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[June 20, 2016 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
It’s easy to become discouraged these days as Christians living in Canada. The legalization of euthanasia, attempts to ban graduates of a certain Christian university from entering the legal profession, and ever increasing hostility to public expressions of faith are all evidence of rampant secularization. Membership in Christian denominations is down across the spectrum, including in Lutheran Church–Canada, and those attending church services regularly are the exception, not the norm, these days.
You can start to feel pretty small in a world like that. You can be afraid to …


In: Headline, Table Talk

[May 12, 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

by Mathew Block
On July 1, 1523, two Augustinian monks were burned at the stake in Brussels. Their crime? They were Lutheran.
A year earlier, in 1522, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes and the other monks at the Monastery in Antwerp had declared their adherence to the teachings of Martin Luther and the other Evangelical reformers: that the Scriptures were authoritative even over church tradition, and that bishops—including the pope—were themselves subject to the authority of Scripture. They further held that bishops should exercise spiritual authority—to preach the Word of God—rather than …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, Saints of the Reformation, Table Talk

[April 13, 2016 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
Faith transforms lives. The Scriptures tell us that those who believe in Jesus Christ begin to live differently. Those who have been given the Holy Spirit are empowered by Him to begin to live a new life, to strive to follow God and His will ever more closely. We begin to seek out good works to do. But this is not because we are coerced to do so—as if our salvation depended on such acts. Rather, we follow after Christ in gratitude for the salvation He has already …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, Table Talk

[February 9, 2016 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus makes a particularly angry speech against the religious leaders in Jerusalem (Matthew 23:1-39). There Jesus condemns the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, pronouncing “Seven Woes” and condemning these men as “snakes” and “vipers.” He even suggests that, had they been alive, they would have joined in the murder of those Old Testament prophets who died violent deaths. Jesus’ anger at their sin is palpable, and his declaration of coming judgment nigh unbearable. “Upon you will …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, Table Talk

[December 9, 2015 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
For several weeks leading up to Christmas, the Church commemorates a season called Advent. The word comes from a variant of the Latin word for “to come,” and refers to the prophesied coming of Christ. Consequently, in Advent Christians do two things: we remember the waiting of the faithful for the First Coming of the Messiah—the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem two millennia ago. But we do not merely remember a past event. No, we also look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of all things.
The …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, Table Talk

[October 16, 2015 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
“Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favour and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight.”
So speaks the fourth article of the Augsburg Confession (the primary Lutheran statement of faith, presented to Emperor Charles V on June 25, 1530). There were many …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, Table Talk