17 July 2008

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is not charity to bear with others because the differences between us are trifling; it is charity to bear with them although the differences are great. Charity does not cover error; because error is the daughter of sin, and charity is the daughter of God. Charity covers errorists so far as she may without palliating their errors, for the errorist, as a man, is God's child. - C. P. Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* p. 143


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

This is the amazing thing that I find about sinful human nature. We will say, "Oh, yes, love your neighbor, love your neighbor" - especially when it comes to my neighbor loving me. But when it comes to someone doing something against us, really against us, so quickly we have tons of reasons why should shouldn't "love" them now.

And this is something we all need to be wary of every day of our lives.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading "The Genius of Luther's Theology." There is an extensive section on active righteousness and that our service (love of) to neighbor is our service to creation in obeisance to the Creator. This is consistent with Pastor Hein's article "Luther on Vocatio: Ordinary Life for Ordinary Saints."

We serve the neighbors that God places in our life (family, co-workers, church community, etc). These individuals are immediate to us. We have relationships (short or long-term) with them. I am understanding this in a new and perhaps erroneous way. My love of/service to these neighbors is not to them specifically, but to them as they are God's creatures. My hands, my words, my resources, my time, my money---all that I have--is returned to the support and sustenance of God's creation. It is stewardship in a Scriptural sense. The creature's reaction to it is not our concern. Whether or not it is appreciated, acknowledged or returned, the love to neighbor is a one way proposition, otherwise it leaves the realm of active righteousness and becomes works righteousness on a subtle and insidious level.

Thinking through this concept is all quite new to me as I ponder the commandment Love thy neighbor and the Great Commission, so I would welcome clarification, comments, etc.

Who is my neighbor? What is "all nations"? I'm sure that God is quite aware that I will not be travelling to any remote place to find a nameless neighbor to whom I can proclaim the Gospel. Rather, that my neighbors are his creatures as I am and given to me to serve according to his purpose and plan. I don't need to "drum up" neighbors to love/serve. God brings them to my door every day.

Barbara Szofran