- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- July 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
We invite you to join us on Monday, 14 September 2015, to celebrate CPH’s release of Dr Winger’s long-awaited commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians with a conference on the Apostle Paul’s message to the Church of our day.
- 9:00 am Matins (Dr Roger Winger)
- 9:30 am Revd Warren Hamp, Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Kitchener
- 10:45 am Dr Stephen Westerholm, Professor, Religious Studies, McMaster University
- 12:00 pm Lunch
- 1:30 pm Revd Esko Murto, Visiting Scholar
- 2:45 pm Dr Thomas Winger, President, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary
- 4:00 pm Vespers (Revd Kurt Reinhardt)
- 5:30 pm Dinner at Alfie’s Trough; limited number of tickets available, $35.
Complimentary lunch will be provided at the expense of the Seminary Guild. Please register before 1 September by telephoning (905-688-2362 x22) or emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) the seminary.
The Twenty-Eighth Volume in the Landmark Concordia Commentary Series Has Been Released
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri 63118-3968
CONTACT: Lindsey Martie, Public Relations
For Immediate Release
Saint Louis, MO— Ephesians, the twenty-eighth volume in the landmark Concordia Commentary series, has been released. Written by Dr. Thomas Winger, this volume is a veritable compendium of St. Paul’s theology. Dr. Winger’s commentary unfolds the mysteries of the Gospel through meticulous analysis of the Greek text and reverent exposition of the epistle’s proclamation of Christ and His gifts for the sake of the Church.
Winger’s commentary addresses such timeless topics as our eternal election in Christ; salvation by grace through faith apart from works; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism; the gift of the Holy Ministry; the Christological meaning of marriage; and the resplendent armor of God, which we so desperately require in this time of spiritual peril.
Critical Acclaim for Ephesians
“We are gifted with an excellent and reliable explanation of this letter. There is no question that Dr. Winger does not take up. He removes prejudices and opens our eyes to aspects and insights we had never noticed before. We have a sound teaching of apostolic Christology before us and will learn a lot about Baptism, ministry, and the Church—right from the apostle’s writing. St. Paul is speaking to us again, quite directly.
Years of intensive research and study lie behind this commentary. This solid, profound, and fascinating scholarly work is worthy of study, extremely helpful for preaching and teaching, and urgently needed in our day. I wish it would be in the hands of every pastor, teacher, and student, for it is a great gift to the church.”
—Dr. Jobst Schöne, Bishop Emeritus of the Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche (Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church), Germany
“Prof. Winger, a learned and sedulous scholar, has worked hard to produce this volume. I appreciate his manner of dealing thoroughly with classic scholarship. This solid volume will take a special place on my bookshelf. I warmly recommend it to everyone who appreciates both biblical and Lutheran theology.”
—Dr. Erkki Koskenniemi, Adjunct Professor, Finland (Åbo Akademi University, University of Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland)
“If you want a commentary that takes a traditional approach to Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians—no pseudonymous author here—and one that takes seriously both the Greek and the deep theology of this profound letter, then this is your commentary. Tom is fair in his assessment of positions but you always know where he stands. This is a great addition to the series.”
—Dr. James W. Voelz, Professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis
Order Ephesians – Concordia Commentary now through cph.org. For more information, or to arrange an interview with the author, contact Lindsey Martie, CPH Public Relations, (314) 268-1303.
About Dr. Thomas Winger
Thomas M. Winger is president of and professor at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Winger is the author of dozens of articles, many published in Lutheran Theological Review; the (co)editor of three books; and a contributor to The Lutheran Study Bible.
About the Concordia Commentary Series
Birthed in the Lutheran tradition and nurtured in historical and linguistic scholarship, the Concordia Commentary series takes seriously the Word of God for the church today. Each volume in the series is designed to enable professors, pastors, and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text.
About Concordia Publishing House
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For 145 years, CPH has been providing individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers more than 8,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at cph.org.
are not only precious stones, they are also fine entertainers, as those who attended their concert on 22 April at Grace Lutheran Church in St. Catharines discovered. Area youth were invited to dine with 2015 Juno nominee Chelsea Amber and 2014 covenant nominee Jennifer Jade Kerr prior to their benefit concert, which was presented on behalf of the seminary and co-hosted by Grace.
Jennifer and Chelsea sang a variety of solos and duets, traditional and contemporary songs focussing on the role faith plays in their lives and ought to play in ours. Rev. Richard Juritsch began the evening with a welcome and prayer. Seminary President Dr. Thomas Winger brought greetings during the intermission. Refreshments and fellowship followed. Special thanks to Rev. Juritsch for providing the meal and to Linda Lantz for organising the event and providing accommodations for the duo.
Rev. Dr William F. Mundt, who entered into full-time service at the seminary in August 2000, will retire from his post as Associate Professor of Theology in June 2015. Dr Mundt was also active in the seminary’s early days when he was pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, St. Catharines.
The Board of Regents, faculty, and staff of CLTS will honour Dr Mundt with a festive dinner at Hernder Estate Wines, St. Catharines, on Friday, 29 May, 6pm. A limited number of tickets are available to friends, family, and former parishioners who would like to join in the event. Please contact Linda Lantz (email@example.com, or 905-688-2362 x22) to reserve a $35 ticket by 20 May.
Please join the seminary for the annual Call Service on Saturday, 30 May, 4pm, at Christ Lutheran Church, 140 Russell Ave, St. Catharines, where, in addition to candidate and vicarage placements, Dr Mundt will be honoured for his faithful service.
The seminary’s annual Call Service will take place at Christ Lutheran Church, 140 Russell Ave, St. Catharines, on Saturday, 30 May 2015, 4.00pm. We heartily invite members of LCC, and especially friends and family of the graduates, to attend this festive event.
One graduating pastoral student (James Preus) and one PAT candidate who has completed his studies at the seminary (Joseph Singh) will receive their first calls. Another student may be placed, pending completion of requirements. Three vicars will also receive their placements. The graduate’s brother, Rev. Stephen Preus, will be guest preacher for the occasion.
The service will also honour Mr Gordon Martens, a member of St John’s Lutheran Church, Warman, SK, and long-time member of the Board of Directors of Lutheran Bible Translators–Canada. The faculty and Board of Regents have chosen him to receive the Delta Chi (Servant of Christ) award, the seminary’s highest honour.
The seminary will also give thanks to God for 15 years of full-time service by Dr William Mundt, who will retire from the seminary in June 2015. His friends, family, and former parishioners are especially invited.
Stay tuned for further news on a live broadcast of the service over the internet.
Mark your calendars and register now! Concordia Seminary’s annual golf tournament is scheduled for Monday, 1 June 2015, at Sawmill Golf Course in Fenwick, beginning at 11.30am. The $100 per person registration fee includes a BBQ lunch (sausages, hamburgers, hotdogs, and a non-alcoholic beverage), green fees, golf cart, chicken/rib combo dinner, dessert, and prizes. Look for a registration form in your church bulletin (or dowload Golf Registration Form). Registrations are due by 22 May.
We are also collecting prizes. If you would like to make a donation to the prize table, please send it to the East District Office at 275 Lawrence Ave, Kitchener, or to the seminary at 470 Glenridge Ave, St. Catharines. Prizes need to be in by 29 May. If you would like your prize donation picked up, please contact Linda Lantz at (905) 688-2362, ext. 22 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Linda is also looking for committee members to help with the tournament.
The following sermon was preached by Rev. Dr Thomas Winger in the serminary’s Martin Luther Chapel for the divine service on the Festival of St Mark, Evangelist, 24 April 2015 (transferred).
Dear brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus Christ: Three ancient prophets were blessed with visions that give us a peak behind the veil separating the worship of God’s people here below from that of the saints above. Isaiah tells us of six-winged creatures that he calls “Seraphim”, or “flaming angels”. In Ezekiel’s mysterious apocalypse, he sees that each of these “living creatures” has four faces: “the face of a man in front; … of a lion on the right side, … of an ox on the left side, and … of an eagle at the back” (Ezek. 1:10). If it weren’t ensconced in Holy Scripture, we might think it was some psychedelic trip, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Such physics-denying anatomy doesn’t exist in the world as we know it. As if to emphasise the symbolic value of the picture, John’s Revelation describes the same six-winged creatures with a different anatomy; though having eyes on all sides, each creature’s body is distinct: “the first … like a lion, the second … like an ox, the third … with the face of a man, and the fourth … like a flying eagle” (Rev. 4:7). These angelic creatures surround the holy God as an honour guard and lead the heavenly worship of God on His throne and the Lamb who was slain, just as we will join today “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven”, singing their threefold “holy” before the Lamb upon our altar. Such visions may be mysterious, but they bless us with the knowledge that our worship involves far more than what we see.
As early as Irenaeus, Christian interpreters have seen these four living creatures as symbolic of the evangelists. At first blush this might seem to be an arbitrary piece of allegory; but after the worship of God, the first task of an ἄγγελος was to be the Lord’s “messenger”, to deliver His Word. And if each of the seven churches in John’s revelation had an angel, if Joseph and Mary were blessed with a visit from Gabriel to deliver the news of the coming Messiah, it isn’t too much to suppose that God designated four of His chief ministering spirits to guide the inspired writers of the Gospels. Jerome associates the seraph in the form of a man with Matthew, whose Gospel begins with Jesus’ human genealogy. The ox is Luke, whose Gospel begins in the Temple, the place of sacrifice. To John, whose Gospel soars to great heights, he assigns the eagle. And to Mark the lion on account of John the Baptist, “the voice of a lion roaring in the wilderness … : ‘… Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
Aside from his living in the wilderness, the association of John with a lion doesn’t sound entirely natural to me. Some have suggested instead that Mark’s unique detail that Jesus was “with the wild beasts” when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Mk 1:13) is a more appropriate reason for the association. I suppose we often think of those “wild beasts” as friendly companions to our Lord in His ordeal, the lion lying down with the lamb, as it were. But I think this misses the mark. The image is rather of Satan marshalling all his forces to attack the Son of God in His time of weakness. Jesus wasn’t only starving and thirsty, He wasn’t only assailed in spirit by the devil’s temptations, but He was threatened by prowling beasts that circled Him in the shadows and harassed Him with howls while He tried to sleep. Perhaps Mark wanted us to recall another wilderness experience, Israel’s forty years of wandering, when they hungered and were tempted and were threatened by beasts, and failed to stay faithful to God. Jesus not only triumphs where they failed, standing firm against temptation, but He doesn’t give in to fear. He trusts His heavenly Father. And as we read of the angels sent to minister to Him in that battle, perhaps we should also recall the angel sent to defend Daniel from his ravenous lions. In this wilderness battle, Jesus, the stronger Samson and great David’s greater Son, defeats the lion with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
For the Christians to whom Mark wrote his Gospel—according to Papias it was in Italy shortly after the death of his fatherly mentor, Peter—for such Christians the threat of the lion had more than just a symbolic meaning. In our recent advertisement for the upcoming course on the Apostolic Fathers we used an icon of St Ignatius the martyr locked in the jaws of a lion. Under the Nero who reigned while Mark penned his Gospel, such a fate was imminent and real to everyone who confessed Christ’s holy name. But the greater threat was to let fear of suffering drive them away from Christ and into the jaws of a more terrible lion. St Peter, writing from Rome to Christians suffering persecution in Asia Minor, warns them:
8 Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. (1 Pet. 5:8-9)
The Gospel reading for today’s commemoration of St Mark was ironically taken from the so-called “long ending”, a text that’s ancient but probably not original to Mark’s Gospel. The oldest manuscripts end with the famously abrupt words about the three women who had seen and heard the angel proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection from the empty tomb: “And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mk 16:8). Could this be the way Mark intended his Gospel to end? I’m not entirely convinced. But this certainly would have struck a chord with the Roman Christians who were the Gospel’s first readers. This Gospel of the lion, that so vividly portrayed the Enemy threatening God’s people, ends with an acknowledgement of fear.
What are you afraid of? How does the lion howl at you from the shadows, robbing you of sleep and pinning you to your bed in the morning? Are you afraid of where the Lord is sending you in your first call or vicarage? Do you worry for your family? Are you afraid of how you’ll handle conflict or failure? Are you anxious about your upcoming wedding? Do you fear for your wife and the child growing in her womb? Do you wonder where you’ll be next year and how you’ll support yourself? Are you afraid for your children, so far away from home and away from your care? Does the pain of surgery terrify you? Our head knows these troubles are light in comparison with martyrdom ancient and modern, but our heart trembles nonetheless. The devil knows our vulnerabilities. He targets the tired and weak and wears them down with his incessant attacks till they crumble under his pounce.
So what are we to do? St Peter concludes his fervent warning with a solemn promise: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, establish, and strengthen you” (1 Pet. 5:10). But in the midst of the devil’s attacks, while we’re suffering and afraid, what are we to do? “Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Unload your fears onto God. Don’t suffer alone, but let Him bear the burden for you. Pray with the Psalmist:
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me …. 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Ps. 56)
It’s impossible to pray such words without experiencing relief. The Psalmist who knew true terror by night teaches us that the Lord can take such things away. In the name of the Lord he comforts us, singing:
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. 14 Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name. 15 When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation. (Ps. 91)
You may wonder why we pray the psalms every day in chapel, though I hope you don’t. As the lions of fear circle round us, as we feel we’ve been cast into the den of our ravenous Foe, these words are our angelic defender. So long as we are within them, we have rest and protection.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (Ps. 34)
The fear of the Lord works against our fears as anti-venom against the Serpent’s bite, as vaccine against his virus. For the lion who slinks around us in the shadows is a cowardly beast, who’s put to flight by the mighty roar of our protector (Rev. 10:3). In this Easter tide we face such fears in the light of Christ’s triumph over death, His crushing the lion under His feet. That’s where the angel sent the women as they fled trembling from the tomb. He sent them to Jesus in Galilee, where He awaited them, risen from the dead, according to His promise (Mk 16:7). At the end of Mark’s Gospel it is for those women as it is for us. Trusting alone in His Word, believing without sight or touch on the basis of the promise and testimony of those who did see and hear (Jn 20:29), we walk towards Him who calms ours fears. Our Aslan awaits. And we trust the promise of the heavenly elder to John: “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered” (Rev. 5:5). Amen
Rev 12:7-12 & II Tim 2:3-13
Back when I was young, the violent persecution of Christians was something you could safely hold at arm’s length, both in place and—especially—in time. Yes, horrible things were happening to believers of all confessions in the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe, but the powerful military forces of the so-called Free World stood between us and them. And, yes, Christians were executed one by one and even massacred by the scores and hundreds under the pagan Roman Empire, but didn’t those dark days end when Constantine issued the Edict of Milan?
When I stood before the altar to receive my call into the ministry in the deceptive twilight of Christian civilisation known as Reagan’s America, didn’t this whole continent feel like an impregnable fortress, a defiant holdout known down there as the land of the free and up here as the true north strong and free, a part of the world where religious liberty was the oxygen in the air we breathed?
Thirty years later, I tremble for the men who will shortly stand before the altar to receive their calls into the ministry or the vicarage assignments that will propel them on the path toward ordination. For there is now not a square inch of this continent where someone who confesses Christ’s holy name is safe from the twin jihads of Islam and secularism. While the fate of George of Lydda, as he stood before the mighty Emperor Diocletian, may once have seemed only tangentially relevant to the Christians of our time and place, those days are no more.
Our keeping of St George’s Day might strike you as somewhat whimsical, which it did me when I first noticed my assignment as liturgist and preacher in this semester’s chapel schedule. Well, there may be a half-humorous allusion to the land of birth of two members of our faculty; there is a pleasing connection with our brother Paul Lüth’s calling as minister-in-charge of a church named in George’s honour; and today’s observance does form a fitting sequel to our praying a collect for Elizabeth our Queen as she entered her ninetieth year two days ago.
But all humour and whimsy screech to a shuddering halt when you realise that we stand all too eerily in George of Lydda’s shoes. Two major empire-wide persecutions broke out in antiquity, almost as lightning bolts from a clear blue sky, Diocletian’s being the second of these. If he hadn’t unleashed the last major persecution of the Church before Constantine the Great came to power, Christians would recognise Diocletian as a noble pagan; in certain respects he was a statesman and a man of vision.
But for whatever reason, Diocletian suddenly turned on the Church, which he was determined to decimate, and around this very day in 303 he ordered George of Lydda, a young man of noble birth who was one of his best and favourite soldiers, to deny Christ. George stood firm, withstood torture, and suffered death by beheading.
In the ancient Church bloody persecution was local and sporadic, but throughout the Islamic world it is becoming universal and constant. We can’t keep up with the number of simple Christians of all ages and both sexes who are at this time refusing to deny Christ, confessing His holy name, and falling to the sword or the gun. Twenty-one holy Coptic martyrs, thirty holy Ethiopian martyrs a couple of weeks later, twelve Christian refugees from North Africa just tipped into the Mediterranean, yea an increasing flood of victims slaughtered in hatred of the Faith, in odium fidei.
And another, no less determined form of persecution is gaining a fearful head of steam throughout the Western world. A couple of weeks ago the British Prime Minister began a General Election campaign insisting that the United Kingdom is still a Christian country. His statement rings hollow, though, inasmuch as it coincided with a judicial decision concerning a believing preschool teacher in London whom a lesbian colleague tricked into saying that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman. Sarah Mbuyi has been pronounced guilty of “gross misconduct” on a par with theft or violence in the workplace and hence rendered ineligible for further employment in her field (http://www.intoleranceagainstchristians.eu/case/hearing-confirms-christian-educator-rightly-dismissed-for-faith-in-london.html). Is this not an uncanny indication that the days have come when “No one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Rv 13:17)? As you know full well, no Christian may ever budge from the confession that marriage is only possible between one man and one woman, for Christ and the Church are at stake in this proposition (Eph 5:31f.), and Christ and the Church are non-negotiable.
Unless you are blind and deaf, which many are, you can have no illusions about the fact that the very forces that have stricken Sarah Mbuyi are now powerfully at work on this continent, wielding the levers of power as they establish a form of totalitarianism that is no less malevolent then the tyrannies presided over by Hitler and Stalin. Is there not a horrible whiff of Nero Caesar about the current president of the United States?
Which brings us back to George of Lydda, who so courageously defied Emperor Diocletian. I’ve always wondered what St John means when he depicts the exalted Christ, in His letters to the seven churches, making His beautifully crafted promises to “the one who conquers.” Diocletian, of course, thought for a space of earthly time that he won and George lost, and the Islamic and secularist jihads think the same with respect to their many victims. But by standing firm, by confessing and not denying, by holding fast to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, George and his many companions across time and space are the true victors, the souls seen to occupy a special place of privilege under the heavenly altar at the opening of the fifth of the seven seals (Rv 6:9).
It goes without saying that you can’t become a martyr by committing suicide and mass murder in one fell sweep. No, you become a martyr by accepting your own death rather than denying Christ. In this way George did indeed slay the Dragon in his martyrdom already, quite apart from the extravagant legends that the middle ages wove around him.
Whatever be our fate here below, whether it be harassment or imprisonment or even a bloody death, may our seminary produce companions of George who slay the Dragon by confessing Jesus’ holy name; and may the Blessed Trinity and His holy angels protect those who will shortly go forth from here to serve the only Saviour of the world and the sheep of His pasture. Amen.
The two annual gatherings of the Seminary Guild have a dramatic impact on the seminary community. The students are surprised and uplifted by the level of love and support they witness from this faithful group of supporters that each year approaches 1000 members. And the Guild blesses the seminary with a range of annual projects that are funded by those $5 memberships.
On Saturday, 18 April 2015, more than 110 Guild members and guests gathered in the seminary’s Martin Luther chapel for business, hymn-singing, worship, and edification, followed by the beloved catered lunch with the students. In this year’s business, the Guild heard that their project of refurbishing furniture was complete. They adopted as a new project the purchase of visitation Communion sets with a miniature chalice, to be given to each pastoral graduate. Such projects accompany the regular gifts of grocery cards, food pantry provisions, and such work as an annual cleaning of the student kitchen!
The special guest speaker was CLTS alumnus Rev. Dr (Capt.) Harold Ristau, chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces, and currently the Standards Officer at Canadian Forces Chaplain School and Centre at CFB Borden. Dr Ristau spoke of the front line work of chaplains as mission work in which he is able to give soldiers a divine perspective on their vital work, comfort them with the Gospel, pray for and with them, hear their confession and absolve them. He noted that Lutheran Church–Canada has an increasing number of chaplains in the regular forces and reserves, with 15 now serving. Chaplain Ristau has published a memoir of his work in Afghanistan, At Peace with War (if you purchase it from Amazon, please use our Canadian or American link).
After the presentation, the gathered guests had the usual pleasure of meeting the students and their families. More pictures of the day are available here.