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The Holy Trinity

 

Article I. God

Augsburg Confession

 

Trinity1 We unanimously hold and teach, in accordance with the decree of the Council of Nicaea, 2 that there is one divine essence, which is called and which is truly God, and that there are three persons in this one divine essence, equal in power and alike eternal: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. 3 All three are one divine essence, eternal, without division, without end, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, one creator and preserver of all things visible and invisible. 4 The word “person” is to be understood as the Fathers employed the term in this connection, not as a part or a property of another but as that which exists of itself. (Tappert, 1-4)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

The above words accord with the faith of God’s people because they accord with the Word of God (see below). God’s people confess what Holy Scripture reveals of God. Thus, the words above accord with the words of Scripture. They do so because they agree with what God has made known about Himself in holy Writ.

Not all, of course, believe in God as Christians do. Many do believe in a god, yet the Bible makes quite clear that any other belief in God that is apart from the Holy Bible is belief in a false god.

The Bible teaches that One, and only One God exists (Deuteronomy 6:4). Scripture also teaches that the FaOne true Godther is God, the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. Three persons, yet one God. This is the Christian faith. Any other teaching about God is not according to the Holy Bible and is therefore, not true.

Only the God of the Bible is the God who saves. And He does so through the work of Christ, even through His death on the cross (Galatians 3:13-14). Having become a curse for us, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Thus, in Him, no curse of the Law remains.

Because we believe in the Triune God, we also, as His people, make distinctions between the true, biblical teaching of God, and false teachings about God. As did the Lutheran reformers, so do we. Therefore, do we also confess that,

5 Therefore all the heresies which are contrary to this article are rejected. Among these are the heresy of the Manichaeans, who assert that there are two gods, one good and one evil; also that of the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and others like them; also that of the Samosatenes, old and new, who hold that there is only one person and sophistically assert that the other two, the Word and the Holy Spirit, are not necessarily distinct persons but that the Word signifies a physical word or voice and that the Holy Spirit is a movement induced in creatures (Tappert, 1st Article of the Augsburg Confession, 5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we confess Your holy Name, and pray that You would keep us in the true faith, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

trinity.references rtf

The Necessity of True Doctrine

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:16

 

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

St. Paul, writing to Timothy, writes what he writes with a purpose in mind—the purpose of encouraging Timothy to remain in the true doctrine.  Contrary to the world, remaining in the true doctrine is not at all of insignificance.  It does matter, for “doctrine is life.”  I am not talking about man’s doctrine (i.e. Mark 7), for man’s doctrine only alienates from God and hardens the sinner against God.  God’s doctrine, in distinction, does give life, just as Jesus says, “My words are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).  Depart or stray from these, and there is nothing but death.  Continue in the very Word of the Lord Christ, and you are truly His disciples and “will know the truth” and will be set free by that truth” (John 8:31-32).

Such does God’s Word, The Truth (John 14:6), do.  It gives life, raises that which was dead, and also preserves one in the truth by that same truth.

To the Galatians, St. Paul writes, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish?  Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?  Have you suffered so many things in vain — if indeed it was in vain?  Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? — just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” (Galatians 3:2-6)

Not by man’s doctrine and not by man’s doing were the Galatians being made perfect and complete, but by the hearing of faith (Romans 10:17), by hearing the Word of Christ.

The doctrine/teaching is important.  Get this wrong, and you get Christ wrong.  Getting Christ wrong leads to eternal death, not eternal life, for outside of Christ Jesus, there is no forgiveness and no peace with God.  But in Christ Jesus, there is nothing but forgiveness and the peace that surpasses understanding, which the world cannot ever give (Philippians 4:7)

The world and those of the world will go their own way, claiming that you cannot know the truth or that it is not found in the Bible.  But Christians believe differently, for the Christian faith is not of the world, but of God, revealed through the Holy Scriptures, and centered on Christ, and Christ alone!

 

Luther

‘Let every faithful person work and strive with all his might to learn this doctrine (of the Gospel) and keep it, and for this purpose let him employ humble prayer to God with continual study and meditation on the Word.  Even when we have done ever so much, there will still be much to keep us busy.  For we are involved, not with minor enemies but with strong and powerful ones, who battle against us continually, namely, our own flesh, all the dangers of the world, the Law, sin, death, and the wrath and judgment of God, and the devil h9imself, who never stops tempting us inwardly with his flaming darts (Eph. 6:16) and outwardly with his false apostles, so as to overcome some if not all of us” (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p65).

 

Prayer:

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your word; Curb those who by deceit or sword

Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son And bring to naught all He has done.

O Comforter of priceless worth, Send peace and unity on earth;

Support us in our final strife And lead us out of death to life.  Amen.

(Lutheran Service Book (2006), “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word” 1, 4)

Questions about the Christian Church and faith

From November 2010-November 2011, these questions and answers were published in an “Ask the Expert” section of the “The Shopping News”. The 12 questions contained herein include: what to look for in a church, the Holy Bible, Tolerance, Salvation, and the Sacraments. Answers were limited to around 100 words, so they are not at all exhaustive. I hope to expand on these in time.

AskTheExpert-ShoppingNews, 2010-2011.pdf

Is Mormonism Christian?

Though “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” might wish to omit the latter part of their name[1] for false appearances and to mislead, and do indeed use Christian terminology, speaking of God, Jesus, salvation, etc., they are not Christian, nor are their doctrines and practices Christian in any way, contrary to popularly accepted opinion. Even their abstaining from alcohol and caffeine, as well as their practice of mandatory tithing, are not Christian.  These practices and others might have the appearance of piety and holiness, but no ruling body has the authority to establish practices which are neither forbidden or commanded by God, and then declare that such practices have are from God himself

The current climate of our day might seem to preclude any such debate whether Mormons are Christians are not, but such climate reveals the negligence of many within the church (i.e. Joel Osteen) to make proper distinctions.  But such distinctions are to be made, even in the public square, and especially within the church.

Such distinctions of doctrine and practice between Mormons (and other groups) and the Christian Church is the distinction of truth from error, Christianity being of the truth and Mormonism (and other groups) being of error.  Proper (godly) distinctions are to be made because such distinctions concern God and His Holy Word.

Writing to Timothy, St. Paul says, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).  The doctrine of which Paul speaks is that which is of God, even the saving doctrine of sins forgiven in Christ, the saving doctrine of Jesus, “true man and true God.”  Get these wrong, and your immediately outside of Christianity and have no salvation.

Not only here do the Mormons differ with what is of the true doctrine.  The Mormons have as their authority, not only The Bible (as it is correctly translated and as they understand it), but The Book of Mormon (which has no historical evidence even to substantiate its claims), The Pearl of Great Price, The Doctrine and the Covenants, and the Leader(s) of their fellowship.

Though Jesus says, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32), the Mormons, by their twisting of Holy Scripture and their use of other authorities for their doctrines and practices, they neither do abide in Christ and His Word, nor are they Jesus’ disciples.  Therefore, they also do not know the truth, but according to their Father, they speak lies.  Mormons are not of God (John 8:42-47).

This must remain clear, lest the ignorant be deceived and the Church further become complacent instead of increasingly more vigilant.  Mormons have a different God, Jesus, Savior, salvation, doctrine, fellowship, and authority than the Christian Church, and therefore, contrary to beliefnet and religioustolerance (and others, political or not), Mormons should not be affiliated anywhere in proximity to Christianity or Christian denominations.

It might also be said that many fellowships which claim to be Christian are not consistently so.  Any doctrine/teaching which is not of God is also not of the true, Godly doctrine.  Therefore, any false teaching mixed with the true teaching is detrimental to the faith[2].  The fact that Christians can be found in erring church bodies (i.e. ELCA, UMC, Episcopal Church, Roman Catholicism, PCUSA, etc.) is not due to the false preaching, teaching, and ungodly practices found there, but only on account of the fraction of God’s Word that may still remain. In spite of numerous errors, where Christ’s Word is at least read, there will be Christ’s church, as little as it might be.

Of course, this is not reason for one to remain in an erring fellowship.  This is all the more reason to seek a church which seeks to be faithful to God’s Word in all it preaches, teaches, and does, for the Christian seeks to hear God’s Word and nothing else.  The Christian seeks to live according to God’s Word, and therefore, seeks God’s mercy in Christ.  Erring fellowships do not offer such comfort and confidence of God’s mercy in Christ.  They turn the hearer to another other than Christ alone for help and refuge.  Where they do speak the truth, we thank the Lord.  Where they do not, we must discern. “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25).


[1] Of Latter Day Saints

[2] Corinthians 5:6-7: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.”

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – Commentary: Flunking the religious knowledge test

Gene Edward Veith–

“…It is regrettable when people are ignorant about other people’s religion.  But it is even worse when they are ignorant about their own religion.  Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine of Communion become the Body and Blood of Christ.  Only 40 percent of Americans realize that.  But only 55 percent of Roman Catholics are aware that this is what their church teaches, meaning that 45 percent do not!

But the most disturbing news from the Religious Knowledge Survey is how few Christians are aware that Protestants believe that salvation is through faith alone.  Only 16 percent of the general public is aware of that teaching, which is the same percentage (16 percent) of Christians who are aware of that teaching!  Only 9 percent of Catholics realize that Protestants believe that.

It gets worse.  Among Protestants, only 19 percent were aware that Protestants believe that salvation is through faith alone.  That includes 14 percent of the mainliners and 9 percent of black Protestants.  Among Evangelicals, whose name suggests an emphasis on the Gospel, only 28 percent know that Protestants believe in salvation through faith alone, which means that 72 percent do not…”

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – Commentary: Flunking the religious knowledge test.

“The Word of God and the Work of the Pastor”

In a recent survey, entitled, “US Religious Knowledge Survey” from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, several revealing findings surfaced. Although the findings might not be surprising in the current zeitgeist (spirit) of the times, they do give a jarring dose of reality to any who would consider Christendom, and Christians in general, to be as healthy and strong as they might think themselves to be.

The sampling of the survey was only over 3400. It’s findings, of course, are limited. But at the same time, these can be helpful for us, not only for indicating where Christendom as a whole might be. They can also impress upon us the need for self-reflection and self-evaluation of where we stand, and why.

One editor in the Wisconsin State Journal began his column about the survey with these words, “Say this about American Christians: We hold our beliefs dear and will defend them to the death. Now, if only someone would tell us what they are”(Wed, Oct 6, 2010).

The same editor had also written that, “Pew research has found about 60 percent of American adults say religion is “very important” in their lives.” Then he comments, “But not important enough to learn much about, apparently.” In addition, he also wrote, “If only American Christians would spend as much time researching religion as they do spouting off their opinions about it.”

Generally speaking, I think this editor is quite correct in at least these comments. Americans, as a whole, talk a lot about religion (and an increasing amount about spirituality), but they talk a lot about what they seem to know little about.

For the most part, it seems, quite a few are just plain ignorant (they just don’t know, or care) about the teachings of the Bible, let alone the teachings of the particular Christian denomination they claim to be a member of…

2Tim3.14-4.5, Pentecost 21, 2010C.pdf

Article about brother LCMS Pastor in local Newspaper Article

Check out this article on Rev. Flo, a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in De Soto, MO (also my parent’s home congregation):

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