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Higher Things

13 e 20 sid gs In in fo Th In er ce gh ren OM Hi nfe FR Co

Inside This Issue!

• A Little Bit of Latin Goes a Long Way • The Occult—Hollywood or Holy War? • The Church Musician in You • Marching for Life with the LCMS www

. h i g h e r t h i n g s . o r g / S P RING / 2 0 1 3

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Coming to Campus in 2013

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Visit us online: www.lcms.org/LCMSU Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LCMSU Or call us: 888-THE LCMS (843-5267)


Contents T A B L E O F

4 A Little Bit of Latin Goes a Long Way

By Rev. Mark Buetow Let a little Latin fly and your friends will think you are an intellectual heavyweight. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but once you’ve finished reading this article you’ll be familiar with two Latin phrases that help you focus on what’s important in salvation. And the good thing is that the focus is not on you!

6 One Hundred Percent Free— One Hundred Percent Servant

By Rev. George F. Borghardt One of our Lutheran distinctives is the desire to work out that delicate balance we call Christian liberty. This is just what Rev. Borghardt successfully communicates in his capable handling of the some of the principles from Martin Luther’s work, On Christian Liberty.

8 Marching for Life with the LCMS

By Megan Hammond The recent commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision brought about a great deal of controversy but it also invigorated those who stand for the unborn. Megan’s account gives you a small window into her life-changing experience at the LCMS Life Conference.

10 The Occult: Hollywood or Holy War?

By Rev. Christopher C. Tiews There’s something about the supernatural that seems so magnetically intriguing. Hollywood is clearly enamored with the subject. There are a host of TV series that supposedly profile people’s encounters with ghosts, demons, or other supernatural beings and plenty of movies that glorify these things in some way. Rev. Tiews shines the light of the Scriptures on this often distorted reality.

12 True Confession

By Dr. C. Matthew Phillips History doesn’t have to be a bunch of dry events laid out in chronological order with a lot of dates your teacher wants you to memorize that you’ll never use. And the same goes with our Lutheran heritage. See for yourself as Dr. Phillips provides a quick but thorough summary of the pivotal events surrounding the formation of our foundational document of the faith—the Augsburg Confession.

Volume 13/Number 1 • Spring 2013

HigherThings

22 The Church Musician in You

Bible Studies for these articles can be found at: higherthings.org/ magazine/biblestudies.html

By Bethany Woelmer It’s perfectly acceptable to admit to singing in the shower… we all know the acoustics are the best in there! But whether or not you think you actually have some sort of musical ability, Bethany will persuade you that making a joyful noise unto the Lord is something we can all foster to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbor.

24 Trail Mix

By Jenny Sollberger Nothing satisfies the appetite during a challenging hike like a handful of trail mix. In the same way, nothing fills our spiritual hunger on the road of life like the Word of God. And, as Jenny articulates, trail mix is the best when all of its ingredients blend together with each bite, much the same way the Scriptures are.

Regular Features 18 Poetry Page

20 Christ on Campus Father May I?

By Heidi Bliese While various forms of social media have been a positive development in many ways, they are certainly not without pitfalls. One of those traps is called the comparison game. Facebook, for example, can easily become something that magnifies our covetousness or feelings of discontent. Heidi reminds us that who we are in Christ always trumps struggles like these.

28 Catechism The Table of Duties: Pastors and People By Rev. William M. Cwirla You’re a sheep...it’s one of your vocations in the context of the Church. Your pastor is your shepherd and that is one of his vocations. How does this play out in the Table of Duties? Rev. Cwirla artfully unpacks yet another part of the Small Catechism.

30 Bible Study “Incurvatus in se”

Be sure to check out this sample of one of our student Bible studies that links up with Rev. Buetow’s article on P. 4.

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Volume 13/Number 1/Spring 2013

Editor

Katie Micilcavage Art Director

Steve Blakey Editorial Associates

Rev. Greg Alms Rev. Paul Beisel Rev. Bart Day Copy Editors

Lu Fischer Dana Niemi Bible Study Authors

Rev. Mark Buetow Rev. John Drosendahl Rev. Sam Schuldheisz Subscriptions Manager

Elizabeth Carlson IT Staff

Stan Lemon Jon Kohlmeier Conference Coordinator

Sandra Ostapowich ___________

Board of Directors President

Rev. William Cwirla Vice-President

Rev. Brent Kuhlman Treasurer

Chris Loemker Secretary

Rev. Joel Fritsche Rev. Dr. Carl Fickenscher Rev. Jonathan Fisk Sue Pellegrini Matt Phillips Chris Rosebrough ___________

Executive Staff Conferences and Deputy Executive

Rev. George Borghardt Business Executive

Connie Brammeier Media Services Executive

Rev. Mark Buetow Higher Things® Magazine ISSN 1539-8455 is published quarterly by Higher Things, Inc., PO Box 156, Sheridan, WY 82801. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the executive editor of Higher Things Magazine. Copyright 2012. Higher Things® and Christ on Campus® are registered trademarks of Higher Things Inc.; All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States. Postage paid at St. Louis, Missouri. For subscription information and questions, call 1-888-448-2359 or e-mail subscriptions@higherthings. org. (This phone number is only used for subscription queries.) For letters to the editor, write letters@higher things.org. Writers may submit manuscripts to: submissions@higherthings.org. Please check higherthings.org/ magazine/writers.html for writers’ guidelines and theme lists.

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incurvatus in se A Little Bit of

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Latin

Goes a Long Way By Rev. Mark Buetow


Have you ever heard someone say, “He’s all about himself?” or “She only think about herself?” “Looking out for Number One.” These are all just sayings that reflect the original sin and corruption we inherited from Adam. One of the phrases used to describe this state of being turned inward, focusing on ourselves, and putting ourselves above others is the Latin phrase incurvatus in se (in-coor-VAHT-oos in say). It means, literally, “curved inward on himself or herself.” It’s a shorthand way of describing what original sin does to us. It makes us turn inward— away from loving God and our neighbor. Now that sounds like a pretty good description of sinners. We love ourselves. We put ourselves first. But this doesn’t magically go away when we hear the Gospel and are made Christians. In fact, the Old Adam thinks he can play the religion game. And suddenly, our religion goes all incurvatus in se! Our faith and piety get all all inwardly turned. Our Old Adam loves to make religion about himself. Look how we pray! Look what we do for God! Look how much I love Jesus! See how good Jesus makes me feel! And so faith becomes something that gets twisted and aimed at ourselves, and we make our “being Christian” all about us. This is where we are rescued by Jesus in a way that is described by another little bit of Latin: extra nos (EX-tra nohs), which means “outside ourselves.” The Gospel, the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake, is outside of us. It doesn’t depend on us. It’s there and it’s true, whether we believe it or not, whether we can feel it or not, or whether we like it or not. Extra nos means that Jesus is the Son of God, no matter who you think you are. It means He died for you, no matter how good or bad you consider yourself to be. It means He rose for you, whether you are afraid of death or not. It means baptism, absolution, His Word and the Supper of His body and blood bestow forgiveness upon you whether you really feel like they do or not. Extra nos means that your salvation and standing before God are never

dependent on how much faith you have. They aren’t determined by how many sins you’ve committed. It’s not based on whether you feel happy or sad. It isn’t

about if it makes you feel good or not. It’s not attached to your attitude or even how much sleep you got. The extra nos of Jesus and His gifts means that you can rely on them even when you don’t feel like relying on them! There is a great example of what this all looks like in the Garden of Eden. Consider Eve. The serpent shows up to deceive her into thinking God is lying. Eve has the Word of God extra nos:“If you eat of it, you shall die.” That command/ promise of God doesn’t change whether she eats it or not. That Word is sure and certain. But Eve and then Adam chooses the incurvatus in se path. They look to themselves. What does Eve think? The fruit looks good; it’s good food and it will make her wise. Those are deductions that Eve makes based on her own heart and emotions and reason, and not based on God’s Word. The same thing happens with sin. We choose to do something only because it makes us feel good (because we’re turned inward, thinking only of ourselves) and not because of the clear Word of God extra nos that something is right or wrong. But it happens in our piety, too. We think some way of worshiping or being religious

that makes us feel good (because we’re turned inward, thinking only of ourselves) is better than something that doesn’t seem to get us excited or out of which we don’t “get something.” The answer to both is the extra nos Gospel. By the Word outside of us (in water, Word, body and blood), the Spirit works in us to turn us to Christ in repentance and faith and turn us toward our neighbor in love and service—like a spring, only an external force can unravel it. Let it go, and it snaps back into its coiled self. In the same way, the Word acts on us outside of ourselves, to crucify the Old curvedinward Adam and to bring forth that New Man upon whom is bestowed forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Now when someone says about you,“You’re only into yourself,” you can reply,“Well of course, because I’m incurvatus in se.” Then you say,“But extra nos, Christ counts me as His own. A sinner forgiven. And the Spirit is at work to keep turning me away from me and toward God and my neighbor.” Or if someone says,“You’ve got to feel like you’re changing and loving Jesus,” you can reply,“Well of course we think that. We’re incurvatus in se. But outside me is something that isn’t so fickle and changing and unstable. Outside of me is Christ and His baptism, Word, absolution and Supper. And those things don’t change. The promise they declare to me, that my sins are forgiven and I am the Lord’s, doesn’t change either.” When you say that, then it’s about Jesus and not about you. Besides, who doesn’t like to throw a little Latin into their conversation every once in awhile? Incurvatus in se means me and my love of me. And extra nos is about Jesus and His love for me. And without a doubt, it’s the extra nos that wins every time. Rev. Mark Buetow is pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in DuQuoin, Illinois and serves as Media Services Executive for Higher Things. He can be reached at buetowmt@gmail.com.

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One Hundred Percent Free— One Hundred Percent Servant

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“A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.1”

By Rev. George F. Borghardt

You don’t have to do the Law. You don’t.

You don’t have to obey the Ten Commandments. You aren’t even subject to them. There’s no test afterwards. There is no time when God will catch you on the last day and say, “Tsk-tsk, you missed one.”


Christ has fulfilled the Law for you. He took all the tests that God requires of you on your behalf. He turned in His assignment from God with your name on it. What God requires of you, Jesus did for you. What God wants you to do, the way God wants you to live, Jesus did in your place. Each step, each move He made. It was as if He said, “I’m doing this—not for me, but for you.” Check the Commandments. Read them. Mark them. Take them to heart. You’ll see for yourself what your Savior has done for you. In fact, looking at the Commandments, you’ll see what you’ve done in Christ. You did all of them in Christ—every last one of them! You didn’t miss even one in Jesus. There’s not a single commandment left for you to do. It’s like someone did your homework and took your tests, and you got the perfect grades. It’s like God has given you a snow day from the Law! No, it’s not “like” God has done these things, He actually has done them all for you in the Cross of Christ. There is no Law waiting around the next corner—no extra work hiding just out of sight. Jesus did it all. Every last commandment. Every last precept that God could come up with for you to do. Faith receives Jesus. Faith has everything because faith lays hold of Christ’s holy life and His sufferings and death. Faith hopes, loves, believes in nothing other than Christ’s cross alone. The Law has been perfectly done by Jesus’ holy life. That leaves you perfectly free. Completely free. Totally free! Christ is the end of the Law for those who have faith in Him. “There must be something for me to do.”“It can’t be that easy.”“If that were true then anyone could be saved.” These are those pesky objections we often hear or toss out there ourselves. Yes, yes, anyone could be saved. But many are not saved because they reject this very faith by trying to put themselves into the equation and do something for God.

God is pleased in Christ’s work alone, not your work. In fact, God doesn’t need you to do the Law. The Law can’t make you better in God’s eyes. In Baptism you have already been covered in Jesus before God. Now, there are some around you who could use you being so free as to be free for them. They could use you taking up the commandments, not to save yourself but for their sakes. They could use some love. They could use a break. They could use you serving them with some of Jesus’ cross-won forgiveness. Mom and Dad really need you to honor them. Your teachers and pastor could really use some respect, too. Your friends and neighbors need you to love them and give your life for them. Your girlfriend or boyfriend needs you to be chaste and decent. The people around you need you to respect their stuff and not take it from them. Your friends (and enemies) need you to defend them and speak well of them. And coveting? Nobody wants you wanting to have their stuff! Christ loved others. He put them first. He loved them more than He loved Himself. He loved you more than He loved Himself. He loved those around you, too. He gave up His life for all. He is Lord of all, and He served everyone. You are completely free, and you serve others...in Him. By faith in Christ, you have all that you need before God. You don’t need more works for God. You couldn’t get more works, even if you tried. How could you? You have Jesus’ works! Jesus has more works than you could ever do! He has works that He’s going to do through you for your neighbor.

Faith 1 Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 31: Luther’s works, vol. 31: Career of the Reformer I (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (344). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Rev. George F. Borghardt is currently the Conference and Deputy Executive for Higher Things but will begin his first term as President of the Board of Directors on May 1. He also serves as Senior Pastor at Zion Ev. Lutheran Church in McHenry, Illinois.

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The National March for Life inspired an estimated 500,000 pro-life marchers, including nearly 350 marchers from the LCMS identified by their bright green hats they received at the LCMS Life Conference.

Marching for Life with the LCMS By Megan Hammond

It wasn’t your normal day at the mall. At this mall—the National Mall in Washington, DC— more than half a half million people gathered on Friday, January 25, not to shop, but to march. I joined hundreds of Lutherans, including LCMS President Matthew Harrison, at the National March for Life. We united on behalf of the weak, the defenseless, and the unborn on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States. At the March for Life, I met people from all over the United States who made the trip to DC and braved the bone-chilling cold of that January day. We heard speakers from both political parties and many faiths, of whom shared a common cause: to preserve and protect God’s gift of life. Some were women who told us of the terrible regret they experienced following their choice to have an abortion; others shared stories of hope in the face of tragedy. One speaker I’ll never forget was a young man who was conceived as the result of rape. This young man’s mother courageously gave birth to him; he now speaks out to defend life, even “unwanted” life. As I listened to each story, I watched as the National Mall began to fill with people. It wasn’t just me and my fellow Lutherans. Soon we were surrounded by people standing shoulder to shoulder as far as my eyes could see. They were young, middle-aged, and old from almost every religion and nationality. Many were high school or college students who spoke about the devastating effects of abortion on our generation and carried signs like mine, “I am the pro-life generation.” After the speeches ended, we began to make our way toward the United States Supreme Court building—the site of the Roe

v. Wade decision forty years ago. We slowly and prayerfully walked past the museums and Senate office buildings along Constitution Avenue. As snow started to fall, we sang hymns like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,”“Beautiful Savior,” and “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” Our group included LCMS pastors, synod officials, and seminary professors, but most were concerned people like me and my mom who traveled a long way to march for life. During the two-hour walk to the steps of the Supreme Court, I could not stop thinking about the babies whose lives have been taken since losing their legal protection in 1973. Although the enormous crowd assembled for the march seemed almost infinite to me, I realized we were miniscule compared to the more than 55 million babies whose lives have ended since Roe v. Wade. The march concluded at the steps of the United States Supreme Court where we joined together in the Lord’s Prayer and silently prayed for an end to abortion. After we had a chance to thaw out, my mom and I joined my sisters (who work in DC) at the LCMS Life Conference, which was the first one ever. At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet fellow Lutherans, worship with them, and learn from

them. The conference speakers shared stories about their involvement in life issues: how Jesus’ love enables them to value and defend life from conception to natural death and how we can share God’s forgiveness with those who have had an abortion. My sister, Stephanie, who works for the United States Congress to promote and defend international religious freedom, spoke on a panel at the conference. She told us about cases of religious persecution happening around the world, how she has been involved and, most importantly, why she has been involved. “My faith has shaped my concern for human dignity,” Stephanie said. “All life has value.” That was the message I heard again and again throughout the March for Life and LCMS Life Conference: All life has value. Every single life is precious because it is precious to God. He creates human life in His image, He preserves life—and He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem and give eternal life to sinners like you and me. There is no life, not even one, beyond His love and care. My march for life may have started at the mall, but it won’t end there. I am praying that you will join me in Washington, DC next year as we march for life—all life—with the LCMS! To see more photos of the March for Life, the Life Conference, or learn about LCMS Life ministries, please visit www.lcms.org/life. Megan Hammond is a high school junior from Weldon Spring, Missouri. In college, she plans to continue advocating for life while pursuing a major in history and a minor in music. Megan also enjoys tennis, piano, choir, and duct-tape crafts. She can be reached at Megan@ hammond.net

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By Rev. Christian Tiews


Books and movies on angels, demons, exorcisms, and

the occult have been popular for years. Are supernatural things just a clever moneymaker, or are they really in the Bible—and thus to be taken seriously? Angels and Demons We do, in fact, find angels all throughout the Bible—whether as messengers in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), announcing to Mary that she would conceive our Lord and Savior (Luke 2), or at the empty tomb (Mark 16). In the Book of Revelation we even see whole armies of angels as warriors. What about demons? These are former angels who rebelled against God and, as punishment, were cast out of heaven (Luke 10:18). Demonic activity occurs throughout the New Testament (Matthew 8, Luke 10, Acts 19, Revelation 12, etc.). In fact, did you know that the casting out of demons is Jesus’ second most common miracle in the Gospels? The leader of the demons is Lucifer (Latin for “The Light Bearer”), also known as Morning Star (Isaiah 14:12), Apollyon (Revelation 9:11), Abaddon (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Revelation), a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), the Evil One (Matthew 13, John 17, Ephesians 6, etc.), or Satan (the accuser, all throughout Scripture). Being a former angel, Satan is only a creature. Therefore, he is not capable of producing anything original and he is not all-powerful and present everywhere as God is but he is a deceiver, tempter, and accuser. The Evil One is also a con artist, taking the good things of God and twisting them into evil. Some examples: Darwinian evolution is a counterfeit of creation. Works righteousness is a counterfeit of salvation through Christ alone. We find works righteousness in all religions except Christianity, with the claim that humans can “work” their way to God/heaven/ Nirvana, etc. Some counterfeits of the legitimate intimacy between husband and wife are fornication, pornography, and “gay marriage.” The Occult The occult (that is, the “hidden” supernatural activities of the Evil One and his demons) is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments (Exodus 7, Leviticus 19-20, Deuteronomy 18, Acts 8, 13, Galatians 5, etc.) and includes mediums, psychics, and necromancers (people who communicate with the spirit world and the dead), sorcery, black magic, etc. What does the Bible say about the occult? Hands off! Don’t mess with it! So you see, the Bible discusses the supernatural and thus it is quite real—not just a figment of Hollywood’s imagination. The problem is that our Western culture tends to hide its head in the sand and pretend that the supernatural is nothing more than myths and fables. But closing your eyes does

not make something go away. Interestingly, most cultures outside of Western civilization are very much aware of the supernatural. It is we—the “enlightened” people in Europe and North America—who have blinded ourselves to this unseen reality! So what’s behind all of this? Ephesians 6:12 reveals: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” This Bible passage, in addition to many others (2 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Timothy 1:18, Revelation 12:9, etc.), shows us that spiritual warfare is real. By the way, this line of thinking is also fully in line with Lutheran teaching: “If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and count on having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies” (Large Catechism III, 65). In fact, demons and evil spirits are still being cast out in the name of Jesus, except we now have a special word for it: exorcism. You Are Armed On the Cross and by the empty tomb our Lord defeated death and Satan—the deceiver, tempter, and accuser. Jesus Christ fights our spiritual battles for us in His “whole armor of God:” the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and prayer (Ephesians 6:10-19). All of these riches are embodied in the Means of Grace, which you regularly receive in the Divine Service. I don’t know about you, but knowing that spiritual warfare is real makes me want to receive Christ’s gifts and protection of Word and Sacrament all the more. These Means of Grace are my body armor, flak jacket, and IED-repelling Humvee in the spiritual war zone! So, DO NOT explore the things of Satan and meddle with Ouija boards, the occult, fortunetellers, psychics, etc. But DO make going to church regularly a life-long habit, DO receive the Sacrament regularly, read Scripture daily, and lead a “godly life” (1 Timothy 2:2). But most of all, remember that you do not have to fight against Satan, the tempter and accuser, and his demons, because the reality is that Jesus Christ has ALREADY won the war for you. And because Jesus has won, you have won as well!

S P R I N G

Rev. Christian C. Tiews serves as the associate pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He can be reached at RevTiews@glctulsa.org

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True Confession By Dr. C. Matthew Phillips

May I hear your confession? That may seem like an odd question.

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Most people who hear it would associate it with confessing sin to a pastor. However, Christ also calls believers to confess their faith to one another and the world (Matthew 10:32). St. Paul wrote that those who believe in Christ’s Word will also confess Him (Romans 10:8-11). Additionally, Lutherans learn the Apostles’ Creed as a confession of faith in their confirmation classes. While a confession of faith may take place spontaneously in response to hearing God’s Word, Christians have often made formal confessions of their faith, such as a public recitation of the Nicene Creed during the divine service. It is often during times of persecution or the growth of false teachings that the church has found it necessary to formulate its creeds and confessions. Therefore, it’s easy to see how during the Reformation, formal, written confessions of the faith became necessary again.


In the sixteenth century, Lutherans wrote significant public confessions of their faith. The most famous one is the Augsburg Confession. When the Reformation took place in the 1520s, it divided the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation politically. This empire consisted of principalities and free imperial cities in central Europe. Martin Luther lived in Wittenberg, which was part of a principality known as Electoral Saxony, a territory that is in eastern Germany today. Emperor Charles V gave Luther the opportunity to confess or deny his own teaching in 1521 at an imperial assembly known as the Diet of Worms. Here Luther defended his teaching as supported by God’s Word and refused to recant his previous writings critical of the papacy. You may recall that this is where his most well-known words were proclaimed, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Luther made this bold confession of his faith before powerful secular and church leaders. As a result of this action, Charles condemned Luther as a heretical outlaw and commanded all German princes to reject Luther and his teachings. However, Luther’s prince, Frederick the Wise, protected Luther and Electoral Saxony began the process of church reform. This profound theological reform led to social and political transformation. For example, when most priests and former monks and nuns began to marry, monasticism ceased to be a significant institution. City councils and localities enacted reforms related to social welfare and education that more closely reflected Lutheran doctrine and practice. Additionally, Luther and others reformed the late medieval liturgy to bring the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake back to the center of Christian worship. Wars against France and the Ottoman Turks forced Charles to delay any attempt to prosecute Luther and his political supporters throughout the 1520s. With Europe on the verge of invasion, Charles needed political allies more than condemned “heretics.” By 1526, Philip of Hesse and Albrecht, duke of Prussia, and some imperial cities had adopted and begun to implement the Lutheran Reformation. These leaders joined John the Steadfast of Saxony in a makeshift coalition of Lutheran rulers. John had become the Elector of Saxony after Frederick’s death in 1525. This Lutheran coalition staunchly resisted the Emperor’s plans to enforce his decree regarding Martin Luther at two imperial assemblies at Speyer in the late 1520s. By 1529, Charles and his brother, Ferdinand of Austria, had become increasingly frustrated with the religious and political divisions between Roman Catholic and Lutheran princes and

cities in the empire. Therefore, Charles commanded the Lutheran princes and cities to present an explanation of their faith and practices to him at a new imperial assembly. And so, John the Steadfast sought a theological statement from the Wittenberg theologians. In response to Elector John’s request, Dr. Luther and his colleagues wrote the Torgau Articles in March 1530. The Lutheran princes and theologians attended the imperial assembly at Augsburg in the spring and summer of 1530. Since Luther was an outlaw, he remained at Coburg Castle near the southern border of Electoral Saxony. This is where we see Philip Melanchthon lead the Lutheran theologians and become the primary author of the Augsburg Confession. He wrote and re-worked portions of the document until its official presentation to Charles on June 25, 1530. The original signers of this document included John the Steadfast and his son John Frederick (later called “the Magnanimous”), Philip of Hesse, George, margrave of Brandenburg, Duke Francis of Lüneburg, Wolfgang of Anhalt, and the leaders of Nuremberg and Reutlingen. These princes and civic magistrates risked their wealth, power, and very lives by signing this document. This Augsburg Confession contained 28 articles or statements concerning subjects related to the Christian faith. These included short explanations of the Lutheran teaching on the Triune God, original sin, Jesus Christ, justification by faith, pastors, sanctification, the church, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the absolution of sins, and the return of Christ. The Augsburg Confession soon became the basic foundation that defined what Lutherans believed, taught and confessed: the Good News that we are justified freely for Christ’s sake through faith alone, proclaimed loudly and clearly for all to hear. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to ask your pastor, if he hasn’t already, to conduct a study of the biblical foundation for the most significant articles of the Augsburg Confession. The more you know it, the more you can clearly communicate your Christ-focused confession to one another and the world. Dr. C. Matthew Phillips is Associate Professor of History at Concordia University, Nebraska. He teaches various courses related to world and European history. His research has focused on medieval monasticism and the Crusades. Additionally, he has scholarly interests in the Reformation and the writings and life of Martin Luther. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Higher Things. His blog is entitled, Historia et Memoria, and can be found at http://wp.cune.edu/matthewphillips/.

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Cost: $60 per person Includes admission and lunch at the Creation Museum; overnight and meals at the church. Teacher: Rev. Charles St-Onge RSVP: By registering online at www.higherthings.org/retreats Contact: Sara Smith, Director of Human Care humancare@stpaulcinci.org

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Where: St. Paul Lutheran Church 5433 Madison Road Cincinnati, OH

A Higher Things Youth Retreat

When: April 12-14, 2013

Sex is for Marriage. Jesus is for Sinners.

H I G H E R

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Science Serving God’s Word

A Higher Things Youth Retreat

Upcoming 2013 Higher Things Retreats

When: August 9-10, 2013 Where: Zion Lutheran Church 620 East 3rd Avenue Mitchell, SD Cost: $50 per person Teacher: Rev. Mark Buetow RSVP: By registering online at www.higherthings.org/retreats Contact: Pastor Thomas Brown tbrown80@gmail.com

Download registration forms or register online at www.higherthings.org/retreats.

If you’re interested in hosting a retreat in your area next fall, contact Sandra Ostapowich, Conference & Retreat Coordinator retreats@higherthings.org.


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Still need a VBS program for this summer?

Higher Things has just released its first-ever Vacation Bible School Curriculum!

Kids will learn FIVE Bible stories, the FOUR questions on Baptism from the Catechism, and FIVE hymns from the Lutheran Service Book...and have a great time while they do it!

This curriculum is ideal for family-style VBS and is scalable for kids of all ages. Lessons accommodate a variety of children’s learning styles and are reinforced with skits, music, games, crafts, and even snacks! Takehome pages encourage family devotions and traditional, pastor-led devotions open and close Vacation Bible School each day.

Download a preview and purchase the complete set of reproducible materials and MP3 files at higherthings.org/vbs .

00

. 5 7 $

From Above

HIGHER THINGS VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

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Purdue University July 9-12, 2013

West Lafayette, IN

Pacific Lutheran University July 16-19, 2013

Tacoma, WA

Jesus answered Nicodemus, “...unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.� (John 3:3)

University of Scranton June 25-28, 2013

Scranton, PA

Higher Things Conferences 2013

FROM

Visit

www.fromabove2013.org or email conferences@higherthings.org for more details.

You have been born of water. You have been born of the Spirit. You have been born From Above! You were born of God, born anew, born from above in the Baptismal Font. You are alive now, eternally alive, never to die ever again for you already died in Christ. As surely as He is risen from the dead, you will rise from the dead. In fact, you already have risen from the dead, by faith. Now, you live eternally From Above, in service to others, just as God in Christ has saved you.

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Christ, My Perfect Redeemer My Lord and God, so pure, so fair; you saved me from sin’s darkened snare; That pulls away my last cold breath, and ends in an eternal death. But only one, whose sinless face; could save our hopeless mortal race; Who died out of His own free will, who gave Himself for sinners to kill. He healed the lame, He cleansed the blind; He mended bodies and troubled minds; Christ preached about His Gospel, pure salvation His words did tell. He prayed to God, words full of dread, about the blood He was to shed; He remained steadfast tried and true, Christ knew of all he would go through. He was whipped and scorned and physically scarred; His body was torn and thoroughly marred; With burden He carried the splintered cross, weighed down with sin and all our loss. Christ bowed His head, he breathed His last; and on the earth was a deafening blast; He was buried in an earthen tomb; the earth felt lonely, icy gloom. When we are weak, Christ is strong; forgives our sin and makes right the wrong; For us He has a perfect love, for us He came from heaven above. On Easter morn the sun did rise, and beheld a glory before our eyes; Christ has risen from the grave, Christ the Victorious! Christ the Brave! Jesus ascending into shining clouds, anointed with majesty so loud; To Him is all the glory be, Christ now and for eternity!

By Cambria Joy Stame I am currently homeschooled in 8th grade. I am a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Danville, California, and I love to read, sing in choir, and write poetry.

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The Mighty One Above

The Living Christ

Jesse’s Rod and Lamb of God, and Son of Man and David’s Son, and Word made flesh and Prince of Peace, and Bread of Life and Great High Priest, and Jesus Savior, Christ and LORD are names of my Redeemer King.

Alive He was anointed for His grave; Alive He gives the firstfruits of His death: In bread and wine His body and His blood Deliver life before His dying breath.

MaryAnn Sundby Littleton, Co

Alive He keeps partakers of His gifts Who eat and drink His Supper worthily— Lord, keep us in this faith until our deaths Deliver us to immortality.

Poem reprinted with permission from The Holiest of Seasons: Poems and Pictures for Passiontide and Easter, © 2012 Kathryn Ann Hill. About the Author: Kathryn Ann Hill has published three books of Christian poetry. Two of them are available from lulu.com. You can email her at hillkathrynann@gmail.com.


Now Available for Nook, Kindle, and Other E-readers!

HIGHER THINGS

Reflections Higher Things is pleased to provide free daily devotions, called “Reflections,” for youth and their families. These Reflections are centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are based upon each day’s texts from the weekly readings in the one-year lectionary and from Luther’s Small Catechism. You can download and print a seasonal Reflections booklet, subscribe to the daily Reflections and receive them in your e-mail box or connect to an RSS Feed and Podcast by visiting: www. higherthings.org/reflections.html

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(PA) @ University of South Dakota @ University of Tennessee @ University of Tulsa (OK) @ University of Pittsburgh and Other Pittsburgh Area Colleges @ University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee @ University of Wisconsin—Superior @ University of Wyoming @ Valparaiso University (IN) @ Vanderbilt University (TN) @ Wright State University (OH)

@ Air Force Academy (CO) @ Ball State University (IN) @ Boise State University (ID) @ Brock University (Ontario) @ California Polytechnic State University @ Carthage College (WI) @ Central Michigan University @ Chico State University (CA) @ Colorado State University @ Cornell College (IA)

Christ On Campus

ather may I

?

By Heidi Bliese

Right now life feels a little like a childhood game I used to play

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called “Mother May I?” One person was “mother” and would stand at the end of a long sidewalk and grant requests for how far participants could move forward towards the finish line. My siblings and I enjoyed playing this game and did so all the time, but on occasion (probably more often than we’d like to admit) the frustration of the competition got the better of us and it ended in a not-so-pretty display of complaining that it “wasn’t fair” and “you were choosing a favorite.” As Christians, we can take a different approach and see it as “Father May I?” with the participants being God’s children spread out around Him on their journey to the finish line: Heaven.

In hard times, my sinful nature causes me to view this earthly life as a competition, and return to the views of my 6-year-old self who believes because I am not “winning” God doesn’t love me as much as He must love everyone else. Thanks to social media, comparing ourselves is fairly easy, for instead of only experiencing the joys and sorrows of our own lives, sites like Facebook allow us to now be a witness to every-day events in the lives of others whom we would classify as acquaintances, friends of friends, or even strangers. It is at these times that Satan starts to whisper lies

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Duluth @ University of Minnesota—Morris @ University of Minnesota—Twin Cities @ University of North Carolina—Greensboro @ University of North Dakota @ University of Northern Colorado @ University of Northern Iowa @ University of Oklahoma @ University of Pittsburgh


) @ Dickinson State University (ND) @ George Mason University @ Grand Valley State University and Calvin College (MI) @ Harvard University and Other Boston Area Colleges @ Indiana University @ Indiana State University @ Lake Superior State University (MI) @ Mississippi State University

times, continue to seek your heavenly Father in prayer, asking Him to give you peace and whisper the words of Psalm 46:10 into your heart, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Although it can sometimes be so easy to play the comparison game, God sees each one of us as individuals, and holds our lives in His loving and more than capable hands. He may not be granting you that one giant step that you’ve been waiting and longing for—but our loving Father will never deny you any kind of movement that takes you closer to Him. Whether it is a baby step in the form of a whispered thank you to Him, or a giant leap into His arms during your most desperate moments of prayer, God, our Heavenly Father, will always be there waiting with the promise of love, grace, and compassion. And you can be certain of that love and forgiveness by the sure promises of your baptism, His absolution, and His Supper. This message is so clearly stated in verse two of the hymn “Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me” which states, “Lord, when the tempest rages, I need not fear, for You, the Rock of Ages, are always near. Close by Your side abiding, I fear no foe, for when Your hand is guiding, in peace I go.” Heidi Bliese is a graduate student at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois and sometimes wishes she had never heard the word “thesis.” In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing scholarly articles and promoting a Christian worldview while debating social issues. You can email her with questions at Heidi. bliese@gmail.com.

Christ On Campus Is: @ The campus ministry arm of Higher Things @ Pastors and laity interested in confessional Lutheran campus ministry @ A growing and developing network of 113 campus ministry chapters @ A great source for campus ministry resources

Learn More About Our Chapters: http:// higherthings.org/campus

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@ North Carolina State University @ NW Oklahoma State University @ Pittsburg State University (KS) @ Rhode Island College and other RI Colleges @ Sam Houston State University (TX) @ San Francisco State University (CA) @ Slippery Rock State University (PA) @ South Dakota State University @ Stanford University (CA) @

of discontent into my heart, seeking to draw my attention away from the Father. But even as I am browsing someone’s status or pictures and am feeling unsure about my own future, something always happens in my life that awakens me to my sin of coveting and sends me running back to the Father. Instead of seeing myself in competition with those around me, I need to keep my eyes focused on my Lord and Savior, for “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). My life is unique and most importantly, every step has been planned by my Father, for “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19). Instead of viewing the events of others’ lives as a reason to lose contentment with my own, I strive to remember that the dreams I hold so dear to my heart and pray about every day were put there by Him, and He will fulfill them in His time. Some days will be harder than others, because we are human and will continue to sin (Romans 3:23). But after a long night of weeping, nothing is more comforting than returning to His word and reciting the words of Psalm 116:7, which states “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” And He has. It doesn’t take long to look around at my room, friends, and family, and be reminded that I have been blessed beyond measure. It is also a reminder of what our prayer life should look like; to have a humble heart in prayer is to remember that our Heavenly Father hears all prayers, and answers them, as we are reminded in 1 Peter 5:7, which states, “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” True, these answers may not always be what we want, but in the hardest of

Texas State University (TX) @ University of Arizona @ University of California—Berkeley @ University of Colorado @ University of Connecticut—Avery Point and other CT Colleges @ University of Illinois @ University of Iowa @ University of Louisville @ University of Minnesota


The Church Musician in You By Bethany Woelmer

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You know who you are: the musician

fervently practicing in your room when no one else is listening. The musician fighting to perfect those precious sounds and finding new ways to set them free. The musician whose talent is a bit rusty and unfortunately neglected, yet still there. There is something for every musician—a secret that we musicians must acknowledge.


And you, yes, you—the reader whose music skills are lacking and who are now considering turning the page with the assumption that this article provides no clear implications for your life whatsoever—you are part of the secret, too, so don’t feel left out! There is a musician inside each of you. You’ve been caught tapping your pencil in the library to the beat of the music streaming through your headphones. You’ve sung those famous pop songs in the shower, in the car, and in web-cam videos with friends. You’ve picked up a harmonica or ukulele to discover that inner voice of harmony and rhythm. Don’t deny it. You are a musician. And that’s a good thing! However, music is misused when the world teaches us its own theology apart from God’s Word. Too often are we swayed by the princes of this age and swept away with the passions of our flesh. Too often do we trust in the music that teaches us false notions apart from the truth and that honors selfworth apart from Christ. Too often do we neglect the beauty of music found in the liturgy and hymns that proclaim the words of Christ and carry them to our ears. And what about you, the well-known musician, seeking glory for yourself through your talents? What about you, the musician who would rather boldly sing in the car yet utter no song of praise in church? As sinners we develop pride through our efforts and glorify the means that help us attain self-gratification and accomplishment. As sinners we fall short of the glory of God by our vain measures to succeed, and we fail once again by satisfying ourselves instead of serving the neighbor. But here’s where the real secret comes out. There is a church musician inside every single one of you, struggling to be present in the community of believers centered around God’s Word. As God’s child, it is a natural response to sing about what He has done. When the Israelites safely crossed the Red Sea, they responded with a song of thanksgiving to God. Zachariah sang what is known as the “Benedictus,” and Mary sang what is known as the “Magnificat,” both of which proclaimed what God has done and continues to do for our salvation. The liturgy and hymns that present the Gospel to us also beckon us as God’s baptized children to sing the faith, whether we are a young child confessing “Jesus Loves Me this I Know,” or an adult seeking comfort in the words “Salvation Unto Us Has Come.” The Gospel comes to us extra nos, meaning “from outside of us,” just as music enters our ears to calm

our sadness and turn it into joy. Luther said that next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. It comes to us as a gift, just like the Gospel. Through faith, music is our prayer for peace, our bold confession, and our desperate plea for mercy that cries out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for our salvation, we are free to serve our neighbor in our many vocations. Just as God has given us the vocations in the workforce and at home, He has offered many possibilities in the church to use our talents for His glory and for our neighbor. As musicians, the possibilities are endless. We are free to bring out that dusty violin, warm up that glorious voice for the choir, ring some bells, or even utilize our keyboard skills to learn the organ. There is no stage or spotlight for musicians in the church. Our humble abode is in the back, from which God’s music is directed toward the message of Christ on the cross. Even if you are in the pew, you have the vocation to sing God’s Word that the musicians in the back, specifically the organist, do not always have the chance of singing. The words sung by the congregation of believers enter the ears of musicians and proclaim to them God’s love through Christ. We are all part of the Body of Christ, partaking in the gifts of God and singing as a witness in faith to one another. With the whole company of the heavenly host, we can join together with our voices and instruments, praising God and saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, God of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Hosanna in the highest.” May God bless you as you sing and play music to His Holy Name.

Bethany Woelmer is a freshman at Concordia University Wisconsin and is studying Parish Music. She can be reached at piano_1130@yahoo.com

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Trail I

made up a batch of trail mix the other day. Some peanuts, almonds and a few walnuts went in. A handful of dried cranberries and mangoes got tossed in, too. And, of course, some mini chocolate chips—because trail mix just isn’t trail mix without chocolate. When I set a dish of it on the table for my boys I got shouts of thanks.

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“Ooh! It’s trail mix. Thanks Mom!” “Oh, I want some.” “I get it after you!” And then…the picking began. One of them started picking out the cranberries. Another went after just the peanuts and chocolate chips. But the third child grabbed an entire handful, and I smiled.“Good,” I thought to myself,“He’s going to enjoy the complete goodness of the mix.” I watched as he opened his hand ready to pop the mix into his mouth. But he didn’t. He started to pick out the walnuts and toss them back into the dish! I shook my head in disbelief as I walked out of the room. There are people who view God’s Word as a trail mix. They sort through it, looking for the pieces that gratify them, bring them contentment, or speak to their current problem. They avoid the pieces that make them anxious, create doubt, or speak to their sin. Sometimes pieces of the Bible don’t mesh with their human reason. They cannot figure out how our entire world could be created in six days, so they don’t choose that piece. Or they can make no sense of how a virgin could give birth to a child, so they leave that piece alone, too. Other people go gung-ho after God’s Word, scouring it and taking it all in only to find that some of it doesn’t look so appetizing. “You shall not murder,” God’s Word tells us in Exodus. Yet their minds begin to reason that abortion is okay, or on the other hand, that a soldier killing in the line of duty is breaking this commandment. They read about the Lord’s acts of wrath in the Old Testament and wonder how a loving God could actually be that vengeful. The apostle Paul wrote many letters that make up much of the New Testament. They are full of good words for people today. But some people may begin to reason that since Paul was human, and full of flaws, his writing must also be flawed. Therefore, they feel they must be careful as they read it because it may not be beneficial as a whole.


Mix

By Jenny Sollberger

I can’t help but go to God’s Word because of this questioning. (After all, who has the most authority on the Word of God, but God Himself?) Paul writes “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) I picture this so vividly as God breathing the Holy Spirit into the men who sat, quills poised above their parchments, ready to write for Him. They write using their own words and style through which God the Holy Spirit specifically has chosen to work for the Christians to come. Verse 16 goes on to tell us that Scripture is “profitable for teaching (the imparting of knowledge), for reproof (the call to repentance), for correction (through the Word), and for training in righteousness (made righteous by God’s grace, we can live righteously).” All of Scripture is useful and beneficial to us. As I remember being taught when I was in elementary school, every word of the Bible is there for a reason. None of it is filler. It is all important. Christ tells us in John, while talking to the Jews who wanted to stone Him, that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). It doesn’t get any plainer than that. God’s Word is not to be picked apart or messed with in any way. And this is for our own good. In this world that is changing so quickly, isn’t it reassuring to know that God’s Word is true and unchanging? Isn’t it good to know that we can trust what He says? So grab God’s Word with both hands and indulge in all of its teachings. It is all beneficial; it is all needed. But know this: Questions will arise and when that happens we have a gift in our pastors. Ask your pastor those questions when you start to feel like reason is wrestling with your faith. On Sunday mornings, listen to your pastor preach God’s Word of Law and Gospel that may, at times, confuse you. Be ready for parts of that Word to cause pain as your sins are uncovered. But most importantly, be ready for the undeniable sweetness of the Gospel. As in that trail mix, the bitterness of the walnuts becomes much sweeter when enjoyed with the chocolate. And since the whole Bible, in all its parts, is about Jesus, who saves us from our sins by His death and resurrection, hearing the Scriptures is like downing a whole handful of trail mix and receiving all the taste and nutrition at once. “For you search the Scriptures that you may find eternal life, and these are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Jenny Sollberger lives near Omaha, Nebraska. She enjoys cooking and baking, writing, reading, and paper crafts. She and her husband, Rev. Jon Sollberger, have three boys and they all enjoy their trail mix. Her oldest informed her that he does not pick through his. “Creative license,” was her response. You can reach her at jennysollberger@hotmail.com.

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HIGHER THINGS

Current and Upcoming Board Members Cwirla

Borghardt

Fritsche

Loemker

Fisk

At its recent Summit meeting in Chicago, the Board of Directors elected Rev. George Borghardt to serve as President for the coming fiscal year, beginning May 1. Rev. Borghardt, Senior Pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in McHenry, Illinois, currently serves the organization as Conference Executive. He has served in this capacity since 2007. He succeeds Rev. William M. Cwirla, the current President, who will remain a Director on the Board. Rev. Cwirla had previously informed the Board that he did not wish to serve as an office for the remaining year of his term. Also at the meeting, Rev. Joel Fritsche was elected to a one-year term to complete the term vacated by the resignation of Rev. Jonathan Fisk. Mr. Chris Loemker and Chris Rosebrough were elected as Directors for three-year terms. Mr. Loemker was elected Treasurer, Rev. Fritsche, Secretary, and Rev. Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Vice-President.

Rosebrough

Fickenscher

Ostapowich

Pelligrini

Phillips

Sandra Ostapowich was appointed Conference Executive. She will maintain all current responsibilities of conference coordinator in addition to those of the conference executive. Officers of Higher Things are elected to one-year terms. Directors are elected to three-year terms for a maximum of six years. All elections and appointments begin May 1, 2013, the beginning of Higher Things’ fiscal year. The mission of Higher Things is to assist parents, congregations, and pastors in cultivating, encouraging and promoting a distinctively Lutheran identity among their youth and young adults. Join us this summer for From Above, our 2013 youth conference in Scranton, Pennsylvania (June 25-28), West Lafayette, Indiana (July 9-12) and Tacoma, Washington (July 16-19).

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Double Dare $25 Per Month or $250 Annually

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HT Online Subscription HT Online subscription HT Online subscription, and Dare to be Lutheran T-shirt Dare to be Lutheran T-shirt and Christ on Campus Care Package* All club members also receive a quarterly email newsletter with Higher Things news and notes. To join go online at www.higherthings.org/support and sign up or e-mail development@higherthings.org with questions. Welcome to the club!

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Catechism

The Table of Duties:

PASTORS & PEOPLE By Rev. William M. Cwirla

Life is ordered. Life is ordered because God is a God of order.

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Everything and everyone has a place. The Table of Duties in the Small Catechism deals with the three “holy orders,” the orderings into which God places us where we serve our neighbor in vocation: church, society, and home. These orderings are all covered by the 4th Commandment’s “parents and other authorities.”

The church is ordered. It’s not just a mob of believers. The church is ordered into those who preach and those who hear, pastors and people. Preachers without hearers are wasting their breath. Hearers without preachers have nothing to hear. Preachers and hearers each have their duties and responsibilities to one another.


Pastors have a duty to be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2-4). That doesn’t mean “perfect” or sinless. Only Christ is sinless, and we are sinless only in Christ. It means having a good reputation. The pastor’s house tends to be made of glass. Everyone watches what the pastor and his family, including his kids, are doing. And so it makes good common sense that a pastor should have his life and household in order—be faithful to his wife, a good father to his children, and not a drunkard or brawler or someone who is greedy. A pastor also needs to be able to teach, judge doctrine and protect his people from false theology (Titus 1:9). That means training, study, and practice. Your pastor probably has a similar education and training to your doctor. Bad doctoring can only mess with your temporal life. The worst it can do is kill you. Bad pastoring can mess up your eternal life. That’s why pastors need to know the Word of God and how to apply it rightly as Law and Gospel. This is also why the church isn’t quick to ordain new converts (1 Timothy 3:6). The right application of Law and Gospel is taught by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience, according to C. F. W. Walther, the first president of the Missouri Synod. That is profoundly true. One mistake that many people make is to think that pastors are held to a higher standard than ordinary Christians. That’s not really true. Pastors are simply called to reflect how every Christian ought to live. This is especially true in view of the fact that we all are justified sinners, at the same time sinner and saint. Pastors do best when they model a real life of repentance as justified sinners rather than pretending to be flawless plaster saints. At the same time, every pastor realizes that he holds an office that does not belong to him but to the Lord. He is reminded of that every time he absolves “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ.” He is a man “under orders.” Just as we expect the president of our country or the governor of our state to behave in a way that dignifies their office and honors our country, so we expect pastors to conduct their lives in a way that brings honor to Jesus Christ and His Church. What about the hearers—the members of the congregation? What do they owe their pastors? First of all, hearers owe their pastors a living (1 Corinthians 9:14). Somehow we’ve gotten the crazy idea that it isn’t “spiritual” or “sincere” if we get paid to do something. Nonsense! “The worker deserves his wages.” Even the ox that treads the grain gets to snack on it (1 Timothy 5:17-18)! So don’t muzzle that ox of a preacher the Lord sent you. And make sure he can feed his family!

Besides providing a fair living, hearers have a duty to respect and honor their pastors because of the office. Respect is not earned. It comes with the office. Pastors represent Christ before the congregation and speak the words of Christ into your ears. “He who hears you, hears me,” Jesus said of those He had sent (Luke 10:16). For this reason alone, pastors ought to be respected. When we disrespect those who hold an office, whether in church or state or home, we dishonor God whose authority upholds the office they hold. Obedience is part of respect and honor. “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority” (Hebrews 13:17). That’s talking about pastors, not government leaders. Pastors must give an account to the Lord of the church for their care and oversight. That’s why pastors can be grumpy at times. Or they seem to say “no” all the time. It’s not that they want to take away all the fun, but they have a deeper concern than your happiness—your salvation. Your doctor may not always make you happy, but he has your health in mind. Your pastor may not always make you happy and tell you what you want to hear, but he has your eternal salvation in mind. This doesn’t mean we must blindly obey pastors in everything they say, and pastors do say a lot. Certainly when they are proclaiming God’s Word, we must hear and obey it. And when they contradict God’s Word, they need to be called on it. Respectfully. But it’s good to yield to the pastor’s opinion sometimes, simply for the sake of peace and order. He is an “overseer:” one who watches over things, looks at the big picture, and sees not only the trees but the forest. Each of us tends to look at things through our own individual experiences and needs. The pastor sees things in a bigger and broader context—congregation, synod, the whole Christian church. Cut him a little slack and make his work a joy instead of a burden. It will go better for everyone. The best way for pastors and people to keep all this straight is to keep Jesus in the middle of it all. It’s His church and it’s His ministry. And we, as Christ’s baptized believers, are on the receiving end of His gifts. Rev. William M. Cwirla is the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, California, and is currently President of Higher Things but will serve as a director on the board as of May 1. He can be reached at wcwirla@gmail.com.

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incurvatus in se (A Little Bit of Latin Goes a Long Way) A Higher Things Bible Study • Spring 2013 INTRODUCTION: The article contrasts the way in which sin “curves us inward”as we make ourselves gods and worship ourselves in selfishness with the “outside of us” unchanging promises of Christ’s forgiveness. The Latin terms are “shorthand” for easily referring to the effects of sin and the rock-solid nature of Christ’s Word and promises.

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. What do the phrases “incurvatus in se” and “extra nos” mean?

. Read Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; and Isaiah 64:6. How do these verses describe the condition of sinful man? . How do the descriptions given by those passages above contrast with the way the world thinks of people in terms of good or evil?

4

. Read the story of the serpent tempting Eve in Genesis 3:1-6. What does Eve’s “heart” tell her? What does God’s Word tell her?

5

. Read the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11:39-40. What had happened to Lazarus? What was there in Lazarus that could respond or turn Himself toward Jesus? What is it that raises him from the dead?

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. Read Ephesians 2:1-9. How does Paul describe us before the Gospel came to us? How are we saved and raised from the death of sin? How do these verses describe the “incurvatus in se” and the “extra nos” of the Gospel? . How does Christ overcome our curved inwardness? See Philippians 2:5-11.

. Read Galatians 4:19-25. What does our curved inwardness do to us? How is this overcome by the Spirit?

9 10

. How do we battle this tendency to look inward? . Close by singing or praying LSB #569, “In Adam We Have All Been One.”

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True Confession A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 Introduction: Dr. Phillips’ article gives a brief history of the events leading up to the presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession was a document which declared, on the basis of the Bible, what the Lutherans believed and taught. It was a “confession,” that is, a declaration of belief that was read before the Emperor and the representatives of the Pope. It publicly declared the faith of the Reformers. If possible, review the article and the main historical points. Perhaps invite your pastor to tell the story of the Augsburg Confession briefly. 1. We think of “confession” as being something you do with your sins. But “confession” also has another meaning. What does “confess” mean in Matthew 10:32-34. What does such a confession bring? The word “confess” literally means “to say the same thing as” (from the Latin; Greek is homologeo, to ‘say the same.) When we confess our sins, we are saying what God says about them: that we have them and need forgiveness. When we confess the faith, we are saying what God’s Word says about what we believe: about who God is, what Christ has done for us, and how we receive His gifts in the church. Thus the Augsburg Confession is a document saying what we believe as the Bible teaches. When one gets serious about confessing this truth, the result is division and conflict. The world hates Christ and doesn’t want us to take His Word seriously. Thus those who presented the Augsburg Confession were attacked and thought to be heretics. Just like standing up for the Word of God today leads to mockery and even persecution. 2. Article IV of the Augsburg Confession reads: Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strengths, merits, or works. People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight. Why do you think this has been called “the article upon which the church stands or falls?” Over and over the Augsburg Confession speaks and declares Christ: Who He is and what He has done for us. If Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners, and the free bestowal of that forgiveness upon us in the Word and Sacraments is not the center, the entire faith collapses. When Christ is no longer the center, when salvation is no longer a gift, then there is nothing that distinguishes the Christian faith from any other religion teaching steps for us to reach God. But the distinct and unique center of the Christian faith is Christ, who freely forgives sinners on account of His death and resurrection, giving His salvation as a gift.


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3. How does a confession help us to differentiate between truth and false teaching? See 1 John 4:1-3. What are some other confessions of faith that we use? A confession or creed states the same as God’s Word. Therefore if something doesn’t match up with the Augsburg Confession, for example, it won’t match up with the Scriptures. This is true of all of the documents in the Lutheran Book of Concord (such as the Small Catechism) and the Ecumenical Creeds (The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian). These confessions are summaries or “Spark’s Notes” which summarize what God’s Word teaches. They aren’t in place of God’s Word but since they simply restate what the Bible says, we can quickly “test the spirits” by putting a teaching against our creeds and confessions and thus see whether it matches with God’s Word or not. 4. Read Psalm 119:46. Is this a big deal or not? Can you give any examples from history? Answers will vary but there are always times and places where Christians confess Christ and His Word and promises. Often it is before the rulers of this world who then love to demonstrate their power in persecuting and causing suffering to God’s people. Some examples include: Christians refusing to burn incense to the Roman emperors; Christians refusing to convert to the Muslim religion; Luther before the emperor; Christians in countries where religion is persecuted and outlawed, etc. 5. How do Peter and John confess before the religious leaders? See Acts 4:1-13. What are the results of this confession? Peter and John speak only what they have seen and heard, namely the things of Jesus. One result is that the faith is spread because of this testimony and preaching, through which the Holy Spirit worked faith in those who heard it. The other result was hard hearts which sought to stop this preaching. 6. What is the central point of the confession that Peter and John made? How is this like the Lutheran Augsburg Confession? They direct everything to the point of salvation, saying there is no other salvation than in the Name of Jesus. The Augsburg Confession does the same thing in directing everything to be centered in Christ. All of our faith and teaching and life is in and from and through Jesus Christ. Anything that does not have Jesus as its center and foundation is not a true Christian confession. 7. Read Revelation 12:9-11. What is the end of those who confess Christ? What can the devil do to them? Satan has no power over those who have been given Christ’s Word. Their confession of faith may lead to their death but not even that stops them. The Holy Spirit works in them to speak the truth


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and they receive an everlasting crown of righteousness. Their reward, their gift, is Christ, who is with them while they live and gives them life when they die. Nothing can harm them. 8. What are ways we might use the Augsburg Confession to be our confession to others? The Augsburg Confession, even though it is several hundred years old, teaches simply what Lutheran believe on the basis of the Bible. It is worth studying in its own right to see what it is that we believe as Lutherans. It is also worth using as a sort of quick reference to share with others what the central teachings of the Christian faith are. In short, the Augsburg Confession is a great resource for showing Jesus to people and showing how all the Scriptures are about Christ for sinners. 9. Close by reading or singing LSB #585, “Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide.�


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True Confession A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 Introduction: Dr. Phillips’ article gives a brief history of the events leading up to the presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession was a document which declared, on the basis of the Bible, what the Lutherans believed and taught. It was a “confession,” that is, a declaration of belief that was read before the Emperor and the representatives of the Pope. It publicly declared the faith of the Reformers. If possible, review the article and the main historical points. Perhaps invite your pastor to tell the story of the Augsburg Confession briefly. 1. We think of “confession” as being something you do with your sins. But “confession” also has another meaning. What does “confess” mean in Matthew 10:32-34. What does such a confession bring?

2. Article IV of the Augsburg Confession reads: Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strengths, merits, or works. People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight. Why do you think this has been called “the article upon which the church stands or falls?”

3. How does a confession help us to differentiate between truth and false teaching? See 1 John 4:1-3. What are some other confessions of faith that we use?

4. Read Psalm 119:46. Is this a big deal or not? Can you give any examples from history?


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5. How do Peter and John confess before the religious leaders? See Acts 4:1-13. What are the results of this confession?

6. What is the central point of the confession that Peter and John made? How is this like the Lutheran Augsburg Confession?

7. Read Revelation 12:9-11. What is the end of those who confess Christ? What can the devil do to them?

8. What are ways we might use the Augsburg Confession to be our confession to others?

9. Close by reading or singing LSB #585, “Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide.�


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100% Free--100% Servant A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 Introduction: Pastor Borghardt’s article lays out the case that Martin Luther makes in “The Freedom of a Christian.” Put simply, Luther reminds us that when it comes to God, the Law is taken care of. We are free and have kept all things in Christ. Thus we are 100% free. When it comes to our neighbor, however, the Law teaches us the works they need us to do for them. Thus we are 100% their servants. In other words, before God, we make no mention of the Law but for our neighbor we consider the Law to point us to good works for them. 1. Is it necessary to keep the Ten Commandments? Answers will vary but a good follow up question is, “Are we talking about for God or for others?” As far as God is concerned, we have kept all the commandments, because Christ has kept them all. As far as our neighbor is concerned, there are many good things they need us to do to help them. 2. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. What place do good works (keeping the Law) have before God? For others? Paul makes crystal clear that our salvation is NOT because of anything we do. Keeping or trying to keep the commandments will not save us. But, in saving us purely by grace, the Lord has, through the commandments, given us good works to do for the sake of others. As far as God is concerned, “not of works;” as far as our neighbor is concerned, “good works prepared in advance for us to do.” 3. In Galatians 3:16-27, how does Paul say the promise of salvation comes to us? How does it not come to us? Then what good is the Law? Salvation comes through a promise. God promises it and we receive it. We don’t do anything to deserve or earn it. Salvation and eternal life are a gift (the “inheritance.”) The concrete tie-in is made with baptism, by which this promise becomes ours. The Law’s purpose is to show us our sins and to confine us, showing us that we cannot live as God demands and thus we need a Savior. 4. What does Jesus say about the Law in Matthew 5:17-20? Who can keep the Law? It’s not that the commandments are done away with. The fact is, in our sin, we don’t keep them. But someone keeps them and that someone is Christ. He perfectly keeps and fulfills all the Law and Commandments and part of our salvation is that His keeping them is counted to us as if we have kept them.


5. What does the Lord mean in Hosea 5:6, repeated in Matthew 12:1-8? Who is the Law for? The Lord teaches us that doing things for Him is useless. He needs nothing from us. Rather, our calling is to have mercy upon others, forgiving their sins and helping them as our vocations and callings suggest. Against the Pharisees, Jesus taught that the Law wasn’t given for them to obey and impress God but for the sake of their neighbors, to help and bless them. 6. Expanding on the example of the Sabbath, consider Deuteronomy 5:13-15 and Colossians 2:16-17. How is this Law explained? Contrast what these passages are saying with respect to God and to neighbor. Clearly it is not for the Lord’s sake that He commands the Sabbath. Our resting is not what makes a day holy or not (His Word does that). Likewise, our resting doesn’t prove anything to God or to anyone else. But taking a day to rest is good for our neighbor. In Jesus’ day, careful observance of the Sabbath and its traditions showed a certain piety and holiness. 7. Read Mark 7:7-13. How is the fourth commandment misused and what is it for? How does this show the distinction between being free of the Law yet servants of others? The Pharisees taught that it was better to do something ‘religious’ rather than something that would serve the neighbor. If you used money you were going to use to care for your parents for a religious gift instead, they considered that more holy. But that’s the opposite of what Christ teaches. God doesn’t need the money. He doesn’t need us to honor our father and mother. But our father and mother do! They need our honor, respect, love and help. 8. How is it that we benefit from Christ’s keeping the Law and likewise learn to serve and love our neighbor? See Galatians 2:20-21 and Galatians 5:18-25. How are these tied together in Christ? Christ lives in us. Therefore all that He has done, we have done. All that we have not done, has been forgiven in Him. And since He dwells in us, whatever good works we do are done by Him in and through us. The blessings and good works we offer our neighbor come as fruits of the Spirit who grows them in us through His gifts, namely, baptism, absolution, the Gospel and the Supper. To put it another way: if we want to do more good works, we need more forgiveness for our sins and more Spirit and Jesus in us. So that’s more of Jesus’ gifts of Word and Sacrament by which He lives in and through us to do these things. 9. Close with the following prayer, the Post-Communion collect, noting the emphasized words which teach us of our being free in Christ and servants to our neighbors: We give thanks to You, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through this salutary gift [of your Son’s body and blood]. And we implore you that of your mercy you would strengthen us through the same in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one


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another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (LSB 166)


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100% Free--100% Servant A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 Introduction: Pastor Borghardt’s article lays out the case that Martin Luther makes in “The Freedom of a Christian.” Put simply, Luther reminds us that when it comes to God, the Law is taken care of. We are free and have kept all things in Christ. Thus we are 100% free. When it comes to our neighbor, however, the Law teaches us the works they need us to do for them. Thus we are 100% their servants. In other words, before God, we make no mention of the Law but for our neighbor we consider the Law to point us to good works for them. 1. Is it necessary to keep the Ten Commandments?

2. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. What place do good works (keeping the Law) have before God? For others?

3. In Galatians 3:16-27, how does Paul say the promise of salvation comes to us? How does it not come to us? Then what good is the Law?

4. What does Jesus say about the Law in Matthew 5:17-20? Who can keep the Law?


5. What does the Lord mean in Hosea 5:6, repeated in Matthew 12:1-8? Who is the Law for?

6. Expanding on the example of the Sabbath, consider Deuteronomy 5:13-15 and Colossians 2:16-17. How is this Law explained? Contrast what these passages are saying with respect to God and to neighbor.

7. Read Mark 7:7-13. How is the fourth commandment misused and what is it for? How does this show the distinction between being free of the Law yet servants of others?

8. How is it that we benefit from Christ’s keeping the Law and likewise learn to serve and love our neighbor? See Galatians 2:20-21 and Galatians 5:18-25. How are these tied together in Christ?


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9. Close with the following prayer, the Post-Communion collect, noting the emphasized words which teach us of our being free in Christ and servants to our neighbors: We give thanks to You, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through this salutary gift [of your Son’s body and blood]. And we implore you that of your mercy you would strengthen us through the same in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (LSB 166)


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Incurvatus In Se (A Little Bit of Latin Goes a Long Way) A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 INTRODUCTION: The article contrasts the way in which sin “curves us inward”as we make ourselves gods and worship ourselves in selfishness with the “outside of us” unchanging promises of Christ's forgiveness. The Latin terms are “shorthand” for easily referring to the effects of sin and the rock-solid nature of Christ's Word and promises. 1. What do the phrases “incurvatus in se” and “extra nos” mean? Incurvatus in se means “curved inward on oneself.” It is a description of the effect of original sin upon us, turning us away from loving God and loving our neighbor to loving ourselves. Extra nos means “outside of us” and refers to the fact that Christ's promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation are not dependent on anything in us but are completely sure and certain because they are Christ's promises. 2. Read Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; and Isaiah 64:6. How do these verses describe the condition of sinful man? Each of these passages points to the same destruction of the image of God within us. We are turned inward and there is no one who is not born selfish and turned away from God. Not our thoughts, nor our hearts, nor even the things we do or we think are righteous are clean or acceptable in God's sight. All of our thoughts, words and deeds are ruined by sin. 3. How do the descriptions given by those passages above contrast with the way the world thinks of people in terms of good or evil? Many people say that “people are basically good.” Most who hear these passages don't realize or recognize how truly and deeply sin has corrupted them. They MIGHT suppose there are some people who are truly that evil but it's probably not them. Our inclination, since we are turned inward, is to see ourselves as not too bad, at least compared to others. 4. Read the story of the serpent tempting Eve in Genesis 3:1-6. What does Eve's “heart” tell her? What does God's Word tell her? The contrast, as pointed out in the article, is between the Word of God, which is true whether Eve believes it or not (extra nos) and the way in which Eve evaluates her decision not on the basis of God's Word but of the way in which the fruit looks, or might taste, or might make her wise. In other words, Eve bases her decision on what's in HER rather than in God's Word OUTSIDE of her. 5. Read the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11:39-40. What had happened to Lazarus? What was there in Lazarus that could respond or turn Himself toward Jesus? What is it that raises him from the dead?


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Lazarus is dead. Jesus, instead of going to heal him, had waited, so He could show His disciples His glory. Thus Lazarus, being a corpse, had nothing to respond to Jesus. He can't respond. He's dead! But the Word of Jesus, outside of Lazarus, outside of the tomb, not dependent on Lazarus or his faith or anything like that, does what it says and raises him from the dead. 6. Read Ephesians 2:1-9. How does Paul describe us before the Gospel came to us? How are we saved and raised from the death of sin? How do these verses describe the “incurvatus in se” and the “extra nos” of the Gospel? Paul pulls no punches in describing how we have lived in the lusts of our flesh and were objects of God's wrath. But the Good News of Christ, bestowed on us by God's love rescued us from ourselves and our sin and saved us. The passage is explicit that our salvation is by grace, and there is nothing we do or contribute to it. Our salvation is “extra nos,” outside of us. It isn't dependent upon us. We don't deserve it, can't earn it, can't qualify for it. It is given without strings attached or conditions. It is given freely, as a gift. The Old Adam doesn't understand this because he only thinks of Himself. 7. How does Christ overcome our curved inwardness? See Philippians 2:5-11. Unlike us, who always look to ourselves, Jesus puts others first. The world, in fact, as even though He is God, He comes to us as servant, putting Himself below everyone else to bear our sins and rescue us from them. Jesus' work of redeeming us is a fact that is good for all people of all ages. In the end, all people will look away from themselves and behold Christ as the Lord. 8. Read Galatians 4:19-25. What does our curved inwardness do to us? How is this overcome by the Spirit? The “curved inwardness” is called the “works of the flesh,” our sinful nature. But the Spirit works in us through the Word to bring forth fruits which glorify God and serve our neighbor. 9. How do we battle this tendency to look inward? There is no “self help” program that will fix our sinful nature. It must be drowned and die with all sinful desires. That's the baptismal life. That is the life lived in confessing our sins and hearing the absolution, remembering the gifts given in Baptism and receiving the “extra nos” Jesus into us through His body and blood in His Supper. The gifts “outside of us” work in us to crucify and put to death that inward looking Old Adam and giving us new life in Christ. 10. Close by singing or praying LSB #569, “In Adam We Have All Been One.”


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Incurvatus In Se (A Little Bit of Latin Goes a Long Way) A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 INTRODUCTION: The article contrasts the way in which sin “curves us inward”as we make ourselves gods and worship ourselves in selfishness with the “outside of us” unchanging promises of Christ's forgiveness. The Latin terms are “shorthand” for easily referring to the effects of sin and the rock-solid nature of Christ's Word and promises. 1. What do the phrases “incurvatus in se” and “extra nos” mean?

2. Read Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; and Isaiah 64:6. How do these verses describe the condition of sinful man?

3. How do the descriptions given by those passages above contrast with the way the world thinks of people in terms of good or evil?

4. Read the story of the serpent tempting Eve in Genesis 3:1-6. What does Eve's “heart” tell her? What does God's Word tell her?

5. Read the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11:39-40. What had happened to Lazarus? What was there in Lazarus that could respond or turn Himself toward Jesus? What is it that raises him from the dead?


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6. Read Ephesians 2:1-9. How does Paul describe us before the Gospel came to us? How are we saved and raised from the death of sin? How do these verses describe the “incurvatus in se” and the “extra nos” of the Gospel?

7. How does Christ overcome our curved inwardness? See Philippians 2:5-11.

8. Read Galatians 4:19-25. What does our curved inwardness do to us? How is this overcome by the Spirit?

9. How do we battle this tendency to look inward?

10. Close by singing or praying LSB #569, “In Adam We Have All Been One.”


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Marching for Life with the LCMS A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 1. Although this passage above was spoken in its original context to the prophet Jeremiah, how does it apply the care and compassion God provides in sustaining all human life?

Just as God cared for Jeremiah and formed him in the womb so, too, He knows all people who are born from the moment of conception, and if we take the Psalms seriously, even before then (Psalm 139:16). Although these words specifically apply to Jeremiah’s in utero ordination to be a prophet, all Christians can rejoice in the fact that they, too, have been consecrated in a second birth, known as Holy Baptism (John 3). And when it comes to God’s care of life, He is greatly concerned and cares for all life, especially the unborn and defenseless among us.

2. Using your Small Catechism, what commandment is chiefly concerned with protecting God’s gift of life?

In the explanation to the 5th commandment we hear: “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need. Abortion – not to mention many other pro-life concerns – harms and hurts our unborn neighbors in the worst way, by ending their life. Scientifically speaking, the unborn are human from conception. This is a biological – in addition to being a theological – fact of importance for our pro-life involvement. “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”1 As Christians we should have the utmost concern for God’s gift of life, especially when that life – no matter what age – is being threatened with violence and harm. Here in this commandment God protects His gift of life and calls us to do the same in our daily lives for the sake of our neighbor.

3. Ms. Hammond notes in her article that the National March for Life included Lutherans and a number of other Christians. Why is it good for Lutherans to participate in events such as the National March for Life? Are pro-life issues only a concern for Christians?

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason, Precious Unborn Human Persons, p. 7. Available at www.str.org along with other prolife resources. Also of note a book by Scott Klusendorf, Pro-Life 101: A Ste-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively. 1


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As implicitly mentioned in the previous answer, pro-life issues are also common to people outside Christianity. This is not merely a Christian issue, but an issue for all people. In fact there are many good arguments that are applicable for conversations outside of Christian circles where citing Biblical support may not always be well received. Furthermore, it is good for Lutheran Christians to be involved with other Christians in this area where common work can be done without compromising the Gospel. In participating in pro-life groups and rallies, such as the National March for Life, Lutherans are voicing their concern for and publicly acting on behalf of their neighbors.

4. At the National March for Life, several hymns were sung by the Lutheran attendees. Look at each of the three hymns mentioned in the article ("A Mighty Fortress," "Beautiful Savior," and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives"). What particular phrases would be of comfort for someone who has had an abortion or would be helpful for someone who concerned with pro-life issues?

Answers may vary depending on the hymn(s) chosen for further study. The important thing for the Bible study leader is to ask why the particular phrase is comforting or helpful. This will allow for the content and motivation behind the comments to be discussed and taught more clearly.

5. The Lord’s Prayer includes several petitions that would be appropriately applied in pro-life concerns. What would those petitions be and how do they communicate both Law and Gospel?

Given enough time and explanation, each of the seven petitions could find application in both Law and Gospel for pro-life issues. However, the 5th, 6th, and 7th petitions in particular narrow the focus on repentance and forgiveness, protection against temptation, and deliverance from evil. Certainly abortion is a sin – personally for those afflicted by it and nationally for all of us. But we dare not leave the issue in the Law. Yes, abortion kills. But Jesus forgives. He was killed for our offenses and put to death to deliver us from our trespasses. Similarly, many are tempted to go through with abortion, ignore the problems of abortion, or be tempted by guilt over past sins such as abortion. We pray in this petition that our Lord would protect all people from these temptations of the devil and replace his lies with Christ’s word of promise and truth. And finally, we pray that the Lord would deliver us from the evil of abortion, especially people we may know who are struggling with this issue and the weight of misery it has wrought.

6. Ms. Hammond rightly noted that the Scriptures inform our Christian faith – certainly in terms of doctrine – but also in terms of the way Christians view our daily life and the lives of those around us. Where in the Bible do we learn that life is intrinsically valuable to God?

Certainly we learned this earlier from the Jeremiah 1:5 passage. Read also Psalm 139 together as a group. What does this Psalm say about God’s gift of life? Consider many of the other “creation” psalms: 8, 9, 104. The birth narratives of John and Jesus in Luke 1-2 also are highly informative for the biblical world view of life inside the womb, namely, that from the moment of conception we are human


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beings. Simply because there is a difference in size, location, environment and development between a human being inside the womb and outside does not mean that the child is less than a human being. No doubt there are numerous other examples in the Scriptures, consider especially the way the OT patriarchs treat their children (contrasted with the surrounding pagan cultures) in light of God’s promise to Abraham.


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Marching for Life with the LCMS A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 1. Although this passage above was spoken in its original context to the prophet Jeremiah, how does it apply the care and compassion God provides in sustaining all human life?

2. Using your Small Catechism, what commandment is chiefly concerned with protecting God’s gift of life?

3. Ms. Hammond notes in her article that the National March for Life included Lutherans and a number of other Christians. Why is it good for Lutherans to participate in events such as the National March for Life? Are pro-life issues only a concern for Christians?


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4. At the National March for Life, several hymns were sung by the Lutheran attendees. Look at each of the three hymns mentioned in the article ("A Mighty Fortress," "Beautiful Savior," and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives"). What particular phrases would be of comfort for someone who has had an abortion or would be helpful for someone who concerned with pro-life issues?

5. The Lord’s Prayer includes several petitions that would be appropriately applied in pro-life concerns. What would those petitions be and how do they communicate both Law and Gospel?


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6. Ms. Hammond rightly noted that the Scriptures inform our Christian faith – certainly in terms of doctrine – but also in terms of the way Christians view our daily life and the lives of those around us. Where in the Bible do we learn that life is intrinsically valuable to God?


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The Occult-Hollywood or Holy War? A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” -

C.S. Lewis, Preface to The Screwtape Letters 1

1. Pastor Tiews listed several Scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments where we learn about angels. Based on the Biblical teaching, what part of the Creeds – both the Apostles’ and Nicene) most clearly confesses the reality of angels? See Colossians 1:15-20.

In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that God is the maker of all things in heaven and earth. This includes the angels, or as we confess in the Nicene Creed, that God created all thins visible and invisible. The Small Catechism also includes several questions and answers on the Biblical teaching of angels in the back part of the Catechism.

Colossians 1:15-20 cites not only the creation of visible and invisible powers and authorities. But most importantly, identifies the angels as under the authority of the Crucified and Risen Christ. This means that even demons – fallen angels – are under Christ’s control, as we witness in numerous events during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

2. One of the responsibilities God gave to his angels is that of messenger. In fact, that’s what the word angel means in the Bible: messenger. How does this definition and title also describe what angels are given to do by the Lord? What are some places in Scripture we read about angels and their work as messengers? What kinds of messages are the angels sent to deliver?

Often times in the OT and NT one’s name corresponds to their vocation – or calling – by the Lord. For example, Christ means anointed one; He is the one anointed – or chosen – by the Father to die for the sins of the world. So too with the name and title of angel, they are messengers and mouthpieces of the Lord, much like the prophets in that regard. They are sent to communicate and deliver a variety of messages. We hear about angels in places such as Genesis 19, Luke 2, Mark 16 among many others. In these passages, angels are messengers of warning, promise, and joy. Encourage participants to search the Scriptures for other examples of angels and the message they were sent to deliver. It’s remarkable to see how pivotal a role angels play in some of the chief salvation events in the OT and NT.

1

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, MacMillian Publishing Co., 1961, p. 3.


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3. In addition to angels who serve the Lord, the Scripture also warns us about fallen angels – often called demons – who rebelled against God, were cast out of heaven (Luke 10:18), and who delight in tormenting mankind. Read Mark 1:21-28. What’s the answer to the demon’s question, “Have you come to destroy us?” And how does Jesus go about dealing with the unclean spirit in the synagogue?

Ironically, the demon asks the right question here. Jesus has indeed come to destroy them. For although they know his name - Jesus of Nazareth - this is not a saving knowledge. Mark’s gospel features more accounts of Jesus casting out demons than any other gospel, focusing on the reality that in Jesus life, death, and resurrection, He has truly come to exorcise the world, that is to cast out Satan from his selfappointed throne as “prince of this world” and win for us freedom from sin, death, and the devil. Jesus fulfills the promise of Genesis 3:15 which was also a curse to the devil. On the cross Jesus crushes the serpent’s head. Therefore, Jesus rebukes this demon with the power of His divine Word; He speaks and it happens, just like at creation and when He forgives sins. Jesus’ Word is a creative, living and active Word.

4. Martin Luther often called Satan “God’s ape,” for he could never create anything, only imitate, twist and pervert God’s goodness. Pastor Tiews notes several examples of Satan the con-artist, twisting God’s gifts into great evil. What are some other examples you observe either in the world around you or the church?

Answers may vary here, but encourage participants to be specific with examples they mention, such as evolution. And use further questions to draw out specifically why these examples lead us away from the truth of God’s Word and promise. For example, where Pastor Tiews mentions the counterfeit salvation story, why exactly is it a problem that people go looking for salvation in their works or merits? The answer: It places the focus, impetus, and burden of salvation entirely on the shoulders of mankind, thus simultaneously taking our eyes off of Christ and his cross and turning them inward to ourselves, a double deception.

5. Where are we taught about the dangers of the occult and the “dark arts” in Luther’s Small Catechism? What gift does God give us in the second commandment that preserves us in the midst of spiritual dangers?

The 6th and 7th petitions of the Lord’s Prayer as well as Baptism have clear applications to this question. However, the explanation to the 2nd commandment states it explicitly: “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use Satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” In other words, the gift we’re given in the 2nd commandment is the gift of God’s name. He places His name upon us in Holy Baptism and preserves us in that same name unto life everlasting. With His name upon us (it is like Andy in Toy Story who marks his toys): we belong to Him; we are His own people; and not even the devil can snatch us out of His hands. We are His dear children rescued by Christ’s death on the cross. For with the Name of God upon us, all of His promises belong to us.


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6. In the Baptismal liturgy in Lutheran Service Book, we hear the following words: “The Word of God also teaches that we are all conceived and born sinful and are under the power of the devil until Christ claims us as His own. We would be lost forever unless delivered from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. But the Father of all mercy and grace has sent His Son Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sin of the whole world, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Reflecting on these words, how is your Baptism an exorcism? Have the participants look up the Baptismal rite on LSB p. 268. Ask them specifically which parts address the devil and are spoken against him. Although it is not included in LSB (it is in the Altar Book and Agenda), there is also another form of the Baptismal rite where we hear the words: “Depart, you unclean spirit and make room for the Holy Spirit.” Baptism is rightfully called our exorcism because where God’s Word and water are applied the devil is cast out. And though we were formerly under the power of sin, death and the devil, in Baptism we are joined with Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6) and our sins are washed away (Titus 3). Ultimately, Satan was cast out on the cross, which is the world’s exorcism. And through Baptism you are joined with Christ in His death and resurrection where He rebukes the devil and pours out His Holy Spirit upon you, the old has gone and the new has come. 7. According to Pastor Tiews, how has Christ armed His church for spiritual warfare? Why is it comforting that Christ has already won the war for you and still fights for you? Theologians often call our daily life in the church – at least on this side of heaven – the church militant. Here on earth the church remains under the cross and marked by persecution, struggling, and suffering until Christ returns. Although we await that final consummation, all of Christ’s promises are already ours now, by faith and in His gifts and blessing. The best way for Christians to “fight” as St. Paul encourages us in Ephesians 6:10-19 is to be covered, surrounded, and armed with the means of grace found in the church because of Christ’s cross, for it is precisely in the church where Christ locates His Crucified and Risen presence for the sake of His people: Baptism, Absolution, the Word, the Lord’s Supper. It is through these means that our Lord brings the fruit of His victory on the cross to us. To the victors go the spoils, we say. How true that is, for we are all victors in Christ’s triumphant victory of death and the grave for us. Closing Prayer LSB 666 O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe O little flock, fear not the foe Who madly seeks your overthrow; Dread not his rage and pow’r. And though your courage sometimes faints, His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints Lasts but a little hour. Be of good cheer; your cause belongs To Him who can avenge your wrongs; Leave it to Him, our Lord. Though hidden yet from mortal eyes,


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His Gideon shall for you arise, Uphold you and His Word. As true as God’s own Word is true, Not earth nor hell’s satanic crew Against us shall prevail. Their might? A joke, a mere facade! God is with us and we with God— Our vict’ry cannot fail. Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer; Great Captain, now Thine arm make bare, Fight for us once again! So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise A mighty chorus to Thy praise Forevermore. Amen.


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The Occult-Hollywood or Holy War? A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” -

C.S. Lewis, Preface to The Screwtape Letters 1

1. Pastor Tiews listed several Scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments where we learn about angels. Based on the Biblical teaching, what part of the Creeds – both the Apostles’ and Nicene) most clearly confesses the reality of angels? See Colossians 1:15-20.

2. One of the responsibilities God gave to his angels is that of messenger. In fact, that’s what the word angel means in the Bible: messenger. How does this definition and title also describe what angels are given to do by the Lord? What are some places in Scripture we read about angels and their work as messengers? What kinds of messages are the angels sent to deliver?

3. In addition to angels who serve the Lord, the Scripture also warns us about fallen angels – often called demons – who rebelled against God, were cast out of heaven (Luke 10:18), and who delight in tormenting mankind. Read Mark 1:21-28. What’s the answer to the demon’s question, “Have you come to destroy us?” And how does Jesus go about dealing with the unclean spirit in the synagogue?

1

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, MacMillian Publishing Co., 1961, p. 3.


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4. Martin Luther often called Satan “God’s ape,” for he could never create anything, only imitate, twist and pervert God’s goodness. Pastor Tiews notes several examples of Satan the con-artist, twisting God’s gifts into great evil. What are some other examples you observe either in the world around you or the church?

5. Where are we taught about the dangers of the occult and the “dark arts” in Luther’s Small Catechism? What gift does God give us in the second commandment that preserves us in the midst of spiritual dangers?

6. In the Baptismal liturgy in Lutheran Service Book, we hear the following words: “The Word of God also teaches that we are all conceived and born sinful and are under the power of the devil until Christ claims us as His own. We would be lost forever unless delivered from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. But the Father of all mercy and grace has sent His Son Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sin of the whole world, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Reflecting on these words, how is your Baptism an exorcism?

7. According to Pastor Tiews, how has Christ armed His church for spiritual warfare? Why is it comforting that Christ has already won the war for you and still fights for you?


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8. Close with LSB 666 O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe


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Trail Mix A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 “Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” – Revelation 22:7 1. Why is it bad for your spiritual health and dangerous to the Christian faith to pick and choose what part of God’s Word you listen to or like best? What problems arise from cherry-picking Scripture to fit our own purposes? What commandment(s) are broken in this way of handling God’s Word?

Answers may vary for the first and questions depending on the participants’ exposure to other churches that teach differently – and often falsely – when compared to Lutheran doctrine. When it comes to the first question, however, the temptation that is at the bedrock of this problem is to make ourselves lords over Scripture instead of Scripture instructing, guiding and enlightening us. This is what is often known as the ministerial use of reason in regards to Scripture (which is a good and Godly gift) in contrast to magisterial reason used on Scripture (which is a sinful use of reason over and against Scripture). The end result from picking and choosing God’s Word is the same result that happened in the Garden of Eden, rebellion, twisting God’s Word to suit one’s own purposes, and unbelief in the very Word and promises of God. This is a sin primarily against the 1st commandment, that we fear, love and trust in our own word rather than God’s. Although the 2nd and 3rd commandments, particularly in their explanation in the catechism, are applicable as well.

2. In real estate, three words are important: location, location, location. It’s said three times, not for emphasis, but to talk about the immediate, surrounding and wider locations you intend to live in. So, too, in Bible study, there are three important words: context, context, context. Why is it important to understand the immediate, surrounding and wider context of any particular Bible passage? Can you think of any Bible passages that are frequently taken out of context and misused?

The simplest way to do teach this idea is to put it into practice by taking any biblical passage that might be easily misunderstood outside of its context and then proceed to start with the verse, the surrounding passages, chapters and then move to its wider context. A common example is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. This verse has little to do with “God’s plan for my life” and more to do with God’s plan of salvation for his people Israel about which He will share through the prophet Jeremiah. This good news is especially important for the people to hear in light of their exile in Babylon which was a direct result of their sin, something hardly mentioned when this passage gets ripped from its context and used for the Christian life without understanding any of the OT context. Participants or leaders may wish to use other passages that come to mind or are readily available.


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3. Mrs. Sollberger points out that too often people only focus on God’s wrath (Law) in the Old Testament while neglecting to point out that God also shows a great deal of mercy and compassion (Gospel) in the Old Testament. Why is it an unfair reading of the Bible to say that God is all about judgment in the OT and all about love in the NT? Find at least one example of Law and Gospel in both the OT and NT.

It is a common misconception – especially among skeptics who have never read the Bible –the OT is all Law, God is a wrathful judge, and the NT is all love, Jesus has mercy, compassion, etc. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most scathing Law comes from the mouth of Jesus himself, especially in his dealings with the Pharisees and His own disciples, Peter in particular (Get behind me, Satan!). And some of the most sublime Gospel promises are found in the OT, precisely where God is doing his saving work. The point is that there is both Law and Gospel throughout the entire Scriptures, Old and New Testament. If we fail to miss this point, we fail to see that Jesus is the center and circumference of the Scriptures.

4. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-4:5. In verse 16, Paul writes that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” Define these words and phrases. What does each of these words or phrases mean for the Christian life? Also consider the following parallel passages concerning true and false teaching: Matthew 24:1-28; 1 Timothy 1:3-11; 4:1-15; Galatians 1:6-10.

One of the Greek words for teaching is CATECHEO, from which we get the word, “catechism” or “catechist”. This can be found in Luke 1:1-4 in Luke’s introductory words to Theophilus. One biblical definition of “teaching” can be found in Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way they should go and they will not quickly depart from it. The Greek word here in 2 Timothy happens to be DIDASKALON, or teaching and instruction, specifically in the Christian faith. Also see to Jude 3. Reproof is a rebuke or a calling to repentance, especially in light of false teaching. Correction pertains not only to false teaching but also to correct and proper teaching of the truth. In other words, correction contains both positive and negative: handling the word of truth in both Law and Gospel. Training in righteousness – the Greek word here is intriguing – PAIDEA (pronounced piede-ah). This is also similar to the root word for one of the Greek words for child and it is often defined as training or discipline or instruction, on this occasion, specifically dealing with the righteousness that comes by grace through faith in Christ.

5. Read James 1:16-18. According to James, what confidence does the believer have in our Heavenly Father through faith in Christ? Why then is it reassuring and comforting that God’s Word is an unchanging and unwavering anchor? See also Matthew 7:24-27. According to Jesus, what/who is the firm foundation upon which our faith and trust are built?

St. James reminds us first and foremost that God the Father is the giver of all gifts and in Him there is no shadow due to change. Because God’s Word does not change it provides a firm


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foundation (see Matthew 7) in the midst of life’s undulating emotions, circumstances and difficulties. If faith were based on something other than God’s Word – let’s say emotions – we would be in a daily struggle to “feel” good about God and his promises. Emotions waver and fluctuate; in contrast, God’s promises in Christ Crucified are always yes; His Word is unbroken and unchanging for us who live in an ever-changing world.

6. Mrs. Sollberger encourages us to pick up our Scriptures with both hands, acknowledging that sometimes reading the Bible can present us with difficulties. What helpful advice does she give us when we come across parts of Scripture that are harder to understand than other parts? What can we learn from the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 that would also address people struggling with the proper understanding of Scripture?

Asking your pastor, listening to sermons, and attending Bible studies are all good suggestions given for our aid in understanding parts of the Bible that we find confusing or difficult. Martin Luther once said (in the Bondage of the Will) that Scripture is both internally and externally clear. And therefore the harder passages that we come across should be paralleled with the passages that are easier to understand. There is much to be said about Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8: 1.) The fact that this man is an Ethiopian tells us a great deal about the spread of the Gospel. 2.) That this man was reading the OT, Isaiah in particular, is also of interest. 3.) The man’s response to Philip’s question about what he was reading: “How can I, unless someone guides me?” is also instructive for us. In other words, we too need a guide. Luther once said (and here I’m paraphrasing him), that there’s nothing more dangerous than a person all alone with their Bible. Why does he say that? Not because he denies Sola Scriptura, but because he knew that an isolated Christian is always easy pickings for the devil who prowls about like a roaring lion. When people tend to isolate themselves with the Scriptures, they tend to turn Sola Scriptura into Subjective Scripture. 4.) Philip understands – and rightly teaches this man – that the OT is all about Jesus; He is the Lamb of God prophesied in Isaiah. 5.) Having heard the Word and Good News of Christ’s death, Baptism is the next thing done. Faith wants more of Jesus and His gifts.

7. “…The whole Bible, in all its parts, is about Jesus, who saves us from our sins by His death and resurrection…” writes Mrs. Sollberger. Read Luke 24:13-49. What does Jesus have in mind when he says, “the Scriptures speak about me?” And according to Jesus, what is the main point of these Scriptures? If we were to remove every word about Jesus from the OT and NT, what would you have left?

It’s helpful to remember that (ordinarily) when the New Testament writers use the phrase, “the Scriptures”, they are referring to the OT, for the NT had not yet been written. Thus, when Jesus says in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures…” he’s talking about the OT. Likewise in Luke 24, Jesus is referring to the OT. He goes too far as to mention the Law of Moses (the first five books of the OT), the prophets, and the psalms. This is Jesus’ way of saying that the entire OT is His Word and points to Him and His death and resurrection. His cross and victory over sin, death and the devil are the main point of the entire Bible, not just the NT books. The OT points forward to His


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cross and the NT reveals and flows forth from the cross. If we were to remove everything miraculous from the Bible – as Thomas Jefferson did in his NT – we would be left with moral teachings and historical notes, both of which are important, but rather useless without the central teaching of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Morals and Laws are not the heart of Christianity, Christ Crucified and Risen is. The central message is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2 Corinthians 5:19). Take this message away from Christianity and you have only a hollow, Christ-less Christianity. Thankfully, the Gospel is the power (Greek word is dunamis, from which we get dynamite) for salvation (Romans 1:16). Christ’s Word is faithful and effective to do what He promises in bringing life and salvation to us through that same Word and Sacraments. 8. Close with LSB 655 Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word 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. Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known, For You are Lord of lords alone; Defend Your holy Church that we May sing Your praise eternally. 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.


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Trail Mix A Higher Things Bible Study Spring 2013 “Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” – Revelation 22:7 1. Why is it bad for your spiritual health and dangerous to the Christian faith to pick and choose what part of God’s Word you listen to or like best? What problems arise from cherry-picking Scripture to fit our own purposes? What commandment(s) are broken in this way of handling God’s Word?

2. In real estate, three words are important: location, location, location. It’s said three times, not for emphasis, but to talk about the immediate, surrounding and wider locations you intend to live in. So, too, in Bible study, there are three important words: context, context, context. Why is it important to understand the immediate, surrounding and wider context of any particular Bible passage? Can you think of any Bible passages that are frequently taken out of context and misused?

3. Mrs. Sollberger points out that too often people only focus on God’s wrath (Law) in the Old Testament while neglecting to point out that God also shows a great deal of mercy and compassion (Gospel) in the Old Testament. Why is it an unfair reading of the Bible to say that God is all about judgment in the OT and all about love in the NT? Find at least one example of Law and Gospel in both the OT and NT.


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4. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-4:5. In verse 16, Paul writes that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” Define these words and phrases. What does each of these words or phrases mean for the Christian life? Also consider the following parallel passages concerning true and false teaching: Matthew 24:1-28; 1 Timothy 1:3-11; 4:1-15; Galatians 1:6-10.

5. Read James 1:16-18. According to James, what confidence does the believer have in our Heavenly Father through faith in Christ? Why then is it reassuring and comforting that God’s Word is an unchanging and unwavering anchor? See also Matthew 7:24-27. According to Jesus, what/who is the firm foundation upon which our faith and trust are built?

6. Mrs. Sollberger encourages us to pick up our Scriptures with both hands, acknowledging that sometimes reading the Bible can present us with difficulties. What helpful advice does she give us when we come across parts of Scripture that are harder to understand than other parts? What can we learn from the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 that would also address people struggling with the proper understanding of Scripture?


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7. “…The whole Bible, in all its parts, is about Jesus, who saves us from our sins by His death and resurrection…” writes Mrs. Sollberger. Read Luke 24:13-49. What does Jesus have in mind when he says, “the Scriptures speak about me?” And according to Jesus, what is the main point of these Scriptures? If we were to remove every word about Jesus from the OT and NT, what would you have left?

8. Close with LSB 655 Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

Profile for Higher Things: Dare to be Lutheran!

2013 Spring - Higher Things Magazine (with Bible Studies)  

2013 Spring - Higher Things Magazine (with Bible Studies)