Top religious developments of 2010

What do you think were the major developments in the world of religion for 2010?  I think we can do better than the lists from religious journalists that I’ve seen.  Look not only for events but also for trends that came into view in the preceding year but that might have a longer lasting effect.

I’ll go first:

–With the election of Matthew Harrison to the presidency, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod made a U-turn in direction, from a church body that officially wanted to emulate the rest of American Christianity to a church body that other American Christians may want to emulate.  The new president stands on the Lutheran confessional distinctives without being insular, and pushing the denomination in a winsome, compassionate, internationally-engaged direction.

–Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral went bankrupt.  Other positive-thinking, prosperity gospel ministries and believers ran up against the economic collapse.   Does this herald the end of that particular heresy?  Does it herald the decline of the megachurch?

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.

  • kerner

    I supported the election of President Harrison, but from here in the pews I can’t see that the LCMS is the church body everyone wants to emulate yet.

    After the election I said that now that the confessionals have the power, we will see what they do with it. So my question is: Have they done any thing with their newfound power? Can anyone gove me an example of how things have changed in any practical way?

  • kerner

    I supported the election of President Harrison, but from here in the pews I can’t see that the LCMS is the church body everyone wants to emulate yet.

    After the election I said that now that the confessionals have the power, we will see what they do with it. So my question is: Have they done any thing with their newfound power? Can anyone gove me an example of how things have changed in any practical way?

  • SKPeterson

    – the continuing disappearance of Christians from the Middle East, exemplified by the assault on the cathedral in Baghdad.

    – the growth and growing influence of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and, in Latin America the growth of non-Catholic religious movements. We are likely to see missionary efforts from the South to the North increasing in the coming years. Support churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America – you may be contributing to the salvation of your great-grandchildren, thereby.

  • SKPeterson

    – the continuing disappearance of Christians from the Middle East, exemplified by the assault on the cathedral in Baghdad.

    – the growth and growing influence of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and, in Latin America the growth of non-Catholic religious movements. We are likely to see missionary efforts from the South to the North increasing in the coming years. Support churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America – you may be contributing to the salvation of your great-grandchildren, thereby.

  • Tom Hering

    SKPeterson @ 2, I agree with your first choice. The top religious development of 2010 may have been due to the law of unintended consequences. By toppling Saddam, we’ve made Iraq safe (more or less) for democracy, but extremely unsafe for Christianity. It’s entirely possible that a land that has been blessed by the continuous presence of the Church for 2,000 years will be, for the first time, completely without that presence.

  • Tom Hering

    SKPeterson @ 2, I agree with your first choice. The top religious development of 2010 may have been due to the law of unintended consequences. By toppling Saddam, we’ve made Iraq safe (more or less) for democracy, but extremely unsafe for Christianity. It’s entirely possible that a land that has been blessed by the continuous presence of the Church for 2,000 years will be, for the first time, completely without that presence.

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

    In terms of historical significance, the Pope’s rolling out of the red carpet to disaffected, traditional Anglicans has to be in the top ten religious stories of 2010.

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

    In terms of historical significance, the Pope’s rolling out of the red carpet to disaffected, traditional Anglicans has to be in the top ten religious stories of 2010.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I don´t see the LCMS really being more confessional. Those who call themselves confessions usually quote from recent lutheran church fathers, favor the liturgy, and rehash battles from the 1860s or 1970s.

    There is the conspicuous absence of any organic attempt to connect our theology to the law and gospel of the confessions in teaching or practice.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I don´t see the LCMS really being more confessional. Those who call themselves confessions usually quote from recent lutheran church fathers, favor the liturgy, and rehash battles from the 1860s or 1970s.

    There is the conspicuous absence of any organic attempt to connect our theology to the law and gospel of the confessions in teaching or practice.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 5: Ouch! But probably true.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 5: Ouch! But probably true.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, yes, it’s unfortunate that LCMS “Confessionals” only turn to the Confessions to proof-text their arguments in the worship wars, culture war, etc. Or so it seems to this observer, who loves his local LCMS congregation, and keeps his eyes focused on the Jesus who is given and present there.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, yes, it’s unfortunate that LCMS “Confessionals” only turn to the Confessions to proof-text their arguments in the worship wars, culture war, etc. Or so it seems to this observer, who loves his local LCMS congregation, and keeps his eyes focused on the Jesus who is given and present there.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 7

    there is a WELS site called intrepid Lutherans that is a case study in this. they are a wonderful sight and seem to have the right idea. But they , for example, did a recent post on sin and original sin quoting from many recent lutherans and it seemed as if the confessions did not really exist hardly at all. and the approach the confessions take to that topic, their very law and gospel orientation that sort of dictates a certain way to build the discussion is just not anywhere to be found.

    so there is so much to praise about that site. truly. but how will we reunite lutherans around being Lutheran if we don´t immerse each other in exactly what it is that makes us Lutheran and that can guide us as to how to make everything about Christ alone.

    The confessions are really just “how to” lessons on how to use law and gospel to address any controversy or dispute that arises. That is how they become relevant even though they dont address , directly the culture or liturgy wars. They give us the “transferrable skills” that allow us to promote concord in christ alone.

    but we need to read them that way. Look for law and gospel being done in every single article and part of the catechism.

    how does one find law and gospel in the small catechism section on the 10 commandments for instance?

    How would you do law and gospel there dear Tom?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 7

    there is a WELS site called intrepid Lutherans that is a case study in this. they are a wonderful sight and seem to have the right idea. But they , for example, did a recent post on sin and original sin quoting from many recent lutherans and it seemed as if the confessions did not really exist hardly at all. and the approach the confessions take to that topic, their very law and gospel orientation that sort of dictates a certain way to build the discussion is just not anywhere to be found.

    so there is so much to praise about that site. truly. but how will we reunite lutherans around being Lutheran if we don´t immerse each other in exactly what it is that makes us Lutheran and that can guide us as to how to make everything about Christ alone.

    The confessions are really just “how to” lessons on how to use law and gospel to address any controversy or dispute that arises. That is how they become relevant even though they dont address , directly the culture or liturgy wars. They give us the “transferrable skills” that allow us to promote concord in christ alone.

    but we need to read them that way. Look for law and gospel being done in every single article and part of the catechism.

    how does one find law and gospel in the small catechism section on the 10 commandments for instance?

    How would you do law and gospel there dear Tom?

  • Tom Hering

    “How would you do law and gospel there dear Tom?”

    The same. The Law accuses me, I don’t measure up, and my Old Adam wants nothing to do with it. Whereas the Gospel comforts me, Jesus fulfilled the Commandments for me, and I – a New Creation – do what the Law demands without even thinking about it. Without even recognizing it, most of the time. Thanks be to Christ Our Savior. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “How would you do law and gospel there dear Tom?”

    The same. The Law accuses me, I don’t measure up, and my Old Adam wants nothing to do with it. Whereas the Gospel comforts me, Jesus fulfilled the Commandments for me, and I – a New Creation – do what the Law demands without even thinking about it. Without even recognizing it, most of the time. Thanks be to Christ Our Savior. :-)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @9 ok

    now how would i find what you just said expressed in the actual text of the small catechism using ONLY the section on the 10 commandments to find all this?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @9 ok

    now how would i find what you just said expressed in the actual text of the small catechism using ONLY the section on the 10 commandments to find all this?

  • S Bauer

    This drift from the LCMS’ confessional moorings has been going on for a long time, nigh unto 100 years. It’s going to take at least that long to get back on track. This is a “long-haul”. President Harrison has been in office for only four months and people are already kvetching that “nothing is happening”. If he is truly a confessional leader, he knows that it is going to take a long time of using the “bully pulpit”, of bringing sides together to identify the issues, of geting people to the point where they can describe the other side’s position fairly, without characature, and then working together with the mind of Christ to come to a proper resolution. I think he has already laid out the outline of this program. A pastor does not go into a parish and immediately start “smashing statues” ala Karlstadt. It’s teaching, teaching, teaching and letting the Holy Spirit change hearts and minds. Because it will take so long, the first thing Harrison has to do is convince the Synod, pastors and congregations, that it has to adopt this approach as its own agenda, so that it does not go away when he leaves office.

    From what I’ve seen on the blogosphere, I think Frank is right. It seems many “confessionals” are looking for a repristination of some mythic “golden age” of the Synod. If that is what they mean by “my grandfather’s church”, they can have it.

  • S Bauer

    This drift from the LCMS’ confessional moorings has been going on for a long time, nigh unto 100 years. It’s going to take at least that long to get back on track. This is a “long-haul”. President Harrison has been in office for only four months and people are already kvetching that “nothing is happening”. If he is truly a confessional leader, he knows that it is going to take a long time of using the “bully pulpit”, of bringing sides together to identify the issues, of geting people to the point where they can describe the other side’s position fairly, without characature, and then working together with the mind of Christ to come to a proper resolution. I think he has already laid out the outline of this program. A pastor does not go into a parish and immediately start “smashing statues” ala Karlstadt. It’s teaching, teaching, teaching and letting the Holy Spirit change hearts and minds. Because it will take so long, the first thing Harrison has to do is convince the Synod, pastors and congregations, that it has to adopt this approach as its own agenda, so that it does not go away when he leaves office.

    From what I’ve seen on the blogosphere, I think Frank is right. It seems many “confessionals” are looking for a repristination of some mythic “golden age” of the Synod. If that is what they mean by “my grandfather’s church”, they can have it.

  • Carl Vehse

    kerner (@1): So my question is: Have they done any thing with their newfound power? Can anyone gove me an example of how things have changed in any practical way?

    From the LCMS blog, A Karios Moment:

    “A great group of staff from the national office, convened as the Restructuring Work Group, met in Conference Room 424 the Monday before Christmas to study and talk about the President’s emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together…

    “The discussion started with Rev. Herb Mueller leading us in a review of an article he wrote on Witness, Mercy, Life Together that appears in the January Reporter insert…. The study rolled into a robust dialogue about how do we foster what it means to be Lutheran and how the emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together help give direction to our thinking about the new structure of the national office.

    “The individuals on the Restructuring Work Group brought up many questions…

    “Someone in the group called this a Kairos moment for the church. Kairos, a time when something special happens, the opportune moment, the right time…”

  • Carl Vehse

    kerner (@1): So my question is: Have they done any thing with their newfound power? Can anyone gove me an example of how things have changed in any practical way?

    From the LCMS blog, A Karios Moment:

    “A great group of staff from the national office, convened as the Restructuring Work Group, met in Conference Room 424 the Monday before Christmas to study and talk about the President’s emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together…

    “The discussion started with Rev. Herb Mueller leading us in a review of an article he wrote on Witness, Mercy, Life Together that appears in the January Reporter insert…. The study rolled into a robust dialogue about how do we foster what it means to be Lutheran and how the emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together help give direction to our thinking about the new structure of the national office.

    “The individuals on the Restructuring Work Group brought up many questions…

    “Someone in the group called this a Kairos moment for the church. Kairos, a time when something special happens, the opportune moment, the right time…”

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 10, quick answer: if I wanted to learn the Law and Gospel teachings of the Confessions, I wouldn’t read the Small Catechism apart from the rest of the Confessions. It’s all in there for a reason.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 10, quick answer: if I wanted to learn the Law and Gospel teachings of the Confessions, I wouldn’t read the Small Catechism apart from the rest of the Confessions. It’s all in there for a reason.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    s bauer @ 11 and vehse @ 12

    Ok. So S bauer, would you care to join the thread of thought tom hering and I are chewing on? those who can : do. Those who can´t: teach. Tom gave a great summary of our christian faith. but I challenged him to organically use the words of the small catechism on the 10 commandments to explain , fully, the law and the gospel.

    The Lutheran Confessions, invite us to read them as a hands on demonstration of how to do law and gospel. The point of law and gospel is to let us see how to let christ alone by invisible faith alone be , alone, in the heavenly kingdom of grace.

    Even just from seeing clearly how the section on the 1o commandments does this, we can easily then start to address issues such as liturgy, church and ministry, women in the church, homosexuality, sanctification as something we do and all the other stuff that seems to vex the church and make her feel uncertain. And we can do this with clarity.

    so s bauer. how would you do law and gospel using only the text of the small catechism on the 10 commandments?

    vehse:

    this sounds like a programatic approach to unity. I go with s bauer on this. what I read on the site you sent us to looks like an alcoholic having a drink the morning after to cure his hangover. This is probably not completely fair since the article you pointed to was very light on details. I would be so very pleased to stand corrected ….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    s bauer @ 11 and vehse @ 12

    Ok. So S bauer, would you care to join the thread of thought tom hering and I are chewing on? those who can : do. Those who can´t: teach. Tom gave a great summary of our christian faith. but I challenged him to organically use the words of the small catechism on the 10 commandments to explain , fully, the law and the gospel.

    The Lutheran Confessions, invite us to read them as a hands on demonstration of how to do law and gospel. The point of law and gospel is to let us see how to let christ alone by invisible faith alone be , alone, in the heavenly kingdom of grace.

    Even just from seeing clearly how the section on the 1o commandments does this, we can easily then start to address issues such as liturgy, church and ministry, women in the church, homosexuality, sanctification as something we do and all the other stuff that seems to vex the church and make her feel uncertain. And we can do this with clarity.

    so s bauer. how would you do law and gospel using only the text of the small catechism on the 10 commandments?

    vehse:

    this sounds like a programatic approach to unity. I go with s bauer on this. what I read on the site you sent us to looks like an alcoholic having a drink the morning after to cure his hangover. This is probably not completely fair since the article you pointed to was very light on details. I would be so very pleased to stand corrected ….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    well. You do have an interesting point. I am starting to see that the confessions are very repetitive. original sin? ah lets do law and gospel. the apostles creed? lets see how that plays out using… law and gospel. the lords prayer is a great tool to teach us how to do law and gospel. ditto the 10 commandments.

    Yes Tom. Each part of our Confessions build on the others. the formula of concord is really just a repeat of the augsburg confession and the apology. And it is so wonderful to see that that is so.

    the nice thing about every single article of the confessions Tom is that we CAN fully do law AND gospel in each section. So where is the holy gospel in the section on the 10 commandments? It is most certainly there! But to understand the Holy Gospel, we first need to understand the Law. and 100 years of american lutheranism reducing law to 3 uses has led us away from the way the confessions do this. I say this as someone who loves the catechetical use of the “three uses of the law.”

    Only when we understand the law and what God demands of us in that kind of righteousness can we understand that other Righteousness and why it must be completely apart from the righeousness of the Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    well. You do have an interesting point. I am starting to see that the confessions are very repetitive. original sin? ah lets do law and gospel. the apostles creed? lets see how that plays out using… law and gospel. the lords prayer is a great tool to teach us how to do law and gospel. ditto the 10 commandments.

    Yes Tom. Each part of our Confessions build on the others. the formula of concord is really just a repeat of the augsburg confession and the apology. And it is so wonderful to see that that is so.

    the nice thing about every single article of the confessions Tom is that we CAN fully do law AND gospel in each section. So where is the holy gospel in the section on the 10 commandments? It is most certainly there! But to understand the Holy Gospel, we first need to understand the Law. and 100 years of american lutheranism reducing law to 3 uses has led us away from the way the confessions do this. I say this as someone who loves the catechetical use of the “three uses of the law.”

    Only when we understand the law and what God demands of us in that kind of righteousness can we understand that other Righteousness and why it must be completely apart from the righeousness of the Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    The small catechism on the 10 commandments is such a great way to teach law AND gospel that one could probably write a 300 page book just using Luther´s outline there. It is that good and rich and profound. One could tarry there for a good while before moving onto the other parts of the catechism. and then one would not need to go beyond our small catechism to have all that is in the other parts of our confessions. it is all right there in the small catechism.

    we need to demonstrate to each other how to do that is all.

    and then, armed only with the small catechism… what to think about the liturgy and culture wars falls very clearly into place.

    The rest of our Confessions then are just repetitive drills and exercises reinforcing what we would already know about h0w to do law and gospel.

    The Confessions are a very repetitive set of drills and exercises showing us, doctrine by doctrine, or in the case of the catechism , tool by tool,

    how to do law and gospel,….

    which lets us see how to let christ be alone in the heavenly kingdom, …..

    which then allows us to see that everything else (the stuff that get´s brother vehse in a lather) is just fleshly stuff that will perish with the earth and has no eternal consequences whatsoever!

    We instead thing of law and gospel as a lutheran systematic theology with two categories. the task is to divy up all the bible passages and toss them into one of those two drawers.

    ok.

    so we toss EVERYTHING we can see and do in our bodies, fully including liturgy, church and ministry, administration of word and sacraments, church stuff, and wordly stuff that we already know goes there into the law drawer. even law and gospel goes into the law drawer. law and gospel pertain to our earthly existence not the heavenly kingdom. (FC art VI SD).

    so what goes into that other drawer called the gospel or heavenly kingdom.? Nothing that we can see or do in our bodies since that is allready ALL in that other drawer! so the drawer needs to be left aparently empty! for into the drawer of the gospel or heavenly kingdom goes, alone, invisible faith , alone , in christ.

    so that second drawer is meaningless and useless on earth and in the earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience. It appears empty. What is there is as visible as salt and yeast in food.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    The small catechism on the 10 commandments is such a great way to teach law AND gospel that one could probably write a 300 page book just using Luther´s outline there. It is that good and rich and profound. One could tarry there for a good while before moving onto the other parts of the catechism. and then one would not need to go beyond our small catechism to have all that is in the other parts of our confessions. it is all right there in the small catechism.

    we need to demonstrate to each other how to do that is all.

    and then, armed only with the small catechism… what to think about the liturgy and culture wars falls very clearly into place.

    The rest of our Confessions then are just repetitive drills and exercises reinforcing what we would already know about h0w to do law and gospel.

    The Confessions are a very repetitive set of drills and exercises showing us, doctrine by doctrine, or in the case of the catechism , tool by tool,

    how to do law and gospel,….

    which lets us see how to let christ be alone in the heavenly kingdom, …..

    which then allows us to see that everything else (the stuff that get´s brother vehse in a lather) is just fleshly stuff that will perish with the earth and has no eternal consequences whatsoever!

    We instead thing of law and gospel as a lutheran systematic theology with two categories. the task is to divy up all the bible passages and toss them into one of those two drawers.

    ok.

    so we toss EVERYTHING we can see and do in our bodies, fully including liturgy, church and ministry, administration of word and sacraments, church stuff, and wordly stuff that we already know goes there into the law drawer. even law and gospel goes into the law drawer. law and gospel pertain to our earthly existence not the heavenly kingdom. (FC art VI SD).

    so what goes into that other drawer called the gospel or heavenly kingdom.? Nothing that we can see or do in our bodies since that is allready ALL in that other drawer! so the drawer needs to be left aparently empty! for into the drawer of the gospel or heavenly kingdom goes, alone, invisible faith , alone , in christ.

    so that second drawer is meaningless and useless on earth and in the earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience. It appears empty. What is there is as visible as salt and yeast in food.

  • Carl Vehse

    “what I read on the site you sent us to looks like an alcoholic having a drink the morning after to cure his hangover”

    Well, so far that’s about as exciting as things have been… unless you count some of the responses to the ACELC’s announced Evidence of Errors.

  • Carl Vehse

    “what I read on the site you sent us to looks like an alcoholic having a drink the morning after to cure his hangover”

    Well, so far that’s about as exciting as things have been… unless you count some of the responses to the ACELC’s announced Evidence of Errors.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    so law and gospel in the 10 commandments in the small catechism….

    first we need to see that the explanation to every commandment has two parts.

    This can best be seen in the 5th commandment, which really summarized the rest of the second table nicely:

    You shall not kill.

    what does this mean:

    we should fear and love God,
    so that we do not hurt nor harm our neighbor, in his body.
    BUT we should help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need.

    This is the basic structure. It has Law and Gospel completely embedded in it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    so law and gospel in the 10 commandments in the small catechism….

    first we need to see that the explanation to every commandment has two parts.

    This can best be seen in the 5th commandment, which really summarized the rest of the second table nicely:

    You shall not kill.

    what does this mean:

    we should fear and love God,
    so that we do not hurt nor harm our neighbor, in his body.
    BUT we should help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need.

    This is the basic structure. It has Law and Gospel completely embedded in it.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    With Pastor Harrison’s election one will have to be patient. He and others in the Purple Palace are still trying to figure out all the new structure voted in by the convention. Is his leadership having an impact? I would say so, but it is quiet and still in its infancy. My fellow pastor and I will be leading our congregation through a 12 week re visioning process, I hate to use business lingo but oh well, based on the book Christ, Have Mercy . It is time that we once again had a pastor as president. At the same, the vaunted u-turn isn’t there, there are still too many old school thinkers looking to American Evangelicalism and Emerging Church types. (odd to call them old school) But I have found myself in no man’s land as I rethink how we catechize, reintegrate the family in the life of the church, and seek to move away from entertainment youth ministry.

    Also, there are confessionals and then there are confessionals. Most that you see on-line are confessional in the historic liturgy only sense. There are others who realize that the stylistic argument is only a red-herring and do try proclaim a confessional rightly divided Law and Gospel proclamation regardless of instrumentation for example Todd Wilken and to extent Rev. Jonathan Fiske and myself.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    With Pastor Harrison’s election one will have to be patient. He and others in the Purple Palace are still trying to figure out all the new structure voted in by the convention. Is his leadership having an impact? I would say so, but it is quiet and still in its infancy. My fellow pastor and I will be leading our congregation through a 12 week re visioning process, I hate to use business lingo but oh well, based on the book Christ, Have Mercy . It is time that we once again had a pastor as president. At the same, the vaunted u-turn isn’t there, there are still too many old school thinkers looking to American Evangelicalism and Emerging Church types. (odd to call them old school) But I have found myself in no man’s land as I rethink how we catechize, reintegrate the family in the life of the church, and seek to move away from entertainment youth ministry.

    Also, there are confessionals and then there are confessionals. Most that you see on-line are confessional in the historic liturgy only sense. There are others who realize that the stylistic argument is only a red-herring and do try proclaim a confessional rightly divided Law and Gospel proclamation regardless of instrumentation for example Todd Wilken and to extent Rev. Jonathan Fiske and myself.

  • BW

    Frank @ 18

    BUT we should help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need.

    Isn’t this still Law, earthly kingdom righteousness stuff? Where would be the Gospel here?

  • BW

    Frank @ 18

    BUT we should help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need.

    Isn’t this still Law, earthly kingdom righteousness stuff? Where would be the Gospel here?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    so in the 5th commandment we see exactly how earthly righteousness works.

    We COULD learn this exact same thing from aristotle (as the apology tells us). Luther is using the 10 commandments not because they apply to christians (they applied only to the jews), but because they provide a really useful skeleton upon which to hang the law.

    And so what is the recipe for earthly righteousness? It is mortification + love.

    Mortification is what philosophical morality calls Virtue. It is self restraint, self control, self reliance, self …. it is a well maintained, ordered well oiled factory. God demands this. The Holy Spirit use the Law on Old Adam to make this part happen. This looks like “do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, that is, in his creaturely existence.

    But even though God does demand this and is pleased with this, this is still not righeousness biblically speaking. Those who imagine that this mortification alone counts for earthly righeousness always think that the point of earthly righeousness is to follow Divine Rules in order to conform to God´s Will. The Augsburg Confessions call this “useless sacrifice”. The call it idolatry.

    True righteousness, that is truly God´s Eternal Will, happens when the Old Adam factory, powered by the law in mortification and virtue produces! What is it that needs to be produced? “but we should help and befriend our neighbor in EVERY bodily need!” that´s what righeousness looks like. ( to cheat: We see what this produces by reading the 1st article of the apostles creed in the catechism.)

    And now you see why Lutherans say that the law cannot be about following a set of rules and by obedience please God. How does one do love by following a set of metrics?!

    So even the Old Adam can know and do the second table of the law. He should be taught to do it willingly so God does not have to send punishments to make him do it. For God will have it be done indeed without our faith or prayer or asking.

    So then where is the Gospel in this?

    Remember I said that EVERY commandment had the structure of “shalt not/but should” or mortification + love? Well this is wrong. There is one commandment that only has love. This is because no amount of mortification can make the old adam keep this one commandment.

    “Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me.

    what does this mean?

    we should fear and love and trust in God about all things.

    there is no “we should fear and love god so that we do not….” there is there? that is because this is a commandment that can only be kept in the heart. So we need the new birth to keep this commandment!

    and if we have kept this one commandment, then we have already kept all the rest without DOING anything at all!

    All the rest say “we should fear and love God so that we…” and we dont! but now, as new men, we do fear and love God. And so love for neighbor simply flows from us , just as you said, as light from sun. So for us , as new man , the 10 commandments are useless and do not have a claim on our conscience.

    But because the old adam still clings to us, we need to meditate on the law Luther summarizes for us here using the 10 commandments day and night.

    and so we know that obedience to the law is not about dotting i´s and crossing t´s with our behavior as it would be in civil law. It is about faith alone in christ, and…. on earth it is about doing love for neighbors. It is knowing that the law was made for man and not man for the law.

    and so we are free to do mercy and not demand sacrifice to the law.

    so liturgy, homosexuality and women in the church? These are not about keeping that first commandment that alone is the invisible Righteousness God demands.

    Those issues are about the romans 8 flesh and body righteousness that will perish with the earth along with all who stake their lives on that stuff. But God still demands that we do that earthly righeousness and will make us do it if we are unwilling.

    But that righteousness is not about obedience to rules or pleasing God. It is about pleasing instead our neighbor.

    and so we now know that the second table demands that we place our neighbor above ourselves as our judge, who is to judge our keeping of the second table of the law.

    you dont see this? you are to be a servant to other the second table teaches us. since when is the work of a servant not to be judged by the one he serves?

    and what is the metric? does the work of the servant improve the creaturely life of the one served?

    And we are freed to love our neighbor exactly because we see that God demands our hearts in the first commandment. the other commandment demands our Old Adam´s death in service to our neighbor.

    So the liturgy is all law. it exist to do the act of love we are commanded to do there, which is to bring christ to our neighbor. And old adam needs structure! laws. rules. discipline. especially in a group of sinners called a church. so worship is about conformity for the sake of love. what should that look like?

    women in the church. more law. order in the church. this is all earthly stuff even if it is church stuff. should women be over men in positions of authority? same rules apply both inside and outside the church. since when does the order of creation apply only in church. So if we are against women pastors and synodical presidents then we are also against women CEOs and government officials as well. Ok. knock yourself out on that. but while you are expending alot of energy, remember that what your are doing is all about earthly stuff that will perish. there are no eternal consequences to it.

    homosexuals: the point of the law is to do no harm and to help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need. this would include romantic love. the need to control the sex drive that only marriage is the remedy for short of a miracle. celebacy cannot be demanded without being cruel. (apology art XXIII) again. the one thing that does have eternal consequences is the keeping of that first commandment. so we should welcome gays into the church, even the practicing ones to let them hear the Holy Gospel right? and we should tell homosexuals, along with the heterosexuals to stop whoreing around because to do that is not to help or befriend our neighbor in every bodily need. Our neighbor deserves sex to be about their needs and not just our own.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 13

    so in the 5th commandment we see exactly how earthly righteousness works.

    We COULD learn this exact same thing from aristotle (as the apology tells us). Luther is using the 10 commandments not because they apply to christians (they applied only to the jews), but because they provide a really useful skeleton upon which to hang the law.

    And so what is the recipe for earthly righteousness? It is mortification + love.

    Mortification is what philosophical morality calls Virtue. It is self restraint, self control, self reliance, self …. it is a well maintained, ordered well oiled factory. God demands this. The Holy Spirit use the Law on Old Adam to make this part happen. This looks like “do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, that is, in his creaturely existence.

    But even though God does demand this and is pleased with this, this is still not righeousness biblically speaking. Those who imagine that this mortification alone counts for earthly righeousness always think that the point of earthly righeousness is to follow Divine Rules in order to conform to God´s Will. The Augsburg Confessions call this “useless sacrifice”. The call it idolatry.

    True righteousness, that is truly God´s Eternal Will, happens when the Old Adam factory, powered by the law in mortification and virtue produces! What is it that needs to be produced? “but we should help and befriend our neighbor in EVERY bodily need!” that´s what righeousness looks like. ( to cheat: We see what this produces by reading the 1st article of the apostles creed in the catechism.)

    And now you see why Lutherans say that the law cannot be about following a set of rules and by obedience please God. How does one do love by following a set of metrics?!

    So even the Old Adam can know and do the second table of the law. He should be taught to do it willingly so God does not have to send punishments to make him do it. For God will have it be done indeed without our faith or prayer or asking.

    So then where is the Gospel in this?

    Remember I said that EVERY commandment had the structure of “shalt not/but should” or mortification + love? Well this is wrong. There is one commandment that only has love. This is because no amount of mortification can make the old adam keep this one commandment.

    “Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me.

    what does this mean?

    we should fear and love and trust in God about all things.

    there is no “we should fear and love god so that we do not….” there is there? that is because this is a commandment that can only be kept in the heart. So we need the new birth to keep this commandment!

    and if we have kept this one commandment, then we have already kept all the rest without DOING anything at all!

    All the rest say “we should fear and love God so that we…” and we dont! but now, as new men, we do fear and love God. And so love for neighbor simply flows from us , just as you said, as light from sun. So for us , as new man , the 10 commandments are useless and do not have a claim on our conscience.

    But because the old adam still clings to us, we need to meditate on the law Luther summarizes for us here using the 10 commandments day and night.

    and so we know that obedience to the law is not about dotting i´s and crossing t´s with our behavior as it would be in civil law. It is about faith alone in christ, and…. on earth it is about doing love for neighbors. It is knowing that the law was made for man and not man for the law.

    and so we are free to do mercy and not demand sacrifice to the law.

    so liturgy, homosexuality and women in the church? These are not about keeping that first commandment that alone is the invisible Righteousness God demands.

    Those issues are about the romans 8 flesh and body righteousness that will perish with the earth along with all who stake their lives on that stuff. But God still demands that we do that earthly righeousness and will make us do it if we are unwilling.

    But that righteousness is not about obedience to rules or pleasing God. It is about pleasing instead our neighbor.

    and so we now know that the second table demands that we place our neighbor above ourselves as our judge, who is to judge our keeping of the second table of the law.

    you dont see this? you are to be a servant to other the second table teaches us. since when is the work of a servant not to be judged by the one he serves?

    and what is the metric? does the work of the servant improve the creaturely life of the one served?

    And we are freed to love our neighbor exactly because we see that God demands our hearts in the first commandment. the other commandment demands our Old Adam´s death in service to our neighbor.

    So the liturgy is all law. it exist to do the act of love we are commanded to do there, which is to bring christ to our neighbor. And old adam needs structure! laws. rules. discipline. especially in a group of sinners called a church. so worship is about conformity for the sake of love. what should that look like?

    women in the church. more law. order in the church. this is all earthly stuff even if it is church stuff. should women be over men in positions of authority? same rules apply both inside and outside the church. since when does the order of creation apply only in church. So if we are against women pastors and synodical presidents then we are also against women CEOs and government officials as well. Ok. knock yourself out on that. but while you are expending alot of energy, remember that what your are doing is all about earthly stuff that will perish. there are no eternal consequences to it.

    homosexuals: the point of the law is to do no harm and to help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need. this would include romantic love. the need to control the sex drive that only marriage is the remedy for short of a miracle. celebacy cannot be demanded without being cruel. (apology art XXIII) again. the one thing that does have eternal consequences is the keeping of that first commandment. so we should welcome gays into the church, even the practicing ones to let them hear the Holy Gospel right? and we should tell homosexuals, along with the heterosexuals to stop whoreing around because to do that is not to help or befriend our neighbor in every bodily need. Our neighbor deserves sex to be about their needs and not just our own.

  • Rob

    @BW – I think you’re making Frank’s (I assume that’s the f in fws?) point for him. The first part is the Gospel: “Fear and love God” this is solely because of his incredible external grace.

    The rest is Law – what we should stop doing and what we should strive to do.

    Isn’t that what you’re driving at Frank/fws?

  • Rob

    @BW – I think you’re making Frank’s (I assume that’s the f in fws?) point for him. The first part is the Gospel: “Fear and love God” this is solely because of his incredible external grace.

    The rest is Law – what we should stop doing and what we should strive to do.

    Isn’t that what you’re driving at Frank/fws?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 22

    good catch. but a slight fumble.

    God DEMANDS that we fear love and trust in him above all things. God demands that we have true and sincere and actual and repentant and honest and completely doctrinally accurate, etc etc etc faith in Jesus Christ , alone, as our Savior.

    So we SHOULD fear and love God , and IF we really did fear and love God THEN what follows in each commandment would just happen. We would not have to “do” anything at all.

    “Doing” is about that constant internal dialog between our old adam and the Law put into our conscience that always accuses us. the law always accuses us. the law always accuses us. even that law that says we must believe in christ alone. the law always accuses us. and that internal dialog exists because we hate the law, and our hearts want to do the opposite of what our conscience tells us we ought to do. imagine a world without conscience. Really. Imagine what such a world would look like. everyone without a conscience to restrain them.

    That is exactly what the heart of the Old Adam looks like!

    So where is the Holy Gospel? “we should fear and love and trust in God about all things.” That is where. it is something no amount of mortification can make happen. This requires a heart transplant!

    Now our new man simply is free to be lily of the field, bird of the air, and adam perfectly happy to shovel manure buck naked for no particulary good reason or purpose. And goodness flows from our new man spontaneously. No law school is needed. Did christ in the blessed incarnation need law school to do what was right? to do love? no. did he grow in wisdom and stature? yes. he was no law robot. And we cant see the new man in action. We can only believe that this is what we now look like. the mirror we look into to see our new man is to look at the blessed incarnation with the eyes of faith. alone. in christ. alone.

    And in christ, alone, through faith, alone, we have that!

    And so what do we do? we get busy and kill ourselves doing the law! That is what we do. And we can only do that not fearing that death that has been swallowed up by the Death of Life which could not die.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 22

    good catch. but a slight fumble.

    God DEMANDS that we fear love and trust in him above all things. God demands that we have true and sincere and actual and repentant and honest and completely doctrinally accurate, etc etc etc faith in Jesus Christ , alone, as our Savior.

    So we SHOULD fear and love God , and IF we really did fear and love God THEN what follows in each commandment would just happen. We would not have to “do” anything at all.

    “Doing” is about that constant internal dialog between our old adam and the Law put into our conscience that always accuses us. the law always accuses us. the law always accuses us. even that law that says we must believe in christ alone. the law always accuses us. and that internal dialog exists because we hate the law, and our hearts want to do the opposite of what our conscience tells us we ought to do. imagine a world without conscience. Really. Imagine what such a world would look like. everyone without a conscience to restrain them.

    That is exactly what the heart of the Old Adam looks like!

    So where is the Holy Gospel? “we should fear and love and trust in God about all things.” That is where. it is something no amount of mortification can make happen. This requires a heart transplant!

    Now our new man simply is free to be lily of the field, bird of the air, and adam perfectly happy to shovel manure buck naked for no particulary good reason or purpose. And goodness flows from our new man spontaneously. No law school is needed. Did christ in the blessed incarnation need law school to do what was right? to do love? no. did he grow in wisdom and stature? yes. he was no law robot. And we cant see the new man in action. We can only believe that this is what we now look like. the mirror we look into to see our new man is to look at the blessed incarnation with the eyes of faith. alone. in christ. alone.

    And in christ, alone, through faith, alone, we have that!

    And so what do we do? we get busy and kill ourselves doing the law! That is what we do. And we can only do that not fearing that death that has been swallowed up by the Death of Life which could not die.

  • Jerry

    You guys crack me up. Hundreds of tomes have been written on the Law and gospel, Confessions, adequacy of the Small Catechism, etc. You can’t rehash them all in a few simple blog responses. However, you do raise questions that need to be discussed and discussed loudly! Under President Harrison’s leadership that has a greater possibility.

  • Jerry

    You guys crack me up. Hundreds of tomes have been written on the Law and gospel, Confessions, adequacy of the Small Catechism, etc. You can’t rehash them all in a few simple blog responses. However, you do raise questions that need to be discussed and discussed loudly! Under President Harrison’s leadership that has a greater possibility.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bw @ 20 and rob @ 22

    so “we should fear and love and trust in god above all things.”

    this is law. just as preaching and admistering the sacraments is law law law. we are commanded to do these things. law is about doing.

    and then in, with and under that seed that we plant in obedience to God´s Law and demand, the Holy Spirit nurtures and keeps that invisible faith that alone , and invisibly gives us those new heart movements that are fear love and trust in God above all things.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bw @ 20 and rob @ 22

    so “we should fear and love and trust in god above all things.”

    this is law. just as preaching and admistering the sacraments is law law law. we are commanded to do these things. law is about doing.

    and then in, with and under that seed that we plant in obedience to God´s Law and demand, the Holy Spirit nurtures and keeps that invisible faith that alone , and invisibly gives us those new heart movements that are fear love and trust in God above all things.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    jerry @ 24

    thanks for the feedback. I am suggesting that people should internalize our confessions rather read people who write about them.

    how many books have you read that actually get you to wrestle with the actual text of the confessions and the catechism? see what is written there afresh? tell me where to find those books Jerry! I will get them and read them.

    watch what we are doing here? none of this is “new” stuff for you? if you already know all this, then get busy and start a blog and show all of us how to do this! we need to learn it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    jerry @ 24

    thanks for the feedback. I am suggesting that people should internalize our confessions rather read people who write about them.

    how many books have you read that actually get you to wrestle with the actual text of the confessions and the catechism? see what is written there afresh? tell me where to find those books Jerry! I will get them and read them.

    watch what we are doing here? none of this is “new” stuff for you? if you already know all this, then get busy and start a blog and show all of us how to do this! we need to learn it.

  • S Bauer

    fws,

    Thanks for the invitation. I would love to discuss the topic further but I, unfortunately, will have to demure.

    1) I work during the day. I usually have a few moments when I can snatch a peek at what’s going on here and add dim-witted observation or two. The nature of this blog doesn’t lend itself well to an on-going discussion over the course of time (I’m always amazed at just how in-depth things often do get here over the course of just one day).

    2) How do I put this? I have a hard time parsing your prose. I’m sure it’s more my problem than it is yours. And this is not to say I do not find what you say insightful, thought-provoking and an earnest grasping of Lutheran theology forged in the school of experience. What this does mean is that what you write hits me as cryptic. And you often throw a lot up here to digest. I have to think long and hard trying to unravel for myself what you are really saying. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this (and you may be expressing yourself in this way deliberately to get past cliches and formulas). Then, again, some of what you say sounds mightily confused, or is it? My problem is just that topics and threads on this blog don’t last long enough for me to go back and forth with you so that I am satisfied I have a fair picture of what you really mean – see #1 above. Again this is more about my limitations than yours.

    Perhaps we could something like this up on your blog on a more long term basis. Right now, however, comments are turned off.

    My apologies to the rest of the Cranach community if this is too much a “personal-level” response, but I don’t think I have any other way of communicating this to my brother in Christ.

  • S Bauer

    fws,

    Thanks for the invitation. I would love to discuss the topic further but I, unfortunately, will have to demure.

    1) I work during the day. I usually have a few moments when I can snatch a peek at what’s going on here and add dim-witted observation or two. The nature of this blog doesn’t lend itself well to an on-going discussion over the course of time (I’m always amazed at just how in-depth things often do get here over the course of just one day).

    2) How do I put this? I have a hard time parsing your prose. I’m sure it’s more my problem than it is yours. And this is not to say I do not find what you say insightful, thought-provoking and an earnest grasping of Lutheran theology forged in the school of experience. What this does mean is that what you write hits me as cryptic. And you often throw a lot up here to digest. I have to think long and hard trying to unravel for myself what you are really saying. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this (and you may be expressing yourself in this way deliberately to get past cliches and formulas). Then, again, some of what you say sounds mightily confused, or is it? My problem is just that topics and threads on this blog don’t last long enough for me to go back and forth with you so that I am satisfied I have a fair picture of what you really mean – see #1 above. Again this is more about my limitations than yours.

    Perhaps we could something like this up on your blog on a more long term basis. Right now, however, comments are turned off.

    My apologies to the rest of the Cranach community if this is too much a “personal-level” response, but I don’t think I have any other way of communicating this to my brother in Christ.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    s bauer @ 27

    thanks for the feedback . it is useful to me. My aim is really not to avoid cliches. that is generous of you to make excuses for my failure at prose.

    my aim is to just try to faithfully repeat what I read in our Confessions in a way that overcomes the problems with translating stuff from german and makes it speak plain english.

    I was not aware that comments are turned off on my blog at thirduse.com I will go and see about that. I need to really rework it and come up with much shorter posts that home in on pivot points of our confessions.

    the way I can tell that I am succeeding at what I aim to do is when others come back at me all excited because suddenly they too are in love with parts our our confessional writings that I urge on them. such as this gem that I call “the Lutheran Confessions in a nutshell”, which is dr luther´s preface to his 1545 romans commentary.

    I consider this to be a part of our confessions because the confessions refer to it directly as a further explanation of what they say , along with the galatians commentary of luther , the witenberg concord, and a couple of find luther sermons.

    here , s bauer, this is one of the things I am trying to plagarize from:

    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    and to those following the comments on the 10 commandments, this will be a great help.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    s bauer @ 27

    thanks for the feedback . it is useful to me. My aim is really not to avoid cliches. that is generous of you to make excuses for my failure at prose.

    my aim is to just try to faithfully repeat what I read in our Confessions in a way that overcomes the problems with translating stuff from german and makes it speak plain english.

    I was not aware that comments are turned off on my blog at thirduse.com I will go and see about that. I need to really rework it and come up with much shorter posts that home in on pivot points of our confessions.

    the way I can tell that I am succeeding at what I aim to do is when others come back at me all excited because suddenly they too are in love with parts our our confessional writings that I urge on them. such as this gem that I call “the Lutheran Confessions in a nutshell”, which is dr luther´s preface to his 1545 romans commentary.

    I consider this to be a part of our confessions because the confessions refer to it directly as a further explanation of what they say , along with the galatians commentary of luther , the witenberg concord, and a couple of find luther sermons.

    here , s bauer, this is one of the things I am trying to plagarize from:

    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    and to those following the comments on the 10 commandments, this will be a great help.

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

    Vision Forum’s top 10 from 2010 and Vision for 2011.

    http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ccfecb79#/ccfecb79/1

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

    Vision Forum’s top 10 from 2010 and Vision for 2011.

    http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ccfecb79#/ccfecb79/1

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 29

    and a very merry winter soltice to you as well dear sg!

    there is nothing in that link that could not be said if christ had not risen from the dead. Not. one. thing.

    slapping the name christian on something that even pagans are supposed to do and often do better does not make that something christian.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 29

    and a very merry winter soltice to you as well dear sg!

    there is nothing in that link that could not be said if christ had not risen from the dead. Not. one. thing.

    slapping the name christian on something that even pagans are supposed to do and often do better does not make that something christian.

  • Dan Kempin

    fws #5,

    Hear, hear!

  • Dan Kempin

    fws #5,

    Hear, hear!

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

    fws, I think you are a little harsh. Their suggestions seem pretty good. They may not be perfect (no one is), but they are trying. What specifically do you object to?

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

    fws, I think you are a little harsh. Their suggestions seem pretty good. They may not be perfect (no one is), but they are trying. What specifically do you object to?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 32

    which particular observation is harsh? The first article goodness that our fatherly God works in the world is done without our faith, prayers , worthiness etc.

    Everything mentioned IS a good idea sg! If it improves the creaturely happiness of others it is the righteousness on earth God demands and makes happen! good good good.

    It is also law law law! There is no Christ or gospel in any of that. So how exactly is it “a little harsh” to point that fact out and make it crystal clear? there is NOTHING at all christian about anything in that site. Pagans do a better job at all of that usually than we christians do.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 32

    which particular observation is harsh? The first article goodness that our fatherly God works in the world is done without our faith, prayers , worthiness etc.

    Everything mentioned IS a good idea sg! If it improves the creaturely happiness of others it is the righteousness on earth God demands and makes happen! good good good.

    It is also law law law! There is no Christ or gospel in any of that. So how exactly is it “a little harsh” to point that fact out and make it crystal clear? there is NOTHING at all christian about anything in that site. Pagans do a better job at all of that usually than we christians do.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ if you can say anything at all without christ needing to have risen from the dead to say it ,…

    then it might be TRULY good and God pleasing, but it is not at all christian.

    this should not feel harsh to you to make this judgement dear lutheran sister.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ if you can say anything at all without christ needing to have risen from the dead to say it ,…

    then it might be TRULY good and God pleasing, but it is not at all christian.

    this should not feel harsh to you to make this judgement dear lutheran sister.

  • kerner

    S Bauer @11:

    I didn’t mean to kvetch, and I’m sorry if it came out that way. I just wanted a progress report, which two comenters have given me. So, thanks Carl & Dr.L for the updates. I hope that things go well.

    Also, I tend to agree that what is called “confessional” these days does not seem to me to be all that much about the confessions (at least not always). In drawing back from American protestantism, I just hope the LCMS does not overcompensate and swerve too close to Roman traditionalism. But that said, the withdrawal from American protestantism is clearly the right thing for the LCMS to do now.

  • kerner

    S Bauer @11:

    I didn’t mean to kvetch, and I’m sorry if it came out that way. I just wanted a progress report, which two comenters have given me. So, thanks Carl & Dr.L for the updates. I hope that things go well.

    Also, I tend to agree that what is called “confessional” these days does not seem to me to be all that much about the confessions (at least not always). In drawing back from American protestantism, I just hope the LCMS does not overcompensate and swerve too close to Roman traditionalism. But that said, the withdrawal from American protestantism is clearly the right thing for the LCMS to do now.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 35

    the swerve backwards to pre augsburg confession reliance on natural law and philosophical righeousness is exactly what we are starting to do in the LCMS. It is a movement back Rome.

    Concordia has a book out that is a “Lutheran reevaluation of natural law” with the stated main benefit of this move being mainly to do with homosexuality according to Paul Mc Cain.

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2010/10/29/important-long-overdue-book-on-natural-law-is-coming-soon/

    So (not!)cool. We have juicy natural law argument against homosexuality in exchange for forsaking the apology article XXIII explicit and categorical rejection of the aquinan and scholastic form of “natural law.”

    for lutherans “natural law” is the law written in the conscience. period.

    Our confessions explicitly split out and separate from moral law, the category of “God´s Ordinance” which would include natural laws discoverable by science like the law of gravity, the sex drive, and other physical and biological laws.

    caal braatens review breezily ignores this pivotal explicit and intentional Lutheran and Confessional departure from scholastic aristotelian categories that is so absolutely critical, according to the Confessions this way:

    “No contemporary thinker is interested in a wooden repristination of the natural law that is tied necessarily to the particular metaphysical foundations in the Thomistic–Aristotelian synthesis.”

    It is as if the Lutheran Confessions did not explicitly reject thomistic aristotelian philosophical (read “natural” ) righteousness!

    They do!

    Happy winter solstice CPH!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 35

    the swerve backwards to pre augsburg confession reliance on natural law and philosophical righeousness is exactly what we are starting to do in the LCMS. It is a movement back Rome.

    Concordia has a book out that is a “Lutheran reevaluation of natural law” with the stated main benefit of this move being mainly to do with homosexuality according to Paul Mc Cain.

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2010/10/29/important-long-overdue-book-on-natural-law-is-coming-soon/

    So (not!)cool. We have juicy natural law argument against homosexuality in exchange for forsaking the apology article XXIII explicit and categorical rejection of the aquinan and scholastic form of “natural law.”

    for lutherans “natural law” is the law written in the conscience. period.

    Our confessions explicitly split out and separate from moral law, the category of “God´s Ordinance” which would include natural laws discoverable by science like the law of gravity, the sex drive, and other physical and biological laws.

    caal braatens review breezily ignores this pivotal explicit and intentional Lutheran and Confessional departure from scholastic aristotelian categories that is so absolutely critical, according to the Confessions this way:

    “No contemporary thinker is interested in a wooden repristination of the natural law that is tied necessarily to the particular metaphysical foundations in the Thomistic–Aristotelian synthesis.”

    It is as if the Lutheran Confessions did not explicitly reject thomistic aristotelian philosophical (read “natural” ) righteousness!

    They do!

    Happy winter solstice CPH!

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

    So, what happened to the ’10 biggest religious stories’ of 2010?
    I’m pleased about the election of Pr Harrison because he brings the qualities of both a theologian and a pastor to the position, which is exactly what it requires, but isn’t the direction of this thread a good example of how insular we ‘confessional Lutherans’ can be?

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

    So, what happened to the ’10 biggest religious stories’ of 2010?
    I’m pleased about the election of Pr Harrison because he brings the qualities of both a theologian and a pastor to the position, which is exactly what it requires, but isn’t the direction of this thread a good example of how insular we ‘confessional Lutherans’ can be?

  • Tom Hering

    The Religion Newswriters Association’s 2010 Religion Stories of the Year

    1. A proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero leads to a national debate on religious freedom, with strong statements on both sides as the 9/11 anniversary approached. A Gainesville, Fla., pastor, who vowed to burn copies of the Qu’ran in protest, backs down.

    2. The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti sparks relief efforts by many and varied faith-based groups. One by Idaho Southern Baptists leads to child-smuggling accusations, as well as to examinations of others’ practices. Leader Laura Silsby is imprisoned for four months.

    3. Pope Benedict XVI is accused of delaying church action against pedophile priests in Ireland, Germany, the United States and other countries when he led the Vatican office in charge of discipline 1981 to 2005. Several bishops resign. Benedict continues to criticize the church’s handling of past cases.

    4. The rise of the Tea Party movement is seen by some as a return to political prominence for the religious right; others see it as stressing economic rather than social issues. Mormon Glenn Beck pushes a Washington rally. Election results are mixed. One Tea Party candidate who loses, however, is Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who was pilloried for responding to critics with an ad that stated, “I am not a witch.”

    5. President Obama signs the health-care reform bill for which many faith-based groups labored. Near year’s end the Catholic bishops repeat their strong opposition to it due to the belief that it provides funding for abortions, and lament support some Catholics gave it.

    6. Sexuality continues as a hot topic among mainline congregations. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA votes for the fourth time to lift the ban on noncelibate gay clergy; the presbyteries are again voting on it. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America suffers scores of defections after its 2009 vote on the issue. The Episcopal Church is asked by the archbishop of Canterbury to take a lesser role in the Anglican Communion after a lesbian assistant bishop is ordained.

    7. The prolonged economic slump spells trouble for additional churches and ministries. In the highest profile case, the Crystal Cathedral declares bankruptcy after downsizing efforts fall short. The Lutheran publishing house, Augsburg Fortress, drops its pension plan; Focus on the Family cuts 110 employees; the Seventh-day Adventist publishing arm removes top executives.

    8. Bullying draws attention with several suicides attributed to it, including a New Jersey college student. Religious groups strongly condemn it, but some see it as having religious roots, especially in regards to homosexuality. Several religious voices take part in the “It gets better” YouTube video project to encourage gay youth not to commit suicide or succumb to depression.

    9. The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey released by the Pew Forum offers some surprising findings, including that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons had the highest correct answers.

    10. The U.S. Supreme Court convenes for the first time ever without a Protestant in its number (6 Catholics and 3 Jews). The court hears arguments in the case of the Kansas church that loudly protests at funerals of servicemen; the decision will come this spring. The Court earlier allows a cross to remain at least temporarily on National Park land in the Mojave Desert, but then the cross is stolen.

  • Tom Hering

    The Religion Newswriters Association’s 2010 Religion Stories of the Year

    1. A proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero leads to a national debate on religious freedom, with strong statements on both sides as the 9/11 anniversary approached. A Gainesville, Fla., pastor, who vowed to burn copies of the Qu’ran in protest, backs down.

    2. The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti sparks relief efforts by many and varied faith-based groups. One by Idaho Southern Baptists leads to child-smuggling accusations, as well as to examinations of others’ practices. Leader Laura Silsby is imprisoned for four months.

    3. Pope Benedict XVI is accused of delaying church action against pedophile priests in Ireland, Germany, the United States and other countries when he led the Vatican office in charge of discipline 1981 to 2005. Several bishops resign. Benedict continues to criticize the church’s handling of past cases.

    4. The rise of the Tea Party movement is seen by some as a return to political prominence for the religious right; others see it as stressing economic rather than social issues. Mormon Glenn Beck pushes a Washington rally. Election results are mixed. One Tea Party candidate who loses, however, is Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who was pilloried for responding to critics with an ad that stated, “I am not a witch.”

    5. President Obama signs the health-care reform bill for which many faith-based groups labored. Near year’s end the Catholic bishops repeat their strong opposition to it due to the belief that it provides funding for abortions, and lament support some Catholics gave it.

    6. Sexuality continues as a hot topic among mainline congregations. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA votes for the fourth time to lift the ban on noncelibate gay clergy; the presbyteries are again voting on it. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America suffers scores of defections after its 2009 vote on the issue. The Episcopal Church is asked by the archbishop of Canterbury to take a lesser role in the Anglican Communion after a lesbian assistant bishop is ordained.

    7. The prolonged economic slump spells trouble for additional churches and ministries. In the highest profile case, the Crystal Cathedral declares bankruptcy after downsizing efforts fall short. The Lutheran publishing house, Augsburg Fortress, drops its pension plan; Focus on the Family cuts 110 employees; the Seventh-day Adventist publishing arm removes top executives.

    8. Bullying draws attention with several suicides attributed to it, including a New Jersey college student. Religious groups strongly condemn it, but some see it as having religious roots, especially in regards to homosexuality. Several religious voices take part in the “It gets better” YouTube video project to encourage gay youth not to commit suicide or succumb to depression.

    9. The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey released by the Pew Forum offers some surprising findings, including that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons had the highest correct answers.

    10. The U.S. Supreme Court convenes for the first time ever without a Protestant in its number (6 Catholics and 3 Jews). The court hears arguments in the case of the Kansas church that loudly protests at funerals of servicemen; the decision will come this spring. The Court earlier allows a cross to remain at least temporarily on National Park land in the Mojave Desert, but then the cross is stolen.

  • Tom Hering

    A new article about life at Christ Church, Jerusalem after the murder of Kristine Luken.

  • Tom Hering

    A new article about life at Christ Church, Jerusalem after the murder of Kristine Luken.

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

    Still a very American-centric list, Tom (not your fault, I know).
    I suspect 7/10 of those items didn’t rate a blip on the news radar outside the US. I suppose we all tend to focus on our own backyard, though. Here’s some stories that made the news down here, even on commercial TV bulletins – the Pope’s offer to Anglicans (already mentioned); prayers for Christopher Hitchens and his response; Hitchens talks up cultural value of Christianity; Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy (no basis in fact), then reprieved, only to become target of would-be assassins.

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

    Still a very American-centric list, Tom (not your fault, I know).
    I suspect 7/10 of those items didn’t rate a blip on the news radar outside the US. I suppose we all tend to focus on our own backyard, though. Here’s some stories that made the news down here, even on commercial TV bulletins – the Pope’s offer to Anglicans (already mentioned); prayers for Christopher Hitchens and his response; Hitchens talks up cultural value of Christianity; Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy (no basis in fact), then reprieved, only to become target of would-be assassins.

  • Sg

    “So if we are against women pastors and synodical presidents then we are also against women CEOs and government officials as well.”

    Utility theory alone is enough to provide ample justification to oppose women in such positions.

  • Sg

    “So if we are against women pastors and synodical presidents then we are also against women CEOs and government officials as well.”

    Utility theory alone is enough to provide ample justification to oppose women in such positions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 41

    the important point in that observation is that the observation has to do with the earthly kingdom of romans 8 flesh and body that will perish.

    Such things have nothing to do with christianity or the heavenly kingdom that will endure to eternity. This is true both inside and outside the church.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 41

    the important point in that observation is that the observation has to do with the earthly kingdom of romans 8 flesh and body that will perish.

    Such things have nothing to do with christianity or the heavenly kingdom that will endure to eternity. This is true both inside and outside the church.

  • Sg

    Fws @ 42
    Hardly an argument in favor of abuse and exploitation.

  • Sg

    Fws @ 42
    Hardly an argument in favor of abuse and exploitation.


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