Friday, April 18, 2008

So much to think about these days...


From the internal collapsing of trust within my political-church affiliation, (for example), to the arch-enemy of pure doctrine's excellent confession regarding the apostasy of America (for coverage), to the tasks at hand here in Philadelphia, from contemplating our own radio outreach, to the up and coming "Philadelphia Lutheran Underground" (shhh!) to the simple daily tasks of seelsorger to my people - there's a lot on my table and a lot on my mind.

All the more reason then to hit the books in prep for preaching this week. And this week, the book I hit is by this kinda famous guy named Martin "Reginald Aquinarious L-Diddy" Luther:

If God were to span the way to heaven with a bridge that I could see and feel from the beginning to end, with its entrance and exit, why would I need faith or this sermon? (Commentary on John 14, AE p. 50)

Indeed.

American Christianity more or less traces its roots to those rapscallions of Luther's day known as the "schismatics and enthusiasts." As if drugged to senselessness by the possibility of escaping from under the yoke of yon papacy, these wise-fools decided to escape from the Church altogether, as if Scripture had nothing to say about the Office of the priest, the preaching of the Word by the "Sent Ones" or the gathering of the fellowship for the meal.

Eager to gain a following, and no doubt sincere as the Dali Llama, these men ran hither and thither encouraging any ear that would listen to follow them off into the gloriousness of "real Christianity."

Today, we still see it in every revival, concert, crusade, preaching tour, convention, mega-church or trend that comes along.

Thus, these workers, and anyone else who imagines or invents ideas regarding God or His counsel which ignore Christ's Word, stray about in blindness and in a lying delusion. They seek and strive incessantly to apprehend God and how to do something to please Him, but they never make it. They flit and flutter interminably, skipping from one thing to another; but they are ever unable to fill their hearts with confidence and assurance. They experience what Christ said, "Many will come in my name and say, 'Lo, here is Christ,' or 'There He is.' "

For whenever the names of God and Christ are mentioned, everybody flocks together, immediately supposing that this is a godly thing; but, as a matter of fact, they are carried to the devil with it. For it must happen that the world is duped and deceived with the name of God. For the devil cannot peddle his lies unless he adorns them with that beloved name. He finds it necessary to embellish them with that beautiful semblance, and he smears these holy names over them: "God's Word," "the worship of God" and "a godly life." Therefore, we must heed the warning, lest we be deceived.

To what warning does dear L-Diddy refer? That beautiful Gospel Word, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

But wait, say you, do not all "Christians believe this." Yes...so they might think. But do not forget how the schismatic spirits have confronted even you, (as if hotboxing you like a wiseguy after percentage) telling you that "you can only go to heaven if you accept Jesus." Let the reader understand, for them, believing in Jesus is a one time event, in which you are eternally saved. Yet, as quickly as they plant this seed of faith by their aggressions and manipulations, the wild spirits will on to you about all that you must do now. With great urgency, you will be run through the gambit of "finding" and "pleasing" God. Every Sunday, the band will strike up the tune to that you can ascend in search of the Father beyond (or even of Jesus himself,) as if that moment in the past was not enough. Jesus was the way. Now...it's time for "real Christianity."

All schismatic spirits (under the guise and name of Christ) come clad in sheep's clothing. They use the same words and manner, and mien, as though they were the true teachers of this way. They exalt nothing but "Christ's glory," and "faith in Christ."

But where is this Christ? Where is the way he set forth? Surely, no crucifix will hang among them, for that is not their Christ. He is past. They are saved after all. Now, the real Christ must be their aim: the teacher, the law-giver, the one who demands your all... or else.

How far from that Word is this "faith." "I am the Way." "I am ALL the way." You do not come to God but through me, through the Way I am: Listen! Through the cross.

How can you tell real Christianity from "real Christianity." The answer is simple, the application is never-ending. "Real Christianity" comes storming "in the name of Jesus" to save you. Once this is done, then you must seek out God. You must find his will. You must sing to receive his mercy. You...you...you. But real Christianity is ever so different. Real Christianity comes talking about Jesus, and then, it keeps talking about Jesus. You see, after all...he is the Way. And you're not dead yet, which means, you can still betray him. You can still be Judas.

So he tells you, for full confidence, "I am the Way. Keep your eyes, your heart, your mind, focused on me. Do not look to yourself for God. Do not look to the sky. You don't need to search for his will for your life. I am His will for your life. I am the Way. The only Way. Salvation is not your work to move through me to something more. Salvation is me. Do not start your faith in me only to move on to some deeper thing. For I am all there is.

"And when the day of trial comes, when the day of death draws near, when persecution, pain and doubt attack you - as Satan will without question engineer - then remember, I am the Way. Look at me. Trust in me. I have done it. I am doing it. See, I have told you it all. You have seen the Father, so long as you keep looking at me."

If God were to span the way to heaven with a bridge that I could see and feel from the beginning to end, with its entrance and exit, why would I need faith or this sermon?

This is why "going to Church" is so important. And it is this schismatic teaching that has led so many to not go to Church. For so many think they have Jesus already. They no longer need him. So they retreat into their private imaginations to play with the God in their heads. They no longer need to see Jesus.

Is it any wonder so few will come? Is it any surprise that such theology has created the landscape in which we find ourselves? What ever shall we do to fix it? How ever shall we amend this generational transgression?

Again, there stands the Gospel (even as again their lies deception.) "I am the Way." Stop looking at yourselves. Look at me. Though the entire world appear to be against you, it is not true - though you die! - I am the Way. Even your last breath at the hands of sinners will see you leap forth into a life beyond your wildest dreams. I have risen, and I am the Way to that resurrection. So beware! For there are many who, being wise in their own eyes, have overrun the world of Christendom with the mission to teach otherwise.

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