Ordinary and Mundane yet Sacred and Sanctified

How often is it heard in Christian circles how 'God spoke to me,' or 'the Lord led me,' or how you could 'feel the Spirit moving?'

It's quite common, to be sure. People want to have those experiences. They want to feel God. But God has not promised to intervene directly in our lives in a personal way. What I mean by that is that nowhere in Holy Scripture does Christ promise to speak directly to us as a form of revelation. The ironic thing is, despite the non-existence of a sure word from Christ promising this, it is very popular for well-meaning Christian folks to make these claims. God spoke to me and the Spirit led me. Hence the language, verbiage, and dare I say it, leaven, of the barely 100 year-old Pentecostal movement that has invaded Christianity and called itself orthodox, when it is not.

But none of that is the main thrust of this post. The last days are here and Christ is taking the mundane and making it Sacred. Mundane simply means natural and ordinary. And this is precisely what Christ does. The God who owns the universe and created it, shows us His power over it repeatedly. Not by giving us a private revelation or sending the Spirit to "move" (whatever that means) during the chorus of some great contemporary worship tune as the guitar player and the lead vocalist are half in tears pouring their heart out.

But by usual, normal, ordinary, mundane things. Like water, for instance. Christ does not change the water by substance or make it something other than it is. It's still water. But He shows His power over it and through it by saving us through water, by His powerful Word. I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Just as Noah and his family were brought safely through the water, we are saved through it in our Baptism.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. ~1 Peter 3:18-22

Normal. Ordinary. Mundane. Now Sacred. God speaks and we are saved through the water. Imagine that.

What about bread and wine? Does Christ not do the same thing there? He takes the ordinary and makes them Sacred. Christ gives us bread and wine and tells us to take and eat, this is My body, and take and drink, this is My blood.

What about normal human speech? That's pretty mundane. We may have hundreds of different languages, but God's Word is spoken in them all. He takes normal human speech and proclaims Christ crucified to you, and the Spirit works through this normal human speech.

I always have a chuckle when our Reformed friends, especially the Reformed Baptists, somehow think that the Holy Spirit is not "sovereign" unless He works completely independently of means. This is usually based on ripping John 3:8 out of context. I get that they want to let God be God. And that is good. Yet, separating the Holy Spirit out from the means of grace and concocting extra terminology to support this system, such as "inward call," well, it's silly.

Everyone wants to be orthodox in their beliefs, it is true. But this separating out of the Spirit from the means is not orthodox. In fact, it stinks of Gnosticism. It's dualist to the core.

And dang it, all of this "inward call" speak sounds a lot like "God told me so," at least on a functional level. Either way, it is the Spirit directly intervening to you apart from means of grace. Even if one argues that the means of grace are means of grace for the elect alone, they're still left with the same problem of the inward call apart from means.

But then, that is all you're left with when you separate the means of grace out from the work of the Spirit. You're left with a dualistic theology of separation of natural and spiritual. And you are left with a God who is not sovereign, as the Calvinists would have us believe, but rather is Gnostic according to historical Christian beliefs and heresies. That is what happens when you deny that God takes the ordinary and mundane and makes them Sacred by working through them.

The hijacking by the Reformed of the term monergism is a shame. Certainly, they are monergists, but it's an unbiblical version of it.

Yet, when you deny that God takes the ordinary and mundane and uses them for Sacred purposes, I suppose that is all one is left with. When you deny that God takes the ordinary and the mundane and uses them for saving purposes, you're still stuck in the same spot. No, this is not a misunderstanding of Calvinism (as Calvinists will try to tell you). This is exactly what they teach. The means of grace are only for the elect. Hence, it's not really the means of grace that are means, but the "sovereign" Holy Spirit showing up when He wants to for the elect and them alone. No wonder the Crypto-Calvinist controversy was such a big deal. Well, that and the Calvinists were lying their way into Lutheran churches and universities.

That is not biblical monergism because there is no objectivity. There is no "for you" and "for certain" in the Sacraments.

Put this faulty version of monergism to bed. Yuck.

Grace and Peace


Augsburg Confession III: The Son of God

Good Friday is a good time to post our third installment on the Augsburg Confession. After all, it was God the Son who suffered and died for our sins on the cross. It was not the Father nor the Spirit who suffered and died. And on to the Confession.

Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably enjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
He also descended into hell, and truly rose again the third day; afterward He ascended into heaven that He might sit on the right hand of the Father, and forever reign and have dominion over all creatures, and sanctify them that believe in Him, by sending the Holy Ghost into their hearts, to rule, comfort, and quicken them, and to defend them against the devil and the power of sin.
The same Christ shall openly come again to judge the quick and the dead, etc., according to the Apostles' Creed.

Here our Confession of faith takes full aim at orthodox Christology. Of course, the Augsburg does not go into the minutiae of every theological detail here, but suffice it to say, it says a lot in just a couple sentences.

We affirm that there is but one Christ and that Christ is a person. His two natures are inseparably enjoined, as the Confession says. This is to say quite simply that Christ is fully God and fully man. Not only so, but He has also received His human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We affirm that He truly suffered, He really died, and was really buried in a tomb. With all the Christian Church for 2000 years, we affirm these things.

He descended into hell and proclaimed His victory over sin and death, and then rose again from the dead. He then ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father and has dominion over everyone and everything.

This section of the Augsburg was nothing more than a re-affirmation of orthodox Christology. The Lutherans were simple affirming that they are (and we are) Catholic. There was no dispute with the Papacy and the Roman Church regarding the Christ. Hence, the Roman bishops accepted this article as true in their response to the Augsburg.

Here we stand. We teach nothing new.

Grace and Peace