LIFE WORLD of the For the January 2004. Volume Eight, Number One Luther and Justification - p.4 Luther and Missions in the 16th Century - p.6 Luther and the Church’s Song - p.9 Called to Serve - p.11 Luther Traveling Exhibit at CTS - March 7-28, 2004 “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Martin Luther, 1521 page 4 F E A T U R E S page 14 For theLIFE WORLDofthe PRESIDENT Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe PUBLISHER Rev. Scott Klemsz EDITOR Rev. John T. Pless ASSISTANT EDITOR Jayne Sheafer ART DIRECTOR Steve Blakey For the Life of theWorld is published quarterly by Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher of For the Life of the World. Copyright 2004. Printed in the United States. Postage paid at Huntington, Indiana. To be added to our mailing list please call 260/452-2150 or e-mail Rev. Scott Klemsz at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Life of theWorld is mailed to all pastors and congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the United States and Canada and to anyone interested in the work of Concordia The- ological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. 4 Luther and Justification By the Rev. Roland F. Ziegler, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana The doctrine of justification tells us who God is: our Judge, who bore our punishment. It tells us who we are: guilty, but innocent in Christ. It shows us a foundation to stand on: Christ’s righteousness, ours in faith. 6 Luther and Missions in the 16th Century By the Rev. Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz, Associate Professor and Chairman of the Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana The theology of Luther provides proper basis for missions, and much was put in practice for us already then. The immense enterprise we call today foreign missions has its roots in the Reformation. 9 Luther and the Church’s Song By the Rev. Dr. Paul J. Grime, Executive Director, Commission on Worship for The Lutheran–Missouri Synod After his initial burst of hymn writing, Luther only wrote another dozen hymns during the remaining 21 years of his life. While one might wish that Luther’s creative output had continued at the fevered pace with which he began in 1523, we can give thanks to God for the truly wonderful legacy that Luther left us. 11 What Does This Mean? 12 Martin Luther Exhibit Travels to Luther Hall in March Christ on Campus p. 14 Substance and Meaning p. 14 Evangelical and Lutheran p. 16 CTS Deaconess Program... Reaching Out with His Care p. 20 Fall Vicarage Assignments/ Candidate Placements p. 22 AlumNews p. 30 CONTENTS JANUARY 2004 3 page 7 page 25 page 9 Called to SERVE Such a biographical approach to our topic does not mean that Luther’s under- standing of justification is an expression of a very important but nevertheless pri- vate experience. After all, the turning point for him was a discovery in Holy Scripture, not a private revelation. But a look at the way Luther came to redis- cover this great scriptural doctrine sets the tone that any discussion about justi- fication is not an abstract truth, but it describes who God is and who man is. Talking about justification means talk- ing about life, peace, and freedom. In 1531 Luther lectured for the sec- ond time on the Epistle to the Galatians, the great polemical writing of St. Paul in which he attacks an understanding of Christianity as a religion of what man does. Four years later the notes students took were published as a commentary. Luther wrote a preface acknowledging that the content of this commentary were his thoughts and said, “For in my heart there rules this one doctrine, name- ly, faith in Christ. From it, through it, and to it all my theological thought flows and returns, day and night” (AE 27, 145). He defines justification thus: “that we are redeemed from sin, death, and the devil and endowed with eternal life, not through ourselves and certainly not through our works, which are even less than we are ourselves, but through the help of Another, the only Son of God, Jesus Christ” (ibid.). Justi- fication is a matter of life and death. Negatively it means to be freed from sin, death, and the devil–free from the bondage of evil, free from the consequences of evil, death, and eternal damnation, and positively that we receive eter- nal life. In another passage in this commentary, Luther defines justification in a way that brings out some other nuances: “But the doctrine of justification is this, that we are pronounced righteous and are saved solely by faith in Christ, and without works” (AE 26, 223). Justification is that we are pronounced righteous or acquitted. Here Luther follows St. Paul in the way he uses legal language to describe how man is saved. God pronounces man right- eous, as a judge gives the verdict. The difference is that an earthly judge has to acquit the innocent and to condemn the guilty. He has to judge according to the defendant’s actions, what he has done. God does it differently. He does not judge us according to our deeds, but He pronounces us innocent, even though we are according to our actions guilty. A human judge searches for innocence in the accused. God finds only guilt but imputes to man Christ’s righteousness. This legal language safeguards that the rea- son for our justification is not something we have done, do, or will do, but solely what Christ has accomplished on the cross. It teaches us to look outside of us for salvation and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and His righteousness during our life and never ever trust that we are pleasing to God because of what we do, but rather to realize that we are pleasing to God because of Christ. Such an understanding of justification presupposes a certain view of God and His relationship to man. God is 4 For the Life of the World T he new movie on Luther had scenes some critics did not appreciate. Was not the young Luther depicted in his cell muttering and speaking to himself more like a madman, an example of an abnormal personality, than the heroic reformer who changed the course of history? Maybe these scenes were not the best way to depict what tormented Luther. But at least it was an effort to show a central point of Luther’s life and thought: how can man stand before God and not perish? This was the question that drove Luther almost to despair as a monk. He used the age-old remedies that monastic dis- cipline and the Roman Catholic theology prescribed, but they failed. He never doubted that there was a God and that this God was righteous. But he experienced himself unable to ful- fill the will of God, and so God took on the shape of terrible tyrant, demanding what no man could do, and nevertheless condemning man because of his inability to conform to His will. Only when he found the true understanding of the words “the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16), did he find peace and freedom. By the Rev. Roland F. Ziegler Luther’s understanding of justifica- tion is essentially nothing but applied Christology. It is an exposi- tion of “God was in Christ, reconcil- ing the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19). Lutherand Justification holy and He is good. Nothing that is unholy and not in har- mony with His will can live in His presence. Man as God’s creature is subject to God’s will and is accountable to Him for what he does. God is therefore man’s judge, and every- body must appear before Him and receive His sentence. Christianity therefore teaches man to live in the horizon of final judgment and see it as the question of his life: “Every- thing we teach, order, institute is aimed at the goal that the pious expect the arrival of their Savior at the final day” (WA 25, 88, 19). Contrary to much of Christianity today, Luther did not think that God is nice and would never con- demn anybody. Rather, he took the passages in Scripture concerning a twofold outcome of the final judgment very seriously. That drove him to despair, as he expressed it in the third stanza of his hymn “Dear Christians, One andAll” (LW #353). And here his view of God and much of moder- nity differ the most and make an understanding of the doc- trine of justification difficult for many. That God can be against me is a statement few would seriously consider. The beginning of this shift towards a view of God as a mild and essentially harmless being who cannot inflict anything we fear on us was visible in Luther’s time: “For this reason I have undertaken to give you this exhortation, on the chance that there may be some who still have at least a modicum of belief that there is a God in heaven and a hell prepared for unbelievers, and that by this exhortation they might be led to change their minds. [Actually, almost everybody is acting as if there were neither a God in heav- en nor a devil in hell.]” (AE 46, 219). Luther’s understanding of justification is essentially nothing but applied Christology. It is an exposition of “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19). No wonder that in the aforementioned hymn he gives a sum- mary of the history of Christ. In justification the statement “Christ for you” is unfolded: Only the God-man could stand in our stead, bearing our sin and punishment … and because only He could do it, man cannot do anything. Jus- tification by grace alone through faith alone is the consis- tent application to man of the atonement whose fruits come to us through the Gospel. To be a Christian is nothing but trust in this message: Christ did everything for you. This Gospel comes to us externally through the word of the apostles and prophets, the preached word, the Sacraments. The fruit of the atonement, reconciliation, is mediated to us through the ministry of reconciliation: “Therefore, that the nations are blessed means that righteousness is granted to them, that they are reckoned as righteous, which does not happen except through the Gospel … the church … dis- tributes this blessing by preaching, by administering the Sacraments, by granting absolution, by giving comfort, and by using the Word of grace …” (AE 26, 245). Because justification summarizes God’s salvific deal- ing with the world, it is the true subject of theology: “The proper subject of theology is man guilty of sin and con- demned, and God the Justifier and Savior of man the sin- ner. Whatever is asked or discussed in theology outside this subject is error and poison. All Scripture points to this, that God commends His kindness to us and in His Son restores to righteousness and life the nature that has fallen into sin and condemnation” (AE 12, 311). It is the center and the most important article of faith. “The article of justification is the master and prince, the lord and ruler, and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our conscience before God. Without this article the world is utter death and darkness. No error is so mean, so clumsy, and so outworn as not to be supremely pleasing to human reason and to seduce us if we are without the knowledge and the contemplation of this article.” (Plass, What Luther Says, #2192) That does not mean that the church could forget the doctrine of God, or the Sacraments, or the ministry. It is the hub that is con- nected to all these doctrines and orders everything, but without these other doctrines, e.g., with- out the doctrine of the deity of Christ, there is no doctrine of justification: “As I often warn, therefore, the doctrine of justification must be learned diligently. For in it are included all the other doc- trines of our faith; and if it is sound, all the others are sound as well. Therefore, when we teach that men are justified through Christ and that Christ is the Vic- tor over sin, death, and the eternal curse, we are testifying at the same time that He is God by nature” (AE 26, 283). The doctrine of justification defines who God is: He is the one who was in Christ reconciling the world; He is the one who justifies through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:26). Therefore any concept of God that denies this and believes in a god who has to be reconciled by what man does is idolatrous, even if it man- ages to include Christ in its scheme: “Whoever falls from the doctrine of jus- tification is ignorant of God and is an idolater. Therefore it is all the same whether he then returns to the Law or to the worship of idols; it is all the same whether he is called a monk or a Turk or a Jew or an Anabaptist. For once this doctrine is undermined, nothing more remains but sheer error, hypocrisy, wickedness, and idolatry, regardless of how great the sanctity that appears on the outside.” There- fore the doctrine of justification is rightfully called the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae, the article with which the church stands or falls. This formulation is not Luther’s, but he certainly has the content. “When this arti- cle stands, the church stands, when it falls, the church falls.” (WA 40 III, 352, 3) The doctrine of justification tells us who God is: our Judge, who bore our punishment. It tells us who we are: guilty, but innocent in Christ. It shows us a foundation to stand on: Christ’s righteousness, ours in faith. It extols the God who without our doing makes us alive through the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. It is therefore the true praise of God: It confesses what He has done and is doing to us. The Rev. Roland F. Ziegler is an Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. JANUARY 2004 5 The doctrine of justification defines who God is: He is the one who was in Christ reconciling the world; He is the one who justifies through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:26).