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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15 where the Bible says,    

14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

In talking about religious liberty in my travels around the country, I’m often faced with the charge that conservative, Bible-believing Christians may deserve the public attacks presently heaped upon them from politicians and the media because we’ve gotten too political. Many have also been led to believe that the Church’s stance on various moral issues is divisive and intolerant just because we disagree with the present libertinism of the day. After two years in Washington D.C., I can say with confidence that such a charge is unwarranted.

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible reading is from Revelation 7:9–12 where the Apostle John recounts this vision of heaven:    

It’s remarkable how we are never told of the moment of resurrection. We know that He rose, and we are given accounts of His resurrection appearances, but not of the moment itself.

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 17:11-19 which says,    

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 17:1-4.    

Please join us in prayer for the family of Rev. Allen Henderson, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church and longtime chaplain to first responders.
Pastor Henderson was assaulted and killed Wednesday night outside the church in Fort Dodge, Iowa. We also remember the church family,
the community and, all who have been affected by this tragic event. May all find comfort in the cross of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. See https://bit.ly/2ImhinV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

American Lutheranism and the Founding Fathers - Lutherans in twenty-first century America can learn a lot from our Lutheran forebearers. See https://bit.ly/2kvr8va for more

Some corporations are requiring all employees to sign “equality pledges,” affirming their agreement with the LGBT agenda. But this violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, just as it prohibits other kinds of discrimination. Title VII is a powerful safeguard of religious liberty.  So says David French, who, though known for his association with a controversy among conservatives, is an attorney who has successfully litigated many such cases.

Welcome to “Word from the Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 14:7-11 which says,

If you don’t know the story, you should check it out. It begins in Genesis chapter 6. Our Lord looked down upon the earth and saw that the wickedness was great, so much so that our Lord regretted that Ge had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart. And He added, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of heaven, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Gen. 6:6-7).

Kevin D. Williamson points to two tactics that have become part of our political culture, introducing two words that Americans today need to know: ochlocracy (mob rule, indirect as well as direct) and streitbare Demokratie (“militant democracy,” the notion that maintaining liberalism may require illiberal means). From Crowder Isn’t a Threat to Public Safety: Ochlocracy is an ancient concept that denotes, approximately, “mob rule.” But “mob rule” does not mean only riots and lynchings and other acts of extralegal violence. More commonly, ochlocracy functions through the legitimate organs of the state or through other entities, such as businesses and professional associations. In these cases, the threat of mob violence, or the simple fact of a mob demand, is sufficient to get those with power to act as the mob wishes, to do the mob’s dirty work for it and thereby relieve the rabble of the exertion of a riot. As Edward Gibbon tells the story, the mob need not murder its enemy — not if it can get the state to act on its behalf. See story here. Be Informed It is imperative that we pray for our country, now more than ever. Join us in praying for our authorities, communities, churches and families. Be Equipped How can you as a Lutheran Christian be involved in the world in a winsome, faithful way? Dr. Seltz gives you a crash course in Christian Engagement 101. Be Encouraged O Merciful Father in heaven, from You comes all rule and authority over the nations of the world for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. Graciously regard Your servants, those who make, administer and judge the laws of this nation, and look in mercy upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant that all who receive the sword as Your servants may bear it according to Your command. Enlighten and defend them, and grant them wisdom and understanding, that under their peaceable governance Your people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness and unity. Protect and prolong their lives that we with them may show forth the praise of Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Religious liberty in the United States military is a constant topic of discussion as well as actual legal battles about this issue. There are groups who are aggressively trying to restrict and eliminate religious liberty from our Armed Forces. (For some most recent legal cases and challenges, please visit the First Liberty website.) There are several cases outlined that have serious ramification for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Christians who have served and those who are currently serving in the United States military. Without a doubt America’s military continues to remain a force that places a high value on the role of religion in life. This is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, there exists a robust historical framework for religion and religious expression within the United States military. With that comes the constant battle from those who wish to restrict the free exercise of religion for our chaplains as well as all members of the military. The LCMS has endorsed chaplains to serve in the military since the Civil War, when C. F. W. Walther endorsed Pastor Friedrich Richmann to serve as a chaplain to the Ohio Regiment in 1862. The LCMS continues to send forth pastors to serve as chaplains in the military to ensure our LCMS men and women are able to receive Word and Sacrament ministry while they are selflessly serving our nation. American service members voluntarily surrender many freedoms and liberties when they join the military. However, religious freedom is not one of them. Religion and faith have played integral roles in America’s military since before our founding. Today, service members continue to enjoy broad, robust First Amendment rights. Service members are free to engage in religious expression in a manner consistent with their faith. The authority and discretion of military officials to curb such expression has to meet some requirements. And those who find themselves the victims of First Amendment violations may allege constitutional claims against those responsible. Religious liberty is a right protected by U.S. law. This also applies to our LCMS chaplains and all who serve in our military. Our LCMS chaplains have the constitutional right as well as policy and doctrine protections from the Department of Defense and Congress to conduct religious services, worship, teaching, fellowship, counseling, and ecclesiastical or sacramental functions in accordance with our LCMS doctrine and practice. Our chaplains provide for the religious and moral needs of service members and are able freely to exercise and appropriately express their own faith, and ensure service members are free to do the same, without substantial government burden, except when that burden furthers a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. All have a right to be free from discrimination based on their religious beliefs and also be free from censorship based on others’ objections to their appropriately expressed religious and moral beliefs. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod continues to stay engaged and work to protect religious liberty in the military through its Ministry to the Armed Forces and through the work of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. We also work to protect religious liberty for our LCMS pastors who are serving as military chaplains and for our LCMS members who selflessly volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces. Chaplain Craig G. Muehler is director of the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces. Be Informed Should states be able to“oust parents and children from neutral benefit programs because they choose a religious private school”? Learn more about a new Supreme Court case taking up this important issue. Be Equipped Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, and Congressman John Shimkus, U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 15th congressional district, joined Kip Allen of KFUO to talk about religious liberty and how Lutherans interact with politics in American society. Have a listen! Be Encouraged “Dear Lord Jesus, you are the Great Physician. You know every one of our hairs on our head and number them. You know when a sparrow falls out of the sky. Look with favor upon all Your dear Christians the world over, in every dark and difficult prison, in every torturous situation, in every situation of mental fatigue and anguish and attack by states and other powers and false religions. We pray that You would grant justice and liberty in the world so all peoples may have the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience. And we pray that You may open doors even through the blood of Your martyrs for the witness so that more and more may believe in You until the Last Day. We plead it for Your sake. Amen.” – Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Share this:

Today’s reading is from Luke 12:49-51, where Jesus says,   49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.