Thursday, May 21, 2015

Korah's Rebellion and God's Grace...

In reading through the book of Numbers (chapters 16 - 17) this morning, I was struck by how Israel's, yet more specifically, Korah's rebellion and how it goes hand in hand with worship and God's divinely established order.  Korah and his company ultimately thought they could do better than God.

Luther addresses God's graciousness after Korah's rebellion and how he is gracious to a sinful human race:

To grace all things are possible. Korah stirs up a great rebellion, and he himself perishes. But this great miracle follows. . .his sons are nevertheless preserved. Later they became renowned by reason of most excellent virtues, since they composed very beautiful psalms which can easily stand comparison and vie with the psalms of David. Yet they were descendants of Levi and Korah. . . Accordingly, God always observes this rule. He sets forth His threats; yet He chooses something good from evil men and sinners, just as He preserves some out of the whole human race, which is lost because of sins. (Luther's Works. American Edition. 8:227-228)

 God has set forth a divine service - the way He has chosen to deal with His Church.  Much of modern Christendom has gone the way Korah and thinks it can do 'worship' better - on it own terms.  This modern iteration of the church ultimately trusts itself than God's Word.

Yet God, in His mercy, has given us His Son.  And yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and has forgiven all our iniquities.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sola Fide or Sola Electio?



“…in the Swiss town of Zurich, a more radical social as well as religious Reformation was influenced by Zwingli, who disagreed with Luther on a number of points, including interpretation of the words ‘this is my body’ in the Eucharist, leading to the Swiss notion of communion as a symbolic memorial service in contrast to the more literal Lutheran conception. In Geneva, the Frenchman John Calvin developed an altogether more logical, rational system of theology. Calvinism constituted a ‘second Reformation’ to complete what was perceived as only a partially effected reformation under the first generation of reformers. While there were different theological currents with Calvinism, it has chiefly come to be seen as distinct from Lutheranism with respect to the key notion of predestination. In Calvin’s views, not only could one not achieve salvation by good works (as in the Catholic view); one could also not achieve it by faith (the Lutheran view). Rather, the omnipotent God had predestined every individual to be either one of the elect (the saved) or among the damned; there was nothing mere mortals could to influence their predetermined destiny.”

 
[an excerpt from Mary Fulbrook’s “A Concise History of Germany” – on the Reformation happenings in Germany and its environs in the 16th century; italics mine]

So where does all this talk of sola fide from Calvinistic circles come from?  If they truly subscribe to the idea of double predestination then instead of sola fide, is it more accurate to say that Calvinists subscribe to sola electio?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

We Are All Beggars In The Holy Supper

The apostle [Paul] wishes to say: Consider, beloved Christians, that when you receive the blessed cup and the blessed bread, each one partakes of the body and blood of Christ; they are both common to all of you. You come into body-and-blood fellowship with one another. For just as many grains become one bread, so in the Holy Supper, you, though you are many, become one Body, one mass, because you are partakers of the one bread and with it one and the same body and blood of Christ.

Because of the presence and participation of the body of Christ, the Holy Supper is a meal of the most intimate fellowship and, therefore, at the same time, the highest love-meal. Just as fervent love is demanded, so fervent love is delivered. We all come together, as children of the same family, to the table of our common, heavenly Father. As great as the distinction between communicants in civic life may be, in the Holy Supper all distinctions evaporate. We are all the same, in that we each eat the same earthly and heavenly bread and drink the same earthly and heavenly drink. In this Meal, the subject and his king, the slave and his master, the beggar and the rich, the child and the old man, the wife and the husband, the simple and the learned, truly all communicants stand as the same poor sinners and beggars, hungry and thirsty for grace. Although one may appear in a rough apron while another in velvet and satin, adorned with gold and pearls, when they depart, all take with them that for which they hunger and thirst: Christ's blood and righteousness as their beauty and glorious dress. No one receives a better food and better drink than the other. All receive the same Jesus, and with Him, the same righteousness.

—C. F. W. Walther


(taken from PrayNow app via Concordia Publishing House)
(italics mine)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beowulf and Valor


Ah, to be as valorous as Beowulf.

To have never killed a friend who was a bit too inebriated. I'm guessing he probably waited until his pal sobered up a bit.



 “Thus Beowulf bore himself with valor;
he was formidable in battle yet behaved with honor
and took no advantage; never cut down 
a comrade who was drunk, kept his temper
and, warrior that he was, watched and controlled
his God-sent strength and his outstanding
natural powers…”

Beowulf (as translated by Seamus Heaney) lines 2177-2183 || Italics mine



 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Former Adventures In The Evangelical Wilderness




I can certainly identify with the following sentiments someone made on a recent Facebook thread. I do not miss my days in the so-called evangelical wilderness.

“For those of us who come from the make-it-up-as-you-go land of Evangelicalism, Missionalism, Seeker-Drivenism, we lived the innovative phrases of "loving on people", "prayer warriors,” "listening to God with intentionality", "stepping out in faith", "obeying God in the last thing He gave you to do, so he'll count you worthy to give you your next assignment." We fled that land for one built on the solid, unshifting rock of Christ; and Him crucified for the ungodly.  We fled that land for unchanging and definable language expressed in the confessions, historic liturgy, and Word and Sacrament.”

Letetia Marie - as quoted from FB (slightly modified)