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Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (ESV)
First Third World
St. Patrick's Day
17 March 2016
The so-called third world is a rising influence on Christian theology. And not in the way that you would expect. At one time "third world" theology was deeply influenced by the plague of Marxism. This was ironic given the totally European provenance and mindset of Marxist ideology. This was not the true voice of the "third world." Third world theologians have now come to recognize this and have begun to abandon the western mania called Marxism, whose final redoubt is American university faculties and the State of Vermont (just kidding!).
No, third world theologians are now decisively rebelling against the liberal western madnesses, such as the furious fight against the "isms:" sexism, genderism, patriarchalism, capitalism, and so on. Third world theologians have recognized that the pervasive problem plaguing humanity is nothing other than sin. They are confessing the biblical and ancient faith of the church as the only solution for sin. Christ is now seen not as liberator from depressed economic conditions, but as Savior, who, as the Suffering Servant, spends His life to buy us back from sin, death, and hell.
This recognition has set "third world" Christians at odds with their founding western church institutions. Those western churches have been hijacked by the western ideologies of sexual liberation, moral relativism, and political correctnesses of every kind. All too often, Western church leaders now no longer confess the unique lordship of Jesus Christ, claiming that Christianity is just one religion among many; each an equally valid path to heaven. "Third world" Christians see Western Christianity as often reinforcing western cultural prejudices about the "isms." For example, African Anglicans have refused communion to North American Episcopalians because of aberrant and unbiblical sexual practice. These faithful African Anglicans are aware that such practice fractures the church and must not be tolerated by Christians.
The high suspicion of African Lutherans in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya toward the so-called Lutheran World Federation also savors of this rejection of leftist Western ideology. For Lutherans the awakening of confessional Lutheranism in the "third world" has raised the ire of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF, which is none of these. It is neither "Lutheran," "worldwide" nor a "federation."). The result is that when the "third world" rebels against western cultural prejudices, organizations like the LWF begin to persecute faithful Lutheran Christians using the purse strings, attempting to co-opt impoverished Lutheran churches with filthy lucre. LWF gives away huge sums of money in the "third world." Faithful Lutheran pastors and congregations are "de-funded" until they begin to advocate female ordination and the equivalence of homosexuality to faithful heterosexual monogamy, and so on.
While these westerners crow about their tolerance of other cultures, as soon as that "otherness" includes faithful adherence to biblical teachings, suddenly "third world" Christians become ignorant children, not yet sufficiently enlightened to the joys of tolerating everything westerners now hold dear. Quite frankly, these enlightened westerners are still treating "third world" Christians as "ignorant savages." It is a shame that so-called Christians in Europe and North America are persecuting the outbreaks of confessional Lutheranism in Africa and elsewhere. God in his mercy is preserving His holy faith among our brothers and sisters of the "third world," so that it is now becoming the Christian first world! These brothers and sisters are properly hallowing God's name in both doctrine and life. Thank God for the "third world" becoming the Christian first world!


Martin Luther

"'But how does God's name become holy among us?'
"Answer, as plainly as it can be said: 'When both our doctrine and life are godly and Christian.' Since we call God our Father in this prayer, it is our duty always to act and behave ourselves as godly children, that He may not receive shame, but honor and praise from us.
"Now, God's name is profaned by us either through our words or in our works. (For whatever we do upon the earth must be either words or works, speech or act.) In the first place, then, God's name is profaned when people preach, teach, and say in God's name what is false and misleading. They use His name like an ornament and attract a market for falsehood. That is, indeed, the greatest way to profane and dishonor the divine name. Furthermore, man, by swearing, cursing, conjuring, and other such actions, grossly abuse the holy name as a cloak for their shame (1Pt 2:16). In the second place, God's name is profaned by an openly wicked life and works, when those who are called Christians and God's people are adulterers, drunkards, misers, enviers, and slanderers (1Co 5:11). Here again God's name must come to shame and be profaned because of us. It is a shame and disgrace for a flesh-and-blood father to have a bad, perverse child that opposes him in words and deeds. Because of that child the father suffers contempt and reproach. In the same way also, it brings dishonor upon God if we are called by His name and have all kinds of goods from Him, yet we teach, speak, and live in any other way than as godly and heavenly children. People would say about us that we must not be God's children, but the devil's children (1Jn 2:29)....
"Here, now, learn what great need there is for such prayer. Because we see how full the world is of the sects and false teachers, who all wear the holy name as a cover and sham for their doctrines of devils ( 1Ti 4:1 ), we should by all means pray without ceasing ( 1Thess 5:17 ) and cry out and call upon God against all people who preach and believe falsely. We should pray against whatever opposes and persecutes our Gospel and the pure doctrine and would suppress it, as do the bishops, tyrants, enthusiasts, and such ( 2Thess 2:3-4 ). Likewise, we should pray for ourselves who have God's Word but are not thankful for it, or live like we ought according to the Word. If you pray for this with your heart, you can be sure that it pleases God. For He will not hear anything more dear to Him than that His honor and praise is exalted above everything else and that His Word is taught in its purity and is considered precious and dear .

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.39-48
O Lord, Your name is to be kept holy among us through the pure preaching of the Word of God. Uphold all true churches and faithful preachers that they would not stop saying what is in conformity to Your precious Word. We cry to You for your help. Rescue our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, worst of all, by western "churches." Give us the means and will to succor our co-confessors with the gifts that You graciously grant to us. Amen.
For all persecuted Christians, that God would keep them steadfast in His Word and curb the devil's furious rage against them
For France Stenberg, that she would receive God's healing
For the Colleges and Universities of the Concordia University System, that they would remain faithful to the mission of Christ to proclaim the pure gospel into all the world

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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