Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Guess Who Said It

Name the person who said this:

However, even believing theologians of the modern type are frequently too timid to use technical terms that are fully warranted by Biblical and ecclesiastical usage, because they are afraid that these terms might prove offensive to their audience. They are averse to speaking of hereditary sin in their sermons or of the wrath of God against sinners, of the blindness of natural man, of spiritual death, in which all men are merged by nature. They do not like to speak of the devil going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, because that would make them unpopular with their hearers. They are disinclined to speak of the everlasting fire of hell, of eternal torment and damnation; they prefer to speak of these matters to their hearers in terms that do not seem so strange, faulty, and offensive to them, employing phrases that are more in harmony with “the religious sentiment of an enlightened people.”

Now, there is no doubt that these men wish to convert people by using such false terms. They believe that they can convert men by concealing things from them or by presenting matters in a manner that is pleasing to men as they are by nature. They are like sorry physicians who do not like to prescribe a bitter medicine to delicate patients, or if they do prescribe it, they add so much sugar to it that the patient does not taste the bitter medicine, with the result that the effect is spoiled. Accordingly, preachers who do not clearly and plainly proclaim the Gospel, which is offensive to the world, are not faithful in the discharge of their ministry and inflict great injury on men’s souls. Instead of advancing Christians in the knowledge of the pure doctrine, they allow them to grope in the dark, nurse false imaginations in them, and speed them on in their false and dangerous path.
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While it may sound like a contemporary comment describing the current state of affairs, this is a quote from Dr. C.F.W. Walther in a lecture to his seminary students in 1885. Found in The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel (St. Louis: CPH, 1986) 275-276.

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