Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Be an American is to be a Heretic and Tyrant

Here is what Luther says about heresy:

(From a sermon in 1521 on Luke 17) The word “heresy” comes from the Greek language. "Airein" means to choose, select, and separate. Therefore heresy means a separate, selected, self-made, individualistic doctrine and manner of faith and life, apart from the commonly accepted ones. . . . therefore the word “heretic” really designates a person who is self-willed in matters pertaining to God, a queer fellow (Sonderling) who knows of something better and chooses his own way to heaven, a way the ordinary Christian does not travel. This vice the last of the doctors [of the Church] call singularitatem, capitositatem, etc., singularness, bigheadedness.

Now, what does this mean? It means that each and every American is, at his very core (use of the word intended) a heretic, and not only are we heretics, we are raised from childhood onward to believe not only that we have a God-given right to be a heretic and choose our own will, but we have come to understand that is our patriotic duty to become a tyrant as well, forcing the whims of our personal heresy upon our neighbors.

Don't believe it? Ever call for a vote to force another person to cave to your whim? Ever done so in the Church? Ever move beyond the Scriptures or the Confessions which expound them? Ever demand some point of your own order that did not point to Christ as the Savior of sinners, of whom you are chief?

Then you, my friend, are a heretic. You are a tyrant. You would wrest peoples' eyes off the Word of God and Christ Jesus and onto your own dreams. And God be merciful to me, I am one too.

We are a nation that values choice over revelation - whether it is our choice for freedom to do that which we are not to do or our choice for order and regulation that will force our wayward neighbors to be "good" as we see it. We are a nation that values our own hard work over the salvific work of Christ. We are a nation that demands to be given luxuries for this life while spurning the things of life eternal.

And the arrogance of it all - half of us think we are God's favorite nation.

So, how about it? Can you be bigheaded? Can you be singular - in terms of your lament that you are the only one who really gets it. . . how the fellows in your circuit and district are less than you (well, maybe not so and so, but sheesh!)?

You are a queer fellow, demanding your own desires. I know you are - I do it too, I see it in myself, and I see my vileness dimly reflected in you. Repent, pray, and be focused upon Christ Jesus, whom you do not choose. No, He has chosen you for salvation and forgiveness and redemption. Simply be forgiven and delight in His good will for you.

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