Friday, July 31, 2009

A Study in Luther's Pastoral Theology

Krispin, Gerald S.  "A Study in Luther's Pastoral Theology."  A Reader in Pastoral Theology. Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 2002.  54-59.

In Luther's theology consolation goes hand in hand with resurrection.  When we are pressed by a realization of our mortality, our greatest consolation is the hope of the real bodily resurrection from the dead.  This is a great  encouragement to the believer.  As we have been baptized into Christ's death and raised with him to eternal life, we will also suffer our bodily death and become eternal partakers of Christ's resurrection.  

Krispin cites numerous examples of Luther's encouraging words to people who are suffering or who have experienced the death of a loved one.  He also cites some of Luther's words in response to the death of his daughter, Magdalena.  In personal letters and sermons, we consistently see Luther looking to the hope of the resurrection to bring comfort in this world.

It is not uncommon for modern Christians, at least in the United States, to fear death.  It is also not an uncommon view that the resurrection is sort of a spiritual bodiless situation.  I often wonder if these views go hand in hand.  I think there's a reason our Lord and Savior revealed himself as the firstfruits of a bodily resurrection.  Even people with bodies like mine - lumpy, saggy, wrinkly, and prone to illness - like our bodies.  The only life we know is a bodily life.  And that's exactly the kind of life we will see in eternity, just without the lumps, sags, wrinkles, and illnesses.

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