Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Simpsons Catholic Episode...the Conclusion

Scripture: Old Testament - 1 Kings 12:20-13:5, 33-34
New Testament - 2 Cor. 8:1-24
Psalms: Morning - 18:1-20
Evening - 126, 62

Icon of the Day: The Icon of Mid-Pentecost - Christ at age 12 teaches the teachers in the temple.

Here's the conclusion to that Simpsons episode where Bart and Homer become Catholic. I think it's funny that you find out the Simpson's's some wing of the "Presba-Lutherans." It's really funny, yet sad at how they in many ways paint Protestants trying to be "hip."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Simpsons...Positive Catholic Episode

I have to admit, there are times when the Simpsons makes a good episode.

Doctines That Divide.....or are at Least Poorly Understood

Scripture: Old Testament - 1 Kings 11:42-12:19
New Testament - 2 Corinthians 7:1-16
Pslams: Morning - 96
Evening - 132, 134

Icon of the Day: St. John the Forerunner
Makup Icon for Yesterday's Feast Day: St. Augustine of Hippo

Troparion of St. John the Baptist: The memory of the Just is mentioned with praise, as for you, O Forerunner, the Lord's witness is enough. Indeed you were greater than the prophet since you were found worthy to baptize in the waters The One they could but announce. You have fought for the sake of Truth and proclaimed to those in hades: that God who appeared in the flesh has taken away this sin of the world, and bestowed His great mercy on us!

"Our thanks for John the Baptist who, till his dying day, made straight paths for the Savior and heralded His way! In witnessing to Jesus through times of threat or shame may we with faith and courage the Lamb of God proclaim."-By All Your Saints in Warfare v.24 "The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, LSB 518.

Kontakion of St. John the Baptist: Oh prophet of God and forerunner of Grace, your head has blossomed from the earth as a most sacred rose. We are ever being healed, for as of old, you preach repentance to the world.

Grace and peace! I've been reading a book entitled "The Doctrines that Divide" by Erwin Lutzer. The writer states that the book is "a fresh look at the historic doctrines that separate Christians." Mr. Lutzer is the senior pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago.

I'll be pretty frank with you. With the exceptions of the first two chapters, on Christ's humanity and divinity, this book lacks something.....scholarly. It's one thing to go into depth on your denomination's particular doctrine, but when you are detailing someone else's doctrine, PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Perhaps the reason I am most upset by the book isn't Mr. Lutzer's writing, so much as the store I found the book in. It seemed interesting since I could get a look at Roman Catholic doctrine especially from the eyes of someone who I get the impression thinks they are going to hell. The store was in Moline, IL and didn't even have a theology section. Their book sections were fiction, inspiration, and they had two racks devoted to "charismatic" books. This book was in the "pastoral helps" section. From a section of pastoral helps I would expect more research to be done on someone else's doctrine.

The chapters I have read so far include:
1. Is Christ Truly God - somewhat enjoyable and overly okay.

2. Is Christ Truly Man - same as chapter 1

3. Was Mary the Mother of God - While he doesn't deny it as Jack Chick does, he really supports Nestorius in that too much honor was being given to the Blessed Virgin. He accepts it because of the incarnation, so acceptable even though he overly goes against Roman Catholics and uses Ott (same book used by Wayne Grudem in his "Systematic Theology") and a devotional to the Virgin by cardinal Alphonse de Litouri. The latter I have never heard of and sounds more like a book by someone who Rome should have looked at more carefully from the quotes he uses.

4. Was Peter the First Pope - Somewhat oversimplified history...but hey, it's a doctrinal book! Does emphasize that the growth of the Papacy was gradual with regard to its political power. He does not however acknowledge that the title "Pope" was simply the title of the Bishop of Rome (and the Bishop of Alexandria).

5. Justification: By Faith, Sacraments, or Both - In my opinion, he butchers Roman teaching on this, and even to an extent, Luther's as well. His "both" never really even comes up! I was assuming he would mention Luther's views in such a way as to at least get across that Luther agreed with Scripture. Grace alone saves us through faith alone. The grace we get from the means Christ established through His true church. This was never addressed and this chapter felt....unfinished to me.

6. Why Can't We Agree On the Lord's Supper - Alright, just finished this one. He completely ignores what he wrote earlier in the chapter. He quotes such fathers as St. Ignatius of Antioch who said: "The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior, Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, which the Father in his goodness raised form the dead" and St. Justin Martyr who said that the elements are not regarded as ordinary bread and wine, "but as our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, was incarnated by the Word of [the elements] are both the flesh and blood of that same incarnate Jesus." He then mentions that St. Augustine differentiated between the symbol and what is symbolized (a quote I've heard before but I know of no source that I can verify the context of this teaching). After mentioning two fathers who clearly accepted Christ being physically present in the elements, and one who seemingly does not, he says: "In summary, during the first eight centuries of the church the general consensus was towards a realistic view of the elements: Christ is SPIRITUALLY present in the bread and wine. To partake is to eat the body and blood of Christ, BUT NOT IN A LITERAL SENSE." I was floored!

He mentions the doctrine of the Real Presence straight out of Pelikan, but misunderstands what it means! The Real Presence is usually used by those denominations who believe Christ is REALLY and PHYSICALLY present (as He must be since His divine and human natures are not separated), such as the Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. That and the fact that he described Luther as consubstantiation. For the last time....LUTHERANS DO NOT TEACH CONSUBSTANTIATION! We teach SACRAMENTAL UNION. He takes the side of Zwingli and possibly Calvin (though he seems a little vague on his support for his "spiritual presence" concept and treats it as a compromise between Luther and Zwingli) against Luther (who he still misunderstands).

He includes a great quote of Luther's against Zwingli though: "Your basic contentions are these: In the last analysis you wish to prove that a body cannot be at two places at once...I do not question how Christ can be God and man and how the two natures are joined. For God is more powerful than all our ideas, and we must submit to his Word. Prove that Christ's body is not where the Scripture says it is when Christ says 'this is my body.' Rational proofs I will not listen to. Corporeal proofs, arguments based on geometrical principles I repudiate absolutely. God is beyond all mathematics, and the words of God are to be revered and carried out in awe. It is God who commands, 'take, eat, this is my body.' I request therefore, valid scriptural proofs to the contrary."

That Luther believed the bread and wine to be the spiritual AND physical body and blood of Christ who is God is unmistakable. He retained the elevation of the Host in his liturgy (contrary to Newadvent's encyclopedia on Luther) and it was said of him one time at worship: "We have seen Luther throw himself on the floor with earnest and with reverence and worship Christ when the Sacrament was elevated"-WA tr5:308: 15ff.

The following chapters I have a feeling will be like 5 and 6: get ready!

7. Why Can't We Agree on Baptism
8. How Many Books Are in the Bible
9. Predestination or Free Will: Augustine v. Pelagius
10. Predestination or Free Will: Luther v. Erasmus
11. Predestination or Free Will: Calvin v. Arminius
12. Predestination or Free Will: Whitefield v. Wesley
13. Can a Saved Person Ever Be Lost

I'm sorry, I don't like tearing books down, but if this is the best of Moody Church, it's no wonder students go to Christ the Savior Orthodox Church...they are searching for more.

The Peace of Christ be with you!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Seminary Thoughts and Huge Decisions

Congratulations on acceptance to Seminary McG. God bless!

Funny Video of the Day: Listen to how excited everyone responds with "He is risen indeed, Alleluia." I think I heard a snore in there!

Daily Lectionary: Old Testament-1 Kings 7:51-8:21
New Testament-2 Cor. 3:1-18
Psalms: Morning - 122
Evening - 141, 90

Icon of the Day: The Theotokos Icon where St. Seraphim Sarov prayed for 1000 days.

Good news! My friend Chris McGarvey (McG) left this morning for St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary. The icon was the one he gave to a mutual friend of ours who is a Unitarian. Aaron, our Unitarian friend and I grew up together (he lives across the street from me) and he grew up going to a megachurch of the non-denominational tradition. He was very put off by all of it. While talking to McG however, he is growing in his appreciation of traditional Christianity. Perhaps, God willing, he will become a Christian again. McG's mother wants him to accompany us to our Christmas Even candelight and our Good Friday Tenebrae service. McG still loved our Christmas Eve Candelight service, because he and I have gone to church together all of our lives.

On top of that, I have made a decision after much agonizing thought and prayer. I will not finish my M.S. next year. I will take the year and do six hours at a time of philosophy/business/psychology classes at I.C.C. for cheap and will attempt to enter Concordia Theological Seminary next academic year. There was deffinately God working in my decision, as those who disagreed with it became understanding and calm....they didn't flip out on me which I was expecting some to do, primarily my father, who appears to be behind me 100%...or at least 95%. Pray for his salvation. The same goes for my old advisor at Bradley, Dr. Foster. He usually acts very atheistic, yet when I told him my plans he seemed to understand and really respect them. He usually tells you like it is, so I figured he would just be disappointed.

I'm off to see my DCE friend get installed in East Moline! Later.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Great Doxology

Now that I know how to put video on my's ON!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lutheranism and Holy Ground/Sacred Space/Relics/Icons-a Quandry

Scripture: Old Testament - 2 Samuel 11:1-27
New Testament - 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Psalms: Morning-67
Evening-46, 93

Icon of the Day: Our Lady of the Don

Something has been bothering me recently. I wonder how much of it is simply my misunderstanding something key to Lutheran theology, or if there is something far more silly going on within the broader spectrum of the Lutheran Confessions. The subject in question is what is called, "Holy Ground" or "Sacred Space." Particularly, how this relates to what we understand "sacred objects" or relics of saints to be.

According to the Smalcald Articles (II ii 22-23), "Even if there were some good in them, relics should long since have been condemned. They are neither commanded nor commended. They are utterly unnecessary and useless. Worst of all, however, is the claim that relics effect indulgences and the forgiveness of sin and that, like the Mass, etc. their use is a good work and a service of God.”

Sounds pretty damning for relics at all doesn't it? However, I can't imagine this was written against all use of relics or honoring of saints, or our understanding of Holy Ground. I recall a radio program on KFUO where Fr. Weedon made the comment that within our PRIMARY theology, we don't have a theology of sacred space within Lutheranism. Where am I confused or in error? How is it that icons and relics from holy men and women of God have done miracles? Not to salvation, surely no! Nor to the forgiveness of sins which leads to salvation. But my question is simply thus: How can we say that the use of relics is superstitious and that the practice should be abolished when clearely in the Holy Scriptures there are various usages of relics and sacred space AFTER the incarnation???

Certainly the Smalcald Articles cannot be going against the CONCEPT of relics or sacred space, for it is clearly mentioned about St. Paul's handkerchief (healing and used as a witnessing tool without the apostle's physical presence) in Acts 19:11-12. God works through this object of the apostle's and the only thing we can seem to take from this is that healing on any plane (spiritual or physical) occurs by an action of divine grace. There is also the shadow of St. Peter in chapter 5 (verse 15) doing the same. Is this only an apostolic gift or does it continue today? Could someone keen on Lutheran theology let me know what is going on here? What our stand is on icons as means of grace using this same mindset? Please HELP!!!!

In Christ.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The God Who Wasn't There - A Poor Critique of a Poor Documentary

Funny Links of the Day: The Projected Path of Hurricane Dean
Mortal 300
Deffinately worthy of an "awwwww!"
Pulp Muppets....I'm not kidding.
Fire truck segment from Family Guy using Grand Theft Auto....pretty impressive.
Didn't you always hate it when this happened?
Alright, pastors, I KNOW something like this has happened to you :-)

Benny Hinn = Apparently worthy of a soundtrack?

Scripture of the Day: Old Testament- 2 Samuel 6:1-19
New Testament-1 Corinthians 9:1-23
Psalms: Morning-143
Evening-81, 116

Icon of the Day (well, from August 15) - Dormition and Assumption of the Theotokos

I recently saw a documentary on youtube which has been highly publicized by "The Rational Response Squad" called "The God who wasn't There." From the start I was worried. I knew this DVD contained arguments which many atheists believed to be so important and good that they were giving away the DVD for free (well, on the RRS website you had to forfeit your soul). Little did I get what you pay for.

The majority of the DVD is spent either interviewing people (random Christians who have no knowledge of church history or "scholars" from the Jesus Seminar or some secular university professors of folklore) or doing voice over for video or animation. The DVD basically says that Christ never existed. The scholarship however, is pretty bad to say the least.

Things wrong in the DVD:
1. The DVD asserts that St. Paul wrote the epistle to the Hebrews.
ANSWER: St. Paul most likely did not write the epistle. Some church fathers believed St. Barnabas wrote it or St. Timothy translated what might have been St. Paul's words. St. Luther accepted the possibility that St. Apollos wrote it. However, to say that St. Paul wrote it is somewhat disingenuous when making what is supposed to be an intellectual argument....which leads to the next two points.

2. St. Paul is thought to be the only one writing books of the Bible and that everyone else "forgot" about Jesus until about thirty years after his writing.
ANSWER: Forgotten in the DVD is the issue that we have very little literature from the first century. Perhaps more letters were written but God didn't deign for us to have them in the Scriptures. Also forgotten is the fact that St. Paul was a missionary AND bishop. He would have been travelling and guiding churches he was away from, thus he would be writing extensively more than other apostles who were closer to their parishes. Also, the problem with saying that everyone else "forgot" about Jesus ignores the clear indication that the Holy Apostles thought that the world would end and Christ would return BEFORE they all died. It wasn't until they started dying that the Gospels were really written down.

3. The DVD asserts that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews did not believe that the drama of Christ occurred on earth. It claims that the writer believed that it happened spiritually.
ANSWER: The passage used was, "If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law (Hebrews 8:4)." The context of such a passage however is in reference to His being seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He is the high priest in the ultimate tabernacle of heaven of which the earthly priests and earthly tabernacle are only shadows. He has become the mediator of a new covenant. What is going on in Hebrews is that it is a sermon discussing the nature of Heavenly worship. This is why Christians believe that when we worship on earth, we enter into a joining together of Heaven and earth (particularly when the Holy Eucharist is at the center of the liturgy).

4. The DVD says that St. Paul didn't quote Christ at all in any of his letters and never mentioned any events of His life. That statement was qualified by saying that St. Paul only covers the events of Holy Week.
ANSWER: Because of the qualification given, the initial statement had been invalidated. What the DVD meant to say was there is no mention of any miracles of Christ mentioned by St. Paul aside from the institution of the Holy Eucharist (1 Cor. 15) and the resurrection of Christ (Acts 17, 23, Romans 1, 16, 1 Cor. 15, Phil. 3). The DVD does not mention however that the Holy Gospels are passion narratives, and that these two miracles combined with the historic event of Christ's crucifixion is the common message of them. The incarnation is also not mentioned as a miracle that St. Paul talked about....but he did (true man-1 Tim. 2:5, true God and true man-Rom. 8:17). The comment of the DVD is meaningless if you actually understand the essential message of Christianity, "repent and be baptized....for the remission of sins."

5. The random "guy on the street" interviews involve the man behind the camera asking people if they have heard of some false gods.
ANSWER: Common, everyday lay people aren't told the history of our church, and this is a sad fact...but that does not mean we are ashamed of any lack of anything in that history. Perhaps one should ask the videographer if he is aware of the early racist history behind Darwinian evolution and how such racism using the "science" continues in some regards to this day? Now ask any random non-Christian that same question.....what do you want to say they haven't heard of it? The argument swings both ways and in the end is meaningless.

6. He quotes St. Justin Martyr as saying that Christ is no different than Zeus in regards to being born of a virgin.
ANSWER: This is what the early Christians recognized-that Satan took clear indications of what was known earlier (and can be shown from the Old Testament, even early on) about the incarnation of Christ and jaded it to be similar yet strikingly different from the truth. This has always been the explanation. But for example, there are differences between these. Hercules is a godman, but he is half man and half god because his father was Zeus and his mother was a mortal. Christ has a father in God the Father and a mother in the Blessed Virgin Mary, but He is not 50/50, but He is 100% God and 100% man.

7. In the argument for the non-existence of Christ, only fundamentalists are addressed with points of the movie. Never are the historic Christian denominations or traditions addressed. Such shows that by "stumping" fundamentalists they falsely think they have "sumpted" all of Christianity.

8. The DVD producer apparently still doesn't understand what "blaspheming the Holy Spirit is," nor why it is the unforgivable sin.
ANSWER: A Christian should never live in fear of this sin. It is a sin that is done by rejecting the Holy Spirit at ALL times. If you have Christ in your thoughts and heart, you aren't doubting the Holy Spirit with your heart. It is the unforgivable sin because rejecting the Holy Spirit with your heart prevents the salvific application of grace which has already been won for you through the atonement. That is why the videos of people denying the existence of the Holy Spirit is sad but also not a cause to believe they are eternally damned (for they may later not reject Him).

All I can say is that if this is the best atheists have, apologists will have their work much easier than in the past....because these arguments are some of the oldest. Praise be to God!!!