Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why go to church?

When eventually what you hear is that I am ok, you are ok, he is ok, she is ok, we are all ok...

When I was in Charismania, we loved to sing Andre Crouche's song "Christ is the Answer".

To which a quick quip comes, if Jesus is the Answer, what is the Question?
So if I hear from the pulpit that I am ok, you are ok, he is ok, she is ok, we are all ok, even your dog is ok... so what is the problem? Nothing. Everything will pan out OK.

As we say here, you'll be right, mate.

So what is the church for? The world already says to me, we'll be right mate and I hear that in the pulpit too, so church is obsolete, no?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why we need Dr. Ichabod

Prior to coming to Wittenberg, I was in a Lutheran list-group some 5 years ago or so, and in that list-group there was a free exchange of ideas. Some orthodox conservative, some confused, some liberal, some having denominational identity crises etc. The free flow of interaction there impressed me. I came away concluding, hmmm, these people are not cultic, they are not a bunch of fundamentalist fruit cakes, Lutherans are honest and willing to follow where evidence leads them. I am happy to be named like them. That is what I thought about Lutherans.

The presence of Dr. Ichabod says that there are brave Lutherans out there who are willing to follow where ever the evidence (as per God's Word) leads them. Because if I look at Internet Lutherland, minus Ichabod, I will come away getting the impression that this is some exclusive club of pastors that feather their own nest, not perhaps in terms of money, but in terms of influence, i.e. a clique and thus a cult. The mark of a cult is that dissenters are eliminated, they are marked and avoided. Also, if blogdom is an indication, I will get the impression that Lutherans are mindless-herd-following people, they got no one who checks where the herd is going.

You might disagree with Dr. Ichabod, but it will do you good to read him, even if his style does not conform to yours. Onion skinned folk need to thicken a bit when they wonder off his blog, for he pulls no punches. In the end, your friend is the one who loves you in truth, rather than the one who loves your feelings. In fact, if you do not like him, the more you should read him. If you are from a different school, you should read him for proper scholarship demands that you read your critics, he could be giving you good service if by listening you adjusted what he found what is weak about you.

Let me suggest something, do not start with his posts, start with his sermons first. First you got to see the guy's pastoral nature, then you can read the posts. When you do, you will get a proper context of why his style is that way. This is the problem with people I know who criticize Dr. Ichabod to me. They read the posts but never bothered to read or listen to his Sunday videoed Divine Services.

Lastly, though the Synodical pastors do not like him, for people like me who come from outside the family, a refugee who has seen quite a bit, it is Ichabod who gives a good name to Lutheranism to me. For there are lots of Lutheran pastors out there receiving accolades, yet they do not behave like Luther, far from him, who was willing to stand alone. So I wonder why they call themselves Lutherans when they appear to be scared.

Just sayin...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Re-hearing Law and Gospel

The BoC says these two - Law and Gospel are to be urged upon Christians. Just been thinking about this in my quiet moments.

It is so right for me to hear this again and again. I just noticed that if I don't, I could wind up thinking that my sin is much greater than the sacrifice of Jesus that paid for it, and this is wrong.

Our souls do hunger to hear again and again, the good news, the beautiful true story of Jesus and his love.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Knuth another Lutheran Scientist/Mathematician

I thought I would be slowing down but I got so inspired by this talk of Donald Knuth at Google, that I must blog about it. May more mathematicians and scientist, come out of the "closet" and declare themselves, yes I am a believer in Christ and yes I am a Scientist.... He is neutral at the moment on creationism but he also doubts evolution. Overall there are still items of his faith understanding that needs more robustness and needs more development. Frankly, it will be quite remarkable to find a Scientist of today that has the stability and solidity of faith in the confessional sense so I am cutting him some slack. They walk on shoes that have a pebbles embedded inside.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Interpreting the Lamb

Blogging will be slow and sparse and will be like that for some days to come. I am busy with lots of writing projects and courseware development. So dear friends, I hope you excuse the gaps in between posts.

So I was sitting in my hotel in Valencia, Spain when I started on re-reading the Gospel of St. John. I do not know how many times I have done the rounds on my New Testament but counting does not matter anymore. So I get to this passage...John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

I have encountered people interpreting the highlighted phrase to mean that sin is no more, i.e., to mean that Jesus' death has done away the presence of sin in every individual of the world.

Now, is this what the passage means? Interesting that those Bibles that have cross-referencing points to Hebrews 10: 4 for this... 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Again, in 1 John 3: 5 we have this: 5And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. In context this points to the ritual of the Atonement. What the lamb or goat receives is the sin of the world and in its body receives also the punishment for the sins of the world, that is why it dies or is killed.

If sin is no more, why do I still see it in my life and in the life of others? Rather, the punishment for it has been done and received in Jesus' body as the recipient of God's Holy Wrath. The taking away is the punishment for our sins. It is not the elimination of its presence; for why would I need to confess during the absolution each Sunday if I did not I realize it in my life?

1 John 1:8; If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us . Clearly this Scripture verse is against those who say that by virtue of Jesus' death sin is no more. Indeed at Jesus' return we will no longer see the presence of sin but until then, John the Baptist's testimony should be interpreted to mean that Jesus takes the punishment meant for the world due to its sins. Those who do reject the offering of Christ have their sins without cover and the wrath of God on it still remains.