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Medal of Dishonor: Vatican Spells 'Jesus' Wrong

Everyone's starting to talk about the embarrassing news out of the Catholic Church today.

Vatican Pulls Misspelled 'Jesus' Medals

The Vatican has pulled back thousands of medals commemorating Pope Francis' ascension to the papacy because the name of Jesus is misspelled. The medals, which have often been minted for a new pope and are bought by collectors worldwide, named the Christian savior as "Lesus" in an inscription on the edge. The medals were struck in gold, silver and bronze by the Italian state mint before the mistake was noticed, according to the BBC. They went on sale Tuesday. The Vatican said it withdrew 6,000 of the flawed medals from sale. But four of the medals were bought before that happened and could become valuable because of the error, according to the Telegraph newspaper. The medals depict Pope Francis and a phrase in Latin that inspired him to become a priest: "Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, 'follow me'." The "J" is that phrase appears as an "L" on the medal. Social media users cracked jokes about this new religious figure, "Lesus" Christ. "I blame the Lesuits," said one tweet.

Honestly, what's the big deal?

I mean, I can't say I'm surprised by this news. Are you? After all, we all know that Roman Catholicism worships a different Jesus than the real Lord and Savior who actually sits at the right hand of God the Father (Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 12:2) as I type this, right?

So, when you think about it, quite frankly, they can call their version whatever they want to call him. I actually think it's a good thing that this happened, because it gives us an opportunity to present the real Jesus and the real Gospel to those who have this on their mind today or who bring it up in conversation around the water cooler.

Remember, Catholics who have sat (are sitting) under Catholic leadership their whole lives may not know any better, which is why we should think of them as the mission field as opposed to just the battlefield all the time. Give 'em Christ Jesus! Give 'em the Gospel!

A reading of our Confessions will reveal that they all sprang from an urgent need to give articulation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach and give witness to this Gospel. And what is this Gospel which incited the most blessed and significant spiritual awakening since the days of the apostles?

In our Confessions (FC SD, V, 20) we read:

The Gospel, however, is that doctrine which teaches what a man should believe in order to obtain the forgiveness of sins from God, since man has failed to keep the law of God and has transgressed it, his corrupted nature, thoughts, words, and deeds war against the law, and he is therefore subject to the wrath of God, to death, to temporal miseries, and to the punishment of hell-fire. The content of the Gospel is this, that the Son of God, Christ our Lord, himself assumed and bore the curse of the law and expiated and paid for all our sins, that through him alone we reenter the good graces of God, obtain forgiveness of sins through faith, are freed from death and all the punishments of sin, and are saved eternally.
This statement may well be considered one of the most important and formative statements in our Lutheran Confessions. Why? Because it is the most complete and beautiful definition of the Gospel to be found in them. And that is what our Confessions are all about-the Gospel!

Our great 24 Lutheran Confessions were written for the sake of the Gospel. The Augsburg Confession, Luther's catechisms, the Formula of Concord were not written just to blast or correct abuses in the Roman Church, or to defend Lutheran theology against the attacks of papists, or to perpetuate party spirit. These Confessions were all prompted by a faith in the Gospel, a love for it, and a determination to teach and confess it according to the Scriptures.

In this respect our Confessions resemble the New Testament itself. Paul and the other apostles. Preach, admonish, and say everything for the sake of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 9:16; John 20:31; 1 Peter 5:12; 1 John 5:13). That was their commission from Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15).

It is remarkable how consistently our Confessions emphasize this central theme of the Gospel, how all their discussions support and lead to this theme of salvation by free grace through faith in Christ. Melanchthon in the Augsburg Confession clusters all the articles of faith around the redemptive work of Christ and justification through faith in Him.

Martin Luther in the Smalcald Articles structures all of Christian doctrine around the simple doctrine of the Gospel, the doctrine of Christ and faith in Him. Here is what he says (SA, II, i):

The first and chief article is this, that Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, "was put to death for our trespasses and raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). He alone is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).... Inasmuch as this must be believed and cannot be obtained or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and 25 certain that such faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says in Romans 3, "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law" (Romans 3:28), and again, "that he [God] himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). Nothing in this article can be given up or compromised, even if heaven and earth and things temporal should be destroyed.... On this article rests all that we teach and practice against the pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore we must be quite certain and have no doubts about it...
This is the spirit of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions. This is why our Confessions, like Scripture itself, are always contemporary and useful. If we share this Gospel spirit, we will see how helpful and exciting our Confessions are and we will read them with avidity and profit. Source: Getting into The Theology of Concord by Robert D. Preus
(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977), pgs. 7-29.

Like I said, Catholics are free to call their version of Jesus whatever they like. They've certainly hijacked and held hostage the holy and precious name of Christ for far too long, perverting it more and more as the years have passed, and that should break all of our hearts.

I'm sorry, call me a cynic (and this is not a tacit endorsement of idols, golden calves, or relics of any kind), but you gotta love a Christian anything that has the audacity to create a medal in honor of a mere man who is supposedly one of God's servants here on earth, rather than a medal in honor of the Lord or His Son. It's like they view Pope Francis as the "Vicar of Christ" or something. Hey, wait a minute (Acts 4:12; 1 timothy 2:5; Matthew 16:18; John 14:26)!

What's next? Creating statues of Jesus' mother Mary and encouraging people to put them up in their churches, homes, and gardens to praise and worship? Hey, wait a minute!

Plus, there's another part of me that just can't help but think that if it was an actual "monetary unit" that the Vatican coined, and one that people could actually "buy and sell" with, then you better believe they would've spelled Jesus' name right so that they did not tarnish and disrespect the very essence of their "God Mammon" itself, while stripping it of its supernatural power in the process.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I sincerely apologize for the cynicism and "snarkiness" in this entry, because it's really not funny at all, and quite sad and tragic actually, which is why we need to pray for God to call and save people out of the Catholic Church, and confess our faith by preaching the Gospel to any Catholics He might put in our path.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if any of my "old beliefs" seem to have found there way into any of the material published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with being a Confessional Lutheran let alone if it's not consistent with God's Word so that I can correct those errors immediately so as to 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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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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