Author Topic: Distinguishing Truth from Error  (Read 840 times)

ptmccain

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Distinguishing Truth from Error
« on: August 01, 2007, 06:51:41 PM »
Wise words to consider and ponder:

"Just as the confession distinguishes the church from strange religions, so also it distinguishes—this its task—truth from error, pure doctrine from heresy, the church from sect within Christianity. Thus rings the definition of confession in the introduction of the Formula of Concord: “Et quia statim post apostolorum tempora, imo etiam cum adhuc superstites essent, falsi doctores et haeretici exorti sunt, contra quos in primitiva ecclesia symbola sunt composita, id est, breves et categoricae confessiones, quae unanimem catholicae christiani fidei consensum et confessionem orthodoxorum et verae ecclesiae complectebantur.” (“And because directly after the times of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose, and symbols, i.e., brief, succinct confessions, were composed against them in the early Church, which were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church.”) This setting of the limit of truth and error belongs to the essence of confession. If the improbant [“they (our churches) reject”] and the damnant [“they condemn”] (by which is designated the impossibility of church fellowship), which sound so harsh to modern ears are silenced, the Augustana ceases to be confession.

If this drawing of boundaries is called “loveless” and “unchristian,” then the same reproach is also directed toward the Apostolicum, every sentence of which was formulated against some heresy, and, above all, this reproach is directed toward the Bible itself. Just as the false prophets stand over against the prophets of God (Jer 23:21 ff.; 29:8–9; Ezekiel 13), [and just as] the false apostles stand over against the apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13), so the sect and heresy stand over against the church. And just as the struggle between truth and error rings through all of Holy Scripture, so also it runs through the history of the church, and the church would cease to be the church of Christ, messenger of the redeeming truth of the revelation of God to people, if it would cease to fight this battle. Here lies the greatest and most difficult task of the formation of confession. Here is shown whether or not Christianity still knows what the confession of the church means. The manner in which an age approaches this task shows what of courage and strength of faith, and what of humility and love are alive in Christianity. Here is shown whether the church knows of the reality of the Holy Spirit.

If the people of the Christian West, deep into the rank and file of the church, have forgotten this last sense of the confession of the church, then the reason for the downfall must not be overlooked. It happened because this struggle for the truth of the Gospel—the most difficult struggle which the church in the world has had to carry out—was not always fought with pure hearts and unsullied hands. Nowhere has the church failed so seriously as there where it should have struggled for the pure teaching of the Gospel. In the fight against apostasy from the church, the church has itself only too often forsaken Christ. Thus the confessing church has ever and again become the denying church. The history of Simon Peter, who was the first to express the confession of the church and the first to deny the Lord, has been repeated in the history of the church. But something else is also repeated therein: the tears of repentance and the reinstatement into the office, and this is the office of confession, of bearing witness, of martyrdom."

Source:
Hermann Sasse
The Confession of the Church
The Lonely Way, p. 113.

EENGELBRECHT

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Re: Distinguishing Truth from Error
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2007, 07:22:07 AM »
In the fight against apostasy from the church, the church has itself only too often forsaken Christ. Thus the confessing church has ever and again become the denying church. The history of Simon Peter, who was the first to express the confession of the church and the first to deny the Lord, has been repeated in the history of the church. But something else is also repeated therein: the tears of repentance and the reinstatement into the office, and this is the office of confession, of bearing witness, of martyrdom."

Source:
Hermann Sasse
The Confession of the Church
The Lonely Way, p. 113.

On an earlier thread we briefly considered theologians that were potential candidates for greatness in the twentieth century. Among the Germans Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Bultmann naturally come to mind. But I think Sasse should rank ahead of them all. The story of his development theologically, early resistance against Naziism, and devotion to faithful teaching should commend him to twenty-first century readers.

His work on the doctrine of Scripture was especially compelling for me.

In Christ,
EE