what is being taught and practiced these days in the scientific community, and they know where attacks on the faith are being made.

The other group is high schoolers. They are the ones in the trenches, being taught all of the evolutionary secular-materialist nonsense. The book was written with them in mind. I am honored that they are receiving it well and finding it useful in their struggles against the old-evil-foe. It’s why I wrote the book. It’s why I work hard to bring these sort of materials to market. And why I am making this suggestion to pastors/youth directors, etc.

If you are looking for a book that attacks evolution and modern scientism at its roots, a book that gets to the real problem and shows the prevailing worldview for the naked emperor it is, consider studying – or reading through – Evolution: A Defense Against with your youth. It’s available from Lulu or Amazon for only $9.99. Think again about the two groups most pleased with it: Scientific theologians, and students who must endure hearing about evolution on a daily basis. They are the ones who know what we need to defend. And they are the ones who are responding most positively to my book. That means, I wrote the right book.

If you are a parent, I also recommend it. I guarantee this sort of nonsense is being peddled to your kids starting in kindergarten. If you want to be able to understand and respond to what they are hearing throughout their school years, I think it is a must-read.

You can order it at Lulu HERE, and at Amazon HERE. Happy reading!

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Report on Continuing Education

I sent the following report to the district Continuing Education chairman. For those who desired to attend, but could not, the recordings seem to worked, and I am processing them now. Once they are finished, I’ll let you know how to access them. Report follows:

The Continuing Education Class in Catechesis was held last week on Monday and Tuesday. We looked at classical and progressive educational philosophies, and compared those with the purpose and philosophy of catechesis. We then looked at various models/methods of catechesis, and addressed various challenges to proper catechesis. Tuesday afternoon, we looked at the five-fold use of scripture in preaching, with an eye toward making sermons more catechetical. 

8 men attended, representing 3 circuits in the Wyoming district, and members of two additional districts (MN S, and IA W)

There were 10 hours of instruction. 

The materials were well received, and there was much good discussion during the dinner on Monday. (We had chili. It was also well received.)

I announced that, God Willing, I will be offering a class next year on the topic “Apologetics”. The goal is to look at different types of / approaches to apologetics, and examine how pastors can effectively train their members in apologetics. More information should be available after the first of the year.

I wasn’t sure what, if any report I should make, but thought you’d at least like to know how it went. I can give more details if you desire. 

+INJ+

I realize that’s a pretty boring description, but it will have to do for now. I’ll have more information later, as we get closer to making the lectures available.

Also, for those interested in next year’s class, dates are still TBA, and I didn’t mention it to the district leadership, but I can announce the Monday evening meal will be BBQ pork sandwiches.

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