Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some are starting to get what Lutherans believe. . .

As I have said so often, Lutherans do not understand the Word the way evangelicals and Protestants do.  They see the Scripture basically as record, whether inerrant or full of errors.  It is record and so the words of the Word are mostly dead.  Whatever life there is comes from outside the Word.  In contrast. Lutherans see the Word as the Word speaks of itself -- sacramental.  In other words, God actually works in His Word.  It is not only that we encounter God in His Word but His Word is the primary agency through which He works.

You can read one perspective that makes this distinction here:

In preaching as sacrament, the aim is the application. Encounter God. Preaching as biblical information-giving with pre-meditated applications is too weak for such a cogent and holy aim. To be informed by the Bible about God is not the same as to be encountered by the God of the Bible. We preach to encounter God together, not to create a set of preferred human behaviors. Encounter with God in Christ carries its own energies to shape and direct human lives. We preach for corporate encounter with God, believing that encounter will provoke numerous discussions about how we together can live missionally in light of the encounter. Paul suggested even unbelievers and unconvinced will confess an encounter with God (1 Corinthians 14:25) when the church gathers. I do not think I have to unpack Peter’s paradigmatic sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2) to support what I am writing here. Peter, so perceptive of his particular context, announced an act of God in Christ and the announcement was so profound the congregation asked him, “What must we do?!”  Authentic kingdom of God gospel announcement (preaching) evokes startling and diverse questions about how we go about adjusting our lives to Jesus as Lord.

The Word is not for historical reference or moral improvement.  The Word is the primary means (the other being the Sacraments) through which God works.  Period.  When the Word speaks, God speaks.  The Word speaks and God brings to pass what it is that He says.  The Word is not a tool but the means of grace.


Mark Daniels said...

Well put!

Unknown said...

Fr. Peters,

As I have written many times on your blog, the fact that Lutherans insist that the Word of God is a What instead of a Who is why you have these problems. --Chris

Anonymous said...

And, Chris, where exactly do you find that "the fact that Lutherans insist that the Word of God is a What instead of a Who?" By my reading of the good point above and Lutheran Confessional documents, the author of this blog seems to be saying that it is UNLutheran to speak of the Word as a "What" and a distortion that leans to evangelicalism instead of authentic Lutheranism. From where I sit, he is exactly right.

Unknown said...


The author may get it (partially, at least), but most non clergy Lutherans do not and/or will not insisting on a quasievangelicalism and the one inch depth of theological thinking imported from Evangelicals all in the name of "church growth." Lutherans are self-destructing.