I believe in the “holy Catholic church” or “holy Christian church”?

The great Lutheran blogger Anthony Sacramone–remember Luther at the Movies?–goes from posting whole handfuls of entries a day at Strange Herring to going months without posting a thing (and now to keeping the public from reading it, for some reason).  But he sometimes puts something up at the First Things site.   He has a characteristically humorous, provocative, and instructive post there now:  What’s in a Name? Plenty. » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

After riffing on how Campus Crusade has changed its name to “Cru,” he complains about how his fellow Lutherans in the Missouri Synod and other confessional churches translate the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds as “I believe in the Holy Christian Church,” instead of the more direct rendition of the Latin, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church” like everybody else does (only sometimes with an asterix).

He does cite the fact that this comes from the German translation that predates even the Reformation, but he makes the case that today in English we should  show that we are “catholic” in the sense that we claim to be by using “catholic” like the rest of the universal church.   He points out that all kinds of sects and heretics claim to be “Christian.”  We need to affirm that we part of the historical universal Body of Christ, which is what “catholic” does.

In the course of the discussion, he gives some interesting biographical tidbits about his own spiritual pilgrimage  that I have always wondered about. But doesn’t he have a good point?  In the Athanasian Creed, which I’d be glad to confess every week, we do use “catholic.”   It’s a good word, like “evangelical,” and we shouldn’t cede it just to the Church of Rome.  Or are there reasons to change it?

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.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Definitely should read “catholic”; it’s what we are.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Definitely should read “catholic”; it’s what we are.

  • SKPeterson

    Use it without apology or embarrassment.

  • SKPeterson

    Use it without apology or embarrassment.

  • Tom Hering

    When the meaning of a word has changed or narrowed – in this case, “catholic” now means “Rome” to almost everyone – it’s impossible to use it in it’s old or broader sense without having to explain yourself. Every time. For example, I often tell social conservatives that Dr. Veith, over on his Cranach blog, sometimes reveals himself to be a gay man.

    Okay, I don’t tell them that. Really I don’t! Honest!

  • Tom Hering

    When the meaning of a word has changed or narrowed – in this case, “catholic” now means “Rome” to almost everyone – it’s impossible to use it in it’s old or broader sense without having to explain yourself. Every time. For example, I often tell social conservatives that Dr. Veith, over on his Cranach blog, sometimes reveals himself to be a gay man.

    Okay, I don’t tell them that. Really I don’t! Honest!

  • Eric Brown

    In the 2038 hymnal, it will read catholic – because by that time there will be so few Christians of any stripe left in this country that we will be forced to abandon some of our anti-Roman craziness, for they will be an aid and support for us against the heathen and pagan hordes.

    That got much more cynical than I was going to have it. I was just going to say that the Baby Boomers wouldn’t be around to complain about the word “catholic” or that we’d have stopped listening to them by then. Either way.

  • Eric Brown

    In the 2038 hymnal, it will read catholic – because by that time there will be so few Christians of any stripe left in this country that we will be forced to abandon some of our anti-Roman craziness, for they will be an aid and support for us against the heathen and pagan hordes.

    That got much more cynical than I was going to have it. I was just going to say that the Baby Boomers wouldn’t be around to complain about the word “catholic” or that we’d have stopped listening to them by then. Either way.

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    I addressed this also in my blog Pastoral Meanderings. I was told by one of the oldies who was around when TLH came out in 1941 that they got more mail against the word “catholic” in the Athanasian Creed than for any other aspect of the book! How things do not change! I thought we might have gotten over it when the Worship Supplement (1969) came out but it is clear that this is one issue that sticks in the craw of some of our LCMSers.

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/03/we-are-not-catholics-we-are-christians.html

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    I addressed this also in my blog Pastoral Meanderings. I was told by one of the oldies who was around when TLH came out in 1941 that they got more mail against the word “catholic” in the Athanasian Creed than for any other aspect of the book! How things do not change! I thought we might have gotten over it when the Worship Supplement (1969) came out but it is clear that this is one issue that sticks in the craw of some of our LCMSers.

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/03/we-are-not-catholics-we-are-christians.html

  • Tom Hering

    Boomers are the group who’ve avoided using the word “catholic”? Welcome to Weird Social History.

  • Tom Hering

    Boomers are the group who’ve avoided using the word “catholic”? Welcome to Weird Social History.

  • kerner

    We Boomers are now the older generation. Younger generations now blame us for everything. And Christians don’t believe in Karma! ;)

    I read somewhere that back in reformation times, and before, there was no word in German for “catholic”, hence the use of the Word “Christian” in the creed. So, the Germans weren’t trying to be controversial, they were just using the best word that there was in their Language.

  • kerner

    We Boomers are now the older generation. Younger generations now blame us for everything. And Christians don’t believe in Karma! ;)

    I read somewhere that back in reformation times, and before, there was no word in German for “catholic”, hence the use of the Word “Christian” in the creed. So, the Germans weren’t trying to be controversial, they were just using the best word that there was in their Language.

  • Dan Kempin

    +1 on the Athanasian creed every week. Let’s start a movement!

    (Plus, it says, “all those who have done good, to life everlasting . . .”)

  • Dan Kempin

    +1 on the Athanasian creed every week. Let’s start a movement!

    (Plus, it says, “all those who have done good, to life everlasting . . .”)

  • Booklover

    I remember the word causing a hubbub in the church of my childhood, until the pastor pointed out the asterisk which led to the word “universal,” and he explained it was “catholic” with a lower case “c”.

    The world is screaming for a universal church.

  • Booklover

    I remember the word causing a hubbub in the church of my childhood, until the pastor pointed out the asterisk which led to the word “universal,” and he explained it was “catholic” with a lower case “c”.

    The world is screaming for a universal church.

  • Carl Vehse

    The holy Christian Church = the holy catholic Church = the invisible Church = all true believers in Christ.

    As Luther noted in the Smalcald Articles: “For, thank God, [to-day] a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy [catholic or] Christian Church.”

    Or as Luther noted (Comment on Galatians 5:19, Halle Edition, 8:2745): “Therefore we rightly confess in the Creed and say: ‘I believe a holy Christian Church.’ For it is invisible and lives in the Spirit at a place to which no one can come.”

    Or as Martin Chemnitz stated (Loci theologici, part 3, p.117): “The true and holy church of the elect nevertheless remains invisible.”

    Or as John Gerhard declared (Loci thologici, ‘De ecclesi”, par. 151): “When we say: ‘I believe one holy Christian church,’ the word ‘believe’ shows clearly that we speak of the invisible church, which is proved also by the added adjective ‘holy.’”

    Those who demand or restrict only one phrase over the other probably have a heterodox agenda in mind.

  • Carl Vehse

    The holy Christian Church = the holy catholic Church = the invisible Church = all true believers in Christ.

    As Luther noted in the Smalcald Articles: “For, thank God, [to-day] a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy [catholic or] Christian Church.”

    Or as Luther noted (Comment on Galatians 5:19, Halle Edition, 8:2745): “Therefore we rightly confess in the Creed and say: ‘I believe a holy Christian Church.’ For it is invisible and lives in the Spirit at a place to which no one can come.”

    Or as Martin Chemnitz stated (Loci theologici, part 3, p.117): “The true and holy church of the elect nevertheless remains invisible.”

    Or as John Gerhard declared (Loci thologici, ‘De ecclesi”, par. 151): “When we say: ‘I believe one holy Christian church,’ the word ‘believe’ shows clearly that we speak of the invisible church, which is proved also by the added adjective ‘holy.’”

    Those who demand or restrict only one phrase over the other probably have a heterodox agenda in mind.

  • Dan Kempin

    Regarding the translation of the Greek word “catholic,” I have no problem with it. True, it may swim against the practice of the larger church, but with valid reason. Survey 20 lutherans and ask them what the “catholic” church is. Then come and make your argument that the creed is best rendered with the use of that particular word.

    Besides, if we want to insist on transliterating words that are only used by the church, then we should definitely maintain “homoousious” in the creed before we get excited about “catholic.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Regarding the translation of the Greek word “catholic,” I have no problem with it. True, it may swim against the practice of the larger church, but with valid reason. Survey 20 lutherans and ask them what the “catholic” church is. Then come and make your argument that the creed is best rendered with the use of that particular word.

    Besides, if we want to insist on transliterating words that are only used by the church, then we should definitely maintain “homoousious” in the creed before we get excited about “catholic.”

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Grew up with “Christian,” so I’ll always be comfortable with it. We always assumed that the people who tried to get us to say “catholic” were attempting to influence us subliminally to embrace liberal ecumenism. I know better now, but I have my habits.

    Frankly, I’m a little put off that Anthony Sacramone hid “Strange Herring” behind a registration wall. By invitation only, no less!

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Grew up with “Christian,” so I’ll always be comfortable with it. We always assumed that the people who tried to get us to say “catholic” were attempting to influence us subliminally to embrace liberal ecumenism. I know better now, but I have my habits.

    Frankly, I’m a little put off that Anthony Sacramone hid “Strange Herring” behind a registration wall. By invitation only, no less!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I was kind of hoping that we LCMS Lutherans would translate this Greek as “catholic” in the most recent Lutheran Service Book hymnal, and also that the Nicene Creed would begin with a “We”. But I tend also to agree with Dan Kempin @11

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I was kind of hoping that we LCMS Lutherans would translate this Greek as “catholic” in the most recent Lutheran Service Book hymnal, and also that the Nicene Creed would begin with a “We”. But I tend also to agree with Dan Kempin @11

  • Fernando

    The point is noy the word “catholic” itself, but rather that “Christian” does not mean the same thing at all. The first emphasizes the unity of the church and declares that we are not schismatics who reject the tradition. The second distingishes Christians from adherents of other religions. Given the rest of the Creed, it hardly needs saying that we mean the Christian church. But in my experience it does need saying that we view ourselves as part of the great tradition.

  • Fernando

    The point is noy the word “catholic” itself, but rather that “Christian” does not mean the same thing at all. The first emphasizes the unity of the church and declares that we are not schismatics who reject the tradition. The second distingishes Christians from adherents of other religions. Given the rest of the Creed, it hardly needs saying that we mean the Christian church. But in my experience it does need saying that we view ourselves as part of the great tradition.

  • Anthony Sacramone

    Herr Veith:
    The attention you have shown my online wares over the years is both undeserved…and much appreciated. As for Strange Herring, as you have noted, my enthusiasm waxes and wanes for it, as I question its value, even entertainment value, over the long haul. I have also mulled the possibility of re-jiggering it, making it more focused, perhaps strictly on film. In any event, I found myself inundated with some editing work and just didn’t want to think about it anymore, so I took it offline, which I now recognize was a mistake, as it seems to have offended some who thought I had made it for members only, when in fact not even I go on it (LARS! IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL!). Also, I have been informed that FIRST THINGS is looking for a more “moderate tone,” and since I don’t do moderate, I have probably blogged my last over there. So, as soon as I can figure out how best to peddle my limited talents, I promise to reemerge.

  • Anthony Sacramone

    Herr Veith:
    The attention you have shown my online wares over the years is both undeserved…and much appreciated. As for Strange Herring, as you have noted, my enthusiasm waxes and wanes for it, as I question its value, even entertainment value, over the long haul. I have also mulled the possibility of re-jiggering it, making it more focused, perhaps strictly on film. In any event, I found myself inundated with some editing work and just didn’t want to think about it anymore, so I took it offline, which I now recognize was a mistake, as it seems to have offended some who thought I had made it for members only, when in fact not even I go on it (LARS! IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL!). Also, I have been informed that FIRST THINGS is looking for a more “moderate tone,” and since I don’t do moderate, I have probably blogged my last over there. So, as soon as I can figure out how best to peddle my limited talents, I promise to reemerge.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the context of the phrases and their use in the Creeds, the words “catholic” and “Christian” do indeed mean the same thing, that is, all true believers in Christ. The Church is united as the body of Christ in that faith and exists in no other religion in the world. Faith in tradition, apart from that of God’s Word, is not associated with either catholic or Christian, although it is practiced in some visible churches, such as the Church of Rome (sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church).

    Anthony Sacramone:

    “But I am a member of the church catholic. Or at least I thought I was. And I take it personally when I’m told that I’m now a member of something else. In fact, I will not say “Christian church.” I will mount a singular, solitary, albeit quixotic protest by continuing to say “catholic church,” in a loud and clamorous voice. Now I just have to find a church to say it in.”

    Scaramone may have begun “attending LCMS services,” but his words here indicate he is not yet a confessional Lutheran.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the context of the phrases and their use in the Creeds, the words “catholic” and “Christian” do indeed mean the same thing, that is, all true believers in Christ. The Church is united as the body of Christ in that faith and exists in no other religion in the world. Faith in tradition, apart from that of God’s Word, is not associated with either catholic or Christian, although it is practiced in some visible churches, such as the Church of Rome (sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church).

    Anthony Sacramone:

    “But I am a member of the church catholic. Or at least I thought I was. And I take it personally when I’m told that I’m now a member of something else. In fact, I will not say “Christian church.” I will mount a singular, solitary, albeit quixotic protest by continuing to say “catholic church,” in a loud and clamorous voice. Now I just have to find a church to say it in.”

    Scaramone may have begun “attending LCMS services,” but his words here indicate he is not yet a confessional Lutheran.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Anthony: Thanks. For the sake of all that’s “catholic,” don’t be moderate!

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Anthony: Thanks. For the sake of all that’s “catholic,” don’t be moderate!

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, Holy Catholic Church ought to be enough to make it clear we don’t mean Rome. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, Holy Catholic Church ought to be enough to make it clear we don’t mean Rome. :-D

  • Dennis Peskey

    Perhaps if we were a bit more catholic in our catechesis, we could put this discussion to rest. I do miss reading Mr. Sacramone on a regular basis.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Perhaps if we were a bit more catholic in our catechesis, we could put this discussion to rest. I do miss reading Mr. Sacramone on a regular basis.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The anti Catholic knee jerk still runs strong. I have a person who regularly complains about how we are trying to change their beloved Lutheran congregation into a Catholic congregation, because we encourage people to cross themselves, go to individual confession, do the imposition of ashes, etc.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The anti Catholic knee jerk still runs strong. I have a person who regularly complains about how we are trying to change their beloved Lutheran congregation into a Catholic congregation, because we encourage people to cross themselves, go to individual confession, do the imposition of ashes, etc.

  • Arfies

    If memory serves me correctly, we in the LCMS had a hymnal between the 1941 edition and the current LSB; and that intermediate volume used “catholic” in all the creeds. I suppose that the change that entered with LSB reflects comments or complaints that the editors of the new volume thought they had to address.
    As for me, I still use “catholic” when I say the creeds, but I don’t try to overpower anyone with the loudness of my voice. I do still want people to realize that we are part of the church catholic, and if anyone wants to quiz me on the use of that word, it is a great time to do a little teaching. I welcome it.

  • Arfies

    If memory serves me correctly, we in the LCMS had a hymnal between the 1941 edition and the current LSB; and that intermediate volume used “catholic” in all the creeds. I suppose that the change that entered with LSB reflects comments or complaints that the editors of the new volume thought they had to address.
    As for me, I still use “catholic” when I say the creeds, but I don’t try to overpower anyone with the loudness of my voice. I do still want people to realize that we are part of the church catholic, and if anyone wants to quiz me on the use of that word, it is a great time to do a little teaching. I welcome it.

  • Carl Vehse

    “The anti Catholic knee jerk still runs strong.”

    From a doctrinal viewpoint, it’s not a “knee-jerk”; it’s confessional.
    From an adiaphora viewpoint, it probably represents a lack of training the laity.

    I can agree with a Lutheran objecting to “trying to change their beloved Lutheran congregation into a Catholic congregation.” That is different from the phrase, “catholic congregation.” And of course, only the Holy Spirit can change a congregation into a “catholic congregation.”

  • Carl Vehse

    “The anti Catholic knee jerk still runs strong.”

    From a doctrinal viewpoint, it’s not a “knee-jerk”; it’s confessional.
    From an adiaphora viewpoint, it probably represents a lack of training the laity.

    I can agree with a Lutheran objecting to “trying to change their beloved Lutheran congregation into a Catholic congregation.” That is different from the phrase, “catholic congregation.” And of course, only the Holy Spirit can change a congregation into a “catholic congregation.”

  • Joe

    I use catholic at home in my devotions but my congregation says Christian. I understand them as conveying the same general meaning but there is an more specific meaning that is present in catholic that is not found in Christian.

    We define the Christian church very broadly to include all those who believe in Christ as the promised savior. But when the word catholic is used it does convey the idea that we Lutherans are not doing something new. We are continuing the doctrine and theology of the ancient church – of the first Christians – of Christ. Sometimes we jerk so hard away from Rome that we end up sitting with the Methodists. So, from that aspect I do prefer catholic.

    It also is a nice teaching moment for my kids when the ask why I say catholic in the Creeds.

    But its not a hill I will die on.

  • Joe

    I use catholic at home in my devotions but my congregation says Christian. I understand them as conveying the same general meaning but there is an more specific meaning that is present in catholic that is not found in Christian.

    We define the Christian church very broadly to include all those who believe in Christ as the promised savior. But when the word catholic is used it does convey the idea that we Lutherans are not doing something new. We are continuing the doctrine and theology of the ancient church – of the first Christians – of Christ. Sometimes we jerk so hard away from Rome that we end up sitting with the Methodists. So, from that aspect I do prefer catholic.

    It also is a nice teaching moment for my kids when the ask why I say catholic in the Creeds.

    But its not a hill I will die on.

  • Joe

    DR. L. 21 – next thing you know some crackpot will claim that Luther even suggested crossing ones self every morning or some crazy thing.

  • Joe

    DR. L. 21 – next thing you know some crackpot will claim that Luther even suggested crossing ones self every morning or some crazy thing.

  • Jonathan

    We just relocated and began at our new LCMS church. Like most these days, they, too, print their own worship bulletin instead of using the hymnal (LSB). However, this congregation uses “catholic*” and “We believe….”

    I get the whole German tranlation thing. However, I’ve always understood it to be really just an anti-pope sentiment on some basic level as it continued its use.

    Why do we tranlate the original Latin through the German and then into English? I agree with the point that we speak English, not German, and therefore, for a faithful translation from the Latin we English speakers really ought to use “catholic.” No disrespect to our German fathers. And, yes, for any deep-seeded anti-pope sentiments deemed necessary, go ahead, by all means, throw in the asterisk after “catholic” if you must.

  • Jonathan

    We just relocated and began at our new LCMS church. Like most these days, they, too, print their own worship bulletin instead of using the hymnal (LSB). However, this congregation uses “catholic*” and “We believe….”

    I get the whole German tranlation thing. However, I’ve always understood it to be really just an anti-pope sentiment on some basic level as it continued its use.

    Why do we tranlate the original Latin through the German and then into English? I agree with the point that we speak English, not German, and therefore, for a faithful translation from the Latin we English speakers really ought to use “catholic.” No disrespect to our German fathers. And, yes, for any deep-seeded anti-pope sentiments deemed necessary, go ahead, by all means, throw in the asterisk after “catholic” if you must.

  • Tom Hering

    Jonathan @ 25, why would an asterisk after “catholic” necessarily be an expression of anti-Antichrist sentiments? Isn’t it just a way to inform people that the creed means something else by the word than 99% of the population thinks it mean?

  • Tom Hering

    Jonathan @ 25, why would an asterisk after “catholic” necessarily be an expression of anti-Antichrist sentiments? Isn’t it just a way to inform people that the creed means something else by the word than 99% of the population thinks it mean?

  • Jonathan

    Carl, explain please? “Christian” is “confessional” because the BOC in German uses it? What about the Latin BOC? Does the Latin BOC’s creed say “unam sanctam katolikam”? Does AC in Latin also stick to something other than “katolikam”?

    Again, if it’s just a German thing, then OK, I get it. But where do you get saying that the confessors were making a confessional statement that “christlische Kirche”? Which is the authoritative BOC, the Latin autograph or the German translation?

  • Jonathan

    Carl, explain please? “Christian” is “confessional” because the BOC in German uses it? What about the Latin BOC? Does the Latin BOC’s creed say “unam sanctam katolikam”? Does AC in Latin also stick to something other than “katolikam”?

    Again, if it’s just a German thing, then OK, I get it. But where do you get saying that the confessors were making a confessional statement that “christlische Kirche”? Which is the authoritative BOC, the Latin autograph or the German translation?

  • Jonathan

    Tom 26, I think you answered it with your “anti-Antichrist sentiments” statement. It is deep-seeded, a beneficial mutation in our Lutheran DNA. We members who are praying it together in the devine service ought to know what we mean, and we could properly catechize anyone who has to ask what we mean by it. Why not asterisk any other controversial parts, like the filioque perhaps?

  • Jonathan

    Tom 26, I think you answered it with your “anti-Antichrist sentiments” statement. It is deep-seeded, a beneficial mutation in our Lutheran DNA. We members who are praying it together in the devine service ought to know what we mean, and we could properly catechize anyone who has to ask what we mean by it. Why not asterisk any other controversial parts, like the filioque perhaps?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#22
    The knee jerk isn’t generally doctrinal, usually it’s adiaphora, along the lines of crossing yourself is too Catholic. Never mind as Joe pointed out Luther encouraged it in his S.C. Generally, most of the people I have met that had this reaction, don’t even know Catholic doctrines. So it isn’t even remotely a confessional stance, except in the few who are crypto-baptists or left belowers.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#22
    The knee jerk isn’t generally doctrinal, usually it’s adiaphora, along the lines of crossing yourself is too Catholic. Never mind as Joe pointed out Luther encouraged it in his S.C. Generally, most of the people I have met that had this reaction, don’t even know Catholic doctrines. So it isn’t even remotely a confessional stance, except in the few who are crypto-baptists or left belowers.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I do not think being more moderate will be a good thing for First Things.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I do not think being more moderate will be a good thing for First Things.

  • Craig

    Funny when I was an evangelical we used to say “holy catholic church” now I am Lutheran and I attend a Church with a large crucifix, pastors in vestments, weekly communion (with real wine and real blood), stained glass, marking of the cross, bowing, liturgy, and a new sangria hymnal that says “holy Christian church.” There are some things about being LCMS that I still don’t get???

  • Craig

    Funny when I was an evangelical we used to say “holy catholic church” now I am Lutheran and I attend a Church with a large crucifix, pastors in vestments, weekly communion (with real wine and real blood), stained glass, marking of the cross, bowing, liturgy, and a new sangria hymnal that says “holy Christian church.” There are some things about being LCMS that I still don’t get???

  • Joe

    Hang in there Craig. After all, how much fun would it be if it all made sense?

  • Joe

    Hang in there Craig. After all, how much fun would it be if it all made sense?

  • Carl Vehse

    @27: “Carl, explain please?”

    In #10 the statement, “The holy Christian Church = the holy catholic Church = the invisible Church = all true believers in Christ,” was made in agreement with the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran theologians. According to numerous places on the LCMS website, the Lutheran Confessions is gathered in the Book of Concord of 1580 because it is a faithful exposition of the Scriptures. Elsewhere it is stated that the two authoritative editions of the Book of Concord are the German edition of 1580 and the Latin edition of 1584. If one believes these two editions confess to a different doctrine in their use of die heilige christliche Kirche or sanctam ecclesiam catholicam in the Creeds, then the burden of proof is on that person claiming such non-equivalence in doctrine.

    Preferences in the adiaphoron of whether one uses “Christian” or “catholic” in English-speaking confessions of the Creeds at divine services may be left to individual (Missouri Synod) Lutheran congregations. Under persecution, intimidations or insinuations, the claim that it is better or more Lutheran or more Christian to use one phrase over another should be met with the confessional statement in the Formula of Concord:

    “We believe, teach, and confess that in time of persecution, when a plain [and steadfast] confession is required of us, we should not yield to the enemies in regard to such adiaphora… For in such a case it is no longer a question concerning adiaphora, but concerning the truth of the Gospel, concerning [preserving] Christian liberty, and concerning sanctioning open idolatry, as also concerning the prevention of offense to the weak in the faith [how care should be taken lest idolatry be openly sanctioned and the weak in faith be offended]; in which we have nothing to concede, but should plainly confess and suffer on that account what God sends, and what He allows the enemies of His Word to inflict upon us.”

  • Carl Vehse

    @27: “Carl, explain please?”

    In #10 the statement, “The holy Christian Church = the holy catholic Church = the invisible Church = all true believers in Christ,” was made in agreement with the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran theologians. According to numerous places on the LCMS website, the Lutheran Confessions is gathered in the Book of Concord of 1580 because it is a faithful exposition of the Scriptures. Elsewhere it is stated that the two authoritative editions of the Book of Concord are the German edition of 1580 and the Latin edition of 1584. If one believes these two editions confess to a different doctrine in their use of die heilige christliche Kirche or sanctam ecclesiam catholicam in the Creeds, then the burden of proof is on that person claiming such non-equivalence in doctrine.

    Preferences in the adiaphoron of whether one uses “Christian” or “catholic” in English-speaking confessions of the Creeds at divine services may be left to individual (Missouri Synod) Lutheran congregations. Under persecution, intimidations or insinuations, the claim that it is better or more Lutheran or more Christian to use one phrase over another should be met with the confessional statement in the Formula of Concord:

    “We believe, teach, and confess that in time of persecution, when a plain [and steadfast] confession is required of us, we should not yield to the enemies in regard to such adiaphora… For in such a case it is no longer a question concerning adiaphora, but concerning the truth of the Gospel, concerning [preserving] Christian liberty, and concerning sanctioning open idolatry, as also concerning the prevention of offense to the weak in the faith [how care should be taken lest idolatry be openly sanctioned and the weak in faith be offended]; in which we have nothing to concede, but should plainly confess and suffer on that account what God sends, and what He allows the enemies of His Word to inflict upon us.”

  • Jonathan

    Thanks, Carl, for the explain of your in statu confessionis position on the issue. I just think that a more faithful English translation is “catholic.” But again, asterisk if you must to demonstrate an in statu. (You could actually try saying “catholic, asterisk” next time you recite it.) For the English translation, I think that the appropriate means of expressing one’s in statu would be an asterisk rather than replacing it with another word simply because that’s how the Germans did it because of their language difference. Otherwise, again, why translate from Latin–>German–>English?

  • Jonathan

    Thanks, Carl, for the explain of your in statu confessionis position on the issue. I just think that a more faithful English translation is “catholic.” But again, asterisk if you must to demonstrate an in statu. (You could actually try saying “catholic, asterisk” next time you recite it.) For the English translation, I think that the appropriate means of expressing one’s in statu would be an asterisk rather than replacing it with another word simply because that’s how the Germans did it because of their language difference. Otherwise, again, why translate from Latin–>German–>English?

  • Dan Kempin

    There is a point here (#14 et al.) in that the word “Christian” may not be the best translation of “catholic.” Fair enough. If I were on a theoretical hymnal committee, I might suggest the translation “universal” or even “true and complete.” These convey they idea behind the word “catholic” better, perhaps, than the contemporary use of the word “Christian.” I think, for the record, that “Christan” is a good rendering, but word usage does change over time and that is worth considering.

    I still don’t see the value in transliterating the Greek word “catholic,” particularly when it is confusing to some.

  • Dan Kempin

    There is a point here (#14 et al.) in that the word “Christian” may not be the best translation of “catholic.” Fair enough. If I were on a theoretical hymnal committee, I might suggest the translation “universal” or even “true and complete.” These convey they idea behind the word “catholic” better, perhaps, than the contemporary use of the word “Christian.” I think, for the record, that “Christan” is a good rendering, but word usage does change over time and that is worth considering.

    I still don’t see the value in transliterating the Greek word “catholic,” particularly when it is confusing to some.

  • Jonathan

    Or if conscience dictates that you must replace the word entirely to demostrate one’s in statu, then why not go with “universal*”? Or would that open up another whole can of worms with the confusion with the UUC?

  • Jonathan

    Or if conscience dictates that you must replace the word entirely to demostrate one’s in statu, then why not go with “universal*”? Or would that open up another whole can of worms with the confusion with the UUC?

  • steve

    Sheesh. Thank goodness Rome didn’t decide on the name Roman Christian Church. We’d all be in trouble.

    On the same note, I, as a Republican, object to the United States being called a “democratic” country!

  • steve

    Sheesh. Thank goodness Rome didn’t decide on the name Roman Christian Church. We’d all be in trouble.

    On the same note, I, as a Republican, object to the United States being called a “democratic” country!

  • Jonathan

    Nothing an asterisk can’t fix, Steve.

  • Jonathan

    Nothing an asterisk can’t fix, Steve.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    This reminds me not a little of the discussion we had on Bible translations the other day. In that discussion, it seemed to me that people have attachments to the more archaic, or confusing words. They sound better, or more official, or more literate. And people often resist using clearer terms, because they suspect an agenda is afoot. It all smells to me like a belief that the words themselves are magical, an incantation that must be gotten correct, or else.

    To me, there’s a third choice that’s superior to either “catholic” or “Christian”, and that is “universal”. After all, look up (lowercase) “catholic” in the dictionary, and that is what you’ll find. Not surprisingly, more people understand what “universal” means than “catholic”. And “universal” doesn’t carry weird baggage or sound ambiguous when spoken (“I’m sorry, did you capitalize that when you said it?”).

    Of course, I still don’t see the issue with “Christian”. Are there Christians outside of the “one holy catholic Church”? Are there non-Christians inside of the “one holy catholic Church”? Aren’t the two ideas then — the one holy Christian Church and the one holy catholic Church — coterminous? If so, what’s the issue? Is it the magical nature of the word “catholic”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    This reminds me not a little of the discussion we had on Bible translations the other day. In that discussion, it seemed to me that people have attachments to the more archaic, or confusing words. They sound better, or more official, or more literate. And people often resist using clearer terms, because they suspect an agenda is afoot. It all smells to me like a belief that the words themselves are magical, an incantation that must be gotten correct, or else.

    To me, there’s a third choice that’s superior to either “catholic” or “Christian”, and that is “universal”. After all, look up (lowercase) “catholic” in the dictionary, and that is what you’ll find. Not surprisingly, more people understand what “universal” means than “catholic”. And “universal” doesn’t carry weird baggage or sound ambiguous when spoken (“I’m sorry, did you capitalize that when you said it?”).

    Of course, I still don’t see the issue with “Christian”. Are there Christians outside of the “one holy catholic Church”? Are there non-Christians inside of the “one holy catholic Church”? Aren’t the two ideas then — the one holy Christian Church and the one holy catholic Church — coterminous? If so, what’s the issue? Is it the magical nature of the word “catholic”?

  • Bob

    Hey, if Campus Crusade can change their name to Cru…

    Why don’t we Lutherans just start calling ourselves Lu?

  • Bob

    Hey, if Campus Crusade can change their name to Cru…

    Why don’t we Lutherans just start calling ourselves Lu?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, look, Dan Kempin beat me to it (@35) regarding “universal”, as well as this idea, which bears repeating in general regarding translations:

    I still don’t see the value in transliterating the Greek word “catholic,” particularly when it is confusing to some.

    But Dan, what is confusing to some is beloved to others and cannot be changed, see?

    Anyhow, I’ve already imagined one objection to using “universal”, which is that some people might confuse that word with “Universalist”. To my mind, this is much less likely to happen than people confusing “catholic” and “Catholic”, given that, of the pairs, “universal” and “Catholic” are by far the more widely-known concepts.

    Oh, look, Jonathan already beat me to that (@36) idea as well. Sigh. I was trying to be original. Really I was.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, look, Dan Kempin beat me to it (@35) regarding “universal”, as well as this idea, which bears repeating in general regarding translations:

    I still don’t see the value in transliterating the Greek word “catholic,” particularly when it is confusing to some.

    But Dan, what is confusing to some is beloved to others and cannot be changed, see?

    Anyhow, I’ve already imagined one objection to using “universal”, which is that some people might confuse that word with “Universalist”. To my mind, this is much less likely to happen than people confusing “catholic” and “Catholic”, given that, of the pairs, “universal” and “Catholic” are by far the more widely-known concepts.

    Oh, look, Jonathan already beat me to that (@36) idea as well. Sigh. I was trying to be original. Really I was.

  • Joe

    tODD – Since I argued for retaining the archaic is some cases (or rather transliterating the Greek in some cases), I’ll have a go at this:

    “Are there Christians outside of the “one holy catholic Church”? ”

    It depends on who you ask. If we are worried about the uncatechized and confused (who based on the previous thread seem to be the only people we are allowed to consider on translation issues) then I would say, yes. The average confused American just might think that the Holy Christian Church includes Mormons, David Koresh, etc. While using catholic might not be the answer for this particular issue – using Christian can be just as problematic if we are really worried about all those confused folks out there.

    For the record, as I said before – this ain’t I hill I’d die on. And using “universal” might not be the worst idea.

  • Joe

    tODD – Since I argued for retaining the archaic is some cases (or rather transliterating the Greek in some cases), I’ll have a go at this:

    “Are there Christians outside of the “one holy catholic Church”? ”

    It depends on who you ask. If we are worried about the uncatechized and confused (who based on the previous thread seem to be the only people we are allowed to consider on translation issues) then I would say, yes. The average confused American just might think that the Holy Christian Church includes Mormons, David Koresh, etc. While using catholic might not be the answer for this particular issue – using Christian can be just as problematic if we are really worried about all those confused folks out there.

    For the record, as I said before – this ain’t I hill I’d die on. And using “universal” might not be the worst idea.

  • Craig

    I thought that a Lutheran was one who was kicked out of the Roman Church. Isn’t a Lutheran supposed to keep all that is good and only clean out the false doctrine? I thought that a Lutheran is closer to Rome than the Reformed?

    FYI I also prefer the “quick and the dead” and the KJV is the only version of the 23rd Psalm that should memorized.

  • Craig

    I thought that a Lutheran was one who was kicked out of the Roman Church. Isn’t a Lutheran supposed to keep all that is good and only clean out the false doctrine? I thought that a Lutheran is closer to Rome than the Reformed?

    FYI I also prefer the “quick and the dead” and the KJV is the only version of the 23rd Psalm that should memorized.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@42), the last paragraph of my earlier comment (@39) was directed more at the hand-wringing here than to the “uncatechized”. Surely Sacramone and the commenters here understand that the one holy Christian Church and the one holy catholic Church are coterminous. That was my point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@42), the last paragraph of my earlier comment (@39) was directed more at the hand-wringing here than to the “uncatechized”. Surely Sacramone and the commenters here understand that the one holy Christian Church and the one holy catholic Church are coterminous. That was my point.

  • Jonathan

    But tODD, “universal” might be confused for the UUC, you know, the Unitarians. It might even be confused to mean we believe in some sort of universalism.

    Definitely asterisk-worthy if you go that route.

  • Jonathan

    But tODD, “universal” might be confused for the UUC, you know, the Unitarians. It might even be confused to mean we believe in some sort of universalism.

    Definitely asterisk-worthy if you go that route.

  • Jonathan

    And– one / holy /catholic/ apostolic/ are also all coterminous adjectives to describe “church” when you get down to it, no?

  • Jonathan

    And– one / holy /catholic/ apostolic/ are also all coterminous adjectives to describe “church” when you get down to it, no?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    What ever word is used it must be defined and understood. I think any word we chose would have its issues. Maybe we need to get off our duffs and teach?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    What ever word is used it must be defined and understood. I think any word we chose would have its issues. Maybe we need to get off our duffs and teach?

  • Carl Vehse

    Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation (CPH, 1991, pp.73-76) does a good job on explaining the Church, Christian, and catholic from the Lutheran position. Luther’s Large Catechism (par. 47-56) is also informative.

  • Carl Vehse

    Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation (CPH, 1991, pp.73-76) does a good job on explaining the Church, Christian, and catholic from the Lutheran position. Luther’s Large Catechism (par. 47-56) is also informative.

  • Jonathan

    @47, giddeyup. Meanwhile as the catechesis goes on, to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead in the universal, historic church, shouldn’t we go ahead and confess “catholic” with them? Not because it is enchanted or anything like that, tODD.

    …Or we could just pray it in the original Latin.

  • Jonathan

    @47, giddeyup. Meanwhile as the catechesis goes on, to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead in the universal, historic church, shouldn’t we go ahead and confess “catholic” with them? Not because it is enchanted or anything like that, tODD.

    …Or we could just pray it in the original Latin.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@49), sorry, but your statement doesn’t make sense:

    to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead in the universal, historic church, shouldn’t we go ahead and confess “catholic” with them?

    Are you saying that the use of a particular word is required “to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead”? Because that would be a new teaching.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@49), sorry, but your statement doesn’t make sense:

    to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead in the universal, historic church, shouldn’t we go ahead and confess “catholic” with them?

    Are you saying that the use of a particular word is required “to stay in communion with the saints who’ve gone ahead”? Because that would be a new teaching.

  • Lou

    My aunt and her family converted out of the Roman Catholic church into a conservative Lutheran church. She told me when I visited last month that she cringes every time they read the Apostle’s Creed and the church says Holy Catholic Church. When she says it, she says Holy Christian Church instead. Even after her pastor has explained the meaning of Catholic, she still can’t stand to utter it in the same sentence with “I believe in…”

  • Lou

    My aunt and her family converted out of the Roman Catholic church into a conservative Lutheran church. She told me when I visited last month that she cringes every time they read the Apostle’s Creed and the church says Holy Catholic Church. When she says it, she says Holy Christian Church instead. Even after her pastor has explained the meaning of Catholic, she still can’t stand to utter it in the same sentence with “I believe in…”

  • Tom Hering

    Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in … the holy catholic Church …”

    Nicene Creed: “We believe … In one holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

    Athanasian Creed: “Whoever wants to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith … This is the catholic faith; a person cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.”

    Can we say that what’s meant by “catholic” is the assent of faith to all that the creeds assert? And that “catholic” means “universal” in the sense of “all-embracing” or “all-accepting”? In short, a catholic church is a church that affirms the creeds in full.

  • Tom Hering

    Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in … the holy catholic Church …”

    Nicene Creed: “We believe … In one holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

    Athanasian Creed: “Whoever wants to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith … This is the catholic faith; a person cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.”

    Can we say that what’s meant by “catholic” is the assent of faith to all that the creeds assert? And that “catholic” means “universal” in the sense of “all-embracing” or “all-accepting”? In short, a catholic church is a church that affirms the creeds in full.

  • Carl Vehse

    Lou @51,

    Can’t stand to utter “Catholic”, huh… that’s understandable.

    No problem though. “Holy Christian Church” is just as good to say as “holy catholic Church.” Of course, if your aunt starts demanding others drop “holy catholic Church” (or others demand vice versa) then there’s a problem.

    BTW, has your aunt gotten used to saying “Antichrist” instead of “pope”? ;-)

  • Carl Vehse

    Lou @51,

    Can’t stand to utter “Catholic”, huh… that’s understandable.

    No problem though. “Holy Christian Church” is just as good to say as “holy catholic Church.” Of course, if your aunt starts demanding others drop “holy catholic Church” (or others demand vice versa) then there’s a problem.

    BTW, has your aunt gotten used to saying “Antichrist” instead of “pope”? ;-)

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Always been a “catholic” fan myself. Just put the the footnote in that it means universal and I’m not sure what anyone would have to complain about.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Always been a “catholic” fan myself. Just put the the footnote in that it means universal and I’m not sure what anyone would have to complain about.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jonathan, #49,

    “…Or we could just pray it in the original Latin.”

    Greek, actually. “catholicam ecclesiam” is a transliteration from the Greek words of the original text. (So there’s that nit picked–enjoy!)

    Seriously, though, if we really want to confess our belief in the one true and saving faith, why are we wasting our time with an adjective about the Church? It seems to me, quite seriously, that the heart of the Nicene Confession (How’s that for a translation of “creed” for lutherans?) and the conflict that led up to it was the term “homoousious.” Jesus is “of one substance” with the Father. However good that English translation, it falls short of the full expression of the Nicene council, embodied in that Greek word. If ever a word was worth transliterating and explaining in greater detail, it would be “homoousious” rather than “catholic.”

    Would it not?

  • Dan Kempin

    Jonathan, #49,

    “…Or we could just pray it in the original Latin.”

    Greek, actually. “catholicam ecclesiam” is a transliteration from the Greek words of the original text. (So there’s that nit picked–enjoy!)

    Seriously, though, if we really want to confess our belief in the one true and saving faith, why are we wasting our time with an adjective about the Church? It seems to me, quite seriously, that the heart of the Nicene Confession (How’s that for a translation of “creed” for lutherans?) and the conflict that led up to it was the term “homoousious.” Jesus is “of one substance” with the Father. However good that English translation, it falls short of the full expression of the Nicene council, embodied in that Greek word. If ever a word was worth transliterating and explaining in greater detail, it would be “homoousious” rather than “catholic.”

    Would it not?

  • steve

    I think Jonathan’s on to something, @45. I suspect a large number of people will see a ecumenicism at work in the term “universal” just as they do with catholic. Unfortunately, there’s no way around having to teach people.

  • steve

    I think Jonathan’s on to something, @45. I suspect a large number of people will see a ecumenicism at work in the term “universal” just as they do with catholic. Unfortunately, there’s no way around having to teach people.

  • fws

    Now for a word from the Lutheran Confessions on all of this. This is where the Lutheran Confessions ask us to consider reading the Apostle’s Creed on the Church as an exercise in the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. I think this is sorta interesting….

    I hope Anthony is reading this….

    Apology , art VII & VIII “Of the Church”
    http://bookofconcord.org/defense_6_church.php
    bolding is added by me

    1][In]…tThe Seventh Article of our Confession…we said that the Church is the congregation of saints. [the Romans condemned this saying that]… that the wicked are not to be separated from the Church…. Nothing can be spoken with such care that it can escape detraction… [we agree, and they are distorting what we are saying to make it seem otherwise]….

    3] For this reason we have added the Eighth Article, lest any one might think that we separate the wicked and hypocrites from the outward fellowship of the Church, or that we deny efficacy to Sacraments administered by hypocrites or wicked men.

    …We grant that in this life hypocrites and wicked men have been mingled with the Church, and that they are members of the Church according to the outward fellowship of the signs of the Church, i.e., of Word, profession, and Sacraments, especially if they have not been excommunicated.

    4] Neither are the Sacraments without efficacy for the reason that they are administered by wicked men [or even wicked women]; yea, we can even be right in using the Sacraments administered by wicked men. For Paul also predicts, 2 Thess. 2:4, that Antichrist will sit in the temple of God, i.e., he will rule and bear office in the Church.

    5] But the Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments , .

    It is originally a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Ghost in hearts.

    The Christian Church consists not alone in fellowship of outward signs, but it consists especially in inward communion of eternal blessings in the heart, as of the Holy Ghost, of faith, of the fear and love of God.

    This [invisible] fellowship nevertheless has outward marks so that it can be recognized, namely, the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ.

    To be more specific, where God’s Word is pure, and the Sacraments are administered in conformity with the same, there certainly is the Church, and there are Christians.

    And this Church alone is called the body of Christ, which Christ renews. Christ is its Head, and sanctifies and governs by His Spirit, as Paul testifies, Eph. 1:22 sq., when he says: And gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, 6]the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

    Wherefore, those in whom Christ does not act through His Spirit are not the members of Christ. This, too, the adversaries acknowledge, namely, that the wicked are dead members of the Church.

    Therefore we wonder why they have found fault with our description and our conclusion concerning the Church 7] which speaks of living members.

    We have not said anything new here. Paul has defined the Church precisely in the same way, Eph. 5:25f , that it should be cleansed in order to be holy.

    Then [St Paul ] adds the outward marks, the Word and Sacraments. For he says thus: Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    In the [Augsburg ] Confession we have presented this sentence almost in the very words.

    Ok. Visible Church and Invisible Church . Two Kingdoms. Earthly and Heavenly. And now here is the part that I want to call to your attention about that word “catholic” and also about the word “holy” attached to it.

    Thus also the Church is defined by the article in the Creed which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church . 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church.

    That which follows, namely, the communion of saints , seems to be added in order to explain what the Church [that is the term Holy Catholic Church] signifies http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31 , namely, the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine. [These are those] who confess one Gospel, have the same knowledge of Christ]and of the same Holy Ghost, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.

    9] And this article has been presented for a necessary reason. The article of the Church Catholic or Universal , which is gathered together from every nation under the sun, is very comforting and highly necessary. We see the infinite dangers which threaten the destruction of the Church. In the Church itself, infinite is the multitude of the wicked who oppress it . They despise, bitterly hate, and most violently persecute the Word. [These appear to be not any different than] the Turks, Mohammedans, other tyrants, heretics, etc. .

    For this reason the true teaching and the Church are often so utterly suppressed and disappear, as if there were no Church, which has happened under the papacy; it often seems that the Church has completely perished. .

    Therefore this article in the Creed presents us these consolations and does so ….

    [1] in order that we may not despair, we may know that the Church will nevertheless remain until the end of the world.

    [2] Likewise we may know that, however great the multitude of the wicked is, yet the Church which is Christ’s bride exists, and that Christ affords those gifts which He has promised to the Church, to forgive sins, to hear prayer, to give the Holy Ghost.

    [3] 10] And it says Church Catholic , in order that we may not understand the Church to be an outward government of certain nations. [The Holy Catholic Church IS an outward government. But [that Holy Catholic] Church is [un]like any other external polity, [in that it is not ] bound to this or that land, kingdom, or nation, as the Pope of Rome [claims]. Rather [this Church consists of ] men scattered throughout the whole world, here and there in the world, from the rising to the setting of the sun. These are those who agree concerning the Gospel, and have the same Christ, the same Holy Ghost, and the same Sacraments, whether they have the same 11] or different human traditions.

    And the gloss upon the Decrees says that the Church in its wide sense embraces good and evil; likewise, that the wicked are in the Church only in name, not in fact; but that the good are in the Church both in fact and in name.

    So the Holy Catholic Church is an Earthly Kingdom government that includes both hipocrites . God governs this Church with the Law as he does in the governments (“ordos”) of family and society.

    This earthly government alone includes , in , with and under it, the Communion of Saints which is the Heavenly Kingdom where God rules alone by Faith alone , in Christ alone.

    And to this effect there are many passages in the Fathers. For Jerome says: The sinner, therefore, who has been soiled with any blotch cannot be called a member of the Church of Christ, neither can he be said to be subject to Christ.

    12] Hypocrites and wicked men are members of this true Church, [the Holy Catholic Church], according to outward rites, titles and offices.

    Yet when the Church is defined, it is necessary to define that which is the living body of Christ, and which is in name and in fact the Church which is called the body of Christ, and has fellowship not alone in outward signs, but has gifts in the heart, namely, the Holy Ghost and faith.

    13] And for this there are many reasons.

    [1] For it is necessary to understand what it is that principally makes us members, and that, living members, of the Church.

    [2] If we will define the Church only as an outward polity of the good and wicked [which it truly is!] , men will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is righteousness of heart and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    [3] We then will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, as nevertheless it is; that therein Christ inwardly rules, strengthens, and comforts hearts, and imparts the Holy Ghost and various spiritual gifts, but they will judge that it is only the outward observance of certain forms of worship and rites.

    In short we will not be applying the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms , which is really just a modality of Law and Gospel, in understanding what the Church is. We will confuse the visible Earthly Kingdom where God rules by the Law to make good works happen, with the invisible Heavenly kingdom, that is in, with and under, that other visible kingdom, where God rules alone by Faith in Christ alone and Goodness and Mercy simply happen like light from sun (FC art VI). Now more Law and Gospel….

    [4] 14] Likewise, what difference will there be between the people of the Law and the Church if the Church is [merely] an outward polity [which it is]?

    But Paul distinguishes the Church from the people of the Law thus, that the Church is a spiritual people, i.e., that it has been distinguished from the heathen not by civil rites not in the polity and civil affairs, but that it is the true people of God, regenerated by the Holy Ghost.

    So now to illustrate what they mean they will compare the Holy Catholic Church to Israel. This is way cool…. watch:

    Among the people of the Law, apart from the promise of Christ, also the carnal seed all those who by nature were born Jews and Abraham’s seed had promises concerning corporeal things, of government, etc.

    And because of these even the wicked among them were called the people of God, because God had separated this carnal seed from other nations by certain outward ordinances and promises; and yet, 15] these wicked persons did not please God.

    This makes what they are saying about the Church being both Left Hand and Right Hand kingdom pretty clear eh? Coolness. But it gets waaaay cooler. Read on please….

    But the Gospel which is preached < ONLY in this Earthly government called> the [Holy Catholic] Church brings not merely the shadow of eternal things, but the eternal things themselves, the Holy Ghost and righteousness, by which we are righteous before God.

    Every true Christian is even here upon earth partaker of eternal blessings, even of eternal comfort, of eternal life, and of the Holy Ghost, and of righteousness which is from God, until he will be completely saved in the world to come.

    16] Therefore, only those are the people, according to the Gospel, who receive this promise of the Spirit.

    Besides, the Church is the kingdom of Christ, distinguished from the kingdom of the devil. It is certain, however, that the wicked are in the power of the devil, and members of the kingdom of the devil, as Paul teaches, Eph. 2:2, when he says that the devil now worketh in the children of disobedience.

    And Christ says to the Pharisees, who certainly had outward fellowship with the Church, i.e., with the saints among the people of the Law for they held office, sacrificed, and taught: Ye are of your father, the devil, John 8:44.

    Therefore, the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is , properly speaking the congregation of saints.

    For the wicked are ruled by the devil, and are captives of the devil; they are not ruled by the Spirit of Christ.

    17] … If the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is distinguished from the kingdom of the devil, it follows necessarily that the wicked, since they are in the kingdom of the devil, are not the Church.

    In this life however, [in the Earthly Law Driven Kingdom], because the kingdom of Christ has not yet been made visibly manifest; they are mingled with the Church, and hold offices as teachers, and other offices in the Church. But 18] neither are the wicked the kingdom of Christ, just because this revelation has not yet been made.

    For that is always the kingdom which He quickens by His Spirit, whether it be revealed or be covered by the cross; just as He who has now been glorified is the same Christ who was before afflicted.

    19] And with this clearly agree the parables of Christ, who says, Matt. 13:38, that the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the Wicked One. The field, He says, is the world, not the Church.

    So this is to say that the Holy Catholic Church is fully within the Romans 8 category of “flesh/body” that will perish with the earth, along with all who trust in such earthly things. The Holy Catholic Church, along with it’s purpose of rightly Administering Word and Sacraments pertains to this earthly existence and will perish with the earth. It is Right Hand Kingdom . It is Earthly Kingdom. It will perish.

    Thus John and Matt. in 3:12: says that He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff speaks concerning the whole race of the Jews, and says that it will come to pass that the true Church will be separated from that people.

    Therefore, this passage is more against what Rome claims, than in favor of them, because it shows that the true and spiritual people is to be separated from the carnal people.

    Christ also speaks of the outward appearance of the Church when He says, Matt. 13:47: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, likewise, to ten virgins; and He teaches that the Church has been covered by a multitude of evils, in order that this stumbling-block may not offend the pious; likewise, in order that we may know that the Word and Sacraments are efficacious even when administered by the wicked.

    And meanwhile He teaches that these godless men, although they have the fellowship of outward signs, are nevertheless not the true kingdom of Christ and members of Christ; 20] for they are members of the kingdom of the devil.

    Neither, indeed, are we dreaming of a Platonic state, as some wickedly charge, but we say that this Church exists, namely, the truly believing and righteous men scattered throughout the whole world.

    We are speaking not of an imaginary Church, which is to be found nowhere; but we say and know certainly that this Church, wherein saints live, is and abides truly upon earth; namely, that some of God’s children are here and there in all the world, in various kingdoms, islands, lands, and cities, from the rising of the sun to its setting, who have truly learned to know Christ and His Gospel.

    And we add the marks: the pure doctrine of the Gospel the ministry or the Gospel and the Sacraments.

    And this Church is properly the pillar of the truth, 1 Tim. 3:15. For it retains the pure Gospel, and, as Paul says, 1 Cor. 3:11 : “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”, the foundation, i.e., the true knowledge of Christ and faith.

    Although among these[in the body which is built upon the true foundation, i.e., upon Christ and faith there are also many weak persons, who build upon the foundation stubble that will perish, i.e., certain unprofitable opinions , some human thoughts and opinions, which, nevertheless, because they do not overthrow the foundation, are both forgiven them 21] and also corrected. .

    And the writings of the holy Fathers testify that sometimes even they built stubble upon the foundation, but that this did not overthrow their faith.

    But most of those errors which our adversaries defend, overthrow faith, as, their condemnation of the article concerning the remission of sins, in which we say that the remission of sins is received by faith.

    Likewise it is a manifest and pernicious error when the adversaries teach that men merit the remission of sins by love to God, prior to grace.

    In the place of Christ they set up their works, orders, masses, , just as the Jews, the heathen, and the Turks intend to be saved by their works.

    For this also is to remove “the foundation,” i.e., Christ. .

    Likewise, what need will there be of faith if the Sacraments justify ex opere operato, 22] without a good disposition on the part of the one using them? Without faith.

    Now, a person that does not regard faith as necessary has already lost Christ. Again, they set up the worship of saints, call upon them instead of Christ, the Mediator, etc.

    But just as the Church has the promise that it will always have the Holy Ghost, so it has also the threatenings that there will be wicked teachers and wolves.

    But that is the Church in the proper sense which has the Holy Ghost.

    …Wherefore we hold, according to the Scriptures, that the Church, properly so called, is the congregation of saints of those here and there in the world], who truly believe the Gospel of Christ, and have the Holy Ghost.

    And yet we confess that in this life many hypocrites and wicked men, mingled with these, have the fellowship of outward signs, who are members of the Church according to this fellowship of outward signs, and accordingly bear offices in the Church preach, administer the Sacraments, and bear the title and name of Christians.

    Neither does the fact that the Sacraments are administered by the unworthy detract from their efficacy, because, on account of the call of the Church, they represent the person of Christ, and do not represent their own persons, as Christ testifies, Luke 10:16: He that heareth you heareth Me. Thus even Judas was sent to preach. When they offer the Word of God, when they offer the Sacraments, they offer them in the stead and place of Christ. Those words of Christ teach us not to be offended by the unworthiness of the ministers. .

    29] But concerning this matter we have spoken with sufficient clearness in the Confession that we condemn the Donatists and Wyclifites, who thought that men sinned when they received the Sacraments from the unworthy in the Church.

    Neither do we see how, when the Church, properly so called, is named the body of Christ, it should be described otherwise than we have described it. For it is evident that the wicked belong to the kingdom and body of the devil, who impels and holds captive the wicked. These things are clearer than the light of noonday.

    30] The adversaries condemn also the part of the Seventh Article in which we said that “to the unity of the Church it is sufficient to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments; nor is it necessary that human traditions, rites, or ceremonies instituted by men should be alike everywhere.”

    We are speaking here of true, i.e., of spiritual unity we say that those are one harmonious Church who believe in one Christ; who have one Gospel, one Spirit, one faith, the same Sacraments; and we are speaking, therefore, of spiritual unity, without which faith in the heart, or righteousness of heart before God, cannot exist. .

    For this we say that similarity of human rites, whether universal or particular, is not necessary, because the righteousness of faith is not a righteousness bound to certain traditions outward ceremonies of human ordinances as the righteousness of the Law was bound to the Mosaic ceremonies, because this righteousness of the heart is a matter that quickens the heart. To this quickening, human traditions, whether they be universal or particular, contribute nothing; neither are they effects of the Holy Ghost, as are chastity, patience, the fear of God, love to one’s neighbor, and the works, of love.

    33] But just as the dissimilar length of day and night does not injure the unity of the Church, so we believe that the true unity of the Church is not injured by dissimilar rites instituted by men; although it is pleasing to us that, for the sake of tranquillity unity and good order, universal rites be observed….And with a very grateful mind we embrace the profitable and ancient ordinances, especially since they contain a discipline by which it is profitable to educate and train the people and those who are ignorant and the young people.

    34] But now we are not discussing the question whether it be of advantage to observe them on account of peace or bodily profit.

    Another matter is treated of. For the question at issue is, whether the observances of human traditions are acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God. This is the point to be judged in this controversy, and when this is decided, it can afterwards be judged whether to the true unity of the Church it is necessary that human traditions should everywhere be alike. For if human traditions be not acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God, it follows that also they can be righteous and be the sons of God who have not the traditions which have been received elsewhere. F. i., if the style of German clothing is not worship of God, necessary for righteousness before God, it follows that men can be righteous and sons of God and the Church of Christ, even though they use a costume that is not German, but French.

    35] Paul clearly teaches this to the Colossians 2:16-17: Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Likewise, 2:20-23 sqq.: If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using), after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have, indeed, a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility. 36] For the meaning is: Since righteousness of the heart is a spiritual matter, quickening hearts, and it is evident that human traditions do not quicken hearts, and are not effects of the Holy Ghost, as are love to one’s neighbor, chastity, etc., and are not instruments through which God moves hearts to believe, as are the divinely given Word and Sacraments, but are usages with regard to matters that pertain in no respect to the heart, which perish with the using, we must not believe that they are necessary for righteousness before God. They are nothing eternal; hence, they do not procure eternal life, but are an external bodily discipline, which does not change the heart.

    And to the same effect he says, Rom. 14:17: The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness 37] and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

    45] … it appears that a want of uniformity in human observances does not injure the unity of faith separate no one from the universal Christian Church…. The adversaries do not at all understand what the righteousness of faith is, what the kingdom of Christ is, when they judge that uniformity of observances in food, days, clothing, and the like, which do not have the command of God, is necessary.

    46] But look at the religious men, our adversaries. For the unity of the Church they require uniform human observances, although they themselves have changed the ordinance of Christ in the use of the Supper, which certainly was a universal ordinance before. But if universal ordinances are so necessary, why do they themselves change the ordinance of Christ’s Supper, which is not human, but divine? But concerning this entire controversy we shall have to speak at different times below.

    47] The entire Eighth Article has been approved, in which we confess that hypocrites and wicked persons have been mingled with the Church, and that the Sacraments are efficacious even though dispensed by wicked ministers, because the ministers act in the place of Christ, and do not represent their own persons, according to 48] Luke 10:16: He that heareth you heareth Me. Impious teachers are to be deserted [are not to be received or heard], because these do not act any longer in the place of Christ, but are antichrists. And Christ says Matt. 7:15: Beware of false prophets. And Paul, Gal. 1:9: If any man preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed

    49] Moreover, Christ has warned us in His parables concerning the Church, that when offended by the private vices, whether of priests or people, we should not excite schisms, as the Donatists have wickedly done. 50] As to those, however, who have excited schisms, because they denied that priests are permitted to hold possessions and property, we hold that they are altogether seditious. For to hold property is a civil ordinance. It is lawful, however, for Christians to use civil ordinances, just as they use the air, the light, food, drink.

    For as this order of the world and fixed movements of the heavenly bodies are truly God’s ordinances and these are preserved by God, so lawful governments [such as the Holy Catholic Church] are truly God’s ordinances, and are preserved and defended by God against the devil.

  • fws

    Now for a word from the Lutheran Confessions on all of this. This is where the Lutheran Confessions ask us to consider reading the Apostle’s Creed on the Church as an exercise in the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. I think this is sorta interesting….

    I hope Anthony is reading this….

    Apology , art VII & VIII “Of the Church”
    http://bookofconcord.org/defense_6_church.php
    bolding is added by me

    1][In]…tThe Seventh Article of our Confession…we said that the Church is the congregation of saints. [the Romans condemned this saying that]… that the wicked are not to be separated from the Church…. Nothing can be spoken with such care that it can escape detraction… [we agree, and they are distorting what we are saying to make it seem otherwise]….

    3] For this reason we have added the Eighth Article, lest any one might think that we separate the wicked and hypocrites from the outward fellowship of the Church, or that we deny efficacy to Sacraments administered by hypocrites or wicked men.

    …We grant that in this life hypocrites and wicked men have been mingled with the Church, and that they are members of the Church according to the outward fellowship of the signs of the Church, i.e., of Word, profession, and Sacraments, especially if they have not been excommunicated.

    4] Neither are the Sacraments without efficacy for the reason that they are administered by wicked men [or even wicked women]; yea, we can even be right in using the Sacraments administered by wicked men. For Paul also predicts, 2 Thess. 2:4, that Antichrist will sit in the temple of God, i.e., he will rule and bear office in the Church.

    5] But the Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments , .

    It is originally a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Ghost in hearts.

    The Christian Church consists not alone in fellowship of outward signs, but it consists especially in inward communion of eternal blessings in the heart, as of the Holy Ghost, of faith, of the fear and love of God.

    This [invisible] fellowship nevertheless has outward marks so that it can be recognized, namely, the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ.

    To be more specific, where God’s Word is pure, and the Sacraments are administered in conformity with the same, there certainly is the Church, and there are Christians.

    And this Church alone is called the body of Christ, which Christ renews. Christ is its Head, and sanctifies and governs by His Spirit, as Paul testifies, Eph. 1:22 sq., when he says: And gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, 6]the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

    Wherefore, those in whom Christ does not act through His Spirit are not the members of Christ. This, too, the adversaries acknowledge, namely, that the wicked are dead members of the Church.

    Therefore we wonder why they have found fault with our description and our conclusion concerning the Church 7] which speaks of living members.

    We have not said anything new here. Paul has defined the Church precisely in the same way, Eph. 5:25f , that it should be cleansed in order to be holy.

    Then [St Paul ] adds the outward marks, the Word and Sacraments. For he says thus: Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    In the [Augsburg ] Confession we have presented this sentence almost in the very words.

    Ok. Visible Church and Invisible Church . Two Kingdoms. Earthly and Heavenly. And now here is the part that I want to call to your attention about that word “catholic” and also about the word “holy” attached to it.

    Thus also the Church is defined by the article in the Creed which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church . 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church.

    That which follows, namely, the communion of saints , seems to be added in order to explain what the Church [that is the term Holy Catholic Church] signifies http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31 , namely, the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine. [These are those] who confess one Gospel, have the same knowledge of Christ]and of the same Holy Ghost, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.

    9] And this article has been presented for a necessary reason. The article of the Church Catholic or Universal , which is gathered together from every nation under the sun, is very comforting and highly necessary. We see the infinite dangers which threaten the destruction of the Church. In the Church itself, infinite is the multitude of the wicked who oppress it . They despise, bitterly hate, and most violently persecute the Word. [These appear to be not any different than] the Turks, Mohammedans, other tyrants, heretics, etc. .

    For this reason the true teaching and the Church are often so utterly suppressed and disappear, as if there were no Church, which has happened under the papacy; it often seems that the Church has completely perished. .

    Therefore this article in the Creed presents us these consolations and does so ….

    [1] in order that we may not despair, we may know that the Church will nevertheless remain until the end of the world.

    [2] Likewise we may know that, however great the multitude of the wicked is, yet the Church which is Christ’s bride exists, and that Christ affords those gifts which He has promised to the Church, to forgive sins, to hear prayer, to give the Holy Ghost.

    [3] 10] And it says Church Catholic , in order that we may not understand the Church to be an outward government of certain nations. [The Holy Catholic Church IS an outward government. But [that Holy Catholic] Church is [un]like any other external polity, [in that it is not ] bound to this or that land, kingdom, or nation, as the Pope of Rome [claims]. Rather [this Church consists of ] men scattered throughout the whole world, here and there in the world, from the rising to the setting of the sun. These are those who agree concerning the Gospel, and have the same Christ, the same Holy Ghost, and the same Sacraments, whether they have the same 11] or different human traditions.

    And the gloss upon the Decrees says that the Church in its wide sense embraces good and evil; likewise, that the wicked are in the Church only in name, not in fact; but that the good are in the Church both in fact and in name.

    So the Holy Catholic Church is an Earthly Kingdom government that includes both hipocrites . God governs this Church with the Law as he does in the governments (“ordos”) of family and society.

    This earthly government alone includes , in , with and under it, the Communion of Saints which is the Heavenly Kingdom where God rules alone by Faith alone , in Christ alone.

    And to this effect there are many passages in the Fathers. For Jerome says: The sinner, therefore, who has been soiled with any blotch cannot be called a member of the Church of Christ, neither can he be said to be subject to Christ.

    12] Hypocrites and wicked men are members of this true Church, [the Holy Catholic Church], according to outward rites, titles and offices.

    Yet when the Church is defined, it is necessary to define that which is the living body of Christ, and which is in name and in fact the Church which is called the body of Christ, and has fellowship not alone in outward signs, but has gifts in the heart, namely, the Holy Ghost and faith.

    13] And for this there are many reasons.

    [1] For it is necessary to understand what it is that principally makes us members, and that, living members, of the Church.

    [2] If we will define the Church only as an outward polity of the good and wicked [which it truly is!] , men will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is righteousness of heart and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    [3] We then will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, as nevertheless it is; that therein Christ inwardly rules, strengthens, and comforts hearts, and imparts the Holy Ghost and various spiritual gifts, but they will judge that it is only the outward observance of certain forms of worship and rites.

    In short we will not be applying the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms , which is really just a modality of Law and Gospel, in understanding what the Church is. We will confuse the visible Earthly Kingdom where God rules by the Law to make good works happen, with the invisible Heavenly kingdom, that is in, with and under, that other visible kingdom, where God rules alone by Faith in Christ alone and Goodness and Mercy simply happen like light from sun (FC art VI). Now more Law and Gospel….

    [4] 14] Likewise, what difference will there be between the people of the Law and the Church if the Church is [merely] an outward polity [which it is]?

    But Paul distinguishes the Church from the people of the Law thus, that the Church is a spiritual people, i.e., that it has been distinguished from the heathen not by civil rites not in the polity and civil affairs, but that it is the true people of God, regenerated by the Holy Ghost.

    So now to illustrate what they mean they will compare the Holy Catholic Church to Israel. This is way cool…. watch:

    Among the people of the Law, apart from the promise of Christ, also the carnal seed all those who by nature were born Jews and Abraham’s seed had promises concerning corporeal things, of government, etc.

    And because of these even the wicked among them were called the people of God, because God had separated this carnal seed from other nations by certain outward ordinances and promises; and yet, 15] these wicked persons did not please God.

    This makes what they are saying about the Church being both Left Hand and Right Hand kingdom pretty clear eh? Coolness. But it gets waaaay cooler. Read on please….

    But the Gospel which is preached < ONLY in this Earthly government called> the [Holy Catholic] Church brings not merely the shadow of eternal things, but the eternal things themselves, the Holy Ghost and righteousness, by which we are righteous before God.

    Every true Christian is even here upon earth partaker of eternal blessings, even of eternal comfort, of eternal life, and of the Holy Ghost, and of righteousness which is from God, until he will be completely saved in the world to come.

    16] Therefore, only those are the people, according to the Gospel, who receive this promise of the Spirit.

    Besides, the Church is the kingdom of Christ, distinguished from the kingdom of the devil. It is certain, however, that the wicked are in the power of the devil, and members of the kingdom of the devil, as Paul teaches, Eph. 2:2, when he says that the devil now worketh in the children of disobedience.

    And Christ says to the Pharisees, who certainly had outward fellowship with the Church, i.e., with the saints among the people of the Law for they held office, sacrificed, and taught: Ye are of your father, the devil, John 8:44.

    Therefore, the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is , properly speaking the congregation of saints.

    For the wicked are ruled by the devil, and are captives of the devil; they are not ruled by the Spirit of Christ.

    17] … If the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is distinguished from the kingdom of the devil, it follows necessarily that the wicked, since they are in the kingdom of the devil, are not the Church.

    In this life however, [in the Earthly Law Driven Kingdom], because the kingdom of Christ has not yet been made visibly manifest; they are mingled with the Church, and hold offices as teachers, and other offices in the Church. But 18] neither are the wicked the kingdom of Christ, just because this revelation has not yet been made.

    For that is always the kingdom which He quickens by His Spirit, whether it be revealed or be covered by the cross; just as He who has now been glorified is the same Christ who was before afflicted.

    19] And with this clearly agree the parables of Christ, who says, Matt. 13:38, that the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the Wicked One. The field, He says, is the world, not the Church.

    So this is to say that the Holy Catholic Church is fully within the Romans 8 category of “flesh/body” that will perish with the earth, along with all who trust in such earthly things. The Holy Catholic Church, along with it’s purpose of rightly Administering Word and Sacraments pertains to this earthly existence and will perish with the earth. It is Right Hand Kingdom . It is Earthly Kingdom. It will perish.

    Thus John and Matt. in 3:12: says that He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff speaks concerning the whole race of the Jews, and says that it will come to pass that the true Church will be separated from that people.

    Therefore, this passage is more against what Rome claims, than in favor of them, because it shows that the true and spiritual people is to be separated from the carnal people.

    Christ also speaks of the outward appearance of the Church when He says, Matt. 13:47: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, likewise, to ten virgins; and He teaches that the Church has been covered by a multitude of evils, in order that this stumbling-block may not offend the pious; likewise, in order that we may know that the Word and Sacraments are efficacious even when administered by the wicked.

    And meanwhile He teaches that these godless men, although they have the fellowship of outward signs, are nevertheless not the true kingdom of Christ and members of Christ; 20] for they are members of the kingdom of the devil.

    Neither, indeed, are we dreaming of a Platonic state, as some wickedly charge, but we say that this Church exists, namely, the truly believing and righteous men scattered throughout the whole world.

    We are speaking not of an imaginary Church, which is to be found nowhere; but we say and know certainly that this Church, wherein saints live, is and abides truly upon earth; namely, that some of God’s children are here and there in all the world, in various kingdoms, islands, lands, and cities, from the rising of the sun to its setting, who have truly learned to know Christ and His Gospel.

    And we add the marks: the pure doctrine of the Gospel the ministry or the Gospel and the Sacraments.

    And this Church is properly the pillar of the truth, 1 Tim. 3:15. For it retains the pure Gospel, and, as Paul says, 1 Cor. 3:11 : “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”, the foundation, i.e., the true knowledge of Christ and faith.

    Although among these[in the body which is built upon the true foundation, i.e., upon Christ and faith there are also many weak persons, who build upon the foundation stubble that will perish, i.e., certain unprofitable opinions , some human thoughts and opinions, which, nevertheless, because they do not overthrow the foundation, are both forgiven them 21] and also corrected. .

    And the writings of the holy Fathers testify that sometimes even they built stubble upon the foundation, but that this did not overthrow their faith.

    But most of those errors which our adversaries defend, overthrow faith, as, their condemnation of the article concerning the remission of sins, in which we say that the remission of sins is received by faith.

    Likewise it is a manifest and pernicious error when the adversaries teach that men merit the remission of sins by love to God, prior to grace.

    In the place of Christ they set up their works, orders, masses, , just as the Jews, the heathen, and the Turks intend to be saved by their works.

    For this also is to remove “the foundation,” i.e., Christ. .

    Likewise, what need will there be of faith if the Sacraments justify ex opere operato, 22] without a good disposition on the part of the one using them? Without faith.

    Now, a person that does not regard faith as necessary has already lost Christ. Again, they set up the worship of saints, call upon them instead of Christ, the Mediator, etc.

    But just as the Church has the promise that it will always have the Holy Ghost, so it has also the threatenings that there will be wicked teachers and wolves.

    But that is the Church in the proper sense which has the Holy Ghost.

    …Wherefore we hold, according to the Scriptures, that the Church, properly so called, is the congregation of saints of those here and there in the world], who truly believe the Gospel of Christ, and have the Holy Ghost.

    And yet we confess that in this life many hypocrites and wicked men, mingled with these, have the fellowship of outward signs, who are members of the Church according to this fellowship of outward signs, and accordingly bear offices in the Church preach, administer the Sacraments, and bear the title and name of Christians.

    Neither does the fact that the Sacraments are administered by the unworthy detract from their efficacy, because, on account of the call of the Church, they represent the person of Christ, and do not represent their own persons, as Christ testifies, Luke 10:16: He that heareth you heareth Me. Thus even Judas was sent to preach. When they offer the Word of God, when they offer the Sacraments, they offer them in the stead and place of Christ. Those words of Christ teach us not to be offended by the unworthiness of the ministers. .

    29] But concerning this matter we have spoken with sufficient clearness in the Confession that we condemn the Donatists and Wyclifites, who thought that men sinned when they received the Sacraments from the unworthy in the Church.

    Neither do we see how, when the Church, properly so called, is named the body of Christ, it should be described otherwise than we have described it. For it is evident that the wicked belong to the kingdom and body of the devil, who impels and holds captive the wicked. These things are clearer than the light of noonday.

    30] The adversaries condemn also the part of the Seventh Article in which we said that “to the unity of the Church it is sufficient to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments; nor is it necessary that human traditions, rites, or ceremonies instituted by men should be alike everywhere.”

    We are speaking here of true, i.e., of spiritual unity we say that those are one harmonious Church who believe in one Christ; who have one Gospel, one Spirit, one faith, the same Sacraments; and we are speaking, therefore, of spiritual unity, without which faith in the heart, or righteousness of heart before God, cannot exist. .

    For this we say that similarity of human rites, whether universal or particular, is not necessary, because the righteousness of faith is not a righteousness bound to certain traditions outward ceremonies of human ordinances as the righteousness of the Law was bound to the Mosaic ceremonies, because this righteousness of the heart is a matter that quickens the heart. To this quickening, human traditions, whether they be universal or particular, contribute nothing; neither are they effects of the Holy Ghost, as are chastity, patience, the fear of God, love to one’s neighbor, and the works, of love.

    33] But just as the dissimilar length of day and night does not injure the unity of the Church, so we believe that the true unity of the Church is not injured by dissimilar rites instituted by men; although it is pleasing to us that, for the sake of tranquillity unity and good order, universal rites be observed….And with a very grateful mind we embrace the profitable and ancient ordinances, especially since they contain a discipline by which it is profitable to educate and train the people and those who are ignorant and the young people.

    34] But now we are not discussing the question whether it be of advantage to observe them on account of peace or bodily profit.

    Another matter is treated of. For the question at issue is, whether the observances of human traditions are acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God. This is the point to be judged in this controversy, and when this is decided, it can afterwards be judged whether to the true unity of the Church it is necessary that human traditions should everywhere be alike. For if human traditions be not acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God, it follows that also they can be righteous and be the sons of God who have not the traditions which have been received elsewhere. F. i., if the style of German clothing is not worship of God, necessary for righteousness before God, it follows that men can be righteous and sons of God and the Church of Christ, even though they use a costume that is not German, but French.

    35] Paul clearly teaches this to the Colossians 2:16-17: Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Likewise, 2:20-23 sqq.: If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using), after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have, indeed, a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility. 36] For the meaning is: Since righteousness of the heart is a spiritual matter, quickening hearts, and it is evident that human traditions do not quicken hearts, and are not effects of the Holy Ghost, as are love to one’s neighbor, chastity, etc., and are not instruments through which God moves hearts to believe, as are the divinely given Word and Sacraments, but are usages with regard to matters that pertain in no respect to the heart, which perish with the using, we must not believe that they are necessary for righteousness before God. They are nothing eternal; hence, they do not procure eternal life, but are an external bodily discipline, which does not change the heart.

    And to the same effect he says, Rom. 14:17: The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness 37] and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

    45] … it appears that a want of uniformity in human observances does not injure the unity of faith separate no one from the universal Christian Church…. The adversaries do not at all understand what the righteousness of faith is, what the kingdom of Christ is, when they judge that uniformity of observances in food, days, clothing, and the like, which do not have the command of God, is necessary.

    46] But look at the religious men, our adversaries. For the unity of the Church they require uniform human observances, although they themselves have changed the ordinance of Christ in the use of the Supper, which certainly was a universal ordinance before. But if universal ordinances are so necessary, why do they themselves change the ordinance of Christ’s Supper, which is not human, but divine? But concerning this entire controversy we shall have to speak at different times below.

    47] The entire Eighth Article has been approved, in which we confess that hypocrites and wicked persons have been mingled with the Church, and that the Sacraments are efficacious even though dispensed by wicked ministers, because the ministers act in the place of Christ, and do not represent their own persons, according to 48] Luke 10:16: He that heareth you heareth Me. Impious teachers are to be deserted [are not to be received or heard], because these do not act any longer in the place of Christ, but are antichrists. And Christ says Matt. 7:15: Beware of false prophets. And Paul, Gal. 1:9: If any man preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed

    49] Moreover, Christ has warned us in His parables concerning the Church, that when offended by the private vices, whether of priests or people, we should not excite schisms, as the Donatists have wickedly done. 50] As to those, however, who have excited schisms, because they denied that priests are permitted to hold possessions and property, we hold that they are altogether seditious. For to hold property is a civil ordinance. It is lawful, however, for Christians to use civil ordinances, just as they use the air, the light, food, drink.

    For as this order of the world and fixed movements of the heavenly bodies are truly God’s ordinances and these are preserved by God, so lawful governments [such as the Holy Catholic Church] are truly God’s ordinances, and are preserved and defended by God against the devil.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@56), there’s definitely “no way around having to teach people” (as DLit2C alluded to earlier), but that doesn’t mean all options are equal.

    Though I’m only going off my own thoughts and experiences, I’d be willing to bet that more people would misunderstand what is meant if you said “one holy, catholic church” than if you said “one holy, Christian church” or “one holy, universal church”.

    Again, I’m not saying nobody will misunderstand the latter two. I just feel that they are clearer to your average person. Do you disagree?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@56), there’s definitely “no way around having to teach people” (as DLit2C alluded to earlier), but that doesn’t mean all options are equal.

    Though I’m only going off my own thoughts and experiences, I’d be willing to bet that more people would misunderstand what is meant if you said “one holy, catholic church” than if you said “one holy, Christian church” or “one holy, universal church”.

    Again, I’m not saying nobody will misunderstand the latter two. I just feel that they are clearer to your average person. Do you disagree?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Really, FWS (@57), twelve screenfuls for one comment? And you want people to read it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Really, FWS (@57), twelve screenfuls for one comment? And you want people to read it?

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that “catholic” in the creeds refers to faith and the content of faith, i.e., this faith and not that faith, and all of this faith (as defined in the creeds) without exception. Frank’s quotations from the Confessions seem to confirm this. (“True teaching,” “Agree concerning the Gospel,” Have the same Christ, the same Holy Ghost, and the same Sacraments.”)

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that “catholic” in the creeds refers to faith and the content of faith, i.e., this faith and not that faith, and all of this faith (as defined in the creeds) without exception. Frank’s quotations from the Confessions seem to confirm this. (“True teaching,” “Agree concerning the Gospel,” Have the same Christ, the same Holy Ghost, and the same Sacraments.”)

  • Tom Hering

    By “catholic,” do the creeds mean one seat of authority? Apostolic succession? Being everywhere? Open to everyone? All of Christian tradition? No, none of those things, I think. The first step in debating the use of the word “catholic” in translations of the creeds, or finding a substitute for that word, is to understand what the creeds point to with that word.

    I might be wrong that it’s faith and the content of faith.

  • Tom Hering

    By “catholic,” do the creeds mean one seat of authority? Apostolic succession? Being everywhere? Open to everyone? All of Christian tradition? No, none of those things, I think. The first step in debating the use of the word “catholic” in translations of the creeds, or finding a substitute for that word, is to understand what the creeds point to with that word.

    I might be wrong that it’s faith and the content of faith.

  • steve

    tODD, #58, I think people will misunderstand the meaning if it’s changed to Christian because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination. Moreover, people are unlikely to ask what “Christian” means in that context so they may never get that clarification. I honestly don’t think people will correctly understand the meaning of “universal” any more or less than “catholic”. People new to the creeds may not be as put-off by it–which is the real issue anyway–but it won’t lead to any greater level of clarity on it’s own.

    That said, I wouldn’t personally be opposed to saying “universal” but I can’t say I wouldn’t be at least a little resentful about changing it just because some folks have an irrational hatred of anything that sounds even remotely Roman.

  • steve

    tODD, #58, I think people will misunderstand the meaning if it’s changed to Christian because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination. Moreover, people are unlikely to ask what “Christian” means in that context so they may never get that clarification. I honestly don’t think people will correctly understand the meaning of “universal” any more or less than “catholic”. People new to the creeds may not be as put-off by it–which is the real issue anyway–but it won’t lead to any greater level of clarity on it’s own.

    That said, I wouldn’t personally be opposed to saying “universal” but I can’t say I wouldn’t be at least a little resentful about changing it just because some folks have an irrational hatred of anything that sounds even remotely Roman.

  • Lou

    Carl, Good answer (ref: My aunt not wanting to say “Catholic Church” since she converted from RC). She doesn’t expect everyone else to go along with her in saying “Christian Church” but she still has a hard time understanding why they hold onto the term because her kids are really confused by it (they went to RC churches for their first 10 years growing up),.

    As far as the ant-Christ thing, LOL. I don’t remember her mentioning that one. I guess since it’s not in the creeds, she hasn’t heard it yet. Even if she had, she’d probably go along with it, since she is very anti-RC now.

  • Lou

    Carl, Good answer (ref: My aunt not wanting to say “Catholic Church” since she converted from RC). She doesn’t expect everyone else to go along with her in saying “Christian Church” but she still has a hard time understanding why they hold onto the term because her kids are really confused by it (they went to RC churches for their first 10 years growing up),.

    As far as the ant-Christ thing, LOL. I don’t remember her mentioning that one. I guess since it’s not in the creeds, she hasn’t heard it yet. Even if she had, she’d probably go along with it, since she is very anti-RC now.

  • Lou

    Steve #62 “because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination.” And you’re saying that “Catholic” does convey this message to people today?

  • Lou

    Steve #62 “because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination.” And you’re saying that “Catholic” does convey this message to people today?

  • steve

    Lou, #64, if it doesn’t, it should, and it surely won’t if people drop it.

  • steve

    Lou, #64, if it doesn’t, it should, and it surely won’t if people drop it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@62) said:

    I think people will misunderstand the meaning if it’s changed to Christian because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination.

    This truly makes no sense. You’re arguing that the word “catholic” — which in common usage is almost always shorthand for the Roman Catholic denomination, and much more rarely understood to mean “universal” — better conveys the message about “transcending denominations” than does the word “Christian”? That truly boggles the mind.

    “Christian” seems to pretty clearly convey the concept about “transcending denomination”, since nearly every Christian I can think of believes that people in other denominations are also Christians. But most people I talk to think that “catholic” refers specifically to only one denomination. I honestly have no idea how you’ve arrived at your conclusion. Care to flesh that one out?

    I honestly don’t think people will correctly understand the meaning of “universal” any more or less than “catholic”.

    Really? Because when I go to Merriam-Webster.com and type in “catholic”, it first sends me to the definition for the proper noun Catholic, indicating that that is the more common understanding. And when it defines lowercase-C “catholic” for me, it does so using the word “universal”. But when I look up the definition for the word “universal”, the word “catholic” is not part of the definition at all. All of which makes it pretty clear to me that the dictionary folks think that “universal” is much more understood than the word “catholic”.

    Some folks have an irrational hatred of anything that sounds even remotely Roman.

    Perhaps so, but your saying so makes it sound like you have an agenda here that isn’t really about finding the best translation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@62) said:

    I think people will misunderstand the meaning if it’s changed to Christian because it doesn’t convey the message of a single congregation that crosses time and transcends denomination.

    This truly makes no sense. You’re arguing that the word “catholic” — which in common usage is almost always shorthand for the Roman Catholic denomination, and much more rarely understood to mean “universal” — better conveys the message about “transcending denominations” than does the word “Christian”? That truly boggles the mind.

    “Christian” seems to pretty clearly convey the concept about “transcending denomination”, since nearly every Christian I can think of believes that people in other denominations are also Christians. But most people I talk to think that “catholic” refers specifically to only one denomination. I honestly have no idea how you’ve arrived at your conclusion. Care to flesh that one out?

    I honestly don’t think people will correctly understand the meaning of “universal” any more or less than “catholic”.

    Really? Because when I go to Merriam-Webster.com and type in “catholic”, it first sends me to the definition for the proper noun Catholic, indicating that that is the more common understanding. And when it defines lowercase-C “catholic” for me, it does so using the word “universal”. But when I look up the definition for the word “universal”, the word “catholic” is not part of the definition at all. All of which makes it pretty clear to me that the dictionary folks think that “universal” is much more understood than the word “catholic”.

    Some folks have an irrational hatred of anything that sounds even remotely Roman.

    Perhaps so, but your saying so makes it sound like you have an agenda here that isn’t really about finding the best translation.

  • steve

    tODD, yes I’m arguing that the word “catholic”, aside from the common understanding which, as you agree, only goes so far without further explanation, conveys the true meaning of what is it has historically intended to mean. The term “Christian” to me sounds descriptive of doctrine but not necessarily of scope. Catholic is explicitly intended to refer to scope and, usually, within a religious context. In that respect also, it has a slightly deeper meaning and replacing it with universal would be an over-simplification.

    Really? Because when I go to Merriam-Webster.com and type in “catholic”, it first sends me to the definition for the proper noun Catholic, indicating that that is the more common understanding.

    And what was the first definition of that proper noun? Again, though, the common understanding only gets you so far. People should be learning a lot of new words and new concepts in catechism, should they not? Should they go to merriam-webster.com to get a full understanding of these terms or should they go to the confessions?

    Regarding my “agenda”, you can’t knock me for being honest. Everyone has an agenda of one sort or another. It doesn’t make their arguments any less valid, does it?

  • steve

    tODD, yes I’m arguing that the word “catholic”, aside from the common understanding which, as you agree, only goes so far without further explanation, conveys the true meaning of what is it has historically intended to mean. The term “Christian” to me sounds descriptive of doctrine but not necessarily of scope. Catholic is explicitly intended to refer to scope and, usually, within a religious context. In that respect also, it has a slightly deeper meaning and replacing it with universal would be an over-simplification.

    Really? Because when I go to Merriam-Webster.com and type in “catholic”, it first sends me to the definition for the proper noun Catholic, indicating that that is the more common understanding.

    And what was the first definition of that proper noun? Again, though, the common understanding only gets you so far. People should be learning a lot of new words and new concepts in catechism, should they not? Should they go to merriam-webster.com to get a full understanding of these terms or should they go to the confessions?

    Regarding my “agenda”, you can’t knock me for being honest. Everyone has an agenda of one sort or another. It doesn’t make their arguments any less valid, does it?

  • fws

    todd @ 59

    Yeah, you are right, I should have taken the time to condense and summarize and provide the readers digest version. That is this:

    The Apology of the Lutheran Confessions suggests in article 7 and 8 to consider reading the Apostles Creed to describe the Church this way:

    The Holy Catholic Church is the Visible Christian Church that is just exactly like any other government on earth. The citizens of this government is anyone who has been baptized. It includes hipocrites and true believers.

    This Church is governed not by Grace but by mundane and profane administrative rules and orders similar to the other two God providenced Governments or Ordos of Family and Society.

    It is different from other governments in only three ways: It is not limited by polity, or frontiers, or outward customs and rites and rules or sectarian divisions. Its citizens are scattered over all races, places, and christian sects. This is what the word “catholic” which means “universal” comforts us with. This is a great comfort when we see even the leaders of this Church being antichrists and at times it seems like this Church entirely disappears. We are promised that it is there wherever there are it’s marks.

    The second difference is that in this earthly government only, that is governed not by Grace but by administrative rules and Laws and will perish with the earth, one will find Christ only there, in the Word and the Sacraments, and so then also in this government only one will find the “communion of saints” that is in, with and under the visible Holy Catholic Church and consists of all those who hide their own best works in the Works of Another.

    This is why we call this Holy Catholic Church “holy”. It is not because it is holy of itself, or because it contains only holy people or the works that are done there of Administering the Sacraments are what make us holy by the outward performing of those acts. It is called holy for the same reason believers are called “holy” and ARE “holy”. It is because their best works, which are the moral equivalent of a used tampon per St Isaiah, are sins that are hidden in the Works of Another.

    So the third difference in this earthly government then is that within it’s confines alone, one will also find the “communion of saints” , which is the invisible heavenly Kingdom of God, where God rules alone by faith alone, in those who hide their works in the Works of Another and where Goodness and Mercy simply and brilliantly flows, as light from sun, without any sweat of brow or toil or labor or effort. This Kingdom “comes in a way that cannot be seen” , but we see the marks of it’s coming in the Word and Sacraments just as we cant see the wind, but we can see it’s effects in that the Word and Sacraments are being administered.

    Better Todd?

  • fws

    todd @ 59

    Yeah, you are right, I should have taken the time to condense and summarize and provide the readers digest version. That is this:

    The Apology of the Lutheran Confessions suggests in article 7 and 8 to consider reading the Apostles Creed to describe the Church this way:

    The Holy Catholic Church is the Visible Christian Church that is just exactly like any other government on earth. The citizens of this government is anyone who has been baptized. It includes hipocrites and true believers.

    This Church is governed not by Grace but by mundane and profane administrative rules and orders similar to the other two God providenced Governments or Ordos of Family and Society.

    It is different from other governments in only three ways: It is not limited by polity, or frontiers, or outward customs and rites and rules or sectarian divisions. Its citizens are scattered over all races, places, and christian sects. This is what the word “catholic” which means “universal” comforts us with. This is a great comfort when we see even the leaders of this Church being antichrists and at times it seems like this Church entirely disappears. We are promised that it is there wherever there are it’s marks.

    The second difference is that in this earthly government only, that is governed not by Grace but by administrative rules and Laws and will perish with the earth, one will find Christ only there, in the Word and the Sacraments, and so then also in this government only one will find the “communion of saints” that is in, with and under the visible Holy Catholic Church and consists of all those who hide their own best works in the Works of Another.

    This is why we call this Holy Catholic Church “holy”. It is not because it is holy of itself, or because it contains only holy people or the works that are done there of Administering the Sacraments are what make us holy by the outward performing of those acts. It is called holy for the same reason believers are called “holy” and ARE “holy”. It is because their best works, which are the moral equivalent of a used tampon per St Isaiah, are sins that are hidden in the Works of Another.

    So the third difference in this earthly government then is that within it’s confines alone, one will also find the “communion of saints” , which is the invisible heavenly Kingdom of God, where God rules alone by faith alone, in those who hide their works in the Works of Another and where Goodness and Mercy simply and brilliantly flows, as light from sun, without any sweat of brow or toil or labor or effort. This Kingdom “comes in a way that cannot be seen” , but we see the marks of it’s coming in the Word and Sacraments just as we cant see the wind, but we can see it’s effects in that the Word and Sacraments are being administered.

    Better Todd?

  • fws

    This is actually the teaching of the Two Kingdoms, applied to the Doctrine of the Church. That is to say, it is the Law and Gospel distinction applied to our understanding of …

    what the church is,
    where it is,
    how we are to visibly identify where it is, and
    what it’s holiness consists of.

  • fws

    This is actually the teaching of the Two Kingdoms, applied to the Doctrine of the Church. That is to say, it is the Law and Gospel distinction applied to our understanding of …

    what the church is,
    where it is,
    how we are to visibly identify where it is, and
    what it’s holiness consists of.

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P.C.

    “So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” (Acts 11:26b)

    Seems the proper terminology in the creeds ought to be “the holy Christian Church.”

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P.C.

    “So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” (Acts 11:26b)

    Seems the proper terminology in the creeds ought to be “the holy Christian Church.”

  • Carl Vehse

    As the Lutheran Confessions state (e.g., AC.VII/VIII; Ap.VII/VIII; SA.Part III.XII; Tr.24-26, SC; LC.Apostles Creed.47-56), the holy Christian Church is the invisible Church of all true believers.

    This is also the conclusion made in A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, Of the Church (1932):

    The Christian Church, in the proper sense of the term, is composed of believers only, Acts 5:14; 26:18; which means that no person in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought faith in the Gospel, or — which is the same thing — in the doctrine of justification, can be divested of his membership in the Christian Church; and, on the other hand, that no person in whose heart this faith does not dwell can be invested with such membership. All unbelievers, though they be in external communion with the Church and even hold the office of teacher or any other office in the Church, are not members of the Church, but, on the contrary, dwelling-places and instruments of Satan, Eph. 2:2. This is also the teaching of our Lutheran Confessions: “It is certain, however, that the wicked are in the power of the devil and members of the kingdom of the devil, as Paul teaches, Eph. 2:2, when he says that `the devil now worketh in the children of disobedience,”‘ etc. (Apology, Triglot, p. 231, Paragraph 16; M., p. 154.)

    Since it is by faith in the gospel alone that men become members of the Christian Church, and since this faith cannot be seen by men, but is known to God alone, 1 Kings 8:39; Acts 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:19, therefore the Christian Church on earth is invisible till Judgment Day, Col. 3:3, 4. In our day some Lutherans speak of two sides of the Church, taking the means of grace to be its “visible side.” It is true, the means of grace are necessarily related to the Church, seeing that the Church is created and preserved through them. But the means of grace are not for that reason a part of the Church; for the Church, in the proper sense of the word, consists only of believers, Eph. 2:19, 20; Acts 5:14. Lest we abet the notion that the Christian Church in the proper sense of the term is an external institution, we shall continue to call the means of grace the “marks” of the Church.

  • Carl Vehse

    As the Lutheran Confessions state (e.g., AC.VII/VIII; Ap.VII/VIII; SA.Part III.XII; Tr.24-26, SC; LC.Apostles Creed.47-56), the holy Christian Church is the invisible Church of all true believers.

    This is also the conclusion made in A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, Of the Church (1932):

    The Christian Church, in the proper sense of the term, is composed of believers only, Acts 5:14; 26:18; which means that no person in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought faith in the Gospel, or — which is the same thing — in the doctrine of justification, can be divested of his membership in the Christian Church; and, on the other hand, that no person in whose heart this faith does not dwell can be invested with such membership. All unbelievers, though they be in external communion with the Church and even hold the office of teacher or any other office in the Church, are not members of the Church, but, on the contrary, dwelling-places and instruments of Satan, Eph. 2:2. This is also the teaching of our Lutheran Confessions: “It is certain, however, that the wicked are in the power of the devil and members of the kingdom of the devil, as Paul teaches, Eph. 2:2, when he says that `the devil now worketh in the children of disobedience,”‘ etc. (Apology, Triglot, p. 231, Paragraph 16; M., p. 154.)

    Since it is by faith in the gospel alone that men become members of the Christian Church, and since this faith cannot be seen by men, but is known to God alone, 1 Kings 8:39; Acts 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:19, therefore the Christian Church on earth is invisible till Judgment Day, Col. 3:3, 4. In our day some Lutherans speak of two sides of the Church, taking the means of grace to be its “visible side.” It is true, the means of grace are necessarily related to the Church, seeing that the Church is created and preserved through them. But the means of grace are not for that reason a part of the Church; for the Church, in the proper sense of the word, consists only of believers, Eph. 2:19, 20; Acts 5:14. Lest we abet the notion that the Christian Church in the proper sense of the term is an external institution, we shall continue to call the means of grace the “marks” of the Church.

  • fws

    carl @ 70

    I dont like the brief statements version and prefer the Apology.

    Why? they lean, nearly completely , into a defense of the proper meaning of the term Church that is properly speaking only true believers. So they fail to fully develop the meaning of the word Church in it’s broader meaning that is about the Law and what the significance of that is. This broader meaning also is really the basis for doctrines on church fellowship etc. So the brief statement appears so very weak and pale compared to the Apology. And the stuff is all right there, even better, in the Apology, who it obviates the need for the Brief statement.

    Besides, no one is bound to the Brief Statement as they are to our Confessions.

  • fws

    carl @ 70

    I dont like the brief statements version and prefer the Apology.

    Why? they lean, nearly completely , into a defense of the proper meaning of the term Church that is properly speaking only true believers. So they fail to fully develop the meaning of the word Church in it’s broader meaning that is about the Law and what the significance of that is. This broader meaning also is really the basis for doctrines on church fellowship etc. So the brief statement appears so very weak and pale compared to the Apology. And the stuff is all right there, even better, in the Apology, who it obviates the need for the Brief statement.

    Besides, no one is bound to the Brief Statement as they are to our Confessions.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Besides, no one is bound to the Brief Statement as they are to our Confessions.”

    While pastors do not bind themselves to the Brief Statement as they do the Lutheran Confessions in their ordination vows, they do agree when they become members of the Synod to consider the doctrinal resolutions of binding force if they are in accordance with the Word of God. The Brief Statement and Walther’s Kirche und Amt are two such doctrinal statements the Synod has adopted as being in accordance with the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions.

    In addition to the proper sense of the term, “Church”, the Brief Statement, On the Church, par. 27-30, does talk about use of “church” in other senses.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Besides, no one is bound to the Brief Statement as they are to our Confessions.”

    While pastors do not bind themselves to the Brief Statement as they do the Lutheran Confessions in their ordination vows, they do agree when they become members of the Synod to consider the doctrinal resolutions of binding force if they are in accordance with the Word of God. The Brief Statement and Walther’s Kirche und Amt are two such doctrinal statements the Synod has adopted as being in accordance with the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions.

    In addition to the proper sense of the term, “Church”, the Brief Statement, On the Church, par. 27-30, does talk about use of “church” in other senses.

  • kerner

    I thought that the confessional position was that the “Holy Christian Church” and the “Communion of Saints” were pretty much synonymous:

    “The Creed denominates the holy Christian Church, communionem sanctorum, a communion of saints; for both expressions, taken together, are identical. But formerly the one [the second] expression was not there, and it has been poorly and unintelligibly translated into German eine Gemeinschaft der Heiligen, a communion of saints. If it is to be rendered plainly, it must be expressed quite differently in the German idiom; for the word ecclesia properly means in German eine Versammlung, an assembly. 48] But we are accustomed to the word church, by which the simple do not understand an assembled multitude, but the consecrated house or building, although the house ought not to be called a church, except only for the reason that the multitude assembles there. For we who assemble there make and choose for ourselves a particular place, and give a name to the house according to the assembly. ” LC (The Apostles’ Creed) 47-48

    The entire article is here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/lc-4-creed.php

  • kerner

    I thought that the confessional position was that the “Holy Christian Church” and the “Communion of Saints” were pretty much synonymous:

    “The Creed denominates the holy Christian Church, communionem sanctorum, a communion of saints; for both expressions, taken together, are identical. But formerly the one [the second] expression was not there, and it has been poorly and unintelligibly translated into German eine Gemeinschaft der Heiligen, a communion of saints. If it is to be rendered plainly, it must be expressed quite differently in the German idiom; for the word ecclesia properly means in German eine Versammlung, an assembly. 48] But we are accustomed to the word church, by which the simple do not understand an assembled multitude, but the consecrated house or building, although the house ought not to be called a church, except only for the reason that the multitude assembles there. For we who assemble there make and choose for ourselves a particular place, and give a name to the house according to the assembly. ” LC (The Apostles’ Creed) 47-48

    The entire article is here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/lc-4-creed.php

  • fws

    kerner @ 73

    that’s another good and very different idea than the Apology isnt it? the WELS make a huge deal about the two terms being identical. the apology sharply distinguishes them.

    Interesting eh?

  • fws

    kerner @ 73

    that’s another good and very different idea than the Apology isnt it? the WELS make a huge deal about the two terms being identical. the apology sharply distinguishes them.

    Interesting eh?

  • kerner

    fws:

    Are you sure that the ideas are all that different? The LC is specifically addressed to the term “holy Christian Church” as used in the Apostles’ Creed.

    I could be wrong about this, but I think the Apology is trying to distinguish between what Lutherans mean by “the Church” and what Rome meant (and still means) by “the Church”. It’s like there were two different meanings for the same term, both of which might have had some validity (or not, I’m not sure), and the Apology was trying to sort them out.

    But as to the meaning of “the holy Christian Church” as it is used in the Apostles’ Creed, the LC is the confession that adresses that issue directly, and answers the classic Lutheran question: “What does this mean?”.

    But are you sure that the Apology is really saying that the “holy Christian Church” even has a legitimate meaning other than its Creedal meaning? (I guess have not previously considered that possibility). If so, what is the language used in the Apology that says that?

  • kerner

    fws:

    Are you sure that the ideas are all that different? The LC is specifically addressed to the term “holy Christian Church” as used in the Apostles’ Creed.

    I could be wrong about this, but I think the Apology is trying to distinguish between what Lutherans mean by “the Church” and what Rome meant (and still means) by “the Church”. It’s like there were two different meanings for the same term, both of which might have had some validity (or not, I’m not sure), and the Apology was trying to sort them out.

    But as to the meaning of “the holy Christian Church” as it is used in the Apostles’ Creed, the LC is the confession that adresses that issue directly, and answers the classic Lutheran question: “What does this mean?”.

    But are you sure that the Apology is really saying that the “holy Christian Church” even has a legitimate meaning other than its Creedal meaning? (I guess have not previously considered that possibility). If so, what is the language used in the Apology that says that?

  • Joe

    I think Tom settled the issue above. The Athenasian creed defines “catholic faith” so if we confessed that creed on a regular basis then our people would know what we mean by catholic in other settings.

    And if we confessed it every week visitors would know what we mean too!

  • Joe

    I think Tom settled the issue above. The Athenasian creed defines “catholic faith” so if we confessed that creed on a regular basis then our people would know what we mean by catholic in other settings.

    And if we confessed it every week visitors would know what we mean too!

  • http://theplugers.wordpress.com Chris Pluger

    I’m a few days late (and probably a few dollars short) jumping in to this, but if we trained ourselves and our people to talk about the Roman Catholic church (and to Roman Catholics) instead of just “Catholic” and “Catholics,” then we could properly reserve catholic for its rightful place in the creeds. The Roman Catholic church is not the catholic church, and we should train ourselves to speak clearly so as not to confuse the issue.

  • http://theplugers.wordpress.com Chris Pluger

    I’m a few days late (and probably a few dollars short) jumping in to this, but if we trained ourselves and our people to talk about the Roman Catholic church (and to Roman Catholics) instead of just “Catholic” and “Catholics,” then we could properly reserve catholic for its rightful place in the creeds. The Roman Catholic church is not the catholic church, and we should train ourselves to speak clearly so as not to confuse the issue.

  • Joanne

    A lot happened between 325 and 381 when it was decided that the third part of the Creed must include a fully developed part, the 3rd part, on the Holy Spirit and the church.
    After the Nicean council in 325, Arianism wouldn’t lay down and play dead. Ten years after the Nicean council, in 336, Arios’ anathema was lifted by a council in Tyre. Between 325 and 381, two of the Roman Emperors, now the titular heads of the church, were openly Arian, and while ruling with their Arian Patriarchs, the Goths were converted to Christianity by Arian missionaries. The council of Constantinople of 381 had to drive a stake through the heart of Arianism or it would never die. They could do this in 381 because a squarely anti-Arian emperor was securely on the throne at that time. (Uh, you do know that the church waits upon the Roman Emperor to call an ecumenical council, don’t you?)
    The church has lost control of itself and the creed can be seen as a way to get back into the driver’s seat. I think the church realized now, in 381, that it must control the faith of the Emperors and that will not be easy. Julian the Apostate also ruled during this 56 year break in the formulation of the Nicean Creed. With his Edict of Toleration, Julian devilishly stirred the Christian pot allowing every division to have it’s place.
    So, by the time the fathers of the church met in 381 in Constantinople, to have a go again at completing the Nicean Creed, the state of the Christian church was fairly similar in diversity to what it is now in America and the central doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t even nailed down yet. Oh my.
    So, they’re adding everything after Holy Ghost …..

  • Joanne

    A lot happened between 325 and 381 when it was decided that the third part of the Creed must include a fully developed part, the 3rd part, on the Holy Spirit and the church.
    After the Nicean council in 325, Arianism wouldn’t lay down and play dead. Ten years after the Nicean council, in 336, Arios’ anathema was lifted by a council in Tyre. Between 325 and 381, two of the Roman Emperors, now the titular heads of the church, were openly Arian, and while ruling with their Arian Patriarchs, the Goths were converted to Christianity by Arian missionaries. The council of Constantinople of 381 had to drive a stake through the heart of Arianism or it would never die. They could do this in 381 because a squarely anti-Arian emperor was securely on the throne at that time. (Uh, you do know that the church waits upon the Roman Emperor to call an ecumenical council, don’t you?)
    The church has lost control of itself and the creed can be seen as a way to get back into the driver’s seat. I think the church realized now, in 381, that it must control the faith of the Emperors and that will not be easy. Julian the Apostate also ruled during this 56 year break in the formulation of the Nicean Creed. With his Edict of Toleration, Julian devilishly stirred the Christian pot allowing every division to have it’s place.
    So, by the time the fathers of the church met in 381 in Constantinople, to have a go again at completing the Nicean Creed, the state of the Christian church was fairly similar in diversity to what it is now in America and the central doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t even nailed down yet. Oh my.
    So, they’re adding everything after Holy Ghost …..

  • Joanne

    Continued from 79…
    One, set-apart, whole, sent-out assembly, if you want it all in easy English.
    However, I think the Constantinopolitan fathers put Apo-stolic to declare their link to the actual Sent-Outs, Peter, James, John, Matthew, etc. So using the Greek word Apostle here is ok since everybody knows who the Sent-Outs are. “We are the assembly that is faithful to and derives from the Sent-Outs.” Got it.
    Next. One. No questions your honor.
    Next. Holy. Set apart for special good uses. Got it.
    Next. Katholikos. Whole. uh?
    A katholikos in a monestery is like a common room that is used by everyone for a den or living room. The Boston Common = The Boston Katholikos.
    A Katholikos is a church official like a General. In some churches the title denotes someone in rank just above a patriarch, in other churches it denotes someone in rank just below a patriarch.
    In ca. 200 BC, Polybios used the word and he seemed to mean “general” by it.
    So when we say catholic church are we saying general assembly or whole assembly?
    And how would these general terms help us draw a distinction between a true church and a false church. A false church is a specific assembly or a partial assembly?
    Then, let’s look closely at whole. It can mean synonymously entire, complete, intact. Howzabout entire assembly, complete assembly, intact assembly. This is starting to make a distinctive sense to me.
    I’m not a fan of finding the meaning of universal in katholikos, I think they would use the term ekumenikos if thay wanted that idea. And, when you go through all the test sentences where the church fathers first use the word katholikos, universal just doesn’t work, but whole does just about.
    But when you think of “the principle of catholicity” one wonders if there is any way that katholikos could mean the church that is standardized, synchronized, and normalized? As in what is the ISO number for the LC-MS that all it’s congregations must qualify for?

  • Joanne

    Continued from 79…
    One, set-apart, whole, sent-out assembly, if you want it all in easy English.
    However, I think the Constantinopolitan fathers put Apo-stolic to declare their link to the actual Sent-Outs, Peter, James, John, Matthew, etc. So using the Greek word Apostle here is ok since everybody knows who the Sent-Outs are. “We are the assembly that is faithful to and derives from the Sent-Outs.” Got it.
    Next. One. No questions your honor.
    Next. Holy. Set apart for special good uses. Got it.
    Next. Katholikos. Whole. uh?
    A katholikos in a monestery is like a common room that is used by everyone for a den or living room. The Boston Common = The Boston Katholikos.
    A Katholikos is a church official like a General. In some churches the title denotes someone in rank just above a patriarch, in other churches it denotes someone in rank just below a patriarch.
    In ca. 200 BC, Polybios used the word and he seemed to mean “general” by it.
    So when we say catholic church are we saying general assembly or whole assembly?
    And how would these general terms help us draw a distinction between a true church and a false church. A false church is a specific assembly or a partial assembly?
    Then, let’s look closely at whole. It can mean synonymously entire, complete, intact. Howzabout entire assembly, complete assembly, intact assembly. This is starting to make a distinctive sense to me.
    I’m not a fan of finding the meaning of universal in katholikos, I think they would use the term ekumenikos if thay wanted that idea. And, when you go through all the test sentences where the church fathers first use the word katholikos, universal just doesn’t work, but whole does just about.
    But when you think of “the principle of catholicity” one wonders if there is any way that katholikos could mean the church that is standardized, synchronized, and normalized? As in what is the ISO number for the LC-MS that all it’s congregations must qualify for?

  • Joanne

    A katholikos church works in tandem, it’s parts act in conjunction with each other. It works so well together that it is one whole intact organization. The Holy Whole Church developed practices and structures that made it look like and function like the same brand everywhere, just like MacDonald’s. The same everywhere. If it’s true in Ephesos it’s true in Lyon it’s true in Alexandria, etc. Ignatios said when you go to a town, don’t just ask for the church, ask for the Whole Church.
    So it would be a very basic core of the “priciple of catholicity” for all parts to keep the creed the same, wouldn’t it? You’d think but no. First, how many ecumenical creeds are there? Only one. Or is it three? I’d say there is only one ecumenical creed, but there are also two ancient creeds known in parts of the church. (Parts and not all, not the fruit of ecumenical councils kinda says it all.)
    Then you’d think that in a Whole Church, acting in tandem, no parts would change the words of an official creed hammered out by two, count them, two church councils. But of course they did and straight out of the gate the Armenians wordsmithed the creed into something they were very comfortable with. A few years later the Latins did a deo de deo and soon added a que to make a filioque and then I hear that Germans dropped catholic for Christian. Well, you’ll notice that all the change makers make their changes when they get just out of the reach of the Emperors.
    No one dares to change the words of an ecumenical creed when the Roman Emperor is in control. It’s that old, old issue of who’s got the authority in the church and on this point, to stop barbarians from making changes to The Symbol of Faith.

  • Joanne

    A katholikos church works in tandem, it’s parts act in conjunction with each other. It works so well together that it is one whole intact organization. The Holy Whole Church developed practices and structures that made it look like and function like the same brand everywhere, just like MacDonald’s. The same everywhere. If it’s true in Ephesos it’s true in Lyon it’s true in Alexandria, etc. Ignatios said when you go to a town, don’t just ask for the church, ask for the Whole Church.
    So it would be a very basic core of the “priciple of catholicity” for all parts to keep the creed the same, wouldn’t it? You’d think but no. First, how many ecumenical creeds are there? Only one. Or is it three? I’d say there is only one ecumenical creed, but there are also two ancient creeds known in parts of the church. (Parts and not all, not the fruit of ecumenical councils kinda says it all.)
    Then you’d think that in a Whole Church, acting in tandem, no parts would change the words of an official creed hammered out by two, count them, two church councils. But of course they did and straight out of the gate the Armenians wordsmithed the creed into something they were very comfortable with. A few years later the Latins did a deo de deo and soon added a que to make a filioque and then I hear that Germans dropped catholic for Christian. Well, you’ll notice that all the change makers make their changes when they get just out of the reach of the Emperors.
    No one dares to change the words of an ecumenical creed when the Roman Emperor is in control. It’s that old, old issue of who’s got the authority in the church and on this point, to stop barbarians from making changes to The Symbol of Faith.

  • Nathaniel

    Whatever the background of the change might be the most proper modern English translation is either catholic or universal. If you go with catholic then the church does need to educate people as to what catholic means. The church should be in the business of educating people so this should be no big deal.

    Christian church is really a redundant phrase. The church is by its very nature Christian. There are not, strictly speaking, any churches that are not Christian. For instance there is no Unitarian Church since they are not Christian by rejecting the Trinity. They have stolen the name.

  • Nathaniel

    Whatever the background of the change might be the most proper modern English translation is either catholic or universal. If you go with catholic then the church does need to educate people as to what catholic means. The church should be in the business of educating people so this should be no big deal.

    Christian church is really a redundant phrase. The church is by its very nature Christian. There are not, strictly speaking, any churches that are not Christian. For instance there is no Unitarian Church since they are not Christian by rejecting the Trinity. They have stolen the name.