The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

May 25, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
7 PM Centray Daylight Time
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Finishing The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine: luther's Biblical Doctrine of the Word .
Proofing and Art, Then Printing



Last night I finished most of the writing and finishing work for The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine. Norma Boeckler sent me a revised front cover and the back cover as well.

I expect to send it to our proof-reader, who was already working on it. Once I have fixed those goofs, I will send the copy to Norma Boeckler for art, then to Janie Sullivan for the finishing work with Amazon and Kindle (e-books).

I can DropBox the finished version to those who wish to do a quick, final check before it is approved. At this point I am incapable of seeing mistakes until the moment I open the printed book.

If you want to try that, send me an email, subject heading Goldmine, to
greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com


Urged by a Reader - Remember the ELDONUTs on Shrove Tuesday

One donut to rule the world,
and in the fryer bind them.

The purpose of Shrove Tuesday was two-fold. One was to write down one's sins for confession, so Shrove is based on the German word for write - schreiben - but changed because English alters words gleefully and randomly. Bedlam comes from Bethlehem, etc.

The second purpose of Shrove Tuesday was to use up the fat in the house by making pancakes or donuts. Since donuts came from WWI, I sincerely doubt that they were an ancient tradition. But they are made or eaten on Shrove Tuesday just as jelly-filled donuts are enjoyed by some Germans on New Year's Eve.

One day a member of ELDONA began IMing me. Wait, he was not a member. Only the vetted, certified priesthood of ELDONA belongs to the secretive sect. For example, only they can party together. If a fellow priest is honored, his wife is excluded from the party. "That makes it more fun."

The secretive nature of ELDONA is troubling. They publish almost nothing about themselves. Once they learned they could be quoted from Facebook, they stopped publishing there too.

They have some good books, but CPH has banned them from their market. ELDONA could easily reach many by using Kindle e-books, especially Kindle Unlimited, which makes them free for those paying $10 a month fee.



One congregation has only an ELDONA banner as its statement of faith.

Heiser began with Bishop-for-Life Randy DeJaynes, which is ironic, because DeJaynes was LCA, had his wife preach for him, and soon learned another meaning for "life" - such as facing life in prison.

So Heiser wanted to be a bishop-for-life after the Lutheran "Confessional" Synod blew up, in spite of the nurturing from Jay Webber and Kincaid Smith, Ft. Wayne alumni know-it-alls who know very little. Like the rest of the Pietististic Synodical Conference, ELDONA is quick to press the SHUN! button.

So this Russian IMed me and claimed, "You called them nuts." I said, "No I called them donuts."

Donuts are tender and flaky, with nothing in the center - just a hole.

If ELDONA keeps publishing good books, I will mention the books and provide links. Currently I am looking at the Judaizing of Calvin, by Hunnius, a fine and much-overlooked theologian.

 Heiser does not use this photo on the ELDONA websty,
but he has two copies in his Facebook photos.
 This is also in Heiser's photo collection.
Not as strange as posing with Katy Perry, but this graphic
claims they terrorize the LCMS -
not with the Gospel but with boasting. 
St. Ignatius Theological Seminary
and Live Bait Shop, Malone, Texas.
This school is currently being wired
for better Ustream broadcasts to Russia.

Shrove Tuesday Remembers - WELS-CLC-WELS Pastor Steve Kurtzahn,
The Pancake Pope


On Shrove Tuesday, the Miracle of the Pancakes appears - a ghostly image of Steve Kurtzahn the Incompetent. He was only too eager to join crackpots Paul Tiefel and friends in denouncing a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper.

Innocent bystanders recall Kurtzahn violating all the normal rules for a Circuit Pastor in serving as a hatchet man for the worst false teachers in the CLC (sic).

According to the alumni network of the prestigious Emmanuel Lutheran College - 68 students -  having a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was the same as embracing Roman Catholicism and promoting gross immorality.

This moved Kurtzahn and dottering Daniel Fleischer to attend a congregational meeting so they could cause more trouble, only to leave early for a basketball game. Subsequently, Kurtzahn joined WELS and now serves a two-point parish in the north woods.

Fleischer was recently videotaped denouncing future WELS fellowship for the time when he - as a tender, innocent college student at NWC - was read the riot act for questioning WELS. Did he call Child Protection Services?

Let us pause to consider that this traumatic event happened to young Dan about 50 years ago, and he was still raving about it as the main reason why he - as head of the CLC (sic) dogma committee - would never embrace joining WELS in dying together as fading, legalistic, Enthusiastic sects.

Some people shake their heads, wondering about how two clergy could involve themselves in pancake polemics, but veterans of those cults realize that any excuse is good enough for a little fun. Both embrace universal forgiveness and salvation without faith, in the name of grace, but both groups are led by humorless, poorly educated clergy who claim to be orthodox.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Scott Barefoot May Leave WELS

Matt the Fatt Harrison, Scott Barefoot, Marcus Zill.


 The Odd Couple split over POG's self-appointed ministry.
False teachers are not sent - they send themselves.

Jeske organizes pan-synodical ministry events
and is a paid promoter of the ultimate pan-religious carnival -
Thrivent.

Belfort spoke for Thrivent, because wolves run in packs
and kill for pleasure.

 Belfort got his money through fraud
and made money bragging about it.
Thrivent respects that.
Jeske quoted his own financial manager saying,
"I want you to be wealthy," with the last word almost chanted.



Schroeder and the DPs wiped out the
Intrepid Lutherans group and blog,
lest anyone dwell too long on Lutheran doctrine and practice.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quinquagesima Sunday, 2017. 1 Corinthians 13


Quinquagesima Sunday, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Lyrics are linked in the hymn number.
The melody is linked in the hymn title.


The Hymn #27                    O Bless the Lord                    
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #351      Love Divine

 The Sermon - Love versus Vainglory

The Hymn #311        Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior                           
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #657                             Beautiful Savior 




The Epistle. 1 Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.




The Gospel. St. Luke 18. 31-43

THEN Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David. have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood. and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.


Quinquagesima Sunday

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst manifest Thyself, with the Holy Ghost, in the fullness of grace at the baptism of Thy dear Son, and with Thy voice didst direct us to Him who hath borne our sins, that we might receive grace and the remission of sins: Keep us, we beseech Thee, in the true faith; and inasmuch as we have been baptized in accordance with Thy command, and the example of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee to strengthen our faith by Thy Holy Spirit, and lead us to everlasting life and salvation, through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Love versus Vainglory

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

I was thinking about the difference between exegesis and interpretation, which could be explained as the difference between Biblical commentaries and Biblical sermons.

Luther's sermons are interpretation, not lacking in the explanation of the verses and words (exegesis), phrase by phrase - but emphasizing the great themes of the Bible.

Luther does this with the famous love chapter by showing that the chapter, even 1 and 2 Corinthians, were written against vainglory.

The close-up version tells us Paul was concerned that people valued their spiritual gifts so much - such as speaking in tongues - that their vainglory was harmful and destructive.

The sermonic view, which is especially important, is seeing both Corinthian letters as aimed at the same target, the overall problem of vainglory.

Examples of Vainglory
I noticed with several Lutheran leaders that the moment they were elected to a high office (bishop of the liberal Lutherans in Canada; bishop of a regional ELCA district) - they immediately began announcing how they would be treated, honored, and respected.

This love chapter is often read at weddings, including a perfectly enunciated recitation at the marriage of Charles and Di. Naturally, the chapter is perfectly fitting for weddings, but it involves far more than falling in love and getting married.

A common remedy against addressing false doctrine today is announcing, "You are not loving." That implies one must be patient and kind with false teachers, so the raising of the issue itself appears to be a sin.

Luther warned against thinking that "love" as defined above was going to be a remedy for anything, an excuse for ignoring the obvious. Love does not cause faith: faith produces love as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Lack of Love Today
The reason for the lovelessness of the various Lutheran bodies is the lack of faith. Instead of teaching faith, they teach against it. Instead of having a clear body of teaching, there is a constant waffling about every possible article of faith and how it is taught and applied. For example, the charismatics rose from the rationalism of the mainline groups, but their favorite documents and leaders are anti-Sacramental, anti-Means of Grace. 

I warned one woman against her cell group, which irritated her, of course. She tried to get this "Lutheran" group to discuss infant baptism and infant faith, only to be met with total hostility. She offered, "We can get a pastor here to discuss this." The lady who ran the group bristled and declared, "I am the leader of this group." So the woman reluctantly agreed that my assumptions (based on experience) were correct.

The Gospel itself is commonly displaced today. One topic or a series of minor topics mean there is no room for the Gospel. In the same way, nitrogen is used at chemical plants to replace oxygen to eliminate fires and explosions.

Paul's opening is the same as saying, "If we do not start with the Gospel of forgiveness through faith in Jesus, we are nothing more than noise-makers and clashing cymbals." The future Mrs. Ichabod challenged me to bring my cymbals to the dorm and play them for her, at college. I was the cymbal soloist, due to a lack of percussionists. I brought them alone and created a stir, since high quality cymbals were not used to serenade young ladies. I was outside, so the audience was large and unappreciative, except for one.

Luther and the Lutheran Reformers were alone in starting with faith in Jesus and the Word as the Means of Grace. That seems so obvious to traditional Lutherans, but there are few of them today. The living seed of the Word brings Christ to our hearts and the Holy Spirit renews and sustains the faith first generated by the Gospel Word.

The living seed of the Gospel bears fruit - that is just as inevitable as the rain and snow having an effect on all vegetation and the life within.

Yesterday our new helper took all the cardboard boxes from the garage and flattened them over the last section of grass in the front yard. His grandfather said to me, "Why do you hate grass? I answered, "My wife prefers roses to grass."

I explained to the grandson that this would create compost from the lawn, on the spot, to feed the new Crepe Myrtle bushes, possibly roses in the future. We weighed the cardboard down with stumps from the maple tree trimming, an additional help for fungal and creature growth in the yard.

The rains - sorry, no snow - will feed the fungus, bacteria, earthworms, springtails, and other creatures of decay. But the sun will only warm the areas we set aside for plants. 

The rain in primary. Without the rain, there is no real growth. That is why the Gospel is compared to rain that moves across the land and has its effect.


And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The Bible gives us two aspects of the Christian Faith. One is the content - Christ dying for our sins. The other is the effect of knowing and believing the Gospel - the fruits of the Spirit. If we are lacking in the fruits of the Spirit, there are reasons to consider whether we are genuinely repentant and sincerely trusting in that Message.

These are the pretensions of those who view themselves as higher than the rest, for various reasons. One could add many more, such as "Do you know who my grandfather was?" - as if a grandparent is an accomplishment. 

The passage about suffering fools gladly 2 Corinthians 11) is Paul's rebuke for the Corinthians tolerating the bragging of the false teachers, who never did anything but worked on stealing the Corinthians away for themselves. What looks like Paul boasting is his comparison of real sacrifice (becoming a fool, since they like bragging fools) as contrasted with those who do not suffer anything to cause them harm, discomfort, or luxury.

So if the Corinthians have spiritual gifts to boast about, their lack of love repudiates their claims. and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

13. The false reasoning of the sophists will not stand when they maliciously deduct from this text the theory that the Christian faith is not effectual to blot out sin and to justify. They say that before faith can justify it must be garnished with love; but justification and its distinctive qualities as well are beyond their ken. Justification of necessity precedes love. One does not love until he has become godly and righteous. Love does not make us godly, but when one has become godly love is the result. Faith, the Spirit and justification have love as effect and fruitage, and not as mere ornament and supplement. We maintain that faith alone justifies and saves. But that we may not deceive ourselves and put our trust in a false faith, God requires love from us as the evidence of our faith, so that we may be sure of our faith being real faith.

Here Paul is using hyperbole, exaggeration to prove a point. Even if they could do all things, those accomplishments mean nothing when the Gospel is set aside in favor of the visible works of man.

One study by the late Lutheran Church in America said, "Nurturing churches grow." A pastor there said, "After the study, we lost that nurturing feeling, and we were examples of it for that study." I doubt whether he saw the irony of placing the wrong emphasis.

Other examples are - Parking lots must be expansive. A parking valet ministry is needed (not joking). Sell gourmet (ahem) coffee at the church. 
"The best Gospel sermon will be ineffective if the ushers are not friendly." A Lutheran layman said out loud - "Amen!"

Luther is saying in the quote above: The Romanists are wrong is saying faith alone is not enough, that faith must be garnished with love.

Note how the modern Growthers say the same thing - We have to do this and act this way, or we will never progress. They are lost and lead the people to and fro, in error's maze astounding.

One of the greatest and most effective fallacies is the Fallacy of Emphasis. If someone can move the emphasis, the speakers and listeners are confounded and confused.

Luther said - it is the Gospel, not love, that saves. Love is the result of the Gospel. A Fallacy of Emphasis moves the goal to love. We have to be loving. The minister has to be loving. We need programs and cell groups to promote love. (Or  spirituality, or anything else on the agenda)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

This is Paul's list against the work of the false teachers and those swept away by them. The bad characteristics are a remarkable description of what we see today in all the denominations, especially the micro-mini ones. They rule by anger and arrogance, so everyone is afraid to bring up anything or oppose them - even question them - in any fashion. And this is what the leaders crave, abject and unquestioning submission to their authority - not the authority of the Word.
The same qualities are needed in a family. One must see the Old Adam in himself first before being impatient with the Old Adam in everyone else. 
Rejoicing in iniquity is a way in which authority figures can control others by holding past sins against them while pretending to be examples of perfection.

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

These qualities can only come from the Gospel, so the Gospel must be taught as it is, directly from the Word of God. From the example of Christ and His sacrifice for us, we receive that forgiveness of sin that causes spiritual fruits to grow in us.
The example is the faith of Christ, His complete reliance upon the Father and agreement with the Father's will comes from His perfect faith. The Atonement is the result of the faith of Jesus, because the Son always had the power to evade and oppose the power of Rome and His religious opponents. The irony is this - the apparent defeat of Jesus, His arrest, torture, and death  - are the core of His victory over sin, death, and Satan. 
How tempting it is to win in the material sense, to crush the opponents, march them behind, the women lamenting and the children crying. (Conan the Barbarian) But the Christian believer has only one victory to count on while the Prince of This World rules - the victory of trust in the Word that brings Christ to us.

1 John 5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Someone wrote to me this week, "Where does it say prophecies will cease?" Right here. But what does it mean? Those who emphasize spiritual gifts are emphasizing the wrong thing, because love will always grow from faith. It is astonishing that humans see so much value in what they have done, so little value in what God does every day, whether we know it or not.
As one doctor observed, when someone has had problems with the circulation around or in the heart, the body creates alternate routes. Likewise, the brain rewires itself when damaged.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will never pass away. Mark 13:31 
How quaint to place so much value in the temporary and so little on what is eternal. Love is the consequence of the faith of Christ - and our faith - and therefore the work of God.
Notice that the gifts of the Spirit are not the same as the fruits of the Spirit. God certainly gives various gifts to believers so they can glorify His Name. Some are musicians. Some are artists. Some teach. Others encourage and help wherever they can. Necessarily the gifts can be abused and misused, as often happens when gifted people think they have accomplished on their own. Vainglory sets in and becomes destructive when the gifts of God become the accomplishments of man.


The fruits of the Spirit are qualities that come directly from the Gospel. The first three Love, Joy, and Peace. Where the fruits of the Spirit are missing, one should question faith and repentance.


11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Here Paul is simply saying, "You are being childish. Put away this behavior." Or he might have said, "Emotional worship is great, but use the brains God gave you." That is an answer to those who think that if clapping is great, jumping from pew to pew is even better. And rolling on the floor laughing - the best of all. 
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Ancient mirrors were silver rather than glass. As silver darkened from oxygen, the reflection darkened. The turn in phrase - I will know in eternal life as I am already known by God in this life.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

37. It is passing strange that teachers devoid of love should possess such gifts as Paul has mentioned here, viz., speaking with tongues, prophesying, understanding mysteries; that they should have faith, should bestow their goods and suffer themselves to be burned. For we have seen what abominations ensue where love is lacking; such individuals are proud, envious, puffed up, impatient, unstable, false, venomous, suspicious, malicious, disdainful, bitter, disinclined to service, distrustful, selfish, ambitious and haughty. How can it consistently be claimed that people of this stamp can, through faith, remove mountains, give their bodies to be burned, prophesy, and so on? It is precisely as I have stated. Paul presents an impossible proposition, implying that since they are devoid of love, they do not really possess those gifts, but merely assume the name and appearance. And in order to divest them of those he admits for the sake of argument that they are what in reality they are not.
That is why the authority of the Word of God must prevail, because those who make great claims for themselves are the ones who shrink from the meaning of the Word.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Luther's Sermon on the Love Chapter - 1 Corinthians 13

 Notice "by faith of Jesus Christ" KJV
while modern translations erroneously have "faith in Jesus Christ."
More to come in the Bethany Lutheran Greek NT Class.


Quinquagesima Sunday


TEXT:

1 CORINTHIANS 13. 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. 13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

PAUL’S PRAISE OF CHRISTIAN LOVE.

Paul’s purpose in this chapter is to silence and humble haughty Christians, particularly teachers and preachers. The Gospel gives much knowledge of God and of Christ, and conveys many wonderful gifts, as Paul recounts in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12. He tells us some have the gift of speaking, some of teaching, some of Scripture exposition; others of ruling; and so on. With Christians are great riches of spiritual knowledge, great treasures in the way of spiritual gifts. Manifest to all is the meaning of God, Christ, conscience, the present and the future life, and similar things. But there are to be found few indeed who make the right use of such gifts and knowledge; who humble themselves to serve others, according to the dictates of love. Each seeks his own honor and advantage, desiring to gain preferment and precedence over others.

2. We see today how the Gospel has given to men knowledge beyond anything known in the world before, and has bestowed upon them new capabilities. Various gifts have been showered upon and distributed among them which have redounded to their honor. But they go on unheeding. No one takes thought how he may in Christian love serve his fellow-men to their profit. Each seeks for himself glory and honor, advantage and wealth.

Could one bring about for himself the distinction of being the sole individual learned and powerful in the Gospel, all others to be insignificant and useless, he would willingly do it; he would be glad could he alone be regarded as Mister Smart. At the same time he affects deep humility, great self-abasement, and preaches of love and faith. But he would take it hard had he, in practice, to touch with his little finger what he preaches. This explains why the world is so filled with fanatics and schismatics, and why every man would master and outrank all others. Such as these are haughtier than those that taught them. Paul here attacks these vainglorious spirits, and judges them to be wholly insignificant, though their knowledge may be great and their gifts even greater, unless they should humble themselves and use their gifts in the service of others.

To these coarse and mean people he addresses himself with a multitude of words and a lengthy discourse, a subject he elsewhere disposes of in a few words; for instance, where he says ( Philippians 2:3-4), “In lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” By way of illustration, he would pass sentence upon himself should he be thus blameworthy; this more forcibly to warn others who fall far short of his standing. He says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.” 1 That is, though I had ability to teach and to preach with power beyond that of any man or angel, with words of perfect charm, with truth and excellence informing my message — though I could do this, “but have not love [charity],” and only seek my own honor and profit and not my neighbor’s, “I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.” In other words, “I might, perhaps, thereby teach others something, might fill their ears with sound, but before God I would be nothing.” As a clock or a bell has not power to hear its own sound, and does not derive benefit from its stroke, so the preacher who lacks love cannot himself understand anything he says, nor does he thereby improve his standing before God. He has much knowledge, indeed, but because he fails to place it in the service of love, it is the quality of his knowledge that is at fault. 1 Corinthians 8:1-12. Far better he were dumb or devoid of eloquence, if he but teach in love and meekness, than to speak as an angel while seeking but his own interests. “And if I have the gift of prophecy.”

5. According to 1 Corinthians 14, to prophesy is to be able, by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, correctly to understand and explain the prophets and the Scriptures. This is a most excellent gift. To “know mysteries” is to be able to apprehend the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, or its allegorical references, as Paul does where ( Galatians 4:24-31) he makes Sarah and Hagar representative of the two covenants, and Isaac and Ishmael of the two peoples — the Jews and the Christians. Christ does the same ( John 3:14) when he makes the brazen serpent of Moses typical of himself on the cross; again, when Isaac, David, Solomon and other characters of sacred history appear as figures of Christ. Paul calls it “mystery” — this hidden, secret meaning beneath the primary sense of the narrative. But “knowledge” is the understanding of practical matters, such as Christian liberty, or the realization that the conscience is not bound. Paul would say, then: “Though one may understand the Scriptures, both in their obvious and their hidden sense; though he may know all about Christian liberty and a proper conversation; yet if he have not love, if he do not with that knowledge serve his neighbor, it is all of no avail whatever; in God’s sight he is nothing.”

6. Note how forcibly yet kindly Paul restrains the disgraceful vice of vainglory. He disregards even those exalted gifts, those gifts of exceeding refinement, charm and excellence, which naturally produce pride and haughtiness though they command the admiration and esteem of men. Who would not suppose the Holy Spirit to dwell visibly where such wisdom, such discernment of the Scriptures, is present? Paul’s two epistles to the Corinthians are almost wholly directed against this particular vice, for it creates much mischief where it has sway. In Titus 1:7, he names first among the virtues of a bishop that he be “non superbus,” not haughty. In other words that he do not exalt himself because of his office, his honor and his understanding, and despise others in comparison. But strangely Paul says, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

LOVE THE SPIRIT’S FRUIT RECEIVED BY FAITH.

7. We hold, and unquestionably it is true, that it is faith which justifies and cleanses, Romans 1:17; Romans 10:10; Acts 15:9. But if it justifies and purifies, love must be present. The Spirit cannot but impart love together with faith. In fact, where true faith is, the Holy Spirit dwells; and where the Holy Spirit is, there must be love and every excellence. How is it, then, Paul speaks as if faith without love were possible? We reply, this one text cannot be understood as subverting and militating against all those texts which ascribe justification to faith alone. Even the sophists have not attributed justification to love, nor is this possible, for love is an effect, or fruit, of the Spirit, who is received through faith.

8. Three answers may be given to the question. First, Paul has not reference here to the Christian faith, which is inevitably accompanied by love, but to a general faith in God and his power. Such faith is a gift; as, for instance, the gift of tongues, the gift of knowledge, of prophecy, and the like. There is reason to believe Judas performed miracles in spite of the absence of Christian faith, according to John 6:70: “One of you is a devil.” This general faith, powerless to justify or to cleanse, permits the old man with his vices to remain, just as do the gifts of intellect, health, eloquence, riches.

9. A second answer is: Though Paul alludes to the true Christian faith, he has those in mind who have indeed attained to faith and performed miracles with it, but fall from grace through pride, thus losing their faith. Many begin but do not continue. They are like the seed in stony ground. They soon fall from faith. The temptations of vainglory are mightier than those of adversity. One who has the true faith and is at the same time able to perform miracles is likely to seek and to accept honor with such eagerness as to fall from both love and faith.

10. A third answer is: Paul in his effort to present the necessity of love, supposes an impossible condition. For instance, I might express myself in this way: “Though you were a god, if you lacked patience you would be nothing.” That is, patience is so essential to divinity that divinity itself could not exist without it, a proposition necessarily true. So Paul’s meaning is, not that faith could exist without love, but on the contrary, so much is love an essential of faith that even mountain-moving faith would be nothing without love, could we separate the two even in theory.

The third answer pleases me by far the best, though I do not reject the others, particularly the first. For Paul’s very first premise is impossible — “if I speak with the tongues of angels.” To speak with an angelic tongue is impossible for a human being, and he clearly emphasizes this impossibility making a distinction between the tongues of men and those of angels.

There is no angelic tongue; while angels may speak to us in a human tongue men can never speak in those of angels.

11. As we are to understand the first clause — “If I speak with the tongues of angels” — as meaning, Were it as possible as it is impossible for me to speak with the tongues of angels; so are we to understand the second clause — “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains” — to mean, Were it as possible as it is impossible to have such faith. Equally impossible is the proposition of understanding all mysteries, and we must take it to mean, Were it possible for one to understand all mysteries, which, however, it is not. John, in the last chapter of his Gospel, asserts that the world could not contain all the books which might be written concerning the things of the kingdom. For no man can ever fathom the depths of these mysteries. Paul’s manner of expressing himself is but a very common one, such as: “Even if I were a Christian, if I believed not in Christ I would be nothing”; or, “Were you even a prince, if you neither ruled men nor possessed property you would be nothing.” “And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor.”

12. In other words, “Were I to perform all the good works on earth and yet had not charity — having sought therein only my own honor and profit and not my neighbor’s — I would nevertheless be lost.” In the performance of external works so great as the surrender of property and life, Paul includes all works possible of performance, for he who would at all do these, would do any work. Just so, when he has reference to tongues he includes all good words and doctrines; and in prophecy, understanding and faith he comprises all wisdom and knowledge. Some may risk body and property for the sake of temporal glory. So Romans and pagans have done; but as love was lacking and they sought only their own interests, they practically gave nothing. It being generally impossible for men to give away all their property, and their bodies to be burned, the meaning must be: “Were it possible for me to give all my goods to the poor, and my body to be burned.”

13. The false reasoning of the sophists will not stand when they maliciously deduct from this text the theory that the Christian faith is not effectual to blot out sin and to justify. They say that before faith can justify it must be garnished with love; but justification and its distinctive qualities as well are beyond their ken. Justification of necessity precedes love. One does not love until he has become godly and righteous. Love does not make us godly, but when one has become godly love is the result. Faith, the Spirit and justification have love as effect and fruitage, and not as mere ornament and supplement. We maintain that faith alone justifies and saves. But that we may not deceive ourselves and put our trust in a false faith, God requires love from us as the evidence of our faith, so that we may be sure of our faith being real faith.

THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN LOVE.

“Love suffereth long, and is kind.”

14. Now Paul begins to mention the nature of love, enabling us to perceive where real love and faith are to be found. A haughty teacher does not possess the virtues the apostle enumerates. Lacking these, however many gifts the haughty have received through the Gospel, they are devoid of love.

First, love “suffereth long.” That is, it is patient; not sudden and swift to anger, not hasty to exercise revenge, impatience or blind rage. Rather it bears in patience with the wicked and the infirm until they yield. Haughty teachers can only judge, condemn and despise others, while justifying and exalting themselves.

15. Second, love is “kind.” In other words, it is pleasant to deal with; is not of forbidding aspect; ignores no one; is kind to all men, in words, acts and attitude.

16. Third, love “envieth not” — is not envious nor displeased at the greater prosperity of others; grudges no one property or honor. Haughty teachers, however, are envious and unkind. They begrudge everyone else both honor and possessions. Though with their lips they may pretend otherwise, these characteristics are plainly visible in their deeds.

17. Fourth, love “vaunteth not itself.” It is averse to knavery, to crafty guile and double-dealing. Haughty and deceptive spirits cannot refrain from such conduct, but love deals honestly and uprightly and face to face.

18. Fifth, love is not “puffed up,” as are false teachers, who swell themselves up like adders.

19. Sixth, love “doth not behave itself unseemly” after the manner of the passionate, impatient and obstinate, those who presume to be always in the right, who are opposed to all men and yield to none, and who insist on submission from every individual, otherwise they set the world on fire, bluster and fume, shriek and complain, and thirst for revenge. That is what such inflating pride and haughtiness of which we have just spoken lead to.

20. Seventh, love “seeketh not her own.” She seeks not financial advancement; not honor, profit, ease; not the preservation of body and life.

Rather she risks all these in her is no such thing as the Church of Christ nor as true Christians. Many erring spirits, especially strong pretenders to 21. Eighth, love “is not [easily] provoked” by wrong and ingratitude; it is meek. False teachers can tolerate nothing; they seek only their own advantage and honor, to the injury of others.

22. Ninth, love “taketh not account of [thinketh no] evil.” It is not suspicious; it puts the best construction on everything and takes all in good faith. The haughty, however, are immeasurably suspicious; always solicitous not to be underrated, they put the worst construction on everything, as Joab construed Abner’s deeds. 2 Samuel 3:25. This is a shameful vice, and they who are guilty of it are hard to handle.

23. Tenth, love “rejoiceth not in unrighteousness [iniquity].” The words admit of two interpretations: First, as having reference to the delight of an individual in his own evil doings. Solomon ( Proverbs 2:14) speaks of those who “rejoice to do evil.” Such must be either extremely profligate and shameless, characters like harlots and knaves; or else they must be hypocrites, who do not appreciate the wickedness of their conduct; characters like heretics and schismatics, who rejoice when their knavery succeeds under the name of God and of the truth. I do not accept this interpretation, but the other. Paul’s meaning is that false teachers are malicious enough to prefer to hear, above all things, that some other does wrong, commits error and is brought to shame; and their motive is simply that they themselves may appear upright and godly. Such was the attitude of the pharisee toward the publican, in the Gospel. But love’s compassion reaches far beyond its own sins, and prays for others.

24. Eleventh, love “rejoiceth with [in] the truth.” Here is evidence that the preceding phrase is to be taken as having reference to malicious rejoicing at another’s sin and fall. Rejoicing in the truth is simply exulting in the rightdoing and integrity of another. Similarly, love is grieved at another’s wrong-doing. But to the haughty it is an affliction to learn of uprightness in someone else; for they imagine such integrity detracts from their own profit and honor.

25. Twelfth, love “beareth all things.” It excuses every failing in all men, however weak, unjust or foolish one may be apparently, and no one can be guilty of a wrong too great for it to overlook. But none can do right in the eyes of the haughty, who ever find something to belittle and censure as beyond toleration, even though they must hunt up an old fence to find the injury.

26. Thirteenth, love “believeth all things.” Paul does not here allude to faith in God, but to faith in men. His meaning is: Love is of decidedly trustful disposition. The possessor of it believes and trusts all men, considering them just and upright like himself. He anticipates no wily and crooked dealing, but permits himself to be deceived, deluded, flouted, imposed upon, at every man’s pleasure, and asks, “Do you really believe men so wicked ?” He measures all other hearts by his own, and makes mistakes with utmost cheerfulness. But such error works him no injury. He knows God cannot forsake, and the deceiver of love but deceives himself. The haughty, on the contrary, trust no one, will believe none, nor brook deception.

27. Fourteenth, love “hopeth all things.” Love despairs of no man, however wicked he may be. It hopes for the best. As implied here, love says, “We must, indeed, hope for better things.” It is plain from this that Paul is not alluding to hope in God. Love is a virtue particularly representing devotion to a neighbor; his welfare is its goal in thought and deed. Like its faith, the hope entertained by love is frequently misplaced, but it never gives up. Love rejects no man; it despairs of no cause. But the proud speedily despair of men generally, rejecting them as of no account.

28. Fifteenth, love “endureth all things.” ‘It endures whatever harm befalls, whatever injury it suffers; it endures when its faith and hope in men have been misplaced; endures when it sustains damage to body, property or honor. It knows that no harm has been done since it has a rich God. False teachers, however, bear with nothing, least of all with perfidy and the violation of plighted faith.

29. Sixteenth, love never faileth; that means, it abides forever, also in the life to come. It never gives up, never permits itself to be hindered or defeated by the wickedness or ingratitude of men, as do worldly individuals and false saints, who, immediately on perceiving contempt or ingratitude, draw back, unwilling to do further good to any, and, rendering themselves quite inhuman, become perfect misanthropes like Timon in his reputation among the Greeks. Love does not so. It permits not itself to be made wicked by the wickedness of men, nor to be hindered in well-doing. It continues to do good everywhere, teaching and admonishing, aiding and serving, notwithstanding its services and benefits must be rewarded, not by good, but by evil. Love remains constant and immovable; it continues, it endures, in this earthly life and also in the life to come. The apostle adds, “Whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.” Love he commends above all other endowments, as a gift that can never pass, even in the life to come. Those other gifts, the boast of the false apostles, are bestowed only for this present life, to serve in the administering of the ministerial office. Prophecy, tongues, knowledge, all must cease; for in yonder life each individual will himself perceive perfectly and there will be no need for one to teach another. Likewise, all differences, all inequalities, shall be no more. No knowledge and no diversity of gifts is necessary; God himself will be all in every soul. Corinthians 15:28.

30. Here Paul gives utterance to the distinction between the life of faith here below and that heavenly life of divine vision. He would teach that we have in this life and the other the same possession, for it is the same God and the same treasures which we have here by faith and there by sight. In the objects themselves there is no difference; the difference consists in our knowledge. We have the same God in both lives, but in different manner of possession. The mode of possessing God in this life is faith. Faith is an imperfect, obscure vision, which makes necessary the Word, which, in turn, receives vogue through the ministry, tongues and prophecy. Without the Word, faith cannot live. But the mode of possessing God in the future life is not faith but sight. This is perfect knowledge, rendering unnecessary the Word, and likewise preaching, tongues and prophecy. These, then, must pass. Paul continues, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part.”

31. “We know in part”; that is, in this life we know imperfectly, for it is of faith and not of sight. And we “prophesy in part”; that is, imperfectly, for the substance of our prophecy is the Word and preaching. Both knowledge and prophecy, however, reveal nothing short of what the angels see — the one God. “But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.”

He proves this by way of illustration and contrasts the child with the man.

To children, who are yet weak, play is a necessity; it is a substitute for office and work. Similarly, we in the present life are far too frail to behold God. Until we are able, it is necessary that we should use the medium of Word and faith, which are adapted to our limitations. “For now we see in a mirror [through a glass] darkly; but then face to face.”

32. Faith, Paul tells us, is like a mirror, like a riddle. The actual face is not in the glass; there is but the image of it. Likewise, faith gives us, not the radiant countenance of eternal Deity, but a mere image of him, an image derived through the Word. As a dark riddle points to something more than it expresses, so faith suggests something clearer than that which it perceives. But in the life to come, mirror and riddle, faith and its demonstration, shall all have ceased to be. God’s face and our own shall be mutually and clearly revealed. Paul says, “Now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known [know even also as I am known].” That is, God now knows me perfectly, clearly and plainly; no dark veil is upon myself. But as to him, a dark veil hides him from me.

With the same perfect clearness wherewith he now knows me, I shall then know him — without a veil. The veil shall be taken away, not from him, but from me; for upon him is no veil.

THE GREATEST CHRISTIAN VIRTUE IS LOVE.

“But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

33. The sophists have transgressed ‘in a masterly manner as regards this verse. They have made faith vastly inferior to love because of Paul’s assertion that love is greater than faith and greater than hope. As usual, their mad reason blindly seizes upon the literal expression. They hack a piece out of it and the remainder they ignore. Thus they fail to understand Paul’s meaning; they do not perceive that the sense of Paul concerning the greatness of love is expressed both in the text and the context. For surely it cannot be disputed that the apostle is here referring to the permanent or temporary character respectively of love and other gifts, and not to their rank or power. As to rank, not faith only, but the Word, surpasses love; for the Word is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe. Romans 1:16. Yet the Word must pass. But though love is the fruit of the Word and its effect, it shall never be abolished. Faith possesses God himself. It possesses and can accomplish all things; yet it must cease. Love gives and blesses the neighbor, as a result of faith, and it shall never be done away.

34. Now, Paul’s statement that love is greater than faith and hope is intended as an expression of the permanence, or eternal duration, of love.

Faith, being limited as to time in comparison with love, ranks beneath it for the reason of this temporary duration. With the same right I might say that the kingdom of Christ is greater upon earth than was Christ. Thereby I do not mean that the Church in itself is better and of higher rank than Christ, but merely that it covers a greater part of the earth than he compassed; for he was here but three years and those he spent in a limited sphere, whereas his kingdom has been from the beginning and is coextensive with the earth.

In this sense, love is longer and broader than either faith or hope. Faith deals with God merely in the heart and in this life, whereas the relations of love both to God and the whole world are eternal. Nevertheless, as Christ is immeasurably better and higher and more precious than the Christian Church, although we behold him moving in smaller limits and as a mere individual, so is faith better, higher and more precious than love, though its duration is limited and it has God alone for its object.

35. Paul’s purpose in thus extolling love is to deal a blow to false teachers and to bring to naught their boasts about faith and other gifts when love is lacking. His thought is: “If ye possess not love, which abides forever, all else whereof ye boast being perishable, ye will perish with it. While the Word of God, and spiritual gifts, are eternal, yet the external office and proclamation of the Word, and likewise the employment of gifts in their variety, shall have an end, and thus your glory and pride shall become as ashes.” So, then, faith justifies through the Word and produces love. But while both Word and faith shall pass, righteousness and love, which they effect, abide forever; just as a building erected by the aid of scaffolding remains after the scaffolding has been removed.

36. Observe how small the word “love” and how easily uttered! Who would have thought to find so much precious virtue and power ascribed by Paul to this one excellence as counterpart of so much that is evil? This is, I imagine, magnifying love, painting love. It is a better discourse on virtue and vice than are the heathen writings. The model the apostle presents should justly shame the false teachers, who talk much of love but in whom not one of the virtues he mentions is found.

Every quality of love named by him means false teachers buffeted and assaulted. Whenever he magnifies love and characterizes her powers, he invariably makes at the same time a thrust at those who are deficient in any of them. Well may we, then, as he describes the several features, add the comment “But you do very differently.”

37. It is passing strange that teachers devoid of love should possess such gifts as Paul has mentioned here, viz., speaking with tongues, prophesying, understanding mysteries; that they should have faith, should bestow their goods and suffer themselves to be burned. For we have seen what abominations ensue where love is lacking; such individuals are proud, envious, puffed up, impatient, unstable, false, venomous, suspicious, malicious, disdainful, bitter, disinclined to service, distrustful, selfish, ambitious and haughty. How can it consistently be claimed that people of this stamp can, through faith, remove mountains, give their bodies to be burned, prophesy, and so on? It is precisely as I have stated. Paul presents an impossible proposition, implying that since they are devoid of love, they do not really possess those gifts, but merely assume the name and appearance. And in order to divest them of those he admits for the sake of argument that they are what in reality they are not.