The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Monday, March 6, 2017
New Addition to The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine:
Luther's Biblical Doctrine of the Word
Now in the Art Department (Norma Boeckler)
Those who fear synod presidents, district presidents, and wealthy laity should follow the example of Luther and trust the Word of God above all things.
Isaiah 66 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
The bizarre dogma that the elements of Holy Communion are not the Body and Blood of Christ - until they are received by the communicant - is easily repudiated. The Holy Spirit in the Word consecrates the bread and wine. The recipient receives what the Word promises, the Body and Blood of Christ.
The concept of drawing people to church through entertainment methods was promoted by a Fuller Seminary graduate, LCA Pastor Walt Kallestad. He eventually rejected his own approach and saw his congregation absorbed by the Pentecostal Dream City parish. Luther had the Reformation congregations actively participate in the Means of Grace by listening to Biblical sermons and singing Scriptural, doctrinal hymns. They confessed their faith through the Creeds and used a liturgy cleansed of its Roman Catholic errors.
Just as the Apostle Paul rejected methods (Greek word – methodia – deceit) Ephesians 4:14 and 6:11, Luther abhorred human scheming, tricks, and deceit. They do not belong in worship or teaching the Word, as JP Meyer wrote so eloquently. Unlike many of the great and wise today, Luther was content to read the Scriptures as they were, with child-like faith.
The feverish quest for various confessions of faith working together is not a sign of strength, but weakness, the panic ignited by the steady collapse of once great institutions, congregations, and schools. Luther had no use for those who rejected the plain Word of God and sought no compromise with them. Akin to this ecumenism - where the leaders love every denomination except their own - is the Pietistic promotion of the cell, prayer, care, koinonia, or small group – the names multiply. The Pietists then and now consider their cell groups to be the only True Church and they despise the Means of Grace.
The church bodies should remove adulterous pastors from the ministry instead of shielding them. This corrupting leaven leavens the whole lump. Luther had no use for unfaithful husbands, let alone adulterous ministers.
Luther revealed contempt for those who were not studious in the Word. His four-fold discipline is apt for all parties concerned, whether they have tenure at the college or seminary, or a plum call in a congregation:
1. Deprive them of food.
2. Drive them out of town.
3. Bait them with dogs.
4. Pelt them with manure.
One famous suggestion from Luther was to have pastors preach only 30 minutes if they could not preach an entire hour. Pastors should be writing expository sermons, explaining the text verse by verse, instead of copying the drivel sold or given away on the Internet. The college and seminary professors should be engaged in study of the Word rather than searching for academic security.
 "Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.
 "Paul... is speaking about methods of preaching the Gospel. He means to say that you can introduce methods into your Gospel work which on the surface do not appear as shameful, but which in reality disgrace the Gospel. He is harking back to 2:17, where he spoke about kapeleuein, about 'selling' the Gospel. To use a coarse illustration: Some ministers in their eagerness to bring the Gospel to the people, resort to entertainment to attract the crowds, in order to get an opportunity to preach to them. If you would tell such ministers that they are ashamed of the Gospel and that by their methods they disgrace it, because they manifest a lack of trust in its efficacy, they would resent the charge. Are they not doing all in order to promote the Gospel? The disgrace their methods bring upon it does not appear on the surface; that is why Paul speaks of secret things of shame." John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, pp. 62f. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2:17.
 "Dr. Luther, who, above others, certainly understood the true and proper meaning of the Augsburg Confession, and who constantly remained steadfast thereto till his end, and defended it, shortly before his death repeated his faith concerning this article with great zeal in his last Confession, where he writes 419 thus: 'I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all [other] saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone, and hope for no fellowship with me; this is not going to be altered [thus my opinion stands, which I am not going to change]." Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 33, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 983. Tappert, p. 575.
 “And what need is there of many words? If I were to recount all the profit and fruit which God's Word produces, whence would I get enough paper and time? The devil is called the master of a thousand arts. But what shall we call God's Word, which drives away and brings to naught this master of a thousand arts with all his arts and power? It must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts. 13] And shall we frivolously despise such power, profit, strength, and fruit-we, especially, who claim to be pastors and preachers? If so, we should not only have nothing given us to eat, but be driven out, being baited with dogs, and pelted with dung, because we not only need all this every day as we need our daily bread, but must also daily use it against the daily and unabated attacks and lurking of the devil, the master of a thousand arts.”
Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments, Introduction. Concordia Triglotta.
Posted by Gregory Jackson at 6:46 AM