May 2022 Newsletter
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! We say it every year at Easter, and hopefully after. It is our call, it is our anthem, it is our refrain, our glory, our praise. To “Him who died and rose again (2 Cor. 5:15b),” to the one “who is and was, and is to come – the Almighty (Rev. 1:8b),” “the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth (John 1:14b),” “to Him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:36)” That last verse was used more out of context than the previous three. The first three verses all have Christ as their direct reference, the last one though, the word “Him” refers to God generally from a few verses previous, which would lead one to question if the proper antecedent is actually the Father.
Why does all that last bit matter? Over Easter weekend I noticed a handful of posts on facebook that would have never bothered me before, but now they strike a different cord which I’ll explain eventually. Posts of “He is risen!” Not “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” Just “He is risen!” Again, you ask what the big deal is? “HE who?” “Jesus! Christ!” you respond. Then why not say: “Christ is risen!”? Now I’m sure that in most to all cases the presumed antecedent of “he” is Christ. What’s an antecedent you say? It is the definitive noun the pronoun is referencing, or otherwise put: “A pronoun should refer clearly to one, clear, unmistakable noun coming before the pronoun.” The antecedent or referent of any pronoun should be obvious, otherwise the noun or proper noun should be used to avoid confusion. This is where context is helpful with a phrase like, “He told him to take it to it.” Four pronouns, all attached to different people or things. Are the two men father, son, uncle, nephew, grandfather or just some random males? What or where are the things? A shovel, a shed, a bag, a car, two random things, one which will end up by the other.
Again, you say, what’s the point? We know who He is! He is all those things mentioned in the first paragraph and so much more! I agree, as Christian readers of God’s holy Word we know exactly who Christ is, which is why we need to be bold in our proclamation of who Christ is and what He has done. Simply put, we are Christ-ians not He-ians. That may sound equally odd, but yet Luther hated the moniker “Lutheran” and wished they would simply be called Christians because that is what they were!
Now add in the baggage of our day with the ‘pronoun wars,’ and ‘gender-madness’ continuing to plague our society, especially our youth and children. People aimlessly goaded into ‘declaring their pronouns’ or deludedly thinking that just because they say they identify as something it somehow becomes so. There are only 2 genders and will only ever be. Imagine the ridiculous confusion of the previous sentence: “He told him to take it to it,” if any of those pronouns could mean literally any-thing!? Specificity matters: a “clear, unmistakable” antecedent is required for any level of clarity in what we say having any real meaning. “Say what you mean, and mean what you say,” is the non-theological equivalent of Christ’s words in Matthew 5:37 “Simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything else comes from the evil one.” While the context of this verse is in regards to oaths, the heart of the matter and its origin speak directly to our present context. The devil thrives in the chaos he creates. “All the better to LIE to you through, my dear,” our wolfish foe croons to unsuspecting or uncaring sheep. This level of confusion over self, over first things like gender are directly of the evil one. This the devil at work in our world and anyone who denies it is either too scared or too deluded to speak and denounce the demonic that is staring them in the face.
Now for further clarity of the situation the Church in society finds herself. Twice in the last two weeks video has surfaced of pagan heretics setting themselves up in churches, the holy places of the most high God. What’s different is not that heretics have inhabited the church, but the brazenness of it. Calling on the “breastfeeding god of many breasts,” or the equating the God of the Bible with some perverted ideology: female or trans or a/pansexual or drag or all and every of the above. All of it done with absolute intention and fervor. This should turn your stomach! The idea that anyone would walk into a place once hallowed and dedicated to the only living God and call on something demonic is not new. Just look to Old Testament kings like Jeroboam, Ahaz or Manasseh who set up idols to false gods in the houses of the Lord! Or heed the warning of the apostle Paul of those opposed to God setting themselves up in His church, and the people surrounding themselves with teachers who will tell them what their “itching ears want to hear.”
Therefore brothers and sisters in Christ, “Be sober-minded and alert! You enemy the devil prowls around like the roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him standing firm in your faith (1 Peter 5:8-9a).” And as Christ calls on us to speak clearly let us do so and speak out loud! Demons can’t read your thoughts, but they can hear your words. Say the name of Christ out load for even demons believe and shudder! (James 2:19b) They knew exactly who He was and is, and what He will come to do on the Last Day (Matt. 8:29). For us this is a great and glorious confidence and why we ought always to have the name of Christ not just in our minds, but on our lips, in our conversations and in the prayers that we pray out loud.
May we ever be sober-minded and self-disciplined in our speech that no one would mistake whom we worship for we are so abundant in confessing the name of our Lord Jesu Christ as the only way to life eternal. Let it be unmistakably clear that we pray to our heavenly Father through and at urging of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we look forward to that great and terrible Day of Christ’s return and pray it’s quickening.
Christ is risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
Pastor Nick Buchholz