Posts tagged “Luther

Holy Cross 2014

Posted on September 14th, 2014

As Adam lay dying, his son Seth went to the border of Eden. There he said to the angel guarding the way in, “My father is dying; give to me from the Tree of Life, that I may bring it as medicine to him.” But the angel would not give him from the Tree of Life. Instead, he gave him a shoot from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “When this bears fruit,” said the angel, “Adam will be fully restored.” So goes the legend. And the legend continues, that this shoot, planted on Adam’s grave, endured as a great tree, whose wood finally became used for the cross, thus fulfilling the angel’s words, “When this bears fruit, Adam will be…

Granting error equal rights

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Lutheran dogmatician Francis Pieper on error and truth: The Christian Church can and should have patience with the erring and seek through instruction to remove the error. But never can or should the Church grant error equal right with the truth. If it does, it renounces the truth itself. It is the very nature of truth to antagonize error. Truth which no longer excludes error, but grants it domicile, is eo ipso resigning as truth. Pertinently Luther remarks: “Whoever really regards his doctrine, faith, and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain in the same stall with such as teach or adhere to false doctrine.” Unionism in principle abolishes the difference between truth and error.

Luther on suicide

Posted on June 24th, 2014

Luther had very little to say about suicide. This is from the Table Talk (AE 54, p29): I don’t share the opinion that suicides are certainly to be damned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil. They are like a man who is murdered in the woods by a robber. However, this ought not be taught to the common people, lest Satan be given an opportunity to cause slaughter, and I recommend that the popular custom be strictly adhered to according to which it [the suicide’s corpse] is not carried over the threshold, etc. Such persons do not die by free choice or by law, but our Lord God will dispatch…

Shameful deceivers

Posted on May 8th, 2014

Dr. Luther, in a 1531 sermon on Jubilate Sunday, reminds us that we are always to trust in the Word of God and not human writings. Those are shameful deceivers who, putting their confidence in pope, emperor, councils, and church fathers, declare that the Christian church cannot err; what the church has decreed, we must accept. Instead you should remember the saying: To err is human! Right here, in this Gospel lesson [for Jubilate, John 16:16-23], the apostles have drifted into wrong thinking about the greatest of all truths: the passion and resurrection of Christ. That’s why i cannot trust the fathers, councils, or churchdoms, unless they can show that they really do have God’s Word. What the church speaks apart from and beyond…

Expect trials, be patient

Posted on April 7th, 2014

If you lead a temperate and sensible life, you should not suppose that you will live without trials and persecution. For if you believe and lead a good, Christian life, the world will not let you alone. It must persecute you and be your enemy. You must bear this with patience, which is a fruit of faith. Luther, AE 30, p156

The role of works in the last judgment

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Jesus clearly speaks about a salvation based upon works (e.g., Mt. 25). How can we reconcile this with the clear statements of Scripture that attribute salvation to the grace of God? Matthew Levering helpfully observes, Works of love have this role in the last judgment because they show that we share in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who makes us adopted children of God. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian (p. 94). Baylor University Press. As Luther would put it, “Works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.”

The Gospel and instruction in the Christian life

Posted on February 25th, 2014

Can a preacher of the Gospel emphasize instruction in Christian living? Holsten Fagerberg asserts that this is part of the Confessional teaching: In the preface to LC Luther complains about the neglect of private devotions on the part of Evangelical pastors. Having been freed from the compulsion of reading the breviary every day, one could at least desire that “every morning, noon, and evening they would read, instead, at least a page or two from the Catechism, the Prayer Book, the New Testament, or something else from the Bible and would pray the Lord’s Prayer for themselves and their parishioners. In this way they might show honor and gratitude to the Gospel, through which they have been delivered from so many burdens and troubles, and…

Suffering in your station

Posted on February 4th, 2014

Dr. Luther on suffering in our vocations: I ask where our suffering is to be found. I shall soon tell you: Run through all stations of life, from the lowest to the highest, and you will find what you are looking for. We are not to look for a cross, the devil and world will make one for us. Simply live as an earnest Christian, preacher, pastor, burgher, farmer, noble, lord, and fulfill your office faithfully and loyally. Let the devil worry where he can find a piece of wood out of which to make a cross for you, and the world where it can find a branch out of which to make a scourge for your hide. Quoted in Wingren, Luther on Vocation, pp29f

Luther on belief without works

Posted on January 16th, 2014

“My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Dr. Luther says that St. John is denouncing those who only pay lip-service to the Gospel. They retain just the froth together with their presumption that faith and the Gospel are a mere matter of words…. You can see that their doctrines are mere husks and empty shells from the way these people conduct their lives. They have no intention of living in accordance with the Gospel nor do they intend to demonstrate Christian love to show that they really do take the gospel seriously. That is why they become slothful and refuse to do any works, protesting that their field of action…

God is not joking

Posted on December 17th, 2013

More from our Confessions on faith and works, this time from the Large Catechism, Fourth Commandment: How can you lead a more blessed or holier life as far as your works are concerned? In God’s sight faith is what really makes a person holy and serves Him alone, but the works are for the service of people. (I.146f) Then Dr. Luther speaks about rewards for the pious and punishments for the rebellious. He then urges us toward godliness: Whoever will not be moved by this and lean toward godliness we hand over to the hangman and to the skeleton man. Therefore, let everyone who allows himself to be advised remember that God is not joking. Know that it is God who speaks with you and…