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Hell’s dam-gates burst


baptismHoly Baptism (Psalm 29:10)

 Der Herr sitzet, eine Sündfluth anzurichten.*  Und der Herr bleibt ein König in Ewigkeit.

Hell’s dam-gates burst: a man, the LORD

Ascends to rule the nations,

And to the flood He gives His Word

To pour out in salvation

O’er ev’ry nation, ev’ry tongue

Which for hell’s bath were numbered;

That those who in these depths are flung

With millstone sins encumbered

This very death will rescue.

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  1. Jim Freeland
    January 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I am a little amazed, maybe even surprised. I read your blog on homosexuality, very good. Do you think that the gates of hell are prevailing (Matt:16:18)? Perhaps we have reached the cumulative end (Rev 3:14-21). I see in your liturgy that crucifixion of the flesh seems to be more of a concept than a reality (Gal 5:24), but the truth is that without power from on high (Luke 24:49) it is impossible (2 Tim 3:1-5). Billions of Christians living a concept without the promise, a powerless Christianity, a house built upon the sand (Matt 7:26-27). Maybe, Lord willing, it is time for a change of direction (Acts 2:38). Maybe the heretics are really the orthodox (Matt 16:18-19). After all, if you really want to get the homosexual’s attention, as well as the pleasure-seeking world then Jesus said this (Matt 11:23). Alas! we have traded in the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38) for icons and liturgy! My heart felt question, Pastor, (Acts 19:2), because I see that your denomination is beginning to give way on “gay” marriage.

    • January 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      No, I don’t think the gates of hell are prevailing. The idea I was trying to express here is that “the LORD reigns over the flood”, and that, having burst the gates of hell, the rising waters are turned by Him into a means of salvation. This is a reality both in the cross borne by the church and more specifically in the waters of Baptism, which you inadvertently cite in your reference to Acts 2:38–“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” That is where the crucifixion of the flesh is done by the Lord, which is a much more sure and certain reality than the “crucifixion” some sinners suppose they have effected by the exercise of their will or which they suppose they find evidence of in their renewed life.

      To be sure, icons and liturgy are not Christ. But neither are gospel songs, revivals, whitewashed walls devoid of crosses, the sinner’s prayer, and other traditions observed by evangelicals or fundamentalists. The liturgy has the benefit of being drawn almost entirely from Scripture and being rich in Scripture, which are God-breathed words, full of the Holy Spirit, however.

      But this was a hymn about Baptism, which is “a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5-6). The Holy Spirit is given in Baptism (Acts 2:38). Paul says we are made full in Christ, having been buried with Him in Baptism (Colossians 2); and the Lord Himself says we are born again through water and the Spirit (John 3). So while I agree with you that icons and liturgy cannot help a person who does not believe that he is justified freely, for Christ’s sake, through faith alone, I could not disagree with you more strongly if you suggest that we look for the Spirit in our works instead of the means Christ has appointed to give us the Holy Spirit–the Word of the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.

      As far as my denomination goes, you are right. There are plenty of people ready to capitulate on homosexuality (although I think we’re a long way still from the whole denomination caving in.) Some of our Synod’s failures to speak and act have been a source of grief for me and others. At the same time I know there are many pastors and laypeople who are not going to bow the knee to Baal. Whether that means they will ultimately be ejected from the Synod, or people with a compromising spirit will part ways, or most of the synod will repent, or it will simply disintegrate, I don’t know. We must work while it is day; the darkness approaches when no man can work.

      Thanks for bothering to read and respond to my verse.

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