It has been a while. It has been a temptation to write about anything other than what I said this blog was about, focus on Christ. I intend to continue to discipline myself to not post things here that do not maintain that focus. That probably means few updates. It is doubtful that it will disappoint anyone but me.
I am reading, along with the other members of the doctrine class I attend, "The Fire and the Staff" by Klemet Preus. He poses the question of whether doctrine saves. The consensus (which I do not share) was that it is a 'trick question', not fully serious. It seems to me that the point was that while 'doctrine' did not die on the cross for my sins, I would not personally benefit from that work of Christ for me unless the Holy Spirit, acting through the Word, taught me the true faith. The Holy Spirit is our first and best teacher of the pure and orthodox faith. We receive that doctrine of Christ through hearing the Word, Baptism and the Eucharist. The Word of God, the doctrine of the Trinity, was applied to me verbally at Baptism and I was saved! No trick, absolutely serious, fully effective. The problem then is sin. The pure and orthodox faith, the doctrine of Christ taught me by the Holy Spirit becomes corrupted when I eventually apply my fallen human intellect. It is inevitable and will inevitably destroy the faith given me if left unchecked. Thanks be to God, I am not abandoned to it. The Holy Spirit strengthens and preserves me in the true faith through faithful preaching of the Word, through the Body and Blood of Christ, the Word become flesh, given for me, and also through the teaching of the Church, which reiterates and reminds me of the pure doctrine originally received. I contend that doctrine does indeed save. It is the Word. It is inseparable from the One who issues it, the Savior, Jesus Christ.