New Month/No Theme

Dear readers, it’s a new month and for the next thirty days, I will have no theme. That means my posts will simply be led by the Spirit, and you can never tell where God might take us!

I’m sure I will be doing some book reviews and possibly commencing another lectio divina reading. After a month with quite a bit of travel, I’m planning to settle down and get back into a good routine of study and prayer.

I do have one last recommendation related to the them for last month–words. While attending the annual conference of our denomination (Association of Free Lutheran Churches), my husband and I spent some time talking to Pastor J. Christen Andrews of Immanuel Church in Missouri. He also has a blog, and has been posting a series of podcasts about — guess what?– words! So if you’re interested in more about this subject, check him out at https://lumpofclay.net — I’m sure you’ll be edified.

Remember I am always open to comments and suggestions. I love to hear what is going on in the spiritual life of others. God loves you and so do I!

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Most Americans know little to nothing about who the Puritans were and what they taught….and a major part of what people do know is wrong!  Puritanism was nothing more or less than an English expression of the doctrines of the Reformation as formulated by Luther and his associates and other Reformed figures such as Calvin, Bucer and Zwingli.

For Lutherans it is interesting to compare Puritan thought with Lutheran Pietism–a movement which has profoundly affected Lutheranism in the United States.  The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations has its background in that Pietist movement brought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by immigrants.  When we look at the two movements (Puritanism and Pietism) we can see the relationship is not just between two past movements, but has to do with what we believe, teach and confess today at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Leitersburg.

Both Puritans and the Pietists sought to teach and experience a faith that was truly guiding their lives, the kind of faith we say we desire today.

If you are interested in learning more about the Puritans, my husband, Pastor Terry Culler, will be teaching a continuing education class through Shepherd University via Zoom.  The class will begin on Wednesday, March 17 from 3:30PM-5PM and will continue for 6 weeks at the same day and time.  To learn more follow the link below:

Shepherd University | Lifelonglearning

You can also contact Pastor Culler at St. Paul’s at 301-739-5443 or email him at freelutherans@myactv.net.

For other posts about the Puritans see:

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

An Introduction to John Owen by Crawford Gribben–Book Review

Beyond Stateliest Marble by Douglas Wilson — Book Review

For more on pietism see:

What is Pietism?

Lutheran Pietism

 

 

What is Pietism?

My husband, our Pastor, wrote this article for our most recent newsletter.  I think it is helpful in explaining this movement within the Lutheran Church which is often misunderstood.  Of course, he is writing from the perspective of our particular Lutheran denomination, the Association of Free Lutheran Churches (AFLC).  Some of our authors are from other Lutheran bodies and I am hoping will give us some historical perspectives on how they evolved.

The AFLC traces its beginnings in this country to a revival movement among Lutherans in the 1890’s.  But the beginnings of our theological basis are found in a Lutheran movement know as Pietism that began in the 17th century in Germany and spread through Scandinavia.

Pietism is first of all Lutheran, with a special emphasis on the work of Martin Luther.  It seeks to encourage all believers to be able to say with St. Paul that they have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer they who live, but Christ who lives in them (Gal. 2:20).

Pietism advanced among people who sought for their lives more than simple church attendance and agreement with a set of doctrines.  It is at its heart a desire to live in a way which reflects a deep felt desire to grow daily in sanctification.

One of the disciplines many pietists embraced in their desire for a more Christian life was participation in what were then called conventicles.  A conventicle was a meeting of Christians outside of the regular church services where they would study and pray together.  We no longer refer to these meetings as conventicles but, in American parlance, as small group ministries.

Those who opposed Pietism tried to charge these conventicles with luring people away from the church and leading them into the possibility of theological error.  Some oppose such groups today for similar reasons.

However, it has been shown over and over again that a congregation with an active conventicle/small group ministry will have a deeper spiritual life than one which focuses all its work on Sunday morning.

 

AFLC 2019 Bible Study for Women

Every year the AFLC(Association of Free Lutheran Churches) Women publish a Bible Study written by a WMF (Women’s Missionary Federation) member.  I wrote the 2017 study which was on the book of Acts.  This year, the study was written by Beverly Enderlein and is entitled, God’s Servants Teach Us Life Lessons.  Since our theme this month is Servants of the Lord, it seemed like an opportunity to highlight it.  Here are the chapters:

LESSON 1 A POOR WIDOW…Obedience brings blessings
LESSON 2 RUTH…The Romance of Redemption                                         LESSON 3 THE WOMAN AT THE WELL…Jesus Satisfies completely and forever
LESSON 4 A LITTLE FAMILY IN BETHANY…We Shall Rise Again
LESSON 5 HANNAH…A Godly Mother
LESSON 6 ADAM AND EVE…The Problem of Temptation
LESSON 7 JOSEPH…God Working Out His Perfect Plan (Part 1)
LESSON 8 JOSEPH…God Working Out His Perfect Plan (Part 2)
LESSON 9 NEHEMIAH…Build A Strong Wall of Christlike Living
LESSON 10 STEPHEN…How to Die Victoriously
LESSON 11 DORCAS…Showing My Love For Jesus in Practical Ways
LESSON 12 MARY, MOTHER OF JESUS…God Keeps His Word

For further study on servanthood, you might like to purchase this guide, or just use the topics to do some research on your own.  The Bible is full of examples of servanthood, and we can all learn from good role models.

If you are interested in purchasing this study, or learning more about the Women’s Missionary Federation, you can go to this link for more information.  Happy studying!

https://www.aflc.org/women/resources/bible-studies/