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Archive for the ‘Lutheran’ Category

Christ or Hitler Pastor Wilhelm Busch

Recently I have been reading several books about Hitler’s Germany concentrating on the church and philosophy during that dark era.  Reading this book gave me a new appreciation of what the German Confessional (non-Nazi) church must have went through.  This book is an autobiography of a German Confessional church pastor name Wilhelm Busch who lived from 1897 to 1966.  Most people might know about Bonhoeffer a prominent leader of the ConfessionalChurch but I wonder about what the average pastor resisting the Nazis infiltration of the church were like.  This book is a wonderful window into one such pastor whose ministry to youths clashed with the Nazis vision for young people to be under the control of the Hitler Youth with their ideology.  Technically, Wilhelm Busch never published an autobiography but the translator, Christian Puritz was able to compile enough autobiographical information from Busch’s writings and teaching to make this into a book.  The stories of what Pastor Busch has to endure as a faithful witness to the Gospel is encouraging and will no doubt inspire courage for Christians today to stand for what is true.  There were times when I was reading the book that made me imagined what seems unimaginable today:  spying from the Gestapo, harassment from the Hitler Youth, police looking the other way when Christians are harassed, imprisonments, shut downs, etc.  It was a reminder for myself that there is no guarantee that Christian ministry will enjoy the relative calm and rights granted in the United States currently.  With the way the title of the book is phrased, I was surprised that it took over half the book before one finally start seeing any mention of the Nazis.  However, I did appreciate the autobiographical account of Busch before Hitler’s rise to power; as a Pastor I got to gain a little insight of what the Lord was doing and how He used a young pastor working with the coal miners and eventually the youth.  Those involved with ministry will find his stories to be encouraging.  Also the account of World War One and his conversion was somewhat gut wrenching to a Marine veteran such as myself.  Throughout the book one also sees the loss Busch has experienced around him, with the death of his sons in World War two in the Eastern Front and also the suffering of the poor or true Christians under the Nazi regime.  I recommend this autobiography for the encouragement of Christian souls.

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Evangelical Press Books in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

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Luther for Armchair

Purchase: Amazon

This is the third book in the Armchair Theologians series and thus far my favorite one out of the three. I originally considered to stop reading this series since the other two were not what I expected (specifically, the one on Augustine and Aquinas). However, this book was enjoyable. It went through the biography of Luther and also discussed his theology. Excellent exposition on Luther’s view of justification. I enjoyed the author’s explanation of what the Gospel is and is not. Though I don’t agree everything with Luther’s theology neverthess I’m grateful that this book is able to show Luther’s theology accurately without resorting to trying to make him relevant at the expense of being no longer an accurate portrayal of Luther’s life and theology as I felt the work on Aquinas has done. I thought this particular book was accessible for the general reading audience while remaining theological enough without resorting to silly humor compare to one other book in this series. The author even drove home Luther’s theology that theology is not just something done for arm-chair theologians but during life–an irony that the author even noted contrary to the book’s title. Good introduction to Luther and I would recommend it.

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At the school I go to, I get people telling me that the best apologetics guy doing Campus Ministry is this particular minister.  The guy, being a Lutheran is heavily into Evidential Apologetics with Classical leaning and set up a table regularly in a busy campus walkway.

Today was a reminder for me of Van Til’s and Bahnsen’s teaching that how you do apologetics and evangelism is influenced by your theology.  As I walked back from class, I sat in real quick for this young minister’s table while he was using the restroom.  One of his students came by and sat with me, and as soon as the young pastor came back, he immediately went on the offense to attack Calvinism and what I believed.  I didn’t want to open up this Pandora’s box, but since he initiated it, I thought, hey, let’s deal with the issue then.  Somehow, the conversation turned real quick about the issue of how are we saved, for the guy believed that we are all saved already to begin with, and therefore everyone is saved, and before you know it, the table was now turned back to him when I started asking him if everyone who are ‘saved’ but ‘didn’t know it’ are given promises from Scripture (such as God’s work of sanctification of those who are saved, not being able to lose your salvation, etc) which he answers “yes!” but second guest and stutter with an inaudible ‘no’.  Its funny how some people get, when the conversation began with them being aggressively against you and put you on the defense and then suddenly YOU ARE NOW ON THE OFFENSE and people become, well, Pathetic. They can’t take what they dish out.

The pastor avoided answering my question (“Where in the bible does it teach that?”), did not address the logical conclusion of his view (“people have salvation in hell” as he admitted, this guy is crazy isn’t he?) , and kept on using sunday school slogan (“Its all about Jesus man!”).

Its funny how the guys trumphs reason so much being the evidentalist that he is, and when pressed with the Bible and strong chain reasoning of his premises, he invokes so much irrationalism by committing the logical fallacy of appeal to emotions.

Well, the two guys definitely was on me, and the student who was listening, being a philosophy major, struck me as really arrogant.  I always have this sense, honestly put, that Christian undergraduate student majoring in philosophy with classical/evidental apologetical outlook are really naiive. THe demeanor in the conversation oozes out with it.  They have a little taste of the issue but thinks they know it all already.

An agnostic walked by and the Pastor tried witnessing to him.  Though the pastor disdain how I used the Way of the Master, Presuppositionalism and how I conduct my evangelism and apologetics within the framework of my Calvinism since to him, “Its all about Jesus!” (I agree to some extent- but what about the Holy Spirt convicting people, etc?), he ironically didn’t even focus on Jesus but began a long naiive pseudo-intellectual sounding Evidentialist choppy presentation!  And when pressed for those ‘evidences’ for the resurrection, you would think an evidentialist would live up to his name, but I had to discuss the primary documents and fill in for them!

I watched quietly, and cringed; the philosophy student who was angry with me earlier (mind you, I’m a fellow brother in the Lord), was catering so much to the nonbeliever in his conduct! The pastor talked about evidence this and that, and never present anything! And the champion of “Just Jesus” didn’t even mentioned Jesus!

After a few minutes of watching the easy friendly massacre by the Agnostic, and the believers left without words to say, I thought I used Presuppositional Apologetics applied to the agnostics’ unbelief.  In the sight of the Lord, I believe that the agnostic’s worldview was reduced to absurdity (empiricism, historical skepticism, inability to account for logic, experimentalism, etc).

Another nonChristian was listening intently as well.

After it was over, the nonChristian girl was still there.  I had to go back to my place.  I shook hand with the Pastor, and his disciple, the philosophy student.  He had to criticize me and was still rather upset at me.

THen pointing to the nonChristian girl still listening, he said, ” I’m just sorry she has to be subjected to your rudeness”.

But she actually listened to the whole dialogue I had with the Agnostic, and she was smiling. Praise God the gospel was shared! 

So, with Chrisitans like these, who needs an enemy?

If this is the ‘best” of Christian apologetics in this reputable school, and this guy is teaching all these guys this ‘kind’ of apologetics, that’s really a sad state of Christian apologetics then.

But God is merciful….

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