Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Misuse of God's Word in the Pulpit Constitutes Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.  (Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11)

It is misusing God's name when we call upon the Lord God, no matter in what way, for purposes of falsehood or wrong of any kind.  Therefore this commandment enjoins this much, that God's name must not be appealed to falsely, or taken upon the lips, while the heart knows well enough, or should know, differently…  But, the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God's Word.

Behold, all this is decking one's self out with God's name, or making a pretty show, or claiming to be right, whether it occur in gross, worldly business or in sublime, subtle matters of faith and doctrine.  And among liars belong also blasphemers, not alone the very gross, well known to every one, who disgrace God's name without fear (these are not for us, but for the hangman to discipline); but also those who publicly traduce the truth and God's Word and consign it to the devil.  Of this there is no need now to speak further.

Here, then, let us learn and take to heart the great importance of this commandment, that with all diligence we may guard against and dread every misuse of the holy name, as the greatest sin that can be outwardly committed.  For to lie and deceive is in itself a great sin, but is greatly aggravated when we attempt to justify it, and seek to confirm it by invoking the name of God and using it as a cloak for shame, so that from a single lie a double lie, nay, manifold lies, result.

Martin Luther, Large Catechism 51-56


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

There are many who are not only in the pulpit, but in their books and "studies" who are very flippant with their use of God's name. Beth Moore is a prime example, with her numerous claims of direct revelation and even that God calls her "honey." There seems to be no fear or awe of God with these people.

Steve Bricker said...

I had pastors in the forefront of my thoughts at the time. Misuse of God's word warrants a condemnation wherever it happens.