American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 147 pages of information about American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics.
Now, every communicant either possesses this faith, or he does not.  If he does, he is justified or pardoned before he communes; if he is destitute of this faith, his communing cannot justify or pardon him; for man is justified by faith alone.  Yet are there thousands of church members who afford no satisfactory evidence of regeneration, or of that faith which works by love, and purifies the heart, and overcomes the world; who, because they approach the sacramental table with seriousness and sincerity, and perhaps with some sorrow for their sins, believe that they obtain pardon for their transgressions, and yet still continue in their unregenerate state.  It cannot be said that the symbolical books clearly teach the above error, but they are not sufficiently guarded, and are understood by many as inculcating the doctrine, that a sincere and devout participation of the Lord’s Supper secures the pardon of sin, even where satisfactory evidences of regeneration are wanting, the persons referred to mistaking a mere historical belief for a living faith.  Hence, as the Scripture nowhere connects the forgiveness of sins with the duty of sacramental communion, any more than with the performance of any other prominent christian duty, it is not proper that we should do so.  The design of the Holy Supper is to show forth the Lord’s death, to profess the name of the Redeemer before the world, to confirm the previous faith of the communicant, to bring him into closest spiritual communion with his blessed Saviour, and to secure his special spiritual blessing:  but not to bestow forgiveness of sins upon the unregenerate, however serious they may be.  Against this dangerous error all should therefore carefully guard, and ever remember the declaration of the Lord Jesus when he said, “Unless a man be born again (become a new creature in Christ Jesus) he cannot see the kindom [sic] of God.”

CHAPTER XI.  EXORCISM.

This superstitious practice, which consists in a prescribed formula of adjuration, accompanied by various menacing demonstrations, by the use of which the priest professes to expel the evil spirits from an individual, of whom they are supposed to have taken possession, was practised in the Romish Church, principally before the baptism of infants.  The rite was retained, with an altered interpretation, in various parts of the Lutheran Church in Europe, for several centuries.  In the American Lutheran Church, it was never received by the fathers of our church, and is regarded as unscriptural and highly objectionable, under the most favorable interpretation that can be given it.

As exorcism is not touched by the Augsburg Confession, it is also not discussed by the Rev. Mr. Mann, in his Plea.  But as others have objected to the Platform for representing it as in any degree a part of the Symbolic system, we will adduce evidence enough to satisfy every impartial and reasonable reader, that it was so regarded for several centuries, by a considerable portion of the Lutheran Church in Europe; and that the assertion of the Platform, “that this rite was retained, with an altered interpretation, in various parts of the Lutheran Church in Europe, for several centuries,” (p. 23,) is even more than sustained.

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American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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