LESSON TWENTY-SEVEN 2009-2010

LAW, GOSPEL & THE MEANS OF GRACE
  1. "Means of Grace: Extending the Boundaries" (S. 167)
    1. "Luther's Wider Definition" (id)
      1. AC XIII and Ap XIII (Tappert, p. 35f and p.p. 211-214; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 46f and pp. 219-222)
        1. Allow for Spirit working in rites other than baptism, Lord's Supper and absolution.
        2. AC V (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40f)
          1. Speaks of giving of Spirit through the Gospel.
          2. But without specification.
      2. Reformation did not allow Lutherans to address the number of sacraments.
        1. Roman Catholics.
          1. Insisted on seven.
          2. View multifaceted.
          3. Was tied to its teaching of grace as substance infused through the sacraments.
        2. Reformed.
          1. Insisted on two.
          2. Inflexibility partially derived from:
            1. First defining what a sacrament is.
            2. Then concluding that only baptism and Supper fit definition.
        3. Luther
          1. Held to two sacraments.
          2. But not rigid re: how that word was used.
          3. Affirmed Augustine's definition of sacrament as the Wordcoming to the element.
          4. S.A. III, V. (Tappert, pp. 310,311; Kolb & Wengert. pp. 319, 320)
          5. In so doing, opened door to a wider understanding.
          6. S.A. III, IV (Tappert, p. 310; Kolb & Wengert, p. 319)
            1. Lists preaching, baptism and Supper.
            2. Adds power of the keys and mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren, i.e. the work of ministry
          7. Wrote specific articles for:
            1. Baptism (S.A. III, V) (above).
            2. Keys (S.A. III, VIII: Tappert, pp. 312, 313; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 321-323)
            3. Sacrament of the Altar (S.A. III, [VI]: Tappert, p. 311; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 320, 321)
            4. Confession (S.A. III, III: Tappert, pp., 303-310; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 312-319)
          8. Arguably, therefore, he is speaking of all of these as means of grace. (S. 167)
          9. His "comprehensive understanding of the means of grace to include more than the preached Word, baptism, and the Lord's Supper parallels Melancthon's definition of the sacraments in Article Thirteen of the Augsburg Confession and the Apology" (S. 167)
          10. Ap XIII, 3-5 (Tappert, pp. 211, 212; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 219, 220)
    2. "Means Beyond Sacraments" (S. 167)
      1. AC V, [1], 2 (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40, 41)
      2. So far, we have often abbreviated preaching, baptism, and the Supper in phrase "The Word and the Sacraments", as the means of grace.
      3. All three Christ specifically commanded and "they have a special place within the means of grace". (S. 167f)
      4. "but they do not exhaust the ways in which the Word comes to us." (S. 168)
      5. "Since the Word is the heart of the means of grace, the phrase can apply to any form in which the Gospel is communicated." (id)
      6. Mt. 4:24.
        1. Many who did not see or hear Him believed.
        2. His message had been spread by word of mouth.
        3. Still happens.
        4. But ministry established with specific obligations for means of grace.
        5. AC V (again) (Tappert, p. 31; Kolb & Wengert, pp. 40, 41)
      7. Some church rites e.g. installation of teachers and church officers.
        1. Of more recent origins.
        2. Have no long standing in church history.
        3. But because accompanied by prayer and promise of God can be considered means of grace.
        4. Should not be called sacraments.
      8. "In fact, no practice or rite should take place in the church which cannot in some way be understood as the proclamation of the Gospel. Civic, patriotic, and governmental rites and commendations are secular, and since they are not means of grace they have no place in church worship." (S. 168)
      9. Certain traditional rites in Lutheran Church.
        1. Role determined partially by Roman Catholic's insistence that ordination, confirmation, marriage, and extreme unction were sacraments in same or similar sense as the three.
        2. Luther opposed Rome's practice of rites.
        3. But were continued by Lutherans in one form or another.
        4. Were not considered as important or necessary as baptism and the Supper.
        5. Re: same rites, certain elements known in apostolic era, but lacked clear dominical command.
        6. Did not belong to the foundation of faith.
        7. Lutheran rites were adjusted to fit understanding that they were proclamation of grace.
        8. cf Rome's view that sacraments are a communication to recipients of grace as a substance.
      10. These other rites:
        1. Since lack specific commands, might arguably have no place in church dogmatics.
        2. But, the relationship between worship and doctrine requires "that they have a place in the theological task." (S. 168)
        3. "Whatever the church does in its worship belongs to its confession." (id)
        4. Even if origins unclear, still are occasions for proclamation of the Word.
        5. Therefore, connected to means of grace.
        6. Each must be evaluated on its own merits and function. (S. 169)
        7. "Many of those rites can be understood as application of God's Word to various stages or events in a Christian life." (id)
        8. e.g.: confirmation, commendation of the dying, marriage and ordination.
        9. "For Lutherans, all rites must be understood within the evangelical framework as proclamations of the Gospel." (id)

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