An incorrect understanding of Jesus’ baptism by John can lead to an incorrect understanding of Jesus’ incarnation, his divinity, his state of humiliation, the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ saving work, the meaning of Jesus’ title “Christ,” the prophecies of Jesus’ anointing in Isaiah and the Psalms, the power of baptism for sinners today, and whether Jesus came to be a second law-giver like Moses. What is left of the Christian faith if all of these are misunderstood? On the other hand, the pastor who preaches correctly on Jesus’ baptism has a powerful and joyful opportunity to instruct his people in all these doctrines, vital and central to the faith.
The Church has always been called to answer Christological questions such as Who is the Christ and what does he do for us? The answers include the Holy Supper, for Christ is present in this meal. From age to age the church has been remarkably consistent in its confession of both Christ and the real presence in Holy Communion. We continue this tradition with a pastoral heart highlighting the fact that he is who he is for us and for our salvation.
Luther and theosis: historical background leading up to the Reformation.
The doctrine of Mortal and Venial sin is one that is commonly associated with the Papal Church. But the use of the terminology precedes the Reformation and finds happy use in the writings of the Church Fathers. Is this distinction "too catholic," or is it founded in a proper division of Law and Gospel? This presentation will examine what the Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and the writings of the Fathers - with a particular emphasis on the Fathers of Lutheran Orthodoxy - have to say on the matter
Pastor Christopher S. “Topher” Doerr and his family have been living in Milwaukee since the fall of 2014, when he began his work at Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) as Broader Reach Editor. Before that he was the pastor of Grace in Waupun, WI, for 14 years. His is among the 31 positions being eliminated in NPH’s downsizing plans, with his divine call there set to end in June of 2019. He grew up on the south side of Milwaukee, attending WELS grade schools and graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran High School in 1991. He has a Bachelor’s in Theater from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN, as well as Master of Divinity (2000) and Master of Sacred Theology (2013) degrees from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. For six years he served on the Board of Directors of Camp Phillip in Wautoma, WI, and another six on the Governing Board at Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac. He has helped to write many of the songs in the Camp Phillip songbook. Several of his translations of German theological essays have been published in Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly. He and his wife Carrie (nee Knickelbein) have seven children: six boys and a girl. He enjoys spending time with his family making music, getting beaten by them in board or card games, bike riding, and having various adventures.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Berg is an assistant professor of theology at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, WI. He is married to Amanda, a kindergarten teacher at St. Philip’s Lutheran School in Milwaukee. Together they have three daughters, Abigail, Noelle, and Sophia. Before moving to Milwaukee in 2017, the Bergs spent twelve years in Wood Lake, MN, where Michael served as pastor or St. John’s Lutheran and Amanda served as the parish’s preschool director. Dr. Berg is a graduate of Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, the International Academy of Apologetics, Human Rights, and Evangelism, and the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Lehninger is Professor of Theology at Wisconsin Lutheran College, where he teaches dogmatics and New Testament. He is the chair of the School of Humanities and of the General Education Committee. He previously served as pastor of The Lutheran Church of the Abiding Word, Somers, WI (1984-90), Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Yuma, AZ (1979-84), and Igreja Lutherana Brasileira da Consolação, Gravataí, Brazil (1978-79). He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin (1973), his M.Div. from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (1978), and his doctoral degree from Marquette University in 1999, writing on Luther and Theosis: Deification in the Theology of Martin Luther. He also attended Bethany Lutheran College for a year (1973-74) as part of the Mequon Program. He has served as a consultant for Luther Digest and is currently an editor for Logia.
Daniel G. Baker is an organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Oakwood) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied history, and Concordia University Wisconsin, where he received a degree in parish music. He has been a church musician since 2009 and has studied and written extensively about the Lutheran Liturgy, both colloquially and academically. Mr. Baker serves as the Music Director and Vice President of Return to Wittenberg, Inc.