A Laymen’s Commentary on the Smalcald Articles: Monastic Vows

This is part 20 of 21 in the series A Laymen's Commentary on the Smalcald Articles

Part III, Article XIV. Of Monastic Vows.

1] As monastic vows directly conflict with the first chief article, they must be absolutely abolished. For it is of them that Christ says, Matt. 24:5,23ff : I am Christ, etc. 2] For he who makes a vow to live as a monk believes that he will enter upon a mode of life holier than ordinary Christians lead, and wishes to earn heaven by his own works not only for himself, but also for others; this is to deny Christ. 3] And they boast from their St. Thomas that a monastic vow is equal to Baptism. This is blasphemy [against God].

Monastic vows go against the chief article as they are thought to grant grace in and of themselves. That being a monk is somehow more holy than any other form of living. Thus they should be abolished (Matthew 24).

Monastic vows are even put at the same level as Baptism by Thomas Aquinas.  This is blasphemous. Monastic vows are just that, human vows. They merit nothing before God.  Thus they must be completely rejected.

1 I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

2 I bind this day to me forever,
By pow’r of faith, Christ’s incarnation,
His Baptism in the Jordan River,
His cross of death for my salvation,
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.

3 I bind unto myself today
The pow’r of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to harken to my need,
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The Word of God to give me speech,
His heav’nly host to be my guard.

4 Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile foes that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In ev’ry place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me those holy pow’rs.

5 I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
Salvation is of Christ the Lord!

(LSB 604)

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