Guilt and being guilty

I wrote some time ago about the difference between regret and repentance. This is connected to that set of thoughts. In pastoral care situations, I frequently hear people talking about how guilty they feel. It's an epidemic, especially amongst Christians whose consciences have been made tender by the work of God's word. At the same…

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The Right Response to a Great Tragedy

There's a good post over on Steadfast Lutherans by Pr. Nathan Higgins on how to respond to a national tragedy. The substance of the post is summarised in the opening sentence: Perhaps the best way to respond to a national tragedy – or any kind of tragedy, is with mourning, repentance, and faith. In case…

Non, je ne regrette

[Health warning: the first part is mildly technical and a little dry, but 'contemporary application' follows further down!] In today's NT reading in the Lutheran Service Book Daily Lectionary (Matt. 27:1–10), the ESV tells us that Judas, seeing that Jesus was condemned to death, "changed his mind" and attempted to return the 30 pieces of…

Leaving your gift at the altar

I grew up in Lutheran circles in Western Finland that can only be described as pietist orthodoxy. For many (most?) English-speaking Lutherans, that's supposed to be a contradiction in terms, but take my word for it, it isn't necessarily. My experience is of a rich, deep spirituality rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.…

The Futile Church

The Baptist had preached repentance, but it didn't help. The Church has done the same for two thousand years, and it still doesn't appear to have helped. It looks like other means are necessary to get people to listen. Shouldn't we show others that we can do something really impressive? That's a temptation that has…