By Joel A. Hess

In his argument with Erasmus about free will, Luther makes a profound case for the clarity of Holy Scripture and knowing the mind of God. One of Erasmus’ methods of dismantling Luther’s assertions was to point to the mystery and unknownness of God. He called to his side verses such as Isaiah 40, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” and Paul’s similar statement that “his judgments are incomprehensible.” (Romans 11:33). At first these words seem to make the case that we should always be wary of ever talking about God as if He is comprehensible. Many quickly shut down any conversation about the interpretation of Scripture by pointing to these verses. How often do aspiring theologians on the airplane conclude their opinions by waxing eloquent about God’s incomprehensibility, pretending to preserve God’s godhood?

By Cindy Koch

There is something beautiful about a debate. Even if it is with the tiny mind of a two-year-old, it is a valuable and precious conversation. The exchange of ideas, as eloquent or as basic as it may be, requires both people to be introspective. Why do I think this? Why does she think that? How can I get someone else to see my point? Maybe, possibly, I am wrong. The questions and tactics flow back and forth, from passion to passion. And there is a true beauty in the discussion.

By Hillary Asbury

“To appropriate: to take for oneself; take possession of; to steal.”

While at the theological symposium in Saint Louis last week, I had the rare pleasure of meeting a fellow liturgical artist. Kelly Schumacher is the founder of Agnus Dei Liturgical Arts in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is a talented creative with a theological foundation for her work that is as elegant as it is intelligent. Her passion for what she does is unwavering, and her enthusiasm is infectious.

By Marc Engelhardt

In this post I’ll share one of the ways we do Foundation, Worldview, and Practice in my context. It comes from a class we teach called Christ in Common, which is a double entendre. The class exists because those involved have been brought into God’s family through Christ; he is the common thread among us. The class is also focused on digging into what it means to have Christ be the influential voice in the everyday things we face. I write these recaps for people who want to reference what was covered. The class itself is very community driven, meaning that many voices are shared and heard, and it isn’t just me lecturing. Since they are brief recaps, they don’t get into all the details of everything that was said, but they should give you an idea of the overall content and approach.

By Paul Koch

Do you confess the Unaltered Augsburg Confession to be a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church? And do you confess that the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord—as these are contained in the Book of Concord—are also in agreement with this one scriptural faith?

By Cindy Koch

What if liturgy isn’t enough? I know that’s the argument that well-meaning, smart theologians will give you. You know how it goes: If the preaching is bad or if the particular pastor’s teaching is less Christ-centered than you’ve understood the Bible to teach, if you at least have the liturgy, you’re safe. If the church is a mess and the people are all over the place with understandings, if you at least have the liturgy, you’ll be OK. The liturgy, a weekly confession of the true faith, built on and sustained by the faithful church for generations upon generations of Christians. A liturgy that preserves the pattern of right confession and pure Gospel proclamation, all bound up in a handy-dandy book, literally at your fingertips every Sunday.

By Paul Koch

Do you remember drinking from the garden hose as a child? I do. In fact when I’m working in the yard these days I will still get a quick drink from time to time from the hose. I like it. I like the taste; compared to the water that comes from the dispenser on the door of my fridge you would almost think they were from a different source. The water in the house passes through our water softener system, then through a filtration system in the fridge while it is chilled down a bit before it reaches my glass. In my front yard the water takes a more direct route off the main water line through a tired old hose with a slightly corroded metal spigot and directly into my mouth. It may not be as healthy or safe as the filtered option inside, but there is something simple and enjoyable about it.

By Jonathan Holmes –

I don’t go on Facebook very often. If I do, it is usually to find jokes and other humorous tidbits, or the occasional theological writing that a friend has posted that might be worth reading. Besides, The Jagged Word, of course. However, not everybody trolls Facebook for the same reasons I do. What, you’re surprised?