14 August 2009

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Scriptures have their purpose in providing the content for church worship. -- David Scaer, *Discourses in Matthew* p. 105


Phil said...

Pr. Weedon,

I believe that Scaer would mean both Law and Gospel, or you could say the Gospel in the wide sense as opposed to the Gospel in the narrow sense. I could be wrong, but if I'm not, where would we find the Law as Law in the liturgy?

(I am presupposing, of course, that ultimately the Gospel overcomes the Law in Christ--the proper distinction, in the church's worship just like in everything else.)

William Weedon said...

Exhortation to Communicants ("but if we thus examine ourselves we find nothing but sin and death from which we cannot set ourselves free")

Confession of sins ("and justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment")

Gloria in Excelsis ("Thou only art holy")

Many times in the readings (which are the chief portion of the propers)

Prayer of Thanksgiving ("In Your righteous judgment You condemned the sin of Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit, and justly barred them and all their children from the tree of life")

The law itself (the Ten Commandments) has its role in the liturgy too - but as preparation for the liturgy of confession and absolution.

Phil said...

Is it always the Second Use?

William Weedon said...

It's always the Law; the uses are the Spirit's not ours. He uses the Law as He sees fit in any or all of the three ways.

Phil said...

I can't argue with that. Where do we find the Third Use of the Law in the liturgy? (not that you can find it apart from the other two...)

The ultimate fulfilment of the Law is love, right? And if it's love, then it's specifically Love--the Love of Christ--which fulfils the Law and gives us the Gospel, I would think.

Given that the liturgy is for the Church and not for unbelievers (the doors!), one would expect lots of Third Use action on the part of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy, I would think. Is this action invisible, or can we identify it here and there in the parts of the rite?

Ultimately, isn't the whole Sacrament / Sacrifice distinction in line with the faith / love distinction?

William Weedon said...

I like to think the entire Liturgy is third use in this sense: it is the Holy Spirit's training camp for us learning to sing the eternal song and to delight in the praise of God.

Phil said...

My goodness! Now you're saying that not just part but in fact the entire liturgy is Law?!?! You must be the ultimate legalist! :-)

All kidding aside, maybe this is more complicated than it appears, and the label of "legalist" needs to be set aside until people understand what antinomianism really is, in this case with regard to the liturgy. The right use of the Law, where the Law belongs, and even in the liturgy, can't be legalism--and we sinners always like to wield the Law but never like to be on the receiving end. If I ever get educated to the point where I'm writing books on theology, I'd like to write one titled The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel in the Liturgy.

But you were taking a vacation from blogging, and I will leave you alone now.