Newspaper Article – February 8, 2017

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

Glory is Given to God by The Gospel

We Lutherans celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year. Not so much because the Reformation was the birth of “Lutheranism”, for that is really not all that interesting. After all, “Lutheran” is not a name we have chosen ourselves; others have given it to us. No, what is important about the Reformation is that the truth of God was restored to His Church after having been forgotten. And for us Lutherans, the truth of God is precious, that “by grace you have been saved,” as God has had His Apostle Paul write it, “and this not of yourselves, rather, it is the gift of God; not by works that no one may boast.” In other words, that eternal life is given to us out freely of the goodness of God, with the forgiveness of sins He Himself has won for us with the sufferings and death of His beloved Son.

As Lutherans, though, we do not only cling to this precious truth because it is so precious to us, but also because it is the command of God that we do!

Throughout Holy Scripture God commands His people to uphold His truth and shy away from false teachings. In fact, in all the warnings against division found in Holy Scripture, those who cause division and from whom Christians are commanded to separate themselves are identified as those who promote different teachings, contrary to the Word of God. And the unity our Lord Jesus calls for among His Christians is unity in a common confession of His truth.

This can hardly come as a surprise to anyone; obviously, being indifferent to the Word and will of God is not the way to honour Him!

But particularly God wants His Christians to honour His Gospel, that is: His Word of salvation. For it is in His Word of salvation that God shows the fullness of His goodness. In upholding His Word of salvation we give glory to God for that which is the most glorious to Himself. For nothing is more precious to God than our salvation; so good is God, so great is His love for us!

And God demands that we glorify Him by upholding His Gospel, also, because He not only wishes us well, but also actually will make all things well for His beloved. And it is through His Word of salvation that His salvation actually comes to us sinners. And it is only through His Word of salvation that Christians can have the comfort and confidence and assurance of salvation that He intends for His Children to have. So good is God. And for that, He should and must be glorified. That is why Lutherans care about true doctrine; as all Christians should.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem

Newspaper Article – December 15, 2016

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

God’s Gracious Gift of Doctrine

Advent marks the beginning of a new year in Church. As such, we have already begun celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For usually the Reformation is considered to have begun on October 31st in 1517, when Luther presented his 95 Theses against the trade of indulgences.

What we Lutherans are celebrating, however, is not the beginning of our history as a church of our own (which was never what the Lutheran Reformation was about, or even wanted!), as much as it is the restoration of the truth God has once and for all entrusted to His Church, which had at that time been forgotten for so long: that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” as God had had His Apostle Paul write it, “and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as an atoning sacrifice by His blood to be received by faith.”

It is common even among Christians in our day and age to consider doctrine unimportant. Well, it is common not to care about truth at all, so of course many will not care about the truth of God, either! Nevertheless, the truth of God is precious to us, as it must be precious to all who care about their eternal fate and future. And all people should. For obviously, nothing is more important than your eternal fate and future. And we all have enough reason to be concerned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But “all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Having had His Apostle write this, God declares us sinners to be right with Him, and free from sin and guilt before His judgement, in spite of our sins and shortcomings – as He does throughout Holy Scripture. And when we are right with Him who is Lord of all things, and the Master of reality itself, then all must be well. How can this truth not be a precious one? It must mean that even I, with all my sins and shortcomings, have the most glorious future ahead of me.

And this “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as an atoning sacrifice by His blood to be received by faith.” The Son of God suffered Himself under His judgement against all evil and ungodliness of ours to pay the price and penalty for us and make us righteous and right with Him. Could there be greater love? How can the Word of His love not be precious to us?

The truth of God is precious. And it is a gracious gift that He preserves this truth for us, so that we may know His love and His goodness.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem

Newspaper Article – October 19, 2016

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

A Special Celebration, and a Strangely Special one at that

At Grace and Zion Lutheran churches we have a very special celebration coming up these days: the celebration of the Reformation. On the last Sunday in October we shall celebrate the important event that the Reformation was: that the truth of God, so long forgotten in His Church, was given back to His Christians, His precious Gospel of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him in glory being won for sinners, fully and completely, with what the Son of God has done for us in His life and His death, and given to sinners, fully and completely and freely and for nothing, out of His goodness and mercy alone, and for no other reason whatsoever, with His Word and promise.

This is always a special celebration in our churches. No wonder; after all, it is the celebration of what the faith is all about, the Lutheran faith, and the Christian faith, and our life with God.

This year, though, we have another and particularly special celebration of the Reformation before us: next year will be the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the Reformation, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses being posted on the door of the Castle Cathedral in Wittenberg in 1517. And as such, we shall dedicate a lot of our attention in the upcoming year to the rediscovery and restoration of God’s precious truth of salvation to His Church. No wonder.

And yet, in a strange way, there is something strange about this celebration being so special. For the rediscovery of God’s precious truth of salvation is really what each and every one of our worship services is all about, each and every Sunday.

The assurance of being right with God by His mercy is not one we sinners can just constantly have; not in our own hearts and minds. Constantly our sinful nature leads us to look away from the truth of God and seek assurance of being right with God in our own goodness and godliness instead; and we are lead either into despair or into the false assurance of ungodly arrogance and sinful pride.

That is why we constantly need to be turned away from our ungodly obsession with our own goodness and godliness, and have the eyes of our hearts turned instead to the goodness of God given to us in the Gospel. And that is what Lutheran preaching does, and Lutheran teaching, and Lutheran worship – always; on the last Sunday of October as on all other Sundays; in 2017 as every other year.

Nevertheless, we shall celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as a special celebration. And we shall do so joyfully. As we shall celebrate the 499th anniversary, and the 501st; as we celebrate the salvation of God every Sunday.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem

The God Christianity Worships

The God Christianity Worships is Father and Son and Holy Spirit

Paul W. Flesher’s article entitled: “The Three Monotheistic Religions: Children of One Father” recommends an art exhibition, which might very well be worth while. The article, however, is marred by the assertion that Judaism, Christianity and Islam “claim to worship the same god.”

Of course it can be justified in the perspective of History of Religion, and perhaps also in the perspectives of Philosophy of Religion and Psychology of Religions, to perceive Christianity as a development of Judaism, and Islam as a further development from Christianity.

The claim that the three religions claim to worship the same god, however, is falsely ascribed to the Christian faith. The God the Christian faith worships is the Triune God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Christianity claims that it was this the one and only true God who revealed Himself to Abraham, and later gave the final revelation of Himself when He sent His Son into the world to suffer for the salvation of sinners, and gave His Spirit to His Church, who is also God Himself, and by whom God now lives and works in His Church and in His Christians.

Neither Judaism nor Islam claims to worship a God who is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Neither of them claims to worship Christ. Nor does Christianity claim that either of them does. As such, it is a patently false assertion that the three religions “claim to worship the same God.”

The misunderstanding reflected in Professor Flesher’s article is not uncommon, though. Opponents of the Christian faith, have attacked the divinity of Christ through the ages. The influence some of them have had on common culture has undoubtedly been a major contributor to the widespread ignorance as to what the Christian faith actually is. Many are unfamiliar with the exceptional truth that is the actual claim of Christianity: that God Himself has died for us, and lives in us, and gives His own heavenly life to us, out of His goodness and mercy. For Christians, this claim is precious truth, and can not be given up for anything.

Again, the art exhibition advertised by Professor Flesher might very well be worthwhile; the desire for peace certainly is laudable. Professor Flesher’s presentation, however, once again leaves the impression of a main premise along the lines that a condition for coexistence is for Christians to give up their faith and stop being Christian.

And that is not what coexistence is.


Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

South Big Horn Lutheran Parish

Newspaper Article – August 24, 2016

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

Some thoughts brought about by not following the Olympics

I have not followed the Olympics; although I am coming to terms with no longer being by any means a young man, I have no need to be reminded of how much I am not that, and how much younger than myself even the “veteran” athletes are.

Nevertheless, I am aware that the Olympics have been taken place; mostly from the news coverage regarding the behaviour of some of the athletes – which has served as another reminder that being successful and celebrated in the world is not what life is all about, and might, in fact, not be good for a person at all.

The Olympics also remind me of what the holy Apostle Paul writes, that “every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” Now, it does seem to be yet another memory from ages past that “every athlete exercises self-control in all things”. That is not the point, though, but rather that there is a more glorious prize to win than that which comes with being successful and celebrated, and perhaps at the cost of never learning what it means to make life worthwhile by living a decent life in service to God and to others.

For those who know God, this is the goal of life: not to be celebrated by the world, but rather to be celebrated by God Himself and “receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him”, as James, servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, writes it.

A Christian knows that it is neither fame nor fortune that makes life to be worthwhile. Holy Scripture teaches the value of a peaceful and quiet life in love and care for those whom God has entrusted to your care, that it is in a such life that you realise yourself and fulfil your purpose.

And the Olympics finally remind me of the greater truth, of which the Apostle Paul also writes, that “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy”. God promises the crown of life freely and for nothing to us sinners, and has Himself paid the price for us to win this prize, in the sufferings and death of His beloved Son under His judgement for our sins and shortcomings.

So good and so great is He whom we live to serve. And knowing this, we also know that despite all our faults and failures, it is well worth the while to serve Him by living in His love, under His Word and worship, and have His salvation given to us, and to serve Him by living out His love in love and care for others in the life He has entrusted to us.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem

Newspaper Article – Case Against Wyoming Judge

Case against Wyoming judge has frightening perspectives – not only for Christians

Who would have thought that it would happen so fast?

The first legislative step in the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany was the “Decree for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” of 1935, which prohibited Jews from serving as civil servants. Just a few years later, Jews would be systematically slaughtered in what had previously been a highly civilised society.

It would probably be an overreaction to expect that this is what Christians in the United States have coming to them; it is, however, noteworthy that the first steps of government persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany were so similar to steps that are now being taken against Christians here in Wyoming.

In Mid-August Judge Ruth Neely of Pinedale, a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pinedale, will appear before the Wyoming Supreme Court. She is facing being barred from any and all positions in the judiciary of Wyoming – for being of the Christian faith.

In late 2014, Judge Neely was asked by a reporter from a local newspaper whether she was excited to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. She replied that because of her religious beliefs, she would “not be able to do” same-sex marriages.

In March 2015 the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics filed a complaint against Judge Neely seeking to have her removed, not only from her part-time position as a part-time Circuit Court Magistrate, in which she has the authority to solemnise marriages, but also from her position as a Municipal Judge, in which she does not. The Commission is arguing that not only Judge Neely’s unwillingness to perform same-sex marriages, but also her religious beliefs in themselves, make her unfit for service. The implication is clear: it cannot be tolerated that a person serving as a judge is a Christian!

This should be a frightening perspective for the future, not only for Christians and other religious or non-religious people who believe that a homosexual union is by nature something other than a marriage, but for all who enjoy the notion of a free society in which people of all kinds of faith can live together in peace. And it might be worth taking a lesson from history as to how rapidly a civilised society can turn into one where intolerance and hatred against a selected segment of society is not only the cultural mainstream, but also official government policy, carried out in ways that hardly anybody could have even imagined just a few years earlier.


Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

South Big Horn Lutheran Parish

Newspaper Article – June 29, 2016

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

Growing Up – and Growing Down

My youngest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday a few days ago, which means that all my children are now all grown up. And yes, it has appeared to me that as such it might be about time, to grow up myself – although my wife says that since that has not happened yet, it is probably not going to.

I can live with that. Me never having grown up is much less a problem for myself than it probably is for my surroundings; which is actually one good reason why I probably should not be so cavalier about it. Be that as it may.

The holy Apostle Paul writes about it; or rather, really, about something else: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” And elsewhere he writes that the purpose for which Christ has set men as Pastors in His Church is that Christians may attain to “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine …”

Well, this really is about something else. And yet, it actually falls in line with what our Lord Jesus Himself has said, that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a small child shall not enter it.”

In the Kingdom of God, to grow up is to grow down! Mature manhood is to become like a small child. To give up childish ways is to give up our attempt at independence and emancipation, and acknowledge instead our utter and complete helplessness before God.

It has to be this way, because the Kingdom of God is always His gracious gift to the utterly helpless, given to us out of His goodness and mercy alone, on account of the righteousness His Son has earned for us with His perfect life of love, and with His innocent sufferings and death.

It is the evil one who has taught us that we should be emancipated and independent, so as to be like God in knowing good and evil.

As we learn to appreciate the salvation God gives to us, rather than look to Him for assistance in earning salvation for ourselves, we are set free to serve Him in doing His will out of love, because it is His will, and not because we have something to prove, to ourselves, or to others, or to Him.

I guess there is actually much to be said for growing up – or growing down, as it were.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem

Newspaper Article – May 4, 2016

Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

A Fond Farewell – And No Farewell At All

This week we celebrate Ascension Day, forty days after Easter. For forty days after He had been raised from the dead, our Lord Jesus ascended into Heaven.

Some might wonder how that could be something to celebrate – that our Lord Jesus has been taken away from us. We would so much rather have Him with us, would we not, so that we could see Him, and know that He is with us, really know it.

Some seek comfort in convincing themselves that they feel His presence. They seek out atmospheres which can give them emotional experiences, and then they convince themselves that their emotional experiences came from His presence, rather than from the atmosphere they sought out themselves, and which others had deliberately arranged for them.

“Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed”, is what our Lord Jesus said, however, and what He said about not seeing applies also to not seeing with our feelings. What He calls His Christians to believe is Him and His Word, not in ourselves and our feelings.

And what He Himself said to His Apostles was this: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away.”

And it is indeed to our advantage that He has ascended into Heaven.

After He has earned full and complete righteousness for us with His life, and brought about full and complete forgiveness for all our sins and shortcomings through His death, He has now returned to the heavenly glory from which He came. He is now at the right hand of the Father, in the fullness of His majesty and power.

As such, He rules all things for the good of His Church and His Christians, in our own lives, and in the life of the world.

And being in the fullness of the majesty and power of God, He is with His Church in His power of salvation. He gives His Spirit to us, with His living Word of love, and His Spirit is His very own life, and His love. He even gives His body and blood to us, for real, in His festive meal of salvation. For now that He is the fullness of the majesty and power of God, nothing can prevent Him from being wherever He chooses to be, also with His glorified body and blood, and has promised to be.

He has not left us at all. He is with us, although we neither see Him, nor feel His presence. He said He would be, and as His Christians we believe Him. We believe that He will be with us until He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and we shall see His glory and be with Him forever.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem