THE WEEK OF TRINITY VIII – MONDAY

LESSON: ROMANS 11:17-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

We should note very carefully that the Lord Jesus orders Christians and gives them authority to be judges over all doctrine, to pronounce judgement on whether it is correct or not. This authority was filched from us by false Christians for something like a thousand years, so that we had no authority to pronounce judgement on any doctrine but simply had to accept, without expressing any judgment, whatever the pope and the councils determined.

This Gospel completely overthrows the papacy and all councils. We are not obliged to accept what the pope enjoins or what men set up. Therefore, I say once more, take careful note of this Gospel. Neither the pope nor the councils have received the command to set up and determine what faith is. Christ says here, “Beware of false prophets.” Either the Gospel must be lying, or the pope with the councils.

Christ tells us that, as Christians, we have the right to judge all doctrine and what has been set up for us to hold or not to hold. Christ is not speaking only to the pope but to all Christians. Just as Christ’s former words are spoken to all, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (verse 12), so also these words exclude no one, “Beware of false prophets.” From these words it is quite clear that I have the right and duty to judge doctrine.

Hence, I am obliged to say here, “Pope, you and your councils have made decisions. I now have to judge whether I can accept these decisions or not, for you will not be at my side to answer for me when I have to die. So, I have to see to it where I stand, and I must be sure of my ground.”

SL 11:1394 (3-5)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your Word is the truth, and You have given us full and ready access to this Word of truth. Grant us a sure and certain understanding of Your Word, that we may always stand fast in our faith and openly confess the truth of Your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:234-245.