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We Speak Volumes by Saying Nothing at All - Friday 20th March, 2020

She predicted the fall of Troy. Warned about the Trojan horse. Foretold the death of Agamemnon. Yet no one listened. Poor Cassandra. It’s no fun being a prophet.

If you’re lounging on deck, and ice cubes are rattling around in your Cosmopolitan, you don’t want to hear about an iceberg. Knowledge can be a downer, and ignorance is bliss. And maybe tomorrow will never come.

But here we are. Back to Matthew 19. The Pharisees put our Lord to the test, asking Him about  divorce and marriage. Our Lord responds by affirming the creation account. No surprise. The Gospel of Matthew is, after all, the book of the Genesis of Jesus Christ.

But the topic of marriage has never been an easy one. Not even for Moses. So divorce gets little pulpit time. And the pews are empty, and the fields are barren from seeds not sown.

Perhaps a trip down memory lane.

At Owen Marsh Elementary, I was best friends with Mark Burnett. He was the only kid in class whose parents were divorced. It was, we might say, an honorable estrangement. But those were different times. At the church I pastored twenty years ago, there were five couples we hung out with, all about the same age. All faithful in church attendance. All well matched. All with great kids. And now, twenty years later, all divorced . . . with kids scattered to the wind. Souls jeopardized. Sheep lost.

So it goes. Social issues and church teaching, culture and doctrine, once poured into life’s blender, can hardly be separated.

So, what shall we confess? It was once as simple as saying Jesus is Lord. Then came the Apostles Creed, followed by the Nicene. Homousius. Homoiousius. Everything depending on an iota. Now we have the Lutheran Confessions. The truth in even greater clarity. But will it be enough?

A little leaven, and the lump goes sour. And the world creeps into pulpits and pews. You say Jesus is the bridegroom and the church the bride. But you think marriage is just a social issue. You speak glowingly about the nativity of our Lord, but won’t speak out against the holocaust of abortion. But a house divided soon falls. There is no chance of gazing into heaven if we are blind to the world around us. Such an ethereal gospel is nothing but sound and fury, signifying not much at all.

A man journeys from Jerusalem to Jericho, falling among robbers, stripped, and beaten and left half dead. But priests and Levites hurry on, lest they be late for the temple. By our inaction, we confess. And we speak volumes by saying nothing at all.

So, we’ve seen Satan move up the food chain of Matthew 19. First, there is a dead calm surrounding abortion, accompanied by a silence on divorce. It was all about the adults, who had the power. No thought to the children who suffer the consequences. Before we knew it, marriage lost all definition. Gay marriage, now polyamory. So quickly.

And today’s domino? “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?”  But many have not read. Or at least have not believed. Will it matter?  Can we say sing of Christ as groom and church as bride, if we can no longer even confess what marriage is?  What will it mean to call God our Father,  if we say a man can have a baby? If we play along and say that he is she?  Or she is he?

There is a growing crisis among us. And it’s risen in the last seven years. It’s dysphoria among our children. And it’s a fast-moving leaven. Boys and girls confused. Puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and mutilating surgery. I’ve seen the children. Girls with low voices, infertility, and sterilization. Horrible dismemberment. I’ve talked to desperate moms and dads. So what do we say?

Just across the state line, an Ohio college professor, not wishing to use false pronouns, just lost a lawsuit. A Brownsburg high school teacher likewise was fired for not playing along. Closer to home, a student at PFW, a young Lutheran, received a memo from his employee. Use the new pronouns, or you’re fired. Just spoke with a woman desperately trying to save her daughter from the onslaught.

In the Early Church, it was burning incense to the emperor. Could we offer up a pinch, and then, in the next sentence say that Jesus is Lord? 

Say 2 +2 equals 5. Cross your fingers behind your back, and pretend it doesn’t matter. Say that 2 + 2 equals 5. What harm could come from that?   Soon, you will find that there is a twist-tie around your tongue, your mind will be imprisoned. If you say that 2 + 2 equals 5, then words will have no meaning. And if words have no meaning, then the Word of God has no meaning. And we might as well stop preaching altogether. For we will have become slaves, beholden to the Father of all lies.

But our Lord came to release the prisoners. And if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Our Lord came to unplug our ears, that we might hear and obey, to open our lips and loosen our tongues that we might sing His praises and speak rightly.

By His death, He has paid the price of our sin, and by His resurrection, He has taken away death’s sting. If true, we are free from the threats of the world. Free from fear eternal. Free to confess.

And so we will. We will proclaim that Christ is God’s Son. We will tell others that Christ is the groom who laid down His life for His bride the church. And, following St. Paul, in very the same breath, we will speak the truth about marriage, about male and female.

And so our Lord asks, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” 

Male and female He created them. Male and female He created them. Now say it with me. Male and female He created them. And in doing so, you affirm the God of creation, and you confess that Jesus is Lord.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. Program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

 

 

Be Informed

“There’s seldom any clinician-to-clinician communication between an abortion provider and an emergency-room doctor. This puts women at risk of serious harm, even death.” Check out a recent Wall Street Journal article to learn the horrible reasons why “Abortion is more important than safety to the American College of Obstetrics and and Gynecologists.”

 

Be Equipped

“The Boy Scouts . . . has finally collapsed.” To learn more about why compromising led to the group’s downfall, click here.

Be Encouraged

“The most important thing in Christianity is not how I feel about Jesus, or came to believe in Jesus, or my experience of Jesus (though all these things are certainly not unimportant). Christianity is not ultimately or primarily focused on me, my deeds, my experience, my sincerity. All things focused on me will falter and are imperfect (Rom. 7). The big thing is the cross and resurrection.” – Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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