Friday, December 10, 2010

Five Minutes Daily with Luther - December 10

(Reprinted with permission from Five Minutes Daily with Luther: Daily Lessons from the Writings of Martin Luther, by John Theodore Mueller.)

“Those who follow after wickedness draw near; They are far from Thy law. Thou art near, O LORD, And all Thy commandments are truth” Psalm 119:150-151.

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Dr. Justus Jonas told Dr. Martin Luther of a noble and powerful Misnian, who above all things occupied himself in amassing gold and silver, and was so buried in darkness, that he gave no heed to the five books of Moses, and had even said to Duke John Frederic, who was discoursing with him upon the Gospel: “Sir, the Gospel pays no interest.” “Have you no grains?” interposed Luther, and then told this fable: A lion making a great feast, invited all the beasts, and with them some swine. When all manner of dainties were set before the guests, the swine asked: “Have you no grains?” Even so in these days, continued the doctor, it is with our epicureans. We preachers set before them the most dainty and costly dishes, as everlasting salvation, the remission of sins, and God’s grace; but they, like swine, turn up their snouts, and ask for guilders; offer a cow nutmeg, and she will reject it for old hay. This reminds me of the answer of certain parishioners to their minister, who had been earnestly exhorting them to come and listen to the Word of God. “Well,” said they, “if you will tap a good barrel of beer for us, we’ll come with all our hearts and hear you.” The Gospel at Wittenberg is like to the rain which, falling upon a river, produces little effect; but descending upon a dry, thirsty soil, renders it fertile.
Bread of our souls, whereon we feed,
True manna from on high;
Our guide and chart, wherein we read
Of realms beyond the sky:
Lord, grant us all aright to learn
The wisdom it imparts;
And to its heavenly teaching turn.
With simple, childlike hearts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My two cents:
Talking of Epicureans is very valid in the ol' USA. Though American Christians may not technically be Epicurean, our national philosophy is quite close to it. The idea that all humans have been given by God the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not Biblical, but yet has, in many ways, influenced the America segment of the invisible church.

A God-given mandate to seek happiness? That sounds similar to Epicurus' belief that all good comes from pleasure. I'm sure someone with more time and knowledge than me could detail the philosophical dribblings that have led to modern day theological error, but jumping a few steps: it isn't surprising that the genre of Christianity that over-empowers the human Free Will found a happy home on this continent. The idea of pursuing God (or good) (or happiness) is very real in the Evangelical if human nature actually wants to pursue God! Yeah right! The Holy Spirit drowns our Old Adam.(when did you ever hear of someone seeking to be drowned?)

And isn't the false use of man's will and human ingenuity to "win souls" the heart of the Church Growth Movement? CG growth depends on man's will and ability to act instead of the Holy Spirit's power.

The American philosophy is naturally at odds with the Efficacious Word, which requires no human will to convert and save man.

Andy Groenwald

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