Do Not Give What Is Holy To Dogs

Bad Pastor!

UPDATE: I repent of saying that it was a sin for synod officials not to walk out of the service. I know there are many ways to address this, some publicly some privately. It is difficult to know how to respond to such a stunning display. I went too far in saying that not leaving was sinful. I have corrected the post accordingly, and have asked that it be updated as well on those sites that may share it.


I love my dog. I’ve always thought dogs were the coolest. And I think it really stinks that, because we sin, dogs have to die after only about 15 years or so.

However, dogs are not sentient beings. They can intuit a great deal. My dog knows if someone is having a bad day, and will hang out with them until they feel better. Other dogs can herd cattle more effectively and quickly than people.They do attend to their office as God has given it to them. They bark. They wag tails. They guard things.  But they can not reflect on the meaning of being a dog. They can not hear the Gospel.

But they are not baptized. They can not confess the faith. And despite my claims that the first dog we got when we were married was rather obviously a Calvinist, they can not join churches.

Jesus even says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs.”

How far has our synod fallen from the gold standard of “adherence to the word of God”?

Last night, in the chapel at one of our seminaries, a dog was brought out during the sermon. A sermon titled “Man’s Best Friend.” I don’t know the man who preached. I did not hear the sermon. But Jesus used small words, so even pastors should be able to understand. “Do not give what is holy to dogs.” How much greater an offense is it to call the dog a holy thing in itself. And that is what happened.

In the Old Testament, when Nadab and Abihu entered the holy place with “unauthorized fire” they were consumed by fire as a warning. We had a high official, who thought that instead of preaching Christ Crucified, he should show everyone a dog, in front of the altar of God.

So far, people at the synod headquarters are more upset with how heathen will market our materials than they are that one of our own defiled God’s House, made a mockery of Christ in a sermon, and did so at the very moment when we are sending men out as sheep among wolves  – and wolves are directly related to dogs. You want to know what to avoid, what to shield your people from, according to Holy Scripture and the word of our risen and ascended Lord? Look at the picture. There. That is what you are up against.

I love my dog. She’s “The Best”. But she is content to remain in the place God has given. And that is not among the holy things. My dog knows better than our own synod officials.

This isn’t a close call. This is a direct “We’re asking for fire and brimstone” moment of sin.

Our synod has officials who are given the responsibility of oversight even of district presidents. Those who are given authority in this situation must use that in a godly way, with a call to repent for the violation of God’s word that occurred there.

Next week we have a district convention. There is question time with the President of Synod. I think I may have a question for him.

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3 Responses to Do Not Give What Is Holy To Dogs

  1. Pingback: Great Stuff — Do Not Give What Is Holy To Dogs | Steadfast Lutherans

  2. Derek says:

    Had I myself not viewed the service in question, I would feel very uncomfortable claiming that the sermon called “the dog a holy thing in itself,” “made a mockery of Christ” or “defiled God’s House.”

    Noah, the dog in question, is an LCMS comfort dog that was used in an illustration. He was on stage for less than 3 minutes. And after he left, the pastor noted that dogs like Noah create an opportunity to provide comfort and, in that moment, share the Gospel of Jesus.

    The dog was never called “a holy thing,” nor did it receive anything holy. It was called a source of comfort, as the seminarians were encouraged to be for the lost and hurting. It was also noted that it received over 2000 hours of training compared to the seminarians (which, I think, was intended to be a joke).

    I find it troubling that this sermon would be described as a “We’re asking for fire and brimstone” moment of sin without actual knowledge of why the dog was included and what was said about the dog.

    Personally, I’m not bothered by the illustration although, if I were one of the seminarians, I might have objected to being called “the dogs that work for Jesus, the dogs that work for the Shepherd.”

    The directly relevant portion of the sermon is about 40:00 minutes in at:

    (PS: This is a potentially redundant comment, but I can find no evidence that my last attempt was actually submitted. My sincere apologies for any repetition.)

    • Country Preacher says:

      “LCMS Comfort Dog”. John the Baptist was sent to comfort the people. The Holy Spirit is the “comforter”. When we use the word “comfort” in the church, it is a specific term with specific scriptural weight.
      Rhetorically, it was not an “illustration”. That’s a story or example. It was an “Object lesson”. That’s bringing an object or person in so people can see it.
      Nothing was added by having the dog there, except to deeply offend all those who were not white upper middle class Lutherans. I have spoken with a Lutheran pastor who has a different cultural background. He is a rather jovial sort, but when I brought this up, he had not a trace of humor in his voice. He found it deeply offensive that the would-be pastors were told to be dogs, in violation of holy scripture, and in violation of cultural norms in his own culture. We must remember that, as the “flagship” confessional Lutheran synod in the world, these events are watched closely by our brothers and sisters throughout the world. This was a cheap trick that violated scripture (what part of “do not give what is holy to dogs” is unclear), and caused deep offense to our partner churches around the world.
      We need to speak clearly the Gospel, and not needlessly give offense with cheap gimmicks.

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