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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LDJ–Part 22 (p 63-65)—No one excluded; "inclusive worship"?

     This continues from the previous Part 21 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 22, Walther finishes the quotes on Predestination and begins quoting Luther on Universal Grace.  This directly ties into my previous 4-part blog series quoting Luther's (greatest?) sermon on John 1:29 – "the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world".  So if someone from anywhere on the Internet or in schools of theology thinks they know Luther, let them expound on Luther with this... on God's Universal Will of Grace!  Do you see now why God says
O taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
     Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.  Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.  Highlighting is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 22: Pages 63-65 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 21)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-63] … Furthermore, on the words in Matt. 13:13 and 15: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not … For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them..”— on these words writes Calvin:  “He says that He speaks obscurely to the masses because they are not partakers of the true light.  However, when He says that the blind are covered with a blanket so that they remain in their darkness, He does not ascribe to them the guilt for this situation, but rather thereby praises the grace the apostles experienced, because it is not equally common to all.  So He gives no reason except the secret counsel of God, although the reason for it, hidden from us, is nevertheless known to Himself....  For this purpose the Lord actually wants His Word to be preached, that the hearts of men might be renewed and that they might be reconciled with Him. In regard to the rejected, however, Isaiah here proclaims to the contrary that their stony hardness remains in them, so that they attain no mercy and that the effect is withheld from the Word in their case so that it does not soften their hearts to repentance.”  Over the same words Luther writes:  “These words: Lest at any time they should see with their eyes ... and should be converted, and I should heal them,’ seem to be spoken out of jealousy, just as if He did not want them to see and to be helped. But the whole passage must be read as a relationship of one after another , that it hangs together as on a chain, as follows: These people have a hardened heart and ears that are dull of hearing and eyes that are closed, etc., that is why they cannot be converted and why they cannot be helped. As if He would say: ‘The [W1859-47] hardness of their heart stands in the [1880-64] way, that they do not see and that I cannot help them. I would gladly help them to be sure, He says, that is why I am sending My Son; but the hardness of their hearts stands in the way of My will and their salvation.” (Walch W1 VII, 295-296, paragr. 20; StL Ed. 7, 195, paragr. 20; not in Am. Ed. )
Of the universality of grace and reconciliation writes Luther on John 1:16:  “Just as the dear sun does not darken or be eclipsed that it must shine on many people, indeed the whole world glories in its light, brightness, and luminousness; nevertheless it keeps all its light [and] loses nothing; it is an extremely bright light, could well illuminate even ten worlds…: thus Christ our Lord (to which we must have shelter and ask everything) [Essays1-52] is an unending wellspring and main source of all grace, truth, righteousness, wisdom, life, that is without measure, limit or bottom; so that even if the whole world were to draw from it so much grace and truth that all would be transformed into complete angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop; this fountain overflows forever, full of grace.  Now whoever, no one excluded, wants to enjoy its grace, let him come and receive it from Him.” (Walch W1 VII, 1597, paragr. 322; StL Ed. 7, 1685-1686, paragr. 322; [cf. Am. Ed.  22, 134])  Further writes Luther on these words: “Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world”, John 1:29:  “It is beyond measure the fine and comforting preaching about Christ our Savior; we can nevermore attain it with words, nor indeed also with our thoughts.  In the life beyond we will forever find our joy and delight in this, that the Son of God so deeply abased Himself that He takes my sin on His back;  yes, not only my sins, but also those of the whole world, from those of Adam down to the very last man, these sins will He take upon Himself; for these He is willing to suffer and die for them, so that I may be without sin and obtain eternal life and salvation. ...  On this now stands the [1880-65] basis of all Christian doctrine; whoever believes this is a Christian; whoever does not believe it is no Christian, he will also find his portion.  Indeed it is stated clear enough: ‘This is the dear Lamb of God, that bears the sin of the world, and this text is God’s Word and not our word, nor is it conceived by us that this Lamb was sacrificed by God for this reason and that the dear Lamb, in obedience to the Father, took upon Himself the whole world’s sin.  But the world will not have this, it does not want to concede the honor to this dear Lamb that our salvation depends entirely on His bearing our sin.  The world also wants to be something and the more it wants to do and atone for sin, the worse it makes things....  “The Lamb Himself preaches to us, saying: Behold, how I bear your sin, but no one will accept it; and if we believed and accepted it, no one would be damned.  What more should the Lamb do?  He says: You are all condemned, but I will take your sins upon Myself; I have become the whole world; I have taken on all people since Adam into My person, with the result that though we have inherited sin from Adam, He wants to give us righteousness in exchange.  There I should say: I will believe this, that my dear Lord, the Lamb of God, has taken all sin upon Himself.  Yet the world refuses to believe or to accept it, and if it did believe, no one would be lost. …   That one but does not believe [W1859-48] is not from a lack of the Lord Christ, rather the guilt is mine.  If I don’t believe it, so I lie in my condemnation.  I must simply say that God’s dear Lamb has carried the sin of the world; and I am earnestly commanded to believe and confess it, also to die in it. — Yes, you may say,  who knows whether He also carries my sin?  I well believe that He bore the sin of St. Peter, St. Paul, and other saints; they were devout people; Oh, that I were like St. Peter or St. Paul!  Do you not then hear, [1880-66]  what St. John says here?

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 23  = = = = = = = = =
Those who claim "inclusive worship", as if to charge Christianity with exclusiveness, only rob those who come to them where "grace is no more grace"; but with them, "it be of works" and "then is it no more grace" (Romans 11:6).  Would to God they presented the true Grace of God... the grace that Martin Luther uncovered and proclaimed to the world.  And C.F.W. Walther proclaimed it again to the New World!

In the next Part 23...

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