George Whitefield on the Parable of the Bridesmaids

I have to be honest.  For the next three weeks the lectionary will be looking at parables of Jesus that I really dislike.  There I said it!  At first blush in the parables of the bridesmaids, the talents, and the sheep and goats Jesus seems to contradict everything he says (and does) throughout his ministry.  Throughout his life, death, and resurrection Jesus approaches sinners with one-way love irregardless of what they’ve done.  In these final parables though it seems that in the end it is all up to what we do anyway whether its keeping our lamps full of oil, using our talents (not talent like an ability) well, or giving a drink to the thirsty. Continue reading

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Walther on the Distinction between Law and Gospel

“There are certain substances that are, by themselves, salutary; but when they are mixed they are turned into poison.  That is what happens when Law and Gospel are mingled…  there arises a third substance, when Law and Gospel are confounded in a sermon.  The new substance is entirely foreign to either original substance and causes both of them to lose their virtue…  It is therefore a matter of utmost necessity that these two kinds of God’s Word be well and properly distinguished.  Where this is not done, neither the Law nor the Gospel can be understood, and the consciences of men must perish with blindness and error.”

C.F.W. Walther “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel

PS: on a sidebar, Walther is obviously the best looking theologian in the history of Lutheranism…

Paul Zahl’s “One-Way Love”

“One-way love is… irrational because it reaches out to the specifically undeserving person.  This is the beating heart of it.  Grace is directed toward what Scripture calls the ‘ungodly’ (Rom. 5:6).  Not just the lonely, not just the sick and disconsolate, but the ‘perpetrators,’ the murders and abusers, the people who cross the line.  God has a heart–his one-way love–for sinners.  This is the problem with Christianity.  This piece of logical and ethical incongruity and inappropriateness is the problem with Christianity…  It is also the New Testament account of grace: God’s one-way love is a love that acts independent of all response to it yet at the same time elicits a response…  When grace comes in, when it rewrites the script, when its light shines in the basement of the house that is ourselves, unbuilt to God, grace demolishes and creates.  It does what it promises.”

Man, I miss having this guy as my professor…

Paul Zahl “Grace in Practice

What Made Luther a Theologian

“As soon as the Word of God permeates you, the devil will seek to afflict you so as to make you a real doctor and will teach you by his temptations to seek the Word of God and to love it.  For I myself (since I, mouse droppings, mix myself in the pepper) have many of my papists to hank, that they have so smitten me, oppressed me, and alarmed me through the blustering of the devil that they have produced a rather good theologian, which I otherwise would never have become.  And what, by contrast, they have won because of me, I am most happy to let them have: the honor, the victory, and the triumph, for that is what they wanted.”

Martin Luther WA 50:660.1-16 quoted is Oswald Bayer’s “Martin Luther’s Theology: a Contemporary Interpretation.”