Man does not live by bread alone…

This story by Australian Theologian Ben Myers is nifty. And I have to admit I hear the law in it slightly, I am convicted, but not where he is aiming.

Prof. Myers is part of one of those “uniting” churches. That is the same thing the founders of the LCMS were running to America away from – the dreaded Prussian Union. Myers is worried about baptisms without teaching, probably because they are practicing a believer’s baptism (i.e. baptism is administered at an age where you make a serious profession of faith). As Lutheran’s we baptize infants. We believe, with the Catholics, that baptism is the sacrament through which God promises to bestow the Spirit. God’s sure promise attaches to that water. What that doesn’t rule out is that child turning his/her back on the baptismal promise. [A Lutheran/Catholic vs. Reformed difference. To the true Reformed, if you are elect, you can’t ship-wreck you’re faith. The Lutheran/Catholic maintains to ability to do all kinds of damage although nothing positive without the Spirit.]

Where I would feel more convicted is at the Altar Rail for the Supper. We don’t really turn people away. If I see a person I don’t know, I’ll follow up. If I know they are going to be worshiping with us often, I will try and explain the Lutheran teaching. Luther’s questions (which are probably not actually Luther’s but added to the Catechism later) are the place I run. They boil down to three questions: Do you believe you are a sinner? Do you confess the Nicene Creed? Do you recognize the true body and blood (i.e. something mystical is going on here and not just bread and wine)? Here is actually a place where the liturgy or just a well planned worship service helps. Confession and Absolution come first (check first question), the creed is confessed (check second question), the words of institution and as the body and blood are distributed say ‘This is my body, blood…take, eat, drink” (check third question).

The small catechism is all Luther thought the typical peasant layman needed to know. The large catechism was intended for pastoral instruction. (Compare that to 8 years of college!) Am I complicit in not teaching enough? Yes. If I upped the level would I still be complicit? Yes. What is the answer? Sin boldly. Depend upon the providence and grace of the Lord. I come O Savior to your table for weak and weary is my soul. Thou, Bread of Life, alone are able to satisfy and make me whole.

One thought on “Man does not live by bread alone…

  1. “I come O Savior to your table for weak and weary is my soul. Thou, Bread of Life, alone are able to satisfy and make me whole.”

    This is in sharp contrast to the thought that sins must be confessed and only those who have adequately prepared themselves should be allowed to approach the rail. However, in my own mind I am still not completely convinced of either completely open OR denominationlly restricted communion. Or, for that matter, the restriction of a member living in grave sin who could bring reproach upon the church. Parameters of any kind are unpleasant and are difficult to administer.

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