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I Just Met 'The Second Martin'

Ok, so I'm well aware of the fact that this is like the third entry published today, and I don't mean to overwhelm you with material, but I just met "The Second Martin" and had to tell you about it.

Steadfast Chemnitz — Introduction

March 27th, 2012 By Pastor C. Brian Bucklew

When I was asked to write for brothers of John the Steadfast, at first I was reluctant. I’m a new pastor, less than a year in the ministry, and did not feel up to the task. But my friend who asked me to write swayed me. I met this same friend while visiting Concordia Theological Seminary, as I contemplated attending seminary. It was then that this friend gave me some of the best advice concerning the reading of the Lutheran Church fathers. He told me to read Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, and Walther…in that order! Time and time again, especially during seminary, his advice has proved to be invaluable. However, as many do, I have found that I have a favorite among these Lutheran Church Fathers.

As much as I love reading Luther, Martin Chemnitz takes up a lot of my reading time. Martin Chemnitz, known as the ‘second Martin’, organizes Luther’s thoughts in a meticulous manner, making Lutheran theology unbelievably accessable. You could say that Chemnitz is like the cliff notes of Luther, although that statement still leaves much desired. Along with his invaluable work in helping to formulate the Formula of Concord for the Lutheran Confessions, he has written many other orthodox works. We do not have all his works translated in English, but what we do have is quite the tome. There are his three volume Loci, his explacation of The Lord’s Supper, his profound and punctilious work on The Lord’s Prayer, his exhaustive work on The Two Natures of Christ, and his Examination of the Council of Trent to name a few. Oh, and let’s not forget his Ministry, Word, and Sacraments an Enchiridion, which at the very least, should be required reading for every seminarian. I have only begun to scratch the surface in reading these works of Chemnitz. Currently I’m reading his Examination of the Council of Trent, volume II, and his discussions on Baptism therein. In all these works, the repeated theme you see in Chemnitz’s writings is that he knew the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. He knew how to wield it. He knew how to strike a swift and deadly blow to every wind of false doctrine and ugly head of the devil.

Chemnitz was a warrior who could cut the heart out of the devil. He could not only quote the ‘It is written’, but do so like a precise Doctor prescribing just the right medicine for just the right disorderly disease. The deadly and complex disease of the heresy of Rome was no match for the gifted, encyclopic, Scripture grounded writings of Chemnitz. For this reason I am currently reading his Examination of the Council of Trent. My own father has been struck with the disease of the Roman heresy, and when such sickness strikes a family member as dear as one of your parents, it hurts. Its personal. I do not wish to dishonor my dear father, but his heart is deceived by the errors of Rome. This is a major reason why I am driven to the writings of Chemnitz. As you can imagine, I have had many long conversations with my father about the errors of the Roman, Papist teachings. It’s not easy to watch the devil dance around on your own father’s faith. It challenges your own faith at the core, because after all he is Dad and you look up to him.

But I thank God for the faithful Church father named Martin Chemnitz. And it is with this little introduction that I wish to begin writing for Brothers of John the Steadfast, a titled section called; Steadfast Chemnitz. As I read Chemnitz myself, I hope to share some of his illuminating thoughts on Scripture and his tireless battles against heresy. Maybe we can all learn some good sword fighting from such a steadfast, ‘second Martin’, and honorable father in the faith.

You can view and learn more about Chemnitz’s works here.

*- Rev. C. Brian Bucklew
Zion & Emmaus Lutheran Churches (Delmont and Tripp, S.D.)

Want a prime example of what Pastor Bucklew was talking about?

"...it is with those who are legitimately chosen and called by God through the church, therefore with the ministers to whom the use or administration of the ministry of the Word and the sacraments has been committed."

*- Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent: Volume II, p.97

Another brief bio of Martin Chemnitz adds:

Martin Chemnitz died in 1586, a fact worth noting because of his work as the senior editor of the Book of Concord. That was his last great effort as a theologian.

Chemnitz studied under Melanchthon and Luther. He is best known for his Examination of the Council of Trent, where he studied all the issues of Trent versus orthodox Christian (Lutheran) doctrine. His extensive knowledge of the patristic fathers allowed him to take away the weapons of the papacy (Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose) and defeat their false doctrine.

His Two Natures of Christ is a masterpiece of theological scholarship. Two Natures is a work to be read slowly, to appreciate and comprehend the Gospel and those who oppose it.

Chemnitz also argued against the Calvinists, who were the chief opponents of Lutheran doctrine on the Protestant side. The Lord's Supper is written against those who doubt the Real Presence of Christ, the sacramental nature of Holy Communion.

The extensive knowledge of Chemnitz and his mastery of theology made the Second Martin the ideal person to lead the Book of Concord effort. Chemnitz blended the elegant precision of Melanchthon with the pugnacious humor and insights of Luther.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, he was well-deserving of the "Second Martin" title.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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