Good Friday/Easter Sunday Thoughts

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

Good Friday Message Brought to You by Chaplain Timothy Swenson.

“The cross alone is our theology,” so said Martin Luther himself as he summed up his theological breakthrough. This declaration came in his Lectures on the Psalms (1519-1521). The cross was shorthand for the entire event of Jesus’ life—his Incarnation, his Crucifixion, and his Resurrection. Luther’s chosen label, “the cross,” kept people from skipping over the Crucifixion entirely. They sentimentalized Jesus’ life: a cute and cooing baby to a brilliantly arrayed risen Lord. People love sentiment and if anything detracts from the sentiment of Jesus’ life, it’s his death.

First off, he died… he died a mean, ugly death… he died a death meant to shame and horrify both its victim and its bystanders… Jesus was crucified… “lifted up” as that day’s euphemism would have it. This man, Jesus of Nazareth died. This God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, insofar as these two natures were united in one person… this God died. Jesus died because the humanity he came to save wanted him dead. That humanity used a corrupted court, power-coveting officials, and an expression of mob violence, but they got the job done. Jesus died.

Secondly, as nowhere else in all of scripture or human history, the murder of Jesus by an ungrateful humanity exposes human sin and its depths in the most dramatic of ways. Humans—you, I, and every person—are god-killers. We might say that we love God, but that’s simply a lie we tell ourselves about ourselves. We don’t love the true God… we don’t love the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… we hate the true God. Hence, we can only love some sentimentalized projection of our imagination… that god becomes the personification of our idols. Every confrontation with Jesus in his person confronts us with our god-killing identity. I sinned… you sinned… people sinned. Jesus died. All humanity will die in its sin.

But God would not let sin have the last word. The will of a corrupt, sin-broken humanity does not prevail over the divine intent. God raised Jesus from the dead. God raised Jesus from dead, a decisive victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil. By defeating them, God broke their yoke of bondage holding our corrupt, sin-broken humanity in thrall, binding our wills to themselves. By raising Jesus from the dead, God made him the first born of a large family—that is, all those who believe in him are to be raised to eternal life with him. Jesus was raised from the dead. So, too, will we be raised from the dead.

But that resurrection is not yet. For now, that resurrection lies ahead of us. It lies on the other side of our own going down to the dust of our mortality—that is, our physical death. We have already gone down beneath the water and the Word of baptism, being joined to the death of Jesus—that is our sacramental death. Between these two deaths—the sacramental and the physical—we walk only by faith, still assaulted by that trio of bondage: sin, death, and the power of the devil. They have been defeated but they have not ended. Against their assaults and in opposition to their lies, we hold the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection together as one salvific event… an event summarized by saying, “The cross alone is our theology.”

 


Theology in Residence Gathering

The inaugural meeting of the Christ School of Theology’s Theology in Residence Gathering is taking place on June 12-17, 2023, in Brookings, SD.

Christ School of Theology students are invited to join with fellow theologians, scholars, and faculty as they engage in personal theological research. Participants will pursue their individual, theological research efforts while refining their research through conversations with fellow scholars and on-site faculty, combined with guided academic coaching and research support from the Christ School of Theology Dean of Library and Research.

The emphasis for this year’s gathering is Theology and Science. Students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to join us this year to study the relationship between theology and science, the degree to which these scholarly disciplines and compatible, the potential complementarity or incompatibility of scientific and theological inquiry? Student research in theology and science will serve as preparation for a Seminar in Theology and Science offered this summer.

The Resurrection of our Lord A, April 9, 2023

God has the last word.  Peter preaches the death of Jesus Christ at the hands of the people and God’s subsequent raising of him from the dead (Acts 2:23-24; 3:13; 4:10; 10:39-40).  The people kill Jesus, silencing him and putting an end to his works.  Yet, that is not the end.  The people do not have the last word.  God has the final word, and that word is life, not death.  God’s resurrection of Jesus the Christ is the Lord’s affirmation of the prophetic witness—generations of prophetic witness—that “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (vs. 43).

This forgiveness of sins constitutes the new thing which the Lord is doing (Is. 43:19).  The persistent cycle of the people’s sin incurring God’s wrath and judgment against them, followed by God’s grace upon them… this centuries-long cycle is broken in Jesus Christ.  Forgiveness is no longer obtained by the people’s work, whether that be the offering of an appropriate sacrifice… the promised amendment of their behavior… or the performance of acts of contrition.  No, the forgiveness of sins is granted only through the name of Jesus.  The only repentance demanded is the turn from unbelief to belief.  Unbelief puts Jesus to death (vs. 39).  Belief that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead brings forgiveness of sin… even the sin of putting Jesus to death.

Peter tells the crowd before him that the resurrected Jesus not only ate and drank but also gave those chosen by God as witnesses a command to preach.  The content of the preaching declared Jesus as God’s appointed judge of those alive and of those dead—that is all people (vs. 42).  This preaching has continued from generation to generation until it is now preached to your ears.  The content has remained the same.  The intent remains the same:  to turn you from unbelief to belief—that is, to repent you.  The result remains the same:  the forgiveness of your sins.  Your sin does not have the last word.  God, in Jesus Christ, delivers the ultimate and final verdict:  forgiveness!

Table Talk:  Discuss the importance of knowing that the depth of our sin includes the killing of the Son of God.
Pray:  Father in heaven, grant me to trust your final word of forgiveness and not look to my own sin.  Amen

Acts 10:34-43 English Standard Version

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Good Friday A, April 7, 2023

The passage before us comprises the fourth Servant Song in Isaiah.  Christians have long considered these songs to anticipate Jesus Christ as the servant whom the Lord claims as his own.  This song addresses the exiled Jews taken into Babylon after Babylon’s army had waged a successful siege of Jerusalem.  The Babylonians served as an instrument of God’s wrath against an idolatrous people.  This cycle of sin-judgment-grace repeatedly characterized God’s relationship with his people.  The Book of Judges alone presents over a dozen repetitions of it.  Later in the people’s history, the kingdom of Israel is taken by the Assyrians as punishment for its apostasy.  Now the kingdom of Judah was being carried into exile for its idolatrous behavior.  The people and their prophets, including Isaiah here, wondered if anything would ever interrupt the people’s persistence in sin and the consequences of the Lord’s wrath against it.

The solution as prophesied here breaks the pattern and brings about an entirely new situation.  The solution does not entertain the betterment of the people—that is, the people do not sin less or become less inclined toward idolatry.  Established here is the Lord’s answer to the people’s unfaithfulness… to the people’s sin… to the people’s idolatry.  The Lord provides a servant unrecognizable, unattractive, and disrespected among men (vs. 3) yet exalted by God.  This servant bears the iniquity of the people (vs. 6).  This servant bears the sin of the many (vs. 12).  This servant is crushed because the Lord wills it (vs. 10).  The solution… this breaking of the sin-judgment-grace cycle… is so new, so unexpected, that it defies history.  Kings had not been told, nor had they heard of such a thing, but nonetheless, they will both see and understand (vs. 52:15).  The Lord himself breaks the cycle, breaking it in an unanticipated and unexpected way.  This is the new thing the Lord is doing (Is. 43:19).  In Jesus Christ, the Lord has done his new thing to you.

Table Talk:  Discuss the truth of, and perpetuation of, the cycle:  sin-judgment-grace.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, grant that Jesus Christ become your instrument breaking my cycle of sin-judgment-grace.  Amen

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 English Standard Version

Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
53 Who has believed what he has heard from us
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows[e] and acquainted with grief,
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Maundy Thursday A, April 6, 2023

Moses is a realist.  He had just heard the Lord announce his very own name (vs. 6-7).  The Lord forgives sin and iniquity, but the Lord also holds the guilty accountable, even for the sins of their ancestors (vs. 7).  Moses knows his people well enough and, out of that knowledge, names them “stiff-necked” (vs. 9).  He also knows they’re sinful and in need of pardon.  So, Moses says, “Please.”  He begs the Lord’s presence among the people and pleads for their pardon.  In answer to Moses’ plea, the Lord announces a promise… a formal promise known as a covenant… with Moses and the people, a covenant of the Lord’s presence, his power, and his pardon (vs. 10).  Furthermore, the Lord will push out every enemy of the people (vs 11).

This has ever been the way of the Lord with his people.  This has ever been the way of the Lord with you.  You are of that stiff-necked people for whom Moses interceded.  You are of that sinful and iniquitous people needful of the Lord’s pardon.  You are of that people taken by the Lord for his inheritance.  You are of that people who have better than Moses as an intercessor.  You have a savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the presence of the Lord among you.  He is the power of the Lord made perfect in weakness.  Not only is he the forgiveness of your sins but he also takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29).  Jesus is the one who has the victory over all your enemies.  He has his victory in the full sight of every people.

Yes, Jesus, has already had his victory over all your enemies; they are defeated.  Jesus has set you free from the triad of bondage:  sin, death, and the power of the devil.  Jesus has delivered you out of your captivity to the devil, the world, and your sinful self.  Jesus has removed your idolatry to the unholy trinity:  me, myself, and I.  Jesus has defeated them all, but they are not yet ended.  You live in these days of Jesus’ victory, yet those enemies have yet to end.

Table Talk:  Discuss the way of the Lord with his people and its constancy through the generations.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, your faithfulness endures from generation to generation; keep me in that faithfulness as I hear your Word of presence, power, and pardon.  Amen

Exodus 34:3-11 English Standard Version

No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands,  forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

The Resurrection of our Lord A

All four gospels bear witness that women went to Jesus’ tomb early on the day of the resurrection.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak of several women.  John speaks of one woman.  Matthew, Luke, and John all speak of the women going and telling.  Mark, in contrast, claims the women said nothing because they were afraid.  These women visited the tomb expecting to perform their customary task of attending to the dead.  Instead of fulfilling that duty, the women were transformed into the first witnesses of the resurrection.  Here, in Matthew, the angel transforms them from disciples of Jesus—that is followers of Jesus—into apostles of the resurrection.  The “angel sends them out” to tell the other disciples that Jesus is risen from the dead.  Here we are, you and I, engaging in our customary task of attending worship, yet the Word of God comes to us, interrupting our duty and transforming us into the sent-out ones… the apostles… bearing witness to the world of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.    

Prayers from a reluctant apostle who prefers the safe confines of discipleship’s duties rather than confront the same world which executed Jesus…

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  So fill my ears with this good news that I am struck dead in my sin only to be raised to new life in Jesus Christ.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  Since I now have new life in Jesus Christ my Lord, give me ears to hear his command, “Go!” so that I would be sent out as a witness to him unto the ends of the earth.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  While I am going into the world bearing witness to Jesus Christ, grant me such humility in my witness that I become small and Jesus becomes all.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  My going into the world includes attending to those tasks and duties pertaining to my callings and vocations, grant that I not neglect them as I bear witness to Christ my Lord.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  So fill my days with the presence of neighbors so numerous that I have opportunity to bear witness to my Lord in the hearing of many ears.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  You have called the Institute of Lutheran Theology to fulfill its duty of training a new generation of preachers and teachers who will bear witness to Jesus Christ in their own callings and vocations.  Bless the Institute in these duties handed over to it.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  As I live out the days of my baptism being gathered in as follower of Christ and then being sent out as an apostle to his name, grant me ears to both his command, “Follow me!” and his command, “Go!” Lord, make it so!

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Introducing a New Course!

HST 825: Before Auschwitz: Theologians under Hitler

Orientation Meeting: June 1, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. 
Schedule will be determined after the orientation meeting. 

Sign up now by contacting Joel Williams at jwilliams@ilt.edu.

Download Flyer

About the Course:
This research seminar is a hybrid model combining elements of independent study and advanced level seminar specially designed to serve mature students with a flexible schedule during the summer months. Building upon Dr. Hinlicky’s 2013 book, this research seminar enables students to probe weaknesses and strengths in the Lutheran tradition of theology made visible by the rise in Germany of Hitlerism in the 1920s and 30s.

Students will become competent analysts and critics of Protestant more particularly Lutheran responses to the rise of Hitlerism. The class is a seminar, meaning that students will present to the class their own research and critical evaluation of selected author and text in the time of the rise of Hitlerism. The class will meet for two sessions in June to discuss two required texts respectively. Thereafter, the course has a significant component of independent study with each student assigned a particular author, text or topic as the basis of his/her research in individual consultation with the instructor followed by a preliminary report to the seminar in July and a final presentation of the seminar paper to the seminar at the end of August.

About the Professor:
Dr. Paul Hinlicky is a Lutheran theologian and prolific author of about a dozen books. He has served congregations in New York and Virginia, and is an eagerly anticipated speaker at church events and academic conferences alike. In his spare time he farms on a piece of once exhausted, now renewing mountain soil in southwestern Virginia.

 


Upcoming Event:

Theology in Residence Gathering

The inaugural meeting of the Christ School of Theology’s Theology in Residence Gathering is taking place on June 12-17, 2023, in Brookings, SD.

Christ School of Theology students are invited to join with fellow theologians, scholars, and faculty as they engage in personal theological research. Participants will pursue their individual, theological research efforts while refining their research through conversations with fellow scholars and on-site faculty, combined with guided academic coaching and research support from the Christ School of Theology Dean of Library and Research.

The emphasis for this year’s gathering is Theology and Science. Students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to join us this year to study the relationship between theology and science, the degree to which these scholarly disciplines and compatible, the potential complementarity or incompatibility of scientific and theological inquiry? Student research in theology and science will serve as preparation for a Seminar in Theology and Science offered this summer.

Palm-Passion Sunday A

Very savvy political operatives, these religious leaders, for they knew all about working the crowd.  Grabbing Jesus up without properly preparing the crowd risked a spontaneous uproar from the crowd, an undesirable consequence in the eyes of Caiaphas, the elders, and the chief priests.   Later, these religious leaders, having had the opportunity to work the crowd, led the crowd in shouting, “Crucify him!” (Mt. 27:22-23).   The cross of Jesus Christ exposes the raw reality of combining religious authority with political authority.  The Passion Story (Mt. 26:1-27:66) depicts three venues of judgment against Jesus:  before the Sanhedrin, before Herod, and before Pilate.  The court of judgment convened by the religious authority could not issue a death sentence (Jn. 19:31).  Those elders and chief priests then sought out a venue of judgment that could levy a death sentence.  And so, with the endorsement of the crowd, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mt. 27:26).  Those religious leaders, savvy political operatives that they were, had their way with Jesus, silencing him by hanging him on the cross.

Prayers from one whose old sinner always looks to combine religious authority with political power…

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Grant that in this newness of life, I do not resort to the use of political power rather than trust your Word’s authority.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Grant that in this newness of life, I live in the freedom of freedom itself and not again succumb to the misuse of power.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I live out of the new freedom given in Jesus Christ, grant that the assurance of my salvation is a comfort to me.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I am comforted by the assurance of my salvation, turn me toward fulfilling my callings and my vocations without their duties being burdensome to me.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I fulfill the various duties of my vocations, hold me in the faith of Jesus Christ so that I receive my righteousness from him and not the work of my hands.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Hold the Institute of Lutheran Theology constant in the teaching and preaching of this word.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  During these days of my baptism, as I await the revelation of your Son in glory, continue to use your creative Word upon me that I would receive new life out of my sinner’s death.  Amen

Heavenly Father, as I raise my voice in complaint against your hiddenness give my complaint its answer in your Word handed over at the pulpit, the font, and the altar.  Amen

Heavenly Father, when I question your presence amidst my afflictions, give me such faith to apprehend the truth of Jesus’ declaration, “Lo, I am with you always.”  Amen

Heavenly Father, when my faith falters in the face of my God’s hiddenness, keep me in the company of saints so that the faith we share will bear me up and bring me back before the pulpit, font, and alter.  Amen

Heavenly Father, open my ears that I would hear your Word and trust that your Holy Spirit works faith in me… faith in Jesus Christ as the divine yet invisible and incomprehensible reality present to me beyond my senses and reason.  Amen

Heavenly Father, hold the Institute of Lutheran Theology to the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ as the presence of this divine, invisible, and incomprehensible reality.  Amen

Heavenly Father, in these the days of my baptism, grant me the daily renewal of your mercies as day by day I take up your Word and it brings me to stand beneath its authority.  Amen

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Palm-Passion Sunday A, April 2, 2023

“He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?” Vs. 8

His tongue… his ear… his humility… The prophet names these things that the Lord has provided him (vs. 4-6).  Isaiah has received a tongue that speaks a sustaining word to the weary.  Isaiah has received an awakened ear.  Isaiah has received a humility, a humility for enduring the disgrace of being spit upon.  Having received this work of the Lord upon him, Isaiah bursts into confession:  the Lord helps me!  The prophet’s confidence in the Lord’s help means he’s not disgraced, he’s determined, unashamed, and confident that he will prevail against his adversary (vs. 8).

The prophet’s confident boast, “Who will contend with me?” suggests another confident boast, one made by the Apostle Paul, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies?” (Ro. 8:33).  Both prophet and apostle boast because of what the Lord has done.  Paul boasts of God’s love given him in Jesus Christ.  Isaiah boasts because of what the Lord has given him:  a tongue, an ear, and his humility.  These, perhaps, prefigure the work of the Lord’s love in Christ Jesus.

The same Lord who vindicated the prophet Isaiah… the same Lord who justified the Apostle Paul… that same Lord is your Lord… vindicating you… justifying you… electing you.  The same Lord, the one who loves you in Jesus Christ, has given a tongue to sustain.  He has given an ear to hear.  And, he has given a gospel for which no one need be ashamed (Ro. 1:16).  All these he has given, first to your preacher and then, through that preacher, to you.  This tongue, this ear, this unashamedness of the gospel is delivered to you for your confession… so that you would stand in the same company as the prophet and the apostle… so that you would stand up together (vs. 8) … stand together, no matter the adversaries, in the company inseparable from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf. Ro. 8:39).

Table Talk:  Discuss the consequence of standing with those making this confident boast.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, give me such a tongue to speak what my ear has heard that I, too, would stand in the company of prophets and apostles held by God’s love in Christ Jesus.  Amen

Isaiah 50:4-9a English Standard Version

The Lord God has given me

    the tongue of those who are taught,

that I may know how to sustain with a word

    him who is weary.

Morning by morning he awakens;

    he awakens my ear

    to hear as those who are taught.

5 The Lord God has opened my ear,

    and I was not rebellious;

    I turned not backward.

6 I gave my back to those who strike,

    and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;

I hid not my face

    from disgrace and spitting.

7 But the Lord God helps me;

    therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like a flint,

    and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

8     He who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

    Let us stand up together.

Who is my adversary?

    Let him come near to me.

9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;

    who will declare me guilty?

ILT Board Meeting – March 2023

The ILT Board of Directors met on Friday, March 17, 2023. In this one-day meeting, the board members discussed many items on their agenda including ATS accreditation, new graduates, and new partnerships.

The current board membership includes:

  • Kip Tyler – Board Chair
  • Charles Stevenson – Board Vice Chair
  • Becky Hand – Secretary
  • Fred Schickedanz – Treasure
  • G. Barry Anderson
  • Douglas Bahr
  • Fran Hill
  • Curtis Lund
  • Dorothy McNaught
  • Ed Skutshek
  • John Stiegelmeier
  • Donald Simmons

Three new partnerships were approved at this meeting. ILT is now in partnership with Lutherans for Life, Mount Carmel Ministries, and the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute.

The ILT Board voted to affirm a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Lutherans for Life that establishes a trajectory of collaboration between the two organizations in establishing a Journal dealing academically with issues of life entitled Verba-Vitae. Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt has agreed to be the General Editor of the Journal, ILT Christ College faculty member Rev. Douglas Morton will serve as Associate Editor, and ILT Dean of Library and Research Rev. David Patterson will be Managing Editor. The first issue of Verba-Vitae is slated to appear at the end of 2023.

The ILT Board voted to affirm an MOU with Mount Carmel Ministries. Mount Carmel, as a part of this partnership, will provide student housing for Christ College students. This will give undergraduate students the opportunity to live in a Christian community designed to support them as they take online courses from Christ College faculty.

The ILT Board voted to affirm an MOU with the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI). CLBI offers many educational opportunities for high school graduates including a gap year program and diploma programs. CLBI students will be able to transfer credits from the CLBI programs into Christ College’s undergraduate programs. Christ College students will also be able to live at the CLBI campus while they take undergraduate courses from Christ College faculty.


These partnerships will help students to find a path that leads to their educational goals and God’s callings in their lives. We pray that God will continue to support each of us as we seek to serve him and his people.

 


Theology in Residence Gathering

The inaugural meeting of the Christ School of Theology’s Theology in Residence Gathering is taking place on June 12-17, 2023, in Brookings, SD.

Christ School of Theology students are invited to join with fellow theologians, scholars, and faculty as they engage in personal theological research. Participants will pursue their individual, theological research efforts while refining their research through conversations with fellow scholars and on-site faculty, combined with guided academic coaching and research support from the Christ School of Theology Dean of Library and Research.

The emphasis for this year’s gathering is Theology and Science. Students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to join us this year to study the relationship between theology and science, the degree to which these scholarly disciplines and compatible, the potential complementarity or incompatibility of scientific and theological inquiry? Student research in theology and science will serve as preparation for a Seminar in Theology and Science offered this summer.

The Fifth Sunday of Lent A, March 26, 2023

A sense of finality weighs upon these words.  The Lord speaks and it is so.  The Lord speaks reality into existence:  the reality of all creation… the reality of all salvation… the reality of your salvation.  In this account of Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones, the Lord takes the occasion of his speaking a people (the dry bones) into existence and declares, “You shall know that I am the Lord” (vs. 6).  The Lord says this twice:  first at the resurrection of the dry bones and second, at the resurrection from the grave (vs. 13).  The Lord’s speaking provides for both resurrections.

Nothing in the reality of the dry bones… nothing in the reality of the people’s graves… nothing, except the Word of the Lord spoken into their empty reality, put breath in those bones or brought life from those graves.  This witness to the Lord’s bringing something out of nothing… this witness provides our certainty that this Lord is THE LORD!

This witness provided to Ezekiel and promised to the Lord’s people has come to you.  It has arrived through the words of scripture such as these from the prophet Ezekiel.  It has arrived through the words of your preacher who takes this particular word from scripture and applies it to you, a particular people in a particular place and of a particular time.  It has arrived by your baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  It arrives each time the body and blood of your dear Lord Jesus Christ is handed over to you, his betrayers, in the bread and the wine.  The witness comes to you through these means of grace.  It comes to you so that you will know that your Lord is THE LORD.  By these means, your Lord works faith in you, giving you the certainty that this Lord of yours speaks a new reality into existence.  Your Lord speaks his Word and you, a believer, are created out of the nothingness of unbelief.  Your Lord speaks and the new creation in Christ is established for you amid this old, passing-away creation.  Your Lord speaks and the grave of your mortality is opened.  Your Lord, THE LORD, has spoken and his Word is the final word.

Table Talk: Discuss the reality established by the Word of God as it contrasts with other realities.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, you are the Lord that speaks my faith into existence; hold me in that certainty.  Amen

Ezekiel 37:1-14 English Standard Version

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophecy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

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