Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 33

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Psalm 133:1–3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

In this very assembly we have sufficiently demonstrated that, for love’s sake, we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even when this would have been disadvantageous. We thought that public harmony which could be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages. We will speak more of this entire subject when we consider vows and ecclesiastical power.

Pulling It Together: I was once declined in a congregation’s consideration as a new pastor, in part, because the church I was serving at the time did not use the Nicene Creed as much as the church in deliberation. How much we use each creed—indeed, whether we use the creeds at all—is adiaphora. That is, these things are not mandated in Scripture; there is no reason that we must do them. However, I do like the Nicene Creed very much and would have been happy to employ it often, had I been called to that congregation.

There are other things that I do not care much for, but again, they are adiaphora, and frankly, matters of taste. For the sake of unity, I do not make a stink about these matters. Though, I admit, there are times that I want to, but only because some things grate against my sensibilities about how I would like things to be—not because Scripture says they should be another way.

Then, there are those subjects that are matters of conscience, that we dare not compromise. For example, if a church taught that saying a creed is an act that deserves God’s favor, then we should decline, as a matter of conscience and principle, not because we disagree with the creed or even about saying creeds in general. It is not adiaphora when a church teaches that human traditions merit God’s grace. Nor does it promote harmony to do anything against conscience. While we ought to look for ways to produce unity among God’s people, they should not be done at the expense of conscience. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of your Church. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

All God’s Critters is a fully reproducible Sunday School series designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches with students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 33

• Photo  • Index of posts

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Psalm 133:1–3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

In this very assembly we have sufficiently demonstrated that, for love’s sake, we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even when this would have been disadvantageous. We thought that public harmony which could be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages. We will speak more of this entire subject when we consider vows and ecclesiastical power.

Pulling It Together: I was once declined in a congregation’s consideration as a new pastor, in part, because the church I was serving at the time did not use the Nicene Creed as much as the church in deliberation. How much we use each creed—indeed, whether we use the creeds at all—is adiaphora. That is, these things are not mandated in Scripture; there is no reason that we must do them. However, I do like the Nicene Creed very much and would have been happy to employ it often, had I been called to that congregation.

There are other things that I do not care much for, but again, they are adiaphora, and frankly, matters of taste. For the sake of unity, I do not make a stink about these matters. Though, I admit, there are times that I want to, but only because some things grate against my sensibilities about how I would like things to be—not because Scripture says they should be another way.

Then, there are those subjects that are matters of conscience, that we dare not compromise. For example, if a church taught that saying a creed is an act that deserves God’s favor, then we should decline, as a matter of conscience and principle, not because we disagree with the creed or even about saying creeds in general. It is not adiaphora when a church teaches that human traditions merit God’s grace. Nor does it promote harmony to do anything against conscience. While we ought to look for ways to produce unity among God’s people, they should not be done at the expense of conscience. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of your Church. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

All God’s Critters is a fully reproducible Sunday School series designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches with students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 32

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1 Corinthians 8:8–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

Nevertheless, we teach that freedom should be judiciously employed in these matters so that the weak are not offended, and may not become more hostile to the true doctrine of the gospel because liberty is abused. Nothing should be changed in customary rites without a reasonable cause. So that harmony is promoted, the old customs may be observed if they can be observed without sin or without great inconvenience.

Pulling It Together: What difference does it make if you eat so-called unclean foods (Acts 10:15)? Will you go to hell because you ate some rabbit stew (Lev 11:6)? Will God withhold his forgiveness because you had a pork chop (Lev 11:7)? Or, in the case of 1 Corinthians 8, will you be damned if you eat some BBQ chicken served at a non-Christian religious festival? No, it says that the food makes no difference but that if someone less experienced in the faith sees you there eating that food, it may destroy their weak faith.

More specifically, does eating or not eating certain foods for religious reasons—or for that matter, following any other kind of human tradition—merit God’s favor and forgiveness? Again, no. Eating certain foods and following other human traditions do not commend us to God. These traditions are fine if used for personal discipline or unity in the church (such as a congregation fasting together)—so long as they may be observed without causing people to sin or lose faith, but they will never make us righteous before God.

Prayer: Help me depend upon you alone for salvation, God. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…”

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 32

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1 Corinthians 8:8–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

Nevertheless, we teach that freedom should be judiciously employed in these matters so that the weak are not offended, and may not become more hostile to the true doctrine of the gospel because liberty is abused. Nothing should be changed in customary rites without a reasonable cause. So that harmony is promoted, the old customs may be observed if they can be observed without sin or without great inconvenience.

Pulling It Together: What difference does it make if you eat so-called unclean foods (Acts 10:15)? Will you go to hell because you ate some rabbit stew (Lev 11:6)? Will God withhold his forgiveness because you had a pork chop (Lev 11:7)? Or, in the case of 1 Corinthians 8, will you be damned if you eat some BBQ chicken served at a non-Christian religious festival? No, it says that the food makes no difference but that if someone less experienced in the faith sees you there eating that food, it may destroy their weak faith.

More specifically, does eating or not eating certain foods for religious reasons—or for that matter, following any other kind of human tradition—merit God’s favor and forgiveness? Again, no. Eating certain foods and following other human traditions do not commend us to God. These traditions are fine if used for personal discipline or unity in the church (such as a congregation fasting together)—so long as they may be observed without causing people to sin or lose faith, but they will never make us righteous before God.

Prayer: Help me depend upon you alone for salvation, God. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow...”

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 31

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Titus 3:4–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

This topic of traditions contains many difficult and controversial questions. We have actually experienced that traditions are unquestionable snares for consciences. When they are required, the omission of any observance tortures in extraordinary ways the conscience. Again their abrogation has its own evils and its own questions.

But our case is plain and simple because the adversaries condemn us for teaching that human traditions do not merit the forgiveness of sins. They also require universal traditions, as they call them, as necessary for justification. Here we have as a constant champion Paul, who everywhere contends that these observances neither justify nor are necessary to be added to the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together: Start to read through the Bible in a year, and you will probably get behind at some point. Guilt will likely set in, especially if you do not catch up right away. Some people even wonder about their salvation when they cannot perform such acts of devotion. Try to pray the Hours and you will almost surely miss Matins some morning. Canon law requires some religious orders to pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours every day. Being part of a group that does these things, or doing them on your own, is fine. It is a good tradition and a valuable discipline. But to require such things as being necessary for justification, a reconciled God, forgiveness of sins, and therefore, salvation, is not what Scripture tells us.

The Bible tells us to apply ourselves to doing good but to not depend upon our good works for salvation. We must trust in the kind mercy of our loving God to justify us by his grace, and in doing so, make us inheritors of the hope of eternal life.

Prayer: Thank you for saving me—even me. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…”

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 31

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Titus 3:4–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

This topic of traditions contains many difficult and controversial questions. We have actually experienced that traditions are unquestionable snares for consciences. When they are required, the omission of any observance tortures in extraordinary ways the conscience. Again their abrogation has its own evils and its own questions.

But our case is plain and simple because the adversaries condemn us for teaching that human traditions do not merit the forgiveness of sins. They also require universal traditions, as they call them, as necessary for justification. Here we have as a constant champion Paul, who everywhere contends that these observances neither justify nor are necessary to be added to the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together: Start to read through the Bible in a year, and you will probably get behind at some point. Guilt will likely set in, especially if you do not catch up right away. Some people even wonder about their salvation when they cannot perform such acts of devotion. Try to pray the Hours and you will almost surely miss Matins some morning. Canon law requires some religious orders to pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours every day. Being part of a group that does these things, or doing them on your own, is fine. It is a good tradition and a valuable discipline. But to require such things as being necessary for justification, a reconciled God, forgiveness of sins, and therefore, salvation, is not what Scripture tells us.

The Bible tells us to apply ourselves to doing good but to not depend upon our good works for salvation. We must trust in the kind mercy of our loving God to justify us by his grace, and in doing so, make us inheritors of the hope of eternal life.

Prayer: Thank you for saving me—even me. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow...”

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 30

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Proverbs 3:11–12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

As to the mortification of the flesh and discipline of the body, we teach just as the Confession states, that a true and not a feigned mortification occurs through the cross and afflictions by which God disciplines us. In these we must obey God’s will, as Paul says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). These are the spiritual exercises of fear and faith. But in addition to the mortification that occurs through the cross, there is also a voluntary kind of exercise necessary. Christ speaks of this saying, “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation” (Luke 21:34). Paul also says, “I pommel my body and subdue it” (1 Cor 9:27).

These disciplines are not to be undertaken because they are services that justify, but in order to curb the flesh. Otherwise, satisfaction may overpower us, rendering us secure and indifferent. The result of this is people who indulge and obey the inclinations of the flesh. As it has the perpetual command of God, our diligence in this matter should be constant. The directive of certain foods and times does nothing to curb the flesh. These fasts are more luxurious and sumptuous than other feasts; not even the adversaries observe the prescriptions given in the canons.

Pulling It Together: It serves us well to discipline these human wills, bringing them in line with the will of God. This the very thing we ask so often, praying, “Thy will be done.” Our first resolve ought to be that his will be done in our own lives. Self-discipline will, to a large extent, accomplish this concern. This has the added benefit of not having to endure the crosses and troubles that God will inflict upon us if our earthly desires are not very heavenly. Be assured that, if God loves you (and he certainly does), he will do what is necessary to answer your prayer, and accomplish his will in your life. Though we ought to do all we can to discipline ourselves, we should not despise our Father’s discipline, since it is for our own good. Nor should we expect that our self-disciplines result in forgiveness, justification, or a reconciled God.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord, in my life as it is in heaven. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…”

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 30

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Proverbs 3:11–12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

As to the mortification of the flesh and discipline of the body, we teach just as the Confession states, that a true and not a feigned mortification occurs through the cross and afflictions by which God disciplines us. In these we must obey God’s will, as Paul says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). These are the spiritual exercises of fear and faith. But in addition to the mortification that occurs through the cross, there is also a voluntary kind of exercise necessary. Christ speaks of this saying, “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation” (Luke 21:34). Paul also says, “I pommel my body and subdue it” (1 Cor 9:27).

These disciplines are not to be undertaken because they are services that justify, but in order to curb the flesh. Otherwise, satisfaction may overpower us, rendering us secure and indifferent. The result of this is people who indulge and obey the inclinations of the flesh. As it has the perpetual command of God, our diligence in this matter should be constant. The directive of certain foods and times does nothing to curb the flesh. These fasts are more luxurious and sumptuous than other feasts; not even the adversaries observe the prescriptions given in the canons.

Pulling It Together: It serves us well to discipline these human wills, bringing them in line with the will of God. This the very thing we ask so often, praying, “Thy will be done.” Our first resolve ought to be that his will be done in our own lives. Self-discipline will, to a large extent, accomplish this concern. This has the added benefit of not having to endure the crosses and troubles that God will inflict upon us if our earthly desires are not very heavenly. Be assured that, if God loves you (and he certainly does), he will do what is necessary to answer your prayer, and accomplish his will in your life. Though we ought to do all we can to discipline ourselves, we should not despise our Father’s discipline, since it is for our own good. Nor should we expect that our self-disciplines result in forgiveness, justification, or a reconciled God.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord, in my life as it is in heaven. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to   the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow...”

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 29

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1 Timothy 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

On the other hand, all the sermons in our churches are occupied with such topics as repentance, the fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the consolation of consciences by faith, the exercises of faith, prayer—what its nature should be and that we should be fully confident that it is heard and is effective, the cross, the authority of magistrates and all civil ordinances, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (or the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love. From this report of our churches it may be judged that we diligently maintain church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good customs in the church.

Pulling It Together: Paul exhorts the young pastor to devote himself to three practices in his ministry: being sure that the Scriptures are read in services of worship, and preaching and teaching the Word of God. This is what the Church needs, though it is not necessarily what the people in congregations want. Too many of our churches want money managers, hand holders, back patters, and meeting goers who go by the name of Pastor but are afforded little time to actually fulfill their office.

The Church must make sure its pastors are allowed to absorb themselves in the office of God’s calling, not in the job description of a Council’s choosing. Then our pastors may faithfully read, preach, and teach God’s word in a way that is beneficial to their congregations.

Prayer: Give me the discipline, Lord, to immerse myself in your word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use.

Source: Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions

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Concerning Human Traditions in the Church – part 29

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Timothy 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

On the other hand, all the sermons in our churches are occupied with such topics as repentance, the fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the consolation of consciences by faith, the exercises of faith, prayer—what its nature should be and that we should be fully confident that it is heard and is effective, the cross, the authority of magistrates and all civil ordinances, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (or the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love. From this report of our churches it may be judged that we diligently maintain church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good customs in the church.

Pulling It Together: Paul exhorts the young pastor to devote himself to three practices in his ministry: being sure that the Scriptures are read in services of worship, and preaching and teaching the Word of God. This is what the Church needs, though it is not necessarily what the people in congregations want. Too many of our churches want money managers, hand holders, back patters, and meeting goers who go by the name of Pastor but are afforded little time to actually fulfill their office.

The Church must make sure its pastors are allowed to absorb themselves in the office of God’s calling, not in the job description of a Council’s choosing. Then our pastors may faithfully read, preach, and teach God’s word in a way that is beneficial to their congregations.

Prayer: Give me the discipline, Lord, to immerse myself in your word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use.

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