By Ross Engel

Recently Paul wrote about Confirmation and hating the way it has been utilized as a sort of silver bullet to make up for years of no catechesis taking place at home. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read his words. My Sunday morning Bible study and I recently had had an in-depth conversation about the need for parents to step up to the plate and teach their own children the faith, so it was a timely article.

By Jaime Nava

As a pastor and sinner, there’s an unspeakable privilege in the office I’m called to. God’s Word comes through my unclean lips. Each week, we commune on the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine because the promise was spoken. The Words of Jesus echoed once again for sinners to hear, see, and taste forgiveness. To be able to place eternal life into people’s mouths is something I am certainly not worthy of. Despite that, here I am doing what the congregation called me to do. And I’m not alone. The people, those I shepherd for the Good Shepherd, go out into the world. They speak forgiveness to each other. They unlock the heavenly gifts of life by letting wrongs go.

By Ross Engel

This week was Call Week at our two seminaries. Both St. Louis and Ft. Wayne placed vicars, deaconess interns, deaconess candidates, and candidates for the Office of the Holy Ministry into congregations. Last night, two of our Ft. Wayne “Bell Ringers,” Greg Bauch and Michael Daniels, received their placement assignments for their first Calls into the Office of the Holy Ministry. What an exciting time for them both!

By Joel A. Hess

Often during the election year, I find myself drawn to the political candidate whom the left hates the most. Well, not the intellectual left, as I respect the left, but the Miley Cyrus, Sean Penn, and Rachel Maddow shallow-screaming left. But is that a good strategy for picking a political candidate? Of course not!

Sadly, many in the various church bodies allow hate to validate their beliefs and actions.

By Paul Koch

St. Stephen was a man of unshakable resolve and courage. And early in his ministry he stood and proclaimed the Word of God to a group of, well, let’s call them hostile listeners. In fact, we are told that the crowd grew so angry with what he preached that they ground their teeth and then tried stopping their ears. When they couldn’t stand it anymore they rushed at him, seized him, drug him out of the city, and began to stone him. As they cast their stones they took off their outer garments to better do their damage. They laid those garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

By Donavon Riley

Imagine a church’s mission statement is: “You Don’t Have to Fake It ‘Till You Make It.” That is, you walk into church, and an usher hands you a bulletin. On the front, it reads: “We don’t expect you to believe everything we confess, pray, preach, and sing about this morning. You’re invited to join us for worship anyway. Listen to the sermon, pray, and sing with us. You’re a gift to us, and we trust the Holy Spirit will change your heart in his own time. Please come again and ask any questions that you may have.”

By Jaime Nava

Reading a fellow writer’s recent post got me thinking. There’s a lot of Christian denominations to choose from. I say Christian because God’s Word is presented in a Trinitarian way with Jesus Christ as dying for sins. So whether Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal, Revival-oriented (i.e. most non-denoms), or what have you, there are Christians present in those places because God’s Word doesn’t return void. The Jesus they preach is the same that Christendom has always preached: the God-man (100% both), who is the second person of the Three-In-One, died for our sins. Cool. Preach Jesus. Even so, denominations differ. Emphases are placed on different things. What’s the big deal? Let’s consider our American history.

By Graham Glover –

Seriously, what’s so important about the membership one holds in a particular church body these days?

Does one’s denominational affiliation really mean what so many of us theologians wish it did?

Don’t misinterpret what I’m asking. The theological differences between church bodies are immensely important. I’m a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for a reason. As one who daily works alongside clergy from other denominations, I fully appreciate why Christendom is not united.