25 February 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But anxious and fearful minds, when they consider their sins, their unworthiness, their weaknesses, and their many temptations, become so terrified and disturbed that dangerous doubts arise concerning the individual application, that is, whether I myself have with sufficient certainty grasped the benefits of Christ and so faithfully cling to them that my conscience can stand before the judgment of God. For this reason Christ in His Supper willed to confirm and seal to His disciples the demonstration and application of the promise of the Gospel with a certain and firm guarantee, so that in the face of all temptations faith can stand strongly and firmly in the assurance that it is a participant in Christ and all His benefits unto salvation. - Martin Chemnitz *The Lord's Supper* p. 189


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I have a real problem with the idea Chemnitz seems to be describing here,of not being able to trust God unless He provides an iron-bound promise. That's trusting the promise rather than the Promiser. What needs to be done is NOT to build a theology on such a faulty foundation, but rather, to correct the presentation of God that would permit such weak consciences from being able to indulge such extremes in terror.

I found this hymn on another Lutheran blog; and it expresses my thought very well:

O Christ, You Walked the Road

[3rd or 4th verse]

No blinding sign we ask,
No wonder from above.
Lord, help us place our trust alone
In Your unswerving love.

love in Christ,

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I see I've put things badly in my previous comment.

The kind of terror Chemnitz describes can be cured neither by trusting in God in Himself, nor by relying upon His promise, nor even by multiplying promise upon promise. That's because SUCH terror comes from WITHIN a person, from the awareness that though he may have fasted, prayed with tears, read Scripture until his eyes glazed over, he still does not love God. Only coming to love Him will remove that fear. Perfect love casts out fear, but even a good beginning in love deals fear a formidable wallop. Without love, a thousand promises are of no avail, do not apply.

It's a shame people are so often presented with a god they cannot (and ought not!) love, whom no healthy, well-adjusted person could ever love.


William Weedon said...


We sang that hymn on Sunday - perfect for Invocabit.

About your basic contention though, I prescribe a thorough rereading of St. Ephrem the Syrian's *Spiritual Psalter* - and what a glorious invitation that is during Great Lent. : )