The estimable Anthony Sacramone has been carrying on a fascinating and helpful discussion (in two posts here and here on Jonathan Fisk’s Broken) about the Lutheran view of the Christian life, how it perhaps doesn’t do enough with sanctification. I think the missing link, so to speak, is the doctrine of vocation. Here is a somewhat revised version of what I posted as a comment:
The doctrine of vocation is not just about our work. It really is the Lutheran doctrine of the Christian life. We are brought to faith through Word and Sacrament and then we live out that faith in love and service to our neighbors. “Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17). And God assigns us and calls us to various and multiple tasks in the orders that He has created for human beings: the household (the family plus economic labor), the church, the state, and what Luther called “the general order of Christian love” (the informal relationships of friendship, interactions with others, as in the Good Samaritan parable, etc.) . Vocation is where sanctification happens, where we exercise our faith, where we battle with sin, where we grow “in faith towards you [God], and in fervent love for one another” (as it says at the end of the liturgy, when we are sent back into our vocations).
I wonder if the problem is the ordinariness of the good works that take place in vocation. As Einar Billing says in Our Calling, “In all our religious and ethical life, we are given to an incredible overestimation of the extraordinary at the expense of the ordinary.” [Read more…]