Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A different Leo. . .

Lutherans are somewhat prone to be suspicious of anyone with the name Leo.  You can figure out why by checking again and seeing who signed the eviction order for then barely famous German monk.  That said, another Leo, not X but XIII, did write something rather profound.  This Leo begs to have his words noticed and heeded.

http://www.delaszlocatalogueraisonne.com/media/w1000h1000/displayed/leo-xiii-his-holiness-pope-6027-1.jpg “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition.”
We presume that the most dangerous enemies of the faith are those who contend that nothing is true, nothing is good, and nothing is credible about Christianity.  But the atheist is not nearly so dangerous as the voices within who insist that most of it is true. . . but not all.  This drop of poison is far more dangerous than the media and its skepticism about miracle and sign and fact.  This drop of poison comes from those who, one might presume, are doctors offering salutary medicine.  They are not.  The worst heresy is the one hard to see and hear, the one which offers only seemingly minor deviation from orthodoxy, and the one that insists the important things are true but it does not matter if the rest are.  For who decides what is important and who says which things are true and which are false?

Nearly everyone is enamored with  much of Christian ethical tradition -- even it they do not get it or get why it is so laudable.  The idea of mercy (which most read tolerance) that trumps doctrine is inherently appealing to those among us who cheer the underdog before the overlord.  Yet the heart and core of Christianity is NOT the ethical tradition but the doctrine and dogma from which it proceeds.  The Word through whom all things came into being now become flesh by the Virgin and the Spirit to suffer as the innocent for the guilty, to pay the awful price of sin with His own blood, and to die in the place of those marked for death.  This is what the world finds objectionable.  Oh, sure, if you want to believe it you can but you may be psychotic or mentally ill (check with Joy Behar on that one).  The world loves the ceremony but only as long as it is symbolic and means nothing and is based on nothing real and delivers nothing tangible (except good feelings, perhaps).  The world loves virtue but will challenge the definition of virtue that deviates from the Shakespearean to thine own self be true.  The world insists that what you desire and what you feel are far more important than what is true -- indeed, these are the only truths worth holding. 

Christianity will not be undone by beasts from without or from hate-filled folks who want to apply the same solution to us as Jesus' enemies did to Him.  No, that will not be our undoing.  But what might be are the seemingly virtuous saints whose voices plant the smallest doubts into believing hearts and who distort but a few words in order to make the truth a lie.  Well meaning, though they may be, they have the power to lead many astray.  So not only beware but be prepared.  Know the faith and the Scriptures and pray the creeds as well as confess them.  Be able to sniff out the drop of poison before it spoils all that is good and right and true.

It all reads like St. Paul who insists that Jesus' resurrection, real and physical, is not peripheral but essential or Jesus' own promise that only the truth shall set you free or Luther who taught us to sing
Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
Think of this when you remember Easter morning and consider the promise of Christ raised from the dead.  It does not take much wobbling before all that is left is a spiritual resurrection rich in symbol but without much help, aid, or comfort as the dirt is shoveled onto the casket.


Carl Vehse said...

Lest Tiber-wading Lutheran readers get too much of a thrill running up their legs reading about "A Different Leo..." and start wearing scapulars, they should be reminded that it was Antichrist Leo XIII who issued eleven encyclicals (from 1883 to 1898) fully embracing Mary as the Mediatrix.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Vehse, while what you wrote is true, I think you missed the entire point of the article.

Cliff said...

Carl has a penchant for taking things to the extreme. The real danger is the Christian within the church. And all denominations seem to have this desease including many Lutherans not just in the other synods but withinin our own ranks. How many Lutherans read their bible daily?

Roman Catholics are a prime example of compromise what with Frances leading the way. And, do not forget the Evangelical wing of Christianity who have embraced all kinds of secular, inclusive theology.

Carl Vehse said...

Anon on April 17, 2018 at 9:23 AM, the point of my comment was about the sycophantic attention given to Antichrist Leo XIII at the beginning of the column.

Sean said...

Sometimes people speak more truth than they realize, whoever the source. Ever hear of Balaam? Anyway, let's not throw grenades at one another. I don't think the article reads as sycophantic in any way.

Carl Vehse said...

"I don't think the article reads as sycophantic in any way."

Who claimed the article reads as sycophantic?!? I only referred to the "attention given to Antichrist Leo XIII at the beginning of the column" as "sycophantic."

Let's not throw grenades at something that isn't there.

Sean said...

Fair enough. Sorry if I misinterpreted your comment.