Posts Tagged ‘The Small Catechism’

Icon of Noah, Kramer Chapel, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN

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 fourth session.-Pr. Schroeder 

Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

 From The Lutheran Service Book:  Holy Baptism, page 268ff, Luther’s “Flood Prayer”:

Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned hard-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin.

We pray that You would behold name according to Your boundless mercy and bless him with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die. Grant that he be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, he would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


1)      Pray the Fourth Chief Part

i)        Emphasis of Sections:

(a)    Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism God’s Name:  See St. Matthew 28: 19;  Numbers 6: 22-27

(b)   Relation to Second Commandment, 1st Article of the Creed, and 1st Petition of the   Lord’s Prayer

(c)    Actual Water

2)      Types of Sacraments in General:  see Numbers 21:8-10

(a)    Old Testament Type of Holy Baptism:  see 2 Kings 5: 1-15  “At first, Naaman was furious, thinking that God should use a more spiritual means of cleansing. Yet God willed to attach His Word to the ordinary water of the Jordan.”

(b)   Time-conditioned Sacraments

(c)    Definition of Sacrament: Christ’s command, Christ’s promise, a visible element (water, wine, bread),

(d)   Summation of Bible regarding water  and the Word:  Luther’s Flood Prayer, see above

3)      Question:  Can infants and children be baptized?

(a)    See St. Matthew 28:  19:  “all nations” include infants and children, otherwise our Lord would have said, baptize all adults;  see St. Mark 10: 13-16:  even adults who are baptized are baptized as children See Acts 2: 39;  Acts 16: 15, 33

(b)   Denial of Baptism is denial three key Christian Doctrines:

  1. Doctrine of Original Sin, “If you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin, then have children” Tree and fruit, so-called “age of accountablility”
    1. See: Psalm 51: 5;  Romans 5: 12, 18-19;  Ephesians 2: 3 & 5
  2. Doctrine of Faith:  See Ephesians 2: 8-9; St. Luke 1: 41-44
  3. Doctrine of God’s Work confused as man’s work.  Who asked to be born?  Birth is something that is given, just as the New Birth, Baptism:  See St. John 3: 5-6;  1 Peter 1: 3, Titus 3: 5-8;  Galatians 3: 25-27  One Baptism continued from this life to the next, Romans 6: 3-11, see 3rd Article of the Creed, the resurrection of the body. See last paragraph of Luther’s explanation

 Close with The Lord’s Prayer

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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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Martin Luther’s works translated into English encompass 55 volumes.  The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and Concordia Publishing House,  is currently publishing and translating more volumes.  Dr. Luther somewhere said that all of all he wrote, he thought the only two books  worth keeping were The Bondage of the Will and The Small Catechism

Five of the six Chief Parts of the Catechism has this  encouragement: 

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household

Luther wrote this for pastors and congregations for the pastors to put them into the hands of the head of the family, normally, a father.  He wrote that a Father and Mother are the Bishop and Bishopess to their children.  Today at a Pastors’ Bible study, we noted that it is our experience,  parents who read the Bible to their children, pray daily at one common meal, speak about the Faith, etc. usually have children who stay in Church. Many Christian families home-school but every Christian family needs to home-church.  This is more urgent in these dark days because the culture is no longer even neutral to the Church. What Luther wrote was a summing up of Christian doctrine in the Bible.  What Luther wrote is an excellent resource for families. What Luther wrote reiterates what the Church has known and taught already.  As in this exhortation and warning from St. John Chrysostom (died +14 September, 437):

Concern for spiritual things will unite the family…Don’t think that it isn’t necessary for a child to listen to the Scriptures; the first think he will hear from them will be, “Honor your father and your mother,” and immediately you will begin to reap your reward.  Don’t say, “Bible reading is for monks; am I turning my child into a monk?”  No!  It isn’t necessary for him to be a monk.   Make him into a Christian!  Why are you afraid of something so good?  It is necessary for everyone to know Scriptural teachings and this especially true for children.  Even at their age they are exposed to all sorts of folly and bad examples from popular entertainments.  Our children need remedies for all these things!  We are so concerned with our children’s schooling; if only we equally zealous in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord!  

Let us pray…Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have blessed us with the joy and care of children. give calm strength and patient wisdom that, as they grown in years, we may to teach to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

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