30 May 2009

Appraising the state of Reformed denominations

Yesterday morning we had our house appraised (we're refinancing for 15 years at a lower rate). I got to chatting with the appraiser, a woman raised in the CRC (Christian Reformed Church, for those of you not from Grand Rapids). :-)

She mentioned that she and her husband now attend a parish of the R.C.A. (Reformed Church in America). He was raised Baptist, and they have a 2 year old daughter.

I asked her if her daughter had been baptised, and was surprised to hear her say "No, she was dedicated." Apparently their parish allows parents to decide which of the two they would like: baptism or dedication.

This, I think, is significant slippage in an historically Reformed denomination, where infant baptism was the norm for 500 years. It also serves to highlight why increasingly, in years to come, those who come to the Orthodox Church will likely need to be received by baptism and not simply chrismation. For when baptism becomes optional, it's clear that we are no longer working with an historic Christian notion of baptism.

29 May 2009

Books for sale

I am, once again, culling my collection and am selling the following books (Since I can't seem to post an entire table, I'm only listing the titles.) If anyone's interested, let me know via email (pastor_hoggAThotmailDOTcom) and I can offer more information.

Strange Altars
Die Reformatoren : Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Calvin : mit einem Nachwort zur Reformationsgeschichte
Studies in the Lutheran Confessions
Does the Bible contradict itself?
The church of the Lutheran Reformation; a historical survey of Lutheranism [by] Conrad Bergendoff
Manual on the Pastor's chant
Die Bekenntnissschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche
Examination of the Council of Trent: Part I
Luther; An Introduction to His Thought.
The structure of Lutheranism
A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1537)
German gospel sermons with English outlines
We condemn; how Luther and 16 th-century Lutheranism condemned false doctrine
Pastor: A Day and a Week in the Life of a Parish Clergyman
An Explanation of the History of the Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ
Gerhard's sacred meditations
Sacred Meditations
1998 Hymnal Supplement
St Germanus of Constantinople on the Divine Liturgy
Thomasius Gospels Outlines
Lenten Outlines and Sermons
A handbook of organizations
Letters to a Masonic Friend
Notes on doctrinal theology
The pastor as student and literary worker
The problem of Lutheran union and other essays
The secret empire
The Book of Concord
American church history. Vol 4: Lutherans
Common service music
A compend of Luther's theology
Confirmation and first communion
Confirmation and first communion: Leader's Guide
Genes, genesis, and evolution
The theology of Luther in its historical development and inner harmony
Andreae and the Formula of concord : six sermons on the way to Lutheran unity
Sources and Contexts of the Book of Concord
Why are you a Lutheran?
Eisenach Gospel Selections
The sermon: its homiletical construction
Martin Luther. In Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten.
The sermon and the Propers, by Fred H. Lindemann
The daily office
An Den Christlichen Adel Deutscher Natio
Der kleine Katechismus Doktor Martin Luthers
Luther for the busy man
Luther's Large Catechism: A Contemporary Translation With Study Questions
Luther's prayers
Luther's Small Catechism With Explanation
Luther's two catechisms explained by himself
Works of Martin Luther: With Introduction and Notes, the Philadelphia Edition
Occasional services : a companion to Lutheran book of worship
Another fraternal endeavor
The Lutheran hymnal
The Lutheran liturgy
Worship Supplement (1969)
Glaube und Bildung. Texte zum christlichen Humanismus.
Melanchthon on Christian doctrine: Loci communes, 1555
Theology of the Lutheran Confessions
Theologians' convocation: Formula for Concord
Discord, dialogue, and concord : studies in the Lutheran Reformation's Formula of concord
What is Christianity? And Other Essays
The survival of the historic vestments in the Lutheran Church after 1555
The handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Matthias Flacius Illyricus
Spiritus Creator
The communion of saints
Getting into the Theology of Concord
The Inspiration of Scripture
The Lutheran liturgy
The Flood in the light of the Bible, geology and archaeology
Calls and vacancies
Jesus in the church's gospels
Ministries Examined: Laity, Clergy, Women, and Bishops in a Time of Change
Lutheran worship workbook
Why should a Lutheran not join any sectarian church?
Here we stand. nature and character of the Lutheran Faith
Scripture and the church: Selected essays of Hermann Sasse
This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar
We Confess: The Church (We Confess Series)
Theology of the Lutheran confessions
The confessional principle and the confessions of the Lutheran Church
American Lutheranism Vindicated
Martin Luther
A summary of Lutheran hermeneutical principles
Accents in Luther's theology; essays in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the Reformation. Heino O. Kadai, editor
The Protestant Reformation. Edited by Lewis W. Spitz
Various LC-MS Writings
Walther speaks to the church;: Selected letters
God's no and God's yes; the proper distinction between law and gospel
The proper distinction between law and gospel
The word of His Grace : occasional and festival sermons
Walther and the church
The zeal of His house; five generations of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod history (1847-1972)
Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God
Darwin, evolution, and creation [by] Paul A. Zimmerman, editor [and others]

19 May 2009

Subterranean scribbling #2

The Protestant reads the Bible as addressed to him; he makes his understanding of the text the criterion of truth, and then seeks others who share a similar understanding: thus is born his ‘church.’ But the church is always, for him, an article of faith and not a visible reality.

The Orthodox reads the Bible as addressed to the Church; he recognizes her understanding of the text as the criterion of truth, and then seeks to join that body, that community: thus is he born as an Orthodox believer. But his status as Orthodox is always, for him, an article of faith. That is why he is not scandalized by these words from the desert fathers:

When blessed Antony was praying in his cell, a voice spoke to him, saying, "Antony, you have not yet come to the measure of the tanner who is in Alexandria." When he heard this, the old man arose and took his stick and hurried into the city. When he had found the tanner...he said to him, "Tell me about your work, for today I have left the desert and come here to see you."

He replied, "I am not aware that I have done anything good. When I get up in the morning, before I sit down to work, I say that the whole of this city, small and great, will go into the Kingdom of God because of their good deeds, while I alone will go into eternal punishment because of my evil deeds. Every evening I repeat the same words and believe them in my heart."

When blessed Antony heard this he said, "My son, you sit in your own house and work well, and you have the peace of the Kingdom of God; but I spend all my time in solitude with no distractions, and I have not come near the measure of such words."

14 May 2009

Three stages in the destruction of a society

Taken from the introduction to Demons, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky:

"The 'seed of the idea of destruction' is the revolt against God; but that is over and done with, it is already forgotten, no one is concerned with it anymore. What follows is man's replacement of God and the correction of His creation. This amounts to a declaration of the absurdity and meaninglessness of history, of historical reality as the unfolding of God's will in time, but also as the lived life of mankind--that is, to a separation from the historical body of mankind. Reality itself, physical reality, begins to drain out of this radical 'idea,' leaving only the drab abstraction of materialism. This Dostoyevsky felt and realized, and it is one reason why his heroes, when they begin to save themselves, kiss the earth and 'water it with their tears.' The third stage of the revolt in the name of unlimited freedom is destruction and anarchism, represented by Pyotr Verkhovensky. This whole 'development' is a continuous fall, and its thrust is towards sheer fantasy, which our century has witnessed in its bloodiest and most senseless forms. Dostoyevsky explored, tested, represented these three stages with extraordinary prescience in Demons.

01 May 2009

Subterranean scribblings

Protestant: "We do not pray to dead people."
Orthodox: "Neither do we."
P: "How can we know that the saints hear us?"
O: "How can I know that Christ hears me?"
P: "He has promised to hear me!"
O: "And he is not a bodiless head."
P: "Orat pro nobis."
O: "Homoiousion, too, added but one letter to the Church's faith. But one letter changes everything. What is lost when one changes a personal request to a theoretical statement? And how do such changes arise? Only when living relationships have turned to dim memories."