Friday, April 25, 2008

Working both sides of the Commandments

So Pastor Hall got me thinking about the 8th commandment after his excellent post. To sum - whenever one points out stupidity or false doctrine, folks start saying - "don't violate the 8th Commandment!" That seems to have become the mantra of the Synod Bureaucracy.

Now, I can understand the importance of the 8th commandment. My sermons are here - if you've read you've seen me harp to no end on the dangers of gossip. Yes - we are to show love and put the best construction on everything. But here is the problem that I have with how the 8th commandment is abused today.

When Luther explains the commandments he rejects the idea that they are simply negative. The 5th commandment is not just "Don't kill" - it's not just "Don't physically harm" - but rather also implies "Do help, do physical good to your neighbor."

The 8th Commandment isn't just "Don't tell lies" - it's not just implying that we don't speak - rather it informs how we are to speak. Our words are to be words that show and demonstrate love to our neighbor. And here's the thing that people don't realize. If you are acting like a snake and a viper - it is me loving my neighbor to point out your heresy so that you don't lead others to hell.

"But, but, but you need to put the best construction on everything!" Good. You don't mean to be teaching false doctrine - you don't want to be evil - but you are, so people, stop up your ears and refuse to listen to them - spurn them as you would the Super Apostles of Galatians.

You see - the 8th Commandment is also about truth. There is a love of truth - and a love of He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The 8th Commandment directs us towards speaking truly - not towards being silent and all just getting along.

The 8th Commandment is about being faithful - faithful to the God who shows love and mercy to sinners - not about being faithful to some Chamberlinesque peace-in-our-time approach to false doctrine.

We know what we must say. Especially those of us who occupy the Office of the Public Ministry. We must know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified - and if something is not Christ and Him Crucified - we must speak against it. Know nothing but Christ.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your helpfully instructive thoughts on the 8th commandment. One of the things I especially appreciated:

Chamberlinesque peace-in-our-time approach

There is a ton of historic wisdom in that one phrase! :)

Barbara said...

Is anyone going to come forward and claim they do the commandments with out sin? It seems the implication that the bureaucracy is giving, is that they don't sin. And of course if we complain about them, we do sin. That's nonsense. Jesus came for real sinners, including the leadership of the LCMS. Which is why we live and move and have our being in Him, or we are sunk. We are not sinless, but these folks seriously goofed and should repent for taking the church into the morass of American Evangelicalism. Extreme Theology has it right. They are very busy destroying our grandfather's church. And of course (according to them) we have been very, very bad, for saying so. Well, okay, I'm bad then.
So I'll be the first to apologize to the sensitive bureaucrats...I am sorry for saying anything bad about you, please forgive me, but could you please stop wrecking the LCMS.