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When Lutherans Assert that the Bible is the Verbally Inspired Word of God, and Actually Mean it, Are they Fundamentalists or Calvinists?

February 7th, 2013 3 comments

commandments

The one, holy, catholic and apostolic church has confessed throughout her entire history, until the last couple of centuries, that the Sacred Scriptures are precisely what they claim to be: the God-breathed words of God—the very words that God chose to have set down in written form. This is simply a fact.

I was reading recently statements made to the effect that insisting on this truth is a result of the influence of American fundamentalism, or if a person dares venture a bit further back in Church history, there is the charge that Lutherans who confess the Bible is verbally inspired and thus free from error and incapable of error have come under the influence of Calvinism. This is nothing short of stupendous ignorance of the facts of church history, in which one need spend only a small amount of time to find that the ancient fathers of the Christian Church were quite happy to confess the Bible is the very Word of God. Any claim that the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures is some kind of more recent American fundamentalist assertion, or something Lutheranism took over from Calvinist is totally bogus. If or when you hear any Lutheran saying that you can be assured that you are hearing from a person who is abysmally ignorant of Lutheran doctrine, history and, for that matter, church history as a whole.

As for Lutherans…the “Second Martin,” as he was called, Martin Chemnitz, the foremost of the followers of Luther’s reformation insights after the great Reformers death, makes it abundantly clear what Lutheranism has to say about the inspired text, in his magnum opus, from which to this day remains the most definitive refutation of the Council of Trent ever published, The Examination of the Council of Trent.

The quote below comes from the very first volume of Chemnitz’ work where he is setting for the Church’s understanding of the Holy Scriptures and why they, not “tradition” or any other source are the supreme source for everything the Church believes, teaches and confesses. In great detail he works through how God chose to transmit His Word to his people, by means of written communication of His Word, seen already in how God chose to give His people the Commandments:

“It will profitably clear up and simplify the present controversy concerning the Holy Scripture by showing how the Scripture itself began. History shows—and I think this must be noted especially—that God not only instituted this way and method of preserving and retaining the purity of the heavenly doctrine by means of the divinely inspired Scriptures but that He also by His own act and example initiated, dedicated, and consecrated that way and method when He Himself first wrote the words of the Decalog. Therefore the first beginning of Holy Scripture must have God Himself as the author.

“I have related these things in order that it might be observed from the divinely inspired Scriptures, which God wanted preserved and made available for posterity, that nothing was written before the tables of the Decalog, which were written by the finger of God. It does much to shed light on the dignity and authority of Holy Scripture that God Himself not only instituted and commanded the plan of comprehending the heavenly doctrine in writing but that He also initiated, dedicated, and consecrated it by writing the words of the Decalog with His own fingers. For if the writing of the sacred books had first been begun by men, an exclusion of more than two thousand years could have been argued, where in the better times of the world and among the most outstanding patriarchs the doctrine of the divine Word was transmitted without writing, by the living voice. Therefore God Himself with His own fingers made a beginning of writing in order that He might show how much importance is to be attached to this method, according to which the purity of the doctrine is to be preserved to posterity by writings.

“For the fact that He took tablets of stone on which to write the words of the Decalog there is another reason, which is explained 2 Cor. 3.

“In order that those things which were either to be written through men of God, adorned for this by miracles and divine testimonies, or to be approved by them after they had been written, should not have a lesser authority or no authority at all for the confirmation of dogmas and the refutation of errors, God chose not to write the whole Law Himself, but, having written the words of the Decalog, He gave Moses the command that he should write the remainder from His dictation. And in order that the people of God might be certain that this Scripture of Moses was not introduced by the will of man but was divinely inspired, God gave the testimony of Moses authority through many mighty miracles both before and after the writing, and during the writing itself.

“We have thus shown two things from the most ancient sacred history: (1) that the purity of the heavenly doctrine was not preserved always and everywhere through tradition by the living voice but was repeatedly corrupted and adulterated; (2) in order that new and special revelations might not always be necessary for restoring and retaining purity of the doctrine, God instituted another method under Moses, namely, that the doctrine of the Word of God should be comprehended in writing.

“This is how the Scripture began. Now that this has been shown, it remains that we consider further what use God wanted us to make of the Scripture, and what was to be its dignity and authority. Because the history is clear, we shall be content merely to list the passages.

“Moses included in four books not only the history of his own time, the exodus from Egypt, and what happened during the 40 years in the desert, but his plan was chiefly to write the doctrine of the Law, which God delivered to the people of Israel on Mt. Sinai in the desert. Besides, in the first book, he summed up the chief points of the doctrine and faith of the patriarchs, which they had received by tradition, on the basis of the revelation of God Himself from the beginning of the world almost down to his own time, and which they had also professed.

“God commanded that the tables of the Decalog, written by God’s own hand, should be deposited in the ark of the convenant, which was in the holy of holies in the tabernacle. And Moses commanded that his own writings, composed by divine inspiration, should be put into the side of the ark (Deut. 31:25–26). The custody and preservation of this deposit he entrusted to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. He also ordered that the king should have with him a copy of the Law, written according to that which was before the face of the priests and Levites, lest he depart from it either to the right hand or to the left (Deut. 17:18–20). He also commanded that the people should write these words on the posts, the doors, the lintel, and the gates of their houses. (Deut. 6:9 and 11:20)”

From: Examination, Volume 1, pgs. 53-54.

 

Fewer Americans Believe Homosexuality is A Sin (no surprises here)

January 11th, 2013 Comments off

File under: no surprises here.

Fewer Americans believe homosexuality is a sin. Via Stetzer.

A November 2012 survey of adults in the United States found 37 percent affirm a belief that homosexual behavior is a sin – a statistically significant change from a September 2011 LifeWay Research survey asking the same question. At that time, 44 percent answered, “Yes.” In contrast, the percentage of Americans who do not believe homosexuality is a sin remains nearly the same between the two surveys – 43 percent in September 2011 and 45 percent in November 2012 indicate this belief, with an increase in the percentage of those unsure of what they believe. Seventeen percent in the November 2012 survey said, “I don’t know;” an increase of 4 percent over the September 2011 survey. The November 2012 survey also reveals Americans in the South (40 percent) are the most likely to select “Yes” to the question “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” as are Americans who attend religious services at least about once a week (61 percent), and those calling themselves “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian” (73 percent). Americans who never attend religious services are the most likely to say they do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin (71 percent).

 

changeinbelief

 

Tanzanian Lutheran Church Rejects Same-Sex Marriage

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

What the worldwide Anglican communion has been experiencing; namely, an outcry from more conservative members of its fellowship in Africa, is now happening across the Lutheran World Federation. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is the latest very large Lutheran church body in Africa to speak out very boldly against the positions on homosexuality being adopted across North American and Western European Lutheran church bodies. Here is a recent ELCT press release on the subject. Please note that the ELCT has 5.3 million members.

ELCT Press Release
Date: April 29, 2010
Press release No. 004/04/2010

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has reiterated her opposition to same-sex marriage and stated that those who are in such unions are not welcome to work in the ELCT because such practice is incompatible with Biblical teaching.

The ELCT Executive Council meeting, held in Moshi on April 27 to 28 this year, received and approved “The Dodoma Statement” prepared in January this year by the ELCT Bishops’ Council. The bishops met in Dodoma to discuss in details steps to take after the decision of some European and American churches to recognize same-sex marriages.

The Statement says: “Those in same sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT. We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support.”

“This church affirms that love is the essence of a relationship between two people who live, or who want to live, together in marriage. But, with regard to married spouses, this is the love between two people of the opposite sex.”

“This church does not accept reasons offered by advocates of same-sex marriage and its legitimacy unless it is based on the Word of God and Biblical teaching; therefore, we reject inappropriate and false interpretations of scripture produced to justify the marriage of people of the same gender.”

“This church encourages and supports all those around the world who oppose churches that have taken the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.”

“We appeal to those of like-mind with us to continue to be salt and light in our relationships. We should direct our energy into maintaining the unity and cooperation between us. Such unity will help us avoid falling into a state which would further injure the body of Christ, that is, the Church.”

“We urge every believer in the ELCT to be very careful, alert and discerning lest they loose their faith in the face of this strange doctrine that could easily seduce people in this age of globalization.”

“Those supporting same-sex marriages have started to do all they can to destroy one Biblical passage after another in order to legalize homosexuality and affirm that marriage is not necessarily between a man and a woman. They do so by putting forward their new and wrong interpretation – one which displays an attitude and understanding which differs from that which has existed for many years in the Church regarding the meaning of marriage in accordance with the teachings of the Word of God.”

Some Bible passages that have been misused and given another interpretation to defend same-sex marriage are the following: Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24, Matt. 19: 5-7, Rom. 1:26-27, Gal. 3:28, etc.

The statement goes on to say: “The ELCT and other people worldwide who support our stand on the issue of opposing same-sex marriage believe that the Bible cannot be interpreted according to people’s wishes or according to other authorities or to culture. Rather, the Bible is self explanatory and is merely translated into various languages without altering the meaning.”

“The ELCT accepts that moral values may change among people as their situations change; however, ELCT believers know and believe that there are some things that cannot change, such as people having noses, ears and mouths.”

“This church believes that, based on the teaching of the Word of God, there are values that cannot be adjusted even under the pressure of changing conditions and locations. One of these unwavering values concerns the issue of marriage and its meaning.”

Issued by:
Office of the Secretary-General, ELCT

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Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Coordinator,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
Box 3033, ARUSHA, Tanzania.
Phone: +255-27-250-8856/7
FAX: +255-27-254-8858
E-mail: Elizabeth Lobulu

The Seminex Crisis in The LCMS

February 14th, 2007 1 comment

Thanks to "Der Bettler" blog site for this…last week, Issues, Etc. covered the struggle in the 1970′s in
the LCMS around biblical inerrancy. Called "The Battle for the Bible in
the LCMS" (February 7, hours 2 and 3, link here), and featuring guest Dr. Paul Zimmerman, the incidents and debates were recounted in a way many people probably have never heard them spoken of before. There are those who would prefer to sweep this entire episode under the carpet, others who would persist in trying to paint this as nothing more than "politics" and continue the lies and fabrications used by the liberals at the time to assure the Missouri Synod that really nothing had changed, just some new ways of saying the same old things. I highly recommend you listen to the interview with Dr. Zimmerman.

Categories: Holy Scripture

The Apocrypha: Missing in Action

November 22nd, 2006 57 comments

Bible_300yrold_apocrypha
Did you know that the majority of English Bibles we have now do not contain all the books that historically all Lutheran Bibles always had? That is, did you know that Martin Luther included the Old Testament apocryphal books in every edition of his translation that he worked on, beginning with the first complete edition released in 1534? Where did they go? What happened to them? If we find them, should we put them back in the Bibles that we would use in our churches? Lots to ponder here. I welcome your [thoughtful] reflections. Here’s more information and more questions.

The Apocrypha is the term used to denote the fifteen books included in the Septuagint (the first Greek translation of the Bible) and the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible),
which were incorporated in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Bible editions These books are believed to
have been composed from about 300 BC. to AD 70. Most were written in
either Hebrew or Aramaic and contain Intertestamental historical works,
additions to various canonical books, devotions, and apocalypses. 

Read more…

Categories: Holy Scripture