More Readers

I’ve been quite busy this last week with unusual tasks, catching up with some of the big projects at home that have been “on backorder” for a while. I’ve hardly thought about posting to The Plucked Chicken.

It seems we’re getting visitors from surprising places now. There have always been some in Australia. Now I’m seeing more in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. In fact it looks as though the only continent from which The Plucked Chicken is not receiving any visits is Antarctica. Well, it’s running on Linux, so I know the penguins are interested at heart.

In Ohio:

  • Perrysburg

  • Toledo

  • Mechanicsburg

  • Trenton

  • Tipp City

In Michigan:

  • Plymouth

  • Menominee

  • Troy

  • Saginaw

A new town in Minnesota with a lone visit this week is the town of Jacobson. Never heard of it before. I wonder if it’s spelled right. Also:

  • Rushmore

  • Adrian

  • Princeton

  • Owatonna

  • Lewiston

  • Mcintosh

In Illinois:

  • Skokie

  • Chicago

  • Buffalo Grove

  • Windsor

If you recognize among these names the place where your ISP is located, please be welcome to drop me a note introducing yourself. Send it to jmjac at gorge dot net, after fixing the address.

Explaining the PMW: Calls for “Wider” Offices

The last point (whoo hoo!) summarizing my explanation of the PMW is about what it means by a “call” in regard to offices that the Church creates in her freedom. Sometimes the term one hears is “divine call,” which only serves to confuse the issues in this case. A proper understanding of the concept of a call must begin with a proper understanding of Christian vocation in general. In a certain sense, every Christian is called by God. For one thing, we are all called to faith in the Gospel. For another, we are called to stations in life. Have a look at the Table of Duties in your Small Catechism, and you’ll see a few of them. Who calls us to these stations, or to faith? It’s God, of course! I recommend the Gustaf Wingren book Luther on Vocation as a pretty thorough textbook on the topic. Gene Edward Veith has also written a more popular treatment called God at Work.

When the statement uses the word “call” in connection with the wider sense of public ministry, it does not mean the outward arrangement of a formal call, which we are accustomed to use for the pastoral office. While that arrangement may be used for teachers, the statement means only that an orderly, outward authorization must be given by the Church before the minister can carry out any ministerial duties in its name. This authorization recognizes that Christ has empowered the Church to create and fill such offices. Continue reading “Explaining the PMW: Calls for “Wider” Offices”

Explaining the PMW: Application of Romans 10:14-17 and AC XIV

The Thirteenth point summarizing my longer explanation of the PMW says this:

When the statement says, “Extending calls to teachers who have spiritual care of children in Christian schools is not merely a laudable custom, but is in accordance with Romans 10:14-17 and Augsburg Confession XIV,” it does not mean that Romans 10:14-17 or AC XIV apply directly to the circumstance of teachers in Christian schools. Instead, it means that these citations establish the principle that anyone who teaches God’s Word on behalf of the Church must be authorized by the Church to do this. That authorization is what the statement means by a “call.”

Continue reading “Explaining the PMW: Application of Romans 10:14-17 and AC XIV”

Explaining the PMW: Professors and Presidents

The Twelfth summary point of my longer explanation of the PMW says:

When the statement includes the titles “professor of theology” and “synod president” in a list of those which fall into the pastoral office, it assumes that such vocations are defined in accordance with AC articles V, XIV, and XXVIII, and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. That is, the duties of these vocations are primarily the administration of the external means of grace, and any distinction between them and other titles for the pastoral office is purely by human arrangement, not from God’s Word. If such a title is found to be defined in conflict with these principles, then the doctrinal statement’s categorization does not apply: it is not part of the pastoral office.

Continue reading “Explaining the PMW: Professors and Presidents”

A Delightful Little Book on Ministry

The way language changes right under your feet is a source of both frustration and pleasure at the same time. The pleasure of it is similar to that of irony: proof that there really is something wrong with the world, and it’s not just me.

So the term “Ministry” in our time has such a proliferation of uses that the word itself has become fairly useless without a lot of context. Don’t you just love it?

Martin Luther often wrote about the Carthusians (a monastic order) and how they like to invent ways to serve God better than regular folk could. Read the Large Catechism on the Ten Commandments, and count how many times Luther challenges the Carthusians to come up with a good work that pleases God as thoroughly as obedience to one of His commandments.

We don’t run into Carthusians every day, at least in the Northwest. But we do run into a lot of people who are trying to please God in ways of their own invention. Christians are no exception. Among Christians, it seems that a lot of people really want to please God. I suppose that’s good. But instead of learning and living by His Commandments, many of them are trying to discover or develop their particular “gifts of ministry” so that they can really serve God in their lives. Did I say that we don’t run into Carthusians every day? Maybe I was wrong.

Continue reading “A Delightful Little Book on Ministry”

The Worms Complex

(A Dissociated Press story from the trenches of our Postmodern Psycho-Times)

(For your enjoyment. If you do not enjoy it, do not read it.)

It’s well known that Martin Luther had his problems. Here is a brief study of one of them that seems to be resurging in some circles.

No, we will not bring up his medieval opinions about how Christian rulers could best defend the eternal well-being of their subjects from the persistent challenge of unbelieving Jews. We’ll save that study for another time.

I’m writing today about the Worms Complex. Martin Luther is the first known case, and it has passed on to Lutherans and others ever since. It seems to be a mutation of the more general Martyr Syndrome, exhibited by the likes of Stephen in Acts chapter 7.

The initial outbreak of the Worms Complex has been captured and reproduced in multimedia, and made available online.

The symptoms are as follows.

Continue reading “The Worms Complex”

Happy Birthday!

Ask any of my relatives, and they’ll tell you that my sending of birthday wishes usually begins after the event itself. I was a little busy yesterday, and I didn’t make time to mark the birthday of The Plucked Chicken. It all began on April Fool’s Day, 2006. At the time, I wondered if it would last to the next day, or become another short-lived, bad joke. The jury is still out on the joke thing, but at least we know the chicken survived a whole year. Maybe it even sprouted a feather or two.

As I write, not counting this entry, there have been exactly 100 entries posted. Wow. If that had been a goal, I wouldn’t have made it. Even more interesting for me to see is that we’ve had 77 comments published, and 111 comments filed. That’s right, only 111. I was a little concerned at first about dealing with comment spam, but it seems to have abated. The anti-spam facilities of Serendipity have helped greatly.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday!”

Explaining the PMW: More on Understanding the Keys

The tenth and eleventh points summarizing my longer explanation of the PMW both clarify what the PMW means in relation to the keys. Here they are:

(10) When the statement speaks of an individual retaining or binding sins privately or unofficially, it does not mean that the individual is bespeaking a sinner to be cut off from heaven in the manner of an excommunication from the Church. Rather, the statement refers to an individual’s authority to repeat the judgments of God upon sin, and so admonish other sinners.

By this I don’t mean that the Law, applied to sinners, ever fails to slay us and condemn our guilt. The Law kills every time it’s applied, even if it’s spoken “in the third use,” as we say.

However, the words “retain” and “bind” in this context imply to many the act of excommunication. It must be clarified that this is quite different from a simple private or unofficial admonishment, though both are expressions of the Law.

(11) When the statement speaks of Christians using the keys to judge the teachings of their pastors and teachers, it only means those pastors and teachers still living on earth, and only those times when the Christian confronts the pastor/teacher with the sin of teaching false doctrine. The Christian’s duty to test the spirits is not an exercise of the keys.

It seems that this should be a no-brainer, but the way the PMW is worded might allow someone to think that the Christian’s duty to test the spirits is an exercise of the keys. It’s not. The Christian receives both the duty and the keys upon entering the Kingdom of Grace, but they are not the same thing. The keys are about sin. Judging false teaching is about doctrine. Though false doctrine happens to be sin, the keys are only in use when God’s Word is applied to the sinner. Naturally, sinners who are elsewhere or who have already died can’t have Law and Gospel applied to them.

Explaining the PMW: Not the Private Use of the Keys

The previous post on the Private Use of the Keys only included the first part of my summary explanation. Here’s the second part:

Christians, on their own part, may also forgive others the sins committed directly against them. While this is only possible because of the keys, it is not in itself a use of the keys. This may be considered a “private” use of the keys, but it is not what is meant by the statement.

Public and Private are opposites, showing by what authority some “ministerial act” is done. When it’s public, it’s done by the authority of Christ. When it’s private, it’s done by the authority of the one who does it.

As shown in the last post, that usage is modified a little bit when the PMW speaks of the private use of the keys.

But this part of my explanation shows something that could really be called “private,” because the forgiving is done on the authority of the one who was wronged. Sister sticks out tongue at brother. Brother pinches sister. Sister cries. Mother tells brother to apologize. Brother says “I’m sorry.” Sister… does what? She says “I forgive you,” meaning that not Christ, but she herself forgives her brother. That’s what this is about.

However, the PMW doesn’t have this in mind with the phrase “private use of the keys.” Why not? Because it’s not concerned with sister’s keys and forgiveness, but with God’s keys and forgiveness.