B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #227
B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #227
I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
October 27, 2012
As we celebrate the Reformation
The Singing Church
The Lutheran Church has this title. Are we? Do we sing with all our hearts to God? We should not be too concerned about it if we don’t hit all the right notes. We should want to sing with all our heart to God. He has done so much for us. How can we sufficiently thank Him. We can’t but we can try. One way to thank Him is in song. We have over 600 hymns in our T.L.H. Do our children learn them from infancy on so that they can hum them and sing the words as they go about their work and play? Do we know them as well as we know some pop tunes? Our hymns are not some silly little ditties that repeat and repeat again and again some foolish refrain. Our hymns are songs of praise to God that have the Word of God within them. Our hymns have character as they speak of grace, mercy, love, peace, faith and so on. Our hymns do not always have easy tunes. Some were folk tunes that had words put to them. As some of our hymns are difficult to sing unless you sing them more than once or twice a year, so it is with anything worthwhile you have to work at it. In many old hymnals there was no music printed, because the people knew the tunes as they sung them often. There is no dull and uninteresting hymn in our hymnal. There we have a wealth of meaningful words which express our deep faith in the all-loving Savior. Do you as a family sing some of our hymns at night once in a while. Our ancestors used to and they profited by it. Why not take some time on a regular basis to do this, it can only be of benefit to you. If it is the case that you couldn’t carry the tune in a bushel basket, don’t worry about it. It is not sin to hit the wrong note or to be a monotone. It is extremely sad though to not make melody to the Lord with your heart. Altos, Bases, Sopranos, Tenors and Monotones lift your voices and sing praises to God who through the Lutheran Reformation restored His Gospel to mankind. After long ages of darkness when the Pope and his horde had hidden the treasure of the Gospel in Christ, it was found again by that monk, priest, professor of Wittenberg. Praise God that we still have it today. Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus can my heartfelt longing still. To Him belongs the songs of our heart, and the praises of our lips.
As A TRIBUTE to Luther as hymn-writer Merle D’Aubigne says: “The Church was no longer composed of priests and monks; it now was the congregation of believers. All were to take part in worship, and the chanting of the clergy was to be succeeded by the psalmody of the people. Luther, accordingly, in translating the psalms, thought of adapting them to be sung by the Church. Thus a taste for music was diffused throughout the nation. From Luther’s time the people sang; the Bible inspired their songs. Poetry received the same impulse. In celebrating the praises of God, the people could not confine themselves to mere translations of ancient anthems. The souls of Luther and of several of his contemporaries, elevated by their faith to thoughts the most sublime, excited to enthusiasm by the struggles and dangers by which the Church at its birth was unceasingly threatened, inspired by the poetic genius of the Old Testament and by the faith of the New ere long gave vent to their feelings in hymns in which all that is most heavenly in poetry and music was combined and blended. Other children of the Reformation followed his footsteps; hymns were multiplied; they spread rapidly among the people and powerfully contributed to rouse it from sleep.” Thank the Lord for the hymns we have which rouse us to follow our Lord all the more faithfully.
When a church gets into struggles over the teachings of God’s Word, a danger arises. This danger has been given the name “dead orthodoxy.” The word “orthodox” means “straight teachings”. Thus, an orthodox church is one which has the straight teachings, all in line with the Word of God. However, there is the danger that this can become a “dead” orthodoxy. This happens when a church becomes so involved in trying to maintain the purity of God’s Word that it forgets about people and their souls.
Though we have been accused of this, we trust that the accusations are false. It is usually those who want to be UNorthodox who make these accusations. Even so, we should be aware of the danger. We must continually remind ourselves that we keep God’s Word pure for the sake of people, for the sake of the salvation of men’s souls, including our own. Every false teaching steals away a portion of God’s Word, and it is that Word of God which gives and strengthens faith. Therefore, every false teaching is an attack on the souls of men.
Our prayer is that God would give us the wisdom to maintain a proper balance. Then we shall strive to maintain the purity of God’s Word among us, and we shall be ever aware of the needs of people. When things are this way, then we will have a living orthodoxy. God grant us such wisdom.
We are considering questions on the Old Testament
Clean and Unclean Animals
In Leviticus 11 we see there were certain animals that God’s people were not to eat. Above all by God’s people following these laws they were showing their worship of God. The idea of clean and unclean ingrained in them prepared them for the great ‘cleansing’ idea of Christ dying to cleanse us of all sin. In New Testament times we have it that all animals are clean reminding us of how Christ cleanses all.
The Lord does not tell us why in Old Testament times some animals were clean and others unclean. It may be that some of these animals were used in pagan rituals and therefore God’s people should not use them. It has also been advanced by many that the unclean animals were forbidden for hygienic reasons. What follows is the ideas from some. But God does not say. It was a simple matter of trust on the part of the people to do as God said.
“In listing the animals that should not be eaten, God forbids the consumption of scavengers and carrion eaters, which devour other animals for their food. Animals such as pigs, bears, vultures and raptors can eat (and thrive) on decaying flesh. Predatory animals such as wolves, lions, leopards and cheetahs most often prey on the weakest (and at times the diseased) in animal herds. When it comes to sea creatures, bottom dwellers such as lobsters and crabs scavenge for dead animals on the sea floor. Shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels similarly consume decaying organic matter that sinks to the sea floor, including sewage. A common denominator of many of the animals God designates as unclean is that they routinely eat flesh that would sicken or kill human beings. When we eat such animals we partake of a food chain that includes things harmful to people. As nutritionist David Meinz observes: “Could it be that God, in His wisdom, created certain creatures whose sole purpose is to clean up after the others? Their entire ‘calling’ may be to act exclusively as the sanitation workers of our ecology…” ( Eating by the Book, 1999, p. 225).
Pastor David Koenig