Obama’s confession of faith

President Obama was asked at a recent meeting with voters why he was a Christian.  Here is what he said:

“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president said. “My family, frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew but she didn’t raise me in the church, so I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead. Being my brothers and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me, and I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”

Mr. Obama went on: “But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day.’’ Yet he said that as president, he also “deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and of no faith.’’

via Obama Talks About His Faith – NYTimes.com.

Though this is hardly complete theologically and reflects his liberal mainline Protestant roots, is this confession of faith–especially the part about “Christ dying for my sins”– enough to make you think that he is, in fact, a Christian?

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.

  • Pete

    Despite the very thin (well, toxic) gruel in that first statement (“I’m a Christian by choice.”), in terms of the three “solas”, he hits “fide” and “gratia”. “Scriptura” is well-implied. Fortunately, we are saved by Christ, not by our theology. And, fortunately for him, not by our economic policies.

    I fully expect to meet him in the hereafter where we will be truly free and so, presumably, will be the market.

  • Pete

    Despite the very thin (well, toxic) gruel in that first statement (“I’m a Christian by choice.”), in terms of the three “solas”, he hits “fide” and “gratia”. “Scriptura” is well-implied. Fortunately, we are saved by Christ, not by our theology. And, fortunately for him, not by our economic policies.

    I fully expect to meet him in the hereafter where we will be truly free and so, presumably, will be the market.

  • Meoip

    I guess I’m at the point in my faith and politics where I’m not sure it matters what his faith is. It matters in that Christian’s are to go and make disciples but I haven’t been called to witness to the President. It doesn’t seem to matter because in observable politics being Christian or not doesn’t effect policy, ethics or behavior. It may not be popular to say but GW Bush, who was seen as a Christian, did some things which ran against the grain of faith and Christian belief. In the same hand Obama, who isn’t seen as a Christian, has done some things which are consistent with the Christian faith. So I wonder allowed does faith matter in elected officials since “Christian” officials represent a political view first then faith?

  • Meoip

    I guess I’m at the point in my faith and politics where I’m not sure it matters what his faith is. It matters in that Christian’s are to go and make disciples but I haven’t been called to witness to the President. It doesn’t seem to matter because in observable politics being Christian or not doesn’t effect policy, ethics or behavior. It may not be popular to say but GW Bush, who was seen as a Christian, did some things which ran against the grain of faith and Christian belief. In the same hand Obama, who isn’t seen as a Christian, has done some things which are consistent with the Christian faith. So I wonder allowed does faith matter in elected officials since “Christian” officials represent a political view first then faith?

  • colliebear06

    What choice do I have? I have to believe his confession, because I cannot read his soul. I hope he is sincere.

    His attendance at the Chicago church for twenty years, where black liberation theology(an offshoot of Marxism?) was preached, raises questions. Christians, when we behave, are about being one; not separation, as taught in that church.

    Although I hate most of his policies, and hope he receives more challenge next year in the form of an opposition party in Congress, I do pray for him, that he hears the gospel, especially from his preacher at Camp David, and that he believes. God works in mysterious ways.

  • colliebear06

    What choice do I have? I have to believe his confession, because I cannot read his soul. I hope he is sincere.

    His attendance at the Chicago church for twenty years, where black liberation theology(an offshoot of Marxism?) was preached, raises questions. Christians, when we behave, are about being one; not separation, as taught in that church.

    Although I hate most of his policies, and hope he receives more challenge next year in the form of an opposition party in Congress, I do pray for him, that he hears the gospel, especially from his preacher at Camp David, and that he believes. God works in mysterious ways.

  • Kirk

    Nope. Still a secret Muslim.

  • Kirk

    Nope. Still a secret Muslim.

  • Winston Smith

    I would like to think he is a Christian, though whether he is truly born again I can’t tell. Odds are he’s not, but only God can look on the heart.

    George W. Bush wasn’t that much of a Christian, despite all his protestations. I question whether anyone who did not repudiate his Skull and Bones affiliation could be a real disciple of Jesus.

  • Winston Smith

    I would like to think he is a Christian, though whether he is truly born again I can’t tell. Odds are he’s not, but only God can look on the heart.

    George W. Bush wasn’t that much of a Christian, despite all his protestations. I question whether anyone who did not repudiate his Skull and Bones affiliation could be a real disciple of Jesus.

  • Gary Hall

    It all depends on if he confesses Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life for all or Jesus Christ as a way, a truth, and a life for some. And I’m not sure I can determine that from those brief responses. I tend toward the side that he believes that all paths lead to God.

  • Gary Hall

    It all depends on if he confesses Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life for all or Jesus Christ as a way, a truth, and a life for some. And I’m not sure I can determine that from those brief responses. I tend toward the side that he believes that all paths lead to God.

  • http://www.beautifulsaviorlcms.org AJ Neugebauer

    From many of the statements that President Obama has made, he seems to be a pluralist who has personally chosen Christianity among the myriad of valid faith traditions. Therefore, I think the answer to this question can be found in the answer to another larger question: are pluralists who believe that Jesus died for THEIR sins, (but is not necessary for the salvation of others,) truly Christians?

  • http://www.beautifulsaviorlcms.org AJ Neugebauer

    From many of the statements that President Obama has made, he seems to be a pluralist who has personally chosen Christianity among the myriad of valid faith traditions. Therefore, I think the answer to this question can be found in the answer to another larger question: are pluralists who believe that Jesus died for THEIR sins, (but is not necessary for the salvation of others,) truly Christians?

  • WebMonk

    Yup, obviously a Muslim.
    [sarcasm alert]

  • WebMonk

    Yup, obviously a Muslim.
    [sarcasm alert]

  • Carl Vehse

    Obama’s confession of faith

    It must be true. Barry says it’s written on his birth certificate.

  • Carl Vehse

    Obama’s confession of faith

    It must be true. Barry says it’s written on his birth certificate.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “His attendance at the Chicago church for twenty years, where black liberation theology(an offshoot of Marxism?) was preached, raises questions. ”

    Okay, I have to defend the president here. I mean, if he has no background and he goes to a large church that is affiliated with a large denomination, it seems reasonable for him to assume that the preacher is preaching the Bible. Some will say Wright is a not teaching correctly on some points, but the president doesn’t sound too clueless here. He seems to understand what most Christians understand and confess.

    I would hope someday very soon God would change the president’s heart so he would include innocent unborn children when he says, “But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day.’’

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “His attendance at the Chicago church for twenty years, where black liberation theology(an offshoot of Marxism?) was preached, raises questions. ”

    Okay, I have to defend the president here. I mean, if he has no background and he goes to a large church that is affiliated with a large denomination, it seems reasonable for him to assume that the preacher is preaching the Bible. Some will say Wright is a not teaching correctly on some points, but the president doesn’t sound too clueless here. He seems to understand what most Christians understand and confess.

    I would hope someday very soon God would change the president’s heart so he would include innocent unborn children when he says, “But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day.’’

  • Kirk

    @9

    And all this time I’d been thinking that the birther movement was dead…

  • Kirk

    @9

    And all this time I’d been thinking that the birther movement was dead…

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My take; the President will say whatever appears on TOTUS. I can’t tell a thing from this speech, except to remember that he has a touch of trouble with Exodus 20:16–often making even Clinton look honest in comparison. Or at least he can’t make you believe that he believes his lies, as Clinton often could.

    Regarding his church attendance; evangelicals often call the UCC “Unitarians Considering Christ,” and I seriously doubt that a man with two Ivy League degrees like Obama is truly incapable of figuring out that what Pastor Wright was preaching wasn’t historic Christianity. Moreover, Obama’s contributions to his church were typically less than 1% of his income. Then you’ve got his biography, which makes pretty clear that the actions he’s taking today…..are pretty much the actions he espoused while back in college.

    If one can judge by the fruit one bears, it doesn’t look good for him.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My take; the President will say whatever appears on TOTUS. I can’t tell a thing from this speech, except to remember that he has a touch of trouble with Exodus 20:16–often making even Clinton look honest in comparison. Or at least he can’t make you believe that he believes his lies, as Clinton often could.

    Regarding his church attendance; evangelicals often call the UCC “Unitarians Considering Christ,” and I seriously doubt that a man with two Ivy League degrees like Obama is truly incapable of figuring out that what Pastor Wright was preaching wasn’t historic Christianity. Moreover, Obama’s contributions to his church were typically less than 1% of his income. Then you’ve got his biography, which makes pretty clear that the actions he’s taking today…..are pretty much the actions he espoused while back in college.

    If one can judge by the fruit one bears, it doesn’t look good for him.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    has anyone noticed that liberal presidents seem to generally be more religiously involved than liberal ones? truman, eisenhower, jfk, lbj, nixon, ford,carter, reagan, bush, clinton, bush, obama….

    the most revered conservative in the list had a wife deeply into astrology and was divorced.

    I am just noting that in that office political beliefs do not seem to track very political with religious beliefs. thats all…. I am not trying to make another point or argument. more an interesting observation.

    and it doesnt matter. I agree with Luther who is said to have preferred a capabable turk over an incompetent christian to govern.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    has anyone noticed that liberal presidents seem to generally be more religiously involved than liberal ones? truman, eisenhower, jfk, lbj, nixon, ford,carter, reagan, bush, clinton, bush, obama….

    the most revered conservative in the list had a wife deeply into astrology and was divorced.

    I am just noting that in that office political beliefs do not seem to track very political with religious beliefs. thats all…. I am not trying to make another point or argument. more an interesting observation.

    and it doesnt matter. I agree with Luther who is said to have preferred a capabable turk over an incompetent christian to govern.

  • Jerry

    I’m a skeptic; does he believe this, or did someone write it down for him first? By every other indication he’s a Moslem. Sorry.

  • Jerry

    I’m a skeptic; does he believe this, or did someone write it down for him first? By every other indication he’s a Moslem. Sorry.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    and then we have Glen beck who some say is that the other end of the spectrum who we KNOW is not christian . so what. if what he says is true or sensible it is. or is not…. again … doesnt matter….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    and then we have Glen beck who some say is that the other end of the spectrum who we KNOW is not christian . so what. if what he says is true or sensible it is. or is not…. again … doesnt matter….

  • WebMonk

    Bike, this was completely off the TOTUS – it was a response to a question from the audience, not part of a scripted speech, and if you watch any of the numerous clips available of this, you can see him doing pauses and thinking moments and certainly not looking at the TOTUS.

    A modicum of background knowledge would help you on this.

  • WebMonk

    Bike, this was completely off the TOTUS – it was a response to a question from the audience, not part of a scripted speech, and if you watch any of the numerous clips available of this, you can see him doing pauses and thinking moments and certainly not looking at the TOTUS.

    A modicum of background knowledge would help you on this.

  • WebMonk

    Jerry – same thing to you as to Bike. It wasn’t a speech, and no one wrote it down for him. A bare minimum of knowledge about what you’re talking about on this topic would be most helpful.

  • WebMonk

    Jerry – same thing to you as to Bike. It wasn’t a speech, and no one wrote it down for him. A bare minimum of knowledge about what you’re talking about on this topic would be most helpful.

  • colliebear06

    sg@10, I don’t know a lot about the church, but what I do know rings alarm bells. Obama is an intelligent man, and I would hope he would do some research into the different types of Christianity before he adopts such an extreme version of it.

    So, it appears he approves of the theology taught at Trinity, given that he spent 20 years there.

  • colliebear06

    sg@10, I don’t know a lot about the church, but what I do know rings alarm bells. Obama is an intelligent man, and I would hope he would do some research into the different types of Christianity before he adopts such an extreme version of it.

    So, it appears he approves of the theology taught at Trinity, given that he spent 20 years there.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” It wasn’t a speech, and no one wrote it down for him. A bare minimum of knowledge about what you’re talking about on this topic would be most helpful.”

    However, he does have people coaching him on what to say. He certainly could manage to modify his phrasing to make it more appealing based on advice. There is no direct evidence that is what happened, but it isn’t implausible either. He is an able politician and very practiced and coached just like every other politician.

    Nancy Pelosi and George Bush both referenced Jesus out of the blue. Remember Pelosi’s favorite word and Bush’s favorite philosopher.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” It wasn’t a speech, and no one wrote it down for him. A bare minimum of knowledge about what you’re talking about on this topic would be most helpful.”

    However, he does have people coaching him on what to say. He certainly could manage to modify his phrasing to make it more appealing based on advice. There is no direct evidence that is what happened, but it isn’t implausible either. He is an able politician and very practiced and coached just like every other politician.

    Nancy Pelosi and George Bush both referenced Jesus out of the blue. Remember Pelosi’s favorite word and Bush’s favorite philosopher.

  • Tressa

    I believe that he is a politician that will say whatever is expedient at the time. Have you seen his poll numbers? They aren’t exactly stellar.
    A politician can say whatever they want. Actions speak more to me. His comments don’t change my mind. I think that he believes mostly in himself.

  • Tressa

    I believe that he is a politician that will say whatever is expedient at the time. Have you seen his poll numbers? They aren’t exactly stellar.
    A politician can say whatever they want. Actions speak more to me. His comments don’t change my mind. I think that he believes mostly in himself.

  • Tressa

    One more thing. I do not believe that a person must be a Christian to be a president nor do I believe that all believers must prove to me or others by their actions that they are Christians. However, President Obama has been coached very well through the years. It seems he only gives information when it is beneficial to him. That is why I am wary.

  • Tressa

    One more thing. I do not believe that a person must be a Christian to be a president nor do I believe that all believers must prove to me or others by their actions that they are Christians. However, President Obama has been coached very well through the years. It seems he only gives information when it is beneficial to him. That is why I am wary.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What sg says, folks. OK, so TOTUS wasn’t involved this time, but I’ve yet to hear Obama speak without sounding scripted.

    And regarding Islam and President Obama; if he is, he’s one that is willing to eat $100/lb ham and drink beer routinely, never mind the pizza parties that characterized his first few months in office. I am pretty sure most sausage on pizza is not “hallal,” and even the Bug Light he drank at the “Beer Summit” does note quite qualify, either. Then there is his longtime church attendance.

    So if he’s a closet Muslim, he’s doing an excellent job of hiding it. Cozying up to Islamist nations? Yes. Deserting the historic relationship with Israel? Absolutely. Clear evidence of being a Muslim? No.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What sg says, folks. OK, so TOTUS wasn’t involved this time, but I’ve yet to hear Obama speak without sounding scripted.

    And regarding Islam and President Obama; if he is, he’s one that is willing to eat $100/lb ham and drink beer routinely, never mind the pizza parties that characterized his first few months in office. I am pretty sure most sausage on pizza is not “hallal,” and even the Bug Light he drank at the “Beer Summit” does note quite qualify, either. Then there is his longtime church attendance.

    So if he’s a closet Muslim, he’s doing an excellent job of hiding it. Cozying up to Islamist nations? Yes. Deserting the historic relationship with Israel? Absolutely. Clear evidence of being a Muslim? No.

  • DonS

    Colliebear @ 3 has it right. He is a confessed Christian, and we should leave it at that. We as citizens are better off judging his politics, not his faith.

    FWS @ 13, 15 — I guess I don’t really see why your “observation” is all that interesting — or accurate. Some people are more private about their faith then others. And it is maybe the case that more liberal presidents feel more of a need, because of the closer alignment of liberal politics with secularism, to emphasize their faith for political purposes.

  • DonS

    Colliebear @ 3 has it right. He is a confessed Christian, and we should leave it at that. We as citizens are better off judging his politics, not his faith.

    FWS @ 13, 15 — I guess I don’t really see why your “observation” is all that interesting — or accurate. Some people are more private about their faith then others. And it is maybe the case that more liberal presidents feel more of a need, because of the closer alignment of liberal politics with secularism, to emphasize their faith for political purposes.

  • Kirk

    @ Jerry,

    Which other indications?

  • Kirk

    @ Jerry,

    Which other indications?

  • Porcell

    I’ll take Obama at his word that he is a Christian, notwithstanding that he under Wright apparently fell for a black liberationist view of Christianity.

    As to Bush II, I, also, take him at his word that he is a serious Christian. He and many other members of the Skull and Bones society are devout Christians.

    Speculating about the sincerity of anyone’s claim to be religious places one in danger of Pharisaic righteousness.

  • Porcell

    I’ll take Obama at his word that he is a Christian, notwithstanding that he under Wright apparently fell for a black liberationist view of Christianity.

    As to Bush II, I, also, take him at his word that he is a serious Christian. He and many other members of the Skull and Bones society are devout Christians.

    Speculating about the sincerity of anyone’s claim to be religious places one in danger of Pharisaic righteousness.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I get your point, Collie. He was a grown man. However, Wright, as a preacher is involved, too. When I was in high school, I joined the baptist church because the baptist family two doors down invited me and gave me a ride. If my next door Catholic neighbors had invited me and given me a ride to their church, I probably would have joined their church. Just being honest here. I didn’t research thoroughly. I just had faith in Christ. I didn’t know much theology. I trusted what the pastor taught. He read from the Bible and I believed. I figure many lay people are similar. I mean if Obama is only guilty of confessing what he is taught, I mean, hey, isn’t that what one would expect? He didn’t go to some tiny offshoot no one has ever heard of. He went to a big church in a big city that is part of a fairly big denomination. Compare him to Romney. Anyway, this is the reason we need to use reason and actual policy positions and not religious affiliation when choosing someone to preside over the government at the will of the people.

    Now, I have come around to another point. We are to follow the laws and authority etc. However, in the US, the authority rests with the people. We are the rulers and source of authority for the laws. Those working in government are vassals of the people because the people have collectively replaced the king. So, we collectively have authority through the rule of law. We need to embrace that authority. As a hereditary monarch, when ERII grants her royal assent to new legislation passed by parliament, she represents herself, the crown. When our president signs, he signs in our stead as our representative. He serves at our will.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I get your point, Collie. He was a grown man. However, Wright, as a preacher is involved, too. When I was in high school, I joined the baptist church because the baptist family two doors down invited me and gave me a ride. If my next door Catholic neighbors had invited me and given me a ride to their church, I probably would have joined their church. Just being honest here. I didn’t research thoroughly. I just had faith in Christ. I didn’t know much theology. I trusted what the pastor taught. He read from the Bible and I believed. I figure many lay people are similar. I mean if Obama is only guilty of confessing what he is taught, I mean, hey, isn’t that what one would expect? He didn’t go to some tiny offshoot no one has ever heard of. He went to a big church in a big city that is part of a fairly big denomination. Compare him to Romney. Anyway, this is the reason we need to use reason and actual policy positions and not religious affiliation when choosing someone to preside over the government at the will of the people.

    Now, I have come around to another point. We are to follow the laws and authority etc. However, in the US, the authority rests with the people. We are the rulers and source of authority for the laws. Those working in government are vassals of the people because the people have collectively replaced the king. So, we collectively have authority through the rule of law. We need to embrace that authority. As a hereditary monarch, when ERII grants her royal assent to new legislation passed by parliament, she represents herself, the crown. When our president signs, he signs in our stead as our representative. He serves at our will.

  • MikeD

    Is this really a confession of the true faith? Could not the Judaizers have said all of what he said? Of course none of us can know for sure what he really beleives, but apart from the blip about “Jesus Christ dying for our sins,” was there anything close to the gospel. I submit not, but rather law. Being his brother’s keeper (via coerced taxation perhaps? I digress), the Golden Rule. Even the most rank pagan could give an amen to those. As for the cross there are many theories of the atonement that can use the phrase “Jesus dies for my sins,” and perhaps we can see what he means when he continued in that sentence by saying that it spoke to the humility we should have and that we achieve salvation through grace. But maybe not. I have no particular desire to say anybody is an unbeleiver, nor am I saying it here in regards to our president (although I have an opinion), but the bigger picture is that a Catholic could very easily say all that he said while denying sola fide (notice no “only”s in his words) and thinking that justification follows a life of God pouring His grace into you via this and that rather than the imputed righteousness of the Savior.

    As for Pete @ 1: “Fortunately, we are saved by Christ, not by our theology.” Well, yes and no. Remember that it’s not only Christ alone but through faith alone. Christ righteousness is the sole graound of our justification, the only work worth meriting anything. But the sole instrument (means) of our justitication is faith, believeing God’s word, which corresponds very tightly, if not identically, with one’s doctrine.

    In fairness to Dr. Veith’s question: No, it’s not enough to make me think he’s a Christian in any meaningful way. But I do not deny that he is either.

  • MikeD

    Is this really a confession of the true faith? Could not the Judaizers have said all of what he said? Of course none of us can know for sure what he really beleives, but apart from the blip about “Jesus Christ dying for our sins,” was there anything close to the gospel. I submit not, but rather law. Being his brother’s keeper (via coerced taxation perhaps? I digress), the Golden Rule. Even the most rank pagan could give an amen to those. As for the cross there are many theories of the atonement that can use the phrase “Jesus dies for my sins,” and perhaps we can see what he means when he continued in that sentence by saying that it spoke to the humility we should have and that we achieve salvation through grace. But maybe not. I have no particular desire to say anybody is an unbeleiver, nor am I saying it here in regards to our president (although I have an opinion), but the bigger picture is that a Catholic could very easily say all that he said while denying sola fide (notice no “only”s in his words) and thinking that justification follows a life of God pouring His grace into you via this and that rather than the imputed righteousness of the Savior.

    As for Pete @ 1: “Fortunately, we are saved by Christ, not by our theology.” Well, yes and no. Remember that it’s not only Christ alone but through faith alone. Christ righteousness is the sole graound of our justification, the only work worth meriting anything. But the sole instrument (means) of our justitication is faith, believeing God’s word, which corresponds very tightly, if not identically, with one’s doctrine.

    In fairness to Dr. Veith’s question: No, it’s not enough to make me think he’s a Christian in any meaningful way. But I do not deny that he is either.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Gene Veith asks “Though this is hardly complete theologically and reflects his liberal mainline Protestant roots, is this confession of faith–especially the part about “Christ dying for my sins”– enough to make you think that he is, in fact, a Christian?”

    What an absurd question! He has been baptized. He is a Christian. Only an Anabaptist would require a testimonial.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Gene Veith asks “Though this is hardly complete theologically and reflects his liberal mainline Protestant roots, is this confession of faith–especially the part about “Christ dying for my sins”– enough to make you think that he is, in fact, a Christian?”

    What an absurd question! He has been baptized. He is a Christian. Only an Anabaptist would require a testimonial.

  • Jerry

    Obama has indicated on occasion among many (1) this is not a Christian nation, (2) this is a Moslem nation, (3) has globally promoted a false view of Islam’s contribution to society, (4) as a child memorized the critical Moslem texts, (5) joined a “Christian” church which gives awards to Moslem leaders, (6) sucks up to Moslem politicians around the world while alienating historical allies, (7) has slipped up in interviews and confessed his Moslem beliefs, (8) celebrated Ramadan while ignoring equally important days of other religions (primarily Christianity), (9) supports the victory mosque at 9/11 Ground Zero, and (10) does not understand that God created all men equal.

    You can see why I’m skeptical? If Obama believes he is a Christian, he also believes he can be a Moslem at the same time.

  • Jerry

    Obama has indicated on occasion among many (1) this is not a Christian nation, (2) this is a Moslem nation, (3) has globally promoted a false view of Islam’s contribution to society, (4) as a child memorized the critical Moslem texts, (5) joined a “Christian” church which gives awards to Moslem leaders, (6) sucks up to Moslem politicians around the world while alienating historical allies, (7) has slipped up in interviews and confessed his Moslem beliefs, (8) celebrated Ramadan while ignoring equally important days of other religions (primarily Christianity), (9) supports the victory mosque at 9/11 Ground Zero, and (10) does not understand that God created all men equal.

    You can see why I’m skeptical? If Obama believes he is a Christian, he also believes he can be a Moslem at the same time.

  • Joe

    As a Lutheran, I can only do two things here:

    1. acknowledge that Mr. Obama can be a member of the invisible church and acknowledge that only God can look into his heart and answer that question. (contrary to popular belief we Lutherans do beleive that non-Lutherans can be honest to goodness Christians that will make it to heaven and the new creation).

    2. look to the public confession of faith of the church body he attends to determine if full fellowship in this life is possible.

  • Joe

    As a Lutheran, I can only do two things here:

    1. acknowledge that Mr. Obama can be a member of the invisible church and acknowledge that only God can look into his heart and answer that question. (contrary to popular belief we Lutherans do beleive that non-Lutherans can be honest to goodness Christians that will make it to heaven and the new creation).

    2. look to the public confession of faith of the church body he attends to determine if full fellowship in this life is possible.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    daniel gorman @ 28

    bingo.

    Note that when Luther wants to say “unbeliever” he says “the turks”. This is because in his time everyone was baptized in his nation and community.

    So Luther addressed all in his community as christians out of christian love and in keeping the 8th commandment, out of love, ie according to the law.

    Joe I am surprised at your answer. This is not the Lutheran answer. Daniel wins that Confessional seal of approval here.

    And based on what Daniel said, I retract what I said. It matters how to judge this for the exact reason he , following the Lutheran Confessions, states.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    daniel gorman @ 28

    bingo.

    Note that when Luther wants to say “unbeliever” he says “the turks”. This is because in his time everyone was baptized in his nation and community.

    So Luther addressed all in his community as christians out of christian love and in keeping the 8th commandment, out of love, ie according to the law.

    Joe I am surprised at your answer. This is not the Lutheran answer. Daniel wins that Confessional seal of approval here.

    And based on what Daniel said, I retract what I said. It matters how to judge this for the exact reason he , following the Lutheran Confessions, states.

  • larry

    “Taking it at face value, not trying to read his political agenda yea or nea into it, not being able to read his heart or throw my chips on #7 on the issue betting he’s not; the whole confession could:

    1. Be one of hundreds of confessions I heard as an evangelical/baptist. Take his name off of it and one could not identify it differently.
    2. It catches all the right phrases but its drift if works righteousness and that’s the problem today. Many so called protestants already know the “right answer to the test question”, ergo, “grace alone”. But often that answer to the test carries behind it all kinds of things that really mean or imply, “YEA BUT….good works”, somewhere in the REAL formulary.
    “and I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”

    Sound close but really is speaking of human effort with words entrenched like “understanding”, “have to have”, “we achieve”.

    There’s a reason both Christ and Luther display infants and children as the owners of the kingdom of heaven and better persons for the sacrament of baptism. Not because they deserve it but much like dead in the tomb Lazarus all they can do is nothing whatsoever but lay there and receive from God the forgiveness of sin. Thus its easier to see the 200 proof Gospel in infant baptism and them as a believer because they cannot open their big fat adult mouths and ruin it by decorating their confession with not so subtle “I thank you God for giving me the power to do the things I do” kind of “false grace”.

    His whole confession, like many “evangelicals” today wreaks of “do, do and do”, sprinkled with just enough Christian catch words and “right answer to the test question words” as if to give it Gospel credibility by their mere presence among all the works.

  • larry

    “Taking it at face value, not trying to read his political agenda yea or nea into it, not being able to read his heart or throw my chips on #7 on the issue betting he’s not; the whole confession could:

    1. Be one of hundreds of confessions I heard as an evangelical/baptist. Take his name off of it and one could not identify it differently.
    2. It catches all the right phrases but its drift if works righteousness and that’s the problem today. Many so called protestants already know the “right answer to the test question”, ergo, “grace alone”. But often that answer to the test carries behind it all kinds of things that really mean or imply, “YEA BUT….good works”, somewhere in the REAL formulary.
    “and I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”

    Sound close but really is speaking of human effort with words entrenched like “understanding”, “have to have”, “we achieve”.

    There’s a reason both Christ and Luther display infants and children as the owners of the kingdom of heaven and better persons for the sacrament of baptism. Not because they deserve it but much like dead in the tomb Lazarus all they can do is nothing whatsoever but lay there and receive from God the forgiveness of sin. Thus its easier to see the 200 proof Gospel in infant baptism and them as a believer because they cannot open their big fat adult mouths and ruin it by decorating their confession with not so subtle “I thank you God for giving me the power to do the things I do” kind of “false grace”.

    His whole confession, like many “evangelicals” today wreaks of “do, do and do”, sprinkled with just enough Christian catch words and “right answer to the test question words” as if to give it Gospel credibility by their mere presence among all the works.

  • Joe

    Frank – lets unpack it. Perhaps we are talking passed each other a bit. I fully agree that baptism saved him. But are you (and Daniel) saying that he is always saved because of this? Are you denying the possibility of his rejection of his salvation? This is not Lutheran teaching, but perhaps we are mixing things up because we are saying, saved, Christian, believer interchangeably without defining our terms.

    I agree that he was completely washed, restored and saved in his baptism, but I can’t tell or determine what happened after that and Lutheran doctrine allows for the possibility that he has rejected this gift (even though he could not accept of his own will). That was my point? Does that clear anything up? Or did I muddle it more?

  • Joe

    Frank – lets unpack it. Perhaps we are talking passed each other a bit. I fully agree that baptism saved him. But are you (and Daniel) saying that he is always saved because of this? Are you denying the possibility of his rejection of his salvation? This is not Lutheran teaching, but perhaps we are mixing things up because we are saying, saved, Christian, believer interchangeably without defining our terms.

    I agree that he was completely washed, restored and saved in his baptism, but I can’t tell or determine what happened after that and Lutheran doctrine allows for the possibility that he has rejected this gift (even though he could not accept of his own will). That was my point? Does that clear anything up? Or did I muddle it more?

  • Kirk

    @29

    “(1) this is not a Christian nation,”

    Many non-Muslims believe that, myself included.

    “(2) this is a Moslem nation”

    When?

    “(3)has globally promoted a false view of Islam’s contribution to society”

    This is a matter of interpretation, of course. Still, when you’re the leader of the free world, saying Muslims contributions are valuable is much wise that saying that they’ve been detrimental, regardless of what you believe.

    “(4) as a child memorized the critical Moslem texts”

    Ok, sure. He lived in Indonesia, which is a Muslim nation. I’ve learned critical Muslim texts, as well. It’s useful to know something about religions that have 1.5 billion adherents. Knowledge doesn’t imply belief.

    “(5) joined a ‘Christian’ church which gives awards to Moslem leaders”

    I don’t know much about this, but I’d say that it depends on what the awards were for. Even so, it was still a Christian church, regardless of how doctrinally questionable. He didn’t join a Mosque

    “(6) sucks up to Moslem politicians around the world while alienating historical allies”

    I trust you think that George Bush is a Muslim, too.

    “(7) has slipped up in interviews and confessed his Moslem beliefs”

    When?

    ” (8) celebrated Ramadan while ignoring equally important days of other religions”

    Think of Ramadan as the equivalent of Easter, or Hannukah. Obama has celebrated all of these.

    “(9) supports the victory mosque at 9/11 Ground Zero”

    I’m not going to spark this debate, because it’s fruitless, but again, plenty of non-Muslims support the exercise of 1st amendment rights, including yours truly.

    “(10) does not understand that God created all men equal.”

    Explain this one. I’m not entirely sure what you mean or to what you’re referring.

  • Kirk

    @29

    “(1) this is not a Christian nation,”

    Many non-Muslims believe that, myself included.

    “(2) this is a Moslem nation”

    When?

    “(3)has globally promoted a false view of Islam’s contribution to society”

    This is a matter of interpretation, of course. Still, when you’re the leader of the free world, saying Muslims contributions are valuable is much wise that saying that they’ve been detrimental, regardless of what you believe.

    “(4) as a child memorized the critical Moslem texts”

    Ok, sure. He lived in Indonesia, which is a Muslim nation. I’ve learned critical Muslim texts, as well. It’s useful to know something about religions that have 1.5 billion adherents. Knowledge doesn’t imply belief.

    “(5) joined a ‘Christian’ church which gives awards to Moslem leaders”

    I don’t know much about this, but I’d say that it depends on what the awards were for. Even so, it was still a Christian church, regardless of how doctrinally questionable. He didn’t join a Mosque

    “(6) sucks up to Moslem politicians around the world while alienating historical allies”

    I trust you think that George Bush is a Muslim, too.

    “(7) has slipped up in interviews and confessed his Moslem beliefs”

    When?

    ” (8) celebrated Ramadan while ignoring equally important days of other religions”

    Think of Ramadan as the equivalent of Easter, or Hannukah. Obama has celebrated all of these.

    “(9) supports the victory mosque at 9/11 Ground Zero”

    I’m not going to spark this debate, because it’s fruitless, but again, plenty of non-Muslims support the exercise of 1st amendment rights, including yours truly.

    “(10) does not understand that God created all men equal.”

    Explain this one. I’m not entirely sure what you mean or to what you’re referring.

  • http://www.messiahlacrescent.org Rev. Matthew Lorfeld

    Truth be told, the President didn’t say much in his statement. A Mormon could make the same statement.

  • http://www.messiahlacrescent.org Rev. Matthew Lorfeld

    Truth be told, the President didn’t say much in his statement. A Mormon could make the same statement.

  • Joe

    “(10) does not understand that God created all men equal.”

    You do realize that thats in the Declaration of Independence – not the Bible.

  • Joe

    “(10) does not understand that God created all men equal.”

    You do realize that thats in the Declaration of Independence – not the Bible.

  • trotk

    Is no one else bothered by the fact that Christ’s salvation seemed tacked on, as if he remembered at the last second that it was important?

    “I think also…” – in addition to the good example, but as if the good example was the most important part.

    This bothers me. The fact that his first response is that he is a Christian because Christians are nice, and then remembers that Christ’s work on the cross reveals we should be humble seems like his understanding is way off base.

  • trotk

    Is no one else bothered by the fact that Christ’s salvation seemed tacked on, as if he remembered at the last second that it was important?

    “I think also…” – in addition to the good example, but as if the good example was the most important part.

    This bothers me. The fact that his first response is that he is a Christian because Christians are nice, and then remembers that Christ’s work on the cross reveals we should be humble seems like his understanding is way off base.

  • Norman Teigen

    I don’t understand why the President’s faith is a matter of any one else’s concern. This is a non-matter, as I see it

  • Norman Teigen

    I don’t understand why the President’s faith is a matter of any one else’s concern. This is a non-matter, as I see it

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    There is a difference between possessing saving faith and professing saving faith. Just because Obama can articulate doctrinal points does not mean that he himself embraces those points in a fully biblical way. The fact that he stands at odds with issues blatantly laid out in Scripture raises question with regard to whether or not he has true saving faith. Yes, Christians are not perfect. But there is a difference between an imperfect believer and a person whose life is at a complete and habitual disconnect with the plain sense of Scripture.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    There is a difference between possessing saving faith and professing saving faith. Just because Obama can articulate doctrinal points does not mean that he himself embraces those points in a fully biblical way. The fact that he stands at odds with issues blatantly laid out in Scripture raises question with regard to whether or not he has true saving faith. Yes, Christians are not perfect. But there is a difference between an imperfect believer and a person whose life is at a complete and habitual disconnect with the plain sense of Scripture.

  • WebMonk

    I REALLY don’t think there’s any sort of admonition in the Bible which says we should go around being arbiters of who has a matching profession and possession Christ, and who is just a professing but not possessing.

    There are plenty of Christians who are pro-abortion. Plenty who commit adultery. Plenty who get their beliefs in a horribly mixed up knot of truth and error. There are plenty who are fervent socialists/communists. Plenty who are gluttons, drunkards, murderers, drug users, abusers, etc.

    It is NOT our place to go around drawing the line which determines whether or not someone’s life is too disconnected from what we believe the Bible teaches to be called a Christian.

    There are several places in the Bible where we are given direction on how to treat Christians who are unrepentantly practicing sins. NONE of those directions involve declaring they are not Christians!

  • WebMonk

    I REALLY don’t think there’s any sort of admonition in the Bible which says we should go around being arbiters of who has a matching profession and possession Christ, and who is just a professing but not possessing.

    There are plenty of Christians who are pro-abortion. Plenty who commit adultery. Plenty who get their beliefs in a horribly mixed up knot of truth and error. There are plenty who are fervent socialists/communists. Plenty who are gluttons, drunkards, murderers, drug users, abusers, etc.

    It is NOT our place to go around drawing the line which determines whether or not someone’s life is too disconnected from what we believe the Bible teaches to be called a Christian.

    There are several places in the Bible where we are given direction on how to treat Christians who are unrepentantly practicing sins. NONE of those directions involve declaring they are not Christians!

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

    J. Dean,
    I am waiting to find someone whose life is not at a complete and habitual disconnect with the plain sense of scripture.
    simul iustus et peccator and all.

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

    J. Dean,
    I am waiting to find someone whose life is not at a complete and habitual disconnect with the plain sense of scripture.
    simul iustus et peccator and all.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @ 33

    with Luther we give those who have had a christian baptism the benefit of the doubt according to the 8th commandment Joe.

    There is a possibility that I am not a christian really. Or you. How would we know for sure? by our christian fruits and lives? No.

    So if you are merely stating the general truth that noone can be certain that anyone else is saved then ok. But we are asked specifically by our Lord to avoid trying to distinguish the wheat from the tares and the sheep from the goats.

    We give the baptized the benefit of the doubt out of love, not out of faith. Then we support the preaching of the same law and gospel for the same reason that we need to hear it, pagans need to hear it and anyone needs to hear it. And it does it´s work.

    We simply are not to check under peoplé´s spiritual hoods. This is both because we should not and because it would be impossible to do.

    Man looks at the outward appearance. Now here is the important Law Gospel distinction that gives this area clarity: This fully includes doctrinal professions and church affiliations, which are by the way only a part of that earthly visible righteousness that we can do and that God indeed demands, but which will perish with the earth, along with all who bet their lives on this kind of righteousness. Yes I know that many Lutherans are confused here and assume that the Luther and the Confessions´doctrine of the two kingdoms is about the churchly estate vs the civil estate. They are simply wrong. Two kingdoms is just another and pure form of law and gospel distinction. one more way to frame it to clarify and drive that distinction home. See the difference.

    Luther (I paraphrase from memory here, you can get the exact quote at the link…) “the earthly kingdom includes anything that we can do in our bodies…. the heavenly kingdom does not include anything that we can do in our bodies. How could it?! Those things are all completely and already included in that other earthly [civil] kingdom!…. The heavenly kingdom includes only and alone invisible faith in christ, which is meaningless in that other earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience”.

    “Anything we can do in our bodies” includes what Joe? professions of faith and denominational affiliations and everything that happens in your church that is done by someone besides God. even administration of the word and sacraments are flesh/body and not spirit this means from what Luther says yes?

    We stand apart in our witness from those who err as an earthly/civil kingdom exercise, a law exercise. An administrative exercise, if you will.

    Sometimes we get this wrong and fail to “err” on the side of love because our Old Adams love doing religious and sacrificial things that bear no marks of love yet we say must be believed to be love, tough love, as a matter of faith. But love is about works which are seen and not about unseen faith apart from works in christ.

    Scripture puts anything we are able to do in our bodies under the headings of self-restraint (mortification) and love (fruit of the law). This is ALL earthly kingdom civil righteousness. Civil. what happens between us and our neighbors. Being civil. The heavenly kingdom´s survival or existence does not depend on it.

    These are all earthly kingdom flesh/body stuff as opposed to spirit in romans 8. That is, this all belongs in the SAME kingdom as civil government I am saying according to our Confessions and Luther even if it is religious church stuff.

    http://www.thirduse.com

    Many simply assume that I cannot be a christian. And you know why. And there are those I am sure who can articulate the most beautiful expression of the Holy Gospel and still, sadly, not have faith in what they can express and bless others with. Ok. Why is it urgent for some to try to divine and distinguish all this? That urgent reason is not a good or moral one.

    Luther said that he simply acepted that the baptized are christian out of love (8th commandment, law) and not out of faith (ie as an article of faith or something that he can believe in for some reason.) this is a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

    And this very distinction is what the Lutheran Confessions posit is the distinction that we should always reach for and try to apply where things seem muddled or confused. This is the bulk of what reading scriptures with confessional eyeglasses looks like.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @ 33

    with Luther we give those who have had a christian baptism the benefit of the doubt according to the 8th commandment Joe.

    There is a possibility that I am not a christian really. Or you. How would we know for sure? by our christian fruits and lives? No.

    So if you are merely stating the general truth that noone can be certain that anyone else is saved then ok. But we are asked specifically by our Lord to avoid trying to distinguish the wheat from the tares and the sheep from the goats.

    We give the baptized the benefit of the doubt out of love, not out of faith. Then we support the preaching of the same law and gospel for the same reason that we need to hear it, pagans need to hear it and anyone needs to hear it. And it does it´s work.

    We simply are not to check under peoplé´s spiritual hoods. This is both because we should not and because it would be impossible to do.

    Man looks at the outward appearance. Now here is the important Law Gospel distinction that gives this area clarity: This fully includes doctrinal professions and church affiliations, which are by the way only a part of that earthly visible righteousness that we can do and that God indeed demands, but which will perish with the earth, along with all who bet their lives on this kind of righteousness. Yes I know that many Lutherans are confused here and assume that the Luther and the Confessions´doctrine of the two kingdoms is about the churchly estate vs the civil estate. They are simply wrong. Two kingdoms is just another and pure form of law and gospel distinction. one more way to frame it to clarify and drive that distinction home. See the difference.

    Luther (I paraphrase from memory here, you can get the exact quote at the link…) “the earthly kingdom includes anything that we can do in our bodies…. the heavenly kingdom does not include anything that we can do in our bodies. How could it?! Those things are all completely and already included in that other earthly [civil] kingdom!…. The heavenly kingdom includes only and alone invisible faith in christ, which is meaningless in that other earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience”.

    “Anything we can do in our bodies” includes what Joe? professions of faith and denominational affiliations and everything that happens in your church that is done by someone besides God. even administration of the word and sacraments are flesh/body and not spirit this means from what Luther says yes?

    We stand apart in our witness from those who err as an earthly/civil kingdom exercise, a law exercise. An administrative exercise, if you will.

    Sometimes we get this wrong and fail to “err” on the side of love because our Old Adams love doing religious and sacrificial things that bear no marks of love yet we say must be believed to be love, tough love, as a matter of faith. But love is about works which are seen and not about unseen faith apart from works in christ.

    Scripture puts anything we are able to do in our bodies under the headings of self-restraint (mortification) and love (fruit of the law). This is ALL earthly kingdom civil righteousness. Civil. what happens between us and our neighbors. Being civil. The heavenly kingdom´s survival or existence does not depend on it.

    These are all earthly kingdom flesh/body stuff as opposed to spirit in romans 8. That is, this all belongs in the SAME kingdom as civil government I am saying according to our Confessions and Luther even if it is religious church stuff.

    http://www.thirduse.com

    Many simply assume that I cannot be a christian. And you know why. And there are those I am sure who can articulate the most beautiful expression of the Holy Gospel and still, sadly, not have faith in what they can express and bless others with. Ok. Why is it urgent for some to try to divine and distinguish all this? That urgent reason is not a good or moral one.

    Luther said that he simply acepted that the baptized are christian out of love (8th commandment, law) and not out of faith (ie as an article of faith or something that he can believe in for some reason.) this is a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

    And this very distinction is what the Lutheran Confessions posit is the distinction that we should always reach for and try to apply where things seem muddled or confused. This is the bulk of what reading scriptures with confessional eyeglasses looks like.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    wow. porcell , don s and sg

    I am right there with you on all this. Amazing eh? And so are the Lutheran Confessions by the way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    wow. porcell , don s and sg

    I am right there with you on all this. Amazing eh? And so are the Lutheran Confessions by the way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @33

    try this..

    we as Lutherans simply assume that someone is christian if they have a christian baptism unless they inform us specifically otherwise. And we address them accordingly in daily discourse.

    Assuming is not knowing.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @33

    try this..

    we as Lutherans simply assume that someone is christian if they have a christian baptism unless they inform us specifically otherwise. And we address them accordingly in daily discourse.

    Assuming is not knowing.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,
    Even Luther and Walther made it clear that, though we are saved by faith alone, we are not saved by a faith that is alone :D

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,
    Even Luther and Walther made it clear that, though we are saved by faith alone, we are not saved by a faith that is alone :D

  • Joe

    “So if you are merely stating the general truth that noone can be certain that anyone else is saved then ok.” – that was all I was saying. I was declining to judge his heart because that is not mine to do. I thought my second point – about looking to see if fellowship in this life was possible – implied that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps I could have stated that more clearly. If I wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt, then there would not have been a second point.

  • Joe

    “So if you are merely stating the general truth that noone can be certain that anyone else is saved then ok.” – that was all I was saying. I was declining to judge his heart because that is not mine to do. I thought my second point – about looking to see if fellowship in this life was possible – implied that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps I could have stated that more clearly. If I wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt, then there would not have been a second point.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @ 33

    Yeah I am talking to much. but one more point. It is personal and important.

    Sometimes I wonder if I even have faith, or enough of it. After all, every sin I commit is proof of a lack of faith within me. So I don´t stare at my spiritual navel to see if there is faith there, or even my Lutheran-hes-got-his-doctrinal-ducks-in-a-row. We are all full of heresy Joe right? Even us WELS and LCMS Lutherans. And we need to confess that we are. We confess one thing and really believe things that are not about true faith in Christ. If this were not the honest state of affairs, then we would not sin would we?

    I don´t need to do that. I trust what scripture says about my heart, which tells me that I cannot know it it is so dark with sin. And then I pray the biblical prayer “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” “Kyrie eleison!” I just cling to that dead Jew on the cross as though my life depends upon it. Because it does.

    Sometimes we Lutherans complain about evangelicals making salvation about works and then we do the exact same thing in a more sophisticated way about doctrinal purity. Having the WELS as my spiritual mother, one that I deeply love and respect, I get why this is.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @ 33

    Yeah I am talking to much. but one more point. It is personal and important.

    Sometimes I wonder if I even have faith, or enough of it. After all, every sin I commit is proof of a lack of faith within me. So I don´t stare at my spiritual navel to see if there is faith there, or even my Lutheran-hes-got-his-doctrinal-ducks-in-a-row. We are all full of heresy Joe right? Even us WELS and LCMS Lutherans. And we need to confess that we are. We confess one thing and really believe things that are not about true faith in Christ. If this were not the honest state of affairs, then we would not sin would we?

    I don´t need to do that. I trust what scripture says about my heart, which tells me that I cannot know it it is so dark with sin. And then I pray the biblical prayer “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” “Kyrie eleison!” I just cling to that dead Jew on the cross as though my life depends upon it. Because it does.

    Sometimes we Lutherans complain about evangelicals making salvation about works and then we do the exact same thing in a more sophisticated way about doctrinal purity. Having the WELS as my spiritual mother, one that I deeply love and respect, I get why this is.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @33

    oops one more teeny point.

    Doctrinal discipline and marking and separating and fellowship practices are mortification. they are not love.

    Love is impossible without this mortification on earth. But it is not any kind of righteousness in and of itself if it does not produce love. It is means and never end. And here indeed the end does indeed justify the means! Here the means have no justification without that end being in sight. The confessions would then call this sacrifice, and also call it useless. This is rome and genevas version of righteousness.

    Love is whatever makes the creaturely lives of others evidentially better.

    And love is always something seen and is palpable, tangible, sense-ible. It is not something known by faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @33

    oops one more teeny point.

    Doctrinal discipline and marking and separating and fellowship practices are mortification. they are not love.

    Love is impossible without this mortification on earth. But it is not any kind of righteousness in and of itself if it does not produce love. It is means and never end. And here indeed the end does indeed justify the means! Here the means have no justification without that end being in sight. The confessions would then call this sacrifice, and also call it useless. This is rome and genevas version of righteousness.

    Love is whatever makes the creaturely lives of others evidentially better.

    And love is always something seen and is palpable, tangible, sense-ible. It is not something known by faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @ 33

    especially for ME, I go with luther when I doubt my salvation and simply say to satan and the law when the trouble my conscience as a new man in Christ: “I was baptized!!”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Joe @ 33

    especially for ME, I go with luther when I doubt my salvation and simply say to satan and the law when the trouble my conscience as a new man in Christ: “I was baptized!!”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    feldman @ 47

    “Granted, faith should be judged by works (St. James)”

    I am cool with james feldman, but that is not anything James says.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    feldman @ 47

    “Granted, faith should be judged by works (St. James)”

    I am cool with james feldman, but that is not anything James says.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    See, I need to have a treatise on the Lutheran understanding of Baptism, because it sounds almost like “baptism saves”, and that would be tantamount to salvation by works. I hope Dr. Veith is kind enough to explain this one sometime.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    See, I need to have a treatise on the Lutheran understanding of Baptism, because it sounds almost like “baptism saves”, and that would be tantamount to salvation by works. I hope Dr. Veith is kind enough to explain this one sometime.

  • kerner

    AJ @7 and Tressa @20:

    I think you 2 are the closest to the truth. Obama may be a pluralist, or he may simply be an opportunist, or he may be an opportunistic pluralist. It’s hard to tell.

    I don’t believe he is a Muslim. As others have pointed out, he lives in conflict with Muslim principles for personal conduct. But the most important point of departure is that no Muslim submits to baptism, nor does a Muslim baptize his children.

    I think all the cozying up to Muslim heads of state is more consistant with being a pluralist or an opportunist. There is a large segment of “liberal” mainline Christianity (and even a strain within Vatican II) that holds that any monotheist “of good will” has a chance for salvation. I am not at all surprised that a politician might fall into this group.

    But I don’t agree that Obama must be a Christian simply because he has been baptized. We can hope that he is. Probably, for practical purposes we should assume that he is. But it is certainly possible to be a hypocrite during or after baptism. Because we are powerless to read hearts, I think we have little choice but to take him at his word. On the other hand Norm @38 has another good point. God will judge the man’s heart, doing that isn’t our call to make.

  • kerner

    AJ @7 and Tressa @20:

    I think you 2 are the closest to the truth. Obama may be a pluralist, or he may simply be an opportunist, or he may be an opportunistic pluralist. It’s hard to tell.

    I don’t believe he is a Muslim. As others have pointed out, he lives in conflict with Muslim principles for personal conduct. But the most important point of departure is that no Muslim submits to baptism, nor does a Muslim baptize his children.

    I think all the cozying up to Muslim heads of state is more consistant with being a pluralist or an opportunist. There is a large segment of “liberal” mainline Christianity (and even a strain within Vatican II) that holds that any monotheist “of good will” has a chance for salvation. I am not at all surprised that a politician might fall into this group.

    But I don’t agree that Obama must be a Christian simply because he has been baptized. We can hope that he is. Probably, for practical purposes we should assume that he is. But it is certainly possible to be a hypocrite during or after baptism. Because we are powerless to read hearts, I think we have little choice but to take him at his word. On the other hand Norm @38 has another good point. God will judge the man’s heart, doing that isn’t our call to make.

  • Grace

    Where is the fruit ?

    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7

    ABORTION:

    “I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Obama

  • Grace

    Where is the fruit ?

    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7

    ABORTION:

    “I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Obama

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @46

    Oh I knew that you believed that you uberLutheran you. I never doubted it.. But it got me goin eh? Love ya brother!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    joe @46

    Oh I knew that you believed that you uberLutheran you. I never doubted it.. But it got me goin eh? Love ya brother!

  • colliebear06

    sg, I have sympathy for Romney, who was raised in Mormonism. It would be really hard to reject the faith even now as a mature adult. President Obama adopted his faith as an adult and my expectation is that an adult would put a lot of thought into it, which would include comparing this theology to others.

    Baptists and Catholics may differ greatly on many points, but they both emphasize redemption through Christ as payment for our sins. In contrast,

    As I understand black liberation theology (the little I know), the emphasis is on social justice – a worthy cause, but not the gospel. It is also wrapped up in Marxism, Islam and black nationalism. There is great condemnation of the U.S. for all her sins, past and present.

    Rev Wright frequently likes to quote, and is an admirer of James Cone, who writes about this stuff. I am currently reading up, but the fact that a pastor Obama may see as a father-figure believes these things gives me pause.

  • colliebear06

    sg, I have sympathy for Romney, who was raised in Mormonism. It would be really hard to reject the faith even now as a mature adult. President Obama adopted his faith as an adult and my expectation is that an adult would put a lot of thought into it, which would include comparing this theology to others.

    Baptists and Catholics may differ greatly on many points, but they both emphasize redemption through Christ as payment for our sins. In contrast,

    As I understand black liberation theology (the little I know), the emphasis is on social justice – a worthy cause, but not the gospel. It is also wrapped up in Marxism, Islam and black nationalism. There is great condemnation of the U.S. for all her sins, past and present.

    Rev Wright frequently likes to quote, and is an admirer of James Cone, who writes about this stuff. I am currently reading up, but the fact that a pastor Obama may see as a father-figure believes these things gives me pause.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Joe#33 asks “But are you (and Daniel) saying that he is always saved because of this? Are you denying the possibility of his rejection of his salvation?”

    No, I am denying you have any jurisdiction to question the salvation of this specific baptized Christian. Only Mr. Obama’s church and minister have the right of excommunication (Matt. 18:17; 1 Tim. 1:20; Of the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops).

    Norman Teigen#38 opines “I don’t understand why the President’s faith is a matter of any one else’s concern. This is a non-matter, as I see it.”

    Yes, but it does give us an opportunity to correct the Papist and Anabaptist errors that abound on this so-called Lutheran blog.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Joe#33 asks “But are you (and Daniel) saying that he is always saved because of this? Are you denying the possibility of his rejection of his salvation?”

    No, I am denying you have any jurisdiction to question the salvation of this specific baptized Christian. Only Mr. Obama’s church and minister have the right of excommunication (Matt. 18:17; 1 Tim. 1:20; Of the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops).

    Norman Teigen#38 opines “I don’t understand why the President’s faith is a matter of any one else’s concern. This is a non-matter, as I see it.”

    Yes, but it does give us an opportunity to correct the Papist and Anabaptist errors that abound on this so-called Lutheran blog.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @52

    try this…

    http://www.extremetheology.com/2006/09/baptism_saves.html

    Especially note the give and take in the comments…

    or try I peter 3:18. What do you think it means?…

    18 For Christ also suffered [2] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which [3] he went and proclaimed [4] to the spirits in prison, 20 because [5] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 BAPTISM, which corresponds to this, NOW SAVES YOU, …not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @52

    try this…

    http://www.extremetheology.com/2006/09/baptism_saves.html

    Especially note the give and take in the comments…

    or try I peter 3:18. What do you think it means?…

    18 For Christ also suffered [2] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which [3] he went and proclaimed [4] to the spirits in prison, 20 because [5] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 BAPTISM, which corresponds to this, NOW SAVES YOU, …not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

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

    Grace,
    Good Fruit comes from a good tree, and that tree is the cross upon which Christ was hung in order to forgive the world their sins. The fruit is forgiveness, that is how we are known. It isn’t in any earthly righteousness that a Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist can mimic.
    I don’t like Obama’s stance on abortion, but then I don’t like your stance on Baptism, which may be just as harmful if not more in the long run. But I am not about to say you aren’t a Christian, though much of what you confess to believe makes me sometimes question that, much more so than Obama’s confession.

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

    Grace,
    Good Fruit comes from a good tree, and that tree is the cross upon which Christ was hung in order to forgive the world their sins. The fruit is forgiveness, that is how we are known. It isn’t in any earthly righteousness that a Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist can mimic.
    I don’t like Obama’s stance on abortion, but then I don’t like your stance on Baptism, which may be just as harmful if not more in the long run. But I am not about to say you aren’t a Christian, though much of what you confess to believe makes me sometimes question that, much more so than Obama’s confession.

  • kerner

    J. Dean @52:

    As I understand it, the best way to understand how Lutherans can say that “baptism saves”, while conceding that some who have been baptized may not be saved, is to think of baptism as the equivalent of the Gospel, or God’s Word.

    We correctly say that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so we can correctly say that a person came to faith becaused he heard the Word of God preached. Yet we know that not everyone who hears the Word of God preached is saved. Some harden their hearts against it from the outset. Others (see the parable of the sower) receieve the Word and initially believe it, but later allow the cares of this world to choke it out.

    Baptism works pretty much the same way (Lutheran theology goes so far as to say that the sacraments ARE the Gospel). It is part of the process by which the Holy Spirit gives us our faith by God’s grace. But just as some harden their hearts against God’s spoken or written Word, some harden their hearts against their baptisms too.

    Like the preaching of the Gospel, baptism is not a “work”, something that the unbeliever does. Rather, like preaching the Gospel, baptism is something that God, through the ministry of His body, the Church, does for the unbeliever.

  • kerner

    J. Dean @52:

    As I understand it, the best way to understand how Lutherans can say that “baptism saves”, while conceding that some who have been baptized may not be saved, is to think of baptism as the equivalent of the Gospel, or God’s Word.

    We correctly say that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so we can correctly say that a person came to faith becaused he heard the Word of God preached. Yet we know that not everyone who hears the Word of God preached is saved. Some harden their hearts against it from the outset. Others (see the parable of the sower) receieve the Word and initially believe it, but later allow the cares of this world to choke it out.

    Baptism works pretty much the same way (Lutheran theology goes so far as to say that the sacraments ARE the Gospel). It is part of the process by which the Holy Spirit gives us our faith by God’s grace. But just as some harden their hearts against God’s spoken or written Word, some harden their hearts against their baptisms too.

    Like the preaching of the Gospel, baptism is not a “work”, something that the unbeliever does. Rather, like preaching the Gospel, baptism is something that God, through the ministry of His body, the Church, does for the unbeliever.

  • Grace

    57 Feldman ” When did Obama either procure or perform an abortion?”

    He supports abortion -

  • Grace

    57 Feldman ” When did Obama either procure or perform an abortion?”

    He supports abortion -

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

    J. Dean,
    We are saved by works, Christ’s works that is. And that is the Lutheran view of Baptism, It is Christ’s work not ours. He instituted it, he gets the credit. Notice John the Baptist in talking about Jesus says “He will baptize you” the operator in that sentence is Jesus, not you, you is the direct object receiving the action. Hope that helps.

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

    J. Dean,
    We are saved by works, Christ’s works that is. And that is the Lutheran view of Baptism, It is Christ’s work not ours. He instituted it, he gets the credit. Notice John the Baptist in talking about Jesus says “He will baptize you” the operator in that sentence is Jesus, not you, you is the direct object receiving the action. Hope that helps.

  • Grace

    Bror – 61

    “But I am not about to say you aren’t a Christian, though much of what you confess to believe makes me sometimes question that, much more so than Obama’s confession.”

    Questioning my Salvation is to your shame ! You have a lot of problems fella.

  • Grace

    Bror – 61

    “But I am not about to say you aren’t a Christian, though much of what you confess to believe makes me sometimes question that, much more so than Obama’s confession.”

    Questioning my Salvation is to your shame ! You have a lot of problems fella.

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

    Grace,
    Well me admitting that you are a Christian doesn’t actually question your salvation now does it.
    But I get it now. Grace is allowed to question the presidents salvation, but how dare anyone question her! Glass houses Grace, Glass houses.
    Some how I knew that would be your reaction.

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

    Grace,
    Well me admitting that you are a Christian doesn’t actually question your salvation now does it.
    But I get it now. Grace is allowed to question the presidents salvation, but how dare anyone question her! Glass houses Grace, Glass houses.
    Some how I knew that would be your reaction.

  • Grace

    Bror – 61

    “Good Fruit comes from a good tree, and that tree is the cross upon which Christ was hung in order to forgive the world their sins. The fruit is forgiveness, that is how we are known. “

    Fruit is the life we live – You confuse the Scripture, it never surprises me. You cannot believe in evil, pronounce it from the podium, and then expect Believers to see your good fruit. That is exactly what many do, not just politicians, but others as well. I stated abortion, because that is something Obama supports.

  • Grace

    Bror – 61

    “Good Fruit comes from a good tree, and that tree is the cross upon which Christ was hung in order to forgive the world their sins. The fruit is forgiveness, that is how we are known. “

    Fruit is the life we live – You confuse the Scripture, it never surprises me. You cannot believe in evil, pronounce it from the podium, and then expect Believers to see your good fruit. That is exactly what many do, not just politicians, but others as well. I stated abortion, because that is something Obama supports.

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

    Grace, Grace, Grace,
    Please, if you are free to judge someones salvation based on their life and what they say publicly, then they are free to subject you to the same judgment, and from my seat you are not fairing well. What you have professed on this blog is nothing short of blasphemy, and you have done it repeatedly, stubbornly, and unrepentantly. Even refusing to engage another Christian in discussing the Bible, or looking up Bible passages, not to mention the vile hate you have expressed for whole cultures, not just the immigrants who have come here illegally, but even the ones that stay in Mexico.
    So if I have reason to question Obama based on what you say, I have even more reason to question you based on what you say.

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

    Grace, Grace, Grace,
    Please, if you are free to judge someones salvation based on their life and what they say publicly, then they are free to subject you to the same judgment, and from my seat you are not fairing well. What you have professed on this blog is nothing short of blasphemy, and you have done it repeatedly, stubbornly, and unrepentantly. Even refusing to engage another Christian in discussing the Bible, or looking up Bible passages, not to mention the vile hate you have expressed for whole cultures, not just the immigrants who have come here illegally, but even the ones that stay in Mexico.
    So if I have reason to question Obama based on what you say, I have even more reason to question you based on what you say.

  • Daniel Gorman

    J. Dean#52, “See, I need to have a treatise on the Lutheran understanding of Baptism, because it sounds almost like “baptism saves”, and that would be tantamount to salvation by works. ”

    “But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s. God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. ” Luther’s Large Catechism

    To require a man to submit testamonials, show morality, and/or evidence of good works in order to prove his salvation is to deny that God’s work of faith and baptism alone is necessary for a man’s salvation (Mark 16:16): “For all is built upon a rotten and vain foundation, which is called a good work or law, even though no good work is there, but only wicked works, and no one does the Law (as Christ, John 7:19, says), but all transgress it.” Smalcald Articles, II, III

  • Daniel Gorman

    J. Dean#52, “See, I need to have a treatise on the Lutheran understanding of Baptism, because it sounds almost like “baptism saves”, and that would be tantamount to salvation by works. ”

    “But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s. God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. ” Luther’s Large Catechism

    To require a man to submit testamonials, show morality, and/or evidence of good works in order to prove his salvation is to deny that God’s work of faith and baptism alone is necessary for a man’s salvation (Mark 16:16): “For all is built upon a rotten and vain foundation, which is called a good work or law, even though no good work is there, but only wicked works, and no one does the Law (as Christ, John 7:19, says), but all transgress it.” Smalcald Articles, II, III

  • Grace

    U.S. President Speaks to Muslims around the world –
    Obama Quoted From the Holy Quran

    Saturday, 06 June 2009 03:11 | Author: IslamNewsroom Editor

    “That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”

    – - ANOTHER EXCERPT: – -

    “… as in the story of Isra.
    (APPLAUSE)
    as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed — peace be upon them — joined in prayer.
    (APPLAUSE)
    The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
    (APPLAUSE)”

    http://islamnewsroom.com/news-we-need/856-obamaquotesquran

    Obama GROUPED Moses, Jesus and Mohammed in a joined prayer – that’s a disturbing comment coming from a Christian!

  • Grace

    U.S. President Speaks to Muslims around the world –
    Obama Quoted From the Holy Quran

    Saturday, 06 June 2009 03:11 | Author: IslamNewsroom Editor

    “That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”

    – - ANOTHER EXCERPT: – -

    “… as in the story of Isra.
    (APPLAUSE)
    as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed — peace be upon them — joined in prayer.
    (APPLAUSE)
    The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
    (APPLAUSE)”

    http://islamnewsroom.com/news-we-need/856-obamaquotesquran

    Obama GROUPED Moses, Jesus and Mohammed in a joined prayer – that’s a disturbing comment coming from a Christian!

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

    J.Dean,
    As for that treatise, here is a great one:http://www.amazon.com/Scriptural-Baptism-Between-Bapstead-Childfont/dp/1592442498/ref=sr_1_4?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285791229&sr=8-4

    it is cheap and thoroughly in language that anyone can understand.

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

    J.Dean,
    As for that treatise, here is a great one:http://www.amazon.com/Scriptural-Baptism-Between-Bapstead-Childfont/dp/1592442498/ref=sr_1_4?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285791229&sr=8-4

    it is cheap and thoroughly in language that anyone can understand.

  • http://danraper.info Dan Raper

    1 John 4:1-6,
    “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see
    whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out
    into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that
    confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and
    every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the
    spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in
    the world already.

    Barak: Hebrew for “lightning”.
    hussein: Arabic name which is the diminutive of Hassan, meaning “good”, “handsome” or “beautiful”.
    Obama: It is an African (Luo) surname. The origin of the name is based on the Luo verb that means “to be bent” or “to be twisted.”[1] It is not an uncommon Luo surname.[2] The name comes from Swahili and refers to members of the Luo tribe who converted to Islam.

    I am not saying that Obama is the the Antichrist, I am, only pointing out that his statement of faith was not a confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is from God.

    He said himself that understanding that Jesus Christ dying for his sins only spoke to his humility that we all have to have as human beings. He acknowledges that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God. Obama does no say that he accepts this but states that his plan is to seek God in other people and help them find their own grace.

  • http://danraper.info Dan Raper

    1 John 4:1-6,
    “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see
    whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out
    into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that
    confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and
    every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the
    spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in
    the world already.

    Barak: Hebrew for “lightning”.
    hussein: Arabic name which is the diminutive of Hassan, meaning “good”, “handsome” or “beautiful”.
    Obama: It is an African (Luo) surname. The origin of the name is based on the Luo verb that means “to be bent” or “to be twisted.”[1] It is not an uncommon Luo surname.[2] The name comes from Swahili and refers to members of the Luo tribe who converted to Islam.

    I am not saying that Obama is the the Antichrist, I am, only pointing out that his statement of faith was not a confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is from God.

    He said himself that understanding that Jesus Christ dying for his sins only spoke to his humility that we all have to have as human beings. He acknowledges that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God. Obama does no say that he accepts this but states that his plan is to seek God in other people and help them find their own grace.

  • larry

    This does bring up a side issue. Though politically I would disagree with the sitting president more than I’d agree with the “left” for that matter as it is identified, I’m quite frankly more fearful of the right that procures for itself “Christianity” and confuses the two kingdoms all over the place.

    Secondly, the one issue that has been most bothersome is this questioning of the right of the Presidents Christian confession. But I should peel that apart a bit because something is often missed in the noise of it all. There are two strains of it, one just flat out wrong (to grill the guy about it) the other a more clever use of ferreting out left hypocrisy. There are those that are questioning “is he or is he not” and using that as a political football (e.g. Romney couldn’t be a president because he’s Mormon – nonsense). And then there are those (R. Limbaugh most notably) who really are not interested in nor questioning that in reality, its utterly irrelevant when all is said and done, but are asking the question to point out the hypocrisy of the left arguing on one hand “there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim or such” but then are tripping all over themselves to say, “but I’m not one.”

  • larry

    This does bring up a side issue. Though politically I would disagree with the sitting president more than I’d agree with the “left” for that matter as it is identified, I’m quite frankly more fearful of the right that procures for itself “Christianity” and confuses the two kingdoms all over the place.

    Secondly, the one issue that has been most bothersome is this questioning of the right of the Presidents Christian confession. But I should peel that apart a bit because something is often missed in the noise of it all. There are two strains of it, one just flat out wrong (to grill the guy about it) the other a more clever use of ferreting out left hypocrisy. There are those that are questioning “is he or is he not” and using that as a political football (e.g. Romney couldn’t be a president because he’s Mormon – nonsense). And then there are those (R. Limbaugh most notably) who really are not interested in nor questioning that in reality, its utterly irrelevant when all is said and done, but are asking the question to point out the hypocrisy of the left arguing on one hand “there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim or such” but then are tripping all over themselves to say, “but I’m not one.”

  • DonS

    J @ 39: Thank you, I think? :-)

  • DonS

    J @ 39: Thank you, I think? :-)

  • colliebear06

    larry@74, I disagree; I see nothing wrong with talking about Obama’s faith. He’s made it an issue by talking about it himself.

    re: Romney – I don’t recall anyone saying a Mormon cannot be president. Personally, I don’t like Obamacare, and Romney signed something similar into law in Massachusetts while governor. Therefore, I would not want him to run for president. It has nothing to do with his religion.
    On a personal note, however, I would be delighted if he converted to a mainstream brand of Christianity. Isn’t that a good thing?

  • colliebear06

    larry@74, I disagree; I see nothing wrong with talking about Obama’s faith. He’s made it an issue by talking about it himself.

    re: Romney – I don’t recall anyone saying a Mormon cannot be president. Personally, I don’t like Obamacare, and Romney signed something similar into law in Massachusetts while governor. Therefore, I would not want him to run for president. It has nothing to do with his religion.
    On a personal note, however, I would be delighted if he converted to a mainstream brand of Christianity. Isn’t that a good thing?

  • Pete

    Wow, lively discussion here! Much has been made about President Obama’s having sat for 20 years under the tutelage of Reverend Wright and his black liberation theology.

    Does anyone have a feel for what percentage of Sundays the president-to-be’s hind quarters actually occupied a pew in said church? My understanding is that he hasn’t darkened the door of many a church since assuming the presidency. One wonders if this is an entirely new behavior or not. My suspicion is not.

  • Pete

    Wow, lively discussion here! Much has been made about President Obama’s having sat for 20 years under the tutelage of Reverend Wright and his black liberation theology.

    Does anyone have a feel for what percentage of Sundays the president-to-be’s hind quarters actually occupied a pew in said church? My understanding is that he hasn’t darkened the door of many a church since assuming the presidency. One wonders if this is an entirely new behavior or not. My suspicion is not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not sure I can determine if Gary Hall is a Christian, either, from his brief response (@6).

    And we all know that Bike Bubba will say whatever is currently bouncing around the conservative blogosphere. I can’t tell much in particular from his comment (@12), but remember that he has a touch of trouble with Exodus 20:3 and 20:16. If one can judge by the fruit one bears, it doesn’t look good for Bubba.

    And, of course, I’m a skeptic about Jerry (@14) as well. Did someone write his comment for him? By every other indication, Jerry is a legalist. Sorry.

    Many commenters will say whatever is expedient at the time, to win the favor of other commenters, like Tressa (@20), whose name-recognition on this blog isn’t exactly stellar. She can say what she wants, but her comments don’t change my impression that she mostly believes legalistically in her own paltry actions.

    And was there anything close to the gospel in MikeD’s comment (@27)? I submit not, but rather law. MikeD’s comments are not enough to make me think he’s a Christian in any meaningful way. But I do not deny that he is, either.

    And, truth be told, Matthew Lorfeld didn’t say much in his comment (@35). A Mormon could make the same comment.

    Just because J. Dean can articulate doctrinal points (@40) does not mean that he himself embraces those points in a fully biblical way. Sadly, the fact that J. Dean stands at odds with issues blatantly laid out in Scripture raises questions with regard to whether or not he has true saving faith.

    Huh. Just wanted to see what happened to those statements when you turn them around. Yeesh! Good thing I was being sarcastic when I wrote them, eh?

    What’s your guys’ excuse?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not sure I can determine if Gary Hall is a Christian, either, from his brief response (@6).

    And we all know that Bike Bubba will say whatever is currently bouncing around the conservative blogosphere. I can’t tell much in particular from his comment (@12), but remember that he has a touch of trouble with Exodus 20:3 and 20:16. If one can judge by the fruit one bears, it doesn’t look good for Bubba.

    And, of course, I’m a skeptic about Jerry (@14) as well. Did someone write his comment for him? By every other indication, Jerry is a legalist. Sorry.

    Many commenters will say whatever is expedient at the time, to win the favor of other commenters, like Tressa (@20), whose name-recognition on this blog isn’t exactly stellar. She can say what she wants, but her comments don’t change my impression that she mostly believes legalistically in her own paltry actions.

    And was there anything close to the gospel in MikeD’s comment (@27)? I submit not, but rather law. MikeD’s comments are not enough to make me think he’s a Christian in any meaningful way. But I do not deny that he is, either.

    And, truth be told, Matthew Lorfeld didn’t say much in his comment (@35). A Mormon could make the same comment.

    Just because J. Dean can articulate doctrinal points (@40) does not mean that he himself embraces those points in a fully biblical way. Sadly, the fact that J. Dean stands at odds with issues blatantly laid out in Scripture raises questions with regard to whether or not he has true saving faith.

    Huh. Just wanted to see what happened to those statements when you turn them around. Yeesh! Good thing I was being sarcastic when I wrote them, eh?

    What’s your guys’ excuse?

  • larry

    colliebear06,

    As to his presidency it’s not relevant. A president need only be a good and wise leader. Now if that’s up for discussion then that’s relevant.

    If you make his presidency and such discussion regarding his faith you must do so with GW Bush who made MUCH of his faith and yet spoke ever so pluralistically as does the sitting president with his “peoples of faith lingo” and etc…

    And there where NUMEROUS people advocating and implying Romney shouldn’t be president because he was a Mormon. For crying out loud Time Magazine had a news article about it.

  • larry

    colliebear06,

    As to his presidency it’s not relevant. A president need only be a good and wise leader. Now if that’s up for discussion then that’s relevant.

    If you make his presidency and such discussion regarding his faith you must do so with GW Bush who made MUCH of his faith and yet spoke ever so pluralistically as does the sitting president with his “peoples of faith lingo” and etc…

    And there where NUMEROUS people advocating and implying Romney shouldn’t be president because he was a Mormon. For crying out loud Time Magazine had a news article about it.

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

    Larry,
    After living in a state run by Mormons, trust me I’m one that seriously questions the wisdom in voting for one to be president. But that is another topic.
    The old line is “better a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.” It is still doubtful whether Luther thought there was such a thing as a wise Turk. The existence of foolish Christians though, has never been in question.
    As for wise Mormons? well when it comes to religion I suppose one could argue everyone believes some stuff that seems wacky to others. But having read the Book of Mormon, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who believes it does not have a very accurate b.s. detector. one insults their God given intelligence asking Him if that is true when they are finished.

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

    Larry,
    After living in a state run by Mormons, trust me I’m one that seriously questions the wisdom in voting for one to be president. But that is another topic.
    The old line is “better a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.” It is still doubtful whether Luther thought there was such a thing as a wise Turk. The existence of foolish Christians though, has never been in question.
    As for wise Mormons? well when it comes to religion I suppose one could argue everyone believes some stuff that seems wacky to others. But having read the Book of Mormon, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who believes it does not have a very accurate b.s. detector. one insults their God given intelligence asking Him if that is true when they are finished.

  • Cincinnatus

    Who cares?

  • Cincinnatus

    Who cares?

  • colliebear06

    larry@79, sorry, I meant anyone on this blog. I agree, that out there in medialand, much handwringing was made about Romney’s religion during the 2008 campaign.

    Obviously the president’s religion matters to the voters, as evidenced by the conversation here; should it matter? Maybe not.

    I think most people like to see consistency, wisdom and decisivenesss in their leaders, ‘statesmen’ as their politicians. Probably a fantasy, but that’s the gold standard, I guess. People are just trying to figure out Obama. We know so little about his formative and college years, except what he chooses to tell us.
    In 2004, conversely, we all found out that George Bush and John Kerry were C students in college, among other facts. How come there’s so little known about Obama?

  • colliebear06

    larry@79, sorry, I meant anyone on this blog. I agree, that out there in medialand, much handwringing was made about Romney’s religion during the 2008 campaign.

    Obviously the president’s religion matters to the voters, as evidenced by the conversation here; should it matter? Maybe not.

    I think most people like to see consistency, wisdom and decisivenesss in their leaders, ‘statesmen’ as their politicians. Probably a fantasy, but that’s the gold standard, I guess. People are just trying to figure out Obama. We know so little about his formative and college years, except what he chooses to tell us.
    In 2004, conversely, we all found out that George Bush and John Kerry were C students in college, among other facts. How come there’s so little known about Obama?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Seriously? Who cares.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Seriously? Who cares.

  • Trey

    Obama first mentions works then the forgiveness of sins and the depravity of mankind, yet to turn around and find the good in mankind. I think if he believes in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and clings to the Word then yes he is a Christian. Based upon what he says I need to hear more. If I look at his past statements, I will question if he truly is a Christian since he denies some of the moral law. In the end, it doesn’t matter if he is a Christian or not as far as government is concerned as long as he punishes evil and rules by the sword and reason. I would say he is a heterodox Christian, but I fear that he may hide behind language is the rage for the postmodernist.

  • Trey

    Obama first mentions works then the forgiveness of sins and the depravity of mankind, yet to turn around and find the good in mankind. I think if he believes in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and clings to the Word then yes he is a Christian. Based upon what he says I need to hear more. If I look at his past statements, I will question if he truly is a Christian since he denies some of the moral law. In the end, it doesn’t matter if he is a Christian or not as far as government is concerned as long as he punishes evil and rules by the sword and reason. I would say he is a heterodox Christian, but I fear that he may hide behind language is the rage for the postmodernist.

  • Joanne

    The president appears to be a liberal Baptist as northern Baptists tend to be and as Jimmy Carter probably is today. “I have decided to follow Jesus” is pure Baptist speak. I was actually relieved to see so much recognizable (Baptist/Christian liberal) thought in the president’s statements as opposed to Black liberation manifesto. Maybe he really wasn’t listening to Rev. Wright, but he sure has been listening to some Baptist preacher some where.

    I notice that public figures, when they must make comments about their religion, try to find common ground. Or, they obsequiously seek inclusive phraseology. Do you all remember poor Michelle Bachmann (WELS member) trying to explain why the pope is the Anti-Christ to the media? Do you remember how convincing she was and how everybody agreed about it afterwards? Yeah, me too.

    Thing is, I pray for the president. I tell Jesus that He has to help Obama because He loves him. Me not so much, but because You love him, You’re going to have to help him, body and soul. And after this public confession of faith, I have hope. My prayer expectations are going up. This man is a baptised sheep who knows his savior’s name.

    You know Obama tells us that he came to Jesus as an adult by an adult decision. On the other hand, he is a cradle Marxist, fed the poison at his mother’s breast. I pray that Jesus will lay his healing hand on the president’s mind and bring him a wholesome understanding of the world for the sake of his vocation.

  • Joanne

    The president appears to be a liberal Baptist as northern Baptists tend to be and as Jimmy Carter probably is today. “I have decided to follow Jesus” is pure Baptist speak. I was actually relieved to see so much recognizable (Baptist/Christian liberal) thought in the president’s statements as opposed to Black liberation manifesto. Maybe he really wasn’t listening to Rev. Wright, but he sure has been listening to some Baptist preacher some where.

    I notice that public figures, when they must make comments about their religion, try to find common ground. Or, they obsequiously seek inclusive phraseology. Do you all remember poor Michelle Bachmann (WELS member) trying to explain why the pope is the Anti-Christ to the media? Do you remember how convincing she was and how everybody agreed about it afterwards? Yeah, me too.

    Thing is, I pray for the president. I tell Jesus that He has to help Obama because He loves him. Me not so much, but because You love him, You’re going to have to help him, body and soul. And after this public confession of faith, I have hope. My prayer expectations are going up. This man is a baptised sheep who knows his savior’s name.

    You know Obama tells us that he came to Jesus as an adult by an adult decision. On the other hand, he is a cradle Marxist, fed the poison at his mother’s breast. I pray that Jesus will lay his healing hand on the president’s mind and bring him a wholesome understanding of the world for the sake of his vocation.

  • Cincinnatus

    Well, as Machiavelli noted, it is prudent for the prince to feign belief.

    I suspect such has been the case for most modern presidents.

  • Cincinnatus

    Well, as Machiavelli noted, it is prudent for the prince to feign belief.

    I suspect such has been the case for most modern presidents.

  • larry

    82 colliebear06, Understood and thanks much for the clarification!

    Other:

    One could, given politicians track record and essence to say the “right words” people want to hear, it is possible it was all a façade. That’s fair game. On the other hand his confession could be honest in as much as he “the man” expresses it. That it is all over the maps is not so much his problem but that which has become acceptable as being called Christian. Heterodoxy is such a vast disease in this time and country that it is no wonder that one like sitting president’s confession said what it said. Extract out of it left (or right) wing politics, extract out of it that Obama has been a suspicious character revealing little of himself, etc… and etc… even take his name off of it and make it a generic confession and could be ANY evangelical, especially baptist, confession of their faith. Remove the characters and one can hardly tell the difference in the raw confessions of Christian (heterodoxy) faith that exist between Presidents Obama and GW. This is even seen in right wing commentators like Sean H. They all speak pluralistically with terms like “peoples of faith”, and make the ridiculous division of “radical Islam” verses “peaceful Islam”. Remove the blinders of “right” and “left” at face value be it Obama, GW, Sean H., etc…their “Christian” confession of faith (I’m not speaking of their baptism but their espoused confession) is basically six one way half a dozen another. There’s not one thin dime of difference in them.

    I’m going somewhere with this, I hope. Bror rightly identifies its tough to figure out a Mormons discernment skills and therefore would such be a wise leader. Having done a fair bit with Mormons myself one thing I learned of the vast majority of Mormons, if one has read the Book of Mormon, much less Doctrines and Covenants, etc… one is already light years ahead of 99.9999% of Mormons. Most have little to never read their confessions and books. We find the same in much heterodox Christianity and also orthodox Christianity. The same is found, I know many personally, in more or less Islam.

    The point: What rises to the top of all this be it any of the religions is that the PREVAILING AMERICAN religion and religious “ethic” if you will, is that there is no clearly defined doctrines (true or false) and the only prevailing doctrine is a doctrine of mélange. Thus, when I hear GW or Obama or Sean H. say basically the same doctrinal things I don’t see a difference at all. Sure one is politically aligned right the other left but doctrinally they are all of the heterodox brotherhood.

    Thus, people working at this ass backwards, using the wrong end of the shovel by asking “Is X a Christian or not?” Before one can even pose such a question PREsupposes that one knows what IS a Christian and that means singular orthodox doctrine (which to tie into one of Dr. Vieth’s other posts is pretty much a cuss word today).

  • larry

    82 colliebear06, Understood and thanks much for the clarification!

    Other:

    One could, given politicians track record and essence to say the “right words” people want to hear, it is possible it was all a façade. That’s fair game. On the other hand his confession could be honest in as much as he “the man” expresses it. That it is all over the maps is not so much his problem but that which has become acceptable as being called Christian. Heterodoxy is such a vast disease in this time and country that it is no wonder that one like sitting president’s confession said what it said. Extract out of it left (or right) wing politics, extract out of it that Obama has been a suspicious character revealing little of himself, etc… and etc… even take his name off of it and make it a generic confession and could be ANY evangelical, especially baptist, confession of their faith. Remove the characters and one can hardly tell the difference in the raw confessions of Christian (heterodoxy) faith that exist between Presidents Obama and GW. This is even seen in right wing commentators like Sean H. They all speak pluralistically with terms like “peoples of faith”, and make the ridiculous division of “radical Islam” verses “peaceful Islam”. Remove the blinders of “right” and “left” at face value be it Obama, GW, Sean H., etc…their “Christian” confession of faith (I’m not speaking of their baptism but their espoused confession) is basically six one way half a dozen another. There’s not one thin dime of difference in them.

    I’m going somewhere with this, I hope. Bror rightly identifies its tough to figure out a Mormons discernment skills and therefore would such be a wise leader. Having done a fair bit with Mormons myself one thing I learned of the vast majority of Mormons, if one has read the Book of Mormon, much less Doctrines and Covenants, etc… one is already light years ahead of 99.9999% of Mormons. Most have little to never read their confessions and books. We find the same in much heterodox Christianity and also orthodox Christianity. The same is found, I know many personally, in more or less Islam.

    The point: What rises to the top of all this be it any of the religions is that the PREVAILING AMERICAN religion and religious “ethic” if you will, is that there is no clearly defined doctrines (true or false) and the only prevailing doctrine is a doctrine of mélange. Thus, when I hear GW or Obama or Sean H. say basically the same doctrinal things I don’t see a difference at all. Sure one is politically aligned right the other left but doctrinally they are all of the heterodox brotherhood.

    Thus, people working at this ass backwards, using the wrong end of the shovel by asking “Is X a Christian or not?” Before one can even pose such a question PREsupposes that one knows what IS a Christian and that means singular orthodox doctrine (which to tie into one of Dr. Vieth’s other posts is pretty much a cuss word today).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Trey @ 85

    “I think if he believes in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and clings to the Word then yes he is a Christian.”

    Dear brother Trey. This is not a Lutheran statement. Our believing is not what makes us a Christian or not. How can you be sure dear Trey that even you yourself believe in a way or degree that is sufficient for your salvation in that case? You cannot.

    It is Whom we believe in Who makes us Christian in our baptism. And this is in spite of our own reason and strength isn´t it? This is even in spite of our own reason and strength now that we are baptized! Even now your own reason, strength and will that you were given at birth are totally against God right?

    This sounds like a semantical nit-pic. It is not. The Lutheran Confessions point out to us that none of us truly believe alone in Christ. None of is truly fear, love and trust in God above all things. We daily sin against the first commandment! Sin is the visible proof that we are mired in unbelief and mistrust of God and that we simply are exactly as Romans 7 paints us.

    In fact sinning against the first commandment is the root and font of all of our sins that we daily and richly commit and this lack of faith in Christ, alone, and defiance, resentment, and mistrust of God in everything we do and think and hold dear in our very heart of hearts is just a fact of our existence.

    This is because dear Trey , that Old Adam, that “recalcitrant ass” of a sinner, that was the entire us before our rebirth/sanctification in baptism is still clinging to us like an unwanted parasite. As Luther says therefore this amazing fact about every single sin you dear Trey (and me too) commit in thought word and deed:

    “Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers. Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin. No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul. In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart. Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3). ”

    So you see, that a particular Lutheran folk doctrine, that a christian should expect that he will never willfully sin, and worse should question his faith if he has a habitual sin or sins he simply cannot overcome, is a pernicious error. You, according to your Old Adam wants nothing else but to sin from the very bottom of your heart. Sin is simply what sinners do by nature. Alcoholics drink. It is what they do. But an Alcoholic, if he learns to stop relying on his will power, can stop drinking. That is where the analogy breaks down. Sinners cannot stop sinning. The don´t want to is why this is. This fully includes Christians according to their Old Adams. There should be no surprise at all in this. This includes a desire to flee from true doctrine and Christ alone. When our conscience trouble us, there are none of us who do not cast about looking for something to do to make our conscience feel better. We go back to works looking for righteousness. Lutherans do this doctrinally. It is the lifelong and most difficult task of any christian to surrender to faith alone. This alone is what makes us Christian in fact.

    So isn´t it great that we are not saved by our personal doctrinal purity or by what we believe? Isn´t it great that instead what we instead trust in Him who has saved the entire world. This is why father Luther, when troubled by his sins would say “I am baptized!”, not “I believe!”

    Now then FC art VI points out that there is also a New Man that we recieved in our baptism, at which point we also recieved our entire sanctification. We , according to our New Man , can say that we never sin , just as John I says. In Christ we are , according to our New Man , good works factories . But this part of you Trey, who you now truly are, having literally put on Christ and not just done a reformed “put on Christ” , is invisible to you for now. It is an article of faith that you have been told to believe and act upon as you mortify and help the Holy Spirit put the Old You to death by daily contrition and repentance.

    God bless you and me as the Holy Spirit daily kills our old self and reminds us to live in the faith that yet we live because Christ lives within us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Trey @ 85

    “I think if he believes in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and clings to the Word then yes he is a Christian.”

    Dear brother Trey. This is not a Lutheran statement. Our believing is not what makes us a Christian or not. How can you be sure dear Trey that even you yourself believe in a way or degree that is sufficient for your salvation in that case? You cannot.

    It is Whom we believe in Who makes us Christian in our baptism. And this is in spite of our own reason and strength isn´t it? This is even in spite of our own reason and strength now that we are baptized! Even now your own reason, strength and will that you were given at birth are totally against God right?

    This sounds like a semantical nit-pic. It is not. The Lutheran Confessions point out to us that none of us truly believe alone in Christ. None of is truly fear, love and trust in God above all things. We daily sin against the first commandment! Sin is the visible proof that we are mired in unbelief and mistrust of God and that we simply are exactly as Romans 7 paints us.

    In fact sinning against the first commandment is the root and font of all of our sins that we daily and richly commit and this lack of faith in Christ, alone, and defiance, resentment, and mistrust of God in everything we do and think and hold dear in our very heart of hearts is just a fact of our existence.

    This is because dear Trey , that Old Adam, that “recalcitrant ass” of a sinner, that was the entire us before our rebirth/sanctification in baptism is still clinging to us like an unwanted parasite. As Luther says therefore this amazing fact about every single sin you dear Trey (and me too) commit in thought word and deed:

    “Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers. Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin. No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul. In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart. Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3). ”

    So you see, that a particular Lutheran folk doctrine, that a christian should expect that he will never willfully sin, and worse should question his faith if he has a habitual sin or sins he simply cannot overcome, is a pernicious error. You, according to your Old Adam wants nothing else but to sin from the very bottom of your heart. Sin is simply what sinners do by nature. Alcoholics drink. It is what they do. But an Alcoholic, if he learns to stop relying on his will power, can stop drinking. That is where the analogy breaks down. Sinners cannot stop sinning. The don´t want to is why this is. This fully includes Christians according to their Old Adams. There should be no surprise at all in this. This includes a desire to flee from true doctrine and Christ alone. When our conscience trouble us, there are none of us who do not cast about looking for something to do to make our conscience feel better. We go back to works looking for righteousness. Lutherans do this doctrinally. It is the lifelong and most difficult task of any christian to surrender to faith alone. This alone is what makes us Christian in fact.

    So isn´t it great that we are not saved by our personal doctrinal purity or by what we believe? Isn´t it great that instead what we instead trust in Him who has saved the entire world. This is why father Luther, when troubled by his sins would say “I am baptized!”, not “I believe!”

    Now then FC art VI points out that there is also a New Man that we recieved in our baptism, at which point we also recieved our entire sanctification. We , according to our New Man , can say that we never sin , just as John I says. In Christ we are , according to our New Man , good works factories . But this part of you Trey, who you now truly are, having literally put on Christ and not just done a reformed “put on Christ” , is invisible to you for now. It is an article of faith that you have been told to believe and act upon as you mortify and help the Holy Spirit put the Old You to death by daily contrition and repentance.

    God bless you and me as the Holy Spirit daily kills our old self and reminds us to live in the faith that yet we live because Christ lives within us.

  • Daniel Gorman

    larry#79 opines, “If you make his presidency and such discussion regarding his faith you must do so with GW Bush who made MUCH of his faith and yet spoke ever so pluralistically as does the sitting president with his “peoples of faith lingo” and etc…”

    President Bush is more of a synergist than President Obama. He asked to the American people to pray to Jesus Christ, Allah, and a Judaism god at a joint prayer service at National Cathedral after 9/11. So what? He was baptized. He is a Christian.

    Bush and Obama are manifest and public sinners. They should be called to repentance. However, no Christian may question their baptismal faith unless and until their ministers have publicly delivered them to Satan. Only God may bind the sins of Bush and Obama in Holy Excommunication.

  • Daniel Gorman

    larry#79 opines, “If you make his presidency and such discussion regarding his faith you must do so with GW Bush who made MUCH of his faith and yet spoke ever so pluralistically as does the sitting president with his “peoples of faith lingo” and etc…”

    President Bush is more of a synergist than President Obama. He asked to the American people to pray to Jesus Christ, Allah, and a Judaism god at a joint prayer service at National Cathedral after 9/11. So what? He was baptized. He is a Christian.

    Bush and Obama are manifest and public sinners. They should be called to repentance. However, no Christian may question their baptismal faith unless and until their ministers have publicly delivered them to Satan. Only God may bind the sins of Bush and Obama in Holy Excommunication.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Daniel @ 90

    Eeeeek. There is nothing holy about excommunication. Our Confessions reserve that modifier for things that make men holy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Daniel @ 90

    Eeeeek. There is nothing holy about excommunication. Our Confessions reserve that modifier for things that make men holy.

  • shell

    fws
    Though I also might refrain from using the term “Holy Excommunication,” there is some Scriptural support in Rom. 7:12: “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Is excommunication not an application of this holy law? Though excommunication, of course, does not make one holy, is it not meant to ultimately bring one to the truly sanctifying Gospel? Further, the Confessions do apply the term “holy” to the estate of matrimony (SC, Marriage Booklet), which does not make us holy.

  • shell

    fws
    Though I also might refrain from using the term “Holy Excommunication,” there is some Scriptural support in Rom. 7:12: “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Is excommunication not an application of this holy law? Though excommunication, of course, does not make one holy, is it not meant to ultimately bring one to the truly sanctifying Gospel? Further, the Confessions do apply the term “holy” to the estate of matrimony (SC, Marriage Booklet), which does not make us holy.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    I appreciate the clarification for those who offered it regarding my point on baptism.

    To paraphrase Herod: Almost thou persuadest me to become a Lutheran :)

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    I appreciate the clarification for those who offered it regarding my point on baptism.

    To paraphrase Herod: Almost thou persuadest me to become a Lutheran :)

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

    J.Dean,
    And being who I am, your paraphrase there prompts me to ask, So what is the hang up? why not be a Lutheran?

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

    J.Dean,
    And being who I am, your paraphrase there prompts me to ask, So what is the hang up? why not be a Lutheran?

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    One other addendum on this: in I Corinthians 5, doesn’t Paul command the church to put out those members who are in blatant, impenitent sin? Yes, all sin, but there is a difference between the sin that believers lapse into from time to time and the sin pursued without so much as a hint of contrition, even after confrontation on the matter.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    One other addendum on this: in I Corinthians 5, doesn’t Paul command the church to put out those members who are in blatant, impenitent sin? Yes, all sin, but there is a difference between the sin that believers lapse into from time to time and the sin pursued without so much as a hint of contrition, even after confrontation on the matter.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,

    I’m already in trouble, being a closet Calvinist in an Arminian church! You trying to get me in MORE trouble!?? :D

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,

    I’m already in trouble, being a closet Calvinist in an Arminian church! You trying to get me in MORE trouble!?? :D

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

    J. Dean,@95,
    Yes. But it is kind of fuzzy to see how this applies to Obama, since non of us here belong to his congregation, or are his pastor. The problem here is he is convinced it is not sin. and he nedds to be confronted on that. But then this is a sin due to the result of faulty logic on his part. And I can’t go around excommunicating, or saying everyone guilty of faulty logic is not a Christian. Who would be left? I certainly would not be able to call a Christian a closet calvinist in an Arminian church :)
    Speaking of which, if you would like to have more anonymous conversation on that, Email me Bror0122athotmail

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

    J. Dean,@95,
    Yes. But it is kind of fuzzy to see how this applies to Obama, since non of us here belong to his congregation, or are his pastor. The problem here is he is convinced it is not sin. and he nedds to be confronted on that. But then this is a sin due to the result of faulty logic on his part. And I can’t go around excommunicating, or saying everyone guilty of faulty logic is not a Christian. Who would be left? I certainly would not be able to call a Christian a closet calvinist in an Arminian church :)
    Speaking of which, if you would like to have more anonymous conversation on that, Email me Bror0122athotmail

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,

    Thank you! I will more than likely be corresponding with you soon in the next few days!

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Bror Erickson,

    Thank you! I will more than likely be corresponding with you soon in the next few days!

  • larry

    Daniel,

    I think you are confusing what I’m saying with what you “think” I’m saying. I’m not questioning either men’s being Christian or not, I agree concerning baptism and leave it at that. It’s the reason I say so very clearly its irrelevant and am posing to people to think if you go down this path then you must go down it in its full logical extension to SHOW how asinine it is.

    There’s a distinct difference in disecting their confession in light of today’s plurality of heterodoxy and NOT whether they “BE” a Christian or not (which I have made ABUNDANTLY CRYSTAL CLEAR).

    I hope that helps your confusion.

  • larry

    Daniel,

    I think you are confusing what I’m saying with what you “think” I’m saying. I’m not questioning either men’s being Christian or not, I agree concerning baptism and leave it at that. It’s the reason I say so very clearly its irrelevant and am posing to people to think if you go down this path then you must go down it in its full logical extension to SHOW how asinine it is.

    There’s a distinct difference in disecting their confession in light of today’s plurality of heterodoxy and NOT whether they “BE” a Christian or not (which I have made ABUNDANTLY CRYSTAL CLEAR).

    I hope that helps your confusion.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J dean @ 95

    Men, including pastors and congregations, deal with the outward appearance. God alone can look at the heart.

    it is an exclusion of manfestly impenitent sinners. mainfestly. impenitent. sinners.

    We are all truly impenitent of sins according to our Old Adam. And we are all certainly sinners to the very depths of our will and being and in our heart of hearts. Every sin we commit we are fully committed to in heart and mind even as believers. This is because we still have that Old Adam in us that remains unconvertible and unconverted. No amount of moral pushups or trying harder walk the walk will fix this. Only death will not fix but instead kill it. Only our baptism will kill the Old Adam and his willpower. Which will is powerful indeed! Romans 7.

    So what is left is that word “manifest” ( I am quoting from Luther´s Small Catechism here.

    We all have manifest sins don´t we? So manifestly, impenitent and sinner would seem to clear out any church of both members and the pastor. Only an empty church would be clean of believers who are not manifestly impenitent sinners.

    So what then are we talking about here? We are talking about the Earthly Civil Kingdom. The kingdom of earth and not heaven here. This would be like having the ushers remove someone who is heckling the pastor or creating some loud distraction from those hearing the sermon. It is about good order.

    And then we will do all we can to chase after that person after we have thrown him out on his ear leaving the 99 hearing that sermon and chasing after that one. The fact that he is a lost sheep is also the fact that he is one of Jesus sheep even though lost. And this , in fact is the point of the text. It is to focus attenti0n on that one lost sheep. How does one “treat him as an unbeliever”? Shun him? Tell him he is again welcome once he has straightened up and come to his senses? Or send a missionary to his door?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J dean @ 95

    Men, including pastors and congregations, deal with the outward appearance. God alone can look at the heart.

    it is an exclusion of manfestly impenitent sinners. mainfestly. impenitent. sinners.

    We are all truly impenitent of sins according to our Old Adam. And we are all certainly sinners to the very depths of our will and being and in our heart of hearts. Every sin we commit we are fully committed to in heart and mind even as believers. This is because we still have that Old Adam in us that remains unconvertible and unconverted. No amount of moral pushups or trying harder walk the walk will fix this. Only death will not fix but instead kill it. Only our baptism will kill the Old Adam and his willpower. Which will is powerful indeed! Romans 7.

    So what is left is that word “manifest” ( I am quoting from Luther´s Small Catechism here.

    We all have manifest sins don´t we? So manifestly, impenitent and sinner would seem to clear out any church of both members and the pastor. Only an empty church would be clean of believers who are not manifestly impenitent sinners.

    So what then are we talking about here? We are talking about the Earthly Civil Kingdom. The kingdom of earth and not heaven here. This would be like having the ushers remove someone who is heckling the pastor or creating some loud distraction from those hearing the sermon. It is about good order.

    And then we will do all we can to chase after that person after we have thrown him out on his ear leaving the 99 hearing that sermon and chasing after that one. The fact that he is a lost sheep is also the fact that he is one of Jesus sheep even though lost. And this , in fact is the point of the text. It is to focus attenti0n on that one lost sheep. How does one “treat him as an unbeliever”? Shun him? Tell him he is again welcome once he has straightened up and come to his senses? Or send a missionary to his door?

  • larry

    However, no Christian may question their baptismal faith unless and until their ministers have publicly delivered them to Satan. ”

    And of course, Daniel, this presupposes a fellowship between heterodoxy and orthodoxy that does not exist. Neither does this type of fellowship generally exist within one heterodoxy and another heterodoxy as to two seperate confessions (denominations), neither does it generally exist between one heterdoxy and another heterodoxy within a SINGLE confession (denomination).

    When I crossed denominations, twice, the previous denomination was never contacted for my status, good or bad.

    For that matter Martin Luther was excommunicated and turned over to Satan by the RC church in his day, yet here we are. If the “reverand Wright” excommunicated, let’s suppose for fantasy, Pres. Obama, and president Obama suddenly began to confirm, affirm and confess the Augsburg confessions – I doubt his christian status would be doubted more. Unless of course we suddenly become sacramentarians and attempt to “read the heart” via secondary evidences.

  • larry

    However, no Christian may question their baptismal faith unless and until their ministers have publicly delivered them to Satan. ”

    And of course, Daniel, this presupposes a fellowship between heterodoxy and orthodoxy that does not exist. Neither does this type of fellowship generally exist within one heterodoxy and another heterodoxy as to two seperate confessions (denominations), neither does it generally exist between one heterdoxy and another heterodoxy within a SINGLE confession (denomination).

    When I crossed denominations, twice, the previous denomination was never contacted for my status, good or bad.

    For that matter Martin Luther was excommunicated and turned over to Satan by the RC church in his day, yet here we are. If the “reverand Wright” excommunicated, let’s suppose for fantasy, Pres. Obama, and president Obama suddenly began to confirm, affirm and confess the Augsburg confessions – I doubt his christian status would be doubted more. Unless of course we suddenly become sacramentarians and attempt to “read the heart” via secondary evidences.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shell @ 92

    Luther also titles the Table of Duties the Holy Orders. So you can place Holy Matrimony in the same class as Holy Plumber, Holy Meat Eaters (another thing that has divine institution shortly after the flood), Holy Parenthood, Holy … well you get the point….

    Then there are things that we do best to reserve the word Holy for. These are Holy Baptism, communion, absolution, ordination, apostle, scriptures. These are the things that bring us faith and so make us holy.

    There is no right or wrong here, but there is a “best practice”. Teaching each other is what we do as christians, and so using a form of sound doctrine and using words and adjectives with care is a good thing.

    And you are right if your point is that you are saying that turning this into a law thang would be wrong. Example: It was not wrong for the apostles (or pastors) to “wait on tables” (ie do administrative work). But it was better to free them to do what they were actually called to do according to their apostolic office.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shell @ 92

    Luther also titles the Table of Duties the Holy Orders. So you can place Holy Matrimony in the same class as Holy Plumber, Holy Meat Eaters (another thing that has divine institution shortly after the flood), Holy Parenthood, Holy … well you get the point….

    Then there are things that we do best to reserve the word Holy for. These are Holy Baptism, communion, absolution, ordination, apostle, scriptures. These are the things that bring us faith and so make us holy.

    There is no right or wrong here, but there is a “best practice”. Teaching each other is what we do as christians, and so using a form of sound doctrine and using words and adjectives with care is a good thing.

    And you are right if your point is that you are saying that turning this into a law thang would be wrong. Example: It was not wrong for the apostles (or pastors) to “wait on tables” (ie do administrative work). But it was better to free them to do what they were actually called to do according to their apostolic office.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shell @ 92

    by the way… good catch. thanks for correcting my post of 91. It was incorrect wasnt it? And thanks for graciously catching the point I was really interested in….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shell @ 92

    by the way… good catch. thanks for correcting my post of 91. It was incorrect wasnt it? And thanks for graciously catching the point I was really interested in….

  • Daniel Gorman

    fws#91 opines, “There is nothing holy about excommunication. Our Confessions reserve that modifier for things that make men holy.”

    I was using “Holy” in the “Divine” sense (Matt. 18:18).

    larry#101 opines, “And of course, Daniel, this presupposes a fellowship between heterodoxy and orthodoxy that does not exist. Neither does this type of fellowship generally exist within one heterodoxy and another heterodoxy as to two seperate confessions (denominations), neither does it generally exist between one heterdoxy and another heterodoxy within a SINGLE confession (denomination).”

    An orthodox congregation must recognize a divine excommunication by a heterodox congregation. If Matt. 18 was followed, the excommunication is valid for all Christians.

    larry#101 opines, “For that matter Martin Luther was excommunicated and turned over to Satan by the RC church in his day, yet here we are. If the “reverand Wright” excommunicated, let’s suppose for fantasy, Pres. Obama, and president Obama suddenly began to confirm, affirm and confess the Augsburg confessions – I doubt his christian status would be doubted more. Unless of course we suddenly become sacramentarians and attempt to “read the heart” via secondary evidences.”

    The Pope’s excommunication of Martin Luther was invalid for two reasons: 1. He was not Martin Luther’s minister; therefore, he had no jurisdiction. 2. He excommunicated him for preaching the gospel.

    Theoretically, Rev. Wright could excommunicate Mr. Obama for false teaching since he does (or did) have jurisdiction. However, if he excommunicated Mr. Obama for affirming the Augsburg Confession, it would not be a valid or divine excommunication. No Christian may recognize it.

  • Daniel Gorman

    fws#91 opines, “There is nothing holy about excommunication. Our Confessions reserve that modifier for things that make men holy.”

    I was using “Holy” in the “Divine” sense (Matt. 18:18).

    larry#101 opines, “And of course, Daniel, this presupposes a fellowship between heterodoxy and orthodoxy that does not exist. Neither does this type of fellowship generally exist within one heterodoxy and another heterodoxy as to two seperate confessions (denominations), neither does it generally exist between one heterdoxy and another heterodoxy within a SINGLE confession (denomination).”

    An orthodox congregation must recognize a divine excommunication by a heterodox congregation. If Matt. 18 was followed, the excommunication is valid for all Christians.

    larry#101 opines, “For that matter Martin Luther was excommunicated and turned over to Satan by the RC church in his day, yet here we are. If the “reverand Wright” excommunicated, let’s suppose for fantasy, Pres. Obama, and president Obama suddenly began to confirm, affirm and confess the Augsburg confessions – I doubt his christian status would be doubted more. Unless of course we suddenly become sacramentarians and attempt to “read the heart” via secondary evidences.”

    The Pope’s excommunication of Martin Luther was invalid for two reasons: 1. He was not Martin Luther’s minister; therefore, he had no jurisdiction. 2. He excommunicated him for preaching the gospel.

    Theoretically, Rev. Wright could excommunicate Mr. Obama for false teaching since he does (or did) have jurisdiction. However, if he excommunicated Mr. Obama for affirming the Augsburg Confession, it would not be a valid or divine excommunication. No Christian may recognize it.

  • larry

    “The Pope’s excommunication of Martin Luther was invalid for two reasons: 1. He was not Martin Luther’s minister; therefore, he had no jurisdiction. 2. He excommunicated him for preaching the gospel.”

    I don’t disagree with that and already knew that, you are missing point and contradiction in what you said. It conflicts with what you said regarding recognizing heterodoxies (1) authority structure and (2) presupposing the dismissal was orthodox.

    1. The pope under the RC authority structure did have jurisdiction according to its authority structure. And #2 presupposes the Gospel to be known in truth which in turn defines the metric of “what a Christianity is” which sets forth what a Christian is.
    Since Rev. Wright is in no way orthodox but heterodox at best and likely utterly apostate at worst, nor does his church contain the gospel his authority to dismiss publically to Satan his members can hardly be recognized even if he were to do it. If a false church dismisses to Satan his members, it just a false church doing it. In fact as a heterodox teacher/preacher (not laymen) he is to be publically recognized as a false teacher period. It is he, the false teacher and his church, the false church, that is to be condemned by the orthodox church publically so that true Christianity, its confession and not who is and who is not, may be publically visible.

    Thus, by his baptism I assume the President (Obama) and those before him, who are laity as to the church, to be Christian by their baptisms, even though they reside under a false (heterodox) teacher and in a false (heterodox) church that is merely tolerated by God for the sake of the Christian laity ensnared in her claws due to innocent ignorance. Their confessions reflect the false teachings they are under and are false (heterodox), i.e. not Christian, even though they due to the Word of God in baptism are true Christians. The teachers and pastors, however, are under a different criteria than the laity concerning what they teach.

  • larry

    “The Pope’s excommunication of Martin Luther was invalid for two reasons: 1. He was not Martin Luther’s minister; therefore, he had no jurisdiction. 2. He excommunicated him for preaching the gospel.”

    I don’t disagree with that and already knew that, you are missing point and contradiction in what you said. It conflicts with what you said regarding recognizing heterodoxies (1) authority structure and (2) presupposing the dismissal was orthodox.

    1. The pope under the RC authority structure did have jurisdiction according to its authority structure. And #2 presupposes the Gospel to be known in truth which in turn defines the metric of “what a Christianity is” which sets forth what a Christian is.
    Since Rev. Wright is in no way orthodox but heterodox at best and likely utterly apostate at worst, nor does his church contain the gospel his authority to dismiss publically to Satan his members can hardly be recognized even if he were to do it. If a false church dismisses to Satan his members, it just a false church doing it. In fact as a heterodox teacher/preacher (not laymen) he is to be publically recognized as a false teacher period. It is he, the false teacher and his church, the false church, that is to be condemned by the orthodox church publically so that true Christianity, its confession and not who is and who is not, may be publically visible.

    Thus, by his baptism I assume the President (Obama) and those before him, who are laity as to the church, to be Christian by their baptisms, even though they reside under a false (heterodox) teacher and in a false (heterodox) church that is merely tolerated by God for the sake of the Christian laity ensnared in her claws due to innocent ignorance. Their confessions reflect the false teachings they are under and are false (heterodox), i.e. not Christian, even though they due to the Word of God in baptism are true Christians. The teachers and pastors, however, are under a different criteria than the laity concerning what they teach.

  • kerner

    J. Dean @93:

    Wasn’t that Felix?

    And like Bror said. Don’t stop at almost. We need all the help we can get.

  • kerner

    J. Dean @93:

    Wasn’t that Felix?

    And like Bror said. Don’t stop at almost. We need all the help we can get.

  • Daniel Gorman

    larry #105 opines, “The pope under the RC authority structure did have jurisdiction according to its authority structure. And #2 presupposes the Gospel to be known in truth which in turn defines the metric of “what a Christianity is” which sets forth what a Christian is.
    Since Rev. Wright is in no way orthodox but heterodox at best and likely utterly apostate at worst, nor does his church contain the gospel his authority to dismiss publically to Satan his members can hardly be recognized even if he were to do it. If a false church dismisses to Satan his members, it just a false church doing it. In fact as a heterodox teacher/preacher (not laymen) he is to be publically recognized as a false teacher period. ”

    When Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice”, he gives to each Christian the right to judge the definition of “what a Christian is” according to scripture not according to the false teachings of the Papists and the Anabaptists.

    Asserting a false jurisdiction, contrary to scripture, does not mean that jurisdiction actually exists by divine right. Scripture proves that all ministers are equal and that the Pope has no right to exercise the keys outside of Rome. See the “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope” for the scriptural proofs.

    The Pope is the very Antichrist. But God gives him and Rev. Wright the same power of keys that He gives to orthodox ministers. But that power of the keys exists only according the Word of God never contrary to the Word of God.

  • Daniel Gorman

    larry #105 opines, “The pope under the RC authority structure did have jurisdiction according to its authority structure. And #2 presupposes the Gospel to be known in truth which in turn defines the metric of “what a Christianity is” which sets forth what a Christian is.
    Since Rev. Wright is in no way orthodox but heterodox at best and likely utterly apostate at worst, nor does his church contain the gospel his authority to dismiss publically to Satan his members can hardly be recognized even if he were to do it. If a false church dismisses to Satan his members, it just a false church doing it. In fact as a heterodox teacher/preacher (not laymen) he is to be publically recognized as a false teacher period. ”

    When Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice”, he gives to each Christian the right to judge the definition of “what a Christian is” according to scripture not according to the false teachings of the Papists and the Anabaptists.

    Asserting a false jurisdiction, contrary to scripture, does not mean that jurisdiction actually exists by divine right. Scripture proves that all ministers are equal and that the Pope has no right to exercise the keys outside of Rome. See the “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope” for the scriptural proofs.

    The Pope is the very Antichrist. But God gives him and Rev. Wright the same power of keys that He gives to orthodox ministers. But that power of the keys exists only according the Word of God never contrary to the Word of God.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 105 and daniel @ 107

    It is good to think of the concept of “office” here. It is interesting that that concept is clear to us in secular form (eg the office of being a judge in court) but has become sorta lost to the church.

    A judge. like a pastor, has derived authority. He can say “By the power of the state invested in me **I**….”

    The Judge/Pastor has that authority only conditionally. There are two conditions: 1) he is acting officially and formally in his office and 2) he is acting within the confines of the derived authority given to him.

    1) A pastor in a restaurant over a beer sayin stuff (like what we have with a sorta drunk Luther in some of his ‘Table Talks) is off speaking ‘off duty’. When that pastor tells his kid to take out the trash, the vocation speaking is that of parent and not pastor. These are all really good reasons for pastors to wear a clerical collar, and then, only when on duty. But then , no hard and fast rules here…. a pastor with collar at a starbucks (or even better a bar!) might, by that, be given some great witness opportunities.

    2) Another example would be a power of attorney. A pastor never has “blanket power of attorney”. It is more like here in Brasil. Every power must be enumerated. For a pastor this is very easy. A pastor has only ONE thing he is authorized to do in his office as pastor…. Preach Christ crucified. He does this in various ways, but those various ways have only one purpose. A pastor can do other stuff outside of his office as pastor, such as administrative duties… order someone to mow the lawn, or (this is the case of the Pope with Luther) … as synod president he can throw another pastor out of the clergy roster if that authority has been given to him AS the head of a church body. But none of that is being done according to his office as pastor. We all have various vocations we are called to at the same time. Some of those vocations can be “offices”.

    Now what a man does in his office as pastor is a divine and uniquely apostolic authority that is like no other except, of course for that of all the priesthood of believers. But even here there is a difference. I can do everything a pastor does in exceptional circumstances as part of the priesthood of all believers. In fact it may be urgent for me to do so. A Gospel necessity if you will. Baptisms, absolutions, even consecrate the Blessed Sacrament. To say otherwise would be a legalism that many imagine Walther indulged in in his teachings on Church and Ministry. But that is not exactly what he (or the Augustana taught). But the exception proves that there is a rule.

    That rule is not merely the rule of doing everything “decently and in good order” as the WELS insists on and as many in the LCMS . Pastors are called and set apart for the same exact reason there is certainty in trusting in that which is outside of us. How do we know that “two or three gathered ” are really believers? We don´t know that do we? How do you know that any pastor is really a believer? You don´t? The Pope? Double don´t! Yet the Conservative Reformation never ever denied the office of the pope as pastor. Why not? He was set apart . Ordained. So we trust that the Pastor speaks the Absolution with the authority of the entire church and of Christ or Lord not because we believe he is a believer and so base his authority his being part of the priesthood of believers. No. His authority is based on the exact same as that of the Apostles and not based on the personal faith of anyone.

    This is a subtle but extremely important Lutheran distinctive that at the same time has us rejecting a WELS/Reformed basis of priesthood/faith for the pastorate and also a Roman/quasi-waltherian legalism that would have the visible structure of the pastorate take on some sort of divine mandate.

    I hope that helps.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 105 and daniel @ 107

    It is good to think of the concept of “office” here. It is interesting that that concept is clear to us in secular form (eg the office of being a judge in court) but has become sorta lost to the church.

    A judge. like a pastor, has derived authority. He can say “By the power of the state invested in me **I**….”

    The Judge/Pastor has that authority only conditionally. There are two conditions: 1) he is acting officially and formally in his office and 2) he is acting within the confines of the derived authority given to him.

    1) A pastor in a restaurant over a beer sayin stuff (like what we have with a sorta drunk Luther in some of his ‘Table Talks) is off speaking ‘off duty’. When that pastor tells his kid to take out the trash, the vocation speaking is that of parent and not pastor. These are all really good reasons for pastors to wear a clerical collar, and then, only when on duty. But then , no hard and fast rules here…. a pastor with collar at a starbucks (or even better a bar!) might, by that, be given some great witness opportunities.

    2) Another example would be a power of attorney. A pastor never has “blanket power of attorney”. It is more like here in Brasil. Every power must be enumerated. For a pastor this is very easy. A pastor has only ONE thing he is authorized to do in his office as pastor…. Preach Christ crucified. He does this in various ways, but those various ways have only one purpose. A pastor can do other stuff outside of his office as pastor, such as administrative duties… order someone to mow the lawn, or (this is the case of the Pope with Luther) … as synod president he can throw another pastor out of the clergy roster if that authority has been given to him AS the head of a church body. But none of that is being done according to his office as pastor. We all have various vocations we are called to at the same time. Some of those vocations can be “offices”.

    Now what a man does in his office as pastor is a divine and uniquely apostolic authority that is like no other except, of course for that of all the priesthood of believers. But even here there is a difference. I can do everything a pastor does in exceptional circumstances as part of the priesthood of all believers. In fact it may be urgent for me to do so. A Gospel necessity if you will. Baptisms, absolutions, even consecrate the Blessed Sacrament. To say otherwise would be a legalism that many imagine Walther indulged in in his teachings on Church and Ministry. But that is not exactly what he (or the Augustana taught). But the exception proves that there is a rule.

    That rule is not merely the rule of doing everything “decently and in good order” as the WELS insists on and as many in the LCMS . Pastors are called and set apart for the same exact reason there is certainty in trusting in that which is outside of us. How do we know that “two or three gathered ” are really believers? We don´t know that do we? How do you know that any pastor is really a believer? You don´t? The Pope? Double don´t! Yet the Conservative Reformation never ever denied the office of the pope as pastor. Why not? He was set apart . Ordained. So we trust that the Pastor speaks the Absolution with the authority of the entire church and of Christ or Lord not because we believe he is a believer and so base his authority his being part of the priesthood of believers. No. His authority is based on the exact same as that of the Apostles and not based on the personal faith of anyone.

    This is a subtle but extremely important Lutheran distinctive that at the same time has us rejecting a WELS/Reformed basis of priesthood/faith for the pastorate and also a Roman/quasi-waltherian legalism that would have the visible structure of the pastorate take on some sort of divine mandate.

    I hope that helps.

  • larry

    FWS,

    You bring an excellent talking point. Perhaps you can help me here. I don’t come from a Roman background but baptist/Reformed background and all church polity therein. Recognizing the authority of a ordained minister in a called office is more, how shall we say, clear cut, in the Roman church due to its structure. But it gets quickly more fuzzy in the baptist realm in which callings are often somewhat a mixture of self appointments and sometimes based upon splits and schisms. Because recognizing a pastor from another denomination, confession, presupposes a confession adhered to from the other denomination itself. I’ve seen it more than once, in fact its generally the “rule”, something like this: First Baptist Church X has Pastor John Doe #1, a disagreement breaks out on something (anything from blacktop and spending the church’s $$$ to an issue over some spiritual teaching). So he takes his toys and a part of the congregation with him and goes and “builds another church” a few miles away and calls it “New Hope Baptist Church”. This happens again and again and again and suddenly one has, I’m not joking this is a constant down here, about 5 to 10 baptist/SB churches in one city range. All of them saying southern baptist if its or at least “baptist” or at a minimum “baptistic”. Members could be expelled, and have (about as close as a baptist gets to excommunicate) from one church only to go and join a fellow church down the street fully recognized, with full knowledge of the leaving of the former. So whose authority, pastor, do you trust? The “excommunicating” one or the “re-communicating” one. Both pastor’s are “called out” in some form or another and within the bounds of “one confession”, at least on the official paper that says “baptist church” which is suppose to mean something unifying one would hope.

    This gets back to the opining Daniel’s problem of the recognition via the official pastoral declaration upon their baptism.

    I think Lutheran confessional structure has hard time reading this situation because it presupposes so many things that simply do not exist in the more scattered heterodoxies out there.

    Keep in mind, you mention many things that do not exist in, for example, baptistic confessions (which is the basic under pinning of Obama’s former (??) church). Baptist do not absolve, at all, not even in baptism, their doctrine of BB, is against absolution in baptism. Baptist don’t “excommunicate” but rather, in worse cases just condemn a sinner (usually over some moralism) or shun them, best case, toss old names off of roles via a vote in a business meeting (purging the roles of ‘not true believers’ – a hard thing to do now days). Baptist doctrine is SO heterodox today its heterodoxy within heterodoxy, arminian and Calvinistic teaching often in the same building (I know I was there for years). The only singular solid doctrine you will find among them, their common confession if you will is that, “we aint gonna baptize babies”, and, “there ain’t no body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, just grape juice and crackers”.
    Keep in mind I’m not doubting the president’s being a Christian, he’s baptized and that’s the ONLY solid ground I or anyone has (as this ENTIRE debate is displaying mind you!). Method 1, if we go the route of “his heart” and “does he mean it”, who in the hell can read that? And to do so is really the realm of God and to attempt to do so is to attempt to be like God and blaspheme. Method 2, what about secondary evidences? Well, yes he does adhere to abortion a horrifying thing we’d all here cringe at, yet as Bror points out Baptist don’t baptize the babies which is theologically worse, and I know that chokes down very hard for some folks. Method 3, yet, if we hypothetically go Daniel’s route, excommunication, even though they don’t do that, but just for argument sake, do we go by the excommunicating pastor’s opinion or the pastor’s opinion that welcomes him into his church?
    It appears to me that from an orthodox confessing point of view all we can do is believe the man’s baptism, unless he himself openly denies it.

  • larry

    FWS,

    You bring an excellent talking point. Perhaps you can help me here. I don’t come from a Roman background but baptist/Reformed background and all church polity therein. Recognizing the authority of a ordained minister in a called office is more, how shall we say, clear cut, in the Roman church due to its structure. But it gets quickly more fuzzy in the baptist realm in which callings are often somewhat a mixture of self appointments and sometimes based upon splits and schisms. Because recognizing a pastor from another denomination, confession, presupposes a confession adhered to from the other denomination itself. I’ve seen it more than once, in fact its generally the “rule”, something like this: First Baptist Church X has Pastor John Doe #1, a disagreement breaks out on something (anything from blacktop and spending the church’s $$$ to an issue over some spiritual teaching). So he takes his toys and a part of the congregation with him and goes and “builds another church” a few miles away and calls it “New Hope Baptist Church”. This happens again and again and again and suddenly one has, I’m not joking this is a constant down here, about 5 to 10 baptist/SB churches in one city range. All of them saying southern baptist if its or at least “baptist” or at a minimum “baptistic”. Members could be expelled, and have (about as close as a baptist gets to excommunicate) from one church only to go and join a fellow church down the street fully recognized, with full knowledge of the leaving of the former. So whose authority, pastor, do you trust? The “excommunicating” one or the “re-communicating” one. Both pastor’s are “called out” in some form or another and within the bounds of “one confession”, at least on the official paper that says “baptist church” which is suppose to mean something unifying one would hope.

    This gets back to the opining Daniel’s problem of the recognition via the official pastoral declaration upon their baptism.

    I think Lutheran confessional structure has hard time reading this situation because it presupposes so many things that simply do not exist in the more scattered heterodoxies out there.

    Keep in mind, you mention many things that do not exist in, for example, baptistic confessions (which is the basic under pinning of Obama’s former (??) church). Baptist do not absolve, at all, not even in baptism, their doctrine of BB, is against absolution in baptism. Baptist don’t “excommunicate” but rather, in worse cases just condemn a sinner (usually over some moralism) or shun them, best case, toss old names off of roles via a vote in a business meeting (purging the roles of ‘not true believers’ – a hard thing to do now days). Baptist doctrine is SO heterodox today its heterodoxy within heterodoxy, arminian and Calvinistic teaching often in the same building (I know I was there for years). The only singular solid doctrine you will find among them, their common confession if you will is that, “we aint gonna baptize babies”, and, “there ain’t no body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, just grape juice and crackers”.
    Keep in mind I’m not doubting the president’s being a Christian, he’s baptized and that’s the ONLY solid ground I or anyone has (as this ENTIRE debate is displaying mind you!). Method 1, if we go the route of “his heart” and “does he mean it”, who in the hell can read that? And to do so is really the realm of God and to attempt to do so is to attempt to be like God and blaspheme. Method 2, what about secondary evidences? Well, yes he does adhere to abortion a horrifying thing we’d all here cringe at, yet as Bror points out Baptist don’t baptize the babies which is theologically worse, and I know that chokes down very hard for some folks. Method 3, yet, if we hypothetically go Daniel’s route, excommunication, even though they don’t do that, but just for argument sake, do we go by the excommunicating pastor’s opinion or the pastor’s opinion that welcomes him into his church?
    It appears to me that from an orthodox confessing point of view all we can do is believe the man’s baptism, unless he himself openly denies it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 109

    “It appears to me that from an orthodox confessing point of view all we can do is believe the man’s baptism, unless he himself openly denies it.”

    Almost there.

    Luther says that we accept that others are christian because they are baptized out of love not in faith. That is, we accept people at face value. We don´t try to separate sheep from goat or weed from tare for the very reasons our Lord gave us.

    Note that when Luther wants to talk about unbelievers he labels them “turks”. What I just stated is why. And we need to read all his writings with this fact in mind moreover. This is because everyone in his german community had been baptized. Does that mean that Luther believed that everyone in Germany was a believer . No.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 109

    “It appears to me that from an orthodox confessing point of view all we can do is believe the man’s baptism, unless he himself openly denies it.”

    Almost there.

    Luther says that we accept that others are christian because they are baptized out of love not in faith. That is, we accept people at face value. We don´t try to separate sheep from goat or weed from tare for the very reasons our Lord gave us.

    Note that when Luther wants to talk about unbelievers he labels them “turks”. What I just stated is why. And we need to read all his writings with this fact in mind moreover. This is because everyone in his german community had been baptized. Does that mean that Luther believed that everyone in Germany was a believer . No.

  • larry

    FWS,
    We cannot forget a distinction between teachers and laymen, and the president as to the theological is nothing more than a laymen.
    It is true what Luther said concerning “Turks”, but then you run into all those references, which are not few, when Luther lumped in, at least doctrine maybe not persons, with “turk” with the papacy and the sacramentarians (i.e. in today’s lingo the non-Lutheran protestant confessions).
    And yet Luther makes statements like this, “I testify on my part that I regard Zwingli as unchristian, with all his teachings, for he holds and teaches no part of the Christian faith rightly. He is seven times worse than when he was a papist, according to the declaration in Matthew 9 [12:45], “The last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” I make this testimony in order that I may stand blameless before God and the world as one who never partook of Zwingli’s teaching, nor will I ever do so” (WA 26:342; AE 37:231).
    On the basis of this we can well understand that the forgiveness of sins should not prevail in the area of doctrine, as the Sacramentarians maintain, but in the area of life and works. Here let no one condemn another . . . . Thus we do not deny forgiveness to the Sacramentarians or other founders of wicked sects; but we sincerely forgive their insults and blasphemies against Christ, and we shall never again mention the injuries they have inflicted upon us, on the condition that they repent, forsake the wicked doctrine with which they have disturbed the churches of Christ, and walk in an orderly way together with us.

    Again, a distinction between teachers and layman, I think. I admit this to be difficult to ferret out though for my part.

    Which leads me back to baptism, its all one has to base anything on concretely when one attempts to ferret this out.

  • larry

    FWS,
    We cannot forget a distinction between teachers and laymen, and the president as to the theological is nothing more than a laymen.
    It is true what Luther said concerning “Turks”, but then you run into all those references, which are not few, when Luther lumped in, at least doctrine maybe not persons, with “turk” with the papacy and the sacramentarians (i.e. in today’s lingo the non-Lutheran protestant confessions).
    And yet Luther makes statements like this, “I testify on my part that I regard Zwingli as unchristian, with all his teachings, for he holds and teaches no part of the Christian faith rightly. He is seven times worse than when he was a papist, according to the declaration in Matthew 9 [12:45], “The last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” I make this testimony in order that I may stand blameless before God and the world as one who never partook of Zwingli’s teaching, nor will I ever do so” (WA 26:342; AE 37:231).
    On the basis of this we can well understand that the forgiveness of sins should not prevail in the area of doctrine, as the Sacramentarians maintain, but in the area of life and works. Here let no one condemn another . . . . Thus we do not deny forgiveness to the Sacramentarians or other founders of wicked sects; but we sincerely forgive their insults and blasphemies against Christ, and we shall never again mention the injuries they have inflicted upon us, on the condition that they repent, forsake the wicked doctrine with which they have disturbed the churches of Christ, and walk in an orderly way together with us.

    Again, a distinction between teachers and layman, I think. I admit this to be difficult to ferret out though for my part.

    Which leads me back to baptism, its all one has to base anything on concretely when one attempts to ferret this out.

  • larry

    We’ve been debating this from a more or less Lutheran perspective, both Lutherans and non-Lutherans. But it offers an opportunity to discuss. The president’s denominational background is a derivative of the baptist church, i.e. believers baptism. This brings up an interesting discussion point. For those baptist that may believe or even are not sure if or if not the president is a Christian.

    Question: Was he or was he not baptized? If so on what basis, if not on what basis? Follow up: If not, then what did everyone observe on the day he was, enshrouded in water? We may follow up from there.

  • larry

    We’ve been debating this from a more or less Lutheran perspective, both Lutherans and non-Lutherans. But it offers an opportunity to discuss. The president’s denominational background is a derivative of the baptist church, i.e. believers baptism. This brings up an interesting discussion point. For those baptist that may believe or even are not sure if or if not the president is a Christian.

    Question: Was he or was he not baptized? If so on what basis, if not on what basis? Follow up: If not, then what did everyone observe on the day he was, enshrouded in water? We may follow up from there.

  • DonS

    larry @ 112: We get that you don’t like Baptists, and that this blog is a kind of therapy for you. But I think it is a serious stretch, even for you, to make the claim that “The president’s denominational background is a derivative of the baptist church, i.e. believers baptism”. The President’s church, for some twenty years, allegedly, was Trinity United Church of Christ. Here is, apparently, the closest thing they have to a doctrinal statement: http://www.trinitychicago.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=114

    On his Organizing for America website, he says he was baptized at TUCC: http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/11/12/obama_has_never_been_a_muslim_1.php

    He doesn’t explain what he believes was signified by that baptism, but if you read the context in that article, it appears that he conflates his conversion with his baptism. Look at these two passages:

    “When asked about his decision to be baptized, Obama said “Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me,” he said of his walk down the aisle of the Trinity United Church of Christ. “I submitted myself to his will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.” ”

    ” It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.”"

    And check this out: “THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: “‘Trinity UCC is rooted in and proud of its Afrocentric heritage,’ [Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president] said. ‘This is no different than the hundreds of UCC churches from the German Evangelical and Reformed stream that continue to own and celebrate their German heritage, insisting on annual sausage and sauerkraut dinners and singing Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve. Recognizing and celebrating our distinctive racial-ethnic heritages, cultures, languages and customs are what make us unique as a united and uniting denomination.’ ”

    So, this claims that the UCC derives from the “German Evangelical and Reformed stream”. More Lutheran than Baptist, it would seem.

  • DonS

    larry @ 112: We get that you don’t like Baptists, and that this blog is a kind of therapy for you. But I think it is a serious stretch, even for you, to make the claim that “The president’s denominational background is a derivative of the baptist church, i.e. believers baptism”. The President’s church, for some twenty years, allegedly, was Trinity United Church of Christ. Here is, apparently, the closest thing they have to a doctrinal statement: http://www.trinitychicago.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=114

    On his Organizing for America website, he says he was baptized at TUCC: http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/11/12/obama_has_never_been_a_muslim_1.php

    He doesn’t explain what he believes was signified by that baptism, but if you read the context in that article, it appears that he conflates his conversion with his baptism. Look at these two passages:

    “When asked about his decision to be baptized, Obama said “Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me,” he said of his walk down the aisle of the Trinity United Church of Christ. “I submitted myself to his will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.” ”

    ” It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.”"

    And check this out: “THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: “‘Trinity UCC is rooted in and proud of its Afrocentric heritage,’ [Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president] said. ‘This is no different than the hundreds of UCC churches from the German Evangelical and Reformed stream that continue to own and celebrate their German heritage, insisting on annual sausage and sauerkraut dinners and singing Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve. Recognizing and celebrating our distinctive racial-ethnic heritages, cultures, languages and customs are what make us unique as a united and uniting denomination.’ ”

    So, this claims that the UCC derives from the “German Evangelical and Reformed stream”. More Lutheran than Baptist, it would seem.

  • larry

    Don, therapy, hardly, hate baptist hardly (hate the doctrine, different question)! Thanks for the clarification, I did miscommunicate, quite unintentionally, but was using short hand for it. Thus, my only linking of his church was the issue of “believer’s baptism”, in that sense they kindred. We all know Calvinistic baptist and Anabaptist are far apart doctrinally, as are arminian baptist from Calvinistic baptist, as are the Campbellites (a rich tradition in Kentucky) from the baptist, one denies the other, etc, ad infinitum, ad nausem. However, all practice believers baptism. In this way, what’s behind that (believers baptism) they are at the end of the day derivative of each other. There’s a reason for all believing it. Thus, from a Trinity CoC statement of faith, more or less, “A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for salvation. If you have come to that point in your spiritual journey, then you should be baptized.” Baptism occurs after a person is old enough to choose faith in God–babies are not baptized. Case closed.
    That was my only linking and thus the original questions are valid question. The answers here presume a more or less Lutheran (maybe even Reformed understanding).
    Now back to the question at hand, because we’ve discussed this assuming a Lutheran, even Reformed, understanding of baptist. And baptist have likewise responded, well consistent with their doctrine basically, “you can’t trust a persons baptism” as to whether or not they are Christians. That is at least consistent.
    The “elephant in the room”, baptismal status and under whose “confessional understanding of baptism” are we speaking. Because we are not speaking with each other even though we are “speaking” with each other. So I’ll correct for Don’s sake; since president’s denominational background is a believers baptism type of confession and thus that “idea” of baptism is on the table: For those baptist that may believe or even are not sure if or if not the president is a Christian.
    Question: Was he or was he not baptized? If so on what basis, if not on what basis? Follow up: If not, then what did everyone observe on the day he was, enshrouded in water? We may follow up from there.

  • larry

    Don, therapy, hardly, hate baptist hardly (hate the doctrine, different question)! Thanks for the clarification, I did miscommunicate, quite unintentionally, but was using short hand for it. Thus, my only linking of his church was the issue of “believer’s baptism”, in that sense they kindred. We all know Calvinistic baptist and Anabaptist are far apart doctrinally, as are arminian baptist from Calvinistic baptist, as are the Campbellites (a rich tradition in Kentucky) from the baptist, one denies the other, etc, ad infinitum, ad nausem. However, all practice believers baptism. In this way, what’s behind that (believers baptism) they are at the end of the day derivative of each other. There’s a reason for all believing it. Thus, from a Trinity CoC statement of faith, more or less, “A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for salvation. If you have come to that point in your spiritual journey, then you should be baptized.” Baptism occurs after a person is old enough to choose faith in God–babies are not baptized. Case closed.
    That was my only linking and thus the original questions are valid question. The answers here presume a more or less Lutheran (maybe even Reformed understanding).
    Now back to the question at hand, because we’ve discussed this assuming a Lutheran, even Reformed, understanding of baptist. And baptist have likewise responded, well consistent with their doctrine basically, “you can’t trust a persons baptism” as to whether or not they are Christians. That is at least consistent.
    The “elephant in the room”, baptismal status and under whose “confessional understanding of baptism” are we speaking. Because we are not speaking with each other even though we are “speaking” with each other. So I’ll correct for Don’s sake; since president’s denominational background is a believers baptism type of confession and thus that “idea” of baptism is on the table: For those baptist that may believe or even are not sure if or if not the president is a Christian.
    Question: Was he or was he not baptized? If so on what basis, if not on what basis? Follow up: If not, then what did everyone observe on the day he was, enshrouded in water? We may follow up from there.

  • DonS

    Larry, again, the UCC, as stated on this Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ), and as I stated previously, was founded with Lutheran and Reformed roots. That is not Baptist, and has nothing to do with Baptist. The UCC really has no particular doctrine whatsoever, and intentionally does not enforce one.

  • DonS

    Larry, again, the UCC, as stated on this Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ), and as I stated previously, was founded with Lutheran and Reformed roots. That is not Baptist, and has nothing to do with Baptist. The UCC really has no particular doctrine whatsoever, and intentionally does not enforce one.

  • larry

    Again Don, the connection is “believers baptism” not their “roots”. Ultimately baptist have their roots in Rome as do the Reformed as do the Lutherans to one degree or another.

    Your are diverting the issue to avoid the questions at hand.

  • larry

    Again Don, the connection is “believers baptism” not their “roots”. Ultimately baptist have their roots in Rome as do the Reformed as do the Lutherans to one degree or another.

    Your are diverting the issue to avoid the questions at hand.

  • larry

    They don’t make baptism necessary, but when they do its explicitly adult only and non-infant. That former part I’ve seen what Calvinist would call hyper-calvinistic baptist churches do the same thing. I’ve seen some go so far as to eliminate baptism altogether.

    One’s roots need not be directly connected for doctrines to ultimately match up, some just take it to a more logical conclusion than others.

    You are wrestling with the external roots, more or less not doctrinal connections, believers baptism. One could make the doctrinal argument, and be correct, that Lutheran pietist, though they baptize their infants, are functionally Reformed and functionally baptist.

    Similarly, and I have good friend whose a pastor this way, that there are some baptist out there who are functionally Lutheran, as much as they can be (Gospel = 200 proof) and are just clinging to believers baptism out of innocent ignorance and unfounded caution. I’m convinced many good baptist are this way, and Reformed. They just have not seen all the connections yet. That’s why they get labled today as “crypto-lutherans”, I got that label for a while.

    I believe it was either Sasse or Pieper, I cannot recall exactly, who makes a point similar to this. Personally I experienced this as a Baptist and then Reformed confessor, on baptism I was all the way there except for regeneration for a while. Then I moved to that. Then the issue of the Lord’s Supper and the real flesh and blood hit me, it “sounded too Roman Catholic”. I was kind of this way, “Hey I LOVE Luther and the Gospel that Lutherans so clearly give in the Word and baptism, I can even go a bit toward their LS, but real body and blood?” Our damnable fallen reason gets so much in the way does it not! If we, including me, are honest. And being new to the confessions I STILL find new things and their Gospel connection that at first pauses me then it becomes clear some X weeks or months even a year later.

    Consider it this way: in one sense, and I recall Reformed argue with Baptist on this issue constantly, a Baptist cannot BE Reformed-Baptist or Calvinistic-Baptist. And they are right, the system is a whole not partial and the TULIP is more than just the TULIP but the entire body of the Confession out of Dort and subsequent ones like WCF. Yet, from Luther’s point of view there is at the end of the day no difference in the two due to the sacrament. One might say a baptist is far more consistent doctrinally than a reformed person is on the sacraments as signs and seals, that argument can be made. At the end of the day there are only theologies of glory (under many colors and flavors) and the theology of the Cross (under a single Word).

    So that’s what I’m getting at.

  • larry

    They don’t make baptism necessary, but when they do its explicitly adult only and non-infant. That former part I’ve seen what Calvinist would call hyper-calvinistic baptist churches do the same thing. I’ve seen some go so far as to eliminate baptism altogether.

    One’s roots need not be directly connected for doctrines to ultimately match up, some just take it to a more logical conclusion than others.

    You are wrestling with the external roots, more or less not doctrinal connections, believers baptism. One could make the doctrinal argument, and be correct, that Lutheran pietist, though they baptize their infants, are functionally Reformed and functionally baptist.

    Similarly, and I have good friend whose a pastor this way, that there are some baptist out there who are functionally Lutheran, as much as they can be (Gospel = 200 proof) and are just clinging to believers baptism out of innocent ignorance and unfounded caution. I’m convinced many good baptist are this way, and Reformed. They just have not seen all the connections yet. That’s why they get labled today as “crypto-lutherans”, I got that label for a while.

    I believe it was either Sasse or Pieper, I cannot recall exactly, who makes a point similar to this. Personally I experienced this as a Baptist and then Reformed confessor, on baptism I was all the way there except for regeneration for a while. Then I moved to that. Then the issue of the Lord’s Supper and the real flesh and blood hit me, it “sounded too Roman Catholic”. I was kind of this way, “Hey I LOVE Luther and the Gospel that Lutherans so clearly give in the Word and baptism, I can even go a bit toward their LS, but real body and blood?” Our damnable fallen reason gets so much in the way does it not! If we, including me, are honest. And being new to the confessions I STILL find new things and their Gospel connection that at first pauses me then it becomes clear some X weeks or months even a year later.

    Consider it this way: in one sense, and I recall Reformed argue with Baptist on this issue constantly, a Baptist cannot BE Reformed-Baptist or Calvinistic-Baptist. And they are right, the system is a whole not partial and the TULIP is more than just the TULIP but the entire body of the Confession out of Dort and subsequent ones like WCF. Yet, from Luther’s point of view there is at the end of the day no difference in the two due to the sacrament. One might say a baptist is far more consistent doctrinally than a reformed person is on the sacraments as signs and seals, that argument can be made. At the end of the day there are only theologies of glory (under many colors and flavors) and the theology of the Cross (under a single Word).

    So that’s what I’m getting at.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry.

    A friend with an amazing background in reformed theology who is now Lutheran, pointed me to studying Aristotle. He pointed out that aristotle was the water that all the fish in the reformation swam in. It was the unquestioned matrix through which they saw things. The gravitational pull of it was practically irrisistable.

    He was good to point me there. I understand our confessions alot better now.

    Here is what it seems to boil down to. It will help you in your referencing between reformed , lutheran and rome. It helped me.

    Think this way: rome was about scholasticism. scholasticism came to it´s highpoint under thomas aquinas . thomas ‘baptized ‘ aristotle’ and incorporated his thinking as the logic behind his systematization of christian theology. So he said that being virtuous or righteous was then a matter of practicing virtue, which then becomes habit. so a person becomes virtuous by the practice of acting virtuous. Lutherans then said that no, in matters of faith, that is, in that invisible heavenly kingdom, we must be virtuous, before we can act virtuously.

    But then they did this: they said in the earthly visible kingdom that fully includes everything we can do, aristotle IS exactly right in how we make the old adam virtuous.

    Melancthon, who Calvin followed, later in live reverted to neo-scholasticism. He said that the process of becoming virtuous now applies to the believer according to his life of sanctification. Sanctification looks like acting virtuous, of course only with the help of the Holy Spirit, and so we become virtuous by practice and increase thusly in our sanctification.

    In opposition to this exact neo-scholasticism, the Formula of Concord, art VI wields the Law and Gospel distinction as it applies within the believer. This looks like new man/sanctification/gospel vs Old Adam/works/law/mortification.

    Article VI states that sanctification is complete in our baptismal regeneration. And it can therefore not be increased through effort (ie works of the law). Yet for the believer, according to his Old Adam, what aristotle describes is exactly how even believers must exercise and discipline their Old Adam. And so the believer is at the same time completely free from the law, and any efforting at being good according to the new man, and completely under the curse of the law according to his Old Adam.

    So the augustana and formula are like two bookends, standing against both the scholasticism of rome and the later the same neo-scholasticism of melancthon and geneva.

    And the Formula in Article VI drives this distinction further and startlingly by asserting that there is NO difference between ‘fruit of the spirit’ and ‘works of the law’. The difference is entirely in the actor and not at all in the acts. This seems to be a law vs law distinction, but it is really also a law and gospel distinction. How so? It means that the Gospel is only about invisible faith. It is nothing about what we do, not even what we do as sanctified believers empowered to do fruit of the spirit by the Holy Spirit. It rejects the idea that we are saved by faith with the purpose of us enabling us to now do stuff, which is law-gospel-law that is taught by rome and the reformed alike.

    This point again is merely a rework of the same point made in the Augustana that Lutherans really do miss. It looks like this in the augustana:

    Rome tried to say that works of mortification and self denial are sacrifices that God sees as a form of christian sanctified righteous. These would be things like chastity/celebacy, fasting, etc. And even the offering up of the Lord´s Supper. They said that the proof of a good work was whether or not it demostrated obedience to what God and his Church demanded. A good work is about doing something to make God happy with us.

    The Lutherans responded that these works are ‘useless’ to anyone on earth. They do not make our neighbor happier. This is their proof that those kinds of works as sacrifice are not what says he wants in his Word. So what DOES He demand? Mercy. Love. The proof that our good works conform to God´s Word is any tangible proof that what we are doing is making our neighbor happier in his creaturely existence. God needs and so demands nothing of us as sacrifice to him. So then the judge of our earthly goodness becomes our neighbor rather than God!

    Lutherans praise aristotle then, saying that “nothing can be added to the ethical system of aristotle” but they refuse to baptize him into the heavenly kingdom of sanctification. They make him remain in that earthly kingdom that is all and only about our visible works and the killing of our Old Adam and the production of that ‘daily bread’ that Luther mentions in the small catechism in the 1st article and the 4th petition. All of this excludes faith as a necessary ingredient.

    The earthly kingdom includes all works and all we can do whether christian or pagan and fully excludes faith, just as St James says. In this kingdom of earthly flesh/body (romans 8) things we do, Aristotle nails how a visible righteousness that pleases God is produced. And for this reason, our Lutheran Confessions praise him! This is so that it can be clear that the heavenly kingdom excludes all works and so includes only invisible faith alone. Here in this kingdom , aristotle is a whore and the enemy of faith just as Luther said many times.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry.

    A friend with an amazing background in reformed theology who is now Lutheran, pointed me to studying Aristotle. He pointed out that aristotle was the water that all the fish in the reformation swam in. It was the unquestioned matrix through which they saw things. The gravitational pull of it was practically irrisistable.

    He was good to point me there. I understand our confessions alot better now.

    Here is what it seems to boil down to. It will help you in your referencing between reformed , lutheran and rome. It helped me.

    Think this way: rome was about scholasticism. scholasticism came to it´s highpoint under thomas aquinas . thomas ‘baptized ‘ aristotle’ and incorporated his thinking as the logic behind his systematization of christian theology. So he said that being virtuous or righteous was then a matter of practicing virtue, which then becomes habit. so a person becomes virtuous by the practice of acting virtuous. Lutherans then said that no, in matters of faith, that is, in that invisible heavenly kingdom, we must be virtuous, before we can act virtuously.

    But then they did this: they said in the earthly visible kingdom that fully includes everything we can do, aristotle IS exactly right in how we make the old adam virtuous.

    Melancthon, who Calvin followed, later in live reverted to neo-scholasticism. He said that the process of becoming virtuous now applies to the believer according to his life of sanctification. Sanctification looks like acting virtuous, of course only with the help of the Holy Spirit, and so we become virtuous by practice and increase thusly in our sanctification.

    In opposition to this exact neo-scholasticism, the Formula of Concord, art VI wields the Law and Gospel distinction as it applies within the believer. This looks like new man/sanctification/gospel vs Old Adam/works/law/mortification.

    Article VI states that sanctification is complete in our baptismal regeneration. And it can therefore not be increased through effort (ie works of the law). Yet for the believer, according to his Old Adam, what aristotle describes is exactly how even believers must exercise and discipline their Old Adam. And so the believer is at the same time completely free from the law, and any efforting at being good according to the new man, and completely under the curse of the law according to his Old Adam.

    So the augustana and formula are like two bookends, standing against both the scholasticism of rome and the later the same neo-scholasticism of melancthon and geneva.

    And the Formula in Article VI drives this distinction further and startlingly by asserting that there is NO difference between ‘fruit of the spirit’ and ‘works of the law’. The difference is entirely in the actor and not at all in the acts. This seems to be a law vs law distinction, but it is really also a law and gospel distinction. How so? It means that the Gospel is only about invisible faith. It is nothing about what we do, not even what we do as sanctified believers empowered to do fruit of the spirit by the Holy Spirit. It rejects the idea that we are saved by faith with the purpose of us enabling us to now do stuff, which is law-gospel-law that is taught by rome and the reformed alike.

    This point again is merely a rework of the same point made in the Augustana that Lutherans really do miss. It looks like this in the augustana:

    Rome tried to say that works of mortification and self denial are sacrifices that God sees as a form of christian sanctified righteous. These would be things like chastity/celebacy, fasting, etc. And even the offering up of the Lord´s Supper. They said that the proof of a good work was whether or not it demostrated obedience to what God and his Church demanded. A good work is about doing something to make God happy with us.

    The Lutherans responded that these works are ‘useless’ to anyone on earth. They do not make our neighbor happier. This is their proof that those kinds of works as sacrifice are not what says he wants in his Word. So what DOES He demand? Mercy. Love. The proof that our good works conform to God´s Word is any tangible proof that what we are doing is making our neighbor happier in his creaturely existence. God needs and so demands nothing of us as sacrifice to him. So then the judge of our earthly goodness becomes our neighbor rather than God!

    Lutherans praise aristotle then, saying that “nothing can be added to the ethical system of aristotle” but they refuse to baptize him into the heavenly kingdom of sanctification. They make him remain in that earthly kingdom that is all and only about our visible works and the killing of our Old Adam and the production of that ‘daily bread’ that Luther mentions in the small catechism in the 1st article and the 4th petition. All of this excludes faith as a necessary ingredient.

    The earthly kingdom includes all works and all we can do whether christian or pagan and fully excludes faith, just as St James says. In this kingdom of earthly flesh/body (romans 8) things we do, Aristotle nails how a visible righteousness that pleases God is produced. And for this reason, our Lutheran Confessions praise him! This is so that it can be clear that the heavenly kingdom excludes all works and so includes only invisible faith alone. Here in this kingdom , aristotle is a whore and the enemy of faith just as Luther said many times.

  • larry

    FWS,

    Great help.

    You nailed something when you said, “Melancthon, who Calvin followed, later in live reverted to neo-scholasticism. He said that the process of becoming virtuous now applies to the believer according to his life of sanctification. Sanctification looks like acting virtuous, of course only with the help of the Holy Spirit, and so we become virtuous by practice and increase thusly in our sanctification.”

    There it is, that’s where synergism slips back into, ironically Calvinism which supposedly believes in “total depravity”. But if you read Luther enough you find that total depravity does not equal bondage of the will or said another way “total depravity” (Calvin style) is not the same as “total depravity” (Lutheran style), and you end up with what the BoC preface warns us against (similarly) “….such things are concealed under similar words that appear to agree with the Gospel doctrine…” (paraphrased). I.e. the two parties are saying “total depravity” but really meaning “two different animals” that are at the end of the day utter opposites and not just different or variations of the same theme.

    In my old Reformed days one would find out quickly that the more astute arminian would deny outright that they believed in synergism. How was this so! These folks are not stupid. It’s all about the “becoming virtuous”. Grace basically equals a move, somewhere, from vice to virtue, implied is that original sin was gross vice as we measure such things; and not as Luther suggests a move from virtue to grace and original sin was basically seeking to be ‘more pious’ than God. So one finds in arminianism that one is “given” more or less the grace (the coin to operate) in order to “decide for Christ” or some such thing. Calvinism merely moves this synergism to the post conversion position as to where this synergism is in arminianism in the original created position of man. In other words “the coin” for the power to believe and thus do good works, the synergism, is merely shifted one way or the other. Underlying all of that is the presupposition that ultimately the movement is as said above, “a move from vice to virtue”, or more formerly Aristotle’s. The whole problem is ultimately seeing grace as a movement from vice to virtue and not forgiveness of sin, a move from virtue to grace.

    The reason the arminians would deny to Calvinist that they are synergist is, at the end of the day, functionally the same reasons Calvinist give for themselves being monergist, “God gives the coin/power, etc…” and ergo “monergism”, “I thank you God that I am not like…”. One cannot escape the sacraments, ala Sasse, here. Once they are doctrinally “disconnected” as true means of grace in the strict Lutheran sense of that, then it matters little if one is RC, Wesleyan, Calvinistic, Pelagian, semi-pelagian, Buddhist, Islam, a tree worshipper, agnostic or atheist; one is forced to “search for ‘god’” called either “christ” or “Zeus”, i.e. that which is in which I place all my trust, most acutely for “a salvation” from this fallen life and flee to in time of trouble. With no place where the Word enfleshes itself in sacraments and comes ALL the way down to the sinner today, not just 2000 years ago, the search necessarily takes place in the other things of creation and works of mind or body (where the virtues begin to appear). That searching and finding is the “hidden” works salvation. In short if one does not have the real bare naked Word and Sacraments, one is eventually led away from the faith and sometimes at length entirely away from it, though it may still call itself christ, spririt, bible, etc… and not necessarily Allah or space aliens or evolutionary forces of the universe. And therein lay the synergism.

    The true bondage of the will or true total depravity, and ultimately the right understanding of election is that very thing that is captured best I think in this statement, “do we REALLY want to be saved by the nude, naked, bare work of Christ ALONE and ALONE SOLA period” as opposed to some toe hold of synergism that we disguise as monergism.

    Larry

  • larry

    FWS,

    Great help.

    You nailed something when you said, “Melancthon, who Calvin followed, later in live reverted to neo-scholasticism. He said that the process of becoming virtuous now applies to the believer according to his life of sanctification. Sanctification looks like acting virtuous, of course only with the help of the Holy Spirit, and so we become virtuous by practice and increase thusly in our sanctification.”

    There it is, that’s where synergism slips back into, ironically Calvinism which supposedly believes in “total depravity”. But if you read Luther enough you find that total depravity does not equal bondage of the will or said another way “total depravity” (Calvin style) is not the same as “total depravity” (Lutheran style), and you end up with what the BoC preface warns us against (similarly) “….such things are concealed under similar words that appear to agree with the Gospel doctrine…” (paraphrased). I.e. the two parties are saying “total depravity” but really meaning “two different animals” that are at the end of the day utter opposites and not just different or variations of the same theme.

    In my old Reformed days one would find out quickly that the more astute arminian would deny outright that they believed in synergism. How was this so! These folks are not stupid. It’s all about the “becoming virtuous”. Grace basically equals a move, somewhere, from vice to virtue, implied is that original sin was gross vice as we measure such things; and not as Luther suggests a move from virtue to grace and original sin was basically seeking to be ‘more pious’ than God. So one finds in arminianism that one is “given” more or less the grace (the coin to operate) in order to “decide for Christ” or some such thing. Calvinism merely moves this synergism to the post conversion position as to where this synergism is in arminianism in the original created position of man. In other words “the coin” for the power to believe and thus do good works, the synergism, is merely shifted one way or the other. Underlying all of that is the presupposition that ultimately the movement is as said above, “a move from vice to virtue”, or more formerly Aristotle’s. The whole problem is ultimately seeing grace as a movement from vice to virtue and not forgiveness of sin, a move from virtue to grace.

    The reason the arminians would deny to Calvinist that they are synergist is, at the end of the day, functionally the same reasons Calvinist give for themselves being monergist, “God gives the coin/power, etc…” and ergo “monergism”, “I thank you God that I am not like…”. One cannot escape the sacraments, ala Sasse, here. Once they are doctrinally “disconnected” as true means of grace in the strict Lutheran sense of that, then it matters little if one is RC, Wesleyan, Calvinistic, Pelagian, semi-pelagian, Buddhist, Islam, a tree worshipper, agnostic or atheist; one is forced to “search for ‘god’” called either “christ” or “Zeus”, i.e. that which is in which I place all my trust, most acutely for “a salvation” from this fallen life and flee to in time of trouble. With no place where the Word enfleshes itself in sacraments and comes ALL the way down to the sinner today, not just 2000 years ago, the search necessarily takes place in the other things of creation and works of mind or body (where the virtues begin to appear). That searching and finding is the “hidden” works salvation. In short if one does not have the real bare naked Word and Sacraments, one is eventually led away from the faith and sometimes at length entirely away from it, though it may still call itself christ, spririt, bible, etc… and not necessarily Allah or space aliens or evolutionary forces of the universe. And therein lay the synergism.

    The true bondage of the will or true total depravity, and ultimately the right understanding of election is that very thing that is captured best I think in this statement, “do we REALLY want to be saved by the nude, naked, bare work of Christ ALONE and ALONE SOLA period” as opposed to some toe hold of synergism that we disguise as monergism.

    Larry

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 119

    LARRY “In my old Reformed days one would find out quickly that the more astute arminian would deny outright that they believed in synergism. How was this so! These folks are not stupid. It’s all about the “becoming virtuous”. Grace basically equals a move, somewhere, from vice to virtue, implied is that original sin was gross vice as we measure such things; and not as Luther suggests a move from virtue to grace and original sin was basically seeking to be ‘more pious’ than God.”

    FWS: Brilliant: reformed see romans 8 flesh/body to spirit or Spirit as a move from vice to virtue. Lutherans see that same romans 8 flesh/body to Spirit or spirit as a move from virtue to grace or in law/gospel terms: faith. alone. I will freely plagarize you Larry. I have been searching for a way to express the difference between the scholastic understanding of Romans 8 vs Luther´s lightbulb revelation, and you just gave me the elegant form. Thanks!

    LARRY “you end up with what the BoC preface warns us against (similarly) “….such things are concealed under similar words that appear to agree with the Gospel doctrine…” (paraphrased). ”

    Yes! And it greaves me greatly that ex-reformed are cowed by the title “Third use of the law” for the Formula art VI. The Lutheran “third use” is clearly to tell christians that there is no “sanctified use” of the law. This is clear if one takes the last statement of article VI and turns it into a positive statement that says the same thing as here…

    http://www.thirduse.com

    (SD) 26] We reject and condemn as an error pernicious and detrimental to Christian discipline, as also to true godliness, the teaching that the Law, in the above-mentioned way and degree, should not be urged upon Christians and the true believers, but only upon the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent.

    [To the contrary, we believe, teach and confess that both Christians and Pagans alike should be urged with the SAME Law, in the SAME above mentioned way and and in the SAME above mentioned degree].

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 119

    LARRY “In my old Reformed days one would find out quickly that the more astute arminian would deny outright that they believed in synergism. How was this so! These folks are not stupid. It’s all about the “becoming virtuous”. Grace basically equals a move, somewhere, from vice to virtue, implied is that original sin was gross vice as we measure such things; and not as Luther suggests a move from virtue to grace and original sin was basically seeking to be ‘more pious’ than God.”

    FWS: Brilliant: reformed see romans 8 flesh/body to spirit or Spirit as a move from vice to virtue. Lutherans see that same romans 8 flesh/body to Spirit or spirit as a move from virtue to grace or in law/gospel terms: faith. alone. I will freely plagarize you Larry. I have been searching for a way to express the difference between the scholastic understanding of Romans 8 vs Luther´s lightbulb revelation, and you just gave me the elegant form. Thanks!

    LARRY “you end up with what the BoC preface warns us against (similarly) “….such things are concealed under similar words that appear to agree with the Gospel doctrine…” (paraphrased). ”

    Yes! And it greaves me greatly that ex-reformed are cowed by the title “Third use of the law” for the Formula art VI. The Lutheran “third use” is clearly to tell christians that there is no “sanctified use” of the law. This is clear if one takes the last statement of article VI and turns it into a positive statement that says the same thing as here…

    http://www.thirduse.com

    (SD) 26] We reject and condemn as an error pernicious and detrimental to Christian discipline, as also to true godliness, the teaching that the Law, in the above-mentioned way and degree, should not be urged upon Christians and the true believers, but only upon the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent.

    [To the contrary, we believe, teach and confess that both Christians and Pagans alike should be urged with the SAME Law, in the SAME above mentioned way and and in the SAME above mentioned degree].

  • DonS

    “Once they are doctrinally “disconnected” as true means of grace in the strict Lutheran sense of that, then it matters little if one is RC, Wesleyan, Calvinistic, Pelagian, semi-pelagian, Buddhist, Islam, a tree worshipper, agnostic or atheist; one is forced to “search for ‘god’” called either “christ” or “Zeus”, i.e. that which is in which I place all my trust, most acutely for “a salvation” from this fallen life and flee to in time of trouble.”

    When you say ridiculous stuff like this, your credibility goes to zero. If all you care about is ragging on non-Lutherans, go right ahead. But if you want to have a reasonable discussion, and maybe even influence people, then don’t make insulting and asinine statements.

  • DonS

    “Once they are doctrinally “disconnected” as true means of grace in the strict Lutheran sense of that, then it matters little if one is RC, Wesleyan, Calvinistic, Pelagian, semi-pelagian, Buddhist, Islam, a tree worshipper, agnostic or atheist; one is forced to “search for ‘god’” called either “christ” or “Zeus”, i.e. that which is in which I place all my trust, most acutely for “a salvation” from this fallen life and flee to in time of trouble.”

    When you say ridiculous stuff like this, your credibility goes to zero. If all you care about is ragging on non-Lutherans, go right ahead. But if you want to have a reasonable discussion, and maybe even influence people, then don’t make insulting and asinine statements.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dons @121

    I agree Don. Thank God we are not saved by the purity of our doctrine eh? We all worship at the feet of our idols and false gods. Worry is the proof of that. Worry is the liturgy of worship to false Gods who eat their worshipers alive. Worry manifests our idolatry.

    Lutherans are not at all immune from this.

    Larry overstated just a little eh? But note that earlier he notes that their are Baptists who differ almost not at all in their theology from Lutherans. For sure there are Lutherans who do not differ hardly at all from the theology of a baptist or calvinist. And yet we all are saved by the gift of faith that is not of our own doing or chosing or reason or strength. I would argue that Eugene Peterson and others like him are often much more lutheran than many lutherans are!

    glad to have you hear dear brother !

    frank

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dons @121

    I agree Don. Thank God we are not saved by the purity of our doctrine eh? We all worship at the feet of our idols and false gods. Worry is the proof of that. Worry is the liturgy of worship to false Gods who eat their worshipers alive. Worry manifests our idolatry.

    Lutherans are not at all immune from this.

    Larry overstated just a little eh? But note that earlier he notes that their are Baptists who differ almost not at all in their theology from Lutherans. For sure there are Lutherans who do not differ hardly at all from the theology of a baptist or calvinist. And yet we all are saved by the gift of faith that is not of our own doing or chosing or reason or strength. I would argue that Eugene Peterson and others like him are often much more lutheran than many lutherans are!

    glad to have you hear dear brother !

    frank

  • larry

    FWS,

    I’m not over stating, nor am I picking on people, it has nothing to do with people. That’s the reason I criss-crossed many solid luther leaning baptist and concur with them, etc… Thus, in context when I make those statements it’s in comparing essence of the doctrines when all is boiled down. Luther himself did this and he was not overstating the issue. Luther numerous times, and this is not being polemical for polemical’s sake, but the Gospel is at the end of the day polemical – but Luther always said Christianity is a tapestry upon which if one alters a single thread it falls apart. It is in this context that LUTHER, not Larry, but LUTHER said at times that the pope, sacramentarians/enthusiasts (which by the way captures ALL protestants confessions outside of Augsburg) and mohamedians at the end of the doctrinal day end up at the same place.

    There’s a reason for all those reformed stories of the terrorized consciences and/or dying Christian in that doctrinal context in terror finally admitting, “20, 30…60 years I’ve been searching and trying to make my election sure and at last I’m more uncertain than ever.” Or the likewise terrorized baptist baptizing him/herself for the third, fourth, fifth time wondering, “was I true this time”. These are real people influenced by the reality of said false doctrines, real terrorized consciences, not academic models to be studied and pondered about. How about the Puritans that prompted Thomas Hooker to pause that their doctrine was wrong when a Christian woman so terrorized over her eternal election, his recounting of it, tossed her infant in a well killing it and saying, “there, now I’m sure I’m going to hell”. The hell of unassurance was greater than the thoughts of “hell”, see where despair leads, to hell. Or how about this Calvinistic Baptist woman who confessed, I know this story first hand, to the 20+ year unknowing about her terror to her husband to good Gospel Luther leaning baptist preacher, “I had given up hope that God was merciful or gracious whatsoever”, due to the Calvinistic baptist doctrine (true story) she was under. What about this one, another close at hand true story, of a man so terrorized at death that he committed the unpardonable sin could be given no Gospel comfort of his baptism due to the false doctrine, baptist, he was reared in that his very last dying words were that “he was sure he was going to hell” (true story). My wife just sat and watched a family funeral for an infant that died just days old, all baptist, as the pastor(s) could give no real comfort, just “I hope this is true” possibilities that God is merciful, but no solid Word. She said that the worse thing to watch was that even as the pastor attempted comfort he was revealing that even he was despairing in his voice and expressions “hoping” it was true. So doctrine for me is very real, life and death, and not an asinine academic exercise in the hallowed halls of theological debate, as has been implied here. It’s never for me about “getting the answers to the test question right”, I have NEVER been about that. I sat too many days for years, literally on the edge of a cliff trying to talk my own self out of jumping and too many nights in utter despair of hope in which the thoughts of suicide invaded my mind because the first death appeared as NOTHING to me compared to the second death because I so despaired of “am I elect” “am I really baptized”, “have I fooled myself” for this to be academic in ANY sense of the word or “getting saved by knowledge of correct doctrine”.

    FWS, I expect much better from you than some silly implication that I mean, “we are not saved by our perfect doctrine”. You well know I don’t mean that, you of all people know that. No, so let’s state the obvious, yet again, nobody is saved by the answer to the test questions correctly, but the test question’s correct answers are the salvific reality and none other. No one is saved by answering “Jesus is the only way”, answering it correctly, but He IS the ONLY way period. That’s like saying to a pagan, “no one is saved by their correct doctrine and leaving him to believe, “Yea, that’s right, there are many religious ways to salvation and thus God.” i.e. we are not saved by the long learned ability of protestants to answer the test question of how, “by grace alone”. But it is in fact by grace alone that we are saved. So one cannot hide behind a false doctrine by saying, “we are not saved by OUR (understanding/grasp of) correct doctrine”. A fish is not a fish because he can say, “I’m a fish yes indeed”, but he is a fish in fact and reality nonetheless and not bird. But yes, many are led astray via thinking they pull it off or into the despair of hell, and that is a fact/reality, by said false doctrine whether or not they knew the test questions correctly. I think sometimes we no longer believe that reality, if we did we’d be watching our doctrine more closely, not to answer test questions, but give the saving message and reality to folks!

    I’ve said this before and am quite surprised I have to say it again, it’s not about “Luther” or “Lutheranism”, but that’s what many see and how they hide. The label, in a sense, is irrelevant just as the label “baptist” is irrelevant in a sense, but we have to function with labels lest every time we write, speak or post we write, speak or post an extra fifty pages explaining this ALL OVER AGAIN. It’s the essence of a doctrine that’s the issue not the name and to the chagrin of many, yes false doctrine kills many and leads many to hell (a reality our modern generation seems to have forgotten). If Spurgeon said what Luther said and vice versa the label would be, I suppose Spurgeon and Spurgeonism and we’d/I’d be saying Spurgeon said, “The sacrament is the Gospel…etc…” and that believers baptism that the Lutherans believe in is of the antichrist. You see, the labels don’t matter per se but the doctrine does. So its not about name calling. No you are not saved by knowing the label on the bottle says “Poison”, but if you drink it none the less you will die.

    Just to be clear, I’m not angry at ALL with you, but a bit shocked.

  • larry

    FWS,

    I’m not over stating, nor am I picking on people, it has nothing to do with people. That’s the reason I criss-crossed many solid luther leaning baptist and concur with them, etc… Thus, in context when I make those statements it’s in comparing essence of the doctrines when all is boiled down. Luther himself did this and he was not overstating the issue. Luther numerous times, and this is not being polemical for polemical’s sake, but the Gospel is at the end of the day polemical – but Luther always said Christianity is a tapestry upon which if one alters a single thread it falls apart. It is in this context that LUTHER, not Larry, but LUTHER said at times that the pope, sacramentarians/enthusiasts (which by the way captures ALL protestants confessions outside of Augsburg) and mohamedians at the end of the doctrinal day end up at the same place.

    There’s a reason for all those reformed stories of the terrorized consciences and/or dying Christian in that doctrinal context in terror finally admitting, “20, 30…60 years I’ve been searching and trying to make my election sure and at last I’m more uncertain than ever.” Or the likewise terrorized baptist baptizing him/herself for the third, fourth, fifth time wondering, “was I true this time”. These are real people influenced by the reality of said false doctrines, real terrorized consciences, not academic models to be studied and pondered about. How about the Puritans that prompted Thomas Hooker to pause that their doctrine was wrong when a Christian woman so terrorized over her eternal election, his recounting of it, tossed her infant in a well killing it and saying, “there, now I’m sure I’m going to hell”. The hell of unassurance was greater than the thoughts of “hell”, see where despair leads, to hell. Or how about this Calvinistic Baptist woman who confessed, I know this story first hand, to the 20+ year unknowing about her terror to her husband to good Gospel Luther leaning baptist preacher, “I had given up hope that God was merciful or gracious whatsoever”, due to the Calvinistic baptist doctrine (true story) she was under. What about this one, another close at hand true story, of a man so terrorized at death that he committed the unpardonable sin could be given no Gospel comfort of his baptism due to the false doctrine, baptist, he was reared in that his very last dying words were that “he was sure he was going to hell” (true story). My wife just sat and watched a family funeral for an infant that died just days old, all baptist, as the pastor(s) could give no real comfort, just “I hope this is true” possibilities that God is merciful, but no solid Word. She said that the worse thing to watch was that even as the pastor attempted comfort he was revealing that even he was despairing in his voice and expressions “hoping” it was true. So doctrine for me is very real, life and death, and not an asinine academic exercise in the hallowed halls of theological debate, as has been implied here. It’s never for me about “getting the answers to the test question right”, I have NEVER been about that. I sat too many days for years, literally on the edge of a cliff trying to talk my own self out of jumping and too many nights in utter despair of hope in which the thoughts of suicide invaded my mind because the first death appeared as NOTHING to me compared to the second death because I so despaired of “am I elect” “am I really baptized”, “have I fooled myself” for this to be academic in ANY sense of the word or “getting saved by knowledge of correct doctrine”.

    FWS, I expect much better from you than some silly implication that I mean, “we are not saved by our perfect doctrine”. You well know I don’t mean that, you of all people know that. No, so let’s state the obvious, yet again, nobody is saved by the answer to the test questions correctly, but the test question’s correct answers are the salvific reality and none other. No one is saved by answering “Jesus is the only way”, answering it correctly, but He IS the ONLY way period. That’s like saying to a pagan, “no one is saved by their correct doctrine and leaving him to believe, “Yea, that’s right, there are many religious ways to salvation and thus God.” i.e. we are not saved by the long learned ability of protestants to answer the test question of how, “by grace alone”. But it is in fact by grace alone that we are saved. So one cannot hide behind a false doctrine by saying, “we are not saved by OUR (understanding/grasp of) correct doctrine”. A fish is not a fish because he can say, “I’m a fish yes indeed”, but he is a fish in fact and reality nonetheless and not bird. But yes, many are led astray via thinking they pull it off or into the despair of hell, and that is a fact/reality, by said false doctrine whether or not they knew the test questions correctly. I think sometimes we no longer believe that reality, if we did we’d be watching our doctrine more closely, not to answer test questions, but give the saving message and reality to folks!

    I’ve said this before and am quite surprised I have to say it again, it’s not about “Luther” or “Lutheranism”, but that’s what many see and how they hide. The label, in a sense, is irrelevant just as the label “baptist” is irrelevant in a sense, but we have to function with labels lest every time we write, speak or post we write, speak or post an extra fifty pages explaining this ALL OVER AGAIN. It’s the essence of a doctrine that’s the issue not the name and to the chagrin of many, yes false doctrine kills many and leads many to hell (a reality our modern generation seems to have forgotten). If Spurgeon said what Luther said and vice versa the label would be, I suppose Spurgeon and Spurgeonism and we’d/I’d be saying Spurgeon said, “The sacrament is the Gospel…etc…” and that believers baptism that the Lutherans believe in is of the antichrist. You see, the labels don’t matter per se but the doctrine does. So its not about name calling. No you are not saved by knowing the label on the bottle says “Poison”, but if you drink it none the less you will die.

    Just to be clear, I’m not angry at ALL with you, but a bit shocked.


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