Asinus Asinum Fricat

Good grief! I don’t know about the rest of the faithful readers of BJS, but if you have had your eye on any societal media in the past 2 years there is a noticeable trend that is undeniable and disheartening: Intolerance is intolerable. But it seems that the one thing that society is the most intolerant against is the Gospel. This makes it increasingly difficult to live in our society (the common “good”) and have a true confession of Christian ideals, ethics, and proclamation of basic Christian truths. At least the world sees it this way. Our society is engaging in all forms of attacks against the Church and its saints with a mere whimper of, “you hurt my feelings,” and many Christians are cowering and collapsing under the pressure of this fluctuating phrase. Give me a break. There is no substance for society and certainly not for the soul in remaining unrepentant or even proud of the sins that society offers as, “your rights.” If Christians are not catechized and actively confessing the true faith then society becomes nothing more than a “jackass rubbing a jackass,” as the saying goes. Then society ends up wallowing in degradation and calls it, “freedom.”

But all this is nothing new. Watered down Christianity and Lutheranism has been the lucid “backbone” for societal bullying well before America was established. Germany had the same problems with poor catechesis and the issues it caused when attempting to proclaim the faith in society.  This leads us to Luther’s preface to the Small Catechism,

“The deplorable, miserable condition which I discovered lately when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare this Catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form. Mercy! Good God! What manifold misery I beheld! The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and, alas! many pastors are altogether incapable and incompetent to teach [so much so, that one is ashamed to speak of it]. Nevertheless, all maintain that they are Christians, have been baptized and receive the holy Sacraments. Yet they cannot recite either the Lord’s Prayer, or the Creed, or the Ten Commandments; they live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs; and yet, now that the Gospel has come, they have nicely learned to abuse all liberty like experts.”

Let us not, “abuse liberty like experts.” Thank God for His Holy Word and thank God for the Lutheran Confessions! This is how we stand boldly in the face of a crumbling society. Fear not little lambs for Christ and His Holy Church stands firm even in the midst of our society in His faithful congregations as He gives to us freely the means of grace. The cross must be proclaimed in the midst of muck and mire for even as the ashes of society fall all around us there will still stand the truth and the central focus of our faith: Christ was crucified for you! For this reason I offer here at Brothers of John the Steadfast the category: Steadfast in Society. May we boldly and assuredly confess Christ crucified in the midst of society. To Christ alone be all glory and honor now and forever.

Associate Editor’s Note:  With this post we introduce Pastor Gaven Mize to the regular writers here at BJS.  Pastor Mize will be writing about Lutherans and culture/society among other things.  Here is a little more about Pr. Mize:

Pastor Mize was born in Hickory, North Carolina on June 30th 1983. He was a Baptized and Communicant member of Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville, NC until his Divine Call to Divine Savior Lutheran Church in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Pastor Mize graduated from South Rowan High School in Landis, North Carolina in 2001. After High School he attended Concordia University of Wisconsin. While at Concordia University of Wisconsin Pastor Mize enrolled and was accepted in the Pre-Seminary Association. During his tenure at Concordia University he went on multiple mission trips, including four to Juarez, Mexico where they built houses with Casas Por Cristos. Pastor Mize graduated in 2007 majoring in Pastoral Ministry and Minoring in Theological Languages.

Directly after College Pastor Mize applied and was accepted to Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. While at CTS Pastor Mize went aboard and studied Church History at Lutheran Theological Seminary – Tshwane in Tshwane, South Africa. After returning to Fort Wayne he continued studying at CTS until his third year. In his third year Pastor Mize was sent on his vicarage at Zion Lutheran Church in Clark, New Jersey, in the SELC District. After vicarage Pastor Mize went back to Concordia Theological Seminary for his final year.

During his final year, Pastor Mize was certified for a Divine Call by Concordia Theological Seminary and received his Divine Call from Divine Savior Lutheran Church. He then finished his graduate studies with a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary. Pastor Mize was ordained on June 12th 2011 at Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville, NC by Rev. Ray R. Ohlendorf, Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church.

Pastor Mize is the son of Mr. Roscoe and Beth Mize of China Grove, NC and the brother of Mr. Joshua Mize who lives with his wife Tuesday Mize in Charlotte, NC. Pastor Mize lives with his wife Christine in Hillview, KY.


Comments

Asinus Asinum Fricat — 16 Comments

  1. Thank you, Pastor Mize for this insightful, excellent post. You are “right on!” about the culture and Christians who are not even cognizant of what is going on. I’ve tried many times to get family members and friends to speak about the issues of the day with a reference to God, but they just do not seem to understand. I think the problem is certainly as serious as you describe and that calls for much prayer and ongoing catechesis. Thanks again for an excellent post.

    I eagerly look forward to future posts.

  2. Great post Rev. Mize! I was recently lamenting the claiming of “rights” that is so prevalent in our society and it got me thinking of a better way for “the common good” to function. Contrary to popular thought I believe it is not the claiming, gathering and hoarding of rights that makes a society function but rather the giving up of rights for the neighbor. As damned sinners we try and take everything we can for ourselves rather than giving up our many so called rights for those around us. Great place for a little Theology of Glory vs. Theology of the Cross discussion? Looking forward to more.

  3. @Wineonthevine #1
    Thank you for your kind words Wineonthevine, we do have to live here in the crumbling world but WE DO NOT and SHOULD NOT EVER give up our confession of faith! Neither by the sword nor by the ramblings of the masses. The victory has been won. Shall society dictate our confession? Never. Martin Luther penned an excellent response to the attacks of Satan and his vile whispering demons in A Mighty Fortress:”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.”

    @RevVoorman #2
    Rev. Voorman you bring up an excellent point, we make a beautiful confession when we stand for the truth though we may be stripped of all. Luther didn’t say, “Here I stand… unless you want me to sit… or roll over… or beg…” Forget “rights” what “rights” shall we claim other than damnation outside of Christ? None. Yet in Christ and through His means of grace we are given everything that is in heaven. Take my head, yet touch not my confession of Christ crucified.

  4. I have a question maybe someone could address: How does one go about standing up for what is right to non-Christians who have no reference point at all for what is right or wrong? Example: Non Christian friend is living together with boyfriend. Do we ignore and just let this stuff be because it “isn’t our business?”

  5. Unfortunatley this intolerance has taken a “lutheran” form inside the Synod. Laity and Pastors alike are so locked into what they see as “growth methods” that it seems impossible to discuss or disagree without a rather rude reaction from them. We are in a period of history so foreign to Law and Gospel that it can be difficult to stay the course, but then our Lord told us this would happen. 🙂

  6. @Wondering #4
    Even non-Christians have a sense of what is wrong. The Law has been written on our hearts. Also, society’s whims and neglect of what is pure and righteous should be a wonderful platform for proclaiming the freeing Gospel! The world naturally rejects the Gospel and disregards the law never knowing they are bound by it in their sins. There is freedom in the Gospel. There is freedom in Christ! The Gospel is be the “reference point” for any and all freedom from this world.

  7. @Pastor Gaven Mize #7
    Thank you! That was beautifully put. I was having a difficult time making the connection. This answer will help me in the future when I’m met with intolerance to the Christian faith/values by people of the world. I think these situations provide great opportunities to show non-Christians (and even fellow Christians) Law/Gospel out of concern for their souls.

  8. THE CALL TO ACTION!

    “Evil is not overcome by denunciation. It is surprising how much efficacy is supposed to go with denunciation. Real, constructive, aggressive good is of far greater significance than eloquent invective; such invective has its place, but it must be accompanied by active practical effort, or it effects little more than summer lightning. Carlyle, in his review of Elliott the Corn-Law Rhymer, has a most instructive passage.

    “We could truly wish to see such a mind as his engaged rather in considering what, in his own sphere, could be done, than what, in his own or other spheres, ought to be destroyed; rather in producing or preserving the True, than in mangling and slashing asunder the False.”

    But denunciatory rhetoric is so much easier and cheaper than good works, and proves a popular temptation.

    Yet is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.

    What this world awaits is personal, positive, constructive goodness. Not by law, legislation, and rhetoric shall we prevail, but by practical righteousness, noble philanthropy, intellectual and spiritual education; by the positive remedy of superior character, action, and institutions do we make it difficult for evil to survive.

    Whenever the chance offers, let us stamp upon a weed; yet let us be sure that it is only as we chiefly cherish the golden corn that we smother and destroy the tares which afflict society. It is the slow and expensive method, and the only effectual one.

    When the Church of God goes forth in holy character and action fair as the moon and bright as the sun, to every type of iniquity she will be terrible as an army with banners…”

    The supreme conquest: and other sermons preached in America
    By William Lonsdale Watkinson

    Teach your Children.

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/

  9. @Wondering #4
    If your “non Christian friend” is agreeable, you might try talking about the Gospel to him.
    If the Holy Spirit chooses to make him a Christian, he will learn the Catechism.
    “Living the Christian lifestyle” follows, hopefully!

    I’m saying that you can’t expect non Christians to live by your commandments… (something you can’t entirely do yourself). First they have to become a Christian, then be taught to live like one. [This last is not so easy, when they see “Christians” shacking up w/o reprimand!]

  10. @helen #11
    “First they have to become a Christian, then be taught to live like one. [This last is not so easy, when they see “Christians” shacking up w/o reprimand!]”

    Let us not, “abuse liberty like experts.”

    Christian leaders not disciplining their lambs is a most insidious way of abusing their children, because such inaction masquerades as kindness.

    Then there is the more obvious abuse of stealing from their children without repentance or consequence…

  11. Pastor Ted Crandall :Christian leaders not disciplining their lambs is a most insidious way of abusing their children, because such inaction masquerades as kindness.

    Yeah…. Don’t we have laws on the books in civil society about child neglect and child abandonment? Kinda said when the world needs to be a light to us Christians.

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