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What Luther Says

'Your Task, O Preacher...'

Recently, we finished our look at The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) by Steven Lawson after I received a free digital copy several months ago.

Well, it seems we left out one important excerpt! In our last entry, we looked at Martin Luther's pulpit presence.

Today, I want to expand upon that just a bit, and address the Pastor's faithfulness from the pulpit, especially in this day-and-age of the "Celebrity Pastor" and "Pastor As Church CEO" mentality that's so pervasive in Christianity not to mention the preference to preach politically correct Pietism too.

Addressing the preachers in his day, Luther exhorted them to be immovably faithful to the Biblical text. He declared the following:

"Your task, O preacher, is to make sure that you are faithful to the text, that you are faithful to the proclamation of that Gospel, that you are faithful to set forth the whole counsel of God, and then step back and let it happen.
I don’t have to try to cajole and persuade people with my techniques to get them to respond. I preach the Law, I preach the Gospel, and the Holy Ghost attends the ministry of that Word to bring forth the fruit."

Luther’s words could hardly be more relevant for this generation. In a day when the Word of God is largely neglected in pulpits, even forsaken altogether, this Reformer’s voice echoes down the centuries. By his example, Luther calls men of God to be strong in their commitment to Sola Scriptura -- Scripture alone.

May all who stand before an open Bible remain fixed on the text before them. May they never depart from their Biblical passages as they lift up Jesus Christ. And may they, as Paul charged Timothy, preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).

It's a shame that so many of us (particularly within the laity) feel the need to remind Pastors of these basic truths that are foundational to their calling as Christ's under-shepherds.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV) 1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 9:16 (ESV) For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

The Good News that is the Gospel, or proclaiming Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind, is not conveyed through charisma or eloquence of speech, but through humble messengers testifying about the cross. We look there for God's power and rest in His wisdom.

Furthermore, in St. Paul's case, we see that he did not choose to become a preacher of the Gospel; Christ called him directly (Galatians 1:15-16; Acts 9:15-16).

That being said, the glory for the Apostle Paul's work (as well as the glory for any preacher's work today) belongs to Christ and Christ alone.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, let's encourage and pray for our Pastors to remain faithful to their God-given calling.

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 our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. 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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