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Vocation vs. Churchianity

I love to see what happens when people discover Luther’s  doctrine of vocation.  Here Chaplain Mike at Internetmonk looks at St. Paul’s exhortation for the Christian life and contrasts it with what we hear from most pulpits today:

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

• 1Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)

Chaplain Mike then contrasts that with what we would be more likely to hear from pulpits today:

In today’s church, we might have expected Paul to give a list of doable activities that one could perform on behalf of others to express love.

We have this thing about being “practical,” and we want to know the “steps” of “application.” We value creative ideas, instructions, a manual with directions to follow. We want to know which books to read, which videos to watch, which seminars to attend, which websites to consult, which counselor can help us make the breakthroughs we need to live this out more fully. Paul does not oblige.

• In today’s church, we might have expected Paul to give examples or tell a story that touches our hearts about how someone showed extraordinary, exemplary love for another, how a person showed sacrificial generosity toward another—perhaps an unworthy recipient—and how God blessed as a result.

Perhaps the person who received love opened his or her heart to Christ. Or maybe the person who sacrificed received back abundant blessings from the Lord for showing such love. Maybe a marriage was saved, a prodigal came home, a life turned around. Perhaps a video clip would be shown of people extending themselves in remarkable ways to serve and bless others. But Paul gives no such heart-tugging motivational example or story. . . .

Paul’s encouragement, instead, must seem remarkably lackluster and ordinary from the point of view of those who invest so much in spiritual engineering and technology, motivational methods, and churchianity. . . .

• Live a quiet life.

• Mind your own business.

• Work with your hands.

The best way to show Christian love to others? It almost sounds like a prescription for a small, selfish life! Yet this is how the Apostle, by divine inspiration, encourages us to live.

Paul commends a life that is the very opposite of activist churchianity. Instead, he advocates the way of Christian vocation—Walk humbly and quietly with God. Don’t think it’s your job to change the world. Quit sticking your nose in everybody else’s business. Do your work and do it well. Let Christ’s love for others grow naturally out of that soil. Earn the respect of your neighbors over time as you live your life in Christ. Slow down. Get small. Run quiet. Go deep. Grow up. Keep on keeping on. Stand on your own two feet. Become a mature human being.

Not sexy at all. Kind of disappointing.

Maybe the video will be more practical.

via Paul’s Disappointing Approach to the Christian Life | internetmonk.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • MarkB

    Sounds like the difference between life under the cross compared to a theology of glory. It is not all about us nomatter what our old Adam wants to believe.

  • MarkB

    Sounds like the difference between life under the cross compared to a theology of glory. It is not all about us nomatter what our old Adam wants to believe.

  • BW

    But…but..we’re supposed to live lives beyond all expectations! We’re “not called to live boring lives,” as some megachurch pastors frequently say. “Following Jesus” isn’t supposed to be normal, we aren’t supposed to just exist, we’re supposed to live life to the fullest…

    …And now that I’ve used all the cliche quotes I’ve heard…the doctrine of vocation, serving our neighbors in our lives, being little “Christ-bearers” to them, was one of the most beautiful and releasing things I’d ever heard once I started digging into Lutheranism and stopped listening to some of these jokers…

  • BW

    But…but..we’re supposed to live lives beyond all expectations! We’re “not called to live boring lives,” as some megachurch pastors frequently say. “Following Jesus” isn’t supposed to be normal, we aren’t supposed to just exist, we’re supposed to live life to the fullest…

    …And now that I’ve used all the cliche quotes I’ve heard…the doctrine of vocation, serving our neighbors in our lives, being little “Christ-bearers” to them, was one of the most beautiful and releasing things I’d ever heard once I started digging into Lutheranism and stopped listening to some of these jokers…

  • Dan VU

    Compare “liberalism” with “orthodoxy.” Orthodoxy stays the same. Liberalism soars from 1800 to 2000. There is a church history lesson here.

  • Dan VU

    Compare “liberalism” with “orthodoxy.” Orthodoxy stays the same. Liberalism soars from 1800 to 2000. There is a church history lesson here.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is the luther sermon from the Lutheran Confessions, formula of concord art VI that explains how this all looks and how to teach it to others with beautiful directness and simplicity.

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is the luther sermon from the Lutheran Confessions, formula of concord art VI that explains how this all looks and how to teach it to others with beautiful directness and simplicity.

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

  • Joe

    but I want my best life now!!!!

  • Joe

    but I want my best life now!!!!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @ 5

    God wants that too Joe. And in faith alone can we trust that God will make this happen any way He needs to just because he is Good and Love. You have everything you will ever have in the resurrection in our baptismal new man right now which you know alone by faith alone in Christ.

    And at the same time we can thank God that he is killing and punishing and disciplining the old Adams of us all to work his fatherly Goodness and Mercy even out of them.

    He does this daily and richly, just because he wants Joe to get that daily bread that curls your toes and makes you giddy with joy.

    And now as new men, we see that providing that love that is daily bread of beauty, caring, love, affection, joy, and attention to others is what we are to do until our Lord returns. And we get to do this just because. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @ 5

    God wants that too Joe. And in faith alone can we trust that God will make this happen any way He needs to just because he is Good and Love. You have everything you will ever have in the resurrection in our baptismal new man right now which you know alone by faith alone in Christ.

    And at the same time we can thank God that he is killing and punishing and disciplining the old Adams of us all to work his fatherly Goodness and Mercy even out of them.

    He does this daily and richly, just because he wants Joe to get that daily bread that curls your toes and makes you giddy with joy.

    And now as new men, we see that providing that love that is daily bread of beauty, caring, love, affection, joy, and attention to others is what we are to do until our Lord returns. And we get to do this just because. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But what if I had only Thirty Days Left to Live?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But what if I had only Thirty Days Left to Live?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    mike @ 7

    as one who was told he would be soon dead… my advice is to live life as death and resurrection. assume you will be dead tomorrow. and live in your Jesus.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    mike @ 7

    as one who was told he would be soon dead… my advice is to live life as death and resurrection. assume you will be dead tomorrow. and live in your Jesus.

  • SKPeterson

    Another good, related resource on this is John Kleinig’s “Grace Upon Grace.” Its focus is on a quiet spirituality centered on “Baptism, attend[ing] the Divine Service, participat[ing] in the Holy Supper, read[ing] the Scriptures, pray[ing] …, resist[ing] temptation, and work[ing] with Jesus in our given location here on earth.

  • SKPeterson

    Another good, related resource on this is John Kleinig’s “Grace Upon Grace.” Its focus is on a quiet spirituality centered on “Baptism, attend[ing] the Divine Service, participat[ing] in the Holy Supper, read[ing] the Scriptures, pray[ing] …, resist[ing] temptation, and work[ing] with Jesus in our given location here on earth.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    It seems to me that the verse is talking about the conduct of the group of believers as a whole, not so much to the conduct of individual believers towards one another. It’s not that we are to lead individually quiet lives and not bother about other believers’ business, but that we should work together to make sure we can all lead quiet lives and not let anyone have to go outside the church for help.

    The church at that time had all things in common, and made sure no one had any lack. The Thessalonians would have understood this and thus did not need steps of action to carry it out.

    I agree these verses could be taken as a rebuke against evangelical churchianity, but they are more properly a rebuke of the church that is politically focused (meddling in unbelievers’ affairs and trying to fix social problems by rejiggering the government) and simultaneously leaves its members to provide for their own needs individually.

    As a friend of mine said, “Lots of conservative churches want to blame believers for their financial needs rather than help them out.”

    As believers, part of our vocation is to use our industry to love each other by meeting each others’ needs, and thus provide a minimum of drama to the secular world – a “quiet life.” This is a bit different than everyone in the church being commanded to mind their own individual business and be individually self-sustaining.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    It seems to me that the verse is talking about the conduct of the group of believers as a whole, not so much to the conduct of individual believers towards one another. It’s not that we are to lead individually quiet lives and not bother about other believers’ business, but that we should work together to make sure we can all lead quiet lives and not let anyone have to go outside the church for help.

    The church at that time had all things in common, and made sure no one had any lack. The Thessalonians would have understood this and thus did not need steps of action to carry it out.

    I agree these verses could be taken as a rebuke against evangelical churchianity, but they are more properly a rebuke of the church that is politically focused (meddling in unbelievers’ affairs and trying to fix social problems by rejiggering the government) and simultaneously leaves its members to provide for their own needs individually.

    As a friend of mine said, “Lots of conservative churches want to blame believers for their financial needs rather than help them out.”

    As believers, part of our vocation is to use our industry to love each other by meeting each others’ needs, and thus provide a minimum of drama to the secular world – a “quiet life.” This is a bit different than everyone in the church being commanded to mind their own individual business and be individually self-sustaining.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    By the way, it would be healthy to read other translations too. “not being dependent on others” is not a very helpful translation. The original just says μηδενὸς χρείαν ἔχητε – meaning “ye may be having need of nothing.” The true church of Christ has no concept of individual independence from other believers. Our individual fulfillment is in supplying to each other’s needs by fulfilling our vocation or function in the Body of Christ.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love these verses, I’m just anxious that they not be twisted to support some concept of going off on individual tangents that have no bearing on our collective calling as members of a Body.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    By the way, it would be healthy to read other translations too. “not being dependent on others” is not a very helpful translation. The original just says μηδενὸς χρείαν ἔχητε – meaning “ye may be having need of nothing.” The true church of Christ has no concept of individual independence from other believers. Our individual fulfillment is in supplying to each other’s needs by fulfilling our vocation or function in the Body of Christ.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love these verses, I’m just anxious that they not be twisted to support some concept of going off on individual tangents that have no bearing on our collective calling as members of a Body.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joel @11

    it is also important to note that this is all law. it is stuff that we are supposed to do. commanded to do. so it is law and it pertains to the earthly kingdom of visible works.

    and out of this law applied to the Old Adam a fatherly loving God produces daily bread out of Goodness and Mercy in with and under our Old Adams being coerced and negotiated into doing Gods Will that is for us to be happy on earth and at peace with one another.

    the law always accuses.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joel @11

    it is also important to note that this is all law. it is stuff that we are supposed to do. commanded to do. so it is law and it pertains to the earthly kingdom of visible works.

    and out of this law applied to the Old Adam a fatherly loving God produces daily bread out of Goodness and Mercy in with and under our Old Adams being coerced and negotiated into doing Gods Will that is for us to be happy on earth and at peace with one another.

    the law always accuses.

  • JonSLC

    I agree wholeheartedly with the main thought in the post.

    However, we should not overlook Paul’s mention of the Macedonian Christians in 2 Corinthians chapter 8. This was an example of God’s grace in action, played out in the Macedonians’ vocation of loving their neighbors. In this case, their neighbors were fellow Christians at some distance from them.

    There is at times a salutary place for seeing Christ’s love at work in other believers’ lives.

  • JonSLC

    I agree wholeheartedly with the main thought in the post.

    However, we should not overlook Paul’s mention of the Macedonian Christians in 2 Corinthians chapter 8. This was an example of God’s grace in action, played out in the Macedonians’ vocation of loving their neighbors. In this case, their neighbors were fellow Christians at some distance from them.

    There is at times a salutary place for seeing Christ’s love at work in other believers’ lives.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    john slc @13

    There is no however dear brother.

    Gods grace in action is alone Christ in his life death and resurrection.

    the vocation of the macedonians, as ours, is the law being applied to our old adam just as it is applied to the old adam of any pagan. the visible love and good works of a christian are NO different than the visible love and good works of a pagan. these good works and love require the same mortification or deathing of our Old Adam for them to happen.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    john slc @13

    There is no however dear brother.

    Gods grace in action is alone Christ in his life death and resurrection.

    the vocation of the macedonians, as ours, is the law being applied to our old adam just as it is applied to the old adam of any pagan. the visible love and good works of a christian are NO different than the visible love and good works of a pagan. these good works and love require the same mortification or deathing of our Old Adam for them to happen.

  • Stephen

    I say we hear this instruction from Paul, pack up the tents, and send home to live in peace all the Christian soldiers fighting in the culture war.

  • Stephen

    I say we hear this instruction from Paul, pack up the tents, and send home to live in peace all the Christian soldiers fighting in the culture war.

  • Tom Hering

    As for the idea that no Christian should have to go outside the Church for help, none of the Thessalonians with life-threatening conditions had the option of medical treatments costing $100,000 to $200,000. Or treatments costing hundreds per month if their condition was chronic. What congregation today can handle all the medical needs of its members? But God provides for us (as He does for non-believers) through the means of the world, including the means of government – and governments of every kind, at that.

    Joel @ 11 raises an important point of translation.

  • Tom Hering

    As for the idea that no Christian should have to go outside the Church for help, none of the Thessalonians with life-threatening conditions had the option of medical treatments costing $100,000 to $200,000. Or treatments costing hundreds per month if their condition was chronic. What congregation today can handle all the medical needs of its members? But God provides for us (as He does for non-believers) through the means of the world, including the means of government – and governments of every kind, at that.

    Joel @ 11 raises an important point of translation.

  • http://silverwarethief.com Rundy

    Joel @11

    Do you really think it is an either/or of the church as a whole being addressed or individual believers? I understand it as applying to both.

    Consider the statements Paul makes elsewhere to the Thessalonian church:

    “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thess. 5:14)

    “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

    We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

    If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. ” (2 Thess. 3:6-15)

    This points to a strong personal application in the individual’s life. I don’t disagree with your application to the church as a whole, I simply see both as being in view.

  • http://silverwarethief.com Rundy

    Joel @11

    Do you really think it is an either/or of the church as a whole being addressed or individual believers? I understand it as applying to both.

    Consider the statements Paul makes elsewhere to the Thessalonian church:

    “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thess. 5:14)

    “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

    We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

    If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. ” (2 Thess. 3:6-15)

    This points to a strong personal application in the individual’s life. I don’t disagree with your application to the church as a whole, I simply see both as being in view.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Rundy @17,

    In this book, it’s all one to me really. In chapter 4:11-12 (and previous verses) I see him writing to the group regarding their conduct as a group; in the passages you quoted I see him writing to the group regarding how they as a group should respond to the conduct of individuals within the group. Paul did write letters to individual believers as you know, as well as letters to groups of professing believers.

    All of these have individual applications; it’s just that when instruction is given in a collective sense, it’s important that, in inferring any individual application from it, we remain aware of its intended collective meaning.

    I.e., the difference between: “You need to believe/do this” (e.g. 1 Timothy, very individually applicable) vs “You all need to be sure you agree to believe/do this together as a whole”. Sometimes the distinction is critical and I believe this is one of those cases.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Rundy @17,

    In this book, it’s all one to me really. In chapter 4:11-12 (and previous verses) I see him writing to the group regarding their conduct as a group; in the passages you quoted I see him writing to the group regarding how they as a group should respond to the conduct of individuals within the group. Paul did write letters to individual believers as you know, as well as letters to groups of professing believers.

    All of these have individual applications; it’s just that when instruction is given in a collective sense, it’s important that, in inferring any individual application from it, we remain aware of its intended collective meaning.

    I.e., the difference between: “You need to believe/do this” (e.g. 1 Timothy, very individually applicable) vs “You all need to be sure you agree to believe/do this together as a whole”. Sometimes the distinction is critical and I believe this is one of those cases.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rundy @ 17 and joel @ 18

    As a Lutheran christian, I would point out that none of this law we are reading about paul here would be uniquely applicable to christians as opposed to pagans. To say this in other words? No christ crucified would be needed to know or do any of this.

    St Paul was dealing with a church at a certain time and place. Should we read this prescriptively or descriptively or maybe just as a history related to us as an encouragement in the form of showing that the saints of those days had their problems and how they persevered and remained faithful?

    In any case, none of what we are talking about doing here or what we should be doing here would have any eternal consequences whatsoever would it?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rundy @ 17 and joel @ 18

    As a Lutheran christian, I would point out that none of this law we are reading about paul here would be uniquely applicable to christians as opposed to pagans. To say this in other words? No christ crucified would be needed to know or do any of this.

    St Paul was dealing with a church at a certain time and place. Should we read this prescriptively or descriptively or maybe just as a history related to us as an encouragement in the form of showing that the saints of those days had their problems and how they persevered and remained faithful?

    In any case, none of what we are talking about doing here or what we should be doing here would have any eternal consequences whatsoever would it?

  • Stephen

    I think what happens with anything we read in scripture that even hints at a command, is that we want to see law completely as rules – legal problems, problems of behavior on doing the right things. I don’t think this is what our Confessions suggest the law actually is, how conscience works on us to do what God wants us to do, and what it is that ought to motivate us to do things in the first place. Romans 3 describes how the outward keeping of the law in this sense (as if it were a bunch of rules) actually creates aversion to them in the heart (Luther’s intro to Romans is very helpful here).

    I landed on this verse about “working with your hands” a few months ago and am enjoying hearing it again in this context. I’m an artist, so I immediately resonate with the “descriptive” mode of this. But I would broaden it to all vocations in this way:

    I’m guessing a bit, but perhaps St. Paul has in mind the life of that new creation that we are through faith. What does that life “look like?” Don’t we all really want to know. Is he really trying to tell us? Not sure, but I thought of this:

    Gen 2:19 “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

    “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them.” that’s a stunner!!! Maybe Paul has in mind a similar picture of life, one in harmony with God in which God gives us chores to do. They may be simple, even the same ones others are doing, but they are essential in ways we cannot foretell. In a similar way, our faithfulness to work and vocation is how His kingdom is being made manifest. As the article notes, it isn’t glamorous. What is interesting is how God ends up providing Eve to Adam right after this naming project because the animals did not assuage his loneliness. Regardless of what we do, God will make sure we have what we need. And in the process, he seems actually to take delight in what we do in the work he gives us. So we can do it gladly without the need for heaps of assurances that it is “good” or has the sanctified seal of approval. These things are already kept in Christ.

    I was reminded of how so often St. Paul uses such OT paradigms in his understanding of who we are in Christ. What is new creation work? The Buddhists have a saying that actually sounds kind of Lutheran to me at the moment: “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” And that just goes to prove ‘fws’s’ point that “works of the law” and “fruit of the spirit” cannot be distinguished one from the other upon inspection.

    I think the message is something like “do your work secure in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord.” It’s a little bit like the adage K I S S: Keep It Simple “Servant”!

  • Stephen

    I think what happens with anything we read in scripture that even hints at a command, is that we want to see law completely as rules – legal problems, problems of behavior on doing the right things. I don’t think this is what our Confessions suggest the law actually is, how conscience works on us to do what God wants us to do, and what it is that ought to motivate us to do things in the first place. Romans 3 describes how the outward keeping of the law in this sense (as if it were a bunch of rules) actually creates aversion to them in the heart (Luther’s intro to Romans is very helpful here).

    I landed on this verse about “working with your hands” a few months ago and am enjoying hearing it again in this context. I’m an artist, so I immediately resonate with the “descriptive” mode of this. But I would broaden it to all vocations in this way:

    I’m guessing a bit, but perhaps St. Paul has in mind the life of that new creation that we are through faith. What does that life “look like?” Don’t we all really want to know. Is he really trying to tell us? Not sure, but I thought of this:

    Gen 2:19 “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

    “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them.” that’s a stunner!!! Maybe Paul has in mind a similar picture of life, one in harmony with God in which God gives us chores to do. They may be simple, even the same ones others are doing, but they are essential in ways we cannot foretell. In a similar way, our faithfulness to work and vocation is how His kingdom is being made manifest. As the article notes, it isn’t glamorous. What is interesting is how God ends up providing Eve to Adam right after this naming project because the animals did not assuage his loneliness. Regardless of what we do, God will make sure we have what we need. And in the process, he seems actually to take delight in what we do in the work he gives us. So we can do it gladly without the need for heaps of assurances that it is “good” or has the sanctified seal of approval. These things are already kept in Christ.

    I was reminded of how so often St. Paul uses such OT paradigms in his understanding of who we are in Christ. What is new creation work? The Buddhists have a saying that actually sounds kind of Lutheran to me at the moment: “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” And that just goes to prove ‘fws’s’ point that “works of the law” and “fruit of the spirit” cannot be distinguished one from the other upon inspection.

    I think the message is something like “do your work secure in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord.” It’s a little bit like the adage K I S S: Keep It Simple “Servant”!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @ 20

    what you said fits in quite nicely with what dr veith seems to be driving at in his post.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @ 20

    what you said fits in quite nicely with what dr veith seems to be driving at in his post.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    I do wish you wouldn’t use the word ‘Churchianity’, Dr Veith.
    We pastors have a hard enough time as it is trying to persuade people to come to church without those already ‘inside’ using a term which associates the organised church with a faux Christianity.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    I do wish you wouldn’t use the word ‘Churchianity’, Dr Veith.
    We pastors have a hard enough time as it is trying to persuade people to come to church without those already ‘inside’ using a term which associates the organised church with a faux Christianity.

  • Stephen

    I especially like this bit of interpretation from the article:

    “Walk humbly and quietly with God. Don’t think it’s your job to change the world. Quit sticking your nose in everybody else’s business. Do your work and do it well. Let Christ’s love for others grow naturally out of that soil. Earn the respect of your neighbors over time as you live your life in Christ. Slow down. Get small. Run quiet. Go deep. Grow up. Keep on keeping on. Stand on your own two feet. Become a mature human being.”

    Why do Christians in this country have to “own” everything – materially, culturally, politically, spiritually even? That is to say, why do we create such a ghetto for ourselves with “Christian” this and “Christian” that. This text seems to say “let it go, let it be, you are really that free.” “I am that I am” is how God introduces himself to Moses. I will do what I will do. Jesus also says “I am” and that he has come that might have life and have it in abundance. It sounds so different to hear those words of Jesus in light of what Paul says. “Peace I give to you” so be at peace with things. Do what is before you. Help and serve the neighbor God puts in your path with whatever you’ve got, but you don’t need to prove anything beyond that.

    The Shakers had a saying that went “hands to work and hearts to God.” In light of this thread, I suggest everyone Google images of Shaker furniture and see what comes from paying attention to one’s work. Just a thought.

  • Stephen

    I especially like this bit of interpretation from the article:

    “Walk humbly and quietly with God. Don’t think it’s your job to change the world. Quit sticking your nose in everybody else’s business. Do your work and do it well. Let Christ’s love for others grow naturally out of that soil. Earn the respect of your neighbors over time as you live your life in Christ. Slow down. Get small. Run quiet. Go deep. Grow up. Keep on keeping on. Stand on your own two feet. Become a mature human being.”

    Why do Christians in this country have to “own” everything – materially, culturally, politically, spiritually even? That is to say, why do we create such a ghetto for ourselves with “Christian” this and “Christian” that. This text seems to say “let it go, let it be, you are really that free.” “I am that I am” is how God introduces himself to Moses. I will do what I will do. Jesus also says “I am” and that he has come that might have life and have it in abundance. It sounds so different to hear those words of Jesus in light of what Paul says. “Peace I give to you” so be at peace with things. Do what is before you. Help and serve the neighbor God puts in your path with whatever you’ve got, but you don’t need to prove anything beyond that.

    The Shakers had a saying that went “hands to work and hearts to God.” In light of this thread, I suggest everyone Google images of Shaker furniture and see what comes from paying attention to one’s work. Just a thought.

  • MDS

    Not sure this was a discovery of Luther’s doctrine of vocation by Chaplain Mike. I believe, from his posts at Intermonk, he’s a Lutheran out there working in the wastelands of American evangelicalism…

  • MDS

    Not sure this was a discovery of Luther’s doctrine of vocation by Chaplain Mike. I believe, from his posts at Intermonk, he’s a Lutheran out there working in the wastelands of American evangelicalism…

  • WebMonk

    MDS – no, he’s certainly not a Lutheran, though there are aspects of Lutheranism with which he aligns very well. “Vocation” would be such an area. He’s had quite a number of posts that fit in quite well with this view of vocation, and while I doubt that he started from Lutheran writings (given his background) I am certain that he has certainly learned and gained much of his view on vocation from Lutheran sources.

  • WebMonk

    MDS – no, he’s certainly not a Lutheran, though there are aspects of Lutheranism with which he aligns very well. “Vocation” would be such an area. He’s had quite a number of posts that fit in quite well with this view of vocation, and while I doubt that he started from Lutheran writings (given his background) I am certain that he has certainly learned and gained much of his view on vocation from Lutheran sources.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Chaplain Mike is not a Lutheran? I coulda swore he was. LCMS even.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Chaplain Mike is not a Lutheran? I coulda swore he was. LCMS even.

  • BW

    Mike,

    He’s a former evangelical that attends an ELCA church. And by that I’m not arguing he is or isn’t Lutheran, just stating what I know of his circumstance.

  • BW

    Mike,

    He’s a former evangelical that attends an ELCA church. And by that I’m not arguing he is or isn’t Lutheran, just stating what I know of his circumstance.

  • saddler

    This discussion reminds me of the new book out by Dr. Kurt Senske (CPH). He speaks directly to the issue of serving one’s neighbors, only with some secular strategy thrown in. I’m looking forward to a review of this book from our good host.

  • saddler

    This discussion reminds me of the new book out by Dr. Kurt Senske (CPH). He speaks directly to the issue of serving one’s neighbors, only with some secular strategy thrown in. I’m looking forward to a review of this book from our good host.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    saddler @ 28

    the Lutheran idea of vocation is that it is a factory, powered by the Holy Spirit applying the law to Old Adam.

    Vocation as a factory that exists for its own self as a show of efficiency is called Virtue. This is the sacrifice that the Roman Church said was the righteousness that God demands.

    Lutherans said that a factory that ships no love or daily bread to others is “useless” . It is the goods shipped from the factory that are righeousness and the evidence of righteousness. And yet the factory too is a necessity for God pleasing visible and earthly righteousness to exist.

    Then there is another , heavenly, invisible Righteousness. This is the righteousness that alone comes through invisible faith alone, by christ alone. This righteousness has nothing to do with the factory or what it produces. How could it? it is something purely invisible.

    And this righeousness is useful only to God and a troubled conscience on earth. It is the Righteousness that will endure forever and that the Just live by. All the factories and what they produce are the Godly Goodness that is romans 8 flesh that will all perish with the earth.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    saddler @ 28

    the Lutheran idea of vocation is that it is a factory, powered by the Holy Spirit applying the law to Old Adam.

    Vocation as a factory that exists for its own self as a show of efficiency is called Virtue. This is the sacrifice that the Roman Church said was the righteousness that God demands.

    Lutherans said that a factory that ships no love or daily bread to others is “useless” . It is the goods shipped from the factory that are righeousness and the evidence of righteousness. And yet the factory too is a necessity for God pleasing visible and earthly righteousness to exist.

    Then there is another , heavenly, invisible Righteousness. This is the righteousness that alone comes through invisible faith alone, by christ alone. This righteousness has nothing to do with the factory or what it produces. How could it? it is something purely invisible.

    And this righeousness is useful only to God and a troubled conscience on earth. It is the Righteousness that will endure forever and that the Just live by. All the factories and what they produce are the Godly Goodness that is romans 8 flesh that will all perish with the earth.

  • WebMonk

    BW, right on AFAIK.

    I hesitate to say he is Lutheran because he attends an ELCA church. A rather vocal number of the Lutherans on this board consider the E_CA to be a small step above those horrible, nasty Papists, and possibly being several steps below because they once had the pure light of Lutheranism and discarded it. :-)

  • WebMonk

    BW, right on AFAIK.

    I hesitate to say he is Lutheran because he attends an ELCA church. A rather vocal number of the Lutherans on this board consider the E_CA to be a small step above those horrible, nasty Papists, and possibly being several steps below because they once had the pure light of Lutheranism and discarded it. :-)

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Thanks for setting me straight. I dunno where I got the idea that Chaplain Mike was of the LCMS variety.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Thanks for setting me straight. I dunno where I got the idea that Chaplain Mike was of the LCMS variety.

  • BW

    FWS @29,

    So to elaborate on your post, in our Lutheran theology, the only difference between the Christian and the pagan is that God has given His gifts of faith, repentance, etc in Christ to the Christian, giving the Christian that heavenly righteousness and putting him her into a right relationship with God on the basis of the First table of the Law.

  • BW

    FWS @29,

    So to elaborate on your post, in our Lutheran theology, the only difference between the Christian and the pagan is that God has given His gifts of faith, repentance, etc in Christ to the Christian, giving the Christian that heavenly righteousness and putting him her into a right relationship with God on the basis of the First table of the Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bw @ 32

    wow. You said it way better than I could have. that is exactly it.

    thanks!

    there is no such thing as “christian morality” . there is simply “morality”. and this is all law law law law law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bw @ 32

    wow. You said it way better than I could have. that is exactly it.

    thanks!

    there is no such thing as “christian morality” . there is simply “morality”. and this is all law law law law law.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Pastor Mark @22,

    I for one absolutely support the use of the term Churchianity. It accurately describes the mindset of people who view the attendance of weekly services and/or participation in “church activities” as an end.

    I’m always in fellowship with the believers around me, as often as possible, as a byproduct of being a new creation and a part of the body of Christ with other members. I happen to attend services once a week, but these services are a matter of convenience and convention.

    The focus on traditional service attendance as a moral requirement for believers is an abysmal development in the West, and it deserves every connotation that a term like Churchianity can deliver. One way you can tell you’re a Churchian is if you read Heb 10:25 and interpret it as requiring membership enrollment and regular Sunday-morning attendance of services.

    It must be one of the most stressful things in the whole world to think people’s spiritual well-being rests on their being convinced to come to your weekly services. My prayer for all pastors is that they are able to realize their freedom from this idea and all the tension that goes with it (the imagined need for eloquence/charisma, unresolved tension with and misunderstandings about people who aren’t attending, etc). Whatever is not of faith is sin.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Pastor Mark @22,

    I for one absolutely support the use of the term Churchianity. It accurately describes the mindset of people who view the attendance of weekly services and/or participation in “church activities” as an end.

    I’m always in fellowship with the believers around me, as often as possible, as a byproduct of being a new creation and a part of the body of Christ with other members. I happen to attend services once a week, but these services are a matter of convenience and convention.

    The focus on traditional service attendance as a moral requirement for believers is an abysmal development in the West, and it deserves every connotation that a term like Churchianity can deliver. One way you can tell you’re a Churchian is if you read Heb 10:25 and interpret it as requiring membership enrollment and regular Sunday-morning attendance of services.

    It must be one of the most stressful things in the whole world to think people’s spiritual well-being rests on their being convinced to come to your weekly services. My prayer for all pastors is that they are able to realize their freedom from this idea and all the tension that goes with it (the imagined need for eloquence/charisma, unresolved tension with and misunderstandings about people who aren’t attending, etc). Whatever is not of faith is sin.

  • Stephen

    Joel @ 34

    I agree with everything you say. We make church the thing itself. But I would want to add that we need is a different view of what church actually is, or put another way, a return to Word and Sacrament. The church is there to bestow the gifts of God – specifically as that word of grace. When St. Paul entreats us to “not give up on meeting together” I think he means it, because we are missing out on what God has for us when we gather in fellowship as a church.

    Yet, one of my beefs with so many churches is the need to implement program after program. For me, it can cloud the real purpose of why we are together. It is good to get organized and find ways to facilitate earthly righteousness, but this seems to take over and obscure the purpose of being together in the first place. “Being together” might be a good way to put it, in the way you describe “being a new creation” rather than so much “doing” together. We cannot “be” this without a very specific kind of doing at the center of who we are – doing that earthly thing of preaching, baptizing, receiving the Body and blood of our Lord, and being taught to obey all that is commanded (so that God can get gifts to our neighbor and to us).

    So, somehow I would want to encourage regular attendance as well as other types of devotional activity for this very reason – God has things to give us in the doing of these (commanded) things. Those gifts will always be out of that same loving and fatherly goodness that gave us Jesus and sustains our very lives. There should not be such a disconnect between our lives and our faith practice int his sense. But unfortunately, because church has become encrusted with this “Churchianity” it needs to be practically reintroduced for what it really is I would say.

    All of this is spoken out of the experience of someone who spent years away from the church. Upon returning, I realized what a gift it truly was. It is almost like working out and getting regular exercise. It can seem like drag, but every time you make it regular thing, nothing but good gifts come out of it.

  • Stephen

    Joel @ 34

    I agree with everything you say. We make church the thing itself. But I would want to add that we need is a different view of what church actually is, or put another way, a return to Word and Sacrament. The church is there to bestow the gifts of God – specifically as that word of grace. When St. Paul entreats us to “not give up on meeting together” I think he means it, because we are missing out on what God has for us when we gather in fellowship as a church.

    Yet, one of my beefs with so many churches is the need to implement program after program. For me, it can cloud the real purpose of why we are together. It is good to get organized and find ways to facilitate earthly righteousness, but this seems to take over and obscure the purpose of being together in the first place. “Being together” might be a good way to put it, in the way you describe “being a new creation” rather than so much “doing” together. We cannot “be” this without a very specific kind of doing at the center of who we are – doing that earthly thing of preaching, baptizing, receiving the Body and blood of our Lord, and being taught to obey all that is commanded (so that God can get gifts to our neighbor and to us).

    So, somehow I would want to encourage regular attendance as well as other types of devotional activity for this very reason – God has things to give us in the doing of these (commanded) things. Those gifts will always be out of that same loving and fatherly goodness that gave us Jesus and sustains our very lives. There should not be such a disconnect between our lives and our faith practice int his sense. But unfortunately, because church has become encrusted with this “Churchianity” it needs to be practically reintroduced for what it really is I would say.

    All of this is spoken out of the experience of someone who spent years away from the church. Upon returning, I realized what a gift it truly was. It is almost like working out and getting regular exercise. It can seem like drag, but every time you make it regular thing, nothing but good gifts come out of it.

  • Peggy

    Re church attendance:

    The Sanctuary

    Here I will feed you My own body and blood.
    Here I will give you My Word for your food
    That you may feast upon Me here to your good.
    Here I forgive you as I promised I would.

    Here are your brothers, your sisters-in Love
    Here is My Body. Here with you I dwell.
    Here let My will reign on earth as above,
    Here is your shelter from the foul winds of hell.

    Here is no work, no duty prescribed.
    Here is My rest, as prophets described.
    My Spirit alone brings the fruit from the tree
    Abide in my grace, as I dwell in thee.

  • Peggy

    Re church attendance:

    The Sanctuary

    Here I will feed you My own body and blood.
    Here I will give you My Word for your food
    That you may feast upon Me here to your good.
    Here I forgive you as I promised I would.

    Here are your brothers, your sisters-in Love
    Here is My Body. Here with you I dwell.
    Here let My will reign on earth as above,
    Here is your shelter from the foul winds of hell.

    Here is no work, no duty prescribed.
    Here is My rest, as prophets described.
    My Spirit alone brings the fruit from the tree
    Abide in my grace, as I dwell in thee.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Peggy @36, Maybe you could explain what you meant a little more clearly? From the title and your context, it just seems to be a claim that Christ has set up church sanctuaries to be some kind of sacred special location.

    It’s a nice poem, but more Biblical if you take away the title. Maybe I’m missing something.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    Peggy @36, Maybe you could explain what you meant a little more clearly? From the title and your context, it just seems to be a claim that Christ has set up church sanctuaries to be some kind of sacred special location.

    It’s a nice poem, but more Biblical if you take away the title. Maybe I’m missing something.

  • Peggy

    Joel@37
    Church is a sacred location:
    1. Jesus says that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He is in their midst – certainly church qualifies (although not the only place)
    2. Except in rare circumstances, church is the place where we receive the sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and Holy Communion — the Means of Grace.
    3. Contrary to thinking of church as our work or what we are doing for God or some obligation of law, it is rather where He serves us by giving us His Word and Sacraments and accompanying grace.
    4. Whereas the Body of Christ(the Church) and the church (small c) are not identical, they are linked and it is His desire that we fellowship together, love one another and serve one another and our neighbour, but most of all that we receive what He wants to give us through the Means of Grace — He instituted the Lord’s Supper when the disciples were gathered together, not singly.
    5. “I was glad when they said unto me: ‘ Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” Sanctuary can be understood as a shelter or as a sacred place. Christ’s Word, His body and blood do make a place holy for there He is present. By His Word and Sacraments we are strengthened, delivered and protected from the world, the flesh and the devil.
    6. The loss of understanding that Christ is truly present in Word and Sacrament and the change in focus in evangelical churches to church “activities” and what we “do” for God, rather than on what Christ is doing for us, underlies the view that church is no different from any other community activity or thing you might do to be inspired.
    You will note a single thread moving through all the above: the Sacraments. Where the Sacraments are spiritualized, devalued, seen as something we do for God as works, and not seen as Means of Grace wherein God comes to us, then the sacred is lost and church is just another place where we can worship ourselves in the guise of spirituality.

  • Peggy

    Joel@37
    Church is a sacred location:
    1. Jesus says that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He is in their midst – certainly church qualifies (although not the only place)
    2. Except in rare circumstances, church is the place where we receive the sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and Holy Communion — the Means of Grace.
    3. Contrary to thinking of church as our work or what we are doing for God or some obligation of law, it is rather where He serves us by giving us His Word and Sacraments and accompanying grace.
    4. Whereas the Body of Christ(the Church) and the church (small c) are not identical, they are linked and it is His desire that we fellowship together, love one another and serve one another and our neighbour, but most of all that we receive what He wants to give us through the Means of Grace — He instituted the Lord’s Supper when the disciples were gathered together, not singly.
    5. “I was glad when they said unto me: ‘ Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” Sanctuary can be understood as a shelter or as a sacred place. Christ’s Word, His body and blood do make a place holy for there He is present. By His Word and Sacraments we are strengthened, delivered and protected from the world, the flesh and the devil.
    6. The loss of understanding that Christ is truly present in Word and Sacrament and the change in focus in evangelical churches to church “activities” and what we “do” for God, rather than on what Christ is doing for us, underlies the view that church is no different from any other community activity or thing you might do to be inspired.
    You will note a single thread moving through all the above: the Sacraments. Where the Sacraments are spiritualized, devalued, seen as something we do for God as works, and not seen as Means of Grace wherein God comes to us, then the sacred is lost and church is just another place where we can worship ourselves in the guise of spirituality.

  • Peggy

    Getting back to the main point of the article, however, the world sees Christianity (at best) as a religion based on imitating Christ and the saints in doing good works. These “good works” they weigh against what they consider our evil works such as the Crusades. “Then people will respect the way you live” quoted from Thessalonians above. This is how the Mormons came to “rehabilitate” themselves in the public eye — by being industrious, good citizens, with a great choir. The world outside can rightly claim however that religion is not necessary for such good works.
    Christians who fall into this same thinking all too easily fall back under the law. As Paul also says, works without love are spiritually useless. Rather than busying ourselves in a kind of Christian rotary club, do what is before us to be done, trusting in God alone for the results and as a stream makes it’s own path, so God’s love working in us towards others will lead us in paths of love for them naturally, as we cannot but help to share our faith, mercy and joy. He has prepared beforehand those things for us that will bring Him glory and it is not for us to plan great works for Him, but to let Him work His work in and through us — the greatest of which is the faith He gives us to believe in Him and His salvation.

  • Peggy

    Getting back to the main point of the article, however, the world sees Christianity (at best) as a religion based on imitating Christ and the saints in doing good works. These “good works” they weigh against what they consider our evil works such as the Crusades. “Then people will respect the way you live” quoted from Thessalonians above. This is how the Mormons came to “rehabilitate” themselves in the public eye — by being industrious, good citizens, with a great choir. The world outside can rightly claim however that religion is not necessary for such good works.
    Christians who fall into this same thinking all too easily fall back under the law. As Paul also says, works without love are spiritually useless. Rather than busying ourselves in a kind of Christian rotary club, do what is before us to be done, trusting in God alone for the results and as a stream makes it’s own path, so God’s love working in us towards others will lead us in paths of love for them naturally, as we cannot but help to share our faith, mercy and joy. He has prepared beforehand those things for us that will bring Him glory and it is not for us to plan great works for Him, but to let Him work His work in and through us — the greatest of which is the faith He gives us to believe in Him and His salvation.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 38

    wow. that was exquisitely said. I wish you would visit more often and share with us.

    joel @ 37

    Interesting point Joel. Church and chapel are no more sacred than anywhere else. But… Jesus asks us to seek him where he promises to be found. And that place is in the gathering of believers. Since we cannot really know who is a believer and who is not, we look for the signs or marks or sacraments as they are called of the presence of God´s saving work. This is alone the word and sacraments. There God promises believers will be present.

    It is not a bad tradition to consecrate a public known place for this to happen. And we treat those mundane profane ordinary things with ritual and honor not because of the things themselves but because of what they are consecrated into service for.

    Then Joel, we call these things alone “Holy”, holy baptism, holy ordination, holy confession and absolution, holy supper, holy church, holy scripture, holy gospel, because it is in with and under these very mundane material and ordinary things that Christ tells us He will be found with His Gifts.

    The tradition is that we consecrate these places, and then after their consecration, we do not use them as multipurpose buildings and invite rotary clubs and aa to use the space. And we have full freedom not to consecrate them. After all everything (!) I mentioned is the flesh /body righteousness of romans 8 that pertains to our earthly existence and will perish. None of it is heavenly kingdom, not even the administration of the word and sacraments.

    So the poem reflects all these things. It is a great poem.

    “here is no work, no duty prescribed”.

    The Sanctuary = Christ. No temple built by human hands.

    But we find that Sanctuary in temples built by human hands, where men are commanded to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments. Here men practice obedience and the mortification of the old adam for the love of neighbor in the form of the holy liturgy: the prayers, the fellowship and the breaking of bread as we are commanded to do until the Sanctuary that even is with us now, returns in Glory. Here we live in the earthly kingdom of the law and works commanded, but at the same time the Just live alone by invisible faith alone in The Sanctuary.

    Come Quickly Lord!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 38

    wow. that was exquisitely said. I wish you would visit more often and share with us.

    joel @ 37

    Interesting point Joel. Church and chapel are no more sacred than anywhere else. But… Jesus asks us to seek him where he promises to be found. And that place is in the gathering of believers. Since we cannot really know who is a believer and who is not, we look for the signs or marks or sacraments as they are called of the presence of God´s saving work. This is alone the word and sacraments. There God promises believers will be present.

    It is not a bad tradition to consecrate a public known place for this to happen. And we treat those mundane profane ordinary things with ritual and honor not because of the things themselves but because of what they are consecrated into service for.

    Then Joel, we call these things alone “Holy”, holy baptism, holy ordination, holy confession and absolution, holy supper, holy church, holy scripture, holy gospel, because it is in with and under these very mundane material and ordinary things that Christ tells us He will be found with His Gifts.

    The tradition is that we consecrate these places, and then after their consecration, we do not use them as multipurpose buildings and invite rotary clubs and aa to use the space. And we have full freedom not to consecrate them. After all everything (!) I mentioned is the flesh /body righteousness of romans 8 that pertains to our earthly existence and will perish. None of it is heavenly kingdom, not even the administration of the word and sacraments.

    So the poem reflects all these things. It is a great poem.

    “here is no work, no duty prescribed”.

    The Sanctuary = Christ. No temple built by human hands.

    But we find that Sanctuary in temples built by human hands, where men are commanded to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments. Here men practice obedience and the mortification of the old adam for the love of neighbor in the form of the holy liturgy: the prayers, the fellowship and the breaking of bread as we are commanded to do until the Sanctuary that even is with us now, returns in Glory. Here we live in the earthly kingdom of the law and works commanded, but at the same time the Just live alone by invisible faith alone in The Sanctuary.

    Come Quickly Lord!

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  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @38

    “3. Contrary to thinking of church as our work or what we are doing for God or some obligation of law, it is rather where He serves us by giving us His Word and Sacraments and accompanying grace.”

    this peggy is not Lutheran teaching since it does not conform to what the Lutheran Confessions say.

    EVERYTHING we can see or do in our bodies in church is earthly kingdom fleshly stuff that will all perish with the earth per romans 8.

    If we are commanded to do something and we are to do it then it is Law. It is not gospel. we are commanded to worship, and we are commanded to support and administer the word and sacraments. this is law. it is something we are commanded to do. ditto faith in christ. it is all stuff we DO. so it is not stuff God is doing for us.

    Now… in with and under what we can see or do in our bodies, God is at work germinationg the seed that we plant (again that is what we do because we are commanded to do so).

    God also invisibly preserves this germinated seed. God always works through means, but we should not confuse the means with what God does. alles klar?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @38

    “3. Contrary to thinking of church as our work or what we are doing for God or some obligation of law, it is rather where He serves us by giving us His Word and Sacraments and accompanying grace.”

    this peggy is not Lutheran teaching since it does not conform to what the Lutheran Confessions say.

    EVERYTHING we can see or do in our bodies in church is earthly kingdom fleshly stuff that will all perish with the earth per romans 8.

    If we are commanded to do something and we are to do it then it is Law. It is not gospel. we are commanded to worship, and we are commanded to support and administer the word and sacraments. this is law. it is something we are commanded to do. ditto faith in christ. it is all stuff we DO. so it is not stuff God is doing for us.

    Now… in with and under what we can see or do in our bodies, God is at work germinationg the seed that we plant (again that is what we do because we are commanded to do so).

    God also invisibly preserves this germinated seed. God always works through means, but we should not confuse the means with what God does. alles klar?

  • Larry

    I loved reading that, one cannot but help to smile!

    Poor dreary subspiritual Paul! It’s so simple is it not, no super church yard spirituality!

    In fact the super spirituality misses the fruit of faith so painfully obvious here. Some kids are alarmed that X is going to happen and it’s coming. I write them a letter, “Don’t worry, be at peace, I your father have taken care of that for you.” Now, some of them go back to their normal day, but others start doing all this frantic set of works. Who then is really displaying a faith that is really resting the promise.

    What was it Luther said regarding the “if Christ were to return today what would you do”, “I’d plant a tree”. Poor unspiritual Luther!

    Is this not Peter’s very point concerning “making your election sure”, too yourself:

    In “What Luther Says”:

    “Man’s unbelief lies at the root of this torturing uncertainty. God’s love and grace are never insufficient. This, says Luther (1523), is what Peter means when he exhorts men to make their “calling and election sure”. Commenting on this passage Luther writes, “Although the man, either bad or good, does not exist over whom God does not rule, since all creatures are His, yet Paul says that the man who does not know, love and trust God has no God, though God remains God so far as He Himself is concerned. Here, too, although the calling and election are effective enough in themselves, nevertheless they are not as yet effective and firm so far as you are concerned (bei dir), since you aare as yet not certain that they apply to you. This is why St. Peter would have us make such calling and election sure by good works.”

    Ahh but there’s a Gospel issue here though underlying it all, this comment cannot be understood from a non-Lutheran confessional understanding since the paradigms are so opposing. E.g. God elects in time and space via baptism, washes us with His name, gives His name and gives the Holy Spirit, every time, etc… Because Peter says to basically decorate your faith, which presupposes faith, with good works to build on that assurance. Thus it works like this: As Luther says to the devil tempting us to ponder election outside of Christ but rather in the hidden majesty, “I don’t care devil if I’m elect, I am baptized (faith speaking for baptism = Christ) and to adorn this faith I will not worry myself with your temptations to ponder election outside of the Word revealed (in baptism or other sacrament or Word) but rather ‘See here what I find; God has given me a dirty floor and a broom to sweep it with’ and thus I will do this (good) work that is not very sanctified looking. In short to shut the devil’s temptation up I will trust alone in Christ and say, “I am baptized”, and I will thus ignore your giddy high flying temptation and sweep this dirty ole floor with this very unspiritual broom, then I will mow my grass, sleep and eat very peacefully”. This is what Peter is getting at, faith that is assured by the Word and Sacraments will ignore the barking of the devil to look elsewhere and attend to this apparent nothing looking good work before its hand and thus by adorning faith with this lack luster things to quell within those doubts of “am I elect” which is plenteously tempted in the Psalms. It’s another way of saying, “Satan be gone, you go find out for yourself these things, I’m am baptized by God Himself and have plenty of floors to sweep, yards to mow, food to eat and sleep to be had that He has put before me.” (=faith in the Word, stays with the Word and Sacrament as sufficient).

  • Larry

    I loved reading that, one cannot but help to smile!

    Poor dreary subspiritual Paul! It’s so simple is it not, no super church yard spirituality!

    In fact the super spirituality misses the fruit of faith so painfully obvious here. Some kids are alarmed that X is going to happen and it’s coming. I write them a letter, “Don’t worry, be at peace, I your father have taken care of that for you.” Now, some of them go back to their normal day, but others start doing all this frantic set of works. Who then is really displaying a faith that is really resting the promise.

    What was it Luther said regarding the “if Christ were to return today what would you do”, “I’d plant a tree”. Poor unspiritual Luther!

    Is this not Peter’s very point concerning “making your election sure”, too yourself:

    In “What Luther Says”:

    “Man’s unbelief lies at the root of this torturing uncertainty. God’s love and grace are never insufficient. This, says Luther (1523), is what Peter means when he exhorts men to make their “calling and election sure”. Commenting on this passage Luther writes, “Although the man, either bad or good, does not exist over whom God does not rule, since all creatures are His, yet Paul says that the man who does not know, love and trust God has no God, though God remains God so far as He Himself is concerned. Here, too, although the calling and election are effective enough in themselves, nevertheless they are not as yet effective and firm so far as you are concerned (bei dir), since you aare as yet not certain that they apply to you. This is why St. Peter would have us make such calling and election sure by good works.”

    Ahh but there’s a Gospel issue here though underlying it all, this comment cannot be understood from a non-Lutheran confessional understanding since the paradigms are so opposing. E.g. God elects in time and space via baptism, washes us with His name, gives His name and gives the Holy Spirit, every time, etc… Because Peter says to basically decorate your faith, which presupposes faith, with good works to build on that assurance. Thus it works like this: As Luther says to the devil tempting us to ponder election outside of Christ but rather in the hidden majesty, “I don’t care devil if I’m elect, I am baptized (faith speaking for baptism = Christ) and to adorn this faith I will not worry myself with your temptations to ponder election outside of the Word revealed (in baptism or other sacrament or Word) but rather ‘See here what I find; God has given me a dirty floor and a broom to sweep it with’ and thus I will do this (good) work that is not very sanctified looking. In short to shut the devil’s temptation up I will trust alone in Christ and say, “I am baptized”, and I will thus ignore your giddy high flying temptation and sweep this dirty ole floor with this very unspiritual broom, then I will mow my grass, sleep and eat very peacefully”. This is what Peter is getting at, faith that is assured by the Word and Sacraments will ignore the barking of the devil to look elsewhere and attend to this apparent nothing looking good work before its hand and thus by adorning faith with this lack luster things to quell within those doubts of “am I elect” which is plenteously tempted in the Psalms. It’s another way of saying, “Satan be gone, you go find out for yourself these things, I’m am baptized by God Himself and have plenty of floors to sweep, yards to mow, food to eat and sleep to be had that He has put before me.” (=faith in the Word, stays with the Word and Sacrament as sufficient).

  • Peggy

    FWS, I cannot let stand without comment your statement that faith is our work, not what God is doing for us (“ditto, faith in Christ”). That is not Lutheran teaching.

    Faith is a gift of God through the means of grace.

    “I believe that I cannot by own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel….” (Luther’s explanation to the 3rd article of the Creed).

  • Peggy

    FWS, I cannot let stand without comment your statement that faith is our work, not what God is doing for us (“ditto, faith in Christ”). That is not Lutheran teaching.

    Faith is a gift of God through the means of grace.

    “I believe that I cannot by own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel….” (Luther’s explanation to the 3rd article of the Creed).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dear peggy,

    You are both exactly right and wrong at the same time….

    First the “wrong ” part.

    Faith IS something you do. And it is commanded by God that you do it. And we are not saved by our faith. If we were, then we could never be certain of our salvation. we would honestly need to ask : ” do I have enough faith? is it the right kind of faith? is it faith in the right things?” etc etc etc

    Faith, along with law and gospel are things that pertain to our earthly life. They will all perish with the earth dear sister. These are all things that are part of the “flesh” in st pauls contrast in romans 8 between flesh and spirit. faith, along with law and gospel will perish with the earth because they are something we can see or do in our flesh and bodies.

    Now you are also exactly right in what you say as well dear sister!

    Saving faith is also something that we cannot do with our fallen reason or strength. there are many many bible passages that tell us this. and you are also most certainly true and right that the small catechism says what you are saying as well dear sister!

    “you are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God , not of works, lest any man should boast”

    “God is the author and finisher of our faith” “lord I believe, help thou my unbelief!”

    So what is saving faith then? The confessions tell us that even christ hanging dead on the cross is the most terrifying preachment of the law. It is not gospel. how does christ dying for our sins become Gospel? This is not just historical faith that jesus died on the cross for our sins. satan has that kind of faith. And so do we. And this is something that we do and should do because we are commanded to do so. Old Adam can and should do this.

    saving faith is when the holy spirit plants the invisible hope or faith that says “christ died FOR YOU for the forgiveness of YOUR sins”. and then we can keep the first commandment and fear and love and trust in god above all things in our new man.

    But even this does not save us. What saves us is the object of our faith. Christ alone. and the holy spirit gives us our new man which then can trust in that christ alone and hope in that christ alone. Now THIS is not something that we do. The new man does not really “do” anything at all. sanctification is not something that is done or that we do and neither is saving faith. it just happens as a consequence of who we are. “like light from sun” the confessions say. This looks just exactly like our lord in the blessed incarnation. Jesus did not really come and “do” anything at all. He just showed up and “did jesus.” I hope you can see the difference.

    we with our old adam have this constant internal dialog between the law in our conscience and what our old adam heart would really rather do if we had no conscience nagging at us, accusing us and demanding of us to restrain ourselves and do love for others. This is alot of work. This is doing.

    Now with jesus and the new man, there is none of that internal dialog. new man simply does what is good. instinctively. as first nature, not even as second nature. a good tree just produces good fruit. there is really no choice in the matter at all. it simply happens. But that is new man. And we can only know that we have this new man faith by faith! to sound redundant.

    what we can know and see experientially is the constant struggle our new man has with our old adam who is deeply religious and FULL of faith, but that faith is in everything BUT Jesus Christ.

    and when our conscience accuses us, even as christians, what do we do? we find ourselves casting about for things to do, believe harder, do more, make lists of things we intend to do. The lifelong and most difficult task of any christian is to surrender ourselves to faith in Christ alone. This is what our earthly existence looks like till the old adam is dead. Having faith looks like alot of work. and if we are honest, we have to admit that we really can not see even anything that looks like true faith in ourselves. if we really had faith that we should have, we would not sin and we would not keep clinging to our false gods and idols would we?

    So we hold God to his promise in our baptism. we say to satan when he questions our faith that he is right! we have no faith. but we will hold God to his promise to us in our baptism. and we will trust that what our Christ tells us is true.

    I hope this makes sense peggy. this is how to do law and gospel with old adam and new man and with old adam faith and new man faith.

    god bless.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dear peggy,

    You are both exactly right and wrong at the same time….

    First the “wrong ” part.

    Faith IS something you do. And it is commanded by God that you do it. And we are not saved by our faith. If we were, then we could never be certain of our salvation. we would honestly need to ask : ” do I have enough faith? is it the right kind of faith? is it faith in the right things?” etc etc etc

    Faith, along with law and gospel are things that pertain to our earthly life. They will all perish with the earth dear sister. These are all things that are part of the “flesh” in st pauls contrast in romans 8 between flesh and spirit. faith, along with law and gospel will perish with the earth because they are something we can see or do in our flesh and bodies.

    Now you are also exactly right in what you say as well dear sister!

    Saving faith is also something that we cannot do with our fallen reason or strength. there are many many bible passages that tell us this. and you are also most certainly true and right that the small catechism says what you are saying as well dear sister!

    “you are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God , not of works, lest any man should boast”

    “God is the author and finisher of our faith” “lord I believe, help thou my unbelief!”

    So what is saving faith then? The confessions tell us that even christ hanging dead on the cross is the most terrifying preachment of the law. It is not gospel. how does christ dying for our sins become Gospel? This is not just historical faith that jesus died on the cross for our sins. satan has that kind of faith. And so do we. And this is something that we do and should do because we are commanded to do so. Old Adam can and should do this.

    saving faith is when the holy spirit plants the invisible hope or faith that says “christ died FOR YOU for the forgiveness of YOUR sins”. and then we can keep the first commandment and fear and love and trust in god above all things in our new man.

    But even this does not save us. What saves us is the object of our faith. Christ alone. and the holy spirit gives us our new man which then can trust in that christ alone and hope in that christ alone. Now THIS is not something that we do. The new man does not really “do” anything at all. sanctification is not something that is done or that we do and neither is saving faith. it just happens as a consequence of who we are. “like light from sun” the confessions say. This looks just exactly like our lord in the blessed incarnation. Jesus did not really come and “do” anything at all. He just showed up and “did jesus.” I hope you can see the difference.

    we with our old adam have this constant internal dialog between the law in our conscience and what our old adam heart would really rather do if we had no conscience nagging at us, accusing us and demanding of us to restrain ourselves and do love for others. This is alot of work. This is doing.

    Now with jesus and the new man, there is none of that internal dialog. new man simply does what is good. instinctively. as first nature, not even as second nature. a good tree just produces good fruit. there is really no choice in the matter at all. it simply happens. But that is new man. And we can only know that we have this new man faith by faith! to sound redundant.

    what we can know and see experientially is the constant struggle our new man has with our old adam who is deeply religious and FULL of faith, but that faith is in everything BUT Jesus Christ.

    and when our conscience accuses us, even as christians, what do we do? we find ourselves casting about for things to do, believe harder, do more, make lists of things we intend to do. The lifelong and most difficult task of any christian is to surrender ourselves to faith in Christ alone. This is what our earthly existence looks like till the old adam is dead. Having faith looks like alot of work. and if we are honest, we have to admit that we really can not see even anything that looks like true faith in ourselves. if we really had faith that we should have, we would not sin and we would not keep clinging to our false gods and idols would we?

    So we hold God to his promise in our baptism. we say to satan when he questions our faith that he is right! we have no faith. but we will hold God to his promise to us in our baptism. and we will trust that what our Christ tells us is true.

    I hope this makes sense peggy. this is how to do law and gospel with old adam and new man and with old adam faith and new man faith.

    god bless.

  • Peggy

    God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Eph. 2:8 states:”For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

    I agree that it is not faith that saves us but the One in whom we have faith. To say that faith is our work is to make it a decision which implies that we have the free will to make that decision. It would also make salvation dependent upon us, not Christ, and if it was something that we did, then there would be the question of “Have we done enough?”

    Finally, the only faith that matters is saving faith. As for the law, all it can do is condemn and bring us to repentance. We cannot be saved by obeying God’s commandments, nor are we able to obey them perfectly. Anything that would be generated as our work would be spiritually fruitless. Any worthwhile thing comes from Him alone, that He alone receive the glory – “Non nobis domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.”

    My original point was that anyone who thinks that by going to church they are doing God a favour or gaining merit by worshipping and praising Him and giving Him some money or gaining His favour by obedience (apart from faith) are blind to what is actually happening in God bestowing His gifts of grace in His Word and Sacraments; and also that to seek Jesus somewhere other than His Word and Sacraments is to look for Him where He is not to be found.

  • Peggy

    God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Eph. 2:8 states:”For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

    I agree that it is not faith that saves us but the One in whom we have faith. To say that faith is our work is to make it a decision which implies that we have the free will to make that decision. It would also make salvation dependent upon us, not Christ, and if it was something that we did, then there would be the question of “Have we done enough?”

    Finally, the only faith that matters is saving faith. As for the law, all it can do is condemn and bring us to repentance. We cannot be saved by obeying God’s commandments, nor are we able to obey them perfectly. Anything that would be generated as our work would be spiritually fruitless. Any worthwhile thing comes from Him alone, that He alone receive the glory – “Non nobis domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.”

    My original point was that anyone who thinks that by going to church they are doing God a favour or gaining merit by worshipping and praising Him and giving Him some money or gaining His favour by obedience (apart from faith) are blind to what is actually happening in God bestowing His gifts of grace in His Word and Sacraments; and also that to seek Jesus somewhere other than His Word and Sacraments is to look for Him where He is not to be found.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 45

    i think we are really and truly on the same page dont you?

    My recent deep review of the confessions is making me be cautious about putting even word and sacrament into the heavenly kingdom and not letting it be about law law law. ditto faith.

    the old lutherans had 3 main modalities for teaching the law and gospel and the confessions are really nothing but a demonstration teaching us how to do law and gospel with the aim of letting things be about christ alone in the heavenly kingdom.

    we modern lutherans teach law and gospel as a way to classify biblical passages. and we miss out on two other important law and gospel modalities that are Two Kingdoms and Two Kinds of Righteousness. Our Lord used these law gospel modalities in his 3 year lecture series on law and gospel know as the Parables.

    and the old lutherans (I am talking about the authors of our confesssions) use those same modalities to apply the law and gospel found in the romans 8 flesh vs spirit distinction to apply law and gospel to life situations.

    so especially things we do in church, administration of word and sacraments etc are earthly flesh things that will perish with the earth. even law and gospel and faith pertain only to our earthly existence , which says they are romans 8 flesh rather than spirit.

    this is hard to see when we as modern lutherans only see law and gospel as a sort of lutheran two drawer form of systematic theology. when we see those other two modalities, we come to see that the law drawer contains anything we can see and do in our bodies. this does include faith peggy as faith in the sense of something that we can do and that we work at.

    then that other drawer is seemingly empty! for it contains what is comprehended by romans 8 spirit which is alone invisible faith alone in christ alone, alone alone alone.

    the roman scholastics made romans 8 flesh/body vs spirit into a movement from vice to virtue. this makes logical sense. our religious old adam resonates to this. but luther’s insight was precisely that he say that this was rather a movement from Virtue to invisible Faith alone in christ alone.

    and we lutherans go back to scholasticism unwittingly by denying that liturgy or faith or the sacraments are at all about law or are something that we do. that is not quite it peggy. I hope you see where I am going with this.

    baptism and the lords supper are all law in terms of what we can see or do in our bodies. it is done by gods command as the small catechism says.

    so where is the gospel? “and faith which trusts in those words of god in the water… ” “who has faith in these words given and shed for you”

    we want to avoid again lapsing to scholasticism of romans 8 and think that flesh vs spirit is the movement from the profane to the sacred. the material to the spiritual. vice to virtue, or the civil to the churchly. this is all a false distinction.

    i think we agree. I hope you can see the importance of what I am stating. faith is gods work or our work depending on what is the “faith”we are talking about right? and faith in the law and earthly sense is also a form of goodness that we can do and that god demands of us of our consciences. and we have to work at that faith. and then there is that invisible faith that is not of our doing and that we cannot do. no amount of mortification can make that faith happen. it is pure gift. and it just is in the new man.

    are we getting closer to each other now peggy?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 45

    i think we are really and truly on the same page dont you?

    My recent deep review of the confessions is making me be cautious about putting even word and sacrament into the heavenly kingdom and not letting it be about law law law. ditto faith.

    the old lutherans had 3 main modalities for teaching the law and gospel and the confessions are really nothing but a demonstration teaching us how to do law and gospel with the aim of letting things be about christ alone in the heavenly kingdom.

    we modern lutherans teach law and gospel as a way to classify biblical passages. and we miss out on two other important law and gospel modalities that are Two Kingdoms and Two Kinds of Righteousness. Our Lord used these law gospel modalities in his 3 year lecture series on law and gospel know as the Parables.

    and the old lutherans (I am talking about the authors of our confesssions) use those same modalities to apply the law and gospel found in the romans 8 flesh vs spirit distinction to apply law and gospel to life situations.

    so especially things we do in church, administration of word and sacraments etc are earthly flesh things that will perish with the earth. even law and gospel and faith pertain only to our earthly existence , which says they are romans 8 flesh rather than spirit.

    this is hard to see when we as modern lutherans only see law and gospel as a sort of lutheran two drawer form of systematic theology. when we see those other two modalities, we come to see that the law drawer contains anything we can see and do in our bodies. this does include faith peggy as faith in the sense of something that we can do and that we work at.

    then that other drawer is seemingly empty! for it contains what is comprehended by romans 8 spirit which is alone invisible faith alone in christ alone, alone alone alone.

    the roman scholastics made romans 8 flesh/body vs spirit into a movement from vice to virtue. this makes logical sense. our religious old adam resonates to this. but luther’s insight was precisely that he say that this was rather a movement from Virtue to invisible Faith alone in christ alone.

    and we lutherans go back to scholasticism unwittingly by denying that liturgy or faith or the sacraments are at all about law or are something that we do. that is not quite it peggy. I hope you see where I am going with this.

    baptism and the lords supper are all law in terms of what we can see or do in our bodies. it is done by gods command as the small catechism says.

    so where is the gospel? “and faith which trusts in those words of god in the water… ” “who has faith in these words given and shed for you”

    we want to avoid again lapsing to scholasticism of romans 8 and think that flesh vs spirit is the movement from the profane to the sacred. the material to the spiritual. vice to virtue, or the civil to the churchly. this is all a false distinction.

    i think we agree. I hope you can see the importance of what I am stating. faith is gods work or our work depending on what is the “faith”we are talking about right? and faith in the law and earthly sense is also a form of goodness that we can do and that god demands of us of our consciences. and we have to work at that faith. and then there is that invisible faith that is not of our doing and that we cannot do. no amount of mortification can make that faith happen. it is pure gift. and it just is in the new man.

    are we getting closer to each other now peggy?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 45

    here is something from our confessions. I call it the lutheran confessions in a nutshell. it reinforces what you are emphasizing about faith.

    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 45

    here is something from our confessions. I call it the lutheran confessions in a nutshell. it reinforces what you are emphasizing about faith.

    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

  • Peggy

    FWS, I think we regarding saving faith. I guess where I am coming from is knowing that if I have a to do list that I am to do, then I am without hope, for I have a lifetime of failing God in my past and the only thing that changed it was when I learned that God had Himself fulfilled all that was required of me, including granting me the faith to believe that.

    Likewise, when by His grace I recognized His presence in the Word and Sacraments, He gave me a hunger for them (Him). I cannot see the Lord’s Supper as anything but pure grace. Anything that places me back under the law leaves me nothing but despair and focuses me on my acts of obedience rather than His acts of mercy and grace wherein is all my hope.

    From your wonderful link to Luther’s sermon: “Ask God to work faith in you; otherwise you will remain eternally without faith, no matter what you try to do or fabricate,” again makes the point that faith is not something that can be our own work.

    It is not our “doing” that is happening when His Word penetrates our hearts and accomplishes His purposes, nor our “doing” when He speaks absolution to us, nor our “doing” when He gives us His body and blood for our forgiveness. We are passive receivers of His action for us. As far as things that perish with the earth, His Word shall never perish and it is through His Word that these are received.

  • Peggy

    FWS, I think we regarding saving faith. I guess where I am coming from is knowing that if I have a to do list that I am to do, then I am without hope, for I have a lifetime of failing God in my past and the only thing that changed it was when I learned that God had Himself fulfilled all that was required of me, including granting me the faith to believe that.

    Likewise, when by His grace I recognized His presence in the Word and Sacraments, He gave me a hunger for them (Him). I cannot see the Lord’s Supper as anything but pure grace. Anything that places me back under the law leaves me nothing but despair and focuses me on my acts of obedience rather than His acts of mercy and grace wherein is all my hope.

    From your wonderful link to Luther’s sermon: “Ask God to work faith in you; otherwise you will remain eternally without faith, no matter what you try to do or fabricate,” again makes the point that faith is not something that can be our own work.

    It is not our “doing” that is happening when His Word penetrates our hearts and accomplishes His purposes, nor our “doing” when He speaks absolution to us, nor our “doing” when He gives us His body and blood for our forgiveness. We are passive receivers of His action for us. As far as things that perish with the earth, His Word shall never perish and it is through His Word that these are received.

  • Peggy

    FWS. I believe I understand what you are saying, but I think that we have to be careful how we express things because the old Adam in us is all too prone to fall into the “easier” outward doing than the trusting in the invisible received grace. There is already too much tendency to see things that way — certainly among the “Churchianity” group. I think that law and gospel, two kingdoms, two kinds of righteousness distinctions can still be made, but I think you go too far and your categorization creates more confusion that it corrects.

  • Peggy

    FWS. I believe I understand what you are saying, but I think that we have to be careful how we express things because the old Adam in us is all too prone to fall into the “easier” outward doing than the trusting in the invisible received grace. There is already too much tendency to see things that way — certainly among the “Churchianity” group. I think that law and gospel, two kingdoms, two kinds of righteousness distinctions can still be made, but I think you go too far and your categorization creates more confusion that it corrects.

  • Peggy

    At any rate, I think we have gotten far afield of the original blog topic. I appreciate the discussion, FWS. It is always good to be driven back to the sources of Word and Confessions to clarify our understanding. I think we have reached mutual understanding, if not complete agreement.

  • Peggy

    At any rate, I think we have gotten far afield of the original blog topic. I appreciate the discussion, FWS. It is always good to be driven back to the sources of Word and Confessions to clarify our understanding. I think we have reached mutual understanding, if not complete agreement.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dear peggy @ 50

    well. I want to creare more light than heat and I certainly do not what to sow confusion.

    I think ,as a lifelong Lutheran, what grabbed me the most in the Luther sermon is this (i paraphrase)

    ” the earthly kingdom includes everything that we can see and do in our bodies.?

    and

    “the heavenly kingdom does not include anything we can see or do in our bodies. how could it? all that stuff is already included in the earthly kingdom.”

    and then the formula of concord article Vi that refers to this wonderful luther sermon makes the point of saying that (again I paraphrase from memory) … the law and gospel pertain to our earthly existence and will no longer be necessary in the resurrection.

    you are right. the Word of God will endure forever. And that Word of God referred to is the Word made Flesh that dwelt among men and with whom we will dwell forever. Christ alone.

    I think I can see where you are coming from dear peggy. you are right that the Old Adam is deeply religious and full of faith and wants constantly to DO something. So then comes a Lutheran like me who says that EVERYTHING we can see and do in our bodies, including faith, baptism and the holy supper and holy absolution and the administration of word and sacrament, and in short all those churchy things we can see and do, the liturgy etc is all law law law and is stuff we are commanded to do…. that bapticostal lutheran pietist Old Adam says “whopeee! see. there is stuff I can do to please God and make him happy.

    read the luther sermon again. Yes, that stuff does all in fact please God. It makes him happy. and he will have it done. so it is better we learn to do it all willingly rather than be forced and punished into doing it. and. the confessions say: “the law always accuses” the law always accuses. the Law ALWAYS accuses. there is no safe 3rd use of the law this means. there is no law that is a “sanctification helper” the law always kills us. the law is about mortification (latinate for “deathing”) it is the deathing of us. it is nothing at all about sanctification . that is alone about christ in us and the new man and the gospel. works are excluded in sanctification.

    And yes. you are right to see nothing but Grace alone in your Baptism dear Peggy. you are focussing on those words of promise in and with the water. when your conscience oppresses you, you tell satan to go back to where he belongs and say “yes you are right about your condemnation of me. but christ came to die for such as me. and I was baptized. so there God made me His. Call me a liar but God will not lie. so. be . gone.

    and at the same time, we work hard at making our old adam literally die trying to serve our neighbor by keeping the law of love for others. we see that all WE can see and do will perish and is law law law. but we live in that invisible trust in christ alone even as we die in our old adam flesh.

    reread that Luther sermon again and again. I have. it is the best antodote to works righteousnesss. and it is thus because it properly talks about two kinds of righteouness and two kingdoms and does not deny earthly righteousness as righteousness, but points out that even though it IS true righteousness, it will perish along with all who seek eternal life there. the law always accuses. it produces pharisees or judas.

    bless you dear peggy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dear peggy @ 50

    well. I want to creare more light than heat and I certainly do not what to sow confusion.

    I think ,as a lifelong Lutheran, what grabbed me the most in the Luther sermon is this (i paraphrase)

    ” the earthly kingdom includes everything that we can see and do in our bodies.?

    and

    “the heavenly kingdom does not include anything we can see or do in our bodies. how could it? all that stuff is already included in the earthly kingdom.”

    and then the formula of concord article Vi that refers to this wonderful luther sermon makes the point of saying that (again I paraphrase from memory) … the law and gospel pertain to our earthly existence and will no longer be necessary in the resurrection.

    you are right. the Word of God will endure forever. And that Word of God referred to is the Word made Flesh that dwelt among men and with whom we will dwell forever. Christ alone.

    I think I can see where you are coming from dear peggy. you are right that the Old Adam is deeply religious and full of faith and wants constantly to DO something. So then comes a Lutheran like me who says that EVERYTHING we can see and do in our bodies, including faith, baptism and the holy supper and holy absolution and the administration of word and sacrament, and in short all those churchy things we can see and do, the liturgy etc is all law law law and is stuff we are commanded to do…. that bapticostal lutheran pietist Old Adam says “whopeee! see. there is stuff I can do to please God and make him happy.

    read the luther sermon again. Yes, that stuff does all in fact please God. It makes him happy. and he will have it done. so it is better we learn to do it all willingly rather than be forced and punished into doing it. and. the confessions say: “the law always accuses” the law always accuses. the Law ALWAYS accuses. there is no safe 3rd use of the law this means. there is no law that is a “sanctification helper” the law always kills us. the law is about mortification (latinate for “deathing”) it is the deathing of us. it is nothing at all about sanctification . that is alone about christ in us and the new man and the gospel. works are excluded in sanctification.

    And yes. you are right to see nothing but Grace alone in your Baptism dear Peggy. you are focussing on those words of promise in and with the water. when your conscience oppresses you, you tell satan to go back to where he belongs and say “yes you are right about your condemnation of me. but christ came to die for such as me. and I was baptized. so there God made me His. Call me a liar but God will not lie. so. be . gone.

    and at the same time, we work hard at making our old adam literally die trying to serve our neighbor by keeping the law of love for others. we see that all WE can see and do will perish and is law law law. but we live in that invisible trust in christ alone even as we die in our old adam flesh.

    reread that Luther sermon again and again. I have. it is the best antodote to works righteousnesss. and it is thus because it properly talks about two kinds of righteouness and two kingdoms and does not deny earthly righteousness as righteousness, but points out that even though it IS true righteousness, it will perish along with all who seek eternal life there. the law always accuses. it produces pharisees or judas.

    bless you dear peggy.

  • Larry

    For what its worth as I’m reading it, I think you both are on the same page.

    As an ex-other protestant I kind of hear the alarm Peggy is stating because one is always taught of faith as on the one hand a gift but then its this quid pro quo coin that works back up to God to make it all work (Calvin for example on the LS). Grace is sort of there hypothetically if you will go up and “get it” and the ability to “go up and get it” (the rail token) is given you via “grace” (similar to Rome’s infusion but not so labeled in reformed thinking), if its given you, then you are constantly in the state of being of being hypothetically “elect” and if not you are constantly in the state of being hypothetically potentially “reprobate”.

    It’s all about the direction God coming down to us (Luther) or us going up to God (everybody else).

    Faith can be described as both “I believe” and “God cannot lie”. But the paradigm in which this is stated is important. The “God cannot lie” begets the “I believe” (Luther). The confession and direction of Luther and Lutheran confessions (and hence truly from Scripture) for the “God cannot lie”/“I believe” falls from “where there IS forgiveness of sin, there IS life and salvation”. But if the “God cannot lie”/“I believe” falls in the more Roman/Arminian/Calvinistic paradigm of “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin” its another religion, ultimately in sum total and another gospel.

    Note that all the same words may be used, in no particular arrangement: “God cannot lie”/“I believe”/”life”/”where”/”is”/”there”/”salvation”/”there”/”and”/”sin”/”forgiveness”/”of”/”is”. But once the theology and doctrine “stamps” something out, true to Scripture or false to Scripture it thus preaches, proclaims, teaches and confesses something that is either true or false and the two are opposed to each other as far as heaven and hell are opposed to each other.

  • Larry

    For what its worth as I’m reading it, I think you both are on the same page.

    As an ex-other protestant I kind of hear the alarm Peggy is stating because one is always taught of faith as on the one hand a gift but then its this quid pro quo coin that works back up to God to make it all work (Calvin for example on the LS). Grace is sort of there hypothetically if you will go up and “get it” and the ability to “go up and get it” (the rail token) is given you via “grace” (similar to Rome’s infusion but not so labeled in reformed thinking), if its given you, then you are constantly in the state of being of being hypothetically “elect” and if not you are constantly in the state of being hypothetically potentially “reprobate”.

    It’s all about the direction God coming down to us (Luther) or us going up to God (everybody else).

    Faith can be described as both “I believe” and “God cannot lie”. But the paradigm in which this is stated is important. The “God cannot lie” begets the “I believe” (Luther). The confession and direction of Luther and Lutheran confessions (and hence truly from Scripture) for the “God cannot lie”/“I believe” falls from “where there IS forgiveness of sin, there IS life and salvation”. But if the “God cannot lie”/“I believe” falls in the more Roman/Arminian/Calvinistic paradigm of “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin” its another religion, ultimately in sum total and another gospel.

    Note that all the same words may be used, in no particular arrangement: “God cannot lie”/“I believe”/”life”/”where”/”is”/”there”/”salvation”/”there”/”and”/”sin”/”forgiveness”/”of”/”is”. But once the theology and doctrine “stamps” something out, true to Scripture or false to Scripture it thus preaches, proclaims, teaches and confesses something that is either true or false and the two are opposed to each other as far as heaven and hell are opposed to each other.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 52

    that was valuable. I think that if we get trapped into formulas of saying things , inevitably the old adam will turn it towards sacrifice.

    The best antidote is to be taught how to distinguish law and gospel as the confessions seek to teach us, on each and every doctrine and matter pertaining to our earthly existence.

    we can all say faith alone or christ alone and still make it about christ + something we can do or add.

    To say that there is nothing we can do in our bodies that has eternal consequences is the Lutheran teaching. It is Christ. Alone. through invisible faith . alone.

    Yet this statement, even as I say it, is challenging even to me. I find myself mentally testing the edges of this even as I say it. I am constantly looking for some exception to that that allows my old adam to do something. to be important and necessary to salvation or life in some god-like way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 52

    that was valuable. I think that if we get trapped into formulas of saying things , inevitably the old adam will turn it towards sacrifice.

    The best antidote is to be taught how to distinguish law and gospel as the confessions seek to teach us, on each and every doctrine and matter pertaining to our earthly existence.

    we can all say faith alone or christ alone and still make it about christ + something we can do or add.

    To say that there is nothing we can do in our bodies that has eternal consequences is the Lutheran teaching. It is Christ. Alone. through invisible faith . alone.

    Yet this statement, even as I say it, is challenging even to me. I find myself mentally testing the edges of this even as I say it. I am constantly looking for some exception to that that allows my old adam to do something. to be important and necessary to salvation or life in some god-like way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @52
    I always read that as ” Where christ is, THERE is life and salvation.”

    making your point of course…..

    it is all about Christ alone. existencially so. such that the stars fall from the sky should christ cease to exist somehow.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @52
    I always read that as ” Where christ is, THERE is life and salvation.”

    making your point of course…..

    it is all about Christ alone. existencially so. such that the stars fall from the sky should christ cease to exist somehow.

  • Larry

    FWS,

    “we can all say faith alone or christ alone and still make it about christ + something we can do or add”

    Absolutely, you nailed it! And that makes it tough to ferret out false from true. That’s why Luther often goes to the obvious else the “fox is not revealed” as he would put it. E.g. the Calvinist in the LS are pretty tricky in their “real presence” lingo, it sounds so very close. But Luther gives a remedy, “ask them what it is that they put into your mouth”.

    I think it was Nagel who said of Luther’s tower experience and the Law and Gospel discovery that it was a move from abstraction to earthiness, this recovered the Gospel and that any move back toward abstraction is a move back in the reverse direction. Consider THAT in the difference of predestination/election of the Reformed versus Luther. There’s a reason Staupitz advise to Luther was to seek his election in the wounds of Christ and baptim (= Christ) is God electing.

    The Law Gospel move and discovery via discovering that the righteousness of God is that of Christ’s given us out of pure declaration such that all He said, done, thought and suffered is ours just as if we did it so that absolutely NOTHING is left to be done is a move from abstraction to earthiness. Similarly put, it is a move from the unrevealed God in majest sought out (or the unpreached God) to the revealed God done so by God (the preached God). Try that out in all those election passages and we begin to see the difference between the two theologies, a difference between two religions period.

  • Larry

    FWS,

    “we can all say faith alone or christ alone and still make it about christ + something we can do or add”

    Absolutely, you nailed it! And that makes it tough to ferret out false from true. That’s why Luther often goes to the obvious else the “fox is not revealed” as he would put it. E.g. the Calvinist in the LS are pretty tricky in their “real presence” lingo, it sounds so very close. But Luther gives a remedy, “ask them what it is that they put into your mouth”.

    I think it was Nagel who said of Luther’s tower experience and the Law and Gospel discovery that it was a move from abstraction to earthiness, this recovered the Gospel and that any move back toward abstraction is a move back in the reverse direction. Consider THAT in the difference of predestination/election of the Reformed versus Luther. There’s a reason Staupitz advise to Luther was to seek his election in the wounds of Christ and baptim (= Christ) is God electing.

    The Law Gospel move and discovery via discovering that the righteousness of God is that of Christ’s given us out of pure declaration such that all He said, done, thought and suffered is ours just as if we did it so that absolutely NOTHING is left to be done is a move from abstraction to earthiness. Similarly put, it is a move from the unrevealed God in majest sought out (or the unpreached God) to the revealed God done so by God (the preached God). Try that out in all those election passages and we begin to see the difference between the two theologies, a difference between two religions period.

  • Peggy

    Thank you, Larry. What I kept hearing, whether or not he meant it, in FWS’ comments was Christ +. Also, I don’t think anything I do can please God, only what He does in and through me. I please Him because Christ pleases Him and I am in Him. I agree with FWS that there should be no “3rd law” application — the 1st and 2nd are quite sufficient.
    Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:18b If I think I can please God by doing, then I focus on good works rather than on Christ’s completed work. It becomes pietistic. I am dead. I cannot do anything. “Nevertheless, I live,yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
    He gives me a vocation. He gives me a neighbour and He feeds me with His Word, His body and His blood and He prepares those works for me which will bring Him glory but they are by His will not mine. If I bring forth pleasing blossoms it is only the vine which has produced them.
    By allowing His will and love to have its way with me then there will be good works, but I cannot claim to do them. This is His work.

  • Peggy

    Thank you, Larry. What I kept hearing, whether or not he meant it, in FWS’ comments was Christ +. Also, I don’t think anything I do can please God, only what He does in and through me. I please Him because Christ pleases Him and I am in Him. I agree with FWS that there should be no “3rd law” application — the 1st and 2nd are quite sufficient.
    Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:18b If I think I can please God by doing, then I focus on good works rather than on Christ’s completed work. It becomes pietistic. I am dead. I cannot do anything. “Nevertheless, I live,yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
    He gives me a vocation. He gives me a neighbour and He feeds me with His Word, His body and His blood and He prepares those works for me which will bring Him glory but they are by His will not mine. If I bring forth pleasing blossoms it is only the vine which has produced them.
    By allowing His will and love to have its way with me then there will be good works, but I cannot claim to do them. This is His work.

  • Peggy

    FWS: I do not see faith as anything that we do, work at, etc. But I do see how He sustains and increases faith within me. Continued, unrepentant sin could destroy or weaken our faith and we could fall, but it is Christ who keeps us abiding in Him in faith and it is the Holy Spirit who works repentance in us. As Jesus said to Peter: “It is not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven .” Matt. 16:17. Because faith is based on who He is and what He has/is doing, it cannot be our work.
    In the distinction between the two kingdoms, faith is in the righthand kingdom for it pertains to spiritual life. If you are speaking of faith that a plane won’t fall out of the sky, then that is the lefthand, but that has no relevance in this discussion. That which pertains to the church and salvation is righthand and faith is at the centre of that. (We’re not talking about fixing the roof of the church, but the Word and Sacraments that are at the heart of our relationship with God in the body of Christ.) Anyway, perhaps we are beginning to go in circles.

  • Peggy

    FWS: I do not see faith as anything that we do, work at, etc. But I do see how He sustains and increases faith within me. Continued, unrepentant sin could destroy or weaken our faith and we could fall, but it is Christ who keeps us abiding in Him in faith and it is the Holy Spirit who works repentance in us. As Jesus said to Peter: “It is not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven .” Matt. 16:17. Because faith is based on who He is and what He has/is doing, it cannot be our work.
    In the distinction between the two kingdoms, faith is in the righthand kingdom for it pertains to spiritual life. If you are speaking of faith that a plane won’t fall out of the sky, then that is the lefthand, but that has no relevance in this discussion. That which pertains to the church and salvation is righthand and faith is at the centre of that. (We’re not talking about fixing the roof of the church, but the Word and Sacraments that are at the heart of our relationship with God in the body of Christ.) Anyway, perhaps we are beginning to go in circles.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 57

    ~In the distinction between the two kingdoms, faith is in the righthand kingdom for it pertains to spiritual life.That which pertains to the church and salvation is righthand and faith is at the centre of that. (We’re not talking about fixing the roof of the church, but the Word and Sacraments that are at the heart of our relationship with God in the body of Christ.)~

    No this is wrong. Yes I know that this ia about the only way two kingdoms is taught by contemporary american lutherans. it is wrong.

    two kingdoms CAN be the churchly estate vs the civil estate. But then we need to be clear that we are talking about two vocations both within the earthly kingdom of law and not of grace. I am not sure where that “right hand and left hand ” terminology came from. If it comes from Luther than it is not a regularly used contrast. earthly law kingdom vs heavenly invisible faith kingdom IS regularly used.

    reread that luther sermon that is part of our confessions. it help you understand the real lutheran teaching of the two kingdoms.

    and there you will see that there is much for you to do dear peggy. the confessions say that “good works are necessary” . It is NECESSARY that YOU DO good works peggy. this is not christ working through you. this is YOU working and struggling to be a better person and do good to serve your neighbor. god demands this of you Peggy and he is pleased that you do it. and if you do not do it willingly, then he will make you do it by threats and punishments.

    this is the earthly kingdom that is everything you can see and do in your body. law and gospel is not works OR christ. it is works and christ. each one is to be left in its proper kingdom. when we talk about the law and the earthly kingdom we should imagine that the gospel does not exist and it is all law law law. when we talk about salvation and the heavenly kingdom. it is as if the law does not exist.

    We are not talking in circles. you are afraid that I am inviting you to believe that we are saved by christ plus works. I am inviting you to believe stuff that will confirm your faith in christ alone. apart from works. read more of the confessions. then you will get what I am saying. I know that I am probably not being clear.

    read that luther sermon over and over. bless you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 57

    ~In the distinction between the two kingdoms, faith is in the righthand kingdom for it pertains to spiritual life.That which pertains to the church and salvation is righthand and faith is at the centre of that. (We’re not talking about fixing the roof of the church, but the Word and Sacraments that are at the heart of our relationship with God in the body of Christ.)~

    No this is wrong. Yes I know that this ia about the only way two kingdoms is taught by contemporary american lutherans. it is wrong.

    two kingdoms CAN be the churchly estate vs the civil estate. But then we need to be clear that we are talking about two vocations both within the earthly kingdom of law and not of grace. I am not sure where that “right hand and left hand ” terminology came from. If it comes from Luther than it is not a regularly used contrast. earthly law kingdom vs heavenly invisible faith kingdom IS regularly used.

    reread that luther sermon that is part of our confessions. it help you understand the real lutheran teaching of the two kingdoms.

    and there you will see that there is much for you to do dear peggy. the confessions say that “good works are necessary” . It is NECESSARY that YOU DO good works peggy. this is not christ working through you. this is YOU working and struggling to be a better person and do good to serve your neighbor. god demands this of you Peggy and he is pleased that you do it. and if you do not do it willingly, then he will make you do it by threats and punishments.

    this is the earthly kingdom that is everything you can see and do in your body. law and gospel is not works OR christ. it is works and christ. each one is to be left in its proper kingdom. when we talk about the law and the earthly kingdom we should imagine that the gospel does not exist and it is all law law law. when we talk about salvation and the heavenly kingdom. it is as if the law does not exist.

    We are not talking in circles. you are afraid that I am inviting you to believe that we are saved by christ plus works. I am inviting you to believe stuff that will confirm your faith in christ alone. apart from works. read more of the confessions. then you will get what I am saying. I know that I am probably not being clear.

    read that luther sermon over and over. bless you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 56

    try this:

    it truly pleases god peggy when your pagan baker delivers bread to you. or your pagan sister comforts you, or your pagan policeman protects you.

    What ? God is NOT pleased with this kind of behavior? he is not the one providencing this to be from sinful old adams? of course he wants this all to be done. It does not save anyone. it is romans 8 flesh that will perish. but it is still gods will that it be done! Do not belittle this righteousness. this is what you pray for in the 4th petition of the our father to be done. and also in the 2nd petition.

    this not only pleases God but he is the one who providences it and makes it happen.

    this earthly righteousness is not phony baloney pretend ‘righteousness” that is pharisaic. it is true righteousness . true because it pleased god. and no it saves no one. but God makes it happen and insists that it happens out of pure fatherly divine goodness and mercy that has nothing to do with faith or christ really.

    and fact: he makes this happen in pagan peggy too. You know that a part of you is still pagan peggy. that there is a part of you that hates god , loves idols and can do NOTHING but sin? this is your old adam. and the law applies to you only and because the old adam still is in you even after your baptism. it is your Old you. YOU are now the new man you received in your baptism. and you as new man need no law. there you are right. christ works in you goodness. but you only can know and experience that by faith. you have NO tangilble evidence for that new man in anything you can see or do.

    so yes peggy. YOU have to run the race, fight the fight, which is all about killing that old adam with the law. it is about hard work and sweat and literally killing the old peggy in servanthood to others. it is something you are commanded to do. and that fully and especially includes everything you do in church.

    and you are right. none of that will save you. true. true true. but this is not to be obedient to God. this is because your neighbor needs your help both inside and outside the church. and god demands that YOU do these good works . if you dont do them willingly, dont worry, God will punish you and make you do them. not eternal punishment mind you. that was all put on christ, but temporal punishment solely aimed and forcing you to do what is right.

    so your good works peggy are not about rendering obedience God or conforming to a set of rules like the 10 commandments. He does not want that.

    your good works are about being obedient to me and all others you can serve with your love. This is the measure of a good servant which is what God has called you to be to me and others. we are the ones you need to be obedient to and who are to judge you as to your earthly righteousness.

    what I just said should shock you and sound like nothing you have heard before. This is lutheranism. we lutherans have not served you because we american lutherans, in transitioning from german to english have slowly adopted reformed categories and structures to teach lutheran concepts and so we confuse those coming out of the reformed or baptist or protestant faiths.

    Old adam hates that. he twants to turn morality into a religious exercise about God. you are still thinking along those lines peggy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    peggy @ 56

    try this:

    it truly pleases god peggy when your pagan baker delivers bread to you. or your pagan sister comforts you, or your pagan policeman protects you.

    What ? God is NOT pleased with this kind of behavior? he is not the one providencing this to be from sinful old adams? of course he wants this all to be done. It does not save anyone. it is romans 8 flesh that will perish. but it is still gods will that it be done! Do not belittle this righteousness. this is what you pray for in the 4th petition of the our father to be done. and also in the 2nd petition.

    this not only pleases God but he is the one who providences it and makes it happen.

    this earthly righteousness is not phony baloney pretend ‘righteousness” that is pharisaic. it is true righteousness . true because it pleased god. and no it saves no one. but God makes it happen and insists that it happens out of pure fatherly divine goodness and mercy that has nothing to do with faith or christ really.

    and fact: he makes this happen in pagan peggy too. You know that a part of you is still pagan peggy. that there is a part of you that hates god , loves idols and can do NOTHING but sin? this is your old adam. and the law applies to you only and because the old adam still is in you even after your baptism. it is your Old you. YOU are now the new man you received in your baptism. and you as new man need no law. there you are right. christ works in you goodness. but you only can know and experience that by faith. you have NO tangilble evidence for that new man in anything you can see or do.

    so yes peggy. YOU have to run the race, fight the fight, which is all about killing that old adam with the law. it is about hard work and sweat and literally killing the old peggy in servanthood to others. it is something you are commanded to do. and that fully and especially includes everything you do in church.

    and you are right. none of that will save you. true. true true. but this is not to be obedient to God. this is because your neighbor needs your help both inside and outside the church. and god demands that YOU do these good works . if you dont do them willingly, dont worry, God will punish you and make you do them. not eternal punishment mind you. that was all put on christ, but temporal punishment solely aimed and forcing you to do what is right.

    so your good works peggy are not about rendering obedience God or conforming to a set of rules like the 10 commandments. He does not want that.

    your good works are about being obedient to me and all others you can serve with your love. This is the measure of a good servant which is what God has called you to be to me and others. we are the ones you need to be obedient to and who are to judge you as to your earthly righteousness.

    what I just said should shock you and sound like nothing you have heard before. This is lutheranism. we lutherans have not served you because we american lutherans, in transitioning from german to english have slowly adopted reformed categories and structures to teach lutheran concepts and so we confuse those coming out of the reformed or baptist or protestant faiths.

    Old adam hates that. he twants to turn morality into a religious exercise about God. you are still thinking along those lines peggy.

  • Larry

    I think what helps is getting away from the Kingdom talk, that’s been confused, abused and misused much by Reformed influence.

    Luther’s tower experience was NOT, the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed: Romans 1:17 concerning the righteousness of God a move FROM “that righteousness whereby God is righteous and judges” TO “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes actively righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”.

    Most protestants, if not all, believe that Rome believed the first part, “that righteousness whereby God is righteous and judges” and Luther’s tower experience was a move to “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes actively righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”, and they call that later part more or less sanctification. What they don’t realize is they are completely wrong on all accounts. THAT view was and is Rome’s view.

    All agree with forgiveness of sin and Rome and most protestants believe ‘the righteousness of God” is “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes ACTIVELY righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”. Any short fall is covered by “forgiveness of sin”. Thus, they never left Rome really.

    But Luther’s tower experience or discovery was that Rom. 1:17 ‘the righteousness of God’ and all like statements in the NT and OT such as “wisdom of God, power of God, strength of God…e.g. ‘thou art my strength, wisdom and power…” is “that righteousness of CHRIST’s purely imputed to us by shear declaration without active righteousness on our part (even after conversion), a purely passive righteousness alien to us”, such that whatever Christ said, thought, did, suffered, etc…was just as if you or I did it (paraphrasing Luther) and NOTHING else is necessary ever actively of us. And it is THAT righteousness, not of our own but declared ours, that with stands the judgment. THAT is the full Gospel and only Gospel, not just forgiveness, though both are there.

    Luther pre-tower experience still held to what is really the Roman view and the majority report protestant view and THAT in connection with predestination (a proto-Calvinism as it were) was what terrorized his soul. It was the Gospel discovered against that that set him free in the tower and set forth the Law/Gospel distinction.

  • Larry

    I think what helps is getting away from the Kingdom talk, that’s been confused, abused and misused much by Reformed influence.

    Luther’s tower experience was NOT, the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed: Romans 1:17 concerning the righteousness of God a move FROM “that righteousness whereby God is righteous and judges” TO “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes actively righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”.

    Most protestants, if not all, believe that Rome believed the first part, “that righteousness whereby God is righteous and judges” and Luther’s tower experience was a move to “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes actively righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”, and they call that later part more or less sanctification. What they don’t realize is they are completely wrong on all accounts. THAT view was and is Rome’s view.

    All agree with forgiveness of sin and Rome and most protestants believe ‘the righteousness of God” is “a given righteousness by grace whereby man becomes ACTIVELY righteous himself that can withstand the judgment of God”. Any short fall is covered by “forgiveness of sin”. Thus, they never left Rome really.

    But Luther’s tower experience or discovery was that Rom. 1:17 ‘the righteousness of God’ and all like statements in the NT and OT such as “wisdom of God, power of God, strength of God…e.g. ‘thou art my strength, wisdom and power…” is “that righteousness of CHRIST’s purely imputed to us by shear declaration without active righteousness on our part (even after conversion), a purely passive righteousness alien to us”, such that whatever Christ said, thought, did, suffered, etc…was just as if you or I did it (paraphrasing Luther) and NOTHING else is necessary ever actively of us. And it is THAT righteousness, not of our own but declared ours, that with stands the judgment. THAT is the full Gospel and only Gospel, not just forgiveness, though both are there.

    Luther pre-tower experience still held to what is really the Roman view and the majority report protestant view and THAT in connection with predestination (a proto-Calvinism as it were) was what terrorized his soul. It was the Gospel discovered against that that set him free in the tower and set forth the Law/Gospel distinction.

  • Larry

    MISTAKE:

    “Luther’s tower experience was NOT, the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed…”

    Should read:

    “Luther’s tower experience the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed…was NOT, ”

    Sorry about that.

  • Larry

    MISTAKE:

    “Luther’s tower experience was NOT, the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed…”

    Should read:

    “Luther’s tower experience the final end of Luther’s movement after which he Reformed…was NOT, ”

    Sorry about that.

  • Larry

    This peels out into the two kingdoms concept if done clearly whereby the earthly good works are good for nothing toward God, heaven, and final judgment because of the Rom.1:17 is imputed righteousness, all we ever need end of story. If you die like the one thief on the cross under crime sans any good earthly works, you will be in paradise.

    I think what Frank is trying to point out is that when THAT RELAXATION of the Gospel comes, nothing TO DO Christ is sufficient through and through period end of story shut up about works and gnawing on your hidden works righteousness – I’m then free to serve my neighbor = truly good works. And those unappealing looking good works, that I don’t look at nor appeal to, do show, “I’m trusting in the finished work of Christ”.

    Put another way: Which child is REALLY trusting by faith that his father has taking care of an issue for him. The one whistling his way sweeping floors, eating and sleeping soundly or the church yard worry wart busying up himself? Like Luther said when asked what he’d do if he found out Christ was coming today? His answer, “plant a tree”.
    Such nonchalant unspiritual looking works are a “flip of the finger” to the devil and glory religions that tempt us to “get back to good works” that are really hidden works righteousness. In other words and for example the devil tempts us via “are you elect” outside of the revealed God and sacraments to get busy working. But the one ASSURING HIMSELF, not God, (ala Peter’s point), says, “Devil you go find that out, I am baptized and that is sufficient. Now away with you as God has given me a dirty floor and a broom, dinner for tonight and a bed to sleep in.” Those works as presented are the adornment TO faith that help assure us ourselves. It’s a way of silencing the devil, false teachers and our consciences that tempt us away from Word and Sacrament.

    Does that help?

  • Larry

    This peels out into the two kingdoms concept if done clearly whereby the earthly good works are good for nothing toward God, heaven, and final judgment because of the Rom.1:17 is imputed righteousness, all we ever need end of story. If you die like the one thief on the cross under crime sans any good earthly works, you will be in paradise.

    I think what Frank is trying to point out is that when THAT RELAXATION of the Gospel comes, nothing TO DO Christ is sufficient through and through period end of story shut up about works and gnawing on your hidden works righteousness – I’m then free to serve my neighbor = truly good works. And those unappealing looking good works, that I don’t look at nor appeal to, do show, “I’m trusting in the finished work of Christ”.

    Put another way: Which child is REALLY trusting by faith that his father has taking care of an issue for him. The one whistling his way sweeping floors, eating and sleeping soundly or the church yard worry wart busying up himself? Like Luther said when asked what he’d do if he found out Christ was coming today? His answer, “plant a tree”.
    Such nonchalant unspiritual looking works are a “flip of the finger” to the devil and glory religions that tempt us to “get back to good works” that are really hidden works righteousness. In other words and for example the devil tempts us via “are you elect” outside of the revealed God and sacraments to get busy working. But the one ASSURING HIMSELF, not God, (ala Peter’s point), says, “Devil you go find that out, I am baptized and that is sufficient. Now away with you as God has given me a dirty floor and a broom, dinner for tonight and a bed to sleep in.” Those works as presented are the adornment TO faith that help assure us ourselves. It’s a way of silencing the devil, false teachers and our consciences that tempt us away from Word and Sacrament.

    Does that help?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 62

    two kingdoms. two kinds of righteousness , law and gospel and flesh vs spirit are different ways to express an identical thing.

    the aim is to let EVERYTHING we can see or do in our bodies, fully including OUR administration of word and sacrament and liturgy and churchly stuff we are commanded to do, so that invisible faith alone in christ alone is in the second category.

    Just as with third use of the law. there is the third use of the law and then there is the LUTHERAN third use of the law that specifically aims to teach that there is NO christian use of the law. There is just the same law that deals with all old adams and does not care whether they are christian or pagan. it kills and accuses all alike.

    and there is the LUTHERAN teaching of the two kingdoms, which is also the teaching of two kinds of righteousness, which is just another form of law and gospel nothing but, and is another form of flesh vs spirit of romans 8.

    and yes. most lutherans teach the reformed view. and they claim to be confessional lutherans. yikes!

    here is how the lutheran confessions teach two kinds of righteousness – two kingdoms. :

    http://www.thirduse.com/

    when my calvinist bapticostal friend read it, they simply do NOT get this sermon! it does not fit into any of their categories and contrasts. they are used to contrasting justification with sanctification. st paul and luther and the confessions would reject that contrast. yet “confessional ” lutherans do this too. why? they are reformed on sanctification and 3rd use. we lost our way in the transition from german to english.

    and the formula of concord article VI should be titled ” The [Lutheran] third use of the law” because its specific aim is to destroy the calvinistic idea of a third use.article VI says that there is no christian use of the law and that is the purpose of the 3rd use. to tell us this.

    so just because john calvin uses the term real presence, does that mean we should stop using that term because it is now confusing, or should we rather insist on the right teaching and not yield the terminology to errorists and heretics?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 62

    two kingdoms. two kinds of righteousness , law and gospel and flesh vs spirit are different ways to express an identical thing.

    the aim is to let EVERYTHING we can see or do in our bodies, fully including OUR administration of word and sacrament and liturgy and churchly stuff we are commanded to do, so that invisible faith alone in christ alone is in the second category.

    Just as with third use of the law. there is the third use of the law and then there is the LUTHERAN third use of the law that specifically aims to teach that there is NO christian use of the law. There is just the same law that deals with all old adams and does not care whether they are christian or pagan. it kills and accuses all alike.

    and there is the LUTHERAN teaching of the two kingdoms, which is also the teaching of two kinds of righteousness, which is just another form of law and gospel nothing but, and is another form of flesh vs spirit of romans 8.

    and yes. most lutherans teach the reformed view. and they claim to be confessional lutherans. yikes!

    here is how the lutheran confessions teach two kinds of righteousness – two kingdoms. :

    http://www.thirduse.com/

    when my calvinist bapticostal friend read it, they simply do NOT get this sermon! it does not fit into any of their categories and contrasts. they are used to contrasting justification with sanctification. st paul and luther and the confessions would reject that contrast. yet “confessional ” lutherans do this too. why? they are reformed on sanctification and 3rd use. we lost our way in the transition from german to english.

    and the formula of concord article VI should be titled ” The [Lutheran] third use of the law” because its specific aim is to destroy the calvinistic idea of a third use.article VI says that there is no christian use of the law and that is the purpose of the 3rd use. to tell us this.

    so just because john calvin uses the term real presence, does that mean we should stop using that term because it is now confusing, or should we rather insist on the right teaching and not yield the terminology to errorists and heretics?

  • Larry

    Frank,

    I don’t disagree at all and have said precisely what you state there many times. Just because Rome abused the terms sacrament and absolution doesn’t mean as the Baptist have done that we throw the baby out with the bath water (pun intended). That’s why certain perfectly good terms may throw people initially. E.g. don’t start with a baptist using the term “sacrament”, perfectly good as it is, it throws up a million walls immediately. Best to just say “baptism” or “Lord’s Supper” then get around to “sacrament”.

    We must, as Luther points out in his opening to Romans, explain and define those terms so that they are used aright. Which is what we are doing here. I wasn’t throwing out the terms, just sitting them aside for a moment to alter the focus for a moment, then come back to them. Any good teacher, whatever the subject is, does that. When I have to teach or explain something scientific, sometimes when someone is not “getting it” its good to try another route more familiar to them so that they have that “AH HA! That’s what you mean” moment. You were doing the same thing and very nicely I might add when you referenced good works that the pagan does in the earthly since (very nice).

    That’s all, no disagreement here!

    Larry

  • Larry

    Frank,

    I don’t disagree at all and have said precisely what you state there many times. Just because Rome abused the terms sacrament and absolution doesn’t mean as the Baptist have done that we throw the baby out with the bath water (pun intended). That’s why certain perfectly good terms may throw people initially. E.g. don’t start with a baptist using the term “sacrament”, perfectly good as it is, it throws up a million walls immediately. Best to just say “baptism” or “Lord’s Supper” then get around to “sacrament”.

    We must, as Luther points out in his opening to Romans, explain and define those terms so that they are used aright. Which is what we are doing here. I wasn’t throwing out the terms, just sitting them aside for a moment to alter the focus for a moment, then come back to them. Any good teacher, whatever the subject is, does that. When I have to teach or explain something scientific, sometimes when someone is not “getting it” its good to try another route more familiar to them so that they have that “AH HA! That’s what you mean” moment. You were doing the same thing and very nicely I might add when you referenced good works that the pagan does in the earthly since (very nice).

    That’s all, no disagreement here!

    Larry

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 64

    and all this. law and gospel, etc etc etc. is alone to show us how to internalize the fact that alone christ, by alone invisible faith, is in the heavenly kingdom. plus nothing at all that we can see or do in our bodies. that is the entire point of our Confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 64

    and all this. law and gospel, etc etc etc. is alone to show us how to internalize the fact that alone christ, by alone invisible faith, is in the heavenly kingdom. plus nothing at all that we can see or do in our bodies. that is the entire point of our Confessions.

  • http://www.topix.com/forum/afam/TKLNRLCVSU8CO4BBP Hot date

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  • kempin04

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