The sacrifice of Christians

Rev. Adam Roe, in the series on vocation at MissionWork, discusses the concept of “sacrifice” in the Lutheran confessions.  Unlike in Roman Catholicism, Holy Communion is not seen as a sacrifice, nor are pastors considered priests who offer up sacrifices.  And yet Christians are called to sacrifice, but not for the forgiveness of sins, since Christ, who is both our Priest and our Sacrifice, has accomplished the only sacrifice we need.  But the Apology of the Augsburg Confession does speak about the sacrifices that pastors and all Christians perform. [Read more...]

What’s the difference between pastors and laypeople?

Rev. Adam Roe, in his series on vocation at Mission: Work, observes that Philip Melanchthon, author of the Augsburg Confession and other key texts in the Book of Concord, was a layman.  Pastor Roe uses this fact as an example of “the priesthood of all believers,” going on to show how the doctrine of vocation shows how God is graciously active and present  in all of life.

Now Rev. Roe is a pastor in the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  I’m in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).  There are, indeed, different strains of Lutheranism.  I get the feeling that we Missouri Synod Lutherans have a higher view of the pastoral office than the LCMC.  Rev. Roe emphasizes God’s real presence in lay vocations, such as farming and parenthood, but he seems to have more of a functionalist view of the pastoral office.  My impression is that neither kind of calling is just a function, but that both are genuine channels for God’s workings, though in different ways.  Then again, I’m aware that within the LCMS are some differences in the theology of the pastoral office.  Then again, I, like Melanchthon, am a humble layman, but unlike Melanchthon, I’m not up on all of the theological nuances. Read what Rev. Roe has to say, excerpted and linked after the jump, and help me out here. [Read more...]

Super-Christians & vows against vocation

In the second in Mission Work’s series on a Lutheran perspective on faith & work, Rev. Adam Roe offers a post entitled No super-Christians.  He discusses Luther’s reaction against the view that those who want to be particularly spiritual–”super-Christians”–would become monks, nuns, or priests.  These were considered callings from God–”vocations”–while lay occupations were not.

I would add that the specific way that a person became a “super-Christian” contributed to the problem:  A person who sought to become “religious” took–and still takes–vows.  [Read more...]

Priesthood of all believers and vocation

The blog Mission Work, which focuses on faith, work, and economics, is hosting a series on the Lutheran perspective on these issues, also known as the doctrine of vocation.  Every few days for several weeks, it will post some reflections by Rev. Adam Roe, a pastor in the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  I’ve been asked to respond to what he has to say.  His first post is about the Priesthood of All Believers. [Read more...]

A Lutheran reading list

Thanks for those suggestions about funny reading and serious reading.  They are very helpful and give me ideas for lots of good reading.  Now T. R. Halvorson has put together a reading list for Lutheran laypeople, divided into “beginning,” “intermediate,” and “further on.”

See the list after the jump.  Are there other titles you would add? [Read more...]

Note on the “justifying” series

I’ve been doing a series of posts about what I am getting from a book I am reading:  Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer. (For earlier posts on the subject, see this and this. and this.)  He makes the point that the term “justification” is not just a theological term.  Rather, it is a word and a concept that we use all the time, and that, in fact, is a major preoccupation, going deep into the human psychology:  We keep being accused and condemned,  so we continually have to “justify” ourselves, proving that we are right, insisting how good we are, getting defensive, accusing and condemning our critics in retaliation.  We want approval.  We want to be accepted.  We want to be considered good, including when we aren’t.

I think the comments have showed some misunderstanding.  I wanted to draw your attention to a comment I just made to that first post:  “It isn’t that this is a bad thing. We HAVE to do it, given who and what we are. The point is that this necessity of justifying points to our underlying need for what Christ does: Justify us freely.” [Read more...]


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