Luther on the Holy Spirit creates faith


 Martin Luther by hallaw4“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times.  This knowledge and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith” (LW 35:370-71).

“I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth. . . . In this Christian church he daily and abundantly forgives all my sins, and the sins of all believers, and on the last day he will raise me and all the dead and will grant eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ” (Small Catechism, BC, Tappert 345).

“The Holy Spirit is no skeptic, and it is not doubts and opinions that he has written on our hearts but assertions more sure and certain than life itself and all experience” (LW 33:24).

“In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it is the source, strength, and power of all heresy, including that of the papacy and Mohammed.  Accordingly, we should and must maintain that God will not deal with us except through his external Word and sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil” (Smalcald Articles III/VIII/9-10; BC Tappert 313).


    This is a sermon that carries on with those quotes from Luther:

 >>> Luther’s-explanation-of-the-3rd-article-of-The-Apostle’s-Creed


I put a link to this sermon in a comment I made last week on The Gospel Coalition’s site, and the blog stats show that it was very popular. Not that that matters..

The angels in Heaven rejoice over just ONE who hears, and believes.


Thanks be to God! 

And that is not to say that the good folks over there (The Gospel Coalition) don’t already have faith. I’m sure they do.

Shoot, there may even be some in the congregation where I worship who have it also!






Thanks to CrossAlone Lutheran District, for the quotes.

Thanks to Pastor Mark for the sermon.

And thanks to flickr and hallaw4, for the photo.






A new(er) Lutheran denomination

Many churches formerly in the ELCA (The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) have decided to leave the ELCA and join together with LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ).

Many of those churches (for legal reasons) could not leave their affiliation with the ELCA without complicated ramifications that involve property issues, etc., and have decided to have dual affiliations. Choosing to not have much to do with the ELCA, and to identify with a more centerist Lutheran confession, the LCMC.

The LCMC denomination has been growing steadily since 2000 and now in 2011 it is approaching 700 congregations in it’s organization.

Here’s a list of their congregations in 42 states around the country and in Canada, Mexico, Guam and Puerto Rico:

     click here>  LCMC-Congregations-directory



I’m sure there are some very good and faithful centerist Lutheran congregations in the LCMC. There may be some that are a little fringy. I really don’t know. But if you are looking for a Lutheran congregation for yourself or someone you know, some of these congregations may be worth checking into.





Preach the Gospel, not the text -1


gerhard_forde by theologyethics

What’s a preacher to do?   Preach the text?    Or the gospel?

Even Gerhard Forde said preaching is “doing the text” to believers.

But doesn’t that work better with some texts more than others?

For example, when the lectionary has those “take up your cross” texts which presuppose that we can and must do something to make salvation work: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38).

What do you do with a text like that?

What did Forde do?

In this sermon, On Death to Self, Forde preaches the gospel even though he is preaching about “dying to self,” and “taking up your cross.”



From the CrossAlone Lutheran District web site.




Thank you, CrossAlone.

Thanks to flickr and theologyethics, for the photo.







‘The Word’

Open Bible by revgerPastor by latteontheroad

Baptismal font by apvphotoscommunion - bread and wine by The Pink Rose

It’s not just the Bible, although the Bible proclaims Him.

He’s not a blot of ink on a piece of paper. Although that is one of the ways He has decided to make Himself known, and accomplish His will.

The Word (God Himself) is “living and active”. 

He’s not dependent on the messenger. He USES the messenger. He IS the message. He IS a force unto Himself. 

He calls the shots. He makes things happen. He forgives people’s sin, He raises from the dead. He is the Word.

Our authority to proclaim this Word comes from…Him, and Him alone.

Proclaim what Word?

What did He proclaim?  That He, Jesus, was God in the flesh, and that He forgives sinners their sins. That He takes all their sin unto Himself. That He will one Day make  ALL things new again. That He will raise you from the dead, and bring you unto to Himself for judgement. That the cross was the judgement. That He bought and paid for your sins there. That you are forgiven for Jesus’ sake.

He has decided to use the Bible, preaching and teaching about Himself, and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion to make Himself known in His saving grace. To create faith in the hearer, reader, receiver.

He spoke all things into existence and He still does.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Word… IS GOD.

He was around LONG before the Bible. Christ was around LONG before His preachers were. He was around LONG before the bread and wine and the water were.

He is not dependent on any of those things being perfect… (nor) acting perfect, or being pure. If you think that He cannot use ordinary earthly elements to accomplish His purposes  then you are sadly mistaken and misguided. That goes for the Book, that goes for the preacher (you and I included), and that goes for the water, the bread, and the wine. When the Word is attached to ordinary things and proclaimed in It’s purity, then they accomplish His perfect will.

The Lord our God made Himself know in an earthly man. A real man who needed to eat real food, who cried real tears,  and who shed real blood.

The finite contains the Infinite. That is the principle here. 

 Perfect preachers or perfect churches are not necessary. Pure bread and pure water are not necessary. Bibles without errors are not necessary.

When the Word is attached to all those things and the gospel is proclaimed in it’s purity, then those ordinary things become pure, infallible, perfect, Living Word of God…for YOU!

That is the doctrine of the Word to which Lutherans subscribe.

That is the truth of it.


Any objections? (of course! There are ALWAYS objections!)

Go ahead. Let’s hear why something is needed in addition to Jesus.

Add-on’s  to Jesus seems to be our specialty!


Thanks to flickr, revger, latteontheroad, apv photos, and The Pink Rose, for the photos.

“A Lutheran Pastor Shows the Need for the Catholic Church”

St. Peter's tomb inside the Vatican by npadgett1890


Joe Heschmeyer has featured Pastor Mark in his latest blog post. Joe asserts (by listening to a class Pastor Mark gave on the authority of the Word and the origins of the Bible) that Pastor Mark shows the need for the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

How he arrived at that assumption, I’m not quite sure.  But he lays it out here:

click here > Shameless-Popery


Here is the class  from which Joe reached his erroneous conclusion:

click here for the pastor’s class > Did-the-Bible-Drop-out-of-Heaven?


 The fun just never ends here at the Old Adam lives!


 Thanks to flickr, and npadgett1890, for the photo.

Long before Luther

1. Clement of Rome (c. 30–100): And we [Christians], too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–115): His cross, and his death, and his resurrection, and the faith which is through him, are my unpolluted muniments [legal titles]; and in these, through your prayers, I am willing to be justified.

3. Polycarp (c. 69–155): I know that through grace you are saved, not of works, but by the will of God, through Jesus Christ.

4. Justin Martyr (d. 165): No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account. 

5. Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398): This does not mean that works can be put before faith, because a person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith.

6. Hilary of Poitiers (c 315-67): Wages cannot be considered as a gift, because they are due to work, but God has given free grace to all men by the justification of faith.

7. Athanasius (295–375): By surrendering to death the body which He [Jesus Christ] had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, He immediately abolished death for His human brothers by the offering of the equivalent. For naturally, since the Logos of God was above all, when He offered His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute for the life of all, He fulfilled by death all that was required.

8. Basil of Caesarea (329-379): Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is (or has been) justified solely by faith in Christ.

9. Ambrose (339–97): Therefore let no one boast of his works, because no one can be justified by his works; but he who is just receives it as a gift, because he is justified by the washing of regeneration. It is faith, therefore, which delivers us by the blood of Christ, because blessed is he whose sins are forgiven, and to whom pardon is granted.

10. Jerome (347-420) on Romans 10:3: God justifies by faith alone.

11. Jerome (again): He who with all his spirit has placed his faith in Christ, even if he die in sin, shall by his faith live forever.

12. Chrysostom (349–407): But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.

13. Chrysostom (again): For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.

14. Augustine (354-430): If Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified? . . .  Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.

15. Augustine (again): When someone believes in him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions (Rom 4:5-6). What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence.

16. Ambrosiaster (c. 366-384): God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works. By faith alone he receives the forgiveness of sins.

17. Ambrosiaster (again), on Rom. 3:24: They are justified freely because they have not done anything nor given anything in return, but by faith alone they have been made holy by the gift of God.

18. Ambrosiaster (again), on Rom. 3:27: Paul tells those who live under the law that they have no reason to boast basing themselves on the law and claiming to be of the race of Abraham, seeing that no one is justified before God except by faith.

19. Cyril of Alexandria (412-444): For we are justified by faith, not by works of the law, as Scripture says (Gal. 2:16). By faith in whom, then, are we justified? Is it not in him who suffered death according to the flesh for our sake? Is it not in one Lord Jesus Christ.

20. Cyril of Alexandria (again): For truly the compassion from beside the Father is Christ, as he takes away the sins, dismisses the charges and justifies by faith, and recovers the lost and makes [them] stronger than death. . . . For by him and in him we have known the Father, and we have become rich in the justification by faith.

21. Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532) commenting on Eph. 2:8: The blessed Paul argues that we are saved by faith, which he declares to be not from us but a gift from God. Thus there cannot possibly be true salvation where there is no true faith, and, since this faith is divinely enabled, it is without doubt bestowed by his free generosity.


Thanks to, for these quotes.

This list may not be 100% accurate or authoritative…but you get the point.



“What’s up with Lutherans?”


Kevin DeYoung wants to where Lutherans are.  Why are they not out in the open alongside their Evangelical brethren?

Where are the speakers? Where are the leading Lutheran theologians? What’s going on in Lutheranism?

(sometimes I ask myself those same questions)

Anyway, if you’d like to go there and add your 2 cents:

click here to get to Kevin DeYoung’s blog :


Thanks to, for the photo.


Three differences between Lutheranism and Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and virtually all other Protestant denominations

This class is on ‘ The Lutheran Difference’.  Pastor Mark is teaching from and expounding on a piece written by the late Dr. George Forell.

Dr. Forell maintained that there were three main differences that distinguished Lutherans from almost all other Christian denominations.




Listen in to hear what these 3 differences are:

         click here>  Three distinct differences in Lutheranism


Dr. Forell just recently went to be with the Lord, April 29th, 2011.



Thanks to flickr and elcaarchives, for the photo.


Any thoughts?


This is Mike McKinley who has just written a new book titled “Am I Really a Christian“.


 What do you think?


How do you know that ‘YOU’ are really a Christian?


In fairness to Mike McKinley, I am putting up this piece that he has written about the subject, so that you can get a better idea of his thinking on the matter.

It’s here:

 Here’s another link that may be helpful in understanding exactly what Mike McKinley means : (provided for us by Jay in the comments section of this post)



  Hat tip to 9Marks blog for this video.


Are you truly free in Christ?

IMGP6872 by Alexbraum

Are you truly free in Christ, or is that freedom qualified in some way? Maybe some little tiny way?

Jesus Christ, and Him alone.  (Word and Sacrament)

He is the Word, and He is the Sacraments. Since He commanded that we baptize, He is the Baptizer. Since He commanded that we eat His body and blood, He is the body and blood.

So what about the add on’s?

There are Popes and Bishops ordained in historic episcopacy. There are good works. There are decisions for Jesus, and there is your ‘serious effort’. There are inerrant Bibles, and there are uses of the law other than to expose us and drive us to Christ. There are annointings of the Holy Spirit. There are speaking in tongues. There are fruits of the Spirit. There’s membership in particular churches who alone know the truth. I’m quite sure there are many things which I missed that people say are necessary for one to be a true Christian.

Can you think of others? And are some of these folks correct? Is there a little bit more that we need to add to Christ and His finished work?



Thanks to flickr and Alexbraum, for the photo.