Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Bait-and-Switch "Lutherans" VS. the Unmerited Switch of God
The "sin-and-who's-the-sinner" aspect of Luther’s Great Exchange is rarely emphasized by gutted (and gutless) evangelical "outreach" campaigns. Christ saw human sin as a given, an disputable fact of the species, and didn't shy from risking an offense to the seeker-ego. Indeed, among the very first words of the evangelical and preaching thrust of the Lord Jesus, to a lost and bumbling people, was "Repent ye" (Mt 4:17). It wasn't "The Kingdom of God is at hand! So use this, to touch and fellowship your inner-child. Feel good!"
But ... following the actual example of our Prophet, Priest and King ... there is encouragement to talk of sin, and to do it boldly: "Forsake the Lord Jesus, and you die in your sins. Accept Him, through the unmerited grace and power of the Holy Ghost alone [1,2] ... and our Lord becomes a despicable sinner for life -- your life."
There are some synodical “counselors,” who steadfastly refuse to explicitly talk of sin somewhere on their parish websites; which devices are putatively an introduction to the parish's heart-felt beliefs, and really, what they're all about. Evidently the "counselors" are of the business-driven opinion that "sin" scares people. It should.
Credits and Citations
1. Carol Rutz (21 Jan 2015; Wednesday, via a Facebook comment), recognizing a potential ambiguity in the text, and encouraging a Lutheran clarification to the heretofore unadorned "Accept Him." Credit where credit is due, then: to Ms. Rutz, certainly and thankfully, but firstly also to the Holy Ghost.
2. The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism, Concordia Publishing House (St. Louis MO), 2004; p. 97 (reading for Wednesday 2015, of Epiphany II; at the Office of Vespers): "WE BELIEVE that, since Christ was our substitute before God, our Savior's perfect keeping of the Law is part of His saving work for us. and because of Him we are considered righteous before God. In the Ten Commandments God shows us what His will is. Christians, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are eager to do God's will." Emphases mine.
Posted by Michael L. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D at 8:24 AM