“Tongues for Telling the Mighty Works of God” (Acts 2:1-21) « St. Matthew Lutheran Church

All of us, laypeople and pastor alike, can use our tongues to tell others the great things of God we know. And we can also invite those people to church, where they can get more of the preaching and teaching in depth from the pastor. It’s a “both-and.” It’s all good.

But today, first of all, dear Christians–first and last of all, the Spirit is speaking to you. I am here to tell you the good news–for you! And the bottom line is this, the same one Peter used: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” This is a day of salvation for you! Yes, there is a day of judgment coming, that day when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. And you would not pass muster on that day, if left to yourself. Your sins would condemn you. But the day of Pentecost is a day full of grace. Full of grace! It’s a day for spreading the good news: Christ Jesus died and rose for your salvation, the Lord God makes his name known to you, and the Spirit quickens your heart so that you call on that name in faith. And so you will be saved! Thank God! The good news of Pentecost is this: The mighty works of God are still working today!

via “Tongues for Telling the Mighty Works of God” (Acts 2:1-21) « St. Matthew Lutheran Church.

Calvin on the real presence

Unlikely Luther, Calvin could never say we orally receive the body and blood of Christ or that even unbelievers receive his body and blood. Many Lutherans have found it revealing that while Calvin taught us to ascend to heaven to partake of the body and blood of Christ present up there, for Luther, Christ comes to offer his forgiveness to us here on earth.

“The Consensus Tigurinus was composed by Calvin himself, in 1549, and was adopted by the Zurich theologians. It comprises twenty-six articles, which treat only of the sacrament of the Supper. It grew out of a desire upon the part of Calvin, to effect a union among the Reformed upon the doctrine of the Eucharist. The attitude of Calvin respecting the Sacramentarian question was regarded by the Lutherans, as favourable rather than otherwise to their peculiar views. His close and cordial agreement with Luther upon the fundamental points in theology, together with the strength of his phraseology when speaking of the nature of the Eucharist, led the Swiss Zuinglians to deem him as on the whole further from them than from their opponents. In this Consensus Tigurinus, he defines his statements more distinctly, and left no doubt in the minds of the Zurichers that he adopted heartily the spiritual and symbolical theory of the Lord’s Supper. The course of events afterwards showed that Calvin’s theory really harmonized with Zuingle’s.” [Source: A History of Christian Doctrine By William Greenough Thayer Shedd, 1863.].

via 1549 Consensus Tigurinus.

Why pray?

Still More Luther on Prayer « Taking Thoughts Captive…

You might wonder, “Why does God insist that we pray to him and tell him our problems? Why doesn’t he take care of us without our having to ask? He already knows what we need better than we do.” God continually showers his gifts on the whole world every day. He gives us sunshine, rain, good harvests, money, healthy bodies, and so on. But we often neither ask God for these gifts nor thank him for them. If God already knows that we can’t live without light or food for any length of time, then why does he want us to ask for these necessities? Obviously, he doesn’t command us to pray in order to inform him of our needs. God gives us his gifts freely and abundantly. He wants us to recognize that he is willing and able to give us even more. When we pray, we’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know. Rather, we are the ones gaining knowledge and insight. Asking God to supply our needs keeps us from becoming like the unbelieving skeptics, who don’t acknowledge God and don’t thank him for his many gifts. All of this teaches us to acknowledge God’s generosity even more. Because we continue to search for him and keep on knocking at his door, he showers us with more and more blessings. Everything we have is a gift from God. When we pray, we should express our gratitude by saying, “Lord, I know that I can’t create a single slice of my daily bread. You are the only one who can supply all of my needs. I have no way to protect myself from disasters. You know what I need ahead of time, so I’m convinced that you will take care of me.”
(from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional / LW 21:144)

Comfort in every adversity

These errors {of the Reformed and others on the Incarnation}, and all that are contrary and opposed to the [godly and pure] doctrine presented above, we reject and condemn as contrary to the pure Word of God, the Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles, and our Christian faith and confession. And we admonish all Christians, since in the Holy Scriptures Christ is called a mystery upon which all heretics dash their heads, not to indulge in a presumptuous manner in subtile inquiries, concerning such mysteries, with their reason, but with the venerated apostles simply to believe, to close the eyes of their reason, and bring into captivity their understanding to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10, 5, and to take comfort [seek most delightful and sure consolation], and hence to rejoice without ceasing in the fact that our flesh and blood is placed so high at the right hand of the majesty and almighty power of God. Thus we shall assuredly find constant consolation in every adversity, and remain well guarded from pernicious error.

The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, The Person of Christ, emphases and “{of the Reformed and others on the Incarnation},” added. The title of this post directly quotes the Kolb and Wengert translation.

For further discussion of the stumbling block the Incarnation poses to fallen reason, see Absolute Paradox: “the god in time.”