Tuesday, November 4, 2014

9.5 Theses

As is well known, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door.  Five years ago, in the spirit of the Reformation, I wrote and shared with my congregation the following "9.5 Theses" for today.  The last of them is truly only half given.  You, the reader, must confess the remaining half, given underneath in italics.

1. "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2) is a timeless message of God's love and forgiveness (John 3:16).

2. The key to worship is, in the first place, God coming to us as the One who is holy, "righteous and having salvation" (Zech. 9:9).  So in the second place, we come before Him sinful, repentant, and believing (Luke 5:8, Mark 1:15).

3. The Sacrament of the Altar is the holiest thing in the church, akin to, and the very fulfillment of, the Old Testament holy of holies.  It should be handled therefore with the most reverence (fear and love).

4. Pastors are servants and "stewards of God's mysteries" (1 Cor. 4:1).  As such, they are to model the highest regard for the things of God and His church, and should show restraint in introducing new forms.

5. As God communicates with us verbally (Word) and visually (Sacrament), so too we communicate with each other and the world using words and works of mercy.

6. Foremost today must be the church's witness to the sanctity of marriage, family, and human life (Matt. 19:4-6, Prov. 31:8-9).

7. The church is fundamentally at odds with the world (John 15:18-19) and must never try to please it, but be its salt, light (Matt. 5:13-14), and sugar.

8. The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod has a heritage of fidelity to the Word of God and a good Christian confession.  Now is the time to recommit to that heritage, not call it into question.

9. The congregation of Gloria Dei has a special role to play as part of Christ's church and the Missouri Synod.

9.5. We live in "times of difficulty" (2 Tim. 3:1-2), proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:26).  Our hope, courage, faith, love, peace, and joy all come down to this...

Christ is risen!