24 April 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

So let me first say that what I have written deals with matters that are a consequence and result of the Gospel and justification.   The Gospel and justification stand at the center of what it is to be Lutheran.  It is only on account of Christ through the work of the Spirit that a Christian can do anything that pleases God.  The Spirit creates and sustains faith through the Means of Grace.  It is through the Means of Grace that we receive forgiveness and our lives continually return to those Means of Grace because that is where Christ is present for us. Everything in the Christian life finds its source there and there can be no Christian life apart from it.—Pr. Mark Surburg http://surburg.blogspot.com/2013/04/sanctification-issues-in-question-and.html

6 comments:

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

... but if you are doing sin X that I don't like and which I think you ought to have progressed beyond, I am going to piously lament how you probably aren't a Christian, are an errorist, and will attribute to you every heresy I have heard connected with anyone you know, as is my sanctified right according to the 8th Commandment =o)

Or is that not how it is supposed to go? =o) But we are Lutherans on the internet, we must complain about our neighbor and his Spirituality!

William Weedon said...

In sanctification, one laments about one's self and one's own failings, no? I'm not sure where your comment is coming from (having only touched on this debate in a tangential way). But if you agree about snake hunting (I assume you do), then that's the big point.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I think you hit on a very right and true point -- we lament our own failings, we see and fight against our own sin.

Too often Sanctification is brought up in the light of "you need to get that guy over there to be more sanctified". Too often we lament the obvious speck in our neighbor's eye, but ignore what Christ tells us is a true and vile log in our own. Thus is life.

Unknown said...

OK, so this thing is sitting there, and it continues to trouble me. The good pastor writes, “It is through the Means of Grace that we receive forgiveness …” What does it mean “to receive forgiveness”? If it means the fact that we are forgiven, then we have to say that God forgives us our sins because of the perfect life and sacrifice of our Savior - not a Means of Grace. If it means how this forgiveness is received by each individual, then it is true that we are forgiven in Baptism, and we receive forgiveness through the Word of the Gospel (the chief Means of Grace), which tells us that God has forgiven us.

If we proclaim that we receive forgiveness of sins in the Eucharist, then I think we are on questionable theological ground. Here is what Pr. William P. Terjesen wrote in GOSPEL, BAPTISM, ABSOLUTION, EUCHARIST:VARIOUS MEANS OF THE SAME GRACE:

One time LCMS professor Edward W. A. Koehler wrote:
“Forgiveness of sins is given us in the Sacrament not in the sense as though we did not have any before, because the Sacrament was instituted for Christians, and these have complete forgiveness the very moment they believe in Christ and as long as they continue in this faith. Besides this, forgiveness was announced and assured to them in Absolution, which commonly precedes Communion. Nor do we receive a new supply of forgiveness every time we go to the Lord’s Table;
for remission of sins is not offered in parts and portions, as our daily bread is; we either have forgiveness for all sins, or we have none at all. Our faith in Christ comprehends the forgiveness of all our sins (Psalms 103:3). But in the Holy Supper this full forgiveness is emphatically assured and confirmed to us personally, and thus our faith in this forgiveness is strengthened. And this is
what we need. For under the impact of our sins, which we daily commit, our faith weakens, and may finally die; and losing faith, we lose what we held by faith, namely the forgiveness of our sins. For this reason we should frequently go to the Sacrament.” (Luther’s Small Catechism with Annotations, pp. 304f.)

So, according to Prof. Koehler, “in the Holy Supper this full forgiveness is emphatically assured and confirmed to us personally”, but not received.

Now I am no longer troubled.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

George,

Forgiveness is God Himself coming to us in mercy, love, and pardon. This He delights to do not merely once, but continually.

Unknown said...

That’s just it; that is what was troubling me. When someone insists that forgiveness is received “through the Means of Grace”, than this forgiveness becomes episodic, not continuous as is necessary if “simul iustus et peccator” are to be maintained. As Koehler writes of Christians, “… these have complete forgiveness the very moment they believe in Christ and as long as they continue in this faith.” In other words, forgiveness is received as soon as the sin is committed.

Peace and Joy!
George