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1517 Blogcast

466 EpisodesProduced by 1517 PodcastsWebsite

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… read more

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Strength to Forgive

May 26th, 2020


We must also remember that our enemy is a creature of God. He is someone for whom Christ Jesus died. He is a sinner just like any other, no more or less selfish than us.

The Suffering Away of Hell

May 25th, 2020


The biggest point Luther makes about the descent is not that Jesus triumphed over hell idle and unaffected, but that Jesus defeated hell by suffering hell away.

The Lamb Who Was Slain Has Begun His Reign

May 21st, 2020


We know God has a plan to bring forgiveness and salvation and healing to people, but we can’t see how it’s all going to work out.

The Ascension is No Ugly Stepsister

May 21st, 2020


In the middle of the spring, on a run-of-the-mill Thursday, the ascension interrupts the mundane to herald the extraordinary: Christ is in charge and is present on earth as he is in heaven, guiding history for the sake …

Death in the Stream: Hemingway on How Far Natural Theology Takes Us

May 18th, 2020


In his last novel, Islands in the Stream, Hemingway shows us what we get when we look to nature for ultimate truth: death.

Lord, Save Us From Corona

May 18th, 2020


What we can learn from all these instances is that we are all born into this world with a pre-existing condition. It’s called mortality, and no earthly authority or expert can save us from it.

Bible Stories Too Dangerous for Sunday Morning

May 18th, 2020


The only thing that biblical characters do to help their cause is to die.

Q&A for Pastoral Prophet: Meditations on the Book of Jeremiah with Author Steve Kruschel

May 14th, 2020


Pastoral Prophet: Meditations on the Book of Jeremiah is now available for preorder from 1517 Publishing

Understanding Paul's Allegory of Hagar and Sarah

May 14th, 2020


The point is that the whole lot was wicked. And so were the Galatian Christians. And so are we.

Christ, the Center of Revelation

May 13th, 2020


Jesus has conquered, he who has an ear let him hear. There is nothing to run from, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear because the Lamb of God has done it all.

Bridegroom of Blood

May 12th, 2020


Zipporah and Moses were bound by blood. More than that, God and Moses were bound by blood.

Life Together During a Quarantine

May 12th, 2020


Bonhoeffer’s simple little book makes clear how privileged many of us are to enjoy the Communion of the Saints here on earth.

Pastoral Prophet Excerpt 2: Jeremiah 29

May 8th, 2020


The Pastoral Prophet: Meditations on the Book of Jeremiah written by Steve Kruschel is available through 1517 Publishing. The following is an …

God Picks You!

May 7th, 2020


The Word was preached into your ears, the Holy Spirit worked through that word, and wormed His way from the sinful preacher's mouth to your wicked …

Christian Hope

May 6th, 2020


While faith forms the relationship with God and love the relationship with the neighbor, hope forms the Christian’s relationship with the future.

When the Spirit Goes Marching In

May 6th, 2020


When we try to create meaning for our lives or transform Jesus into a mere example, the Holy Spirit comes to us, with a preacher in hand, ready to …

Pastoral Prophet Excerpt 1

May 6th, 2020


The Pastoral Prophet: Meditations on the Book of Jeremiah, written by Steve Kruschel, is available now for preorder and will be released by 1517 …

Out of Fatherly, Divine, Goodness and Mercy

April 30th, 2020


When a manager faces imminent termination by his wealthy master for mishandling his wealth, what will he do? Where can he turn? In this challenging parable, Jesus teaches us that our salvation lies outside of ourselves …

Concerning Centurions and the Salvation of a Soldier’s Soul

April 29th, 2020


War is a plague, but sometimes it needs to be fought to protect from greater plagues.

We Were Enemies Once

April 28th, 2020


God doesn't help those who help themselves. He saves those who can't do anything for themselves.

A Love Story

April 28th, 2020


This love story goes on and on, from the beginning of time. Every retelling of this incredible story reveals a little more, exposing our inadequacy, producing more devotion, capturing unspoken emotion, inspiring us to a …

Elisabeth Cruciger: Hymn Writer of the Reformation

April 24th, 2020


Elisabeth Cruciger is the first female Lutheran hymn writer. In fact, her hymn was included in the very first evangelical hymnal, published in 1524. With her life and her hymn, she becomes a witness, an example, and a …

The Unreturned Gift

April 23rd, 2020


This gospel is not like all other human acts of gift-giving. It doesn’t come with the expectation of a gift in return. His mercy is an unreturned gift.

That Should Have Been Something!

April 22nd, 2020


"As we stare down another day, the struggles and joys that it will bring, take a deep breath. In spite of all the failures, floundering, and …

Today, Life is Chosen for Us

April 21st, 2020


When God's Word went to the cross and made full payment for all our sinful, self-serving, self-seeking activities, and then rose from the dead, Jesus …

Thomas' Easter Story and Yours

April 20th, 2020


We may hear the voice of Jesus through recordings and digital media, but the Jesus who walks through locked doors has no problem coming to us through …

Reading Fairy Tales in a Pandemic

April 13th, 2020


There is great value in reading fairy tales in a pandemic. There is freedom and joy to be found when we turn off the news, stop scrolling Facebook, …

Ordinary and Extraordinary Business

April 8th, 2020


In the upper room, Jesus revealed himself as the Lord of the dirty business of life.

Struggling to Die and Live

April 7th, 2020


Instead of remaining silent when we wonder if someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts, and rather than judging for ourselves whether or not suicide is an unforgivable sin, let's lean on God's Word.

Grieving with Jesus

April 6th, 2020


In the midst of our grief and sorrow, there are times when words fail us. When they do, we know that God has given us words that will never fail us. He’s graciously given us his words of hope and comfort from the Psalms.

No Means...What?

April 3rd, 2020


The parable of the two sons whom their father sent to work in the vineyard is not a well-known parable--or one about which we hear many sermons. What does it mean? And what does it tell us about life in the church? In …

The One Who Justifies the Ungodly

April 1st, 2020


If you want to stay out of jail, look to the law. If you want into heaven, look to the promise. If you want to earn a paycheck from your boss, work. If you want to receive salvation from your God, believe.

Temptation’s Green Pastures: The Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

March 26th, 2020


The gospel promise is that God in Christ knows exactly what your temptations are and still bids you find protection from them in him.

Behold the Handmaiden of the Lord: Mary as the Model Christian Disciple

March 25th, 2020


Luke presents Mary to us as a model of Christian faith and discipleship. On this Festival of the Annunciation, I invite you to consider this view of the Virgin Mary for your own life of devotion and faith in Christ.

Hurt the Hive, Hurt the Bees

March 25th, 2020


God made us to live together, to live in harmony with each other, to serve and sacrifice for the health and well-being of each other. When we hurt …

Cutting Hair and Saying Prayers: Luther on When, How, and What to Prayer

March 25th, 2020


When Luther's barber, Peter Beskendorf, asked him how to pray, Luther wrote him an open letter that has become a classic expression of the "when, how, and what" of prayer. It is as instructive today as when it was first …

The Man From Whom C. S. Lewis Borrowed Most of His Ideas

March 20th, 2020


Without the influence of a 19th-century minister named George MacDonald, we may never have had classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, or even Alice in Wonderland. It was George MacDonald whom …

The Root of It All: The Fifth Petition of the Lord's Prayer

March 19th, 2020


This petition is proof that the Christian life is not a practice in perfectionism. Rather, it is a life of dying and rising, lived under the cross of Christ, in the continual forgiveness of our sins.

Paul and the Resurrection

March 19th, 2020


The book, Paul and the Resurrection: Testing the Apostolic Testimony, by Josh Pagán, has just been released by 1517 Publishing. In this innovative, …

Apostle of Ireland: St. Patrick's Life and Ministry

March 18th, 2020


Despite the grave threat of martyrdom during his roughly thirty years of ministry, St. Patrick persevered and experienced enormous success.

Paul and the Resurrection: Q&A with Author Joshua Pagán

March 18th, 2020


The newest book from 1517 Publishing, Paul and the Resurrection: Testing the Apostolic Testimony, was released this week. In this article, we asked …

The Good News that We Can't Help Anyone

March 16th, 2020


Only God's Word of Gospel can permanently help and heal the addicted.

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Understanding Jesus’ Parables

March 12th, 2020


When anything other than the gospel of Christ crucified for sinners becomes the center of the parables, we exchange the Gospel for the law.

No More Monsters

March 12th, 2020


The monsters we fight against and the monsters we become are drowned in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus' death, and the power of his resurrection, restore our humanity.

Gathering up Our Dust During Lent

March 9th, 2020


Ashes and dust do not need the services of spiritual EMTs; we need a Second Adam from whom we regain life itself.

Martin Niemöller: Controversial Confessor

March 6th, 2020


On this day in 1984, Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller, a leader in the anti-Nazi Confessing Church, died. He left behind a controversial legacy. How …

The Worst Prayer to Pray: The Third Petition of the Lord's Prayer

March 5th, 2020


When we pray, “Thy will be done,” we are praying a cosmic, grand and mighty prayer.

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Binding Up the Brokenhearted

March 4th, 2020


Into our world of sin, broken hearts, physical ailments, and psychological suffering, our Lord of grace descended.

How to Get God to Give Us Everything We Want

March 3rd, 2020


The more we demand from Christ, the more of Himself He gives to us. When we demand a glass of grace, He gives us an ocean of Gospel

Where Jesus Is Found

March 3rd, 2020


Where our sins are forgiven, there God in Christ is to be found.

No Ordinary Kingdom: The Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

February 27th, 2020


We are praying here, not for God to establish some kind of earthly, political government, but rather, to draw us into his very active reign. 

The Ashes of Hope

February 26th, 2020


Ash Wednesday confronts us with our true nature, our mortality, and marks us with the only escape from it: the cross of Christ.

If God Would Just Choose Someone Else

February 25th, 2020


The end of the pursuit isn't regeneration, but degeneration. We're fighting fire with bottles of gasoline.

Remembering Anselm of Canterbury

February 21st, 2020


Though not without his faults, Anselm of Canterbury is unquestionably one of the great theologians of the last millennium.

Given God's Name: The First Petition of the Lord's Prayer

February 20th, 2020


This article is the second installment in an eight-part series inspired by the Lenten themes of catechesis, prayer, and repentance found in the Lord’s Prayer as Luther taught it in his Small Catechism.

Glimpses of Glory: Transfiguration and Cross

February 19th, 2020


Transfiguration is like a farewell party for a dear friend drafted and going off to war. We celebrate all that has brought us there, we rejoice in our friend, and yet we know we are sending him off to great danger.

The Pilgrim's Promise

February 18th, 2020


Ultimately the Christian life isn't about progress, it's about promise--the Pilgrim's Promise.

When Sin, Death, and Satan Declare War

February 17th, 2020


What a person quickly realizes when sin, death, and Satan attack in concrete reality is how inadequate and ill-equipped they are to fight them off.

Redeeming St. Valentine

February 14th, 2020


How did we get love and romance associated with Valentine and his likely mid-February death?

The Introduction: Our Father Who Art in Heaven

February 14th, 2020


This article begins an eight-part series inspired by the Lenten themes of catechesis, prayer, and repentance found in the Lord’s Prayer as Luther taught it in his Small Catechism.

The Psychology of Crucifixion

February 12th, 2020


The implications were clear: Jesus’ death destroyed the things that distinguished people as educated or uneducated, rich or poor, free or enslaved, black or white, pious or godless.

Q&A for Finding Christ in the Straw

February 11th, 2020


The Scriptures are not a collection of platonic ideals laid out for us to strive after. Rather, they are God’s truth given to His beloved church.

The God of Suicides and Evil People

February 10th, 2020


His resurrection reveals that Jonah, and all of us, even the evilest people, are salvageable, even from suicide, in Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Patience of Job

February 7th, 2020


The following is an excerpt from "Finding Christ in the Straw," written by Robert M. Hiller (1517 Publishing, 2020).

The Need to Recapture Catechesis

February 6th, 2020


It would do us well to expand what we mean when we say catechesis and consequently broaden the reach of theological education into daily life.

An American Myth Meets the Gospel of Jesus

February 5th, 2020


This is our frontier religion: God is waiting to shower blessings upon us if only we will unlock those blessings with the right kind of works, and a sufficient quantity of the same.

Why God Hides Himself from Us

February 4th, 2020


God hides from us on purpose so he can be God for us without limits or measures in the way of faithful, loving-kindness.

Faithless to Fearless

February 3rd, 2020


David Anderson answers questions about his new book, Faithless to Fearless.

Notes: Faithless to Fearless

How to Suffer Well

January 30th, 2020


Your faith is not dependent on whether or not you suffer well.  Your faith is dependent on the fact that Christ did.

John the Baptist on the Necessity of Baptism

January 30th, 2020


By submitting to John’s baptism, Jesus took the sins of the world upon his shoulders so that he could carry them to the cross and bury them in his …

The Gospel is a Noun

January 29th, 2020


It’s a delivery of historical facts that tells us who Jesus is and what he has done for us through his dying on the cross and his rising from the grave.

Baptism Gives Us Everything

January 28th, 2020


Baptism doesn't get us into a religious club that we join by a voluntary decision.

Pelagianism and Pelagius

January 27th, 2020


Pelagius maintained an orthodox appearance while rejecting original sin and the distinction between law and gospel. 

Good Gifts

January 24th, 2020


The following is an excerpt from Finding Christ in the Straw written by Robert M. Hiller (1517 Publishing, 2020).

Let Us Sing Our Faith

January 23rd, 2020


We sing, and in so doing, we are blessed as we are instilled with the word of God in word and song.  


Third Sunday After Epiphany: John 4:27-42

January 23rd, 2020


Faith is a certainty about something one has encountered, something factual, an experience— just as certain as any experience in the external world.

The Answer to All Our Questions About Salvation and Vocation

January 21st, 2020


We confuse salvation and vocation in our quest to determine who is in control of our salvation.

The Law and the Conscience: An Excerpt from Martin Luther's Commentary on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians

January 17th, 2020


Indeed, the law said, “You shall love the Lord your God,” but the law cannot give me such love, nor can it take my hand to grasp on to Christ. 

Limping In The Faith: How the Narrative Order of Scripture Teaches the Gospel

January 16th, 2020


What then does this sequence of stories teach us? It teaches us a pertinent lesson about the Christian life.

Come and See

January 14th, 2020


A few weeks ago, I watched a video of fireworks going off in modern-day Nazareth on New Year’s Eve. The person filming was on the roof of his …

There's Nothing Wrong with You

January 14th, 2020


Here’s a radical statement: there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a creature. You’re a baptized child of God. You’re exactly who you’re supposed to be, regardless of what you or anybody else may say. Whatever is in the …

Law, Gospel, and Politics

January 14th, 2020


America has bequeathed to the church a fixation on politics. It’s not merely that American Christians are politically active, but that …

The Light of Your Christ

January 6th, 2020


The Word of God, the Eternal Logos, Jesus Christ himself is revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Little by little, we find that God hands …

The Pastor’s Office as a Life-Giving Tomb: A Case For Private Absolution

December 30th, 2019


 It is the words the pastor speaks that send the dead out alive.

Very Human Disciples

December 30th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “Faithless to Fearless” written by David Anderson (1517 Publishing, 2019).

A New You

December 30th, 2019


Looking back on the year, the narrative we’re fed is that we should be able to show how much we’ve grown, how much we’ve done, all the successes …

The Name of Jesus" and New Years Day

December 30th, 2019


Christians are given a new name at baptism. We are given the Triune name of Father, Son, and Spirit.

By Gracious Powers: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Prayer for a New Year

December 30th, 2019


The real power of his hymn comes from the fact that Bonhoeffer does not offer a rosy picture of life or any of the tropes so typical of cheap piety that tell us that everything is always right, that things happen for a …

The Curious Tale of the Three Kings and their Belated Christmas Carol

December 23rd, 2019


It is that Christmas carol, the curious “We Three Kings” that we are looking at today in our examination of the origin and meaning of Christmas carols

The End is in Sight

December 23rd, 2019


We think that if we are good enough, brave enough, or at least if we try hard enough, we will be someone who can be both fully known and fully loved.

Like A Kid On Christmas

December 23rd, 2019


As Christians, we are not cold ascetics, depriving ourselves in the here and hereafter. We are given good things from our heavenly Father in heaven, …

Where All Men Are At Home

December 23rd, 2019


Christmas is, therefore, the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, even while he awaits a number of years to gather his disciples and inaugurate his preaching of the kingdom.

The Promises of Advent: Resurrected

December 23rd, 2019


It’s not just that he’s born and given, but that he’s born and given for us.

The Promises of Advent: Suffered and Died

December 20th, 2019


Should we really be surprised that it would happen this way, that the servant would suffer for our salvation and die for our forgiveness?

In Memory of Katharina von Bora, Part 2

December 19th, 2019


In some measure, if Luther had any success during his last two decades, it happened because of the woman who’d insisted on him as her bridegroom.

Silent Night

December 18th, 2019


One gloomy, silent night, God stepped into our darkness. The Word had not only spoken but was now made flesh

Joy to the World

December 18th, 2019


Isaac Watts thought it was time for the church to have a new song. But he didn’t just come up with one new song; he composed a whole host of them. …

With Jesus, There's Always Room for Us"

December 17th, 2019


At Christmas, we hear the story of our salvation, but it’s not pretty.

The Promises of Advent: Born in the Midst of Suffering

December 16th, 2019


How amazing is the scene from the night of Jesus’ birth we all know so well: angels singing lullabies with the sweet mother Mary, poor shepherds …

The Good News that We Can't Save Ourselves

December 16th, 2019


It often breaks our hearts to accept reality, but we can't save anybody. We can't save our brothers and sisters in Christ from unbelief, error, and a …

The Promises of Advent: Son of Abraham

December 16th, 2019


Many of us probably remember singing the song, “Father Abraham,” as children in Sunday School, but have we ever really thought about the words? …

In Memory of Katharina von Bora, Part 1

December 13th, 2019


Next week, December 20, marks the anniversary of the death of Katharine von Bora, whose husband was Martin Luther. Her importance goes beyond simply …

When Brokenness isn't Enough

December 5th, 2019


Hands in her lap. Eyes clenched shut. Black swells of emotion rushing from deep behind her eyes down to the pit of her stomach. Sketchy scenes replay …

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

December 5th, 2019


The Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” continues to captivate the English-speaking church 158 years after John Mason Neale translated five of its verses into English for the 1861 hymnal, “Hymns Ancient and Modern.”

The Promises of Advent: Born of a Virgin

December 4th, 2019


What is the significance of God’s promise that Christ will be born of a virgin? Is it significant because of Mary’s example of purity or something else entirely?

The Promises of Advent: Will Conquer Satan

December 3rd, 2019


Christ continues to go to surprising places, into enemy territories and darkened rooms to sing, “Merry Christmas,” to prisoners of shame, fear, and death.

The Church is Hidden, the Saints Concealed

November 26th, 2019


When it comes to biographical material on Saint Augustine, in the last 50 years, no work has surpassed Peter Brown’s seminal biography, Augustine of Hippo. This biography is a formidable one, but well worth the time to …

Thanksgiving with Capon

November 26th, 2019


Every year, while I prepare the sermon for Thanksgiving morning and plot out the day’s menu with my wife, I go back and read Robert Capon’s book,

Give Us This Day Our Daily Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2019


You don’t need to imagine it. You’ve seen it in countless sitcoms and movies. It’s Thanksgiving Day, and the family is gathered around the table. Maybe things have gone hilariously wrong; maybe they haven’t.

What is God's Will for My Life?

November 25th, 2019


The real question we must ask about God’s will isn’t, “God, command us according to your will and we’ll do it,” but, “God, what are you willing to do for us who can’t do what you command?”

Between Fear and Hatred: Two Kinds of Divine Hiddenness

November 25th, 2019


We might not appreciate that God chooses to save us by his word alone, but our discomfort doesn’t make the promise any less effective.

Rescuing religion from culture: Friedrich E.D. Schleiermacher and the origins of Liberal Theology

November 21st, 2019


If you want to boil Schleiermacher down to some foundation upon which to build up his theology, think feelings.

Is Absolution a Sacrament?

November 20th, 2019


An age-old debate amongst Christians is the number and use of the sacraments. Rome and the Eastern Orthodox hold that there are seven sacraments of …

As Real as it Gets

November 19th, 2019


When we ask ourselves, "My God, how did I get so lost," he answers, "I am the God who comes to seek and save the lost in the power of my resurrection.

Jesus' Harsh Words

November 18th, 2019


Could it be that the root of not asking is not believing, either in the power, or worse, the graciousness of the Lord to address the issue that lies …

A Thanksgiving Day Sermon

November 15th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “A Year of Grace Volume 2” written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror Erickson (1517 Publishing, 2019).

How Do You Know They Are "the One" Part 2 of 2

November 14th, 2019


In an earlier article, I did my best to confront the false idea that God’s will is something we must uncover to make daily decisions in the vocational sense, specifically when it comes to marriage.

Will I Ever Know True Love?

November 12th, 2019


We love those who enable us to see our love for ourselves reflected back at us.

Grace and Lawlessness

November 7th, 2019


Where Erasmus saw fear and collapse, Luther saw the never-ending comfort of Christ and his gospel.

Thy Kingdom Come: Waiting for Heaven in an Age of Instant Gratification

November 7th, 2019


As much as we may long for heaven, even death itself does not usher us into the final state of the new creation. So, in life and death, we must wait. And as the philosopher, Tom Petty, sings, “Waiting is the hardest …

The Way Home

November 6th, 2019


We were lost. We didn’t know where we were going or which way to turn. We had been driving around in circles for hours with nothing to show for it. And now we weren’t sure how to find our way home - and losing hope by …

Prepare for Suffering

November 5th, 2019


If we’re alive, we’ll suffer. It’s inevitable. We’re bed-ridden with the flu. Taxes are due. A boss abuses his authority. Our spouse lies to us. People kill and commit suicide. A flood destroys a city.

When the Dead Preach the Gospel

November 4th, 2019


The dead may tell no tales, as the saying goes, but on All Saints’ Day, those dead in Christ preach the gospel.

A Look at 2 Peter 3: The Stubborn Salvation of God

November 1st, 2019


As you read the New Testament and early church history, it is clear that believers in Christ where anticipating his return from the moment of his ascension to the Father. As persecution ravaged the church, Christians …

Reformation Day: Hey Beggar, You're Free!

October 31st, 2019


On a balmy June morning back in the 1960s, my older sister and I were participating in a traditional western South Dakota kid’s summer activity, …

Halloween and Christian Freedom

October 30th, 2019


Should we celebrate Halloween as Christians? This question came up during a recent discussion with fellow pastors, where I bemoaned the popularity of …

Jesus Will Humble You, and That's Good

October 29th, 2019


Humility kills pride. So “humble yourself before the Lord,” as James writes (Jas 4:10). Kill your pride before it kills the things you love. Subdue it before it gets you into the kind of trouble that may even kill you. …

On Freedom in Christ and the Parable of the Forgiving Father

October 28th, 2019


“Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth …

Confessing the Father's Confession About the Son

October 25th, 2019


“Just admit it; we know it was you!” “How long since your last confession?” “Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and …

Am I Really Included?

October 23rd, 2019


Any conception that contends that Jesus only died for some sinners turns the gospel into an uncertain message for everyone.

Baptized into Christ, a Child of Paradise

October 22nd, 2019


When I hear my brother’s name, I will grieve a little. But I will also rejoice, for I know that he is with his Savior. 

Remember Your Death

October 21st, 2019


So long as we entrust death to Jesus, new life is ours. He has lunch ready and he is waiting for us in the power of his resurrection.

I Believe

October 14th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from“Credo: I Believe,” edited by Caleb Keith and Kelsi Klembara (1517 Publishing, 2019). 

A Look at 2 Peter 2: Has God Truly Said?

October 14th, 2019


2 Peter 2:1-21 continues the thought that began in 2 Peter 1:16. In this passage, Peter assures his audience that the gospel of Jesus Christ is trustworthy, being amply supported by witnesses of his ministry, his death, …

A Gracious Invitation

October 14th, 2019


I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not very good at praying. Sure, I pray regularly for my church, my family, and for those who are sick and in need. …

Our Savior Today

October 14th, 2019


The temptation is always there to let our imaginations run wild. It’s easy for us to imagine all the ways things can go wrong. Fear about what has, and what does, and what might go wrong can cripple us. It can crush our …

Christ's Limitless Atonement

October 14th, 2019


Terror and even hatred of God are the only things with which divine hiddenness can leave us, since the only thing that can be known about this God is that he is free and sovereign over all things

Q&A for "Where Two or Three Are Gathered"

October 11th, 2019


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

October 10th, 2019


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

October 9th, 2019


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

October 9th, 2019


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

October 7th, 2019


One of the most notable contributions of the Eastern Orthodox tradition to Christian theology is its strong emphasis on what they call theosis, or …

Friendship and the Apologetics of Imagination

October 4th, 2019


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

October 3rd, 2019


Second Peter is a short, straightforward epistle. It begins, after the salutation, with an exhortation to piety, encouraging Christians to practice …

Knock! Knock! Who's There?

October 2nd, 2019


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 …

Mercy for My Neighbor

October 1st, 2019


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 …

Theology and Philosophy: In Conversation with Robert Jenson

September 30th, 2019


Robert W. Jenson (1930–2017) is one of the most important, yet often overlooked and frequently misunderstood, theologians from the English-speaking …

Q&A with Wade Johnston for "Let the Bird Fly"

September 27th, 2019


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

September 26th, 2019


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, …

The Faith We Share: How C.S. Lewis and the Apostles’ Creed Can Help Us Understand Christianity

September 24th, 2019


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 …

Forgiveness is the Foundation

September 24th, 2019


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 …

Crucified Expectations: The Great Reversal of the Cross

September 23rd, 2019


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 …

Where Two or Three Are Gathered: An Introduction

September 16th, 2019


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 …

A Look at 1 Peter 4: Suffering for the Sake of Jesus

September 16th, 2019


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 …

Original Sin: What Does this Mean?

September 16th, 2019


In the past three years, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research have worked together to survey the theological state of Christians in the U.S. …

Saxon Visitation Articles of 1592

September 16th, 2019


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 Lord's Table Will Not Be Empty

September 16th, 2019


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

September 11th, 2019


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

September 11th, 2019


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 …

The Great Storyteller

September 11th, 2019


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 …

Christianity Isn't Complicated

September 9th, 2019


There is not much about being a Christian that is particularly groundbreaking: focus on Jesus-crucified for us sinners. Enjoy the benefits of his …

Good Trees and Bad Trees

September 9th, 2019


"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 …

For You: An Answer to Anxiety

September 6th, 2019


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, …

A Look at 1 Peter 2: That We May Be His Own

September 5th, 2019


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 …

Whatever is Excellent

September 3rd, 2019


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 …

Life Is What Jesus Makes of it

September 3rd, 2019


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 …

I'm Glad You're With Me: Tolkien, Lewis, and the (not so) Great War

September 3rd, 2019


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

August 30th, 2019


What are the two things that should not be discussed in polite company?

If you answered “religion and politics,” you understand the essential rules …

A Look at 1 Peter 1: The Good News that Was Preached to You

August 28th, 2019


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 …

Christ in You, Christ for You

August 28th, 2019


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 …

What Does God Give Us Today

August 26th, 2019


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 …

How do you know they are "the One"? Part 1 of 2

August 26th, 2019


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 …

Beyond Redemption

August 22nd, 2019


I am a zealous advocate for doing apologetics. While apologetics is defined as the defense of the Christian faith, the simplicity of this definition …

A Look at 1 and 2 Peter: Introduction to 1 Peter

August 22nd, 2019


“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 …

Christmas in August and Handel's Messiah

August 21st, 2019


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 …

Something More Powerful than Death

August 20th, 2019


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 …

Chasing After the Holy Spirit

August 14th, 2019


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, …

Is America A Christian Nation?

August 14th, 2019


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 …

Simul Iustus et Peccator: What Does this Mean?

August 12th, 2019


The phrase, “simultaneously justified and sinner,” or simul iustus et peccator (simul for short), is a statement or confession concerning the …

What Matters Most

August 12th, 2019


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 …

Killed the Word

August 12th, 2019


Each verb is jarringly violent. The visceral lyrics and fiery enunciation pair with an oddly upbeat melody, artfully crafted to be relevant to the …

Preaching and Sola Scriptura

August 5th, 2019


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 …

Hiroo Onoda and the Gospel of Reconciliation

August 5th, 2019


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

August 5th, 2019


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 …

Killing Our Hero, Martin Luther

August 5th, 2019


We recently explored ways Martin Luther comforted those experiencing sickness, depression, anxiety, and more through his Letters of Spiritual …

Let the Bird Fly

July 31st, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “Let the Bird Fly” written by Wade Johnston (1517 Publishing, 2019).

Celebrating Christmas in Galatians

July 31st, 2019


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 …

The Birth of the NASB, Translation Soup, and The Only English Translation You’ll Ever Need

July 29th, 2019


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 …

Pain is Our Birthright

July 29th, 2019


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 …

Protected from Baptism

July 29th, 2019


“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. …

Q&A with Donavon Riley for "Crucifying Religion"

July 22nd, 2019


The following is a Question and Answer session with author and pastor Donavon Riley where we talk about his latest book, “Crucifying Religion: How …

America the Free?

July 22nd, 2019


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, …

Happy Birthday, John Newton! Hymn Writer and Slave Trader (Or, What to do when our Heroes turn out to be Scoundrels)

July 22nd, 2019


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 …

Human Rights: The Need

July 22nd, 2019


Human rights stand revealed as an idea that polarizes, encouraging uncritical support and also extreme reaction from both secularists and …

Jesus Lifted Up, By Us or For Us?

July 18th, 2019


“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 …

Anxiety, Depression, and the God Who Treats You Better Than You Can Imagine

July 15th, 2019


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 …

Remembering the Scillitan Martyrs

July 15th, 2019


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 …

Enough is Enough

July 15th, 2019


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 …

Evangelism and the Comfort of Predestination

July 15th, 2019


The nineteenth century’s revival of Reformation theology is known for stimulating renewed interest in the Lutheran Confessions (set forth in the 1580 …

Jesus, the Key to Understanding the Bible

July 8th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “Crucifying Religion” written by Donavon Riley (1517 Publishing, 2019). I am convinced that the theology I received …

When You Can't Forget

July 8th, 2019


You have heard the expression, forgive and forget. This has been a popular prescription for how Christians should respond to those who trespass …

Happy Birthday, John Calvin! Pastor, Theologian, Sinner, and Saint

July 8th, 2019


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 …

God the Father

July 8th, 2019


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. …

Three Words and the Truth

July 8th, 2019


Lady Tremaine stands motionless on the stairs, looking towards but not truly seeing her step-daughter. She utters no apology, no excuse for her …

Three Popes and the Burning of Jan Hus

July 3rd, 2019


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? …

The Comfort of the Two Kingdoms

July 1st, 2019


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 …

On Reading Broadly

July 1st, 2019


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 …

When We Go to War with God

July 1st, 2019


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 …

Freedom from Food Piety

July 1st, 2019


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 …

Crucifying Religion

June 24th, 2019


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?

June 24th, 2019


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, …

Why History Matters to the Christian

June 24th, 2019


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

June 24th, 2019


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, …

The Athanasian Creed and Its Importance

June 24th, 2019


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 …

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Theology of the Cross

June 19th, 2019


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is perhaps remembered as the most famous Christian martyr of the twentieth century. He was also a Lutheran pastor and …

Truth Serves Love

June 19th, 2019


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 …

Blaise Pascal: Theologian of the Head and the Heart

June 19th, 2019


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 …

Jesus is Unconquered

June 18th, 2019


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 …

Staring into the Sun

June 17th, 2019


Holy Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost in the church calendar, turns many Christians into mini detectives. Magnifying glasses in hand, …

Luther's Counsel for Miscarriage

June 14th, 2019


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

June 13th, 2019


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 …

Do I Have to Go to Church?

June 12th, 2019


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 …

Water, Blood, and Spirit...That's the Thing

June 11th, 2019


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

June 10th, 2019


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

June 7th, 2019


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

June 7th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “A Year of Grace: Collected Sermons of Advent through Pentecost” written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror …

The Way of Wisdom

June 5th, 2019


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

He Does it For Love

June 4th, 2019


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 …

Luther's Counsel for the Sick and Dying

June 3rd, 2019


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?

June 3rd, 2019


Popular opinions can be like overgrown vegetation blocking our view of reality. One overgrown opinion says Christianity and science are mutually …

Luther's Counsel on Persecution

May 31st, 2019


In 1523, papist patience had worn thin within the Holy Roman Empire, and persecution of those holding the pejorative name of Lutheran began in …

Ascending Downward: When the Manger Becomes the Cosmos

May 30th, 2019


Down is bad, up is good. These aren’t willy-nilly choices. Our bodies lead our linguistics. We associate “down” with sickness, collapsing in …

Without a Doubt

May 29th, 2019


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 …

Jesus is Our True Happiness

May 28th, 2019


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 …

Post-Easter Musings

May 27th, 2019


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 24th, 2019


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 …

Scripture, Not as It Seems to You, but as It Is for You

May 22nd, 2019


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. …

Dante and Our Obsession with Hell

May 21st, 2019


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 20th, 2019


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 …

For You

May 20th, 2019


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 …

Font to Table: Why Does the Pastor Wear That?

May 16th, 2019


In many churches, the pastor wears clothing referred to as “clerical vestments.” This may seem odd, particularly if you’ve never attended a church …

For the Baptized, This is How it Goes

May 15th, 2019


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 …

The American Story in Light of the Gospel

May 14th, 2019


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 …

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 13th, 2019


The following is an excerpt from “A Year of Grace: Collected Sermons of Advent through Pentecost” written by Bo Giertz and translated by Bror …

Luther's Counsel for Those Dealing with Depression

May 10th, 2019


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 …

The Gospel for Lukewarm Christians

May 9th, 2019


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 …

Heresy, Deconstruction and What to Do About It

May 7th, 2019


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 …

God Doesn't Give Us a Pass, and That's Good

May 7th, 2019


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 …

The Good Destruction

May 6th, 2019


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 …

George Whitefield Arrives in America

May 3rd, 2019


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 …

Why We Are All Theologians of Glory

May 2nd, 2019


In the sixteenth century, society experienced upheaval as a result of the theology of Martin Luther and his Heidelberg Disputation being proclaimed …

Moving Beyond Your Personality Type

May 2nd, 2019


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 …

Beyond Our Grasp

April 29th, 2019


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

April 25th, 2019


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 …

Living on Resurrection Time

April 25th, 2019


Church tradition gets a bad name for being meaningless, stuffy, and boring and sometimes rightfully so! Occasionally we do something for so long we …

The Blood of Christ Does What?

April 24th, 2019


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 …

Easter Zombies and the Hope of Resurrection

April 22nd, 2019


“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. …

I Shall Live

April 22nd, 2019


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 …

It is Finished

April 17th, 2019


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 …

Looking for the Lamb

April 15th, 2019


“Why is this night different from all other nights?” the child asks. The golden twilight feels heavier than usual. Father ties up his sandals …

Cursed by a Name

April 15th, 2019


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 …

When God Gets a Grip On Us

April 15th, 2019


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

April 15th, 2019


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 …

4 1/2 Words to Know for Holy Week

April 12th, 2019


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 …

The Day of Choosing

April 12th, 2019


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, …

Church Membership and the Gospel

April 8th, 2019


Church membership often presents itself as a frightening prospect to many. It involves an array of potentially unpleasant things: offering envelopes, …

The Seed Does it All

April 8th, 2019


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 …

A Q&A with Mark Mattes on Law and Gospel in Action: Foundations, Ethics, and Church

April 8th, 2019


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 …

The Vindicated Lord

April 8th, 2019


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 …

Our Great Worship Leader

April 5th, 2019


“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

April 4th, 2019


In some Christian denominations, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday features a special, liturgical worship piece called “a farewell to alleluia.” This …

Blessed is the Man Who by Faith is Saved

April 1st, 2019


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 …

Who Told You? On Being Afraid in Sunday School

April 1st, 2019


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 …

Your Jesus Has Made You Well

April 1st, 2019


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 …

Romans 8: Life in the Spirit

March 25th, 2019


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

March 25th, 2019


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 …

Always Preach the Law, if Necessary Use Words

March 25th, 2019


“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, …

Come to Me...and I Will Give You Rest

March 25th, 2019


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 …

The Feast of Easter

March 25th, 2019


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 …

Carried to the Table of the King

March 18th, 2019


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 …

What About Higher Criticism?

March 18th, 2019


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 …

The Ones Who Don't Do Anything

March 18th, 2019


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 …

The Hills of Salvation

March 18th, 2019


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 War for Our Freedom

March 18th, 2019


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 …

Steadfast Love

March 11th, 2019


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 …

Christ Who Becomes Our Sin

March 11th, 2019


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 …

Practice Your Righteousness in Fasting

March 11th, 2019


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; …

I Confess: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Gospel

March 11th, 2019


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 …

A Life Interrupted

March 11th, 2019


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 …

You Can't Baptize Hedonism

March 7th, 2019


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 …

When Christ Sings for You

March 7th, 2019


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 …


March 6th, 2019


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 …

Jesus' New Exodus

March 4th, 2019


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 …

The Feast of Transfiguration

March 1st, 2019


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, …

One Substance with the Father

February 28th, 2019


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 …

Balaam's Donkey

February 27th, 2019


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 …

What Happens When Jesus is Separated from the Gospel

February 26th, 2019


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 …

God Lifts the Weight Off

February 25th, 2019


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 …

A More Promising Approach to the Gospel

February 22nd, 2019


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 …

Font to Table: The Deeper Meaning Behind Baptismal Fonts

February 21st, 2019


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 …

Baptizing the Thief on the Cross

February 20th, 2019


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 …

The Hidden Fences of the Law

February 19th, 2019


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 …

God Speaks to Us to Give Us Gifts

February 18th, 2019


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

February 15th, 2019


Most scholars consider Melanchthon to be a Reformation enigma. He, the developer of the Reformation doctrine of forensic justification, is contrarily …

Pirates of the Reformation

February 14th, 2019


I was born November 1949 in Cartagena, Colombia (pronounced “Carta-hen-a”). Cartagena was founded 416 years before, in 1533, by Dominican and …

How Can You Be Certain of the Call?

February 13th, 2019


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 …

Theology in the Real World

February 12th, 2019


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 …

Is there Good News for Disabled People?

February 11th, 2019


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 …

Christ: Evolved Humanity or God in Flesh?

February 11th, 2019


Believing in God is a nice idea; it solves serious philosophical problems. But it doesn’t necessarily solve the personal problem of getting right …

The Atonement: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

February 7th, 2019


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 …

Reversing Death

February 6th, 2019


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

February 5th, 2019


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 …

Defeat Evil with Good

February 4th, 2019


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 …

How to be Unapologetic in 2019

February 4th, 2019


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 …

Jesus Ruins the Cause

January 31st, 2019


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 …

Jesus and Pint-Sized Preachers

January 30th, 2019


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 …

Jesus Increases People's Gladness

January 29th, 2019


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 …

Why Ok is Everything

January 28th, 2019


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 …

Love that Brings Freedom

January 25th, 2019


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 …

We Go To God with Bold Confidence

January 24th, 2019


“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

January 23rd, 2019


"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, …

Why Do So Many Churches Have Red Doors?

January 22nd, 2019


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 …

God's Two Contradictory Words

January 21st, 2019


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 …

Do You Hear This Song of Freedom

January 18th, 2019


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 …

Our Sins Are Either With Us or With Jesus

January 17th, 2019


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 …

It's Time To Take Christ Out of Christmas

January 16th, 2019


“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. …

The Legacy of Thomas Cranmer

January 14th, 2019


The man was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). He would be instrumental in bringing the Reformation to England and making justification by faith alone the …

Epiphany In Middle-earth

January 14th, 2019


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. …

God Uses Our Hands

January 9th, 2019


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 …

Who Speaks for God?

January 8th, 2019


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 …

A Church for Amnesiacs

January 8th, 2019


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, …

After Epiphany: The Rest of the Story

January 8th, 2019


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 …

The Birth of the Confessing Church

January 4th, 2019


On Thursday, January 4, 1934, a few hundred pastors and church-office holders congregated in the German town of Barmen. Together, they formed the …

The Two Lies

January 4th, 2019


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 …

Our Identity Crisis

January 3rd, 2019


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 …

Every Day is New Year's Day

January 3rd, 2019


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 …

Resolutions and Forgiveness

December 31st, 2018


‘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 …

The Groan of All Creation

December 31st, 2018


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 …

Lo, How a Rose

December 27th, 2018


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 …

Come, Lord Jesus, Come

December 26th, 2018


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 …

In the Good Lord's Time, Christ Appeared

December 25th, 2018


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 …

Merry Christmas, Charles the Great!

December 24th, 2018


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” …

The Grieving of the Hopeful

December 21st, 2018


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 …

Jesus, the Light of the World

December 20th, 2018


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 …

When Up Comes Down

December 18th, 2018


“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 …

Advent and the Preacher of Repentance

December 18th, 2018


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 …

Where Do We Look for Jesus to Come?

December 17th, 2018


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 …

Our Empty Hope Chest

December 14th, 2018


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 …

Mary's Magnificat

December 13th, 2018


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 …

Gods Christmas Name

December 12th, 2018


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 …

Preaching the End of the World

December 11th, 2018


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 …

Luther on the Verge: Burning the Papal Bull

December 10th, 2018


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 …

Love Cannot Be Hopeless

December 7th, 2018


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 …

Savior of the Nations, Christmas for the Heathens!

December 6th, 2018


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 …

The Gifts of Luther's Reformation

December 5th, 2018


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 …

The Absurdity of Advent

December 4th, 2018


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, …

The Song of Zechariah

December 3rd, 2018


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 …

Oh Death, Where is Your Sting?

November 30th, 2018


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 …

Getting on God's Good Side

November 29th, 2018


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 …

The Mystery of a God Beyond All Comprehension

November 28th, 2018


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 …

Pesky Questions

November 27th, 2018


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 …

Shocked by Hope in the R-Rated Book of God

November 22nd, 2018


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 …

A Simple Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2018


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 …

Give Thanks to the Lamb

November 22nd, 2018


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 …

Jesus is the Death of death

November 20th, 2018


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 …

Enough is Enough

November 20th, 2018


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, …

Redline Bikes, Grace, and the God of Hope

November 16th, 2018


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 …

God Can Hardly Wait Fix That

November 15th, 2018


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 …

There is Only One Who is Permanent

November 13th, 2018


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 …

The Mirror Never Lies

November 13th, 2018


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 …

How Dreams Die

November 12th, 2018


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 …

The Grace Growing up in the Weeds

November 9th, 2018


The following is an excerpt from Scandalous Stories: A Sort of Commentary on Parables written by Daniel Emery Price and Erick Sorenson (1517 …

Betrayal and the Plunge

November 8th, 2018


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 …

Enthusiasm and the Enthusiasts

November 7th, 2018


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 …

Election Hacking

November 3rd, 2018


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 …

Reformation Day: 501 Years Later

October 31st, 2018


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 …

The Tolkien Option: Consolation and Eucatastrophe

October 30th, 2018


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 …

The Almost Forgiven

October 29th, 2018


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 …

The Dangers of Shallow Sanctification

October 26th, 2018


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 …

Cutting Off Our Sin

October 26th, 2018


“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 …

The Gospel is Only for Consumers

October 25th, 2018


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 …

Undeserving Losers Welcomed to the Party

October 23rd, 2018


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 …

The Good News of Suffering

October 23rd, 2018


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 …

An Introduction to Luther's Theology of the Cross

October 19th, 2018


The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Theology of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation written by Steve Paulson …

Patience Under the Mercy of Christ

October 17th, 2018


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 …

The Good News of Belonging

October 17th, 2018


For in Berry’s estimation, individuals are interesting, important, and even worthy of recording in story; but it is only when individuals are bound …

Walking in Forgiveness

October 16th, 2018


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 …

Five Ways Apologetics Can Respond to Postmodernity

October 15th, 2018


One of the great questions occupying the minds of theologians and pastors alike is how the Church can respond to an increasingly pluralistic, …

Theses 27-28: Love for the Unlovable

October 15th, 2018


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 …

What If and What Is

October 9th, 2018


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 …

Freed From the Law to be For the Law

October 9th, 2018


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 …

Our Daughter Problem

October 9th, 2018


They say girls in our society should have nothing to worry about. They should have the opportunity for education and choices far beyond generations …

The Law, Between Fear and Freedom

October 8th, 2018


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 …

Theses 25-26: The Final Turn

October 5th, 2018


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 …

Considering the Weaker Brother?

October 4th, 2018


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. …

Getting Saved, Doing Nothing

October 3rd, 2018


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 …

Two Kings, Two Kingdoms

October 2nd, 2018


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. …

The Abandoned

October 1st, 2018


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 …

Theses 22-24: The Wisdom of the Cross

September 28th, 2018


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 …

Your Jesus Has Saved You

September 27th, 2018


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. …

A Very Expensive Six-Pack

September 27th, 2018


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 …

The Belief Cure

September 25th, 2018


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 …

Thesis 21: When Good is Evil and Evil is Good

September 25th, 2018


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 …

Theses 19-20: God and the Unworthy Theologian

September 21st, 2018


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 …

Divorce Never Decreed

September 19th, 2018


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.” …

Jesus Opens Us

September 19th, 2018


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 …

Finding God in the Midst of a Hurricane

September 18th, 2018


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 …

The Law According to Jordan Peterson

September 18th, 2018


This year I have been trying to understand the cultural phenomenon that is Jordan B. Peterson. Peterson, the Canadian psychologist turned …

Theses 16-18: Adding Sin to Sin

September 14th, 2018


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

September 12th, 2018


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 …

The Unfair Judge

September 12th, 2018


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 …

The Difference Between Belief and Ideology

September 11th, 2018


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 …

Thank God for Evolution

September 5th, 2018


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 …

Learning the Cycle of Gospel Proclamation

September 4th, 2018


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 …

We Get to Go Home Justified

September 3rd, 2018


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 …

Theses 11 -12: Shameless

August 31st, 2018


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

August 31st, 2018


Sehnsucht is the German word often translated as a “yearning” or “longing.” Psychologists have suggested that it is a multifaceted concept that …

Who Did Jesus Marry?

August 31st, 2018


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 …

The Black Sheep

August 28th, 2018


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 …

Theses 7-8: Let Your Works be Damnable

August 23rd, 2018


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 …

Jesus’ Syrophoenician Dog

August 23rd, 2018


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 …

Smashing Babies and Scarred Hands

August 22nd, 2018


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 …

Biblical Inerrancy in a Postmodern World

August 21st, 2018


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 …

What to Make of the Holy Spirit

August 20th, 2018


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 …

Theses 5 and 6: The Deadly Sin in All of Us

August 17th, 2018


This is the third installment in our special series on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.

Truth is Hard

August 15th, 2018


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 …

A Look at True Proclamation of the Gospel

August 15th, 2018


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 …

Daily Bread and Bread of Life

August 14th, 2018


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 …

Can God Repent Us

August 13th, 2018


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 …

Theses 3 & 4: The Inverted Way of Jesus

August 9th, 2018


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

August 9th, 2018


“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, …

The Red in Our Ledgers

August 9th, 2018


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 …

Theses 1 & 2: The Truth that the Law is Good

August 7th, 2018


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 …

Justified Apart from Our Free Will

August 7th, 2018


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 …

You Can't Work for Peace

August 6th, 2018


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 …

Who are You to Walk the Walk

August 2nd, 2018


“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 …

When Church is Exhausting, You're Doing it Wrong

August 1st, 2018


Both Marys and Marthas abound in the church, and there is often tension between them. Sometimes this tension is expressed by exhausted Marthas …

Set Free to Forgive and Love

August 1st, 2018


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 …

What Writer's Block Tells Us About the Kingdom of God

July 31st, 2018


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 …

Luther's Anxiety of the Heart and Today's Despair

July 27th, 2018


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 …

Why Church is For You

July 25th, 2018


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 …

A Bitter Parable

July 23rd, 2018


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, …

The Truth about Loving Our God

July 23rd, 2018


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. …

Is James Preaching the Social Gospel?

July 23rd, 2018


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 …

Confessionalism and Why It's Important

July 20th, 2018


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 …

Worth Your Meditation

July 19th, 2018


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 …

The Gift is for those Who Don't Deserve It

July 18th, 2018


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

July 12th, 2018


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 …

What Every Christian Should Know about the End Times

July 12th, 2018


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 …

So Many Religions

July 12th, 2018


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 …

Read it for the Sword Stroke

July 9th, 2018


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, …

It's Not, "What Would Jesus Do," but "Who Would Jesus Love"

July 9th, 2018


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 …

How to Measure the True Christian

July 9th, 2018


This is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535), translated by Haraldo Camacho (1517 Publishing, …

On the Weekly Road to Emmaus

July 9th, 2018


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 …

Put it to a Vote: The Importance of the First Council of Nicea

July 2nd, 2018


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

July 2nd, 2018


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 …

Mordor and Evangelism, Part II

July 2nd, 2018


This post takes up the second insight Mordor has for Christians engaging in evangelism and apologetics. The insight is the effect that follows from …

Be Humble, or Be Humbled

July 2nd, 2018


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, …

The Church of Polytheists

July 1st, 2018


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 …

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