Category Archives: Theology

When You See A Dog Following Two Men

“You cannot serve both God – and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

“Of the enemies of the cross of Christ, the apostle declares that they “mind earthly things.” They are only concerned about increasing their stores, and thus be able to say with the rich man of whom the Savior speaks, that they have much goods laid up for many years; on the strength of which they intend to take their ease, and eat, drink, and be merry. All their thoughts are of the earth, earthy. The things of time and sense – they regard as first and last, middle and end.

“It is impossible for the mind to be governed at the same time by two opposite principles. The love of the world – and the love of God – are diametrically opposed to each other. ‘If any man loves the world–the love of the Father is not in him.’ ‘Don’t you know that the friendship of the world – is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world – is the enemy of God.’ ‘You cannot serve both God – and mammon.’

“To borrow a quaint illustration from one of our old writers, ‘When you see a dog following two men – so long as they walk together, you do not know to which of them the dog belongs. But let them come to a parting road and there separate from each other – then it will soon be seen who is the owner, for the dog will follow his master wherever he goes.’

“Just so, an individual may pursue the world, and retain a Christian profession at the same time – and it is often difficult to ascertain whether God or the world possesses his affections. But by and bye he comes to a parting road, when God calls him one way, and the world another way – and then he will show to whom he really belongs. If God is his master – then he will follow and obey God. But if the world is his master – then he will follow after it!

“O my soul, how are you affected by the respective claims of the things of time – and those of eternity? After a few more rising and setting suns, it will be a matter of total indifference to you – whether you have been rich or poor, successful in your business or unsuccessful. But it will be of unspeakable consequence – whether you have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before you in the gospel.

“Listen, then, to the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘Do not labor for food that spoils – but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.’ ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!'”

~ John MacDuff

HT Grace Gems

The Ninety-Five Theses in Their Theological Significance

by Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield

“A poor peasant’s son, then a diligent student, a humble monk, and, finally, a modest, industrious scholar, Martin Luther had already exceeded the half of the life-time allotted to him, when – certainly with the decision characteristic of him, but with all the reserve imposed by his position in life and the immediate purpose of his action – he determined to subject the religious conceptions which lay at the basis of the indulgence-usages of the time to an examination in academic debate.”(2) This singularly comprehensive and equally singularly accurate statement of Paul Kalkoff’s is worth quoting because it places us at once at the right point of view for forming an estimate of the Ninety-five Theses which Luther, in prosecution of the purpose thus intimated, posted on the door of the Castle-Church at Wittenberg on the fateful October 31, 1517. It sets clearly before us the Luther who posted the Theses. It was – as he describes himself, indeed, in their heading(3) – Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Theology, Ordinary Professor of Theology in the University of Wittenberg. And it indicates to us with equal clearness the nature of the document which he posted. It consists of heads for a discussion designed to elucidate the truth with respect to the subject with which it deals – as again Luther himself tells us in its heading. We have to do here in a word with an academic document, prepared by an academic teacher, primarily for an academic purpose. All that the Theses were to become grows out of this fundamental fact. We have to reckon, of course, with the manner of man this Professor of Theology was; with the conception he held of the function of the University in the social organism; with the zeal for the truth which consumed him. But in doing so we must not permit to fall out of sight that it is with a hard-working Professor of Theology, in the prosecution of his proper academical work, that we have to do in these Theses. And above everything we must not forget the precise matter which the Theses bring into discussion; this was, as Kalkoff accurately describes it, the religious conceptions which lay at the basis of the indulgence traffic.

Failure to bear these things fully in mind has resulted in much confusion. It is probably responsible for the absurd statement of A. Plummer to the effect that “Luther began with a mere protest against the sale of indulgences by disreputable persons.”(4) One would have thought a mere glance at the document would have rendered such an assertion impossible; although it is scarcely more absurd than Philip Schaff’s remark that the Theses do not protest “against indulgences, but only against their abuse”(5) – which Plummer elaborates into: “Luther did not denounce the whole system of indulgences. He never disputed that the Church has power to remit the penalties which it has imposed in the form of penances to be performed in this world.”(6) To treat the whole system of indulgences, as proclaimed at the time, as an abuse of the ancient custom of relaxing, on due cause, imposed penances, is to attack the whole system with a vengeance.

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