The Baptism of Jesus

 click here: The-Baptism-of-Jesus…and-your-own-Baptism  The Baptism of Jesus by Loci Lenar

 

 Here’s a sermon from this Sunday, on Baptism, by Pastor Mark Anderson of Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA

 

If you think of Baptism merely as ‘symbolic’, does this in any give you pause and have you think about it again?

 

If you believe that God really gives us something in Baptism, does this give you comfort and assurance, and why?

 

Thanks!

 

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94 Responses

  1. In baptism, we can be “confident of this–that he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6.

    “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

    There’s no “me” in the equation. It is solely by God’s grace (undeserved loved) and not by our efforts. In my baptism, he promised that He washes and he regenerates–every day!

    What a joy to remember that blessing that comes from water connected to the Word!

    Thanks for sharing about the Gospel in liquid form!

  2. It greatly saddens me to see people malign baptism as a mere meaningless act of obediance that has absolutely no benefit to the person being baptized or to their neighbors. God attaches so much of his word to this great sacrament that he commanded and instituted, that it really comes our people are robbed of grace when this sacrament is so maligned. Robbed of grace and tortured.
    Say what you will but if you divorce the gospel from baptism, you inevitably lose the gospel, Christianity becomes about works and obedience, about earning blessings. And it is absolutely sickening. He who teaches or lives contrary to God’s word blasphemes hisn name among us, God preserve us from this!
    But then these days I’m told blasphemy isn’t to be worried about. God help us!

  3. Right on, Erich!

    “The Gospel in liquid form”

    I like that!

  4. Bror,

    Yeah, it is saddening (and maddening) that so many disparage what God gives us…and they do it in His name, nonetheless.

    Pietism (the wrong kind) and rationalism are surely the enemy of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. And therefore are an enemy of the cross.

  5. Check ou this post from Bror, over at Utah Lutheran:

    http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2010/01/unless-one-is-born-of-water-and-spirit.html

    It’s a good one on Baptism.

  6. Hey there Steve,
    I haven’t commented in a while, mostly because I was preoccupied with finishing my master’s degree and then because I was away in Arkansas visiting family. You can expect to see me back as a more regular “pest” again now.

    Along those lines, I had a couple of comments about this sermon. I went and listened to it and I have a couple of issues with it. When Pastor Mark referenced the Great Commission of Matthew 28, he was quick to point out that the command included baptism, as it fit the theme of the sermon. The main command however is to make disciples. This is done not by simply baptizing them as he implied, but by baptizing them and by teaching them to observe (do) all the things that Jesus commanded them to do. He skipped over this observation in favor of speaking of Jesus’ promise to be with His disciples. Based on Jesus’ other statements in the Gospels, this is an unwise omission of the whole of Jesus’ thought(John 14:15, 23; 15:10).

    Additionally, Pastor Mark cited Mark 16:16 as a support for the saving nature of the promise in baptism. He did not however, deal with the way that this verse seems to imply that the condemnation comes to those who do not believe as opposed to those who are not baptized. The verse in Mark doesn’t speak directly about the one who may believe but is not baptized, although Scripture does record such a case (Luke 23:43) where the person is promised entry to Paradise by Jesus Himself.

    Let me offer a point to ponder. Baptism existed before Jesus’ ministry. Baptism was already a common practice in Judaism at the time of Christ. It was used to note a change in life direction, such as repentance or particularly in the case of those who converted to Judaism (which has implications for the conversation in John 3 as well by the way). Jesus’ command of baptism actually falls into this same line of practice. Jesus didn’t institute something new; he explicated something that already was a part of God’s plan and was already practiced by His people.

  7. jeofurry,
    you have a fun way of reading scripture. Pastor Mark, who teaches for a living, knows that making disciples includes both baptizing and taching. But you seem to think the baptism is optional?
    Mark 16:16 does indeed teach the salvific nature of Baptism because a believer, observing all that jesus commadned teh disciple’s to teach, would be baptized, but the unbeliever would refuse to be baptized, or perhaps later in life reject baptism.
    You will also notice that in Mark Chapter seven, Jesus rejects as the traditions of men, the “baptisms” that were in place before. John the Baptist, all but rejects his own baptism, in saying he baptizes with water… So to equate what jesus has instituted with these others is really to be off on a bad start. Infact God had not yet incorporated any baptism into his plan of salvation, there is no command for it in the Old testament. Though there is a prophecy concerning it in Ezekiel 36. When Christ commands Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son adn of the Holy spirit he has indeed instituted something quite new, through which man is given the Holy Spirit and saved.

  8. Bror,
    Please feel free to call me Jeff (WordPress identifies me by my username when I comment).

    I appreciate that you wished to clarify whether I view baptism as “optional.”(which is how I interpreted the question mark in that statement). I don’t believe that I stated that baptism is optional as such. I simply pointed out that there are instances where a lack of baptism due to mitigating circumstances has been shown to be acceptable to God, who is thankfully not hung up in technicalities but rather is gracious even in this.

    Baptism is commanded by God and thus would be an integral part of obeying those things He has commanded us to do a la Matthew 28:19-20. And we have no real difference over what you say regarding Mark 16:16, save that I would note that the idea of “rejecting one’s baptism” by means implies that disobedience really is the heart of the condemnation as opposed to not being baptized at all, which is what I was originally getting at with that passage. I would be interested in how you see that in some other way, as I suspect you may.

    I also am confused by your logic regarding Jesus’ institution of baptism. Either he rejected earlier baptismal practice as the “traditions of men” or He explicated what they were already doing when He told His disciples to baptize; since they were already familiar with the process. It can’t be both. Jesus didn’t invent baptism; He explained what it was truly about. It is impossible to deny that baptism was already being done, for Jesus was also baptized and baptized others (John 2:22-26), even before He gave this commandment. The point is that baptism isn’t incumbent to salvation itself, based on the evidence of Scripture, rather it does serve as a marker of obedience (1 Peter 3:21 refers to this idea).

    If baptism is a sacrament that bestows salvation through water and word; then Christ’s own baptism must be explained in some other means, as He was not in need of salvation. If baptism instead is a sign of obedience to God, then Christ’s baptism is certainly understandable in that He fully obeyed God (Philippians 2:8) and in this manner it fully relates to our baptism.

  9. Lucky for the thief on the cross he wasn’t a Lutheran, he’d be stuck in hell right now based on the tortured logic above.

  10. We Lutheran types agree that God can and does save apart from Baptism.

    Let me repeat (because I have said this at least two dozen times here in the last few years)…
    God can and does save apart from Baptism.

    But He has chosen to also save in Baptism! He commanded it, for cryin out loud!!!

  11. Those who, falsely, accuse that Lutheran’s believe that no one is saved apart from baptism only accomplish one thing, show their ignorance of the doctrine of baptism. Luther in a related way discusses for example why do we eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ at the end of the service to receive the forgiveness of sin, when at the beginning of the service we receive the absolution, both Gospel “for you” actions, not just signs (more on that in a minute). But why the absolution then the Lord’s Supper, to the enthused (god-within-ist) way of thinking this seems redundant even superfluous. The answer is simple and reveals the hidden synergism of such. Luther’s answer to that question is two fold, first we can never receive the forgiveness of our sins enough and second, “you have yet to consider just how great is sin”. Bringing that back around to baptism, yes many are saved apart from baptism, including perhaps the thief on the cross, baptism is simply the Gospel also and more, the actual forgiveness of sin, the actual rebirth, and the actual reception of the Holy Spirit. What we do with that baptism afterwards as it pertains to those factual realities is irrelevant, though not irrelevant to us if we deny them.

    What is often forgot in the sacraments that Luther and Sasse (et. Alli) bring out, that in my opinion is lost much today, is the eschatological hope and assurance in them. This the sacramentarian doctrines have nothing of. One of the things that is forgotten, Sasse points out in his “We Confess The Sacraments” series, is the sacraments are eschatological, they bring in fact, truth and reality the kingdom to us. The kingdom on the “Lord’s Day” in the church, the eternal kingdom of forgiveness which we anticipate in fullness upon the return of Christ, comes in reality on that day in those very sacraments, both in general, the Lord’s Supper (His body and blood) in particular. Here eternity is reaching down and touching us for real and truth. To the foolish “wisdom” of the world this seems to be nothing but mere water, bread and wine or just “signage”. But as Sasse points out the sacraments are not merely signs of the divine but actual realities and ACTIONS of the Divine. The sacraments do not belong to the category of “signs” but to the category of “actions” (of, by and God Himself). In these the prayer “maranatha” is answered in the suffering wilderness journey of the church seen in shadow and type in the OT crossing the desert (the allusions to both baptism and the Lord’s Supper are both rich explicitly and implicitly, the baptism of the Red Sea, the water from the Rock, the Manna…etc…). Thus, in the sacraments to the eyes of true faith IS in FACT the reality of the action of God, the kingdom coming upon us, dawning in these “last days” before its full completion at the return of the King, Christ. This why baptism and the Lord’s Supper are real and true objective actions of God, real forgiveness, real rebirth and real Holy Spirit begun as we await and anticipate this final judgment (forgivness). In the same way is the flesh and blood of Christ really and truly given as Christ says, FOR the forgiveness of sin. And in John 6 Christ explicitly states of the eating (chewing) of His flesh and drinking of His blood in the dual “here now but not yet” that which WILL BE in fullness later, “he who eats (to chew) My flesh and drinks My blood HAS eternal life.” “he who eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood ABIDES IN ME and I IN HIM”. This is the water, food and drink of the suffering church in the wilderness of this age to soon arrive or rather the Kingdom arrives in FULNESS that which we HAVE BEEN receiving in part on the other side of the desert wandering.

    In this way we see how false doctrine and teaching on the sacraments really is, connecting the dots, throwing off and denying the very kingdom of God itself. It tosses of both the Kingdom of God which is the kingdom of forgiveness (Gospel) all in one fail swoop when it denies the true doctrine of baptism and the Lord’s Supper according to Christ’s institution. E.g. to deny baptism’s real and true giving actually giving – independent of faith or what one does with it afterwards – forgiveness of sin, rebirth, and the Holy Spirit is in reality to say, “No thanks” to the Kingdom of heaven. It is to refuse the Kingdom, to refuse to enter in to it because the Sacrament is in part the dawning Kingdom of heaven, eternity, here and now. The same with the very true body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. The how is utterly irrelevant, there is no doctrine of “how”, only the sacramentarians and Rome go outside of Scripture to speak where God is utterly silent, not orthodoxy. To speak of a “represents” or some such similar signage only is to refuse to speak as Christ spoke and thus not have the real Lord’s Supper, thus refusing the very real in time and space dawning, extension and reaching down of the eschatological Kingdom of God/Heaven, and again thus the Kingdom of forgiveness and by extension the very Gospel itself.

    The Lord’s Prayer itself is intimately connected to the sacraments, especially the LS when we ask that God our Father’s, which presupposes baptism (do your children pray the Lord’s prayer, why are they not baptized then?) name be holy and hollowed to us. In part that means the negative keep us away from all false teachings and doctrines. Then we pray for the kingdom to come, the maranatha of the fullness of that as well as the kingdom’s dawning in the sacrament, the kingdom of forgiveness…as it is in the eternal heaven NOW, hear on earth, time and space. Then we ask for daily bread which does mean things we need to live including food, good government, clothes, shelter, but primarily the bread of life, the very body and blood of Christ. It is primarily a petition for that within the context of the maranatha of the kingdom TO COME in fullness and come NOW in part. To which transitions nicely ‘forgive us our sins…”, meaning we don’t pray this SO THAT our sins are forgiven, we are not petitioning that, but rather ‘that we MAY KNOW they are forgiven for we already HAVE the Gospel in which there is nothing BUT the forgiveness of sins” (Luther). This moves from the cry for the bread of life before it and leads to us forgiving others AS WE REALIZE (the actual petition of the prayer) we have been forgiven. He who is forgiven much, rather comes to know he has been, the reality is there whether we know it or not, forgives himself others of much says Christ. Lead us not into temptation that would tear us away from this via false doctrines or despair via the same, but deliver us when they arise and trial comes.

    In short those who don’t like the true orthodox teaching on the sacraments will not like nor really desire the kingdom of heaven. Keep in mind the Pharisees who were good guys, per se, as white wash often is, the kind of fine “loving” folks you’d love to live next to, not hand ringing smoky room plotters (Hollywood’s version) thought they sought God and the Kingdom. Deception being what it is so insidious and deeply entrained they did not see the very God and very Kingdom in front of their noses, because the Gospel and thus the Cross really IS a religious stone of stumbling and folly to wisdom of the world, its not just a theoretical stumbling block but a very real one. Those who do not like the sacraments as are, are the hard ground which the birds (demons, false teachers, false doctrines) swoop down and take the seed-Word away from quickly because they don’t understand it and cannot accept it on faith alone without understanding the “how” of it all. In this they deny, refuse and cast off the dawning kingdom, which lay within the sacraments, eternity comes to time and space partially, a foretaste, in their false/heterodox churches. In short if they don’t like and deny the FORETAST (the sacraments in pure doctrine as is), they will hate and deny the real full Kingdom when it comes.

    Larry

  12. Bror Erickson, this is what I meant.

    You said “Say what you will but if you divorce the gospel from baptism, you inevitably lose the gospel, Christianity becomes about works and obedience” and recently someone else said (either on this blog or somewhere else) that he didn’t enter the family of God until his baptism. Both statements clearly imply that someone like the thief on the cross was somehow less than Christian, that faith alone isn’t enough. Furthermore, piling on requirements for baptism or the Lord’s Supper or what not also indicates that faith alone isn’t enough. It is astounding to me that you all don’t see how you are undercutting the idea that faith alone is sufficient.

    • Darius,
      The thief on the cross is an old, tired and sill argument against baptism as a means of grace, for many, many different reasons.
      I would like to just list them for you. But it would be fun to see if you could come up with a couple yourself. I want to challenge you to do that if I may. I will come back later today, or tonight, maybe tomorrow morning to see if you have found any gaps in your argument.
      Second. I did say that to divorce baptism from the gospel ultimately means losing the gospel. Why? Because Christ makes it an intimate part of his gospel when he institutes it, which should give you one clue as to a major gap you have in your argumentation above. Concentrate on When.
      That no way implies that a person coming to faith and dying before opportunity to be baptized will be eternally damned. You are reading into my statements things that are not there, and are not even implied.
      You will never find a Lutheran who says “faith alone is not enough”, to do so would mean turning in one’s Lutheran card. the same way asking for directions requires the forfeit of one’s man card. However, faith does not reject baptism either, but treasures the gifts and assurance that God gives there. Faith that does not treasure baptism, is seriously sick faith, or dead, that is not faith at all. It is kind of like saying you believe in Jesus, but you don’t believe Jesus. If you don’t believe Jesus, you don’t believe in him. Faith listens to the voice of it’s shepherd.

  13. Umm, like the guy above mentioned, Jesus didn’t institute water baptism. But guess what he did institute… baptism by the Holy Spirit. Hmm, maybe we’re onto something now…

    • Is that you answer? All you want to say on the matter Darius? Are you sure the disciples that were there at the institution had the same thought, because it seems to me that they baptized with water. Perhaps we shouldn’t be doing “water baptism” at all then, if Christ didn’t institute it?

    • Where as baptism was an old practice done by the Jews, they never baptized under the name or Words- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

      This is the reason why Jesus’ institution of baptism is unique and never the same as any other baptism, be Jews or not.

      LPC

  14. Grace always comes before faith (e.g., while we were yet sinners Christ dies for us.) Grace–the undeserved love from God solely on account of Christ’s work as our state of being–can and does come in water, word, bread/wine.

    The thief on the cross apparently must have heard the word of Grace–his words on the cross clearly show that he “got” the gospel. God is indeed gracious.

    You are free to reject the means of grace that are offered. But that affects faith not in a good way. It puts emphasis on my trust in my faith (i.e. “But I have faith”) rather than trust in the promises that come with/ through the means of grace (here, your sins are forgiven you.)

  15. Just to pick an example from above in Larry’s dissertation.

    E.g. to deny baptism’s real and true giving actually giving – independent of faith or what one does with it afterwards – forgiveness of sin, rebirth, and the Holy Spirit is in reality to say, “No thanks” to the Kingdom of heaven

    Yet I hear repeated talk here about people who “reject their baptism.” How is this different in practical terms from how I would speak of someone who rejects God’s invitation to grace through faith? If baptism operates regardless of what we do or believe, which is what I see Larry saying and others as well, then how does anyone reject their baptism?

    It’s all well and good to agree that salvation is possible apart from baptism, but that belief has repercussions.

  16. God adopts us in Baptism. He gives up promises and assurance in His Word, and says He will be our God and never leave us nor forsake us. That is true, for God is not a liar.

    But we can walk away from Him. We can forget about Him. So what good are the promises, then?

    The promises are still good. They are still valid. But if I as a child renounce my parents and leave them, what benefit do I receive from their promises to love me and be my parents?

    Jesus said that he will not lose any that the Father has given him. But we ceratinly can lose ourselves. Jesus warns us against doing just that.

  17. The repercussions of trusting in the gospel promise in the word only, but not in sacrament is a denial of Jesus. That is a dangerous proposition because when you take Jesus out, you replace it with you–what I do, what I say, how I feel, how I act/react. Jesus comes to us in word and sacrament. to nourish our faith-trust in His promise. He knows and gives us what’s good for us to nourish our faith. People who just eat meat and refuse fruit and vegetables are not healthy. The sacraments are the fruits and veg.

    Beside that, Jesus is to be found exactly where he said he is. Where He is, his promise of forgiveness of sins FOR you is found. And where the promise of forgiveness of sins is, there is also life and salvation.

  18. 2 Corinthians 1:18-22:
    18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    My only hope is the promises of God and that is where I stand. The promises are in Christ; there is no mention here of finding them anywhere else. According to Paul, we give our “amen” to these promises through Christ and He is faithful to keep them; even in our weakness.

    2 Timothy 2:11-13:
    The saying is trustworthy, for:
    If we have died with him, we will also`live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
    for he cannot deny himself.

    I haven’t suggested even once that anyone should not be baptized; only pointed out that it isn’t indivisible from God’s saving grace, which is admitted to be true.

    The repercussions of trusting in the gospel promise in the word only, but not in sacrament is a denial of Jesus

    One of the main problems with the sacramental system is that it introduces a dichotomy in God’s nature that doesn’t exist. God is unchanging. Abraham was called righteous(right with God) because he believed God and we are no different(Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23).

    The sacramental view can actually lead into the same idea that the Jews fell into when they thought that the sacrificial system was what made them right before God. When one thinks that doing certain actions somehow merits or transmits God’s favor it is the same thing. He hasn’t operated that way at any point in history.

    Jesus speaks repeatedly regarding obedience. He is the one that said if you love Me, you will keep my commandments. Baptism and participation in the Lord’s Supper flow from obedience to the Master.

    • Jeff,
      Are you then saying that Jesus does not attach his words and promises of salvation and the forgiveness of sins to baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
      The dichotomy that I am see in what you say is this. I am to believe in Jesus, but not in the things to which Jesus directs my faith, to his promises in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the forgiveness he offers there.
      For instance can you tell me where and when I died in Christ, and then where for the yes in Christ was applied to me from the verse you quoted above in Second Corinthians? I’ll give you a hint, Rom 6, and Col. 2.
      You pint about the Jews and the sacrificial system falls on deaf ears here. Why? because indeed faith was needed for the sacrificial system to do anygood, but faith would not have forsaken the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and said it was worthless either. I notice Jesus was fairly strict about abserving it himself.

      • The sacrificial system in the Old Testament WAS worthless… therein lies your significant error. No one came to God by observing the sacrificial system, just like no one comes to God by dunking themselves in some water.

      • Dariaus,
        But God came to many when they observed the sacrificial system. I think you might start reading the Old Testament again and with earnestness. Not with preconceived neo platonic dichotomies,.

      • You need to read the entire Bible again. The Pharisees observed the sacrificial system better than anyone, yet God didn’t “come to them.” He also didn’t come to a majority of OT Israelites even though most of them followed the sacrificial system to the letter. Hmm, guess God’s just inconsistent, huh? He only fulfills his promise some of the time, I suppose. Sacrifice a goat, you MIGHT get God’s approval. Dunk yourself in the river, and He might save you or He might not. Drink some wine and He may just decide to give you grace…. or not. A tricky business, this system of works-righteousness that you Jews… er, Lutherans have put together. I can see why you have no assurance of salvation.

  19. Christ’s “Yes” is found in the the forgiveness of sins–which he presents in his word, and in the sacraments. You, however, choose to say to him, “No, I do not find it there, Jesus. Thank you very much.” Instead, his words are twisted, denied, promises shunned. For what? “Look at me, Jesus! Isn’t my faith good enough?” Well, is it?

  20. Erich, it’s not our faith. It’s the faith given us by God. We have nothing to do with it. Jesus said he offers forgiveness of sins through our repentance (which is enabled by the Holy Spirit). That’s it. Stop adding to the Word.

    • No assurance of Salvation?

      Lutherans are too well known for their assurance of salvation, I think you have met some who that I have also met, Baptists who think they are saved because they made a decision to be so.

      LPC

  21. Why do you guys keep putting words in my mouth that I have never said. When did I say not to be baptized or partake in the Lord’s Supper?

    but faith would not have forsaken the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and said it was worthless either

    Let me just offer up Scripture in reference to this point.
    Psalm 40:6-11:

    6Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but my ears you have pierced;
    burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you did not require.

    7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.

    8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

    9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips,
    as you know, O LORD.

    10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
    I do not conceal your love and your truth
    from the great assembly.

    11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
    may your love and your truth always protect me.

    Also, Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” This is a verse that Jesus quotes twice in Matthew (9:13; 12:7). Hebrews 10:8 also makes this point in the larger point of Hebrews 10:1-10.

    For instance can you tell me where and when I died in Christ, and then where for the yes in Christ was applied to me from the verse you quoted above in Second Corinthians?

    Might I direct you to Paul’s statement in Romans 10:6-13:

    6But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7″or ‘Who will descend into the deep?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    • Jeff,
      I asked for clarification. And I am asking again. Does Jesus then not attach promisese and blessing to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Can I believe in him without believing him when he tells me there is salvation in baptism, sanctification and justification, and forgiveness of sins attached to these things?
      As for the verses you quote concerning the sacrficial system, I thought you had those in mind. Yet I think one might do some serious consideration of why God commands these things if he doesn’t desire them, or if it was at all as simple as you make it out. Faith does not treat God’s words and commands so lightly. There is a dichotomy you read into this that just isn’t there. It is not an either or. No one of the Jewish faith, including Jesus, would even have read this and come to the conclusion that faith should divorce itself from the sacrificial system of find it useless and worthless. But without faith it certainly was.

      • So why aren’t we still sacrificing today, then??? The sacrificial system was merely there to point forward to Christ, just as baptism and the Lord’s Supper (and marriage and a whole host of other Biblical stuff) points to Christ.

      • Darius,
        That the sacrificial system found dulfillment in Christ, and ultimate meaning in Christ, does not mean that the Grace of God won on the cross by Christ’s sacrifice and applied to the life of the believers today in Baptism and the Lord’s supper, was not applied to the believers in the O.T. through the means of circumcision and the sacrifices of the Old Testament. These were never mere symbols. Neither were they primarily for God’s benefit, but for ours, for his people.

      • Bror, check out Romans 2 where Paul discusses circumcision… “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.”

  22. “Why do you guys keep putting words in my mouth that I have never said.”

    They’re Lutherans, it’s what they do. And boy do they do it well.

  23. Darius,
    I’m still waiting here for you to answer the above, are you sure that the baptism Christ instituted had no use for water?

    • Yes, I am sure. John the Baptist said so. J the B baptized with water, but Christ baptized with the Holy Spirit. How more clear do you need it?

      • Darius,
        So I am to assume with you that Jesus cannot use water to baptize with the Holy Spirit? That isn’t an assumption his disciples made. So it isn’t an assumption I am willing to make.

      • Where do you find that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is explicitly connected to water baptism (other than perhaps, ironically enough, in Jesus’ own baptism)?

      • Darius,
        Is that so Ironic?
        I find that through out Acts the Disciples are baptizing with water according to Christ’s command, and in Acts 2:38-39 that baptism has attached to it the Holy Spirit. There is also that Eunuch Philip talked to. Ephesians says something about one baptism just a chaper before it talks about us being sanctified by the washing of water with the word.

  24. I don’t thnk the question is :Why don’t we sacrifice today, the question I have to ask from your perspective, is why did they sacrifice then?! Why did God command something totally worthless, and make then make such a big deal about it as to consume people with fire for offering the wrong fire?

  25. “why did they sacrifice then?! Why did God command something totally worthless, and make then make such a big deal about it as to consume people with fire for offering the wrong fire?”

    Now you’re asking the right question…

    • Darius,
      Your going to need to do better than that. One could not stand and say in the Old Testament that circumcision is not of the flesh therefore I am free to ignore God’s command to circumcise.
      but rather thorugh faith they received the benefits Christ gave through the sacrifices, and the circumcision. And in unbelief they despised these sacraments.

  26. Yet I think one might do some serious consideration of why God commands these things if he doesn’t desire them, or if it was at all as simple as you make it out.

    A thousand pardons if I said it was simple to understand. It obviously isn’t or Jesus wouldn’t have had to make His admonition twice to learn what it means. I am not pretending I have God figured out and diagrammed in any way, I am just offering my understanding from where I am at in my walk with Jesus.
    Here is more of a rejoinder by way of answering your question about what Jesus promises where in John 15:9-14:

    9″As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command.

    This promise is made repeatedly by Jesus and says nothing about baptism or the Lord’s Supper specifically. They are commanded by Him in other places, but when Jesus speaks here about the command that is necessary for fellowship and relationship with the Father, he speaks of love. It echoes exactly with the statement from Hosea 6:6.

    Please note also that I have not said that the commands of God are worthless; those were the words of others and I was responding to them with Scripture. On the contrary, I view God’s commands with great awe, including the commands to baptize and participate in the Lord’s Supper. Any impression given that I don’t view them seriously or with reverence would be greatly mistaken.
    The sacrificial system served as a reminder of the seriousness of sin according to Hebrews 10:3; just as our observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper serves to remind us of the seriousness of our sin as well.

    • but this is just the problem Jeff,
      You talk about observing them as law as commands. You take them seriously you say, and I don’t doubt that.
      But this was just what the pharisees did with the sacrificial system, they turned it into law, something they did because God commanded it, they took them very seriously, but their faith was missplaced. They saw themselves doing the work, they were sacrificing. When infact God was feeding them from his table with that which belonged to him. God was the one acting, not the people. They turned God’s work into their work. They couldn’t see the blessing in it.
      So it happens with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, because we refuse to take God’s word at face value here. Who’se meal is it? it is His meal, his work? Who is baptizing, “Jesus is baptizing, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” We are merely receiving which is why the verb is always in the passive when we are the subject, be baptized. It doesn’t say observe baptism. it says be baptized, let Christ baptize you. He is the one that attaches salvation to these things, not us, But God. He says he sanctifies us with the washing of the water with the word, So I believe that He sanctified me there when I was baptized. It couldn’t be my work because it is beyond me to sanctify myself. But he made me holy, that is what is says, that is what I believe.

      • It doesn’t say observe baptism. it says be baptized, let Christ baptize you.

        How would you presume to observe baptism other than by being baptized? I don’t understand how you managed to turn that simple statement into a dichotomy that I didn’t imply or create.

      • But this was just what the pharisees did with the sacrificial system, they turned it into law, something they did because God commanded it, they took them very seriously, but their faith was missplaced.

        Sorry, I should have included this in the other reply I posted, but I forgot it was in this post. I see a special irony in this, since the Pharisees and other Jews in fact were castigated for trusting that God had forever saved them in their circumcision and nothing else mattered.
        That is the basis of the warning given by John that Baptist.
        Luke 3:7-8:
        7He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

        It is what Jesus is talking about in John 8 in His conversation with the Jews there. Note particularly verses 39-40:
        39They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
        They were convinced that they had been made God’s people by the birthright of their circumcision. Jesus tries to explain the truth to them and they won’t hear it.

        Paul picks up this same argument in Romans to show the Jews why their circumcision as infants holds no weight or saving power (even though it too was commanded by God) if they fail to obey God.
        Romans 2:25-29:
        25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
        28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

        Paul later iterates this same idea as part of the reason why Gentiles must not be compelled to be circumcised (because God didn’t command them to be), in 1 Corinthians 7:17-19:
        17Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

        Let me ask the core question once again and bring this discussion closer to the title of the post. Why was Jesus baptized?

    • “It doesn’t say observe baptism, it says be baptized, let Christ baptize you”

      That’s a nice compact way of showing the difference because it picks up on the language of the baptist doctrine and juxtapositions it with the language of Scripture.

      The difference can be shown by the Ark and the flood, a baptism per explicit Scripture. Noah was not saved BECAUSE he built the Ark or observed or even “obeyed” the building and getting on board of the Ark. He was saved because God used the creatures, Noah’s sweat and blood and hands, gopher wood, tar and etc…to create or make the saving instrument. Noah was in the passive in this though he took part in its production. No one was spared that did not get on board, all perished who refused. Nor could another ark or boat have been built that could’ve or would’ve saved. One might imagine that Noah didn’t have the only boat in town (or on the entire earth). But another “boat” wouldn’t save. Equally one might imagine that Boobala down the road could’ve built his own boat yet that would not have saved him nor anyone from the flood. What made the Ark a saving means was the Word of God given to it, all other “boats” perished too as well as those without arks. Nor, in relation to the flood, was the Ark just a “sign” or symbol or memory device of salvation pointing elsewhere Thus, it was not Noah’s work nor obedience to it that saved (Baptist like), nor was it merely the building of “a” boat that saved (Rome’s ex opera operato), nor the significance of it hoped for somewhere else (Reformed) that saved, but rather THE Ark to which the Word of God was given.

      Thus, when baptized we are baptized, as I tell my children, by God, Christ not only is using the pastor’s hands (using the creature as means) but is the One acting in baptism. When you where baptized, don’t you know the great joy of that, it was Jesus Christ that actually baptized you! That alone ought to bring you great joy, hope, faith, assurance!

      Larry

  27. “On the contrary, I view God’s commands with great awe, including the commands to baptize and participate in the Lord’s Supper. Any impression given that I don’t view them seriously or with reverence would be greatly mistaken.
    The sacrificial system served as a reminder of the seriousness of sin according to Hebrews 10:3; just as our observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper serves to remind us of the seriousness of our sin as well.”

    That is pure gold, Jeff. Let no one misunderstand me either when I challenge the Lutheran understanding of the sacraments. I find them very serious and very necessary, but not for my salvation.

  28. Hey Jeofurry,

    You ask a good question, you do nail down the issues well. However, keep in mind how we might be attempting to mingle two paradigms. It’s struggle being an ex-baptist/reformed I have to do myself. Regeneration, and I’d ask for some help from seasoned Lutherans on this a bit because I might not be clear, is viewed entirely different between Luther versus say for example Baptist/Reformed. The later see regeneration more or less this “other working” of the spirit immediately on the soul a kind of beside, behind, in front of, below or above the Word. Versus “through” the Word. Really the later don’t see even the naked Word any different than they do baptism or the sacraments. And you’ll agree with me there as a baptistic confessor. This example shows it; two men same day same Gospel hear that Word of “invitation” as you put it, one believes, one rejects and never does. Both heard it, same Word of Gospel faith in one no faith in the other, according to the baptistic doctrine. In that we see that the operative effective thing was not the Word but the immediate operation of the Spirit on one and not the other to “effect” regeneration (per the Baptist/Reformed doctrine). That’s why I say, “The later see regeneration more or less this “other working” of the spirit immediately on the soul a kind of beside, behind, in front of, below or above the Word”. Thus, we see that at least upon examination what the Baptist/reformed believe of the sacraments is at least consistently extended to the raw naked Word itself. Thus, the Word in Baptist/reformed in and of itself is not effective, but this other immediate operation of the Spirit operating without means (the Word or Sacrament) and the means, Word or Sacrament, is really a kind of ‘side car’ that’s superfluous to the whole endeavor. This extends to the whole once saved always saved, when in the regeneration one cannot fall away.

    In Luther and Lutheran confessions the Spirit operates only by such means as the Word and Sacrament, because this is only where the Word of God speaks. Luther stuck strictly to the principle “where the Word of God speaks we listen and where it does not we do not answer”. That’s why there is in Lutheran doctrine, to the frustration of all, Rome, Reformed and Baptist alike, no doctrine of “HOW” the miracle of the Lord’s Supper occurs. They never answer the “HOW” because Scripture itself is silent on the issue (same with baptism), thus the principle where scripture speaks faith believes and where it does not faith does not go, not even via the extension of reason, faith lives particularly in incomprehensible paradox, every single article of it (e.g. how the trinity is, no one should seek to answer, scripture is silent, the incarnation). We see all the faithful do this in Scripture, Mary for example when she does not understand Jesus saying He should be about His father’s house, though it is incomprehensible to her, the scripture says, nonetheless she treasures this up in her heart (faith). Thus, forgiveness, regeneration and the Spirit are promised in baptism is explicit in Scripture, its revelation. Faith stays there, faith does not go digging into what God has been silent about, again not even with the use of reason. Here is were we are tempted and tested greatly as to faith, will we listen only to the Word particularly that calls out faith to believe it in the face of an apparent absurdity or will we pretend to dare to “be as God” and seek what is not revealed to us? It is as fundamental as the fall itself, the reason given for not eating of the tree of life? None whatsoever, just the revealed Word, trust alone! Where all go astray doctrinally, be it Rome Baptist or Reformed is attempting to answer the “why some do and some do not believe” when all is said and done. They fall for the devil’s temptation to answer that, from that issues forth faithless doctrines and heresies in the pursuit of answer that fundamental unrevealed query. They do not do as Mary did, treasure the Word in spite of not understanding it, like Peter not understanding but answers simply, “to Whom else shall we go, You alone have the Word of eternal life.” The temptation of using reason in this fallen way is great, it is the essence of our fallen state from day one from which idolatry is birthed, then secondarily all other sins against my neighbor.

    Therefore, at some point the Baptist or Reformed queries, even Rome’s, of the orthodoxy’s confession will be frustrated and say, “nonsense”, because the answer of faith will not by definition answer reason. How the body and blood are there, a resounding faith packed silence. The silence there is a fruit of faith. Why some believe and other don’t? Is because the Spirit works in some and not others? No that’s godless idolatry against the revelation of the Word and thereby Spirit Himself, there is no answer. The Word, whether naked Gospel or Gospel sacrament does all that it says it does every time, the Spirit does not operate immediately as far as faith knows nor is concerned with. Loose the revealed God, loose the hidden God all in one fail swoop of faithless fallen human reason.

    When reason cannot comprehend the “how or why” it is nothing less than the hard ground upon which the Word falls. It finds no place to root for reason is like granite rock, if it cannot understand it, how the body and blood is there, how baptism is effectual, it hardens ever more and the seed lies there for a ever so short period. Then the demons and false teachers with false doctrines, the birds of the air, descend to swoop it away, that faith creating Word, least it remain and penetrate that hard reasoning ground and faith is made where it roots.

    The Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is objective, real and true whether you or I believe it or not. Thus, when we reject the Gospel this way, unbelief is shown for what it is, the rejection of the actual and real forgiveness of sin. We are NOT forgiven BECAUSE we believe (faith alone does not mean this, this is to make faith itself a meritorious work), we come to find we are forgiven and thus trust it (believe). Thus, when an unbelieving person is baptized but later rejects the baptism as many atheist have done, he/she is throwing off Christ, the Gospel, the Word and is saying, “to heck with this forgiveness, though you GIVE it to me, not just offer it, I don’t want it”. That is ultimately where hell will be true hell and true gnashing of teeth, the realization of the rejection for self justification which is itself hell, the second death, and the killing of the ceaselessly demanding Law for all eternity. Hell is a gnashing of teeth in the most infinite gut wrenching way beyond all imagination, a having rejected He who died for you forever.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Scripture NO WHERE speaks so negatively, in fact the very opposite, that baptistic doctrine speaks of it. Here the practical out play of Baptistic doctrine shows its greatest falsehood and damnation, for it speaks of a holy thing in a most anti-scriptural way. Paul appeals numerous times to baptism, Baptist would have you eschew it unless one is boasting in one’s own faith using it, idolatry.

    Larry

    • That’s why there is in Lutheran doctrine, to the frustration of all, Rome, Reformed and Baptist alike, no doctrine of “HOW” the miracle of the Lord’s Supper occurs. They never answer the “HOW” because Scripture itself is silent on the issue (same with baptism)

      Larry,
      I am not sure what strain of Baptist thinking you are alluding to here as I have never heard any Baptist doctrine on “HOW” the Lord’s Supper miracle occurs either. Perhaps you would care to elaborate on that?

      • Jeofurry,

        Sure, this is why one should investigate the history of one’s own confession, it didn’t just come out of thin air yesterday. By the way, sorry I took so long. I’ve been out.

        Let’s take the LBCF Chapter 30 Line 6 it’s addressing transubstantiation, another “how” problem but does not grasp that it ends up back to Rome (a denial of justification by faith alone) eventually; “That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, BUT EVEN TO COMMON SENSE AND REASON, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

        There it is, “…but even to common sense and reason”, fallen human reason usurping faith, the Word and Christ. Let’s peel this apart a bit.

        The “how” is distilled from Zwingli and Calvin. It’s inherent to the “why” they refused to believe the miracle from which the doctrines of sign or “non-presence”, as well as Rome’s transubstantiation come. In truth Zwingli, Calvin, Reformed or Baptist never really left Rome. Even Calvin conceded, and most of the Reformed of his day, that fundamentally the Word’s Jesus spoke were plain and stated as IS, no amount of exegetical work could ever change that, “This is” is “this is”. Even Calvin and Zwingli and Bucer all saw this. So the question becomes “why not take Christ at His Word.” In a way it comes down to this, “if Jesus had only said ‘this is My body/blood’…then it would be settled”. That ‘quip’ is apropos to the issue. Thus, since the words are the words and Calvin and all Reformed were forced to recognize no exegetical or linguistic work can remove that harsh reality and truth, then WHY not believe them? For God is certainly capable! What now leaps out is the a priori rationalistic reasoning – the ‘how’ – that begets the ‘why’ (they don’t believe them). Because the Word of God is asking us to believe an ‘on the face of it’ absurdity, which every single article of faith demands without exception. Here we see just how fallen reason wars with faith. Because rationalism from a fallen mind cannot accept the “absurdity”, it establishes the a priori bases for which it goes back in and presumes to reinterpret God’s Word, i.e. Christ spoken institution. This is the “hath God really said” in the LS. We now see the basis for the false doctrines of the Reformed and Baptist on the LS is fundamentally based not upon something confusing in Christ’s Words, nor linguistic gymnastic, nor “exegetical” cover up – but rather on the fallen human reasoning under the bondage of Satan incapable, rather, refusing to accept the very Word of God. It is as fundamental as the fall itself, the original enthusiasm so very inherent to us all.

        Therefore, the ‘why’ of the false doctrines is based fundamentally due to the “how”. This impious mindset is the ‘hard ground’ upon which ‘the seed’ (the Word) falls but due to not understanding ‘how’ refuses to simply believe the Word in the face of not knowing how. It is fundamentally trying to be like God or as a god, the very fall itself.

        This is in contrast to the pious mind in which fallen reason is subdued to Christ, like Mary who did not understand what Jesus meant when He said He had to be about His Father’s work, yet not understanding she did not give a foot hold to her fallen reason but rather cherished in her heart ‘these words’, in the very face of the absurdity.

        Fundamentally the reason we confess and believe the Trinity is NOT because it makes sense. In fact it creates an apparent absurdity. It is in fact an article faith which in the end must subdue our fallen human reason to Christ and simply believe it. We really don’t think ourselves “sinners” naturally either, not REAL sinners, this too is an absurdity to fallen human reason, it must be taken on the basis of God’s Word, an article of faith. You don’t feel your sins? Ignore your feelings and take it on the basis of God’s Word, it says so. Same thing with baptism and all other articles of faith. That’s why orthodoxy cannot mingle with heterodoxy, not to be mean, but due to the fact that heterodoxy confesses, preaches and teaches things against very articles of faith.

        Yours,

        Larry

  29. “I find them very serious and very necessary, but not for my salvation.”

    You ARE consistent here. Which means you believe them as you say, as works, not for salvation, as you say, but as proofs and signs of faith. The reason you don’t understand the Lutheran doctrine on this is that you reject it and don’t BELIEVE it, but then believe what the baptist doctrine professes.

    In a way you have what you create, nothing. You don’t have for real the very flesh and blood that died for you, your doctrine openly admits it, that’s not “lutherans inserting words into your mouth”. Thus you have what you profess, only bread and only wine, a birthday meal at best, a meal to tickle your memory in the past, maybe a future thought, but nothing today. In baptism you relate it to the thing exampling faith, you have what you profess, “a faith sign”, nothing more, nothing less. You don’t have rebirth, forgiveness nor the Spirit in baptism, you openly reject that, not words IN your mouth but FROM your mouth and your doctrine.

    It is as said before, ““Separating the revelation and operation of grace from the means of grace is, in effect, a reversion to the Romish “infused grace” (gratia infusa) and therefore a defection from the Christian doctrine of justification. For when men set aside the external means of grace, they can no longer base their confidence in God on God’s gracious disposition (favor Dei propter Christum), i.e., on the forgiveness of sin for Christs sake, which the grace of God offers in the Gospel promise and which is to be believed on the basis of this objective promise and offer; they necessarily base their confidence in God on an inward transformation, illumination, and renewal, which allegedly is effected by an immediate operation. This reduces grace in the final analysis to a good quality in man.”

    You HAVE what you confess. You really have more than that in baptism, but you don’t believe, you unbelieve and thus it is invisible to you. You really have a treasure, but you don’t realize it, by your confession you have what you say you have.

    If it is not FOR salvation then it cannot be OF FAITH, if it is not OF FAITH, then it sin for all apart from faith is sin. You have what you confess, not what “Lutherans put into your mouth”, but “what you speak from your mouth”. You HAVE only bread and wine, you admit this, your doctrine admits this, explicitly states it, thus you have from your own lips what you have.

  30. “You HAVE what you confess. You really have more than that in baptism, but you don’t believe, you unbelieve and thus it is invisible to you. You really have a treasure, but you don’t realize it, by your confession you have what you say you have.”

    Amen, Larry. And if they don’t receive anything in the sacraments from Christ, then it must be all about what THEY do; their seriousness, their piety–their works!

    It’s funny, generic protestantism can’t even see the irony of how they are actually aligned with Rome on the mode of operation of the supper in particular that it becomes *our* sacrifice (our work) presented to God, not God (Christ) doing what he said he would do.

    Earlier I asked in another thread what protestants actually have in the LS if there is no forgiveness of sins in it. The reply was to the effect “my repentance, my feelings of seriousness.”

    What else is that but *up* religion–aka, the God project? That’s 180 degrees out from *down* religion *FOR* you, where Lutherans are at; word and sacrament *for* you for forgiveness of sins.

  31. Erich,

    “It’s funny, generic protestantism can’t even see the irony of how they are actually aligned with Rome on the mode of operation of the supper in particular that it becomes *our* sacrifice (our work) presented to God, not God (Christ) doing what he said he would do.
    Earlier I asked in another thread what protestants actually have in the LS if there is no forgiveness of sins in it. The reply was to the effect “my repentance, my feelings of seriousness.”

    That’s a nice succint point, our sacrifice. I’ve always said Calvin and Zwingli either never really left Rome or made a rather short detour that led immediatly back.

    The Reformation, to the chagrin of evangelicals in general and baptist in particular was not, “Anything ANTI-Rome goes”, but rather the return to the Gospel, justification, Christ alone.

    L

  32. jeofurry, on January 13th, 2010 at 7:16 pm Said:

    2 Corinthians 1:18-22:
    18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    My only hope is the promises of God and that is where I stand. The promises are in Christ; there is no mention here of finding them anywhere else. According to Paul, we give our “amen” to these promises through Christ and He is faithful to keep them; even in our weakness.

    This actually confirms the entire Reformational (Lutheran) view of the sacraments, and lead me to see that the modern evangelical view is wrong….let me explain.

    Jeofurry is doing here what all of us (on both sides of the argument) do – he’s quoting from scripture to make a point, that God’s promises in Christ are sufficient for us,
    but how do we know of Christ? How do we know of those promises? By the scriptures. In other words, God uses means to convey to us something (in this case, life-giving truth). The scriptures are clearly spoken of in this fashion, and it’s clear that the sacraments are meant to be unpacked in the same fashion – if they’re not, they don’t amount to much more than something ‘we do’. God conveys Himself to us through means – we’re simply too out of order for it to be any other way (take a look at Jude’s warnings in his epistle regarding by-passing Christ as delivered in the Apostolic message to see what results).
    What’s so needed now in so much of Western Christianity is a return to that faith once delivered to the saints to aid us in this day of need.

  33. Howard,

    That is exactly the connection. The logical conclusion, and you see it more so called “hyper-calvinist” like Baptist John Gill. At length the logic of the Baptist doctrine, which starts in Calvin which in turn started at Rome, concerning the disconnection of the sacraments and thereby sets man looking inward for that infused grace or immediate operation of the “spirit” upon the soul is to eliminate altogether the preaching of the Gospel and Word of God. For if one states one “boxes God/the Spirit in” with the sacraments, which only are so due to the Word, then it’s painfully obvious that one “boxes God/the Spirit in” with the preached Word. Since after all the “spirit” operates immediately. And in some extended “hyper Calvinist” like Gill and “Reformed” Baptist that’s what we find at length, the doing away with baptism altogether or rarely, the Lord’s Supper goes waaaay before that and at length the “Gospel” becomes the preaching of divine election.

    The reason the Puritans at length terrorized both themselves and their children so much is they took Calvin’s doctrine logically seriously into the worse heresy of John Owen Calvinism in which the sacraments are unhinged as anything. Bror’s point on loosing the Gospel when you loose infant baptism is point on. The Puritans in the Edwards era became increasingly terrified of conscience and ponder deeply what constitutes “true conversion/rebirth”. The Puritans “gift” was they were great analyzers, to a fault. Then by the time the second great awakening came about under the apostate heretic Charles Finney all kinds of new “signs and wonders” and charisma began manifesting itself so people “could know” some how they were saved.

    If you go to baptistic/Anabaptist areas in my wife’s home area in Kentucky you see this remnant clearly in conversion stories. During, many a testimony time you never know what you will hear. E.g. once I heard a guy say he “finally knew he was saved and made clean because one day ‘the lord’ gave him a sign and he could taste this flavor of chlorox in his mouth and chlorox cleans.” Now you may think I’m joking but this was a deadly serious highly emotionally charged testimony, this is not making fun of someone. Some more Reformed types and Reformed Baptist types would say, “Well that sort of Pentecostal charisma is obviously ridiculous and a far cry from what we profess/preach and teach, we are not Joel Olsteans.” I don’t blame or laugh at that guy, he is the result of the erudite heresy of sacramentarian doctrine. I feel deeply sorry for such a poor laymen. What they fail to see is that it is the very heretical intellectual logic of Calvin through to Owen through Finney of disconnecting the Sacraments where assurance IS GIVEN, these are the great grandfathers (Calvin, Zwingli and Bucer’s, Spurgeon, Gill, etc…), the other spirits, that beget the “Chlorox assurance testimonies out there and simultaneously teach them to never trust in the Gospel as a poor sot Lutheran would.

    Larry

  34. Jeff,

    Up at Larry, on January 18th, 2010 at 4:33 pm Said:

    Another point, and when you ponder this it will become more and more clear, realize that fundamentally all the arguments against the articles of faith via fallen human reason for the two sacraments can be and have been made by other sects that became cults. We both already know this, how the Trinity for example is denied in the JW camp. Fundamentally the principle is the same, fallen human reason cannot accept the absurdity and groups go back in and reinterpret the Word of God. The JW have even produced their own bible that helps do this. The Mormons do the same thing. The same thing with the Gnostics on the human nature of Christ, which the JWs do as well. The Gnostic evolutionist, the same thing. Here, you and I know and agree on this, we can see the principle together, sacraments aside for a moment.

    Now ponder that and go back to the sacraments, the Word of God is actually very plain on them, it is reasoning not subdued to Christ, the Word, that changes it all. At some point one sees it, “I am reinterpreting Christ’s Word, I am making it into a way that assuages my reason, affections and/or experiences…and in the process I’m loosing the Gospel and great comforts for myself and others.”

    • Larry,
      You keep talking about these things as if I somehow am against baptism or the Lord’s Supper when I am not. I am still amused at how the word observe was earlier bifurcated from the action of partaking in or being a part of as well. What your arguments instead suggest is that even if I am baptized or take the Lord’s Supper; if I do so with incorrect theology, the Lord is not in it. This is precisely opposite of what I understand the Lutheran position to be.

      Isn’t God greater than our understanding or our hearts? When we are baptized or baptizing in His name; however imperfectly our theology, isn’t He the one upon whom it all rests anyway? No one is saved by their flawless theology, as I think you would agree with that statement; yet the heart of this very discussion keeps coming around to that line of thinking. What I hear you saying over and over again, not just in this post but in others as well, is that if one doesn’t view baptism rightly or the Lord’s Supper just so; one doesn’t belong to God. Please tell me I am wrong in this understanding as it would contradict all that others here have said about it being God’s work and would make a mockery of Paul’s work in Romans 14.

      • “No one is saved by their flawless theology, as I think you would agree with that statement;”

        Yes Jeff I would agree with that.

        “…yet the heart of this very discussion keeps coming around to that line of thinking.”

        No it does not, you are missing that very point.

        “What I hear you saying over and over again, not just in this post but in others as well, is that if one doesn’t view baptism rightly or the Lord’s Supper just so; one doesn’t belong to God…”

        No Jeff, I’ve never said that. That’s why, EXACTLY WHY, you are missing the Gospel in all this. You see it as fundamentally, Law, getting the doctrine right. You are seeing it, the sacraments through your own doctrine then superimposing THAT on what I’m saying. When all along I’m saying THIS IS GOSPEL, why will you not RECEIVE if for free?

        Sometimes analogies help, maybe this one, another food one:

        I’m telling you, “here is food…lavish food…eat it…”. You are saying, “But Bob Baptist (the doctrine) told me its not.” Furthermore, you are saying, “Why do you keep saying this is food and forcing it on me, ‘No one is saved by their flawless understanding of food, as I think you would agree with that statement;’”

        You are stuck in and have accepted Rome’s error, ex opera operato, that simply doing it, baptism, saves. That’s as much nonsense as saying, “it was my eating, not the food, that saved me from starvation”. And so you say, “No one is saved by their flawless theology, as I think you would agree with that statement;”

        And you should step back and read Scripture. Scripture NO WHERE speaks of baptism and the Lord’s Supper in such negative and evil terms, NO WHERE, as I’ve shown comparing Darius words with Scripture’s Word.

        It’s one thing to be ignorant of baptism and the Lord’s Supper and be a true Christian. Those deceived under false teaching, though in grave and great danger, are saved by grace alone. That’s different than despising baptism and the LS AS they are. E.g. to state something like Darius did against baptism and the LS so grossly and blasphemously is the danger of falling away from the faith. Because that rejects the Gospel fundamentally.

        Yours,

        Larry

  35. It’s highly ironic, Larry, that would you call the view that sacraments are symbolic as being based on fallen human reasoning, when in fact the idea that one can do sacred ceremonies to save themselves is the one truly based on faulty human reasoning. The idea is as old as time… almost every tribe in the history of the world has at one time or another believed basically as you do, that they could save themselves with certain magic rituals. What defies human reasoning is that a God can choose whom to save of his own free will and do so outside of the efforts and actions of those He saves.

    Until you let the Word speak to you as God wants rather than as you want it to, you will never understand this.

  36. Darius,

    I think its safe to say that I do not confess your religion in fact I confess against it, and you vice versa.

    That being said what you just said was, ironically, the very argument many have made before. Funny how Paul refutes you on this very point in 1 Cor.

    The irony of it all is Jesus, that is God said, “take eat, take drink, all of you…for the forgiveness of your sins”. “if you eat of My flesh and drink of My blood you HAVE eternal life…you abide in Me and I in you…”.

    That’s the irony, I really don’t have to go to the Lutheran confessions but the Scriptures speak plainly on this, plainly enough that YOU have to refute them.

    Show me the words in Scripture, “Do NOT take and eat NOR drink for this is NOT My body and blood, NOT given for the forgiveness of your sins.” Show me the Words “He who eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood does NOT have eternal life and I don’t abide in them nor they Me.” Show me the Words that say, “repent and be baptized, for the promise is NOT for you, NOR your children Nor all who are far off…” Show me the Words that say, “he who is baptized into Christ is NOT baptized into His death NOR raised to life.”

    Show me those words that God spoke and not your doctrinal confessions, not your explanations.

    Lutherans need not go to the confessions, though they are fine and true to Scripture, because they already HAVE plain scripture on their side.

    Just the Words of Scripture please.

    Larry

  37. Symbolism is truly lost on you, Larry… except where it isn’t. You have no problem seeing it as symbolism when Jesus says that He is the vine. You have no issue with calling it symbolic when Jesus said He was a door, or that one should gouge out one’s eye if it causes him to sin, or when Jesus called himself living water. You choose, conveniently for your religion, to only take Jesus literally where you want to. Faith has nothing to do with this version of Lutheranism which you hold to… works, works, and more works is all you have. I hope you dunked yourself enough and drink enough of the Lord’s Supper to earn your salvation.

    As for me and the true Christian faith, we’ll rely only on the grace of God and the saving work of Christ on the cross.

    It does seem a bit odd that Jesus saved the real way to be saved til the night before His death. Poor suckers who believed Him when He said that they just had to repent…. or when He told them just believe and they would be saved. And this silly idea of just believing continued on after Jesus’ death… the apostles told the jailer in Acts to “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

    Thank goodness Luther came along a few centuries later and corrected all of that foolishness.

    “Did God really say…”

  38. My point exactly, fallen human reasoning.

    Those are tired old arguements which have been over thrown, none of them institute a sacrament or ordinance in baptist language. And none of them speak plain Words that say take and eat, etc… None of them establishes the Christian sacraments.

    Finally, they fail to see the critical issue, we were NOT symbolically saved but really and truly saved by the incarnate God/Word of virgin’s womb, who bleed for real and died for real. Which reveals the real gnostic superstition within them.

    We agree on one thing, we do not confess the same faith. I mean that with all candor and civility. I confess that I eat and drink the real flesh and blood of Christ, you do not. I confess I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin (Nicene Creed), you do not. Therefore, what we can agree on, again in all civility, is that we do not confess the same faith, religion, Gospel, Christ and etc…

    Now you at least know why we cannot worship nor commune together and it has NOTHING to do with whether “I like you” or “you like me” or either one of us being “mean” to the other. What identifies heterodoxy is that in heterodoxy (that is false christianity to use your words) they see the Lord’s Supper – which is a necessary outcome of their “symbolic meaning” – AS THE MEANS OF COMMUNION. In orthodoxy (true Christian faith to use your terms) – which too is an outcome of their doctrine of a real body and blood presence – the Lord’s Supper IS THE GOAL OF COMMUNION.

    I’m still looking for the Word of God that says “this is NOT the body and blood of Christ and the other…” Not YOUR explanations nor YOUR confessions.

    Yours,

    Larry

  39. Darius,

    They are simply not my works, but Christ’s.

    “I hope you dunked yourself enough and drink enough of the Lord’s Supper to earn your salvation”

    See how directly against Christ’s OWN WORDS you are. I don’t think I could make it plainer than you yourself just did. Let’s just juxtaposition YOUR words with the WORD of God:

    Darius: “…dunked yourself enough…” (we don’t rebaptized, such is idolatry, only once, how many times do Baptist baptize? I already know that answer you don’t have to answer).

    The Holy Spirit via various (just a few):

    “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

    Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

    Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12

    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

    And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16

    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

    Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41

    And then on the Lord’s Supper:

    Darius: “drink enough of the Lord’s Supper to earn your salvation”

    Jesus Christ: “Take drink all of you, this cup is the blood of the new covenant/testament shed FOR YOU, FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN, this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

    How can it be earning a thing when Jesus Christ is GIVING it to me?

    You see, YOUR words and doctrine just don’t seem to quite align with the Word of God at all. It’s as plain as day.

    Yours,

    Larry

  40. Amen Jeff. That’s why I think when it comes to this issue (as with many other ones), Jesus is going to just laugh at us when He comes back. I think much more heterodox than whichever side of this debate is wrong is the propensity in some to foment disunity in the Body.

  41. Darius,

    You just continue down the same path, YOUR WORDS, not Scriptures.

    You state, “That’s why I THINK when it comes to this issue (as with many other ones), Jesus is going to just laugh at us when He comes back.”

    That’s exactly the point, YOU THINK THAT, you cannot point to that ANYWHERE in the Word or Word’s of Christ. In fact just the opposite, God clearly does not have His Word mingled with false words. In fact the harshest condemnations in both the OT and NT, from the lips of Christ Himself, where against this.

    “…foment disunity in the Body…”

    One has to have false doctrine in play to even get where you state what you just stated. Like I said before you see that the LS is the MEANS for unity as opposed to the GOAL of unity. It’s like a bunch of different religions and Christianity getting together around some cause to pray together, that’s how you see the Lord’s Supper, the MEANS for unity. Orthodox, which is to say Scripture, sees the Lord’s Supper as the GOAL of a unity that exists already.

    Larry

  42. Jeff,

    You bring up a good question of which there are two important answer. The short is this in baptism, I was baptized at a Baptist church for example, you DO have objectively the Gospel. It is real baptism and I, for example, was not re-baptized upon coming to PCA then later LCMS. On the subjective side, however, I’m not bifurcating but pointing out your own confessed doctrine on the issue. It’s not that you DON’T have baptism objectively and all the Lutheran confessions state, it is that SUBJECTIVELY you reject them. In analogy it is like this: You are starving to death to the point of not knowing it and there’s a plate of rich food right in front of you, but someone has told you (a doctrine) ‘that’s not food’, so you don’t eat it. Thus, objectively you HAVE the baptism, subjectively you reject it. That is to say your very doctrine and adherence to it rejects in and of itself, it cannot be mingled with the orthodox confession.

    The Lord’s Supper is similar in a way to above but there is a different matter more crucial, those who reject the Word’s of Christ as He instituted them either by calling it only a sign, memory meal, symbol, etc…do not have the Lord’s Supper. Here it is both not the Lord’s Supper subjectively AND objectively. In other words I never actually too the Lord’s Supper when I was a Baptist or Reformed confessor. Oh, I partook in what is thought to be the LS, but it is not. Because the Words of institution make all the difference in the world. You actually HAVE what you say you have, not what I SAY you have, you have nothing more than bread and wine (I suspect grape juice given today), nothing more. It is no different than remembering Jesus death for me at my dinner table over steak and potatoes. But by your OWN doctrine you don’t have the flesh and blood in your mouth, the actual flesh and blood of Christ that ACTUALLY was shed for sin. For all the huffing and puffing about the blood of Christ in such circles they sure do go way out of their way to make sure the real blood is never in the church. And that’s an ironic tragedy. And someone finally telling you, as they did me, that you don’t have this precious flesh and blood is not mean, but the most loving thing one can do.

    Yours,

    Larry

  43. The Lord’s Supper is similar in a way to above but there is a different matter more crucial, those who reject the Word’s of Christ as He instituted them either by calling it only a sign, memory meal, symbol, etc…do not have the Lord’s Supper. Here it is both not the Lord’s Supper subjectively AND objectively. In other words I never actually too the Lord’s Supper when I was a Baptist or Reformed confessor. Oh, I partook in what is thought to be the LS, but it is not. Because the Words of institution make all the difference in the world.

    You do of course realize that the Lord’s Supper is intimately tied to the Passover meal, I suppose. The words that Jesus spoke at that meal were tied to the themes of the Passover and the cup and bread that he took and blessed were a part of that meal with their own God-given significance prior to when He picked them up. He explained at that meal what the whole thing was about. Unfortunately, that meaning is greatly ignored or lost in most Christian circles because of an anti-Jewish bias from our theological history, including that of Martin Luther. The bread that Jesus gave them to eat as His body is the bread that represents the Passover lamb even in Jewish custom to this day. That is not a coincidence (John 1:29). The cup that He gave them to drink as His blood, was the cup of Redemption in the Passover meal that represents the blood of the Passover lamb to this day. Again, do you think this to be coincidence? Jesus did what He did with great intentionality and those at that table and in the early church knew exactly what He meant. He did these things as part of a “memorial” meal and said to repeat it in remembrance of Him. It is we who have forgotten and/or turned it into something else. How much plainer did He need to be indeed?

    And, I have understood you to again say in the previous comment that it was “your” thinking and not the work of the Lord Jesus that made the meal the Lord’s Supper or not. Is this truly what you mean to say?

    • You do of course realize that the Lord’s Supper is intimately tied to the Passover mea

      This is true, but the two are not the same, the Passover meal points to the Lord’s Supper. The LS is the greater reality that subsumes the Passover meal. They are not EQUAL, for the LS envelopes the Passover meal.

      Further more, as Larry has already pointed out
      Jesus Christ: “Take drink all of you, this cup IS the blood of the new covenant/testament shed FOR YOU, FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN, this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

      Therefore each time it is remembered it is to be believed that the bread and wine are Jesus’s body and blood that was broken and shed FOR YOU, FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN.

      After the actual passover took place, and even today, the Jews remember the deliverance God wrought for their ancestors through Moses, but no where do they remember it as FORGIVENESS FOR SINS.

      Hence, the Passover is actually the type of the Lord’s Supper, the LS being the actual reality that the Passover points to.

      In Baptistic theology, they make a blunder in thinking that circumcision is co-equal with Baptism and the Passover co-equal with LS, and they are not co-equal.

      LPC

      • This is true, but the two are not the same, the Passover meal points to the Lord’s Supper. The LS is the greater reality that subsumes the Passover meal. They are not EQUAL, for the LS envelopes the Passover meal.

        This is a false dichotomy as Jesus’ actions were never intended to subsume or do away with the previous things, but rather to explain them and bring them to fullness of understanding.
        Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
        That word translated as fulfill carries an interesting range of meaning in the original Greek. Let me offer something to think about from Strong’s definitions of it:
        to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment

        After the actual passover took place, and even today, the Jews remember the deliverance God wrought for their ancestors through Moses, but no where do they remember it as FORGIVENESS FOR SINS.

        Passover is a prefiguring of our own deliverance from sin. Just as God rescued His people from bondage in Egypt, Christ has rescued His people from bondage to sin. And we commemorate that rescue in an identical way (and in the early church it was done at the same time) with fuller understanding. It is almost as though Someone planned this all out ahead of time. Many Christians have forsaken the fullness of God’s message and choose to ignore that what He was doing in the Old Testament has direct bearing on what He in fact did in the New Testament and continues to do today.

        In Baptistic theology, they make a blunder in thinking that circumcision is co-equal with Baptism and the Passover co-equal with LS, and they are not co-equal.

        I am not sure here what stream of baptistic theology you are referencing here as it hasn’t been part of my experience in any way.

  44. No Jeff, I’ve never said that. That’s why, EXACTLY WHY, you are missing the Gospel in all this. You see it as fundamentally, Law, getting the doctrine right. You are seeing it, the sacraments through your own doctrine then superimposing THAT on what I’m saying. When all along I’m saying THIS IS GOSPEL, why will you not RECEIVE if for free?

    I am baffled at this point. Not one thing in this statement is true about me, nor can I see how you have inferred it by anything I have said. I am manifestly trying to get away from this type of thinking in this discussion, but have found it to be impossible based on the words others are placing in my mouth. I just said that if the doctrine was completely misunderstood, God was still in operation and you understood me to say this instead?!?

    You are stuck in and have accepted Rome’s error, ex opera operato, that simply doing it, baptism, saves.

    I am going to take an English class if you can explain to me what you have found in what I have said that shows I think the act of baptism saves.
    You do realize that even though Darius and I do agree in some things, we are not the same person? Right?

    I’m telling you, “here is food…lavish food…eat it…”. You are saying, “But Bob Baptist (the doctrine) told me its not.” Furthermore, you are saying, “Why do you keep saying this is food and forcing it on me, ‘No one is saved by their flawless understanding of food, as I think you would agree with that statement;’”

    The place where this analogy indeed breaks down is that I am not suggesting to anyone not to eat the food. Do you not see this?

  45. Jeff, I’ve tried repeatedly to get Larry to debate honestly rather than claim I say things I don’t, but it seems impossible. Neither of us has said that the Lord’s Supper or Baptism shouldn’t be done… quite the opposite, in fact. But what I believe we’re both saying is that we shouldn’t view them as a method to salvation. View them as Jesus clearly viewed them, an opportunity to remember the wonder of His sacrifice and to publicly “die” with Jesus and be “raised again” with Him. What’s funny is that outside of what we’re thinking, you couldn’t tell the difference between a Lutheran baptism or LS and a Baptist one (at least, one that was accurate to the orthodoxy of those traditions).

  46. What you guys are missing is the Lutheran doctrine of the Means of Grace.

    If you are baffled why the Lutheran can affirm JBFA and yet have real Sacraments, then that is a sign (pun intended 😉 you are not understanding what they mean by Means of Grace – This simply put means – How does God deliver to you what His Son has accomplished for the sinner, 2000 years ago?

    2000 years ago Jesus offered his life, body and blood as payment for the sins of the world without consulting them, he did this freely. Now, how does that 2000 year sacrifice and its benefit, get to you in your space and time?

    The Lutheran answer is – Means of Grace – Word and Sacrament.

    Baptist only has the Word, no Sacraments.

    Unless this benefit is delivered to you, there is no salvation, for no body gets to be forgiven/ saved without the means of grace. That is the Lutheran thesis.

    LPC

    • Baptist only has the Word, no Sacraments.

      Psalm 18:30:
      As for God, his way is perfect;
      the word of the LORD is flawless.
      He is a shield
      for all who take refuge in him.

      Isaiah 55:11:
      so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
      It will not return to me empty,
      but will accomplish what I desire
      and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

      Matthew 4:4:
      Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

      John 1:1:
      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

      Acts 20:32:
      “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

      Romans 9:6:
      It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

      <2 Timothy 3:16-17:
      All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      Hebrews 4:12-13:
      For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

      1 Peter 1:23-25:
      For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
      “All men are like grass,
      and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
      the grass withers and the flowers fall,
      but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
      And this is the word that was preached to you.

      God’s word will not fail. It accomplishes His purpose, even including helping us understand when we are wrong (Philippians 3:15).

  47. This is a false dichotomy as Jesus’ actions were never intended to subsume or do away with the previous things, but rather to explain them and bring them to fullness of understanding.

    This is not false dichotomy, I dare say it is proper category and proper distinction, whereas your view is a category mistake.

    The fact that Jesus came, what the Jews do in Passover is denial of Jesus’s accomplishing or fulfilling the Law. Our passover Lamb has come!

    Secondly, how often do you need to hear the Gospel? Are you happy to hear it once in your life time?

    Rather, to the Lutheran view, the Gospel is to be heard again and again, why? Because it is not intuitive and our tendency is to move away from it and do things via the Law, via Works. Thus in the LS, again, God is saying, my Son has offered his life for you, his body, blood, for the forgiveness of your sins. Here it is eat it drink it, as sure as you are eating this bread and drinking this wine, surely your sins are paid for.

    Hence, to the Lutheran, LS is Gospel, good news, a gift. Thus as Larry said, what am I earning? what am I working for? Nothing. I am simply receiving what Jesus is giving – life and salvation, forgiveness of sins.

    LPC

  48. The fact that Jesus came, what the Jews do in Passover is denial of Jesus’s accomplishing or fulfilling the Law. Our passover Lamb has come!

    He is the Passover Lamb to be sure. The Jews will never realize the truth of this however, if we insist on disconnecting the image from the reality. He was, is, and always will be the Passover Lamb. Trying to do away with Passover or replace it, thus obscures the truth of what Jesus has in fact accomplished.

    Secondly, how often do you need to hear the Gospel?

    Constantly, to paraphrase Scripture, “Talk about it when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
    I get the feeling that you really have no understanding of what the Passover is all about at all. The Jews literally looked at it as a participation with the original exodus from Egypt. It wasn’t done once in a lifetime and forgotten, and I don’t know why you would suggest such a thing is acceptable to anyone in this discussion.
    Is this any different from the admonition for us to participate in the death of Christ in the Lord’s Supper? The Bible tells us that as often as we do it; it is done to participate in and remember His death. It is a participatory teaching just like the Jewish Passover was and is. Why is that so confusing?

  49. The Bible tells us that as often as we do it; it is done to participate in and remember His death. It is a participatory teaching just like the Jewish Passover was and is. Why is that so confusing?

    Look at it from your own confession, and you agree with me that the Passover Lamb has come.

    Therefore, any passover observance even performed by the Jews is blasphemous, the same way if they establish again the temple and institute again animal sacrifices.

    Thus from the Lutheran perspective, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him.

    Confusing? I don’t think I am confused, I stand by my confession and carry out the implication of my confession – that Jesus, my passover lamb has already come. Hence, the LS I observe is more a gift to me. The accent, is different, 1 Cor 10: 16. it is that bread that unites to the literal body of Jesus, it is the one that participates, it is a communion, that is why the bread is body of Jesus because of that verse. And though I commune, the accent is from God coming down to my space and time, rather than the reverse, rather than me, going up to God and there commune. This is what is mean by Means of Grace – how God comes down to us.

    Because my passover lamb has already come, he comes to me in Word and Sacrament, he comes to me in the things he said where he may be located and be found. Through the Word, through the Water of Baptism, through the Bread and Wine of the LS. This view is anti-gnostic, and I make no apologies for that. I have since repented of my Baptisto-Pentecostal view of these things because I found in Scripture what it says plainly there albeit my logic or reasoning. It is a matter of plainly taking the words in Scripture as they are.

    LPC

  50. Therefore, any passover observance even performed by the Jews is blasphemous, the same way if they establish again the temple and institute again animal sacrifices.

    You have almost left me speechless as you appear to be inadvertently accusing Jesus of blasphemy. Or have you not read Luke 22:15-16:
    And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
    Here Jesus says that He will eat the Passover again. It is not done away with. It is a perpetual feast of the Lord (Ex. 12:24). It was observed by the New Testament church as well(1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Go look at the controversy regarding Easter and Passover and see for yourself. The early church kept God’s feasts because they understood what they were all about. We should be the ones who are eager to keep the Lord’s feasts(Leviticus 23:2) as they have been brought to fruition through Christ. They belong to Him. Instead, the church invented new feasts to take their place.

    When the Jews establish the temple and sacrifices again, they will also be fulfilling God’s prophetic word in Scripture, so I can’t imagine why you would refer to that as blasphemous either. Maybe a review of Romans 9-11 regarding the Jews and their continuing place in God’s plan would be of some help. Paul said that our inclusion was designed by God to spur the Jews to want what we have realized.
    Romans 11:11-14
    So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

    Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
    I can’t imagine why the Jews would be jealous of us ignoring their heritage and the things that God revealed to and through them as a people, which is what the church is doing today in most places. On the other hand, they were extremely jealous of a church that found participation in their community precisely because they had been grafted into that body. The early church even met in synagogues until the Jews kicked them out.
    The Jews haven’t been despised by God, even if they have been despised by much of the church.

  51. You have almost left me speechless as you appear to be inadvertently accusing Jesus of blasphemy. Or have you not read Luke 22:15-16:

    How could I accuse Jesus of blasphemy where in he is the fulfillment of all that the Law requires. Jesus does not ask us today to kill a lamb and perform a seder.

    He tells us to observe His Supper, so passover is done away with for all people because He has come. The actual deliverance has happened in his death and resurrection, It is finished, paid in full.

    Jesus instituted the supper he does not now today institute for any people the Passover. You are equivocating the Passover with the LS and I say that though they are related they are not co-equal, the LS is much greater than the Passover for the LS is the reality and the Passover is the type, the LS is the anti-type for it is the reality to which the Passover points.

    Since reality has come, Jews today that perform the passover is performing something Jesus does not require to be performed, for he instituted the Supper.

    LPC

  52. Jesus does not ask us today to kill a lamb and perform a seder.

    Jesus is the Lamb that is slain, and the LS is a seder. I would invited you to investigate the meaning of the afikomen (the bread that Jesus broke that night) and the cup of redemption (the cup that Jesus said was His own blood) in the seder service and maybe it would help you see this connection.
    I did a post about the afikomen part last year if you want to check it out to save time. http://jeofurry.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/passing-over-the-lords-supper/

    He tells us to observe His Supper, so passover is done away with for all people because He has come.

    The Passover is His Supper. The Lord’s Supper is not coequal with the Passover; it is inextricably identified with the Passover. It is God’s Plan and His meal. Jesus said He will be doing it in the Kingdom. The Old Testament prophets, Jesus’ own words and the book of Revelation make it plain that we will keep doing the Lord’s Feasts in that Kingdom.
    How can you say that the Passover is done away with when Paul said to keep it? Or when Jesus says that He will eat it again with His disciples (including us)?

  53. The Passover is His Supper.

    There is your equivocation.

    Combine the above with your agreement with me The Lord’s Supper is not coequal with the Passover

    There is your inconsitency. Ex falso quodlibet. Thus you can prove anything you wish because you have in your reasoning a contradiction.
    You do not distinguish the Passover from the Supper and yet you do. You want to have your cake and eat it too.

    You do not distinguish the type from the reality in your language where as the Passover is a memorial, the Lord’s Supper is not just a memorial, but something is given to you, the actual body and blood of Jesus – again as per Jesus
    Luke 22:19
    And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

    You pick on the latter part of the verse, ignoring the first part. This IS my Body which is GIVEN FOR YOU.

    IS isn’t IS in your account, I can say that in your case; for if you affirm that IS is IS, then you have become a Lutheran like us.

    LPC

  54. IS isn’t IS in your account, I can say that in your case; for if you affirm that IS is IS, then you have become a Lutheran like us.

    Even though I grew up in Arkansas, I am not Bill Clinton and I know what the meaning of IS is. The word coequal implies that they are two different things. There is no inconsistency in what I am saying. Do you realize what that bread in Luke 22:19 is? Have you studied it to understand? That bread is the bread of the afikomen. It is the middle piece of matzah that was taken out, broken, wrapped and hidden and brought back at this very time in the meal. Do you not see how blatant God is in showing His plan? Jesus offered this bread, that represents the Passover Lamb, with the statement that it is His body. There is no innovation here in Jesus’ statement, only explanation.

  55. Have you studied it to understand? That bread is the bread of the afikomen

    Yes I have, we got a Messianic Jew do the seder with us while I was a bapti-costal (charismatic evangelical).

    So tell me, when you do the LS in your church, do you specifically have 3 pieces of matzahs? and do you break only the middle one?

    If you don’t I see no relevance of your point because we are talking about IS.

    Connect this Lk 22:19 with 1 Cor 10:16, I see foundation for the Lutheran view of the Supper.

    Read Lk 22:19 again, he took the bread and said “this IS my body”, I am not going to argue with Jesus telling him – you mean this “represents your body”, right? I care not for such rationalism.

    LPC

  56. So tell me, when you do the LS in your church, do you specifically have 3 pieces of matzahs? and do you break only the middle one?

    I can honestly say that the last time we partook of the LS, we did in fact do this. Not that I suppose it matters to you really, but you asked. Let me try and clarify this by coming at it from another angle.
    Why did Jesus institute the Lord’s Supper during the Passover meal? Was it just a happy coincidence or did it really mean something?
    On a tangential sort of note, why did God go through all of that production for the original Passover in the first place? It was certainly within His power to simply tell the Israelites to leave Egypt right away and He would protect them as He did when they finally did leave. Why all the extra stuff around it?
    What do you think Jesus was talking about in Luke 24:27 and again in 44-45, when He took those guys back to Moses and the Prophets to explain what was written about Him there?

  57. Jeff,

    “And, I have understood you to again say in the previous comment that it was “your” thinking and not the work of the Lord Jesus that made the meal the Lord’s Supper or not. Is this truly what you mean to say?”

    No Jeff you have totally misunderstood and are not understanding Luther on this at all. When you do not have the Word’s of institution by word or doctrine you do not have the LS, you have what you say, bread and wine nothing more. Such a pastor no longer speaks for or as Christ to his people but as a man.

    Furthermore, you really need to read Luther and Lutheran writers more on the LS and the passover connection. You will find their connection with it greater than any reformed theology on the subject. In fact as H. Sasse states for any connection to make sense with the passover meal, sign to reality, we eat of the flesh of Christ, INDEED we must if it is to have any reality at all.

    Of course there’s a curve ball Jesus throws connecting the LS with the passover meal – He says to drink His blood, a forbidden thing in Deut.!

    The problem is the Reformed define a sacrament by all the common things they see in all the sacraments OT and NT, Calvin does this very thing. Like defining “man” by his general traits (e.g. rational, bodily, sentient, etc…). But a sacrament is not defined by the lowest common denominator of them all, rather by its particular institution in its particular time in redemptive history. Thus it is correct to see common connections from sign/shadow in the OT to the NT sacraments (e.g. passover to the Lord’s Supper), but it is false and incorrect to see those things ONLY. Because Hebrews states we have gotten beyond the OT beggarly signs and types and shadows and onto the reality. Those who only see the connection in the OT of such are staying IN the OT signs and shadows and not the dawning forth of the reality now and is to come/return in fulness at the end of the age.

    The LS was established INTO history and thus the very reality of time and space, not a calendar date (as a memorial would be) as the clear Word’s of institution begin, “ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED…”. That is not small incidental phrase.

    So while there are connection of the reality back to the shadow, the passover lamb to the lamb of God, at the end of the day in the OT they ate only the type and shadow but they ate its real flesh. Now in the church NT era we eat the real flesh of the real lamb of God (and drink His blood, as He says), we do not return to beggarly signs, symbols, types and shadows going backwards into redemptive history. Thus Christ says, “He who eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood”, “take drink all of you THIS cup IS the new covenant IN MY BLOOD shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”.

    While anyone including myself would admit the GREAT temptation of the devil and flesh to rationalize the Lord’s Supper – I mean for goodness sakes I’m an educated and trained scientist, it is my daily way of thinking to think rationally and has been so for nearly 30 years, yet these words as Luther once said are INDEED TOO strong for me!

    Yours,

    Larry

  58. Larry,
    Sorry to delay replying to this for a week, but I wanted to think about it and debated whether I wanted to say anything else on the subject.

    The LS was established INTO history and thus the very reality of time and space, not a calendar date (as a memorial would be) as the clear Word’s of institution begin, “ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED…”. That is not small incidental phrase.

    Everything else that God had done to this point was in fact tied to dates and times, and God isn’t one who changes His MO. Even the timing of Jesus’ death was no accident as it occurred to coincide with the sacrifice of the Passover lambs on both date and time. The misunderstanding regarding the Last Supper is precisely because so many wish to separate or remove it from its historical context. When Jesus says do “this’ in remembrance of me, the “this” He is speaking of is the whole feast with all of its connotations of Him. This is why he patiently explained the Scriptures and How they showed Him to His disciples(as in Luke 24).

    It is only as the 2nd century church leaders in Rome sought to distance Christianity from its roots in Judaism that the “this” He was speaking about was recast and narrowed. A study of the quartodeciman controversy is very enlightening in this regard. Those in the Eastern church insisted that they were following apostolic teaching by observing Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in connection with the Lord’s Passover Feast. It is sad to say, but the main arguments offered against the observance revolved around blatant anti-Semitic sentiments.

    By the way, the other reason I decided to post another comment is to see if I could get the Lutheran answer for the question I have asked several times now in these comments. Why was Jesus baptized?

  59. No problem…I understand being busy!

    Jeff,

    The “this” refers to the “this do”. It easily shown in the wine/blood, “…this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me”. The do has action behind it. The entire sign/symbol scheme is intrusion of Greek philosophy of dividing flesh and spirit that is entirely foreign to the Hebrew mind.

    The entire point of the LS is like the incarnation itself, God enters into history for real then and today. A philosophical sign, the wisdom of the world, points to something not present. A theological “sign” points to a reality present. God’s word causes into action that which it states, just like in creation and just like the command to procreate. It cannot be avoided, the speech of God which causes and acts continually, not just 6000 some years ago in Genesis 1 but through to this very minute. Fallen men can sin against it, use it wrongly, but it does not die in history past. The reason, for example, the sexual impulse is so strong is not because its an evil desire (the Greek Gnostic heresy intrusion between flesh/earth and “spiritual”/”spirit”), rather because God spoke and said, “…go forth multiply and be fruitful”. Just like the sun MUST “let there be light” continually. The Word creates history and that which is in it and functions continuously as a creative speech. Thus God’s Word is living, NOT because it has more authority than man’s (which it most certainly does) but because it is a LIVING Word…literally.

    Thus, in the Lord’s Supper when Jesus said “this is…My body/blood…” it is a living Word that creates exactly what it says the same today as that day, “on the night when He was betrayed”. It’s not a static dead history (Gnosticism and secularism). Thus, when a pastor or church speak and doctrinally speak as Christ did it is not just them speaking for Christ but actually Christ Himself speaking. That’s why absolution (the Gospel) is a powerful living Word that creates and feeds faith for real, not reflective theory. Yet, when a false confessing church by doctrine says in essence ‘this is not really the body and blood of Christ…” they are no longer speaking as or with Christ and thus not Him speaking but mere men with mere philosophies of men, they remove themselves from being true shepherds feeding the sheep, but robbers and thieves coming to kill and destroy the sheep. Note here well that the later presupposes real sheep under the preaching and teaching of lying pastors.

    Second, “why was Jesus baptized”: Jesus is the Word, the Word incarnate, here you see the most powerful testimony of the efficacy of baptism. The Word was quite literally being put INTO the water, naming it and making it a baptism, just like the Word is literally put into the water “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, “for the promise is to you…”, etc… making it a baptism. It is the Word, not the water by itself nor the faith of the recipient (Baptist, which exists no where in Scripture) that makes baptism a baptism. “How can water do such great things?” The catechism asks. “Not just plain water but water in which the word is put”. Jesus, the Word incarnate, was literally put INTO the water, and with it we are shown, as in Acts, as in the Flood with Noah (a baptism, explicitly stated so), as with the Red Sea (a baptism, explicitly stated so), the very next thing it brings and comes the Holy Spirit (descending as a dove).

    I hope that helps.

    Yours,

    Larry

  60. Jeff,

    Why was Jesus baptized?

    For your sake, for my sake. In fact John the Baptist detected this, he did not want to baptize Jesus saying He (Jesus) should baptize him (John the Baptist) instead.

    He was baptised – for you. Jesus sinless as he was yet, subjected himself to what sinners need. Then Jesus takes this and institutes this as his baptism, meaning, when his disciples baptise, it is virtually him baptising. Mt 28:19-20.

    LPC

    • Lito,

      I’ve often wonder there, at Christ’s baptism, if John is alluding to the washing by the Word? There’s John and before Him is the Word and John says, “I need to be baptized by You”. Washed by the Word, in that case the incarnate Word. Which then begins to immediately connect up with the fact that it was not the pastor that baptized me/you but Christ Himself which is an overwhelmingly comforting Gospel.

      L

      • Hey Larry,

        IF we as per Jesus’ command get baptised, then by that reasoning, it is Jesus who is baptising us. For we are not being baptised under the wishes of the pastor we are being baptised in the name of Christ, according to his command.

        It stands to reason that my baptism was a baptism of and from the HS. It is a baptism of Christ himself. The pastor may have dunked, sprinkled or poured water on me, but because of the Word which is not the pastor’s word but the Words of Christ, then it is actually Christ who has indeed baptised me.

        For the Baptists Christians, – they find this idea very very weird and revolting. I know this makes them all knotty in the stomach. As Luther countered, it is not the water doing it but the Word of Christ.

        Sure, there is no record of anyone being baptised by Jesus. Yet John the Baptist says this – He (Jesus) will baptise us with the HS and fire, John was not even worthy to tie the sandals of Jesus. # Matthew 3:11
        “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”.

        The same is true for the LS.

        LPC

  61. An apropos and helpful series of quotes on this reality of the sacrament (from Pastor Weedon’s blog) and just why its not a dead in the past historical event only being conjured up by memory:

    Worship is either an encounter with the reality of God, or it is some kind of attempt by man to raise himself by his own bootstraps. It then becomes an occasion for moralizing, a theatrical show, or a sort of pep rally. On the contrary, in the ancient church, the reading of the Gospel was surrounded with festive splendor because here Christ addresses His faithful followers. As the exalted Lord of the Church He today still exercises His prophetic function through His preachers and teachers. We still bear witness to His presence in the acclamations before and after the Gospel. We sing: “Glory be to Thee, O Lord!” and “Praise be to Thee, O Christ!” – Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 47

    Yet it is not enough that one be confronted with Christ as an external reality or as an historical figure. He must be Christus pro me; He must be my Christ. — Ernest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 47

    The whole liturgy is a response, now full of hope or supplication, now joyful or full of thanksgiving, to God’s revelation in Christ. It is a remembrance of Christ, reliving with Him now in the Eucharistic celebration the events of His earthly life. — Ernest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 48.

    Here we are concerned with an action of God. God is at work today, also in this service – however humble the circumstances in which the celebration occurs – in bestowing on us the riches which are Christ’s. Here the fullness of His grace, the full and free remission of our sins, is granted us. The note of the hodie, today, runs through each celebration. — Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 50

    “It is the nature of the sacramental ACTION that the past, historical event of God’s act in Jesus Christ, the end set to this present age, and the present celebration of the Eucharist coalesce into this single event.” — Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 51.

    L

  62. Another way we might see this Gnostic thought is in the study of languages. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but more of a “hobbyist” concerning such (i.e. it interests me).

    If you look at the development and philosophy behind say Greek and Latin languages you will find the inherent Gnosticism to their culture, a thing the church warred with from the time of the apostles in various forms all the way up through reformation day forms of it in Zwingli, Bucer and Calvin which beget the heterodox denominations there after. Luther recognized this most acutely in the Lord’s Supper connected with ultimately the incarnation.

    Looking at the Greek and Latin language systems behind forms of words, the cases, one finds the philosophy at play. For example the primary case is the ‘nominative’ case alternately called the ‘naming case’. It derives its name and use from the same Gnostic false religion of the flesh/earthy (bad or lesser thing) versus ‘spirit’ (good or perfect). It is the “naming case” precisely because it is the ideal idea (the spirit/Plato). The subsequent case like ablative, accusative, genitive, etc…are called “declintions” or declining cases because (one might visualize here a bit) they DEcline away from the ideal, the naming/nominative case. Thus language and words move from the spiritual or ideal in the realm of the perfect “idea” toward the lesser and defective qualities of the declined usages. In Gnosticism, in whatever form it takes, one achieves “heaven” or “enlightenment” ultimately by seeking the ideal. You also see this in eastern religions. It’s really a distillation from the fall in the original pietism in which it was a “fall” because it was man attempting to be more (rise) pious than God himself, thus the split between earthy/flesh and spirit/spiritual/ideal. Here thus fallen (by a usurping RISE) we called God’s good very earthy creation bad and evil, seeking the “more” pious high spiritual thing. This is why Gnostics in all forms get around eventually to calling or implying that good creatures of creation so said by God like alcohol, sex and other rather earthy mundane things evil, rather than seeing that this is not true at all and in fact evil to do, but the abuse of such things is sin. Yet the greater sin is calling the good creation “evil”, it is a greater sin than abuse of the creatures as it is a direct blaspheme of God’s Word.

    Thus, the Gnostic platonic thing that is highest is the “idea or ideal”, which manifests itself in many ways, mostly forms of ascension of the mind in some way or another, either through reason or emotions. You begin to see for example Zwingli, Bucer and Calvin’s egregious error! The Gnosticism inserted into the Lord’s Supper by these, especially Zwingli, was the relegating it to a memorial meal. Because historical recollection by the mind simply by gather around some named food and drink elements becomes and is the “idea/ideal”, it moves from the very earthy and mundane elements of bread and wine “up” (the usurping fall) into the realm of the “spiritual” or “ideal” (PURE Plato). Thus, the LS, which it is not really at this point but that which is said to be the LS, becomes the pure and shear memory meal, the ideal, the idea, the spirit. And that is where, so they think, God is and the good is. This is the inherent Gnosticism in the memorial meal view, and ultimately even Calvin in his pseudo sacrament (this is why Calvin speaks lavishly concerning the LS that ‘we must ASCEND higher into heaven…’, very nice Gnostic language. This removes the rather mundane and earthy and unexciting uncharismatic incarnation of Christ by removing the reality of the very and true body/flesh and blood of God in the bread and wine. There’s nothing overtly fancy or particularly “spiritual” nor ideal about that. In fact it offends directly the very Gnostic ideal/idea/spiritual scheme. In fact as an article of faith it particularly is TO offend this false wisdom of the world, it is the foolishness and weakness of God that sleighs and kills the wisdom and strength of the world. In fact we find at length that the Lord’s Supper, the very flesh and blood of Christ, FOR THIS PURPOSE lays to nothing Zwingli and Calvin and all such worldly wisdom. It kills this original sin as Christ came to do, crush the very head of the serpent under foot, that was this primordial Gnostic Satanicly inspired pious ascension ‘to be as god’ from paradise we call “the fall”.

    Larry

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