“The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us”

by Mr. Jonathan A. Swett The uplifting expression of faith and joy at Christ’s second coming in “The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us” (LSB 514) by Johann Walter and Michael Praetorius reminds us that there is meaningful history in so many of our great Lutheran hymns. You may recall that Walter is affectionately known as… Read More >

Christian Freedom

by Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mumme   How free can one be? According to Martin Luther, human beings can be fully free toward God and toward one another. This freedom means a rightly ordered existence, lived outside of oneself, with God and others. “[A] Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and his neighbor. …… Read More >

Albrecht Dürer’s Four Horsemen

by Dcs. Carolyn Brinkley Powerful, intriguing, and terrifying! The Four Horseman woodcut is from Albrecht Dürer’s Apocalypse series published in Nuremberg in 1511. The scene evokes a feeling of unstoppable devastation. It is almost as if the surging horses will leap from the printed page and the viewer will be caught in their path of… Read More >

Bible Study with Luther: Galatians 5:7-15

by Rev. Paul Doellinger Instead of preaching the Gospel of forgiveness and salvation by grace through faith in Christ, apart from works of the Law (Gal. 3:16), the false teachers in Galatia were peddling a religion of works based on the Law. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul is deeply concerned that the church… Read More >

Kingdom of the Right: Luther on the Church

by Rev. Mark Bestul Simply put, the kingdom of the right is the Church, both in earth and heaven. In Luther’s On Temporal Authority, the reformer refers to this as “the kingdom of God.” Yet, we ought not understand this as if the kingdom of the left is not also under God’s rule; rather, we… Read More >

Kingdom of the Left: Luther on Temporal Authority

by Rev. Aaron Moldenhauer Election day in the United States is near, providing a good occasion to consider temporal authority. Since the twentieth century, Lutherans have spoken about a “two-kingdoms” doctrine to work out the relationship between church and state.[1] Martin Luther, living before this vocabulary developed, worked with concepts of “two governments” or “two… Read More >

The Ninety-Five Theses

by Dr. Jack Kilcrease To understand the 95 Theses, we must first examine the nature of indulgences. According Roman Catholic theology, within the process of confession and absolution there is a distinction between “eternal punishment” and “temporal punishment” due to sin. All sin is worthy of damnation (i.e., eternal punishment). When a person comes to… Read More >

Formula of Concord Study: Article VI

by Rev. Mark Bestul Even during Luther’s lifetime, a strong “antinomian” (against the Law) spirit had risen up among certain theologians who claimed that, once the Gospel regenerates the heart, the Law is no longer needed. Luther defended against such dangerous notions (championed by John Agricola), saying, “The Law must be retained, that the saints… Read More >

Philipp Nicolai

by Rev. Stephen Preus If you are a Lutheran, chances are that the music of Philipp Nicolai has delighted your ears and his words have flowed joyfully from your tongue.[1] Nicolai is the writer of text and tune of what have become known as the “Queen of Chorales” (“O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright”)[2]… Read More >

“Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”

by Rev. Dr. Mark Birkholz Luther’s Reformation hymn, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LSB 655) is one of his best known compositions.  When it was published in 1542, it appeared with the subtitle, “A Children’s Hymn, to be Sung Against the Two Archenemies of Christ and His Holy Church, the Pope and Turk.”[1] … Read More >