Did you get anything out of the vocation essay (below) that you never thought of before?
I finally see how even we lutherans miss something important. mortification, the death of the old adam is a process. Vocation is not just mortification.
Vocation-as-mortification would be sacrifice-as-what-god-wants. it would be sacrifice rather than mercy. it would be ” following a moral code = righteousness. ” Jesus broke the sabbath. Í repeat: Jesus broke the 10 commandments. He really did! Yet he did not sin. That means something profound.
Instead vocation is this: Vocation is the production of “daily bread” by the old adam of pagan and christian alike. daily bread is love. It is everything we need to thrive on earth. this fully includes romantic love and parental love and the feelings that go with all that. Mortification´s place in this end Good, Love, that God demands, is that the Old Adam is incapable of doing Love on earth without the mortification of the law. Mortification is the means to an end.
We find this idea of vocation in the 1st article and 4th petition goods God gives “even to all the wicked” and “indeed without our prayer or asking” listed in the Lutheran catechisms.
and we find it in the explanation to the 10 commandments as well. where? we should fear and love God that we do not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body (mortification, self restraint, law) BUT we should help and befriend him in every bodily need (love!). There is no code that can really tell us how to keep this second part that is the real purpose of the law. This was the dilema of the young lawyer that Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan too. He wanted to keep righteousness as being alone about sacrifice and not instead alone about mercy .
This is why the confessions call Mortification by itself is useless. Rome (and later the reformed) tried to say that self sacrifice soley resulting in pleasing God by following precepts was a form of righteousness. Some Lutherans assert this as well today.
Lutherans in the confessions say this specific kind of “righteousness ” of following rules, is useless and sin if it does not result in tangible practical love for others.
some then (the reformed for example) say that the new birth is also a process.
It is not.
what we receive at the moment of our baptism is as much christ as we will ever have or be able to put on. it is complete at that instant. the only sense in which this is not “complete” is that the old adam still clings to us.
Yes we grow in wisdom and stature just as did christ in the blessed incarnation, but as with christ, this for the new man is not about becoming more holy or more new or more of anything as to who or what we are.
Yes. That as a member of the “priesthood of believers,” the vocation(s) that I perform are indeed a calling of God to serve my neighbor(s). And not just something I randomly do throughout life with no purposeful outcome related to God’s kingdom.
FWS, vocation is about truly listening God’s Will for us as individuals and peoples in many spheres of interest, as Veith brilliantly avers. An example would be for a man and a woman to naturally leave the bosom of their parents and form the difficult vocation of a lifelong union in order to fulfill themselves along with ideally bearing and nurturing children. It has nothing to do with same sex unions that are a disorder of nature.
Another aspect of vocation is that in all things men and women sincerely attempt to follow God’s moral law, though, knowing that this is impossible, asking through the Cross for forgiveness.
A small point is that we humans recognize that Christ was made of the same substance [Homoousious], something that fashionable post-moderns take pride in neglecting, as you do. Individual human beings made in the image of God, also, deserve to be distinguished with capital letters Your habitual use of small letters for the name of Christ and individuals is both silly and a sacrilege
While Christ was incapable of breaking the moral Law, humans are inevitably capable of doing so, though, while human sin is inevitable, the degree of human guilt is rather variable, something you refuse to consider let alone admit.
Given the polarity of Law and Gospel, you emphasize Gospel, though as Christ made clear, He came not to abrogate the Law but to fulfill it. The polarity of Law and Gospel doesn’t of necessity mean its antithesis.
As to mortification, while fulfilling any vocation is difficult, in the long run those who try to fulfill the Law and their vocation end up with much joy. Those who don’t end up with considerable degrees of mortification, in some ways living a form of Hell on earth.
Sorry, in the above para. three, I meant to say Christ was made of the same substance as God.
Porcell @ 3
I am just repeating what the Lutheran Confessions say. So you disagree with what the Evangelical Lutheran Church teaches. Ok. Why am I not surprised.
My not capitalizing the name of Christ is for the same reason I often omit capitalizing the first word of sentences or other proper names. I would suggest you not give it any significance at all.
Porcell. a hint:
If you want to score weighty points and win an argument decisively with a Lutheran here, all you need to do is make your case by citing the Lutheran Confessions in full context.
I would actually welcome this kind of correction and you would be therefore doing me a great service of love.
Jesus broke some of the Pharisee’s rules for behavior on the Sabbath. I don’t see that as the same thing as breaking the 3rd commandment.
(If it is, all of us who go home from church to do anything other than sit in the living room with our catechisms are in trouble.) [One of my college religion profs argued that it was ok for him to mow his lawn on Sunday because that was not his vocation/profession and could be considered his exercise/leisure activity.]
After I posted my contribution, I was dismayed to realize that I had left out one of the most important ways in which God guards and strengthens our faith and our love for Him: life within the congregation, including worship, hearing the Gospel, and receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord. “Life within the congregation” is not the same as “Life within the Church”, because “the Church” is the entire environment our Lord created for His children when He “opened the Kingdom to all believers.”
I have difficulty with quantifying love. Do I love Christ more today than I did 20 years ago? I have no way of measuring it. If I do something for my neighbor, or my enemy, and take that to mean that my love for Christ has increased, I put myself in danger of glorying in my own works.
As Lutherans we agree that faith is a gift. Then we define it in many complicated ways, none of which are probably sufficient to describe faith completely. Interestingly, when St. Paul discussed the matter in 1 Cor. 13, he spoke of faith, hope, and love together. I suspect that the gift we receive in Baptism, which we find so difficult to describe in its totality, includes all three and probably more. God is not limited in His gifts to us by our vocabulary. (He probably prefers German anyway. after He abandoned Hebrew) Nevertheless, St. Paul says that the greatest of these is love.
Then there is Joy, as when in the evening, just before our Lord began His suffering of mind-bending pain and unimaginable temptation, He said to His disciples: John 16: 22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
And there is Peace, as in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am sure there are more.
The “fourfold” vocation is also God’s gift to us. Some people have lives that are so horrible that it is impossible for me to see how they can have any faith, hope, joy, peace or love. But that is the mystery of faith – not what I can understand, but that He makes it possible for us to trust that when He says He gives gifts, He does.
Peace and Joy! George A. Marquart
Sorry, I posted the previous contribution in error. It was meant only for the posting about the question of love.
Dear Dr. Veith:
I was blessed and privileged to learn of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation many years ago. That is not to say that Luther invented it, but that he recognized it as one of the facets of the many-faceted jewel: the treasure of great price – the Gospel.
But just as I forgot to include one of the most important points in my comment about our ability to love, so it was a joy to recall the forgotten comfort that this aspect of the Gospel can bring throughout life, when your sins cause you to doubt that you are really a child of God.
Was it St. Stanislaw to whom God showed the tailor in Alexandria as the most righteous person in the world? Luther loved that simple story, because it illustrated all of the virtues of the truly Christina life.
FWS, should you be serious regarding Luther and Melanchthon’s understanding of the Law, you might read, A Lutheran View of the Third Use of the Law. by Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D, including:
Luther’s catechesis of the commandments clearly embraced what the concordists later would term a “third use” of the Law, namely, a guide essential for the sanctified living of Christians in their respective vocations, a point reinforced in the appendix to the Small Catechism, “Table of Duties.” In his Preface to the Small Catechism, Luther also identified the teaching of the “Ten Commandments” as essential (together with the Creed and Lord’s Prayer) for Christians of all educational levels. Luther wrote that those who refuse to learn these three chief parts “deny Christ and are no Christians.” Luther further directed that upon completion of the Small Catechism, the instructing pastor or parent ought to continue with the Large Catechism “so that the people may have a richer and fuller understanding.” Immediately after this statement, he specified how this maturation in the Christian faith may be effected: “Expound every commandment, petition, and part, pointing out their respective obligations, benefits,” etc., “lay[ing] the greatest weight on those commandments … which require special attention among the people where you are. For example, the Seventh Commandment, which treats of stealing, must be emphasized when instructing laborers and shopkeepers.”
Porcell @ 10
Instead of reading someone writing ABOUT the Lutheran Confessions, why don´t you just do what I am doing, and read the actual Confessions and catechisms?
News flash: Lutherans do not teach a third use of the law the way you think they do. Calvinists teach a 3rd use and it is radically different from what Lutherans teach.
http://www.thirduse.com if you want to read up on the Lutheran 3rd use in the confessions and the Luther sermon referred by the confessions on this topic.
FWS, Dr. MacPherson, a Lutheran, who teaches at Bethany College, refers as a source for the third use of the Law to the appendix of Luther’s Small Catechism “Table of Duties.” Luther , also, references the Ten Commandments together with the Creed and Lord’s Prayer. What’s wrong with these sources?
Ok. Well I guess I will have to read the article now eh? I will do so. In exchange I would ask you to read Luther´s sermon on the two kingdoms or two kinds of righteousness. Is that fair?
The Luther sermon is not part of the Confessions per-se, but this particular sermon has a special place of honor for Lutherans in that the Formula of Concord in article VI titled “The third use of the Law” refers to this sermon as being it´s point of reference. So that means one would first read this sermon, and then read article VI on the “Lutheran Third Use ” in the full context of the sermon. Make sense?
I will very carefully read and parse the article you linked with gratitude. If you have anyone else that is trying to explain the Lutheran or the Reformed 3rd use, I would be grateful for you to send me those as well dear brother Purcell!
I hope that you understand that the Lutheran vs the Reformed “Third Use ” are diametrically at odds with each other.
Article VI of the Formula for example was created specifically to counter the view of Melancthon, and of Calvin who got his idea of a 3rd use directly from the late Melancthon.
What binds us Lutherans is not the fact that Melancthon or even Luther wrote something. What binds us together identifying one another as Lutheran is the Confessions alone. And this is not in the sense of a replacement for the Roman Magisterium in any sense at all. I hope that that is clear.
Ok. I will read the article you sent and get back to you shortly ok? Let me know what stands out for you in the Luther Sermon that is the basis for the Lutheran doctrine of the “3rd use” ok? How would you say it differs from the Reformed confessions and Calvin?
ah. the link to the sermon is..