Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dr. Robert Preus on Luther's Theology of the Cross

Transcript Excerpt from Luther’s Theology of the Cross by Dr. Robert D. Preus
(Audio Cassette by CURE/Christians United for Reformation, 1995)
Question from Audience:  As far as a person in the pew, who’s seeing the preacher wandering away from this great truth that we’ve discussed here tonight, what can he or she do to help bring him back.
Dr. Preus:
Boy, that’s an all-embracing question.  I mean, you got a preacher who won’t preach the Gospel, now what do you do about it?  Well, I know what one old Norwegian lady in the Midwest when I was a little boy said. “Why don’t you preach more Christ and less Jortland?” Jortland was the name of the preacher.  I’m not sure that she made any impression with Rev. Jortland but we used to go listen to him (he’s dead now) as seminary students up at St. Paul and we would count the minutes until he mentioned Christ and sometimes he didn’t mention it after preaching forty minutes.  So you didn’t have to wait for neo-orthodoxy or anything else – this was way back when I was a student.  I don’t know what you do.  I think you play it by ear.
Nowadays people react with their feet.  They just join another church; it’s a free country.  Most of the time they probably joined another church for the wrong reason.  If it’s for that reason it’s a good one. 
I would certainly try to talk to the pastor and I’d try to get other members of the church to talk to him and say “you’re simply not preaching what God called you here to preach – you’re a hireling!”  That might get some reaction out of him, I don’t know.
I’m reading a book right now on musical pulpits or something like that.  It shows how many Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians are getting kicked out of churches.  They don’t mention Lutherans because Lutherans don’t tell.  We’ve got these district presidents – they don’t want people to know how many guys they’ve gotten rid of.
But if you were to look at these musical pulpits you’d find that very seldom does a pastor get put out for the right reason.  They just don’t like the way he parts his hair, or his personality, or he’s not dynamic enough, or … oh I got the one!  He doesn’t have people skills.  Have you ever heard that one?  Oh boy!  Every time some Missouri Synod pastor gets shoved out he didn’t have people skills, which means he didn’t conform to the world.  Well, pardon my dogmatism.
I could talk all night, but I think every situation is going to be different.  I’m one that thinks he should stay and fight, but if he refuses to speak the Gospel it’s a dead church.  I don’t care how much growth they have.


  1. This was the year that he died. Do you know what day?

  2. I'll go find the cassette tape and see if it is on there.

  3. Sorry, it doesn't say. 1995 is the copyright on the cassette label. CURE has something to do with the White Horse Inn so maybe they would know.

    There is CURE material in your grandfather's CHI collection marked 1993-1995 (according to the CHI website).