Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book by Professor E.A.W. Krauss of our St. Louis seminary of a century ago.
This month we conclude our look at Martin Boos. We have been seeing that God preserves His Church even in the midst of opposition and false teaching—a false teaching not only in the Roman Church but in the church calling itself “Lutheran.” This helps us set the stage for the next section of Prof. Krauss’ book which turns our attention to the history of Lutheranism in the United States.
MARTIN BOOS—A PREACHER OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT AVAILS BEFORE GOD
42.6—New Persecution. Boos Leaves Austria. His Final Years Of Life
From the [accounts we have been reading the past few months we] can easily assume that Boos would also have to suffer hatred and persecution in Austria.
There too he had to experience both in abundance. How could it have been otherwise! He was, after all, an instrument of Jesus Christ.
I cannot describe the progression of this second, stronger persecution as fully as the first (“shortened by dear brevity” as our dear forefathers used to say of their 24 quarter page long sermons). But I will only briefly tell the most essential parts. It is easy to imagine how much is repeated in the accusation and defense.
The Bishop, Joseph Anton Gall, died in 1807. He himself had diligently read the Holy Scriptures and gladly let Boos do what he wanted. His successor, though, was a man who not only did not know the divine Gospel but was even hostile to it.
When he became aware that Boos spoke about the dead faith of many of his penitents, a faith only of the head and mouth, he urgently wrote Boos with his own hand forbidding him of ever saying that the people did not have the right faith—because that terribly offended the people.
Boos answered that the bishop is right—it does offend them—“but when the people come to a living faith, they themselves confess that they did not have the true faith before; and this is true, for they did not have the faith in which there is the Spirit, life, peace, rest, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Whoever does not have the living faith thinks there is and can be no other faith than the dead faith that is so dear and precious to him; he is not even sufficiently able to think about fighting it and so his faith does not come alive.”
But what infuriated the people who accused Boos before the bishop even more was something Boos said on the Third Sunday in Advent 1810: “John the Baptizer does not say that our rags, that is, our soiled works, are the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Instead he points to Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
That put those who could not endure the saving doctrine over the edge. Then visitation after visitation, inquisition after inquisition followed. Even the first examination, undertaken by a godly governmental councilor, Bertgen, came out most gloriously in favor of Boos. After Bertgen had listened to Boos’ doctrine, he jumped from the bench with his hands in the air and cried out in alarm: “The fools, (meaning the accusers)! This is the most comforting doctrine of all theology and they want to call it heresy?! They should give thanks for it!”
The consistory had already condemned Boos as a heretic, but then, in a heart penetrating rebuke, Boos clearly showed them their sin. But even though he did this humbly, it only made the “spiritual councilors of the assembly” all the more nasty and obstinate.
On 07 March 1811, after a short ceasefire, Boos was summoned to Linz before the Vicar General and his colleagues. But as bravely and steadfastly as he defended himself from the Holy Scriptures, these Roman Catholic minions did not and could not understand him. “It showed,” Boos writes of them, “that they do not know either the Father or the Son, either us or the faith in which we stand in grace. For example, they think that Paul speaks in his Epistle to the Romans only about the Ceremonial Law and not of the entire Divine Moral Law…. O Christ is too great a gift for these people! Their mouth is too small; their heart too narrow; He cannot enter them.”
Those who came to a living faith in Christ through Boos’ work were moved with love to testify before the consistory and even Emperor Francis about Boos’ pure faith and godly walk. Boos was then examined again and all kinds of accusations were made against him. He was finally placed in the cloister prison in Linz from 1815-1816. It would bring us too far afield to explain all that he suffered there, how in many hearings his tired soul was driven almost to death, how the bishop himself spit at him when Boos did not recant his teaching when he demand him to, how even though the majority of the members of his parish desired his preaching, he was absolutely prohibited from having any influence or communication with them either by mouth or written, and how after the emperor finally released him, Boos was given the order to emigrate.
We now hurry to the end of our account. Boos’ most vehement opponent died a unusually sudden, quick and terrible death, almost immediately after his departure from Austria. But in his weakness the Lord had mightily strengthen Boos. In May 1816, Boos turned once again to Bavaria; but because he did not have his residence there, he accepted a call in 1817 to Düsseldorf as a teacher of religion and professor; and in June 1819 he accepted a call to the parish of Sayn in Rhenish-Prussia. In both these places he worked with greatest blessing albeit upon seemingly dry and unfruitful soil that often brought forth from his eyes tears of longing for the 4000 sheep in Austria.
After his preaching had become an aroma of life to life to thousands, Boos, in joyful and confident faith, having commended his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus, blessedly fell asleep without any pain in Sayn on 29 August 1825.
Having read the account of Boos’ life, the question has to be asked even more now than at the start: How is it that this chosen instrument of God did not find his way into the Lutheran church?
At the beginning I promised to come back to this question.
And I would almost be correct in saying: Because at that time there was no Lutheran church.
But that would not be completely accurate.
It is true: had Boos at that time, as a servant of the Lutheran church, preached the righteousness that avails before God, he would have had to endure great hardship. He would have been persecuted just as much, jailed, removed from office and, in the end, would also have probably been chased out to the country. At the time Boos lived, the “Lutheran” church of Germany was as indescribably dismal and dreadful as the Catholic. Practically every pulpit was absolutely silent about the righteousness that comes from faith. At that time most so-called Lutherans regarded those who still confessed that Christ is the true God, eternally born of the Father, to be completely dangerous mystics, fanatics and Pietists. This was true even if the person had departed far, far away from the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in a hundred other areas. In short, conditions in the “Lutheran” church were absolutely appalling and atrocious. But yet it was still there.
The Lutheran Church was present in the true believers who were scattered here and there in various places and were nurtured by the writings of our godly Lutheran fathers; in their heart they had faithfully preserved the faith of the Lutheran Church which they had inherited even while being surrounded with darkness in the Protestant state churches.
Now concerning Boos, he undoubtedly knew well enough the horrible state of the “evangelical” state churches of the time. Thus we cannot be surprised if he never desired to join such a church fellowship.
But as we heard, in Augsburg Boos had come to know some believing evangelical Christians. In fact, in Gallneukirchen he once visited a certain Maria Oberndorfer. When he was questioned, he told the Bishop of Linz that she was “a born (!) Lutheran, extraordinarily well-read and versed in the Holy Scriptures and other books. One day she got ahold of Roos’ church history book. In it (in the second part, page 862) she read about my (Boos’) doctrine of the justification of the sinner and my sufferings. She wondered whether in the Catholic Church there was even one clergyman who did not err in the foundation of faith and salvation. She thought I was long dead, but then she heard that I was still alive and pastor in Gallneukirch, not far from Linz. She wanted to speak to me and to get to know me personally, to speak with me about faith in Christ’s redemption as the sinner’s only foundation for comfort and to get rest and comfort for her soul. Thus she came to me in Gallneukirchen quite unexpectedly in mid-December 1810…”
Could these confessional Lutheran Christians also have made Boos aware of other false teachings of the Roman Church, for example of the Mass and Sacraments in general, and show him from Scripture? We do not know. The accusation was so often hurled at Boos’ preaching that his doctrine of justification was, in fact, totally Protestant, totally Lutheran. Wouldn’t this have eventually moved him to take the Book of Concord in hand and wouldn’t he then be delighted to find in it the expression of his faith drawn out from Holy Scripture and further instruction in the light of the saving evangelical doctrine?
But it is also possible that, by his own fault, Boos had neglected many opportunities to grow and increase in true evangelical knowledge. Undoubtedly, however, the fault that this chosen instrument of God did not find his way into the Lutheran Church falls mainly upon the countless host of “Lutheran” hirelings and parsons who themselves either did not know this way or had barricaded and nailed it shut with boards to those who sought it.
In our day and in our country God, out of pure grace and mercy, lets the light of the Lutheran doctrine burn and shine freely and openly, not in the corner and under the bushel. Certainly now Boos would come with great rejoicing to the church of the scriptural confession!
O, let us thank the Lord that He gives us many teachers who point us to righteousness, to the righteousness that avails before God. Let us thank the Lord that He made His Lutheran Zion here into a city on a hill visible from afar off to which a person can certainly and confidently make his way.
But if in the end you still ask: Isn’t it better to examine the life of a Martin Chemnitz, Matthias Flacius or some other towering Lutheran? Didn’t they also suffer enough on account of the word? Do Lutheran Christians need a Martin Boos so that they can learn from the bosom of the Catholic Church about the righteousness that avails before God? Certainly Not!
To that I answer:
1. All have their time: Martin Chemnitz and Martin Boos.
2. When one looks at a golden, divine crown shining with diamonds, one does not marvel so greatly that they are there; they belong there. But if one finds a jewel on the dung heap, then one rejoices and rightly marvels.
That means: The Lutheran Church can show a large number of teachers who always and eternally shine, like the heavenly splendor and like the stars, as bright jewels in the crown of the holy God. But next to them a Boos, also shines as a true jewel, a man whom God placed in the papal darkness for the blessing and salvation of many thousands of souls.
3. But finally: at a time in which many have gone out from us because they were not of us, is it not especially comforting to hear about a man through whom many who at first were not of us, have come near to us because they received, with us, the same faith? Precisely for that reason, mustn’t we, who are in the visible Church, fight for the invisible so that more may gather around our good confession, since we speak and pray: I believe one holy Christian Church?
So far Professor Krauss
"Many hands make light work"
A few years ago there was a group of members who cleaned the church, each person taking a week.
As time passed, those participating could no longer do it because of the stairs and moving the vacuum cleaner from floor to floor. I continued to clean each week.
To me this is an important job as I am taking care of God's house and trying to keep it in a manner I feel it warrants. That being said, I would like to relinquish some of that responsibility. Ideally it would be good to have possibly 2 other people take weeks. The job takes 2 hrs. tops as I alternate what gets done.
If you are interested please see me or call me and I can let you know how I do it.
Thank you for considering sharing your time and talent in this effort. Susan
Thanks to Marianne we have a new Secretary, thank you. We are sorry to have lost Ginny but pray they are happy in their new home.
We have our ladies day out luncheon coming up on Oct. 10th. We hope we have a great turnout. We are planning on going to Jelly Beans, please let me know if you can come.
Thank you Nancy for taking the altar for September.
This is all for this month but hope to see you all at the picnic and have a good month.
OUR FINAL SUMMER SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY ON DANIEL IS ON 04 SEPTEMBER. CONFIRMATION INSTRUCTION STARTS ON 11 SEPTEMBER.
BEING A CHRISTIAN ALSO INCLUDES SHARING YOUR FAITH IN DEED AND WORD:
This is the great distinction Christians have through Christ. In the first place, Christ has called and chosen them through His Word to be His beloved branches and to have everything He gained for them, victory and dominion against sin, death, and the power of the devil. In the second place, we are also to be His servants and lend a hand in spreading His kingdom, to do much good. [Luther, AE, XXIV, 263]
A LABOR DAY THOUGHT FROM LUTHER
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Eph 6:5-6 (ESV)
A worker who works and has no other connection or any other thought than: I am only serving my boss because he gives me my wages; other than that I would not regard him etc., does not have a pure heart or attitude because he is only working for a morsel of bread; if that would stop, he would stop. But if he is godly and a Christian, he thinks this way: I do not serve because my boss gives or does not give to me, is godly or wicked, etc. Instead, I serve because here is God’s word and it says to me: Servants, obey your masters as Christ Himself. Then, when he has grasped such words and they mean something to him it gushes from his heart as he says: Now, I will serve my master and take my pay but the most important thing for me is that I do it because by that I am serving my dear God and Lord Christ, who has called me to it and I know that it pleases Him. Here you see a work from a pure heart.
TO ANNOY THE DEVIL…
To vex the devil, I say, we should always have this holy name in our mouth, so that he may not be able to injure us as he wishes.
For this end it is also of service that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God, with soul and body, wife, children, servants, and all that we have, against every need that may occur; whence also the blessing and thanksgiving at meals, and other prayers, morning and evening, have originated and remain in use. Likewise the practises of children to cross themselves when anything monstrous or terrible is seen or heard, and to exclaim: “Lord God, protect us!” “Help, dear Lord Jesus!” etc. Thus, too, if any one meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, that he say: “God be praised and thanked; this God has bestowed on me!” [The Large Catechism of Martin Luther, I, 72-74].
Annoying the devil also includes commending ourselves to God outwardly by making the sign of the cross on ourselves. In times of trial, when you feel the attacks of the devil, make the sign of the cross on yourself and annoy the devil. The sign of the cross is a reminder to us and a confession to the world of our baptism into the holy Triune God, that we are His!
ON 14 SEPTEMBER WE CELEBRATE THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS—the celebration of this day dates from the dedication in 335 of a basilica built by Constantine in Jerusalem on the site of Mount Calvary.
This puts us in mind of the Sign of the Cross and its history in the Church.
The sign of the cross is a beautiful gesture which reminds the faithful of both the cross of salvation while invoking the Holy Trinity. The sign of the cross has been used since the earliest times of the Church to begin and to conclude prayer and the Divine Service.
The early Church Fathers attested to the use of the sign of the cross. Tertullian (d. c. 250) described the commonness of the sign of the cross: “In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross” (De corona, 30).
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) in his Catechetical Lectures stated, “Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest” (Catecheses, 13).
The earliest formalized way of making the sign of the cross appeared about the 400s, during the Monophysite heresy which denied the two natures in the divine person of Christ and thereby the unity of the Holy Trinity. The sign of the cross was made from forehead to chest, and then from right shoulder to left shoulder with the right hand. The thumb, forefinger, and middle fingers were held together to symbolize the Holy Trinity– Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Moreover, these fingers were held in such a way that they represented the Greek abbreviation I X C (Iesus Christus Soter, Jesus Christ Savior): the straight forefinger representing the I; the middle finger crossed with the thumb, the X; and the bent middle finger, the C. The ring finger and “pinky” finger were bent downward against the palm, and symbolize the unity of the human nature and divine nature, and the human will and divine will in the person of Christ. This practice was universal for the whole Church until about the twelfth century, but continues to be the practice for the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches and some Lutherans.
An instruction of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) evidences the traditional practice but also indicates a shift in the Latin Rite practice of the Catholic Church: “The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. …This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth, and from the Jews (right) He passed to the Gentiles (left).” While noting the custom of making the cross from the right to the left shoulder was for both the western and eastern Churches, Pope Innocent continued, “Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, because from misery (left) we must cross over to glory (right), just as Christ crossed over from death to life, and from Hades to Paradise. [Some priests] do it this way so that they and the people will be signing themselves in the same way. You can easily verify this– picture the priest facing the people for the blessing– when we make the sign of the cross over the people, it is from left to right….” Therefore, about this time, the faithful began to imitate the priest imparting the blessing, going from the left shoulder to the right shoulder with an open hand. Eventually, this practice became the custom for the Western Church.
No matter how one technically makes the sign of the cross, the gesture should be made consciously and devoutly. The individual must be mindful of the Holy Trinity, that central dogma that makes Christians “Christians.” Also, the individual must remember that the cross is the sign of our salvation: Jesus Christ, true God who became true man, offered the once for all perfect sacrifice for our sin on the altar of the cross. And the sign of the cross is a marvelous reminder of our baptism—when the pastor made the sign of the cross on our forehead and breast—and that we have been baptized in the name of the Triune God and connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection [Rm. 6. 1 ff.] This simple yet profound act makes each person mindful of the great love of God for us, a love that is stronger than death and promises everlasting life. The sign of the cross should be made with purpose and precision, not hastily or carelessly.
0n 29 September the Church remembers the work of the holy angels on the FEAST OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS:
What does the Bible tell us about angels?
• And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Gen 1:31
• For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment 2 Peter 2:4
• A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. Dan 7:10
• And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. Luke 2:13
• Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Psalm 103:20-21
• For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12
• Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Heb 1:14
Bible examples: One angel put to death 185,000 of Sennacherib’s army (2 Kings 19.35). Elisha and his servant were protected by the heavenly hosts (2 Kings 6.15-17). And angel set Peter free (Acts 12.5-11).
We believe: Angels are spirit beings who were created holy. Some angels rebelled against God. They are the devils or demons. The good angels are many and powerful. They serve God and help us.
Pray: O God the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, Ruler of all things, before You stand thousands and thousands, and ten thousand angels and archangels. Sanctify, O Lord, our souls and bodies and spirits. Search our consciences, and cast out of us all that is contrary to Your holy will. And grant us to call upon You, our holy God and Father who is in heaven. Amen. [Liturgy of St. James, c. fourth century]
[The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism, CPH, 2004, pg. 188]
AN ANNIVERSARY DATE IN LUTHERAN HISTORY: 04 June 1536, Pope Paul III issued a formal decree for a general council to be held in Mantua, Italy beginning 23 May 1537. Although Luther encouraged the Lutheran rulers to attend to confess the faith, they dragged their heels. In anticipation of this meeting, Luther was commissioned to prepare a statement of faith on what articles of faith we as Lutherans cannot give up. What Luther wrote became known as the Smalcald Articles, which are part of our Lutheran Confessions. So what’s the anniversary? On 23 September 1536 Pope Paul III made clear the purpose of the council was “the utter extirpation of the poisonous, pestilential Lutheran heresy.” The council, though, was never held.
FROM OUR SYNOD’S STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT:
The devil, though defeated by the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, remains a very capable and clever foe. He is smarter than we are. He’s been watching us and taking notes for a very long time. He knows what we want, and he knows how to lure us away. And he does this by telling us what we want to hear. That’s what makes it so difficult.
To us who are greedy, he says: “You are not greedy. You are prudent. You are frugal. You are a good steward with your money. God doesn’t want you not to have all the things you want. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to have the latest and greatest toys for both young and old.” So if you consider yourself to be wise in the way of money and finances, beware of who just might be telling you these things.
Satan is a liar. He tells us what we want to hear. He lures us away from repentance and confession and faith, so that we harden our consciences and place our souls in peril. We must not underestimate the enemy. We have all taken his bait. We have all failed in this. None of us can say that we have fought this temptation to hold back with everything we have and won.
And we must repent. Yes, God wants us to be happy. But this happiness is never at the expense of faithfulness. We have a calling. We are a member of His family, the church. That relationship places a duty upon us: to give a generous proportion of the first fruits of the income He provides.
Only God is true to His Word. Only God is true to His promises. His promises never fail. His Word endures forever. His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful. He provides everything that we need. He provides food and clothes, house and home, everything that we pray for in the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
There are a whole host of things that we have that we do not need. The question that we need to ask ourselves is whether these have come at the expense of our faithful, generous proportion of the first fruits of our income. If they have, then we must repent, turning away from our selfishness to Him who is faithful by giving His Son into death so that we are reconciled to Him and justified in His sight.
The devil will always tell you what you want to hear. But God tells us and gives us what we need to hear. With law and gospel, he cuts us to the heart, so that we will repent and believe His Word and promises. He is faithful. He is good. He will not forsake you, or leave you destitute. So believe and trust in Him. And you will not only be happy. You will be blessed.
FROM THE LCMS FOUNDATION:
Ever wondered how someone could give all their wealth to the family they love, while at the same time giving all of it to ministries that are special to them?
Such planning is not only possible but affordable! It’s often more beneficial than you might realize.
Giving twice can be arranged in several ways. One method is to take out an insurance policy that would pay a death benefit to family members on the life of a donor, or in the case of a couple, on the life of the survivor. The insurance premiums could come from discretionary assets that are often not used by people during earthly life. At death, estate assets are given to ministry while the insurance proceeds replace that entire amount of the estate and goes to family beneficiaries. They are left with cash, free of tax and probate costs.
Another way to experience the impact of “giving twice” is to set up a charitable trust that pays income to family for a period of up to 20 years and then distributes any remainder in a lump sum to ministry. The corpus is invested over that twenty-year period in order to replace the income payments. For example, a five percent income distribution over 20 years will distribute the total amount set aside in a charitable trust and, assuming an annual five percent earnings rate, will preserve the entire original amount for distribution to ministry.
As an additional benefit, the “life income” arrangement detailed above offers a repeating income stream for beneficiaries who may be disposed to spend everything right away. Providing an income flow for certain beneficiaries may bless them rather than bringing the “curse” that their own management could produce.
Whether with created lump sums or structured income over time, charitably minded people have options that result in an opportunity to give twice, doubling the impact of love to family and support for the Gospel. For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ email@example.com or 716-863-4427.
WHERE DOCTRINE IS LIFE...Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken and produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL. This week's topics include: The Vocation of Parent, Anxiety, Redeeming Our Time, The Twelve Spies in Canaan and more. You can listen to what you want when you want at www.issuesetc.org and on the Lutheran Public Radio mobile app.
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