Thursday, July 14, 2011

Come Slowly, Lord Jesus?

A question for my fellow pastors, especially:

We regularly use the LCMS "Let Us Pray" resource for our Prayer of the Church.

This Sunday, Pentecost 5 year A, the provided prayer includes this petition:

P For those outside the Christian faith, that God would remain patient with them and delay Judgment Day so that the Holy Spirit may have opportunity to bring them into God’s family of believers, let us pray to the Lord:

C Lord, have mercy.

Does it strike anyone else as possibly inconsistent that we would pray that God would delay the Judgment Day - even for the sake of unbelievers?

Is this another instance of "mission-mindedness" gone overboard, which ignores God's promise that none of the elect will be lost (single predestination)?

Isn't such a sentiment inconsistent with the ancient prayer of the church, echoing the words of Revelation 22:20, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus, Amen"?

Or is this one of those Lutheran paradoxes? Can we pray God's patience for the sake of the unbeliever, while also praying that day to come quickly for the sake of the believer?


Timothy C. Schenks said...

Walther actually wrote that in one of his sermons, that we remain on this earth for the sake of unbelievers, otherwise God would take us to heaven as soon as we were baptized.

Rev. Matthew D. Ruesch said...

Tom, I thought the same thing...sadly in the midst of the prayers. I confess I don't read through them very thoroughly before using them. That petition made me wonder if I should do a better job of that.

I think we can and should pray for our Lord to hasten his coming...for all of his elect will be saved and no one can snatch them out of his hand.