Rev. Wilfrid Frick
1973 Synod Convention Essay
The word “love” has been extensively misunderstood and misused in recent times, by both unbelievers and by those professing to be Christians. It has been used to cover a variety of attitudes and actions, some of which have nothing to do with the Biblical concept. The word “love” has been widely taken to mean that one should condone and agree to just about anything an individual or a group may propose to teach or do. This idea has led to the automatic reaction of charging “lovelessness” whenever a person or group ventures to point out erroneous teaching or practice. This charge was made already by the famous “Statement” of the “Forty-four,” published in the year 1945 by a group within the Missouri Synod. The “Forty-four” said they “deplored a loveless attitude which is manifesting itself within Synod,” pointing this charge against those who held to the Old Missouri position which required doctrinal unity as the necessary basis for alter and pulpit fellowship. Since that time, many who have insisted on sound Scriptural teaching and practice have been called “loveless.” Probably many of those gathered here have experienced the charge of “lovelessness” for taking a confessional stand, either as individuals or as a group.
Dr. P.E. Kretzmann pointed out the falseness of that kind of love which would disregard the teachings of Scripture when he wrote in the Confessional Lutheran concerning this matter: “It is not true love, in the Scriptural sense, but a false love, a form of weak sentimentality, which would overlook and disregard aberrations from the truth of Holy Writ. If the Lutheran Church, or any part of the church which holds the Lutheran Confessions should agree to the motto of the International Sunday School Union of some years ago: ‘Let us agree to disagree, but let us resolve to love,’ then that particular part of the Lutheran Church would become a sect. Dr: Krauth was right: ‘If Luther’s life seemed largely one of warfare, it was not that he did not love peace much, but that he loved truth more.’”1 (The Confessional Lutheran, Aug.–Sept., 1947).
Showing love toward the neighbor must not be done in such a way that it goes against love toward God. The First Commandment requires that we love God above all things, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” Matt. 22, 37. The love we show toward the neighbor must be regulated and guided by our love to God. A love toward the neighbor which conflicts with what love to God requires is not real love at all and does not serve the welfare of the neighbor.
A few examples will suffice to show this. Parents may feel that they love their child. If, however, they would let the child do largely as it pleased and give in to all the child’s whims and demands instead of training it in the fear and admonition of the Lord. they would be spoiling the child and thus clearly not serving the child’s real welfare. They would not be showing love to God because God requires them “to train up a child in the way he should go”; and they would not be showing real love to the child either. Or, if one sees a person taking poison, it would not be love to let him go right ahead—or even to join him so as to be sociable. Love to God and real love to the neighbor would require one’s trying to keep the person from taking the poison. Or, if someone’s house is on fire, it would not be love to say, “He’s sitting there so comfortably that I don’t want to disturb him.” Rather, it would be love to warn him.
Christian love, then, does not mean to condone or approve anything and everything which others might do or teach, right or wrong. Rather, Christian love toward others seeks their real welfare, both bodily and spiritual. Is shows itself in words and actions which promote the actual best interests of others. While in many cases, this real Christian love will be recognized and acknowledged as such, in other cases it will not be recognized or acknowledged or acclaimed, and will even be branded as lovelessness and worse. Christian love does not mean to give in to sin or false teaching. This is the false interpretation of Christian love used by many religious and quasi-religious groups today, especially among those who no longer make God’s Word the judge and standard for determining if something is right or wrong, but who decide things according to their own ideas.
Therefore, love to the neighbor must be guided and governed by love toward God and His will. It does not mean that one may never oppose or rebuke. In his Commentary on Galatians, Luther says in commenting on chapter 5, v. 9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”: “To tolerate a trifling error inevitably leads to crass heresy. The doctrine of the Bible is not ours to take or to allow liberties with. We have no right to change even a little of it. When it comes to life, we are ready to do, to suffer, to forgive anything our opponents demand as long as faith and doctrine remain pure and uncorrupt. The Apostle James says. ‘For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ This passage supports us over against our critics who claim that we disregard all charity to the great injury of the churches. We protest we desire nothing more than peace with all men. If they would only permit us to keep our doctrine of faith! The pure doctrine takes precedence before charity, apostles, or an angel from heaven. Let others praise charity and concord to the skies; we magnify the authority of the Word and faith. Charity suffers all things, it gives in. Faith suffers nothing; it never yields. Charity is often deceived but is never put out because it has nothing to lose; it continues to do well even to the ungrateful. When it comes to faith and salvation in the midst of lies and errors that parade as truth and deceive many, charity has no voice or vote. Let us not be influenced by the popular cry for charity and unity. If we do not love God and His Word, what difference does it make if we love anything at all?”2 (A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, pp. 207–208 — Zondervan Publishing House.)
In commenting on verse 12 of Galatians 5, Luther says, “This goes to show again how much importance Paul attached to the least points of Christian doctrine, that he dared to curse the false apostles, evidently men of great popularity and influence. What right, then, have we to make little of doctrine? No matter how nonessential a point of doctrine may seem, if slighted, it may prove the gradual disintegration of the truths of our salvation. Let us do everything to advance the glory and authority of God’s Word. Every little of it is greater than heaven and earth. Christian charity and unity have nothing to do with the Word of God. We are bold to condemn all men who in the least point corrupt the Word of God, ‘for a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’”3 (Ibid., 212)
From this we see that no teaching of the Word of God dare be sacrificed in the name of Christian love. No part of the Word of God and no commandment of the Word of God may be set aside on the pretext that it serves Christian charity or love. As Luther said, “If we do not love God and His Word, what difference does it make if we love anything at all?”
Having said all this, we must also say, on the basis of the Bible, that one cannot love God without also loving the neighbor. John writes in his first epistle, ch. 4, v. 20–21: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him that he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Loving the neighbor is not just a nice idea or a sentimental thought. Rather, it is a commandment of God. In fact, Jesus used it to summarize the whole second table of the Law — “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” There are so many applications of this to daily life that each individual commandment of the second table would in itself provide sufficient material for a major essay. We intend to deal with some of these applications later on, particularly those which are connected with congregational life. Let it be said in summary that Christian love as evidenced toward others is a vital part of Christian life.
SOURCE AND BASIS OF CHRISTIAN LOVE TO THE NEIGHBOR
Practicing Christian love is not something which an unbeliever can do. It is not simply a matter of saying, “I’ve decided that I’m going to love God and the neighbor.” Christian love is something which only true believing Christians can have. It is a result of being a believer in Christ. Unbelievers may perform certain outward works which look good to human reason; but whatever their motives for these works, it is not Christian love if they are not true believers in Christ. By nature people are enemies of God and against God. Only after a person has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ as his only Savior from sin and its punishment can he begin to love his God and Savior. True faith in Christ results in love for Christ.
In commenting on Galatians 2, 20, Luther says, “Paul explains what constitutes true Christian righteousness. True Christian righteousness is the righteousness of Christ Who Jives in us. We must look away from our own person. Christ and my conscience must become one, so that I can see nothing else but Christ crucified and raised from the dead for me. If I keep on looking at myself, I am gone. If we lose sight of Christ and begin to consider our past, we simply go to pieces. We must turn our eyes to the brazen serpent, Christ crucified, and believe with all our heart that He is our righteousness and our life. For Christ, on Whom our eyes are fixed, in Whom we live, Who lives in us, is Lord over Law, sin, death and all evil.”4 (Commentary on Galatians, pp. 78–79). Then Luther goes on to say, “Whenever remissions of sin is freely proclaimed, people misinterpret it according to Romans 3, 8, ‘Let us do evil, that good may come.’ As soon as people hear that we are not justified by the Law, they reason maliciously: ‘Why, then let us reject the Law. If grace abounds, where sin abounds, let us abound in sin, that grace may all the more abound.’ People who reason thus are reckless. They make sport of the Scriptures and slander the sayings of the Holy Ghost. However, there are others who are not malicious, only weak, who may take offense when told that Law and good works are unnecessary for salvation. These must be instructed as to why good works do not justify, and from what motives good works must be done. Good works are not the cause, but the fruit of righteousness! When we have become righteous, then first are we able and willing to do good. The tree makes the apple; the apple does not make the tree.”5 (Commentary on Galatians, pp. 78–79).
Here we see that Luther emphasizes that good works, works of love toward God and the neighbor, flow from the believer’s saving faith in Christ crucified. Such Christian love does not make a person righteous, but is the fruit of the righteousness he already has by faith in Christ.
Dr. C.F.W. Walther says in a sermon on Romans 13,8–10: “With sorrow and pain and in deep humility we must confess the great and terrible lovelessness of our hearts, and then, as poor, miserable, lost and condemned sinners, go to Christ and beseech Him to count His love to our credit. When we depend absolutely on Him Who loved us unto death, not only is our own lovelessness forgiven and Christ’s love credited to us, but in addition, God’s love in Christ is now reflected in our hearts; then we also begin to love God and our brethren from the heart and in deed. The sunshine of God’s love arises in us and melts the iceberg of our natural heart, and the fire of a fervent love is ignited in us.”6 (Sermons on the Epistle Lessons, p. 92).
In a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13, Walther says, “Although love does not save anyone, it is necessary to show that a person has saving faith. Faith and love stand in the same relationship to each other as father and child, and are connected as closely as fire and light. One who confesses that he is justified by faith before God must also show evidence of his love before men. Faith is active through love.”7 (Ibid., p. 105). Again, he says in a sermon on Ephesians 5, 1–4, “It is true that also the children of God still have their natural sinful corruption; therefore, lovelessness also rises in them in the form of evil thoughts and loveless words and deeds.… But such lovelessness cannot have the mastery in a true child of God. When a child of God falls into lovelessness, he falls on his face before God in the dust and prays and pleads with sighing and sorrowing for mercy and forgiveness. A true child of God not only has the duty to walk in Christian love, but also has the willingness and strength to do so.”8 (Ibid., p. 147).
The fact that God loved us in Christ must be reflected in our love to God and the neighbor. In a sermon on 1 John 4, 16–21, Walther says, “When we recognize that; God loved us first, and that we did not love Him first, but rather hated Him; that we are by nature enemies of God, and are worthy only of His vengeance, but not His love, and that He loved us from eternity so that He sent His only-begotten Son; when we are smitten by terrors of conscience, of death, and of hell, and are raised up with the comforting news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; when we, by the working of the Holy Ghost really believe this; when we, vividly recognizing our hatefulness, sinfulness, and cursedness, and see by faith the love of God in Christ, then love to God will be shed abroad in our hearts. It is impossible to draw near to the great fire of God’s love in Christ without being warmed by it to fervent love toward Him.”9 (Ibid., p. 281).
Walther then goes on to show that love to God must show itself by love to the brethren: “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.’ Love to God must show itself through love to the brethren; and that for two reasons, according to this text. The first is that one who does not love his brother does not love God. … You can see your brother’s need, his sickness, his poverty, his tears, his trouble, his misery, his necessities; if you do not then have any love for the brother, but shut close your heart and hand to his needs, which you can see, how much less will you the love God, in Whom you cannot see anything for which He needs your love. … The second reason why love to God must show itself in love to the brethren is this, namely, that God has commanded this love. One cannot love God without wanting to do His will. … Whoever does not love his neighbor does not follow God’s commandments, but despises them and therefore does not love God and is still an enemy of God. Love to God and love to the brethren are inseparable, like the stream and the spring from which it flows. Love to the neighbor flows out of love to God. Where one is, there the other is also; and where the one is missing, the other is missing also.”10 (Ibid., p. 284).
It has been sometimes claimed that it is the New Testament which teaches love to the neighbor, but that the Old Testament does not teach this precept. However, the Bible teaches this in the Old Testament also, and the command to love the neighbor is found in both Old and New Testaments. Thus, in Leviticus 19, 18, we find God’s teaching on this matter enunciated very clearly in the words, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord.” Again, to show that this applies not only to the Israelites’ attitude toward their friends or relatives but also to others, the Lord says in Leviticus 18, 34: “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” The Lord says the same thing in Deuteronomy 10, 19: “Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” We note that in both cases, whether speaking of showing love to their own people or to strangers, the Lord gives as the standard of comparison that they should love these others as they love themselves.” This, of course, is what Jesus says in the New Testament when giving the summary of the second table of the Law in the words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We see, then, the agreement between the Old Testament and the New Testament in this respect. Both tell us to love the neighbor as we love ourselves. Truly, this is the summary of the second table of the Moral Law. Jesus Himself explains it further when He says in the Sermon on the Mount, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7,12).
The Apostle Paul also points this out in Galatians 5, 14, when he says “For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” In commenting on this verse, Luther says, “It is customary with Paul to lay the doctrinal foundation first and then to build on it the gold, silver, and gems of good deeds. Now there is no other foundation than Jesus Christ. Upon this foundation the Apostle erects the structure of good works which he defines in this one sentence: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ In adding such precepts of love, the Apostle embarrasses the false apostles very much, as if he were saying to the Galatians, ‘I have described to you what spiritual life is. Now 1 will also teach you what truly good works are. I am doing this in order that you may understand that the silly ceremonies of which the false apostles make so much are far inferior to the works of Christian love.’ Oddly enough, the false apostles who were such earnest champions of good works never required the work of charity, such as Christian love and the practical charity of a helpful tongue, hand, and heart. Their only requirement was that circumcision, days, months, years, and times should be observed. They could not think of any other good works. The Apostle exhorts all Christians to practice good works after they have embraced the pure doctrine of faith, because even though they have been justified, they still have the old flesh to refrain them from doing good. Therefore it becomes necessary that sincere preachers cultivate the doctrine of good works as diligently as the doctrine of faith, for Satan is a deadly enemy of both. Nevertheless, faith must come first, because without faith it is impossible to know what a God-pleasing deed is. Let nobody think that he knows all about this commandment, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ it sounds short and easy, but show me the man who can teach, learn, and do this commandment perfectly. None of us heed, or urge, or practice this commandment properly. Though the conscience hurts when we fail to fulfill this commandment in every respect, we are not overwhelmed by our failure to bear our neighbor sincere and brotherly love. The Old Testament is replete with examples that indicate how much God prizes charity. When David and his companions had no food with which to still their hunger, they ate the showbread which lay-people were forbidden to eat. Christ’s disciples broke the Sabbath Law when they plucked the ears of corn. Christ Himself broke the Sabbath (as the Jews claimed) by healing the sick on the Sabbath. These incidents indicate that love ought to be given consideration above all laws and ceremonies.
“We can imagine the Apostle saying to the Galatians: ‘Why do you get so worked up over ceremonies, meats, days, and such things? Leave off this foolishness and listen to me. The whole Law is comprehended in this one sentence, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Paul knows how to explain the law of God. He condenses all the laws of Moses into one brief sentence. Reason takes offense at the brevity with which Paul treats the Law. Therefore reason looks down upon the doctrine of faith and its truly good works. To serve one another in love, that is, to instruct the erring, to comfort the afflicted, to raise the fallen, to help one’s neighbor in every possible way, to bear with his infirmities, to endure hardships, toil, ingratitude in the church and in the world, and on the other hand to obey government, to honor one’s parents, to be patient at home with a nagging wife and an unruly family, these things are not at all regarded as good works. The fact is, they are such excellent works that the world cannot possibly estimate them at their true value.”11 (Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, pp. 216–218).
Luther then continues in his comments, “It is tersely spoken: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ But what more needs to be said? You cannot find a better or nearer example than your own. If you want to know how you ought to love your neighbor, ask yourself how much you love yourself. If you were to get into trouble or danger, you would. be glad to have the love and help of all men. You do not need my book of instructions to teach you how to love your neighbor. All you have to do is to look into your own heart, and it will tell you how you ought to love your neighbor as yourself.
“My neighbor is every person, especially those who need my help, as Christ explained in the tenth chapter of Luke. Even if a person has done me some wrong, or has hurt me in any way, he is still a human being with flesh and blood. As long as a person remains a human being, so long is he to be an object of our love. Paul therefore urges his Galatians and incidentally, all believers, to serve each other in love. … ‘If you are so anxious to do good works, I will tell you in one word how you can fulfill all laws; By love serve one another. You will never lack people to whom you may do good. The world is full of people who need your help.’”12 (Ibid., pp. 218–219).
SOME BIBLICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF CHRISTIAN LOVE AND HOW IT IS EVIDENCED
However, the Bible also speaks much of showing love particularly toward those of the household of faith. The Apostle writes in Gal. 6, 10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” We shall apply these passages first of all to the members of congregations and their relationship to their fellow-members, both in their daily lives and in their so-called church lives and activities.
Not only the passages which actually use the word “love” are applicable here, but also those which describe the attitudes and behavior which Christian people should have, and should demonstrate as a result of their Christian love.
One of the words used in the Greek New Testament to denote “love” is the word “agapee,” which means love, devotedness, kindly concern, or generosity. The verb form is “agapao”, which means to love, value, esteem, manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards; delight in; to set store upon. Another word sometimes used is the verb “phileo,” which means to manifest some act or token of kindness or affection, to regard with affection, to love, to like, to be fond of, to cherish. The noun form is “philia,” meaning affection, fondness, or love. We notice that these words contain in them the idea of manifesting or showing one’s love by acts which show kindness and concern, In Romans 12, Paul speaks of this when he says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. … Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. … If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
We notice that the Apostle in these words to the Romans speaks primarily of their relationship to each other, as he uses the phrases, “one to another,” “one another,” and “one toward another.” While Christians are to love all others, even their enemies, there is no doubt that in the Epistles special mention is made of their attitudes and conduct toward one another, particularly in the day-to-day relationships among congregation members. Among the things the Apostle calls upon them to do are to honor one another and prefer one another, placing the other’s welfare on the same level as their own; to give to the needs of their fellow-believers when they have bodily needs—food, drink, clothing, shelter, help in sickness, and so forth; to practice hospitality toward each other, and this was especially important at that time because of persecution and Christians often needed shelter and protection; to rejoice with those who are happy and joyful, but to sympathize sincerely with those who are sorrowful; to make sincere efforts to live in harmony with the others, even if it means giving in on a firm opinion in outward matters; not to aspire to or seek after powerful earthly connections, that is, not to make it a point to associate with the more prominent and influential people, but to sympathize and associate with the poor, the humble, the afflicted, and especially such as suffer for righteousness’ sake; not to repay real or imagined evil with similar evil, not to seek revenge; rather, to live in peace and to cultivate a peaceful temper, as far as can be done in agreement with the Word of God.
All these things are spoken also to church members today concerning their relationships toward their fellow-members. In the 14th and 15th chapters of Romans, the Apostle sets forth an important aspect of the practice of Christian love when he points out that Christians should be willing to give up or refrain from things if some other Christian thinks it is wrong. This refers especially to weaker Christians who might stumble and lose their faith if they see stronger Christians doing something which the weaker Christians feel is wrong. As an example, the Apostle says in Romans 14, 21; “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended or is made weak.” In this regard, adult Christians should be particularly careful of their behavior and the impression it may make on young Christians, including children. Love to these young Christians requires the setting of a good example. This is extremely important.
The Apostle also shows, however, that the weak or misinformed Christian should be willing to be taught the Word of God in these matters.
First Corinthians 13 describes some of the characteristics of Christian love. We are told there that it shows itself in being patient and kind to others, even in the face of injury and insult; it does not envy others; it does not indulge in boasting and bragging; a person with Christian love does not seek only his own selfish purposes; does not lose his temper easily and is not easily insulted; does not, however, gladly go along with and tolerate everything, even wrong and sinful things, but rather wants to see the truth and the right prevail. Christian love is willing to take a lot, however, in the line of personal affronts and hurts and insults, as long as it involves only one’s own disadvantage and not the truth of God. Strangely enough, many people have just the opposite attitude here—they are willing to tolerate almost anything in the line of wrong teaching and sinful practice, as long as they are not insulted personally or are not hurt and injured in their financial affairs or in their property. However, with Christian love, a person should be willing to endure personal insult or injury, but not things whereby God’s Word is contradicted or transgressed.
Christian love is ready to believe the best of a person, and to hope the best of him, Christian love does not immediately suspect another of evil, but rather is ready to believe and assume the best and to put the best construction on everything, even to the point of trying to explain things in his favor when circumstances appear to be against him. In cases of doubt or where there is no clear evidence, Christian love rather gives a person the benefit of the doubt and assumes the best instead of the worst. This is brought out in the passage which says that Christian love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
In Galatians 6, the Galatians and also we are told to restore one another in a spirit of meekness if one of them is overtaken in a fault, and to bear one another’s burdens. Members of a Christian congregation should help each other to overcome temptation and to stay on the right path; should try to lead back those who have trespassed. They should do this in a spirit of meekness. In showing this concern for each other’s spiritual welfare, they are fulfilling the law of Christ to love one another.
In this same chapter, the Apostle points out that Christian congregations to whom the Word of God is being proclaimed should be willing to contribute toward the support of their pastors. He says, in connection with these general exhortations on the practice of Christian love, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” (Galatians 6, 6.) This is also a part of their practice of Christian love, namely, to contribute of their earthly possessions toward the maintenance of their pastors and teachers. Christians have this duty also because they are to support and maintain the preaching of the Word of God in their midst. But it is also part of their practice of Christian love; for just as they are to show this love toward fellow-members, so they are to show Christian love toward their pastor by giving of their substance toward his maintenance and well-being. Luther says on this point, “Now the Apostle also addresses the hearers of the Word, requesting them to bestow all good things upon those who have taught them the Gospel. I have often wondered why all the apostles reiterated this request with such embarrassing frequency. In the papacy I saw the people give generously for the erection and maintenance of luxurious church buildings and for the sustenance of men appointed to the idolatrous service of Rome. I saw bishops and priests grow rich until they possessed the choicest real estate. I thought then that Paul’s admonitions were overdone. I thought he should have requested the people to curtail their contributions. I saw how the generosity of the people of the church was encouraging covetousness on the part of the clergy. I know better now.… It seems to be a by-product of the Gospel that nobody wants to contribute to the maintenance of the Gospel ministry. When the doctrine of the devil is preached, people are prodigal in their willing support of those who deceive them. We have come to understand why it is so necessary to repeat the admonition of this verse. When Satan cannot suppress the preaching of the Gospel by force, he tries to accomplish his purpose by striking the ministers of the Gospel with poverty. He curtails their income to such an extent that they are forced out of the ministry because they cannot live by the Gospel.… Paul’s admonition that the hearers of the Gospel share all good things with their pastors and teachers is certainly in order. To the Corinthians he wrote: ‘If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?’ … When the members of a Christian congregation permit their pastor to struggle along in penury, they are worse than heathen.”13 (Luther’s Commentary on Galatians. pp. 242–244).
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul gives additional descriptions of some of the characteristics and evidences of Christian love. He says in chapter 4, v. 25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another.” Dr. George Stoeckhardt says in introducing this verse and the verses following: “First of all, the Apostle mentions those sins of the old man which most often occur even in the life of the Christian, offenses against the brother, and in contrast to these he points to the corresponding virtues of the new man, namely, those actions which demonstrate true brotherly love.”14 (Commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, p. 221). In commenting on this particular verse concerning the speaking of the truth to the neighbor, Stoeckhardt says, “In our conversations, in our speaking with our fellow men, false statements may easily slip in, flattery, exaggeration, prevarication, promises which we do not mean to keep. We must be upon guard against all this and resist the temptation to all this hypocrisy. If we properly consider that our neighbors (by this word Paul means fellow Christians) are members with us of the same body, the body of Christ, then we will be sincere, genuine, and upright, our words will convey our true meaning, and our actions will be in agreement with our speech. That is the nature of truthfulness, to have our mind and word in harmony with our actions.”15 (Ibid., p. 221.).
In verse 28 of Ephesians 4, the Apostle writes, “Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” In commenting on this verse, Dr. Stoeckhardt says, “Whoever has till now made his living by fraud and theft is hereafter not only to be honest and straight in his calling and trade, but he is to work, he is to conquer his disinclination to labor, which leads to dishonest tricks, he is to work energetically, make every proper effort, just this is included in kopiáto, and do his utmost, working with his hands tò agathón, ‘the good,’ which here does not mean moral good, but his honest gain. In such energetic and continued work he will naturally have gained more than sufficient for his own requirements so that he may give to him that needeth, which is certainly the duty of a true Christian. Before his departure for Rome. Paul had testified to the elders of Ephesus: ‘Ye yourselves know that these hands ministered unto my necessities and to them that were with me. In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20, 34-35.”16 (Ibid., p. 223).
In verses 31 and 32 of Ephesians 4, the Apostle mentions some things which those who practice Christian love should put away from among themselves and some things which they should do. These verses read as follows: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” After warning against the feelings of bitterness and wrath and anger and malice which often erupt in loud and insulting and screaming clamor and evil-speaking, the Apostle contrasts this with the beautiful and attractive image of Christian love. Dr. Stoeckhardt comments on this: “Be ye kind, considerate, one to another; merciful, if you see any misery, any need; forgive one another, do not insist on retaliation, do not reward evil with evil. The Apostle supports this admonition by pointing to God’s example—‘even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ By giving Christ into death for the atonement of our sin, God has in Christ remitted all our guilt. Should not we, then, be willing to do the same toward our brethren who have sinned against us and forgive them?”17 (Ibid., p. 225).
In Philippians 2, v. 25–26, we have an example of mutual concern on the part of some fellow-members for each other. Epaphroditus had been sent from the Philippians to bring assistance to Paul in Rome. Epaphroditus became sick, and the members at Philippi heard about it. They were very concerned about him. Epaphroditus, on his part, we are told, was full of heaviness because the Philippians had heard about it. Paul writes to the Philippians, “For he longed after you all and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he bad been sick.” He then tells the Philippians that he would send Epaphroditus back to Philippi, and tells them, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness.” These words give us both an example of and an exhortation toward true Christian concern for fellow-members and fellow Christians.
In Philippians 4, v. 2, the Apostle beseeches two of the Philippian Christians, who apparently had had some differences, to be reconciled to each other. He says, “I beseech Euodias and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” These were two women who apparently had some personal differences or misunderstanding. In Christian love, they should be willing to resolve their differences in the Lord and be at peace. This is one of the most vexing of problems within a congregation—the matter of two or more individuals or families being “on the outs” with each other. Much of the time it results from a difference of opinion in outward matters, matters in which each should be willing not to insist that it must be done their way.
Proper attitudes which show Christian love are described by the Apostle in Colossians 3, 12–14, where we read, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” All these virtues—mercy, kindness, meekness, patience, willingness to forgive one another—are evidences and marks of Christian love. Dr. P.E. Kretzmann says in his commentary on Colossians, “All this is to be done under the guidance and by the power exerted through agape (love), the unselfish devotion and interest in the welfare of others. Their love is the unifying factor. The phrase ‘bond of perfectness’ emphasizes the perfection of the union which should obtain between the believers. Under the guidance of true Christian love, all other Christian virtues can come to fruition and perfection, so that the believers have the right attitude toward one another in all things.”18 (Notes on Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians).
Another aspect of the practice of Christian love is pointed out by the Apostle James in his letter. In Chapter 2, he points out that practicing Christian love means that they should treat the poor and lowly with the same respect and love as they would the rich and prominent. He writes, verse 2 ff., “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in shabby raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the fine clothing and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are becoming judges of evil thoughts? … If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well; but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin’, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” It is always a temptation to show more consideration and deference to those who are more prominent. But Christian love must not distinguish in this way. It must treat the poor and less prominent members of the congregation with the same degree of love as the prominent or wealthy.
Another point James makes in his same section of his letter is that Christian love must show itself not only in words but also in deeds. He writes, “If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?” (James 2, 15–16). When Christian love requires helpful deeds, we should be ready to furnish these deeds. It would be a flagrant violation of Christian love if members of a congregation would fail to come across with the necessary help in cases of need in their midst. Also others who may not belong to the congregation we should help in time of need, either as individuals or by contributing to a group fund. Let us not, however, neglect those of the household of faith who are in need.
The question now arises, to what extent are our congregations and their individual members practicing the Christian love described in the preceding Scripture passages, and how can they, in a practical way, improve in this matter? Can the members of relatively small conservative Lutheran congregations find the love and understanding and sympathy and kindness they ought to be able to find among their fellow-members?
Let us look at some examples. An elderly man has to go to the hospital. The wife does not drive a car. Perhaps they have no car. If there are children, they live far away. To what extent would the members of our congregations consider it part of their practice of Christian love to take turns driving the wife to the hospital to visit her husband? Or would this matter simply be left up to the neighbors, who probably belong to other churches? Would it not be within the easy realm of possibility for the members to share in this service for their fellow-member?
Or, a person who is shy and retiring by nature comes to the services of one our congregations. This person is either a member already, or else a prospect. Granted, it is easier for the nucleus of members who know each other well to gather in conclaves after the service, discussing either church matters or family matters, and this would be a part of the proper mutual concern they should have for their church and for each other. But how many will go out of their way and make a special effort to include the shy member, the less prominent member, or the prospective member, or the visitor, in this mutual concern and interest? Is the shy member or the prospect left standing on the perimeter without being included in the conversation, eventually to depart lonelier than when he or she came? True, a person’s faith is strengthened by the Word of God, and that is the important thing in a service. But are the Christians of a congregation practicing Christian love if they permit some to feel left out and lonely?
The fact is, a person can feel lonely in a crowd. This is a common experience among people today — they may see many people in the course of their work or shopping or other daily affairs. Yet they may be very lonely. This can also happen in a church. Who of us has not heard the complaint of people who say they attend a certain large church Sunday after Sunday, yet feel lonely and unknown there. This ought not happen in a relatively small congregation, as most of the congregations of the E.L.S. are.
How many of the members of our congregations make at least occasional calls on their congregation’s shut-ins, or those living alone, or who because of age or weakness are not able to be very active? We must probably all admit that we have heard them speak of others looking in on them — people of other churches or perhaps even of no church — and rendering them certain services or at least encouragement. But. do our own members do this for their fellow-members? In some cases, there is a committee which might do some things in this regard. But Christian love and Christian service is something all the members should practice toward each other — especially those who are physically able toward those who are handicapped or in need.
In this connection, those members who are physically able and drive their own cars ought to be willing to bring such fellow-members or prospects to the church services who would otherwise not be able to get there. This may at times be inconvenient and take more time, especially when one is in a hurry anyway on a Sunday morning. But practicing Christian love means that people are willing to give up some time and put themselves out for the sake of others.
There is, of course, the objection that these people whom we want to take along to church on a certain Sunday may not want to go that Sunday or may not be physically able to go. Nevertheless, it is better to have at least given them the opportunity to go than to forget about them altogether. Sometimes, a standing arrangement can be worked out so that special arrangements do not have to be made each Sunday.
When a family, particularly a family of the congregation, is in special need, because of some disaster, such as fire or flood or storm, or because of accident or sickness or poverty, fellow-members of the congregation ought not simply leave it up to the community or the neighbors or the government or even relatives to give the necessary help and assistance. When the disciples told Jesus that He should send the multitude away so that they could get something to eat, Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat.” These same words could apply to us. When our fellow-members are in need Jesus does not say to us, “Maybe the county will help”; or “maybe some generous relatives will help”; or “let the government help”; but rather, He says, “Give ye them to eat.” The Apostle Paul says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6,2).
Christian News commented recently, “It doesn’t take much Christian love to ask someone else or the government to provide the poor with more wealth. While some ‘moderates’ who claim to be concerned about the poor have personally given much to help the poor, many of these champions of the poor contend that they have done their Christian duty when they tell the government to help the poor. If they are so concerned about the poor, then let them begin sharing their own big salaries with the poor. Let them be content to live in less elaborate homes. Charity begins at home.”19 (Christian News, April 30, 1973, p. 3).
In this connection, it seems that many of the proponents of the so-called “Social Gospel” in both church and state have the financial means to travel first-class to all parts of the country for various conclaves and meetings, and to live on a first-class level, but their efforts are directed chiefly to getting money out of other people to carry out their own particular project of social welfare. Very few seem to be sacrificing of their own wealth.
Even in conservative Lutheran church circles today, including our own, the majority of both pastors and members seem to be living very comfortably indeed, with comfortable and even luxurious housing with all the gadgets and wall to wall carpeting, and enjoy comfortable and even luxurious transportation by plane and by car, and an abundance of good food. As the majority of us enjoy this abundance, let us not forget that there are always those even within our congregations, who do not have so much, or who are aged and sick and depressed. In addition, there are the various relief drives for the help of people of the household of faith in other countries.
The scope of this paper is confined largely to the practice of Christian love on the local level, particularly within the congregation. Many of the Biblical injunctions which have been mentioned here concerning the day-to-day practice of Christian love have to do with the relationships and activities among people who see each other and meet with each other on a comparatively regular basis. This does not mean to say that Christians do not have the duty to show love also to others, wherever they may be. This has already been abundantly demonstrated.
It has, however, become somewhat fashionable on the part of both church-men and legislators to equate Christian love with government legislation, or at least to give that impression. Just because a legislator or churchman favors a certain type of legislation which may be helpful to certain people does not prove that he has more Christian love than one who opposes that particular piece or type of legislation. Humanitarianism by government legislation is not necessarily the same as Christian love. A person who opposes that particular legislation may consider it unwise or impractical for various reasons. He may favor a different plan for helping the needy. There are many conservative Christians who may oppose certain kinds of social legislation, but who give very generously and even sacrificially of their own money and time to private or personal works of love and charity. The point is, is it not in itself loveless to accuse someone else of lovelessness just because he doesn’t agree to a certain type of social legislation, especially when the one being accused of lovelessness might be sacrificing more of his personal wealth than the one doing the accusing. Or, the one who opposes the legislation may favor another way of helping those in need, another form of assistance. It might be strictly a matter of judgment. Incidentally, it would be interesting to find out just how seldom prominent speakers in both state and church who appear for speeches concerning their particular plan to help society are willing to give up any fees over and above minimal travel expenses. Jesus said, “Go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and come and follow Me.”
Returning now from this digression from the main scope of this paper, we have already shown that Christians have the clear duty to do what they can to help those among their number who are in bodily need. If this is the duty of Christians toward all men, surely such Christian love must evidence itself toward their fellow church members. The question may arise whether such help should be distributed through a standing committee, or whether the elders or trustees should have this as one of their continuing duties, or whether the situations should be handled as they arise. It is interesting to note that the following sentence appears in the Lutheran Agenda in the Form for installing a Church Council: “You are to assist the pastor in the care of the sick and the needy, in the cultivation of peace, harmony, and love among the members.”20 (The Lutheran Agenda, page 141). This work, then, the care of those in need, as well as the promotion of harmony and love in the congregation, is part of the official duty of the officers of the congregation.
Nevertheless, individual members should not consider that this is the duty only of the officers. The practice of Christian love should be carried out by all the members, including also helping those in need. Dr. Fritz says in Pastoral Theology: “A Christian congregation which does not care for its poor gives offense not only to Christian people, but to the world as well, and actually becomes guilty if some of its members and others join such organizations as the lodge in order to make sure of getting support in case of sickness and death (of course, the excuse could not be considered valid on the part of those who join the lodge). … A pastor should therefore consider it to be part of his official duties to look after the bodily and temporal welfare of the needy members of his church and to instruct his congregation to care for them. … Every Christian congregation ought to make special provision to care for its needy members. The congregation may instruct its church council to take charge of this entire matter or elect an almoner. Either an allowance should be made in the budget, or special collections lifted for the almoner’s treasury. … The congregation should not permit its poor to go begging in the congregation and certainly not among strangers. In case of unemployment, an effort should be made to find remunerative employment, so that, if possible, the needy person can earn his own living and need not depend on others for support, 2 Thess. 3,10. We should beware of pauperizing people. If a poor person or others in need have members of their own family or relatives who can care for them, these should be admonished to do so. Special provision should be made for the care of the sick who may be in need of assistance. The women of the church may be organized for this charitable purpose, through the Ladies’ Aid Society; however, not only members of the society, but all the women of the church should be called upon to render such service. … The regular employment of a deacon or deaconess does not excuse other members of the church from giving their service where opportunity presents itself.”21 (Pastoral Theology, pp. 230–231).
In 1 Timothy 5, 16, we read, “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”
In the matter of the promotion of fellowship among the members of a congregation, one must, of course, be careful not to turn the church into a fun society. Yet, such things as fellowship dinners may serve a good purpose in a congregation in that they may enable the members to become better acquainted with each other and thus provide the fellowship which members of a Christian congregation need. Some have objected to any kind of church dinner because the purpose has often been more the raising of money than the fellowship. Nevertheless, an occasional fellowship dinner where the announced purpose is chiefly to promote fellowship among the members can be a good opportunity for the members to show their concern and love for one another and for prospective members.
An occasional wholesome social event in the societies or organizations of the congregation might also serve a good purpose, as long as they do not divert people’s attention from the main business of the church, and as long as these affairs are such as are in harmony with God’s will and are not offensive and are conducted in a Christian manner.
In all these things, care should be taken that evident cliques are not developing. The pastor and the officers of the congregation should not themselves be guilty of forming cliques, even though it might be a temptation to do so, especially among the more active members. Officers and other active members ought to make it a point to pay attention to new members and visitors and thus show their Christian love and concern.
While the practice of Christian love on the part of individual Christians is just as important in a large congregation as in a small congregation, as far as the individuals are concerned, yet, in a certain sense, it may be said that it is even more important in a small congregation. The reason for this is that in a small congregation, the effects of failure to practice Christian love can be more damaging to the congregation as such Whereas a large congregation may survive and continue to function smoothly in spite of transgressions against Christian love on the part of some individuals, a small congregation’s very existence can sometimes be threatened by such transgressions. Even if the small congregation does continue to exist and function, continued instances of failure to carry out what the Bible says about practicing Christian love such as we have already presented, impedes and hinders the congregation’s growth: This is especially the case where the congregation is a clear minority in an area. Strangely enough, it seems people will tolerate and accept things in a large congregation, much as they accept things in the public school, which may not always be to their liking. In small congregations, however, it seems as though disagreements frequently become magnified, and result in injured and hurt feelings and perhaps even loss of members. Many a pastor could testify to the vexing problems with which he has had to deal because of disunity and disharmony in the congregation, often resulting from externals. In fact, in many pastorates, this becomes one of the foremost and pressing problems. If the disunity or disagreement is in the area of externals, that do not involve doctrine or practice outlines in Scripture, the parties to the disagreement ought to be willing to settle their differences without any real trouble. Christian love should move them to be willing to forego insistence on their opinion rather than risk a falling out with their fellow-member and perhaps even a large-scale and harmful disturbance. A small-sized conservative Lutheran congregation has enough obstacles the way it is without adding more through a lack of Christian love among the members.
One reason why even personal disagreements in small congregations seem to loom larger is that all the members probably know each other better. And so, the very factor which ought to work in the congregation’s favor, making it possible for the members to show extra concern and consideration for one another, sometimes works to its detriment. The members, knowing each other better, may also be tempted to forget to show Christian love toward one another, such as happens sometimes in a family, where Christian courtesy may be forgotten.
According to figures published in the 1973 Lutheran Annual compiled by Concordia Publishing House of St. Louis, the congregations of the three Lutheran bodies making up the Lutheran Council-U.S.A. (LCUSA) had an average size of 512 souls.22 (Lutheran Annual, page 53). The 1972 E.L.S. Convention Report shows that the average E.L.S. congregation numbers 200 souls. If we take away the three largest congregations from the E.L.S. figures, the average comes down to 170 souls per congregation. This means that 84 out of 87 congregations tabulated have an average size of 170 souls. In either case, in by far the greater number of instances, E.L.S. congregations are a clear minority in their areas, especially compared to bodies affiliated with LCUSA.
Does the size of a congregation have anything to do with the practice of Christian love among the members? First of all, transgressions against Christian love are just as wrong in a large congregation as in a small congregation. Sin is sin, wherever it is found. On the other hand, there are some sins which may result in more evil effects upon others because of the circumstances in which they occur. For example, if a person curses, he is sinning, even if nobody else hears him. However, if some children hear an older person use curse words, the effects are more harmful because the effects now involve other people, who may be led to do the same thing.
Similarly, if people in a relatively small congregation transgress against Christian love, the effects are apt to be more damaging. Feuding and strife among two or more members is more easily sensed, and has the potential of dividing the congregation. This is not to say that the words or commandments of God should ever be compromised simply for the sake of outward peace. God’s Word is more important than outward peace. On the other hand, members of comparatively small congregations should realize that strife and lovelessness, which often involve externals or opinions or emotions, endanger the welfare of the whole congregation. Others, who were not involved in the first place, sometimes feel obligated to take sides because of relationship or closeness to one of the parties.
While such lack of love constitutes a special hazard to the welfare and growth of small congregations, these comparatively small congregations also have good opportunities to practice Christian love in their midst. It is easier to recognize who the visitors are, who the new members are, and to be able to tell which members might especially need some expression of kindness and concern. It is easier to know which members have special problems. There are probably more and better opportunities to speak to fellow-members in general and to new members in particular, and to prospects. Concerning visiting the lonely, the shut-ins, or the sick, it should be easier to find out about them and what their situation is. Furthermore, it is probably easier for members of the different congregations in a circuit to become acquainted on the circuit level.
The question is, do most of the members of the comparatively small congregations of the E.L.S. recognize the importance of practicing Christian love toward their fellow-members and prospects, especially also toward those who have special needs? Do they recognize the importance of this not only as part of their Christian life flowing from faith in Christ their Savior, but also as being important to the welfare and possible growth of their congregation? Do they also recognize, in turn, that their congregation should be important to them so that they and others may continue to hear the true Word of God with its message of forgiveness and salvation? Do they recognize that by works of Christian love we are to let our light shine before men so that they may glorify our Father which is in heaven, and that by a lack of Christian love we may cause others to stay away from worship services and other proper church activities, and eventually to fall away from faith?
The importance of this matter must be repeatedly brought to the attention of congregation members. In addition to the requirement itself which God makes of us to show love toward others, there is the added responsibility on the part of members of a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching Lutheran Church to recognize the effects of their attitude on other members and also on prospects.
In all this, we have not stressed specifically the most important activity resulting from Christian love, namely, showing others the way to salvation through Jesus Christ the Savior, and also helping to strengthen them through the Word of God. Jesus said to Peter, “Strengthen thy brethren”, Luke 22, 32. This activity of bringing others the Word of God so that they might be brought to faith in Christ and be strengthened in their faith is sometimes described under the terms “mission work,” “witnessing,” “evangelism,” or “Christian education.” These are all topics in themselves. However, the scope of this particular essay has been to discuss the practice of Christian love among Christ’s people in a general way, including as many aspects and applications as could be reasonably included in the time and space allotted. These aspects and applications have included those things which the Bible mentions about our general attitude and conduct toward others. These, in turn, have been confined largely to the Christian love which members of a congregation should show toward one another and their prospective members or visitors. To devote the same amount of time and space to this subject with respect to our relationships with various other individuals and groups, such as other congregations, or congregations of other denominations, or our relations on a synod-wide level, or relations between synods and church bodies, would require more than is normally available at a convention. Suffice it to say once more that God says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” but that this love can never take precedence over a Christian’s love for God and His Word.
But how shall members of congregations be moved to improve in their practice of Christian love toward one another? Simply to tell them to do so will not really motivate them to do so. There is a story about an ex-gunfighter out west who had become a preacher and whose members consisted chiefly of cattlemen and sheep men who were bitterly opposed to each other. At first he resorted to his gun to keep the peace among the rival members. However, when he wasn’t around, they still opposed and insulted and injured each other. Later on, he used strategy and psychology to bring about a measure of harmony. However, strategy and psychology are not the proper basic methods either of bringing about improvement in the practice of Christian love.
Only the Gospel can bring about such improvement. The Law can and does convict us of our sins, including the sins of not showing Christian love. But only the Gospel of God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus can motivate us and make us willing to show such Christian love. It is a temptation to think that in order to bring about improvement in this matter, more Law must be preached, and not so much Gospel. However, it is the Gospel which provides the Christian with the power to practice Christian love. True, the Law serves as a rule to show Christians in what ways they are to practice Christian love; and this use of the Law must not be neglected. But preachers must continue to proclaim the Gospel of salvation through Christ if the hearers are to have the willingness to practice Christian love. Even though an unbeliever can do some outwardly good deeds in the sight of the world, only a true believing Christian can have and practice true Christian love, and he, only imperfectly at that. Members of Christian congregations should therefore not grow weary of hearing the Gospel. For not only is it the power of God unto salvation, but it alone can give us the willingness to practice true Christian love.
There is a song called, “The World is Such a Lonely Place.” Actually, a Christian should never be truly lonely, because God is always with him. God said, “The Lord forsaketh not His saints;” Psalm 37, 28. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt. 28, 20. But God also says, “Strengthen ye the weak hands, confirm ye the feeble knees.” Isaiah 35, 3. God wants to use us to help those in need. Especially those who are lonely, depressed, and in need of kindness and friendship and help should be able to find in our congregations. Remember, Jesus says that what ye have done “unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
May God grant to all of us that measure of Christian love which reflects a strong faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. Of Him, namely, our Savior, we read in John 13, 1: “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”
1 “The Confessional Lutheran”. Aug.–Sept. 1947
2 “A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians,” pp. 207–208, Zondervan Publishing House. (Commentary by Martin Luther)
3 Ibid., p. 212
4 Ibid., pp. 78–79
6 C.F.W. Walther, “Sermons on the Epistle Lessons”, p. 92
7 Ibid., p. 105
8 Ibid., p. 147
9 Ibid., p. 281
10 Ibid., p. 284
11 Luther’s “Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians”, pp. 216–218
12 Ibid., pp. 218–219
13 Ibid., pp. 242–244
14 George Stoeckhardt’s “Commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians”, p. 221
15 Ibid., p. 221
16 Ibid., p. 223
17 Ibid., p. 225
18 Notes on Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, by P.E. Kretzmann
19 Christian News, April 30, 1973, p. 3
20 The Lutheran Agenda, p. 141
21 Pastoral Theology, by Fritz, pp. 230–231
22 The Lutheran Annual for 1973, p. 53