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How to become a legalist

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The greatest heretic in American history

This is basic church history for some of us. But for most American Christians, it'll be an eye-opener:



If you've been hurt by the Church...

New Reformation Press provides these free of charge. Seldom has anyone done the Christian world- and especially former Christians who have been hurt by the Church- a greater online service.





A lecture by Dr. Rosenbladt, which forms a kind of "sequel," can be downloaded here.

"This shall be my faith!"

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Because of my inborn wickedness and weakness so far it has been impossible for me to satisfy God’s claims. 

If I may not believe that God, for Christ’s sake, will forgive me the daily mourned lag, it would be over with me. 

I would have to despair, but I won’t let that happen. 
Like Judas hang myself on a tree, I will not do that. 
I will hang myself (cling) to the neck or foot of Jesus Christ, like the sinful woman. 
Even though I am worse then her, I will hold tight to my Lord. 

Then he will speak to the Father: 

Though (he) never kept any (promises) and broke each of your commandments, 
Father, but (he) clings to me. 
Never mind! 
I died for him as well. 
Let him slip through.’ 

This shall be my faith!

--Martin Luther

"...Help Thou mine unbelief!"

I not only believe in Christ, but I know that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father to be our Mediator and to intercede for us. I know that the bread and the wine in the Lord’s Supper are the body and blood of Christ and that the word of the pastor, whether he preaches or absolves, is the Word of God. Yet the flesh is weighed down by doubt, so that it does not believe these things. This is great wretchedness and is bitterer than death itself. Indeed, the reason why death is bitter is that the hindrances of the flesh prevent us from believing. Otherwise affliction would be a joy, and death would be a sleep for us who believe.

We should deplore these evils, which are implanted in us through Adam as a result of original sin, and we should pray God to increase and strengthen faith in us and to sustain us under the heaven of the forgiveness of sins...

Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, AE 5:21,
Lectures on Genesis,
Genesis 26:5

Screwtape advises Slubgub on the diabolical misdirection play

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It's especially effective for people with OCD:
Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself (God) we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success of failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.--C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

((It's not for nothing that Martin L…

Patrick Hamilton on the distinction between Law and Gospel

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The law saith to the sinner. Pay thy debt; the Gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.

The law saith, Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned; the Gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved.

The law saith, Make amends for thy sins; the Gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.

The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee; the Gospel saith, Christ hath pacified Him with His blood.

The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.

The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell; the Gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Patrick Hamilton, Scottish Lutheran theologian and martyr, sealed his testimony with his own blood on February 29, 1528 at St. Andrews, Scotland.

How bad news can be good news

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The Lutheran Confessions offer to poor sinners this sweet comfort, that, when God has given them the grace to be alarmed on account of their sins, they are in a fit condition to approach the throne of grace, where they receive forgiveness — the true remedy for their ills. They must indeed have contrition; however, not to the end of acquiring some merit by it, but in order that they may gladly accept what Jesus offers them…

When our Lutheran theologians wrote our Confessions, they sat down to their work as true Christians and did not intend to construct a system of doctrine. They knew in what way a poor sinner is given rest and the consolation of salvation. In the Apology, Melanchthon has spoken like a simple Christian. What has made this Confession all the more precious is that he speaks all that he says from the fulness of Scripture and his own experience.

In 1545 an edition of the Latin writings of Luther was published. In the preface to the first part, Luther relates what …

CHRIST IS RISEN!

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Awake, My Heart, with Gladness

By: Paul Gerhardt

Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings it flight.

The foe triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed over the grave.

This is a sight that gladdens
What peace it does impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me has won.

Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their power are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a powerless form,
However it rave and storm.

Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whatever he passes thro…

Just answer me this:

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Do you really think that the One Who went through this to get you into heaven is going to send you to hell on a technicality?

On cheering when there's no game going on

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I wish I had a buck for every time I heard an "evangelical" Christian tell me that God "told him" (or her) something.

It's amazing the number of out-and-out delusions which arise from the believe that God speaks to us directly and reliably through subjective impressions, apart from the Word. This is especially true for people with OCD.

A simple reading of history, of course, will impress anyone with an eye open for the phenomenon with how many amazing- and often gruesome- things God has allegedly "told" people down through the ages. A great many people are dead because God allegedly told others to kill them. In most cases, I think it's a reasonable conclusion that the message was either garbled, or- more likely- not authentic to begin with.

In the case of OCD, "God" usually tells people the very things they want least to hear. Sometimes it's to perform some sort of essentially meaningless ritual. Sometimes it's to make a particu…

Avoiding the "F word"

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Feel, feel! That is just what is wrong. Don’t you believe the Bible is God’s Word just as truly, no matter how you may feel? Don’t you see, Brother, that this won’t do? Here you are with your sore conscience and your awakening by the law, and you are as sensitive to every single threat of that law as a sore tooth to ice water. But since the conscience is dead as clay toward all the Gospel promises ... you feel nothing when God’s Word speaks about Jesus, who died for us sinners, and about the righteousness that comes from God and which one may believe in spite of every accusation of one’s conscience. Because you make your feelings your barometer, you pass by the Gospel and are held fast in the law. Look in your Bible and see if the passages you have especially marked are not just those that speak of what you shall do. But you have not given half the attention to that which tells what Christ has done through his atonement ... Read God’s Word now as God’s Word, without skipping anythin…

No, He isn't.

People often ask, "Pastor, I feel God is calling me to do…" Or, "I feel God has put it on my heart to…" Or, "I think God is speaking to me to tell me that I should…" Then comes the question, "How do I know if this is really what God wants for my life or if it's just me?" Simple. It's just you. The Holy Spirit works through a preacher, speaking His particular Word through "the office of Gospel preaching and administering the sacraments." Anything you feel in you is just you wishing it was God stirring up those feelings. We call this "enthusiasm," or, "God-within-ism." It's been around since Adam fell. It's the basest rebellion against God and His Word for you.--Rev. Donavan Riley
Here's another thing about Enthusiasm: if you have OCD, it will eat you for lunch. God is not the Author of confusion. If He is calling you to do something or to be something, He will have no trouble making it clear …

Just to clear up some OCD-induced confusion on this point....

We don't repent, we are repented. Repentance is passive, worked by the Spirit of God through His Word. The new man in Christ trusts this repenting in faith, which is also worked by the Spirit of God in us. The old man in Adam loathes this work, because by it he is put to death. Not content with sitting passive while he is killed, the old man in Adam tries to find choices- always, he thinks, under the protection of the law. More law means more choices, he thinks- but not God's law. Not content with waiting for God to work when and where He chooses, the old man in Adam goes to work adding his own laws on to God's law.Thus we see again and again the old man in Adam call for more law, less forgiveness. More doing, less waiting. The law solves everything, he says, that is why our church and the world are going to hell. We need to repent, we need to have faith, and we need to build up the barricades that hold back the incursion of this old, evil world, or God will forsake us, he…