How Lutherans Sort Out the Christian Life

Reformation Sunday ......... by fyrrylikka

 

 

 

 

From the Cross-Alone-website. 

 

Paul: “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14).

Luther: “One thing is sure: We cannot pin our hope on anything that we are, think, say, or do” (Smalcald Articles III/III:39; Tappert, p. 309).

Forde: “[T]he Christian life will be hidden from this world and inexplicable to it. Sometimes –perhaps most of the time—the Christian life will appear to follow quite ordinary, unspectacular courses no doubt too ordinary for the world. But sometimes it will appear to go quite contrary to what the world would deem wise, prudent, or even ethical. Why should costly ointment be wasted on Jesus? Would it not be better to sell it and give to the poor? . . . Why should a Christian participate in an assassination plot? . . . The Christian life is tuned to the eschatological vision, not to the virtues and heroics of this world…The attempt to break the hiddenness is precisely the dangerous thing” (“The Christian Life,” Christian Dogmatics, 2:441).

Bonhoeffer: “I thought I could acquire faith by trying to live a holy life, or something like it. . . . I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman (a so-called priestly type!), a righteous man or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes, and failures” (Letters and Papers, 7/21/44).

Oberman: “The ‘joyful exchange’ of which Luther speaks does not lead to the sweet experience described by Staupitz, for in the battle with the Devil there is no rest, no peace, and no visible success” (Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, p.184).

Harrisville: “The hallmark of apocalyptic, ancient or modern, is visibility, the persuasion that God will be visibly manifest at the end of days for judgment or salvation. From this apocalyptic persuasion Paul came to his encounter with Jesus Christ.  What occurred to that persuasion in the encounter can only be described as a fracture, reflected in his heralding of the appearance of the ‘day of God’ in the event of Jesus Christ as received by faith. . . . No visible, demonstrable change in human existence or human history occurred with it. . . . The cross, by which God appeared under the sign of visibility’s opposite, established the ‘new creation’ as hidden. This hiddenness and its resulting ambiguity distinguish Paul’s eschatology from that apocalyptic persuasion to which he had originally held (“The Eschatological Significance of Justification for Preaching,” By Faith Alone, p. 301).

Juel: “We do not believe there is a single heavenly code which religious people know better than others. ‘Natural law,’ through which God ordains order, is embodied in human codes – some better, some worse . . . . In our deliberations, the wisdom of Scripture and the tradition cannot be cited as “God’s answer” to the matter, but neither ought that wisdom be summarily dismissed as irrelevant or outdated” (“Homosexuality and Church Tradition,” Word & World, X:2 [1990] p. 167).

Grane: “Justification by faith does not make human efforts futile or unimportant, just as it would be a misunderstanding to think that a Christian point of view should involve separating ourselves from all people who want to do something in the world.  On the contrary, justification by faith means the freedom to endure justification’s confusion with [ethical] idealism because one’s life does not depend on works, and because there are no Christian works. . . . Faith remains hidden to the human eye. . . . The relationship between justification by faith and ethics does not imply a new ethic, but it makes us free to distinguish between good and evil and to act accordingly without any wish to obtain anything” (“Justification by Faith? An Unguarded Essay,” By Faith Alone, p. 39).

Käsemann: “Neither the scriptures nor the world can be adequately grasped except through belief in the justification of the ungodly. . . . Justification and salvation history belong together. But everything depends on the right co-ordination of the two.  Just as the church must not take precedence over Christ, but must be Christ-determined without itself determining Christ, so salvation history must not take precedence over justification. It is its sphere. But justification remains the centre, the beginning and the end of salvation history. Otherwise the cross of Jesus would also inevitably lose its central position and then everything would be distorted – anthropology and ecclesiology as well as Christology and soteriology” (Perspectives on Paul, pp. 75-76).

Lønning: “Everything in the universe of Luther’s Reformation stands or falls with the thesis of the clarity of Holy Scripture. . . .The function of the thesis of the clarity of Scripture, however, is only properly recognized when the essential content has been somewhat correctly determined.  For Luther it is not a question, as is later the case with Orthodox dogmatists, of the quality of transparency (perspicuitas), which statements of Scripture should in a specific way have. Rather, the expression claritas scripturae should be understood quite unambiguously from the contrast between light and darkness and the imagery associated with these two concepts. . . . It is decisive, however, that all the key teachings of Scripture (res scripturae) lie in bright daylight. This has been so since Christ’s resurrection: the incarnation, the doctrine of the Trinity, the atonement, the Lordship of Christ, all these have become accessible through the fact that Holy Scripture henceforth is presented as the pure proclamation of Christ and only as this” (“ ‘No Other Gospel’: Luther’s Concept of the ‘Middle of Scripture’ in Its Significance for Ecumenical Communion and Christian Confession Today,” Luther’s Ecumenical Significance, pp. 233-34).

Lindberg: “The idea of an order of God, the goal of which is personal renewal, displaced justification as the mid-point of Pietist theology . . . Luther, on the other hand, remains with an ongoing battle between the old and new person which is never transformed into a visible victory on earth. . . To Luther the gospel is radical good news because it is the proclamation of salvation not a program for salvation” (“Justice and Injustice in Luther’s Judgment of ‘Holiness Movements,’” Luther’s Ecumenical Significance, p. 172).

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Yes…St. Paul was a Lutheran. When you get up there you can ask him yourself. 🙄  

Thanks to flickr and fyrrylikka, for the photo.

And thanks to Anne K., for the little guy with the eyes. (she taught me how)

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The Sermon on the Mount

From Bible Gateway12253 - Vatican - The Sermon on the Mount by Rosselli by xiquinhosilva

 

Matthew 5-7 (New International Version)

 

Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

 13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

 14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

 17“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. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder

 21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

 25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.[d]

Adultery

 27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’[e] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Divorce

 31“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

 33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye

 38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6

Giving to the Needy

 1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

 2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

 5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 9“This, then, is how you should pray:
   ” ‘Our Father in heaven,
   hallowed be your name,
 10your kingdom come,
   your will be done
      on earth as it is in heaven.
 11Give us today our daily bread.
 12Forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 13And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from the evil one.[j]14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Fasting

 16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Treasures in Heaven

 19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

 24“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Do Not Worry

 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[k]?

 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 7

Judging Others

 1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 6“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock

 7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 9“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

 13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit

 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders

 24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

 

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OK…  how are you doing?

Do you think there are some good principles for Christian living contained in that sermon?

Was that Jesus’ purpose? To get us on track to a better, more fullfilling spirituality? To make us better?

 

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Insufficient Evidence?

Edward Weaver by angus mcdiarmid

 

If you were accused of the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

 

‘If you are ashamed of me before men, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.’   (paraphrased  Mark 8:38)

 

 

Finger Pointers

“Well, you just can’t live anyway you want!”

Is that right? 

Funny, you seem to be doing exactly that. You say that Christians can’t live anyway they want, but then you go right on committing the same sins over and over again, and omitting the same works for the neighbor over and over again.

So which is it? Can you, or can’t you just live anyway you want? And if not, then when are you going to get with the program?

And don’t you think your time would be better spent focusing on yourself, rather than worrying so much about Joe and Mary in the pew in front of you?

  

  

Just a few questions  😀

 

 

 

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