Third Sunday in Advent
"The second charge raised by Calvinists and Synergists against the Formula of Concord is its failure to harmonize 'logically' what they term 'contradictory doctrines': sola gratia and universalis gratia,--a stricture which must be characterized as flowing from rationalistic premises, mistaking a divine mystery for a real contradiction, and in reality directed against the clear Word of God itself."
F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 065 p. 205.
"Thus the Lutheran Church not only admits, but zealously guards, the mystery contained in the doctrine of grace and election. It distinguishes between God in as far as He is know and not known; in as far as He has revealed Himself, and in as far as He is still hidden to us, but as we shall learn to know Him hereafter. The truths which may be known concerning God are contained in the Gospel, revealed in the Bible. The things still hidden from us include the unsearchable judgments of God, His wonderful ways with men, and, in particular, the question why some are saved while others are lost. God has not seen fit to reveal these mysteries."
F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, p. 206.
"For Scripture never calls either Baptism or the Lord's Supper mysteries or sacraments. Therefore this is an unwritten (agraphos) appellation."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II, p. 29.
"The sins which militate against the Third Commandment are the profanation of the Sabbath through neglect and contempt of the ministry, through Judaic and superstitious observance of the Sabbath, or through a shifting of the ministry into the kingdom of this world. The faithfulness of those who teach is the virtue by which the ministers of the Church, aware of their modest skill in Christian doctrine, carefully and zealousy discharge and steadfastly protect all the duties of the faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God in teaching, debating, comforting and setting their hearers an example of true devotion and of all the virtues. The other extreme are faithlessness, heedless teaching or negligence in office, or deserting the ministry because of excessive anxiety or concern over one's own weakness."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 71f.
"So when we see a bishop assuming more than this text gives him warrant for, we may safely regard him as a wolf, and an apostle of the devil, and avoid him as such. Unquestionably he must be Antichrist who in ecclesiastical government exceeds the authority here prescribed."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 65 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
"All Christians serve God but all are not in office."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 65. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.
"To make himself clearly understood in this matter of service, or ministry, Paul carefully adds to the word 'ministers' the explanatory one 'stewards,' which can be understood in no other way than as referring to the office of the ministry."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 66.
"Thus we arrive at the apostle's meaning in the assertion that a minister of Christ is a steward in the mysteries of God. He should regard himself and insist that others regard him as one who administers to the household of God nothing but Christ and the things of Christ. In other words, he should preach the pure Gospel, the true faith, that Christ alone is our life, our way, our wisdom, power, glory, salvation; and that all we can accomplish of ourselves is but death, error, foolishness, weakness, shame and condemnation. Whosoever preaches otherwise should be regarded by none as a servant of Christ or a steward of the divine treasurer; he should be avoided as a messenger of the devil."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 73. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5,
"Christ, in the saying we have quoted from Matthew (24:45), tells us further, the servant of the household should be not only faithful, but also wise, able to discern between the mysteries of God and the mysteries of the devil, that he may safely guard and keep himself and those committed to his care. For, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, false apostles sometimes fashion themselves into true apostles of Christ, even as the devil transforms himself into an angel of light."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 77.
"Hollazius (992) thus sums up the doctrine: 'The Word of God is the most efficacious means of salvation, for its power and efficacy are not only objective, but also effective; not consisting in moral suasion, but in supernatural operation, not external and coming to it when used by men, but intrinsic in the Word; not accidental, but necessary, by a divinely ordained necessity, and therefore not separable, but perpetual, inherent in the Word itself extra usum, as the first act. This efficacy is truly divine, producing the same effect as the Holy Spirit, who is perpetually united with the Word, which (effect) the Spirit influences together with the Word, by the divine power which belongs to the Holy Spirit originally and independently, but to the divine Word communicatively and dependently, on account of its mysterious, intimate, and individual union with the Spirit.'"
Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1899, p. 507.