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Monday, May 30, 2011

Learning from Löhe

Here is the second paragraph from Löhe's Rogate Sunday sermon on John 16,23-33:

2. ,,The entire Gospel deals with prayer and therefore we call this Sunday the Sunday of Prayer. The Lord, which the words of our text are entirely in consideration of His departure, of His ascension back to where He dwelt before His suffering, the dwelling place of perfection and eternal glory, that which exists between Him and His believers, and through Him He builds a continuous connection between His Father and His believers, when He is no longer visible to them nor walks among them. He determined prayer as the means of connection, and also as a means to always experience anew His life and memory. We should pray, and He will send glory from His throne of honor. Our prayers are our enduring love to Him, and when He hear us He will continually remember us. Prayer and answer shall be the mutual sign of life and the sign of love between the Lord and His believers."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Learning from Löhe

Here is a brief paragraph (and Löhe's paragraphs are rarely this short!) from Wilhelm Löhe's sermon on Cantate Sunday for John 16,5-15:

,,3. Our congregations' mood might be different from the mood of Jesus' disciples of Jesus and so few also echo the comforting speech which the Lord has directed at His disciples, so that most Christians in our day might find: so I want to my do my duty, but you don't draw from the text the comfort that it administers nor do you include the outstanding thought of the near to present. The Lord, the Holy Spirit, knows your hearts, and He can lead you to a spiritual meal whereupon you dine on the sweet words of Jesus who is your Savior. He has recommended it with devout supplication!"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Survived Judgment Day: 21. May 2011

It is now Sunday 22. May 2011. I survived judgment day: 21. May 2011. The world did not crash and burn in a mighty earthquake that that traversed the 24 time zones. The rapture (which by the way, that word does not appear in the Holy Scriptures) did not occur. Harold Camping and his cultist group of followers are still here. The earth’s population of nearly 7 billion people are still around. The Church is still here on earth.

So, later this morning I will do what I normally do. I will go to church, celebrate the liturgy, and preach the word of God. The Church still has a commission (even though Camping says differently) to preach the gospel throughout the world.

It is 22. May 2011. I survived judgement day on 21. May 2011. Had God the Father in His infinite and Divine wisdom seen fit to send Jesus back on 21. May, I still would have survived judgment day. The Apostle Paul tells us in his epistle: »if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved« (Romans 10,9). I confess that Jesus is Lord; I believe that He rose from the grave. I am saved. I am certain of this fact.

Mr. Harold Camping’s chief error and heresy is not that he foolishly tried to predict Jesus’ return. Yes, his methodology and hermeneutics regarding this are severly skewed and completely heretical. Nevertheless, the truth remains: Jesus will return one day. That last day will be a day of judgment. We do not know when it will be.

Mr. Camping has many more serious errors and heresies beside His failed prediction of judgment day on 21. May 2011. Here are a few of them: 1. The Church Age ended in 1988, and all the churches are apostate. The only saved Christians are those like Camping and his followers who have left the Church. 2. He denies that the wicked will be resurrected and suffer eternally in hell. This is the ancient heresy known as annihilationism, meaning that the wicked will be annihilated and cease to exist once God judges them as wicked on the last day. 3. Camping teaches and preaches a very heavy emphasis on the law and use of the law, but instead of giving the terror-stricken the pure gospel of Christ Jesus, Camping piles on them more law: you must pray, struggle, beg, and plead for God’s mercy which never amounts to certainty of salvation. There is little, no, or a thoroughly confused understanding of what the gospel actually is. 4. Camping believes and teaches that Jesus died and rose before time began so that when He did it in A.D. 33 it had the power to redeem mankind (Christ died and rose twice). Camping speaks of the cross as just a demonstration of what had already happened before the foundation of the world. 5. There is no certainty of salvation. This is the grand-daddy of all his heresies. There are at least fifteen other errors and heresies that Harold Camping believes and teaches.

The whole message of the Bible, of Christianity, and of the gospel, is that God wants us to be certain of our salvation. God does not want us to doubt or question our eternal destiny. The gospel is about certainty, the certainty that you and I can have regarding salvation. This certainty is not tied up in works or good deeds we do to convince ourselves we are in God’s good graces. This certainty is not tied up in accepting that Jesus is returning on 21. May 2011, or some other specific date that Camping or someone else may try to exhort upon Christendom. This certainty of salvation is grounded firmly and only on Jesus Christ: He is our certainty of salvation.

The Apostle Paul is speaking about the certainty of salvation in Romans 10,9. Here it is again: »if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved«. There are many other Bible verses that convey this. Here are a few more. »Behold, the Lamb of God [Jesus] who is taking away the sin of the world!« (John 1,29). »And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so hat whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.« (John 3,14-18). God wants us to be certain of our salvation, and He has founded this certainty on an immoveable Cornerstone which is Jesus Christ.

Those who believe in and confess Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Savior are saved. You can be certain of this. So whenever judgment day arrives, know this: if Christ has you and you have Christ, then there is nothing to fear for judgment day is the day when you will eternally live with God. If you die before Christ returns, again that is not something to fear because if you believe in, and confess, Christ, then you are saved.

This certainty of salvation looks only to Jesus Christ who voluntarily and sacrificially endured the suffering of the cross to pay for the sin of the world. When this gospel is read or heard and the Holy Spirit creates faith through it, then by faith a person may rightly say: Jesus died for the sins of the world. If He died for the whole world, then He also died for me. That is faith. That is the certainty of salvation. That is the gospel proclamation of the Church, and it is the gospel that I will preach tomorrow and every Sunday after that as long as I am able, have breath, or until the Lord returns.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 21, 2011?

Here's a great blog post from my colleague Pastor Weedon. Check out his blog: Weedon's Blog.

The End of the World

is supposed to be on May 21, I understand. For Christians, of course, the end of the world was that moment when the world slew its own Life - the Crucifixion of Him who is the Life of life. The world ended there - and the signs that our Lord foretold would accompany the great and dreadful day were in evidence. But we are an Easter people and alleluia is our song. We simply know that this world that totters on is dead. It's running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. It's dead and doesn't realize it yet! But sooner or later it WILL keel over. The whole thing come undone. And yet in the midst of the dead and dying world, which moves inexorably towards its end, we live our lives from the flesh and blood that rose from the grave on Easter Day, the Pardon of all our sin, the Destruction of all death, the Life that endures to eternity. It changes how we live in this world forever. We know that no amount of bandaids we apply to this world as it is can keep it from its final death throes. But when you belong to an eternal kingdom, all is well, and it is fitting for you to dance through life forevermore (Luther). Should the end come on the 21st, we'll be joyously going on still: singing the praises of the Lamb and joining the saints and angels around the throne. Should the end delay (as I suspect it will), we'll go on: singing the praises of the Lamb and joining the saints and angels around the throne. Either way our life goes on, because our life IS Christ and that's a life that endures forever. What joy to sing together then:

Death you cannot end my gladness,
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness
To inherit paradise.
Though I lie in dust and ashes,
Faith's assurance brightly flashes
Baptism has the strength divine
To make life immortal mine.

There is nothing worth comparing
To this life-long comfort sure,
Open eyed my grave is staring,
Even there I'll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising,
Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ!
I'm a child of Paradise!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Revelation 14,6-7. The Feast of the Reformation

Soli Deo gloria

Revelation 14,6-7
The Feast of the Reformation (22. Sunday after Trinity, Proper 26C)
Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg, Germany. † 994
31. October 2010

O Merciful God and Everlasting Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who in the fullness of the times did send forth Your only begotten Son, who has declared unto us whatsoever He saw and heard in Your bosom: most heartily do we praise and thank You, that You have rekindled among us the light of Your Holy Word, and graciously delivered us from the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, and maintained that work done years ago by Your elect servant Martin Luther. In spite of the wrath and temptations of the devil You have preserved Church and School, given power to Your Word, and granted faithful teachers and ministers to Your congregations. And we acknowledge and confess that we are not worthy to receive such manifestation of Your mercy and goodness, but rather deserve Your judgment and condemnation and on account of our indifference, sins, and hypocrites to be left without the light of Your Holy Word. But we beseech You of Your mercy, deal not with us after our sins nor reward us according to our iniquities. Abide with us, O LORD, for it is toward evening. Keep us and our posterity in the faith of Your Word and in the right use of the Holy Sacraments. Sanctify Your Church in our midst; further and advance Your Reign; glorify Your Name; put down Satan under our feet, and destroy the Son of Perdition by the brightness of Your appearance. Preserve us from all false teachers, hypocrites, and enemies of Your Word who seek to overthrow Your Church purchased at so great a cost by Your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; but at all times send us faithful ministers and teachers who shall lead us into the knowledge and confession of the heavenly mysteries, and finally into the glorious righteousness of Your everlasting Reign. Amen (Löhe 149-150).

Our sermon text for this morning, dear brothers and sisters, is from the Revelation given to St. John where the holy evangelist writes: 6Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to preach to those living on earth and to every nation, tribe, language, and people, saying with a loud voice: ,,Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” This is our text.

Before there was Luther, the Germans had Wolfgang the Bishop of Regensburg, Germany in the 10th century. He is considered one of the three greatest German ecclesiastical leaders in German history. Five centuries later, God gave Germany its greatest theologian, a man named Martin Luther.

If you ask any Lutheran when the Reformation began, the answer you would receive would be 31. October 1517, for that is the day Martin Luther walked from his apartment at the Augustinian monastery and posted his famous 95 Theses on the doors of Allerheiligen Kirche (All Saints Church), which is more commonly known as Schloßkirche (Castle Church) because Duke Frederick III the Wise, Elector of Saxony, built this church in Wittenberg from 1490-1511. When the University of Wittenberg was founded in 1502 by Duke Frederick, the Castle Church became the university’s chapel. Luther was a well-educated man. He was an Augustinian friar (1505), a Catholic priest (1507), and a professor at Wittenberg University with the degree of Doctor of Theology (ThD) (1512). Luther posted the theses to announce that he would debate and lecture at Wittenberg University on the topic of indulgences. It took him fifteen minutes to walk down the street from the Augustinian monastery to the Castle Church. It took fifteen minutes for the Medieval world to change, a change that still reverberates into the 21st century.

At issue in 1517 for Luther was the future of the Church. It is still the issue before us five hundred years later. The thesis before us today is:
The future of the Church

1. does not lie in what we do, but
2. lies alone in what God does through Christ# (Martens).

There is one heresy that consistently infects and infests Christ’s Holy Church, and that is the heresy of Pelagianism. The central doctrine of Pelagianism is that men and women have the ability to keep God’s law and therefore merit eternal life. A number of polls are conducted each year by different denominations where the question is asked, Q: How do you get to heaven? The answer given most often by Christians and non-Christians alike is, A: I have to earn my way into heaven. When asked what things earn entrance into heaven, the usual responses are given, A: be a good person, go to church, give an offering, obey the Ten Commandments, and other similar things. At this point Lutherans hold up their head and puff out their chest and proudly proclaim: ,,We are the heirs of Luther and we know the answer to that question!“ Polling data, however, consistently reveals that even 66% of Lutherans give the answer as ,,I must earn my way into heaven.“ Some of these Lutherans say this because, sadly, that’s what they are taught and have preached to them on a regular basis. Most Lutherans, however, give this wrong answer because Pelagianism agrees so much with our fallen nature and way of thinking. There is something in the fallen, sinful nature that reasons that we must do something to save ourselves and restore our broken relationship with Yahweh.

This desire to do something in regards to our salvation results from the uncertainty that attends to our fallen nature. We are uncertain whether enough has been done to merit our forgiveness, therefore, we reason that if we add our own merits to the mix then a certain level of certainty will result and ease our unsettled consciences. In Luther’s day, Medieval certainty involved many different things, including pilgrimages, masses, and indulgences. Instead of providing certainty, such activities actually heightened one’s uncertainty because one never knew if they had merited enough through their acts of piety and penance to reach heaven. The common Medieval portrayal of Jesus in painting and stained glass windows showed Him as an angry God casting sinners into hell. In the face of such anger, no one was sure if they had enough forgiveness and their faith was directed away from Christ and onto other means of certainty.

Little has changed since Luther’s day. Christians are still tempted to doubt their forgiveness and salvation. Is Christ’s merit enough? What can I do or what can I add that will bring me more certainty? Christians are not helped and their Anfechtung (angst) is not relieved when they turn on their TV and see Rick Warren declare: ,,You see, it takes more than faith, it takes more than belief to really please God“. Christians will think ,,Surely, if one of America’s preeminent Evangelical pastors says this, then it must be true.“

Fortunately for us, the Church does not exist in a vacuum. Countless Christian men and women have struggled with such doubts, and they found their answer in the gospel. The future of the Church, and their own eternal future, did not lie in themselves, but it lies upon solus Christus (Christ alone). Luther is perhaps the most well-known theologian to proclaim this answer.

Luther’s 65th thesis is a precious jewel; he writes: ,,The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.“ Not only does John see in his Apocalypse an angel proclaim this gospel in mid-heaven, but the Holy Spirit has throughout all ages sent prophets, apostles, and pastors who are bishops and teachers to preach this glorious gospel of Christ. True Christian preachers proclaim the opposite of Rick Warren, for true Christian preachers proclaim the pure gospel which is ,,It takes only faith to really please God.“

Let us be clear here, the emphasis is not on ourselves or the faith, but the emphasis is on the subject of the faith, which is Christ. Faith looks to Christ and only Christ. Faith looks to Christ Jesus who suffered on the cross as the ransom price for our sins and who then rose on the third day in victory over sin, death, and the devil. Christ on the cross and Christ risen from the dead are the only merits that please our Heavenly Father. Christ pleases God on our behalf, and faith trusts in Christ and therefore has Christ’s good pleasure credited to the individual who believes in Jesus. Thus faith pleases God.

Do not let the devil or your conscience weigh you down, arguing that you must do something more, something else, to be sure of your righteous standing before our Heavenly Father. Do not believe the lies of Rick Warren, or any other preacher, who tells you that you must put your certainty of salvation in Jesus plus something else, or faith in addition to some other work to be assured of your justification. We only need Christ alone. We only need faith alone in this great and glorious Redeemer.
Such is the purifying message of Luther’s Reformation. He brought certainty to uncertain sinners. He brought them Christ, and only Christ, as the cure and balm for the forgiveness of sins. We must be vigilant with this precious gospel, for it is easily lost. The landscape of Protestantism is littered with denominations that have jettisoned or corrupted the pure gospel of Christ crucified. American Christianity assuredly needs the Reformation with its doctrine of justification just as badly as the Medieval Church needed it in Luther’s day. May the Holy Spirit raise up this day men and women who will ensure that the proclamation of the gospel endures and may He raise up bishops, pastors, and theologians who will ring the bells with their joyous peals of the gospel in sermons, in books, and on the Internet. It took Martin Luther fifteen minutes to change the world with the gospel of Christ penned in his 95 Theses, and it only takes a pastor fifteen minutes to proclaim this same gospel from the pulpit. For when the gospel is purely preached, Christ is rightly glorified and His Church is strengthened and expands because sinners are assured of their forgiveness through the merit of solus Christus (Christ alone). Amen.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus, the Shepherd of Your Church, take away our fear and give us peace so that we are certain and assured that on account of You and Your merit alone that it is Your Father’s good pleasure to give us the reign of heaven and that we enter into this blessed reign solely on account of the fact that You, O Christ, has opened heaven for us. Amen.

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you!

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the New Testament Greek Manuscripts, Luke © 1995 by Reuben Joseph Swanson.
Löhe, Wilhelm. Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Church. Copyright © 1997 Repristination Press.
Martens. Gottfried. A sermon preached on 31. October 2009 (Gedenktag der Reformation) in Berlin-Zehlendorf, Germany on John 2,13-22. Copyright © 2009 The Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens. The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind, Tr. © 2010.

Siebermacher's description of the Bauernfeind coat of arms

Das Illustrierte Bauernfeind Wappen ist offiziell. Im Siebermachers Wappenbuch Dokumentiert. Die original Beschreibung diese Wappens ist wie folgt:

Geviert: 1. 4. G. Einhorn in B. 2. 3. Gespalten, vorn W. Adler am Spalt in K. Hinten 6. aus dem Spalt Hervorgehende G. Flammen in R. (altdeutsche Beschreibung)

Schildbescreibung: „Quadriert: 1) und 4) blau; ein goldenes Einhorn. 2) und 3) senkrecht Geteilt: A) rot; ein weisser Adler Ensteigt der Teilung. B) rot; sechs goldene, übereinander Illustrierte Fische, der Teilung zugekehrt.“

Helmzier: „Ein goldenes, sich aufbaeumendes Einhorn.“

The Illustrated Bauernfeind Coat of Arms is officially documented in Siebermacher’s coat of arms book. The original description of this crest is as follows:

Quarter: 1. and 4. a gold unicorn on blue; 2. And 3. divided, in front of the division in K. white eagle, and behind the division six gold flames on red. (Old German description)

Shield description: “Quarter: 1) and 4) blue, a gold unicorn. 2) and 3) vertically shared: A) red, a white eagle emerges from the division. B) red, six gold fish one above the other facing the partition.”

Helm ornament: “A gold unicorn rearing up.”

More than a Skeleton: A Review

Last week I finished reading Dr. Maier's novel "More than a Skeleton". It picks up a year or more after the first novel. It is an easy-to-read book. Dr. Maier does an excellent job introducing the characters and the main plot. Several characters return from the first novel, particularly the two heroes/protaganists (technically one hero and one heroine). As with his novels, "More than" is packed full of actual history and archeology. I spent more time in the opening chapters doing research on the internet when an actual person or event or place was introduced in the novel. Dr. Maier is quite adept at seemlessly introducing these historical facts into his writing and it gives it a flair of extreme reality and reliability.

I won't give away any major spoilers, except this one: the plot revolves around someone who claims to be the returned Jesus Christ. Dr. Jonathan Weber must determine whether this man's claim is true or not. This wonderfully written novel draws you in and takes you on a great ride throughout Israel and the Vatican City. Dr. Maier also drops many excellent theological truths throughout, but it never comes off as "preachy" or "dry". This novel is an excellent historical thriller.

Btw, the other day my copy of Maier's newsest novel: "The Constantine Codex" arrived in the mail. I can't wait to delve into that one, as I have always like reading about Constantine and that era of the Church.

Friday, May 06, 2011

More than a Skeleton

Years ago, I read Dr. Paul Maier's book "A Skeleton in God's Closet" in brief, it examined what would happen if someone claimed to have found the bones of the crucified Jesus. It was a well-written book with great archeological and historical facts.

The other day I downloaded the Kindle edition of the sequel, "More than a Skeleton". Dr. Maier writes in the jacket blurb that it is not necessary to have read the first book, as this sequel is a stand alone novel. Huzzah! Because I don't remember all the specifics of the first novel.

And now, onto the second novel ....

Thursday, May 05, 2011

WORLD MATTERS: A royalist dream – Harry, King of Saxony

Britain's Prince Harry standing in front of his Apache Helicopter, taken while he was in the French Alps on his Mountain Flying training in March 2011. / AP / Clarence House

Uwe Siemon-Netto

Pardon this outburst from an unreconstructed German monarchist: Scanning the Internet for news about the impending royal wedding has rendered me envious, morose and frustrated. Never mind the uncomprehending sniggers by Bill O’Reilly about this display of allegedly antiquated glamour. O’Reilly might have many merits but he does not grasp the need for glamour in this era of vulgarity and triviality every one of his T.V. shows so aptly portrays night after night.

Being German, I am keenly aware of the dearth of glamour that has marked my country for almost a century. In church we have surly preachers in black robes opining from the pulpit about separating garbage instead of chanting the rich Lutheran liturgy and joyfully proclaiming the Gospel. In academia, colorful commencement proceedings have been abolished; graduates are told to pick up their diplomas in the Admin Building, room 312/A, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. In affairs of state, we are represented not by Kaisers or kings with spiked helmets but grey-clad presidents; some of these have been impressive, I admit, but glamorous they were not. Recently, one of our heads of state just walked off the job like a peeved bookkeeper; compare that with the iron self discipline of Queen Elizabeth II who has just turned 85 and never missed a single workday in the 58 years of her reign.

What galls me most is that royal ceremonies in neighboring countries, in Britain, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Monaco or Spain, are all implicitly German affairs because the blue blood in the veins of at least one of the players is our blue blood – quality German blood. The German yellow press reports every minutiae of these events while missing the central point: A little more of this kind of style in our own country would insert a modicum of elegance into our political and societal discourse, which is even more annoying than its American equivalent because we tend to systematize everything, including imported bad taste.

At this point, though, I must report some good news blessing our bland republican reality with a ray of potential glitter. In my home state of Saxony a baron by the name of Hildebrand von Thumbshirn is waging a campaign to place Prince Harry on the throne of Dresden. I confess that I know little about Herr von Thumbshirn, other than that his family hails from Schloss Ponitz, a fine Renaissance castle in the duchy of Altenburg.

According Thumbshill, there is only one problem with his proposal. He lacks the €250,000 ($360,000) required to start a “Saxon Windsor Party.” There is another problem, too: why Windsor? Why this name that is as spurious as “liberty cabbage,” the American neologism cooked up in World War I to camouflage the German origin of sauerkraut; as specious as the British misnomer, Alsatian, for German Shepherd dogs, and as daft as the term “freedom fries” latter-day American know-nothings invented for French Fries ten years ago when France and Germany opposed the second Iraq war?

So I wonder: Is it not a little petty of the royal family to cling to the fake name it adopted after their own relative, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Queen Victoria’s first grandson, had become their adversary in Europe’s fratricidal World War I? Why not acknowledge what they are – a blend of German clans, the Hanoverians plus the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, whose name they bore until they traded it in for the name of a small town in the County of Surrey? Here you might interject: What about that Greek in the equation? Indeed there is one; Prince Philip of Greece married Elizabeth née Windsor and became the Duke of Edinburgh, but what, do you suppose, is the Greek royal family’s real name? Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

You see, if you look carefully, you can’t escape us. Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of Germany’s 16 states. It has a discrete but still wealthy and influential ducal family by this very name; its branches reign in Denmark and Norway and once upon a time lorded over Greece; via its Greek line it is related by marriage to the royal families of Spain and Britain. In addition to Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg a second German dynasty with an Anglicized name contributed to the noble genealogy of the Queen’s consort. They call themselves Mountbatten but used to be known as Battenberg; Philip’s mother is one of those.

Germany’s top aristocracy has held thrones almost everywhere in Europe – in Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, Scandinavia and Luxembourg. They even left their mark across the Atlantic, in Brazil and Mexico, but also in Hollywood where Prince Frederic von Anhalt shares the glamour of his name with Zsa Zsa Gabor, although he acquired it by adoption; at birth he was called Hans Lichtenberg. Real Anhalt blood has survived in the Romanov family; Catherine the Great was a Princess of Anhalt before becoming a tsarina. And perhaps the noblest Anhalt was Joachim Ernst, the last reigning duke. He resisted the Nazis, was sent to Dachau concentration camp, then liberated by the Americans only to die 1947 at Communist hands in Buchenwald concentration camp.

He was a stellar example of German royals opposing Hitler, a phenomenon rarely acknowledged by Germans or their former adversaries, but this is a story for another day.

Before I proceed with my and Baron von Thumbshill’s monarchist reveries, I may be permitted a historical reminder. Preceding the invention of the automobile by Carl Benz 125 years ago, princes and princesses were Germany’s most precious export items. Our nation with its countless dukes, margraves and landgraves was an amazingly rich source of bluebloods. The British in particular couldn’t get enough of them. They loved King George III, even though the United Kingdom lost much of North America during his reign. They loved this Hanoverian eccentric, especially when he stepped into the sea at Weymouth stark naked, while a band hidden in a nearby bathing machine struck up “God Save the King;” bathing machines, an English invention, were large-wheeled carts that were rolled off the beaches into the water to afford bathers privacy; sometimes they had pianos and even sizable musical ensembles on board.

Or think how much leverage the British allowed George’s daughter-in-law, Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, even though she often neglected to wash, wore dirty clothes, consequently emitted unpleasant smells, and then eventually absconded to Italy with her manservant, Bartolomeo Pergami, leaving her husband, the debauched George IV, in the arms of Maria Fitzherbert whom he had secretly married before even meeting Caroline. The British loathed him and loved her.

Far be it from me to try to wrestle away from our British cousins the scions of our finest families. By all means, hold onto them, you are welcome! But it would be nice if they sent us back just one of them and stopped the false labeling. Please, they are not Windsors but Saxe-Coburg-Gothas! Now I know from personal experience that hyphenated names can be cumbersome, and names with two hyphens must be especially awkward, which is why the Bulgarians quite sensibly called their royal family Sakskoburggotski, though the Belgians, who were twice invaded by the Germans in the 20th century, seem to have no problem to have a king sporting two German hyphens.

To get back to Baron Thumpshirn’s proposal, and to propose to the British a way out of their Windsor bagatelle, how about reverting to the elaborate family’s real name, which is Wettin. The Wettin dynasty has been around and much beloved by its subjects in assorted principalities of central Germany since the 10th century, 100 years before William the Conqueror invaded England. A Wettin prince-elector, Frederick the Wise, was Luther’s protector. Another Wettin, Augustus the Strong, built baroque Dresden and with one of his numerous mistresses, Countess Maria Aurora von Königsmarck, sired Maurice de Saxe (1696-1750), who became one of France’s most celebrated field marshals; one of his grand children gained literary fame calling herself George Sand.

So let’s take up Thumbshirn’s suggestion and make Harry von Wettin King of Saxony. That he is a brave military officer with a great sense of humor won’t hurt. A wholesome display of manliness and humor from the throne will do us Saxons, actually all Germans, a lot of good.

Uwe Siemon-Netto, the former religious affairs editor of United Press International, has been an international journalist for 54 years, covering North America, Vietnam, the Middle East and Europe for German publications. Dr. Siemon-Netto currently directs the League of Faithful Masks and Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life in Irvine, California.