Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Saints in Christ,
We will celebrate this month the October 31st, 1517 posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Reformation Sunday,this year, is actually on October 31st. Our motto is “Sola Scriptura – Sola Gratia – Sola Fides”(Scripture Alone – Grace Alone -Faith Alone) as professed in our confessional writings- “The Book of Concord.”
Here are some words about the importance of preaching the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ:
THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION IN THE BOOK OF CONCORD (YEAR 1530 A.D.)
“III. [The Son of God]
1Our churches also teach that the Word — that is, the Son of God — took on man’s nature in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary. 2So there are two natures, divine and human, inseparably conjoined in the unity of his person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, 3that he might reconcile the Father to us and be a sacrifice not only for original guilt but also for all actual sins of men. 4He also descended into hell, and on the third day truly rose again. Afterward he ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father, forever reign and have dominion over all creatures, and sanctify those who believe in him by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts 5to rule, comfort, and quicken them and defend them against the devil and the power of sin. 6The same Christ will openly come again to judge the living and the dead, etc., according to the Apostles’ Creed.
1Our churches also teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works but are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith 2when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven on account of Christ, who by his death made satisfaction for our sins. 3This faith God imputes for righteousness in his sight (Rom. 3-4).
- [The Ministry of the Church]
1In order that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments was instituted. 2For through the Word and the sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given, and the Holy Spirit produces faith, where and when it pleases God, in those who hear the Gospel. 3That is to say, it is not on account of our own merits but on account of Christ that God justifies those who believe that they are received into favor for Christ’s sake. Gal. 3:14, “That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
4Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Spirit comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.”
We can never turn away from our responsibilities to be true to Scripture, the Book of Concord, the preaching of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments. The world does not realize it, but it needs what we have to offer. The Divine Service, liturgy, creeds, psalms, hymns and the proclaiming of the law and the gospel can truly meet peoples’ need for forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. We are not here to merely meet people’s “felt needs.” We are here to meet their “real needs” which are repentance, faith and a new life in Christ!
So let us continue to proclaim boldly to our world the glorious good news. We are justified and declared righteous before God the Father by grace alone through faith alone. In the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, we have forgiveness, life and salvation!
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar Mark Gaschler
Since I’m teaching catechesis, I’ve been reading through the Small Catechism. And one of the great joys of the catechism is that Luther does not write it as a systematician. That is to say, he doesn’t write it in such a way that he covers every possibility or every aspect of each part.
In his explanation of the first commandment, he doesn’t spend time telling us about the three omnis or the nature of the Trinity or what it means for God to have a προσωπον or anything else that might go over a student’s head. He’s more concerned with what the commandment means for the Christian, here and now. “You shall have no other gods” does not drive Luther to write a thousand words on mystical matters. He answers it simply: “What does this mean? You shall fear and love and trust in God above all things.”
The really important thing, what Luther wants you to focus on, is what it means to have a god. It’s not about whether or not an idol matches certain criteria, it doesn’t matter if it’s the object of religious worship: it matters whether or not you love and fear it above everything else. A more formal theologian might have tried to make a more formal definition, but Luther is more concerned with teaching. And it makes his catechism so much more pleasurable to read and think on and digest.