Thanks to Steve Bauer, who, in commenting on our earlier post on the connection Luther saw between receiving Holy Communion and loving our neighbor, quoted this remarkable passage from A Sermon on Confession and the Lord’s Supper, in which Luther says that after we hear Christ’s words, “Take, eat, this is my body. . ..this is my blood,” we should turn to our neighbor and offer him our body and blood. Read the passage, which is more eloquent than I can paraphrase, after the jump. [Read more…]
Martin Luther, quoted from Bible Studies on Mercy – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod:
There your heart must go out in love and devotion and learn that this sacrament is a sacrament of love, and that love and service are given you and you again must render love and service to Christ and His needy ones. You must feel with sorrow all the dishonor done to Christ in His holy Word, all the misery of Christendom, all the unjust suffering of the innocent, with which the world is everywhere filled to overflowing: You must fight, work, pray and, if you cannot do more, have heartfelt sympathy. That is bearing in your turn the misfortune and adversity of Christ and His saints. . . . [Read more…]
A group of Roman Catholic clerics in Mexico recently conducted an exorcism designed to cast the demons out of the whole country. Now there are calls for an exorcism to cast the demons out of America.
Do you consider this (1) a good idea (2) something that couldn’t hurt (3) papist superstition (4) questionable theology?
Conservative churches are troubled with the gay marriage decision and feel threatened lest the government punish them for teaching that homosexuality is sinful. But liberal churches are celebrating the ruling and will have no problem with discrimination statutes. If conservative congregations lose their tax exempt status, liberal congregations wouldn’t. Indeed, some denominations would presumably include conservative congregations that would and liberal congregations that would not.
So you have GOT to read Anthony Sacramone’s post Do You Worship in a State-Approved Church? Read especially “the talk” that he says conservative pastors must give to their congregations. I’ll excerpt the first part after the jump, but you really need to read the whole thing.
LCMS president Matthew Harrison has issued a response to the Supreme Court marriage ruling. It’s a strong statement, but what’s most striking and surprising, coming from a Lutheran with a Two Kingdoms theology, is his quotation of the anti-Nazi theologian Hermann Sasse on signs that the state has lost its Romans 13 legitimacy. President Harrison concludes that “Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.”
Is he saying that the United States government is no longer legitimate? Wouldn’t that mean we don’t have to follow any of the laws it passes? The Lutheran theology of culture, the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, has sometimes been interpreted to mean that God rules through the state, so that we need to submit to the secular authorities no matter what. But I think the Two Kingdoms offers a mechanism for critiquing the state. If God is the King, hidden in secular institutions and vocations but working through them with His moral law, then states and rulers who repudiate that moral law are in rebellion against His kingship. Right? But presumably He would still be working through them, despite themselves, in other ways, so that Christians would still be obliged to submit to their authority where it doesn’t conflict with God’s Word.
How else might a Two Kingdoms approach to the gay marriage decision help us navigate these controversies? Read President Harrison’s statement, after the jump. What do you think about it? What else might be said?