Monday, September 05, 2005

Lutheran Hymn-Mutilators Censor Evangelical Theology!

OK, now that I've got your attention, here's my beef.

You know, of course, the famous hymn, Amazing Grace, right? And you know of course, the second stanza, the one that goes like this:

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Except of course, if you worship in a Lutheran church, you're not going to know that verse, now are you? You see, the Lutheran hymn mutilators have apparently determined that the fear of God has nothing to do with GRACE. No, only the LAW teaches the fear of God, and the LAW is opposite of GRACE. So they've substituted in this stanza instead:

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

The new hymnal has no improvement. Of course, Lutherans are always suspicious of Evangelical doctrine, but this time they seem suspicious of Augsburg Evangelical doctrine! Here's what Phillip Melanchthon wrote about the fear of God and grace:

Therefore the ancient definition [of original sin] . . . denies [in man] the knowledge of God, confidence in God, the fear and love of God or certainly the power to produce these affection. For even the [scholastic] theologians themselves teach in their schools that these affections are not produced without certain gifts and the aid of grace. In order that the matter may be understood, we term these very gifts the knowledge of God, and fear and confidence in God.

The fear of God, like the knowledge of Him and confidence in Him, is a gift of grace -- this is the assertion of the Augsburg Evangelical confessions!

Has any of these hymn mutilators grown up an atheist? Does any one of them know the horror of suddenly waking up to the realization that one is perfectly capable of living without any thought whatsoever of one's Creator? Evidently not, or else they would not deny that grace is at work when a man begins to feel like this:

How then did God bring me back? I came, over time, to feel a greater and greater horror about myself. Not exactly a feeling of guilt, not exactly a feeling of shame, just horror: an overpowering sense that my condition was terribly wrong.

This is law, this is grace, because God is gracious to us, even in making us feel and fear His law. Melanchthon knew that, because with all his later errors, he always had a deep and profound heart-knowledge of justification by faith alone.

Pick up and read!