Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whose Obedience?

A teaching that is often missing in mainstream American Christianity is termed the "active obedience of Christ." Simply put, it means that Christ not only PAID for our sins by dying on the cross("passive obedience"), he also KEPT the law perfectly for us ("active obedience"). Why is this so important? It comes down to this-if a church focuses only on Christ's passive obedience, the believer's salvation is often viewed in the *rear-view mirror*, meaning it is something that happened in the past, and now the rest of the Christian's life is about the Christian's obedience. The gospel is not continual good news for a Christian who lives that way. It is the good news of the past. In reality, Christ kept the law for the Christian, and His obedience is the Christian's obedience. Yes, Christians still need to hear the law of God. But that is not what makes them Christians. The gospel, which includes Christ's passive and active obedience, saves them and gives them new life. Then the Christian can truly say,
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." Galatians 2:20
Here is a link to an Issues, Etc. program. The guest is Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith; the title is "Why is the Active Obedience of Christ Missing in Pop-American Christianity?"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stan's vicarage begins

Although Stan's vicarage began the first week of August, today he was officially installed during the service. This photo was taken after the service. We are glad that Stan has the opportunity to serve here. (By the way, in case you are wondering what a vicar is, in our church body a vicar is somewhat like a student teacher. A vicar does many things that a pastor does, under his supervision. However, several things are reserved for the pastor).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For the Record...

Just in case my non-Lutheran readers wonder, "What's up with all of this talk about Martin Luther?" Here are a few things to set the record straight:

1. We don't think that Martin Luther is infallible. In fact, the only things he wrote that confessional Lutherans agree on are the writings contained in the Book of Concord. We don't think they are inspired, but are a correct explanation of the Scriptures.

2. Luther was a sinner/saint, just like every other Christian. Lutherans can, and do dislike and disagree with some things that he wrote (outside of our Confessions).

3. God worked through Luther to bring to light the blessed truth of the Gospel, which has been obscured by many of the practices of the church during his time. He was a doctor of theology, and many of his writings are very helpful and comforting to Christians of all time periods.

Here are Luther's words about the use of his name:
What is Luther? After all, the teaching is not mine. Neither was I crucified for anyone...But if you are convinced that Luther's teaching is in accord with the gospel...then you should not discard Luther so completely, lest with him you discard also his teaching, which you nevertheless recognize as Christ's teaching. You should rather say: Whether Luther is a rascal or a saint I do not care; his teaching is not his, but Christ's. Martin Luther (Luther's Works, American Edition 45:70-71; 36:265)