It is, of course, quite true that if judged by its way of life, the holy church is not without sin, as it confesses in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses”; and John writes [I John 1:8, 10], “If we say we have no sin, we lie and make God a liar, who calls us all sinners”—also Romans 3 [:23], Psalm 14 [:3] and 51 [:7]. But doctrine should not be sinful or reproachable. It does not belong to the Lord’s Prayer and its petition, “Forgive us our trespasses,” because it is not something we do, but is God’s own word, which cannot sin or do wrong. A preacher should neither pray the Lord’s Prayer nor ask for forgiveness of sins when he has preached (if he is a true preacher), but should say and boast with Jeremiah, “Lord thou knowest that which came out of my lips is true and pleasing to thee” [Jer. 17:16]; indeed, with St. Paul and all the apostles and prophets, he should say firmly, Haec dixit dominus, “God himself has said this” [I Cor. 1:10]. And again, “In this sermon I have been an apostle and a prophet of Jesus Christ” [I Thess. 4:15]. Here it is unnecessary, even bad, to pray for forgiveness of sins, as if one had not taught truly, for it is God’s word and not my word, and God ought not and cannot forgive it, but only confine, praise, and crown it, saying, “You have taught truly, for I have spoken through you and the word is mine.” Whoever cannot boast like that about his preaching, let him give up preaching, for he truly lies and slanders God. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.216)
Posted in 2020 Church.