Saturday, June 4, 2016

But the Culture War!!!!

I'm not big on the Culture War.  Never have been.  I rolled my eyes at the Culture Warriors a decade ago (both the Liberation Gospel Leftists and the Grocery Store "Changing a Culture For Christ" Churches I saw in Oklahoma).  The point of the Church is not to somehow magically stop the sinful world from being sinful.  Rather, it is to preach the Gospel.

I found a couple of Luther quotes that had been on Bulletins back from 2007 and 2008 for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity.  Consider them for a moment, especially in light of the Culture War.

No Need to Repay the Poor World in Kind
(From a sermon on 1 John 3:13-18) Whom is the world harming with its hatred? It will not succeed in taking from you the [eternal] life you have and it does not have, nor will it subject you to the death which you have already escaped through Christ. If it does much, it may slander you with bad words, take your possessions or your rotten, stinking carcass, which is bound to decay anyway, so that you are actually promoted into life through the death of the body.
       And so you are avenged on the world much more than it is avenged on you. You have the joy of being translated from death into life, whereas the world must remain in death forever. Moreover, while the world imagines it is depriving you of both kingdoms, heaven and earth, it must lose body and soul. How could its hatred and envy be punished and avenged more terribly? In order not to please the devil and the world and, still more, not to injure yourself, you should so act as not to let your salvation and comfort be spoiled on account of the world and lose this treasure because of impatience and a desire for revenge. In fact, you should much rather take pity on the world’s wretchedness and damnation; for you lose nothing but only gain, for all that, while the world has nothing but loss. And for the small loss which you do suffer materially and temporally it must pay you an exorbitant price both here and there.

Ingratitude Has Made Many Lose the Word
(In Luther’s diary in 1538 he points out that when people become unthankful for the Word, they fall away) God willing, we shall put forth an effort to leave to our posterity a true church and school, so that they may be equipped to teach and to govern. Nevertheless, the ingratitude and the irreverence of the world terrify me. Therefore I fear that this light will not long endure, not over fifty years. It has always run its course. In the times of the patriarchs it flourished for a while – under Adam, Noah, Lot, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Josiah, Hezekiah. But Ba’al dominated the intervals between them and had to be uprooted periodically. Consider the course of the Word in the time of Christ. It did not stay fifty years. Indeed, the heresies of false brothers soon rose in the times of the Apostles. Thereupon Arius reared his head. Thereupon Ambrose, Hilary, Augustine again restored the Word, whereupon the Vandals and Lombards again put it out. Then Greece, too, and other regions had it. So it continued to migrate.

Now, consider both of these quotes.  Shall we get agitated and freaked out when (not if, but when) the world hates us and messes with us?  No.  Shall we abandon the Gospel and shift our focus to fighting the world?  By no means!  The Gospel is our victory both now and eternally.

Yet what so often happens.  We become unthankful for the Word.  The Gospel that gives life now seems less important, less vital than fighting the latest social issue or political campaign.  After the Vandals and Lombards came, they wanted the Pope to become a political leader... and he did... with the best of intentions.  Yet we see where that led.

Preacher!  Tend to the Gospel of Christ Jesus that gives life everlasting!

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