A World Without Homes

bh2All of the scary movies have been put away.  The ghoulish costumes will soon be up for sale on eBay. The buildings recently haunted have returned to their normal states.  But that does not mean that everything scary has gone away.  As we know, reality is often much more frightening than the fantasies we revel in each October.  Listen to these words preached in 1937,

“Where is the Christian to be found who is not interested in the welfare of his home and family?  For the home and the family is of divine origin, a divine institution, and the Christian home is one of the most important institutions on earth. It’s existence, it’s welfare, it’s problems are matters of vital concern to the church, to human society, to us as individuals, to our country and to the world at large. Just imagine a world without homes."

Those last words are haunting to me.  Imagine a world without homes.  That is not an exercise that I would want to engage in for very long.  A world without homes is indeed a terrifying idea.  And yet it not something that requires much of a leap from reality for all too many people.  For many people the idea of home is not one that brings relief, but stress, anxiety, and sometimes fear.  Many people already within their own personal world know nothing of the comfort the word home has generally delivered throughout the ages.  And it continues to get worse.

As Christian people, we should well know that there is but one way to restore something good and holy that has become broken and unclean.  And that is to let the Holy One, Jesus, touch it.  We read in 1 Timothy 4:4-5, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”  Each of us must admit that to one extent or another our homes are not what the should be.  And that means each of us needs to allow God to make holy our homes by bathing them in the Word of God and prayer. 

To this end, my friend Pastor Dan Galchutt and I have started up a website called LivingPlanted.com.  It offers free resources aimed at helping you live out the Christian life at home.  I hope you might check it out and share it with others.  Also, you can connect to our effort by liking our facebook page.

I know this might sound odd.  But I am more concerned these days with with our members are doing in their homes than I am about what we do at Church.  That is not because Church is unimportant.  Our gathering to Jesus on Sunday is the key event of each week for us as God’s people.  But I feel like we have longstanding habits for our time at Church that are good and pleasing to the Lord.  I am worried that the same can not be said always for our homes. 

I do not want to imagine a world without homes.  I do not want to live is a world where Christian homes are not the place of refuge God intends them to be.  I do not want to live in a world where prayer and the Word cannot find a place in the homes of God’s people.  Let me leave you with another portion of that sermon preached so many years ago,

“Let your…church mean more to you than a mere place for you worship a short hour during divine service.  Permit its teachings to reflect in your homes and in your family life and you will never regret it for then you have the assurance of God’s blessing resting upon your home."

Posted by Philip Hoppe on November 2nd, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , ,  • No Comments

Forever at Concordia Seminary

cslThe Gottesdienst blog today has a post in which it seeks to expose the worship practices occurring at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  Those that know me who tell you that I am one who uses the liturgy and hymnody of the Church each week with joy.  I am one who understands quite clearly the concern about churches of our confession leaving behind those treasures for something very shallow and at times toxic to pure theology.

But on the whole all of the outrage over the video that Concordia Seminary posted seems quite overdone, at least from the small amount of information offered on the Gottesdienst post.  It is nothing more than red meat thrown out to the confessional lions.  No doubt the hit count will be high.  But will anything else be accomplished?

Although it is not specifically mentioned in the post referenced, the real outrage on Facebook about this video is that it is an example of contemporary worship occurring at one of our seminaries.  For many, this is enough to explode.  Pulling a guitar out of the case will set them off. They react to the instrumentation and the presentation right away.  It must be wrong because it must be wrong.  Some have not ever progressed beyond, “Organ good.  Guitar Bad” in their thinking about corporate worship. 

Another complaint is that this is simply copycatting evangelicals who do not share our confession.  That may well be.  But we must apply that consistently.  We should ask in every case if our similarity to these other confessions shows forth an underlying lack of understanding of our own confession, but we cannot just say that because something looks like what is being done in a heterodox church, it is necessarily heterodox.

The next critique is of Chris Tomlin himself.  And no doubt, he holds to a  heterodox confession of faith.  But does that mean that we cannot use anything he or others of a heterodox confession might produce?  If so, we will need to start tearing pages out of our hymnals.  We have hymns from many who held to heterodox confession in their lifetime (and I am not just talking about Twila Paris).

The next critique is the song itself.  There is more than a bit of irony in critiquing this song which was inspired by Psalm 136 about having too much repetition.  If that is the charge, Psalm 136 must go as well.  Look it up.  While I will agree that the song is fairly shallow in theology, I do not see anything that is heterodox especially when used in a liturgical context.  For those who insist every song must explicitly reference Jesus, we must then say that the Psalter is no longer suitable for Christian worship either.  This song also is very God-centered which is rare for CCM songs.  It speaks much more about God than the worshiper, laudably so.

Others have questioned the musical skill of those performing.  I am not trained enough to make a definitive statement about this other than to say that many of our churches use the liturgy and hymnody and yet do not have musicians of the highest quality.  To my untrained ear, the talent was not superb but it was not distractingly bad either.

Listen if Concordia, my alma mater is regularly throwing away the liturgy for some order of service meant solely to entertain, I am outraged also.  If the hymnody of the church is being throw away for the latest CCM iTunes playlist, I am outraged also.  But I do not know this to be the case and have seen no real evidence that it is.

If a song of praise is included once and a while and it is performed using instrumentation other than the organ, I am not outraged.  So long as the song is not teaching something false, I am not outraged.  Songs that foster meditation on one or two characteristics of God are not evil.  If that is all we get in worship as is the case in some churches. including our own, there is an issue. But if such songs are included in the context of liturgy and hymnody that is more didactic in nature, it is not inherently bad and may well be good.

I like red meat on my plate.  But not on my Facebook feed.  It only serves to make it harder to foster deep conversation, scriptural reflection, and confessional discussion about the true nature of Christian worship. When something like this video is put forth as an atrocious occurrence, we will have no chance to speak about things that are truly atrocious going on in the Church.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on October 20th, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , , ,  • 5 Comments

5 Lies in 2 minutes from Nicki Minaj’s “Pastor”

lydiaAfter shaking her posterior for millons on the way up to accept an award for her utterly licentious video “Anaconda” and before cursing at the host of the show, Nicki took time to thank her pastor.  How nice.  She thanked Pastor Lydia.  Embedded below is a two minute video featuring Pastor Lydia Sloley talking about her newest book, “Supernatural Woman.” 


Thanks to video editing she is able to spew no less that five lies in about two minutes.  Let go through them quickly:

1.  She wrote her book “so women can get the results they are looking for from the Word of God”

Like Moon Men, I suppose.  Who knew the Scriptures were a tool to get what we wanted if only we have some supernatural (scholars read “gnostic”) understanding of how to force blessings out of them.

2. “You are a supernatural woman.  You serve a supernatural God.  you will get supernatural results.”

Notice who goes first.  Back to that later.  This of course all forgets the very non-supernatural way God almost always works, like through people, words, water, bread, and wine.  Who needs the cross when you can have supernatural results like feathered headdresses and a backside the Lord surely did not create.  

3.  “You can read the same Scripture and the Lord will give you a different revelation based on your current needs.”

Like you might read First Peter where is says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” and God might reveal to you that see through dresses and gyrations on stage might work okay also.  Calling another woman a female dog might be revealed as a manifestation of inner beauty.

4. “This book teaches you how to move the hand of God through obedience.”

Lucky for Minaj, the obedience usually mentioned most in these churches is sowing an offering in order to be blessed financially.  It is sort of the spiritual equivalent of Powerball.  And I suppose writing a check is about the easiest thing for her to do at this point.  No doubt Nicki actually believes her fame wrought from overt sexuality and foul talk comes from God due to people like this pastor.  Obedience cannot manipulate God into action.  Thankfully it is grace that moves the hand of God.

5.  “I give God the glory.”

Sure, that is why the book is called “Supernatural Woman.”

Why did I write this post?  Will a lot of Nicki Minaj fans read it?  I doubt it. But I wrote it because we need to realize that so many people are listening to so much crap that is being peddled in the name of Christ by false prophets.  We must return to the Word in order that we might be tricked into thinking that Jesus died just to make us famous and gain us awards.  We must return to the Cross and rejoice that Christ’s obedience has granted us forgiveness and life.

You may not fall for such obvious lies as these.  But all of us must know the Word well in order that we might not be swayed by every wind of doctrine.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on August 31st, 2015 under News Clippings, Theology and PracticeTags: , , , ,  • No Comments



If by love, we mean simply that affectionate feeling we have towards the things we desire or fancy or trust in, then love does not always win.  Many times #LoveSins.


The obese man loves everything about food and so he fills his mouth celebrating victories and swallowing defeats to make everything sweeter.  The sports fan loves his team and so he invests large amounts of money into following that team so that everyone knows he is the Superfan.  The teenage boy loves his first true love and so he agrees with her false statement to make sure she does not leave.

The college boy loves being part of the in crowd and so he uses the Lord’s name as if it is were any other word to make sure no one tags him as overly religious.  The elderly lady loves to be right and so she ends her statements, “God as my witness” to give credence to her slight deceptions. 

The busy dad loves to fish and so he heads out early Sunday morning to make sure he is on the water when the fish are biting.  The young couple loves never being challenged and so they decide to just worship at home to make sure they have things just the way they like it.  The young man loves being viewed as spiritual and so he posts to Facebook about how church is not necessary so that all his friend will view him as so modern and wise.

The teenage child loves his independence and so she lies to her parents to gain that independence for the evening.  The middle-aged woman loves her money and so she hides part of her income from the IRS to keep a few extra bucks. The convicted felon loves his freedom and so he burrows through the wall to find the outside world he misses so much.

The career focused young man loves his dream of upward mobility and so he tells his girlfriend she must abort the child to assure that his five year plan goes on without a hitch.  The old women loves the dignity she has enjoyed and so she tells the doctor to proceed with the lethal injection to make sure no ever sees her at less than her best   The drunk man loves his reputation as a tough guy and so he takes a swing at his fellow drunk to feel that he still is just as virile as he once was.

The married man loves sexual pleasure and so he tells he wife to go to bed to make sure he can watch that show and do that thing.  The couple loves the idea of how marriage felt that first year and so they divorce to find it again with someone else.  The man loves feeling wanted and so he moves in with his new girlfriend to keep the good feelings flowing.

The treasure hunter loves the antique piece the elderly woman has and so he pays the posted price fully aware that it is worth so much more to make sure it ends up in his home.  The young child loves how the toy lights up when the button is pushed and so he places it in his pocket to make sure he can play with it at night in his room.  The new employee loves the pens at work and so he takes a few home to celebrate his new work.

The bully loves feeling powerful and so she spreads lies about the kids at school to ensure that she is feared.  The middle aged women loves knowing everything that is going on in town and so she develops a network of informants to make sure every comes to her if they want to know something.  The family member loves their own and so they take the stand and tell a few white lies to make sure their beloved walks.

The young man loves firearms and so they spend countless hours figuring out how to obtain that high power assault weapon to be able to say he owns one.  The middle-aged women loves fashion and so she obsesses about how to get that designer bag to finally feel good about her wardrobe.  The career woman loves the thought of being the boss and so she stabs a few people in the back to make sure she gets up the ladder more quickly than they do.

Adam and Eve loved the thought of being like God.  They ate the apple.  Jonah loved being the only chosen one.  He hated those in Nineveh.  Saul loved the Law. He persecuted Jesus. You and I love things that lead us into great sin and vice.


Only God’s love always wins.  Only it always works good.  Only it has pure motives.  Only His love shown to us in Jesus can help us who so often are led into sin by the things we love.  Only the Cross and Tomb can rightly be captioned #lovewins.  When it comes to us, more often than not, #LoveSins.  When it comes to God, #LoveWins.  Thanks be to Him for His love.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on June 30th, 2015 under News Clippings, Theology and PracticeTags: , , , , , ,  • 1 Comment

The Future Tense of Funerals

ftAt funerals, there is a lot of talk about the past.  “Do you remember the time Dad took us to the lake?” “Bob just loved to create beauty with his scroll saw.”  “I just wish we had a chance to talk about that day and what was said.”

At funerals, there is often a lot of talk about the present as well.  “Steve is in a better place.”  “June looks nice, doesn’t she?”  “Ralph is finally at rest.”

At funerals, not nearly enough is said about the future.  “Aunt Jenny will rise again.”  “This is not Clarence’s final resting place.”  “Jesus will come again with the sound of a trumpet.”

And truth be told, talk about the past is engaging but tends to only reveal the cavernous  hole created by death.  Talk about the present tends to a be bunch of clichés strung together like popcorn on a string.  They help us escape the immediate discomfort of standing next to a dead body but do little more.

Only talking in the future tense ultimately brings real comfort.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Yes, our Lord encourages us as his people to use words in the future tense at funerals.  He tell us that that is where we find hope.  He points us forward to the day when Jesus will make all things new.

We can talk about the past.  It may bring a smile to the face.  We can talk about the present.  It may get us through the day.  But only the future tense will do if we want hope that can sustain us through the days remaining until the trumpet sounds.  Encourage one another with these words.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on June 16th, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , , ,  • No Comments

What Closed Communion Is and What It is Not

ccA man walks into church on a day when the Lord’s Supper will be served.  He says to the usher handing out communion cards, “You know.  I have been really good this week.  I should get two cards.” 

This actually happened in my brother pastor’s congregation.  It is a shocking level of arrogance on so many levels.  And yet, I should not be so shocked I suppose.  For surely many view the way LCMS Lutherans have agreed to practice communion together as nothing more than a way of ensuring only people good enough get to come forward for the meal.

Our visitors surely think that is what we are doing.  Since there is not enough time to truly explain our practice or our beliefs in the three minutes before service, all they know  that others, presumably the good people, will go forward while they sit in the pew and feel like everyone else is staring at them.

And sadly, it is probably how many who are going forward think as well.   They think, “I went to years of midweek and confirmation classes to get to go to this.”  “I have been an LCMS member my whole life, that is why I get to go.” “I am a member in good standing in a LCMS congregation.”  Some laity police the altar themselves in order to make sure no bad person gets up there.

But here in the truth, closed communion is not a way of making sure only the good people get to the altar.  Much to the contrary, it is the way of seeking to assure that only those who know how bad they are come into Jesus’ presence to find forgiveness and life. 

Yes, when you declare for communion, sign that card, or put your name in the register, you are not declaring that you are good enough to come forward but are confessing that you are painfully aware that you are the sick and are in need of the Physician.  This is not like getting into the nightclub because you are perfectly dressed.  It is instead like signing in at the doctor’s office in your tattered pajamas because you do not have the strength to change out of them.

Closed communion assures that only those who confess that they are not well come up to the rail. After all, Jesus only eats with sinners.  He eats with us sinners because He knows we need Him desperately.  Only those aware of their sin and seeking the forgiveness and life offered by Jesus in his body and blood should come forward. 

We come forward singing, “So who am I, That I should live and He should die. Under the rod? My God, my God, Why have You not forsaken me? O taste and see the Lord is free.”

In order to assure that only the bad come forward, we ask that people study with us the very basics of our faith before communing.  We ask the to ponder the Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer.  We ask them to marvel at the gifts of Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.  We are not asking them to jump through hoops or prove how good they are.  Instead we are making sure that they with us are willing to confess how bad we are and how good God is to us.

We ask them to do this so that we can say with confidence that the people gathered at the altar have all confessed publicly that they are sinners who wish to dine with Jesus and believe He is present in this meal in His very body and blood giving forgiveness and life.

Closed communion does not insure that the only the good come forward.  In fact, that guy at my brother pastor’s congregation, if he was serious, should have been told that this meal was not for him.  Closed communion makes sure that only the bad come forward.  And when they do, they meet Jesus in his body and blood offering just the medicine they need.

We must make this clear to visitors, to our own members, and most importantly to ourselves lest pride rob us of the chance to dine with the One who sits down with sinners to eat.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on May 28th, 2015 under Theology and Practice • 9 Comments

How to Make Law Preaching Specific and Varied

keep-calm-preach-law-and-gospelWow, that title almost puts me to sleep.  Hopefully someone actually clicks on such a sleepy title.

Christian preachers should do two things in every sermon.  They should seek to convict their hearers of sin.  Secondly, they should proclaim Jesus’ work as the only answer for such sin.  The first task Lutherans usually call “preaching the Law.”  The latter we call “preaching the Gospel.”

Both tasks are of great importance.  For if the Law is not preached, the Gospel will be disregarded by the hearers who are left to think they do not really need Jesus all that much.  And if only Law is preached, the people will leave in despair instead of joy, which is not God’s intention for His Word.

I believe that the preaching of the Law must be specific and varied.  What do I mean by that?  Well first, our task is not simply to tell our people that they are sinful, although we do that as well.  But our task is to expose specific sins, particularly sins that our hearers are not already aware of in their own lives.  And that means that we must not only speak, for instance, about greed generally but show how greed manifests its ugly head in everyday life.  We might mention how as workers we are almost never content with our wages.  Or we could mention how owners can gather all the profits of a company to themselves while leaving their workers impoverished and think of themselves not as sinners but good capitalists.  We must be specific because sin occurs in specificity.

But besides being specific, the Law should also be varied.  If someone preaches every week about husbands looking at internet pornography, the congregation might rightly begin to wonder why this topic comes up so frequently in their Pastor’s sermons.  No, every corner of life should be explored.

But how does one on a weekly basis make sure their Law preaching is both specific and varied?  Well I think it is quite simple.  Martin Luther writes that in preparing to confess sins one should “Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments.” (Small Catechism)  In other words, especially if specific sins to confess do not pop right to mind, let one or more of the Commandments search through one or more of your vocations.  So a Christian might ask, “How have I kept the Third Commandment as a father?  Have I made sure my family is in worship?  How has I kept the four commandment as a citizen of the United States in regard to that president I can not stand? Have I obeyed as I must?”

The same is true for preaching.  Law preaching becomes specific and varied when the preacher considers his hearer’s place in life according to the Ten Commandments.  I would suggest specifically that he let the Table of Duties and the Ten Commandments meet and see what Law is crafted.

One could even literally write down the various vocations mentioned in the Table of Duties (Pastor, master, wife, children, etc) on one stack of cards and the Ten Commandments on another stack of cards.  Then he could then at random pick one card from each pile and come up with a Law application.  This week I will mention how children ought to live sexually pure lives.  Then next week I will talk about the pastor’s responsibility to guard people reputations through not revealing sins confessed to them, and so on.

In this way, the examples are just as specific as real life and yet the preacher does not get stuck constantly riding one hobby horse or another.  And all of this leads to the end that all sins might be exposed, repented of, and find their end in Jesus.  To Him be the Glory.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on April 16th, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , ,  • No Comments

The Prayers Are Too Long

praying_priest_440I wish I could say that the title for this post originated in the head of some unbeliever who happened to be in church on Good Friday when we prayed the Bidding Prayer.  I wish I could say it was my eight year son who hates to sit still who thought it.  But it was me, the Pastor leading the prayers at the front of the Church.

For those that do not know, the Bidding Prayer is a prayer that strings together something close to a dozen collects or prayers.  And not only are there that many of them, in this particular prayer, we stop to mention who we are going to pray for each time before we actually pray. 

But if I am truthful, I have uttered the title of this post in my heart more times than I can count during my life and not just during the Bidding Prayer.  Sometimes, the Prayer of the Church prayed ever Sunday seems a little too long.  I am tempted to skip a petition or two just to speed things along.  Other times it is during an prayer spoken by someone else as they pour our their concerns to God.

But here is what I know.  The prayers are not too long.  That is not the problem.  I am the problem.  Every time I think the prayers are too long, I am forgetting several important truths:

1.  God has given us his ear.  Yes, the almighty God has bent over and is listening to each of those prayers offered.  We have a chance to speak to the Creator and Redeemer of all things, and I, the pastor, think we should cut it short.  I prove I do not treasure this gift as I should.

2.  There is much in need of prayer.  The truth is that if we had a collect for everything just in dire need of prayer in our immediate context, the collects would never end.  There are so many things and people that need the help of God.  And yet, I think I should cut out a petition here or there.  Let’s see.  Who doesn’t need our prayer this week?  Our president who makes critical choices each day?  Parents who are struggling to raise their children in the fear of God amidst a world that is warring against such conviction?  The Christians who are being asked to choose their faith or their life?  When I want shorter prayers, I prove I have forgotten how much is broken in the world.

3.  Prayer is effective.  I have never understood why God orders His world according to the prayers of His weak and sinful people, but the Scriptures are clear that He does.  He hears prayers that ascend to Him and He acts upon them.  Prayers offered in faith matter to His Kingdom and to the world.  I suppose the real truth is that I want shorter prayers because I often doubt that prayers do much of anything. Therefore, I think they are not worth a few extra moments.

4.  Patience and self-control are fruits of the Spirit.   Getting antsy with the things of God is of the flesh.  Desiring to move on to other things that are more exciting or pleasurable is a sour grape brought forth by the old self.  Instead of limiting the prayers, I ought  to add another petition for me, that I might have the patience and self-control to pray with my whole self as long as is needed.

Oh no doubt, the Lord warns that prayers babbled on at length for show are not something He desires.  But that is not what I am talking about.  And quite frankly, I am not sure in our attention-deficit society that is much of a temptation for most.  But to weary of prayer quickly? That is quite common.  It is not just me who struggles with that.

The prayers are not too long.  I am too weak.  Lord, have mercy.  Amen.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on April 4th, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , ,  • 2 Comments

I Do Not Answer Calls from “Unknown Caller”…Even From God.

unknownOn my cell and now my home phone, I have Caller ID.  Most of the time when I get a call that I can not identify (specifically as someone I know or generally as a local number that might be a member), I do not answer it.  I like to know who is calling before I answer.  I like to know exactly who I am talking to when I put my ear to the phone’s speaker.

It is sort of the same way with God.  There are lots of ways God could speak to us.  He could speak through a small still voice.  He could speak through things that seem to be too perfect to be coincidences.  He could use our feelings to guide us in the way that He would have us go.  He could speak in all sorts of ways.

When I got a Call to serve another church as pastor and had to make a decision, someone suggested that God was trying to say something to me when I received a “to-go” container at a eating place even without asking.  Others told me that God would just give me peace about one decision or another.  Some I am sure would have expected on such a  Kingdom-related decision I might get a little whisper from God.

But I have to admit, I do not answer “Unknown Caller” calls, even from God.  I do not assume that just because God could be speaking to me that He is speaking to me.  Only when I know it is Him do I listen.  And how do I know?  Well the only Caller ID I trust when it comes to God is when it says 1-800-Word-and-Sacraments.  Then I know it will be Him for sure and that I should listen.  Only in the Scriptures and the Sacraments do I have God’s promise to speak.

All of other numbers could be prank calls made by the evil one, seeking to deceive me rather than lead me.  All of those other calls could actually be me calling myself to tell me what I want to hear.  All of those others calls could be anything.

I would have loved a definitive answer from above.  But I did not get one.  Or if I did, I guess I did not answer that call.  I only could base that decision on what I knew from the Word.  And so I did make my decision that way.  I do not answer calls from unknown callers.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on March 24th, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , ,  • No Comments

“Only God Can Judge Me”

mwIn a recent conversation, a courageous interviewer decided to ask Flloyd Mayweather about his history of domestic abuse.  After Floyd dodged the first few questions like an expert fighter, the interviewer went for the direct jab, “The website Deadspin detailed seven physical assaults on five women that resulted in arrest or citation, are we supposed to believe all the women are lying including the incidents when there were witnesses like your own kids?”  Floyd responded, “Everybody actually, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When it is all said and done, only God can judge me.” It is the kind of thing that rightly makes one want to jump out of their seat and deliver a knock-out punch to the champ.  How can he claim that he should not face any earthly justice for what he has done.

And yet, this is a very common idea in our culture.  Most believe that everyone’s life should be free of any scrutiny by anyone else.  “Only God can Judge me” is a common thought usually ushered in by others who try to coax the Son of God into their corner by saying, “Did not Jesus say, ‘Judge not?’”  It is one of the few things that those way on the left  of the political spectrum and those way on the right seem to agree on.  They both think that respect for privacy means lack of judgment from others.

In one sense it is of course true that only God can judge us in the end.  He is the only one who by His nature defines what is holy and what is evil.  But let us not forget that God does His judging in three ways already now upon the earth.  Yes, on the last day, each person will stand directly before God and be judged.  But until then each person is judged in three ways.  First, each person is judged as to right and wrong by their parents who have been given this responsibility in the estate of the family. (Proverbs 13:24b He who loves him [his son] is diligent to discipline him.) Secondly, each person is judged by the state which has been given by God to punish evil and reward good upon the earth. (1 Peter 2:13–14  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.)  And lastly, each person is judged by their pastor who has been given spiritual oversight over them (Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.)

Yes,  only God can judge you.  But He does so through parents, rulers, and pastors.  And this He does not because He loves to punish but because He desires that all would turn from sin and live.  His discipline is for our eternal good.

Posted by Philip Hoppe on February 21st, 2015 under Theology and PracticeTags: , , , , ,  • No Comments