Video of the Editor of Christian News - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th2kX_ezuQc&t=66s
Christian News (http://www.christiannewsmo.com) is a conservative Lutheran newspaper, published since 1962, that has a blog at http://www.christiannewsmissouri.com. 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 public pages 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.
A number of interesting and significant articles and commentaries. It is noted that Elon Musk, wealthy man who has been in the news a lot lately, was quoted as saying that he is “ok with going to hell” because the majority of others throughout history are going there too. A really sad and tragic statement by Mr. Musk.
Perhaps the most significant article is the one that indicated that Concordia University Wisconsin hosted a lunch talk titled “Starting to Apply Critical Race Theory in Social Work Practice.” Historically the South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has been among the most conservative, so if there are significant problems even there, that is bad. Some other LCMS colleges are having major deterioration; some have closed and others may be going in that direction.
There is a lot about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationally many years ago. Although I fully support the pro-life stance, I would have gone slow on this because nothing officially has been released yet. The much discussed leaked document means nothing officially until or unless the U.S. Supreme Court formally declares otherwise.
Dr. Nicole Muth, professor at Concordia University Wisconsin, defends the University against some recent public criticisms and CN editor Phil Hale responds.
There was an extremely long review of Reformed theologian Michael Horton’s 2011 systematic theology book. Rev. Paul Harris, Trinity Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas, wrote the review.
A full issue with a lot of worthy content. The recent fiasco at Concordia University Chicago is thoroughly discussed. A professor there went on an epic rant recorded on Youtube. The CUC administration is trying to calm things down but many support the out of control professor. On one level, the stand CUC leadership has taken is good, but this episode demonstrates that there are a lot of liberals at CUC, which bodes ill for the institution’s future, notwithstanding that some Lutheran conservatives have tried to talk up CUC and make it conservative. I would be hard pressed to advocate CUC as a college for students to go to based on this sorry situation
Concordia University St. Paul Minnesota is severely criticized for liberal theology, including an abortion advocacy editorial in the student newspaper. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod university system seems to be totally falling apart, as is perhaps the whole denomination. There is also a long review of Dr. Alvin Schmidt’s recent book, Faith Misused.
One of the big items in this issue is the report that there was a huge protest against having author/blogger/podcaster Matt Walsh speak at St. Louis University last December. There was a very long list of people signed a statement objecting to Walsh, a conservative Roman Catholic who upholds biblical moral standards and who has written some excellent books.
The “metaverse” is discussed in several articles. People should attend church in person barring extenuating circumstances; therefore, the “metaverse” is off base. There is another piece indicating that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has a huge pastoral shortage.
This issue again addresses the subject of “woke” at Concordia University Wisconsin Ann Arbor. Concerns about Concordia University Chicago and Concordia University Irvine are not mentioned. There are systemic problems in how the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod functions in that there are significant numbers who still sort of like ELCA/Seminex. Official communication channels try to keep a lid on it.
A lot of diverse articles in this issue as usual but I will focus on two. “How Should a Lutheran View the Apocrypha?” by Pastor Mark Surburg, argues that it really isn’t that important to focus on the Apocrypha. I made an effort to go through the Apocrypha last year and am doing so again this year. I agree! It’s just not the same as the generally recognized 66 biblical books. However, Lutherans in recent years have pushed the Apocrypha. Another article was “15 Things You May Not Know About J. R. R. Tolkien.”
The issue looks at Russia-Ukraine in a couple of commentaries, including one titled, “The Thousand-Year-Old Religious Origins of the Ukraine War.” The Kurt Marquart Fund is facilitating the distribution of theological literature in Haiti. Marquart, a pastor-professor who died a few years ago, had a special interest in Haiti.
Lead article is about Dr. Gregory Schulz, recently suspended from Concordia University Wisconsin, after accusing it of being “woke.” Schulz’s earlier article in CN got a big splash in the unofficial Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod media as well as in some secular media, more than any CN article in many years. It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out. Not that many years ago, CUW was considered one of the more conservative LCMS colleges, located in one of the most conservative LCMS areas.
The large bulk of this issue focuses on a paper by a Portuguese professor at a Lutheran seminary in Canada. CN calls the document “alarming and heterodox,” and “satanic.” Women’s ordination is promoted by the professor.
Issue includes a long commentary from Rev. Lincoln Winter on the 15th anniversary of Lutheran Service Book (yawn) and, without comment or amplification, “A Statement on Racial Prejudice” from the American Association of Lutheran Churches. It’s a good statement but perhaps more could be said about the background and context behind it
It had been a while since CN addressed specific Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod issues. The lead article in this issue accuses an LCMS college of seeking a “woke president.” It is also mentioned that United Church of Christ clergywoman Mallory Everhart is a graduate of the LCMS-affiliated Concordia University Nebraska. Everhart has a photo proclaiming “Queer Joy” on her Twitter account. Although the LCMS is often conservative, maybe even ultraconservative, the denominational hierarchy often tries to keep on lid on the fact that there are a significant number of liberals in the LCMS, or who have roots in the LCMS.
Perhaps the most notable article was a report on the trial of Paivi Rasanen and Juhana Pojola in Finland, for quoting what the Bible says on homosexuality, and indicating that they actually believe the Bible. The two conservative Lutherans are facing fines and even possible jail time. There was a hearing on January 24 but unfortunately the situation still hasn’t been resolved yet. Another hearing is scheduled for February 14.
Among other things, this issue included an essay titled “Headship: Christ is Lord Over His Church and All Things,” delivered by Pastor Philip Hale at the Association of Confessional Evangelical Churches conference in 2021. Also, there are notes on the 2022 Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne Symposia. The Fort Wayne, Indiana seminary web site says that it has “the finest theological seminary faculty in the world, bar none.” (How is it possible to measure that?)
Headlines in this issue include “Daily Bible Reading: A Confession” (touting the practice of morning daily Bible reading), “A Violent Baptism?”, “Jesus Brings a Sword, Not Peace” (based on Matthew 10) by Mark Surburg (referenced on my blog here on 1-1-22), “In Catholic Italy, ‘De-Baptism’ Is Gaining Popularity,” “Objective Justification, the 1517 Project, and Gay Christians” (nobody I know of has yet commented on the bad Daystar Journal commentary referencing Objective Justification), “Confessions of a Former People-Pleaser,” “Why Aren’t Christians More Loving?”, “Direct Threat to Religious Liberty: Legislative Bans on Conversion Therapy…”, and “Reformed Church in America Splits and Conservatives Form New Denomination.”
Titles of articles included “False Race Narratives,” “It’s Time to Stop Denying Reality About Transgender Athletes,” “30 Trillion and Counting: How Should Christians Think About the National Debt,” and “Karl Marx” (analysis of his bad life and influence). There is a very helpful discussion of rationalism and pietism in the light of God’s Word.
The lead article is titled, “The Consequences of Denying Inspiration [of the Bible].” Another article includes the editorial comment: “Public disrespect for any person, let alone our government leaders who Christ tells us to pray for, is shameful for a pastor. Yet another sign of how politics is overtaking the minds filled with little to no doctrinal substance.” There has not been much in CN lately about current Lutheran news/issues, such as the universalistic commentary by Dr. Norman Metzler on Daystar.
The first issue of 2022 was a strong one. Lead article was “Taking the Trinitarian Christ Out of Christmas.” Another article was “You’re Not a Christian If You Only Adore the Baby.” Still another article notes that contrary to some belief, the Republican Party is overall not that hot on LGBT issues, though still overall better than Democrats. The back page highlights newly made plaques which state, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.”
This issue includes a very good lead article, “Begotten, Not Made,” a 1948 sermon from Walter A. Maier that the editor gave a generally favorable but mixed review to, a Russian Orthodox statement opposing sodomy, a commentary opposing women leading in churches, as is done in some Southern Baptist churches, and a notice of the death of Lutheran creationist David Menton.
There were some good sermons as well as thought-provoking discussion of the movie series The Chosen. And more.
This issue includes a very strong sermon on being a fool in preparing for death, an extremely important concern that is particularly relevant given certain developments in the church. Among other things, a new movie on C.S. Lewis is favorably publicized. The editor comments, “Yes, Lewis had major doctrinal errors, since he was an evolutionist Anglican. He did not claim to be a theologian, by his own admission, but a writer of fiction and literature. However, he was a gifted writer and communicator, and spoke very articulately as an intellectual layman who confessed Christ as Lord.”
Commenting on a conference discussing the seemingly never impact of you know what, the editor wrote, “I find it surprising that not one speaker is said to have called this pandemic a divine warning to not trust in man and his (medical or virtual) technologies, but turn from his pride and self-trust to the merciful Christ.”
Besides many other articles, this issue on p. 10 reprints an article from the New Yorker on the late religious skeptic, Rachel Held Evans, who is held in high esteem in the secular world, mainline liberal Protestantism and by former Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, among others. Relatively few criticize her. CN rightly editorialized against her unbelief.
The lead article was “Elite Evangelicalism’s Allergy to Complementarianism” by Denny Burk, a blogger and Southern Baptist professor. (The same article was linked here, over a month ago, when the piece was first published.) As have others, Burk decries the disastrously bad performance of Mark Galli as editor of Christianity Today magazine. Truly a sad and unnecessary tragedy that more should be taking issue with.
There were articles on Mr. Biden receiving Communion and on LGBT activist Brenda Sue Fulton being nominated to oversee military chaplains. Also about how TV lied about abortion and about the shocking and wrong trend toward sterilization (no future society if everyone did that). A lot about exemptions for Covid vaccines. Although some and even many may push back on this view, the CN editor (correctly) sees it as shaky at best to say that Scripture says one can’t get vaccines.
Rev. William Mugnolo wrote, “While now out of office, he has left behind a number of significant achievements. Among them were his strong defense of the pro-life cause and his advocacy for worldwide religious freedom. He has also received multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. But despite these and other accomplishments, Mr. Trump’s term was marred by his childish, egotistical behavior. So often he seemed more concerned about his own ‘brand’ than in being the leader of the free world. His narcissistic personality has been a prime factor that, in time, led to two impeachments and his being voted out of office.” Jonathan Rupprecht wrote on the relevant subject of “The Church Militant.” The fact that Mexico is decriminalizing abortion is reported (which I haven’t seen in American news sources that I consult). A number of articles critical of Joyce Meyer are reprinted, including one by a man who used to work for her organization.
There is a very good article by Rev. Roberto Rojas, titled, “Cross-Dressing: An Attack on Our Sons and Daughters.” That is a very important issue that is addressed well. There was other good material as usual but that piece was probably the highlight.
Among other things, the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci identifies as a secular humanist is highlighted. He was named “Humanist of the Year.” That might help to explain biases. Biden of course elevated his influence after becoming president. Most importantly, Dr. Fauci’s status as a humanist is not good for his standing before God on a personal level.
Among other things, a lengthy article from Politico on Joe Biden’s association with the Roman Catholic Church, is reprinted.
The key article in this issue in my opinion was a critical report on Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation sounded somewhat liberal. There’s no doubt that some LCMS churches are liberal and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-friendly. Some regularly act like the LCMS has no association whatsoever with the ELCA but it doesn’t take much digging to see that it still does. What if anything will ever be done about this?
Given that in God’s timing any of us could die for any reason at any time, the most important item in this issue was from “Way of Life”: “Warning: There is no vaccination against death. If you haven’t settled the issue of eternal salvation, you need to get saved by faith in Jesus Christ before it is too late, and then you can trust Christ to hold your life in His good hands. Elderly people in particular must be ready to die of something. At the end of the day, something will ‘break through’ and get you and Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson can’t save you. ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). Seek Jesus Christ!” Also, there was a discussion of what religions and sects truly have legitimate, documented objections to vaccines.
This issue among many other things takes issue with a church offering blanket “religious exemption” papers against Covid vaccination (while also calling Covid government guidelines “illogical”). In another brief commentary, the observation is made: “Liberals, especially Lutherans like Martin Marty paved the way for Lutherans to want to appear more evolved and reasonable than ‘simple Bible believing Christians.’ Yet, we know for sure what is of God from Scripture. In this truth we must remain steadfast. Too many hip Lutherans today do not want to appear fundamentalist, or be labeled as such, and so try to find Christ apart from or without the words of Holy Scripture—pitting Christ against the authority of His Word.”
The lead article in this issue is “The Binding Key: The Lutheran Theology of Church Discipline” by Pastor Roberto Rojas. In remarks about a recent unofficial theological conference, the editor of CN rightfully comments that every Christian man, woman and child should be concerned about sound doctrine and practice. Leaders should be respected and honored, but it’s not a concern of just the leaders
A very strong issue with many significant articles. The conservative Lutheran signers of a statement supporting conservative Lutherans in Finland are listed. Unbelievably, several conservative Lutherans in Finland are being charged with crimes simply for putting out material stating what the Bible says about homosexuality. Leaders of the generally conservative International Lutheran Council as well as the arguably even more conservative Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference support the embattled Lutherans in Finland, as they should. Not everyone in that camp (such as more liberal theologians like John Nunes and Jeff Mallinson) might agree. This issue also reprints Dr. Martin Noland’s “A History of Christian Denominations” (which has been on this blog since June 20, 2020).
This issue includes among other things a reprint from an article from 1942 titled, “The Progressive Revelation of the Antichrist,” by P.E. Kretzmann, where Kretzmann argues that the Pope is the Antichrist. The points in the article are worth considering. It seems like almost nobody, including a large bulk of professing Lutherans, are that critical of the Roman Catholic Church for unscripturally exalting Mary, etc.
Among other significant articles, there is one (reprinted by Salon.com) titled “How Evangelicals Abandoned Christianity – and Became ‘Conservatives’ Instead.” The editor made sensible comments about it, noting among other things that the Gospel, not political activism, should be paramount.
A key takeaway comment in this issue: “It does not serve those in error to harangue their motives and actions, nor does burying one’s head in the sand and living in one’s own isolated theological ghetto lead to divine unity in the Gospel.”
Under Pastor Philip Hale, CN has often found stories that are not generally seen elsewhere. This issue includes a sermon, “The Reversal of Human Judgment,” by James Mozley, from the book, “The World’s Great Sermons.” There is a report on a Supreme Court decision that favored the Amish. There is a commentary appropriately very favorable to “The Chosen” movie series. An article from the Oregonian discusses financial transactions related to the now closed Concordia University Portland. The closed school’s parent denomination has not been transparent about the situation at Concordia University Portland (Oregon).
This was a strong edition of Christian News, including trenchant commentaries on theistic evolution, sodomy, Mark Twain, Roman Catholic Church communion policy, North Korea, the dangers of the Masonic Lodge (with testimony of someone who left), Islamic brutality in Nigeria and Scientology. Many other outlets are not or barely covering these issues. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod figures John Nunes and Jeff Mallinson are again called out for errant views expressed.
The lead article by Roger Kovaciny, “What a Friend We Have in Mary,” blasts the Roman Catholic Church for purgatory, indulgences and Mariolatry. It is a very strong piece that one hardly hears at all today. Hopefully many Roman Catholics don’t in practice believe the unbiblical ideas that are officially taught. Good that CN openly opposes these errors. CN also among other things published an article defending biblical creation from creation.com
The long essay, “God’s Mandate for Righteous Anger,” was reprinted from God's Mandate for Righteous Anger (cognosceveritatem.com). It was written by an unnamed Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod layman and is EXCELLENT. (Having it unsigned keeps focus on issues, but, still, all in all, to have such pieces signed is better in my opinion.) There are other good, thought provoking and original articles, sermons, and commentaries in this issue but the righteous anger essay was clearly the highlight. It addressed a very important concern.
This issue included an article on church discipline from the 1800s, a commentary arguing that tattoos are sinful, commentaries addressing so-called trans pastors, articles about population control, news about Saddleback Church in California, a report that some criticized the Governor of Utah for praying for rain, still more on COVID, and a news piece titled, “Twitter Suspends Politician’s Account for Saying That Men “Cannot Get Pregnant”
This issue included “The Liberals Who Can’t Quit Lockdown” from The Atlantic, which wasn’t that relevant for a Christian newspaper the first time it was reprinted in the 5-24-21 CN (pp. 10-11). There were two different but similar editorial notes but what is going on? On the front page Fred Schwarz’s classic You Can Trust the Communists to be Communists was recommended. CN founding editor Herman Otten also blasted Communism in his classic book Baal or God. That book has not been mentioned in CN since his successor became editor.
Included in this issue are articles about Roman Catholic churches hanging rainbow pride flags, the new Texas fetal heartbeat laws, and not letting culture wars detract from preaching the Gospel.
Besides other articles/commentaries on a variety of topics, including marriage and children (a frequently addressed topic), the issue included a press release from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, about newly elected ELCA bishop Megan Rohrer, a born woman person who now identifies as transgender. This was news that came out two weeks earlier and is the only specific item in CN to date on this subject.
Articles on church/worship along with commentaries were among the pieces in this edition of CN.
This issue included among many other things the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. CN commented, “It is rare to find a balanced take on environmental issues.” The document may be read online at The Cornwall Declaration On Environmental Stewardship (cornwallalliance.org)
Commenting on a recent statement from a college, CN editorialized in this issue, “This statement tries to be open to friendly discussions about perverse forms of sexuality, while also being faithful to the Scriptures. That is not possible. It is not enough that sin is accepted and tolerated by the world, it also demands that sinful choices be praised and given positive ‘support.’ But God’s Word demands that sin not be supported, but rather condemned and the sinner called to repentance. Living a sinful life—contrary to His Word and creation— does not please the almighty, but angers Him.
“Christ’s death is not a license to treat sin as neutral and no big deal. Not all sexuality is good and normal, in fact, only according to God’s design in His institution of marriage is it used rightly. Human identities and choices apart from His will are evil. So to accept a definition of ‘gender’ as something that can be disconnected from God’s created biology is not Christian.
“We may not define sexuality for ourselves, according to the flesh and sinful mind. Using dictionary.com, without biblical discrimination, is a very poor way to set the stage for theological discussion. To ‘dialogue’ means to accept beforehand that all sides and viewpoints are equal. But that is obviously not the case with what God expressly condemns, so it cannot be loving. ‘Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality …’ (1 Cor. 6).
“To listen without the possibility of rejection or condemnation is acceptance, pure and simple. The statement seems to be asking: ‘How can we welcome sinful lifestyles, while also having the appearance of faithfulness?’ We may not deny God’s will and intent in our creation as male and female. This is a high calling— a holy calling—that no Christian may dismiss, without denying the Lord who made all people.”
This issue notes among other things that Dr. Carl Schalk, an acclaimed church musician, belonged to an independent liberal Lutheran congregation, not a congregation affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The provocative essay, “The New Castrati: Contemporary Worship and the Triumph of Effeminacy,” by Rev. Jeff Hemmer, is also reprinted.
In this issue, Rev. Scott Murray, Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, wrote: “The baby boomer project attempting to make Christianity less offensive to the continuously offended has failed. It has left many churches utterly supine, unable to respond faithfully to the declining culture and its false messiahs. Many American churches are simply fighting for sexual degeneracy, and all manner of ‘wokenesses’ under the guise of what are called ‘justice and equity.’ They certainly have no time for the Savior whose church it is; the Savior who gives Himself for sinners. When nothing done by humans could be classified as sin, what good is a Savior from sin?
“When the only shameful things are acts, words, or deeds that offend against ‘wokeness,’ who needs a Savior who suffers and dies? In a world where your deeds can be dredged up from your college yearbook and weaponized against you, who needs a merciful Christ that swallows down your depravity and returns your life to you cleansed by His precious blood? In a day when love has grown cold, how can the Savior’s love unknown to the loveless shown, lead us to a love that covers a multitude of sins? Such a Savior is inconvenient, because He makes it impossible for us to destroy others in the forum of public opinion. The churches have not preached this Christ who serves us. Therefore, we can find no way to serve one another. We can only devour each other, chew upon each other, and spit each other out. O Lord Jesus, save us from such a world! This the Christian difference: The God who serves (Mk 10:45).
“Jesus has come for just this purpose. He comes not to fix a world broken, but to save His dear children from this present evil age by giving His life as a ransom. Because the world is fallen and frustratingly fractured, we feel held hostage by the madness. We feel as though someone has ordered us to stay home behind locked doors (Oh, wait! We feel that way because someone has!). Our Lord has come to rescue us from being taken hostage in Satan’s dominion. He will not leave us in the clutches of the enemy. He comes to serve us in the place of our exile and defy our enemy, throwing down the page of God’s Word, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Mt 4:4).
More articles about not forsaking assembly, the resurrection of Christ, the idol of personal safety with respect to COVID, a generally critical review of a popular book called “Confronting Christianity” (I’ve read it), opposing Pelagianism, opposing transgender, returning to Scripture, the perpetual victimhood of the black lives matter movement, and Camp Trinity in rural Missouri where CN is based. Fine reading as usual.
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
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
Great rebuttal of Mark Surburg on marrying non LCMS-Lutherans
Strong statement on Kobe, shows unimportance of sports, prophetic
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.