Here we go! This marks the first entry of what I intend to be a weekly blog about life, ministry and yes, theology. With that in mind, I thought I would kick things off with some answers to questions you might be asking. So without further ado, here are some F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions):
- Who are you? My name is Erik, and I am an ordained Pastor in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod serving the wonderful people of Peace Lutheran Ministries in Saginaw, Michigan. My official title is “Rev. (Reverend) Erik R. Schmidt,” or RevErik for short.
- Why would I want to read a Blog by you? I like to think I offer a unique perspective on a lot of things. I haven’t always been a Pastor, for example. I also worked in retail and construction, taught college philosophy courses, and helped people find their seats as a minor league baseball stadium usher. I like all kinds of music and I love to watch movies. I laugh at weird things and I love to make others laugh, especially when it helps ease tensions. I’ve been told I am a good writer and that I can make complicated things easier to understand.
- What is the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod? It is a biblically conservative denomination of the Christian Church that agrees with the 16th century reformer Martin Luther, that we are saved by God’s grace, through faith, and not by our works – which was in the Bible before Marty ever said it (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Wait, did you say ‘conservative?’ So does that mean you are a horrible, hateful hater who hates? Well, ‘conservative’ means a lot of things, but it definitely doesn’t mean that, though there certainly are conservative people who hate, just like there are all sorts of people who have hate in their hearts. But no, as Christians we are called to love our neighbor and pray for our enemies, though we would all do well to remember that we can disagree on things without being enemies. ‘Conservative’ in this case simply means that we do not believe that our faith can be compromised because it is based on God’s Word.
- But isn’t the Bible anti-woman, anti-gay, pro-slavery, and otherwise just seriously outdated? No.
- Wait… Okay, but seriously, have you tried reading the Bible? Yes, broken people have twisted the Bible to make horrible and false claims about slavery and women and a great many other things – but those misuses do not invalidate the Bible itself, which is the story of God’s merciful interaction with the world and the people He created, who live in open rebellion against Him in spite of His unfailing love for them.
- But aren’t you basing your whole faith on the subjective standard of an old book that was written by people in charge of a religious agenda? Actually, the Christian Faith is based on the person and work of Jesus Christ, testified about by well-respected wise men, actual eyewitnesses, and respectable researchers who interviewed eyewitnesses, as recorded in the Bible. And, the Bible is a collection of books, with each one written to a unique context. They were written across 2,000 years, three continents and in three languages by over 40 people who ranged in education and experience from fishermen to kings, from poets to medical doctors. And yet they all share the same unified message about how God loved the sinful world enough to send His Son to save us from ourselves. And, we have enough whole and partial manuscripts to show that its contents have not changed or been proven wrong in 2,000 years. That makes it a far more objective standard than any historical documents we accept as factual without question, let alone any other religious document. And the only agenda is sharing the Good News of the free gift of forgiveness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Can we get back to my Blog now?
- Okay, fine. Who is your intended audience? I am writing for anyone who might enjoy or perhaps even benefit from what I have to say. I hope my readers include members of my church, people who belong to other churches, people looking for a church, and people who aren’t sure about this whole church thing at all. Christian or not, you are welcome here. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. And if you don’t, I still wish you the best as you sail on to something else.
- I’m bored. What else can I do here? Umm, well, it’s kind of about the Blog, but you’re also welcome to listen to my playlist below. It’s an eclectic mix of just a few of the songs I like to listen to. Again, enjoy or sail on, but thank you for staying with me this far!
~Until next time, ever RevErik