Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reformation continued

+ Reformation Sunday +
25 October 2009
At the time of the Reformation, traditionally dated 31 October 1517, when Martin Luther
nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg Germany, the following
issues were of critical importance: grace, faith, scripture and Christ. These have become
known as the great Reformation slogans: grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone and Christ
alone, also the trademarks of our own Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. While recognizing
in one sense the timeless truth of these time-honored slogans, I think that there are other
pressing problems facing the church in our day that equally call for Reformation. God’s
Word for us points out the path for hope, healing and Reformation for the family, for the
faith and for freedom.

1. Reformation for the FAMILY Revelation 14:6-7
a. The eternal gospel is for every nation an tribe and language and people
b. Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come

2. Reformation for the FAITH Romans 3:19-28.
a. We are justified by grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
b. The Gospel preserved by the canon of catholicity: Vincent of Lerins (+ 434)
“I have continually given the greatest pains and diligence to inquiring, from the greatest possible
number of men outstanding in holiness and in doctrine, how I can secure a kind of fixed and, as it were,
general and guiding principle for distinguishing the true Catholic Faith from the degraded falsehoods of
heresy. And the answer that I receive is always to this effect; that if I wish, or indeed if anyone wishes, to
detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a
healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord's help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly, that is, by the
authority of God's Law, then by the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Here, it may be, someone will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and is in itself
abundantly sufficient, what need is there to join to it the interpretation of the Church? The answer is that
because of the very depth of Scripture all men do not place one identical interpretation upon it. The
statements of the same writer are explained by different men in different ways, so much so that it seems
almost possible to extract from it as many opinions as there are men. … Therefore, because of the
intricacies of error, which is so multiform, there is great need for the laying down of a rule for the
exposition of Prophets and Apostles in accordance with the standard of the interpretation of the Church
Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed
everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force
and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if
we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we
acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity
if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers
proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly
nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.”

3. Reformation for FREEDOM John 8:31-36
a. Freedom means I don’t have to do what I want to do
b. Freedom comes in relationship with the Word and the Truth in Christ Jesus

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