Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Blog Posts Are Somewhere Else . . .

Just a reminder that I'm now doing my blogging and interacting with social media through the Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry site at The blog over there is starting to come to life - head over there and comment!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

That does it - we're moving!!

After so long on the long voyage blog I'm really moving to our new site and trying to stay in communication at and by Twitter @wittenbergcomo. The "CoMo" part stands for "Columbia Missouri." I'll keep this blog up and at least a little bit active because there are quite a few posts summarizing things I've read in the past. They could be useful! But I'm putting new posts at my blog over at Wittenberg Door - "Throwing Inkwells."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 50, “The Decision About a Call”

Chapter 50, “The Decision About a Call” (pp. 274-280)

Should a pastor be willing to leave a congregation for another call? Walther advises against a pastor seeking another call for a higher salary or because of conflict in the current situation. Good reasons include seeing a benefit to the whole church through the pastor’s ability to use his gifts.

The pastor is not bound forever to his first call but should also not be in a hurry to leave. Walther cites Luther in encouraging pastors to stay in calls where there is opposition until they overcome the opposition or are forced out. In cases of particular persecution the pastor should stay but if there is a general persecution the whole church may flee (p. 276). A pastor should never accept a call to a congregation where the former pastor was unjustly forced out (p. 277).

The pastor, as servant of the church, treats the services of the church as first priority, filling his own pulpit regularly. It is hard work, but the pastor perseveres (p. 279). Walther does not consider that a pastor will simply retire, but may step aside when health no longer permits the rigor of the office.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 49, “The Pastor’s Synodical Membership”

Chapter 49, “The Pastor’s Synodical Membership” (pp. 270-273)

A minister should be in fellowship with other pastors and should gather with them frequently. This is for the good of the church and the spread of the gospel. Walther sees this cooperation among pastors and churches, as well as pastors and their school teachers, as very important in building unity of the faith. Though the local church is sovereign the association of churches is very important for fellowship, encouragement, and faith.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 48, “The Personal Life of the Pastor”

Chapter 48, “The Personal Life of the Pastor” (pp. 266-269)

It is important that the pastor care for his personal life as an example to others. This does not mean the pastor lives a perfect life. It does mean that he lives in an upright way, though a sinner. Walther draws quotes from Luther and Gerhard about caring for doctrine and life.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 47, “The Constitution of the Congregation”

Chapter 47, “The Constitution of the Congregation” (pp. 264-265)

Walther advises simplicity, with a governing document which can be altered as time goes on. He considers it positive to state that in case of division the congregation is the highest authority and that property would be retained in case of division by the group which retains Lutheran practice.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 46, “The Admission of New Members”

Chapter 46, “The Admission of New Members” (pp. 261-263)

Admission of members to the congregation is important, just as exclusion is. It belongs to the pastor and the congregation together. Walther requires the following.
1 - The person has been baptized.
2 - If an adult, he must confess the Scripture as well as the Small Catechism and Augsburg Confession.
3 - Desire to join the church
4 - A Christian life without offense
5 - Not under excommunication

It is best to receive the new member with the pastor and an elder who will investigate the candidate. The new member will sign his name on the church constitution.

When the person is coming from a different faith tradition examination and instruction are very important.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 45, “The Congregational Meetings”

Chapter 45, “The Congregational Meetings” (pp. 256-260)

The pastor has a responsibility to help the congregation conduct meetings rightly, remembering “the congregation is the highest court within its circle” (p. 256). Walther holds that “all adult, male members of the congregation have the right to participate actively” (p. 256). Youth and women are excluded based on 1 Peter 5:5 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. He advocates clear and respectful proceedings, including orderly speech, treating others with honor, and when a vote is necessary determining the outcome clearly. Matters of doctrine (p. 259) should be unanimous and are only voted on to be sure “everyone has recognized what is right” (p. 259). The person who disagrees with established doctrine is subject to church discipline. Adiaphora are decided by a majority, but the pastor should remember that adiaphora by nature may have differences in practice. Meetings should be announced in advance and have a specified number to be a quorum. The meeting should be opened and closed in prayer and should seek unity in love and peace.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 44, “The Congregation’s Officers”

Chapter 44, “The Congregation’s Officers” (pp. 254-256)

Walther holds that the pastor should seek help from officers of the church, who should be developed and nurtured by the pastor. He holds to the bishops/pastors/elders who have a teaching office (p. 255) as well as a non-teaching office, the deacon. The deacons are not ordained for special “career” ministry while the elders generally are. All should meet frequently, preferably with the pastor presiding, since the pastor’s responsibility includes training and guiding these others in dealing with church matters.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 43, “The Readmission of the Excommunicated”

Chapter 43, “The Readmission of the Excommunicated” (pp. 252-253)

To be readmitted, the person who was excommunicated should contact the pastor about his repentance. The pastor then takes the matter to the congregation. With their approval the person is publicly forgiven and welcomed back.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 42, “The Case of Excommunication”

Chapter 42, “The Case of Excommunication” (pp. 247-251)

Walther details the seriousness of excommunication. It is not entered into lightly. He observes, among other matters, that it must be a unanimous decision of the congregation and that it cannot be applied to those who have already separated themselves from the congregation (p. 247). An excommunication is of one person, not the entire family or the descendants of any person (p. 248).

“If it is clear from God’s Word to the great majority of the congregation that a sinner is to be excommunicated, and if one protests against it but cannot give valid reasons for his refusal ([but refuses] from obviously despising God’s Word and command, obvious favoritism for the sinner, or pure stubbornness), the protestor is to be put under discipline before the excommunication is carried out” (p. 248). The body must be unified. However, if there are people who are not convinced that the sinner should be excommunicated the case should be reconsidered.

The person in question must appear for the final hearing. Otherwise he is to be considered as self-excluded. The issue is stated clearly that the individual is to be considered an unbeliever. It is very important that the congregation acts as a whole (p. 250) with a desire that the excluded person come to repentance and forgiveness.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 41, “The Case of Public Repentance”

Chapter 41, “The Case of Public Repentance” (pp. 244-246)

When someone has fallen into an obvious sin the repentance and forgiveness are to be public as well. Walther defines the situation on p. 244. “A manifest fall into sin is at the same time a sin against the whole congregation. So a public reconciliation is necessary.” The purpose is not for shame but to restore trust. Walther is clear on p. 245 that the public confession and repentance is intended for open and public sin that causes offense. Private sins are handled privately.

Walther does observe that in general forgiveness should not be delayed. If a person falls into sin and is immediately repentant the forgiveness should be immediate as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 40, “The Order of Fraternal Discipline”

Chapter 40, “The Order of Fraternal Discipline” (pp. 238-243)

Fraternal discipline as Walther defines it is “the order of brotherly admonition prescribed byChrist in Matt. 18:15-17” (p. 238). This is a very important element of life in Christ. The steps of one believer correcting another and urging to repentance are all aimed at restoration, not exclusion. It is only when they fail that someone moves to excommunication.

In cases of public offense which is known to all, Walther observes (p. 240) that it is not necessary to seek private correction This is the example of Galatians 2:13-14 where Paul publicly rebuked Peter for sin committed publicly.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 39, “The Administration of Christian Discipline”

Chapter 39, “The Administration of Christian Discipline” (pp. 234-237)

Church discipline is a difficult topic in many times. Walther observes that though the church to be a church does not need to be practicing excommunication it is still a biblical and important concept (p. 234). Regardless, where offense exists it must be rebuked and the pastor must strive for reconciliation.

In Luther’s time the local churches tended to exercise discipline by separating people from communion but not taking more steps. Walther observes that even that step is a large one for many congregations and that the pastor should guard against anything which would distract the congregation from the Gospel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 38, “The Members of Another Parish”

Chapter 38, “The Members of Another Parish” (pp. 2310233)

Should pastors care for those of another parish? On p. 231 Walther says the pastor should not act without the consent of the pastor from another parish except in cases of emergency. Yet if the other parish was promoting false doctrine which drove people away the pastor is free to provide care. Walther warns on p. 232 against providing absolution to those who are under an excommunication. This should not be done without reconciliation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 37, “The Christian Funeral and Burial”

Chapter 37, “The Christian Funeral and Burial” (pp. 226-230)

In this chapter Walther focuses on the pastor’s concerns at a funeral. He sees it as primary that the Christian “receive an orderly, honorable, and Christian burial” (p. 226). This will likely include a procession, hymns, prayers, reading of Scripture, and preaching. Because of the setting it is important to conduct a funeral in accord with community traditions.

In general (p. 227) Walther objects to cremation and embalming, as most Christians have considered the body naturally returns to the earth. A burial should be done publicly, in daylight.

Walther makes it clear (pp. 229-230) that a Christian funeral is for Christians. The pastor is not obligated to provide a Christian funeral for those who were unbelieving.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 36, “The Pastoral Care of the Dying”

Chapter 36, “The Pastoral Care of the Dying” (pp. 223-225)

When called to a death bed the pastor must not only remind of sin but especially give the Gospel, asking the person specifically if he believes Christ alone. The pastor can then strengthen the dying person with divine comfort. He is there to bless and commend the saint to Christ’s mercy.

Walther discusses communion and the dying in chapter 18. The death bed is a time for the person trusting in Christ to receive assurance of grace.

In the case of visiting a criminal who is receiving the death penalty, Walther presents the same scenario - the prisoner has been confronted with sin but needs to hear the news of Jesus’ care. The pastor is obligated, when desired by the prisoner, bot continue bringing comfort to the last moment (p. 225).

Friday, January 9, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 35, “The Welfare of the Congregational Needy”

Chapter 35, “The Welfare of the Congregational Needy” (pp. 218-222)

Walther reminds us of the need for care in physical needs. There are always those among us who are poor, sick, and needy. He observes that the secret societies of his day were doing a great deal for the needy, often taking the place of the church. The Bible says (1 Thess. 4:11-12) that Christians should avoid dependence on those outside the Church. Walther also rejects the dependence of the church on governmental relief organizations (p. 219). In a nation without a state church the congregations need to care for their poor.

Walther cites Luther and Gerhard confirming that care for the poor is specifically part of pastoral concern (p. 221). All this care for the poor will require some oversight and accountability. This is something the pastor should follow adequately to be certain the poor in the congregation are not neglected.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 34, “The Pastoral Care of the Troubled”

Chapter 34, “The Pastoral Care of the Troubled” (pp. 214-217)

There are occasions of trouble other than illness in our lives. The pastor should visit those in various distresses. Some receive special note.

Walther discusses demonic possession in particular, considering that this may happen even to devout Christians (p. 214). His suggestion is that this takes place by God’s permission to drive erring saints to trust.

Luther’s counsel was to depend on God’s mercy and grace when praying for people under such attacks. We do not depend on particular ceremonies or actions. Those who are oppressed, in their lucid times, should be encouraged in God’s grace and welcomed to receive forgiveness.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 33, “The Patient to be Communed”

Chapter 33, “The Patient to be Communed” (pp. 212-213)

Walther has previously discussed communion in chapter 8. Here he adds that the pastor will need to provide the elements, be dressed in a way which indicates his office, and provide confession and absolution, Scripture and prayers. As a time of healing and reconciliation the pastor makes every effort to encourage the ill person to forgiveness and restoration of broken relationships. He will also bring comfort and encouragement to eternal life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ephesians 1:1-14

1Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν [ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, 
2χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
3Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ, 
4καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ 
5προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ, 
6εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ. 
7Ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ 
8ἧς ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς ἡμᾶς, ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει, 
9γνωρίσας ἡμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὐτῷ 
10εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐν αὐτῷ 
11Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ 
12εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. 
13Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμῶν, ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ, 
14ὅ ἐστιν ἀρραβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμῶν, εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως, εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ.

All right, have at it - let's translate and question in the comments! Text compliments of

Migrations . . .

I'm working on migrating much of my life and work to Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry, - I hope you will join me over there. I will soon stop posting general chapter summaries here as I begin moving into books that are not already in progress.

Very shortly I'm going to use this space to help a group work through a study of Ephesians in Greek. Everyone is welcome to comment and participate in the discussion. I know this format can work, as we allow comments.

Keep it civil, everyone!

Walther, 1906. Chapter 32, Visiting the Sick

Chapter 32, pp. 203-211. This chapter is divided into five segments.

32A “The First Visit to the Patient”

When the pastor first visits a sick patient his most natural role is that of encourager. The person who is ill is in the hand of the good and loving God who will turn the situation to the best. The pastor then asks about the patient’s condition.

32B “The Condition of the Patient”

The pastor is not only concerned with the illness but primarily with the patient’s inner condition. He gently finds if the patient is trusting Christ, if he is in a state of repentance, if his mind and conscience are clear. This inquiry needs to be gentle and attentive.

32C “The Primary Need of the Patient”

The greatest need of the patient is forgiveness of God and eternal life. This is the hope the pastor strives to bring.

32D “The Approach to the Patient”

It is very important that the pastor pray frequently and present content in brief bites during a visit. It is not productive to tire the person out very much. If the patient is capable of longer-term mental activity reading material may be helpful. Bringing the patient to repentance and forgiveness is paramount.

32E “The Critically Ill Patient”

The pastor can confidently remind patients that all illness is a sign of some future time of death but that Jesus has conquered death. He then brings hope.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 31, “The Pastoral Care of the Sick”

Chapter 31, “The Pastoral Care of the Sick” (pp. 199-202)

Walther reminds us of the importance of care for the sick. The congregation needs to call in the pastor when there is illness. The pastor also should inquire about illness and visit whether invited or not. In some cases people will try to hide illness so as to avoid hearing from God. The pastor should not feel guilty if he does not hear or go, but will want to take any good opportunity for ministry (p. 201). The pastor should avoid visiting people who belong to another congregation.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 30 “The Private Pastoral Care of Souls”

Chapter 30 “The Private Pastoral Care of Souls” (pp. 195-198)

The duty of a pastor includes home visits and private care. This is a very important element of the pastor’s work. The individual care often reaches people more deeply and personally, which can be a great encouragement to the believer. This private ministry extends to every member of the congregation (p. 196). Walther cautions (p. 198) against allowing the private ministry to take away from preparation for pulpit ministry. He also encourages the pastor to guard against inappropriate familiarity, especially with young women.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 29 “The Pastoral Care of the Youth”

Chapter 29 “The Pastoral Care of the Youth” (pp. 191-194)

Walther emphasizes the pastor’s responsibility to guide young confirmed people, urging them to report for confession, communion, and other services of the Church. Young people should be urged to holy living and to avoid situations which could lead them to temptation.

On p. 191 he describes the habit of a “church examination” in which, after the service but before the departure, those in front would answer a number of questions about the catechism.

The pastor is to “seek to learn how those he has confirmed are doing and to follow up with them” (p. 192). This is especially necessary if young people are tempted to withdraw from the chuch. The emphasis is always on providing care for young people within the context of the church.