A Jagged Word


“If God wills to arouse his church from sleep and to call a dying pastorate and a dying church to new life, then according to all the church’s experiences in the many centuries of her history, he never does so by causing her to be borne aloft to outward grandeur on the wild billows of the age. Instead, he employs his miraculous, divine manner of acting, which was understood by Luther, the theologian of the cross: occidendo vivicat [“by killing he makes alive”]… Seen with the eyes of the world, the ancient church’s triumphal march was a string of seemingly senseless martyrdoms. The church’s renewal in the Reformation occurred outwardly in the smashing of its wondrous structure and the destruction of its unity. From this perspective, the events of contemporary church history force this questions: What great things must God intend for his church on earth when he so chastises and judges her, as is manifest for all to see?”

– Herman Sasse, “The Lonely Way” (1. 375)