Death of the ELCA:
Is Missouri Next?
The correct preaching of the Gospel in the LCMS is seriously challenged in the Missouri Synod by the doctrinal collapse of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA is like General Motors. It is a merger of many Lutheran Church bodies into one church, the most recent in 1988. They now have over 5,200,000 members and 12,000 congregations in the United States, twice the size of the LCMS. In 1973 a liberal group of professors and congregations of the LCMS, about 100,000 members and 300 congregations, broke away from the LCMS and formed Seminex and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC). They merged with the ELCA in 1988. These professors taught at least one third of the pastors currently on the LCMS roster and more than half of the current District Presidents.
There are entire Districts, such at the Florida-Georgia District, the Atlantic District, and others which insist on remaining in communion fellowship with the ELCA. They see little difficulty in promoting the ELCAs theology in the LCMS. Missouri Synod pastors who publicly complain about ELCA influence in the LCMS are regularly removed from all call lists in a number of districts for being inflexible. The publishers of "Forward" are the public spokesmen of those who are sympathetic with the ELCA in the Missouri Synod. They are campaigning for the removal of President A. L. Barry who speaks publicly against communion fellowship with the ELCA. "Forward" is currently promoting the past District Presidents from Michigan and Texas and the current president of the St. Louis Seminary as President and Vice-President of the LCMS. Once again the Synod is faced with serious doctrinal problems at the St. Louis Seminary.
On August 18, 1997, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ceased to exist according to Article VII of the Augsburg Confession. Article VII states, "The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered."1
The ELCA is no longer evangelical, Lutheran, nor a church2 because it no longer agrees to the whole truth of the Gospel and it no longer confesses the real presence of Christs body and blood in the Lords Supper. It has compromised the doctrine of justification with the Catholic Church. It no longer "rightly" teaches the Gospel and Sacraments.
ELCA Gives Up Reformation Gospel
According to their news release of August 20, 1997, ELCA Lutherans ratified a joint Lutheran/Roman Catholic Declaration.3 After 480 years, the ELCA agreed to stop fighting with the Roman Catholics about justification by a vote of 958 to 25.4
In the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" the ELCA says condemnations that Lutherans hurled at Roman Catholics during the 16th century concerning the key Lutheran doctrine of justification no longer apply.5
The ELCA say it now sees the doctrine of justification in a "new light."6
Speaking for the ELCA, the Rev. Franklin Fry of Summit, N.J., a member of the ELCA Church Council, said, "Tell a 70-year-old hard-core confessional Lutheran like me this would happen in my lifetime and you'd have a tough sell making me believe it. But it's happening, and the Holy Spirit is taking my breath away."7
Franklin Fry calls himself a hard-core confessional Lutheran when he is really a hard-core liar about the Gospel. In this joint declaration with Roman Catholic Church, the ELCA leadership meticulously confuses, deceives, and misinforms its 5.2 million members on the Gospel.8
There are far too many errors to deal with at this writing, but one of the most outrageous is titled, "The Common Understanding of Justification," paragraph 15, as follows: "Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works."9
The average reader will hardly detect that the phrase "justified by faith alone" is now reduced to "faith." The Catholic Church has always agreed to the necessity of faith in Christ, but never "justification by faith alone in Christ." There is also no reference here to "Scripture alone" as the only source of Gods Word. These omissions give the Roman Catholics room for their doctrine of Papal authority over the Bible and faith with works as the basis for salvation.
The Reformation, led by Martin Luther, clearly taught good works are not necessary for salvation.10 The new joint agreement leads ELCA members to believe salvation by faith alone is preserved by stating, "faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part." But, ELCA leadership fails to explain that the Catholic definition of "merit" found in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" defines merit as "collaboration" with Gods grace.11 The Catholic definition of merit is that merit is never ours alone, but God works with us in a kind of joint merit.
In other words, the ELCA agrees with the Catholic Church that we collaborate with Gods grace to merit salvation. The ELCA leadership knows they made this concession to the Catholic Church and that they swindled their ignorant membership out of the Gospel. They are now in league with the antichrist.
Walther, the founder of the Missouri Synod, writes, "The Roman doctrine of justification is nothing else than a complete denial, annihilation, and condemnation of the Gospel. Any sect is incomparably better than the Papacy, the Roman Church."12
At the end of the document, the ELCA thanks God for helping them overcome the division in the church. They should have thanked the devil for destroying the Reformation.13
ELCA Gives Up Christs Body and Blood for Counterfeit Sacrament
By agreeing to full communion fellowship with three Reformed Church bodies, according to the Lutheran Confessions the ELCA members no longer receive the forgiveness of their sins in the Lords Supper.14 They now offer their members Reformed symbolism instead of the true body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament. Giving up the real presence means giving up the Gospel.15
During the Reformation, Luther boldly and without compromise defended the real presence of Christs body and blood in the Lords Supper16 against all Reformed heretics and fanatics.17 The Augsburg Confession also clearly teaches that Christs body and blood are distributed in the Lords Supper.18 Walther says no doctrine is more offensive to the Reformed churches than teaching that sins are only forgiven through the written Word, Baptism, absolution, and the Lords Supper.19
By a vote of 839-193 (81.3 percent - 18.7 percent) the ELCA delegates approved full communion with Reformed churches, namely the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ.20
These Reformed church bodies, as all other Reformed churches, follow Zwingli and reject Christs physical presence in the Lords Supper.21
The ELCA officials cleverly disguised the abandonment of the real presence of Christs body and blood and the forgiveness of sins in the Lords Supper from their members in a bogus formula of agreement. The agreement says, "In the Lord's Supper the risen Jesus Christ imparts himself in his body and blood, given for all, through his word of promise with bread and wine."22
The wording removes any reference to Christs body and blood being "in, with, and under the bread and wine." In Matthew 3:17 and 17:5, God says, "This is my beloved Son." The world says, "No." In Matthew 26:26, Christ says "this is my body," and now the ELCA says, "No."
The Reformed and the Lutherans have always agreed that "Jesus Christ imparts himself in his body and blood, given for all, through his word" according to John 6.23 Thus, the Reformed can agree with the ELCA with this kind of formulation that says Christ comes to us in His Word but not physically in the consecrated bread and wine.24
There is no mention of the "sacramental union" or that Christs body and blood are physically consumed by the communicant for the forgiveness of sins in the consecrated bread and wine. The ELCA covers its deception by adding, "We affirm our conviction, however, that these differences should be recognized as acceptable diversities within one Christian faith."25
Now every ELCA congregation is only offering a counterfeit sacrament to its members. The doctrinal confession of the ELCA is necessarily the confession of each ELCA congregations constitution. One church or however many churches joined together by common confession are in one communion.
The actual physical presence of Christs body and blood in the Lords Supper in a congregation is not based on the faith of a member or members, but on the confession of Gods word by the church body. By comparison, regardless of what the individual citizens, cities, or states believe, it is only the promise of the U.S. government that makes the dollar bill legal tender. In the same way, regardless of what the individual Christians, pastors, or their congregations believe, it is only the correct public confession by the denomination to which they belong that validates the real presence and the forgiveness of sins in the consecrated elements of the Lords Supper.
To be sure, only the Word of God in the words of institution causes the real presence as the Bible and Luther teach. It is not caused by human beings.26 However, in any so-called religious denomination, where the original meaning of Christs Words are changed, the real presence of Christs body and blood for the forgiveness sins does not take place and there is no sacrament. We must not change words nor the meaning of the words of institution.
The Scriptures say, "...the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ." 1 Cor. 10:16 "We" in this verse must included the congregation and/or denomination with which we are in fellowship. If the meaning of the blessing, that is, the words of institution in the Lords Supper, are rejected, there is no blessing, no forgiveness, and no sacrament.27
In one vote, the ELCA Convention abandoned its confession of the body and blood of Christ in the Lords Supper and ripped the real presence and the forgiveness of sins out of the mouths of all its members.
The validity of Baptism and the Lords Supper rests on the denominations public confession. The Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Christian Scientists may use the right words in their Baptism, but their Baptisms forgive no one and save no one because they officially reject the Trinity. In the same way, the ELCA, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ, may all use the correct words in the Lords Supper but their Lords Suppers now forgives no one and saves no one because they publicly reject the real presence of Christs body and blood in the Sacrament. The ELCA now agrees with the devil on the Lords Supper.28
By comparison, if a dollar bill is not legal tender in some states it is not legal tender in others. In the same way, if the Lords Supper is not the real body and blood of Christ in some congregations in fellowship with each other it is not the body and blood of Christ in all the other congregations who belong to the same fellowship. Either all the churches in one fellowship publicly confess and have the real presence of Christs body and blood and the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament or none of them have it.29
According to the Lutheran Confessions, the validity of the Lords Supper cannot rest on the faith of the pastor or the individual members, but only on the correct public confession of Christs Words in the Supper.30
The average member in the ELCA hasnt the slightest idea that their church has collapsed on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, the Lords Supper, and other significant doctrines. They do not understand that the temptation to mainstream the ELCA into American Reformed churches for the sake of numerical and financial growth is more important to their leaders than correct doctrine and their souls. This will not be the first time the clergy have sold out the sheep for the clergys own good.
What Must the LCMS Do?
Most of the membership in the LCMS are as uninformed as to why the Lords Supper is valid or counterfeit in their congregations as members in the ELCA.
Many in the LCMS dont realize that the first purpose of the worship service is to justify them and forgive their sins through the means of grace. Christ speaks of the publican in the temple, "I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other...." (Luke 18:14)
This lack of information is largely due to the neglect of many of the Synods District Presidents and their hundreds of district executives and staff. The endorsement of the past Chairman of the Council of Presidents, President John Heins, is on the cover of Dr. David Lueckes "church growth" book, "The Other Story of Lutherans at Worship." In this book, Luecke explains why less use of Lutheran hymn books, liturgy, creeds, and the Lords Supper are advantageous for LCMS congregations.31
Through the Church Growth movement the LCMS is busy turning congregations into audiences and the Synod into a corporation. We are becoming more interested in confessing statistics than doctrine.
"Church growth" style churches modeled after Lueckes book are promoted in the vast majority of LCMS districts. In this way the Council of Presidents (C.O.P.) is making Missouri Synod congregations more compatible with the ELCAs new Reformed friends. These "desensitized" LCMS congregations are being duped into saying that the Presbyterian, Reformed, and United Churches of Christ worship just like us.
Powerful forces in Missouri are attempting to model the LCMS after the ELCA. The climate is right for change because the laity know so little about the Gospel and the Sacraments.
The publishers of "Forward," a paper sent to every LCMS congregation, offer a steady drumbeat against the Missouri Synods position on closed communion.32 They and the District Presidents who support them do not want to limit participation in the Lords Supper to members of our Synod. They want the individual pastors to have the right to serve the Lords Supper to members of other denominations who do not agree with our doctrine, particularly members of the ELCA. This practice will lead Missouri into communion fellowship with the ELCA.
Many of these District Presidents and pastors have strong sentiments for the ELCA where their former seminary professors are now members. In 1973, 45 heretic professors, led by Dr. John Tietjen, walked out of the St. Louis Seminary. They formed Seminex and Evangelical Lutherans in Mission (ELIM). In 1988, Seminex and ELIM led approximately 300 congregations and 100,000 members from the LCMS into membership in the ELCA. The goal of these false teachers was to bring them all into fellowship with the Presbyterians, Reformed Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church, and destroy Lutheranism in America.
Now these sons of Seminex professors, still in the LCMS, and their sympathizers have powerful positions in the C.O.P. Many of them, and their friends publishing "Forward," never warned anyone about imminent abomination taking place in the ELCA. Rather, their goal is to put Missouri to sleep.
Former Ohio District President, Dave Buegler, writes in "Forward," "The Missouri Synod must move away from the siege mentality that builds walls of fear and distrust."33
Two thirds of the Lutherans in America give up the true Gospel to the Roman Catholics and the Lords Supper to the Reformed, and Buegler says the LCMS has a "siege mentality." He warns no one in Missouri of the ELCAs collapse. How much farther do walls have to come down in Missouri? One third of the LCMS delegates in the 1995 Convention voted against the name "Lutheran" and the use of doctrinally pure hymn books and catechisms in church and school. The LCMS, itself, was only 16 percentage points from collapse on its own identity in that convention. There is every indication that the percentage will be narrower if the same vote is taken again in 1998 or 2001.
The LCMS has little, if any, hope of remaining Lutheran unless the Council of Presidents, as presently constituted, is disbanded. Rather than warning the LCMS about the imminent collapse of the ELCA, the LCMS District Presidents meet with ELCA Bishops for retreats at resorts to gain greater understanding of each other. Rare is the District President who alerts his district through the district paper about the loss of doctrine and souls in the ELCA.
The majority of the C.O.P. members have not supported the Synodical President in preventing open communion with the ELCA. In so doing, they have ignored and/or promoted unionism in the Synod. They have neglected their duty of doctrinal oversight. They promote the Church Growth movement. If Missouri is to survive as a Lutheran Church, the COP must be disbanded by the Synodical Convention. Otherwise, their continued practices and silence on the truth will most certainly accomplish for the LCMS what the ELCA Bishops have already accomplished for the ELCA.
This writers 5 years of service as a Lutheran high school teacher, 3 years as Director of Seminary Relations at Fort Wayne, and 17 years of service as an LCMS pastor has been one of endless confrontation with fellow pastors who promote the charismatic movement, works righteousness, grape juice in the Lords Supper, Church Growth, open communion, unionism, women clergy, their own creeds, psychology over theology, joint worship with the ELCA, and who oppose Walther, the inerrancy of Scripture, traditional catechetics, Lutheran hymn-books, the name Lutheran, confession and absolution, and Lutheran Agendas. Rarely has he received support from the District President on any of these issues. On the present course, someday Missouri will be as peaceful as the ELCA because we will be just like them.
Rather than placing emphasis on the collapse of the ELCA the St. Louis Seminary President, Dr. John Johnson, regularly speaks on why wives need not obey their husbands regardless of 1 Peter 3:1. In so doing, he opens the door for women clergy and fellowship with the ELCA.
After teaching psychological healing through bogus lost memory recovery techniques, and filing a law suit against his critic Rev. Herman Otten, Rev. Dr. Joseph Barbour, psychologist, was replaced by Rev. Dr. Salminen at the St. Louis seminary. Salminen writes, "I am becoming more convinced that many issues facing pastors within their congregations are not so much "theological" as "psychological."34 Thus, psychology is given an increasingly higher priority in the training of seminary students.
A month before the 1997 Michigan District Convention, 102 pastors and lay delegates signed a statement encouraging the Church Growth movement and encouraging pastors to ignore Article VI.4. of the LCMS Constitution. The 102 encourage pastors to make up their own Sunday worship services every week in the name of Christian freedom.35
In front of more than a hundred pastors, the Chairman of the Council of Presidents, John Heins, accused this writer of reintroducing the Prussian Union for insisting that all LCMS congregations use the name "Lutheran" and Lutheran hymn books.
The only voice in the Synod who has consistently informed, educated, and warned the Synod about the theological abomination in the ELCA is the publisher of Christian News, Rev. Herman Otten. He is the very one that the St. Louis Seminary and the C.O.P. refuse to allow on the LCMS clergy roster. This is the man they hate and condemn more than the ELCA. Yes, it is you, Missouri, who is being sold out by your "leaders."
These leaders sit quietly while the devil carries off 5.2 million Lutherans like Jeroboam led the 10 tribes of Israel to the golden calf. LCMS liberals have no goal but self-interest and, finally, destruction of the LCMS. The professors who taught many of them are now part of the greatest denial of the Augsburg Confession by Lutheran clergy since the Reformation. These LCMS liberals have been programmed by their professors to follow the path of brain dead apostasy.
Instead of a raucous, paper-bag-popping celebration commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the LCMS, attended by 15,000, there should have been a day of mourning declared for the 5.2 million Lutherans who gave up the forgiveness of sins in the Gospel by faith alone and the Lords Supper.
The sons of Seminex and their sympathizers are engaging in a conspiracy to keep LCMS lay people in the dark. They sit on the Board of Regents as minorities or majorities of all the LCMS seminaries and colleges. They monopolize the C.O.P. They hold offices on nearly every Synodical and District board. They dont promote doctrine and the Lutheran Confessions as their first priority. They arent eager to preserve doctrinal purity and practice. Rather they seek "new insights" like their ELCA counter parts.
So many pastors are keeping their sheep uninformed that the sheep would be happy to be in fellowship with the ELCA. Not troubling and not disturbing the faith life of their members with "needless" details about the ELCA, doctrine, justification, and the Lords Supper is praised by most District Presidents as enlightened, gospel centered, evangelical pastoral practice. Too many pastors dont warn their congregations, dont inform their congregations, and they dont confront their congregations, just like the pastors in the ELCA. However, they certainly know how to collect a pay check. The LCMS pastor who breaks ranks often gets no support from the District Office and is often run out of his church.
Two thirds of the Lutherans have left the faith, and the Missouri Synod is not far behind. The history of Lutheranism in America may one day read that they eagerly gave up what they died to keep in Europe. They were betrayed by their leaders.
One can only wonder if we are witnessing a sign of the end of the world or the deterioration of American Christianity similar to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. God gave them up and they are now 95% Moslem. Christ asks in Luke 18:8 "...when the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Publishing these facts with little or no reaction only shows how desperate the situation has become in the Missouri Synod. The fall of Missouri is not a question of "if," but "when." Layman should be prepared to immediately separate their congregations from the LCMS should a fate similar to the ELCA come to them, or lose the Gospel and the Lords Supper.
Pray that your church keeps the Gospel. Christ promises in Mat. 16:18 "...I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
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1. Concordia Triglotta, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO 1921 Article VII: Of the Church. page 47.
"Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.
"And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments."
2. Hermann Sasse This Is My Body, Rev. ed. Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1977. Page 319.
"At the moment when the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament was no longer understood, the Church was regarded as a human society, one of the many religious societies in the world, be it the nation in its religious aspect, be it a society of pious individuals who formed a fellowship for mutual religious edification. Thus, the decay of the Sacrament in the modern world was bound to end in a decay of the Church. And any rediscovery of the Church will begin with a rediscovery of the Sacrament of the Altar."
3. ELCA LUTHERANS RATIFY JOINT LUTHERAN/ROMAN CATHOLIC DECLARATION 97-CA-35-MS , ELCA Philadelphia, PA, 08/20/97.
"Lutherans meeting here today agreed it was time to stop fighting with Roman Catholics about a key doctrine which split western Christianity and gave birth to the world's largest Reformation church 480 years ago.
"Voting members at the church wide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted by a vote of 958-25 a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, declaring that condemnations the Lutherans hurled at Roman Catholics during the 16th century, concerning the key Lutheran doctrine of justification, no longer apply to present Catholic teaching on this topic.
"The understanding of the doctrine of justification set forth in this declaration shows that a consensus in the basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics," the declaration says.
"Thus the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century, in so far as they relate to the doctrine of justification, appear in a new light.
"Roman Catholic approval will also be required for the joint declaration to take effect. Such approval seems likely, according to Brother Jeffrey Gros, ecumenical spokesman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. "I believe that someday the Joint Declaration will be part of Roman Catholic teaching," he said.
"Addressing voting members before the historic vote was taken, Gros said, "We broke off a conversation [about justification] at Regensberg, Germany, in 1541. Thirty years ago, shortly after Vatican II, we picked it up again." He added, "We have had nine rounds of dialogues with Lutherans since the 1960s. For the Roman Catholic Church, this agreement will be the first joint declaration ever to have been reached with any Reformation church since the 30-year process began.
"Gros said that U.S. Catholic bishops have already had a part in reviewing the Joint Declaration.
"Speaking for the ELCA, the Rev. Franklin Fry, of Summit, N.J., a member of the ELCA Church Council, said, "Tell a 70-year-old hard-core confessional Lutheran like me this would happen in my lifetime and you'd have a tough sell making me believe it. But it's happening, and the Holy Spirit is taking my breath away."
8. JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION 1997, ELCA Philadelphia, PA, Aug. 18, 1997.
"3. The Common Understanding of Justification
"14. The Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church have together listened to the good news proclaimed in Holy Scripture. This common listening, together with the theological conversations of recent years, has led to a shared understanding of justification. This encompasses a consensus in the basic truths; the differing explications in particular statements are compatible with it.
"15. In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.(11)
"26. According to Lutheran understanding, God justifies sinners in faith alone (sola fide). In faith they place their trust wholly in their Creator and Redeemer and thus live in communion with him. God himself effects faith as he brings forth such trust by his creative Word. Because God's act is a new creation, it affects all dimensions of the person and leads to a life in hope and love. In the doctrine of "justification by faith alone," a distinction but not a separation is made between justification itself and the renewal of one's way of life that necessarily follows from justification and without which faith does not exist. Thereby the basis is indicated from which the renewal of life proceeds, for it comes forth from the love of God imparted to the person in justification. Justification and renewal are joined in Christ, who is present in faith.
"41. Thus the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century, in so far as they relate to the doctrine of justification, appear in a new light: The teaching of the Lutheran churches presented in this Declaration does not fall under the condemnations from the Council of Trent. The condemnations in the Lutheran Confessions do not apply to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church presented in this Declaration."
9. Ibid., paragraph 15.
10. Concordia Triglotta, op. cit., Augsburg Confession Article IV: Of Justification, page 45.
"Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4."
11. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 1992, Page 486, paragraphs. 2006-2008.
"2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the actions of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs us.
"2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.
"2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows mans free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Mans merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit."
12. C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel, translated by W.H.T. Dau from 1897 edition, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO 1928, page 231.
13. JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION 1997, op. cit.
"44. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ's will."
14. Concordia Triglotta, op. cit., "The Formula of Concord. Thorough Declaration" VII. Of the Holy Supper. par. 32 page 983.
"In the same manner I also speak and confess (says Luther) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests [ministers] who administer it [the Lords Super], or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon Gods Word and ordinance, unless they first change Gods Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own [false] notion."
15. Herman Sasse, op. cit.
"Without this Sacrament the Gospel might be understood as one of the many religious messages in the world." page 1.
"Both the Gospel and the Sacrament contain one and the same gift, forgiveness of sins. page 1.
"Every disease of the church becomes manifest at the Lords Table." page 2.
"Was not Luther right, after all, when he saw that a false interpretation of the Words of Institution must necessarily lead to a destruction of the Word of God?" page 296.
"...the Word of God cannot be maintained when the Sacrament is abandoned." page 296.
"It is really true that the Sacrament is the Gospel, and the Gospel is the Sacrament." page 328.
"Just as the church stands or falls with the Gospel, so she stands or falls with the Sacrament of the Altar. For the Sacrament is the Gospel." page 329.
16. Luthers Works, Word and Sacrament III, "Confession Concerning Christs Supper, 1528" edited by Robert H. Fisher Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia , Volume 37, 1961.
"Nor do we say that his body comes into existence out of the bread. We say that his body, which long ago was made and came into existence, is present when we say, "This is my body." For Christ commands us to say not, "Let this become my body," or, "Make my body there," but, "This is my body." page 187.
"The bread which we break is not only the body of Christ but the distributed body of Christ." page 348.
17. Luthers Works, op. cit., "This is My Body,...against the fanatics" 1527.
"Now the fanatics believe that nothing but bread and wine are present, hence it is surely so. They have as they believe, and so they eat nothing but bread and wine, and partake of the Lords body neither spiritually nor physically." page 131-132.
18. Concordia Triglotta, op. cit., Augsburg Confession: Article X: Of the Lord's Supper. page 47.
"Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat in the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise."
19. Walther, op. cit.
"No doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is more offensive to the Reformed than the doctrine that the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness in the sight of God, and eternal salvation, is obtained in no other way than by the believers putting his confidence in the written Word, in Baptism, in the Lords Supper, and in absolution." page 151.
20. LUTHERANS APPROVE "FULL COMMUNION" WITH REFORMED CHURCHES 97-CA-22-CA , ELCA Philadelphia, PA, Aug. , 1997.
"PHILADELPHIA (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America today approved a proposal declaring "full communion" with three churches of the Reformed tradition -- the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ."
Voting members of the ELCA Church wide Assembly voted 839-193 (81.3 percent - 18.7 percent) on the "Formula of Agreement." Official Text: A FORMULA OF AGREEMENT ....
"In the Lord's Supper the risen Jesus Christ imparts himself in his body and blood, given for all, through his word of promise with bread and wine. He thus gives himself unreservedly to all who receive the bread and wine; faith receives the Lord's Supper for salvation, unfaith for judgment (Leuenberg Agreement, III.1.18)....
"In the Lord's Supper the risen Christ imparts himself in body and blood, given up for all, through his word of promise with bread and wine. He thereby grants us forgiveness of sins and sets us free for a new life of faith. He enables us to experience anew that we are members of his body. He strengthens us for service to all people. (The official text reads, "Er starkt uns zum Dienst an den Menschen," which may be translated "to all human beings") (Leuenberg Agreement, II.2.15)....
"We affirm our conviction, however, that these differences should be recognized as acceptable diversities within one Christian faith. Both of our communions, we maintain, need to grow in appreciation of our diverse eucharistic traditions, finding mutual enrichment in them. At the same time both need to grow toward a further deepening of our common experience and expression of the mystery of our Lord's Supper (An Invitation to Action, page 16-17)."
21. Hermann Sasse, op. cit.
"In fact, for Zwingli as for Carlstadt, the Lutheran idea of a consecration of bread and wine was a sure proof that Luthers understanding of the Sacrament was still papistic, and the Reformed churches have followed Zwingli in this verdict, whatever their opinion on Zwinglis theology otherwise may be." page 131-132
22. LUTHERANS APPROVE "FULL COMMUNION" WITH REFORMED CHURCHES A FORMULA OF AGREEMENT, op. cit.
23. Luthers Works , op. cit., Word and Sacrament III.
"Whether Christs flesh is eaten physically or spiritually, then, it is the same body, the same spiritual flesh, the same imperishable food which in the Supper is eaten physically with the mouth and spiritually with the heart alone through the Word, as he teaches in John 6 " page 100.
"...but we confess even to this day that when Christ begins to speak concerning his flesh, he speaks throughout and constantly, to the end of the chapter, John 6, of the spiritual eating of his flesh." Page 248.
24. Luthers Works, Vol. 23, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapters 6-8, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis 1959.
(In reference to John 6:51) "I am placing flesh and blood before you; eat and drink it, that is, believe it." page 122.
"He must disguise Himself in flesh and blood, in the Word..." page 123.
25. LUTHERANS APPROVE "FULL COMMUNION" WITH REFORMED CHURCHES A FORMULA OF AGREEMENT, op. cit.
26. Luthers Works, Word and Sacrament IV, "The Marburg Colloquy and the Marburg Articles, 1529" edited by Martin E. Lehmann Fortress Press, Philadelphia , Volume 38, 1971, page 19.
"Oecolampadius replied: that he accepted the example brought forward. So far Luthers idea is that the word brings the body of Christ into the bread.
"Luther answered: That is correct."
27. Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO 1953 Vol. III.
"The Reformed doctrine is an actual disavowal and renunciation of Christs words of institution. Hence they have no word of God for their Supper. He did not institute a Supper in which bread and wine are distributed and received as symbols of the absent body and blood of Christ." page 371.
28. Luthers Works, Word and Sacrament III, op. cit.
"Whoever will take a warning, let him beware of Zwingli and shun his books as the prince of hells poison. For the man is completely perverted and has entirely lost Christ." page 206.
"I testify on my part that I regard Zwingli as un-Christian, with all his teaching, for he holds and teaches no part of the Christian faith rightly." page 231.
29. C.F.W. Walther, Pastoral Theology, Translated from 5th Ed. 1906, by John Drickamer, Lutheran News, 1995, New Haven, MO 1995.
"The administration of the holy Supper is not made invalid and powerless by the unworthiness, unbelief, or false intention of the administrant (see the Augsburg Confession, Article VIII). But those false teachers who, with the agreement of their congregation, publicly pervert the Words of Institution and give them a meaning according to which the body and blood of Christ are not really present in the holy Supper and are not distributed nor received--those who therefore retain the sound of the words but take away what makes them Gods Word, namely the divine meaning, and so deny and suspend the essence of the holy Supper, such as the Zwinglians and Calvinists--they do not celebrate the Lords Supper, even if they ostensibly retain the consecration. They distribute only bread and wine." page 139.
"For it [the real presence] does not rest on human faith or unbelief but rather on Gods Word and ordinance." page 139.
"Luther states: "Whoever knows of his pastor [Seelsorger] that he teaches in a Zwinglian way, he should avoid him and rather do without the Sacrament his whole life long than to receive it from him, indeed, [he should] rather also die and suffer everything for this point" (XVII, 2440)." page 140.
"Compare Luthers Table Talk, Chapter 19, No. 26 (XXII, 906.f.), where Luther says: "If the Words of Institution of the Supper are publicly heard by the church, then the danger lies on the neck of the godless preacher, not on the church, which believes the words and receives what they say, and faith holds it to be that and believes it. But one should pay attention that he does not publicly preach and teach against the Supper" page 140.
"So where the public confession of the Word is, no matter that the rascal may be as he wants, then nothing is taken away from the Sacrament. And this is the reason: if a rogue also swears by the name of the Lord, it is still the true name of the Lord; he would not be sinning if it were not the true name of God by which he was swearing. . . . But the Sacramentarians take the substance totally away; therefore they also have nothing in the Supper except bread and wine." page 140.
30. Concordia Triglotta, op. cit., The Formula of Concord. Thorough Declaration. VII. Of the Holy Supper. par. 32 page 983.
31. Luecke, Dr. David S. The Other Story of Lutherans at Worship, Fellowship Ministries, Tempe Arizona, 1995, page 6, 8, and 11.
32. Herman Sasse, op. cit.
"And just as there could not be a mutual recognition as brethren between the Orthodox and the Arians in the fourth century, no church- and altar-fellowship, so impossible was it for Luther to recognize the deniers of the Real Presence as full brethren in the faith and to have altar- and church-fellowship with them." page 235.
33. Buegler, Rev. David, Forward 1997, No. 1 page 8.
34. Salminen, Rev. Dr. Bryan, Family Systems :Getting the Church Unstuck Michigan District All Pastors Conference, October 2-4, 1995, page 2-3.
35. Evangelical News Letter, Published by Rev. Larry Eckart, Hope Lutheran Church, Linden , MI, May of 1997
"What is necessary for those who plan worship is time spent in the truth, the Word, and in prayer. In that atmosphere of Word and prayer, those who plan worship will receive wisdom on how best to minister to the contemporary setting where God has placed them." page 7.
April 29, 1999
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