The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Sunday, November 16, 2014
I was discussing a topic privately with someone on Facebook. He is faithful to the Word and dealing with the issues, not kissing up to the synod officials. That is all I should say, because it narrows the field down so quickly.
He wrote about his efforts potentially being a failure. I responded that the Word is always effective.
Perhaps he misunderstood my emphasis, but he repeated that things may not turn out well.
I am assuming the best but using the conversation as a springboard for an important point about the efficacy of the Word.
First - a brief introduction. The Bible teaches what Luther proclaimed so clearly, that God's Word is like the rain and snow, which never return void. We know that heaven-sent rain and snow will have an inevitable effect on all plants and thus on our food (bread for the eater) and future food (seed for the sower).
So God's Word:
Never returns to Him void.
Always accomplishes His purpose (the missing point).
And always prospers His will (cannot miss this one either).
This efficacy of the Word is consistently revealed in the Scriptures, and it is the bedrock of all Biblical teaching.
The first overlooked point is the Word accomplishing His purpose, not ours. God may allow us to think nothing is happening for 20 years, which is discouraging. But something is happening or God is deceiving us throughout the Scriptures.
His purpose may be to stir up opposition, persecution, and all forms of the cross. This effect is always startling, unnerving, and intimidating. Clever opponents use excessive flattery, but others employ threats, insults, and the most vicious slander. Nothing reveals sound teaching as much as opposition and an overwhelming urge to silence the truth.
Indifference is even more discouraging, especially when the born-again orthodox decide to retreat back into the Seeker Service, being of service to synod leaders, perhaps delivering a few fresh heads to them, seeking a new call.
The second overlooked point is God prospering His will. God works so that we will be sure that we have done nothing beyond being faithful to His Word. Thus He prospers His Word, Will, and Purpose so much that we know the results have come from God.
Clearly God is punishing the Lutherans by allowing their false teachers (not just the synod presidents) to continue their death spiral. These bozos talk statistics, but the statistics prove they are gonzo failures in every sense of the word. Yet they accelerate their love-fest with the Enthusiasts and eviscerate anyone who tries to mention the actual teaching of the Confessions.
One little example is Steadfast Lutherans once again making Justification Without Faith the Chief Article of the Christian Religion, the Master and Prince, the blah-blah (quoting Oxford/Shakespeare)...
Let Me Borrow a Popular Admonition
"Don't judge." This idea should be transferred to the efficacy of the Word. We are to sow the Seed (the Word), not judge the Word.
We are to trust in God's results, not judge them.
So many clergy and members have said to me..."It was good but we only had..." Any number larger than one (the pastor) is good. Those with 20 want 50. Those with 100 want 250. Those with 1,000 want 5,000.
God only wants faithfulness to His Word. If that turns the 1,000 into 20 faithful (through the meddling of synod), it is better than creating 1,000 indifferent members.