Reblogged: Sermon: The Commemoration of Martin Luther 2015 (Concordia St. Catherine’s)

In addition to being the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, November 10 is also important for Christians of the Lutheran persuasion because today is Martin Luther’s birthday (1483). The following is a commemorative sermon by the Rev. Dr. John Stephenson given at Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catherine’s, Ontario in commemoration of Luther’s birth.

Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary

The following sermon was preached by Rev. Dr John Stephenson in the seminary’s Martin Luther Chapel for a divine service on the occasion of Martin Luther’s birthday.

Commemoration of Martin Luther
10 November 2015
St John 6:52-69

Words are decidedly dangerous things, which is why policemen warn those they arrest that, “Anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence against you.” It’s bad enough when foolish or unguarded words get you in trouble with earthly authorities, but all of us have a courtroom appointment looming ahead, although we are uncertain about the date: “After death comes judgement” (Heb 9:27b) and “We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10). Clever and unscrupulous people can to some extent pull the wool over the eyes of earthly authorities, but there will be no escape when Jesus’ gaze meets yours, there will be no sassy comeback…

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Reblogged: Martin Chemnitz, Pastor and Theologian (Aardvark Alley)

Martin Chemnitz

My unabashed reposting of other people’s material continues with Orycteropus Afer’s post for yesterday’s commemoration of Martin Chemnitz, the “Second Martin” of the Lutheran Reformation.  See an excerpt below after the jump.

Martin Chemnitz, Pastor and Theologian (November 9)

+ Martin Chemnitz, Pastor and Theologian +

9 November AD 1522 – 8 April AD 1586

Today marks the birthday of Martin Chemnitz, Pastor and Confessor. We regard him as, after Martin Luther, the Lutheran Church’s most important theologian. He possessed a penetrating intellect and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture and the Church Fathers combined with a genuine love for the Church.

Doctrinal quarrels after Luther’s death in 1546 led Chemnitz to give himself fully to the restoration of unity in the Lutheran Church. He became the leading spirit and a principal author of the 1577 Formula of Concord, which settled the doctrinal disputes on the basis of the Scriptures and largely succeeded in restoring unity among Lutherans. Work on the Formula led Chemnitz and others to gather all the normative doctrinal statements confessed by the Lutherans, from the ancient creeds through the Evangelical writings of the 16th Century, into one volume, the Book of Concord.

Chemnitz also authored the four volume Examination of the Council of Trent (1565-1573). This monumental work saw him rigorously subjecting the pronouncements of this Roman Catholic Council to judgment by Scripture and the Church Fathers. The Examination is the definitive Lutheran answer to the Concilium Tridentinum and an outstanding exposition of the faith of the Augsburg Confession.

Reblogged: Gustavus Adolphus II, King and Confessor (from Aardvark Alley)

The Gustavus Adolphus plaque at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

The Gustavus Adolphus plaque at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Orycteropus Afer over on Aardvark Alley has some great daily posts for feast days and commemorations, especially as regards people important to the history of the early Church and the Reformation.  Today happens to be the commemoration of King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden, who fought valiantly during the Thirty Years’ War “so that the Lutheran Reformation might live.”  He left his mark on Germany and northern Europe during the war, not only extending Sweden’s world-influence (the Swedish Empire became a world power under Gustavus Adolphus’ reign, and stayed so for about 100 years until the Karl XII’s defeat at Poltava at the hands of the Russians under Peter the Great), but also making great gains for the spread of Lutheranism in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.  Orycteropus has put up a nice biography of “der Löwe von Mitternacht”, as well as suggested readings for his commemoration.  Read a selection from the commemoration after the jump:

+ Gustavus Adolphus, King and Confessor + 6 November AD 1632

Gustavus Adolphus pioneered the use of fast-firing musketeers and extreme mobility of troops and flexibility in engagements. His artillery was much more mobile than others’ and he treated all branches of his army equally, refusing to favor cavalry over infantry or musketeers over pikemen. Indeed, he cross-trained as many of his soldiers as possible, so much of his infantry could ride and his pikemen could also use muskets.

Yet we Christians, in particular we Lutherans, most of all remember and give thanks for a man who used his intellect and leadership in political and military defense of the religious gains of the Reformation. And while not all in Sweden, Germany, or elsewhere continue to staunchly believe in justification by grace through faith, or to trust in Scripture’s veracity and the truth of the Lutheran Confessions, it’s nowhere the fault of godly King Gustavus Adolphus Magnus.

Suggested Lection

Psalm 146
Daniel 10:18-20
Romans 13:1-7
John 15:9-11

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of Your love in the heart of Gustav Adolf, who inspired his kingship under Jesus, the King of kings, and who led him to bold confession and humble service, grant to us, Your people, like faith and humble service, that we who rejoice in his triumphs may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

King, revolutionizer of the army, natty dresser.

King Gustavus II Adolphus