Yep, it's been a while since I posted something here. I have been busy translating a sermon (which I will post in the next couple of days). Translating a paragraph here and a paragraph there took more time than I had anticipated.
I do want to address something I heard the other night about Christian churches and the message of self-empowerment and self-improvement. Such a message is not Christian preaching. It is only a proclamation of the law. Preaching only the law or only the gospel is not Christian preaching. Preaching law and gospel is true, evangelical (read: Lutheran) Christian preaching.
We don't have the ability to empower ourselves. We don't have the power to improve ourselves. If we try to do so, then what need have we of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Word, the Sacraments, and the other means of grace? Christ in His infinite wisdom gave us the means of grace because we cannot empower or improve ourselves in the spiritual realm. Only by the power the gospel and God's almighty hand can we improve our lives in the physical realm. And how often do we try to do something better in our lives only to muck it up?
Beware of those hawking self-empowerment and self-improvement from the pulpit. They are preaching another gospel, which is no gospel at all. If we want to improve ourselves, there are plenty of free books at the local library that can help us in that endeavor. If we want the be assured that we are forgiven, even after we have failed to improve our life, then run to church and hear the Word of God in all its glorious law and gospel.