Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cyberbrethren New Year's Resolution

From Pastor Paul McCain at Cyberbrethren ~

Greetings Cyberbrethren:

My friend, Pastor William Weedon, posted a very useful New Year's
resolution. I'm going to join him, with God's help. Will you join me?

1. Read the daily Scripture readings assigned in LSB for morning and
evening (pp. 299-304).
2. Pray the daily Psalms assigned in the Psalter Chart (p. 304).
3. Read the assigned section of the Book of Concord for Monday-Friday
for each of the 52 weeks of the year

(Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions - note: they are presented in
chronological order of their writing)

I offer this as a suggestion because I think it would be utterly
achievable for anyone - even the busiest. The easiest way to
accomplish the above would be to pray Matins and Vespers daily (using
the assigned Psalms and Scripture readings) and to read sometime
during the course of the day (maybe before, at, or after lunch?) the
page or two assigned from the Book of Concord. What strength would
come to us from such an immersion in the psalter, such a reading
through the Word, and such a review of the Church's Symbols!

Anyone willing to take up the challenge?

It's a marshmallow world that we live in...

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

~Buddy the Elf

For the few readers I have left, I've been thinking lately about why I haven't posted to Be Strong in the Grace for a while. Have I quit attending my fantastic church? Nope. Has my church changed and I've become disillusioned? Nope. Have I allowed the careless comments and accusations of others to bother me and make me second guess any thoughts of blog posts? Yep.

I haven't quite figured out how to express my thoughts, until receiving an email today from a well-know email newsletter. It contains quotes which accurately describe my reasons for leaving evangelicalism, as well as my reasons for not posting lately.

Here are some really bad quotes, which strongly remind me of why I ended up leaving evangelicalism:


The church "cannot afford to waste time on incessant internal
purification at the expense of the lost in the world."
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president
http://www.lutheranchurch.ca/synod2002/fri-greetings.html

"We have not the luxury of time and energy spent on incessant
internal purification at the expense of the eternal destiny of the
souls of men and women for whom Christ died, but who know not His
name and have accepted not His saving grace."
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president
http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/president_greetings.pdf

"My concern is that we can spend so much time in incessant internal
purification that we do so at the expense of the eternal destiny of
people who are dying every minute."
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president
http://www.wfn.org/2002/12/msg00199.html

"People, this is NOT a game. Our incessant internal purification at
the expense of the eternal destiny of the souls of men and women for
whom Christ died must stop!"
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president
http://www.jesusfirst.net/2002aug04.htm

Here are some inspirational, though difficult to swallow, quotes:

"Many say, 'Instead of disputing over doctrine so much, we should
much rather be concerned with souls and with leading them to
Christ.' But all who speak in this way do not really know what they
are saying or what they are doing. As foolish as it would be to
scold a farmer for being concerned about sowing good seed and to
demand of him simply to be concerned about a good harvest, so foolish
it is to scold those who are concerned first and foremost with the
doctrine, and to demand of them that they should rather seek to
rescue souls. For just as the farmer who wants a good crop must
first of all be concerned about good seed, so the church must above
all be concerned about right doctrine if it would save souls."
--C. F. W. Walther, synodical president
"Our Common Task--The Saving of Souls," 1872
http://www.concordtx.org/vision.htm

Whether our Synod gains friends or makes enemies, wins honor or
invites disgrace, grows or declines in numbers, brings peace or
incites enmity, all this must be unimportant to us--just so our Synod
may keep the jewel of purity of doctrine and knowledge. However,
should our Synod ever grow indifferent toward purity of doctrine,
through ingratitude forget this prize, or betray or barter it away to
the false church, then let our church body perish and the name
"Missourian" decay in disgrace.
--C. F. W. Walther, synodical president
First Sermon Delivered at the Opening of Synod, 1 Corinthians 1:4, 5
http://www.ctsfw.edu/library/files/pb/1517

Oh my dear friends of the Lutheran faith, confession, and conflict,
do not be misled when today those are everywhere accused of
lovelessness who still do not give up the battle for pure doctrine in
our Church. . . . Oh my dear friends, let us indeed sorrow and lament
over this: that false teachers constantly assail the pure doctrine
in our Church and thus are at fault for the conflict and strife in
the Church. However, let us never lament but rather extol and praise
God that he always awakens men who fight against those false
teachers, for, I repeat, this pertains to "the common
salvation." . . . This conflict is one commanded us by God and is
therefore certainly one blessed in time and in eternity. . . . Oh,
therefore, let us never listen to those who praise and extol the
conflict of the Reformation for the pure Gospel but want to know
nothing of a similar conflict in our days.
--C. F. W. Walther, synodical president
"Why Dare and Can We Never Give Up the Church's Struggle for the Pure
Doctrine?" 1876
http://scotchisforlutherans.blogspot.com/2004/05/from-cat41.html


I am embarrassed to admit that it took me over 20 years of evangelicalism before I had the maturity to start asking some questions. Too many Christians who maintain any of the following as a reason for dismissing doctrine and practice in their own church are living in their own marshmallow world:
"...it is all about Jesus, just give me Jesus, what does it matter if we are all Christians, I just believe in the Bible, I don't accept human creeds...".

In a perfect world, not only would I live at Santa's workshop with an all-candy and cocoa diet (watch Elf), there would also be no synods...only one perfect church. Seems I'm going to have to learn to live with the fact that not only is there no perfect synod, but I will also have to remain vigilant. I must accept the fact that others will criticize me and that I will sometimes need to criticize others. I will also have accept the fact that I must eat good meats, whole grains, salads, fruits and vegetables, with only the occasional candy cane and cup of cocoa.

In short, I need to toughen up for 2007.