How does God work in the Sacraments? Through ordinary means….WHAT!?

0112 by artusk

I’ve mentioned this Lutheran principle many times in the last several days. Pastor Mark unpacks this idea as he reads from and expounds on the late Dr. George Forell’s piece titled, “Why Bother with Lutherans?”





 Listen to 5 minutes of this one:

click here>The finite contains the infinite 



Thanks, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to flickr and artusk, for the photo.

(notice the halo around the pastor’s head and the glowing water that has never before been on earth)



If I could pick a Bible with a perfect, inerrant text, or a Bible that was both a product of man and God, and all that that entails…I would pick the Bible that is a product of both God and the ordinary. Does not God come to us through ordinary means that he attaches His Word to? Isn’t that the Lutheranism, the Christianity that walks by faith? Is that NOT how God works through His preachers and His Sacraments?

I’d rather be a Lutheran than a Southern Baptist/Calvinist/Pentecostal/Evangelical/Non-Denom.,  anyday.

Are not those poor folks constantly looking for proof, over and above walking by faith? Those folks NEED inerrant texts. We do not. We have the Word…Christ alone…and that is enough.   That is enough.

I think it was Luther who said if he saw a vision of Jesus Christ he would tell Him to get lost.


At least listen to the first 5 minutes of the class, above. Whether you agree or disagree…you will have a better of understanding of why we believe as we do.




4 Responses

  1. A great many of my friends, including many who regularly visit this blog, would like for me to become a Southern Baptist/Lutheran.

    I appreciate the sentiment and realize that they sincerely believe they want this for my own good and that ‘I just don’t understand’.

    I think it is they who don’t understand that our God works through ordinary earthly means to accomplish His extraordinary purposes. And this idea is very, very Lutheran.

    That MANY have abused it is not the issue. It does not have to be abused when one is willing to take the middle ground…which is Christ Himself.

  2. dear steve,

    I would not be troubled even if someone turned up something that is an obvious and certain error and contradiction in the bible. No problem. this is exactly for exactly the reason you stated.

    but I have yet to see a single example of that Steve. Yawn

    at the same time, I would hesitate,… no … I would actually, never ever challenge someone who says they believe that the bible in the original manuscripts is without error. why would I do that?

    now. it is not the bible that saves us, any more than baptism , according to the outward act or the holy supper, saves us. it is just paper and ink apart from the holy gospel. but then Faith simply cant separate that paper and ink or that water or that bread and wine from the word that is in with and under them really.

    It is unbelief that can consider the outward Word and sacraments isolated from the Promise that God has placed in with and under these earthly things .

    I would also ;point out that the Preaching of the Word, the great commission, baptism and the holy supper are Ordinances of Christ. they are Law. they are commanded by Christ to be done. and we should fear God and know that he will send punishments upon us if we do not do his will here and faithfully do all he has commanded us to do here. So here we agree actually more with your southern baptist friends than with the presbyterians , who overly spiritualize these things and use wording that makes them sound more like Lutherans as to their words and practice, but actually, not so miuch!

    what your baptist friends do is what some do with the word of God. “It is the words of men and it is flawed. so how can it be the Word of God? it is not really. and they are right. it is just paper and ink. but in with and under that, and only there, one will find Christ. Christ will be found no where else except in with and under this outward thing. And we dare not separate the two even by a single hairs width.

    So while I agree that we should push back against bilicism or bibliolatry, we should take care to not commit the other error of separating the outward commanded thing which is where God has , alone, place his Promise. Faith clings to that Promise that is ONLY located in that outward Law and perishable thing where he has placed it, and Faith receives the Promised Mercy right there , in with and under that earthly thing that we can mark with that glow pink highlighter.

    Lets not make the same mistake with Gods word that the calvinists made with the Holy Supper and Baptism ok?

  3. Christ our dear ;Lord had no problem at all quoting the standard Jewish phrase “the scriptures cannot be broken” .

    I get and agree wtih what your guys are trying to do. But I am not sure that they are going about it in the wisest way.

    the better way is the way of the Confessions and the two Kingdoms doctrine and Law and Gospel. this is all based on pauls romans 8 two categories of flesh and spirit. paul says that ALL that we can see and do in our bodies will perish with the earth. this includes the law and the gospel even (FC art VI) and the administration of word and sacrament, and our best righteousness and baptism. and yes. it includes the printed word of God., I dont picture the resurrection having stacks of catechisms and bibles and people studying them. this will all be written in their hearts… they will have Christ.

    so we see the bible and the visible church and the sacraments as all things that will perish. romans 8 flesh. and then , in with and under those things is the word of God and the faith this creates that will endure forever along with all who have their Life there. alone in Christ.

    why not just teach this this way? it would be confessional. then we are not taking up an argument between liberal and conservative reformed that is really of no interest to lutherans.

  4. Exactly, Frank.

    We know how it is that God works. He is actually present in ORDINARY MEANS.

    The Calvinists elevate reason to a deity. Lutherans don’t need to do the same with a book.

    No Southern Baptist doctrine of the Word, for me, for Pastor Mark, for Jim Nestingen, for Gerhard Forde, nor for Martin Luther.

    I don’t belong with that esteemed group but I sure have learned a lot from them.

    Thanks, my friend.

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