Vandalism is a crime of spite and disrespect. We can never approve of such a thrilling misdeed. Nothing but a wicked form of titillating satisfaction may be gained by the vandal thereby. It calls for a strict sentence of menial community service, if only the delinquent could be found out. But is not the question that was spray-painted on the front doors of this church exactly a question God himself might ask? ‘The motivation for this’ is of little account. The ‘refurbishment’ that should follow the vandal’s act is what counts: that which could make this church more ‘about Jesus’ and as Luther-like as its heroic name.
How far has this Lutheran church fallen from the cross? A comparison between what goes on there and the sermons of Luther shows that it is far below the gospel standard that Luther set. Mighty Fortress Lutheran should heed even the vandal’s call if it has fallen from that standard by even one inch. It must get back up on the cross where the death of Christ is found, from which alone must flow any spiritual benefit sinful man can ever hope to obtain.
Substandard church services go hand in glove with unholy ties. This Mighty Fortress Lutheran is part of the
Ministerial Association. So are the
local Catholic churches. And so, by virtue of this Ministerial being a
spiritual partnership, these Lutherans and Catholics are content to forward the
illusion that the gospel Luther preached must be the same as the Pope’s. Red Deer
Mr. Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) has lately reaffirmed the old Popish opinion that Protestant churches are not true churches on account of their lack of certain elements like the Catholic ‘Eucharistic Mystery.’ How did Luther interpret such an opinion? The Pope’s declaration means that “the Pope goes to work…and blots you out of the book of life, and casts you four thousand miles on the other side of hell, and you are now a rotten member cut off from holy Christendom” (Luther, Sermons, 3.1, p. 94.) In other words, the Pope maintains that one cannot be saved by Christ so long as one is outside the Roman Catholic Church. Concerning the Pope’s ‘Eucharistic Mystery,’ the supposed sacrifice of Christ in the Mass, Luther thundered, “This is the most monstrous abomination that ever arose on earth” (Sermons, 3.2, p. 48.) Why? Because the Bible says that salvation is by the historic death of Christ upon the cross, not by some magical concept of his being re-crucified.
So the truth is, the Pope is still at odds with Luther and the gospel, and yet local Lutheran and Catholic ministers rub shoulders as if they’re in spiritual unity. How can a Lutheran pastor honestly exclaim with Luther that ‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’ if he steps outside the fortress to fraternize with priests who “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”? (Hebrews 6.6.) If this Lutheran pastor were worthy of being under Luther’s banner, he would fearlessly shout with Luther, “Hearken, then, ye deceivers of the world and blind leaders of the blind; ye Pope, ye bishops, priests, monks, learned and idle talkers; who teach the purification of sins by human achievements, and that satisfaction for sins may be made by men…Listen to the teaching here: Purification of sins is not effected by human effort, but solely in Christ and through himself. Christ is communicated to us, not through any work of ours, but through faith alone” (Sermons, 3.2, pp. 180, 181.) Faith means a believing trust or confidence in Jesus to save your soul by his merits. Amen.