Trinity Sunday A

Ah, heresy Sunday... There is a quantity focus this week on procreation as a good and present command from God, and the two natures of Jesus. But settle in because a long reading usually means... ALL THE CITATIONS!

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Chapter 1, verse 11 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession: Article 23: The Marriage of Priests (AP 23.8) to counter the argument that since the world is filled, marriage is no longer commanded by noting that plants still produce their fruit--God has not commanded and end to being fruitful.

Chapter 1, verse 26 is cited in a footnote to Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article 6: Third Use of the Law, Affirmative Thesis 1 (Ep 6.2, n. 43) connecting being created in the image of God with having the law of God written on our hearts, which must be true for Adam and Eve and all those who lived before Moses received the Law from God. This shows that all people, even Christians, live with the law.

Chapter 1, verses 27 and 31 are cited in a footnote to The Small Catechism, Marriage Booklet (SC Marriage 15, n. 143) to the third thing the pastor is to say to the couple getting married: "that you know and believe how your estate is pleasing and blessed in God's eyes" (SC Marriage 15).

Chapter 1, verse 27 is quoted in The Augsburg Confession, Article 23: The Marriage of Priests (AC 23.5) as part of a list of scriptural citations speaking against forced celibacy of priests.

This same verse is also cited in an editorial insert in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 2: Original Sin (AP 2.18) to connect being made in the image of God with the original righteousness, which "was intended to include not only a balanced physical constitution, but these gifts as well: a more certain knowledge of God, fear of God, and confidence in God, or at least the uprightness and power needed to do these things" (AP 2.17).

Chapter 1, verse 28 is cited in The Augsburg Confession, Article 23: The Marriage of Priests in the Latin text (AC 23.5 Latin) as proof of God's command for humans to procreate.

This verse is cited again in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 23: The Marriage of Priests (AP 23.7) to note, again, that God created humans to be fruitful and multiply, and this cannot be undone without another command from God to be celibate.

This verse also comes up in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.76) as a quote within a quote from a sermon of Chrysostom showing that God's command, spoken once, continues to be fulfilled. (That's the present perfect, y'all!)

Chapter 2, verse 3 is cited in a footnote to The Large Catechism, First Part, Third Commandment (LC 1.3.80, n. 62) showing that God's setting apart of the seventh day goes all the way back to creation.

Psalm 8

Verses 2 and 8 are cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (SD 8.27) along with several other citations showing that the rising and ascended Jesus worked outside of time and place through the prophets and apostles as testified by the signs made possible through Jesus.

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Verse 10 is quoted in The Augsburg Confession, Article 28: Bishops/The Church's Power (AC 28.26 German, AC 28.25 Latin) along with several other verses and a call out to Catholic law of the day and the writings of Augustine to show that scripture and tradition call Christians to stand against bishops who do something against the Gospel.

Matthew 28:16-20

Verses 16 thru 20 are cited in a footnote to The Small Catechism, Baptism (SC 4.1-2, n. 77) which describes the above woodcut that has a cation indicating these verses.

Verse 18 makes several appearances. First, it is quoted in Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article 8: The Person of Christ, Affirmative Thesis 11 (Ep 8.16) to show that the resurrected Jesus has now returned to the place of authority from which he came in the incarnation. This verse is quoted again in Negative Thesis 15 (Ep 8.34) to note that Jesus was in fact fully divine when incarnate, and in Negative Thesis 20 (Ep 8.39) to note that Jesus did not "lay aside or forsake" his divine nature for he is eternally divine.

Verse 18 comes up next in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.43) in a somewhat effusive paragraph extolling Jesus' authority in the middle of an argument for the words of institution. The point of the paragraph is a recognition of who better to teach us how to celebrate communion than Jesus himself.

Verse 18 becomes a key argument a little later in  Article 8: Person of Christ. First (SD 8.55) in recognition that Jesus' authority is imparted to his human nature because of his divinity and are thus infinite characteristics of the human who is Jesus. Then (SD 8.68) as a measure against over extending the divine nature of Jesus to all humans. The authority that Jesus has is not given to all humans by Jesus' ubiquity in creation, nor is it given to the disciples in this reading. It is a unique authority, as the next quote of this verse emphasizes (SD 8.70). So unique, in fact, that the next quote (SD 8.74) comes in an argument that lifts up the importance of the union of the divine and human in the person of Jesus. This personal union does not hinder the divine nature at all, but neither destroys the human nature as Luther wrote about and is quoted where the final citation of this verse is found (SD 8.85).

Verses 19 and 20 are more or less quoted in Treatise on the Power and Primacy (TPP 31) to emphasize what Jesus authorized leaders of the Church to do, namely teach about spiritual matters. See the citation for the full list, but these verses are lifted up to emphasize teaching.

Verse 19 is partly quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 9: Baptism (AP 9.2) to make the point that since "salvation is offered to all in that passage, so baptism is also offered to all--men, women, children, and infants."

Verse 19 is fully quoted in The Small Catechism, Part 4: The Sacrament of Holy Baptism (SC 4.4) in response to the question about where it is written that we are commanded by God to baptize. This verse is central enough that Luther uses it twice more in The Large Catechism. First (LC Preface.21, n. 30) with Mark 16:16 as a simple summary of why we baptize. Then (LC 4.3) in the section on baptism to really drive home the point that baptism is no simple external or human-created rite, but a command from God with God's promises attached.

Verse 20 is quoted in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (SD 8.76) as a sign of the power of the union of divine and human in Jesus. Because of this union, Jesus' human nature can do things that otherwise it couldn't do--like be with us always.


Special Trinity Sunday Bonus: Where is the Trinity mentioned in the Lutheran Confessions?

Not too many places. There is, if course, the listing of the three ecumenical creeds (Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian), but there are some others. In both Formula of Concord, Epitome and Solid Declaration, Article 8: The Person of Christ (Ep 8.18, SD 8.33), the Holy Trinity is called out as the highest mystery, with the unity of the divine and human natures of Jesus as the second. And in Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election, we find a possible reason for why it seems like Lutherans don't talk about the Spirit much. "Thus, the entire Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, directs all people to Christ as the Book of Life, in whom they should seek the Father's eternal election" (SD 11.66).

Do your best this week to avoid heresy when talking about the Trinity!