Non-political spheres

R. R. Reno, in the context of another interesting discussion of the Juan Williams debacle, raises a point that conservatives need to remember:  Conservatives believe that some spheres need to be outside government interference, and thus not political.  (Unlike current leftist ideologies.)  Conservatives, therefore,  must be careful not to politicize those spheres themselves:

First, as I point out, the tendency to task everything to the political purpose of the moment is not good for the nation, because it has the tendency of perverting the non-political missions of important institutions, e.g., education, news-gathering, art museums, and so forth. Unfortunately, the Left has theorized culture in such a way as to make everything into politics, which eases their consciences as they politicize non-political institutions. What worries me is that conservatives in America assume that they must do the same.

The second thought follows directly. The struggle for political power is important. There are civic goods at stake in American politics: questions of fiscal responsibility, foreign policy, appropriate regulatory controls and social welfare policies, as well as the always important question of whether our laws are in accord with moral truths. But it is very important that conservatives not become counter-revolutionaries who have an essentially Bolshevik mentality oriented toward supposedly conservative ends.

One of the signal principles of true conservatism is that there exist personal and cultural spheres of life that are not the proper domain of government power. Therefore, no true conservative should use these spheres—family, education, art, and most importantly of all religious life—as mere instruments in the struggle for political power.

via More on Juan Williams » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

Someone might reply, yes, but since the left HAS politicized the family, education, art, and religion (hang out at a big university if you doubt that; browse the academic journals) undoing that influence will have a political shape.  Still, this is a good point, isn’t it?

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.

  • Philip Larson

    Yes, the government must be kept out of the ministry in the church: Uzziah was thrust out of the temple when he tried to offer incense. But Peter said that Christ is Lord of all, John said that he is the Prince of the kings of the earth today, and Paul said that he has been elevated over all principalities and powers and might and dominion.

    Thus we MUST honor our King in every vocation; he reigns there as well.

  • Philip Larson

    Yes, the government must be kept out of the ministry in the church: Uzziah was thrust out of the temple when he tried to offer incense. But Peter said that Christ is Lord of all, John said that he is the Prince of the kings of the earth today, and Paul said that he has been elevated over all principalities and powers and might and dominion.

    Thus we MUST honor our King in every vocation; he reigns there as well.

  • fws

    Philip Larson @1

    I am a Lutheran. We Lutherans have a slightly different view of the Two Kingdoms. Consider if you will:

    We all live together as Old Adams, both pagan and christian, as citizens of the Earthly Kingdom where there is a righteousness that God demands of all independent and apart from invisible faith. This is the righteousness of Law and Order. The proof here that something is righteous is that it improves the lives of others. It has the visible evidence of love or what Lutherans would call the production of that “daily bread” we pray for in the 4th petition of the Our Father.

    What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith. Pagans can do all of this externally in a way that makes it impossible to distinguish pagan from christian.

    While I agree with the earthly wisdom of separating governance of the religious from that of other earthly matters, this is not a scriptural requirement. And it is not sinful for the government to meddle in the affairs of a church if they are in chaos or doing harmful things to society.

    Now let´s talk about what is alone in the Heavenly Kingdom. That would be alone invisible faith in christ. Since that invisible faith in Christ, ALONE, is what is in the Heavenly Kingdom and is what it consist of, and is what , ALONE makes us citizens of that Heavenly Kingdom, it is easy to see that it would be rather impossible for the civil government to usurp the authority or threaten the integrity of this heavenly Kingdom thing called the Church.

  • fws

    Philip Larson @1

    I am a Lutheran. We Lutherans have a slightly different view of the Two Kingdoms. Consider if you will:

    We all live together as Old Adams, both pagan and christian, as citizens of the Earthly Kingdom where there is a righteousness that God demands of all independent and apart from invisible faith. This is the righteousness of Law and Order. The proof here that something is righteous is that it improves the lives of others. It has the visible evidence of love or what Lutherans would call the production of that “daily bread” we pray for in the 4th petition of the Our Father.

    What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith. Pagans can do all of this externally in a way that makes it impossible to distinguish pagan from christian.

    While I agree with the earthly wisdom of separating governance of the religious from that of other earthly matters, this is not a scriptural requirement. And it is not sinful for the government to meddle in the affairs of a church if they are in chaos or doing harmful things to society.

    Now let´s talk about what is alone in the Heavenly Kingdom. That would be alone invisible faith in christ. Since that invisible faith in Christ, ALONE, is what is in the Heavenly Kingdom and is what it consist of, and is what , ALONE makes us citizens of that Heavenly Kingdom, it is easy to see that it would be rather impossible for the civil government to usurp the authority or threaten the integrity of this heavenly Kingdom thing called the Church.

  • S Bauer

    fws

    What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith.

    You’re going to have to ‘splain this to me because it does not come across to me as Lutheran at all. Are you really saying there is nothing spiritual about proclaiming the Word and administering the Sacraments? That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith. That these acts of the Church have more to do with the Kingdom of the Left Hand than the Right?

    Certainly civil government cannot usurp Christ or His righteous Kingdom directly but Luther and the “Lutherans” spent an awful lot of time defending themselves from what the civil authority could do indirectly by hindering the Gospel. I believe that’s what the Augsburg Confession was all about.

    This is too early in the morning for you to make my brain seize up like this because you are usually so spot on. I can only think I must be missing something.

  • S Bauer

    fws

    What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith.

    You’re going to have to ‘splain this to me because it does not come across to me as Lutheran at all. Are you really saying there is nothing spiritual about proclaiming the Word and administering the Sacraments? That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith. That these acts of the Church have more to do with the Kingdom of the Left Hand than the Right?

    Certainly civil government cannot usurp Christ or His righteous Kingdom directly but Luther and the “Lutherans” spent an awful lot of time defending themselves from what the civil authority could do indirectly by hindering the Gospel. I believe that’s what the Augsburg Confession was all about.

    This is too early in the morning for you to make my brain seize up like this because you are usually so spot on. I can only think I must be missing something.

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

    What about Paul’s statement in Romans 13?

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

    What about Paul’s statement in Romans 13?

  • fws

    Dear S Bauer @ 3
    FWS What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith.
    S BAUER: This does not come across to me as Lutheran at all.
    FWS: We both define “Lutheran “ narrowly as what is in the Book of Concord. If that is the case then what I am repeating is, quite simply, the doctrine “upon which the church stands or falls.”
    S BAUER: Are you really saying there is nothing spiritual about proclaiming the Word and administering the Sacraments?
    FWS: The confusion in Law and Gospel is in that word “spiritual”. The font of the Lutheran Law and Gospel is Luther´s understanding of St Paul´s contrast of “flesh/body” vs “spirit/Spirit. The opponents of the Augustana understood “flesh/body” to include vice and unreligious things. So then “spirit” includes what we do in church, religious things, the sanctified sacrifice of our works, and so especially godly living and our works or virtue. The movement is then from vice to virtue. This is also the view of Neo-scholasticism or the Reformed, and so is the view of many, if not most, modern Lutherans by way of pietism. Sanctification becomes a movement from vice to virtue, and so in that manner, the definition of “Christian” must include what we do, of course now aided by the Holy Spirit. This is why for the Reformed, the entire point of the Gospel is to re-condition us to again conform to the Divine Moral Code which is identical to God´s Image. Law, Gospel, Law is what that looks like.
    Luther, and then the Augustana understood this contrast rather to be a movement from virtue to faith. So then “flesh/body” is precisely the earthly righteousness that is the production of daily bread we ask for in the 4th petition. It is everything at all we can see or do in our bodies for the creaturely good of others. This is exclusively for the creaturely maintenance of “flesh/body” if you will as God wills that to be done out of Fatherly, unmerited love and mercy, “even to all the wicked” “even without our prayer”. Ie: Faith is fully excluded in this! This includes church work. It is the production of earthly creaturely love that is the entire objective of the law in the earthly visible kingdom that is the point and end and fulfillment of the Law.
    It is important to understand that this earthly kingdom includes, especially and fully, everything we can do in church. To not understand this as an important thrust of the Augustana and also of article VI of the Formula is to miss their central point. Faith alone in Christ. If invisible faith,alone, in Christ alone, is alone “spirit-ual” or “Spirit-ual” and it alone will remain in the eternal Heavenly kingdom, then what what is included in that flesh/body that is the earthly kingdom is EVERYTHING else we can see and do, including especially what we can see and do in church dear S Bauer
    S BAUER: That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith.
    FWS Our part , what we do in administering word and sacrament requires no faith. There are godless pastors. Think of the parable of the judge who is godless and disregarding of the second table as well. Yet though him justice is done. This is the picture of how the earthly kingdom works” you can think of that nagging widow as the law at work in our Old Adam´s conscience. This is the same identical law at work in the Old Adam of all pagans as well. No difference there. This only requires discipline and practice that the pagan Aristotle teaches us how to do in a way that our Confessions say “nothing can be added to Aristotle´s ethical system”. Now then, our part, what is visible, is the visible husk that contains the invisible seed or Promise that alone can germinate into faith. Law and Gospel are earthly Kingdom things that will perish with the earth, but they also contain the seed that germinates into that fully invisible, faith in Christ that is quite meaningless on earth.
    S BAUER: That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith.
    FWS: The means of grace do not exactly include faith, they produce it and water it. Article VI of the Formula point out that even Law and Gospel are things that pertain to our earthly kingdom life and will not be needed in the resurrection. This is an amazing and challenging statement of our Confessions isn’t it? http://www.thirduse.com see the post that is the formula of concord art VI I believe it is the second to the very last post.
    S BAUER That these acts of the Church have more to do with the Kingdom of the Left Hand than the Right?
    FWS No. It is far more radical than that . Remove that “more”. the proper statement is this “acts of the church are, completely, earthly kingdom , flesh/body things that will perish with the earth along with all who trust in those things for life. These things are visible and things that we do, and so are earthly kingdom things. Now then, God always works through earthly kingdom things and in with and under those things he plants the seed that germinates into faith and waters and preserves it. But that part is what GOD does. See the law/gospel difference. The seed itself in fact is still earthly and visible. Satans birds are at the ready to swoop in and snatch it from us is my biblical proof for this.
    S BAUER Certainly civil government cannot usurp Christ or His righteous Kingdom directly
    FWS If the kingdom of Christ includes , alone, invisible faith in him, then this is most certainly true isn’t it? Even indirectly so!
    S BAUER …. But…… Luther and the “Lutherans” spent an awful lot of time defending themselves from what the civil authority could do indirectly by hindering the Gospel.
    FWS: This is all earthly kingdom stuff. It was good, right and salutary for them to insist on that earthly kingdom visible righteousness right? This too had no eternal consequences of itself. God´s grace is like a rain cloud and moves when and where God wills it.
    S BAUER I believe that’s what the Augsburg Confession was all about.
    FWS I hope that now you see that that “all” in your statement is just a little off the mark.
    FWS Dear brother (or sister!) Bauer: for the sake of clarity, let me rephrase the Lutheran central thesis more radically:
    “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes the administration of Word and Sacrament.”
    S BAUER This is too early in the morning for you to make my brain seize up like this because you are usually so spot on. I can only think I must be missing something.
    FWS My humble thought is that the Confessions are indeed saying something that we all miss and have trouble hanging onto. You are not alone. I am in the same baptismal boat as you! This is precisely why Dr Luther says those who can keep law and gospel straight deserve a doctoral degree!

  • fws

    Dear S Bauer @ 3
    FWS What happens in a church, administration of word and sacrament, is really just another form of government reigning in the Old Adam to produce the mortification or discipline that is the necessary prerequisite on earth for love to happen. There is nothing spiritual about this. It excludes faith.
    S BAUER: This does not come across to me as Lutheran at all.
    FWS: We both define “Lutheran “ narrowly as what is in the Book of Concord. If that is the case then what I am repeating is, quite simply, the doctrine “upon which the church stands or falls.”
    S BAUER: Are you really saying there is nothing spiritual about proclaiming the Word and administering the Sacraments?
    FWS: The confusion in Law and Gospel is in that word “spiritual”. The font of the Lutheran Law and Gospel is Luther´s understanding of St Paul´s contrast of “flesh/body” vs “spirit/Spirit. The opponents of the Augustana understood “flesh/body” to include vice and unreligious things. So then “spirit” includes what we do in church, religious things, the sanctified sacrifice of our works, and so especially godly living and our works or virtue. The movement is then from vice to virtue. This is also the view of Neo-scholasticism or the Reformed, and so is the view of many, if not most, modern Lutherans by way of pietism. Sanctification becomes a movement from vice to virtue, and so in that manner, the definition of “Christian” must include what we do, of course now aided by the Holy Spirit. This is why for the Reformed, the entire point of the Gospel is to re-condition us to again conform to the Divine Moral Code which is identical to God´s Image. Law, Gospel, Law is what that looks like.
    Luther, and then the Augustana understood this contrast rather to be a movement from virtue to faith. So then “flesh/body” is precisely the earthly righteousness that is the production of daily bread we ask for in the 4th petition. It is everything at all we can see or do in our bodies for the creaturely good of others. This is exclusively for the creaturely maintenance of “flesh/body” if you will as God wills that to be done out of Fatherly, unmerited love and mercy, “even to all the wicked” “even without our prayer”. Ie: Faith is fully excluded in this! This includes church work. It is the production of earthly creaturely love that is the entire objective of the law in the earthly visible kingdom that is the point and end and fulfillment of the Law.
    It is important to understand that this earthly kingdom includes, especially and fully, everything we can do in church. To not understand this as an important thrust of the Augustana and also of article VI of the Formula is to miss their central point. Faith alone in Christ. If invisible faith,alone, in Christ alone, is alone “spirit-ual” or “Spirit-ual” and it alone will remain in the eternal Heavenly kingdom, then what what is included in that flesh/body that is the earthly kingdom is EVERYTHING else we can see and do, including especially what we can see and do in church dear S Bauer
    S BAUER: That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith.
    FWS Our part , what we do in administering word and sacrament requires no faith. There are godless pastors. Think of the parable of the judge who is godless and disregarding of the second table as well. Yet though him justice is done. This is the picture of how the earthly kingdom works” you can think of that nagging widow as the law at work in our Old Adam´s conscience. This is the same identical law at work in the Old Adam of all pagans as well. No difference there. This only requires discipline and practice that the pagan Aristotle teaches us how to do in a way that our Confessions say “nothing can be added to Aristotle´s ethical system”. Now then, our part, what is visible, is the visible husk that contains the invisible seed or Promise that alone can germinate into faith. Law and Gospel are earthly Kingdom things that will perish with the earth, but they also contain the seed that germinates into that fully invisible, faith in Christ that is quite meaningless on earth.
    S BAUER: That what we call the Means of Grace excludes faith.
    FWS: The means of grace do not exactly include faith, they produce it and water it. Article VI of the Formula point out that even Law and Gospel are things that pertain to our earthly kingdom life and will not be needed in the resurrection. This is an amazing and challenging statement of our Confessions isn’t it? http://www.thirduse.com see the post that is the formula of concord art VI I believe it is the second to the very last post.
    S BAUER That these acts of the Church have more to do with the Kingdom of the Left Hand than the Right?
    FWS No. It is far more radical than that . Remove that “more”. the proper statement is this “acts of the church are, completely, earthly kingdom , flesh/body things that will perish with the earth along with all who trust in those things for life. These things are visible and things that we do, and so are earthly kingdom things. Now then, God always works through earthly kingdom things and in with and under those things he plants the seed that germinates into faith and waters and preserves it. But that part is what GOD does. See the law/gospel difference. The seed itself in fact is still earthly and visible. Satans birds are at the ready to swoop in and snatch it from us is my biblical proof for this.
    S BAUER Certainly civil government cannot usurp Christ or His righteous Kingdom directly
    FWS If the kingdom of Christ includes , alone, invisible faith in him, then this is most certainly true isn’t it? Even indirectly so!
    S BAUER …. But…… Luther and the “Lutherans” spent an awful lot of time defending themselves from what the civil authority could do indirectly by hindering the Gospel.
    FWS: This is all earthly kingdom stuff. It was good, right and salutary for them to insist on that earthly kingdom visible righteousness right? This too had no eternal consequences of itself. God´s grace is like a rain cloud and moves when and where God wills it.
    S BAUER I believe that’s what the Augsburg Confession was all about.
    FWS I hope that now you see that that “all” in your statement is just a little off the mark.
    FWS Dear brother (or sister!) Bauer: for the sake of clarity, let me rephrase the Lutheran central thesis more radically:
    “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes the administration of Word and Sacrament.”
    S BAUER This is too early in the morning for you to make my brain seize up like this because you are usually so spot on. I can only think I must be missing something.
    FWS My humble thought is that the Confessions are indeed saying something that we all miss and have trouble hanging onto. You are not alone. I am in the same baptismal boat as you! This is precisely why Dr Luther says those who can keep law and gospel straight deserve a doctoral degree!

  • fws

    S Bauer, I am going to repeat the central thesis of Lutheranism here , by itself, for emphasis:

    “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.”

  • fws

    S Bauer, I am going to repeat the central thesis of Lutheranism here , by itself, for emphasis:

    “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.”

  • fws

    J dean

    what about st pauls statement in romans 13? penny for your thoughts.

  • fws

    J dean

    what about st pauls statement in romans 13? penny for your thoughts.

  • David T.

    This article does have a good point. How that point applies is the difficult question. But here is what I see as a sticking point: If marriage and family (as God ordained them) are necessary for civilized society (and thus to be safe guarded by government), then the defense and protection of marriage/family, it seems to me, will necessarily become political whether we like it or not. This appears to be especially true in culture today since it is government itself that is often seeking to redefine and undermine marriage and family.

  • David T.

    This article does have a good point. How that point applies is the difficult question. But here is what I see as a sticking point: If marriage and family (as God ordained them) are necessary for civilized society (and thus to be safe guarded by government), then the defense and protection of marriage/family, it seems to me, will necessarily become political whether we like it or not. This appears to be especially true in culture today since it is government itself that is often seeking to redefine and undermine marriage and family.

  • fws

    David T @ 8

    Defending marriage is like defending other things that are providenced by God and necessary for happiness on earth. Things like the law of gravity.

    Just how and why would one need to defend the law of gravity, and from what threat to it´s existence? redefining it thussly undermining it´s existence? Marriage seems similar.

    What am I missing?

    Please tell us more.

  • fws

    David T @ 8

    Defending marriage is like defending other things that are providenced by God and necessary for happiness on earth. Things like the law of gravity.

    Just how and why would one need to defend the law of gravity, and from what threat to it´s existence? redefining it thussly undermining it´s existence? Marriage seems similar.

    What am I missing?

    Please tell us more.

  • fws

    David T @ 8

    Of course we all know you are referring to the greatest threat to marriage in society that society has ever known.This threat has done life-long damage to countless children and families.

    You are talking about the urgent struggle and battle that every christian must participate in to turn out judges and legislators who have promoted this blight and cancer within our society.

    So you are going to vote your conscience and urge others to do the same and remove judges and legislators who have advocated the legalization of divorce.

    Can you point us to the site you favor that would assist us in joining in this worthwhile battle and so do battle for traditional marriage?

  • fws

    David T @ 8

    Of course we all know you are referring to the greatest threat to marriage in society that society has ever known.This threat has done life-long damage to countless children and families.

    You are talking about the urgent struggle and battle that every christian must participate in to turn out judges and legislators who have promoted this blight and cancer within our society.

    So you are going to vote your conscience and urge others to do the same and remove judges and legislators who have advocated the legalization of divorce.

    Can you point us to the site you favor that would assist us in joining in this worthwhile battle and so do battle for traditional marriage?

  • S Bauer

    fws

    I am going to have to take some time to chew over your words (and review FC VI) in order to work out exactly what you are saying.

    This seems clear enough: There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.

    Is this your formulation or do the quotation marks mean they come from another source? It may be radical but this does not strike me as connecting the dots between AC IV and AC V.

    Are we playing around with different meanings of the word “do”? Is faith something that we do? Well…no…and yes. Are we the ones “doing” in the Word and Sacraments? Well…no…and yes. Is the heavenly kingdom “up there” and future (which I hear you saying)? Well…yes…and no. Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    It seems to me your argument is inconsistent or misses the paradox. If even pagans can do all the earthly righteousness stuff anyway (which I grant) and the Ministry of Word and Sacrament are only earthly kingdom visible righteousness stuff (which is the point I’m having trouble swallowing as “Lutheran”), then why should we insist that acts of the Church are good, right, and salutary. What’s the point?

  • S Bauer

    fws

    I am going to have to take some time to chew over your words (and review FC VI) in order to work out exactly what you are saying.

    This seems clear enough: There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.

    Is this your formulation or do the quotation marks mean they come from another source? It may be radical but this does not strike me as connecting the dots between AC IV and AC V.

    Are we playing around with different meanings of the word “do”? Is faith something that we do? Well…no…and yes. Are we the ones “doing” in the Word and Sacraments? Well…no…and yes. Is the heavenly kingdom “up there” and future (which I hear you saying)? Well…yes…and no. Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    It seems to me your argument is inconsistent or misses the paradox. If even pagans can do all the earthly righteousness stuff anyway (which I grant) and the Ministry of Word and Sacrament are only earthly kingdom visible righteousness stuff (which is the point I’m having trouble swallowing as “Lutheran”), then why should we insist that acts of the Church are good, right, and salutary. What’s the point?

  • DonS

    I’m having trouble with the concept of equating the phrase “outside government interference” with the phrase “thus not political”. To me, they are not the same. Yes, most of our institutions should be “outside government interference”. It is not government’s proper role, particularly at the federal level, to be interfering with our societal institutions, such as media, religious, and educational institutions. But politics is not necessarily government. It is also philosophy and, especially, world view. It is certainly correct that the left has thoroughly infused our societal institutions with its worldview, and considers that its mission, in order to address what it sees as historic injustice. The right has been, historically, less activist, and has thus ceded critical propaganda advantages to the left. I believe that the right was correct in determining to engage the left and its monopoly on public discourse in recent years. This is necessary to ensure that our future generations receive a balanced education and have the opportunity to form their own worldview, having an understanding that there are alternatives to big government interventionism and that big government comes with substantial cost and loss of individual liberty.

  • DonS

    I’m having trouble with the concept of equating the phrase “outside government interference” with the phrase “thus not political”. To me, they are not the same. Yes, most of our institutions should be “outside government interference”. It is not government’s proper role, particularly at the federal level, to be interfering with our societal institutions, such as media, religious, and educational institutions. But politics is not necessarily government. It is also philosophy and, especially, world view. It is certainly correct that the left has thoroughly infused our societal institutions with its worldview, and considers that its mission, in order to address what it sees as historic injustice. The right has been, historically, less activist, and has thus ceded critical propaganda advantages to the left. I believe that the right was correct in determining to engage the left and its monopoly on public discourse in recent years. This is necessary to ensure that our future generations receive a balanced education and have the opportunity to form their own worldview, having an understanding that there are alternatives to big government interventionism and that big government comes with substantial cost and loss of individual liberty.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Dons S, frighteningly, I agree with possibly more than half of what you said at #12. Check pulse. Breathe deeply. Go get coffee….

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Dons S, frighteningly, I agree with possibly more than half of what you said at #12. Check pulse. Breathe deeply. Go get coffee….

  • fws

    S Bauer @ 11
    S BAUER I am going to have to take some time to chew over your words (and review FC VI) in order to work out exactly what you are saying.

    FWS Here is an article VI quote for you….

    Solid Declaration ” 24] This preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence upon the Believer [on account of his Old Adam], until the body of sin is entirely put off, and man is perfectly renewed in the resurrection, when he will need neither the preaching of the Law nor its threatenings and punishments, as also the Gospel any longer; for these belong to this [mortal and] imperfect life [ie the Earthly Kingdom of Romans 8 "flesh/body"].”

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=13

    FWS “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.”

    S BAUER Is this your formulation or do the quotation marks mean they come from another source?

    FWS No this is my formulation. Sorry to mislead with the quotes dear brother. I am paraphrasing from the Luther sermon on Two Kinds of Righeousness or Two Kingdoms that FC art VI says is it´s blueprint, where Dr Luther says this to distinguish law and gospel:

    LUTHER: “This then concludes the first part of our discourse. We are saying here that this external righteousness is to be urged both in admonitions and threats as something that is urgently important.. This is precisely because whoever despises this kind of righteousness, despises God and His Word.

    For this reason, let every man look to his own self as to what he various relationships [vocations! including those of pastor and layman] are and and what his responsibilities and duties are in each one of them. This could be to command, rule and order, or on the contrary to obey, serve and labor. Let him attend to all these duties of his various positions in life or vocations for the same of God. Let him be fully assured that God has more respect for such seemingly mundane faithfulness than for all the work and piety of the religious, who have never yet attained to this true, that is, god-pleasing outward righteousness, nor are the religious able to extol all their works and do them as heartily as a child or maid performing their duties according to God´s command.This outward visible earthly righteousness is only visible works. This means it excludes faith and Christ. This present life demands this kind of righteousness between done between men, whether our superiors, inferiors, neighbors or our family. It has rewards here on earth. It also ends with this life. Whoever doesn´t do this will have a shorter life.

    That human visible earthly righteousness will shield us from punishment and let us enjoy life, but it still can´t win God´s grace or the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore even though we have this visible righteousness we must still have a much higher invisible Righteousness. The one that only matters to God, frees us from sin and bad conscience, and leads from death into eternal life

    Far above this outward earthly visible righteousness, there is another [inner invisible unearthly Righteousness], that does not belong to this temporary life on earth, but which is makes a difference only to God and which leads us to the life beyond and keeps us in it.

    In contrast to that earthly outward righteousness this inner Righteousness that only matters to God, soars far above anything that is upon earth. It has nothing to do with anything we do as either Christian or pagan.

    How can Heavenly Righteousness be about works and what we do, since ALL that this body can perform and that is called “works” is already fully, and completely included in that outer earthly righteousness that is only and all about all things visible?

    Furthermore, we become and are called Christians only by believing this article of the Forgiveness of Sins. This is the only thing that separates us and divorces us from all the other good and righteous people on earth. This is because they have a different foundation and nature for their goodness and righteousness, rigorous lives, and particular disciplines and rituals. Believing this article is also exactly what separates us from the works of those who hold positions and offices approved by the Word of God like pastors and missionaries and religious positions. These positions constitute a holy calling and the ones who do them are called holy and deserve the praise of men because they do their duty. But again this makes no one a Christian.”

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    S BAUER It may be radical but this does not strike me as connecting the dots between AC IV and AC V.

    FWS article IV is about “Good Works” and article V is about “Law and Gospel. people following S Bauer and me can read those here…

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#IV. Good Works.

    S BAUER Are we playing around with different meanings of the word “do”? Is faith something that we do? Well…no…and yes.

    FWS This “playing around” is the entire heart of the confessions. It is law and gospel. The entire and simple point is to put everything under the category of “flesh/body, old adam, law, earthly kingdom, so that alone, invisible faith or rather, Christ, is in the heavenly kingdom.

    Faith is not something we do. If it were, it would not be a gift. It is something we have and is apart of who we are as New Man. “doing” implies effort and “practice makes perfect”. These are Old Adam things. The opposite of sin is not goodness. It is faith. It is that faith, alone that is what we receive in our baptism. And then our New Man needs to be righteous… nothing at all. Our righeousness looks like that of Christ in the Blessed Incarnation and like light from sun (art VI). It is about being rather than doing. Once the heart is changed, there is really nothing else needing to be done.

    S BAUER Are we the ones “doing” in the Word and Sacraments? Well…no…and yes.

    FWS No. “it is not the water [or us applying it] that does it indeed, but the Word of God, in and with the water, and [invisible] faith that trusts in that Word of God in the water.” Again. Baptism is command and promise. Law and Gospel. The law part is what we do. If our doing is in what we trust, we are lost. That is faith, but it is not the faith that God provides and demands. In a sense the Gospel is itself a Law. The confessions say that Christ hanging on the cross is the most terrible preaching of the Law. The first commandment demands invisible faith in the Holy Gospel. And that is the ONE commandment that we cannot do . We can do all the rest outwardly. It is alone, the “for me” … invisible faith in Christ, alone, that turns christ crucified into the Holy Gospel.

    S BAUER Is the heavenly kingdom “up there” and future (which I hear you saying)? Well…yes…and no.

    FWS: The heavenly kingdom is whereever Christ is. The word and sacrament are teltale signs of the presence of the invisible kingdom. The kingdom was at one time visible. It will be again, when the kingdom of heaven, which is Christ Incarnate, once again manifests himself at the resurrection. “The kingdom of God is now within your midst”Jesus says to the pharisees. Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    S BAUER: It seems to me your argument is inconsistent or misses the paradox.

    FWS That is a real possibility. Let´s test that. I would hate to be saying stuff that is wrong. So I will welcome such a correction dear brother! Paradox? I am not seeing that here.

    S BAUER If even pagans can do all the earthly righteousness stuff anyway (which I grant) and the Ministry of Word and Sacrament are only earthly kingdom visible righteousness stuff (which is the point I’m having trouble swallowing as “Lutheran”), then why should we insist that acts of the Church are good, right, and salutary. What’s the point?

    FWS Because on earth a recklessly and unreasonably good God wills that we do whatever we can to serve our neighbor and make him happy and this means then that God appoints the very humblest and most sinful of your neighbors to be the judge of our righteousness and to do you justice. (luke 18) God choses not to be the judge of our earthly righteousness. He works through the unlikely means of sinners.

    And through those most utterly sinful and lawless of your neighbors (think wiccan, lesbian couple newly married in massachussetts) he provides for your creaturely good. “even to all the wicked” (that would be you according to your Old Adam) and “even without our prayer” (it happens in spite of your and my faith-less-ness). How much more will God do this same thing in the same way to give us the Heavenly goodness that only the Righteousness of faith, ie Christ is by sending pastors with the good news of Jesus Christ. Even faithless pastors. (luke 18)

    Will the Son of Man find faith when he returns?

  • fws

    S Bauer @ 11
    S BAUER I am going to have to take some time to chew over your words (and review FC VI) in order to work out exactly what you are saying.

    FWS Here is an article VI quote for you….

    Solid Declaration ” 24] This preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence upon the Believer [on account of his Old Adam], until the body of sin is entirely put off, and man is perfectly renewed in the resurrection, when he will need neither the preaching of the Law nor its threatenings and punishments, as also the Gospel any longer; for these belong to this [mortal and] imperfect life [ie the Earthly Kingdom of Romans 8 "flesh/body"].”

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=13

    FWS “There is nothing we can do or leave undone here on earth that has any eternal consequences whatsoever. This fully, and even especially includes our administration of Word and Sacrament.”

    S BAUER Is this your formulation or do the quotation marks mean they come from another source?

    FWS No this is my formulation. Sorry to mislead with the quotes dear brother. I am paraphrasing from the Luther sermon on Two Kinds of Righeousness or Two Kingdoms that FC art VI says is it´s blueprint, where Dr Luther says this to distinguish law and gospel:

    LUTHER: “This then concludes the first part of our discourse. We are saying here that this external righteousness is to be urged both in admonitions and threats as something that is urgently important.. This is precisely because whoever despises this kind of righteousness, despises God and His Word.

    For this reason, let every man look to his own self as to what he various relationships [vocations! including those of pastor and layman] are and and what his responsibilities and duties are in each one of them. This could be to command, rule and order, or on the contrary to obey, serve and labor. Let him attend to all these duties of his various positions in life or vocations for the same of God. Let him be fully assured that God has more respect for such seemingly mundane faithfulness than for all the work and piety of the religious, who have never yet attained to this true, that is, god-pleasing outward righteousness, nor are the religious able to extol all their works and do them as heartily as a child or maid performing their duties according to God´s command.This outward visible earthly righteousness is only visible works. This means it excludes faith and Christ. This present life demands this kind of righteousness between done between men, whether our superiors, inferiors, neighbors or our family. It has rewards here on earth. It also ends with this life. Whoever doesn´t do this will have a shorter life.

    That human visible earthly righteousness will shield us from punishment and let us enjoy life, but it still can´t win God´s grace or the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore even though we have this visible righteousness we must still have a much higher invisible Righteousness. The one that only matters to God, frees us from sin and bad conscience, and leads from death into eternal life

    Far above this outward earthly visible righteousness, there is another [inner invisible unearthly Righteousness], that does not belong to this temporary life on earth, but which is makes a difference only to God and which leads us to the life beyond and keeps us in it.

    In contrast to that earthly outward righteousness this inner Righteousness that only matters to God, soars far above anything that is upon earth. It has nothing to do with anything we do as either Christian or pagan.

    How can Heavenly Righteousness be about works and what we do, since ALL that this body can perform and that is called “works” is already fully, and completely included in that outer earthly righteousness that is only and all about all things visible?

    Furthermore, we become and are called Christians only by believing this article of the Forgiveness of Sins. This is the only thing that separates us and divorces us from all the other good and righteous people on earth. This is because they have a different foundation and nature for their goodness and righteousness, rigorous lives, and particular disciplines and rituals. Believing this article is also exactly what separates us from the works of those who hold positions and offices approved by the Word of God like pastors and missionaries and religious positions. These positions constitute a holy calling and the ones who do them are called holy and deserve the praise of men because they do their duty. But again this makes no one a Christian.”

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    S BAUER It may be radical but this does not strike me as connecting the dots between AC IV and AC V.

    FWS article IV is about “Good Works” and article V is about “Law and Gospel. people following S Bauer and me can read those here…

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#IV. Good Works.

    S BAUER Are we playing around with different meanings of the word “do”? Is faith something that we do? Well…no…and yes.

    FWS This “playing around” is the entire heart of the confessions. It is law and gospel. The entire and simple point is to put everything under the category of “flesh/body, old adam, law, earthly kingdom, so that alone, invisible faith or rather, Christ, is in the heavenly kingdom.

    Faith is not something we do. If it were, it would not be a gift. It is something we have and is apart of who we are as New Man. “doing” implies effort and “practice makes perfect”. These are Old Adam things. The opposite of sin is not goodness. It is faith. It is that faith, alone that is what we receive in our baptism. And then our New Man needs to be righteous… nothing at all. Our righeousness looks like that of Christ in the Blessed Incarnation and like light from sun (art VI). It is about being rather than doing. Once the heart is changed, there is really nothing else needing to be done.

    S BAUER Are we the ones “doing” in the Word and Sacraments? Well…no…and yes.

    FWS No. “it is not the water [or us applying it] that does it indeed, but the Word of God, in and with the water, and [invisible] faith that trusts in that Word of God in the water.” Again. Baptism is command and promise. Law and Gospel. The law part is what we do. If our doing is in what we trust, we are lost. That is faith, but it is not the faith that God provides and demands. In a sense the Gospel is itself a Law. The confessions say that Christ hanging on the cross is the most terrible preaching of the Law. The first commandment demands invisible faith in the Holy Gospel. And that is the ONE commandment that we cannot do . We can do all the rest outwardly. It is alone, the “for me” … invisible faith in Christ, alone, that turns christ crucified into the Holy Gospel.

    S BAUER Is the heavenly kingdom “up there” and future (which I hear you saying)? Well…yes…and no.

    FWS: The heavenly kingdom is whereever Christ is. The word and sacrament are teltale signs of the presence of the invisible kingdom. The kingdom was at one time visible. It will be again, when the kingdom of heaven, which is Christ Incarnate, once again manifests himself at the resurrection. “The kingdom of God is now within your midst”Jesus says to the pharisees. Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    S BAUER: It seems to me your argument is inconsistent or misses the paradox.

    FWS That is a real possibility. Let´s test that. I would hate to be saying stuff that is wrong. So I will welcome such a correction dear brother! Paradox? I am not seeing that here.

    S BAUER If even pagans can do all the earthly righteousness stuff anyway (which I grant) and the Ministry of Word and Sacrament are only earthly kingdom visible righteousness stuff (which is the point I’m having trouble swallowing as “Lutheran”), then why should we insist that acts of the Church are good, right, and salutary. What’s the point?

    FWS Because on earth a recklessly and unreasonably good God wills that we do whatever we can to serve our neighbor and make him happy and this means then that God appoints the very humblest and most sinful of your neighbors to be the judge of our righteousness and to do you justice. (luke 18) God choses not to be the judge of our earthly righteousness. He works through the unlikely means of sinners.

    And through those most utterly sinful and lawless of your neighbors (think wiccan, lesbian couple newly married in massachussetts) he provides for your creaturely good. “even to all the wicked” (that would be you according to your Old Adam) and “even without our prayer” (it happens in spite of your and my faith-less-ness). How much more will God do this same thing in the same way to give us the Heavenly goodness that only the Righteousness of faith, ie Christ is by sending pastors with the good news of Jesus Christ. Even faithless pastors. (luke 18)

    Will the Son of Man find faith when he returns?

  • fws

    correction

    FWS: The heavenly kingdom is whereever Christ is. The word and sacrament are teltale signs of the presence of the invisible kingdom. The kingdom was at one time visible. It will be again, when the kingdom of heaven, which is Christ Incarnate, once again manifests himself at the resurrection. “The kingdom of God is now within your midst”Jesus says to the pharisees.

    S BAUER Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    FWS There is no “no ” here. Wherever Christ is , THERE is life and salvation, AND the heavenly kingdom. And where is Christ? “as many as were baptized, have put on Christ. ”

    Whereever there is invisible faith in Christ, he is there. He has been lifed up and he fills all things. He has begun his reign. Alleluia.

    Only faith can know two things: 1) the true depth of our sin now that the veil of Moses has been removed by faith, and 2) fear love and trust in Christ. Alone.

  • fws

    correction

    FWS: The heavenly kingdom is whereever Christ is. The word and sacrament are teltale signs of the presence of the invisible kingdom. The kingdom was at one time visible. It will be again, when the kingdom of heaven, which is Christ Incarnate, once again manifests himself at the resurrection. “The kingdom of God is now within your midst”Jesus says to the pharisees.

    S BAUER Is the heavenly kingdom right here and now? Well…yes…and no.

    FWS There is no “no ” here. Wherever Christ is , THERE is life and salvation, AND the heavenly kingdom. And where is Christ? “as many as were baptized, have put on Christ. ”

    Whereever there is invisible faith in Christ, he is there. He has been lifed up and he fills all things. He has begun his reign. Alleluia.

    Only faith can know two things: 1) the true depth of our sin now that the veil of Moses has been removed by faith, and 2) fear love and trust in Christ. Alone.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 14: Possibly more than half? You may also want to lie down for a while ;-)

  • DonS

    Louis @ 14: Possibly more than half? You may also want to lie down for a while ;-)

  • fws

    Louis @ 14

    Get used to it Louis. Don is really sneaky. He all of a sudden creeps up and… wham…says something that hits the nail on the head. He has been doing that alot lately…..

  • fws

    Louis @ 14

    Get used to it Louis. Don is really sneaky. He all of a sudden creeps up and… wham…says something that hits the nail on the head. He has been doing that alot lately…..

  • Porcell

    R.R. Reno is right that the Left tends to over-politicize reality and conservatives tend to get trapped into this game. Much of the best human experience takes place outside of politics, including religion, family life, business matters, and assorted local clubs and activities. Burke spoke of the small platoons of life that provide the greatest meaning.

    Rendering unto Caesar, while important, is small potatoes in the broad scheme of things, though that hardly means that America may neglect its responsibilities as the greatest power in the world, nor does it mean that when called on one may avoid to serve and sacrifice for our nation’s vital interests.

  • Porcell

    R.R. Reno is right that the Left tends to over-politicize reality and conservatives tend to get trapped into this game. Much of the best human experience takes place outside of politics, including religion, family life, business matters, and assorted local clubs and activities. Burke spoke of the small platoons of life that provide the greatest meaning.

    Rendering unto Caesar, while important, is small potatoes in the broad scheme of things, though that hardly means that America may neglect its responsibilities as the greatest power in the world, nor does it mean that when called on one may avoid to serve and sacrifice for our nation’s vital interests.

  • Trey

    FWS, After reading your comments, I understand what you are saying, but doesn’t this naturally lead to no apathy in the political sphere (I am trying to relate it to the post)? This sounds like existentialism in some ways, although I know you are not advocating this. God however calls people both redeemed and pagan through these vocations to love and serve not only Him although indirectly, but those that the vocation affect: one’s neighbor.

    In addition, in the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments we do nothing, we believe not by our will but by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Words of Institution do not make the Sacrament by itself, but the promise that Christ attaches to them makes them so, the Pastor or Layperson (for emergency baptisms) only declares what is true in heaven. You correct that the Sacraments are only the foretaste of the feast to come. They give us assurance and comfort of our salvation won by Christ.

    Perhaps I am off what you stated since sometimes ones writing on comments triggers different thoughts, but when you say the church is to reign in on the Old Adam, this misses the point of the church. The chief purpose of preaching the Moral Law is to show us our sin, which prepares us to hear the Gospel. The church is to be ruled not by moral requirements, but by the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake. So I am a bit uneasy by your terminology there because it makes the church sound like another enforcer. In contrast, the point of the moral law in the kingdom of the left is to curb sin (1st use) and to uphold order so that the church may proclaim the gospel . In essence, the kingdom of the left, no gospel is preached not one drop. Consequently, I agree with you, but as a Lutheran convert (close to 10 years) I am a little more sensitive to some of the words you use because I know how other churches use them. Other than those mentioned. I concur.

  • Trey

    FWS, After reading your comments, I understand what you are saying, but doesn’t this naturally lead to no apathy in the political sphere (I am trying to relate it to the post)? This sounds like existentialism in some ways, although I know you are not advocating this. God however calls people both redeemed and pagan through these vocations to love and serve not only Him although indirectly, but those that the vocation affect: one’s neighbor.

    In addition, in the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments we do nothing, we believe not by our will but by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Words of Institution do not make the Sacrament by itself, but the promise that Christ attaches to them makes them so, the Pastor or Layperson (for emergency baptisms) only declares what is true in heaven. You correct that the Sacraments are only the foretaste of the feast to come. They give us assurance and comfort of our salvation won by Christ.

    Perhaps I am off what you stated since sometimes ones writing on comments triggers different thoughts, but when you say the church is to reign in on the Old Adam, this misses the point of the church. The chief purpose of preaching the Moral Law is to show us our sin, which prepares us to hear the Gospel. The church is to be ruled not by moral requirements, but by the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake. So I am a bit uneasy by your terminology there because it makes the church sound like another enforcer. In contrast, the point of the moral law in the kingdom of the left is to curb sin (1st use) and to uphold order so that the church may proclaim the gospel . In essence, the kingdom of the left, no gospel is preached not one drop. Consequently, I agree with you, but as a Lutheran convert (close to 10 years) I am a little more sensitive to some of the words you use because I know how other churches use them. Other than those mentioned. I concur.

  • fws

    Trey @ 20

    Your comments are good ones. Give me a little time and I will respond to them. Thanks!

  • fws

    Trey @ 20

    Your comments are good ones. Give me a little time and I will respond to them. Thanks!

  • Cincinnatus

    Depends upon how you define “politics”…

  • Cincinnatus

    Depends upon how you define “politics”…

  • fws

    Trey @ 20

    TREY: … doesn’t this [ what you have said in your posts here] naturally lead to no apathy in the political sphere (I am trying to relate it to the post)?

    FWS: How so? Could you explain why you think this in some more detail please brother Trey?

    TREY: This sounds like existentialism in some ways, although I know you are not advocating this.

    FWS:I looked up “existentialism” on wikipedia and confess to being confused as to what exactly that is and why it is a bad thing. I am not all that into philosophy, and my interest in theology is about my urgent need for Christ on account of my moral bankruptcy. And from that I can vicerally feel the pain of those who I see hungering for our gentle Jesus in a similar way. It would be good for me to be educated by you on some of this stuff since others are shaped in their thinking by it. Please share. I am more shallow intellectually than you must think.

    TREY God however calls people both redeemed and pagan through these vocations to love and serve not only Him although indirectly, but those that the vocation affect: one’s neighbor.

    FWS : God demans that everyone loves him and his Son and believes the Holy Gospel totally from the very depths of our heartmind, and body. This is the kind of love that really does produce those liver shivers! The sincere kind of course. They probably look more like flat out convulsions. You know, like where people fall down prostrate in the Book of Revelation.

    He also demands that we love our neighbors passionately and zealously like the hottest babe we ever met should be seduced or the love of our life, or our favorite child or someone we would die for. And we all will do this that he demands, and nothing less, or we will die trying. And we will all die as Old Adams.

    “calls people” doesn´t quite capture the “demand” and “die” part.

    Your Old Adam Trey does his vocation exactly like that judge in luke 18 does justice for the same reason. Your Old Adam wastes no love on God and has no respect for others. A lawless judge. vocation. So what makes him do his job? The nagging conscience widowed from love. There isn´t any faith anywhere there is there? But God in all that makes justice in the form of daily-bread-love-that-has-a-shelf-life happen. This will all perish.

    So why bother? If there is nothing that we can do or not do that has eternal consequences, why not just let a couple of queers get a marriage license if it makes em happy? My answer is that doing something with the intent of making someone happy rarely indicates apathy. It indicates it´s opposite, which is passion for life.

    I am not advocating indulgence of course. That would lack mortification or self-discipline (note that true mortification is a call to self and never to enforce in others unless you are police, parent or judge), and so love could not happen in that case. Giving a child candy will make him happy and rot his teeth. ” Sin so that Grace may abound. ” Of COURSE we are not talking about that are we? That would not be love. Imagine. We cling to Christ because sin has brought us incredible pain. So how is it then that we would now consider sin withholding love from our neighbor or God no big deal?

    TREY In addition, in the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments we do nothing,

    FWS I think you mean to say that the essential part or “active ingredient” is God and not ours. Naaman did truly need to wash in the Jordan 7 times. We truly do need to have a pastor be sent to baptize us and preach to us. And we do need to excercise the mortification of getting up after being out all saturday night to get to church on time and so we can do love for our neighbor. What happens is church that we can see and do is ALL about our doing and seeing and so is about Old Adam and the Law and is part of “flesh/body” in romans 8 that will perish along all who place their trust in this. Many do this. When a pastor or congregation disappoints them, they then fall from church. They were looking for life in things that will die.

    What you are talking about is that word and faith that is in with and under what we can do and are in fact commanded to do by the Law that creates and nurtures the invisible Kingdom of faith in Christ. Correct me if I am wrong.

    TREY we believe not by our will but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Amen! And even our believing really doesnt matter at all. It is believing , in christ , that matters. After all, we do not really believe in him ALONE. None of us do. We all have our idols. But he is faithful to the faithless that we totally appear to be. Faith is only as good as it´s object. What is a dollar bill worth apart from faith?

    TREY The Words of Institution do not make the Sacrament by itself, but the promise that Christ attaches to them makes them so.

    FWS; Brother, this does not sound quite right. Would you care to rephrase it?

    TREY the Pastor or Layperson (for emergency baptisms) only declares what is true in heaven.

    FWS huh?

    TREY You correct that the Sacraments are only the foretaste of the feast to come.

    FWS They are that indeed, but i would flee from that word “only”. Flee.

    TREY They give us assurance and comfort of our salvation won by Christ.

    FWS Baptism , The Sacrament of the Altar and Holy Absolution do far far more than just offer assurance. They give what they say. They save us, they do not just announce that salvation is ready and available.

    Read this Luther sermon to see what I am talkin about. It is a para-confessional document (part of the Lutheran Confessions by extension) since FC article VI refers to this sermon as it´s basis….

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    TREY Perhaps I am off what you stated since sometimes ones writing on comments triggers different thoughts, but when you say the church is to reign in on the Old Adam, this misses the point of the church.

    FWS It does not miss the point of the church. It rather sustains and supports it. Love, even in the form of the Gospel, can not exist in a world full of Old Adams without the mortification or self-discipline of the law. The church is 100% full of Old Adams. They need the word and sacraments to be “administered”. Administration. Law. Yeah I know. Administration can mean to apply. Ok. Pastors are stewards (administrators anyone?) of the Mysteries of God. This is law, law , law, law and more law. It is earthly stuff that we can and must and are commanded to…. do! Law! and it will all perish with the earth along with all who trust in it for life. There are no eternal consequences to any of this. Faith alone has eternal consequences right?

    The reformed are the ones who imagine that flesh/body vs spirit is the civil kingdom vs the churchly kingdom or the worldly vs the spritual or such. “I am not religious , I am spiritual”. Stuff like that. They are not sufficiently incarnate. Jesus was the heavenly kingdom. in his body. for us Lutherans, flesh/body is everything we can see or do , especially including law and gospel, the sacraments, church stuff etc.

    What remains in that heavenly kingdom of spirit/Spirit is alone, invisible faith. In Christ. Alone. FC Art VI informs us that even the law and the gospel are earthly things that will perish.

    TREY The chief purpose of preaching the Moral Law is to show us our sin, which prepares us to hear the Gospel.

    FWS We Lutherans have talked about the law as having 1,2,3, or even 4 “uses.” This can be use-full. There is only one Law. It always kills and accuses. It gives nothing and demands everything. It is do or die. It does us to death whether we think we can deny it by erasing the letters L.A.W. or think we can use it rather than properly be used by it.

    TREY The church is to be ruled not by moral requirements, but by the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake.

    FWS In the heavenly kingdom there is nothing but the forgiveness sins. Alone.

    But to preserve this “alone” it is important to know that there are two kinds of righteousness that are both true righteousness in that God demands them and is pleased by them and is who providences them.

    Here on earth, in the visible kingdom of works and the earthly righteousness of visible love belongs the church “militant”. The only reason for the existence of this church is to cast the seed of word water bread and wine which the holy spirit germinates into faith and sustains it. You are so right brother Trey. Outside of this one thing activity that Our Lord has commanded us to do and entrusted us with, there is NO commision. Anyone can fully teach morality. Our confessions say that nothing can be added to what Aristotle teaches about morality. But…. Jesus can only be found where there is water bread and wine and palm on pate. There only He promises to be , in , with and under the flesh/body common things that will perish with the earth. Amen! Yet everything we can see and do in this church is of the earthly kingdom and will perish with the earth along with all who trust in what is seen and done for their own sake apart from christ, alone.

    Why is it so very important to locate also and especially “spiritual things” into the earthly kingdom? It is so that we are clear that alone invisible faith, in christ alone is in the heavenly kingdom. Nothing we can do or see is in this kingdom. How could they be?! All this is fully included in that other kingdom. Only that Righteousness of invisible faith is here in the heavenly kingdom which is use-less on earth except to God and a troubled conscience.

    TREY So I am a bit uneasy by your terminology there because it makes the church sound like another enforcer.

    FWS I am told that in the WELS seminary, they experimented with having the canteen that sold candy bars and snacks be on the honor system. seminarians would help themselves and be trusted to put in the money for their stuff. They quickly went back to a conventional system. Every believer has an Old Adam and that old adam is a “recalcitrant ass ” that will only respond to a two by four of the law between the eyes. That old adam is deeply religious. So the Law is especially in need of being applied to provide institutional structure to the church. Bylaws, constitutions, rules, ushers, pastors, elders, deacons etc. This is all law stuff. the confessions say that “good works (ie law) is necessary”. The question is why and in what way is it necessary. To please God? no. To make life on earth happy pleasant and possible. The Old Adam is hell on wheels without it. Especially in church.

    TREY In contrast, the point of the moral law in the kingdom of the left is to curb sin (1st use) and to uphold order so that the church may proclaim the gospel .

    FWS bingo. that is exactly exactly right. and it is to uphold order especially within the church. That is where it is needed actually the most.

    The church is fully within the kingdom of the left here on earth in any way that there is seeing or doing going on. “left hand” does not mean “civil/government” it means everything and anything at all that is not, alone, invisible faith, in christ, alone. Those Lutherans who categorize otherwise are ignorant of the fact that the two kingdoms teaching is completely a law vs gospel mode. It is not a theory of the proper sphere of the churchly vs civil estate. No.

    TREY In essence, the kingdom of the left, no gospel is preached not one drop.

    FWS Preaching the gospel is something we do and are commanded to do. It is left hand earthly kingdom of the law therefore. See Trey? Think Law and Gospel. Dont´take my word. Read Luther in the sermon that FC art VI claims to be it´s template:

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    TREY Consequently, I agree with you, but as a Lutheran convert (close to 10 years) I am a little more sensitive to some of the words you use because I know how other churches use them.

    FWS Other churches use words like “real presence” , “third use of the law”, “two natures of christ” and mean something utterly different than we Lutherans do. This provides confusion, but also an opportunity to provide clarity.

    TREY Other than those mentioned. I concur.

    FWS Excellent points dear brother. get back at me as you feel the need or usefulness…. thanks for all this!

  • fws

    Trey @ 20

    TREY: … doesn’t this [ what you have said in your posts here] naturally lead to no apathy in the political sphere (I am trying to relate it to the post)?

    FWS: How so? Could you explain why you think this in some more detail please brother Trey?

    TREY: This sounds like existentialism in some ways, although I know you are not advocating this.

    FWS:I looked up “existentialism” on wikipedia and confess to being confused as to what exactly that is and why it is a bad thing. I am not all that into philosophy, and my interest in theology is about my urgent need for Christ on account of my moral bankruptcy. And from that I can vicerally feel the pain of those who I see hungering for our gentle Jesus in a similar way. It would be good for me to be educated by you on some of this stuff since others are shaped in their thinking by it. Please share. I am more shallow intellectually than you must think.

    TREY God however calls people both redeemed and pagan through these vocations to love and serve not only Him although indirectly, but those that the vocation affect: one’s neighbor.

    FWS : God demans that everyone loves him and his Son and believes the Holy Gospel totally from the very depths of our heartmind, and body. This is the kind of love that really does produce those liver shivers! The sincere kind of course. They probably look more like flat out convulsions. You know, like where people fall down prostrate in the Book of Revelation.

    He also demands that we love our neighbors passionately and zealously like the hottest babe we ever met should be seduced or the love of our life, or our favorite child or someone we would die for. And we all will do this that he demands, and nothing less, or we will die trying. And we will all die as Old Adams.

    “calls people” doesn´t quite capture the “demand” and “die” part.

    Your Old Adam Trey does his vocation exactly like that judge in luke 18 does justice for the same reason. Your Old Adam wastes no love on God and has no respect for others. A lawless judge. vocation. So what makes him do his job? The nagging conscience widowed from love. There isn´t any faith anywhere there is there? But God in all that makes justice in the form of daily-bread-love-that-has-a-shelf-life happen. This will all perish.

    So why bother? If there is nothing that we can do or not do that has eternal consequences, why not just let a couple of queers get a marriage license if it makes em happy? My answer is that doing something with the intent of making someone happy rarely indicates apathy. It indicates it´s opposite, which is passion for life.

    I am not advocating indulgence of course. That would lack mortification or self-discipline (note that true mortification is a call to self and never to enforce in others unless you are police, parent or judge), and so love could not happen in that case. Giving a child candy will make him happy and rot his teeth. ” Sin so that Grace may abound. ” Of COURSE we are not talking about that are we? That would not be love. Imagine. We cling to Christ because sin has brought us incredible pain. So how is it then that we would now consider sin withholding love from our neighbor or God no big deal?

    TREY In addition, in the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments we do nothing,

    FWS I think you mean to say that the essential part or “active ingredient” is God and not ours. Naaman did truly need to wash in the Jordan 7 times. We truly do need to have a pastor be sent to baptize us and preach to us. And we do need to excercise the mortification of getting up after being out all saturday night to get to church on time and so we can do love for our neighbor. What happens is church that we can see and do is ALL about our doing and seeing and so is about Old Adam and the Law and is part of “flesh/body” in romans 8 that will perish along all who place their trust in this. Many do this. When a pastor or congregation disappoints them, they then fall from church. They were looking for life in things that will die.

    What you are talking about is that word and faith that is in with and under what we can do and are in fact commanded to do by the Law that creates and nurtures the invisible Kingdom of faith in Christ. Correct me if I am wrong.

    TREY we believe not by our will but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Amen! And even our believing really doesnt matter at all. It is believing , in christ , that matters. After all, we do not really believe in him ALONE. None of us do. We all have our idols. But he is faithful to the faithless that we totally appear to be. Faith is only as good as it´s object. What is a dollar bill worth apart from faith?

    TREY The Words of Institution do not make the Sacrament by itself, but the promise that Christ attaches to them makes them so.

    FWS; Brother, this does not sound quite right. Would you care to rephrase it?

    TREY the Pastor or Layperson (for emergency baptisms) only declares what is true in heaven.

    FWS huh?

    TREY You correct that the Sacraments are only the foretaste of the feast to come.

    FWS They are that indeed, but i would flee from that word “only”. Flee.

    TREY They give us assurance and comfort of our salvation won by Christ.

    FWS Baptism , The Sacrament of the Altar and Holy Absolution do far far more than just offer assurance. They give what they say. They save us, they do not just announce that salvation is ready and available.

    Read this Luther sermon to see what I am talkin about. It is a para-confessional document (part of the Lutheran Confessions by extension) since FC article VI refers to this sermon as it´s basis….

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    TREY Perhaps I am off what you stated since sometimes ones writing on comments triggers different thoughts, but when you say the church is to reign in on the Old Adam, this misses the point of the church.

    FWS It does not miss the point of the church. It rather sustains and supports it. Love, even in the form of the Gospel, can not exist in a world full of Old Adams without the mortification or self-discipline of the law. The church is 100% full of Old Adams. They need the word and sacraments to be “administered”. Administration. Law. Yeah I know. Administration can mean to apply. Ok. Pastors are stewards (administrators anyone?) of the Mysteries of God. This is law, law , law, law and more law. It is earthly stuff that we can and must and are commanded to…. do! Law! and it will all perish with the earth along with all who trust in it for life. There are no eternal consequences to any of this. Faith alone has eternal consequences right?

    The reformed are the ones who imagine that flesh/body vs spirit is the civil kingdom vs the churchly kingdom or the worldly vs the spritual or such. “I am not religious , I am spiritual”. Stuff like that. They are not sufficiently incarnate. Jesus was the heavenly kingdom. in his body. for us Lutherans, flesh/body is everything we can see or do , especially including law and gospel, the sacraments, church stuff etc.

    What remains in that heavenly kingdom of spirit/Spirit is alone, invisible faith. In Christ. Alone. FC Art VI informs us that even the law and the gospel are earthly things that will perish.

    TREY The chief purpose of preaching the Moral Law is to show us our sin, which prepares us to hear the Gospel.

    FWS We Lutherans have talked about the law as having 1,2,3, or even 4 “uses.” This can be use-full. There is only one Law. It always kills and accuses. It gives nothing and demands everything. It is do or die. It does us to death whether we think we can deny it by erasing the letters L.A.W. or think we can use it rather than properly be used by it.

    TREY The church is to be ruled not by moral requirements, but by the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake.

    FWS In the heavenly kingdom there is nothing but the forgiveness sins. Alone.

    But to preserve this “alone” it is important to know that there are two kinds of righteousness that are both true righteousness in that God demands them and is pleased by them and is who providences them.

    Here on earth, in the visible kingdom of works and the earthly righteousness of visible love belongs the church “militant”. The only reason for the existence of this church is to cast the seed of word water bread and wine which the holy spirit germinates into faith and sustains it. You are so right brother Trey. Outside of this one thing activity that Our Lord has commanded us to do and entrusted us with, there is NO commision. Anyone can fully teach morality. Our confessions say that nothing can be added to what Aristotle teaches about morality. But…. Jesus can only be found where there is water bread and wine and palm on pate. There only He promises to be , in , with and under the flesh/body common things that will perish with the earth. Amen! Yet everything we can see and do in this church is of the earthly kingdom and will perish with the earth along with all who trust in what is seen and done for their own sake apart from christ, alone.

    Why is it so very important to locate also and especially “spiritual things” into the earthly kingdom? It is so that we are clear that alone invisible faith, in christ alone is in the heavenly kingdom. Nothing we can do or see is in this kingdom. How could they be?! All this is fully included in that other kingdom. Only that Righteousness of invisible faith is here in the heavenly kingdom which is use-less on earth except to God and a troubled conscience.

    TREY So I am a bit uneasy by your terminology there because it makes the church sound like another enforcer.

    FWS I am told that in the WELS seminary, they experimented with having the canteen that sold candy bars and snacks be on the honor system. seminarians would help themselves and be trusted to put in the money for their stuff. They quickly went back to a conventional system. Every believer has an Old Adam and that old adam is a “recalcitrant ass ” that will only respond to a two by four of the law between the eyes. That old adam is deeply religious. So the Law is especially in need of being applied to provide institutional structure to the church. Bylaws, constitutions, rules, ushers, pastors, elders, deacons etc. This is all law stuff. the confessions say that “good works (ie law) is necessary”. The question is why and in what way is it necessary. To please God? no. To make life on earth happy pleasant and possible. The Old Adam is hell on wheels without it. Especially in church.

    TREY In contrast, the point of the moral law in the kingdom of the left is to curb sin (1st use) and to uphold order so that the church may proclaim the gospel .

    FWS bingo. that is exactly exactly right. and it is to uphold order especially within the church. That is where it is needed actually the most.

    The church is fully within the kingdom of the left here on earth in any way that there is seeing or doing going on. “left hand” does not mean “civil/government” it means everything and anything at all that is not, alone, invisible faith, in christ, alone. Those Lutherans who categorize otherwise are ignorant of the fact that the two kingdoms teaching is completely a law vs gospel mode. It is not a theory of the proper sphere of the churchly vs civil estate. No.

    TREY In essence, the kingdom of the left, no gospel is preached not one drop.

    FWS Preaching the gospel is something we do and are commanded to do. It is left hand earthly kingdom of the law therefore. See Trey? Think Law and Gospel. Dont´take my word. Read Luther in the sermon that FC art VI claims to be it´s template:

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    TREY Consequently, I agree with you, but as a Lutheran convert (close to 10 years) I am a little more sensitive to some of the words you use because I know how other churches use them.

    FWS Other churches use words like “real presence” , “third use of the law”, “two natures of christ” and mean something utterly different than we Lutherans do. This provides confusion, but also an opportunity to provide clarity.

    TREY Other than those mentioned. I concur.

    FWS Excellent points dear brother. get back at me as you feel the need or usefulness…. thanks for all this!

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

    Since we are talking about political goals infringing on family, consider feminism that seeks to undermine the authority of a man in his own family. How exactly can you have a strong family without a leader?

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

    Since we are talking about political goals infringing on family, consider feminism that seeks to undermine the authority of a man in his own family. How exactly can you have a strong family without a leader?