The Trouble with Syncretism in a Syncretistic World

There has been a lot of discussion as of late about the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and what Scripture teaches about joining in joint worship services with other Christians who do not agree with us in all areas of Christian doctrine as well as with those who don’t even believe in the Triune God. This all first reared its ugly head after 9/11 when a pastor in the LCMS joined in a joint worship service. Mollie Hemingway wrote an article on that here.

Well, after the shootings in Connecticut, there was another service. And another LCMS pastor found himself caught up in controversy and the LCMS is in the middle of it. A few more posts have been made that do a great job of explaining things once again. First is Mark Surburg’s article on The Grief Ritual of American Civic Religion Then there is an article by Mollie Hemingway on Covering Opposition to Syncretism in a Syncretized WorldGive them both a read.

Finally, go to the LCMS President’s posting to read about how Matthew Harrison dealt with the issue in one of the more pastoral ways. Let me know what your thoughts are as well.

The First Commandment

Moses Receives the Tables of the Law

As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household

The First Commandment You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The First Commandment is the sum of all ten commandments. If we were able to keep the first of the commandments perfectly, everything else would fall into place. If we truly had no other gods and the one true God was the one and only, we wouldn’t misuse the name of the Lord our God, we would remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy, honor our father and mother, not murder, etc. To further understand this commandment, we’ll need to ask a few more questions.

The first question that comes up is, “What is a god?” Luther summarized the answer by saying, “Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.” So what is it that you trust in most? Where do you look for all good and where do you turn in times of trouble? What can you not live without? That, is your god. Whether it be someone you love, or your job, or that sporty new car that you got, whatever it is that you look to for comfort when troubled, relief when you are overwhelmed, protection when you are in danger, that is your god.

What if you find that your god is not the true God? Well, first off, you’re not alone. In fact we all have our little (or big) gods that we love to pull out. From Adam and Eve wanting to be like god, we’ve all received that same trait. So when you find yourself with other gods, repent. Remember, that’s what one of the purposes of the commandments are, to show us our sin so that we may repent of them. Then turn to the One true God and receive the gift of forgiveness that he wants to give you.


PrayNow for iPad and iPhone

Previously, I talked about the benefits of using Treasury of Daily Prayer (TDP) as a basis of your devotional life. But it can be difficult to use. Finding the correct day, flipping back and forth between services, readings, and the like can be a bit of a pain as well.


Several months ago I bought the Kindle version of TDP. My intent was to use the Kindle or the Kindle App on my iPad for daily devotions. This was even more awkward to use, since bookmarks are harder to use on those devices. So the Old Adam in me used this to make my daily devotions, well, not weekly, but certainly not daily.

Several weeks ago I purchased PrayNow from the iTunes App store. It cost $8.99, which is a bit steep, but I believe is well worth the money. It is easy to use and has many options that are helpful in using TDP. For example, it can integrate the daily readings with three services Matins, Vespers and Compline. No flipping back and forth between the assigned readings for the day and the service, it’s all integrated. It has a clean type and easy to read, even for these old eyes. Also you can easily find various prayers for most times and situations in life. You can also keep notes on each section of the readings.

So if you have an iPhone or iPad, give PrayNow a go. It takes away one more excuse your Old Adam for daily studying God’s Word.


Atheists and Hair Dryers

A friend from work pointed out an article on Fox News that talked of atheists using a hair dryer to “de-baptize” his fellow atheists. You can read the article here.

What I found interesting is this quote from Edwin Kagin, the one brandishing the hair dryer:

“I was baptized Catholic. I don’t remember any of it at all,” said 24-year-old Cambridge Boxterman. “According to my mother, I screamed like a banshee … so you can see that even as a young child I didn’t want to be baptized. It’s not fair. I was born atheist, and they were forcing me to become Catholic.”

What I found interesting is the last sentence. Even though he doesn’t remember any of it at all, Baptism made him a Christian according to his words. And that is in fact what Baptism does. It creates a new man through water and the Word. Kicking and screaming, we are brought into a new life, once dead we are now made alive through the working of the Spirit. It is only as he grew to adulthood that he rejected the grace he once received in Baptism.

Ironically, his son is evidently a pastor who is a protestant pastor who received “a personal revelation in Jesus Christ.”

My dad has always said that he loves it when an infant cries out when they are baptized. “It symbolizes how Satan leaves the child kicking and screaming as the Holy Spirit enters in.”