welcome. why "weak on sanctification"?

this accusation is often made about lutheran christians. because we focus so strongly on god's justifying grace in christ, and our continual need, as "sinner-saints," to receive god's gifts of grace through word and sacrament, people say we are "weak on sanctification." i prefer to say we are strong on jesus, whose sanctifying work in our lives is the fruit of the gospel all along our lifelong journey. i would much rather focus on what he has done than on anything i might do.

the weekly discussion

each week I set forth a topic to promote discourse about some aspect of Christianity, the church, or the spiritual life. i would love to hear your perspective and thoughts on each week's subject. these discussions are usually posted on mondays, so if you missed this week's post and would like to catch up on the conversation, just scroll down and join us.

November 17, 2009

imonk interview

our friend, michael spencer, aka the "internet monk," was kind enough to ask to do an interview about my work as well as my perspectives on evangelical pastoral care for the dying.

of course, since he asked me to speak on a subject about which i am passionate, i couldn't stop talking. you can read the interview in all its verbose glory at the imonk website.

thanks, michael, for the opportunity to share.

my prayer is that many will be encouraged and helped as they think through how to minister to those who are in the final season of life. and may we be ever mindful of those who are mourning in our midst.

today's van gogh


  1. Mike --
    I loved what you said in the interview. I'm glad you were allowed to express your thoughts so thoroughly. I hadn't thought about the "hurry" in the evangelical church that makes people impatient with death, as something that won't help growth or missions. I had heard that someone criticized Mother Teresa for not doing enough good tending the dying. He said she could do so much more working with the government to get laws changed, etc. Yeah, and Jesus could have taken over the Roman Empire, too, but He obviously thought dying was central to His plan.

  2. Chaplain Mike, I really liked the depth that is portrayed in the interview. This is real Christianity!
    Not long ago a couple at my church lost a child shortly after birth. By the next Sunday the pastor was proudly announcing from the pulpit that the couple had acknowledged God's sovereignty in the matter. Then everyone is smiles, except the mother who lost the child.

    The Church should lead on these issues, yet our smiles are as big as Osteen's.

    Thinking on how I would react to this if it were me, I realize just how scared of death I am. That's right, I said it. I AM SCARED OF DEATH. Not scared of eternity or after-death, but scared of the act of death - the illness, or possible cancer, alzheimer's, whatever. Being out of control or being unable to attend to my family.
    I realize just how unprepared my family and myself are for inevitable tragedy.
    Bless you in your work.

  3. I read this interview. Great stuff! God bless you!