Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Declaring the word of the Lord…

So, I went out with my family yesterday to celebrate Mom’s birthday. And then Mom and I went to hear Handel’s “Messiah” at Orchestra Hall. I was reminded of both a conversation at lunch and also one from college.

I was hanging out with my Pentecostal friends and we were opining about how the word of God would be spread after the mid-trib rapture. And I said, “But of course, every Christmas every heathen plays Handel’s ‘Messiah.’” They asked, “Well, who will properly interpret it for them?” I replied, “Isn’t it enough just to recite God’s word?”

And Dad was saying at lunch, using theological Latin words… and since I remember enough French to know what he was talking about but I don’t remember the particular words… Lutherans don’t just believe God’s word is true, but that it is life changing.

So, I enjoyed listening to the Gospel message sung to beautiful Baroque music. (And a truncated Part III… sigh… the only disappointment.)

A particular aria stood out to me for the first time. From Part I (Malachi 3), “But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.” No one, can abide the day of His coming. We are all sinners, even those of us who repent of our sins. Not even Moses could bear the full frontal of God’s presence. As Isaiah says, “I am a man of unclean lips.” And that humbles me.

And I was sharing with Mom how I never had a “life verse.” It’s very important to have one, you know. Or so I grew up believing. The problem of having a life verse is when people take verses like II Kings 21:13, or God’s directive that men do the dishes, as a life verse. (Though I argue that since God does provide instruction on how dishes are to be done, it must certainly be that men do the dishes.)

I was reminded of great passages like “Surely, He hath borne our greifs and carried our sorrows; He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,” “And with His stripes we are healed,” and “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” If one should have a “life verse” isn’t it more helpful to have one of such great hope and great gospel truth… that I do not bear my transgressions or my iniquities, or my sins… that Jesus paid for my peace?

And it is after all of this that we can all rise and sing, “Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and ove His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” This is most certainly true.

2 Comments:

  • At 1:41 PM , Anonymous Father of the blond said...

    My comments at lunch concerned the Lutheran theology contained within the song "Ancient Words" which was part of our congregational singing that Sunday morning. Specifically the following phrase:

    "... Ancient words, ever true, changing me and changing you ..."

    "Ever true" concerns the veracity (truthfulness) of God's word. This is affirmed by Lutheran and Reformed theology.

    "Changing me and changing you" concerns the efficacy (effectiveness) of God's word. This is bedrock in Lutheran theology but sadly missing, or insufficiently emphasized, in Reformed theology.

    Hence the different concepts of faith between Lutheran and Reformed theology.

    For Lutherans, faith is the gift God gives to those who are being saved which enables them to receive the grace that is delivered by means of the word and sacraments. Faith latches onto the efficacy of God's word. The result is that Lutheran theology is grace-based.

    For the Reformed, faith is a work of the intellect which latches onto the veracity of God's word. The result is that Reformed theology is decision-based.

    While Lutherans and the Reformed may agree that we are "... saved by grace, through faith ...", the difference in concepts concerning faith impact not only other beliefs but practices as well.

    Take baptism, for example.

    Lutherans practice infant baptism. Many Reformed reject infant baptism, practicing only "believer baptism".

    Such Reformed would say that infant baptism cannot save because faith, by their definition, is missing on the part of the infant.

    Lutherans would say that infant baptism can save because the infant can exercise faith, by their definition. The infant need only drink in the grace that is delivered, just as it drinks in the milk that the mother delivers. It does not require a work of the intellect on the part of the infant (either for baptism, or for nursing). God gives the infant the gift of faith which receives grace, just as God gives the infant the instinct to suck which receives milk.

    Does this mean that Lutheran theology is anti-intellectual or irrational? Indeed not! Lutherans place great emphasis on the veracity of God's word. But the intellect's latching onto the veracity of God's word is more directly related to wisdom and discernment (which are highly valued) than to faith.

    For the reasons explained above, your mother and I eagerly await the baptism of our first grandchild.

    -Dad

     
  • At 3:59 AM , Blogger Liz said...

    Hey Dad!

    I'll write more later! Josh and I got busy last night! Thanks for commenting!

    I love you!

     

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