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What Luther Says

ZITAT: 'The Word Works Sacramentally'

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun) is translated to "zitat" in German.

That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post. That being said, I'm always keeping my eyes and ears open for good Lutheran quotes that encourage prayerful consideration and deeper study of God's Word, His Sacraments, Christ's Church, and the Lutheran confession of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). It helps me in my journey from American Evangelicalism to becoming a Confessional Lutheran (and not just a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only"). Here's the latest.

We just looked at some comments from LCMS President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison (which wasn't the first time we looked at his teaching about what God says about the presence of Christ's Church in this world), and these words from Bo Giertz are an excellent follow-up on the importance of God's Word and God's Sacraments.

The Word works sacramentally. It emerges from God as the flow of life. When this [Word] reaches the person, God is there -- whether the person wants or recognizes is or not. [For in the same way] a person at the Lord's Table -- totally apart from his or her state of mind or faith -- receives the body and blood of Christ -- either for life or for judgment...God's Word [and Sacraments] require a response -- either a response in faith, gratitude and obedience OR indifference, impenitence, and defiance...If the means of grace have no effect, nothing else will help him/her. Without the Word [and Sacraments, the means of grace] there is no salvation for this suffering world.

*- Bo Giertz

The quote appeared at Pastor Peters' blog Pastoral Meanderings back in 2012 where Pastor Peters himself added this...

This is the very truth that so many Lutherans have forgotten or chosen to ignore. They either believe that God's Word is but a rule book or guide book for creating social justice or imparting a better life here (however they would define it) or else they believe that they must assist the Word by offering gimmicks to lure in the people and to hook them or the Word will have no effect upon the world. One branch of Lutheranism has chosen a guide book for social justice, equating salvation with their version of a better world order. As bad as this is, it is no less evil to abandon confidence in that Word to do its bidding and to replace the Word with a certain kind of music and an entertainment posture that becomes its own focus for the church.

If anything, there seems to be a shortage of those who actually believe what we Lutherans have believed, taught, and confessed -- that the Word of God works sacramentally. It is precisely here that renewal of the Lutheran parish and renewal of the Lutheran brand will come. It will not come by simply going through the motions on Sunday morning while putting the full energy into creating a new social order of justice, equality, and guaranteed rights (as if these replaced forgiveness, life, and salvation). It will not come through borrowing or adapting the successful business and entertainment models so abundantly available from outside Lutheranism and from hiding the confessional and liturgical identity that marks us as Lutheran Christians.

As my friend Pr. Wil Weedon has often said, "perhaps we ought to actually try Lutheranism before we conclude that it just doesn't "work."

Bulls-eye! That's sage advice in this day and age and certainly true in my little neck of the woods here in the LCMS- Eastern District.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, so many of us claim to believe God when He tells us that the Word and Sacraments are His means of grace, but so few of us actually put those claims into practice throughout the week and especially on Sundays (let alone actually live out our vocations in such a way as though we truly believe that).

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 aren't that 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 commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, 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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