Thursday, June 30, 2011

Look at the little tyke go!

The Fourth Commandment

You shall honor your father and your mother.

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents;  but instead we should honor them, serve them, obey them, and love them dearly.

A  We shall not despise or anger our parents.

67.  Proverbs 30:17.  An eye which ridicules the father and despises the mother, must be hacked out by the ravens at the creek and devoured by the young eagles.

68.  Proverbs 20:20.  Whoever curses his father and his mother, his light will go out in the midst of darkness.

B  But honor them.

69.  Matthew 15:4.  You shall honor your father and mother.  But whoever curses his father and mother shall be put to death.

C serve and obey them.

70.  Ephesians 6:1-3.  Children obey your parents in the Lord;  for this is right.  Honor your father and your mother is the first commandment with a promise, so that it will go well with you and you will live long on earth.

71.  Proverbs 1:8.  My child, obey the discipline of your father, and do not neglect the command of your mother.

D  dearly love them.

72.  1 Tim. 5:4.  To return good to your parents is a good deed and pleasing to God.

Chemnitz from yesterday's Treasury/ on Christ's presence in the supper.

This guy is good.  One of the other famous Martin's.

"But the proper, simple, and natural meaning of the words of institution teaches that Christ Himself is present with us in the celebration of the Supper with both His deity and His flesh, and that he comes to us in order to lay hold on us (Phil. e:12) and join us to Himself as intimately as possible.  This brings sweetest comfort.  for Christ, both God and man, must lay hold on us in order that there may be a union between Him and us.  But we, weighed down by the burden of sin and pressed under the weight of our infirmity, are not yet able to enter the secret places of heaven (Col. 2:18) and penetrate to Him in glory.  He Himself therefore comes to us in order to lay hold upon us with that nature by which he is our Brother.  And because our weakness in this life cannot bear the glory of His majesty  (Matt. 7:12 ff.;  Acts 9:3 ff.), therefore His body and blood are present, distributed, and received under the bread and wine.  Nor does He will that we wander around the gates of heaven uncertain in which area of heaven we ought to look for Christ in His human nature or whether we can find Him;  but in the supper He Himself is present in the external celebration and shows by visible signs where he wills to be present with His body and blood, and there we may safely seek Him and surely find Him, for there He Himself through the ministry distributes His body and blood to the communicants.  There most sweet and necessary comforts will be completely snatched away from us if the substantial presence, distribution, and reception of Christ's body and blood are removed from the Supper."   Martin Chemnitz in The Lord's Supper, translated by J.A.O. Preus, pp. 187-188.  CPH

For those of us, who have believed this and come to the supper needy and empty, we know what it means to receive there, bringing nothing.  We cannot come to him and can not find him in heaven.  But he has deigned to be born a human being, dwell among us, suffer, die and rise, and surely he is also with us in the supper, as he said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

3rd Commandment

You shall sanctify the Holy Day.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and God's word, but rather hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

A  You shall sanctify the Holy Day.

55.  Genesis 2:3.  God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested on it from all his works.

56.  Exodus 20:9-10.  You shall work on sixth days and look after all your affairs;  but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord.  You shall not work on it, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant or your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger within your gates.

57.  Ezekiel 20:20.  You shall keep my Sabbath days holy, so that they will be a sign between me and you;  you will know that I am the Lord, your God.

B  We shall not despise preaching and God's word.

58.  Proverbs 13:13.  Whoever despises the word is ruining himself;  but whoever fears the law will be rewarded.

59.  Hebrews 10:25.  Let us not stop meeting together, as some have become accustomed to doing;  but let us admonish one another, and this all the more as we see the day approaching.

C  But hold it sacred.

60.  Psalm 119:11.  I treasure your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

61.  James 1, 22-24.  But also be doers of the word and not only hearers, so that you are not deceiving yourselves.  Because if someone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who is looking at his face in a mirror.  And when he has looked at it, he goes away and forgets what he has seen.

62.  James 1:27.  A pure and unspoiled  service to God the Father is to visit the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself undefiled by the world.

D and gladly hear and learn it.

63.  Psalm 26, 6-8.  I keep to your altar, Lord, where one hears the voice of thanksgiving and where are preached all your wonderful deeds.  Lord, I love your house and the place where your honor dwells.

64.  Ecclesiastes 5:1.  Guard your steps when you go to the house of God and come so that you will listen.

65.  Colossians 3:16.  Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly, in all wisdom;  teach and admonish one another with psalms and songs of praise and lovely spiritual songs, and sing to the Lord in your heart.

66.  Luke 11:28.  Blessed are those who hear the word of God and also treasure it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Memory

Stefan would have been 21 years old today.

30 months.  

The county tried to fix the intersection again without actually moving it to a spot up the hill.  Who is in charge of these public works?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sharing with a Calvinist/Fisk

Fisk on sharing with a Calvinist.

2nd Commandment

We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name to attempt magic.

43.  Deuteronomy 18: 10-12.  Among you shall not be found anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.

We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name to lie or deceive.

44.  Zephaniah 3:4.  Their prophets are thoughtless men and despisers; their priests profane the sanctuary and interpret the law wrongly.

45.  Matthew 15:8.  This people draws close to me with their mouth and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

46.  2 Tim. 3:5.  They have the appearance of a godly way of life, but they deny its power;  avoid such people.

But we should call upon the name of God in all troubles.

47.  Psalm 50:15.  Call upon me in trouble and I will deliver you and you shall praise me.

48.  Psalm 145,18.  The Lord is close to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in earnest.

We should call upon the name of God to pray.

49.  Ephesians 6:18.  Always pray regarding all your concerns, with petitions and supplication in the Spirit;  keep alert with steadfastness praying for all the saints.

50.  Philippians 4:6.  Do not worry about anything but in all things make your petitions known to God with supplication and thanksgiving.

We should call upon the name of God to praise.

51.  Psalm 103, 1-4.  Praise the Lord, o my soul, and what is in me, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, oh my soul and do not forget all the good he has done for you:  he forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, he redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with grace and mercy.

52.  Matthew 10:32-33.  Whoever confesses me before people, this one I will also acknowledge before my Father in Heaven.  But whoever denies me before people, this one I will will also deny before my Father in Heaven.

We should call upon the name of God to give thanks.

53.  Psalm 92, 2-3.  This is the most delightful thing, to give thanks to the Lord, to praise your name, O Most High, to make your grace known in the morning and proclaim your truth at night.

54.  Colossians 3,17.  And everything you do, with words or with deeds, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Interesting post by Dr. Veith on discussion with Ben Witherington, including a comment on a post on my blog.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2nd Commandment

We should not abuse the name of God by using it to swear.

40.  Deuteronomy 10:20.  You shall fear the Lord your God and serve him, you shall cling to him and make your oaths in his name.

41.  Hezekiel 17:19.  As surely as I live, says the Lord, I will bring down on his head my oath which has has despised, and my covenant which he has broken.

42.  Matthew 5:34,37.  But I say to you, that you should not swear at all.  Let your speech simply be like this:  let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no".  Anything beyond this from evil.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Stop Forwarding..."

Second Commandment

Second Commandment

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not abuse his name to curse, swear, attempt magic, lie or deceive.  

Instead we should use his name to call upon him for all our needs, to pray, to praise and give thanks. 

A.  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
35.  Exodus 20:7.  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, your God;  for the Lord will not leave unpunished those who misuse his name.

B.  We shall not use God's name to curse.
36.  Leviticus 24,15-16.  Tell the children of Israel:  Whoever curses his God, he must bear his sin;  whoever abuses God's name must die.

37.  James 3:8-10.  No one can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil full of deadly poison.  With the tongue we praise God the Father and with the tongue we curse our fellow human beings, made in the image of God.  Out from the same mouth proceeds praise and cursing.  This should not be, dear Brothers.

38.  Romans 12:14.  Bless those who persecute you;  bless and do not curse.

39.  1 Peter 3:9.  Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult;  but speak blessings instead and know  that you have been called to inherit a blessing.


The Latin has "adoremus" which is to pray/praise/adore.  In a way I'd like to see "adore" included somewhere because people know what this means:  "O, I love this.  O,  I simply adore this."  When we say "praise" we think more of praising a little child for performing a task or eating his peas.  "Adore" speaks more to the subject of adoration.  Praise sounds a little more like what we do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We should trust in God above all things.

30.  Psalm 118:8.  It is good to trust the Lord rather than in human beings. [man/Mensch]

31.  1 Peter 5:7.  Give all your worries to him because he cares for you.

32.  Psalm 37:5.  Commit your paths to the Lord and hope in him;  he will look after it.

33.  Hebrews 10:35.  Do not give up trusting;  this has a great reward.

34.  Psalm 84:12-13.  The Lord is your sun and your shield;  the Lord gives grace and honor;  the pious will lack nothing.  O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the one who puts his trust in you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunflowers and my soul.

"O Lord Jesus, shine in my heart, mind, words and actions.  I do not want to obstruct the window of my devotion willfully.
Dearest Lord Jesus, let my heart flourish with sunflowers and way-white blossoms that face and turn toward the sun.  Let my heart face You at every moment."
Valerius Herberger. p. 91

The first time I grew sunflowers in my garden I realized after they matured that all the flowers were turned toward the sun and not any toward the house as I had somehow expected.  So, therefore the sunflower is a great image for keeping your face toward God.

We won't get to the catechism today, but the sunflower image also illustrates the first commandment, which we are still working on.

Below see the current state of my garden.  It's been raining lots, which is what we need.

This is the hope of sunflowers to come.  There is a row planted to face south toward the walkway where the passers-by can enjoy them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pastor Andrae on Giertz / Ordo Salutis

Giertz vs. synergistic models.

The First Commandment/ Bible Proofs 2

We should love God above all things.

25.  Psalm 18, 2-3
I love you dearly, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my redeemer, my God, my refuge, in whom I trust, my shield and the horn of my salvation and protection.
26.  Psalm 73:25-26
If I have you I do not ask for heaven or earth.  Even though my body and soul waste away, still you, O God, will be at all times the comfort of my heart and my portion.
27.  Matthew 10:37
Whoever loves father or mother more than me, that person is not worthy of me.  And whoever loves his son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.
28.  1 John 5:3.
Keeping God's commandments is how we show love to him and his commandments are not difficult.
29.  1 John 4:20-21
I someone says:  "I love God" but hates his brother, he is a liar.  Because if someone does not love his brother whom he can see, how can he love God whom he can't see?  And this is the command we have from him that whoever loves God also love his brother.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The First Commandment/ Bible Proofs

The First Commandment

A.  I am the Lord, your God.

14.  Isaiah 42:8.  I am the Lord, that is my name and will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to idols.

B.  You shall have no other gods besides me.
a.)  gross idolatry

15.  Exodus 20: 4-5 You shall not make an idol for yourself nor an image of anything either in the sky above or on earth below or in the water or under the earth.  Do not pray to them and do no serve them.

16.  Psalm 97:7. Ashamed will all these be who serve images and who take pride in idols.

b.) more subtle idolatry 
17.  1 John 2:15.  Do not love the world and what is in it.  Those who love the world do not have the love of the Father in them.

18.  Matthew 6:24.  You cannot serve both God and money.

19.  Proverbs 3:5.  Trust in the Lord with your whole heart and do not trust in your own understanding.

20.  Jeremiah 9:23-24.  This is what the Lord says:  a wise person shall not take pride in his wisdom, nor a strong person in his strength, nor a rich person in his possessions; however, who wants to take pride should do this, he should glory in this, that he knows and understands me and that I am the Lord who exercises mercy, justice and righteousness in the earth;  this is what pleases me, says the Lord.

C. We should fear God above all things.

21.  Psalm 33: 8-9.  Let all the world fear the Lord and before him all who dwell on earth keep reverence;  for when he speaks it is done, and when it commands it, it happens.

22.  Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14.  Let us hear the sum of all teaching:  Fear God and keep his commandments;  this is owed to him by all people.  God will bring all deeds into judgement whether they be good or bad.

23.  Genesis 39:9.  How can I commit such a great evil and sin against God?

24.  Psalm 111:10.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Who acts according to this has a true understanding.  His praise will remain in eternity.


So much for today.

I have to say that I've really enjoyed translating the Bible verses.  You end up passing them through your mind more thoroughly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The First Chief Part

The First Chief Part:  The Ten Commandments

About the Law in general:

A.  The law has been given by God and is confirmed by Christ.

10.  John 1:17.  The law has been given through Moses;  grace and truth has come through Jesus Christ.

11.  Matthew 5:17-18.  You should not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets.  I have not come to abolish it but to fulfill it.  In truth, I tell you, that until heaven and earth disappear not the smallest letter nor the least stroke of a pen will pass away fro the Law until all is accomplished.

B.  The sum of the law is love.

12.  Matthew 22, 37-40.  You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, from your whole soul and all your feelings [in English we have "mind",  "Gemueth" in German is not so much "mind".  What is the Greek?  In a way, with your "mind" has never made sense to me.  We don't love with our mind.  We think with our mind, which leads to emotions... Thoughtfulness is the beginning of acting loving...]   This is the most noble and greatest command.  However this other one is equal to it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.     On these two commands hang the entire Law and the Prophets.

13.  1 Tim. 1,5.  The command is summed up in this:  love from a pure heart with a good conscience and unfeigned faith.

Beautiful and Humble Prayer by Chrysostom

John Chrysostom prays:

Know, O Lord my God, I a unworthy that You should enter beneath the roof of the temple of my soul, because it is all empty and dead, there is in me no worthy place where You may lay Your head.  But since from Your loftiness You humbled yourself for our sake, please humble Yourself now toward my humility.  And as it seemed good to You to lie in the cavern and in the manger of dumb beasts, so also now graciously lie in the manger of my dumb soul, and enter into my defiled body.  Just as You did not refuse to enter into the house of Simon the leper, and there to sit at a meal with sinners, so also graciously enter into the house of my humble soul, which is leprous and sinful.  Just as You did not feel loathing for the polluted lips of a sinful woman who kissed our feet, so also do not loathe my even more defiled and polluted lips and unclean tongue.  Amen.

This John Chrysostom did indeed have a way with words.  Wow, and so deep.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Einleitung (Introduction) and First Commandment

Let's get caught up to the end of the first commandment in King Maximilian Joseph's catechism (KMJ from here on.)

Concerning Holy Scripture
A.  It is of divine origin
1.  Hebrews 1,1-2. After God had spoken to the fathers at various times in various ways through the prophets, he has also spoken to us, at last, in these days, through the Son.  This Son, through whom he has made the world he has made the heir of everything.
2.  2 Peter 1, 21.  Never has a prophecy been brought forward out of the will of man but holy people of God have spoken as moved by the Holy Spirit.
B.  It serves our salvation
3.  Hebrews 4:12.  The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It penetrates as to divide soul and spirit, bone and marrow, to judge the thoughts and meanings of the heart.
4.  Romans 1:16.  I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ because it is a power of God to save all who believe it.
5.  2 Tim. 3:15-17.  Since you have known holy scripture since your childhood, it can teach you for your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  For scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching, showing sin, improving, for discipline in righteousness, so that a believer in God be perfected and useful for every good work.
C.  It must be used in the right way.
6.  Deut. 6, 6-7.  You shall take the words to heart which I command you today.  You shall diligently teach them to your children by speaking about them when sitting in your house and while travelling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
7.  John 5,39.  You search the scriptures because you think that you have eternal life in it.  And indeed, scripture testifies to me.
8.  2 Peter 1:19.  We have a firm prophetic word, and you do well that you look to it as to a light which shines in the darkness until the day comes and the morning star rises in your hearts.
9.  Psalm 119, 105.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path.

That will do for now.  When I put all these in the quote, I lose the spaces between the lines which makes it harder to read.  It's sunny out and I have work to do before it rains as forecasted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Luther's Large Catechism on the First Commandment

Let's take a detour, which is really no detour, to the Large Catechism. The Large Catechism is no less a treasure than the small one dealing with the same fundamentals.  We must go there.

Going to the Reader's Edition we have a helpful introduction.

Luther spends more time on the First Commandment than on any other portion of the Catechism, explaining how essential it is to know, trust, and believe in the true God and to let nothing take His place.  He was convinced that where this commandment was being kept, all other commandments would follow.  A right relationship with God produces right relationships with fellow human beings.  
Very nice.  So help us God.

I will quote the first part and then summarize after that.

You shall have no other gods.  What this means:  You shall have Me alone as your God.  What is the meaning of this, and how is it to be understood?  What does it mean to have a god?  Or, what is God?  Answer:  A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress.  So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart.  I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol.  If your faith and trust is right, then your god is also true.  On the other hand, of your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God.  For these two belong together, faith and God [Hebrews 11:6].  Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.
The purpose of this commandment is to require true faith and trust of the heart, which settles upon the only true God and clings to Him alone.  It is like saying, "See to it that you let Me alone be your God, and never seek another."  In other words, "Whatever you lack of good things, expect it from Me.  Look to Me for it.  ad whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, crawl and cling to Me.  I, yes, I will give you enough and help you out of every need.  Only do not let your heart cleave to or rest on another."
It strikes me that we don't usually think of having a god, in this way.  This is probably because we don't have much faith.  It moves me that God has been so faithful in calling for this faith and love.  Where others see a tyrant for demanding such allegiance and having such rules, I see only a lover, a fortress.  It is his ultimate condescension that he wishes to have our heart.

The fact that we have such a powerful God should set us at rest and peace.  It should let all worry cease.  Yoga may be good for many things, but it cannot set your mind at ease.  Its objective is to cease thinking.  But God gives me the thoughts that bear me up.  His word is life and we cling to every syllable.

OK, then to summarize:  Luther outlines what he calls "counterexamples."  He explains at length the trust in Mammon and how it affects us when we have possessions and when we don't and how we deal with it when we have losses.  Similarly, skill, prudence, power, favor, friendship, and honor can be used by us as "gods".   One can see how arrogant people are who have such things and how despondent they are when they lose them.

Then he talks about praying to the saints for relief and calls this an abomination.

To quote again:

So you can easily understand what and how much this commandment requires.  A person's entire heart and all his confidence must be placed in God alone and in no one else.  For to "have" God, you can easily see, is not to take hold of Him with our hands or to put Him in a bag, like money, or to lock Him in a chest.  Instead, to "have" Him means that the heart takes hold of Him and clings to Him.  To cling to Him with the heart is nothing else than to trust in Him entirely.  For this reason God wishes to turn us away from everything else that exists outside of Him and to draw us to Himself  [John 6:44].  It is as though he would say,  "Whatever you have previously sought from the saints, or for whatever things you have trusted in money or anything else, expect it all from Me.  Think of Me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things."

You can see how much time Luther has spent in the Psalter.  He is nourished and reared by it.

See, here you have the meaning of the true honor and worship of God, which pleases God, and which he commands under penalty of eternal wrath.  The heart knows no other comfort or confidence than in him.  It must not allow itself to be torn from Him.  But, for Him, it must risk and disregard everything upon earth.  On the other hand, you can easily see and sense how the world practices only false worship and idolatry.  For no people have ever been so corrupt that they did not begin and  continue some divine worship.  Everyone has set up as his special god whatever he looked to for blessings, help, and comfort.
So, people of all times and places have always had their "gods".   This is practically normative.  He gives examples from the Roman gods. "Heathens make their self-invented notions and dreams of god an idol.  They put their trust in that which is nothing."

Isn't that the truth. Once, I wrote a paper on Buddhism for a class.  I was interested in the subject because I had traveled to Japan and no one there seemed to be able to explain anything about their religion.  There was so much bowing to statues and all that but no teaching it seemed.  When I had finished studying and writing I had come to the conclusion that in Buddhism each school and each person kind of makes up the religion as they go.  Do whatever makes you feel right or what you feel is right.  You can make up your own religion.

Modern man thinks that he is not like this.  It is important for us to see what modern man and even the atheist worship.  For surely, they worship something.  It will be something different for each.  Money, always money and possessions of course, body cult, sex, pleasure, games, diversions, conspiracy theories, urban legends, cutting edge technology, deconstruction, herbal remedies...  Many of these are not wrong of themselves.  They are wrong when they replace your trust and worship of God, and often they do entirely or in part.

Then Luther goes into the "false worship and extreme idolatry" of works.  This is how we think we can wrestle the heaven from God.  However, this is a making a god of ourselves and making God subservient and a debtor.

For the "simple people" he explains that God is the one who provides us with all we need:  food, clothing, parents, government, safety.  He makes that lovely point about God being "good"  and in German the word coming from the same root.  We receive all these needed things from his goodness.  If he withdrew his hand we would have none of these things.

We have an exhortation to consider these things carefully and not see it as a joke.  This is the most serious matter with God who attaches threats and promises to this commandment.  He will not overlook that people turn from him.  He has from the beginning uprooted all idolatry.

Yet, it is a matter of faith for us.  Those who trust God also often suffer all kinds of difficulties and reversals.

"For the world sees that those who trust in God and not in Mammon suffer care and want, and that the devil opposes and resists them.  They don't have money or favor or honor, and besides, can scarcely support life.  On the other hand, those who serve mammon have power, favor, honor, possessions and every comfort in the eyes of the world.  For this reason, these words must be understood to speak against the appearance of such things.  And we must consider that they do not lie or deceive, but must come true.  Reflect for yourself or investigate and tell me:  those who have used all their care and diligence to gather great possessions and wealth  what have they finally gained?  You will find that they have wasted their toil and labor, or even though they have amassed great treasures, they have been dispersed and scattered.  So they themselves have never found happiness in their wealth, and afterward, it never reached the third generation.  (42,43)
He says we will find many such examples in scripture and zeros in on Saul and David.

He warns us:  "Just let not the devil and the world deceive you with their show, which indeed remains for a time, but finally is nothing."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Let's just go page by page.

The First Chief Part:  The Ten Commandments.
The first commandment:
I am the Lord, your God, shall have no other gods beside me.
What does this mean?
We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.

I have to say I kind of like the Latin in this:  "Debemus Deum supra omnia timere, diligere et illi confidere."

"We should" in English sounds to me more "optional".  We should, be we don't, can't.  Yes, indeed, our natural inclination is not up for this. "Sollen" in German sounds to me more forceful than "should" in English.   "Debemus"  says that we "owe it" to God.  So to make it stronger we could say:  "We owe God fear, love and trust above all things."  or "We owe it to God to fear him, love him and trust in him above all things."  (Too many "him's" for todays reader possibly; but since each word is so loaded, it might be good to stretch out the sentence a little bit.)  I like the way this sentence reads because "supra omnia timere..."  could be that we 1.  fear, love and trust in him above all things (other gods) but also 2. that this is what he wants most from us.  The first commandment is first because from it the fulfilling of any others follows.  Without trust in God we cannot please him at all no matter how scrupulously we might keep any set of commandments.  We owe also reminds me of Christ's work and all the good he has done for us, for which reason we are able to fear and love him at all.  "We should" sounds a little more nagging and pull yourself up by your boostraps.  Anyhow, my two cents worth.

This really needs to be supplemented with what Luther had to say in the Large Catechism.  He completely outdoes himself in explaining the first commandment.  He has such a grasp of this, it puts all our puny faith to shame.  We should summarize it.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Let us begin on the first page.  Here Maximilian Joseph outlines the rights and privileges of use and distribution of the book.  (The first sentence is 83 words long. We will break it up.)

We, Maxilian Joseph, King of Bavaria, by God's grace:
      On December 26 of the previous year, we authorized the introduction of a new hymnal for all the protestant congregations in our kingdom.  Now we also wish to grant the rights to said hymnal to a yet to be established foundation for pastor's widows.  Similarly all of the liturgical writings yet to be published for the use of the church, as well as all of the protestant books of religion for use in the instruction in the schools will be used to further the establishment this institution for the widows and orphans of pastors.
       Therefore, we grant to this foundation for pastor's widows the sole right to publish, print, distribute and sell the above mentioned books in order to achieve the best sales price and the necessary uniformity.  It may distribute these through its own network in the entire kingdom.
     As a consequence we prohibit all the subjects of the kingdom, especially all printers and distributors of books, from permitting the printing of these books and writings for any reasons whatsoever.  Such action will meet our very highest condemnation and a fine of one hundred ducats.  One half of this fine will go to the public treasury and the remaining half to fund the pastor's widows.
     At the same time, we empower the administration of the fund for pastor's widows, in order to enforce their rights, to take measures against any infringements upon them, to have illegal editions confiscated, and to deal with the according to received instructions.  For this reason, also, all writings published by the pastor's widows fund shall bear a particular stamp.
    We have signed this document in our own hand, attached our own seal and announced the measures in our government newsletter.
   This is an edict from our capital city of Munich on the fourth of August, 1811, in the sixth year of our reign.
    Max Joseph, Duke of Montgelus.

Interesting.  He calls all his non-Catholic (Bavaria was always strictly Roman Catholic) "protestants."  He grants a copyright to a charitable foundation to achieve a good price and consistency.   He does not actually mention the catechism, but it seems to be included in the general "liturgical writings."

I think Maximilian Joseph would approve of the University of Michigan making a charitable donation for its reprint.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Armamentarium for working through Catechism

So you don't think I am completely flying by the seat of my pants, I will show you some of the other resources I have assembled from my bookshelves.

We have a Concordia Triglotta from 1921.

We have also a Latin-German dictionary, which my mother gave me for Christmas many years ago.  She was always after my Latin, though I think most of it has worn off by now.  Since the children during the Reformation studied in both German and Latin, I am thinking that the Latin is also important to look at.  

We have three Luther Bibles.  First the oldest one.  It is very small with the thinnest parchment paper and yet does contain the Apocrypha.  It dates from 1912 and comes down from my grandmother.

The next one is my parents' wedding Bible, issued in  1954.  This one also has the Apocrypha.

The last one is the Bible my aunt gave me for confirmation class.  This one looks well used and so it was, both for reading and for lending out to my sister going on retreat.  I am told there was some wild action with pillows and books being thrown around.   She was also the one who put the sticker on.  This one is from 1972.

These are the most pertinent items.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Luther' Small Catechism at CPH (without Explanations/Proofs)

Here is a very attractive site of Luther's Small Catechism at CPH, which I have not seen before today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Comparing Luther and Calvin

"Easy" summer project: translate Luther's Small Catechism with Explanations

A very short while ago, I was trying to take a "summer break" from discussing theology.  This reading and discussing is always running away with me and I don't have it under enough control.  But when I quit cold turkey, it's like I have cut off my arms and legs.

So, I have in mind to pace myself and do something edifying by translating an old version of the Small Catechism and the Explanations (Bible Proofs).  Concordia Publishing House has its own beautiful version and I most highly recommend purchasing one, reading it regularly and treasuring it.  In particular, I love the soft covered one.  Worth every penny, as someone at CPH told me.  And they are right, for those who can obtain one. Buy one, if you don't have one--or else have someone get it for you.

In the past, I have wanted to copy bits and pieces from this, day by day, but someone told me this would be against copyright and so it has been confirmed: it is against copyright to put this version on the internet for free use.  There will be no permission to do so.   Personally, I think there is something wrong with this, since it is simply a translation of work done by others a long time ago who really wanted to instruct the simple and poor people and made this a total priority.

But since it appears to be legal to do my own translating, I will translate it myself.  I will also translate the Bible verses from Luther's version, then I don't have to ask permission of anyone else.  This will be original work and I will appreciate any and all feedback, as it will certainly be needed.  My English writing is not always as polished as that of others.  Neither have I background in the biblical languages, only the modern languages.  So, therefore, any help would be highly welcome.

The idea to translate the Bible verses from Luther's version comes to me from the "Through Faith Alone" devotional.

This is the book I will be translating from:

Dr Martin Luthers Kleiner Katechismus Mit Beweisenden Und Erläuternden Spruchen Aus der Heiligen Schrift (German Edition)

This, I did purchase from Amazon.   It is a reprint from the collection of the University of Michigan library.  It was issued by Maximillian Joseph, the King of Bavaria, with the proceeds of the book going to the fund for pastor's widows.

For the life of me, I hope that no one has a copyright to this anymore.  The king died  in 1825.  I would think that the University did not purchase any rights from him.  The content has been digitized by Google books.

We find in 128 small pages only the six chief parts.  This version is missing "Daily Prayers", "Table of Duties" and "Christian Questions with their Answers".

So far this idea.

About the Small Catechism, the "Confessing Evangelical" puts it nicely:  For me, anything not in the Small Catechism is really secondary; anything in the Small Catechism is non-negotiable. Hence the strapline to this blog at the time of writing: “You can have my Small Catechism when you prise it from my cold, dead hands”

Well said.  Very inspiring.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"The Gospel without Adjectives"--Michael Spencer

I will give you one more quote from Michael's book "Mere Churchianity", then you might decide to read the book for yourself.  I cannot fully endorse the book, because Michael never came around to an understanding of the sacraments and absolution, but there are many good parts and the overall message of the book should be contemplated.  We have been integrated into Christ's body for a purpose and this purpose is to love.  It is a call away from North American show business type church of the theology of glory. We are called to live for our neighbor and suffer, too.  Our new president of LCMS makes this point also in his book "Christ have mercy."  Faith will find things to do, no matter how humble, the works God has prepared for it;  as we are ONE in Christ we share each other's joy and pain.  If you click on the link, you will find about 100 reviews, as of this date.

The quote below relates how Michael came to stop looking for the victorious Christian life and started looking at his "bigger Savior".
After I rattled around on this path for a few years, I knew I needed to recalibrate my life with the real Jesus.  I had to ask myself a question:  Was the Christian life actually the "victorious" Christian life I was faking?  Was it supposed to be vibrant, electric, dynamic, supernatural, awesome, and___? (Insert your adjective of choice.)  Or was the Christian life different?  simpler?  more honest?  This journey led me toward the discoveries that I will be sharing in the next few chapters.  The Christian life is an expression of the gospel.  If your preferred gospel is Your Best Life Now, then your Christian life will be something like "discovering your awesome, unique destiny."
If your gospel is "God wants you to have a dynamic experience every day!"  then your Christian life will be a constant amusement park of dramatic divine interventions.
If your gospel is "Jesus Christ is our salvation.  He gives life to those who come to him by faith,"  then your Christian life will look like the joy of the rescued and the humility of the undeservedly graced.
If your gospel is "Jesus is for losers, and there's no need to lie about it,"  then your Christian life will be "Hello. My name is Michael, and I'm a big sinner with a bigger Savior."
Martin Luther let me know that I was not qualified to receive the victorious-Christian-life merit badge.  He also let me know that I wasn't a very good Christian.  I'd been reading the reformer's works in a course taught by Dr. Timothy George...  I could stop looking for the secret key, and I could ditch the quest to demonstrate that I was a Christian hero.  I was humbled as I looked at a universe of grace that filled my empty should with the love of god in Jesus.  He did it all.  he traversed the separation.  He brought together the unreconcilable.  He had paid the debt and had become the necessary sacrifice.  He had loved me to the uttermost.  He had given all this to me as a gift.  I had nothing to offer, nothing to contribute, nothing to do but simply stop ignoring his gift and receive it.  I was a drowning man whose rescue depended on stopping all efforts to swim and trusting someone who was not going to make me a better swimmer, but who would drown in my place.
... In seeking to be a good Christian, I was deserting the truth that there is no gospel for "good" Christians, because the Lamb of God was nailed to an altar for those who are not good and who are no good at pretending to be good.
pp. 133-135.

This is really what a conversion to Jesus Christ is.  Abandon all hope in yourself and receive overflowing hope in God.   You will never be the same and you will be able to judge all doctrine no matter how confused the church may sometimes look.  You will be able to love God, to love yourself and your neighbor.  Sometimes very poorly, but honestly and humbly.  We each have a "bigger Savior".