The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to two African seminaries -
a third one is being ordered now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Steps in Publishing The Sermons of Martin Luther.
Volume V Printing - Finishing My Part of Volume VI Today.


Today, God willing, I am finishing up Volume VI of The Sermons of Martin Luther. At the moment I am mining the gems of this volume, which is one of the most enjoyable of all writing efforts. I get to copy and paste the best from each volume. When Volume VIII is finished, I will gather all the gems for the final volume - Gems Mined from the Sermons of Martin Luther.

Here are the steps in getting one volume into production:

  1. I copied and pasted the 8 volumes of Lenker's edition into this blog, using an unlikely source, which used lots of open source material for promoting ads.
  2. When I realized the old Lenker sets were hard to find and expensive, I decided to recreate the set with illustrations. Norma A. Boeckler was happy to illustrate them.
  3. Various people volunteered to edit the blogged sermons, which I pasted into 8 Word files. Scanning errors were varied, strange, and tedious to locate. Laity and a pastor agreed to help.
  4. First I use control-f to find typical format errors. I look for other mistakes and send that to someone to edit.
  5. The edit suggestions come back on emails, spreadsheets, whatever works.
  6. I go over each suggestion and make the changes needed.
  7. I created a table of contents and collect the gems from suggestions made. Virginia Roberts and Mrs. Ichabod mine the gems.
  8. Norma A. Boeckler inserts her art into the sermon volume. We use DropBox to send these large files back and forth.
  9. I make "final" corrections and send them to Janie Sullivan.
  10. Janie does her work for Amazon and Kindle, and I approve the proofs.
  11. Amazon may raise issues with production, so I have to deal with those. 
  12. The first printings begin to go out, first in color, then in black and white. Each volume has a color version, a BW version, and a Kindle.
  13. Donations make it possible to send a box of Luther and Lutheran books to African seminaries. Two have been sent and a third is being prepared for sending. The box costs about $90 to print and send to our contact, $100 to mail to Africa, for a total of $190. 

When the Temps Are Down - The Birds Flock to us

More examples of Norma A. Boeckler's art can be found here.


Last night the wind chill was -7 or worse. The faucets were set to drip all night. Plumbing was exposed, with cupboard doors open. We counted ourselves blessed that the furnace conked earlier in the week, before the deep freeze arrived. We had two repair visits to make sure everything was working.

Yesterday, the birds ate all day at our feeders, where they can get kernel corn, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, Nyjer (thistle), and suet, with dried berries still available on Poke bushes and other plants.

This morning, the feeders were almost empty, so birds were clustered around to see what was left for them to eat. Sassy wanted her walk, so she went out with me for a quick walk. I have not been that cold since Minnesota. I looked at the rose cones packed with leaves - "That was a good year to do that."

When we returned, Sassy took up her post on the bed, and I fed the birds outside. They have many places to feed from, and all were nearly empty. Birds seldom wipe out the supply, even in weather like this. The flocking birds will arrive in an armada, eat a bit, then leave for a new location.

I added sunflower seeds and cracked corn in a total of seven places. Soon the backyard was Action Alley again. But lo, I saw for the first time - pigeons joining their cousins, the mourning doves, finding food on the ground.


Famine of the Word

10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
People are starting to realize that the Lutheran leaders have been replacing sound doctrine with false doctrine - for decades. That was not so clear in the heady days of the 1980s, when money was plentiful and men were attending seminary in large numbers. How great and glorious all sides felt. The Preus brothers had replaced the liberals. The biggest liars of Seminex had their own little seminary - and free to be, whatever that meant. The WELS pastors bragged about how they saw it coming decades before that, and the ELS declared they stood up to Missouri even before that.

But now alarm, insecurity, and fears are growing. Their money is all gone because the Lutheran leaders spent their Schwan indulgence loot like congressmen on a junket. And yet, the object of their UOJ doctrine remains where he belongs, because he thought he really could buy absolution from all three synds. Maybe he was not born forgiven, as they taught.

Sound doctrine is like investments in this sense. I can easily find people who have gambled everything on a particular sure-fire fund. One man borrowed $300,000 equity from his insurance to win big and ended up with about $1,100. He is unlikely to reverse that and turn the paltry remainder into a fortune.

The mainline seminaries are emptying out. They find creative ways to make their enrollments seem larger, such as calculating "full-time equivalents." Some of the FTEs are online students living far away. Some are graduate students. Bottom line - they are all shrinking faster than cheap socks in a hot drier. That not only includes the worst  - ELCA seminaries - but also the ELCA wannabees like LCMS, ELS, WELS. The ELDONUTs are in danger of losing 100% of their enrollment when Heimbigner's son-in-law graduates.

 Our Army Ranger neighbor loved seeing all the finches
feeding at the kitchen window.

Points about the Robert Preus Essay on UOJ

 WELS Seminary professor John Brenner made similar points in his Marquette University dissertation.

The Robert Preus essay promoting UOJ can be found here.

I am just going to provide some summary statements about the Preus UOJ claims, then finish with graphics made from his last book, Justification and Rome.


  1. Jack Cascione presented the material dishonestly, as if I denied Robert Preus had been a UOJ salesman. In fact, I often made that point to show how Preus changed in his last book, Justification and Rome.
  2. Robert Preus was following a Preus family tradition in promoting UOJ, a divisive issue in the Synodical Conference in the 19th century. Pastor Herman Preus was kicked out of his congregation on Good Friday for sticking to UOJ.
  3. Preus clearly stated in Paragraph #1 that UOJ is a declaration by God - "declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous." He cited Romans 5, a blatant error used by UOJists.
  4. Robert Preus distinguished Objective Justification from the Atonement - "Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement..." Paragraph #2 - The President's Message. Many people mistakenly believe OJ is just another term for the Atonement (as I did in the very first edition of Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant).
  5. The LCMS seminaries currently teach UOJ and wonder why some of their graduates become Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox priests soon after graduation. 
  6. In paragraph #3, Preus promoted the Easter absolution of the world exegesis from 1 Timothy 3:16, taught by Rambach (a Halle Pietist) but not by Martin Chemnitz. Please check this account of Rambach versus Chemnitz. Walther learned this Easter absolution of the entire world from Bishop Martin Stephan, who studied at Halle, never graduated from any school, and was known as a Pietist managing cell groups.
  7. In paragraph #4, Robert Preus dishonestly offered Edward Preuss as an authority on UOJ - "an old Lutheran." But Robert's distant relative left his teaching post at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, becoming Roman Catholic, baptized a Roman Catholic, and serving as their great scholar. Notre Dame gave Preuss a medal for his efforts in Mariology. Ludwig Fuerbringer also referenced the Preuss papal conversion - it was never a secret.
  8. Here is a detailed account of UOJ at work in WELS.
  9. Paragraph #5 is Preus' effort to insert UOJ into Luther's doctrine, where the terms cannot be found, where the UOJ claims are constantly refuted with faithful teaching from the Scriptures.
  10. Paragraph #5 also names Stoeckhardt as a great expert (UOJ) on Romans but fails to mention Luther's Galatians Lectures as recommended by the Book of Concord itself. Preus might have defined the Chief Article - as Melanchthon, Luther, and the Concordists did - as Justification by Faith. All citations in this essay are from the UOJ mob - certainly not an example of scholarship.
  11. Paragraph #6 is nothing but confusion, claims without any evidence to support them. "No, objective justification is a clear teaching of Scripture, it is an article of faith which no Lutheran has any right to deny or pervert any more than the article of the Trinity or of the vicarious atonement." The first time UOJ came up among Lutherans, Samuel Huber ("former" Calvinist) was teaching it at Wittenberg University. He was examined carefully about his doctrine and expelled from the school. The next time UOJ hid its fangs behind fleece, it came from Halle Pietists like Rambach, Stephan, and Walther.
  12. Paragraph #7 proves that Walther was a bonafide Enthusiast who got high on his own supply of babble: "No, when His Son had accomplished all that He had to do and suffer in order to earn and acquire grace and life and blessedness for us, then God, in His burning love to speak to us sinners, could not wait until we would come to Him and request His grace in Christ, but no sooner had His Son fulfilled everything than He immediately hastened to confer to men the grace which had been acquired through the resurrection of His Son, to declare openly, really and solemnly to all men that they were acquitted of all their sins, and to declare before heaven and earth that they are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and righteous in Christ." So orthodoxy is grace without the Means of Grace, without the Word, and yet somehow received without faith!
  13. The shameful public execution of Walther Maier began with Paragraph #8. The carefully chosen words are painful to read, even today. UOJ is not in the Bible, just as Maier said. UOJ is not in Luther or the Book of Concord. Most importantly, because the LCMS is the expert on everything, UOJ has never been found in the catechisms of the sect. One Missouri DP said as much when he received a "UOJ-denier" into the ministerium.




PS - Need I say it? The UOJ clowns treat Justification and Rome as a nuclear waste dump, staying so far away from it that one suspects they cannot grasp the truth of his clear and compelling final words.

 Should we follow Stephan into syphilitic insanity
or Luther to eternal life?

Monday, January 15, 2018

WELS Feeling the Shrinkage of the Church Shrinkage Movement - Bad Doctrine, Stealth Women's Ordination, Marketing. Feminist Bibles

 March in step, keep your head low,
hate Luther, and love the New NIV.
Good boy, you may get a call.

From the BORAM - WELS - Via a Reader
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary prepares pastors for the worldwide mission of WELS, including churches and cultural groups within its confessional fellowship. In partnership with sister seminaries and theological training programs of its fellowship, WLS accomplishes that singular purpose with two distinct emphases. Primarily, WLS prepares men to begin pastoral ministry by providing the spiritual, theological, and professional training needed to enter that ministry. WLS also partners with pastors in their ministry-long pursuit of spiritual, theological, and professional growth in all their God-given callings.
Our current situation
Enrollment
Our calling
This year we had 30 juniors, 28 middlers, and 26 seniors on campus. In addition, 25 vicars are serving in congregations throughout the United States and Canada this year. One student is serving in an emergency situation and one colloquy student joined us on campus, bringing our enrollment to 112.
For the 2017–18 school year we anticipate 30 juniors, 30 middlers, and 26 seniors. With 27 vicars in the field, this would put our total student enrollment at 113.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
86 students on campus. 
Reader - Also, I don’t know how they got to 112.  The math isn’t correct from the information given.

***
GJ - Their math skills are similar to their language skills. In 1987, 60 graduated.



From 2012 - Laughable Account of the Preus Gang Beating Up Maier.
Back Up Resources - All from the Walther Stephan Mob



Dr. Robert Preus and Justification:


Dr. Robert Preus on Justification
By Rev. Jack Cascione



Dr. Greg Jackson has repeatedly stated on Luther Quest that Dr. Robert Preus was not in agreement with Objective Justification. I served as the PR Director for Fort Wayne from 1978-1981. “Missouri In Perspective” the ELIM paper, criticized the LC-MS position on Objective Justification. As editor for the Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne “News Letters” I asked Dr. Preus to respond in the Spring 1981 Issue. The following is his reply, plus other relative excerpts.

[GJ - Note that I have repeatedly said "Robert Preus once taught UOJ but refuted it in his last book," even though his thick-headed sons did their best to edit it. They remind me of house painters touching up a Da Vinci. Like good ol' Jack, the Preus Bros cannot keep their stories straight.]

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

NEWSLETTER – Spring 1981
6600 North Clinton
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – "OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION"

#1. The doctrine of objective justification is a lovely teaching drawn from Scripture which tells us that God who has loved us so much that He gave His only to be our Savior has for the sake of Christ’s substitutionary atonement declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous (Romans 5:17-19).

#2. Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement, it is not another way of expressing the fact that Christ has redeemed the world. Rather it is based upon the substitutionary work of Christ, or better, it is a part of the atonement itself. It is God’s response to all that Christ died to save us, God’s verdict that Christ’s work is finished, that He has been indeed reconciled, propitiated; His anger has been stilled and He is at peace with the world, and therefore He has declared the entire world in Christ to be righteous.

THE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

#3. According to all of Scripture Christ made a full atonement for the sins of all mankind. Atonement (at-one-ment) means reconciliation. If God was not reconciled by the saving work of Christ, if His wrath against sin was not appeased by Christ'’ sacrifice, if God did not respond to the perfect obedience and suffering and death of His Son for the sins of the world by forgiveness, by declaring the sinful world to be righteous in Christ -–if all this were not so, if something remains to be done by us or through us or in us, then there is no finished atonement. But Christ said, "It is finished." And God raised Him from the dead and justified Him, pronounced Him, the sin bearer, righteous (I Timothy 3:16) and thus in Him pronounced the entire world of sinners righteous (Romans 4:25).

#4. All this is put beautifully by an old Lutheran theologian of our church [GJ - who quit Concordia, St. Louis to become a Roman Catholic theologian and editor - forgot that detail?], "We are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of mercy, as in the beginning; yea, in Christ we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?'’ This is not the justification which we receive by faith...That is the great absolution which took place in the resurrection of Christ. It was the Father, for our sake, who condemned His dear Son as the greatest of all sinners causing Him to suffer the greatest punishment of the transgressors, even so did He publicly absolve Him from the sins of the world when He raised Him up from the dead." (Edward Preuss, "The Justification of a Sinner Before God," pp. 14-15)

[GJ - This is the most outrageous poppycock ever broadcast in the name of UOJ - Jack Cascione and Paul McCain quoted it favorably, as some kind of rebuke to me! Keep spreading it deeper.]

OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

#5. The doctrine of objective justification does not imply that there is no hell, that God’s threats throughout Scripture to punish sins are empty, or that all unbelievers will not be condemned to eternal death on the day of Christ’s second coming. And very definitely the doctrine of objective, or general, justification does not threaten the doctrine of justification through faith in Christ. Rather it is the very basis of that Reformation doctrine, a part of it. For it is the very pardon which God has declared over the whole world of sinners that the individual sinner embraces in faith and thus is justified personally. Christ’s atonement, His propitiation of God and God’s forgiveness are the true and only object of faith. Here is what George Stoekhardt, perhaps the greatest [GJ - fool] of all Lutheran biblical expositors in our country, says, "Genuine Lutheran theology counts the doctrine of general (objective) justification among the statements and treasures of its faith. Lutherans teach and confess that through Christ’s death the entire world of sinners was justified and that through Christ’s resurrection the justification of the sinful world was festively proclaimed. [GJ - This is the Stephan-Walther Easter absolution tommyrot.] This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure. [GJ - Hoenecke's error, by the way.] Whoever holds firmly that God was reconciled to the world in Christ, and that to sinners in general their sin was forgiven, to him the justification which comes from faith remains a pure act of the grace of God. Whoever denies general justification is justly under suspicion that he is mixing his own work and merit into the grace of God."

 And if cousin Peter is abusing a boy in your house?
Already forgiven? Certainly not reported.
 Ft. Wayne graduate Jay Webber told the Intrepid Lutherans
he would rather have Rambach than Chemnitz - on 1 Timothy 3
:16.


THE REALITY OF OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION

#6. Objective justification is not a mere metaphor, a figurative way of expressing the fact that Christ died for all and paid for the sins of all. Objective justification has happened, it is the actual acquittal of the entire world of sinners for Christ’s sake. Neither does the doctrine of objective justification refer to the mere possibility of the individual’s justification through faith, to a mere potentiality which faith completes when one believes in Christ. Justification is no more a mere potentiality or possibility than Christ’s atonement. The doctrine of objective justification points to the real justification of all sinners for the sake of Christ’s atoning work "before" we come to faith in Christ. Nor is objective justification "merely" a "Lutheran term" to denote that justification is available to all as a recent "Lutheran Witness" article puts it – although it is certainly true that forgiveness is available to all. Nor is objective justification a Missouri Synod construct, a "theologoumenon" (a theological peculiarity), devised cleverly to ward off synergism (that man cooperates in his conversion) and Calvinistic double predestination, as Dr. Robert Schultz puts it in "Missouri in Perspective" (February 23, 1981, p. 5) – although the doctrine does indeed serve to stave off these two aberrations. No, objective justification is a clear teaching of Scripture, it is an article of faith which no Lutheran has any right to deny or pervert any more than the article of the Trinity or of the vicarious atonement.

THE CENTRAILITY AND COMFORT OF THE DOCTRINE

#7. Objective justification is not a peripheral article of faith which one may choose to ignore because of more important things. It is the very central article of the Gospel which we preach. Listen to Dr. C. F. W. Walther, the first president and great leader of our synod, speak about this glorious doctrine in one of his magnificent Easter sermons: "When Christ suffered and died, He was judged by God, and He was condemned to death in our place. But when God in the resurrection awakened Him again, who was it then that was acquitted by God in Christ’s person? Christ did no need acquittal for Himself, for no one can accuse Him of single sin. Who therefore was it that was justified in Him? Who was declared pure and innocent in Him? We were, we humans. It was the whole world. When God spoke to Christ, ‘You shall live,’ that applied to us. His life is our life. His acquittal, our acquittal, His justification, our justification….Who can ever fully express the great comfort which lies in Christ’s resurrection? It is God’s own absolution spoken to all men, to all sinners, in a word, to all the world, and sealed in the most glorious way. There the eternal love of God is revealed in all its riches, in its overflowing fullness and in its highest brilliance. For there we hear that it was not enough for God simply to send His own Son into the world and let Him become a man for us, not enough even for Him to give and offer His only Son unto death for us. No, when His Son had accomplished all that He had to do and suffer in order to earn and acquire grace and life and blessedness for us, then God, in His burning love to speak to us sinners, could not wait until we would come to Him and request His grace in Christ, but no sooner had His Son fulfilled everything than He immediately hastened to confer to men the grace which had been acquired through the resurrection of His Son, to declare openly, really and solemnly to all men that they were acquitted of all their sins, and to declare before heaven and earth that they are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and righteous in Christ."

THE ISSUE AT OUR SEMINARY

#8. Many of our readers know that our seminary, and one professor in particular, has been recently criticized for undermining this comforting and clear teaching of objective justification. The criticism and garbled accounts of the situation have become so widespread lately that I must now comment on the matter in this issue of the "Newsletter.

#9. For over 15 years now Professor Walter A. Maier, Jr., has been teaching a course in the book of Romans, and, although he states he has always presented the doctrine of objective justification as taught in our synod (e.g. in the "Brief Statement"), he has taught in class that some of the key passages used in our church to support the doctrine actually do not speak to the subject at all. As a result some within the seminary community and some outside concluded that Dr. Maier did not in fact believe, teach, and confess the article of objective justification. A few – very few – complaints were brought against Dr. Maier and against the seminary for letting this go on.

#10. The president of our synod, who has the responsibility for supervising doctrine in the synod, contacted me and asked me to try to settle the issue and to persuade Dr. Maier to teach an interpretation of the pertinent passages (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16-19; II Corinthians 5:19) compatible with that which the great teachers of our church in the past (C. F. W. Walther, Francis Pieper, Theodore Engelder, George Stoeckhardt, Martin Franzmann, William Beck and others) publicly taught. Meetings and discussions immediately took place between Dr. Maier and myself. Later on the matter was considered in faculty meetings, in department meetings, and in special committees appointed to discuss and hopefully to settle the issue. During these meetings, which were always most cordial, Dr. Maier has remained unpersuaded that his interpretation of the pertinent passages is faulty. At the same time he has consistently assured all that he has always taught the doctrine of objective justification as understood in the Missouri Synod. He has, however, referred to other biblical evidence for the doctrine.

#11. In the meantime the president of the synod, growing anxious for a clear solution to the problem wrote to the entire church body a letter cautioning congregations not to nominate Dr. Maier for president of the synod until the issue was cleared up to his satisfaction.

#12. Now the issue became political, and protests and criticisms against the president of the synod for his action and also against Dr. Maier'’ teaching began to multiply all over the synod. People naturally began to take sides, not always so much on the doctrinal issue which was not always understood and is still being discussed at our seminary, but for ecclesiastical and personal reasons. We now know that the warning of our synodical president against Dr. Maier not only failed to dissuade congregations from nominating Dr. Maier for the presidency of our synod (as Fourth Vice-President Dr. Robert Sauer had forewarned when attempting to persuade the synodical president not to send his letter), but possibly gained more nominations for Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is now one of the five men nominated for the presidency of our synod.

#13. On January 30, 1981, the Board of Control met with Dr. Maier and three representatives of the synodical praesidium (which had severely criticized Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stance). We heard from two members of the praesidium and then from Dr. Maier and two faculty members who he had requested to accompany him. The results of this meeting, many of us believed, represented a real breakthrough in understanding, and the Board exonerated Dr. Maier of any false doctrine. It was my belief that the representatives of the praesidium present were also satisfied and happy with the report. In the discussions of this meeting Dr. Maier expressed many genuine concerns related to the doctrine of objective justification, e.g., that no one is saved eternally who is not justified by faith, that God is even now angry with those who reject Christ and do not repent, and that objective justification ought to be preached and taught in such a way that the biblical doctrine of justification by faith is always prominent. The report, in the form of a news release, is found on page 4 of the "Newsletter", and I urge the reader to read it because "The Reporter," "The Lutheran Witness," and most of the newspapers over the country which reported on the matter did not reproduce the report in its entirety. At the same meeting the Board of Control strongly expressed its disapproval of some of the actions of our synodical president in the matter.

#14. Meanwhile the administration of the seminary, with the concurrence of the Board of Control, determined that it would be best for the seminary and for Dr. Maier if he not teach the course in Romans during the next academic year. At first I tried to keep this matter private, but later I decided to make a public report of the fact. My reason for this was threefold. First, Dr. Maier was reported in the news media all over the country as stating that he had not changed his position on the doctrine of objective justification, suggesting o many that three years of discussions with him had been quite fruitless and that he still did not wholeheartedly believe in objective justification. Second, several people sympathetic to Dr. Maier had threatened to withhold funds from the seminary and had even reported our action to the accrediting association of our seminary, "The Association of Theological Schools;" it was obvious to me that they would make the matter of Dr. Maier’s courses public whenever it served their purposes. Third, the president of the synod was preparing a release revealing the fact that Dr. Maier would not be teaching Romans during the next academic year. I thought it would be preferable that the president of the seminary make this fact known rather than those who have no business making such and announcement and who might make the announcement in a way detrimental either Dr. Maier or the seminary.

#15. This is where the matter now stands. The Board of Control has stated its confidence in the doctrine of Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is presently teaching Romans, will teach the course this summer, but is slated to teach courses other than Romans next year. The faculty will continue to discuss and try to achieve total agreement in the interpretation of those passages of Scripture which teach objective justification.

A PLEA FOR CONCERN AND UNDERSTANDING

Through this entire and uncomfortable time the Board of Control and the administration of the seminary have found themselves in an understandably awkward position. We are pledged to remain faithful to the doctrinal position of our church, a position which we believe with all our hearts, and we will not deviate from this obligation one iota. We are at the same time pledged to defend a professor and colleague if he fails under unjust attack or abuse. I think we were able to maintain this delicate balance while the present issue was pending, until the political issue was injected. Now we find ourselves uncomfortably between two rather large conflicting elements in our synod, both friends of our seminary; those who believe that the president of the synod, whether they agree with his actions or not, had legitimate concerns about the doctrinal position of Dr. Maier, and those who believe that Dr. Maier had been wronged by the president of the synod and that the seminary could have done more to defend and protect him. How can we respond to this divisive situation in the middle of which we find ourselves? We can only say that we regret deeply the anxiety and consternation which good friends of our seminary have experienced because of the episodes I have recounted. May I ask these friends to bear with us and put the best construction on how we have acted in these circumstances. If you question Dr. Maier’s teaching on justification, please read and believe the report on page and trust the honesty and sincerity of those, including Dr. Maier, who had a part in releasing it. If you believe that Dr. Maier has been wronged by various parties during the last three year which have been trying to him, please believe that our Board of Control and all here at Concordia agree with you; but God, who saved this lost world and forgave the sins of mankind before anyone ever asked Him, commands us also to forgive those who wrong us. And please do not try to defend Dr. Maier by denying the public teaching of the Lutheran Church. God’s forgiveness shines bright and clear above all the pettiness and weakness and wrongs and controversy that have transpired in connection with our dear colleague Dr. Maier, and it WILL cover the sins of us all. Lent teach us this, and Easter confirms it.

ROBERT PREUS, President

For those who wish to read more on Objective Justification the following articles can be secured from our bookstore for a nominal charge:

H. J. Bouman _Conference Paper on Romans 4:5" "Concordia Theological Monthly" (CTM), Vol. 18, 1947, pp. 338-347.

Theodore Engelder, "Objective Justification," CTM, Vol. 4, 1933, pp. 507-516, 564-577, 664, 675.

Theodore Engelder, "Walther, a Christian Theologian," CTM, Vol. 7, 1936, pp. 801-815.

Martin H. Franzmann, "Reconciliation and Justification," CTM, Vol. 21, 1950, pp. 81-93.

E. W. A. Koehler, "Objective Justification, CTM, Vol. 16, 1945, pp. 217-235.

Miscellanea, "God Purposes to Justify Those That Have Come to Faith," CTM, Vol. 14, 1943, pp. 787-791.

George Stoeckhardt, "General Justification," "Concordia Theological Quarterly," April, 1978, pp. 139 – 144.

STATEMENT ADDED TO PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

While the president’s message "Objective Justification" was being typeset, an "Official Notice" from the president of Synod was issued which bears on the Walter A. Maier matter. In the notice the president of Synod expressed his disagreement with our Board action which announced a "basic understanding" with Dr. Maier on objective justification. I felt compelled to respond on behalf of our Board of Control with an Official Notice from the Seminary. This Official Notice which seeks to clarify the Board’s action and position vis-à-vis Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stand has been submitted to "The Reporter." It is herewith appended to the present article for our readers’ information. – Robert Preus

BOARD OF CONTROL MEETS WITH SEMINARY PROFESSOR

The Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, has announced that a basic understanding resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30th, between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr., of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members. In a January 5-6 meeting the Praesidium stated that, in its opinion, "Doctor Walter A. Maier, Jr., holds a position different from that of the official doctrinal position of the Synod."

At the January 30 meeting, however, Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his belief that on the basis of Christ’s vicarious atonement God has put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous; that the benefits of this objective forgiveness are appropriated only by faith; the even though the entire human race has been redeeme3d, the Law in all its severity, including the wrath of God against sinners as well as the Gospel of forgiveness must be preached to all, including Christians. According to the Gospel, God is indeed reconciled; according to the Law, the wrath of God abides on all who reject Christ and His work of reconciliation, refuse to repent, and live in their sins.

Dr. Robert Sauer, Dr. George Wollenburg, and former synodical vice-president Dr. Theodore Nickel represented the praesidium at the January 30 meeting. Professors Kurt Marquart and Howard Tepker of the seminary faculty were also present.

The frank five-hour exchange focused on several theological issues which were isolated for clarification. The discussion showed that there have been misunderstandings, unclear thinking, and poor communication because of overstatements, lifting of phrases and snippets of doctrinal expression out of context, and sometimes even pressing of casual expressions to ultimate conclusions not intended by the speakers.

More than semantic differences surfaced early in the January 30th meeting. At the close, however, basic agreement emerged on such topics as the wrath of God, Law and Gospel, and "objective justification" – a term used in the Lutheran Church to summarize a concept in the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions that forgiveness and justification because of the death of Christ are objectively available for all mankind through the ages, whether or not individuals appropriate it through faith.

Difference in the interpretation of several critical passages remain. The Seminary board, as well as Dr. Maier, is concerned that variant interpretations can lead to a misinterpretation of doctrine. Therefore, the Seminary board reported, discussions will continue by the faculty.

Dr. Maier stated: "I regret that some publicly quoted statements of mine from a technical paper ‘prepared for faculty discussion purposes only’ have given a wrong impression about my doctrine of justification as a whole. I, therefore, withdraw that paper from discussion. Doctrinally, I stand with our Synod’s historic position."

In his statement to the Board of Control Dr. Maier further stated: "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29(, and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made….to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed, ‘made a curse for us’" (Galatians 3:13).

"In this sense, the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and sacraments of Christ."

"Faith alone can receive this treasure offered in the Gospel, and this faith itself is entirely a gracious gift and creation of God through the means of grace. Faith adds nothing to God’s forgiveness in Christ offered in the Gospel, but only receives it. Thus, ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him’" (John 3:30).

"My reservation concerning some of the traditional terminology employed in expressing the doctrine of justification are fully covered by the following statements from the major essay delivered to the first convention of the Synodical Conference, assembled in Milwaukee July 10-16, 1872:

"When speaking with regard to the acquisition of salvation (by Christ), God has wrath for no man any longer; but when speaking with regard to the appropriation, He is wrathful with everyone who is no in Christ ("Proceedings," p. 32). Before faith the sinner is righteous before God only according to the acquisition and the divine intention, but he is actually ("actu") righteous, righteous for his own person, righteous indeed, first when he believes ("Proceedings," p. 68."

Following the meeting Board Chairman Raymond N. Joeckel commented, "We only wish that we could have reached this stage of the discussions and that we could have had this kind of interchange before unfortunate statements appeared in the public press. The church can learn from this that the Lord blesses sincere efforts to discuss and clarify the meaning and message of the Holy Scriptures."

COMMENT ON AN OFFICIAL NOTICE

The Official Notice of our synodical president regarding Dr. Walter A. Maier and the doctrine of objective justification in the March 30 issue of "The Lutheran Witness Reporter" requires an answer by me as president and executive officer of the Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary where Dr. Maier teaches.

Once again we wish to express our deep appreciation to the president for his recognition of the central importance of the doctrine of objective justification and his concern that this comforting teaching be taught clearly at our school. We agree wholeheartedly with his citation from Dr. Francis Pieper, ""he doctrine of objective justification is of vital important to the entire Christian doctrine. Only by keeping this doctrine intact will the Christian doctrine remain intact. It will be irretrievably lost if this doctrine is abandoned."

However, there are some serious inaccuracies and mistaken judgments in the Official Notice which call for correction and comment.

First, the president of the Synod points to an apparent conflict between my summary of the issues on the subject of justification sent to the Board of Control December 23, 1980, and some later statements made by me and the Board of Control concerning Dr. Maier’s position. In the December statement I described Dr. Maier’s position as he expressed it to the Board at its November, 1980 meeting (with the president of Synod in attendance). There I state that Dr. Maier can find no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine of objective justification and no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine that God was reconciled (put His anger aside) on account of the ransom paid by Christ. Two months later I stated that Dr. Maier "has always believed" – it would have been better to have said "has consistently affirmed to the Board and to me his belief" – in objective justification; and the Board in its release said that Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his believe that on the basis of Christs’s vicarious atonement God put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous." The explanation for this apparent discrepancy lies in the simple fact that in the January meeting of the Board of Control (which the president of Synod did not attend) Dr. Maier clearly affirmed that Scripture does in fact teach the doctrine of objective justification and that on the basis of Christ’s atonement God put away His wrath, whereas in the November meeting, as reported, he did not do so. An so "all" the statements cited are true and factual

Our synodical president says "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change their judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." This must be a mistake. Former Vice-President Theodore Nickel and Vice-President George Wollenburg, together with Vice-president Robert Sauer, represented the Praesidium at the January Board meeting. Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg criticized Dr. Maier’s position at the meeting. But when Dr. Maier affirmed his belief that objective justification was taught in Scripture (I Timothy 3:16) and that God’s wrath has been appeased through the death of His Son, the Board gained the distinct impression that both Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg were sufficiently satisfied that Dr. Maier was not at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod. At least, these two men never expressed themselves to the contrary to the Board or to Dr. Maier. The Board report of the January 30 meeting with Dr. Maier and representatives of the Praesidium has been out since February 2, and so Dr. Wollenburg and Dr. Nickel have had plenty of time to dissociate themselves from it, if they wanted to do so. It does seem strange to us that the president of the Synod did not announce his misgivings soon after the Board meeting and news release, but rather waited until after Dr. Maier has been clearly nominated for the presidency of the Missouri Synod.

Furthermore, Vice-President Sauer is a member of the Board of Control and had a hand in writing and issuing the Board release of February 2. According to the February 14 St. Louis Globe Democrat Dr. Sauer said, "’After a recent discussion lasting several hours,’ Dr. Maier ‘appears to be in a position of changing with regard to the vital doctrinal matter.’" So the president of our Synod apparently is not including Dr. Sauer when he said, "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change the judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." Perhaps there are other vice-presidents he is not including.

The suggestion of our synodical president that the Board of Control is engaging in a
cover up in regard to Dr. Maier is unkind and false. The Board has acted with utmost integrity. While the president may differ with the Board’s conclusion and decision in the Maier matter, it is not right of him publicly to question the ethics and posture of the Board in the entire matter.

The president’s only evidence for a cover up is the fact that the Board did not publicly announce that Dr. Maier would not be teaching a course in the Book of Romans beginning with the next academic year. This was not considered significant for the news release. At the same meeting the Board also objected "strenuously" to "certain things" done by the president of the Synod "which are high-handed, inexcusable, and harmful to Dr. Maier or our school." The Board did not think of including such items in its release either, and that out of love and concern for the reputation of our synodical president. The omission of pertinent or irrelevant facts in a release does not necessarily constitute a "cover up." If it did, the president of the Synod would be guilty of a serious "cover up." In his Official Notice he omitted any mention of a verbatim quotation from Dr. Maier in the Board release, affirming that Scripture does indeed teach objective justification. Dr. Maier’s statement goes as follows, "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made…..to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed ‘made a curse for us’ (Galations 3:13). In this sense the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and Sacraments of Christ." It was on the basis of this statement and other assurances given by Dr. Maier that the Board announced in its February 2 release that a "basic understand resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30 between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr. of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (Praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members."

We share our synodical president’s "frustration and amazement" at the confusion which shrouds both the issue itself and the way it has been handled. I know I speak for Dr. Maier and the Board of Control when I say that we all are sorry for anything we have said or done which adds to this confusion. I am sure that the president of the Synod too is sorry for what he has contributed to the confusion and misunderstanding which surrounds the matter. It is my hope that this response to his Official Notice will serve to clarify the matter.



'via Blog this'

UOJ Came from the Calvinist Samuel Huber



From a Reader:
I kept thinking..."Where did I hear that name before..." Then I remembered Repristination Press, and did some searching -- sure enough: http://repristinationpress.org/2017/10/07/hunnius-aegidius-theses-opposed-to-huberianism-a-defense-of-the-lutheran-doctrine-of-justification

"As Hunnius wrote in the dedication to this work, “we propose…not only to wash away the charges he has made, but especially to refute his shameful errors concerning the eternal election and predestination to eternal life, not only of the children of God, but also of the children of the devil (that is, all the impenitent); similarly, his errors concerning the universal justification of all men—of unbelievers no less than believers..."


Stealth UOJ versus UOJ Unawares

 Did this event ever happen? These brave souls were going to foist Walther, Hoenecke, and Koren - each hero as a "Luther Unawares." I copied this graphic and the fervid news of the next Emmaus flop, but...nothing came of this.

Stealth UOJ is the normal mode of this fervid false doctrine, its energy derived from the flames of perdition. Did Jesus say that wolves would arrive in lupine costumes? No, they wear their ovine fleece, appearing meek, gentle, and eager to help. When asked about what they really teach, they use flattery and change the subject. But when pinned down, the fangs and claws come out.

Typical examples of Stealth UOJ can be found in the duplicity of Mark Zarling and Frosty Bivens. Justification in the Bible always means:

  • Justification by Faith.
  • Justification of the individual.
  • God's declaration of forgiveness to an individual who believes in Christ (Romans 4:24 - Rolf Preus).

So these deceivers take a Biblical term used for individual forgiveness (Justification) and apply the language of Luther - and others - their precious dogma of Universal Absolution without Faith. Their UOJ is:

  1. The Chief Article of Christianity (never was, in fact).
  2. The Master and Prince (only of fools who teach it).
  3. The doctrine that judges all other doctrines of the Bible (but in reality is refuted by every verse of the Bible).
But - some of you are objecting - what about Christ dying for the sins of the world? Is that not universal? Are you not embracing Calvinism? No, the first Lutheran UOJist was a "former" Calvinist at Wittenberg, Samuel Huber, who was exposed for his false teaching and expelled from the faculty.

The Bible clearly teaches throughout that Christ died for the sins of the world, so there are many synonyms for the Atonement - 
  • redemption, 
  • ransom,
  • expiation, 
  • propitiation, and 
  • reconciliation.
The Gospel - throughout the Bible - is not that the entire world is forgiven without faith - but that Christ paid for the sins of the world. The UOJists want to have people imagine that their message of billions of pagans forgiven and saved without faith will somehow convert people to the same absurd notion. The only laity I know who fall for UOJ are those who have been thoroughly and savagely brainwashed by the WELS-ELS-LMCS dogma bullies. That is why the UOJ Stormtroopers cloak their demonic dogma with the flimsy and tattered remains of the Reformation they despise so fiercely. The UOJists grab the words of Luther and abuse their meaning, just as they snatch terms from the Scriptures to turn them inside out.

In short, the UOJists turn the universal act of Atonement into universal absolution and salvation. Let us pause and read carefully the words of CFW Walther and David Valleskey...

 Valleskey is either hopelessly stupid or devilishly clever, turning Justification by Faith into "universal justification." Look at the results. The leadership of WELS is Fuller Seminary trained. The clergy lawsuits and arrests are countless. And they love, love, love Church Growth to this day.

 

 Cascione and others are happy to quote Edward Preuss, who left Concordia St. Louis and joined the Church of Rome, becoming a major Catholic leader in America. The march to Rome continues from the same school, the same UOJ dogma, which joyfully undermines Creation.

UOJ Unawares
Clergy and laity will use UOJ terms without knowing what they really mean, thanks to the efforts of the stealth army of false teachers.

Objective Justification is not a Biblical term and its meaning is anti-Scriptural. World absolution and salvation are concepts dear to the apostates. All the mainline denominations and virtually all modern theologians teach that concept, using various terms for it.

Subjective Justification is not faith and not justification. Look at Walther's idiotical claim: SJ is a decision to accept universal- absolution-without-faith. He did not use the double-justification terms from the Knapp translation at first, but he did like the labels, which became standard in the Olde Synodical Conference.

The true UOJists want this confusion and promote it, so people mistakenly use OJ for the Atonement (wrong!) and imagine SJ to be faith in Christ (wrong twice over, because it means faith in Walther and JP Meyer).

UOJists like to say that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao
are guilt-free saints.

The UOJists correctly state that Justification is a declaration, and it is. Lutherans have called Justification "forensic justification" - like unto a judge declaring someone not guilty. Ah yes, but God has never "declared the entire world forgiven and saved." Forensic Justification is God declaring the individual forgiven if he believes.

Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

 Sparky Brenner uses the term
Justification of the World - OJ.

The Augustana Synod was concerned that the expression “justification of the world” denied the necessity of justification by faith. In fact, Schmidt declared that the real issue in conflict was justification. Schmidt’s essay on justification presented at the very first convention of the Synodical Conference, however, had clearly taught a justification of the world. p.  150

Note Sparky Brenner's almost effortless slide into UOJ on the same page - 

The final free conference met in Goodhue County, Minnesota, June 27-July 4, 1883. The subject for discussion was the doctrine of absolution. One side historically taught universal or objective justification (justification of the world), contending that the pronouncement of forgiveness won by Christ and declared by God to the world leads people to believe in their Savior. The other side was not willing to speak of justification apart from faith (subjective or personal justification). p. 150

Sparky aligns SJ with faith - but Pope JP Meyer called SJ a decision for OJ, not faith. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Second Sunday after Epiphany, 2018. John 2:1-11



The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2018

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #39                     Praise to the Lord                   
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Hymn # 370             My Hope Is Built             

The Creating Word - Forgotten Today

The Hymn #128                Brightest and Best               
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #309          O Jesus, Blessed Lord             

KJV Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Letlove be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.



SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thy grace Thou hast instituted holy matrimony, in which Thou keepest us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech Thee to send Thy blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Thy gracious help in all temptations, and rear their children in accordance with Thy will; grant unto us all to walk before Thee, in purity and holiness, to put all our trust in Thee, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:


Lenski:
2:1-11. — By the power of his personality and by his divine knowledge and words Jesus had attested himself as truly being the Messiah of whom the Baptist
had testified, as the Son of God and the Son of man. To the attestation through the word is now added that of the deed, which was made evident in the first
miracle.

As people often mention, Matthew-Mark-Luke are clearly associated together, seen together (synoptic) Gospels. The Fourth Gospel adds many details and many unique sayings and sermons of Jesus. That means the apostle assumed our knowledge of the basics and added his material, so anything unique to John should be especially important to us. What makes this especially satisfying for us is the knowledge that all four Gospels agree, which can only be through the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus promised, "The Spirit will bring to mind all that has happened." Simon Greenleaf is an example of a famous lawyer who set out to prove the disagreements of the Gospels and found himself converted by the Word to faith in Christ and in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, through the Easter narratives. As Paul said - "raised for our justification." The ultimate prove of the divinity of Christ is his resurrection from the dead. But  please read Romans 4:24 with Romans 4;25, Rolf Preus and CFW Walther.

People have a way of adopting human authorities, which they treat as the last word on anything. Unfortunately, that often means a college or seminary professor, because students are easier to influence at that age. Since we cannot count on human authorities, who often err, we should only treat the Word as the final authority on all matters and let Dame Reason go. Therefore, if we have something from Jesus on any given matter, that settles the question. As one DP said about his sect, "The matter is settled." That is partially true - all doctrinal matters are already settled by the Scriptures, but they are often not confessed and taught by man. Thus we have the Word of God as the authority that never varies, never contradicts itself.

In a famous scene from "Bringing Up Baby," Katherine Hepburn speaks so fast that the police cannot take down all the details in their notes. Likewise, the Gospel has so many important details that we need to stop and look at passages, phrase by phrase.

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee

The apostle is careful to mark out times, to show when things happened. Lenski's commentary is very useful in looking at the background material and places and the order of events. 

and the mother of Jesus was there:

Jesus was invited, but the mother of Jesus was there. That suggests Mary being part of the wedding party, perhaps as a relative or close friend taking over, in place of the bride's parents. A guest would not take over to solve as problem, but Mary takes charge. It reminds me of a wedding for a Christian girl whose parents were from Kerala, India. The mother of the bride was constantly scanning the entire reception for any possible problems and dealing with them with speed and authority. 

Not to be forgotten is the old-fashioned wedding which is still found in various ethnic groups. In Jewish weddings, the betrothal took place first, but the couple did not live together - though they were truly married. The second part was the celebration which meant they were going to live together as man and wife. Thus when Joseph and Mary were betrothed, they were married but not living together.
This wedding ceremony at Cana was the celebration part. 

Lenski: 
This wedding must be thought of in the Jewish fashion. In the betrothal bride and groom were pledged to each other in a way that truly made them man and wife, although the two did not at once live together following this ceremony. An interval, longer or shorter, followed, and then the gamos (wedding) took place. The groom with his companions brought the bride with her companions to the groom's home, and there without any further pledge the celebration began, starting toward evening with a feast as grand as possible and continuing for a week, the couple now living together.

2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

The miracle itself is very important, but so also is the presence of Jesus as His disciples, who were all invited to this feast. The early Church came to be influenced by those who thought marriage was not the best state for someone to live in, and the monastic ideal grew from that wrong idea and caused a great deal of immorality and corruption by the time of the Reformation.

By attending the marriage, Jesus blessed the married state. He did not come alone, by stealth, as some people do with gatherings that are not approved, but brought along His disciples who were all witnesses to this event and the first of His miracles.  

2. In the first place, it is indeed a high honor paid to married life for Christ himself to attend this marriage, together with his mother and his disciples.

Moreover, his mother is present as the one arranging the wedding, the parties married being apparently her poor relatives or neighbors, and she being compelled to act as the bride’s mother; so of course, it was nothing more than a wedding, and in no way a display. For Christ lived up to his doctrine, not going to the rich, but to the poor; or, if he does go to the great and rich, he is sure to rebuke and reprove, coming away with disfavor, earning small thanks at their hands, with no thought of honoring them by a miracle as he does here.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

His mother is not named, just as the author is not named, de-emphasizing them without denying their importance. As someone perhaps hosting the wedding for this impoverished couple, Mary told Jesus they were already running out of wine. That was a calamity she felt and trusted Him to take care of the matter. Jesus addressed her as "woman" - not as "dear woman" or anything else that would soften this address. The Scriptures balance the description of Mary blessed above all women with several reminders that Jesus was still her Lord. So at His crucifixion, He said, "Woman behold your son." And he said to John, "Behold your mother." John 19:26

As mentioned last week, the time after the Ephesus Council, 431. was an era when Mary was raised to divine status. That was not the result of the council but an example of what happens when issues become unbalanced. That has continued to this day, where Mary is really the central emphasis of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox worship. Still, we should not overlook that Mary trusted in Jesus to take care of the problem and continued to trust Him when she told the helpers, "Do whatever He says." Jesus is not harsh, but maintaining His Lordship with Mary; Mary is ever-trusting, knowing His true nature.

5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

In this first of all His miracles, Jesus made it impossible to refute what happened. Rationalism has offered various explanations for other miracles - rather absurd, because they assume details never given - such as lunches hidden away for the Feeding of the Multitude. There is no way to find a similar solution, so the sceptics simply ignore this Gospel or date it centuries later (impossible) and therefore attribute it to someone untrustworthy. This miracle demands faith in the power and efficacy of God's Word, which is lacking today.

Many "conservative" Christian leaders will confess their trust in the inerrancy of God's Word, but they deny that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are sacraments that provide what God promises - the forgiveness of sin.

Many "conservative" Lutheran leaders say they believe in the sacraments but cannot say to the evolutionists or compromisers, "The Word of God that changed water into wine can also fashion the entire universe in six 24-hour days." These fine men are worried they will be mistaken for illiterate hillbillies and not up to the demands of science, technology, engineering, and math. 

And though the Scriptures and Book of Concord clearly say we are declared forgiven through faith in our Savior, they deny this and agree with notions that come from Pietism and Calvinism.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

I find some humor in the steward of the feast becoming alarmed at the quality of the wine and scolding the bridegroom. This is a feature of John's Gospel - someone misunderstanding what has just happened, which helps us see how great a gap exists between faith in Christ and one's natural (but blind) understanding. Without faith we are like the man who was walking his dog on an exceptionally cold morning and thought he saw a dog frozen in place in its back yard. It was more of a silhouette in the early morning and seemed logical, given the weather and the sudden cold snap. Yes, it looked exactly like a dog and was motionless. Walking toward it, the light slowly resolved the tragic shape into something for holding a garden hose, each part serving as parts of a dog's body.

Bridegroom
It is not by accident that the bridegroom is the object of the rebuke. In the New Testament, Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride. 

Luther wrote - "22. In the third place, we must briefly touch upon the spiritual significance of the text. This marriage and every marriage signifies Christ, the true bridegroom, and Christendom, the bride; as the Gospel lesson of Matthew 22:1-14 sufficiently shows."

So, as Luther says, this is not only a very special miracle showing the power and efficacy of the Word, but also a parable about bearing the cross and about marriage. 

As he says so wisely, we are used to providing the best first and the not-so-good later. That is what the steward expected. How dare they save the best for last!

That is exactly what God teaches in His Word, and Jesus exemplified in His ministry, His teaching, and His example. If we expect the best and most rewarding at first, and only remain faithful to Christianity, all that it teaches, we are going to fall into the Slough of Despond (Pilgrim's Progress) and turn back as soon as we feel frustrated, annoyed, tired, or "offended" in the Biblical sense. When Jesus spoke of being offended, He meant setting off the deadly trigger of the trap. 

That can be - the Six-Day Creation, the Virgin Birth, walking on water, the Atonement, etc. For many, the cross is that trigger, and it will be when whoopee Christianity is taught, only good things are expected, especially at first.

This miracle applies to the Christian life and especially those efforts which are focused on teaching the Gospel. That seems as if the worst punishments are handed out for being faithful. If we do not remember this miracle, as clergy and laity, then we are quick to turn to man-made solutions and abandon the vexations of the cross. Feeling a sense of accomplish may take decades, if that. Someone else may have the rewards of a lifetime of labor. As I told one conservative Lutheran writer, it is not God-pleasing until it is persecuted. 

Miracle and Marriage
Americans have made a disaster of marriage because everyone is listening to the steward rather than to the Word. As Luther said, many disagreeable things are associated with marriage and raising children. The difficulties seem overwhelming at first, and they often continue for years. 

God does things in reverse. He gives us the worst wine, even the dregs. But later, through faith in Him, that becomes the best and the sweetest wine. An enormous challenge is wonderful in retrospect, when it has been overcome. But only in retrospect. At the time, it can occupy all our thoughts and energy. I thought I was finished with Volume V of Luther's Sermons. Suddenly various objections were raised in printing. The title was "suppressed" - that was their term. I wondered how I could meet the demands. Then I discussed this with our son.

"I think I am talking to a computer."

He said, "You are."

"I think the work is handed to the Third Word, maybe India."

He said, "More like the Philippines."

I did not have an answer yet. Suddenly, everything was ok and the title (BW) was clear again for publishing. That was such a good feeling.

Children
There are many exceptional children. Each child is unique in his or her own way. Even the greatest pain can be transformed by faith in the Savior, in one way or another. What seems impossible to solve at the moment can be suddenly changed by God's power.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

So Jesus began by showing the power and efficacy of His Word. Was that true only then? Not at all. That is still true today. The emergency of the moment or year or decade is transformed by the Word.