|Norma A. Boeckler books|
The Hymn #574 Come Ye Thankful
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The First Lection 1 Timothy 2:1-8
The Second Lection Luke 17:11-19
The Sermon Hymn #361 O Jesus King
The Real Political Message of the Bible
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 - Gounod
KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Background for Sermon
The Social Gospel Movement is extremely important for our country, because a tiny group of people met to form a brotherhood to promote their political goals for the denominations in America. This Brotherhood of the Kingdom was made up of liberals who redefined the doctrines of the Bible according to German rationalism, which is what CFW Walther grew up in - his father a rationalist pastor. Walter Rauschenbusch is the most famous figure in this movement, though Emerson Fosdick was also well known in his time.
The goals of this Brotherhood of the Kingdom became the agenda of the Federal Council of Churches, renamed the National Council of Churches. The mainline denominations adopted these goals, which became the platform of President Franklin Roosevelt. Naturally, these people were fond of socialism and many thought the real deal was Marxism. In the olden days one could easily identify a liberal activist Lutheran because he published something very positive about Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel.
I wrote my dissertation on this topic, so I will try to be brief. This movement turned the Gospel upside-down, making it pure works. The Parable of the Good Samaritan was not about Jesus as the Samaritan caring for us, but about making the road to Jericho safe! Jesus died to show His solidarity with the poor! Therefore, the purpose of the Christian Church (they imagine) is to change society by passing laws to control our behavior. The Left-wing activism in today's churches is an outgrowth of this Social Gospel Movement with the addition of various kinds of radicalism.
In the LCA this worked by polarizing congregations about various issues, welcoming the exit of those backward people considered conservatives, but called rednecks, Birchers, Fundamentalists. A smaller, smarter church and shrinking but better synod were desirable outcomes.
The Social Gospel Movement combined a rewriting of Christian doctrine to match its political activism.
|Norma A. Boeckler books|
The Real Political Message of the Bible
KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
As we know from other topics (infant faith, the Means of Grace, Justification by Faith), people simply ignore passages that do not support their hobby-horses. Therefore, they ride them forever. These two verses show that Christianity in the Apostolic Age was quietistic, a phrase used by one of the top scholars of Greek language and culture for that era (A. Mahlherbe). Quietistic means the opposite of activist, engaging in politics, using the church as an instrument to make political points and pass laws governing others. We know that theocratic governments, with the church in control, have been abusive, controlling, and corrupt. The papal states in Italy, owned and poorly governed by the Roman Church, were corrupt and lax.
Quietistic means the Christians were not exhorted to overturn the government or rebel against them. The ultimate tool to remove social evil is the Gospel, which will be shown as an example on Sunday, when we discuss an entire book of the Bible in one session. That solution has worked its way through Western culture over the centuries. Britain, through the influence of Evangelicals like Wilberforce, ended slavery without a civil war.
Instead of church in political action, Paul urged them to pray for all men, for kings and those in authority - the political leaders. That is why Christianity has flourished in all political systems and has grown under persecution.
Zwingli and other ministers fought on the battlefield, and he died wearing armor.
What we see in America is the Social Gospel starting in a rejection of the basic doctrines of Christianity and making an agenda the religion. Once that was achieved in the New Deal, there was agitation for more. Religious agencies dropped the pretext and simply became political action groups using Christianity as a front. I saw this happen in Roman Catholicism too, when the properly social action types wanted to conquer all church leadership and openly despised basic Christian doctrine.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
It is good to remember that the Word is more powerful than any empire. There was nothing like the Roman Empire during the public ministry of Christ, and yet the gold, wealth, and majesty of Rome was no barrier to the Christian Faith. It grew from the bottom up, among slaves and criminals, the bottom of society. And yet when they were tortured and killed in huge stadiums, their peace at the time of death rattled and disturbed the pagan Romans. Slowly the faith worked its way up. Rome was knocked into the dustbin of history, as Luther observed, conquered by the One God they could not tolerate in their pantheon.
Opposition has never quashed Christianity. Earthly power means nothing, as Jesus declared, "My Kingdom is not of this world." A local ruler could not comprehend this, and yet Jesus disturbed people by His death and His resurrection.
The secret of Christianity is that the Word grows and takes over in a quiet, subtle, but powerful way. When people are occupied with spiritual truths, their hearts do not have much room for error, for the death-traps (scandalon, literally the trigger of the trap) that plunge people into error and destruction.
The irony is that mankind trusts its own power and wisdom and disdains the power and wisdom of the Gospel. Nobody can even predict what the Word can do among believers or how it calls out the faithful from among the mass of people today. While many scorn the simple Word of the Gospel. others who have been fed the lentil soup of earthly wisdom say - "This is the feast of God's grace and forgiveness." Their hunger and thirst is satisfied, not by Zen but by the Good Shepherd.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
This is a beautiful confession of faith, likely one they memorized. I let a young group loose once and they painted this on the wall. I thought I was in trouble for letting that happen - it was a surprise to me. And no one had any qualms about it. What can they say to the Gospel in a few words? So it was displayed for a long time.
This is poetic - (for) big break.
One God and One Mediator of God and men, (There is - understood)
The man Jesus Christ.
Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
"In the work of providing salvation for all men the ransoming was
assumed by the second person. Paul states the mighty facts; theologians have devised their theories about the atonement because they were not satisfied with the facts as they stand." Lenski p. 549.
This confession emphasizes the humanity of God, or we might say - the Incarnation, the Two Natures. The ransom for all means He died for the sins of all (the Atonement). This Atonement is the Gospel, which we witness to all people.
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Thus Paul witnesses to the truth and wishes that everyone would also be confident in this truth and not prone to quarreling and doubting among themselves.
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