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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)

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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Reflections on the End of Civil Government


Drawing upon the thinking of Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, and other prominent Lutherans, the Magdeburg Confession of 1550 provided not only a cogent analysis of a contemporary problem (the Siege of Magdeburg), but also a timeless treatment of the theological principles that properly shape our understanding of civil government—its origin, its purpose, and also its limits.

government

Two hundred twenty-six years later, Thomas Jefferson would similarly aim to express both universal principles and concrete applications in the American Declaration of Independence. The fruit of Philadelphia was the birth of a new nation; the fruit of Magdeburg was the preservation of the Gospel.

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Celebration of Holy Christmas


A Children’s Christmas Program

This Christmas program is a translation and revision of Liturgie für einen Kinder-Gottesdienst zur Feierder heiligen Weihnacht, a German children’s Christmas program.

The Reverend Friedrich Lochner (1822­–902) originally wrote this program in 1869 for his congregation, Trinity Evangelical­ Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. For several decades it was the only children’s program used at Trinity Church. As late as 1949 it was hailed as “unsurpassed...in spite of the many other [children's programs] that have appeared since then.”

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Start Planning for this year’s Children’s Christmas Program ...

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The Only Catechism That Can Be Prayed!


There have been many catechisms written by many people throughout the Christian era, but none is as exquisite as Luther’s Small Catechism. Brief, simple, yet deeply profound, summarizing the whole of the Christian faith in a few easily memorizable pages, it is one of Luther’s crowning achievements. Most of us remember memorizing it in confirmation classes as young men and women, and having to recite portions of it on confirmation day. And so it holds a place of fondness in our hearts as a part of our early Christian education.

But did you know that Luther’s Small Catechism was not simply written to instruct children, but to be a regular resource for Christians of all ages?

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This Is Our Toledoth


In Genesis 4 and 5 we find a fascinating and hotly debated word. The ESV rendered it “generations.” In Hebrew it’s “toledoth.” Genesis 5 begins with it: “This is the book of the generations of Adam”—the toledoth of Adam. The word means “generations, account, or record.” It shows up 13 times in the book of Genesis and nearly all of them are significant.

steeple all generations

Toledoth in the Bible

Now, we won’t go into the debate over the toledoth other than to point out that opinions differ over whether these words serve as a conclusion to the previous section or as an introduction to the next. And the chapter markers aren’t terribly helpful here. Because, remember, the chapter markers aren’t original to the text. They were added in the 1200s to help us find sections of the Bible more quickly. I believe the first sentence of chapter 5:1 belongs with the previous section.

And it functions as a signature or a mark of authorship to the previous section. Now I know tradition tells us that Moses authored the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Bible – and I see no reason to question that tradition, but the question does arise, “How did Moses know what happened thousands of years before he was born?” Well, God could have simply told him. That’s certainly one possibility. The tradition could have been passed down orally, but these toledoth in the book of Genesis might help us answer that question.

Archaeology has actually been very helpful here because archaeologists have found numerous examples of toledoths in other non-biblical writings and they consistently function as conclusions to their texts. More specifically, they function as marks of authorship, a sort of signature. So, you’d have the account of a family, their story, and it concludes with “This is the toledoth of so and so.”

Well, here in Genesis we have a toledoth that records the planting of the Garden of Eden, the Fall, Abel’s murder, Cain’s descendants, and Seth’s birth (that’s the part we read), and it concludes with “This is the toledoth of Adam.” We may very well have the signature of Adam preserved in Genesis. This section of text from Genesis 2:5 to 5:1 may very well be the personal record of Adam, the story that he preserved in writing, his toledoth.

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Happy Birthday! (And Thanks for Putting Family above Work)


birthday cupcake

While sorting through my office recently, I discovered a birthday card that my daughter made for me a few years ago. What she wrote in that card provided some needed reassurance that I have been modeling for her what I ought.

“Character,” wrote C. S. Lewis, “is what you do when people aren’t watching.” I might add a corollary: “The character that really matters is what your children see when you aren’t aware that they are watching.”

My daughter has been watching me. What has she seen?

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