06 April 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Where Baptism is rightly taught, there the Gospel is rightly proclaimed, for the whole Gospel is contained in this sacrament:  Christ's death and resurrection, our dying and rising with Him in repentance and faith, the bestowal already now of future heavenly treasures, eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.  -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 23.

8 comments:

Larry Luder said...

Amen. Most all the time when spoken wisdom from above on our Lord's death and Resurrection,especially in Baptism and the Eucharist, I think about, "O God, Who, by the passion of Thine only-begotten Son, and by the Blood shed through His five most sacred Wounds, hast raised up mankind, lost because of sin; grant, we beseech Thee, that we who on earth adore the Wounds our Saviour received, may in heaven rejoice in the glory He, at the price of His precious Blood, hath bought back for us. Through the same Christ our Lord.Amen." – Prayer of the Missal

Pr. Lehmann said...

I think I need to read this.

Anonymous said...

This is a classical example of “argumentum in circulo.” Because, if by definition, Baptism contains the whole Gospel, then, if Baptism is rightly taught, then the Gospel is automatically rightly proclaimed. But a problem arises when we assume that in agreeing on Baptism, as we did with the Roman Church in Augsburg according to the Apology, we also agree on the whole Gospel – something which obviously did not take place.

Of course, as “quia” confessors we are not allowed to even think that we could do something other than rightly teach Baptism and therefore also rightly proclaim the whole Gospel. But more often than not, our proclamation of the “whole” Gospel does not include the Gospel of the Kingdom, the proclamation of which our Lord said was one purpose for which He was sent (Luke 4: 43). The word “kingdom” does not even appear in the sections about Law and Gospel, or the Third Use of the Law, in either the Epitome or the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord. Is the Gospel of the Kingdom, which our Lord proclaimed, not part of the “whole” Gospel? Where what we consider to be the “whole” Gospel ends (and please don’t think that I do not fully believe that to be “Gospel”) the Gospel of the Kingdom begins, as we sing in the Te Deum:
“When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death :
thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.”

A propos Will Roger, “It’s not what we don’t know that hurts. It’s what we know that ain’t so.”

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

George,

But Holy Baptism certainly gives us entrance into the Kingdom. Did our Lord Himself not teach that in John 3? So the gift of the Kingdom, "transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of His beloved Son" is effected in us through Holy Baptism. Baptism proclaims and gives this precisely BECAUSE it unites us to our Lord's suffering, death and resurrection which, as you rightly say, "opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers."

Anonymous said...

Dear Pr. Weedon: I am obviously not writing clearly, because I agree with every word you wrote in what is apparently a rebuttal of what you feel is my position. I would only add that through Baptism we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, something you will not find in the parts of our Confessions dealing with Baptism, until you come to the sections on infant Baptism in the Formula of Concord. So let me try to put it plainly:

First, Sasse is obviously right. But judging this statement from the view of formal logic, it is flawed. So my point is that when we state the truths of our faith, we should do so in a way that does not violate the rules of logic. Otherwise, those who disagree with us, be they of the Kingdom or not, will have cause to take issue with us.

Secondly, if we assume that we teach the Gospel “purely” because our Confessions contain no doctrinal errors, we put ourselves in a position of having to argue against Scripture in those cases where the Confessions are wrong. I have not gone through the Confessions looking for errors, but in the course of reading them I have discovered some places that diverge from the teaching of Scripture enough to cause concern. Just three examples:

Where the Apology says that what is written in our hearts according to Jer. 31 is the Decalogue, I have to disagree because Torah never means the Ten Commandments. Does it do violence to the Gospel when we teach that God wrote in our hearts what St. Paul calls “the proclamation of death”?

We all know that what purports to be the Ten Commandments in Luther’s Catechisms, are actually nine stretched into ten. It may not be that important that we don’t learn about “graven images”, but in the context of our Lord’s teaching about the Law, and those who remove even one “iod”, I submit that it matters.

Luther’s explanation of the petition “Thy Kingdom come” is seriously flawed. It is prayed by people who are already in the Kingdom, so why should we ask for it to come to us? The Kingdom, in fact, does not “come” at all, in the ordinary meaning of the English language. According to Greek usage, the metaphorical use of the verb “to come” (and it has to be metaphorical, because kingdoms don’t have feet with which to walk) means “to increase, to prosper, to grow”. Moreover if it comes to us when He gives us “the Holy Spirit”, then does He continue to give us more Kingdom and more Holy Spirit every time we pray?

Peace and Joy on this beautiful Sunday morning!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

George,

It MIGHT just be that on this particular question, you hold a position which is not Lutheran. I do not by any stretch of the imagination believe that Luther's explanation of "thy Kingdom come" is in error. And I have no problem whatsoever singing with the Church: "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest!"

Anonymous said...

Rev. Weedon: MIGHT? It definitely is not Lutheran. Why? Because it contradicts what the Confessions teach. I was tempted to offer an argument for my belief concerning Luther’s explanation of the Second Petition, but that would sidetrack us from my main point: If I am right on the other two issues I have raised, then they too are not Lutheran, but you will find few Lutherans who will disagree with me on those. But as you well know, Piepkorn wrote, “We are Catholic Christians first, Western Catholics second, and Lutherans third.” This hierarchy of belonging is denied to us if we may not examine the Confessions critically.

At the same time, let me assure you that I have the utmost respect for the blessed Dr. Martin Luther and the Lutheran Symbols. I do not study them in order to find mistakes. Far be it from me. What I consider mistakes leap out at me as I research this or that question about our faith. But I just cannot make myself believe that Luther or the Confessions are “infallible”. By this I do not judge them but simply affirm what we all believe about the imperfection of fallen creation.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Dear George,

Pieps had it right. But the thing about being Lutheran (for me, anyway) is that I do not believe the Confessors COULD NOT err (infallible), simply that they DID NOT err - as Krauth says so well. And they are very much of a piece with the prayer and hymnody of the Church, which never tires asking for the gift of the Spirit.