The church is not just some social club. Unlike social clubs, the church is not at its core a socializing community. If it were, its big concern would be to find others to socialize with.
The church is born in baptism. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free” (1 Corinthians 12:13). And the church’s mandate is to baptize: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The church is a baptizing community.
Who should the church be looking for? Unbaptized people, to baptize! And baptized people, to call back to their baptism with God’s Law and Gospel.
A short essay that treats the church as “A Baptizing Community” is available here.
This series of audio interviews with Dr. Ken Schurb, most of which are about a half-hour long, covers the high points of Old Testament History. The interviews were originally done to complement the themes and emphases of the church year as well. They can be found at https://issuesetc.org/otinachurchyear/
Here is a handy way to study the Old Testament. Happy listening!
The first Sunday in Lent, Invocavit, is March 6, 2022. Almost exactly 500 years earlier, Martin Luther mounted the pulpit in Wittenberg for the first time since he had said “Here I stand” at the Diet of Worms over 10 months earlier.
He did so on Invocavit Sunday, March 9, 1522. On that day, and the seven days following, Luther delivered a series of sermons in which he pastorally told the Christians of Wittenberg how the Reformation was to be implemented in their midst. There is still much to be learned from these sermons today.
Click here for an outline on this, perhaps Luther’s most famous sermon series. It is suitable for use in Bible classes or discussion groups.
Often an “assimilation gap” exists in congregations. New people remain “outsiders” even after they are no longer “new.” Apparent as this gap may be to them, veteran members sometimes do not spot it. They are unaware, which adds to the challenge!
Pastors may want to address the subject of assimilating new members from the pulpit. What time might prove to be opportune for such preaching?
On January 16, 23, and 30, 2022, the three-year series C epistle lessons include every word in 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. While these two chapters do not contain everything the Bible says that bears on this subject, sermons on these chapters can make more than a good start. They can open up ongoing discussion.
Click the links below for outlines of sermons for Jan. 16, 23, and 30.
The Source of Incorporation - 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 (Note that vv. 12 and 13 are added to the Epiphany 2 lectionary reading.)
The Recipients of Incorporation - 1 Cor. 12:12-31a
The Outworking of Incorporation - 1 Cor. 12:31b-13:13
It’s a different world! The drive toward self-expression is strong. People are constantly reinventing themselves. The self has been psychologized, psychology has been sexualized, and sex is politicized. This is the mind-set to which the church addresses herself with the Gospel today.
Yet none of this is completely new. Much of it has been brewing for years. CID Evangelism Executive Ken Schurb made a series of three one-hour presentations via Zoom in fall, 2021. These were based on a book by Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, which goes back to the late 18th century to trace the beginnings of our present expressively individual and therapeutic culture.
Click below for a link to “What Does this Mean? Responding to Social Justice and Critical Race Theory” by Dr. Lucas Woodford, President of the Minnesota South District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. This is a revision of an earlier version of this study that had been released by the Minnesota South District.
Identifying idols stands out as important. When the church brings the Gospel to people, we should understand their idols. We also need to recognize the idols in our own hearts and lives.
Idolatry lies at the heart of all sin, so our dealing with it dare not be superficial. For when we sinners fail to fear and love and trust in God, we find substitutes. We look for substitutes not only for God as Creator, but also as Redeemer and Sanctifier.
Martin Luther had much to say about idolatry, even when he wasn’t using that particular word. The book The Unholy Trinity: Martin Luther against the Idol of Me, Myself, and I by Michael Lockwood (CPH, 2016) lays out Luther’s multi-faceted case against idolatry and for the one saving God. During the first few months of 2021, CID staff member Ken Schurb moderated a discussion of this book. You can view videos of the discussion sessions here.
|Week 1 (Jan. 14)||Intro & Chap. 1||Week 1 Video|
|Week 2 (Jan. 28)||Chap. 2 & 3||Week 2 Video|
|Week 3 (Feb. 25)||Chap. 4||Week 3 Video|
|Week 4 (Mar. 11)||Chap. 5||Week 4 Video|
|Week 5 (Mar. 25)||Chap. 6||Week 5 Video|
|Week 6 (April 8)||Chap. 7||Week 6 Video|
|Week 7 (April 22)||Chap. 8||Week 7 Video|
|Week 8 (May 6)||Chap. 9|
April 18, 2021 was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s appearance at the Diet of Worms. He displayed godly courage there, but this was far from his last such display. A video presentation by CID staff member Ken Schurb entitled “Luther: A Profile in Courage” explores others.Dr. Schurb’s video presentation is on the CID YouTube channel. It can be found at https://youtu.be/L4G98vt4HPg.