The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

First Midweek Advent Service, December 3, 2014. 7 PM Central.
Enemies of the Word



Advent, December 3, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Mid-Week Advent, Wednesday, 7 PM Central

The Hymn # 240  Father Most Holy                   2.56
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody            Psalm   14                           p. 124
The First Lection                  
The Second Lection       
 The Sermon Hymn #61      Comfort, Comfort      2.21 
         

God's Word - An Anvil That Has Worn Out Many Hammers


The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer                         p. 44
The Collect for Peace                                           p. 45
The Benediction                                                   p. 45
The Hymn # 558 All Praise to Thee                   2:9

God's Word - An Anvil That Has Worn Out Many Hammers

Today there is a big controversy about Pope Francis denying the historical reality of Adam and Eve, denying the true nature of Hell. Therefore it seemed a good time to expand upon the Christian Church abandoning God's Word.

First it is good to distinguish between faith and unbelief. If someone believes in the basics of the Apostles Creed, or the Nicene Creed, that individual is quite different from the many who use those terms but do not believe. One wit called this modern theology "faith without belief."

It is a sentimental attachment to the Bible - but without trusting the Word.

How did the visible Christian church arrive at this debacle? It is not simply Roman Catholic, or Calvinistic, or Lutheran in origin. The attitude affects all the groups. But they cannot claim to be in line with history. The entire Christian Church, including the Roman Catholics, taught the Bible as the Word of God.

Roman Catholic Errors
But during the Reformation, many errors began to surface and take root, as Satanic antidotes to the Gospel. The most dangerous source was the Church of Rome, since they lost all the debates based on their Biblical argumentation. As Chemnitz observed, they lost so many debates that they began teaching the:
  • Lack of clarity of the Scriptures (see WELS, ELS, LCMS today)
  • Incompleteness of the Scriptures (ditto, including Deutschlander on UOJ)
  • Authority of the visible church to interpret the Bible (the New NIV and Lutheran support for it, contrasted with S. Babtist opposition to the NNIV)
Errors in the Name of Fighting Rome
The Evangelicals of today broke with Luther and the later Lutherans by treating the Sacraments as Roman errors. Some have a special hatred of infant baptism and infant faith, although almost everyone "dedicates" infants with the Word of God and pledges to raise the child in faith - baptism without water.

Starting with Zwingli, the traditional liturgy and Holy Communion were eliminated from the worship service. 

Calvin's Errors - Rationalism
Calvin followed Zwingli in Switzerland, and he wrote with the same kind of rationalism, albeit more smoothly and elegantly. Calvin placed human reason above the Scriptures, which necessarily leads to excluding more and more of the Word as "not reasonable."

No surprise - the Calvinism of Halle University (part of the Pietistic mix) turned into Unitarianism in one generation. The center of Pietism began the center of attacks on the Bible. Halle U. is where modern faith without belief was promoted with great vigor. UOJ flourished there. A UOJ pioneer, Knapp, claimed the Bible did not teach the Trinity.

Multiple Sources
Therefore, there are multiple sources for falling away from the historic position of the Christian Church. Each confession is represented, because each one has been influenced away from trusting the Word. 

People need to realize that Pope Francis, ELCA's seminaries, and the UOJ Stormtroopers have the same errors in common, and a 500 year history behind them - and this all began in the Apostolic Age.

And - whenever imposes another authority, whether a man or a church body, loyalty and trust are going to move away from the Scriptures, toward man's work and reason.

Biblical Truths
The purpose of the Bible is to teach faith, faith in Christ. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of the sin of unbelief. John 16:8ff. 

The Bible certainly teaches Law, but it is not primarily a lawbook, but a faith book.

The Bible teaches history, but that history is aimed exclusively at giving us the setting of the Incarnation, God becoming man. God patiently taught His people for centuries so the Gospel began in the public ministry of Jesus with a solid base of understanding in true Judaism and among many people. Even non-Jews looked for a Savior and sought the truths of the Old Testament.

Rationalists like to start proving the Bible really is true, accurate, infallible. The problem is not with the adjectives but with the method. As believers we use our reason subordinate to God's Word. Any other approach is going to end up with rationalistic results.

 When people sincerely and persistently study the Word of God, they see how it is the great treasure trove of God's wisdom, from the practical in Proverbs to the visions of heaven in Revelation.

And it is all in harmony. That harmony alone builds faith. I had a New Testament professor at Yale who would simply go through passages in the New Testament (and Old) and show how one interpreted and explained another. He had us write 20 page papers on one word - peace - and show what it meant and how it was associated with other terms.

The study itself built faith, and that study has been with me ever since. The Word alone convinces and convicts and builds up. The more we see that, the more we hunger and thirst for the righteousness that is revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.