October 2019


Matthew 7:6 


“There is no real joy in this world except that which the Word brings when it is believed.”

[Luther’s Works 4:4]


This Bible verse is the opposite of the promised rest in the famous and beloved Matthew 11:28. Accordingly not many know or like Matthew 7:6, its opposite – “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine.” Nevertheless it has mattered a great deal to me and my ministry – even stretching back to the 1960s and my confirmation days when I first learned it.

     But it was Martin Luther who reinforced it for me with his joining of the two – “If you see some brother in terror because of a sin of which he has been guilty,…. comfort him with sweet words and embrace him in your motherly arms. The obdurate and stubborn, who fearlessly and smugly persist and continue in their sins, you should rebuke sharply” (Luther’s Works 27:111, 20:176). That sounds like the adage – “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” — combining Matthew 7:6 with the nicer Matthew 11:28.

     Luther takes five pages to go over this sharp rebuke against the smug. He notes that it is also in Matthew 18:17 and Acts 8:21. He also makes it clear that we shouldn’t “enjoy doing it” (LW 21:226, 228). But it has to be done because we live in a world that is “so infinitely evil,” wherein we are “surrounded by snakes and all kinds of vermin” (LW 21:223). These snakes “become the worst enemies we have on earth…. Such is the fortune of the Gospel in the world” (LW 21:224). Accordingly the “Gospel has to be the doormat for everybody, and the whole world walks all over it.” What’s wrong with these dogs and swine? They do not “hold in esteem both the dear Word and those who preach it and gladly listen to it,” nor “humbly submit to it” (LW 21:225, 226). Against such dogs we are to practice “the art of letting him keep the pretense but actually taking everything back, so that he has nothing left at all” (LW 21:228). This is the art I have been trying to perfect for the last forty years.  

Pastor Marshall

New Luther Sermons… by Pastor Marshall

More volumes of Luther’s writings are being translated, many for the first time into English. Hurray! The latest is volume 56 – containing some 30 sermons from 1522–1531. Among my favorite passages are the following: “Christ…. places His body and blood before us, against which death, sin, devil, and hell are powerless” (9); “There are not enough people competent to…. preach the Gospel. [Therefore] it is better to remain silent than to preach” (10); “There is no greater holy thing on earth than the Word of God” (11); “Joy in…. health, good fortune, wealth, honor, respect, power, friendship, and the like [are] manifestly vain and ephemeral” (17); “To live and never die, to be without sin and a bad conscience, to act with good and joyful conscience, to be free from the fear of death and hell, to escape the last judgment – these are the things which trouble everyone” (18); “In Mark 16:16…. there is very great reason for rejoicing” (19); “We are unable to have God, who is invisible, except in the word of His promise” (20); “When both the Word and faith are present, then all works are good; and when they are not present, then all works are wicked and harmful” (21); “[If you meet] a Jew… you wanted to bring to Christ, [I] would be silent about [faith in Christ] at first, and in this way bend and give myself to him, so that he might acquire a love for the Lord Christ…. Then… I would… also want to bring him further so that he believes that Christ is God…. But if he were stubborn,… I would let him go” (24); “One should not worry about offending [people who resist you], because they are not the ones who want to hear and learn God’s Word” (25); “It is right for people to fast much so that the body may be tamed and subdued” (26); “If I have a wife who wants to kill me with poison, I ought to flee” (34); “Works… should be done as long as the conscience is not… putting its trust in them” (38); “Everyone must be personally responsible to be certain and sure of the true doctrine” (40); “The more [a conscience] does, the wearier it becomes [with the world] continually urging… and saying, ‘Do, do, do’” (44); “The very purpose of our being alive is to help to enlarge the kingdom of Christ, as love demands” (51); “Faith is superior to love and is the most important…. If we have faith, we can return to love, but whoever renounces faith and lets it go has lost Christ… and there is no help left” (52); “It is… a good work… when it is done to the glory of [God’s] name and in His will and service…. If we do anything beyond this, it is of the devil, no matter how excellent it might be” (54); “Dream this, dream that, only do not explain it” (56); “God’s wisdom shows that human reason is foolishness” (57); “A Christian who has the Word must live on the cross; you will not live without conflict” (57); “The more a man wishes to be wise, the more he makes himself a fool” (59); “The Bible is not needed for things such as basic knowledge and farming. Nature teaches these…. [And those] who are wisest in earthly things are most foolish in spiritual things” (59); “There is no estate which God wanted to be more universal than the estate of marriage” (66); “Christ… has taken our sins upon Himself. If we deny [Him], we are done for” (87); “Faith has its home in heaven above; works are to be drawn down to earth. Faith relates to God; works relate to the neighbor…. Faith soars above all laws,… works are… servants of all laws” (94); “The Word is the only bridge and path by which the Holy Spirit comes to us” (107); “The Christian life…. is to be a war” (113); “He is a mysterious God…. He wants us to use the sword and not to trust in it…. Therefore, we must conform to this. He wills to have eternal things and yet to accomplish nothing thereby” (115); “Lord, if You do not do it, it is not done. [Therefore] learn to know God, leave everything to Him, and see that you cling to the Head” (117); “The wisdom of the world does not agree with that of God” (121); “If our will prevents [us from being saved], it must be mightier than God’s will so that what He wills is prevented from happening when we do not will it…. How, then, does it make sense to say that I prevent and hinder my being saved if it is God’s will?” (122–23); “[God’s] will is done when we break ours and leave it to Him to rule and govern…. He must and will do it alone” (125); “[God] helps all men, but of all the times He helps, the best is when He causes someone to come to the knowledge…. of the truth, or the Gospel” (126); “All who are saved and come to God are only to do so through the Mediator – not that everyone is therefore saved” (127); “Although [Christ] accomplished this great work on the cross, if it were left at that, it would be of no use to anyone” (127); “We should study [Christ’s crucifixion] as long as we live; yet even if we made it our study for a hundred years we would never finish learning it” (137); “Christ… is… a sinner for me” (138); “[Christ’s crucifixion] is so enormous that we are unable to comprehend it even when we hear it” (140); “No one should be praised before he [has] ended his life well” (148); “[The dead Christian] rests until the Last Day, when we shall see him more radiant and glorious than before, no matter what kind of mind, understanding, wisdom, and strength were in him… before. [He] shall also have much more joy than before during his life” (150); “There is nothing dearer for a Christian than to think that he lives in God…. This comfort belongs alone to Christians” (158); “Genesis 3:15…. is obscure to those who do not believe” (166); “The Gospel is the key which opens the Old Scripture” (169); “Death for the Christian is a leap into resurrection and life” (176); “The world is the kingdom of the devil” (186); “The world [is] nothing but blindness, wickedness, unrighteousness, and folly, nothing but a stable full of villains, and not much better than it was in the days of Noah” (188); “Hardly [anyone perceives the] blindness [of the world]. The crowds go along like cattle” (188); “Where there is no sin, death, too, is absent…. If there were no sin, death would have no power or authority” (190); “The greater the Christians, the more difficult the deaths they suffer” (190); “As long as we live here, it is all falling down and getting up again” (191); “When the Gospel is not in use,… all men walk, sleeping, into hell” (194); “The Gospel…. preaches peace, and yet there is the height of discord” (194); “To the world it may seem that Christians are the losers, for they are killed… like cattle…. But what is it? It does not last long, and everything will be reversed” (195); “The more the world rages, the bolder and more defiant the Christians become…. In this way the world’s tyranny [strengthens] the hearts of Christians” (196); “We should listen to God’s Word with fear and treat it with humility and not barge in with our own opinions…. For God’s Word is not to be trifled with. If you cannot understand it, take your hat off to it. It tolerates no insult and no human interpretation but is utterly serious and calls for honor and respect…. If you bring your own opinions against it, you will lose your way… and not know whether you are in the back or front; it will be difficult to help you” (198–99); “[Christ] abrogated the old testament, and [so]… no one is righteous or is saved by the Law,… but Christ alone is He who makes good and righteous by His righteousness” (203); “A Christians is a rare bird” (204); “The greatest intellectuals of this world will despise, deride, and condemn the preaching of the Gospel” (206); “God refuses to change His ways for the benefit of intellectuals” (207); “The devil does the reverse [of what God does]” (207); “God insists on being the only expert” (208); “God does not owe anyone anything” (210); “Both the Christian faith and the Christian life stand in the one little word ‘revealing’ by God” (212); “The [Christian] path [is] made up of nothing but razor blades” (213); “[Christ’s] kingdom is a hospital for the sick…. Whoever recognizes his sickness and feels the bondage of sin is a welcome guest” (215); “The reason people do not run to Christ is that He imposes a yoke on the old donkey; that is, He lays the cross and many troubles on its neck…. If Christ were to give him… a chest full of money, then he would freely, voluntarily, and gladly run to Christ… Christ identifies the yoke as nothing other than putting to death the desires of the old man” (215); “The real skill is for us to learn what [Christ] teaches us” (216); “[Christ] must stamp out [your old Adam’s] reason and turn his intellectuality into folly” (216); “The world…. always wants to be on top” (217); “[The] arrogant… is always out to aggrandize himself” (219); “God has commanded us to shut eyes, ears, and all senses and simply wrap ourselves up in His Word. We are not to barge in and judge it with our reason, or we will certainly end up like someone who tries to look right at the sun with weak eyes: the longer he looks at it, the more harm he does to his sight” (221); “Our temporal death is a march to eternal life” (227); “Neither [do] we have the power… to begin, let alone finish, a single true Christian work” (236); “Impenitence [is being] unwilling and unable to feel remorse over… sin” (247); “Fighting against grace and forgiveness [is] no longer a human sin but desperate devilish wickedness” (250); “How dare the Christian Church… tell God to shut up” (255); “God will give you a large tree, that is, a strong Word” (263); “Christians always have reasons to become sad” (264); “We do not sit in a rose garden. But in our circles there are many Satans” (270); “Whoever seeks power and honor on earth and has desire and joy for whatever is easy in this life – he does not love Christ…. Whoever has desire and joy in [Christ] has died and been severed from the world” (273); “Christ’s look is so unpleasant, but the world’s look is so very pleasant because of Satan” (274); “The Word is not man’s but God’s” (279); “A Christian is the noblest treasure and jewel on earth, but they are rare” (280); “[God’s] peace is very hard to perceive, just as the Word is, for Satan obstructs it” (281); “If man is to become new, he must have another mind and a new character” (282); “Stay with God’s Word, and the works will follow” (294); “Satan… clothes himself in Scripture” (295); “God’s saints do not shine” (298); “Our bishops… are like letter carriers [who] threw away the true letters and wrote others and send them under the original name and seal” (299); “Preaching must begin with the Law” (301); “The aim of… preaching… is first to magnify sin” (302); “Christian repentance… seeks that you may be reborn and that you grieve over the sins you have committed and that you may be ashamed of them” (304); “Without the Word of God, nothing is really learned” (308); “The gifts of God are best recognized in their absence” (310); “They tortured [Saint Christopher] with a red-hot helmet and cut off his head. We wish to be such free Christians” (314); “The Christian faith is so difficult” (316); “There is no other comfort for the Christian than Christ’s Word” (316); “I would rather preach to mad dogs” (320); “When we do something, it becomes dirt, because we want to boast” (320); “Receive the Word, trust God, do good to your neighbor, be patient with your conditions. This is the chief point of the Christian life” (321); “[Christians] always remain the same: cold today, much colder tomorrow, and are thus incorrigible, sluggish people” (325); “[The Bible has] great, deep words that can be neither comprehended nor learned at once” (328); “We must constantly be taught and trained that Christ is our Brother and God is our Father” (333); “As far as I am a man and Adam’s child, I belong in hell” (334); “If we did truly believe [Scriptures], we would not live here so securely” (340); “That the whole world is not now ablaze, and that every town and village is not a pile of rubble, are all the work and activity of the dear angels” (343); “We always experience more good than evil” (346); “There are indeed few who believe… rightly” (351); “Our life is quite simply contained in the bare Word” (352); “A Christian is like the wind. [I can only judge him] when I hear him ‘rushing,’ that is, that he has the Word” (353); “Our heart should have no doubt…. That is the right way to believe” (353); “A real Christian must say truly that he has and believes in a God who can pay money out of an empty purse and give everyone enough to drink from an empty mug. Otherwise it is no real faith” (353); “Wherever God’s Word and promise are, God is also there” (354); “Since we have the bride’s ring, the dear Word, we will care about nothing else” (355); “God…. has given us more than the whole world could give” (356); “Praying is an extremely difficult [work]” (392); “A good prayer [is] the mind’s ascent to God” (393); “You will never find yourself prepared [to pray]” (394); “Even the shortest prayers are good” (394); “If you are unprepared, you do not have reason enough not to pray” (394); “If you are not praying in and through Christ, and if He is not praying in you, it is in vain” (395); “No one can pray unless he knows who Christ is” (401); “All who want to be Christians should pray” (403); “Whoever does not pray will in time lose his faith” (404).


PRESIDENT'S REPORT.... by Cary Natiello

Last month I mentioned that at our mid-year congregational meeting we approved updates and changes to our Mission Statement.  It is a good Mission Statement fitting for our church, one that we can be proud to share.  Not many churches take the time to develop and embrace such a statement.  Maybe because they feel a church’s mission is obvious but when I read through our Mission Statement I feel it provides great clarity around what is at the core of our church and congregation’s beliefs.  It is a good grounding for us to all be on the same page.  And, because our church Mission Statement is unique to us, I wanted to include it here for your review.



Above all, our mission or purpose for existence is to worship, confess, witness to, and serve the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, proclaimed in Holy Scripture, according to the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1580).

Included in this primary mission are the following emphases:

In our worship we:

Honor the historical liturgies, upholding the apostolic faith and practice, and seasons of the liturgical year.

Honor the sacrament of Christ's Holy Supper, celebrating it at every Sunday liturgy and other church appointed days throughout the year, with bread and wine, extending it to all who are baptized and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, including infants and members of other Christian denominations.

Honor the music of the great hymnody of the Church, seeing in it a richness that properly matches the grandeur of the apostolic faith.

In our congregation we:

Honor the authority of the Holy Office of parish pastor and support its primary work of promoting, protecting, and proclaiming God's Law and Gospel in its written, spoken, and visible forms. 

Honor the rigorous study of the details and complexities of Holy Scripture under the instruction of the parish pastor.

Honor entering into discussions over the great societal issues of our day without avoiding controversy, so that we may better understand our world and the minds of our membership on these matters.

Honor the beauty and majesty of our church building as God's holy house wherein we do far more than meet together, but primarily behold the awesome splendor of God's presence.

Believe that church membership is not easy, but a high calling to live a life of sacrifice in our witness to Christ's Cross, by giving of our money to the church, by giving of our time to further the work of the church, and by being ever ready to witness anywhere to God's truth, justice and righteous purity.

Believe that the best way to raise our young in the church is through sustained home instruction and example, supplemented with Church School and confirmation, active participation in worship including the choir programs and acolyte guild, and by joining in the various service projects of our church.

Acknowledge our membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In our community we:

Serve by funding and participating in programs for the poor, powerless and voiceless, and by defending them against injustice and abuse.

In conclusion we:

Affirm that through Holy Baptism and spiritual regeneration we bear one another's burdens, so that we can provide help in times of trouble, advance maturity in Christ, and promote independence among us.

I hope that you will prayerfully contemplate the content of our Mission Statement and see how well you align with its proclamations.  If you have questions or comments about our Mission Statement please share them with Pastor Marshall or me.  We would welcome the discussion.

Please remember to attend the Saint Nicholas Fair on December 15th from 1 – 4:00 pm.


Blessings to you all.


A Larger Biblical View


In exploring the concept of Christian stewardship, I thought it useful to start with two definitions I found:

      One describes it as a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ who spends his or her time, money, and energy focusing on making the world better and taking care of the people and things which are important to them. An example of Christian stewardship is making regular donations to the church to which you belong.

      Another definition states that stewardship is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world and should take care of it. Believers in stewardship are people who believe in one God, who created the universe and all that is within it, also believing that they must take care of creation and look after it. Creation includes animals and the environment. Many religions and denominations have various degrees of support for environmental stewardship.

      Biblical references relevant to stewardship include the following: 

In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes:

     “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving”.

The first verse of Psalm 24 states:

     “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Deuteronomy 8:17 states:

     “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”


However, Deuteronomy 8:18 seems to advise us to us to think differently:  

     Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”.

In exploring this important concept, I’ve learned recently that as Christians in the 21st century, we need to embrace this larger biblical view of stewardship. I believe this goes beyond church budgets or building projects, though these are important. Stewardship connects everything we do with what God is doing in the world.

          This is a repeat of Jim Coile’s Stewardship article from September 2018.

                 Jim Coile died in a tragic automobile accident outside of San Diego,

                            California on June 20th of this year.  He was inurned in our

                              Chapel of the Resurrection on September 7th.

The Right Way to Preach at Funerals


“I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. [Now] in Christian services conducted for deceased Christians, I am surprised at how often eulogy is the centerpiece of the service, rather than… the Resurrection of Christ, and the eternal life which follows from that. [That bothers me because praising the virtues of the deceased] can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner. Perhaps the clergymen who conduct relatively secular services are moved by a desire not to offend the nonbelievers in attendance – whose numbers tend to increase in proportion to the prominence of the deceased. What a great mistake. Weddings and funerals (but especially funerals) are the principal occasions left in modern America where you can preach the Good News not just to the faithful, but to those who have never really heard it.”


[Antonin Scalia (1936–2016), On Faith: Lessons from an American

Believer, ed. C. J. Scalia and Edward Whelan (2019) pp. 221–22.]


Pastor Marshall Live


If you want to introduce Pastor Marshall to your friends who have never met him before – go to the audio recording on Luther and the Jews at issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/3-martin-luther-and-anti-semitism-pr-ron-marshall-101512/ – and for a video on his class on the Qur’an check out westseattleblog.com/2017/06/video-first-lutheran-church-of-west-seattle-pastor-ron-marshalls-quran-class-still-going-strong/.



She was a pillar of the church – well up in her nineties. Many attended her funeral. In the sermon I quoted Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. I also covered the Martin Luther passage that when “horses, cows, and all animals die, they do not die because God is angry at them…. But the death of human beings is a genuine disaster. Man’s death is in itself truly an infinite and eternal wrath…. It is caused by an incensed and estranged God…. He dies because he provoked God’s wrath. [This] comes to man as shocking news” (Luther’s Works 13:94).

You Trashed Her Funeral!

   So I said this matriarch of the church died because she was a sinner. It was her punished. And the same holds true for all believers in Christ – myself and family included. I noted that this beloved member of our church knew this well – for when receiving Holy Communion on her deathbed, she insisted on sitting upright, folding her hands, and looking me in the eye when I pronounced absolution after she had confessed her sins.

     At that point I sounded the good news, that “Jesus sinners will receive” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, Hymn 291). So even though death is our punishment, we will not be punished in hell forever, but saved for all of eternity because we believe in Jesus (John 3:16).

     Right after the funeral I was buttonholed by a young woman who was raised in the church but hadn’t been active for years. She was enraged and said that I had ruined the funeral with my words about wrath and punishment – and that I had defamed the memory of the deceased. I said I was just following the norms of the Church and had included myself and family in the same condemnation. I also said that the sermon didn’t end with punishment but with salvation. She said that was a poor excuse! I asked if she would like to get together and talk further about our difference – but she declined and walked away. Nothing more has ever been said about this – the times I’ve seen her since.

     What is going on in this case is what has been called “the rise of a culturally hegemonic notion of a closed immanent order” (Charles Taylor, The Secular Age, 2007, p. 774). This person’s outrage, then, was fueled by secularism – unbeknownst to her. It blinded her to the Biblical relationship between punishment and salvation – something which she even didn’t want to learn about. This is what can happen when un-catechized people attend funerals. Preachers beware.

Pastor Marshall


Saint Nicholas Faire


Soup & Sandwich Luncheon


Sunday, October 13, 2019


We hope you can join us directly following the 10:30 am Holy     Eucharist, on Sunday, October 13th, in the parish hall to set off our plans for the 11th annual Saint Nicholas Faire.  We will start with soup and sandwiches.  We will give a brief explanation of what we are hoping to accomplish over the next two months and answer any questions you may have.  There will be sign up sheets for people to volunteer for duties before, as well as the day of the event.

     Please consider attending this important meeting.  We are all looking forward to another successful fundraiser for the West Seattle Helpline and West Seattle Foodbank.

     Thank you, Scott & Valerie Schorn



Discussing Jesus Movies: The Small Group home study this year will include discussing a dozen movies on Jesus. Call Bob Baker for more info and a question sheet for each movie. Here’s the list: Kings of Kings (1961). The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). Jesus Christ Super Star (1973). Godspell (1973). Jesus of Nazareth (1977). Life of Brian (1979). Man Facing Southeast (1986). The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).   Jesus of Montreal (1989). Jesus (1999). The Passion of the Christ (2004). Everyone is welcome.

NEW MEMBER CLASSES will be starting on Sunday, October 6th at noon, in room D.  If you are interested in becoming a member please let Pastor Marshall know.

KORAN CLASS:  A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 3rd at 7:00 pm.  Interested?  Call 206-935-6530 to register or email deogloria@foxinternet.com.  

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for October is canned tuna and mayonnaise.   

BAKE SALE:  The Sunday school students and confirmation students wish to thank everyone who supported the summer bake sale!  Your donations of almost $350 will help the students purchase essential items from their favorite charity, Lutheran World Relief.  The students put their resources together and decided on these items to donate:  Medical Supplies- to assist healthcare workers in the villages, a smokeless cookstove ‒ to keep families safe from noxious fumes and reduce the need to forage for scarce wood, fruit tree seedlings to help a farmer start a fruit tree grove to provide nutrition and income, piglets a favorite, a sheep for milk and wool, and always hens and chicks for eggs to sell and eat.  The students are thankful for your support of them and their chosen charity, Lutheran World Relief.

HELP NEEDED LIST:  Periodically this year we have put out the following request for help:  Please note that the following jobs need regular or at least yearly attention:  Pressure washing the outside walkways and steps, Memorial courtyard clean up and weeding, south courtyard clean up and weeding, cleaning out of the seven window wells, cleaning of the outside stairwells, washing and sanitizing of the nursery and church kitchens.

      We would like to acknowledge the following people for stepping up to volunteer:  Lynn Hopson brought her daughter Karin Weyer and children, Hannah and Seth to thoroughly clean the parish hall kitchen and refrigerator in room C; Rollie Storbakken cleaned out seven window wells and washed the outside of the kitchen windows; and Janine Douglass with Valerie Schorn cleaned the nursery one Sunday after church. 

      Many thanks to these people for taking their time to complete these jobs.


Endowment Fund Gift


Thanks be to God for Cary Natiello, the president of our congregation, who has been a diligent supporter of our church ever since he became a member here back on March 22, 1987. Now he has given a $90,000 donation to our endowment fund! In his note to Pastor Marshall he says: “On behalf of the Natiello estate (Nick & Naomi Natiello, and Cary & Cynthia Natiello), and in honor of your 40th anniversary, a contribution to the endowment fund is being made in the amount of $90,000…. I hope that a gift like this will inspire others to contribute to the endowment fund. This is something that I am so pleased to be able to do in support of you and our church. Only the best to you,  Cary.”







Thinking You’re Free to

Criticize the Bible


by Pastor Marshall


A former presiding bishop of the ELCA (1987–1995), Herbert W. Chilstrom recently wrote that Luther said we are free to “criticize those parts of the Bible” that do not have “a clear witness to the revelation of Jesus Christ” (“The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible,” Living Lutheran, May 2019). But Chilstrom doesn’t show how any of us could ever know which passages those are. And given the fact that we are weak, limited, and deficient “earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 7:18), it looks like we could never have the chops to know which are the weak verses. That guts Chilstrom’s argument. Also, Luther actually taught that the Bible is either all true or not true at all – given the fact that “if a bell cracks at one place, it does not chime any more and is completely useless” (Luther’s Works 38:308). Chilstrom ignores this passage. Furthermore, Luther argued that if we don’t like a verse, rather than criticizing it, we should “let these words stand,… even though they appear foolish and strange to reason…. One must not be willful with the Word of God…. It is better to leave my hands off and to commend it to God…. Holy Writ must be treated with veneration and profound awe…. If you don’t understand it, accord it the honor to say: ‘I shall wait until I do understand it’” (LW 22:283). He skips this passage too. Maybe Chilstrom should have said that his views were his own – and not Luther’s.



Curtailing Gun Controlby Pastor Marshall


If you want to better understand why the US Supreme Court has in the Heller case (2008) and the MacDonald case (2010) stopped the banning and curtailing of gun ownership in America (specifically striking down gun laws in Washington DC and Chicago), read John R. Lott Jr., The War on Guns (2016). One interesting part of his analysis is that background checks inexorably lead to registration and confiscation (pp. 149–50).


Reformation Sunday


Sunday, October 27, 2019

10:30 am Festival Eucharist—nave


NW Pastor’s Meeting

& Luncheon


Thursday, October 10, 2019

11:30 am Chapel Eucharist


Watch for our four new Frontier Elms coming on

October 5th, courtesy of the City of Seattle. 


Romans 13.4

Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2019, Number 320

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall

Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)

We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!

Week I. Read Romans 13.4 noting the word sword. Who uses this sword? On this read Romans 13.1 noting the category governing authorities. They are the police, soldiers and executioners. Who can they kill? On this read again Romans 13.4 noting the word wrongdoers. Are they political activists, or something worse? On this read Romans 13.2 noting the category resists authorities. So they are not protesters. They instead are the ones trying to kill us. Why can’t they be stopped by talking to them? On this read 2 Timothy 3.3 noting the words inhuman, implacable and fierce. Why are they this way? They don’t listen to reason as in James 3.17. And they are embroiled with passions as in James 4.3. What’s an example of this? On this read about David killing Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:41–51 noting the words disdained, dog, cursed, and defiled. Also read about Samson in Judges 15:14–17 noting the words jawbone, slew and thousand. Note as well Acts 12.20–23 noting the words angry, god, smote and worms. And note the rescue of Paul by soldiers in Acts 23.27.

Week II. Read again Romans 13.4 noting the same word sword. Was  Jesus in favor of using swords? On this read Matthew 5.39 noting the line turn... the other cheek. Read also Matthew 26.52 noting the line put your sword back,…. for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Was Jesus then a pacific? On this read Luke 22.38 noting the words two, swords and enough. But were they ever used in self-defense? On this read John 18.36 noting the line if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world. So is Jesus out of sync with the rest of the New Testament? On this other view read 1 Peter 2.14 noting the words governors, punish and wrong – as well as Romans 13.4 from last week. How do these two directions go together? The Bible doesn’t say. Luther thought pacifism had to do with mercenaries and vigilantes, and violence with social jurisdiction and international relations (Luther’s Works 46:134). Do you agree?

Week III. Reread Romans 13.4 noting again the word sword. Are we then not allowed to defend ourselves and families from intruders? Are we to absorb the violence hurled against us as Jesus did – which Philippians 2.5 and 1 Peter 2.21 seems to suggest? On this read Luke 4.30 noting the words through and away. Here Jesus doesn’t absorb the violence. Read also John 10.39 noting the word escaped, and John 8.59 noting the words hid and out. Read also 2 Corinthians 11.33 noting that same word escaped. Matthew 16.24 says Christians are to follow Jesus – imitating his way of life. This, we see, includes both absorbing violence and fleeing from it – without any directions on how to do it. On this read 1 Corinthians 6.15–19 noting the words never, joins, against and temple. So reckless endangerment is ruled out – perhaps giving us a criterion to follow. On this same point, read Matthew 4.6–7 noting the words throw and tempt.

Week IV. Read Romans 13.4 one last time noting again the word sword. Anything more on self-defense? On this read 1 Timothy 5.8 noting the word provide. Would that include killing an intruder if there were no other way to protect your family and relatives from some brutal attack? Note in that verse the closing line about those who fail to help out – he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Does that severe indictment open the way for the use of violence to stop violence? On this read Luke 11.21 noting the line when a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. If guarding when fully armed includes violently stopping violent assaults, then Christians using violence against violence wouldn’t be ruled out – even if it still wouldn’t be the first choice in resolving problems. On that first choice read 1 Corinthians 12.31 noting the line I will show you a still more excellent way – which is the way of love in 1 Corinthians 13.



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Louis & Holly Petersen, The Tuomi Family, Bob Baker, Sam & Nancy Lawson, Michael Lingle, Pete Morrison, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Aasha Sagmoen & Ajani Hammond, Connor Sagmoen, Kyra Stromberg, Tabitha Anderson, Diana Walker, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Jeff Larson, The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Dave Monson, Sheila Feichtner, Rebecca Brown, Antonio Ortez, Richard Uhler, Marjorie Lorraine Dike, Yuriko Nishimura, Leslie & Mark Hicks, Kate & Mark Frey, Yao Chu Chang, Eric Baxter, Deanne Heflin, David Douglass, Geraldine Martindale, Owen & Noreen Marten, Jim & Bonnie Henningson, Mary Ford, Nancy Wilson, Nell & Paul Sponheim, Mary Lou & Paul Jensen, Barbara Clark, Rubina & Marcos Carmona, and Richard Wotipka.  Also, pray for unbelievers, the abused and harassed.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Bob & Mona Ayer, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Joan Olson, Doris Prescott, C. J. Christian, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Anelma Meeks, Martin Nygaard, Gregg & Jeannine Lingle.

     Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for the family and friends of Mary Goplerud who died on August 18th in Bellingham, Washington.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelly Bryan Wee, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our choirmaster Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called. 

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this Fall.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Saint Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226; Saint Luke, Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.


A Treasury of Prayers


O Lord God, I do not ask that my life be a pleasant road, free of any heavy load. Nor do I ask that flowers always spring beneath my feet – knowing too well the poison and sting of things too sweet. For one thing only do I plead, lead me aright, though my heart should bleed, through peace into light. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

                                        [For All the Saints IV:481–82, altered]