Dear Rev. Weedon: Was this the faith Abraham had, which was reckoned to him as righteousness?Is a “lively apprehension” the sign of “true” faith?How can one tell if a profession is “empty”?The Wade R. Johnston translation of this segment reads, “Faith, however, is not a bare opinion and profession, but a living and efficacious apprehension of Christ in the Gospel proposition.” This eliminates a few of the problems I have with this segment as quoted in your blog. The text of the entire section eliminates a few more. But then the final sentence makes my hair stand on end: “Kindle in us, O pious Christ, the light of true faith so that, through faith, we may obtain eternal salvation.” Baptism? The Holy Spirit? He addresses these in sections 17 and 22, and there is no hint in these that we do not already have “true faith”. I am puzzled. Peace and Joy!George A. Marquart
It is simply the case, my dear George, that faith is never a possession, but always a gift that He gives. We possess faith as we posses the air or the sunlight. It is His constant giving to us which faith holds tight to and takes into ourselves. Nothing to let your hair stand on end about - just the way that our God works.
My problem is with the use of the word “kindle”. Kindle means, as I understand it, to start a fire. Before it is kindled, there is no fire. In this case, no faith. Is Gerhard saying, we have no faith; therefore we ask Christ to kindle it? The concluding words, “so that, through faith, we may obtain eternal salvation,” seem to bear this out. Then there is that “true” faith. For some reason I keep hearing the devil whisper, “Of course you have faith. But is it “true” faith?” Interestingly enough, Scripture uses the word “true” fairly frequently, but never referring to faith. Scripture assumes that the gift of God does not need this qualifier.I do not question the fact that Gerhard belongs in the pantheon of orthodox Lutheran theologians. I am not finding fault with Gerhard. A larger portion of this Meditation would have made it clear that, although there may be an objectionable meaning from a particular sentence, the context would clarify it. The problem is that when we read a snippet, without context, we have nothing but the few words themselves to determine its meaning. Peace and Joy!George A. Marquart
Post a Comment