What evangelicals need from Lutheranism (and vice versa?)

The late Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, who just passed away, was ecstatic about the new resources for theology and spirituality recently published by Concordia Publishing House: the Concordia (the reader’s edition of the Book of Concord), the Treasure of Daily Prayer, and now the Lutheran Study Bible. In the course of his rave review of the latter, he expressed his frustration with Lutheranism, which tends to keep to itself even though its emphases are exactly what the broader Christian and evangelical world needs right now. From Some Thoughts on Lutheranism and Evangelicalism + A Brief Review of the Lutheran Study Bible :

Which goes to the heart of a growing frustration I have Lutheranism: With the dominance of the reformed camp in the Christian blogosphere and much of conservative evangelicalism public voice, there has never been a time the Gospel-centric, church-formed-around-the-Gospel/Sacraments, focused, classical, catholic, reformational, law and Gospel voice of Lutheranism was needed more.

The imbalances of the current versions of resurgent Calvinism are more and more obvious all the time. The beating heart of our life and message is Jesus and justification, not sovereignty and election. It is the free offer to all, not the efficient offer to the elect, that needs to be clearly heard now. It is all of scripture as law and Gospel that needs to be filling the church. Reformed Baptists are ascending at just the time that Lutheranism’s view of the Christian life is most needed. If you do not know the difference, then make that a project.

How many Calvinists cite Bondage of the Will as virtually a Calvinist text, having no idea that Luther rejected the rest of the TULIP?

Lutheranism is attracting more and more evangelical converts who do not struggle with issues of Lutheran ethnic identity or denominational purity. (If I hear one more prideful Lutheran denominationalist say they alone have “the pure Gospel,” I’m going to break things.) When an evangelical hears Rod Rosenbladt or Craig Parton or the God Whisperers they realize they are hearing something substantial, but those same evangelicals are by and large convinced that the “Lutheran” label means an insurmountable accumulation of the very things most evangelicals want to avoid or leave behind.

I am not talking about evangelicals who want Lutherans to go ablaze with megachurch tactics. No, I am talking evangelicals who…
1) Need and want to be taught the significance of liturgy.
2) Are not attracted to denominationalism as a primary label. (Secondary is another matter.) Show me your Nicene Creed first please.
3) Want their attraction to the eucharist to be met with an affirmation of their own Christian profession, not a denouncement of their evangelical journey and ignorance. In other words, while someone is on the way, be kind.
4) Want to have worship with intentional depth and seriousness in worship, not just something old and familiar to the regular residents. They like what they see, maybe more than some Lutherans (and Anglicans, etc) like it themselves.
5) Want leaders committed to missional outreach and evangelical, Gospel-centered ecumenism. Evangelicals aren’t attracted to your tradition to become less interested in evangelism and missions.

So whether you are talking about incredibly useful books or the entire tradition, there is a point at which Lutherans have to say, “We want to get this out to evangelicals. We want to build the bridge. We want to say we have something worthy reading and looking into…and we are willing to go the extra mile to get it to you.”

His praise is tempered by his frustration, and I think he has a point. (As Paul McCain says in his response at Cyberbrethren, it isn’t that CPH doesn’t reach beyond the Lutheran market.) Lutherans often tend to condemn those with different theologies before reaching out to them.

I’ve got to hand it our Calvinist brethren. The Calvinist influence in evangelicalism far exceeds the number of actual confessional Calvinists. Lutheran theology would seem to resolve a number of issues that evangelicals are strugging with: how you can believe salvation is by grace alone while also insisting that Christ died for all; how to resolve the conflict between Christianity and culture; how to affirm the heritage of catholic Christianity while also affirming the best of Protestantism; etc., etc.

It is true that the Lutheran understanding of fellowship keeps us from ecumenical ventures and the sharing of the Sacrament with those with whom we are not in full doctrinal agreement. But Lutherans can still interact with and share ideas with non-Lutherans more than we do, don’t you think?

I try to do that, and this blog has been a good forum for some profitable exchanges with people from a wide variety of confessions and no-confessions. At any rate, Matthew Harrison–who just received the highest number of nominations for the presidency of the LCMS–has been saying that, if we only knew it, this is the Lutheran moment. Thanks to Michael Spencer of blessed memory for showing how this is true.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dave

    I’m someone who has made his way from a legalistic start in life to a more reformed way of thinking. And I have been greatly influenced by Rosenbladt, Parton, and of course, some of the books by this blogger. One of the biggest impacts on my life has been the doctrine of vocation.

    But I have one question regarding this statement:
    “Lutheran theology would seem to resolve a number of issues that evangelicals are struggling with: how you can believe salvation is by grace alone while also insisting that Christ died for all.”

    Does Lutheran theology resolve this or just state both are true and say what we don’t understand is a mystery? I’m very new to Lutheran theology but that’s what I am hearing and reading.

  • Dave

    I’m someone who has made his way from a legalistic start in life to a more reformed way of thinking. And I have been greatly influenced by Rosenbladt, Parton, and of course, some of the books by this blogger. One of the biggest impacts on my life has been the doctrine of vocation.

    But I have one question regarding this statement:
    “Lutheran theology would seem to resolve a number of issues that evangelicals are struggling with: how you can believe salvation is by grace alone while also insisting that Christ died for all.”

    Does Lutheran theology resolve this or just state both are true and say what we don’t understand is a mystery? I’m very new to Lutheran theology but that’s what I am hearing and reading.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    I really like the ethos of this blog. What Christians – especially Protestants – need nowadays is not more splintering into smaller and smaller denominations. Even less we need shallow ecumenical efforts that try to fix the problem by overlooking the deep, doctrinal differences between denominations. We need to simultaneously stick to our confessions and reach for those in other church bocies, who claim to have the proper understanding of the Scriptures. We also need to listen carefully to them in case we have misunderstood their position in some matters.

    So, in my Lutheran point of view, this should lead in other churches becoming more and more Lutheran, eventually so much that a full altar and pulpit communion is possible (because, to be Lutheran means to claim that we’re right as much as being a Presbyterian means claiming Presbyterians are right). I’m well aware that this might have to wait until the second coming of Christ.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    I really like the ethos of this blog. What Christians – especially Protestants – need nowadays is not more splintering into smaller and smaller denominations. Even less we need shallow ecumenical efforts that try to fix the problem by overlooking the deep, doctrinal differences between denominations. We need to simultaneously stick to our confessions and reach for those in other church bocies, who claim to have the proper understanding of the Scriptures. We also need to listen carefully to them in case we have misunderstood their position in some matters.

    So, in my Lutheran point of view, this should lead in other churches becoming more and more Lutheran, eventually so much that a full altar and pulpit communion is possible (because, to be Lutheran means to claim that we’re right as much as being a Presbyterian means claiming Presbyterians are right). I’m well aware that this might have to wait until the second coming of Christ.

  • http://www.brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    What Dave said.

  • http://www.brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    What Dave said.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    ‘Lutherans often condemn others before reaching out to them’. Yes, that is all too true. It’s wonderful to have the pure doctrine of the Gospel, but perhaps we need to view that heritage as a landing craft from which to establish a beach-head on foreign territory, rather than as a fortress to hole up in.
    For example, I deeply lament the fact that my overtures to Missouri Synod brethren, with whom I know myself to be in confessional unity, have been rebuffed or received coldly or with suspicion, apparently simply because I come from a different synod (or so I have been told). Somehow, LC-MS guys, you need to get off the defensive and on to the offensive.
    Fwiw.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    ‘Lutherans often condemn others before reaching out to them’. Yes, that is all too true. It’s wonderful to have the pure doctrine of the Gospel, but perhaps we need to view that heritage as a landing craft from which to establish a beach-head on foreign territory, rather than as a fortress to hole up in.
    For example, I deeply lament the fact that my overtures to Missouri Synod brethren, with whom I know myself to be in confessional unity, have been rebuffed or received coldly or with suspicion, apparently simply because I come from a different synod (or so I have been told). Somehow, LC-MS guys, you need to get off the defensive and on to the offensive.
    Fwiw.

  • http://qaz1.bannerland.org/wordpress Alex Klages

    Dave: Yes. It does resolve that tension and state that both are true.

    Mark: Thankfully, the relationship between LCC and LCA is strong. My brother-in-law, Adrian Kramer, is a pastor in your synod on the other end of the country (Esperance, WA). He’s my brother in law by virtue of meeting my sister while vicaring in Canada. If you ever have a national conference or convention, you should look him up…

    And to the theme of the article: No question that Lutherans need to be more outward-looking in our approach to things. I’m well aware of the fortress mentality that is the attitude in far too many congregations and pastors. We need to remember that God is our mighty fortress, and not our church doors. If we really believe we have the pure Gospel, it also needs to be shared. If we really believe Jesus’ prayer that His church would be one, we need to work toward that oneness constructively, within Lutheranism and the other traditions, without denying the differences that exist, but rather studying and teaching and listening to what the others are saying, so that we can better understand our own confessional identity.

  • http://qaz1.bannerland.org/wordpress Alex Klages

    Dave: Yes. It does resolve that tension and state that both are true.

    Mark: Thankfully, the relationship between LCC and LCA is strong. My brother-in-law, Adrian Kramer, is a pastor in your synod on the other end of the country (Esperance, WA). He’s my brother in law by virtue of meeting my sister while vicaring in Canada. If you ever have a national conference or convention, you should look him up…

    And to the theme of the article: No question that Lutherans need to be more outward-looking in our approach to things. I’m well aware of the fortress mentality that is the attitude in far too many congregations and pastors. We need to remember that God is our mighty fortress, and not our church doors. If we really believe we have the pure Gospel, it also needs to be shared. If we really believe Jesus’ prayer that His church would be one, we need to work toward that oneness constructively, within Lutheranism and the other traditions, without denying the differences that exist, but rather studying and teaching and listening to what the others are saying, so that we can better understand our own confessional identity.

  • Dave

    Alex – I guess I have a different definition of “resolve”. Acknowledging a tension is not the same as resolving it in my mind.

  • Dave

    Alex – I guess I have a different definition of “resolve”. Acknowledging a tension is not the same as resolving it in my mind.

  • Larry

    This is interesting because I came through all these traditions Calvinistic SB and PCA with sprinkles of what some might label charismatic and in the same state as Michael, whom I really loved though did not know personally. Not to mention on one side of my family many are in the SB ministry in very active capacities and my best friend of all is in the Baptist ministry. I don’t have a “life long” Lutheran perspective bone in my body and I’m fairly ignorant of “inner Lutheran battles” so far.

    On the one hand I understand his frustration a little bit, but on the other hand in my experience I also see that this is too often blaming one side and forgetting the other as if this does not exist in all denominations pretty much equally. Name calling is one thing and there are harsh ways to name call and surreptitious ways to name call. There’s saying, “you idiot” and there’s also saying, “you are not being very loving”. Both are name calling but the later is hidden under a whitewash of “I’m just trying to be nice”. I’ll try to peel that a part a bit as an ex-SB/PCA person now in the LCMS for what it is worth. In my own journey it did not ever matter from where to where I was coming or going; the one I was “going toward” would claim “this is the truth”. This is true with every single move. From standard “first Baptist church” SBism to more charismatic SBism, then from the later of that to the more reformed/Calvinistic SBism movement, then from that to the more or less true to the word capital “R” Reformed and all the sub moves I made in between and so forth. Even moving from atheism to Christianity it sounds harsh to say, “this is the truth______”.

    So there is always that tension that exists and on that part I tend to not agree with his assessment. I agree we ought not say, “you idiot and that’s why you don’t see this…” but I don’t agree when it comes to calling things what they are. Once you have to label X as truth and not X as false, there’s no nice way to say “false”, it is what it is. I myself and I know plenty others were dying and despairing literally of life itself to the point of suicidal thoughts over “am I saved/elect/born again really” under the other denominations who were very very very nice and kind well meaning people and pastors. Yet at the end of the day it, the niceness, only exacerbated the problem. Because one thinks, “they must be right look how kind they are, they must be true, they are better than I…”, and so one remains locked into a falsehood that is spiritually killing one.

    Let’s not forget that, falsehoods kill souls. It’s that quite one suffering intense trial/temptation/anfechtungen nearly to the point of death (first and second death) who will NOT speak up, probe more, question more those false teachings they are under (that are literally killing them in body and soul) for the very reason he/she sees him/herself as not just a “sinner” and not just a “great sinner” but perhaps the “greatest sinner” that is a reprobate under that system in which this extra nice and kind and loving pastor’s demeanor only becomes more proof that “one themselves is not loving enough” – and one is not as good as this, and since secondary effects are the “sacraments” of such denominations (where assurance is searched for) to doubt or question that pastor/theologian serves only to surely indicate one is reprobate. Because one feels one’s sin under the Law, and one feels that desire to sin, not just rank gross sins but self righteous sins, especially thoughts (one can cage actions, even speech, under the power of the will but not thoughts). One is so taught to be “nice” and “loving” under such systems that pursuing the truth of the faith, though given lip service, finds its limits – especially concerning the Gospel at its core. I have seen more than one child upon their teen years become an atheist because they wanted to be baptized but when asked “do you still desire to sin”, they answer a painfully honest, “yes” (like the tax collector) because they NEED forgiveness of their sins, turned down for baptism. Then they assess, “I cannot live up to this”, and by the time they leave high school become full blown atheist or agnostics living hellish lives…because they were rejected. I’ve seen this first hand numerous times. But you’d have to know the pastor/elders who did this to gain the gravity and nuisance of the situation. They were not some smoky back-room hand wringing grim looking Pharisees like Hollywood portrays. Not at all, these were very nice and wonderful folks…you’d personally love them, yet, they kill souls with their doctrine.

    Seeing a denomination as a confession and not denominationalism helps I think. How do you say this is “truth” and it has a label for identity (e.g. Lutheran/Augsburg) with sufficient force to communicate you mean that and not offend someone else pagan or heterodox confessional Christian? One has to be able to say that the Lutheran confessions are true not in this way; “in so much as they agree with scripture” but rather “that they confess what scripture confesses truly”. Otherwise you loose it all and no truth can be really known. And one has to label it to distinguish from confession/denomination X, Y or Z. It’s the same issue I ran into with a Baptist pastor friend of mine regarding infant baptism when he said, “I’m not going to make someone doubt that they think God has done something for him.” My reply was, “that statement alone causes more doubt than anything because it makes it all subjective and as if it’s “my interpretation””. It’s not that Lutheranism is the “holder” of the truth, but what it confesses IS the truth. It’s hypothetically possible that off in some out of touch tribe a pastor gifted and reading through the bible would come up with a true confession too. Maybe his name is not “Luther” but something else and they draw up a confession and label it. The “Confession of Tribe X in Zulu Land”. It would confess the truth of Scripture too and it would not oppose Augsburg or “Lutheranism” but be in concord with it, both confessing the same truth, not another truth and not mixed truth and falsehoods.

    Larry

  • Larry

    This is interesting because I came through all these traditions Calvinistic SB and PCA with sprinkles of what some might label charismatic and in the same state as Michael, whom I really loved though did not know personally. Not to mention on one side of my family many are in the SB ministry in very active capacities and my best friend of all is in the Baptist ministry. I don’t have a “life long” Lutheran perspective bone in my body and I’m fairly ignorant of “inner Lutheran battles” so far.

    On the one hand I understand his frustration a little bit, but on the other hand in my experience I also see that this is too often blaming one side and forgetting the other as if this does not exist in all denominations pretty much equally. Name calling is one thing and there are harsh ways to name call and surreptitious ways to name call. There’s saying, “you idiot” and there’s also saying, “you are not being very loving”. Both are name calling but the later is hidden under a whitewash of “I’m just trying to be nice”. I’ll try to peel that a part a bit as an ex-SB/PCA person now in the LCMS for what it is worth. In my own journey it did not ever matter from where to where I was coming or going; the one I was “going toward” would claim “this is the truth”. This is true with every single move. From standard “first Baptist church” SBism to more charismatic SBism, then from the later of that to the more reformed/Calvinistic SBism movement, then from that to the more or less true to the word capital “R” Reformed and all the sub moves I made in between and so forth. Even moving from atheism to Christianity it sounds harsh to say, “this is the truth______”.

    So there is always that tension that exists and on that part I tend to not agree with his assessment. I agree we ought not say, “you idiot and that’s why you don’t see this…” but I don’t agree when it comes to calling things what they are. Once you have to label X as truth and not X as false, there’s no nice way to say “false”, it is what it is. I myself and I know plenty others were dying and despairing literally of life itself to the point of suicidal thoughts over “am I saved/elect/born again really” under the other denominations who were very very very nice and kind well meaning people and pastors. Yet at the end of the day it, the niceness, only exacerbated the problem. Because one thinks, “they must be right look how kind they are, they must be true, they are better than I…”, and so one remains locked into a falsehood that is spiritually killing one.

    Let’s not forget that, falsehoods kill souls. It’s that quite one suffering intense trial/temptation/anfechtungen nearly to the point of death (first and second death) who will NOT speak up, probe more, question more those false teachings they are under (that are literally killing them in body and soul) for the very reason he/she sees him/herself as not just a “sinner” and not just a “great sinner” but perhaps the “greatest sinner” that is a reprobate under that system in which this extra nice and kind and loving pastor’s demeanor only becomes more proof that “one themselves is not loving enough” – and one is not as good as this, and since secondary effects are the “sacraments” of such denominations (where assurance is searched for) to doubt or question that pastor/theologian serves only to surely indicate one is reprobate. Because one feels one’s sin under the Law, and one feels that desire to sin, not just rank gross sins but self righteous sins, especially thoughts (one can cage actions, even speech, under the power of the will but not thoughts). One is so taught to be “nice” and “loving” under such systems that pursuing the truth of the faith, though given lip service, finds its limits – especially concerning the Gospel at its core. I have seen more than one child upon their teen years become an atheist because they wanted to be baptized but when asked “do you still desire to sin”, they answer a painfully honest, “yes” (like the tax collector) because they NEED forgiveness of their sins, turned down for baptism. Then they assess, “I cannot live up to this”, and by the time they leave high school become full blown atheist or agnostics living hellish lives…because they were rejected. I’ve seen this first hand numerous times. But you’d have to know the pastor/elders who did this to gain the gravity and nuisance of the situation. They were not some smoky back-room hand wringing grim looking Pharisees like Hollywood portrays. Not at all, these were very nice and wonderful folks…you’d personally love them, yet, they kill souls with their doctrine.

    Seeing a denomination as a confession and not denominationalism helps I think. How do you say this is “truth” and it has a label for identity (e.g. Lutheran/Augsburg) with sufficient force to communicate you mean that and not offend someone else pagan or heterodox confessional Christian? One has to be able to say that the Lutheran confessions are true not in this way; “in so much as they agree with scripture” but rather “that they confess what scripture confesses truly”. Otherwise you loose it all and no truth can be really known. And one has to label it to distinguish from confession/denomination X, Y or Z. It’s the same issue I ran into with a Baptist pastor friend of mine regarding infant baptism when he said, “I’m not going to make someone doubt that they think God has done something for him.” My reply was, “that statement alone causes more doubt than anything because it makes it all subjective and as if it’s “my interpretation””. It’s not that Lutheranism is the “holder” of the truth, but what it confesses IS the truth. It’s hypothetically possible that off in some out of touch tribe a pastor gifted and reading through the bible would come up with a true confession too. Maybe his name is not “Luther” but something else and they draw up a confession and label it. The “Confession of Tribe X in Zulu Land”. It would confess the truth of Scripture too and it would not oppose Augsburg or “Lutheranism” but be in concord with it, both confessing the same truth, not another truth and not mixed truth and falsehoods.

    Larry

  • Peter Leavitt

    Internet Monk wrote It [Lutheranism,/i> is the free offer to all, not the efficient offer to the elect, that needs to be clearly heard now.

    This is puzzling. According to Diarmaid MacCulloch in his history of the Reformation, Luther followed Paul and Augustine on the subject God’s omniscience that encompasses predestination including election, though Luther, unlike Calvin, understated this part of his theology in his writings.

    Can any knowledgeable Lutheran help with this?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Internet Monk wrote It [Lutheranism,/i> is the free offer to all, not the efficient offer to the elect, that needs to be clearly heard now.

    This is puzzling. According to Diarmaid MacCulloch in his history of the Reformation, Luther followed Paul and Augustine on the subject God’s omniscience that encompasses predestination including election, though Luther, unlike Calvin, understated this part of his theology in his writings.

    Can any knowledgeable Lutheran help with this?

  • Dan Kempin

    Dave, #1,

    “‘. . .how you can believe salvation is by grace alone while also insisting that Christ died for all.’

    Does Lutheran theology resolve this or just state both are true and say what we don’t understand is a mystery? I’m very new to Lutheran theology but that’s what I am hearing and reading.”

    Yes and yes. The “short answer” is that clear scripture affirms both statements in a way that our logic cannot resolve. In the bigger picture, though, the lutheran understanding of grace also shapes thinking so that this tension does not become a road block. (This, I think, was Dr. Veith’s reference.) The focus of reformed theology tends to hang up on “why are some lost?” leading to a debate that is all to familiar to many. The lutheran understanding of sin and grace leads me instead to marvel that I HAVE been saved, and to embrace the work of the kingdom for the sake of those who may, yet, be saved.

  • Dan Kempin

    Dave, #1,

    “‘. . .how you can believe salvation is by grace alone while also insisting that Christ died for all.’

    Does Lutheran theology resolve this or just state both are true and say what we don’t understand is a mystery? I’m very new to Lutheran theology but that’s what I am hearing and reading.”

    Yes and yes. The “short answer” is that clear scripture affirms both statements in a way that our logic cannot resolve. In the bigger picture, though, the lutheran understanding of grace also shapes thinking so that this tension does not become a road block. (This, I think, was Dr. Veith’s reference.) The focus of reformed theology tends to hang up on “why are some lost?” leading to a debate that is all to familiar to many. The lutheran understanding of sin and grace leads me instead to marvel that I HAVE been saved, and to embrace the work of the kingdom for the sake of those who may, yet, be saved.

  • Dan Kempin

    Peter, #7,

    Lutheran thought draws a distinction between foreknowledge (omniscience) and election (salvation).

    We use the term predestination with reference only to those who are saved. (Not, as in reformed theology, to include also those who are “predestined” to destruction.) That is a critical distinction for understanding lutheran vocabulary.

  • Dan Kempin

    Peter, #7,

    Lutheran thought draws a distinction between foreknowledge (omniscience) and election (salvation).

    We use the term predestination with reference only to those who are saved. (Not, as in reformed theology, to include also those who are “predestined” to destruction.) That is a critical distinction for understanding lutheran vocabulary.

  • Larry

    It does not only “offer” but GIVES. And that’s the critical difference.

    For Luther the election, as for Paul, occurs no where but in Christ. It is to be IN God’s Word literally, particularly the incarnate Word. Election does not take place outside of His Words. Thus to seek election in some conversion otherwise (even in eternity past) and not in the Gospel Word spoken and sacraments literally is to seek God outside of His Words, which is original sin and Luther called the original enthusiasm, the devil made enthusiasts out of Adam and Eve and all of us via “other external words” as opposed to God’s Word. Thus, to be baptized is to be elect because to be baptized is to be IN God’s Word (Word in and with the water). The same with the sacrament of the alter. Men are elected by the preaching of the Gospel, baptism and eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ because that is where His Words are found that both promise and actually GIVE forgiveness of sin and thus eternal life and salvation. Any other way is to be outside of God’s Words where nothing but death, hell and wrath are only found. Both creation and salvation from the fall are literally and only from God’s Word. It’s purely Trinitarian. The Father will not be found, literally, where the Word is not given and the Word is revealed most singularly in the incarnate Word, Jesus. Jesus reveals the Father and His heart, the Holy Spirit glorifies (makes famous to us) the Father and the Son. Having a “conversion” in some other way than spoken Word, Baptism or the Lord’s Supper is to seek God outside of His Words and thus another god bypassing the Trinity altogether.

    Luther saw that ultimately to look for or speak of election otherwise, “how do I know I am elect”, other than in the Word spoken and the sacraments that gives literally the Word to one in particular is to literally deny Jesus Christ Who is that Word incarnate and as such, the Word, the revelation of God. Note how speech at length about divine election slowly gets away from Christ, literally the Word. Conversely note how speech about “I am baptized” is literally returning to the revealed Word, His name, forgiveness of sins, rebirth, washing in the Word, death and resurrection, etc… Similarly, “This is My body/blood given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”. Election IN the Word alone.

    Larry

  • Larry

    It does not only “offer” but GIVES. And that’s the critical difference.

    For Luther the election, as for Paul, occurs no where but in Christ. It is to be IN God’s Word literally, particularly the incarnate Word. Election does not take place outside of His Words. Thus to seek election in some conversion otherwise (even in eternity past) and not in the Gospel Word spoken and sacraments literally is to seek God outside of His Words, which is original sin and Luther called the original enthusiasm, the devil made enthusiasts out of Adam and Eve and all of us via “other external words” as opposed to God’s Word. Thus, to be baptized is to be elect because to be baptized is to be IN God’s Word (Word in and with the water). The same with the sacrament of the alter. Men are elected by the preaching of the Gospel, baptism and eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ because that is where His Words are found that both promise and actually GIVE forgiveness of sin and thus eternal life and salvation. Any other way is to be outside of God’s Words where nothing but death, hell and wrath are only found. Both creation and salvation from the fall are literally and only from God’s Word. It’s purely Trinitarian. The Father will not be found, literally, where the Word is not given and the Word is revealed most singularly in the incarnate Word, Jesus. Jesus reveals the Father and His heart, the Holy Spirit glorifies (makes famous to us) the Father and the Son. Having a “conversion” in some other way than spoken Word, Baptism or the Lord’s Supper is to seek God outside of His Words and thus another god bypassing the Trinity altogether.

    Luther saw that ultimately to look for or speak of election otherwise, “how do I know I am elect”, other than in the Word spoken and the sacraments that gives literally the Word to one in particular is to literally deny Jesus Christ Who is that Word incarnate and as such, the Word, the revelation of God. Note how speech at length about divine election slowly gets away from Christ, literally the Word. Conversely note how speech about “I am baptized” is literally returning to the revealed Word, His name, forgiveness of sins, rebirth, washing in the Word, death and resurrection, etc… Similarly, “This is My body/blood given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”. Election IN the Word alone.

    Larry

  • Orianna Laun

    A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter shows him around, and they approach a walled-off area that has lots of singing and noise of revelry. “What’s back there?” the man asks. “That’s the Lutherans,” Peter replies, “they think they’re the only ones up here.” We Lutherans know that’s not true, of course. We know we don’t have a market on truth. We just act that way. Why? Because the Devil likes to cause division. Luther struggled for pure doctrine. The Saxon immigrants struggled for pure doctrine. The LCMS struggled for pure doctrine in the ’60s (check out Dr. Zimmerman’s book “A Seminary in Crisis”) . Even California, yes, the “Left Coast” struggled for pure doctrine during a time when men struggled for gold. This is why Lutherans seem to be knee-jerk reactionaries. We’ve struggled for so many centuries that many have taken the Rod Stewart attitude: “There’s no point in talking when there’s no one listening, so we just went away.” It’s not right, it’s the way we’ve made it.
    Then comes the other attitude. We’ve got what the evangelicals want (liturgy and doctrine) and they’ve got what we want (people and hoopla). What can one do? Keep preaching and teaching and make it a point to encourage people to stand fast on what they believe before we all wander down the Christian yoga road searching for the historical Jesus.

  • Orianna Laun

    A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter shows him around, and they approach a walled-off area that has lots of singing and noise of revelry. “What’s back there?” the man asks. “That’s the Lutherans,” Peter replies, “they think they’re the only ones up here.” We Lutherans know that’s not true, of course. We know we don’t have a market on truth. We just act that way. Why? Because the Devil likes to cause division. Luther struggled for pure doctrine. The Saxon immigrants struggled for pure doctrine. The LCMS struggled for pure doctrine in the ’60s (check out Dr. Zimmerman’s book “A Seminary in Crisis”) . Even California, yes, the “Left Coast” struggled for pure doctrine during a time when men struggled for gold. This is why Lutherans seem to be knee-jerk reactionaries. We’ve struggled for so many centuries that many have taken the Rod Stewart attitude: “There’s no point in talking when there’s no one listening, so we just went away.” It’s not right, it’s the way we’ve made it.
    Then comes the other attitude. We’ve got what the evangelicals want (liturgy and doctrine) and they’ve got what we want (people and hoopla). What can one do? Keep preaching and teaching and make it a point to encourage people to stand fast on what they believe before we all wander down the Christian yoga road searching for the historical Jesus.

  • bdozer

    I was born again more than 40 years ago. Although I never overtly turned my back on my Lord or His church, I guess I did wander in the wilderness for most of those 40 years. After much research, study and meditation, I now think of myself as a confessional Calvinist, that will quickly admit to being relatively new to Reformed Theology and the Cranach blog. I am totally unfamiliar with the late internet monk, Michael Spencer. Without thinking about it too much I just assumed that Luther was example #2 of a five point Calvinist. Could someone help me understand what is meant by the following?
    “How many Calvinists cite Bondage of the Will as virtually a Calvinist text, having no idea that Luther rejected the rest of the TULIP?”
    If it means what I think it means reference/s would also be appreciated.
    Thank You

  • bdozer

    I was born again more than 40 years ago. Although I never overtly turned my back on my Lord or His church, I guess I did wander in the wilderness for most of those 40 years. After much research, study and meditation, I now think of myself as a confessional Calvinist, that will quickly admit to being relatively new to Reformed Theology and the Cranach blog. I am totally unfamiliar with the late internet monk, Michael Spencer. Without thinking about it too much I just assumed that Luther was example #2 of a five point Calvinist. Could someone help me understand what is meant by the following?
    “How many Calvinists cite Bondage of the Will as virtually a Calvinist text, having no idea that Luther rejected the rest of the TULIP?”
    If it means what I think it means reference/s would also be appreciated.
    Thank You

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ peter leavitt

    Dear Peter,

    Whether I am a knowledgeable Lutheran or not I’ll leave for others to judge, but the simplest and best reply to your question is that we Lutherans are a church of ‘the book’ rather than ‘the man’. That is, we don’t follow Luther’s opinions on everything slavishly, but seek to be grounded in what the Word of God says. So, I refer you to the Bible and the Book of Concord, the latter of which we hold to be a true exposition of the former. The Book of Concord is available on-line. If you have the time to read the Formula of Concord’s exposition of this issue in light of Biblical truth, it will certainly answer your question.

    The matter of what Luther actually believed on predestination and the free offer of the Gospel is perhaps best left to another forum.

    Blessings!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ peter leavitt

    Dear Peter,

    Whether I am a knowledgeable Lutheran or not I’ll leave for others to judge, but the simplest and best reply to your question is that we Lutherans are a church of ‘the book’ rather than ‘the man’. That is, we don’t follow Luther’s opinions on everything slavishly, but seek to be grounded in what the Word of God says. So, I refer you to the Bible and the Book of Concord, the latter of which we hold to be a true exposition of the former. The Book of Concord is available on-line. If you have the time to read the Formula of Concord’s exposition of this issue in light of Biblical truth, it will certainly answer your question.

    The matter of what Luther actually believed on predestination and the free offer of the Gospel is perhaps best left to another forum.

    Blessings!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ Alex Klages

    Alex, the connection between LCC & LCA is certainly something I value highly.

    I will endeavour to connect with Adrian at our next GPC.

    See my reply to your comment at my blog.

    We have corresponded before; good to connect again!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ Alex Klages

    Alex, the connection between LCC & LCA is certainly something I value highly.

    I will endeavour to connect with Adrian at our next GPC.

    See my reply to your comment at my blog.

    We have corresponded before; good to connect again!

  • fws

    This is a great discussion!

    Read Larry´s post. It is very long but what he says is important.

    What is a Lutheran? A Lutheran is someone who believes that the Lutheran confessions are “a” correct exposition of the teachings of the Holy Scripture. So whoever believes the same as a Lutheran is a Lutheran irregardless of denominational label. I know a baptist family that went to a Lutheran church for a few years and they sound to me much more Lutheran than baptist. What they believe is what matters to me. Eugene petersen (presbyterian) and Robert Farrer Capon (episcopalian) seem way more “Lutheran” than many Lutherans do. I rejoice in this.

    Lutherans think of themselves then as a confessional/reformational movement within the catholic (universal) church.We see that we are merely one of many sects in the christian catholic church. But… and here it comes…. a sect that does not believe that to IT´s part rightly belongs the whole loses it´s right to existence. It should then cease to exist in favor of belonging to some other group. A baptist or whoever who says “ok so we differ, but those differences are not really essential” should go back to the Roman Catholic church and stop dividing the church over things that “are not really essential”.

    So we call ourselves “Luther-an”, an epithet rome threw at us. Originally we called ourselves by our chosen name “evangelical”, “those who are about the gospel” but when german methodists here in the usa started calling themselves the same thing, we felt a need to distiguish rather than do false advertising so we became “Evangelical Lutherans” and now, unfortunately this is reduced to just “Lutheran”. Honest people don´t paper over differences to gain a “marketing advantage”. No bait and switch.

    Here is evidence that Lutherans really believe that we are just one sect within the church in the full spirit of that: when we split with rome we retained the worship forms, the statuary, artwork, incense, making the sign of the holy cross… everything. Why would we change those things and divide the church by doing that? No. They are not essential. And besides , who are we to thrown away the 1500 years of the holy spirit teaching the church how to pray, worship and live as a church? We merely insisted in Christ alone for salvation. No one forces Lutherans to share a common liturgy. We do this out of love and humility. I think most RCs would bolt from the liturgy if they did not have a pope mandating that they use it.

    Finally I would point out that you must not compare Lutheranism to the other sects by making a side-by-side list. You will not see what is different that way. You need to understand WHY the differences in Lutheranism exist, not what those differences are.

    Here are examples of what I mean by this because this is not obvious:

    Baptism: Wittenburg, rome and geneva all baptize babies. What Lutherans say happens in that baptism and why is and only is for example 1) receiving the forgiveness of sins at 2 days old, and literally (!) putting on Christ at 2 days old. You need to ask yourself why we believe this. get past the externals, even in a side by side list. This difference is about our different view of the Incarnation and the Holy Gospel, sanctification and Jesus. Sounds essential yes? You may not agree, but if the difference is truly and only about these issues, then it IS some “essence-ial” difference. Catching that?

    Why is it so important to Lutherans to say that “is” means is in the Holy Supper as in “this IS my body”? is this just a roman catholic hangover we cling to? The sniffle left over from a bad Roman flu we are still getting over? Or is it about our understanding of Jesus and the Incarnation and who Jesus really is? This sounds like it touches on essentials right? It does.

    I tell calvinist/evangelicals who are giving up on their demanding god the following: Let your god die. You heard me right. You can imagine a sovreign God condemning you to hell. You know you deserve it. Because you do! So the only solution is to let your God die. And guess what? This is exactly the God scripture wants to focus you on. That Jesus, who came down from heaven, was made man, and who died for you. Mary was the mother of that God. This sounds “too catholic”? Get over it! Can you imagine Jesus EVER turning you away for any reason? no! Ok. Then let me tell you the open Lutheran secret of theology done right:

    Avoid like the plague trying to know ANYTHING about God apart from the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This especially goes to Dave at comment #1. You cannot know anything at all about your election apart from christ. In christ what do you know about your election? That is ALL you can know. As for every other doctrine : “rinse and repeat”.

    “I have resolved to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified”. This alone is what makes one a Lutheran, or a christian for that matter. No doctrine that matters is not about this. ALL Lutheran doctrines are only and directly about this one thing. We are a one trick dog we Lutherans. We have nothing at all to offer you but that one thing. that ONE thing. Challenge any Lutheran to prove this is true on ANY doctrine at all we teach. Ask our dear brother Larry to prove it! You will get some good stuff from that ex baptist!

    The Lord´s Peace be with you all! + Amen!

  • fws

    This is a great discussion!

    Read Larry´s post. It is very long but what he says is important.

    What is a Lutheran? A Lutheran is someone who believes that the Lutheran confessions are “a” correct exposition of the teachings of the Holy Scripture. So whoever believes the same as a Lutheran is a Lutheran irregardless of denominational label. I know a baptist family that went to a Lutheran church for a few years and they sound to me much more Lutheran than baptist. What they believe is what matters to me. Eugene petersen (presbyterian) and Robert Farrer Capon (episcopalian) seem way more “Lutheran” than many Lutherans do. I rejoice in this.

    Lutherans think of themselves then as a confessional/reformational movement within the catholic (universal) church.We see that we are merely one of many sects in the christian catholic church. But… and here it comes…. a sect that does not believe that to IT´s part rightly belongs the whole loses it´s right to existence. It should then cease to exist in favor of belonging to some other group. A baptist or whoever who says “ok so we differ, but those differences are not really essential” should go back to the Roman Catholic church and stop dividing the church over things that “are not really essential”.

    So we call ourselves “Luther-an”, an epithet rome threw at us. Originally we called ourselves by our chosen name “evangelical”, “those who are about the gospel” but when german methodists here in the usa started calling themselves the same thing, we felt a need to distiguish rather than do false advertising so we became “Evangelical Lutherans” and now, unfortunately this is reduced to just “Lutheran”. Honest people don´t paper over differences to gain a “marketing advantage”. No bait and switch.

    Here is evidence that Lutherans really believe that we are just one sect within the church in the full spirit of that: when we split with rome we retained the worship forms, the statuary, artwork, incense, making the sign of the holy cross… everything. Why would we change those things and divide the church by doing that? No. They are not essential. And besides , who are we to thrown away the 1500 years of the holy spirit teaching the church how to pray, worship and live as a church? We merely insisted in Christ alone for salvation. No one forces Lutherans to share a common liturgy. We do this out of love and humility. I think most RCs would bolt from the liturgy if they did not have a pope mandating that they use it.

    Finally I would point out that you must not compare Lutheranism to the other sects by making a side-by-side list. You will not see what is different that way. You need to understand WHY the differences in Lutheranism exist, not what those differences are.

    Here are examples of what I mean by this because this is not obvious:

    Baptism: Wittenburg, rome and geneva all baptize babies. What Lutherans say happens in that baptism and why is and only is for example 1) receiving the forgiveness of sins at 2 days old, and literally (!) putting on Christ at 2 days old. You need to ask yourself why we believe this. get past the externals, even in a side by side list. This difference is about our different view of the Incarnation and the Holy Gospel, sanctification and Jesus. Sounds essential yes? You may not agree, but if the difference is truly and only about these issues, then it IS some “essence-ial” difference. Catching that?

    Why is it so important to Lutherans to say that “is” means is in the Holy Supper as in “this IS my body”? is this just a roman catholic hangover we cling to? The sniffle left over from a bad Roman flu we are still getting over? Or is it about our understanding of Jesus and the Incarnation and who Jesus really is? This sounds like it touches on essentials right? It does.

    I tell calvinist/evangelicals who are giving up on their demanding god the following: Let your god die. You heard me right. You can imagine a sovreign God condemning you to hell. You know you deserve it. Because you do! So the only solution is to let your God die. And guess what? This is exactly the God scripture wants to focus you on. That Jesus, who came down from heaven, was made man, and who died for you. Mary was the mother of that God. This sounds “too catholic”? Get over it! Can you imagine Jesus EVER turning you away for any reason? no! Ok. Then let me tell you the open Lutheran secret of theology done right:

    Avoid like the plague trying to know ANYTHING about God apart from the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This especially goes to Dave at comment #1. You cannot know anything at all about your election apart from christ. In christ what do you know about your election? That is ALL you can know. As for every other doctrine : “rinse and repeat”.

    “I have resolved to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified”. This alone is what makes one a Lutheran, or a christian for that matter. No doctrine that matters is not about this. ALL Lutheran doctrines are only and directly about this one thing. We are a one trick dog we Lutherans. We have nothing at all to offer you but that one thing. that ONE thing. Challenge any Lutheran to prove this is true on ANY doctrine at all we teach. Ask our dear brother Larry to prove it! You will get some good stuff from that ex baptist!

    The Lord´s Peace be with you all! + Amen!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I recently read a wonderful book that helps clarify many misunderstnadings floating around about Luther and Predestination. This one, unlike “Diarmaid MacCulloch’s history of the reformation, written by a lutheran Uuraas Saarnivaara, and commented on it here: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2009/12/roman-catholic-teaching-on.html
    and here: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2009/12/lutheran-difference-in-predestination.html
    Those links may help clarify for some of You the Lutheran thought on Predestination.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I recently read a wonderful book that helps clarify many misunderstnadings floating around about Luther and Predestination. This one, unlike “Diarmaid MacCulloch’s history of the reformation, written by a lutheran Uuraas Saarnivaara, and commented on it here: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2009/12/roman-catholic-teaching-on.html
    and here: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2009/12/lutheran-difference-in-predestination.html
    Those links may help clarify for some of You the Lutheran thought on Predestination.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ill post a couple excerpts now: “By assisting Luther to a proper understanding of the doctrine of predestination, Staupitz provided him with a way of escape from the afflictions of his conscience relative to this doctrine. The new light Luther received was significant in a threefold sense.
    1. Foreseen merits are not the foundation and cause of election….The love of God toward sinners is revealed in the sacrifice of his Son and in the Sacraments. Man is to put his hope and trust in the “present predestination” revealed in the wounds of Christ and in the Gospel and not to meditate upon the hidden decree of God.
    2. Anguish and terror of conscience is not a sign of reprobation, but of election, for they are the means by which God draws His elect Christ…-the sufferings of Christ make it clear that the way to glory which God has ordained is the way of afflictions. Through patience in suffering the Christian is conformed to the image of Christ and shows himself a true follower of his Master. Also in this sense suffering and afflictions are a sign of election.
    3. We know the heart and will of God toward us through Christ. The divine love for sinners is revealed in the fact that God gave His only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. “
    (Uuraas Saarnivaara, “Luther Discovers the Gospel” Pg 31)
    “The doctrine of Predestination was a further cause of much affliction and anguish of soul to Luther. The Nominalist teachers at Erfurt, following Gabriel Biel, taught that the salvation or perdition of man depends entirely upon the divine decree of predestination, which no man can change. On the other hand, however, the declared that the basis of election is the merit of man forseen from eternity (propter meritum praevisum). By meriting the divine grace man merits his own election. This peculiar contradiction in the Nominalistic doctrine of election created in Luther an uncertainty which caused him to waver between hope and despair. Regardless of how he sought to merit grace and election, he could never attain certainty, since the final determining factor was the arbitrary decree of God.” (Uuraas Saarnivaara, “Luther Discovers the Gospel” (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1951) Pg. 30

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ill post a couple excerpts now: “By assisting Luther to a proper understanding of the doctrine of predestination, Staupitz provided him with a way of escape from the afflictions of his conscience relative to this doctrine. The new light Luther received was significant in a threefold sense.
    1. Foreseen merits are not the foundation and cause of election….The love of God toward sinners is revealed in the sacrifice of his Son and in the Sacraments. Man is to put his hope and trust in the “present predestination” revealed in the wounds of Christ and in the Gospel and not to meditate upon the hidden decree of God.
    2. Anguish and terror of conscience is not a sign of reprobation, but of election, for they are the means by which God draws His elect Christ…-the sufferings of Christ make it clear that the way to glory which God has ordained is the way of afflictions. Through patience in suffering the Christian is conformed to the image of Christ and shows himself a true follower of his Master. Also in this sense suffering and afflictions are a sign of election.
    3. We know the heart and will of God toward us through Christ. The divine love for sinners is revealed in the fact that God gave His only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. “
    (Uuraas Saarnivaara, “Luther Discovers the Gospel” Pg 31)
    “The doctrine of Predestination was a further cause of much affliction and anguish of soul to Luther. The Nominalist teachers at Erfurt, following Gabriel Biel, taught that the salvation or perdition of man depends entirely upon the divine decree of predestination, which no man can change. On the other hand, however, the declared that the basis of election is the merit of man forseen from eternity (propter meritum praevisum). By meriting the divine grace man merits his own election. This peculiar contradiction in the Nominalistic doctrine of election created in Luther an uncertainty which caused him to waver between hope and despair. Regardless of how he sought to merit grace and election, he could never attain certainty, since the final determining factor was the arbitrary decree of God.” (Uuraas Saarnivaara, “Luther Discovers the Gospel” (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1951) Pg. 30

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I enjoyed Michael Spencer’s blog immensely, and miss this brother in Christ. He emailed me once to express frustration with some of my comments, we emailed back and forth at that point for a while. I never met him, but I enjoyed the conversation. Judging from the Emails I think he did too.
    I have to say though that it characterized for me much of reformed (to excersize my Lutheran right to label all non-lutheran protestants as reformed) thinking regarding Lutherans. You could tell he appreciated some aspects of confessional lutheranism, but there was no allowance for discussion concerning that which he didn’t like.
    Perhaps our tendency to condemn before we reach out stems from our understanding of Law and Gospel? I don’t know. But I find it curious that other Christians, who obviously think we are wrong, (otherwise wouldn’t they be Lutheran?) are offended by the fact that we think they are wrong and would debate them on those points, or that we think those points are worth spending sometime debating.
    I have learned in my life as a Lutheran, I really don’t need to here reformed folks praising Lutherans, I don’t care what Billy Graham said about us or didn’t say about us. I could care less that Mit Romney mentioned us in a speech. What I would like is honest conversation, and so far Michael Spencer came the closest of anyone I know to giving a forum where that honest conversation could take place.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I enjoyed Michael Spencer’s blog immensely, and miss this brother in Christ. He emailed me once to express frustration with some of my comments, we emailed back and forth at that point for a while. I never met him, but I enjoyed the conversation. Judging from the Emails I think he did too.
    I have to say though that it characterized for me much of reformed (to excersize my Lutheran right to label all non-lutheran protestants as reformed) thinking regarding Lutherans. You could tell he appreciated some aspects of confessional lutheranism, but there was no allowance for discussion concerning that which he didn’t like.
    Perhaps our tendency to condemn before we reach out stems from our understanding of Law and Gospel? I don’t know. But I find it curious that other Christians, who obviously think we are wrong, (otherwise wouldn’t they be Lutheran?) are offended by the fact that we think they are wrong and would debate them on those points, or that we think those points are worth spending sometime debating.
    I have learned in my life as a Lutheran, I really don’t need to here reformed folks praising Lutherans, I don’t care what Billy Graham said about us or didn’t say about us. I could care less that Mit Romney mentioned us in a speech. What I would like is honest conversation, and so far Michael Spencer came the closest of anyone I know to giving a forum where that honest conversation could take place.

  • fws

    bror @ 17

    Your shameless promotion of your blog …

    … is something you need to do ALOT more often dear pastor!

    You are the best! Larry you are too! :))

  • fws

    bror @ 17

    Your shameless promotion of your blog …

    … is something you need to do ALOT more often dear pastor!

    You are the best! Larry you are too! :))

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I know fws, but it isn’t shameless, there is a lot of shame involved when it comes to promoting my ventures, but the publicists I’ve been reading have been telling me I need to get over that. So the question comes how do you lose shame and not credibility with Lutherans when your trying to sell a book you translated like the “Knights of Rhodes,” by Bo Giertz which you can buy here: http://www.amazon.com/Knights-Rhodes-Bo-Giertz/dp/1608993337/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270739326&sr=8-3 ?
    now that was shameless.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I know fws, but it isn’t shameless, there is a lot of shame involved when it comes to promoting my ventures, but the publicists I’ve been reading have been telling me I need to get over that. So the question comes how do you lose shame and not credibility with Lutherans when your trying to sell a book you translated like the “Knights of Rhodes,” by Bo Giertz which you can buy here: http://www.amazon.com/Knights-Rhodes-Bo-Giertz/dp/1608993337/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270739326&sr=8-3 ?
    now that was shameless.

  • EGK

    Two quick points:

    The tension between universal grace and grace alone is known as the “crux theologorum” (cross of the theologians) because it is logically irreconcilable. In Lutheran thought, the issue “Why are some saved at not others” cannot be resolved either in the direction of double predestination (which denies universal grace) or synergism (my decision, which adds my work to God’s). We teach both, since the Bible does.

    Second: Lutherans prefer speaking about election rather than predestination, and as has been noted, only refers to those who are saved. It is sin, not predestination, that causes a person to be lost. Out of the company of lost people God chooses, even before the foundation of the world, on the basis of Christ’s universal work, a people for Himself. We know we are of the Elect because God has come to us and said so! In our baptisms, and with the words of absolution and the words “for you” in the Sacrament of the Altar, we are told that we have been made His own.

    Lets’ add a third point: Luther in the Bondage of the Will was pushing back at Erasmus’s use of logic. He notes that if you try prying into the hidden God you will end up in double predestination, the God with whom all things happen by necessity. But he also notes that in the face of this we turn to the universal grace given in the cross. We don’t pry into the hidden God, who is the God not preached, but go where He tells us to go, to Christ’s universal work.

  • EGK

    Two quick points:

    The tension between universal grace and grace alone is known as the “crux theologorum” (cross of the theologians) because it is logically irreconcilable. In Lutheran thought, the issue “Why are some saved at not others” cannot be resolved either in the direction of double predestination (which denies universal grace) or synergism (my decision, which adds my work to God’s). We teach both, since the Bible does.

    Second: Lutherans prefer speaking about election rather than predestination, and as has been noted, only refers to those who are saved. It is sin, not predestination, that causes a person to be lost. Out of the company of lost people God chooses, even before the foundation of the world, on the basis of Christ’s universal work, a people for Himself. We know we are of the Elect because God has come to us and said so! In our baptisms, and with the words of absolution and the words “for you” in the Sacrament of the Altar, we are told that we have been made His own.

    Lets’ add a third point: Luther in the Bondage of the Will was pushing back at Erasmus’s use of logic. He notes that if you try prying into the hidden God you will end up in double predestination, the God with whom all things happen by necessity. But he also notes that in the face of this we turn to the universal grace given in the cross. We don’t pry into the hidden God, who is the God not preached, but go where He tells us to go, to Christ’s universal work.

  • http://fivepintlutheran.blogspot.com/ David Cochrane

    By all means reach out. Dr V came from the outside as did my bride and myself. We have several family members and friends who came over by God’s grace to share in the 200 proof Gospel. Our calvinists are indeed Christian and can, with patient discussion, begin to see the freedom we enjoy.

  • http://fivepintlutheran.blogspot.com/ David Cochrane

    By all means reach out. Dr V came from the outside as did my bride and myself. We have several family members and friends who came over by God’s grace to share in the 200 proof Gospel. Our calvinists are indeed Christian and can, with patient discussion, begin to see the freedom we enjoy.

  • Jerry

    Could any of this have something to do with the fact that many of the LCMS founders had previously been jailed in Germany for not compromising with Reformed pastors? That the very church in Wittenburg was absorbed into the Reformed-dominated national church?

  • Jerry

    Could any of this have something to do with the fact that many of the LCMS founders had previously been jailed in Germany for not compromising with Reformed pastors? That the very church in Wittenburg was absorbed into the Reformed-dominated national church?

  • Kelly

    My husband keeps telling me to read that.

    Speaking of blog promotion, the Just and Sinner blog covers a lot regarding the differences between Calvinist/Reformed and Lutheran.

    Anyway, I really appreciated Michael Spencer. He took a lot of flack for his willingness to be honest about trends he saw in modern Christianity that were/are perfectly visible to the world at large but often ignored by the church under a cover of “autonomy,” where things were always some other church’s or individual’s problem. (It’s an issue that has fortunately has been brought out into the open more and more among evangelicals because of the current unfortunate Catholic church scandals.) He owned up to his own weaknesses and failures, had compassion on those who struggled, and needled the self-satisfied. Moreover, I think he was just willing to be a friend to people, regardless of whether or not they sometimes drove each other crazy with the conversation. It was important that that conversation take place.

  • Kelly

    My husband keeps telling me to read that.

    Speaking of blog promotion, the Just and Sinner blog covers a lot regarding the differences between Calvinist/Reformed and Lutheran.

    Anyway, I really appreciated Michael Spencer. He took a lot of flack for his willingness to be honest about trends he saw in modern Christianity that were/are perfectly visible to the world at large but often ignored by the church under a cover of “autonomy,” where things were always some other church’s or individual’s problem. (It’s an issue that has fortunately has been brought out into the open more and more among evangelicals because of the current unfortunate Catholic church scandals.) He owned up to his own weaknesses and failures, had compassion on those who struggled, and needled the self-satisfied. Moreover, I think he was just willing to be a friend to people, regardless of whether or not they sometimes drove each other crazy with the conversation. It was important that that conversation take place.

  • Jerry

    EGK @ 22

    Excellent points. Too often Lutherans mumble about this confessional thing and the Book of Concord when the differences are actually much more profound.

  • Jerry

    EGK @ 22

    Excellent points. Too often Lutherans mumble about this confessional thing and the Book of Concord when the differences are actually much more profound.

  • Kelly

    (Sorry: the reference to the book I’m supposed to read is #21.)

  • Kelly

    (Sorry: the reference to the book I’m supposed to read is #21.)

  • Larry

    FWS,

    “Finally I would point out that you must not compare Lutheranism to the other sects by making a side-by-side list. You will not see what is different that way. You need to understand WHY the differences in Lutheranism exist, not what those differences are.”

    Excellent point! Thanks for the kind words too!

    Larry

  • Larry

    FWS,

    “Finally I would point out that you must not compare Lutheranism to the other sects by making a side-by-side list. You will not see what is different that way. You need to understand WHY the differences in Lutheranism exist, not what those differences are.”

    Excellent point! Thanks for the kind words too!

    Larry

  • Jerry

    bror @21

    it was shameless, for a Lutheran pastor, but you just doubled the number of people who will be enjoying your translation

  • Jerry

    bror @21

    it was shameless, for a Lutheran pastor, but you just doubled the number of people who will be enjoying your translation

  • http://www.brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    Good stuff, everyone, thanks for posting. I really enjoy reading the conversation and being challenged. Couple questions:

    1. For Mark Henderson: Conservative Christians unite on the inerrancy of the Bible. In your view is it possible that sometime in the future an error will be discovered in the Book of Concord? The Book of Concord is below the Bible, right? I’m not attacking the Book of Concord or your beliefs, just trying to better understand.

    2. For fws: Very helpful post. Good stuff. I agree that Christ is the essence of the Christian belief as you stated it. But if that is the case, is it unreasonable on its face to be leery of anything that is a holdover (or appears to be) from Roman Catholicism? Presumably they got the essence wrong so why is it unreasonable to be suspicious of the rest? Again, not meant to be an attack, just a point of clarification.

    Thanks guys! And thank you Dr. Veith!

  • http://www.brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    Good stuff, everyone, thanks for posting. I really enjoy reading the conversation and being challenged. Couple questions:

    1. For Mark Henderson: Conservative Christians unite on the inerrancy of the Bible. In your view is it possible that sometime in the future an error will be discovered in the Book of Concord? The Book of Concord is below the Bible, right? I’m not attacking the Book of Concord or your beliefs, just trying to better understand.

    2. For fws: Very helpful post. Good stuff. I agree that Christ is the essence of the Christian belief as you stated it. But if that is the case, is it unreasonable on its face to be leery of anything that is a holdover (or appears to be) from Roman Catholicism? Presumably they got the essence wrong so why is it unreasonable to be suspicious of the rest? Again, not meant to be an attack, just a point of clarification.

    Thanks guys! And thank you Dr. Veith!

  • J

    The conservative synods are virtually all white and uptight. They must start reaching out to (and accepting) blacks and Latinos, women, people who don’t vote Republican, and the poor.

  • J

    The conservative synods are virtually all white and uptight. They must start reaching out to (and accepting) blacks and Latinos, women, people who don’t vote Republican, and the poor.

  • Deaconess Linda

    Gentlemen,
    As the only female voice (I believe) on these comments, I will brave a response and say that the monk had an excellent point about outreach and mission work.
    “Want leaders committed to missional outreach and evangelical, Gospel-centered ecumenism. Evangelicals aren’t attracted to your tradition to become less interested in evangelism and missions.”

    My experience in the parish has been one of indifference to the mission field and apathy toward evangelism. My prayer is that the Lord will awaken all Lutherans, and our brothers and sisters in Christ among the other Christian denominations, to reach out with the Gospel to those hungering for it in the rest of the world.

  • Deaconess Linda

    Gentlemen,
    As the only female voice (I believe) on these comments, I will brave a response and say that the monk had an excellent point about outreach and mission work.
    “Want leaders committed to missional outreach and evangelical, Gospel-centered ecumenism. Evangelicals aren’t attracted to your tradition to become less interested in evangelism and missions.”

    My experience in the parish has been one of indifference to the mission field and apathy toward evangelism. My prayer is that the Lord will awaken all Lutherans, and our brothers and sisters in Christ among the other Christian denominations, to reach out with the Gospel to those hungering for it in the rest of the world.

  • Mary Jack

    J, you sound like a jerk. You obviously have a very limited view & experience of “conservative synods.”

  • Mary Jack

    J, you sound like a jerk. You obviously have a very limited view & experience of “conservative synods.”

  • Andy

    http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2006/02/you-are-lutheran-18-things-you-didnt.html

    True or False?

    1. Virginity is a higher gift than marriage.

    2. Mary prays for the Church

    3. Mary is called the most holy virgin

    4. Prayer for the dead is not useless

    5. It would be wicked thing for private absolution to disappear from the church.

    6. The bread in the Lord’s Supper is Christ’s body.

    7. Pastors do not commune those they have not examined and absolved.

    8. Mary is the Mother of God.

    9. Justification can mean “to declare righteous” or “to make righteous” because Scripture speaks both ways.

    10. 2 Maccabees is Scripture.

    11. In the Eucharist the flesh of Christ given for the life of the world is our food and makes us alive by joining us to Christ.

    12. We should teach people that church rites (made by humans) are to be kept if they can be observed without sin and contribute to peace and good order.

    13. The best way for the Church to be governed is to have one head, Christ, and all the bishops – equal in office – keep diligently together in unity of teaching, faith, sacraments, prayers and works of love.

    14. When the church is deprived of valid judicial process, you can’t remove ungodly teachings and impious forms of worship.

    15. An ordination performed by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine right.

    16. Children should be taught to make the sign of the cross.

    17. The baptized children of God have free will and cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

    18. After Baptism, the inborn corruption is to daily decrease so that we become increasingly gentle, patient, and meek, breaking away from greed, hatred, envy, and pride.

    (all true)

    Answer Key
    1. Apology XXIII (XI), paragraph 38; Apology XXII:10
    2. Apology XXI (IX), paragraph 27
    3. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, VIII, paragraph 24
    4. Apology XXIV (XII), paragraph 96
    5. Apology XII:100
    6. SA 3 III:6:1
    7. Apology XXIV:1
    8. Formula of Concord, Epitome VIII:12
    9. Apology, Article IV, par. 71, 72.
    10. Apology XXI (IX), paragraph 9
    11. Apology XXII:10
    12. AC XV:1
    13. SA Part II:4:9
    14. Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, par. 51
    15. Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, par. 65
    16. Small Catechism, Morning / Evening Prayers, par, 1, 4
    17. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, II:67
    18. Large Catechism IV:65-67

  • Andy

    http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2006/02/you-are-lutheran-18-things-you-didnt.html

    True or False?

    1. Virginity is a higher gift than marriage.

    2. Mary prays for the Church

    3. Mary is called the most holy virgin

    4. Prayer for the dead is not useless

    5. It would be wicked thing for private absolution to disappear from the church.

    6. The bread in the Lord’s Supper is Christ’s body.

    7. Pastors do not commune those they have not examined and absolved.

    8. Mary is the Mother of God.

    9. Justification can mean “to declare righteous” or “to make righteous” because Scripture speaks both ways.

    10. 2 Maccabees is Scripture.

    11. In the Eucharist the flesh of Christ given for the life of the world is our food and makes us alive by joining us to Christ.

    12. We should teach people that church rites (made by humans) are to be kept if they can be observed without sin and contribute to peace and good order.

    13. The best way for the Church to be governed is to have one head, Christ, and all the bishops – equal in office – keep diligently together in unity of teaching, faith, sacraments, prayers and works of love.

    14. When the church is deprived of valid judicial process, you can’t remove ungodly teachings and impious forms of worship.

    15. An ordination performed by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine right.

    16. Children should be taught to make the sign of the cross.

    17. The baptized children of God have free will and cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

    18. After Baptism, the inborn corruption is to daily decrease so that we become increasingly gentle, patient, and meek, breaking away from greed, hatred, envy, and pride.

    (all true)

    Answer Key
    1. Apology XXIII (XI), paragraph 38; Apology XXII:10
    2. Apology XXI (IX), paragraph 27
    3. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, VIII, paragraph 24
    4. Apology XXIV (XII), paragraph 96
    5. Apology XII:100
    6. SA 3 III:6:1
    7. Apology XXIV:1
    8. Formula of Concord, Epitome VIII:12
    9. Apology, Article IV, par. 71, 72.
    10. Apology XXI (IX), paragraph 9
    11. Apology XXII:10
    12. AC XV:1
    13. SA Part II:4:9
    14. Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, par. 51
    15. Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, par. 65
    16. Small Catechism, Morning / Evening Prayers, par, 1, 4
    17. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, II:67
    18. Large Catechism IV:65-67

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Andy,
    you have to be a bit careful here. That the confessions cite a book does not ipso facto make it to be considered canonical in Lutheran circles. Especially when it is cited in Apology XXI, paragraph 9. Granted, I’m reading the German here, my Latin not being so great, but it hardly cites 2nd Maccabees in a way that makes it authoritative.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Andy,
    you have to be a bit careful here. That the confessions cite a book does not ipso facto make it to be considered canonical in Lutheran circles. Especially when it is cited in Apology XXI, paragraph 9. Granted, I’m reading the German here, my Latin not being so great, but it hardly cites 2nd Maccabees in a way that makes it authoritative.

  • fws

    mary jack @32

    I think we can accept this criticism as having some validity without saying “jerk”. We always have room to be better.

    Deaconess Linda @ 31

    Our view of what “missionary” is is radically different from reformed/evangelical. For Lutherans the line between pagan/christian cuts right through the middle of each of us. Each believer has the New Man that is his FULLY sanctified self, the christ in him, and then there is that Old Adam that was drowned in our baptism but dang… he is an excellent swimmer.

    So article VI of the Formula of Concord points out what each part of that believer needs:

    We need the SAME law preached to us as pagans needs. We still need to hear that. But this is ONLY to be applied to the Old Adam/pagan in us, not to the christian part of us as believers. He needs to die this way. He cannot be converted.

    We then need the SAME Gospel ALONE that pagans need to hear to come to faith. This Gospel continues to do the same thing in believers that it works in unbelievers: it creates, feeds and sustains our New Man. This same gospel preached to unbelievers continues to do the SAME work in us. We will die without this.

    Why am I telling you this? The entire work of the church IS missional and evangelistic in exactly the SAME way for believers and pagans. Evangelism and missionalism are not some separate or different thrust.

    We have resolved to know nothing but christ and him crucified. There are not various ways to do this each targeted at a different audience. The great commission is to believers and unbelievers alike.

    Could we do this better? Yes! How do we become more enthusiastic about doing this? Doing law/gospel “missionary work” to the believers! Preaching to the choir! again and again and again. same old same old. christ crucified. christ in the blessed incarnation. christ in baptism. christ in the holy supper and private confession. Did I say christ?

    Michael spencer was just in his criticism, but wrong in his baptist approach. Missionary work/evangelism is not THE work of the church. Proclaiming christ crucified is. There is a subtle but extremely important difference, and it goes to the heart of the difference between Lutherans and evangelical/reformed.

  • fws

    mary jack @32

    I think we can accept this criticism as having some validity without saying “jerk”. We always have room to be better.

    Deaconess Linda @ 31

    Our view of what “missionary” is is radically different from reformed/evangelical. For Lutherans the line between pagan/christian cuts right through the middle of each of us. Each believer has the New Man that is his FULLY sanctified self, the christ in him, and then there is that Old Adam that was drowned in our baptism but dang… he is an excellent swimmer.

    So article VI of the Formula of Concord points out what each part of that believer needs:

    We need the SAME law preached to us as pagans needs. We still need to hear that. But this is ONLY to be applied to the Old Adam/pagan in us, not to the christian part of us as believers. He needs to die this way. He cannot be converted.

    We then need the SAME Gospel ALONE that pagans need to hear to come to faith. This Gospel continues to do the same thing in believers that it works in unbelievers: it creates, feeds and sustains our New Man. This same gospel preached to unbelievers continues to do the SAME work in us. We will die without this.

    Why am I telling you this? The entire work of the church IS missional and evangelistic in exactly the SAME way for believers and pagans. Evangelism and missionalism are not some separate or different thrust.

    We have resolved to know nothing but christ and him crucified. There are not various ways to do this each targeted at a different audience. The great commission is to believers and unbelievers alike.

    Could we do this better? Yes! How do we become more enthusiastic about doing this? Doing law/gospel “missionary work” to the believers! Preaching to the choir! again and again and again. same old same old. christ crucified. christ in the blessed incarnation. christ in baptism. christ in the holy supper and private confession. Did I say christ?

    Michael spencer was just in his criticism, but wrong in his baptist approach. Missionary work/evangelism is not THE work of the church. Proclaiming christ crucified is. There is a subtle but extremely important difference, and it goes to the heart of the difference between Lutherans and evangelical/reformed.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I don’t exactly know what goes on in every parish out there. But I think the caricature that Lutheran’s don’t do evangelism or Missions is b.s. Perhaps Linda you have had a bad experience in a parish, I don’t know.
    I have been in many different parishes growing up, and my dad was even a missionary in Botswanna, where Lutheranism is exploding. I have never that I know of , except perhaps, my dad’s first parish where the whole town that consisted of two cornfields in North Dakota was Lutheran already, (and even there the people shared their faith in the gospel with each other.) but in every other parish I have been a part of there has been and is Evangelism happening in spectacular ways. My father planted I think 3 maybe four different congregations in his career, all the while serving a congregation. So you can see why I say this is b.s that we don’t reach out.
    But we don’t always do it in the same manner that others do, and for the most part I think that is also commendable.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I don’t exactly know what goes on in every parish out there. But I think the caricature that Lutheran’s don’t do evangelism or Missions is b.s. Perhaps Linda you have had a bad experience in a parish, I don’t know.
    I have been in many different parishes growing up, and my dad was even a missionary in Botswanna, where Lutheranism is exploding. I have never that I know of , except perhaps, my dad’s first parish where the whole town that consisted of two cornfields in North Dakota was Lutheran already, (and even there the people shared their faith in the gospel with each other.) but in every other parish I have been a part of there has been and is Evangelism happening in spectacular ways. My father planted I think 3 maybe four different congregations in his career, all the while serving a congregation. So you can see why I say this is b.s that we don’t reach out.
    But we don’t always do it in the same manner that others do, and for the most part I think that is also commendable.

  • Deaconess Linda

    To Bror:
    I think your language and assumption here is overstated. I did not characterize every LCMS congregation as not doing mission work; only stating my experience. I would just like to see the ‘sleeping giant’ awaken. We have an incredible Kenya mission our church, but it takes great effort to excite the masses. Would that we could all have a passion for sharing the Gospel with those who have not heard it in the wilds of Kenya and beyond! Just my observation.

  • Deaconess Linda

    To Bror:
    I think your language and assumption here is overstated. I did not characterize every LCMS congregation as not doing mission work; only stating my experience. I would just like to see the ‘sleeping giant’ awaken. We have an incredible Kenya mission our church, but it takes great effort to excite the masses. Would that we could all have a passion for sharing the Gospel with those who have not heard it in the wilds of Kenya and beyond! Just my observation.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Linda,
    I just get a little tired of people constantly parroting the attacks leveled at us by others in the “christian camp” who call us sleeping giants etc. How the h#$L did we become a giant while we were sleeping? Perhaps the same way the reformation happened while Luther was drinking Wittenberg beer with Amsdorf?
    Rather than just parroting them, and trying to “Lutheranize” their awful plans for evangelism, often devoid of anything close to the evangel. Why don’t we just look at what we have done, have accomplished, and drink another beer with Luther.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Linda,
    I just get a little tired of people constantly parroting the attacks leveled at us by others in the “christian camp” who call us sleeping giants etc. How the h#$L did we become a giant while we were sleeping? Perhaps the same way the reformation happened while Luther was drinking Wittenberg beer with Amsdorf?
    Rather than just parroting them, and trying to “Lutheranize” their awful plans for evangelism, often devoid of anything close to the evangel. Why don’t we just look at what we have done, have accomplished, and drink another beer with Luther.

  • Deaconess Linda

    If I liked beer I would heartily agree with you! :-) Let us just rejoice in our Risen Savior! May the Lord bless you!

  • Deaconess Linda

    If I liked beer I would heartily agree with you! :-) Let us just rejoice in our Risen Savior! May the Lord bless you!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    On that 18 list: generally true, but some are misleading. When you look up the references in the B of C the context shows a different connotation than that which a casual reader would assume. For instance, “Virginity is a higher gift than marriage.” The point of the paragraph is that virginity has NO greater claim as a meritorious act, and that the Romanist should be criticized for belittling the value of marriage. In short, the reformers are only saying what Paul said on the subject.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    On that 18 list: generally true, but some are misleading. When you look up the references in the B of C the context shows a different connotation than that which a casual reader would assume. For instance, “Virginity is a higher gift than marriage.” The point of the paragraph is that virginity has NO greater claim as a meritorious act, and that the Romanist should be criticized for belittling the value of marriage. In short, the reformers are only saying what Paul said on the subject.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #38,

    “Whoever it was who invented the brewing of beer has been a curse for Germany.”
    -Martin Luther (AE, v.54, p.132)

    “I wish the brewing of beer had never been invented, for a great deal of grain is consumed to make it, and nothing good is brewed.”
    -Martin Luther (AE, v.54, p.172)

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #38,

    “Whoever it was who invented the brewing of beer has been a curse for Germany.”
    -Martin Luther (AE, v.54, p.132)

    “I wish the brewing of beer had never been invented, for a great deal of grain is consumed to make it, and nothing good is brewed.”
    -Martin Luther (AE, v.54, p.172)

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    As to the question, “But Lutherans can still interact with and share ideas with non-Lutherans more than we do, don’t you think?” This is most certainly true! I’m especially encouraged by the fellowship demonstrated by Modern Reformation magazine and the White Horse Inn radio program.

    At the parish level, I’ve seen a lot of variation in Lutheran attitudes towards evangelicals since moving from the Midwest to the East Coast. I saw a lot of positive interaction in the Midwest, but little if any back East. Here the interest seems to be more in building bridges to Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Its probably not realistic to move in both catholic and evangelical directions simultaneously.

    In the East the Lutheran self-identity is seen in the traditional sense as the reforming movement within the Catholic Church. They must be commended for their perseverance, patience, and hopefulness that Lutheran reforms will yet take hold in Rome! Emphasis here is on Liturgical Renewal, restoring worship services to increasingly traditional Catholic forms. At the same time, the Reformation Solas, which constitute a strong historic tie to evangelicals, are steadily downplayed.

    So while confessional Lutherans here are taking a different road, evangelicals continue to be edified and strengthened in the faith by the influence of Luther’s own writing. The body of his work is a precious treasure and legacy to the whole church.

    Just my perceptions of the local scene from one man’s limited field of vision.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    As to the question, “But Lutherans can still interact with and share ideas with non-Lutherans more than we do, don’t you think?” This is most certainly true! I’m especially encouraged by the fellowship demonstrated by Modern Reformation magazine and the White Horse Inn radio program.

    At the parish level, I’ve seen a lot of variation in Lutheran attitudes towards evangelicals since moving from the Midwest to the East Coast. I saw a lot of positive interaction in the Midwest, but little if any back East. Here the interest seems to be more in building bridges to Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Its probably not realistic to move in both catholic and evangelical directions simultaneously.

    In the East the Lutheran self-identity is seen in the traditional sense as the reforming movement within the Catholic Church. They must be commended for their perseverance, patience, and hopefulness that Lutheran reforms will yet take hold in Rome! Emphasis here is on Liturgical Renewal, restoring worship services to increasingly traditional Catholic forms. At the same time, the Reformation Solas, which constitute a strong historic tie to evangelicals, are steadily downplayed.

    So while confessional Lutherans here are taking a different road, evangelicals continue to be edified and strengthened in the faith by the influence of Luther’s own writing. The body of his work is a precious treasure and legacy to the whole church.

    Just my perceptions of the local scene from one man’s limited field of vision.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Really good work by Larry and Bror, here today, and others. (I’m not sure what Larry does all day; it has to do with science, I think, but he should maybe go full-time theology.)

    In terms of mission work, and for Linda, here, I think it is more that we strengthen what we have already: teach right doctrine, have well qualified pastors that keep on studying (please pastors don’t get lazy or discouraged there), have services that are worth attending for substance, decorum, Christ-centered sermons, etc. , use our great resources such as mentioned in the post, the new edition of the confessions, the treasury, the study Bible, etc. and find a way of talking these resources up and getting them out there. Getting them out there will also help people talk about their faith and give something of substance to their neighbor and family.

    Twice recently, I’ve come across the criticism from within our church that Lutherans need to get better at sharing the story, that is Christ’s story. Not “better” as in more studied, but more ready, willing and able. Rev. Bugbee, president of LCC talked about it recently at the Edmonton Seminary (available online), and the book I’ve been given, K. Preus’ “The Fire and the Staff”, talks about this: the entire chapter 11, “The Fire kindled: confessing the faith”, is about the Christian talking. I think Michael Spencer’s criticism of Lutherans would go there as well. Being enthusiastic for the sacrament but not confessing much otherwise. There is a disconnect here, would we not agree?

    (We know some here have shy-ness issues, and we are not all the same, but we each have a way.)

    The introduction to chapter 11 is: “I had a difficult time knowing exactly where to place this chapter in the book. On the one hand it belongs immediately after the chapter on Christian vocation. It is every Christian’s calling to speak of Christ. On the other hand it could be seen as a corrective to the Church Growth model of evangelistic mission. Church Growth advocates want to change the church in order to save souls. The endeavor impoverishes the church and does not really bring people to faith. The proper way of evangelism is for every Christian to understand how to talk about God, actually to do so, and to have a confessional and confessing church to which the objects of evangelism can attach themselves. So we discuss here the importance of christian confession.”

    Then follows a thorough chapter on confession for 35 pages, which I am in the middle of. It has a conclusion:

    “Peter’s image of the ‘royal priesthood’ places wonderful blessings upon Christians. Christians talk. We talk, not by witnessing to the things that have happened in our hearts or even our lives, or by sharing our impressions or opinions. We talk by confessing the doctrine we have learned, faithfully speaking of Christ according to the witness of the apostles in Scripture. The response to our confession will be mixed as not even the church consistently values its confessors. Other factors as well might tempt us to temper or discontinue our confession. God grant us the grace to know Jesus and to confess His Gospel even in the face of temptations to be silent. For then the ‘Fire Is Kindled.’ ”

    In terms of missions to Kenya, and such, and Linda’s discouragement, I don’t know how it is in the USA, but I’ve always felt somewhat critical of how we go about this in Canada. Coming out of pietistic mission societies in Germany myself, I felt that they communicated the work much better than what LCC does here. Their pamphlets were good and colorful with lots of reports. Here you see so many pictures of where a pastor was installed, etc. and there are a bunch of pastors on the picture, and you can go page after page and only see pictures of a bunch of pastors, whom we don’t know. (God bless them all, however.)

    In the German mission societies we knew that we needed to be frugal in our daily lives so we could give to the missions. Then we would have proper reports back. Here, it seems I get personal visits from fund-raisers raising for particular projects, which you really wonder if they are actually going somewhere and have a concerted and sensible effort behind them. In fact, as someone who lives off the beaten track and in the country, I resent the fact that I’ve had more visits out here from fund-raisers than pastoral visits.

    (Kindly, someone who is not my pastor visited us recently and gave us “The Fire and the Staff”. :) That was nice.)

    Recently a big collected edition of the historical “Der Lutheraner” came into my hands (1871), and I noticed that for all the different works and needs, which required fundraising, there was an exact listing in every issue as to which congregation gave how much to what (such as the orphanage or the pastor’s widows). This way it all looks like a collective effort with good accounting and timely reporting.

    To get back to speaking about Jesus to people. Personally, I can talk and I can listen, but I’m not a real preacher myself. I don’t go on and on. I’m not usually at a loss of words, but I’m not wordy. I’m glad I don’t have to preach and try and fill a whole bunch of time; it would kill me. But I do bring up Jesus whenever it seems appropriate to me. And something I think I’m the only one. I listen carefully. Is someone else ever going to use his name, and not “in vain”??? It does not happen very often. The last time a non-minister said something to me about Jesus was about a month ago. It was a realtor. She said that most people don’t keep super-neat houses. “And what if Jesus stood at the door and knocked? I would let him in even if the house was messy, so why worry that your house is messy.” That’s what she tells herself when her house is not perfect. I had to laugh so hard, at that application of Jesus knocking at the door. But I think that’s the last time a layperson talked to me about Jesus.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Really good work by Larry and Bror, here today, and others. (I’m not sure what Larry does all day; it has to do with science, I think, but he should maybe go full-time theology.)

    In terms of mission work, and for Linda, here, I think it is more that we strengthen what we have already: teach right doctrine, have well qualified pastors that keep on studying (please pastors don’t get lazy or discouraged there), have services that are worth attending for substance, decorum, Christ-centered sermons, etc. , use our great resources such as mentioned in the post, the new edition of the confessions, the treasury, the study Bible, etc. and find a way of talking these resources up and getting them out there. Getting them out there will also help people talk about their faith and give something of substance to their neighbor and family.

    Twice recently, I’ve come across the criticism from within our church that Lutherans need to get better at sharing the story, that is Christ’s story. Not “better” as in more studied, but more ready, willing and able. Rev. Bugbee, president of LCC talked about it recently at the Edmonton Seminary (available online), and the book I’ve been given, K. Preus’ “The Fire and the Staff”, talks about this: the entire chapter 11, “The Fire kindled: confessing the faith”, is about the Christian talking. I think Michael Spencer’s criticism of Lutherans would go there as well. Being enthusiastic for the sacrament but not confessing much otherwise. There is a disconnect here, would we not agree?

    (We know some here have shy-ness issues, and we are not all the same, but we each have a way.)

    The introduction to chapter 11 is: “I had a difficult time knowing exactly where to place this chapter in the book. On the one hand it belongs immediately after the chapter on Christian vocation. It is every Christian’s calling to speak of Christ. On the other hand it could be seen as a corrective to the Church Growth model of evangelistic mission. Church Growth advocates want to change the church in order to save souls. The endeavor impoverishes the church and does not really bring people to faith. The proper way of evangelism is for every Christian to understand how to talk about God, actually to do so, and to have a confessional and confessing church to which the objects of evangelism can attach themselves. So we discuss here the importance of christian confession.”

    Then follows a thorough chapter on confession for 35 pages, which I am in the middle of. It has a conclusion:

    “Peter’s image of the ‘royal priesthood’ places wonderful blessings upon Christians. Christians talk. We talk, not by witnessing to the things that have happened in our hearts or even our lives, or by sharing our impressions or opinions. We talk by confessing the doctrine we have learned, faithfully speaking of Christ according to the witness of the apostles in Scripture. The response to our confession will be mixed as not even the church consistently values its confessors. Other factors as well might tempt us to temper or discontinue our confession. God grant us the grace to know Jesus and to confess His Gospel even in the face of temptations to be silent. For then the ‘Fire Is Kindled.’ ”

    In terms of missions to Kenya, and such, and Linda’s discouragement, I don’t know how it is in the USA, but I’ve always felt somewhat critical of how we go about this in Canada. Coming out of pietistic mission societies in Germany myself, I felt that they communicated the work much better than what LCC does here. Their pamphlets were good and colorful with lots of reports. Here you see so many pictures of where a pastor was installed, etc. and there are a bunch of pastors on the picture, and you can go page after page and only see pictures of a bunch of pastors, whom we don’t know. (God bless them all, however.)

    In the German mission societies we knew that we needed to be frugal in our daily lives so we could give to the missions. Then we would have proper reports back. Here, it seems I get personal visits from fund-raisers raising for particular projects, which you really wonder if they are actually going somewhere and have a concerted and sensible effort behind them. In fact, as someone who lives off the beaten track and in the country, I resent the fact that I’ve had more visits out here from fund-raisers than pastoral visits.

    (Kindly, someone who is not my pastor visited us recently and gave us “The Fire and the Staff”. :) That was nice.)

    Recently a big collected edition of the historical “Der Lutheraner” came into my hands (1871), and I noticed that for all the different works and needs, which required fundraising, there was an exact listing in every issue as to which congregation gave how much to what (such as the orphanage or the pastor’s widows). This way it all looks like a collective effort with good accounting and timely reporting.

    To get back to speaking about Jesus to people. Personally, I can talk and I can listen, but I’m not a real preacher myself. I don’t go on and on. I’m not usually at a loss of words, but I’m not wordy. I’m glad I don’t have to preach and try and fill a whole bunch of time; it would kill me. But I do bring up Jesus whenever it seems appropriate to me. And something I think I’m the only one. I listen carefully. Is someone else ever going to use his name, and not “in vain”??? It does not happen very often. The last time a non-minister said something to me about Jesus was about a month ago. It was a realtor. She said that most people don’t keep super-neat houses. “And what if Jesus stood at the door and knocked? I would let him in even if the house was messy, so why worry that your house is messy.” That’s what she tells herself when her house is not perfect. I had to laugh so hard, at that application of Jesus knocking at the door. But I think that’s the last time a layperson talked to me about Jesus.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Well, I’ve carefully read the arguments here that Luther’s view of predestination and election was substantially different from that of Calvin and am far from convinced.

    First, the Book of Concord was written well after Luther’s death and doesn’t necessarily represent his exact view on predestination. Brian Mattson in a paper, Double Or Nothing: Martin Luther’s Doctrine of Predestination [p.4] writes:

    Therefore, in considering the subject of Martin Luther’s view of predestination, two different paradigms appear in analyses of his works. One we shall call the Concord Paradigm, the other, the Augustinian Paradigm. The Concord Paradigm is the mainstream conservative Lutheran viewpoint, which views Luther through the eyes of the Book of Concord, the standard book of Lutheran confession, which was compiled thirty-four years after Luther’s death in 1546. In other words, the Concord Paradigm looks at more recent developments of Lutheran theology and reads Luther in that light. The Augustinian Paradigm, on the other hand, is a framework of analyzing Luther’s views not in light of more recent statements of theology, but in terms of Luther’s own theological background. That is, what were the theological traditions and doctrines closest to his own upbringing and training in theology? Thus, it is the older statements of Luther’s theological tradition through which one views his writings.

    Also, Luther in his book on Romans wrote:

    These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Tim. 2:10 ‘everything for the sake of the elect.’ For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because he says: ‘This is my blood which is poured out for you’ and ‘for many’—He does not say: for all—’for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mark 14:24, Matt. 26:28 [p.376].

    Luther, following Paul, Augustine, and his mentor Von Staupitz made it clear that he followed the classic view of predestination that differed from the late medieval view of Erasmus and Melanchton. There may be serious differences between Calvin and Luther, though the matter of predestination is not one of them

  • Peter Leavitt

    Well, I’ve carefully read the arguments here that Luther’s view of predestination and election was substantially different from that of Calvin and am far from convinced.

    First, the Book of Concord was written well after Luther’s death and doesn’t necessarily represent his exact view on predestination. Brian Mattson in a paper, Double Or Nothing: Martin Luther’s Doctrine of Predestination [p.4] writes:

    Therefore, in considering the subject of Martin Luther’s view of predestination, two different paradigms appear in analyses of his works. One we shall call the Concord Paradigm, the other, the Augustinian Paradigm. The Concord Paradigm is the mainstream conservative Lutheran viewpoint, which views Luther through the eyes of the Book of Concord, the standard book of Lutheran confession, which was compiled thirty-four years after Luther’s death in 1546. In other words, the Concord Paradigm looks at more recent developments of Lutheran theology and reads Luther in that light. The Augustinian Paradigm, on the other hand, is a framework of analyzing Luther’s views not in light of more recent statements of theology, but in terms of Luther’s own theological background. That is, what were the theological traditions and doctrines closest to his own upbringing and training in theology? Thus, it is the older statements of Luther’s theological tradition through which one views his writings.

    Also, Luther in his book on Romans wrote:

    These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Tim. 2:10 ‘everything for the sake of the elect.’ For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because he says: ‘This is my blood which is poured out for you’ and ‘for many’—He does not say: for all—’for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mark 14:24, Matt. 26:28 [p.376].

    Luther, following Paul, Augustine, and his mentor Von Staupitz made it clear that he followed the classic view of predestination that differed from the late medieval view of Erasmus and Melanchton. There may be serious differences between Calvin and Luther, though the matter of predestination is not one of them

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, the above link is Here.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, the above link is Here.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    Just skimming the footnotes of that paper is enough to tell me it has a skewed view, and is heavily weighted in the reformed position. Which bares out in his unscholarly comments about the Book of Concord, and unqualifiably quoting Luther’s commentary on Romans, which he wrote long before he became “Lutheran” and far less accurately reflects his mature views on Election and predestination than does the Book of Concord, which is actually a compilation of books 3 of which are Luther’s, the formula having been composed by Luther’s protoge Martin Chemnitz who I dare say had a bit more knowledge regarding Luther’s mind than anyone since.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    Just skimming the footnotes of that paper is enough to tell me it has a skewed view, and is heavily weighted in the reformed position. Which bares out in his unscholarly comments about the Book of Concord, and unqualifiably quoting Luther’s commentary on Romans, which he wrote long before he became “Lutheran” and far less accurately reflects his mature views on Election and predestination than does the Book of Concord, which is actually a compilation of books 3 of which are Luther’s, the formula having been composed by Luther’s protoge Martin Chemnitz who I dare say had a bit more knowledge regarding Luther’s mind than anyone since.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You would be better to read Saarnivaara’s book, which debunks many of the myths inherent in your above cited paper.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You would be better to read Saarnivaara’s book, which debunks many of the myths inherent in your above cited paper.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Maybe someone can enlighten me, but last I heard, the LCMS had 25 or less missionaries who are ordained Pastors.(I hope someone can prove me wrong on this.) We have other missionaries that are not ordained and serve as teachers or in other capacities. For a denomination that claims 2.5 million members that is pathetic.

    Most of the church planting we are doing is using methodology we ripped off from generic protestant evangelicalism. (Two church plants in my region that I am very familiar with. One is a total evangelical copy, the other is Liturgical, though the Pastor doing it had to go to the LCMS church planting school and discard more than half of what they were teaching because it was standard ‘Church Growth’ methodology.)

    One of the reasons Michael Spencer was a big fan of New Ref Press was because we are trying to bring Lutheranism to a larger audience and give a voice to our theology in public discussions of the faith in the church at large.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Maybe someone can enlighten me, but last I heard, the LCMS had 25 or less missionaries who are ordained Pastors.(I hope someone can prove me wrong on this.) We have other missionaries that are not ordained and serve as teachers or in other capacities. For a denomination that claims 2.5 million members that is pathetic.

    Most of the church planting we are doing is using methodology we ripped off from generic protestant evangelicalism. (Two church plants in my region that I am very familiar with. One is a total evangelical copy, the other is Liturgical, though the Pastor doing it had to go to the LCMS church planting school and discard more than half of what they were teaching because it was standard ‘Church Growth’ methodology.)

    One of the reasons Michael Spencer was a big fan of New Ref Press was because we are trying to bring Lutheranism to a larger audience and give a voice to our theology in public discussions of the faith in the church at large.

  • bunnycatch3r

    @Andy #34. I’m a lifelong Lutheran and I would have answered all of them false. Does this mean that I’m not “Confessional”?

  • bunnycatch3r

    @Andy #34. I’m a lifelong Lutheran and I would have answered all of them false. Does this mean that I’m not “Confessional”?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Patrick Kyle,
    We could and probably should have more missionaries in the field right now. That is a valid complaint. But to say, and pick up the simple parroting of the evangelical world that we don’t do missions or evangelism is to perpetuate a myth that has little to do with historical fact.
    Your point about the two mission plants just reinforces what I said earlier.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Patrick Kyle,
    We could and probably should have more missionaries in the field right now. That is a valid complaint. But to say, and pick up the simple parroting of the evangelical world that we don’t do missions or evangelism is to perpetuate a myth that has little to do with historical fact.
    Your point about the two mission plants just reinforces what I said earlier.

  • Booklover

    I would like to join the discussion “comparing” the Lutheran method of evangelism and the baptistic method. I was raised Lutheran, married a Baptist, and have attended three baptistic-type churches since marriage. The first of those was a mega-church filled only with those who had a “born again” experience. I have rattled on about this before, but when a church focuses on “that moment in time in which I got saved” instead of the risen Savior, it will die. A church that glorifies the “fact” that “I was bad but now I’m good” will rot of self-righteousness. This church (the one that is now dead) gloried in the fact that it worked to “convert” many former Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. I feel these “converted” people were in fact believers in Christ who were feeling guilty over some sin and wanted a fresh start. The baptistic people were focusing all of their evangelistic efforts on other types of Christians and were feeling good about it, because they felt those other denominations had it all wrong. Meanwhile, they were not even touching the pagans, who live in entirely different categories, who really don’t believe in sin or think they are sinners, and who especially don’t believe in the Holy Trinity. Does it not seem this type of evangelistic method is wasted?

    My point is that Lutherans just need to continue focusing on Christ at the center. What they don’t need to do is evangelize in the way that baptistic people do.

  • Booklover

    I would like to join the discussion “comparing” the Lutheran method of evangelism and the baptistic method. I was raised Lutheran, married a Baptist, and have attended three baptistic-type churches since marriage. The first of those was a mega-church filled only with those who had a “born again” experience. I have rattled on about this before, but when a church focuses on “that moment in time in which I got saved” instead of the risen Savior, it will die. A church that glorifies the “fact” that “I was bad but now I’m good” will rot of self-righteousness. This church (the one that is now dead) gloried in the fact that it worked to “convert” many former Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. I feel these “converted” people were in fact believers in Christ who were feeling guilty over some sin and wanted a fresh start. The baptistic people were focusing all of their evangelistic efforts on other types of Christians and were feeling good about it, because they felt those other denominations had it all wrong. Meanwhile, they were not even touching the pagans, who live in entirely different categories, who really don’t believe in sin or think they are sinners, and who especially don’t believe in the Holy Trinity. Does it not seem this type of evangelistic method is wasted?

    My point is that Lutherans just need to continue focusing on Christ at the center. What they don’t need to do is evangelize in the way that baptistic people do.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Thanks for that BookLover.
    I’ve sometimes wondered about the same things. Lutherans don’t normally even consider it evangelism when were talking to other christians. We normally put that under polemics, another favorite past time. :)
    now the ex-mormon I baptized on Sunday, that was a result of evangelism, and much patience on behalf of his Lutheran wife, God bless her soul.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Thanks for that BookLover.
    I’ve sometimes wondered about the same things. Lutherans don’t normally even consider it evangelism when were talking to other christians. We normally put that under polemics, another favorite past time. :)
    now the ex-mormon I baptized on Sunday, that was a result of evangelism, and much patience on behalf of his Lutheran wife, God bless her soul.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, I’ll read Saarnivaara’s book.

    I take it that Luther’s comment on election in his book on Romans doesn’t reflect his more mature views. However, my understanding is that his Book, Bondage of Will is regarded as his magnum opus. In that book, which was written to counter Erasmus on Free Will, Luther writes [p.200]:

    Here, God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God’s secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing and offering. . . .It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42
    On your view [Erasmus], God will elect nobody, and no place for election will be left; all that is left is freedom of will to heed or defy the long-suffering and wrath of God. But if God is thus robbed of His power and wisdom in election, what will He be but just that idol, Chance, under whose sway all things happen at random? Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    How can one interpret this as other than a firm belief in predestination including both election and damnation? How say you on this?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, I’ll read Saarnivaara’s book.

    I take it that Luther’s comment on election in his book on Romans doesn’t reflect his more mature views. However, my understanding is that his Book, Bondage of Will is regarded as his magnum opus. In that book, which was written to counter Erasmus on Free Will, Luther writes [p.200]:

    Here, God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God’s secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing and offering. . . .It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42
    On your view [Erasmus], God will elect nobody, and no place for election will be left; all that is left is freedom of will to heed or defy the long-suffering and wrath of God. But if God is thus robbed of His power and wisdom in election, what will He be but just that idol, Chance, under whose sway all things happen at random? Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    How can one interpret this as other than a firm belief in predestination including both election and damnation? How say you on this?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Peter Levitt,
    I have a couple of questions for you, not related to this thead. Could you contact me at New Ref Press.( Click on my name above this comment, it will take you to NRP, our contact button is at the bottom of the page.)

    Thanks

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Peter Levitt,
    I have a couple of questions for you, not related to this thead. Could you contact me at New Ref Press.( Click on my name above this comment, it will take you to NRP, our contact button is at the bottom of the page.)

    Thanks

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    For quite a while I have described myself as “an evangelical who leans more towards Luther than Calvin.” I think Lutherans have much to offer the wider Christian community, but there really does seem to be some sort of barrier there.

    Michael Spencer saw this, and his blog resonated with me for the same reasons that much of Lutheran theology resonates with me. Here are some examples:
    — The central message of the Bible is Christ and the gospel, not God’s sovereignty and election.
    – Worship and theology need to be centered on Christ.
    – The law and gospel distinction is a key to understanding Scripture.
    – The church has a history. Much of evangelicalism has a Mormon view of church history, with a gap from the first century until ______ (fill in the blank with Calvin, Wesley, dispensationalism, Pentecostalism, etc.).
    – Old hymns are worth hanging on to.
    – The church shouldn’t be driven by fads. It is the gospel that is relevant.
    – The sacraments actually mean something.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    For quite a while I have described myself as “an evangelical who leans more towards Luther than Calvin.” I think Lutherans have much to offer the wider Christian community, but there really does seem to be some sort of barrier there.

    Michael Spencer saw this, and his blog resonated with me for the same reasons that much of Lutheran theology resonates with me. Here are some examples:
    — The central message of the Bible is Christ and the gospel, not God’s sovereignty and election.
    – Worship and theology need to be centered on Christ.
    – The law and gospel distinction is a key to understanding Scripture.
    – The church has a history. Much of evangelicalism has a Mormon view of church history, with a gap from the first century until ______ (fill in the blank with Calvin, Wesley, dispensationalism, Pentecostalism, etc.).
    – Old hymns are worth hanging on to.
    – The church shouldn’t be driven by fads. It is the gospel that is relevant.
    – The sacraments actually mean something.

  • Steve

    The divides in America between Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, Religious and Secular are real, important, and not going away.

    There are voices of clarity out there, helping to delineate the divides so that the rest of us can line up behind the positions we agree with.

    Here is one of the most important articles you will ever read: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/04/the-drama-of-our-time/

  • Steve

    The divides in America between Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, Religious and Secular are real, important, and not going away.

    There are voices of clarity out there, helping to delineate the divides so that the rest of us can line up behind the positions we agree with.

    Here is one of the most important articles you will ever read: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/04/the-drama-of-our-time/

  • fws

    Steve @ 57

    I respectfully disagree. In one sense those things are real.

    In view of christ, none of those things are real. Christ is the end of the categories “us” and “them”. This is exactly the significance of cross and what died on it along with Jesus.

    The us vs them of god vs us sinners: dead.

    The us vs them of the good vs evil: dead. vanquished. Gone. God fully now reconciled to the world.

    What you say are important us/them realities are illusory. they will perish with the earth. they are only important as to our creaturely earthly wellbeing.

    They just won´t matter in the resurrection.

    If that is so, how important are they? and how (in what sense and to what good end) are they important?

    Chesterton would agree with what I just wrote. if you do not think so, you missed the sole point of everything he ever wrote.

  • fws

    Steve @ 57

    I respectfully disagree. In one sense those things are real.

    In view of christ, none of those things are real. Christ is the end of the categories “us” and “them”. This is exactly the significance of cross and what died on it along with Jesus.

    The us vs them of god vs us sinners: dead.

    The us vs them of the good vs evil: dead. vanquished. Gone. God fully now reconciled to the world.

    What you say are important us/them realities are illusory. they will perish with the earth. they are only important as to our creaturely earthly wellbeing.

    They just won´t matter in the resurrection.

    If that is so, how important are they? and how (in what sense and to what good end) are they important?

    Chesterton would agree with what I just wrote. if you do not think so, you missed the sole point of everything he ever wrote.

  • DonS

    Kevin N @ 56: Very well said.

  • DonS

    Kevin N @ 56: Very well said.

  • fws

    Why is it that reformed/evangelicals don´t raise eyebrows if one of their own attends an episcopalian seminary, but they do if it is a Lutheran one?

  • fws

    Why is it that reformed/evangelicals don´t raise eyebrows if one of their own attends an episcopalian seminary, but they do if it is a Lutheran one?

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt@54 cites a passage from “Bondage of the Will” and asks, “How can one interpret this as other than a firm belief in predestination including both election and damnation? How say you on this?”

    You have cited the very passage from “Bondage of the Will” that Double Predestination Calvinists reject. “God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation. . .” If God Incarnate would save all men and actually wills, offers, and does everything that is necessary for their salvation, how can He have predestinated some men to damnation without regard for “thou wouldst not.” Calvinists rightly understand this passage as a condemnation of both Double Predestination and Limited Atonement. Henry Cole, in his translation of “Bondage of the Will”, adds this footnote. “Here Luther’s explanation of Matthew 23 is to be read with discretion. Although God and Christ have two distinct wills, their wills are not contrary to one another. An accurate exposition of this passage can be found in Calvin’s Commentaries. . .”

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt@54 cites a passage from “Bondage of the Will” and asks, “How can one interpret this as other than a firm belief in predestination including both election and damnation? How say you on this?”

    You have cited the very passage from “Bondage of the Will” that Double Predestination Calvinists reject. “God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation. . .” If God Incarnate would save all men and actually wills, offers, and does everything that is necessary for their salvation, how can He have predestinated some men to damnation without regard for “thou wouldst not.” Calvinists rightly understand this passage as a condemnation of both Double Predestination and Limited Atonement. Henry Cole, in his translation of “Bondage of the Will”, adds this footnote. “Here Luther’s explanation of Matthew 23 is to be read with discretion. Although God and Christ have two distinct wills, their wills are not contrary to one another. An accurate exposition of this passage can be found in Calvin’s Commentaries. . .”

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mr. Gorman, the second part of that quote from Bondage of Will that you selectively left out includes:

    …It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42

    …Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    The parts taken together with part from which you quoted are clear that Luther believed in double predestination.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mr. Gorman, the second part of that quote from Bondage of Will that you selectively left out includes:

    …It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42

    …Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    The parts taken together with part from which you quoted are clear that Luther believed in double predestination.

  • Larry

    Peter,

    There are a number of issues that differ between Calvin and Luther (and Augustine for that matter concerning predestination/election). And they will all be found in the issue of the sacraments at length. If you short circuit that you will never see it. It’s the difference between a sign/symbol versus a real flesh and blood and no less. In short the way one views the sacraments affects everything, even predestination/election. It’s utter nonsense and very short sighted to say Luther is much like Calvin (or Augustine) on predestination.

    Each theological system, if you will, stands as a whole and as such are really counter to each other such that each one preaches a different religion when all is said and done. Another example would be the “T” in the TULIP, total depravity. A lot of folks identify that with “bondage of the will”, but nothing could be further from the truth and you’ll have to digest Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation versus Dort to flesh that out, otherwise one will read Bondage of the Will through Dort’s lens. It has to do with things like, “what was original sin”, what IS the state of being of the Christian in the present, what is mortal versus venial sin in all systems, etc…

    Paulson gives a nice help concerning, this issue of the revealed Word/God versus hidden God and predestination by quoting Luther late in life reflecting back on doing just what you are doing here concerning bondage of the will. In other words Luther is commenting on his work Bondage of the Will, explicating it, because of those who misquote and abuse what he said and meant.

    Paulson writes:

    Toward the end of his life, when Luther was lecturing on Genesis, he addressed the strange reaction to his teaching in the Bondage of the Will that God’s will is unthwartable:

    “I hear that here and there among the nobles and persons of importance vicious
    statements are being spread abroad concerning predestination or God’s foreknowledge.
    For this is what they say: “If I am predestined, I shall be saved, whether I do good or evil. If I am not predestined, I shall be condemned regardless of my works.” (Martin Luther)

    As if this false bravado before death were not bad enough, Luther recognized that the
    real problem with this confusion WAS THE REJECTION OF JESUS CHRIST WHO COMES TO US IN THE MANGER AS OUR NEW LIFE WHILE ENDING THE OLD IN FAITH (Emphasis added). He (Luther) refers this whole matter to the second way in which God hides:

    “[F]or this is how he set forth His will and counsel: “I will reveal My foreknowledge
    and predestination to you in an extraordinary manner, but not by this way
    of reason and carnal wisdom, as you imagine. This is how I will do so: From an
    unrevealed God I will become a revealed God. Nevertheless, I will remain the
    same God. I will be made flesh, or send my Son. He shall die for your sins and
    shall rise again from the dead. And in this way I will fulfill your desire, in order
    that you may be able to know whether you are predestined or not. Behold, this is
    My Son; listen to him (cf. Matt. 17:5). Look at Him as He lies in the manger and
    on the lap of His mother, as He hangs on the cross. Observe what He does and
    what He says. There you will surely take hold of Me.” (Martin Luther)

    This is God’s second hiding, and it too has the double effect. Those who hear
    God’s unthwartable will in Christ for them no longer are merely in the room of
    faith, or have a place for faith, but are fixed in faith, and are certain that the work of
    Christ is for them. They no longer speculate about God’s will in general because
    they have it in particular (the sacraments and absolution in particular – l). This was the whole purpose of Luther noting that God outside Christ, outside the word, is an impenetrable power who holds our lives in his hands and is hiding his will from us. He does not want to be found outside Christ. He wants to be found in Christ, but must “hide” a second time in order to fly below our radar which is set for what we take to be “spiritual” things above. He comes where we did not expect him, under the sign of his opposite, in suffering, death, opposition to the law, ungodliness, and shame. There the Father attacks the power of evil that has usurped his world, and finds the way to give himself to us in words a second time. God wants to be found in the words of promise in Christ that give new life. Otherwise God will rule his world by destroying those who seek him unclothed in words.

    The whole discussion of the predestinating Father is only the means by which one comes to the predestinating Son whose promises are unthwartable when preached to you. That is why Luther concludes his review of the Bondage of the Will by saying:

    “I have written that everything is absolute and unavoidable; but at the same time I
    have added that one must look at the revealed God, as we sing in the hymn: Er
    heist Jesu Christ, der HERR Zebaoth, und ist kein ander Gott, “Jesus Christ is the
    lord of hosts, and there is no other God”…but they will pass over all these places
    and take only those that deal with the hidden God.” (Martin Luther)

    And as he emphatically argued earlier, “If you have Him, then you also have the hidden
    God together with Him who has been revealed.” God hides where his unthwartable will destroys sin in order to come to us with an unthwartable will of mercy on account of Christ.

    –End Quote of Paulson

    This is why the Gospel preaching, Gospel sacraments and absolution are so important in Luther/Lutheran confessions and why Luther rightly identifies that all seeking of predestination/election, to the degree Calvin does and certainly his predecessors do (especially the Owenian Calvinist and Baptist Calvinist) is in fact a denial of Christ, it denies the revelation of God Whom He IS.

    This is why the issue of pure Gospel (as if there is anything else in reality), absolution and sacraments is so critical, why the “pro me” is so very necessary. This is why one CANNOT understand the difference of Luther on election/predestination versus Calvin OR Augustine without understanding the ENTIRE issue over the sacraments, and I mean really understand it and then one realizes why its not just “a” hill to die on but “THE” hill to die on.

    Why and why is such a rejection of Christ? Luther writes regarding God preached and God not preached, “[W]e have to argue in one way about God or the will of God as preached, revealed, offered, and worshiped, and in another way about God as he is not preached, not revealed, not offered, not worshiped. To the extent, therefore, that God hides himself and wills to be unknown to us, it is no business of ours.” (Martin Luther).

    Paulson comments help pull this apart, “The reason that God hides where he is not preached is precisely that God is the Creator Spirit by whom we receive the Father’s reconciling work through the Son. So, the Son refuses to be found without being begotten by the Father and raised from the dead, the Father without sending the Son to the cross and raising the Son from the dead, and the Holy Spirit without glorifying the Father and the Son by teaching us to understand the deed of Christ as precisely “FOR US AND FOR OUR SAKE.” To seek God behind this giving of himself in words preached is to seek some God behind Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, economic and immanent, outside the world, who might allow us to bypass the revelation of our own nature as sinners and creatures. Though there is no such God for us, the delusion does not let us hear the truth. God hides beyond every speculation in order not to be found outside the preached word who is Jesus Christ incarnate. The result is to find God in wrath, and thus to find our end in the feeling of death where there is nothing more that we can do. In that place God seems absent, hostile, and always demands something more.” -End Quote, Paulson (Luther on the Hidden God, Steven D. Paulson)

    Larry

  • Larry

    Peter,

    There are a number of issues that differ between Calvin and Luther (and Augustine for that matter concerning predestination/election). And they will all be found in the issue of the sacraments at length. If you short circuit that you will never see it. It’s the difference between a sign/symbol versus a real flesh and blood and no less. In short the way one views the sacraments affects everything, even predestination/election. It’s utter nonsense and very short sighted to say Luther is much like Calvin (or Augustine) on predestination.

    Each theological system, if you will, stands as a whole and as such are really counter to each other such that each one preaches a different religion when all is said and done. Another example would be the “T” in the TULIP, total depravity. A lot of folks identify that with “bondage of the will”, but nothing could be further from the truth and you’ll have to digest Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation versus Dort to flesh that out, otherwise one will read Bondage of the Will through Dort’s lens. It has to do with things like, “what was original sin”, what IS the state of being of the Christian in the present, what is mortal versus venial sin in all systems, etc…

    Paulson gives a nice help concerning, this issue of the revealed Word/God versus hidden God and predestination by quoting Luther late in life reflecting back on doing just what you are doing here concerning bondage of the will. In other words Luther is commenting on his work Bondage of the Will, explicating it, because of those who misquote and abuse what he said and meant.

    Paulson writes:

    Toward the end of his life, when Luther was lecturing on Genesis, he addressed the strange reaction to his teaching in the Bondage of the Will that God’s will is unthwartable:

    “I hear that here and there among the nobles and persons of importance vicious
    statements are being spread abroad concerning predestination or God’s foreknowledge.
    For this is what they say: “If I am predestined, I shall be saved, whether I do good or evil. If I am not predestined, I shall be condemned regardless of my works.” (Martin Luther)

    As if this false bravado before death were not bad enough, Luther recognized that the
    real problem with this confusion WAS THE REJECTION OF JESUS CHRIST WHO COMES TO US IN THE MANGER AS OUR NEW LIFE WHILE ENDING THE OLD IN FAITH (Emphasis added). He (Luther) refers this whole matter to the second way in which God hides:

    “[F]or this is how he set forth His will and counsel: “I will reveal My foreknowledge
    and predestination to you in an extraordinary manner, but not by this way
    of reason and carnal wisdom, as you imagine. This is how I will do so: From an
    unrevealed God I will become a revealed God. Nevertheless, I will remain the
    same God. I will be made flesh, or send my Son. He shall die for your sins and
    shall rise again from the dead. And in this way I will fulfill your desire, in order
    that you may be able to know whether you are predestined or not. Behold, this is
    My Son; listen to him (cf. Matt. 17:5). Look at Him as He lies in the manger and
    on the lap of His mother, as He hangs on the cross. Observe what He does and
    what He says. There you will surely take hold of Me.” (Martin Luther)

    This is God’s second hiding, and it too has the double effect. Those who hear
    God’s unthwartable will in Christ for them no longer are merely in the room of
    faith, or have a place for faith, but are fixed in faith, and are certain that the work of
    Christ is for them. They no longer speculate about God’s will in general because
    they have it in particular (the sacraments and absolution in particular – l). This was the whole purpose of Luther noting that God outside Christ, outside the word, is an impenetrable power who holds our lives in his hands and is hiding his will from us. He does not want to be found outside Christ. He wants to be found in Christ, but must “hide” a second time in order to fly below our radar which is set for what we take to be “spiritual” things above. He comes where we did not expect him, under the sign of his opposite, in suffering, death, opposition to the law, ungodliness, and shame. There the Father attacks the power of evil that has usurped his world, and finds the way to give himself to us in words a second time. God wants to be found in the words of promise in Christ that give new life. Otherwise God will rule his world by destroying those who seek him unclothed in words.

    The whole discussion of the predestinating Father is only the means by which one comes to the predestinating Son whose promises are unthwartable when preached to you. That is why Luther concludes his review of the Bondage of the Will by saying:

    “I have written that everything is absolute and unavoidable; but at the same time I
    have added that one must look at the revealed God, as we sing in the hymn: Er
    heist Jesu Christ, der HERR Zebaoth, und ist kein ander Gott, “Jesus Christ is the
    lord of hosts, and there is no other God”…but they will pass over all these places
    and take only those that deal with the hidden God.” (Martin Luther)

    And as he emphatically argued earlier, “If you have Him, then you also have the hidden
    God together with Him who has been revealed.” God hides where his unthwartable will destroys sin in order to come to us with an unthwartable will of mercy on account of Christ.

    –End Quote of Paulson

    This is why the Gospel preaching, Gospel sacraments and absolution are so important in Luther/Lutheran confessions and why Luther rightly identifies that all seeking of predestination/election, to the degree Calvin does and certainly his predecessors do (especially the Owenian Calvinist and Baptist Calvinist) is in fact a denial of Christ, it denies the revelation of God Whom He IS.

    This is why the issue of pure Gospel (as if there is anything else in reality), absolution and sacraments is so critical, why the “pro me” is so very necessary. This is why one CANNOT understand the difference of Luther on election/predestination versus Calvin OR Augustine without understanding the ENTIRE issue over the sacraments, and I mean really understand it and then one realizes why its not just “a” hill to die on but “THE” hill to die on.

    Why and why is such a rejection of Christ? Luther writes regarding God preached and God not preached, “[W]e have to argue in one way about God or the will of God as preached, revealed, offered, and worshiped, and in another way about God as he is not preached, not revealed, not offered, not worshiped. To the extent, therefore, that God hides himself and wills to be unknown to us, it is no business of ours.” (Martin Luther).

    Paulson comments help pull this apart, “The reason that God hides where he is not preached is precisely that God is the Creator Spirit by whom we receive the Father’s reconciling work through the Son. So, the Son refuses to be found without being begotten by the Father and raised from the dead, the Father without sending the Son to the cross and raising the Son from the dead, and the Holy Spirit without glorifying the Father and the Son by teaching us to understand the deed of Christ as precisely “FOR US AND FOR OUR SAKE.” To seek God behind this giving of himself in words preached is to seek some God behind Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, economic and immanent, outside the world, who might allow us to bypass the revelation of our own nature as sinners and creatures. Though there is no such God for us, the delusion does not let us hear the truth. God hides beyond every speculation in order not to be found outside the preached word who is Jesus Christ incarnate. The result is to find God in wrath, and thus to find our end in the feeling of death where there is nothing more that we can do. In that place God seems absent, hostile, and always demands something more.” -End Quote, Paulson (Luther on the Hidden God, Steven D. Paulson)

    Larry

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kevein N,
    You write: “I think Lutherans have much to offer the wider Christian community, but there really does seem to be some sort of barrier there.”
    What is that barrier that stands in the way from a guy like you or Michael Spencer from actually just becoming Lutheran? Could you put a finger on it?
    DonS, you applauded Kevin N on his post, what do you agree with in there, what don’t you agree with? It seems to me a Calvary Chapelite would be opposed to all the above. Sacraments meansing stuff, hanging on to old hymns… etc.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kevein N,
    You write: “I think Lutherans have much to offer the wider Christian community, but there really does seem to be some sort of barrier there.”
    What is that barrier that stands in the way from a guy like you or Michael Spencer from actually just becoming Lutheran? Could you put a finger on it?
    DonS, you applauded Kevin N on his post, what do you agree with in there, what don’t you agree with? It seems to me a Calvary Chapelite would be opposed to all the above. Sacraments meansing stuff, hanging on to old hymns… etc.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws@60, I think that the biggest reason for a disconnect over the seminary’s denominational affiliation is due to the Lutheran understanding of church fellowship, which divides the baptized within the body of Christ on the basis of a precise shared understanding of the sacramental mysteries. This division of the body doesn’t arise with Anglicans. So if our evangelical brother pursues his Lutheran ministerial vocation to its full fruition, he will ultimately excommunicate us. Not a happy thought!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws@60, I think that the biggest reason for a disconnect over the seminary’s denominational affiliation is due to the Lutheran understanding of church fellowship, which divides the baptized within the body of Christ on the basis of a precise shared understanding of the sacramental mysteries. This division of the body doesn’t arise with Anglicans. So if our evangelical brother pursues his Lutheran ministerial vocation to its full fruition, he will ultimately excommunicate us. Not a happy thought!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    I think Larry has done a fine job answering you.

    I think one reason that Lutheranism is so often overlooked as an alternative to those caught in the ping pong game as the ball bouncing between Calvinism and Arminianism is that Luther has for too long been slandered as a Calvinist in the reformed circles that have dominated the history of the English world. Then the ball bounces in left court and they become papists while practicing Zen Buddhism.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    I think Larry has done a fine job answering you.

    I think one reason that Lutheranism is so often overlooked as an alternative to those caught in the ping pong game as the ball bouncing between Calvinism and Arminianism is that Luther has for too long been slandered as a Calvinist in the reformed circles that have dominated the history of the English world. Then the ball bounces in left court and they become papists while practicing Zen Buddhism.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    I suppose us Lutherans will never be able to fully see why according to the rest of the protestant camp we should let people come to our table and confess with us doctrine they know nothing about, and actually consider an abomination when they learn about it. Wehere is the communion there?
    How does I really don’t care what you believe about soteriology, adn whether an infant should be baptized or denied the grace of God offered in baptism, uphold Paul’s admonition to be of the same spirit, mind and judgment.
    You see it is here for us where the rubber hits the road. We don’t want to excommunicate anyone, but we aren’t going to wink and nod and say it is o.k. for someone to continue blaspheming God with false doctrine either. That it is o.k for one to essentially deny the divinity of Christ by telling us it is impossible for him to be in more than one place. So when we ask you not to commune, we are just recognizing the divisions that exist, divisions we think make a difference, a difference with souls like Larry’s above, who were needlessly tortured for a long time, because the false doctrine being proclaimed clouded the Gospel. No, I’m much more inclined to let adulterers to my table then the kind that torture souls, and condone the torturing of souls with their offerings etc.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    I suppose us Lutherans will never be able to fully see why according to the rest of the protestant camp we should let people come to our table and confess with us doctrine they know nothing about, and actually consider an abomination when they learn about it. Wehere is the communion there?
    How does I really don’t care what you believe about soteriology, adn whether an infant should be baptized or denied the grace of God offered in baptism, uphold Paul’s admonition to be of the same spirit, mind and judgment.
    You see it is here for us where the rubber hits the road. We don’t want to excommunicate anyone, but we aren’t going to wink and nod and say it is o.k. for someone to continue blaspheming God with false doctrine either. That it is o.k for one to essentially deny the divinity of Christ by telling us it is impossible for him to be in more than one place. So when we ask you not to commune, we are just recognizing the divisions that exist, divisions we think make a difference, a difference with souls like Larry’s above, who were needlessly tortured for a long time, because the false doctrine being proclaimed clouded the Gospel. No, I’m much more inclined to let adulterers to my table then the kind that torture souls, and condone the torturing of souls with their offerings etc.

  • fws

    Bror @ 67

    “No, I’m much more inclined to let adulterers to my table then the kind that torture souls, and condone the torturing of souls with their offerings etc.”

    Aw. make it more scandalous and let´s remove all theoretical shall we: You would definately let a homosexual like me at your table before you would let one of those other really good persons who post here but deny the sacraments.

    And hey Bror, when are you and your wife comin down to brasil I am promising you so we can talk about all the things that united us in our faith among other stuff? Ah and the rest of you are invited too! for the beer that is. For the communion only those in communion will be invited to commune at the holy supper.

  • fws

    Bror @ 67

    “No, I’m much more inclined to let adulterers to my table then the kind that torture souls, and condone the torturing of souls with their offerings etc.”

    Aw. make it more scandalous and let´s remove all theoretical shall we: You would definately let a homosexual like me at your table before you would let one of those other really good persons who post here but deny the sacraments.

    And hey Bror, when are you and your wife comin down to brasil I am promising you so we can talk about all the things that united us in our faith among other stuff? Ah and the rest of you are invited too! for the beer that is. For the communion only those in communion will be invited to commune at the holy supper.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, I doubt that Calvin would have a problem with Luther’s correction of those who misinterpreted Bondage of Will and fatalistically ignored the Incarnate Son and his Word. Calvin was far from this sort of fatalism.

    As to <i.Bondage of Willitself, at age fifty-three, nine years before death, Luther in a letter of 9-July 1537 to Wolfgang Caputo wrote as follows:

    Regarding [the plan] to collect my writings in volumes, I am quite cool and not at all eager about it because, roused by a Saturnian hunger, I would rather see them all devoured. For I acknowledge none of them to be really a book of mine, except perhaps the one On the Bound Will and the Catechism.

    Bror, the Calvinists have for good reason been puzzled as to the Lutheran claim that he didn’t substantially share Calvin’s view of double predestination, when his writings, especially in Bondage of Will, are clear that he did so believe. Both Luther and Calvin rejected Erasmus’ essentially Arminian view of free will. Serious Calvinists, and Augustinians for that matter, want nothing to do with Arminianism.

    Luther in a letter to Erasmus in 1525 wrote that the hinge issue between them had to do with the issue of freedom or bondage of will, including the following:

    I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account—that you alone, in contrast with all others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like—trifles, rather than issues—in respect of which almost all to date have sought my blood (though without success); you, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, I doubt that Calvin would have a problem with Luther’s correction of those who misinterpreted Bondage of Will and fatalistically ignored the Incarnate Son and his Word. Calvin was far from this sort of fatalism.

    As to <i.Bondage of Willitself, at age fifty-three, nine years before death, Luther in a letter of 9-July 1537 to Wolfgang Caputo wrote as follows:

    Regarding [the plan] to collect my writings in volumes, I am quite cool and not at all eager about it because, roused by a Saturnian hunger, I would rather see them all devoured. For I acknowledge none of them to be really a book of mine, except perhaps the one On the Bound Will and the Catechism.

    Bror, the Calvinists have for good reason been puzzled as to the Lutheran claim that he didn’t substantially share Calvin’s view of double predestination, when his writings, especially in Bondage of Will, are clear that he did so believe. Both Luther and Calvin rejected Erasmus’ essentially Arminian view of free will. Serious Calvinists, and Augustinians for that matter, want nothing to do with Arminianism.

    Luther in a letter to Erasmus in 1525 wrote that the hinge issue between them had to do with the issue of freedom or bondage of will, including the following:

    I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account—that you alone, in contrast with all others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like—trifles, rather than issues—in respect of which almost all to date have sought my blood (though without success); you, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws@68, Your comment here seems to suggest that your question about seminary affiliation at #60 was directed only to Lutheran respondents. Please pardon my answer, neighbor. Shalom.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws@68, Your comment here seems to suggest that your question about seminary affiliation at #60 was directed only to Lutheran respondents. Please pardon my answer, neighbor. Shalom.

  • fws

    John b @70

    Not at all! I was asking actually the non lutherans here. and your answer makes perfect sense to me!

    but then the majority of Lutherans don´t have closed communion in the usa. so what about them? there still seems to be something there that I can´t quite put my finger on…..

    can you help a brother out John?

  • fws

    John b @70

    Not at all! I was asking actually the non lutherans here. and your answer makes perfect sense to me!

    but then the majority of Lutherans don´t have closed communion in the usa. so what about them? there still seems to be something there that I can´t quite put my finger on…..

    can you help a brother out John?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    Rod Rosenbladt will tell you that Luther outdoes the Calvinists in Calvinism with his book on the Bondage of the Will, at least in areas. The problem is that Luther will not and does not make the sovereignty of God the cornerstone of his theology, and though he will go to places in the course of a debate to make a point, he does not necessarily thereby believe that it is the only place that he could have gone, or that God necessarily is bound by his own reasoning in a debate.
    In otherwords, taken together with all that Luther says on a subject you cannot make Luther fit into the Calvinist camp. Luther does not hold such childish views concerning time and eternity that leads to election being a past and finished event where all were damned to hell or chosen for heaven.
    The Lutheran view as evidenced by his explanation to the third article of the Creed in the Small catechism is that election is an eternal event that actually happens in time through the means of grace, and this is what Larry is trying to get you to see. Perhaps today when you are done with your hour of Zen Buddhist meditation, or in lieu of it, you can meditate on this : I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has CALLED [read elected] ME BY THE GOSPEL….
    This official Lutheran view of election comes from one part of the Book of Concord most familiar to Lutherans, and written by Luther to instruct others especially the laity, in the doctrine of the Christian church. It is also not compatible with the Calvinist view of election that it is a past event.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    Rod Rosenbladt will tell you that Luther outdoes the Calvinists in Calvinism with his book on the Bondage of the Will, at least in areas. The problem is that Luther will not and does not make the sovereignty of God the cornerstone of his theology, and though he will go to places in the course of a debate to make a point, he does not necessarily thereby believe that it is the only place that he could have gone, or that God necessarily is bound by his own reasoning in a debate.
    In otherwords, taken together with all that Luther says on a subject you cannot make Luther fit into the Calvinist camp. Luther does not hold such childish views concerning time and eternity that leads to election being a past and finished event where all were damned to hell or chosen for heaven.
    The Lutheran view as evidenced by his explanation to the third article of the Creed in the Small catechism is that election is an eternal event that actually happens in time through the means of grace, and this is what Larry is trying to get you to see. Perhaps today when you are done with your hour of Zen Buddhist meditation, or in lieu of it, you can meditate on this : I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has CALLED [read elected] ME BY THE GOSPEL….
    This official Lutheran view of election comes from one part of the Book of Concord most familiar to Lutherans, and written by Luther to instruct others especially the laity, in the doctrine of the Christian church. It is also not compatible with the Calvinist view of election that it is a past event.

  • Larry

    Yet, Peter, Calvin rejected Luther on the sacraments which is rejecting the same thing. Make no mistake about it, the sacraments is a divide between two seperate religions. And about that Luther was crystal clear, it is sewn into his entire theology. Unless one grasps that difference one cannot grasp the difference on predestination/election. Bondage of the will is not the same as total depravity and it never has been, and this is best shown in Luther’s HD. Free will has actually found a very nice cozy fort within the arms of the TULIP, its just doesn’t call itself “free will”. And it has to do with the actual state of faith of the believer which is revealed in why a Calvinist can say “one cannot fall away but never was” versus Luther who would say a true believer can fall away from the faith. It’s why Calvinist at length end up with a roman catholic similar mortal/venial sin scenario (though not named that) post conversion. Rather than such being “what kind/quantity of sin/works means I fall away” it becomes “what kind/quantity of sin/works means I’m not really elect/saved/born again for real” (remember there are no real sacraments in Calvinism, not the strict sense of the word, thus all hinges on secondary proofs). Thus, the Calvinist finds himself like the RC and like the Arminian “what kind/quantity of sin/works (the ‘mortal’ as opposed to the ‘venial’) means I fall away (Rome/Arminian) or am not elect/saved/really born again (Calvinistic)”. The question is what withholds one from the grace of God in all accounts. Thus, Luther on the other side explicitly spells out in the HD on this issue just opposite using the mortal/venial language against Rome and by extension Calvinism. Here a mortal sin or work is such that it is only mortal (deadly/withholds from the grace of God) if viewed and confessed as not mortal and a venial sin or work is one that is always viewed and confessed as mortal. Further Luther says in the HD that the distinction between a dead and deadly work (a distinction Rome made explicitly and Calvinism/arminianism implies by other names) is a perilous surrender of the fear of God.

    Thus, you see though we employ much of the same language we are operating from two entirely different paradigms/worlds/universes/religions. Rome/Calvin/Arminian theology see the main issue in the repair of man, forgiveness of sin at best only serves to this end or the Gospel serves the Law to turn a Lutheran phrase. For Luther forgiveness of sin IS the thing and where there is forgiveness of sin there IS life and salvation. Entirely different operational paradigms using similar language. Your stuck on the language rather than the operation, as are many Calvinist that’s why you are confussed and reading it through a Calvinistic prism. Rome/Calvin/Arminian seeing things fundamentally this way grace’s ultimate work is in the repair of the “broken will” so as to exercise it better (but this is really nothing less than original sin). Rome/Calvin/Arminian seeing things fundamentally this way end up making grace an “infusion”, Roman explicitly calling it such Calvin/Arminian implicitly. It’s, then, just a matter where you put the explicit or implied “infused” grace? Rome puts it in the “sacraments” like a kind of cough medicine and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Calvinism puts the “infused” (the implications of it) grace in the post conversion experience of the Holy Spirit that sometimes attends the Word and Sacrament and sometimes does not (the effectual vs. sufficient caveats) and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Arminianism puts the “infused” grace in the creation of man from the beginning (and explicitly call it making a choice) and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Roman Catholics no more trust the sacraments than do Arminians, Calvinist or Baptist but the pictures of their lives, the repaired will that gives the sinner the “coin” to attain keep (Rome), prove (Calvin) or attain (Arminian) to grace. That’s what happens when the real sacraments with REAL objective pro me really given not just offered grace/gospel (meaning forgiveness of sin and where there is such there IS life and salvation) which is Luther/Lutheran.

    I hope that helps more,

    Larry

  • Larry

    Yet, Peter, Calvin rejected Luther on the sacraments which is rejecting the same thing. Make no mistake about it, the sacraments is a divide between two seperate religions. And about that Luther was crystal clear, it is sewn into his entire theology. Unless one grasps that difference one cannot grasp the difference on predestination/election. Bondage of the will is not the same as total depravity and it never has been, and this is best shown in Luther’s HD. Free will has actually found a very nice cozy fort within the arms of the TULIP, its just doesn’t call itself “free will”. And it has to do with the actual state of faith of the believer which is revealed in why a Calvinist can say “one cannot fall away but never was” versus Luther who would say a true believer can fall away from the faith. It’s why Calvinist at length end up with a roman catholic similar mortal/venial sin scenario (though not named that) post conversion. Rather than such being “what kind/quantity of sin/works means I fall away” it becomes “what kind/quantity of sin/works means I’m not really elect/saved/born again for real” (remember there are no real sacraments in Calvinism, not the strict sense of the word, thus all hinges on secondary proofs). Thus, the Calvinist finds himself like the RC and like the Arminian “what kind/quantity of sin/works (the ‘mortal’ as opposed to the ‘venial’) means I fall away (Rome/Arminian) or am not elect/saved/really born again (Calvinistic)”. The question is what withholds one from the grace of God in all accounts. Thus, Luther on the other side explicitly spells out in the HD on this issue just opposite using the mortal/venial language against Rome and by extension Calvinism. Here a mortal sin or work is such that it is only mortal (deadly/withholds from the grace of God) if viewed and confessed as not mortal and a venial sin or work is one that is always viewed and confessed as mortal. Further Luther says in the HD that the distinction between a dead and deadly work (a distinction Rome made explicitly and Calvinism/arminianism implies by other names) is a perilous surrender of the fear of God.

    Thus, you see though we employ much of the same language we are operating from two entirely different paradigms/worlds/universes/religions. Rome/Calvin/Arminian theology see the main issue in the repair of man, forgiveness of sin at best only serves to this end or the Gospel serves the Law to turn a Lutheran phrase. For Luther forgiveness of sin IS the thing and where there is forgiveness of sin there IS life and salvation. Entirely different operational paradigms using similar language. Your stuck on the language rather than the operation, as are many Calvinist that’s why you are confussed and reading it through a Calvinistic prism. Rome/Calvin/Arminian seeing things fundamentally this way grace’s ultimate work is in the repair of the “broken will” so as to exercise it better (but this is really nothing less than original sin). Rome/Calvin/Arminian seeing things fundamentally this way end up making grace an “infusion”, Roman explicitly calling it such Calvin/Arminian implicitly. It’s, then, just a matter where you put the explicit or implied “infused” grace? Rome puts it in the “sacraments” like a kind of cough medicine and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Calvinism puts the “infused” (the implications of it) grace in the post conversion experience of the Holy Spirit that sometimes attends the Word and Sacrament and sometimes does not (the effectual vs. sufficient caveats) and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Arminianism puts the “infused” grace in the creation of man from the beginning (and explicitly call it making a choice) and then one can start working better and know they are thus saved. Roman Catholics no more trust the sacraments than do Arminians, Calvinist or Baptist but the pictures of their lives, the repaired will that gives the sinner the “coin” to attain keep (Rome), prove (Calvin) or attain (Arminian) to grace. That’s what happens when the real sacraments with REAL objective pro me really given not just offered grace/gospel (meaning forgiveness of sin and where there is such there IS life and salvation) which is Luther/Lutheran.

    I hope that helps more,

    Larry

  • Larry

    Sorry the last sentence should read:

    That’s what happens when the real sacraments with REAL objective pro me really given not just offered grace/gospel (meaning forgiveness of sin and where there is such there IS life and salvation) which is Luther/Lutheran – is no longer there.

  • Larry

    Sorry the last sentence should read:

    That’s what happens when the real sacraments with REAL objective pro me really given not just offered grace/gospel (meaning forgiveness of sin and where there is such there IS life and salvation) which is Luther/Lutheran – is no longer there.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws @71, Wish I could, but, sorry, the closed communion issue is all I’ve got. Aside from that, I believe that any Christian would be greatly edified by a confessional Lutheran seminary education.

    Naturally, the generic, “all things being equal” question as to the suitablity of a Lutheran seminary for evangelicals is just a starting point. I’d have concerns about mainline, liberal seminaries of any denominational stripe, but wouldn’t rule them out. I’ve known some men who’ve benefited greatly from the challenge of attending an academically rigorous liberal seminary. “Iron sharpens iron.”

    Lutherans are my brothers in Christ. But I don’t want to be presumptuous toward you or others who wouldn’t commune with me. God bless.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws @71, Wish I could, but, sorry, the closed communion issue is all I’ve got. Aside from that, I believe that any Christian would be greatly edified by a confessional Lutheran seminary education.

    Naturally, the generic, “all things being equal” question as to the suitablity of a Lutheran seminary for evangelicals is just a starting point. I’d have concerns about mainline, liberal seminaries of any denominational stripe, but wouldn’t rule them out. I’ve known some men who’ve benefited greatly from the challenge of attending an academically rigorous liberal seminary. “Iron sharpens iron.”

    Lutherans are my brothers in Christ. But I don’t want to be presumptuous toward you or others who wouldn’t commune with me. God bless.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    In the conclusion to the Bondage of the Will we have:

    “Finally:–If we believe that Christ redeemed men by His blood, we are compelled to confess, that the whole man was lost: otherwise, we shall make Christ superfluous, or a Redeemer of the grossest part of man only,–which is blasphemy and sacrilege!”

    This is the whole object of the discussion, if there is any part of man, even so-called Free Will which contributes to salvation, then Christ is superfluous or redeems only that which our free will does not cover. Which is blasphemy.

    This is always the bottom-line and the hinge on which things turn.

    If you believe in double pre-destination and God’s electing to reprobation, etc. you have taken Christ’s blood right out of the picture, which turns things on their head, and there is no comfort.

    Election is for comforting consciences. It’s God’s doing, not your own. Everything’s going to be alright. Your stupid will does not enter into the picture to mess things up. Your will is good for nothing. There is no spark, no knowledge, nothing–in you. We would have never guessed the Gospel, never been saved without the external word. That’s the point.

    Luther writes throughout, how important this teaching is for his own comfort and believing the Gospel for himself.

    Bondage of the will=God did it ALL in CHRIST=he elected you to trust him from the beginning, not when you made a beginning=no blasphemy.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    In the conclusion to the Bondage of the Will we have:

    “Finally:–If we believe that Christ redeemed men by His blood, we are compelled to confess, that the whole man was lost: otherwise, we shall make Christ superfluous, or a Redeemer of the grossest part of man only,–which is blasphemy and sacrilege!”

    This is the whole object of the discussion, if there is any part of man, even so-called Free Will which contributes to salvation, then Christ is superfluous or redeems only that which our free will does not cover. Which is blasphemy.

    This is always the bottom-line and the hinge on which things turn.

    If you believe in double pre-destination and God’s electing to reprobation, etc. you have taken Christ’s blood right out of the picture, which turns things on their head, and there is no comfort.

    Election is for comforting consciences. It’s God’s doing, not your own. Everything’s going to be alright. Your stupid will does not enter into the picture to mess things up. Your will is good for nothing. There is no spark, no knowledge, nothing–in you. We would have never guessed the Gospel, never been saved without the external word. That’s the point.

    Luther writes throughout, how important this teaching is for his own comfort and believing the Gospel for himself.

    Bondage of the will=God did it ALL in CHRIST=he elected you to trust him from the beginning, not when you made a beginning=no blasphemy.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, first, Calvin, like Luther, understood that the dimension of time has nothing to do with the dimension of eternity. Second, with due respect to Dr. Rosenblatt, both Luther and Calvin were the most brilliant thinkers of the Reformation. Sure, sectarian thinkers may find this or that superiority in the thought of both of thinkers, though in my view with the perspective of time that we have it is best to look to the considerable commonalities of their thought than to nit pick their differences, especially just now when Christendom faces a regnant secularity and a serious threatening militant Islam.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, first, Calvin, like Luther, understood that the dimension of time has nothing to do with the dimension of eternity. Second, with due respect to Dr. Rosenblatt, both Luther and Calvin were the most brilliant thinkers of the Reformation. Sure, sectarian thinkers may find this or that superiority in the thought of both of thinkers, though in my view with the perspective of time that we have it is best to look to the considerable commonalities of their thought than to nit pick their differences, especially just now when Christendom faces a regnant secularity and a serious threatening militant Islam.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The threat of Islam has absolutely nothing to do with this. We should wish to be hacked to pieces before we give up “a little” doctrine, Peter Leavitt. It has been explained quite well previously, but a little more.

    Quoting again from “The Fire and the Staff”, p. 265, 266 on Luther and Zwingli:

    “1. Some say that we should commune people if they accept most of the doctrine we teach because it’s unrealistic to expect someone to accept all the Lutheran doctrine.

    Luther was confronted with this one. He understood that if you were heterodox on one article of the faith, you would be wrong on all points. He debated a pastor named Ulrich Zwingli, who taught that Christ’s body was merely represented in the Sacrament. However, Zwingli still claimed to hold all the other articles of the gospel. They debated for three long days. At the end Luther and Zwingli had not come to an agreement on the doctrine of the presence of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament.
    Because no concord was in sight, one of Zwingli’s allies, Martin Bucer, asked if Luther could at least say that the other side was orthodox on other doctrines such as the Trinity, Baptism, the person of Christ, and justification.

    Luther replied, ‘No, I cannot do that… You reject me as well as my doctrine.’

    Frantically, Bucer then asked, ‘Will you recognize me as brother?’

    Again he received no satisfaction from Luther, “Your spirit and our spirit cannot go together. Indeed, it is quite obvious that we do not have the same spirit. For there cannot be one and the same spirit where, on the one side, the words of Christ are accepted in sincere faith, and, on the other side, this faith is criticized, attacked, denied, and spoken of with frivolous blasphemies. Therefore, as I have told you, we commend you to the judgment of God.’

    Notice that Luther did not say he was glad about how much the two parties agreed. Instead, he recognized that the other side had broken fellowship by its heterodoxy. Luther’s conclusion was based on the deviance of Zwingli on one point of doctrine. So we must not commune with people from churches that my seem to agree on some points of doctrine but not all.

    Later, in his Galatians commentary Luther said, ‘If you deny God in one article of faith, you have denied Him in all; for God is not divided into many articles of faith, but He is everything in each article and He is one in all thee articles of faith’. In the first chapter of this book I made the point that doctrine is not plural but singular. We hold to one doctrine with many articles. If you deny one article of faith you will end up questioning or denying all. People who claim to believe in most of the doctrine simply do not understand how all doctrine holds together.”

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The threat of Islam has absolutely nothing to do with this. We should wish to be hacked to pieces before we give up “a little” doctrine, Peter Leavitt. It has been explained quite well previously, but a little more.

    Quoting again from “The Fire and the Staff”, p. 265, 266 on Luther and Zwingli:

    “1. Some say that we should commune people if they accept most of the doctrine we teach because it’s unrealistic to expect someone to accept all the Lutheran doctrine.

    Luther was confronted with this one. He understood that if you were heterodox on one article of the faith, you would be wrong on all points. He debated a pastor named Ulrich Zwingli, who taught that Christ’s body was merely represented in the Sacrament. However, Zwingli still claimed to hold all the other articles of the gospel. They debated for three long days. At the end Luther and Zwingli had not come to an agreement on the doctrine of the presence of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament.
    Because no concord was in sight, one of Zwingli’s allies, Martin Bucer, asked if Luther could at least say that the other side was orthodox on other doctrines such as the Trinity, Baptism, the person of Christ, and justification.

    Luther replied, ‘No, I cannot do that… You reject me as well as my doctrine.’

    Frantically, Bucer then asked, ‘Will you recognize me as brother?’

    Again he received no satisfaction from Luther, “Your spirit and our spirit cannot go together. Indeed, it is quite obvious that we do not have the same spirit. For there cannot be one and the same spirit where, on the one side, the words of Christ are accepted in sincere faith, and, on the other side, this faith is criticized, attacked, denied, and spoken of with frivolous blasphemies. Therefore, as I have told you, we commend you to the judgment of God.’

    Notice that Luther did not say he was glad about how much the two parties agreed. Instead, he recognized that the other side had broken fellowship by its heterodoxy. Luther’s conclusion was based on the deviance of Zwingli on one point of doctrine. So we must not commune with people from churches that my seem to agree on some points of doctrine but not all.

    Later, in his Galatians commentary Luther said, ‘If you deny God in one article of faith, you have denied Him in all; for God is not divided into many articles of faith, but He is everything in each article and He is one in all thee articles of faith’. In the first chapter of this book I made the point that doctrine is not plural but singular. We hold to one doctrine with many articles. If you deny one article of faith you will end up questioning or denying all. People who claim to believe in most of the doctrine simply do not understand how all doctrine holds together.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Forget it peter, just go back to you Zen Buddhism, you won’t ever get it. My post was not about who the clearer, or better thinker was. Not at all what I was getting at.
    Though, I would go with Luther. Not only for better thinker, but better read.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Forget it peter, just go back to you Zen Buddhism, you won’t ever get it. My post was not about who the clearer, or better thinker was. Not at all what I was getting at.
    Though, I would go with Luther. Not only for better thinker, but better read.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Good Work Brigitte,
    I have to ask, why is it always the Lutherans who are supposed to compromise? If Peter doesn’t think it all that big of a deal, as the Calvinists always want to pretend, then why don’t they compromise.
    I find it a big deal. I think it matters, if they don’t then they should give up there position. They want to make it look though as if it is the big bad Lutherans who won’t play right. next thing you know you got Prussian Jackboots with Puritan buckles locking you out of church, and paying blood money for your pastor. But its us Lutherans, we are the ones who won’t compromise….

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Good Work Brigitte,
    I have to ask, why is it always the Lutherans who are supposed to compromise? If Peter doesn’t think it all that big of a deal, as the Calvinists always want to pretend, then why don’t they compromise.
    I find it a big deal. I think it matters, if they don’t then they should give up there position. They want to make it look though as if it is the big bad Lutherans who won’t play right. next thing you know you got Prussian Jackboots with Puritan buckles locking you out of church, and paying blood money for your pastor. But its us Lutherans, we are the ones who won’t compromise….

  • Peter Leavitt

    Forget it yourself, Bror. You will never get it in the way that your fellow conservative Lutheran pastor, Richard John Neuhaus, came to get it regarding the scandal of Christian disunity, caused mainly by narrow sectarians who are unable to think beyond their smug defensiveness regarding fine points of theology.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Forget it yourself, Bror. You will never get it in the way that your fellow conservative Lutheran pastor, Richard John Neuhaus, came to get it regarding the scandal of Christian disunity, caused mainly by narrow sectarians who are unable to think beyond their smug defensiveness regarding fine points of theology.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I don’t get it either. If it is such a small matter and unity goes above everything else and we are supposed to compromise, why don’t THEY compromise?

    We can talk all day about the cross and how it is effectively canceled out by this and that teaching, but we’re the ones who are supposed to fold. Would we not violate our most cherished belief and all for people who care not a whit about how dear the truth is?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I don’t get it either. If it is such a small matter and unity goes above everything else and we are supposed to compromise, why don’t THEY compromise?

    We can talk all day about the cross and how it is effectively canceled out by this and that teaching, but we’re the ones who are supposed to fold. Would we not violate our most cherished belief and all for people who care not a whit about how dear the truth is?

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt opines, “Mr. Gorman, the second part of that quote from Bondage of Will that you selectively left out includes:

    …It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42

    …Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    The parts taken together with part from which you quoted are clear that Luther believed in double predestination.”

    Whether Luther believed in double predestination, I do not know. What I do know is that “Bondage of the Will” does not teach double predestination and that every passage you cite is another argument against double predestination. If the God Incarnate weeps, laments, and groans over the perdition of the ungodly, the God Incarnate cannot predestine either actively (supralapsarianism) or passively (infralapsarianism) the perdition He weeps, laments, and groans over. Thoughtful Calvinists understand that Luther only appears to agree with them because Luther also rejects Free Will and Open Theism as causes of the ungodly’s damnation.

    “This is the highest degree of faith—to believe that He is merciful, who saves so few and damns so many; to believe Him just, who according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable. . .
    God works in us both good and evil, and that we from mere necessity passively submit to the working of God, they seem to imagine, that a man who is good, or not evil himself, is passive while God works evil in him: not rightly considering that God, is far from being inactive in all His creatures, and never suffers any one of them to keep holiday.
    But whoever wishes to understand these things let him think thus:—that God works evil in us, that is, by us, not from the fault of God, but from the fault of evil in us:—that is, as we are evil by nature, God, who is truly good, carrying us along by His own action, according to the nature of His Omnipotence, cannot do otherwise than do evil by us, as instruments, though He Himself be good; though by His wisdom, He overrules that evil well, to His own glory and to our salvation.
    Thus God, finding the will of Satan evil, not creating it so, but leaving it while Satan sinningly commits the evil, carries it along by His working, and moves it which way He will; though that will ceases not to be evil by this motion of God.” Bondage of the Will

    Luther does not try to reconcile God’s Omnipotent will, His will to save all men, and His will of Majesty that makes the ungodly necessarily damnable. Luther simply reports what scripture teaches rather than inventing a false doctrine of “Double Predestination” to explain the apparently irreconcilable: “Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.”

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt opines, “Mr. Gorman, the second part of that quote from Bondage of Will that you selectively left out includes:

    …It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.42

    …Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!

    The parts taken together with part from which you quoted are clear that Luther believed in double predestination.”

    Whether Luther believed in double predestination, I do not know. What I do know is that “Bondage of the Will” does not teach double predestination and that every passage you cite is another argument against double predestination. If the God Incarnate weeps, laments, and groans over the perdition of the ungodly, the God Incarnate cannot predestine either actively (supralapsarianism) or passively (infralapsarianism) the perdition He weeps, laments, and groans over. Thoughtful Calvinists understand that Luther only appears to agree with them because Luther also rejects Free Will and Open Theism as causes of the ungodly’s damnation.

    “This is the highest degree of faith—to believe that He is merciful, who saves so few and damns so many; to believe Him just, who according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable. . .
    God works in us both good and evil, and that we from mere necessity passively submit to the working of God, they seem to imagine, that a man who is good, or not evil himself, is passive while God works evil in him: not rightly considering that God, is far from being inactive in all His creatures, and never suffers any one of them to keep holiday.
    But whoever wishes to understand these things let him think thus:—that God works evil in us, that is, by us, not from the fault of God, but from the fault of evil in us:—that is, as we are evil by nature, God, who is truly good, carrying us along by His own action, according to the nature of His Omnipotence, cannot do otherwise than do evil by us, as instruments, though He Himself be good; though by His wisdom, He overrules that evil well, to His own glory and to our salvation.
    Thus God, finding the will of Satan evil, not creating it so, but leaving it while Satan sinningly commits the evil, carries it along by His working, and moves it which way He will; though that will ceases not to be evil by this motion of God.” Bondage of the Will

    Luther does not try to reconcile God’s Omnipotent will, His will to save all men, and His will of Majesty that makes the ungodly necessarily damnable. Luther simply reports what scripture teaches rather than inventing a false doctrine of “Double Predestination” to explain the apparently irreconcilable: “Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror:

    The barrier between Lutheranism and evangelicalism that I referred to isn’t one that would prevent someone like me from becoming Lutheran, but one that prevents Lutheranism from have much influence beyond itself. Both “sides” have a role in maintaining the wall. Confessional Lutherans seem to keep to themselves lest they be contaminated (though they seem happy to have borrowed modern young-Earth creationism from the dispensationalists and even adventists). Evangelicals ignore Lutheranism altogether for some reason (try finding the Lutheran Study Bible in the local evangelical Christian bookstore).

    I have not gone back to the Lutheran church (I grew up in a fairly conservative ALC/ELCA congregation) because there is much good at the Evangelical Free Church I attend. It is not perfect, of course, but neither is the LCMS or any other church body.

    Michael Spencer did not switch to Lutheranism in part because he did not accept infant baptism. You can have a Calvinist Baptist (Spencer was no longer a Calvinist), but I think “Lutheran Baptist” sounds rather oxymoronic.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror:

    The barrier between Lutheranism and evangelicalism that I referred to isn’t one that would prevent someone like me from becoming Lutheran, but one that prevents Lutheranism from have much influence beyond itself. Both “sides” have a role in maintaining the wall. Confessional Lutherans seem to keep to themselves lest they be contaminated (though they seem happy to have borrowed modern young-Earth creationism from the dispensationalists and even adventists). Evangelicals ignore Lutheranism altogether for some reason (try finding the Lutheran Study Bible in the local evangelical Christian bookstore).

    I have not gone back to the Lutheran church (I grew up in a fairly conservative ALC/ELCA congregation) because there is much good at the Evangelical Free Church I attend. It is not perfect, of course, but neither is the LCMS or any other church body.

    Michael Spencer did not switch to Lutheranism in part because he did not accept infant baptism. You can have a Calvinist Baptist (Spencer was no longer a Calvinist), but I think “Lutheran Baptist” sounds rather oxymoronic.

  • fws

    Kevin N @82

    I disagree with your analysis of Spencer. The thing that made spencer so useful to so many was that he was considering deeply the subject of what he called sanctification and it´s fruits and the relation of those two things to the law and the gospel.

    He favored JC Ryles spin on things unfortunately, which is classic calvinism that calvin, I am told, borrowed from the late Melancthon.

    Here the law in it´s calvinistic “3rd use” is a non-killing use of the law that enables christians to become more sanctified. It is this view that tortures evangelicals, and lutherans cannot respond to it correctly because… they too have drunk the kalvin-kool-aid.

    He never found his way out of this depressing treadmill, but came closer than even many Lutherans to doing so. This is why he could not accept infant baptism. His views on what faith and repentance are were fully informed and bound up in this,and of course his logic and that of the reformed is impeccable, a 2 day old cannot have repentence in faith logically according to this. The problem is to ask if the premise that the logic is based upon is really true. It is not. If faith/repentance/sanctification are all pure gift, a miracle worked by the word, then babies can have this in the same way adults can. If the premise is that repentance and sanctification are something we need to work at by first intellectually assenting to it and then working at it with will-power (law!) then babies cannot do this of course!

    ah , almost forgot… so what IS the Lutheran (and biblical!) “3rd use? It is that sanctification is pure gift and gospel. The law only exists in the life of the believer because athough we have drown the old adam in our baptism, he is an excellent swimmer, so we continue, as believers, to have to contend with the old adam in the same way we did before we were given the New Man or the Christ-in-us. so whenever we here “try harder” “press towards the mark” “run the race” “fight the good fight”, this is pure Law, this is something we DO. So we need to put all this under the category of “Mortification of the Old Adam/Flesh ” Christians, according to their old adams, are under the same law as pagans and are still under the full condemnation of the law, death. we will all die. that is the proof for this. Christians , according to the new man, the spirit, invisible faith in christ, having put on christ, have no law, are subject to no law at all. better, they need no law to be righteous in any sense. this is law and gospel applied to the believer in is person. old adam/law and new adam/gospel.

  • fws

    Kevin N @82

    I disagree with your analysis of Spencer. The thing that made spencer so useful to so many was that he was considering deeply the subject of what he called sanctification and it´s fruits and the relation of those two things to the law and the gospel.

    He favored JC Ryles spin on things unfortunately, which is classic calvinism that calvin, I am told, borrowed from the late Melancthon.

    Here the law in it´s calvinistic “3rd use” is a non-killing use of the law that enables christians to become more sanctified. It is this view that tortures evangelicals, and lutherans cannot respond to it correctly because… they too have drunk the kalvin-kool-aid.

    He never found his way out of this depressing treadmill, but came closer than even many Lutherans to doing so. This is why he could not accept infant baptism. His views on what faith and repentance are were fully informed and bound up in this,and of course his logic and that of the reformed is impeccable, a 2 day old cannot have repentence in faith logically according to this. The problem is to ask if the premise that the logic is based upon is really true. It is not. If faith/repentance/sanctification are all pure gift, a miracle worked by the word, then babies can have this in the same way adults can. If the premise is that repentance and sanctification are something we need to work at by first intellectually assenting to it and then working at it with will-power (law!) then babies cannot do this of course!

    ah , almost forgot… so what IS the Lutheran (and biblical!) “3rd use? It is that sanctification is pure gift and gospel. The law only exists in the life of the believer because athough we have drown the old adam in our baptism, he is an excellent swimmer, so we continue, as believers, to have to contend with the old adam in the same way we did before we were given the New Man or the Christ-in-us. so whenever we here “try harder” “press towards the mark” “run the race” “fight the good fight”, this is pure Law, this is something we DO. So we need to put all this under the category of “Mortification of the Old Adam/Flesh ” Christians, according to their old adams, are under the same law as pagans and are still under the full condemnation of the law, death. we will all die. that is the proof for this. Christians , according to the new man, the spirit, invisible faith in christ, having put on christ, have no law, are subject to no law at all. better, they need no law to be righteous in any sense. this is law and gospel applied to the believer in is person. old adam/law and new adam/gospel.

  • fws

    “there is now no condemnation to those who are IN christ jesus. ”

    compare:

    “as many as were baptized, put ON Christ. ”

    Sanctification is christ-in-us. It is nothing more. It is most certainly nothing less.

    If you want to understand how sanctification and it´s fruit works and looks like, simply consider the blessed incarnation of our Lord. Your sanctification looks and works exactly , EXACTLY like that. Jesus needed law school to be exhorted or reminded how to do good works or be a better person? Of course not. that is silly isn´t it?

    But then in addition, we believers, soley because of the old adam which clings to us, in addition require Mortification.

    Jesus, and also the believer insofar as he is born again, precisely BECAUSE the new birth is, intrinsically and by definition, the indwelling christ, needs no Law.

  • fws

    “there is now no condemnation to those who are IN christ jesus. ”

    compare:

    “as many as were baptized, put ON Christ. ”

    Sanctification is christ-in-us. It is nothing more. It is most certainly nothing less.

    If you want to understand how sanctification and it´s fruit works and looks like, simply consider the blessed incarnation of our Lord. Your sanctification looks and works exactly , EXACTLY like that. Jesus needed law school to be exhorted or reminded how to do good works or be a better person? Of course not. that is silly isn´t it?

    But then in addition, we believers, soley because of the old adam which clings to us, in addition require Mortification.

    Jesus, and also the believer insofar as he is born again, precisely BECAUSE the new birth is, intrinsically and by definition, the indwelling christ, needs no Law.

  • fws

    this is why Lutheranism at it´s best is incarnational more than merely doctrinal. calvinists are better at being “doctrinal” than lutherans!

    “mary is the mother of God.”

    Lutherans embrace this statement. Calvinists accept it as true but the statement does not set well with them. There are reasons for this that are precisely why calvinists differ from Lutherans. This is the root of the difference. Different Christologies.

  • fws

    this is why Lutheranism at it´s best is incarnational more than merely doctrinal. calvinists are better at being “doctrinal” than lutherans!

    “mary is the mother of God.”

    Lutherans embrace this statement. Calvinists accept it as true but the statement does not set well with them. There are reasons for this that are precisely why calvinists differ from Lutherans. This is the root of the difference. Different Christologies.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@85), I’m not very familiar with Spencer, but I understand that he was baptistic. Ryle and Calvin, on the other hand, baptised infants. They were quite insistent about it actually. Some might even say legalistic!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@85), I’m not very familiar with Spencer, but I understand that he was baptistic. Ryle and Calvin, on the other hand, baptised infants. They were quite insistent about it actually. Some might even say legalistic!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@87), I’ve found that many modern Lutherans and Reformed struggle with the idea of the Theotokos. But neither Luther or Calvin did. Both even expressed belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    I agree with you that there are christological differences, but I don’t think that they’re with the Council of Ephesus, but deal with the later councils of Chalcedon and Constantinople II.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@87), I’ve found that many modern Lutherans and Reformed struggle with the idea of the Theotokos. But neither Luther or Calvin did. Both even expressed belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    I agree with you that there are christological differences, but I don’t think that they’re with the Council of Ephesus, but deal with the later councils of Chalcedon and Constantinople II.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John b,
    What Lutherans. Are you talking to?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John b,
    What Lutherans. Are you talking to?

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    I don’t get it either. If it is such a small matter and unity goes above everything else and we are supposed to compromise, why don’t THEY compromise?

    “Unity above all else”, ironically is the same cry we hear from both heterodoxy AND other religions, secularism and paganism, “peace and unity” they cry. So why stop at “unity within heterodoxy”, why not just have a “gracious god” without “just Jesus”, and bring into the fold a gracious Buddha or other Avatar? After all “unity above all” right, is heterodoxy and secularisms call. In fact Rome in the NT era loved that idea, unity above all, you could have ANY god you liked just don’t claim there is but one truth. Here we see heterodoxies façade fall off and show itself for what it is, anti-christian.

    Those are good questions Brigitte. I would submit that the first one is a trap that heterodoxy always flies under; unity goes above everything else. This is simply not true at all, fidelity to the word goes above everything else not “just unity”. Serious Calvinist realize this too until they find out they are not united with the orthodoxy of the Lutheran confessions themselves, then they want to go to “unity above everything”.

    Sasse makes this point and again the sacraments tell us the story. Here those whose supper is a “real absence” of the body/flesh and blood of Christ would read that the LS is the MEANS of unity and hence all Zwinglian and Calvinistic churches open the communing doors eventually because “unity is above all else”. Rather than the LS being the END or RESULTANT of unity of confession of the Word (fidelity to the Word).

    This is also precisely Christ high priestly prayer before He suffers. He did not pray “unity above all else”. He prayed in John 17, “…keep them in the truth…Your WORD is the truth…that they may be one, they in Me and I in them as I am in You and You in Me.” (paraphrased). Here we see the parallel that cannot be disconnected that truth in the Word is inseparable from true unity and vice versa. Hence the LS cannot compromise nor can any sacrament.

    Take for example Michael’s first example in the above quoted article where he says to not give him your denomination but let’s start with the Nicene Creed. Very well, lets toss aside the Lutheran confessions to “deLutheranize” the conversation for a moment. Can for example a Baptist of ANY flavor confess this with a Lutheran in unity? Let’s take an article of it, “I believe in ONE baptism for the remission of sins?” Can a baptist confess that? No they believe in numerous baptisms depending on which group you speak with between the Calvinistic and Arminian poles within their ranks. One, like my wife was, can find themselves rebaptized nearly infinitely (she had 4, all teen/adult baptisms). You can always get another baptism that’s not one. They believe in at least two baptisms one with water and one with the spirit. Is said baptism for the forgiveness of sins? No they do not confess that, getting baptized does not “forgive sins”, they deny this promise for example in Acts 2 especially unto infants (and the promise is to your children), baptism does not confer the forgiveness of sins. The reform don’t confess that later part either, baptism is not effectual, it does not regenerate, it does not always give the spirit, etc… So under the Nicene Creed, pre every denomination, we cannot even confess the creed the same. Once we ask, “what does baptism do”, what do we confess? We find we don’t confess the same religion.

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    I don’t get it either. If it is such a small matter and unity goes above everything else and we are supposed to compromise, why don’t THEY compromise?

    “Unity above all else”, ironically is the same cry we hear from both heterodoxy AND other religions, secularism and paganism, “peace and unity” they cry. So why stop at “unity within heterodoxy”, why not just have a “gracious god” without “just Jesus”, and bring into the fold a gracious Buddha or other Avatar? After all “unity above all” right, is heterodoxy and secularisms call. In fact Rome in the NT era loved that idea, unity above all, you could have ANY god you liked just don’t claim there is but one truth. Here we see heterodoxies façade fall off and show itself for what it is, anti-christian.

    Those are good questions Brigitte. I would submit that the first one is a trap that heterodoxy always flies under; unity goes above everything else. This is simply not true at all, fidelity to the word goes above everything else not “just unity”. Serious Calvinist realize this too until they find out they are not united with the orthodoxy of the Lutheran confessions themselves, then they want to go to “unity above everything”.

    Sasse makes this point and again the sacraments tell us the story. Here those whose supper is a “real absence” of the body/flesh and blood of Christ would read that the LS is the MEANS of unity and hence all Zwinglian and Calvinistic churches open the communing doors eventually because “unity is above all else”. Rather than the LS being the END or RESULTANT of unity of confession of the Word (fidelity to the Word).

    This is also precisely Christ high priestly prayer before He suffers. He did not pray “unity above all else”. He prayed in John 17, “…keep them in the truth…Your WORD is the truth…that they may be one, they in Me and I in them as I am in You and You in Me.” (paraphrased). Here we see the parallel that cannot be disconnected that truth in the Word is inseparable from true unity and vice versa. Hence the LS cannot compromise nor can any sacrament.

    Take for example Michael’s first example in the above quoted article where he says to not give him your denomination but let’s start with the Nicene Creed. Very well, lets toss aside the Lutheran confessions to “deLutheranize” the conversation for a moment. Can for example a Baptist of ANY flavor confess this with a Lutheran in unity? Let’s take an article of it, “I believe in ONE baptism for the remission of sins?” Can a baptist confess that? No they believe in numerous baptisms depending on which group you speak with between the Calvinistic and Arminian poles within their ranks. One, like my wife was, can find themselves rebaptized nearly infinitely (she had 4, all teen/adult baptisms). You can always get another baptism that’s not one. They believe in at least two baptisms one with water and one with the spirit. Is said baptism for the forgiveness of sins? No they do not confess that, getting baptized does not “forgive sins”, they deny this promise for example in Acts 2 especially unto infants (and the promise is to your children), baptism does not confer the forgiveness of sins. The reform don’t confess that later part either, baptism is not effectual, it does not regenerate, it does not always give the spirit, etc… So under the Nicene Creed, pre every denomination, we cannot even confess the creed the same. Once we ask, “what does baptism do”, what do we confess? We find we don’t confess the same religion.

    Larry

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@90), LCMS mostly, and some ELCA.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@90), LCMS mostly, and some ELCA.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, I’m far from arguing that these issues that divide Calvinist and Lutherans are small matters and that unity is the supreme consideration. Rather that while, God’s truth is supreme, men, including the best theologians, see through a glass darkly and arrive at partial, provisional truths. In my view, whether regarding predestination or sacramental matters, Luther and Calvin were not that terribly far apart. There is no good reason why ecumenists of good will could not find solutions to these issues.

    Wolfhart Pannenpberg, the German systematic theologian, in a First Things article, Christianity and the West writes:

    My argument is that the renewal of Christian unity is absolutely mandatory not only for the authenticity of the churches in obeying the will and prayer of their Lord but also for the cultural plausibility of the Christian religion. Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians. Perhaps the gospel of love cannot be expected to change the basic conditions of life in this world before the final advent of God’s kingdom, but that gospel should be powerful enough to enable Christians to keep peace among themselves and to present their communities to the world as models of reconciliation. To be sure, controversy and division cannot always be avoided so long as questions of doctrine, questions of truth, are taken seriously. But controversy should not be dominant in the picture that Christianity presents to the world, nor should Christians today remain divided simply because their ancestors were divided by controversies in centuries past.

    Like Pannenberg, serious Christians would do well to regard Christian disunity as an egregious scandal.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, I’m far from arguing that these issues that divide Calvinist and Lutherans are small matters and that unity is the supreme consideration. Rather that while, God’s truth is supreme, men, including the best theologians, see through a glass darkly and arrive at partial, provisional truths. In my view, whether regarding predestination or sacramental matters, Luther and Calvin were not that terribly far apart. There is no good reason why ecumenists of good will could not find solutions to these issues.

    Wolfhart Pannenpberg, the German systematic theologian, in a First Things article, Christianity and the West writes:

    My argument is that the renewal of Christian unity is absolutely mandatory not only for the authenticity of the churches in obeying the will and prayer of their Lord but also for the cultural plausibility of the Christian religion. Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians. Perhaps the gospel of love cannot be expected to change the basic conditions of life in this world before the final advent of God’s kingdom, but that gospel should be powerful enough to enable Christians to keep peace among themselves and to present their communities to the world as models of reconciliation. To be sure, controversy and division cannot always be avoided so long as questions of doctrine, questions of truth, are taken seriously. But controversy should not be dominant in the picture that Christianity presents to the world, nor should Christians today remain divided simply because their ancestors were divided by controversies in centuries past.

    Like Pannenberg, serious Christians would do well to regard Christian disunity as an egregious scandal.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, the link above is Here.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, the link above is Here.

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    Peter,

    The issues concerning the sacraments between Luther and Calvin and there successors are not just matters that can be reconciled, they are (choose your absolute term of preferrence) utterly absolutely irreconcilable and on the matter of the sacraments not just “points of some difference” nor just “points of talking past each other”, they are essentials upon which there has never been, is not or ever can be unity. To give up these IS to give up the Gospel.

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    Peter,

    The issues concerning the sacraments between Luther and Calvin and there successors are not just matters that can be reconciled, they are (choose your absolute term of preferrence) utterly absolutely irreconcilable and on the matter of the sacraments not just “points of some difference” nor just “points of talking past each other”, they are essentials upon which there has never been, is not or ever can be unity. To give up these IS to give up the Gospel.

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    Peter,

    Like I said basically paraphrasing Sasse and other Lutherans, including Luther himself upon the article of the sacraments there is no compromise. It’s why heterdoxy sees the LS as a MEANS for unity but orthodoxy understands it as the END RESULT for unity which is what Paul is saying in 1 Cor. Chemnitz makes this point as well.

    It’s only “disunity” from the point of view of heterodoxy which likes to unhinge the truth. The battle for the truth has ALWAYS been in and around the church and mission field. Even in the NT there were those false heterodox churches and leaders that rose up, the proto-gnostics for example, who as Sasse points out surely believe that Jesus was the only way, truth and life but merely disagreed on His two natures. The fact that there is disunity is not a scandal to Christianity and it is a false dilemma to see it that way, but the very expression of the reality that there is a very real spiritual war going on at the front line of the church between God’s Word and Satan’s word. Heterodoxy doesn’t like to be included in that because the implications are very clear, nobody, not even an atheist wants to be known as “false” or giving the word of the devil, but the fact is is that that is so and true.

    Such things as the sacraments are not reconcilable. As Luther said concerning the sacrament of the altar that it IS the Gospel and any tinkering with those words doctrinally or otherwise is to tinker with the very Gospel itself to produce another gospel. That’s why it’s irreconcilable. “What is it that the pastor puts into your mouth to eat and drink” is not a neutral question.

    Larry

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    Peter,

    Like I said basically paraphrasing Sasse and other Lutherans, including Luther himself upon the article of the sacraments there is no compromise. It’s why heterdoxy sees the LS as a MEANS for unity but orthodoxy understands it as the END RESULT for unity which is what Paul is saying in 1 Cor. Chemnitz makes this point as well.

    It’s only “disunity” from the point of view of heterodoxy which likes to unhinge the truth. The battle for the truth has ALWAYS been in and around the church and mission field. Even in the NT there were those false heterodox churches and leaders that rose up, the proto-gnostics for example, who as Sasse points out surely believe that Jesus was the only way, truth and life but merely disagreed on His two natures. The fact that there is disunity is not a scandal to Christianity and it is a false dilemma to see it that way, but the very expression of the reality that there is a very real spiritual war going on at the front line of the church between God’s Word and Satan’s word. Heterodoxy doesn’t like to be included in that because the implications are very clear, nobody, not even an atheist wants to be known as “false” or giving the word of the devil, but the fact is is that that is so and true.

    Such things as the sacraments are not reconcilable. As Luther said concerning the sacrament of the altar that it IS the Gospel and any tinkering with those words doctrinally or otherwise is to tinker with the very Gospel itself to produce another gospel. That’s why it’s irreconcilable. “What is it that the pastor puts into your mouth to eat and drink” is not a neutral question.

    Larry

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    One comfort that Lutherans should be given regarding our brother Michael’s falling asleep I’ve yet to hear. It may be that I’ve just not read it yet but something I learned under our pastor that was wonderful. It is indeed sad that our brother Michael has departed this life. And yes while in this life he like many of us to varying degrees struggled with entrained and entrenched false teachings that have been perpetrated for millennia now and warred with our faith. The battle of belief and unbelief rages in all of us if we are at all honest because the other words of the devil are always coming at us from all directions including heterodoxy. These struggles for the faith all always circle around the sacraments because they are so much the very essence of the faith. While he much struggled with this battle within himself to the degree that only he could know fully and amongst us in debate and such debate was always honest, and while due to this struggle he could never commune with the church and vice versa one thing now is very different in his falling asleep and it gives me great joy. This next Lord’s Day, Sunday, as we know we don’t “go to church” at X am. That’s not the Lutheran view nor confession on church (nor the church of the fathers or NT) and its service of Word and Sacrament. No, rather we JOIN IN the worship service already taking place both in heaven (Revelation) and on earth. As Sasse points out the church has both a spatial and temporal reality to it that is actual, and only faith sees it and it is linked most critically at the sacrament of the altar. The church fathers themselves confessed this that heaven and earth literally on earth meet around the service of the word and the eating and drinking of the true and real body and blood of Christ. Michael is now in the heavenly pure worship going on right now in which we will join in on at the appointed earthly time this Sunday and many Sunday’s to come until the consummation of the kingdom occurs finally. Pastor explained to us many months ago that when we eat and drink of the body and blood of Christ we are communing not just together as in the brother to my right and sister to my left, nor just with the earthly church around the world though all of that is true; but we literally, as literally as we eat and drink of the flesh and blood of Christ, commune with ALL the saints of all time and ALL of our loved ones and friends who have “fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ”. And that gives me great joy. What prevented us communing on earth with Michael, now we commune together for the first time for real and truly. We won’t have to meet Michael on his blog or email now which makes us sad. Rather, even though Michael wrestled much with this doctrine while he lived on earth, something I can sympathize with, and it remained a point of not being able to unify and commune together with us and Lutheran confessions while he lived in this life – yet NOW because from those very same confessions, every Lutheran THIS Sunday that takes and eats of the very and true body and blood of Christ will for the first time commune with our dearly departed brother Michael Spencer and this we will do TOGETHER for the first time and forever, and that gives me great joy!

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    One comfort that Lutherans should be given regarding our brother Michael’s falling asleep I’ve yet to hear. It may be that I’ve just not read it yet but something I learned under our pastor that was wonderful. It is indeed sad that our brother Michael has departed this life. And yes while in this life he like many of us to varying degrees struggled with entrained and entrenched false teachings that have been perpetrated for millennia now and warred with our faith. The battle of belief and unbelief rages in all of us if we are at all honest because the other words of the devil are always coming at us from all directions including heterodoxy. These struggles for the faith all always circle around the sacraments because they are so much the very essence of the faith. While he much struggled with this battle within himself to the degree that only he could know fully and amongst us in debate and such debate was always honest, and while due to this struggle he could never commune with the church and vice versa one thing now is very different in his falling asleep and it gives me great joy. This next Lord’s Day, Sunday, as we know we don’t “go to church” at X am. That’s not the Lutheran view nor confession on church (nor the church of the fathers or NT) and its service of Word and Sacrament. No, rather we JOIN IN the worship service already taking place both in heaven (Revelation) and on earth. As Sasse points out the church has both a spatial and temporal reality to it that is actual, and only faith sees it and it is linked most critically at the sacrament of the altar. The church fathers themselves confessed this that heaven and earth literally on earth meet around the service of the word and the eating and drinking of the true and real body and blood of Christ. Michael is now in the heavenly pure worship going on right now in which we will join in on at the appointed earthly time this Sunday and many Sunday’s to come until the consummation of the kingdom occurs finally. Pastor explained to us many months ago that when we eat and drink of the body and blood of Christ we are communing not just together as in the brother to my right and sister to my left, nor just with the earthly church around the world though all of that is true; but we literally, as literally as we eat and drink of the flesh and blood of Christ, commune with ALL the saints of all time and ALL of our loved ones and friends who have “fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ”. And that gives me great joy. What prevented us communing on earth with Michael, now we commune together for the first time for real and truly. We won’t have to meet Michael on his blog or email now which makes us sad. Rather, even though Michael wrestled much with this doctrine while he lived on earth, something I can sympathize with, and it remained a point of not being able to unify and commune together with us and Lutheran confessions while he lived in this life – yet NOW because from those very same confessions, every Lutheran THIS Sunday that takes and eats of the very and true body and blood of Christ will for the first time commune with our dearly departed brother Michael Spencer and this we will do TOGETHER for the first time and forever, and that gives me great joy!

    Larry

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, while the issues are important, the ideas involved represent the partial, provisional views of fallen men, however great, who see through a glass darkly. As Pannenberg avers, Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians.

    You might try Corinthians I 13: 9-13 on this, beginning with For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, while the issues are important, the ideas involved represent the partial, provisional views of fallen men, however great, who see through a glass darkly. As Pannenberg avers, Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians.

    You might try Corinthians I 13: 9-13 on this, beginning with For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

  • fws

    Larry @96

    “Like I said basically paraphrasing Sasse and other Lutherans, including Luther himself upon the article of the sacraments there is no compromise. It’s why heterdoxy sees the LS as a MEANS for unity but orthodoxy understands it as the END RESULT for unity which is what Paul is saying in 1 Cor. Chemnitz makes this point as well.

    It’s only “disunity” from the point of view of heterodoxy which likes to unhinge the truth. ”

    I had never heard this expressed this way. profound and very helpful in understanding Lutheran closed communion.

    peter @98

    how dare you quote the holy apostle st paul to say we should not be certain of what the bible says or that the problem is that it is somehow unclear. God is not the author of confusion. that would be both you and me in our sinfulness.

  • fws

    Larry @96

    “Like I said basically paraphrasing Sasse and other Lutherans, including Luther himself upon the article of the sacraments there is no compromise. It’s why heterdoxy sees the LS as a MEANS for unity but orthodoxy understands it as the END RESULT for unity which is what Paul is saying in 1 Cor. Chemnitz makes this point as well.

    It’s only “disunity” from the point of view of heterodoxy which likes to unhinge the truth. ”

    I had never heard this expressed this way. profound and very helpful in understanding Lutheran closed communion.

    peter @98

    how dare you quote the holy apostle st paul to say we should not be certain of what the bible says or that the problem is that it is somehow unclear. God is not the author of confusion. that would be both you and me in our sinfulness.

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, Paul in the very Bible of which you speak is well aware that he himself and others involved in writing the Bible are fallen human beings who at best, even with the guidance of the Holy spirit, know in part and prophesy in part. The Judeo-Christian Bible, while in toto the word of the Lord, makes no pretense, like the Koran, of speaking the words of God as transcribed directly.

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, Paul in the very Bible of which you speak is well aware that he himself and others involved in writing the Bible are fallen human beings who at best, even with the guidance of the Holy spirit, know in part and prophesy in part. The Judeo-Christian Bible, while in toto the word of the Lord, makes no pretense, like the Koran, of speaking the words of God as transcribed directly.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    I’m sorry that the “lutherans” you intermingle with have a problem with the “Theotokus” please correct them for me would you?
    Lutheran’s should not have any problems with this at all. I would correct them, but I don’t know them, and am not there. But it is a point I drive home regularly in my congregation, not so much to Exalt Mary, but to bring home to the people who Christ is.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    I’m sorry that the “lutherans” you intermingle with have a problem with the “Theotokus” please correct them for me would you?
    Lutheran’s should not have any problems with this at all. I would correct them, but I don’t know them, and am not there. But it is a point I drive home regularly in my congregation, not so much to Exalt Mary, but to bring home to the people who Christ is.

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    It is falsehood that always tries to weed its way into and mingle with truth, then turn around and call truth “controverial”. This is true in any walk of life. It’s the way a falsehood goes under cover of guise as truth. Truth doesn’t say a thing is “important” and then attempt to fix the add mixture of false and truth, truth says it is singular and nothing can be mixed to it.

    Sasse notes that the worst deceivers are those that say “the truth is relative” or that God has not revealed it, the same that try to mingle confessions and find so called “common ground”. He notes further, correctly, that the serious Lutheran, serious Reformed, serious Baptist, and serious Roman Catholic that hold their confessions as expressing the truth of Scripture as opposed to others are all (all of these serious groups) closer to the truth together with each other, than are these later day types from each who say, “we are all right” or “we cannot know for sure” and hence try to mingle confessions. Charles Spurgeon, the great baptist pastor called such, the later, “flying under false colors”. A good baptist pastor friend of mine and I were just discussing this this week and he nailed it saying, “the worst thing any pastor/theologian can do is make the word of God doubtful, he’s better off being dead wrong than making the Word of God doubtful.” And he nailed it.

    Larry

  • http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/ Larry

    It is falsehood that always tries to weed its way into and mingle with truth, then turn around and call truth “controverial”. This is true in any walk of life. It’s the way a falsehood goes under cover of guise as truth. Truth doesn’t say a thing is “important” and then attempt to fix the add mixture of false and truth, truth says it is singular and nothing can be mixed to it.

    Sasse notes that the worst deceivers are those that say “the truth is relative” or that God has not revealed it, the same that try to mingle confessions and find so called “common ground”. He notes further, correctly, that the serious Lutheran, serious Reformed, serious Baptist, and serious Roman Catholic that hold their confessions as expressing the truth of Scripture as opposed to others are all (all of these serious groups) closer to the truth together with each other, than are these later day types from each who say, “we are all right” or “we cannot know for sure” and hence try to mingle confessions. Charles Spurgeon, the great baptist pastor called such, the later, “flying under false colors”. A good baptist pastor friend of mine and I were just discussing this this week and he nailed it saying, “the worst thing any pastor/theologian can do is make the word of God doubtful, he’s better off being dead wrong than making the Word of God doubtful.” And he nailed it.

    Larry

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@101), Amen, brother! By God’s grace I’ll continue to witness to biblical orthodoxy. Fortunately, all of the clergy here are crystal clear on this matter. But this area is predominantly Catholic, and Protestants have a strong reaction against Mariolatry, as well we all must. (Front yard residential Marian shrines are very common here.) But many Protestant laity have gone off the rails in another direction in their over-reaction. Please pray for our churches.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@101), Amen, brother! By God’s grace I’ll continue to witness to biblical orthodoxy. Fortunately, all of the clergy here are crystal clear on this matter. But this area is predominantly Catholic, and Protestants have a strong reaction against Mariolatry, as well we all must. (Front yard residential Marian shrines are very common here.) But many Protestant laity have gone off the rails in another direction in their over-reaction. Please pray for our churches.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, anyone who claims that they have a corner on the “truth” contradicts the wisdom of Paul, Augustine, and, yes, Luther, who well knew that even the greatest of Christians see through the glass darkly, know in part, and prophesy in part.

    Great Christian theologians, including Tertullian, Augustine, Acquinas, Luther, and Calvin , all gave their best understanding of the truth, though none of them, if read closely, made anything close to an absolute statement of the truth.

    Unfortunately, though understandably given the human tendency for idolatry,, all too many of their followers, including some contemporary Lutherans, tend to make an idol of, say, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, or whomever the lesser Christian lights.

    Meanwhile, As Pannenberg suggests Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians.

    Meanwhile when you say, It is falsehood that always tries to weed its way into and mingle with truth, then turn around and call truth “controverial”. This is true in any walk of life. It’s the way a falsehood goes under cover of guise as truth. Truth doesn’t say a thing is “important” and then attempt to fix the add mixture of false and truth, truth says it is singular and nothing can be mixed to it., essentially the subtext is that your side of the argument is true and that your critical interlocutors have “weeded” their way into falsehood.

    Again, Paul was wise in I-Corinthians 13;9 to remark that any human, including Paul himself, and presumably Luther and Calvin, knows the truth in part and prophesies in part. Among Christianity’s worst enemies are those fanatics who claim possession of absolute truth.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Larry, anyone who claims that they have a corner on the “truth” contradicts the wisdom of Paul, Augustine, and, yes, Luther, who well knew that even the greatest of Christians see through the glass darkly, know in part, and prophesy in part.

    Great Christian theologians, including Tertullian, Augustine, Acquinas, Luther, and Calvin , all gave their best understanding of the truth, though none of them, if read closely, made anything close to an absolute statement of the truth.

    Unfortunately, though understandably given the human tendency for idolatry,, all too many of their followers, including some contemporary Lutherans, tend to make an idol of, say, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, or whomever the lesser Christian lights.

    Meanwhile, As Pannenberg suggests Nothing in the past has been more detrimental to the plausibility of the Christian message than the destructively fanatical controversies among Christians.

    Meanwhile when you say, It is falsehood that always tries to weed its way into and mingle with truth, then turn around and call truth “controverial”. This is true in any walk of life. It’s the way a falsehood goes under cover of guise as truth. Truth doesn’t say a thing is “important” and then attempt to fix the add mixture of false and truth, truth says it is singular and nothing can be mixed to it., essentially the subtext is that your side of the argument is true and that your critical interlocutors have “weeded” their way into falsehood.

    Again, Paul was wise in I-Corinthians 13;9 to remark that any human, including Paul himself, and presumably Luther and Calvin, knows the truth in part and prophesies in part. Among Christianity’s worst enemies are those fanatics who claim possession of absolute truth.

  • ptl

    to fws above….so just who is sinning when different folks come to different interpretations of the same scripture….could give you lots of examples on topic after topic, if you know what I mean….but isn’t it in the eye of the beholder and who has the right to judge another….just believe what you believe for yourself and be at peace with others, eh?

  • ptl

    to fws above….so just who is sinning when different folks come to different interpretations of the same scripture….could give you lots of examples on topic after topic, if you know what I mean….but isn’t it in the eye of the beholder and who has the right to judge another….just believe what you believe for yourself and be at peace with others, eh?

  • ptl

    to follow up with the idea that God is not a God of confusion, but it is our sin that leads to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of scripture…..is that correct as stated in 99?
    It does seem troubling to me and my struggle is with this situation….suppose you have a bible verse, BV and 2 theologians come to different interpretations, I1 and I2. Now both can’t be right can they? So at least one must be wrong and the cause of that is their sin. So who decides that…guess it was the theologian who was right. But who decided they were truly right? Why, they did, of course…….how convenient!
    My guess is the other theologian would say the other one is wrong and therefore in error because of his sin? How does one resolve who is really right and wrong? Is this a common problem in these circles of biblical interpretation?
    My reason for asking is because it seems to me to the the case with all the scripture verses concerning the real presence, or any other divisive doctrine (and there are many). One group of theologians say one thing and the other group says another, in fact each say the opposite of each other. Now each group would think the other group wrong, and would have to acknowledge that that wrong group reached their erroneous interpretation because of their sin, not because of God’s confusion. But each group would have to say that of the other in order to be true to their interpretation. So who resolves who is truly correct? How does one know for sure?
    So one groups charge of error to the other group is based on their opinion simply that they are right, and each group thinks that of the other. Who will be the judge of this difference of opinion and show what is truly true?
    It’s not clear to me and that’s why it seems one should be careful before judging another, and if not, shame on them?

  • ptl

    to follow up with the idea that God is not a God of confusion, but it is our sin that leads to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of scripture…..is that correct as stated in 99?
    It does seem troubling to me and my struggle is with this situation….suppose you have a bible verse, BV and 2 theologians come to different interpretations, I1 and I2. Now both can’t be right can they? So at least one must be wrong and the cause of that is their sin. So who decides that…guess it was the theologian who was right. But who decided they were truly right? Why, they did, of course…….how convenient!
    My guess is the other theologian would say the other one is wrong and therefore in error because of his sin? How does one resolve who is really right and wrong? Is this a common problem in these circles of biblical interpretation?
    My reason for asking is because it seems to me to the the case with all the scripture verses concerning the real presence, or any other divisive doctrine (and there are many). One group of theologians say one thing and the other group says another, in fact each say the opposite of each other. Now each group would think the other group wrong, and would have to acknowledge that that wrong group reached their erroneous interpretation because of their sin, not because of God’s confusion. But each group would have to say that of the other in order to be true to their interpretation. So who resolves who is truly correct? How does one know for sure?
    So one groups charge of error to the other group is based on their opinion simply that they are right, and each group thinks that of the other. Who will be the judge of this difference of opinion and show what is truly true?
    It’s not clear to me and that’s why it seems one should be careful before judging another, and if not, shame on them?

  • Larry

    Peter,

    Not surprisingly we disagree and shall continue to do so and so the line in the sand is. It is actually the way of fanatics to first unhinge the truth of the revealed God (e.g. Jesus didn’t mean “this is…”, Peter didn’t mean “your children but your spiritual children”), then and only then, reassert a falsehood called “truth”. By first unhinging the truth of God and making God’s Word unreliable via a few verbal gymnastics, the fanatic, the enthused, can then present one with their false god as if now this false god is the real God. This is the way all forms of enthusiasm operate. It’s a very simple formula in its bare essence, the Pope used it, the Anabaptist used, etc…, etc… all to turn one from the revealed God to the enthused god of their minds and hearts. I’ve seen it used a thousand times within SB religion, this is no new game to me. The method fundamentally goes thus:

    “Oh that’s an interpretation by X, THAT’s trusting in men, no dear poor soul/boy (implied in the discussion) that’s not what that scripture means rather Paul/Peter/John (insert apostles name here) means (insert NEW comment upon scripture here) and those who have the spirit (insert special Gnostic qualifier conscience binder here). It’s amazing that those who basically comment that “these things are unknowable and confused by mere men”, then turn around and comment on the “truth” of the very thing they claim “these things are unknowable and confused by men”. Thus, the “truth” of the sacraments for such men is this, their very claim, “They cannot be known” or its corollary “all truths on such are equally true and reconcilable”.

    Peter I appreciate the conversation, but you’ve been answered sufficiently for my part this ends our debate.

    Thanks,

    Larry

  • Larry

    Peter,

    Not surprisingly we disagree and shall continue to do so and so the line in the sand is. It is actually the way of fanatics to first unhinge the truth of the revealed God (e.g. Jesus didn’t mean “this is…”, Peter didn’t mean “your children but your spiritual children”), then and only then, reassert a falsehood called “truth”. By first unhinging the truth of God and making God’s Word unreliable via a few verbal gymnastics, the fanatic, the enthused, can then present one with their false god as if now this false god is the real God. This is the way all forms of enthusiasm operate. It’s a very simple formula in its bare essence, the Pope used it, the Anabaptist used, etc…, etc… all to turn one from the revealed God to the enthused god of their minds and hearts. I’ve seen it used a thousand times within SB religion, this is no new game to me. The method fundamentally goes thus:

    “Oh that’s an interpretation by X, THAT’s trusting in men, no dear poor soul/boy (implied in the discussion) that’s not what that scripture means rather Paul/Peter/John (insert apostles name here) means (insert NEW comment upon scripture here) and those who have the spirit (insert special Gnostic qualifier conscience binder here). It’s amazing that those who basically comment that “these things are unknowable and confused by mere men”, then turn around and comment on the “truth” of the very thing they claim “these things are unknowable and confused by men”. Thus, the “truth” of the sacraments for such men is this, their very claim, “They cannot be known” or its corollary “all truths on such are equally true and reconcilable”.

    Peter I appreciate the conversation, but you’ve been answered sufficiently for my part this ends our debate.

    Thanks,

    Larry

  • fws

    Ptl 105 & 106:

    ” [ Frank, I understand that you are saying the following:] God is not a God of confusion, but it is our sin that leads to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of scripture…..is that correct as stated in 99?”
    “…but isn’t it in the eye of the beholder and who has the right to judge another….just believe what you believe for yourself and be at peace with others, eh?…”
    “So who resolves who is truly correct? How does one know for sure?Who will be the judge of this difference of opinion and show what is truly true?….
    It’s not clear to me and that’s why it seems one should be careful before judging another, and if not, shame on them?”

    You asked wonderful questions Ptl. Your questions seem rhetorical, and at the same time you seem to have a sincere desire to test your rhetorical position. That I think is good. You are sure of what you think and believe, yet you leave room to have that certainty challenged.

    You question is really one of authority isn´t it? Who has the authority to speak the Truth and not merely truth? Or is this the wrong question maybe because should we assume there is such authority or even such Truth on this side of the resurrection?

    You will notice that we Lutherans will not exempt ourselves from the “our” in your statement rephrasing, accurately, what I said. So if what I said is so, and is what I believe, and it is, then the question then is this: on what basis would I castigate our friend Peter Leavitt here for questioning Truth vs truth or Authority vs authority the way I did?

    Assuming I am a logical person like yourself and not just someone with a big blind spot in the middle of my thinking, you could suppose there is a reason behind what I say, argueable Truth or truth, that gives my posture to me an internal consistency. This is what we should maybe explore since you don´t catch what that could be? Would that line of discussion make sense to you dear Ptl?

    Context: I am a gay man, who is also a confessional Lutheran christian here on this blog. There are many Lutherans and protestants who would say that putting “gay” and “christian” in the same phrase is the ultimate ridiculous oxymoron. So daily I have to deal with the truth claims of such persons, or…. I could simply drop out with the very logic you present which is (correct me if wrong!: Authority vs authority and Truth vs truth boils down ultimately to opinion.

    I don´t do that. Why not? Again, there are confessional Lutherans here whom I count as brothers and do not castigate for their difference of opinion who believe that “homosexual” = (as catholics would put it) “objectively disfunctional” heterosexuals. Ie “gay” as a benign category or group like those who are left handed simply does not exist, and so homosexual is just a label for one of many heterosexual pathologies. There logic is impeccable, so I can´t argue there. But I can ask “Is it true?” Is the premise their logic is based upon Truth? And we find ourselves oddly and improbably bound and completely united in a common faith, a common Truth that is contained in a rather detailed 636 page book called the Book of Concord that we all hold as our personal confession of faith as to what the bible says and accept every word of that book as a correct understanding of what the Bible is telling us. Again. Why? and better How can this be true?

    Peace be with you Ptl

  • fws

    Ptl 105 & 106:

    ” [ Frank, I understand that you are saying the following:] God is not a God of confusion, but it is our sin that leads to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of scripture…..is that correct as stated in 99?”
    “…but isn’t it in the eye of the beholder and who has the right to judge another….just believe what you believe for yourself and be at peace with others, eh?…”
    “So who resolves who is truly correct? How does one know for sure?Who will be the judge of this difference of opinion and show what is truly true?….
    It’s not clear to me and that’s why it seems one should be careful before judging another, and if not, shame on them?”

    You asked wonderful questions Ptl. Your questions seem rhetorical, and at the same time you seem to have a sincere desire to test your rhetorical position. That I think is good. You are sure of what you think and believe, yet you leave room to have that certainty challenged.

    You question is really one of authority isn´t it? Who has the authority to speak the Truth and not merely truth? Or is this the wrong question maybe because should we assume there is such authority or even such Truth on this side of the resurrection?

    You will notice that we Lutherans will not exempt ourselves from the “our” in your statement rephrasing, accurately, what I said. So if what I said is so, and is what I believe, and it is, then the question then is this: on what basis would I castigate our friend Peter Leavitt here for questioning Truth vs truth or Authority vs authority the way I did?

    Assuming I am a logical person like yourself and not just someone with a big blind spot in the middle of my thinking, you could suppose there is a reason behind what I say, argueable Truth or truth, that gives my posture to me an internal consistency. This is what we should maybe explore since you don´t catch what that could be? Would that line of discussion make sense to you dear Ptl?

    Context: I am a gay man, who is also a confessional Lutheran christian here on this blog. There are many Lutherans and protestants who would say that putting “gay” and “christian” in the same phrase is the ultimate ridiculous oxymoron. So daily I have to deal with the truth claims of such persons, or…. I could simply drop out with the very logic you present which is (correct me if wrong!: Authority vs authority and Truth vs truth boils down ultimately to opinion.

    I don´t do that. Why not? Again, there are confessional Lutherans here whom I count as brothers and do not castigate for their difference of opinion who believe that “homosexual” = (as catholics would put it) “objectively disfunctional” heterosexuals. Ie “gay” as a benign category or group like those who are left handed simply does not exist, and so homosexual is just a label for one of many heterosexual pathologies. There logic is impeccable, so I can´t argue there. But I can ask “Is it true?” Is the premise their logic is based upon Truth? And we find ourselves oddly and improbably bound and completely united in a common faith, a common Truth that is contained in a rather detailed 636 page book called the Book of Concord that we all hold as our personal confession of faith as to what the bible says and accept every word of that book as a correct understanding of what the Bible is telling us. Again. Why? and better How can this be true?

    Peace be with you Ptl

  • fws

    Ptl @103

    Note too Ptl, that our dear friend and contributor Peter Leavitt stales out his position of “seeing through a glass darkly” much as you do . He is nominally a conservative congretationalist purely he says for reasons of family and family tradition, he practices zen buddhism and is very romantically enamored of Roman Catholicism. He is interesting isn´t he? He also likes to refer to homosexuals like me as sodomites and say things that I am not sure he would say directly to my faith ( I hope he would not anyway).

    And then you have the others here, confessional Lutherans, one of whom is our dear host Dr Veith, who may or may not agree with me or my life or view of what is true about my homosexuality or not, and yet we are united in a profound way that gives no quarter to the position on truth and authority that you and peter seem to share ( I am not saying you share his views on homosexuality or not. I don´t know that part about you…).

    So why is that? What is the critical difference that makes all this so obviously so? This is the question Ptl that I would urge you to go and find out here and elsewhere.

    What is that difference that makes for such an odd difference of one side insisting that it is possible to know Authority and Truth from authority and truth and they embrace a gay christian as a brother and that other side who things authority and truth boil down to opinion and have nothing that vitriol to direct towards someone like me.

    Why is that? Would it not be fascinating to know why that is Ptl?

  • fws

    Ptl @103

    Note too Ptl, that our dear friend and contributor Peter Leavitt stales out his position of “seeing through a glass darkly” much as you do . He is nominally a conservative congretationalist purely he says for reasons of family and family tradition, he practices zen buddhism and is very romantically enamored of Roman Catholicism. He is interesting isn´t he? He also likes to refer to homosexuals like me as sodomites and say things that I am not sure he would say directly to my faith ( I hope he would not anyway).

    And then you have the others here, confessional Lutherans, one of whom is our dear host Dr Veith, who may or may not agree with me or my life or view of what is true about my homosexuality or not, and yet we are united in a profound way that gives no quarter to the position on truth and authority that you and peter seem to share ( I am not saying you share his views on homosexuality or not. I don´t know that part about you…).

    So why is that? What is the critical difference that makes all this so obviously so? This is the question Ptl that I would urge you to go and find out here and elsewhere.

    What is that difference that makes for such an odd difference of one side insisting that it is possible to know Authority and Truth from authority and truth and they embrace a gay christian as a brother and that other side who things authority and truth boil down to opinion and have nothing that vitriol to direct towards someone like me.

    Why is that? Would it not be fascinating to know why that is Ptl?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    Realizing and naming Mary as the Theotokus is not to worship Mary. The Theotokus controversy was at the heart of the Nestorian controversy, and the reality is that to deny that Mary is the Theotokus is to deny that Jesus is the Christ. Bring that home to them. If Mary did not give birth to God, then God did not die for us on the Cross, and if God did not die for us on the Cross, neither are my sins paid for, or yours. And with my attitude I think I’d just go commit a few more, because if God doesn’t love the people around me enough to save them from their sins, what’s a few more sins in the mix? If god doesn’t love them, why should I, except for my own selfish purposes perhaps, but then that isn’t really love is it?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John B,
    Realizing and naming Mary as the Theotokus is not to worship Mary. The Theotokus controversy was at the heart of the Nestorian controversy, and the reality is that to deny that Mary is the Theotokus is to deny that Jesus is the Christ. Bring that home to them. If Mary did not give birth to God, then God did not die for us on the Cross, and if God did not die for us on the Cross, neither are my sins paid for, or yours. And with my attitude I think I’d just go commit a few more, because if God doesn’t love the people around me enough to save them from their sins, what’s a few more sins in the mix? If god doesn’t love them, why should I, except for my own selfish purposes perhaps, but then that isn’t really love is it?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    What I find interesting in all of this is that because a couple people here actually doubt the veracity of their own positions, they think that Lutherans should doubt theirs too. They do not try to convince us Lutherans that we are wrong for thinking that Jesus is present bodily in the Lord’s Supper, as He himself says in his Last Will and Testament, the New Testament in His Blood. They don’t try to convince us that we are wrong for believing that Children should be baptized, and that the Holy Spirit works through baptism to bring faith and forgive sins even of little infants who believe in Jesus Christ according to Jesus’ own words.
    Rather, they try to convince us that we like them should be uncertain of what God’s word says, even when it is very clear on these matters. (And by the way it is very clear, unless you have been brainwashed to not understand a word of it.) They even go so far as to quote Paul out of context to sow seeds of doubt he himself did not sow.
    Paul indeed says I know in part and prophecy in part. Paul was brilliant enough to know that there are Mysteries and things that God keeps to himself. But Paul would not be so blasphemous in saying this to mean that he then cannot know, or that his prophecy should not be trusted because parts of God remain hidden. But rather that in trusting what we do have as prophecy the clear word of God, and knowing what has been revealed even through him, we should look forward to the day when when God will no longer out of Grace have to keep parts hidden that we be not consumed.
    And I will go with Paul on this, I will trust in what God has revealed, I will know what he has given me to know, and I will not let silly doubtful men, who can not even trust their own uncertainty convince me to join them in it. The Holy Spirit is not a skeptic.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    What I find interesting in all of this is that because a couple people here actually doubt the veracity of their own positions, they think that Lutherans should doubt theirs too. They do not try to convince us Lutherans that we are wrong for thinking that Jesus is present bodily in the Lord’s Supper, as He himself says in his Last Will and Testament, the New Testament in His Blood. They don’t try to convince us that we are wrong for believing that Children should be baptized, and that the Holy Spirit works through baptism to bring faith and forgive sins even of little infants who believe in Jesus Christ according to Jesus’ own words.
    Rather, they try to convince us that we like them should be uncertain of what God’s word says, even when it is very clear on these matters. (And by the way it is very clear, unless you have been brainwashed to not understand a word of it.) They even go so far as to quote Paul out of context to sow seeds of doubt he himself did not sow.
    Paul indeed says I know in part and prophecy in part. Paul was brilliant enough to know that there are Mysteries and things that God keeps to himself. But Paul would not be so blasphemous in saying this to mean that he then cannot know, or that his prophecy should not be trusted because parts of God remain hidden. But rather that in trusting what we do have as prophecy the clear word of God, and knowing what has been revealed even through him, we should look forward to the day when when God will no longer out of Grace have to keep parts hidden that we be not consumed.
    And I will go with Paul on this, I will trust in what God has revealed, I will know what he has given me to know, and I will not let silly doubtful men, who can not even trust their own uncertainty convince me to join them in it. The Holy Spirit is not a skeptic.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Re: 109

    “Why is that? Would it not be fascinating to know why that is Ptl?”

    fsw asks. Shall we give away the answer or shall we let Peter and Ptl have a go at it?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Re: 109

    “Why is that? Would it not be fascinating to know why that is Ptl?”

    fsw asks. Shall we give away the answer or shall we let Peter and Ptl have a go at it?

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@110) We are in complete agreement on this. There is broad consensus here within the church. It is an essential element of the catholic faith. As a pastor ministering in Utah, you know better than I the dangers that result when a false witness to Christ, or under the guise of Christianity, becomes prevalent in an area. I thank God for you and your church and am encouraged to know that you’re there. I love Lutherans even if we can’t commune together!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@110) We are in complete agreement on this. There is broad consensus here within the church. It is an essential element of the catholic faith. As a pastor ministering in Utah, you know better than I the dangers that result when a false witness to Christ, or under the guise of Christianity, becomes prevalent in an area. I thank God for you and your church and am encouraged to know that you’re there. I love Lutherans even if we can’t commune together!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@ 108), I’m enjoying your response to Ptl and don’t want to interrupt the flow. Maybe another Lutheran would answer my question. Is the Book of Concord regarded as a more authoritative guide to understanding the Bible than the traditions handed down through the Ecumenical Councils of the early church?

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@ 108), I’m enjoying your response to Ptl and don’t want to interrupt the flow. Maybe another Lutheran would answer my question. Is the Book of Concord regarded as a more authoritative guide to understanding the Bible than the traditions handed down through the Ecumenical Councils of the early church?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John b,
    Then I’ll answer for you. Yes the BOC would be considered among us Lutherans to be more authoritative that the traditions handed down through the Ecumenical Councils of the early church. Though I cringe to pit them against each other.
    The problem is you say traditions, which traditions are you talking about? If you mean the creeds that have come out of these, They are included in the book of concord. If you are talking of the different opinions of various early church father’s then we may or may not have problems, depending on the Father and the opinion he is expressing. But we would find ourselves to be in agreement with those early ecumenical councils especially in their final words on the Trinity, and the incarnation of Christ, and what that means for the salvation of man.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John b,
    Then I’ll answer for you. Yes the BOC would be considered among us Lutherans to be more authoritative that the traditions handed down through the Ecumenical Councils of the early church. Though I cringe to pit them against each other.
    The problem is you say traditions, which traditions are you talking about? If you mean the creeds that have come out of these, They are included in the book of concord. If you are talking of the different opinions of various early church father’s then we may or may not have problems, depending on the Father and the opinion he is expressing. But we would find ourselves to be in agreement with those early ecumenical councils especially in their final words on the Trinity, and the incarnation of Christ, and what that means for the salvation of man.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@115), Thanks for that clear and informative answer. It helps me to better understand the BOC’s authority. One other question about the BOC that I have that would help me to understand its confessional content; What other of Luther’s works fall under BOC’s confessional umbrella? It seems clear that his Commentary on Galatians is regarded as confessional by extension. Are other of his works, other than those actually within the BOC, also included in the confession by extension. In speaking with Lutheran laity, I’ve encountered different answers to this question, including some who say that all of Luther’s works are confessional. That never sounded credible to me, but better that I just ask a Lutheran pastor, if I may. If only certain of Luther’s works are confessional, would you tell me which ones? Thanks again for this info.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@115), Thanks for that clear and informative answer. It helps me to better understand the BOC’s authority. One other question about the BOC that I have that would help me to understand its confessional content; What other of Luther’s works fall under BOC’s confessional umbrella? It seems clear that his Commentary on Galatians is regarded as confessional by extension. Are other of his works, other than those actually within the BOC, also included in the confession by extension. In speaking with Lutheran laity, I’ve encountered different answers to this question, including some who say that all of Luther’s works are confessional. That never sounded credible to me, but better that I just ask a Lutheran pastor, if I may. If only certain of Luther’s works are confessional, would you tell me which ones? Thanks again for this info.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Confessional as an adjective would most often mean those works that are in line with the confessions, teach what the confessions teach. Luther’s works are not all “confessional” I can think of a few I would throw out in a heart beat that are only useful in picking the brain development of Luther, and in some cases his degression. His commentary on Romans for instance was written early on and Ironic as it is that Romans is such a pivotal book for Lutherans, his commentary on it is a Roman Catholic exposition of it. His work “on the Jews and their Lies” is more of an embarrassment to Lutheranism than anything else.
    His commentary on Galatians is wonderful, but I am not bound to it as a confession. On the other hand his sermon on Christ’s decent into hell is cited in the Formula as an explanation of this event, and in a way that would seem to make it one of our confessions. I have yet to read it, and would find it helpful if someone would include it in a publication of the Book of Concord.
    of all of Luther’s works, only three are considered confessions by which Lutherans are in anyway bound. These are “The Smalcald Articles” which serve as a theological last will and Testament of Luther. the Small Catechism, and the Large Catechism. Of the Seven documents that make up the Lutheran Confessions, these three are the only three Luther wrote.
    Hope that helps.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Confessional as an adjective would most often mean those works that are in line with the confessions, teach what the confessions teach. Luther’s works are not all “confessional” I can think of a few I would throw out in a heart beat that are only useful in picking the brain development of Luther, and in some cases his degression. His commentary on Romans for instance was written early on and Ironic as it is that Romans is such a pivotal book for Lutherans, his commentary on it is a Roman Catholic exposition of it. His work “on the Jews and their Lies” is more of an embarrassment to Lutheranism than anything else.
    His commentary on Galatians is wonderful, but I am not bound to it as a confession. On the other hand his sermon on Christ’s decent into hell is cited in the Formula as an explanation of this event, and in a way that would seem to make it one of our confessions. I have yet to read it, and would find it helpful if someone would include it in a publication of the Book of Concord.
    of all of Luther’s works, only three are considered confessions by which Lutherans are in anyway bound. These are “The Smalcald Articles” which serve as a theological last will and Testament of Luther. the Small Catechism, and the Large Catechism. Of the Seven documents that make up the Lutheran Confessions, these three are the only three Luther wrote.
    Hope that helps.

  • fws

    John B 114 and Bror @ 115

    Bror you answered the question as to what but not as to why, which I believe is really the John B´s question behind his question, along with peters along with ptls. (one of you correct me if I am wrong.!)

    The question is: What is capital T Truty and who (not Who) can we know for certain has it?

    For Lutherans, and Lutherans assert for the rest of christianity (Lutherans claim to be but one sect or piece of the visible church, but also assert that to their part rightfully should belong the whole. cit. CP Krauth “The Conservative Reformation”)

    Lutherans start their quest for Authority and Truth with The only thing that makes christian out of non-christian is The Person and work of one Jesus Christ, who is a man whose truth claim is that He is God, the creator of the universe. No. I am wrong. First we come to know that the Only thing that makes something or someone christian and not pagan is faith in Jesus Christ plus….. nothing at all.

    You will find that there is not a single Lutheran doctrine, not a single one, that could even exist if it was not directly and intimately and very directly and fundamentally supportive of this one doctrine: The Forgiveness of Sins in Jesus. Test us on this! Please do! Examples: What is worship? “true worship is faith in Jesus christ.” period. (augsburg confession). What is baptism? It is literally putting on Christ. What is election? Being called into faith by the Holy Spirit in Christ. What is the Lord´s Supper? It IS the body and blood of God along with bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins. Need I go on? What matters to a Lutheran? Talk about Jesus. Nothing else really is very interesting to us. We are one trick dogs. When I go to church I know that the sermon will be about Jesus : who he is, what he did and why he did it. Nothing else if it is a truly lutheran sermon. ditto the liturgy. ditto the music. ditto anything Lutheran IF it wants to be called Lutheran.

    So ok. authority. Jesus. and he sent his apostles with unique authority. two points of Absolute Authority and Truth. draw a line through those two points and you have a line that points in only one place: Jesus christ, and Him crucified for all.

    Whatever falls into that line Lutherans accept as Absolute Truth. Whatever does not is not. We do not need to throw out baby with bathwater that means. A teacher can teach stuff that is apostolic authority and at the same time teach heresy. Keep the best and throw out the rest! Counsels and fathers have erred. Luther and the Lutherans have erred. I err. But Jesus and the apostles in what has been committed to scripture. Not.

    And what is the entire point and purpose of the entire scriptures? “they are a testimony about me” Jesus on the old testament. and … “these things are written that you might know that Jesus is the christ” When a Lutheran hears “Word of God” we think of Jesus and only secondarily ink on paper or spoken word. At the same time we cannot separate the two precisely because the scriptures are ONLY about Jesus. Not about morality or history or a way to think or even a set of propositions that are Truth or truth .

    I AM the Truth. Jesus is, in his very body and blood THE Truth that all other truth is a derivative of. When Christ died on the Cross, Truth died. When christ rose from the tomb, Truth again lived.

    Peace be with you Ptl and John B

  • fws

    John B 114 and Bror @ 115

    Bror you answered the question as to what but not as to why, which I believe is really the John B´s question behind his question, along with peters along with ptls. (one of you correct me if I am wrong.!)

    The question is: What is capital T Truty and who (not Who) can we know for certain has it?

    For Lutherans, and Lutherans assert for the rest of christianity (Lutherans claim to be but one sect or piece of the visible church, but also assert that to their part rightfully should belong the whole. cit. CP Krauth “The Conservative Reformation”)

    Lutherans start their quest for Authority and Truth with The only thing that makes christian out of non-christian is The Person and work of one Jesus Christ, who is a man whose truth claim is that He is God, the creator of the universe. No. I am wrong. First we come to know that the Only thing that makes something or someone christian and not pagan is faith in Jesus Christ plus….. nothing at all.

    You will find that there is not a single Lutheran doctrine, not a single one, that could even exist if it was not directly and intimately and very directly and fundamentally supportive of this one doctrine: The Forgiveness of Sins in Jesus. Test us on this! Please do! Examples: What is worship? “true worship is faith in Jesus christ.” period. (augsburg confession). What is baptism? It is literally putting on Christ. What is election? Being called into faith by the Holy Spirit in Christ. What is the Lord´s Supper? It IS the body and blood of God along with bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins. Need I go on? What matters to a Lutheran? Talk about Jesus. Nothing else really is very interesting to us. We are one trick dogs. When I go to church I know that the sermon will be about Jesus : who he is, what he did and why he did it. Nothing else if it is a truly lutheran sermon. ditto the liturgy. ditto the music. ditto anything Lutheran IF it wants to be called Lutheran.

    So ok. authority. Jesus. and he sent his apostles with unique authority. two points of Absolute Authority and Truth. draw a line through those two points and you have a line that points in only one place: Jesus christ, and Him crucified for all.

    Whatever falls into that line Lutherans accept as Absolute Truth. Whatever does not is not. We do not need to throw out baby with bathwater that means. A teacher can teach stuff that is apostolic authority and at the same time teach heresy. Keep the best and throw out the rest! Counsels and fathers have erred. Luther and the Lutherans have erred. I err. But Jesus and the apostles in what has been committed to scripture. Not.

    And what is the entire point and purpose of the entire scriptures? “they are a testimony about me” Jesus on the old testament. and … “these things are written that you might know that Jesus is the christ” When a Lutheran hears “Word of God” we think of Jesus and only secondarily ink on paper or spoken word. At the same time we cannot separate the two precisely because the scriptures are ONLY about Jesus. Not about morality or history or a way to think or even a set of propositions that are Truth or truth .

    I AM the Truth. Jesus is, in his very body and blood THE Truth that all other truth is a derivative of. When Christ died on the Cross, Truth died. When christ rose from the tomb, Truth again lived.

    Peace be with you Ptl and John B

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@ #118), Yours is a wonderful confession of faith in our Lord and Redeemer. It’s truly a blessing to read it. Thank you.

    You’re right that our sole authority is Christ to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given. He is the cornerstone that undergirds the prophets and the apostles and all of us, who now, like living stones, are being built into him, a temple filled with the Holy Spirit. Christ is building his church, and calling people into it from every tribe and nation by the power of the Spirit that he sends forth.

    Each congregation of Christ’s followers is an assembly of his priests, gathered together and constituting his church in every locality, bound together in love and by a solidarity of faith. Walking together to the new Jerusalem.

    Because of our frailty and sin, we create divisions within Christ’s church. But we do not lose hope. We trust in the certain promise that he is sanctifying his bride and will return in all his unveiled glory to take her in perfection unto himself. He makes all things new.

    During this age of grace, while he allows the divisions to endure, the longings to be united with our separated brethren are painful, heart wrenching. But, these afflictions too are working together for our good and God’s glory.

    Although now, for a little while, we cannot commune together with Christ, let’s always continue to encourage and exhort one another in the building up of our faith. Recognizing each other as brothers in Christ, let’s always continue to pray for each other and for the whole communion of saints; the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

    Shalom.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    fws (@ #118), Yours is a wonderful confession of faith in our Lord and Redeemer. It’s truly a blessing to read it. Thank you.

    You’re right that our sole authority is Christ to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given. He is the cornerstone that undergirds the prophets and the apostles and all of us, who now, like living stones, are being built into him, a temple filled with the Holy Spirit. Christ is building his church, and calling people into it from every tribe and nation by the power of the Spirit that he sends forth.

    Each congregation of Christ’s followers is an assembly of his priests, gathered together and constituting his church in every locality, bound together in love and by a solidarity of faith. Walking together to the new Jerusalem.

    Because of our frailty and sin, we create divisions within Christ’s church. But we do not lose hope. We trust in the certain promise that he is sanctifying his bride and will return in all his unveiled glory to take her in perfection unto himself. He makes all things new.

    During this age of grace, while he allows the divisions to endure, the longings to be united with our separated brethren are painful, heart wrenching. But, these afflictions too are working together for our good and God’s glory.

    Although now, for a little while, we cannot commune together with Christ, let’s always continue to encourage and exhort one another in the building up of our faith. Recognizing each other as brothers in Christ, let’s always continue to pray for each other and for the whole communion of saints; the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

    Shalom.

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@117) Thank you, Pastor. That clears up a question for me that has been lingering for some time. Much appreciated!

  • http://johnbriggs.reachby.com/ John B

    Bror (@117) Thank you, Pastor. That clears up a question for me that has been lingering for some time. Much appreciated!

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Very helpful comments from rev. Erickson! But I have a question about the confessional status of Luther’s commentary of the Galatians. Doesn’t the Formula of Concord regard it as “confessional” in some way when referring to it as a more thorough explanation on the matter of justification? Though this would set it authoritative only in matters of justification, right?

    I also read your posts on Saarnivaara’s book on baptism. Did you know taht our newly consecrated (confessional) bishop Matti Väisänen wrote his doctoral thesis on Uuras’ baptismal theology a few years ago? Abstract in English (scroll the page down): https://oa.doria.fi/handle/10024/27259

    It seemst that Uuras changed his view twice. During his stay in the US, he held a quite traditional Lutheran stand, but before and after that period his view was inclined to Reformed position, where a child does not receive faith through baptism but through a later conversion experience. Too bad, it would have saved Finnish Christians from a lot of troubles if his Lutheran position had lasted.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Very helpful comments from rev. Erickson! But I have a question about the confessional status of Luther’s commentary of the Galatians. Doesn’t the Formula of Concord regard it as “confessional” in some way when referring to it as a more thorough explanation on the matter of justification? Though this would set it authoritative only in matters of justification, right?

    I also read your posts on Saarnivaara’s book on baptism. Did you know taht our newly consecrated (confessional) bishop Matti Väisänen wrote his doctoral thesis on Uuras’ baptismal theology a few years ago? Abstract in English (scroll the page down): https://oa.doria.fi/handle/10024/27259

    It seemst that Uuras changed his view twice. During his stay in the US, he held a quite traditional Lutheran stand, but before and after that period his view was inclined to Reformed position, where a child does not receive faith through baptism but through a later conversion experience. Too bad, it would have saved Finnish Christians from a lot of troubles if his Lutheran position had lasted.


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