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 quotes of a distinctly "Lutheran" flavor that encourage prayerful consideration and a deeper study of God's Word, His Sacraments, Christ's Church, and our Lutheran Confessions of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
Plus, it certainly helps me in my on-going journey from American Evangelicalism to becoming a Confessional Lutheran. Here's the latest...
The truth is I do not have the foggiest idea how to have a true relationship with Jesus Christ apart from the Word and Sacraments in which Christ has hidden Himself and revealed Himself. Unless I am completely mistaken, the only way to know Christ is to know Him where and as He has chosen to make Himself known. It is for this reason we keep saying "means of grace" -- not because it is some confessional mantra. The only grace we know is the grace made known to us in the Word of the Cross, the water of life, the voice of absolution, and the bread and wine of His table.
-- Rev. Robert Weinkauf
This is most certainly true.
Friends, this truth cannot be overemphasized or overstated enough! It's also a direct rebuttal to the "I Have A Personal Relationship With Jesus!" crowd who are often so quick to say that, but can't quite tell you exactly what that means (at least not in any way that is thoroughly and truly Biblical).
See, we Lutherans speak of the Word and Sacraments as God's means of grace. As an Ex-Evangelical, I have found a true understanding of the Lord's "Means of Grace" (His holy Sacraments) to be one of the key differences between Lutheranism and all other Christian -isms as well as one of the most comforting realities of the Christian life.
I'm just sorry it took me 30+ years to finally learn that!
So, yes, I will continue to share any and all quotes I find that beautifully convey the power of God's gifts to us. Why?
The Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become even stronger and stronger. The new life must be guided so that it continually increases and progresses.
-- Large Catechism V 24-25
The Sacraments are the Gospel.
Here's how Rev. Daniel Preus described them...
Too often people see Baptism and Holy Communion primarily as pious acts of obedience that Christians perform out of love for their Lord. In fact, such a view transforms these Sacraments into precisely the opposite of what they are. The Sacraments are not prescribed works of piety that Christians are to perform for God or two more Commandments added to the Second Table of the Law. The Sacraments are grace. The Sacraments are the Gospel. The Sacraments are forgiveness given, salvation, and life. They are not what we do for Jesus; they are what Jesus does for us. The Sacraments bestow on those who receive them all the benefits Jesus earned in His life, death, and resurrection. The Sacraments focus on Jesus Christ.
-- Why I Am A Lutheran: Jesus At The Center (page 108)
In a Lutheran layman's terms, "the only way to know Christ is to know Him where and as He has chosen to make Himself known."
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. 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 inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!