Nominal Christians

In an article about sociologist Bradley Wright’s book  Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media journalist Adelle M. Banks discusses his findings that Christians who go to church regularly have lower divorce rates, contrary to the assertion of other researchers that Christians have the same divorce rate as everybody else.

We’ve talked about that topic, but what I’d like us to consider is another issue raised in the story:

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, agrees there’s been some confusion.

“You do hear, both in Christian and non-Christian circles, that Christians are no different from anyone else when it comes to divorce and that is not true if you are focusing on Christians who are regular church attendees,” he said.

Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35 percent less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.

Less active conservative Protestants, on the other hand, were 20 percent more likely to divorce than the religiously unaffiliated.

“There’s something about being a ‘nominal Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life,” Wilcox said.

via Christians question conventional wisdom on divorce – KansasCity.com.

“Nominal Christians.”   We often say that churches are full of nominal Christians.  But it is probably more to the point that nominal Christians–including many who would classify themselves as “born again” and “conservative”–do not generally go to church.  They are Christians in name only, as opposed to Christians, whatever their faults, who attend worship services where, to whatever measure, they seek God and receive His Word.  That’s not being “nominal.”

There is no longer any cultural pressure to attend church, as there once was, and indeed the cultural pressure is in the other direction.  So those who are in church, I would argue, on some level, really mean it.

I wish I knew more about what Wilcox says about “a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life” that are associated with “nominal Christians.”  I suppose someone who is Christian in name only may well consider himself or herself married in name only, carrying over the tendency for superficial commitment in all relationships, with spouse as well as with God.

Can anyone fill in what Wilcox says?

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.

  • Porcell

    The answer to Veith’s question is probably in Wilcox’s book Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands. Has anyone here read it?

    There is a U. Virginia , article stating that Wilcox’s findings include:

    Evangelical Protestant family men who frequently attend church have the highest rates of involvement in one-on-one activities and youth activities of any major religious group in the United States;

    Churchgoing Evangelical Protestant family men are more likely than any other major religious or secular group to know where their children are at all times;
    Evangelical Protestant wives whose husbands attend church regularly report the highest levels of happiness with their husbands’ love and affection of any major religious or secular group in the study;

    Evangelical Protestant wives whose husbands attend church regularly reported the lowest levels of domestic violence of any major religious or secular group studied;
    Mainline Protestant family men who attend church regularly are also more involved and affectionate with their children than religiously.

    My sense is that the ferocity of secular culture is such that nominal Christians lack the steadfast principles to overcome the looseness involved with “mom and dad” as opposed to “father and mother” types of marriage.

  • Porcell

    The answer to Veith’s question is probably in Wilcox’s book Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands. Has anyone here read it?

    There is a U. Virginia , article stating that Wilcox’s findings include:

    Evangelical Protestant family men who frequently attend church have the highest rates of involvement in one-on-one activities and youth activities of any major religious group in the United States;

    Churchgoing Evangelical Protestant family men are more likely than any other major religious or secular group to know where their children are at all times;
    Evangelical Protestant wives whose husbands attend church regularly report the highest levels of happiness with their husbands’ love and affection of any major religious or secular group in the study;

    Evangelical Protestant wives whose husbands attend church regularly reported the lowest levels of domestic violence of any major religious or secular group studied;
    Mainline Protestant family men who attend church regularly are also more involved and affectionate with their children than religiously.

    My sense is that the ferocity of secular culture is such that nominal Christians lack the steadfast principles to overcome the looseness involved with “mom and dad” as opposed to “father and mother” types of marriage.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I go to church twice a week . Me and others like me would need to be fully included in the population of this survey.

    When we go to church, we need to really, REALLY mean it for in most cases we are not really welcomed. Probably the percentage gays in churches who attend faithfully is higher than in the general population. Why? We are more desparate to hear the Holy Gospel than most are.

    So what to make of statistics….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I go to church twice a week . Me and others like me would need to be fully included in the population of this survey.

    When we go to church, we need to really, REALLY mean it for in most cases we are not really welcomed. Probably the percentage gays in churches who attend faithfully is higher than in the general population. Why? We are more desparate to hear the Holy Gospel than most are.

    So what to make of statistics….

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

    I don’t like this term nominal Christian. I suppose I have used it before. And it seems to me a recent bee buzzing my bonnet, but I don’t like the term.
    I guess because it marginalizes baptism. It makes being a Christian dependent on what he/she is doing. It is judgmental, and a bit unbecoming.
    What makes us Christian is our baptism, and nothing short of full scale rejection of your baptism changes that. If a baptized soul tells me he is not christian than so be it, he is not Christian.
    But one missing church, or going to church rather sporadically indicates to me a suffering sheep that doesn’t need to be further condemned and marginalized by the supposedly “dedicated” Christians, or what ever adjective they use in opposition to nominal.

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

    I don’t like this term nominal Christian. I suppose I have used it before. And it seems to me a recent bee buzzing my bonnet, but I don’t like the term.
    I guess because it marginalizes baptism. It makes being a Christian dependent on what he/she is doing. It is judgmental, and a bit unbecoming.
    What makes us Christian is our baptism, and nothing short of full scale rejection of your baptism changes that. If a baptized soul tells me he is not christian than so be it, he is not Christian.
    But one missing church, or going to church rather sporadically indicates to me a suffering sheep that doesn’t need to be further condemned and marginalized by the supposedly “dedicated” Christians, or what ever adjective they use in opposition to nominal.

  • Stephen

    I suspect many will now pile on Bror the way they piled on me at the other thread on this same topic for making some kind of theological conclusion that this sociologist never intended.

  • Stephen

    I suspect many will now pile on Bror the way they piled on me at the other thread on this same topic for making some kind of theological conclusion that this sociologist never intended.

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

    Stephen, I can take it :)

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

    Stephen, I can take it :)

  • WebMonk

    I think “nominal Christian” is more of a physical description terminology thing than a deeper statement about the state of their souls.

    They need to have some sort of handy term to differentiate the group of Christians who are actively involved in their local church through regular attendance at services, from the group of Christians who attend services less than a handful of times throughout the year, primarily around Christmas and Easter time.

    Sporadic Involvement Christians? Too big of a mouthful, and the acronym may not be appreciated. “… the SIC group…” :-)
    Nominal attendees? Too generic. Could apply to concert-goers.
    Low-involvement Christians? Maybe, but still a bit vague, since it would possibly describe Christians who attend regularly but don’t involve themselves in any other way.

    Suggestions for such terms would be welcome. Otherwise don’t complain about the terms. :-)

    There’s my pile-on!

  • WebMonk

    I think “nominal Christian” is more of a physical description terminology thing than a deeper statement about the state of their souls.

    They need to have some sort of handy term to differentiate the group of Christians who are actively involved in their local church through regular attendance at services, from the group of Christians who attend services less than a handful of times throughout the year, primarily around Christmas and Easter time.

    Sporadic Involvement Christians? Too big of a mouthful, and the acronym may not be appreciated. “… the SIC group…” :-)
    Nominal attendees? Too generic. Could apply to concert-goers.
    Low-involvement Christians? Maybe, but still a bit vague, since it would possibly describe Christians who attend regularly but don’t involve themselves in any other way.

    Suggestions for such terms would be welcome. Otherwise don’t complain about the terms. :-)

    There’s my pile-on!

  • Jerry

    As for pastoral care of the nominal Christian, I’m surprised Bror doesn’t quote Bo Giertz. The Hammer of God is the manual.

  • Jerry

    As for pastoral care of the nominal Christian, I’m surprised Bror doesn’t quote Bo Giertz. The Hammer of God is the manual.

  • Tom Hering

    I’m with Bror on this 100%.

    Webmonk, churchless Christians? Nah, every Christian is part of the capital “C” Church. Congregationless Christians? Nah, every Christian identifies with some local/regional body of believers, if only at arm’s length. Maybe just … Christians. Yeah, that’s it.

    Why this need to denote second-class status based on attendance and involvement? Who does that serve?

  • Tom Hering

    I’m with Bror on this 100%.

    Webmonk, churchless Christians? Nah, every Christian is part of the capital “C” Church. Congregationless Christians? Nah, every Christian identifies with some local/regional body of believers, if only at arm’s length. Maybe just … Christians. Yeah, that’s it.

    Why this need to denote second-class status based on attendance and involvement? Who does that serve?

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

    Jerry,
    I suppose because I have already done that once today: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2011/03/rosenius-on-receiving-spirit.html
    Have to economize that a bit you know? I mean he comes up a lot in conversation with me for some reason. But you are right it is the manual.
    You should see the work I’m translating now, if you want to see a real manual on pastoral care! That man knew what he was doing.

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

    Jerry,
    I suppose because I have already done that once today: http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/2011/03/rosenius-on-receiving-spirit.html
    Have to economize that a bit you know? I mean he comes up a lot in conversation with me for some reason. But you are right it is the manual.
    You should see the work I’m translating now, if you want to see a real manual on pastoral care! That man knew what he was doing.

  • Michael Mapus

    Large Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar

    42] Now, it is true, as we have said, that no one should by any means be coerced or compelled, lest we institute a new murdering of souls. Nevertheless, it must be known that such people as deprive themselves of, and withdraw from, the Sacrament so long a time are not to be considered Christians. For Christ has not instituted it to be treated as a show, but has commanded His Christians to eat and drink it, and thereby remember Him.

    43] And, indeed, those who are true Christians and esteem the Sacrament precious and holy will urge and impel themselves unto it. Yet that the simple-minded and the weak who also would like to be Christians be the more incited to consider the cause and need which ought to impel them, we will treat somewhat of this point. 44] For as in other matters pertaining to faith, love, and patience, it is not enough to teach and instruct only, but there is need also of daily exhortation, so here also there is need of continuing to preach that men may not become weary and disgusted, since we know and feel how the devil always opposes this and every Christian exercise, and drives and deters therefrom as much as he can.

    45] And we have, in the first place, the clear text in the very words of Christ: Do this in remembrance of Me. These are bidding and commanding words by which all who would be Christians are enjoined to partake of this Sacrament. Therefore, whoever would be a disciple of Christ, with whom He here speaks, must also consider and observe this, not from compulsion, as being forced by men, but in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to please Him. 46] However, if you say: But the words are added, As oft as ye do it; there He compels no one, but leaves it to our free choice, answer: 47] That is true, yet it is not written that we should never do so. Yea, just because He speaks the words, As oft as ye do it, it is nevertheless implied that we should do it often; and it is added for the reason that He wishes to have the Sacrament free, not limited to special times, like the Passover of the Jews, which they were obliged to eat only once a year, and that just upon the fourteenth day of the first full moon in the evening, and which they must not vary a day. As if He would say by these words: I institute a Passover or Supper for you which you shall enjoy not only once a year, just upon this evening, but often, when and where you will, according to every one’s opportunity and necessity, bound to no place or appointed time; 48] although the Pope afterwards perverted it, and again made a Jewish feast of it.

    49] Thus, you perceive, it is not left free in the sense that we may despise it. For that I call despising it if one allow so long a time to elapse and with nothing to hinder him yet never feels a desire for it. if you wish such liberty, you may just as well have the liberty to be no Christian, and neither have to believe nor pray; for the one is just as much the command of Christ as the other. But if you wish to be a Christian, you must from time to time render satisfaction and obedience to this commandment. 50] For this commandment ought ever to move you to examine yourself and to think: See, what sort of a Christian I am! If I were one, I would certainly have some little longing for that which my Lord has commanded [me] to do.

    51] And, indeed, since we act such strangers to it, it is easily seen what sort of Christians we were under the Papacy, namely, that we went from mere compulsion and fear of human commandments, without inclination and love, and never regarded the commandment of Christ. 52] But we neither force nor compel any one; nor need any one do it to serve or please us. But this should induce and constrain you by itself, that He desires it and that it is pleasing to Him. You must not suffer men to coerce you unto faith or any good work. We are doing no more than to say and exhort you as to what you ought to do, not for our sake, but for your own sake. He invites and allures you; if you despise it, you must answer for it yourself.

    Question, would Luther use the term nominal, for those who do not attend the Divine Service? No, he just didn’t consider them christians!

  • Michael Mapus

    Large Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar

    42] Now, it is true, as we have said, that no one should by any means be coerced or compelled, lest we institute a new murdering of souls. Nevertheless, it must be known that such people as deprive themselves of, and withdraw from, the Sacrament so long a time are not to be considered Christians. For Christ has not instituted it to be treated as a show, but has commanded His Christians to eat and drink it, and thereby remember Him.

    43] And, indeed, those who are true Christians and esteem the Sacrament precious and holy will urge and impel themselves unto it. Yet that the simple-minded and the weak who also would like to be Christians be the more incited to consider the cause and need which ought to impel them, we will treat somewhat of this point. 44] For as in other matters pertaining to faith, love, and patience, it is not enough to teach and instruct only, but there is need also of daily exhortation, so here also there is need of continuing to preach that men may not become weary and disgusted, since we know and feel how the devil always opposes this and every Christian exercise, and drives and deters therefrom as much as he can.

    45] And we have, in the first place, the clear text in the very words of Christ: Do this in remembrance of Me. These are bidding and commanding words by which all who would be Christians are enjoined to partake of this Sacrament. Therefore, whoever would be a disciple of Christ, with whom He here speaks, must also consider and observe this, not from compulsion, as being forced by men, but in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to please Him. 46] However, if you say: But the words are added, As oft as ye do it; there He compels no one, but leaves it to our free choice, answer: 47] That is true, yet it is not written that we should never do so. Yea, just because He speaks the words, As oft as ye do it, it is nevertheless implied that we should do it often; and it is added for the reason that He wishes to have the Sacrament free, not limited to special times, like the Passover of the Jews, which they were obliged to eat only once a year, and that just upon the fourteenth day of the first full moon in the evening, and which they must not vary a day. As if He would say by these words: I institute a Passover or Supper for you which you shall enjoy not only once a year, just upon this evening, but often, when and where you will, according to every one’s opportunity and necessity, bound to no place or appointed time; 48] although the Pope afterwards perverted it, and again made a Jewish feast of it.

    49] Thus, you perceive, it is not left free in the sense that we may despise it. For that I call despising it if one allow so long a time to elapse and with nothing to hinder him yet never feels a desire for it. if you wish such liberty, you may just as well have the liberty to be no Christian, and neither have to believe nor pray; for the one is just as much the command of Christ as the other. But if you wish to be a Christian, you must from time to time render satisfaction and obedience to this commandment. 50] For this commandment ought ever to move you to examine yourself and to think: See, what sort of a Christian I am! If I were one, I would certainly have some little longing for that which my Lord has commanded [me] to do.

    51] And, indeed, since we act such strangers to it, it is easily seen what sort of Christians we were under the Papacy, namely, that we went from mere compulsion and fear of human commandments, without inclination and love, and never regarded the commandment of Christ. 52] But we neither force nor compel any one; nor need any one do it to serve or please us. But this should induce and constrain you by itself, that He desires it and that it is pleasing to Him. You must not suffer men to coerce you unto faith or any good work. We are doing no more than to say and exhort you as to what you ought to do, not for our sake, but for your own sake. He invites and allures you; if you despise it, you must answer for it yourself.

    Question, would Luther use the term nominal, for those who do not attend the Divine Service? No, he just didn’t consider them christians!

  • WebMonk

    Tom, who does it serve? How about the researchers studying what sort of effect regular church attendance has on people’s behavior?

    If you want to study the behavior of blonds compared to that of browns, you have to have some sort of term to refer to one group and not another (aka “blond” and “brown”) – it gets really confusing if you just call them all “people”.

    So, if you want to look at the behavior of people who are actively involved in their local church through regular attendance at services and other gatherings, compared to the group of Christians who attend services less than a handful of times throughout the year, primarily around Christmas and Easter time, you need to have different terms to reference the two groups.

    It gets really confusing if the researchers just call them the exact same thing. So, they make different terms.

    If you don’t like the term they use, what term(s) would you suggest the researches use to refer to one grouping and not the other?

  • WebMonk

    Tom, who does it serve? How about the researchers studying what sort of effect regular church attendance has on people’s behavior?

    If you want to study the behavior of blonds compared to that of browns, you have to have some sort of term to refer to one group and not another (aka “blond” and “brown”) – it gets really confusing if you just call them all “people”.

    So, if you want to look at the behavior of people who are actively involved in their local church through regular attendance at services and other gatherings, compared to the group of Christians who attend services less than a handful of times throughout the year, primarily around Christmas and Easter time, you need to have different terms to reference the two groups.

    It gets really confusing if the researchers just call them the exact same thing. So, they make different terms.

    If you don’t like the term they use, what term(s) would you suggest the researches use to refer to one grouping and not the other?

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

    Not so much complaining about the terms as I am the whole futile effort that needs to cause divisions within the body of Christ to proceed!

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

    Not so much complaining about the terms as I am the whole futile effort that needs to cause divisions within the body of Christ to proceed!

  • WebMonk

    Ahh, I see now Bror. Instead of the terms, you just think that no one should ever study Christians in any detail. Got it.

    (at least that’s what your @12 sounds like it’s saying)

  • WebMonk

    Ahh, I see now Bror. Instead of the terms, you just think that no one should ever study Christians in any detail. Got it.

    (at least that’s what your @12 sounds like it’s saying)

  • DonS

    I’m with Webmonk on this one. We are talking about fruit of the Spirit, not the state of souls. These particular studies are typically used by secularists to undermine religious faith, by falsely concluding that practicing Christians are just as scornful of the institution of marriage as non-Christians. There is value in pointing out that those who are not disobeying God, by forsaking the assembling of believers together, do value their marriage vows at substantially higher rates. It’s not an issue of division. It’s an issue of clarification and information.

  • DonS

    I’m with Webmonk on this one. We are talking about fruit of the Spirit, not the state of souls. These particular studies are typically used by secularists to undermine religious faith, by falsely concluding that practicing Christians are just as scornful of the institution of marriage as non-Christians. There is value in pointing out that those who are not disobeying God, by forsaking the assembling of believers together, do value their marriage vows at substantially higher rates. It’s not an issue of division. It’s an issue of clarification and information.

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

    Yep, pegged it Webmonk.
    As usual, read more into it than is there, or otherwise fail to comprehend.

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

    Yep, pegged it Webmonk.
    As usual, read more into it than is there, or otherwise fail to comprehend.

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

    Michael,
    exactly, those are your two options.
    By the way our confessions would also say that DonS and Webmonk never go to the sacrament of the altar, given the nature of what there church confesses concerning that sacrament. And therefore these men are not Christians according to what you have posted.

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

    Michael,
    exactly, those are your two options.
    By the way our confessions would also say that DonS and Webmonk never go to the sacrament of the altar, given the nature of what there church confesses concerning that sacrament. And therefore these men are not Christians according to what you have posted.

  • Tom Hering

    If “nominal” was used exclusively by researchers, I’d have no problem with the term. But that’s far from the case. Plus, researchers seem to have lifted the term – and its meaning – from church culture.

  • Tom Hering

    If “nominal” was used exclusively by researchers, I’d have no problem with the term. But that’s far from the case. Plus, researchers seem to have lifted the term – and its meaning – from church culture.

  • Tom Hering

    In other words, “nominal” is not an objective, social science term. It’s packed with non-scientific meaning.

  • Tom Hering

    In other words, “nominal” is not an objective, social science term. It’s packed with non-scientific meaning.

  • steve

    Taking for granted that the conclusions drawn about “nominal Christians” is true, perhaps its like a man who ate only one meal every several days. He would stumble around in weakness, confusion, and agitation most of the day. Ethics and moral judgment would take a back seat to basic survival instincts. Perhaps it is as James says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

  • steve

    Taking for granted that the conclusions drawn about “nominal Christians” is true, perhaps its like a man who ate only one meal every several days. He would stumble around in weakness, confusion, and agitation most of the day. Ethics and moral judgment would take a back seat to basic survival instincts. Perhaps it is as James says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

  • Tom Hering

    Michael Mapus @ 10, Luther is saying that those who never feel a desire for the Sacrament are not Christians. And he’s right. I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t feel at least a tiny little desire for it.

  • Tom Hering

    Michael Mapus @ 10, Luther is saying that those who never feel a desire for the Sacrament are not Christians. And he’s right. I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t feel at least a tiny little desire for it.

  • steve

    Forgive the grammar in the above.

  • steve

    Forgive the grammar in the above.

  • Michael Mapus

    Bror,

    Exactly where does our Confessions state that those you don’t have the true Sacrament, are not Christians? They only state they don’t have the true Sacrament. Luther is addressing those who “dispise” the Sacrament, as along with this thread, those who “dispise” attending worship. Our Confessions would question one’s christianity only if they turned the Sacrament into a metorius work or sacrifice, as does the RC church. Or as Luther does, those who know the truth about the Sacrament, but still dispise it. Also in the same breath, our Confessions would state that there Christians in the RC church and are part of the invisible church by faith. I believe according to the Scriptures and our Confessions, DonS and Webmonk, do not have the true Sacrament, but according to the same sign, they are brothers in Christ. Please don’t waste my time with strawmen.

  • Michael Mapus

    Bror,

    Exactly where does our Confessions state that those you don’t have the true Sacrament, are not Christians? They only state they don’t have the true Sacrament. Luther is addressing those who “dispise” the Sacrament, as along with this thread, those who “dispise” attending worship. Our Confessions would question one’s christianity only if they turned the Sacrament into a metorius work or sacrifice, as does the RC church. Or as Luther does, those who know the truth about the Sacrament, but still dispise it. Also in the same breath, our Confessions would state that there Christians in the RC church and are part of the invisible church by faith. I believe according to the Scriptures and our Confessions, DonS and Webmonk, do not have the true Sacrament, but according to the same sign, they are brothers in Christ. Please don’t waste my time with strawmen.

  • Stephen

    I knew you could take it Bror. I see the shotgun ;)

    Carry on brother.

  • Stephen

    I knew you could take it Bror. I see the shotgun ;)

    Carry on brother.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, then what term would you suggest they use? You don’t like the word “nominal” Fine. What’s a better term?

    Something that is a generally accurate description of the broad makeup as observable through questionnaires/phone surveys, something that is short (one or two words at most), and communicates the broad concept to the general public (Christian and non-Christian).

  • WebMonk

    Tom, then what term would you suggest they use? You don’t like the word “nominal” Fine. What’s a better term?

    Something that is a generally accurate description of the broad makeup as observable through questionnaires/phone surveys, something that is short (one or two words at most), and communicates the broad concept to the general public (Christian and non-Christian).

  • Michael Mapus

    Tom,

    Luther also states that those who deprive and withdrawl. Read the first paragraph.

  • Michael Mapus

    Tom,

    Luther also states that those who deprive and withdrawl. Read the first paragraph.

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

    Michael,
    “Luther is addressing those who “dispise” the Sacrament, as along with this thread, those who “dispise” attending worship.”

    Listen if the church isn’t giving them what they are supposed to be getting, then neither are they dispising the sacrament or worship by not attending. Get it yet?

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

    Michael,
    “Luther is addressing those who “dispise” the Sacrament, as along with this thread, those who “dispise” attending worship.”

    Listen if the church isn’t giving them what they are supposed to be getting, then neither are they dispising the sacrament or worship by not attending. Get it yet?

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

    And I do believe that should be despise, but then I’m one notorious for typos.

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

    And I do believe that should be despise, but then I’m one notorious for typos.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Michael @ 22

    You are looking in the wrong place if you want to know how the Lutheran Confessions tell you how you can identify who is or is not in the Holy Christian Church as the Communion of Saints, and who is or is not a Christian.

    The Lutheran Confessions will not tell you how you can do either of those things.

    Now as to who is under that earthly visible government God has instituted called the Christian Church, the passport holders are those who have been baptized. And christians recognize others who have been baptized as christians and address them as such until they renounce their baptism. We do this out of love and not out of faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Michael @ 22

    You are looking in the wrong place if you want to know how the Lutheran Confessions tell you how you can identify who is or is not in the Holy Christian Church as the Communion of Saints, and who is or is not a Christian.

    The Lutheran Confessions will not tell you how you can do either of those things.

    Now as to who is under that earthly visible government God has instituted called the Christian Church, the passport holders are those who have been baptized. And christians recognize others who have been baptized as christians and address them as such until they renounce their baptism. We do this out of love and not out of faith.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, “nominal” Christians! Those same people who screwed up the statistics for the rest of us serious Christians! Why, if it weren’t for them, we’d look better!

    It would seem that “nominal” Christians are to be our scapegoat in modern culture. Because it just seems wrong that Christians wouldn’t be measurably better than the culture at large. That can’t be!

    This seems to be the impetus for the book — and I’ve now read decent chunks of several chapters, as much as Amazon will allow. But what’s behind this reaction? Why must it be true that Christians must act better than the rest of society? And if you believe it must, what does that say about your view of what Christianity is?

    Is the church for sinners or for people who do good? Do we want sinners to come to church? We may think that we make ourselves look better (and, goes one apparent argument in the book, we therefore look more attractive to the world — “Come join us! Be less bad!”), but if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?

    But no, the message is clear. Christianity is about what we do — if not from the book itself, then certainly from those wielding it as their latest weapon in the Culture War. Which is why we can write off infrequent attenders as not really being Christians. And also why nobody seems to think twice about the claim that people who attend church frequently are Christians. As if there were no hypocrites and pharisees in our pews. Just good folk. Who don’t have any shady pasts. The way Jesus wants it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, “nominal” Christians! Those same people who screwed up the statistics for the rest of us serious Christians! Why, if it weren’t for them, we’d look better!

    It would seem that “nominal” Christians are to be our scapegoat in modern culture. Because it just seems wrong that Christians wouldn’t be measurably better than the culture at large. That can’t be!

    This seems to be the impetus for the book — and I’ve now read decent chunks of several chapters, as much as Amazon will allow. But what’s behind this reaction? Why must it be true that Christians must act better than the rest of society? And if you believe it must, what does that say about your view of what Christianity is?

    Is the church for sinners or for people who do good? Do we want sinners to come to church? We may think that we make ourselves look better (and, goes one apparent argument in the book, we therefore look more attractive to the world — “Come join us! Be less bad!”), but if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?

    But no, the message is clear. Christianity is about what we do — if not from the book itself, then certainly from those wielding it as their latest weapon in the Culture War. Which is why we can write off infrequent attenders as not really being Christians. And also why nobody seems to think twice about the claim that people who attend church frequently are Christians. As if there were no hypocrites and pharisees in our pews. Just good folk. Who don’t have any shady pasts. The way Jesus wants it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I do have to laugh though, at that phrase: nominal Christians. Christians in name only.

    Indeed, what makes us Christian? Is it what we do? Is it how we act? Does going to church — frequently enough, of course — make me a Christian?

    When I hear about Christians in name only, I can’t help but think of this verse:

    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

    Salvation. In name only. Not in deed. Not in attendance. But only in faith in Jesus.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I do have to laugh though, at that phrase: nominal Christians. Christians in name only.

    Indeed, what makes us Christian? Is it what we do? Is it how we act? Does going to church — frequently enough, of course — make me a Christian?

    When I hear about Christians in name only, I can’t help but think of this verse:

    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

    Salvation. In name only. Not in deed. Not in attendance. But only in faith in Jesus.

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 24, infrequent churchgoer. It simply says what is occurring, without suggesting reasons why it is occurring – the way the packed term “nominal Christian” does, i.e., not on fire, lacking the Spirit, etc., etc., etc.

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 24, infrequent churchgoer. It simply says what is occurring, without suggesting reasons why it is occurring – the way the packed term “nominal Christian” does, i.e., not on fire, lacking the Spirit, etc., etc., etc.

  • Stephen

    Webmonk @ 11

    Does research that serves researchers really serve any purpose? I don’t get that, but that seems to be your answer to Tom. I mean, some interesting data perhaps, but what else does it reveal other than that?

    DonS

    And then given my question to Webmonk, how can anyone tell whether what someone does is actually fruit of the Spirit, obedience to law or some ruse to make business contacts or meet hot chicks that go to church? I mean really. I knew guys in college that went to church for just that reason – good looking women.

    My point from the other thread was “what does any of it have to do with Christ?” Nothing. It puts the focus on human behavior where it shouldn’t be, because humans are sinful even when it looks like all is well. Our morality is not our witness, neither is the successful path of our lives. all of that is temporal and fading. our witness is what has been done for us in Christ.

    If behavior is what makes us Christian, then let’ s use an adjective like “horrible” or “lousy” or “broken” or “crappy” because we are supposed to be perfect, whole, complete in every way – holy. The thing is, we are, but not because of what we do, but because of what God has done for us and which we have received in baptism.

    If anyone is in Christ they ARE a new creation. Nothing nominal about it, nothing to measure at all.

  • Stephen

    Webmonk @ 11

    Does research that serves researchers really serve any purpose? I don’t get that, but that seems to be your answer to Tom. I mean, some interesting data perhaps, but what else does it reveal other than that?

    DonS

    And then given my question to Webmonk, how can anyone tell whether what someone does is actually fruit of the Spirit, obedience to law or some ruse to make business contacts or meet hot chicks that go to church? I mean really. I knew guys in college that went to church for just that reason – good looking women.

    My point from the other thread was “what does any of it have to do with Christ?” Nothing. It puts the focus on human behavior where it shouldn’t be, because humans are sinful even when it looks like all is well. Our morality is not our witness, neither is the successful path of our lives. all of that is temporal and fading. our witness is what has been done for us in Christ.

    If behavior is what makes us Christian, then let’ s use an adjective like “horrible” or “lousy” or “broken” or “crappy” because we are supposed to be perfect, whole, complete in every way – holy. The thing is, we are, but not because of what we do, but because of what God has done for us and which we have received in baptism.

    If anyone is in Christ they ARE a new creation. Nothing nominal about it, nothing to measure at all.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    ALL Christians, by definition , are nominal. nominal=by name only.

    We are Christian only by the Name of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity being applied to us with water, and so binding us to that Name that is above all other Names.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    ALL Christians, by definition , are nominal. nominal=by name only.

    We are Christian only by the Name of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity being applied to us with water, and so binding us to that Name that is above all other Names.

  • Stephen

    Ooo Todd – Excellent posts! I am Christian in name only! Perfect! I love it!!! You do not know how much I love that.

  • Stephen

    Ooo Todd – Excellent posts! I am Christian in name only! Perfect! I love it!!! You do not know how much I love that.

  • Stephen

    Frank!!!! Awesome! And it is posts #30 and 33. Spooky!

  • Stephen

    Frank!!!! Awesome! And it is posts #30 and 33. Spooky!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yet another thought. Maybe this survey doesn’t tell us as much about what true Christians are like, but rather what the pharisees are like.

    After all, I’d think that pharisees would be fairly attracted to churches. All the more so if we go around “correcting” the notion that sinners are to be found there disproportionately, spreading the “good news” that there are fewer divorcees in the pews, so, you know, it’s safe.

    And clearly, pharisees would be frequent attenders. Oh, they’d be the best!

    And if we know one thing about pharisees, we know that they really like to get the external adherence to the law right — their faith depends on it! So of course, they would never, ever divorce. And the more pharisees we get to come to church, the lower the divorce rate will drop among attendees. Which can only attract the even more zealous pharisees who didn’t think it was low enough yet! And this is how you get your numbers to go up!

    Ha ha, I kid. That would never happen.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yet another thought. Maybe this survey doesn’t tell us as much about what true Christians are like, but rather what the pharisees are like.

    After all, I’d think that pharisees would be fairly attracted to churches. All the more so if we go around “correcting” the notion that sinners are to be found there disproportionately, spreading the “good news” that there are fewer divorcees in the pews, so, you know, it’s safe.

    And clearly, pharisees would be frequent attenders. Oh, they’d be the best!

    And if we know one thing about pharisees, we know that they really like to get the external adherence to the law right — their faith depends on it! So of course, they would never, ever divorce. And the more pharisees we get to come to church, the lower the divorce rate will drop among attendees. Which can only attract the even more zealous pharisees who didn’t think it was low enough yet! And this is how you get your numbers to go up!

    Ha ha, I kid. That would never happen.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 32: Not to belabor the point, but the purpose of statistical surveys is to *gasp* “focus on human behavior”. If you want to measure whether the practice of a particular faith changes human behavior in a measurable way, the best way to do that is to sort out folks who practice that faith. Since the assembling of ourselves together is a basic tenet of Christianity, failing to attend church regularly is an indicator regarding faith practice, for statistical purposes.

    For spiritual purposes, we’ll leave the sorting to God.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 32: Not to belabor the point, but the purpose of statistical surveys is to *gasp* “focus on human behavior”. If you want to measure whether the practice of a particular faith changes human behavior in a measurable way, the best way to do that is to sort out folks who practice that faith. Since the assembling of ourselves together is a basic tenet of Christianity, failing to attend church regularly is an indicator regarding faith practice, for statistical purposes.

    For spiritual purposes, we’ll leave the sorting to God.

  • Stephen

    Todd’s point is extremely relevant. Maybe this study is actually very damning. That law, it’s always accusing . . .

    I know from working with youth in the church that children of divorce in youth groups is extremely rare if non-existent and yet from working in schools and elsewhere they are everywhere. What is up with that? Clearly the church is AVOIDING divorced people and not welcoming them or making the church a place for them (“pro me”). They leave in shame, never come back and neither do their kids. No Jesus for you, you sinner. Yeah, what would Jesus want with sinners?

    But hey, we want better statistics so we look good.

    Gee, suppose a news media person came to a church and asked “Why are there so many divorced people in your churches?” and we could say to them that we welcome them here. What message would that send?

  • Stephen

    Todd’s point is extremely relevant. Maybe this study is actually very damning. That law, it’s always accusing . . .

    I know from working with youth in the church that children of divorce in youth groups is extremely rare if non-existent and yet from working in schools and elsewhere they are everywhere. What is up with that? Clearly the church is AVOIDING divorced people and not welcoming them or making the church a place for them (“pro me”). They leave in shame, never come back and neither do their kids. No Jesus for you, you sinner. Yeah, what would Jesus want with sinners?

    But hey, we want better statistics so we look good.

    Gee, suppose a news media person came to a church and asked “Why are there so many divorced people in your churches?” and we could say to them that we welcome them here. What message would that send?

  • Rob

    Careful, boys: dont make baptism a work that functions ex opus operate. Faith is necessary. Scripture and the confessions make that more than plain. It is both/and, not either/or.

    Otherwise, you have antinomianism (a la Agricola, “God does it all, it doesn’t matter what I do”) which the Confessions roundly reject or semi-Pelagianism (“I can bring myself to salvation”), which the Confessions roundly reject. In rejecting one trap don’t fall into the other.

    Fortunately, it is not up to us to decide whether another soul is “a nominal Christian” or not, no matter how we view the term. That would only come into play as a pastor serves communion to a congregant. And then all the mitigating nuances will be known and prayed over.

  • Rob

    Careful, boys: dont make baptism a work that functions ex opus operate. Faith is necessary. Scripture and the confessions make that more than plain. It is both/and, not either/or.

    Otherwise, you have antinomianism (a la Agricola, “God does it all, it doesn’t matter what I do”) which the Confessions roundly reject or semi-Pelagianism (“I can bring myself to salvation”), which the Confessions roundly reject. In rejecting one trap don’t fall into the other.

    Fortunately, it is not up to us to decide whether another soul is “a nominal Christian” or not, no matter how we view the term. That would only come into play as a pastor serves communion to a congregant. And then all the mitigating nuances will be known and prayed over.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Spare me the gasps. You brought up fruits of the Spirit and said that this is what it was about, so I asked. Looks like you are doing some sorting of fruit, so it seems you can detect such things? Now you want to lecture me about surveys. Whatever.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Spare me the gasps. You brought up fruits of the Spirit and said that this is what it was about, so I asked. Looks like you are doing some sorting of fruit, so it seems you can detect such things? Now you want to lecture me about surveys. Whatever.

  • DonS

    Fair enough, Stephen. No gasps. But I wasn’t “lecturing” you. I was trying to restore some sense of perspective to the conversation, which is about human surveys concerning external behavior, not whether someone is genuinely a Christian. All I am saying is that it is reasonable for a statistician, in determining whether Christians behave differently than non-Christians, to rely on a basic external indicator of Christianity, i.e. whether one regularly attends church, as evidence that they are actually practicing Christians.

  • DonS

    Fair enough, Stephen. No gasps. But I wasn’t “lecturing” you. I was trying to restore some sense of perspective to the conversation, which is about human surveys concerning external behavior, not whether someone is genuinely a Christian. All I am saying is that it is reasonable for a statistician, in determining whether Christians behave differently than non-Christians, to rely on a basic external indicator of Christianity, i.e. whether one regularly attends church, as evidence that they are actually practicing Christians.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    We won’t pile on Bror. Why? Because we won’t be able to agree on whether to do a West Coast dogpile, or an East Coast pigpile.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    We won’t pile on Bror. Why? Because we won’t be able to agree on whether to do a West Coast dogpile, or an East Coast pigpile.

  • Tom Hering

    What was measured seems to be the number of frequent churchgoers who’ve divorced versus the number of infrequent churchgoers who’ve divorced. With the conclusion that frequent churchgoers stay married in higher numbers. Which might not have anything to do with Christianity, but rather just peer/group/social influences. How do we know? Do other religions, in which divorce is discouraged, reveal similar numbers? I’ll bet they would if they were researched the same way.

  • Tom Hering

    What was measured seems to be the number of frequent churchgoers who’ve divorced versus the number of infrequent churchgoers who’ve divorced. With the conclusion that frequent churchgoers stay married in higher numbers. Which might not have anything to do with Christianity, but rather just peer/group/social influences. How do we know? Do other religions, in which divorce is discouraged, reveal similar numbers? I’ll bet they would if they were researched the same way.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, “churchgoer” doesn’t really apply either – other religions. Mormons and JWs also go to church, but aren’t Christians. The term “churchgoer” would include them, but most studies of this type exclude them, so “churchgoer” isn’t an accurate descriptor.

    I’m not picking on your term because it’s horrible, but rather to demonstrate that EVERY term you want to use has some sort of flaw in it. “Nominal Christian” may bother you, but it’s about as good and accurate as almost every other term.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, “churchgoer” doesn’t really apply either – other religions. Mormons and JWs also go to church, but aren’t Christians. The term “churchgoer” would include them, but most studies of this type exclude them, so “churchgoer” isn’t an accurate descriptor.

    I’m not picking on your term because it’s horrible, but rather to demonstrate that EVERY term you want to use has some sort of flaw in it. “Nominal Christian” may bother you, but it’s about as good and accurate as almost every other term.

  • WebMonk

    Stephen 32

    Does research that serves researchers really serve any purpose?

    Are you joking? Anyone who is curious about the behavior of groups of people are those who are served by the research. Obviously lots of people are interested in finding this stuff out, as evidenced by plenty of books being sold and plenty of money flowing to the researchers. That’s one of the purposes – to answer curiosity, and there is plenty of curiosity about this subject, so there is plenty of research being done on it.

    Now, maybe you want to say that this sort of research is useless and ought not be done. People shouldn’t do detailed research on Christians? Shouldn’t group Christians according to characteristics and look at the differences?

  • WebMonk

    Stephen 32

    Does research that serves researchers really serve any purpose?

    Are you joking? Anyone who is curious about the behavior of groups of people are those who are served by the research. Obviously lots of people are interested in finding this stuff out, as evidenced by plenty of books being sold and plenty of money flowing to the researchers. That’s one of the purposes – to answer curiosity, and there is plenty of curiosity about this subject, so there is plenty of research being done on it.

    Now, maybe you want to say that this sort of research is useless and ought not be done. People shouldn’t do detailed research on Christians? Shouldn’t group Christians according to characteristics and look at the differences?

  • G

    What are we going to do with Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me

  • G

    What are we going to do with Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    G (@46), so if I were to judge you by that standard, would I conclude that you love God?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    G (@46), so if I were to judge you by that standard, would I conclude that you love God?

  • Michael Mapus

    fws @ 28

    “42] Now, it is true, as we have said, that no one should by any means be coerced or compelled, lest we institute a new murdering of souls. Nevertheless, it must be known that such people as deprive themselves of, and withdraw from, the Sacrament so long a time are not to be considered Christians. For Christ has not instituted it to be treated as a show, but has commanded His Christians to eat and drink it, and thereby remember Him. ”

    These people who Luther addresses, have they rejected their baptism? Remember, these are instructions for pastors.

  • Michael Mapus

    fws @ 28

    “42] Now, it is true, as we have said, that no one should by any means be coerced or compelled, lest we institute a new murdering of souls. Nevertheless, it must be known that such people as deprive themselves of, and withdraw from, the Sacrament so long a time are not to be considered Christians. For Christ has not instituted it to be treated as a show, but has commanded His Christians to eat and drink it, and thereby remember Him. ”

    These people who Luther addresses, have they rejected their baptism? Remember, these are instructions for pastors.

  • Grace

    WebMonk – 45

    “Are you joking? Anyone who is curious about the behavior of groups of people are those who are served by the research. “

    This might interest you:

    March 23rd, 2011
    Organized religion ‘will be driven toward extinction’ in 9 countries, experts predict</b?
    By Richard Allen Greene,
    CNN

    Organized religion will all but vanish eventually from nine Western-style democracies, a team of mathematicians predict in a new paper based on census data stretching back 100 years.

    It won’t die out completely, but “religion will be driven toward extinction” in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, they say.

    It will also wither away in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland, they anticipate.

    They can’t make a prediction about the United States because the U.S. census doesn’t ask about religion, lead author Daniel Abrams told CNN.

    But nine other countries provide enough data for detailed mathematical modeling, he said.

    “If you look at the data, ‘unaffiliated’ is the fastest-growing group” in those countries, he said.

    “We start with two big assumptions based on sociology,” he explained.

    The first is that it’s more attractive to be part of the majority than the minority, so as religious affiliation declines, it becomes more popular not to be a churchgoer than to be one, he said – what Abrams calls the majority effect.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/23/religion-to-go-extinct-in-9-countries-experts-predict/?hpt=C2

  • Grace

    WebMonk – 45

    “Are you joking? Anyone who is curious about the behavior of groups of people are those who are served by the research. “

    This might interest you:

    March 23rd, 2011
    Organized religion ‘will be driven toward extinction’ in 9 countries, experts predict</b?
    By Richard Allen Greene,
    CNN

    Organized religion will all but vanish eventually from nine Western-style democracies, a team of mathematicians predict in a new paper based on census data stretching back 100 years.

    It won’t die out completely, but “religion will be driven toward extinction” in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, they say.

    It will also wither away in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland, they anticipate.

    They can’t make a prediction about the United States because the U.S. census doesn’t ask about religion, lead author Daniel Abrams told CNN.

    But nine other countries provide enough data for detailed mathematical modeling, he said.

    “If you look at the data, ‘unaffiliated’ is the fastest-growing group” in those countries, he said.

    “We start with two big assumptions based on sociology,” he explained.

    The first is that it’s more attractive to be part of the majority than the minority, so as religious affiliation declines, it becomes more popular not to be a churchgoer than to be one, he said – what Abrams calls the majority effect.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/23/religion-to-go-extinct-in-9-countries-experts-predict/?hpt=C2

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 44, my argument isn’t so much that other terms would be less flawed or more accurate, but that “nominal” is an exceptionally bad choice of terms, because it comes packed with so many negative meanings.

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 44, my argument isn’t so much that other terms would be less flawed or more accurate, but that “nominal” is an exceptionally bad choice of terms, because it comes packed with so many negative meanings.

  • Grace

    “But it is probably more to the point that nominal Christians–including many who would classify themselves as “born again” and “conservative”–do not generally go to church.”

    It’s very troubling when anyone makes a statement such as the one above. First of all it isn’t true,…… as Jesus stated “you must be born again” …. those words resonate among the churched community, with anxiety at their own independence from our LORD’s own mouth, making excuses as to their contempt for His Words.

  • Grace

    “But it is probably more to the point that nominal Christians–including many who would classify themselves as “born again” and “conservative”–do not generally go to church.”

    It’s very troubling when anyone makes a statement such as the one above. First of all it isn’t true,…… as Jesus stated “you must be born again” …. those words resonate among the churched community, with anxiety at their own independence from our LORD’s own mouth, making excuses as to their contempt for His Words.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Peace is restored.

    What others are saying is that this is a false indicator of what it means to be Christian, for one thing.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Peace is restored.

    What others are saying is that this is a false indicator of what it means to be Christian, for one thing.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 52: Cool :-)

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 52: Cool :-)

  • Stephen

    Webmonk -

    Point taken. I have no problem with curiosity. I read the interview with this author and it would seem he has at least some interest in bolstering the self-image of evangelicals. But beyond that, I think it is misguided to assume that the indicators he is using actually reveal what he thinks they do – that is, church going means real “authentic” faithfulness expressed by doing the right thing. All he has is an appearance, an external marker of something, but there is no necessary link between this marker and the thing he wants to link it to. That simply cannot be proven, nor is it descriptive on any essential level of what it means to be Christian.

  • Stephen

    Webmonk -

    Point taken. I have no problem with curiosity. I read the interview with this author and it would seem he has at least some interest in bolstering the self-image of evangelicals. But beyond that, I think it is misguided to assume that the indicators he is using actually reveal what he thinks they do – that is, church going means real “authentic” faithfulness expressed by doing the right thing. All he has is an appearance, an external marker of something, but there is no necessary link between this marker and the thing he wants to link it to. That simply cannot be proven, nor is it descriptive on any essential level of what it means to be Christian.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Grace@51 I don’t think you know how many Lutherans read the sentence quoted about “many who classify themselves as ‘born again’ and ‘conservative.’”

    What we have here is not a rejection of the Biblical idea that people must be born again. (Though the text also allows itself to be read as ‘born from above’, which many Lutherans prefer.) What we have is the fact that in American Christianity, this term has taken on a lot of experiential baggage that it never would have had before the Great Awakening when pastors first preached a born again experience. Before that time, it was more common for pastors to preach on passages and let faith grow or not without talking so much about faith. Talking about faith doesn’t create faith. Talking about Jesus creates faith. Talking about a born again experience doesn’t make people be born. And it may, in fact, just get people to copy each other’s experiences. Jonathan Edwards noted this fact. When some people in church would offer testimonies about their experience, others would tend to borrow their language. (They may or may not have come to faith themselves. But even those who genuinely did would shade their testimonies so they matched what they had heard before.) And in the centuries since the Great Awakening, this has been whittled down to saying a Sinner’s Prayer to be saved. Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Grace@51 I don’t think you know how many Lutherans read the sentence quoted about “many who classify themselves as ‘born again’ and ‘conservative.’”

    What we have here is not a rejection of the Biblical idea that people must be born again. (Though the text also allows itself to be read as ‘born from above’, which many Lutherans prefer.) What we have is the fact that in American Christianity, this term has taken on a lot of experiential baggage that it never would have had before the Great Awakening when pastors first preached a born again experience. Before that time, it was more common for pastors to preach on passages and let faith grow or not without talking so much about faith. Talking about faith doesn’t create faith. Talking about Jesus creates faith. Talking about a born again experience doesn’t make people be born. And it may, in fact, just get people to copy each other’s experiences. Jonathan Edwards noted this fact. When some people in church would offer testimonies about their experience, others would tend to borrow their language. (They may or may not have come to faith themselves. But even those who genuinely did would shade their testimonies so they matched what they had heard before.) And in the centuries since the Great Awakening, this has been whittled down to saying a Sinner’s Prayer to be saved. Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Also, there is precedent in the New Testament for noting how even certain Biblical terminology can be used in a bad way. When St. Paul chides the Corinthians for being factious, he says that some are saying “I am of Christ.” Now they said this as opposed to being of Paul or Apollos. Wasn’t it the right answer to give? No. But isn’t being “of Christ” Biblical? Wouldn’t it be wicked to suggest people stop classifying themselves so when surveys are passed around? No. Why? Because it had become a partisan label. And this within a congregation. So if “of Christ” can be avoided as a partisan label, then I don’t see why “Born Again” is different.

    I recently taught a class on American Christianity at Colorado Christian University. When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Also, there is precedent in the New Testament for noting how even certain Biblical terminology can be used in a bad way. When St. Paul chides the Corinthians for being factious, he says that some are saying “I am of Christ.” Now they said this as opposed to being of Paul or Apollos. Wasn’t it the right answer to give? No. But isn’t being “of Christ” Biblical? Wouldn’t it be wicked to suggest people stop classifying themselves so when surveys are passed around? No. Why? Because it had become a partisan label. And this within a congregation. So if “of Christ” can be avoided as a partisan label, then I don’t see why “Born Again” is different.

    I recently taught a class on American Christianity at Colorado Christian University. When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.

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

    Yes Rich, but I only ever copy the first half of the testimony…. seems to be more fun.

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

    Yes Rich, but I only ever copy the first half of the testimony…. seems to be more fun.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 55

    “Talking about faith doesn’t create faith. Talking about Jesus creates faith. Talking about a born again experience doesn’t make people be born. And it may, in fact, just get people to copy each other’s experiences.

    Your remark – “Talking about faith doesn’t create faith” is elementary, unless you believe I need to be educated as to what “faith” means –

    I am very aware of the term “born again” it has been the subject within my family since my earliest memory (my father was a pastor) I don’t know anyone who copies those two words like a robot, in fact its insulting when someone such as yourself, believe you need to enlighten me. I can assure you that those who claim being “born again” are well aware of its meaning – of course there is always the exception, as there is in any aspect of Christian Churches, and what they teach.

    “Jonathan Edwards noted this fact. When some people in church would offer testimonies about their experience, others would tend to borrow their language. (They may or may not have come to faith themselves. But even those who genuinely did would shade their testimonies so they matched what they had heard before.) And in the centuries since the Great Awakening, this has been whittled down to saying a Sinner’s Prayer to be saved. Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.”

    I have read Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) I fail to see how he has anything to do with those of us who state we are Born Again. His observations don’t necessarily match those of the past 35 plus years. People who claim to be “born again” for the most part, are very serious about their Salvation. I notice all too often the snide remark of those who claim “Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.” – It’s unfortunate that anyone, including yourself, would choose to decide what is in the heart of the repentant individual, who prays and asks the LORD Jesus to forgive them of their sins, believing solely that He and He alone can forgive sins to Salvation. To make a shallow comment as you have, doesn’t speak to your understanding of what you glibly call the “Sinner’s Prayer” – Without repentance, there is no Salvation, without believing there is no Salvation.

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10

    It’s important to note Rick, … most people I’ve observed are very serious about their repentance, they are truly sorry for their sins. I remember when I was only seven years of age, knowing exactly what I was doing. Repentance is a serious matter – it’s a joy to Believe in my Savior. There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … when in essence, believing in the LORD Jesus Christ is very simple, especially when you look at the examples in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus didn’t make it difficult, He made Salvation with ‘plain speech’ it’s man who is the culprit, he wants to expand on what Jesus taught.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 55

    “Talking about faith doesn’t create faith. Talking about Jesus creates faith. Talking about a born again experience doesn’t make people be born. And it may, in fact, just get people to copy each other’s experiences.

    Your remark – “Talking about faith doesn’t create faith” is elementary, unless you believe I need to be educated as to what “faith” means –

    I am very aware of the term “born again” it has been the subject within my family since my earliest memory (my father was a pastor) I don’t know anyone who copies those two words like a robot, in fact its insulting when someone such as yourself, believe you need to enlighten me. I can assure you that those who claim being “born again” are well aware of its meaning – of course there is always the exception, as there is in any aspect of Christian Churches, and what they teach.

    “Jonathan Edwards noted this fact. When some people in church would offer testimonies about their experience, others would tend to borrow their language. (They may or may not have come to faith themselves. But even those who genuinely did would shade their testimonies so they matched what they had heard before.) And in the centuries since the Great Awakening, this has been whittled down to saying a Sinner’s Prayer to be saved. Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.”

    I have read Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) I fail to see how he has anything to do with those of us who state we are Born Again. His observations don’t necessarily match those of the past 35 plus years. People who claim to be “born again” for the most part, are very serious about their Salvation. I notice all too often the snide remark of those who claim “Many who have merely said a Sinner’s Prayer at some point classify themselves as Born Again.” – It’s unfortunate that anyone, including yourself, would choose to decide what is in the heart of the repentant individual, who prays and asks the LORD Jesus to forgive them of their sins, believing solely that He and He alone can forgive sins to Salvation. To make a shallow comment as you have, doesn’t speak to your understanding of what you glibly call the “Sinner’s Prayer” – Without repentance, there is no Salvation, without believing there is no Salvation.

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10

    It’s important to note Rick, … most people I’ve observed are very serious about their repentance, they are truly sorry for their sins. I remember when I was only seven years of age, knowing exactly what I was doing. Repentance is a serious matter – it’s a joy to Believe in my Savior. There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … when in essence, believing in the LORD Jesus Christ is very simple, especially when you look at the examples in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus didn’t make it difficult, He made Salvation with ‘plain speech’ it’s man who is the culprit, he wants to expand on what Jesus taught.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Grace, this began with the discussion of surveys. We’re discussing the kinds of people who identify as born again on a survey. And if other surveys are any indicator, you’re just plain wrong. Here are results of a Barna survey (found here: http://tinyurl.com/ckqa68):
    [start quote]
    * One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.

    * Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.

    * Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.

    * Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.

    * A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.

    * Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.
    [end quote]

    Now, I think it’s fair to use a survey to decide what the makeup of survey respondents is likely to entail. And this one suggests that it is not accurate to say that most people who identify themselves like this in a survey are serious Christians. I’m not deciding what’s in the heart of any one repentant individual. I am asserting what people who identify themselves as born again in surveys state about themselves.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Grace, this began with the discussion of surveys. We’re discussing the kinds of people who identify as born again on a survey. And if other surveys are any indicator, you’re just plain wrong. Here are results of a Barna survey (found here: http://tinyurl.com/ckqa68):
    [start quote]
    * One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.

    * Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.

    * Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.

    * Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.

    * A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.

    * Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.
    [end quote]

    Now, I think it’s fair to use a survey to decide what the makeup of survey respondents is likely to entail. And this one suggests that it is not accurate to say that most people who identify themselves like this in a survey are serious Christians. I’m not deciding what’s in the heart of any one repentant individual. I am asserting what people who identify themselves as born again in surveys state about themselves.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 56

    “Also, there is precedent in the New Testament for noting how even certain Biblical terminology can be used in a bad way. When St. Paul chides the Corinthians for being factious, he says that some are saying “I am of Christ.” Now they said this as opposed to being of Paul or Apollos. Wasn’t it the right answer to give? No. But isn’t being “of Christ” Biblical? Wouldn’t it be wicked to suggest people stop classifying themselves so when surveys are passed around? No. Why? Because it had become a partisan label. And this within a congregation. So if “of Christ” can be avoided as a partisan label, then I don’t see why “Born Again” is different.”

    The difference Rick – “born again” was used by Christ Himself, He made the label, HE is the label there is no one else, who deserves the HOLY place upon which Christ stands.

    10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

    12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

    13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

    14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Corinthians 1

    “When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.”

    That’s an unlearned response. If young people are connecting “born again” with only Robertson, they haven’t understood what John 3 actually says, when Jesus stated those words. Many denominations and Evangelical Bible Churches use that phrase all the time, OR they state they are Christian Believers.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 56

    “Also, there is precedent in the New Testament for noting how even certain Biblical terminology can be used in a bad way. When St. Paul chides the Corinthians for being factious, he says that some are saying “I am of Christ.” Now they said this as opposed to being of Paul or Apollos. Wasn’t it the right answer to give? No. But isn’t being “of Christ” Biblical? Wouldn’t it be wicked to suggest people stop classifying themselves so when surveys are passed around? No. Why? Because it had become a partisan label. And this within a congregation. So if “of Christ” can be avoided as a partisan label, then I don’t see why “Born Again” is different.”

    The difference Rick – “born again” was used by Christ Himself, He made the label, HE is the label there is no one else, who deserves the HOLY place upon which Christ stands.

    10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

    12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

    13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

    14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Corinthians 1

    “When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.”

    That’s an unlearned response. If young people are connecting “born again” with only Robertson, they haven’t understood what John 3 actually says, when Jesus stated those words. Many denominations and Evangelical Bible Churches use that phrase all the time, OR they state they are Christian Believers.

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the Bold at the end….

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the Bold at the end….

  • Grace

    The difference Rick – “born again” was used by Christ Himself, He made the label, HE is the label there is no one else, who deserves the HOLY place upon which Christ stands.

    10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

    12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

    13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

    14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Corinthians 1

    “When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.”

    That’s an unlearned response. If young people are connecting “born again” with only Robertson, they haven’t understood what John 3 actually says, when Jesus stated those words. Many denominations and Evangelical Bible Churches use that phrase all the time, OR they state they are Christian Believers

  • Grace

    The difference Rick – “born again” was used by Christ Himself, He made the label, HE is the label there is no one else, who deserves the HOLY place upon which Christ stands.

    10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

    12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

    13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

    14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Corinthians 1

    “When I asked how many students, out of 37, were evangelical, only three raised their hands. I was shocked. Wasn’t I at an evangelical college? It came out in discussion that the students identified with the definition often given to evangelical, but they didn’t want people to think they agreed with Pat Robertson. How people identify themselves can be complicated.”

    That’s an unlearned response. If young people are connecting “born again” with only Robertson, they haven’t understood what John 3 actually says, when Jesus stated those words. Many denominations and Evangelical Bible Churches use that phrase all the time, OR they state they are Christian Believers

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@58) said:

    There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach.

    Do take a minute to think about whether that applies to your approach to commenting on this blog, will you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@58) said:

    There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach.

    Do take a minute to think about whether that applies to your approach to commenting on this blog, will you?

  • Grace

    Rick

    I have read and spent hours on Barna’s research – I have no confidence in it whatsoever.

  • Grace

    Rick

    I have read and spent hours on Barna’s research – I have no confidence in it whatsoever.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    If you’re talking about labels of ‘men’ who have left a trail of antisemtism miles long, and others who had men burned at the stake for not agreeing with them …….. then you’re right.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    If you’re talking about labels of ‘men’ who have left a trail of antisemtism miles long, and others who had men burned at the stake for not agreeing with them …….. then you’re right.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@65), thanks for giving it your thoughtful consideration.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@65), thanks for giving it your thoughtful consideration.

  • Grace

    It’s a very different story, when the proof is in the Church history books, letters and papers, documented with the author’s signature.

  • Grace

    It’s a very different story, when the proof is in the Church history books, letters and papers, documented with the author’s signature.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I’m happy to oblige.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I’m happy to oblige.

  • Mary

    Grace
    On many occasions I have had people ask me “but are you born again?” after I have told them that I am an LCMS baptized Christian. Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.

  • Mary

    Grace
    On many occasions I have had people ask me “but are you born again?” after I have told them that I am an LCMS baptized Christian. Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.

  • Grace

    Mary 69

    “Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

    Most likely you do.

  • Grace

    Mary 69

    “Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

    Most likely you do.

  • Mary

    Grace #58
    “There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … ”

    My point exactly! They question my salvation because I don’t have a “born again experience”

  • Mary

    Grace #58
    “There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … ”

    My point exactly! They question my salvation because I don’t have a “born again experience”

  • Grace

    Mary –

    #69 – Mary – “Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

    #70 – Grace – “Most likely you do.”

    #71 – Mary – picking up on my post #58
    #58 – Grace – “There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … ”

    #71 Mary’s response “My point exactly! They question my salvation because I don’t have a “born again experience””

    Mary, they didn’t question your Salvation. – - If it was offensive to you to say you were “born again” why didn’t you correct them? – - – - You just stated in post #69, that these women stated: “I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

  • Grace

    Mary –

    #69 – Mary – “Some of them after we have gotten to know each other and I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

    #70 – Grace – “Most likely you do.”

    #71 – Mary – picking up on my post #58
    #58 – Grace – “There are too many so called, ‘well meaning people’ trying to dislodge and question the heartfelt beliefs of others, playing the part of judge, thinking they can root out what they believe to be the wrong prayer, wrong approach, … ”

    #71 Mary’s response “My point exactly! They question my salvation because I don’t have a “born again experience””

    Mary, they didn’t question your Salvation. – - If it was offensive to you to say you were “born again” why didn’t you correct them? – - – - You just stated in post #69, that these women stated: “I have served on various boards with them, will introduce me to others and say- she goes to a Lutheran Church, but “she’s born again”. I have learned to just let it go, and move on. It’s almost like we speak a different language some times.”

  • kerner

    Grace:

    In the interest of understanding your use of the language, what exactly do you believe is the biblical meaning of “born again”, and how does one become “born again”?

    I think it is possible that some people don’t use the term very often is that they think it means something different than it actually does. Or maybe they really do just disagree with you. But I still want to know what you think about this.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    In the interest of understanding your use of the language, what exactly do you believe is the biblical meaning of “born again”, and how does one become “born again”?

    I think it is possible that some people don’t use the term very often is that they think it means something different than it actually does. Or maybe they really do just disagree with you. But I still want to know what you think about this.

  • kerner

    I just started reading this thread. But it seems to me that the term “nominal Christians”, defined as Christians who don’t go to church very often, is very problematic.

    People who for some reason identify as Christians but seem “nominal” can fall into at least 4 catagories that I can think of off hand.

    1) Weak Christians. This may include all Christians at some point. Someone who becomes occupied with the cares or attractions of this world and doesn’t focus on Christ. If it goes on for a long time to a great degree, they might be called “nominal”.

    2) Prodigals. People who have wandered from their faith but haven’t totally rejected it, and may still come back.

    3) Apostates. People who actually have totally rejected a faith they once had, and

    4) Hypocrites. People who never had faith but who perceived some advantage to appearing to be Christian, and so pretended to be. You don’t see this much in 21st Century America, because there are no longer that many advantages to being percieved as Christian.

    These are such disparate groups, that it seems pretty hard to lump the all together in one big discussion.

  • kerner

    I just started reading this thread. But it seems to me that the term “nominal Christians”, defined as Christians who don’t go to church very often, is very problematic.

    People who for some reason identify as Christians but seem “nominal” can fall into at least 4 catagories that I can think of off hand.

    1) Weak Christians. This may include all Christians at some point. Someone who becomes occupied with the cares or attractions of this world and doesn’t focus on Christ. If it goes on for a long time to a great degree, they might be called “nominal”.

    2) Prodigals. People who have wandered from their faith but haven’t totally rejected it, and may still come back.

    3) Apostates. People who actually have totally rejected a faith they once had, and

    4) Hypocrites. People who never had faith but who perceived some advantage to appearing to be Christian, and so pretended to be. You don’t see this much in 21st Century America, because there are no longer that many advantages to being percieved as Christian.

    These are such disparate groups, that it seems pretty hard to lump the all together in one big discussion.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 73

    I can give you an answer, but it most likely will not be tonight. Since my stating I am “Born Again” months ago. I was told by some of the posters that they “despised” the so called “moniker” – in light of that, I am going to wait until I think this over. The reason is, to be Born Again in Christ is sacred, it isn’t something I’m going to put forth and then mocked as before. The words come from Jesus Christ, not a mere man, but God the Son.

    You might be very sincere in your request, but there are others who treat those wonderful words, uttered by Christ as “despised”, … in my mind, to go over this is throwing pearls to swine, since all the rest can post to whatever I write. I don’t mean you, but this is an open board, we aren’t having a conversation in my living room.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 73

    I can give you an answer, but it most likely will not be tonight. Since my stating I am “Born Again” months ago. I was told by some of the posters that they “despised” the so called “moniker” – in light of that, I am going to wait until I think this over. The reason is, to be Born Again in Christ is sacred, it isn’t something I’m going to put forth and then mocked as before. The words come from Jesus Christ, not a mere man, but God the Son.

    You might be very sincere in your request, but there are others who treat those wonderful words, uttered by Christ as “despised”, … in my mind, to go over this is throwing pearls to swine, since all the rest can post to whatever I write. I don’t mean you, but this is an open board, we aren’t having a conversation in my living room.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 74

    I don’t agree with any of your four choices. The reason is; there are not a lot of churches who teach/preach the Gosple, but there are a great many churches.

    Those whom I know who don’t attend church very often are heartsick over the attitudes, practices, of the church – which has driven many to begin ‘house churches’ – I’m not sold on them, but I certainly don’t find fault with those who choose that way to Worship and fellowship. The Word of God is the most important aspect of teaching, nothing else takes its place. As we know, ‘house churches’ were most often the only way people attended church after Christ arose. Of course the Apostles taught out in the open to great multitudes of people as well.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 74

    I don’t agree with any of your four choices. The reason is; there are not a lot of churches who teach/preach the Gosple, but there are a great many churches.

    Those whom I know who don’t attend church very often are heartsick over the attitudes, practices, of the church – which has driven many to begin ‘house churches’ – I’m not sold on them, but I certainly don’t find fault with those who choose that way to Worship and fellowship. The Word of God is the most important aspect of teaching, nothing else takes its place. As we know, ‘house churches’ were most often the only way people attended church after Christ arose. Of course the Apostles taught out in the open to great multitudes of people as well.

  • Tom Hering

    kerner @ 74, off hand, I can also think of the following:

    Christians hurt by a church or churches.

    Christians who can’t find the Gospel preached and administered (Sacrament) in a local/regional church.

    Christians who are strong introverts (and as such: healthy, normal people).

    Notice there’s nothing “weak” or “inadequate” or “false” about these three types of infrequent churchgoers.

  • Tom Hering

    kerner @ 74, off hand, I can also think of the following:

    Christians hurt by a church or churches.

    Christians who can’t find the Gospel preached and administered (Sacrament) in a local/regional church.

    Christians who are strong introverts (and as such: healthy, normal people).

    Notice there’s nothing “weak” or “inadequate” or “false” about these three types of infrequent churchgoers.

  • katy

    Let’s not forget Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. I think this is most of America, picking and choosing what to believe, but saying they are Christian when asked (with no irony, since they “believe” in Jesus)

  • katy

    Let’s not forget Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. I think this is most of America, picking and choosing what to believe, but saying they are Christian when asked (with no irony, since they “believe” in Jesus)

  • Purple Koolaid

    I find this discussion very interesting and something I have struggled w/. Here is my first:
    fws at 28 says: And christians recognize others who have been baptized as christians and address them as such until they renounce their baptism.

    Me: I don’t know if my label is accurate, but I consider anyone a nominal Christian if they deny tenets of the faith…whether or not they renounce their baptism. This includes most of my family. They say things like, Jesus didn’t physically resurrect. It was a spiritual resurrection. Jesus had more of a political message than spiritual. Everyone goes to Heaven bc God is so loving. You don’t have to go to church to be a good person. The Bible is a bunch of campfire stories. The Bible contradicts itself constantly. Muslims and Buddhists call Jesus a different name, but it’s all the same God. And my favorite: I’m a Christian, but not your kind of Christian, Purple Koolaid.

    What would you say to those things, FWS? They never deny their baptism, but say things that are so contradictory to orthodox Christianity that it is hard to call them Christian. Only God knows if they’re saved, but saying those things are pretty off the charts.

  • Purple Koolaid

    I find this discussion very interesting and something I have struggled w/. Here is my first:
    fws at 28 says: And christians recognize others who have been baptized as christians and address them as such until they renounce their baptism.

    Me: I don’t know if my label is accurate, but I consider anyone a nominal Christian if they deny tenets of the faith…whether or not they renounce their baptism. This includes most of my family. They say things like, Jesus didn’t physically resurrect. It was a spiritual resurrection. Jesus had more of a political message than spiritual. Everyone goes to Heaven bc God is so loving. You don’t have to go to church to be a good person. The Bible is a bunch of campfire stories. The Bible contradicts itself constantly. Muslims and Buddhists call Jesus a different name, but it’s all the same God. And my favorite: I’m a Christian, but not your kind of Christian, Purple Koolaid.

    What would you say to those things, FWS? They never deny their baptism, but say things that are so contradictory to orthodox Christianity that it is hard to call them Christian. Only God knows if they’re saved, but saying those things are pretty off the charts.

  • Purple Koolaid

    another questions for Todd at 29 :
    Is the church for sinners or for people who do good? Do we want sinners to come to church? We may think that we make ourselves look better (and, goes one apparent argument in the book, we therefore look more attractive to the world — “Come join us! Be less bad!”), but if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?

    Purple Koolaid: Todd, isn’t the whole idea that once you become a Christian you don’t get divorced for unbiblical reasons? I understand lots of divorced people coming to church apres divorce, but Christians should not be getting divorced once they are in the church (for unbiblical reasons). Trust me, I’ve read the bible frontwards and backwards trying to get out of my marriage, and it’s not in there.
    I got saved as an adult. After salvation, someone explained biblical sexuality, I had a desire to stop fornicating and getting drunk. Isn’t that the holy spirit working in me? If I had kept fornicating, shouldn’t the church have excommunicated me?

  • Purple Koolaid

    another questions for Todd at 29 :
    Is the church for sinners or for people who do good? Do we want sinners to come to church? We may think that we make ourselves look better (and, goes one apparent argument in the book, we therefore look more attractive to the world — “Come join us! Be less bad!”), but if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?

    Purple Koolaid: Todd, isn’t the whole idea that once you become a Christian you don’t get divorced for unbiblical reasons? I understand lots of divorced people coming to church apres divorce, but Christians should not be getting divorced once they are in the church (for unbiblical reasons). Trust me, I’ve read the bible frontwards and backwards trying to get out of my marriage, and it’s not in there.
    I got saved as an adult. After salvation, someone explained biblical sexuality, I had a desire to stop fornicating and getting drunk. Isn’t that the holy spirit working in me? If I had kept fornicating, shouldn’t the church have excommunicated me?

  • Grace

    Stephen 69

    “How much scientific information was available in Jesus’ time about leprosy or in the middle ages about the Black Plague? Granted, I didn’t live in SF at the time, but I know for quite some time afterward people were abandoned in hospital rooms even when it was known that the disease could only be spread through the blood. There remains a stigma about it that the church has not gone to any great lengths to help remove but went to some lengths to help create.”

    Stephen, HIV/AIDS is spread through semen and blood -

    Stephen how long people lay in hospital rooms before they knew how the disease was spread, or if it was spread in other ways, took a few years.

    Do you know how it’s spread? - it’s mainly spread through semen, that is how male to male sexual relations are making this disease a disaster – it’s also spread through IV drug use.

    Check out this link: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/transmission.htm

  • Grace

    Stephen 69

    “How much scientific information was available in Jesus’ time about leprosy or in the middle ages about the Black Plague? Granted, I didn’t live in SF at the time, but I know for quite some time afterward people were abandoned in hospital rooms even when it was known that the disease could only be spread through the blood. There remains a stigma about it that the church has not gone to any great lengths to help remove but went to some lengths to help create.”

    Stephen, HIV/AIDS is spread through semen and blood -

    Stephen how long people lay in hospital rooms before they knew how the disease was spread, or if it was spread in other ways, took a few years.

    Do you know how it’s spread? - it’s mainly spread through semen, that is how male to male sexual relations are making this disease a disaster – it’s also spread through IV drug use.

    Check out this link: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/transmission.htm

  • Grace

    I’m very sorry Stepehen –

    Post 81 should have been posted on:
    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/03/22/maybe-christians-arent-so-bad-after-all/#comment-111107

  • Grace

    I’m very sorry Stepehen –

    Post 81 should have been posted on:
    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/03/22/maybe-christians-arent-so-bad-after-all/#comment-111107

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    Purple Koolaid –

    I understand your concerns because I see this in my own family as well. I have often said I grew up in a “nominal Christian” home. We never went to Church – not Easter, not Christmas, never – and yet my parents held on to the idea they were Christians of some sort. I literally did not know what Christianity was at all until I became slowly interested in high school, and then really came to begin to understand who Jesus is and what he did while in college. My dad still expresses lots of ideas that are not orthodox, and without any kind of rebellious attitude or anything (that I can perceive). He just does not have a clue. I used to get bound up in worry about it, and try to preach to him. Now I just point him to the cross, to Jesus’ blood which covers our sin – and leave it at that. I am not preachy and don’t intrude with the gospel at inappropriate times – I don’t try to convince or convert. God brings people to faith through His Word together with the Spirit – not me. Strangely, I do believe God is bringing him to faith as he no longer objects to my pointing to Jesus, partly because he realizes I am not aiming at him any more than myself.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    Purple Koolaid –

    I understand your concerns because I see this in my own family as well. I have often said I grew up in a “nominal Christian” home. We never went to Church – not Easter, not Christmas, never – and yet my parents held on to the idea they were Christians of some sort. I literally did not know what Christianity was at all until I became slowly interested in high school, and then really came to begin to understand who Jesus is and what he did while in college. My dad still expresses lots of ideas that are not orthodox, and without any kind of rebellious attitude or anything (that I can perceive). He just does not have a clue. I used to get bound up in worry about it, and try to preach to him. Now I just point him to the cross, to Jesus’ blood which covers our sin – and leave it at that. I am not preachy and don’t intrude with the gospel at inappropriate times – I don’t try to convince or convert. God brings people to faith through His Word together with the Spirit – not me. Strangely, I do believe God is bringing him to faith as he no longer objects to my pointing to Jesus, partly because he realizes I am not aiming at him any more than myself.

  • kerner

    Thank you alll. I never thought my 4 catagories were the only possibilities.

  • kerner

    Thank you alll. I never thought my 4 catagories were the only possibilities.

  • kerner

    Grace @75

    Take your time. I remember that thread, and I understand how you must feel. Whatever some of us think “born again” has come to mean today, Our Lord first used the term. So, it must have a true meaning, and there is no reason why Christians should not use it today.

    And I know that you are always defending your honest beliefs, so that’s why I want to know what you think.

  • kerner

    Grace @75

    Take your time. I remember that thread, and I understand how you must feel. Whatever some of us think “born again” has come to mean today, Our Lord first used the term. So, it must have a true meaning, and there is no reason why Christians should not use it today.

    And I know that you are always defending your honest beliefs, so that’s why I want to know what you think.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    Thank you for your kind and loving response. I won’t forget!

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    Thank you for your kind and loving response. I won’t forget!

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    The conclusion I draw from the original post is that the kingdom of church is more important than the kingdom of God. This is an unbiblical point of view.

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    The conclusion I draw from the original post is that the kingdom of church is more important than the kingdom of God. This is an unbiblical point of view.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Is it worthwhile to distinguish between the nominal Christian and the false convert knowing that whatever measures are used to distinguish between the two are not 100% certain?

    For argument’s sake, let’s say that it is. What measures would you use?

    Another question, would it be a sin to lovingly approach a nominal Christian the same as you would lovingly approach a false convert?

    Similarly, would it be a sin to lovingly approach a nominal Christian the same as you would lovingly approach an unbeliever?

    Should Christians be fruit-inspectors of nominal Christians and false converts?

    Do wolves in sheep’s clothing and wolves in shepherd’s clothing ever appear as nominal Christians or as false converts?

    Inquiring minds would like to know!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Is it worthwhile to distinguish between the nominal Christian and the false convert knowing that whatever measures are used to distinguish between the two are not 100% certain?

    For argument’s sake, let’s say that it is. What measures would you use?

    Another question, would it be a sin to lovingly approach a nominal Christian the same as you would lovingly approach a false convert?

    Similarly, would it be a sin to lovingly approach a nominal Christian the same as you would lovingly approach an unbeliever?

    Should Christians be fruit-inspectors of nominal Christians and false converts?

    Do wolves in sheep’s clothing and wolves in shepherd’s clothing ever appear as nominal Christians or as false converts?

    Inquiring minds would like to know!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    purple koolaid @ 79 and moallen @ 83

    Here is what it looks like when I meet people who are baptised but don´t know much about the faith they were baptized into:

    If someone is unbaptized, what I share with them is a knowledge of the Law God has written in the mind or a conscience. I let that conversation be about them rather than about God , following God´s example in Genesis. I let them realize for themselves that they are naked and angry and flee God´s judgement. Only an insane person would not feel this way.

    I remembert that I am not confirming in their own words anything they do not already know I am saying here. People suffer from outwardly breaking God´s Law. Pagans have the “Veil of Moses” over them. This means that for a pagan, God´s Law is about the pain that happens from what we do outwardly. They cannot understand that keeping the Law is purely a spiritual invisible thing and that what we say and do that can be observed is merely a consequence of where we put our faith in God´s Law.

    And I remember that God cannot become an Object of L0ve as long as someone is afraid of Him. This is really really, really important to remember. The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. Our task then is not to fix people with the Law. This cannot be done.

    Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. This is a matter of love and not of faith. I mean by that that I cannot look into their heart and know whether or not faith in them that was most certainly placed into them by the HS in Holy Baptism is still smouldering in their heart or not. But I deal with them giving that the benefit of the doubt.

    So I call them back to their baptism. This is what I would do to either of you as well! I say: “well you were baptized! That means that God placed upon you the Most Holy and Blessed Name of the Most Holy Trinity upon you. This is not a trivial thing to me. It should not be to you either. And it means that that dear Lord Jesus whom I love was placed in you. You need to trust in that when your conscience bothers you. Use your baptism when your concience troubles you. Present your Baptism to God as proof to him that you are his when your conscience troubles you. And then I merely fill in the blanks as to what that means. Baptism of course is the Promise that is in, with and under it. Which is Christ. And I am inviting Faith to cling to that Promise in order to receive the Promised Mercy that is in, with and under that Baptism. See?

    So I talk to that person as one who is INside the church, and not as one of “them” or “those” outside the Church with someone who has been Baptized. They are in communion with me. They are in the same Body as me. I speak to them in that way until they completely reject that this is so. Watch. That complete rejection may never come! Give it time please.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    purple koolaid @ 79 and moallen @ 83

    Here is what it looks like when I meet people who are baptised but don´t know much about the faith they were baptized into:

    If someone is unbaptized, what I share with them is a knowledge of the Law God has written in the mind or a conscience. I let that conversation be about them rather than about God , following God´s example in Genesis. I let them realize for themselves that they are naked and angry and flee God´s judgement. Only an insane person would not feel this way.

    I remembert that I am not confirming in their own words anything they do not already know I am saying here. People suffer from outwardly breaking God´s Law. Pagans have the “Veil of Moses” over them. This means that for a pagan, God´s Law is about the pain that happens from what we do outwardly. They cannot understand that keeping the Law is purely a spiritual invisible thing and that what we say and do that can be observed is merely a consequence of where we put our faith in God´s Law.

    And I remember that God cannot become an Object of L0ve as long as someone is afraid of Him. This is really really, really important to remember. The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. Our task then is not to fix people with the Law. This cannot be done.

    Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. This is a matter of love and not of faith. I mean by that that I cannot look into their heart and know whether or not faith in them that was most certainly placed into them by the HS in Holy Baptism is still smouldering in their heart or not. But I deal with them giving that the benefit of the doubt.

    So I call them back to their baptism. This is what I would do to either of you as well! I say: “well you were baptized! That means that God placed upon you the Most Holy and Blessed Name of the Most Holy Trinity upon you. This is not a trivial thing to me. It should not be to you either. And it means that that dear Lord Jesus whom I love was placed in you. You need to trust in that when your conscience bothers you. Use your baptism when your concience troubles you. Present your Baptism to God as proof to him that you are his when your conscience troubles you. And then I merely fill in the blanks as to what that means. Baptism of course is the Promise that is in, with and under it. Which is Christ. And I am inviting Faith to cling to that Promise in order to receive the Promised Mercy that is in, with and under that Baptism. See?

    So I talk to that person as one who is INside the church, and not as one of “them” or “those” outside the Church with someone who has been Baptized. They are in communion with me. They are in the same Body as me. I speak to them in that way until they completely reject that this is so. Watch. That complete rejection may never come! Give it time please.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Purple Koolaid @ 80

    PURPLE “if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?”

    FWS Bingo. This is what Todd and me and Steve are talking about. You get it!

    PURPLE Todd, isn’t the whole idea that once you become a Christian you don’t get divorced for unbiblical reasons? … I’ve read the bible frontwards and backwards trying to get out of my marriage, and it’s not in there.

    I got saved as an adult. After salvation, someone explained biblical sexuality, I had a desire to stop fornicating and getting drunk. Isn’t that the holy spirit working in me? If I had kept fornicating, shouldn’t the church have excommunicated me?

    FWS You addressed Todd, so I hope you do not mind me answering here. Here is what Saint Paul and the Lutheran Confessions say:

    The Law God has written in the minds of men (but not their hearts…) is called Reason or Conscience. This Law of God will exist and will always accuse fallen mankind. Man will try to erase those three letters “L.A.W.” with a cosmic eraser. But the Law is written in Reason by God. How can one erase that? Drugs? Alcohol? Only temporarily! It exists in, with and under poop scoop ordinances, the federal tax code, toll roads, and your wife or husband nagging you to do something you don´t want to do but are supposed to do, like provide sex, food, a clean house, money, etc. This same Law can be found in the Decalog or the 10 commandments.

    Now then: Fallen Man knows this Law. It is unavoidable. It always accuses. We resent it! We wish there was no tax code or toll booth or the Law of God in the form of that nagging wife or husband or parent. And what does this Divine Law that is in, with and under other ordinary people accuse us of? That we DO stuff that is bad. This is the outward stuff that has courtroom style evidence that could lock us up. Note that this is not a Divine Law that is about faith or motive. Faith and motive are excluded from this sort of Law . It would be unjust , on earth, to factor faith and motive in in most cases, or at least problematic. This Law is about do or don´t. And it is THIS Law thay you Ms or Mr Purple are looking for in the Bible right?

    But now as a baptized christian, you have faith in Jesus. This means that you should see that the Law of God is about something more than Reason can know. Saint Paul says that the Law is Spiritual. This means that it can only be kept spiritually. This means that keeping the Law is not exactly about what we do or do not do. That doing or not doing is a consequence of where we put our faith and is not exactly about our keeping or not keeping the Law. Let me explain by pointing to where we can find this Spiritual Law.

    We find that Law of God that peculiarly and uniquely deals with our deepest movements of the heart where? We find it in the Decalog and the Sermon on the Mount. Before we became Christians, we could only see the Law through what Saint Paul calls the “Veil of Moses”. Here is what our Lutheran Confessions say about that Veil:

    Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost be received through faith. Accordingly, Paul says that the Law is established by faith, and not made void; because the Law can only then be thus kept when the Holy Ghost is given.

    12] And Paul teaches 2 Cor. 3:15 sq., the veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ, by which the Holy Ghost is received.

    For he speaks thus: But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    13] Paul understands by the veil the human opinion [comment: he is saying here Reason, which is the Law of God written in the mind, but not in the heart] concerning the entire Law, the Decalog and the ceremonies, namely, that hypocrites think that external and civil works satisfy the Law of God, and that sacrifices and observances justify before God ex opere operato [comment: "ex opere operato" is latin for "by going through the outward motions without doing that motion from the bottom of one´s heart] .

    14] But then this veil is removed from us, i.e., we are freed from this error when God shows to our hearts our uncleanness and the heinousness of sin.

    Then, for the first time, we see that we are far from fulfilling the Law.

    Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance.

    Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us.

    But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost so that now we are able to think aright concerning God, and to fear and believe God, etc. From these facts it is apparent that the Law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Ghost. http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para11

    Ok. This is describing how you are looking for permission to divorce in the Decalog dear Purple. You are following the Law of God externally, but your heart is not in it. Now, baptized and in faith, you can see that this is no keeping of the Law of God at all is it? So you should feel even more condemned and even terrified in your conscience in knowing that this is the keeping of the Law, one that is from the bottom of your heart, that God demands nothing less than of you. And you do not do this do you? No one does.

    So what do you do? You flee to your Baptism and your Christ. That is what you do. This looks like USING the works of Christ and not your own as what you offer up to God as your Propitiation. You use Christ´s works as your “get-0ut-of-jail-free” card and not what you outwardly do or do not do.

    But this does not mean then that you will do whatever you want. God´s Law is still that external Law that is written in your Reason and mind that accuses you and accuses you correctly. But even there, faith informs you that this doing is not about the sacrifice of obedience to a set of rules whether they make you happy or not. Or whether they make others miserable or not. The point of God´s Law , even externally, is what? sacrifice or Mercy?

    Jesus says that the entire point of even the outward keeping of the Law is to do love for others. It is to show mercy to others. It is to make earthly life better and happier.

    So Purple. You are freed from the Law. “All things are legal and lawful now for you” (I cor 6). But… “not all things are useful.” Saint Paul adds. What does he mean? He really means that first “All” doen´t he? Tell me how he does not. But he says then that not all things are useful. This is about that new commandment Jesus gives us, to love one another even as he has loved us. This means that you are now , in faith in Jesus, free to focus on the happiness not of yourself dear Purple but on that of your spouse. And you cannot find out how to do this by looking for some list in the Bible can you? As in that romantic song: “baby, I am going to show you my love by keeping some list I found in the Bible”.

    Love does not work that way does it? How can you best make your spouse happy in life? Maybe you should start acting like you are romantically in love with him and those feelings will follow, and his will too? Maybe not. Worth a try? Only you can know for sure. Divorce? maybe. Maybe not. Get counseling. This is often best to get from a pagan. This is about practical doing and not about thinking spiritual thoughts Purple. It is about serving your spouse in your words, and deeds and making him happy, and yourself happy too in that process. But as for you, maybe, maybe (I can´t know for sure) it is best to remain in that marriage, accept the suffering that probably entails, unless this is harmful to you mentally or physically. In that case you need to get out of that marriage.

    That “can´t know for sure” part is about the fact that keeping the Law is a spiritual thing. It is about doing love and not, exactly, about following rules. Love cannot be done by following a recipe. But then too avoiding rules as the way to be “free” is not love either because it that is to have faith in outward things rather than that God who is “in , with and under” all the rules we see.

    But the rule is that you are to love your spouse as much as you love your own self. And you will not do this will you? So then you do the best you can in prayer and hold up what Christ did before God to plead your case for Mercy from God.

    God bless you dear Purple. Our prayers are all with you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Purple Koolaid @ 80

    PURPLE “if there are fewer people who’ve divorced in our church than there are among non-believers, doesn’t that also mean that divorced people apparently don’t feel as welcome in our churches as they do staying at home? If Christianity is about forgiveness, wouldn’t we want vastly disproportionate number of divorced people filling our pews?”

    FWS Bingo. This is what Todd and me and Steve are talking about. You get it!

    PURPLE Todd, isn’t the whole idea that once you become a Christian you don’t get divorced for unbiblical reasons? … I’ve read the bible frontwards and backwards trying to get out of my marriage, and it’s not in there.

    I got saved as an adult. After salvation, someone explained biblical sexuality, I had a desire to stop fornicating and getting drunk. Isn’t that the holy spirit working in me? If I had kept fornicating, shouldn’t the church have excommunicated me?

    FWS You addressed Todd, so I hope you do not mind me answering here. Here is what Saint Paul and the Lutheran Confessions say:

    The Law God has written in the minds of men (but not their hearts…) is called Reason or Conscience. This Law of God will exist and will always accuse fallen mankind. Man will try to erase those three letters “L.A.W.” with a cosmic eraser. But the Law is written in Reason by God. How can one erase that? Drugs? Alcohol? Only temporarily! It exists in, with and under poop scoop ordinances, the federal tax code, toll roads, and your wife or husband nagging you to do something you don´t want to do but are supposed to do, like provide sex, food, a clean house, money, etc. This same Law can be found in the Decalog or the 10 commandments.

    Now then: Fallen Man knows this Law. It is unavoidable. It always accuses. We resent it! We wish there was no tax code or toll booth or the Law of God in the form of that nagging wife or husband or parent. And what does this Divine Law that is in, with and under other ordinary people accuse us of? That we DO stuff that is bad. This is the outward stuff that has courtroom style evidence that could lock us up. Note that this is not a Divine Law that is about faith or motive. Faith and motive are excluded from this sort of Law . It would be unjust , on earth, to factor faith and motive in in most cases, or at least problematic. This Law is about do or don´t. And it is THIS Law thay you Ms or Mr Purple are looking for in the Bible right?

    But now as a baptized christian, you have faith in Jesus. This means that you should see that the Law of God is about something more than Reason can know. Saint Paul says that the Law is Spiritual. This means that it can only be kept spiritually. This means that keeping the Law is not exactly about what we do or do not do. That doing or not doing is a consequence of where we put our faith and is not exactly about our keeping or not keeping the Law. Let me explain by pointing to where we can find this Spiritual Law.

    We find that Law of God that peculiarly and uniquely deals with our deepest movements of the heart where? We find it in the Decalog and the Sermon on the Mount. Before we became Christians, we could only see the Law through what Saint Paul calls the “Veil of Moses”. Here is what our Lutheran Confessions say about that Veil:

    Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost be received through faith. Accordingly, Paul says that the Law is established by faith, and not made void; because the Law can only then be thus kept when the Holy Ghost is given.

    12] And Paul teaches 2 Cor. 3:15 sq., the veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ, by which the Holy Ghost is received.

    For he speaks thus: But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    13] Paul understands by the veil the human opinion [comment: he is saying here Reason, which is the Law of God written in the mind, but not in the heart] concerning the entire Law, the Decalog and the ceremonies, namely, that hypocrites think that external and civil works satisfy the Law of God, and that sacrifices and observances justify before God ex opere operato [comment: "ex opere operato" is latin for "by going through the outward motions without doing that motion from the bottom of one´s heart] .

    14] But then this veil is removed from us, i.e., we are freed from this error when God shows to our hearts our uncleanness and the heinousness of sin.

    Then, for the first time, we see that we are far from fulfilling the Law.

    Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance.

    Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us.

    But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost so that now we are able to think aright concerning God, and to fear and believe God, etc. From these facts it is apparent that the Law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Ghost. http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para11

    Ok. This is describing how you are looking for permission to divorce in the Decalog dear Purple. You are following the Law of God externally, but your heart is not in it. Now, baptized and in faith, you can see that this is no keeping of the Law of God at all is it? So you should feel even more condemned and even terrified in your conscience in knowing that this is the keeping of the Law, one that is from the bottom of your heart, that God demands nothing less than of you. And you do not do this do you? No one does.

    So what do you do? You flee to your Baptism and your Christ. That is what you do. This looks like USING the works of Christ and not your own as what you offer up to God as your Propitiation. You use Christ´s works as your “get-0ut-of-jail-free” card and not what you outwardly do or do not do.

    But this does not mean then that you will do whatever you want. God´s Law is still that external Law that is written in your Reason and mind that accuses you and accuses you correctly. But even there, faith informs you that this doing is not about the sacrifice of obedience to a set of rules whether they make you happy or not. Or whether they make others miserable or not. The point of God´s Law , even externally, is what? sacrifice or Mercy?

    Jesus says that the entire point of even the outward keeping of the Law is to do love for others. It is to show mercy to others. It is to make earthly life better and happier.

    So Purple. You are freed from the Law. “All things are legal and lawful now for you” (I cor 6). But… “not all things are useful.” Saint Paul adds. What does he mean? He really means that first “All” doen´t he? Tell me how he does not. But he says then that not all things are useful. This is about that new commandment Jesus gives us, to love one another even as he has loved us. This means that you are now , in faith in Jesus, free to focus on the happiness not of yourself dear Purple but on that of your spouse. And you cannot find out how to do this by looking for some list in the Bible can you? As in that romantic song: “baby, I am going to show you my love by keeping some list I found in the Bible”.

    Love does not work that way does it? How can you best make your spouse happy in life? Maybe you should start acting like you are romantically in love with him and those feelings will follow, and his will too? Maybe not. Worth a try? Only you can know for sure. Divorce? maybe. Maybe not. Get counseling. This is often best to get from a pagan. This is about practical doing and not about thinking spiritual thoughts Purple. It is about serving your spouse in your words, and deeds and making him happy, and yourself happy too in that process. But as for you, maybe, maybe (I can´t know for sure) it is best to remain in that marriage, accept the suffering that probably entails, unless this is harmful to you mentally or physically. In that case you need to get out of that marriage.

    That “can´t know for sure” part is about the fact that keeping the Law is a spiritual thing. It is about doing love and not, exactly, about following rules. Love cannot be done by following a recipe. But then too avoiding rules as the way to be “free” is not love either because it that is to have faith in outward things rather than that God who is “in , with and under” all the rules we see.

    But the rule is that you are to love your spouse as much as you love your own self. And you will not do this will you? So then you do the best you can in prayer and hold up what Christ did before God to plead your case for Mercy from God.

    God bless you dear Purple. Our prayers are all with you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truth unites and divides @ 88

    Please see my Lutheran response at 89. It may not work for you if you are not a Lutheran, but again , maybe it will raise some questions in your mind that are fruitful.

    Bless you!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truth unites and divides @ 88

    Please see my Lutheran response at 89. It may not work for you if you are not a Lutheran, but again , maybe it will raise some questions in your mind that are fruitful.

    Bless you!

  • Purple Koolaid

    FWS, I appreciate your prayers but I think you’re way off. Marriage is very important in the Bible. Relationships matter in the Bible. The Bible gives explicit releases for divorce. Whether or not I’m unhappy is not one of them. You’re on a slippery slope that Jesus NEVER taught.
    IS this what the LCMS teaches? If so, I’m running away. It sounds as though you are making self the highest good, which is exactly what the pagans teach. Go to a pagan for counseling?? Are you serious? So I can be told to have an extramarital affair? That could make me happy. I better consult my happy meter.

  • Purple Koolaid

    FWS, I appreciate your prayers but I think you’re way off. Marriage is very important in the Bible. Relationships matter in the Bible. The Bible gives explicit releases for divorce. Whether or not I’m unhappy is not one of them. You’re on a slippery slope that Jesus NEVER taught.
    IS this what the LCMS teaches? If so, I’m running away. It sounds as though you are making self the highest good, which is exactly what the pagans teach. Go to a pagan for counseling?? Are you serious? So I can be told to have an extramarital affair? That could make me happy. I better consult my happy meter.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dear Purple @ 92

    I am not seeing any evidence at all that you really read or understood anything I said.

    The conclusions you got from what I wrote would be absolutely and completely impossible to get if you had read it and understood it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dear Purple @ 92

    I am not seeing any evidence at all that you really read or understood anything I said.

    The conclusions you got from what I wrote would be absolutely and completely impossible to get if you had read it and understood it.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. “

    FWS, I sorta understand where you’re coming from. And I sorta don’t.

    Q for you: Would you be surprised if there were baptized Lutherans in Hell?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. “

    FWS, I sorta understand where you’re coming from. And I sorta don’t.

    Q for you: Would you be surprised if there were baptized Lutherans in Hell?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Truth Unites and divides @ 94

    Flip your thinking around.

    The thing to ponder, in view of God´s passionate Goodness and Mercy shown to us by the Holy Passion and by Holy Baptism is how anyone could be lost at all…

    Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….

    How this could be is a profound and sad mystery that should be personalized and not made into some abstract thing to ponder theoretically and philosophically. These things must be pondered in your own Holy Baptism and in the Love that is Christ Jesus revealed to you in the Word of God dear friend. That is the only place your Lord has given you, personally , the answer behind your question.

    What is certain is that no one will get to heaven or hell by what they do or do not do, by Love, or by becoming re-conformed to God´s Holy Law. One cannot return to God´s Image or to that Adamic Original Righeousness by keeping God´s Law or by , in sanctification, becoming again conformed to it.

    This is true even if that conformity is called “sanctification” and is worked by the Holy Spirit.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Truth Unites and divides @ 94

    Flip your thinking around.

    The thing to ponder, in view of God´s passionate Goodness and Mercy shown to us by the Holy Passion and by Holy Baptism is how anyone could be lost at all…

    Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….

    How this could be is a profound and sad mystery that should be personalized and not made into some abstract thing to ponder theoretically and philosophically. These things must be pondered in your own Holy Baptism and in the Love that is Christ Jesus revealed to you in the Word of God dear friend. That is the only place your Lord has given you, personally , the answer behind your question.

    What is certain is that no one will get to heaven or hell by what they do or do not do, by Love, or by becoming re-conformed to God´s Holy Law. One cannot return to God´s Image or to that Adamic Original Righeousness by keeping God´s Law or by , in sanctification, becoming again conformed to it.

    This is true even if that conformity is called “sanctification” and is worked by the Holy Spirit.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Yeah…it’s me again. I’m beginning to pay more attention to your analysis, as opposed to focusing on your conclusions. And I think I’m beginning to understand you better. I’m going to have to ponder for awhile before I can sort out everything I find valuable or wrong with an analysis as complex as that, but let me just point something out.

    Whether you mean to say this or not, your comment @90 sounds like you are encouraging Purple to substitute Purple’s own judgment as to how to love his/her neighbor (spouse, in this case) for Jesus’ words about divorce.

    When Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets hangs on the commandments to love God and love our neighbors, I think that generally, that is a statement that we do show love to our neighbors by doing what the “rules” direct us to do. Because God knows what showing love means better than we do, in that sense the rules he gives us about our relationships with other people are a recipe for showing love. I think we can do great damage by disregarding them, even if we don’t see it immediately.

    Maybe Purple didn’t completely understand you, and I don’t necessarily claim to understand you either. But I understand Purple’s reaction.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Yeah…it’s me again. I’m beginning to pay more attention to your analysis, as opposed to focusing on your conclusions. And I think I’m beginning to understand you better. I’m going to have to ponder for awhile before I can sort out everything I find valuable or wrong with an analysis as complex as that, but let me just point something out.

    Whether you mean to say this or not, your comment @90 sounds like you are encouraging Purple to substitute Purple’s own judgment as to how to love his/her neighbor (spouse, in this case) for Jesus’ words about divorce.

    When Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets hangs on the commandments to love God and love our neighbors, I think that generally, that is a statement that we do show love to our neighbors by doing what the “rules” direct us to do. Because God knows what showing love means better than we do, in that sense the rules he gives us about our relationships with other people are a recipe for showing love. I think we can do great damage by disregarding them, even if we don’t see it immediately.

    Maybe Purple didn’t completely understand you, and I don’t necessarily claim to understand you either. But I understand Purple’s reaction.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    I’m just trying to understand the coherence (or lack of it as the case may be) of your two statements:

    (A) “Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. “

    and

    (B) “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists…. ”

    ———

    Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al, do you condemn folks who lovingly discern that someone in their sphere of relationships is actually a baptized Hell-bound Lutheran and then lovingly approaches the baptized Hell-bound Lutheran as though they were unregenerate?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    I’m just trying to understand the coherence (or lack of it as the case may be) of your two statements:

    (A) “Now for the baptized I am commanded by the Law of Love and the 8th commandment to address these people as christians. “

    and

    (B) “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists…. ”

    ———

    Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al, do you condemn folks who lovingly discern that someone in their sphere of relationships is actually a baptized Hell-bound Lutheran and then lovingly approaches the baptized Hell-bound Lutheran as though they were unregenerate?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    I am so glad that you are looking at what I am trying to articulate and the “arguments” rather than going straight to the end result.

    So I will urge on you our confessions where this is explained better, and where you will feel the authority behind what is said. I will first suggest that you read our confessions, most notably the Apology , setting aside the categories you think you know as being “lutheran” just for a moment. Let our confessions mess with your categories ok?

    So here is how I suggest you re-read art I (that is about baptism that restores the Image of God and is our basis for dialog with all other Christians) then art II and art III and then finally art IV in that order:

    I admit that I am doing a poor job here. I am trying really to articulate exactly what our Apology says in art II and III.

    This article says that the difference between the Image of God and Original Righeousness vs original sin is Faith vs faith.

    It is not Faith vs vice. The opposite of sin is not goodness. The opposite of sin is Faith alone in Christ alone. “That which is not of faith is sin”.

    That we are saved by faith and not by works is something we mouth and repeat. And we correctly say still that outward Good Works, which are defined in God´s Word, are necessary. They are not optional. The confessional explanation as to why this is so is not that clear to even Lutherans and it is most difficult to articulate.

    If you read art II, note that they make a huge point of redefining that word “concupiscence ” as being ALL about misdirected faith, and not the Roman Catholic and Augustinian definition of concupiscence as being carnal lust and thoughts. Concupiscence gets redefined there as “faith-in-anything-BUT-Christ. And so concupiscence becomes faith in a righeousness of keeping the Law of God as the highest and most Mortal (ie Capital, punishable-by-death) form of concupiscence. It is really important Kerner that you get what they are doing here. They are saying that there is 1) faith in christ alone, and there is 2) faith in anything BUT Christ. There is no such thing as unbelief they are saying!

    Then I want you to skip a little: First go to the first part of art IV where they say this: God wrote his Law in the mind (ie Reason) called conscience. This is the SAME law as one finds in the Decalog. But wait. There is another Law of God that is hidden in, with and under that Divine Law that Reason can know.

    This Law is “in, with and under” the Decalog, and can only be known by faith alone in Christ alone. The Decalog is that Law of God that “peculiarly ” deals with what? “Movements of the Heart”!

    Now go to the beginning of art III on “Love and the fulfilling of the Law” and read what it says about the “veil of Moses”.

    I think if you follow what I am telling you carefully, you will understand exactly where I am trying to take sister/brother Purple.

    Bless you Kerner +!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    I am so glad that you are looking at what I am trying to articulate and the “arguments” rather than going straight to the end result.

    So I will urge on you our confessions where this is explained better, and where you will feel the authority behind what is said. I will first suggest that you read our confessions, most notably the Apology , setting aside the categories you think you know as being “lutheran” just for a moment. Let our confessions mess with your categories ok?

    So here is how I suggest you re-read art I (that is about baptism that restores the Image of God and is our basis for dialog with all other Christians) then art II and art III and then finally art IV in that order:

    I admit that I am doing a poor job here. I am trying really to articulate exactly what our Apology says in art II and III.

    This article says that the difference between the Image of God and Original Righeousness vs original sin is Faith vs faith.

    It is not Faith vs vice. The opposite of sin is not goodness. The opposite of sin is Faith alone in Christ alone. “That which is not of faith is sin”.

    That we are saved by faith and not by works is something we mouth and repeat. And we correctly say still that outward Good Works, which are defined in God´s Word, are necessary. They are not optional. The confessional explanation as to why this is so is not that clear to even Lutherans and it is most difficult to articulate.

    If you read art II, note that they make a huge point of redefining that word “concupiscence ” as being ALL about misdirected faith, and not the Roman Catholic and Augustinian definition of concupiscence as being carnal lust and thoughts. Concupiscence gets redefined there as “faith-in-anything-BUT-Christ. And so concupiscence becomes faith in a righeousness of keeping the Law of God as the highest and most Mortal (ie Capital, punishable-by-death) form of concupiscence. It is really important Kerner that you get what they are doing here. They are saying that there is 1) faith in christ alone, and there is 2) faith in anything BUT Christ. There is no such thing as unbelief they are saying!

    Then I want you to skip a little: First go to the first part of art IV where they say this: God wrote his Law in the mind (ie Reason) called conscience. This is the SAME law as one finds in the Decalog. But wait. There is another Law of God that is hidden in, with and under that Divine Law that Reason can know.

    This Law is “in, with and under” the Decalog, and can only be known by faith alone in Christ alone. The Decalog is that Law of God that “peculiarly ” deals with what? “Movements of the Heart”!

    Now go to the beginning of art III on “Love and the fulfilling of the Law” and read what it says about the “veil of Moses”.

    I think if you follow what I am telling you carefully, you will understand exactly where I am trying to take sister/brother Purple.

    Bless you Kerner +!

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    FWS –

    I understand baptism as a means of Grace – and agree that it is comforting as a Christian to rejoice in my baptism into Christ. I have pointed my family to their baptism into Christ and the Cross where Jesus paid for all our sins. I place the emphasis on Jesus sacrifice for our sins – I think the connection between Jesus death on the cross and our forgiveness is where my dad begins to understand it’s not about us or about some ridiculous thing he heard one time as a child from a Jehovah’s Witness about the end of the world and how this proves all religion wrong (I kid you not – he raises this all the time).

    My mother has a better understaning and did feel some tug towards Church. She once dropped me at a Church Sunday School in the 6th grade by myself and drove away (which led to a completely humiliating experience for me in which I had no clue how to look up Scriptures and was being asked to by the class teacher – for about 5 minutes I fumbled with the Bible, was pointed to the page, and still had NO CLUE where the scripture was that she was referring to – finally someone said read from here to here pointing at the Bible they had given me – I refused to get out of the car the next week when my mom attempted this stunt again and that was the end of that). Anyway, she is much more receptive to the gospel and enjoys when I encourage her by reminding her that she belongs to Christ, his death counts for her righteousness, she has been baptised into Christ.

    My life growing up in a “nominal Christian” home many times was not good. Believe me – if you are not taking Christianity seriously and receiving from God, then sin will have it’s way. I have had serious forgiveness issues.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    FWS –

    I understand baptism as a means of Grace – and agree that it is comforting as a Christian to rejoice in my baptism into Christ. I have pointed my family to their baptism into Christ and the Cross where Jesus paid for all our sins. I place the emphasis on Jesus sacrifice for our sins – I think the connection between Jesus death on the cross and our forgiveness is where my dad begins to understand it’s not about us or about some ridiculous thing he heard one time as a child from a Jehovah’s Witness about the end of the world and how this proves all religion wrong (I kid you not – he raises this all the time).

    My mother has a better understaning and did feel some tug towards Church. She once dropped me at a Church Sunday School in the 6th grade by myself and drove away (which led to a completely humiliating experience for me in which I had no clue how to look up Scriptures and was being asked to by the class teacher – for about 5 minutes I fumbled with the Bible, was pointed to the page, and still had NO CLUE where the scripture was that she was referring to – finally someone said read from here to here pointing at the Bible they had given me – I refused to get out of the car the next week when my mom attempted this stunt again and that was the end of that). Anyway, she is much more receptive to the gospel and enjoys when I encourage her by reminding her that she belongs to Christ, his death counts for her righteousness, she has been baptised into Christ.

    My life growing up in a “nominal Christian” home many times was not good. Believe me – if you are not taking Christianity seriously and receiving from God, then sin will have it’s way. I have had serious forgiveness issues.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Truth U and D @ 97

    TRUTHUD:

    Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,

    FWS This is not a given. Where does scripture says this? Baptism offers a Promise that is Christ. Scripture says this: “Baptism does also now save us”. To find why some are saved and others not, one would not look to what the Scripture says about Holy Baptism, those passages are all about the Salvation, the Gospel, Christ and the Promise that Faith Clings to. You need to look somewhere other than those baptismal passages to see why some go to hell. We need to keep Law and Gospel passages separate and not combine and confuse them.

    TRUTHUD: [then why] do you condemn folks who lovingly discern that someone in their sphere of relationships is actually a baptized Hell-bound Lutheran and then lovingly approaches the baptized Hell-bound Lutheran as though they were unregenerate?

    FWS “lovingly discern”. Define how that works. Are we talking about separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats or becoming “fruit inspectors”? Did Christ say we are to do this winnowing or are we to leave that up to Him?

    If we take upon ourselves a task that is forbidden by Our Lord Jesus then I am certain that that is not “love” or “loving”. It is sin.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Truth U and D @ 97

    TRUTHUD:

    Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,

    FWS This is not a given. Where does scripture says this? Baptism offers a Promise that is Christ. Scripture says this: “Baptism does also now save us”. To find why some are saved and others not, one would not look to what the Scripture says about Holy Baptism, those passages are all about the Salvation, the Gospel, Christ and the Promise that Faith Clings to. You need to look somewhere other than those baptismal passages to see why some go to hell. We need to keep Law and Gospel passages separate and not combine and confuse them.

    TRUTHUD: [then why] do you condemn folks who lovingly discern that someone in their sphere of relationships is actually a baptized Hell-bound Lutheran and then lovingly approaches the baptized Hell-bound Lutheran as though they were unregenerate?

    FWS “lovingly discern”. Define how that works. Are we talking about separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats or becoming “fruit inspectors”? Did Christ say we are to do this winnowing or are we to leave that up to Him?

    If we take upon ourselves a task that is forbidden by Our Lord Jesus then I am certain that that is not “love” or “loving”. It is sin.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Moallen @ 99

    I was raised in a mixed family. Mom was Lutheran. Dad was whatever. He resisted my mom baptizing me and my sister.

    I am also a gay man. The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.

    This will totally govern the common basis for my interaction with them. Unbaptized? Ok. We both understand the Law at least in the “go through the motions and do it” sort of way.
    Baptized? A happier conversation happens in that case! I urge that person to trust in their Baptism. Trust as in faith. Not trust as some “check-the-list-go-through-the-motions-DONE!” sorta thing. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.

    These baptized ones are shocked to be address as sheep not goats, wheat not tares and good soil rather than that other dirt. And you can often see hope starting to spread accross their face with this sort of talk!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Moallen @ 99

    I was raised in a mixed family. Mom was Lutheran. Dad was whatever. He resisted my mom baptizing me and my sister.

    I am also a gay man. The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.

    This will totally govern the common basis for my interaction with them. Unbaptized? Ok. We both understand the Law at least in the “go through the motions and do it” sort of way.
    Baptized? A happier conversation happens in that case! I urge that person to trust in their Baptism. Trust as in faith. Not trust as some “check-the-list-go-through-the-motions-DONE!” sorta thing. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.

    These baptized ones are shocked to be address as sheep not goats, wheat not tares and good soil rather than that other dirt. And you can often see hope starting to spread accross their face with this sort of talk!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Me: “Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,”

    FWS: “This is not a given. Where does scripture says this?”

    I’m just quoting you from your comment in #95 where you wrote:

    “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    Don’t you remember writing that?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Me: “Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,”

    FWS: “This is not a given. Where does scripture says this?”

    I’m just quoting you from your comment in #95 where you wrote:

    “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    Don’t you remember writing that?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    “Whether you mean to say this or not, your comment @90 sounds like you are encouraging Purple to substitute Purple’s own judgment as to how to love his/her neighbor (spouse, in this case) for Jesus’ words about divorce.”

    I am going to assert that the Confessions say two things that will sound absolutely contradictory until you get art II and III and IV of the Apology in the sense of being able to outline and articulate the exact underlying unified argument they present:

    1) ap art IV asserts that concerning earthly morality, nothing can be demanded beyond Aristotle´s Ethics. Ponder that. No Word of God is necessary to be able to either know or do God´s Will on earth. Any pagan or wiccan fag or lesbian dyke can be righeousness and not merely “righeous” by God´s earthly standard simply by studying that other pagan named Aristotle. No faith or belief in God or a god is necessary.

    2) To truly know that Law of God that “peculiarly” deals with “Movements of the Heart” one must go to the Decalog! One can only know this Law of God from the Holy Scriptures.

    This is the difference between the Same Law of God being written in the mind/reason/conscience and the Law of God being written in the heart/in faith alone/in christ alone.

    Same Divine Law. One covered with the Veil of Moses and seen only through intermediaries like city ordinances or a nagging wife. and the other seen nakedly only when the Image of God has been restored.

    Interestingly, it is only that second Law that faith can see that has the power to terrify us! But it interestingly does not kill faith. This terror of the Law exercises our faith and drives us alone to Christ, who alone can strengthen our faith.

    The Law cannot do that. The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. It demands, and then demands some more. It gives us nothing. and finally it demands our very breath and life.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    “Whether you mean to say this or not, your comment @90 sounds like you are encouraging Purple to substitute Purple’s own judgment as to how to love his/her neighbor (spouse, in this case) for Jesus’ words about divorce.”

    I am going to assert that the Confessions say two things that will sound absolutely contradictory until you get art II and III and IV of the Apology in the sense of being able to outline and articulate the exact underlying unified argument they present:

    1) ap art IV asserts that concerning earthly morality, nothing can be demanded beyond Aristotle´s Ethics. Ponder that. No Word of God is necessary to be able to either know or do God´s Will on earth. Any pagan or wiccan fag or lesbian dyke can be righeousness and not merely “righeous” by God´s earthly standard simply by studying that other pagan named Aristotle. No faith or belief in God or a god is necessary.

    2) To truly know that Law of God that “peculiarly” deals with “Movements of the Heart” one must go to the Decalog! One can only know this Law of God from the Holy Scriptures.

    This is the difference between the Same Law of God being written in the mind/reason/conscience and the Law of God being written in the heart/in faith alone/in christ alone.

    Same Divine Law. One covered with the Veil of Moses and seen only through intermediaries like city ordinances or a nagging wife. and the other seen nakedly only when the Image of God has been restored.

    Interestingly, it is only that second Law that faith can see that has the power to terrify us! But it interestingly does not kill faith. This terror of the Law exercises our faith and drives us alone to Christ, who alone can strengthen our faith.

    The Law cannot do that. The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. It demands, and then demands some more. It gives us nothing. and finally it demands our very breath and life.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS in #101: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you wouldn’t mind answering, are you celibate or non-celibate? If non-celibate, how long have you been non-celibate?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS in #101: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you wouldn’t mind answering, are you celibate or non-celibate? If non-celibate, how long have you been non-celibate?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Correction to #104.

    My last question should have been worded thusly:

    If celibate, how long have you been celibate?

    Sorry.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Correction to #104.

    My last question should have been worded thusly:

    If celibate, how long have you been celibate?

    Sorry.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 102

    truthdu : “Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,”

    fws: “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    truthdu: Don’t you remember writing that?

    fws: of course. I would invite you to see that those two statements are not identical. They do not say the same thing. Why not? Each is a conclusion that is made from an entirely different starting point. You start with the Law. I start with the Gospel.

    The basic question that every religion addresses I suggest is this:

    “What can mankind do to restore the Image of God and to return to Paradise by restoring the Original Adamic Rightousness?”

    A muslim, budhist, new ager, or athiest will not put this quest in exactly those terms, but this is the eternal quest of all the religious and philosophical minds.

    I am guessing, (correct me if I am wrong !), that you imagine that a return to Paradise looks like sinful, errant mankind being reconformed to the Law of God which would be a return to His Image. I also imagine that you believe that the way to achieve this is that the Holy Spirit uses the Gospel and the Bible to set you on this path.

    Lutherans do not believe that this is the way to get back to Paradise.

    We seem to be saying the same thing. We are not. One has to start at the beginning and work to the end conclusions. We have a different starting point as to how we think fallen , sinful, man can return to the lost Image of God and Adamic paradisical righteousness and what that Image and Righeousness consist of. Again correct me if I am wrong.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 102

    truthdu : “Given that you say that Scripture declares that Hell will have some Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, et al,”

    fws: “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    truthdu: Don’t you remember writing that?

    fws: of course. I would invite you to see that those two statements are not identical. They do not say the same thing. Why not? Each is a conclusion that is made from an entirely different starting point. You start with the Law. I start with the Gospel.

    The basic question that every religion addresses I suggest is this:

    “What can mankind do to restore the Image of God and to return to Paradise by restoring the Original Adamic Rightousness?”

    A muslim, budhist, new ager, or athiest will not put this quest in exactly those terms, but this is the eternal quest of all the religious and philosophical minds.

    I am guessing, (correct me if I am wrong !), that you imagine that a return to Paradise looks like sinful, errant mankind being reconformed to the Law of God which would be a return to His Image. I also imagine that you believe that the way to achieve this is that the Holy Spirit uses the Gospel and the Bible to set you on this path.

    Lutherans do not believe that this is the way to get back to Paradise.

    We seem to be saying the same thing. We are not. One has to start at the beginning and work to the end conclusions. We have a different starting point as to how we think fallen , sinful, man can return to the lost Image of God and Adamic paradisical righteousness and what that Image and Righeousness consist of. Again correct me if I am wrong.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 102

    Specifically : I am asserting that the definition of a restored Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness is what?

    It is to have the Blessed and Most Holy Name of the Most Holy Trinity splashed onto sinful mankind with ordinary chlorinated , florinated tap water.

    I believe this is true even if some again later fall from that Image of God. The fact that some can lose, once again, from the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness is not proof that the Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity splashed on someone does not make this happen.

    God´s Word locates that Promise in Holy Baptism. Faith clings to that Promise that God Himself has located in, with and under that ordinary tap water. And so Faith receives the Promised Mercy that is Christ alone. And Faith alone receives this.

    Read I Kings and the story of Naaman being told to wash in the Jordan by elisha to get this. Ask yourself these questions:

    1) was it the water of the jordan that cleansed Naaman? Would water in damascus have cleansed him? why or why not?

    2) was it God or sinful elisha that commanded naaman to do this act?

    3) was it the act itself or faith in the Promise God located in the work that cleansed Naaman.

    4) apply what you learned here to Holy Baptism.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 102

    Specifically : I am asserting that the definition of a restored Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness is what?

    It is to have the Blessed and Most Holy Name of the Most Holy Trinity splashed onto sinful mankind with ordinary chlorinated , florinated tap water.

    I believe this is true even if some again later fall from that Image of God. The fact that some can lose, once again, from the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness is not proof that the Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity splashed on someone does not make this happen.

    God´s Word locates that Promise in Holy Baptism. Faith clings to that Promise that God Himself has located in, with and under that ordinary tap water. And so Faith receives the Promised Mercy that is Christ alone. And Faith alone receives this.

    Read I Kings and the story of Naaman being told to wash in the Jordan by elisha to get this. Ask yourself these questions:

    1) was it the water of the jordan that cleansed Naaman? Would water in damascus have cleansed him? why or why not?

    2) was it God or sinful elisha that commanded naaman to do this act?

    3) was it the act itself or faith in the Promise God located in the work that cleansed Naaman.

    4) apply what you learned here to Holy Baptism.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    Because you’re off on your own agenda about Law and Gospel, we’re not communicating.

    I think you’re a bit confused, and I’ll trust that eventually your confusion will cease.

    Pax.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    Because you’re off on your own agenda about Law and Gospel, we’re not communicating.

    I think you’re a bit confused, and I’ll trust that eventually your confusion will cease.

    Pax.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you don’t mind responding, are you celibate or non-celibate?

    “The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.”

    You may want to prayerfully consider whether you’re making baptism a false idol.

    “I urge that person to trust in their Baptism. Trust as in faith. Not trust as some “check-the-list-go-through-the-motions-DONE!” sorta thing. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.”

    Actually, it seems like you are making Baptism a false idol. Albeit perhaps unwittingly.

    I wonder if you are familiar with the slide of The Episcopal Church into gross apostasy and blatant heresy? If you’re not, I should like to inform you that a significant component of their slide into soul-destroying apostasy is an unhelpful emphasis on their “baptismal covenant.”

    Pax.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you don’t mind responding, are you celibate or non-celibate?

    “The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.”

    You may want to prayerfully consider whether you’re making baptism a false idol.

    “I urge that person to trust in their Baptism. Trust as in faith. Not trust as some “check-the-list-go-through-the-motions-DONE!” sorta thing. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.”

    Actually, it seems like you are making Baptism a false idol. Albeit perhaps unwittingly.

    I wonder if you are familiar with the slide of The Episcopal Church into gross apostasy and blatant heresy? If you’re not, I should like to inform you that a significant component of their slide into soul-destroying apostasy is an unhelpful emphasis on their “baptismal covenant.”

    Pax.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 104 & 105

    I do hope, for your own sake , that you do not make a habit of approaching total strangers you do not know and feel it perfectly normal to ask them about their sex life.

    Much less your boss at work: “do you or do you not have sex? can we discuss your sex life please?”

    Or to a judge who is about to render judgement on your speeding ticket “Hey I read in the local newspaper that you are gay. Before you render judgement on me, could you please inform me, your honor, whether or not you are having sex?”

    Yet here you feel no awkwardness or risk in asking. Might I suggest that the normal constraint rules of social ettiquette do not leave you on the internet? And that there are compelling reasons to thing thussly?

    So why do you want to know this about me? Why does it matter? Would it confirm the truth or falsity of what I am saying? I am just curious…

    you do not need to feel obliged to answer my question.

    Truth Unites… and Divides March 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    FWS in #101: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you wouldn’t mind answering, are you celibate or non-celibate? If non-celibate, how long have you been non-celibate?
    .105Truth Unites… and Divides March 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Correction to #104.

    My last question should have been worded thusly:

    If celibate, how long have you been celibate?

    Sorry.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHDU @ 104 & 105

    I do hope, for your own sake , that you do not make a habit of approaching total strangers you do not know and feel it perfectly normal to ask them about their sex life.

    Much less your boss at work: “do you or do you not have sex? can we discuss your sex life please?”

    Or to a judge who is about to render judgement on your speeding ticket “Hey I read in the local newspaper that you are gay. Before you render judgement on me, could you please inform me, your honor, whether or not you are having sex?”

    Yet here you feel no awkwardness or risk in asking. Might I suggest that the normal constraint rules of social ettiquette do not leave you on the internet? And that there are compelling reasons to thing thussly?

    So why do you want to know this about me? Why does it matter? Would it confirm the truth or falsity of what I am saying? I am just curious…

    you do not need to feel obliged to answer my question.

    Truth Unites… and Divides March 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    FWS in #101: “I am also a gay man.”

    If you wouldn’t mind answering, are you celibate or non-celibate? If non-celibate, how long have you been non-celibate?
    .105Truth Unites… and Divides March 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Correction to #104.

    My last question should have been worded thusly:

    If celibate, how long have you been celibate?

    Sorry.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 109

    “Actually, it seems like you are making Baptism a false idol. Albeit perhaps unwittingly.”

    Yeah . I know you are thinking this way. It´s because you are not really bothering to read and try to comprehend what I am saying.

    Here is my proof: You could not repeat my argument back to me in your own words if your very life depended on it.

    By the way, my friends call me Frank. You can call me Frank. What is your name please? :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 109

    “Actually, it seems like you are making Baptism a false idol. Albeit perhaps unwittingly.”

    Yeah . I know you are thinking this way. It´s because you are not really bothering to read and try to comprehend what I am saying.

    Here is my proof: You could not repeat my argument back to me in your own words if your very life depended on it.

    By the way, my friends call me Frank. You can call me Frank. What is your name please? :)

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS: “So why do you want to know this about me? Why does it matter? Would it confirm the truth or falsity of what I am saying? I am just curious…”

    Because it makes a difference.

    A celibate gay man professing to be a Christian appears to implicitly recognize that same-sex behavior is sin.

    A non-celibate gay man professing to be a Christian would seem to be saying that his same-sex behavior is not a sin.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS: “So why do you want to know this about me? Why does it matter? Would it confirm the truth or falsity of what I am saying? I am just curious…”

    Because it makes a difference.

    A celibate gay man professing to be a Christian appears to implicitly recognize that same-sex behavior is sin.

    A non-celibate gay man professing to be a Christian would seem to be saying that his same-sex behavior is not a sin.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 109

    Yes. I am painfully aware of the slide of the Orthodox church, the roman catholic church, the Lutheran Church, the anglicans into rank apostasy and unbelief.

    I am also aware of that same slide happening much more quickly in the newer sects called baptist, calvinist, methodist, and penticostal.

    I am aware that this slide into the darkness of false faith is especially rapid in those groups that do not practice infant baptism and where you will probably never hear the name of the Holy Trinity invoked as such except, blessedly! when a baptism is being done.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 109

    Yes. I am painfully aware of the slide of the Orthodox church, the roman catholic church, the Lutheran Church, the anglicans into rank apostasy and unbelief.

    I am also aware of that same slide happening much more quickly in the newer sects called baptist, calvinist, methodist, and penticostal.

    I am aware that this slide into the darkness of false faith is especially rapid in those groups that do not practice infant baptism and where you will probably never hear the name of the Holy Trinity invoked as such except, blessedly! when a baptism is being done.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 112

    convinced. It matters.

    So then it follows that you will go and ask your lesbian boss at work and that traffic court judge you know is gay the same question? Because it is urgent that you know this about them?

    But we have not finished our other conversation on Holy Baptism and how one restores the Image of God and Original Adamic Righeousness.

    One topic at a time dear brother. What is your name please? My friends call me Frank. Feel free to call me that . You are telling me you want that level of intimacy with me by your asking intimate questions right?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 112

    convinced. It matters.

    So then it follows that you will go and ask your lesbian boss at work and that traffic court judge you know is gay the same question? Because it is urgent that you know this about them?

    But we have not finished our other conversation on Holy Baptism and how one restores the Image of God and Original Adamic Righeousness.

    One topic at a time dear brother. What is your name please? My friends call me Frank. Feel free to call me that . You are telling me you want that level of intimacy with me by your asking intimate questions right?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    Do you believe that same-sex behavior is sin?

    P.S. FWIW, I believe that Scripture teaches that sex outside of marriage (a marriage between one man and one woman) is sin.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWS,

    Do you believe that same-sex behavior is sin?

    P.S. FWIW, I believe that Scripture teaches that sex outside of marriage (a marriage between one man and one woman) is sin.

  • Grace

    fws – 113

    I am also aware of that same slide happening much more quickly in the newer sects called baptist, calvinist, methodist, and penticostal.

    I am aware that this slide into the darkness of false faith is especially rapid in those groups that do not practice infant baptism and where you will probably never hear the name of the Holy Trinity invoked as such except, blessedly! when a baptism is being done.”

    fws – you are not only wrong, you prove how little you know of other denominations. I have been involved in many who pray using God the Father, God the Son, and God the HOLY Spirit in their prayers, I pray this often myself. The TRINITY is taught and brought out repeatedly in the messages that are given.

    You fws — do not know what you’re talking about.

  • Grace

    fws – 113

    I am also aware of that same slide happening much more quickly in the newer sects called baptist, calvinist, methodist, and penticostal.

    I am aware that this slide into the darkness of false faith is especially rapid in those groups that do not practice infant baptism and where you will probably never hear the name of the Holy Trinity invoked as such except, blessedly! when a baptism is being done.”

    fws – you are not only wrong, you prove how little you know of other denominations. I have been involved in many who pray using God the Father, God the Son, and God the HOLY Spirit in their prayers, I pray this often myself. The TRINITY is taught and brought out repeatedly in the messages that are given.

    You fws — do not know what you’re talking about.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 115

    It feels like, from my end, that you are totally ignoring everything I have written to you . So I am done with you for today dear friend. I have other stuff to do too. If you want to continue a real and true dialog, read what I wrote to you, and my questions to you. Respond.

    Don´t take the liberty of highjacking the conversation and not responding to what I wrote. That does not feel either loving or polite, Please forgive me for being blunt.

    This conversation has to interest both of us and feel respectful to both. Forgive me wherever I have not shown you the utmost respect you deserve to have.

    peace +

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    truthud @ 115

    It feels like, from my end, that you are totally ignoring everything I have written to you . So I am done with you for today dear friend. I have other stuff to do too. If you want to continue a real and true dialog, read what I wrote to you, and my questions to you. Respond.

    Don´t take the liberty of highjacking the conversation and not responding to what I wrote. That does not feel either loving or polite, Please forgive me for being blunt.

    This conversation has to interest both of us and feel respectful to both. Forgive me wherever I have not shown you the utmost respect you deserve to have.

    peace +

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 116

    I am glad to hear that about you and your church. Next time you go to Calvary Chappel I would like you to do this: Count the number of times (outside of a baptism being performed) where the pastor says this “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit”.

    Please do not take this as a challenge or barbed comment I am directing at you to argue dear Grace. I really sincerely want to know. This would be truly new news to me. And I would be grateful to hear you report back “The Name was invoked 6, 7, 12 + times during our church service”.

    I will in that case very very joyfully publicly exempt Calvary Chapel from what I said every single time in the future! :) Thanks for the intitial correction. Can you please follow up with this additional information? Thanks!

    Bless you Grace! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 116

    I am glad to hear that about you and your church. Next time you go to Calvary Chappel I would like you to do this: Count the number of times (outside of a baptism being performed) where the pastor says this “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit”.

    Please do not take this as a challenge or barbed comment I am directing at you to argue dear Grace. I really sincerely want to know. This would be truly new news to me. And I would be grateful to hear you report back “The Name was invoked 6, 7, 12 + times during our church service”.

    I will in that case very very joyfully publicly exempt Calvary Chapel from what I said every single time in the future! :) Thanks for the intitial correction. Can you please follow up with this additional information? Thanks!

    Bless you Grace! :)

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Forgive me wherever I have not shown you the utmost respect you deserve to have. “

    I forgive you.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Forgive me wherever I have not shown you the utmost respect you deserve to have. “

    I forgive you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    @119

    Thanks! What did you say your name was friend?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    @119

    Thanks! What did you say your name was friend?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Grace, #116: “You fws — do not know what you’re talking about.”

    A matter-of-fact true statement. It’s why I wrote #108.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Grace, #116: “You fws — do not know what you’re talking about.”

    A matter-of-fact true statement. It’s why I wrote #108.

  • Grace

    fws – 118

    “I am glad to hear that about you and your church. Next time you go to Calvary Chappel I would like you to do this: Count the number of times (outside of a baptism being performed) where the pastor says this “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit”.”

    NO fws, I will not do that, for the very reason, I Worship God, I don’t listen to the pastor, or the one praying, keeping count. I know they use God the Father, God the Son and God the HOLY SPIRIT. No one can Worship God, listen and pray, keeping count all at the same time –

    “Please do not take this as a challenge or barbed comment I am directing at you to argue dear Grace. I really sincerely want to know. This would be truly new news to me. And I would be grateful to hear you report back “The Name was invoked 6, 7, 12 + times during our church service”.

    You have a lot of nerve. “REPORT BACK” ? – you will just have to take my word for it.

    I will in that case very very joyfully publicly exempt Calvary Chapel from what I said every single time in the future! Thanks for the intitial correction. Can you please follow up with this additional information? Thanks!”

    Calvary Chapel doesn’t need your EXEMPTION. I don’t have time for your church games!

  • Grace

    fws – 118

    “I am glad to hear that about you and your church. Next time you go to Calvary Chappel I would like you to do this: Count the number of times (outside of a baptism being performed) where the pastor says this “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit”.”

    NO fws, I will not do that, for the very reason, I Worship God, I don’t listen to the pastor, or the one praying, keeping count. I know they use God the Father, God the Son and God the HOLY SPIRIT. No one can Worship God, listen and pray, keeping count all at the same time –

    “Please do not take this as a challenge or barbed comment I am directing at you to argue dear Grace. I really sincerely want to know. This would be truly new news to me. And I would be grateful to hear you report back “The Name was invoked 6, 7, 12 + times during our church service”.

    You have a lot of nerve. “REPORT BACK” ? – you will just have to take my word for it.

    I will in that case very very joyfully publicly exempt Calvary Chapel from what I said every single time in the future! Thanks for the intitial correction. Can you please follow up with this additional information? Thanks!”

    Calvary Chapel doesn’t need your EXEMPTION. I don’t have time for your church games!

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 121

    “A matter-of-fact true statement. It’s why I wrote #108.”

    I have been reading your exchange – I don’t know how long you have been reading this blog, or several posters…. it’s always accusations, no answers regarding sin, …… equals the DODGE!

    You did a good job, TUD. ;)

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 121

    “A matter-of-fact true statement. It’s why I wrote #108.”

    I have been reading your exchange – I don’t know how long you have been reading this blog, or several posters…. it’s always accusations, no answers regarding sin, …… equals the DODGE!

    You did a good job, TUD. ;)

  • Grace

    fws #101 “I am also a gay man. The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.”

    “These baptized ones are shocked to be address as sheep not goats, wheat not tares and good soil rather than that other dirt. And you can often see hope starting to spread accross their face with this sort of talk!

    Deliberate sin, be it homosexual sex or fornication/adultery is warned about in Scripture, but if you consider your Baptism as a means to circumvent deliberate sin, as an artful maneuver, you are wrong. You can talk about law and grace forever, however, anyone who has studied the Word of God isn’t going to listen, IF they believe what is in the New Testament.

    fws #110 “Or to a judge who is about to render judgement on your speeding ticket “Hey I read in the local newspaper that you are gay. Before you render judgement on me, could you please inform me, your honor, whether or not you are having sex?”

    You, and Truth Unites… and Divides, were not talking about something so silly as a “speeding ticket” – the discussion was about your stating that you are “gay” in post 101, and then dodging the question he asked, now using silly excuses.

  • Grace

    fws #101 “I am also a gay man. The thing I want to know when talking to a gay man or women or transgender or other human who is or is not going to church is whether or not they were baptized.”

    “These baptized ones are shocked to be address as sheep not goats, wheat not tares and good soil rather than that other dirt. And you can often see hope starting to spread accross their face with this sort of talk!

    Deliberate sin, be it homosexual sex or fornication/adultery is warned about in Scripture, but if you consider your Baptism as a means to circumvent deliberate sin, as an artful maneuver, you are wrong. You can talk about law and grace forever, however, anyone who has studied the Word of God isn’t going to listen, IF they believe what is in the New Testament.

    fws #110 “Or to a judge who is about to render judgement on your speeding ticket “Hey I read in the local newspaper that you are gay. Before you render judgement on me, could you please inform me, your honor, whether or not you are having sex?”

    You, and Truth Unites… and Divides, were not talking about something so silly as a “speeding ticket” – the discussion was about your stating that you are “gay” in post 101, and then dodging the question he asked, now using silly excuses.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You did a good job, TUD.”

    Thanks much, Grace!! I gotta run and see someone. I’ll be back to post a more expansive comment.

    And you did a good job too, Grace!!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You did a good job, TUD.”

    Thanks much, Grace!! I gotta run and see someone. I’ll be back to post a more expansive comment.

    And you did a good job too, Grace!!

  • Louis

    TUD, actually, your behaviour is quite boorish. You ask somebody about their sex life, but refuse to even admit your own name. That is bad, bad form.

  • Louis

    TUD, actually, your behaviour is quite boorish. You ask somebody about their sex life, but refuse to even admit your own name. That is bad, bad form.

  • Grace

    Louis – 126

    “TUD, actually, your behaviour is quite boorish. You ask somebody about their sex life, but refuse to even admit your own name. That is bad, bad form.”

    It was fws who brought up being “gay” in post 101 – then proceeded to preach law and grace, not wanting to answer a question that would obviously come up, when preaching about the Bible. It’s not “bad form” as you call it. I wouldn’t listen to a pastor/teacher who claimed to be “gay” unless they had turned from that lifestyle, and became celibate.

    Many posters on this blog use initials, etc. Why should – Truth Unites… and Divides, be any different?

    There is – WebMonk – moallen – Collie – trotk, and others—– I think you get the idea.

  • Grace

    Louis – 126

    “TUD, actually, your behaviour is quite boorish. You ask somebody about their sex life, but refuse to even admit your own name. That is bad, bad form.”

    It was fws who brought up being “gay” in post 101 – then proceeded to preach law and grace, not wanting to answer a question that would obviously come up, when preaching about the Bible. It’s not “bad form” as you call it. I wouldn’t listen to a pastor/teacher who claimed to be “gay” unless they had turned from that lifestyle, and became celibate.

    Many posters on this blog use initials, etc. Why should – Truth Unites… and Divides, be any different?

    There is – WebMonk – moallen – Collie – trotk, and others—– I think you get the idea.

  • Louis

    Grace, the point was not that TTUAD uses a pseudonym – that is fine. The point was that he/she would ask such an extraordinary private question, YET refuse to divulge his/her own name.

    He/she could easily have rephrased such a question in non-personal terms.

  • Louis

    Grace, the point was not that TTUAD uses a pseudonym – that is fine. The point was that he/she would ask such an extraordinary private question, YET refuse to divulge his/her own name.

    He/she could easily have rephrased such a question in non-personal terms.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    If purple reads my post carefully, she will not find that I say she should determine her morality based on her own internal moral compass.

    What she should hear are two messages that cannot possibly, ie reasonably, both be correct:

    1) God demands that we keep not only the Decalog found in the Bible but also see that his Law is exactly found in city ordinances, the fed tax code and in the voice of a nagging spouse or parent. So God demands this external keeping of us. He promises to bless us if we do it, and he threatens to send plagues and pestilence to force us to do it if we do not. This is (oddly , to modern Lutheran ears shaded by Calvinism) why Luther gives this advice in the preface to the Catechism:

    17] For it needs must be that whoever knows the Ten Commandments perfectly must know all the Scriptures, so that, in all affairs and cases, he can advise, help, comfort, judge, and decide both spiritual and temporal matters, and is qualified to sit in judgment upon all doctrines, estates, spirits, laws, and whatever else is in the world. And what, indeed, is the entire Psalter but thoughts and exercises upon the First Commandment? http://bookofconcord.org/lc-1-intro.php#para17

    and again…

    For instance, the Seventh Commandment, concerning stealing, must be strenuously urged among mechanics and merchants, and even farmers and servants, for among these people many kinds of dishonesty and thieving prevail. So, too, you must urge well the Fourth Commandment among the children and the common people, that they may be quiet and faithful, obedient and peaceable, and you must always adduce many examples from the Scriptures to show how God has punished or blessed such persons.

    2) We should know that the Decalog is about “movements of the heart”. The Law informs us that a faith in this outward keeping of the Law as something that we can present to God to satisfy His demands upon us is the very worst form of concupiscence and lust and coveteousness.

    1) and 2) cannot both be true according to Reason and the Law God himself has placed in our reason and mind!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 96

    If purple reads my post carefully, she will not find that I say she should determine her morality based on her own internal moral compass.

    What she should hear are two messages that cannot possibly, ie reasonably, both be correct:

    1) God demands that we keep not only the Decalog found in the Bible but also see that his Law is exactly found in city ordinances, the fed tax code and in the voice of a nagging spouse or parent. So God demands this external keeping of us. He promises to bless us if we do it, and he threatens to send plagues and pestilence to force us to do it if we do not. This is (oddly , to modern Lutheran ears shaded by Calvinism) why Luther gives this advice in the preface to the Catechism:

    17] For it needs must be that whoever knows the Ten Commandments perfectly must know all the Scriptures, so that, in all affairs and cases, he can advise, help, comfort, judge, and decide both spiritual and temporal matters, and is qualified to sit in judgment upon all doctrines, estates, spirits, laws, and whatever else is in the world. And what, indeed, is the entire Psalter but thoughts and exercises upon the First Commandment? http://bookofconcord.org/lc-1-intro.php#para17

    and again…

    For instance, the Seventh Commandment, concerning stealing, must be strenuously urged among mechanics and merchants, and even farmers and servants, for among these people many kinds of dishonesty and thieving prevail. So, too, you must urge well the Fourth Commandment among the children and the common people, that they may be quiet and faithful, obedient and peaceable, and you must always adduce many examples from the Scriptures to show how God has punished or blessed such persons.

    2) We should know that the Decalog is about “movements of the heart”. The Law informs us that a faith in this outward keeping of the Law as something that we can present to God to satisfy His demands upon us is the very worst form of concupiscence and lust and coveteousness.

    1) and 2) cannot both be true according to Reason and the Law God himself has placed in our reason and mind!

  • Grace

    Of course some on this blog do a tinyURL, that connects to their blog – those who click it, have just given their IP #, city, state and name - or those who don’t know, click their name/moniker which accomplishes the same purpose.

  • Grace

    Of course some on this blog do a tinyURL, that connects to their blog – those who click it, have just given their IP #, city, state and name - or those who don’t know, click their name/moniker which accomplishes the same purpose.

  • Leif

    Grace @127

    “It’s not “bad form” as you call it.”

    No, actually, it is. In fact, it’s not even bad form–it’s terrible form. And I’m a little sad that you can’t even acknowledge that.

    “a question that would obviously come up,”

    Really? Demanding an account of Frank’s sex life is a question that would obviously come up in a debate over “law and grace”. Can I ask you any “obvious” questions about your life? I believe Kerner asked you what your definition of “born again” was a while back and you still haven’t answered that one.

    Sigh.

    /end rant

    Sorry guys, I don’t post much as I mostly read but…uff da.

  • Leif

    Grace @127

    “It’s not “bad form” as you call it.”

    No, actually, it is. In fact, it’s not even bad form–it’s terrible form. And I’m a little sad that you can’t even acknowledge that.

    “a question that would obviously come up,”

    Really? Demanding an account of Frank’s sex life is a question that would obviously come up in a debate over “law and grace”. Can I ask you any “obvious” questions about your life? I believe Kerner asked you what your definition of “born again” was a while back and you still haven’t answered that one.

    Sigh.

    /end rant

    Sorry guys, I don’t post much as I mostly read but…uff da.

  • http://www.fingertoe.com josh r

    It seems to me that we ought not be surprised when folks who call themselves Christians but don’t behave like Christians wind up not behaving like Christians…

    There are two explanations for this. Either they are trying to behave like Christians and are failing, or they are not trying and succeeding at failing. . Keeping a marriage together is hard. Either explanation is viable. Getting to Church once a month or more is not really that hard for most people. The later explanation is much more viable. Of the people in the later category, it is not surprising at all that they have a high divorce rate. If you are not willing to pour any effort into the little things, there is a good chance you are not going to be able to muster effort for the big things either.

  • http://www.fingertoe.com josh r

    It seems to me that we ought not be surprised when folks who call themselves Christians but don’t behave like Christians wind up not behaving like Christians…

    There are two explanations for this. Either they are trying to behave like Christians and are failing, or they are not trying and succeeding at failing. . Keeping a marriage together is hard. Either explanation is viable. Getting to Church once a month or more is not really that hard for most people. The later explanation is much more viable. Of the people in the later category, it is not surprising at all that they have a high divorce rate. If you are not willing to pour any effort into the little things, there is a good chance you are not going to be able to muster effort for the big things either.

  • Leif

    Grace @131

    Stop spreading a bizarre rumor that the posters here are evil malcontents looking to steal your identity. Also, unless you’re entering your name on a site there’s no way a site is tracking your “name” that’s just wrong.

  • Leif

    Grace @131

    Stop spreading a bizarre rumor that the posters here are evil malcontents looking to steal your identity. Also, unless you’re entering your name on a site there’s no way a site is tracking your “name” that’s just wrong.

  • BW

    Yes I don’t understand what the malfunction is here. FWS brought up that he was gay to try and illustrate a point about discussing baptism. Flip it for a moment, it would be the same as though FWS ceased all discussion until someone discussed their issues with lying or anger. The point was a discussion on the efficacy of baptism.

  • BW

    Yes I don’t understand what the malfunction is here. FWS brought up that he was gay to try and illustrate a point about discussing baptism. Flip it for a moment, it would be the same as though FWS ceased all discussion until someone discussed their issues with lying or anger. The point was a discussion on the efficacy of baptism.

  • Bob

    I’ve been to a Calvary Chapel. Never heard the Trinitarian Name invoked.

    I did, however, hear the pastor pray the “Prayer of the Just” quite regularly:

    “Lord, we just thank you Lord, for just Lord helping us Lord, for just being with us Lord, now we just ask…”
    :)

  • Bob

    I’ve been to a Calvary Chapel. Never heard the Trinitarian Name invoked.

    I did, however, hear the pastor pray the “Prayer of the Just” quite regularly:

    “Lord, we just thank you Lord, for just Lord helping us Lord, for just being with us Lord, now we just ask…”
    :)

  • DonS

    This thread has become a disaster. Just sayin’.

    Bob, nice point about the “Prayer of the Just” :-) There is truth to that, in churches that do not use a liturgy.

    However, let me clarify that Calvary Chapel is definitely Trinitarian. Here is a link to the doctrinal statement of the Calvary Chapel Bible College, which is similar to that which most Calvary Chapel Churches would ascribe to: http://calvarychapelbiblecollege.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=120

  • DonS

    This thread has become a disaster. Just sayin’.

    Bob, nice point about the “Prayer of the Just” :-) There is truth to that, in churches that do not use a liturgy.

    However, let me clarify that Calvary Chapel is definitely Trinitarian. Here is a link to the doctrinal statement of the Calvary Chapel Bible College, which is similar to that which most Calvary Chapel Churches would ascribe to: http://calvarychapelbiblecollege.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=120

  • Bob

    DonS,

    Good point. Calvary Chapel is indeed Trinitarian. I just never heard the name of the Trinity used in their prayers, etc.

  • Bob

    DonS,

    Good point. Calvary Chapel is indeed Trinitarian. I just never heard the name of the Trinity used in their prayers, etc.

  • kerner

    DonS:

    It has become a dissaster, which is irritating to those of us trying to carry on a discussion about some serious questions. :(

  • kerner

    DonS:

    It has become a dissaster, which is irritating to those of us trying to carry on a discussion about some serious questions. :(

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

    What good is it to be “trinitarian” on paper if you are never teaching the Trinity? This is a real problem DonS. A real one, in that if the church is not teaching this people never come to understand it or articulate it. I have had evangelical after evangelical, calvary chapelite after calvery chapelite get upset when I tell them things like, God died on the cross, though by their iconology it seems they would not have a problem with that if I meant by it the Holy Spirit was crucified, because they can seem to nail pigeons to the cross at the rate Roman Soldiers did the bodies of humans.

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

    What good is it to be “trinitarian” on paper if you are never teaching the Trinity? This is a real problem DonS. A real one, in that if the church is not teaching this people never come to understand it or articulate it. I have had evangelical after evangelical, calvary chapelite after calvery chapelite get upset when I tell them things like, God died on the cross, though by their iconology it seems they would not have a problem with that if I meant by it the Holy Spirit was crucified, because they can seem to nail pigeons to the cross at the rate Roman Soldiers did the bodies of humans.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “I have been reading your exchange – I don’t know how long you have been reading this blog, or several posters…. it’s always accusations, no answers regarding sin, …… equals the DODGE!”

    Hi Grace,

    I found this blog post via Tim Challies. He wrote: “Nominal Christians – Gene Edward Veith writes about an interesting study regarding nominal Christians.”

    I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it would be interesting to learn more and hear more about nominal Christians from Professor Veith.

    I didn’t expect to engage in a thread discussion with a gay man exalting his baptism. (FWIW, I entered the thread at #88.) Since this post and thread is presumably about nominal Christians (or “Christians in Name Only”) I find it interesting that the thread has taken the turn that it has.

    For example, I’m guessing that many folks think of a nominal Christian as someone who maybe goes to church twice a year (maybe Easter and Christmas) and is otherwise virtually indistinguishable from an unbeliever.

    Well, in examining the varieties of nominal Christians, would it be appropriate to say that someone who is unrepentant in their sin (or even refuses to acknowledge that their sin is a sin) is a nominal Christian? And no matter how much this baptized person goes to church? For example Grace, suppose you know someone who is an unrepentant actively gay baptized Lutheran. Would it be alright to lovingly discern that this person is a nominal Christian? A Christian in name only?

    And I want to be explicit and clear on this, the understanding assumption of the argument above is that same-sex behavior is sin. And that Divine Scripture is clear that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time.

    And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is not merely a person who infrequently worships God corporately, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).

    This consideration is a fruitful part of this thread. Thanks all.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “I have been reading your exchange – I don’t know how long you have been reading this blog, or several posters…. it’s always accusations, no answers regarding sin, …… equals the DODGE!”

    Hi Grace,

    I found this blog post via Tim Challies. He wrote: “Nominal Christians – Gene Edward Veith writes about an interesting study regarding nominal Christians.”

    I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it would be interesting to learn more and hear more about nominal Christians from Professor Veith.

    I didn’t expect to engage in a thread discussion with a gay man exalting his baptism. (FWIW, I entered the thread at #88.) Since this post and thread is presumably about nominal Christians (or “Christians in Name Only”) I find it interesting that the thread has taken the turn that it has.

    For example, I’m guessing that many folks think of a nominal Christian as someone who maybe goes to church twice a year (maybe Easter and Christmas) and is otherwise virtually indistinguishable from an unbeliever.

    Well, in examining the varieties of nominal Christians, would it be appropriate to say that someone who is unrepentant in their sin (or even refuses to acknowledge that their sin is a sin) is a nominal Christian? And no matter how much this baptized person goes to church? For example Grace, suppose you know someone who is an unrepentant actively gay baptized Lutheran. Would it be alright to lovingly discern that this person is a nominal Christian? A Christian in name only?

    And I want to be explicit and clear on this, the understanding assumption of the argument above is that same-sex behavior is sin. And that Divine Scripture is clear that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time.

    And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is not merely a person who infrequently worships God corporately, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).

    This consideration is a fruitful part of this thread. Thanks all.

  • DonS

    Bror @ 139: Your statement is not accurate, but I appreciate the point you are making about catechism. We should be catechising our kids, no question about it. We do that at our church, which is one reason why I like it.

  • DonS

    Bror @ 139: Your statement is not accurate, but I appreciate the point you are making about catechism. We should be catechising our kids, no question about it. We do that at our church, which is one reason why I like it.

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

    What part of my statement is not accurate?

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

    What part of my statement is not accurate?

  • Grace

    Bob – 137

    How many times have you attended a Calvary Chapel Church?

  • Grace

    Bob – 137

    How many times have you attended a Calvary Chapel Church?

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 140

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is not merely a person who infrequently worships God corporately, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).”

    You nailed it – your entire post says it all.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 140

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is not merely a person who infrequently worships God corporately, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).”

    You nailed it – your entire post says it all.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You nailed it – your entire post says it all.”

    Grace,

    You’re very kind.

    I believe I’ve made some grammatical errors in the excerpt that you quoted. I’d like to revise it so as to eliminate the obvious grammatical mistakes, and this will perhaps improve its readability as well:

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is only a person who corporately worships God on a very infrequent basis, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who willfully engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You nailed it – your entire post says it all.”

    Grace,

    You’re very kind.

    I believe I’ve made some grammatical errors in the excerpt that you quoted. I’d like to revise it so as to eliminate the obvious grammatical mistakes, and this will perhaps improve its readability as well:

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is only a person who corporately worships God on a very infrequent basis, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who willfully engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).

  • Bob

    Hi Grace,

    My family and I attended regularly for probably about a year and a half.

  • Bob

    Hi Grace,

    My family and I attended regularly for probably about a year and a half.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 145

    “I believe I’ve made some grammatical errors in the excerpt that you quoted. I’d like to revise it so as to eliminate the obvious grammatical mistakes, and this will perhaps improve its readability as well:

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is only a person who corporately worships God on a very infrequent basis, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who willfully engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).”

    I don’t think so –

    I don’t believe “infrequently worships God corporately” or “worships God corporately” is the issue. It’s willfully sinning, that’s the KEY, whether they frequentely worship or corporately worship God Almighty every week – makes clear they willfully sin, no matter how they worship or how often. It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing, with clever words, which appear to sound, SOUND, but in fact they are false, … often times verbalism, to the extreme. It could be identified as more is better, when in fact more verbalism serves nothing, because it’s vacant of factual truth regarding the Word of God.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 145

    “I believe I’ve made some grammatical errors in the excerpt that you quoted. I’d like to revise it so as to eliminate the obvious grammatical mistakes, and this will perhaps improve its readability as well:

    “And so this goes beyond the understanding that a nominal Christian is only a person who corporately worships God on a very infrequent basis, but that a nominal Christian could be, or is, a baptized person who willfully engages in unrepentant sin (or even denies that it’s a sin).”

    I don’t think so –

    I don’t believe “infrequently worships God corporately” or “worships God corporately” is the issue. It’s willfully sinning, that’s the KEY, whether they frequentely worship or corporately worship God Almighty every week – makes clear they willfully sin, no matter how they worship or how often. It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing, with clever words, which appear to sound, SOUND, but in fact they are false, … often times verbalism, to the extreme. It could be identified as more is better, when in fact more verbalism serves nothing, because it’s vacant of factual truth regarding the Word of God.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    TTUAD,

    Fine: But so are the following things wrong:
    False witness, lying, desiring that which isn’t yours, getting angry, thinking hateful thoughts, gluttony, greed of any kind, getting impatient with the kids, always seeing things in the worst possible light, not loving you neighbour as yourself, and, btw, Not Loving God with all your heart etc etc.

    Most of us do some, even most of those, all the time, while going to Church, receiving the Sacraments etc etc. You assumed the worst interpration of fws’ words, and then proceeded to lay down the Law, with no grace at all. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, do you keep the Law perfectly?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    TTUAD,

    Fine: But so are the following things wrong:
    False witness, lying, desiring that which isn’t yours, getting angry, thinking hateful thoughts, gluttony, greed of any kind, getting impatient with the kids, always seeing things in the worst possible light, not loving you neighbour as yourself, and, btw, Not Loving God with all your heart etc etc.

    Most of us do some, even most of those, all the time, while going to Church, receiving the Sacraments etc etc. You assumed the worst interpration of fws’ words, and then proceeded to lay down the Law, with no grace at all. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, do you keep the Law perfectly?

  • Grace

    Deliberate sin is; sinning on purpose. If one is defining homosexual sin, (sex between two males or females) – adultery/fornication – those sins are done intentionally. One doesn’t take their clothes off, perform the act, WITHOUT FIRST knowing what they are doing, undressing takes time – shacking up with, or seeing another person, having sex with, is a PLAN to DAMN. Who, ….. thinks sexual sin is an accident?

    There is only one sin that gives a husband or wife the right to a Biblical divorce, and that is sexual sin – no gluttony, greed, lying, stealing, gossip ….. only sexual sin. Keeping this in mind, …. one must realize God must see sexual sin as one of the most repugnant.

    Notice those who defend homosexuality in any way, or those who commit adultery/fornication – you will soon figure it out.

  • Grace

    Deliberate sin is; sinning on purpose. If one is defining homosexual sin, (sex between two males or females) – adultery/fornication – those sins are done intentionally. One doesn’t take their clothes off, perform the act, WITHOUT FIRST knowing what they are doing, undressing takes time – shacking up with, or seeing another person, having sex with, is a PLAN to DAMN. Who, ….. thinks sexual sin is an accident?

    There is only one sin that gives a husband or wife the right to a Biblical divorce, and that is sexual sin – no gluttony, greed, lying, stealing, gossip ….. only sexual sin. Keeping this in mind, …. one must realize God must see sexual sin as one of the most repugnant.

    Notice those who defend homosexuality in any way, or those who commit adultery/fornication – you will soon figure it out.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    It’s willfully sinning, that’s the KEY,

    I hear you Grace.

    Funny how Professor Gene Veith’s post about nominal Christians has now led me to think about one of the more obvious differences between LCMS and ELCA.

    I’m guessing that many of Dr. Veith’s readership is LCMS. And that they know what’s been happening in the ELCA.

    For example, suppose a devout LCMS member observes an unrepentantly active gay baptized person ordained to the office of clergy in ELCA. And this ELCA ordinand preaches and teaches in both the pulpit and in behavior that same-sex behavior is not a sin.

    Would it be wrong for the devout LCMS member to see or regard this unrepentantly active gay baptized ELCA ordinand as a nominal Christian, a Christian in name only?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    It’s willfully sinning, that’s the KEY,

    I hear you Grace.

    Funny how Professor Gene Veith’s post about nominal Christians has now led me to think about one of the more obvious differences between LCMS and ELCA.

    I’m guessing that many of Dr. Veith’s readership is LCMS. And that they know what’s been happening in the ELCA.

    For example, suppose a devout LCMS member observes an unrepentantly active gay baptized person ordained to the office of clergy in ELCA. And this ELCA ordinand preaches and teaches in both the pulpit and in behavior that same-sex behavior is not a sin.

    Would it be wrong for the devout LCMS member to see or regard this unrepentantly active gay baptized ELCA ordinand as a nominal Christian, a Christian in name only?

  • BW

    Willful sinning?

    That’s difficult to pin down too. Being both saint and sinner, having the Old Man and the New Man in me, I still have a sinful nature inside me that enjoys sinning on some level.

  • BW

    Willful sinning?

    That’s difficult to pin down too. Being both saint and sinner, having the Old Man and the New Man in me, I still have a sinful nature inside me that enjoys sinning on some level.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    I realize that this thread has taken a number of side tracks, including a direct criticism on Calvary Chapel, so I understand if you’ve been preoccupied. But I’m still interested in your answer to my question if you’re still interested in giving one.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    I realize that this thread has taken a number of side tracks, including a direct criticism on Calvary Chapel, so I understand if you’ve been preoccupied. But I’m still interested in your answer to my question if you’re still interested in giving one.

  • Rob

    @Truth

    There are two dangers here: one is to approach our behavior/decisions as part of our salvation. That is: faith + faithful works = salvation. Make any comments that smack of that and the Lutherans on here will rightly pounce. Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that we are saved by grace through faith NOT works.

    Grace is prone to this first trap, which robs the Gospel of its hope, because it puts my salvation right back on my own shoulders. At the very moment that I question my salvation, her theology tells me to seek assurance, not in Christ’s sacrifice, but in my obedience – never solid ground and I end up more afflicted.

    There is another danger, one that has dogged Lutheranism since a student of Luther’s named Agricola: that is the idea that since we are saved by Christ’s work, our own behavior doesn’t matter at all. This is called antinomianism (anti-nomos: against Law) and is roundly condemned by both the Lutheran confessions (the writings to which all confessional Lutherans ascribe) and Luther’s own writings. Eph 2:10 makes it plain that salvation is enacted so that we can do good works which Christ has prepared for us to do.

    Frank (“fws” – with whom I interacted at great length via e-mail on this topic several months ago) and Stephen to a lesser extent are prone to this second trap. Lutheranism is built on the two pillars of Law and Gospel. Minimize the Law and its accusations of sin and you minimize the Gospel which saves us from it. It is right to point to your baptism as your assurance when Satan accuses you, but wrong to use your baptism as license for whatever behavior appeals to you.

    Thus, both Law and Gospel must be held before us constantly – that is why they are the two chief doctrines of all Scripture. When we become confident in our sins, the Law must remind us that sin brings death. And any sin, whether by the unregenerate or by the regenerate has caused the agony and death of Christ. We must never minimize the costs of our sin. Thus the formulation that the Law always accuses.

    However, when we are convinced of and afflicted by the guilt of our sins, the Gospel must always assure us that we are saved by Christ’s work, not our own. Christ took on our sin, died in our place, and rose victorious over it. And we can look to our baptism and to receiving Christ’s very body and blood in communion as our physical reminders that this is most certainly true.

    The Gospel must never be preached to those who are secure in their sin. The Law must never be preached to those who are crushed by their guilt. That is why Luther taught that the greatest art and task of a preacher is to rightly distinguish and apply the Law and the Gospel.

    As to your question regarding the LCMS and ELCA pastors, unless the ELCA pastor was coming to the LCMS pastor for counsel or communion, it would not be the LCMS pastor’s role to determine the efficacy of the other’s faith (and not even really in those circumstances). Just as I cannot and would not seek to determine the efficacy of yours or Grace’s or fws’s. Don’t even try to go there. Instead, thank God that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed and pray earnestly that God will be merciful to me, a sinner. After all, this is a trustworthy saying: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

  • Rob

    @Truth

    There are two dangers here: one is to approach our behavior/decisions as part of our salvation. That is: faith + faithful works = salvation. Make any comments that smack of that and the Lutherans on here will rightly pounce. Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that we are saved by grace through faith NOT works.

    Grace is prone to this first trap, which robs the Gospel of its hope, because it puts my salvation right back on my own shoulders. At the very moment that I question my salvation, her theology tells me to seek assurance, not in Christ’s sacrifice, but in my obedience – never solid ground and I end up more afflicted.

    There is another danger, one that has dogged Lutheranism since a student of Luther’s named Agricola: that is the idea that since we are saved by Christ’s work, our own behavior doesn’t matter at all. This is called antinomianism (anti-nomos: against Law) and is roundly condemned by both the Lutheran confessions (the writings to which all confessional Lutherans ascribe) and Luther’s own writings. Eph 2:10 makes it plain that salvation is enacted so that we can do good works which Christ has prepared for us to do.

    Frank (“fws” – with whom I interacted at great length via e-mail on this topic several months ago) and Stephen to a lesser extent are prone to this second trap. Lutheranism is built on the two pillars of Law and Gospel. Minimize the Law and its accusations of sin and you minimize the Gospel which saves us from it. It is right to point to your baptism as your assurance when Satan accuses you, but wrong to use your baptism as license for whatever behavior appeals to you.

    Thus, both Law and Gospel must be held before us constantly – that is why they are the two chief doctrines of all Scripture. When we become confident in our sins, the Law must remind us that sin brings death. And any sin, whether by the unregenerate or by the regenerate has caused the agony and death of Christ. We must never minimize the costs of our sin. Thus the formulation that the Law always accuses.

    However, when we are convinced of and afflicted by the guilt of our sins, the Gospel must always assure us that we are saved by Christ’s work, not our own. Christ took on our sin, died in our place, and rose victorious over it. And we can look to our baptism and to receiving Christ’s very body and blood in communion as our physical reminders that this is most certainly true.

    The Gospel must never be preached to those who are secure in their sin. The Law must never be preached to those who are crushed by their guilt. That is why Luther taught that the greatest art and task of a preacher is to rightly distinguish and apply the Law and the Gospel.

    As to your question regarding the LCMS and ELCA pastors, unless the ELCA pastor was coming to the LCMS pastor for counsel or communion, it would not be the LCMS pastor’s role to determine the efficacy of the other’s faith (and not even really in those circumstances). Just as I cannot and would not seek to determine the efficacy of yours or Grace’s or fws’s. Don’t even try to go there. Instead, thank God that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed and pray earnestly that God will be merciful to me, a sinner. After all, this is a trustworthy saying: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your comment. It was helpful in several areas. And there are some areas where if I was in the mood and inclined to do so, I would drive the proverbial truck through the wide gaps in your comment. But that would just take this thread too far afield.

    And fwiw, although this is the first time that I’ve encountered Grace (i.e., you may have more extensive experience with her) I do not think that she falls more into the first trap as you think she does.

    Pax.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your comment. It was helpful in several areas. And there are some areas where if I was in the mood and inclined to do so, I would drive the proverbial truck through the wide gaps in your comment. But that would just take this thread too far afield.

    And fwiw, although this is the first time that I’ve encountered Grace (i.e., you may have more extensive experience with her) I do not think that she falls more into the first trap as you think she does.

    Pax.

  • kerner

    Rob @153:

    I, on the other hand, found your comment to have very little by way of holes. Good job explaining the necessary balance..

  • kerner

    Rob @153:

    I, on the other hand, found your comment to have very little by way of holes. Good job explaining the necessary balance..

  • DonS

    Rob @ 153: I’m with Kerner. As a non-Lutheran, your comment makes me feel a lot better about Lutheranism. A lot of the things I have read on this blog have seemed to disregard and even reject the idea that we, as Christians, are part of the Body of Christ and as such are vessels for God’s service and have a duty of obedience to Him.

  • DonS

    Rob @ 153: I’m with Kerner. As a non-Lutheran, your comment makes me feel a lot better about Lutheranism. A lot of the things I have read on this blog have seemed to disregard and even reject the idea that we, as Christians, are part of the Body of Christ and as such are vessels for God’s service and have a duty of obedience to Him.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 153

    Good solid Augustinian theology!

    But not Lutheran. Show each of the assertions you made from the Lutheran Confessions. You will not be able to. But I can find every one of them in Calvin´s Institutes.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 153

    Good solid Augustinian theology!

    But not Lutheran. Show each of the assertions you made from the Lutheran Confessions. You will not be able to. But I can find every one of them in Calvin´s Institutes.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 153

    The underlying problem is that you are not defining sin the way the Lutheran Confessions do Rob.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 153

    The underlying problem is that you are not defining sin the way the Lutheran Confessions do Rob.

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

    DonS, how is that? This site is all but dedicated to the lutheran doctrine of vocation in which we serve God in our vocations! The whole site is about how we serve God. And in serving god we do obey him. We just have huge differences with you about what all that means.
    I would appreciate you answering my earlier question.

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

    DonS, how is that? This site is all but dedicated to the lutheran doctrine of vocation in which we serve God in our vocations! The whole site is about how we serve God. And in serving god we do obey him. We just have huge differences with you about what all that means.
    I would appreciate you answering my earlier question.

  • Rob

    Frank, we’ve already done our ten rounds and you’ve more than had your say. I have supported each of the above points from the Confessions in previous correspondence, you just didn’t want to hear it. I have been spending some time in the Apology, as you recommended, but I still think you need to focus some time in the Large Catechism, particularly the Lord’s Prayer. However, my blessings and prayers are still with you, as I promised they would be.

    If anyone else thinks I have said anything that disagrees with our Confessions, I am all ears. And Truth – I am curious: what do you think are the truck-size holes? (and to your other comment, I have interacted with Grace, and more frequently observed her interactions with others, for several months now)

  • Rob

    Frank, we’ve already done our ten rounds and you’ve more than had your say. I have supported each of the above points from the Confessions in previous correspondence, you just didn’t want to hear it. I have been spending some time in the Apology, as you recommended, but I still think you need to focus some time in the Large Catechism, particularly the Lord’s Prayer. However, my blessings and prayers are still with you, as I promised they would be.

    If anyone else thinks I have said anything that disagrees with our Confessions, I am all ears. And Truth – I am curious: what do you think are the truck-size holes? (and to your other comment, I have interacted with Grace, and more frequently observed her interactions with others, for several months now)

  • DonS

    Bror @ 159 — I missed your earlier question — you didn’t tag my post in it, so I didn’t note it.

    Your statement was: “What good is it to be “trinitarian” on paper if you are never teaching the Trinity?”. Our church teaches the Trinity.

  • DonS

    Bror @ 159 — I missed your earlier question — you didn’t tag my post in it, so I didn’t note it.

    Your statement was: “What good is it to be “trinitarian” on paper if you are never teaching the Trinity?”. Our church teaches the Trinity.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 160

    actually I spoke in haste and so in error. What you wrote here is really better than what I heard in our exchange. To be honest I can´t really find fault in what you wrote. A few nits maybe ;)

    Please forgive my criticism brother. I see lots of new things in what you wrote. It truly shows that you are digging into our Confessions! Their voice is starting to sound like your own eh?

    Interesting you should point me to the Catechisms. I have been spending alot of time actually exactly where you are pointing me. Curious as to what in particular you would like me to take note of there in particular.

    I see the Lord´s Prayer, as the Creed, and the Commandments as being about Fatherly Mercy and Goodness being done without our worthiness or merit, indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked.

    Fatherly Goodness and Mercy places , “in, with and under” the Earthly Kingdom 1st article (10 commandments) : the Promise worked, delivered and given in the 2nd and 3rd article (creed) . Faith clings to that Promise (Lord´s Prayer) , and then it receives the Promised Mercy “in, with and under” the Earthly Kingdom commandments to Baptize, to receive the Holy Supper and to Absolve and be Absolved (Ap Art IV).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 160

    actually I spoke in haste and so in error. What you wrote here is really better than what I heard in our exchange. To be honest I can´t really find fault in what you wrote. A few nits maybe ;)

    Please forgive my criticism brother. I see lots of new things in what you wrote. It truly shows that you are digging into our Confessions! Their voice is starting to sound like your own eh?

    Interesting you should point me to the Catechisms. I have been spending alot of time actually exactly where you are pointing me. Curious as to what in particular you would like me to take note of there in particular.

    I see the Lord´s Prayer, as the Creed, and the Commandments as being about Fatherly Mercy and Goodness being done without our worthiness or merit, indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked.

    Fatherly Goodness and Mercy places , “in, with and under” the Earthly Kingdom 1st article (10 commandments) : the Promise worked, delivered and given in the 2nd and 3rd article (creed) . Faith clings to that Promise (Lord´s Prayer) , and then it receives the Promised Mercy “in, with and under” the Earthly Kingdom commandments to Baptize, to receive the Holy Supper and to Absolve and be Absolved (Ap Art IV).

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

    DonS,
    If in your worship you are not invoking and or otherwise teaching the trinity, then it matters little what you are doing in sundayschool. What is taught in worship far outweighs all that.

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

    DonS,
    If in your worship you are not invoking and or otherwise teaching the trinity, then it matters little what you are doing in sundayschool. What is taught in worship far outweighs all that.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don S @ 161

    I have only been to Calvary Chapels about 20-30 times in my life. I have never heard the Most Holy Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity ever once invoked except, blessedly , at a Holy Baptism that was performed.

    Has this changed Don? I would really like to know to have my facts about your group straight. Can you remember last time you went to church how many times that Name was said in any context at all?

    or over the last month… or months… or… I am not trying to be picky or nail you. I just want to get a flavor is all. Thanks brother!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don S @ 161

    I have only been to Calvary Chapels about 20-30 times in my life. I have never heard the Most Holy Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity ever once invoked except, blessedly , at a Holy Baptism that was performed.

    Has this changed Don? I would really like to know to have my facts about your group straight. Can you remember last time you went to church how many times that Name was said in any context at all?

    or over the last month… or months… or… I am not trying to be picky or nail you. I just want to get a flavor is all. Thanks brother!

  • DonS

    Bror @ 163: I agree, but that is not the case in my church.

  • DonS

    Bror @ 163: I agree, but that is not the case in my church.

  • DonS

    Frank @ 164: I cannot speak for every church which uses the name “Calvary Chapel”, any more than you can speak for every Lutheran church. But my “group”, as you call it, regularly invokes the name of the Trinity in worship. How many times? I’ve never counted. Were I counting, I believe that would be a distraction to worship, which I am sure you can understand.

  • DonS

    Frank @ 164: I cannot speak for every church which uses the name “Calvary Chapel”, any more than you can speak for every Lutheran church. But my “group”, as you call it, regularly invokes the name of the Trinity in worship. How many times? I’ve never counted. Were I counting, I believe that would be a distraction to worship, which I am sure you can understand.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@153), I can’t help but notice that what you appear to ascribe to Frank (“and Stephen to a lesser extent”) is a gross mischaracterization of what they’ve said. And I say this as one who does not claim to understand all that either of them has said, though I have spent not a small amount of time trying to do so.

    You say that Frank is prone to believing that “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all”. Which would imply that he therefore has had nothing to say here about sin, or, conversely, loving our neighbor. If, as it seems, you’ve paid attention to his comments, you know that he, in fact, has had lots to say along those lines. So whence this idea of yours that he believes “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all”? And “matter” to whom, by the way?

    It is right to point to your baptism as your assurance when Satan accuses you, but wrong to use your baptism as license for whatever behavior appeals to you.

    In the interest of fully understanding what you mean, can you more fully explain what “appeals to you” means? I’m not trying to be sophomoric; I really can see multiple meanings for that phrase, based on which I could either agree or disagree with the statement.

    Further to that end, I’m curious what you think baptism does. Satan certainly does accuse us, calling us sinners, enemies of God, worthy earners of Hell, and so on. And you are right to say we can point to our baptism in such situations. But, and here’s my point, why is that the right thing to do? And how might that affect one’s reading of your quote, above?

    When we become confident in our sins, the Law must remind us that sin brings death. … We must never minimize the costs of our sin.

    So … you’re saying that Frank would disagree with these statements? Because I think Frank has been pretty blunt about the fact that he’s a sinner, and that he relies solely on the grace of Christ. While I can’t know his (or anyone else’s heart), I’m pretty certain his confession has been one of repentance and trust in Christ’s all-sufficient grace.

    Have you evidence to the contrary?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@153), I can’t help but notice that what you appear to ascribe to Frank (“and Stephen to a lesser extent”) is a gross mischaracterization of what they’ve said. And I say this as one who does not claim to understand all that either of them has said, though I have spent not a small amount of time trying to do so.

    You say that Frank is prone to believing that “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all”. Which would imply that he therefore has had nothing to say here about sin, or, conversely, loving our neighbor. If, as it seems, you’ve paid attention to his comments, you know that he, in fact, has had lots to say along those lines. So whence this idea of yours that he believes “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all”? And “matter” to whom, by the way?

    It is right to point to your baptism as your assurance when Satan accuses you, but wrong to use your baptism as license for whatever behavior appeals to you.

    In the interest of fully understanding what you mean, can you more fully explain what “appeals to you” means? I’m not trying to be sophomoric; I really can see multiple meanings for that phrase, based on which I could either agree or disagree with the statement.

    Further to that end, I’m curious what you think baptism does. Satan certainly does accuse us, calling us sinners, enemies of God, worthy earners of Hell, and so on. And you are right to say we can point to our baptism in such situations. But, and here’s my point, why is that the right thing to do? And how might that affect one’s reading of your quote, above?

    When we become confident in our sins, the Law must remind us that sin brings death. … We must never minimize the costs of our sin.

    So … you’re saying that Frank would disagree with these statements? Because I think Frank has been pretty blunt about the fact that he’s a sinner, and that he relies solely on the grace of Christ. While I can’t know his (or anyone else’s heart), I’m pretty certain his confession has been one of repentance and trust in Christ’s all-sufficient grace.

    Have you evidence to the contrary?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I agree with tODD, here. Especially about attributing the position “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all” to fws. Nothing I’ve heard fws say has hinted at anything of the sort. Think about it. His posts are wordy. If he really believed behavior didn’t matter, why would he write at such great length? Antinomianism is the wrong charge, even if fws is in error.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I agree with tODD, here. Especially about attributing the position “our own behavior doesn’t matter at all” to fws. Nothing I’ve heard fws say has hinted at anything of the sort. Think about it. His posts are wordy. If he really believed behavior didn’t matter, why would he write at such great length? Antinomianism is the wrong charge, even if fws is in error.

  • Stephen

    Yeah Rob, answer Todd. What’s up with saying Frank and I “to a lesser extent” advocate doing “whatever appeals to me?” When did I ever say anything like that? I believe I have hung my hat on my baptism – faith alone in Christ alone, Word and Sacrament. Beyond that I have talked about the whole of the law, the very same thing Jesus did – love of God and love of neighbor as yourself. How are you getting “whatever appeals to me” out of that? How exactly is this description of the whole of the law antinomian? I actually think you may be the antinomian who does not understand what the the divine law is and how it is kept. How is the law kept? Is it about the outward keeping of rules in a list? Tell me so I know.

  • Stephen

    Yeah Rob, answer Todd. What’s up with saying Frank and I “to a lesser extent” advocate doing “whatever appeals to me?” When did I ever say anything like that? I believe I have hung my hat on my baptism – faith alone in Christ alone, Word and Sacrament. Beyond that I have talked about the whole of the law, the very same thing Jesus did – love of God and love of neighbor as yourself. How are you getting “whatever appeals to me” out of that? How exactly is this description of the whole of the law antinomian? I actually think you may be the antinomian who does not understand what the the divine law is and how it is kept. How is the law kept? Is it about the outward keeping of rules in a list? Tell me so I know.

  • Rob

    Just a quick reply (no time for more until tonight). Re-read my post – the quote that has everyone up in arms is my sketch of Agricola’s position which was the first seed of antinomianism. I did not ascribe this to fws or to stephen, only said their positions are sometimes prone to this – a distinction Frank seems to have noticed. But I apologize for the confusion.

    I will reply at greater length to Todd’s questions this evening. Stephen seems a bit hot under the collar at the moment, but I will try to respond to his demandsas best I can. Meantime, Stephen, take a deep breath and re-read what I said a second time, if you still feel I have wronged you don’t just fire back, “No, you’re the antinomian.” (an accusation that makes zero theological sense). At the very least, do what Frank did (and then graciously rescinded) and accuse me of Calvinism.

  • Rob

    Just a quick reply (no time for more until tonight). Re-read my post – the quote that has everyone up in arms is my sketch of Agricola’s position which was the first seed of antinomianism. I did not ascribe this to fws or to stephen, only said their positions are sometimes prone to this – a distinction Frank seems to have noticed. But I apologize for the confusion.

    I will reply at greater length to Todd’s questions this evening. Stephen seems a bit hot under the collar at the moment, but I will try to respond to his demandsas best I can. Meantime, Stephen, take a deep breath and re-read what I said a second time, if you still feel I have wronged you don’t just fire back, “No, you’re the antinomian.” (an accusation that makes zero theological sense). At the very least, do what Frank did (and then graciously rescinded) and accuse me of Calvinism.

  • Rob

    Okay, Todd, I will do my best. I know that internet comments can often convey unintended tones. Please know at the outset that I intend none, even if some may seem implied sometime (consider this a boilerplate “I’m not trying to be offensive” disclaimer). Also, I am sure you have picked up on the fact that Frank and I have interacted at length on the topic (via a whole series of e-mails in January) and my statements are not just based on comments on this thread.

    Let me start out with a quote I was just re-reading from the Smalcald Articles (Section III, iii) (http://bookofconcord.org/smalcald.php#part3.3.42) “Certain sects may arise; some may already exist. During the peasant rebellion, I encountered some who held that those who had once received the Spirit of the forgiveness of sins or had become believers – even if they later sin – would still remain in the faith. Such sin, they think, would not harm them. They say, ‘do whatever you please. If you believe, it all amounts to nothing. Faith blots out all sins,’ and such. They also say that if anyone sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith. I have seen and heard many such madmen. I fear that such a devil is still in some of them. So it is necessary to know and to teach this: when holy people – still having and feeling original sin and daily repenting and striving against it – happen to fall into manifest sins (as David did into adultery, murder, ans blasphemy), then faith and the Holy Spirit have left them. The Holy Spirit does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so it can be carried out, but represses and restrains it from doing what it wants. If sin does what it wants, the Holy Spirit and faith are not present.” (quoting from the newest edition of Concordia, but linking to the older online translation)

    Okay, so what? I hold that Frank’s application of Scripture and the Confessions veers dangerously close to this. (Though to be clear, I have never seen him make any statement similar to the second half: “if anyone sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith.”) Because Stephen so often makes statements that echo Frank’s, I attributed the same tendency to him (and Stephen, if I have wrongly done so, I apologize).

    And to warn you of one red herring: this is not about singling out homosexuality. I have never done so. It is a sin just as is any form of promiscuity, lust, greed, selfishness, pride, etc. It only gets singled out because Frank consistently refers to himself as a “gay man” and not as a “selfish man” or a “proud man” or a “greedy man”, etc. Thus, that particular sinful behavior becomes the crux of the conversation because he is choosing to define himself by it.

    All that said, Frank makes an unabashed confession that he is saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Thus, I have given him some brotherly admonitions to beware what I see as a gap in his theology. This only after he invited me to help him to mortify the flesh in any way possible, as the New Adam and the Old are in constant warfare. We have tried to do this for one another and have parted friends.

    Now, that’s a lot about the interchange between Frank and myself. It puts the focus a little too heavily on the two of us and our particular thoughts and struggles, but I think it may help you in addressing several of your questions to me. I should be on for a little while longer tonight if this hasn’t helped.

  • Rob

    Okay, Todd, I will do my best. I know that internet comments can often convey unintended tones. Please know at the outset that I intend none, even if some may seem implied sometime (consider this a boilerplate “I’m not trying to be offensive” disclaimer). Also, I am sure you have picked up on the fact that Frank and I have interacted at length on the topic (via a whole series of e-mails in January) and my statements are not just based on comments on this thread.

    Let me start out with a quote I was just re-reading from the Smalcald Articles (Section III, iii) (http://bookofconcord.org/smalcald.php#part3.3.42) “Certain sects may arise; some may already exist. During the peasant rebellion, I encountered some who held that those who had once received the Spirit of the forgiveness of sins or had become believers – even if they later sin – would still remain in the faith. Such sin, they think, would not harm them. They say, ‘do whatever you please. If you believe, it all amounts to nothing. Faith blots out all sins,’ and such. They also say that if anyone sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith. I have seen and heard many such madmen. I fear that such a devil is still in some of them. So it is necessary to know and to teach this: when holy people – still having and feeling original sin and daily repenting and striving against it – happen to fall into manifest sins (as David did into adultery, murder, ans blasphemy), then faith and the Holy Spirit have left them. The Holy Spirit does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so it can be carried out, but represses and restrains it from doing what it wants. If sin does what it wants, the Holy Spirit and faith are not present.” (quoting from the newest edition of Concordia, but linking to the older online translation)

    Okay, so what? I hold that Frank’s application of Scripture and the Confessions veers dangerously close to this. (Though to be clear, I have never seen him make any statement similar to the second half: “if anyone sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith.”) Because Stephen so often makes statements that echo Frank’s, I attributed the same tendency to him (and Stephen, if I have wrongly done so, I apologize).

    And to warn you of one red herring: this is not about singling out homosexuality. I have never done so. It is a sin just as is any form of promiscuity, lust, greed, selfishness, pride, etc. It only gets singled out because Frank consistently refers to himself as a “gay man” and not as a “selfish man” or a “proud man” or a “greedy man”, etc. Thus, that particular sinful behavior becomes the crux of the conversation because he is choosing to define himself by it.

    All that said, Frank makes an unabashed confession that he is saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Thus, I have given him some brotherly admonitions to beware what I see as a gap in his theology. This only after he invited me to help him to mortify the flesh in any way possible, as the New Adam and the Old are in constant warfare. We have tried to do this for one another and have parted friends.

    Now, that’s a lot about the interchange between Frank and myself. It puts the focus a little too heavily on the two of us and our particular thoughts and struggles, but I think it may help you in addressing several of your questions to me. I should be on for a little while longer tonight if this hasn’t helped.

  • Rob

    @ Rick Ritchie

    Quoting just from the glossary of the newest edition of Walther’s Law and Gospel (because it was right here on the desk):

    “Antinomianism. From Greek for ‘against the law.’ Adherents maintained that a Christian is free from all moral law and that the Gospel causes knowledge of sin and repentance. Some in this movement denied the third use of the Law and the role of the Law in good works .”

    Frank and Stephen’s comments come nowhere near the first sentence and dangerously near the second. In my opinion anyway. Doesn’t mean you have to agree.

  • Rob

    @ Rick Ritchie

    Quoting just from the glossary of the newest edition of Walther’s Law and Gospel (because it was right here on the desk):

    “Antinomianism. From Greek for ‘against the law.’ Adherents maintained that a Christian is free from all moral law and that the Gospel causes knowledge of sin and repentance. Some in this movement denied the third use of the Law and the role of the Law in good works .”

    Frank and Stephen’s comments come nowhere near the first sentence and dangerously near the second. In my opinion anyway. Doesn’t mean you have to agree.

  • Rob

    Allright – that’s probably enough from me (it’s not my blog, after all). My sincere apologies for any and all ways my Old Adam has evidenced itself.

    Remember: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

  • Rob

    Allright – that’s probably enough from me (it’s not my blog, after all). My sincere apologies for any and all ways my Old Adam has evidenced itself.

    Remember: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 170

    Let me just throw in one teeny , weenie, tiny itsy bity corrective to what you wrote Rob:

    The problem with antinomianism is that it cannot possibly exist!
    People try to imagine that they can take a cosmic erasor and erase the letters L.A.W. and the law is gone.

    But the Law remains because God wrote it in the mind of all men as Reason and Conscience. And so the Law just keeps on accusing.

    So what then is the next step for an Antinomian after he thinks he has done away with the Law? He turns the Gospel into the Law and He turns Christ then into Example and New Testament Moses. That is what an Antinomian does.

    This looks like using phrases like “Living a life of obedience to the Gospel” (ie Law), ” Gospel encouragement (ie Law), “Love” (ie Law), WWJD (ie Law). You get the picture.

    The problem with this is that this ALL works without Christ as Propitiator. It buries Christ.

    By saying that my theology leans towards “Antinomianism ” then, is to say that my theology turns the Gospel into another Law. And this is why others here said that that looks more like some of what you have written in the past.

    It is fine to challenge my stuff Rob. I err. Frequently. But it is good to get the terminology and the context down. But you are not alone. For many “antinomian” is a synonym for “licentiousness ” Or “libertinism”. I think it is those two “L” words you are saying my theology leans towards. Saint Paul was accused of the same stuff. Ditto the Lutherans.

    It could be true in my case, or maybe not. Try to be more specific and provide “for instances” of how you think my theology leans in that direction. It will be instructive for others here. Including me.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 170

    Let me just throw in one teeny , weenie, tiny itsy bity corrective to what you wrote Rob:

    The problem with antinomianism is that it cannot possibly exist!
    People try to imagine that they can take a cosmic erasor and erase the letters L.A.W. and the law is gone.

    But the Law remains because God wrote it in the mind of all men as Reason and Conscience. And so the Law just keeps on accusing.

    So what then is the next step for an Antinomian after he thinks he has done away with the Law? He turns the Gospel into the Law and He turns Christ then into Example and New Testament Moses. That is what an Antinomian does.

    This looks like using phrases like “Living a life of obedience to the Gospel” (ie Law), ” Gospel encouragement (ie Law), “Love” (ie Law), WWJD (ie Law). You get the picture.

    The problem with this is that this ALL works without Christ as Propitiator. It buries Christ.

    By saying that my theology leans towards “Antinomianism ” then, is to say that my theology turns the Gospel into another Law. And this is why others here said that that looks more like some of what you have written in the past.

    It is fine to challenge my stuff Rob. I err. Frequently. But it is good to get the terminology and the context down. But you are not alone. For many “antinomian” is a synonym for “licentiousness ” Or “libertinism”. I think it is those two “L” words you are saying my theology leans towards. Saint Paul was accused of the same stuff. Ditto the Lutherans.

    It could be true in my case, or maybe not. Try to be more specific and provide “for instances” of how you think my theology leans in that direction. It will be instructive for others here. Including me.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 173

    We all get to practice doing theology that is aimed at giving peace to a terrified conscience here Rob.

    I appreciate that you want your theology to be pastoral and not just some abstract musing about things. We learn by experimenting and at times having to apologize maybe for being wrong, or maybe just for lacking love or maybe just because it serves others better than beating a dead horse.

    You are a great addition here Rob. You can only get better now that you are sharing what you learn from the Confessions with us! :)

    Sin boldly. Jesus has gotcha covered.

    I hope that did not sound antinomian in this exact context. ;)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob @ 173

    We all get to practice doing theology that is aimed at giving peace to a terrified conscience here Rob.

    I appreciate that you want your theology to be pastoral and not just some abstract musing about things. We learn by experimenting and at times having to apologize maybe for being wrong, or maybe just for lacking love or maybe just because it serves others better than beating a dead horse.

    You are a great addition here Rob. You can only get better now that you are sharing what you learn from the Confessions with us! :)

    Sin boldly. Jesus has gotcha covered.

    I hope that did not sound antinomian in this exact context. ;)

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I’m not going to go back and waste my time rereading what you wrote. Why should I? You are the one who started introducing me around as the “somewhat” antinomian with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. So as far as baseless accusations go, I’d say that you got the ball rolling there. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about and are just name dropping. Agricola. Yeah, whatever. Both Frank and I have gone to great effort here to explain a number of things regarding the law and the gospel from scripture and the Confessions carefully and in detail. I don’t recall you doing quite the same amount of work. So man up before you start posturing as a theologian. If I am not mistaken, your the same Rob who has run off when it gets a little heated. Don’t think you can school me here when the first thing out of your mouth is to pretend you know what everyone’s faults are.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I’m not going to go back and waste my time rereading what you wrote. Why should I? You are the one who started introducing me around as the “somewhat” antinomian with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. So as far as baseless accusations go, I’d say that you got the ball rolling there. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about and are just name dropping. Agricola. Yeah, whatever. Both Frank and I have gone to great effort here to explain a number of things regarding the law and the gospel from scripture and the Confessions carefully and in detail. I don’t recall you doing quite the same amount of work. So man up before you start posturing as a theologian. If I am not mistaken, your the same Rob who has run off when it gets a little heated. Don’t think you can school me here when the first thing out of your mouth is to pretend you know what everyone’s faults are.

  • Stephen

    And then I read your apology. So I feel like an ass. Ha! Well crap. I’m sorry Rob.

  • Stephen

    And then I read your apology. So I feel like an ass. Ha! Well crap. I’m sorry Rob.

  • Stephen

    Here’s the thing Rob. Frank and I are in concordia very much. That is true. It’s great! I learn a ton from him and he, I think, learns a little from me. I expect he and I will stand beside each other at judgment and be covered wet with our baptisms. I’m not worried about that. Thank God for Christ Jesus!

    I don’t think that quote from the Confessions applies and I don’t know how you get that from things I’ve written. Well, that is not completely true because I don’t actually believe what you state about homosexuality, that it isn’t the issue. I think it is. Where else would all of this be coming from? And as far as the third use of the law goes, what do you have to say about it? There again is something of an accusation about Frank and me without any proof and nothing of your own understanding.

    So why don’t you admit you are hung up on homosexuality and that you know for sure it is a sin because you are sure it says so in the bible and that’s that. That is the law as far as you are concerned and we are slackers. It doesn’t matter if the entire law is summed up by our Lord as love for neighbor, and you can’t figure out how restricting gay people from having a fulfilling life, one where they are not alone and deprived of real companionship is actually a loving and merciful thing – doesn’t matter if those things do not match, even if Jesus’ own words say they should. Because you find what you think is homosexual behavior in a list of dos and dont’s and you say it is obviously sin and that it should be prohibited and conclude that anyone who advocates otherwise, even if what they advocate for is for the whole of the law being about love and mercy and service to others, then they are antinomians who are dangerously close to just doing whatever they want and living like nothing matters because they are baptized. They take grace for granted. And some random proof text from the Confessions makes this point when you have shown in no way how it actually connects to anything someone has written.

    You are lucky Frank gives you points for reading the Confessions. Would it surprise you if I told you that that is all he actually cares about, that you read them?

    Please, no false humility either. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Nobody needs Jesus any more or less than anyone else. Get over yourself. Can you tell I have some anger issues?

  • Stephen

    Here’s the thing Rob. Frank and I are in concordia very much. That is true. It’s great! I learn a ton from him and he, I think, learns a little from me. I expect he and I will stand beside each other at judgment and be covered wet with our baptisms. I’m not worried about that. Thank God for Christ Jesus!

    I don’t think that quote from the Confessions applies and I don’t know how you get that from things I’ve written. Well, that is not completely true because I don’t actually believe what you state about homosexuality, that it isn’t the issue. I think it is. Where else would all of this be coming from? And as far as the third use of the law goes, what do you have to say about it? There again is something of an accusation about Frank and me without any proof and nothing of your own understanding.

    So why don’t you admit you are hung up on homosexuality and that you know for sure it is a sin because you are sure it says so in the bible and that’s that. That is the law as far as you are concerned and we are slackers. It doesn’t matter if the entire law is summed up by our Lord as love for neighbor, and you can’t figure out how restricting gay people from having a fulfilling life, one where they are not alone and deprived of real companionship is actually a loving and merciful thing – doesn’t matter if those things do not match, even if Jesus’ own words say they should. Because you find what you think is homosexual behavior in a list of dos and dont’s and you say it is obviously sin and that it should be prohibited and conclude that anyone who advocates otherwise, even if what they advocate for is for the whole of the law being about love and mercy and service to others, then they are antinomians who are dangerously close to just doing whatever they want and living like nothing matters because they are baptized. They take grace for granted. And some random proof text from the Confessions makes this point when you have shown in no way how it actually connects to anything someone has written.

    You are lucky Frank gives you points for reading the Confessions. Would it surprise you if I told you that that is all he actually cares about, that you read them?

    Please, no false humility either. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Nobody needs Jesus any more or less than anyone else. Get over yourself. Can you tell I have some anger issues?

  • Rob

    Stephen – As far as I can tell by the time stamps on your posts, your being sorry lasts exactly 32 minutes. Apology accepted anyway.

    Shall I just concede all your other points? You are a better theologian, better student of the confessions, better student of human nature, and better interpreter of my hangups than I am.

    I have no problem saying any of those things and perhaps you’ll feel better if I do. I am not trying to win some sort of medal here. Only share my reading of the confessions you love so much. Sorry that touches off your anger issues.

    And I am sorry that you believe my confession of my sin is false humility and an unwillingness to get over myself.

    There is honestly no sarcasm intended here.

  • Rob

    Stephen – As far as I can tell by the time stamps on your posts, your being sorry lasts exactly 32 minutes. Apology accepted anyway.

    Shall I just concede all your other points? You are a better theologian, better student of the confessions, better student of human nature, and better interpreter of my hangups than I am.

    I have no problem saying any of those things and perhaps you’ll feel better if I do. I am not trying to win some sort of medal here. Only share my reading of the confessions you love so much. Sorry that touches off your anger issues.

    And I am sorry that you believe my confession of my sin is false humility and an unwillingness to get over myself.

    There is honestly no sarcasm intended here.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    You’re right, it didn’t last long. Honestly, I blazed through your posts and rolled my eyes thinking “more of the same” and that is why I missed the apology. So when I went back and saw it, that is why I felt bad. But as I took in more, I felt I still wasn’t being given a fair shake so I need to respond.

    You are entitled to your opinions, but what I feel you are not entitle to is characterizing me without evidence, especially to others who have not even heard from me. That is what burned me up. And Frank is right, we all get to do theology. Do more. Do a lot. Do it because you love Jesus and not because you want to show people up. I like to think I am always at the former but I admit to the latter as being one of my sins on occasion, especially when I feel misunderstood. That is when the anger flairs up. And like Jesus said, that is about the heart, something deep down where things need to be reconciled. It’s not about merely keeping and behaving a certain way, though manners are important and mine probably failed here. It is about be compelled to make amends with others so that they feel assured and comforted and well in their being.

    So, this time, let me apologize as best I can. I can’t undo anything about what is done except that. I can only invite you back and ask you to see my faults as someone who has problems with his sin, wants to be merciful but is not more gracious than a pagan sometimes. Maybe we can talk about that, about what it really means to be a forgiven person whose works do not matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, or how difficult it is to forgive. You do not owe me forgiveness and I probably don’t deserve it. I can be a real ass. I can also guarantee you I can also be as loyal as a dog. Weird. Anyway, I am sorry for offending you. maybe we can’t start over, but maybe we can use this to carry on somehow.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    You’re right, it didn’t last long. Honestly, I blazed through your posts and rolled my eyes thinking “more of the same” and that is why I missed the apology. So when I went back and saw it, that is why I felt bad. But as I took in more, I felt I still wasn’t being given a fair shake so I need to respond.

    You are entitled to your opinions, but what I feel you are not entitle to is characterizing me without evidence, especially to others who have not even heard from me. That is what burned me up. And Frank is right, we all get to do theology. Do more. Do a lot. Do it because you love Jesus and not because you want to show people up. I like to think I am always at the former but I admit to the latter as being one of my sins on occasion, especially when I feel misunderstood. That is when the anger flairs up. And like Jesus said, that is about the heart, something deep down where things need to be reconciled. It’s not about merely keeping and behaving a certain way, though manners are important and mine probably failed here. It is about be compelled to make amends with others so that they feel assured and comforted and well in their being.

    So, this time, let me apologize as best I can. I can’t undo anything about what is done except that. I can only invite you back and ask you to see my faults as someone who has problems with his sin, wants to be merciful but is not more gracious than a pagan sometimes. Maybe we can talk about that, about what it really means to be a forgiven person whose works do not matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, or how difficult it is to forgive. You do not owe me forgiveness and I probably don’t deserve it. I can be a real ass. I can also guarantee you I can also be as loyal as a dog. Weird. Anyway, I am sorry for offending you. maybe we can’t start over, but maybe we can use this to carry on somehow.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob 179

    ROB Stephen – As far as I can tell by the time stamps on your posts, your being sorry lasts exactly 32 minutes.

    FWS Ha! He gotcha Steve! Probably me too in there somewhere! :)

    ROB Shall I just concede all your other points?

    FWS As the Holy Apostle Saint Paul says Rob: “All things are legal, but not all things are useful [to others]. ” Don´t concede. Make your points, but make them from the Lutheran Confessions if you are really intent on serving me.

    I say the confessions and not the Holy Scriptures that are the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life why? Because it is in our Confessions that you will nail down all the broad issues such as what the Image of God alone consists of, and then also the definition of key words like “natural law” “ordinance of God” “concupiscence” ” mortal sin” original sin” “original righeousness” “Veil of Moses” “sanctification” “mortification” “law” “gospel” “third [lutheran!] use”, “Justification” “infused justification” “sacramental” “in, with and under” “grace” “ex opere operato” “historical faith” “movements of the heart” “the Law that peculiarly deals with ‘movements of the heart’, namely the Decalog” “love” “Good Works” “sacrifice” etc etc.

    It is useless to read our Confessions until you understand all those terms. You will read the confessions and read into them what you think you already know in that case. I did that for about , hmmm, 39 years. And I was raised in the stuff as a Lutheran. For example one would read the Formula of Concord art VI on “The Lutheran Third Use of the Law” and read into it a Rome/Calvin understanding that the Image of God is found revealed in the Law of God, and so force into the article a Calvinist understanding of 3rd use. This would be wrong.

    I would suggest that you also consider reading some of what I call the Parallel-Confessional documents. These are the documents that are referred to by our Confessions as being an amplification and clarification as to what they mean in the Confessions. Sound important to understanding the Confessions ? You bet they are! When you read those, continue to as yourself, while reading, what those P-C-Ds have to do with the section of the Confessions that reference them. That is critical and sensible eh? Here are just some of those Parallel-Confessional Documents:

    The Wittenberg Concord
    Luther Sermon on Christ´s Descent into Hell
    The Galatians Commentary
    The Genesis Commentary (but take care, Luther did not edit those lecture notes as he did with the Galatians Commentary notes…)
    Luther´s Sermon on the Two Kingdoms and their respective Two Kinds of Righteousness from FC Art VI on the “Lutheran Third Use”.

    Final Tip: Read footnoted materials in Kolb and the reader´s version of the Book of Concord very, very critically. Don´t believe them all. Like that definition you produced Rob on “antinomianism”. It is not exactly wrong, but it misdirects from how the Confessions actually unfold the arguments about this.

    What I am saying , is that, idealy, a Lutheran should learn to read our Confessions in such a way that one could reproduce the chain of argumentative points they make and articulate them all together. By “articulate” I make a pun intending to say that one can demonstrate, in one´s own words, how the separate points in the Confessions are bound together or articulated by joints and sinews so that they move in unity with a common purpose.

    “Prooftexting”, in contrast, is to “know ” something as a theological “fact” and then use the Confessions as a reference book full of prooftexts that prove what one already is convinced is true! A Confessional text, without an explanation as to the full argument it is a part of is the same damage people also do to Saint Paul´s writings.

    I would suggest that there are key phrases that form the tendons, sinews and joints for our confessions and allow them to really come alive and move and be fully articulated. Those would be these:

    “The Law ALWAYS accuses”. You will see they repeat this over and over and over and over and over and over and…..
    “Faith ALONE in Christ ALONE”. You will see that they repeat this over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…..
    “The distinction between Law and Gospel”
    “in, with and under”. This last thing is not something you will read in this actual form, but it is the understanding that God is at work with his Goodness and Mercy always and only “in,with and under” the Earthly, perishing, “flesh/body” Romans 8 things that is all that we can see and do. This is often just a “given” as something understood by the reader of the Confessions unfortunately. So the Confessions do not explicitly weave this into their arguments.

    This “in, with and under” is exactly what Dr Veith is driving at with the concept of Holy Vocation by the way here on this site. Note that this is not the idea that “faith” is “in,with and under” those flesh/body perishable things, although that is one form of Goodness and Mercy. It is they idea that 1st Article (Small catechism) Fatherly Divine Goodness and Mercy are “in, with and under” all things. This means that the Father is working this Goodness and Mercy in spite of our UNfaithFULLness. “Indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked. This Goodness and Mercy precedes and is the font of that Goodness and Mercy that we know as Christians in Christ and the Holy Spirit as well. Rome and Geneva often make this about our faith.

    I hope that all helps!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Rob 179

    ROB Stephen – As far as I can tell by the time stamps on your posts, your being sorry lasts exactly 32 minutes.

    FWS Ha! He gotcha Steve! Probably me too in there somewhere! :)

    ROB Shall I just concede all your other points?

    FWS As the Holy Apostle Saint Paul says Rob: “All things are legal, but not all things are useful [to others]. ” Don´t concede. Make your points, but make them from the Lutheran Confessions if you are really intent on serving me.

    I say the confessions and not the Holy Scriptures that are the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life why? Because it is in our Confessions that you will nail down all the broad issues such as what the Image of God alone consists of, and then also the definition of key words like “natural law” “ordinance of God” “concupiscence” ” mortal sin” original sin” “original righeousness” “Veil of Moses” “sanctification” “mortification” “law” “gospel” “third [lutheran!] use”, “Justification” “infused justification” “sacramental” “in, with and under” “grace” “ex opere operato” “historical faith” “movements of the heart” “the Law that peculiarly deals with ‘movements of the heart’, namely the Decalog” “love” “Good Works” “sacrifice” etc etc.

    It is useless to read our Confessions until you understand all those terms. You will read the confessions and read into them what you think you already know in that case. I did that for about , hmmm, 39 years. And I was raised in the stuff as a Lutheran. For example one would read the Formula of Concord art VI on “The Lutheran Third Use of the Law” and read into it a Rome/Calvin understanding that the Image of God is found revealed in the Law of God, and so force into the article a Calvinist understanding of 3rd use. This would be wrong.

    I would suggest that you also consider reading some of what I call the Parallel-Confessional documents. These are the documents that are referred to by our Confessions as being an amplification and clarification as to what they mean in the Confessions. Sound important to understanding the Confessions ? You bet they are! When you read those, continue to as yourself, while reading, what those P-C-Ds have to do with the section of the Confessions that reference them. That is critical and sensible eh? Here are just some of those Parallel-Confessional Documents:

    The Wittenberg Concord
    Luther Sermon on Christ´s Descent into Hell
    The Galatians Commentary
    The Genesis Commentary (but take care, Luther did not edit those lecture notes as he did with the Galatians Commentary notes…)
    Luther´s Sermon on the Two Kingdoms and their respective Two Kinds of Righteousness from FC Art VI on the “Lutheran Third Use”.

    Final Tip: Read footnoted materials in Kolb and the reader´s version of the Book of Concord very, very critically. Don´t believe them all. Like that definition you produced Rob on “antinomianism”. It is not exactly wrong, but it misdirects from how the Confessions actually unfold the arguments about this.

    What I am saying , is that, idealy, a Lutheran should learn to read our Confessions in such a way that one could reproduce the chain of argumentative points they make and articulate them all together. By “articulate” I make a pun intending to say that one can demonstrate, in one´s own words, how the separate points in the Confessions are bound together or articulated by joints and sinews so that they move in unity with a common purpose.

    “Prooftexting”, in contrast, is to “know ” something as a theological “fact” and then use the Confessions as a reference book full of prooftexts that prove what one already is convinced is true! A Confessional text, without an explanation as to the full argument it is a part of is the same damage people also do to Saint Paul´s writings.

    I would suggest that there are key phrases that form the tendons, sinews and joints for our confessions and allow them to really come alive and move and be fully articulated. Those would be these:

    “The Law ALWAYS accuses”. You will see they repeat this over and over and over and over and over and over and…..
    “Faith ALONE in Christ ALONE”. You will see that they repeat this over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…..
    “The distinction between Law and Gospel”
    “in, with and under”. This last thing is not something you will read in this actual form, but it is the understanding that God is at work with his Goodness and Mercy always and only “in,with and under” the Earthly, perishing, “flesh/body” Romans 8 things that is all that we can see and do. This is often just a “given” as something understood by the reader of the Confessions unfortunately. So the Confessions do not explicitly weave this into their arguments.

    This “in, with and under” is exactly what Dr Veith is driving at with the concept of Holy Vocation by the way here on this site. Note that this is not the idea that “faith” is “in,with and under” those flesh/body perishable things, although that is one form of Goodness and Mercy. It is they idea that 1st Article (Small catechism) Fatherly Divine Goodness and Mercy are “in, with and under” all things. This means that the Father is working this Goodness and Mercy in spite of our UNfaithFULLness. “Indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked. This Goodness and Mercy precedes and is the font of that Goodness and Mercy that we know as Christians in Christ and the Holy Spirit as well. Rome and Geneva often make this about our faith.

    I hope that all helps!

  • Rob

    Stephen – to your heartfelt apology I again offer my forgiveness. I forgive your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a tremendous, unspeakable gift that we can speak these words to one another as believers. Consider yourself absolved. The whole exchange highlights why I rarely comment at all on these pages (or any web pages): the medium itself is prone to hyperventilation, as we don’t really read others’ comments with a desire to understand, let alone do the 8th commandment and put the best construction on them. Both you and Frank have with humility admitted that you hadn’t really read what I said, but simply started typing. I forgive you both, just as I have so often needed forgiveness. My previous efforts to quell some of the more vitriolic debate (those to which you referred in one of your posts) have been because of this. As Proverbs makes clear: “Where words are many, sin is not absent.”

  • Rob

    Stephen – to your heartfelt apology I again offer my forgiveness. I forgive your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a tremendous, unspeakable gift that we can speak these words to one another as believers. Consider yourself absolved. The whole exchange highlights why I rarely comment at all on these pages (or any web pages): the medium itself is prone to hyperventilation, as we don’t really read others’ comments with a desire to understand, let alone do the 8th commandment and put the best construction on them. Both you and Frank have with humility admitted that you hadn’t really read what I said, but simply started typing. I forgive you both, just as I have so often needed forgiveness. My previous efforts to quell some of the more vitriolic debate (those to which you referred in one of your posts) have been because of this. As Proverbs makes clear: “Where words are many, sin is not absent.”

  • Rob

    And Frank, thanks for your continued comments. This is largely ground that we have already covered with one another, but there is a certain joy in knowing that you will continue to tread it in your vocations and I will continue to do so in mine. I have faith that one day we will do so side-by-side in our Savior’s direct company. And then we can shamelessly laugh at how foolish we both were.

    One rejoinder from my earthly perspective: if you are convinced that you have grasped the broader argumentation of the Confessions, then my references wouldn’t have to be dismissed as “proof-texting” but you would instead point out why I am misreading or misapplying them. You did not do that in our lengthy e-mail exchange and you have not done so here.

    In the meantime, I am certain you will understand that I lend more weight to the comments and interpretations of someone who is as well-respected as Kolb. You see my position: “Well, Kolb says this and he is impeccably trained and his writings have undergone both doctrinal review through the LCMS and publishing standards of not only CPH but other publishers like Oxford University Press, but there’s this guy on the Internet who has a blog who says differently…” I love you as a brother, but you are not my pastor, my professor, or my father. I will try to give your interpretations careful and prayer-filled consideration, but I am confident you wouldn’t want me to accept them as fiat.

    Until some other thread, fellas, grace and peace. Time to be with my family for the rest of the day.

  • Rob

    And Frank, thanks for your continued comments. This is largely ground that we have already covered with one another, but there is a certain joy in knowing that you will continue to tread it in your vocations and I will continue to do so in mine. I have faith that one day we will do so side-by-side in our Savior’s direct company. And then we can shamelessly laugh at how foolish we both were.

    One rejoinder from my earthly perspective: if you are convinced that you have grasped the broader argumentation of the Confessions, then my references wouldn’t have to be dismissed as “proof-texting” but you would instead point out why I am misreading or misapplying them. You did not do that in our lengthy e-mail exchange and you have not done so here.

    In the meantime, I am certain you will understand that I lend more weight to the comments and interpretations of someone who is as well-respected as Kolb. You see my position: “Well, Kolb says this and he is impeccably trained and his writings have undergone both doctrinal review through the LCMS and publishing standards of not only CPH but other publishers like Oxford University Press, but there’s this guy on the Internet who has a blog who says differently…” I love you as a brother, but you are not my pastor, my professor, or my father. I will try to give your interpretations careful and prayer-filled consideration, but I am confident you wouldn’t want me to accept them as fiat.

    Until some other thread, fellas, grace and peace. Time to be with my family for the rest of the day.

  • Stephen

    Good Proverb to remember.

  • Stephen

    Good Proverb to remember.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 183

    ROB “…then my references wouldn’t have to be dismissed as “proof-texting” but you would instead point out why I am misreading or misapplying them. You did not do that in our lengthy e-mail exchange and you have not done so here.”

    FWS: Suggestion. Reread this thread and tell me I am not at least trying to do that. Then go back and reread our offline exchanges. MY recollection is that I tried to draw you to that larger context. You seemed intent on urging upon me to buy into some therapeutic moralism that worked for you in another issue, to cure my homosexuality. When I wasn´t interested in making a purchase, you asked me to erase even your email address from your computer.

    ROB: Kolb, and Luther(!) et all. I am urging you to study the confessions and absorb them such that you can parrot their argumentative chain with passion. I am saying to let those Confessions speak for themselves. We all, including Kolb, you, me and even Luther have biases and errors that are problematic. We subscribe to the Confessions, not the confessions as filtered and understood by someone .

    Of course secondary sources are necessary , essential and valuable in attempting this task. Don´t make more of what I said than was intended please dear brother.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 183

    ROB “…then my references wouldn’t have to be dismissed as “proof-texting” but you would instead point out why I am misreading or misapplying them. You did not do that in our lengthy e-mail exchange and you have not done so here.”

    FWS: Suggestion. Reread this thread and tell me I am not at least trying to do that. Then go back and reread our offline exchanges. MY recollection is that I tried to draw you to that larger context. You seemed intent on urging upon me to buy into some therapeutic moralism that worked for you in another issue, to cure my homosexuality. When I wasn´t interested in making a purchase, you asked me to erase even your email address from your computer.

    ROB: Kolb, and Luther(!) et all. I am urging you to study the confessions and absorb them such that you can parrot their argumentative chain with passion. I am saying to let those Confessions speak for themselves. We all, including Kolb, you, me and even Luther have biases and errors that are problematic. We subscribe to the Confessions, not the confessions as filtered and understood by someone .

    Of course secondary sources are necessary , essential and valuable in attempting this task. Don´t make more of what I said than was intended please dear brother.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I’m going to expand on some things I said because I am not sure you get the point and it is bothering me. For the record, you have not actually apologized for anything specific yourself. Saying you apologize “if” you have offended someone is not the same as admitting to what you have done when it has been explained to you in no uncertain terms. I’m willing to let that much go, but I would like you to read this and try to take it in. If you feel accused, then all I can say is there is a lot of that going around. Such is the nature of argument, and frankly, the law itself, which is everything we live in. As you know, the only remedy for whatever troubles our conscience is Christ alone.

    I think you continue to miss where others point out how you misrepresent them and how they steer you in a different direction. Instead, you continue to attribute errors to other people without proof. You’ve done both these things again in your last two posts to Frank and me. We’ve both done due diligence to correct you, as has our record here, and yet you seem to persist in the characterizations, even cast as they are in a more gentle way. And the other thing is this – no one needs you to referee, and I don’t know why you think you are qualified to hover over things like that. In your own words “you are not my pastor, father, etc.” so, cut it out please. I mean “please” in the kindest sense, but with the force of being serious, because I’m insulted. You seem to think that you offer clarity that we don’t have, and it is condescending, and this imagined clarity is given even as you offer forgiveness. That really bugs me.

    That is a very good proverb you quoted just the same, one to keep in mind. And I am likely to sin engaging in this dialogue. But that fact shouldn’t stop one from living or writing or even arguing for truth. “I came not to bring peace but a sword” said Jesus. What might that mean? I think that sword may have been the tongue that speaks truth, dividing truth from error. He’s talking about the word of truth. It has to do with language actually. It may sometimes mean throwing caution to the wind – sinning boldly and believing more boldly. Grace, not law. I could not function without it. I might as well roll over and fall on my own actual sword – just die because I was afraid to live by faith.

    Anyway, if I haven’t totally alienated you, come down in the sandbox and play and quit worrying about being the authority over others. That is how it feels to me. Maybe you can still out wit, or earn respect, win a few arguments, change some minds, or continue to piss some off. I don’t know. But if all you do is correct people, call them names, and appeal to authorities you respect from some place where you do a kind of disengaged flyover once in a while just to check in and critique what you disapprove of, especially without making any connections or proof, then no one will respect you much, you’ll ironically incite more of the vitriol you say you want to quell, and eventually people will shut you out.

    I think the Proverbs have a lot to say about speech and that there is a good time for it. That is a good proverb to remember that you cite, but if it is used to stop others from speaking truth or making the attempt to do so, then it is just being inflicted legalistically and yes, proof texting without context. It is detached from any “useful” meaning (what would it mean that the law rules in our hearts?). The meaning of this proverb must be captured in what Jesus says about the law – love your neighbor as yourself. If restricting speech because we fear we will sin also restricts love and service to the neighbor, then we have misused that scripture entirely. Say whatever needs to be said in as many volumes as it takes for the sake of love. We will always sin and fall short. Our faith rests not in what we do or do not do, but in who we are in Christ alone. That is made certain in baptism. Frank and I have been saying this all along.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I’m going to expand on some things I said because I am not sure you get the point and it is bothering me. For the record, you have not actually apologized for anything specific yourself. Saying you apologize “if” you have offended someone is not the same as admitting to what you have done when it has been explained to you in no uncertain terms. I’m willing to let that much go, but I would like you to read this and try to take it in. If you feel accused, then all I can say is there is a lot of that going around. Such is the nature of argument, and frankly, the law itself, which is everything we live in. As you know, the only remedy for whatever troubles our conscience is Christ alone.

    I think you continue to miss where others point out how you misrepresent them and how they steer you in a different direction. Instead, you continue to attribute errors to other people without proof. You’ve done both these things again in your last two posts to Frank and me. We’ve both done due diligence to correct you, as has our record here, and yet you seem to persist in the characterizations, even cast as they are in a more gentle way. And the other thing is this – no one needs you to referee, and I don’t know why you think you are qualified to hover over things like that. In your own words “you are not my pastor, father, etc.” so, cut it out please. I mean “please” in the kindest sense, but with the force of being serious, because I’m insulted. You seem to think that you offer clarity that we don’t have, and it is condescending, and this imagined clarity is given even as you offer forgiveness. That really bugs me.

    That is a very good proverb you quoted just the same, one to keep in mind. And I am likely to sin engaging in this dialogue. But that fact shouldn’t stop one from living or writing or even arguing for truth. “I came not to bring peace but a sword” said Jesus. What might that mean? I think that sword may have been the tongue that speaks truth, dividing truth from error. He’s talking about the word of truth. It has to do with language actually. It may sometimes mean throwing caution to the wind – sinning boldly and believing more boldly. Grace, not law. I could not function without it. I might as well roll over and fall on my own actual sword – just die because I was afraid to live by faith.

    Anyway, if I haven’t totally alienated you, come down in the sandbox and play and quit worrying about being the authority over others. That is how it feels to me. Maybe you can still out wit, or earn respect, win a few arguments, change some minds, or continue to piss some off. I don’t know. But if all you do is correct people, call them names, and appeal to authorities you respect from some place where you do a kind of disengaged flyover once in a while just to check in and critique what you disapprove of, especially without making any connections or proof, then no one will respect you much, you’ll ironically incite more of the vitriol you say you want to quell, and eventually people will shut you out.

    I think the Proverbs have a lot to say about speech and that there is a good time for it. That is a good proverb to remember that you cite, but if it is used to stop others from speaking truth or making the attempt to do so, then it is just being inflicted legalistically and yes, proof texting without context. It is detached from any “useful” meaning (what would it mean that the law rules in our hearts?). The meaning of this proverb must be captured in what Jesus says about the law – love your neighbor as yourself. If restricting speech because we fear we will sin also restricts love and service to the neighbor, then we have misused that scripture entirely. Say whatever needs to be said in as many volumes as it takes for the sake of love. We will always sin and fall short. Our faith rests not in what we do or do not do, but in who we are in Christ alone. That is made certain in baptism. Frank and I have been saying this all along.

  • Rob

    Thank you for your comments, Stephen. They are well recieved. Most of the reason for my “flyovers” is that I don’t have the time to carefully consider the comments made by others, nor to carefully craft a reply. And I don’t wish to pigeonhole others or fail to really engage because of lack of time. It’s just when Christians who profess to love one another behave with such mean-ness, it seems someone ought to urge them back to their common confession. But I can see why this seems like condescending refereeing. Genuine, substantive engagement takes more time than I usually have.

    I took that time one-on-one with Frank a few months ago. I read his blog. Then, every e-mail he sent me was read, then printed and re-read. I then replied using Scripture and the Confessions in an attempt (which he had invited) to try to discuss areas of perceived weakness.

    As he indicated the personal interaction between the two of us did not end as nicely as I would have liked. He’s given his perceptions above. Mine were that he had developed the straw man he just conveyed above (I never once said anything even close to wanting to cure him of his homosexuality, but once he made that accusation, I couldn’t shake it from his mind – it obviously still remains) and I, with a child in the hospital, no longer had the time, energy, or vocation to engage. I asked him to please discontinue the e-mailing and he did not honor that request. My wife started to worry about cyber-stalkers so I asked him (with my apologies for how harsh it would sound) to please delete my address, This request he honored. (And Frank, I was and am sorry. It seems from your tone that this was indeed hurtful and I apologize.)

    In my comment on this thread I unfairly looped you, Stephen, into a critique of his position. I say unfairly because he and I had a personal history and you and I did not. So, most specifically for that, I apologize.

    A substantive thought for you to ponder: Jesus summarized the law as two things: Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength AND Love your neighbor as yourself. Why is it that you and Frank always point to the second but not the first? Even in your most recent comment you say: “The meaning of this proverb must be captured in what Jesus says about the law – love your neighbor as yourself. If restricting speech because we fear we will sin also restricts love and service to the neighbor, then we have misused that scripture entirely.” What happened to love the Lord your God? Where did it go? Why does loving neighbor trump it? If Jesus said two, don’t they both have to be held in a proper tension?

    But before you click “Submit”, I really do have to go. If this seems a worthwhile thought to ponder, do so. If it seems an inappropriate thought to ponder, trash it. I just lovingly ask you – don’t carefully construct a reply and then think I’ve fled away instead of answering it because I really can’t stick around to engage with it. I didn’t even expect to have this chance to check in on the thread again (It’s too rare to have two toddlers quiet at the same time – the hike this morning must have done the trick).

    Grace and peace,
    Rob

  • Rob

    Thank you for your comments, Stephen. They are well recieved. Most of the reason for my “flyovers” is that I don’t have the time to carefully consider the comments made by others, nor to carefully craft a reply. And I don’t wish to pigeonhole others or fail to really engage because of lack of time. It’s just when Christians who profess to love one another behave with such mean-ness, it seems someone ought to urge them back to their common confession. But I can see why this seems like condescending refereeing. Genuine, substantive engagement takes more time than I usually have.

    I took that time one-on-one with Frank a few months ago. I read his blog. Then, every e-mail he sent me was read, then printed and re-read. I then replied using Scripture and the Confessions in an attempt (which he had invited) to try to discuss areas of perceived weakness.

    As he indicated the personal interaction between the two of us did not end as nicely as I would have liked. He’s given his perceptions above. Mine were that he had developed the straw man he just conveyed above (I never once said anything even close to wanting to cure him of his homosexuality, but once he made that accusation, I couldn’t shake it from his mind – it obviously still remains) and I, with a child in the hospital, no longer had the time, energy, or vocation to engage. I asked him to please discontinue the e-mailing and he did not honor that request. My wife started to worry about cyber-stalkers so I asked him (with my apologies for how harsh it would sound) to please delete my address, This request he honored. (And Frank, I was and am sorry. It seems from your tone that this was indeed hurtful and I apologize.)

    In my comment on this thread I unfairly looped you, Stephen, into a critique of his position. I say unfairly because he and I had a personal history and you and I did not. So, most specifically for that, I apologize.

    A substantive thought for you to ponder: Jesus summarized the law as two things: Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength AND Love your neighbor as yourself. Why is it that you and Frank always point to the second but not the first? Even in your most recent comment you say: “The meaning of this proverb must be captured in what Jesus says about the law – love your neighbor as yourself. If restricting speech because we fear we will sin also restricts love and service to the neighbor, then we have misused that scripture entirely.” What happened to love the Lord your God? Where did it go? Why does loving neighbor trump it? If Jesus said two, don’t they both have to be held in a proper tension?

    But before you click “Submit”, I really do have to go. If this seems a worthwhile thought to ponder, do so. If it seems an inappropriate thought to ponder, trash it. I just lovingly ask you – don’t carefully construct a reply and then think I’ve fled away instead of answering it because I really can’t stick around to engage with it. I didn’t even expect to have this chance to check in on the thread again (It’s too rare to have two toddlers quiet at the same time – the hike this morning must have done the trick).

    Grace and peace,
    Rob

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #186: “Our faith rests not in what we do or do not do, but in who we are in Christ alone. That is made certain in baptism.

    fws, #95: “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    Jesus, Matthew 7: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ”

    —–

    Jesus, earlier in Matthew 7:

    Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #186: “Our faith rests not in what we do or do not do, but in who we are in Christ alone. That is made certain in baptism.

    fws, #95: “Yet Scripture clearly says that people will chose to be in hell. Many of those will be Baptized Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Baptists….”

    Jesus, Matthew 7: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ”

    —–

    Jesus, earlier in Matthew 7:

    Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “

  • Stephen

    And what exactly is that will and what does that fruit consist of Mr. Truth. We must assume you know, but you have not said. The implication here is I haven’t got it and/or do not know correctly what these things are. So please share.

  • Stephen

    And what exactly is that will and what does that fruit consist of Mr. Truth. We must assume you know, but you have not said. The implication here is I haven’t got it and/or do not know correctly what these things are. So please share.

  • Grace

    The SEEDS

    4And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

    5A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

    6And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

    7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

    8And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

    10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

    12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

    13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

    14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

    15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8

  • Grace

    The SEEDS

    4And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

    5A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

    6And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

    7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

    8And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

    10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

    12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

    13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

    14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

    15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So given that the disciples all fell away (Matthew 26:31), where does that leave them? Should we conclude that they had no root?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So given that the disciples all fell away (Matthew 26:31), where does that leave them? Should we conclude that they had no root?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen: “The implication here is I haven’t got it and/or do not know correctly what these things are.”

    Well, let’s see.

    Stephen, do you genuinely believe that same-sex behavior is sin, thereby affirming that God’s Holy Word teaches clearly that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time?

    It’s a straightforward question. And a straightforward “Yes” or “No” is all that’s needed.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen: “The implication here is I haven’t got it and/or do not know correctly what these things are.”

    Well, let’s see.

    Stephen, do you genuinely believe that same-sex behavior is sin, thereby affirming that God’s Holy Word teaches clearly that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time?

    It’s a straightforward question. And a straightforward “Yes” or “No” is all that’s needed.

  • Stephen

    Truth,

    So not only do you want to make up the rules, you want to change them when they don’t suit you. Answer my question first and maybe I’ll work on yours if I think you deserve it. Will and fruit. Do some theology and not just some empty proof texting and moralizing as if you own what is true. I don’t owe you anything.

  • Stephen

    Truth,

    So not only do you want to make up the rules, you want to change them when they don’t suit you. Answer my question first and maybe I’ll work on yours if I think you deserve it. Will and fruit. Do some theology and not just some empty proof texting and moralizing as if you own what is true. I don’t owe you anything.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 191

    “So given that the disciples all fell away (Matthew 26:31), where does that leave them? Should we conclude that they had no root?”

    That’s a foolish question Rick – the Disciples didn’t fall away, Christ made it clear that Peter would deny HIM.

    29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

    30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

    31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

    (( Verse 31 is a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. ))

    (( Verse 31 is a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. ))

    (( smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: – - Who would have thought that this would refer to the LORD Jesus Christ? We know it does because Jesus HIMSELF quotes it. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad Matthew 26:31 HE make is applicable to HIMSELF. If you doubt that God has a future propose for Israel, you need to note this carefully. He received these wounds in the house of HIS friends. These are the Jewish people. The Jewish people have been scattered abroad, however they are gathered in large number within Israel today, mainly since 1949.

    8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

    9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zechariah 13

    ((These are the ones who will make it through the Great Tribulation. The LORD has sealed them, Revelation 7:1-8 It’s written about in Revelation 14 They will have their Father’s name written upon their foreheads. (144,00))

    32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Matthew 26

    (( Verse 32 makes clear they will see HIM again. Acts 1 makes clear that the risen Christ spent 40 days with HIS Apostles. ))

    In the same chapter 26, Christ tells Peter that he will deny him three times, and Peter did. Verse 75: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

    The difference between the eleven Apostles is this, they didn’t continue to question the LORD, they followed HIM which is obvious throughout the New Testament. Those who willfully sin, are not the same, there is no comparison.

    If you were comparing same sex, homosexual willful sin, as a comparison with Matthew 26, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever read.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie – 191

    “So given that the disciples all fell away (Matthew 26:31), where does that leave them? Should we conclude that they had no root?”

    That’s a foolish question Rick – the Disciples didn’t fall away, Christ made it clear that Peter would deny HIM.

    29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

    30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

    31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

    (( Verse 31 is a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. ))

    (( Verse 31 is a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. ))

    (( smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: – - Who would have thought that this would refer to the LORD Jesus Christ? We know it does because Jesus HIMSELF quotes it. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad Matthew 26:31 HE make is applicable to HIMSELF. If you doubt that God has a future propose for Israel, you need to note this carefully. He received these wounds in the house of HIS friends. These are the Jewish people. The Jewish people have been scattered abroad, however they are gathered in large number within Israel today, mainly since 1949.

    8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

    9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zechariah 13

    ((These are the ones who will make it through the Great Tribulation. The LORD has sealed them, Revelation 7:1-8 It’s written about in Revelation 14 They will have their Father’s name written upon their foreheads. (144,00))

    32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Matthew 26

    (( Verse 32 makes clear they will see HIM again. Acts 1 makes clear that the risen Christ spent 40 days with HIS Apostles. ))

    In the same chapter 26, Christ tells Peter that he will deny him three times, and Peter did. Verse 75: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

    The difference between the eleven Apostles is this, they didn’t continue to question the LORD, they followed HIM which is obvious throughout the New Testament. Those who willfully sin, are not the same, there is no comparison.

    If you were comparing same sex, homosexual willful sin, as a comparison with Matthew 26, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever read.

  • Grace

    Stephen, you know very well what “fruit” is… It certainly isn’t willfully sleeping with the same sex, believing anyone who does is outsmarting God Almighty – OR – ignoring Romans 1 – making yet again more excuses for homosexual behavior.

    You don’t answer Truth, because you don’t have an answer that lines up with the HOLY Word of God.

  • Grace

    Stephen, you know very well what “fruit” is… It certainly isn’t willfully sleeping with the same sex, believing anyone who does is outsmarting God Almighty – OR – ignoring Romans 1 – making yet again more excuses for homosexual behavior.

    You don’t answer Truth, because you don’t have an answer that lines up with the HOLY Word of God.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You don’t answer Truth, because you don’t have an answer that lines up with the HOLY Word of God.”

    Dear Grace, I think that about sums it up.

    I appreciate you, sister. Take care and have a joyous weekend.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “You don’t answer Truth, because you don’t have an answer that lines up with the HOLY Word of God.”

    Dear Grace, I think that about sums it up.

    I appreciate you, sister. Take care and have a joyous weekend.

  • Grace

    Truth,

    I enjoy your posts – your ‘handle’ .. “Truth Unites… and Divides ” most certainly divides.

    Have a wonderful Sunday.

  • Grace

    Truth,

    I enjoy your posts – your ‘handle’ .. “Truth Unites… and Divides ” most certainly divides.

    Have a wonderful Sunday.

  • Stephen

    Well you’ve both said what you think it isn’t. Say what it is. You brought it up.

  • Stephen

    Well you’ve both said what you think it isn’t. Say what it is. You brought it up.

  • kerner

    I jhaven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious researchg paper would be more appropriate.

    fws:

    I know you have on a different thread accused me of jumping from the general to the specific to quickly. But I think in your case you are finding too much refuge in the general. The early articles of the Augsburg confession are primarily concerned with Original Sin and Justification. Much is said in terms of the two great commandments: to Love God and to love our neighbor. All this can be discussed in the abstract, but I think the abstract is where you want to stay.

    I said somewhere above that I think I’m beginning to understand your arguments, and I doubtless will over simplify somewhat, but what I am hearing comes out something like this:

    !.)

  • kerner

    I jhaven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious researchg paper would be more appropriate.

    fws:

    I know you have on a different thread accused me of jumping from the general to the specific to quickly. But I think in your case you are finding too much refuge in the general. The early articles of the Augsburg confession are primarily concerned with Original Sin and Justification. Much is said in terms of the two great commandments: to Love God and to love our neighbor. All this can be discussed in the abstract, but I think the abstract is where you want to stay.

    I said somewhere above that I think I’m beginning to understand your arguments, and I doubtless will over simplify somewhat, but what I am hearing comes out something like this:

    !.)

  • Grace

    Kerner – 199

    “I jhaven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious researchg paper would be more appropriate.”

    Kerner, the Word of God is the first and last Words that are “appropriate” or the words of Saint Paul as in Romans 1 – however, too often those who are homosexual, or others, find any loophole, no matter how contrived, to change the meaning. God’s Word hasn’t changed, ….. there is no “appropriate” paper, it’s recored in HIS Word. Romans 1 STANDS!

  • Grace

    Kerner – 199

    “I jhaven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious researchg paper would be more appropriate.”

    Kerner, the Word of God is the first and last Words that are “appropriate” or the words of Saint Paul as in Romans 1 – however, too often those who are homosexual, or others, find any loophole, no matter how contrived, to change the meaning. God’s Word hasn’t changed, ….. there is no “appropriate” paper, it’s recored in HIS Word. Romans 1 STANDS!

  • kerner

    I haven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious research paper would be more appropriate.

    fws:

    I know you have on a different thread accused me of jumping from the general to the specific to quickly. But I think in your case you are finding too much refuge in the general. The early articles of the Augsburg confession are primarily concerned with Original Sin and Justification. Much is said in terms of the two great commandments: to Love God and to love our neighbor; and the image of God being original righteousness and the loss of that righteousness being original sin. All this can be discussed in the abstract, but I think the abstract is where you want to stay.

    I said somewhere above that I think I’m beginning to understand your arguments, and I doubtless will over simplify somewhat, but what I am hearing comes out something like this:

    1) After we understand all about original Sin, The image of God, Justification and love, anything we really need to know about actual good behavior and/or specific sins are the things that pagans can figure out for themselves (as Paul wrote about them), i.e. What the pagans are able to perceive as tight and wrong through their consciences.

    2) The confessions teach that the greatest teacher of ethics was Aristotle, a Pagan, so if Aristotelian Ethics don’t prohibit something, it must not be a sin. Every Lutheran discussion of morality, therefore, must begin with a firm understanding of Aristotelian Ethics.

    3) Aristotle’s writings about ethics do not find anything wrong with gay sex (I don’t know this for a fact, having not read Aristotle, but I am pretty sure I have heard you declare this), therefore:

    Conclusion: THERE IS NOTHING IMMORAL ABOUT GAY SEX.

    To maintain this position, it is necessary to avoid looking at what the Lutheran Confessions say about invdividual sins and sexual relationships, because as soon as we begin to look at those specifics, it becomes clear that none of the reformers actually believed this, nor do their writings about sexual morality, including those in the confessions themselves, support your conclusion. All the unambiguous passages of the Bible, the Lutheran Confessions, and 2000 years of moral reasoning of the Church can be blithely waived away as so much homophobic misunderstanding from behind the fluffy bulwarks of abstraction that you have constructed. And some of those abstractions don’t even mean what you say.

    You have said that the Defense of the Augsburg Confession endorsed Aristotle, and the passage you refer to says:

    “And although we ought to regard this as a strange teaching, and ought to ridicule it, they rather ridicule us, yea, make a jest of Paul himself.] We have heard that some after setting aside the Gospel, have, instead of a sermon, explained the ethics of Aristotle. [I myself have heard a great preacher who did not mention Christ and the Gospel, and preached the ethics of Aristotle. Is this not a childish, foolish way to preach to Christians?] Nor did such men err if those things are true which the adversaries defend [if the doctrine of the adversaries be true, the Ethics is a precious book of sermons, and a fine new Bible]. For Aristotle wrote concerning civil morals so learnedly that nothing further concerning this need be demanded. 15] We see books extant in which certain sayings of Christ are compared with the sayings of Socrates, Zeno, and others, as though Christ had come for the purpose of delivering certain laws through which we might merit the remission of sins, as though we did not receive this 16] gratuitously because of His merits. Therefore, if we here receive the doctrine of the adversaries, that by the works of reason we merit the remission of sins and justification, there will be no difference between philosophic, or certainly pharisaic, and Christian righteousness. ”
    Dof AC Article IV(II) Justification (emphasis mine).

    How can you not see that this passage is a facetious series of statements ridiculing the “adversaries” of Lutheran doctrine for relying on Aristotle and the pagan philosophers. By latching onto the one place where Melanchthon facetiously appears to praise Aristotle as the foundation of your argument, you are taking a position that is the opposite of what this passage means.

    You have suggested that we who look for passages that give us specific guidance, dos and don’ts, as “proof texters”. If you can pull that single sentence out of its context and declare that any Lutheran discussion of Christian morality must be based in Aristotle, you have elevated proof texting to a truly high art.

    And the danger of doing this became clear to me in your exchange with Purple Koolaid on this thread. Your advice @90 only shocked and confused Purple, including as it did advice that Purple seek the counsel of a pagan and that following “a set of rules” was not important.

    I understand that pagans have consciences and are capable of reasoning out a certain level of morality. But Christians are not called to that. The New Testament is full of passages that tell us that God’s Law of Christian love for our neighbor holds us to a standard that no pagan could work out on his own. Lust is adultery, hatred is murder, legal divorce is sin, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, forgive your brother 70 x 7 times, turn the other cheek, if someone wants you to walk a mile walk two; the list is almost endless. Purple and a “pagan counsellor” would hardly be speaking the same language.

    The fact is, these dos and don’ts come from God’s Word. We have to start with the proposition that He gave them to us for a reason.

  • kerner

    I haven’t commented at any length for a couple of days now, because I have been struggling with all of the arguments posted here. One conclusion that I have come to is that it is very difficult to really deal with all these issues as a commenter on a blog. A serious research paper would be more appropriate.

    fws:

    I know you have on a different thread accused me of jumping from the general to the specific to quickly. But I think in your case you are finding too much refuge in the general. The early articles of the Augsburg confession are primarily concerned with Original Sin and Justification. Much is said in terms of the two great commandments: to Love God and to love our neighbor; and the image of God being original righteousness and the loss of that righteousness being original sin. All this can be discussed in the abstract, but I think the abstract is where you want to stay.

    I said somewhere above that I think I’m beginning to understand your arguments, and I doubtless will over simplify somewhat, but what I am hearing comes out something like this:

    1) After we understand all about original Sin, The image of God, Justification and love, anything we really need to know about actual good behavior and/or specific sins are the things that pagans can figure out for themselves (as Paul wrote about them), i.e. What the pagans are able to perceive as tight and wrong through their consciences.

    2) The confessions teach that the greatest teacher of ethics was Aristotle, a Pagan, so if Aristotelian Ethics don’t prohibit something, it must not be a sin. Every Lutheran discussion of morality, therefore, must begin with a firm understanding of Aristotelian Ethics.

    3) Aristotle’s writings about ethics do not find anything wrong with gay sex (I don’t know this for a fact, having not read Aristotle, but I am pretty sure I have heard you declare this), therefore:

    Conclusion: THERE IS NOTHING IMMORAL ABOUT GAY SEX.

    To maintain this position, it is necessary to avoid looking at what the Lutheran Confessions say about invdividual sins and sexual relationships, because as soon as we begin to look at those specifics, it becomes clear that none of the reformers actually believed this, nor do their writings about sexual morality, including those in the confessions themselves, support your conclusion. All the unambiguous passages of the Bible, the Lutheran Confessions, and 2000 years of moral reasoning of the Church can be blithely waived away as so much homophobic misunderstanding from behind the fluffy bulwarks of abstraction that you have constructed. And some of those abstractions don’t even mean what you say.

    You have said that the Defense of the Augsburg Confession endorsed Aristotle, and the passage you refer to says:

    “And although we ought to regard this as a strange teaching, and ought to ridicule it, they rather ridicule us, yea, make a jest of Paul himself.] We have heard that some after setting aside the Gospel, have, instead of a sermon, explained the ethics of Aristotle. [I myself have heard a great preacher who did not mention Christ and the Gospel, and preached the ethics of Aristotle. Is this not a childish, foolish way to preach to Christians?] Nor did such men err if those things are true which the adversaries defend [if the doctrine of the adversaries be true, the Ethics is a precious book of sermons, and a fine new Bible]. For Aristotle wrote concerning civil morals so learnedly that nothing further concerning this need be demanded. 15] We see books extant in which certain sayings of Christ are compared with the sayings of Socrates, Zeno, and others, as though Christ had come for the purpose of delivering certain laws through which we might merit the remission of sins, as though we did not receive this 16] gratuitously because of His merits. Therefore, if we here receive the doctrine of the adversaries, that by the works of reason we merit the remission of sins and justification, there will be no difference between philosophic, or certainly pharisaic, and Christian righteousness. ”
    Dof AC Article IV(II) Justification (emphasis mine).

    How can you not see that this passage is a facetious series of statements ridiculing the “adversaries” of Lutheran doctrine for relying on Aristotle and the pagan philosophers. By latching onto the one place where Melanchthon facetiously appears to praise Aristotle as the foundation of your argument, you are taking a position that is the opposite of what this passage means.

    You have suggested that we who look for passages that give us specific guidance, dos and don’ts, as “proof texters”. If you can pull that single sentence out of its context and declare that any Lutheran discussion of Christian morality must be based in Aristotle, you have elevated proof texting to a truly high art.

    And the danger of doing this became clear to me in your exchange with Purple Koolaid on this thread. Your advice @90 only shocked and confused Purple, including as it did advice that Purple seek the counsel of a pagan and that following “a set of rules” was not important.

    I understand that pagans have consciences and are capable of reasoning out a certain level of morality. But Christians are not called to that. The New Testament is full of passages that tell us that God’s Law of Christian love for our neighbor holds us to a standard that no pagan could work out on his own. Lust is adultery, hatred is murder, legal divorce is sin, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, forgive your brother 70 x 7 times, turn the other cheek, if someone wants you to walk a mile walk two; the list is almost endless. Purple and a “pagan counsellor” would hardly be speaking the same language.

    The fact is, these dos and don’ts come from God’s Word. We have to start with the proposition that He gave them to us for a reason.

  • kerner

    I don’t know how I accidently posted my first 2 paragraphs accidentally. Sorry.

  • kerner

    I don’t know how I accidently posted my first 2 paragraphs accidentally. Sorry.

  • kerner

    When considering a set of General principles accompanied by a set of specific rules, one way to analyse them is to start with the general principles and try to reason out how you got to the specifics. But another way is to analyse the specifics, look for consistant themes and work backwards to see how they may be rooted in the general prinsiples.

    But another thing you can do is realize that the purpose of the specific rules is to give us direction as to how to carryout the general principles in specific situations.

    To both of these ends, I commend to all here (perhaps especially to the non-Lutherans here) to read what the Lutheran Confessions say about specific sins. You can learn a lot from the Articles in the Large Catechism. I particularly commend you to the Articles on the Lord’s Prayer (5th, 6th and 7th petitions):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-5-ourfather.php

    and the Article on the 10 Commandments (with particular attention to the 6th commandment, which discusses sexual morality):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-3-tencommandments.php

    The Large Catechism is not reluctant to identify individual sins which wwe are to avoid, as can be seen by this exerpt from the Article on the Lord’s Prayer, Sixth petition (Lead us not into temptation):

    “Temptation, however, or (as our Saxons in olden times used to call it) Bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. 102] For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to inchastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us by nature, and to which we are incited by the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which often wound and inflame even an innocent heart.

    103] Next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us to anger, and impatience. In short, there is nothing but hatred and envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing, raillery, slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery, honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.

    104] Then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the Word and works of God, to tear us away from faith, hope, and love, and bring us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand, to despair, denial of God, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking things. These are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by the devil. ”

    In the Article on the 6th Commandment, (Which I am not going to reprint because it is several paragraphs long–just read it) The Catechism declares thebiblical teaching that:

    1) This commandment prohibits all unchastity, not just adultry per se,

    2) That the only proper place for sex is within marriage as all other sexual activity is unchastity, and

    3) Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman

    The only way to get around these specific statements about sex and morality in the Lutheran Confessions is to retreat into abstractions so far that you can rationalize anything. Rationalization is not good thinking in any context, and it is definitely not good theology.

  • kerner

    When considering a set of General principles accompanied by a set of specific rules, one way to analyse them is to start with the general principles and try to reason out how you got to the specifics. But another way is to analyse the specifics, look for consistant themes and work backwards to see how they may be rooted in the general prinsiples.

    But another thing you can do is realize that the purpose of the specific rules is to give us direction as to how to carryout the general principles in specific situations.

    To both of these ends, I commend to all here (perhaps especially to the non-Lutherans here) to read what the Lutheran Confessions say about specific sins. You can learn a lot from the Articles in the Large Catechism. I particularly commend you to the Articles on the Lord’s Prayer (5th, 6th and 7th petitions):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-5-ourfather.php

    and the Article on the 10 Commandments (with particular attention to the 6th commandment, which discusses sexual morality):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-3-tencommandments.php

    The Large Catechism is not reluctant to identify individual sins which wwe are to avoid, as can be seen by this exerpt from the Article on the Lord’s Prayer, Sixth petition (Lead us not into temptation):

    “Temptation, however, or (as our Saxons in olden times used to call it) Bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. 102] For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to inchastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us by nature, and to which we are incited by the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which often wound and inflame even an innocent heart.

    103] Next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us to anger, and impatience. In short, there is nothing but hatred and envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing, raillery, slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery, honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.

    104] Then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the Word and works of God, to tear us away from faith, hope, and love, and bring us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand, to despair, denial of God, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking things. These are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by the devil. ”

    In the Article on the 6th Commandment, (Which I am not going to reprint because it is several paragraphs long–just read it) The Catechism declares thebiblical teaching that:

    1) This commandment prohibits all unchastity, not just adultry per se,

    2) That the only proper place for sex is within marriage as all other sexual activity is unchastity, and

    3) Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman

    The only way to get around these specific statements about sex and morality in the Lutheran Confessions is to retreat into abstractions so far that you can rationalize anything. Rationalization is not good thinking in any context, and it is definitely not good theology.

  • Grace

    Aristotle was a pagan – he has nothing to do with HOLY Scriptures of the Bible? NOTHING!

    It matters not one dot or dash, what a pagan thinks, he thinks only of his own greatness, his ability, as if his mental capability is something to be praised… who but a pagan would say the things Aristotle blithered. He admired himself – and who else would remind you of this deft and blind mind?

    “A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
    Aristotle

    Aristotle and Hitchens today, would most likely be joined at the hip, trying damn hard to persuade the peoples of today to stay within the bounds of pagnism, as they believed/believe only to be swept away into the abyss that awaits all those who turn from God Almighty!

  • Grace

    Aristotle was a pagan – he has nothing to do with HOLY Scriptures of the Bible? NOTHING!

    It matters not one dot or dash, what a pagan thinks, he thinks only of his own greatness, his ability, as if his mental capability is something to be praised… who but a pagan would say the things Aristotle blithered. He admired himself – and who else would remind you of this deft and blind mind?

    “A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
    Aristotle

    Aristotle and Hitchens today, would most likely be joined at the hip, trying damn hard to persuade the peoples of today to stay within the bounds of pagnism, as they believed/believe only to be swept away into the abyss that awaits all those who turn from God Almighty!

  • Grace

    Same-sex marriage was outlawed on December 16, 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law specifically outlaws marriages between men and reads as follows:

    “When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion [quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam], what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment. (Theodosian Code 9.7.3)”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

  • Grace

    Same-sex marriage was outlawed on December 16, 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law specifically outlaws marriages between men and reads as follows:

    “When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion [quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam], what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment. (Theodosian Code 9.7.3)”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

  • Grace

    .
    “There were also same sex unions among peers among the Ancient Greeks which were not age-structured. Numerous examples of these are found in Ancient Greek writings. Aristotle praised a same sex couple (Philolaus and Dioclese) who lived their whole lives together and maintained a household together until their deaths when they were buried side by side. Lucian describes a debate in which a proponent of same-sex relationships describes them as being more stable than heterosexual relationships and goes on to express the hope that he will be buried with his lover after they have passed their lives together. Famous Greek couples in same sex relationships include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. However in none of these same sex unions is the Greek word for “marriage” ever mentioned. The Romans appear to have been the first to perform same sex marriages.

    The first recorded mention of the performance of gay marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    What does a Bible believing Christian garner from this information, it’s not Biblical but pagan.

  • Grace

    .
    “There were also same sex unions among peers among the Ancient Greeks which were not age-structured. Numerous examples of these are found in Ancient Greek writings. Aristotle praised a same sex couple (Philolaus and Dioclese) who lived their whole lives together and maintained a household together until their deaths when they were buried side by side. Lucian describes a debate in which a proponent of same-sex relationships describes them as being more stable than heterosexual relationships and goes on to express the hope that he will be buried with his lover after they have passed their lives together. Famous Greek couples in same sex relationships include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. However in none of these same sex unions is the Greek word for “marriage” ever mentioned. The Romans appear to have been the first to perform same sex marriages.

    The first recorded mention of the performance of gay marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    What does a Bible believing Christian garner from this information, it’s not Biblical but pagan.

  • Grace

    Something to think about:

    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Man believes that he’s found something new, something to distract him…. most likely from the risen Christ – but alas, he hasn’t moved a step from the past, that from the beginning, …. Genesis the temptation of evil that leads to death.

  • Grace

    Something to think about:

    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Man believes that he’s found something new, something to distract him…. most likely from the risen Christ – but alas, he hasn’t moved a step from the past, that from the beginning, …. Genesis the temptation of evil that leads to death.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 201

    I dont know exactly where to begin. It appears that you somehow managed to get every single thing exactly backwards from what I think.

    Here is the best I can do… slow down. Note what I am focussing on. Avoid looking for a gay agenda, My agenda has me plotting to deliver everyone over to the “gay lifestyle” at 3pm today at a cocktail get meet and greet after church today. Of course we will all be immaculately groomed and listening to tasteful music. No one there will be discussing the Lutheran Confessions. I can assure you of that.

    start with art I and art II.

    What is article I about? (hint: think about what is said in your baptism and ALL that that does. There is a reason the confessors put that article as number 1 . What is the significance of that?

    Then move through art II slowly. What do they say is the Image of God that is the Adamic Original Righeousness? How do they redefine the word “concupiscence” from the roman catholic meanng? Why was it important for them to do so? Why is it important for them to locate the Image of God 100% where they do?

    Why does any of that matter dear Kerner? Breathe. Slow. Down.

    I am hoping that you can focus on what the Confessions actually say, rather than look for Frank reading into them something that is not there, Like reading into them a justification for sin. You will not find that in the Confessions.

    Aristotle is not where we go to tell us whether we are sinners before God not Kerner. My God. That is exactly exactly the error of Rome. And of Geneva by way of that UberAugustinian Calvin.

    You are reading the confessions in order to dialog with me about homosexuality. Stop. that. Read then to learn about your Lutheran Faith. In the process, consider carefully what the opposite side of the argument is. You will need to understand how Rome weaves Aristotle into how they say we are to propitiate God.

    you have everything I have said exacty backwards. I am so sorry where I have failed you in that. Maybe others, who are not gay, can help you here better in that you won’t fixate on homosexuality in your readings of the confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 201

    I dont know exactly where to begin. It appears that you somehow managed to get every single thing exactly backwards from what I think.

    Here is the best I can do… slow down. Note what I am focussing on. Avoid looking for a gay agenda, My agenda has me plotting to deliver everyone over to the “gay lifestyle” at 3pm today at a cocktail get meet and greet after church today. Of course we will all be immaculately groomed and listening to tasteful music. No one there will be discussing the Lutheran Confessions. I can assure you of that.

    start with art I and art II.

    What is article I about? (hint: think about what is said in your baptism and ALL that that does. There is a reason the confessors put that article as number 1 . What is the significance of that?

    Then move through art II slowly. What do they say is the Image of God that is the Adamic Original Righeousness? How do they redefine the word “concupiscence” from the roman catholic meanng? Why was it important for them to do so? Why is it important for them to locate the Image of God 100% where they do?

    Why does any of that matter dear Kerner? Breathe. Slow. Down.

    I am hoping that you can focus on what the Confessions actually say, rather than look for Frank reading into them something that is not there, Like reading into them a justification for sin. You will not find that in the Confessions.

    Aristotle is not where we go to tell us whether we are sinners before God not Kerner. My God. That is exactly exactly the error of Rome. And of Geneva by way of that UberAugustinian Calvin.

    You are reading the confessions in order to dialog with me about homosexuality. Stop. that. Read then to learn about your Lutheran Faith. In the process, consider carefully what the opposite side of the argument is. You will need to understand how Rome weaves Aristotle into how they say we are to propitiate God.

    you have everything I have said exacty backwards. I am so sorry where I have failed you in that. Maybe others, who are not gay, can help you here better in that you won’t fixate on homosexuality in your readings of the confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 201

    By reading that aristotle comment the way you do, you vitiate the entire argument of art II and IV and VIII and…

    The confessions say that the Law God wrote in fallen man’s mind, called his Reason and Conscience, is , in part, fully able to know and do the Law. “in part” means what? It means according to the OUTWARD acts.

    This is so very true, that Reason and Aristitotle, that the confessions say Rome bases everything on with their Natural Law of St Thomas etc, will always select that outward Law in trying to propitiate God.

    Now here is the rough spot that most people have: God DOES demand that we outwardly do his Law. And he WILL punish us, even the christians, if we do not do that Law and he will send plagues and pestilences to make us do that outward Law if we dont do it willingly. And further. this outward keeping of the Law is, just as St James says TRUE righeousness on earth that God demands of us. He does consider those outward acts truly and really a form of true righeousness. We MUST do those things! That is why the confessions say this: Good works are necessary! They are not optional once we are christian.

    But then Lutherans say there is Law, the SAME Law of God, that deals, peculiarly, with “movements of the heart”. That Law is found in the 1st commandment of the Law. In the first table. Lutherans say that Rome ignores that part of the Law. One must first have faith to keep that part of the Law, and by keeping it that way, keep the WHOLE Law. That Law cannot be kept by outward good works,. And man is blind to that Law, even though it is right in front if his eyes. Reason is blind to part of the SAME Law of God why? Because first one must have Faith In Christ, that Original Righeousness that is the Original Image of God to see it!

    Only by FIRST being made righeous can one truly DO righeousness as a “movement of the heart” that God also demands in the 1st commandment.

    I am trying to unravel that knot in your Reasonable lawyerly mind Kerner. The confessions say that only God’s Word and faith will unravel it. You will have to leave your Lawyerly reason behind. Fine as it is. No sarcasm there at all. Your reason too is a gift of God.

    Here is a parallel-confessional document that is by Dr Luther that will maybe help you get this very very critical point.
    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    Bless you Kerner. I hope you manage to untangle the backwards knot you have constructed here.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 201

    By reading that aristotle comment the way you do, you vitiate the entire argument of art II and IV and VIII and…

    The confessions say that the Law God wrote in fallen man’s mind, called his Reason and Conscience, is , in part, fully able to know and do the Law. “in part” means what? It means according to the OUTWARD acts.

    This is so very true, that Reason and Aristitotle, that the confessions say Rome bases everything on with their Natural Law of St Thomas etc, will always select that outward Law in trying to propitiate God.

    Now here is the rough spot that most people have: God DOES demand that we outwardly do his Law. And he WILL punish us, even the christians, if we do not do that Law and he will send plagues and pestilences to make us do that outward Law if we dont do it willingly. And further. this outward keeping of the Law is, just as St James says TRUE righeousness on earth that God demands of us. He does consider those outward acts truly and really a form of true righeousness. We MUST do those things! That is why the confessions say this: Good works are necessary! They are not optional once we are christian.

    But then Lutherans say there is Law, the SAME Law of God, that deals, peculiarly, with “movements of the heart”. That Law is found in the 1st commandment of the Law. In the first table. Lutherans say that Rome ignores that part of the Law. One must first have faith to keep that part of the Law, and by keeping it that way, keep the WHOLE Law. That Law cannot be kept by outward good works,. And man is blind to that Law, even though it is right in front if his eyes. Reason is blind to part of the SAME Law of God why? Because first one must have Faith In Christ, that Original Righeousness that is the Original Image of God to see it!

    Only by FIRST being made righeous can one truly DO righeousness as a “movement of the heart” that God also demands in the 1st commandment.

    I am trying to unravel that knot in your Reasonable lawyerly mind Kerner. The confessions say that only God’s Word and faith will unravel it. You will have to leave your Lawyerly reason behind. Fine as it is. No sarcasm there at all. Your reason too is a gift of God.

    Here is a parallel-confessional document that is by Dr Luther that will maybe help you get this very very critical point.
    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    Bless you Kerner. I hope you manage to untangle the backwards knot you have constructed here.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner

    Try this:

    Try to come back here, with a paraphrased summary, of the articulation you find in art I , II and III and especially and finally IV.

    There are huge portions of those article answering the objections of the opponents. Skip that part for now. Try to outline and build, brick by brick, the confessional positive presentation of the Doctrine, in your own words, exactly as they present it.

    Then, and only then,

    it is also great to see if you can then articulate what the opposing view is that they are contesting against. That would be the marriage of Aristotle and Reason to Theology, It is making theology reason-able. It is specifically to find the Image of God revealed in the Law of God and so to also find the path back to Original Righeousneess in the Law of God. That is a big ol hint for ya Kerner.

    Your Old Adam and mine is doing , constantly, what the confessions are contending against. I , as a homosexual man am trying, in my Old Adam to self justify my thoughts words and deeds by using the Law and trying to conform to it with outward sacrifices. You are doing the same identical thing Kerner.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner

    Try this:

    Try to come back here, with a paraphrased summary, of the articulation you find in art I , II and III and especially and finally IV.

    There are huge portions of those article answering the objections of the opponents. Skip that part for now. Try to outline and build, brick by brick, the confessional positive presentation of the Doctrine, in your own words, exactly as they present it.

    Then, and only then,

    it is also great to see if you can then articulate what the opposing view is that they are contesting against. That would be the marriage of Aristotle and Reason to Theology, It is making theology reason-able. It is specifically to find the Image of God revealed in the Law of God and so to also find the path back to Original Righeousneess in the Law of God. That is a big ol hint for ya Kerner.

    Your Old Adam and mine is doing , constantly, what the confessions are contending against. I , as a homosexual man am trying, in my Old Adam to self justify my thoughts words and deeds by using the Law and trying to conform to it with outward sacrifices. You are doing the same identical thing Kerner.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #181: “I say the confessions and not the Holy Scriptures that are the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life why?”

    FWS, do the confessions teach that same-sex behavior is sin, in continuance and affirmation of God’s Holy Word which clearly declares that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time?

    It’s a straightforward question. And a straightforward “Yes” or “No” is all that’s needed.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #181: “I say the confessions and not the Holy Scriptures that are the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life why?”

    FWS, do the confessions teach that same-sex behavior is sin, in continuance and affirmation of God’s Holy Word which clearly declares that same-sex behavior is sin, a sin for all people, for all places, and for all time?

    It’s a straightforward question. And a straightforward “Yes” or “No” is all that’s needed.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD@211

    No. Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual.

    But here is a caveat… even the concept heterosexual did not exist in the bible. That term only makes sense if one has also the concept of something called homosexuality. Another example of this kind of thing and thinking is that word capitalism. Capitalism only exists in the context of Communism. it is what the Communists created and declared to be an opposite of what they believe is the good.

    Consider my no here in the exact same vein as the fact that neither the Holy Scriptures nor the Confessions directly address the topic of rape anywhere at all in the way we understand the word rape today as forcing a woman to have sex against her will.

    Nor is there anywhere in scriptures or the confessions the idea the the bride gets to choose her bridegroom. The bridegroom chooses the bride and the bride has no choice whatsoever in the matter.

    We must be careful not to read into the Confessions and Scriptures our modern understandings.

    .

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD@211

    No. Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual.

    But here is a caveat… even the concept heterosexual did not exist in the bible. That term only makes sense if one has also the concept of something called homosexuality. Another example of this kind of thing and thinking is that word capitalism. Capitalism only exists in the context of Communism. it is what the Communists created and declared to be an opposite of what they believe is the good.

    Consider my no here in the exact same vein as the fact that neither the Holy Scriptures nor the Confessions directly address the topic of rape anywhere at all in the way we understand the word rape today as forcing a woman to have sex against her will.

    Nor is there anywhere in scriptures or the confessions the idea the the bride gets to choose her bridegroom. The bridegroom chooses the bride and the bride has no choice whatsoever in the matter.

    We must be careful not to read into the Confessions and Scriptures our modern understandings.

    .

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD @ 211

    So then , if what I say is true. And it is, would it follow that we should then reject our modern understanding of homosexuality as found in physicians desk references as being contrary to scripture?

    We should do this only to the same extent we are willing to redefine modern marriage back to the Biblical sense that the bride has no choice as to whom she will be married off to, and to the biblical understanding that rape is defined as a property rights violation, and nothing more than that.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD @ 211

    So then , if what I say is true. And it is, would it follow that we should then reject our modern understanding of homosexuality as found in physicians desk references as being contrary to scripture?

    We should do this only to the same extent we are willing to redefine modern marriage back to the Biblical sense that the bride has no choice as to whom she will be married off to, and to the biblical understanding that rape is defined as a property rights violation, and nothing more than that.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD @ 211

    I would also suggest that if you want to turn Saint Paul’s prohibition against women speaking in an early church full of Jewish converts into a modern Law, then you need to forbid women from having any authority over men anywhere since Paul refers to the Order of Creation.

    This would mean that sarah palin and Michelle Bachman should stay at home and be housewives, and that Grace should keep quiet here and have her husband get on here and ask her questions of the other menfolk here.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    TRUTHUD @ 211

    I would also suggest that if you want to turn Saint Paul’s prohibition against women speaking in an early church full of Jewish converts into a modern Law, then you need to forbid women from having any authority over men anywhere since Paul refers to the Order of Creation.

    This would mean that sarah palin and Michelle Bachman should stay at home and be housewives, and that Grace should keep quiet here and have her husband get on here and ask her questions of the other menfolk here.

  • kerner

    fws @212:

    You said:

    “Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual.

    But here is a caveat… even the concept heterosexual did not exist in the bible. That term only makes sense if one has also the concept of something called homosexuality.”

    If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.

    I tend to agree with your second statement. The Scripture does not assume that men have different “sexual orientations” as the world assumes today. Rather Scripture assumes that all men should confine their sexual activity to female partners known as wives. The Lutheran Confessions do the same.

    But if you believe that Holy Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, are Christians stuck with the conclusion that those assumptions are perfect and true?

    And if you believe that the Confessions are the foundation of Lutheranism, are we not stuck with the conclusion that, to be Lutheran, we have to accept what they assume about our sexuality?

  • kerner

    fws @212:

    You said:

    “Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual.

    But here is a caveat… even the concept heterosexual did not exist in the bible. That term only makes sense if one has also the concept of something called homosexuality.”

    If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.

    I tend to agree with your second statement. The Scripture does not assume that men have different “sexual orientations” as the world assumes today. Rather Scripture assumes that all men should confine their sexual activity to female partners known as wives. The Lutheran Confessions do the same.

    But if you believe that Holy Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, are Christians stuck with the conclusion that those assumptions are perfect and true?

    And if you believe that the Confessions are the foundation of Lutheranism, are we not stuck with the conclusion that, to be Lutheran, we have to accept what they assume about our sexuality?

  • Grace

    “No. Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual. “

    AH……. another curtain drops on who can have homosexual sex and who cannot.

    I remember a few years ago this subject was FINALLY brought forth as a last ditch effort to convince Christians that only homosexuals could participate in same sex, those who were heterosexual could not……. that’s the EXCUSE when all else has dropped from lack of evidence in the Word of God.

    Take a long hard look – the Scripture doesn’t give ANYONE the right to sin as women with women, men with men sexually, not even a HINT of this sin being unsinful!

    26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    ROMANS 1

    All mens words do not trump Scripture. If one looks upon man, he will always be able to find those who seek their own pleasure, instead of God’s Will.

  • Grace

    “No. Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men. The assumption in the bible is always that those men are heterosexual. “

    AH……. another curtain drops on who can have homosexual sex and who cannot.

    I remember a few years ago this subject was FINALLY brought forth as a last ditch effort to convince Christians that only homosexuals could participate in same sex, those who were heterosexual could not……. that’s the EXCUSE when all else has dropped from lack of evidence in the Word of God.

    Take a long hard look – the Scripture doesn’t give ANYONE the right to sin as women with women, men with men sexually, not even a HINT of this sin being unsinful!

    26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    ROMANS 1

    All mens words do not trump Scripture. If one looks upon man, he will always be able to find those who seek their own pleasure, instead of God’s Will.

  • Stephen

    Kerner

    I’m going to see if I can be helpful to some degree. I know my past attitude may have me shut out in your mind, but if you can forgive me for that and set aside the issue of homosexuality for a bit, perhaps I can be helpful. For background, I have a master’s degree in NT and theology and have an ongoing interest (as you may be able to tell) in these subjects, including philosophy and history. My undergraduate degree is in art, and so that includes knowledge in history of art and culture. For what any of those credentials are worth, I affirm with our Confessions that I cannot by my own reason or strength know my Lord or come to him, but I am called by his Holy Spirit. So, somewhat in that respect, I have traveled and spent time in other countries both for work in missions and for personal pleasure. I have worked in the church in various capacities as a musician and youth director. I grew up in a conservative, confessional Lutheran home as the son of a pastor. My family goes back to the Missouri Lutherans. Both my great grandfathers were missionaries among the German immigrants. I try to practice my theology and faith in my church, life and art.

    Sometimes letting people know that kind of stuff and laying it out opens doors and other times it is a turn off. I’d like to offer some clarity if I can, so consider it a kind of “full disclosure.” I am also married and father. What I write will be something of a reduction, but perhaps it will give you some view of the milieu out of which our Confessions speak. If anyone else wants to add or correct what I have to say, please do.

    Prior to Aquinas, Christian theology was shaped by Platonism and its successors in Stoicism (as one example). Plato, as you may know, sees a universe of ideal forms that determine the world in which we live. For every specific thing we see, there is an ideal version of it. What this essentially meant was that the NT for the first 1000 years was read through a lens which saw the physical as largely imperfect and/or bad and the spiritual as apart and good. For instance, in Byzantine culture, that which was associated with light (actual light) was good, and that which was associated or moving toward darkness was considered bad. Thus, in Byzantine art you will see mosaics with Christ in shimmering gold tiles and such. Every attempt is made to associate him visually with brightness and light.

    So what you have is this tiered worldview, not quite to the extreme of Gnosticism, which denigrated the physical completely and had faded out by Aquinas’ time, but something akin to that. Aristotle’s works were known in the early middle ages, but not to the degree that Plato was. As the monastic tradition grew, Aristotle’s works became more well known, and it created a bit of a crisis for the church because Aristotle’s metaphysics really incorporates all of the known universe. Unlike Plato, he does not exclude what is known or seen as true, he integrates it into the whole. He is really the first to offer a scientific worldview of sorts. Instead of a two-tiered Platonic system he offers a closed, comprehensive metaphysical system that could be called “naturalism.”

    Rather than try to suppress this, which was the instinct of the church (dramatized in Hugo’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” as a matter of fact) Aquinas takes Aristotle page by page and writes his Summa which “catholicizes” it note for note. Reason can know what is good and return to that place that was lost with the help of grace. This is how he makes peace with Aristotle to the great relief of the church. It remains the cornerstone of Catholic theology asI am sure you know. He makes space for the works of man’s reason, fallen but not that fallen. Grace is a kind of helper, an assistant, and the end result is to discover, agree with and follow the order set down in nature’s law. Faith, by definition, is not really in sight. Faith in Christ that is. It is pretty much an afterthought. If it is employed, it is a faith that the human being, with the aid of restored reason, can apply himself properly and keep the law.

    And there, right there, is the rub. No Christ is really needed at all for this kind of keeping of the law. This kind of keeping of the law is the very same that Aristotle perfected in his Nicomachean Ethics. On the surface, outwardly, one can do what the law requires without faith in Christ. It isn’t as if the world were without ethical people before there were Christians. Pure ethics are not the thing that make us right with God and bring us back into fellowship with him, the thing that restores us to fellowship, the fellowship we had in the garden. But this is the assumption when you dig down beneath all these kinds of Christian moralisms that seek to find evidence of a particular Christian righteous in outward works.

    So then what does? And what do the Confessions mean when they say “nothing can be added to Aristotle?” Think about Luther sleeping in the snow to obtain this outward righteousness. As he said he “out-monked them all.” But we do not live by such works. That is, we do not find our life in them. It is found in Christ alone. Where Christ is, there is life and salvation. And where is he? In Word and Sacrament. The righteous shall live by faith, faith in what is outside of them – God. Christ is this object of love, the God of mercy that no longer threatens us, which we have through faith alone. This is signed, sealed and delivered by and for us in our baptism into Christ. There is where we can look for assurance of that original righteousness, in that new creation restored in us. Nowhere else – not in anything that is done or not done by us. Faith alone in Christ alone. Justification by grace through faith apart from works of the law. It is faith ALONE which put us back to that image of God we lost. We are washed, justified, sanctified, new.

    Works, on the other hand, only lead to death, even though, and this is the distinction Frank has struggled to make clear, works are required and necessary on earth of both Christians and pagans alike. How are they accomplished? They are driven out of Old Adam relentlessly by that law which always accuses, from nagging spouses to city ordinances to the needs of the poor to all my secret slacking and wicked thoughts. They are all about getting me to love my neighbor. Aristotle perfected the kind of personal civic virtue that becomes a habit. The Confessions have no bone to pick with this. It is useful because it directs us to be virtuous, and God desires it to happen. But what it does not do, the mistake of Aquinas, scholasticism and any other theology that thinks morality will save the world, is that it does not lead us back to the garden. This is the place where we can make arguments that are reasonable and come up with solutions we can agree upon that suit mutual interests. In, with, and under that is what God is doing that we cannot see. He alone is making goodness and mercy happen, even for all the wicked, because God is love. And as for the inward troubled conscience, the one which knows it’s own secret desires and hatred and false gods, it is there that only Christ will answer and reconcile the heart, making it new, forgiving, redeeming, blessing and showing mercy when only condemnation and punishment is warranted.

    It is that last thing you would think we would run to church for but which we all avoid. We seek solace in our reason, in our own rational justifications for what we do or do not do. No one wants to lay it down and be that vulnerable before the Almighty. But then who is that Almighty showing us but the one who died, the one who poured himself out for us, the one who is mercy defined? And he is given completely, not because of anything we have done, but because of the very reality of who he is – love, mercy, servant to all. This is my body. This is my blood. Here I am. Come.

    Frank is not trying to beat a path to Greek culture. He is trying to separate every single thing in our earthly existence out apart from Christ alone, our heavenly assurance of salvation, the only way to peace and rest for our troubled hearts. This is the central theme of the Confessions. If we add anything to that, make anything supplemental to faith in Christ, we are requiring a sacrifice of righteousness. Any work that is clearly not beneficial to the neighbor would fall into this category because it would be directed towards a restored relationship to God the Father in heaven, something only faith in Christ alone accomplishes. You will notice in your reading of the Confessions that they have nothing whatsoever to say about the holiness codes in scripture. Why? They are merely an outward keeping of the law that is of no use to anyone. It is the Decalogue where the rubber hits the road. Again, applying some other kind of law is an attempt to do what only Christ can do for us. We do the same thing when we justify our various failings in any number of ways except to confess our sin. It occurs to me that perhaps we too should consider this kind of required “sanctity” divisive and set it aside as the early Lutherans did the feast days, making them neither here nor there and seeing them as inconsequential for faith. That is not to encourage law breaking for the sake of “doing what I want.” The neighbor’s needs determine that, though this is always the legalist’s criticism of Lutherans. Ironically, their focus is not so much on the neighbor as it is on their own law keeping and personal goodness. Instead, we love because he first loved us, and this comes from being forgiven. We are called to be faithful, and in that is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    I apologize if any of that sounds like I am telling you things you already understand. I write it all as one piece so that it makes a coherent whole and in case others are reading along. Maybe it is helpful, maybe not. Some say that Luther returned to Plato because he rejected Aquinas but that is a mistake, as if there are only two choices. There is, however, a return among many protestants to a kind of Gnostic faith, one which pushes God back up above the clouds, and with it comes a fear of the flesh (I think), something God himself took on and redeemed. Now we have all this effort to affirm the reality of faith within the human through the straining of reason to make sense of the mystery, or the emotional experience to feel that God is present, as if we must claw our way back to heaven somehow and pull Jesus back down now that he has ascended. But you will notice this fervor is only allowed within the walls of the church establishment. More I could say here, but the real distinction is that only in Lutheranism do you hear the words “This is my body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sin” and are entreated to believe and trust it. That’s it. Heaven is here in these things – Word and Sacrament – Christ has come to be with us fully where he has promised, always. The only “effort” is to open and swallow, and listen. Faith comes by hearing. And it will come. He has already come. That is baptism. And so we are free to live our vocations. That is also love.

  • Stephen

    Kerner

    I’m going to see if I can be helpful to some degree. I know my past attitude may have me shut out in your mind, but if you can forgive me for that and set aside the issue of homosexuality for a bit, perhaps I can be helpful. For background, I have a master’s degree in NT and theology and have an ongoing interest (as you may be able to tell) in these subjects, including philosophy and history. My undergraduate degree is in art, and so that includes knowledge in history of art and culture. For what any of those credentials are worth, I affirm with our Confessions that I cannot by my own reason or strength know my Lord or come to him, but I am called by his Holy Spirit. So, somewhat in that respect, I have traveled and spent time in other countries both for work in missions and for personal pleasure. I have worked in the church in various capacities as a musician and youth director. I grew up in a conservative, confessional Lutheran home as the son of a pastor. My family goes back to the Missouri Lutherans. Both my great grandfathers were missionaries among the German immigrants. I try to practice my theology and faith in my church, life and art.

    Sometimes letting people know that kind of stuff and laying it out opens doors and other times it is a turn off. I’d like to offer some clarity if I can, so consider it a kind of “full disclosure.” I am also married and father. What I write will be something of a reduction, but perhaps it will give you some view of the milieu out of which our Confessions speak. If anyone else wants to add or correct what I have to say, please do.

    Prior to Aquinas, Christian theology was shaped by Platonism and its successors in Stoicism (as one example). Plato, as you may know, sees a universe of ideal forms that determine the world in which we live. For every specific thing we see, there is an ideal version of it. What this essentially meant was that the NT for the first 1000 years was read through a lens which saw the physical as largely imperfect and/or bad and the spiritual as apart and good. For instance, in Byzantine culture, that which was associated with light (actual light) was good, and that which was associated or moving toward darkness was considered bad. Thus, in Byzantine art you will see mosaics with Christ in shimmering gold tiles and such. Every attempt is made to associate him visually with brightness and light.

    So what you have is this tiered worldview, not quite to the extreme of Gnosticism, which denigrated the physical completely and had faded out by Aquinas’ time, but something akin to that. Aristotle’s works were known in the early middle ages, but not to the degree that Plato was. As the monastic tradition grew, Aristotle’s works became more well known, and it created a bit of a crisis for the church because Aristotle’s metaphysics really incorporates all of the known universe. Unlike Plato, he does not exclude what is known or seen as true, he integrates it into the whole. He is really the first to offer a scientific worldview of sorts. Instead of a two-tiered Platonic system he offers a closed, comprehensive metaphysical system that could be called “naturalism.”

    Rather than try to suppress this, which was the instinct of the church (dramatized in Hugo’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” as a matter of fact) Aquinas takes Aristotle page by page and writes his Summa which “catholicizes” it note for note. Reason can know what is good and return to that place that was lost with the help of grace. This is how he makes peace with Aristotle to the great relief of the church. It remains the cornerstone of Catholic theology asI am sure you know. He makes space for the works of man’s reason, fallen but not that fallen. Grace is a kind of helper, an assistant, and the end result is to discover, agree with and follow the order set down in nature’s law. Faith, by definition, is not really in sight. Faith in Christ that is. It is pretty much an afterthought. If it is employed, it is a faith that the human being, with the aid of restored reason, can apply himself properly and keep the law.

    And there, right there, is the rub. No Christ is really needed at all for this kind of keeping of the law. This kind of keeping of the law is the very same that Aristotle perfected in his Nicomachean Ethics. On the surface, outwardly, one can do what the law requires without faith in Christ. It isn’t as if the world were without ethical people before there were Christians. Pure ethics are not the thing that make us right with God and bring us back into fellowship with him, the thing that restores us to fellowship, the fellowship we had in the garden. But this is the assumption when you dig down beneath all these kinds of Christian moralisms that seek to find evidence of a particular Christian righteous in outward works.

    So then what does? And what do the Confessions mean when they say “nothing can be added to Aristotle?” Think about Luther sleeping in the snow to obtain this outward righteousness. As he said he “out-monked them all.” But we do not live by such works. That is, we do not find our life in them. It is found in Christ alone. Where Christ is, there is life and salvation. And where is he? In Word and Sacrament. The righteous shall live by faith, faith in what is outside of them – God. Christ is this object of love, the God of mercy that no longer threatens us, which we have through faith alone. This is signed, sealed and delivered by and for us in our baptism into Christ. There is where we can look for assurance of that original righteousness, in that new creation restored in us. Nowhere else – not in anything that is done or not done by us. Faith alone in Christ alone. Justification by grace through faith apart from works of the law. It is faith ALONE which put us back to that image of God we lost. We are washed, justified, sanctified, new.

    Works, on the other hand, only lead to death, even though, and this is the distinction Frank has struggled to make clear, works are required and necessary on earth of both Christians and pagans alike. How are they accomplished? They are driven out of Old Adam relentlessly by that law which always accuses, from nagging spouses to city ordinances to the needs of the poor to all my secret slacking and wicked thoughts. They are all about getting me to love my neighbor. Aristotle perfected the kind of personal civic virtue that becomes a habit. The Confessions have no bone to pick with this. It is useful because it directs us to be virtuous, and God desires it to happen. But what it does not do, the mistake of Aquinas, scholasticism and any other theology that thinks morality will save the world, is that it does not lead us back to the garden. This is the place where we can make arguments that are reasonable and come up with solutions we can agree upon that suit mutual interests. In, with, and under that is what God is doing that we cannot see. He alone is making goodness and mercy happen, even for all the wicked, because God is love. And as for the inward troubled conscience, the one which knows it’s own secret desires and hatred and false gods, it is there that only Christ will answer and reconcile the heart, making it new, forgiving, redeeming, blessing and showing mercy when only condemnation and punishment is warranted.

    It is that last thing you would think we would run to church for but which we all avoid. We seek solace in our reason, in our own rational justifications for what we do or do not do. No one wants to lay it down and be that vulnerable before the Almighty. But then who is that Almighty showing us but the one who died, the one who poured himself out for us, the one who is mercy defined? And he is given completely, not because of anything we have done, but because of the very reality of who he is – love, mercy, servant to all. This is my body. This is my blood. Here I am. Come.

    Frank is not trying to beat a path to Greek culture. He is trying to separate every single thing in our earthly existence out apart from Christ alone, our heavenly assurance of salvation, the only way to peace and rest for our troubled hearts. This is the central theme of the Confessions. If we add anything to that, make anything supplemental to faith in Christ, we are requiring a sacrifice of righteousness. Any work that is clearly not beneficial to the neighbor would fall into this category because it would be directed towards a restored relationship to God the Father in heaven, something only faith in Christ alone accomplishes. You will notice in your reading of the Confessions that they have nothing whatsoever to say about the holiness codes in scripture. Why? They are merely an outward keeping of the law that is of no use to anyone. It is the Decalogue where the rubber hits the road. Again, applying some other kind of law is an attempt to do what only Christ can do for us. We do the same thing when we justify our various failings in any number of ways except to confess our sin. It occurs to me that perhaps we too should consider this kind of required “sanctity” divisive and set it aside as the early Lutherans did the feast days, making them neither here nor there and seeing them as inconsequential for faith. That is not to encourage law breaking for the sake of “doing what I want.” The neighbor’s needs determine that, though this is always the legalist’s criticism of Lutherans. Ironically, their focus is not so much on the neighbor as it is on their own law keeping and personal goodness. Instead, we love because he first loved us, and this comes from being forgiven. We are called to be faithful, and in that is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    I apologize if any of that sounds like I am telling you things you already understand. I write it all as one piece so that it makes a coherent whole and in case others are reading along. Maybe it is helpful, maybe not. Some say that Luther returned to Plato because he rejected Aquinas but that is a mistake, as if there are only two choices. There is, however, a return among many protestants to a kind of Gnostic faith, one which pushes God back up above the clouds, and with it comes a fear of the flesh (I think), something God himself took on and redeemed. Now we have all this effort to affirm the reality of faith within the human through the straining of reason to make sense of the mystery, or the emotional experience to feel that God is present, as if we must claw our way back to heaven somehow and pull Jesus back down now that he has ascended. But you will notice this fervor is only allowed within the walls of the church establishment. More I could say here, but the real distinction is that only in Lutheranism do you hear the words “This is my body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sin” and are entreated to believe and trust it. That’s it. Heaven is here in these things – Word and Sacrament – Christ has come to be with us fully where he has promised, always. The only “effort” is to open and swallow, and listen. Faith comes by hearing. And it will come. He has already come. That is baptism. And so we are free to live our vocations. That is also love.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @215
    You always seem to home in on wanting to talk about homosexuality and curve everything I write as being somehow about that, or curve the conversation towards that and seem to ignore everything else I write. why is that Kerner?

    ‘If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.”

    Why is that? Tell me more. This is not obvious to me.

    Why are you ignoring the other things I said in the same post and driving just at the part about homosexuality Kerner?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @215
    You always seem to home in on wanting to talk about homosexuality and curve everything I write as being somehow about that, or curve the conversation towards that and seem to ignore everything else I write. why is that Kerner?

    ‘If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.”

    Why is that? Tell me more. This is not obvious to me.

    Why are you ignoring the other things I said in the same post and driving just at the part about homosexuality Kerner?

  • reg

    I have been reading this thread and getting a pretty strong feeling that many on this site misread the law grace distinction so as to vitiate the third use of the law as leading us to seek conformity to God’s law in grateful thanksgiving for what Christ accomplished for us. Not as a basis for our salvation, but as the grateful response of a heart being shaped by the Holy Spirit.
    I am not a Lutheran and I look to Scripture for guidance first and man made commentaries second. In addition I am commanded to test everything contained in man made commentaries to see if it is so, no matter how well esteemed the author might be. If Luther said what some claim he said (which I doubt), then go back to the Scriptures because you are being seriously misled.
    Thus I am unclear how FWS and others can arrive at the conclusions they do.
    Paul unequivocally states in 1 Corinthians 6 that:
    9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [and continuing]
    The word translated “homosexuality” the footnotes make clear means “The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts” This relates not to orientation but to acts.
    Yes we all sin and 1 John makes clear this is the case “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” but when doing what we do not want to do becomes a stiff-necked, unrepentant, pursuit of a sin it is evidence that we ought to examine ourselves to make sure we are what we profess to be-saved Christians.
    I keep hearing the final verse of Romans 1 in my head when I read what some have posted:”32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    And while if we are saved our sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ not by our own deeds which are all wretched, as Paul says later on in Romans, “1What shall we say then?) Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Trying to avoid sin as our response to God’s grace is the norm for Christians, and while we often fail miserably, if the Romans 7 struggle is not going on internally, I think we need to engage in serious self-reflection.

    Someone many posts ago noted that some had a tendency toward antinominaism. If the conclusion you draw is once baptized I can do what I want and engage as much sin as my little heart desires, the antinomian label fits to a t.

    But for some of the posts in this string I was starting to wonder whether Lutherans were even within the broad parameters of orthodoxy. I am inclined to think some of what I read here is aberrational and not representative of all of Lutheranism.

    ps. Note homosexual sin is not worse than adulterous sin or a myriad of other sexual and non-sexual sins. I am a sinner! The question is do we at least try and perhaps struggle in a losing fight to conform ourselves to God’s law or do we simply make a mockery of that law and of God. Put more succinctly, even as a saved individual I try to walk in the fear of the Lord. I know I am a sinner deserving nothing but judgment, but since the Lord has been so gracious I have much thanks to give, expressed by at least trying to live as he ordains.To do otherwise is self-deception.

    I am not planning on a lot of back and forth, merely adding my two cents worth.

  • reg

    I have been reading this thread and getting a pretty strong feeling that many on this site misread the law grace distinction so as to vitiate the third use of the law as leading us to seek conformity to God’s law in grateful thanksgiving for what Christ accomplished for us. Not as a basis for our salvation, but as the grateful response of a heart being shaped by the Holy Spirit.
    I am not a Lutheran and I look to Scripture for guidance first and man made commentaries second. In addition I am commanded to test everything contained in man made commentaries to see if it is so, no matter how well esteemed the author might be. If Luther said what some claim he said (which I doubt), then go back to the Scriptures because you are being seriously misled.
    Thus I am unclear how FWS and others can arrive at the conclusions they do.
    Paul unequivocally states in 1 Corinthians 6 that:
    9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [and continuing]
    The word translated “homosexuality” the footnotes make clear means “The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts” This relates not to orientation but to acts.
    Yes we all sin and 1 John makes clear this is the case “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” but when doing what we do not want to do becomes a stiff-necked, unrepentant, pursuit of a sin it is evidence that we ought to examine ourselves to make sure we are what we profess to be-saved Christians.
    I keep hearing the final verse of Romans 1 in my head when I read what some have posted:”32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    And while if we are saved our sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ not by our own deeds which are all wretched, as Paul says later on in Romans, “1What shall we say then?) Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Trying to avoid sin as our response to God’s grace is the norm for Christians, and while we often fail miserably, if the Romans 7 struggle is not going on internally, I think we need to engage in serious self-reflection.

    Someone many posts ago noted that some had a tendency toward antinominaism. If the conclusion you draw is once baptized I can do what I want and engage as much sin as my little heart desires, the antinomian label fits to a t.

    But for some of the posts in this string I was starting to wonder whether Lutherans were even within the broad parameters of orthodoxy. I am inclined to think some of what I read here is aberrational and not representative of all of Lutheranism.

    ps. Note homosexual sin is not worse than adulterous sin or a myriad of other sexual and non-sexual sins. I am a sinner! The question is do we at least try and perhaps struggle in a losing fight to conform ourselves to God’s law or do we simply make a mockery of that law and of God. Put more succinctly, even as a saved individual I try to walk in the fear of the Lord. I know I am a sinner deserving nothing but judgment, but since the Lord has been so gracious I have much thanks to give, expressed by at least trying to live as he ordains.To do otherwise is self-deception.

    I am not planning on a lot of back and forth, merely adding my two cents worth.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @ 217

    wow. yes steve is not at all misrepresenting anything at all I am saying.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @ 217

    wow. yes steve is not at all misrepresenting anything at all I am saying.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #217: “For background, I have a master’s degree in NT and theology and have an ongoing interest (as you may be able to tell) in these subjects, including philosophy and history. … I have traveled and spent time in other countries both for work in missions and for personal pleasure. I have worked in the church in various capacities as a musician and youth director. I grew up in a conservative, confessional Lutheran home as the son of a pastor. My family goes back to the Missouri Lutherans. Both my great grandfathers were missionaries among the German immigrants.”

    Stephen, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #217: “For background, I have a master’s degree in NT and theology and have an ongoing interest (as you may be able to tell) in these subjects, including philosophy and history. … I have traveled and spent time in other countries both for work in missions and for personal pleasure. I have worked in the church in various capacities as a musician and youth director. I grew up in a conservative, confessional Lutheran home as the son of a pastor. My family goes back to the Missouri Lutherans. Both my great grandfathers were missionaries among the German immigrants.”

    Stephen, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

  • Tom Hering

    Personally, I think that apart from a learned/reinforced sexual exclusivity (hetero or homo), man is – in his fallen state – a sexual omnivore. He’ll have sexual relations with anyone/anything. This is the baseline for any discussion of human sexuality since the Fall.

  • Tom Hering

    Personally, I think that apart from a learned/reinforced sexual exclusivity (hetero or homo), man is – in his fallen state – a sexual omnivore. He’ll have sexual relations with anyone/anything. This is the baseline for any discussion of human sexuality since the Fall.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    reg @ 219

    I could respond to alot of what you wrote but I will home in on one point.

    The calvinistic 3rd use of the law is this:

    that there is a special use of the Law of God that is only for christians to use.
    The Law is the revelation of the Image of God and Original Righeousness.
    Therefore Sanctification is about a christian use of the Law to get back to Original Righeousness and restore the Image of God.

    This is NOT the Lutheran Third Use of the Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    reg @ 219

    I could respond to alot of what you wrote but I will home in on one point.

    The calvinistic 3rd use of the law is this:

    that there is a special use of the Law of God that is only for christians to use.
    The Law is the revelation of the Image of God and Original Righeousness.
    Therefore Sanctification is about a christian use of the Law to get back to Original Righeousness and restore the Image of God.

    This is NOT the Lutheran Third Use of the Law.

  • Grace

    One can try and reason with those who oppose Scripture, however, the passage below is the answer. The answer being those who turn their back on God, HIS Word as in Romans 1, have become a “reprobate mind” which has no conscience. They don’t retain God in their knowledge, they retain the sins they covet, making excuses. When God makes clear what HE will do with such a person, how can you or I change their minds, when the very words of Scripture have no meaning to such an individual?
    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1:28

    Definition reprobate adokimos-ad-ok’-ee-mos

    unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):–castaway, rejected, reprobate.

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

    30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

    31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10

  • Grace

    One can try and reason with those who oppose Scripture, however, the passage below is the answer. The answer being those who turn their back on God, HIS Word as in Romans 1, have become a “reprobate mind” which has no conscience. They don’t retain God in their knowledge, they retain the sins they covet, making excuses. When God makes clear what HE will do with such a person, how can you or I change their minds, when the very words of Scripture have no meaning to such an individual?
    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1:28

    Definition reprobate adokimos-ad-ok’-ee-mos

    unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):–castaway, rejected, reprobate.

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

    30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

    31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10

  • Stephen

    Putting something in boldface type, or red, or underlining, or repeating it endlessly, or otherwise shouting does not give one some kind of authority or ability to determine the truth, and neither does it urge or frighten me into wanting to listen or answer or agree. It’s juvenile. Pony up some real theology for dialogue and show some mutual respect. Otherwise you are just being shaming, rude and supercilious.

  • Stephen

    Putting something in boldface type, or red, or underlining, or repeating it endlessly, or otherwise shouting does not give one some kind of authority or ability to determine the truth, and neither does it urge or frighten me into wanting to listen or answer or agree. It’s juvenile. Pony up some real theology for dialogue and show some mutual respect. Otherwise you are just being shaming, rude and supercilious.

  • Stephen

    Thanks reg for offering some thoughts that are theological in nature. I have to be with family now, but perhaps I can return late tonight and address some of them. For the record, you are doing exactly what others are neglecting to do – theology.

  • Stephen

    Thanks reg for offering some thoughts that are theological in nature. I have to be with family now, but perhaps I can return late tonight and address some of them. For the record, you are doing exactly what others are neglecting to do – theology.

  • reg

    FWS and Stephen,
    How about you each start finding some Scriptures to back up your points instead of hiding behind esoteric readings of secondary materials and never once in any comment ever, ever, ever citing to Scriptures which are the primary source? Are you simply insufficiently familiar with Scriptures to feel comfortable doing so, do you view Scripture as of secondary importance and hence not relevant or is what Scripture says just too scary to actually analyze on the basis of what God said? Scripture is real theology, everything else secondary.

    But given the positions being advanced here I can see where Scripture is the last ground upon which you would want to argue….

  • reg

    FWS and Stephen,
    How about you each start finding some Scriptures to back up your points instead of hiding behind esoteric readings of secondary materials and never once in any comment ever, ever, ever citing to Scriptures which are the primary source? Are you simply insufficiently familiar with Scriptures to feel comfortable doing so, do you view Scripture as of secondary importance and hence not relevant or is what Scripture says just too scary to actually analyze on the basis of what God said? Scripture is real theology, everything else secondary.

    But given the positions being advanced here I can see where Scripture is the last ground upon which you would want to argue….

  • Grace

    Stephen 225

    “Pony up some real theology for dialogue and show some mutual respect. Otherwise you are just being shaming, rude and supercilious.”

    The passages of Scripture must annoy you,….. the Word of God strikes at the heart of man – the passages might appear rude, but they are truth. Disrespect for the Word of God, making excuses for homosexuality, is “shaming” –

    Stephen, .. giving your educational background in a long winded, verbalism post, has nothing to do with the subject of homosexuality, nor do I suspect it impressed to many on this blog – since almost all who post here, are highly educated – however you thought it needful to drone on in 217.

  • Grace

    Stephen 225

    “Pony up some real theology for dialogue and show some mutual respect. Otherwise you are just being shaming, rude and supercilious.”

    The passages of Scripture must annoy you,….. the Word of God strikes at the heart of man – the passages might appear rude, but they are truth. Disrespect for the Word of God, making excuses for homosexuality, is “shaming” –

    Stephen, .. giving your educational background in a long winded, verbalism post, has nothing to do with the subject of homosexuality, nor do I suspect it impressed to many on this blog – since almost all who post here, are highly educated – however you thought it needful to drone on in 217.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I wrote some notes on Hebrews the other day when the willful sinning concept was mentioned. Now that I know she’s working from Hebrews, I thought I would share. None of this is for Grace’s benefit, since she has already been instructed on everything. But for anyone else who might be interested, this might help in dealing with the warning passages in Hebrews. When misunderstood they have tormented many Christians, apart from any questions of right and wrong we’re discussing with fws. Handling them carelessly could easily push Christians into despair.

    “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26)

    This is too often interpreted in stand-alone fashion. It cannot be used as a proof-text all by itself for the idea that all willful sins are unforgivable. That would violate other passages (e.g. Matthew 12:31ff. where it is things said against the Holy Spirit only that are unforgivable). In the early Church, the canonicity of the Book of Hebrews was in question. That is, churches disagreed on whether it was Scripture. Nobody knew who the author was, and it didn’t match the doctrine of the books they knew belonged in Scripture (at least, when read out of harmony with them).

    The Lutheran treatment is to allow the use of the disputed books to support doctrines taught elsewhere in Scripture, but not to argue doctrines from them which cannot be found elsewhere. They must be harmonized to match the books that were accepted in all churches. At the time of the Reformation, the Catholic church had a 72 book Bible. They had a teaching that the church had authority to set the limits of Scripture. Luther and others rejected this. They separated the apocryphal sections from the others and printed them at the back of the Old Testament. The Lutherans also printed the disputed books of the New Testament at the back of the New Testament. Other Protestants followed the Lutherans on the Old Testament, but followed the Catholics on the New Testament, not explaining how uncertain books became certain for them. The first time Bibles were printed with only 66 books was in the 19th century, as best I can tell from research.

    That said, context may allow us to harmonize Hebrews with the other books nicely. The book is about how Christians must not return to Judaism when persecution arises. Some were forsaking the assembling of the brethren (Hebrews 10:25). There were people who would be kicked out of the families for becoming Christians. When they argued that they couldn’t leave because Jesus died for them and his blood covered them, their leaders and relatives said to come back to Judaism and that the temple sacrifices would cover them. The author of Hebrews argues that they can’t do this. First, there is a strong parallel passages a few verses before:

    Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:18)

    Here, there not being an offering is a good thing. We don’t need those temple sacrifices any more. Jesus made the last sacrifice, once for all time. No other sacrifice will do now that he has come. He has finished sacrifice once and for all. So if they go on sinning willfully, that is, return to Judaism and reject Jesus, no sacrifice for sins remains. Those temple sacrifices won’t cover them. God pays no attention to them.

    The book also seems to imply that once this is done, it cannot be reversed. There are a few ways of reading this. One is to say the book does not match the doctrine of other books, so it is not canonical. (No church council can guarantee to us that it belongs in the Bible. We have to use evidence, and the early church was inconclusive on this and a few other books.) Another is to accept Hebrews and harmonize with the Unpardonable Sin passage. Perhaps the Jews forced their re-converts to speak blasphemy. (I have seen commentaries which cite things reconverts to Judaism were forced to do. It’s the same things St. Paul lists. Trampling a symbol of Christ and calling the blood of the covenant an unclean thing.) Those who had done this may have driven the Holy Spirit away never to return to them. It isn’t that they couldn’t be forgiven if they repented. It’s more that without the Spirit, they won’t wish to repent, since no one says Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. However we do this, the point is not that one willful sin will damn us. It appears from this book that aggravated apostasy would damn us. But even that must be cleared against the teaching of the undisputed books. If they suggest otherwise, then we have to go with their teaching since we can be certain of it.

    Modern translations usually try to convey the verb tense to suggest continuous action. The Greek has two aspects for verbs. One is one time action. Kind of like a snapshot. The bat hits the ball. The other is continuing action. It isn’t seen as stopping. At the time of the older translations, like the KJV, they didn’t know this about the Greek, and the English translations didn’t reflect the difference. So they say “sin willfully.” Makes it sound like if you ever commit even one sin on purpose, you’re finished. But that isn’t what the Greek conveys. It speaks of going on sinning willfully. And if the people it’s speaking to are skipping church and going to the temple, this is a whole life apart from God. No more Jesus. Because Jesus himself was rejected. Explicitly. Renounced. They are sinning even though they are keeping the commandments outwardly. They may even be blameless with regard to the righteousness in the law (see Philippians 3:6). We are not invited here to take the term “sinning willfully” and apply it any way we see fit. One kind of sin is in view. Apostasy. And perhaps a very specific type.

    And again, I think we are to avoid arguing that this damns because it’s a worse sin than others. The point is not now bad the sin is, but what it does by nature. If we reject the Son of God, there is no other sacrifice for sin. We have rejected the one thing that can save us.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I wrote some notes on Hebrews the other day when the willful sinning concept was mentioned. Now that I know she’s working from Hebrews, I thought I would share. None of this is for Grace’s benefit, since she has already been instructed on everything. But for anyone else who might be interested, this might help in dealing with the warning passages in Hebrews. When misunderstood they have tormented many Christians, apart from any questions of right and wrong we’re discussing with fws. Handling them carelessly could easily push Christians into despair.

    “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26)

    This is too often interpreted in stand-alone fashion. It cannot be used as a proof-text all by itself for the idea that all willful sins are unforgivable. That would violate other passages (e.g. Matthew 12:31ff. where it is things said against the Holy Spirit only that are unforgivable). In the early Church, the canonicity of the Book of Hebrews was in question. That is, churches disagreed on whether it was Scripture. Nobody knew who the author was, and it didn’t match the doctrine of the books they knew belonged in Scripture (at least, when read out of harmony with them).

    The Lutheran treatment is to allow the use of the disputed books to support doctrines taught elsewhere in Scripture, but not to argue doctrines from them which cannot be found elsewhere. They must be harmonized to match the books that were accepted in all churches. At the time of the Reformation, the Catholic church had a 72 book Bible. They had a teaching that the church had authority to set the limits of Scripture. Luther and others rejected this. They separated the apocryphal sections from the others and printed them at the back of the Old Testament. The Lutherans also printed the disputed books of the New Testament at the back of the New Testament. Other Protestants followed the Lutherans on the Old Testament, but followed the Catholics on the New Testament, not explaining how uncertain books became certain for them. The first time Bibles were printed with only 66 books was in the 19th century, as best I can tell from research.

    That said, context may allow us to harmonize Hebrews with the other books nicely. The book is about how Christians must not return to Judaism when persecution arises. Some were forsaking the assembling of the brethren (Hebrews 10:25). There were people who would be kicked out of the families for becoming Christians. When they argued that they couldn’t leave because Jesus died for them and his blood covered them, their leaders and relatives said to come back to Judaism and that the temple sacrifices would cover them. The author of Hebrews argues that they can’t do this. First, there is a strong parallel passages a few verses before:

    Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:18)

    Here, there not being an offering is a good thing. We don’t need those temple sacrifices any more. Jesus made the last sacrifice, once for all time. No other sacrifice will do now that he has come. He has finished sacrifice once and for all. So if they go on sinning willfully, that is, return to Judaism and reject Jesus, no sacrifice for sins remains. Those temple sacrifices won’t cover them. God pays no attention to them.

    The book also seems to imply that once this is done, it cannot be reversed. There are a few ways of reading this. One is to say the book does not match the doctrine of other books, so it is not canonical. (No church council can guarantee to us that it belongs in the Bible. We have to use evidence, and the early church was inconclusive on this and a few other books.) Another is to accept Hebrews and harmonize with the Unpardonable Sin passage. Perhaps the Jews forced their re-converts to speak blasphemy. (I have seen commentaries which cite things reconverts to Judaism were forced to do. It’s the same things St. Paul lists. Trampling a symbol of Christ and calling the blood of the covenant an unclean thing.) Those who had done this may have driven the Holy Spirit away never to return to them. It isn’t that they couldn’t be forgiven if they repented. It’s more that without the Spirit, they won’t wish to repent, since no one says Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. However we do this, the point is not that one willful sin will damn us. It appears from this book that aggravated apostasy would damn us. But even that must be cleared against the teaching of the undisputed books. If they suggest otherwise, then we have to go with their teaching since we can be certain of it.

    Modern translations usually try to convey the verb tense to suggest continuous action. The Greek has two aspects for verbs. One is one time action. Kind of like a snapshot. The bat hits the ball. The other is continuing action. It isn’t seen as stopping. At the time of the older translations, like the KJV, they didn’t know this about the Greek, and the English translations didn’t reflect the difference. So they say “sin willfully.” Makes it sound like if you ever commit even one sin on purpose, you’re finished. But that isn’t what the Greek conveys. It speaks of going on sinning willfully. And if the people it’s speaking to are skipping church and going to the temple, this is a whole life apart from God. No more Jesus. Because Jesus himself was rejected. Explicitly. Renounced. They are sinning even though they are keeping the commandments outwardly. They may even be blameless with regard to the righteousness in the law (see Philippians 3:6). We are not invited here to take the term “sinning willfully” and apply it any way we see fit. One kind of sin is in view. Apostasy. And perhaps a very specific type.

    And again, I think we are to avoid arguing that this damns because it’s a worse sin than others. The point is not now bad the sin is, but what it does by nature. If we reject the Son of God, there is no other sacrifice for sin. We have rejected the one thing that can save us.

  • Grace

    Stephen

    I prefer to use the Word of God to make my point, it is through HIS Word that we can come to truth, not through endless books, or commentaries, though they might be useful to some extent, they do not supersede the inerrant Word of God.

  • Grace

    Stephen

    I prefer to use the Word of God to make my point, it is through HIS Word that we can come to truth, not through endless books, or commentaries, though they might be useful to some extent, they do not supersede the inerrant Word of God.

  • Grace

    Rick,

    There are a number of Books in the Bible which Martin Luther disliked, or found fault with. James, Jude, Revelation, Hebrews, he had no use for the book of Job “Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probable that Solomon wrote and made this book.” – Luther didn’t like Esther as well –

    It becomes obvious Luther didn’t like Revelation, Hebrews, James and Jude, they were a real bur in his saddle, …..

    The original version: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Roams 3:28

    Martin Luther’s NEW version: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith “alone” without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28

    No wonder Luther hated the book of James because it clearly states:

    But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?James 2:20

    Below – Luther’s prideful rant, changing the words and meaning out of the book of Romans:

    You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul.say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’.I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text
    (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127)

    The above speaks volumes……

  • Grace

    Rick,

    There are a number of Books in the Bible which Martin Luther disliked, or found fault with. James, Jude, Revelation, Hebrews, he had no use for the book of Job “Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probable that Solomon wrote and made this book.” – Luther didn’t like Esther as well –

    It becomes obvious Luther didn’t like Revelation, Hebrews, James and Jude, they were a real bur in his saddle, …..

    The original version: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Roams 3:28

    Martin Luther’s NEW version: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith “alone” without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28

    No wonder Luther hated the book of James because it clearly states:

    But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?James 2:20

    Below – Luther’s prideful rant, changing the words and meaning out of the book of Romans:

    You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul.say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’.I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text
    (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127)

    The above speaks volumes……

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So, Grace, do you accept all deuterocanonical books? On what grounds?

    “The above speaks volumes……”

    Only if you can’t read tone.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So, Grace, do you accept all deuterocanonical books? On what grounds?

    “The above speaks volumes……”

    Only if you can’t read tone.

  • BW

    Grace,

    How do you know that James, Jude, Hebrews, Revelation, should be included in the Bible? These and a few others had some criticism from the early church, and some of the early church fathers saw them as inauthentic and didn’t include them in the Bible. Lacking conclusive evidence unlike the Gospel writers, Luther and the Lutheran Reformers, therefore weren’t 100% sure they belonged and hence the sort of “yellow caution light” caveat they included with them

  • BW

    Grace,

    How do you know that James, Jude, Hebrews, Revelation, should be included in the Bible? These and a few others had some criticism from the early church, and some of the early church fathers saw them as inauthentic and didn’t include them in the Bible. Lacking conclusive evidence unlike the Gospel writers, Luther and the Lutheran Reformers, therefore weren’t 100% sure they belonged and hence the sort of “yellow caution light” caveat they included with them

  • Stephen

    Checking back in . . .

    reg, that’s one heck of an accusation. You have not read what I have been writing. Your characterization is incorrect. If you don’t understand something, accusing the person who wrote it of being esoteric is childish. Consider yourself on the “do not reply list” as well – rude, shaming and supercilious.

  • Stephen

    Checking back in . . .

    reg, that’s one heck of an accusation. You have not read what I have been writing. Your characterization is incorrect. If you don’t understand something, accusing the person who wrote it of being esoteric is childish. Consider yourself on the “do not reply list” as well – rude, shaming and supercilious.

  • Grace

    BW –

    The Roman Catholic Church and Lutheran’s balk at many books within the HOLY Bible, it’s no secret – I have written on this subject in the past, I don’t have anything to prove, ……. the entire Bible is accurate.

  • Grace

    BW –

    The Roman Catholic Church and Lutheran’s balk at many books within the HOLY Bible, it’s no secret – I have written on this subject in the past, I don’t have anything to prove, ……. the entire Bible is accurate.

  • BW

    Grace,

    I see. But the RCC doesn’t balk at any books, they include more than the 66 in Protestant Bibles.

  • BW

    Grace,

    I see. But the RCC doesn’t balk at any books, they include more than the 66 in Protestant Bibles.

  • Grace

    Rick — 232

    “Tone” ? – LOL….. Luther blew through that passage because it didn’t line up with his beliefs, or what he wanted others to believe, “tone” ? The man was adamant, the little director without permission from God ALMIGHTY to change a text.

  • Grace

    Rick — 232

    “Tone” ? – LOL….. Luther blew through that passage because it didn’t line up with his beliefs, or what he wanted others to believe, “tone” ? The man was adamant, the little director without permission from God ALMIGHTY to change a text.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 234

    It seems Reg hit the nail straight on:

    REG #227 “Are you simply insufficiently familiar with Scriptures to feel comfortable doing so, do you view Scripture as of secondary importance and hence not relevant or is what Scripture says just too scary to actually analyze on the basis of what God said? Scripture is real theology, everything else secondary.”

    And now you’re having a hissy, writing “Consider yourself on the “do not reply list” as well – rude, shaming and supercilious.” – - poor Stephen. I don’t think anyone is going to lose sleep over you not reading their posts. LOL

  • Grace

    Stephen – 234

    It seems Reg hit the nail straight on:

    REG #227 “Are you simply insufficiently familiar with Scriptures to feel comfortable doing so, do you view Scripture as of secondary importance and hence not relevant or is what Scripture says just too scary to actually analyze on the basis of what God said? Scripture is real theology, everything else secondary.”

    And now you’re having a hissy, writing “Consider yourself on the “do not reply list” as well – rude, shaming and supercilious.” – - poor Stephen. I don’t think anyone is going to lose sleep over you not reading their posts. LOL

  • reg

    BW,
    Excluding books or “yellow flagging them” in your personal Bible? Next you are going to be ranking Jesus’ sayings as to whether he did, might have or didn’t say much like the Jesus seminar apostates. Its a very slippery slope and flies in the face of historical orthodoxy. Perhaps you like Marcion too?

  • reg

    BW,
    Excluding books or “yellow flagging them” in your personal Bible? Next you are going to be ranking Jesus’ sayings as to whether he did, might have or didn’t say much like the Jesus seminar apostates. Its a very slippery slope and flies in the face of historical orthodoxy. Perhaps you like Marcion too?

  • BW

    Reg,

    I said a “yellow caution light.” I’m Lutheran, not a Marcionite, I was trying to echo what Rick Ritchie said @ 229. Lutheran theologians understood that there was no consensus in the early church on some of the books and never defined a canon in their confessions.

  • BW

    Reg,

    I said a “yellow caution light.” I’m Lutheran, not a Marcionite, I was trying to echo what Rick Ritchie said @ 229. Lutheran theologians understood that there was no consensus in the early church on some of the books and never defined a canon in their confessions.

  • Grace

    Christ never mentioned the Apocrypha, (the Apocrypha was written approximately 400 years BC. The Jewish people never accepted the books within the Apocrypha. If the Apocrypha had been of any importance it would have been mentioned by Christ, or it would have been highly thought of by the Jews, but this wasn’t the case.

    Jerome spoke against the Apocrypha – Josephus never mentioned the Apocryphal (he was a Jewish historian 1st century.

  • Grace

    Christ never mentioned the Apocrypha, (the Apocrypha was written approximately 400 years BC. The Jewish people never accepted the books within the Apocrypha. If the Apocrypha had been of any importance it would have been mentioned by Christ, or it would have been highly thought of by the Jews, but this wasn’t the case.

    Jerome spoke against the Apocrypha – Josephus never mentioned the Apocryphal (he was a Jewish historian 1st century.

  • Grace

    Sorry – it should read:

    “400 BC and the time of Jesus Christ”

  • Grace

    Sorry – it should read:

    “400 BC and the time of Jesus Christ”

  • Rob

    And yet Jude quotes it.

  • Rob

    And yet Jude quotes it.

  • Rob

    Not gonna get back into this bar fight. Just saying a fact – Jude quotes from Enoch the Apocrypha.

    Off to put a five-year-old to bed.

  • Rob

    Not gonna get back into this bar fight. Just saying a fact – Jude quotes from Enoch the Apocrypha.

    Off to put a five-year-old to bed.

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

    I find it funny that people consider the Lutheran tradition concerning the canon to be the dangerous one, related to higher criticism. In reality the dangerous one is the position that says you can regard a text as canonical apart from apostolic witness. The majority of protestants fall into the same trap as roman catholics with this. Because the church that gets to “decide” what is scripture and what isn’t regardless of apostolic witness, also gets to do what they want with scripture. Rather than being ruled by scripture they in effect rule over scripture. And that is where the real danger is.
    Augustine, Jerome, Eusebius, and many others recognized this in the early church, along with Luther, Cajetan, Erasmus and to a slighlty lesser extent Calvin and Zwingli of the Reformation. When the “church” decides what is scripture apart from apostolic witness, and even gospel content then it is scripture that finally loses its authority.

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

    I find it funny that people consider the Lutheran tradition concerning the canon to be the dangerous one, related to higher criticism. In reality the dangerous one is the position that says you can regard a text as canonical apart from apostolic witness. The majority of protestants fall into the same trap as roman catholics with this. Because the church that gets to “decide” what is scripture and what isn’t regardless of apostolic witness, also gets to do what they want with scripture. Rather than being ruled by scripture they in effect rule over scripture. And that is where the real danger is.
    Augustine, Jerome, Eusebius, and many others recognized this in the early church, along with Luther, Cajetan, Erasmus and to a slighlty lesser extent Calvin and Zwingli of the Reformation. When the “church” decides what is scripture apart from apostolic witness, and even gospel content then it is scripture that finally loses its authority.

  • Grace

    And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Deuteronomy 33:2 (Moses)

    And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, Jude 1:14

    The church did not consider the book of Enoch Scripture. One verse does not mean Enoch was inspired.

  • Grace

    And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Deuteronomy 33:2 (Moses)

    And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, Jude 1:14

    The church did not consider the book of Enoch Scripture. One verse does not mean Enoch was inspired.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So the ground of the argument has has shifted. Before it was that books weren’t inspired if they weren’t mentioned by Christ. Then we find a book was mentioned by an inspired writer, and Grace says the church didn’t consider Enoch Scripture. Well, there are two churches that consider it Scripture now, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church. So which church gets to decide this, and how?

    The Lutheran way of handling this is to recognize that the early church knew things that we don’t, but also that where there was doubt in the early church, no church council can settle that for all time. Most of us grew up with 66 book Bibles, assuming they had always been that way, which is false. Even most Protestant churches printed their Bibles with the Apocrypha until recently. But if everybody just accepted the Bibles they were handed by their church, we would still have 72 books like they did at the time of the Reformation. Is that what is being argued?

    And I love lines like this: “the entire Bible is accurate.” When we’re discussing the extent of the canon, that is, which books belong in the Bible in the first place, just how is this an answer? My Bible publisher chose the right books by magic? Would this answer work if you were looking at a Bible from a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox publisher? How about one with the Book of Enoch included?

    Go here to see what is considered part of the “entire Bible” by another church body:
    http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html

    Are all 81 books of the Bible accurate?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So the ground of the argument has has shifted. Before it was that books weren’t inspired if they weren’t mentioned by Christ. Then we find a book was mentioned by an inspired writer, and Grace says the church didn’t consider Enoch Scripture. Well, there are two churches that consider it Scripture now, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church. So which church gets to decide this, and how?

    The Lutheran way of handling this is to recognize that the early church knew things that we don’t, but also that where there was doubt in the early church, no church council can settle that for all time. Most of us grew up with 66 book Bibles, assuming they had always been that way, which is false. Even most Protestant churches printed their Bibles with the Apocrypha until recently. But if everybody just accepted the Bibles they were handed by their church, we would still have 72 books like they did at the time of the Reformation. Is that what is being argued?

    And I love lines like this: “the entire Bible is accurate.” When we’re discussing the extent of the canon, that is, which books belong in the Bible in the first place, just how is this an answer? My Bible publisher chose the right books by magic? Would this answer work if you were looking at a Bible from a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox publisher? How about one with the Book of Enoch included?

    Go here to see what is considered part of the “entire Bible” by another church body:
    http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html

    Are all 81 books of the Bible accurate?

  • Grace

    Rick,

    If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then you can change anything you like, make it whatever suits you, there are a lot of people who would agree with you, they also don’t believe that Christ was God the Son, nor do they believe that Christ arose from the dead….. on and on!

  • Grace

    Rick,

    If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then you can change anything you like, make it whatever suits you, there are a lot of people who would agree with you, they also don’t believe that Christ was God the Son, nor do they believe that Christ arose from the dead….. on and on!

  • reg

    Actually the Book of Enoch is not Apocrypha but pseudepigrapha. Just so we are clear. And just because Jude cites it does not make it Scripture any more than Paul citing to Greek playwright makes them Scripture.
    Rick, The cannon of Scripture was recognized by the churches long before the Councils designated what books were canonical. And the Apocrypha was referred to as such because it was not viewed as quite being inspired, even when included in the bible. You are going down the path toward theological liberalism. Also as we go down this rabbit trail is the suggestion that either (a) the Apocrypha supports Stephen’s and FWS’ peculiar views of sin in Scripture or (b) that we can eliminate a few more books and arrive at their view of sin?

  • reg

    Actually the Book of Enoch is not Apocrypha but pseudepigrapha. Just so we are clear. And just because Jude cites it does not make it Scripture any more than Paul citing to Greek playwright makes them Scripture.
    Rick, The cannon of Scripture was recognized by the churches long before the Councils designated what books were canonical. And the Apocrypha was referred to as such because it was not viewed as quite being inspired, even when included in the bible. You are going down the path toward theological liberalism. Also as we go down this rabbit trail is the suggestion that either (a) the Apocrypha supports Stephen’s and FWS’ peculiar views of sin in Scripture or (b) that we can eliminate a few more books and arrive at their view of sin?

  • Grace

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into our language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, and the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • Grace

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into our language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, and the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t know that I really have it in me to say much on this thread any more, but even so I’ve kept reading it, and I’m really glad I did, because today I read two recent comments that really impressed me.

    The first was Stephen’s (@217). I realize that he and FWS are not well received by some here (although it is not surprising that it’s the non-Lutherans who really take issue with what they’re saying), but if one would step beyond any perceived homosexuality-only agenda and read Stephen’s comment, I think there is much in it to appreciate.

    I also think Rick’s explanation (@229) of Hebrews 10:26 was not only impressive, but frankly informative for me, even though I’ve had a Bible study on Hebrews not that long ago.

    But more to the point, I found Rich’s explanation resonated much more with Scripture than the interpretation taken by various strains of legalism, in which any willful sin condemns one to hell. Not surprisingly, what seems to result from such a legalistic reading of Scripture is a watering down of Law (isn’t it usually that way?), because you then have people somehow convincing themselves that they don’t sin willfully. If they were ever to admit that, they’d condemn themselves! You can see how easily this leads to pharisaism: people will admit that they’re sinners, but they’re not willful sinners — like those bad people over there!

    Anyhow, I didn’t really expect to read two well-written posts like that in a conversation that’s now past 250 comments. So thanks, you guys.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t know that I really have it in me to say much on this thread any more, but even so I’ve kept reading it, and I’m really glad I did, because today I read two recent comments that really impressed me.

    The first was Stephen’s (@217). I realize that he and FWS are not well received by some here (although it is not surprising that it’s the non-Lutherans who really take issue with what they’re saying), but if one would step beyond any perceived homosexuality-only agenda and read Stephen’s comment, I think there is much in it to appreciate.

    I also think Rick’s explanation (@229) of Hebrews 10:26 was not only impressive, but frankly informative for me, even though I’ve had a Bible study on Hebrews not that long ago.

    But more to the point, I found Rich’s explanation resonated much more with Scripture than the interpretation taken by various strains of legalism, in which any willful sin condemns one to hell. Not surprisingly, what seems to result from such a legalistic reading of Scripture is a watering down of Law (isn’t it usually that way?), because you then have people somehow convincing themselves that they don’t sin willfully. If they were ever to admit that, they’d condemn themselves! You can see how easily this leads to pharisaism: people will admit that they’re sinners, but they’re not willful sinners — like those bad people over there!

    Anyhow, I didn’t really expect to read two well-written posts like that in a conversation that’s now past 250 comments. So thanks, you guys.

  • Rob

    I’ll echo Todd’s affirmation in 251. Clear and loving statements are much appreciated and quite rare in the blogosphere.

    @Stephen, so that you know, your post at 217 contains almost nothing I disagree with (and I am sorry that just after you opened up, Grace decided to take a cheap shot at your personal biography, for which you had already given a thoughtful disclaimer. That must have stung and I can tell you that from my view it was a low blow that was unloving and unnecessary). Up to the point of salvation, you and I and Frank see exactly eye to eye. That is why I have tried to lovingly caution, but never accuse or imply that either of you is (a) inferior to my understanding of our theology or (b) unregenerate. I know that desire to caution has come across as condescending and I apologize.

    Where I differ with Frank (and I think perhaps with you) is on what the life of the believer looks like after salvation. If we died at the moment of faith (or baptism, for that matter) our theologies would be identical. But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance. However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness. Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation. I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith. Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.

    I would enjoy pursuing that discussion with you if you like, but I would again feel more comfortable using e-mail, where my ADD becomes less of a hindrance and errors of tone, etc, are a little easier to avoid. But whether we pursue it or not, I thought I’d try to clarify with you a bit. I don’t like being misunderstood any more than you do. That said, did you consider my question of last night – why the focus on love of neighbor and the ignoring of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I did, and I think your position is strengthened by Romans 14 (Paul does say all these things are summarized as love for neighbor, but he is only quoting the second tablet of the law). But conversely, I think your position is fatally wounded by Romans 6. How would you explain Paul’s call that after salvation/baptism/regeneration, we are to understand ourselves as slaves to righteousness?

  • Rob

    I’ll echo Todd’s affirmation in 251. Clear and loving statements are much appreciated and quite rare in the blogosphere.

    @Stephen, so that you know, your post at 217 contains almost nothing I disagree with (and I am sorry that just after you opened up, Grace decided to take a cheap shot at your personal biography, for which you had already given a thoughtful disclaimer. That must have stung and I can tell you that from my view it was a low blow that was unloving and unnecessary). Up to the point of salvation, you and I and Frank see exactly eye to eye. That is why I have tried to lovingly caution, but never accuse or imply that either of you is (a) inferior to my understanding of our theology or (b) unregenerate. I know that desire to caution has come across as condescending and I apologize.

    Where I differ with Frank (and I think perhaps with you) is on what the life of the believer looks like after salvation. If we died at the moment of faith (or baptism, for that matter) our theologies would be identical. But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance. However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness. Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation. I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith. Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.

    I would enjoy pursuing that discussion with you if you like, but I would again feel more comfortable using e-mail, where my ADD becomes less of a hindrance and errors of tone, etc, are a little easier to avoid. But whether we pursue it or not, I thought I’d try to clarify with you a bit. I don’t like being misunderstood any more than you do. That said, did you consider my question of last night – why the focus on love of neighbor and the ignoring of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I did, and I think your position is strengthened by Romans 14 (Paul does say all these things are summarized as love for neighbor, but he is only quoting the second tablet of the law). But conversely, I think your position is fatally wounded by Romans 6. How would you explain Paul’s call that after salvation/baptism/regeneration, we are to understand ourselves as slaves to righteousness?

  • Rob

    @Todd – I posted a comment in response to some of your questions (right at the beginning of when Stephen and I did our little back-and-forth), but wasn’t at all sure it sufficed in answering them and this is the first time I’ve seen you since. Did it help? Any bones to pick? Better to just let it lie at this point? Same story as with Stephen, I’d happily pursue it, but might be more inclined to do so through e-mail. I start to feel like I’m talking too much when I post as much as I have on this thread.

  • Rob

    @Todd – I posted a comment in response to some of your questions (right at the beginning of when Stephen and I did our little back-and-forth), but wasn’t at all sure it sufficed in answering them and this is the first time I’ve seen you since. Did it help? Any bones to pick? Better to just let it lie at this point? Same story as with Stephen, I’d happily pursue it, but might be more inclined to do so through e-mail. I start to feel like I’m talking too much when I post as much as I have on this thread.

  • Rob

    @Grace

    Because I don’t often get the opportunity to thank you for something you’ve written, I want to be sure to say thanks for post 249. It’s accurate in its main assertions and written without a hint of judgment or ridicule.

    (a few nits, as I earned a degree in this field: there are some significant and noteworthy textual variants, particularly in the NT, but you are right in saying that the vast bulk are simple scribal errors which are easily detected, while many more are obvious harmonizations in the Gospels, also easily detected; similarly, some versions have translated from translations [the KJV and its use of the Vulgate being the best known - but even then, the translation was not the primary source] but the vast bulk of these have been missionary efforts that were never intended to be final products, but an intent to get God’s word in some form into the hands of those who had no Scriptural access: I don’t know a single Bible Translation or Missions Agency that uses translations that have English as a base text except when nothing better is available, at which point they usually call for help and get cranking; but these are nits and don’t really go against your main points).

    Further, it may interest you to know that I don’t know a single confessional Lutheran who would disagree with your points. Earlier it seemed you may have confused issues of canonicity (where your theological view will differ with Lutherans) with issues of inerrancy (where you would actually be quite happy with most of what the confessions say – remember that they, and not Luther’s personal writings are the foundation of Lutheran theology).

  • Rob

    @Grace

    Because I don’t often get the opportunity to thank you for something you’ve written, I want to be sure to say thanks for post 249. It’s accurate in its main assertions and written without a hint of judgment or ridicule.

    (a few nits, as I earned a degree in this field: there are some significant and noteworthy textual variants, particularly in the NT, but you are right in saying that the vast bulk are simple scribal errors which are easily detected, while many more are obvious harmonizations in the Gospels, also easily detected; similarly, some versions have translated from translations [the KJV and its use of the Vulgate being the best known - but even then, the translation was not the primary source] but the vast bulk of these have been missionary efforts that were never intended to be final products, but an intent to get God’s word in some form into the hands of those who had no Scriptural access: I don’t know a single Bible Translation or Missions Agency that uses translations that have English as a base text except when nothing better is available, at which point they usually call for help and get cranking; but these are nits and don’t really go against your main points).

    Further, it may interest you to know that I don’t know a single confessional Lutheran who would disagree with your points. Earlier it seemed you may have confused issues of canonicity (where your theological view will differ with Lutherans) with issues of inerrancy (where you would actually be quite happy with most of what the confessions say – remember that they, and not Luther’s personal writings are the foundation of Lutheran theology).

  • Rob

    @reg

    You’re wrong on several facts:

    Apocrypha/Psuedipigrapha: Roman Catholics still refer to 1 Enoch as “Apocrypha” so let’s not get too anal – you can accurately use the term for just the intertestamental books that were affirmed as equal with Scripture by the Council of Trent or for those AND the Pseudipigraphal writings. At no point did I say it should be considered Scriptural.

    The Canon: The canon was not established “long before” it was accepted by a Council. Where did you get that idea? The first historical record of the exact books we know as the NT is a letter written by Athanasius in 367AD. I’m not arguing against our current canon (nor has anyone here actually done so), but the canon was definitely not closed “long before” the Synod of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397 affirmed the 27 books we now have. By my math, 367AD to 397AD is just 30 years. It may have been even less time if it was in fact approved at the Council of Rome in 382AD.

    Paul and the Greek poets: I know it isn’t what you meant, but I have to say: you wrote “just because Jude cites it does not make it Scripture any more than Paul citing to Greek playwright makes them Scripture.” Actually, once Paul quoted Greek poets, those quotations did become Scripture.

  • Rob

    @reg

    You’re wrong on several facts:

    Apocrypha/Psuedipigrapha: Roman Catholics still refer to 1 Enoch as “Apocrypha” so let’s not get too anal – you can accurately use the term for just the intertestamental books that were affirmed as equal with Scripture by the Council of Trent or for those AND the Pseudipigraphal writings. At no point did I say it should be considered Scriptural.

    The Canon: The canon was not established “long before” it was accepted by a Council. Where did you get that idea? The first historical record of the exact books we know as the NT is a letter written by Athanasius in 367AD. I’m not arguing against our current canon (nor has anyone here actually done so), but the canon was definitely not closed “long before” the Synod of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397 affirmed the 27 books we now have. By my math, 367AD to 397AD is just 30 years. It may have been even less time if it was in fact approved at the Council of Rome in 382AD.

    Paul and the Greek poets: I know it isn’t what you meant, but I have to say: you wrote “just because Jude cites it does not make it Scripture any more than Paul citing to Greek playwright makes them Scripture.” Actually, once Paul quoted Greek poets, those quotations did become Scripture.

  • Rob

    Okay, I’ve written way too much. It seems you’re all lucky I don’t usually have this much free time.

  • Rob

    Okay, I’ve written way too much. It seems you’re all lucky I don’t usually have this much free time.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Thanks, tODD.

    And Grace, I do hold to Inerrancy. You are confusing the issue of canonicity with Inerrancy. Inerrancy comes from the idea that Scripture is God’s Word, and God doesn’t lie. It’s another thing to say that we know for certain in every single case whether a book is Scripture or not. When I’m reading the book of John, which is not a disputed book, I don’t go looking for errors.

    The problem is, we don’t have an Inerrant Table of Contents for the Bible. (It would be nice if we did. If our Table of Contents were written by St. Paul or St. John.) There was certainly Providence in the accurate transmission of the Scriptures, but we can’t read those as a stamp of approval on a certain list of books. There was a good core that was agreed upon. Those give us a solid foundation to work with. But pretending to be certain about the others doesn’t make the building safer.

    Imagine a new Christian were on a desert island and had only, say, an orthodox Bible with the 81 books in it. They can remember the names of some books of the Bible from Bible study, but not all. Would they read all the books the same way, giving them equal weight? If they came upon an unfamiliar book, how would they handle it? Would they avoid it altogether and just read maybe a dozen Bible books? Or would they likely try reading more, just being careful not to put too much emphasis on the ones they weren’t sure of? If they were joined by an orthodox Christian, that Christian might think their wariness of unfamiliar books was impious. But it isn’t. That’s where we are with the disputed books. They were listed as under dispute long before the Reformation. God did give us a certain core of books that we can be certain of. Others seem to have probably come from God, but it is not easy to be certain. Where we aren’t sure, we’re wary.

    These views have been around a long time. And as far as I know, nobody uses them to promote particular views on morality. Nor am I trying to do that here. What I objected to was what I thought was a careless use of warning passages, and many of my arguments on how to read them could be made within the book itself. Though the book’s early disputed status should also push us to harmonize toward the other books, rather than harmonizing them towards Hebrews, which was what you were doing.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Thanks, tODD.

    And Grace, I do hold to Inerrancy. You are confusing the issue of canonicity with Inerrancy. Inerrancy comes from the idea that Scripture is God’s Word, and God doesn’t lie. It’s another thing to say that we know for certain in every single case whether a book is Scripture or not. When I’m reading the book of John, which is not a disputed book, I don’t go looking for errors.

    The problem is, we don’t have an Inerrant Table of Contents for the Bible. (It would be nice if we did. If our Table of Contents were written by St. Paul or St. John.) There was certainly Providence in the accurate transmission of the Scriptures, but we can’t read those as a stamp of approval on a certain list of books. There was a good core that was agreed upon. Those give us a solid foundation to work with. But pretending to be certain about the others doesn’t make the building safer.

    Imagine a new Christian were on a desert island and had only, say, an orthodox Bible with the 81 books in it. They can remember the names of some books of the Bible from Bible study, but not all. Would they read all the books the same way, giving them equal weight? If they came upon an unfamiliar book, how would they handle it? Would they avoid it altogether and just read maybe a dozen Bible books? Or would they likely try reading more, just being careful not to put too much emphasis on the ones they weren’t sure of? If they were joined by an orthodox Christian, that Christian might think their wariness of unfamiliar books was impious. But it isn’t. That’s where we are with the disputed books. They were listed as under dispute long before the Reformation. God did give us a certain core of books that we can be certain of. Others seem to have probably come from God, but it is not easy to be certain. Where we aren’t sure, we’re wary.

    These views have been around a long time. And as far as I know, nobody uses them to promote particular views on morality. Nor am I trying to do that here. What I objected to was what I thought was a careless use of warning passages, and many of my arguments on how to read them could be made within the book itself. Though the book’s early disputed status should also push us to harmonize toward the other books, rather than harmonizing them towards Hebrews, which was what you were doing.

  • Grace

    Rick – 254

    “Because I don’t often get the opportunity to thank you for something you’ve written, I want to be sure to say thanks for post 249. It’s accurate in its main assertions and written without a hint of judgment or ridicule.”

    Thank you, you’re too kind.

    “(a few nits, as I earned a degree in this field:”

    You might be embarressed if you knew some of the other backgrounds who post on this blog. If I might say it ever so softly, you hike yourself up on the stool far too often – “nits” aren’t the problem .

    You have chosen John the Apostle and Paul. There are 10 other Apostles, and Luke (a Gentile) who were inspired of God to write some of the New Testament books. I look upon each book as being inspired and inerrant. I’m not interested in a discussion using “desert island” as some sort of way to assess what each person would or wouldn’t do.

    You may have a problem with your list of “disputed books” – Luther had problems with many books of the Bible – I don’t share either Luther’s view or yours.

    The most important fact – the HOLY Spirit guides us as we study. I have often prayed to understand.

  • Grace

    Rick – 254

    “Because I don’t often get the opportunity to thank you for something you’ve written, I want to be sure to say thanks for post 249. It’s accurate in its main assertions and written without a hint of judgment or ridicule.”

    Thank you, you’re too kind.

    “(a few nits, as I earned a degree in this field:”

    You might be embarressed if you knew some of the other backgrounds who post on this blog. If I might say it ever so softly, you hike yourself up on the stool far too often – “nits” aren’t the problem .

    You have chosen John the Apostle and Paul. There are 10 other Apostles, and Luke (a Gentile) who were inspired of God to write some of the New Testament books. I look upon each book as being inspired and inerrant. I’m not interested in a discussion using “desert island” as some sort of way to assess what each person would or wouldn’t do.

    You may have a problem with your list of “disputed books” – Luther had problems with many books of the Bible – I don’t share either Luther’s view or yours.

    The most important fact – the HOLY Spirit guides us as we study. I have often prayed to understand.

  • Grace

    Sorry Rob – some of my remarks were to Rick and not to you – especially those regarding John and Paul.

  • Grace

    Sorry Rob – some of my remarks were to Rick and not to you – especially those regarding John and Paul.

  • Grace

    Rick – 257

    “These views have been around a long time. And as far as I know, nobody uses them to promote particular views on morality. Nor am I trying to do that here. What I objected to was what I thought was a careless use of warning passages, and many of my arguments on how to read them could be made within the book itself. Though the book’s early disputed status should also push us to harmonize toward the other books, rather than harmonizing them towards Hebrews, which was what you were doing.”

    My use of Hebrews was not a so called “careless use of warning passages” but a direct warning as is given in Hebrews. Those warnings, also in Ephesians and Galatians 5 are rarely heeded, but instead tossed aside, with excuses as to the ‘warning’ – in essence Hebrews is in harmony, but not to the liberal view point which is adopted by you and others.

    This is the difference between what you believe as a Lutheran and what I believe to be true. The warnings of continued sin are all through the New Testament, … the LORD Jesus warned, Paul warned, and so did James and others. However there are others who cannot divide the truth…… seeing the warnngs, repenting and turning from sin.

    Remember it was Jesus who said “go and sin no more” – why would HE have said that if it couldn’t be done, as in the “woman taken in adultery” John 8? This is the problem, little man believes he cannot stop sinning, be it sexual, stealing lying, etc., but the LORD Jesus made clear than it can cease, an individual CAN choose not to commit adultery or steal. If Jesus had not said it, then there would be a case, but HE did say “go and sin no more” – It’s a choice that each individual can make.

  • Grace

    Rick – 257

    “These views have been around a long time. And as far as I know, nobody uses them to promote particular views on morality. Nor am I trying to do that here. What I objected to was what I thought was a careless use of warning passages, and many of my arguments on how to read them could be made within the book itself. Though the book’s early disputed status should also push us to harmonize toward the other books, rather than harmonizing them towards Hebrews, which was what you were doing.”

    My use of Hebrews was not a so called “careless use of warning passages” but a direct warning as is given in Hebrews. Those warnings, also in Ephesians and Galatians 5 are rarely heeded, but instead tossed aside, with excuses as to the ‘warning’ – in essence Hebrews is in harmony, but not to the liberal view point which is adopted by you and others.

    This is the difference between what you believe as a Lutheran and what I believe to be true. The warnings of continued sin are all through the New Testament, … the LORD Jesus warned, Paul warned, and so did James and others. However there are others who cannot divide the truth…… seeing the warnngs, repenting and turning from sin.

    Remember it was Jesus who said “go and sin no more” – why would HE have said that if it couldn’t be done, as in the “woman taken in adultery” John 8? This is the problem, little man believes he cannot stop sinning, be it sexual, stealing lying, etc., but the LORD Jesus made clear than it can cease, an individual CAN choose not to commit adultery or steal. If Jesus had not said it, then there would be a case, but HE did say “go and sin no more” – It’s a choice that each individual can make.

  • Leif

    Romans 7:19

    “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

  • Leif

    Romans 7:19

    “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Purple Koolaid, #92: “FWS, I appreciate your prayers but I think you’re way off. Marriage is very important in the Bible. Relationships matter in the Bible. The Bible gives explicit releases for divorce. Whether or not I’m unhappy is not one of them. You’re on a slippery slope that Jesus NEVER taught. IS this what the LCMS teaches? If so, I’m running away.

    Reg, #227: “But for some of the posts in this string I was starting to wonder whether Lutherans were even within the broad parameters of orthodoxy.”

    Reg, it’s reasonable for you to have wondered about this.

    Let’s find out how about some of them.

    Stephen, Rick Ritchie, BW, Rob, Bror Erickson, tODD, and any other LCMS Lutherans commenting on this thread, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Or do you disagree?

    It’s a straightforward question. A straightforward “Agree” or “Disagree” is all that’s needed.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Purple Koolaid, #92: “FWS, I appreciate your prayers but I think you’re way off. Marriage is very important in the Bible. Relationships matter in the Bible. The Bible gives explicit releases for divorce. Whether or not I’m unhappy is not one of them. You’re on a slippery slope that Jesus NEVER taught. IS this what the LCMS teaches? If so, I’m running away.

    Reg, #227: “But for some of the posts in this string I was starting to wonder whether Lutherans were even within the broad parameters of orthodoxy.”

    Reg, it’s reasonable for you to have wondered about this.

    Let’s find out how about some of them.

    Stephen, Rick Ritchie, BW, Rob, Bror Erickson, tODD, and any other LCMS Lutherans commenting on this thread, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Or do you disagree?

    It’s a straightforward question. A straightforward “Agree” or “Disagree” is all that’s needed.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    An answer to one of the questions I think you are asking is that our love for God involves keeping the whole law. It involves that first commandment, the one Luther said that if we could keep it, we would keep them all, and likewise, if we could keep it by something we do or do not do, we would not need Christ. It is kept by our becoming a new creation, which is not an activity we engage in with our will, actions or emotions. It is not something that develops over time. It is the free gift of God given in Christ in our baptism. Invisible faith in Christ alone which accomplishes what we cannot do. As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:11

    “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    The simple fact is we do not, in our Old Adam bodies of sin and death, love God much at all, not in any consistent or constant manner as the scripture requires with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We like to kid ourselves that we are living with an “attitude of gratitude” or some such thing. That works until someone gives us a door ding or the kid at the fast food place isn’t nice enough and we righteously judge their entire life. “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” We worship what we can see. We worship our reason, or our bank account, or our health, or whatever we currently trust for our sense of well-being or personal certainty. It may even be our religious practice, our ability to willingly surrender to God’s will (or so we think) or our church attendance that makes us look good in God’s eyes. What kind of sin do you think John is discussing throughout his entire little epistle? I’ll give you a hint. Check the very last verse of 1 John. It is not about sins of volition, about doing and not doing, it is about THE sin – putting our faith in anything other than Christ.

    Now, having said all that, it does not mean we blow off trying to love God or some kind of weird comeback that an evangelical might present. Because Christ commands that we “teach them to obey” in Mat 28. So we catechize and memorize the commandments and scripture, and hopefully internalize these things so that we look to God in trouble and thanksgiving, hearing the promise of the Gospel and receiving the sacrament, and learn in all things to love our neighbor as ourselves, sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly.

    But is it necessary for us to make pretensions to doing this in any way that proves we are Christians? No. The proof we are Christians is in what God says and does – his cross and our baptisms into that reality. That is what we preach, not our works and some silly idea that we progress in sanctification by keeping the law.

    I appreciate your posts and accept your apology. And as for Romans 6, there are two kinds of righteousness, earthly and heavenly. Which one do you think Paul is talking about? And how do you read 6 in light of 7? There is much more to be said. He also said he is not under the law. Read Galatians again. These things do square with each other, and they will square with our Confessions, but I agree you sound like a Lutheran tacking on a Calvinist view of sanctification which really messes things up.

    Ask yourself “what is the whole of the law” again and again. Make it a mantra for a week. Then ask yourself how the things on your your sin lists square with the whole. The whole=love. How is it love, service, mercy or not to call something sin? Keep in mind that man was not made for the Sabbath. What does that mean? What use is law for human beings? Conformity to an Ideal? Sacrifices to God? Goodness? Mercy? Peace? Keep at it and dig deeper until you have some peace about it. Jesus worked on the Sabbath, breaking a holiness code. They were accusing him of sin. he ate with the unwashed. He let them touch him. All of this was very, very bad. How did the sinless one get away with that? What is the whole of the law?

    As for me, I am completely resolved about what the scriptures testify to for people – faith alone in Christ alone given and strengthened in Word and Sacrament, and love for neighbor through our many vocations. Homosexuality ought to be a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Banning it on the face of it serves no one. It is an abstraction. That seems obvious. The historical gymnastics it takes to equate same sex couples in our day with what is described anywhere in scripture is frankly ridiculous. But most do not want to listen to that and dismiss it out of hand. They demand conformity to a perceived image with absolutely no evidence that by doing so anyone is served or loved by it. Conversely, many people are suffering under this yoke imposed by the church, and as such, it is by definition requiring a sacrifice that God does not require to a false image (idol) that Christians have made. So I have found that a conversation about it is usually futile until others begin to see that.

    As for my own frustrations, they are largely with the same obstinate Christians who live and support the caste system this creates, who at the same time look for and sanctify outward signs of good works as evidence of faith. Being unrepentant is one thing, but morality of itself proves absolutely nothing about one’s faith. Was Jesus just blowing smoke when he entreated us not to judge the heavenly righteousness of others? I could go on but I’m sort of worn out now. I should not be surprised by the responses I’ve gotten. It proves my point well, even in myself. We are sinners in need of a merciful savior. Something else is at work in my members. The thing I would do I do not do. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

    As far as corresponding, we can do that. Post your email. But you won’t change my mind. I’m settled on this. For anyone else reading along who has come here to judge and condemn LCMS Lutherans the answer is a simple “no” that pretty much all confessional Lutherans do not agree with me on the issue of homosexuality because they simply have not thought about it this way. They have not been asked to do so. All of us are in thrall to the culture wars and fail to see others as he people we are called to love. Until we do that on this issue, the problem will persist for all the wrong reasons, reasons not intended in Holy Scripture which has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ for all people.

    But I don’t expect heterodox evangelicals to understand that because they have no clear teaching on scripture. Their bible is all law all the time. They do not know how to separate law from gospel. When I write here, it is usually to confessional Lutherans. Your citing of Walther earlier and how to apply law and gospel was correct. They would not have clue what that means as evidences in most of the posts over 200.

    I hope you will look again at what I have written. I put some effort into it. If that does not make sense, I’m not sure what will. These things take time, and sometimes it depends on what the personal stakes are for you. Is this just about resolving something theoretical or does it mean something for your life? If it is the latter, I’d like to help. If it is the former, then there is plenty of material out there to read and play around with. Otherwise, keep at it and keep posting, keeping reading and writing theology as much as you have time for. And ask God for truth. He has promised to lead us into all truth. I believe that this is so.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    An answer to one of the questions I think you are asking is that our love for God involves keeping the whole law. It involves that first commandment, the one Luther said that if we could keep it, we would keep them all, and likewise, if we could keep it by something we do or do not do, we would not need Christ. It is kept by our becoming a new creation, which is not an activity we engage in with our will, actions or emotions. It is not something that develops over time. It is the free gift of God given in Christ in our baptism. Invisible faith in Christ alone which accomplishes what we cannot do. As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:11

    “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    The simple fact is we do not, in our Old Adam bodies of sin and death, love God much at all, not in any consistent or constant manner as the scripture requires with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We like to kid ourselves that we are living with an “attitude of gratitude” or some such thing. That works until someone gives us a door ding or the kid at the fast food place isn’t nice enough and we righteously judge their entire life. “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” We worship what we can see. We worship our reason, or our bank account, or our health, or whatever we currently trust for our sense of well-being or personal certainty. It may even be our religious practice, our ability to willingly surrender to God’s will (or so we think) or our church attendance that makes us look good in God’s eyes. What kind of sin do you think John is discussing throughout his entire little epistle? I’ll give you a hint. Check the very last verse of 1 John. It is not about sins of volition, about doing and not doing, it is about THE sin – putting our faith in anything other than Christ.

    Now, having said all that, it does not mean we blow off trying to love God or some kind of weird comeback that an evangelical might present. Because Christ commands that we “teach them to obey” in Mat 28. So we catechize and memorize the commandments and scripture, and hopefully internalize these things so that we look to God in trouble and thanksgiving, hearing the promise of the Gospel and receiving the sacrament, and learn in all things to love our neighbor as ourselves, sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly.

    But is it necessary for us to make pretensions to doing this in any way that proves we are Christians? No. The proof we are Christians is in what God says and does – his cross and our baptisms into that reality. That is what we preach, not our works and some silly idea that we progress in sanctification by keeping the law.

    I appreciate your posts and accept your apology. And as for Romans 6, there are two kinds of righteousness, earthly and heavenly. Which one do you think Paul is talking about? And how do you read 6 in light of 7? There is much more to be said. He also said he is not under the law. Read Galatians again. These things do square with each other, and they will square with our Confessions, but I agree you sound like a Lutheran tacking on a Calvinist view of sanctification which really messes things up.

    Ask yourself “what is the whole of the law” again and again. Make it a mantra for a week. Then ask yourself how the things on your your sin lists square with the whole. The whole=love. How is it love, service, mercy or not to call something sin? Keep in mind that man was not made for the Sabbath. What does that mean? What use is law for human beings? Conformity to an Ideal? Sacrifices to God? Goodness? Mercy? Peace? Keep at it and dig deeper until you have some peace about it. Jesus worked on the Sabbath, breaking a holiness code. They were accusing him of sin. he ate with the unwashed. He let them touch him. All of this was very, very bad. How did the sinless one get away with that? What is the whole of the law?

    As for me, I am completely resolved about what the scriptures testify to for people – faith alone in Christ alone given and strengthened in Word and Sacrament, and love for neighbor through our many vocations. Homosexuality ought to be a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Banning it on the face of it serves no one. It is an abstraction. That seems obvious. The historical gymnastics it takes to equate same sex couples in our day with what is described anywhere in scripture is frankly ridiculous. But most do not want to listen to that and dismiss it out of hand. They demand conformity to a perceived image with absolutely no evidence that by doing so anyone is served or loved by it. Conversely, many people are suffering under this yoke imposed by the church, and as such, it is by definition requiring a sacrifice that God does not require to a false image (idol) that Christians have made. So I have found that a conversation about it is usually futile until others begin to see that.

    As for my own frustrations, they are largely with the same obstinate Christians who live and support the caste system this creates, who at the same time look for and sanctify outward signs of good works as evidence of faith. Being unrepentant is one thing, but morality of itself proves absolutely nothing about one’s faith. Was Jesus just blowing smoke when he entreated us not to judge the heavenly righteousness of others? I could go on but I’m sort of worn out now. I should not be surprised by the responses I’ve gotten. It proves my point well, even in myself. We are sinners in need of a merciful savior. Something else is at work in my members. The thing I would do I do not do. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

    As far as corresponding, we can do that. Post your email. But you won’t change my mind. I’m settled on this. For anyone else reading along who has come here to judge and condemn LCMS Lutherans the answer is a simple “no” that pretty much all confessional Lutherans do not agree with me on the issue of homosexuality because they simply have not thought about it this way. They have not been asked to do so. All of us are in thrall to the culture wars and fail to see others as he people we are called to love. Until we do that on this issue, the problem will persist for all the wrong reasons, reasons not intended in Holy Scripture which has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ for all people.

    But I don’t expect heterodox evangelicals to understand that because they have no clear teaching on scripture. Their bible is all law all the time. They do not know how to separate law from gospel. When I write here, it is usually to confessional Lutherans. Your citing of Walther earlier and how to apply law and gospel was correct. They would not have clue what that means as evidences in most of the posts over 200.

    I hope you will look again at what I have written. I put some effort into it. If that does not make sense, I’m not sure what will. These things take time, and sometimes it depends on what the personal stakes are for you. Is this just about resolving something theoretical or does it mean something for your life? If it is the latter, I’d like to help. If it is the former, then there is plenty of material out there to read and play around with. Otherwise, keep at it and keep posting, keeping reading and writing theology as much as you have time for. And ask God for truth. He has promised to lead us into all truth. I believe that this is so.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @252

    ROB: Up to the point of salvation, you and I and Frank see exactly eye to eye.

    FWS: I am not certain Rob. The Lutheran Confessions say that the Image of God was and is faith alone in Christ alone. They re-define concupiscence as being the opposite of that, which is faith-in-anything-but-Christ.

    Are you in complete agreement with this, or do you think that the Law of God or Natural Law is a or the revelation of the Image of God?

    This matters a great deal, because then what we would need to do to return to that lost Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness would be different right?

    And then a calvinistic third use of the Law would make sense as a part of sanctification. Calvin looks at the Law as a sort of “sanctification helper” that does not kill us but rather is the revelation of God’s Image. In contrast the “Lutheran Third Use” sees this as Mortification and as the Law-in-action.

    Note it is a fruit of sanctification in that the HS is killing all Old Adams with the Law. Now the New man, because of his sanctification, which alone is faith alone in Christ alone, is also now killing the Old Adam. With what? With the Law!

    So what does this have to do with what the baptismal life of a Christian looks like? Everything.

    Baptism “works, delivers from , and gives” eternal salvation through the invisible Word that is in with and under the water. So Baptism is a Law Command. And in, with and under that Law Command is pure Gospel. There is a Promise there that Faith clings to and so right there, in that water, receives the Promised Mercy which is Christ. This is Sanctification. Sanctification is nothing more and nothing less properly speaking for the Lutheran.

    Then Rob there is what Baptism “signifies” or I like to say “predicates”. Baptism pictures, by our being buried or immersed in the water, and then coming up out of it, death of the Old Adam. Note here that Baptism and Sanctification are not how the Old Adam dies. We bury the Old Adam by what? “By daily contrition and repentance” is how we bury or Mortify or Kill the Old Adam. The Christian Life, according to his Old Adam, which is ALL that we can see and do in our bodies, is Law, Law, Law.

    So the Christian becomes outwardly better, that is the Old Adam get’s subdued how? By the Gospel? No. The Christian subdues his Old Adam in the exact same way that pagan Aristotle describes. We work at love, or virtue, until it becomes a habit. Practice makes Perfect. This, I (and the Confessions) suggest is exactly what Saint Paul is after when he talks about running races etc. This is the Mortification of the Flesh, using the Law, that is done by Christians in exactly the same way, using the same Law, to the same killing effect, as pagans do.

    Here is where our confessions say that Christians are to use the same Law in the same way as pagans:

    (SD) 23] Moreover, because in so far as Believers have been born anew according to the inner man, Believers do what is pleasing to God, [they have a New Obedience], not by coercion of the Law, but by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, voluntarily and spontaneously from their hearts; however, those same Believers maintain nevertheless a constant struggle against the old Adam [in order to do Good Works].

    (E) 3] 2. Therefore the preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence, not only upon the unbelieving and impenitent, but also upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith. (SD) 24] For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of the Believer, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, [that is to do Good Works and put on Christ-as-example, or Christ-as-Law], not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles.(SD) 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. 25] But as they will behold God face to face, so they will, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, do the will of God [the heavenly Father] with unmingled joy, voluntarily, unconstrained, without any hindrance, with entire purity and perfection, and will rejoice in it eternally.

    (E) 8] Accordingly, we reject the teaching that the Law in the above-mentioned way and degree is not to be urged upon Christians and true Believers, but only upon unbelievers, non-Christians, and the impenitent. This teaching and error is injurious to, and conflicting with, Christian discipline and true godliness

    [To the contrary, we teach that The same identical Law is to be urged in the same identical way upon Christians and true Believers, as it is upon unbelievers and the impenitent. This is to be done in exactly the same above mentioned way and degree.]

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

    [To the contrary, we believe, teach and confess that both Christians and Pagans alike should be urged with the SAME Law, in the SAME above mentioned way and and in the SAME above mentioned degree].http://www.thirduse.com/?p=13

    And it is necessary and demanded by God that Christians do this exercise in the Law. And why is it necessary for Christians to do this? Is it some New Testament Purity Law that sets us apart as Christians Rob? No. Here is why we need to learn to willingly and eagerly do the Law:

    So it is necessary to encourage and urge everyone to voluntarily be diligent and even zealous in the exercise of this earthly and outward righteousness rather than having him be driven to it by force and punishment.

    This encouragement looks like setting out what is nicely summarized in the second table of the 10 commandments and then applying it in the context of the all the various relationships one finds himself in in his life. This includes every earthly responsibility, duty, role, profession, trade, career, occupation, job, vocation, work, or task, in the context of family, friends, work, and larger society, however great or seemingly trivial. We can be confident that God himself has ordered and appointed these things.
    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    What Luther is saying here in his sermon from the Lutheran Confessions on the Lutheran Third Use of the Law is this: God WILL have his righeousness done on earth whether we are with His Program of doing 1st article Goodness and Mercy or not. So it is better to learn to do the Law willingly , so that God does not need to send punishments and plagues and pestilences to make us do those things. And this outward, earthly kingdom doing of the Law is, ALL, about serving others. Here is what Luther, in a sermon referenced by our Confessions, tell us is the sum total of God’s earthly intent in having us outwardly do the Law of God:

    There is a righteousness that is here on earth. This righteousness is willed and ordered by God and is included in the second table of the ten commandments. This is called “man´s righteousness” or “the world´s righteousness”. The only purpose of this righteousness is to help us live together and enjoy the gifts God gives us.

    It is God´s desire that our present life be kept under restraint, and lived in peace, tranquility and harmony. God here wants each person to attend to his own affairs and not interfere with the business, property or person of anyone else. Because God really wants this, He has even added a blessing in Leviticus 18:5: “Which if a man do, he shall live in them” which means that whoever men see is honest, will enjoy a good and long life.

    Now on the other hand, if men are not willing to voluntarily practice being righteous, God sends dictatorships, armed police and brute force to restrain and check those who refuse to be righteous. Where even this is not enough and government can no longer restrain anyone, then God sends famine, war and other terrible things, to subvert the government and destroy evil men. This has happened to the Jews, Greeks and Romans.

    From all this, we can learn God´s Will: earthly righteousness is to be practiced and maintained. We can also know that God will provide what is necessary to make this happen. If it does not happen, God will take it away and instead destroy everything. What this all should tell us is that God is very serious about earthly righteousness!

    This is the entire short sum and substance of this righteousness on earth. Ibid.

    So tell me here what I am missing Rob.

    ROB But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance.

    FWS I note here an important admission on your part. It is this. It is that in your mind, mandatory celebacy for gays is not about love for neighbor. It is about faith in God . Correct me here. I do not know how else to read this phrase that you wrote.

    ROB However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness.

    FWS This is very very good Rob. I think you have hit on exactly where our difference is. Now all that remains is for us to show each other, in a loving and brotherly way, where our position is supported or not in the Lutheran Confessions right?

    ROB Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation.

    FWS This is not exactly it Rob. I am saying that the Reformed are neo Scholastics precisely because they see the Law of God as the revelation of the Image of God and Original Purity. Lutherans find all that only and alone in faith alone in Christ alone. That I am suggesting is the root of our differences. Calvin was the uberAugustinian. He is following St Augustine here. Luther , and our confessions (see Ap II on the definition of “contrition”) Broke with Augustine exactly here!

    ROB I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith.

    FWS The Confessions say that this is true in our Baptism. In faith alone in Christ alone. This is what baptism works. The Formula in art VI declares that in the New Man, what you describes happens like light from sun, like spontaneous combustion, it just happens and no effort or thought is even necessary. So this joyous keeping of the Law happens as a result of having the Image Restored. Reconformity to the Law is NOT the restoration of the Image of God. It is a fruit and consequence of that. See the difference here?

    And then what baptism signifies is a Christian life of Law, Mortification and the Deathing of the Old Adam. And so Luther can say this: “Life is Mortification” . Luther means both the earthly visible life of christians and pagans alike here!

    ROB Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.

    FWS Here is my response to this. You can apply this to Saint Paul’s ban as well. The church is a form of earthly government to keep Old Adams in line. The Law is to be used in this earthly church to maintain that order. The Church in the visible sense, is all earthly kingdom. So when there is someone disrupting the work and life of the church, he is to be ushered out of the church. It is that simple. That is what the Confessions are talking about . But they are talking about more!

    The Confessions state that Mortal Sin cannot exist with faith. It is simply impossible for someone who clings to Christ because he is terrified of his sins to then just go on sinning. That is simply impossible. And there is more!

    We should fear sin. God will punish it. So we should fear God. So now back to Ap art II: Original sin is the lack of faith in Christ. and when that faith leaves, then what enters is a faith that visciously seeks to have faith in anything BUT Christ. This last thing is this: if we insist on putting our faith, over and over again, in things that are not Christ, then God will let us have our way. And we DO do this every day dont we? That fact should terrify each of us.

    ROB why the focus on love of neighbor and the ignoring of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I did, and I think your position is strengthened by Romans 14 (Paul does say all these things are summarized as love for neighbor, but he is only quoting the second tablet of the law).

    FWS: We have been given this faith in our Baptism Rob. You are turning faith into a work. It IS a work. But that faith, the one that is a work, IS demanded by God for us to do it, but it does not save us. Only the faith we receive in Baptism, that is nothing we can do, is saving faith.

    ROB But conversely, I think your position is fatally wounded by Romans 6. How would you explain Paul’s call that after salvation/baptism/regeneration, we are to understand ourselves as slaves to righteousness?

    FWS I hope you have received a good portion of that explanation now Rob from our Lutheran Confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @252

    ROB: Up to the point of salvation, you and I and Frank see exactly eye to eye.

    FWS: I am not certain Rob. The Lutheran Confessions say that the Image of God was and is faith alone in Christ alone. They re-define concupiscence as being the opposite of that, which is faith-in-anything-but-Christ.

    Are you in complete agreement with this, or do you think that the Law of God or Natural Law is a or the revelation of the Image of God?

    This matters a great deal, because then what we would need to do to return to that lost Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness would be different right?

    And then a calvinistic third use of the Law would make sense as a part of sanctification. Calvin looks at the Law as a sort of “sanctification helper” that does not kill us but rather is the revelation of God’s Image. In contrast the “Lutheran Third Use” sees this as Mortification and as the Law-in-action.

    Note it is a fruit of sanctification in that the HS is killing all Old Adams with the Law. Now the New man, because of his sanctification, which alone is faith alone in Christ alone, is also now killing the Old Adam. With what? With the Law!

    So what does this have to do with what the baptismal life of a Christian looks like? Everything.

    Baptism “works, delivers from , and gives” eternal salvation through the invisible Word that is in with and under the water. So Baptism is a Law Command. And in, with and under that Law Command is pure Gospel. There is a Promise there that Faith clings to and so right there, in that water, receives the Promised Mercy which is Christ. This is Sanctification. Sanctification is nothing more and nothing less properly speaking for the Lutheran.

    Then Rob there is what Baptism “signifies” or I like to say “predicates”. Baptism pictures, by our being buried or immersed in the water, and then coming up out of it, death of the Old Adam. Note here that Baptism and Sanctification are not how the Old Adam dies. We bury the Old Adam by what? “By daily contrition and repentance” is how we bury or Mortify or Kill the Old Adam. The Christian Life, according to his Old Adam, which is ALL that we can see and do in our bodies, is Law, Law, Law.

    So the Christian becomes outwardly better, that is the Old Adam get’s subdued how? By the Gospel? No. The Christian subdues his Old Adam in the exact same way that pagan Aristotle describes. We work at love, or virtue, until it becomes a habit. Practice makes Perfect. This, I (and the Confessions) suggest is exactly what Saint Paul is after when he talks about running races etc. This is the Mortification of the Flesh, using the Law, that is done by Christians in exactly the same way, using the same Law, to the same killing effect, as pagans do.

    Here is where our confessions say that Christians are to use the same Law in the same way as pagans:

    (SD) 23] Moreover, because in so far as Believers have been born anew according to the inner man, Believers do what is pleasing to God, [they have a New Obedience], not by coercion of the Law, but by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, voluntarily and spontaneously from their hearts; however, those same Believers maintain nevertheless a constant struggle against the old Adam [in order to do Good Works].

    (E) 3] 2. Therefore the preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence, not only upon the unbelieving and impenitent, but also upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith. (SD) 24] For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of the Believer, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, [that is to do Good Works and put on Christ-as-example, or Christ-as-Law], not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles.(SD) 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. 25] But as they will behold God face to face, so they will, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, do the will of God [the heavenly Father] with unmingled joy, voluntarily, unconstrained, without any hindrance, with entire purity and perfection, and will rejoice in it eternally.

    (E) 8] Accordingly, we reject the teaching that the Law in the above-mentioned way and degree is not to be urged upon Christians and true Believers, but only upon unbelievers, non-Christians, and the impenitent. This teaching and error is injurious to, and conflicting with, Christian discipline and true godliness

    [To the contrary, we teach that The same identical Law is to be urged in the same identical way upon Christians and true Believers, as it is upon unbelievers and the impenitent. This is to be done in exactly the same above mentioned way and degree.]

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

    [To the contrary, we believe, teach and confess that both Christians and Pagans alike should be urged with the SAME Law, in the SAME above mentioned way and and in the SAME above mentioned degree].http://www.thirduse.com/?p=13

    And it is necessary and demanded by God that Christians do this exercise in the Law. And why is it necessary for Christians to do this? Is it some New Testament Purity Law that sets us apart as Christians Rob? No. Here is why we need to learn to willingly and eagerly do the Law:

    So it is necessary to encourage and urge everyone to voluntarily be diligent and even zealous in the exercise of this earthly and outward righteousness rather than having him be driven to it by force and punishment.

    This encouragement looks like setting out what is nicely summarized in the second table of the 10 commandments and then applying it in the context of the all the various relationships one finds himself in in his life. This includes every earthly responsibility, duty, role, profession, trade, career, occupation, job, vocation, work, or task, in the context of family, friends, work, and larger society, however great or seemingly trivial. We can be confident that God himself has ordered and appointed these things.
    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    What Luther is saying here in his sermon from the Lutheran Confessions on the Lutheran Third Use of the Law is this: God WILL have his righeousness done on earth whether we are with His Program of doing 1st article Goodness and Mercy or not. So it is better to learn to do the Law willingly , so that God does not need to send punishments and plagues and pestilences to make us do those things. And this outward, earthly kingdom doing of the Law is, ALL, about serving others. Here is what Luther, in a sermon referenced by our Confessions, tell us is the sum total of God’s earthly intent in having us outwardly do the Law of God:

    There is a righteousness that is here on earth. This righteousness is willed and ordered by God and is included in the second table of the ten commandments. This is called “man´s righteousness” or “the world´s righteousness”. The only purpose of this righteousness is to help us live together and enjoy the gifts God gives us.

    It is God´s desire that our present life be kept under restraint, and lived in peace, tranquility and harmony. God here wants each person to attend to his own affairs and not interfere with the business, property or person of anyone else. Because God really wants this, He has even added a blessing in Leviticus 18:5: “Which if a man do, he shall live in them” which means that whoever men see is honest, will enjoy a good and long life.

    Now on the other hand, if men are not willing to voluntarily practice being righteous, God sends dictatorships, armed police and brute force to restrain and check those who refuse to be righteous. Where even this is not enough and government can no longer restrain anyone, then God sends famine, war and other terrible things, to subvert the government and destroy evil men. This has happened to the Jews, Greeks and Romans.

    From all this, we can learn God´s Will: earthly righteousness is to be practiced and maintained. We can also know that God will provide what is necessary to make this happen. If it does not happen, God will take it away and instead destroy everything. What this all should tell us is that God is very serious about earthly righteousness!

    This is the entire short sum and substance of this righteousness on earth. Ibid.

    So tell me here what I am missing Rob.

    ROB But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance.

    FWS I note here an important admission on your part. It is this. It is that in your mind, mandatory celebacy for gays is not about love for neighbor. It is about faith in God . Correct me here. I do not know how else to read this phrase that you wrote.

    ROB However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness.

    FWS This is very very good Rob. I think you have hit on exactly where our difference is. Now all that remains is for us to show each other, in a loving and brotherly way, where our position is supported or not in the Lutheran Confessions right?

    ROB Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation.

    FWS This is not exactly it Rob. I am saying that the Reformed are neo Scholastics precisely because they see the Law of God as the revelation of the Image of God and Original Purity. Lutherans find all that only and alone in faith alone in Christ alone. That I am suggesting is the root of our differences. Calvin was the uberAugustinian. He is following St Augustine here. Luther , and our confessions (see Ap II on the definition of “contrition”) Broke with Augustine exactly here!

    ROB I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith.

    FWS The Confessions say that this is true in our Baptism. In faith alone in Christ alone. This is what baptism works. The Formula in art VI declares that in the New Man, what you describes happens like light from sun, like spontaneous combustion, it just happens and no effort or thought is even necessary. So this joyous keeping of the Law happens as a result of having the Image Restored. Reconformity to the Law is NOT the restoration of the Image of God. It is a fruit and consequence of that. See the difference here?

    And then what baptism signifies is a Christian life of Law, Mortification and the Deathing of the Old Adam. And so Luther can say this: “Life is Mortification” . Luther means both the earthly visible life of christians and pagans alike here!

    ROB Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.

    FWS Here is my response to this. You can apply this to Saint Paul’s ban as well. The church is a form of earthly government to keep Old Adams in line. The Law is to be used in this earthly church to maintain that order. The Church in the visible sense, is all earthly kingdom. So when there is someone disrupting the work and life of the church, he is to be ushered out of the church. It is that simple. That is what the Confessions are talking about . But they are talking about more!

    The Confessions state that Mortal Sin cannot exist with faith. It is simply impossible for someone who clings to Christ because he is terrified of his sins to then just go on sinning. That is simply impossible. And there is more!

    We should fear sin. God will punish it. So we should fear God. So now back to Ap art II: Original sin is the lack of faith in Christ. and when that faith leaves, then what enters is a faith that visciously seeks to have faith in anything BUT Christ. This last thing is this: if we insist on putting our faith, over and over again, in things that are not Christ, then God will let us have our way. And we DO do this every day dont we? That fact should terrify each of us.

    ROB why the focus on love of neighbor and the ignoring of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I did, and I think your position is strengthened by Romans 14 (Paul does say all these things are summarized as love for neighbor, but he is only quoting the second tablet of the law).

    FWS: We have been given this faith in our Baptism Rob. You are turning faith into a work. It IS a work. But that faith, the one that is a work, IS demanded by God for us to do it, but it does not save us. Only the faith we receive in Baptism, that is nothing we can do, is saving faith.

    ROB But conversely, I think your position is fatally wounded by Romans 6. How would you explain Paul’s call that after salvation/baptism/regeneration, we are to understand ourselves as slaves to righteousness?

    FWS I hope you have received a good portion of that explanation now Rob from our Lutheran Confessions.

  • Rob

    @ Truth – I disagree with Frank’s statements quoted above (and have done so personally with him) So does the LCMS (see “Beliefs & Practices” on lcms.org) Frank and Stephen believe that they are purporting an even truer form of Lutheranism. I (and many, many others) disagree. But I can do so politely.

    Now a string of questioning for you (and for “don’t mention any credentials to me – others may or may not have them too” Grace) – are we saved by grace or by our proper understanding of it? Are we saved by grace or by our proper living out of it? Can a person who is wrong in their beliefs about Scripture or a particular sin still be saved if they acknowledge that they are a sinner and Christ has died for them? Because for Luther and Lutherans, “How are we saved?” is the primary point upon which all other considerations must hinge: How are we saved?

    And no, a simple yes or no will not suffice.

  • Rob

    @ Truth – I disagree with Frank’s statements quoted above (and have done so personally with him) So does the LCMS (see “Beliefs & Practices” on lcms.org) Frank and Stephen believe that they are purporting an even truer form of Lutheranism. I (and many, many others) disagree. But I can do so politely.

    Now a string of questioning for you (and for “don’t mention any credentials to me – others may or may not have them too” Grace) – are we saved by grace or by our proper understanding of it? Are we saved by grace or by our proper living out of it? Can a person who is wrong in their beliefs about Scripture or a particular sin still be saved if they acknowledge that they are a sinner and Christ has died for them? Because for Luther and Lutherans, “How are we saved?” is the primary point upon which all other considerations must hinge: How are we saved?

    And no, a simple yes or no will not suffice.

  • Rob

    @ Stephen -

    I’ll print it out and read it. I think we’re clear on our differences and, as I said to Frank, we can laugh about them in heaven, when they won’t matter one bit.

    One quick question – since you have worked in pastoral roles (as I do) have you ever had to pastorally help someone with an issue like homosexuality? Are you still involved in ministry in any way?

  • Rob

    @ Stephen -

    I’ll print it out and read it. I think we’re clear on our differences and, as I said to Frank, we can laugh about them in heaven, when they won’t matter one bit.

    One quick question – since you have worked in pastoral roles (as I do) have you ever had to pastorally help someone with an issue like homosexuality? Are you still involved in ministry in any way?

  • Rob

    Bad choice of words. Better: are you still serving in a pastoral role?

  • Rob

    Bad choice of words. Better: are you still serving in a pastoral role?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 266

    It would be really helpful if you could , just for a minute, separate this discussion from sexual sinning.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 266

    It would be really helpful if you could , just for a minute, separate this discussion from sexual sinning.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 266 and steve:

    my prediction is that Rob is going to want to discuss and validate his therapeutic, moralistic deistic theories on how to overcome sexual addictions.

    If you are not willing to focus with him in this topic, he will dust his feet off an abruptly end your conversation.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rob @ 266 and steve:

    my prediction is that Rob is going to want to discuss and validate his therapeutic, moralistic deistic theories on how to overcome sexual addictions.

    If you are not willing to focus with him in this topic, he will dust his feet off an abruptly end your conversation.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    “Yes” to the question about being in a role of providing some kind of “pastoral” role for someone who is gay, but it has been more as a friend or someone more mature. And “no” to my current vocations in any official capacity. I’m an artist. I’m not sure how any of that matters really. Neither does it matter how many people agree or disagree with a position. What matters is if it is true.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    “Yes” to the question about being in a role of providing some kind of “pastoral” role for someone who is gay, but it has been more as a friend or someone more mature. And “no” to my current vocations in any official capacity. I’m an artist. I’m not sure how any of that matters really. Neither does it matter how many people agree or disagree with a position. What matters is if it is true.

  • kerner

    Truth A&D @262:

    “Stephen, Rick Ritchie, BW, Rob, Bror Erickson, tODD, and any other LCMS Lutherans commenting on this thread, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Or do you disagree?”

    I disagree with fws on that point. Most LCMS laymen I know also disagree with fws. I know of no LCMS pastor, nor any any promnent LCMS theologian that agrees with fws on that point. On the other hand, I am only a layman and I have no access to the inner circles of LCMS theology other than that which is published and is easily accessed.

    fws @218:

    “If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.”

    Why is that? Tell me more. This is not obvious to me.”

    Well, your second statement is that the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality did not exist at the time the Bible was written. But if that is true, the scripture passages dealing with man-man sex cannot be directed to a group that was not known to exist.

    Plus, I think it is worth considering that the underlying assumptions of those scripture passages are correct,. That our present concepts of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” (when used as nouns) are eroneous. You have a tendency to talk about physician’s reference books and peer reviewed studies when you try to support the concept of “homosexual” as the an essential part of your identity. I suggest that these things are only the wisdom of this age, and therefore should not be assumed to be reliable, any more than the wisdom of the age that considered “homosexuality” a psychopathology, or for that matter any more reliable than the wisdom of the age that considered the use of leeches to be effective treatment. In matters of whether a particular behavior constitutes a sin or not, Scripture, and secondarily the Lutheran Confessions, have to be the basis of the inquiry.

    “You always seem to home in on wanting to talk about homosexuality and curve everything I write as being somehow about that, or curve the conversation towards that and seem to ignore everything else I write. why is that Kerner?”

    I’m not trying to ignore what you write, but the issue I have been debating is the issue where we disagree.

    I’m not saying you are intentionally being double tongued about these debates, but you do have a tendency to avoid discussing the specific questions of what behavior is or is not sin. Recently you have been more willing to discuss it, but especially when the arguments of others begin to show yours to be wrong, you retreat back into the more general realm of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession which do not specifically address the issues under discussion. I am not privy to your e-mail correspondence with Rob, but you have not responded to me at all regarding the passages in the Large Catachism (such as the articles on the Lord’s Prayer and the 6th Commandment) which do specifically address the subjects of temptation, specific sin, sexual morality, etc.

  • kerner

    Truth A&D @262:

    “Stephen, Rick Ritchie, BW, Rob, Bror Erickson, tODD, and any other LCMS Lutherans commenting on this thread, do you affirm and agree with fws in #212 when he wrote:

    “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Or do you disagree?”

    I disagree with fws on that point. Most LCMS laymen I know also disagree with fws. I know of no LCMS pastor, nor any any promnent LCMS theologian that agrees with fws on that point. On the other hand, I am only a layman and I have no access to the inner circles of LCMS theology other than that which is published and is easily accessed.

    fws @218:

    “If you second paragraph is true, the first one cannot be true.”

    Why is that? Tell me more. This is not obvious to me.”

    Well, your second statement is that the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality did not exist at the time the Bible was written. But if that is true, the scripture passages dealing with man-man sex cannot be directed to a group that was not known to exist.

    Plus, I think it is worth considering that the underlying assumptions of those scripture passages are correct,. That our present concepts of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” (when used as nouns) are eroneous. You have a tendency to talk about physician’s reference books and peer reviewed studies when you try to support the concept of “homosexual” as the an essential part of your identity. I suggest that these things are only the wisdom of this age, and therefore should not be assumed to be reliable, any more than the wisdom of the age that considered “homosexuality” a psychopathology, or for that matter any more reliable than the wisdom of the age that considered the use of leeches to be effective treatment. In matters of whether a particular behavior constitutes a sin or not, Scripture, and secondarily the Lutheran Confessions, have to be the basis of the inquiry.

    “You always seem to home in on wanting to talk about homosexuality and curve everything I write as being somehow about that, or curve the conversation towards that and seem to ignore everything else I write. why is that Kerner?”

    I’m not trying to ignore what you write, but the issue I have been debating is the issue where we disagree.

    I’m not saying you are intentionally being double tongued about these debates, but you do have a tendency to avoid discussing the specific questions of what behavior is or is not sin. Recently you have been more willing to discuss it, but especially when the arguments of others begin to show yours to be wrong, you retreat back into the more general realm of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession which do not specifically address the issues under discussion. I am not privy to your e-mail correspondence with Rob, but you have not responded to me at all regarding the passages in the Large Catachism (such as the articles on the Lord’s Prayer and the 6th Commandment) which do specifically address the subjects of temptation, specific sin, sexual morality, etc.

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

    Can I just let Kerner’s answer stand? As this post has gotten way off topic and I’d like to move on to another topic, if just drip Cranach all together. I used to enjoy the somewhat heated yet civil intelligent debates on this page, where people were willing to concede a point if convinced. Now it seems half the people aren’t willing, or possibly not even capable of understanding or listening to a point.
    fws, writing a tome everytime you post doesn’t help! I can’t even follow what you are writing anymore, that goes for you to Larry, distill guys, distill. I don’t have all day to try read your posts. Tell me up front what you are trying to say, defend it. If your post is more than a page, rewrite it for the sake of sanity would you?

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

    Can I just let Kerner’s answer stand? As this post has gotten way off topic and I’d like to move on to another topic, if just drip Cranach all together. I used to enjoy the somewhat heated yet civil intelligent debates on this page, where people were willing to concede a point if convinced. Now it seems half the people aren’t willing, or possibly not even capable of understanding or listening to a point.
    fws, writing a tome everytime you post doesn’t help! I can’t even follow what you are writing anymore, that goes for you to Larry, distill guys, distill. I don’t have all day to try read your posts. Tell me up front what you are trying to say, defend it. If your post is more than a page, rewrite it for the sake of sanity would you?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    So far the responses to the question posed in #262 are:

    (1) Agree with fws who says that the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture do not teach that same-sex behavior is sin: Stephen

    (2) Disagree with fws who says that the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture do not teach that same-sex behavior is sin: Rob, Kerner, Bror Erickson.

    ——–

    Stephen: “the answer is a simple “no” that pretty much all confessional Lutherans do not agree with me on the issue of homosexuality because they simply have not thought about it this way.”

    Rob: “I disagree with Frank’s statements quoted above”

    Kerner: “I disagree with fws on that point.”

    Kerner: “Most LCMS laymen I know also disagree with fws. I know of no LCMS pastor, nor any any promnent LCMS theologian that agrees with fws on that point.” [Thank God for that.]

    Bror Erickson: “Can I just let Kerner’s answer stand?”

    ——

    Rick Ritchie, tODD, BW, please weigh in when you have a chance.

    FWIW, would anyone disagree with my guess that both Martin Luther and Dr. Gene Veith would strongly disagree with fws (and Stephen) too?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    So far the responses to the question posed in #262 are:

    (1) Agree with fws who says that the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture do not teach that same-sex behavior is sin: Stephen

    (2) Disagree with fws who says that the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture do not teach that same-sex behavior is sin: Rob, Kerner, Bror Erickson.

    ——–

    Stephen: “the answer is a simple “no” that pretty much all confessional Lutherans do not agree with me on the issue of homosexuality because they simply have not thought about it this way.”

    Rob: “I disagree with Frank’s statements quoted above”

    Kerner: “I disagree with fws on that point.”

    Kerner: “Most LCMS laymen I know also disagree with fws. I know of no LCMS pastor, nor any any promnent LCMS theologian that agrees with fws on that point.” [Thank God for that.]

    Bror Erickson: “Can I just let Kerner’s answer stand?”

    ——

    Rick Ritchie, tODD, BW, please weigh in when you have a chance.

    FWIW, would anyone disagree with my guess that both Martin Luther and Dr. Gene Veith would strongly disagree with fws (and Stephen) too?

  • reg

    Lets leave sexual sin out of it. Let us assume a career thief became a Christian. If he continued to steal same as before and even went so far as to say there is nothing wrong with thievery, would that lead us to question the truth his profession? Now I will grant to you that if our thief were a kleptomaniac I certainly would expect that he might (perhaps frequently) stumble and steal. I would not expect him however to say there is nothing wrong with theft and not to have serious misgivings about it. I would not expect him to say that Paul in Ephesians 4:28 was not really condemning theft and stating that it does not dishonor his profession of faith to unrepentantly continue to steal. So it is not the results that are central but the way we look at the activity. Does the thief struggle to control his thievery. Does he repent and go to the Lord in prayer about it when he stumbles. is he conflicted by his choices, like Paul in Romans 7.

    Now to go back to the sexual sin. When I was divorced, initially I felt the that rules about non-marital celibacy did not apply to me and I had a special dispensation from them. However as time passed (2 years) that position simply became theologically untenable and I faced a choice stop or not pretend I I honored the Lord. I stopped doing what I ought not have done, as tempted as I was on many occasions. (Now, I believe the Lord rewarded that attempt by his HS within to conform to his will by reuniting my wife and I some years later, but I do not want to focus on this since this is just a personal belief rooted in experience rather than Scripture.)
    Note I emphasize that the decision to be celibate was not my own. I am certain it was the HS within me. I am convinced that neither justification, nor sanctification is our doing. Philipians 1:6, And while I stopped that particular sin I also confirm that I sin every minute of every day in what I do or say or think, Even as celibate I lusted in my heart for example.

    Being comfortable while repeatedly sinning is what troubles me more than the sinning, since it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work. That is what troubles me in some of the posts here.

  • reg

    Lets leave sexual sin out of it. Let us assume a career thief became a Christian. If he continued to steal same as before and even went so far as to say there is nothing wrong with thievery, would that lead us to question the truth his profession? Now I will grant to you that if our thief were a kleptomaniac I certainly would expect that he might (perhaps frequently) stumble and steal. I would not expect him however to say there is nothing wrong with theft and not to have serious misgivings about it. I would not expect him to say that Paul in Ephesians 4:28 was not really condemning theft and stating that it does not dishonor his profession of faith to unrepentantly continue to steal. So it is not the results that are central but the way we look at the activity. Does the thief struggle to control his thievery. Does he repent and go to the Lord in prayer about it when he stumbles. is he conflicted by his choices, like Paul in Romans 7.

    Now to go back to the sexual sin. When I was divorced, initially I felt the that rules about non-marital celibacy did not apply to me and I had a special dispensation from them. However as time passed (2 years) that position simply became theologically untenable and I faced a choice stop or not pretend I I honored the Lord. I stopped doing what I ought not have done, as tempted as I was on many occasions. (Now, I believe the Lord rewarded that attempt by his HS within to conform to his will by reuniting my wife and I some years later, but I do not want to focus on this since this is just a personal belief rooted in experience rather than Scripture.)
    Note I emphasize that the decision to be celibate was not my own. I am certain it was the HS within me. I am convinced that neither justification, nor sanctification is our doing. Philipians 1:6, And while I stopped that particular sin I also confirm that I sin every minute of every day in what I do or say or think, Even as celibate I lusted in my heart for example.

    Being comfortable while repeatedly sinning is what troubles me more than the sinning, since it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work. That is what troubles me in some of the posts here.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #212: “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Reg, #274: “Being comfortable while repeatedly sinning is what troubles me more than the sinning, since it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work.”

    Reg, I submit to you for your consideration that one cannot repent of “something” if he/she thinks that that “something” is not a sin.

    In that case, does your suggestion “it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work” hold?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #212: “No [, the confessions DO NOT teach that same-sex behavior is sin] . Neither they nor the scriptures specifically address this topic anywhere. There is the topic of heterosexual men having sex with other heterosexual men.”

    Reg, #274: “Being comfortable while repeatedly sinning is what troubles me more than the sinning, since it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work.”

    Reg, I submit to you for your consideration that one cannot repent of “something” if he/she thinks that that “something” is not a sin.

    In that case, does your suggestion “it suggests the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within it or doing its work” hold?

  • kerner

    Stephen @217 et seq.:

    I appreciate your posts and I have not been ignoring them (this goes for you too, Frank). I have been slow to respond primarily because an equally thoughtful response is beyond my ability to provide off the top of my head. As I try to do the research necessary to give such a proper response, the conversation has a tendency to have moved on.

    Fortunately, I am blessed to find that Rob has said something pretty close to what I would have wanted to say:

    “Where I differ with Frank (and I think perhaps with you) is on what the life of the believer looks like after salvation. If we died at the moment of faith (or baptism, for that matter) our theologies would be identical. But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance. However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness. Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation. I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith. Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.”
    (emphasis mine)

    I am not entirely sure what Rob means by “holiness”, and I see from subsequent comments that this has stirred further debate, but let me explain my perspective on this.

    I am not offended by your providing your background and credentials, nor do I find them patronizing. But please understand that I do not share you credentials or education. My primary vocation has never been that of a pastor or theologian. My vocation is that of “clever lawyer” as Frank calls me. And I try to be mindful of how dangerous a vocation that can be, Luke 11:45-52.

    But right now, I am more concerned with my position in the Church, and that of others like me. That is, as a layman. But more on that later.

    As I said, I am not entirely sure what Rob meant by “holiness”, but I maintain, as he does, that both scripture and the confessions place some value on the individual Christian’s behavior as a Christian in this world. One such scripture passage is:

    “16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

    As for support in the confessions, the article on the Lord’s Prayer (5th, 6th and 7th petitions) speak to our specific sins.

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-5-ourfather.php#para100

    The subpart relating to the 6th petition (lead us not into temptation) is particularly instructive. It begins:

    “100] We have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. Besides, although we have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands to-day and to-morrow falls. Therefore, even though we be godly now and stand before God with a good conscience, we must pray again that He would not suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations. ”

    The sub-part then goes on to describe three sources of temptation (our flesh, the world, and the devil), and goes on to name numerous specific sins to which we can be tempted (I doubt that the sins listed are intended to be ane exhaustive list), and continues:

    “105] Great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself, so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked on all sides, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to relapse into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

    106] This, then, is leading us not into temptation, to wit, when He gives us power and strength to resist, the temptation, however, not being taken away or removed. For while we live in the flesh and have the devil about us, no one can escape temptation and allurements; and it cannot be otherwise than that we must endure trials, yea, be engulfed in them; but we pray for this, that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

    107] To feel temptation is therefore a far different thing from consenting or yielding to it. We must all feel it, although not all in the same manner, but some in a greater degree and more severely than others; as, the young suffer especially from the flesh, afterwards, they that attain to middle life and old age, from the world, but others who are occupied with spiritual matters, that is, strong Christians, from the devil. 108] But such feeling, as long as it is against our will and we would rather be rid of it, can harm no one. For if we did not feel it, it could not be called a temptation. But to consent thereto is when we give it the reins and do not resist or pray against it.
    (emphasis mine)

    This article describes the condition of a Christian in this world as a constant, desperate, and frequently losing, battle. While I absolutely agree that my many and eggregious losses in this lifelong battle cannot harm me, because I, like all Christians, leave them at the foot of the cross of Christ, it must be error to claim that my sins are of no significance at all on any level at all. If that were true, there would be no point in fighting the battle, or praying for God’s help in fighting it.

    That our individual sins are completely washed away and left at the foot of the Cross, and still seem to have some significance on some level, may be one of those Lutheran paradoxes we often point to; something like praying for God’s will to be done, even though His will is done without our prayer. I do not claim to know in detail why God is concerned with continued temptation and specific sins, when we know that they are forgiven and washed away and that our fight against temptation does not in the least buy our salvation. But the Scripture and the Large Catechism clearly teach that He is concerned.

    That being the case, returning to the specific question, my concern with Frank’s position is that he seems to be saying that he belongs to a special catagory of humanity (gay man) who need not resist the temptation to have sex with other men, nor need it be against his will, nor need he rather be rid of it. Instead, Frank seems to say that he can with a clear conscience give his desire to have sex with other men the reins and not resist and pray against it.

    This is where I disagree. The fact that a “gay man” is subject to different temptations than I am does not confine us to different catagories of humanity. It merely means that we are subject to different temptations, but that we must, in common with all Christians, pray for God’s help in resisting them, whatever they may be.

    Returning to the military analogy and the position of us laymen. Within that analogy, we are the enlisted men. Wew have not taken graduate level courses in strategy, and we do not always know the the intricasies of the grander, general strategies at the batallion or divisional levels, much less do we always know the minds of the very grand strategies developed in the pentagon among the Joint Chiefs, or the Commander in Chief Himself.

    While our general strategy and objectives (say, as found in the Defense of the Augsburg Confession) are of great help to us and we do well to keep them in mind, we also need to know what to do in the many individual firefights we enter into every day. For that, we need orders (say, as found in the Catechism, and the dos and don’ts of the Decalog). And those orders must have a certain amount of clarity. In specific cases, we need to know what we should do. You do us no service by dissolving what clarity we have in a solution of generalities such that we can rationalize anything away as long as we think we are “showing love” when we do it.

  • kerner

    Stephen @217 et seq.:

    I appreciate your posts and I have not been ignoring them (this goes for you too, Frank). I have been slow to respond primarily because an equally thoughtful response is beyond my ability to provide off the top of my head. As I try to do the research necessary to give such a proper response, the conversation has a tendency to have moved on.

    Fortunately, I am blessed to find that Rob has said something pretty close to what I would have wanted to say:

    “Where I differ with Frank (and I think perhaps with you) is on what the life of the believer looks like after salvation. If we died at the moment of faith (or baptism, for that matter) our theologies would be identical. But you and Frank unequivocally state that the life of the believer consists only in love for neighbor (or at least so centrally that all else fails to receive mention). Thus, an activity like homosexuality is of little, if any significance. However, I maintain that Scripture and the Confessions hold that the life of the believer should reflect not only God’s love, but also his holiness. Frank insists this is Calvinism because he believes the only motivation for holiness would be trying to buy salvation. I maintain that Luther and the Scriptures teach that works of both love and holiness flow freely from our joyous gift of grace through faith. Continued unrepentant sin is an indication that faith is not doing its work in our heart (thus Luther’s institution of the ban for “manifest and obstinate sinners”). In support of this, I have tried to cite the testimony of not only the Apology, but also the Smalcald Articles (see my comment about 2000 comments ago), the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord. Most of this happened in personal e-mails rather than this forum.”
    (emphasis mine)

    I am not entirely sure what Rob means by “holiness”, and I see from subsequent comments that this has stirred further debate, but let me explain my perspective on this.

    I am not offended by your providing your background and credentials, nor do I find them patronizing. But please understand that I do not share you credentials or education. My primary vocation has never been that of a pastor or theologian. My vocation is that of “clever lawyer” as Frank calls me. And I try to be mindful of how dangerous a vocation that can be, Luke 11:45-52.

    But right now, I am more concerned with my position in the Church, and that of others like me. That is, as a layman. But more on that later.

    As I said, I am not entirely sure what Rob meant by “holiness”, but I maintain, as he does, that both scripture and the confessions place some value on the individual Christian’s behavior as a Christian in this world. One such scripture passage is:

    “16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

    As for support in the confessions, the article on the Lord’s Prayer (5th, 6th and 7th petitions) speak to our specific sins.

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-5-ourfather.php#para100

    The subpart relating to the 6th petition (lead us not into temptation) is particularly instructive. It begins:

    “100] We have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. Besides, although we have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands to-day and to-morrow falls. Therefore, even though we be godly now and stand before God with a good conscience, we must pray again that He would not suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations. ”

    The sub-part then goes on to describe three sources of temptation (our flesh, the world, and the devil), and goes on to name numerous specific sins to which we can be tempted (I doubt that the sins listed are intended to be ane exhaustive list), and continues:

    “105] Great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself, so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked on all sides, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to relapse into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

    106] This, then, is leading us not into temptation, to wit, when He gives us power and strength to resist, the temptation, however, not being taken away or removed. For while we live in the flesh and have the devil about us, no one can escape temptation and allurements; and it cannot be otherwise than that we must endure trials, yea, be engulfed in them; but we pray for this, that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

    107] To feel temptation is therefore a far different thing from consenting or yielding to it. We must all feel it, although not all in the same manner, but some in a greater degree and more severely than others; as, the young suffer especially from the flesh, afterwards, they that attain to middle life and old age, from the world, but others who are occupied with spiritual matters, that is, strong Christians, from the devil. 108] But such feeling, as long as it is against our will and we would rather be rid of it, can harm no one. For if we did not feel it, it could not be called a temptation. But to consent thereto is when we give it the reins and do not resist or pray against it.
    (emphasis mine)

    This article describes the condition of a Christian in this world as a constant, desperate, and frequently losing, battle. While I absolutely agree that my many and eggregious losses in this lifelong battle cannot harm me, because I, like all Christians, leave them at the foot of the cross of Christ, it must be error to claim that my sins are of no significance at all on any level at all. If that were true, there would be no point in fighting the battle, or praying for God’s help in fighting it.

    That our individual sins are completely washed away and left at the foot of the Cross, and still seem to have some significance on some level, may be one of those Lutheran paradoxes we often point to; something like praying for God’s will to be done, even though His will is done without our prayer. I do not claim to know in detail why God is concerned with continued temptation and specific sins, when we know that they are forgiven and washed away and that our fight against temptation does not in the least buy our salvation. But the Scripture and the Large Catechism clearly teach that He is concerned.

    That being the case, returning to the specific question, my concern with Frank’s position is that he seems to be saying that he belongs to a special catagory of humanity (gay man) who need not resist the temptation to have sex with other men, nor need it be against his will, nor need he rather be rid of it. Instead, Frank seems to say that he can with a clear conscience give his desire to have sex with other men the reins and not resist and pray against it.

    This is where I disagree. The fact that a “gay man” is subject to different temptations than I am does not confine us to different catagories of humanity. It merely means that we are subject to different temptations, but that we must, in common with all Christians, pray for God’s help in resisting them, whatever they may be.

    Returning to the military analogy and the position of us laymen. Within that analogy, we are the enlisted men. Wew have not taken graduate level courses in strategy, and we do not always know the the intricasies of the grander, general strategies at the batallion or divisional levels, much less do we always know the minds of the very grand strategies developed in the pentagon among the Joint Chiefs, or the Commander in Chief Himself.

    While our general strategy and objectives (say, as found in the Defense of the Augsburg Confession) are of great help to us and we do well to keep them in mind, we also need to know what to do in the many individual firefights we enter into every day. For that, we need orders (say, as found in the Catechism, and the dos and don’ts of the Decalog). And those orders must have a certain amount of clarity. In specific cases, we need to know what we should do. You do us no service by dissolving what clarity we have in a solution of generalities such that we can rationalize anything away as long as we think we are “showing love” when we do it.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 273

    “FWIW, would anyone disagree with my guess that both Martin Luther and Dr. Gene Veith would strongly disagree with fws (and Stephen) too?”

    I would certainly hope so.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 273

    “FWIW, would anyone disagree with my guess that both Martin Luther and Dr. Gene Veith would strongly disagree with fws (and Stephen) too?”

    I would certainly hope so.

  • reg

    TUD,
    Viewing something the Scriptures hold to be sin not to be sin would raise the same questions about regeneracy as knowing it was sin, but blissfully sinning without compunctions anyway.

  • reg

    TUD,
    Viewing something the Scriptures hold to be sin not to be sin would raise the same questions about regeneracy as knowing it was sin, but blissfully sinning without compunctions anyway.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Viewing something the Scriptures hold to be sin not to be sin would raise the same questions about regeneracy as knowing it was sin, but blissfully sinning without compunctions anyway.”

    Hence, the appropriateness of this line of thread discussion for a post titled “Nominal Christians”, i.e., Christians in name only.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Viewing something the Scriptures hold to be sin not to be sin would raise the same questions about regeneracy as knowing it was sin, but blissfully sinning without compunctions anyway.”

    Hence, the appropriateness of this line of thread discussion for a post titled “Nominal Christians”, i.e., Christians in name only.

  • Rob

    @FWS
    “rob @ 266 and steve:
    my prediction is that Rob is going to want to discuss and validate his therapeutic, moralistic deistic theories on how to overcome sexual addictions.
    If you are not willing to focus with him in this topic, he will dust his feet off an abruptly end your conversation.

    Frank, you are shooting at a straw man again. Your refusal to stop doing so (and mitigating personal circumstances) were why I “dusted off my feet before”. Don’t make my Christian duty to love you too hard, brother. And spare my printer – you have already sent me 90% of what you said in your “tome” above (to quote Bror).

    @Stephen – I was only curious because you made your theological and pastoral background clear, but said nothing about your curious vocation. I wondered what the life-setting of your views on homosexuality was. That’s all. May God bless you with His Word and presence as you seek to speak both love and truth to your friend.

    @kerner – Thanks for your comments. You don’t need access to some inner sanctum of theology. What is publically confessed and taught has served you nicely thus far.

  • Rob

    @FWS
    “rob @ 266 and steve:
    my prediction is that Rob is going to want to discuss and validate his therapeutic, moralistic deistic theories on how to overcome sexual addictions.
    If you are not willing to focus with him in this topic, he will dust his feet off an abruptly end your conversation.

    Frank, you are shooting at a straw man again. Your refusal to stop doing so (and mitigating personal circumstances) were why I “dusted off my feet before”. Don’t make my Christian duty to love you too hard, brother. And spare my printer – you have already sent me 90% of what you said in your “tome” above (to quote Bror).

    @Stephen – I was only curious because you made your theological and pastoral background clear, but said nothing about your curious vocation. I wondered what the life-setting of your views on homosexuality was. That’s all. May God bless you with His Word and presence as you seek to speak both love and truth to your friend.

    @kerner – Thanks for your comments. You don’t need access to some inner sanctum of theology. What is publically confessed and taught has served you nicely thus far.

  • Rob

    @ Stephen

    “Curious vocation” should have been “current vocation”. Though I am curious as to what type of art and is any of it available to view online? I loved your elucidation of how Byzantine theology was reflected in its art (I took a few classes on art history in college and loved them, so that was a blessing to me). Are you still trying to find ways to depict the distinctives of theology through artistic forums (presumably, yes) and more to the point: how?

  • Rob

    @ Stephen

    “Curious vocation” should have been “current vocation”. Though I am curious as to what type of art and is any of it available to view online? I loved your elucidation of how Byzantine theology was reflected in its art (I took a few classes on art history in college and loved them, so that was a blessing to me). Are you still trying to find ways to depict the distinctives of theology through artistic forums (presumably, yes) and more to the point: how?

  • Rob

    @ Kerner -

    Walther wrote of the danger of changing the confessions into a religious philosophy in “Law and Gospel” (it’s at home and I’m at the church, so I can’t quote it right now). You would find his comments comforting in light of your post above.

    Continue to fight the good fight for your parish! Nothing on earth is so much a blessing to a church and its pastor than faithful and thoughtful elders and laymen. I’d take that over a budget surplus or attendance boom any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  • Rob

    @ Kerner -

    Walther wrote of the danger of changing the confessions into a religious philosophy in “Law and Gospel” (it’s at home and I’m at the church, so I can’t quote it right now). You would find his comments comforting in light of your post above.

    Continue to fight the good fight for your parish! Nothing on earth is so much a blessing to a church and its pastor than faithful and thoughtful elders and laymen. I’d take that over a budget surplus or attendance boom any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    The implication by your concluding statement is that I am sort of being blamed here for misleading people by emphasizing love, as if this is some kind of foreign concept among Christians all the sudden. It seems like it is practically offensive. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad and frustrating the way people back away from it. I mean, I have endlessly quoted Jesus, who himself quoted Deuteronomy to clarify the meaning of the law and what it actually exists for. Yet when I bring this up, I get slammed, and furthermore, I can’t get an answer. I have tried to frame it about a dozen ways. What is the whole of the law? How does conforming to this restriction comport with that, a restriction that has as its only “benefit” misery and pain, but by lifting it can bring comfort and well-being?

    And I have tried to question the underlying assumptions behind this restriction – that what the scripture describes is what we know today. It simply is not. But that seems also to be a dead end. So until that assumption can be questioned, which is the basis for every other argument being brought here and all the misunderstanding, deafness, and unwillingness to address the question of love for neighbor as far as I can tell, there is no use continuing. It continues to lead to misinterpretations and, most unfortunately, a misreading of people who love and work hard to elucidate the Confessions and their proclamation of faith alone in Christ alone (Frank).

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    The implication by your concluding statement is that I am sort of being blamed here for misleading people by emphasizing love, as if this is some kind of foreign concept among Christians all the sudden. It seems like it is practically offensive. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad and frustrating the way people back away from it. I mean, I have endlessly quoted Jesus, who himself quoted Deuteronomy to clarify the meaning of the law and what it actually exists for. Yet when I bring this up, I get slammed, and furthermore, I can’t get an answer. I have tried to frame it about a dozen ways. What is the whole of the law? How does conforming to this restriction comport with that, a restriction that has as its only “benefit” misery and pain, but by lifting it can bring comfort and well-being?

    And I have tried to question the underlying assumptions behind this restriction – that what the scripture describes is what we know today. It simply is not. But that seems also to be a dead end. So until that assumption can be questioned, which is the basis for every other argument being brought here and all the misunderstanding, deafness, and unwillingness to address the question of love for neighbor as far as I can tell, there is no use continuing. It continues to lead to misinterpretations and, most unfortunately, a misreading of people who love and work hard to elucidate the Confessions and their proclamation of faith alone in Christ alone (Frank).

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I haven’t got a website at the moment. I paint, make films, write, build things. I used to play music. I am painting a mural at my church. As you can imagine, there’s lots of homos in the art world, so it is personal. The gospel is for them too, isn’t it? Just as freely and certainly as anyone else. I don’t recall a “You shall not be . . .” commandment of any kind. Gay is who they are in the same way that straight is who you are. It’s not perfect. They don’t know how it turned out that way any more than you know how you turned out the way you did, but should they be punished for it? What service does that render to anyone? What love is being produced? I see a church preaching abandonment by their God who says to them “love for everyone except you” and say that can’t be right. It’s not.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    I haven’t got a website at the moment. I paint, make films, write, build things. I used to play music. I am painting a mural at my church. As you can imagine, there’s lots of homos in the art world, so it is personal. The gospel is for them too, isn’t it? Just as freely and certainly as anyone else. I don’t recall a “You shall not be . . .” commandment of any kind. Gay is who they are in the same way that straight is who you are. It’s not perfect. They don’t know how it turned out that way any more than you know how you turned out the way you did, but should they be punished for it? What service does that render to anyone? What love is being produced? I see a church preaching abandonment by their God who says to them “love for everyone except you” and say that can’t be right. It’s not.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #283: “unwillingness to address the question of love for neighbor as far as I can tell”

    o Is it loving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire?

    o Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Stephen, #283: “unwillingness to address the question of love for neighbor as far as I can tell”

    o Is it loving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire?

    o Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?

  • Rob

    So, the homosexual aspect of their identity doesn’t need to die and be re-born? Or, if it does, God re-creates it? Homosexuality and the New Adam are completely compatible? Or is it part of the Old Adam which must be warred against? I don’t see your (or Frank’s) position as being cohesive, even in a paradoxical way. I respect your motives of love and care. But, as you said (of the poll-taking), what matters is: is it true?

  • Rob

    So, the homosexual aspect of their identity doesn’t need to die and be re-born? Or, if it does, God re-creates it? Homosexuality and the New Adam are completely compatible? Or is it part of the Old Adam which must be warred against? I don’t see your (or Frank’s) position as being cohesive, even in a paradoxical way. I respect your motives of love and care. But, as you said (of the poll-taking), what matters is: is it true?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I do wish someone would take up Stephen’s charge and try to rephrase the prohibition in question in terms of love of neighbor. To cite a verse used to make his case, we have Romans 13:9:
    The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.

    The best I’ve seen done with regard to a prohibition on homosexuality is that somehow telling others about the prohibition is loving. Which doesn’t by itself really make it able to be summed up in the command “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    To demonstrate this, let’s see how this would work if we believed that something the Bible implied, “Don’t eat cherry pudding.” If I thought that, then I might imagine I was loving my neighbor by telling him not to eat it. And I might accuse my neighbor of being unloving if he tried to incite others to eat cherry pudding. But none of that would give any insight into how the command not to eat cherry pudding could be summed up in the command to love the neighbor.

    I think we have something similar going on here. Now I think that sometimes the prohibitions of the law could help us avoiding harm in ways we don’t see. I suspect as much here. But I also think that when it comes to these, we are probably not dealing with the weightier matters of the law. And we have to be careful with each other. Otherwise our own conduct in the battle can involve deeper violations of the law on our part.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I do wish someone would take up Stephen’s charge and try to rephrase the prohibition in question in terms of love of neighbor. To cite a verse used to make his case, we have Romans 13:9:
    The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.

    The best I’ve seen done with regard to a prohibition on homosexuality is that somehow telling others about the prohibition is loving. Which doesn’t by itself really make it able to be summed up in the command “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    To demonstrate this, let’s see how this would work if we believed that something the Bible implied, “Don’t eat cherry pudding.” If I thought that, then I might imagine I was loving my neighbor by telling him not to eat it. And I might accuse my neighbor of being unloving if he tried to incite others to eat cherry pudding. But none of that would give any insight into how the command not to eat cherry pudding could be summed up in the command to love the neighbor.

    I think we have something similar going on here. Now I think that sometimes the prohibitions of the law could help us avoiding harm in ways we don’t see. I suspect as much here. But I also think that when it comes to these, we are probably not dealing with the weightier matters of the law. And we have to be careful with each other. Otherwise our own conduct in the battle can involve deeper violations of the law on our part.

  • Grace

    The Commandments were never obliterated, Christ made that clear.

    Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22

    The FIRST Commandment “love the Lord they God with all they heart” is often trumped by the second “love they neighbour as thyself” – that is the one those who lean towards sin rest their case, the first to love the LORD is rarely mentioned. It isn’t neighbor first, it is the LORD they God first!!!

    Love God is first – is it love of God, to lust after that which is forbidden? is it love of God, to commit adultery? is it love of God to lust after the same sex, and then argue it’s validity, and disregard Romans 1, which Paul wrote. Either one believes what Paul wrote to be inspired, or …. pick and choose which passages Paul wrote, that are significant inerrant, inspired to follow. No it isn’t love of the LORD our God, it is man’s selfish desire to have his own way.

    I read non stop about all the passages Paul wrote in many posts, however Romans 1 is a stumbling mountain to those who believe homosexuality isn’t sin. From their perspective it is ONLY sin, IF homosexuality is indulged, IF the individual is heterosexual, but if they are homosexual, the sin isn’t sin.

  • Grace

    The Commandments were never obliterated, Christ made that clear.

    Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22

    The FIRST Commandment “love the Lord they God with all they heart” is often trumped by the second “love they neighbour as thyself” – that is the one those who lean towards sin rest their case, the first to love the LORD is rarely mentioned. It isn’t neighbor first, it is the LORD they God first!!!

    Love God is first – is it love of God, to lust after that which is forbidden? is it love of God, to commit adultery? is it love of God to lust after the same sex, and then argue it’s validity, and disregard Romans 1, which Paul wrote. Either one believes what Paul wrote to be inspired, or …. pick and choose which passages Paul wrote, that are significant inerrant, inspired to follow. No it isn’t love of the LORD our God, it is man’s selfish desire to have his own way.

    I read non stop about all the passages Paul wrote in many posts, however Romans 1 is a stumbling mountain to those who believe homosexuality isn’t sin. From their perspective it is ONLY sin, IF homosexuality is indulged, IF the individual is heterosexual, but if they are homosexual, the sin isn’t sin.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bror @ 272 and kerner @ 276

    Kerner, the Decalog deals with two kinds of things.

    1)It first deals with the Law that is the only Law that reason can know. This is what you deal with every day in court. It is about evidencial things that are seen and said and done. This is all and only about Love of Neighbor.

    There must be empirical proof here that this Law is being done. This proof looks like no harm is being done and that lives are bettered and that we each “stay out of the personal, property business and lives of others” as our confessions say, unless God has placed us into a vocation/relationship where we are duty bound to meddle.

    I am saying that this IS the SUM total of earthly righeousness according to the Confessions and Scripture. But there is another righeousness that is far more important that God demands.

    What you have produced from the Confessions negate this or suggest otherwise how Kerner? I am not getting that.

    2)Then there is the Law of God in the Decalog “peculiarly” or uniquely deals with ‘movements of the heart” . And what is that “movements of the heart” that the confessions speak of ? I am asserting that it is alone faith alone in Christ alone. This is the other Heavenly Righteousness that is invisible. The evidence we have for this Righteousness is hearing and not to be seen. It is found alone in word and sacrament.

    What is it you produced from the Confessions that say otherwise?

    in summary:

    1) there is a true outward righteousness that God demands on earth that is all and only about doing love for others. Period. It is necessary for both christian and pagan to do this. That evidential, sense-ible love is being done is necessary proof. this is about doing and seeing. it requires no faith to do this. The keeping of this looks like love. Try making writing a contrast with your wife of dos and donts and see how keeping that list feels like love. We do not need a list in the bible to show us this outward form of the Law I am saying. Pagans can do this. This is what the confessions say.

    2) there is an inward heart righeousness that God demands also that is alone faith alone in Christ. This is not something we can do. it is not something we can see. We cannot not do this kind of saving faith.
    3) Unbelief is not the absence of faith. It is to put faith in anything but 2). The confessions say that the most virulent and mortal sin is to put faith in 1) as something that can remove God’s wrath and propitiate him. The confessions call this concupiscence, lust or coveting .

    I have gone back and read the entire sections you referenced. I even took the time to outline them to make sure I did not miss anything. What I have briefly summarized above is the larger context

    You are suggesting that the Law is also some sort of NT Holiness code it seems that sets christians apart from unbelievers. So you are not satisfied with my 1 2 and 3. Or what?

    What is it you want me to see in what you quoted from our confessions that you are certain I am missing? Can you help me out Bror? Can you see it?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bror @ 272 and kerner @ 276

    Kerner, the Decalog deals with two kinds of things.

    1)It first deals with the Law that is the only Law that reason can know. This is what you deal with every day in court. It is about evidencial things that are seen and said and done. This is all and only about Love of Neighbor.

    There must be empirical proof here that this Law is being done. This proof looks like no harm is being done and that lives are bettered and that we each “stay out of the personal, property business and lives of others” as our confessions say, unless God has placed us into a vocation/relationship where we are duty bound to meddle.

    I am saying that this IS the SUM total of earthly righeousness according to the Confessions and Scripture. But there is another righeousness that is far more important that God demands.

    What you have produced from the Confessions negate this or suggest otherwise how Kerner? I am not getting that.

    2)Then there is the Law of God in the Decalog “peculiarly” or uniquely deals with ‘movements of the heart” . And what is that “movements of the heart” that the confessions speak of ? I am asserting that it is alone faith alone in Christ alone. This is the other Heavenly Righteousness that is invisible. The evidence we have for this Righteousness is hearing and not to be seen. It is found alone in word and sacrament.

    What is it you produced from the Confessions that say otherwise?

    in summary:

    1) there is a true outward righteousness that God demands on earth that is all and only about doing love for others. Period. It is necessary for both christian and pagan to do this. That evidential, sense-ible love is being done is necessary proof. this is about doing and seeing. it requires no faith to do this. The keeping of this looks like love. Try making writing a contrast with your wife of dos and donts and see how keeping that list feels like love. We do not need a list in the bible to show us this outward form of the Law I am saying. Pagans can do this. This is what the confessions say.

    2) there is an inward heart righeousness that God demands also that is alone faith alone in Christ. This is not something we can do. it is not something we can see. We cannot not do this kind of saving faith.
    3) Unbelief is not the absence of faith. It is to put faith in anything but 2). The confessions say that the most virulent and mortal sin is to put faith in 1) as something that can remove God’s wrath and propitiate him. The confessions call this concupiscence, lust or coveting .

    I have gone back and read the entire sections you referenced. I even took the time to outline them to make sure I did not miss anything. What I have briefly summarized above is the larger context

    You are suggesting that the Law is also some sort of NT Holiness code it seems that sets christians apart from unbelievers. So you are not satisfied with my 1 2 and 3. Or what?

    What is it you want me to see in what you quoted from our confessions that you are certain I am missing? Can you help me out Bror? Can you see it?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @271

    KERNER “Well, your second statement is that the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality did not exist at the time the Bible was written. But if that is true, the scripture passages dealing with man-man sex cannot be directed to a group that was not known to exist.”

    FWS Yes. Not only that. the passages you allude to, compare to homosexuality as male/female rape stories allude to heterosexuality. Put me in the Sodom and Gomorrah story Kerner. You are really doing that eh?

    KERNER Plus, I think it is worth considering that the underlying assumptions of those scripture passages are correct,. That our present concepts of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” (when used as nouns) are eroneous.”

    FWS Rape is defined as a violation of property rights . Women are always chattel in the Bible. Marriage is defined as a man acquiring property. So are our underlying assumptions there faulty as well.

    But a larger question : just for arguments sake, what if I am right Kerner. What if God really is not against homosexuals seeking to have an adult life partner to grow old with? What would be the consequences of that? I don;t see how you have proved otherwise yet Kerner. So what would be the spiritual consequences to me if I sincerely believe that the Bible and the Confessions are on my side? What would that say about me? What would be the consequences of that?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @271

    KERNER “Well, your second statement is that the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality did not exist at the time the Bible was written. But if that is true, the scripture passages dealing with man-man sex cannot be directed to a group that was not known to exist.”

    FWS Yes. Not only that. the passages you allude to, compare to homosexuality as male/female rape stories allude to heterosexuality. Put me in the Sodom and Gomorrah story Kerner. You are really doing that eh?

    KERNER Plus, I think it is worth considering that the underlying assumptions of those scripture passages are correct,. That our present concepts of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” (when used as nouns) are eroneous.”

    FWS Rape is defined as a violation of property rights . Women are always chattel in the Bible. Marriage is defined as a man acquiring property. So are our underlying assumptions there faulty as well.

    But a larger question : just for arguments sake, what if I am right Kerner. What if God really is not against homosexuals seeking to have an adult life partner to grow old with? What would be the consequences of that? I don;t see how you have proved otherwise yet Kerner. So what would be the spiritual consequences to me if I sincerely believe that the Bible and the Confessions are on my side? What would that say about me? What would be the consequences of that?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner

    you are saying that a gay or lesbian seeing to have a life partner violates what law?

    Is it the Law that can alone be kept alone by a faith in Christ that we cannot do by our reason or strength and is a gift? This would be the keeping of the first commandment which can alone be kept alone by faith in Christ alone. Alone.

    or… is it failure to give love to our neighbor or to do him harm?

    You suggest a 3rd category of the Law besides the two tables that are maybe a fusion of these two? Are you talking about a category of second table law that is kept soley on the basis of faith? A NT Purity Code maybe that sets christian israel apart from pagans?

    I am reading what you quote from the confessions Kerner. what you are not doing, is you are not then asserting, in your own words, what specific point you are making that your cite proves and how your cite proves your point. You are just quoting as though all that is obvious. Note that my posts are lengthy precisely because I try to state how my quote supports my point and why.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner

    you are saying that a gay or lesbian seeing to have a life partner violates what law?

    Is it the Law that can alone be kept alone by a faith in Christ that we cannot do by our reason or strength and is a gift? This would be the keeping of the first commandment which can alone be kept alone by faith in Christ alone. Alone.

    or… is it failure to give love to our neighbor or to do him harm?

    You suggest a 3rd category of the Law besides the two tables that are maybe a fusion of these two? Are you talking about a category of second table law that is kept soley on the basis of faith? A NT Purity Code maybe that sets christian israel apart from pagans?

    I am reading what you quote from the confessions Kerner. what you are not doing, is you are not then asserting, in your own words, what specific point you are making that your cite proves and how your cite proves your point. You are just quoting as though all that is obvious. Note that my posts are lengthy precisely because I try to state how my quote supports my point and why.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    You suggest a 3rd category of the Law besides the two tables that are maybe a fusion of these two? Are you talking about a category of second table law that is kept soley on the basis of faith? A NT Purity Code maybe that sets christian israel apart from pagans?

    I mean are you suggesting that there is a set of Divine Law that is alone, commanded by God to demostrate our obedience in faith to God, like circumcision, that has nothing to do with love for neighbor? In that case, can you give me just one other Law that is something you do that has this characteristic? Just one?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    You suggest a 3rd category of the Law besides the two tables that are maybe a fusion of these two? Are you talking about a category of second table law that is kept soley on the basis of faith? A NT Purity Code maybe that sets christian israel apart from pagans?

    I mean are you suggesting that there is a set of Divine Law that is alone, commanded by God to demostrate our obedience in faith to God, like circumcision, that has nothing to do with love for neighbor? In that case, can you give me just one other Law that is something you do that has this characteristic? Just one?

  • Stephen

    Rob @ 286

    You may not realize it, but you just made your heterosexuality have eternal consequences. The only thing that has eternal consequences is faith in Christ. Am I right?

    Think about this – how does Jesus answer the question about who will be married in heaven? It doesn’t matter. Marriage is not eternal. You want to make sexual orientation something of consequence for the New Adam? Really? Think about that. You are making sexual orientation an issue of first table righteousness right there. All New Adams must be heterosexuals too. By definition, the prohibition that you see against homosexuals who need to “die” and be reborn as heterosexual New Adams has to do with a sacrifice of righteousness to propitiate God’s wrath. That isn’t Lutheran my friend. It’s actually heterodox and darn near pagan. Faith alone in Christ alone is our heavenly righteousness, not Jesus plus the requirement of human heterosexuality. Do you see that? Please tell me you see that!

  • Stephen

    Rob @ 286

    You may not realize it, but you just made your heterosexuality have eternal consequences. The only thing that has eternal consequences is faith in Christ. Am I right?

    Think about this – how does Jesus answer the question about who will be married in heaven? It doesn’t matter. Marriage is not eternal. You want to make sexual orientation something of consequence for the New Adam? Really? Think about that. You are making sexual orientation an issue of first table righteousness right there. All New Adams must be heterosexuals too. By definition, the prohibition that you see against homosexuals who need to “die” and be reborn as heterosexual New Adams has to do with a sacrifice of righteousness to propitiate God’s wrath. That isn’t Lutheran my friend. It’s actually heterodox and darn near pagan. Faith alone in Christ alone is our heavenly righteousness, not Jesus plus the requirement of human heterosexuality. Do you see that? Please tell me you see that!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    another thing. It was not all that long ago that divorce was not approved of except for narrow exceptions. Even then remarriage was forbidden. There was not room for debate on this. Now there is.

    We have a disagreement on Scripture and the Confessions here that seems very similar to me Kerner. I would do the same on that topic as I would do here. I would call you to the broader view.

    And why would this need to be about someone trying to evade the law or be licencious or antinomian or whatever? Would you take it there? What is so special about my being a fag Kerner?

    Whatever you think about our conversation, you need to wonder why it is that the confessions matter so much to me? Guess. homosexuality? meh. Try again. Aim higher.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    another thing. It was not all that long ago that divorce was not approved of except for narrow exceptions. Even then remarriage was forbidden. There was not room for debate on this. Now there is.

    We have a disagreement on Scripture and the Confessions here that seems very similar to me Kerner. I would do the same on that topic as I would do here. I would call you to the broader view.

    And why would this need to be about someone trying to evade the law or be licencious or antinomian or whatever? Would you take it there? What is so special about my being a fag Kerner?

    Whatever you think about our conversation, you need to wonder why it is that the confessions matter so much to me? Guess. homosexuality? meh. Try again. Aim higher.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @ 293

    I think you miss what Rob is slotting all this into. Tell me I wrong Rob. Return to the Image of God and Original righeousness restored is exactly to be reconformed to the Law of God for Rob. That is really the hinge issue. Maybe even he has not thought this through. I dont see any evidence so far of him even wanting to touch this subject.

    Natural Law says there are no fags. So that means that it would be oxymoronic to say I am gay AND a New Man in Christ since to have God’s Image restored must mean conformity to Natural Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @ 293

    I think you miss what Rob is slotting all this into. Tell me I wrong Rob. Return to the Image of God and Original righeousness restored is exactly to be reconformed to the Law of God for Rob. That is really the hinge issue. Maybe even he has not thought this through. I dont see any evidence so far of him even wanting to touch this subject.

    Natural Law says there are no fags. So that means that it would be oxymoronic to say I am gay AND a New Man in Christ since to have God’s Image restored must mean conformity to Natural Law.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 293

    “Think about this – how does Jesus answer the question about who will be married in heaven? It doesn’t matter. Marriage is not eternal. You want to make sexual orientation something of consequence for the New Adam? “

    Our earthly lives are very different from what life in hell or heaven will be. Homosexuality has not one thing to do with what the saved will be like in heaven, ….. “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”

    Jesus said:

    24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

    25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

    26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.

    27 And last of all the woman died also.

    28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

    30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
    Matthew 22

  • Grace

    Stephen – 293

    “Think about this – how does Jesus answer the question about who will be married in heaven? It doesn’t matter. Marriage is not eternal. You want to make sexual orientation something of consequence for the New Adam? “

    Our earthly lives are very different from what life in hell or heaven will be. Homosexuality has not one thing to do with what the saved will be like in heaven, ….. “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”

    Jesus said:

    24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

    25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

    26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.

    27 And last of all the woman died also.

    28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

    30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
    Matthew 22

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?”

    What further complicates this scenario almost endlessly is if you have a conversation like the following:

    A: “Dear neighbor, your house is on fire, and regrettably, with my neighborly love, it looks as if you started the fire yourself. If you stop (repent), you will save both yourself and your house.”

    B: “Thank you for your kind concern. But my house is not on fire.”

    A: “Sadly, it is.”

    B: “No, it is not. You see, a long time ago I’ve had my house specially water baptized with a Holy Trinitarian formula. Therefore, it cannot be on fire.”

    A: “Really? Where does this special water baptism with the Holy Trinitarian formula come from that fireproofs houses?”

    B: “The Lutheran Confessions which is “the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life.”

    A: “Really? This special water baptism with the Holy Trinitarian formula even works when you reject other parts of the Lutheran Confession? A willful rejection which has started the fire that I’m informing you about. ”

    B: “What do you mean?! I reject no part of the Lutheran Confessions!”

    A: “Well, the Lutheran Confessions teaches that this fire-consuming activity you started is a sin.”

    B: “It does not.”

    A. “I see that we are not getting anywhere. Neighbor B, are you a citizen/member of your local LCMS parish?”

    B: “I am.”

    A: “Do you submit to the authority of your local LCMS clergy leadership?”

    B: “Ahhhhh, ummmmmm, ooooooh, alright, let’s say that I do.”

    A: “Then suppose your local LCMS clergy informs you that your fire-consuming activity has started the fire enveloping your house and that your understanding of the Lutheran Confessions is badly mistaken in certain critical areas. Would you then submit your understanding to his authority?”

    B: “I don’t think so.”

    A: “Well, I really do love you and that’s why I’ve taken the time and effort to let you know that your house is on fire. I do not want it or you to burn.”

    B: “I see your love and concern, neighbor A. I really appreciate it, and I really appreciate you. But my house is not on fire. Thank you very much anyways.”

    A: “You’re welcome. By the way, I also love my other neighbors. As it is, the conditions are windy. While your house is burning, the flames and flammable cinders from your house are being blown over to other people’s houses. Their houses may catch fire because of what you’re doing with your house.”

    B: “I told you: my house is not on fire. God bless you, A.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?”

    What further complicates this scenario almost endlessly is if you have a conversation like the following:

    A: “Dear neighbor, your house is on fire, and regrettably, with my neighborly love, it looks as if you started the fire yourself. If you stop (repent), you will save both yourself and your house.”

    B: “Thank you for your kind concern. But my house is not on fire.”

    A: “Sadly, it is.”

    B: “No, it is not. You see, a long time ago I’ve had my house specially water baptized with a Holy Trinitarian formula. Therefore, it cannot be on fire.”

    A: “Really? Where does this special water baptism with the Holy Trinitarian formula come from that fireproofs houses?”

    B: “The Lutheran Confessions which is “the sole rule and norm for our faith and our life.”

    A: “Really? This special water baptism with the Holy Trinitarian formula even works when you reject other parts of the Lutheran Confession? A willful rejection which has started the fire that I’m informing you about. ”

    B: “What do you mean?! I reject no part of the Lutheran Confessions!”

    A: “Well, the Lutheran Confessions teaches that this fire-consuming activity you started is a sin.”

    B: “It does not.”

    A. “I see that we are not getting anywhere. Neighbor B, are you a citizen/member of your local LCMS parish?”

    B: “I am.”

    A: “Do you submit to the authority of your local LCMS clergy leadership?”

    B: “Ahhhhh, ummmmmm, ooooooh, alright, let’s say that I do.”

    A: “Then suppose your local LCMS clergy informs you that your fire-consuming activity has started the fire enveloping your house and that your understanding of the Lutheran Confessions is badly mistaken in certain critical areas. Would you then submit your understanding to his authority?”

    B: “I don’t think so.”

    A: “Well, I really do love you and that’s why I’ve taken the time and effort to let you know that your house is on fire. I do not want it or you to burn.”

    B: “I see your love and concern, neighbor A. I really appreciate it, and I really appreciate you. But my house is not on fire. Thank you very much anyways.”

    A: “You’re welcome. By the way, I also love my other neighbors. As it is, the conditions are windy. While your house is burning, the flames and flammable cinders from your house are being blown over to other people’s houses. Their houses may catch fire because of what you’re doing with your house.”

    B: “I told you: my house is not on fire. God bless you, A.”

  • Stephen

    I agree Frank. I think he’s kinda doing both. The way to get there is to be obedient to the heterosexual paradigm, or something like that. What was it . . . “identify” with the New Man or some other such nonsense.

    Yeah, that’s how it works.

  • Stephen

    I agree Frank. I think he’s kinda doing both. The way to get there is to be obedient to the heterosexual paradigm, or something like that. What was it . . . “identify” with the New Man or some other such nonsense.

    Yeah, that’s how it works.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner, Rob, Grace, TruthUD and the gang…

    I am not wanting to open up a new discussion here, but have any of you been divorced? Did you remarry?

    Why is this not a question of heaven or hell the way homosexual non celebacy seems to be so urgently in your minds. I am not seeking a discussion on the details. This is more a rhetorical question.

    Please explain that to me. The parallels seem to run deep. why is no one drawing on those parallels?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner, Rob, Grace, TruthUD and the gang…

    I am not wanting to open up a new discussion here, but have any of you been divorced? Did you remarry?

    Why is this not a question of heaven or hell the way homosexual non celebacy seems to be so urgently in your minds. I am not seeking a discussion on the details. This is more a rhetorical question.

    Please explain that to me. The parallels seem to run deep. why is no one drawing on those parallels?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    specifically my question goes to… why is the shifting attitudes and doctrines on this not also being driven to being an attack on moral and scriptural verity? why is this issue not seen as urgently about heaven or hell for those who make the wrong choices there? what about those who “live in the divorced lifestyle” by virtue of being remarried?

    what arent things framed in those extreme terms? Why is there room for Mercy there?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    specifically my question goes to… why is the shifting attitudes and doctrines on this not also being driven to being an attack on moral and scriptural verity? why is this issue not seen as urgently about heaven or hell for those who make the wrong choices there? what about those who “live in the divorced lifestyle” by virtue of being remarried?

    what arent things framed in those extreme terms? Why is there room for Mercy there?

  • Stephen

    Since we’re telling stories:

    One day a lifeguard was sitting atop his tower gazing out over the water when he saw a man thrashing about in the water several yards out. He ran out and dove into the waves, swimming out to save the man. When he got to him, the man resisted and seemed to fight him as he dragged him into shore. When he pulled him up on the sand the lifeguard noticed that the man had an unusual body with very muscular arms and very thin legs. The man cursed at him as he dragged himself across the sand to a wheelchair. Suddenly, the lifeguard realized his mistake and attempted to apologize.

    “I’m sorry. You looked to me like you were drowning,” said the lifeguard, to which the man replied “No, that’s the way I swim.”

  • Stephen

    Since we’re telling stories:

    One day a lifeguard was sitting atop his tower gazing out over the water when he saw a man thrashing about in the water several yards out. He ran out and dove into the waves, swimming out to save the man. When he got to him, the man resisted and seemed to fight him as he dragged him into shore. When he pulled him up on the sand the lifeguard noticed that the man had an unusual body with very muscular arms and very thin legs. The man cursed at him as he dragged himself across the sand to a wheelchair. Suddenly, the lifeguard realized his mistake and attempted to apologize.

    “I’m sorry. You looked to me like you were drowning,” said the lifeguard, to which the man replied “No, that’s the way I swim.”

  • Grace

    fws,

    Biblical divorce is accepted – comparing homosexual behavior to Biblical divorce and marriage is ignorant!!

  • Grace

    fws,

    Biblical divorce is accepted – comparing homosexual behavior to Biblical divorce and marriage is ignorant!!

  • Grace

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” Romans 1:28

    A mind without a conscience!

  • Grace

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” Romans 1:28

    A mind without a conscience!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    One day a shepherd was sitting atop his tower gazing out over the water when he saw a sheep thrashing about in the water several yards out. He ran out and dove into the waves, swimming out to save the sheep. When he got to the sheep, the sheep viciously resisted, so much so that the shepherd had to eventually let go of the sheep, and the sheep drowned.

    The shepherd swam to the shore exhausted and asked the other shepherds why that sheep was determined not to be rescued.

    The other shepherds said, “That’s just the way some sheep are.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    One day a shepherd was sitting atop his tower gazing out over the water when he saw a sheep thrashing about in the water several yards out. He ran out and dove into the waves, swimming out to save the sheep. When he got to the sheep, the sheep viciously resisted, so much so that the shepherd had to eventually let go of the sheep, and the sheep drowned.

    The shepherd swam to the shore exhausted and asked the other shepherds why that sheep was determined not to be rescued.

    The other shepherds said, “That’s just the way some sheep are.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, I do love plays! Let me write one! Let me!

    A: Dear neighbor, your house is on fire. If you stop, you will save both yourself and your house.

    B: If I stop doing what?

    A: You know.

    B: Afraid I don’t.

    A: Don’t make me say it.

    B: Sorry, still don’t know what we’re talking about here.

    A: Your house. It’s pink.

    B: Indeed it is. The part that’s not charred black, that is. Have you called to talk about paint colors, in addition to alerting me to the fact that my house is burning? Because the color — at least the non-black part — isn’t terribly important to me right now, as you might understand.

    A: But don’t you think that’s why the house is on fire?

    B: What, because it’s pink? Is pink paint flammable?

    A: Well, most houses around here aren’t pink, you know. Maybe that’s why your house is in danger of burning down!

    B: I highly doubt it, given that everyone else’s house in the neighborhood is also on fire. Haven’t you heard?

    A: I think I’d know if my house were on fire.

    B: It is on fire.

    A: Look, we’re not talking about my house right now. We’re talking about yours. And yours is pink.

    B: Did you call to talk about the fact that my house is on fire, or to complain about its color?

    A: Ah, so you admit that your house is on fire!

    B: Did I ever deny that?

    A: Then you are in danger!

    B: Well, yes, I would be, but you’re not exactly the first person to alert me to my house burning, so I called the fire department, and they’re here now. They’re the only ones who can put out a fire like that. God knows I can’t. Are they at your house?

    A: I told them I was fine. My house isn’t pink.

    B: But it is on fire.

    A: I have a spritzer bottle. I’m fine. Now, about your house — when you repaint it, are you going to use pi…

    B: I’ll make sure to send the fire department your way when they’re done here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, I do love plays! Let me write one! Let me!

    A: Dear neighbor, your house is on fire. If you stop, you will save both yourself and your house.

    B: If I stop doing what?

    A: You know.

    B: Afraid I don’t.

    A: Don’t make me say it.

    B: Sorry, still don’t know what we’re talking about here.

    A: Your house. It’s pink.

    B: Indeed it is. The part that’s not charred black, that is. Have you called to talk about paint colors, in addition to alerting me to the fact that my house is burning? Because the color — at least the non-black part — isn’t terribly important to me right now, as you might understand.

    A: But don’t you think that’s why the house is on fire?

    B: What, because it’s pink? Is pink paint flammable?

    A: Well, most houses around here aren’t pink, you know. Maybe that’s why your house is in danger of burning down!

    B: I highly doubt it, given that everyone else’s house in the neighborhood is also on fire. Haven’t you heard?

    A: I think I’d know if my house were on fire.

    B: It is on fire.

    A: Look, we’re not talking about my house right now. We’re talking about yours. And yours is pink.

    B: Did you call to talk about the fact that my house is on fire, or to complain about its color?

    A: Ah, so you admit that your house is on fire!

    B: Did I ever deny that?

    A: Then you are in danger!

    B: Well, yes, I would be, but you’re not exactly the first person to alert me to my house burning, so I called the fire department, and they’re here now. They’re the only ones who can put out a fire like that. God knows I can’t. Are they at your house?

    A: I told them I was fine. My house isn’t pink.

    B: But it is on fire.

    A: I have a spritzer bottle. I’m fine. Now, about your house — when you repaint it, are you going to use pi…

    B: I’ll make sure to send the fire department your way when they’re done here.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 304

    They no longer see it Truth. Man’s slavery to lust is greater than his love for God.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 304

    They no longer see it Truth. Man’s slavery to lust is greater than his love for God.

  • kerner

    fws:

    “What is so special about my being a fag Kerner?”

    Nothing, that’s my point. There is nothing about your personal set of temptations that changes a thing about the law or gives you a different set of options for marriage (“life partners”?) than any other man. But the “life partners” available to men are called “wives” and they are all female.

    You wrote in a lot more depth, and you deserve a much more involved response, but it will have to wait. Later.

  • kerner

    fws:

    “What is so special about my being a fag Kerner?”

    Nothing, that’s my point. There is nothing about your personal set of temptations that changes a thing about the law or gives you a different set of options for marriage (“life partners”?) than any other man. But the “life partners” available to men are called “wives” and they are all female.

    You wrote in a lot more depth, and you deserve a much more involved response, but it will have to wait. Later.

  • Stephen

    Todd

    I think I’m having an asthma attack from laughing!

  • Stephen

    Todd

    I think I’m having an asthma attack from laughing!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “They no longer see it Truth.”

    Oh well. At least they can’t say they weren’t informed.

    Casting pearls before Rhein.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “They no longer see it Truth.”

    Oh well. At least they can’t say they weren’t informed.

    Casting pearls before Rhein.

  • Grace

    Truth – 309

    I’m afraid you’re right. You’ve been faithful in giving out God’s Word. Blessings, Truth

  • Grace

    Truth – 309

    I’m afraid you’re right. You’ve been faithful in giving out God’s Word. Blessings, Truth

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    “But the “life partners” available to men are called “wives” and they are all female.”

    You have given no evidence why this must be the case, in what way it generates love or care or service to anyone in some way that is not cruel or false or which requires gay people to give up what would otherwise supply them with the same goodness and mercy available to others who are not gay. Neither have you said why this particular prohibition is beneficial or helpful to anyone for any of the same reasons, or why it should be treated so singularly different. All you have to say is “that’s the way it is – tough” and with a wave of the hand the matter is settled. We don’t know why, but God says so (so you say).

    This being the case, you (the church) have made them a special case. They are excluded from any dialogue or considerations. But God does not do that to people. He does not ask them to conform to things which have no use other than to oppress and tyrannize people with rules. Man was not made for the Sabbath. What we have here is a made-up restriction that instead of driving people to Christ it drives them away because it requires of them a sacrifice. It creates the same conflict that a heterodox message which says “Christ died for you and so you must . . .” Fill in the blank yourself. Accept him into your heart, sacrifice your homosexuality, stay married forever to your husband who beats you, make progress in your sanctification to prove you are truly a Christian.

    Is marriage the problem? That will soon be solved at the civil level, which is its main purpose. It has not eternal standing. Gay people want this kind of commitment. They understand and value it well, better than a lot of heterosexuals. No. It is something else. Some as yet unnamed thing among heterosexuals, some territory being defended. What is that?

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    “But the “life partners” available to men are called “wives” and they are all female.”

    You have given no evidence why this must be the case, in what way it generates love or care or service to anyone in some way that is not cruel or false or which requires gay people to give up what would otherwise supply them with the same goodness and mercy available to others who are not gay. Neither have you said why this particular prohibition is beneficial or helpful to anyone for any of the same reasons, or why it should be treated so singularly different. All you have to say is “that’s the way it is – tough” and with a wave of the hand the matter is settled. We don’t know why, but God says so (so you say).

    This being the case, you (the church) have made them a special case. They are excluded from any dialogue or considerations. But God does not do that to people. He does not ask them to conform to things which have no use other than to oppress and tyrannize people with rules. Man was not made for the Sabbath. What we have here is a made-up restriction that instead of driving people to Christ it drives them away because it requires of them a sacrifice. It creates the same conflict that a heterodox message which says “Christ died for you and so you must . . .” Fill in the blank yourself. Accept him into your heart, sacrifice your homosexuality, stay married forever to your husband who beats you, make progress in your sanctification to prove you are truly a Christian.

    Is marriage the problem? That will soon be solved at the civil level, which is its main purpose. It has not eternal standing. Gay people want this kind of commitment. They understand and value it well, better than a lot of heterosexuals. No. It is something else. Some as yet unnamed thing among heterosexuals, some territory being defended. What is that?

  • Stephen

    @ 309

    “Casting pearls before Rhein.”

    Now the real “Truth” comes out. Brilliant! Looks like we got us a Kraut-hater. Your in good company with your new pal Grace.

  • Stephen

    @ 309

    “Casting pearls before Rhein.”

    Now the real “Truth” comes out. Brilliant! Looks like we got us a Kraut-hater. Your in good company with your new pal Grace.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 312

    “Now the real “Truth” comes out. Brilliant! Looks like we got us a Kraut-hater. Your in good company with your new pal Grace.”

    “Kraut-hater” ? – how do Kraut’s equate into homsexual sin? – answer: they don’t.

    Stephen you choose to mix the German people as a whole with homosexuality? God doesn’t approve of sin, does that mean HE is a “Kraut-hater” – - – - – I see how you mix and match most anything… this is a shinning example!

  • Grace

    Stephen – 312

    “Now the real “Truth” comes out. Brilliant! Looks like we got us a Kraut-hater. Your in good company with your new pal Grace.”

    “Kraut-hater” ? – how do Kraut’s equate into homsexual sin? – answer: they don’t.

    Stephen you choose to mix the German people as a whole with homosexuality? God doesn’t approve of sin, does that mean HE is a “Kraut-hater” – - – - – I see how you mix and match most anything… this is a shinning example!

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    “Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?”

    What is the fire in this analogy?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    “Is it unloving for me to inform my neighbor that his/her house is on fire and that it’s because he/she lit the fire themselves?”

    What is the fire in this analogy?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “I’m afraid you’re right. You’ve been faithful in giving out God’s Word. Blessings, Truth.”

    Thanks Grace! You’ve been very faithful as well. God bless you too, sister.

    With regards to God’s Word and God’s Love for fws, and supposing that fws is currently a member of a LCMS parish, and further supposing that fws is an unrepentantly non-celibate gay man, the most loving thing, paradoxically perhaps, for his LCMS parish to go through the process of excommunicating fws (barring genuine repentance).

    Apostle Paul’s pastoral response in 1st Corinthians 5 is in view: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.””

    Suppose the local LCMS leadership that fws is a member of does not want to go through the loving and difficult process of disciplining fws? Then Jesus’ words in John 10 are in view:

    “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “I’m afraid you’re right. You’ve been faithful in giving out God’s Word. Blessings, Truth.”

    Thanks Grace! You’ve been very faithful as well. God bless you too, sister.

    With regards to God’s Word and God’s Love for fws, and supposing that fws is currently a member of a LCMS parish, and further supposing that fws is an unrepentantly non-celibate gay man, the most loving thing, paradoxically perhaps, for his LCMS parish to go through the process of excommunicating fws (barring genuine repentance).

    Apostle Paul’s pastoral response in 1st Corinthians 5 is in view: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.””

    Suppose the local LCMS leadership that fws is a member of does not want to go through the loving and difficult process of disciplining fws? Then Jesus’ words in John 10 are in view:

    “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

  • Stephen

    What is interesting to me is this person who flew in here and calls himself “Truth . . .” and who has laid it on pretty thick with the judgements has said nothing about his/her own faith. As we all know, the devil can quote scripture, and he’s done nothing less than try to get people to jump off buildings that he erects for others to prove their faith to him. Interesting. I also recall in his little script that the magnanimous neighbor “A” (ostensibly a stand-in for the author himself) who would save his neighbor from his metaphorically burning house, also took a moment to blaspheme the Holy Trinity (uh oh!), which I am pretty sure breaks the 2nd commandment and means this person has willfully shown their disdain for the name of God. Even more interesting.

    Oh yeah, he also doesn’t like Lutherans because a lot of them are from the Rhein.

    Better watch who you are hanging out with Grace.

  • Stephen

    What is interesting to me is this person who flew in here and calls himself “Truth . . .” and who has laid it on pretty thick with the judgements has said nothing about his/her own faith. As we all know, the devil can quote scripture, and he’s done nothing less than try to get people to jump off buildings that he erects for others to prove their faith to him. Interesting. I also recall in his little script that the magnanimous neighbor “A” (ostensibly a stand-in for the author himself) who would save his neighbor from his metaphorically burning house, also took a moment to blaspheme the Holy Trinity (uh oh!), which I am pretty sure breaks the 2nd commandment and means this person has willfully shown their disdain for the name of God. Even more interesting.

    Oh yeah, he also doesn’t like Lutherans because a lot of them are from the Rhein.

    Better watch who you are hanging out with Grace.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    I love plays too! Can I write the next act? Please?

    Enter Fire Marshall (FM)

    FM: Um, Mr. B, actually, it is the pink paint that is causing your house to be on fire. It is highly flamable.

    B: How can that be, my house is the only pink one in this neighborhood. Some houses are blue, or green. Earth tones are very popular. Yet every house is on fire.

    FM: Well, it is not the color of the paint that makes it so deadly. The paint of every house in this neighborhood is composed of extremely flamable chemicals, and they are all covered in it, inside and out. Even you yourself are covered in it. This all goes back to the original resident in this neighborhood who bought the paint from Mr. Serpent. But it is also because each of you keeps sloshing on new coats of that paint.

    B: You are just picking on me because my house is pink!

    FM: Did I not just say that this has to do with paint generally, not the color wheel?

    B: But all my nimrod neighbors are constantly refering to the color!

    FM: Actually, some of them have been telling you that your pink paint is no different than any other paint (i.e., will cause your house to burn down), but you haven’t wanted to hear that.

    B: But I love pink! It is part of my very essense of being. IT’S ME, you might say.

    FM: No it isn’t, it’s just paint. Some of your neighbors have pointed to the fire code, where it mentions all colors of this paint, including pink.

    B: That code doesn’t talk about pink paint! It mentions rose, cerise, carnation, coral, but if you check the original Greek and Hebrew, it never actually says all shades of pink, and my shade (pale fuchsia)is different from all the pinks in the code.

    FM: Look, I’m just trying to tell you that when you keep on sloshing new coats of that paint, you’re not helping your neighbors or the FIRE CHIEF.

    B: Don’t you love people with pink houses?

    FM: I try love everybody, and the FIRE CHIEF definitely loves everybody, even though he has to put out the fires in all their houses, He does it because He loves all of us.

    B: Well, if He really loved me, he wouldn’t let my stupid neighbors complain about my pink paint. It’s so much a part of me I can’t even consider giving it up. Everybody hates me. :(

    FM: Maybe some of them haven’t been kind to you (maybe I could have been kinder myself), but that’s because we all are covered up in our own shades of paint, and we don’t function so well like that. But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    I love plays too! Can I write the next act? Please?

    Enter Fire Marshall (FM)

    FM: Um, Mr. B, actually, it is the pink paint that is causing your house to be on fire. It is highly flamable.

    B: How can that be, my house is the only pink one in this neighborhood. Some houses are blue, or green. Earth tones are very popular. Yet every house is on fire.

    FM: Well, it is not the color of the paint that makes it so deadly. The paint of every house in this neighborhood is composed of extremely flamable chemicals, and they are all covered in it, inside and out. Even you yourself are covered in it. This all goes back to the original resident in this neighborhood who bought the paint from Mr. Serpent. But it is also because each of you keeps sloshing on new coats of that paint.

    B: You are just picking on me because my house is pink!

    FM: Did I not just say that this has to do with paint generally, not the color wheel?

    B: But all my nimrod neighbors are constantly refering to the color!

    FM: Actually, some of them have been telling you that your pink paint is no different than any other paint (i.e., will cause your house to burn down), but you haven’t wanted to hear that.

    B: But I love pink! It is part of my very essense of being. IT’S ME, you might say.

    FM: No it isn’t, it’s just paint. Some of your neighbors have pointed to the fire code, where it mentions all colors of this paint, including pink.

    B: That code doesn’t talk about pink paint! It mentions rose, cerise, carnation, coral, but if you check the original Greek and Hebrew, it never actually says all shades of pink, and my shade (pale fuchsia)is different from all the pinks in the code.

    FM: Look, I’m just trying to tell you that when you keep on sloshing new coats of that paint, you’re not helping your neighbors or the FIRE CHIEF.

    B: Don’t you love people with pink houses?

    FM: I try love everybody, and the FIRE CHIEF definitely loves everybody, even though he has to put out the fires in all their houses, He does it because He loves all of us.

    B: Well, if He really loved me, he wouldn’t let my stupid neighbors complain about my pink paint. It’s so much a part of me I can’t even consider giving it up. Everybody hates me. :(

    FM: Maybe some of them haven’t been kind to you (maybe I could have been kinder myself), but that’s because we all are covered up in our own shades of paint, and we don’t function so well like that. But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 317

    “FM: Maybe some of them haven’t been kind to you (maybe I could have been kinder myself), but that’s because we all are covered up in our own shades of paint, and we don’t function so well like that. But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.”

    If you are making a comparison between the LORD Jesus Christ and a ‘fire chief’ stating – - “But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.” - – that isn’t correct Kerner, living in unrepentant sin, be it adultery/fornication stealing homosexuality, not leaving the pig pen isn’t a path to Eternal Life with the LORD Jesus, to even hint at such a thing is not leading someone down the narrow path.

    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1

  • Grace

    Kerner – 317

    “FM: Maybe some of them haven’t been kind to you (maybe I could have been kinder myself), but that’s because we all are covered up in our own shades of paint, and we don’t function so well like that. But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.”

    If you are making a comparison between the LORD Jesus Christ and a ‘fire chief’ stating – - “But your particular shade of paint is just as deadly as theirs, and eventually, the FIRE CHIEF will wash it all away.” - – that isn’t correct Kerner, living in unrepentant sin, be it adultery/fornication stealing homosexuality, not leaving the pig pen isn’t a path to Eternal Life with the LORD Jesus, to even hint at such a thing is not leading someone down the narrow path.

    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1

  • Rob

    This is a zoo. I’m done.

  • Rob

    This is a zoo. I’m done.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 317

    Police chief shows up.

    PC. I understand that people here have been arguing that everyones house is on fire because they all have highly flamable paint .

    FM yeah that’s what I am telling everyone.

    PC. So does everyone have fire insurance?

    FM. Yes, so far as I can tell. But that guy with the pink house doesnt have fire insurance.

    PC why not?

    FM The fire marshall has determined that pink paint disqualifies the owner of the pink house from getting the same insurance for exactly the same hazard as everyone else.

    PC why is that, That sounds crazy!

    FM well, the owner of the Pink house loves the color pink. He says it gives him alot of joy in life. He identifies with the color too much. That is the problem.

    PC well. what in the heck does that have to do with public safety or anything rational?

    FM The others aso love the color of their homes, and they identify with their color too in the same way. but pink is different.

    PC why?

    FM because the Grand Fire Marshall has determined this to be a problem that disqualifies just pink from fire insurance. Others can enjoy all the blessings of paint. It just cant be pink. that is an unnatural color besides. It isnt something that agrees with the color scheme he mandated when he approved the building of the neighborhood.

    PC. But fire marshals dont care about paint colors. They care about flamability. you know. practical stuff like that. Fire marshalls just want people to be safe and happy. The intent of their fire codes are about that. If you are telling me that the fire marshall cares about paint colors then I can be pretty certain that you are mistaken.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner @ 317

    Police chief shows up.

    PC. I understand that people here have been arguing that everyones house is on fire because they all have highly flamable paint .

    FM yeah that’s what I am telling everyone.

    PC. So does everyone have fire insurance?

    FM. Yes, so far as I can tell. But that guy with the pink house doesnt have fire insurance.

    PC why not?

    FM The fire marshall has determined that pink paint disqualifies the owner of the pink house from getting the same insurance for exactly the same hazard as everyone else.

    PC why is that, That sounds crazy!

    FM well, the owner of the Pink house loves the color pink. He says it gives him alot of joy in life. He identifies with the color too much. That is the problem.

    PC well. what in the heck does that have to do with public safety or anything rational?

    FM The others aso love the color of their homes, and they identify with their color too in the same way. but pink is different.

    PC why?

    FM because the Grand Fire Marshall has determined this to be a problem that disqualifies just pink from fire insurance. Others can enjoy all the blessings of paint. It just cant be pink. that is an unnatural color besides. It isnt something that agrees with the color scheme he mandated when he approved the building of the neighborhood.

    PC. But fire marshals dont care about paint colors. They care about flamability. you know. practical stuff like that. Fire marshalls just want people to be safe and happy. The intent of their fire codes are about that. If you are telling me that the fire marshall cares about paint colors then I can be pretty certain that you are mistaken.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner Bingo.

    The fire marshal cares about things like flamability.

    He could care less that he is loves or loving or whether or not someone overidentified with the color pink. That sounds crazy because it IS crasy for a fire marshall to care about that stuff.

    The problem is flamable paint.

    But here is the real problem . You are doing an analogy that does not follow reality. First it deals with things we can see and do. only. doesnt it? so where is faith?

    so orignal sin is a lack of faith in Christ , it is invisible.
    what fills that void is faith. faith in anything but Christ.
    Both are what are lethal in the eternal sense.
    Then there are things that are not about faith. they are about what we do. we are not to harm others but help and befriend them.
    Old Adam puts his faith in these things.
    New man puts his faith in Christ alone.

    for you to pair off, have a sexual and romantic relationships is blessed, IF you persist.
    for me to pair off and do the same thing in the only way I am able to is to earn hell IF I persist.
    The difference? The fire marshall cares about pink, someone overly identifying with a color and there is a rule besides that has no practical purpose at all. and it is not for everyone. since when do fire marshalls care about such things?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner Bingo.

    The fire marshal cares about things like flamability.

    He could care less that he is loves or loving or whether or not someone overidentified with the color pink. That sounds crazy because it IS crasy for a fire marshall to care about that stuff.

    The problem is flamable paint.

    But here is the real problem . You are doing an analogy that does not follow reality. First it deals with things we can see and do. only. doesnt it? so where is faith?

    so orignal sin is a lack of faith in Christ , it is invisible.
    what fills that void is faith. faith in anything but Christ.
    Both are what are lethal in the eternal sense.
    Then there are things that are not about faith. they are about what we do. we are not to harm others but help and befriend them.
    Old Adam puts his faith in these things.
    New man puts his faith in Christ alone.

    for you to pair off, have a sexual and romantic relationships is blessed, IF you persist.
    for me to pair off and do the same thing in the only way I am able to is to earn hell IF I persist.
    The difference? The fire marshall cares about pink, someone overly identifying with a color and there is a rule besides that has no practical purpose at all. and it is not for everyone. since when do fire marshalls care about such things?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Buh Bye Rob, Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Buh Bye Rob, Thank you for sharing.

  • Grace

    I would caution those who are truly Believers, some of these posts are blasphemous, they are just what Satan loves. The pig pen wallowers in such trash, and loves to strut and flaunt the life in the pen – please don’t take part.

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

  • Grace

    I would caution those who are truly Believers, some of these posts are blasphemous, they are just what Satan loves. The pig pen wallowers in such trash, and loves to strut and flaunt the life in the pen – please don’t take part.

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWIW, there has been a baptized Lutheran who was excommunicated from his LCMS parish for unrepentant homosexual behavior.

    The LCMS parish did this out of love for this man’s soul, out of love for the other parishioners, and out of love for God.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    FWIW, there has been a baptized Lutheran who was excommunicated from his LCMS parish for unrepentant homosexual behavior.

    The LCMS parish did this out of love for this man’s soul, out of love for the other parishioners, and out of love for God.

  • reg

    I hear a lot of sibilant “Did God really say” and “surely God didn’t mean” in the posts of this thread. Same lie as was from the beginning.
    As 2 Peter 2 says”1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
    Or 2 Timothy “2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
    and 1 Timothy
    6Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

    I give up on those who would argue as to what the word “is” means. Its all a shell game to assuage guilty consciences.

    Good night.

  • reg

    I hear a lot of sibilant “Did God really say” and “surely God didn’t mean” in the posts of this thread. Same lie as was from the beginning.
    As 2 Peter 2 says”1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
    Or 2 Timothy “2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
    and 1 Timothy
    6Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

    I give up on those who would argue as to what the word “is” means. Its all a shell game to assuage guilty consciences.

    Good night.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “FWIW, there has been a baptized Lutheran who was excommunicated from his LCMS parish for unrepentant homosexual behavior.

    The LCMS parish did this out of love for this man’s soul, out of love for the other parishioners, and out of love for God.”

    I wonder if Dr. Gene Veith knows of such cases besides myself. Do other readers know of such excommunications in LCMS churches for unrepentant homosexual behavior?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “FWIW, there has been a baptized Lutheran who was excommunicated from his LCMS parish for unrepentant homosexual behavior.

    The LCMS parish did this out of love for this man’s soul, out of love for the other parishioners, and out of love for God.”

    I wonder if Dr. Gene Veith knows of such cases besides myself. Do other readers know of such excommunications in LCMS churches for unrepentant homosexual behavior?

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 326

    God bless you – your testimoney brings tears of joy to my eyes.

    Blessings

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides – 326

    God bless you – your testimoney brings tears of joy to my eyes.

    Blessings

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner try this. See if this breaks a mental jam:

    The confessions define moral sin as being original sin.
    what is original sin?
    it is the total void of faith in Jesus Christ. plus…
    it is the total faith in anything BUT Christ that fills that void,.

    So mortal sin is about faith. It is not at all about what we do.
    Heaven or Hell then, for that reason, is about faithn not works.
    You know and believe that Kerner.

    So what is the connection between the outward acts and faith is what we are debating I think.

    here is what I hear you saying. Correct me where this is wrong.

    Kerner: there is a list of do’s and donts found only in the bible that only christians and jews can know, because of the faith they have, that tells them that this is God’s List.
    So the motive for keeping this list is that one really believes that this list is God’s List, and so to conform to that list pleases God.

    The alternative is what pagans do. They make up their own lists that are all about moral relativity and doing what feels good. This is because they don’t believe that the Law list in the Bible is God’s List. Or because they know that it is God’s List but they would rather pursue what feels good.

    So sinning is about conforming or not conforming to the Divine List. God is God. He does not give us reasons why the rules are there. But he does get to make the rules. There may be no practical reason at all for a rule. Or maybe there is and we have to accept in faith, that there is a good reason for the rule.

    so it is all about faith in God by following his list and obeying him. In the process of obedience, we trust that our neighbor will be served and love. We trust this in faith even when evidence seems to point to the contrary.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner try this. See if this breaks a mental jam:

    The confessions define moral sin as being original sin.
    what is original sin?
    it is the total void of faith in Jesus Christ. plus…
    it is the total faith in anything BUT Christ that fills that void,.

    So mortal sin is about faith. It is not at all about what we do.
    Heaven or Hell then, for that reason, is about faithn not works.
    You know and believe that Kerner.

    So what is the connection between the outward acts and faith is what we are debating I think.

    here is what I hear you saying. Correct me where this is wrong.

    Kerner: there is a list of do’s and donts found only in the bible that only christians and jews can know, because of the faith they have, that tells them that this is God’s List.
    So the motive for keeping this list is that one really believes that this list is God’s List, and so to conform to that list pleases God.

    The alternative is what pagans do. They make up their own lists that are all about moral relativity and doing what feels good. This is because they don’t believe that the Law list in the Bible is God’s List. Or because they know that it is God’s List but they would rather pursue what feels good.

    So sinning is about conforming or not conforming to the Divine List. God is God. He does not give us reasons why the rules are there. But he does get to make the rules. There may be no practical reason at all for a rule. Or maybe there is and we have to accept in faith, that there is a good reason for the rule.

    so it is all about faith in God by following his list and obeying him. In the process of obedience, we trust that our neighbor will be served and love. We trust this in faith even when evidence seems to point to the contrary.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    errata 328

    the confessions define MORTAL sin as being exactly Original Sin.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    errata 328

    the confessions define MORTAL sin as being exactly Original Sin.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides

    Your posts have been very important – I hope you come back and post. I pray for you.

    Truth does unite and divide – the Gospel cuts to the bone, it does what nothing else can do – one cannot play both sides, … it’s either for Christ or against HIM.

  • Grace

    Truth Unites… and Divides

    Your posts have been very important – I hope you come back and post. I pray for you.

    Truth does unite and divide – the Gospel cuts to the bone, it does what nothing else can do – one cannot play both sides, … it’s either for Christ or against HIM.

  • kerner

    fws:

    I was just about to apologize for my glibness @317, but I re-read your response @320 and found that it actually focused this a little. You do deserve a more serious answer than I have given you so far. Let me work through our respective allegories and see if I narrow the issues a little.

    One thing you have been saying all along, well before we lapsed into allegorical language, is that man-man sex lacks the indentifying features of other sins. Most specifically, it doesn’t harm anyone, so it is not failing to love our neighbor.

    Second, and your allegory brought this out if I understand you correctly, is that for heterosexuals, traditional marriage is “fire insurance”. That is, marriage to a woman provides a God honoring outlet for a man’s sexual urges. It is all very glib of me to suggest that a gay man can marry a woman, but marrying a woman provides no outlet for the gay man’s actual sexual urges, so how does that fit with St. Paul’s advice to marry rather than burn? If you married a woman, you’d still be burning. Problem not solved.

    Have I got those two points more or less right? I’m not looking for straw men.

    Your other points having to do with the Defense of Augsburg Confession are attempting to distinguish between different kinds of laws and sins. I’ve kind of resisted getting into that because I worry that these distinctions may lead us into an area that I won’t be able to figure out. I say that for two reasons. First, I really don’t have the time to do a graduate level study of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession. The other reason is that Lutheran doctrine does, in fact, lead to paradoxes sometimes. And these by definition cannot be figured out completely.

    I am going to go back and re-read your old posts, and I am even going to try to read and summarize Articles II-IV of the DAC. But that will probably take so much time that this thread will have petered out before I’m done. Maybe I’ll be able to address that aspect of this on this thread, but I can’t be sure.

    And thanks for @328 trying to understand me. I’ll get back to that later too.

  • kerner

    fws:

    I was just about to apologize for my glibness @317, but I re-read your response @320 and found that it actually focused this a little. You do deserve a more serious answer than I have given you so far. Let me work through our respective allegories and see if I narrow the issues a little.

    One thing you have been saying all along, well before we lapsed into allegorical language, is that man-man sex lacks the indentifying features of other sins. Most specifically, it doesn’t harm anyone, so it is not failing to love our neighbor.

    Second, and your allegory brought this out if I understand you correctly, is that for heterosexuals, traditional marriage is “fire insurance”. That is, marriage to a woman provides a God honoring outlet for a man’s sexual urges. It is all very glib of me to suggest that a gay man can marry a woman, but marrying a woman provides no outlet for the gay man’s actual sexual urges, so how does that fit with St. Paul’s advice to marry rather than burn? If you married a woman, you’d still be burning. Problem not solved.

    Have I got those two points more or less right? I’m not looking for straw men.

    Your other points having to do with the Defense of Augsburg Confession are attempting to distinguish between different kinds of laws and sins. I’ve kind of resisted getting into that because I worry that these distinctions may lead us into an area that I won’t be able to figure out. I say that for two reasons. First, I really don’t have the time to do a graduate level study of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession. The other reason is that Lutheran doctrine does, in fact, lead to paradoxes sometimes. And these by definition cannot be figured out completely.

    I am going to go back and re-read your old posts, and I am even going to try to read and summarize Articles II-IV of the DAC. But that will probably take so much time that this thread will have petered out before I’m done. Maybe I’ll be able to address that aspect of this on this thread, but I can’t be sure.

    And thanks for @328 trying to understand me. I’ll get back to that later too.

  • kerner

    Truth U&D:

    This is a very minor point, but I’m pretty sure that fws has never been affiliated with the LCMS. I believe that he was at one time in the WELS, but he some time ago moved to Brasil. I don’t know the exact affiliation of his church there, but I don’t think anyone here has direct pastoral authority over fws. So we’ll have to debate with him using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions

  • kerner

    Truth U&D:

    This is a very minor point, but I’m pretty sure that fws has never been affiliated with the LCMS. I believe that he was at one time in the WELS, but he some time ago moved to Brasil. I don’t know the exact affiliation of his church there, but I don’t think anyone here has direct pastoral authority over fws. So we’ll have to debate with him using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth Unites… and Divides

    Your posts have been very important – I hope you come back and post.”

    Dear Grace,

    That’s very kind of you to say. I am encouraged and heartened that you regard my posts as being meaningful and helpful.

    If you would, please e-mail me at truthunites@hotmail.com. I’d like to correspond with you outside of this comment thread.

    “I pray for you.”

    Wow. Thank you sooooo much! I really appreciate your prayers. Talk with you later sister. God bless you and your family abundantly.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth Unites… and Divides

    Your posts have been very important – I hope you come back and post.”

    Dear Grace,

    That’s very kind of you to say. I am encouraged and heartened that you regard my posts as being meaningful and helpful.

    If you would, please e-mail me at truthunites@hotmail.com. I’d like to correspond with you outside of this comment thread.

    “I pray for you.”

    Wow. Thank you sooooo much! I really appreciate your prayers. Talk with you later sister. God bless you and your family abundantly.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth U&D:

    This is a very minor point, but I’m pretty sure that fws has never been affiliated with the LCMS.”

    I’m not sure if that really is a “very minor point”, but that could be a small part of God’s providential sovereignty and protection for the LCMS.

    “So we’ll have to debate with him using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.”

    I’m going to respectfully decline. Based on the evidence so far, if the goal is to change fws’s mind and heart about some vital misconceptions he has, then it looks to be a colossal waste of time.

    Furthermore, it looks to be a colossal waste of time in dealing not only with fws’s sophistry, but with the sophistry of his enablers and defenders as well. (Funny that Dr. Veith has a recent post titled: “Undereducated and Overschooled”). It’s both tedious and counterproductive to deal with the learned nonsense that justifies and serves the moral cowardice of hirelings.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth U&D:

    This is a very minor point, but I’m pretty sure that fws has never been affiliated with the LCMS.”

    I’m not sure if that really is a “very minor point”, but that could be a small part of God’s providential sovereignty and protection for the LCMS.

    “So we’ll have to debate with him using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.”

    I’m going to respectfully decline. Based on the evidence so far, if the goal is to change fws’s mind and heart about some vital misconceptions he has, then it looks to be a colossal waste of time.

    Furthermore, it looks to be a colossal waste of time in dealing not only with fws’s sophistry, but with the sophistry of his enablers and defenders as well. (Funny that Dr. Veith has a recent post titled: “Undereducated and Overschooled”). It’s both tedious and counterproductive to deal with the learned nonsense that justifies and serves the moral cowardice of hirelings.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD, before you start tossing “cowardice” around, you might try some bravery yourself, and associate your real name (first and last) with your comments.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD, before you start tossing “cowardice” around, you might try some bravery yourself, and associate your real name (first and last) with your comments.

  • BW

    I, for one, am glad TUAD has told us all that we need to stop those repetitive sins of ours we haven’t sincerely repented of. It has set things straight in my mind. I should stop lying, but every now and then, I think I’m in a bind and I just say something that isn’t right to save my own hide. I shouldn’t get the really big coffee, I only need a small coffee, if I need it at all, and I should give the money I save to God’s children that can barely afford a coffee at all, but I just get that big coffee because I like it so much. I know the Lord isn’t pleased when I do those things, but I do them anyway.

    It’s like I’m a little child playing in the dirt sometimes, with my sins. I’m covered in dirt. It’s odd, I’m unable to clean myself off, I just get more dirty. If only there was someone who would grab me by the collar and douse me with water, and say, “I got this one, he’s mine, I’ll wash him off….”

  • BW

    I, for one, am glad TUAD has told us all that we need to stop those repetitive sins of ours we haven’t sincerely repented of. It has set things straight in my mind. I should stop lying, but every now and then, I think I’m in a bind and I just say something that isn’t right to save my own hide. I shouldn’t get the really big coffee, I only need a small coffee, if I need it at all, and I should give the money I save to God’s children that can barely afford a coffee at all, but I just get that big coffee because I like it so much. I know the Lord isn’t pleased when I do those things, but I do them anyway.

    It’s like I’m a little child playing in the dirt sometimes, with my sins. I’m covered in dirt. It’s odd, I’m unable to clean myself off, I just get more dirty. If only there was someone who would grab me by the collar and douse me with water, and say, “I got this one, he’s mine, I’ll wash him off….”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner and Bror. This is for you.

    Executive Summary:

    Lutherans get confused exactly here:

    •The Old Adam of all men dies . This is done by the HS with mortification, which is the Law in action. This is the Law not the Gospel working. the fruit called brotherly love results.
    •The New man is created alone by sanctification . To make this alone truly alone, lets add , this is totally apart from anything we can do. This is the gospel-in-action. This is Baptismal Regeneration. It is Justification forensically declared and instantly and completely infused (apology art IV) “sinners BECOME holy” in the New Man. This infusion is complete and punctilinear. It is not a process. It is alone in New Man. Not in Old Adam.
    •As a result of this sanctification, and as a fruit of it, New Man now does mortification on his Old Adam . This is the Law not the Gospel working. the fruit called brotherly love results.
    •We confuse the fruit of sanctification , which is the same as the fruit of the Law, which is to do love, as being itself Sanctification. In the broad sense it is. In the narrow it is not. We do not properly distinguish the proper vs the broad meaning of sanctification this is to say.
    •So then, by confusing the broad and narrow meaning of sanctification, sanctification (which now becomes a faith we can do) becomes about an outward keeping of the Law in the form of a faith we can and are commanded to do, in a way that becomes a Purity Code and not about only about serving others. We mix faith with our works in the sense of making faith into a good work that justifies. Then we say “no, it is not to justify. it is to offer up our faith to God in the form of Obedience”. So I ask you then, what is the nature of that “faith” you are talking about? It is faith as a work isnt it? How is that not using a work as propitiation then? It is a form of faith that really does not require Christ´s work. It is an appeasing of God through faith, but not that faith in Christ that excludes doing. Is it the saving faith that is alone faith in christ apart from works? I say this is the exact crux that our confessions deal with in the Apology. Right there. And we are still internally wrestling with this in Lutheranism.
    •And so what Baptism “works, delivers from and gives” is confounded with what it “signifies” or “predicates”. So what it is that makes one a Christian becomes something outward called faith. This is a faith we are commanded to do and can do. This error is masked by the fact that it is not “outward” according to the philosophical distinction of “material vs spiritual”.
    •There is another faith that our confessions call “movements of the heart” or even “good emotions” (art IV where the context is Baptism). So the confessions are contrasting faith with The Faith that is alone christ alone. Note that they are not contrasting Faith with unbelief or vice or “concupiscence” in the roman sense.
    •Lutherans miss that the entire Lutheran argument is about this faith (they here exactly redefine concupiscence) vs The Faith that can save that is also commanded , and that is a form of faith that we cannot do even after we are born again!
    •Instead we are again contrasting the roman catholic concupiscence with the virtue of faith. And we are now talking about the Roman catholic version of what that faith is. So now again Romans 8 is about a movement from vice to virtue, lust to spirituality, the profane worldly things, to monastacism and churchly things. The culture wars. For Lutherans romans 8 is the movement from a faith we can do that is Virtue to alone invisible Faith alone in Christ alone, that is utterly and absolutely apart from anything we can do. This especially includes faith!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Kerner and Bror. This is for you.

    Executive Summary:

    Lutherans get confused exactly here:

    •The Old Adam of all men dies . This is done by the HS with mortification, which is the Law in action. This is the Law not the Gospel working. the fruit called brotherly love results.
    •The New man is created alone by sanctification . To make this alone truly alone, lets add , this is totally apart from anything we can do. This is the gospel-in-action. This is Baptismal Regeneration. It is Justification forensically declared and instantly and completely infused (apology art IV) “sinners BECOME holy” in the New Man. This infusion is complete and punctilinear. It is not a process. It is alone in New Man. Not in Old Adam.
    •As a result of this sanctification, and as a fruit of it, New Man now does mortification on his Old Adam . This is the Law not the Gospel working. the fruit called brotherly love results.
    •We confuse the fruit of sanctification , which is the same as the fruit of the Law, which is to do love, as being itself Sanctification. In the broad sense it is. In the narrow it is not. We do not properly distinguish the proper vs the broad meaning of sanctification this is to say.
    •So then, by confusing the broad and narrow meaning of sanctification, sanctification (which now becomes a faith we can do) becomes about an outward keeping of the Law in the form of a faith we can and are commanded to do, in a way that becomes a Purity Code and not about only about serving others. We mix faith with our works in the sense of making faith into a good work that justifies. Then we say “no, it is not to justify. it is to offer up our faith to God in the form of Obedience”. So I ask you then, what is the nature of that “faith” you are talking about? It is faith as a work isnt it? How is that not using a work as propitiation then? It is a form of faith that really does not require Christ´s work. It is an appeasing of God through faith, but not that faith in Christ that excludes doing. Is it the saving faith that is alone faith in christ apart from works? I say this is the exact crux that our confessions deal with in the Apology. Right there. And we are still internally wrestling with this in Lutheranism.
    •And so what Baptism “works, delivers from and gives” is confounded with what it “signifies” or “predicates”. So what it is that makes one a Christian becomes something outward called faith. This is a faith we are commanded to do and can do. This error is masked by the fact that it is not “outward” according to the philosophical distinction of “material vs spiritual”.
    •There is another faith that our confessions call “movements of the heart” or even “good emotions” (art IV where the context is Baptism). So the confessions are contrasting faith with The Faith that is alone christ alone. Note that they are not contrasting Faith with unbelief or vice or “concupiscence” in the roman sense.
    •Lutherans miss that the entire Lutheran argument is about this faith (they here exactly redefine concupiscence) vs The Faith that can save that is also commanded , and that is a form of faith that we cannot do even after we are born again!
    •Instead we are again contrasting the roman catholic concupiscence with the virtue of faith. And we are now talking about the Roman catholic version of what that faith is. So now again Romans 8 is about a movement from vice to virtue, lust to spirituality, the profane worldly things, to monastacism and churchly things. The culture wars. For Lutherans romans 8 is the movement from a faith we can do that is Virtue to alone invisible Faith alone in Christ alone, that is utterly and absolutely apart from anything we can do. This especially includes faith!

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

    fws,
    We’ve been friends for a long time. If you would please refrain from trying to lecture me on the confessions I’d appreciate it.
    Quite frankly I have nothing against you. I like you.
    But I stand here, to lay with another man as if with a woman is sin. I don’t care if it is hand jobs or blow jobs, cramming it or receiving the cram (as it is distinguished in 1 Cor. 6), it is sin. There isn’t anyway around that. I won’t go down the road that says it isn’t. I don’t care if it is in a committed relationship or not. (The best that could be said of that is that it is the lesser of two evils.)
    I understand the temptation to say it isn’t sin. I do. I experience the same temptations, maybe not with the same sins, but I have my own to worry about.
    I know I’m a new man in Christ, but that doesn’t give me a pass to neglect crucifying my old Adam. Or to deny my sin.
    I’d rather confess it, bring it into the light and be forgiven of it. That is the Lutheran answer to sin. that is the Christian answer to Sin. It isn’t jumping around, elevating the confessions above God’s word, playing sleight of hand with definitions, and pussy footing with the topic. Sin is sin is sin.
    I’d also rather not keep talking about your sin fws. If you want to hear my absolution, fine. I’ll give it to you brother. But then lets leave it with Christ to deal with as he has on the cross. Because there are more fruitful things to talk about. Like the cross, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Trinity…. But when it comes to sin, the general rule of thumb I have, is if I really have to question or do the gymnastics you do, to say it isn’t sin, then I better just confess it and move on.

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

    fws,
    We’ve been friends for a long time. If you would please refrain from trying to lecture me on the confessions I’d appreciate it.
    Quite frankly I have nothing against you. I like you.
    But I stand here, to lay with another man as if with a woman is sin. I don’t care if it is hand jobs or blow jobs, cramming it or receiving the cram (as it is distinguished in 1 Cor. 6), it is sin. There isn’t anyway around that. I won’t go down the road that says it isn’t. I don’t care if it is in a committed relationship or not. (The best that could be said of that is that it is the lesser of two evils.)
    I understand the temptation to say it isn’t sin. I do. I experience the same temptations, maybe not with the same sins, but I have my own to worry about.
    I know I’m a new man in Christ, but that doesn’t give me a pass to neglect crucifying my old Adam. Or to deny my sin.
    I’d rather confess it, bring it into the light and be forgiven of it. That is the Lutheran answer to sin. that is the Christian answer to Sin. It isn’t jumping around, elevating the confessions above God’s word, playing sleight of hand with definitions, and pussy footing with the topic. Sin is sin is sin.
    I’d also rather not keep talking about your sin fws. If you want to hear my absolution, fine. I’ll give it to you brother. But then lets leave it with Christ to deal with as he has on the cross. Because there are more fruitful things to talk about. Like the cross, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Trinity…. But when it comes to sin, the general rule of thumb I have, is if I really have to question or do the gymnastics you do, to say it isn’t sin, then I better just confess it and move on.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 331

    KERNER “Most specifically, it doesn’t harm anyone, so it is not failing to love our neighbor.”

    FWS Not quite. The small catechism always has two parts to each commandment. “1) dont hurt or harm your neighbor” + “2) help and befriend him in every bodily need” (with the critical exception of the first commandment which has no part 1)!)

    Legalists think that keeping the first part, doing no harm or self restraint, self control etc is Godly righeousness. It is not. Part 1) exists only because Old Adam needs it in order for part 2) to happen. It is part 2) that God is after. That is 1st article Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    I hope you understand the distinction I am making here. This applies to pagans and Christians alike. Reason really knows the difference between works done out of constraint and obligation and those done out of love.

    So rules are necessary. This is why God “wrote his Law in the minds ” of Old Adam. No decalog is necessary for any of this Law. The Decalog is necessary because it alone “peculiarly” deals with “movements of the heart”. (Ap art IV) at the very beginning.

    Note that the confessions always qualify and say that fallen reason can know and do the law “in part” or “in a sense”. What is that sense? It is this: It is that fallen reason can know and do the entire law externally. No faith or even the Bible is necessary in this. That is what there reference to Aristotle is about I assert.

    So the Bible (the decalog) is necessary to know not that external Law but to know about that Law that “peculiarly ” deals not with what we can do outwardly or even inwardly in faith such as believing that the bible is true and that the Decalog IS God´s Law and that we MUST do it. Even this faith is an outward doing in Confessional speak.

    It is this keeping that is the “part” that fallen reason cannot only not do. He cannot know it either. It is that Law that demands that we keep the Law from the bottom of our heart. It is not what we know in a courtroom. That is what reason thinks keeping the Law is.

    What I think is confusing you is that faith is not an “outward ” thing. But then you are using reason in the categories “material vs spiritual”.

    Here is what you are missing ( I suggest): The Confessions and St Paul are not contending for faith vs unbelief. that would then be faith vs vice as concupiscence, those spiritual meladies such as lust and coveting. This is not the contrast Kerner.

    The contrast is between faith (which is what the confessions REdefine concupiscence to mean! in art II of the apology) vs that faith that we cannot do with our reason or strength either before OR after the new birth.

    KERNER It is all very glib of me to suggest that a gay man can marry a woman, but marrying a woman provides no outlet for the gay man’s actual sexual urges, so how does that fit with St. Paul’s advice to marry rather than burn? If you married a woman, you’d still be burning. Problem not solved.

    FWS: If you are saying this only for the sake of argument, I think you are getting my point. Yes.

    As to your points on the Law and sin, thanks for your honesty.

    Suggestions: Try to read each article in such a way that you can , in your own words articulate their argument. And note that there are two sections to II and III. Those are a positive stating of the doctrine. That is what you want to be able to articulate in your own words. In article II please note how they REdefine “concupiscence” to mean faith and not lust or coveting. This is really key. So then the Lutherans say that both concupiscence and mortal sin are all about faith and not at all about what we do. What we do are nasty side effects so to speak .

    And then there is the part that is the answer to the opposition. That part is not so important right now for you. And in Ap III it will glaze your eyes over.

    In art IV there is not so much a positive statement of doctrine followed by an answer to the opponents. There is instead various arguments that repeat the same idea over and over. That is this:

    There is a faith we can do in various manfestations, and there is a faith that cannot be done even once we are born again. So , as with art II, they are contrasting faith with that other Faith that is invisible and cannot be a circumcision done by human hands but must be a “new heart movement ” or even a “good emotion” (art IV).

    Rome contrasted concupiscence/lust as man´s Aristotelian baser instincts. These are what we would call fleshly , carnal , material things. Secularists would call this materialism. And Rome contrast ed this all with what?

    With what separates us from the beasts. Mans higher powers. These are faith, love, charity, virtue, reason, etc. Secularists would call these “spiritual things”. The would call these things the Virtues. So would Rome. And so faith is something we can do. But none of these are “outward ” things are they dear Kerner? and none of these things need Christ to be done do they?

    And, reason can know and do ALL of this. No Bible is even necessary. This is why the Confessions point to Aristotle. Aristotle is what rome teaches.

    Now put a christian patina on the higher virtues. Call the process of acquireing those “santification”. Even say that they can´t really be done without “grace ” “faith ” and the Holy Spirit! Where is Christ in all that and HIS Works that are alone Propitiation? No where.

    That is the argument of the Apology for you in a nutshell dear Kerner.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 331

    KERNER “Most specifically, it doesn’t harm anyone, so it is not failing to love our neighbor.”

    FWS Not quite. The small catechism always has two parts to each commandment. “1) dont hurt or harm your neighbor” + “2) help and befriend him in every bodily need” (with the critical exception of the first commandment which has no part 1)!)

    Legalists think that keeping the first part, doing no harm or self restraint, self control etc is Godly righeousness. It is not. Part 1) exists only because Old Adam needs it in order for part 2) to happen. It is part 2) that God is after. That is 1st article Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    I hope you understand the distinction I am making here. This applies to pagans and Christians alike. Reason really knows the difference between works done out of constraint and obligation and those done out of love.

    So rules are necessary. This is why God “wrote his Law in the minds ” of Old Adam. No decalog is necessary for any of this Law. The Decalog is necessary because it alone “peculiarly” deals with “movements of the heart”. (Ap art IV) at the very beginning.

    Note that the confessions always qualify and say that fallen reason can know and do the law “in part” or “in a sense”. What is that sense? It is this: It is that fallen reason can know and do the entire law externally. No faith or even the Bible is necessary in this. That is what there reference to Aristotle is about I assert.

    So the Bible (the decalog) is necessary to know not that external Law but to know about that Law that “peculiarly ” deals not with what we can do outwardly or even inwardly in faith such as believing that the bible is true and that the Decalog IS God´s Law and that we MUST do it. Even this faith is an outward doing in Confessional speak.

    It is this keeping that is the “part” that fallen reason cannot only not do. He cannot know it either. It is that Law that demands that we keep the Law from the bottom of our heart. It is not what we know in a courtroom. That is what reason thinks keeping the Law is.

    What I think is confusing you is that faith is not an “outward ” thing. But then you are using reason in the categories “material vs spiritual”.

    Here is what you are missing ( I suggest): The Confessions and St Paul are not contending for faith vs unbelief. that would then be faith vs vice as concupiscence, those spiritual meladies such as lust and coveting. This is not the contrast Kerner.

    The contrast is between faith (which is what the confessions REdefine concupiscence to mean! in art II of the apology) vs that faith that we cannot do with our reason or strength either before OR after the new birth.

    KERNER It is all very glib of me to suggest that a gay man can marry a woman, but marrying a woman provides no outlet for the gay man’s actual sexual urges, so how does that fit with St. Paul’s advice to marry rather than burn? If you married a woman, you’d still be burning. Problem not solved.

    FWS: If you are saying this only for the sake of argument, I think you are getting my point. Yes.

    As to your points on the Law and sin, thanks for your honesty.

    Suggestions: Try to read each article in such a way that you can , in your own words articulate their argument. And note that there are two sections to II and III. Those are a positive stating of the doctrine. That is what you want to be able to articulate in your own words. In article II please note how they REdefine “concupiscence” to mean faith and not lust or coveting. This is really key. So then the Lutherans say that both concupiscence and mortal sin are all about faith and not at all about what we do. What we do are nasty side effects so to speak .

    And then there is the part that is the answer to the opposition. That part is not so important right now for you. And in Ap III it will glaze your eyes over.

    In art IV there is not so much a positive statement of doctrine followed by an answer to the opponents. There is instead various arguments that repeat the same idea over and over. That is this:

    There is a faith we can do in various manfestations, and there is a faith that cannot be done even once we are born again. So , as with art II, they are contrasting faith with that other Faith that is invisible and cannot be a circumcision done by human hands but must be a “new heart movement ” or even a “good emotion” (art IV).

    Rome contrasted concupiscence/lust as man´s Aristotelian baser instincts. These are what we would call fleshly , carnal , material things. Secularists would call this materialism. And Rome contrast ed this all with what?

    With what separates us from the beasts. Mans higher powers. These are faith, love, charity, virtue, reason, etc. Secularists would call these “spiritual things”. The would call these things the Virtues. So would Rome. And so faith is something we can do. But none of these are “outward ” things are they dear Kerner? and none of these things need Christ to be done do they?

    And, reason can know and do ALL of this. No Bible is even necessary. This is why the Confessions point to Aristotle. Aristotle is what rome teaches.

    Now put a christian patina on the higher virtues. Call the process of acquireing those “santification”. Even say that they can´t really be done without “grace ” “faith ” and the Holy Spirit! Where is Christ in all that and HIS Works that are alone Propitiation? No where.

    That is the argument of the Apology for you in a nutshell dear Kerner.

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

    Just one more thing fws. Next time you go about derailing a discussion to talk about your sin, can we focus on your narcissism? Because that seems to be getting ignored to the expense of other sins, and it is just as dangerous.

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

    Just one more thing fws. Next time you go about derailing a discussion to talk about your sin, can we focus on your narcissism? Because that seems to be getting ignored to the expense of other sins, and it is just as dangerous.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    lets see if I can fix my dangling bold command

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    lets see if I can fix my dangling bold command

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    nope. Tooooooodddddd!!!! I did a “” to close the bold. why did that not work???

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    nope. Tooooooodddddd!!!! I did a “” to close the bold. why did that not work???

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    i did a less than sign / b greater than to close the bold and it did not work…. heeeeeelp..

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    i did a less than sign / b greater than to close the bold and it did not work…. heeeeeelp..

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

    Looks like the spam filter grabbed my last comment. Perhaps it was too graphic. Maybe Dr. Veith will let it out though.

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

    Looks like the spam filter grabbed my last comment. Perhaps it was too graphic. Maybe Dr. Veith will let it out though.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 339

    Unfortunately Narcissism , even my own of rather epic proportions, gets only a yawn. People would have to look into their own mirror rather than lovingly pointing me to my own is why I suspect this is.

    You get to work out how to clearly (and briefly ) present the doctrine as a vocation. You spend alot of time at that. It is not narcissism to do so. Here is where I get to work that out.

    I will work at brevity. Those who are bothered by my wordiness have moved on to other posts. Others are still at it with me aren´t they. God works even in lawless judges nagged by a conscience for whom love has died (luke 18) ;)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 339

    Unfortunately Narcissism , even my own of rather epic proportions, gets only a yawn. People would have to look into their own mirror rather than lovingly pointing me to my own is why I suspect this is.

    You get to work out how to clearly (and briefly ) present the doctrine as a vocation. You spend alot of time at that. It is not narcissism to do so. Here is where I get to work that out.

    I will work at brevity. Those who are bothered by my wordiness have moved on to other posts. Others are still at it with me aren´t they. God works even in lawless judges nagged by a conscience for whom love has died (luke 18) ;)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    not even marriage cures the sex drive curved to lust. It only can channel it even then with hard work.

    so that would suggest for example that someone blest with a high sex drive would not accept a job that requires alot of overnight travel away from home. “only refrain from sex by mutual consent and then for a very short time and then only for prayer an fasting”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner

    not even marriage cures the sex drive curved to lust. It only can channel it even then with hard work.

    so that would suggest for example that someone blest with a high sex drive would not accept a job that requires alot of overnight travel away from home. “only refrain from sex by mutual consent and then for a very short time and then only for prayer an fasting”.

  • http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com Pr. H. R. Curtis

    I’m rather late to the game. . . but nevertheless:

    It has become quite popular among contemporary Antinomians (or “Gospel reductionists” if you prefer) with their roots in the Lutheran tradition to defend their position of the basis of the Biblical statement that love is the fulfillment of the Law. That is a true Biblical statement. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. What St. Augustine said is true: Love God, and do whatever you want.

    The problem, however, is that the Antinomians – and here I have in mind specifically those who would seek to uphold the goodness of homosexual desire and acts, but this point applies equally to any issue that an Antinomian might like to champion – do not know what love is. Neither do I. Neither do you. The problem is that we are sinners, weak, easily tempted, and not yet grown unto the full stature of Christ.

    Baptism, as every Lutheran knows, forgives our sins and grant us new birth. But the Old Adam, as Luther’s Catechism says, must by daily repentance and contrition be drowned and die. That is, the Old Adam is still with us. Though our sins are forgiven, our sinful self, the Old Man, still clings to us. As our Confessions say, while some natural knowledge of God’s Law adheres in mankind, it is greatly darkened by our sinful condition.

    Thus: neither you, nor I, nor the Antinomians know, infallibly and in every case, what love is. This is where the Law comes in and why it is needed. God’s Word of Law paints the outlines of Love for us.

    Thus, I may be tempted to think that I love my secretary, that she is unhappy with her husband who does not understand nor appreciate her. I may think that it would be loving to invite her to leave this brute and run off with me to my plum orchard in Argentina where we will read poetry and drink orchata in the Equatorial sun.

    But that is not love. How do I know? Because Love is the Fulfillment of the Law and the Law says: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    You don’t know what Love is until you heard the Word of Christ tell you what it is. You dare not trust your gut feelings over Christ’s Word.

    Enter the Antinomian’s standard ploy here: the Gospel narratives about the disciples plucking grain, man is not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man, etc. That is weak beyond belief and can only be persuasive to the most undergraduate of undergraduates. I refer those who wish to see such things explained in a Lutheran manner to Luther’s own fine treatise How Christians Ought to Regard Moses.

    God’s plan for human sexuality could not clearer: read all about it in Gen 1-2, Matthew 19, and I Cor 6. This world and each of us is broken – thus, I feel great sorrow with those who struggle with sexual temptation. But if you struggle with ungodly sexual desires (whether homosexuality, adultery, fornication, etc), do not be fooled by the Antinomians. Trust Christ’s Word. Seek repentance and a faithful Christian community that will support you in that repentance.

    +HRC

  • http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com Pr. H. R. Curtis

    I’m rather late to the game. . . but nevertheless:

    It has become quite popular among contemporary Antinomians (or “Gospel reductionists” if you prefer) with their roots in the Lutheran tradition to defend their position of the basis of the Biblical statement that love is the fulfillment of the Law. That is a true Biblical statement. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. What St. Augustine said is true: Love God, and do whatever you want.

    The problem, however, is that the Antinomians – and here I have in mind specifically those who would seek to uphold the goodness of homosexual desire and acts, but this point applies equally to any issue that an Antinomian might like to champion – do not know what love is. Neither do I. Neither do you. The problem is that we are sinners, weak, easily tempted, and not yet grown unto the full stature of Christ.

    Baptism, as every Lutheran knows, forgives our sins and grant us new birth. But the Old Adam, as Luther’s Catechism says, must by daily repentance and contrition be drowned and die. That is, the Old Adam is still with us. Though our sins are forgiven, our sinful self, the Old Man, still clings to us. As our Confessions say, while some natural knowledge of God’s Law adheres in mankind, it is greatly darkened by our sinful condition.

    Thus: neither you, nor I, nor the Antinomians know, infallibly and in every case, what love is. This is where the Law comes in and why it is needed. God’s Word of Law paints the outlines of Love for us.

    Thus, I may be tempted to think that I love my secretary, that she is unhappy with her husband who does not understand nor appreciate her. I may think that it would be loving to invite her to leave this brute and run off with me to my plum orchard in Argentina where we will read poetry and drink orchata in the Equatorial sun.

    But that is not love. How do I know? Because Love is the Fulfillment of the Law and the Law says: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    You don’t know what Love is until you heard the Word of Christ tell you what it is. You dare not trust your gut feelings over Christ’s Word.

    Enter the Antinomian’s standard ploy here: the Gospel narratives about the disciples plucking grain, man is not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man, etc. That is weak beyond belief and can only be persuasive to the most undergraduate of undergraduates. I refer those who wish to see such things explained in a Lutheran manner to Luther’s own fine treatise How Christians Ought to Regard Moses.

    God’s plan for human sexuality could not clearer: read all about it in Gen 1-2, Matthew 19, and I Cor 6. This world and each of us is broken – thus, I feel great sorrow with those who struggle with sexual temptation. But if you struggle with ungodly sexual desires (whether homosexuality, adultery, fornication, etc), do not be fooled by the Antinomians. Trust Christ’s Word. Seek repentance and a faithful Christian community that will support you in that repentance.

    +HRC

  • Grace

    Tom Hering – 235

    “TUAD, before you start tossing “cowardice” around, you might try some bravery yourself, and associate your real name (first and last) with your comments.”

    “Real name” ? – there are a number of individuals who use initials, and a variety of ‘handles’ – ….. WebMonk – moallen – Collie – trotk – reg – and a variety of shortened first names.

    Not giving ones real name has nothing to do with “bravery” – in this venue, it proves to be wise, more often than not. The fact you ask for his name makes one wonder WHY? …………

  • Grace

    Tom Hering – 235

    “TUAD, before you start tossing “cowardice” around, you might try some bravery yourself, and associate your real name (first and last) with your comments.”

    “Real name” ? – there are a number of individuals who use initials, and a variety of ‘handles’ – ….. WebMonk – moallen – Collie – trotk – reg – and a variety of shortened first names.

    Not giving ones real name has nothing to do with “bravery” – in this venue, it proves to be wise, more often than not. The fact you ask for his name makes one wonder WHY? …………

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Pr. H.R. Curtis@347
    In the secretary example, it is clear how we could frame the secretary situation as a violation of love of neighbor. Most of us could do that in our sleep. The commandment against coveting gives us a hint at who one of the injured parties will be: the husband.

    When I suggest I would like to see if anyone will try to frame the prohibitions on sex between members of the same sex in terms of love of neighbor, I have so far heard crickets. I don’t know at this point whether this is because nobody could do it, and they feel that St. Paul was wrong when he said that every commandment could be summarized as Love your neighbor, or whether they think it is crystal clear how this hurts a neighbor.
    The vehemence makes it sound like they feel personally wronged.

    When the law is not framed as love of neighbor, the entire structure ends up looking loveless. If someone is asked to suffer but there is no love of neighbor expressed in the suffering, how is this good? We have to be able to argue the goodness of this. Or at least recognize the tragedy. I see more a disappointment that everyone isn’t enthusiastic for a stoning.

    I also think people need to follow their suggestions through a bit further than they often do. They seem to imagine the solution is that the gay person abandons their behavior, and the only difficulty is a common difficulty of temptation. Except this doesn’t appear to be the case. If the person decides to marry, this would appear to many to be a lack of love towards the potential spouse. They are depriving the spouse of being married to someone who feels sexual attraction to them, given that sexual attraction is not subject to conscious control. People may have some ability to shut it down. People have little ability to turn it on. On the other hand, we must note that if the person remains celibate, he is in a situation that Genesis tells us is “not good.”

    As to support in repentance, I think maybe we need another analogy to address how much of this discussion goes. Imagine this were a discussion of using questionable reproductive methods by an infertile couple. It is one thing to say that we need to be clear on right and wrong. It is another to allow the couple to be attacked. Imagine they are using a method that involves the destruction of embryos but they don’t see this clearly. (A very real kind of case.) If you entered a blog discussion where people started calling them reprobates and trying to figure out how to get them excommunicated while they hid behind screen names, or complained that the couple wouldn’t give up their idea of having a baby after a few minutes of discussion, wouldn’t you imagine there was something wrong with the approach? If you hoped to persuade them of your position, you would know it would likely involve calm discussion in person. No couple in such a dilemma are going to one day tell their friends, “Yes, we decided to give up the idea of the baby because some stranger called us reprobates.”

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Pr. H.R. Curtis@347
    In the secretary example, it is clear how we could frame the secretary situation as a violation of love of neighbor. Most of us could do that in our sleep. The commandment against coveting gives us a hint at who one of the injured parties will be: the husband.

    When I suggest I would like to see if anyone will try to frame the prohibitions on sex between members of the same sex in terms of love of neighbor, I have so far heard crickets. I don’t know at this point whether this is because nobody could do it, and they feel that St. Paul was wrong when he said that every commandment could be summarized as Love your neighbor, or whether they think it is crystal clear how this hurts a neighbor.
    The vehemence makes it sound like they feel personally wronged.

    When the law is not framed as love of neighbor, the entire structure ends up looking loveless. If someone is asked to suffer but there is no love of neighbor expressed in the suffering, how is this good? We have to be able to argue the goodness of this. Or at least recognize the tragedy. I see more a disappointment that everyone isn’t enthusiastic for a stoning.

    I also think people need to follow their suggestions through a bit further than they often do. They seem to imagine the solution is that the gay person abandons their behavior, and the only difficulty is a common difficulty of temptation. Except this doesn’t appear to be the case. If the person decides to marry, this would appear to many to be a lack of love towards the potential spouse. They are depriving the spouse of being married to someone who feels sexual attraction to them, given that sexual attraction is not subject to conscious control. People may have some ability to shut it down. People have little ability to turn it on. On the other hand, we must note that if the person remains celibate, he is in a situation that Genesis tells us is “not good.”

    As to support in repentance, I think maybe we need another analogy to address how much of this discussion goes. Imagine this were a discussion of using questionable reproductive methods by an infertile couple. It is one thing to say that we need to be clear on right and wrong. It is another to allow the couple to be attacked. Imagine they are using a method that involves the destruction of embryos but they don’t see this clearly. (A very real kind of case.) If you entered a blog discussion where people started calling them reprobates and trying to figure out how to get them excommunicated while they hid behind screen names, or complained that the couple wouldn’t give up their idea of having a baby after a few minutes of discussion, wouldn’t you imagine there was something wrong with the approach? If you hoped to persuade them of your position, you would know it would likely involve calm discussion in person. No couple in such a dilemma are going to one day tell their friends, “Yes, we decided to give up the idea of the baby because some stranger called us reprobates.”

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, you been wondering “WHY?” Come up with anything yet? :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, you been wondering “WHY?” Come up with anything yet? :-D

  • Stephen

    HRC

    I think your Hollywood fairytale is hardly an example of the agony most people go through in a divorce. Furthermore, people do not need to read in the bible that it is wrong to steal another man’s wife. That we do things we shouldn’t is not a matter of ignorance, it is a matter of conscience, and whether or not we do what conscience dictates has to do with sin, not ignorance. The Jews thought that following the law made them right with God, not that the law taught them a lot of things to do they didn’t already know. when you say this:

    “But that is not love. How do I know? Because Love is the Fulfillment of the Law and the Law says: Thou shalt not commit adultery. ”

    I’d say you have it backwards. You seem to think that the fulfillment of love is knowing and doing the law.

    “Honey, now that we’re married, here’s some rules on how to love me.” Do you hear the big buzzer? Game over.

    “Thus: neither you, nor I, nor the Antinomians know, infallibly and