Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carson, 2012. Chapter 4, “Worse than Inconsistency”

Chapter 4, “Worse than Inconsistency” (Loc. 880)

Carson observes that having multiple definitions of “tolerance” can be a problem. “We flip back and forth between the two uses of tolerance and fail to perceive that we have done so. What is worse, these two meanings are not absolutely disjunctive: there is a nasty area of overlap that magnificently muddies the discussion” (Loc. 883). He goes on to describe the progressive accusation of intolerance against the religious right. The accusations are almost invariably applicable to both the old and new definitions of intolerance.

In this chapter, Carson’s goal is “to document that the new tolerance, while making its claims to be free from any ethical, moral, or religious system of thought, is in fact hugely inconsistent” (Loc. 905). The truth, Carson would say, is that the new tolerance insists others who disagree should embrace certain ideas. When that fails, the others are branded as intolerant. Carson illustrates this principle with examples from Stanley Fialis’ 1999 book, The Trouble with Principle. There is, again and again, a selectivity in tolerance and inclusion which deliberately excludes some, refusing toleration.

What is the root of this activity? Carson views it as a secularism which is assumed to be neutral. Yet Carson adduces many examples of the supposedly neutral secularism being intolerant of persons with religious convictions. There is, then, an underlying agenda which is not neutral, but has a distinct slant. This is not tolerance.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 10, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am in Control of Your Life and Your Death’”

Chapter 10, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am in Control of Your Life and Your Death’” pp. 137-148

Revelation 1:17-18

Guthrie recalls a time of prayer when she realized asking God to extend a dying child’s life may not be in the best interest of the child or the survivors. Should we rather trust God to number her days rightly? The Scripture clearly portrays God as the one who knows and has lovingly determined the limits of our lives. While we live them fully the Lord is the one who has ordered them. Jesus, the resurrection and the life, holds the keys to our life.

Final Observations

This is clearly a devotional and highly emotive book, much more emotive than I am. Guthrie writes in a very gentle and caring style. Yet that style, paired with a theology which sees divisions in the will of the Father and the Son, is a concern to me. The cover text calls it a “paradigm-shifting book.” The shift is unclear.  If we are to find comfort in our sorrows, let us find it in the unified mind of God who bore all our sorrows and will deliver us to life.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 "Peculiarities of Christ's Human Nature"

Peculiarities of Christ’s Human Nature (Loc. 1675)

Though Jesus has a human nature as do we, there are several differences.

  1. “The human nature of Christ came into existence through the operation of the Holy Ghost” (Loc. 1675).
  2. Jesus’ human nature is sinless (Loc. 1695).
As Pieper discusses this concept using many Bible passages, he does make a detour to answer two related questions. Was Jesus free from Adam’s guilt? The Christ is separate from sinners. He does not have the universal guilt. This may be (Loc. 1728) because Jesus did not descend from Adam directly. His humnan nature has always been that of the Son of God.

Pieper also asks (Loc. 132) whether the Christ could sin. He could not, not because he was created sinless as was Adam, but because he is God.

An important consequence of Jesus’ sinlessness is immortality (Loc. 1752ff).

  1. Christ’s human nature is impersonal (Loc. 1786). There is no personality other than that of the Son of God involved in Christ. His complete union of natures was there from the start.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Carson, 2012. Chapter 3, “Jottings on the History of Tolerance”

Chapter 3, “Jottings on the History of Tolerance” (Loc. 538ff)

Carson begins by making some observations about the history of tolerance and intolerance. “Across the ages the best thinking on the subject, however diverse, displays a remarkable connection between one’s understanding of tolerance and one’s understanding of ‘natural law’ or ‘public moral law’” (Loc. 552). Carson considers that where this is lacking, “tolerance itself is distorted” (Loc. 552). In effect, tolerance which works for the common good is historically seen as positive while that which pursues individual freedom is negative.

Having observed that society mixes tolerance and intolerance, Carson goes on to discuss early Christian thought. The harshest criticisms lodged against Christians prior to AD 300 was their assertion of the exclusivity of this correct belief. Because they would not confess that other religions gained divine favor, cycles of persecution against Christians were accepted practice. The Christian community typically did not fight back. After the time of Constantine there was more of a temptation to use power and coercion, though use of torture and physical coercion was relatively rare.

As history continues, Carson observes that execution on religious grounds was unknown in Christendom until the 11th century. Yet Europe did move to physical force with greater frequency. This force was generally used only in cases of Christians of suspect doctrine, but did move to a broader cultural intolerance at times. As Carson moves to contemporary situations he observes that this older view of tolerance has been displaced by a relativism which allows or even encourages the kind of cultural intolerance seen in the massive genocidal efforts of the 20th century.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 9, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am Giving Life to Those Who Believe in Me’”

Chapter 9, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am Giving Life to Those Who Believe in Me’” pp. 123-135

John 11:25-26

Guthrie observes on Easter that many of the people who are most dedicated to Christ and His resurrection are people who have lost someone. Jesus and the resurrection are our hope.

Often we think of the resurrection as Martha did in John 11, as a distant future hope. Jesus calls us to think of it as a present reality. This is what we receive as we believe in Jesus.

Guthrie discusses belief on p. 129. “Belief begins when we agree with the truth about Jesus, and it blossoms into saving faith as we accept that truth for ourselves, entrusting our whole selves to Christ.” Guthrie continues to speak in terms of our choice and the strength of our belief as opposed to “an inspirational kind of faith and an impersonal type of religion” (p. 130). This, Guthrie says, informs our grief and allows us confidence in the midst of loss.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 "The True Humanity of Christ"

The True Humanity of Christ (Loc. 1592)

Pieper begins by surveying historic errors in considering Christ’s humanity. He then concludes, “Scripture teaches clearly and plainly the true and perfect humanity of Christ (veritatem et integritatem humanae Christi naturae) (Loc. 1597). Pieper states (Loc. 1610) that denial of the humanity of Christ is due to rationalism which assures the union of divine and human to be impossible. He further suggests a link to Pelagianism which denies the need for a substitutionary atonement.

Scripture asserts a need for atonement by one who is perfect in his own right (divine) and like the ones for whom he substitutes (human). Pieper summarizes the history as follows: “The axiom of Gregory Nazianzen: τὸ ἀπρόσληπτον ἀθεράπευτον (what was not assumed was not redeemed [healed]} condemned any curtailment of the human nature of Christ. The Lutheran teachers took over this axiom…” (Loc. 1634).

Pieper closes this section with a biblical defense of Jesus’ identity as “Son of Man” being a claim to divine authority and human attributes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Carson, 2012. Chapter 2, "What Is Going On?"

Chapter 2, “What Is Going On?” (Loc. 217)

Often the very “conservative” Christians in the public square engage in commentary which is inflammatory. This tends to shut down discourse, provoking the non-Christian community to dismiss opposing views as narrow and intolerant. This kind of behavior does not further honest and useful discourse. Carson alleges that the most forceful “intolerant tolerance” is opposed to Christianity. He provides case study examples, first miscellaneous, then from education, media, and sexual identity.

Carson’s conclusion is that although the new tolerance can reject all sorts of people for any reason or no reason, it works against “conservative” and Christian viewpoints in a preponderance of cases.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 8, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am Enough for You’”

Chapter 8, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Am Enough for You’” pp. 107-122

2 Corinthians 12:9

Suffering can lead to an intensity in thought, prayer, and communication which we might not have under less extreme circumstances. Guthrie observes that after the death of her children there wa a great emptiness. This in itself is not a bad thing, as it can bring us to Jesus who will fill our emptiness. On p. 110 she illustrates this concept from John 2:1-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:24-27. When we endure suffering, as Paul did, God declares his grace to be what we need (2 Cor. 12:9, p. 114). While we would often like God to do the miracles we think of as important, God works for his glory and our good, often in ways we would never think of.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 The True Deity of Christ

1) The True Deity of Christ (Loc. 1489)

Contrary to some scholars who claim Jesus never asserted his deity, the New Testament requires we confess it. In Matthew 16 Jesus affirms Peter’s confession of him as the Son of God. This is the confession on which the Church has always stood. John 1:1 and Matthew 16:16 are not properly viewed in a metaphorical sense but quite literally. The Son has the same essence, the same actions, and the same attributes as the Father (John 10:28-30). Pieper further adduces John 5:17-19 which was clearly understood by the Jews as a statement of his deity. We find the same attributes in John 8:58 and 17:5, as well as John 1:3, 10:28-30, 5:21, 28-29, and John 2:22 and 1:14. He is to be honored as God (John 5:23; 20:28.

Pieper affirms (Loc. 1559) that a denial of the deity of Christ is related to a Pelagian notion that man earns heavenly reward by emulating the man Christ. Yet if Jesus is not entirely divine his death is no more than an example to us and has been stripped of its merit. The Christian view of salvation is tied to the merit of Jesus, as Luther expounds in his comments on Galatians 2:20.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Carson, 2012. Chapter 1, “Introduction: The Changing Face of Tolerance.”

Chapter 1, “Introduction: The Changing Face of Tolerance.”

Carson observes that tolerance, today, is as important to people as any cultural value. He realizes that suggesting it is intolerant seems like an oxymoron. Tolerance, though, is one of the values held so firmly in Western cultures that it cannot be questioned. What can be questioned, however, is the practical definition of tolerance. Carson states (Loc. 41), “Although a few things can be said in favor of the newer definition, the sad reality is that this new, contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground; it cannot be questioned because it has become part of the West’s plausibility structure.”

A dictionary definition of tolerance affirms being able to accept or allow a different view to exist. However, recent treatment, including Encarta, drops the idea of acceptance of existence and simply requires acceptance of different views. This makes a leap to demanding that differing views are equally acceptable. The differentiation of the various views of tolerance can create trouble, as it may become unclear whether one says positions may exist or that they are acceptable.

Carson illustrates this problem using statements of Christians “tolerating” other views. He continues (from Loc. 86) by defining the terms of the old tolerance more clearly. He identifies three assumptions.
1) There is objective truth which we are to find.
2) Each party in a discussion believes he has identified truth.
3) The best way to uncover truth is through open discussion.

The new tolerance, however, “argues that there is no one view that is exclusively true. Strong opinions are nothing more than strong preferences for a particular version of reality, each version equally true” (Loc. 148). If this is the case, if all versions of reality are right, the greatest wrong which can be perpetrated is intolerance. Yet intolerance finds itself also redefined. It becomes “any questioning or contradicting the view that all opinions are equal in value, that all worldviews have equal worth, that all stances are equally valid” (Loc. 155).

Carson cites S.D. Goede, defining old and new tolerance. This definition leads Carson to observe, “the old tolerance draws its limits on the basis of substantive arguments about truth, goodness, doing harm, and protecting society and its victims, while the new tolerance draws its limits on the basis of what it judges to be intolerant” (Loc. 187).

Carson, 2012.

Carson, D.A. The Intolerance of Tolerance. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 7, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Give You a Heart for Forgiveness”

Chapter 7, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Give You a Heart for Forgiveness” pp. 91-106

Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is essential to the Christian life. Guthrie emphasizes Jesus’ demand that we forgive others. I observe that her exegesis is again based on the NLT version, which does not reflect the original, choosing to add a qualifier that we forgive if we are holding a grudge. The text simply says if we have anything against someone we must forgive. Guthrie pushes our stubborn unforgiveness which is less forceful than what Jesus says, but she suggests we are all stubborn.

What of times when we would justifiably hold something against someone? Maybe we hve been hurt, possibly badly. Jesus says we are forgive. [At this point, Guthrie uses the NIV translation of Mark 11:25, which is much closer to the original.] Jesus, in fact, is willing to give his own life for forgiveness, generously, regardless of the cost, regardless of our sin. It is this grace of God which motivates us and enables us to forgive others.

Guthrie hints at, but does not come out and say, that the Christian life is one of repentance and forgiveness. Yet all the while she keeps coming back to our need to forgive. Jesus is present as the one who helps us do better, but not as our forgiver. This finally leaves us working out our own salvation rather than receiving a salvation based on grace. It is salvation by works. This is not the comfort for the soul in anguish I would expect to find in a Christian book chapter about forgiveness.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 Section B (beginning) "The Doctrine of Christ"

Section B - The Doctrine of Christ

Chapter B1 “The Importance of the Doctrine”

Without a coherent doctrine of Christ it is impossible to build a doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.

B2 Division of the Doctrine

The doctrine has normally been divided as follows (Loc. 1438):
A) The theanthropic person of Christ
B) the states of Christ
C) the office of Christ


Past critiques have focused on Lutheran apologists and their exhaustive work. Pieper responds (Loc. 1453) that the extensive writing was largely due to the critics’ objections to a traditional understanding of Christ.

Short Summary of the Doctrine

Luther (footnote 5, Loc. 2995) observed that prior to any creeds, the Church knew about the person and nature of Christ.
 divine and human
 unity of person
 communion of natures
 value of death of Christ
 possessing divine gifts
 retaining a human nature

 infinite is held in the finite

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 30, “The Visible Community”

Chapter 30, “The Visible Community”

Although Bonhoeffer has repeatedly emphasized the Christian as an individual he now talks about the Church as a community. The doctrine of the Church, the concept of Christianity, the idea of belief on Christ takes no space. But the Church is a gathering of real people in a real place, in fellowship with Christ and with one another. The people are gathered around the apostolic teaching. They receive the testimony and live in light of it. The word of God dwells in the Church, the assembly of believers.

How does God’s Word form the Church? It comes to gather people through preaching, baptism, and communion (Loc. 3405), a very orthodox Lutheran view. Through baptism and communion we receive the forgiving presence of God. Because of this importance of Word and Sacrament Bonhoeffer urges his readers to consider the value God has placed in the Church. This is where Christians are bound together and strengthened for life and service. We remain, then, both in our life in society and in new life within the context of the Church.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 6, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Have a Purpose in Your Pain’”

Chapter 6, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Have a Purpose in Your Pain’” pp. 71-90

John 9:3

One of the first questions we ask in times of suffering is why. We quickly tie suffering and sorrow to a failure on our part or on the part of someone else. Maybe there is a hidden sin. Maybe we didn’t pray right. This is the same pattern shown in John 9 when the disciples were confronted with a man born blind. Guthrie points out on p. 73 that we never have to think we are suffering for our sin. Jesus has already done that - this is the Gospel. So why do we suffer?

Guthrie details several reasons we may suffer: consequences of sin we or others commit, natural results of living in a fallen world, supernatural attack, all are reasons for suffering. Under them all, we realize that God is in control. On p. 78 Guthrie clarifies that God does “allow” suffering but that he is not only passive. In many cases God brings suffering for a purpose. She goes on on p. 79 and following to explain that God ordains evil, but does it through other causes, thus remaining blameless.

The use of Joseph as a deliverer, Job’s faithfulness, and the suffering of Israel and Jesus are adduced as evidence that God brings suffering for good purposes. I question if this is the same as God’s remaining blameless by using instruments of evil. Yet Guthrie’s main point is that God ordains all that happens and uses it for good. He has a purpose.

Guthrie makes a very disturbing statement on p. 84 when she says, “What matters in the end is not that we know what or whom to assign responsibility to. What matters is that we are convinced that God loves us and that his love is not merely sentimental or a commitment to our comfort.” By saying this, Guthrie may as well open the door to any sort of belief, as long as you believe it, it must be right. Does it work for you? What is absent is Jesus’ work on the cross, a definitive work outside of us, accomplishing his purpose, rescuing us from sin and death. This foundation is sadly lacking.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 Chapter 4, “The Theological Terminology Regarding the Divine Will of Grace”

Chapter 4, “The Theological Terminology Regarding the Divine Will of Grace”

God’s will has been described in various ways. Pieper gives a list of Latin terms used to describe God’s will, terms which roughly translate as “absolute, ordained, conditional, antecedent, consequent, revealed, and hidden” (Loc. 682). In this chapter he discusses the terms within the context of God’s saving grace.

God’s will to save all men is not absolute, but ordained. The absolute will of God is never resisted and always comes to pass. His ordained will can be resisted. Through the means he has chosen God calls all to salvation but only by grace through faith in Christ for his sake.

Sometimes the term “conditional” is used to describe God’s ordained will. But sometimes the condition identified has some connection with man’s merit, in which case it is not viewed biblically.

The distinction between the antecedent and consequent will of God is also a difficulty. Seen biblically, God’s antecedent will is to save. His consequent will is activated only when man has rejected God. Calvinism rejects the distinction, saying that from the start God has a will to save some and condemn others. Pieper goes into some detail rejecting Calvinist arguments.

God’s will to save is fully revealed to us. Though there are some aspects of God’s desire which are hidden, his revealed will is clearly only for saving and blessing all who believe him.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 29, "The Body of Christ"

Chapter 29, “The Body of Christ”

When Bonhoeffer has a chapter entitled “The Body of Christ” right after a chapter about baptism our thoughts may go immediately to Luther’s catechism where we expect teaching about the Sacrament of the Altar. In fact, he does not go there. Instead, this chapter talks about the disciples being in the bodily presence of Jesus. After the resurrection, Bonhoeffer talks about the Church as Jesus’ body. This is where we receive our assurance. It is the context of our giving and receiving the message of salvation.

Considering Jesus in his body, Bonhoeffer draws a good distinction (Loc. 3205) when he says God took on the human nature. This is not to say that God took on the man Jesus. This is an entirely different idea. If God simply adopted Jesus, a human son, we believe to no effect. Jesus would be unable to bear our sin. Rather, God became the representative for sinful humanity.

Bonhoeffer’s view is that by faith in Jesus that function of dealing with sin and proclaiming salvation has passed to the Church. This is where we find our fellowship and identity. Jesus has made us the new man in him. Jesus is the head and we are the body. We continue to suffer as Jesus did. Through faithful suffering we become the temple of God, just as Jesus was the fulfillment of the temple.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 5, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Keep You Safe’”

Chapter 5, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Keep You Safe’” pp. 55-70

Matthew 10:28

Guthrie recalls times when bad things happen. A friend suffers through painful medical treatments. She and her family have two children who die. God’s promises of protection seem distant or even false. But in Matthew 10 Jesus tells his disciples that the evil ones can only harm their bodies. They can only cause physical harm. This is not exactly comforting to everyone. Yet Jesus promises us that our struggles, and especially our eternity, are of great importance to him.

When we doubt, we can take comfort that, according to John 17:11-15, Jesus prays for us. He is concerned about our eternal soul. This brings us comfort as we realize that our bodies will die, along with countless others.

Guthrie continues to divide the will of the Father and the Son. “God has answered the prayer of Jesus with a resounding yes!” (p. 64). This continued weakness in her theology is troublesome. She also seems to treat the body as something inconsequential or that will pass away. “While Satan may win a battle or two in the life of the believer, he will never win the war against the soul” (p. 64). Historic Christianity, on the other hand, has consistently confessed that the Lord has created us, body and soul, and has redeemed the two together. Death separates the elements temporarily, but in the resurrection we are complete again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2 Chapter 3, "Attributes of Saving Grace"

Chapter 3, “Attributes of Saving Grace”

Pieper draws a distinction between “absolute” and “saving” grace. Absolute grace is a show of God’s power. It cannot be resisted. Saving grace, using means such as the Word and baptism, can be resisted. This does not mean that God does not genuinely desire people to be saved. It means that people are able to resist God’s will in saving grace, though not in absolute grace.

Pieper also observes that man has no merit. If man has merit, grace is not grace. However, grace is directly tied to Christ’s merit. It is his satisfaction of God’s justice which is our hope.

Lutherans are insistent on confessing God’s universal grace. God has given grace to all. He does desire that all should believe. He has no hidden will which guarantees destruction to some. This teaching of Calvinism asserts the effectiveness of God’s will at the expense of his promised love. Conversely, the Arminians demand of man’s contribution denies God’s grace. Neither is acceptable. We are left with the position that saving grace can be resisted due to the hardness of unbelieving hearts. This resistance results in more hardening, which Scripture portrays as the final cause of perdition. In God’s mercy many are saved. We have no way of knowing how many.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 28, "Baptism"

Chapter 28, “Baptism”

In the New Testament there are different places where attention is focused. The Gospels tend to focus on the call of Jesus and the very physical work of following him. Paul, working among people whose entire Christian experience is after the resurrection, has a greater focus on the baptismal life. It is baptism which makes the clear break from the life of the flesh and the entry into the life of the Spirit. Bonhoeffer suggests that where the Gospels speak of calling, Paul speaks of baptism. This baptism is passive. We receive baptism just as we might receive a call. Our lives change in baptism, since we are brought into the covenant of grace. Baptismal grace justifies the sinner by putting the body of the old man to death. As a consequence we then live by grace. Bonhoeffer states a reluctance to endorse infant baptism without the presence of a community of faith. Otherwise the child will not be brought up in the faith. Baptism is a great and precious gift, received once, and believed upon throughout life.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 4, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Save You from Yourself'"

Chapter 4, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Save You from Yourself'" (pp. 41-54)

It is not uncommon for us to express strong desires, often desires that are counter to reality and/or God’s Word. We dislike disappointment so much we will go beyond what the Lord has said. In Matthew 16, just after Peter has confessed Jesus as the Christ, he is rebuked by Jesus for his hesitancy to see Jesus go to his death. It is the crucified Jesus who is the savior.

Following Jesus is the lifestyle of dying to our own desires and taking on his.

In this chapter, which is much closer to orthodox Christianity than those before it, Guthrie still flirts with the dangers of self-mediated Christianity. When she removes the specific authority of God’s Word and replaces it with our opinion she leaves us on shaky ground.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pieper, 1968.2. Chapter 2, "The Concept of Saving Grace"

Chapter 2, “The Concept of Saving Grace”

What is saving grace? The concept of saving grace is that care for sinful man which chooses to forgive them. The declaration of the Gospel is grace. It is God’s free favor on account of Christ. The purpose of grace is to save people.

This may be a confusing term because we use the term “grace” to refer to something huyman as well. Yet in reference to salvation, grace is not something infused into us or something we are able to pass on. We may benefit from God’s grace but we never possess it.

Pieper discusses the idea that this infused grace of God never leads to salvation. Salvation is only because of God’s favor, not because of something he places into us. Any other view ultimately leads to salvation by works. Yet when we seek to have salvation on account of anything in ourselves, Galatians 5:4 says we have fallen from grace.

Pieper further says that the Calvinist refusal of universal grace means they must base salvation on infused grace. This ultimately leads to a reliance on something in man rather than trusting entirely to Christ on our behalf. A similar problem exists for Arminians and for any sort of synergist.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 27, "Preliminary Questions"

Chapter 27, “Preliminary Questions”

In this final section of his book Bonhoeffer draws conclusions based on his earlier study of discipleship. Here he begins by asking several questions which he thinks should come to our minds.

1) How is Jesus’ call given to us today?  Since Jesus the rabbi is not walking around, he has left his call in the Scripture. He is heard, he is found in the ministry of Word and Sacrament, both proclaimed and physically present. There is no need of personal revelation. Jesus is altogether available in Word and Sacrament.

2) Does Jesus speak to us differently now? Jesus in fact has the same message for disciples of every time in history. His will never changes.

3) Don’t we have to decide what way he is calling us, what kind of disciple we are? Jesus calls all the same, to faith in him and love for our neighbor. We imitate Jesus, not one or another of his disciples. This takes away the confusion in our life of discipleship.