More mind-bending insights from Luther, this time on why so many people reject God’s gifts and His grace, insisting instead that they themselves merit their salvation. “Then we are the workmen who lay the cornerstone on which God then builds His grace and love, so that He must praise, thank, and adore us. Then we become His gods instead of the other way around.” [Read more…]
More from David Brooks, two interviews in which he talks about what he learned from St. Augustine, “the smartest human being I’ve ever encountered in any form.” Specifically, that would his concept of sin as disordered love and the Christian concept of grace.
St. Augustine is, indeed, a brilliant thinker. You don’t have to agree with him on every point–though he is one of the few theologians claimed both by Catholics and Protestants–but his writings have a magisterial logic, a psychological sensitivity, and a startling depth of spiritual insight. Luther, remember, was an Augustinian monk, and Augustine is noted for his emphasis, like that of the Reformers, on the grace of God. In my view, he is more Platonic and thus ascetic than he should be. Can any of you address the points on which Lutherans–as well as other traditions–agree and disagree with this church father?
We often hear references to Bonhoeffer’s term “cheap grace.” In an essay defending Christians who are trying to separate themselves from the world–which I recommend that you read–Rod Dreher usefully quotes the entire passage and its context from The Cost of Discipleship dealing with “cheap grace.”
Read the passage after the jump, and then help me think about it. [Read more…]
More from our pastor’s sermon last Sunday on Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus (John 3). From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Lent 2 Sermon:
Nicodemus is thinking about what man does or can do; Jesus is talking about what God does, and what God has promised. Nicodemus was thinking of how man can get to God; Jesus is talking about God coming to man. Nicodemus is thinking works; Jesus is talking grace, or gift. [Read more…]
The Gospel reading for last Sunday was the parable that makes perfectly clear why we are not saved by our works and why we cannot merit salvation:
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-10)
Even if we obeyed God perfectly and never did anything wrong, we wouldn’t deserve a reward. That would simply be doing the bare minimum of what we are supposed to do. We would only be doing our duty. After the jump, see what our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite did with this text, bringing out both Law and Gospel. [Read more…]