14 February 2009

Fitting Reading before Lent

I heartily commend Dr. Luther's *Avoiding the Doctrines of Men* in AE 35 as fitting reading prior to the Lenten fast. A salutary antidote to those who would make too much traditions of men regarding distinction of foods and such. Yet he makes it clear: "I here give notice to the insolent, undisciplined, whose only evidence of being Christian is that they can eat eggs, meat, and milk, stay away from confession, break images, and so forth, that it is not my purpose here to have served them." So while exhorting to Christian discipline and yet refusing bondage over these matters, Luther walks a golden mean that we'd do well to learn from. It's not a very long writing, but totally worthwhile.

4 comments:

-C said...

It's not about bondage to these matters, Pr. Weedon, it's about submission to them.

Just my two cents.

William Weedon said...

-C,

The situation Luther was addressing was not the approach of the Orthodox to such matters, but of the Roman approach at the time of the Reformation. I would think the Orthodox would be largely in tune with the spirit of his comments, as his constant refrain is that such may be done freely.

Past Elder said...

There's another of the great tensions -- among those who recognise the value of such things, between those who recognise few will accept them voluntarily therefore they regulate them, and those who recognise the value is in voluntarily accepting them and oppose the regulation.

IOW, we generally don't do things unless we have to, so, do we make it so you have to, or encourage you to do something.

I remember when meatless Fridays were made optional except those in Lent. Optional? Maybe officially, but in practice it was understood as "abolished"! Yay, no more fish on Friday! And in line with Luther's observation, a sign of being with it, even to the point of looking down on those who continued it on an elective basis!

Past Elder said...

Not to mention the "that's too Catholic" thing.

Having come from the "Catholic" thing, some of it is rejecting practices that contradict the Gospel, but a lot more of it is accepting practices not because Rome says to but because they do not contradict the Gospel and the church has found them valuable.