The Weekend Word

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62 Responses

  1. em... again says:

    so many things come to mind as i read here… lots’ of theology indeed, but i am not a teacher…

  2. Jean says:

    MLD,

    This is one of my favorite installments of your series on Matthew. I suppose if I was a Calvinist, I would not be too pleased with you, but I’m not. 🙂

    Regarding this point:

    “He is exclusive in that you must do it God’s way – you wear God’s wedding garment – you don’t come in the garments of your own making.

    Besides Baptism, which the apostle Paul writes: puts on Christ; what other ways td we “do it God’s way”? Thanks.

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    I think just as God gives the wedding garment, our only response is to accept it. Just as Jesus gives us his promises in the waters of baptism, our only response is to receive them. The same with his offer of promise in the body and blood – receive and move on. The same with the absolution and his word.

    But what do we see in much of American Christianity – the rejection of Jesus’ garments and the “I did it my way” come to Jesus. 😉

  4. em... again says:

    ahem, i don’t equate, “i didn’t do it the Lutheran way” with “I did it my way” 🙂

    “Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

    “Just as I am, and waiting not
    To rid my soul of one dark blot;
    To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

    “Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt;
    Fightings within, and fears without,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

    “Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
    Yes, all I need, in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

    “Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
    Because Thy promise I believe,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

    “Just as I am, Thy love unknown
    Has broken every barrier down;
    Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

    do what you wish as you walk on with your theology and doctrines of choice, but many a soul now walks with God after responding to these words (don’t jump on the “riches” thing as our riches are in Christ Jesus (doesn’t mean a big bank account)

    now i’m off to see what’s going on in London…

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, bad theology put to music doesn’t make it any more acceptable. The guy Jesus was speaking of who had no wedding garment was probably singing every stanza of that song. See what it got him?

  6. JoelG says:

    So if I understand you correctly, MLD, what you are saying is that one can trust, submit to, pray to and follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior their whole lives in a church with an incorrect view of the Sacraments and Jesus will cast them out?

  7. JoelG says:

    And I know what’s coming next….

    How are you trusting Christ when you deny His words: “This IS my body….”

    So I guess my question is, is there grace for those who get this wrong?

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel G, I guess you did not understand me correctly. How did you come up with that?
    But I will ask this – is there a definite scriptural meanie to the words trust, submit, pray, and follow, or is it all open to what each individual thinks.
    Why was the guy with no wedding garment cast out? Perhaps he was a faithful follower of God, but refusing a wedding garment was what his church had taught. Perhaps he was taught “just as you are currently clothed” (put to music of course) was appropriate to approach God.
    Perhaps it is based totally on how we think we should be allowed to enter the wedding feast. “Hold my beer Jesus – I’m going in. 😉

  9. JoelG says:

    “is there a definite scriptural meaning to the words trust, submit, pray, and follow, or is it all open to what each individual thinks.”

    These are all things that come with faith in Christ.

    It’s your comment to Em that confuses me. When I read those lyrics I hear a sinner simply asking Jesus for His Mercy and Forgiveness. Am I reading this wrong?

  10. JoelG says:

    The wedding garment is simply faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior, I thought.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, a saved sinner or an unsaved sinner singing the song?

  12. JoelG says:

    Unsaved. When I hear “Just as I am” I hear “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner”. I don’t hear “Just as I am, I think I’m good enough”.

    Maybe I don’t get out enough, but I can’t imagine any orthodox Christian church, of which American evangelical churches belong, teaching and believing we can stand before the Lord clothed in our own self-righteousness. Every evangelical church I’m familiar with, anyhow.,

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Unsaved sinners AKA unbelievers hate God. How can they ask mercy and forgiveness from a God they hate or don’t believe in?

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    3what if, and I am saying if so I don’t blow this up, but what if the Bible says the way you are clothed in Jesus is through baptism? What if?

  15. JoelG says:

    Ok so we are given these garments through Baptism, the Eucharist, His Word…

    We have nothing to do with it, other than receiving in gratitude by faith.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, yes – close enough for late Sat nite theology.

  17. JoelG says:

    🙂

    Thank you for indulging me. When you have an opportunity again, can you explain this:

    “but refusing a wedding garment was what his church had taught.”

    In what specific ways does American Christianity reject Jesus’ garments?

    For instance, turning Baptism into something we “do for God” or making it “a public declaration” of our faith?

    Is this what you mean by rejecting Jesus’ Garments?

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, you may be over thinking this. Its a parable. The point Jesus is making is that he has prepared the feast and has invited the guests. The guests refuse the invitation (Calvinism goes out the window).
    So Jesus opens it up and invites everyone – it even says the bad and the good.

    Through all of that, there still must have been a qualifier to get in (even if the qualifier is provided by Jesus). Now what you asked was isn’t there mercy at the other end if I didn’t meet the qualifier? I don’t know. Even though Jesus is the one who unilaterally issues the wedding garment, and all are invited, notice that the king didn’t walk up to this guy, put his arm around him and say “son, come with me to the dressing room and let’s get you some proper clothing I guess you weren’t taught properly.”
    We don’t see that. Your thought?

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The important thing to see in this passage is what I have pointed out since the middle chapters – Jesus has been telling us he is done with old Israel and has now been gathering his new Israel. The Church.

    Here I think we see the final death blow to old Israel – a casting out – not a setting aside to be dealt with at a later date.

    The replacement crew, the bad and the good now become The Church – those in the wedding feast. At least that’s the way I see it. 🙂

  20. JoelG says:

    Thanks MLD. This makes sense.

    I am over thinking this. I just wonder why this poor fellow without a garment is at the feast to begin with.

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

    I will leave it to Holy Mystery how it all works knowing that our God loves and judges perfectly.

  21. JoelG says:

    “… if those that were called to a feast did not have their own festive garments, they received garments at the entrance from the steward of the house. Anyone who refused to receive such a garment upon arrival expressed thereby disdain and even contempt for the master of the house, as if saying: “I shall eat and drink with thee, but I want nothing to do with thee.”

    -Fr Victor Patapov

    To sum up what I believe this parable is saying (tell me if I’m wrong), the wedding garment is Christs righteousness and Lordship. How we receive His garment is through faith.

    Very simple….

  22. JoelG says:

    Christs righteousness = He is our substitute

    Christs Lordship = We need to do what He says.

  23. Michael says:

    “The guests refuse the invitation (Calvinism goes out the window).”

    “Through all of that, there still must have been a qualifier to get in (even if the qualifier is provided by Jesus).”

    Which is classic Calvinism coming back through the window…

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And what if the manner Jesus has chosen to clothe us in his righteousness, the manner that he chooses to receive us is through the word and sacraments? If his handing out garments is through the words “this baptism saves…” or it is through his words, eat, drink, this is my body and my blood. What if those are the garments he is passing out?… and we say, no baptism does not save and no, this is not his body and blood -is it possible that we have refused his wedding garments?

    But now I have gone too far with the parable.

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I jus.t threw that in just to get you started. 😉

  26. JoelG says:

    It’s possible MLD, but there’s too much in Scripture that points to simple faith as being salvific, as well. Why can’t it be both/and? Without faith, why would one partake in His body and blood? Peter writes that Baptism saves. How can I argue?

    Ultimately faith (given to us by hearing the Word) is what saves. A mustard seed at that. And that is enough.

  27. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    I think you’re on it.
    Regardless of ones theological “jersey” , there is a mystery to election.
    All I know is that when the Lord found me,my theology was terrible…and when I get home I will probably find that it didn’t get much better.

  28. JoelG says:

    Thank you Michael. Those are humble words.

  29. Jean says:

    Joel,

    Faith is simple, but it’s not easy. Human beings want assurance. God wants to assure us.

    We cannot ascend to heaven for that assurance, so He descends to us in created things to give us assurance. This is the consistent picture throughout the Bible, whether Moses’ staff, the brazen serpent, the river Jordan, etc.

    Yes, the Word and the Spirit always, but in physical means: preachers, water, bread and wine. In all of these, God signifies that He forgives us, loves us, saves us, etc.

    When Christians are deprived of these physical signs, they turn to self-chosen works, such as altar calls, sinner’s prayers, re-dedications, emotion-driven worship experiences, charasmatic phenomena, inward witness, etc.

    God, on the other hand, gives us sure signs, external signs, objective sins, which provide actually assurance. We should not despise His means of grace.

  30. Jean says:

    Last paragraph in #29,

    “sins” should be “signs”

    “actually” should be “actual”

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, what is simple faith if not scripture saying repent and be baptize for the forginess of your sin and to receive the holy spirit — and in simple faith we do that unto salvation?

    What is simple faith if not to hear Jesus say this is my body / blood – eat and drink to receive the new covenant and the forgiveness of your sin… and we do it.

    Isn’t that simple faith, to hear the word oh God and just do it? Now I do put a lot of blame who pretty much say those things are hogwash and won’t teach properly.

  32. JoelG says:

    Thank you guys. I am going to carefully consider your words.

  33. em... again says:

    i confess that i thought leaving the words to that dear hymn would tweak MLD’s beak – one does have to understand the words before critiquing it – it isn’t right to cherry-pick, half read and take exception, though … just disagree honestly, say that you do not believe in salvation apart from baptism – that baptism is not an act of obedience and a demonstration of the miracle of the new life, but rather the water itself is what saves

    and all along i thot Jesus’ words referred to the self righteous Pharisees of the day and the resulting call then going out to the gentile world … dunno

    “heaven will be filled with the good and the bad.” no heaven won’t hold any bad people, yes, formerly all bad people, but upon arrival – all changed, all good and it is the hall which is filled, i don’t think we will fill heaven wall to wall … however, the number of the redeemed will be a full head-count, agreeing on that

    just an in and out – a drive by – which i leave here with no intent of entering into the finer points of theological discussion that so many here do so well and with good results (mostly)

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, bad theology is bad theology even when set in a sappy song. It has nothing to do with baptism.

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    #27 Michael

    “All I know is that when the Lord found me,my theology was terrible…and when I get home I will probably find that it didn’t get much better.”

    This is the state with all of us. Those who have absolute certainty of their theological positions are usually, if not always, absolutely wrong. God has a tendency to “color outside the lines”. This is infuriating to those who have rigid systems, hermeneutics, distinctions, etc. God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. It is what he did in the sending of his Son.

    Beyond the doctrine, the confessions, the so-called certainties, what I know is that God loves us and continually calls us back to Himself. For me, this is what the church should be about beyond all else. Baptism calls us back to Himself, the Eucharist calls us back to Himself, a sermon may call us back to Himself, encountering Christ in the poor and the despised calls us back to Himself. By trying to make ourselves wise, we become foolish.

    So, when we get there, my brother, I’ll stand beside you with my shabby theology, and we’ll both be lost in wonder, love, and awe…

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And yet this poor guy was called by Jesus to the wedding feast, entered as requested and apparently did not do something right or did not know or confess something he should have known and was cast out on his keester.

    At what point in church history did it become acceptable to say that we cannot understand the Bible and that we cannot know the will of God?

    I know with American Lutherans it began in the mid 70s when what was to later become the ELCA began to deny basic doctrine, calling out anyone who claimed to understand God’s word to the point of themselves denying any meaning to doctrine. Just being a good old boy would now become the symbol of proper Christianity.

    Got Garments?

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #37
    unresponsive & dismissive… but cute

  38. JoelG says:

    #35 – Thank you Duane.

    This rings so true to me. And it isn’t dismissive of Lutheran doctrine. It’s an acknowledgment that we worship the Person of Christ who is continually calling us back to Himself in many ways, as you say.

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    My position (as stated in my commentary v 10-14) is not particularly Lutheran doctrine. It is the the doctrine of any part of the Church down through history that believes God calls, God receives and God keeps us through particular physical means.

    In other words God has chosen the means in which one comes. Unlike as I stated in v 12, “But how many times have we heard and even seen encouraged by some churches “hey, if God wants me he is going to have to take me just as I am.”

  40. Duane Arnold says:

    #39 JoelG

    You are welcome, my friend.

  41. Xenia says:

    I love the hymn “Just as I Am.” I see no problem with it at all.

  42. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wonderful song.

  43. Michael says:

    “Got Garments?”

    We all think we’re clothed properly.

    The problem is that each of our traditions will define those garments differently and there will be a measure of truth in all of them.

    “At what point in church history did it become acceptable to say that we cannot understand the Bible and that we cannot know the will of God?”

    We have to be honest about this. We all understand the Bible the Scriptures in different, (sometimes radically different) ways.

    I’m ok with that as long as we’re grounded in the fundamental creeds of the church and the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    As a side note, my sermon last night prominently featured the old spiritual “Peace in the Valley”… I got all choked up…

  44. JoelG says:

    MLD. and thank God for those means. I miss confession and absolution in the Lutheran church every week like nobody’s business. I know that it’s for our benefit. I also think He calls us by in the ways Duane listed.

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    The garment is Christ. Christ is the Wedding Garment provided by the Father. If you want to take part in the wedding feast, you can only come in under His terms, under His son. The people called in off the street were all filthy sinners who came in “just as I am”. The difference is that they were covered by the wedding garment.

  46. Xenia says:

    As many who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    The argument here is the definition of “baptized.”

  47. Jean says:

    “As many who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    The argument here is the definition of “baptized.” ”

    I like the definition provided in the New Testament.

  48. Xenia says:

    I like that definition, too, Jean. I believe baptism does now save us and I’m talking about water baptism.

  49. JoelG says:

    Josh that’s what I think too. “Just as I am” a sinner that needs forgiveness from Jesus.

  50. Duane Arnold says:

    St. Augustine thought the wedding garment was love…

    “What is the wedding garment? Let us search for it in the Holy Scriptures. What is the wedding garment? Without doubt it is something which the bad and good have not in common; let us discover this, and we shall discover the wedding garment. Among the gifts of God, what have not the good and bad in common? That we are men and not beasts, is a gift of God; but this is common to good and bad. That the light from heaven rises upon us, that the rain descends from the cloud, the fountains flow, the fields yield their fruit; these are gifts, but common to the good and bad. Let us go to the marriage feast, let us leave the others without, who being called come not. Let us consider the guests themselves, that is, Christians. Baptism is a gift of God, the good and bad have it. The Sacraments of the Altar the good and bad receive together. Saul prophesied for all his wickedness, and in his rage against a holy and most righteous man, even while he was persecuting him, he prophesied. Are the good only said to believe? The devils also believe and tremble. What shall I do? I have sifted all, and have not yet come to the wedding garment. I have unfolded my envelopings, I have considered all, or almost all, and have not yet come to that garment. The Apostle Paul in a certain place has brought me a great collection of excellent things; he has laid them open before me, and I have said to him, Show me, if so be you have found among them that ‘wedding garment.’ He begins to unfold them one by one, and to say, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, though I have all knowledge, and the gift of prophecy, and all faith, so that I could remove mountains; though I distribute all my goods to the poor, and give my body to be burned. Precious garments! nevertheless, there is not yet here that wedding garment. Now bring out to us the wedding garment. Why do you keep us in suspense, O Apostle? Peradventure prophecy is a gift of God which both good and bad have not. If, says He, I have not charity, nothing profits me. See the wedding garment; put it on, you guests, that you may sit down securely. Do not say; we are too poor to have that garment. Clothe others, and you are clothed yourselves. It is winter, clothe the naked. Christ is naked; and He will give you that wedding garment whosoever have it not. Run to Him, beseech Him; He knows how to sanctify His faithful ones, He knows how to clothe His naked ones. That ye may be able as having the wedding garment to be free from the fear of the outer darkness, and the binding of your members and hands and feet; let not your works fail. If they fail, with hands bound what can you do? With feet bound, whither will you fly? Keep then that wedding garment, put it on, and so sit down in security, when He comes to inspect. The Day of Judgment will come; He is now giving a long space, let him who erewhile was naked now be clothed.”

  51. Xenia says:

    The theme of “Just as I Am” is that I am a wretched sinner who needs Christ who doesn’t expect me to clean myself up before turning to Him, that He will do the cleaning up after I come to Him. It’s directed at certain people who think they are beyond God’s saving grace. It’s a call to people in their wretchedness.

    The Lord is saying “I will take you just as you are but I will not leave you just as you are.”

  52. Xenia says:

    If Lutheranism teaches something else…. Lord have mercy on them.

  53. Josh the Baptist says:

    John Mark McMIllan – Dress Us Up :

    “Dress us up
    In your righteousness
    Bring us in with a
    Ring and a kiss
    When you walk into the room
    you Know i can’t resist
    Every bottle of perfume always ends
    Up on the floor in a mess”

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wonder if after say 10 comments if anyone reads the article or just comments on the comments?

    I said in v.11 – “There is the old pre communion hymn / prayer;
    “Strip off from us the spotted garments of our flesh and of our own righteousness and adorn us with the garments of the righteousness that you have purchased with your blood.”

    I said in v.10 – Note this – heaven will be filled with the good and the bad.
    Note this – heaven will be full.
    Note this – heaven will be filled with people who were found.

    I said in v.14 – “He is exclusive in that you must do it God’s way…”
    “He is inclusive in that he offers the wedding garment to all… ”

    It’s funny that I don’t think anyone commented on the first 9 verses where Jesus declares he is done with Israel. 🙂

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    Would you rather no one comment?!?

  56. Xenia says:

    It’s funny that I don’t think anyone commented on the first 9 verses where Jesus declares he is done with Israel<<<

    Maybe we're all tired of that discussion and didn't want to get it going again for the hundreth time.

  57. JoelG says:

    “As a side note, my sermon last night prominently featured the old spiritual “Peace in the Valley”… I got all choked up…”

    This is so cool…..

    🙂

  58. Josh the Baptist says:
  59. Josh the Baptist says:

    Another good one.

  60. Michael says:

    I love both versions…that song is part of my religious heritage.
    Unfortunately half the church had never even heard of it…

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