1517 Blogcast

1517 Blogcast

1517legacy.com/podcasts
The 1517 Blogcast is a daily, microcast of articles from 1517. These articles share insight from a community of writers communicating the proclaimed forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection, the importance and relevance of historical Christianity and defense of the faith through Christian apologetics.


Q&A for “Where Two or Three Are Gathered”
Oct 11 • 6 min
Friends are a gift from God, but all gifts flow from God to his children because of his love for us on account of Christ.
A look at 2 Peter 1: Not a Cleverly Invented Story
Oct 10 • 7 min
He begins the letter with grace and peace (2 Pet 2:1) - gifts that had been given them by God through the righteousness of his Son, Jesus Christ, their Lord, and Master.
Dorothy L. Sayers and The Council of Chalcedon
Oct 9 • 10 min
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have fallen asleep in a history class, and those who lie about it. But in all seriousness, this is precisely how history is often viewed, isn’t it?
Glorious Scars
Oct 9 • 7 min
Everything vanishes so quick. Our body is gobbled up by the earth. Our memories are devoured by time. Time diminishes our physical gifts.
What Does this Mean: Union with Christ
Oct 7 • 10 min
One of the most notable contributions of the Eastern Orthodox tradition to Christian theology is its strong emphasis on what they call theosis, or divinization.
Friendship and the Apologetics of Imagination
Oct 4 • 12 min
The following is an excerpt from“Where Two or Three Are Gathered” edited by Scott Keith (1517 Publishing, 2019).
A Look at 1 and 2 Peter: Intro to 2 Peter
Oct 3 • 8 min
Second Peter is a short, straightforward epistle. It begins, after the salutation, with an exhortation to piety, encouraging Christians to practice virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, kindness, and love.
Knock! Knock! Who’s There?
Oct 2 • 9 min
For a long time, well-intentioned pastors and college evangelists have applied Jesus’ words (dictated by John as a part of the seven letters to the churches of Asia minor) from Revelation 3:20 to the unconverted.
Mercy for My Neighbor
Oct 1 • 7 min
Most people don’t pray they will be able to show mercy. They hope for good luck or strength to meet a challenge. They yearn for things to break their way today. Sometimes, when they’re panicked, they pray for God to pity them.
Theology and Philosophy: In Conversation with Robert Jenson
Sep 30 • 11 min
Robert W. Jenson (1930–2017) is one of the most important, yet often overlooked and frequently misunderstood, theologians from the English-speaking world in the past century.
Q&A with Wade Johnston for “Let the Bird Fly”
Sep 27 • 6 min
The optimism of a Christian extends beyond the deathbed and has its origin in a historical event without historical boundaries.
A Look at 1 Peter 5: Peace to All in Christ
Sep 26 • 9 min
As we conclude our walk through 1 Peter by looking at chapter five today, I’d like to begin at the end. As Peter sends his final greetings, he references his brothers-in-arms, first Silvanus, who wrote Peter’s words, and then Mark, Peter’s…
The Faith We Share: How C.S. Lewis and the Apostles’ Creed Can Help Us Understand Christianity
Sep 24 • 8 min
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes a famous analogy comparing the universal church and church denominations to a large home with many different rooms: “I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an…
Forgiveness is the Foundation
Sep 24 • 7 min
We meet, and affection blossoms. We love each other. We change, and arguments erupt. We stab each other with words. The door slams shut; the lock is bolted. We separate, breakup, then divorce. The threads of our relationship are torn. We’re sinners…
Crucified Expectations: The Great Reversal of the Cross
Sep 23 • 10 min
When we think about God, each of us has an image come to mind. We expect that God should look and act a certain way. But God’s words in Isaiah 53 highlight a theme that prevails throughout Scripture, a theme that finds its culmination on the cross:…
Where Two or Three Are Gathered: An Introduction
Sep 16 • 12 min
There are many examples of friends serving one another in life. Some are extreme and extravagant, but most are ordinary. I’ve heard many stories that have inspired me to look for good friends with whom I can engage and be engaged.
A Look at 1 Peter 4: Suffering for the Sake of Jesus
Sep 16 • 10 min
There is some irony in the fact that St. Peter is writing to us about suffering for the sake of Jesus. After all, isn’t this the same man that had a less than stellar record when it came to his own response to persecution and suffering during the…
Original Sin: What Does this Mean?
Sep 16 • 13 min
In the past three years, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research have worked together to survey the theological state of Christians in the U.S. Amongst other shocking discoveries, the project found that the majority of evangelical Christians in the…
Saxon Visitation Articles of 1592
Sep 16 • 14 min
Following the death of Martin Luther in 1546, the Lutheran Church entered a tumultuous period as an ecclesial game of back and forth was played in the German lands between Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and Calvinism, according to the religious…
The Lord’s Table Will Not Be Empty
Sep 16 • 9 min
The Lord’s banquet room will not be empty. The wine will flow. The food will be served. Music will play. Conversations will be had. The Lord’s table will be crowded. He will make sure of that.
Two Kinds of Righteousness and Two Realms
Sep 11 • 9 min
The following is an excerpt adapted from “Let the Bird Fly” written by Wade Johnston (1517 Publishing, 2019).
A Look at 1 Peter 3: Baptism Now Saves You
Sep 11 • 10 min
If we’re perfectly honest with one another, 1 Peter 3 has some great but also uncomfortable content. Modern theology has no love of Peter’s words about men and women, suffering, or baptism.
The Great Storyteller
Sep 11 • 7 min
Human beings are storytellers. From the time we get up in the morning and take that first sip of coffee until the time we go to bed at night, our daily lives are full of stories. It may be the short story told by your teenage son or daughter.
Christianity Isn’t Complicated
Sep 9 • 7 min
There is not much about being a Christian that is particularly groundbreaking: focus on Jesus-crucified for us sinners. Enjoy the benefits of his forgiveness, life, and salvation in words, water, bread, and wine. Love others by serving them in our…
Good Trees and Bad Trees
Sep 9 • 10 min
“Practice makes perfect.” I am sure you have heard this wisdom before. It’s good advice. You need to work at a particular craft to master it. You may have been born with a better aptitude towards woodworking than I was, but you were not born with…
For You: An Answer to Anxiety
Sep 6 • 9 min
Luke 12 repeatedly speaks about anxiety and fear, and even earlier in the gospel book, we are told another story about anxiety featuring the sisters, Mary and Martha. While Mary listened at the feet of Jesus, Martha kept herself busy flittering about…
A Look at 1 Peter 2: That We May Be His Own
Sep 5 • 11 min
The most well-known sentence of Peter’s first letter to the dispersed, exiled Christians sojourning throughout the Roman empire is also the high point of the letter’s second chapter. 1 Peter 2:9 reads, “But you are a chosen race, a royal…
Whatever is Excellent
Sep 3 • 8 min
Righteousness is our commodity. It is what we buy and sell. It is what determines value. It is what we use to build our personal portfolio. It is how we judge one another. It is how we determine who is worthy and who is not. We trade in…
Life Is What Jesus Makes of it
Sep 3 • 6 min
Life is what we make of it unless life is located in the One who calls himself, “Life.” Then, life isn’t what we make of it but what Jesus, God’s Word who speaks all things into being, makes of it. When life is what we make of it, making a mess of…
I’m Glad You’re With Me: Tolkien, Lewis, and the (not so) Great War
Sep 3 • 10 min
Ultimately it’s at the cross of Calvary, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the great Lion of Judah, that the stone table is broken, and everything sad does indeed finally come untrue.
Why Real Conversation is Important for Apologetics
Aug 30 • 10 min
What are the two things that should not be discussed in polite company? If you answered “religion and politics,” you understand the essential rules of etiquette for anything from family dinners to boardroom discussions. On the other hand, if you…
A Look at 1 Peter 1: The Good News that Was Preached to You
Aug 28 • 7 min
So Peter closes out the section of his letter that has come to be referred to as “1 Peter, Chapter 1.” He writes to the Christians of Asia Minor and uses this portion of the letter to remind them of all that God has done for them through His Son…
Christ in You, Christ for You
Aug 28 • 10 min
There is a message going around these days that many Christians are missing out on significant blessings of Christ because of insufficient awareness of the power of His indwelling presence. This message goes something like this: There is a distinction…
What Does God Give Us Today
Aug 26 • 7 min
It’s easy for us to get attached to things. An old suit that doesn’t fit anymore. A cabin we’ve inherited. A pew at church our family sat in for generations. An ideology we can’t give up. An argument we’re sure we won.
How do you know they are “the One”? Part 1 of 2
Aug 26 • 10 min
Like most good Christian girls growing up in the last few decades, the advice I received about marriage during my teens and early adult years is largely a mixed bag. Some of it has been helpful.
Beyond Redemption
Aug 22 • 8 min
I am a zealous advocate for doing apologetics. While apologetics is defined as the defense of the Christian faith, the simplicity of this definition does not help one understand the complexity of the problem of defining or practicing apologetics….
A Look at 1 and 2 Peter: Introduction to 1 Peter
Aug 22 • 7 min
“Baptism…now saves you…” (1 Peter 3:21): this is the climax of 1 Peter, a letter by the apostle with the same first name written to congregations in Asia Minor. Peter’s goal was to strengthen the faith of believers in the face of oncoming…
Christmas in August and Handel’s Messiah
Aug 21 • 10 min
George Frideric Handel, the Saxon Lutheran living in England, locked himself into his London flat on this day, the 21st of August, in 1741. He would emerge 14 days later with a 300-page oratorio that was destined to become the greatest piece of music…
Something More Powerful than Death
Aug 20 • 6 min
What would have happened to Peter, Paul, or any of us if there were no pain and death? On Sunday morning, instead of going to church, we would all roll over and go back to sleep. Snoring our life away, more or less in comfort, but never understanding…
Chasing After the Holy Spirit
Aug 14 • 8 min
I am quiet and relaxed. The temperature is just right. Breathing slowly and purposely, I focus on the black emptiness behind my eyelids. I listen to the hum of a fan spinning just a little too loudly above my head. No, don’t think about the fan, I…
Is America A Christian Nation?
Aug 14 • 10 min
On a recent episode of the Thinking Fellows, where I was a guest, Dr. Rosenbladt asked me what he rightfully considered to be one of the most vexing of all questions regarding the founding of these United States and the role of the faith of our founders.
Simul Iustus et Peccator: What Does this Mean?
Aug 12 • 12 min
The phrase, “simultaneously justified and sinner,” or simul iustus et peccator (simul for short), is a statement or confession concerning the Christian life in this world. While the saying is simple, unpacking its implications can take some time…
What Matters Most
Aug 12 • 7 min
We pursue what matters most to us and sacrifice what’s necessary to reach that goal. Whether it’s time, money, or health, we must sacrifice something if we want to achieve our goals. But, there’s often an unaddressed dichotomy as regards to what…
Killed the Word
Aug 12 • 10 min
Each verb is jarringly violent. The visceral lyrics and fiery enunciation pair with an oddly upbeat melody, artfully crafted to be relevant to the human experience.
Preaching and Sola Scriptura
Aug 5 • 9 min
One of the items that often comes to the fore in any discussion on the authority of Scripture alone (sola scriptura) is the relationship between the Bible and preaching. If the Bible alone is authoritative, what relationship does it have with the…
Hiroo Onoda and the Gospel of Reconciliation
Aug 5 • 10 min
In early 1945, Japanese Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was deployed to Lubang Island about 100 miles south of Manila in the Philippines. He was leading one of several groups sent to the Pacific Theatre.
Chasing the Spotlight
Aug 5 • 6 min
We’re always in search of a spotlight. It’s natural for us to crave attention. Just watch a baby when everyone else in the room is pre-occupied — especially if they’re focused on another baby! When we see a light shining on someone, we want to…
Killing Our Hero, Martin Luther
Aug 5 • 10 min
We recently explored ways Martin Luther comforted those experiencing sickness, depression, anxiety, and more through his Letters of Spiritual Counsel. We saw that Luther, the Reformation celebrity known for boldly clinging to the Word of God and…
Let the Bird Fly
Jul 31 • 9 min
The following is an excerpt from “Let the Bird Fly” written by Wade Johnston (1517 Publishing, 2019).
Celebrating Christmas in Galatians
Jul 31 • 7 min
Christmas in July is one of those made-up holidays that seems to be growing in popularity these days. Its origins date back to a 1933 girls camp in North Carolina, but now it has become an excellent reason for shopping centers, strip malls, and the…
The Birth of the NASB, Translation Soup, and The Only English Translation You’ll Ever Need
Jul 29 • 11 min
It was on this day, the 31st of July in 1970, that the Lockman Foundation first published the New American Standard Bible (NASB). While new vernacular and sometimes sectarian translations might not cause us to bat an eyelash, the history of…
Pain is Our Birthright
Jul 29 • 7 min
Are we entitled to a good day and sweet dreams at night? No. The Bible doesn’t promise us we should feel good all the time. Experience also teaches us that a painless life is unattainable. In fact, God promises Eve, “I will surely multiply your…
Protected from Baptism
Jul 29 • 9 min
“America exists to destroy Baptism.” I’m still captivated by this line from Steven Paulson at the Here We Still Stand Conference a couple years back. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that he is right. America, as a culture, has…
Q&A with Donavon Riley for “Crucifying Religion”
Jul 22 • 14 min
The following is a Question and Answer session with author and pastor Donavon Riley where we talk about his latest book, “Crucifying Religion: How Jesus is the End of Religion”.
America the Free?
Jul 22 • 8 min
She lounges in a beach chair and sips on a Corona as the sun shines from above and the grass brushes her toes from below. It’s a perfect summer day, and she should have little to worry about. She feels lucky to live in a free country, with access to…
Happy Birthday, John Newton! Hymn Writer and Slave Trader (Or, What to do when our Heroes turn out to be Scoundrels)
Jul 22 • 11 min
Today is John Newton’s birthday. This week, I’m sure churches everywhere will sing his, “Amazing Grace,” and possibly hear the tale about the self-proclaimed wretched sinner saved by grace. While this story is most certainly true, it’s not…
Human Rights: The Need
Jul 22 • 8 min
Human rights stand revealed as an idea that polarizes, encouraging uncritical support and also extreme reaction from both secularists and religionists. But the stark reality of man’s inhumanity to man in our time compels us to take the human rights…
Jesus Lifted Up, By Us or For Us?
Jul 18 • 12 min
“Jesus answered…‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’” (John 12:32). I have heard this verse dozens of times in churches, often in conjunction with a church body announcing plans for their worship…
Anxiety, Depression, and the God Who Treats You Better Than You Can Imagine
Jul 15 • 17 min
The smell of the lavender hits your nose as you remove the plant from its tiny plastic shell and rough up the compacted roots that have pullulated despite their confinement. Life is like that, making a way, filling in the gaps, taking advantage of…
Remembering the Scillitan Martyrs
Jul 15 • 9 min
It was on this day, the 17th of July in 180 AD, that 12 African Christians were added to the list of the earliest church Martyrs. These Scillitan Martyrs (named after Scillium, a province in northwest Africa) had rejected the way of Empire, refused to…
Enough is Enough
Jul 15 • 6 min
When pain bears down on us, how hard is it to keep going? We ask ourselves, “What did I do to deserve this torture?” “Why can’t my family and friends appreciate how much I hurt?” The pain and hurt haunt us and punish us for being alive.
Evangelism and the Comfort of Predestination
Jul 15 • 12 min
The nineteenth century’s revival of Reformation theology is known for stimulating renewed interest in the Lutheran Confessions (set forth in the 1580 Book of Concord), the Gospel witness of Martin Luther, and the historic liturgy of the Church.
Jesus, the Key to Understanding the Bible
Jul 8 • 11 min
The following is an excerpt from “Crucifying Religion” written by Donavon Riley (1517 Publishing, 2019). I am convinced that the theology I received from Augustine, Luther, C.S. Lewis, Pastor Kreuger, and others—the theology I’ve…
When You Can’t Forget
Jul 8 • 9 min
You have heard the expression, forgive and forget. This has been a popular prescription for how Christians should respond to those who trespass against us. Indeed, what is often explained as the evidence that we have truly forgiven those who have done…
Happy Birthday, John Calvin! Pastor, Theologian, Sinner, and Saint
Jul 8 • 16 min
On this, his 510th birthday, I would like to walk through the basic questions surrounding the life and thought of John Calvin with a few bibliographic references, as well as suggest a historical approach to this confessional figure without the…
God the Father
Jul 8 • 6 min
Fatherhood is, according to Jesus, the way God wants to relate to us. God as Father speaks, and by his word, molds every life and all that exists. Why? Fatherly goodness and mercy. Celebrities, athletes, and life coaches compete for our time, money,…
Three Words and the Truth
Jul 8 • 10 min
Lady Tremaine stands motionless on the stairs, looking towards but not truly seeing her step-daughter. She utters no apology, no excuse for her horrible treatment of her late husband’s only child. She expresses regret only for herself and out of…
Three Popes and the Burning of Jan Hus
Jul 3 • 10 min
In the 14th and 15th centuries, there were not one, not two, but three popes, all claiming to be the “Vicar of Christ” on earth. How did this happen, you may ask, and what does it have to do with the burning of Jan Hus? Below, are both stories, in…
The Comfort of the Two Kingdoms
Jul 1 • 11 min
The celebration of the Fourth of July marks the founding of the United States and brings with it the year’s most vital displays of American patriotism. Usually, the various elements of the political spectrum put down their proverbial weapons for…
On Reading Broadly
Jul 1 • 13 min
This is the second part of a series on the importance for Christians to think historically and read broadly. You can catch Dan’s daily historical podcast, the Christian History Almanac, wherever you download your podcasts.
When We Go to War with God
Jul 1 • 6 min
We’re all born hostile: hostile toward God and hostile toward each other. In theology, it’s the consequence of what we call “original sin.” Original sin produces violent fruit. We fight battles every day. A baby battles to walk upright.
Freedom from Food Piety
Jul 1 • 11 min
Anyone who lives in a metropolitan area of the United States can have almost any kind of food delivered to their doorstep within minutes and can post about it immediately on social media for the world to see and critique. Food is no longer just about…
Crucifying Religion
Jun 24 • 9 min
The following is an excerpt from “Crucifying Religion” written by Donavon Riley (1517 Publishing, 2019).
Font to Table: Need for the Creeds - Why Do We Recite Them?
Jun 24 • 8 min
So what is the Apostles’ Creed and why is it important? In the late fourth century, a little known figure in church history, St. Vincent of Lerins, is famous for a single sentence: “Hold fast that faith which has been believed everywhere, always and…
Why History Matters to the Christian
Jun 24 • 9 min
As a history professor, I spend an excessive amount of time trying to justify my discipline and trying to convince students to sign up for the major or at least a few elective courses.
Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds, but Jesus Does
Jun 24 • 5 min
We can’t heal past wounds. The pain may ease, but the wounds are still open. They still bleed. We can bandage our wounds with food, alcohol, work, drugs, sex, cigarettes, gambling, and whatever feels good. But, the wounds still bleed.
The Athanasian Creed and Its Importance
Jun 24 • 8 min
Church history has left us with three ecumenical creeds recited by the communion of saints throughout the centuries. While most are familiar with the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed often remains shrouded in obscurity.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Theology of the Cross
Jun 19 • 11 min
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is perhaps remembered as the most famous Christian martyr of the twentieth century. He was also a Lutheran pastor and theologian who helped start the Confessing Church, launched an underground seminary, and conspired…
Truth Serves Love
Jun 19 • 10 min
In his great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, St. Paul tells us that love is the greatest. “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
Blaise Pascal: Theologian of the Head and the Heart
Jun 19 • 8 min
It was on this day, June 19th in 1623, that Blaise Pascal was born in France, south of Paris in Clermont-Auvergne. A mathematician, philosopher, and general man of letters, he is best known for his last work, published posthumously as the Pensees…
Jesus is Unconquered
Jun 18 • 7 min
Jesus has taken away sin and death, and through the cross, God’s furious anger is taken away. God’s Word of Law hurled God’s furious anger at us, but the Gospel frees us to believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Staring into the Sun
Jun 17 • 8 min
Holy Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost in the church calendar, turns many Christians into mini detectives. Magnifying glasses in hand, they twist themselves into knots trying to unravel and explain the mystery of the triune God without…
Luther’s Counsel for Miscarriage
Jun 14 • 10 min
Biblically speaking this is the power of a parent’s prayer, not because of how hard we pray, but on account of the strength of the One who saves: the resurrected Jesus Christ.
The Little Story
Jun 13 • 10 min
Once upon a time, there was a story. Year after year, decade after decade, this little story was told to children, passing on her great wisdom from generation to generation. This story gave riches and honor, comfort, and life to all who heard it.
Do I Have to Go to Church?
Jun 12 • 10 min
If you google “do I have to go to” it will auto-predict the most popular questions. The first two are “do I have to go to college” and “do I have to go to church?” It seems my life is essentially one, long exercise in answering one of…
Water, Blood, and Spirit…That’s the Thing
Jun 11 • 6 min
The Holy Spirit keeps us in faith and pours us out into the world so others may also hear and believe.
A Communion of Saints for the Forgiveness of Sins
Jun 10 • 10 min
He reversed the scattering at the city of Babel in the gathering at Pentecost. And, He still carries out this reversal, week after week, in the church.
Luther’s Counsel for the Worried and Anxious
Jun 7 • 11 min
Where we find Scripture, we find Christ, and therefore where we find Scripture, we find a genuine comfort that breaks us free of our own thoughts and points us to the cross.
Sunday Before Pentecost
Jun 7 • 16 min
The following is an excerpt from “A Year of Grace: Collected Sermons of Advent through Pentecost” written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror Erickson (1517 Publishing, 2019).
The Way of Wisdom
Jun 5 • 10 min
The job of a Christian parent should be simple: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). This wisdom seems simple enough, perhaps even self-explanatory.
He Does it For Love
Jun 4 • 6 min
Why does Jesus do it? Why sacrifice His life so we can live? Love: He does it for love. He overcomes our fear of God, judgment, and death by love. Jesus on the cross is a shield that protects us from God’s judgment and death. He does this for us.
Luther’s Counsel for the Sick and Dying
Jun 3 • 13 min
It’s all about the conscience. Once we understand that, so much of what Martin Luther wrote, taught, preached, and acted on makes more sense, especially when it comes to the spiritual counsel he provided to others.
Can Christianity and Science Coexist?
Jun 3 • 12 min
Popular opinions can be like overgrown vegetation blocking our view of reality. One overgrown opinion says Christianity and science are mutually exclusive and so must be in conflict with each other. But they aren’t.
Luther’s Counsel on Persecution
May 31 • 11 min
In 1523, papist patience had worn thin within the Holy Roman Empire, and persecution of those holding the pejorative name of Lutheran began in earnest. Although God’s hand managed to protect Luther from the flames, he had to endure the sad news as…
Ascending Downward: When the Manger Becomes the Cosmos
May 30 • 9 min
Down is bad, up is good. These aren’t willy-nilly choices. Our bodies lead our linguistics. We associate “down” with sickness, collapsing in exhaustion, and dying, while “up” is iconic of vivacity, standing strong, health. Our positive and…
Without a Doubt
May 29 • 9 min
The Easter morning narratives that relate our Lord’s glorious resurrection in the Gospels are accented with several occasions of believable skepticism. Not for a moment did anyone anticipate a far-fetched, eighth-day miracle.
Jesus is Our True Happiness
May 28 • 7 min
In the world, if we don’t betray our spouse, it’s because we’ve settled for good enough. Pizza delivery is faster than first responders. People fear terrorists more than God. Worshipping God interferes with our schedule, even at the best of times.
Post-Easter Musings
May 27 • 12 min
Easter sermons have been preached, blogs written, and triumphant music played and sung. It seems time we now move to the next liturgical celebration. We turn the page, but is there really any other?
Luther’s Counsel for the Bereaved
May 24 • 12 min
The events of human suffering and death – and how to care for the bereaved left in the aftermath of these events – present some of the most difficult pastoral challenges imaginable.
Scripture, Not as It Seems to You, but as It Is for You
May 22 • 7 min
Scripture says things, and it says them as God said them in Genesis 1, with a creative, formative purpose and power. Scripture is not ours to play with; no, we are Scripture’s. Words mean things. The Word means things. He came, a real person, flesh…
Dante and Our Obsession with Hell
May 21 • 9 min
While we don’t have a record of when the poet Dante Alighieri was born, many historians have dated May of 1265 his likely birth month based on autobiographical records, including his most famous work, the Divine Comedy.
How Jesus Will King for Us
May 20 • 6 min
The Bible and church confess Jesus as king. But, what does this mean? Jesus doesn’t come to conquer like other kings. There’s no brutality. There are no weapons and armor. There’s no show of strength. Instead, as the Bible portrays Him, Jesus comes to…
For You
May 20 • 5 min
Are there any more wonderful words in this life than, “for you?” Martin Luther writes in his Small Catechism, “That person is truly worthy and well prepared (for the Lord’s Supper) who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for…
Font to Table: Why Does the Pastor Wear That?
May 16 • 8 min
In many churches, the pastor wears clothing referred to as “clerical vestments.” This may seem odd, particularly if you’ve never attended a church where this is practiced. Clerical vestments are the adaptation of ordinary clothing to set clergy…
For the Baptized, This is How it Goes
May 15 • 5 min
We’re rebel children and children of God the Father. For the Baptized, this is how it goes. We’re baptized into Christ. We’re forgiven, but we’re still sinners. We are sinners in the flesh, but at peace with God through faith in Christ. That’s how it…
The American Story in Light of the Gospel
May 14 • 12 min
And so the shape of our life with God through Jesus is unlike American myths and stories of conquest. In the first place, Jesus’ victory is not born of ambition, grit, and determination, but of humility, weakness, and even death. Yet that miserable…
The Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 13 • 12 min
The following is an excerpt from “A Year of Grace: Collected Sermons of Advent through Pentecost” written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror Erickson (1517 Publishing, 2019).
Luther’s Counsel for Those Dealing with Depression
May 10 • 9 min
Luther’s letters of spiritual counsel have long been a favorite resource of mine. I often use them before turning in at night as a devotion. Luther’s letters and table talk comments, most of which were written in his later years, are full of…
The Gospel for Lukewarm Christians
May 9 • 10 min
Many a pastor has turned to Revelation 3 in attempts to incite zeal for witnessing the faith we confess or to preach that we cannot rely on Word and Sacraments, but instead must have a separate indwelling of the Spirit to be saved.
Heresy, Deconstruction and What to Do About It
May 7 • 10 min
You’ve likely seen some of these stories on your social media feed: “Union Seminary President Denies Resurrection!”, or “Ex-Evangelicals reaching new audiences with edgy podcast,” or “Mega Church Pastor claims Old Testament is true ‘like…
God Doesn’t Give Us a Pass, and That’s Good
May 7 • 6 min
What if everyone adored us no matter how selfish we were? What if, no matter what we said, people didn’t hold it against us? What if everybody forgave us no matter what we did, but God judged us? What if God kept a record of everything we said and…
The Good Destruction
May 6 • 10 min
I looked into his eyes. My hands fidgeted, my heart was racing, and I was sweating like a sinner in church. Though I was waiting for him to speak, I was not at all sure I wanted to hear what he would say.
George Whitefield Arrives in America
May 3 • 11 min
For more stories like this check out the newest podcast from 1517, the Christian History Almanac with Dr. Dan van Voorhis, a daily five-minute podcast with stories, readings and poetry available wherever you download your favorite podcasts.
Why We Are All Theologians of Glory
May 2 • 9 min
In the sixteenth century, society experienced upheaval as a result of the theology of Martin Luther and his Heidelberg Disputation being proclaimed and embraced by the Protestant reformers. Five hundred years later, the West is once again in upheaval…
Moving Beyond Your Personality Type
May 2 • 8 min
We like systems, or at least I do. They help me rationalize complexity and understand the world around me. We also like to think and talk about ourselves. Ask me about my personal ambitions and life plans and you’ll be sorry you opened pandora’s…
Beyond Our Grasp
Apr 29 • 8 min
Have you ever been in a situation where a person declared themselves in charge and then proved the least qualified to be in such a position? I don’t mean they disqualified themselves by some moral failing.
The Psalms on His Lips
Apr 24 • 9 min
Jesus died with a Psalm on his lips, Psalm 22 specifically. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, Spoken by Jesus in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34). And on many occasions before His death, Jesus lived with a number of other…
Living on Resurrection Time
Apr 24 • 8 min
Church tradition gets a bad name for being meaningless, stuffy, and boring and sometimes rightfully so! Occasionally we do something for so long we forget why we started doing it in the first place.
The Blood of Christ Does What?
Apr 24 • 7 min
The blood of Christ. This is the New Testament. The blood of Christ purifies our conscience (Heb. 9:13-14). This means that we’re not upset by memories of sin. Fear of death is quieted. Future punishment isn’t on our radar. As the Psalmist says, “The…
Easter Zombies and the Hope of Resurrection
Apr 22 • 9 min
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the…
I Shall Live
Apr 22 • 8 min
Easter is a day of visceral gladness. On the day of the resurrection, all guilt and doubt are erased and replaced with righteousness and sure hope. While the Psalms speak and stand for themselves, they are also a vast reflection of the emotion and…
It is Finished
Apr 17 • 11 min
If you attend worship on Good Friday, you’ll no doubt hear Jesus’ dying words in John’s Gospel: “It is finished.” So much was finished there on the cross. It was the end of Jesus’ career, the end of His ministry, the end of His breathing,…
Looking for the Lamb
Apr 15 • 11 min
“Why is this night different from all other nights?” the child asks. The golden twilight feels heavier than usual. Father ties up his sandals hurriedly, and mother paces looking out the front window. Dustier by the minute, neighbors and friends…
Cursed by a Name
Apr 15 • 8 min
Without using Google, tell me what you know about the illustrious lives and careers of Chris Burgess and Adam Keefe. What about Bob Hamelin? You might know something about him if you followed the Kansas City Royals in the ’90s.
When God Gets a Grip On Us
Apr 15 • 7 min
God can’t be tied down. If anyone disagrees, try it and see what happens. Worship God the way that seems good to you.
A Spirit-Wrought Confession in the Midst of Suffering
Apr 15 • 7 min
Like us, the Psalms share a bed with suffering. Psalm 31:9–16 puts words to the grief and loneliness we feel. But David does more than provide a vocabulary for our suffering. He puts words of truth and faith in our mouths. He gives us a confession.
4 1/2 Words to Know for Holy Week
Apr 12 • 9 min
Whether your native tongue is English, Icelandic, or Arabic, during Holy Week you’ll share a handful of words in common with believers around the world. They are Hebrew words.
The Day of Choosing
Apr 12 • 10 min
He staggers through the filthy, scorching desert. “So this is where it ends,” he mumbles. “This is it. Surrounded by dirt. Covered in dirt. You win, dirt! Congratulations, dirt! Well played…I’m dying alone.”
Church Membership and the Gospel
Apr 8 • 9 min
Church membership often presents itself as a frightening prospect to many. It involves an array of potentially unpleasant things: offering envelopes, planned giving, annual congregational meetings, weekly programming, requests to serve on the council,…
The Seed Does it All
Apr 8 • 6 min
The Father plants the Seed, which is His Word. Jesus is the seed that’s planted. We don’t plant. The Father plants the Seed. Jesus is the Word, the Seed that’s planted in the world. Jesus is planted in the world by the Father without any of our…
A Q&A with Mark Mattes on Law and Gospel in Action: Foundations, Ethics, and Church
Apr 8 • 13 min
More than anything I felt that these essays could help bring renewal to the church—not through offering some specific technique or glitzy program but instead challenging all the agendas, other than law and gospel. These other agendas beguile…
The Vindicated Lord
Apr 8 • 12 min
Have you ever stopped to think about how remarkable it is that Jesus prays (Heb. 5:7-8)? God incarnate, the One who breathed out all of Scripture when in the flesh, breathed out His own prayers to God the Father. If we listen to Jesus, we will hear…
Our Great Worship Leader
Apr 5 • 6 min
“Worship not only starts with God; it also returns to Him through the filter of the cross. Jesus did not enter a cosmic retirement after his ascension.”
Goodbye Alleluia
Apr 4 • 9 min
In some Christian denominations, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday features a special, liturgical worship piece called “a farewell to alleluia.” This usually involves a special hymn that repeats the word “alleluia” throughout its stanzas, a…
Blessed is the Man Who by Faith is Saved
Apr 1 • 11 min
The year 1517 has become synonymous with the posting and publication of the 95 Theses, however, perhaps more important to Luther at the time was the first publication of his lectures on the penitential Psalms, or Psalms of Confession, in that same year.
Who Told You? On Being Afraid in Sunday School
Apr 1 • 7 min
After teaching in both venerated institutions and glorified junk heaps on three continents over the past decade, I can tell you the scariest place in the world: adult Sunday School. I am not anti-Sunday School but would like to point out that in some…
Your Jesus Has Made You Well
Apr 1 • 7 min
Many who bear the title “Christian” can’t accept the fact that all their effort to save themselves is useless. They can’t accept that no matter how hard they try to get themselves right with God, their efforts will go unappreciated by God.
Romans 8: Life in the Spirit
Mar 25 • 14 min
The following is an excerpt from Romans: A Devotional Commentary written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror Erickson (1517 Publishing, 2018).
You Are Not Your Sin
Mar 25 • 10 min
You’ve been here before, and it’s all too familiar, almost boring (if it wasn’t so depressing). You’ve sinned that sin again. You know the one. Any notion of the “victorious” Christian life, or the leaving-behind of past ways—that is not…
Always Preach the Law, if Necessary Use Words
Mar 25 • 10 min
“Always preach the Law, if necessary use words.” I know this isn’t exactly the Assisi quote, and I’m also aware of a severe distaste for this proverb among some. The idea behind the original quote, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary use…
Come to Me…and I Will Give You Rest
Mar 25 • 8 min
Gentle and humble, that’s how God describes himself (Matt. 11:28-29). Jesus doesn’t want us to know Him as a harsh, stern, or violent God. He’s gentle, not proud or arrogant. He’s humble, of no importance. Unimpressive. God isn’t harsh or impressive….
The Feast of Easter
Mar 25 • 10 min
The full arc of our path through Lent and our final arrival at the Resurrection lie hidden within Isak Dinesen’s short story “Babette’s Feast,” upon which the Oscar-winning film was based. The story takes place in a Norwegian coastal village…
Carried to the Table of the King
Mar 18 • 5 min
Mephibosheth was the victim of circumstance and timing. He was the grandson of Saul—the man who tried to kill David. When Saul and Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines, power shifted to David. Mephibosheth “was five years old when the…
What About Higher Criticism?
Mar 18 • 9 min
Over the past 125 years, a destructive force to the Gospel in American churches has spread among academics and lay people alike. This force is the use of the assumptions and methods of an approach to biblical interpretation known as The…
The Ones Who Don’t Do Anything
Mar 18 • 8 min
While waiting to pick up our kids from school one day, I sat with a friend who is a devout Muslim recently immigrated from Pakistan. We happened to pick up a discussion on the particularities of our religious communities. We know each other as broadly…
The Hills of Salvation
Mar 18 • 8 min
Psalm 121, is as Luther says, a psalm “written to exhort believers because it contains the doctrine of faith. However, faith is the recognition of things that cannot be seen and must be hoped for, things that depend on the promise of the word of God.”
The War for Our Freedom
Mar 18 • 7 min
Where do we get our courage to believe the Gospel? Who leads us to the font? Who supplies us with Jesus’ body and blood? Who provides us with the strength and ability to meet the needs that arise as we do the work God gives to us to do? Who supplies…
Steadfast Love
Mar 11 • 10 min
I couldn’t understand why she smiled today. I recognized her blue dotted dress as it brushed past the pew hurriedly on the way to the front of the church. Her hands were clutched together tightly and shoulders uncomfortably hunched.
Christ Who Becomes Our Sin
Mar 11 • 6 min
Christ Jesus, not the Law, is revealed in the Gospels as the one Mediator between God and sinners. Christ, the God-man, communes with sinners who remain sinners their whole life long but now through faith, for Christ’s sake, have no sin credited to them.
Practice Your Righteousness in Fasting
Mar 11 • 11 min
Scripture records the fasts of numerous people and groups of people. Moses, David, Elijah, Hezekiah, Jesus, and Paul fasted (Deut. 9:9; 2 Sam. 12:16; 1 Kings 19:8; 2 Kings 18:6; Matt. 4:2; Acts 9:9). Jehoshaphat called for the nation of Israel to fast…
I Confess: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Gospel
Mar 11 • 13 min
Imagine how silly I felt, sitting there repeating this self-help mantra over and over. As silly as it felt, and still feels, I have followed my psychiatrist’s instructions and again learned the power of speaking truth. And I know that when it…
A Life Interrupted
Mar 11 • 8 min
Arm over arm I make my way to the other side of the pool. Mentally I count the strokes. As I touch the pool wall, I pull my head out of the water and meet his eyes, anxiously hoping to hear the words, “Perfect! That’s exactly what I had in mind!”
You Can’t Baptize Hedonism
Mar 7 • 8 min
Recently, a well-known pastor suggested we should obey the commandments in Scripture in order to experience a level of joy we cannot tap into any other way. The theological system that creates statements like this is commonly referred to as…
When Christ Sings for You
Mar 7 • 8 min
What are the thoughts that run through your head as you read or sing this section of Psalm 51? Do you wonder if you sing or pray them with enough contrition? Do you worry you lack a clean heart, a steadfast spirit, the joy of salvation?
Marked
Mar 6 • 5 min
On Ash Wednesday, sinners and saints leave church marked with a cross, marked with the sign and material of death. Heads become canvases painted with ashes. The sobering words, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” spoken to Adam and…
Jesus’ New Exodus
Mar 4 • 8 min
Unlike other gods, Jesus isn’t far away. He doesn’t wait for us to find Him on some distant mountaintop. He’s near us now, nearer to us than our next breath. He’s true God, begotten of His Father from all eternity. He’s true man born of the Virgin…
The Feast of Transfiguration
Mar 1 • 11 min
Sitting in my office is a painting called The Two Crowns. In this painting, a king rides through the streets in full regalia, seated on an elegant, white horse. The crowd goes wild for him. The women swoon. The king, however, is distracted. He stares…
One Substance with the Father
Feb 28 • 10 min
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matt. 28:19) “How many do they worship?” This question was asked of me by a representative from a neighboring church.
Balaam’s Donkey
Feb 27 • 14 min
God is used to working with colorful figures. One of the most colorful in the Bible is Balaam. Hailing from Mesopotamia, Balaam was what we might call a shaman or a soothsayer. He was not a Hebrew. But he knew the God of the Hebrews, in addition…
What Happens When Jesus is Separated from the Gospel
Feb 26 • 12 min
What happens when Jesus is separated from the Gospel? He becomes an abstraction, free to be molded into any image or idea we want Him to take. No longer is He the God who loves us through concrete, verifiable ways in history. No longer is He the God…
God Lifts the Weight Off
Feb 25 • 7 min
It’s difficult, even painful, for Christians to daily suffer the full weight of our past sin. Often our past drives us forward like a blind animal fleeing from the sound of the hunter. Wherever we go it’s always there, our sin, made so brutally clear…
A More Promising Approach to the Gospel
Feb 22 • 13 min
Current approaches to discipleship tend to run along one or the other of two tracks. One type copies the neo-revivalist tactics of North American evangelicals. It anchors discipleship in a unique experience of God in worship and serves then as the…
Font to Table: The Deeper Meaning Behind Baptismal Fonts
Feb 21 • 7 min
In the church, a “font” is simply a receptacle to hold water to perform the rite of Holy Baptism. They have varied in size, shape, and placement within the history of the church. Since the word used in the New Testament for “Baptism” carries a…
Baptizing the Thief on the Cross
Feb 20 • 9 min
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. I will be having a conversation about what the Word of God says about Baptism and the question will come up, “Do you actually believe Baptism is necessary for salvation?”
The Hidden Fences of the Law
Feb 19 • 11 min
Fences of the Law are not modern phenomena. They also existed in Jesus’ day. Much of His conversations with the Pharisees centered on the Law and tearing down the fences they had erected. Fences that kept people out of the kingdom of God and away…
God Speaks to Us to Give Us Gifts
Feb 18 • 7 min
God speaks to us to give away His salvation gifts. He sends us preachers for this reason: to hand out His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through simple, earthly words, water, bread, and wine.
Meeting Melanchthon
Feb 15 • 11 min
Most scholars consider Melanchthon to be a Reformation enigma. He, the developer of the Reformation doctrine of forensic justification, is contrarily condemned as a synergist. Known well as the Protestant preceptor of Germany, he was Martin Luther’s…
Pirates of the Reformation
Feb 14 • 16 min
I was born November 1949 in Cartagena, Colombia (pronounced “Carta-hen-a”). Cartagena was founded 416 years before, in 1533, by Dominican and Franciscan monks. A few years later, Jesuit and Augustinian monks catechized the indigenous dwellers. My…
How Can You Be Certain of the Call?
Feb 13 • 9 min
How does one know that they are saved? Where can the Christian turn for any ground of certainty before God on the day of judgment? As a pastor, these questions are often found in the fear-filled voices of guilt-ridden Christians in my study. Lead a…
Theology in the Real World
Feb 12 • 8 min
It’s been said that Martin Luther was an occasional theologian. Luther did theology as occasions arose. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing theology otherwise. It simply means that theology for Luther wasn’t some abstract thing removed from…
Is there Good News for Disabled People?
Feb 11 • 10 min
Is there room in God’s family for children with disabilities or severe deformities? What about adults? Is there space for a disabled baby in the waters of baptism? Is there a chair at the table of faith for someone who is mentally disabled? For…
Christ: Evolved Humanity or God in Flesh?
Feb 11 • 14 min
Believing in God is a nice idea; it solves serious philosophical problems. But it doesn’t necessarily solve the personal problem of getting right with the universe. We are told that “the devils also believe” in God, but they remain devils (James…
The Atonement: What is it and Why Does it Matter?
Feb 7 • 13 min
While justification and salvation are clear doctrines that answer the question of what is gained by the death and resurrection of Christ, the doctrine of atonement tries to answer the question, “Why did Christ die and how did such a death actually…
Reversing Death
Feb 6 • 9 min
A deadly disease is sweeping our nation, one which you may not even be aware. Some have felt the tragic effects in their own families, many more are affected by it and do not even know the symptoms.
Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment
Feb 4 • 11 min
It’s a humid, August afternoon. The courtroom is packed. There aren’t many murder trials in this town. Everyone and their mother wants a seat. The stench of sweat fills the wood-paneled room. The judge enters. The crowd rises on command. The…
Defeat Evil with Good
Feb 4 • 8 min
There is concrete, real evil in this world. But running and hiding from evil men does no good. When a man becomes a predator, he’ll eventually turn his attention on someone else, track them down, hunt them, and prey upon them. More often than not, a…
How to be Unapologetic in 2019
Feb 4 • 10 min
If there’s one thing social media has influenced, it’s the rise of thematic, self-help resolutions. Pick an area of life you want to improve, and there’s a group (or app) for that. Supporting your physical fitness, mental health, or spiritual…
Jesus Ruins the Cause
Jan 31 • 8 min
Jesus has a way of ruining the cause. Whatever we pin our hopes on, whatever we convince ourselves is going to win us the future or stave off defeat, at least for a while, Jesus has a way of ruining. Christians ought to be the least ideological of all…
Jesus and Pint-Sized Preachers
Jan 30 • 9 min
The dying came slowly and hard as the completion of a season of surgery and tests, treatments and procedures, referrals and home health, hospitalizations and palliative care, and finally, hospice care. The dying was haunted by ugly things like the…
Jesus Increases People’s Gladness
Jan 29 • 8 min
Cana of Galilee. The first miracle. The first sign that Jesus is different. It isn’t people’s grief, but people’s joy that Jesus visits. He works his first miracle to increase people’s gladness. The One who loves all people loves their gladness too….
Why Ok is Everything
Jan 28 • 10 min
In a bid to convince consumers that their cellular service is superior to others, a phone company has rolled out commercials with the tagline “When Ok is Not Ok.” They suggest that you would never want a simply “ok” mechanic, surgeon, or…
Love that Brings Freedom
Jan 25 • 8 min
Who is Jesus? As elementary as it seems, that question can prove embarrassingly difficult. Answers pile up quickly: Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior, the Redeemer. But what do these words mean? Does a person who knows them really know Jesus?
We Go To God with Bold Confidence
Jan 24 • 10 min
“We surrender confidence in God because we lack faith in Christ, and we lack faith in Christ because we rebel against the fact that each, single moment of self-destruction is nailed to that cross.”
History is Written by the Victim
Jan 23 • 9 min
“I Love Lucy” was a popular TV show in the 1950s and is arguably one of the greatest comedies in television history. Featuring the Queen of Comedy, Lucille Ball, the show followed the escapades of Lucy, her husband, Ricky Ricardo, and their best…
Why Do So Many Churches Have Red Doors?
Jan 22 • 6 min
As you drive by the church I pastor in San Diego, one of the things that immediately catches your eye is the color of our entrance doors. Red! In fact, the color is so prominent that we have incorporated it into our church logo.
God’s Two Contradictory Words
Jan 21 • 9 min
Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify…
Do You Hear This Song of Freedom
Jan 18 • 8 min
A party where the featured guest denounces everyone probably wouldn’t last long. But, if the act of denouncing started to free people, a new entirely different type of party might begin–one with quite a future
Our Sins Are Either With Us or With Jesus
Jan 17 • 8 min
Our sins are either with Jesus or with us. If we insist on holding onto our sin, even if it’s just one or two of our favorites, we’ll keep them away from Jesus.
It’s Time To Take Christ Out of Christmas
Jan 16 • 8 min
“Our sinful nature is ever present this side of eternity. We need a constant reminder of what a friend of mine once said, “Jesus is the reason. Period.”
The Legacy of Thomas Cranmer
Jan 13 • 9 min
The man was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). He would be instrumental in bringing the Reformation to England and making justification by faith alone the official teaching of the newly founded Church of England, which incidentally, took place on January 15,…
Epiphany In Middle-earth
Jan 13 • 7 min
In the Northern Hemisphere December and January are months of darkness. Shadows lengthen. Light wains. Darkness deepens. But the night of the world is pierced by the birth of Jesus who is God of God and Light of Light. As John proclaims, “In him was…
God Uses Our Hands
Jan 9 • 8 min
The reality is, we’re weak. We’re not the smartest people in the room. We get emotional over stupid things. We eat the wrong foods. We waste time. We care too much about meaningless things, and not enough about meaningful things. Some days we win, but…
Who Speaks for God?
Jan 7 • 8 min
The heart of the Christian faith can be expressed in one phrase: God justifies the ungodly. If someone were to ask us, “who says?” we can answer boldly, “God does!” How can we be so sure? Isn’t such a bold assertion about God out of…
A Church for Amnesiacs
Jan 7 • 6 min
There are few things more frightening than the loss of memory. I have cried with many spouses who watch as their loved one slowly fails to remember important times in their lives, the names of their precious children, or even the identity of the one…
After Epiphany: The Rest of the Story
Jan 7 • 9 min
Most traditional children’s Christmas plays present the first and the twelfth day of Christmas together. The Epiphany account of the Magi in Matthew 2 is blended into the Christmas Story in Luke 3. This is not a recent religious novelty. It follows…
The Birth of the Confessing Church
Jan 4 • 8 min
On Thursday, January 4, 1934, a few hundred pastors and church-office holders congregated in the German town of Barmen. Together, they formed the Pastor’s Emergency League: an underground resistance group who opposed the Nazi movement.
The Two Lies
Jan 4 • 8 min
There are two lies we must be wary of, two that we must fight. These two lies are saboteurs. They want to bring us down. The first lie is that we deserve pity. We’ve done so much, doing the best we could, but nobody really appreciates how much we do…
Our Identity Crisis
Jan 3 • 12 min
Can you answer the most basic of all questions, one that will set the pattern for your life, your beliefs, your actions, and your choices? Answer this one, simple question and your inner fighting and turmoil will be put to rest. Answer this tiny…
Every Day is New Year’s Day
Jan 3 • 8 min
Since today is New Year’s Day, you’ve probably already decided whether or not you were making any New Year’s resolutions. That you thought about it at all points to the powerful desire we fallen humans have for fresh starts and second chances….
Resolutions and Forgiveness
Dec 31, 2018 • 8 min
‘Tis the season to make promises, that you may or may not keep. We call them New Year’s Resolutions. These are traditions in which people resolve to change an undesired trait or behavior in order to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve…
The Groan of All Creation
Dec 31, 2018 • 7 min
This blog is a part of our Advent series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
Lo, How a Rose
Dec 27, 2018 • 13 min
Under the cold snow, life is hiding. Even though the black ice of winter seals in the colors of spring, we almost forget the roots that bear such beauty when the sun shines. Even in the deep, dark, death of the night, there is more than we can see…
Come, Lord Jesus, Come
Dec 26, 2018 • 9 min
When we think of Advent, we probably don’t think about whether or not we have a free will in spiritual matters. Actually, most Christians really don’t wrestle with that question at all, whatever the season of the church year.
In the Good Lord’s Time, Christ Appeared
Dec 25, 2018 • 7 min
Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ differs considerably from the more popular version in Luke. As we read through the Advent tale in Matthew’s gospel, it takes a little reading to reach the point where Christmas is upon us (Matt. 1:18-25).
Merry Christmas, Charles the Great!
Dec 24, 2018 • 10 min
On Christmas Day, 800 B.C., Charles I, King of the Franks, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor and thus became “Charles the Great”, or “Carolus Magnus” and thus “Charlemagne: the father of the Carolingian Renaissance.”
The Grieving of the Hopeful
Dec 21, 2018 • 8 min
This blog is a part of our Advent series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
Jesus, the Light of the World
Dec 20, 2018 • 9 min
The mass of worshipers gather. Small oil lamps lead the wise and unsoiled down cobbled streets and into the hall. The moon washes the marble loggias lining the way with a bluish glow. Frozen divinities crowned in the night sky by constellations, stars…
When Up Comes Down
Dec 18, 2018 • 9 min
“God’s up there.” The Sheriff of Nottingham gestured vaguely towards the sky. “I’m down here.” Dirty light flickered off the stained glass window. Other than the Sheriff and the friar (and possibly the lurking Cardinal), the cathedral was…
Advent and the Preacher of Repentance
Dec 18, 2018 • 6 min
In an interesting twist, the Advent readings often include a selection from Matthew’s Gospel telling the story of John the Baptist. In these readings, we see that John’s fate is linked to his Lord’s. So, having heard John’s first sounding…
Where Do We Look for Jesus to Come?
Dec 17, 2018 • 8 min
Most often, what Jesus says is simple, but the simplest things are difficult. What Jesus says is simple, but difficult, and that causes a kind of friction. For example, “Be alert at all times. Don’t get bogged down by life’s many worries and cares….
Our Empty Hope Chest
Dec 14, 2018 • 10 min
This blog is a part of our Advent series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
Mary’s Magnificat
Dec 13, 2018 • 11 min
We may not know what Mary’s opinion was about Elvis or horses, but we know that she was a good girl who loved Jesus, and her boyfriend (or her betrothed, Joseph) too. We might call him a fiancé even if by our standards she was way too young to have…
Gods Christmas Name
Dec 12, 2018 • 12 min
Have you ever been in some much trouble with your parents that they called you by your full name? How many of you have been in so much trouble you were accidentally called by one of your sibling’s names? What about the dog’s name? You know…
Preaching the End of the World
Dec 11, 2018 • 8 min
The “end times” are rarely thought of in close connection to preaching. Preaching, one might imagine, concerns the announcement of what has already occurred in the narrative of salvation. At its best, preaching is the application of the work of…
Luther on the Verge: Burning the Papal Bull
Dec 10, 2018 • 9 min
On the afternoon of December 10, 1520, a number of faculty from the University of Wittenberg and a batch of students gathered outside the Elster gate on the east end of the city. A notice that had been posted in a nearby chapel inviting anyone who…
Love Cannot Be Hopeless
Dec 7, 2018 • 7 min
This blog is a part of our Advent series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
Savior of the Nations, Christmas for the Heathens!
Dec 6, 2018 • 8 min
In Catalonia, children usher in the Christmas season, with all its trimmings, lights, packages and treats, by celebrating with the poop log which defecates candy in front of the fire. Yes. The poop log might not be the grandest of traditions or held…
The Gifts of Luther’s Reformation
Dec 5, 2018 • 10 min
As one who has served with (and benefited from) evangelical institutions for over thirty years, it is becoming increasingly clear that Luther’s Reformation has unique gifts to share with the world (though the other branches of Protestantism also…
The Absurdity of Advent
Dec 4, 2018 • 7 min
The season of Advent is absurd when we pause to think about it. Advent declares to a world hell-bent on bookkeeping that God’s salvation comes with no price tag. Advent declares to people who are arrogant, materialistic, and short-sighted that eternal…
The Song of Zechariah
Dec 3, 2018 • 8 min
As we enter into another Advent Season, it is good to be reminded that doing the unlikely and unreasonable is standard procedure for our God when He dramatically advances His redemptive plan. Perhaps, however, that description is too weak. When poised…
Oh Death, Where is Your Sting?
Nov 30, 2018 • 8 min
When we hope in Christ, we are no longer yearning for a particular event to happen, but rather stand firm in the one who brought about our life by delivering us from the uncertainty of death.
Getting on God’s Good Side
Nov 29, 2018 • 10 min
Who doesn’t want to take a shortcut? Who isn’t looking for a new life hack? Who wouldn’t want directions that help to navigate the hard path? Who doesn’t want to be the best possible version of themselves? Who doesn’t want someone to show them how to…
The Mystery of a God Beyond All Comprehension
Nov 28, 2018 • 9 min
The essence of God defies reason. Through the revealed Word of God, the mystery can be revealed, but never fully comprehended. And a person really has to ask themselves, is a god that can be grasped by sinful flesh, a god fully understandable and…
Pesky Questions
Nov 26, 2018 • 9 min
One of my favorite bands is Band of Horses. They are not a Christian band. I don’t think they’re Christian at all. To be honest, it doesn’t determine whether I appreciate their music or not. Non-Christians can write some great music. Christians…
Handing Over the Goods
Nov 26, 2018 • 13 min
The following is an excerpt from Handing Over the Goods: Determined to Proclaim Nothing But Christ Jesus & Him Crucified - (A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. James A. Nestingen), edited by Steven Paulson and Scott Keith (1517 Publishing, 2018)….
Shocked by Hope in the R-Rated Book of God
Nov 22, 2018 • 10 min
As we enter into this year’s Advent season, this blog is a part of our series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ, Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding…
A Simple Thanksgiving
Nov 22, 2018 • 9 min
Like many famous photographs, the existence of “Grace” can be chalked up to randomness. Photographer Eric Enstrom had set up a photo studio on the Iron Range in Minnesota, a region located up north and surrounded by big woods and glacial lakes,…
Give Thanks to the Lamb
Nov 22, 2018 • 7 min
We live in a world full of fear and anxiety. When we turn on the news, we are greeted by suffering, tragedy, and disaster. Our politicians are determined to destroy one another’s reputations, and so they take turns dragging each other through the…
Jesus is the Death of death
Nov 20, 2018 • 8 min
How do we deal with death? How do we find a way to deal with each death? How do we wrap our heart around death each time it happens? Is there a coping method that relieves our grief? Is there a remembering that eases our sorrow? Do some take death…
Enough is Enough
Nov 20, 2018 • 10 min
Galatia was a region, not a city. Paul knew the congregations there well. Galatians is one of the earliest epistles, or letters. It shows something, then, that already in this, one of the earliest epistles, Paul begins with a furious defense of the…
Redline Bikes, Grace, and the God of Hope
Nov 16, 2018 • 11 min
As we approach the Advent season, we are happy to introduce a special blog series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding…
God Can Hardly Wait Fix That
Nov 14, 2018 • 7 min
God can hardly wait to fix the problems in your life. God can hardly wait to fix your sore throat. God can hardly wait to fix your cancer. God can hardly wait to fix your achy back. God can hardly wait to fix your relationship with your child and…
There is Only One Who is Permanent
Nov 13, 2018 • 6 min
No matter what “doing our best” means to us, we all know from experience that our best isn’t good enough. It’s never good enough, because no matter how much we love, or argue, or worry, or laugh, and as much as we treat each other as if we are…
The Mirror Never Lies
Nov 13, 2018 • 9 min
When we think of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone, the book of James isn’t the first to come to mind. James is no Galatians or Romans when it comes to that. But James does have something to teach us. James holds…
How Dreams Die
Nov 12, 2018 • 9 min
I woke up a few days ago with the gnawing feeling that I was forgetting something. It was an important date, I knew, but why? I checked multiple calendars, thinking that maybe I had forgotten a friend’s birthday. I checked my appointments…
The Grace Growing up in the Weeds
Nov 9, 2018 • 9 min
The following is an excerpt from Scandalous Stories: A Sort of Commentary on Parables written by Daniel Emery Price and Erick Sorenson (1517 Publishing, 2018).
Betrayal and the Plunge
Nov 8, 2018 • 10 min
Yet what is true about all self-made credos is also true about theirs and mine and yours: They can sound good in the moment, but given enough time, if they are false or lacking, they will be shown for the shams that they are. In the case of these…
Enthusiasm and the Enthusiasts
Nov 7, 2018 • 10 min
Like Luther, the radical reformers recognized the corruption of 16th-century church doctrine and practice, but the manner in which they brought about reform meant leaving behind core Biblical teachings and intentionally exiling faithful believers.
Election Hacking
Nov 2, 2018 • 14 min
For Martin Luther, the question of the church’s identity was all about election. Instead of voting for future office-holders, God is the one who chooses.
Reformation Day: 501 Years Later
Oct 31, 2018 • 11 min
As creatures enshrouded in the concept of time, we tend to like the idea of clearly delineated dates. We mark our years and our lives through important events that happen to us or have happened to our forebearers throughout history. In this act of…
The Tolkien Option: Consolation and Eucatastrophe
Oct 30, 2018 • 9 min
Recovery, escape, and consolation. These are the essential elements of a good fairy story, writes J.R.R. Tolkien. As air, water, and food are to humanity, so are recovery, escape, and consolation to the fairy tale.
The Almost Forgiven
Oct 29, 2018 • 11 min
He came in thinking he would be locked up and eventually deported. But when he walked out of the courtroom, the man was met by his wife and three little girls who could not stop hugging him. However, his status before the law in other matters had not…
The Dangers of Shallow Sanctification
Oct 26, 2018 • 8 min
Most of us know the satisfaction of crossing something off the to-do list. We look back on a neatly mown lawn, freshly folded laundry, finally filed paperwork, or some other completed task and contentedly sigh. It’s done. We’ve done it. Now we can…
Cutting Off Our Sin
Oct 26, 2018 • 9 min
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42). To get a good visual image of what millstones can do, watch…
The Gospel is Only for Consumers
Oct 25, 2018 • 7 min
Recently, Francis Chan made headlines for stepping down from leading his very large church. To explain his decision he wrote a book, A Letter to the Churches, where he makes some very good critiques of American Christianity. Perhaps a…
Undeserving Losers Welcomed to the Party
Oct 22, 2018 • 6 min
When we walk into a church, what do we think? Do we think we deserve to be here? Do we deserve what’s about to come at us? Do we comprehend what the Church is all about? Or are we humbled by the reality that we don’t deserve to be here?
The Good News of Suffering
Oct 22, 2018 • 13 min
Suffering and sin are realities of life. By rightly understanding these realities in light of God’s word, we can come to hear the most joyous and comforting good news. The good news that our sure and certain hope, our salvation from suffering and…
An Introduction to Luther’s Theology of the Cross
Oct 19, 2018 • 13 min
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Theology of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation written by Steve Paulson and edited by Kelsi Klembara and Caleb Keith (1517 Publishing, 2018).
Patience Under the Mercy of Christ
Oct 17, 2018 • 9 min
Someone once called patience “the beggar’s virtue.” A beggar waits. He waits and waits until some kind soul comes along. Sure, he can try to look pathetic and come up with creative lines to win compassion, but, ultimately, his fate lies with the…
The Good News of Belonging
Oct 17, 2018 • 8 min
For in Berry’s estimation, individuals are interesting, important, and even worthy of recording in story; but it is only when individuals are bound together in community that they become fully human. The man who belongs to others and to a world…
Walking in Forgiveness
Oct 16, 2018 • 5 min
Since they grumble about Him healing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus asks the religious leaders, “Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (Matt. 9:5) He asks these men who find it easier to physically walk…
Five Ways Apologetics Can Respond to Postmodernity
Oct 15, 2018 • 20 min
One of the great questions occupying the minds of theologians and pastors alike is how the Church can respond to an increasingly pluralistic, diverse, global world where the Church is no longer in control of the dominant narrative. This emerging world…
Theses 27-28: Love for the Unlovable
Oct 15, 2018 • 15 min
We like to think there’s something in us, something we have or do or think or inherit that sets us apart, that contributes in some way to God’s love for us. God’s love, however, is perfect love, undeserved love, true charity, and we dare not…
What If and What Is
Oct 9, 2018 • 9 min
No matter how you spin it, regret is cyclical. Recurring guilt, brooding, and introspection can push us in at least two directions. We can become so despondent over our sins that we fall in on ourselves and decide that we have thoroughly wrecked…
Freed From the Law to be For the Law
Oct 9, 2018 • 7 min
Ask a Law question, get a Law answer. For example, a religious leader asks Jesus a Law question: “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in Moses’ teachings?” Jesus gives a Law answer: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your…
Our Daughter Problem
Oct 9, 2018 • 6 min
They say girls in our society should have nothing to worry about. They should have the opportunity for education and choices far beyond generations before. They should have the attention and protection of public agencies and groups. They should be…
The Law, Between Fear and Freedom
Oct 8, 2018 • 5 min
Popular efforts to rehabilitate a positive function of the Law do indeed reveal a fear that the Gospel––if it is preached too aggressively and offered too freely––will authorize the license to sin. Those who are secure in their sins will be…
Theses 25-26: The Final Turn
Oct 5, 2018 • 12 min
Thesis 25 of Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation is the final turn of it. It is nothing other than the first light of hope: justification before the Holy God by faith [in Christ] sola–that is, without works!
Considering the Weaker Brother?
Oct 4, 2018 • 8 min
Aside from Luther’s famous tract, On the Freedom of a Christian, almost every article I read on Christian freedom is written as a warning against exercising one’s Christian freedom at the expense of the weaker brother. This bothers me for a couple…
Getting Saved, Doing Nothing
Oct 3, 2018 • 6 min
The grace of Christ is the business of getting saved, doing nothing. Some simple language and grammar distinctions are important to get this right. Sometimes we hear the grace of Christ expressed as an offer of forgiveness requiring us to ponder and…
Two Kings, Two Kingdoms
Oct 2, 2018 • 7 min
But, Jesus uses kings and kingdoms to explain the reality of our life (Matt. 6:24). We are caught up in a battle between two kings and two kingdoms. And, whether we like it or not, we are ruled by one king or the other. We live in one kingdom or the…
The Abandoned
Oct 1, 2018 • 12 min
My mom’s never gonna forgive me!” She was right. Her mom never forgave her. I was translating for the 15-year-old minor the words of the defense attorney. He wanted to convince her that if she behaved well in the foster home, she could go back home.
Theses 22-24: The Wisdom of the Cross
Sep 28, 2018 • 13 min
Why did God put that tree in the Garden of Eden? Many have pondered this question through the ages. This is the tree from which Eve took the fruit, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree upon which the fate of the human race…
Your Jesus Has Saved You
Sep 27, 2018 • 8 min
Ten lepers obey Jesus’ command. As they go to the temple, they are cleansed. Nine go to see the priests. They follow Jesus’ commands to the letter. Their obedience is remarkable. But, one turns back. He is a Samaritan, a foreigner, an outsider. He is…
A Very Expensive Six-Pack
Sep 27, 2018 • 6 min
We may feel righteous indignation against the drunk driver in court, but before God, we are no different. God looks into the DNA of our hearts and measures our extremely high level of lust, envy, pious pride, even intellectual, religious pride. We may…
The Belief Cure
Sep 25, 2018 • 8 min
But what exactly do we mean by the word “believe”? Is it enough to feel something deeply, or is action necessary? If so, what sort of action must be taken to bolster the object of our belief? Many of the greatest atrocities in human history have…
Thesis 21: When Good is Evil and Evil is Good
Sep 25, 2018 • 11 min
We are all theologians of glory. We all believe that we have something precious to offer God. Maybe it is our good works; mission trips, teaching Sunday School, helping the poor and downtrodden. Maybe that thing we believe God needs from us is…
Theses 19-20: God and the Unworthy Theologian
Sep 21, 2018 • 11 min
Adam has left an unworthy theologian in all of us: a theologian on a quest to know what God has not given us to know, a theologian of glory. We are all still striving to be God. Still eating the forbidden fruit of wanting to ascend to Him. This…
Divorce Never Decreed
Sep 19, 2018 • 7 min
On the cross, Christ took our place. With His plea, He cried out, “I will not divorce you, I will not let you divorce me, I love you, I love you way too much, I love you forever. I love you so much I have died for you.” Our senseless divorce plea…
Jesus Opens Us
Sep 19, 2018 • 6 min
I was recently asked, “Does Jesus ever just get fed up with how much time I need to spend each day taking care of myself? I have so many aches and pains, and so many things I need to do so I can function. I just wondered, does He ever get irritated…
Finding God in the Midst of a Hurricane
Sep 18, 2018 • 6 min
This morning, while watching the news I saw an elected official from Hurricane Florence-ravaged North Carolina plead for neighbors to keep an eye out for each other, and to help whomever they were able to. It was a pretty benign request in the face of…
The Law According to Jordan Peterson
Sep 18, 2018 • 9 min
This year I have been trying to understand the cultural phenomenon that is Jordan B. Peterson. Peterson, the Canadian psychologist turned pop-self-help-guru, has been making some waves since 2016. He certainly says some amazingly positive things (as…
Theses 16-18: Adding Sin to Sin
Sep 14, 2018 • 14 min
This is the eighth installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. Translation of Theses 16, 17 and 18 by Caleb Keith.
The Habits of Grace
Sep 12, 2018 • 9 min
Striving for good habits is not an affront to salvation by grace alone, in fact, it is the very consequence of living out the new reality of grace. The new reality and destiny of creation is grace. Grace is the new way of being for the world since, in…
The Unfair Judge
Sep 12, 2018 • 6 min
Sooner or later, most drivers will receive an invitation to traffic court. They must answer guilty or not guilty to an infraction of one or more traffic laws. But it is the judge who sets the fine. Depending on the presiding judge of that particular…
The Difference Between Belief and Ideology
Sep 11, 2018 • 10 min
Where we see the rubber of ideology meet the road of Christianity is in the way we Christians have distinguished ourselves from one another for the majority of the last 100 years. Most distinctively along the political spectrum of right, left, and…
Thank God for Evolution
Sep 5, 2018 • 13 min
I am not going to give an apology for evolution as a scientific theory. Rather, I am wondering if the normal way of discussing evolutionary science within conservative Christianity has blinded us to certain fruitful uses of the theory.
Learning the Cycle of Gospel Proclamation
Sep 4, 2018 • 8 min
Law and Gospel preaching has the same structural and improvisational aspects to it. It’s not an activity that comes easily to an untrained hand. But it’s possible to become an adept by learning “the cycle.” There are a melody and rhythm that…
We Get to Go Home Justified
Sep 3, 2018 • 7 min
In pastoral care, I’m often drawn back into the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector. When someone comes to me because they are troubled, they don’t come looking for a quick fix, a pick-me-up, or some plan we concoct together that will hopefully…
Theses 11 -12: Shameless
Aug 31, 2018 • 12 min
This is the sixth installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. Translation of Theses 11 and 12 by Caleb Keith.
The Imperfections of our Longings
Aug 31, 2018 • 7 min
Sehnsucht is the German word often translated as a “yearning” or “longing.” Psychologists have suggested that it is a multifaceted concept that involves ideas such as bittersweet emotions, utopian ideals, and an introspective lifestyle. We see…
Who Did Jesus Marry?
Aug 31, 2018 • 6 min
Did Jesus ever marry? Yes, He married you! He did not marry a single woman because He came to make each of us His bride. In Baptism, He makes a vow to you, and He is faithful. No one has ever seen such a husband. For even though we trespass our vow,…
The Black Sheep
Aug 28, 2018 • 6 min
After many years of serving as a certified court interpreter, the matter before me in a criminal sentencing was nothing new. A jury had found the defendant guilty of domestic violence with aggravated assault, and he was now before the judge for…
Theses 7-8: Let Your Works be Damnable
Aug 23, 2018 • 12 min
This is the fourth installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. Translation of Theses 7 and 8 by Caleb Keith. Luther establishes the human condition in two, and only two realities; the Christian (Thesis 7) and the unbeliever…
Jesus’ Syrophoenician Dog
Aug 23, 2018 • 6 min
The Christian faith is like no other. We do not give to God. God gives to us. We do not get right with Him. He declares us righteous, for the sake of His Son, dead on a tree, victorious from the grave. The Law is not a vehicle. It is a death trap for…
Smashing Babies and Scarred Hands
Aug 22, 2018 • 10 min
he last line of Psalm 137 is about as awful a Bible passage as you could find. Most church hymnals include all the psalms along with church services and hymns, but some leave this one out because it seems so inappropriate for worship. Although…
Biblical Inerrancy in a Postmodern World
Aug 21, 2018 • 10 min
If we’re re-discovering anything about ourselves in the 21st century, it may be this: We are all storytellers at heart. A relevant story told by an authentic voice captures our attention and can move our hearts, change our minds, and even redirect…
What to Make of the Holy Spirit
Aug 20, 2018 • 8 min
At times, we treat the Holy Spirit like the red-headed step-child of the Trinity. Why is that? It is the Spirit who sends His preachers armed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit calls, gathers, and enlightens people with His gifts handed out…
Theses 5 and 6: The Deadly Sin in All of Us
Aug 17, 2018 • 12 min
This is the third installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.
Truth is Hard
Aug 15, 2018 • 7 min
Hard truth works both ways. As the apostle Paul declared, “If Christ be not raised from the dead, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Should this be hard truth, it means that we also will not be raised from the…
A Look at True Proclamation of the Gospel
Aug 15, 2018 • 8 min
The last prayer I’d ever want to pray is, “Lord, lay me down helpless.” Yet isn’t that the same as “Lord, I believe. Help, thou, my unbelief”? True preaching of the Gospel allows me to be a pew-sitter who can speak such a terrifying…
Daily Bread and Bread of Life
Aug 14, 2018 • 5 min
Jesus is faithful, loving, and kind. He gladly helps everybody and is good to everyone. This is what it means that He’s God and Savior. So, we look to Him for everything good. In this way, we learn to trust Him and depend on Him for every spiritual…
Can God Repent Us
Aug 13, 2018 • 10 min
Unfortunately, too many Christians in the world today have a “Turn or Burn” theology. If you read it in the wrong context and have a poor definition of words, the Bible can appear to be full of that sort of thing. “Repent” seems to be one of…
Theses 3 & 4: The Inverted Way of Jesus
Aug 9, 2018 • 10 min
This is the second installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. You can read the first post here. Translation of Theses 3 and 4 done by Caleb Keith.
Seeking the Lost
Aug 9, 2018 • 6 min
“All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” the Beatles sing in their well-known song, “Eleanor Rigby.” We might not have any lost Amazon tribes hidden from us in our overly civilized and connected society, but we have plenty of…
The Red in Our Ledgers
Aug 9, 2018 • 8 min
The red in our ledgers is the blood of Christ, fully atoning for our sins, fully paying our debt. Because God the Father chose to forsake His Son, we will not be forgotten. “Their sins I will remember no more,” our God promises (Jeremiah 31:34),…
Theses 1 & 2: The Truth that the Law is Good
Aug 7, 2018 • 8 min
The Heidelberg Disputation is one of the earliest reformational writings from Luther with its presentation occurring just six months after the famous posting of the 95 theses. Where the 95 theses is a pointed attack on a handful of misdeeds from the…
Justified Apart from Our Free Will
Aug 7, 2018 • 6 min
What our heart wants our mind justifies. We want what we want when we want it. There’s not a whole lot we can do to curb the wanting either. This may not seem like much of a problem until we ask what our wanting does to effect God’s relation to us….
You Can’t Work for Peace
Aug 6, 2018 • 6 min
Sometimes the hardest part of the day is the time just before sleep. At that time, if struggles or stresses abound, we can be kept up by racing thoughts. This fretting and over-analyzation, the frantic search for options, can leave us exhausted and…
Who are You to Walk the Walk
Aug 2, 2018 • 8 min
“Walk the walk.” When I hear that phrase, I know there’s something for me to do. Get it together girl. There is a way you should be acting and things you should be doing. Generally, I’m a pretty good person, and I think I do what I’m…
When Church is Exhausting, You’re Doing it Wrong
Aug 1, 2018 • 6 min
Both Marys and Marthas abound in the church, and there is often tension between them. Sometimes this tension is expressed by exhausted Marthas spouting off the 80/20 rule: twenty percent of the people are doing eighty percent of the work. As a…
Set Free to Forgive and Love
Aug 1, 2018 • 8 min
Jesus loves in the way of selfless, self-giving. His sacrificial love covers sin. His love does not seek its own good, but only the good of the beloved. Jesus doesn’t ask, “What are going to do for me?” He doesn’t ask us, “What will I get out of…
What Writer’s Block Tells Us About the Kingdom of God
Jul 30, 2018 • 7 min
Writer’s Block, like the law as a mirror, shows me the need for a Savior. I’ve hurt someone by my words again. I’ve wounded someone by not speaking up again. No matter how hard I try, no matter how many hours I spend writing, rewriting, and editing, I…
Luther’s Anxiety of the Heart and Today’s Despair
Jul 27, 2018 • 8 min
Nietzsche was right when he said God is dead. Social Darwinism and Progressivism have taught us that we no longer need a sky deity - we are too smart for Him, and so we’ve done away with Him. He has ceased to be the way our world measures goodness,…
Why Church is For You
Jul 25, 2018 • 5 min
What should be the friendly response to each of these individuals’ doubts and ignorances? Tell them the Gospel again! Put them into this YOU, as Luther says. Again, again and again! The “You” mentioned by Luther is Christ’s forgiveness, won on…
A Bitter Parable
Jul 23, 2018 • 9 min
We pray that God may enlighten and use parents, Servants of the Word, and Christian friends as His instruments to help our children deepen their understanding and appreciation of these realities or, as with Jennifer, recover them for a Happy Forever.
The Truth about Loving Our God
Jul 23, 2018 • 7 min
The truth is, we love God in spite of ourselves. That does not mean we are incapable of love. All people love someone or something. But regardless of who or what we love, we are called by Selfless Jesus to go further. Selfless, Loving Jesus invites us…
Is James Preaching the Social Gospel?
Jul 23, 2018 • 12 min
As James lays out the Christian life, his directives become far richer and more profound when read in light of the Gospel: we have been purchased with the divine blood of Christ, made His with no merit of our own, and we have been raised with Christ…
Confessionalism and Why It’s Important
Jul 20, 2018 • 7 min
The history of Christianity is marked by these confessions or creeds. The word creed is derived from the Latin word credo, which simply means “I believe.” Thus, all the historic Christian creeds––confessions of faith––begin with this…
Worth Your Meditation
Jul 19, 2018 • 8 min
Have you ever considered your devotional life? I’m sure most Christians have at least thought about this or have even attempted to read through some sort of book dedicated to focusing their hearts and minds on the things of God. There are selections…
The Gift is for those Who Don’t Deserve It
Jul 18, 2018 • 9 min
Religion demands transactions between man and gods, but the one true God, in His timing, short-circuited all of our notions of transactions.
Why We Should Question Christianity
Jul 12, 2018 • 7 min
Somehow we have accepted the idea that struggling, searching, and digging to find spiritual answers implies a dangerous lack of faith. We hide behind the safety of a belief that cannot be disproven, the security blanket of a worldview that can never…
What Every Christian Should Know about the End Times
Jul 12, 2018 • 8 min
The end times and eschatology can get sublimely confusing and if you aren’t careful you can soon lose the forest for the trees and the Gospel for the “signs of the time.” So what’s the Gospel take on the End Times? How do I find comfort…
So Many Religions
Jul 12, 2018 • 11 min
Believing is to trust that the promise of forgiveness is addressed to you and for you through the proclamation (preached Word), water, bread, and wine, and not due to anything good or evil in you, before or after conversion. The promise is…
Read it for the Sword Stroke
Jul 9, 2018 • 9 min
God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. The thrust of a spear plunging upward piercing the side of God, perforating his bowls, puncturing his heart, collapsing his lungs: this becomes the message of God. The nastiest bit is the…
It’s Not, “What Would Jesus Do,” but “Who Would Jesus Love”
Jul 9, 2018 • 7 min
The thing is though, compared to Jesus, nobody’s love burns as hot. Compared to Jesus, our love seems depressingly uninspired. But there must be some sort of way we can work ourselves up to Jesus levels of love. There must be some sort of way we can…
How to Measure the True Christian
Jul 9, 2018 • 10 min
This is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535), translated by Haraldo Camacho (1517 Publishing, 2018), 109-111, Used by permission. Now available at https://shop.1517legacy.com/
On the Weekly Road to Emmaus
Jul 9, 2018 • 6 min
The story told in Luke 24:13-35 happens weekly in our church services. Listen to how two disciples’ 7 mile journey and meeting with the resurrected Jesus sets a pattern for Christian activity from that time until the present
Put it to a Vote: The Importance of the First Council of Nicea
Jul 2, 2018 • 5 min
What happened at the first council of Nicea and why is it historically important? Listen to learn more about the events that lead up to the council and the controversy that was discussed.
Your Totem Defines Your Reality
Jul 2, 2018 • 9 min
When guilt becomes our totem, it dictates our idea of right and wrong and enslaves us to the fear of what happens when we open our eyes tomorrow morning. Will we make the same mistakes? Will we make worse mistakes? How much more guilt can we possibly…
Mordor and Evangelism, Part II
Jul 2, 2018 • 7 min
This post takes up the second insight Mordor has for Christians engaging in evangelism and apologetics. The insight is the effect that follows from battle with Mordor because no one recovers from a descent into Mordor this side of Valinor, and no one…
Be Humble, or Be Humbled
Jul 2, 2018 • 7 min
There’s nothing that needs to be improved as far as God’s relation to us. Listen to His Word and watch what He does; He waters, feeds, loves, and strengthens us. We will be humbled by this, so why not sit back, relax, and enjoy being humbled? There’s…
The Church of Polytheists
Jul 1, 2018 • 7 min
God doesn’t believe in atheists. As they reject His existence, so He rejects their rejection. But God also doesn’t believe in monotheists. We may confess that there is one God—and there is—but in fact, the church is full of religiously observant…