Christianity 101, Intro to the Lutheran Confessions, and the Sovereignty of God

12 03 2013

eternallife

I am nothing more than an obscure private individual.  This site is a place for me to first of all help clarify and strengthen my own faith.  If my observations are helpful to others, fine.  Feel free to comment, expound on anything or present a different perspective.  We can always agree to disagree.

First and foremost, I am a Christian.   I understand and interpret Christian faith as a confessional Lutheran, (which actually gives quite me a bit of latitude,) however, one can certainly be a Christian without being a confessional Lutheran.  At one point in my life I almost became a Southern Baptist because of their emphasis on Bible study. While I differ with the Baptist groups on the means of grace and also on the role of the believer in coming to faith, they do know Scripture.  I’ve learned much about God and faith from traditions that are different than my own.

A Christian is someone who believes the statements of the Apostle’s Creed, which is basically a synopsis of “What do Christians believe?”  that is derived from Scripture:

apostle's creed

I’m not going to tell anyone that to be a Christian means to be an ascetic.  Asceticism is more of a premise of Eastern religions, all of which (in different forms) require believers to earn their way to rewards.  The way of Jesus is one of grace and of surrendering to Him.   I’m not putting on a hair shirt, and I don’t expect anyone else to either, unless God calls them to it.  If a person is called to be an ascetic for the sake of Christ, or to wear a hair shirt, that’s fine with me, but unless God calls me to an austere lifestyle or to wear itchy clothes, I’m not going to join you.  There are no brownie points to be earned in Jesus’ economy.

I don’t believe that the physical body is evil, nor do I believe that material things are inherently bad.  God made creation good.  God created the world and everything in it to serve and glorify Him.  Humanity brought sin into the equation. Humans are completely depraved, and through our sin creation has become corrupt, but God wins.  As the Teacher of Ecclesiates (Solomon) teaches,

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiates 3:1-8 (NRSV)

There’s a time and a place for everything.  So don’t expect me to be a prude. I have a sense of humor and I do use it.

The Lutheran Confessions are a collection of documents that were written largely in response to what Martin Luther and other Reformers saw as errors going on within the Catholic Church.  I don’t have anything against Catholics, other than I cannot be a Catholic because I don’t agree 100% with the Roman Catholic Church. Agreeing 100% with their rules- is one of their rules.  The Catholic Church has actually taken up with some of the Reformers’ suggestions, such as saying Mass in the language of the people and giving them access to Scripture, so we aren’t quite as far apart today as we would have been in the 1580s.

I also believe that God is 100% sovereign, meaning that He is everywhere in every time and place at the same time (omnipresent) and that He knows everything that has happened, is happening or will happen (omniscient.)  We don’t have access to all that knowledge.  Our minds and bodies are finite.  We can only occupy one space in one point in time, so our perspective is limited.  God is limitless, and that’s about as close as I can get to explaining the nature and scope of God.

As a finite and flawed human being there are questions I can’t answer, but questions are part of faith.   So is being wrong at times.

Far Side God _1

God can take our questions, our doubt and even our anger.  He is with us in and through it all.