World Wide Wolfmueller

Law and Gospel in Joyful Clarity

Grappling: The Second Commandment, God’s Name and Truck Keys (The Ten Commandments)


The positive and negative of the command, and the gift of God’s name, all doodled up.

from Grappling with the Text, A Worldview Everlasting show.

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Lord’s Blessings, PrBW

Mini-Hymnal 2.0 Published!


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Martin Luther’s Sermon on the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19, House Postil)



Luther preaches about faith and the virtues of thankfulness and suffering ingratitude.

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from Martin Luther’s Sermons SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST:

Pop-American Christianity, Part 3: Justification and the Sacraments – Issues, Etc. Interview

Issues, Etc.

The fellows over at Issues have been great in getting the news out about Has American Christianity Failed?  In this edition we talk about Christ for us and the doctrine of justification.
Listen here:

Issues, Etc. is the world’s best place for continuing theological education. Visit their website:

Show # 383: Destroying The Three Estates?




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On this edition of Table Talk Radio we will ask if you are a Three Estate thinker? Looking to the news Pr Wolfmueller reads a story or two and ask Pr Goeglein Which Of The Three Estate Is Being Destroyed by the articles. Then we answer a listener email by playing the games Bumper Sticker and Church Sign Theology. This is what happens when you create TTR shows Ex Nihilo!
from Table Talk Radio Podcasts SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST:

Martin Luther’s Sermon on the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:23-37, Trinity 13, House Postil)



In this sermon Luther talks out The Good Samaritan, Jesus, and how we show our love for God in our love for our neighbor.


Listen here:

from Martin Luther’s Sermons SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST:

Grappling: The First Commandment and Six Idols (The Ten Commandments)


What does it mean to have a god? What does trust have to do with it? What does Martin Luther identify as the top six list of idols? Watch.

Quotes From Luther’s Small Catechism © 1986 Concordia Publishing House.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

P.A.M.’s Links:
The Large Catechism –
The Small Catechism –
Order “Has American Christianity Failed?” by Bryan Wolfmueller:

Good, Bad, or In-Between (A Short Survey of the Doctrine of Man)

This is a re-post of an article I wrote some years ago. You can still find the original at

Name that Creed

What is man? All theologies answer this question. Some say man is good; others that man is bad, but most say that there is a mix of good and bad. So well play a theological game (you’re favorite kind, I know). Below are four statements on the teaching of man and the depth of sin, your job is to guess who said it.

  1. Man is responsible for sin because he is endowed with free will; yet he is by nature frail, and the tendency of the mind is to evil: “For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. viii. 21)
  2. “By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.”
  3. “[Original sin] is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death; and inclined to sin-an inclination to evil that is called ‘concupiscence.’”
  4. “Nor do I absolve my own self of blame: the human soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Before we get to the answers, let’s point out the difficulty of the game: all the answers are the same! The key word in each answer is ‘inclination’. In the first answer: “the tendency of the mind is to evil.” In the second and third: “a nature and an environment inclined toward sin” and “inclined to sin.” And in the last answer: “The human soul is certainly prone to evil.” There is a common theme in all of these teachings, and that is that man is not good, and yet not necessarily evil, but inclined and prone to do evil.

Now for the source of each statement:

  1. The Jewish Encyclopedia
  2. Baptist Faith and Message (2000)
  3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405
  4. The Quran 12.53

Stunned? It is an amazing thing that modern Judaism, the Southern Baptist Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Muslim religion have the same doctrine of man. All of these teach that man is wounded, sick, troubled, but that there is still some degree of freedom and life in the will of man.

I, A Poor, Miserable Sinner

Most people think of themselves as a “pretty good person.” The Scriptures beg to differ. The denial of original sin means that most people live in the delusion of their own freedom, but the Bible teaches that all men are dead in trespasses and sin. How many good people are there? St Paul answers:

It is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” [Romans 3:10-19, see also Ephesians 2:1ff]

The Scriptures teach with clarity that man is wicked and unholy, and yet (as we have seen above) this teaching that no one is righteous or holy is almost universally denied. But this makes sense. Our sinfulness is so complete that we are blind to our sinful condition.

Imagine a man who falls off a ladder and breaks his ankle. He is broken and he knows it, he cries out for help from someone else. But imagine again that this man breaks his ankle and his back. Now he doesn’t feel the pain of his injury, and in fact might not even know that he is hurt. “Give me a hand up, I’ll be okay.” So is our fall, we are so badly hurt that we do not even feel the injury; we do not know the depth of our sin.

Martin Luther talked of this trouble, that our sin is so deep that we don’t even feel it:

“This hereditary sin is so deep and horrible a corruption of nature that no reason can understand it, but it must be learned and believed from the revelation of Scriptures, Psalm 51:5; Romans 6:12ff; Exodus 33:3; Genesis 3:7ff.” [Smalcald Articles III.I.3]

What Does it Matter?

Most churches teach that our sin is a tendency, not a death. Does this matter? Yes, in fact the Gospel is at stake.

If the article of Justification is the article upon which the church stands or falls, then the article of original sin is the article upon which justification stands or falls. When we know the depth of our sin then we know the height of God’s love for us. The law shows us the depths to which we have fallen, our complete inability to love, serve and fear God, our complete lack of freedom, and so our utter dependence on Jesus for freedom, life and salvation.

Our Lutheran Confessions comment on this:

But the knowledge of original sin is necessary. For the magnitude of the grace of Christ cannot be understood and no one can heartily long and have a desire for Christ, for the inexpressibly great treasure of divine favor and grace which the Gospel offers, unless our diseases be recognized. As Christ says Matt. 9, 12; Mark 2, 17: They that are whole need not a physician. The entire righteousness of man is mere hypocrisy and abomination before God, unless we acknowledge that our heart is naturally destitute of love, fear, and confidence in God that we are miserable sinners who are in disgrace with God. [Apology to the Augsburg Confession, II.33-34]


sinThe depth of our sin puts the “alone” in front of grace, in front of faith, in front of Christ. When we know the depth of our sin then we cry out with full voice to God, “Help!” “Lord, have mercy!” And the Biblical doctrine of our original sin gives us the comfort that Jesus has done all to win our salvation. This is the only comfort for sinners. May God grant us this comfort in life and in death.

INJ, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

Think on These Things: Jeremiah 9:23-24


Thanks to Jorge, Daniel, and Cynthia for the Kind Reviews!


It has, and we need to understand why


As a newcomer to the Lutheran Confessions, I spent my life growing up under the heavy burden of American Christianity. Reading this book and listening to Rev Bryan Wolfmueller speak on these issues has given me vocabulary to finally articulate the pain and longing for rest and assurance of the Gospel. From the very first chapter, I was struck by his ability to put words to the error, and smartly diagnose the problem without creating straw men, and without vilifying the American Christian. This book gives credit where it is due, and comfort where it has been lacking for centuries. I firmly believe the individual who most needs to read this book immediately, is the one who has been crushed by another church who was only interested in what they were “doing for God”. The next group is those who have been drawn away from the American Church, but lack the words to describe why that is so. Finally, for the life-long Lutheran who wants to see what exists outside their walls, outside of their church at what the American Church is doing, I implore you to read this book. If you’ve heard Fighting for the Faith and wondered, “how can anyone think that craziness has anything to do with the Church”, this book will demonstrate the error and underlying theology that has driven (and continues to do so) the American church into its current state. It is my sincere hope that in reading this book, you’ll better understand where folks like me are coming from, how important it is to share the precious gem of the Lutheran confessions with a hurting and wounded Body of believers, and be reminded of the precious gift you have in the Word and Sacraments, in the Liturgy, and in the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

A book every Christian should read


Many churches in America are leaving their people starved and weak. The Gospel is preached for the sake of non-Christians, while Christians are fed a steady diet of law. After salvation the focus becomes the Christian life, “Now that you’re a Christian, what are you going to do for Jesus?” is the common phrase you here from many pastors and teachers. The Gospel is placed on a shelf and the main focus of the Christian life becomes the individuals own experiences, work, and dedication to Christ. “Has American Christianity Failed?” gives the alternative to the Law soaked, desperate, dry, tired, and anxious Christian, the absolutely free and “for you” Gospel, delivered to us through God’s Word and Sacraments! I can honestly say, that this is one of the most refreshing, and encouraging books I have ever read. There was not one chapter that left me bored or wanting to rush through. I think every Christian will benefit greatly from reading this book. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. “American Christianity teaches the centrality of the individual, my will, my experiences, my decision, my heart, my work and dedication—to the detriment of Christ and His saving and comforting work. American Christianity most often preaches the Christian instead of the Christ, and our senses are so dulled that we don’t even notice He’s missing.” “The Gospel is the alternative to the pendulum of pride and despair. The Law says “do,” the Gospel says “done.” The Law commands; the Gospel promises. The Law measures and judges, the Gospel forgives. The Law tells us how we ought to live, the Gospel tells us that Jesus died; and He died with a marvelous and gracious purpose: to save sinners. Both the Law and the Gospel are from God, but they have different purposes. The Law condemns. The Gospel saves.” “The cross stands as the unwavering, unmoving, unquestionable answer to the question “What does God think of me?” The answer is this: He loves you, and He forgives you all your sins. You can be sure of this. You cannot undo the cross. You cannot undo God’s love for you. The love of God for you is certain and sure, as certain and sure as the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the basis of our confidence and the source of our Christian comfort, and it is from this certainty that all our theology flows.”

Great Read, Highly Recommend


I have enjoyed every page of this book. Pastor Wolfmueller has a wonderful way of explaining some of the major differences in the different denominations of today’s culture. I never felt like I had to have a Master’s degree in theology to understand the points that he was making. Great Read

More on Has American Christianity Failed? here.

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