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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

"Every Genuine Lutheran..." Walther Rolls On

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Two things should be found in every genuine Lutheran.  First, in regard to God's Word he practices absolutely no criticism.  For he knows that here God alone is speaking, and the Christian dare not ask: "Is it true, right, useful?"  There he must accept everything without question. That was also Luther's stance over against the Enthusiasts.  When they asked: "How is it possible that Christ's body and blood are present in the Lord's Supper"  What is the necessity and use of it?"  Luther answered them:  " If God would command me to pick up a bit of straw and would bind my salvation to it, I should do it without question and not ask: 'Why that?'"  Therefore Luther writes:  "If the devil brings someone to the point where he says in the Creed:  'Is it right?  Is it also good?' then God have mercy on him: he's already lost."  (Erlangen Edition second edition, vol. 15, p 358)

This is especially important in our time.  Many who pass for Lutherans lack the foremost characteristic of a true Lutheran.  Many so-called Lutherans declare that they find errors in Holy Scripture.  Although such men teach rightly in individual doctrines, yet because they venture to be critics of Holy Scripture, they are no Lutherans.  For the Lutheran Church recognizes the Bible to be the true, pure fountain of Israel.

The second mark of a true Lutheran is that he always subjects human writing to critical appraisal.  He does not accept writings dealing with spiritual matters simply because this or that distinguished person has written them.  He who subjects God's Word to critical appraisal is a rationalist and a heathen; but he who does not subject human writings to critical appraisal is a papist. People are naturally inclined to look to other people.  In order to cure us in this matter and to satisfy our inclination in the right way, God has - says Luther- let His Son become man.  Luther writes:  "Therefore I do not speak much about it, except to remain simply with the words and to let myseif catch them.  We have it sufficiently in the Creed, where we say, 'I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.'  Now one is to believe in no one except God alone.  Therefore He also wished to become man, so that the heart would not have allegiance to any angel or person, but only to Him."  (Ibid., p. 357)  (Walther, Essays for the Church II:93, 1992)

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