#64 Does The True Church Need to Fast?

Yet someone might say, “You lack one thing, namely, fasting, because you heretics do not fast” (they say). Lord God, if there is one thing we have from the ancient church, it is unfortunately fasting. If there is one thing the papists have from the new church, it is that they do not fast but live riotously and on fast days even more than on feast days. Indeed, we do not just fast, but (with St. Paul [I Cor. 4:11]) we suffer hunger. We see it daily in our poor ministers, their wives and children, and in many other poor people, whose hunger stares at you out of their eyes. They scarcely have bread and water, they go about naked as a jaybird, and they have nothing of their own. The farmer and the burgher give them nothing, and the nobility take, so that there are only a few of us who have something, and we cannot help everyone. This should be the purpose of monasteries and convents. If others are stingy, then Lazarus must die of starvation [Luke 16:19–31]. The papists laugh at this, but they only prove thereby that we are the ancient church suffering scorn and injury at the hands of the children of the devil.

Thus we have proved that we are the true, ancient church, one body and one communion of saints with the holy, universal, Christian church.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.198-199)

Picture: The pulpit at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#63 We Are Like The Ancient True Church

Since the papists know that in all these and other things we are like the ancient church and may truly be called the ancient church—for these things are not new or invented by us—it is amazing that they should deceive and damn us so shamelessly, calling us apostates and founders of a new church; for they cannot find anything in us which was not held in the ancient and true church at the time of the apostles. Thus I really think that this is the time of which Daniel 7 [:8–9] says, “One that was ancient of days took his seat” after the little horn had spoken blasphemously, and sat in judgment. For the original and ancient church shines forth once more (like the sun emerging from the clouds behind which it was shining, but where it could not be seen), and the horn which speaks blasphemies will perish and everything come to an end, as it is written and is evident in the result—but there is no time to speak of that now. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.198)

Picture: A close-up of the Veronica window at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#62 The True Church Has Not Sought Revenge

Tenth, nobody can deny that we have not shed blood, murdered, hanged, or avenged ourselves in return, as we could often have done and could still do. But as Christ, the apostles, and the ancient church did, we endure, admonish, and pray for others. And, indeed, we do this publicly in church, in the litany and in sermons, just as Christ our Lord did and taught and as the ancient church also did, so that in this we all act according to the ancient practice of the ancient church. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.198)

Picture: The stained glass in the narthex where the baptismal font is located; History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#61 The True Church Has Suffering in the World

Ninth, nobody can deny that we experience the same suffering (as St. Peter says [I Pet. 5:9]) as our brethren in the world. We are persecuted in every place, strangled, drowned, hanged, and tormented in every way for the sake of the word. Our lot is like that of the ancient church, and in this we are beyond measure like it, so that we may well say we are the true ancient church, or at least its companions and copartners in suffering; for this is not something we have newly invented, but something we really experience. Indeed, we (like this same ancient church) are like the Lord Christ himself on the cross: there are Annas and Caiaphas, together with the priests, standing in front of the cross, vilifying the Lord after crucifying him. The pope, the cardinals, and the monks have likewise condemned, damned, and murdered us, shedding our blood and reviling us as well. The soldiers, that is, some of the temporal powers, stand there and also revile us. In addition, there is that criminal on the left, Harry of Wolfenbüttel, with his crew, whom God has already judged and hanged in chains in hell. He must add his vilification, so that this mark of the ancient church may also be fully seen in us. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.197-198)

Picture: The choir loft at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#60 The True Church Honors Marriage

Eighth, nobody can deny that we praise and honor marriage as a divine, blessed, and well-pleasing ordinance of God’s creation for the procreation of children and the prevention of carnal unchastity. We have not newly invented it, nor have we of ourselves newly devised it, much less have we forbidden it, like innovators. But just as God from the beginning instituted it, and Christ confirmed it [Matt 19:4–6], and the apostles and the ancient church honored and taught it, so have we remained in this same ancient rule and ordinance of God. In this we have been like the ancient church and have indeed been its true and proper members. So you can see that here again the papists accuse us falsely of innovation.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.197)

Picture: Olivia gets a chance to play the organ at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#59 The True Church Honors the Government

Seventh, nobody can deny that with the ancient church we hold and teach that one should honor and not curse the temporal powers and should not compel them to kiss the pope’s feet. This is also not something which we have newly devised, for St. Peter in II Peter 2 [:10] curses those who would invent and in the future do such new things. And St. Paul is with us in Romans 13 [:1–7], as is the whole of ancient Christendom, so that in this we are not, nor may we be called, innovators—as the papists call us, thereby not only slandering us, but God himself. But we are and belong to the ancient, holy, and apostolic church, as its true children and members. For we have always most faithfully taught obedience to our temporal authority, be it emperor or princes. We ourselves have lived accordingly and prayed for them with all our heart. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.196-197)

Picture: Listening to the children play the organ at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#58 The True Church Has The Apostles’ Creed & The Lord’s Prayer

Fifth, nobody can deny that we, like it, do indeed hold, believe, sing, and confess the Apostles’ Creed, the ancient creed of the ancient church, and neither make nor add anything new to it. Hence we belong to the ancient church and are one with it. There is, therefore, in this matter also, no reason the papists should really call us heretics or a new church, for whoever believes as the ancient church did and holds things in common with it belongs to the ancient church.

Sixth, nobody can deny that we have the same prayer as the ancient church, the same Lord’s Prayer. We have not invented a new or different one; we sing the same psalms and praise and thank God with united heart and voice according to the teaching of Christ, the practice of the apostles and the ancient church, and their command to us to follow their example. And so again the papists cannot call us heretics or a new church, unless they first call Christ himself such, together with his beloved ancient church, etc. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.196)

Picture: The Veronica Window at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#57 The True Church Has The Preaching Office and the Word of God

Fourth, nobody can deny that we have in fulness and purity the preaching office and the word of God, that we teach and preach diligently, without adding any new, sectarian, or human doctrine, and in this we do just as Christ commanded [Matt. 28:19–20] and as the apostles and all of Christendom have done. We invent nothing new, but hold and remain true to the ancient word of God, as the ancient church had it. Therefore we are, together with the ancient church, the one true church, which teaches and believes the one word of God. So the papists once more slander Christ himself, the apostles, and all of Christendom when they call us innovators and heretics. For they find nothing in us but what belongs to the ancient church—that we are like it, and are one church with it. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.196)

Picture: The nave at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#56 The True Church Has The True and Ancient Keys

Third, nobody can deny that we have the true and ancient keys, and do not use them in any other way than to bind and loose sins, committed against the command of God. This we do in accordance with Christ’s institution [Matt. 16:19; John 20:23] and the practice of the apostles and the whole of Christendom until the present day. We have therefore one kind of keys and one common practice with the ancient church. Hence we are this same ancient church, or are, in any event, in it; for we make no new keys, we make no new laws, nor do we exclude kings and lords from, or admit them to, temporal power, but it is only sinners that we exclude from, or admit to, the kingdom of heaven. This we do just as the ancient church did at the Lord’s command, so that the papists libel us once more, indeed, slander us and in us make the ancient church, the apostles, and Christ himself heretical. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.195-196)

Picture: Baptismal font at History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO

#55 The True Church Has The Sacrament of the Altar

Second, nobody will deny that we have the holy sacrament of the altar, just as Christ himself instituted it and the apostles and the whole of Christendom have since practiced it. Thus we eat and drink with the whole of ancient Christendom from one table, and we receive with them the same one ancient sacrament; we have done nothing new or different. Consequently, we are one church with them, or as St. Paul says in I Corinthians 11 [10:17], “one body” and “one loaf” since we eat of one loaf and drink of one cup. So the papists cannot call us heretics or a new church, unless they first call Christ, the apostles, and the whole of Christendom heretics, as in truth they do, for we are one church with the ancient church, in one sacrament. (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.195)

Picture: Front gate to History Trinity Lutheran Church, Souland Market, St. Louis MO