Sunday, January 13, 2008

Coram Deo, Coram Mundum

Thanks to those who voted, out of my 10 readers in the world, 6 of them wants to see more apologetics work here, only 2 like it to do devotionals. Here is a devotional for the 2 who like devotionals. Last posts were apologetical I thought, so a break.

When I got "saved" or came to faith this verse 1Cor 10:31 hit me...
31So, whether you eat or drink, or(AT) whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32(AU)

But then how did I use this verse? How did you use this verse?

Well, I interpreted that all of the things I should do is to glorify God. Whatever I do, literally. So at work, I am to do my duty, give a good professional work because this will glorify God. In relationship familiar or social, be forgiving, as this will glorify God. I needed to do things excellently so it will glorify God.

Well, I noticed before long, I do not do things excellently specially when I am tired, anxious and under stress. It really burnt me out and I did get angry, I think at my Christianity and to everyone,...even to God. Well, the verse is Law isn't it?

What was I doing? Well I interpreted this verse, as Coram Deo, in the face of God, or towards God, i.e. He is the object of this excellent ambition.

I checked this verse and in context, and I notice that the neighbor is the subject of that paragraph, in other words, this is Coram Mundum, in the face or towards the world. Minding what is advantageous for my neighbor rather than what is pleasing to me is glorifying to God.

Coram Deo way of glorifying God tends to be monastic when done here. I mean it is interpreted in terms of spiritual activities i.e. prayer, meetings here and there etc. etc. i.e. mostly related to church activities. They are important but how is the service used? as Law or Gospel?

Coram Deo has been taken cared by the Lord, now I need Coram Mundum. This is not intuitive, I need a couple more reads on this verse to exorcise my previous mind set.


David said...


Great point! Jesus came to fulfill the requirement to serve our neighour with perfect motivation. We are therefore set free to do the law and repent for the doing.

Let's drink a toast to our Lord and Saviour Jesus! †

L P Cruz said...

Bro David,

In the process of Glorifying God, if you notice, it becomes (in Evangelia) Contra Mundum, i.e. against the world. How odd, no?

I see now the way to glorify God is by being of service to my neighbor, for his own sake, and not for the sake of God. For the sake of God on my part has been taken cared by the Lord, -he is now in Coram Deo.

When I was in Charismania, I could count the number of times I heard a sermon on loving the neighbor, it was always glorifying God by doing this or that spiritual activity so much so that I looked down on mowing the lawn whenever the missus asked me, I looked at it as unspiritual compared to reading my Bible. It was a good cop out too- I would say "Woman, can you not see I am a man of God and I am to be on the Word, now here are the goggles, you mow the lawn, you are glorifying God by you letting me on my study of the Word". I was a monastic!

Nice excuse, no?


Past Elder said...

When I was finishing my dissertation, I often thought I can see why the original university types were celibate clerics -- I wasn't married at the time, and frankly I don't know how or if I could have completed it if I were!

Consequently, I have nothing but admiration for those who do.

Interesting that the concept of removing oneself from the very world into which Christ placed himself is insitutionalised in the law of celibacy. Even St Paul who was all for celibacy did not lay this down as a law!

Reminds me of a story. Once there was a man who fell into a deep hole while walking. A lawyer came by, and explained to him how he should seek rememdy (sue) the person who left the hole such that it could be fallen into, but did not help him out. A philosopher came by and offered him an understanding of his situation in the scheme of life, but did not help him out. A priest came by, told him of God's love and prayed for him, but did not get him out.

Then a man came by, saw him, and jumped right in the hole with him. The man said, Great, now there's two of us trapped down here. The other man said, No, I was once down here myself; let me show you the way out.

Isn't it great to be free, to do good works knowing that the fact that they are imperfect has been overcome? I love the phrase We do good works not to be saved, but because we are saved.

L P Cruz said...


We do good works not to be saved, but because we are saved.


When all that needs to be done have been done, it does not really produce laziness, it produces repentance and fruits of it by being kind to the neighbor for his own sake.

Oh BTW, we should not beat the Charismanians to ground, some things they said or sang are true. Liz Humbard sang a song --- I am loved, you are loved, I can risk loving you, for the one who loved me best, loved me most.

She is right, when I know I am secure, I can go out and risk all for others.

I think sometimes this cursing of Evangelians amongst Lutherites falls under what Luther I believe said - the swinging of the ax.

You can swing an ax on your enemy so wide, you hit your companion in the end.


Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Bro. Lito,

I'm sorry, I didn't really notice your poll. Can you absolve me? ;-)

BTW, is "apologetics" a convenient euphemism for more POLEMICS? ;-)!

Past Elder said...

I see where your cross town counterpart has taken you to task for the Black Nazarene post.

There's been a few dust ups lately on the blogs I frequent. Another Aussie convert to conciliar Catholicism took me to task on Weedon's Blog, some ex-Lutheran Orthodox and Lutherans got into it on the same blog, I saw the deal on Father Hollywood's blog, and of course there is the Anti-Christ deal on your crosstown counterpart's blog.

I don't have all that much of a problem with the Evangelicals including the Charismatic variety. Of course I wish they understood that after their clear proclamation of Christ as Lord and Saviour they understood something about Word and Sacrament. But it only really bothers me when we Lutherans begin to adopt practices that reflect their understanding thinking it will boost our numbers and we can Lutheranise the content.

Likewise the conciliar Catholics, where we too have adopted conciliar worship along with the historic worship of the Church, I suppose to seem in line with the general drift of liturgical churches.

So I don't want to swing axes at any of them per se. Certainly among them, individually and corporately, Christians and the Christian Church can be found. It's when among us we find something to be gained by imitating their worship that there is a problem, because their worship derives from the faulty points in their theology, departing from the catholic faith and worship we confess in the BOC, either by augmenting the historic worship of the church or dispensing with it.

You have a lived background in both the RC and Protestant worlds whereas I only have that in the RC world, and neither of us has been Orthodox. I'm sure that's why for me it is easy to stay out of the Lutheran/Orthodox and Evangelical/Lutheran dust ups, but these converts to conciliar Catholicism drive me nuts sometimes thinking we adhere to a not quite 500 year old departure from the catholic faith when they adhere to a not quite 50 year old one, and one which I saw constructed before my very eyes and was taught by some of its architects!

Anyway, I get the Black Nazarene post. I'm going to have to stay away from conciliar Catholic blogs, as I think if I read the word hermeneutic -- which appears to have attained a functional definition of "finding in something what we know must be there" -- one more time I will, as I have heard Aussies express it, do the technicolour yawn!

L P Cruz said...


Yes, I was only teasing in my posts, you are not expected to vote if you do not want to!!!

All forgiven --- bro!


L P Cruz said...


because their worship derives from the faulty points in their theology, departing from the catholic faith and worship we confess in the BOC, either by augmenting the historic worship of the church or dispensing with it.

Absolutely agree P.E. that is why I love your post that time when you were TV surfing how you related your observation of on the Baptist and the RC service you saw.

The problem with Evangelical/Pentecostal worship P.E, is the posture - they go to give to God rather than to receive from God, but the core of this is their misunderstanding of the Gospel, it is basically -- God I scratch your back, and you scratch mine.

Yes, too I love the liturgy now, but I do so because I understand it in the context of the Gospel and the context of teaching the Gospel again to us.

I bring most of the time my discussion with fellow Evangelicals on the point of means of grace first, the liturgy will be accepted seamlessly once the means of grace - Word and Sacrament has been understood, that is my theory anyway.

But it only really bothers me when we Lutherans begin to adopt practices that reflect their understanding thinking it will boost our numbers and we can Lutheranise the content.

I agree, now this is pressure towards the pastor actually. The first one who should have confidence in the word of God should be the pastor first and if he does not do Law/Gospel it won't grow.

My home church is experiencing growth even though we are liturgical! Ok we are a bit low compared to the LCMS, but to me my pastor faithfully brings Law and Gospel in his sermons, some Sundays there are no seats in church and I get surprised and I am already 2 years there and I see new people each Sunday checking us out.

I need to read more on your points on the conciliar worship, you have studied this better than I have.

So do you think the way at least the LCMS folk are doing it is wrong headed meaning - them adopting Contemporary ala Evangelia and Liturgical ala Romana is a bum steer?

PS. (LOL) Technicolor Yawn!

Past Elder said...

I'm going to respond, but it's 0100 hours here, laundry is done, time for bed!

L P Cruz said...


To quote the psalms he gives his beloved sleep!


Past Elder said...

OK, some related points.

Re synods, I don't think we Lutherans have quite the same axe to grind (from swinging axes to grinding them!) as the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans (here meaning the entire communion) do. I don't confess the LCMS to be co-extensive with the one, holy, catholic, apostolic church I confess in the Creed. Nor for that matter was it the LCMS, or WELS before it, which I confessed publicly on joining, but the "evangelical Lutheran church", not a denominational name. So, while on the one hand we strive for purity of doctrine in "our beloved synod" it is for the sake of the doctrine, that the synod may continue to faithfully offer it, but not out of a sense that the synod is the continuing fulness of the church body founded by Christ himself. Therefore, while we may have similar struggles to all denominations which existed before the current fads, our reaction to them will be different than a Catholic, Episcopalian, or Orthodox, because we do not have a concrete institution identified with one of our articles of faith.

Re "contemporary" worship after the fashion of Evangelicals, yes, I think it is wrong headed to think that such worship will pack them in for us as it does for them, but, those who follow this path in LCMS do so not in an attempt to deny the Lutheran faith but out of a sincere concern for souls. While that sincere concern has led them to disastrous conclusions, to participate in the unfolding events as if they were some sort of raging apostates bent on the destruction of Lutheranism is entirely unwarranted.

As a personal example -- yes, I know everyone hates theology by anecdote -- I think the presidency of Jerry Kieschnick has been a very bad thing for our synod, I cast the one dissenting vote for his slate of candidates at our parish voters meeting before the last convention, etc, yet, I read in something by him a suggestion for opening opportunities to spread the faith, where he mentioned that when dining out just before praying before the meal they mention to waiter they are about to pray and ask if he had something he would like them to pray for. Do I have the courage of faith to do this? No. It's hard enough for me to just pray in a restaurant, let alone involve the waiter -- we make the sign of the cross at prayer before meals, not out of crypto papism but the simple instructions in the LC, so it's pretty obvious. So, for as much as I disagree with him and those about him, it is a disagreement with a brother in Christ who however much I may think is wrong on important things is right on important things too and that to a degree in which I am lacking.

Re Evangelia and Romana, the Lutheran faith and church has from the start existed in a tension between these two, which represent equal if opposite errors, and I think the Devil himself loves to see us fully throw in with one or the other. While the BOC spends far more time on Romana, that is because what are now the Protestant churches were then barely begun and Rome already had 1500 years on them and was omnipresent in their world. A BOC written to-day would I think spend equal time. We can use the word "Protestant" in its ordinary sense of not Roman Catholic, but the fact is, we are not Protestant in that ordinary sense at all any more than we are catholic in its ordinary sense of Roman Catholic. Those who hyperventilate about keeping us from being Roman seem to also keep us from being catholic, missing that the BOC affirms what is catholic, and I see in an equal danger to those who would make us another Protestant church. We have since Luther's day tended to run off to either extreme.

Finally, I think this is made even more difficult in our time to understand by the changes the Roman church made at the last Council, which have been adopted and adapted by most mainline Protestant churches. This new faith has become a universalism of a sort, its new calendar and lectionary and its new rites now, with adaptations, the common property of the mainline heterodox denominations. I do not think the extent of this has been nearly well enough realised or understood. I'll let the others deal with it as they may, but for us Lutherans it means our adaptation of it gives us a "contemporary worship" just as much as Evangelical style worship does, differing from those who look to Willow Creek et al only in to whom they look. One can turn one's back on the conservation and passing on of the catholic faith and liturgy just as much by looking to post conciliar Rome and to others who have looked to it, as one can by rejecting liturgy altogether. To put it another way, why, nearly 500 years after reforming what is catholic from the augmentations put on it by the Catholic Church we should now accept their latest set of Catholic augmentations to what is catholic, is beyond comprehension, once it is seen for what it is.

So in sum, we continue to exist in a tension between those who would make us Protestant along its various lines and those who would make us Catholic along its now various lines, both and equally missing that what we are is catholic, and both and equally stiving to eliminate something essential to what that is. The zeal for souls is not Protestant, the zeal for the sacraments and liturgy is not Catholic, in essence, and neither requires the elimination of the other but in fact are needed by the other and are incomplete without each other. The real disaster would be then if we Lutherans should finally become one or the other, just another denom holding on to irs favourite part of the whole rather than the confessing the whole.

Sorry for the long post!

L P Cruz said...


Well said. No need to apologize for a long reply, you would rather be understood, sometimes conciseness is not a virtue.

I see synods as both iustus et pecator, so every synod is a big version of sinner-saint. In my mind, the church that is reformed (small r) continues to Reform (big R). It must.

What I see so called Lutheran bloggers do is condemn fellow Lutherans who are into contemporary worship, but at the same time hail the revert to extra catholic practices. I see lopsidedness. You are an exception and to that I enjoy your thoughts.

Over here where I am we do not have the same predomination of religiosity you have in USA. We are predominated by pagans who think they are Christians - they could not care any less what brand of Christianity you are, so before them we must first "appear as one" in front of them before we start shooting each other. Right now they are not even interested in any brand of Christianity. They lump you in the same basket - a Christian to them is someone who is sentimental and who out of religiosity decides to believe that there is a God, but someone to be taken seriously. They are not interested in Christian squabbles.

Look at it like wrestling match, something done by elimination.

My synod (LCAust) is a centrist synod. At the moment, they enjoy my respect even though 15 years ago, I looked at them as another liberalized mainliner. In 2005 I was already Concordian in conviction, but I waited for another year before involving in a Lutheran church near by, why? I was suspicious of LCAust. Then as I moved I noticed that in humility they are just like me, they can get things wrong and they struggle, they are also walking and are in a faith journey. They almost got split last 2006 on the women's ordination issue. They survived it and so I can see that as God's mercy.

If an LCMS person gets into our services, they will frown at them, but I won't. I can not hate

I can forgive in my local church, nasty people, a hint of pentecostalism, I can forgive badly done organs, even out of order liturgy, I can forgive people neglecting to be nice, yes even at that.

There is something I can never forgive -- if I do not hear Law/Gospel preached to me -- I say...bye bye see ya later, I am out of here. I can never trust what is in the marquee more often than not, the label "confessional", sometimes it is used as an "in" word to hide their Romanizing. So I look at what happens on the ground, not what happens above, because the pastor's first duty is to serve Word and Sacrament to his people, not in extra-curricular activities.

I am not always impressed with pastors who get involve in synod issues most of the time. I am cynical, I think it is a smoke screen for hiding their incompetence in their parish duties. Folk like these get to major in the minor or makes the minor the major because they fail in the major itself.

Sorry to be long winded too.

I can see your trepidation on both pulls from evangelical contemporaneity and RC liturgical revivalism, and Lutherites should stay clear.

As they, say if ain't broken, why fix it?