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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 5/24/2014)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was for Luther a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins like Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the commercials! Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): So this is the latest video that my kids can't get enough of right now -- "Wolverine Cat" -- which is an oldie but a goodie. Enjoy!

I figured this was a good place to promote a new Lutheran podcast that I somehow missed called "Steadfast Throwdown" with Pastor Eric Andersen and Pastor Randy Asburry. It's a new Radio show dedicated to confessing the truth and laying the smack down on false doctrine.

"In conversations with the Calvinists the Lutheran will often say, 'You don't take Jesus' Words for what they plainly say.' The Calvinist will then reply, 'I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. You don't teach that this is his body either. You say it's in, with, and under.' I used to hold to this misunderstanding of the Lutheran view myself. It is common to hear Lutherans to use the phrase, 'in, with, and under' and the phrase is often misunderstood to mean what it is not intended to mean. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to use the phrase but it must be explained. Our confessions never use the phrase 'in, with, and under.' However, they do use each of these three words in the confessions. When taken in context they do not deny the fact that 'We hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ.' (Smallcald Articles, Part III, Article VI). The bread is the body and the wine is the blood. Our confessions are very clear on this issue. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a Catch-22 here. I prefer simply to say that the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ and wish we could just simply leave it at that. Since others have adopted positions that say more and/or less than Scripture says, it becomes necessary to explain what you are saying when you say that the bread is the body and the wine is the blood. 'In' indicates that the body and blood of Christ are in the bread and wine of the sacrament. Christ did not say that this is bread is no longer bread. Christ, holding the bread, said, 'This is my body.' 'With' indicates that we receive body, blood, bread, and wine. When Paul speaks of the consecrated elements he goes back and forth between speaking of the bread and speaking of the body of Christ. 'Under' indicates that the body and blood are there but they are there in a hidden way. We cannot detect them through scientific tests or visibly see them. I think may understand 'under' to mean that if you look underneath the bread you're going to find Jesus there. However, that's not what the language intends to communicate in its original context. 'In, with, and under' is often understood to be teaching consubstantiation, local co-existence, or impanation. However, our confessions deny all of these things. The eating of Christ's body is not a physical eating but mystical and sacramental. This does not mean that it's some mere figurative eating. But we recognize that Christ's body is not locally and physically present. Christ's body and blood are supernaturally, mysteriously, and incomprehensibly present. There is a real sacramental union. The bread and the body and the wine and the blood exist together. We confess this to be the case because this is what the Scriptures say and refuse to go beyond this. Unlike consubstantiation and transubstantiation we hold to no theory about the coexistence of two substances. As Luther says: Therefore, it is entirely correct to say, if one points to the bread, 'This is Christ’s body,' and whoever sees the bread sees Christ’s body, as John says that he saw the Holy Spirit when he saw the dove, as we have heard. Thus also it is correct to say, 'He who takes hold of this bread, takes hold of Christ’s body; and he who eats this bread, eats Christ’s body; he who crushes this bread with teeth or tongue, crushes with teeth or tongue the body of Christ.' And yet it remains absolutely true that no one sees or grasps or eats or chews Christ’s body in the way he visibly sees and chews any other flesh. What one does to the bread is rightly and properly attributed to the body of Christ by virtue of the sacramental union." Chuck Wiese

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Revelation 21:4 (ESV) "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Note that John describes Heaven by way of negation, (i.e., in terms of what will not be there: tears, death, crying, or pain). Such a description is fitting, given that we have no experience of anything as fantastic as the new heavens and the new earth (1 Corinthians 2:9). The new creation has already begun to appear through the preaching of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit (Revelation 21:5). However, it will not be completed until the day of Christ's return. Revelation 21:6 has the words "It is done!" which echoes John 19:30. In that context, Jesus is pronouncing that that redemption has been won. Here in this verse from Revelation, God announces that the final restoration has been completed. Beautiful too are the words "spring of the water" which are probably another example of baptismal imagery and "without payment" stresses the graciousness of salvation. Yes, Revelation 21:1-8 tells us of the restored heaven and earth presented to God's resurrected people. Such a magnificent future and hope calls us to rise above the ugliness of sin of this fallen world, because impenitence and a lack of vigilance can still lead to the spiritual shipwreck of our souls (1 Timothy 1:19). At the same time, God is faithful and so will unfailingly fulfill the purposes for which His Son became man; He will remove the curse that so sorely afflicts us. Jesus, You suffered to save us from the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), and You also suffered and made all things new. Therefore, renew our hearts and minds, and hasten the day when You shall present the holy city as Your beloved Bride, the Church. Amen!

A dear friend of mine lost his father quite unexpectedly this week. This is for him, his family, and anyone else out there who is grieving the loss of a loved one: "That You May Not Grieve As Others Do" by Pastor Matt Richard.

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed and, hopefully, you're wide awake by now so go and serve your neighbor in love today.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

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 (James 3:1). 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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