The Hausvater Project

Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

  • Luther’s Morning Prayer

    Learn to chant Luther’s Morning Prayer—an excellent way for your family begin each day in Jesus’ name! Read More
  • A Guide to Our Order of Worship

    As we now walk through the liturgy, note how it presents the life of Christ: His birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, etc. All true Christian worship is centered in Him and performed through Him. Read More
  • Jesus Sinners Doth Receive

    Download a free study guide for this Gospel-centered hymn, including questions, an answer key, and traceable handwriting practice sheets to aid memorization! Read More
  • How to Design a Family Altar Board

    Here are some practical tips for engaging your family in a discussion of the Sunday Gospel lesson, the weekly catechism section, Bible memory work, and hymnody. Read More
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Getting Christ out of Caesar’s Shadow: A Call to the Confessing Church

 Caesar and Christ

“The church is: holy believers and ‘the little sheep who hear the voice of their shepherd.’” (SA 12:2)

This statement, drawn from the Lutheran Confessions, seems innocuous; the sort of thing one might find placarded under effeminate pictures of Jesus on churches’ nursery walls. Perfectly safe, non-threatening, and tame. If we took it seriously we would find it revolutionary; the sort of thing that could profoundly transform the Church and severely rattle world powers. It has the potential to expose the American dream as an anemic and idolatrous substitute for the Kingdom of God, while simultaneously calling the Church to repent for being content to let Christ be concealed beneath Caesar’s shadow. Those are radical words!

The Church Is Holy Believers in Jesus

Consider what is being said. The confession first states who the Church is: the Church is holy believers in Jesus. Scripture defines holy believers as those washed by the Word (Ephesians 5:26), those sanctified by the Holy Spirit’s working through the Word (1 Corinthians 1:2), and those baptized into Christ the enfleshed Word (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13). This is the revolutionary work of God, the work that recreates us. He gives us a new identity, one that transcends cultures, countries, and political parties. We are not first German or American or Republican or fill-in-the-blank; we are first the holy people of God, the people God has called out of the world and claimed as His own. God says to us, “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) and “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19), and “you were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18–19). Through God’s working in Word and Water (Baptism), we are re-identified, given a new, defining identity.

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Church and State: Common Sources, Distinct Powers, Separate Jurisdictions, Overlapping Subjects

Much confusion and disagreement surrounds the relationship between church and state. Should they be kept entirely apart, as Thomas Jefferson’s dictum concerning a “wall of separation” would suggest? Should they be united, as in England, where Parliament declared King Henry VIII to be both the monarch of the state and the head of the national church?cart 849

The answer found in Scripture and presented by the Lutheran theologians of the Reformation era in the Book of Concord lies somewhere between these two extremes. Church and state share a common source, exercise distinct powers, maintain separate jurisdictions, and yet serve overlapping subjects. To understand how these four points apply to any particular situation sometimes requires a bit of mental wrestling, but the sooner that Christians embrace the paradoxical implications, the more clearly they’ll be able to navigate the two “kingdoms”—church and state—in which they live out their vocations.

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To Whom Will You Give Your Daughter’s Hand in Marriage?

What He Must Be … If He Wants to Marry My Daughter, by Voddie Baucham, Jr. (Crossway Books, 2009)

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In this marriage-readiness book, Pastor Voddie Baucham seeks to provide “a clear, balanced, realistic, biblical picture of what moms and dads should be looking for on behalf of their daughters and seeking to produce in their sons” (9). He avoids the heavy-handed approach of arranged marriages, but he even more sternly rebukes the hands-off approach that would “let boys be boys” and leave girls without any paternal guidance for becoming women of God and wives of virtuous men. Rather than letting the culture dictate the terms, Pastor Baucham situates marriage and the family within the larger picture of God’s salvation plan: “my role in fathering my children is a lifelong partnership in kingdom expansion,” as fathers raise their children up in the Lord and prepare them to do the same for the next generation (17).

What He Must Be … If He Wants to Marry My Daughter is not some sugar-coated how-to book for pious evangelicals; rather, the book frankly calls a spade a spade wherever it may be found, with the author providing equal measures of self-criticism, rebuke for the church, and correction of secular society. As a result, some readers will feel a swift kick in the pants, and they probably deserve it. At the same time, all readers can benefit from the discernment and discipleship that Pastor Baucham offers.

He begins the book by underscoring the multigenerational vision that God’s Word has for both the church and the family. Examining Jeremiah 29:11 in context, he reveals that God’s plans for prospering the Jews would not be fulfilled until after the prophet’s own lifetime. Just as God positioned Jeremiah to prepare the people for a blessing that was to come later, so also God calls upon parents—fathers in particular—to pass God’s Word down the generations (Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Psalm 78:4–7, Ephesians 6:4, etc.), leaving a spiritual legacy that outlasts any one person. Marriage, as God’s appointed covenant for childrearing, therefore exists not merely for the present couple, but also for their posterity, and not only for the material security of their lineage, but also for transmitting a spiritual heritage to generations yet to be born.

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Father’s Day: The Team Captain

Father’s Day is June 18. Expect a media blitz featuring BBQ, grills, fishing rods, and power tools. The clear advertising ploy is: “These things make men manly. The man in your life needs them.” There’s no denying men and fathers are often found with these items in their hands—what man doesn’t like burning meat and revving power tools—but it’s worth asking whether a smoking grill and a power tool make men manly. What is it that makes men manly? How is authentic manhood defined? Our culture is haunted by these questions. What does the Bible say about what makes a man manly?Father's Day

We begin in the beginning: Genesis 1, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” These verses convey at least two essentials. 1) God created a unified team to celebrate and share His blessings and 2) This team worked together as God’s special agents to defend and protect His creation.

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Man Up! The CHRIST-Centered Quest for Real Masculinity

Man Up! The Quest for Masculinity, by Jeffrey Hemmer (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2017)

I won’t lie to you. When I first read the title for this book, I wasn’t sure I would read it since “Man up!” has become such a clichéd phrase. Concordia Publishing House made an extremely wise move, though, in making Pastor David Petersen’s foreword available online before the book came out. His foreword convinced me to buy the book—and I am grateful I did.

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Pastor Petersen says, “It is quite possible that you are holding the very best book to ever be written on masculinity.” I will take it one step further: It is the very best book written on masculinity and one that every man should take the time to read. Man Up! is one of the most important books that CPH has published in recent years.

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