Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Congratulations to Issues, Etc. and Lutheran Public Radio on their one year anniversary! The show continues to prosper, boldly going where no (LCMS sponsored) show has gone before. In the photo, Wilken makes an exception to his long-standing "no autograph" rule at the after-the-show bash.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Continue on to Part 2, A Case of Mistaken Identity?

The Sacramental Life

Quoting Pastor Todd Wilken from the listener Comment Line portion of the May 29th Issues, Etc. show:

...the shape of the Christian life is the shape of the Sacraments that Christ has given the Christian to live by. The word of absolution, the water of Baptism, the bread and wine, body and blood of the Lord’s Supper – this is the shape of the Christian life. And Christians who think that their life resides some place else than in what Christ gives in those Sacraments are looking for life in all the wrong places, and they’re not gonna find life. They’re gonna find busyness. They’re gonna find themselves. Worse yet they won’t find Christ.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Essential Function of the Church

Quoting from Dr. Ron M. Garwood's essay "The Nature of the Church With Reference To Its Structure," presented to the Wyoming District Convention this year:

So, there are many things going on in the visible church, some which should not be going on, and other things are good and positive and a blessing to many. But the essential function of the church is preaching and teaching the Word of God and administering the sacraments. The Word and sacraments are what create the church, sustain the church, and grow and extend the church. In fact, Richard Klann wrote in the Abiding Word, “that the function of the Christian Church does not extend beyond the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.”

Now in observing the visible church in the world today, it is obvious that the visible church struggles with and against this understanding of the function of the church. Even in our Lutheran Church we claim that we believe that it is the Word of God and the sacraments that create and sustain the church, but then we act as if we don’t really believe this as we introduce other teachings, programs, and features by which we maintain the church is created and grown. Dr. Eugene Klug, commenting on this inclination, and quoting Luther, writes:

This notion, that it is not only God but also man with his energies and innovations that avail for the church’s progress and continuance, is…an ongoing plague upon the church. “Everything that God does they must improve.” Such leaders sound every so pious and their programs ever so heavenly minded; but their actions belie their words,…This self-willed piety and officiousness, Luther states, “may be seen in all heretics from the beginning of the world.” Whether you look at “Arius and Pelagius, or now in our time the Anabaptists and anti-sacramentarians, and all fanatics and rebels, the story is always the same: “They are not satisfied with what God has done and instituted, they cannot let things be as they were ordained to be.” The tragic story in the church is that “conceit keeps the dance going.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s Just a Color

Zach, Paige, and I are warming up before our run, talking about heading back to Colorado this summer. Paige says that people from Colorado are the most loyal to their state of anyone at her school. She thinks that’s because it’s so beautiful in Colorado. Zach says Washingtonians are loyal to their state as well - they’d have to be to put up with eight months of overcast and rain every year. Paige mentions that she’s heard the usual company line at her school about how all that rain is what makes it so green in Washington.

We all agree that it’s green elsewhere without the eight months of overcast and rain. Zach doesn’t see what the big deal is about the green, after all, “it’s just a color.” All of us laugh long and hard at this statement. So true.

Going on a run in our family can be a pretty wacky experience. The nutty conversation is matched by the route we run. Zach is leading, which I know will be trouble. I mention as soon as he opts to choose an unusual course that taking a route that wanders all over the place results in a run that is shorter than it feels. Off we go, heading first through Wildwood Park. Wildwood has very dense forest with steep trails that go up and down like a roller coaster - it’s gorgeous today with light filtering down through the canopy of the forest. Zach has run a couple of his cross-country meets in this park, so he knows the trails well. He’s running downhill too fast. If he doesn’t slow down he’s going to become a permanent part of the landscape by missing one of the frequent serpentine turns in the trail. I taught him better – rest on the downhill and pass your opponents on the uphill.

We survive Wildwood without anybody wiping out, and then head in a direction that’s vaguely reminiscent of a homeward bound course. We run through one spot that’s a short familiar trail, and find that it’s completely overgrown, plowing through nettles and other assorted botany to get to the other end.

Down the road a ways I suggest to Zach that instead of saying “It’s just a color,” he could say “It’s just a specific wavelength of light.” This new angle launches a whole discussion about color blindness, cones and rods, dogs seeing only in black and white, and Paige’s psychology professor saying it’s all in your mind, or something like that. Now we’re getting into metaphysics.

We round the final curve in the road and coast to a stop in front of our house. I check my watch and note that we’ve run at least a mile less than our normal distance. Zach! That’s O.K. though. I wouldn’t trade the mileage for the company. After all, the next time I hear someone bragging about how green Washington is, I’ll have a great, if somewhat cryptic response, “It’s just a color!

photo credit: someToast

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Agree with the SP

I agree with the Synod President. One of the questions President Kieschnick was asked at the Northwest District Convention in the canned question and answer session was related to the challenges the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod faces, and what needs to be fixed. His answer, and he emphasized this as the most important challenge we face, was to change the spirit of distrust and mistrust in the Synod. I wholeheartedly agree with our Synod President. There is a pervasive spirit of mistrust that causes us to spend more time defending our own “turf” than going about the “business” of the Church. This attitude could certainly be seen at times during the proceedings of the convention, though it was most often hidden by a thin veneer of piety and cordiality.

As a follow-on to his answer, you might ask an even more important question, why is there a spirit of distrust and mistrust? Of course, he didn’t address that question, because the answer would have contradicted his previous opening statement, in which he claimed that the LCMS is “exceptionally united in what we believe, teach, and confess.” No Synod whose most important challenge is to deal with a spirit of distrust and mistrust can be walking in doctrinal unity.

In World War II, the Allies fought a common enemy, yet there was an underlying distrust between the American and European allies and their Russian counterparts that at times made it difficult to hold the alliance together. After the war, the smiling faces of joint summit meetings ended. The huge political differences could no longer be papered over, and nations that were once allies became enemies. As long as our Synod President continues to maintain we are “exceptionally united,” true unity will never be attained. We may lurch along the path for a time, putting on a smile for the press release, but unless true theological dialogue is begun and our differences resolved by the Word of God and our Confession, disaster will loom not far beyond the next hedge row. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

One of the softball questions that President Kieschnick answered illustrates this doctrinal division. The questioner stated that a Ft. Wayne professor commented that the Great Commission applies to the apostles only, and the questioner asked President Kieschnick what he thought of that interpretation. He replied that he’d heard that was being taught, and strongly disagreed with it, and that it was not the official position of the Synod. The question did not seem to be particularly relevant to the occasion, and the answer certainly left no room for anyone who exegetes Matthew 28 differently. The whole question and answer seemed to be more of a jab at those who don’t agree with the everyone-a-minister concept, and would never have been asked, or answered, in a Synod that was truly united in doctrine.

President Kieschnick pointed out that unless he is an idiot, he thinks he understands what’s going on in our Synod. He stated that not all of our pastors want to be pastors. I wonder how many of those pastors, as well as those who still want to be pastors, despair because of the doctrinal divide which confronts us. There are congregations and pastors that have left the LCMS solely for legitimate doctrinal reasons. As Martin Luther put it, “...My conscience is captive to the Word of God. ...To go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” There are, right now, confessional LCMS pastors who are wrestling with these same issues, trying to answer these questions that should never have been needed to be asked. Perhaps now is the time to elect a Synod President that will confront our differences, rather than trivialize them, so that we no longer have to wrestle with these tough questions, and even tougher answers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping Track of District Conventions

Pastor Tom Chryst on his blog Preachrblog is keeping track of all the District Conventions. He's got a hyperlinked list to various reports of each convention. You can find it here.

Report on the NOW District Convention, The Verbose Version

The Northwest District Convention met June 18-20 in Portland, Oregon. We began the Convention being one of the more liberal Districts, and we departed in the same condition. President Warren Schumacher retired after 15 years of service as the District President. Give him credit for longevity in a tough role. I hope President Schumacher and his wife Judy will enjoy their retirement, although he still has a bit of work left ahead of him, since he was elected to the Synod Nominating Committee. While he’s certainly a nice guy and ran an on-time convention, Rev. Schumacher’s theology and practice left many confessional Lutherans shaking their heads – especially those confessional Lutheran pastors whom President Schumacher called (in the Fall 2008 edition of “Northwest Passage”) “past-oriented museum-keeper colleagues.”

The general consensus among the confessional delegates is that neither of the two most confessional nominees was elected as President or a Vice President. Rev. Paul Linnemann was elected President. I wish him and his wife Cindy well as he transitions from parish pastor to District President.

The resolutions that were passed, as well as those that weren’t passed, offer another indication for how the Convention went. Resolution 2-07, “To Work with Other Christians to Reach Those Who Do Not Know Christ and Memorialize Synod to Do the Same,” which I previously discussed as being unionistic, died a well deserved death, since the allotted time expired before it could be passed. We were in the process of amending it to make it less objectionable when its timely death occurred. This was the brightest spot in the resolution story.

Monday, June 22, 2009

NOW Convention, Days 2 & 3

The original resolutions can be found on the District Website. The District daily newsletter for days 1 and 2 are currently available.

Day 2

Day 2 included a “Worship Service with Holy Communion,” with the sermon preached by President Kieschnick, followed by President Kieschnick’s presentation to the convention and a question and answer session.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Being a dad is great!

Here's the Wordle from the front of the card my daughter made for me:

Bonus points if you can figure out what WOTW, TOTS, or DPM means.

Here's the cover from my son's card - a bit of a contrast:

Friday, June 19, 2009

NOW Day 1

Yesterday concluded Day 1 of the Northwest District (NOW) Convention. The only significant items of action included elections and an initial foray into the resolutions. For anyone who doesn’t already know, the NOW District is one of the more liberal districts in the LCMS.


District President: Paul Linnemann
1st VP: Jonathan Dinger
2nd VP: Jonathan Rockey
3rd VP: Ted Werfelmann
4th VP: Mark Hoelter
5th VP: Dan Kunkel
6th VP: Phil Bohlken

You can email me if you’d like more info on these gentleman.

Regarding resolutions, the resolutions in their initial form are posted at the District website, although they aren’t being kept up to date, which means you don’t know exactly what you’re voting on until right before you vote on it – a very inconvenient truth.

Only three resolutions were voted on today. 1-01a passed, the resolved of which reads:

RESOLVED, that the Northwest District in convention urge the Synod in Convention and the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance to provide Commissioned Ministers an opportunity to serve as voting delegates in convention.

Omnibus Resolution A passed. (An omnibus resolution is one in which multiple resolutions are combined into one, and voted on as though it was only one resolution). It included 1-05 (To Establish a Process By Which Commissioned Ministers May be Elected for DISTRICT), 1-06 (To Establish a Process By Which Commissioned Ministers May be Elected for SYNOD Conventions), 1-11 (To Memorialize Synod to Abandon Its 'Guttenberg' Ways and Embrace our "Google' World), and 1-06a (which was a better-worded replacement version of 1-13, To Recognize Synod Trained Workers not On Synod's Roster for IRS Purposes). Omnibus Resolution C, which is the Omnibus that the floor committee uses to try and get rid of resolutions it doesn’t like, was referred back to the committee by the delegates for further consideration. It includes two resolutions related to the Blue Ribbon Task Force lumped into it, 1-04, To Exercise Appropriate Care in Considering Structure Changes, and 1-10, To Memorialize Synod to Exercise Due Diligence in Implementing Structural Changes. It’s good that this omnibus was referred back to the committee rather than be dispensed with, but my guess is that it won’t reappear because we will run out of time before all resolutions are acted upon.

This is a bare-bones post, that will be followed by another bare-bones post regarding Day Two. I’ll ultimately follow these up with something more substantive. I’m rooming with our Vicar, which is a good thing. It’s not too often I find someone else who wants to talk theology 24/7, so it’s a special treat for me, and I’d rather do that than type. I’m trying to write this post while we’re sitting here deciding the future of the LCMS. You can email me on that too if you’d like to know how it turns out.

On a very sobering note, one of our lay delegates, Mr. Bill Brackman, sustained head trauma from a fall while here for the convention and died some time later. He was the lay delegate from Lutheran Church of St. Paul in Graham, Washington. We prayed for his family in convention. He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren, who I’m told were at his side when he died in the hospital. We mourn with his family, and at the same time rejoice with his family, as he now looks upon the face of his Redeemer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Convention Bound

I'm headed off for the Northwest District Convention, which runs June 18-20. I'll try and post updates on the proceedings as time and motivation permits. Please pray that the decisions we make will be God pleasing. There are many pivotal decisions which need to be made, including the election of a new District President.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Convention Miscellany

If you're attending the Northwest District Convention, one of the Resolutions (2-01) resolves to continue support of the Tracking the Spirit "movement." This particular "movement" should be scuttled. I've previously written about it here.

Dr. Ken Schurb's latest appearance on Issues, Etc. is a "must hear" segment. He discusses the Constitutional amendments that are being proposed by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance. These proposed changes are rather sobering in the magnitude of their impact on the long-term confessional health of the Synod. You can listen here:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Unionism in the Northwest District?

One of the resolutions that will be presented for adoption at the Northwest District Convention (June 18-20) is Resolution 2-07, the text of which follows:



WHEREAS, the Lord has given a command to all His followers to “make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:18-20) and

WHEREAS, we members of the Northwest District are part of the followers of Christ who make up the “One, Holy, Christian (catholic), and Apostolic Church,” and

WHEREAS, the task of reaching those who do not know Christ is greater than we can do alone, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that we give thanks and praise to God for all our brothers and sisters in Christ in the whole Christian Church on earth, and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Northwest District encourage congregations, boards and agencies of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, to work with congregations, boards and agencies of various Christian bodies to give direction as to how we can more effectively and appropriately work with other Christian church bodies in reaching out to those who do not know Christ.

This resolution certainly has a commendable goal – to further spread the Gospel, yet it does so at the expense of that very same Gospel, by promulgating church fellowship with unspecified entities which do not necessarily hold to an orthodox understanding of the Gospel.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Running in the Muskeg

Our daughter Paige came along with me on my trip up to Juneau, Alaska. I flew the big jet (along with the Co-Pilot of course) and Paige sat in the back. We enjoyed a great run together, a fun meal at the Hangar Restaurant, and a nice walk around town.

On our run, we crossed the bridge over the Gastineau Channel onto Douglas Island and gained about 2,000' in elevation as we ran up the Dan Moller Trail. It was really warm in Juneau so it was plenty warm up high, as we saw early-blooming flowers (such as the yellow bloom of skunk cabbage) and crossed a few remnants of snow along the way. Much of the trail crosses muskeg, which is like a bog, and is one of my favorite types of topography to run in. This trail has several miles worth of boardwalk to run on, or you’d never be able to negotiate it while running – and if you don’t watch where you’re going, your running shoe may soon become a part of the landscape. The muskeg is beautiful, with broad open areas and great views, lots of flowers, and trees with moss hanging from them.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. Psalms 96:11-13 ESV

(Click on photos for a larger view)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Assailed by the Old Evil Foe

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther:

Good friends have told me that the old evil Foe is severely assailing you with weariness of life and a longing for death.... You know that we should and must be obedient to God and must carefully guard against disobeying His will. Since you are sure-and it must be obvious to you-that God gives you life, your thoughts should yield to this divine will, and you should gladly obey it and not doubt that such ideas, being disobedient to God's will, are certainly shot and sent into your heart by the devil. Therefore you must firmly resist them and be determined to tear them from your heart or to endure them.

Life was sour and bitter also for our Lord Christ; yet He would not die without His Father's will and, when able to do so, fled death and preserved His life, saying: "My time is not yet come" (John 7:6). And Elijah, Jonah, and other prophets clamored and cried for death, very painfully impatient of life, and cursed the day of their birth and their life. Yet they had to live and bear this disgust with all their strength or weakness until their hour came (1 Kings 19:4; Jonah 4:3; Jer. 20:14).... When the arrows of the devil are lodged so deeply, they cannot be extracted with laughter and without labor; one must pull them out by force. Therefore you must take heart and courage against yourself and must say with anger at yourself: No, my fellow, no matter how tired you may be of life, live you should and must; for so my God wills it, so I want it to be. Away to the bottom of hell, you diabolical thoughts of dying and death, you have no business here. Grit your teeth against such thoughts. Obedient to God's will, be hardheaded and more stubborn and obstinate than any bad peasant or woman, nay, harder than any anvil or iron.

If in this way you take yourself in hand and fight against yourself, God will surely help you. But if you do not resist or put up a defense, if you rather allow such thoughts all the leisure and freedom to plague you, then you have soon lost the battle.

But the best of all remedies is not to become involved in a struggle with such thoughts at all but to be able to despise them, to act as if you never felt them, constantly to think of something else, and say to them: Come now, devil, do not disturb me. I am unable to pursue such thoughts now. I must ride, drive, eat, drink, do this or that. Or: I must be cheerful now; come some other day, etc. Say this, and undertake to do whatever else you may, playing, and the like, just to ignore such ideas freely and thoroughly and send them on their way.

Ewald M. Plass, compiler, What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, (St. Louis: CPH, 1959) §728, 244.

photocredit: practicalowl

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We’re Not Alone

The following quote comes from Dr. Arthur Just during his May 25th appearance on Issues, Etc.:

We’re not alone, because when Jesus is there, there are the angels and the archangels, and the whole company of heaven. And that means all who have died and risen in Christ – past, present, and future. So in Christ, all the saints are present with us. So Abraham’s there, and Isaac, and Mary, and David, and Peter and Paul, and all our relatives, our parents and grandparents, even our children, who have died in Christ, they are all there celebrating the marriage feast of the lamb in His kingdom which has no end. There is no greater comfort than that. There is no greater pastoral theology than that. There is nothing greater than coming into the presence of Jesus, being forgiven of our sins, and worshiping with the whole company of Heaven.

This was an excellent show. You can listen to the entire segment here:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Walther's Affirmation of Uniformity in Practice

This quote of C.F.W. Walther comes from a District Convention presentation he made in 1871. He obviously wouldn't appreciate today's sentiment that "This isn't your grandfather's church."

We know and firmly hold that the character, the soul of Lutheranism, is not found in outward observances but in the pure doctrine. If a congregation had the most beautiful ceremonies in the very best order, but did not have the pure doctrine, it would be anything but Lutheran. We have from the beginning spoken earnestly of good ceremonies, not as though the important thing were outward forms, but rather to make use of our liberty in these things. For true Lutherans know that although one does not have to have these things (because there is no divine command to have them), one may nevertheless have them because good ceremonies are lovely and beautiful and are not forbidden in the Word of God. Therefore the Lutheran church has not abolished “outward ornaments,” candles altar clothes, statues and similar ornaments,” but has left them free. The sects proceeded differently because they did not know how to distinguish between what is commanded, forbidden, and left free in the Word of God. We remind only of the mad actions of Carlstadt and of his adherents and followers in Germany and in Switzerland. We on our part have retained the ceremonies and the church ornaments in order to prove by our actions that we have a correct understanding of Christian liberty, and know how to conduct ourselves in things which are neither commanded nor forbidden by God.

We also refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. The Roman antichristendom enslaves the poor consciences by imposing human ordinances on them with the command: “You must keep such and such a thing”; the sects enslave consciences by forbidding and branding as sin what God has left free. Unfortunately also many of our Lutheran Christians are still without a true understanding of their liberty. This is demonstrated by their aversion to ceremonies. It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and papism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when one sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American sects, lest they accuse one of being papistic! Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that the sects can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bow Now or Bow Later

Paige and I were weaving our way through traffic, headed for Zach’s concert, when we spotted the above license plate. As we came to a bottleneck and were forced to slow to a crawl I had Paige take a photo, thinking this was a rather interesting license plate frame. An actual Jewish Jew. You don’t see that every day. Another thing you don’t often see is someone who confesses their religious beliefs, a characteristic that this Torah believer wasn’t lacking.

Unfortunately, this motoring Torah confessor is trapped in the Old Covenant of works righteousness. Those Torah-believing Jews of the Old Testament, because of their faith in the promised Messiah, were saved, yet this Jew heading down the highway is without hope, because of his trust in his own works and rejection of Christ’s salvific work on the cross. The Bible is clear on how we are saved:

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:8-10 ESV

Ultimately, when Christ’s glory is fully revealed even those who do not acknowledge Christ as Lord and are eternally lost will voluntarily bow their knee and confess:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 ESV

For those of us who believe, we have Christ’s sure and certain promise:

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. Revelation 3:5 ESV
Lord, grant this unto us all.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Acting Sacramentally

Quoting from Dr. David Scaer's paper "Sacraments as an Affirmation of Creation":

To act sacramentally means to act through the creation ("means") or creatures. With this definition, the incarnation can be understood sacramentally and our sacraments have incarnational dimensions. Relating christology to sacramentology was essential for the defense of the Lutheran position against the Refomed.

The regulations, threats, and promises surrounding the trees of the garden verge on the sacramental. Eating one fruit brings death and removal from God's presence. Eating the other brings life and eternal bliss with God. One could almost transfer these descriptions to our use of the Lord's Supper, to which some are invited and from which some are prohibited for the same reasons surrounding the trees of the garden. For some the sacrament works death and for others it works life. In similar fashion the Old Testament is more than an historical account of an ancient people; it is the continuation of creation in which God continues to act sacramentally. Abraham is in a certain sense "an Adam" in whom the peoples of the earth are reconstructed as God's people and who prepares for Christ in whom this reconstruction is completed. In the Old Testament the themes of paradise are repeated and held up as Israel's destiny. Religious and secular uses of bread and wine and the eating of elders with God on Sinai are references forward to a more significant eating and drinking in the messianic age. The Old Testament is not an isolated history, but a redemptive history in which the themes of creation and paradise are held before the people in anticipation of their completed perfection in the messianic age which appeared in Jesus. The problem is not that we find too much of Christ in the Old Testament, but that we find too little.

photo credit: Lawrence OP

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

God Is Master of This Art

Quoting from Luther's Large Catechism on the Seventh Commandment:

In short, if you steal much, you can expect that much will be stolen from you. He who robs and gets by violence and wrong will submit to one who shall act the same way toward him. For God is master of this art. Since everyone robs and steals from one another, God punishes one thief by means of another. Or else where would we find enough gallows and ropes.

LC, Part I, 245. Quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, (St. Louis: CPH, 2006) 386-387.

photo credit: limeydog

Monday, June 1, 2009

When an Insult Is a Compliment

Quoting Dr. Cameron MacKenzie from his paper “Uses and Abuses of Power In the Church,” first presented at the Rocky Mountain District Pastor’s Conference in 2000:

Through the years, Walther has often been accused of lacking originality, of not standing out from the crowd, of promulgating simply a theology of repristination; but this is an accusation that Walther would have taken as the supreme compliment, since, from his point of view, innovations in theology were inevitably signs of departure from the truth once revealed.

photo credit: Mzelle Biscotte