Presentation on the Office of the Keys and the Church
Presented at Concordia Lutheran Church
in Burlington, IA
In response to many voices in Synod calling for renewal through restructuring of the LCMS, and in light of the initial paper offered by the Synod's Blue Ribbon Committee offered for discussion prior to the 2007 Synodical Convention, a paper was published on the Mark V Publications web site in the Fall of that year. The paper was downloaded copiously (over 2500 times) from the web site under the title The Lord, The Keys and the Church. This paper can be found in its full (65 page) form or in an abridged form on the 'Theological Papers' page (see Towering Words tab) on this web site. Upon publication of the paper, a request was made for a congregational presentation on this topic.
This presentation was for laypeople in the congregation, lightly skimming over issues of Synodical responsibilities and centering on the responsibilities that every congregation and every member of the congregation shares under Christ's authority, command and promise for the retention of the Gospel and the proper use of the same.
The author's/presenter's thesis around which this presentation was formed is that Christ's Gospel and the power of the Keys to free sinners from their sins and to bind the unrepentant (those without faith) is the one and only authority uniquely in the church, out of which all structure and practice must grow. The abuse of this stewardship is most clearly expressed in congregations and in personal piety through the abuse, or misuse, of the Lord's Supper that is common and increasingly rampant (which removes from the church its mark of using the Sacrament according to the Gospel, CA VII since the Gospel use of the Lord's Supper is to SANCTIFY the faithful, not to affirm their sins. What does that abuse look like? Individuals abuse the Sacrament by either dispising and ignoring it (violating the Third Commandment), or by receiving it without examining their sins and without a desire for Sanctification (improvement unto holiness). Individuals thus abuse it to maintain their sinful lives rather than to die to sin and live to righteousness. Congregants abuse it by not caring enough about their fellow member to use God's Word to restore hin from manifest and intentional sins as is their mandated responsibility in Matthew 18, allowing a brother to receive communion to his judgement. Congregations corporately abuse holy communion when they invite members of heterodox churches to commune them, thus using communion to confirm them in their doctrinal (Second Commandment) sins rather than turning them from the lie to the truth through instruction and church membership. Pastors abuse it when they neither teach nor exhort their communicants to examine themselves prior to communion, lest they take it to their judgement. Our church is failing and being visited by God's displeasure because of our lack of faithfulness. Jesus will take back his keys and our part of salvation if these keys are not faithfully used according to his good purposes, that is, if we oppose his purposes (repentant faith or and warning the impenitent) rather than being part of his purpose.
It is the members and congregation's refusal or failure to use the keys properly that is causing both God's displeasure with our church and her associated weaknesses. The only answer to these sins against the First Table of the Law is repentance and forgiveness for each individual, each congregation and the Synod as a whole. May God grant it.
So please click on the link below to see this presentation
in its entirety, with sound and all. It didn't publish to
HTML perfectly, so you have to put your curser on
the slide and click in order to advance to the next
slide. Its a Java Script so please allow it to
run if your brower asks!
© 2013 Mark V Publications