‘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.

16 Responses

  1. Hi Steve,

    You say, “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.”

    My questions for you are – Where do you derive this information from? and How do you know with certainty that this information is true?

  2. Stuart,

    Forgive me, but I had to chuckle when I first read your questions.

    I have been debating the Roman Catholics on this very issues over at ‘Shameless Popery’ and they ask me the SAME questions.

    My answer is that the Word has revealed to me, and grabbed a hold of me. Much in the same way that it grabbed a hold of St. Paul, and Peter and the others who were Christians without the benefit of a Bible as we know it.

    We really do have a different doctrine of the Word.

    Late for church. Gotta run. Be back in the late afternoon.


  3. Steve,

    The Roman Catholics also believe and teach the Trinity and the Deity of Christ, but I would not for that reason reject those doctrines. Also, while Paul and Peter did not have the Bible in its fullness as we now do, they did come to faith by the objective external Word of God just as we do (Rom. 10:17), and highly commended others for “searching the Scriptures to see if these things were so” (Acts 17). They subjected their own authority to the trustworthy testimony and authority of Scripture.

    If we are dependent upon subjective revelations apart from the verifiable Word of God for our ground of authority and certainty, I think we are in trouble. This would not be Lutheran, but crass enthusiasm, the very thing Luther opposed. Luther writes, “And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word. All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit…. In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, and strength of all heresy, especially that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and the Sacrament.” (Trigl. 495, Part III, Art. VIII, 3-10).

    To give a personal testimony – if I had not had recourse to the inerrant external verifiable written Word of God when I was caught up in hyper-Calvinism, I would most likely still be in it today to the loss of my eternal soul. When it came to extricating me from this diabolical snare, each and every Word of the Bible became crucial to me. If there are errors in the Bible, we are set loose on a sea of subjectivity, and not one of us can know anything with certainty . “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3).

    • Stuart,

      The Catholics want to know how we can know? They want us to realize that it is the Roman Catholic Church alone who has authority to interpret Scripture.

      Many Protestants want to place all authority in a Book. (a paper pope)

      The Lutheran way is to ascribe all authority to the Word. (see above)

      The Lutheran way actually requires faith, while looking to a book that one knows is absolutely perfect and without any error, requires NO faith, whatsover. It’s sort of the same way that Muslims view the Koran.

      Lutherans know that the Bible is the Word of God…ALL of it…but do not need a perfect book because we know how God operates in a world that is fallen. He uses the fallen to make known His righteousness and to create faith.

      The Word (see above) is external. Where in the world would you get “enthusiasm” out of what I described above?

      If anything, our view is a view of a larger God. One who is not dependent on a book that is perfect, but who uses the finite to carry the infinite.

      As Luther rightly believed, we believe. That “the BIble is the cradle that the Christ child is laid in.”

      If you think about it a little bit, it makes sense.(not that it has to)

      We hold the Bible to be the Word of God (one of the ways God reveals it) and we believe it is all true. Even though we see areas that do not jive completely with what we know to be true today. (such as the flat earth described in Genesis) Were if someone to confront us about that we don’t hyperventilate and go through gyrations to resolve any apparent contradictions. We can just say, that is what those folks at that time believed. It in no way takes away anything at all from the veracity of God’s Word and the forgiveness of sins for us through the cross of Jesus.

      It is actually quite liberating.

  4. No objections here

  5. Steve,

    I have to admit that I don’t at all follow your train of thought here, so I can only summarize what I understand from the discussion so far.

    1. You state, “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, etc…

    2. You say, “Bibles without errors are not necessary.”

    3. I ask, “If Bibles w/out errors are not necessary, then where did you derive your point #1 about Jesus, and how do you know those assertions are true?

    4. You answer, “that the Word has revealed to me, and grabbed a hold of me… without the benefit of a Bible…”

    5. Since this Word you speak of is not the objective external written Word (the Bible), then I must assume this Word to be a personal visitation of Christ (the Word) via a personal subjective revelation. That is exactly what Luther referred to and condemned as “enthusiasm”, as found in the Anabaptists of that day.

    Please correct me where I am misunderstanding you. That is what your words seem to be communicating to me.



    • I heard it from a preacher…and believed it. I was baptized into it.

      I tasted it in the bread and the wine. AND I read it in the Bible.

      Just because Genesis says the world is flat doesn’t mean that the gospel which is in the SAME book is not true.

  6. If my pastor tells me he’s going to show up and help me paint my house…and then he doesn’t…

    …does that mean I can’t trust the gospel when he preaches it?


  7. Steve,

    First of all, what verse in Genesis teaches that the world is flat? I don’t remember ever seeing that.

    Secondly, if you heard this saving Word from the preacher, then where did the preacher get it from if not from the external verifiable written Word of God?

    Thirdly, if a preacher tells me some things that are true and other things that are false, I will not be entrusting my soul to such a man. Nor could I entrust my soul to a Bible that is supposedly riddled with errors. Sorry.

  8. Stuart,

    Genesis 1 describes lights hung in a dome that covers the earth. (to keep the waters from coming down).

    That is the view the ancient people’s had of the earth. That was their understanding. NO problem for us.

    My pastor heard it from another preacher. “Faith comes by hearing”. And of course, we believe the Bible, because the Word is in it.

    Jesus said that “all men are liars”. Do then, how would you be able to
    trust any preacher?
    We trust in the Word. We don’t put our trust in the sinner who preaches it. That is what the Roman Church does.

  9. Steve,

    You make a bit of a caricature of Genesis 1, as it doesn’t speak of “a dome”, nor of God “hanging lights:, nor “to keep the waters from coming down”, nor of a “flat earth”. Rather Genesis 1 accurately describes the history of how God created the world and all that is in it in six literal 24 hour days, as both Moses and Jesus later give testimony to (Ex. 20:11; Matt. 19:4). To question the historicity of Genesis 1 is to question the veracity of Christ Himself.

    When I ask, “if you heard this saving Word from the preacher, then where did the preacher get it from if not from the external verifiable written Word of God?” You say, “My pastor heard it from another preacher.” That may be true, but where did the other preacher hear it? Is it not fair to say that ultimately this knowledge of the Gospel is derived from the Scriptures themselves?

    Finally, you are correct that “all men are liars”, and for that reason we cannot place our trust or confidence in any one of them. We can only trust the external verifiable written Word of God. The words of all men, including the most esteemed preachers, must be evaluated and judged against the touch-stone of the written Word of God (the Bible).

    Luther writes, “Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it… For if you insist on judging according to what you see and feel… then God’s Word is not in your heart, but by your own thoughts, reason, and musings you have smothered and extinguished it. In short, if you will not esteem the Word above all your feelings, eyes, senses, and heart, you will inevitably be lost, and there is no help for you” (St. L. VIII:1102.)

  10. Stuart,

    I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me on the Genesis interpretation. When we look at the accounts of the flood we further see talk of the windows of Heaven opening up and letting the water in. This is more or less describing a dome (firmament). You read the Bible literally and we don’t.

    Also in Genesis, are the two flood accounts:

    These differing accounts might drive an inerrantist baty trying to convince someone that they REALLY are exactly the same. But it doesn’t bother us at all, because we don’t need a perfect, inerrant accounting in Scripture to have a perfect, infallible Word that we can trust absolutely.

    Right, “Cling to the Word”. That is what we do. We don’t cling to the
    Bible, although we trust it. We cling to the Word.

    If the Lord can use sinful men (all of us, including the most pious preacher) to proclaim His Word, and thereby create faith in the hearing of that Word, then He certainly does not require a perfect, inerrant book to do the same thing.

    Different takes on what the Word actually is.

    I know you believe that your take is correct. And we believe that ours gives God a bit more credit and is a picture of how God actually works in the ordinary things of life.

    Thanks, Stuart.

  11. Steve,

    Thanks for a gracious discussion, though we don’t agree on this point. I do think that your position is dangerous to you, and thus it is only out of Christian love that I have engaged with you on this. I also assume that there are others looking in, and I have felt a responsibility to answer your points for their sake. But this is all to say that I do appreciate your friendship, and have meant nothing personal, but only to edify one another in the Christian faith as best I understand.

    God’s blessings to you,


  12. I appreciate your friendship, also, Stuart. Thank you.

    The reason that I even brings these things up is to try and lift up Christ Jesus, and Him alone…with no add on’s.

    I don’t see our point of view as dangerous, but liberating and fostering a greater faith in the One who died for us sinners.

    As I have said before, we believe that that Bible is the Word of God…all of it is. We don’t throw out God’s law (as many liberals do) and we hold to the pure gospel.

    All that said, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Knowing full well that we agree on most of our Lutheran doctrine and that we share a knowledge and love for our dear Savior.

    God’s Peace and blessings to you, my friend.


  13. Here is a well thought out article which should throw some fuel on the fire.

    Click to access bayeronscripture.pdf

  14. Thanks, Pastor Mark.

    I look forward to reading it tomorrow am.

    Gotta hit the hay now.

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