Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book of Professor E.A.W. Krauss from our St. Louis seminary of a century ago. This month we are introduced to the Austrian Salzburgers. They were Lutherans from around the Austrian city of Salzburg. [Salzburg was popularized as being Mozart’s hometown and the setting of the “Sound of Music.”] We again see that remaining faithful to our Lord often comes at great expense. We are reminded of Luther’s words [AE, XXIII, 204-205]: “But if tyrants want to compel us to act contrary to the will of God or to become unfaithful to Christ and His Gospel, then we must say: ‘Here the verse applies [Mt. 10.37 f.]. I submit to leaving house and home. To be sure, I would much rather remain there, since I love my father, my wife and child; but I love Christ more. And if I am forced to leave one or the other, I stand ready to forsake all else and cleave solely to Christ; for the best and greatest portion remains mine, namely, Christ and His Word.”
40. THE LUTHERANS FROM SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
Salzburg and vicinity is a very beautiful mountainous land. Luther’s friend, Staupitz, ended his days there; at the time of the Reformation Paul Speratus, Urbanus Rhegius and others worked there; in 1528, Georg Schaerer was beheaded there because of his Lutheran testimony. Luther’s translation of the Bible, his catechism and the Augsburg Confession were introduced there, and in spite of all attempts of the of the Archbishops of Salzburg to wipe out Lutheranism, it still survived on the mountains, in the valleys and in the mines of the land of Salzburg and Tyrol. The Bible and the Lutheran writings preserved Lutheranism even after the preachers had been expelled. The miners in the mine sang the hymns of Luther and Speratus [For example: #377 Salvation Unto Us Has Come]. While the archbishops were searching for the Lutheran books, they were safely hidden away in cellar vaults and secret cupboards. Even in recent times (like in the Anger Castle by Clausen), all kinds of Lutheran books continue to be found when walls were broken through.
The religious peace after the Thirty Years’ War should have secured the free exercise of religion for the Salzburg Lutherans. In 1685, when the miners of Hallein, with Joseph Schaitberger at the head, came out publicly confessing their Lutheran faith, persecution immediately started up again. They mocked the prison and bonds into which they were placed and defied the mendicant monks who were sent into the prisons to convert them. At that time, over a thousand preferred exile rather than shamefully to deny their faith and so they emigrated. Some of them found refuge in Swabia and Franconia. Schaitberger earned his bread in Nuremberg with woodwork and wire drawing. He was their patriarch and his confident, pious exile hymns, together with his Evangelical Open Letter (1688), were main way his Lutheran countrymen were edified during a difficult time. Three times he secretly returned to his homeland from his exile and strengthened his fellow believers who gathered together for worship in secret, in the darkness of night in remote places, in caves and ravines. There, as well as in their houses, they read the sermon books of Luther and Arnd. They had peace for a time after the storm of 1685.
But it all changed under the Archbishop Leopold Anton, Baron of Firmian, who received his office and rule in 1727. It was precisely at that time when the so-called “clerical courts” surpassed even the temporal princes in their courtly behavior in luxury and decadence. The archbishops, bishops and princely abbots, these “successors of the poor apostles,” went about in proud state coaches with six horses, hunted in the forests with ecclesiastical dignitaries amidst the sound of trumpet and howls of dogs, “getty-up” and “Tally-ho,” and feasted at home upon silk cushions at tables filled with the most tasty delicacies. Their cellars, which they blasphemously called: the cellar of God the Father, the cellar of God the Son, the cellar of the Holy Spirit, were full of the choicest wines. We do not speak of their further debaucheries. Archbishop of Cologne, Clement, for example, the brother of Maximilian II, feasted and reveled like Maximilian. Even in the “holy time of Lent” 20 bowls were served him. He spent a great portion of his time in France “where he committed improprieties which even shocked the French.” Johann Philipp von Schoenborn, Bishop of Wuerzburg, led a true life of shame. Father Horn felt himself compelled to testify against it and for that he had to suffer in a deep prison 20 years until his death.
The Archbishop of Salzburg had the most magnificent castles and gardens in the air with artificial fountains and statues of naked goddesses. Leopold Anton von Firmian was miserly but passionately devoted himself to drink and the desire for hunting. In the heat of drunkenness when he was told that there still were many secret heretics in his beautiful land of Salzburg, he made the oath that he would root out the heretics from his land or else thorns and thistles would grow on it. Together with his chancellor, Raell, he kept this godless oath. First, hosts of Jesuits, who called themselves preachers of repentance, would go through the land. Day and night they would go into the houses of suspected Lutherans, start examining them and ransack every corner for Lutheran books. Whoever was found out to be a Lutheran heretic and would not be converted by a sermon of repentance was severely punished with a fine, and even with a stick, a bludgeon and jail. Besides that, from the pulpit, he was publicly delivered over to the devil; when he died, he was buried outside of the churchyard like dead livestock. Hans Lerchener from Obermais and Veit Breme in the county-court Werfen did not want to hand over their Bibles or renounce their faith. They were placed in chains and finally were forced to hike across the border. Nine children mourned for them. But all the work of the Jesuits and all the punishments really did not amount to anything. With very few exceptions the Lutherans remained firm in their holy faith. Then Chancellor Raell himself, together with attendants, went about throughout the land. He first of all wanted to see how many there still were who had fallen away from the Roman faith so he disguised himself and he spoke to the people in a friendly way, even allowing the hope of religious freedom to shine through, if they would just reveal their opinion. Then decent people opened their hearts and mouths, and, behold, over 20,000 declared themselves to be Lutheran. Raell carefully wrote down their names and property. He already knew he had his profits.
Archbishop and chancellor were amazed at the number of the Lutherans. At first, they did not reveal their intention to exterminate the heresy. Then they gave up their act and a more severe persecution than before began. The Lutherans then gathered to form an alliance. On 05 August 1731 more than one hundred came down from all the mountains and heights to Schwarzach, a small market town, and there at the inn sat around a table, upon which there was a saltbox. They took off their hats, prayed and swore an oath to the true and Triune God not to leave the true Lutheran faith, but to persevere in it in life and death. Then they dipped their finger into the saltbox and swallowed the salt. And since 2 Chronicles 13.5 says that the Lord made a covenant of salt (that is, an incorruptible, firm covenant) with David and his sons, from then on they called their holy covenant of inviolable brotherhood of faith the Salt Covenant. (Still today at the inn at Schwarzach … there is a wooden table-top with a crude picture: six farmers sitting around a table, among two boys; in front of each one is a bowl of salt. Around in the semicircle it says: “This is that table at which the Lutheran farmers licked salt in 1729.” The tabletop may be genuine. The date is probably intentionally falsified. As a Secondary student I, too, saw this Lutheran relic.) The farmers also decided at that time to send representatives to the Protestant princes of Germany to find out if they would accept the Salzburgers. The King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I, definitely did and interceded for them with emperor and kingdom. However, wicked and lying Archbishop Firmian, who also had heard the news of the Salt Covenant, called them “rebels and agitators” and asked the papist emperor for help against them, even though he knew that in spite of their great number they had never even thought of arming themselves against him. Although they needed their guns for hunting, the Lutherans peacefully let even their guns be confiscated. They did not even resist when their leaders were led away and thrown into deepest prison. Believing that there was a rebellion, the emperor did what he was asked to do and sent the archbishop 6000 soldiers “in order to suppress the rebellion.” These troops were quartered among the Lutherans, cursed and raged, consumed and plundered them (similar to the dragoons in France did with the Reformed). Meanwhile, there were a number of Protestants even among the dragoons of Prince Eugen himself. Instead of oppressing their brothers in the faith, they secretly edified each other and shared bread with them. But as soon as this became known, others replaced them. The jails were filled; the ill treatment increased. By night people were pulled out of bed and dragged in chains to Hohenwerfen or Salzburg where truly atrocious prisons awaited them. Those who were still free then began to want to leave their fatherland, which they otherwise fervently loved; and turned their gaze abroad. But all passes were occupied and emigration “was a crime that increased the punishment.” But two men, Peter Heldensteiner and Nikolaus Forstreuter, succeeded in going around the border posts and made their way through and they promised help from there. These determined men, first came to Kassel, where they sought help, but in vain. Then they came to Berlin where Friedrich Wilhelm I warmly received them. Because he had heard that the archbishop charged them with all kinds of heresies, he had his provosts take aim at them and thoroughly examine them. (The malicious rumor was that the Salzburgers taught that it is enough if a person confesses only God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and that it was not necessary to confess the Second Person of the Trinity; it was also falsely spread that the Salzburgers taught Christ died on the cross full of despair and thus was eternally condemned.) The provosts, though, discovered that the doctrine of the Salzburgers was exactly in accord with the Augsburg Confession; and then the king promised them that he would remember them in the day of misery and exile when they would be expelled.
It did not take long for the day of expulsion to come. At the beginning of November 1731 the order came for them to emigrate: all apostates without real estate were to leave the country within eight days, all those having real estate had three months to leave. This was also a shameless breach of the Peace of Westphalia, which stated that for a period of three years all were to be tolerated in the land or freely allowed to leave. However the archbishop did not feel himself bound to it because the people were not just transgressors but rebels. Now consider the danger the poor people faced: winter was at the door and they were to go out into the world without knowing where! So they brought before the archbishop the urgent request to extend the time for everyone to the following spring. In vain! Suddenly, on 24 November, the imperial knights, with wild shouting—like a scene from Revelation—carried out the archbishop’s command. That was the beginning. All who were not residents, servants, maids, etc. were then driven out from where they were—on the road or field, and how they were—without money, without sufficient clothing. Then a lament and cry of anguish was heard everywhere; a frightful confusion reigned. But when the first terrors had passed entire villages willingly rose up to emigrate; great masses set out through storm and snow; each wanted to go with the other. Then the soldiers again had to go back so that the capital, Salzburg, would not all at once be completely inundated. Many were still held for a long time in prisons before they were allowed to leave the country. But in the meantime they were offered “grace,” if they would repent of and renounce their error within 15 days and again formally become Catholic. Nothing became of it. [Continues next month]
So far Professor Krauss
We had a very good month. We had a nice turnout for Ladies’ Day Out. We went to Jelly Beans. Here is a picture of us after we enjoyed our meal.
We had a September meeting to finalize our plans for the rest of the year. A couple items to keep in mind are the Fifth Sunday Dinner coming up on 29 November, a wonderful chance to unload some Thanksgiving leftovers on your fellow parishioners; and start planning now for our Christmas Cookie Exchange on 20 December.
Don’t forget the Zone Rally on 15 November at Trinity, Wellsboro at 2 PM.
God Bless and have a blessed month.
FROM OUR MISSOURI SYNOD’S STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT:
“In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Gen 4:2). Why did the Lord not have regard for Cain and his offering, but did regard Abel and his offering? Was it because Abel’s offering was better intrinsically than Cain’s? No. The Book of Hebrews tells us: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts” (Heb 11:4). The thing that distinguished Abel’s offering from that of Cain’s is faith. By faith, Abel offered a more acceptable offering.
Faith and giving are inseparable. They are two sides of the same coin. It is faith in the promises of God that leads us to give. By faith we trust that God will do what He says. By faith, we receive everything God gives as a gift from His divine mercy and goodness. For what do we have that we have not received (1 Cor 4:7)? Nothing. Everything we have comes from the Lord. By faith we give to others because God has first given to us, and by faith we trust that He will continue to provide for us all that we need for this body and life. And when by faith we give, God accepts our offerings and commends us as righteous. For by faith we are accounted righteous before God on account of Christ. Giving is a spiritual issue.
But there is a flip side to this two-sided coin: Cain didn’t give an offering to God by faith. His offering did not come from faith but from someplace else. And since it didn’t originate with faith in God and His promises, it was not regarded by God. And he was not accounted righteous. This is a warning to us. Pay attention to your faith and your offerings, and from where they come.
From where do your offerings come? Like all good works, offerings acceptable in God’s sight flow from faith in Christ. They are given in response to the gifts God has given to us, especially the gift of forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. And since they are given by faith, they will be the target of Satan’s attacks to ruin the church, do damage to the gospel of Christ, and to weaken your faith in Him. For sin is crouching at our doors, and the temptation to sin in giving is great because of the fallen world and our sinful flesh. But Jesus is greater than our hearts. Jesus has overcome the world. And by faith, so have we. By faith, we rule over them.
Beware of Reformation anniversaries!
“The great ecumenist and defender of confessional Lutheranism, Herman Sasse, once said, ‘Beware of Reformation anniversaries!’ He writes, ‘In view of the many Reformation anniversaries which we have celebrated…one might well ask whether we have now had enough of looking back to the past, whether we have heard enough speeches and read enough anniversary articles.’ The purpose of Reformation anniversaries rarely promotes the primary theme of the Reformation, which is encapsulated in Thesis 1 of the Ninety-five Theses: ‘When our Lord ad Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” [Mt. 4.17], he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.’” [Albert B Collver, Director of Church Relations—Assistant to the President LC-MS, CTQ, vol. 78, January/April 2014 pg.157]
BOOKTALK on your Lutheran Radio Station Worldwide KFUO.org. This week, we look at The Great Divide: A Lutheran Evaluation of Reformed Theology written by Jordan Cooper. Since the sixteenth century, the Protestant tradition has been divided over Zwingli and Luther’s disagreement over the nature of the Lord’s Supper. Jordan Cooper examines these differences and demonstrates that the Lutheran tradition is more consistent with the teachings of Scripture than the Reformed. This Friday @ 2pm Central Time on KFUO.org. Follow us onFacebook.com/KFUOradio.
LUTHER ON HALLOWEEN’S GHOSTS:
Therefore, we should know that all those ghosts and apparitions which are seen or heard, especially with rumbling and rattling, are not the souls of men, but surely devils who are playing at deceiving the people with false claims and lies or at frightening and afflicting them in vain. Therefore, a Christian should act toward these ghosts who pretend to be souls no differently than toward the real devil. He should be equipped with God’s Word and faith so that he is not confused or frightened but remains with the doctrine he has learned and confessed from the Gospel about Christ and cheerfully despises the devil with his rattling. [The devil] should also not remain for long where he perceives that people trust in Christ and despise him. I say this so that we will be wise and not let ourselves be misled again by such deceptions and lies… [AE, vol. 77, pg. 79]
A PRAYER INSPIRED BY CARVING A PUMPKIN
Father in heaven, like a farmer, You have watched me grow
And picked me out from all the rest to house Your light and glow.
Open my mind to think of you. Open my mouth to sing.
Open my eyes to see Your world and share the joy You bring.
Open my heart to be Your home—a warm and welcome shell,
Washed clean of sin. A place wherein Your love and light may dwell.
ELECTION DAY 2015 IS COMING when we are called upon to decide on a candidate for a particular office. This brings to mind an important question: Can we decide to follow Jesus? For the answer to that, let’s ask Martin Luther who answers:
Do you propose to regulate this union [with Christ] with your will, your actions, your deeds, and the Law, and thus lead and bring Christ into your heart? That would be to begin with works….Christ will never come to me if He has to wait until I draw and attract Him to me. That is preaching works in opposition to faith….If I am to have a proper will over against the Law and do according to Christ’s commands and engage in the works of the Law, then Christ must first be present in me and plant His knowledge, His wisdom, and His power in my heart. Then He can find voice in me, and I can speak and confess the divine Word and be so emboldened in my heart as to risk life and limb and cast aside every other consideration for such a confession. Christ must be the Cornerstone, and He must lay the foundation, not we. [LW, AE, XXIII, 151]
THE FINAL SUNDAYS OF THE CHURCH YEAR
The end of the Church year focus on mortality, suffering in a hostile world and the promise that Christ will return to deliver us.
It gives us a good opportunity to stop and pause to think about our own mortality and also about our body. 17th Century Lutheran theologian, Johann Gerhard, writes:
We bury the bodies of the dead:
1. Because of the utterance of the divine statement: ‘You are dust and to dust you shall return’ [Gen. 3.19]. Compare Daniel 12.2, Ecclesiastics 12.7
2. Because of the name that the earth (in Scripture) has. It is called ‘the mother of all’ Sirach 40.1 [Great labor was created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day they came forth from their mother’s womb till the day they return to the mother of all.]
3. Because of the comparison of Christ and the apostles, when, to confirm the hope of the resurrection they liken the bodies of the pious deceased with grains of wheat thrown into the ground—John 12.24, 1 Cor. 15.37, 38—therefore the places of rest are so beautifully called in our native language ‘God’s acre,’ that is, in them the bodies of the godly are sown like kernels of wheat in hope of a future harvest.
4. Because of the example of the holy men of God which was placed before us to emulate. It is the ancient and uninterrupted use of practice of the Church of burying the bodies of the deceased has become the custom, Gen. 23.19, 50.13, etc. God Himself has even confirmed this practice of burying the dead, Deut. 34.6.
5. Because of the hallowing of our graves that happened through Christ. As Christ for our sake suffered death on the cross, so He also was buried for our sake in order to sanctify our graves by the contact of His most holy Body and to make them into houses of the living sleeping chambers. As we therefore were spiritually buried with Christ by baptism into death, Rom. 6.4, so is it also right that we become like Him in bodily burial.
[Loc. De morte 80; quoted in Magazin fuer Homiletik, vol. 3, pg. 281]
OUR CRACK RESEARCH DEPARTMENT TO THE RESCUE—in case you are working on a crossword puzzle:
Black Market= A vast informal economy driven by human relationships, dense networks of social connections through which people trade resources and create value.
CHALLENGES TO LUTHERANISM...You can listen to teachings on Pietism, Rationalism, Unionism, Missionalism & Postmodernism. Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL and hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken. You can listen at your convenience at www.issuesetc.org
Lord Christ, we pray Your mercy on our table spread. What Your gentle hands have given, let it be blessed by You. Whatever we possess has come from Your lavish heart and gentle hand. All that’s good is Yours, for You are good. You who eat, give thanks for it to Christ. Let the words you utter be only peace. For Christ loved peace: it was he who said, Peace I give unto you, My peace I leave with you. Grant that our own hand may be generous, breaking the bread for all poor men, sharing the food. Christ shall receive the bread you gave His poor, and shall not tarry to give you reward. Amen. [Alcuin of York, 735-804]
The Gospel reading for Thanksgiving is Jesus healing the ten lepers, only one of whom returns to thank Jesus. Here is a devotion based on that reading, from Luke 17.17.
Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Jesus healed ten men with leprosy. Only one came back to thank Jesus and to follow Him. Yes, and where are the nine. The Bible does not tell us. But one can think about it roughly like this: some go to work, others to the family. Many worry about politics. Several go on the dark way of sin. And again others have sunken into apathy and despair. The other nine are, then, everywhere but only not where one should look for them: with Jesus, who healed them from their grave disease. Thus this miracle remained without fruit for their life.
It’s not enough to be enthusiastic about Jesus once. Jesus says: “Abide in me!” [John 15.4 ff.]. There is no life in faith without the constant connection with Jesus. The Lord Jesus uses a graphic example for this. He compares the other nine with grape vines that were cut off from the vine: If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned [John 15.6].
Are you a living Christian who clings to Jesus like a branch to the vine? Go again to Him and thank Him for the miracles that He did in your life. Give God the glory as you praise Him in your heart, with your tongue and by your daily tasks. He will give you further power and make your faith strong.
Lord, give me Your grace that I can be like the one who returned and thanked you. Preserve that connection with You from being severed. Amen. [From: God Is For Us, 12 November 2013]
FROM THE LCMS FOUNDATION: So Many Options So Many Reasons
Charitable giving offers a surprising frontier of options that help express generosity in our hearts. Being generous is what Christians have done for millennia.
The process of gift planning isn’t new. However, many people haven’t considered how it can help them experience joy in life.
You may be a person who loves supporting the Lord’s mission because it gives joyful satisfaction. You may find it challenging to accomplish generous thoughts because it seems like an either-or proposition. How can giving benefit your life or your family’s? Perhaps you welcome more thought on ways to give to your family in an appropriate way, that helps them rather than hinders. How is this best designed?
You may look to support specific ministries or to contribute your fair share. In these cases, it may be helpful to know the various avenues available to make this fun and efficient.
Gifts can be given from various assets that haven’t been considered. Some trigger tax benefits that enhance a person’s position. Appreciated assets can be given with less cost than cash. Portfolio property can be turned into a plan for generosity in ways that bring about surprising financial benefits as well.
The Government has established gifting methods that can allow donors to give away assets that are highly appreciated and avoid the tax on the appreciation. In addition, such gift plans can be established to ‘split the interest’ or pay income to a donor for a term or for lives. These ‘give it twice’ agreements offer donors a way to create income and then retain the ultimate distribution to family and ministry.
Gifts can be given and controlled to fund our generosity once our earthly lives are complete and we no longer depend on the property.
Want to explore more joy? Consider a conversation with Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ email@example.com or 716-863-4427.
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