A call for pastors to keep watch over doctrine in all situations

Just last weekend numerous congregations in the LCMS used the prayers released by our Synod for the Prayer of the Church.  This is nice service that Synod provides to pastors and congregations and there is some great meaning behind a church united in prayer.  Last Sunday I did not use these prayers, opting instead to write different petitions for my congregation.  A brother pastor pointed out to me one of the petitions from last Sunday that was out of sorts.

Here is the petition:

P          For those outside the Christian faith, that God would remain patient with them and delay Judgment Day so that the Holy Spirit may have opportunity to bring them into God’s family of believers, let us pray to the Lord:

C         Lord, have mercy.

This petition is a far cry from “Thy Kingdom Come” and “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” This prayer is also a good example of the functional arminianism that Pr. Curtis brought into light in his papers on evangelism.  It is one thing for us to desire that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of Christ, but quite another to tell God to hold off on Judgment Day.

What does the petition portray as to the relationship in the Trinity?

What are your thoughts on the matter?

With regards to this, it is important that pastors keep watch over the teachings, even when they come from our beloved Synod or publishing house.  For the men who write such things and review them can also err.

Still, the LetUsPray project is a good service, even if they mess up a petition every once in a while.

 

 

 

 

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

A call for pastors to keep watch over doctrine in all situations — 89 Comments

  1. In His omniscience the Trinity knows the number that will be converted and those who will not be converted because of their own rejection of the truth they know to be true.

    As soon as the last soul to be converted to Christ becomes a reality then it is that Christ will return and gather to himself, from east to west, all of His bride for the marriage feast of the Lamb.

    This is the seriousness of the pronouncements by the pundits of our culture, including our present president, that we are no longer a christian nation.

    This has been a reality since the early seventies and we have seen the descent into the ethical and moral morass our country has fallen to.

    With this descent to evil in western civilization the petition, “Thy Kingdom come….”, and “Maranatha”, become all the more prescient as we go out among the heathen all around us and our lives become a witness to the ever present ‘Lord of history’.

  2. Thank-you, Pr. Scheer for this posting.

    I was using these prayers until I came across these concocted appellations used for the Almighty(and other petitions as the one you cited) for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, 3/27/11:

    “Welcoming God…Providing God…Gentle One…Ruler of all…Healing God…Nourishing One”

    I had deja vu to the ELCA and inclusive language and to the prayers coming out in the Augsburg/Fortress every Sunday inserts. Truly: lex orandi, lex credendi. It is true of course that “we do not pray as we ought” and also we should not pray as we think we should. We pray out of God’s inspired Word: see the Psalms. I began to remember that I remember none of the prayers of the faithful growing up. This is as it should be. It was probably the same prayer petitions every week with seasonal changes and for the needs of the congregation. I have more and more simply used the same prayer petitions every Sunday. Prayers of the faithful are also part of the Liturgy that we can especially tamper with for own agendas: personal and political. C.S. Lewis wrote in a different context that when it comes to the new books, it is much better to read the old books first, even his own, he wrote. The old books have stood the test of time. So have the prayers of the Lord’s people over time. Prayers are not written ex nihil, but out of the Biblical language of His Church at prayer.

  3. @Phillip #21
    That makes sense. I haven’t used “Let Us Pray” for quite awhile, though I still get them week-by-week, and go through them to see if they would be usable. It really has seemed that the quality has dropped off–and this is not to say they are “bad”, most of the time (this particular petition being one example of a particularly poor bit). They seem of late to try too hard to be “relevant” or too “interpretive”, too, well, this is too strong a word to use, but “cute” with the “theme” of the day. Some time back, “Let Us Pray” didn’t try quite so hard to be “contemporary”–(not in the sense of “CW”, mind you), but simply to pray the Church’s prayer.

    This is all rather vague language, I admit. But I *have* noticed a change in “Let Us Pray”, and they’ve become less useful to me.

  4. @Larry Kleinschmidt #28
    See, and it’s precisely this same CFW Walther who led those who were most adamant in their defense of the doctrine of Election, in the Predestinarian Controversy. One can believe whole-heartedly in the pure teaching regarding Election (it’s real and it’s *entirely* God’s work, utterly tied to pure Grace), *and* be wholeheartedly in favor of energetic evangelism, *that does not act as though **we** make the converts*.

  5. Good post, Pastor Scheer – I think this is very thought provoking.

    Several good thoughts about the prayer:

    1. it is always good to acknowledge God’s long suffering of sinners and ask for more
    2. we want to pray for the faith to be spread and for the lost to be converted
    3. we should feel burdened for the lost and remember this time of travail is short, which is clear from scriptural examples
    4. people outside the faith are still under God’s wrath, which is very taboo in most politically correct circles these days
    5. refers to “God’s family of believers” as being the ones saved from judgment – this keeps faith as the cardinal doctrine of Christianity and flies in the faith of the “ex opere operato” of the RCC.

    Points for improvement:

    1. asking to delay judgment day – contradicts “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”
    2. it refers to the Holy Spirit needing opportunity to bring people into God’s family – this seems to change the means our salvation from being solely Christ’s vicarious satisfaction and places it instead on a later working of the Holy Spirit requiring participation of the individual. This also reduces the significance of the means of grace in which Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us for the sake of what Christ has already done – salvation is there ready and waiting for us, no need for further opportunity depending on our own attitude or disposition

    I’m glad you took the tone you did – that this is a good service from people trying their best. None of us are perfect. All members of the priesthood of believers should be attentive continually to make sure no one teaches of a different gospel or steals the freedom we have in Christ.

  6. @Rev. David Mueller #55

    I think almost everyone in the LCMS would heartily agree with you in principle. The arguments have been about exactly what is meant by “evangelism” and what activities it entails. In particular, should the divine service be tailored to religious seekers? And should the LCMS cooperate with interfaith organizations in evangelism efforts, and to what extent?

    Fr. Curtis has done a terrific job in being thorough and specific in his papers and presentations on this subject. While there is much there that is debateable, he makes it clear that coming down on the side of election and against church growth is not an apologia for laziness among pastors or Christians, as is often alleged.

  7. Rev. David Mueller :
    @Larry Kleinschmidt #28
    See, and it’s precisely this same CFW Walther who led those who were most adamant in their defense of the doctrine of Election, in the Predestinarian Controversy. One can believe whole-heartedly in the pure teaching regarding Election (it’s real and it’s *entirely* God’s work, utterly tied to pure Grace), *and* be wholeheartedly in favor of energetic evangelism, *that does not act as though **we** make the converts*.

    This describes me to a tee, even though the apostle seems to include himself in the making of converts (1 Cor. 9:22).

  8. Very true, though for all his heresy/errors I wouldn’t insult Arminius with today’s trash that I deem more a result of slothful (something that once horrified the Church as a mortal sin before she enjoyed it so much she adopted it, though of course from God’s Biblical perspective all sins are properly mortal, none venial as the delusional “salvation by works” crowd imagines, Soli Deo Gloria) narcissism that has no interest in Sola Scriptura, just what makes me feel good.
    I was terrified/horrified to hear an LCMS pastor who shall remain nameless give a “sermon” on baptism preceded by an unbelievably lame excuse that he was departing from the usual “tradition” of basing it on Scripture because he wanted to explain how important baptism was to the lady just baptized. It was so surreal I though I’d just been transported to an alternate universe; you could have pushed me over with a feather. So much for Deuteronomy 8:3 < Matthew 4:4 that it's God's Word we live by, not man's bread, the despising of which Jesus clearly showed by His example in His temptations, despite the faithlessness of moderns that refuse to follow His example by ignoring the fasting He requires of His Church by saying when the Bridegroom has gone His Church will fast, calling into question whether those who do not are true Christians (little Christs) to so despise His word. Scripture says "if we sin and when we fast" so of course we do the opposite, "when we sin and if we fast." He's regrettably the oxymoron of a Reformed Baptist, but John Piper's crucially important book on fasting from a Reformed perspective is of incalculable importance for those who desire the Biblical truth recovered by the Reformers. Download his important free pdf, Hunger for God at the following url: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/online-books/a-hunger-for-god

    Our (note my requisite self-inclusion per Romans 2) monstrous faithlessness and disobedience is proof that the Church is no human institution or it NEVER could have survived Anno Domini 34! Thanks be to God.

  9. Regarding #58’s happy comments on election, I must say that I just marvel at the delusion of pelagians/arminians who claim God’s foreordination and election (so clearly seen throughout Scripture, but especially in Romans 8:29-30 and its glorious, precious “golden chain” of foreknown (those personally chosen by name who are His holy Bride for His Son, not some damnably cold and ungodly impersonal “decisions”), foreordained, called, justified and glorified) would make evangelism useless/irrelevant. Their whoring after man’s reason versus The sublime, ineffable God as ultimate is obscene James 4:4 adultery/idolatry, for this is too insufferably narcissistically arrogant to do the simple little thing of humbly bowing before The Lord Jesus’s Matthew 28:19 COMMAND to, going into all the world (a participle), “make disciples of ALL nations” …
    We have no reason to expect God will honor or humor our sinful disobedience by communicating more to us when we’ve not yet obeyed what He’s ALREADY commanded us. God save us all, especially the sanctity of life and marriage at this present moment of the onslaught satan has unleashed upon them, tragically too often by professing “clergy” like deluded ELCA’s vile election whereby they chose the sodomizing of their members even after God’s kind warning of breaking off their church’s steeple with a tornado He miraculously ordained (http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-tornado-the-lutherans-and-homosexuality). Soli Deo Gloria. Only Christ can save us now.

  10. PS
    People are so glib and gullible in their lack of the fear of the Lord that brings wisdom that they fail humbly to question if their/our understanding of “all” is the same as God’s in Holy Scripture where it clearly must mean “all without distinction” versus “all without exception” or Jesus is an incompetent Savior considering how many have gone to hell and clearly in no way died in the same way for the elect that He did for the damned. They like to twist John 3:16 with the bogus “whosoever” but fail to consider the participle construction where it is clear to the few who really want truth that Jesus actually said, “God so loved the world that all the believing in Him (pas ho pisteuwn eis auton, all the believing in him, participle construction) should not perish but have everlasting life.” versus the misunderstanding of the “whosoever” of the older translations that were right and clearly understood in their day before post modern delusion obscurred their message with vile modernist/post-modernist stupidity and arrogance. God save us all.

  11. Just to clarify something: if God is simply waiting for a certain number of the elect to hit, then why do we pray “Come Lord Jesus”? Ought we not to pray “Come at the appropriate time Lord Jesus.”

    Seems to me, this is one of the many distortions that you get, looking at all things through the election lens. Which is why our Confessions warn against this sorta thing.

    What exactly is the problem? Don’t we think that God doesn’t want people to perish? Don’t we want people to repent? Isn’t it right to ask for more time?

    I had a prof specifically talk about this at Sem. It wasn’t a big deal then and it is not a big deal now.

    God says “I’m going to destroy these people” and we say “Please Lord, give them more time.”

    What is wrong with that again? Remember, our position on election is “Why some and not others?” Tension. This is not the time to go on over to a functional Calvinist position and say “God decides whose damned and who isn’t—we just wait for the decision to be made. And when it is done, He comes.”

    Naah. We can pray both, equally true, equally well:

    Lord Jesus come.
    Lord Jesus for the sake of the Lost, delay.

    Both of these statements are exactly the way that we see God behaving in Scripture. They are both true about Him. That is part of the tension, the mystery of our God.

  12. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #10
    Can I assume that Pr. Wurst called you and asked you (privately) about whether you had (privately) consulted w/ Pr Vieker before posting this string (publically), before he (Pr. Wurst that is) posted (publically) asking you whether you had (privately) consulted w/ Pr Vieker before posting this string (again publically)? Or did he post (publically) asking you whether you had (privately) consulted w/ Pr Vieker without (gasp) contacting you (privately) first?

    I think I’ll stick w/ the LC on this issue:
    For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world.

  13. @Matthew Mills #63

    Matthew, just so you understand my comment that seems to have set this thread ABLAZE…I did not accuse Pr. Scheer of anything but merely commented on his post.

    In Pr. Scheer’s original post, he stated, “It is one thing for us to desire that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of Christ, but quite another to tell God to hold off on Judgment Day.”

    The only thing that my post was really addressing was the “…to tell God to hold off on Judgement” part of his comment.

    As Pr. Louderbeck has more clearly pointed out, and I agree with him, (comment #63) is that we can pray for God’s mercy toward the lost as we continue to bring the Gospel to them. Abraham did it. Why can’t we? Is it non-Lutheran to pray for mercy? I don’t think so.

    IMHO, I maybe read Pr. Scheer incorrectly and maybe I didn’t. I just asked that if he was improperly accusing, that he seek the writer out first. I agree that if something is public, it can be discussed but that also doesn’t mean we tear the author down (5th commandment stuff).

    I hope this clears some things up for you.

    + Pr. Wurst

  14. @Matthew Mills #63
    Pr. Wurst was fine by posting things publicly. Your post does show however what can happen when we start to look at process instead of love and forgiveness. The circle of contacting that you exemplify is a problem.

    Love (brotherly so) allows us to have honest discussions/disagreements (even in public).

    I can’t say that I agree with either Pr. Wurst or Pr. Louderback on this prayer to hold off on judgment day. It seems a futile prayer given what Christ has said about it. I think it is a definite stretch to compare the destruction of Sodom with Judgment Day. The situations do not match up, nor do the texts. I don’t believe a prayer to hold off Judgment is in keeping with the Word, nor with “Thy Will Be Done” but instead “my will be done”.

  15. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #67
    Pr Scheer, As I study the gift of repentance in Luther’s letter to the antinomians, Luther states the reason we pray the Lord’s Prayer is because we do NOT do the things that we are asking for. The LP is a prayer of repentance. We pray Thy will be done because we don’t do the will of the Father…we pray Thy kingdom come but really, we are more than happy right where we are in the claps of sin in the devil’s kingdom here on earth. So, I guess if we pray for judgement to be stayed, we are still in the “my will be done” category…I guess we all have many prayers to be prayed this holy night and much turning from our evil ways…I do confess to you and those on this list that if I have viewed this incorrectly, I do apologize to you all and confess my wrong doing. I will continue to review this petition from the Word of God…Lord, have mercy upon me.

  16. Pr Louderback @ #62,

    “Just to clarify something: if God is simply waiting for a certain number of the elect to hit, then why do we pray “Come Lord Jesus”? Ought we not to pray “Come at the appropriate time Lord Jesus.”

    Talk about applying election incorrectly…

    We pray with John in Revelation 22 in response to the promise of Christ to return soon, not for desire of judgement (though that comes as well) but for mercy to deliver us from fallen creation into eternal life with Him. We long for it. Completely different focus.

    “What exactly is the problem? Don’t we think that God doesn’t want people to perish? Don’t we want people to repent? Isn’t it right to ask for more time?”

    The problem is when we start to sound like God can’t figure this thing out without some commentary from us. That the Holy Spirit might miss the chance to bring in some if the world were to end too soon.

    Our faith is weak. We fail to trust. It happens. I might very well have personal anxiety over a friend or family member not in the Church as well as for all of the lost and pray in such a way. This is where a doctrine of comfort can be properly applied. Corporate prayer should reflect that rather than play to the anxiety. There should be no doubt expressed. Drop the “delay Judgment Day so that the Holy Spirit may have opportunity to” part and it reads just fine.

    “This is not the time to go on over to a functional Calvinist position and say “God decides whose damned and who isn’t—we just wait for the decision to be made.”

    The old straw man on a dead horse. Again.

  17. @Rev. John F. Wurst #68
    The Lord’s Prayer indeed imply our disobedience. It is also a prayer of the faithful, the model prayer of what we should ask for and how we should ask for it. We acknowledge that God will do as God does, but we pray that He would work in us so that we would be receptive to His good gifts and so forth.
    I would say that God may answer the prayer “my will be done” with His “all things work for the good” answer of “No.” Just the same when we show by our prayers that we do not know what to pray for as we ought (Rom 8:26). Good thing that we have the Spirit to intercede for us, and also the Son who continues His prayer for us as well.

    Forgiveness is yours. The Lord has already had mercy upon you and will continue to show that mercy to you for all of your days.

  18. Why pray about it when the church was commisioned by Jesus Christ to seek the lost? Make an Evangilism program, put together a program like the Mormons do. So many LCMS churches may pray this prayer, but how many of them can show a Evangilism program that goes out into the community to seek out the lost and give the Gospel? I live in a community with well into 35 christian churches. 2 of them are Lutheran, a LCMS and a WELS. In 8 years I have yet to find a protestant or lutheran church coming to my door to witness of the Gospel of Christ. I have had Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses, but not one christian has. Please, don’t pray about it, do it. You want to delay the judgement? I would love to but I know very well God’s will cannot be moved. Just like when a baby is ready to be delivered, so is the Judgement. Don’t pray for the judgement to be delayed, pray that workers would take the fields and bring in the harvest then go tell as Jesus Christ commissioned all of us as the Church. If the Gospel is so awesome to you, you will not be able to contain yourself. By Christ and Him crucified, I am a redeemed and sanctified child of God.

  19. @Rev. John Wurst #65
    Dear Pastor Wurst,
    I admit that this prayer gave me the willies when I first read it, but my response was to what I perceived to be your throwing the Matt 18 “trump card” inappropriately into a public matter. My post was obviously tongue in cheek, but if the LC IS incorrect, and it IS wrong to publically call a brother out on a matter of public teaching without privately “seeking the writer out first,” then the same should apply to you Pastor, you should have sought Pastor Scheer out first,” prior to your post. At a certain point this sort of thing gets silly, but it was you who opened the Matt 18 can of worms, not me.
    I admit I found Pastor Louderback’s post thought provoking. It is always not only acceptable, but the best practice imagineable to pray God’s own words back to Him. If this prayer could be characterized as that, then it would be an exemplary prayer. Still, we’re not quite there yet so I will continue to “hawk this fight.”
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  20. I’ve been sitting back and mulling this one for a bit. I think we may be asking ourselves the wrong question here. Is the question, “Can this petition be understood to advance incorrect doctrine?” or is the question, “Can this petition be understood to advance correct doctrine?” Most of the discussion has been on the first question. Obviously this petition could have been better phrased, but how often have we phrased things awkwardly or in a manner that could easily be misunderstood?

    I cite as example Pr. Curtis’ comment #1. If I were reading his comment in a particularly jaded manner, I could say that Pr. Curtis is denying the sufficiency of faith. How can this sentence be limited only to those “who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” if it speaks of perishing? Can those who have faith by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ perish? Certainly not, so this sentence/verse must be about more than just those who are currently in the faith.

    If you will permit a bit of interpolated exposition:
    “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness [it seems like a delay, but it isn’t], but is patient toward you [who have received faith], not wishing that any [who are to receive faith] should perish [because they have not yet received that faith], but that all [who are the elect and whom God foreknew to be elect, even if they, at the present time, show themselves to be outside of and enemies of the Church] should reach repentance [that fruit that can only be wrought by faith working in the believer].”

    I think that is precisely what the petition is attempting to convey: “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

    I will grant you that the use of the term “delay” certainly brings to mind a notion of slowness that would contradict this paragraph in 2 Peter 3. The particular litany form used that week does not lend itself to broader expositions or explanations of the theology underlying the petition.

    Perhaps a better phrasing would have been:
    For those outside the Christian faith, that God would remain patient with them and provide ample time for the Holy Spirit to work in them, bringing them into God’s family of believers before the Judgement Day, let us pray to the Lord:

    Or perhaps even better:
    For those outside the Christian faith, that God would remain patient with them and hasten the work of the Holy Spirit in them that they should not perish, but reach repentance before the Judgement Day comes as a thief in the night: let us pray to the Lord.

  21. James Sarver,

    The problem is when we start to sound like God can’t figure this thing out without some commentary from us.

    Chuckle. Exactly what is the difference between any prayer and this? I mean, God is the God of creation, the God who formed the Heavens and the Earth, the God who is before time, of all wisdom, and on and on.

    Exactly, what ought my prayer to be to Him that isn’t built on arrogance?

    But we see people doing that all them time. “What if you were to find 100 God? Would you destroy the city then?” (Abraham) “God, do not let me die” (Hezekiah) “God, remove this thorn from my side” (Paul)

    All of prayer is our giving commentary to God. If one would think about it, you’d never pray. Ever.

    But God invites us to pray—even commands. So, we go to Him as to a loving Father and we pray “Have mercy on the Lost, dear Father.”

    I might very well have personal anxiety over a friend or family member not in the Church as well as for all of the lost and pray in such a way.

    And this is a sign of weakness?

    There should be no doubt expressed.

    Well….there is doubt. We pray that people would be healed—but we pray for God’s will. Will the people be healed? Will they leave the hospital and all recover from their cancer? No. We know that sometimes, occasionally, people die in spite of our prayers.

    We have doubt as to whether God will act or not. That is not the same as doubting God—the prayer for God to delay is not a doubt that He is going to come. It is just asking Him to examine His schedule for the sake of His beloved.

    The old straw man on a dead horse. Again.

    Yeah…or not…

    We’ll see how this all shakes out…

  22. That is not bad PPPadre.

    And you are welcome John Wurst

    And Matthew Mills, if the best I can do is provoke others to think, then that is not half-bad.

  23. Why don’t we use the Psalms more in our “Prayer of the Church”? I think they cover everything.

  24. @Mark Louderback #76
    It sounded good Pastor, and I like to believe I’m always thinking, but I haven’t found a clear enough ref that would qualify delaying judgement as “praying God’s words back to Him” (from the sweet intro of the less sweet ’84 LW.) If you’ve got one, I’d like to see it.

  25. @Mark Louderback #75
    We pray that people would be healed—but we pray for God’s will. Will the people be healed? Will they leave the hospital and all recover from their cancer? No. We know that sometimes, occasionally, people die in spite of our prayers.

    If they die, they are well and truly healed and our prayers have been answered, though we may not, for our own reasons, think of it that way.

  26. Matthew Mills

    What about God’s identification with mercy? Isn’t that praying God’s word back to Him? God presents Himself as a merciful one and appealing to that—asking for more time—is simply a characteristic of his mercy.

    I also think the 2 Peter reading also applies, as PPPadre’s interpretation seems appropriate.

    Helen

    Well, yes, God does what is best. But the issue was here, “When we pray, we do not doubt what God will do.” The fact of the matter is that we are unsure whether God will physically heal the people today or whether He will not. It does not mean that He cannot. It just means that God chooses not to.

    That is what my comments are in reference to.

  27. @Mark Louderback #80
    There’s not much difference between “mostly His words” and “not His words.” It seems presumptuous to pick a single quality of God and extrapolate prayers based on our own idea of what that quality would lead us to do.

  28. Matthew Mills,

    He is our Heavenly Father—He invites us to call Him Father. How in the world can we be presumptuous?

    Or, really, how can we not…

    What right did the Syro-Phoenician woman have to continue to hound Jesus?

    How in the world did the various barren women call out to God? Where was the Bible verse giving them the exact words to pray?

    We have to extrapolate the Word of God. No where does it say “I, the Lord your God, will listen to what Mark Louderback says.” No where does it say that. So do I doubt then that I am heard? No, I have His promises to hear His people and I extrapolate that to include me.

    And I have His promise of mercy.

    After that, it is all gravy.

  29. Pr. Louderback @ #75,

    “So, we go to Him as to a loving Father and we pray “Have mercy on the Lost, dear Father.”

    Exactly. My suggested edit does precisely that.

    It is one thing to pray, for example, “Please send the Holy Spirit to soften the heart of my Uncle Harry” and quite another to pray “Please let Uncle Harry live to be 250 years old in case You forget to tell the Holy Spirit the hour appointed for his death.”

    Are you saying there is no distinction between the Prayer of the Church in the Divine Service and individual Christian prayer? I submit that the former has a very specific purpose.
    If you disagree, I suggest you try some of that Romans 8:26 groaning in the Divine Service and see how it works out for you.

    “It is just asking Him to examine His schedule for the sake of His beloved.”

    Yeah. Like God might not fit it into His schedule unless we remind Him.

    There is a big difference between your example of doubt whether a particular person will be healed and whether God will save all the elect. One is specified in scripture, the other is not. Guess which.

    Corporate prayer should not reflect any doubt about what we know from scripture.

    Now you can call me a functional Calvinist (since I referred to election).

  30. @Chris #71

    Chris, I was hoping someone would have responded to your statement “In 8 years I have yet to find a protestant or lutheran church coming to my door to witness of the Gospel of Christ. I have had Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses, but not one christian has.”

    I will try to give it a shot. First, as Lutherans we have a theology called the Doctrine of Vocation. A teaching, by the way, not often taught for a number of years among Lutherans. I have been an active Lutheran all my adult life and never heard this term until I was about 65 or so. It is this doctrine, if I am understanding it correctly, that makes the likelihood of a Lutheran to come knocking at your door unlikely. Here is the reason. Personal witnessing done by a Lutheran lay person is accomplished through their vocations. That includes being a neighbor who is filled with love and good works for their neighbors. You see, God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does. This actual practicing of our faith 24/7 is how that is done. Sometimes this is called “the Mask of God” because your neighbor “sees God through you”, i.e., your good works. One can not do this if your neighbor sees you as a Sunday only Christian, who swears, lies, cheats, etc., as a part of their everyday life. They see you as a hypocrite, and rightly so.

    Really, can that actually work, you might say? I say, Yes it can and does. The good news is we don’t need scripts, special classes on outreach, doing cold calls, etc. We need to understand our task as a disciple of Christ and live the life He wants us to live. If you can do that 24/7 the rest of it comes rather naturally as the real work is done by the Holy Spirit, not us. And that’s a good thing.

  31. James Sarver,

    It is one thing to pray, for example, “Please send the Holy Spirit to soften the heart of my Uncle Harry” and quite another to pray “Please let Uncle Harry live to be 250 years old in case You forget to tell the Holy Spirit the hour appointed for his death.”

    True…but nor do I think that the prayer in question does that.

    Are you saying there is no distinction between the Prayer of the Church in the Divine Service and individual Christian prayer?

    No distinction? Well, no, but not a distinction that has a difference. A individual Christian could indeed pray the prayer of the church. And vice-versa.

    Yeah. Like God might not fit it into His schedule unless we remind Him.

    Once again, it is not because we are reminding him—it is because we are praying for mercy.

    Remember, any prayer has the appearance of arrogance. How in the world can we make any request to someone who is smarter and has greater wisdom than we could ever imagine?

    There is a big difference between your example of doubt whether a particular person will be healed and whether God will save all the elect. One is specified in scripture, the other is not. Guess which.

    Well…so you agree then that it is not a matter of “no doubt expressed” correct? There is a time for doubt—uncertainty about how God will act?

    Once again, if the elect are set, then why do we pray for Jesus to come quickly? What is the point of that?

    No: God wants to have mercy. 2 Peter says something. So we pray.

    Now you can call me a functional Calvinist (since I referred to election).

    As one who believes in election and holds to what our confessions say about election, I certainly would disagree that anyone who holds to election is a functional Calvinist.

    I would say that our confessions get pretty specific about what the doctrine of election is for and not for—and crossing lines does lead to a functional Calvinistic position.

  32. Pr. Louderback @ #87,

    “True…but nor do I think that the prayer in question does that.”

    I used hyperbole to illustrate the point, which is that the petition was unnecessarily specific to the point of seeming to question something settled in scripture. I suggested an appropriate edit to preserve the appropriate basis of the petition. Why is the part I would delete necessary?

    “No distinction? Well, no, but not a distinction that has a difference.”

    Then I wish you good luck with the Holy Spirit induced groaning you will present your congregation during the Prayer of the Church. I’m sure they won’t mind since there is no difference between that and individual prayer.

    “Once again, it is not because we are reminding him—it is because we are praying for mercy.”

    Sure, and when you pray for a Lexus LX570 you are not reminding God that you want one, you are simply praying for your transportation needs to be met. Yeah…

    “There is a time for doubt—uncertainty about how God will act?”

    And also a time that it is inappropriate. Like in the Prayer of the Church, while mentioning something that is settled in scripture.

    “Once again, if the elect are set, then why do we pray for Jesus to come quickly? What is the point of that?”

    I thought I ‘splained that way back at #69. I don’t wanna type it again…

    “As one who believes in election and holds to what our confessions say about election, I certainly would disagree that anyone who holds to election is a functional Calvinist.”

    But you certainly seem to suggest (strongly) that anyone who mentions election outside of the context of refutation of double predestination is teetering on the event horizon of Calvinism. It isn’t convincing.

  33. @Mark Louderback #82
    The prayer asked God to give the Holy Spirit more time. Time is a creature that confuses us, but does not confuse the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not need more time than has been appointed to accomplish the Holy Spirit’s vocation. The prayer speaks in a Taoist way as if God existed inside some force or flow that would be insuperable without our prayers, rather than in the Christian way that recognizes that time itself is a creature.

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