When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

25 August, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Introduction, Law/Gospel, Scripture

Today was the start of Adult Confirmation at my church.  I'm going just as a refresher (I was confirmed when I was 14) and so my husband would have company while attending.  Since I took copious notes (5 notebook pages), I thought I would share them here.


What is a catechism? A catechism is the Bible boiled down, like Cliff Notes.  Luther's Small Catechism, the basis of our confirmation studies in the LCMS, consists of several parts:

  • Six Chief Parts:
    • 10 Commandments
    • Apostles' Creed
    • Lord's Prayer
    • Baptism
    • Confession and Absolution
    • Lord's Supper
  • Explanation (what is properly Luther's Small Catechism)
  • Short explanation (added on later)

Law and Gospel

Boiled down even further, the Bible can be summed up in two words: Law and Gospel.  These two words are the very essence of the Bible.

Word of Command
Word of Promise
God’s “Do”s
God’s “Done” (it is finished)
Description of God’s Holiness and command to be holy like God
Declares “You are holy.” (by faith and not works)
Summarized in the 10 Commandments (Natural Law)
Summarized in the Creeds
Shows us our sin and the need for a Savior
Shows us our Savior
Can only condemn

There are 3 uses of the law:
  1. As a Curb
  2. As a Mirror
  3. As a Guide (or rule)

The necessary conclusion of the Law is: I need help.  I need a Savior.

Old Testament Law is divided into three categories:
  1. Moral Law (Natural Law, the 10 Commandments)
  2. Civil Law (bound up to Israel, our civil law is now bound to secular governments)
  3. Ceremonial Law (fulfilled in Christ)

Ceremonial law:
  • Belongs only to the Old Testament
  • Points us to Christ
  • To now practice any ceremonial law is to deny the work, life, death, and resurrection of Christ: it denies Him as the fulfillment of the law and as Savior of the world
(an interesting note about Hebrew: the word for "whole burnt offering" is holocaust)

New Testament "ceremonial law":
  • Baptism
  • Confession and Absolution
  • Lord's Supper

There are only two religions in the world:
  • The Religion of Law (all religions except...)
  • The Religion of Gospel (...Christianity)

It is very important for a proper distinction of Law and Gospel. "Glawspel" is nothing more than diluted law.  We confess that, outside of the Lutheran church, the proper distinction between Law and Gospel does not exist.

There are two sources for knowledge about God: Natural and Revealed.  Natural knowledge of God comes through Creation and the Conscience.  Revealed knowledge of God comes through Scripture.

We learn from Nature that God is:
  • Big (creation)
  • Good (order)
  • Mad (we are bad)
Nature shows us only law.

Revealed to us in Scripture is:
  • God's name
  • Triune nature
  • Salvation
The revealed God is Gospel.

Consciences can be broken when:
  • It tells us we are guilty when we are not
  • It tells us we are not guilty when we are
  • It tells us we are condemned when we are saved
The Devil works on two things:
  • Your conscience
  • The Church

The Bible

This was the "Bible in 15 minutes" summary given by Pastor.

Old Testament:
  • Written by the prophets
  • Written in Hebrew
  • 39 books in 5 'sections':
    • Torah (Books of Moses, 5 books)
    • History (12 books)
    • Wisdom (5 books)
    • Major Prophets (4 books)
    • Minor Prophets (13 books)
  • The major theme running through the whole Old Testament is the promise of Jesus, the seed--every word, every person, every event is driving you towards Christ.
Between the Testaments is the Apocrypha (mostly written in Greek).  We believe it to be helpful, but not sacred or inspired.

New Testament:
  • Written by the Apostles
  • Written in Greek
  • 27 books in 5 'sections':
    • Gospels (4 books)
      • Each book follows the same basic pattern with two major sections in each: the birth and ministry of Jesus; and His death and resurrection
    • Acts (history of the early Church, 1 book)
    • Pauline Epistles (named for "to whom", 13 books)
    • Catholic (universal) Epistles (named mostly for "by whom" because they were addressed to the whole church, 8 books)
    • Prophesy (Revelations, 1 book)
  • Three major authors in the New Testament:
    • Luke: author of Luke and Acts
    • Paul: oversaw the writing of the Gospel of Luke and book of Acts, authored the 13 Pauline Epistles
    • Peter: oversaw the writing of the Gospel of Mark, authored 1 and 2 Peter

Next week, we tackle the first table of the law (Commandments 1-3, by the Lutheran numbering--there are about 5 different ways to number the Commandments, which we will talk about next week).

Hopefully you can make sense of my notes, if not--please comment and I'll be happy to clarify!

1 comment:

John said...

In Hebrew there are three sections to the OT: The Torah, The Nivi'im and the Kituvim.