Our new book on family vocations is out!

I have a new book that I wrote with my daughter, Deaconness Mary Moerbe, with the support of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, that has just been released from Crossway Books. It’s entitled Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood.

Today when we hear “vocation” we mainly think of “job,” but for Luther and the early Reformers “vocation” referred above all to the estate of the family.  (Work as a calling was itself seen as part of the larger estate of the household; that is, the family and what you do to support your family.)  So Mary and I applied the doctrine of vocation to the specific offices of the family:  Husband and wife; father and mother; child.  We also have some things to say about brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and ancestors.

And I have to say that vocation provides a way of thinking about all of our family relationships that makes them more precious than ever.   And it’s all so practical, giving us down-to-earth guidance that can help us through our everyday lives, including the problems that come up in marriage, parenting, and being a child.   Our book turned into a comprehensive study of the what the Bible says about all of these offices.  We show how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are literally present and at work in marriage (which images Christ and the Church), parenthood (the Fatherhood of God), and childhood (the Son of God).  We deal with bearing the Cross in these vocations, frankly discussing the problems that people wrestle with in these different callings and what difference the Cross of Jesus can make with these problems.   I even think our book illuminates things like sex and other topics that have been hard for Christians to talk about.

We do all of this without just laying down laws and rules, like most Christian books on the family.  We don’t get bogged down in “who has to obey whom,” though I think we completely resolve the issues in those debates, which take on a completely different light when seen in terms of vocation.  Throughout our focus is on the Gospel.   It’s the Gospel that looms in God’s design behind marriage and parenting and even being a child.

I am not bragging about our book, since we did not invent the teachings that it puts forward, but I am just saying that I myself was greatly benefited by putting this book together.  Mary, with her Deaconness training, brought to bear a depth of Scriptural application that I never thought of before.  I have been studying vocation for a long time, since my book God at Work to which this is something of a sequel, but I really think we have broken new ground in apprehending God’s callings and how we can live out our faith in ordinary life.

When we made our proposal to Crossway, the editors said that they had thought they had seen every approach to family issues that was possible, and yet they had never seen anything like this.  Which is sad, since the doctrine of vocation is the theology of the Christian life and the Biblical teaching on the family.  If Christians can bring back from long disuse the doctrine of vocation, we can stop the breakdown of the family–at least in our own divorce rates, dysfunctional relationships, and counterproductive parenting–and become culturally influential again, like we used to be.

The Amazon site has a “Look Inside” feature, which will let you get a taste of it.  And, yes, it’s also available on Kindle.  So please forgive me for urging you to buy our book.  And let other people know about it, including those having problems in their marriages, with their children, and with their parents.   It would also be helpful to couples contemplating marriage or having just entered that estate.  And for new parents.  And for those who currently belong to a family, which includes everyone.

I would be embarrassed to be so crassly commercial if I didn’t think that you would be blessed by reading  it, as Mary and I were blessed in writing 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.

  • Pete

    So when is the Focus on the Family Vocation foundation opening its doors?

  • Pete

    So when is the Focus on the Family Vocation foundation opening its doors?

  • Rose

    Congratulations, Dr. Veith.
    I’ll add it to our church library.

  • Rose

    Congratulations, Dr. Veith.
    I’ll add it to our church library.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Buy Dr. Veith’s book.

    I did.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Buy Dr. Veith’s book.

    I did.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Mine is winding its way to me as I type. Post Office is way too slow sometimes.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Mine is winding its way to me as I type. Post Office is way too slow sometimes.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    I got mine yesterday. Need to drive out to Purcellville and get an autograph!

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    I got mine yesterday. Need to drive out to Purcellville and get an autograph!

  • Joanne

    I hope you remembered to cover the vocation of the Godparent in your book. It would be great to have a reliable source that spells out the relational responsibilities of those who stand at the baptismal font, holdng the baby and promising with the parents to raise-up this child in the way he should go and to see him/her through Confirmation. Something that fleshes out the role and how the family should/could work with the Godparent.

  • Joanne

    I hope you remembered to cover the vocation of the Godparent in your book. It would be great to have a reliable source that spells out the relational responsibilities of those who stand at the baptismal font, holdng the baby and promising with the parents to raise-up this child in the way he should go and to see him/her through Confirmation. Something that fleshes out the role and how the family should/could work with the Godparent.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Didn’t National Lampoon do a movie about family vocation once?

    More seriously, I’m pretty impressed you snagged blurbs from both Chuck Colson and someone from Focus on the Family. Not so much that I think highly of their tenets, but just to see such a Lutheran concept* getting such praise from Evangelicals.

    Congratulations! Perhaps it’ll be the first book I actually pay for on my Nook. We’ll see.

    *I know, I know, it’s not a Lutheran concept — or at least, it shouldn’t be pigeonholed as such — but rather, it’s Biblical. But I say that as a Lutheran, of course.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Didn’t National Lampoon do a movie about family vocation once?

    More seriously, I’m pretty impressed you snagged blurbs from both Chuck Colson and someone from Focus on the Family. Not so much that I think highly of their tenets, but just to see such a Lutheran concept* getting such praise from Evangelicals.

    Congratulations! Perhaps it’ll be the first book I actually pay for on my Nook. We’ll see.

    *I know, I know, it’s not a Lutheran concept — or at least, it shouldn’t be pigeonholed as such — but rather, it’s Biblical. But I say that as a Lutheran, of course.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    The guy from Focus on the Family is LCMS. ;-)

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    The guy from Focus on the Family is LCMS. ;-)

  • Steve Billingsley

    Wonderful! I look forward to reading it.

    As a husband and father of 3 young boys – this book looks like exactly the kind of reading I need!

  • Steve Billingsley

    Wonderful! I look forward to reading it.

    As a husband and father of 3 young boys – this book looks like exactly the kind of reading I need!

  • Lisa Stapp

    I’m buying the Kindle version of this book for myself after I finish this week’s studying priorities. It’s exactly the kind of carrot to dangle in front of myself to move myself along.

  • Lisa Stapp

    I’m buying the Kindle version of this book for myself after I finish this week’s studying priorities. It’s exactly the kind of carrot to dangle in front of myself to move myself along.

  • Helen K.

    Ordered my copy from Amazon last night along with that history of the church throughout the ages large paperback I’ve been eyeing. I like to hold a book made of paper in my hands (wasted a tree)? so no kindle for me….yet. Thanks Dr. Veith and to your daughter, Mary, as well.

  • Helen K.

    Ordered my copy from Amazon last night along with that history of the church throughout the ages large paperback I’ve been eyeing. I like to hold a book made of paper in my hands (wasted a tree)? so no kindle for me….yet. Thanks Dr. Veith and to your daughter, Mary, as well.

  • fws

    It’s the Gospel that looms in God’s design behind marriage and parenting and even being a child.

    Ok. I havent read the book, and probably wont since I live in Brasil. Fair enough. so for clarification….

    Dr. Veith isn’t it rather the Law that looms behind and drives all vocation? Isnt vocation all about our death for the creaturely transitory goodness and mercy of others? “God’s Design”.. you mean as in…. natural Law? The Law always accuses and kills.

    In addition the curses listed in Genesis 3 come into play somehow dont they? Like that curse about the pain of having children and the change from adam and eve being coequal to now having eve be under the thumb of her man, which is a curse according to gen 3.

    So I suggest that family and marriage are all about our death and mortification and not at all or in any way about the Gospel. I suggest the Gospel is, alone about hiding all we can see and do in family and marriage in the Works of Another.

    Yeah I know this wouldnt float with those evangelical publishers but….

  • fws

    It’s the Gospel that looms in God’s design behind marriage and parenting and even being a child.

    Ok. I havent read the book, and probably wont since I live in Brasil. Fair enough. so for clarification….

    Dr. Veith isn’t it rather the Law that looms behind and drives all vocation? Isnt vocation all about our death for the creaturely transitory goodness and mercy of others? “God’s Design”.. you mean as in…. natural Law? The Law always accuses and kills.

    In addition the curses listed in Genesis 3 come into play somehow dont they? Like that curse about the pain of having children and the change from adam and eve being coequal to now having eve be under the thumb of her man, which is a curse according to gen 3.

    So I suggest that family and marriage are all about our death and mortification and not at all or in any way about the Gospel. I suggest the Gospel is, alone about hiding all we can see and do in family and marriage in the Works of Another.

    Yeah I know this wouldnt float with those evangelical publishers but….

  • Mary Jack

    FWS, I think we’d agree that law encompasses so much that we do within our vocations. But to be a child of God–that is a work of the Gospel alone. That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel. That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel. So while I respect how diligently you seek to divide law & gospel rightly and in accord with the Confessions, this book is highlighting God’s work to offer, God-willing, Gospel consolation to so many who have been beaten over the head with too much law. Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

  • Mary Jack

    FWS, I think we’d agree that law encompasses so much that we do within our vocations. But to be a child of God–that is a work of the Gospel alone. That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel. That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel. So while I respect how diligently you seek to divide law & gospel rightly and in accord with the Confessions, this book is highlighting God’s work to offer, God-willing, Gospel consolation to so many who have been beaten over the head with too much law. Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 13

    I would respectfully disagree. And I suggest that what you say would rob us of the Holy Gospel. I will try to explain why…

    MARY JACK: FWS, I think we’d agree that law encompasses so much that we do within our vocations.

    FRANK: My radical, and Lutheran and Confessional suggestion is that vocation is entirely earthly kingdom stuff. It is ALL about the Law driving our Old Adams, and so it is all about our mortification, which is latinate for “deathing”. This is what the Lutheran Confessions teach.

    MARY JACK But to be a child of God–that is a work of the Gospel alone.

    FRANK: That is to confuse Law and Gospel by way of confusing Fatherly First Article Mercy with the Second article Mercy that is found alone in Christ. First article Mercy is worked by God entirely within the earthly kingdom and entirely by the Law extorting and coercing Fatherly Goodness and Mercy out of Old Adam for the temporal, transitory and creaturely good of other Old Adams. this Mercy will end with this earthly life.

    Now within this earthly kingdom that is where God rules to bring Goodness and Mercy by the Law, there are three Ordos, or Orders, or what we say today Governments. Those are family, church and society. Note that word “orders” and note that word “government”. Law. Sword being borne. Yes the church too is that in the sense of being the Holy Catholic Church (what apology VII calls the visible church).

    So the confusion I suggest is in that word “Mercy.” Mercy is always, by definition , undeserved. And Mercy , not the sacrifice that the Law works, is the Will of God. But Mercy is not the Gospel! Gospel alone is exactly the very Person of Jesus. He is Mercy Incarnate. And he alone can render the sacrifice that the Law demands.

    God is the Father of All, full of Goodness and Mercy for the 1) unworthy 2) those who dont pray and amazingly 3) even for all the wicked who want to subvert God’s Gracious Will.

    Note then that this Fatherly Mercy is NOT the Gospel, but rather preceeds the Gospel and is the Source and Author of the Gospel being done among men.

    MARY : That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel.

    FRANK: No. That is Mercy. Even pagans know there is a God and that he is Merciful and Good. What they cannot be certain of is that he is merciful to THEM! Only in Christ can we know this. Now that is precisely where the Law is transformed into the Gospel! Same word of God. Yet the difference is what? Those words “for you!” and trust in those words.

    MARY JACK: That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel.

    FRANK: Oh my. Not “in a sense”. THAT is the Gospel! That is really the entire Gospel. The Blessed Incarnation and what that Incarnation came to do and , in fact, did.

    MARY JACK That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel.

    FRANK: Amen!

    MARY JACK So while I respect how diligently you seek to divide law & gospel rightly and in accord with the Confessions, this book is highlighting God’s work to offer, God-willing, Gospel consolation to so many who have been beaten over the head with too much law.

    FRANK: Ok. This is where the gospel gets lost. If we call something that is Law Gospel we are being antinomian. That is precisely what antinomians do! They say ‘there is no Law here…” and then they proceed to do Law and call it gospel. Now tell me how that comforts anyone?

    Let me recap for clarity:

    the Law is what drives ALL we can see and do in 0ur bodies. The earthly kingdom fully includes ALL we can see and do in our bodies. That includes the right administration of word and sacraments, family and marriage, and yeah, the IRS. We dare not spiritualize these things WE can do and call them heavenly kingdom things. Why not?

    The heavenly kingdom is where God makes his will of Goodness and mercy to be done among NEW men by the Gospel.

    This heavenly kingdom simply cannot include anything we can see or do for a very simply reason. those things are already ALL included in that other earthly kingdom where God makes Goodness and Mercy happen in Old Adams!

    This heavenly kingdom is “in, with and under” the earthly kingdom and indeed can only be found there! it is wherever Christ’s Law to rightly administer Word and Sacrament is being kept! And it comes in a way that cannot be seen. it is invisible!

    This is really what the Old Lutherans meant by saying that God never works apart from means. They meant the Law! They meant that the Gospel always comes to us, “in, with and under’ law things that we can see and do. Today we have reduced that saying to be about the elements in the sacraments.

    for a further and deeper understanding of what I just said, i would point you to the excellent passage in the apology where they talk about synechtoche and the story of the woman who was saved because she loved much. you will find that in the apology in the section ‘on love and the keeping of the law’.

    Bless you Mary Jack. your comments are great ones! Right on the money!

    Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 13

    I would respectfully disagree. And I suggest that what you say would rob us of the Holy Gospel. I will try to explain why…

    MARY JACK: FWS, I think we’d agree that law encompasses so much that we do within our vocations.

    FRANK: My radical, and Lutheran and Confessional suggestion is that vocation is entirely earthly kingdom stuff. It is ALL about the Law driving our Old Adams, and so it is all about our mortification, which is latinate for “deathing”. This is what the Lutheran Confessions teach.

    MARY JACK But to be a child of God–that is a work of the Gospel alone.

    FRANK: That is to confuse Law and Gospel by way of confusing Fatherly First Article Mercy with the Second article Mercy that is found alone in Christ. First article Mercy is worked by God entirely within the earthly kingdom and entirely by the Law extorting and coercing Fatherly Goodness and Mercy out of Old Adam for the temporal, transitory and creaturely good of other Old Adams. this Mercy will end with this earthly life.

    Now within this earthly kingdom that is where God rules to bring Goodness and Mercy by the Law, there are three Ordos, or Orders, or what we say today Governments. Those are family, church and society. Note that word “orders” and note that word “government”. Law. Sword being borne. Yes the church too is that in the sense of being the Holy Catholic Church (what apology VII calls the visible church).

    So the confusion I suggest is in that word “Mercy.” Mercy is always, by definition , undeserved. And Mercy , not the sacrifice that the Law works, is the Will of God. But Mercy is not the Gospel! Gospel alone is exactly the very Person of Jesus. He is Mercy Incarnate. And he alone can render the sacrifice that the Law demands.

    God is the Father of All, full of Goodness and Mercy for the 1) unworthy 2) those who dont pray and amazingly 3) even for all the wicked who want to subvert God’s Gracious Will.

    Note then that this Fatherly Mercy is NOT the Gospel, but rather preceeds the Gospel and is the Source and Author of the Gospel being done among men.

    MARY : That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel.

    FRANK: No. That is Mercy. Even pagans know there is a God and that he is Merciful and Good. What they cannot be certain of is that he is merciful to THEM! Only in Christ can we know this. Now that is precisely where the Law is transformed into the Gospel! Same word of God. Yet the difference is what? Those words “for you!” and trust in those words.

    MARY JACK: That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel.

    FRANK: Oh my. Not “in a sense”. THAT is the Gospel! That is really the entire Gospel. The Blessed Incarnation and what that Incarnation came to do and , in fact, did.

    MARY JACK That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel.

    FRANK: Amen!

    MARY JACK So while I respect how diligently you seek to divide law & gospel rightly and in accord with the Confessions, this book is highlighting God’s work to offer, God-willing, Gospel consolation to so many who have been beaten over the head with too much law.

    FRANK: Ok. This is where the gospel gets lost. If we call something that is Law Gospel we are being antinomian. That is precisely what antinomians do! They say ‘there is no Law here…” and then they proceed to do Law and call it gospel. Now tell me how that comforts anyone?

    Let me recap for clarity:

    the Law is what drives ALL we can see and do in 0ur bodies. The earthly kingdom fully includes ALL we can see and do in our bodies. That includes the right administration of word and sacraments, family and marriage, and yeah, the IRS. We dare not spiritualize these things WE can do and call them heavenly kingdom things. Why not?

    The heavenly kingdom is where God makes his will of Goodness and mercy to be done among NEW men by the Gospel.

    This heavenly kingdom simply cannot include anything we can see or do for a very simply reason. those things are already ALL included in that other earthly kingdom where God makes Goodness and Mercy happen in Old Adams!

    This heavenly kingdom is “in, with and under” the earthly kingdom and indeed can only be found there! it is wherever Christ’s Law to rightly administer Word and Sacrament is being kept! And it comes in a way that cannot be seen. it is invisible!

    This is really what the Old Lutherans meant by saying that God never works apart from means. They meant the Law! They meant that the Gospel always comes to us, “in, with and under’ law things that we can see and do. Today we have reduced that saying to be about the elements in the sacraments.

    for a further and deeper understanding of what I just said, i would point you to the excellent passage in the apology where they talk about synechtoche and the story of the woman who was saved because she loved much. you will find that in the apology in the section ‘on love and the keeping of the law’.

    Bless you Mary Jack. your comments are great ones! Right on the money!

    Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

  • fws

    MARY JACK Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

    FRANK I suggest the task is not to center things in Christ. it is not even to say the Gospel is more important than the Law.

    I would suggest that the task is to properly distinguish law and gospel. to distinguish . not to even really divide or separate in a real sense. How does one separate or divide law from gospel in the form of the Holy Crucifix?

    The Old Lutherans made the vocational (ie casuistic, practical, day to day) law and gospel distinction using the modality of two kingdoms.

    Today we have adopted the idea that two kingdoms is about separation of church and state or worse…

    we have adopted the Roman catholic and scholastic idea that two kingdoms is to distinguish “spiritual things” from “carnal things”.

    To do that second thing is to utterly destroy the very foundation of Lutheran doctrine.

  • fws

    MARY JACK Of course vocation has to do with law, but not in such a way as to take the centrality of the Gospel out of the conversation.

    FRANK I suggest the task is not to center things in Christ. it is not even to say the Gospel is more important than the Law.

    I would suggest that the task is to properly distinguish law and gospel. to distinguish . not to even really divide or separate in a real sense. How does one separate or divide law from gospel in the form of the Holy Crucifix?

    The Old Lutherans made the vocational (ie casuistic, practical, day to day) law and gospel distinction using the modality of two kingdoms.

    Today we have adopted the idea that two kingdoms is about separation of church and state or worse…

    we have adopted the Roman catholic and scholastic idea that two kingdoms is to distinguish “spiritual things” from “carnal things”.

    To do that second thing is to utterly destroy the very foundation of Lutheran doctrine.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, I find it interesting that you divide second article gifts from first article gifts so definitively. I understand the crucifixion to be the source of both, though there are earthly/salvific differences between the two. And I will stand by my two first statements: God has made Himself our Father and that is only done by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten. It is all His work and it is Gospel. That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. In a sense because the incarnation and the crucifixion are two separate (though clearly related!) gifts. Believe it or not, but I do try very hard to keep the crucifixion and salvation at the center whenever I write about the Gospel.

    I very, very, very much wish you could read this book and tell us what you think of it, if you would disagree with its premises. It is hard for me to tell how much we disagree and how much we address different things, as in God at work (gospel) or man at work (law). I presume we would agree that God is at work in vocation.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, I find it interesting that you divide second article gifts from first article gifts so definitively. I understand the crucifixion to be the source of both, though there are earthly/salvific differences between the two. And I will stand by my two first statements: God has made Himself our Father and that is only done by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten. It is all His work and it is Gospel. That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. In a sense because the incarnation and the crucifixion are two separate (though clearly related!) gifts. Believe it or not, but I do try very hard to keep the crucifixion and salvation at the center whenever I write about the Gospel.

    I very, very, very much wish you could read this book and tell us what you think of it, if you would disagree with its premises. It is hard for me to tell how much we disagree and how much we address different things, as in God at work (gospel) or man at work (law). I presume we would agree that God is at work in vocation.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @16
    Dear sister,
    You and I are having a conversation that I wish alot of other Lutherans and christians would have. I wish you could come down to visit and we could continue this over a nice cup of the best coffee in the world, which is, of course, our Brasilian coffee.

    First off, I want to say that I believe that what I am saying Mary Jack is merely and only a repeating in my own words of what our Confessions teach. Nothing more. Nothing less. So feel free to challenge me to demonstrate that that is so! It is not a matter of us debating whether your opinion or mine is the right one then. And then, from there, it is pretty easy to show that our Confessions are merely also witnessing to what the Holy Scriptures tell us.

    MARY JACK SAYS Frank, I find it interesting that you divide second article gifts from first article gifts so definitively.

    FRANK SAYS: Ah ok. By bad. Here is the first thing I need to be more clear on. You are teaching me lots by gently conversing with me here. I think you are exactly right, but I would suggest you allow our Confessions to ajust the way you are seeing and articulating that thought. So what is the confessional layout?

    First: God is 1) father of ALL, independently of what Christ has done, and 2) the Author and Souce of ALL Goodness and Mercy 3) in everything. Note: everything.

    Restated:

    God rules and regulates everything we can imagine precisely to make Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen among mankind, which is his Eternal Will.

    But here is where Law and Gospel comes in, and comes in in the form of Two Kingdoms:

    God rules in two ways. He makes Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen in ALL that Old Adam can see or do in his body with the carrot and stick, the extortion and coercion of the Law that is written in the Reason of ALL men (romans 2:15).

    And then … God also rules in a different, heavenly kingdom. In that kingdom Goodness and Mercy simply happens spontaneously because of the One Sacrifice and Death of Christ that has ushered in a New Man with a new heart that has the Image of God. As a fruit of that Image, which is alone Faith alone in Christ alone. alone. alone, our New man now has the Law , once again, written in the heart in the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 33 (see the apology “on love and the keeping of the Law” to see how central this is to the confessional argument!)

    This fact is precisely why the Law is good even though it is also true that the Law always and only kills and accuses and demands sacrifice. Sacrifice is the working of the Law, or , if you will, the Law-in-Action. It is the Law demanding that a death happen. That part is neither good nor is it God’s Will! But the fact is , that only through death can the Old Adam be made to do Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is the fruit of the Law that is the Will of God.

    Here note that sanctification and the New Man results in the SAME fruit that the Law also produces in Old Adam! What is that fruit? Why it is Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being done!

    “‘I would have mercy and not sacrifice” is where Jesus teaches what I have just laid out.

    And where is all this in the confessions? In the first article and the 4th petition Dr Luther state that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy is done to who? 1) To the “unworthy” (old adam) 2) “indeed without our prayer!” (to those without faith in Christ) and in the 4th petition we read “even for all the wicked” (even those who are actively trying to subvert and overthrow God’s gracious Will that is that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy be done.

    So the catechism is telling us that God IS the Father of ALL whether one believes it or not! Whether one has faith in Christ or not. And further, any Goodness and Mercy that we can see or do in the earthly (first article) kingdom is the direct result of God’s work. God works ALL Goodness and Mercy that is done anywhere. But here in all we can see and do, in the earthly kingdom, he does that by employing the Law that is written in the Reason of all men (romans 2:15)

    And you are right. The second article Gift is not a DIFFERENT gift. It is the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that we read about in the First Article. But now it comes in the form of the Son. Why? Because only he could do the One Sacrifice that the Law demands, and which is NOT God’s Will, in order to make his Eternal Will, Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to once again happen among men like “light flows from the sun ” (formula of concord article on “the Lutheran Third Use of the Law”).

    I think I have demonstrated how our Confessions lay things out by going to the Small Catechism alone. It is all right there! No need to be a scholar and know the rest of the Confessions because those other confessions merely clarify what is all right there in our small catechism.

    MARY JACK I understand the crucifixion to be the source of both, though there are earthly/salvific differences between the two.

    FRANK I hope you can see now, from our Confessions in the small catechism, that this is not the right “form of sound doctrine”. If not, then please at least consider what i am saying and keep it in the back of your mind as you continue to study as at least a possibility. and see if it fits and clarifies scripture for you. it will!

    Further, I would invite you to show me how I am not reading either our confessions or the scriptures correctly here. Bless me by not merely giving me your own opinion but better direct me to the Confessions and Holy Scriptures dear sister!

    MARY JACK And I will stand by my two first statements: God has made Himself our Father and that is only done by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten.

    FRANK Again. ALL men (romans 2:15) know from the Law of God written in their Reason that there is a God, he is Father, he is Good and he is Merciful. What they cannot be certain of is that he is Merciful “to THEM!” And so they do endless sacrifice, which is not the Will of God. God wills the fruit of that sacrifice, which is for Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to be done. And ultimately , that can only be known and done through his Son in the way God wills, which is for Goodness and Mercy to flow without the need for sacrifice to be made. God wants living sacrifices not dead ones!

    MARY JACK It is all His work…

    FRANK That is the entire point of what I am saying really, but God works in all we can see and do through the Law and in invisible faith alone in Christ alone. alone. alone. alone alone alone through the Gospel.

    MARY JACK … and it is Gospel.

    FRANK It is the definition of that it I suggest , where our difference lies.

    MARY JACK That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. In a sense because the incarnation and the crucifixion are two separate (though clearly related!) gifts.

    FRANK Second article: Who is Jesus? begotten of the blessed Virgin and God’s son … What did he do? Bought and paid for us as his slave/bride with his own blood… Why did he do it?….. So that we would be his property and live under him in his Kingdom and serve him…. ALL of that is the Gospel and none of it is “gospel” or gospel merely in a sense. Don’t separate or divide here sister! One Gift! And that Gift is Christ and his Work!

    MARY JACK Believe it or not, but I do try very hard to keep the crucifixion and salvation at the center whenever I write about the Gospel.

    FRANK I completely believe you. We are having a very important discussion precisely because you are passionate about the Passion! Me too!

    MARY JACK I very, very, very much wish you could read this book and tell us what you think of it, if you would disagree with its premises.

    FRANK You can send me a copy to Brasil if you like! my email is fwsonnek@gmail.com … maybe Dr Vieth will put my comments on the back cover of the next edition… ha!

    MARY JACK It is hard for me to tell how much we disagree and how much we address different things, as in God at work (gospel) or man at work (law).

    FRANK Ah. Even in “man at work” it is really God doing the doing. God is driving Old Adam to do Goodness and Mercy by the carrot and stick of the Law. God is making his Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen in with and under the Old Adams of us all! he is in total control of things! Read Luke 18 and the story of the antinomian judge nagged and driven by a conscience that is dead to love. That is precisely how God makes justice happen on earth.

    Now note yet another useful distinction: justice is what we all deserve. Justice always demands that a sacrifice be made. “cut the baby in two” is precisely what Justice looks like. Mercy is the precise opposite of Justice. it is precisely to receive what we do NOT deserve! this sounds like Gospel doent it?! But… it is not the Gospel! Only the Work of Christ, which was that One Sacrifice, is the Gospel. And the fruit of that One Sacrifice alone, is that Mercy and Goodness can , once again, Rule in the hearts of men without the need for the coercion of the law. this is prophecied in Jeremiah 33 and is prophecy fulfilled every single time someone is baptized with water and the Word of God. The Image of God, which is alone faith alone in Christ alone is then restored. and the fruit of that restoration is the writing of the Law of God once again in the hearts, not just the reason, of all men!

    Bless you mary jack. if you still disagree, point me to where I am missing or misreading something in either holy scripture or our confessons. Neither my private opinion nor yours really counts for much . I am sure you agree with me here.
    I presume we would agree that God is at work in vocation.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @16
    Dear sister,
    You and I are having a conversation that I wish alot of other Lutherans and christians would have. I wish you could come down to visit and we could continue this over a nice cup of the best coffee in the world, which is, of course, our Brasilian coffee.

    First off, I want to say that I believe that what I am saying Mary Jack is merely and only a repeating in my own words of what our Confessions teach. Nothing more. Nothing less. So feel free to challenge me to demonstrate that that is so! It is not a matter of us debating whether your opinion or mine is the right one then. And then, from there, it is pretty easy to show that our Confessions are merely also witnessing to what the Holy Scriptures tell us.

    MARY JACK SAYS Frank, I find it interesting that you divide second article gifts from first article gifts so definitively.

    FRANK SAYS: Ah ok. By bad. Here is the first thing I need to be more clear on. You are teaching me lots by gently conversing with me here. I think you are exactly right, but I would suggest you allow our Confessions to ajust the way you are seeing and articulating that thought. So what is the confessional layout?

    First: God is 1) father of ALL, independently of what Christ has done, and 2) the Author and Souce of ALL Goodness and Mercy 3) in everything. Note: everything.

    Restated:

    God rules and regulates everything we can imagine precisely to make Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen among mankind, which is his Eternal Will.

    But here is where Law and Gospel comes in, and comes in in the form of Two Kingdoms:

    God rules in two ways. He makes Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen in ALL that Old Adam can see or do in his body with the carrot and stick, the extortion and coercion of the Law that is written in the Reason of ALL men (romans 2:15).

    And then … God also rules in a different, heavenly kingdom. In that kingdom Goodness and Mercy simply happens spontaneously because of the One Sacrifice and Death of Christ that has ushered in a New Man with a new heart that has the Image of God. As a fruit of that Image, which is alone Faith alone in Christ alone. alone. alone, our New man now has the Law , once again, written in the heart in the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 33 (see the apology “on love and the keeping of the Law” to see how central this is to the confessional argument!)

    This fact is precisely why the Law is good even though it is also true that the Law always and only kills and accuses and demands sacrifice. Sacrifice is the working of the Law, or , if you will, the Law-in-Action. It is the Law demanding that a death happen. That part is neither good nor is it God’s Will! But the fact is , that only through death can the Old Adam be made to do Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is the fruit of the Law that is the Will of God.

    Here note that sanctification and the New Man results in the SAME fruit that the Law also produces in Old Adam! What is that fruit? Why it is Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being done!

    “‘I would have mercy and not sacrifice” is where Jesus teaches what I have just laid out.

    And where is all this in the confessions? In the first article and the 4th petition Dr Luther state that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy is done to who? 1) To the “unworthy” (old adam) 2) “indeed without our prayer!” (to those without faith in Christ) and in the 4th petition we read “even for all the wicked” (even those who are actively trying to subvert and overthrow God’s gracious Will that is that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy be done.

    So the catechism is telling us that God IS the Father of ALL whether one believes it or not! Whether one has faith in Christ or not. And further, any Goodness and Mercy that we can see or do in the earthly (first article) kingdom is the direct result of God’s work. God works ALL Goodness and Mercy that is done anywhere. But here in all we can see and do, in the earthly kingdom, he does that by employing the Law that is written in the Reason of all men (romans 2:15)

    And you are right. The second article Gift is not a DIFFERENT gift. It is the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that we read about in the First Article. But now it comes in the form of the Son. Why? Because only he could do the One Sacrifice that the Law demands, and which is NOT God’s Will, in order to make his Eternal Will, Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to once again happen among men like “light flows from the sun ” (formula of concord article on “the Lutheran Third Use of the Law”).

    I think I have demonstrated how our Confessions lay things out by going to the Small Catechism alone. It is all right there! No need to be a scholar and know the rest of the Confessions because those other confessions merely clarify what is all right there in our small catechism.

    MARY JACK I understand the crucifixion to be the source of both, though there are earthly/salvific differences between the two.

    FRANK I hope you can see now, from our Confessions in the small catechism, that this is not the right “form of sound doctrine”. If not, then please at least consider what i am saying and keep it in the back of your mind as you continue to study as at least a possibility. and see if it fits and clarifies scripture for you. it will!

    Further, I would invite you to show me how I am not reading either our confessions or the scriptures correctly here. Bless me by not merely giving me your own opinion but better direct me to the Confessions and Holy Scriptures dear sister!

    MARY JACK And I will stand by my two first statements: God has made Himself our Father and that is only done by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten.

    FRANK Again. ALL men (romans 2:15) know from the Law of God written in their Reason that there is a God, he is Father, he is Good and he is Merciful. What they cannot be certain of is that he is Merciful “to THEM!” And so they do endless sacrifice, which is not the Will of God. God wills the fruit of that sacrifice, which is for Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to be done. And ultimately , that can only be known and done through his Son in the way God wills, which is for Goodness and Mercy to flow without the need for sacrifice to be made. God wants living sacrifices not dead ones!

    MARY JACK It is all His work…

    FRANK That is the entire point of what I am saying really, but God works in all we can see and do through the Law and in invisible faith alone in Christ alone. alone. alone. alone alone alone through the Gospel.

    MARY JACK … and it is Gospel.

    FRANK It is the definition of that it I suggest , where our difference lies.

    MARY JACK That Christ become Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. In a sense because the incarnation and the crucifixion are two separate (though clearly related!) gifts.

    FRANK Second article: Who is Jesus? begotten of the blessed Virgin and God’s son … What did he do? Bought and paid for us as his slave/bride with his own blood… Why did he do it?….. So that we would be his property and live under him in his Kingdom and serve him…. ALL of that is the Gospel and none of it is “gospel” or gospel merely in a sense. Don’t separate or divide here sister! One Gift! And that Gift is Christ and his Work!

    MARY JACK Believe it or not, but I do try very hard to keep the crucifixion and salvation at the center whenever I write about the Gospel.

    FRANK I completely believe you. We are having a very important discussion precisely because you are passionate about the Passion! Me too!

    MARY JACK I very, very, very much wish you could read this book and tell us what you think of it, if you would disagree with its premises.

    FRANK You can send me a copy to Brasil if you like! my email is fwsonnek@gmail.com … maybe Dr Vieth will put my comments on the back cover of the next edition… ha!

    MARY JACK It is hard for me to tell how much we disagree and how much we address different things, as in God at work (gospel) or man at work (law).

    FRANK Ah. Even in “man at work” it is really God doing the doing. God is driving Old Adam to do Goodness and Mercy by the carrot and stick of the Law. God is making his Fatherly Goodness and Mercy happen in with and under the Old Adams of us all! he is in total control of things! Read Luke 18 and the story of the antinomian judge nagged and driven by a conscience that is dead to love. That is precisely how God makes justice happen on earth.

    Now note yet another useful distinction: justice is what we all deserve. Justice always demands that a sacrifice be made. “cut the baby in two” is precisely what Justice looks like. Mercy is the precise opposite of Justice. it is precisely to receive what we do NOT deserve! this sounds like Gospel doent it?! But… it is not the Gospel! Only the Work of Christ, which was that One Sacrifice, is the Gospel. And the fruit of that One Sacrifice alone, is that Mercy and Goodness can , once again, Rule in the hearts of men without the need for the coercion of the law. this is prophecied in Jeremiah 33 and is prophecy fulfilled every single time someone is baptized with water and the Word of God. The Image of God, which is alone faith alone in Christ alone is then restored. and the fruit of that restoration is the writing of the Law of God once again in the hearts, not just the reason, of all men!

    Bless you mary jack. if you still disagree, point me to where I am missing or misreading something in either holy scripture or our confessons. Neither my private opinion nor yours really counts for much . I am sure you agree with me here.
    I presume we would agree that God is at work in vocation.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 13

    Let me respond more directly to these 4 assertions you make:

    1) God has made Himself our Father and …
    2)[ God has made Himself our Father only] by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten.
    3) It is all His work
    4) and it is Gospel.

    1) Where do you find this taught in either Scripture or the Confessions dear sister? What I mean is this: Isn´t it just a fact that God is the father of all? Does scripture say he needs to DO something to make that be so?

    2) I suggest the precise reverse. I suggest you have placed cart before horse. God has joined us to Jesus because he is our Father full of goodness and mercy. God is not full of Goodness and Mercy and the Father only after his Son has made the One Sacrifice that is Life and Goodness and Mercy rather than death.

    3) You would need to identify the “it” for me to respond. If the “it ” is Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is Gods eternal will to be done among men, then I agree. Further, he makes this Unitary Same Identical Goodness and Mercy come to fruit-ion in two ways: by the coercion and extortion of the Law in the earthly kingdom, in Old Adam, by the governments of marriage/family, church and society, and then also , in the heavenly kingdom, alone by faith alone in the Works/Sacrifice that alone gives Life of Another, which is the restored Image of God in New Man.

    4) even though mercy is always, by definition undeserved and nothing we can work to make happen, it is not the Gospel.

    Mercy is fruit and it is the same identical fruit produced by two trees.

    One is a tree called Sacrifice and it always and only demands death. Justice requires death. (luke 18). Justice is precisely what we deserve. And that is alone death. And the Law works this through the three earthly kingdom governments that are called family, church and society.

    The other tree is the Gospel. That is the Tree of Life upon which our dear Lord Jesus made that One Sacrifice alone that is the Death of death and sacrifice. The fruit of this tree is the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that the tree called the Law or Sacrifice produces by killing Old Adam.

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 13

    Let me respond more directly to these 4 assertions you make:

    1) God has made Himself our Father and …
    2)[ God has made Himself our Father only] by joining us to Jesus, His only begotten.
    3) It is all His work
    4) and it is Gospel.

    1) Where do you find this taught in either Scripture or the Confessions dear sister? What I mean is this: Isn´t it just a fact that God is the father of all? Does scripture say he needs to DO something to make that be so?

    2) I suggest the precise reverse. I suggest you have placed cart before horse. God has joined us to Jesus because he is our Father full of goodness and mercy. God is not full of Goodness and Mercy and the Father only after his Son has made the One Sacrifice that is Life and Goodness and Mercy rather than death.

    3) You would need to identify the “it” for me to respond. If the “it ” is Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is Gods eternal will to be done among men, then I agree. Further, he makes this Unitary Same Identical Goodness and Mercy come to fruit-ion in two ways: by the coercion and extortion of the Law in the earthly kingdom, in Old Adam, by the governments of marriage/family, church and society, and then also , in the heavenly kingdom, alone by faith alone in the Works/Sacrifice that alone gives Life of Another, which is the restored Image of God in New Man.

    4) even though mercy is always, by definition undeserved and nothing we can work to make happen, it is not the Gospel.

    Mercy is fruit and it is the same identical fruit produced by two trees.

    One is a tree called Sacrifice and it always and only demands death. Justice requires death. (luke 18). Justice is precisely what we deserve. And that is alone death. And the Law works this through the three earthly kingdom governments that are called family, church and society.

    The other tree is the Gospel. That is the Tree of Life upon which our dear Lord Jesus made that One Sacrifice alone that is the Death of death and sacrifice. The fruit of this tree is the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that the tree called the Law or Sacrifice produces by killing Old Adam.

  • Mary Jack

    FWS, if you’ll pardon me, I’ll respond to only one or two of your points at this time.

    “God is father of ALL.” At best, it seems we have different understandings of the term father. God is Creator of all, but He only has one begotten Son. He is Father because He has a Son. When He acts fatherly, He is doing so because of His Father-Son relationship, and His Father-Son relationship with Jesus within the Trinity must, of course, proceed any earthly reflection or manifestation of fatherly anything. I do not understand first article gifts to exist apart from the entirety of the Trinity, even as the Father is named the giver.

    So, could you please show me what text from Scripture or the Confessions profess that God is Father apart from Christ? And please note that my point is singularly about the term father as God is the Father.

    I do believe that Scripture & the Confessions teach that God can be the Father to all (by taking them into His Son) and He is certainly merciful to all, even all creation, but isn’t that because, within the Trinity, Father, Son & Holy Spirit are merciful & loving? And because all the world has been redeemed by the Son? Or perhaps you could quote Scripture or the Confessions to show me the Father acting in mercy apart from Trinitarian unity?

  • Mary Jack

    FWS, if you’ll pardon me, I’ll respond to only one or two of your points at this time.

    “God is father of ALL.” At best, it seems we have different understandings of the term father. God is Creator of all, but He only has one begotten Son. He is Father because He has a Son. When He acts fatherly, He is doing so because of His Father-Son relationship, and His Father-Son relationship with Jesus within the Trinity must, of course, proceed any earthly reflection or manifestation of fatherly anything. I do not understand first article gifts to exist apart from the entirety of the Trinity, even as the Father is named the giver.

    So, could you please show me what text from Scripture or the Confessions profess that God is Father apart from Christ? And please note that my point is singularly about the term father as God is the Father.

    I do believe that Scripture & the Confessions teach that God can be the Father to all (by taking them into His Son) and He is certainly merciful to all, even all creation, but isn’t that because, within the Trinity, Father, Son & Holy Spirit are merciful & loving? And because all the world has been redeemed by the Son? Or perhaps you could quote Scripture or the Confessions to show me the Father acting in mercy apart from Trinitarian unity?

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 19.

    So, could you please show me what text from Scripture or the Confessions profess that God is Father apart from Christ?

    I can´t do that because to say that would be utterly contrary to Holy Scripture.

    So apparently I am failing to show you the distinction I am making and why it matters eh? I apologize for not being able to serve you better here sister.

    How can I serve you better? Invite you to ask more questions maybe?

  • fws

    Mary Jack @ 19.

    So, could you please show me what text from Scripture or the Confessions profess that God is Father apart from Christ?

    I can´t do that because to say that would be utterly contrary to Holy Scripture.

    So apparently I am failing to show you the distinction I am making and why it matters eh? I apologize for not being able to serve you better here sister.

    How can I serve you better? Invite you to ask more questions maybe?

  • fws

    mary jack @ 19

    Let me bold the problematic words in what you are saying:

    I do believe that Scripture & the Confessions teach that God can be the Father to all

    QUESTION: can… so he is only potentially that?

    ( by taking them into His Son)

    Question: he is not that if they are not believers.. or… what?

    and He is certainly merciful to all, even all creation, but isn’t that because, within the Trinity, Father, Son & Holy Spirit are merciful & loving? And because all the world has been redeemed by the Son?

    Question: So BEFORE the redemption God was NOT merciful to all? God´s character or attitude towards sinful men was different before versus after the redemption?

    So may I propose this is what we are sort of discordant on: 1) is Fatherly goodness and mercy the “because” of the Gospel , or 2) is the Gospel the “because” of fatherly goodness and mercy?

    If 1), then God is not or was not always Good and merciful to all.

    Yes. Did the Father also die for you? He did not. The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man. He died for me and shed his blood for me. The Father is NOT the Son. Of course you know that and believe that Mary Jack. Not everything the Father does is also something the Son or the HS does. Yet there are not 3 Gods, only one in complete unity, just as you affirm. I have no doubt you believe this.

    Now it is my turn to say that I am not getting your point. I have no doubt about your orthodox lutheran credentials, therefore what i am understanding you to be saying cant be what you are intending to communicate….. help me out here…

  • fws

    mary jack @ 19

    Let me bold the problematic words in what you are saying:

    I do believe that Scripture & the Confessions teach that God can be the Father to all

    QUESTION: can… so he is only potentially that?

    ( by taking them into His Son)

    Question: he is not that if they are not believers.. or… what?

    and He is certainly merciful to all, even all creation, but isn’t that because, within the Trinity, Father, Son & Holy Spirit are merciful & loving? And because all the world has been redeemed by the Son?

    Question: So BEFORE the redemption God was NOT merciful to all? God´s character or attitude towards sinful men was different before versus after the redemption?

    So may I propose this is what we are sort of discordant on: 1) is Fatherly goodness and mercy the “because” of the Gospel , or 2) is the Gospel the “because” of fatherly goodness and mercy?

    If 1), then God is not or was not always Good and merciful to all.

    Yes. Did the Father also die for you? He did not. The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man. He died for me and shed his blood for me. The Father is NOT the Son. Of course you know that and believe that Mary Jack. Not everything the Father does is also something the Son or the HS does. Yet there are not 3 Gods, only one in complete unity, just as you affirm. I have no doubt you believe this.

    Now it is my turn to say that I am not getting your point. I have no doubt about your orthodox lutheran credentials, therefore what i am understanding you to be saying cant be what you are intending to communicate….. help me out here…

  • Mary Jack

    I am trying to say that the Father has always and consistently acted in the full knowledge of Christ’s redemption of the world. Even at the creation of the world and certainly pertaining to first article gifts. But I do not take that to mean that God the Father is father to all. He has one Son–Jesus–and by extension those of one body with Jesus, the Church. I don’t understand why you emphasize God the Father as Father to unbelievers. Is it because of Eph 4?

    I am NOT trying to say which comes first: the chicken or the egg, the Father’s mercy or the Trinity’s first act toward creation because of the Incarnate Christ. I deem that to be part of the inner working/conversation of the Trinity and WAY above my “paygrade.”

    The Father is Maker of heaven and earth. But we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit from work in creation. Likewise, the Father is the source of every good gift, but we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit. Perhaps it is because of the parallel and building nature of the Apostle’s Creed that I struggle to understand your emphasis on the Father’s mercy to His creation apart from all else.

  • Mary Jack

    I am trying to say that the Father has always and consistently acted in the full knowledge of Christ’s redemption of the world. Even at the creation of the world and certainly pertaining to first article gifts. But I do not take that to mean that God the Father is father to all. He has one Son–Jesus–and by extension those of one body with Jesus, the Church. I don’t understand why you emphasize God the Father as Father to unbelievers. Is it because of Eph 4?

    I am NOT trying to say which comes first: the chicken or the egg, the Father’s mercy or the Trinity’s first act toward creation because of the Incarnate Christ. I deem that to be part of the inner working/conversation of the Trinity and WAY above my “paygrade.”

    The Father is Maker of heaven and earth. But we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit from work in creation. Likewise, the Father is the source of every good gift, but we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit. Perhaps it is because of the parallel and building nature of the Apostle’s Creed that I struggle to understand your emphasis on the Father’s mercy to His creation apart from all else.

  • fws

    mary at 22

    FRANK This is a helpful response. I was fearful we were moving past dialog to brick wall.

    MARY I am trying to say that the Father has always and consistently acted in the full knowledge of Christ’s redemption of the world.

    FRANK True dat!

    MARY Even at the creation of the world and certainly pertaining to first article gifts. But I do not take that to mean that God the Father is father to all.

    FRANK May I ask why not?

    I am basing my understanding upon a reading of the First second and third article of the apostles creed as it is explained by Dr Martin Luther in the Small Catechism. If you are not Lutheran then you would be hearing a conversation that is quite foreign to you in what I am saying. You can read it here:http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

    scroll down to the part that treats the Apostles Creed in three parts.

    MARY He has one Son–Jesus–and by extension those of one body with Jesus, the Church. I don’t understand why you emphasize God the Father as Father to unbelievers. Is it because of Eph 4?

    FRANK see my comment about the small catechism. Yeah I can back up whatever the small catechism says with holy scripture. But I am at work and dont have time just now to do that. I had assumed you were a Lutheran. Is that a false assumption.If you are Lutheran, this would be a great topíc to discuss with your pastor!

    MARY I am NOT trying to say which comes first: the chicken or the egg, the Father’s mercy or the Trinity’s first act toward creation because of the Incarnate Christ. I deem that to be part of the inner working/conversation of the Trinity and WAY above my “paygrade.”

    FRANK Well now. St Paul tells us to pay not only attention to the content of sound doctrine but also the “form ” of sound doctrine. We follow the form in which scripture presents things. that IS our paygrade. We do this precisely because we cant understand all those inner workings. we are finite. God is infinate. the finite cannot comprehend the infinite with the one exception being our Dear Lord Jesus. He is both finite and infinite.

    So this is not “chicken or egg.” Chicken or egg is the standard phrase to use when consideration of order is irrelevant or beside the point. that is not the case here I am suggestiong. This order matters I suggest. This is father son and holy spirit. Example: the HS proceeds FROM the father and the son for example. there is an order to things we are told about. the Father does not proceed from either the Son or the HS. The Son is given all authority by the Father, not the other way around. And yes, we dont fully or even partially understand that. But it still matters. Alot. The gospel proceeds FROM and is the result of Fatherly Goodness and Mercy and not, as you propose , the other way around. Bringing Gods eternal will into this does not remove that ordering.

    MARY The Father is Maker of heaven and earth. But we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit from work in creation.

    FRANK true.

    MARY Likewise, the Father is the source of every good gift, but we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit.

    FRANK. The father did not die for us. Only the Son did that. And yet the father is the source of that Goodness and Mercy. Not the Holy Spirit. Saying these truths is not to “exclude” any part of the trinity from these things. It is how the bible asks us to verbalize these things.

    MARY Perhaps it is because of the parallel and building nature of the Apostle’s Creed that I struggle to understand your emphasis on the Father’s mercy to His creation apart from all else.

    FRANK tell me more. I am not following you. Can we focus on the text of the small catechism here for you to show me what you mean? of course if you are not Lutheran you may disregard this invitation.

  • fws

    mary at 22

    FRANK This is a helpful response. I was fearful we were moving past dialog to brick wall.

    MARY I am trying to say that the Father has always and consistently acted in the full knowledge of Christ’s redemption of the world.

    FRANK True dat!

    MARY Even at the creation of the world and certainly pertaining to first article gifts. But I do not take that to mean that God the Father is father to all.

    FRANK May I ask why not?

    I am basing my understanding upon a reading of the First second and third article of the apostles creed as it is explained by Dr Martin Luther in the Small Catechism. If you are not Lutheran then you would be hearing a conversation that is quite foreign to you in what I am saying. You can read it here:http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

    scroll down to the part that treats the Apostles Creed in three parts.

    MARY He has one Son–Jesus–and by extension those of one body with Jesus, the Church. I don’t understand why you emphasize God the Father as Father to unbelievers. Is it because of Eph 4?

    FRANK see my comment about the small catechism. Yeah I can back up whatever the small catechism says with holy scripture. But I am at work and dont have time just now to do that. I had assumed you were a Lutheran. Is that a false assumption.If you are Lutheran, this would be a great topíc to discuss with your pastor!

    MARY I am NOT trying to say which comes first: the chicken or the egg, the Father’s mercy or the Trinity’s first act toward creation because of the Incarnate Christ. I deem that to be part of the inner working/conversation of the Trinity and WAY above my “paygrade.”

    FRANK Well now. St Paul tells us to pay not only attention to the content of sound doctrine but also the “form ” of sound doctrine. We follow the form in which scripture presents things. that IS our paygrade. We do this precisely because we cant understand all those inner workings. we are finite. God is infinate. the finite cannot comprehend the infinite with the one exception being our Dear Lord Jesus. He is both finite and infinite.

    So this is not “chicken or egg.” Chicken or egg is the standard phrase to use when consideration of order is irrelevant or beside the point. that is not the case here I am suggestiong. This order matters I suggest. This is father son and holy spirit. Example: the HS proceeds FROM the father and the son for example. there is an order to things we are told about. the Father does not proceed from either the Son or the HS. The Son is given all authority by the Father, not the other way around. And yes, we dont fully or even partially understand that. But it still matters. Alot. The gospel proceeds FROM and is the result of Fatherly Goodness and Mercy and not, as you propose , the other way around. Bringing Gods eternal will into this does not remove that ordering.

    MARY The Father is Maker of heaven and earth. But we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit from work in creation.

    FRANK true.

    MARY Likewise, the Father is the source of every good gift, but we don’t confess that to exclude the Son or Holy Spirit.

    FRANK. The father did not die for us. Only the Son did that. And yet the father is the source of that Goodness and Mercy. Not the Holy Spirit. Saying these truths is not to “exclude” any part of the trinity from these things. It is how the bible asks us to verbalize these things.

    MARY Perhaps it is because of the parallel and building nature of the Apostle’s Creed that I struggle to understand your emphasis on the Father’s mercy to His creation apart from all else.

    FRANK tell me more. I am not following you. Can we focus on the text of the small catechism here for you to show me what you mean? of course if you are not Lutheran you may disregard this invitation.

  • Mary Jack

    I am a Lutheran. The Small Catechism says that God has made me and all creatures, not fathered me and all creatures. Yes, it also says, “He made me and all creatures … out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.” I understand that to mean “in a fatherly manner” and–to me–that calls in Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father. I do not see that as Martin Luther teaching that Creator and Father are interchangeable terms in reference to our God or that God has fathered all.

    Also, the Apostle’s Creed is a baptismal creed. In the early church, one was not to recite it or the Lord’s Prayer precisely to recognize that baptism marks one as Child of God, incorporated into the Son. So, again, I do not see the confession of “God the Father Almighty” to mean God is the father to everyone.

    Fathers beget. Like produces like. God has One Son. I still do not understand how we fail to agree about this. I mean, I’m SURE we DO agree on a level but we are clearly misunderstanding each other somehow. Isn’t Jesus the only-begotten Son of God? What does that mean if not God’s Fatherhood is not the same as Him as Creator?

    I DO believe that God’s Fatherhood impacts everything. But not to the point of saying or teaching that God’s Fatherhood makes Him father of all people and all things.

    Moving on. The Father sent the Son. Absolutely. The Father did not die. I’m with you. The Father has all authority. Still with you. The Father gives authority to the Son. Still with you. Order within the Trinity. Headship of the Father over the Son. YES! And yet I think the Gospel is mutually of the Father and the Son.

    To consider the Father’s love and mercy apart from who He is as the Father of the Son … I do not see that as a starting point. I don’t think that’s the point of what Luther was saying in the Small Catechism. I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor. Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law. Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision. But I take it you disagree that Christ provides through earthly means? Because only the Father gives first article gifts?

    I do NOT mean to put words into your mouth, but I hope this illustrates where some of our misunderstandings lie.

  • Mary Jack

    I am a Lutheran. The Small Catechism says that God has made me and all creatures, not fathered me and all creatures. Yes, it also says, “He made me and all creatures … out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.” I understand that to mean “in a fatherly manner” and–to me–that calls in Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father. I do not see that as Martin Luther teaching that Creator and Father are interchangeable terms in reference to our God or that God has fathered all.

    Also, the Apostle’s Creed is a baptismal creed. In the early church, one was not to recite it or the Lord’s Prayer precisely to recognize that baptism marks one as Child of God, incorporated into the Son. So, again, I do not see the confession of “God the Father Almighty” to mean God is the father to everyone.

    Fathers beget. Like produces like. God has One Son. I still do not understand how we fail to agree about this. I mean, I’m SURE we DO agree on a level but we are clearly misunderstanding each other somehow. Isn’t Jesus the only-begotten Son of God? What does that mean if not God’s Fatherhood is not the same as Him as Creator?

    I DO believe that God’s Fatherhood impacts everything. But not to the point of saying or teaching that God’s Fatherhood makes Him father of all people and all things.

    Moving on. The Father sent the Son. Absolutely. The Father did not die. I’m with you. The Father has all authority. Still with you. The Father gives authority to the Son. Still with you. Order within the Trinity. Headship of the Father over the Son. YES! And yet I think the Gospel is mutually of the Father and the Son.

    To consider the Father’s love and mercy apart from who He is as the Father of the Son … I do not see that as a starting point. I don’t think that’s the point of what Luther was saying in the Small Catechism. I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor. Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law. Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision. But I take it you disagree that Christ provides through earthly means? Because only the Father gives first article gifts?

    I do NOT mean to put words into your mouth, but I hope this illustrates where some of our misunderstandings lie.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 24

    forgive me for any flaws in this answer. I just got home from work and have been putting in 12 hours days back to back for 3 weeks. at 56 years old i find that physically challenging.

    so to respond.

    MARY I am a Lutheran. The Small Catechism says that God has made me and all creatures, not fathered me and all creatures.

    FATHER Ok . The article is about the Father. But he is not really that for some of his creatures ?

    MARY Yes, it also says, “He made me and all creatures … out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.” I understand that to mean “in a fatherly manner”

    FRANK Why read “manner” into the text? Is it describing him as father only according to his manner and works or according to who he IS? If it is who he IS, then how would that change ever?

    MARY and–to me–that calls in Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father.

    FRANK What is it in the text inself that prompts that thought Mary?

    MARY I do not see that as Martin Luther teaching that Creator and Father are interchangeable terms in reference to our God

    FRANK I am not understanding why you raise this point actually. The title of the First Article is this: “The First Article. Of Creation.” and in that article it says….”.I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. What does this mean?” Ok . so it does not say the father is creator. It says maker. Your point there is what exactly Mary?

    MARY or that God has fathered all.

    FRANK It doesnt say he has fathered all. It says he is the father of all creation though doesnt it? “God the father , creator of ALL” note that Luther leans hard on that word “all’. it is woven into the very structure. Count the lists of things. 7 things. 7 means what? completion. Everything. All! Luther’s point there is what?

    MARY Also, the Apostle’s Creed is a baptismal creed. In the early church, one was not to recite it or the Lord’s Prayer precisely to recognize that baptism marks one as Child of God, incorporated into the Son. So, again, I do not see the confession of “God the Father Almighty” to mean God is the father to everyone.

    FRANK Ok . That IS an argument that he is the father of all the baptized. How is it an argument that he is NOT the father of the unbaptized. Am I right in thinking you are asserting that?

    MARY Fathers beget. Like produces like. God has One Son.

    FRANK Ok. U Lost me here. This is true, but it pertains to what we are discussing how?

    MARY I still do not understand how we fail to agree about this. I mean, I’m SURE we DO agree on a level but we are clearly misunderstanding each other somehow.

    FRANK That is ok. This is called the “conversation of the saints” I suspect. It is good.

    MARY Isn’t Jesus the only-begotten Son of God? What does that mean if not God’s Fatherhood is not the same as Him as Creator?

    FRANK again you lost me here. Not tracking/.

    MARY I DO believe that God’s Fatherhood impacts everything. But not to the point of saying or teaching that God’s Fatherhood makes Him father of all people and all things.

    FRANK why not? so then he is NOT the father of what?

    MARY Moving on. The Father sent the Son. Absolutely. The Father did not die. I’m with you. The Father has all authority. Still with you. The Father gives authority to the Son. Still with you. Order within the Trinity. Headship of the Father over the Son. YES! And yet I think the Gospel is mutually of the Father and the Son.

    To consider the Father’s love and mercy apart from who He is as the Father of the Son … I do not see that as a starting point.

    FRANK It does seem that that is precisely how Luther presents things in the small catechism. where is the rest of the trinity in the first article? Is that wrong or bad? We can’t talk about the 3 persons as being totally distinct, as in the father is NOT the son, and the son is NOT the hs…..? No. I know you believe we can. So your problem is what?

    MARY I don’t think that’s the point of what Luther was saying in the Small Catechism.

    FRANK ” I dont think THAT’S the point” What does “that’ refer to.

    MARY I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    FRANK Ok. Maybe so. Where would you show that in the text?

    MARY Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor.Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law.

    FRANK So we and our neighbor are no longer under the law because christ is hidden in all of us?

    MARY Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision.

    FRANK “in his provision” what does that mean mary? Luther places first article provision completely under the Father doesnt he? Is that wrong? and he places forgiveness completely as being completely won by the Son. Is that also wrong?

    MARY But I take it you disagree that Christ provides through earthly means? Because only the Father gives first article gifts?

    FRANK Quite to the contrary! God only works through means ordinarily. We are to expect that because God always attaches his promises to means. So what is meant by means? I suggest that the means God always uses is sinful Old Adam driven by the Law of God in ALL we can see and do in our bodies.

    MARY I do NOT mean to put words into your mouth, but I hope this illustrates where some of our misunderstandings lie.

    FRANK We are still talking and our questions are sincere, polite and not rhetorical or meant to win the argument. God will work with it. I trust that you mean only well and to serve me as I mean to do for you.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 24

    forgive me for any flaws in this answer. I just got home from work and have been putting in 12 hours days back to back for 3 weeks. at 56 years old i find that physically challenging.

    so to respond.

    MARY I am a Lutheran. The Small Catechism says that God has made me and all creatures, not fathered me and all creatures.

    FATHER Ok . The article is about the Father. But he is not really that for some of his creatures ?

    MARY Yes, it also says, “He made me and all creatures … out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.” I understand that to mean “in a fatherly manner”

    FRANK Why read “manner” into the text? Is it describing him as father only according to his manner and works or according to who he IS? If it is who he IS, then how would that change ever?

    MARY and–to me–that calls in Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father.

    FRANK What is it in the text inself that prompts that thought Mary?

    MARY I do not see that as Martin Luther teaching that Creator and Father are interchangeable terms in reference to our God

    FRANK I am not understanding why you raise this point actually. The title of the First Article is this: “The First Article. Of Creation.” and in that article it says….”.I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. What does this mean?” Ok . so it does not say the father is creator. It says maker. Your point there is what exactly Mary?

    MARY or that God has fathered all.

    FRANK It doesnt say he has fathered all. It says he is the father of all creation though doesnt it? “God the father , creator of ALL” note that Luther leans hard on that word “all’. it is woven into the very structure. Count the lists of things. 7 things. 7 means what? completion. Everything. All! Luther’s point there is what?

    MARY Also, the Apostle’s Creed is a baptismal creed. In the early church, one was not to recite it or the Lord’s Prayer precisely to recognize that baptism marks one as Child of God, incorporated into the Son. So, again, I do not see the confession of “God the Father Almighty” to mean God is the father to everyone.

    FRANK Ok . That IS an argument that he is the father of all the baptized. How is it an argument that he is NOT the father of the unbaptized. Am I right in thinking you are asserting that?

    MARY Fathers beget. Like produces like. God has One Son.

    FRANK Ok. U Lost me here. This is true, but it pertains to what we are discussing how?

    MARY I still do not understand how we fail to agree about this. I mean, I’m SURE we DO agree on a level but we are clearly misunderstanding each other somehow.

    FRANK That is ok. This is called the “conversation of the saints” I suspect. It is good.

    MARY Isn’t Jesus the only-begotten Son of God? What does that mean if not God’s Fatherhood is not the same as Him as Creator?

    FRANK again you lost me here. Not tracking/.

    MARY I DO believe that God’s Fatherhood impacts everything. But not to the point of saying or teaching that God’s Fatherhood makes Him father of all people and all things.

    FRANK why not? so then he is NOT the father of what?

    MARY Moving on. The Father sent the Son. Absolutely. The Father did not die. I’m with you. The Father has all authority. Still with you. The Father gives authority to the Son. Still with you. Order within the Trinity. Headship of the Father over the Son. YES! And yet I think the Gospel is mutually of the Father and the Son.

    To consider the Father’s love and mercy apart from who He is as the Father of the Son … I do not see that as a starting point.

    FRANK It does seem that that is precisely how Luther presents things in the small catechism. where is the rest of the trinity in the first article? Is that wrong or bad? We can’t talk about the 3 persons as being totally distinct, as in the father is NOT the son, and the son is NOT the hs…..? No. I know you believe we can. So your problem is what?

    MARY I don’t think that’s the point of what Luther was saying in the Small Catechism.

    FRANK ” I dont think THAT’S the point” What does “that’ refer to.

    MARY I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    FRANK Ok. Maybe so. Where would you show that in the text?

    MARY Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor.Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law.

    FRANK So we and our neighbor are no longer under the law because christ is hidden in all of us?

    MARY Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision.

    FRANK “in his provision” what does that mean mary? Luther places first article provision completely under the Father doesnt he? Is that wrong? and he places forgiveness completely as being completely won by the Son. Is that also wrong?

    MARY But I take it you disagree that Christ provides through earthly means? Because only the Father gives first article gifts?

    FRANK Quite to the contrary! God only works through means ordinarily. We are to expect that because God always attaches his promises to means. So what is meant by means? I suggest that the means God always uses is sinful Old Adam driven by the Law of God in ALL we can see and do in our bodies.

    MARY I do NOT mean to put words into your mouth, but I hope this illustrates where some of our misunderstandings lie.

    FRANK We are still talking and our questions are sincere, polite and not rhetorical or meant to win the argument. God will work with it. I trust that you mean only well and to serve me as I mean to do for you.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, you have been kind and patient. And I appreciate how you keep going to the text. However, I understand the literal text of “only-begotten Son” to exactly mean “only-sired, only-fathered Son.” So I cannot understand the baptismal creed to suggest that the heavenly Father has fathered all creation. The creed would be speaking against itself.

    I am trying to speak carefully. I am not trying to put any words in your mouth. I do not think “father” or “fathering” is the term to describe God’s relationship with a rock or an unbeliever. (NOT SUGGESTING any further parallel between the two).

    Regarding “fatherly,” if it is not “in a fatherly manner” as I & my ordained husband suggest, perhaps Luther could have been using the more culturally-laden expression for a father over an entire household with all its property. Such a “pater familia,” head of the house, denotes the father’s headship, role & authority but would still not, as I understand it, teach an actual father-son relationship with everything under his care. I disagree that the heavenly Father sired/sires creation. I am not convinced that is taught in Scripture and the Confessions.

    Perhaps I do not understand what you mean by “father”?

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, you have been kind and patient. And I appreciate how you keep going to the text. However, I understand the literal text of “only-begotten Son” to exactly mean “only-sired, only-fathered Son.” So I cannot understand the baptismal creed to suggest that the heavenly Father has fathered all creation. The creed would be speaking against itself.

    I am trying to speak carefully. I am not trying to put any words in your mouth. I do not think “father” or “fathering” is the term to describe God’s relationship with a rock or an unbeliever. (NOT SUGGESTING any further parallel between the two).

    Regarding “fatherly,” if it is not “in a fatherly manner” as I & my ordained husband suggest, perhaps Luther could have been using the more culturally-laden expression for a father over an entire household with all its property. Such a “pater familia,” head of the house, denotes the father’s headship, role & authority but would still not, as I understand it, teach an actual father-son relationship with everything under his care. I disagree that the heavenly Father sired/sires creation. I am not convinced that is taught in Scripture and the Confessions.

    Perhaps I do not understand what you mean by “father”?

  • Mary Jack

    And by all means rest if you’d rather! I know blog dialog is bound to be limited by a great number of things. :)

  • Mary Jack

    And by all means rest if you’d rather! I know blog dialog is bound to be limited by a great number of things. :)

  • fws

    mary jack. for each of your points I would like to know why you think it matters one way or the other.

    If God is not the father of all who is he NOT the father of? I am still not getting a reading from you there.

    An earthly father is a father regardless of what his actions are . You seem to be saying the father is the father only because he begot a son. that is true. But then you seem to take it further. the son being only begotten is not the Gospel. Nor is fatherly mercy. mercy is always undeserved and the opposite of what we deserve, which is justice, which demands our death. still. mercy is not the gospel. It is the death of Christ that is the Gospel.

  • fws

    mary jack. for each of your points I would like to know why you think it matters one way or the other.

    If God is not the father of all who is he NOT the father of? I am still not getting a reading from you there.

    An earthly father is a father regardless of what his actions are . You seem to be saying the father is the father only because he begot a son. that is true. But then you seem to take it further. the son being only begotten is not the Gospel. Nor is fatherly mercy. mercy is always undeserved and the opposite of what we deserve, which is justice, which demands our death. still. mercy is not the gospel. It is the death of Christ that is the Gospel.

  • fws

    maybe if you try answering the questions I posed to you I would understand what you are saying and why you think it matters better? or engage my answers to your questions? post 25 is where you will find those….

  • fws

    maybe if you try answering the questions I posed to you I would understand what you are saying and why you think it matters better? or engage my answers to your questions? post 25 is where you will find those….

  • Mary Jack

    This discussion is no longer holding together in my head, I’m afraid.

    In answer to your questions, I don’t believe our heavenly Father is father to all creation. I don’t believe He is father to unbelievers. I don’t believe He is father to inanimate things. I don’t believe He is father to the Holy Spirit. I believe He is only Father to His begotten. I believe that believers call Him Father only by incorporation into Christ.

    I read “manner” into the Small Catechism because the creed explicitly states Jesus as the only begotten.

    Frank: “Is it describing him as father only according to his manner and works or according to who he IS? If it is who he IS, then how would that change ever?”

    The creed text itself confesses the Lord as Father of Christ and our Father in our baptismal union with Jesus. It is a baptismal creed. The explanation of the creed in the text describes His Work and who He is but not all the work of the persons of the Trinity.

    FRANK What is it in the text inself that prompts that [referencing Jesus] Mary?

    Luther teaches in the Lord’s Prayer that we should address our heavenly Father as children would their dear father. But I never hear “father” describing God without relating that first to His Son. I am free to address God as father only because of His Son, who has so freed me. It keeps seeming to me that you suggest we think first of God as Father to Creation and then secondarily as Father to the Son. It seems like a fundamental difference to me that’s colored this conversation. I apologize that I likely misunderstand you.

    I am very worried that by calling God the Father of all we could fail to recognize who Christ is as the Only Son. I am worried it would equate Christ and a creation. I worry about those who rely upon a “natural” kinship with God rather than His Son and the salvation He brings.

    I don’t like to argue from silence but wouldn’t a “sonship” rooted in natural family relation interfere with the understanding of “image of God” as original righteousness as taught by the Confessions? Wouldn’t the Confessions have taken “image of God” as being truly sired?

    MARY I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    FRANK Ok. Maybe so. Where would you show that in the text?

    While the creed may not say as much, wouldn’t His earthly miracles of providence do so? He forgave sins (second article), but He also gave bread. Not without His Father, but He was still surely giver.

    MARY Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor.Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law.

    FRANK So we and our neighbor are no longer under the law because christ is hidden in all of us?

    WE are under the law, but CHRIST isn’t. If one is talking about CHRIST in vocation, one would talk about more than law.

    MARY Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision.

    FRANK “in his provision” what does that mean mary? Luther places first article provision completely under the Father doesnt he? Is that wrong? and he places forgiveness completely as being completely won by the Son. Is that also wrong?

    What Luther says is true. But all authority and power has been given to Christ. Christ, the Husband of the Church, does provide. What Luther says is true but does not exclude as much as you seem to suggest.

    I hope I have kept a respectful tone. I do respect you & your words. I am not used to writing blog comments at length in this manner.

    I originally said, “That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel. That Christ became Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel.” I was trying to demonstrate how a discussion on family vocation can be a discussion of God and the good news of Christ and not just us and the law. God is Father and Son. The Son is Groom and Brother. And those are a Gospel reality to His Bride & brothers. If I had a larger point, I think that’s bound to be it.

  • Mary Jack

    This discussion is no longer holding together in my head, I’m afraid.

    In answer to your questions, I don’t believe our heavenly Father is father to all creation. I don’t believe He is father to unbelievers. I don’t believe He is father to inanimate things. I don’t believe He is father to the Holy Spirit. I believe He is only Father to His begotten. I believe that believers call Him Father only by incorporation into Christ.

    I read “manner” into the Small Catechism because the creed explicitly states Jesus as the only begotten.

    Frank: “Is it describing him as father only according to his manner and works or according to who he IS? If it is who he IS, then how would that change ever?”

    The creed text itself confesses the Lord as Father of Christ and our Father in our baptismal union with Jesus. It is a baptismal creed. The explanation of the creed in the text describes His Work and who He is but not all the work of the persons of the Trinity.

    FRANK What is it in the text inself that prompts that [referencing Jesus] Mary?

    Luther teaches in the Lord’s Prayer that we should address our heavenly Father as children would their dear father. But I never hear “father” describing God without relating that first to His Son. I am free to address God as father only because of His Son, who has so freed me. It keeps seeming to me that you suggest we think first of God as Father to Creation and then secondarily as Father to the Son. It seems like a fundamental difference to me that’s colored this conversation. I apologize that I likely misunderstand you.

    I am very worried that by calling God the Father of all we could fail to recognize who Christ is as the Only Son. I am worried it would equate Christ and a creation. I worry about those who rely upon a “natural” kinship with God rather than His Son and the salvation He brings.

    I don’t like to argue from silence but wouldn’t a “sonship” rooted in natural family relation interfere with the understanding of “image of God” as original righteousness as taught by the Confessions? Wouldn’t the Confessions have taken “image of God” as being truly sired?

    MARY I don’t think Luther meant to exclude Jesus as a source of first article gifts.

    FRANK Ok. Maybe so. Where would you show that in the text?

    While the creed may not say as much, wouldn’t His earthly miracles of providence do so? He forgave sins (second article), but He also gave bread. Not without His Father, but He was still surely giver.

    MARY Back to vocation. Christ is hidden in our neighbor.Yes, law abounds in vocation. But Christ is not under that law.

    FRANK So we and our neighbor are no longer under the law because christ is hidden in all of us?

    WE are under the law, but CHRIST isn’t. If one is talking about CHRIST in vocation, one would talk about more than law.

    MARY Where is Christ in vocation? I would argue in His forgiveness and His provision.

    FRANK “in his provision” what does that mean mary? Luther places first article provision completely under the Father doesnt he? Is that wrong? and he places forgiveness completely as being completely won by the Son. Is that also wrong?

    What Luther says is true. But all authority and power has been given to Christ. Christ, the Husband of the Church, does provide. What Luther says is true but does not exclude as much as you seem to suggest.

    I hope I have kept a respectful tone. I do respect you & your words. I am not used to writing blog comments at length in this manner.

    I originally said, “That God has made Himself our Father is Gospel. That Christ became Son also to Mary is, in a sense, Gospel. That Christ takes us as brothers is Gospel.” I was trying to demonstrate how a discussion on family vocation can be a discussion of God and the good news of Christ and not just us and the law. God is Father and Son. The Son is Groom and Brother. And those are a Gospel reality to His Bride & brothers. If I had a larger point, I think that’s bound to be it.

  • fws

    mary

    that last post helped alot.

    I see I need to repeat one very simple thought:

    ALL we can see and do in our bodies is about the Law killing our old adam . marriage, family, vocation. this is all about Goodness and Mercy being extorted out of us by the Law of God written in our reason.

    where is the gospel? . It is ALONE invisible, of faith and to be found in the Works of Another. It is alone in Christ.

    You say : But christ is in us, so he is in our vocation as well. so it is not all law. That christ is in us is a) an article of faith ie it is invisible to us b) it involves NOTHING that we can do or work at doing mentally, spiritually or emotionally. It just is. so what is left in vocation? what we can see and do. ALL that we can see and do is the Law driving Old Adam. it is about mortification and death.

    Luther said “Life is mortification” what do you suppose he meant by that?

    and in the small catechism on baptism we read that there are two kinds of sanctification going in. there is what baptism gives, deliver from and works. this is alone faith in Christ. then…. there is what baptism signifies. that is the sanctification that we can do! and that is all about what? vocation! it is about what? Killing or drowning the old adam by daily contrition and repentence. In christ. death. resurrection. both in Christ.

    I hope that makes things more clear. I see now we are contending precisely here.

  • fws

    mary

    that last post helped alot.

    I see I need to repeat one very simple thought:

    ALL we can see and do in our bodies is about the Law killing our old adam . marriage, family, vocation. this is all about Goodness and Mercy being extorted out of us by the Law of God written in our reason.

    where is the gospel? . It is ALONE invisible, of faith and to be found in the Works of Another. It is alone in Christ.

    You say : But christ is in us, so he is in our vocation as well. so it is not all law. That christ is in us is a) an article of faith ie it is invisible to us b) it involves NOTHING that we can do or work at doing mentally, spiritually or emotionally. It just is. so what is left in vocation? what we can see and do. ALL that we can see and do is the Law driving Old Adam. it is about mortification and death.

    Luther said “Life is mortification” what do you suppose he meant by that?

    and in the small catechism on baptism we read that there are two kinds of sanctification going in. there is what baptism gives, deliver from and works. this is alone faith in Christ. then…. there is what baptism signifies. that is the sanctification that we can do! and that is all about what? vocation! it is about what? Killing or drowning the old adam by daily contrition and repentence. In christ. death. resurrection. both in Christ.

    I hope that makes things more clear. I see now we are contending precisely here.

  • Mary Jack

    Life is mortification. But when I said Christ is in vocation, I was not trying to refer to Christ in me but in my neighbor. Yes, Christ is in me, but in vocation I am blessed that Christ is hidden behind my neighbor. Again, I am not urging anyone to look for Christ within, or within personal action, but to recognize the gifts God gives, in this case through family.

    That is why, while I am under the law, I understand vocation as more than law. Because I am called to love & serve, but not necessarily to enforce the law upon others or be obsessed with the law as though it can be fulfilled by me or anyone else.

    Is this getting clearer? I am not saying you are wrong, but perhaps suggesting a different perspective on the same thing.

  • Mary Jack

    Life is mortification. But when I said Christ is in vocation, I was not trying to refer to Christ in me but in my neighbor. Yes, Christ is in me, but in vocation I am blessed that Christ is hidden behind my neighbor. Again, I am not urging anyone to look for Christ within, or within personal action, but to recognize the gifts God gives, in this case through family.

    That is why, while I am under the law, I understand vocation as more than law. Because I am called to love & serve, but not necessarily to enforce the law upon others or be obsessed with the law as though it can be fulfilled by me or anyone else.

    Is this getting clearer? I am not saying you are wrong, but perhaps suggesting a different perspective on the same thing.

  • Helen K.

    Hi Frank & Mary,
    Wow, it was so much easier when I was a non-denom i.e. baptist! (:

    I haven’t read all of your exchange in total detail but what I have is fascinating. So much to learn and ponder on. Blessings to you both.

  • Helen K.

    Hi Frank & Mary,
    Wow, it was so much easier when I was a non-denom i.e. baptist! (:

    I haven’t read all of your exchange in total detail but what I have is fascinating. So much to learn and ponder on. Blessings to you both.

  • Matt Colflesh

    I am halfway through “Family Vocation” and will be reading it a second time. Some of the passages on the family and the doctrine of vocation deserve meditation, not just a quick read. Very wonderful stuff here redeeming ordinary life. Many thanks!

  • Matt Colflesh

    I am halfway through “Family Vocation” and will be reading it a second time. Some of the passages on the family and the doctrine of vocation deserve meditation, not just a quick read. Very wonderful stuff here redeeming ordinary life. Many thanks!

  • fws

    matt c @ 34

    What is it you mean by “redeeming ordinary life?” can you tell us more please? How is it that ordinary life can be redeemed?

    forgive me if it sounds like I am pressing your words too hard dear brother.

  • fws

    matt c @ 34

    What is it you mean by “redeeming ordinary life?” can you tell us more please? How is it that ordinary life can be redeemed?

    forgive me if it sounds like I am pressing your words too hard dear brother.

  • Matt Colflesh

    fws

    I’m not as strict a 2kingdom devotee as yourself – if I understand what you’re asking for.

    I appreciate the Lutheran 2 Kingdom view. I also appreciate Kuyper and cultural engagement.

    Rather than argue past one another – let’s benefit from one another’s perspectives. I appreciate your focus on mortification and the “passing away” nature of all that is around us. You remind us to separate from sin. At the same time, our Lord calls us to serve Him in, sometimes, deeply secular places.

    Now, I have to get back to my secular vocation :)

    Sincerely,
    Matt Colflesh

  • Matt Colflesh

    fws

    I’m not as strict a 2kingdom devotee as yourself – if I understand what you’re asking for.

    I appreciate the Lutheran 2 Kingdom view. I also appreciate Kuyper and cultural engagement.

    Rather than argue past one another – let’s benefit from one another’s perspectives. I appreciate your focus on mortification and the “passing away” nature of all that is around us. You remind us to separate from sin. At the same time, our Lord calls us to serve Him in, sometimes, deeply secular places.

    Now, I have to get back to my secular vocation :)

    Sincerely,
    Matt Colflesh


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