Great Stuff — What the United States, Louisiana, a Zombie, and the LCMS Have in Common

A great post found over on Pastor Paul R. Harris’s blog, St. Antony’s Cave:

 

TrinityAustin2There may be many more than one thing these all have in common, but I can only think of one.  They refuse to call things what they are.

The United States, or more properly the Obama administration, refused to call the military overthrow of a democratically elected ruler a coupe because that meant the U.S. would be forced to hold back over a billion dollars in aid to Egypt.  The State of Louisiana refused to call floating casinos gambling institutions because the constitution expressly prohibited gambling in the state. The law legalizing gambling called it gaming.

You seldom see a LCMS church admitting they practice open Communion.  You will find that among the ELCA, the Methodists, and others. I sincerely applaud their honesty.  Among the LCMS you will find people practicing close Communion and calling it closed.  They report to visitors what the LCMS believes about Communion and leave it up to them decide whether to commune. More practice open Communion but won’t call it that. They call it responsibly administering Communion or even administering Communion according to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

This is laughable.  This is reminiscent of the decadent time of the Judges when the son who stole 1,100 pieces of sliver from his mother was called blessed by the Lord rather than a thief.  It’s never a good thing when the insanity that the world swallows is found in the church.

What about the zombie?  That comes from a Sprint commercial.  A zombie walks into a cell phone store to ask about their lifetime unlimited talk, text and data guarantee.  He’s making zombie sounds and has the desiccated, deformed flesh and face of a zombie. He asks the salesclerk if their unlimited plans apply to someone “who say technically was not alive like maybe you were undead.”  She replies, “You mean like a zombie?”  He says, “Whoa let’s not go putting labels on people.”  The punch line is that his ear drops off and then he quickly, shamefacedly says, “I’m a zombie.”

A zombie has more integrity than pastors and congregations practicing close or open Communion and refusing to be called what they are.  It will take more than an ear dropping off of them for them to admit what they are.  Hopefully, it won’t take as much as the weakness, sickness, and death St. Paul warns of.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — What the United States, Louisiana, a Zombie, and the LCMS Have in Common — 128 Comments

  1. Some constructive and helpful things for dealing with open communion in your church…(hopefully).

    1. Ask your elder or pastor to consider changing your communion statement. At my church we had the typical explanation concluding with some form of “…and please speak with the pastor if you wish to commune.” I got the impression that visitors rarely read through the entire statement before reaching that sentence. So we changed the communion statement and simply moved that sentence to the very beginning. Now the first thing our communion statement says is, “If you are not a member of our church please speak with the pastor before communing today.” With that small change I noticed almost immediately that many more visitors were seeking me out prior to the service starting rather than myself or an elder needing to identify and speak with them.

    2. Let your elder and/or your pastor know you support close/closed communion. Elders and pastors are people too. They are sinners just like us all. It may be that behind the scenes they are getting heavy pressure from proponents of open communion and are afraid to change lest their job be in jeopardy. Maybe what they need to hear is that they have support from the other side as well.

    3. Make an appointment to talk with your elder or pastor one on one. Ask them to explain what they are doing. When you listen you may find new ways to help address the problem.

    4. Perhaps your pastor and elders feel overwhelmed with the number of visitors and feel a simple statement is the easiest way to deal with it. Volunteer to be a greeter and help identify visitors and direct them to the proper practice regarding communion. A good greeter program and good volunteers can do wonders in helping point out proper communion practice to visitors.

    5. If able, volunteer to serve as an elder. As part of your spiritual care for your pastor encourage and lead him to change the open communion practice. Volunteer as an elder to help identify visitors on Sunday and explain to them closed communion so that the pastor can focus on preparing for worship.

    6. Pray. Pray for your pastor. Pray for your church. Pray for your elder.

    Anyone may feel free to add to this.
    In Christ,
    Rev. McCall

  2. @Rev. McCall #49
    All good Pastor, but I fear that all written communion statements are inadequate in themselves. A pastor who relies on them is not “overwhelmed,” but at some deep level he is “scared.”

    What it takes, is the vested pastor in front of the congregation during the pre-service announcements to say (out loud) “today we are celebrating the Lord’s Supper, if you have been prepared to receive this sacrament in the LC-MS or one of our partner churches you are welcome to commune, if not please hold off, and talk w/ me after the service. Anyone wanting to receive a blessing please come to the altar w/ your arms crossed over your chest.” or words to that effect. If you don’t recognize a potential communicant, ask.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  3. @Matthew Mills #50
    I tried to gear the suggestions more towards laity, but one could certainly encourage their pastor to do that also! Great though! It never hurts to have it in more than one form. I personally say it on Sunday, it is in our bulletin, plus every person gets a communion registration card with it printed on it handed to them as they come in. That way if someone walks in late and or isn’t paying attention we have (hopefully) our bases covered in triplicate!

  4. @Matthew Mills #50 Indeed. Pastor Harris, author of the blog post Norm shared here that we are all discussing, reads this before communion every Sunday. (This is also on the website and in the bulletin, but, often a visitor may not have read those things.)

    “We welcome all of you to our celebration of Holy Communion this morning. Because of the sad divisions that exist in Christianity today, we cannot invite all of you to the Lord’s Table. Trinity practices closed communion, which means we commune active members of Trinity and those guests who have been invited to commune prior to the service. If you are a guest and have not spoken to our pastor today, please do not come forward to receive Communion.”

    The extended version (on the website here: http://www.trinityaustin.com/pages/communion.php) makes it clear that guests must still speak with the Pastor, and at least 15 minutes prior to the service. That is important logistically. Guests who are more prepared will often do so in advance even before Sunday.

  5. @Matthew Mills #50

    Matt Mills,

    A sincere inquiry. I know of two questions those who approach the communion rail are to be able to answer … “Why do you come?” And “What do you expect to receive?” The answers are interchangeable … Essentially this … “I come to partake of the Christ’s Body and Blood, and I expect to receive the forgiveness of my sins.”

    What then is the “blessing” received by those who come and cross their arms? Where is this particular practice instituted in Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper? Does “anyone” coming for the crossed arm blessing include those not of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and who hold a contrary teaching of the Lord’s Supper than what is taught at this altar? If so, then what does blessing them at the same altar during the Lord’s Supper confess?

    As I said before, this is a sincere inquiry. I have heard of this practice but never quite understood it nor found any biblical basis for it. Your insights would be helpful.

    Thank you.

    J. Gier

  6. FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    Rev. James Gier :
    Does “anyone” coming for the crossed arm blessing include those not of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and who hold a contrary teaching of the Lord’s Supper than what is taught at this altar? If so, then what does blessing them at the same altar during the Lord’s Supper confess?
    J. Gier

  7. @Rev. James Gier #5
    (NOTE) This is for those that have a custom of blessing at the Altar Rail.

    I must chime in…in a way, you are right…why come?
    Back to the WELS custom, all friends of the Church, leave…then we dine at the Holy Table.
    First, Service of the Word, then a pause and the Service of the Sacrament begins for only those that can and will (should) attend.

    I can see the children of the fellowship coming up, and being reminded of their Baptism, as they prepare to dine.

    But as BJS would most likely say, stay seated, the Service and the Word you hear is blessing enough. And I agree.

  8. @Pastor Ted Crandall #6

    More food for thought; We have this doctrine of objective justification and believe that the Means of Grace are efficacious. Someone who comes to the altar for a blessing at least to me expresses a positive want of something regardless of where they are spiritually. We all have a conscience that we listen to or ignore. Can anyone provide a passage that would hint at discouraging this practice?

  9. @Rev. James Gier #5
    Well, the blessing of non-communicants was not my primary point. My main point was that however hard-core and iron-clad your communion statement, your pastor cannot make the assumption that everyone coming to the rail has read it and subscribes to it. The sad fact is that in order to rightly administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper he has to get up on his hind legs, and announce the requirements for communing at an LC-MS altar, and be willing to exclude folks who hear him, but do not obey.

    I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the practice of blessing non-communicants at the altar, or a partisan of it. W/ a gun to my head I guess I would say that I assume it began as a blessing for catechumens (whether formally enrolled or not)–folks that are in the Divine Service, but do not yet meet the requirements for full altar fellowship. If there is a great harm in doing that, please explain it to me. If there is a class of sinner who would be harmed by receiving a Trinitarian blessing, I’m not sure what that class of sinner might be. If there is harm that is passed on to the communicants by the practice of blessing catechumens at the altar, I’m not sure what that harm would be. Still, I am willing to be instructed.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  10. @Matthew Mills #9

    Thank you, Matt, for your response. It is not my intent to put you on the spot. I have always appreciated your posts and the many times they help shed light on clouded issues, not to mention how they do speak to the points being addressed and have edified the discussions. I am grateful to be in discussion with such a faithful brother.

    Your original point is right on and well-taken.

    What comes to mind in the questions I posed is that maybe for well intentioned reasons this practice has come about, but I have yet to really hear a proper basis for adding it to the institution of Christ. In the least it is confusing, and I am not sure it has really been thought through as it should, as we should always with great care and caution make every discernment we can before we add our own ideas to the commands and institutions of Christ, that we may not teach as doctrines of God the teachings of man … or obfuscate in any way what is truly taught and instituted.

    In the Lord’s Supper we are dealing with something that Christ Himself has specifically commanded and instituted for a specific purpose and bestowal of a specific blessing. There is no question as to what He commands and what He gives and the purpose for which it is given. “This do” he says. Thus we bless the bread and wine, and so administer with it the very and true body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. What then specifically are people to come and receive? The body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. That is what this specific Sacrament is about.

    I will pose these questions again for any who have such a practice and would like to help me understand more clearly why it was added to the Sacrament of the Altar. Again, this is a sincere inquiry. While I can see more reason in doing so for those who are yet to be properly prepared for its reception, baptized children of the congregation, though they are already directly blessed in the Confession and Absolution, I am much more at a loss for why this would be done for those of other fellowships whose teachings directly contradict that of the Lord’s Supper.

    The questions again with added caveat in brackets:

    “What then is the [specific] “blessing” received by those who come and cross their arms? Where is this particular practice [specifically] instituted in Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper? Does “anyone” coming for the crossed arm blessing include those not of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and who hold a contrary teaching of the Lord’s Supper than what is taught at this altar? If so, then what does blessing them at the same altar during the Lord’s Supper [specifically] confess [and mean]?

    Mr. Joe Krohn, thank you for your willingness to respond. Since the practice of blessing those at the Communion rail who are not receiving the sacrament precisely because they are of a different fellowship who denies the very promise and purpose for which this Sacrament is instituted and given, and thus is not a specific part of that institution, I think the questions I first posed are the central questions to be answered. (It could be your question pertains more to the practice of blessing the baptized children and those preparing for Confirmation than those of different fellowships. I don’t want to insinuate wrongly) 🙂

    As far as classes of sinners … there are only two I can think of … repentant and unrepentant.

    The only thing that comes to my mind to say to those of different fellowships who would come to the Communion rail for a blessing different or other than the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, since they do not believe the Word and promise of Christ for them in the Sacrament, is this Word of Jesus,

    “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

    To say any differently seems to say that it is not a big deal to believe differently about the Supper and even so one can still come to the Lord’s table and Communion with their sin against faith intact (that is, against the Word and promise of Christ in the Supper) and still be blessed in their impenitence. I think that would be a gross confusion of Law and Gospel.

    Thanks again for your responses and the opportunity to think this through a little more.

    J. Gier

  11. @Rev. James Gier #10
    Dear Pastor,
    Sorry for the bunny trail, and again, I had no intention of proposing or advocating for this (fairly recent) liturgical innovation. To put it into the context of our open communion discussion though, It would surprise me if this practice began w/ the open communion crowd. My assumption is that this started as a Post-V2 Roman innovation. Because they take their closed altar seriously, and because they had the phenomenon of Protestant visitors, spouses etc. trooping up to their altar, and because it’s just plain awkward to have nothing to do w/ your hands, they started blessing the folks they could not commune. Given the choice of telling a baptized but non-LCMS relative, either “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) or “May God bless and keep you in your baptismal grace” I can see why pastors would prefer the later. Most importantly for our current discussion though, it’s something to do other than communing folks who have not been properly prepared and examined to receive the Lord’s Supper at our Altars.

    I haven’t much more for you Pastor, but I will add that on your question “Where is this particular practice [specifically] instituted in Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper?” there are ditches on both sides of that road. I’ve been asked similar questions by opponents of the historical Western liturgy. “Where in Christ’s institution do we have the Lord’s Prayer, or the Sanctus, or the Agnus Dei?” We aren’t restorationists. As Lutherans we don’t start w/ our Bibles and a shiny-new blank sheet of paper every Sunday. As an innovation the blessing of non-communicants starts w/ one strike against it, but if it is used as a pastoral tool to properly close what has been an open altar, I’m not inclined to lose too much sleep over the practice.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  12. Without having thought things through too much, I suppose a blessing could be a nice gesture of non-condemnation for those visitors who failed to read the bulletin note with sufficient diligence – perhaps because it never occurred to them that receiving the Sacrament could in any way be an issue – and thus find themselves at an Altar rail where they do not belong – and also an acknowledgement that they might be on the path to the faith and seeking help against their unbelief.
    As such, a blessing might help diffuse an otherwise potentially embarrassing situation, that might even endanger the decorum of the sacred rite.
    This is different, of course, from actively inviting those still committed to false confessions through church membership to come forth to receive a blessing not specifically instituted by our Lord Jesus, and in connection with the Sacrament that is indeed instituted by Him, thus running the risk of blurring the distinction between what is His most sacred ordinance, and what is not.

  13. FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    Rev. James Gier : Does “anyone” coming for the crossed arm blessing include those not of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and who hold a contrary teaching of the Lord’s Supper than what is taught at this altar? If so, then what does blessing them at the same altar during the Lord’s Supper confess?

    MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    Jais Tinglund : …actively inviting those still committed to false confessions through church membership to come forth to receive a blessing not specifically instituted by our Lord Jesus, and in connection with the Sacrament that is indeed instituted by Him, thus running the risk of blurring the distinction between what is His most sacred ordinance, and what is not.

  14. In the midst of our discussion of this topic one of my members returned from Minnesota where they worshiped at one of our congregations. As they had not talked with the pastor prior to the service they did not attend but all of their family members, none of whom were Lutheran, did go up to receive the Lord’s Supper and were given it, no questions asked. Here is the card they received in the bulletin: We believe that Christ Himself has instituted this sacrament, and His body and blood are truly present according to His Word, and that by them He delivers forgiveness of sins, life, and eternal salvation to all who believe these words: “given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:28). I have examined myself (1 Cor. 11:28) whether: (1) I am sorry for my sins; (2) I believe in the Lord Jesus as my Savior and His words in the sacrament; (3) I intend, with God’s help, to mend my sinful ways.

    This is nothing more than open communion. In other words, if you feel you meet the above qualifications, then come on up! The senior pastor of this congregation graduated in the same year that I did from CTS, F.W. Nothing else was said, either verbally, or in the bulletin, regarding the Lord’s Supper. As far as I am concerned for what ever reason this pastor was not being faithful to catechize his flock nor his guests. Perhaps he was just lazy. More likely he, like so many others, didn’t want to “offend” anyone and desired to keep everyone happy. Is it any wonder there is so much confusion among the laity within the synod!

  15. @Matthew Mills #9
    Matthew, great query. This is a discussion that I have had with others on several occasions: Where and on what occasion can/should pastors bestow a blessing? My concern is that most Christians, including pastors, have not thought through this issue but simply assume that it is an obligation that must be met. It is often done without thinking. For example: someone sneezes and we say, “bless you.” Why do we do that? I am aware of the historical foundation for it and why it was once used. It no longer applies. I will risk being labeled too “hard-nosed” but I believe that only God can actually pronounce a blessing and His people where He has so commanded. As Lutherans we believe that the Word is efficacious. IMHO to throw around the phrase “bless you” with little or no thought denies the very thing we take so seriously, i.e., that when the pastor makes a declarative statement – IT IS!

    It is for the above reason that I invite all who have not yet been fully catechized in order to receive the Lords’ Supper but have received a Christian baptism to come forward for a blessing in Christ. This has opened up more than a couple of opportunities with guests to explain why I make that requirement. I then explain what God does in baptism and its significance. This helps to remove that false notion that so many have that little children are innocent before God and therefore do not need baptism. It also alerts adults who have not been baptized as to God’s desire for them to be “washed” in Christ.

  16. @Pastor Rick Pettey #15
    Hmmm…now what to do about this?

    As before, BJS and many have said, this open communion error is as much a heresy as what was discussed in the section about the lady “playing” pastor in Sweden, or the so-called bishop in the ELCA and what path they go down. Yes, perhaps strong “BJS” language.

    We can grouse and complain about other denominations, but the offenders in our Synod?

    Ideas:

    01) Print the name of the pastor and church that is the offender, BJS always said you need to publicly call out the sin. And call him as well.

    02) Setup a BJS liturgical-confessional (closed communion following) section of congregations.

    03) Be satisfied we complained in a blog?

    I know what Moses would do, as he did when the sinners “became a laughingstock”. OK, we won’t go around strapping a sword to our side. But is this a golden calf situation (to some it is)?

    But, really BJS, what to do??????

  17. @rev. david l. prentice jr. #17
    That, Pastor Prentice, is exactly the right question: What to do about this? My post had the single intent of illustrating that open communion has been and remains a real issue within the synod. So what should we do about it? Work to bring about faithful catechesis and correction of the error. Exactly the reason that my congregation and myself are members of the ACELC. In the past I have personally contacted several pastors involved in such nonsense and have been told quite plainly that it is none of my business. That is why the name of the pastor is not the issue. If it were an isolated incident then that would be another matter entirely. This is a synod issue. Let no one think that this is not something going on throughout our synod. We must address this issue in a Christian fashion based upon Scripture and our Confessions. Those who desire to depart from the historic and faithful practice of the church should have the decency to acknowledge it and not act as if it is not an issue.

  18. Pastor Rick Pettey :
    If it were an isolated incident then that would be another matter entirely. This is a synod issue. Let no one think that this is not something going on throughout our synod. We must address this issue in a Christian fashion based upon Scripture and our Confessions. Those who desire to depart from the historic and faithful practice of the church should have the decency to acknowledge it and not act as if it is not an issue.

    Not only are they departing from the historic and faithful practice of the church, but many of these innovators paint us as harshly legalistic and unloving Pharisees for not joining them in their error. It’s bad enough that they are sinning, but they pressure the faithful to join them in their sin — painting it as love.

    Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!

    (Isaiah 5:20-21)

  19. @Mark Young #19
    Mark, Amen. You are absolutely correct. That was what I was trying (albeit poorly) to say. The laity are so badly confused because of pastors who are pretending to be Lutheran but act as anything but!

  20. @Pastor Rick Pettey #16
    Good discussion on the efficacy of blessing. I agree with Pr. Pettey: when a blessing is given in God’s name, this is not some pious wish, it’s the actually bestowal of what’s contained in that blessing. Of course, like with all giving of that sort, faith is needed for the beneficial reception of those gifts.

    As we know, our services end with the Aaronitic blessing. We have all sorts of people in church upon which that blessing is bestowed: unbelievers, believers, hypocrites, …

    I haven’t seen anybody request we withhold the blessing at the end of the service, or make it somehow conditional — “for LCMS members only.” And that’s a good thing, even though a blessing received in unbelief is certainly not a good thing.

    Because here’s where I think lies the difference between being blessed while being “in the crowd” of those attending worship on a given occasion and stepping up to the altar to get something, either a blessing or Christ’s body and blood: the latter is a peculiar confessional act where you’re saying: look, I am a Christian in faith and life. The pastor, by giving something, either a blessing or Christ’s body and blood, is saying: Yes, I know you are.

    As far as that particular function of the Lord’s Supper is concerned, it doesn’t make a difference whether you are given Christ’s body / blood or “just” Christ’s blessing. What people who come forward are expressing by doing so is the same thing. What the pastor is expressing by doing his thing is the same thing.

    I’d therefore caution against the practice of blessing non-members indiscriminately. The pastor typically doesn’t know them from Adam, as far as their beliefs or manner of life is concerned. What signal does it send if those folks step up to Christ’s altar and receive a personal blessing in that visible manner? (Somebody or even the majority in the church might know what they actually believe and how they live!)

    And let’s not kid ourselves, as said before, if the blessing is given to the unworthy (impenitent), it’s not simply without effect — it will have a negative effect on the recipient: God will not be mocked in his blessing. All his words / gifts are double-edged swords. So there’s really no safe “benefit” in “just blessing” the visitor.

    Children of members who are baptized but not confirmed yet might be a better idea, in the sense of providing them an opportunity to be reminded of their baptism, but from my personal experience, I’d have to say that my parents never took me up to the altar at that age, but I sure found my way to altar when it was time to do so, never feeling “excluded” from the church or getting lost in the sanctuary while the parents were up at the altar.

    I think we have to take a hard look at what we’re doing at the altar. Once we’ve gotten a better idea of that, and come to an agreement on that, we might have a better chance at coming to a unified practice on that count.

  21. @Pastor Rick Pettey #16

    @Holger Sonntag #25 As I was reading the postings before yours Pr. Pettey @ 16, I was thinking that this is all solved by the custom of blessing non-communicants and Baptismal candidates, then I read what you and Pr. Sonntag have written. Frankly, I never thought about such a blessing as confusing. Now I am. I thought of what is usually been called, Jesus blessing the children, or is it misnamed:

    Matthew 19: 13: Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.”(emphasis my own)

    It is not “bless” but the Lord prayed… maybe for each child. Blessing is prayer and like the Sacraments it has the characteristic of a unilateral action of God’s grace in Christ for us, e.g.”You are blessed in God’s Name…”, and thereby blessing someone in his impenitence, hardness of heart and the blessing could be construed as magic. For those not of the Communion and/or those not baptized, the invite to the Altar would be the pastor to pray for you. Prayer is directed toward the person to the Lord and it would be not as streamlined but more like, “What is your name?” “William, are you baptized?” “No” “Lord Jesus, guide William to the waters of rebirth in Your Name. Amen.”

    This is off the top of my head and open for correction. Peace.

  22. “And let’s not kid ourselves, as said before, if the blessing is given to the unworthy (impenitent), it’s not simply without effect — it will have a negative effect on the recipient: God will not be mocked in his blessing. All his words / gifts are double-edged swords. So there’s really no safe “benefit” in “just blessing” the visitor.”

    Could you show me where this is coming from? I don’t recall blessings having the same link to judgement as taking the sacrament unworthily.

    i’m inclined to dwell on εὐλογέω in matthew 5:44, which is different from προσεύχομαι in matthew 19. i don’t know that God restricts all of his blessings to just the elect. I recognize that the blessing of eternal life is restricted for ones he has chosen for salvation.

    I may be misunderstanding you.

  23. Although this does not speak specifically to the Lord’s Supper, I thought there words were very apropros to our discussion.

    In today’s readings in Treasury of Daily Prayer there is a quote in the Writing section from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that blew me away. Here it is: It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. No man builds the church but Christ alone. Whoever is minded to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it; for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess – He builds. We must proclaim – He builds. We must pray to Him – that He may build.
    We do not know HIs plan. We cannot see whether He is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are times of collapse are for Him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point of view are great times for the church are times when it is pulled down.
    It is a great comfort which Christ gives to His church: you confess, preach, bear witness to me an dI alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is my province. Do what is given to you to do well. Pay no heed to views and opinions. Don’t ask for judgments. Don’t always be calculating what will happen. Don’t always be on the lookout for another refuge! Church, stay a church! But church, confess, confess, confess! Christ alone is your Lord; from His grace alone can you live as you are. Christ builds.
    WOW!!!

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