Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Lord's Supper by Stephenson

I recently returned to a study group in my area after a long hiatus. They are now beginning a study of Dr. John R. Stephenson's book The Lord's Supper in the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series (Vol. XII, 1999, 2003). The volumes in this series, which now includes books on Baptism (Scaer), Church and Ministry (Marquart), Eschatology (Stephenson), and Christology (Scaer), are well worth the purchase. The authors are among the truly outstanding in our church today.

While I have just begun my study of Stephenson's book, my comments are only a few. We barely reached the second chapter yesterday. Some notable quotes for me included the following:

Luther (in ref. to Zwingli's teaching on the Supper): "But he [the devil] will keep on and attack still other articles of faith, as he already declares with flashing eyes that baptism, original sin, and Christ are nothing." Also: "Through these fanatics, however, the devil prepares the way for other heretics who will come and say that Christ is nothing and has neither flesh nor divinity, as happened in early Christendom." (11)

"The Reformer noted that, while they differed among themselves over other articles of faith, the ancient Fathers were virtually unanimous in avowing the real presence." (12)

"Zwingli sinned more grievously than the ancient pagans, who oftentimes made false accusations out of ignorance, whereas he from better knowledge derided as cannibalistic rite founded in the upper room." (13)

"...avowal of the real presence is in precipitous decline throughout Western Christendom....a mere thirty-four percent of self-identified Romans Catholics in the United States confess the real presence, while a majority of sixty-three percent deny this article of faith." (15)

"...since liturgical change signals doctrinal crisis, the widespread contemporary renunciation of the historic Divine Service can only work to detach Lutherans even further from biblical doctrine." (15-16)

There are other gems I would love to share with you, if I had more time. I can only recommend that you purchase the book and read it yourself, along with the others in the series! (However, I would not recommend Amazon.com at this time. They were listing it as $92!!!!

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