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The Reformation: Preserving the Truth

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary the 95 Thesis being posted, which many use this date as the start of the Reformation. Actually, I am on the thought that June 25th (the presentation of the Augsburg Confession) would be a better day, but I realize that I am not going re-write history. Just like there are different opinions of the start of the Reformation, there are also different ideas about what the Reformation really was about.

C.P. Krauth in “The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology” writes:
The spirit of the Reformation was no destroying angel…It is vastly more important, then, to know what the Reformation retained than what it overthrew; for the overthrow of error, though often an indispensable prerequisite to the establishment of truth, is not truth itself…Its object was to establish truth…The mightiest weapon which the Reformation employed against Rome was, not Rome’s errors, but Rome’s truths…. taking the Scriptures in that very sense to which the greatest of her writers had assented, uncovering the law and the gospel of God which she retained, applying them as her most distinguished and most honored teachers had applied them…There was no fear of truth, simply because Rome held it…the essential truths of the word of God are clear to any Christian mind that examines them properly…They allowed no authority save to the word of God, but they listened respectfully to the witness of believers of all time. Pages 202-203

For Luther, the Reformation was about conserving the Gospel, not rebelling against the church. Hence the category that Lutherans are sometimes connected with as “Protestants” is not entirely correct. For Luther, the truth of the Gospel was worth restoring, for it is through the Gospel that all people are saved. Jesus notes this in John 8:32 (ESV) “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Luther was showing the church back then and today, that the Gospel, is the center of the church.

It is easy to allow the Gospel to slip away with the many ideas and challenges during the time of the Reformation and even today. But like Luther, we are not letting go of the Gospel so that it is forgotten, but we continue to proclaim what Christ Jesus had done and is doing for us today.

Here at Peace, our focus is upon teaching and promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of what Luther was trying to accomplish. St. Paul reminds us why in Romans 1:16 (ESV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” The Gospel is proclaimed every week, not just on the anniversary of the Reformation.

Written by dballa

August 15, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Newsletter

Lord’s Supper: Food for the Soul

Healthy eating is good for the body. Watching what we eat is import. I usually watch what I eat, since I watch the food get on the fork and then place it is my mouth. All joking aside, I do my best to eat healthy.

But what about the food that sustains the soul. We usually don’t think of consuming food to nourish the soul, We usually think that God’s Word will take care of that. While that is true, when God’s Word is attached to bread and wine, something special happens. Luther in the Large Catechism calls the Lord Supper “food of the soul, for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature….Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger.” The Soul like the body needs to be feed.

Not every one in today’s world eats well for the body. While running I notice the wording on T-shirts as I am being passed. I saw one, which said, “I run so I can eat.” While humorous, the opposite is actually true, I eat so that I can run. I need the nourishment from the food to sustain my running activity, or else the running won’t go well. Yes, I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Likewise, the soul needs to be fed, or else, as Luther notes, we struggle with sin and its temptations. The Lord Supper is given to strengthen our faith, so that we and not fall to struggles in the faith.

Luther even has word for the pastor regarding this, he notes, “we should preach in such a way that the people make themselves come without our law and just plain compel us pastors to administer the sacrament to them.”

Would it be a burden to celebration the Lord’s Supper at every service, no, it is my joy to do so. So also when I visit people in the hospital I also bring my communion kit. The Supper is not forced upon anyone, but made available for the feeding of the soul.

So join us at the Lord’s Supper where the Soul is fed.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

July 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm

The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession

As I write this, it is June 25th, on which, in 1530, was the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Lutherans were summoned to Augsburg, where they presented this document as a statement of what Lutherans believe, teach and confess.

In this confession, Article 5: The Ministry [1] So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. [2] Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20: 22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3: 8], in those who hear the good news [3] that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake.

This is why we call pastors, to proclaim the Gospel and administer the Sacraments. So in the call document that I have received and accepted from Peace Lutheran Church, the first two points match this article, to preach the Gospel and to administer the sacraments. This is how the Holy Spirit works to create saving faith.

This Augsburg Confession will even be mentioned during the Installation Service. All called workers and churches (including Peace) in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are required to subscribe to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. During the Installation I will be asked again if I believe that the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is a true exposition of the Word of God.

Yes, today, we remember this important part of our history. In 127 days, we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. More about the 500th anniversary coming soon.

I am looking forward to working with you as we share the Gospel of Christ in the Plainfield area.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

July 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Church, Newsletter