Saturday, December 16, 2006

Roundtable 2: Reader Discussion

Readers may comment on the Roundtable 2 post here. Comments posted on the post itself are reserved for the blog authors.


Pastor Olson said...

The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology
By Charles Porterfield Krauth

Confession of Faith.
Standing really upon the everlasting foundation of this Rule of Faith, we stand of necessity on the faith, of which it is the rule. It is not the truth as it lies, silent and unread, in the Word, but the truth as it enters from that Word into the human heart, with the applying presence of the Holy Ghost, which makes men believers. Faith makes men Christians; but Confession alone marks them as Christians. The Rule of Faith is God's voice to us; faith is the hearing of that voice, and the Confession, our reply of assent to
it. By our faith, we are known to the Lord as his; by our Confession, we are known to each other as His children. Confession of faith, in some form, is imperative. To confess Christ, is to confess what is our faith in him. As the Creed is not, and cannot be the Rule of Faith, but is its Confession merely, so the Bible, because it is the Rule of Faith, is of necessity not its Confession. The Bible can no more be any man's Creed, than the stars
can be any man's astronomy. The stars furnish the rule of the astronomer's faith: the Principia of Newton may be the Confession of his faith. If a man were examined as a candidate for the chair of astronomy in a university, and were asked, "What is your astronomical system?" and were to answer, “I accept the teaching of the stars," the reply would be, "You may think you do--so does the man who is sure that the stars move round the world, and that they are not orbs, but 'gimlet-holes to let the glory through.' We
wish to know what you hold the teachings of the stars to be? Do you receive, as in harmony with then, the results reached by Copernicus, by Galileo, by Kepler, by Newton, La Place, and Herschel, or do you think the world one great flat, and the sun and moon mere pendants to it?" “Gentlemen," replies the independent investigator, "the theories of those astronomers are human systems--man-made theories. I go out every night on the hills, and look at the stars, as God made them, through a hole in my blanket, with my own good eyes, not with a man-made telescope, or fettered by a man-made theory; and I believe in the stars and in what they teach me: but if I were to say, or write what they teach, that would be a human creed--and I am opposed to all creeds." “Very well," reply the examiners, "we wish you joy in the possession of a good pair of eyes, and feel it unnecessary to go any further. If you are unwilling to confess your faith, we will not tax your conscience with the inconsistency of teaching that faith, nor tax our own with the hazard of authorizing you to set forth in the name of the stars your own ignorant assumptions about them."
What is more clear than that, as the Rule of Faith is first, it must, by necessity of its being, when rightly used, generate a true faith? But the man who has true faith desires to have it known, and is bound to confess his faith. The Rule cannot really generate two conflicting beliefs; yet men who alike profess to accept the Rule, do have conflicting beliefs; and when beliefs conflict, if the one is formed by the Rule, the other must be formed in the face of it. Fidelity to the Rule of Faith, therefore, fidelity to the faith it teaches, demands that there shall be a Confession of the faith. The firmest friend of the Word is the firmest friend of the Creed. First, the Rule of Faith, next the Faith of the Rule, and then the Confession of Faith.

"The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology"(pp.166-167)

Rev. Alex Klages said...

The creeds are critical to the public preaching and teaching of God's Word. It gives you something to bounce your sermon ideas off of--and especially when combined with the explanations to the Creed in the Small Catechism, a decent basic summary of what ought be said with regards to who God is and how He relates to us through His Word.

Eric Phillips said...

That Krauth quotation is a good statement of the relationship between Scripture and creeds, in the generic sense of the word. Anyone who has an understanding of the faith has a "creed." It may be denominational, generational, or merely personal, but it's a creed. If he proceeds to inveigh against creeds, it's just an unexamined way of making one of the following statements: 1) My creed is better than yours, or 2) Nobody knows nothin'.

Eric Phillips said...

As for the three Creeds as distinguished from the rest of the Lutheran Confessions, they were included in their ancient form (rather than simply restated in new words) as part of the Lutheran claim to be Catholic.

One important side-effect of retaining the original words instead of just trying to restate the basic doctrines, is that you preserve the original reasoning that way, so the statement can serve as an innoculation against ancient errors the modern creed-writer might not think to oppose, but which can actually resurface very easily.

Bror Erickson said...

It has been my experience that people for some reason are afraid of Creeds. The excuse given is that they are extra-Biblical. But I don't think that this is really the reason. These same people grab onto extra-Biblical fads as if they were made of velcro. They have just been trained over many generations not to like creeds maybe for the same reason they don't like the liturgy. For so many years the church's that used creeds, and used liturgies were essentially run by unbeleiving pastors. Unbelief, ready made creeds, and liturgy became associated with each other. So did unbelief and seminary education. It is telling that liturgical renewal got its start with liberals such as archbishop Söderblom in Sweden. The people were left with a vacuum, when the Pastors turned on their Lord. They filled that vacuum with people who were teaching their version of Sola Scriptura. I think many people mistakenly see creeds, catechisms and the Book of Concord as Lutheran versions of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, written by Joseph Smith. They have a knee jerk negative reaction to these things. They need to see that Luther was the first to argue Sola Scriptura, and that the book of Concord and the Creeds do not add to the Scriptures, but summarize, expound and explain the Bible, and the Christian faith. But that takes time, and many people will simply refuse to see it.

Darian said...

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of the Faith!! This is Darian Hybl.

As far as the use and understanding of Creeds, could it be that some churches only deal with and use the creed for confession after the sermon or baptism and only teach about them in a classroom, such as confirmation or 'new member' classes?

This comes back to an issue that 'disappeared' in 'Cyberspace' when attempted to be posted, the church has distanced itself from the 'teaching' from the pulpit. It is NOT to say that Proclamation is not important, but to include the didactic aspect of preaching and teaching so these issues can be heard consistently from the pulpit. If we look no further than Luther himself who preached persistently on the Lord's Prayer, the Creed and the 10 Commandments. Yet, today we like to concentrate only on the 'pericope' of the day and make a choice to not use the opportunity from the pulpit to reaquaint people with the Chief Parts.

I can hear the keys right now responding, but that is what bible study is for!!! But again, let us remember Luther who did more teaching from the pulpit. If nothing more this should be a reminder for us during these 'biblically and confessionally illiterate' times!!!

Yours In Christ,
Darian L. Hybl

kerner said...

Does anyone know the basis for the statement that Christ descended into Hell in the Apostles' Creed? One of my sons asked me about this, so we looked it up in Concordia, but all we could find was a passage in the Formula of Concord that this is the ancient teaching of the Church. The LCMS website refers to I Peter 3:19, but doesn't say much beyond referencing that verse.

So my questions are: Is I Peter 3:19 the only basis in Scripture that supports the statement that Christ descended into Hell? Is there any other basis for the statement? And, what was the purpose of Christ's descent into Hell, and what did he do there, if we know? I would appreciate any help with this that any of you can give me. Thank you.