03 November 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We, however, drink the most holy blood of Christ,
the blood that
atoned for our sins,
frees us from the stain of sin,
protects us from the powers of darkness,
fills us with the Holy Spirit,
and transfuses us with the divine life of Christ.
 -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 282.

19 comments:

Unknown said...

Should we edit the Creed to read, “Who proceeds from the Father and the Son and from the Blood of the Son”? Now you’ll really upset the Orthodox, and maybe even a few Lutherans. Do we also receive the Holy Spirit with the host? I suppose it is better to have a non-Scriptural doctrine of the Holy Spirit than none at all.

Very sadly,
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

LOL. I KNEW you'd not pass that by! But think of 1 Corinthians 12:13 (and right after chapter 11!).

Unknown said...

Something rang a bell with me after I read this posting. Here is what was posted on Cyberbrethren a couple of years ago. My response was not published because it was considered disrespectful, and I was banned from the blog. Luther would have been too.

So the malady lingers on.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

June 7th, 2009
We drink the most holy blood of Christ, the blood that atoned for our sins, frees us from the stain of sin, protects us from the powers of darkness, fills us with the Holy Spirit, transfuses us with the divine life of Christ. That meal is our theophany, the appearance of the triune God among us for our salvation. — John Kleinig, *Grace Upon Grace* p. 282 HT: Weedon

Do I understand this correctly? The most holy blood of our Lord “fills us with the Holy Spirit”? And it does so again on the following Sunday, because He abandoned us by then, or leaked out? Do we not receive the Holy Spirit in baptism for all time? Is not the Holy Spirit given “without measure,” as Scripture claims? The quote from St. Cyril of Alexandria just two comments above the “New Lutheran” comment has it right.

William Weedon said...

I wonder what you'd make of the oft-repeated statement by the Orthodox: the purpose of life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

Larry Luder said...

1 Corinthians 12 fits this quote well, or is it the other way around? Anyway, thank you kindly.

Unknown said...

Re. Serafim Sarovskii. I remember him best for saying that when he dies, his body should be tossed out of the monastery where he lived, because he did not deserve Christian burial as a result of all of the sins he had committed. So, although he is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church, he had a limited understanding of the Gospel

Apparently he had an even smaller understanding about what Scripture has to say about the Holy Spirit, possibly even less than Kleinig. Serafim was into mysticism and visions, so anything approaching systematic theology was anathema to him. I even remember an Orthodox priest whom I admire tremendously, Fr. Alexander Schmeemann, writing in his diary, “How I hate their ‘iustitia’”, meaning the preoccupation of westerners with defining things.

The only authority I recognize on the subject of the Holy Spirit is Scripture, and it is overwhelmingly against Serafim and Kleinig. As to 1 Corinthians 12:13, here it is, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Now, aside from this being a not quite accurate translation from the Greek, St. Paul was finished with the Lord’s Supper 11 verses earlier. Just because a verse has the word “Spirit” and “drink” in it does not prove that we receive the Holy Spirit when we drink the Blood of our Lord. I haven’t had a chance to look at any commentaries, but I will bet you dinner with your wife, at your favorite restaurant anywhere in the USA that you will not find one that says this verse refers to drinking the Blood of Christ. Chapter 11 repeats “drink” and “blood”, but the word “Spirit” seems to be absent. Why am I reminded of the Confutatio?

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

Maybe I was too quick to assume that Serafim Sarovskii was ignorant about the Holy Spirit. You see, it may be a problem with the language. There are no articles in Russian, either definite or indefinite. The language makes up for them by having more “cases” than ours. This is true of nouns as well as of adjectives. Therefore, it may not be possible to distinguish between “the acquisition of the Holy Spirit,” and “the acquisition of a holy spirit”, or, as we might say, “a spirit of holiness.” The latter seems to be more in character with Serafim. Somehow the idea that a Christian would be so ignorant about the Holy Spirit as this quotation seems to imply seemed unlikely to me after I thought about it a while.

If you can provide me the source of the quotation, I will try to see if that is what he really said. It may be something similar to what happened in Smalcald III, III.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

The quotation, “the purpose of life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit,” comes from a conversation Serafim had with one, Nikolai Aleksandrovitch Motovilov in November of 1831. Reading the entire discourse, it is clear that Serafim does not distinguish between “the gifts of the Holy Spirit” and “the Holy Spirit.” Reading the entire discourse, it becomes clear that, although Serafim gives some good advice about leading a holy life, he does not fully understand the Gospel.
To give you a flavor of what Serafin is teaching, here is a key paragraph:

“And so this same grace of the Holy Spirit, at one time breathed with fire, when it is given us in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, is sacredly confirmed by chrismation on the main parts of our body, as commanded by the Holy Church, the eternal guardian of this grace. We say, the stamp of the gift of the Holy Spirit. On what, I ask you, beloved by God, do we humble ones put our stamps if not on the vessels which hold our most highly valued treasures? What can be more valuable of anything on earth, and what is more highly priced than the gifts of the Holy Spirit sent to us from on high in the Sacrament of Baptism, what can be more life giving for a person so that even a heretic does not loose it until death; than is, the term determined from on high by the Will of God for the testing of people during their life on earth, this term given to them by God, to see what they are worth and what they will be able to achieve with the intercession of the gifts of grace given to them from above.”

So, if you think that the whole purpose of life is for God to test us and to see what we are worth, admittedly giving us some priceless gifts, then Serafim is the man for you.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Dear George,

Of course! Seraphim was a 19th century Russian monk with all that that means. One would not expect to find him correctly distinguishing Law and Gospel in the finest Lutheran tradition. Nevertheless, he gives voice to what is actually a commonality between our Churches: that the Spirit is a constant gift from the Father through the Son to us. That He pours Him into us. He gives us Him fully in Baptism; and yet in a mathematically nonsensical way, having received Him wholly, He gives Him into us even more. I know you disagree with that whole way of talking, but it is simply IMBEDDED in our Lutheran faith. From the Small Catechism, Lord's Prayer, to countless of our hymns, and even in our liturgy. Do we not pray in DS V: "Grant us Your Spirit, gracious Father, that we may give heed to the testament of Your Son in true faith..."? Do we not pray in the Collect for Pentecost MOnday: "Grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace"? Do we not pray in the Collect for Reformation: "Almighty and gracious God, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people"? I know you'll simply say that all these witnesses are wrong; but I'd ask you in all earnestness to consider that perhaps it is your own position on the matter that is out of synch?

Unknown said...

Dear Rev. Weedon: In defense of Serafim I will say that it is not clear that he said what is attributed to him, because the accuracy of the “transcript” is open to question. He could have said “the acquisition of the gifts of the Holy Spirit” just as well as “the acquisition of the Holy Spirit”. The rest of that piece leads me to believe that it was probably the former. Nevertheless, if the Holy Spirit can work in a 16th century monk in Germany, one in Russia 300 years later should be no problem.

When you write, “He gives us Him fully in Baptism; and yet in a mathematically nonsensical way, having received Him wholly, He gives Him into us even more” I have nobody but myself to blame, because I wrote earlier that the Gospel is not logical. But I cannot find any support for what you write in Scripture. In the sense that the Holy Spirit is with us constantly, God gives Him, and He remains with us constantly. But He is not a substance that can be given more of. He is God and there cannot be more of Him.

I know there are places in many Lutheran writings, prayers, liturgies that speak of the Holy Spirit in a way that suggests God the Father gives the Spirit again and again. But we of all people should know that just because something is Lutheran does not make it right. Give me one Scripture! That is also what I asked for with regard to the question about receiving the Holy Spirit with the Blood of our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. Why make these things up when Scripture clearly and demonstrably knows nothing about this?

I will give you one, John 14: 16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” There is not one single verse of Scripture that says that once we have received the Holy Spirit, we can either receive Him again, or more of Him. The problem is that with all our desire to receive “more” of the Holy Spirit, we neglect to teach about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Is it because we think we don’t have enough Holy Spirit that we don’t think we have His gifts? “You have not because you ask not.” But do not ask for what Scripture and God tell us we already have – that is to make God a liar.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Dear George,

We've had the discussion before: our Lord gave the gift of the Spirit to His Apostles on Easter Eve in John 20. Again on Pentecost in Acts 2. Again after that in Acts 4.

During the Lutheran Confirmation rite, we pray for the newly confirmed: "Renew in them the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that they may live in daily contrition and repentance with a faith that ever clings to their Savior." Such a prayer is asked in the confidence that Baptism is the gift that keeps on giving (note the present tense verbs in the SC)!

We're not going to agree on this one, my friend. I believe you're quite mistaken and that the entirety of the Lutheran tradition speaks for itself on the matter - and in utter harmony with the Sacred Scriptures. Kleinig is of a piece with it.

Unknown said...

Dear George,

We've had the discussion before: our Lord gave the gift of the Spirit to His Apostles on Easter Eve in John 20. Again on Pentecost in Acts 2. Again after that in Acts 4.

PLEASE CHECK WITH ANY GREEK SCHOLAR YOU TRUST TO SEE WHETHER THE AORIST TENSE USED IN ALL OF THE PASSAGES AFTER JOHN 20 INDICATES AN ACTION OR A STATE OF BEING. IF IT IS THE LATTER, THEN THESE PASSAGES ARE NOT RELEVANT.

During the Lutheran Confirmation rite, we pray for the newly confirmed: "Renew in them the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that they may live in daily contrition and repentance with a faith that ever clings to their Savior." Such a prayer is asked in the confidence that Baptism is the gift that keeps on giving (note the present tense verbs in the SC)!

I SEE NOTHING HERE THAT INDICATES ANOTHER GIVING OR REFILLING, ALTHOUGH NOT BEING SCRIPTURE IT IS NOT PROOF OF ANYTHING, AND I WOULD BE INCLINED TO SAY ‘RENEW IN THEM THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

We're not going to agree on this one, my friend. I believe you're quite mistaken and that the entirety of the Lutheran tradition speaks for itself on the matter - and in utter harmony with the Sacred Scriptures. Kleinig is of a piece with it.
3:16 PM

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN PART OF LUTHERAN TRADITION TO INSIST THAT WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LORD’S SUPPER? I HEARD OF IT FIRST FROM THE PAGES OF YOUR BLOG. I HAVE YET TO SEE ANY SCRIPTURE TO SUPPORT THIS.

THE PROBLEM IS, AS SASSE ARGUES, THAT THERE IS NO DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LUTHERAN CHURCH. WHAT WE HAVE IS A BUNCH OF TRADITION AND PIOUS MOUTHINGS THAT CANNOT BE SUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE. BUT SINCE WE HAVE DONE THEM FOR SO LONG WE INSIST THEY ARE TRUE TO SCRIPTURE.

Peace and Joy!
George

William Weedon said...

Well, look in your handy-dandy Lutheran Study Bible under Acts 2 and what do you find?

"Filled with the Holy Spirit. Anointing with the Holy Spirit brings a startling transformation. *The Spirit never becomes a personal possession but remains a heavenly gift received through faith*." The note on 4:31 refers back to this note.

Sasse's point, as I recall, was to insist that the third article really was never finished and that the place of the Spirit's intercessions came to be filled, sadly, with the invocations of the saints. I'm not convinced he's read the history entirely accurately there, but it is an interesting hypothesis.

I'd actually argue we have a rather complete doctrine of the Holy Spirit and it can be read out from our liturgical and catechetical heritage and that it is quite well grounded in the Sacred Scriptures, for indeed "we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things freely given to us by God." 1 Cor. 2

William Weedon said...

P.S. Have you had joy of St. John Chrysostom on 1 Cor. 12?

"And were all made to drink of one Spirit."

"For the body is not one member, but many."

i.e., We have come to the same initiation, we enjoy the same Table. And why said he not, "we are nourished by the same body and drink the same blood?" Because by saying "Spirit," he declared them both, as well the flesh as the blood. For through both are we "made to drink of the Spirit."

Unknown said...

Dear Rev. Weedon: I find it most frustrating when I write something and you totally ignore it and just repeat what you wrote before. So, for the final time, and please let me know if I am wrong or right on this specific point, abut the “filling.” Here is each verse that speaks about it in Acts:
Acts 2:4 καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ ἤρξαντο λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις καθὼς τὸ πνεῦμα ἐδίδου ἀποφθέγγεσθαι αὐτοῖς.
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.
Verb: Third Person Aorist Passive Indicative Plural
Acts 3:10 ἐπεγίνωσκον δὲ αὐτὸν ὅτι οὗτος / αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ πρὸς τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῇ ὡραίᾳ πύλῃ τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν θάμβους καὶ ἐκστάσεως ἐπὶ τῷ συμβεβηκότι αὐτῷ.
They recognized him, that it was he who used to sit begging for gifts for the needy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Verb: Third Person Aorist Passive Indicative Plural
Acts 4:31 καὶ δεηθέντων αὐτῶν ἐσαλεύθη ὁ τόπος ἐν ᾧ ἦσαν συνηγμένοι, καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν ἅπαντες τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος καὶ ἐλάλουν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ μετὰ παρρησίας.
When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Verb: Third Person Aorist Passive Indicative Plural
Acts 5:17 ἀναστὰς δὲ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς καὶ πάντες οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ, ἡ οὖσα αἵρεσις τῶν Σαδδουκαίων, ἐπλήσθησαν ζήλου
But the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy,
Verb: Third Person Aorist Passive Indicative Plural
Acts 13:45 ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι τοὺς ὄχλους ἐπλήσθησαν ζήλου καὶ ἀντέλεγον τοῖς ὑπὸ Παύλου λαλουμένοις βλασφημοῦντες.
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed.
Verb: Third Person Aorist Passive Indicative Plural

The Aorist Passive Indicative does not indicate the time at which an action takes place. When we read, “and they were all filled ….” It does not mean that the filling took place at this time. It simply says all were full of the Holy Spirit, and in the practice of the New Testament “having the Holy Spirit” and “being filled with the Holy Spirit” and “being full of the Holy Spirit” all have the same meaning. Now this is not my opinion; I simply don’t know enough Greek, but it is the opinion of countless Greek Grammars I have consulted on this subject.

I have never argued that the Holy Spirit becomes a “personal possession”. How could the creature own the Creator?

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

PS.: I had not had the joy. As you know, the Orthodox do not believe that the consecration takes place when the Verba are spoken, but after the Anaphora, and more specifically at the end of the Epiklesis. The latter is calling on the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord. They believe that the leaven used in the prosphora (leavened bread, as opposed to the western practice of using unleavened bread) represents the Holy Spirit. Therefore, according to Orthodox belief, the Holy Spirit is received in the Eucharist. This is the eastern version of concomitance John Chrysostom writes about here – as an aside. And I have no clue why he thought it necessary to write about it here, except that possibly he was still mentally involved in the 11th chapter.

But even he, about whom some have said that he was an unequaled preacher but not a great theologian, did not think that 1 Cor. 12:13 had anything to do with the Lord’s Supper. Because in the very next sentence after the one you cite, he writes, “But to me he appears now to speak of that visitation of the Spirit which takes place in us after Baptism and before the Mysteries.”

The note in my version of the homily reads, “There is unusual obscurity in his treatment of the passage. He expressly excludes any reference to the sacraments, saying it is “after baptism and before the mysteries,” (i.e. the Lord’s Supper), and then speaks of it as if it meant a watering of plants, which however is not natural. Most interpreters refer it baptism (sic).” Well, this is Orthodoxy – obscurity is good.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Dear George,

Sorry to be so frustrating. You're correct that the aorist *all by itself* doesn't indicate exactly at what point; but I'd argue that the context CLEARLY does. I've never heard anyone at any time ever argue that the disciples did not receive the Spirit, for example, on Pentecost. Sorry, but they did. The Spirit fell on them that day. Acts 1 makes this perfectly clear: for they were to wait for the Promise of the Father. Jesus clearly says: "You WILL RECEIVE power WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME UPON YOU." (1:8) He puts the event in their future. That event then happened, and Peter refers to in his sermon as the pouring out of the Spirit, of which the people were then witnesses (2:33).

Unknown said...

Actually, it does so, “all by itself.” But if you ignore the grammar to arrive at your context in the English language, then you can do whatever you want with the text.

Our Lord was very careful with the words he used. When He told His disciples about the Advocate in John 14:16, which I quoted earlier in this series, He said, “You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” As you recall, they received the Holy Spirit on Easter evening, but they did not receive “power.” They received Him with the same visible results people receive Him today in Baptism: you cannot see any difference, unless you see the miracle with the eyes of faith. So when our Lord said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes UPON you,’ He was very precise in not saying that the Holy Spirit will “refill them”, or “fill them”, or “fill them again,” but He would “come upon them”, which is precisely what He did. He “came upon them” in the form of “divided tongues of fire.” Indeed they received “power” at that moment as nobody has ever received it since. But this was a very specific “gift of the Holy Spirit”, not simply an infusion of “high grade” Holy Spirit on top of the “regular” they already had.

If our Lord is careful about the use of such tiny words as “with”, “in”, and “upon”, then it behooves us to do so as well. It’s all there, we just have to look carefully at each word. That will show quite clearly that the Apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, but “He came upon them.” Those who were baptized that day, they received Him.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

George,

That's not ignoring the grammar. You yourself noted: "The Aorist Passive Indicative does not indicate the time at which an action takes place." It doesn't indicate it. YOU are importing the conclusion that because it doesn't indicate absolutely that it happened at that moment, therefore it did not happen at that moment.

But your reading simply ignores the context. As I said earlier, we will have to agree to disagree. You have not convinced me at all. Yet, as you always do, I wish you also peace and joy!