The LMS-USA Ministerium met in Indianapolis on October 16 and 17 primarily
over the preliminary report on the proposed LMS Seminary as directed by the
Synod Convention last June.
While there may have been thoughts that a Seminary was in no way feasible for this young and small church body, those thoughts were quickly put aside in the midst of the sharing of ideas which had obviously been well thought out by committee members Dr. Robert Haltner and Rev. Michael Zamzow.
Two rather unique names were put forth as possible names for our new Seminary. One was 'Pella' the other 'Jena'. Pella, was a city located east of the Jordan River in the region of Decapolis. The city is not mentioned in the Bible, but records indicate it was an important Canaanite city. During the Jewish revolt against Rome (AD 66-70), Pella became a refuge for many Christians and a center for the early church. After some discussion, the name Jena (YAY- nah) was chosen to be presented to the Synod Convention for ratification.
A classical high school was founded in Jena in 1548 after part of Saxony was separated from Wittenberg as a result of the Smalcald War. In 1558 it became a university. Through the efforts of Nicolaus von Amsdorf, the university at Jena became a center for genuine Lutherans (gneisio-Lutherans). Among its most famous professors was Johann Gerhard, one of the most learned Lutherans in history, as well as a fine pastor and a writer of devotional material. Jena later came under the influence of Goethe and Schiller and later of influences from modern historical-critical methods.
It is our prayer that Jena Evangelical Lutheran Seminar will be a place in this day for 'genuine Lutherans'. Note also the name includes the word 'Seminar' and not 'Seminary.' Seminar suggests not so much a 'place' for learning as it does an 'ongoing learning community' where the participants - students as well as teachers - recognize a responsibility of having a part in the learning of others.
The Ministerium approved three courses for the seminary curriculum (these will also need to be approved by the Synod Convention in June).
The time together in Indianapolis was also historic in that the committee for clergy membership interviewed and approved for presentation to the convention the name of Mr. Eric Gernert as our first licensed lay pastor. Mr. Gernert is also one of three or quite possibly four students anticipating beginning work in our new seminary.
Mr. Gernert will be pastoring our newest congregation, Community Lutheran Church of Anniston, Alabama. Mr. Charles Johnson, chairman of the congregation was also present at our meeting.
Other business included:
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by Rev. Michael Zamzow
Rev. Zamzow is an associate member of the LMS-USA Ministerium. He is at present completing his Ph.D. in Religious Studies in Historical Theology and history of exegesis at Marquette Univ., Milwaukee.
When we sat at our parents' feet reciting the catechism in preparation for confirmation class or the oral examination before our confirmation day, again and again we were confronted with the question, "What does this mean?" It was a question that was taken very seriously. The seriousness of the question is the reason our parents and pastors took so much time asking the question and checking the answers. In examining the basic values of the culture in which we live, it is not surprising to find that a dwindling number of Lutheran congregations expect the catechism to be learned by heart. The catechism is being replaced by experiential learning. The question asked is no longer, "What does this mean?" The question du jour has become, "What do you feel?" Each person makes of words what they will. A late twentieth century American feels very comfortable saying, "Words mean whatever I want them to mean." A generation of Mad Hatters!
While many of us are distressed at the loss of meaning and sense of truth, it can be difficult to find a way to express our concerns. There are bundles of nasty labels just waiting to be applied to people who would be so audacious as to insist that there is truth and that words have meaning. "Fundamentalist," "right-wing religious extremist," "bibliolator" are but a few of the more polite labels waiting to be pinned on us. We need to remind ourselves that the Truth is at the heart of being a Christian. When Jesus says, "You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free," He is not talking about each person creating their own truth. If I can create my own truth, I can free myself from sin by redefining it; I can free myself from death by trivializing it; I can free myself from the devil by denying his existence and the difference between good and evil. If I can save myself, it doesn't matter who Jesus is or what He has done for me. Christianity then becomes a Buddhist sect in which adherents look for the "Jesus-self" within. When we buy into contemporary ways of thinking, we make Jesus into a liar. Remember, He is the one who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." It has become fashionable to make Jesus into a mythical figure who can be deconstructed and reconstructed into anything or anyone we please. To be a Christian is to affirm that Truth matters.
When we examine what has happened to meaning, we find that Lutherans have a special responsibility. It isn't just the use of "what does this mean?" in the catechism which should put us in the front lines of the struggle to insist on words having meaning. At the heart of our Lutheran understanding of the Faith is the conviction that God speaks to us through the Word. We believe that God has something to say to us. He has spoken to us through the prophets. Now in these last days has spoken to us through His Son. If we listen only to ourselves, we will not hear God's Word. If God's Word has no meaning, either God is a babbler or we are most to be pitied. We trust that God's Word has meaning and power. God's Word means what it says, not whatever I want it to say. We cannot say that we have not been warned about these things. Paul writes in the fourth chapter of his Second Epistle to Timothy: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
We need to encourage our pastors to "talk straight." Sometimes we value niceness over truth and punish pastors for doing their job. We need to insist that words have meaning and that meanings make a difference. Sometimes we value human forms of unity over the Way, Truth, and Life who makes us one. We need to remind ourselves and the world that God is God and we are humans. Sometimes we use pious or religious language to cover up or fool ourselves and others into thinking we are God. We need to know the truth about ourselves. That truth comes from God, not from within. We need to know God's truth and the truth about God. That, too, comes only from God. When others want to pin labels on us, we need to remind them of how truth and trust go together. We trust God because God has shown Himself true in His Word. A self-deluded world is not helped by Christians who would make God a liar. That's what the second commandment is all about. To expand on the meaning from the catechism: "God save us from talking about ourselves or our churches as if we and not God were the measure of all things."
When we find ourselves redefining words which are clear and obvious, we should ask ourselves whether the father of lies (Satan) might not be whispering deceits inside our heads. We trust God because He means what He says. Perhaps we would have more credibility as pastors and congregations if we took our cue from the God in whose name we gather and speak. May we mean what we say. May we say what God wants said.
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by Casper B. Nervig from his volume,
CHRISTIAN TRUTH AND RELIGIOUS DELUSIONS
Why do we believe that the Lutheran Church has the truth? In popular conversation this question is asked in this way: "How do we know that we are right? Others think they are right too!" This is more than an academic question; it is personal. Its answer is connected with a personal faith.
IV. THE BURDEN OF PROOF
After the discussion of the proof of truth, there is one very important thought to add. It is really not up to the Lutheran Church to prove that it is right rather than others. The burden of proof rests upon all those who have introduced innovations into and departures from the Scriptural and Apostolic truth. It seems that they have sensed the need of finding support outside of the Word, and therefore they have resorted to the various extra-Biblical authorities to prove their respective errors. We have already discussed these. Until they can demonstrate, without the aid of tradition, reason, or special revelation, the truth of the Lutheran Church remains unchanged, resting on the Word alone.
If the ancient Apostolic unity should ever come again for Christendom, it must be upon this basis of truth. We do not say all Christians will then join the Lutheran Church, but they must confess the faith which is taught in the Scriptures and which the Lutheran Church has always championed. Truth is the only basis for unity.
C. ASSURANCE OF THE TRUTH
We have now come to the final and most important answer to the question, "How do we know that the Lutheran Church is right?" Logic is helpful but in spiritual matters particularly it lacks finality. Human conviction must needs have a divine assurance to make it really certain. Therefore this much of the question is still before us, "How can I be really sure?" There still is need of that unshakable conviction that only a divine assurance can give. Proof of the truth runs interference, but assurance of the truth carries the ball.
We have already shown that the Lutheran faith is but the universal Christian faith. So, too, the Lutheran faith is certified in the same way as the universal Christian faith. Since Justification by Faith is the dominating and directing thought in the whole body of Lutheran teachings, our certainty rests upon the very same foundation as does assurance of the truth of the Gospel itself. The question, "How do I know that we are right?" merges then into a larger question with which in fact it is identical: "How do I know that the Bible is true? How do I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true?"
Before answering this question it must be noted that in general assurance has a double application because of its reference to the truth itself as well as its reference to personal salvation. Assurance regarding the truth must always be knit together with assurance of one's own salvation. The Christian must be sure that the Gospel itself is true, and then he must be sure that the Gospel applies to him and that he is saved.
Our study concerns itself primarily with the first of these and therefore we shall not discuss the important subject of assurance of personal salvation. Suffice it to say that the Christian can and should have confidence that the truth of the Gospel applies to him personally and that Jesus is his Savior. Such assurance does not depend upon the variability of human experience but upon the Word itself with its wonderful promises in the Gospel. Christ and His finished work for the salvation of sinners is the all-sufficient cause of our salvation and the foundation of our assurance of it.
With these brief remarks on assurance of salvation we confine our study to the subject of assurance of the truth of the Word of God. The two are closely related although treated separately. In fact there are those who have assurance of their salvation even though they may be confused on certain parts of the truth itself.
I. ASSURANCE AND FAITH
Assurance is, by some, thought of as scientific proof; by others, as a special experience or a gift of the Holy Spirit apart from faith. It is neither; assurance is faith. If we look for some scientific or mathematical basis for assurance, we will not be satisfied. If we expect to depend on some type of religious experience we will be disappointed. Assurance is faith, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" ( Heb. 11:1). Faith itself is a gift of the Holy Spirit which consists not only of a knowledge of Christ, not only of acceptance of Christ, but of trust and complete confidence. Without confidence it is not truly faith. V. Koren has written: "The assurance, which is here spoken of, is an assurance of faith, which then can only exist where there is faith.... Faith is assurance, and the HoIy Scriptures often use the expression 'we know' about those things which we believe or for which we hope" (Works, Vol.IV, p. 328).
Assurance of the truth is something more than scientific proof. It is a spiritual reality which rests upon a spiritual foundation and is drawn from spiritual sources. Confidence in the truth of the Word of God is not dependent upon scientific proof. Thomas wanted scientific proof of the fact of Christ's resurrection when he said, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). A week later he was given the scientific proof which he had demanded, but with it Jesus gave him a lesson showing that faith is independent of such proof as appeals to human senses and reason. "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
The independence of spiritual truth from scientific proof is suggested in I Cor 2:9-16 where the knowledge of "the things that are freely given to us of God" is given "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." The spiritual realm has its own basis of truth even as the various fields of human learning have their basic principles. Since this basis is neither scientific nor philosophical, it only brings confusion and uncertainty when these are made the foundation of religious truth. Christian truth is not demonstrated as a geometry problem with Q. E. D. written at the end. Christian truth is not arrived at by the rules of logic with a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. Instead of science and logic being the foundation of assurance for Christian truth, that assurance is a spiritual one. Spiritual truth is demonstrated by things spiritual.
Because the Word of God is independent of human wisdom, it will always be true that "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18). But "the foolishness of God is wiser than men" (v.25) and "it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (vv. 19-21). Therefore, without dependence upon the wisdom, as the world judges wisdom, "we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness" (v.23).
It follows then that only a believer can attain to this assurance of the truth, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and rejoice therein. The unconverted, the hypocrites, and the unbelievers cannot have assurance that the Word of God is true any more than they can have assurance of their soul's salvation. This is the reason why arguments between believer and unbeliever about the truth of the Gospel usually are fruitless. The unbeliever is not satisfied with the proof which he has been given nor can he see any sense in the faith of the Christian.
II. THE FOUNDATION OF ASSURANCE
Christian assurance of the truth, as well as assurance of his personal salvation, rests upon a twofold testimony, or a double witness: one of them within us and the other without. This double testimony is spoken of in Rom. 8:16: "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." The one within us is secondary, it is imperfect and incomplete; the one without is primary, it is perfect and complete.
a. The Testimony of the Regenerated Spirit of the Child of God.
There is an assurance which the regenerated Christian finds within his own mind and heart. He is able to say, "I know the Word of God is true because I have tried it out, I am sure because of my own experience with it." This assurance is brought out in one of the first questions in our Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism: "What must we do to experience for ourselves that their words are God's Word?" to which the answer is, "We must try to obey the Word and give it a place in our hearts." In support of this we have the words of Christ in John 7:17, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself."
At the same time there is always something incomplete about this human assurance because even the child of God has to contend with his Old Adam who raises a contradictory voice to disturb the peace of the believer. Through him Satan would drive the believer back to the brink of doubt and then into the pit of despair. Because of him the Christian experiences conflicts within himself and finds his confidence disturbed by a voice of uncertainty.
We find, then, that there is an element of assurance which the believer may seek within his own human spirit. It may serve substantially in giving him confidence that the Word of God is true. Nevertheless, this assurance is secondary and needs something more reliable to give it finality.
b. The Testimony of the Holy Spirit in the Word.
The only authoritative foundation for assurance of the truth is the Word of God itself. Through it the Holy Spirit is able to convince the one who searches. This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit working through the Word. This assurance is entirely independent of the human spirit, it is directly given by God through His Word. It is sovereign, final, and complete. Our final assurance of the truth of the Gospel rests only in the Word of God and nothing else. It is self-assuring about itself. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that his "speech and his preaching was in demonstration of the Spirit and power" (1 Cor. 2:4-5). To the Thessalonians he wrote that they received his word as the Word of God because the divine word "effectually worketh in you that believe" (I Thess. 2:13-14).
Assurance is also called the "earnest of the spirit" in the New Testament. The word "earnest" suggests something deposited as a guarantee of a promise, something like a certified check, hence a certified promise or a guaranteed assurance. The Holy Spirit. has "sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor. 1:22). God "also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit" (II Cor. 5:5).
In its last analysis assurance of the truth depends on the Word of God itself: sovereign, autonomous, and independent of any other source to prove its authority. Quenstedt, one of the early Lutheran theologians, wrote concerning this, "The ultimate reason by and through which we are led to believe with a divine and unshaken faith that God's Word is God's Word is the intrinsic power and efficacy of that Word itself, or the testimony and seal of the Holy Spirit, who speaks in and through Scripture, because the bestowal of faith... is a work that emanates from the Holy Spirit." The Word of God, by the testimony of the Holy Spirit working through itself, gives the assurance that it is true. This is, as it were, the "declaration of independence" of the Scripture in which it accepts no superior and not even a peer. It is sovereign, autonomous, containing within itself the assurance of its authority. As a sovereign nation asks no one to give it authority, so the Word of God is sovereign in spiritual matters and needs no other proof to add to its strength. This principle of Scriptural authority was expressed by John Gerhard, one of the Lutheran theologians in the period of early orthodoxy, as "a certain principle, self-evident - or self-persuading - and independent of proof, most sure and beyond proof, which is not dependent on others but which others depend upon."
This assured testimony of the Holy Spirit is realty faith itself. Luther said, "We do not distinguish the Holy Spirit from faith, nor is He contrary to faith; for He is Himself the assurance in the Word, who makes us certain of the Word, so that we do not doubt, but believe most certainly and beyond all doubt that it is just so and in no respect whatever different from that which God in His Word declares and tells us" (Erlan-gen Edition, VoI. 58, p. 153). Therefore when we are asked, "How do we know that the Word of God is true?" we can really answer, "I know it is true because I believe it is true." But it must be clear that "I believe" does not mean "It is my opinion," or "It is my feeling." It is an assurance which the Holy Spirit has given us through the Word of God itself. Regarding this matter Luther wrote, "I wish that the word 'believe' were not as common, or that it could keep its correct meaning and use, so that faith would be spoken of as this that one is absolutely sure without any doubt."
God's Word has spoken. It is filled with the unshakable promises of an unchanging and faithful God. Out of that Word, Christ Jesus Himself has been made real and vital to us. He is our Redeemer and Lord who is yesterday, today, and forever the same. Resting in the love of Him who came to give His life a ransom for many and to seek and to save that which was lost, the believer has the confidence to say, "I know whom I have believed" (II Tim. 1:12.).
This is, then, the spiritual foundation on which assurance of the truth stands. In this spiritual realm there are certain truths which are self-evident. Even the mathematician in his exact field does not prove his first principles; he starts with axioms. When equals are added to equals the sums are equal; when equals are multiplied by equals the products are equal. In the realm of spiritual truths there are such elementary truths which are self-evident. They are axiomatic. God is self-evident and does not need proof; only "the fool has said in his heart, there is no God" (Ps. 14:1). God's revelation of Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Revelation, is likewise self-evident. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). This is our confidence. When we are asked, "How can you be sure?" we answer with assurance and certainty, "It is written."
Since the Lutheran Church has taken its teachings from the Word alone, and preaches one central message of Justification by Faith, assurance that the Lutheran has the truth is the same as assurance of the truth of the Word of God. The Lutheran Church has a high and holy confidence that its teachings are pure and true. "Being instructed from the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures, we are sure concerning our doctrine and confession.... We also have determined not to depart even a finger's breadth from the subjects themselves or from the phrases which are found in them (the confessions)" (Book of Concord, Intro.).
In humility the Lutheran Church professes the same confidence in the truth of its Gospel as the Apostle Paul had when he wrote, "But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). In humble gratitude to God for such a heritage and in prayer for grace to be found faithful, the Lutheran Church sings:
God's Word is our great heritage,
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor;
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay;
Lord grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure,
Throughout all generations.
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Reformation - October 31, 1998. On this anniversary of the posting of the
95 thesis on the door of the Church at Wittenburg, Germany, these words of
the great reformer speak words as important for the church to hear today
as they were when first spoken almost 500 years ago.
Let us Hold Fast The Profession Of Our Faith
Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering; for he is faithful who hath promised it.
Luther's translation of Hebrews x.23.
Therefore take heed and let nothing on earth, however great, nor even angels from heaven, drive you against your conscience away from that teaching which you know and esteem to be of God, St. Paul says (Galatians 1:8): 'But though an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed'. You are not the first, nor the only one, nor will you be the last to be persecuted for the Word of God. Christ says (Matthew v. 10): 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness; sake'; again (Matthew xxiv. 9): 'Ye shall be hated by all men for my name's sake'; again (John xvi. 2): 'The time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service'. We must remember such sayings and fortify ourselves with them, yes, we must give praise and thanks to God and beseech Him that we may be made worthy to suffer for His Word. Remember that it has been revealed that at the time of the antichrist no man will be free to preach, and all who teach and hear the Word of God will be deemed accursed. Thus it is now and thus it has been for more than a hundred years. 1/2 Instruction to those making confession - on forbidden books, 1521 W.A. 7. 2956 f.
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Christians should stand to the death for maintaining Christ's gospel and
true understanding thereof, gotten by holy life and great study, and not
set forth their faith or trust in sinful prelates and their clerks, nor their
understanding of holy writ. For with their worldly life, full of pride .
. . they are unable to perceive the truth of holy writ, and high pureness
John Wyclif Antichrist's Labour to Destroy Holy Writ 3
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by Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb
Executive Director of Lutherans For Life
Chancing the scorn of grammarians, we at Lutherans For Life always capitalize
the preposition "For" in our name. It is a simple way of emphasizing our
focus -- we are For life! This is much more than choosing sides in the
pro-life/pro-choice political debate. We are For life because God is For
life. We know that God is For life because the holy Scriptures clearly indicate
that He is. Being For life, then, is not a political choice. It is a Biblical
The Bible tells us that God is For life for two simple, but profound reasons. He created life. He redeemed life. God's love for life is not based on some list of "quality of life" standards. It follows, therefore, that God is For life at all stages of development and in all conditions. Scripture concurs.
In a world that is increasingly viewing the elderly as a "socio-economic burden," God is For the lives of the elderly even when they cannot make it on their own. "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you" (Isaiah 46:4).
In a world that thinks it is compassionate to end suffering by killing the sufferer, God is For the lives of those suffering because of illness, disabilities, or other infirmities, and has promised to work through suffering according to His purpose. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
In a world of mistakes and bad choices, God is For the lives of those struggling with the guilt of an unplanned pregnancy or the despair of an abortion. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears . . . there is hope for your future, declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 31:16 & 17).
In a world where abortion is labeled "a right," "a choice," and even "self-defense," God is For the lives of the pre-born. "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13).
In a world of death, if God is For life, then we are compelled to be For life. "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11)."You are the salt of the earth . . . You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13 & 14). "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute" (Proverbs 31:8). "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me" (Matthew 25:40).
In a world of darkness, the Church, and only the Church, has what it takes to make a difference. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
For the Christian, being For life is not an option -- a choice in some political debate. It is a Biblical imperative. It is part of God's mission for His Church and provides opportunities to share the saving and healing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lutherans For Life
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (Jesus)
Lutherans for Life has any number of "For Life" resources available to the congregation including materials for Life Sunday, January 24, 1999. You can contact Lutherans for Life at:
1229 South G Avenue
Bldg. B Suite 100
Nevada, IA 50201-2778
Call toll free - (888) 364-LIFE
Web Site - http://www.lutheransforlife.org
Lutherans For Life welcomes the prayer and financial support of individuals, organizations and congregations.
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Reformation Sunday 1998
by Rev. Ralph Spears
Four Hundred Eighty One (481) is not a nice round number like 500 or even 450 that would make one sit up and take extra notice. But the Four Hundred Eighty First Anniversary of Reformation Day is a land mark year in the affairs of Faith . For never have the principles of the steadfastness of our faith seemed more important, never have the words from Our Lord and the Saints sounded more crisp with warning.
Nor would I ever consider myself an alarmist, but as never before it is a time to stay with the teachings from the Sacred writings for "salvation through Faith" as Paul cautioned Timothy.
Why? Because of the treacherous times that would steal from believers, their faith, in such a smooth and subtle way even under the guise of being ecumenical or forward thinking.
Faith , as Scripture defines it from Abraham to Jesus and Paul, IS under attack as never before and this assault comes from those within the church just as much as those without. The only difference is that those from within - in league with the devil - so to speak - pose more danger than the other. The reason is that those whose job it is to guard the gates, are unwittingly conspiring to steal away the sheep from the Faith!
"Sound Doctrine" is easily sacrificed for present convenience as though all 'yesterdays' mean nothing in the face of a peaceful 'tomorrow.' But such peace never comes without it's basis in the Word which is defined in time as "the same yesterday, today and tomorrow".
The timeless words of Jesus prove this in His urgent prayer like umbrella of protection "Sanctify them (which at this point includes us) in The Truth -- Thy Word is Truth!" This comes, this prayer after the important reminder that "We are in the world but not of the world" the truth of which many others since Jesus have reminded us.
We are of the WORD not of the world! We are guided by IT, protected by IT nurtured by IT instructed by IT and by IT comforted! Which reminds me of a friend working with former drug addicts who often cajoled them with words borrowed from Paul "You know in Whom you believe, now act like it!"
Peter's very soul could have been "sifted like wheat" by the evil one but he had the protection of this prayer of Jesus . (Luke 22:31+32) Later Peter's image of "a roaring lion seeking someone to devour" (not at all subtle) is countered by a "resist(ance)... firm in your faith" beneath "the mighty hand of God!" (1 Pet. 5:6)
And finally the imagery of John the Apostle, who knew the pull of the world that needed to be overcome. "Our faith" he said simply in 1 Jn.5 "overcomes the world" as we are born "of God" through baptism.
The dangers are very real, as much as or more than any time in history , but the solution of 'Faith ALONE in Christ' is "our refuge and strength ... in trouble" which we mark in this land mark year - the four hundred eighty-first of the Reformation.
Lord keep us steadfast in Thy Word.
Curb those who fain by craft or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He has done.
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