Κηρυξον τον λογον

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4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (II Timothy 4:1-5)

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Sprit.  Amen.

Sports Fans – this is not a “sermon” per se, but is certainly in keeping with the task to which I was ordained and the title of this post:

Κηρυξον τον λογον

I must offer this caveat at the very beginning.  To the consternation of many – especially within my own confession, this essay is predicated upon the clear Confessional understanding that Holy Ordination is in itself a Sacrament of the Lord and the Church – summed up in the three words of our title from Paul, and that which Christ commands to effect the very promises of Christ to his Bride.  Holy Ordination has all of the  requirements of a Sacrament:

God’s command, earthly means in the person of the one ordained,

and the full and the complete deliverance of the Gospel.

To those who differ, falsely claiming that is “Catholic,” or “Orthodox” – I counter that it is in perfect keeping with the will of the Lord to preserve both His bride, the Church, and His Holy Ministry.  To say otherwise is to be at odds with Holy Scripture and our own Confessions of the Scripture – a position in which I will not place myself.  You need to argue with the One making that command.  Christ.

To the Catholics still calling Luther a heretic who changed the doctrines of the One Holy Church – that is absurd.  He took the Church back from the abuses of the papacy in that day and age, and demonstrated what the Church had taught from the beginning.  That even the papacy is reconsidering Trent and Lutherans ought to be a clue.  Rather than speak from a lack of knowledge, purchase a copy of the Book of Concord, read it, and then consider your “opinions.”

There are many voices “out there” decrying the decline of the Church in both substance, and praxis.  Within my own Confession – that of Confessional Lutherans – we have long wrestled with the entire issue of Church and Ministry – not yet (if ever) to a satisfactory conclusion, unfortunately.  I do credit the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, for keeping this issue on the front burner – since doing so is in complete agreement with Paul’ words above – especially in his three-word summation –

Κηρυξον τον λογον.

Our “official” founding document” – which in our Confessions follows immediately after the universal Creeds of the Church, sums up the task of the Church and especially the Ministry, in rather succinct fashion:

“To obtain such faith God instituted the office of the ministry, that is, provided the Gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit, who works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel. (Augsburg Confession V:1-2 [German], p. 31)”

And upon whom is this burden placed?  Let all who disagree scream to high heaven, but all of Heaven (and our Confessions) have made that much crystal clear.  The AC, to repeat:

“To obtain such faith God instituted the office of the ministry, that is, provided the Gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit, who works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel. (Augsburg Confession V:1-2 [German], p. 31)”

One further note for my Lutheran brethren, the Confessions are unequivocally clear:

10] Nor do we have another priesthood like the Levitical, 11] as the Epistle to the Hebrews sufficiently teaches. But if ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God’s command and glorious promises, Rom. 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise, Is. 55:11: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please. 12] If ordination be understood in this way, neither will we refuse to call the imposition of hands a sacrament. For the Church has the command to appoint ministers, which should be most pleasing to us, because we know that God approves this ministry, and is present in the ministry [that God will preach and work through men and those who have been chosen by men]. 13] And it is of advantage, so far as can be done, to adorn the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical men, who dream that the Holy Ghost is given not through the Word, but because of certain preparations of their own, if they sit unoccupied and silent in obscure places, waiting for illumination, as the Enthusiasts formerly taught, and the Anabaptists now teach.  (Article XIII – Number and Use of the Sacraments – Apology/The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Graham Glover, in writing of the demands of the Holy Office, outlines the obstacles put before us Weird Collar Wearers (henceforth “WCW’s”).  He sums it up very well:

“So no, I’m not called to be a leader. I am called to be a preacher. And the church doesn’t suffer because she has poor leaders. She suffers only when her preachers fail to preach.  So preach on my fellow preachers – and leave that leadership nonsense to others.”

Cannot find it at the moment, but Os Guiness took on the proposition that the problem in the Church was the failure to acknowledge the ultimate goal of the Church is the failure to acknowledge the getting the message to the “sovereign audience.”  He dispenses with that simple nonsense quite handily, as He was addressing the ills of the Church, and how the modern gurus of Church Growth (and every branch or facet) say we must must become ‘leaders’ and employ preaching to reach the ‘sovereign audience’ – that should be our “sovereign task.  He responded, in my paraphrased words:, which I have already been embellishing for a possible new post:

“No, no, no!  A thousand times !  That is false and misleading  Preachers are commanded to preach the Word, in season and out of season, for the sake of Christ and His works of salvation – alone!  There is no talk of ‘leadership!’ reaching out to reach a ‘sovereign audience’ anywhere in Scripture.  Preaching the Word is the one and only ‘sovereign task!’  It Is God Who has promised He will steer the Gospel to the “audience” – not the preacher (Isaiah 55:11).   The preacher is commanded always and only ALWAYS and ONLY to preach!”

Κηρυξον τον λογον – in season and out of season.  That is the one and only task of a preacher – he has none else.  He is not a hired hand (Paul condemns that nonsense!) – there to fill a pulpit and space, or run around doing “churchy’ stuff and trying to give the appearance of being a good employee of the Church.  That is simple heresy.  It is not merely a denial of the pastoral Office – which is rampant today – it is a denial of God’s Word of promise of Christ and salvation.

Our own LCMS “Os” – Oswald Reiss, in his fabulous book The Secret to Beautiful Living, emphasized the role of preaching years ago, and spoke the the solution that has been almost utterly forgotten in the Church today:

“Allow your pastor to  set aside the choicest hours of the week, that he might ascend to the mountaintop and converse with the Lord and his angels.  Then, face beaming from the presence of God, he may descend from the mountaintop, and deliver to all the good news of blessed salvation and the life to come.”

To summarize matters thus far: The Church is to be about one thing: Κηρυξον τον λογον.  That is entirely dependent upon a properly ordained Ministry, which preaches, and ths, administers the Blessed Sacraments according to the Gospel,  Everything else is secondary.

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Theodore “Vox Day” Beale, loved by some and irrationally reviled by others, has a take on the Church that is not far from Confessional Lutheranism.  The comments to his post are, I am sure, completely heartfelt, but represent the confusion that has reigned over the Holy Church for far too long.

He addresses what he calls, in a derogatory term, Churchianity.  It is, unfortunately the very quagmmire in which the One Holy Church finds itself.  I myself, blame not only the falsehood of pursuing the supposed “sovereign audience, with *which Guiness above dispenses while elevating the “sovereignty of preaching the Word” (Κηρυξον τον λογον), and the Holy Ministry, which sacramentally does so in preaching and the Sacraments.

Vox takes it – rightfully – to an even more deadly invasion of Church – its emasculation of the “Adam” in the family – the essence core of those called “The Church.”  Even my Confession, while standing against the tide of feminism on the one hand, has tried to give away the farm in its calling teachers and deacons “commissioned ‘ministers'” and rendering unto Caesar the things that are of the Church only.  We have also been challenged (unsuccessfully this far, thank God!) by the feminists agitating among the “commissioned ministers” – whatever the hell that means!

For the time being, I have said what I intended to say.  I know there will be a response (or many) and I know I will certainly write further on this topic, and all the others of Scripture which are but corollaries to it.

All machinations to the contrary will fail; the Church will shed “the many who are called” and be left with “the few that are chosen.”  Paul’s words in another chapter keep the focus clear in preaching the Word in I Corinthians 2:2:

“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

The heart of . . .

Κηρυξον τον λογον.

For those who know and understand Luther at his best” –

“We should preach the Word, but the results must be left solely to God’s good pleasure . . . I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force.  I simply preached. taught and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing.  And while I slept, or drank Wittenburg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it.  I did nothing; the Word did everything.”

Aμήν . . . and Pax

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