Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Gospel In a Few Simple Steps

The Lost Sheep, by Norma Boeckler

God's will is carried out only through His Word, and this Word is always united with the divine energy of His Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:8-11.

The efficacious Word of God created the universe in six days and converts the blind, hardened unbeliever into a new creation. This same Word continues to work in the believer, to encourage godly contrition and sustain his faith in Christ.

The Holy Spirit works through the Law to condemn our sins against the Ten Commandments, our spiritual sins (First Table) against God, which lead to the more visible sins against our neighbor (Second Table).

God uses the preaching and teaching of the Gospel to plant and sustain faith in the crushed hearts of contrite sinners. The Gospel message is summarized:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." KJV John 3:16.

The proclamation of the Gospel is carried out through the invisible Word of preaching and teaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. God grants grace only through His instruments, the Means of Grace.

Those who believe in the Gospel of Christ receive what He has promised, complete and free forgiveness of sin. God declares that person forgiven - justification by faith. Romans 5:1-2.

The fruits of the Spirit follow from faith in Christ, and God is glorified by all things done in faith. Those who wish to harvest more for the Kingdom should broadcast the Word with complete abandon, trusting in God's Promises.

Errors Refuted
What God could do should not be confused with His Promises. He has bound Himself to the Word forever, so the Holy Spirit never works apart from the Means of Grace. Separating the Holy Spirit from the Word is called Enthusiasm.

The word of man accomplishes nothing and only serves to dilute and pollute the Word of God when mixed with His Wisdom. All Church Growth and Emerging Church programs are pure Enthusiasm, loved by Satan for turning weak members into Unitarians, lazy pastors into atheists.

Pastoral work is summarized by carrying out the divinely blessed work of the Means of Grace - preaching, teaching, and visitation with the Word. The minister is not obliged to balance the budget, keep everyone happy, or pack the calendar with social events. He is not an entertainer, a fishing buddy, a shrink. God enrages the devil by making an ordinary person the ordained vessel for transmitting the Means of Grace.

Ministerial success is defined solely by faithfulness to the Scriptures and Confessions, as Walther stated in quoting Luther, at the end of Law and Gospel. God Himself will bring about His results.

Money is not a Means of Grace and has no effect on the growth of the Kingdom. Because the love of money is the root of all evil, an abundance of money will normally work against the Gospel - materially bankrupting the spiritually bankrupt, as shown by the work of the Schwan Foundation.

Scarlet fever is best discouraged by making men pay to hold office in the organization, paying a penalty for avoiding a studious life.

Working with those who deny the Means of Grace will always undermine trust in God's appointed instruments. Lutherans have proven repeatedly that they cannot work with the Reformed and remain faithful to the Scriptures and Confessions.

False doctrine is a cancer, not an adiaphoron.

Synodical traditions and unwritten rules are hogwash designed to fool the unwary, keep the organization captive, and thwart God's Word. He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. KJV Mark 7:6.

Preaching of the Gospel – Stone in a Pond

"The preaching of this message may be likened to a stone thrown into the water, producing ripples which circle outward from it, the waves rolling always on and on, one driving the other, till they come to the shore. Although the center becomes quiet, the waves do not rest, but move forward. So it is with the preaching of the Word. It was begun by the apostles, and it constantly goes forward, is pushed on farther and farther by the preachers, driven hither and thither into the world, yet always being made known to those who never heard it before, although it be arrested in the midst of its course and is condemned as heresy."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 202. Ascension Day Mark 16:14-20.


California suggested:

Re: The suggestion that you print your article, "Gospel In a Few Simple Steps" and send it to every WELS pastor. How about the responder and like minded readers printing it out themselves and sending or handing it to as many pastors as they know? That way readers can express the courage of their convictions on their own dimes and with their own names and return addresses. I had already downloaded and printed it to have available for distribution to anyone of my choosing whether they identify themselves as Lutheran or "Other".