Posts Tagged ‘Book of Concord’

“Now, although both, the planting and watering of the preacher, and the running and willing of the hearer, would be in vain, and no conversion would follow it if the power and efficacy of the Holy Ghost were not added thereto, who enlightens and converts the hearts through the Word preached and heard, so that men believe this Word and assent thereto, still, neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and efficacy of the Holy Ghost, but should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and truly, according to the command and will of God, and men listen attentively and earnestly and meditate upon it, God is certainly present with His grace, and grants, as has been said, what otherwise man can neither accept nor give from his own powers. For concerning the presence, operation, and gifts of the Holy Ghost we should not and cannot always judge ex sensu [from feeling], as to how and when they are experienced in the heart; but because they are often covered and occur in great weakness, we should be certain from, and according to, the promise, that the Word of God preached and heard is [truly] an office and work of the Holy Ghost, by which He is certainly efficacious and works in our hearts, 2 Cor. 2:14ff; 3:5ff.”

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Almighty God, we praise You for the service of Philipp Melanchthon to the one, holy catholic, and apostolic Church, in the renewal of its life in fidelity to Your Word and promise. Raise up in these gray and latter days faithful teachers and pastors, inspired by Your Spirit, whose voices will give strength to Your Church and proclaim the ongoing reality of Your kingdom; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Bio:  Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) was a brilliant student of the classics and a humanist scholar. In 1518 he was appointed to teach along with Martin Luther at the University of Wittenberg. At Luther’s urging, Melanchthon began teaching theology and Scripture in addition to his courses in classical studies. In April of 1530, Emperor Charles V called an official meeting between the representative of Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, hoping to effect a meeting of minds between two opposing groups. Since Luther was at that time under papal excommunication and an imperial ban, Melanchthon was assigned the duty of being the chief Lutheran representative at this meeting. He is especially remembered and honored as the author of the Augsburg Confession, which was officially presented by the German princes to the emperor on June 25, 1530, as the defining document of Lutheranism within Christendom.  After the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, the papal church wrote a response to it, the Confutation.  Once again, Melanchthon was called upon to write a defense of the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession and The Apology of the Augsburg Confession are the first two confessions in The Book of Concord (1580). Melanchthon died on April 19, 1560.

Reflection:   He was Greek and Hebrew scholar.  Philip Melanchthon is an unlikely saint. He taught Luther the Greek of the New Testament (Koine or common Greek).  Like Luther,  Melanchthon was a professor and at the risk of profiling the man, he looks like an egghead professor.  The Lord’s saints are certainly not uniform but they are united in the one true Faith to confess Jesus is Lord.  Melanchthon was clear in the Augsburg Confession regarding the article by which the Church stands or falls:

Article I, Of God:  Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself…

Article IV, Of Justification:  Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins.  This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

Professor Melanchthon demonstrates that the Faith confessed in the Nicene Creed is the justifying faith in what Christ has done for us in His death.  The faith is Biblical, confessional, evangelical and catholic.  If we could be justified, made right by our own “strength, merits, or works”, there would be no need for Jesus Christ.  Justifying our selves is the daily grind of news, op-ed pieces, talk show ‘confessions’, and the like and it is pitiful. It is as pitiful as Adam covering his shame with the sham clothes of fig leaves.  A saying that made the rounds a few years back was, “You can run but you can’t hide”,is truthful.  The Old Adam knows that.  Here is Jesus, true God and true man, searching as a father for his lost son, as a shepherd for the one lost sheep, as woman looking for her lost coin,  loving us to our death and raising us up by His indestructible life (Hebrews 7: 15-17).  His Passion is our passion as we approach Lent this week.  

“O Spirit, who did once restore The church that it might yet recall The bringer of good news to all: Breathe on your cloven church once more That in these gray and latter days There may be those whose life is praise, Each life a high doxology Unto the holy Trinity.”

(O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth, hymn by Martin Franzmann)


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Collect of the Day: 

O God, enkindled with the fire of Your love, Your servant Bernard of Clairvaux became a burning and a shining light in Your Church. By Your mercy, grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline and may ever walk in Your presence as children of light; through Jesus Christ. our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

About Bernard: A leader in Christian Europe in the first half of the twelfth century AD, Bernard is honored in his native France and around the world. Born into a noble family in Burgundy in 1090, Bernard left the affluence of his heritage and entered the monastery of Citeaux at the age of twenty-two. After two years, he was sent to start a new monastic house at Clairvaux. His work there was blessed in many ways. The monastery at Clairvaux grew in mission and service, eventually establishing some sixty-eight daughter houses. Bernard is remembered not only for his charity and political abilities but especially for his preaching and hymn composition. The hymn texts “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful” and “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” are part of the heritage of the faith left by St. Bernard. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Addendum:   His zeal for the truth of the Gospel and the faith quelled many heresies.  But, “…in 1146-1147 Bernard led the preaching of the second Crusade and was sharply disappointed by its failure.” In historical retrospection, his eloquent preaching of the Crusade was misplaced.  Yet, “In his zeal he attacked the luxury of the clergy, the persecution of the Jews, and the abuses of Roman Curia.  Renowned as a great preacher, he brought to an end the pre-scholastic era, and he is sometimes called ‘the Last of the Fathers.'” (quotes from Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Philip Pfatteicher)

Bernard most importantly and clearly preached and taught salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Many years ago, I picked up in a used book store volume 2 of Bernard’s sermons on The Song of Songs.  He applied the love poetry to the Church and Jesus, her Head and Husband.  It was one of the volumes that led me back to the orthodox Lutheran faith.  This first quote is cited in  the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, The Book of Concord:  The Lutheran Confessions:  

For it is necessary first of all to believe that you cannot have remission of sins except by the indulgence of God, but add yet that you believe also this, namely, that through Him sins are forgiven thee. This is the testimony which the Holy Ghost asserts in your heart, saying: “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” For thus the apostle judges that man is justified freely through faith.

The Confessors in the Book of Concord point out that many of the crowd want to imitate the saints’ works, but not their faith and so falsely thinking  a man can be saved by works.  Bernard knew by faith that he and the whole Church are are saved  alone by grace alone through Christ alone and works flow forth. Faith is the root, love is the fruit.  

Out of Christ’s love, one with the Father in the Holy Spirit, comes the stillness in Him, listening to the Word, learning the Word, loving the Word, so living the Word.  In the following quote is an antidote for our much loquacious world, when everyone now blogs and posts every notion that comes into one’s head:

The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself. He knows that a curse is on the man who allows his own property to degenerate. And if you think my opinion worthless, then listen to one who is wiser than I: “The fool,” said Solomon, “comes out with all his feelings at once, but the wise man subdues and restrains them.” Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom the streams of heavenly doctrine flow to us, that they want to pour it forth before they have been filled; they are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves.—St. Bernard of Clairvaux

In a similar vein, in the 17th Century, Johann Gerhard reflected: “Silence of the mouth is an excellent thing for peace of heart.”  We think that somehow that all our words, quick opinions, and shallow analyses will make for a better world, when it is the Word made flesh, the Word of Scripture, Who can alone change the heart, give life to body and soul, and hope to a dark sin-sick world. Indeed:  

The words of the Lord are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.
Psalm 12: 6

Finally and most importantly, Bernard knew the exact source of all faith, hope and love:  the  work of the Word made flesh alone upon the Cross Who saved as  this great hymn based upon a poem by Bernard proclaims.  As you read the lyric or listen to it, think of  the body of Christ and Christ our Head, our Sacred Head in the midst of the martyrdom of Middle Eastern Christianity taking place at this time and not forget to pray and speak out for the persecuted Church.  As the Lord said to Saul on the road to Damascus:  And (Saul) said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9: 5):

“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”
by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676  Text: Is. 50: 6
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Based on the Latin poem “Salve caput cruentatum”
By Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153, asc.

1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

2. Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee,
Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee
And flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
That once was bright as morn!

3. Now from Thy cheeks has vanished
Their color, once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished
The splendor that was there.
Grim Death, with cruel rigor,
Hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou has lost Thy vigor,
Thy strength, in this sad strife.

4. My burden in Thy Passion,
Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression
Which brought this woe on thee.
I cast me down before Thee,
Wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee;
Redeemer, spurn me not!

5. My Shepherd, now receive me;
My Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine!
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love,
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.

6. Here I will stand beside Thee,
From Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me!
When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish
In death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish,
Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

7. The joy can ne’er be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

8. What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee.

9. My Savior, be Thou near me
When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
Oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
By virtue of Thine own!

10. Be Thou my Consolation,
My Shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy Passion
When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee.
Who dieth thus dies well!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #172 


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“Preach the Law in All Its Sternness and the Gospel in All Its Sweetness”

Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther

Born: 25 October 1811, Langenchursdorf, Saxony, Germany

 Died:   7 May 1887,St. Louis,Missouri

First President of The Lutheran Church-MissouriSynod: 1847-1850 & 1864-1878

C.F.W. Walther was educated at the University of Leipzig, after which he tutored for the Loeber family in Cahla from 1833 to 1837. He was ordained on 15  January 1837 and briefly accepted a parish in Braeunsdorf, before sailing to America in 1839 with the Saxon Immigration. In 1878, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

On 21  September 1844 he married Emilie Buenger (1812-1885), also one of the original Saxon immigrants.

For forty-six years Walther was the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. He also taught at Concordia Seminary,St. Louis, from 1850 until his death. He served as the president of the Synod from its founding in 1847 to 1850. In 1864 he was again elected president and served until 1878.

  • For more biographical information on Walther  read this.
  • For more information on Walther as Pastor at Trinity Lutheran, and some interesting historical videos regarding Trinity and Walther, go here.

Walther has been called “The Martin Luther of America”.  I do not think this assessment is inaccurate.  As Pastor, President and Professor he had a great influence upon one of the largest Lutheran Church bodies in the United States.  But ‘his’ influence was only from the book he is  probably pointing to in the picture above:  The Holy Scriptures.

Whoever thinks that he can find one error in Holy Scripture does not believe in Holy Scripture but in himself; for even if he accepted everything else as true, he would believe it not because Scripture says so but because it agrees with his reason or with his sentiments.

His most influential book is The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel , the series of 39 evening lectures of his 25 Theses regarding this crucial Biblical understanding to his  seminarians between Friday, September 12, 1884 and Friday, November 6, 1885 and it was published posthumously .   The lectures were based upon great Reformation insight confessed in The Apology of the Augsburg Confession:

“All Scriptures should be divided into these two chief doctrines, the law and the promises.For in some places it presents the Law, and in others the promise concerning Christ, namely, either when [in the Old Testament] it promises that Christ will come, and offers, for His sake, the remission of sins justification, and life eternal, or when, in the Gospel [in the New Testament], Christ Himself, since He has appeared, promises the remission of sins, justification, and life eternal.  Moreover, in this discussion, by Law we designate the Ten Commandments, wherever they are read in the Scriptures.  ” (Article IV. Justification)

Law and Promise (Gospel) do two different things:  the Law shows us our sin and the Gospel points us to our Savior.  If we mix up Law and Promise we have what goes for much of Christian religion:  then we just have to do what we can and God will do the rest, but since sin is death, then it would be like telling Lazarus:  just want and try to live and I’ll do the rest! No!  Jesus Christ called him out of the tomb by His Word…and you and I!  Luther called distinguishing Law and Promise a great, difficult and high art.  Walther contributed to this art mightily.  His lectures have been called “uncreative”.  I thank God for Walther’s uncreativity.  He was no hero but he was faithful to the Scripture and their true exposition in The Book of Concord which was immensely unpopular in 19th Century Protestant America.  Like Lydia, he was considered faithful. 

I came across this meme below  recently.  It’s funny.  He was not handsome. Yes, I agree with the meme…to a point, this point: There is no luck in the Kingdom of God, only the Lord’s sheer grace for sinners.  Yes and thank God for that! The statue of Walther in his mausoleum on the south side of St. Louis, shows him standing and his hand resting on two books: the Bible and the Book of Concord.  The  Lord raises up men to preach and teach the Word of God so it may heard in our day:  May the Lord ever do so! May the Church be so blessed with faithful preaching and teaching!

Arise, you Lutherans of America! Arise! Let us use the glorious freedom that we taste here in America to the end that the old banner of confession, which in our old fatherland lay in musty [ruin], be hoisted here again. And let us gather around this banner as a faithful and courageous people of confession. Let us renew today the old oath of loyalty that we Lutherans have recited already at our confirmation. Let our teachers in church and school be sworn to that oath! Let us examine and correct everything, which we hear and read, next to God’s Word, according to this confession. Finally, let us only work and fight in rank and file with those who are prepared to follow this banner. The storms of the world and the false brothers may rain upon us. They will not rend asunder our banner, but only more fully and broadly unfurl it before the eyes of all the world. In the Old World, my brothers, it is evident that the sun, which once rose in Augsburg and upon the Bergen Cloister, the sun of the pure Gospel, is setting. Many true Lutherans in the Old World look with longing and hope to our young American Lutheran Church, which though it is small, is free. And because she is free, she is, before others, called to salvage and rescue the pure Gospel here in the New World in these last times, that holy relic entrusted to our Church.O arise! Arise, American Lutheran Zion, and let there be light! You, her watchmen, forward! Lay hold the holy banner and hold it high and swing it joyously! All of you, you children of this Zion, man and wife, old and young, follow those who show themselves true bearers of the flag! 0 take heart and be joyful! The Lord, who is a God of truth, is with us! By that sign we shall conquer, though all powers of darkness in midnight hour plot against us and rise against us on the battlefield. The battle will rage hot and ever hotter! Finally, we, persistent to the end—and grant this to us Jesus Christ, Thou Leader in the fight!—we will be taken in triumph into the congregation above, to the eternal festival of jubilation. Amen.

—C. F. W. Walther, from The Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH)

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Intro:  On Wednesday March 12, we began at the Mission a 6 week Bible Class, The 6 Building Blocks, a review of each of the 6 Chief Parts of The Small Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther.  Below is the outline  of the second session.-Pr. Schroeder

The Apostles’  Creed

Almighty and everlasting God,  You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of the true Faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities;  for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever. ♫ Amen♫

Transition from 10 Commandments  to the Apostles’ Creed, Luther’s Large Catechism:

Thus far we have heard the first part of Christian doctrine. In it I we have seen all that God wishes us to do or not to do. The Creed properly follows, setting forth all that we must expect and receive from God; in brief, it teaches us to know him perfectly. It is given 2 in order to help us do what the Ten Commandments require of us. For, as we said above, they are set on so high a plane that all human ability is far too feeble and weak to keep them. Therefore it is as necessary to learn this part as it is the other so that we may know where and how to obtain strength for this task. If we could by our 3 own strength keep the Ten Commandments as they ought to be kept, we would need neither the Creed nor the Lord’s Prayer.

1)      Introduction: The 2nd building block, chief part can be found here.

    a)      Meaning of the word, “creed”, from Latin, “credo”, I believe

   b)      Confess, in Greek, homologia:  saying the same word, same thing.  Confess:  speaking together

   c)      “ecumenical” or catholic creeds, i.e. universal;  catholic: kata holis, according to the whole

         i) Three Creeds:  Apostles Creed, Nicene and Athanasian, all in the Book of Concord

2)      History of the Creeds

    a)      Scriptural foundation:

       i)        Deuteronomy 6: 4: revelation

        ii)       St. Matthew 16: 15-16:  revelation

       iii)     Jesus prayer to, teaching us to pray, Our Father

       iv)     Philippians 2: 5-11

        v)      1 Corinthians 15: 1-9

       vi)     1 Timothy 3: 16

b)      Biblical Background of the Apostles’ Creed, see this.

3)      Closer Look at the three Articles and their Meanings:

a)      First Article:  The Father, verb:  creating, noun:  Creator

    i)        We confess the Scripture as our faith and the Creeds also function as to what we do not believe in:

       a)      Materialism

       b)      Pantheism

       c)      Deism

        d)      ‘Inclusivism’

 ii)       Imagine confessing the first article without saying “Father”

 b)      Second Article: The Son, verb, Redeeming, noun, Redeemer

        i)        Most words of the 3 articles

       ii)       Compare with Philippians 2: 5-11

       iii)     Historical, besides Jesus, Mary and Pontius Pilate part of the        Creed:  a thumbnail of the Gospel record

 c)  Third Article: The Holy Spirit, ,Sanctifer, noun, sanctifying ,verb

       i) Person, as is the Father and the Son

        ii)  Teaching and Witnessing Jesus Christ, thus making holy by faith, not works, thus helping, comforting, Paracleting

The Holy Spirit’s work:  The Word and the Word made visible in the Sacraments, because of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.  See explanation of the 3rd article:  He calls us to Christ and as His Church.  The Holy Spirit, the Lord choosing:

The following quotation is from novel The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz.  Bo Giertz was a bishop in the Church of Sweden and his novel is three novelettes about one Lutheran parish in three different time periods.  In one period, what we call evangelicalism, or “born again movement” was taking hold.  The young pastor, Fridfeldt, tells the senior has just finished sternly telling the rector that he is a believer, and that he has given his heart to Jesus, and the rector, senior pastor’s answer:

The older man’s face became suddenly as solemn as the grave.

“Do you consider that something to give Him?”

By this time, Fridfeldt was almost in tears.

“But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”

“You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy,” he continued reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor’s face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, “it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give Him one’s heart and commit oneself to Him, and that he now accepts one into His little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on Him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor gives one’s heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks his walking cane through it and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with Him. That is how it is.”

The rector astutely continues: And now you must understand that these two ways of believing are like to different religions, they have nothing whatever to do with each other.”
“And yet,” he added thoughtfully, “one might say that there is a path that leads from the lesser to the greater. First one believes in repentance, and then in grace.

 4)  The Name to be Prayed: Making the Sign of the Cross:  see this posting.

 From The Small Catechism in which Luther also gives instruction on prayer:  In the evening, when you retire, make the sign of the cross and say, “In the name of God, the Father, +the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. Then you may say this prayer:

“I give Thee thanks, heavenly Father, through thy dear Son Jesus Christ, that Thou hast this day graciously protected me. I beseech Thee to forgive all my sin and the wrong which I have done. Graciously protect me during the coming night. Into thy hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let thy holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one may have no power over me. Amen.”

Then quickly lie down and sleep in peace.

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“I hope this isn’t meant to be a criticism of our current life style” (from The New Yorker magazine, probably back in the ’60s)

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The 6 Biblical Building Blocks of Faith and Life:   Session 1, The Ten Commandments

Intro:  On Wednesday March 12, we began at the Mission a 6 week Bible Class, The 6 Building Blocks, a review of each of the 6 Chief Parts of The Small Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther.  Below is the outline  of the first session.-Pr. Schroeder

Opening Prayer:  Grant to us, Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right, that we, who cannot do anything that is good without You, may be enabled by You to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Review the 6 Chief Parts, 6 Building Blocks of Faith and life

  1. 10 Commandments
  2. The Apostles’ Creed
  3. The Lord’s Prayer
  4. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
  5. Confession
  6. The Sacrament of the Altar

The Small Catechism:

  1. The Layman’s Bible
  2. Summary of the Bible
  3. Prayer Book

Lutherans have three important books:

  1. The Bible
  2. The Book of Concord, which includes The Small and Large Catechisms
  3. The Lutheran Service Book, the hymnbook

1st Building Block:  the Decalogue, the  10 CommandmentsTwo Tables of the Law:  Written and Given by God on Mt. Sinai to Moses  10 Commandments recorded in two places:                                                                              A.  Exodus 20 and B. Deuteronomy 5

“God gave the Law in written form to Moses at Mount Sinai. The giving of the Law was accompanied by signs of God’s wrath. Thunder, lightning flashes, the blast of the trumpet, and the smoking mountain reveal a God who exposes Himself in the “thick darkness” of His holy judgment against sin. No wonder the people of Israel pleaded with Moses, saying, “[D]o not let God speak to us, lest we die” (Exod. 20:19). But God does speak through His servant Moses, and the words which He gives us through Moses cut to the very heart, laying bare our sinfulness.

Our Lord uses Moses’ words, the words of God’s Law, to unmask the heart of a rich man who thought that he could “do” the Law (Mark 10:17-22). This man comes to our Lord with a pious question: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” When our Lord answers the man by referring to the commandments, the man responds, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” Yet the rich man lacks one thing. He lacks what the First Commandment requires. He lacks the “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” (The Didache by Prof. John T. Pless)

A. First Table:  Vertical, 1-3

B. Second Table:  Horizontal, 4-10

Together: form a Cross. Summation of the Law and the Prophets

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him,“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” St. Matthew 22

 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. St. Matthew 5

2 Tables and the Three Uses of the Law: Not the Way the Church uses the Law, but the way the Lord uses the Law for His purposes and use:

  1. Curb:  political use, polis, city
  2. Mirror:  spiritual use
  3. Guide:  spiritual and political use, spiritual, to show us if our good works are God pleasing, political, back to use                                                   

Luther’s teaching on each commandment: negative and positive, concentrate on the 4th Commandment for tonight

  1. Hinge Commandment
  2. First neighbors
  3. In between 3rd and 5th commandments: the Lord’s Day and prohibition against murder and violence
  4. Three Fathers
    1. fathers and mothers
    2. Fathers of a nation
    3. spiritual fathers

Closing Prayer:  Psalm 23


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He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion. (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

This commemoration is not recognized by any church body as far as I know.  I think C.S.Lewis should be commemorated on the day of his death which was overshadowed by the death of President Kennedy.  As far as this mortal can tell, I think Lewis and what he did and what he wrote will be long remembered. Why should C. S. Lewis be commemorated? Primarily what he did is he wrote and what he wrote was a defense, an apology for the Christian faith. He did so in both amateur theological writing (which was not amateurish by any means!) and in his fiction bringing his dear readers into other worlds, as in The Chronicles of Narnia

  The Greek word apologia is literally a defense, as in the Book of Concord, Philip Melanchthon wrote The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, a defense of it.  C. S. Lewis’ writings, especially Mere Christianity, were  a defense against the cultured despisers of the faith which are virulent in our day.  Even so as Lewis encouraged in his introduction to a new translation of St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation that people read the old books first, then the new ones because the old books have stood the test of time.  

Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet.

The danger of the contemporary diet, especially in theology, C. S. Lewis knew all too well.

Any theory which bases itself on a supposed “historical Jesus” to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses—a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher’s list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorian. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation. (from his essay, “Why I am not a Pacifist”)

Any Christian worth his salt and saltiness must stand up to the age in which he lives, especially in these days. So much of the New Testament is about the Church’s response to persecution, not to crush the persecutor but that the persecutor be saved:  see Saul of Tarsus.  And as in salt, the truth, the Word, will sting in the mouths and hearts of the cultured despisers.  So it must…and in our hearts as well when we fall away.  The Lord’s Word is life, eternal life.  In his introduction to Athanasius’ book, Lewis pointed out that the Church Father’s defense of the faith, specifically the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, put Athanasius at odds with the world, to the point it was said of him, Athanasius contra mundum, Athanasius against  the world.   He took a stand.  So did Clives Staple Lewis.  He was aware of it himself:

All contemporary write. share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it.

Maybe he wrote “seem most opposed to it” because those who are faithful and true, taking a stand, are the only ones who are really for people in the world, as the Lord is who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. 

Below is C. S. Lewis’ literary timeline, listing most of his writings which will also serve as a brief biography.   C. S. Lewis’ vocation was professor, a teacher, and in his writings he still teaches the Faith delivered to the saints once and for all: see Jude 1:3

Almighty and everlasting God, You would have all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. By Your almighty power and unsearchable wisdom break and hinder all the counsels of those who hate Your Word and who, by corrupt teaching, would destroy it. Enlighten them with the knowledge of Your glory that they may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and, in peace and righteousness, serve You, the only true God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Addendum:  a Literary Biography

  • 1898 Born On 29 November in Belfast, Ireland.
  • 1905 The family moves to “Little Lea” on the outskirts of Belfast.
  • 1908 His mother, Florence Lewis, dies of cancer On 23 August. In September he is sent to school at Wynyard in Watford, Hertfordshire, England.
  • 1910 He attends Campbell College in Ireland.
  • 1911 Returns to England and attends school at Cherbourg House, Malvern, beginning in January.
  • 1913 Enters Malvern College, a university preparatory school, in September.
  • 1914 Moves to Surrey and is tutored by W. T. Kirkpatrick (“The Great Knock”).
  • 1916 Reads George MacDonald’s Phantastes. This book, he wrote, “baptized” his imagination. MacDonald, he later claimed, was quoted in every book he subsequently published.
  • 1917 Begins his studies at University College, Oxford, in April; commissioned a second lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry in September; goes to the front in November.
  • 1918 Wounded in action in April.
  • 1919 Returns to University College; publishes Spirits in Bondage under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton.
  • 1920 Takes a First in Honour Moderations (midway examinations).
  • 1922 Takes a First in Greats (classics and philosophy), and awarded the B. A.
  • 1923 Takes a First in English Language and Literature in the HonourSchool.
  • 1924 Assumes duties as tutor at UniversityCollege.
  • 1925 Elected Fellow in English Language and Literature at MagdalenCollege, Oxford.
  • 1926 Publishes Dymer under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton.
  • 1929 His father, Albert J. Lewis, dies in Belfast; becomes a theist but not a Christian.
  • 1931 Confesses belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and becomes a regular communicant in the Church of England.
  • 1933 Publishes The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism under his own name, dropping the Clive Hamilton pseudonym forever.
  • 1936 Publishes The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition.
  • 1938 Publishes Out of the Silent Planet.
  • 1939 Publishes The Personal Heresy A Controversy, with E. M. W. Tillyard; publishes Rehabilitations and Other Essays.
  • 1940 Publishes The Problem of Pain; begins lectures on Christianity to members of the Royal Air Force.
  • 1941 Begins a series of over twenty talks on the British Broadcasting Corporation radio.
  • 1942 Publishes Broadcast Talks, a small book based on his 1941 and 1942 BBC radio lectures; publishes The Screwtape Letters and A Preface to “Paradise Lost
  • 1943 Publishes Perelandra, The Abolition of Man, and the BBC radio lectures entitled Christian Behaviour
  • 1944 Publishes Beyond Personality from his BBC talks.
  • 1945 Publishes The Great Divorce and That Hideous Strength.
  • 1946 Edits George MacDonald: An Anthology
  • 1947 Publishes Miracles: A Preliminary Study; edits with others Essays Presented to Charles Williams.
  • 1948 Publishes Arthurian Torso.
  • 1949 Publishes Transposition and Other Addresses.
  • 1950 Receives his first letter from Joy Davidman; publishes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • 1951 Publishes Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
  • 1952 Meets Joy Davidman; publishes Mere Christianity, which includes Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour and Beyond Personality, all in revised form; publishes The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
  • 1953 Publishes The Silver Chair
  • 1954 Publishes The Horse and His Boy and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama.
  • 1955 Assumes the position of Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge. His inaugural address is “De Descriptione Temporumî; publishes Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life and The Magician’s Nephew.
  • 1956 Marries Joy Davidman in a civil ceremony in April; publishes The Last Battle and Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
  • 1957 Marries Joy Davidman in an Anglican ceremony in March.
  • 1958 Publishes Reflections on the Psalms.
  • 1960 Publishes The Four Loves, Studies in Words, and The World’s Last Night and Other Essays. His wife, Joy, dies on 13 July.
  • 1961 Publishes Grief Observed and An Experiment in Criticism.
  • 1962 Publishes They Asked for a Paper.
  • 1963 Dies on 22 November, the same day Aldous Huxley and John F. Kennedy died.
  • 1964 Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer which he 

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