Tag Archives: Lutheran
Changes are happening at Trinity Lutheran Church. Earlier this month on March 6, our senior pastor, Rev. Scott Firminhac, received a call to be the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming. After prayerful consideration, he announced today that he has accepted that call. His last Sunday here at Trinity will be on Palm Sunday, April 17.
I would ask for your prayers for Trinity and for me as we transition from a two-pastor ministry to a single-pastor ministry and for Our Savior and Pastor Firminhac as he begins his ministry there. This will be a difficult transition and time for both congregations. Pastor Firminhac has served at Trinity for 13 years. Our Savior’s previous pastor has served there for 30 years. Having a new pastor for them will be a very big transition.
As Pastor Firminhac said in his letter to the congregations, this is not his Church and it is not the congregation’s Church – it is God’s Church. God’s Church will continue, both in Gillette and in Torrington, regardless of who is behind the pulpit. God’s Word will be preached and His Sacraments will be administered. We pray that God’s Church will grow and many will hear the saving message of Christ crucified for us sinners.
Heavenly Father, You give to Your Church faithful men to be ministers of the Gospel. We thank You for the ministry that You have given to Pastor Firminhac at Trinity over his tenure here. As he has accepted the call to be the pastor of Our Savior, give to him that wisdom that comes through Your Word as he ministers to the saints of Our Savior. Bless his ministry as continues to be a faithful servant of the Word as a servant of Your Church. Continue to be with me and my ministry at Trinity, that these saints may continue to be fed by Your blessed Word and Sacraments. Continue to remind the members and pastors of these congregations that this is Your Church and You will give to her servants those tools that are necessary for the furthering of Your kingdom here on earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
I’m currently reading the book, “Warrior Monk” by Ray Keating. It is about a man named Stephen Grant who is a former CIA analyst turned Lutheran pastor. Yeah, it’s a hard one to imagine, but it makes for a good read.
I was amused by a conversation between Grant and Father McDermott, the local Roman Catholic priest:
After taking a hearty swig of his draft from Holland, Ron asked, “Do you have any plans, Stephen, of moving from Wittenberg to Rome that I don’t know about?
Stephen was surprised. “What? Become a Roman Catholic? Are you kidding?” That came out wrong. He recovered, needling his friend. “How many times do I have to tell you, Ron, we Lutherans are the real Catholics? We’ve reformed the Church, still waiting for you guys to catch up. After all, it’s been nearly 500 years.”
I thought it was humorous. Maybe it’s just me.
THE SUMMARY CONTENT, RULE, AND NORM
ACCORDING TO WHICH ALL TEACHINGS SHOULD BE JUDGED AND THE ERRONEOUS TEACHINGS THAT HAVE OCCURRED SHOULD BE DECIDED AND EXPLAINED IN A CHRISTIAN WAY
Note: What is the sole source of doctrine in the Church? The Bible, and the Bible alone. God’s Word is the pure fountain and source of God’s truth. Church creeds and confessions, however, function as witnesses to that truth. As such, they are accepted standards by which we can discern between true and false teaching. Churches can, do, and should insist that called pastors and other Church workers pledge themselves unconditionally to the Church’s confession. In this way, the Church’s confession safeguards the pure teaching of God’s Word. Does this contradict the statement that the Bible alone is the source and norm of doctrine? No. Confessions are not the source of doctrine, but are a standard or norm by which preaching and teaching are evaluated, because they are based on God’s Word. This may be a fine nuance, but it is an important one. Today, in authentically Lutheran churches, pastors and other church workers pledge to faithfully teach and practice according to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, just as they have done for nearly five hundred years.
1] 1. We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and norm according to which all teachings, together with ‹all› teachers, should be evaluated and judged [2 Timothy 3:15–17] are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament alone. For it is written in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” St. Paul has written, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
2] However, other writings by ancient or modern teachers—no matter whose name they bear—must not be regarded as equal to the Holy Scriptures. All of them are subject to the Scriptures [1 Corinthians 14:32]. Other writings should not be received in any other way or as anything more than witnesses that show how this ‹pure› doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved after the time of the apostles, and at what places.
3] 2. Right after the time of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose [Titus 3:9–10]. Therefore, symbols (i.e., brief, concise confessions) were written against the heretics in the Early Church. These symbols were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church. They are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We pledge ourselves to these symbols, and in this way we reject all heresies and teachings that have been introduced into God’s Church against them.
4] 3. However, schisms in matters of faith have also happened in our time. Therefore, we regard as the unanimous consensus and declaration of our Christian faith and confession—especially against the papacy and its false worship, idolatry, superstition, and against other sects—the first, unaltered Augsburg Confession. It is the symbol of our time, and it was delivered to the Emperor, Charles V, at Augsburg in the year 1530 in the great Diet. We hold to this confession along with its Apology and the Articles composed at Smalcald in the year 1537, which the chief theologians signed at that time.
5] Such matters also concern the laity and the salvation of their souls. Therefore, we also confess Dr. Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms as they are included in Luther’s works. They are “the layman’s Bible” because everything necessary for a Christian to know for salvation is included in them, which is handled more extensively in the Holy Scriptures.
6] As announced above, all teachings are to be conformed in this way. What is contrary to these confessions is to be rejected and condemned, as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith.
7] In this way the distinction between the Holy Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament and all other writings is preserved. The Holy Scriptures alone remain the judge, rule, and norm. According to them—as the only touchstone—all teachings shall and must be discerned and judged to see whether they are good or evil [1 Thessalonians 5:21–22], right or wrong.
8] The other symbols and writings mentioned above are not judges like the Holy Scriptures. They are only a testimony and declaration of the faith. They show how the Holy Scriptures have been understood and explained in regard to controversial articles in God’s Church by those living at that time. Also, they show how the opposite teaching was rejected and condemned ‹by what arguments the dogmas conflicting with the Holy Scriptures were rejected and condemned›.
For our Sunday morning Bible class, we’ve been looking at the Augsburg Confession for a number of months now. CPH has a Bible study that looks at the various articles of both the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.
Today we looked at Article VII (Of the Church) and VIII (What the Church Is).
There is much discussion about what the Church is and what the Church is not. The confessors state very clearly what the Church is:
The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.
Understand what I am about to say so as to not cause confusion. Programs do not make the Church. While programs have their place within the ministry of the Church, programs will not make or break the Church. One could have a church that has nothing but the Divine Service and Bible study and it will still be the Church. One could also have a church that has a school, mens groups, womens groups and every program under the sun. However, if they do not have the Gospel preached purely and the Sacraments administered rightly, then you do not have the Church.
There is more that can be said about this topic, but that’s enough to wet your whistle. Maybe someone will comment. Maybe someone will tell me I’m wrong and off base here.
Since today is the day celebrating the Reformation, I thought that I would include Luther’s famous words from the Diet at Worms.