Thursday, December 9, 2010

FW: A Failing of Lutheranism



Feed: Confessional Gadfly
Posted on: Thursday, December 09, 2010 9:02 AM
Author: Rev. Eric J Brown
Subject: A Failing of Lutheranism


One of the great failings of Lutheranism is that we end up abandoning a term because of its abuse. Now, this is often done with the best of intentions. We want clarity, we don't want people to be confused. And many terms slip away and fall into disuse.

One can see many of these in terms of our relations with Rome. While some are striving to reclaim them, the terms "Mass", "Father", or even liturigical forms are basically dropped because, for the sake of the clarity of the Gospel, we did not want to be confused with those who obscure it.

Or even the Name Lutheran. We got it because we abandoned the name "Catholic" (which we are) and the name "Evangelical" (which we are) to others. We aren't the "Reformed". We give ground. You will even hear more talk about how we should be not simply of the "Real Presence" which has been our standard, but should use "Bodily Presence" because the tom-fool sacramentarians are saying, "Jesus is really present, really present spiritually." Again, for the sake of clarity, I'm guessing that the term "Real Presence" will slide away because of the abuses of others.

But the one that bothers me the most, that frightens me the most, is that we are abandoning the term "love". Love is the simple, plain description and summation of the entire law. And that term is abused sorely today by many liberal theologians, who teach that love is to simply placate others, to ignore sin and vice, to sit together and sign kum-by-ya together and pretend that any doctrinal differences are unimportant.

That's not love - that is hatred and disdain for your neighbor of the worst sort! And yet, we seem to be abandoning the term. Instead of saying, "That is not love you teach - love is this. The laying down of your life for your neighbor. Placing their needs (not desires, but needs) above your own. Speaking the truth to them in kindness, even if they hate and revile you for it. Pointing them to Christ in all things." Instead of this - we abandon the word. We assume that anyone who speaks of love must simply be wild and crazy and not care about the Word of God, not care about anything God.

Have we abandoned the term love? And can we do that safely? Mass, Father, even Catholic and Evangelical - these are our terms, things that we came up with - words you don't even really come across in the Scriptures. We can take them our leave them. You never find the phrase "real presence" in the bible - it's our short hand to describe what the Bible teaches.

But the term "love" - that's all over the place. And if we abandon this term, if we flee from it, avoid using it lest someone think of a spineless liberal, haven't we de facto conceded the whole of Scriptures, the whole of speaking about God, whether it is the Law (love God, love your neighbor) or the Gospel (but God shows His love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us) to those who spout false doctrine about Christ?

Do not give up the term "love". It is too important, too biblical a term to yield up.

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