Part III. Doubting The Means Of Grace
The Reformed and their semi-Lutheran followers (who make so much about small groups and discipleship) need outward proof of the faith. The Bible recognizes only two groups, according to C. F. W. Walther: 1) believers; and 2) non-believers. The child, theologian, mother, or convict who believes in Christ has the same treasure. When the recipient of the treasure is distinguished, then people are being taught they must be worthy of the Gospel. This turns Moses into Christ and Christ into Moses.
Small group participants must constantly prove their worthiness by outward acts of piety, whether prayer or kinds of prayers, or hours in prayer. Man is exalted; God is diminished. Doubt spreads until only the outward act remains. Today the modern heirs of Pietism put on clerical robes and fire up the incense, but openly mock every doctrine of the Bible. ELCA is a clear example.
A third method of Pietism is unionism. Many Lutherans no longer trust in the Means of Grace (the Gospel in the Word and Sacraments) which is the only method personally endorsed by God to produce forgiveness, defeat death and Satan, and promote good works.1
For this reason we shall now relate, furthermore, from God’s Word how man is converted to God, how and through what means namely, through the oral Word and the holy Sacraments, the Holy Ghost wants to be efficacious in us, and to work and bestow in our hearts true repentance, faith, and new spiritual power and ability for good, and how we should conduct ourselves towards these means, and how we should use them.2
The Reformed do not believe the Word is effective (efficacious), so they reject the Means of Grace. Semi-Lutherans who endorse the “effective” methods of the Reformed are at the same time rejecting the Biblical method of the Means of Grace.
The Reformed do not think that unionism means giving up their false doctrine, but rather Lutherans turning away from theirs. The Promise Keepers are typical Pietists in moving people out of churches and into stadiums and cell groups. Those who object will be branded as “quenching the Spirit.”
In fact, everyone who encourages people to forsake the historic liturgy, the Creeds, the Sacraments, and Law/Gospel sermons is removing people from the Spirit-borne Word and its divine blessings.
–Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
1 “In so far as Pietism did not point poor sinners directly to the means of grace, but led them to reflect on their own inward state to determine whether their contrition was profound enough and their faith of the right caliber, it actually denied the complete reconciliation by Christ (the satisfactio vicaria), robbed justifying faith of its true object, and thus injured personal Christianity in its foundation and Christian piety in its very essence.” Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, III, p. 175.
2 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II, Free Will, 48, Concordia Triglotta, p. 901. Tappert, p. 530.