Author Topic: Sola Scriptura  (Read 11762 times)

Don Whitbeck

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #120 on: May 19, 2012, 04:09:23 AM »
What I am curious about is why the Exhortation and the Absolution we have been discussing were made part of the Service.  In the hymnals printed between 1917 and 1958 that I have in my library, they were part of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness that was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday. 

On the other hand, I do not see either included in the order of worship for the Lord's Supper.  In The Lutheran Hymnal, the SBH, The Common Service Book and Hymnal, and the American Lutheran Hymnal, the brief order of confession and forgiveness that is part of the service of Holy Communion is the same.  It says:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son the die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  The them that believe on His name, he giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I wonder why in attempting to reclaim the Common Service, the Reclaim Hymnal alters that by inserting portions of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness in the Sunday worship service, rather than including a separate order for use as the earlier hymnals did.

I grew up on that confession. At my confirmation class, I was taught that it was as important to believe as it was to be baptized, but that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith, as we need it, when we ask for it. I was taught that was why we availed ourselves of the Means of Grace, that our faith might be renewed and replenished.
 
Apparently, I was taught wrong, because in another thread I was told we're given the gift of faith at Baptism, and we need do nothing more ever again for the rest of our entire lives. We don't have to maintain or nurture our faith. We don't really need to even believe.


Apparently, I was taught wrong, because in another thread I was told we're given the gift of faith at Baptism, and we need do nothing more ever again for the rest of our entire lives. We don't have to maintain or nurture our faith. We don't really need to even believe.

I agree, and more confused.
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Lutheranistic

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #121 on: May 19, 2012, 07:42:40 AM »
Quote
He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I guess I've always read this as an assurance of salvation, not a condition for it; it's a promise of joy rather than fear.

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #122 on: May 19, 2012, 07:44:44 AM »
What I am curious about is why the Exhortation and the Absolution we have been discussing were made part of the Service.  In the hymnals printed between 1917 and 1958 that I have in my library, they were part of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness that was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday. 

On the other hand, I do not see either included in the order of worship for the Lord's Supper.  In The Lutheran Hymnal, the SBH, The Common Service Book and Hymnal, and the American Lutheran Hymnal, the brief order of confession and forgiveness that is part of the service of Holy Communion is the same.  It says:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son the die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  The them that believe on His name, he giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I wonder why in attempting to reclaim the Common Service, the Reclaim Hymnal alters that by inserting portions of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness in the Sunday worship service, rather than including a separate order for use as the earlier hymnals did.

I grew up on that confession. At my confirmation class, I was taught that it was as important to believe as it was to be baptized, but that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith, as we need it, when we ask for it. I was taught that was why we availed ourselves of the Means of Grace, that our faith might be renewed and replenished.
 
Apparently, I was taught wrong, because in another thread I was told we're given the gift of faith at Baptism, and we need do nothing more ever again for the rest of our entire lives. We don't have to maintain or nurture our faith. We don't really need to even believe.

Why, if one is given the gift of faith, would the Holy Spirit not want to nurture, grow, sustain, and multiply that faith? That is after all His purpose....

And I really am at a loss to understand how one has been given faith and does not believe......

I think it still boils down to "ears to hear"

Lou

Weedon

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #123 on: May 19, 2012, 09:28:01 AM »
I think the problem is thinking of faith as possession.  Think of faith like air, like food, like water.  You can always receive it, and God always delights to give it, but you can't "possess" it.  And so the explanation to the 3rd Article in the Catechism is so important.  Not "I believe that I COULD NOT believe in Jesus Christ...but the Holy Spirit."  Rather, "I believe that I CANNOT...believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit."  The Spirit delights to continue to pour into us the gift of faith as He continues to give us air to breathe and food to eat and water to drink.  We literally live by reception in the natural realm; and we live by reception in the Spiritual realm. 

Team Hesse

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #124 on: May 19, 2012, 10:44:29 AM »
I think the problem is thinking of faith as possession.  Think of faith like air, like food, like water.  You can always receive it, and God always delights to give it, but you can't "possess" it.  And so the explanation to the 3rd Article in the Catechism is so important.  Not "I believe that I COULD NOT believe in Jesus Christ...but the Holy Spirit."  Rather, "I believe that I CANNOT...believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit."  The Spirit delights to continue to pour into us the gift of faith as He continues to give us air to breathe and food to eat and water to drink.  We literally live by reception in the natural realm; and we live by reception in the Spiritual realm.

Amen and thank you

Lou

DCharlton

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #125 on: May 19, 2012, 10:50:53 AM »
David,

Those exhortations and conditional absolutions are solidly rooted in the earliest Lutheran liturgies.  What is of interest is that in private absolution there was no such retention; I think it was a bit of discomfort over the possibility of strengthening a hardened sinner in impenitence that lead to the regular public use of the retention and of the communion exhortations.

Is there any history of the use of exhortations and conditional absolutions in the LCMS?  What influence did/does the Common Service had in the LCMS? 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #126 on: May 19, 2012, 11:59:34 AM »
David,

Those exhortations and conditional absolutions are solidly rooted in the earliest Lutheran liturgies.  What is of interest is that in private absolution there was no such retention; I think it was a bit of discomfort over the possibility of strengthening a hardened sinner in impenitence that lead to the regular public use of the retention and of the communion exhortations.


I don't find them in the liturgies that Luther wrote; nor do I find them as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.


The absolution Luther gives in the Small Catechism for private confession:


God be gracious to you and strengthen your faith. Amen.
Do you also believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness!
     Yes, dear sir.
Let it be done for you according to your faith. And I by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ forgive you your sin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Go in peace. [BoC, K&W, pp. 361-2]

"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #127 on: May 19, 2012, 12:05:09 PM »
Apparently, I was taught wrong, because in another thread I was told we're given the gift of faith at Baptism, and we need do nothing more ever again for the rest of our entire lives. We don't have to maintain or nurture our faith. We don't really need to even believe.


Where in the other thread did anyone say "we need do nothing more ever again"?


The analogy I use is that baptism is like birth. We had nothing to do with our birth, but that certainly is not the end of our life in the world. It's the beginning. With the proper nurture, we grow in many ways: size, knowledge, responsibility, decision-making, strength, etc. but none of that growth makes us more alive than at the moment we took our first breath outside the womb. None of that growth changes the DNA we were given at conception. None of that growth changes the relationship between parent and child.


Growth and maturity is only natural for human beings, but an 80-year-old is not more human than a 8-second-old infant.


The faith given in baptism needs to be nurtured and we will naturally grow in many ways: our knowledge of God, God's Word, our Confessions; our responsibility and understanding about loving neighbors and being witnesses for Christ; the increasing awareness of the depth of our sinfulness and the breadth of God's graciousness; but none of that growth makes more Christian than we were at our baptisms. None of that gives us more faith/trust in God.


(Actually one of the problems is that the more we learn, the greater the temptation to start trusting our knowledge or our actions than the grace of God. Infants show us what complete trust is because they don't have our sophisticated understanding nor the ability to works.)


Our lives as children of God begin at our baptisms. Our lives in the faith begin at our baptisms. We spend the rest of our lives learning and responding to and appreciating what God did, is doing, and promises to do for us, his children.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 12:21:19 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Likeness

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #128 on: May 19, 2012, 12:06:23 PM »
Bo Giertz in his devotional "To Live With Christ"
labels Romans 8:1-11 as The Essence of Christianity.

The power of the Holy Spirit has set us free in Christ
Jesus from sin  and death.   Now we are to live and walk
according to the Spirit.  The Christian no longer lives a
life dominated by his flesh.  The Holy Spirit is the dominant
and decisive reality of our life.  The power of the Holy
Spirit is at work in us to give us new life in Christ.

The bottom line for me is this: As the Holy Spirit works
through God's Word and Sacraments, we are empowered
to live the Christian lifestyle.  We cannot make it on our
own good intentions in our spiritual lives.  We need the
power of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #129 on: May 19, 2012, 12:43:36 PM »

In today's gospel reading, Jesus tells us:

"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051912.cfm

At the same time, faith is a complete gift, one of the 'theologic virtues' of faith, hope and charity.  So how are we to understand this?  Is it that the faith to hear, believe, and respond to these words are gift, but that once received, our own action and response is fruitful?  Clearly Christ tells us here and elsewhere that we are to ask, and that we will receive, knock and the door will be opened, etc..  We have a part to play.

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #130 on: May 19, 2012, 12:48:14 PM »
Is there any history of the use of exhortations and conditional absolutions in the LCMS?  What influence did/does the Common Service had in the LCMS? 

Hi, David.  Here is a collection of absolutions from across Lutheran history.  It can give a feel for how these were done:

Absolutions:

Casamiriana (1626, Johann Gerhard)

The Almighty God has graciously had mercy upon you, and through the precious merits of the all-holy sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, He forgives you all your sins.  And I as an ordained Servant of the Christian Church announce this forgiveness of all of your sin to all of you who are truly repentant and who through faith place
all your trust upon the singular merits of Christ Jesus, and who intend to order your life according to the command and will of God, and who intend to make frequent use of the high and most worthy Supper of the true body and blood of Christ for the strengthening of your faith and the betterment of your lives, in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Amen.


But on the contrary I say on the basis of God’s Word and in the name of Jesus Christ to all unrepentant and unbelieving persons who despise God himself, His Word and the most holy Sacrament, that God has retained your sins and certainly will punish you with both temporal and eternal punishment if you do not turn and repent in the time of grace, which repentance we wish for you with all our heart.

This is from the Missouri Synod's 1856 Agenda in German and was put into English already in 1881 for Church Liturgy for Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.  In the Saxon tradition, the confession came immediately after the sermon and was introduced with:  Having now heard the Word of God, let us humble ourselves before His divine majesty and make a confession of our sins, saying:  O almighty God...  Then this absolution:

"Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servants of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you who heartily repent of your sins, believe on Jesus Christ, and sincerely and earnestly purpose by the assistance of God the Holy Ghost henceforth to amend your sinful lives, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of God + the Father, God + the Son, and God + the Holy Ghost.  Amen."

This is from Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel 1569, authored by Chemnitz and Andreae:

"The Almighty God has been merciful to you and through the merit of the most holy suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, He forgives you all your sins; and I, as an ordained servant of the Christian church, proclaim to all you who truly repent and who through faith place your trust and minds on the merit of Jesus Christ and who order your lives after the commands and will of God, the forgiveness of all your sin in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  On the contrary, however I say to any impenitent and unbelieving, according to God’s Word and in His name, that God has held your sin against you and this certainly is punished."

Contrast the above with this absolution from Heinrich Herzog 1539/40 which was intended for Private absolution.  This would be the private absolution, say, Bach would have heard: 

"The almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would be gracious and merciful to you. He wants to forgive you all your sins, and this because his dear Son Jesus Christ has suffered for them and died for them. In the name of that same Jesus Christ, because he has mandated me to do this, in the power of his words where he said: 'Whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven,' I say to you that all your sins are forgiven. They cannot hold you captive. They are altogether forgiven you as abundantly and completely as was won for you by Jesus Christ through his suffering and death, and which he commanded to be proclaimed in all the world through the Gospel, and this is now said to you, to comfort and strengthen you, as I now speak this to you in the name of the Lord Christ, for you to receive it gladly, setting your conscience at peace, as with a faith that cannot be shaken, your sins are surely forgiven you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Go forth in peace."

The LCMS Agendas did not contain the Exhortation to Communicants in the Divine Service until the adoption of the Common Service.  But Lutheran liturgy was replete with them across the centuries.  Here is one of my all time favorites, this from Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel 1569, authored by Chemnitz and Andreae.  Such exhortations in many ways partook of the nature of Eucharistic prayers in their rehearsal of salvation history.  This particular one bears rather striking similarity to the Petri Eucharistic Prayer for the Church of Sweden 1531:

Since from the fall and trespass of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have all fallen into sin and are guilty of everlasting death, and through such sin have grown weak and corrupted in both body and soul, so that we of ourselves can do no good thing, much less keep the commandments and will of God, and since according to the Law we are cursed and ought to be eternally damned, as it is written in the book of the Law, and though neither we ourselves nor any other creature in heaven or on earth could help us out of such sorrow and condemnation, God the Almighty has had mercy upon us.

Out of his inexpressible love, he has sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to take our nature upon Him, taking flesh and blood from the Virgin Mary.  On Him were laid our sins and those of the whole world.  He bore them for us as on the gallows of the cross He died, and on the third day he rose again, having atoned for our sin and that of our parents, again reconciling us to God the Almighty, so that we are now justified, made children of God, and will have eternal life and salvation.

That we may be sure of this and never forget His great, inexpressible love and kindness, Jesus Christ, as He was about to begin his sufferings, instituted His Supper, giving to His beloved disciples His own body  to eat and His blood to drink and said to them - and to all Christians - that it is His body given for them and His blood shed for them, for the forgiveness of sins, and that as often as they eat and drink of it, they should do so for His remembrance and, as St. Paul says, to proclaim His death until He comes again on the Last Day as judge of the living and the dead.

Therefore we are to do as he has commanded us, that is, to eat his body and drink his blood, remembering and giving thanks for His great kindness in reconciling us to God the heavenly Father, and rescuing us from sin, death, and eternal damnation.  We ought also believe what He has said.  Namely, "This is My body, given for you; This is My blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins."  When we do as He bids us and believe, we receive according to His word His true body with the bread and His true blood with the wine, and with them all His merits and righteousness:  that is, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death, the adoption as children, and eternal salvation. 

But let only those who who hunger and thirst for righteousness go to this most holy sacrament; that is, those who confess their sins, are sorry for them, and who have the intention to do better, and as far as possible live according to God's will.  Therefore, let a man examine himself, and if he finds such a disposition go the sacrament boldly, for he receives it worthily.  And though he is weak, yet still believing, let him go to the sacrament.  God will have patience.  "A bruised reed he will not break and a dimly burning wick he will not quench."  He is pleased with but the beginning of faith.  Yet we should pray as in the Gospel:  "Lord, I believe!  Help thou mine unbelief."  But whoever is not sorry for his sins and has no intention of bettering himself, but plans to continue in open sin and lust, let him stay away from the sacrament, for he receives it to his judgment, as St. Paul says.

Now then, as we are gathered together to observe the Supper of our Lord and to receive His body and blood, in order that we may do so worthily, that our faith may be strengthened, that we might live more according to God's will, that we might forgive our enemies and love our neighbors and do good to all, let us call on God our Father through Jesus Christ and pray together the holy Our Father.

(Our Father is then sung by the pastor, then he sings the Words of Institution, then distribution with singing of Agnus, Sanctus, and Luther's communion hymns, then pastor closes by singing the post-communion collect and benediction).
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 12:57:36 PM by Weedon »

James Gustafson

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #131 on: May 19, 2012, 01:05:43 PM »
...Growth and maturity is only natural for human beings, but an 80-year-old is not more human than a 8-second-old infant. ...

Oh, oh, oh, you better be careful or you'll soon have to figure out why an 8-second old infant is more human than a 8 week old fetus...

Weedon

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #132 on: May 19, 2012, 01:14:17 PM »
David,

Those exhortations and conditional absolutions are solidly rooted in the earliest Lutheran liturgies.  What is of interest is that in private absolution there was no such retention; I think it was a bit of discomfort over the possibility of strengthening a hardened sinner in impenitence that lead to the regular public use of the retention and of the communion exhortations.

I don't find them in the liturgies that Luther wrote; nor do I find them as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Luther's German Mass contains an exhortation to communicants.  But Luther's two Eucharistic liturgies, formative as they were for Lutheran liturgy, were only his personal writings. To discover the actual liturgies Lutherans authorized and used in the 16th century forward, one studies the Church Orders.  The LCMS's early Agenda, for example, was based squarely on the Herzog Heinrich order which was prepared for Ducal Saxony under the direction of Bugenhagen and others from Wittenberg.  The Common Service was an attempt to create a service in English, keyed to the language of BCP, and synthesizing these varied Church Orders.  The LCMS originally had a liturgy that just carried forth one stream of the Church Orders (the Saxon) instead of the attempted blending of all the orders and selecting from them "the best" and then making it sound like the Episcopalians. 

Don Whitbeck

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #133 on: May 19, 2012, 01:24:51 PM »
Talking about Repentance, I found this on a Lutheran Discussion, and the Lady who presented her excerpts has stated it can be shared.  So looking at the 27 page understanding of Luther's writing on the subject; how is it any different then what is being presentedto us today?  Is Luther wrong or is the Church wrong?



Luther_on_Repentance.pdf, 208 KB  http://www.newreformationpress.com/freebies/Luther_on_Repentance.pdf

 The Place of Repentance in Luther’s Theological Development
Korey D. Maas

excerpts....
 
Through no attitude on your part will you become worthy, through no works will you be prepared for the sacrament, but through faith alone, for only faith in the word of Christ justifies, makes a person alive, worthy, and well prepared. Without faith all other things are acts of presumption and desperation. The just person lives not by his attitude but by faith.
 
[The penitent] should put his trust in the most merciful promise of God alone, with complete faith and with certainty that he who promised the forgiveness of sins to the person about to confess them will most faithfully fulfill his promise.

 
Our sins have truly been taken from us and placed upon him, so that everyone who believes on him really has no sins, because they have been transferred to Christ and swallowed up by him, for they no longer condemn.

 
If now I seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering of Christ . . . in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But I will find in the sacrament or gospel the word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross.
 
He who justifies himself condemns God, who through Scripture states that he is a sinner. . . . He who judges himself and confesses his sin justifies God and affirms his truthfulness, because he is saying about himself what God is saying about him.
 
The bloodguilty are the proud; those born of Adam according to the blood always struggle against this teaching and correct wisdom. And whoever teaches it must suffer persecutions and protestations. They [the proud] desire not to suffer. . . . They are not yet in grace, but in flesh and bloodguiltiness according to human appearances and pious pretenses. . . . Therefore he [the psalmist] says, O God, you who are my salvation, that is, the one who alone is my salvation, and not in me by my righteousness, nor in any other creatures, save me from the children of blood who set their salvation in their own piety and therefore struggle against this teaching, which alone converts sinners.
 
[N]o one, not even an angel of heaven, could make restitution for the infinite and irreparable injury and appease the eternal wrath of God which we had merited by our sins; except that eternal person, the Son of God himself, and he could do it only by taking our place, assuming our sins, and answering for them as though he himself were guilty of them. This our dear Lord and only Savior and Mediator before God, Jesus Christ, did for us by his blood and death, in which he became a sacrifice for us.
 
...the understanding of God’s righteousness, law and gospel, and repentance — can only be understood in relation to one another.
 

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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Sola Scriptura
« Reply #134 on: May 19, 2012, 04:41:18 PM »
FWIW, the author of the above referenced paper is The Rev. Dr. Korey D. Maas, Associate Professor of Theology and Church History at Concordia University, Irvine.  He was recently a Visiting Professor at Hillsdale College, wrote    
The Reformation and Robert Barnes
and has blogged for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Pax, Steven+
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