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Topics - Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Your Turn / Opening a New Theology Shop
December 19, 2023, 02:48:05 PM
Back in January, I started posting in a Facebook group called The Lutheran Study Bible. The group was set up originally in 2008 to promote the Bible publication and I was added as an administrator. We never did much with the group, which only had a few dozen members when I revisited it.

I started sharing some content I created for my congregation and observations from my regular reading/study. In mid-October, it suddenly garnered more attention and grew. We may have triggered a Facebook algorithm, I'm told. It's becoming a nice place to have exchanges about the Bible and Christian Faith. It's encouraging to see how interested Lutheran laity are in God's Word.
Your Turn / Decriminalization
November 03, 2023, 08:06:50 PM
I viewed a YouTube video on the decision of British Columbia, CA to decriminalize formally illegal drugs in the amount of 2.5 grams. I've found myself returning to the topic throughout the day.

The decriminalization began in January 2023 and extends three years. The goal is to keep people out of the jails and to get users into treatment. The program is based on ones in Europe (e.g., Portugal), where usage has declined.

There appears to be two significant differences from the model programs:

(1) No oversight panels with authority to drive people into treatment.

(2) No government-provided clean drugs preferred by the users. Users continue to use drugs provided by dealers, which are typically laced with fentynl. Overdoses are rising.

The situation seems to point up significant differences in new world views of freedom and responsibility in contrast with old world views.

How should Christians and their ministers view such matters? Where do we draw the lines between responsibility, freedom, and valuing of life?
Your Turn / Thinking about St. Boniface
October 25, 2023, 07:34:54 AM
Boniface, Apostle to the Germans, comes to mind in this season of the Reformation. But I also find myself thinking about Boniface as I consider the challenges of urban ministry  and recent events.

On Tuesday, October 17th at 7:30 pm, we had a drive-by shooting in front of the parsonage. Thankfully, as best we can tell, no one was injured.

From security footage, we believe that none of the persons involved were our neighbors. Most likely they were from the bar a block away on High Street, which recently had a double homicide. (See attached news story.) We reviewed our security footage and submitted it to the police. The Columbus  detective recovered a bullet; I found and called in a casing the next morning. It appears the shooter was using a larger caliber hand gun. The shots put seven holes in our neighbors' car.

If you would stand where I found the casing and look north, you'd look right to our living room windows. If the five persons targeted were walking on our side of the street, the bullets would have come toward us. We are discussing security options with the vestry but we think this is likely a one-time incident. Please pray for our security as well as others serving in urban ministry.
Your Turn / Who Knew? Reformation Day Controversial
October 14, 2023, 12:23:03 PM
Emmanuel observes Reformation Day each year with special activities during the service, a dinner, and a presentation about a feature of the Reformation. Last year I described Luther's mentor, Johann von Staupitz. This year I'll present on Jan Hus.

Since we had good success with our Facebook ad about Emmanuel's 125th anniversary, I decided to run an ad about celebrating the Reformation. I've been surprised by the number of trolling comments this has generated. I've allowed reasonable comments to stand but hid trolling or statements contrary to Scripture. Have others noted this angry reaction to Reformation Day?

Here's a link to our ad:
Your Turn / Resource Interest regarding Saints
October 12, 2023, 04:46:45 PM
I'm looking at Feasts and Festivals as well as Commemorations in Lutheran Service Book (pp. xi--xiii). Does anyone know whether there is available a bulletin insert series on the topics of these pages? (Preferably digital). I'm thinking of teaching my congregation more about these persons and topics and wondered whether someone else has already done the work of preparing shareable information. Thanks in advance for your help.
Your Turn / Benke's Comment about the Website
September 04, 2023, 06:48:20 AM
Good morning. Glad to see the Forum up and working once again. John Hannah wondered why others were not posting. I can speak for myself, I needed some time to get used to the new format.

I'll raise a question that goes back to the time of the LCMS Convention. Dave Benke posted that it was no coincidence that the Forum went down and stayed down during the convention. The comment implied that someone was attacking the site to disable it. Was Dave's statement in earnest or was he being ironic?
I would like to recommend Rutt's interesting article on translation and culture about maintaining balance in communication.

I was surprised by one sentence, "While the Spirit may not work for us today as it did on Pentecost . . ." (p. 23). Memory tells me we used the masculine pronoun "He" for the Spirit in the past, which illustrates His personal nature, rather than the neuter "it." I wonder if this is a change in editorial practice for theological publications. Does anyone know?
Picking up from a different thread, here is a link to the more recent LCMS statement on Scripture. I invite others to post about their denomination's statement so a comparative discussion may take place.
I'm searching to see whether someone makes clerical collars from wicking material like running or golf shirts. If any of you have experience with such a product, please share. This time of year I live in wicking shirts and would like a clerical made of the same.
Your Turn / Recommended Film
July 14, 2023, 06:37:12 PM
Since there is one film recommendation here this week, I would recommend another, "The Best of Enemies" (2019). Based on a historical integration vote in North Carolina. Available on Netflix. Fascinating events.
Geoffrey R. Boyle, "The Imprecatory Psalms as a Means of Mercy and Wellness," CTQ 86 (2022): 193--214 is a helpful article I finished today. He wishes to retain use of the various imprecatory Psalms for Christian prayer.

I recall on vicarage meeting a woman whose son was murdered, who suffered greatly with anger and despair.  These Psalms seem to fill that sort of special need.
Your Turn / Jemar Tisby
May 31, 2023, 08:17:18 AM
"Witch Hunts" in Scientific American (May 2023): 44--52 is an interesting read. It describes examples of such practices across time and cultures. Poor economics, spread of disease, or other upheavals cause people to search for reasons that explain why a group is failing. Attention is often attached to an individual as the cause of the failure, leading to that person's destruction. Eliminating the person temporarily releaves the uncertainties and lets the group feel better about itself. The root causes of the issues are not addressed.

We are familiar,  I would guess, with this problem in Medieval European history and the Salem Witch Trials. But according to the article, the practice is ongoing among some Christian groups in third world nations. However, the practices may arise among any groups where failure and competition exists.
Your Turn / Roman Catholic Church Closures
May 25, 2023, 01:15:37 PM
The 15 churches affected by the announcement on Thursday morning include nine churches and one school in Franklin County.

St. Lads is at the south end of our neighborhood, which is a rough area. St. Leo's to our north closed some years ago but is currently hosting Latin masses. The active parish with a school is St. Mary's,  which was renovated a few years ago. It is also to our north in the gentrified neighborhood of German Village.

Emmanuel is on the border of the gentrification.
Your Turn / Farmers, Depression, and Suicide
May 18, 2023, 07:17:43 AM
This was an interesting AP video about Lutheran clergy ministering to distressed farmers. Lord, have mercy.
I could not find my set of notes on this topic mentioned on an earlier thread but did tease out a few references. The earlier passages show Luther supportive of the medieval practice of reserved cases. However,  by 1520 he railed against them, though he allowed for exception when a sin was public, requiring some public handling. In the Augsburg Confession, Melanchthon refers to reserved cases as an example of bishops overextending their authority.


60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;
61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.
62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

OCTOBER 31, 1517

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

of the German Nation
Martin Luther, 1520
Chapter 4: Twenty-Seven Articles Respecting The Reformation Of The Christian Estate

6. The cases reserved (casus reservati) should be abolished, by which not only are the people cheated out of much money, but besides many poor consciences are confused and led into error by the ruthless tyrants, to the intolerable harm of their faith in God, especially those foolish and childish cases that are made important by the bull In Coena Domini, and which do not deserve the name of daily sins, not to mention those great cases for which the Pope gives no absolution, such as preventing a pilgrim from going to Rome, furnishing the Turks with arms, or forging the Pope's letters. They only fool us with these gross, mad, and clumsy matters: Sodom and Gomorrah, and all sins that are committed and that can be committed against God's commandments, are not reserved cases; but what God never commanded and they themselves have invented - these must be made reserved cases, solely in order that none may be prevented from bringing money to Rome, that they may live in their lust without fear of the Turk, and may keep the world in their bondage by their wicked useless bulls and briefs.

Now all priests ought to know, or rather it should be a public ordinance, that no secret sin constitutes a reserved case, if there be no public accusation; and that every priest has power to absolve from all sin, whatever its name, if it be secret, and that no abbot, bishop, or pope has power to reserve any such case; and, lastly, that if they do this, it is null and void, and they should, moreover, be punished as interfering without authority in God's judgment and confusing and troubling without cause our poor witless consciences. But in respect to any great open sin, directly contrary to God's commandments, there is some reason for a "reserved case"; but there should not be too many, nor should they be reserved arbitrarily without due cause. For God has not ordained tyrants, but shepherds, in His Church, as St. Peter says (1 Peter v. 2).


Those who establish human regulations also go against God's command with them. . . . that the sin in a reserved case is not forgiven, unless the person first seeks out the one who has reserved the case, regardless of the fact that the religious laws do not speak of the reservation of guilt, but of the reservation of church penalties.
Your Turn / Law Suits and Christian Practice
May 04, 2023, 09:04:06 AM
I just finished reading "Suing Your Brother" (2022 CTQ 86:257--78) by Christian Preus. This is a helpful survey of Lutheran views, including Luther, Lutheran Orthodoxy, Walther, and some modern texts.

The topic was personally interesting to me because of my experience with mobbing, which involved slandering of my character,  publicly labeling me as mentally ill, and using false testimony to prevent me from taking a job---all while refusing to practice reconciliation as Jesus describes in Matthew 18. Throughout the experience, I declined to exercise legal rights because of my understanding of 1 Corinthians 6:1--9, which is treated in this article. The article also treats Matthew 5:40--41.

In my experience, fear of lawsuits is preventing faithful Christian practice of Matthew 18. Instead of meeting to reconcile, the custom has become to hide issues and use mobbing rather than address issues. These practices tend to make matters worse. I continue to hear from church workers who read my article and see their own experiences described.


I've started this thread to invite discussion of Matthew 5, 18, and 1 Corinthians 6. What potential process improvements are needed for overcoming these issues within the church?
Your Turn / Ideas for Children's Ministry
April 28, 2023, 10:33:54 AM
At Emmanuel we do a variety of activities that attract children and their families. I find these activities especially helpful for engaging the families of children I've baptized if they are not regular at church and Sunday School. Our activities are:

Kids' Night Out (2--9 yo, monthly)
Game Night (all ages, monthly)
Youth Overnight (10+, twice yearly)
Breakfast with St. Nicholas (all ages)
Mariokart Tournament (10+)
Easter Egg Hunt (up to 12 yo)
Ascension Day (all ages)
VBS (all ages)
Sunday School Rally (all ages)
All Hallows' Eve Labyrinth (all ages)

What are your congregations doing for children's ministry? Please share.
Your Turn / Abuse Scandal Report
April 06, 2023, 07:56:54 AM
Another heartbreaking report released.

Usually the articles describe prosecutions and torts. Does anyone know what measures are introduced to prevent these issues going forward?

What standards are there in the Lutheran denominations to prevent these issues from arising?
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