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MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS

A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

6421 W. Poinsettia Drive

Glendale, Arizona 85304-2419

 

 

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

 

JUSTIFYING FAITH

In this Gospel we have a miracle that is so remarkable that it made the divinity of Christ apparent to everyone. People have always claimed to have the power to heal others. We often hear the claim today. Some fakes use animal parts and pretend to pull them out of their patients through “psychic surgery.” Pentecostal healers carefully select those whose ailments can improve temporarily with a shift in mood. Arthritis and hearing problems are quite variable, so an instant cure seems impressive. One fake name Popof was exposed for using a radio setup with his wife. She sent him messages in his earphone about personal information on the cards of members in the audience. So Rev. Popof could miraculously tell someone that her sister was ill, or that she had a son named Bob. Once he proved his powers, thanks to radio, Popof could fool them about anything. As I said, Popof was exposed a few years ago, disgraced, and now he is back again on television. Televangelists are an inspiration to any politician in trouble.

 

But with this miracle the claim is very clear. The people knew they were out of wine. The servants knew they were dealing with water. They filled the water pots with water. If they had poured in wine by mistake or through cunning, the aroma would have given them away. The texture of wine is also quite different. I doubt whether the whitest wine could pass for water, especially in a culture where wine was a daily staple.

 

But, at the Word of Jesus, the water became wine. No one asked for a miracle or looked for a miracle, except Mary. Mary knew her Son had the ability to solve the problem. Most mothers think so, but in this text we can see that she is asking for something beyond His immediate desire to fulfill. His response is at least a mild rebuke.

 

Here the translators often think they are wiser than the Holy Spirit. They do not like Jesus calling His mother woman, so they add words, such as “Dear woman.”

 

NIV John 2:4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come.

 

Twice when Jesus addressed His mother directly in the Gospel of John, He called her woman instead of “mother.” This shows us that He was her Lord and not just a son. It also shows how the Church of Rome has distorted the relationship between Mary and the Son of God. One papal announcement in my database even claims that Mary offered up her Son at the crucifixion, in a priestly fashion, making her a Co-Redeemer. The term Co-Redemptrix

 

[Pope Pius XI used the title Co-Redemptrix in the encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor, 1928. As Pius X put it, Mary merits for us de congruo what Christ merited for us de condigno.  Ad Diem said that Mary is the "aquaduct" as Bernard taught, "or even the neck by which the Body is joined to the Head, and by which the Head communicates force and power to the Body." [p. 96]

Paul F. Palmer, S.J., Mary in the Documents of the Church, Gerald G. Walsh, S.J., Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press  1952,   p. 97. 

 

"The authors of the Marian chapter purposely avoid the use of the term 'co-redemptrix,' for while it admits of a correct interpretation, it is also susceptible of grave misunderstanding.  They also tread lightly on such controversial ground as the famous promise of the proto-gospel (Genesis 3:15) that Adam's seed shall bruise the serpent's head, because of an erroneous translation in the Vulgate ("she shall bruise your head," instead of it--that is, the seed, referring either to man in general or to the Messiah.)  The Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 1854 defining the Immaculate Conception had still taken this as a proof passage referring to Mary's own victory over the serpent."

 

 

 

Titus Cranny, S.A., Is Mary Relevant, A Commentary on Chapter 9 of  Lumen Gentium, The Constitution on the Church from Vatican II,  New York:  Exposition Press 1970, p. 35.   

 

The proper role of Mary is seen in the Scriptures as the mother of Jesus who raised Him in faith. She was a mortal woman, a sinner who died in the same way all must die. She did not fully understand her Son, as shown in the incident in the Temple, but she believed in Him and had a major role in the apostolic church. She is named early in Acts and then never again. (We should marvel that the apostles did not make a cult out of Mary then, for she was there at the beginning and had many years of memories of Him. So we see that the apostles resisted the urge to concentrate on Mary. Instead they preached the Gospel of Christ.)

 

This miracle raises the issue of justifying faith.

 

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

 

When we speak about faith, the word faith can have many meanings.

 

  1. For instance, everyone has faith or trust in something. The atheist Carl Sagen did not believe in God, but he believed in extra-terrestrials. He needed to. Anyone who insists on evolution must have life on other planets, to show that life can generate itself spontaneously and without God.
  2. The epistle of James speaks about dead faith. Lutherans should not be afraid of this letter or fail to study it. The Gospel always brings the fruit of the Spirit. If the fruit is lacking, then it points to a lack of faith. We see that in many church leaders who can speak the right words but keep themselves in power through lies, slander, and protecting false teachers. It is good to remember their faith and avoid falling into the same trap. As James says quite vividly, “The demons believe and their hides bristle.” That is not justifying faith. It is an awareness of the power of the Word: hating and fearing it.
  3. Faith in miracles. Martin Chemnitz writes about this in his Loci, and it should make us think. Many hundreds if not thousands saw the miracles of Jesus. Certainly this happened at the wedding feast, at the grave of Lazarus, and in many other instances. They believed it was a miracle but they did not necessarily follow Jesus or believe in Him as their Savior.
  4. Historical faith. Many scholars and people on the perimeter of Christianity have faith in the basic facts about the Bible. They even believe in the historical truth of the Bible. But it never goes farther than that. Luther said in many ways that it does no good to say that Christ died for the sins of the world if we fail to say, “and for me.” Unless we say, Christ died for my sins, we only have historical faith.
  5. Kohlerglaube. A collier’s faith is based upon an incident where a coal handler was asked he believed. “I believe what the church believes.” And what does the church believe? “The church believes what I believe.” In other words, it is just an attachment to the institution, without knowing much or believing. Although this can bring a whole family or ethnic group to church, it is easy for someone to hear the Word and reject it by saying, “This is the right place. All my friends and relatives are here.”

 

I am not listing all these variations to become a new scholastic but to show how many ways faith can be something other than justifying faith.

 

Chemnitz and the authors of the Book of Concord were anxious to show the Church of Rome the proper understanding of faith.

 

"But when we are speaking of the subject itself, it is certain that the doctrine of gracious reconciliation, of the remission of sins, of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life through faith for the sake of the Mediator is one and the same in the Old and in the New Testament. This is a useful rule which we must retain at all costs: The doctrine, wherever we read it, in either the Old or New Testament, which deals with the gracious reconciliation and the remission of sins through faith for the sake of God's mercy in Christ, is the Gospel."

          Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 459.  

 

This is beautifully expressed by Melanchthon, the primary author of the Augsburg Confession:

 

"Thus when we say that we are justified by faith, we are saying nothing else than that for the sake of the Son of God we receive remission of sins and are accounted as righteous. And because it is necessary that this benefit be taken hold of, this is said to be done 'by faith,' that is, by trust in the mercy promised us for the sake of Christ. Thus we must also understand the correlative expression, 'We are righteous by faith,' that is, through the mercy of God for the sake of His Son we are righteous or accepted."

Melanchthon, Loci Communes, “The Word Faith.” Cited in Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, II, p. p. 489.

 

I doubt whether the authors of the Book of Concord ever imagined that any Lutheran would speak of righteousness apart from faith, apart from the Word, apart from the Means of Grace. But sadly, that is common now and blabbered about as if it were true.

 

ELS
 You asked if our seminary currently teaches or has ever taught "Kokomo
 Justification."  I am assuming you are referring to the four stataments [sic] which were at
 issue  in the case involving the congregation in Kokomo IN.  Although at our
 Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary and in our ELS, we correctly and
 unabashedly teach and confess objective justification, we do not per se
 teach the Kokomo statements as they are worded. We teach that God
 justified  (that is, "declared forgiven") the entire world as a result of the
 substitutionary life, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
 This means that, even before or apart from faith, the declaration of
 forgiveness (the judicial pronouncement of "holy and righteous") was
 conferred by God upon all sinners, because of the all-surpassing work of
 Christ at the cross.  However, only by faith do people benefit from this
 declaration, so as to obtain everlasting life.  The term "saint" is
 reserved for a person who trusts personally in the very forgiveness that
 was declared objectively for the world. In this way (that is, by faith)
 we  speak of one being justified subjectively. We do not, however, speak of
 people in hell as being "saints."  Saints are believers, and believers
 only.
 
One of the documents has this remark included:
 At the cross God's declaration of forgiveness was for the whole
 world (I John 2:2).  It is this objective fact which is held out for the
 world.  Our faith or non-faith does not change this objective fact.
 However, only those benefit from this forgiveness of sins who in faith
 take  hold of the merits of Christ;  all others are lost eternally, perishing
 in  hell, despite God's blood at Calvary once having been shed for their
iniquities as well.  [The expression "saints in hell" is one that should
not be used.  "Saints" always designates "believers in Christ's vicarious
satisfaction."
John Moldstad,
 Jr.
 

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