Full Text for The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites (Text)

Volume 70:3/4 July/October 2006 Table of Contents - - - - In Memoriam: Kurt E. Marquart (1934-2006) .................................. 194 Justification by Faith is the Answer: What is the Question? Stephen Westerholm ................................................................ 197 Resurrection as Justification in the Book of Acts Peter J. Scaer .............................................................................. 219 The Chronicler's David: Saint and Sinner Daniel L. Gard ........................................................................... 233 The Spirit of Holiness: The Holiness of Man William C. Weinrich ................................................................. 253 Iustitia Imputata Chtr'sti: Alien or Proper to Luther's Doctrine of Justification? R. Scott Clark ............................................................................. 269 The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites David P. Scaer ........................................................................... 311 Faith in Contemporary Evangelicalism Lawrence R. Rast Jr. ................................................................. 323 Frederick Henry Quitman and the Catechesis of the American Lutheran Enlightenment Benjamin A . Kolodziej ............................................................ 341 Theological Observers ........................................................................ 367 Here and There on Theological Journals Philipp Melancthon. Confessor The "Pentecostalization" of Christianity Book Reviews ........................................................................................ 374 Books Received ..................................................................................... 379 Indices for Volume 70 .......................................................................... 382 CTQ 70 (2006): 311-322 The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites David P. Scaer Exegetical theology begins with a particular biblical text. It examines the words as given by the Holy Spirit-or at least by the text critics. This enterprise can get lost-or so it seems -in a maze of grammatical and linguistic detail, though the biblical writers gave as much attention to grammar as ordinary speakers do. Dogmatic theology works according to topics, the so-called loci method. It presents the topic in the contemporary situation and looks for biblical and historical support for its position. Its concerns are not necessarily those of the biblical writers. There is no once- and-for-all-time-and-for-every-place theology. The loci method puts the topics in a logical pattern which then becomes the system. Inevitably one locus is found to be more important than another. Doctrines are ranked as primary and secondary, fundamental and non-fundamental. For some, faith is considered more fundamental than Baptism. In this case faith is made more important than the dominical institution of Baptism, which originates in Christ's death and resurrection and makes them present, and on which faith depends and to which it is directed. So the method is not without its difficulties. Typically a theological system identifies a favored locus whose logical derivations constitute the system. Subsequent doctrines (loci) reflect and derive their life and content from the major premise. For Lutherans, justification stands front and center, and so Law and Gospel are placed in the prolegomena. In the Reformed theology, the sovereignty of God is basic; and, for Roman Catholicism, the papacy and the mass are non- negotiable. Fundamentalism and Neo-Evangelicalism begin with an authoritative Bible and the believer's obedient response to it. A unified system testifies to the system's credibility. However, any number of logia of Jesus (Matt 7:24; 28:20) and other parts of Scriptures (Rev 2218-19) suggest that subordinating one doctrine to another should be reconsidered. When faith is made the controlling factor in ranking the doctrines, we have a position brought into the modem era by Schleiermacher. By distributing theology into loci, each locus begins to take on a life of its own. One learns about God but not the Trinity, creation but not the Christ and the Spirit by which it came into existence, about Christ but not the Danid P. Scaer is the David P. Scaer Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology and Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Concordia ~~eological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) Supper, about Baptism but not the Holy Spirit. Even asking how one doctrine relates to another or to Christian life signals that "the silver cord is snapped [and] the golden bowl is broken" (Eccl 12:6). Subordinate doctrines eventually become expendable. When obsession with one locus is full blown, it gives birth to error (Jas 1:15). Arius subjected his understanding of Christ to divine transcendency. Atonement for Calvin was subordinate to divine sovereignty. Pietists took faith, the heart of Luther's reformation, and tuned it into a thing that could be observed and measured. Lost was his view that faith reflects totally on Christ and not on itself. Considered historically, finding one locus more important than another led to union between Lutheran and Reformed churches and was at the heart of the Gospel-reductionism within The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod in the 1970s. Though biblical scholarship does not in each case produce neat conclusions, the inspired writers thought and wrote topically. Topics were not presented as separate or abstract units but in relation to other topics or church practice. Matthew's first exposition on the atonement, Christ's death as payment for the sins of his quarreling disciples, is embedded in a discourse on sanctification or the exemplar theory of Christ's death (Matt 20:20-28). His second, and greater explanation, is found in the institution of the Lord's Supper (Matt 26:26-28). This sacrament is not simply a matter of how bread and wine can be Christ's body and blood, the issue dividing the sixteenth century reformers, but the sacred elements are those which Christ sacrificed to God for his followers. Mark describes Christ's death in sacramental language (Mark 10:38-39). Luke's account of the disciples on the road to Ernmaus rescues the Old Testament from being regarded as a self-contained revelation by claiming that its entire content is the work and person of Jesus (Luke 24:27). John uses the language of incarnation to explain conversion-or is it the reverse (John 1:13)? Paul points out that sermons which deny the resurrection contradict what the Corinthian congregation confessed (1 Cor 15:3-4). Startling is his showing that this denial stood at odds with their vicarious baptisms for the dead, erroneous as they may have been. To follow the New Testament pattern, one locus or topic in theology or in preaching must be presented with and within another. When this is not done, theology and preaching soon become abstract dogmatical discourses or ethical injunctions detached from Christ who is the focus of faith. Often the loci (topical) method short circuits involvement with the biblical text, and so the Bible is relegated to a secondary position in providing Scaer: The Holv Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites 313 evidences for a fixed system logically derived from an agreed upon common principle. Topics or loci provide a focus into the biblical documents. Creeds, confessions, and church tradition have this function. The Ethiopian eunuch first understands Isaiah when Philip explains it to him (Acts 8:26-40). However, the church's dogmatic theology cannot be substituted for a direct encounter with the biblical texts. Theology is impoverished when the Bible's only task is providing evidences for what is already known. With a dogmatic map in hand, there are no surprises in the biblical countryside. Atlases are substituted for biblical trips. What will be found is already known. Different texts approached with the same methods produce the same sermons, with the result that the Spirit's witness in the Bible is stifled. The new curriculum of Concordia Theological Seminary intends to bring biblical and dogmatic theologies together to serve proclamation, but with the caution that smashed shells cannot be reconstructed into that perfect apostolic egg, which even then had its fissures.' I. Getting Lost in the Shuffle: Pneumatology With the loci method, some doctrines surface first and more often than others. By asking his disciples who he was, Jesus put Christology in the forefront. He never asked them what they thought about the Holy Spirit. Formal resolution about the Spirit came at Constantinople in AD 381 in the third article of what we call the Nicene Creed. Christology remains the issue today but the emphasis has moved from defining his person to recognizing his historical character. Scholars have completed the first and second quests for the historical Jesus and are on their third pilgrimage. No similar crusade is made in search of the Spirit. In his mammoth work, Lord Jesus Christ: Dmotion to Jesus in the Early Church, Larry Hurtado showed how the deity of Jesus had to be fit into the monotheistic faith of Israel by first century Jewish Christians.2 Binitarianism was prior to trinitarianism and still is. Who the Spirit is and what he does follows Jesus' death and resurrection from which the Spirit emerges with the proclamation of these events as the gospel. Without a clear Christology, the Spirit is seen as hardly more than God's presence in the world. 1 See John T. Pless, "A Curriculum from and for the Church," Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006): 85-93. 2 Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2003). 314 Concordia Theoloxical Quarterly 70 (2006) Controversies about the Spirit were not foreign to the apostolic age. Corinthian Christians claimed for themselves a special dispensation of the Spirit, and two centuries later the great theologian Tertullian was taken in by a Spirit movement (Montanism). In the Reformation era, agreement on the Spirit's inspiration of the Bible was compromised by the pope's claim of authoritative interpretation. Anabaptists claimed that the Spirit directly spoke to and through them, and this obviated a need for an inspired scripture. Lutherans and the Reformed could both speak about the Spirit's freedom, but each understood it differently. For Lutherans the Spirit is free in whom he converts, which he accomplishes only through the word and sacraments. Zwingli held that the Spirit was free from the gospel in conversion. Reformed theology in general holds that the means of grace testify to the Spirit's work, but they are not the Spirit's channel to create faith. There is no internal exchange between the Spirit and the word and sacraments, what in Christology is called idomaticum apostelesmaticum or communicatio apotelesmaticum, by which one dwells and works within and through the other. Spirit and word exist side by side; a Nestorian-like existence. Here is the strange contradiction: while Neo-Evangelicals, the heirs of Zwingli and Calvin, adamantly defend biblical inspiration, they confess that the Spirit does not work through the documents he inspired. It was as if the Spirit disowned his own biblical offspring. Eighteenth century Enlightenment scholars, followed by Schleiermacher, turned a Reformed separation of the Spirit from the biblical documents into a permanent divorce, so that their only claim to divinity was a spirit that rose from the community of believers, a position from which most scholars have not ventured far. 11. Sacraments as the Locus on the Spirit Any Lutheran discussion of the Spirit is set against the backdrop of the historical debate with the Reformed, who traditionally have given the Spirit a greater role in church life than Jesus, whose human nature limits him. On that account, Lutheran theology is characterized as christological and Reformed theology as pneumatological. Both parties can speak of the word and the Spirit at work in believers but mean different things. Lutherans see the Spirit embedded in the word and sacraments, but this word is not only the oral proclamation informing the intellect but is Christ, God and man. The "Word" in Luther's hymn, "The Word they still shall let Scaer: The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites 315 remain nor any thanks have for it [him]," is Christ himself.3 Incanrational applies to a Lutheran understanding of the word and sacraments. Any perceived Lutheran aversion to the Spirit comes in response to the Reformed position that he is the surrogate or replacement for the man Jesus. One picks up the external shell of the sacraments hoping to find Jesus and instead finds the Spirit. This aversion to the Reformed view cannot prevent Lutherans from affirming that the third person of the Trinity is the Creator Spiritus, not only in the first chapter of Genesis but in all sacramental actions. He turns earthly elements into divine things. In the Smalcald Articles, Luther defines the sacraments as the external word through which the Spirit works (SA III,8,7 and 10). For the Formula of Concord, the Father draws believers to Christ by the Spirit working through the word and the sacraments (SD XI, 76). The Spirit, who brings about the incarnation and determines the course of Jesus' life and death, joins himself to the water in John's Baptism of Jesus and makes it a sacrament. Paul says we are baptized into one Spirit. According to Paul, after the Israelites were baptized into Moses by the cloud and sea, they all ate and drank the same spiritual (nvcvpr~~6v) food and drmk, which he identified as Christ (1 Cor 10:l-4). At first glance this passage seems to support the Reformed view that the Lord's Supper is a noncorporeal food consumed by the soul as opposed to the Lutheran view of an actual eating and drinking of Christ's body and blood. "Spiritual" here is to be understood not Platonically, in the sense that God cannot squeeze into material things or that their souls were fed with non-material substances, like Christ's divine nature, but Christ, God and man, was real food and drink provided by the Holy Spirit. The Lutheran dogmaticians saw the water and the blood in 1 John 5:7-8 as a reference to Baptism and the Lord's Supper, a passage in which the Spirit is listed as a witness with them. John 19:30, 34 should be understood in the same way. The Holy Spirit functions in, with, and under the sacraments. A christological definition of the sacraments, which characterizes Lutheran thought, that is, that Christ institutes the sacraments and is their content, requires that they be revered as trinitarian acts in which the Spirit brings the work of the Father and Son to completion. Jesus' promise that he will come with the Father and that he will send the Spirit applies particularly to his coming in 3 Martin Luther, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," in Lutheran Service Book (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006) 656:4. 316 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) the sacraments (John 14:22-25). In the sacraments the Spirit is given by the Father and the Spirit gives himself as the grft. The Word is the instrument of the Holy Spirit (instrumenturn spiritus sancti; Ep II,19) to effect conversion (eficientes causae). Word and Spirit are the Spirit's only vehicles (nam per z~erbum et sacramenturn tamquam per instrumenta donatur spiritus sanctus; CA V, 2). "Therefore we should and must insist that God does not want to deal with human beings, except by means of his external Word and sacrament" (SA III,8,10). On this issue the Lutherans' opponents were Zwingli and the enthusiasts who claimed that the Holy Spirit works without means, apart not only from any sacramental activity but also the preached word. They were condemned under the one umbrella of extra enthusiasticum and were called fanatics. As diverse as Roman Catholics and Reformed are, they agree that the Spirit works without the word in converting. Luther speaks of those, even infants, who come to faith before Baptism, but in these cases the Spirit does not create faith directly but through the external, that is, audible word (SA 111, 8, 7). On this the Formula of Concord is definite: "however, God the Holy Spirit does not effect conversion without means, but he uses the preaching and the hearing of God's Word to accomplish it, as it is written (Rom. 1[:16]), the gospel is a 'power of God' to save" (Ep II,5). Some radical reformers dispensed with the sacraments altogether (SD XII, 1-4), but the moderate Reformed theologians held that the Spirit worked alongside of the elements but not through them. Calvin held that the Spirit could work without water and that the assurance of God's election of believers did not depend on the sacraments. In Reformed theology water baptism is not Spirit Baptism. In Lutheran theology they are identical. Calvin delayed the Baptism of infants to the eighth day, and lay Baptism was not allowed for children near death. Both Zwingli and Calvin held that the sacramental rites did not convey salvation and were expendable. Calvin held that the sacraments were given to accommodate human weakness. Lutheran theology takes a diametrically opposing view. The sacraments no more accommodate human weakness than the word does. Baptism places us in Christ's tomb and joins us with the Trinity, and in the Lord's Supper we share in the mystery of the atonement. The sacraments are not only necessary, but they are the highest expressions of grace. In the sacraments, the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and the elements constitute a unity (LC IV, 14-18). Each sacramental celebration is its own Pentecost in which the Spirit creates and confirms faith. Scaer. The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites 31 7 111. Sacraments as the Spirit's Completion of the Trinitarian Work Even as one never receives the Son apart from the Father who sent him, Christ is never present in the means of grace without the Spirit who proceeds from them, turning ordinary things and words into vehicles of divine grace. Their presence in the means of grace reflects the eternal relationship of one divine person to the other. The Father who eternally begets the Son begets believers as his children in Baptism (John 1:12-13) and makes them coheirs with his Son (Rom 8:17). As the Father is the eternal origin within the Trinity, the Spirit is its eternal completion. What is begun by the Father's creation is accomplished by the Son's redemption and completed by the Spirit's engendering faith (John 33). Sacramental theology brings God's trinitarian life into the life of the church. It is not a subordinate locus. Without sacraments the trinitarian presence and work is compromised. The Father is to be found in Jesus, and Jesus is found in the Spirit who works in words and things for our salvation. While the Reformed see created things as obstacles to God's transcendence, Lutherans see created things as fit and waiting vehicles for his grace, even as cloaks for the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit brought creation to completion, so also he brings redemption to completion by creating faith through the created things he has designated for this purpose. Sacramental practice is the church's confession of the Trinity and the acknowledgment of his presence. In the rite of Baptism, prayers are offered to the Father through the Son and in the Spirit that the divine three persons would dwell by water in the baptized. The Proper Preface and the Thanksgiving of the communion liturgy are offered to the Father: "It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and all places give thanks unto Thee, 0 Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God . . ." and "We give thanks to Thee, Almighty God. . . .""ough Christ's words, the Spirit turns ordinary things into sacraments to serve divine purposes. As in Genesis, he moves again across the face of the waters of Baptism by bringing creation through Christ's redemption to a completion beyond what was envisioned by our first parents. 4 "The Order of Holy Communion" in The Lutheran Hymnal (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941), 25,30. In a revised form, the Proper Preface and Thanksgiving are found in Lutheran Sewice Bwk: Agenda (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 241,251. 31 8 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) A common feature in Eastern liturgies is the epiklesis, the invocation of the Spirit on the communion elements to make them Christ's body and blood. Since it has no place in Western liturgies, and might be seen as supporting Calvin's view that the Spirit and not Jesus is in the sacraments, there is reason to exclude it. Putting these reasons aside, its inclusion is biblically and theologically justifiable (Ap X, 3). The Spirit is the Son's agent in the sacramental action in addressing the Son's words to the elements created by the Father. In Christ, especially his transfiguration, mankind reaches God's intended goal, and in the sacraments things not only point to the one who created them, but the Creator identifies with them. The Creator who became incarnate in Jesus becomes one with the sacramental elements. The Spirit who moved over the face of the waters wraps himself in the water to make it a baptism. Jesus' going to God's right hand was not a spatial movement. Rather he entered the church's sacramental life with his Spirit to exercise divine power in reconciling sinners to God. For Luther, in Baptism "God's grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with His gfts" are present (LC IV, 41). It is a trinitarian act: "For here in the sacrament you receive from Christ's lips the forgiveness of sins, which contains and conveys God's grace and Spirit with all His gfts" (LC V, 70). Creation, redemption, and the church's sanctification emerge from the inner recesses of the trinitarian life into the sacramental life of the church. While confessions are divided on whether confession and absolution is a sacrament like Baptism and the Lord's Supper, according to both definitions it is a trinitarian event in which Christ is present in the absolution to comfort the penitent with the Holy Spirit and to bring him back to the Father. IV. The Spirit in Church Rites This question must be asked: In what sense, if any, is the Spirit present in those church rituals not ordinarily called sacraments by Lutherans? Without the conviction that the Spirit is involved in a rite, it has no place in the church. Luther had an expansive sacramental sense of reality. He saw Old Testament things, such as the tree in garden, the rainbow, the pillar of fire, the temple, and sacrifices as sacraments because Christ was in them. In the New Testament, fire, hands, the dove, and water are the coverings of the Holy Spirit. Apart from Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the Spirit is present in all aspects of church life. He comes in pictures, statues, hands, vestments, creeds, sermons, hymns, and any material or oral form in which the word is proclaimed. In them he forgives sinners, declares them righteous, and shapes their lives after Christ's. Augsburg Confession V Scaer: The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites 319 speaks of the giving of the Holy Spirit through the gospel and sacraments but without specifying them. Augsburg Confession XI11 and the Apology XI11 allow for the working of the Holy Spirit in rites other than Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and absolution. Lutherans may have wanted to avoid the issue of the number of sacraments, but, because of the Roman Catholic insistence on seven and the Reformed on two, they could not. Luther held to two, and Melanchthon allowed for at least three but left the door open for more. The definition of sacraments determines their number. Perhaps matters should rest there. Add to these formal rites the Spirit's work through the informal sharing of the gospel by word of mouth. So it was in Jesus' own life time, and so the Spirit of the Lord still is filling the earth. The ministry is work of the Spirit, since it was established for the sake of the means of grace (CA V). The Spirit's presence and work are co-extensive with the means of grace, which are the boundaries he establishes for himself. Still, how should one view rites which do not measure up to Baptism and the Lord's Supper? Lutherans opposed the Roman Catholic insistence that ordination, confirmation, marriage, and extreme unction be put on the same level as these dominically instituted sacraments. Unlike indulgences and pilgrimages, they were not abolished but were retained or later found their way back into church life and were adjusted to fit the Reformation understanding as proclamations of grace. Lutherans objected to the Roman Catholic view that grace was a substance, gratia infusa, with each rite having its own grace. Baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, and extreme unction formed a sacramental constellation with an accumulative effect. In response, Lutherans say that grace, God's gracious attitude on account of Christ to sinners, is at the core of each rite. One rite differs from the others in function, that is, in what the Holy Spirit intends to accomplish. Whoever has faith also has all of the Holy Spirit, who is faith's sole creator, but the Spirit is no equal opportunity employer. A gft he gives to one he may not give to another. In attempting to replace Moses, Aaron and Miriam were grasping for a gft which the Spirit had given to him but not to them. So he works differently in the various church rites. One size does not fit all. Putting aside the unique history of each rite, one possible umbrella for these rites is that they are administered at critical junctures in life. Confirmation marks the end of adolescence and commendation of the dying, traditionally called extreme unction, life's 320 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) end. Marriage marks a passage from one stage in life to another, as does ordination, which confers a responsibility in preaching the word. Of these rites, marriage stands at the edge or outside of the sacramental ring, since no specific grace is given in the rite; but it may be that one event in life where it is most needed. In spite of Lutheran insistence that marriage is a governmental matter, how we live in marriage determines our standing in the church. Not only is it God's institution, but it reflects God's love for Israel and Jesus' union with the church. In marriage husbands are to emulate Christ's giving his life for the church. As an institution created by God which images Christ's work, it is not devoid of sacramental sigruficance. If we were to construct that perfect sacramental rite that would appeal to catholic tradition, the Arrninian need for decision and the Calvinist view of the family as covenant, and the Lutheran centrality of faith, it would be confirmation. It involves the reading of Scripture, prayers, promises, creeds, profession of faith, and the laying on of hands by the minister and, at times, the participation of parents and sponsors. Its oracular confession of faith was one reason it was reintroduced after it fell into disuse. Reunions that recall confirmation long after the event are common, and the confirmation verse is often used at funerals. Our current liturgy speaks of a giving of the Holy Spirit in the rite itself. "[Mary or John], God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give thee His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, of grace and prayer, of power and strength, of sanctification and the fear of This rite has a permanent place in Lutheran church life. Commendation of the dying is the evangelical practice of extreme unction, a rite which Luther called the pope's invention, having as little value as holy water. Its origins are uncertain, but it may have arisen from the apostolic practice of ministers offering prayers over the sick while relieving the discomfort of the sick person with oil (Jas 514-15). Most 5 "The Rite of Confirmation" in The Lutheran Agenda (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, [1950]), 25. The confirmation service in Lutheran Service Book and Lutheran Service Book: Agenda omit this blessing. However, they ret* a confirmation prayer that invokes the Father for the Holy Spirit: "Renew in them the gft of Your Holy Spirit, that they may live in daily contrition and repentance with a faith that ever clings to their Savior." See Lutheran Service Bwk, 274, and Lutheran Service Bwk: Agenda, 31. This and similar prayers also appear in The Lutheran Agenda, 26-29. Scaer: The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Church Rites 321 sicknesses today can be cured or at least alleviated. Until recently this was not the case. Child mortality rates were high, and life expectancy was short. Thus prayers for and over the sick prepared them for death. Like confirmation, the rite of commendation of the dying combines elements of Baptism as well as confession and absolution along with the promises of the resurrection and eternal life, and so it must be considered a rite of the Holy Spirit. Among Lutherans ordination is such a controversial issue that, for the sake of peace, some would like to see it dropped and the ministerial candidate given a certificate of election signed by the voters. Each of the other ancillary rites are constructs, that is, they are put together from elements found in other rites, but it is not certain if and how they were administered in the apostolic era. Ordination was a New Testament rite. Paul laid hands on Timothy and since then it has been associated with the Holy Spirit. Timothy was expected to do the same. Like Baptism it is a rite of initiation, not into the church but into the ministry. Unlike Baptism and the Lord's Supper, no specific formula is given for its administration, but certain standards had to be met before it was administered. In connection with the ministry of the word in the Apology (Ap XIII, ll), it is given the fourth place after Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and absolution. Taken out of the context of the ministry of preaching, it has no sacramental sigruficance. The relationship between the laying on of hands and the giving of the Holy Spirit merits further exploration. When the apostles laid hands on those Samaritans baptized by Philip, the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 8:17). This citation does not determine each case of the laying on of hands, but it indicates that the Spirit does not find the hands to be unacceptable instruments for his work. This custom has an ancient pedigree. God commanded Moses to lay hands on Joshua as his successor (Deut 34:9), from which New Testament ordination may have been derived. Jesus employed the laying on of his hands to heal the sick (for example, Mark 822-26) and, according to Mark, he gives the children a full-body embrace (Mark 10:16). In these cases something divine is happening because God is working through things. Hands are laid various settings, including Baptism, confirmation, absolution, commendation of the dying, the installation of both cleric and laity into specific church responsibilities, visiting the sick, the marriage rite, and on children at the altar rail during communion. Some of these cases lack specific biblical mandate or explicit liturgical rubric, but each is associated with the working of God, specifically the Holy Spirit, on the individual. Again, the principle is 322 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) evoked, no size fits all occurrences, but the Spirit works according to the occasion. Baptism initiates faith, and the commendation of the dying intends to lead believers to the promises of Baptism. Just as in Baptism, it is not the water, but the word in, with, and under the water that gives the Spirit and creates faith, so hands by themselves do not accomplish anything; however, hands can be the vehicles of the Spirit. This is hardly a spectacular statement, since all church rites and artifacts are vehicles of the Holy Spirit. In some rites this may be associated with the laying on of hands and in other rites not. The endowment or gift of the Spirit in a particular rite is the Holy Spirit himself and is appropriate for the occasion. Jesus lays hands on children assuring them a place in his kingdom, but they are not healed. Giving the Holy Spirit in confirmation does not mean he was not present before or that the one confirmed becomes a minister, but, as in all rites, the Spirit equips the person for a particular time in life or for a particular task. Again, one size does not fit all. In the older Lutheran churches a dove was placed over the pulpit to symbolize that the preacher's words were those of the Spirit. When the elector of Brandenburg attempted to introduce the Reformed faith, he shut down the Berlin cathedral and removed the large wooden dove hanging over the chancel. A large bay dove hanging from the ceiling right up front might be a reminder that the precincts are sacred because there the heavenly dove proclaims the peace of the gospel. He is God's fire, purging what is unacceptable in our lives, and the divine finger on the creating hand of the Father, shaping us to be perfect saints in Christ. If Lutherans suffer from pneumaphobia, a fear of the Spirit, they might want to reassess their pneurnatology.