Thursday, April 08, 2021

Christian News

 Video of the Editor of Christian News -

Christian News ( is a conservative Lutheran newspaper, published since 1962, that has a blog at  I recommend reading the newspaper and the blog.  A recent book, Love Him for Us, by Barbara Marquart Johnston, was also interesting and good.  I gave it four stars.  It was published by Lutheran News, Inc., parent organization of Christian News.

Since the beginning of 2020 I have done some brief, not exhaustive at all, comments on the published issues (which are not on the Internet unless you subscribe).  They are below.  I intend to continue to add comments for future issues as each one comes out.  There is far more in each edition than what I discuss below but I offer some thoughts.  Additional comments from others are welcome.




Among the articles in this issue are strong commentaries opposing cohabitation before marriage, on the basis of Scripture.  It is a major concern in both the church and in society.  A good book that addresses it (among many other topics) is Dear Son: A Father’s Advice on Being a Man by David Bruskas, who points out that simply avoiding to go “all the way” before marriage is not what God calls couples to do.




Many great articles emphasizing the resurrection of Christ.  Trail of Grace by Rev. M.J. Nicolaus defends baptizing babies.  Mychal Massie emphasizes evangelism and NOT political activities, going so far as to say that political machinations are basically worthless.  Rev. Timothy Koch wrote, “Reading the Bible Out Loud With Beginning Readers.”  Very important help in discussing this very important issue.  Very important to train in the home as well as in church.




Great lead article reprinted from the Christian Post on how Christ-followers can be “offensive” without overtly trying to.  Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is taken issue with for not distancing itself from the late Ravi Zacharias, who apparently fooled many people, tragically.  The Brooklyn Tabernacle, which also had Ravi speak many times, did put out a statement lamenting Ravi’s legacy.  Beth Moore is called a celebrity preacher.  When secular, generally anti-Christian sources like New York Times and Washington Post feature Moore on the front page, that should be a clue that something is off with Moore.  John MacArthur is defended on religious freedom.  Indeed, there should be an honest, robust discussion on that topic.  When Satanists are able to promote Satanic statues under the banner of so-called “religious freedom,” that is not good.




Editor Philip Hale blasted Dr. John Nunes’s latest book (said there was nothing good about it), and said that Dr. Nunes, president of Concordia College New York (which collapsed and was sold to the Roman Catholic Iona College under his presidency), should be subject to discipline.  Hale said that Nunes was a theological liberal, though not particularly clear or honest about it.  Founding CN editor Herman Otten also was extremely critical of Nunes.  I had a few critical comments about Nunes in CN as well.  However, Dr. Nunes remains popular in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and has been popular in the LCMS for years.  Past CN criticisms of Nunes seem to have gone nowhere.  Pastor Hale may be the only LCMS pastor to publicly call for the correction of Nunes.  A few weeks ago I read the book, Wittenberg Meets the World (2017), which Nunes coauthored with Alberto L. Garcia.  In the Eerdmans published book, Nunes wrote on p. 78, “If, however, we are speaking of the LCMS, I have long maintained that the range of the axis is from ultra-conservative to moderate. There are very few LCMS-ers who are theologically liberal.”  Many in the LCMS agree with that ear tickling opinion which doesn’t really tell it like it is.  In other items in this CN, several major articles were written by Baptists, including a piece by Albert Mohler.  I’ve been going through Albert Mohler’s outstanding book, The Gathering Storm.  It’s a good thing that CN reprints sound opinion pieces written by Baptists.




A lot of good material on the very bad so-called Equality Act, which promotes homosexuality, harming one’s body to be something other than what God created one to be, etc.  Southern Baptists are shown as taking a good stand on the subject.




First of all, possibly noteworthy items that have NOT been printed in CN.  Nothing about the deaths of Rush Limbaugh or John Moldstad.  Nothing about new developments in the collapse of Concordia University Portland.  In the latest CN, some good commentaries as usual.  Statement from Gracelife Church in Canada which is closed down by the government supposedly due to COVID concerns.  Also government restrictions on religion in the People’s Republic of China.  These are subjects that CN seems to be basically unique in covering – not aware that those specifics are elsewhere.  CN also reported that the International Lutheran LayMEN’s League, which runs the Lutheran Hour Ministries web site, may now have women on its board.  A bylaw change is proposed to allow that.  Given that thousands of churches now broadcast on the Internet, the Lutheran Hour is hardly distinctive anymore and has not been for years.  It is not that conservative anymore either, as evidenced though its very lame “Thred” outreach effort.  The Lutheran Hour Ministries operation has been often lackluster lately could consider disbanding or merging with someone else.  Some past efforts have been good, though.  There needs to be an honest assessment as to where the group is currently at.




Among other excellent commentaries, the lead article by Mychal Massie on the cultural situation where many churches are seemingly supportive or silent on the sin of abortion.  CN did an OUTSTANDING job in reprinting the terrific commentary that Max Lucado wrote in 2004 on same sex marriage.  Unfortunately, the Crosswalk site took it down and it is unclear whether Lucado still stands by it but God’s Word still stands.  Lucado seems to have caved after he got flak for speaking at the ultraliberal Washington Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Ultraliberal Episcopalians who run that Cathedral blasted him.  Lucado wound up pleasing nobody.  The prestigious edifice should not have the prominence that it does.  I’ve been inside it many times.  The Lutherans used to hold a joint Reformation service there.  Often when a president dies, the funeral is held there.  At the George H.W. Bush funeral, there was a minor stir when Donald Trump and his wife remained silent during the recitation of the Apostles Creed.  The truths of the Apostles Creed should be affirmed but just being a warm body in a room mouthing the words without thinking or really believing is not too meaningful.  The mainline Episcopal Church (there are some breakaway Anglicans who are more conservative) has long tolerated not affirming the virgin birth and other fundamental doctrines, not to mention non-fundamental biblical doctrines.  They are all in in NOT affirming marriage as defined in the Bible.  It is long overdue that the Washington Cathedral be called out for this.  One should willingly NOT associate with it and give the God-honoring reasons why not.




Very good lead article by Pastor Paul Harris on obeying the government, as mandated in Romans 13.  It is a basic concept that is easy to understand but nevertheless is widely rejected, including among many who profess to be conservative.  Harris deals with the text and the interpretations of it (many of which are wrong).  Another article warns about excessive consumption of conservative news.  Although I am often conservative, I have always believed in reading widely and not just in the “conservative” camp.  Among other helpful articles is a piece on the government crisis in Myanmar (Burma), where Christians are facing great danger.  This very concerning situation has gotten very minimal coverage in the U.S. media.




Good commentaries and information about the unceremonious collapse of Concordia College New York.  Among other good articles, good remarks from Michael Brown on the political scene.  In my opinion, the smart conservatives are acknowledging that the conservative camp took a hit with the January 6, 2021 events, and Dr. Brown expressed that pretty well.  Another commentary notes that Dr. Wayne Grudem’s position on creation isn’t the best.  Sadly, Dr. Grudem is not alone in this among those who are generally otherwise conservative.  Good reminder the Camp Trinity is doing good work.




Great lead article on a Christian response to unrest and fine commentary by Mychal Massie on being faithful, as well as other good pieces.  Hopefully by God’s grace we can finally get by the Covid situation and it looks promising that we can.  Surprising that there was nothing about the collapse about Concordia College New York (though the subject was well addressed in past editions).  The death of Evangelical Lutheran Synod President John Moldstad was not yet mentioned either.




Very perceptive article reprinted from First Things on the danger of the idolatry of politics.  Other fine articles warning about the dangerous times.  It is too bad that some churches have not adequately addressed the textual criticism issue after all these years.  CN called a recent official commentary on the subject “worthless,” given that no specific individuals were censured.  All in all, a very strong edition of CN.




Among other things, good commentaries on taming the tongue and on taking issue with the false prophecies regarding a U.S. presidential election.  Although one such false prophet released a nuanced statement of repentance, many others still stand by the false prophecies, which is a separate issue as to whether the elected president is a good president espousing God-honoring policies.  A syncretistic prayer is rightfully blasted.  Sadly and tragically, there appears to be much more syncretism/idolatry still coming and already happening.  CN remains cautious in being overtly political, which can be a good thing.  CN foundationally rightfully warns about judgment for those who reject Christ.




Some good articles as usual.  On the last page CN’s managing editor asks, ““So what are the Norwegians saying about America - don't we look crazy right now!! I can't even watch the news. You don't know who to believe.”  An American pastor now serving in Norway points to the foundational truth of the Bible but is nonspecific about current events.  I think CN could be doing more to directly address issues relating to the current crisis in America.  In my opinion, one has to acknowledge that professing conservative Christians have taken a hit and that many liberals/secularists have valid concerns and observations.  Shocking to me how many conservatives who I have otherwise past respected have gotten to be so far out and wrong (at least in my opinion), in some cases horrendously judgmental.  Among other things, the concept that some claim to have been audibly told by God that Mr. Trump will remain in office, should be challenged.  It’s not something that is taught in the authoritative Bible.




Lead article was “The LCMS Since 1974,” repeating grievances that have been mentioned before and that will probably never be resolved.  Some other decent articles but there perhaps could have been more about current issues, like the bad prayer that a Democrat congressman offered and President Trump’s seeming ambivalence toward lying and lawlessness. I understand, though, that it’s tricky offering comments on such issues.



Good articles by Mark Nicolaus, Tim Bayly, Faith McDonnell, among others.  It is again noted in CN that a woman in a same sex government recognized marriage has been involved in Lutheran leadership, noting again that she did illustration for a Lutheran book publisher (where a top executive recently abruptly died similar to Ananias and Sapphira and Rachel Held Evans).  The woman in question seems to be a theological liberal generally and is associated with a Lutheran college with strong ties to the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (which former CN editor Herman Otten rightfully said was apostate).  CN says nothing transparent is being done on this matter.  It’s a big issue as I noted in commenting on the 11-16-20 CN.  Almighty God notices if it is swept under the rug.



The new editor of CN completed a successful year.  Issue again included some good articles, devotions and commentaries.  Not sold that the piece denouncing facial coverings was helpful.  Without going into reasons why, I do agree with the mainstream medical consensus that facial coverings can be helpful in avoiding COVID.  However, it seems that the more “conservative” one is, the less likely one is to agree.  In any event, people should have freedom to express views and some governments are too draconian but it might not be helpful to go too far the other way.  I don’t see facial coverings addressed in Scripture one way or the other.  The CN index indicates that relatively few books were reviewed in CN in 2020.  It could perhaps be a goal to have more books reviewed/mentioned in CN in 2021.




Good commentaries by David French, Tom Brock, Gene Veith and others.  Great to see the Christmas letters and pictures from the Hale family and from the Otten family.  Hale has almost completed a successful first year as the editor of CN.




Although there are many noteworthy items in this issue, perhaps the most significant were the articles related to Rev. Paul T. McCain, who died unexpectedly at 58.  He had a long record of service to the church and did a lot of blogging.  He and the founding editor of CN clashed somewhat, even though CN favorably publicized Paul early on.  I had a little bit of contact with Paul.  I join others in saying that he will be missed and that a large bulk of his work was effective and helpful.  There were great tributes and witnesses from his children upon his death.  CN published interesting and good articles (from the 1990s) by Paul in this issue.



A front page article again (rightly) took issue with the lesbian same-sex married deaconess who has been preaching at Concordia College New York, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod-affiliated school.  The LCMS opposes homosexuality but somehow this slipped through the cracks.  No apparently public indication that anything is being done even now.  The deaconess is a supporter of the late Rachel Held Evans, who died totally unexpectedly at only 37 in spring 2019.  CN was on top of this and published articles about the facts of Mrs. Evans in its 4-29-20 and 5-13-19 editions.  Some were extremely opposed to calling Mrs. Evans a false teacher (which she was—and unrepentant false teachers by definition do not inherit the kingdom of God).  Other articles rightly support a traditional non-sacramental interpretation of John 6 and rightly oppose a Lutheran Forum article (written by an LCMS pastor) on racial reparations.  CN is right on both of those matters, but will CN’s viewpoint go anywhere?  It would go good if so but also extremely surprising if so.  It would require Concordia Publishing House and other prominent church officials to publicly acknowledge being wrong.



Lead article is by a decades-long Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod theology professor defending himself.  He says that the accusation that he is theologically liberal is totally wrong.  Whatever the merits or lack thereof against him, it is hard to imagine that anything officially will be done, given his many years of service.  A commentary rightfully blasting Nadia Bolz-Weber indicates that nothing officially has been done at Concordia College New York, which has had close associations with Valparaiso University (nominal at best in terms of biblical fidelity).  As long as LCMS maintains a connection with Valpo, however lukewarm it may or not be, there will be problems.  It seems unlikely that the LCMS will ever totally dump Valpo, even though the living Lord warns us to not be lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22).  These are vital issues that should be addressed WITHOUT DELAY.




Good devotional articles to start the issue.  Shows problems in the LCMS with prayer in New York City many years ago, a very weak article by a Concordia College New York professor, and administrative problems, and building on the egregious problems exclusively reported last week.  If little to nothing winds up being done, as seems likely, raises questions as to why one should be in the LCMS even though there are conservative writings and actions that can also be pointed to.  The “’Justification by Faith’ Is a Slogan” headline shows a questionable emphasis, possibly totally wrong.  It’s much more than a “slogan.”  It’s an essential truth: grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone.  Much more could be said in terms of analysis.




Courageous major expose in the lead article titled “Legally Married Lesbian Leader at Concordia College New York.” It has far reaching implications for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  CCNY’s president, John Nunes, has a long history of not being that conservative (if conservative at all) as I commented myself in the 11-12-18 CN.  There was other documentation (which seemingly went nowhere) about Nunes then too.   Other excellent articles included a pastoral letter on the ongoing pandemic and again taking issue with Gottesdienst for its Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass.




Good to see Rev. Mark Surburg oppose Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory, something an LCMS pastor was shaky at best in doing in First Things a few months ago as was reported in Christian News.  Good commentary by Wayne Grudem on the election.  Why is Rev. Lincoln Winter in the LCMS if it is as bad as all that and what about those in the LCMS who are shaky?  How does that fit in?  Poland opposes abortion.  Good to learn about persecution and martyrdom in Vietnam and Haiti.




As I’ve previously argued, not sold that being adamant on using the word “Lutheran” is good or essential, especially in today’s context.  “Risky Christianity” article and Brent McCracken’s Gospel Coalition apologetics commentary were good.  Robert Preus’ essay on Bible authority from over 25 years ago was good but it seemed a little puzzling as to why it was reprinted again, right now.




Some good articles, commentaries and sermons.  Probably good to avoid the overtly political.  The reprinted interview with Mark Galli was educational but I would not have printed it without comment.  He should not basically get a pass for becoming Roman Catholic after having been an editor of an Evangelical magazine for many years.




Not a particularly impressive issue.  Some good articles and some okay articles but I referenced better ones on my web site. Pretty good comment on political position, a very controversial subject.  Some might push back but I think merit to position.




Marriage is man and woman based on Adam and Eve.  Good to take issue with some high church Lutheranism. Tim Challies on public schools.  Cultural Marxism grinding Christianity down.  Good points in why Christians are turning on their parents.  Sorry to read about financial problems at Camp Trinity.  We actually considered vacationing there but chose the Black Hills in South Dakota instead, mostly because it was closer to us.




Good analysis on what confession is and isn’t.  To me, many have given the impression that repeating preset words in a robotic way is what confession is.  I don’t think that’s what it is biblically.  Also rightly taking issue with a robotic approach to communion.  California dream house is in ashes.




Satan’s press secretary – great points.  Also great commentary on politics and political parties, though some conservatives may take exception.  Great commentary on idolatry of the Lord’s Supper.  However, many LCMS Lutherans have been teaching and practicing the opposite for years.  Former Lutheran Witness editor Adriane Heins was big on the opposite.  Worship protest in Seattle.  Great to strongly oppose Pete Buttigieg.  Spiritism in black lives matter.  Facebook censoring “Exposing the ELCA.”  Horowitz defends South Dakota.  All in all, a very strong issue.




Not sold that all actions against racism are wrong.  Depends on what is truly said and done.  Good to call for submissions.  Good to critique Andy Stanley.  Also defending Son eternally begotten.  Pless says decline anniversary of ELCA ordaining women.



Be a German Lutheran – great points!  Blasting Cowboy Church.  Hmm.  Rightfully criticizing LWF for promoting climate change.




Failure to cope with mortality good point.  We saw “Greyhound” and enjoyed it.  Good to reprint what’s wrong with consulting the dead. J.I. Packer inconsistent.  NBA sickeningly hypocritical.




Strong sermon by Wille.  Good to challenge legalism on masks, though I’m sure some STRONGLY disagree.  Well argued and well written.  Well done.  Great response to writer defending black lives matter.  Critic of MacArthur exposed for being wrong.




Good commentary by Larry Peters.  Is it safe.  Good to give space to John MacArthur’s arguments.  Possibly could have printed a counter argument.  Sojourners supported reparations but so did an LCMS Pastor in Lutheran Forum, something not mentioned in CN.   Author of Defending Boyhood review not named.  Great photos on exercising.




Although I’m concerned about these issues too, not sure totally fair to Greg Seltz.  Great article by Micah Hill.




Interesting to cite the church doesn’t need online watchmen, without comment.




Good to support freedom of speech, good article against interfaith prayers which I also linked to.  I also linked to America the Beautiful?




Good to be against Black Lives Matter and Marxism, might be well to read Woke Church, which shouldn’t be condemned simply on the basis of its title




Great issue.  Juicy ecumenism on racism, why of pandemic, come back to church, Reu Beck, Joe Bill Dixon




Good essay on anarchy




Antiracism, Hale Catches a Shark with his boys




Lutherans Going East, Taking Issue with Texas Church Growth

Leave the ELCA, Must Engage Roman Catholicism




Strong opposition to suicide

Why can’t the LCMS preach?

Merritt on Mohler




How Baptism Saves




Taking issue with Jonathan Merritt




Abstinence from worship

Washington Post blasts in person worship




Burfiend lead article good, article on evangelical sermons




Norman Vincent Peale – Trump, good to not idolize Trump




Rob Bell, Charisma News, etc.




Good articles on effects of coronavirus




Museum of Bible – Orthodox Church




Slavery, not all immoral, abortion supporter at Concordia New York, Rupprecht on Lent, review of descend to hell book




Criticizing Greg Jackson – should it be priority?

Good articles on long ending of Mark, Larry Peters, climate change, Matt Richard on Devil, publicized Portland problems, mixed gender preaching




Good to raise questions about Concordia Portland

Political idolatry – good points




Harrison discussed




What is a Christian essay is good.

Nobody else talks about canon issue.




Willow Creek’s Dr. B. disputes allegations.

Don’t have problem with Gettys

Good to defend Finnish Lutheran, quote Pat Boone’s comments

Necessary to blast Greg Jackson?



Strong statement on cremation

 Harris more critical than Otten.  Hard to see why Harrison bent out of shape.  Is LCMS using the book?  It’s still LCMS approved.

Great rebuttal of Mark Surburg on marrying non LCMS-Lutherans




Strong statement on Kobe, shows unimportance of sports, prophetic

Inviting comments.

Defending hell, good to review book on the topic, something I missed.  Aaron Rodgers off base.




Protecting life, against suicide




Left out Cascione – good

Good to hold up sexual conservatism




Reprinted report of abuse allegations

Left out Cascione – good

Why stay in LCMS if Voelz is that bad




Didn’t mention Baal or God

Discussion of WELS was weak

Clint Poppe failed to recognize good in CN.

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