14 July 2009

Summary from Giertz

More for my own benefit of learning than for yours in reading!

Giertz in that article referenced below speaks of three obstacles to salvation delineated by the old soul-curers:

* The aversion in man's fallen nature to the Word and to prayer (through which alone salvation is possible, and which is, of course, an aversion to the God whom one meets through them - "we heard the sound of thee...")

* The love of sin

* The struggle that a person experiences, acutely brought to an awareness of the fountain of sin in his fallen nature, to believe that God actually loves HIM and has provided atonement for HIM.

Similarly, he speaks of how God works upon us to remove the obstacles that would keep divine grace from pouring over and through our lives:

First, the call by which one begins to encounter God in his Word, in the Divine Service, in prayer. One knows one's self addressed by God! And which, when it is answered, leads to:

The enlightenment of the Law, leading to repentance and especially outward remedying of sin, which leads to:

The awakening through which one realizes the hopelessness of our fallen state wherein we continue to have a fountain of sin arising from within us that we cannot stop up or cause to cease [one thinks especially of the great Spiritual Psalter of St. Ephraim the Syrian], leading at last to

The conversion by which one comes to the joy of truly believing in Christ as the Savior and Atoner and finding in Him a righteousness that is complete and whole and OURS as gift.

He also presents the dangers that await at each turn: at the call, relying on feelings and not forming the habit of listening to the Word and praying; at the enlightenment of the law, developing a judgmental attitude toward others; at the awakening, despair and thinking that Christianity is impossible; at the conversion - the ongoing struggle to believe the "for me" of the Gospel.

His remedy to each danger is the same: persistence in the Word and in prayer.

In reading this, it strikes me that this is PRECISELY a description of what Catechesis is all about! Bender's material so nails that. Giertz, as quoted yesterday, beautifully describes the whole thing as a "descent," a way God has of striping away every false reliance for comfort until we come to rest in Jesus and in Him alone.

That's Weedon's brief summary of the Giertz reading.

P.S. It also strikes me as vital that Giertz does not treat these as successive stages; they are cumulative stages. One never leaves behind the calling, when one goes onto the earnest struggles against sin; nor does one leave the earnest struggles against sin, when one is forced to a recognition of the foul fountain of rottenness within; and so when one comes to rest in Christ alone it is as one who hears God's address, struggles against sin, and knows one's self the person described in Romans 7. This preserves the above from falling into a form of antinomianism that celebrates instead of deploring sin.]


Sarah D. said...

This is a great review. Thank you!

Tapani Simojoki said...

The point about descent I think gets to the heart of things. One of the early working titles for this booklet was "The Descent into Eternal Life". It reminds me of John the Baptist: He must increase, I must decrease. Daily, all my life.

William Weedon said...

Thanks, Sarah. You know, we have a cross up here for your not so little one...

Tapani, yes indeed. I am SOOOOO grateful to you for pointing this work out.

WM Cwirla said...

OK. I'm buying a copy at Sola - Grand Rapids. Another book.

William Weedon said...

No, silly. It's a free download. Search down below for the link.