Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article VII

Article VII: Of the Church.

Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4, 5. 6.

Truth, Feelings and Oprah

The truth of today’s spirituality is sometimes hard to take.  It looks into the feelings of the individual to validate Truth. So to a congregation of  22  million viewers,  Oprah,  provides a vehicle of truth that can be as diverse and wide-spread as her viewing audience.

It’s not new.  This somewhat spirituality  -  grounded in not much more than the seat one sits in to watch  – is buffet religion.  You take what you like and leave what you don’t.  If you really like something you go back for more ! Religious relativism has caused members to leave churches in droves.  When I was a young adult I too thought why do I need to go to church ? I’m a pretty good person.  Can’t I just take a walk and talk with God ? God and me…that’s the ticket !

Oprah does on a large scale what youth sports have done at the local level.  It becomes fellowship.  Mom,  dad or both,  on Sunday morning watching their child compete with other members of the congregation of holy sport.  They drink coffee as they meet in the outside sanctuary and root their children on.  They discuss their thoughts and concerns of what is going on in their life and mutually absolve each other before picking up their children and going home to watch the game.  It leaves Christ on the outside.

Oprah does what has been done before.  Pick and choose what you like from many religious sources and mix it into a truth you create.  If it is Christian,  pick the verses that speak to you and find comfort in this truth YOU create.  As a democratic society,  we want our vote to count and God wants that too…or so we are told this is why we have a  “ free will ” to choose.  Oprah,  on a large scale,  gives us the permission to seek our own way and to find God on our terms. She too is still looking and each week we can come with her to the service of self-indulgence.  Being comfortable in our sin is where we are and where Oprah is,  but it’s not just Oprah.  We all fall short at being connected to Christ daily.  Life drags us away from the source of truth and the true meaning of a happy life.

As a church we need at work harder at teaching our members what we believe and why we believe it .  We need to be able to show why the Confessions of the Lutheran Church in the Book of Concord are important and what errors the reformers were fighting. We need our members to see that Lutheran teaching is simply biblical teaching in all its fullness. We need to reach our members, those members that have fallen away, and those that need to hear the truth of the gospel - because if we don't - Oprah and her religious smorgasbord will. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article VI

Article VI: Of New Obedience.

Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God's will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17, 10. The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.