Saturday, October 11, 2008
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII The Holy Supper (par 44-47)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae
"Consider this true, almighty Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, after the Last Supper. He is just beginning His bitter suffering and death for our sins. In those sad last moments, with great consideration and solemnity, He institutes this most venerable Sacrament. It was to be used until the end of the world with great reverence and obedience. It was to be an abiding memorial of His bitter suffering and death and all His benefits. It was a sealing of the New Testament, a consolation of all distressed hearts, and a firm bond of unity for Christians with Christ, their Head, and with one another. In ordaining and instituting the Holy Supper He spoke these words about the bread, which He blessed and gave: 'Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you,' and about the cup, or wine: 'This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.'
We are certainly duty-bound not to interpret and explain these words in a different way. For these are the words of the eternal, true, and almighty Son of God, our Lord, Creator, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. We cannot interpret them as allegorical, figurative, turns of phrases, in a way that seems agreeable to our reason. With simple faith and due obedience we receive the words as they read, in their proper and plain sense. We do not allow ourselves to be diverted from Christ's words by any objections or human contradictions spun from human reason, however appealing they may appear to reason.
When Abraham heard God's Word about offering his son (Genesis 22), he had reason enough to debate whether the words should be understood literally or with a tolerable or mild interpretation. They conflicted openly not only with all reason and with the divine and natural law, but also with the chief article of faith about the promised Seed, Christ, who was to be born of Isaac. Nevertheless, when the promise of the blessed Seed from Isaac was given to him, Abraham honored God's truthfulness. He confidently concluded and believed that what God promised He could also do, although it appeared impossible to his reason (Hebrews 11:17-19). So also about Isaac's sacrifice he understood and believed God's Word and command plainly and simply, as they read according to the letter. He committed the matter to God's almighty power and wisdom, which, he knew, has many more modes and ways to fulfill the promise of the Seed from Isaac that he could comprehend with his blind reason.
We, too, are simply to believe with all humility and obedience our Creator and Redeemer's plain, firm, clear, solemn words and command, without any doubt and dispute about how it agrees with our reason or is possible. For these words were spoken by that Lord who is infinite Wisdom and Truth itself. He can do and accomplish everything He promises."