Here's the section that jumped out at me, and (strangely enough) is where the book naturally opened when I took it off the shelf (was this a nudge, Dr. Lull? You never were subtle.)
He's writing on page 153 about Article 8 of the Augsburg Confession which he quotes:
Again, although the Christian church, properly speaking, is nothing else than the assembly of all believers and saints, yet because in this life many false Christians, hypocrites, and even open sinners remain among the godly, the sacraments are efficacious even if the priests who administer them are wicked men, for as Christ himself indicated, "The Pharisees sit on Moses' seat" (Matt. 23:2) Accordingly the Donatiasts and all others who hold contrary views are condemned.Then Dr. Lull adds his commentary:
Here the church is viewed from yet another angle. God's sustaining grace means that the church can continue to be the church even though it contains "many false Christians, hypocrites, and even open sinners." Because the church lives by God's grace rather than human holiness, it can survive even this internal weakness. In fact, since human motives are known only to God, the church can continue without having to try to separate true from false (and possibly, through blindness, losing some of the true beleivers and real saints in the process.) Even if some of the clergy be wicked persons, the church can endure, since it is no more founded on the excellence of the pastors than on the holiness of the people.
Who will speak the truth of the Lutheran Confessions like this to us today?
Post a Comment