Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Golden Thread

Quoting from Rev. Rolf Preus's paper "Luther Revisited: The Doctrine of Justification Is Still the Issue":
The doctrine of church fellowship is not a matter of submitting to rules determined by the democratic processes of the synod to which we belong. It is a matter of confessing the pure gospel by which we sinners are saved from hell. The unionistic spirit is utterly incompatible with the Christian gospel. It holds the righteousness of Christ in contempt. We condemn religious unionism because we love the gospel of justification by faith alone. Why do Lutheran pastors promote participation in the Promise Keepers or similar organizations? Because they don't have enough rules on how to apply the doctrine of church fellowship? Of course not. They do it because they don't value the righteousness of Christ. If they did, they would teach their members to mark and avoid such gatherings.

Find a preacher who preaches Christ, His person, His work, His atonement, His righteousness reckoned to us, the forgiveness of sins, all within the context of preaching the law without any compromise, and you'll find someone opposed to religious unionism. The same faith which receives the righteousness of Jesus with which God clothes us is the faith which rejects the unionistic spirit of doctrinal indifference. The reason a Lutheran marks and avoids false doctrine and refuses to worship with those who don't is not because he has been sufficiently indoctrinated in his church's rules. Rather, it's a simple matter of love and hate. If you hate something, you don't express fellowship with it. If you love the pure teaching by which God has saved you, you hate the false teaching which can damn you.

And it is just this love for the gospel of justification that will find in every other article of Christian teaching the same golden thread of the righteousness of the God-man which covers us and renders us fit to enter into eternal life. Nothing is worth teaching, preaching, defending, or confessing, except for the sake of this truth which glorifies God as it reveals his mercy to poor, lost, undeserving sinners like you and me and thus saves us eternally.

1 comment:

Martin Diers said...

Once upon a time, Rolf admonished the LCMS for their false doctrine, and then left the fellowship that he loved. He could not return without recanting his admonition. He would not recant, for which I commend him. Yet, instead, he has joined the Lutheran Church Canada to enter the LCMS by the back door. In this way he can both not recant, and also join in fellowship with those whom he formerly admonished, whose false doctrine remains (in spite of a welcome change in the presidency). I can understand the various reasons that one might, for a time, remain in a heterodox body. I cannot understand entering a heterodox body that has yet to repent.

Thank you for posting this, Scott. I admire Rolf greatly, and consider him to be a friend. I can only hope that some day he remembers his own words.