Category Archives: Johann Gerhard

Theology Is A God-Given, Practical Aptitude

Theology, viewed as a habitus and concretely, is a divinely given discipline, bestowed upon a man by the Holy Spirit through the Word, whereby he is not only instructed in the knowledge of divine mysteries, by the illumination of the mind, so that what he understands produces a salutary effect upon the disposition of his heart and the actions of his life, but also qualified to inform others concerning these diving mysteries and the way of salvation and to vindicate heavenly truth from the corruptions of gainsayers, so that men, abounding in true faith and good works, are led to the kingdom of heaven.

– Johann Gerhard, Loci theologici, I:31 (Volume 1, page 42 in the CPH translation), taken from Henry Eggold, “Theology as Habitus Practicus Theosdotos: A Lutheran Emphasis”, Concordia Theological Monthly (1962), p. 595.

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Protection from the Stones of the Enemy

But what ultimately was the end result of this disputation [in John chapter eight]? The Jews picked up rocks in order to hurl them at [Jesus]. However, Jesus hid Himself. He stepped into His invisible, diving glory; and, right in the middle of His enemies, He went out from the Temple.

That’s what frequently happens. If the enemies of divine truth are unable to accomplish anything more with their disputations, they grab the rocks. However, God the Lord knows how to hide and rescue His own. “For He covers me with His protection in evil times; He hides me secretly in His tent.” (Psalm 27:5) Just as no one was able to harm Christ prior to the designated time for His Passion sufferings, so also no one is able to harm in the least way one of Christ’s members prior to the arrival of their designated time of suffering. They sit under the umbrella of the Most High and under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1). He hides them from the spitefulness of every person (Psalm 31:21).

The fact that Christ also escaped out of the Temple from the wrath and fury of the Jews was a prelude and prototypical portrayal that He wanted to depart from them with His divine teachings. However, since Christ departed from the Temple and His doctrine was no longer tolerated, there soon ensued the fact that the city and Temple were destroyed and the entire nation was rooted out. May God the Lord graciously guard us and our land from something like that, Amen.

– Johann Gerhard, Postil for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

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Gerhard: Forgiveness and Daily Bread

In the “our Father” [the Lord’s Prayer], we not only pray for the forgiveness of sins, but also for daily bread and food. Thus, we confess with this that we cannot only  not make payment for our sin before God the Lord, but that we are also unable to earn our daily bread. Instead, we have to beg and petition God’s mercy for both the forgiveness of sins and daily bread. We find such grace and mercy from God only in and through Christ. So then, just as we ask for and obtain forgiveness of sins through Christ, so also we obtain our daily bread and food through him.

– Johann Gerhard, Postil for the Fourth Sunday in Lent