The Lutheran view of the Word.

This is a quick (under 10 min.), but very informative pastor’s class:

Listen to > The Lutheran view of the Word


Thanks, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to, for the photo.








Don’t be frightened



Don’t be afraid. Don’t get scared and run back into yourself trying to find the assurance of your salvation.

Many have sent me quotations from their confessions that say that we need to look inward for our assurance. I say, “bunk”. What assurance could anyone possibly have by looking at themselves to see evidence that they really are a Christian and are of ‘the elect’?

Abandon that project of ‘the self’ and look to the external Word and sacraments…alone. Don’t put your trust in anything but the finished work of Christ on the Cross for real sinners.

Faith in your faith won’t do it. Faith in your church won’t do it. Faith in your “decision for Christ” or your “evidence” won’t do it.

But faith in God will do it (give you assurance and freedom). Faith in God and trusting in what He has done for you, in real time, in your own personal history, will do it. 

He came to you, He comes to you in your Baptism. A concrete act of crucifixion and resurrection in your own life. Actually DONE TO YOU. 

He comes to you in His Supper. Applying the Cross to you, yet again. Actually putting His body inside of your body and doing His forgiveness to you, yet again. Giving you His very essence. His very life. You can trust in these real, tangible events that happen to you in real time and space. 

He comes to you in your hearing of His preached Word. Real sound waves that carry His Word of law and of promise…hitting your ears and going right into your heart and head.

Don’t go mucking around in the etherial spiritualities of …up there …somewhere. Don’t go foraging around in the dumpsters of your obedience to the law or evidences that you think you see to verify that you really are His. And don’t waste your time with the religious hucksters that will not offer you the assurance and the freedom that Christ so dearly won for you on that bloody Cross, but who instead send you back inside of yourself for evidence.

Go to the font. Go to His table. Listen to His Living Word…actually DONE to you…in your ears and on your skin, and on your tongue.


You ARE a child of the Living God. You CAN KNOW that you ARE SAVED…totally APART from anything that ‘YOU DO’, or anything that YOU SAY, or anything that YOU FEEL, or anything that YOU THINK.


   You truly ARE “FREE IN CHRIST”!





Thanks to flickr and Samara May Knight, for the photo.


‘The External Word’


Understanding the importance of the external Word is not just important…it is VERY IMPORTANT in understanding how the gospel is best appropriated so that the sinner (you and I) might have the assurance of our salvation.

Jesus thought it so important that he commanded these external means of grace for us, so that we would not be left unto ourselves and our own feelings, or our own whatevers of being saved.

The Word of God ONLY comes to us ‘externally’.  So it’s a good thing that we understand how to appropriate it in the way that it is given.

There are a couple of related topics (it’s all related) discussed in this fairly short class on ‘the external Word’, so tune in and enjoy the fun.  It may be fun…but it’s serious fun:


            click > The External Word




Thanks for teaching this class, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to all the participants in the class. And thank you, dear Old Adam visitor, for stopping by and passing along what you think might be helpful to someone else.

And thanks to flickr and jwinterscom, for the photo.



If you don’t have 30 minutes to listen to the class today, then take 1 minute  and go read this daily devotional:







How Humanism in the church after the Reformation has led to a denial of the Sacraments


The external Word.  The Sacraments.  Humanism and reason.  Luther at Heidelberg.


click How humanism has led to a theology of glory and a denial of the Sacraments


A very interesting class and discussion. The ‘Sweathogs’ in Pastor Mark’s class weren’t too disruptive this time.  Just a little , near the end of the class.




Thanks, Pastor Mark.
And thank you, Brent, for not asking too many questions.
Also, thanks to flickr and amras_de, for the photo.




‘The Concrete Spirit’

 from Lutherans-online


Luther’s Use of Larvae Dei: the Concrete Spirit


As a result of man’s sin, the Spirit cannot dwell among us otherwise than in physical things. God could have saved the human race in another way but it is His will to save fallen mankind through external means and to reveal Himself to us in this way (LW 6:128). It is in these forms that the Holy Spirit is clearly exhibited to our eyes (LW 4:121). Therefore, since the Holy Spirit works nothing without externals, it is the responsibility of mankind to apprehend Him where and in what manner He has chosen to make Himself known (LW 4:144). Yet, not every visible or external thing reveals God. Luther believed that only in Christ, and in the forms instituted by Him, does God reveal Himself to man. In the earthly medium of the Incarnation, the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, God is clothed and meets us through these external means. They are the God-given means of knowing God. “They are places where He reveals Himself and where He is present” (Bornkamm 1958:98).

In His goodness, God chose to reveal Himself in these physical, concrete and tangible forms. Luther offers five reasons why God comes to us through His concrete Spirit. They are as follows:

(1) Since the beginning of the world, divine wisdom has so ordained and arranged things that there is always some public sign toward which all people might look, in order that they might find, worship, and pray to the true God and be saved (LW 3:107).

(2) These outward and visible signs have been placed alongside the Word so that men, “reminded by the outward sign and work or Sacrament, would believe with greater assurance that God is kind and merciful” (LW 1:248). By means of these visible signs of grace, God shows us that He is with us, takes care of us, and is favorably inclined toward us (LW 3:109).

“I have always displayed Myself to the eyes and ears of men in such a way that they could have become aware of My presence in the sacrifices, in circumcision, in burning incense, in the cloud, in the Red Sea, in the manna, in the brazen serpent, in the tabernacle of Moses, in the temple of Solomon, and in the cloud. And it was My delight to display and reveal Myself in this manner to the children of men” (LW 1:248).

“In the same way the very Word, Baptism, and the Eucharist are our lightbearers today, toward which we look as dependable tokens of the sun of grace. We can state with certainty that where the Eucharist, Baptism, and the Word are, there are Christ, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life” (LW 1:249).

(3) He presents Himself to us in these visible forms in order that we might be kept from degenerating into the erratic and vagabond spirits who boast of visions, revelations, and enlightenment and follow them (LW 2:46). Since we cannot ascend to Him, He has chosen to come to us and reveal Himself within the range of our comprehension (LW 2:47) so that He can be found and known. The true God is not a wandering God but has limited Himself to a place and certain external forms.

As God has provided reliable, concrete marks of His presence, so it is the mark of all false spirits to cast aside the external Word and signs (LW 24:69) and to tell God how He must deal with them (LW 24:69). As a result, they place God and His externals in heaven and devise their own externals (LW 24:69). Yet these fluttering spirits lead us, not to God, but to the devil (LW 6:128).

(4) As God comes to us in these concrete forms, He deals with us in a twofold manner, FIRST OUTWARDLY, THEN INWARDLY. He draws us outwardly through Christ’s Word and the Gospel and inwardly through the Holy Spirit (LW 23:94).

“Outwardly He deals with us through the oral Word of the Gospel and through material signs, that is, baptism and the Sacrament of the altar. Inwardly He deals with us through the Holy Spirit, faith and other gifts. But whatever their measure of order the outward factors should and must precede. The inward experience follows and is effected by the outward. God has determined to give the inward to no one except through the outward. For He wants to give no one the Spirit or faith outside of the outward Word and sign instituted by Him…Observe carefully, my brother, this order, for everything depends on it” (LW 40:146).

(5) He comes to us in the Word, the Sacraments, and the Keys in order to prepare us for His second coming and to remind His people that, until He comes, they are the true church (LW 4:402).

Therefore, in order that God might be known and comprehended, the Spirit of Christ meets us in simple, earthly, and concrete ways. These concrete forms of the Holy Spirit are God’s way to us and a rejection of every way from man to God. They are the common epiphanies or appearances for all Christians (LW 3:168). When God comes to us, He does not hide Himself in a corner but He appears publicly before us all. When we get to heaven, concludes Luther, we shall see God differently but here we see Him enveloped in an image, namely, in His Word and Sacraments.