Saturday, September 30, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#16)
Our opponents never mentioned faith, by which we freely receive the forgiveness of sins. All their books and sermons were silent about the exercise of faith in its struggle with despair and about the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.257; Apology XXIV: 46)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#15)

In our churches, on the other hand, all sermons deal with topics like these: penitence, the fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, comfort for the conscience through faith, the exercise of faith, prayer and our assurance that it is efficacious and is heard, the cross, respect for rulers and for all civil ordinances, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (or the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love. From this description of the state of our churches it is evident that we diligently maintain church discipline, pious ceremonies, and the good customs of the church. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.221; Apology XV: 43-44)
"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#14)

And when the word “Gospel” is used in its broad sense and apart from the strict distinction of law and Gospel, it is correct to define the word as the proclamation of both repentance and the forgiveness of sins. For John, Christ, and the apostles began in their preaching with repentance and expounded and urged not only the gracious promises of the forgiveness of sins but also the divine law. In addition, however, the word “Gospel” is also used in another (that is, in a strict) sense. Here it does not include the proclamation of repentance but solely the preaching of God’s grace. So it appears shortly afterward in the first chapter of St. Mark, where Christ said, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.559; FC SD V: 5-6)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#13)

The Word of God is the true holy thing above all holy things. Indeed, it is the only one we Christians acknowledge and have. Though we had the bones of all the saints or all the holy and consecrated vestments gathered together in one heap, they could not help us in the slightest degree, for they are all dead things that can sanctify no one. But God’s Word is the treasure that sanctifies all things. By it all the saints themselves have been sanctified. At whatever time God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or pondered, there the person, the day, and the work are sanctified by it, not on account of the external work but on account of the Word which makes us all saints. Accordingly, I constantly repeat that all our life and work must be guided by God’s Word if they are to be God-pleasing or holy. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.377; Large Catechism, 10 Commandments, 3rd: 91-2)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#12)

“Dear Father, we pray Thee, give us thy Word, that the Gospel may be sincerely preached throughout the world and that it may be received by faith and may work and live in us. So we pray that thy kingdom may prevail among us through the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, that the devil’s kingdom may be overthrown and he may have no right or power over us, until finally the devil’s kingdom shall be utterly destroyed and sin, death, and hell exterminated, and that we may live forever in perfect righteousness and blessedness.” (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.427; Large Catechism, Lord's Prayer 2nd Petition: 54)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#11)

Our opponents attribute justification to love because everywhere they teach and require the righteousness of the law. We cannot deny that love is the highest work of the law. Human wisdom looks at the law and seeks righteousness in it. Thus the great and learned scholastics proclaimed the highest work of the law, and to it they attributed justification. Deceived by human wisdom, they did not see the true face of Moses but only his veiled face, just as the Pharisees, philosophers, and Mohammedans. We for our part preach the foolishness of the Gospel, which reveals another righteousness, namely, that because of Christ, the propitiator, we are accounted righteous when we believe that for Christ’s sake God is gracious to us. We know how repulsive this teaching is to the judgment of reason and law and that the teaching of the law about love is more plausible; for this is human wisdom. But we are not ashamed of the foolishness of the Gospel. Because of Christ’s glory we defend it and we ask Christ for the help of his Holy Spirit to make it clear and distinct. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.139; Apology IV: 229-30)

Friday, September 22, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#10)

The past couple of years, my confirmation students were asked to pick a topic from the confessions and write a paper. I have been surprised by the number of students who chose "monastic vows" as the topic of their paper. Today's quote is from "Monastic Vows" in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession:

Meanwhile they neither hear nor preach the Gospel about the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, about the righteousness of faith, about true penitence, about works that have the command of God. But they spend their time either on philosophical discussions or on ceremonial traditions that obscure Christ. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.278; Apology XXVII: 54)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CTS News Release about Marquart Funeral

This news release came through yesterday on CTSNews at Yahoo!Groups (subscription information below). I was glad to see that the Funeral Service will be available over the internet through the seminary website (see details below).

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2006

Funeral for Professor Marquart to Take Place Friday in Kramer Chapel

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTS)-Funeral arrangements for Dr. Kurt E. Marquart, who was called to his eternal home on September 19, have been finalized. The funeral will take place on Friday, September 22, at 10:00 a.m. in Kramer Chapel on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Calling will take place Thursday, September 21, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m., and Friday one hour before the service, in Luther Hall on the seminary campus.

All Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) clergy who wish to process for the service should be vested with a white stole and arrive at Kramer Chapel no later than 9:30 a.m. The service will be audio recorded and available on the seminary website by 1:00 p.m. on Friday. To listen to the recording go to, and select Chapel: Morning Office in the left-hand column.

Dr. Marquart was an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and served at the seminary from 1975 to the time of his death. He is survived by his beloved wife, Barbara, and children: Danny (Karen); Cynthia (Kerry) Johnson; Barry (Monika); Angela (John) Hill; and Anthony (Rebecca). They have also been blessed with 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


For information about becoming a pastor, please contact the Office of Admission at 1-800-481-2155. To learn more about Christ Academy, a unique program for high school and college men, please call 1-800-481-2155. To help support CTS and its students through a financial contribution, please call the Office for Institutional Advancement toll-free at 1-877-287-4338.

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"On Preaching" from the Confessions #8

Thus you see plainly that Baptism is not a work which we do but is a treasure which God gives us and faith grasps, just as the Lord Christ upon the cross is not a work but a treasure comprehended and offered to us in the Word and received by faith. Therefore they are unfair when they cry out against us as though we preach against faith. Actually, we insist on faith alone as so necessary that without it nothing can be received or enjoyed. (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.441; Large Catechism Baptism: 37)

The water in Baptism does such great things as forgive sins, rescue from death and the devil, and give eternal salvation to all who believe this because the Word of God has connected itself to the water to do this for us. Apart from the Word of God, Baptism has no power; with that Word of God, Baptism is a wet and powerful word. Apart from faith, Baptism gives none of the promised benefits. Yet what is faith? Is it something that we do? Or is it not better to speak of faith as something that God works in us - even the will to believe what God has promised and declared? The Word of God is powerful to do that which we cannot do and converts us to believe that which it gives and proclaims.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#9)

The "Third use of the Law" continues to be a topic of energetic discussions. In preparation for an upcoming pastors' conference on the topic, the pastors in my district have been asked to read Scott Murray's Law, Life, and the Living God.

Below, I've included two points from the Formula on the Third Use. An interesting read on "self-decreed and self-chosen acts of serving God" (referenced in point #2 below) may be found here.

2. We believe, teach, and confess that the preaching of the law is to be diligently applied not only to unbelievers and the impenitent but also to people who are genuinely believing, truly converted, regenerated, and justified through faith.

3. For although they are indeed reborn and have been renewed in the spirit of their mind, such regeneration and renewal is incomplete in this world. In fact, it has only begun, and in the spirit of their mind the believers are in a constant war against their flesh (that is, their corrupt nature and kind), which clings to them until death. On account of this Old Adam, who inheres in people’s intellect, will, and all their powers, it is necessary for the law of God constantly to light their way lest in their merely human devotion they undertake self-decreed and self-chosen acts of serving God. This is further necessary lest the Old Adam go his own self-willed way. He must be coerced against his own will not only by the admonitions and threats of the law, but also by its punishments and plagues, to follow the Spirit and surrender himself a captive. 1 Cor. 9:27; Rom. 6:12; Gal. 6:14; Ps. 119:1; Heb. 13:21.

(Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.480; FC E VI: 3-4)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

+ Dr. Marquart lives! + In these three words, Watersblogged! captures our Christian confession about Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, and about all those who believe in Jesus: Though they die, yet they shall live; whoever lives and believes in Jesus never dies.

And so we say of Professor Marquart what Our Blessed Lord Jesus said of Jairus's daughter: "He is alive! He is not dead but sleeping!" Sadly for us, we can no longer stir him up to labor with us in Our Lord's fields. The Lord of the Harvest has finally granted our dear doctor to rest from his labors. Now Professor Marquart waits for the coming of Him who shall raise all the dead and give unto him and all believers in Christ eternal life.

In Jesus, Dr. Marquart lives! Thanks be to God!
+ The Reverend Doctor Kurt Erik Marquart +

Earlier today, I read that Professor Marquart's earthly toils had ended.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

Update: Fort Wayne Observed indicates that arrangements have been announced: The funeral service will be at 10am on Friday, September 22, at Kramer Chapel on the seminary campus (Fort Wayne). Viewing will be one hour prior to the service on Friday. Calling will be from the hours 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 on Thursday at Luther Hall on campus. The arrangements are by Klaehn, Fahl & Melton Funeral Homes.

For further information and related readings, see the following:
Cyberbrethren and Cyberstones' Memories of Marquart
Beggar's All
Blessed and Content -- and Disabled
Burr in the Burgh
Cruce Tectum
Father Hollywood
Latif's Memoir
LCMS News Spot
Lutheran Logomaniac
One Lutheran Ablog
Putting Out the Fire
Rev. Tucher
Saint Stephen LC, Milwaukee
Schaaf's Kopf
Territorial Bloggings
Uneasy Priest
Weedon's Blog

Monday, September 18, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#7)

"The distinction between law and Gospel is an especially brilliant light which serves the purpose that the Word of God may be rightly divided and the writings of the holy prophets and apostles may be explained and understood correctly. We must therefore observe this distinction with particular diligence lest we confuse the two doctrines and change the Gospel into law. This would darken the merit of Christ and rob disturbed consciences of the comfort which they would otherwise have in the holy Gospel when it is preached purely and without admixture, for by it Christians can support themselves in their greatest temptations against the terrors of the law." (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.558; FC SD V: 1)

The classic book on this topic is the evening lecture series of C.F.W. Walther collected under the title: Proper Distinction Between Law & Gospel. Recently, Professor John Pless of CTS Fort Wayne authored Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today. Browsing what else is available, I noticed that the professor under whom I studied homiletics has a 4 CD set available through CPH on the Proper Distinction as well as a paperback available through Amazon entitled: Sermon Form and Law-Gospel Preaching. Another volume that I have heard mentioned (though I have not read it) is Herman Stuempfle's Preaching Law and Gospel.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#6)

"Everything that they are to teach and preach is now available to them in clear and simple form in the many excellent books which are in reality what the old manuals claimed in their titles to be: 'Sermons That Preach Themselves,' 'Sleep Soundly,' 'Prepared!' and 'Treasury.' However, they are not so upright and honest as to buy these books, or if they have them, to examine and read them. Such shameful gluttons and servants of their bellies would make better swineherds or dogkeepers than spiritual guides or pastors." (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.358; Large Catechism Preface: 2)

While on the topic of sermons and sermon sources and resources, I have found the following particularly useful (in no particular order):
Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, 7 Volumes
The 1529 Holy Week and Easter Sermons of Dr. Martin Luther
In Christ: The Collected Works of David P. Scaer Vol. 1: Sermons
Sermons of Pastor David Petersen which are available here and here.
Sermons of the Rev. Fr. John W. Fenton, available here.
Sermons of Pastor William Weedon, available here and sometimes also here.
Rev. William Cwirla's sermons, available here and here.
Sermons of Pastor Aaron Koch, available here.

While Pastor Peter Cage's sermons are quite edifying, they are rare to find on the web. One is located here.

Probably *the* sermon that has influenced most of my funeral sermons was delivered at the memorial in Fort Wayne for President Barry by the Rev'd Dr. William C. Weinrich.

I have not been "so upright" as to purchase the following commendable resources:
Christ Crucified: Lutheran Sermons by Chad L. Bird
Selected Sermons of Norman Nagel: From Valparaiso to St. Louis

And if you find yourself listed anywhere above, please humor me and consider yourself TAGGED to list your top five sermon sources, resources, or sermons that have influenced you. :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#5)

"'For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe' (1 Cor. 1:21). 'Peter will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and your household' (Acts 11:14). 'Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ' (Rom. 10:17). 'Sanctify them in the truth; thy Word is truth. I pray for those who are to believe in me through their Word' (John 17:17, 20). Therefore the eternal Father calls out from heaven concerning his beloved Son and concerning all who in his name preach repentance and the remission of sins, 'Listen to him' (Matt. 17:5).

"All who would be saved must hear this preaching, for the preaching and the hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s instrument in, with, and through which he wills to act efficaciously, to convert men to God, and to work in them both to will and to achieve."

(Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.531; FC SD II: 51-2.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Concordia Reader's Edition of the Lutheran Confessions (unofficial) Latest Information

I've had a few visitors looking for information on the Reader's Edition of the Lutheran Confessions, so I thought I would post what I know and give an opportunity for those who know more to comment.

While CPH indicates that the Reader's Edition is still available at the special price of $20 (as opposed to the regular price of $29.99), the "add to cart" button on their site has disappeared. A product update notice (posted as of when, I do not know) reads:

"The nature of the changes we are presently making to Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions require more time than originally anticipated. We will deliver this revised edition as soon as we are able, and we thank you for your continuing interest and support. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. We are sorry for the delay and thank you for your patience."

Amazon (on what basis, I do not know) projects a November 30th release, but they have the CRE listed at its regular $29.99 price.
"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#4)

"When you preach to intelligent and educated people, you are at liberty to exhibit your learning and to discuss these topics [the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments] from different angles and in such a variety of ways as you may be capable of. But when you are teaching the young, adhere to a fixed and unchanging form and method. Begin by teaching them the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, etc., following the text word for word so that the young may repeat these things after you and retain them in their memory."

(Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.339; Preface to the Small Catechism: 9-10.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#3)

"Whenever good works are praised and the law preached, therefore, we must hold fast to these rules: that the law is not kept without Christ — as he himself has said, 'Apart from me you can do nothing' (John 15:5) — and that 'without faith it is impossible to please God' (Heb. 11:6). The teaching of the law is certainly not intended to abolish the Gospel of Christ, the propitiator. Cursed be our opponents, those Pharisees, who interpret the law in such a way that they attribute Christ’s glory to works and make of them a propitiation that merits the forgiveness of sins. It follows, therefore, that works are praised for pleasing God on account of faith, since they do not please him without Christ, the propitiator. 'Through him we have obtained access' to the Father (Rom. 5:2), not by works without Christ, the mediator."

(Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.147; Apology IV:269.)

This section from the Apology is a great explanation for why Abel's sacrifice was acceptable and Cain's was not (cf. Heb 11:4): Abel offered his sacrifice in Christ, while Cain's sacrifice was offered in something else.

I used this recently as a sermon illustration:

Some speculate that Eve believed that Cain was the Promised Seed (Gen 3:15); some translate her words in Genesis 4:1 "I have gotten a man - the LORD!" Perhaps Cain, too, thought that he was the Christ and looked at himself as the hope of the world and the Savior of mankind. Coming to the place of sacrifice, Cain made an offering out of the fruit of his labor, vegetation cultivated under the sweat of his brow; as the "Promised Seed", Cain made a meritorious sacrifice to God of his own good works. But as time would soon tell, Cain was not that Seed, and his sacrifice was powerless to save.

By contrast, little brother Abel was definitely not the Promised Seed. He was the second son, born without expectation, whose only hope for salvation was in the One whom God had promised. Abel's sacrifice reeked of sin; Abel slaughtered his firstborn sheep and brought the fat of his flock, reminding the Lord God of the animal sacrifice that was necessary to clothe man's nakedness after the Fall (Gen 3:21). Abel's sacrifice pointed both to man's nakedness and sin as well as to the One who covers mankind's nakedness and sin, the Promised Seed who would strive with the devil and all his evil cohorts to win forgiveness, life, and salvation for mankind. Abel's sacrifice was pleasing to God because it was offered with trust in the One who is powerful to save; Abel's sacrifice pointed to the Promised Seed, the Christ. Abel's sacrifice pointed to the One who would be lifted up as a sacrifice upon the altar of the cross for Abel's salvation and for the salvation of all mankind.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#2)

"In the last chapter of Luke (24:47) Christ commands that penitence and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name. The Gospel declares that all men are under sin and are worthy of eternal wrath and death. For Christ’s sake it offers forgiveness of sins and justification, which are received by faith. By its accusations, the preaching of penitence terrifies our consciences with real and serious fears. For these, our hearts must again receive consolation. This happens if they believe Christ’s promise that for his sake we have the forgiveness of sins. Amid such fears this faith brings peace of mind, consoles us, receives the forgiveness of sins, justifies and quickens us. For this consolation is a new and spiritual life. This is plain and clear, the faithful can grasp it, and it has the testimony of the church." (Tappert, The Book of Concord. Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1959, p.115; Apology IV:62f.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

"On Preaching" from the Confessions (#1)

"In addition, it would be well to preach to parents on the nature of their office, how they should treat those committed to their authority. Although the duty of superiors is not explicitly stated in the Ten Commandments, it is frequently dealt with in many other passages of Scripture, and God intends it to be included in this commandment in which he speaks of father and mother. ... Parents should consider that they owe obedience to God, and that, above all, they should earnestly and faithfully discharge the duties of their office, not only to provide for the material support of their children, servants, subjects, etc., but especially to bring them up to the praise and honor of God." (Tappert, 388; Large Catechism, 4th Commandment, 167f.)