The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Saturday, October 31, 2015
I was preparing for the yet-untaught lesson on the Seventh Commandment, Large Catechism, Book of Concord.
I realized it was one of the funniest passages in Luther. The best humor consists of observations that go beyond the accepted view of a given situation.
Luther - Seventh Commandment:
After your person and spouse temporal property comes next. That also God wishes to have protected, and He has commanded that no one shall subtract from, or curtail, his neighbor's possessions. 224] For to steal is nothing else than to get possession of another's property wrongfully, which briefly comprehends all kinds of advantage in all sorts of trade to the disadvantage of our neighbor. Now, this is indeed quite a wide-spread and common vice, but so little regarded and observed that it exceeds all measure, so that if all who are thieves, and yet do not wish to be called such, were to be hanged on gallows, the world would soon be devastated, and there would be a lack both of executioners and gallows. For, as we have just said, to steal is to signify not only to empty our neighbor's coffer and pockets, but to be grasping in the market, in all stores, booths, wine- and beer- cellars, workshops, and, in short, wherever there is trading or taking and giving of money for merchandise or labor.
Luther expounds on all the ways people steal, such as mechanics charging too much, and ends with the Church of Rome as the primary thief.
229] Therefore they are also called swivel-chair robbers, land- and highway-robbers, not pick-locks and sneak-thieves who snatch away the ready cash, but who sit on the chair [at home] and are styled great noblemen, and honorable, pious citizens, and yet rob and steal under a good pretext.
230] Yes, here we might be silent about the trifling individual thieves if we were to attack the great, powerful arch-thieves with whom lords and princes keep company, who daily plunder not only a city or two, but all Germany. Yea, where should we place the head and supreme protector of all thieves, the Holy Chair at Rome with all its retinue, which has grabbed by theft the wealth of all the world, and holds it to this day?
And now, the "conservative" Lutheran Church takes its place beside the Church of Rome as a den of thieves, stealing from its own members - even stealing from various denominations.
The "conservative" Lutheran congregations either steal from Fuller and Craig Groeschel or they rob Rome of its titles, incensed entertainments, and robes. If they are not stealing the anti-liturgical clown acts of Evangelicals, they are cloning the smells and bells of popery. The emphasis is never upon the Word of God, which they do not trust, but upon their methods of amusing the masses.
They are lazy, greedy, and violent. If anyone dares to point out their follies, no matter how polite and deferential the critics might be, these clowns drop their smiles and pious gestures to get even. They want an open and honest discussion only among those who agree completely with them. The rest they will silence and eject, shunning them as lepers.
Lutheran pastors and laity - while they are stealing the worship of Rome and Driscoll, they are robbing you blind. They skim all the money for themselves because they are too weak to dig ditches and too proud to beg on the streets.
They scoff at the poor fools in real missions, who barely have enough to keep going, whether on the arid Great Plains or the frozen tundra of the Upper Midwest.