Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Melanchthon on Joining a Church

Commemoration of Philemon and Onesimus
February 15, 2012

The Lord be with you

I just read a wonderful quote from Philip Melanchthon (commemorated on our liturgical calendar tomorrow, February 16) dealing with worship. I found it in the Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Condordia Publishing House. He wrote:
    We should know that there must be a public ministry of the Gospel and public assemblies, as we are taught in Ephesians 4:10-12. And this assembly we must join; of this visible assembly we must be citizens and members, as the psalmist commands us: “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells” (Psalm 26:8); and again: “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts!” (Psalm 84:1). These and similar passages do not speak of a Platonic idea, but are talking about the visible church, in which the voice of the Gospel resounds and where there is witnessed the ministry of the Gospel. And thus God reveals Himself and is efficacious. And we should not praise those vagabonds who roam about and join no congregation because they cannot find an ideal [church] in which there is not something lacking in morals and discipline. We should rather seek the church in which the articles of faith are taught purely and no idolatry is defended. That church we should join, hear, and love its doctrine as we unite our intercession and confession with their prayers and confession. We should also learn to support it in order that it may not be devastated. For where there are no assemblies, there the voice of the Gospel becomes silent. So the Muslim tyrants in many places destroy all churches and did not permit even their own people to assemble. We should recognize that such satanic devastations and dispersions are a dreadful and very great evil. Therefore, we should ask God that He may preserve His congregations, and we ourselves should support them with all our resources.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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