Bible Verse of the Day

James 1:2-3
“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

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AYP November 2017

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

So goes one of the more famous quotes of Martin Luther. He made this statement more than 500 years ago when he stood before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms (Diet meaning a formal meeting, not a weight loss plan of the time; Worms being a city south of Frankfurt Germany).

In April 1521, Luther was called to defend what he taught and written, and at the end of his speech he uttered this line. Contrary to popular belief this was not a defiant and solitary protest, but a calm cool and reasoned account of why he had written the books, and why he could not recant their content.

"Luther asserted that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and that he could not go against conscience. This was not, however, a modern plea for the supremacy of the individual conscience or for religious freedom. Though already excommunicated by Rome, Luther saw himself as a sworn teacher of Scripture who must advocate the right of all Christians to hear and live by the gospel."

This position is one similar to that which we have just taken as well, in regards to our withdrawal from the ELCA and our decision to affiliate with the NALC. There are a variety of different positions or reasons why one would want to leave the ELCA, and for me one of the key reasons was the authority of Scripture is the key reason for this act. Allow me to put it this way….

1. ELCA leaders suggest that the passages dealing with homosexuality in Scripture don’t actually mean what they have been understood to mean for two thousand years. This can be plainly seen to be wrong by sim-ply reading the passages in a good translation. It is also false because God’s intention for human sexuality to be confined to a married relationship between a man and a woman is clearly mandated by the majority of Scripture and has been received as an orthodox interpretation of Scripture by the Christian church for two thousand years. In essence Scripture advocates for life producing relationships. Homosexuality in and of itself is not a relationship that can produce life out of the relationship and therefore is an abomination.

This is not to say that homosexuals are not welcome in the church. I feel quite the contrary. In the ELCA, it is the habit to become RIC – or Reconciled In Christ to LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, + to encompass those not otherwise identified). I believe that the Cross of Christ stands to welcome all, and not just those select to whom we are reconciled in Christ.

2. The ELCA proponents of these new interpretations suggest that average people cannot read their Bibles with understanding. They argue that only biblical scholars can truly interpret what the Bible is saying. This is false teaching that is directly against the fundamental tenets of Martin Luther. Luther himself started the tradition of translating the Bible into common language so everyone could read and understand it. Today, a great deal of fine scholarship goes into high quality translations which make it possible for a Christian to confidently read, study, and understand the Bible.

3. ELCA advocates suggest that new attitudes in our scientific and technological age should have precedence over Scriptural prescriptions. The WordAlone network, and me personally, rejoice that our culture is developing more open and gentle attitudes toward and about our homosexual brothers and sisters. However, we are all sinners before God and we should look to Holy Scripture to determine boundaries for our lives, not set it aside when it seems inconvenient. Essentially, identifying those sins which we care to acknowledge and deem acceptable and setting other sins aside and saying they are not acceptable, but before God, all sins are equal and one is not better or worse than another. We all sin, we all fall short of the Glory of God, but to declare something right that God himself has said is wrong is to put us as an equal to God and tell God that he is wrong.

Additionally, I believe that there is a New Reformation that is brewing in America. The beliefs and actions not just of our Christian brothers and sisters, but the actions of our fellow Americans leads me to feel this way. What will it look like? I do not know… I do know that I would like to err on the side of the Gospel, and to that remain true, even if it is a decision that is not popular with the rest of society. But remember, in scripture Luke 12:49-59:

‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

Interpreting the Time

54He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settling with Your Opponent

57‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case,* or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.’

I will let you decide.

Amen.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 02:31