Paul’s rebuke of Peter as argument for open communion

Reformed writer Peter Leithhart argues against the closed communion practices of Catholics, Orthodox, and Lutherans on the basis of Galatians 2:

The battle between Paul and the Judaizers focused on table fellowship. Initially, Peter didn’t require Gentiles to “judaize” but ate openly with uncircumcised Gentiles. Pressured by believers from the Jerusalem church, though, he withdrew and refused to share meals with Gentiles anymore. Whether these were common or sacred meals, the same logic would apply to both: If Peter wouldn’t eat common meals with unclean Gentiles, he certainly would have avoided the contagion of Gentiles at sacred meals. For Paul, this wasn’t a small or marginal issue. In Paul’s judgment, Peter was “not straightforward about the gospel” and his actions undermined justification by faith. Unless Jews and Gentiles share a common table, Paul insisted, the Gospel is compromised. . .

For Paul, Christians should share meals with any and all who confess faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, and this unity should be especially evident in the Eucharistic meal that is the high point of Christian liturgy. One Lord must have one people sitting at one table. Any additional requirement beyond faith in Jesus betrays the Gospel.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Some profess Jesus but betray him with their lives. Jesus and Paul both teach that impenitent sinners and heretics should be excluded from the Church and from the table of communion. As Reformed Protestants say, the table must be fenced.

Even with that crucial qualification, Paul’s assault on Peter poses a bracing challenge to today’s church. It is common in every branch of the church for some believers to exclude other believers from the Lord’s table. Some Lutherans will commune only with Christians who hold to a Lutheran view of the real presence. Some Reformed churches require communicants to adhere to their Confessional standards. The Catholic Mass and the Orthodox Eucharist are reserved, with a few exceptions, for Catholics and Orthodox.

I cannot see how these exclusions pass the Pauline test. Catholics will say that they don’t add anything to Paul’s requirements. They exclude Protestants from the Mass because Protestantism is (at best) an inadequate expression of the apostolic faith; for Catholics, a credible confession of Jesus must include a confession of certain truths about the Church. Lutherans and some Reformed Christians will point to Paul’s warnings about “discerning the body” and ask Amos’s question: “Do men walk together unless they are in agreement?” All this avoids the central question: Do Catholics and Orthodox consider their Protestant friends Christians? Do Lutherans consider Reformed believers to be disciples of Jesus? If so, why aren’t they eating at the same table? Shouldn’t the one Lord have one people at one table?

via One Lord, One Table | First Things.

This strikes me as missing the point on many levels, but I’ll let you do the analysis:  What is wrong with this argument?

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

    Whoa – this’ll be great! I predict 203 comments by this time tomorrow. (202 to go.)

    Lutherans and some Reformed Christians will point to Paul’s warnings about “discerning the body”

    Indeed they do – the idea being the concern that communing without a correct understanding/confession moves the Lord’s Supper from the gospel category into the law category for the recipient.

  • Pete

    Whoa – this’ll be great! I predict 203 comments by this time tomorrow. (202 to go.)

    Lutherans and some Reformed Christians will point to Paul’s warnings about “discerning the body”

    Indeed they do – the idea being the concern that communing without a correct understanding/confession moves the Lord’s Supper from the gospel category into the law category for the recipient.

  • Mary

    Gospel Reductionism.

  • Mary

    Gospel Reductionism.

  • larry

    201 to go.

    Of course the entire argument presupposes the “R”eformed view of the sacraments. He’s actually arguing against himself.

    The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but is the real issue and if not danced around, the closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. That’s really not what orthodoxy is all about. The real issue is what’s on that altar and if what is actually really and truly on that altar is the very flesh and blood of the Son of God then that changes everything. See how the “punt” real presence language has gotten us into trouble.

    Now with that in place his argument falls apart that basically says, “Any additional requirement beyond faith in Jesus betrays the Gospel.” We’ll OK, then so be it as you say, for we argue that what is on that altar is the very flesh and blood of the Son of God Jesus Christ, not a symbol, not a sign, not “real presence, but the body and blood of Jesus Christ and we bow at the bread and wine because it is God to be worshipped. And being it is in fact and reality and truth the very body and blood of God, the body of God that was born of the virgin Mary and was whipped and crucified and wrapped in grave clothes and rose again, and the very blood of God that was split and shed for the forgiveness of sins, the very blood that piercing nails, and thorns and a spear and spilt upon piercing the body, that bread and wine, it is in fact not symbol or sign but FACT such as it IS – then it is by definition THE GOSPEL. And if you don’t believe that, then you do not by your own admission, as you confess it is not these things, believe and belief is faith (trust) and as much you don’t believe the Gospel that this is and as such do not meet the very requirement you have set forth, i.e. faith. ” Now any arguments that basically in this way or that deny that this bread and wine are not in reality the very flesh and blood of the Son of God, even “real presence” arguments, merely stand to make the very point crystal clear in a crystal clear confessional way – you don’t BELIEVE it’s the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, by your OWN admission – and as “this sacrament IS the Gospel”, you really must realize you are denying the Gospel (unbelieving it).

    We don’t worship “real presence” we worship the body and blood of Christ, that’s what’s at the table/altar, this is why we bow at it.

    One has to wonder if the “R”eformed actually believe their confessions and understand ours, as they claim, why WOULD they wish to commune with us? When I was reformed (small r meaning Calvinistic) I did not wish to commune with Roman Catholics for that very reason, I understood my confessions, what they said, believed them, and did not, thus, wish to bow and worship bread and wine (as I understood them, per our confessions and every single writing concerning them that exists out there from the pen of EVERY, with out exception, reformed writer past or present including the grandfather of it all Calvin himself.).

    Or in reverse, I would not commune at a Reformed table of any kind because I don’t believe (or confess) their supper, or one might say, “A Lutheran is in UNBELIEF over their confession”, thus we don’t meet his definition either per Reformed confession and their definition.
    It’s as it occurred in conversation with a very close Baptist pastor friend of mine when it hit him, “There is no reconciliation of these confessions (the sacraments) is there”. It hit him, the gravity of it and reality of it, there is no “middle ground”.

    And thus this argument from Galatians is false from the outgoing. For Paul is arguing that what Peter is doing is denying the Gospel. And in the Lord’s Supper argument we confess that “this sacrament IS the Gospel” and as such what the Reformed do with there brotherhood meal denies the Gospel point blank. So as Paul would not admit what is in reality a denial of the very thing he is defending. Confession and worship is NEVER a neutral endeavor and always has eternal consequences. Thus, what is at the altar, that question, is precisely the same question that Christ asks when He asks for a confession, “Who do you say that I am”.

  • larry

    201 to go.

    Of course the entire argument presupposes the “R”eformed view of the sacraments. He’s actually arguing against himself.

    The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but is the real issue and if not danced around, the closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. That’s really not what orthodoxy is all about. The real issue is what’s on that altar and if what is actually really and truly on that altar is the very flesh and blood of the Son of God then that changes everything. See how the “punt” real presence language has gotten us into trouble.

    Now with that in place his argument falls apart that basically says, “Any additional requirement beyond faith in Jesus betrays the Gospel.” We’ll OK, then so be it as you say, for we argue that what is on that altar is the very flesh and blood of the Son of God Jesus Christ, not a symbol, not a sign, not “real presence, but the body and blood of Jesus Christ and we bow at the bread and wine because it is God to be worshipped. And being it is in fact and reality and truth the very body and blood of God, the body of God that was born of the virgin Mary and was whipped and crucified and wrapped in grave clothes and rose again, and the very blood of God that was split and shed for the forgiveness of sins, the very blood that piercing nails, and thorns and a spear and spilt upon piercing the body, that bread and wine, it is in fact not symbol or sign but FACT such as it IS – then it is by definition THE GOSPEL. And if you don’t believe that, then you do not by your own admission, as you confess it is not these things, believe and belief is faith (trust) and as much you don’t believe the Gospel that this is and as such do not meet the very requirement you have set forth, i.e. faith. ” Now any arguments that basically in this way or that deny that this bread and wine are not in reality the very flesh and blood of the Son of God, even “real presence” arguments, merely stand to make the very point crystal clear in a crystal clear confessional way – you don’t BELIEVE it’s the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, by your OWN admission – and as “this sacrament IS the Gospel”, you really must realize you are denying the Gospel (unbelieving it).

    We don’t worship “real presence” we worship the body and blood of Christ, that’s what’s at the table/altar, this is why we bow at it.

    One has to wonder if the “R”eformed actually believe their confessions and understand ours, as they claim, why WOULD they wish to commune with us? When I was reformed (small r meaning Calvinistic) I did not wish to commune with Roman Catholics for that very reason, I understood my confessions, what they said, believed them, and did not, thus, wish to bow and worship bread and wine (as I understood them, per our confessions and every single writing concerning them that exists out there from the pen of EVERY, with out exception, reformed writer past or present including the grandfather of it all Calvin himself.).

    Or in reverse, I would not commune at a Reformed table of any kind because I don’t believe (or confess) their supper, or one might say, “A Lutheran is in UNBELIEF over their confession”, thus we don’t meet his definition either per Reformed confession and their definition.
    It’s as it occurred in conversation with a very close Baptist pastor friend of mine when it hit him, “There is no reconciliation of these confessions (the sacraments) is there”. It hit him, the gravity of it and reality of it, there is no “middle ground”.

    And thus this argument from Galatians is false from the outgoing. For Paul is arguing that what Peter is doing is denying the Gospel. And in the Lord’s Supper argument we confess that “this sacrament IS the Gospel” and as such what the Reformed do with there brotherhood meal denies the Gospel point blank. So as Paul would not admit what is in reality a denial of the very thing he is defending. Confession and worship is NEVER a neutral endeavor and always has eternal consequences. Thus, what is at the altar, that question, is precisely the same question that Christ asks when He asks for a confession, “Who do you say that I am”.

  • larry

    “The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but is the real issue and if not danced around, the closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. ”

    Should read:

    “The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but if the real issue is raised and not danced around, then closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is not “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. “

  • larry

    “The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but is the real issue and if not danced around, the closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. ”

    Should read:

    “The real argument on closed communion always gets danced around but if the real issue is raised and not danced around, then closed communion almost takes care of its self. The real issue is not “who can we prevent from coming and who not”. “

  • Trey

    God gives us the His body and blood in to show our unity with Him and one another not just in one doctrine- “Jesus is Lord” (demons agree with this!) but in all doctrines of our Lord. To commune with those who disregard our Lord’s Word (ignorantly or obstinately), would say that there is no divine law; that we can pick and choose which doctrines to assent or decline. Further, it would minimize our differences and fail “to tell the truth in love.” Any rejection of our Lord’s teachings endangers God given faith and leads to self-righteousness and unrepentance or despair. Sinners must be warned. This article is advocating antinomianism- the law is no longer necessary.

  • Trey

    God gives us the His body and blood in to show our unity with Him and one another not just in one doctrine- “Jesus is Lord” (demons agree with this!) but in all doctrines of our Lord. To commune with those who disregard our Lord’s Word (ignorantly or obstinately), would say that there is no divine law; that we can pick and choose which doctrines to assent or decline. Further, it would minimize our differences and fail “to tell the truth in love.” Any rejection of our Lord’s teachings endangers God given faith and leads to self-righteousness and unrepentance or despair. Sinners must be warned. This article is advocating antinomianism- the law is no longer necessary.

  • Peter S.

    It’s all about discerning the Body, and what you think that means. A lot of the reason we have different denominations is that we have different understandings of what the “body of Christ” means. A mere memorialist shouldn’t be invited to share the table with a congregation who believes that the elements become the body and blood of Christ, because he wouldn’t be rightly discerning the body. Similarly, as an Anglican, I am not invited to share sacramental fellowship with Catholics, because I don’t believe in transubstantiation, per se, nor agree with the understanding of the Mass as a “repeated” sacrifice. It wouldn’t be right or honest for me to partake.

  • Peter S.

    It’s all about discerning the Body, and what you think that means. A lot of the reason we have different denominations is that we have different understandings of what the “body of Christ” means. A mere memorialist shouldn’t be invited to share the table with a congregation who believes that the elements become the body and blood of Christ, because he wouldn’t be rightly discerning the body. Similarly, as an Anglican, I am not invited to share sacramental fellowship with Catholics, because I don’t believe in transubstantiation, per se, nor agree with the understanding of the Mass as a “repeated” sacrifice. It wouldn’t be right or honest for me to partake.

  • Carl Vehse

    The Missouri Synod has now unlocked the door to a synodical practice of open communion.

    After the Missouri Synod’s CCM and CTCR ‘juggled the hot potato’ over the years, a 2010 CTCR report admitted theological bewilderment (despite 1 Cor. 10:16-21; 11:26-27, and Q&A #1, p. 25, of the 1983 CTCR report, “Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper”) concerning a restriction against Missouri Synod members taking part in open communion at non-LCMS churches. Now a February CCM opinion doctrinally nuances that a synodical member partaking in the Lord’s Supper in open communion at a heterodox church is not “taking part” in a sacramental rite, as that phrase is used in Article VI, paragraph 2 b of the Constitution. The CCM further stated that the Art. VI.2(b) clause cannot be used to expel synodical members for partaking in open communion in non-LCMS heterodox churches.

    Given the previous lack of enforcement, this reinterpretation of Article VI, and the LCMS’s recent ‘dialoguing’ rendezvous with the new (NALC and ACNA) boys in town, a change to open communion, without fanfare of course, seems to be on its way.

  • Carl Vehse

    The Missouri Synod has now unlocked the door to a synodical practice of open communion.

    After the Missouri Synod’s CCM and CTCR ‘juggled the hot potato’ over the years, a 2010 CTCR report admitted theological bewilderment (despite 1 Cor. 10:16-21; 11:26-27, and Q&A #1, p. 25, of the 1983 CTCR report, “Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper”) concerning a restriction against Missouri Synod members taking part in open communion at non-LCMS churches. Now a February CCM opinion doctrinally nuances that a synodical member partaking in the Lord’s Supper in open communion at a heterodox church is not “taking part” in a sacramental rite, as that phrase is used in Article VI, paragraph 2 b of the Constitution. The CCM further stated that the Art. VI.2(b) clause cannot be used to expel synodical members for partaking in open communion in non-LCMS heterodox churches.

    Given the previous lack of enforcement, this reinterpretation of Article VI, and the LCMS’s recent ‘dialoguing’ rendezvous with the new (NALC and ACNA) boys in town, a change to open communion, without fanfare of course, seems to be on its way.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    We believe that baptized Christians who believe Christ to be truly present in the sacrament, ought be able to come and receive it. (We announce that just before people come up to the altar)

    That’s what we do. If we are in error, then we err on the side of God’s grace for sinners.

    We will not be like the Roman Catholic priest who literally ran after my brother in law at my Dad’s funeral mass, to rip the host out of his hands before he could get it into his mouth.

    We feel God is more than capable of working His will in the life of that baptized believer with respect to whatever is going on inside his/her heart or head.

    We do believe that we have a right understanding of the Christian faith…but we don’t believe we are the ONLY ones who do.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    We believe that baptized Christians who believe Christ to be truly present in the sacrament, ought be able to come and receive it. (We announce that just before people come up to the altar)

    That’s what we do. If we are in error, then we err on the side of God’s grace for sinners.

    We will not be like the Roman Catholic priest who literally ran after my brother in law at my Dad’s funeral mass, to rip the host out of his hands before he could get it into his mouth.

    We feel God is more than capable of working His will in the life of that baptized believer with respect to whatever is going on inside his/her heart or head.

    We do believe that we have a right understanding of the Christian faith…but we don’t believe we are the ONLY ones who do.

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

    The real question is, what is right about this article? It’s a confused mess.

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

    The real question is, what is right about this article? It’s a confused mess.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Paul was dealing with ethnicity, not doctrine. Open communion is not about whether one is white, black, Asian, Hispanic, etc.; open communion is about fellowship and assumed association. To partake of communion with one who denies the gospel could very well be considered participation in sin. It is giving the title of “brother” to one that ought not be called brother. It implies assent to doctrine, and when that doctrine is unscriptural (with regard to the gospel in particular) it is dangerous, as it implies not discerning the Lord’s body.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Paul was dealing with ethnicity, not doctrine. Open communion is not about whether one is white, black, Asian, Hispanic, etc.; open communion is about fellowship and assumed association. To partake of communion with one who denies the gospel could very well be considered participation in sin. It is giving the title of “brother” to one that ought not be called brother. It implies assent to doctrine, and when that doctrine is unscriptural (with regard to the gospel in particular) it is dangerous, as it implies not discerning the Lord’s body.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    This is what we have in our bulliten at Good Shepherd-

    SHOULD I GO UP FOR COMMUNION?

    If you are new to our Church, this should help you understand what we believe. When we go to the Lord’s Supper, we are confessing many things.
    We are confessing-

     That there is One God, Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the Bible and Nicene Creed describe Him,

     That we have sinned against God and our neighbor,

     That God came down to us in Jesus Christ and died on the cross to pay the full penalty for our sins,

     That He rose from the dead that we too will live forever,

     That through our Baptism, God has made each of us His children

     That we trust in Jesus only and fully for our personal salvation,

     That God offers us, in the Lord’s Supper, the real Body and Blood of Jesus in the Bread and Wine,

     That through this Sacrament we receive the forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the Cross,

     And that we rededicate our lives to serving Jesus as our only Lord and especially to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

    Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:28 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”
    We examine ourselves by looking at the Ten Commandments and comparing them with our lives. When we do this we see our sin and our need for a Savior. In the Lord’s Supper, God gives us Mercy and washes away all of our sins. If you believe these truths and can make this confession we invite you to join us at the Lord’s Table. If, however, you have any questions about what we believe, the Pastor is happy to meet with you and tell you more about what Jesus has done for you.

    (Please see the reverse side for Scripture passages)

    Matthew 5:23-24 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

    Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    Matthew 26:26-28 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

    John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

    Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

    1 Cor. 10:16-17 – Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

    1 Cor. 11:26-29 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

    1 John 1:8-9 – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    1 John 2:2 – He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    This is what we have in our bulliten at Good Shepherd-

    SHOULD I GO UP FOR COMMUNION?

    If you are new to our Church, this should help you understand what we believe. When we go to the Lord’s Supper, we are confessing many things.
    We are confessing-

     That there is One God, Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the Bible and Nicene Creed describe Him,

     That we have sinned against God and our neighbor,

     That God came down to us in Jesus Christ and died on the cross to pay the full penalty for our sins,

     That He rose from the dead that we too will live forever,

     That through our Baptism, God has made each of us His children

     That we trust in Jesus only and fully for our personal salvation,

     That God offers us, in the Lord’s Supper, the real Body and Blood of Jesus in the Bread and Wine,

     That through this Sacrament we receive the forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the Cross,

     And that we rededicate our lives to serving Jesus as our only Lord and especially to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

    Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:28 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”
    We examine ourselves by looking at the Ten Commandments and comparing them with our lives. When we do this we see our sin and our need for a Savior. In the Lord’s Supper, God gives us Mercy and washes away all of our sins. If you believe these truths and can make this confession we invite you to join us at the Lord’s Table. If, however, you have any questions about what we believe, the Pastor is happy to meet with you and tell you more about what Jesus has done for you.

    (Please see the reverse side for Scripture passages)

    Matthew 5:23-24 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

    Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    Matthew 26:26-28 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

    John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

    Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

    1 Cor. 10:16-17 – Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

    1 Cor. 11:26-29 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

    1 John 1:8-9 – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    1 John 2:2 – He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

  • larry

    In the argument of closed or so called “open” communion the real issue always gets buried. The issue is “what is on the altar”. This reveals whether one or a group really believes as they confess, that the very flesh and blood of Christ, the Son of God, is there or not. All the cover up language about “real presence” and similar is simply smoke and mirrors. It’s owed to communicants and visitors for the pastor to say EXACTLY what it is he is putting into their mouths. Any pastor not willing to express that with ambiguity is practicing deception. No one would say to their child or friend “this is roast beef” and then stick plastic into their mouths. No one would, normally, lie like that. So why would any pastor wish to so fib to the ears of faith and not plainly say what it is they are putting into their mouths or not plainly speak the truth and leave it up to their imaginations to “connect the dots”.

  • larry

    In the argument of closed or so called “open” communion the real issue always gets buried. The issue is “what is on the altar”. This reveals whether one or a group really believes as they confess, that the very flesh and blood of Christ, the Son of God, is there or not. All the cover up language about “real presence” and similar is simply smoke and mirrors. It’s owed to communicants and visitors for the pastor to say EXACTLY what it is he is putting into their mouths. Any pastor not willing to express that with ambiguity is practicing deception. No one would say to their child or friend “this is roast beef” and then stick plastic into their mouths. No one would, normally, lie like that. So why would any pastor wish to so fib to the ears of faith and not plainly say what it is they are putting into their mouths or not plainly speak the truth and leave it up to their imaginations to “connect the dots”.

  • larry

    To follow up:

    If a Lutheran is communing next to a Reformed person, then later they ask/wonder, “What was it that I ate and drank?’ What must the answer be? To one the flesh and blood of God and to the other a “real presence”?

    Put in the light of the Reformed confessions:

    If a Lutheran is communing next to a Reformed person at a reformed church (just pretend for sake of argument I know they should not), then later they ask/wonder, “What was it that I ate and drank?’ What must the answer be? To one a spiritual presence in sign and symbol and to the other very the flesh and blood of God”?

  • larry

    To follow up:

    If a Lutheran is communing next to a Reformed person, then later they ask/wonder, “What was it that I ate and drank?’ What must the answer be? To one the flesh and blood of God and to the other a “real presence”?

    Put in the light of the Reformed confessions:

    If a Lutheran is communing next to a Reformed person at a reformed church (just pretend for sake of argument I know they should not), then later they ask/wonder, “What was it that I ate and drank?’ What must the answer be? To one a spiritual presence in sign and symbol and to the other very the flesh and blood of God”?

  • Jon

    I predict that Larry will have the most and longest posts of the 200+ comments. :-)

  • Jon

    I predict that Larry will have the most and longest posts of the 200+ comments. :-)

  • larry

    In this light, stating honestly what is actually put into one’s mouth, the communion doors should close themselves in most cases. I.e. no reformed person should, if he/she understands their confessions at all, desire such a communion.

    The focus of closing communion is really not the real confessional issue, but what is actually on the altar. Many Lutherans appear to be in our day and age slowly sucumbing to reason. Granted, the flesh always gravitates to reason and Luther expressed the inward battle even he himself had on this, but its one thing to battle this, another to eventually subcumb to it where one “confesses” the thing according to the confessions but in reality is believing reason on the matter.

    It’s not all that different than the issue some presbyterians are running into, we had while in that denom., on infant baptism. They so wished to “be friends” with the baptist showing up in their church that they watered down their confession on infant baptism inspite of the WCF. At length baptism, infant, becomes, “eh just an option. because according to the action of our pastor and elders in allowing membership and communion with baptist it is all too apparent that this is not “really” an essential article of faith”. Some baptist have run into the same thing when on one side they say in their confessions that baptism is a necessity for the LS, that only BB is baptism and at that immersion. Then their friends from the Reformed visit and they open up communion there. They done the same thing in essence saying ‘this so called necessary article of faith, well its more like a rough movable guide line.”

    So now they can scratch of, because the reality has arrived, these two articles of faith baptism and the LS (no wonder these things fall away at length). Next we will move to the incarnation or the Trinity.

  • larry

    In this light, stating honestly what is actually put into one’s mouth, the communion doors should close themselves in most cases. I.e. no reformed person should, if he/she understands their confessions at all, desire such a communion.

    The focus of closing communion is really not the real confessional issue, but what is actually on the altar. Many Lutherans appear to be in our day and age slowly sucumbing to reason. Granted, the flesh always gravitates to reason and Luther expressed the inward battle even he himself had on this, but its one thing to battle this, another to eventually subcumb to it where one “confesses” the thing according to the confessions but in reality is believing reason on the matter.

    It’s not all that different than the issue some presbyterians are running into, we had while in that denom., on infant baptism. They so wished to “be friends” with the baptist showing up in their church that they watered down their confession on infant baptism inspite of the WCF. At length baptism, infant, becomes, “eh just an option. because according to the action of our pastor and elders in allowing membership and communion with baptist it is all too apparent that this is not “really” an essential article of faith”. Some baptist have run into the same thing when on one side they say in their confessions that baptism is a necessity for the LS, that only BB is baptism and at that immersion. Then their friends from the Reformed visit and they open up communion there. They done the same thing in essence saying ‘this so called necessary article of faith, well its more like a rough movable guide line.”

    So now they can scratch of, because the reality has arrived, these two articles of faith baptism and the LS (no wonder these things fall away at length). Next we will move to the incarnation or the Trinity.

  • WebMonk

    So where are all the posts and arguments? I see lots of Lutherans posting here, but they’re mostly in agreement with each other. Doesn’t make for lots of posts, I’m afraid.

    Are there any non-Lutherans on here today who give a rat’s ass on the topic?

  • WebMonk

    So where are all the posts and arguments? I see lots of Lutherans posting here, but they’re mostly in agreement with each other. Doesn’t make for lots of posts, I’m afraid.

    Are there any non-Lutherans on here today who give a rat’s ass on the topic?

  • DonS

    This article is, as has been posted above, a mess. Analogizing Paul’s habit of eating meals with unbelievers with communion is ridiculous.

    The best arguments for open communion are three-fold. a) Paul instructed that a man examine himself before coming to the table, b) Jesus communed Judas, even though he knew his heart and that Judas was unworthy, and c) Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross tore the veil in the Temple, obviating forever the need for a human intercessor between man and His Savior. Our relationship with Christ is a personal one, and as long as a person publicly professes Christ, a pastor, who is a shepherd and not an intercessor, will not look upon his heart and presume to judge his worthiness.

    I realize my Lutheran brethren do not agree with them, but those are the arguments.

  • DonS

    This article is, as has been posted above, a mess. Analogizing Paul’s habit of eating meals with unbelievers with communion is ridiculous.

    The best arguments for open communion are three-fold. a) Paul instructed that a man examine himself before coming to the table, b) Jesus communed Judas, even though he knew his heart and that Judas was unworthy, and c) Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross tore the veil in the Temple, obviating forever the need for a human intercessor between man and His Savior. Our relationship with Christ is a personal one, and as long as a person publicly professes Christ, a pastor, who is a shepherd and not an intercessor, will not look upon his heart and presume to judge his worthiness.

    I realize my Lutheran brethren do not agree with them, but those are the arguments.

  • Jon

    DonS, are those really the best?

    Why don’t they convince me in the least bit?

  • Jon

    DonS, are those really the best?

    Why don’t they convince me in the least bit?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Webmonk,

    I”m not a Lutheran, although I’m not far from it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Webmonk,

    I”m not a Lutheran, although I’m not far from it.

  • larry

    Ha, Jon I’m trying!

    The three arguments are the “best” when the heterodox position is assumed.

    a) Paul instructed that a man examine himself before coming to the table, presupposes within the orthodoxy to start with. I.e. he does not say that a man should examine himself before he partakes of a representation or signage of the body and blood of Christ.
    b) Jesus communed Judas, even though he knew his heart and that Judas was unworthy. Actually makes the argument for closed communion. Even though Jesus, i.e. God, knows/knew his heart as a hypocrite he was still allowed to commune. Why? The Apostles formed by definition with the very Lord is the orthodox. It was not as if confessing Gnostics were present. In fact here we see the principle that hypocrites within the orthodoxy do commune (we cannot read hearts anyway), while heterodoxy was not allowed.
    c) Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross tore the veil in the Temple, obviating forever the need for a human intercessor between man and His Savior. Again, supposes the heterodox position. The fact is that when one takes “Calvin’s or Zwingli’s” position you have put in between man and his Savior an intercessor in the form of the doctrine. Christ said ‘this is My body and blood” when doctrine, from a man, intercedes and says in one way or another, “Oh no it is not”, a man, via his words has been placed between man and his Savior, and is preventing the believer, via the doctrine, from having his Lord and Savior’s body and blood put into their mouths and the actual reception of quite literally the forgiveness of sins. It’s like a child starving to death is told, “Here is a steak” and just before he takes it in comes Calvin or Zwingli, “Tis not, tis only a sign of the spiritual presence of the steak”. And the starving boy doesn’t partake of it but only admires it wondering if he’s attained to it in spirit, while his body starves to death.

    Such arguments make sense if one really doesn’t believe that heterodoxy is heterodoxy and/or that such is not a very essential issue.

  • larry

    Ha, Jon I’m trying!

    The three arguments are the “best” when the heterodox position is assumed.

    a) Paul instructed that a man examine himself before coming to the table, presupposes within the orthodoxy to start with. I.e. he does not say that a man should examine himself before he partakes of a representation or signage of the body and blood of Christ.
    b) Jesus communed Judas, even though he knew his heart and that Judas was unworthy. Actually makes the argument for closed communion. Even though Jesus, i.e. God, knows/knew his heart as a hypocrite he was still allowed to commune. Why? The Apostles formed by definition with the very Lord is the orthodox. It was not as if confessing Gnostics were present. In fact here we see the principle that hypocrites within the orthodoxy do commune (we cannot read hearts anyway), while heterodoxy was not allowed.
    c) Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross tore the veil in the Temple, obviating forever the need for a human intercessor between man and His Savior. Again, supposes the heterodox position. The fact is that when one takes “Calvin’s or Zwingli’s” position you have put in between man and his Savior an intercessor in the form of the doctrine. Christ said ‘this is My body and blood” when doctrine, from a man, intercedes and says in one way or another, “Oh no it is not”, a man, via his words has been placed between man and his Savior, and is preventing the believer, via the doctrine, from having his Lord and Savior’s body and blood put into their mouths and the actual reception of quite literally the forgiveness of sins. It’s like a child starving to death is told, “Here is a steak” and just before he takes it in comes Calvin or Zwingli, “Tis not, tis only a sign of the spiritual presence of the steak”. And the starving boy doesn’t partake of it but only admires it wondering if he’s attained to it in spirit, while his body starves to death.

    Such arguments make sense if one really doesn’t believe that heterodoxy is heterodoxy and/or that such is not a very essential issue.

  • P.C.

    From the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, VII. The Lord’s Supper:

    1. We believe, teach, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and essentially present, and are truly distributed and received with the bread and wine.

    7. We believe, teach, and confess that not only the true believers [in Christ] and the worthy, but also the unworthy and unbelievers, receive the true body and blood of Christ; however, not for life and consolation, but for judgment and condemnation, if they are not converted and do not repent, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.

    8. We believe, teach, and confess also that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

    19] 9. We believe, teach, and confess that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28].

    20] 10. We believe, teach, and confess that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

  • P.C.

    From the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, VII. The Lord’s Supper:

    1. We believe, teach, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and essentially present, and are truly distributed and received with the bread and wine.

    7. We believe, teach, and confess that not only the true believers [in Christ] and the worthy, but also the unworthy and unbelievers, receive the true body and blood of Christ; however, not for life and consolation, but for judgment and condemnation, if they are not converted and do not repent, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.

    8. We believe, teach, and confess also that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

    19] 9. We believe, teach, and confess that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28].

    20] 10. We believe, teach, and confess that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

  • Joanne

    But, all the Christians at Antioch, both the Jews and the Gentiles were members of the same church and believed the same teachings. They are not different in doctrine, they are different as to birth. This is one church where an incident of Jewish purity laws was applied incorrectly among the clergy, and the clergy quickly worked it out.

    Peter knew he should ignore the old law that said a Jew could not eat with a Gentile, and so he did eat with the Gentiles. However, when observant Jews (who were also Christian) arrived from Jerusalem who had not yet worked through the new eating with Gentiles thing yet, Peter, bless his heart, lost his courage and began to observe the Jewish eating/purity law again.

    I’ve never taken the eating at Antioch as being the sacrament, but I suppose it was included on Sundays or Saturday night after sundown. But what Peter did was stop eating anything with non-Jews, that was the law. He couldn’t even touch a Gentile without ritually cleasing himself. (Can you imagine neighbors who can’t touch you or eat with you?) Peter was breaking the Jewish purity law even eating gefilte fish and matzos with the goim.

    Now the group of observant Jews freshly down from Jerusalem did not yet believe that they should eat with or touch goim. Until there was a church meeting and official positions taken on what laws the Jews still had to follow (not what laws the Gentile converts had to follow) the two groups should not take the sacrament together until they are sure they believe and do the same.

    I don’t think that the Jewish Christian Church that was centered on Jerusalem ever stopped obeying all the purity laws or attending the Temple. They remained wholly Jews and just added Christianity to it. However, they came to an official decision that those Gentile Christian converts way out there somewhere far away from us, could be Christians without following the whole law, as the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem continued to do till the Romans began to destroy Jerusalem and Judea between 70-135 AD when it seems the Jewish Christian Church disappeared. At the beginning of the hostilities, the Jerusalem Church left Jerusalem and were last known to be at Pella in the Perea (east bank of the Jordan River).

    So, if you’re asking me if the Jerusalem Jewish Church ever ate, or communed with gentiles, my guess is no, they never did. Did the missionaries sent out from the Jerusalem Church learn from God to eat with, to touch, and to commune with goim believers? Yes they did and Peter emphatically on at least 2 occassions.

    But the issue here and at Antioch was Jewish Purity Law and eating anything. It’s a whole other issue. Peter knew he could commune with the Antiochene gentile Christians, he just lost his determination to break the Jewish Purity Law infront of other Jews.

    But would any of these Christians commune with a group of Christians who just came in from Samaria who did not accept the teachings of Paul and Peter. (“Paul and Peter are wrong, don’t follow them.”) I bet you dollars to donuts they wouldn’t even eat a peanut together with the trouble causing Samaritans.

    Folks back then were extremely fussy about who they ate with.

  • Joanne

    But, all the Christians at Antioch, both the Jews and the Gentiles were members of the same church and believed the same teachings. They are not different in doctrine, they are different as to birth. This is one church where an incident of Jewish purity laws was applied incorrectly among the clergy, and the clergy quickly worked it out.

    Peter knew he should ignore the old law that said a Jew could not eat with a Gentile, and so he did eat with the Gentiles. However, when observant Jews (who were also Christian) arrived from Jerusalem who had not yet worked through the new eating with Gentiles thing yet, Peter, bless his heart, lost his courage and began to observe the Jewish eating/purity law again.

    I’ve never taken the eating at Antioch as being the sacrament, but I suppose it was included on Sundays or Saturday night after sundown. But what Peter did was stop eating anything with non-Jews, that was the law. He couldn’t even touch a Gentile without ritually cleasing himself. (Can you imagine neighbors who can’t touch you or eat with you?) Peter was breaking the Jewish purity law even eating gefilte fish and matzos with the goim.

    Now the group of observant Jews freshly down from Jerusalem did not yet believe that they should eat with or touch goim. Until there was a church meeting and official positions taken on what laws the Jews still had to follow (not what laws the Gentile converts had to follow) the two groups should not take the sacrament together until they are sure they believe and do the same.

    I don’t think that the Jewish Christian Church that was centered on Jerusalem ever stopped obeying all the purity laws or attending the Temple. They remained wholly Jews and just added Christianity to it. However, they came to an official decision that those Gentile Christian converts way out there somewhere far away from us, could be Christians without following the whole law, as the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem continued to do till the Romans began to destroy Jerusalem and Judea between 70-135 AD when it seems the Jewish Christian Church disappeared. At the beginning of the hostilities, the Jerusalem Church left Jerusalem and were last known to be at Pella in the Perea (east bank of the Jordan River).

    So, if you’re asking me if the Jerusalem Jewish Church ever ate, or communed with gentiles, my guess is no, they never did. Did the missionaries sent out from the Jerusalem Church learn from God to eat with, to touch, and to commune with goim believers? Yes they did and Peter emphatically on at least 2 occassions.

    But the issue here and at Antioch was Jewish Purity Law and eating anything. It’s a whole other issue. Peter knew he could commune with the Antiochene gentile Christians, he just lost his determination to break the Jewish Purity Law infront of other Jews.

    But would any of these Christians commune with a group of Christians who just came in from Samaria who did not accept the teachings of Paul and Peter. (“Paul and Peter are wrong, don’t follow them.”) I bet you dollars to donuts they wouldn’t even eat a peanut together with the trouble causing Samaritans.

    Folks back then were extremely fussy about who they ate with.

  • larry

    The whole entire argument hinges on the same tired issue, “Do Lutherans consider Reformed believers to be disciples of Jesus?”, which he states near the end.

    He sees it from the perspective of Law. Lutherans have always stated that true Christians exist within heterodoxy which retains enough Gospel to make real Christians. E.g. I didn’t just become a Christian upon moving to the LCMS but many years prior. Yet, Christians in such put themselves in danger because of the heterodoxy. That which makes it heterodoxy is in reality from Satan, as such the very real danger. This is why, for example, men have been driven to despair in Reformed churches, why infants are not baptized in Baptist churches. For example in so much that a Baptist never lets that which is definitively Baptist doctrine settle in his heart and mind, he retains the true Gospel. But let that which is definitively Baptist settle in and he despairs. If the Gospel does not come to rescue him, he may despair of Christ altogether, or the reverse become secretly depending on his works.

    This becomes most acute, usually, when the devil tempts a man to loose Christ via something like divine election. Where does the man despairing stand firm that he is elect and knows and does not loose Christ wondering, “do I really believe so that I know I’m elect”? The devil’s tactics are not nearly as stupid as men think.

    Secondly, that we say there are men and women who suffer and are in danger in heterodoxy, in danger of either despair of hope or developing a secret works righteousness (I’m pulling it off somehow knowing I’m elect/believe), presupposes that they are in FACT Christian.

    Thirdly, we say that we believe a Christian is a Christian based on his/her baptism. That’s all a man or woman can really see, they are baptized, everything else is invisible and wholly indistinguishable from “just normal good works that even a pagan can do” and faith by definition is invisible. Which is ironic that Reformed reach for “I believe, therefore I’m elect” when even James (boo hiss from the Lutheran quarters) says faith is invisible.

    Fourthly, NO Lutheran desires that fellow Christians BE excluded from the communion. It would be a absolute beer fest if wholesale Reformed, Baptist, et. al., would be further enlightened by the Spirit’s gifts and commune. It’s a common Lutheran prayer and intrinsic to the Lord’s Prayer, that purity in doctrine (Hallowed by Thy name) be so among all baptized Christians, it is the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and intrinsic to the catechism on the same (not to mention the third article regarding the Holy Spirit and the church of the creed). It’s simply NOT a desire, but a very sad tragedy of the reality of the enemy’s lies and deceptions.

    Fifthly, there is a distinction between laity and teachers, and among teachers those ignorant of said doctrines versus those who resist them. The later are definitely more defining of those teachers of false teaching who were the genesis of the false teachings like Calvin and Zwingli. Through them the devil has spawned a great deception that has befouled laity and subsequent teachers within those ranks ever since.
    Sixthly, it is for their benefit that orthodox line in the sand be made so that they might actually know and concern themselves with the question, “is what I believe, teach and confess really the truth?” It should underline the emphasis a Christian should have concerning doctrine, not de-emphasis and that part of being a Christian involves this command and authorization from Christ to beware of false teachers in sheep’s clothing. That battle from the devil is relentless and never lets up for a single second, that’s the real spiritual warfare.

    Thus, the good side of this article is not its content, but that the man sees enough difference being verbalized that he is at least “pausing” long enough to consider “what’s up with all this” albeit in his own way. The good of the article is more of what is likely causing the article than what the article actually states.

  • larry

    The whole entire argument hinges on the same tired issue, “Do Lutherans consider Reformed believers to be disciples of Jesus?”, which he states near the end.

    He sees it from the perspective of Law. Lutherans have always stated that true Christians exist within heterodoxy which retains enough Gospel to make real Christians. E.g. I didn’t just become a Christian upon moving to the LCMS but many years prior. Yet, Christians in such put themselves in danger because of the heterodoxy. That which makes it heterodoxy is in reality from Satan, as such the very real danger. This is why, for example, men have been driven to despair in Reformed churches, why infants are not baptized in Baptist churches. For example in so much that a Baptist never lets that which is definitively Baptist doctrine settle in his heart and mind, he retains the true Gospel. But let that which is definitively Baptist settle in and he despairs. If the Gospel does not come to rescue him, he may despair of Christ altogether, or the reverse become secretly depending on his works.

    This becomes most acute, usually, when the devil tempts a man to loose Christ via something like divine election. Where does the man despairing stand firm that he is elect and knows and does not loose Christ wondering, “do I really believe so that I know I’m elect”? The devil’s tactics are not nearly as stupid as men think.

    Secondly, that we say there are men and women who suffer and are in danger in heterodoxy, in danger of either despair of hope or developing a secret works righteousness (I’m pulling it off somehow knowing I’m elect/believe), presupposes that they are in FACT Christian.

    Thirdly, we say that we believe a Christian is a Christian based on his/her baptism. That’s all a man or woman can really see, they are baptized, everything else is invisible and wholly indistinguishable from “just normal good works that even a pagan can do” and faith by definition is invisible. Which is ironic that Reformed reach for “I believe, therefore I’m elect” when even James (boo hiss from the Lutheran quarters) says faith is invisible.

    Fourthly, NO Lutheran desires that fellow Christians BE excluded from the communion. It would be a absolute beer fest if wholesale Reformed, Baptist, et. al., would be further enlightened by the Spirit’s gifts and commune. It’s a common Lutheran prayer and intrinsic to the Lord’s Prayer, that purity in doctrine (Hallowed by Thy name) be so among all baptized Christians, it is the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and intrinsic to the catechism on the same (not to mention the third article regarding the Holy Spirit and the church of the creed). It’s simply NOT a desire, but a very sad tragedy of the reality of the enemy’s lies and deceptions.

    Fifthly, there is a distinction between laity and teachers, and among teachers those ignorant of said doctrines versus those who resist them. The later are definitely more defining of those teachers of false teaching who were the genesis of the false teachings like Calvin and Zwingli. Through them the devil has spawned a great deception that has befouled laity and subsequent teachers within those ranks ever since.
    Sixthly, it is for their benefit that orthodox line in the sand be made so that they might actually know and concern themselves with the question, “is what I believe, teach and confess really the truth?” It should underline the emphasis a Christian should have concerning doctrine, not de-emphasis and that part of being a Christian involves this command and authorization from Christ to beware of false teachers in sheep’s clothing. That battle from the devil is relentless and never lets up for a single second, that’s the real spiritual warfare.

    Thus, the good side of this article is not its content, but that the man sees enough difference being verbalized that he is at least “pausing” long enough to consider “what’s up with all this” albeit in his own way. The good of the article is more of what is likely causing the article than what the article actually states.

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

    “Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Some profess Jesus but betray him with their lives. Jesus and Paul both teach that impenitent sinners and heretics should be excluded from the Church and from the table of communion. ”
    So which is it, are we to have closed communion or not? This is where his article is so screwy. He isn’t against closed communion he thinks it is a good thing to keep impenitent sinners away from the table. I think this is a good idea to. We are just disagreed as to what is a sin. I think breaking the second commandment is a sin. of course he has a different second commandment.
    And that is where I think it gets kind of interesting. Those with whom he has a problem with, those who fence the table for grounds of doctrine as well as what he would call impenitent sin, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox, all number the commandments the same way. Part of me wonders if there isn’t more to this.
    However there seems to be a tendency to ignore the first table all together, and only see the sins worth banning one from the table for as being mostly those dealing with number 6. But false doctrine is still sin. And Lutherans EO and RC are agreed that this is one for which a person should be called out, one way of doing that is to say that until we come to agreement here, we can’t have table fellowship.
    All that to say, if you are going to ban someone from taking communion for having a concubine, then don’t talk to me about why I should practice open communion. I think it is a far more heinous thing for you to be telling me it is impossible for Jesus, who is God, for whom anything is possible, to be substantially present in the Lord’s Supper. Or that it really isn’t for the forgiveness of sins, or that I cannot know on the basis of the fact that I am baptized that I am elect. Such false doctrine leads to false belief which leads to other great shame and vice.

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

    “Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Some profess Jesus but betray him with their lives. Jesus and Paul both teach that impenitent sinners and heretics should be excluded from the Church and from the table of communion. ”
    So which is it, are we to have closed communion or not? This is where his article is so screwy. He isn’t against closed communion he thinks it is a good thing to keep impenitent sinners away from the table. I think this is a good idea to. We are just disagreed as to what is a sin. I think breaking the second commandment is a sin. of course he has a different second commandment.
    And that is where I think it gets kind of interesting. Those with whom he has a problem with, those who fence the table for grounds of doctrine as well as what he would call impenitent sin, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox, all number the commandments the same way. Part of me wonders if there isn’t more to this.
    However there seems to be a tendency to ignore the first table all together, and only see the sins worth banning one from the table for as being mostly those dealing with number 6. But false doctrine is still sin. And Lutherans EO and RC are agreed that this is one for which a person should be called out, one way of doing that is to say that until we come to agreement here, we can’t have table fellowship.
    All that to say, if you are going to ban someone from taking communion for having a concubine, then don’t talk to me about why I should practice open communion. I think it is a far more heinous thing for you to be telling me it is impossible for Jesus, who is God, for whom anything is possible, to be substantially present in the Lord’s Supper. Or that it really isn’t for the forgiveness of sins, or that I cannot know on the basis of the fact that I am baptized that I am elect. Such false doctrine leads to false belief which leads to other great shame and vice.

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

    Now it would be a totally different conversation if one wanted to have it starting from what Lutheran’s believe concerning the sacrament and what it does for weak faith, and those whom are actually excluded from the supper according to Article 8 of the Formula of Concord, which P.C. has posted above.
    This because I sometimes wonder if our closed communion policy as it is explained in our circles isn’t all too often shaded by a reformed/pietist understanding of what makes a person worthy or unworthy for the sacrament. But every time I run down that rabbit trail, I end up back where I started. That is, until someone is instructed as to what they should believe before communing, it is best you ask them to refrain.
    This especially true for baptist types. I’ll quit denying you the grace of God at the Altar when you stop denying your children, whom Jesus loves and holds a special affection for, at the font. I certainly am not going to look the other way and act like such behavior is acceptable.

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

    Now it would be a totally different conversation if one wanted to have it starting from what Lutheran’s believe concerning the sacrament and what it does for weak faith, and those whom are actually excluded from the supper according to Article 8 of the Formula of Concord, which P.C. has posted above.
    This because I sometimes wonder if our closed communion policy as it is explained in our circles isn’t all too often shaded by a reformed/pietist understanding of what makes a person worthy or unworthy for the sacrament. But every time I run down that rabbit trail, I end up back where I started. That is, until someone is instructed as to what they should believe before communing, it is best you ask them to refrain.
    This especially true for baptist types. I’ll quit denying you the grace of God at the Altar when you stop denying your children, whom Jesus loves and holds a special affection for, at the font. I certainly am not going to look the other way and act like such behavior is acceptable.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Leithhart says:

    Any additional requirement beyond faith in Jesus betrays the Gospel.

    Simple. To the point. And completely contradicted three sentences later when he says:

    Jesus and Paul both teach that impenitent sinners and heretics should be excluded from the Church and from the table of communion.

    I suppose one could argue that “impenitent sinners and heretics” lack true or complete “faith in Jesus”, and that thus the two statements aren’t contradictory.

    However, if one were to concede that, then one would also have to allow for the same expanded notion of “table fencing” that Lutherans hold to.

    Or, put differently: yes, it is just about “faith in Jesus”. Now, what do you mean by “faith”, and whom do you mean by “Jesus”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Leithhart says:

    Any additional requirement beyond faith in Jesus betrays the Gospel.

    Simple. To the point. And completely contradicted three sentences later when he says:

    Jesus and Paul both teach that impenitent sinners and heretics should be excluded from the Church and from the table of communion.

    I suppose one could argue that “impenitent sinners and heretics” lack true or complete “faith in Jesus”, and that thus the two statements aren’t contradictory.

    However, if one were to concede that, then one would also have to allow for the same expanded notion of “table fencing” that Lutherans hold to.

    Or, put differently: yes, it is just about “faith in Jesus”. Now, what do you mean by “faith”, and whom do you mean by “Jesus”?

  • Joanne

    This is what we put in our bulletin (I wish):

    A desire to eat the sacrament at a Lutheran altar is a God-given and Spirit-lead desire to become a Lutheran and to accept without reservation all the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. If you live nearby, it’s also a desire to join this Lutheran church.

    Please ask an usher for an information pamphlet about our church and its teachings. And, please make an appointment with our pastor to talk about membership preparation. We need to prepare you to eat the sacrament with us so that you will received the body and blood of Jesus to your benefit and not to your harm if you do not yet believe that you will indeed receive the real body and the real blood of Jesus Christ at our altar.

    We are so pleased that God is calling you to become one with us in faith, practice, and holy living. May God grant that you will be one of us soon.

  • Joanne

    This is what we put in our bulletin (I wish):

    A desire to eat the sacrament at a Lutheran altar is a God-given and Spirit-lead desire to become a Lutheran and to accept without reservation all the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. If you live nearby, it’s also a desire to join this Lutheran church.

    Please ask an usher for an information pamphlet about our church and its teachings. And, please make an appointment with our pastor to talk about membership preparation. We need to prepare you to eat the sacrament with us so that you will received the body and blood of Jesus to your benefit and not to your harm if you do not yet believe that you will indeed receive the real body and the real blood of Jesus Christ at our altar.

    We are so pleased that God is calling you to become one with us in faith, practice, and holy living. May God grant that you will be one of us soon.

  • reg

    Larry @ 12, you state “The issue is “what is on the altar”.” An altar is a place of sacrifice, so at communion are you again sacrificing Jesus if he is physically present. What about Hebrews12 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” Just a once and for all sacrifice. What you Lutherans argue sounds very RC to me. The only sacrifice Christians should make is a spiritual one “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ” Rom. 12.

  • reg

    Larry @ 12, you state “The issue is “what is on the altar”.” An altar is a place of sacrifice, so at communion are you again sacrificing Jesus if he is physically present. What about Hebrews12 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” Just a once and for all sacrifice. What you Lutherans argue sounds very RC to me. The only sacrifice Christians should make is a spiritual one “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ” Rom. 12.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Reg (@28), no, Lutherans do not believe we are sacrificing Jesus again and again. The whole of your argument hinges on your definition of an altar — “a place of sacrifice” — which is questionable on several levels.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Reg (@28), no, Lutherans do not believe we are sacrificing Jesus again and again. The whole of your argument hinges on your definition of an altar — “a place of sacrifice” — which is questionable on several levels.

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

    Reg.
    You might read up on lutheran doctrine and practice before accusing. Or one could ask for clarification. Altar’s tend to be places of sacrifice and offering. But as tODD points out that can be a questioned also. I don’t choose to do so here.
    Altars are also that place from which one receives the sacrifice. We don’t resacrifice Christ on the Altar. That is a Roman Catholic notion which we vehemently denounce. but we do receive that which was sacrificed once and for all on the cross from the Altars that decorate our churches. Hence we call them altars not because we sacrifice there, but because we receive that which was sacrificed from there.

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

    Reg.
    You might read up on lutheran doctrine and practice before accusing. Or one could ask for clarification. Altar’s tend to be places of sacrifice and offering. But as tODD points out that can be a questioned also. I don’t choose to do so here.
    Altars are also that place from which one receives the sacrifice. We don’t resacrifice Christ on the Altar. That is a Roman Catholic notion which we vehemently denounce. but we do receive that which was sacrificed once and for all on the cross from the Altars that decorate our churches. Hence we call them altars not because we sacrifice there, but because we receive that which was sacrificed from there.

  • Ryan

    I am speaking as a layman who has been a member of both LCMS and Presbyterian churches (depending where the military put me) and who has not had formal seminary or doctrinal training. Leithart’s use of Gal 2 has validity because Christians are using a doctrinal difference to basically relegate other Christians to a lower status. It seems to me that the difference between the two positions is as follows:

    LCMS holds very strongly to real presence/consubstantiation as a significant doctrine. Because of this, they have great reverence for the supper and take very seriously the command that no unbeliever or impenitent sinner should partake. This has led most LCMS churches to place safeguards around the supper to ensure that only those who profess LCMS doctrine on this issue partake.

    Presbyterians are mixed with some holding to the real presence doctrine but many seeing it more symbolically. However, this aspect is not emphasized as much as other Calvinistic doctrines. Furthermore, most would see a basic confession of faith such as the Nicene Creed, baptism, and a repentant life as the only “fences” found explicitly in Scripture and would tend to trust the individual Christian about whether he meets those qualifications, unless he was an actual excommunicant.

    From my experience, I would say that they could perhaps learn from each other. Presbyterians (symbolized by Leithart) should hold a more reverential view in line with Jesus’ statement, “this is my body and blood.” In many service that I have been in, the supper was presented solely as a symbol and it should not have been.

    On the other hand, Lutherans should not bind the conscience of Christians who do meet those three basic “fences.” Leithart’s criticism that Lutherans are basically saying that Presbyterians or Baptists are not believers when they refuse to serve communion to them is right on target. Yes, someone who sees the Sacraments as merely symbolic misunderstands them. But does that make them less powerful? God’s grace is more powerful than our misunderstandings.

  • Ryan

    I am speaking as a layman who has been a member of both LCMS and Presbyterian churches (depending where the military put me) and who has not had formal seminary or doctrinal training. Leithart’s use of Gal 2 has validity because Christians are using a doctrinal difference to basically relegate other Christians to a lower status. It seems to me that the difference between the two positions is as follows:

    LCMS holds very strongly to real presence/consubstantiation as a significant doctrine. Because of this, they have great reverence for the supper and take very seriously the command that no unbeliever or impenitent sinner should partake. This has led most LCMS churches to place safeguards around the supper to ensure that only those who profess LCMS doctrine on this issue partake.

    Presbyterians are mixed with some holding to the real presence doctrine but many seeing it more symbolically. However, this aspect is not emphasized as much as other Calvinistic doctrines. Furthermore, most would see a basic confession of faith such as the Nicene Creed, baptism, and a repentant life as the only “fences” found explicitly in Scripture and would tend to trust the individual Christian about whether he meets those qualifications, unless he was an actual excommunicant.

    From my experience, I would say that they could perhaps learn from each other. Presbyterians (symbolized by Leithart) should hold a more reverential view in line with Jesus’ statement, “this is my body and blood.” In many service that I have been in, the supper was presented solely as a symbol and it should not have been.

    On the other hand, Lutherans should not bind the conscience of Christians who do meet those three basic “fences.” Leithart’s criticism that Lutherans are basically saying that Presbyterians or Baptists are not believers when they refuse to serve communion to them is right on target. Yes, someone who sees the Sacraments as merely symbolic misunderstands them. But does that make them less powerful? God’s grace is more powerful than our misunderstandings.

  • Jay

    #11 Pastor Spomer’s Communion Bulletin Announcement

    How is unity of faith addressed in these statements? What prevents an ELCA member from communing at this altar?

    It appears that this altar communes the heterodox …Please clarify!

  • Jay

    #11 Pastor Spomer’s Communion Bulletin Announcement

    How is unity of faith addressed in these statements? What prevents an ELCA member from communing at this altar?

    It appears that this altar communes the heterodox …Please clarify!

  • Pr D Bestul

    Ryan…
    The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod does not now and never has subscribed to the doctrine of ‘consubstantiation.’ And Lutheran pastors who will not invite Presbyterians or Baptists to receive communion are motivated by the same LOVE which doesn’t allow uninstructed baptized Lutheran children to receive communion.

  • Pr D Bestul

    Ryan…
    The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod does not now and never has subscribed to the doctrine of ‘consubstantiation.’ And Lutheran pastors who will not invite Presbyterians or Baptists to receive communion are motivated by the same LOVE which doesn’t allow uninstructed baptized Lutheran children to receive communion.

  • Pete

    Bah! Missed it by 170. Wrong again. I really thought this one would set the hornet’s nest a-buzzing. Must be the economy.

  • Pete

    Bah! Missed it by 170. Wrong again. I really thought this one would set the hornet’s nest a-buzzing. Must be the economy.

  • larry

    This gets to what both Bror and Todd are saying. Leithhart is really approaching it wrong and asking the wrong question, to wit, do these others, including Lutherans, think we the Reformed are disciples of Christ (implied Christian). We have this happen a lot with family and its very common. When I was in the middle of the move over from Reformed to Lutheran I wrestled with this internally a bit, but I didn’t ask the question do they think “we are Christians” because I understood first what they taught regarding baptism (that answers the question). And it goes to orderly teaching of the doctrines.

    So, Mr. Leithhart needs to ask, “Why are we different? And is it essential.” If he pursues that honestly, then the rest will answer for him.

    It’s the same thing with Reg’s question, he’s right, to the protestant ear, everything you’ve been taught about Rome’s re-sacrifice of Christ makes the Lutheran idea of the sacrifice sound the same. I wrestled with that and it took Sasse peeling it apart in his book on the supper to get exactly what Luther cleaned up there. But one is so taught that Rome has a “real presence” of the body and blood of Christ and its re-sacrificed by the priest that any Lutheran doctrine (orthodoxy) that cleaned that up on the surface sounds the same. It does not occur initially that Rome steered falsely with the sacrifice. To wit, it is not “A” sacrifice or RE-sacrifice, but THE sacrifice (body and blood of Christ) that WAS made by Christ Himself eaten and drank. But if you don’t spell that out, and you have the background of Calvin, Zwingli, et. al., then, sure your “grid” says, “sounds like Rome to me”. There are, sadly, many Lutherans that have at length lost this. Similarly, the exorcism in the baptismal liturgy, where did that come from, what does it mean, why is it done? That was another, “I need to study this one”, moments for me because the ONLY “exorcism” grid I had was basically the movie “The Exorcist” + Rome did it + Some crazy charismatics do it. Not a good grid for understanding the rite in baptism. It’s actually a beautiful confession of original sin and what baptism does/bestows, etc… I mean think about that’s how one, adult or child, one is catechized in the OT and NT, the child asks, “what does this mean” (has OT roots). Think about the OT rite of circumcision, on a face value “grid” of understanding it one’s first reaction is “what in the world!”

    Same thing, one needs to study the doctrines and the histories. Most Baptist and Reformed hardly grasp where their confessional allegiance comes from.

  • larry

    This gets to what both Bror and Todd are saying. Leithhart is really approaching it wrong and asking the wrong question, to wit, do these others, including Lutherans, think we the Reformed are disciples of Christ (implied Christian). We have this happen a lot with family and its very common. When I was in the middle of the move over from Reformed to Lutheran I wrestled with this internally a bit, but I didn’t ask the question do they think “we are Christians” because I understood first what they taught regarding baptism (that answers the question). And it goes to orderly teaching of the doctrines.

    So, Mr. Leithhart needs to ask, “Why are we different? And is it essential.” If he pursues that honestly, then the rest will answer for him.

    It’s the same thing with Reg’s question, he’s right, to the protestant ear, everything you’ve been taught about Rome’s re-sacrifice of Christ makes the Lutheran idea of the sacrifice sound the same. I wrestled with that and it took Sasse peeling it apart in his book on the supper to get exactly what Luther cleaned up there. But one is so taught that Rome has a “real presence” of the body and blood of Christ and its re-sacrificed by the priest that any Lutheran doctrine (orthodoxy) that cleaned that up on the surface sounds the same. It does not occur initially that Rome steered falsely with the sacrifice. To wit, it is not “A” sacrifice or RE-sacrifice, but THE sacrifice (body and blood of Christ) that WAS made by Christ Himself eaten and drank. But if you don’t spell that out, and you have the background of Calvin, Zwingli, et. al., then, sure your “grid” says, “sounds like Rome to me”. There are, sadly, many Lutherans that have at length lost this. Similarly, the exorcism in the baptismal liturgy, where did that come from, what does it mean, why is it done? That was another, “I need to study this one”, moments for me because the ONLY “exorcism” grid I had was basically the movie “The Exorcist” + Rome did it + Some crazy charismatics do it. Not a good grid for understanding the rite in baptism. It’s actually a beautiful confession of original sin and what baptism does/bestows, etc… I mean think about that’s how one, adult or child, one is catechized in the OT and NT, the child asks, “what does this mean” (has OT roots). Think about the OT rite of circumcision, on a face value “grid” of understanding it one’s first reaction is “what in the world!”

    Same thing, one needs to study the doctrines and the histories. Most Baptist and Reformed hardly grasp where their confessional allegiance comes from.

  • Jon

    @8 Steve

    We believe that baptized Christians who believe Christ to be truly present in the sacrament, ought be able to come and receive it. (We announce that just before people come up to the altar)

    That’s what we do. If we are in error, then we err on the side of God’s grace for sinners.”

    Wow, you could drive a Mack truck through that definition. That’s certainly no wall; it’s not even hardly a speed bump!

    Just about anyone could agree that “Christ is truly present in the sacrament.”

    The thing is, as Larry says, what do they say that is it that’s on the altar and what do they believe is sliding past their esophagus and into their stomach.

    Also, what is it about themselves that brings them to the altar? Is it because they are sinful wretches who need to receive Christ’s pardon in the sacrament? Your statement nowhere announces that. Actually, could it not be misleading in that regard by leaving out any mention of that?

    It sounds as if you have open communion.

    You are right to wonder if there is error in that approach.

  • Jon

    @8 Steve

    We believe that baptized Christians who believe Christ to be truly present in the sacrament, ought be able to come and receive it. (We announce that just before people come up to the altar)

    That’s what we do. If we are in error, then we err on the side of God’s grace for sinners.”

    Wow, you could drive a Mack truck through that definition. That’s certainly no wall; it’s not even hardly a speed bump!

    Just about anyone could agree that “Christ is truly present in the sacrament.”

    The thing is, as Larry says, what do they say that is it that’s on the altar and what do they believe is sliding past their esophagus and into their stomach.

    Also, what is it about themselves that brings them to the altar? Is it because they are sinful wretches who need to receive Christ’s pardon in the sacrament? Your statement nowhere announces that. Actually, could it not be misleading in that regard by leaving out any mention of that?

    It sounds as if you have open communion.

    You are right to wonder if there is error in that approach.

  • Stephen

    I have gone from being an LCMS pastors kid raised on the Catechism to an ELCA seminarian and now back to the LCMS. I have struggled with this a great deal, even in my own marriage to a former free church evangelical.

    I think that the distinction that is VERY unclear here is a law/gospel one. Open/closed communion practices really have nothing to do with gospel per se. This is all about law. And this is also why there is a misunderstanding and feelings are hurt, and exactly why we should be very firm about railing off the Holy Supper.

    In a nut shell, we can only deal with what we see and hear. This is all old Adam/LAW stuff, and he is to be killed by that Law for the sake of the new creation. That means that everything he does is LAW. What God does comes to us in, with and under our obedience, and for that matter, our best efforts to obey which are failures. Yet we are commanded to obey for the sake of our neighbor. This is what love looks like.

    So how can it possibly be love to prohibit a baptized believer from the sacrament? It is not love to allow anyone to receive the sacrament who does not believe and trust in the words as they are spoken by the Lord Himself “This is.” Doing otherwise is potentially to condemn them as they eat unworthily. As Larry keeps saying, it is first and foremost about what people believe is on the altar. Is it God or not? True Presence is helpful but unfortunately slippery philosophical way of saying that Jesus really is there, completely, in the flesh. Pastors and Elders are charged with determining this, a job which is all about the law to love our neighbor. They can only judge that by what they see and hear. That task has nothing to do with the believing heart that only God can judge and everything to do with obedience to the word of Scripture.

    What is received is the Incarnate Lord Jesus – pure gospel which forgives sins and strengthens faith. Is is any wonder that people want it. Faith demands that we set reason aside and trust the words of Jesus that he himself spoke and speaks again through the words of institution. No magic, just naked faith in the Lord who does not lie.

    Do pastors mess this up and let the unrepentant and unbelieving to the table? I have no doubt that they do, and that is exactly because they cannot and do not attempt to judge anyone’s heart. They do, and should, however, make their determinations based on what people confess as to the reality of the Supper.

    In makes complete sense to me not to allow anyone who is not a member to the table. That is what love commands. It also makes sense to me that a pastor may make an exception in their role as pastor. That is not to be antinomian, but to be a pastor who is charged with feeding the Lord’s sheep. But as general matter of church policy, it is not loving to open up communion on any other grounds than full agreement, which is for all intents and purposes, to be members of the same confession of faith.

  • Stephen

    I have gone from being an LCMS pastors kid raised on the Catechism to an ELCA seminarian and now back to the LCMS. I have struggled with this a great deal, even in my own marriage to a former free church evangelical.

    I think that the distinction that is VERY unclear here is a law/gospel one. Open/closed communion practices really have nothing to do with gospel per se. This is all about law. And this is also why there is a misunderstanding and feelings are hurt, and exactly why we should be very firm about railing off the Holy Supper.

    In a nut shell, we can only deal with what we see and hear. This is all old Adam/LAW stuff, and he is to be killed by that Law for the sake of the new creation. That means that everything he does is LAW. What God does comes to us in, with and under our obedience, and for that matter, our best efforts to obey which are failures. Yet we are commanded to obey for the sake of our neighbor. This is what love looks like.

    So how can it possibly be love to prohibit a baptized believer from the sacrament? It is not love to allow anyone to receive the sacrament who does not believe and trust in the words as they are spoken by the Lord Himself “This is.” Doing otherwise is potentially to condemn them as they eat unworthily. As Larry keeps saying, it is first and foremost about what people believe is on the altar. Is it God or not? True Presence is helpful but unfortunately slippery philosophical way of saying that Jesus really is there, completely, in the flesh. Pastors and Elders are charged with determining this, a job which is all about the law to love our neighbor. They can only judge that by what they see and hear. That task has nothing to do with the believing heart that only God can judge and everything to do with obedience to the word of Scripture.

    What is received is the Incarnate Lord Jesus – pure gospel which forgives sins and strengthens faith. Is is any wonder that people want it. Faith demands that we set reason aside and trust the words of Jesus that he himself spoke and speaks again through the words of institution. No magic, just naked faith in the Lord who does not lie.

    Do pastors mess this up and let the unrepentant and unbelieving to the table? I have no doubt that they do, and that is exactly because they cannot and do not attempt to judge anyone’s heart. They do, and should, however, make their determinations based on what people confess as to the reality of the Supper.

    In makes complete sense to me not to allow anyone who is not a member to the table. That is what love commands. It also makes sense to me that a pastor may make an exception in their role as pastor. That is not to be antinomian, but to be a pastor who is charged with feeding the Lord’s sheep. But as general matter of church policy, it is not loving to open up communion on any other grounds than full agreement, which is for all intents and purposes, to be members of the same confession of faith.

  • Stephen

    Argh! typos!

  • Stephen

    Argh! typos!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@37), good comment. One reply:

    What is received is the Incarnate Lord Jesus – pure gospel which forgives sins and strengthens faith. Is is any wonder that people want it.

    I agree with the first sentence, of course, but I’m not sure that’s why people are clamoring for (or at least complaining about) open communion. I suspect that most of those doing so would not fully agree that what we receive is Jesus’ physical body, or the forgiveness of sins.

    No, I think non-Lutherans want open communion because they want to be validated. They feel judged by being shut out (and, to a degree, their reaction is correct, and to a degree it is not — as you pointed out). They want us to tell them, “You’re okay with us; we’re okay with what you believe.” Which is false, and that’s what we tell them with closed communion. But people don’t like to hear that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@37), good comment. One reply:

    What is received is the Incarnate Lord Jesus – pure gospel which forgives sins and strengthens faith. Is is any wonder that people want it.

    I agree with the first sentence, of course, but I’m not sure that’s why people are clamoring for (or at least complaining about) open communion. I suspect that most of those doing so would not fully agree that what we receive is Jesus’ physical body, or the forgiveness of sins.

    No, I think non-Lutherans want open communion because they want to be validated. They feel judged by being shut out (and, to a degree, their reaction is correct, and to a degree it is not — as you pointed out). They want us to tell them, “You’re okay with us; we’re okay with what you believe.” Which is false, and that’s what we tell them with closed communion. But people don’t like to hear that.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @37. First, I want to express my sympathy and admiration for your spiritual struggles. It is not easy to see this as a gift; it is what the Psalmist writes about in Psalm 1:1, “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law (Torah, not the Decalogue) of the Lord, and on His law they meditate day and night.”

    I wanted to comment on the following from your post:

    “So how can it possibly be love to prohibit a baptized believer from the sacrament? It is not love to allow anyone to receive the sacrament who does not believe and trust in the words as they are spoken by the Lord Himself “This is.” Doing otherwise is potentially to condemn them as they eat unworthily.”

    Actually, the comment is not from me but from “Freed From the Shopkeeper’s Prison”, by Rev. H. R. Curtis Trinity Lutheran Church – Worden, IL Zion Lutheran Church – Carpenter, IL Presented General Pastors’ Conference of the North Region of the IN District, LCMS, May 9, 2011.

    “It’s grace alone, or it’s works – whether your own or another’s works, it does not matter. And if it is not by human works – then your salvation is secure because it is all in God’s hands.

    No one can snatch you out of God’s hands.

    And, conversely, you cannot snatch any of the elect out of God’s hands. If you refuse to preach the Gospel from this day out – God’s purpose in election will stand. If you attack and persecute the Church, none of the elect shall be lost. If you horde your money and refuse to pray for missionaries on their dangerous way, Christ’s little lambs will still be in his fold. He has lost none and he will lose none of those his Father has given him. Do nothing – and the number of souls in God’s kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you had given all you had to missions and dedicated your every waking moment to preaching. Start a praise band and stroll the aisle while preaching in your polo shirt and shorts – and the number of souls in God’s kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you chanted TLH p. 15 week in and week out rather poorly in an ill-fitting cassock alb and mismatched socks.”

    I think that this is where the fact that Judas partook in that first Communion comes in. Our Lord showed that He is more concerned that one of His own might be deprived of His Body and Blood than one who is condemned already receiving it to his judgment.

    Nowhere in Scripture is there a single verse that gives the pastor the right or responsibility to decide who may take part in the Sacrament. But the Good News is that even if he refuses one of the Elect, they are both still children of God.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @37. First, I want to express my sympathy and admiration for your spiritual struggles. It is not easy to see this as a gift; it is what the Psalmist writes about in Psalm 1:1, “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law (Torah, not the Decalogue) of the Lord, and on His law they meditate day and night.”

    I wanted to comment on the following from your post:

    “So how can it possibly be love to prohibit a baptized believer from the sacrament? It is not love to allow anyone to receive the sacrament who does not believe and trust in the words as they are spoken by the Lord Himself “This is.” Doing otherwise is potentially to condemn them as they eat unworthily.”

    Actually, the comment is not from me but from “Freed From the Shopkeeper’s Prison”, by Rev. H. R. Curtis Trinity Lutheran Church – Worden, IL Zion Lutheran Church – Carpenter, IL Presented General Pastors’ Conference of the North Region of the IN District, LCMS, May 9, 2011.

    “It’s grace alone, or it’s works – whether your own or another’s works, it does not matter. And if it is not by human works – then your salvation is secure because it is all in God’s hands.

    No one can snatch you out of God’s hands.

    And, conversely, you cannot snatch any of the elect out of God’s hands. If you refuse to preach the Gospel from this day out – God’s purpose in election will stand. If you attack and persecute the Church, none of the elect shall be lost. If you horde your money and refuse to pray for missionaries on their dangerous way, Christ’s little lambs will still be in his fold. He has lost none and he will lose none of those his Father has given him. Do nothing – and the number of souls in God’s kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you had given all you had to missions and dedicated your every waking moment to preaching. Start a praise band and stroll the aisle while preaching in your polo shirt and shorts – and the number of souls in God’s kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you chanted TLH p. 15 week in and week out rather poorly in an ill-fitting cassock alb and mismatched socks.”

    I think that this is where the fact that Judas partook in that first Communion comes in. Our Lord showed that He is more concerned that one of His own might be deprived of His Body and Blood than one who is condemned already receiving it to his judgment.

    Nowhere in Scripture is there a single verse that gives the pastor the right or responsibility to decide who may take part in the Sacrament. But the Good News is that even if he refuses one of the Elect, they are both still children of God.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    As I said, I have struggled with this a great deal. I have had to hear that very instruction you are pointing out for myself. Personally, I carried this understanding with me for years in the ELCA. Silly me, I assumed that this was what everyone thought that was “Lutheran.” And to be fair, as strange as it may sound, there are people in the ELCA who would fully agree that it is truly the very body and blood of Christ that we receive. How many or how few I couldn’t say. What they miss, and what I was missing too, was the distinction between law and gospel that I was talking about. They think that to be Lutheran in their confession is to be gracious and loving and accepting. In one sense, they are right. But then this is conceived as a “gospel” thing to do when it all fits under the law to love our neighbor. I really think that people come to it with a great deal of ignorance. For me, it took studying the Confessions to understand what the stakes really are. Slowly but surely, all those things I sensed that were just weird or not quite right came into focus.

    So it occurred to me that our “issues” over the Supper are precisely the place to teach the very thing that might clear all of this up to a large degree – the distinction between law and gospel. It took me a while and I have all kinds of book learnin.’ So maybe the project is to use this as a way to reiterate the very core of our doctrine, to teach it in terms of law and gospel, and stay at it rather than look for ways to avoid the subject so we can all get along. In fact, it is precisely because of the Lutheran doctrine regarding the sacraments that my wife and I have been able to clear up so many gray areas in our different backgrounds. It may just be the best vehicle for teaching the Gospel that is available.

    Anyway, now I find myself really bothered by anyone who takes the sacrament lightly. I’ll run from Baptist church and will not communion at a ELCA church any longer even if it is one my family attends. Even in the new congregation we are attending, one with video screens that is doing the “mixed” worship as the way to draw members, I sense there is something, perhaps a great deal, that is being lost when their communion practices seem more soft on law as I’ve described it. The congregation we were going to which ended up being a logistical nightmare in distance, required actual membership in the LCMS without exception. I get it and I agree with it, and it isn’t an easy thing to swallow if you are not very well informed.

    The pastors at the new church are good men and their preaching is excellent, it’s extremely family-friendly, and to their credit they do ask that you speak to them before coming up and take a class if you are going to attend for a while. Unfortunately, they do not use a common cup. While it is formal and symbolic only, it does send a signal I think, and I wonder what that might be, not just for me but for someone else who may be new to Lutheranism. All of this falls under the category of “what does it mean to be faithful” which I think is the right question for Lutheran.

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    As I said, I have struggled with this a great deal. I have had to hear that very instruction you are pointing out for myself. Personally, I carried this understanding with me for years in the ELCA. Silly me, I assumed that this was what everyone thought that was “Lutheran.” And to be fair, as strange as it may sound, there are people in the ELCA who would fully agree that it is truly the very body and blood of Christ that we receive. How many or how few I couldn’t say. What they miss, and what I was missing too, was the distinction between law and gospel that I was talking about. They think that to be Lutheran in their confession is to be gracious and loving and accepting. In one sense, they are right. But then this is conceived as a “gospel” thing to do when it all fits under the law to love our neighbor. I really think that people come to it with a great deal of ignorance. For me, it took studying the Confessions to understand what the stakes really are. Slowly but surely, all those things I sensed that were just weird or not quite right came into focus.

    So it occurred to me that our “issues” over the Supper are precisely the place to teach the very thing that might clear all of this up to a large degree – the distinction between law and gospel. It took me a while and I have all kinds of book learnin.’ So maybe the project is to use this as a way to reiterate the very core of our doctrine, to teach it in terms of law and gospel, and stay at it rather than look for ways to avoid the subject so we can all get along. In fact, it is precisely because of the Lutheran doctrine regarding the sacraments that my wife and I have been able to clear up so many gray areas in our different backgrounds. It may just be the best vehicle for teaching the Gospel that is available.

    Anyway, now I find myself really bothered by anyone who takes the sacrament lightly. I’ll run from Baptist church and will not communion at a ELCA church any longer even if it is one my family attends. Even in the new congregation we are attending, one with video screens that is doing the “mixed” worship as the way to draw members, I sense there is something, perhaps a great deal, that is being lost when their communion practices seem more soft on law as I’ve described it. The congregation we were going to which ended up being a logistical nightmare in distance, required actual membership in the LCMS without exception. I get it and I agree with it, and it isn’t an easy thing to swallow if you are not very well informed.

    The pastors at the new church are good men and their preaching is excellent, it’s extremely family-friendly, and to their credit they do ask that you speak to them before coming up and take a class if you are going to attend for a while. Unfortunately, they do not use a common cup. While it is formal and symbolic only, it does send a signal I think, and I wonder what that might be, not just for me but for someone else who may be new to Lutheranism. All of this falls under the category of “what does it mean to be faithful” which I think is the right question for Lutheran.

  • Stephen

    George,

    Thanks. I completely agree with everything you say about the elect. We obey in faith that God will do what he promises.

    But . . .

    “Nowhere in Scripture is there a single verse that gives the pastor the right or responsibility to decide who may take part in the Sacrament.”

    Are you sure? A Buddhist? This was actually a question one year for the graduating seniors at Luther Seminary to work on. But closer to home, how about someone who says it is merely a symbol or a memorial to something in the past?

    So I disagree with your statement about what pastors can and cannot do. Pastors can and should prevent anyone from participating in the sacrament who cannot confess to the truth expressed the words “this is my . . .” as they are. This is to discern the body of our Lord given there as St. Paul teaches. And this is all LAW, both for the sake of order among believers and so that someone does not eat unworthily.

    Like I said, this is all LAW – what we do in obedience. “Take and eat” is a command. It is about “teaching them to obey” the commandment to love and to believe. And at the same time we trust that God will do what he will do in, with and under that, or perhaps even regardless of it as you point out. He will. He keeps his promises.

  • Stephen

    George,

    Thanks. I completely agree with everything you say about the elect. We obey in faith that God will do what he promises.

    But . . .

    “Nowhere in Scripture is there a single verse that gives the pastor the right or responsibility to decide who may take part in the Sacrament.”

    Are you sure? A Buddhist? This was actually a question one year for the graduating seniors at Luther Seminary to work on. But closer to home, how about someone who says it is merely a symbol or a memorial to something in the past?

    So I disagree with your statement about what pastors can and cannot do. Pastors can and should prevent anyone from participating in the sacrament who cannot confess to the truth expressed the words “this is my . . .” as they are. This is to discern the body of our Lord given there as St. Paul teaches. And this is all LAW, both for the sake of order among believers and so that someone does not eat unworthily.

    Like I said, this is all LAW – what we do in obedience. “Take and eat” is a command. It is about “teaching them to obey” the commandment to love and to believe. And at the same time we trust that God will do what he will do in, with and under that, or perhaps even regardless of it as you point out. He will. He keeps his promises.

  • larry

    Stephen very well stated.

    Todd I also agree, its mostly validation.

    For some, like myself, who moved from terror utter despair stricken election religion, to hearing some Gospel in the better Reformed teachers like Horton, at first not having all views of the LS accepted is shocking. It goes like this: You’ve either been despairing under arminianism or really despairing under Calvinism or really really despairing under “Calvinism” sprinkled with believers baptism, or pinging between the two. In any case the gracious God FOR YOU (in particular) is not there. Then you hear that the Gospel is almost possible for you in some like Dr. Horton who (from a Lutheran view) almost get there or from the despairing persons view (get there). Let me be blunt, you hear the Gospel with a Lutheran on board with such Reformed, you hear the “pro me” given by the Lutheran and ASSUME, since no one objects, that THAT is what everyone believes. So you more or less associate the Gospel as coming from such too. And that relief comes. It’s not until later that you begin to pick up on the subtle yet substantial and essential difference that such “better” reformed folk such as Horton, really are at the end of the day Calvinist and Calvin really did not preach, teach or confess the same doctrine as Luther.
    This manifest itself in the sacraments. So you begin to scratch your head and ask, “I’m hearing something different over hear from the Lutherans and that’s a sweet sound, and IF that’s the Gospel it’s the most wondrous message I’ve ever heard. If that’s true then what’s this other message over here in Calvin’s shop that seems to withhold Christ just out of reach but eternally out of reach.”

    That’s the situation and you begin to investigate these clearly two different messages. At length what you discover is that Calvin when all is said and done preaches another gospel and that the emphasis is on the elect and reprobation of men. It’s the very reason why they don’t absolve, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are variously signs and symbols – hence the Reformed mantra of never confusing the sign with the thing signified. This is the root of why they divorce the Word not only in the sacraments from the means but from the Word itself spoken. They can never land on a particular “you are elect” but speak in broad categories as George has spoken above about election. The problem is that you, or I or anyone hear or any single person anywhere is not a “broad category” but an individual. And when there are two broad categories elect and reprobate or its softer cousin elect and those to whom the atonements limitation did not extend (“the dreadful decree” as Calvin put it), when that is the case it will never do that you a particular person are addressed in a broad category. Why? Because you MUST know to which of the two categories you belong. Saying the elect will never fall away does Bob no good if Bob cannot discern if he is in that happy camp or in that other camp. Thus their “gospel” becomes as one Lutheran put it, “I have Good News…for some of you”.

    But they confound election and do as Luther predicts, loose the revealed God (for you in particular) and you loose the hidden God as well, gain the revealed God and you have the hidden God. Then they confuse Law and Gospel all over the place in order to sustain divine election.

    Election is the same as favor of God is the same as the grace of God, a point Melancthon made before tempted so much away from the truth by Calvin. So its no accident that when Calvinist bifurcate election into divine election and divine reprobation in the “horrible decree” that this extends to a bifurcation of grace and the favor of God and extends also to the sacraments. When in fact they fail to see the real function of the Law and the Gospel in these two. Contrition in that system is mostly “sorrow over sins against God” and the Law is suppose to get you there, rather than being the terror a hopeless man has over his sins and due damnation. Thus, the function of the “law” becomes something that begets the looking for God, Calvinist do this in post conversion “infusion” of Spirit which is really free will in the guise of the power of the Holy Spirit. But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the favor of God. Emphasis and clarity needs to be made here: But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the ELECTION (favor/grace) of God. Thus, as long as old Adam is trying to gain the favor of God, even in his hidden way of calling it post conversion/rebirth/of the spirit so that they can pretend its not free will or the old Adam, he is utterly barred. The Law utterly empties a man of ANY claim whatsoever on the favor (election, grace) of God. Thus, when the Calvinist who does not have the sacraments, they would never say, “I am baptized”, “I’ve received the very sacrificed body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of my sins”, “your absolution, pastor, is God’s absolution”, rather they measure their third use of the law works and/or their faith to see if they are elected. You will hear the best of their theologians say this, “If you believe, then you are elect”. But that’s old Adam free will language. And to that the Law thunders, “But even by this you have no claim whatsoever on the favor (election/grace) of God.”

    When the old Adam is crucified by the law in this way, being emptied of any claim whatsoever on the favor of God, when THAT hits where favor, grace and the election of God are secretly being made claim to for post conversion signs or even “faith itself”, man has put into the purpose of the Law, “in terror of the hopelessness due to their sins and in view of the damnation due them.” They are as Luther puts it, getting a taste of hell. The terror resonant in them, “Then what shall I do?”. Now room has been made for faith and in comes the Word in particular to the man, “I forgive you”. In comes the absolution through the preacher, the blessed Worded water, the body and blood of Christ – in it comes: “Though you have no claim whatsoever on the favor, grace, election of God, I, God, GIVE you My grace, favor and election – I forgive you for the sake of Christ. Thus, God elects (i.e. favors, i.e. bestows His grace) via the Word, via Baptism, via His very body and blood.”

    This is why in answer to the devil’s temptation of “are you elect” Luther said, “Devil I do not care if I’m elect or not I am baptized”. I.e. No one is elected by law, but baptism. This is why Luther’s master Staupitz always advised the terrorized Luther to “Look at the wounds of Christ and there you will find your election” (clearly a direction to the sacrament of the altar).

  • larry

    Stephen very well stated.

    Todd I also agree, its mostly validation.

    For some, like myself, who moved from terror utter despair stricken election religion, to hearing some Gospel in the better Reformed teachers like Horton, at first not having all views of the LS accepted is shocking. It goes like this: You’ve either been despairing under arminianism or really despairing under Calvinism or really really despairing under “Calvinism” sprinkled with believers baptism, or pinging between the two. In any case the gracious God FOR YOU (in particular) is not there. Then you hear that the Gospel is almost possible for you in some like Dr. Horton who (from a Lutheran view) almost get there or from the despairing persons view (get there). Let me be blunt, you hear the Gospel with a Lutheran on board with such Reformed, you hear the “pro me” given by the Lutheran and ASSUME, since no one objects, that THAT is what everyone believes. So you more or less associate the Gospel as coming from such too. And that relief comes. It’s not until later that you begin to pick up on the subtle yet substantial and essential difference that such “better” reformed folk such as Horton, really are at the end of the day Calvinist and Calvin really did not preach, teach or confess the same doctrine as Luther.
    This manifest itself in the sacraments. So you begin to scratch your head and ask, “I’m hearing something different over hear from the Lutherans and that’s a sweet sound, and IF that’s the Gospel it’s the most wondrous message I’ve ever heard. If that’s true then what’s this other message over here in Calvin’s shop that seems to withhold Christ just out of reach but eternally out of reach.”

    That’s the situation and you begin to investigate these clearly two different messages. At length what you discover is that Calvin when all is said and done preaches another gospel and that the emphasis is on the elect and reprobation of men. It’s the very reason why they don’t absolve, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are variously signs and symbols – hence the Reformed mantra of never confusing the sign with the thing signified. This is the root of why they divorce the Word not only in the sacraments from the means but from the Word itself spoken. They can never land on a particular “you are elect” but speak in broad categories as George has spoken above about election. The problem is that you, or I or anyone hear or any single person anywhere is not a “broad category” but an individual. And when there are two broad categories elect and reprobate or its softer cousin elect and those to whom the atonements limitation did not extend (“the dreadful decree” as Calvin put it), when that is the case it will never do that you a particular person are addressed in a broad category. Why? Because you MUST know to which of the two categories you belong. Saying the elect will never fall away does Bob no good if Bob cannot discern if he is in that happy camp or in that other camp. Thus their “gospel” becomes as one Lutheran put it, “I have Good News…for some of you”.

    But they confound election and do as Luther predicts, loose the revealed God (for you in particular) and you loose the hidden God as well, gain the revealed God and you have the hidden God. Then they confuse Law and Gospel all over the place in order to sustain divine election.

    Election is the same as favor of God is the same as the grace of God, a point Melancthon made before tempted so much away from the truth by Calvin. So its no accident that when Calvinist bifurcate election into divine election and divine reprobation in the “horrible decree” that this extends to a bifurcation of grace and the favor of God and extends also to the sacraments. When in fact they fail to see the real function of the Law and the Gospel in these two. Contrition in that system is mostly “sorrow over sins against God” and the Law is suppose to get you there, rather than being the terror a hopeless man has over his sins and due damnation. Thus, the function of the “law” becomes something that begets the looking for God, Calvinist do this in post conversion “infusion” of Spirit which is really free will in the guise of the power of the Holy Spirit. But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the favor of God. Emphasis and clarity needs to be made here: But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the ELECTION (favor/grace) of God. Thus, as long as old Adam is trying to gain the favor of God, even in his hidden way of calling it post conversion/rebirth/of the spirit so that they can pretend its not free will or the old Adam, he is utterly barred. The Law utterly empties a man of ANY claim whatsoever on the favor (election, grace) of God. Thus, when the Calvinist who does not have the sacraments, they would never say, “I am baptized”, “I’ve received the very sacrificed body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of my sins”, “your absolution, pastor, is God’s absolution”, rather they measure their third use of the law works and/or their faith to see if they are elected. You will hear the best of their theologians say this, “If you believe, then you are elect”. But that’s old Adam free will language. And to that the Law thunders, “But even by this you have no claim whatsoever on the favor (election/grace) of God.”

    When the old Adam is crucified by the law in this way, being emptied of any claim whatsoever on the favor of God, when THAT hits where favor, grace and the election of God are secretly being made claim to for post conversion signs or even “faith itself”, man has put into the purpose of the Law, “in terror of the hopelessness due to their sins and in view of the damnation due them.” They are as Luther puts it, getting a taste of hell. The terror resonant in them, “Then what shall I do?”. Now room has been made for faith and in comes the Word in particular to the man, “I forgive you”. In comes the absolution through the preacher, the blessed Worded water, the body and blood of Christ – in it comes: “Though you have no claim whatsoever on the favor, grace, election of God, I, God, GIVE you My grace, favor and election – I forgive you for the sake of Christ. Thus, God elects (i.e. favors, i.e. bestows His grace) via the Word, via Baptism, via His very body and blood.”

    This is why in answer to the devil’s temptation of “are you elect” Luther said, “Devil I do not care if I’m elect or not I am baptized”. I.e. No one is elected by law, but baptism. This is why Luther’s master Staupitz always advised the terrorized Luther to “Look at the wounds of Christ and there you will find your election” (clearly a direction to the sacrament of the altar).

  • Joanne

    We are so focussed here on this modern issue with the sectarians. But Paul’s issue was much tougher. Not only was he saying that in Christ and as Christians, Jews, Greeks, and Samaritans will recline to eat together, but so will men and women, and so will master and slave. “For there is no difference in Christ.” Whoa pardner, them’s fightin’ words.

    Is Paul talking only about the Sacrament, or about any meal? Is Paul saying that at anytime Christian slaves and Christian masters will recline to eat at any meal? That never did happen.

    Did Luther ever sit down and eat as much as a sugar cookie with Duke Frederick the Wise? Why no he didn’t; in fact they are reported to have had no social contact at all, whatsoever.

    Did the Electors and Dukes of Saxony ever leave their special logia to walk down to the altar to receive the Body and Blood in line with the peasant cabbage farmers from just across the Elba, hum, do you suppose? No, it never happened.

    And the most notorious idea, that men and women will recline together, outside of the home and with non-family members just because they are all in Christ; utter insanity. Only the most modern of mores would allow such a thing, even if Paul is only talking about eating as in the sacrament. Notice in the old Lutheran didactic paintings how the men and women are always separate. They were often expected to stand/sit in separate areas of the room/church.

    Lords and their slaves, and lions and lambs will recline together to eat? Is Paul talking about the coming paradise, the new world? If he is talking about this world, it didn’t happen, though the democratization of society in the 20th Century comes close at times. At least men and women kneel together at the altar rail these days.

    Americans are so democratized that they hate to be told they are not good enough to eat with someone, or not be invided to their wedding, or missing from the guest list at Brittney’s really cool pool party. Notice how someone with a camera will always crash these things for us, so we can sort of attend anyway. We force ourselves against any kind of public privacy.

    Is there really such a thing as public privacy. Why of course there is, just think of the Augusta Golf Club, or the Palm Beach Yatch Club, or the Rack of Lamb Evangelical Lutheran Supper Club. Yes, publically private.

    Down at the Supper Club, you must be a member to eat, but anyone can come in and watch ‘em eat. But who would want to do that?

  • Joanne

    We are so focussed here on this modern issue with the sectarians. But Paul’s issue was much tougher. Not only was he saying that in Christ and as Christians, Jews, Greeks, and Samaritans will recline to eat together, but so will men and women, and so will master and slave. “For there is no difference in Christ.” Whoa pardner, them’s fightin’ words.

    Is Paul talking only about the Sacrament, or about any meal? Is Paul saying that at anytime Christian slaves and Christian masters will recline to eat at any meal? That never did happen.

    Did Luther ever sit down and eat as much as a sugar cookie with Duke Frederick the Wise? Why no he didn’t; in fact they are reported to have had no social contact at all, whatsoever.

    Did the Electors and Dukes of Saxony ever leave their special logia to walk down to the altar to receive the Body and Blood in line with the peasant cabbage farmers from just across the Elba, hum, do you suppose? No, it never happened.

    And the most notorious idea, that men and women will recline together, outside of the home and with non-family members just because they are all in Christ; utter insanity. Only the most modern of mores would allow such a thing, even if Paul is only talking about eating as in the sacrament. Notice in the old Lutheran didactic paintings how the men and women are always separate. They were often expected to stand/sit in separate areas of the room/church.

    Lords and their slaves, and lions and lambs will recline together to eat? Is Paul talking about the coming paradise, the new world? If he is talking about this world, it didn’t happen, though the democratization of society in the 20th Century comes close at times. At least men and women kneel together at the altar rail these days.

    Americans are so democratized that they hate to be told they are not good enough to eat with someone, or not be invided to their wedding, or missing from the guest list at Brittney’s really cool pool party. Notice how someone with a camera will always crash these things for us, so we can sort of attend anyway. We force ourselves against any kind of public privacy.

    Is there really such a thing as public privacy. Why of course there is, just think of the Augusta Golf Club, or the Palm Beach Yatch Club, or the Rack of Lamb Evangelical Lutheran Supper Club. Yes, publically private.

    Down at the Supper Club, you must be a member to eat, but anyone can come in and watch ‘em eat. But who would want to do that?

  • Stephen

    “But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the ELECTION (favor/grace) of God.”

    That’ s it! It is about mortification – death under the LAW which always kills. It is not about having a “right” to the sacrament because I did something, and it certainly isn’t about being validated in our faith (that idea makes me cringe actually). The concept of “worthiness” is the opposite of what we normally imagine that word to mean. In other words, we do not “do” anything to deserve to be served at the Lord’s Table.

    Jesus says to Nicodemus:

    “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

    The pastor must ask the question and demand that Old Adam die to his reason that says like Nicodemus “how can these things be?” Then it follows that if someone says “Yes, I believe that the elements are truly the body and blood of our Lord Jesus” the next thing is for the pastor to demand (lovingly) they not be separate. Join this church and you may come, otherwise you confess by your actions to another gospel.

    All Law, all death, until there is nothing, because Law is all we can see and do.

  • Stephen

    “But the Law’s function is to utterly empty a man of any claim whatsoever on the ELECTION (favor/grace) of God.”

    That’ s it! It is about mortification – death under the LAW which always kills. It is not about having a “right” to the sacrament because I did something, and it certainly isn’t about being validated in our faith (that idea makes me cringe actually). The concept of “worthiness” is the opposite of what we normally imagine that word to mean. In other words, we do not “do” anything to deserve to be served at the Lord’s Table.

    Jesus says to Nicodemus:

    “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

    The pastor must ask the question and demand that Old Adam die to his reason that says like Nicodemus “how can these things be?” Then it follows that if someone says “Yes, I believe that the elements are truly the body and blood of our Lord Jesus” the next thing is for the pastor to demand (lovingly) they not be separate. Join this church and you may come, otherwise you confess by your actions to another gospel.

    All Law, all death, until there is nothing, because Law is all we can see and do.

  • Stephen

    “Down at the Supper Club, you must be a member to eat, but anyone can come in and watch ‘em eat. But who would want to do that?”

    That’s hilarious!!! I’m enjoying your posts very much Joanne. There’s always a good zinger at the end.

  • Stephen

    “Down at the Supper Club, you must be a member to eat, but anyone can come in and watch ‘em eat. But who would want to do that?”

    That’s hilarious!!! I’m enjoying your posts very much Joanne. There’s always a good zinger at the end.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @42 Yes, I am sure. I was writing about what Scripture says. I could weasel out by saying that the Bible nowhere mentions Buddhists, and I would be right. In practical terms, how would a pastor know that the stranger at the rail is a Buddhist?

    I am curious, which answer was deemed to be correct at the seminary exam?

    As to the person who believes in the Sacrament of the Altar only as symbol or memorial, again, how would the pastor know? Assuming he does know, I suggest he would have to find out a little more about what the person believes. I don’t think that it is Lutheran doctrine that all who do not believe in the real presence are damned when they partake of the Sacrament. On the other hand, I know our Confessions deal with this extensively and they conclude that it is not a good thing to put it mildly. But they do affirm that even those who do not believe in the “real presence” still receive the real Body and Blood of our Lord, because it does not depend on our or their faith, but on the Word of the Lord. Even in Churches, which deny the real presence, if the Sacrament is celebrated in accordance with its institution, the participants still receive the real Body and Blood of our Lord. But Rev. Curtis’ argument is still overwhelming, “will any of this affect the number of the Elect?”

    As to “discerning the Body”, I think this is the most absurd bit of exegesis I have ever seen. Fortunately, our Confessions do not make use of 1 Cor. 11:29 as a proof text for the real presence. I think that Paul Gerhard was the first to use it in the sense in which most LCMS Lutherans use it today, but I may be wrong. It does not sound as if there was a large number of deniers of the real presence in Corinth, but there certainly was large number of those who did not understand what it meant to be the Body of Christ. That is what the preceding verses, 17-22 are all about. Furthermore, there is no record of any controversy about the real presence in the Church until the fifth century. I know – that is what Paul was really addressing, like Moses when he wrote about his burial.

    Neither “take and eat” or “love one another” are Law. You must understand that nobody will love, or is able to love, because someone tells them to. The real meaning of these words involves everything we know about the nature of the new creation that rises out of the waters of Baptism. “Be ye perfect” also is not Law; it becomes Gospel in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, by which He made us perfect before the Father. “Take and eat” are not commands. They are the gracious invitation of the Host Who tells us, “Come, all is now ready.” If we did not want to receive the gifts, it would be Law. But for those who yearn for these gifts, they are “as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks,” and therefore not Law.
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @42 Yes, I am sure. I was writing about what Scripture says. I could weasel out by saying that the Bible nowhere mentions Buddhists, and I would be right. In practical terms, how would a pastor know that the stranger at the rail is a Buddhist?

    I am curious, which answer was deemed to be correct at the seminary exam?

    As to the person who believes in the Sacrament of the Altar only as symbol or memorial, again, how would the pastor know? Assuming he does know, I suggest he would have to find out a little more about what the person believes. I don’t think that it is Lutheran doctrine that all who do not believe in the real presence are damned when they partake of the Sacrament. On the other hand, I know our Confessions deal with this extensively and they conclude that it is not a good thing to put it mildly. But they do affirm that even those who do not believe in the “real presence” still receive the real Body and Blood of our Lord, because it does not depend on our or their faith, but on the Word of the Lord. Even in Churches, which deny the real presence, if the Sacrament is celebrated in accordance with its institution, the participants still receive the real Body and Blood of our Lord. But Rev. Curtis’ argument is still overwhelming, “will any of this affect the number of the Elect?”

    As to “discerning the Body”, I think this is the most absurd bit of exegesis I have ever seen. Fortunately, our Confessions do not make use of 1 Cor. 11:29 as a proof text for the real presence. I think that Paul Gerhard was the first to use it in the sense in which most LCMS Lutherans use it today, but I may be wrong. It does not sound as if there was a large number of deniers of the real presence in Corinth, but there certainly was large number of those who did not understand what it meant to be the Body of Christ. That is what the preceding verses, 17-22 are all about. Furthermore, there is no record of any controversy about the real presence in the Church until the fifth century. I know – that is what Paul was really addressing, like Moses when he wrote about his burial.

    Neither “take and eat” or “love one another” are Law. You must understand that nobody will love, or is able to love, because someone tells them to. The real meaning of these words involves everything we know about the nature of the new creation that rises out of the waters of Baptism. “Be ye perfect” also is not Law; it becomes Gospel in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, by which He made us perfect before the Father. “Take and eat” are not commands. They are the gracious invitation of the Host Who tells us, “Come, all is now ready.” If we did not want to receive the gifts, it would be Law. But for those who yearn for these gifts, they are “as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks,” and therefore not Law.
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    And you’re right – we think everything should be democratized, including the sacraments. Which is to say that we are mixing law and gospel.

    That the Gospel is universal – for all – does not mean anyone deserves it or has a right to it. Mercy is by definition something undeserved.

  • Stephen

    And you’re right – we think everything should be democratized, including the sacraments. Which is to say that we are mixing law and gospel.

    That the Gospel is universal – for all – does not mean anyone deserves it or has a right to it. Mercy is by definition something undeserved.

  • Stephen

    George,

    As to how a pastor would know who is at the altar, I’d say it is his job to know so there ought to be a system of some sort for ferreting that out. And that is love.

    Yes, for faith, the words of Jesus are invitation and promise. I believe that, but I do not live that in my actions or thoughts in any manifest sense other than LAW. That is because for Old Adam, the person we can see, the words you cite are all Law which drives us to death. “Be Perfect.” Well, forget it. I can’t. I give up, which is the point. As you allude to, Jesus is perfect. Thank God for Him and that He is most certainly mine THROUGH FAITH ALONE.

    Everything we see and do in church is law and earthly righteousness. It will not last. But, the really good news is that in, with and under is what Christ does for us. The gift of faith comes by hearing, hearing words spoken by a sinner that he is commanded to preach in keeping with the confession of faith he shares with others. Faith is not something we do or feel or wrap our brains around, it is something we have as a gift.

    Yes, we can be commanded to love. A judge can command me to take care of my kids so that outwardly everything I do looks like love in regards to the law. This is what anyone can do. But only the new creation can love from the heart. This comes in a way that cannot be seen, through faith, but it does come. We cannot see it in ourselves. No degree of navel gazing or effort to feel something can make it come to the surface. By faith ALONE we trust that this “new heart movement” is there by virtue not of things that can be seen, but by the Word ALONE which promises it and comes to us from without.

    And as for 1 Corinthians, well, have you read that part lately? Proof texting? Hmmm. Let’s see:

    27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

    ” . . . eat and drink judgment on themselves.”

    Yes, it is very serious as you say. Pastors are charged with the care of souls. Does this mean they are given permission or special powers to peer into the hearts of their flock. Of course not. What they do, what they can ONLY do is LAW – essentially, follow rules. In other words, come up with a way to prevent this from happening as best they can figure out. This is not to deny grace but to be obedient servants of God and neighbor.

    The word in Greek that is translated as “judgement” is κρίμα. That’s KRIMA. George, it is a crime. To what do we owe our neighbor if we believe they could potentially commit a crime against God? What would love DEMAND. Yes, love makes demands – it is LAW as far as we Old Adams can see or do, which is ALL we can see or do. Carrot or stick.

  • Stephen

    George,

    As to how a pastor would know who is at the altar, I’d say it is his job to know so there ought to be a system of some sort for ferreting that out. And that is love.

    Yes, for faith, the words of Jesus are invitation and promise. I believe that, but I do not live that in my actions or thoughts in any manifest sense other than LAW. That is because for Old Adam, the person we can see, the words you cite are all Law which drives us to death. “Be Perfect.” Well, forget it. I can’t. I give up, which is the point. As you allude to, Jesus is perfect. Thank God for Him and that He is most certainly mine THROUGH FAITH ALONE.

    Everything we see and do in church is law and earthly righteousness. It will not last. But, the really good news is that in, with and under is what Christ does for us. The gift of faith comes by hearing, hearing words spoken by a sinner that he is commanded to preach in keeping with the confession of faith he shares with others. Faith is not something we do or feel or wrap our brains around, it is something we have as a gift.

    Yes, we can be commanded to love. A judge can command me to take care of my kids so that outwardly everything I do looks like love in regards to the law. This is what anyone can do. But only the new creation can love from the heart. This comes in a way that cannot be seen, through faith, but it does come. We cannot see it in ourselves. No degree of navel gazing or effort to feel something can make it come to the surface. By faith ALONE we trust that this “new heart movement” is there by virtue not of things that can be seen, but by the Word ALONE which promises it and comes to us from without.

    And as for 1 Corinthians, well, have you read that part lately? Proof texting? Hmmm. Let’s see:

    27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

    ” . . . eat and drink judgment on themselves.”

    Yes, it is very serious as you say. Pastors are charged with the care of souls. Does this mean they are given permission or special powers to peer into the hearts of their flock. Of course not. What they do, what they can ONLY do is LAW – essentially, follow rules. In other words, come up with a way to prevent this from happening as best they can figure out. This is not to deny grace but to be obedient servants of God and neighbor.

    The word in Greek that is translated as “judgement” is κρίμα. That’s KRIMA. George, it is a crime. To what do we owe our neighbor if we believe they could potentially commit a crime against God? What would love DEMAND. Yes, love makes demands – it is LAW as far as we Old Adams can see or do, which is ALL we can see or do. Carrot or stick.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @49. I really think you have a problem with this Law/Gospel thing. Many Lutherans do, because we have placed it higher in the hierarchy of important aspects of our faith than it should be.

    I will just make one response in the matter of love and commanding. I was still in high school when my step father told my brother and me, “I love you because it is my duty.” My brother and I were both amazed that he did not realize he had just told us that he does not love us.

    As to 1 Cor. 11, I have read it in both English and Greek. I know that κρίμα is nothing to sneeze at. But I was concerned about what the nature of the κρίμα is. It has to do with what you discern, διακρίνων (a play on words?), and that is not the Sacramental Body but the Spiritual Body.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @49. I really think you have a problem with this Law/Gospel thing. Many Lutherans do, because we have placed it higher in the hierarchy of important aspects of our faith than it should be.

    I will just make one response in the matter of love and commanding. I was still in high school when my step father told my brother and me, “I love you because it is my duty.” My brother and I were both amazed that he did not realize he had just told us that he does not love us.

    As to 1 Cor. 11, I have read it in both English and Greek. I know that κρίμα is nothing to sneeze at. But I was concerned about what the nature of the κρίμα is. It has to do with what you discern, διακρίνων (a play on words?), and that is not the Sacramental Body but the Spiritual Body.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Fws

    George @ 50

    you seem to confuse “mercy” ( a law word) with Mercy. you confuse grace with Grace. Yeah george. It is a law and gospel thing.

    We Lutherans insist on separating mercy and grace from Mercy and Grace as far as the eArth is from the heavens. You mush them all together.

    the distinction the law and gospel is what the Confessions tell us they demonstrate in every single article. Pick any one. And they tell us to read the scriptures the same way. Example…..

    pastors are earthy rulers of the church (ap vii). The earthly church is a govt that God uses to keep the religious from turning spiritual ( cf preface to the catechism that calls doctrines the laws of the church).

    In, with, and under that law govt called the Holy Catholic Church and its mercy is that other, invisible Mercy that can be known and seen alone by faith. Baptism is the entrance to both. It is the pastors business to identify that Buddhist and bar him from the communion.

    You are also right that it is even more the pastors business to make sure that who needs the supper is not denied it. So? Your point is?

  • Fws

    George @ 50

    you seem to confuse “mercy” ( a law word) with Mercy. you confuse grace with Grace. Yeah george. It is a law and gospel thing.

    We Lutherans insist on separating mercy and grace from Mercy and Grace as far as the eArth is from the heavens. You mush them all together.

    the distinction the law and gospel is what the Confessions tell us they demonstrate in every single article. Pick any one. And they tell us to read the scriptures the same way. Example…..

    pastors are earthy rulers of the church (ap vii). The earthly church is a govt that God uses to keep the religious from turning spiritual ( cf preface to the catechism that calls doctrines the laws of the church).

    In, with, and under that law govt called the Holy Catholic Church and its mercy is that other, invisible Mercy that can be known and seen alone by faith. Baptism is the entrance to both. It is the pastors business to identify that Buddhist and bar him from the communion.

    You are also right that it is even more the pastors business to make sure that who needs the supper is not denied it. So? Your point is?

  • Stephen

    George,

    “When Christ bids a man come, he bids him to come and die” – Bonhoeffer

    Who is it that dies? None other than YOU. And the Word that only faith ALONE can receive declares that you will be made new. Brand new, not refurbished or factory reconditioned in heaven. New as in NEW.

    Carrot or stick George. It is one or the other. Saying that the words of Christ are an invitation is, for all Old Adam can know, a carrot that looks awfully good, but is intent on killing him. “Come and die. Hand yourself over to me, to my will and my power.” But to a new creation, that which is only available to us through invisible faith ALONE, they are life and salvation.

    Here’s my analogy:

    If the president of the United States called me up tomorrow and said he’d like to take me for taco there would be Secret Service men at my door at noon on Friday and I would go whether I like the guy or not, whether I wanted to go or not. that does not make the invitation merely a formality. It is a real invitation. Why. Because it is to me, Stephen, an actual person who is being called up. Maybe I would say “heck yeah, tell me where to be!” and go enthusiastically. Either way, I’m going. And if he orders me a pork taco and I’m a vegetarian, I’m not for that meal. The president says, I show up. He has power. For all intents and purposes, as far as having a choice, my will is not involved. It is a dead thing.

    Magnify that by infinity and you might get what I am saying.

    When Jesus bids me come, you can call it command (stick) or invitation (carrot) it is still something I must do. He is my Lord. He has power of life and death over me. That is obedience, pure and simple. Read The Large Catechism and see what it says. You will find that Luther also says we are commanded to eat and drink. In fact, read the entire Art 7 of the Solid Declaration. I just did. IT will help. Watch carefully for the words “command” and “obedience” and where they show up. Why would Luther call the sacraments “ordinances” anyway? Isn’t that Baptist thing? Read it.

    Now, whether I feel welcomed or a little nervous, it doesn’t matter. I’m going. That is all law “Take and eat this and drink this Steve . . . do this . . .” The difference is between this “doing” being terrifying and relief is one thing only – Christ himself, alone, is there for me. I am in on the joke. The president and I go way back. The Secret Service guys don’t know it. I still have no real choice but to head to the restaurant and eat the taco he orders, but I have no fear. He knows me and loves me. He won’t order pork, he’ll order bean tacos.

    I’m sad that your father said that to you because it doesn’t make sense to a boy. But it is true that he had to love you as an act of will, a will that becomes dust again. I wish I could always “feel” love for my kids, that my doing is pure for them in every way. But the truth is I am selfish and want to sleep in. It is an act of will (LAW) for me to get up and get going and play with them and listen to them and change dirty diapers and get them dressed. Along the way I may brighten and have a better attitude. I’d give my right arm for a better attitude some days. In the same way, it is an act of will – I want to do it – to pile them in the car so we can go goof off at the sporting goods store and maybe get something sweet that their mom would never allow. In both cases, I am loving them, both because I have to and because I want to.

    The love we humans can give is all law and earthly righteousness that we OWE others, whether we enjoy making those payment snad find them a breeze or not. We DO love. Sometimes it is because we want to or get to (carrot) that we “willingly” love, or because we have to (stick) that we summon up the will to do it. And in the case of being a parent, there is a higher law (ordo) to keep us at it called marriage and family.

    But that is not true when it comes to God’s love because God IS Love itself – perfect love. There is no need to do anything on our part. He has, does and always will love us out of his very being.

    Read the Solid Declaration Art 7. Please. And when you get top the part where they quote Luther’s last, dying confession on what he had to say to the sacramentarians, stop and read it again. And watch for how they use 1 Cor 10 and 11. See if what I am saying makes any more sense.

    If desiring to separate law from gospel is a problem, it is the most excellent problem to have. I am not ashamed. I’m working on my doctorate in it just as Dr. Martin suggested we all who call ourselves theologians ought to do. It is nothing less than the crucified Lord that we eat and drink. Scarey (law), and liberating (gospel).

  • Stephen

    George,

    “When Christ bids a man come, he bids him to come and die” – Bonhoeffer

    Who is it that dies? None other than YOU. And the Word that only faith ALONE can receive declares that you will be made new. Brand new, not refurbished or factory reconditioned in heaven. New as in NEW.

    Carrot or stick George. It is one or the other. Saying that the words of Christ are an invitation is, for all Old Adam can know, a carrot that looks awfully good, but is intent on killing him. “Come and die. Hand yourself over to me, to my will and my power.” But to a new creation, that which is only available to us through invisible faith ALONE, they are life and salvation.

    Here’s my analogy:

    If the president of the United States called me up tomorrow and said he’d like to take me for taco there would be Secret Service men at my door at noon on Friday and I would go whether I like the guy or not, whether I wanted to go or not. that does not make the invitation merely a formality. It is a real invitation. Why. Because it is to me, Stephen, an actual person who is being called up. Maybe I would say “heck yeah, tell me where to be!” and go enthusiastically. Either way, I’m going. And if he orders me a pork taco and I’m a vegetarian, I’m not for that meal. The president says, I show up. He has power. For all intents and purposes, as far as having a choice, my will is not involved. It is a dead thing.

    Magnify that by infinity and you might get what I am saying.

    When Jesus bids me come, you can call it command (stick) or invitation (carrot) it is still something I must do. He is my Lord. He has power of life and death over me. That is obedience, pure and simple. Read The Large Catechism and see what it says. You will find that Luther also says we are commanded to eat and drink. In fact, read the entire Art 7 of the Solid Declaration. I just did. IT will help. Watch carefully for the words “command” and “obedience” and where they show up. Why would Luther call the sacraments “ordinances” anyway? Isn’t that Baptist thing? Read it.

    Now, whether I feel welcomed or a little nervous, it doesn’t matter. I’m going. That is all law “Take and eat this and drink this Steve . . . do this . . .” The difference is between this “doing” being terrifying and relief is one thing only – Christ himself, alone, is there for me. I am in on the joke. The president and I go way back. The Secret Service guys don’t know it. I still have no real choice but to head to the restaurant and eat the taco he orders, but I have no fear. He knows me and loves me. He won’t order pork, he’ll order bean tacos.

    I’m sad that your father said that to you because it doesn’t make sense to a boy. But it is true that he had to love you as an act of will, a will that becomes dust again. I wish I could always “feel” love for my kids, that my doing is pure for them in every way. But the truth is I am selfish and want to sleep in. It is an act of will (LAW) for me to get up and get going and play with them and listen to them and change dirty diapers and get them dressed. Along the way I may brighten and have a better attitude. I’d give my right arm for a better attitude some days. In the same way, it is an act of will – I want to do it – to pile them in the car so we can go goof off at the sporting goods store and maybe get something sweet that their mom would never allow. In both cases, I am loving them, both because I have to and because I want to.

    The love we humans can give is all law and earthly righteousness that we OWE others, whether we enjoy making those payment snad find them a breeze or not. We DO love. Sometimes it is because we want to or get to (carrot) that we “willingly” love, or because we have to (stick) that we summon up the will to do it. And in the case of being a parent, there is a higher law (ordo) to keep us at it called marriage and family.

    But that is not true when it comes to God’s love because God IS Love itself – perfect love. There is no need to do anything on our part. He has, does and always will love us out of his very being.

    Read the Solid Declaration Art 7. Please. And when you get top the part where they quote Luther’s last, dying confession on what he had to say to the sacramentarians, stop and read it again. And watch for how they use 1 Cor 10 and 11. See if what I am saying makes any more sense.

    If desiring to separate law from gospel is a problem, it is the most excellent problem to have. I am not ashamed. I’m working on my doctorate in it just as Dr. Martin suggested we all who call ourselves theologians ought to do. It is nothing less than the crucified Lord that we eat and drink. Scarey (law), and liberating (gospel).

  • Stephen

    Is today Wednesday or Thursday? If the Secret Service showed up on Friday they’d get fired. I need to sleep.

    “We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Wow!

  • Stephen

    Is today Wednesday or Thursday? If the Secret Service showed up on Friday they’d get fired. I need to sleep.

    “We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Wow!

  • Stephen

    I can hear Pete now “C’mon Larry. I’ve got a lot riding on this . . .”

  • Stephen

    I can hear Pete now “C’mon Larry. I’ve got a lot riding on this . . .”

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @52,53

    One thing you have demonstrated is that Sasse was right when he wrote, (Letter to Lutheran Pastors, No. 51, 1960), “If indeed the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its place in church and congregation, then it cannot be long before the reality of the Holy Spirit is also lost to us, just as Christ ceases to be present when He is not truly taught, when His Gospel and sacraments are falsified.”

    What you have written cannot be classified as anything other than a rant. Because you do not understand the new nature of the child of God, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, you confuse love, Law, Gospel, the unregenerate creature and the regenerate.

    Banhöffer’s quote refers to the unregenerate. When Christ calls us to His Supper, He calls the regenerated child of God. Nowhere did I write that all of “the words of Christ are an invitation.” I wrote about “Take and eat”, that is an invitation to the child of God, without compulsion, because there is no compulsion in the Kingdom of God. We do not come against our will, but because, as St. Paul writes, 1 Cor. 2:16, “But we have the mind of Christ.”

    Your analogy about the President simply does not work, because you cannot allow for the unregenerate and regenerated wills in it.

    I reread FCSD VII before I made my first comment on this topic. There is nothing there I disagree with, but please demonstrate to me that in that section, where it states that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 means discerning the real presence of the Body of the Lord in the Sacrament. When you do precisely that, without any accompanying rants, then I will be pleased to agree that you are right.

    Are you working on a Doctorate in an LCMS seminary?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @52,53

    One thing you have demonstrated is that Sasse was right when he wrote, (Letter to Lutheran Pastors, No. 51, 1960), “If indeed the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its place in church and congregation, then it cannot be long before the reality of the Holy Spirit is also lost to us, just as Christ ceases to be present when He is not truly taught, when His Gospel and sacraments are falsified.”

    What you have written cannot be classified as anything other than a rant. Because you do not understand the new nature of the child of God, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, you confuse love, Law, Gospel, the unregenerate creature and the regenerate.

    Banhöffer’s quote refers to the unregenerate. When Christ calls us to His Supper, He calls the regenerated child of God. Nowhere did I write that all of “the words of Christ are an invitation.” I wrote about “Take and eat”, that is an invitation to the child of God, without compulsion, because there is no compulsion in the Kingdom of God. We do not come against our will, but because, as St. Paul writes, 1 Cor. 2:16, “But we have the mind of Christ.”

    Your analogy about the President simply does not work, because you cannot allow for the unregenerate and regenerated wills in it.

    I reread FCSD VII before I made my first comment on this topic. There is nothing there I disagree with, but please demonstrate to me that in that section, where it states that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 means discerning the real presence of the Body of the Lord in the Sacrament. When you do precisely that, without any accompanying rants, then I will be pleased to agree that you are right.

    Are you working on a Doctorate in an LCMS seminary?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    fsw @51. I will be happy to respond to any question you have. But a rant followed by “So? Your point is?” does not qualify.

    I do not know what your time constraints are, but if you are not terribly rushed, I would appreciate a response that reflects what Blaise Pascal wrote to a friend, “I am sorry I have had to write you such a long letter, but I did not have time to write you a short one”-

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    fsw @51. I will be happy to respond to any question you have. But a rant followed by “So? Your point is?” does not qualify.

    I do not know what your time constraints are, but if you are not terribly rushed, I would appreciate a response that reflects what Blaise Pascal wrote to a friend, “I am sorry I have had to write you such a long letter, but I did not have time to write you a short one”-

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    Oh c’mon George! I worked really hard on that. It wasn’t a rant. I admit to enjoying writing it, but it was sincere.

    Why do the Confessions use the phrase “in as much we are . . .” to distinguish between what an unregenerate Old Adam and what he is able to do and the regenerate new creation which produces good works like light from sun? Do your good works come about like light from sun in any way you can or would be able to recognize or point out?

    The Kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen.

    That is not to say that we do not – in as much as we are regenerate – love and respond and do like light from sun. We just cannot identify it, in as much as we are unregenerate Old Adam – that’s the fellow that we can see and recognize in the mirror doing stuff, like trying to love and be faithful and have hope – all stuff that is, in fact, grinding him down, mortifying his flesh, killing him. That is the very baptismal life. Yes, Bonhoeffer is talking about a man, a person, a human being stuck in time, the same one we all have to deal with every day. His name is Old Adam and he is ALL we can see. Faith ALONE believes and trusts the word of promise, INVISIBLE faith that is a gift.

    In what you read you missed this part:

    60] For that not only the godly, pious, and believing Christians, but also unworthy, godless hypocrites, as Judas and his ilk, who have no spiritual communion with Christ, and go to the Table of the Lord without true repentance and conversion to God, also receive orally in the Sacrament the true body and [true] blood of Christ, and by their unworthy eating and drinking grievously sin against the body and blood of Christ, St. Paul teaches expressly. For he says, 1 Cor. 11:27: Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, sins not merely against the bread and wine, not merely against the signs or symbols and emblems of the body and blood, but shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which, as there [in the Holy Supper] present, he dishonors, abuses, and disgraces, as the Jews, who in very deed violated the body of Christ and killed Him; just as the ancient Christian Fathers and church-teachers unanimously have understood and explained this passage.

    And a little later:

    63] The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper-by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation,

    I never used the term “damnation.” That’s not my job. But yes, we agree – this serious business (I can read it in Greek too). And I don’t disagree that anyone who gets to the table does not get the very same thing served to them no matter who they are. Not the point.

    69] For Christians who are of weak faith, diffident, troubled, and heartily terrified because of the greatness and number of their sins, and think that in this their great impurity they are not worthy of this precious treasure and the benefits of Christ, and who feel and lament their weakness of faith, and from their hearts desire that they may serve God with stronger, more joyful faith and pure obedience, they are the truly worthy guests for whom this highly venerable Sacrament [and sacred feast] has been especially instituted and appointed;

    Now why would this regenerate Christian you describe ever look or feel like that? Because all he can see is his sinner Old Adam that he lives with day in and day out. This is a description of contrition, not some always confident, yippee for me ’cause I got Jesus in me happy Christian caricature.

    I am not denying either that one can feel all kinds of things, such as relief and balm. There is a Balm in Gilead. Absolutely. And that too is a promise received through faith alone, alone, alone.

    More stuff you seem to have missed:

    20] Dr. Luther has also more amply expounded and confirmed this opinion from God’s Word in the Large Catechism, where it is written: What, then, is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. 21] And shortly after: It is the ‘Word,’ I say, which makes and distinguishes this Sacrament, so that it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called. the body and blood of Christ. 22] Again: With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. Now, here stands the Word of Christ: “Take, eat; this is My body. Drink ye all of this; this is the new testament in My blood,” etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken.23] It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word, or regard it without the Word, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.

    That thing about “take away the Word OR REGARD IT without the Word . . . ” What say ye? We are to think about it in the correct way. Discern. Doctrine. LAW stuff that we do in obedience. It is related to this thought where they use the term ordinance:

    32] After this protestation, Doctor Luther, of blessed memory, presents, among other articles, this also: In the same manner I also speak and confess (he says) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests [ministers] who administer it [the Lord's Supper], or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon God’s Word and ordinance, unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own [false] notion. Fol. 245.

    Ordinance is all a sinner can do. Sincerity does not guarantee anything. Neither does our intention or desire no matter how genuine we imagine it to be. I did not say “believe.” Faith trusts. Fides qua. Faith ALONE does this, like light from sun. It is invisible. It is a gift promised to us that we most certainly have by virtue of the Word ALONE – Fides quae. What we do (Old Adam that is, the visible dying sinner we recognize in ourselves) is what we only know how to do – obey or not.

    The doctorate was an allusion to Luther’s instruction to all theologians to learn how to separate law from gospel. If they can learn this one thing, they are truly a Doctor of theology. So no, I’m not at a seminary. I do have a Master’s degree in NT and Systematics from the seminary I mentioned. And as to the question about the Buddhist, the task was to figure out what one believes about the sacraments and defend it. I wish I could say that there was a “right” answer. But the Book of Concord, at least when I was there almost 20 years ago, didn’t get cracked open a lot at Luther. I only started reading it about two years ago when I found things in the new ELCA hymnal of ’07 evermore strange the more I got to know it.

    No hard feelings George. If I sound flippant or sarcastic, it’s because I love this stuff and my enthusiasm gets the better of me. Forgive me if I offend.

    And I still say you are wrong.

  • Stephen

    Oh c’mon George! I worked really hard on that. It wasn’t a rant. I admit to enjoying writing it, but it was sincere.

    Why do the Confessions use the phrase “in as much we are . . .” to distinguish between what an unregenerate Old Adam and what he is able to do and the regenerate new creation which produces good works like light from sun? Do your good works come about like light from sun in any way you can or would be able to recognize or point out?

    The Kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen.

    That is not to say that we do not – in as much as we are regenerate – love and respond and do like light from sun. We just cannot identify it, in as much as we are unregenerate Old Adam – that’s the fellow that we can see and recognize in the mirror doing stuff, like trying to love and be faithful and have hope – all stuff that is, in fact, grinding him down, mortifying his flesh, killing him. That is the very baptismal life. Yes, Bonhoeffer is talking about a man, a person, a human being stuck in time, the same one we all have to deal with every day. His name is Old Adam and he is ALL we can see. Faith ALONE believes and trusts the word of promise, INVISIBLE faith that is a gift.

    In what you read you missed this part:

    60] For that not only the godly, pious, and believing Christians, but also unworthy, godless hypocrites, as Judas and his ilk, who have no spiritual communion with Christ, and go to the Table of the Lord without true repentance and conversion to God, also receive orally in the Sacrament the true body and [true] blood of Christ, and by their unworthy eating and drinking grievously sin against the body and blood of Christ, St. Paul teaches expressly. For he says, 1 Cor. 11:27: Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, sins not merely against the bread and wine, not merely against the signs or symbols and emblems of the body and blood, but shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which, as there [in the Holy Supper] present, he dishonors, abuses, and disgraces, as the Jews, who in very deed violated the body of Christ and killed Him; just as the ancient Christian Fathers and church-teachers unanimously have understood and explained this passage.

    And a little later:

    63] The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper-by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation,

    I never used the term “damnation.” That’s not my job. But yes, we agree – this serious business (I can read it in Greek too). And I don’t disagree that anyone who gets to the table does not get the very same thing served to them no matter who they are. Not the point.

    69] For Christians who are of weak faith, diffident, troubled, and heartily terrified because of the greatness and number of their sins, and think that in this their great impurity they are not worthy of this precious treasure and the benefits of Christ, and who feel and lament their weakness of faith, and from their hearts desire that they may serve God with stronger, more joyful faith and pure obedience, they are the truly worthy guests for whom this highly venerable Sacrament [and sacred feast] has been especially instituted and appointed;

    Now why would this regenerate Christian you describe ever look or feel like that? Because all he can see is his sinner Old Adam that he lives with day in and day out. This is a description of contrition, not some always confident, yippee for me ’cause I got Jesus in me happy Christian caricature.

    I am not denying either that one can feel all kinds of things, such as relief and balm. There is a Balm in Gilead. Absolutely. And that too is a promise received through faith alone, alone, alone.

    More stuff you seem to have missed:

    20] Dr. Luther has also more amply expounded and confirmed this opinion from God’s Word in the Large Catechism, where it is written: What, then, is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. 21] And shortly after: It is the ‘Word,’ I say, which makes and distinguishes this Sacrament, so that it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called. the body and blood of Christ. 22] Again: With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. Now, here stands the Word of Christ: “Take, eat; this is My body. Drink ye all of this; this is the new testament in My blood,” etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken.23] It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word, or regard it without the Word, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.

    That thing about “take away the Word OR REGARD IT without the Word . . . ” What say ye? We are to think about it in the correct way. Discern. Doctrine. LAW stuff that we do in obedience. It is related to this thought where they use the term ordinance:

    32] After this protestation, Doctor Luther, of blessed memory, presents, among other articles, this also: In the same manner I also speak and confess (he says) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests [ministers] who administer it [the Lord's Supper], or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon God’s Word and ordinance, unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own [false] notion. Fol. 245.

    Ordinance is all a sinner can do. Sincerity does not guarantee anything. Neither does our intention or desire no matter how genuine we imagine it to be. I did not say “believe.” Faith trusts. Fides qua. Faith ALONE does this, like light from sun. It is invisible. It is a gift promised to us that we most certainly have by virtue of the Word ALONE – Fides quae. What we do (Old Adam that is, the visible dying sinner we recognize in ourselves) is what we only know how to do – obey or not.

    The doctorate was an allusion to Luther’s instruction to all theologians to learn how to separate law from gospel. If they can learn this one thing, they are truly a Doctor of theology. So no, I’m not at a seminary. I do have a Master’s degree in NT and Systematics from the seminary I mentioned. And as to the question about the Buddhist, the task was to figure out what one believes about the sacraments and defend it. I wish I could say that there was a “right” answer. But the Book of Concord, at least when I was there almost 20 years ago, didn’t get cracked open a lot at Luther. I only started reading it about two years ago when I found things in the new ELCA hymnal of ’07 evermore strange the more I got to know it.

    No hard feelings George. If I sound flippant or sarcastic, it’s because I love this stuff and my enthusiasm gets the better of me. Forgive me if I offend.

    And I still say you are wrong.

  • Anthony Sacramone

    Dr. Leithart — a very smart guy, whom I always learn something from even if I don’t always agree with him — appears to be confusing brunch with the Eucharist. Unless I’m reading him wrong, he’s not making the necessary distinction between a common meal and a sacred meal, even if those attending are all believers. What makes Communion “sacred”? In other words, what literally sets it apart? Until those who keep looking for a seat at the table but find themselves “stuck” kneeling at an altar can answer that question correctly, they risk offending the Host. It’s as if they were to say, “I’m sorry, but this food is a little too rich for me. I’m a working-class sort of fellow, and I find your extravagance offensive. Mind if I pretend it’s takeout?” “But I’m giving you my very SELF!” “Uh, do you have any pita, by chance?” Quick question for Dr. Leithart: Ask a Mormon if he believes in Jesus, believes in the Gospel. I can almost guarantee he will say yes. Should he (or she) be allowed to receive?

  • Anthony Sacramone

    Dr. Leithart — a very smart guy, whom I always learn something from even if I don’t always agree with him — appears to be confusing brunch with the Eucharist. Unless I’m reading him wrong, he’s not making the necessary distinction between a common meal and a sacred meal, even if those attending are all believers. What makes Communion “sacred”? In other words, what literally sets it apart? Until those who keep looking for a seat at the table but find themselves “stuck” kneeling at an altar can answer that question correctly, they risk offending the Host. It’s as if they were to say, “I’m sorry, but this food is a little too rich for me. I’m a working-class sort of fellow, and I find your extravagance offensive. Mind if I pretend it’s takeout?” “But I’m giving you my very SELF!” “Uh, do you have any pita, by chance?” Quick question for Dr. Leithart: Ask a Mormon if he believes in Jesus, believes in the Gospel. I can almost guarantee he will say yes. Should he (or she) be allowed to receive?

  • Fws

    anthony @ 58

    that was perfect.

    May I point out that you are doing law and gospel distinction here?

    Here is the problem. We have a notion that everything that goes on in Church is “gospel”.

    I suggest that the Lutheran Confessions (rather radically) say that the exact opposite is true. ALL we can see and do in the Holy Catholic Church (ie the visible church) is Law, law, law. It is about us obeying what Christ as commanded. Doctrine is that Law. Neither Gospel nor gospel is anything we can do, not even administration of word and sacraments, or distribution of the Holy Supper.

    To summarize: The Gospel is not about us. Or what we can do.

    So where is the real Gospel in all that? That can be seen alone, by closing our eyes, and passively listening with faith to the sound of the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit accompanied by the sound of water and the crunching and slurping sound of bread and wine being eaten,.

    Again to summarize: Gospel= Passive. Law=anything active.

    So the objection is this: “You Lutherans are doing Law when you should be doing “gospel”. ”

    No. Something here does not pass the smell test.

  • Fws

    anthony @ 58

    that was perfect.

    May I point out that you are doing law and gospel distinction here?

    Here is the problem. We have a notion that everything that goes on in Church is “gospel”.

    I suggest that the Lutheran Confessions (rather radically) say that the exact opposite is true. ALL we can see and do in the Holy Catholic Church (ie the visible church) is Law, law, law. It is about us obeying what Christ as commanded. Doctrine is that Law. Neither Gospel nor gospel is anything we can do, not even administration of word and sacraments, or distribution of the Holy Supper.

    To summarize: The Gospel is not about us. Or what we can do.

    So where is the real Gospel in all that? That can be seen alone, by closing our eyes, and passively listening with faith to the sound of the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit accompanied by the sound of water and the crunching and slurping sound of bread and wine being eaten,.

    Again to summarize: Gospel= Passive. Law=anything active.

    So the objection is this: “You Lutherans are doing Law when you should be doing “gospel”. ”

    No. Something here does not pass the smell test.

  • larry

    Stephen @45,

    That’s it. The “worthiness” Paul speaks of as pastor explained to us once is not an adjective but more like an adverb, in a worthy manner. What the sacramentarian type arguments are making and this article is basically an “adjective” worthiness. Hence, you cannot fence people of faith because they possess the worthiness (adjective) and that worthiness is faith in Jesus. Paul is saying in a worthy manner meaning you are not receiving this in a believing manner believing that you are communing with the body and blood of Christ. I.e. its not the believing instrument receiving what is being said you are given, no “faith-mouth” as they use to say, but rather an unbelieving manner (adverb) is how you receive it and this heaps judgment up upon you.

    As a side on the whole, who can you eat with. Sasse in his book on the LS addresses this in context of doctrine and specifically the doctrine of the sacrament in light of sacramentarians. He states that the very Apostle of Love, John, himself fled the public bath house once (a common cultural thing then) and would not even stay in the same building with the Gnostic heretic (I can’t recall his name right now) for fear of retribution from God. The issue there was doctrine not just commonly eating with someone, same as the context of Peter. Peter was rebuked for his eating habit because the context was denying the Gospel, if orthodoxy allows heterodoxy to share the altar with it, THEN it would be guilty of what Peter was guilty of…denying the Gospel. His argument is upside down and Peter’s situation, ironically, refutes him.

  • larry

    Stephen @45,

    That’s it. The “worthiness” Paul speaks of as pastor explained to us once is not an adjective but more like an adverb, in a worthy manner. What the sacramentarian type arguments are making and this article is basically an “adjective” worthiness. Hence, you cannot fence people of faith because they possess the worthiness (adjective) and that worthiness is faith in Jesus. Paul is saying in a worthy manner meaning you are not receiving this in a believing manner believing that you are communing with the body and blood of Christ. I.e. its not the believing instrument receiving what is being said you are given, no “faith-mouth” as they use to say, but rather an unbelieving manner (adverb) is how you receive it and this heaps judgment up upon you.

    As a side on the whole, who can you eat with. Sasse in his book on the LS addresses this in context of doctrine and specifically the doctrine of the sacrament in light of sacramentarians. He states that the very Apostle of Love, John, himself fled the public bath house once (a common cultural thing then) and would not even stay in the same building with the Gnostic heretic (I can’t recall his name right now) for fear of retribution from God. The issue there was doctrine not just commonly eating with someone, same as the context of Peter. Peter was rebuked for his eating habit because the context was denying the Gospel, if orthodoxy allows heterodoxy to share the altar with it, THEN it would be guilty of what Peter was guilty of…denying the Gospel. His argument is upside down and Peter’s situation, ironically, refutes him.

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    Yes, yes, yes. That is really the only point I am trying to make. Any doing on our part that we imagine we can bring to it is to say that we deserve mercy. It isn’t mercy if we deserve it. That is what hit me in what you said. We want to bring our works there and have them validated (tODD – excellent!). Cringe-worthy. People think they deserve the sacrament because they did something as in “I said the right words, that I believe, I just have a different opinion OF MY OWN about what the words mean.” That is nothing other than works seeking to be validated.

    So the pastor’s DUTY out of love is to say “As far as your confession and actions indicate – you are not in fellowship as a member of this body (which is all about doctrine) – it would be CRIME to let you partake. Come back when you are ready to be in full fellowship with us by our rules (doctrine).

    It aint brunch (that was fantastic Anthony!).

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    Yes, yes, yes. That is really the only point I am trying to make. Any doing on our part that we imagine we can bring to it is to say that we deserve mercy. It isn’t mercy if we deserve it. That is what hit me in what you said. We want to bring our works there and have them validated (tODD – excellent!). Cringe-worthy. People think they deserve the sacrament because they did something as in “I said the right words, that I believe, I just have a different opinion OF MY OWN about what the words mean.” That is nothing other than works seeking to be validated.

    So the pastor’s DUTY out of love is to say “As far as your confession and actions indicate – you are not in fellowship as a member of this body (which is all about doctrine) – it would be CRIME to let you partake. Come back when you are ready to be in full fellowship with us by our rules (doctrine).

    It aint brunch (that was fantastic Anthony!).

  • Anthony Sacramone

    I appreciate Dr. Leithart’s ecumenical outlook. Too often, a mean-spirited sectarianism has gripped those in the Calvinist and Fundamentalist camps, and Leithart is trying to combat it. Lutherans have never denied the name “Christian” to Catholics, Orthodox, Reformed, Baptists, et al. Emphasizing what we believe in common is healthy and necessary — in the right forums. But that does not mean that what still divides us, what makes our traditions unique and distinct, becomes irrelevant. The Eternal Word anchors the meaning of our words — common and sacred. It matters greatly what He meant by “This is My Body.” This is why mainliners rushing headlong to offer Communion to nonbelievers is both ridiculous and depressing. The arguments I have seen offered are as banal as “Jesus ate with sinners” (Jesus was also crucified with sinners — your point?) and as amazing as “the sacraments can convert people.” Really? You make belief in a literal bodily Resurrection in history a matter of mere personal opinion, but you insist on the power of the sacraments to transmit converting grace? Wow. This is the problem with denying distinctions between communions: eventually, EVERYTHING that is unique to even our common Faith will be reduced to mere metaphor, a la Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” and this in the interest of not giving offense.

  • Anthony Sacramone

    I appreciate Dr. Leithart’s ecumenical outlook. Too often, a mean-spirited sectarianism has gripped those in the Calvinist and Fundamentalist camps, and Leithart is trying to combat it. Lutherans have never denied the name “Christian” to Catholics, Orthodox, Reformed, Baptists, et al. Emphasizing what we believe in common is healthy and necessary — in the right forums. But that does not mean that what still divides us, what makes our traditions unique and distinct, becomes irrelevant. The Eternal Word anchors the meaning of our words — common and sacred. It matters greatly what He meant by “This is My Body.” This is why mainliners rushing headlong to offer Communion to nonbelievers is both ridiculous and depressing. The arguments I have seen offered are as banal as “Jesus ate with sinners” (Jesus was also crucified with sinners — your point?) and as amazing as “the sacraments can convert people.” Really? You make belief in a literal bodily Resurrection in history a matter of mere personal opinion, but you insist on the power of the sacraments to transmit converting grace? Wow. This is the problem with denying distinctions between communions: eventually, EVERYTHING that is unique to even our common Faith will be reduced to mere metaphor, a la Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” and this in the interest of not giving offense.

  • larry

    Stephen,

    Yes, exactly and the closed communion is in and of itself a kind of paradox, the kind Luther speaks of when he says God has to first kill before he gives life, bring low before he raises up, condemn to hell before giving heaven, wrath before grace, his alien work before his proper work or in short Law then Gospel. Thus, the closed communion is a paradox. For it looks like by appearance that we wish no others to come, but in reality the very purpose of it is to CAUSE them to come. It’s pretty much the way Christianity looks to an outsider at first, having been an atheist I can expresses experientially. At first the Christian faith looks like all Law and an insiders club. And so one says, “You all think you have the truth…to hell with you”. But then the Word breaks through, no God’s proper work is to save you too. It’s the younger brother in the parable of the prodigal action, Law then Gospel.

    If I might use a limited earthly analogy. Sometimes, and parents will recognize this, as a parent one’s child is being so outright rebellious you have to exercise Law in order to bring them back home. The other night at the dinner table one of our kids, 7 years old, was just throwing an absolute fit over the food and everything under the sun. Straight firm discipline was not going to work and they were just ruining the meal for the rest of the family. At last I had to send them to their room and let them “enjoy” their selves separate from the family. It caused a raging fit but nonetheless they stomped off with all the accusations of dad being unfair and mean, etc… I had to “close the dinner table” to them and the familial “communion” if you will. Finally, after about 15 or 20 minutes they come back head down, just a little sobbing and apologized saying, “Can I come back and eat with the family”. Then came the bright surprise to them from me and my wife, “Absolutely, that’s what we wanted all along”.

    That’s how the Gospel is in this, that’s how the closed communion is operating.

  • larry

    Stephen,

    Yes, exactly and the closed communion is in and of itself a kind of paradox, the kind Luther speaks of when he says God has to first kill before he gives life, bring low before he raises up, condemn to hell before giving heaven, wrath before grace, his alien work before his proper work or in short Law then Gospel. Thus, the closed communion is a paradox. For it looks like by appearance that we wish no others to come, but in reality the very purpose of it is to CAUSE them to come. It’s pretty much the way Christianity looks to an outsider at first, having been an atheist I can expresses experientially. At first the Christian faith looks like all Law and an insiders club. And so one says, “You all think you have the truth…to hell with you”. But then the Word breaks through, no God’s proper work is to save you too. It’s the younger brother in the parable of the prodigal action, Law then Gospel.

    If I might use a limited earthly analogy. Sometimes, and parents will recognize this, as a parent one’s child is being so outright rebellious you have to exercise Law in order to bring them back home. The other night at the dinner table one of our kids, 7 years old, was just throwing an absolute fit over the food and everything under the sun. Straight firm discipline was not going to work and they were just ruining the meal for the rest of the family. At last I had to send them to their room and let them “enjoy” their selves separate from the family. It caused a raging fit but nonetheless they stomped off with all the accusations of dad being unfair and mean, etc… I had to “close the dinner table” to them and the familial “communion” if you will. Finally, after about 15 or 20 minutes they come back head down, just a little sobbing and apologized saying, “Can I come back and eat with the family”. Then came the bright surprise to them from me and my wife, “Absolutely, that’s what we wanted all along”.

    That’s how the Gospel is in this, that’s how the closed communion is operating.

  • Fws

    larry @ 63

    no Larry. It is not a paradox. The Lutheran way to see this is that all we can see and do is law and death. all our righeousness is carnal righeousness to do the carnal law, aka philosophical righeousness, aka second table righeousness, aka the righeousness of reason, aka ethics, aka morality. aka the golden rule, aka love, aka ACTIVE righeousness, aka earthly righeousness, aka civil law, aka NATURAL LAW. God rules here to make all carnal goodness and mercy , aka good works, happen out of dying Old Adam.

    Only in with and under that carnal righeousness that we are commanded to do in Church will be found the heavenly righeousness that is alone what we can see when we close our eyes and listen to the Word of God. This is PASSIVE righeousness. It is alone fear, love and trust in the Works of Another.

    When Lutherans say that God only works through means they do not just mean bread, wine and water. They here mean law and gospel and old adam.

    When Lutherans say that God only works faith through means, here they mean old adam and the ACTIVE righteousness that is all he can do. Carnal righeousness. That will perish. . and they also then narrow that to mean also word, wine, water, bread and the sent ones. This too is ACTIVE righeousness. It is Romans 8 carnal fleshly righeousess that will perish along with all who trust in these works for Life. (eg rome and geneva). And in with and under that the HS works faith and eternal Life.

  • Fws

    larry @ 63

    no Larry. It is not a paradox. The Lutheran way to see this is that all we can see and do is law and death. all our righeousness is carnal righeousness to do the carnal law, aka philosophical righeousness, aka second table righeousness, aka the righeousness of reason, aka ethics, aka morality. aka the golden rule, aka love, aka ACTIVE righeousness, aka earthly righeousness, aka civil law, aka NATURAL LAW. God rules here to make all carnal goodness and mercy , aka good works, happen out of dying Old Adam.

    Only in with and under that carnal righeousness that we are commanded to do in Church will be found the heavenly righeousness that is alone what we can see when we close our eyes and listen to the Word of God. This is PASSIVE righeousness. It is alone fear, love and trust in the Works of Another.

    When Lutherans say that God only works through means they do not just mean bread, wine and water. They here mean law and gospel and old adam.

    When Lutherans say that God only works faith through means, here they mean old adam and the ACTIVE righteousness that is all he can do. Carnal righeousness. That will perish. . and they also then narrow that to mean also word, wine, water, bread and the sent ones. This too is ACTIVE righeousness. It is Romans 8 carnal fleshly righeousess that will perish along with all who trust in these works for Life. (eg rome and geneva). And in with and under that the HS works faith and eternal Life.

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    I agree with both you and Frank. I think paradox is the wrong word, but I completely get what you mean. Maybe closed communion seems “contradictory” would be a better way to say it. Closed communion is the law which brings death. This “alien work” is alien (contradictory, or better “contraindicated as they say in medicine) to those who are perishing (Old Adams), but for repentance it is the necessary condition of contrition (I just read the Apology Art 12 which covers this in amazing clarity).

    I’m going out on a limb to relate it to John’s baptism, a baptism of repentance (contrition) only which prepares the way. In this sense, it is a law baptism, one which kills only. But then this is how the Word of the gospel breaks through. This prepares the way. “He who comes after is mightier . . . He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire!” The law, if you will, is a contrition that is not even fit to untie his sandal. It is something we do in obedience, but it can only kill. The Holy Spirit works faith, making new. This is gift. The two are present when we eat worthily – contrition and faith, which is true repentance.

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    I agree with both you and Frank. I think paradox is the wrong word, but I completely get what you mean. Maybe closed communion seems “contradictory” would be a better way to say it. Closed communion is the law which brings death. This “alien work” is alien (contradictory, or better “contraindicated as they say in medicine) to those who are perishing (Old Adams), but for repentance it is the necessary condition of contrition (I just read the Apology Art 12 which covers this in amazing clarity).

    I’m going out on a limb to relate it to John’s baptism, a baptism of repentance (contrition) only which prepares the way. In this sense, it is a law baptism, one which kills only. But then this is how the Word of the gospel breaks through. This prepares the way. “He who comes after is mightier . . . He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire!” The law, if you will, is a contrition that is not even fit to untie his sandal. It is something we do in obedience, but it can only kill. The Holy Spirit works faith, making new. This is gift. The two are present when we eat worthily – contrition and faith, which is true repentance.

  • Joanne

    So, we’ve all just explained all the above to Herb and Shirley Hoeppelscheuser who are standing there in the back of the church while the ushers are still sending pews of communicants forward toward the altar rail. They smile politely and say again, “we want to go to communion and we’re Lutherans too, so why can’t we go on up there. Why are you holding us back here and talking all this mumbo jumbo at us? Just give us one good reason why you won’t share the Lord’s Supper with us? It’s the “Lord’s” supper; no Christians should be kept away like this.”

    We all know Herb and Shirley, and every week since the ELCA church was closed down and sold to the Moslems for a mosque we’ve had someone from the now defunct ELCA Central Lutheran Church asking us this same thing. Every Sunday, this is the fourth in a row, you’ve had ELCA lost lambs expecting you to be their new communion provider but for reasons that defy clear theology, if any theology at all.

    When you ask if they are interested in our excellent New Members class, they have no interest in it. “We already know all that. We’re baptised, and confirmed Lutherans. We been taking communion for 40 years.”

    But, these Hoeppelscheusers, just like the other ELCA folk you’ve talked with, they are very lax in their beliefs and practice. Last 3 Sundays, Herb and Shirley were at the UCC church, where all the old members of Central were told to go. They sang the hymns and prayed the prayers, but they just weren’t all that comfortable there.

    The lady pastor, whom they liked at the UCC, was away this Sunday, a nice young man from a Presbyterian seminary was taking her place while she attended a conference for “Lesbian Pastors with Non-Christian Partners.”

    They’ve known and liked her for a few years now because she had been the pastor at Central before it closed, but they hadn’t known about her special relation to Janice until the big festival wedding service at the very first Sunday they had all gone over to the UCC church.

    When the Hoeppelscheusers saw the title of the young seminarian’s sermon on the UCC church sign, “The Ascention, Did it Really Happen?” they thought they might do a little church shopping this Sunday. So, if they felt better at Rack of Lamb Evangelical Lutheran Church, they might just as soon attend here for a while.

    Mention Central Lutheran or the UCC church and your congregants roll their eyes and call them goddess worshipers, and from what you know, not without cause. Your congregation has watched all the shinanigans from the solid comfort of steady-as-a-rock Rack of Lamb. Your members adamantly want nothing to do with goddess worship or goddess worshipers, which many of them think that Herb and Shirley are.

    Is this a job for situational dogmatics man? “One good reason, right now while there is still time for us to go to communion.”

  • Joanne

    So, we’ve all just explained all the above to Herb and Shirley Hoeppelscheuser who are standing there in the back of the church while the ushers are still sending pews of communicants forward toward the altar rail. They smile politely and say again, “we want to go to communion and we’re Lutherans too, so why can’t we go on up there. Why are you holding us back here and talking all this mumbo jumbo at us? Just give us one good reason why you won’t share the Lord’s Supper with us? It’s the “Lord’s” supper; no Christians should be kept away like this.”

    We all know Herb and Shirley, and every week since the ELCA church was closed down and sold to the Moslems for a mosque we’ve had someone from the now defunct ELCA Central Lutheran Church asking us this same thing. Every Sunday, this is the fourth in a row, you’ve had ELCA lost lambs expecting you to be their new communion provider but for reasons that defy clear theology, if any theology at all.

    When you ask if they are interested in our excellent New Members class, they have no interest in it. “We already know all that. We’re baptised, and confirmed Lutherans. We been taking communion for 40 years.”

    But, these Hoeppelscheusers, just like the other ELCA folk you’ve talked with, they are very lax in their beliefs and practice. Last 3 Sundays, Herb and Shirley were at the UCC church, where all the old members of Central were told to go. They sang the hymns and prayed the prayers, but they just weren’t all that comfortable there.

    The lady pastor, whom they liked at the UCC, was away this Sunday, a nice young man from a Presbyterian seminary was taking her place while she attended a conference for “Lesbian Pastors with Non-Christian Partners.”

    They’ve known and liked her for a few years now because she had been the pastor at Central before it closed, but they hadn’t known about her special relation to Janice until the big festival wedding service at the very first Sunday they had all gone over to the UCC church.

    When the Hoeppelscheusers saw the title of the young seminarian’s sermon on the UCC church sign, “The Ascention, Did it Really Happen?” they thought they might do a little church shopping this Sunday. So, if they felt better at Rack of Lamb Evangelical Lutheran Church, they might just as soon attend here for a while.

    Mention Central Lutheran or the UCC church and your congregants roll their eyes and call them goddess worshipers, and from what you know, not without cause. Your congregation has watched all the shinanigans from the solid comfort of steady-as-a-rock Rack of Lamb. Your members adamantly want nothing to do with goddess worship or goddess worshipers, which many of them think that Herb and Shirley are.

    Is this a job for situational dogmatics man? “One good reason, right now while there is still time for us to go to communion.”

  • larry

    Frank/Stephen,

    I agree, perhaps paradox was the wrong word as that has a specific meaning in Lutheran theology, but as Stephen said, you get my point.

  • larry

    Frank/Stephen,

    I agree, perhaps paradox was the wrong word as that has a specific meaning in Lutheran theology, but as Stephen said, you get my point.

  • larry

    Stephen/Frank,

    What I was attempting to communicate is that the act of closing communion is a loving act not a “we don’t want you playing with our toys” act or “we don’t think you are christians” act as it is often portrayed. Because it is positively true that Luther says God kills to make alive and bring down to hell before he raises up to heaven, the hidden God versus the revealed God, etc… Even Paul’s telling of the individual to be turned over to Satan 1 Cor. is in order to restore him, not utterly drive him away as Paul’s reaction to their over harshness in the second letter. To drive away utterly, well that would be, anabaptistic.

  • larry

    Stephen/Frank,

    What I was attempting to communicate is that the act of closing communion is a loving act not a “we don’t want you playing with our toys” act or “we don’t think you are christians” act as it is often portrayed. Because it is positively true that Luther says God kills to make alive and bring down to hell before he raises up to heaven, the hidden God versus the revealed God, etc… Even Paul’s telling of the individual to be turned over to Satan 1 Cor. is in order to restore him, not utterly drive him away as Paul’s reaction to their over harshness in the second letter. To drive away utterly, well that would be, anabaptistic.

  • Stephen

    Joanne,

    You are a clever one!

    “Oh you do believe that the elements are the true Body and Blood of our Lord. Well now, that is confusing to me because didn’t you say you communed with Presbyterians? Now correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t that make you a Presbyterian?”

    You describe almost note for note my own experience, although I left the ELCA because it was getting weirder all the time. I was primed to return to the LCMS. But I did feel the tension of not being able or certain at various churches we visited about coming up for communion. There have been moments when I’ve wondered if it was worth it. It has been so easy the last 20 years, until it became uneasy. Add to that a spouse who did not grow up Lutheran (far from it) and the tension increases.

    I think the short answer is to do what is already done and stick to it. “We do not commune those who are outside of our fellowship. If you wish to be in fellowship with us you may speak to the pastor (or whatever system is in place to shepherd people in. At our new church they have an “Assimilation Director” to which my wife just laughed and asked me if it was like the Borg. Yikes!). It is a situation in which we must believe and trust that God will work it out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes.

    I have discovered that it is exactly there that the best conversations begin about what one really believes. This has been true in my marriage. Not that it hasn’t been painful at times, but it is a situation that brings one to the brink like nothing else. It has been an opportunity to share the Gospel flat out and unencumbered by works with born-again relatives. There is nothing else to do but figure out if you believe what the Lord Himself says. The closed communion practice is, at first, doing/preaching law. It’s a little terrifying perhaps to be the instrument of law. But in my experience, understanding what one believes about the sacraments brings clarity to the Gospel itself like nothing else.

    God will do what he will do. He has promised redemption. We are called (commanded!) to be faithful, to have hope, and do all for the sake of love. That shapes what we do, regardless of how it seems.

    And by the way, until very recently, maybe the past year, I was a Hoeppelscheuser who used that Lord’s Table one on myself. I get it now.

  • Stephen

    Joanne,

    You are a clever one!

    “Oh you do believe that the elements are the true Body and Blood of our Lord. Well now, that is confusing to me because didn’t you say you communed with Presbyterians? Now correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t that make you a Presbyterian?”

    You describe almost note for note my own experience, although I left the ELCA because it was getting weirder all the time. I was primed to return to the LCMS. But I did feel the tension of not being able or certain at various churches we visited about coming up for communion. There have been moments when I’ve wondered if it was worth it. It has been so easy the last 20 years, until it became uneasy. Add to that a spouse who did not grow up Lutheran (far from it) and the tension increases.

    I think the short answer is to do what is already done and stick to it. “We do not commune those who are outside of our fellowship. If you wish to be in fellowship with us you may speak to the pastor (or whatever system is in place to shepherd people in. At our new church they have an “Assimilation Director” to which my wife just laughed and asked me if it was like the Borg. Yikes!). It is a situation in which we must believe and trust that God will work it out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes.

    I have discovered that it is exactly there that the best conversations begin about what one really believes. This has been true in my marriage. Not that it hasn’t been painful at times, but it is a situation that brings one to the brink like nothing else. It has been an opportunity to share the Gospel flat out and unencumbered by works with born-again relatives. There is nothing else to do but figure out if you believe what the Lord Himself says. The closed communion practice is, at first, doing/preaching law. It’s a little terrifying perhaps to be the instrument of law. But in my experience, understanding what one believes about the sacraments brings clarity to the Gospel itself like nothing else.

    God will do what he will do. He has promised redemption. We are called (commanded!) to be faithful, to have hope, and do all for the sake of love. That shapes what we do, regardless of how it seems.

    And by the way, until very recently, maybe the past year, I was a Hoeppelscheuser who used that Lord’s Table one on myself. I get it now.

  • Stephen

    Oh, I meant to add – Lutherans have the best pastors. They know how to love people. That has always been my experience.

    Larry, I just read 1 Cor. That’s a great illustration. And I think it is why Paul puts Ch. 13 right in the midst of all these instructions on worship. It fits with what I say here about our Lutheran pastors. Love always protect, trusts, bears, hopes all things. The pervading ethos and reason is to do love. We have to remember that and support our pastors in that task.

  • Stephen

    Oh, I meant to add – Lutherans have the best pastors. They know how to love people. That has always been my experience.

    Larry, I just read 1 Cor. That’s a great illustration. And I think it is why Paul puts Ch. 13 right in the midst of all these instructions on worship. It fits with what I say here about our Lutheran pastors. Love always protect, trusts, bears, hopes all things. The pervading ethos and reason is to do love. We have to remember that and support our pastors in that task.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @57

    It is obvious that this dialog is pointless, so this will be my last comment.

    Sincerity is not incompatible with a rant. As you write a little further down in #57, “Sincerity does not guarantee anything.” When you are right, you are right.

    But this being my last comment, I want to reiterate what I wrote in my last posting about the Holy Spirit. Apparently it made no impression on you, because you did not address the matter at all. I will add another item to things Lutherans tend to be ignorant about, and that is “the Kingdom”, or the “Kingdom of God”.

    You write, “The Kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen.” I know this will be a shock to you, but the Kingdom does not come at all. First of all, it already has come with the resurrection of our Lord, as we sing in the Te Deum, probably the oldest Christian hymn, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.” He has not brought it to us, He has brought us into it, as we read in Colossians 1: 13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    So what is if we are praying for in the Second Petition, “Thy Kingdom Come”? The problem here is in the Greek, so you should have no problem with it. The verb ἐλθέτω in the Lord’s Prayer (Mt. 6:10/Lk 11:2): in form is an Active Aorist Imperative 3rd person singular of the Middle verb ἔρχομαι (= to come). But it means “to come” only when used in the literal sense, of something that moves, as on legs. But when used metaphorically, as it is used here, inasmuch as Scripture nowhere tells us of any legs or other means of locomotion of the Kingdom, it can mean many other things. In this case the sense is in all likelihood something like, “May Your Kingdom Prosper”, or “may Your Kingdom increase.” But it has nothing to say about the Kingdom coming to us, inasmuch as we are already in the Kingdom. To mistake the “coming of the Kingdom” for some kind of sanctification is a serious error. Because there are not bits of Kingdom; we are either in it 100% or out of it; not like sanctification which comes piecemeal throughout one’s life.

    To our Lord this matter of the Kingdom was of a very high order of importance, as He said in Luke 4: 43, “I must preach the good news (Greek: εύαγγέλιον, Gospel. GAM) of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

    Finally, you write, “And I still say you are wrong.” In the tsunami of words you have unleashed, I really have no clue any more what you think I am wrong about.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @57

    It is obvious that this dialog is pointless, so this will be my last comment.

    Sincerity is not incompatible with a rant. As you write a little further down in #57, “Sincerity does not guarantee anything.” When you are right, you are right.

    But this being my last comment, I want to reiterate what I wrote in my last posting about the Holy Spirit. Apparently it made no impression on you, because you did not address the matter at all. I will add another item to things Lutherans tend to be ignorant about, and that is “the Kingdom”, or the “Kingdom of God”.

    You write, “The Kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen.” I know this will be a shock to you, but the Kingdom does not come at all. First of all, it already has come with the resurrection of our Lord, as we sing in the Te Deum, probably the oldest Christian hymn, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.” He has not brought it to us, He has brought us into it, as we read in Colossians 1: 13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    So what is if we are praying for in the Second Petition, “Thy Kingdom Come”? The problem here is in the Greek, so you should have no problem with it. The verb ἐλθέτω in the Lord’s Prayer (Mt. 6:10/Lk 11:2): in form is an Active Aorist Imperative 3rd person singular of the Middle verb ἔρχομαι (= to come). But it means “to come” only when used in the literal sense, of something that moves, as on legs. But when used metaphorically, as it is used here, inasmuch as Scripture nowhere tells us of any legs or other means of locomotion of the Kingdom, it can mean many other things. In this case the sense is in all likelihood something like, “May Your Kingdom Prosper”, or “may Your Kingdom increase.” But it has nothing to say about the Kingdom coming to us, inasmuch as we are already in the Kingdom. To mistake the “coming of the Kingdom” for some kind of sanctification is a serious error. Because there are not bits of Kingdom; we are either in it 100% or out of it; not like sanctification which comes piecemeal throughout one’s life.

    To our Lord this matter of the Kingdom was of a very high order of importance, as He said in Luke 4: 43, “I must preach the good news (Greek: εύαγγέλιον, Gospel. GAM) of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

    Finally, you write, “And I still say you are wrong.” In the tsunami of words you have unleashed, I really have no clue any more what you think I am wrong about.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

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  • Stephen

    George,

    I regret that your ears ring from the way I write, and that its length has been so overwhelming that is necessary for you to prove to me that I am just ranting. And so, sadly, we have talked past each other it seems. I also regret that you too skipped over and did not respond to my citing the Confessions on the matter of discernment in 1 Cor, something which you asked me to show you. I thought I had.

    But, I am also truly grateful, and yes, even joyful at this exchange. I have reread the SD, yesterday I read 1 Cor and Art 12 of the Apology on repentance. This is largely because of you George. The HS has worked through you so that I am driven to the Scriptures and the Confessions in mortification and the desire to love. This is faith working in me. I believe that. The difference, however, which my “tsunami” had intended to cleanse, was that for all intents and purposes, for all that I can see happening in me, to do this is obedience. It is Law. I owe it to you, especially as a brother in Christ, to be faithful and seek the Word for correction and rebuke as well as the word of promise that frees me.

    This is all the working of the Holy Spirit. I agree with you more than you realize. Yes – we were washed, we were sanctified – 100%- as St. Paul says 1 Cor. We were bought. It is a finished work, a new creation that rises out of Baptism. But I, in my flesh, cannot detect that other than through faith. And faith, in my flesh, is all about obedience. That is what St. Paul is telling us in Romans 7 and 8 in his own tsunami of words. This obedience to law, which is about what I can do in the flesh (Old Adam), is what I am talking about when I say that the pastor’s job is to close the rail. That is all he can do, something which looks like it is ALL law, and indeed, as far as we can detect, it most certainly is. But through faith we have the promise that in, with, and under our deeds is what God WILL do. He cannot deceive. He keeps all his promises. Only a Christian can willingly die in this way of obedience to law, accepting his death as the path to life. This is to live in baptism – the third use. And I cannot do it in the flesh perfectly because of sin, in the form of Old Adam which clings to me in EVERYTHING and fights against faith.

    So what I hold on to with faith is Christ ALL ALONE – his mercy, his merits, his love for me. I do this, again, in what can only be understood in this world as obedience, which is what the HS spirit urges upon me for my death and my comfort in the Life which has swallowed up death.

    I think you are wrong about Lutherans being hung up on law and gospel. This is exactly, as FWS pointed out, everything that our Confessions seek to determine throughout. Why this is so valuable is because it is the only real work of the church to preach Christ ALONE. We preach law and obedience to prepare the way, to bring Old Adam to his death so that he may be brought into the Kingdom as you say. He must be killed by this preaching of the law, which is the work of the HS, over and over, daily dying, until his baptism is complete in the death of his flesh.

    So, thank you George. My sincerity is what I owe you in love. It is real as far as I know how to give it, but it does not garuntee truth, which was my point. You have to offer in return your trust and mercy (also all law) if we are to have some understanding.

    Thank you for the efforts in exegesis. I completely fell in love with and became beyond fascinated by the NT when I took summer Greek in 1991. I had never studied a language before and as it turned out, I had some knack for it and was tutoring within a few weeks. I dream of finding the time to translate the entire thing. In school I did Mark, parts of the other three Gospels, Romans and Philippians, the Epistle’s of John and other things here and there. Since then only the occasional pericope or as the Spirit has moved me. You are urging me to return to it with more rigor.

    I will copy your work here and save it. I don’t think we disagree in as much as we believe and trust that the new creation is a present reality. I did not intend to give you the impression that I believed in some kind of piecemeal or progressive sanctification. It is amazing how words work to confuse as much as enlighten. You would think our dear Lord would have chosen a more concrete medium. But then he did desire to speak to people, and we are not concrete. Tongues will cease though. We are perishing. Thank God for Jesus Christ!

  • Stephen

    George,

    I regret that your ears ring from the way I write, and that its length has been so overwhelming that is necessary for you to prove to me that I am just ranting. And so, sadly, we have talked past each other it seems. I also regret that you too skipped over and did not respond to my citing the Confessions on the matter of discernment in 1 Cor, something which you asked me to show you. I thought I had.

    But, I am also truly grateful, and yes, even joyful at this exchange. I have reread the SD, yesterday I read 1 Cor and Art 12 of the Apology on repentance. This is largely because of you George. The HS has worked through you so that I am driven to the Scriptures and the Confessions in mortification and the desire to love. This is faith working in me. I believe that. The difference, however, which my “tsunami” had intended to cleanse, was that for all intents and purposes, for all that I can see happening in me, to do this is obedience. It is Law. I owe it to you, especially as a brother in Christ, to be faithful and seek the Word for correction and rebuke as well as the word of promise that frees me.

    This is all the working of the Holy Spirit. I agree with you more than you realize. Yes – we were washed, we were sanctified – 100%- as St. Paul says 1 Cor. We were bought. It is a finished work, a new creation that rises out of Baptism. But I, in my flesh, cannot detect that other than through faith. And faith, in my flesh, is all about obedience. That is what St. Paul is telling us in Romans 7 and 8 in his own tsunami of words. This obedience to law, which is about what I can do in the flesh (Old Adam), is what I am talking about when I say that the pastor’s job is to close the rail. That is all he can do, something which looks like it is ALL law, and indeed, as far as we can detect, it most certainly is. But through faith we have the promise that in, with, and under our deeds is what God WILL do. He cannot deceive. He keeps all his promises. Only a Christian can willingly die in this way of obedience to law, accepting his death as the path to life. This is to live in baptism – the third use. And I cannot do it in the flesh perfectly because of sin, in the form of Old Adam which clings to me in EVERYTHING and fights against faith.

    So what I hold on to with faith is Christ ALL ALONE – his mercy, his merits, his love for me. I do this, again, in what can only be understood in this world as obedience, which is what the HS spirit urges upon me for my death and my comfort in the Life which has swallowed up death.

    I think you are wrong about Lutherans being hung up on law and gospel. This is exactly, as FWS pointed out, everything that our Confessions seek to determine throughout. Why this is so valuable is because it is the only real work of the church to preach Christ ALONE. We preach law and obedience to prepare the way, to bring Old Adam to his death so that he may be brought into the Kingdom as you say. He must be killed by this preaching of the law, which is the work of the HS, over and over, daily dying, until his baptism is complete in the death of his flesh.

    So, thank you George. My sincerity is what I owe you in love. It is real as far as I know how to give it, but it does not garuntee truth, which was my point. You have to offer in return your trust and mercy (also all law) if we are to have some understanding.

    Thank you for the efforts in exegesis. I completely fell in love with and became beyond fascinated by the NT when I took summer Greek in 1991. I had never studied a language before and as it turned out, I had some knack for it and was tutoring within a few weeks. I dream of finding the time to translate the entire thing. In school I did Mark, parts of the other three Gospels, Romans and Philippians, the Epistle’s of John and other things here and there. Since then only the occasional pericope or as the Spirit has moved me. You are urging me to return to it with more rigor.

    I will copy your work here and save it. I don’t think we disagree in as much as we believe and trust that the new creation is a present reality. I did not intend to give you the impression that I believed in some kind of piecemeal or progressive sanctification. It is amazing how words work to confuse as much as enlighten. You would think our dear Lord would have chosen a more concrete medium. But then he did desire to speak to people, and we are not concrete. Tongues will cease though. We are perishing. Thank God for Jesus Christ!

  • Fws

    Larry. You are arguing that to deny communion to those who are not prepared for it is love. I don’t agree. I think you are missing a step. Try this:

    In the small catechism, Luther says, not explicitly, but in the very structure this:

    Biblical Earthly Righeousness=
    OUR mortification +
    love/mercy FOR OTHERS.

    The religious gyrate between mortification and love as being complete righeousness. Usually they focus on the mortification of others rather than making mortification be all about themselves. So they end up being sacrificial , which is usually the sacrifice of “them” and not “us” or it is the sacrifice of “us” that has no mercy, and we resent that others are not suffering as we are. So we confuse the sacrifice of Obedience with righeousness. As in this familiar dialog:

    “gays must be celebate! why?  God demands it.  ” 

    “But what about the other part of righteousness that demands mercy for others that we want for us? Golden rule?”

    “That doesn’t matter! righeousness is really ALL about Obedience. That is complete righeousness”

    This is to say that Righeousness=Mortification even if there is no evidential mercy. Something is missing. Even pagans know this!

    The confessions identify this kind of righeousness=mortification alone …..as idolatry. How?  They note that such things are “useless”.  This is to quote St Paul in I cor 6. ” ALL things are lawful but …is it useful?” They are saying that such works lack the mercy that is required to identify any work as earthly righeousness and so conforming to God’s Word.  

    Summary: There must be evidential, tangible Mercy happening in an action, for us to identify any carnal righeousness as that carnal righeousness that God is demanding of us in His Word. But in Old Adam, unfortunately that Mercy cannot happen for OTHERS without SELF-discipline called Mortification happening in US.

    Conservatives tell me that this view is to turn love into indulgence or permissive “love” that is no love at all.  They are not listening. They miss that I say that it is not only love/mercy that is biblical righteousness. In Old Adam love simply cannot happen without first mortification happening.  In the new creation it is exactly the mortification part that will go away. But here on earth it is essential for love to happen.   This is a very very hard concept to drive home to others. Suggestions?

    And so those who’s conscience is troubled by this posture of Obedience-that-sacrifices-mercy and sense that mercy-missing means righteousness is lacking end up here:

    “Sure the Law of God says homo-sex is wrong, but the SUM of the Law is Love or to do Mercy. So we need to ignore the Law in the NT and OT as belonging to a different time and place and show mercy to gays by allowing them to pair off to be happy. And, by the way, we have already made the decision to do this where it hits closer to home in the case of Divorced persons in allowing them to be remarried.”

    So the second group has Eartly Righteousness= Love/Mercy. No mortification is necessary. Often this view is spiritualized (cf Forde). It is the idea that now that we are Christians all we need, as John Lennon says, is Love. This too is the wrong approach. We call this Antinomianism.

    Both sides usually end up reversing the fact that mortification/self discipline is about US and love/mercy is what is to result from that for OTHERS. We end up occupying ourselves with the task of disciplining OTHERS and then we end up turning mercy into justice. Mercy is something we earn for doing what we ought to do. Thus….. we make MORTIFICATION about us, working to earn justice.. and we think this suffering is what God wants. No mercy here. And we resent it when we see others who are not suffering as we are.

    Mercy is the opposite of Justice. It is what we don’t deserve. But mercy is not Mercy. Small m mercy sounds like Gospel but it is fruit of the Law. Justice is the Law demanding our death.
    We often confuse mercy with Mercy and grace with Grace.

    Those who demand open communion are doing this confusion.

    Again: Earthly Righeousness = mortification (aka self discipline, self restraint, self sacrifice, self(fill in the blank here) PLUS Mercy (for others!).

    So this is also true in the Holy Supper. We can’t do Love (share the Gospel) without the self discipline st Paul has outlined and is closed communion. Closed communion , I would point out, is something WE do. We are not demanding others do anything at all. And what we offer to others is catechesis. That is the Love we offer. This is “baptize and teach all I have commanded you”. This work is the very essence of the work of the Church.

    So in the Supper, love (sharing the Gospel) , cannot happen if we don’t follow the mortification that our Lord through St Paul has laid down for us.  That would result in the same kind of indugence=love that conservatives accuse me of all the time.  

    So back to Larry: it is not our practice of Closed Communion, per se, that is loving. It is not. It is mortification and death to Old Adam that wants  a haight asbury free love experience to find that kumbayah “love experience”.    it is to not spiritualize the act of the Holy Supper that is the part that WE do.  And that mortification and discipline , alone, will then allow Love to happen in , with and under the discipline that is the part of the Pastor to do. Pastors have their orders. It’s like an expensive restaurant that won’t serve anyone who is not properly dressed.  Baptism and confession of doctrine is that dress necessary. 

    Sent from my iPad

    On 07/06/2012, at 10:56, Steve Schwolert wrote:

    Yes, yes, yes.  That is really the only point I am trying to make.  Any doing on our part that we imagine we can bring to it is to say that we deserve mercy.  That is what hit me in what Larry was writing.  We want to brin gour works there and have them validated (tODD).  Cringe-worthy.  People think they deserve the sacrament because they did something.  I said the right words, that I believe, I just have a different opinion OF MY OWN about what the words mean (works seeking to be validated).

    I think I will repost this as a reply to Larry.

    Steve

    On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM, Frank Sonnek wrote:

    On Thursday, June 7, 2012, Frank Sonnek wrote:
    Lutherans are accused of doing Law when they should be doing “gospel”.

    Problem/confusion:   There is no “doing” that is Gospel or even gospel. 

    Solution/Clarification:  All we can see and do in church is carnal law. Period.  Gospel is always in the passive voice.
    Apology VII.

  • Fws

    Larry. You are arguing that to deny communion to those who are not prepared for it is love. I don’t agree. I think you are missing a step. Try this:

    In the small catechism, Luther says, not explicitly, but in the very structure this:

    Biblical Earthly Righeousness=
    OUR mortification +
    love/mercy FOR OTHERS.

    The religious gyrate between mortification and love as being complete righeousness. Usually they focus on the mortification of others rather than making mortification be all about themselves. So they end up being sacrificial , which is usually the sacrifice of “them” and not “us” or it is the sacrifice of “us” that has no mercy, and we resent that others are not suffering as we are. So we confuse the sacrifice of Obedience with righeousness. As in this familiar dialog:

    “gays must be celebate! why?  God demands it.  ” 

    “But what about the other part of righteousness that demands mercy for others that we want for us? Golden rule?”

    “That doesn’t matter! righeousness is really ALL about Obedience. That is complete righeousness”

    This is to say that Righeousness=Mortification even if there is no evidential mercy. Something is missing. Even pagans know this!

    The confessions identify this kind of righeousness=mortification alone …..as idolatry. How?  They note that such things are “useless”.  This is to quote St Paul in I cor 6. ” ALL things are lawful but …is it useful?” They are saying that such works lack the mercy that is required to identify any work as earthly righeousness and so conforming to God’s Word.  

    Summary: There must be evidential, tangible Mercy happening in an action, for us to identify any carnal righeousness as that carnal righeousness that God is demanding of us in His Word. But in Old Adam, unfortunately that Mercy cannot happen for OTHERS without SELF-discipline called Mortification happening in US.

    Conservatives tell me that this view is to turn love into indulgence or permissive “love” that is no love at all.  They are not listening. They miss that I say that it is not only love/mercy that is biblical righteousness. In Old Adam love simply cannot happen without first mortification happening.  In the new creation it is exactly the mortification part that will go away. But here on earth it is essential for love to happen.   This is a very very hard concept to drive home to others. Suggestions?

    And so those who’s conscience is troubled by this posture of Obedience-that-sacrifices-mercy and sense that mercy-missing means righteousness is lacking end up here:

    “Sure the Law of God says homo-sex is wrong, but the SUM of the Law is Love or to do Mercy. So we need to ignore the Law in the NT and OT as belonging to a different time and place and show mercy to gays by allowing them to pair off to be happy. And, by the way, we have already made the decision to do this where it hits closer to home in the case of Divorced persons in allowing them to be remarried.”

    So the second group has Eartly Righteousness= Love/Mercy. No mortification is necessary. Often this view is spiritualized (cf Forde). It is the idea that now that we are Christians all we need, as John Lennon says, is Love. This too is the wrong approach. We call this Antinomianism.

    Both sides usually end up reversing the fact that mortification/self discipline is about US and love/mercy is what is to result from that for OTHERS. We end up occupying ourselves with the task of disciplining OTHERS and then we end up turning mercy into justice. Mercy is something we earn for doing what we ought to do. Thus….. we make MORTIFICATION about us, working to earn justice.. and we think this suffering is what God wants. No mercy here. And we resent it when we see others who are not suffering as we are.

    Mercy is the opposite of Justice. It is what we don’t deserve. But mercy is not Mercy. Small m mercy sounds like Gospel but it is fruit of the Law. Justice is the Law demanding our death.
    We often confuse mercy with Mercy and grace with Grace.

    Those who demand open communion are doing this confusion.

    Again: Earthly Righeousness = mortification (aka self discipline, self restraint, self sacrifice, self(fill in the blank here) PLUS Mercy (for others!).

    So this is also true in the Holy Supper. We can’t do Love (share the Gospel) without the self discipline st Paul has outlined and is closed communion. Closed communion , I would point out, is something WE do. We are not demanding others do anything at all. And what we offer to others is catechesis. That is the Love we offer. This is “baptize and teach all I have commanded you”. This work is the very essence of the work of the Church.

    So in the Supper, love (sharing the Gospel) , cannot happen if we don’t follow the mortification that our Lord through St Paul has laid down for us.  That would result in the same kind of indugence=love that conservatives accuse me of all the time.  

    So back to Larry: it is not our practice of Closed Communion, per se, that is loving. It is not. It is mortification and death to Old Adam that wants  a haight asbury free love experience to find that kumbayah “love experience”.    it is to not spiritualize the act of the Holy Supper that is the part that WE do.  And that mortification and discipline , alone, will then allow Love to happen in , with and under the discipline that is the part of the Pastor to do. Pastors have their orders. It’s like an expensive restaurant that won’t serve anyone who is not properly dressed.  Baptism and confession of doctrine is that dress necessary. 

    Sent from my iPad

    On 07/06/2012, at 10:56, Steve Schwolert wrote:

    Yes, yes, yes.  That is really the only point I am trying to make.  Any doing on our part that we imagine we can bring to it is to say that we deserve mercy.  That is what hit me in what Larry was writing.  We want to brin gour works there and have them validated (tODD).  Cringe-worthy.  People think they deserve the sacrament because they did something.  I said the right words, that I believe, I just have a different opinion OF MY OWN about what the words mean (works seeking to be validated).

    I think I will repost this as a reply to Larry.

    Steve

    On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM, Frank Sonnek wrote:

    On Thursday, June 7, 2012, Frank Sonnek wrote:
    Lutherans are accused of doing Law when they should be doing “gospel”.

    Problem/confusion:   There is no “doing” that is Gospel or even gospel. 

    Solution/Clarification:  All we can see and do in church is carnal law. Period.  Gospel is always in the passive voice.
    Apology VII.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Perhaps it’s how I’m speaking because I don’t find myself disagreeing here. I’m speaking it as a whole, that’s why I reference Luther where he say numerous times that God has to first bring down to hell/kill before He raises up/gives life, He does His alien work (Law and its terror hopelessness effects that empties a man of any claim on His favor, making room for faith) in order to perform His proper work (give that favor). Luther explicitly identifies this and he likewise states of it that the flesh, the old Adam, finds His alien work as hard and cold as steal against the bare flesh. The mortification is what the flesh/old Adam hates and finds as cold cutting steel to it, His alien work. Why? Because the old Adam, the flesh, wishes to explicitly or surreptitiously/implicitly, even to itself, climb its way into heaven by its own steam (even calling it post conversion Holy Spirit) and thus make a claim on the favor/grace/election of God. The Law is designed to utterly empty this and crucify the old Adam, the old Adam hates this and sees it as the most evil work and can at times, as Luther admits, see God as the devil and thus rebels against God even more harshly than before. Keeping in mind by rebelling against God we do not mean just nor even primarily “doing evil immoral things” as the Calvinist and Arminian and Roman houses think, but primarily the very clean, very moral attempts to come to accord with God to have a claim, again even hidden to old Adam, on God’s favor. A prime example IS shown in how even the reformed are assured they as pro me individuals may know they are elected, by the various works that they say in some kind of nebulous sum total must mean they had the spirit and were reborn or in that they say, “I believe” that’s how I know. This is reality is the assertion of the will by law, but its called “post conversion/rebirth of the spirit”. In short a LOT of Holy Spirit talk is in reality free will talk, especially among the “total depravity” crowd.

    This is in part the act of “closed communion”. It’s not to bar the door, Law only, and then that’s the end of the discussion. But the upfront act of it is a form of Law and binding that is designed to mortify the flesh, the old Adam, who wishes to assert himself and his (will) doctrine. In short the desire for sacramentarians to push their way in with their variously stated Zwinglian/Calvinistic doctrine on the supper, is in reality the devil pushing via the old Adam his doctrine, words, that is the fundamental fallen religion of will worship and self worship. I.e. a doctrine of the LS that is Zwinglian or Calvin’s is in reality a doctrine of the will that wishes, even secretly to those in it, to make a claim on the favor of God. In comes the Law to close communion that in essence says, “You cannot come to Christ that way”. Now the flesh despises this just as Luther says it despises the alien work of God (all men experience this), it is as cold and hard as steal to it and as an ALIEN work seems most unloving. But as its goal is not in finality to leave it at the ALIEN work, but to prepare the way for the PROPER work (the Gospel), to empty a man of any claim upon God’s favor, to make room for faith, it is (as a whole) a loving action. God’s work does not stop at the alien work but the proper work.

    In essence closed communion is saying you cannot come to Christ in the way you wish for you could not have Him even if we opened the doors and let you in because you approach Him in an unworthy manner (i.e. not believing He is giving you His very body and blood that is giving you for real the forgiveness of your sins) as such it judges you. How so? Because you are calling Him a liar. This must be put to death, the old Adam’s/flesh’s religious way, mortified by Law (alien work). Only then so emptied when you see your desperate need will then the sacrament be seen for what it is, a pure given gift, and then you will have the empty hands (faith hands) to receive it with great joy, the Gospel (proper work).

    In reality the only thing REALLY closing the communion doors to those of the Reformed camps and related is themselves.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Perhaps it’s how I’m speaking because I don’t find myself disagreeing here. I’m speaking it as a whole, that’s why I reference Luther where he say numerous times that God has to first bring down to hell/kill before He raises up/gives life, He does His alien work (Law and its terror hopelessness effects that empties a man of any claim on His favor, making room for faith) in order to perform His proper work (give that favor). Luther explicitly identifies this and he likewise states of it that the flesh, the old Adam, finds His alien work as hard and cold as steal against the bare flesh. The mortification is what the flesh/old Adam hates and finds as cold cutting steel to it, His alien work. Why? Because the old Adam, the flesh, wishes to explicitly or surreptitiously/implicitly, even to itself, climb its way into heaven by its own steam (even calling it post conversion Holy Spirit) and thus make a claim on the favor/grace/election of God. The Law is designed to utterly empty this and crucify the old Adam, the old Adam hates this and sees it as the most evil work and can at times, as Luther admits, see God as the devil and thus rebels against God even more harshly than before. Keeping in mind by rebelling against God we do not mean just nor even primarily “doing evil immoral things” as the Calvinist and Arminian and Roman houses think, but primarily the very clean, very moral attempts to come to accord with God to have a claim, again even hidden to old Adam, on God’s favor. A prime example IS shown in how even the reformed are assured they as pro me individuals may know they are elected, by the various works that they say in some kind of nebulous sum total must mean they had the spirit and were reborn or in that they say, “I believe” that’s how I know. This is reality is the assertion of the will by law, but its called “post conversion/rebirth of the spirit”. In short a LOT of Holy Spirit talk is in reality free will talk, especially among the “total depravity” crowd.

    This is in part the act of “closed communion”. It’s not to bar the door, Law only, and then that’s the end of the discussion. But the upfront act of it is a form of Law and binding that is designed to mortify the flesh, the old Adam, who wishes to assert himself and his (will) doctrine. In short the desire for sacramentarians to push their way in with their variously stated Zwinglian/Calvinistic doctrine on the supper, is in reality the devil pushing via the old Adam his doctrine, words, that is the fundamental fallen religion of will worship and self worship. I.e. a doctrine of the LS that is Zwinglian or Calvin’s is in reality a doctrine of the will that wishes, even secretly to those in it, to make a claim on the favor of God. In comes the Law to close communion that in essence says, “You cannot come to Christ that way”. Now the flesh despises this just as Luther says it despises the alien work of God (all men experience this), it is as cold and hard as steal to it and as an ALIEN work seems most unloving. But as its goal is not in finality to leave it at the ALIEN work, but to prepare the way for the PROPER work (the Gospel), to empty a man of any claim upon God’s favor, to make room for faith, it is (as a whole) a loving action. God’s work does not stop at the alien work but the proper work.

    In essence closed communion is saying you cannot come to Christ in the way you wish for you could not have Him even if we opened the doors and let you in because you approach Him in an unworthy manner (i.e. not believing He is giving you His very body and blood that is giving you for real the forgiveness of your sins) as such it judges you. How so? Because you are calling Him a liar. This must be put to death, the old Adam’s/flesh’s religious way, mortified by Law (alien work). Only then so emptied when you see your desperate need will then the sacrament be seen for what it is, a pure given gift, and then you will have the empty hands (faith hands) to receive it with great joy, the Gospel (proper work).

    In reality the only thing REALLY closing the communion doors to those of the Reformed camps and related is themselves.

  • Fws

    Of course we Are in complete agreement here larry.

    Reformed would refuse the supper judging behavior. And not think that is wrong. And herw to judge behavior is a judgement as to who is or is not in the kingdom.

    We refuse the supper to the unbaptized and to the uncatechized. We welcome sinners. we assume all who are baptized and confess to be in the kingdom and it is not our job to put them out. Refusing the supper then is no judgement at all. It is merely to maintain order in the way st paul has told us to do that. We are to require baptism and catechesis here.

  • Fws

    Of course we Are in complete agreement here larry.

    Reformed would refuse the supper judging behavior. And not think that is wrong. And herw to judge behavior is a judgement as to who is or is not in the kingdom.

    We refuse the supper to the unbaptized and to the uncatechized. We welcome sinners. we assume all who are baptized and confess to be in the kingdom and it is not our job to put them out. Refusing the supper then is no judgement at all. It is merely to maintain order in the way st paul has told us to do that. We are to require baptism and catechesis here.

  • Stephen

    George,

    In case you stop by to read, here is what is said about two kinds of eating in the Solid Declaration Art. 7, which I reread this morning:

    Under the heading of Gospel, what is done for us, what we are “brought into” as you say, that is passive, Christ alone:

    62] But this spiritual eating is nothing else than faith, namely, to hear God’s Word (wherein Christ, true God and man, is presented to us, together with all benefits which He has purchased for us by His flesh given into death for us, and by His blood shed for us, namely, God’s grace, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life), to receive it with faith and appropriate it to ourselves, and in all troubles and temptations firmly to rely, with sure confidence and trust, and to abide in the consolation that we have a gracious God, and eternal salvation on account of the Lord Jesus Christ. [He who hears these things related from the Word of God, and in faith receives and applies; them to himself, and relies entirely upon this consolation (that we have God reconciled and life eternal on account of the Mediator, Jesus Christ),-he, I say, who with true confidence rests in the Word of the Gospel in all troubles and temptations, spiritually eats the body of Christ and drinks His blood.]

    And following that, under the heading of Law, that which we do, obedience, command and demand, that we can see and “feel” and enact as sacrament, as it were:

    63] The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper-by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation, 64] as the words of the institution by Christ expressly declare, when at the table and during the Supper He offers His disciples natural bread and natural wine, which He calls His true body and true blood, at the same time saying: Eat and drink. For in view of the circumstances this command evidently cannot be understood otherwise than of oral eating and drinking, however, not in a gross, carnal, Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, incomprehensible way; 65] to which afterwards the other command adds still another and spiritual eating, when the Lord Christ says further: This do in remembrance of Me, where He requires faith [which is the spiritual partaking of Christ’s body).

    It’s all right there.

  • Stephen

    George,

    In case you stop by to read, here is what is said about two kinds of eating in the Solid Declaration Art. 7, which I reread this morning:

    Under the heading of Gospel, what is done for us, what we are “brought into” as you say, that is passive, Christ alone:

    62] But this spiritual eating is nothing else than faith, namely, to hear God’s Word (wherein Christ, true God and man, is presented to us, together with all benefits which He has purchased for us by His flesh given into death for us, and by His blood shed for us, namely, God’s grace, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life), to receive it with faith and appropriate it to ourselves, and in all troubles and temptations firmly to rely, with sure confidence and trust, and to abide in the consolation that we have a gracious God, and eternal salvation on account of the Lord Jesus Christ. [He who hears these things related from the Word of God, and in faith receives and applies; them to himself, and relies entirely upon this consolation (that we have God reconciled and life eternal on account of the Mediator, Jesus Christ),-he, I say, who with true confidence rests in the Word of the Gospel in all troubles and temptations, spiritually eats the body of Christ and drinks His blood.]

    And following that, under the heading of Law, that which we do, obedience, command and demand, that we can see and “feel” and enact as sacrament, as it were:

    63] The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper-by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation, 64] as the words of the institution by Christ expressly declare, when at the table and during the Supper He offers His disciples natural bread and natural wine, which He calls His true body and true blood, at the same time saying: Eat and drink. For in view of the circumstances this command evidently cannot be understood otherwise than of oral eating and drinking, however, not in a gross, carnal, Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, incomprehensible way; 65] to which afterwards the other command adds still another and spiritual eating, when the Lord Christ says further: This do in remembrance of Me, where He requires faith [which is the spiritual partaking of Christ’s body).

    It’s all right there.

  • larry

    Frank,

    “It is merely to maintain order in the way st paul has told us to do that. We are to require baptism and catechesis here.”

    That made what you were saying click!

  • larry

    Frank,

    “It is merely to maintain order in the way st paul has told us to do that. We are to require baptism and catechesis here.”

    That made what you were saying click!

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @72 and 76.

    In spite of my original intention not to continue this, I will respond. But family obligations (all Gospel) will not allow me to do so until Monday.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @72 and 76.

    In spite of my original intention not to continue this, I will respond. But family obligations (all Gospel) will not allow me to do so until Monday.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    George,

    I look forward to it.

  • Stephen

    George,

    I look forward to it.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @72 and 76.
    The reason I did not comment on your citing the Confessions on the matter of discernment in 1 Cor, ( you continued, “something which you asked me to show you. I thought I had.”) is because I quite specifically wrote, “please demonstrate to me that in that section, where it states that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 means discerning the real presence of the Body of the Lord in the Sacrament.” The only verse from Scripture that was included in your citation from the Confessions was 1 Cor. 11:27. I realize that is close, but close is not good enough.

    I may be mistaken, but did you somehow get the idea that I do not believe in the Real Presence? I do believe in it. I simply don’t think that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 has anything to do with it, but that “the body” in this case is the Spiritual Body of our Lord, the Church.

    By the way, I am sure you are aware that all that talk about “spiritual eating” in the FC has to do with the fact that Luther clearly believed that “not one syllable” in John 6 had to do with Communion. You rewrote parts of it in #76, but again, the spiritual eating mentioned there is something entirely separate from the Sacrament of the Altar. The fact is, however, that today most Lutheran theologians believe that our Lord was actually talking about Communion in John 6. Go figure.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @72 and 76.
    The reason I did not comment on your citing the Confessions on the matter of discernment in 1 Cor, ( you continued, “something which you asked me to show you. I thought I had.”) is because I quite specifically wrote, “please demonstrate to me that in that section, where it states that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 means discerning the real presence of the Body of the Lord in the Sacrament.” The only verse from Scripture that was included in your citation from the Confessions was 1 Cor. 11:27. I realize that is close, but close is not good enough.

    I may be mistaken, but did you somehow get the idea that I do not believe in the Real Presence? I do believe in it. I simply don’t think that “discerning the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 has anything to do with it, but that “the body” in this case is the Spiritual Body of our Lord, the Church.

    By the way, I am sure you are aware that all that talk about “spiritual eating” in the FC has to do with the fact that Luther clearly believed that “not one syllable” in John 6 had to do with Communion. You rewrote parts of it in #76, but again, the spiritual eating mentioned there is something entirely separate from the Sacrament of the Altar. The fact is, however, that today most Lutheran theologians believe that our Lord was actually talking about Communion in John 6. Go figure.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    George,

    Please forgive me. I don’t understand you. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure you are a good man who loves the Lord Jesus. I wish you well.

  • Stephen

    George,

    Please forgive me. I don’t understand you. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure you are a good man who loves the Lord Jesus. I wish you well.

  • jnhks

    ‘Closed communion’ is about men trying to ‘police’ a sacrament so that the hearts and minds of men who are not wholly true to Christ, can be filtered out. However, this is the same as not giving $20 to a bum on the street because you think he will just use the money to buy drugs or booze. You’re trying to police the hearts and minds of others by witholding the means by which to help them because you think they will misuse the “gift”. The truth is that you will be rewarded by God for your INTENT —-which was to help a poor soul who is destitute—-and your INTENT only. It is the own free will of the destitute man as to what he does with that $, and it is his soul that will pay for the misuse of the gift. No man-made institution can use a filtering system to police the hearts and minds of men, for we are all inherently sinful, lustful, materialistic, and arrogant beings—-the foundation of any organization that is man-made is rife with these characteristics and that organization cannot effectively ‘filter them out’ so as to protect the purity and reasoning of a sacrament.

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