The Confessional and Biblical Worldview


Part I:

A. The Natural Knowledge of God and Divine Providence

B. Civil Order, Culture, and Science

C. Human Religiosity

Part II:

D. The Revealed Knowledge of God

E. The Incarnation and the Gospel

F. The Church and Its Ministry

Part III:

G. Simultaneously Saint and Sinner

H. God’s Two Realms

I. Vocation


The most important book in the world: The Holy Bible

Recommended translations:

English Standard Version (ESV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

The second most important book in the world: The Book of Concord

Recommended translations:

Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, editors. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Theodore G. Tappert, editor. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959.

Fagerberg, Holsten. A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1537). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1972.

Hamann, Henry. On Being a Christian: A Personal Confession. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1996.

Kolb, Robert. The Christian Faith: A Lutheran Exposition. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1993.

Preus, Daniel. Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004.

Preus, Herman A. A Theology to Live By: The Practical Luther for the Practicing Christian. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Preus, Robert D. Getting into the Theology of Concord: A Study of the Book of Concord. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Sasse, Hermann. Here We Stand: Nature and Character of the Lutheran Faith. Adelaide, South Australia: Lutheran Publishing House, 1938.

Veith, Gene Edward, Jr. The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999.

David Jay Webber
Confessional Christian Worldview Seminar, June 6-12, 2004
Marvin M. Schwan Retreat & Conference Center, Trego, Wisconsin


The Confessional and Biblical Worldview

A. The Natural Knowledge of God and Divine Providence

[A-1] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. … For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 1:18-32, 2:14-16, ESV)

[A-2] We can know God only to the extent to which He has revealed Himself to us. The Scriptures declare that “He dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). But, ...He has revealed Himself in two ways: by a natural revelation, on the one hand, through conscience and nature; and by a supernatural revelation, on the other, through His dealings with men in history. He speaks to men in the voice of conscience (Rom. 2:14,15), which tells them that there is a Higher Being to whom they are accountable; and in the voice of the universe in which we live (Rom. 1:19,20; Ps. 19:1 seq.), which tells them that there is a Creator and Designer who has fashioned the world with wondrous power and wisdom. But He also speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:19), in which are recorded the words and deeds by which He has made Himself known to men in times past. The knowledge gained from conscience and nature supports and corroborates much of the knowledge gained from the supernatural revelation. Left to himself, that is, to the natural revelation, man has been able to know God only in a very limited way. He knows that God is, and cannot escape the consciousness of His existence. The idea of God is a constant in his thought along with that of self and the world. He knows that God is just and holy, because these attributes are impressed upon him by his conscience. And he knows from the world in which he lives that God is a being of vast intelligence and power. The degree of this natural knowledge varies with different nations and individuals. Even at best, however, the natural knowledge of God is defective and mixed with much error. And it is utterly insufficient, because it tells and can tell absolutely nothing concerning the way of salvation for mankind. God is the God of salvation and cannot be known apart from Christ. For “no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:18). Only in Christ can the right conception of God and His saving love be obtained. (Joseph Stump, The Christian Faith [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1932], pp. 31-32)

[A-3] I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc. Besides, he makes all creation help provide the benefits and necessities of life – sun, moon, and stars in the heavens; day and night; air, fire, water, the earth and all that it yields and brings forth; birds, fish, animals, grain, and all sorts of produce. Moreover, he gives all physical and temporal blessings – good government, peace, security. ...none of us has life – or anything else that has been mentioned here or can be mentioned – from ourselves, nor can we by ourselves preserve any of them, however small and unimportant. ... Moreover, we also confess that God the Father has given us not only all that we have and what we see before our eyes, but also that he daily guards and defends us against every evil and misfortune, warding off all sorts of danger and disaster. All this he does out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind father who cares for us so that no evil may befall us. (LC II:13-17, K/W pp. 432-33)

B. Civil Order, Culture, and Science

[B-1] Where in any history can one read of greater brazenness than that of our opponents? ...let the discriminating reader consider the effrontery of these good-for-nothings, who say that marriage produces disgrace and shame for the empire – as if the church were adorned by the public disgrace and the unnatural lusts of these holy Fathers... Modesty forbids even mentioning most of the things which these people do with the greatest license. ...Genesis [1:28] teaches that human beings were created to be fruitful and that one sex should desire the other sex in a proper way. Now we are not speaking about concupiscence, which is sin, but about that desire which was to have been in our uncorrupted nature, which they call natural affection. This love of one sex for the other is truly a divine ordinance. ...because this creation or divine ordinance in the human creature is a natural law, the jurists have accordingly spoken wisely and rightly that the union of male and female is a matter of natural law. ...the natural desire of one sex for the other sex is an ordinance of God in nature. For this reason it is right; otherwise why would both sexes have been created? As we said above, we are speaking not about concupiscence (which is sin), but about that desire which they call natural affection and which concupiscence has not removed from nature. Concupiscence inflames it so that now it rather needs an antidote. Marriage is necessary not only for the sake of procreation but also as a remedy. These things are so clear and well established that they can in no way be refuted. ... Paul says [1 Cor. 7:2], “But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife.” Now this is an express command pertaining to anyone who is not fit for celibacy. (Ap XXIII:2,7,9,12-14, K/W pp. 248-50)

[B-2] Now we maintain that God requires the righteousness of reason and that because of God’s command honorable works prescribed in the Decalogue are necessary according to [Gal. 3:24]: “The law was our disciplinarian”; and [1 Tim. 1:9]: “The law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient.” God wants those who live according to the flesh to be restrained by such civil discipline, and to preserve it he has given laws, learning, teaching, governments, and penalties. And to a certain extent, reason can produce this righteousness by its own powers, although it is often shackled by its natural weakness and by the devil, who drives it to shameful acts. Moreover, we willingly give this righteousness of reason the praises it deserves, for our corrupt nature has no greater good than this, as Aristotle rightly said: “Neither the evening star nor the morning star is more beautiful than righteousness.” God even honors it with temporal rewards. Still, it ought not be praised at Christ’s expense. For it is false that we merit the forgiveness of sins through our works. It is also false that people are accounted righteous before God because of the righteousness of reason. And it is furthermore false that reason by its own powers is able to love God above all things and to fulfill God’s law, namely, truly to fear God, truly to conclude that God hears prayer, willingly to obey God in death and in other visitations of God, and not to covet things that belong to others, etc. – although reason can produce civil works. (Ap IV:22-27, K/W pp. 124-25)

[B-3] We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men... (Declaration of Independence, United States of America, July 4, 1776)

C. Human Religiosity

[C-1] The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1, ESV)

[C-2] Look, here you have the true honor and worship that please God, which God also commands under penalty of eternal wrath, namely, that the heart should know no other consolation or confidence than in him, nor let itself be torn from him, but for his sake should risk everything and disregard everything else on earth. On the other hand, you will easily see and judge how the world practices nothing but false worship and idolatry. There has never been a nation so wicked that it did not establish and maintain some sort of worship. All people have set up their own god, to whom they looked for blessings, help, and comfort. For example, the pagans, who put their trust in power and dominion, exalted Jupiter as their supreme god. Others, who strove for riches, happiness, pleasure, and the good life, venerated Hercules, Mercury, Venus, or others, while pregnant women worshiped Diana or Lucina, and so forth. They all made a god out of what their heart most desired. Even in the mind of all the pagans, therefore, to have a god means to trust and believe. The trouble is that their trust is false and wrong, for it is not placed in the one God, apart from whom there truly is no god in heaven or on earth. Accordingly the pagans actually fashion their own fancies and dreams about God into an idol and rely on an empty nothing. So it is with all idolatry. Idolatry does not consist merely of erecting an image and praying to it, but it is primarily a matter of the heart, which fixes its gaze upon other things and seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils. It neither cares for God nor expects good things from him sufficiently to trust that he wants to help, nor does it believe that whatever good it encounters comes from God. (LC I:16-21, p. 388)

D. The Revealed Knowledge of God

[D-1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2a, ESV)

[D-2] Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31, ESV)

[D-3] ...from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:15-17, ESV)

[D-4] You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me... (John 5:39, ESV)

[D-5] ...Scripture cannot be broken... (John 10:35b, ESV)

[D-6] ...we confess our adherence to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments, as to the pure, clear fountain of Israel, which alone is the one true guiding principle, according to which all teachers and teaching are to be judged and evaluated. (FC SD R&N: 3, K/W p. 527)

[D-7] The Holy Scripture is God’s Word, written and, so to speak, lettered and put into the form of letters, just as Christ, the eternal Word of God, is clothed in humanity. (Martin Luther, WA 48, 31; quoted in What Luther Says [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959], p. 71)

[D-8] I have learned to ascribe the honor of infallibility only to those books that are accepted as canonical. I am profoundly convinced that none of these writers have erred. (Martin Luther, WA 2, 618; quoted in Willem Jan Kooiman, Luther and the Bible [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1961], p. 78)

[D-9] In matters of faith, which affect the nature and will of God and our salvation, we must close our eyes, ears, and other senses and listen solely and intently to what and how scripture speaks about these things. We must wrap ourselves simply in God’s Word and be directed by it. We may not attempt to follow our own insights or measure scripture by them. (Martin Luther, WA 54, 158; quoted in Willem Jan Kooiman, Luther and the Bible, p. 229)

[D-10] The knowledge of lawyers and poets comes from reason and may, in turn, be understood and grasped by reason. But what Moses and the prophets teach does not stem from reason and the wisdom of men. Therefore he who presumes to comprehend Moses and the prophets with his reason and to measure and evaluate Scripture according to its agreement with reason will get away from the Bible entirely. From the very beginning all heretics owed their rise to the notion that what they had read in Scripture they were at liberty to explain according to the teachings of reason. (Martin Luther, Sermon on Luke 2:21; quoted in What Luther Says, p. 1165)

[D-11] For comparison: ...the Lord has instituted nothing that is at variance with reason. (John Calvin, “Genevan Catechism”; Calvin: Theological Treatises [Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954], p. 26)

[D-12] The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth. (St. Athanasius, “Against the Heathen,” I:3; quoted in Carl A. Volz, Faith and Practice in the Early Church [Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1983], p. 147)

[D-13] They are charging me with innovation, and base their charge on my confession of three hypostases [persons], and blame me for asserting one Goodness, one Power, one Godhead. In this they are not wide of the truth, for I do so assert. Their complaint is that their custom does not accept this, and that Scripture does not agree. What is my reply? I do not consider it fair that the custom which obtains among them should be regarded as a law and rule of orthodoxy. If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this, we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. (St. Basil the Great, Letter 189 [to Eustathius the physician], 3; The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers [Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983 reprint], Second Series, Volume VIII, p. 229)

[D-14] For comparison: is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence. (“Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” [1956], The Documents of Vatican II [Washington: American Press, 1966], p. 117)

[D-15] The Symbols of the orthodox Church of Christ are the matured fruits of the deepest devotion, experience and learning of its greatest and wisest members in its most trying ages; and as we may practically learn much from the biographies of the good, so we may learn much more from the Spirit-moved biography of the Church and the principles and testimonies which mark her life of faith. They are the sign-posts set up by the faithful along the King’s highway of salvation to designate the places of danger to those who come after them, to warn and admonish us where we would otherwise be liable to err and miss the goal of our high calling in Christ Jesus. They are not laws to rule our faith, for the Word of God alone is such a Rule; but they are helps and tokens to enable us the more surely to find the true import of the Rule, that we may be all the more thoroughly and sincerely conformed to that Rule. They are the human tracks which the best of the saints have left, by which we may the better detect the way which God has laid out and opened for the fallen and sinful children of men to travel, that they may fill their Christian vocation and come to everlasting life. (Joseph A. Seiss, “Our Confessions in English,” Lutheran Church Review, Vol. I, Whole No. 3 [July 1882], p. 216)

[D-16] We do not claim that our Confessors were infallible. We do not say they could not fail. We only claim that they did not fail. (Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology [Philadelphia: General Council Publication Board, 1871], p. 186)

[D-17] ...we know that “the wisdom of this ‘perverted’ world is only foolishness in God’s sight” [cf. 1 Cor. 3:19] and that only on the basis of God’s Word can judgments on articles of faith be made. For, first of all, even though human reason or natural intellect may still have a dim spark of knowledge that a god exists (as Romans 1[:19-21,24,32] states) or of the teaching of the law, nevertheless it is ignorant, blind, and perverted so that even when the most skillful and learned people on earth read or hear the gospel of God’s Son and the promise of eternal salvation, they still cannot comprehend, grasp, understand, or believe it on the basis of their own powers; they cannot regard it as the truth. Instead, the more assiduously and diligently they exert themselves and want to comprehend these spiritual matters with their reason, the less they understand or believe. They regard all these matters as simply foolishness and fables, until the Holy Spirit enlightens and teaches them. 1 Corinthians 2[:14]: “Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 1[:21]: “Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.” (FC SD II:8-9, K/W p. 545)

[D-18] ...Holy Scripture compares the unregenerated human heart to a hard stone [Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 5:3], which does not yield when touched but resists, or to an unhewn block of wood [Hos. 6:5], or to a wild, ferocious beast [Ps. 73:22]. That does not mean that the human being after the fall is no longer a rational creature, or that human beings can be converted to God without hearing and thinking about the divine Word, or that they cannot understand or freely do or refrain from doing what is good and evil in external, temporal matters. For, as Dr. Luther says, in comments on Psalm 90, “In temporal and external affairs, which concern nourishment and bodily needs, the human being is clever, intelligent, and up to a point industrious, but in spiritual and divine matters, which concern the soul’s salvation, the human being is like a pillar of salt, like Lot’s wife, indeed like a block of wood or a stone, like a lifeless statue, which needs neither eyes nor mouth, neither senses nor heart, inasmuch as this human being neither sees nor recognizes the dreadful, fierce wrath of God against sin and death but instead abides in a sense of security willingly and knowingly and as a result runs into a thousand dangers and finally into eternal death and damnation. No plea, no appeal, no admonition is of any help, nor are threats or scolding. Indeed, every bit of teaching or preaching is wasted here,” before the Holy Spirit enlightens, converts, and gives new birth to this creature. (FC SD II:19-21, K/W pp. 547-48)

[D-19] Here we must confess (as St. Paul says in Rom. 5[:12]) that sin comes from that one human being, Adam, through whose disobedience all people became sinners and subject to death and the devil. This is called the original sin, or the chief sin. The fruits of this sin are the subsequent evil works, which are forbidden in the Ten Commandments, such as unbelief, false belief, idolatry, being without the fear of God, presumption, despair, blindness, and, in short, not knowing or honoring God. Beyond that, there is lying, swearing [falsely] by God’s name, not praying or calling on God’s name, neglect of God’s Word, being disobedient to parents, murdering, behaving promiscuously, stealing, deceiving, etc. This inherited sin has caused such a deep, evil corruption of nature that reason does not comprehend it; rather, it must be believed on the basis of the revelation in the Scriptures (Ps. 51[:5] and Rom. 5[:12]; Exod. 33[:20]; Gen. 3[:6ff.]). (SA III, I:1-3, pp. 310-11)

[D-20] ...Christ is and remains for all eternity God and human being in one inseparable person, which is the highest mystery after the mystery of the Holy Trinity, as the Apostle testifies [1 Tim. 3:16]. In this mystery lie our only comfort, life, and salvation. (FC Ep VIII:18, K/W p. 512)

E. The Incarnation and the Gospel

[E-1] See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col. 2:8-15, ESV)

[E-2] Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49, ESV)

[E-3] All Scripture should be divided into these two main topics: the law and the promises. In some places it communicates the law. In other places it communicates the promise concerning Christ, either when it promises that Christ will come and on account of him offers the forgiveness of sins, justification, and eternal life, or when in the gospel itself, Christ, after he appeared, promises the forgiveness of sins, justification, and eternal life. Now when we refer to the “law” in this discussion we mean the commandments of the Decalogue, wherever they appear in the Scriptures. ... Of these two topics, the opponents single out the law (because to some extent human reason naturally understands it since reason contains the same judgment divinely written on the mind), and through the law they seek the forgiveness of sins and justification. But the Decalogue requires not only outward civil works that reason can produce to some extent; it also requires other works that are placed far beyond the reach of reason, such as, truly to fear God, truly to love God, truly to call upon God, truly to be convinced that he hears us, and to expect help from God in death and all afflictions. Finally, it requires obedience to God in death and all afflictions so that we do not flee or avoid these things when God imposes them. (Ap IV:5-8, K/W p. 121)

[E-4] The distinction between law and gospel is a particularly glorious light. It serves to divide God’s Word properly [cf. 2 Tim. 2:15] and to explain correctly and make understandable the writings of the holy prophets and apostles. Therefore, we must diligently preserve this distinction, so as not to mix these two teachings together and make the gospel into a law. For this obscures the merit of Christ and robs troubled consciences of the comfort that they otherwise have in the holy gospel when it is preached clearly and purely. With the help of this distinction these consciences can sustain themselves in their greatest spiritual struggles against the terror of the law. (FC SD V:1, K/W p. 581)

[E-5] Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe in him and receive him as Lord, unless these were offered to us and bestowed on our hearts through the preaching of the gospel by the Holy Spirit. The work is finished and completed; Christ has acquired and won the treasure for us by his sufferings, death, and resurrection, etc. But if the work remained hidden so that no one knew of it, it would have been all in vain, all lost. In order that this treasure might not remain buried but be put to use and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to be published and proclaimed, in which he has given the Holy Spirit to offer and apply to us this treasure, this redemption. (LC II:38, K/W p. 436)

[E-6] But the faith that justifies is not only a knowledge of history; it is to assent to the promise of God, in which forgiveness of sins and justification are bestowed freely on account of Christ. To avoid the suspicion that it is merely knowledge, we will add further that to have faith is to desire and to receive the offered promise of the forgiveness of sins and justification. It is easy to determine the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the law. Faith is that worship which receives the benefits that God offers; the righteousness of the law is that worship which offers God our own merits. God wants to be honored by faith so that we receive from him those things that he promises and offers. But faith signifies not merely a knowledge of history but the faith which assents to the promise, as Paul clearly testifies when he says [Rom. 4:16] righteousness “depends on faith, in order that the promise guaranteed.” He realizes that the promise cannot be received in any other way than by faith. Therefore he compares how the promise and faith relate to one another and connects them together. It will be easy to determine what faith is if we consider the Creed where this article, “the forgiveness of sins,” is set forth. Thus it is not enough to believe that Christ was born, suffered, and was raised again unless we also add this article, which is the real purpose of the narrative: “the forgiveness of sins.” The rest must be referred back to this article, namely, that on account of Christ and not on account of our merits, the forgiveness of sins is given to us. (Ap IV:48-51, K/W p. 128)

[E-7] In these matters, which concern the spoken, external Word, it must be firmly maintained that God gives no one his Spirit or grace apart from the external Word which goes before. We say this to protect ourselves from the enthusiasts, that is, the “spirits,” who boast that they have the Spirit apart from and before contact with the Word. On this basis, they judge, interpret, and twist the Scripture or oral Word according to their pleasure. Mhntzer did this, and there are still many doing this today, who set themselves up as shrewd judges between the spirit and the letter without knowing what they say or teach. The papacy is also purely religious raving in that the pope boasts that “all laws are in the shrine of his heart” and that what he decides and commands in his churches is supposed to be Spirit and law – even when it is above or contrary to the Scriptures or the spoken Word. This is all the old devil and old snake, who also turned Adam and Eve into enthusiasts and led them from the external Word of God to “spirituality” and their own presumption... In short: enthusiasm clings to Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world – fed and spread among them as poison by the old dragon. It is the source, power, and might of all the heresies, even that of the papacy and Mohammed. Therefore we should and must insist that God does not want to deal with us human beings, except by means of his external Word and sacrament. Everything that boasts of being from the Spirit apart from such a Word and sacrament is of the devil. (SA III, VIII:3-5,9-10, pp. 322-23)

[E-8] Sacraments are signs of God’s will toward us, not simply signs of the people’s will among themselves, and so it is right to define the New Testament sacraments as signs of grace. A sacrament consists of two parts, the sign and the Word. In the New Testament the Word is the added promise of grace. The promise of the New Testament is the promise of the forgiveness of sins, just as this text says [cf. Luke 22:19 and Matt. 26:28], “This is my body, which is given for you. ... [T]his is the cup of the New Testament in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The Word, therefore, offers forgiveness of sins. The ceremony is like a picture of the Word or a “seal,” as Paul calls it [Rom. 4:11], that shows forth the promise. Therefore, just as the promise is useless unless it is received by faith, so also the ceremony is useless unless faith, which really confirms that the forgiveness of sins is being offered here, is added. Such a faith encourages contrite minds. Just as the Word was given to awaken this faith, so also the sacrament was instituted in order that, as the outward form meets the eyes, it might move the heart to believe. For the Holy Spirit works through the Word and the sacrament. (Ap XXIV:69-70, K/W pp. 271-72)

[E-9] ... “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved” [Mark 16:16], that is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive the saving, divine water profitably. Because such blessings are offered and promised in the words that accompany the water, they cannot be received unless we believe them from the heart. Without faith baptism is of no use, although in itself it is an infinite, divine treasure. ... How dare we think that God’s Word and ordinance should be wrong and invalid because we use it wrongly? Therefore, I say, if you did not believe before, then believe now and confess, “The baptism indeed was right, but unfortunately I did not receive it rightly.” (LC IV:33-34,55-56, K/W pp. 460,463)

[E-10] In baptism we are given the grace, Spirit, and strength to suppress the old creature so that the new may come forth and grow strong. Therefore baptism remains forever. Even though someone falls from it and sins, we always have access to it so that we may again subdue the old creature. But we need not have the water poured over us again. Even if we were immersed in water a hundred times, it would nevertheless not be more than one baptism, and the effect and significance would continue and remain. Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to baptism, to resume and practice what has earlier been begun but abandoned. ... Thus we see what a great and excellent thing baptism is, which snatches us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God’s own, overcomes and takes away sin and daily strengthens the new person, and always endures and remains until we pass out of this misery into eternal glory. Therefore let all Christians regard their baptism as the daily garment that they are to wear all the time. Every day they should be found in faith and with its fruits, suppressing the old creature and growing up in the new. If we want to be Christians, we must practice the work that makes us Christians, and let those who fall away return to it. As Christ, the mercy seat, does not withdraw from us or forbid us to return to him even though we sin, so all his treasures and gifts remain. As we have once obtained forgiveness of sins in baptism, so forgiveness remains day by day as long as we live, that is, as long as we carry the old creature around our necks. (LC IV:76-79,83-86, K/W pp. 466-67)

[E-11] For in the first instance, we are born anew through baptism. However, our human flesh and blood, as I have said, have not lost their old skin. There are so many hindrances and attacks of the devil and the world that we often grow weary and faint and at times even stumble. Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger. For the new life should be one that continually develops and progresses. But it has to suffer a great deal of opposition. The devil is a furious enemy; when he sees that we resist him and attack the old creature, and when he cannot rout us by force, he sneaks and skulks about at every turn, trying all kinds of tricks, and does not stop until he has finally worn us out so that we either renounce our faith or lose heart and become indifferent or impatient. For times like these, when our heart feels too sorely pressed, this comfort of the Lord’s Supper is given to bring us new strength and refreshment. (LC V:23-27, K/W p. 469)

[E-12] ...we defend the position received in the entire church – that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present and are truly offered with those things that are seen, bread and wine. Moreover, we are talking about the presence of the living Christ, for we know that death no longer has dominion over him [Rom. 6:9]. (Ap X:4, K/W p. 185)

[E-13] is certain that most people in our churches use the sacraments – absolution and the Lord’s Supper – many times during the course of a year. Moreover, those who instruct the people about the worth and fruits of the sacraments do so in such a way as to invite the people to use the sacraments frequently. ... Also, excommunication is pronounced on the openly wicked and on those who despise the sacraments. ... However, we do not prescribe a set time because not everyone is prepared in the same way at the same time. ... Christ says [1 Cor. 11:29] that “all who eat and drink unworthily, eat and drink judgment against themselves.” Our pastors, accordingly, do not force those who are not ready to use the sacraments. (Apology XI:3-5)

[E-14] ...this human being alone and no other human being can say in truth, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” [Matt. 18:20], and, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” [Matt. 28:20]. We do not understand these testimonies to mean that only the deity of Christ is present with us in the Christian church and community, and that this presence has nothing in any way at all to do with Christ according to his humanity. ... On the contrary, we hold that these words testify to the majesty of the human Christ; Christ received this majesty according to his humanity at the right hand of the majesty and power of God, so that he also can be and indeed is present where he wishes according to and with this same assumed human nature. He is present especially with his church and community on earth as mediator, head, king, and high priest. He is not halfway present, nor is just half of him present. The entire person of Christ is present, to which belong both natures, the divine and the human. He is present not only according to his deity, but also according to and with the assumed human nature, according to which he is our brother and we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone [Eph. 5:30 in the Vulgate; cf. Gen. 2:23]. He instituted his Holy Supper as a certain assurance and confirmation of this, that also in the nature according to which he has flesh and blood he wants to be with us, to dwell in us, to work in us, and to exert his power for us. (FC SD VIII:76-79, K/W p. 631)

F. The Church and Its Ministry

[F-1] Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25, ESV)

[F-2] Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:12-17, ESV)

[F-3] ...the Holy Spirit...has a unique community in the world, which is the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit reveals and proclaims, through which he illuminates and inflames hearts so that they grasp and accept it, cling to it, and persevere in it. ... I believe that there is on earth a holy little flock and community of pure saints under one head, Christ. It is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, mind, and understanding. It possesses a variety of gifts, and yet is united in love without sect or schism. Of this community I also am a part and member, a participant and co-partner in all the blessings it possesses. I was brought into it by the Holy Spirit and incorporated into it through the fact that I have heard and still hear God’s Word, which is the beginning point for entering it. Before we had come into this community, we were entirely of the devil, knowing nothing of God and of Christ. The Holy Spirit will remain with the holy community or Christian people until the Last Day. Through it he gathers us, using it to teach and preach the Word. By it he creates and increases holiness, causing it daily to grow and become strong in the faith and in its fruits, which the Spirit produces. Further we believe that in this Christian community we have the forgiveness of sins, which takes place through the holy sacraments and absolution as well as through all the comforting words of the entire gospel. (LC II:41-42,51-54, K/W pp. 436-38)

[F-4] ...we have...spiritual fathers – not like those in the papacy who have had themselves called “father” but have not performed a fatherly function. For the name of spiritual father belongs only to those who govern and guide us by the Word of God. St. Paul boasts that he is such a father in 1 Corinthians 4[:15], where he says, “In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” Because they are fathers, they are entitled to honor, even above all others. But they very seldom receive it, for the world’s way of honoring them is to chase them out of the country and to begrudge them even a piece of bread. In short, as St. Paul says [1 Cor. 4:13], they must be “the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things.” Yet it is necessary to impress upon the common people that they who would bear the name of Christian owe it to God to show “double honor” to those who watch over their souls and to treat them well and make provision for them. (LC I:158-61, K/W p. 408)

[F-5] But let us speak about the term “liturgy.” This word does not properly mean a sacrifice but rather public service. Thus, it agrees quite well with our position, namely, that the one minister who consecrates gives the body and blood of the Lord to the rest of the people, just as a minister who preaches sets forth the gospel to the people, as Paul says [1 Cor. 4:1], “Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries,” that is, of the gospel and the sacraments. And 2 Corinthians 5:20, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ...” Thus the term “liturgy” fits well with the ministry. (Ap XXIV:80-81, K/W p. 272)

[F-6] Ceremonies should be observed both so that people may learn the Scriptures and so that, admonished by the Word, they might experience faith and fear and finally even pray. For these are the purposes of the ceremonies. (Ap XXIV:3, K/W p. 258)

[F-7] For because our nature, corrupted by sin, deserves God’s wrath and condemnation, God owes us neither his Word nor Spirit nor grace. When he gives us these things by grace, we often thrust his gifts away from us and make ourselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13[:46]). He lets his righteous, well-deserved judgment be seen in various lands, peoples, and individuals, so that when we compare ourselves to them and contrast our situation to theirs, we will learn the more diligently to recognize and praise God’s sheer, unmerited grace toward the “vessels of mercy” [Rom. 9:23; 11:5]. For it is not unjust when they are punished and receive the “wages of sin” [Rom. 6:23]. Concerning the others, however, to whom God gives and preserves his Word – enlightening, converting, and preserving them through it – God commends his unmerited, sheer grace and mercy apart from their merit. When we go this far in this article, we remain on the right path, as is written in Hosea 13[:9], “Israel, that you have gone to ruin is your own fault; that you have been helped rests alone on my grace.” When something in this discussion soars too high and goes beyond these boundaries, we should with Paul put our hand over our mouths, think, and say, “Who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God?” [Rom. 9:20]. For the great apostle Paul testifies that we neither can nor should inquire into everything or find a basis for everything in this article. After a lengthy discussion of this article on the basis of the revealed Word of God, as soon as he comes to the point where he indicates how much of this mystery God has reserved for his own hidden wisdom, Paul lowers his voice and cuts off the discussion with the following words, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?’” [Rom. 11:33-34], that is, above and beyond what he has revealed to us in his Word. (FC SD XI:60-64, K/W p. 650)

[F-8] The third article of the Creed...enjoins us to believe that there is a “holy, catholic church.” ... This article has been presented for a very necessary reason. We see the endless dangers that threaten the destruction of the church. There is an infinite number of ungodly persons within the church itself who oppress it. This article in the Creed presents these consolations to us: so that we may not despair, but may know that the church will nevertheless remain; so that we may know that however great the multitude of the ungodly is, nevertheless the church exists and Christ bestows those gifts that he promised to the church: forgiveness of sins, answered prayer, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it says “church catholic” so that we not understand the church to be an external government of certain nations. It consists rather of people scattered throughout the entire world who agree on the gospel and have the same Christ, the same Holy Spirit, and the same sacraments, whether or not they have the same human traditions. ... Therefore, although hypocrites and wicked people are indeed associated with this true church according to the external rites, nevertheless when the church is defined, it must be defined as that which is the living body of Christ and as that which is the church in fact as well as in name. (Ap VII/VIII:7,9-10,12, K/W p. 175)

G. Simultaneously Saint and Sinner

[G-1] For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 7:14-8:2, ESV)

[G-2] ...although Christians who believe faithfully have been truly converted to God, and have been justified are indeed freed and liberated from the curse of the law, they should daily practice the law of the Lord, as it is written in Psalms 1[:2] and 119[:35,47,70,97], “Blessed are those...whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” For the law is a mirror that accurately depicts the will of God and what pleases him. It should always be held before the faithful and taught among them continuously and diligently. For although “the law is not laid down for the righteous,” as the Apostle testifies [1 Tim. 1:9], “but for the unrighteous,” this is not to be understood simply in such a way that the righteous should live without any law. For God’s law is written in their hearts, and the law was given to the first human being immediately following his creation according to which he was to conduct his life. Instead, Paul holds that the law cannot burden those whom Christ has reconciled with God with its curse and cannot torment the reborn with its coercion because they delight in the law of the Lord according to their inward persons. (FC SD VI:4-5, K/W pp. 587-88)

[G-3] For “a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” [Matt. 7:18], as it is also written in Romans 14[:23], “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” For a person must be acceptable to God beforehand (and that alone because of Christ), before that person’s works are at all pleasing to him. Therefore, faith must be the mother and the source of those truly good and God-pleasing works, which God wants to reward in this world and the next. For this reason St. Paul calls them true fruits of faith or of the Spirit [Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9]. For, as Dr. Luther writes in the preface to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, “Faith is a divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God [John 1:12-13]. It kills the old ‘Adam’ and makes us altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and all powers; and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them. Whoever does not do such works, however, is an unbeliever, who gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. ... Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake life itself on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes people glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God, who has shown this grace. Thus, it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire.” (FC SD IV:8-12, K/W pp. 575-76)

[G-4] ...the devil...cannot bear to have anyone teach or believe rightly. It pains him beyond measure when his lies and abominations, honored under the most specious pretexts of God’s name, are disclosed and exposed in all their shame, when they are driven out of people’s hearts and a breach is made in his kingdom. Therefore, like a furious foe, he raves and rages with all his power and might, marshaling all his subjects and even enlisting the world and our own flesh as his allies. For our flesh is in itself vile and inclined to evil, even when we have accepted God’s Word and believe it. The world, too, is perverse and wicked. Here the devil stirs things up, feeding and fanning the flames, in order to impede us, put us to flight, cut us down, and bring us once again under his power. This is his only purpose, desire, and thought, and for this end he strives without rest day and night, using all the arts, tricks, methods, and approaches that he can devise. Therefore we who would be Christians must surely expect to have the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies and must expect that they will inflict every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where God’s Word is preached, accepted, or believed, and bears fruit, there the holy and precious cross will also not be far behind. And let no one think that we will have peace; rather, we must sacrifice all we have on earth – possessions, honor, house and farm, spouse and children, body and life. Now, this grieves our flesh and the old creature, for it means that we must remain steadfast, suffer patiently whatever befalls us, and let go whatever is taken from us. (LC III:62-66, K/W pp. 448-49)

[G-5] For in that inner transformation which we call regeneration or conversion the old sinful self is cast out of the controlling center of the man, and a new principle, that of love to God and man, takes its place. The faith established in the heart by divine grace in regeneration is ready to work by love; and being a living, active thing, it begins to work at once, and with its working sanctification begins. In regeneration, the sinner has become a new man; and in sanctification he continues more and more to think and feel and act as a new man. ... By regeneration the sinner has undergone a radical and fundamental change in the very center of his being. He has been brought into harmony with God; he loves God and wills what God wills. Sin has been cast out from the citadel, and faith and love have been installed in its place. But sin has not been eradicated from his nature. It remains in the believer alongside the new nature wrought by grace. Though cast out of the citadel, it lingers in the surrounding regions, ready at the first opportunity to retake the citadel and regain the control. The new principle of love, though enthroned in the center of the believer’s being, is by no means at once in control of all his acts. In his inner self, in his ego, the believer wills to serve God only. But sin is strongly intrenched in his nature, and the gradual reduction of all the territory of our being under the new law of love entails a life-long conflict, in which the believer makes headway, but in which he never achieves a victory so complete as to drive sin over the border. Every inch of ground is contested. (Joseph Stump, The Christian Faith, pp. 278-79)

H. God’s Two Realms

[H-1] Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. (Mark 12:17, ESV)

[H-2] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)

[H-3] Concerning public order and secular government it is taught that all political authority, orderly government, laws, and good order in the world are created and instituted by God and that Christians may without sin exercise political authority; be princes and judges; pass sentences and administer justice according to imperial and other existing laws; punish evildoers with the sword; wage just wars; serve as soldiers; buy and sell; take required oaths; possess property; be married; etc. Condemned here are the Anabaptists who teach that none of the things indicated above is Christian. Also condemned are those who teach that Christian perfection means physically leaving house and home, spouse and child, and refraining from the above-mentioned activities. In fact, the only true perfection is true fear of God and true faith in God. For the gospel teaches an internal, eternal reality and righteousness of the heart, not an external, temporal one. The gospel does not overthrow secular government, public order, and marriage but instead intends that a person keep all this as a true order of God and demonstrate in these walks of life Christian love and true good works according to each person’s calling. Christians, therefore, are obliged to be subject to political authority and to obey its commands and laws in all that may be done without sin. But if a command of the political authority cannot be followed without sin, one must obey God rather than any human beings (Acts 5[:29]). (AC-G XVI:1-7, K/W pp. 48,50)

[H-4] ...the gospel does not make laws concerning the civil realm, but is instead the forgiveness of sins and the beginning of eternal life in the hearts of believers. Furthermore, it not only approves secular government but also subjects us to them [Rom. 13:1], just as we have been necessarily placed under the laws of the seasons (changes of winter and summer) as divine ordinances. The gospel forbids private redress, and Christ stresses this frequently in order that the apostles would not think that they ought to usurp the governing authority from those who hold it (as in the Jewish dream of a messianic kingdom) but instead would understand that they ought to teach about the spiritual kingdom and not change the civil realm. (Ap XVI:6-7, K/W p. 232)

[H-5] The relation of Church and State is to be determined on the basis of Christ’s command to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s (Matt. 22:21). The sphere of the Church and that of the State are different. Neither must interfere with the affairs of the other. Since the Church possesses an external organization, it is in temporal matters subject to the laws of the State; but in spiritual matters, in those which concern the sphere of the Church as such, the State has nothing to say. On the other hand the Church has no right to interfere in the affairs of the State. She has no right as an organization to take any part in politics. In all her activities she must aim at spiritual results and use spiritual means. Her one fundamental duty is that of administering the Means of Grace. She has no call officially as a Church, therefore, to enter into any purely humanitarian enterprises, to organize plans for social uplift, to take sides in industrial disputes, to line up with a particular political party, or to push political measures of any kind through legislatures or congress. Her members as individual Christian citizens may and often should do many of these things. They have political rights and duties which they are to assert and fulfill in a Christian and conscientious manner. But the Church as a Church should confine herself to that work which belongs to her; namely, the work of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of enunciating the principles of love and righteousness which should guide men in their social and political relations. (Joseph Stump, The Christian Life [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930], pp. 245-46)

I. Vocation

[I-1] Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. (1 Cor. 7:17, ESV)

[I-2] And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6, ESV)

[I-3] Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Ephes. 6:1-9, ESV)

[I-4] ...monastic vows were praised more highly than baptism. It was also said that one could obtain more merit through the monastic life than through all other walks of life, which had been ordered by God, such as the office of pastor or preacher, the office of ruler, prince, lord, and the like. (These all serve in their vocations according to God’s command, Word, and mandate without any contrived spiritual status.) (AC-G XXVII:13, K/W p. 82)

[I-5] Many of today’s graduates are on your way to full-time ministry, and that commitment is one of the greatest that a man or woman can make. All of the graduates leave Concordia with a commission and a calling. In the Lutheran tradition, all work – in an office, on a farm, in the home, or in the halls of government – should be done to the glory of God. And that is accomplished by doing our work with excellence, and care, and an awareness of the needs around us. We find our examples in great lives. Important work in this world can be done by towering figures, like Martin Luther, who changed history and your own lives with an act of conscience. Work of lasting value can also be done by a solitary soul, condemned and stripped of all power, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Every life holds the possibility of serving God. (George W. Bush, Commencement Address, Concordia University – Wisconsin, May 14, 2004)

David Jay Webber
Confessional Christian Worldview Seminar, June 6-12, 2004
Marvin M. Schwan Retreat & Conference Center, Trego, Wisconsin

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