Thursday, February 04, 2010

The treasure - confessional or synodical?

I have been thinking of the means of grace again - Word and Sacrament. I have been thinking about it in relation to the common question - what about those people whom the Gospel has not reached? I thought about this relationship for only when the Gospel is proclaimed in the Word and Sacrament and the faith which Word/Sacrament latches on to what the Word/Sacrament declares, only then is the benefit of the Atonement enjoyed, forgiveness of sins and justification.

Hence, it is important to believe what the Pastor says in the absolution, in the sermon of Law and Gospel, in the giving of the Supper, that at those points, since they connect us to the Atonement, our sins are forgiven to us through faith in the promises they bring. Romans 1:16-17.

I got these Luther quotes and BoC quote from Ichabod's Thy Strong Word:
From Thy Strong Word:
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.

"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.
In a nutshell, no one gets saved without Word or Sacrament.

When I was an Arminian, I heard Pentecostal preachers making faith a form of works such that it can be used to condemn you when results do not happen. For example, you lacked faith if you are not healed etc. The problem is that they corrupted the idea of faith. Rather than something that is produced by God's Word, it is something you work up, so they preached.

However, now that I am Lutheran, I hear so called "confessional" Lutherans ( in the Internet and around ) do not even want you to mention faith at all, in fact, it is somewhat spoken of in a condemnatory fashion. I suspect this is a Waltherian inspired attitude. How come? St Paul was not shy to answer the Philippian jailer when he was asked, what he should do to be saved - "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and your household".

Whereas faith may not be necessary to be mentioned in a Law and Gospel sermon, it is also not wrong to mention it either, for the Apostles used the word and Jesus is even called the author and perfecter of our faith, correct?

Do not get me wrong, I think C. F. Walther's book - Law and Gospel book is quite helpful in some respects. I have also read some of his essays that I hmmm about. In my early walk, I did hear of a pastor or two ( I cannot remember may be they were from my synod) expressing concerns about Walther. What they said did not register with me at that time. I now have an idea why.

Honestly I have even read of folk declaring Walther to be their hero. I am now sceptical of declaring this dead guy or that, to be my hero. I now hold no sacred cows. But here is what I observe, seems to me for some "confessional" people, it is okay to disagree with Luther but you'd better not disagree with Walther or Pieper, or you are going to get it.

Huh? No offense, I do not think these guys have insights at par with Luther, or with Chemnitz etc. So today when I hear folk claiming they are "confessional", I stop and think, now does that mean they are faithful to the BoC? Or, do they mean they are faithful to the teaching of their "synodical fathers"? For frankly , "confessional" does not mean what it used to mean, it could mean, the guy is "synodical" (following the heritage of their synodical fathers).

Just thinking out loud.

God bless.


Brett Meyer said...

LPC, great post. It's funny that no one commented. Kind of like walking through the graveyard at night. I think you may have kicked the gravestone of some popular idols.

Soldier forth!

In Christ,

L P said...

Dear Brett,

I have to thank you for a lot of things, bro. I credit you along, with Ichabod, for helping me maul over what Scripture and the Confessions say about JBFA contra UOJ. Your citations of Scripture and the BOC have been tremendous. Your expositions have helped me connect the dots.

This is really weird that no one bothered to comment. To use Sasse's words - this is the lonely way. I, along with you am now considered suspect!

When a pastor here, I think from my synod dropped his concerns for some of Walther's writings, at first, I found it strange, for everyone hails him as a great champion of Lutheranism, even here.

Then through Ichabod, I started hunting for his essays and came across some of them. In my judgement he overstated his case. I think it is a Waltherian way to pooh pooh faith. So I hear of pastors not allowing faith to be mentioned at all.

I now even think he is responsible for the factionalism of Lutherans in USA.

In another blog concentrating on critiquing Romanism, the RC Apologists treat Luther as the Lutheran's Pope. So they constantly attack Luther.

But their mis-identification is wrong.

Actually Walther and Pieper have become the Lutheran's pope.

Would you not agree?

I have not read anyone from USA critique Walther/Pieper, only you and Ichabod. It shows how holy they have become and are now untouchable.

God bless you bro.

I will be praying for you and your needs.


Brett Meyer said...

I agree with you. Luther has become anathema because he never taught Objective Justification and his writings are soley JBFA. Sadly they treat the Confessions in like manner for the same reasons. Walther and the Piepers have been made into idols because they taught OJ which is the new gospel. If they had taught against OJ they would be relegated to bench warmers as Luther has been. This quote from August Pieper should make a Confessional Lutheran grab a rope but is embraced and completely accepted by the Universal Justification promoters. I'll quote from a letter a WELS Lutheran High School pastor sent me:

"While the election controversy was in its second stage in the first years of the 20th Century, a
somewhat related controversy over objective justification erupted. This development prompted August
Pieper to write for the third volume of the Quartalschrift his unforgettable article. The conclusion reads:
One cannot oppose any doctrine of God’s Word with impunity; this increases sin and guilt, damages consciences
and blinds the heart. One error begets another, as in the election controversy the insistence on intuitu fidei soon
brought with itself the synergistic doctrine of conversion. But whoever molests the doctrine of justification stabs
the gospel in the heart
and is on the way of losing entirely Christian doctrine and personal faith and of falling into
the arms of heathenism, even if he ever so much emphasizes justification by faith."

Christ's mercy and abundant blessings through the Word purely taught and Sacraments rightly distributed be your comfort and joy.

John 10:25-30, "Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

In Christ,