Rebuke! Rebuke! Rebuke

From Bruce:

Oh yeah and I forgot.
thanks for the comment, brother in Christ whom I love.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! DON’T YOU DARE EVER, EVER EVEN CONSIDER ME when you are considering the calling of your master. I’ have half a mind to walk over to your apartment and 360 you on general principle! You know my inner name. If I were used by God to walk alongside you as you gained strength, maturity, relationships, then that is in keeping with who I am. But catalytic identity cannot claim for its own. And I would not claim for my own, even my most prized things, in opposition or competition to Christ!


Are you going to betray my friendship by even for a moment considering your relationship to me over your relationship to my Master? By that I mean are you going to forge me in your heart into an instrument against my Lord? A stumbling block?! If years of rants, theological wrangling, throwing Greek at your brain, and generally trying to encourage your love of God’s Word mean anything, don’t betray them by saying something like this ever again.

How dare you do this to me?!

PS. I’ll be in town Saturday as usual. So you can be smacked as you so richly deserve.

You’re welcome.

But this comment has in it some things I think have needed addressing, and so with your forgiveness, I shall respond to it as a way to address them.

In Lutheranism, we have a few doctrines.

One is the doctrine of vocation.  Roughly speaking, it defines our calling as serving the Lord through the roles we occupy.  That is, at present my calling is to serve God as a husband of my wife, a friend of my friends, and a servant of Walmart Stores Inc (among other things).

The other is our various teachings regarding revelation.  To put it quite bluntly:  We believe that Jesus Christ is the person who speaks for God these days.  We believe that in the garden of Gethsemane he promised the apostles that they would accurately remember his words and relay his teachings.  Therefore, we hold those books which contain the teachings of the apostles to be inspired scripture, according to the teachings of the apostles.

Therefore we do not hold other things to be inspired scriptures, including coincidence, emotion, or even my good buddy logic.

From this, then, vocation:  the various household codes in the New Testament make clear that our calling from God is to serve God by discharging well the duties implied by our existing relationships.  This is found in the scriptures.

However, we do not find in the scriptures the idea of a mystical call beyond this.  It may be that God pulls us, through thought, deed, emotion, and event, toward the place he wants us.  But it is not written, we cannot say it, and it is arrogant and foolish to make decisions based on it.

Taking on additional relationships (and therefore duties) is a matter of Christian freedom!  If an unmarried man chooses to get married, he has added to the calling of his Master a call to be a good husband.  He was free not to do so.  There was no demand upon him to accept this calling unless that demand can be found in the Scriptures rightly interpreted!

So, too, if I choose to become a pastor, and my church then sends me off to seminary, it will ipso facto become God’s call on my life.

But until that point, whether or not it is God’s desire, it is not God’s call.  And if I say it is, based on my desires or emotions or coincidences, then even if it is God’s desire that I become a pastor, nevertheless by presuming to speak for Him where He has not spoken and by claiming or speculating His will where he has not revealed it, I become a false prophet and a heretic, for I am claiming that I am the voice of God!

So, despite the confluence of my emotions and my church’s potential generosity, which years ago I would have seen as a message from God, I am not at present called to be a pastor.

Should I accept my church’s offer, at that time I shall be called to become a pastor.

In both cases, yeah or nay, I am called to be a friend to my friends.  Therefore, it is good, meet, and right that I consider my friendships when thinking over whether or not I should move forward on this.  It is good, meet, and right, in other words, that I place priority on the calling I do have over and against the calling I do not have.  It is in no way deserving of rebuke.

Quod erat demonstrandum.


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