Evangelicalism and Pietism

The noted Christian historian Mark Noll says that a revolution has taken place in our understanding of the history of American evangelicalism.  Citing the scholarship of British historian W. R. Ward, who died recently, Noll says that the origins of American evangelicalism are now understood to lie not in Puritanism or frontier revivals but in 17th century German Pietism:

Never from within the Anglo-American community of historians working on the modern history of Christianity has there been such an encompassing challenge to received historiography, nor such a well-documented appeal to reorient evangelical history away from the narrow precincts of the North Atlantic to the broad plains of Central Europe. The challenge that Ward’s scholarship mounted for the rest of us very ordinary historians was extraordinary. Ward’s achievement provided what not even German scholars have attempted, which is a general interpretation of the history of evangelicalism from within the standpoint of German history and German historical scholarship.

The Central European roots of evangelical religion have changed perceptions of evangelical origins in at least five ways. First, by situating evangelical history against the backdrop of 17th-century European political history, Ward demonstrated that distinctly evangelical beliefs and practices emerged in response to political pressure from powerful states, such as those in the Habsburg empire, or powerful state-churches, both Protestant and Catholic. What he summarized as “the almost universal history of revival as resistance to assimilation” led Ward to Central European beginnings for such essential evangelical themes as the opposition of “true Christianity” to formulaic, systematic, or imposed orthodoxies; and to small-group enclaves as the necessary nurturing medium in which “true Christianity” could flourish. By showing how the political power of nation-states and state-churches played a defining role in the earliest evangelical movements, he showed all scholars the often covert political protests found in almost all evangelical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, and probably later as well.

Second, Ward insisted on the foundational significance of 17th-century events and circumstances for evangelical history. By so doing he made a convincing case that accounts of Anglo-American evangelicalism are necessarily stunted if they do not include figures like Johann Arndt, Jakob Böhme, and Pierre Poiret (who are almost never mentioned) as well as those like Philip Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke (who occasionally appear as mere anticipations of what came later).

By insisting on the importance of 17th-century politics and 17th-century European religious history for all later evangelical history, Ward, thirdly, also showed how necessary it is to connect events in the 18th century back to the era of the Reformation and Catholic Reformation. Reformers like Spener returned to Luther for inspiration; in him Spener and like-minded Pietists discovered precedents that would come to mark all evangelicals. Even more, Ward showed that complex lines of influence continued to link mystically minded Catholics and pietistically inclined Protestants straight through the 17th and 18th centuries, and that those links can be best explained by common patterns of reaction to the orthodox state-church establishments that defined European religion after the Reformation.

Fourth, Ward insisted that reforming, revivalistic, anti-statist, and small-group Protestantism was always and everywhere a pan-European phenomenon governed minimally, if at all, by national and linguistic boundaries.

via Rewriting the History of Evangelicalism | Books and Culture.

 

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.

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

    Very interesting. I’m not a scholar, but from my reading I’ve always thought that the influence of German pietism in America was under-estimated
    Also interesting is that if I go into my local evangelical bookstore (I’m not in the US, but almost every book they stock is sourced from the US), I find modern paperback editions centuries old works by Catholic mystics like Fenelon and Madame Guyon in the “spiritual growth” section (which consists of several hundred titles), along with more recent works by Andrew Murray, F.B. Meyer, and A.W. Tozer, who were all influenced by the Catholic mystics. I also find Bunyan, of course, and many Puritans, but certainly not Arndt or Spener. The doctrinal theology section consists of one shelf with maybe 15 books, mostly Reformed, some Arminian. They do have Augustine, though, and the re-print of Tappert’s 4 volume edition of Luther’s works. A snapshot of contemporary evangelicalism, I wonder?

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

    Very interesting. I’m not a scholar, but from my reading I’ve always thought that the influence of German pietism in America was under-estimated
    Also interesting is that if I go into my local evangelical bookstore (I’m not in the US, but almost every book they stock is sourced from the US), I find modern paperback editions centuries old works by Catholic mystics like Fenelon and Madame Guyon in the “spiritual growth” section (which consists of several hundred titles), along with more recent works by Andrew Murray, F.B. Meyer, and A.W. Tozer, who were all influenced by the Catholic mystics. I also find Bunyan, of course, and many Puritans, but certainly not Arndt or Spener. The doctrinal theology section consists of one shelf with maybe 15 books, mostly Reformed, some Arminian. They do have Augustine, though, and the re-print of Tappert’s 4 volume edition of Luther’s works. A snapshot of contemporary evangelicalism, I wonder?

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

    So is Pietism like Wesleyanism? And I’m not sure about the author’s take on “revivalism.” It’s odd hearing the word “revival” used in what seems to be a negative context, coming from a background that was big on revivals.

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

    So is Pietism like Wesleyanism? And I’m not sure about the author’s take on “revivalism.” It’s odd hearing the word “revival” used in what seems to be a negative context, coming from a background that was big on revivals.

  • larry

    That would be interesting to read. It does make sense at a glance though given the progress of history from European leadership being monarchal in type to more democratic. The parallel seems to match. And if one takes an Arminian or Calvinistic base theology in which assurance is led inward then throw in pietism (Lutheran or otherwise) into it which is hollistically inward turned: that’s a formula for disaster.

    Pietism is our natural fallen gravity, its not surprising it keeps coming back in to influence.

  • larry

    That would be interesting to read. It does make sense at a glance though given the progress of history from European leadership being monarchal in type to more democratic. The parallel seems to match. And if one takes an Arminian or Calvinistic base theology in which assurance is led inward then throw in pietism (Lutheran or otherwise) into it which is hollistically inward turned: that’s a formula for disaster.

    Pietism is our natural fallen gravity, its not surprising it keeps coming back in to influence.

  • Steve

    It’s not too surprising. After all, John Wesley was profoundly influenced by German Pietists as he travelled across the Atlantic to (or was it from?) Georgia. They had a major impact on him as he began to create what would become Methodism.

    And, as you can guess, Methodism in America had a huge impact on American revivalism, especially during the Second Great Awakening. But it’s nice to see more scholarly evidence for this come to light.

  • Steve

    It’s not too surprising. After all, John Wesley was profoundly influenced by German Pietists as he travelled across the Atlantic to (or was it from?) Georgia. They had a major impact on him as he began to create what would become Methodism.

    And, as you can guess, Methodism in America had a huge impact on American revivalism, especially during the Second Great Awakening. But it’s nice to see more scholarly evidence for this come to light.

  • Richard

    You know, I remember being taken to task for making just this remark on the origins of evangelicalism on this blog by some of our Lutheran brethren who attempted to blame evangelicalism on Calvinism and Reformed theology. So, I say: I TOLD YOU SO! I’m sure, though, this will not stop the Calvin haters from blaming him for evangelicalism’s mess. Just watch the rest of the comments now.

  • Richard

    You know, I remember being taken to task for making just this remark on the origins of evangelicalism on this blog by some of our Lutheran brethren who attempted to blame evangelicalism on Calvinism and Reformed theology. So, I say: I TOLD YOU SO! I’m sure, though, this will not stop the Calvin haters from blaming him for evangelicalism’s mess. Just watch the rest of the comments now.

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

    J Dean,
    Most certainly Pietism is Wesleyanism. Wesley was highly influenced if I remember right, by Zinzendorfians he met crossing the Atlantic, I know it was at least one German Pietist sect. Wesley also edited a paper named “the pietist.”
    The problem is not all pietism is exactly the same, there were some rather orthodox strains of it in Scandinavia, labled pietist not so much for the pietist system put in place by Spener, but in their opposition to rationalism. Some would make that claim also of the LCMS. in the 19th century if you weren’t a rationalist, you were a pietist. But then that isn’t quite a fair way to look at it. Pietists strictly speaking were those who followed Spener, perhaps Arndt, and later Hall and Franke. Highly shcareged Emotionalism, anti Sacramental, heavy on works, in short Wesley.

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

    J Dean,
    Most certainly Pietism is Wesleyanism. Wesley was highly influenced if I remember right, by Zinzendorfians he met crossing the Atlantic, I know it was at least one German Pietist sect. Wesley also edited a paper named “the pietist.”
    The problem is not all pietism is exactly the same, there were some rather orthodox strains of it in Scandinavia, labled pietist not so much for the pietist system put in place by Spener, but in their opposition to rationalism. Some would make that claim also of the LCMS. in the 19th century if you weren’t a rationalist, you were a pietist. But then that isn’t quite a fair way to look at it. Pietists strictly speaking were those who followed Spener, perhaps Arndt, and later Hall and Franke. Highly shcareged Emotionalism, anti Sacramental, heavy on works, in short Wesley.

  • larry

    This is not surprising at all.

    And that’s the point that should not be lost, ANYTIME one unhinges the sacraments be it under Lutheran pietism (against the doctrine), or via official doctrines that do this (Calvin or Arminian), the inward turn is what one gets. This was also seen in much Puritanism before Wesley too.

    Once the “pro me” is gone officially via the doctrine or against the doctrine (Lutheran pietism), the result is the same and men grope for God in the dark never sure.

    The issue is how ANY false doctrine does this.

  • larry

    This is not surprising at all.

    And that’s the point that should not be lost, ANYTIME one unhinges the sacraments be it under Lutheran pietism (against the doctrine), or via official doctrines that do this (Calvin or Arminian), the inward turn is what one gets. This was also seen in much Puritanism before Wesley too.

    Once the “pro me” is gone officially via the doctrine or against the doctrine (Lutheran pietism), the result is the same and men grope for God in the dark never sure.

    The issue is how ANY false doctrine does this.

  • Richard

    And here we go–see? It’s Calvin’s fault! And those darn Reformed Confessions! Watch the conversation now turn from the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM, to Calvin bashing. Sigh.

  • Richard

    And here we go–see? It’s Calvin’s fault! And those darn Reformed Confessions! Watch the conversation now turn from the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM, to Calvin bashing. Sigh.

  • Dave

    The roots of Pietism run quite deep through evangelicalism. From small group Bible Studies, to quiet times, to the denigration of creeds and confessions, liturgy, and the institutional church, Pietism has had enormous influence on the evangelical church.

    This is where confessional Lutherans and Reformed can find common ground in opposing this movement.

    Historian Darryl Hart has written much on the connection between Pietism, Revival, and Evangelicalism. One might consider his book, Deconstructing Evangelicalism or check out his latest blog post:

    http://oldlife.org/2011/04/11/the-gospel-coalitions-thin-skinned-long-arm/

  • Dave

    The roots of Pietism run quite deep through evangelicalism. From small group Bible Studies, to quiet times, to the denigration of creeds and confessions, liturgy, and the institutional church, Pietism has had enormous influence on the evangelical church.

    This is where confessional Lutherans and Reformed can find common ground in opposing this movement.

    Historian Darryl Hart has written much on the connection between Pietism, Revival, and Evangelicalism. One might consider his book, Deconstructing Evangelicalism or check out his latest blog post:

    http://oldlife.org/2011/04/11/the-gospel-coalitions-thin-skinned-long-arm/

  • larry

    It’s not a matter of whose to blame for ‘what we see in evangelicalism’. That’s just a symptom of the same problem. Whether the Word and Sacraments are removed via Lutheran pietism, which would be a form of heterodoxy operating under the guise of orthodoxy, or official heterodox confessions that in effect do the same thing. Both are false. What you should see here is that it has never been about X group versus Y group but truth of the Scriptures and thus doctrine, such that even under the name “Lutheran” with an official orthodox confession “in hand” a church or denomination can operate as heterodoxy. Thus, Lutheran pietism simply operates the same way Reformed or Arminian doctrine spells it out officially.

    There’s simply no escaping the reality of the point that if one disconnects the sacraments as “pro me” assurance that they are, that for example when one goes up Sunday to receive the very body and blood that was actually given into death/shed “pro me”, and that one is in fact going up to receive forgiveness of sins, to/for the man, and the same with baptism.

    Quoting an ex-reformed pastor turned Lutheran who captured it well, there’s simply no getting around what is being actually spoken and said, especially when suffering, trial and ultimately death approaches one and the devil attacks:

    Abraham Kuyper a Dutch Reformed Calvinist/minister says in one of his Lectures On Calvinism.

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    COMPARE that “hedging” uncertain language (to be considered, only be regarded, never declared that these things are necessarily so) to what we’d say (answering as Scripture actually answers): They HAVE forgiveness of sins, They HAVE put on Christ, They HAVE been washed & regenerated, This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3), In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6), you are receiving the very and true body and blood of Christ given into death/shed for the forgiveness of sin, you are receiving forgiveness of sin, the actual absolution being actually given and received – or to put it in line with the above “So we (Lutherans) firmly, intrepidly, confidently, boldly and most assuredly pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants in their baptisms.” And we dare not doubt it.

    There’s no escaping that two different religions are at play here, there are in reality only two religions in the world. The doctrinal issues simply are never going to change or be resolvable, which is the very nature between truth and falsehood. It’s sheer fantasy to think that they ever will. Falsehood, even mingled falsehood has to either resolve and repent into truth or forever remain opposed to it.

    Thus, when all the “pro me” Word and Sacraments are therefore disconnected, man must of necessity blindly scrape around for God in his/her life, some affirmation. And that comes in any form from high charisma, to some sign, to works. Methodism developed on this same principle. Pietism in one since is simply the natural religion of fallen man.

  • larry

    It’s not a matter of whose to blame for ‘what we see in evangelicalism’. That’s just a symptom of the same problem. Whether the Word and Sacraments are removed via Lutheran pietism, which would be a form of heterodoxy operating under the guise of orthodoxy, or official heterodox confessions that in effect do the same thing. Both are false. What you should see here is that it has never been about X group versus Y group but truth of the Scriptures and thus doctrine, such that even under the name “Lutheran” with an official orthodox confession “in hand” a church or denomination can operate as heterodoxy. Thus, Lutheran pietism simply operates the same way Reformed or Arminian doctrine spells it out officially.

    There’s simply no escaping the reality of the point that if one disconnects the sacraments as “pro me” assurance that they are, that for example when one goes up Sunday to receive the very body and blood that was actually given into death/shed “pro me”, and that one is in fact going up to receive forgiveness of sins, to/for the man, and the same with baptism.

    Quoting an ex-reformed pastor turned Lutheran who captured it well, there’s simply no getting around what is being actually spoken and said, especially when suffering, trial and ultimately death approaches one and the devil attacks:

    Abraham Kuyper a Dutch Reformed Calvinist/minister says in one of his Lectures On Calvinism.

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    COMPARE that “hedging” uncertain language (to be considered, only be regarded, never declared that these things are necessarily so) to what we’d say (answering as Scripture actually answers): They HAVE forgiveness of sins, They HAVE put on Christ, They HAVE been washed & regenerated, This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3), In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6), you are receiving the very and true body and blood of Christ given into death/shed for the forgiveness of sin, you are receiving forgiveness of sin, the actual absolution being actually given and received – or to put it in line with the above “So we (Lutherans) firmly, intrepidly, confidently, boldly and most assuredly pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants in their baptisms.” And we dare not doubt it.

    There’s no escaping that two different religions are at play here, there are in reality only two religions in the world. The doctrinal issues simply are never going to change or be resolvable, which is the very nature between truth and falsehood. It’s sheer fantasy to think that they ever will. Falsehood, even mingled falsehood has to either resolve and repent into truth or forever remain opposed to it.

    Thus, when all the “pro me” Word and Sacraments are therefore disconnected, man must of necessity blindly scrape around for God in his/her life, some affirmation. And that comes in any form from high charisma, to some sign, to works. Methodism developed on this same principle. Pietism in one since is simply the natural religion of fallen man.

  • Richard

    larry,

    Give it a rest, man. The subject is Lutheran pietism and how it contributed to evangelicalism. Equating the Reformed Confessions with pietism, in addition to being historically inaccurate, misses the point of the article, which points to German pietism as the problem. Come to grips with the article instead of mis-using yet another thing to bash the Reformed Confessions.

  • Richard

    larry,

    Give it a rest, man. The subject is Lutheran pietism and how it contributed to evangelicalism. Equating the Reformed Confessions with pietism, in addition to being historically inaccurate, misses the point of the article, which points to German pietism as the problem. Come to grips with the article instead of mis-using yet another thing to bash the Reformed Confessions.

  • Porcell

    Richard, at 8, of course the subject of the thread has changed from Ward’s view that the root of Pietism goes back to central European politics and Lutheranism to Calvin bashing. Larry’s post at 9 proves the point: Pietism couldn’t possibly be Lutheranism; it’s all a Reformed heresy. Go figure.

  • Porcell

    Richard, at 8, of course the subject of the thread has changed from Ward’s view that the root of Pietism goes back to central European politics and Lutheranism to Calvin bashing. Larry’s post at 9 proves the point: Pietism couldn’t possibly be Lutheranism; it’s all a Reformed heresy. Go figure.

  • Craig

    @Richard It is not Calvin who is being bashed, however that is not a bad idea, but the ones who follow his unbiblical rationalistic systematics that points poor souls inward for assurance. Also keep in mind that this is Cranach: The Blog of Veith, two Lutherans. I have seen plenty of “Reformed” blogs that rip Luther and the Book of Concord and I don’t chastise them for doing so on their own turf. And I could care less. So please stop your whinny defensiveness of Calvin on Lutheran blogs. And remember that God is sovereign and He will get His glory even through these reprobate Lutherans.

  • Craig

    @Richard It is not Calvin who is being bashed, however that is not a bad idea, but the ones who follow his unbiblical rationalistic systematics that points poor souls inward for assurance. Also keep in mind that this is Cranach: The Blog of Veith, two Lutherans. I have seen plenty of “Reformed” blogs that rip Luther and the Book of Concord and I don’t chastise them for doing so on their own turf. And I could care less. So please stop your whinny defensiveness of Calvin on Lutheran blogs. And remember that God is sovereign and He will get His glory even through these reprobate Lutherans.

  • Richard

    Craig’s post just goes to show what I initially stated in comment 5. And now we revert to name-calling. Nice.

  • Richard

    Craig’s post just goes to show what I initially stated in comment 5. And now we revert to name-calling. Nice.

  • Albert

    I think Larry is calling it like it is. He’s bashing both Lutheran pietism (which removes the sacraments, unofficially) and Calvinism, as well all other heterodoxies (which remove the sacraments officially). What’s the problem with that?

  • Albert

    I think Larry is calling it like it is. He’s bashing both Lutheran pietism (which removes the sacraments, unofficially) and Calvinism, as well all other heterodoxies (which remove the sacraments officially). What’s the problem with that?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Richard @ 13

    Try this:

    1) the late Melancthon was spiritual father of what became Calvinism. So the same Lutheran who was editor for the foundational Lutheran Confessions is to blame for the Reformed. Calvin at one point declared himself to be a Lutheran Pastor.

    Granted that perhaps that historical footnote was due precisely to the fact that there was no place in the concordats between the Lutheran states and the Roman states for the Reformed . This is perhaps why Calvin called himself Lutheran. Again who was the problem? The Lutherans!

    They would have avoided most of the problems corrected by the B of C , if in love, they had insisted for a place for the Huegenots and Calvinists and Zwinglians at the political table.

    2) The reformed returned the favor to the Lutherans in the following century by influencing the Lutherans against rationalism. In that century the German Monarch forced a merger between the Reformed and the Lutherans. The reformed promptly shatterd a huge stone crucifix above the altar of the central Berlin cathedral and threw it into the river Spee in celebration! Then , later their influence spawned pietism in that merged state church.

    Some pietism looks very reformed . It is more doctrinal.
    Other pietism looked more arminian and Wesleyan.
    Other pietism, in the form of the LCMS was a rediscovery of the earlier Lutheranism that Melancthon had originally embraced and then left.

    Each of these forms of Pietism found there way to the USA. Yes the Lutherans are ultimately to blame for the Reformed (as opposed to Zwingli´s reformation), and the 3 types of pietism too.

    I agree, this is all the fault of Lutherans.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Richard @ 13

    Try this:

    1) the late Melancthon was spiritual father of what became Calvinism. So the same Lutheran who was editor for the foundational Lutheran Confessions is to blame for the Reformed. Calvin at one point declared himself to be a Lutheran Pastor.

    Granted that perhaps that historical footnote was due precisely to the fact that there was no place in the concordats between the Lutheran states and the Roman states for the Reformed . This is perhaps why Calvin called himself Lutheran. Again who was the problem? The Lutherans!

    They would have avoided most of the problems corrected by the B of C , if in love, they had insisted for a place for the Huegenots and Calvinists and Zwinglians at the political table.

    2) The reformed returned the favor to the Lutherans in the following century by influencing the Lutherans against rationalism. In that century the German Monarch forced a merger between the Reformed and the Lutherans. The reformed promptly shatterd a huge stone crucifix above the altar of the central Berlin cathedral and threw it into the river Spee in celebration! Then , later their influence spawned pietism in that merged state church.

    Some pietism looks very reformed . It is more doctrinal.
    Other pietism looked more arminian and Wesleyan.
    Other pietism, in the form of the LCMS was a rediscovery of the earlier Lutheranism that Melancthon had originally embraced and then left.

    Each of these forms of Pietism found there way to the USA. Yes the Lutherans are ultimately to blame for the Reformed (as opposed to Zwingli´s reformation), and the 3 types of pietism too.

    I agree, this is all the fault of Lutherans.

  • Porcell

    Albert, at fourteen, Larry brushes by Lutheran Pietism by declaring it a heresy and then ends up by quoting Kuyper and declaring none too subtly that Lutheranism is about truth and Calvinism about falsehood. The fellow is an ordinary divisive Lutheran partisan.

  • Porcell

    Albert, at fourteen, Larry brushes by Lutheran Pietism by declaring it a heresy and then ends up by quoting Kuyper and declaring none too subtly that Lutheranism is about truth and Calvinism about falsehood. The fellow is an ordinary divisive Lutheran partisan.

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

    Bror @ 6,

    As always, good comment. Thank you for the reply! It’s frustrating dealing with Wesleyans on stuff like this, because the minute you bring up Pietism in a negative way, they tend to get defensive about it, and the reaction is often “So you don’t believe in good works or holiness!?”

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

    Bror @ 6,

    As always, good comment. Thank you for the reply! It’s frustrating dealing with Wesleyans on stuff like this, because the minute you bring up Pietism in a negative way, they tend to get defensive about it, and the reaction is often “So you don’t believe in good works or holiness!?”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    The reformed and Lutherans will not truly have common ground until the Reformed stop identifying the Image of God restored as being about re-conforming man to the Law as the revelation of that Image.

    The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    This strikes against the very heart of Lutheran Theology. Lutherans state that the Image of God and the Adamic Original Righeousness was alone invisible faith, alone in Christ.

    Therefore, Baptism, for Lutherans, is the FULL and IMMEDIATE return of Adamic Original Righeousness and the Image of God in the New Man created , ex nihilo, in the Baptized believer.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    The reformed and Lutherans will not truly have common ground until the Reformed stop identifying the Image of God restored as being about re-conforming man to the Law as the revelation of that Image.

    The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    This strikes against the very heart of Lutheran Theology. Lutherans state that the Image of God and the Adamic Original Righeousness was alone invisible faith, alone in Christ.

    Therefore, Baptism, for Lutherans, is the FULL and IMMEDIATE return of Adamic Original Righeousness and the Image of God in the New Man created , ex nihilo, in the Baptized believer.

  • Albert

    One can’t fault a Lutheran for saying Lutheranism is true. By obvious deduction, if Lutheranism is (believed to be) true then anything that isn’t Lutheranism, to the extent it departs from Lutheranism, including Calvinism, pietism, etc., must be false.

  • Albert

    One can’t fault a Lutheran for saying Lutheranism is true. By obvious deduction, if Lutheranism is (believed to be) true then anything that isn’t Lutheranism, to the extent it departs from Lutheranism, including Calvinism, pietism, etc., must be false.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with Albert (@20), I have to wonder why some non-Lutherans seem so intent on being offended. They come to a blog written by a Lutheran, commented on by many Lutherans, in which Lutheranism is discussed and upheld, and they voice their shock that these people all think Lutheranism is correct — and, by extension, that non-Lutheranism contains errors. It’s like some people want to be offended.

    I mean, I enjoy the non-Lutheran commenters here, but I kind of expect them to man up and defend their positions, not spend their time complaining about the fact that people disagree with them and their heroes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with Albert (@20), I have to wonder why some non-Lutherans seem so intent on being offended. They come to a blog written by a Lutheran, commented on by many Lutherans, in which Lutheranism is discussed and upheld, and they voice their shock that these people all think Lutheranism is correct — and, by extension, that non-Lutheranism contains errors. It’s like some people want to be offended.

    I mean, I enjoy the non-Lutheran commenters here, but I kind of expect them to man up and defend their positions, not spend their time complaining about the fact that people disagree with them and their heroes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And though I am way in over my head here as to my ability to discuss various historical names and construct a plausible history of pietism and/or Evangelicalism, I do think Richard protests too much.

    He said (@8),

    Watch the conversation now turn from the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM, to Calvin bashing.

    One can’t help but notice that, even as he complains about people making it out to be all “Calvin’s fault”, he then turns around and makes it all Lutheranism’s fault. But — and here I’m going off some very basic research — the article Veith linked to does not limit itself to Lutherans! It mainly focuses on pietism — which, again, was not limited to Lutherans, though obviously nor was it absent from it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And though I am way in over my head here as to my ability to discuss various historical names and construct a plausible history of pietism and/or Evangelicalism, I do think Richard protests too much.

    He said (@8),

    Watch the conversation now turn from the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM, to Calvin bashing.

    One can’t help but notice that, even as he complains about people making it out to be all “Calvin’s fault”, he then turns around and makes it all Lutheranism’s fault. But — and here I’m going off some very basic research — the article Veith linked to does not limit itself to Lutherans! It mainly focuses on pietism — which, again, was not limited to Lutherans, though obviously nor was it absent from it.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at twenty-one, As one non Lutheran here, I have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith; however, one often notices that along with upholding their own faith, many have some need to disparage other faiths, especially the Reformed. See Larry at fourteen who declares a perfectly reasonable argument by Kuyper to be an example of Reformed falsehood versus Lutheran truth.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at twenty-one, As one non Lutheran here, I have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith; however, one often notices that along with upholding their own faith, many have some need to disparage other faiths, especially the Reformed. See Larry at fourteen who declares a perfectly reasonable argument by Kuyper to be an example of Reformed falsehood versus Lutheran truth.

  • larry

    Albert,

    Thanks Albert for recognizing exactly what was being said.

    You got the point exactly right. I’m not brushing by Lutheran pieitism, that’s a false accusation. What the point is is to SEE the basic theology of glory in whatever form it arises formerly or informerly EVEN under the name Lutheran.

    People, for some odd reason, get stuck in Lutheranism and Calvinism as if its “my party” versus “your party”. That’s what I’m trying to get above and into what the actual doctrines state, which is why I quoted and paraphrased actual doctrinal realities, not “lutheran” versus “reformed” but what the doctrines actually say and do.

    One CANNOT say that these two are the same nor mingle truth with error. That’s why I stated two examples (below) which shows the difference in the doctrinal language and how the doctrine forces the use. The attempt is to get above the “Lutheran” versus “Reformed” as in a battle between two parties and then an examination of the doctrines which are in fact diametrically opposed.

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”
    COMPARE that “hedging” uncertain language (to be considered, only be regarded, never declared that these things are necessarily so) to what we’d say (answering as Scripture actually answers): They HAVE forgiveness of sins, They HAVE put on Christ, They HAVE been washed & regenerated, This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3), In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6), you are receiving the very and true body and blood of Christ given into death/shed for the forgiveness of sin, you are receiving forgiveness of sin, the actual absolution being actually given and received – or to put it in line with the above “So we (Lutherans) firmly, intrepidly, confidently, boldly and most assuredly pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants in their baptisms.” And we dare not doubt it.

    FAR from ignoring Lutheran pietism, that’s the point they’ve missed in what I said, I actually think the reality of Lutheran Pietism (a false doctrine under the cover of orthodox doctrine) helps ALL THE MORE to show this is not a “party battle” between Luthernism vs. Calvinism as a couple of “isms” or historic political issues (though that’s mingled in there no doubt) but the ROOT doctrines are different and can NEVER resolved together, nor will they be. So that ultimately what we call “Lutheran doctrine” – which by the way its not named that, its confession of faith that faithfully and truthful confesses what scripture actually says, just like the Apostle’s or Nicene Creeds which predates the book of Concord – is not “LUTHERAN” per se but an orthodox confession of faith. It could be called, if its origins differed, “the Kenyan Cord” and be word for word and it would still be the embodiment of orthodoxy. And the WCF, Dort, etc., could be called Brown’s Confession of faith, be word for word, and not called “Reformed” or Calvinistic and it would STILL be heterodoxy. And then some Kenyans might heterodoxically go astray similarly under the cover of the orthodox confessions and be called Kenyan Pietism. Then for short hand we’d be saying Kenyanism versus Brownism.

    Pietism was not just a “movement” of Lutheranism even though it manifest itself there. Pietism in the most strict sense of the term is nothing other than original sin and the natural fallen religion of man, and it manifest itself in multiple ways from utterly outside of Christian fallen religions to cults, to sects and heterodoxy, to simply our each individual fallen persons remnant gravity.

    If you have no “pro me” in Word and Sacrament, you WILL search for God pietistically for assurance. There’s no way around that, that is ultimately the very bondage of the fallen human will. And it proves itself constantly because the Word and Sacraments are denied not due to an intellectual failure to understand what they say but PRECISELY for what they say; “this baptism saves you, this is my body/blood, etc…”

  • larry

    Albert,

    Thanks Albert for recognizing exactly what was being said.

    You got the point exactly right. I’m not brushing by Lutheran pieitism, that’s a false accusation. What the point is is to SEE the basic theology of glory in whatever form it arises formerly or informerly EVEN under the name Lutheran.

    People, for some odd reason, get stuck in Lutheranism and Calvinism as if its “my party” versus “your party”. That’s what I’m trying to get above and into what the actual doctrines state, which is why I quoted and paraphrased actual doctrinal realities, not “lutheran” versus “reformed” but what the doctrines actually say and do.

    One CANNOT say that these two are the same nor mingle truth with error. That’s why I stated two examples (below) which shows the difference in the doctrinal language and how the doctrine forces the use. The attempt is to get above the “Lutheran” versus “Reformed” as in a battle between two parties and then an examination of the doctrines which are in fact diametrically opposed.

    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”
    COMPARE that “hedging” uncertain language (to be considered, only be regarded, never declared that these things are necessarily so) to what we’d say (answering as Scripture actually answers): They HAVE forgiveness of sins, They HAVE put on Christ, They HAVE been washed & regenerated, This Baptism saves you (1 Peter 3), In Baptism we were buried and risen with Christ (Romans 6), you are receiving the very and true body and blood of Christ given into death/shed for the forgiveness of sin, you are receiving forgiveness of sin, the actual absolution being actually given and received – or to put it in line with the above “So we (Lutherans) firmly, intrepidly, confidently, boldly and most assuredly pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants in their baptisms.” And we dare not doubt it.

    FAR from ignoring Lutheran pietism, that’s the point they’ve missed in what I said, I actually think the reality of Lutheran Pietism (a false doctrine under the cover of orthodox doctrine) helps ALL THE MORE to show this is not a “party battle” between Luthernism vs. Calvinism as a couple of “isms” or historic political issues (though that’s mingled in there no doubt) but the ROOT doctrines are different and can NEVER resolved together, nor will they be. So that ultimately what we call “Lutheran doctrine” – which by the way its not named that, its confession of faith that faithfully and truthful confesses what scripture actually says, just like the Apostle’s or Nicene Creeds which predates the book of Concord – is not “LUTHERAN” per se but an orthodox confession of faith. It could be called, if its origins differed, “the Kenyan Cord” and be word for word and it would still be the embodiment of orthodoxy. And the WCF, Dort, etc., could be called Brown’s Confession of faith, be word for word, and not called “Reformed” or Calvinistic and it would STILL be heterodoxy. And then some Kenyans might heterodoxically go astray similarly under the cover of the orthodox confessions and be called Kenyan Pietism. Then for short hand we’d be saying Kenyanism versus Brownism.

    Pietism was not just a “movement” of Lutheranism even though it manifest itself there. Pietism in the most strict sense of the term is nothing other than original sin and the natural fallen religion of man, and it manifest itself in multiple ways from utterly outside of Christian fallen religions to cults, to sects and heterodoxy, to simply our each individual fallen persons remnant gravity.

    If you have no “pro me” in Word and Sacrament, you WILL search for God pietistically for assurance. There’s no way around that, that is ultimately the very bondage of the fallen human will. And it proves itself constantly because the Word and Sacraments are denied not due to an intellectual failure to understand what they say but PRECISELY for what they say; “this baptism saves you, this is my body/blood, etc…”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@23), your comment is pretty an example of what I was talking about.

    Unlike you, most Lutherans here believe in absolute, knowable Truth. And we are Lutherans because they believe Lutheranism to be true. If we believed that Calvinism were true, we would be Calvinists. And if we believed — as you apparently do, though it beggars belief — that Calvinism and Lutheranism were equally true, we would not only be a member of one of those bodies, we would also be working very hard to get them to unite, so as to avoid needless schism. Again, all of this because we believe in absolute, knowable Truth.

    But, as you have made clear elsewhere, you do not believe in such. Which explains why you are a member of a (Congregationalist) church whose tenets you do not hold to entirely (and why you often urge those here to join an entirely different church — the Roman Catholic one — that you also only agree with in part).

    You say you “have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith”, but then you complain when Lutherans disparage non-Lutherans for being in error — not at all understanding that those are the same thing. Which goes to show that you really do have a problem with Lutherans upholding Lutheranism.

    When there are two or more mutually exclusive truth claims, and someone comes along and upholds one of them, he is necessarily decrying the others. Unless, again, he chooses your relativist path and says we can’t really know which is true, so can’t we all just be nice and not try to sort out what’s true or not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@23), your comment is pretty an example of what I was talking about.

    Unlike you, most Lutherans here believe in absolute, knowable Truth. And we are Lutherans because they believe Lutheranism to be true. If we believed that Calvinism were true, we would be Calvinists. And if we believed — as you apparently do, though it beggars belief — that Calvinism and Lutheranism were equally true, we would not only be a member of one of those bodies, we would also be working very hard to get them to unite, so as to avoid needless schism. Again, all of this because we believe in absolute, knowable Truth.

    But, as you have made clear elsewhere, you do not believe in such. Which explains why you are a member of a (Congregationalist) church whose tenets you do not hold to entirely (and why you often urge those here to join an entirely different church — the Roman Catholic one — that you also only agree with in part).

    You say you “have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith”, but then you complain when Lutherans disparage non-Lutherans for being in error — not at all understanding that those are the same thing. Which goes to show that you really do have a problem with Lutherans upholding Lutheranism.

    When there are two or more mutually exclusive truth claims, and someone comes along and upholds one of them, he is necessarily decrying the others. Unless, again, he chooses your relativist path and says we can’t really know which is true, so can’t we all just be nice and not try to sort out what’s true or not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, forgive me for continuing to speak out of potentially great ignorance here (and I think I am saying this in agreement with Larry @24), but the reason Lutherans may appear to be attacking Calvinism and others, while ignoring the origins of pietism within Lutheranism, is that these Lutherans here (though by no means all Lutherans) have rejected pietism, while pietism’s tenets are not rejected by those denominations that sprung from or were influenced by it.

    Which is to say, yes, we’re sorry it came from us, but we have renounced it, while others continue to embrace it, so please stop blaming us at this point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, forgive me for continuing to speak out of potentially great ignorance here (and I think I am saying this in agreement with Larry @24), but the reason Lutherans may appear to be attacking Calvinism and others, while ignoring the origins of pietism within Lutheranism, is that these Lutherans here (though by no means all Lutherans) have rejected pietism, while pietism’s tenets are not rejected by those denominations that sprung from or were influenced by it.

    Which is to say, yes, we’re sorry it came from us, but we have renounced it, while others continue to embrace it, so please stop blaming us at this point.

  • larry

    Then Porcell, you should say that Kuyper is true and Lutheran is false, in those quotes. That would not offend me, but at least it would be progress and in the right direction.

    Because fundamentally one declares to a person, “maybe God saved X and we will consider it to be so for now because that’s all we can do.” Versus “Yes you are saved, forgiven, etc…”.

    “Consider this a billion dollars”

    Versus

    “This is a billion dollars”

    Two different theologys.

    Do you yourself know yourself to be elect, thus saved and have eternal life or do you just consider yourself to be elect but in the end don’t know? How?

    And that gets into the pietism under any name or form.

  • larry

    Then Porcell, you should say that Kuyper is true and Lutheran is false, in those quotes. That would not offend me, but at least it would be progress and in the right direction.

    Because fundamentally one declares to a person, “maybe God saved X and we will consider it to be so for now because that’s all we can do.” Versus “Yes you are saved, forgiven, etc…”.

    “Consider this a billion dollars”

    Versus

    “This is a billion dollars”

    Two different theologys.

    Do you yourself know yourself to be elect, thus saved and have eternal life or do you just consider yourself to be elect but in the end don’t know? How?

    And that gets into the pietism under any name or form.

  • Craig

    Porcell and Richard

    You guys are really funny. I can’t believe that you are so sensitive about “Reformed bashing.” I have never and I mean never met a Calvinists who doesn’t go ballistic on the theology of your Arminian (the free-will branch of the Reformed churches) brothers. And that is because you can see their error. That is how Lutherans feel about the Calvinists. Your errors are obvious and easily pointed out. As a Lutheran I rest on the Word and the simple teaching. No systems, no 5 points just the plain reading of the text. Calvinists are undone by this and they get all offended when they can’t blow apart the BoC they way they can dismantle an Ariminian.

  • Craig

    Porcell and Richard

    You guys are really funny. I can’t believe that you are so sensitive about “Reformed bashing.” I have never and I mean never met a Calvinists who doesn’t go ballistic on the theology of your Arminian (the free-will branch of the Reformed churches) brothers. And that is because you can see their error. That is how Lutherans feel about the Calvinists. Your errors are obvious and easily pointed out. As a Lutheran I rest on the Word and the simple teaching. No systems, no 5 points just the plain reading of the text. Calvinists are undone by this and they get all offended when they can’t blow apart the BoC they way they can dismantle an Ariminian.

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

    I guess that somewhere, somehow, we need to sit down on a website (if there’s one available, please suggest it) and hash out where Calvinism and Lutheranism diverge on issues (besides the obvious one of communion). Because no Calvinist I know agrees with Pietism at all.

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

    I guess that somewhere, somehow, we need to sit down on a website (if there’s one available, please suggest it) and hash out where Calvinism and Lutheranism diverge on issues (besides the obvious one of communion). Because no Calvinist I know agrees with Pietism at all.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at nineteen: The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    Calvin, Institutes 3.11.17: The promises of the law depend upon the condition of works while the gospel depends upon God’s mercy. Calvin knew as well as Luther that in a covenant of grace the law has no power to condemn since its terms have been personally and perfectly met by Christ on the Cross.

    Your view on this subject is just about a perfect example of sectarian
    Lutheranism that has little understanding of the truth of Calvin’s views.

    Todd, at twenty-five, No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly. Calvin and Luther say nowhere they espouse absolute truth. Being humble even saintly men, they well understood the distinction between human analogical understanding of truth and archetypal truth that only God, Christ, and the Spirit have. Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at nineteen: The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    Calvin, Institutes 3.11.17: The promises of the law depend upon the condition of works while the gospel depends upon God’s mercy. Calvin knew as well as Luther that in a covenant of grace the law has no power to condemn since its terms have been personally and perfectly met by Christ on the Cross.

    Your view on this subject is just about a perfect example of sectarian
    Lutheranism that has little understanding of the truth of Calvin’s views.

    Todd, at twenty-five, No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly. Calvin and Luther say nowhere they espouse absolute truth. Being humble even saintly men, they well understood the distinction between human analogical understanding of truth and archetypal truth that only God, Christ, and the Spirit have. Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me above for not closing a quote. The correct version is:

    FWS, at nineteen: The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    Calvin, Institutes 3.11.17: The promises of the law depend upon the condition of works while the gospel depends upon God’s mercy. Calvin knew as well as Luther that in a covenant of grace the law has no power to condemn since its terms have been personally and perfectly met by Christ on the Cross.

    Your view on this subject is just about a perfect example of sectarian
    Lutheranism that has little understanding of the truth of Calvin’s views.

    Todd, at twenty-five, No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly. Calvin and Luther say nowhere they espouse absolute truth. Being humble even saintly men, they well understood the distinction between human analogical understanding of truth and archetypal truth that only God, Christ, and the Spirit have. Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me above for not closing a quote. The correct version is:

    FWS, at nineteen: The Reformed insist that the path back to Adamic Original Righeousness is that of the Holy Spirit re-conforming us to the Law of God.

    Calvin, Institutes 3.11.17: The promises of the law depend upon the condition of works while the gospel depends upon God’s mercy. Calvin knew as well as Luther that in a covenant of grace the law has no power to condemn since its terms have been personally and perfectly met by Christ on the Cross.

    Your view on this subject is just about a perfect example of sectarian
    Lutheranism that has little understanding of the truth of Calvin’s views.

    Todd, at twenty-five, No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly. Calvin and Luther say nowhere they espouse absolute truth. Being humble even saintly men, they well understood the distinction between human analogical understanding of truth and archetypal truth that only God, Christ, and the Spirit have. Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell@ 30

    I am not hurling an acusation here Peter.

    What is it that you feel would be the Image of God restored and Original Righeousness restored? Don´t you think that that would be exactly mankind , once again realizing his God given Design by again being conformed to the Law of God where God has revealed his very nature and Divine Will?

    If you do not believe this and Calvin and the Reformed do not, then how would you define the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness? What do those two things consist of? What is their essence?

    That is a sincere question for you Peter. It is not a partisan question.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell@ 30

    I am not hurling an acusation here Peter.

    What is it that you feel would be the Image of God restored and Original Righeousness restored? Don´t you think that that would be exactly mankind , once again realizing his God given Design by again being conformed to the Law of God where God has revealed his very nature and Divine Will?

    If you do not believe this and Calvin and the Reformed do not, then how would you define the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness? What do those two things consist of? What is their essence?

    That is a sincere question for you Peter. It is not a partisan question.

  • Craig

    J. Dean 29,

    Yes they do! Ask a Calvinist how do they know they are saved and they will say “Because of my faith”

    That IS pietism. Looking inward for salvation.

    I have asked many well known Calvinists and that is their answer.

    A Lutheran does not look inward to find his/her faith. They have an outside of themselves spoken Word, This is for you for the forgiveness of all your sins…I forgive you all you sins….you are baptized into Christ and all your sins are washed away!

  • Craig

    J. Dean 29,

    Yes they do! Ask a Calvinist how do they know they are saved and they will say “Because of my faith”

    That IS pietism. Looking inward for salvation.

    I have asked many well known Calvinists and that is their answer.

    A Lutheran does not look inward to find his/her faith. They have an outside of themselves spoken Word, This is for you for the forgiveness of all your sins…I forgive you all you sins….you are baptized into Christ and all your sins are washed away!

  • Porcell

    Craig, there is no Arminian branch of Calvinism, notwithstanding your Lutheran hallucinatory view. That issue was settled at the Synod of Dort, 1618-19, that affirmed the TULIP principles of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible (or irrevocable) grace, and the perseverance of the saints.

  • Porcell

    Craig, there is no Arminian branch of Calvinism, notwithstanding your Lutheran hallucinatory view. That issue was settled at the Synod of Dort, 1618-19, that affirmed the TULIP principles of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible (or irrevocable) grace, and the perseverance of the saints.

  • Craig

    Porcell
    Arminius was Beza’s student. And they still considered themselves Reformed. Just two sides of counterfeit penny.

  • Craig

    Porcell
    Arminius was Beza’s student. And they still considered themselves Reformed. Just two sides of counterfeit penny.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 31

    here you go: Calvin´s views on the Image of God. And don´t just try to score sophomoric debate points by separating out the text that , out of full context, would refute what I say. Read the whole of it. I find it to be more more reason-able in fact than the Lutheran position. But it is really of one cloth with Roman aristotelian St Thomas. Which is probably precisely why you find your congretationalism amenable now to the teachings of Rome.

    I think you will find that the most representative and confessional view of the reformed is that the Image of God is the Original Righeousness of Man. The difference from the Lutherans is that the Reformed locate that righeousness in conformity to God´s Law and not as being faith in Christ alone.

    http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2005/07/john-calvin-on-image-of-god.html

    and here…

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/14353161/Calvins-Doctrine-of-Man

    and here…

    http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/imageofgod.htm

    and here, under the section “man” is a succinct summary of Calvin´s view.

    http://www.theopedia.com/John_Calvin#Man

    http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Feinberg-Image-BS.pdf

    and finally this gem…

    http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/zachmanrcalvindoctrineofcreation.pdf

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 31

    here you go: Calvin´s views on the Image of God. And don´t just try to score sophomoric debate points by separating out the text that , out of full context, would refute what I say. Read the whole of it. I find it to be more more reason-able in fact than the Lutheran position. But it is really of one cloth with Roman aristotelian St Thomas. Which is probably precisely why you find your congretationalism amenable now to the teachings of Rome.

    I think you will find that the most representative and confessional view of the reformed is that the Image of God is the Original Righeousness of Man. The difference from the Lutherans is that the Reformed locate that righeousness in conformity to God´s Law and not as being faith in Christ alone.

    http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2005/07/john-calvin-on-image-of-god.html

    and here…

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/14353161/Calvins-Doctrine-of-Man

    and here…

    http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/imageofgod.htm

    and here, under the section “man” is a succinct summary of Calvin´s view.

    http://www.theopedia.com/John_Calvin#Man

    http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Feinberg-Image-BS.pdf

    and finally this gem…

    http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/zachmanrcalvindoctrineofcreation.pdf

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell, again, you are doing the very same thing you complain about Lutherans doing.

    Remember that you said (@23):

    I have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith; however … many have some need to disparage other faiths.

    But what do we see you saying later (@30)?

    No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. … Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

    So you uphold your own faith (in a lack of Truth), and disparage the faith of others in that same Truth. Clearly, you have no problem with disparaging others’ faith — you just don’t like it when it’s aimed your way. There is a name for this type of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior.

    What’s more, your argument — as with the arguments of all relativists — claims solely for yourself the possession of absolute truth. Namely, that no human can possess absolute truth. You claim this truth absolutely, and you brook no disagreement. You even have a well-worn, highly decontextualized proof text for your religion! Naturally, you never apply this argument to your own claims, but only to others’.

    To summarize, you claim that there is no absolute truth except this: that man cannot know the absolute truth. Anyone who claims to know that he has the absolute truth, and so disparages others who disagree with him, is, according to your religion, wrong. Unless, of course, the truth that he holds to is the one which your religions upholds. In that case, it is fine to disparage those who disagree with you as “fanatics”.

    And the only Bible verse that matters (and is, it turns out, a decoder ring for understanding — or, rather, not understanding — the rest of the Bible) is 1 Cor 13:12, in which Paul explains his main point that we can’t really be sure of anything.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell, again, you are doing the very same thing you complain about Lutherans doing.

    Remember that you said (@23):

    I have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith; however … many have some need to disparage other faiths.

    But what do we see you saying later (@30)?

    No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. … Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.

    So you uphold your own faith (in a lack of Truth), and disparage the faith of others in that same Truth. Clearly, you have no problem with disparaging others’ faith — you just don’t like it when it’s aimed your way. There is a name for this type of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior.

    What’s more, your argument — as with the arguments of all relativists — claims solely for yourself the possession of absolute truth. Namely, that no human can possess absolute truth. You claim this truth absolutely, and you brook no disagreement. You even have a well-worn, highly decontextualized proof text for your religion! Naturally, you never apply this argument to your own claims, but only to others’.

    To summarize, you claim that there is no absolute truth except this: that man cannot know the absolute truth. Anyone who claims to know that he has the absolute truth, and so disparages others who disagree with him, is, according to your religion, wrong. Unless, of course, the truth that he holds to is the one which your religions upholds. In that case, it is fine to disparage those who disagree with you as “fanatics”.

    And the only Bible verse that matters (and is, it turns out, a decoder ring for understanding — or, rather, not understanding — the rest of the Bible) is 1 Cor 13:12, in which Paul explains his main point that we can’t really be sure of anything.

  • Porcell

    Craig: Yes they do! Ask a Calvinist how do they know they are saved and they will say “Because of my faith”

    You must live in some God forsaken part of the world with rather déclassé “Calvinists.” Serious Calvinists understand the centrality of the biblically revealed Word of God and are far from being the sort of pietistic fideists that, as Ward remarked, somehow came out of the woodwork among German Lutherans in the seventeenth century. Some impressionable Calvinists fell for this, though they were and are on the fringe of serious Calvinism.

  • Porcell

    Craig: Yes they do! Ask a Calvinist how do they know they are saved and they will say “Because of my faith”

    You must live in some God forsaken part of the world with rather déclassé “Calvinists.” Serious Calvinists understand the centrality of the biblically revealed Word of God and are far from being the sort of pietistic fideists that, as Ward remarked, somehow came out of the woodwork among German Lutherans in the seventeenth century. Some impressionable Calvinists fell for this, though they were and are on the fringe of serious Calvinism.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 38

    Ok. I will bite: How do you know you are saved Porcell?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 38

    Ok. I will bite: How do you know you are saved Porcell?

  • Porcell

    Todd, at thirty-six, one may uphold his faith without claiming any absolute or archetypal knowledge. If Paul could argue that he, like all fallen humans, saw through a glass darkly, then anyone who claims absolute is either mad or fanatic.

    Also, one may strenuously argue his position while humbly knowing the limitation of human knowledge. This is far from post-modern relativism.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at thirty-six, one may uphold his faith without claiming any absolute or archetypal knowledge. If Paul could argue that he, like all fallen humans, saw through a glass darkly, then anyone who claims absolute is either mad or fanatic.

    Also, one may strenuously argue his position while humbly knowing the limitation of human knowledge. This is far from post-modern relativism.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 38, I have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament. This is far from some sort of piety based on some sort of mystical personal experience.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 38, I have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament. This is far from some sort of piety based on some sort of mystical personal experience.

  • Richard

    Porcell,

    You’re spitting in the wind here. Some of us would rather stick with our caricatures of the Reformed faith. Instead of reading serious Reformed literature–such as that of Dr. Mike Horton. Or, the Heidelberg Catechism. Makes them feel sooo good.

  • Richard

    Porcell,

    You’re spitting in the wind here. Some of us would rather stick with our caricatures of the Reformed faith. Instead of reading serious Reformed literature–such as that of Dr. Mike Horton. Or, the Heidelberg Catechism. Makes them feel sooo good.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@40), but how do you know that the “biblical covenant of grace” applies to you?

    Obviously, there are people to whom it does not apply. Unless you are proposing universalism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@40), but how do you know that the “biblical covenant of grace” applies to you?

    Obviously, there are people to whom it does not apply. Unless you are proposing universalism.

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

    Well since Richard and Porcell are so eager for it… Here is the connection.
    Pietism and the reformed. The father of Pietism I’d spener, who wrote the ground breaking book of pietism, pia deseridia, piouse desire. This started pietism as it became known in the areas known of as Lutheran. But he wrote this book right after a sabbatical he took in geneva and the then Reformed inhabited Strassbourg. Which makes one believe he caught the infection amongst the reformed. So the reforrmed may not like pietism, but usually not for the same reasons Orthodox Lutherans don’t like pietism.
    so yes, it dis essentially star with the reformed.

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

    Well since Richard and Porcell are so eager for it… Here is the connection.
    Pietism and the reformed. The father of Pietism I’d spener, who wrote the ground breaking book of pietism, pia deseridia, piouse desire. This started pietism as it became known in the areas known of as Lutheran. But he wrote this book right after a sabbatical he took in geneva and the then Reformed inhabited Strassbourg. Which makes one believe he caught the infection amongst the reformed. So the reforrmed may not like pietism, but usually not for the same reasons Orthodox Lutherans don’t like pietism.
    so yes, it dis essentially star with the reformed.

  • Richard

    J.Dean–at no. 29, you are right! And the Reformed will direct you to their Confessions, such as this from the Heidelberg Catechism:

    Question 61. Why sayest thou, that thou art righteous by faith only?

    Answer: Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God; (a) and that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only. (b)

  • Richard

    J.Dean–at no. 29, you are right! And the Reformed will direct you to their Confessions, such as this from the Heidelberg Catechism:

    Question 61. Why sayest thou, that thou art righteous by faith only?

    Answer: Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God; (a) and that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only. (b)

  • larry

    Porcell,

    To reiterate the question Frank and Todd asked, “you have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament.”

    But how do you know YOU Porcell are saved? That’s question on the table. Calvinist either believe in double predestination or its implied mother doctrine limited atonement. Thus, the CoG, as a GROUP of people in time and space according to YOUR confessions ONLY (Sola) applies to the elected while it does not to the reprobate or those to which the atonements limitation did not extent. Now we have, by YOUR confessions two groups the elect and the reprobate or those beyond the limits of the atonement. You, Porcell, must fall into one of these two groups, according to YOUR doctrine, there are no other groups in which YOU or any person may belong. Which is it? And if it is the CoG, then the question remains how do YOU, Porcell, know you are saved?

    It’s a simple question.

    And to point you to another Reformed confession for Reformed, some, recognize THREE forms of unity:

    WCF, a few more articles:

    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
    VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

    VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.

    Thus the ever present question to the man how do YOU know to which you belong?

    The question was not “do you think you are righteous by your faith” but “how do you know that YOU are saved?”

  • larry

    Porcell,

    To reiterate the question Frank and Todd asked, “you have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament.”

    But how do you know YOU Porcell are saved? That’s question on the table. Calvinist either believe in double predestination or its implied mother doctrine limited atonement. Thus, the CoG, as a GROUP of people in time and space according to YOUR confessions ONLY (Sola) applies to the elected while it does not to the reprobate or those to which the atonements limitation did not extent. Now we have, by YOUR confessions two groups the elect and the reprobate or those beyond the limits of the atonement. You, Porcell, must fall into one of these two groups, according to YOUR doctrine, there are no other groups in which YOU or any person may belong. Which is it? And if it is the CoG, then the question remains how do YOU, Porcell, know you are saved?

    It’s a simple question.

    And to point you to another Reformed confession for Reformed, some, recognize THREE forms of unity:

    WCF, a few more articles:

    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
    VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

    VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.

    Thus the ever present question to the man how do YOU know to which you belong?

    The question was not “do you think you are righteous by your faith” but “how do you know that YOU are saved?”

  • Craig

    Good theologians always go bad by a friendship with Calvin. Martin B, Philip M etc. Lutheran mamma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be calvinists. For pietism navel gazing “progressive sanctification” will be their end.

    And sorry to say, well not really, but I have spoken with several of the leading calvinists professors and theyvalways answer with ….I know because of my faith.
    I am sorry to say that my faith is too weak to find comfort there.

    Maybe we Lutherans are just not as sanctified the calvinists? Or we are not confident in our personal faith to find Christ and His assurance? Lutherans need an outside word poured into our ears and down our throats. Yes it is weakness it is Cross Theology and it is the way of the weak.

  • Craig

    Good theologians always go bad by a friendship with Calvin. Martin B, Philip M etc. Lutheran mamma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be calvinists. For pietism navel gazing “progressive sanctification” will be their end.

    And sorry to say, well not really, but I have spoken with several of the leading calvinists professors and theyvalways answer with ….I know because of my faith.
    I am sorry to say that my faith is too weak to find comfort there.

    Maybe we Lutherans are just not as sanctified the calvinists? Or we are not confident in our personal faith to find Christ and His assurance? Lutherans need an outside word poured into our ears and down our throats. Yes it is weakness it is Cross Theology and it is the way of the weak.

  • Porcell

    Bror, that Lutheran Pietism hinged on a sabbatical that Spener took in Geneva before writing his book would be an example of the logical fallacy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc. [After, then because].

    Ward’s point is that in addition to Spener several seventeenth-century Lutherans including Johann Arndt, Jakob Böhme, Pierre Poiret, and August Hermann Francke advanced Pietism for political as well as spiritual reasons. He, also, understood that this original Lutheran Pietist contagion spread later to Wesley and even Edwards.

    My view is that some Lutherans and Calvinists who don’t take the time to thoroughly learn and understand the richness of orthodox Christian doctrine are susceptible to simple minded Pietism, though to pin this phenomenon solely on Calvinism is rank prejudice.

    Todd, A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.

  • Porcell

    Bror, that Lutheran Pietism hinged on a sabbatical that Spener took in Geneva before writing his book would be an example of the logical fallacy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc. [After, then because].

    Ward’s point is that in addition to Spener several seventeenth-century Lutherans including Johann Arndt, Jakob Böhme, Pierre Poiret, and August Hermann Francke advanced Pietism for political as well as spiritual reasons. He, also, understood that this original Lutheran Pietist contagion spread later to Wesley and even Edwards.

    My view is that some Lutherans and Calvinists who don’t take the time to thoroughly learn and understand the richness of orthodox Christian doctrine are susceptible to simple minded Pietism, though to pin this phenomenon solely on Calvinism is rank prejudice.

    Todd, A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.

  • Albert

    One of the better articles concerning the difference between how Luther and Calvin did theology was written by an Anglican priest by the name of Phillip Cary. The article is titled “Sola Fide: Luther and Calvin”. The thesis of the article is that Protestantism approaches the question of salvation and assurance this way:

    “The Standard Protestant Syllogism
    Major Premise: Whoever believes in Christ is saved.
    Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
    Conclusion: I am saved.”

    But, that for Luther the approach is markedly different:

    “Luther’s Syllogism
    Major premise: Christ told me, “I baptize you in the name of the
    Father, the Son, and the Holv Spirit.”
    Minor premise: Christ never lies but only tells the truth.
    Conclusion: I am baptized (that is, I have new life in Christ).”

    The article elucidates serious differences in how theology is approached. You can find it here (among other places on the web):
    http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/carysolafide.pdf

  • Albert

    One of the better articles concerning the difference between how Luther and Calvin did theology was written by an Anglican priest by the name of Phillip Cary. The article is titled “Sola Fide: Luther and Calvin”. The thesis of the article is that Protestantism approaches the question of salvation and assurance this way:

    “The Standard Protestant Syllogism
    Major Premise: Whoever believes in Christ is saved.
    Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
    Conclusion: I am saved.”

    But, that for Luther the approach is markedly different:

    “Luther’s Syllogism
    Major premise: Christ told me, “I baptize you in the name of the
    Father, the Son, and the Holv Spirit.”
    Minor premise: Christ never lies but only tells the truth.
    Conclusion: I am baptized (that is, I have new life in Christ).”

    The article elucidates serious differences in how theology is approached. You can find it here (among other places on the web):
    http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/carysolafide.pdf

  • larry

    Porcell,

    This is not a jab, please explain this:

    “A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.”

    Confidence in the covenant of grace =

    uncertaintity in the covenant of grace =

    Because it sounds like you have no answer to say how you yourself know you yourself are saved.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    This is not a jab, please explain this:

    “A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.”

    Confidence in the covenant of grace =

    uncertaintity in the covenant of grace =

    Because it sounds like you have no answer to say how you yourself know you yourself are saved.

  • Albert

    FWIW, I don’t agree with everything Pr. Cary states in the article I just mentioned, but, I think he nicely and neatly summarizes the salient differences between “Protestantism” and Lutheranism.

  • Albert

    FWIW, I don’t agree with everything Pr. Cary states in the article I just mentioned, but, I think he nicely and neatly summarizes the salient differences between “Protestantism” and Lutheranism.

  • Craig

    This is a Lutheran’s blog.

    The thread is on Evangelicalism and Pietism.

    Calvinists jump in and say they are not Peitists.

    Calvinists talk about sovereignty, Election, Majesty, Glory, Covenants of this that and the other. However they still must look inward to “know” they are elect. That is the ultimate form of Pietism.

  • Craig

    This is a Lutheran’s blog.

    The thread is on Evangelicalism and Pietism.

    Calvinists jump in and say they are not Peitists.

    Calvinists talk about sovereignty, Election, Majesty, Glory, Covenants of this that and the other. However they still must look inward to “know” they are elect. That is the ultimate form of Pietism.

  • Albert

    Well said, Craig!

  • Albert

    Well said, Craig!

  • Richard

    The thread was on roots of German pietism, which included looking at Johann Arndt, Jakob Böhme, and Pierre Poiret as well as those like Philip Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke. Instead of doing this, which could involve some soul-searching about why pietism developed among German Lutherans, some Lutherans are more content to bash the Reformed (as I predicted way back). Ho-hum.

  • Richard

    The thread was on roots of German pietism, which included looking at Johann Arndt, Jakob Böhme, and Pierre Poiret as well as those like Philip Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke. Instead of doing this, which could involve some soul-searching about why pietism developed among German Lutherans, some Lutherans are more content to bash the Reformed (as I predicted way back). Ho-hum.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Richard (@53), to paraphrase Gandhi, why don’t you be the blog discussion you wish to see? You repeatedly complain (for example):

    Instead of doing this, which could involve some soul-searching about why pietism developed among German Lutherans, some Lutherans are more content to bash the Reformed.

    But your comments here have come across as little more than reactionary Lutheran-bashing. What has that accomplished?

    Do you have any actual ideas to contribute as to “why pietism developed among German Lutherans”, or are you going to continue to whine that Lutherans simply aren’t beating up on themselves enough?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Richard (@53), to paraphrase Gandhi, why don’t you be the blog discussion you wish to see? You repeatedly complain (for example):

    Instead of doing this, which could involve some soul-searching about why pietism developed among German Lutherans, some Lutherans are more content to bash the Reformed.

    But your comments here have come across as little more than reactionary Lutheran-bashing. What has that accomplished?

    Do you have any actual ideas to contribute as to “why pietism developed among German Lutherans”, or are you going to continue to whine that Lutherans simply aren’t beating up on themselves enough?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@39) said, “one may uphold his faith without claiming any absolute or archetypal knowledge.” Which, frankly, makes no sense to me. At this point, I have to ask: what do you mean by “absolute”?

    Because it should be obvious that neither I nor anybody here is claiming to know absolutely everything about God — there is a reason Lutherans frequently refer to certain mysteries (things that transcend our understanding) that have not been revealed to us.

    However, you appear to have claimed in various places on this blog that humans cannot even know with absolute certainty what God has plainly told us in Scripture — you typically make such claims whenever you decide that someone (never you) has become a sectarian “fanatic”. Thus, you put a question mark where God has put a period, as it were, and end up soundind remarkably as if you were asking, “Did God really say …?”

    Of course, you do not sound at all uncertain about your own reading of one passage of Scripture, which, again, is your key to (not) understanding all of Scripture — I refer to 1 Cor. 13:12. No, of that passage, you possess complete certainty in your reading. And, as such, you are quite certain that no one else can be certain of their reading of any other passages. It is the editorial equivalent of putting a “(maybe)” at the end of every sentence in Scripture.

    Are you absolutely certain that Jesus existed, Porcell? Are you absolutely certain that Jesus is God? Are you absolutely certain that he died to pay for the sins of the world? Are you absolutely certain that this death paid for your sins? That is to say, Porcell, are you absolutely certain that you are saved?

    Or are the answers to all those questions merely seen “through a glass darkly”, Porcell? And if that statement of Paul’s is meant to cast doubt on what would be our certainty, then why does he follow it up with “then we shall see face to face” and “then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”? Even Paul, in that same passage, expresses certainty about his own state. This certainty is something God wants us to have, which is why he gave us his Word.

    But you would rob yourself (and attempt to rob us) of that certainty, with double-talk like this: “a person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.” Sorry, no. I am certain. Read Romans 5, among countless other passages.

    You continually give voice to your own doubts here, Peter, and you excoriate those who do not share in your doubts. I do not know why a Christian would do that.

    But if you won’t listen to me, then answer Larry’s question (@49).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@39) said, “one may uphold his faith without claiming any absolute or archetypal knowledge.” Which, frankly, makes no sense to me. At this point, I have to ask: what do you mean by “absolute”?

    Because it should be obvious that neither I nor anybody here is claiming to know absolutely everything about God — there is a reason Lutherans frequently refer to certain mysteries (things that transcend our understanding) that have not been revealed to us.

    However, you appear to have claimed in various places on this blog that humans cannot even know with absolute certainty what God has plainly told us in Scripture — you typically make such claims whenever you decide that someone (never you) has become a sectarian “fanatic”. Thus, you put a question mark where God has put a period, as it were, and end up soundind remarkably as if you were asking, “Did God really say …?”

    Of course, you do not sound at all uncertain about your own reading of one passage of Scripture, which, again, is your key to (not) understanding all of Scripture — I refer to 1 Cor. 13:12. No, of that passage, you possess complete certainty in your reading. And, as such, you are quite certain that no one else can be certain of their reading of any other passages. It is the editorial equivalent of putting a “(maybe)” at the end of every sentence in Scripture.

    Are you absolutely certain that Jesus existed, Porcell? Are you absolutely certain that Jesus is God? Are you absolutely certain that he died to pay for the sins of the world? Are you absolutely certain that this death paid for your sins? That is to say, Porcell, are you absolutely certain that you are saved?

    Or are the answers to all those questions merely seen “through a glass darkly”, Porcell? And if that statement of Paul’s is meant to cast doubt on what would be our certainty, then why does he follow it up with “then we shall see face to face” and “then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”? Even Paul, in that same passage, expresses certainty about his own state. This certainty is something God wants us to have, which is why he gave us his Word.

    But you would rob yourself (and attempt to rob us) of that certainty, with double-talk like this: “a person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.” Sorry, no. I am certain. Read Romans 5, among countless other passages.

    You continually give voice to your own doubts here, Peter, and you excoriate those who do not share in your doubts. I do not know why a Christian would do that.

    But if you won’t listen to me, then answer Larry’s question (@49).

  • Richard

    It’s reactionary Lutheran bashing is it, tODD–to predict what in fact happened on this blog, that instead of a discussion of the Central European roots of evangelicalism, some have been content to bash the Reformed? Gee, maybe this is the way the Prophets were treated.

  • Richard

    It’s reactionary Lutheran bashing is it, tODD–to predict what in fact happened on this blog, that instead of a discussion of the Central European roots of evangelicalism, some have been content to bash the Reformed? Gee, maybe this is the way the Prophets were treated.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Richard (@56), what appears reactionary is your taking umbrage at the idea that it’s all Calvinism’s fault, and then, in turn, going on and on about how it’s actually all Lutheranism’s fault.

    Of course, I can’t but help notice that you’ve toned that down in your most recent comment. Let’s review your shifting explanation of what it is here we’re discussing:

    It’s the German Lutherans’ fault: “the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM” (@8)

    It’s simply the Lutherans’ fault: “The subject is Lutheran pietism and how it contributed to evangelicalism” (@11)

    Okay, let’s just say it’s the Germans’ fault: “The thread was on roots of German pietism” (@53)

    Eh, let’s broaden the geographic area a bit: “a discussion of the Central European roots of evangelicalism” (@56)

    It was to comments like the first two that I directed my “reactionary” label, since the article itself does not confine itself merely to Lutheranism, but that seemed to be only what you wanted to talk about.

    Meanwhile, I’ll repeat my earlier question (@54), though I’m beginning to get an idea of what the answer is: Do you have any actual ideas to contribute as to “why pietism developed among German Lutherans”, or are you going to continue to whine that Lutherans simply aren’t beating up on themselves enough?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Richard (@56), what appears reactionary is your taking umbrage at the idea that it’s all Calvinism’s fault, and then, in turn, going on and on about how it’s actually all Lutheranism’s fault.

    Of course, I can’t but help notice that you’ve toned that down in your most recent comment. Let’s review your shifting explanation of what it is here we’re discussing:

    It’s the German Lutherans’ fault: “the subject–which is evangelicalism’s source in GERMAN LUTHERAN PIETISM” (@8)

    It’s simply the Lutherans’ fault: “The subject is Lutheran pietism and how it contributed to evangelicalism” (@11)

    Okay, let’s just say it’s the Germans’ fault: “The thread was on roots of German pietism” (@53)

    Eh, let’s broaden the geographic area a bit: “a discussion of the Central European roots of evangelicalism” (@56)

    It was to comments like the first two that I directed my “reactionary” label, since the article itself does not confine itself merely to Lutheranism, but that seemed to be only what you wanted to talk about.

    Meanwhile, I’ll repeat my earlier question (@54), though I’m beginning to get an idea of what the answer is: Do you have any actual ideas to contribute as to “why pietism developed among German Lutherans”, or are you going to continue to whine that Lutherans simply aren’t beating up on themselves enough?

  • Porcell

    Larry: Because it sounds like you have no answer to say how you yourself know you yourself are saved.

    To say the least, I should hardly presume to be saved. Serious Calvinists well know the doctrine of limited atonement along with the limitation of human knowledge.The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved.

    The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism. Among the best Christian books on this subject is Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio. [On the Enslaved Will] that is best comprehended in the Latin, though more soft minded of his successors changed this in the Book of Concord. Melanchthon in his brilliant Loci Communes, also, understood this.

    I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

  • Porcell

    Larry: Because it sounds like you have no answer to say how you yourself know you yourself are saved.

    To say the least, I should hardly presume to be saved. Serious Calvinists well know the doctrine of limited atonement along with the limitation of human knowledge.The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved.

    The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism. Among the best Christian books on this subject is Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio. [On the Enslaved Will] that is best comprehended in the Latin, though more soft minded of his successors changed this in the Book of Concord. Melanchthon in his brilliant Loci Communes, also, understood this.

    I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

  • Porcell

    Todd, at twenty-six: Unlike you, most Lutherans here believe in absolute, knowable Truth. ….

    Todd, at fifty-five: Because it should be obvious that neither I nor anybody here is claiming to know absolutely everything about God…

    So, which is it?

  • Porcell

    Todd, at twenty-six: Unlike you, most Lutherans here believe in absolute, knowable Truth. ….

    Todd, at fifty-five: Because it should be obvious that neither I nor anybody here is claiming to know absolutely everything about God…

    So, which is it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@59), pay close attention here: I don’t claim to know absolutely everything about God. But I do believe one can know with absolute certainty that everything he has told us in his Word is true.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@59), pay close attention here: I don’t claim to know absolutely everything about God. But I do believe one can know with absolute certainty that everything he has told us in his Word is true.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the truth is that you see through a glass darkly just like the rest of us, as Paul remarked. Christians know that while the Bible was principally written through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it was set down by fallen humans, subject to the limitations of time and language, not dictated by a secretary like the Koran or the Book of Mormon. Wise people learn to live with the limitations of human knowledge, though they, also, maintain a rock like faith in Christ.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the truth is that you see through a glass darkly just like the rest of us, as Paul remarked. Christians know that while the Bible was principally written through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it was set down by fallen humans, subject to the limitations of time and language, not dictated by a secretary like the Koran or the Book of Mormon. Wise people learn to live with the limitations of human knowledge, though they, also, maintain a rock like faith in Christ.

  • Pete

    Porcell @58 – “The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved.”

    I think you’re right, and it’s tragic. I vividly recall being in a Bible study once that was led by a reformed minister (I hope my fellow Lutherans won’t eviscerate me for that) and his wife made a fascinating and heart-rending confession. She was a very quiet and, may I say, somewhat glum individual. And she very honestly (I believe) shared that she often got very depressed contemplating the idea that she might not be among the elect. She could not honestly be certain that Christ had died for her. I told her that she didn’t have to look any further than John 3:16 – that God so loved the world. I ain’t no theologian, but I’ve heard that the Greek word for “world” there is actually “cosmos” – essentially even more inclusive than planet earth. I told her that I was pretty certain that I was part of the cosmos and that she was, too. Absolutely sure (apropos tODD’s comments.) Her husband immediately launched the typical, convoluted reformed explanation of this simplest of Bible passages. (Sorry – I think I just bashed.)

    But this sort of thing is just what it sounds like Larry has emerged from and why he and others here are so, shall we say, staunch in defending the Lutheran understanding. Phillip Cary’s syllogism presented by Albert @48 gets it right.

    Ideas/words have consequences and the consequence for this unfortunate woman was not good.

  • Pete

    Porcell @58 – “The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved.”

    I think you’re right, and it’s tragic. I vividly recall being in a Bible study once that was led by a reformed minister (I hope my fellow Lutherans won’t eviscerate me for that) and his wife made a fascinating and heart-rending confession. She was a very quiet and, may I say, somewhat glum individual. And she very honestly (I believe) shared that she often got very depressed contemplating the idea that she might not be among the elect. She could not honestly be certain that Christ had died for her. I told her that she didn’t have to look any further than John 3:16 – that God so loved the world. I ain’t no theologian, but I’ve heard that the Greek word for “world” there is actually “cosmos” – essentially even more inclusive than planet earth. I told her that I was pretty certain that I was part of the cosmos and that she was, too. Absolutely sure (apropos tODD’s comments.) Her husband immediately launched the typical, convoluted reformed explanation of this simplest of Bible passages. (Sorry – I think I just bashed.)

    But this sort of thing is just what it sounds like Larry has emerged from and why he and others here are so, shall we say, staunch in defending the Lutheran understanding. Phillip Cary’s syllogism presented by Albert @48 gets it right.

    Ideas/words have consequences and the consequence for this unfortunate woman was not good.

  • Grace

    Porcell – 58 – “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

    I’m surprised at your statement, it saddens me; if you believe in Christ as the Son of God, dying for your sins, believing that HE was who HE claimed, repenting of your sins, why would you not be able to say you KNOW you are saved? – what would be your stumbling block?

    Jesus Christ said – - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:37 – Of course there are many more passages just like this one. Porcell, Jesus was either who HE said HE was, or none of what is in the New Testament is true. The Bible is man’s source. Many books written, but they were not inerrant. The men who penned the New Testament Scriptures were eye witnesses to Christ’s life, death and resurrection, they and they alone were given the appointment to receive from the HOLY Spirit God’s infallible, Word, so that we might know HIM the Savior.

    I do not, as you know, call myself anything other than a Christian Believer or Born Again – I am a Biblicist, I take God’s Word literally

    Porcell – 61 – “Todd, the truth is that you see through a glass darkly just like the rest of us, as Paul remarked.

    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

    We will know God, face to face. We haven’t seen HIM yet, we have the HOLY Scriptures, but we haven’t gazed upon HIM, as we will one day if one believes in HIM as their Savior, repenting of sin.

    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

    God bless you my friend.

    Porcell – 61- . Christians know that while the Bible was principally written through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it was set down by fallen humans, subject to the limitations of time and language, not dictated by a secretary like the Koran or the Book of Mormon. Wise people learn to live with the limitations of human knowledge, though they, also, maintain a rock like faith in Christ.

    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

    Porcell – 58 – “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

    I’m surprised at your statement, it saddens me; if you believe in Christ as the Son of God, dying for your sins, believing that HE was who HE claimed, repenting of your sins, why would you not be able to say you KNOW you are saved? – what would be your stumbling block?

    Jesus Christ said – - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:37 – Of course there are many more passages just like this one. Porcell, Jesus was either who HE said HE was, or none of what is in the New Testament is true. The Bible is man’s source. Many books written, but they were not inerrant. The men who penned the New Testament Scriptures were eye witnesses to Christ’s life, death and resurrection, they and they alone were given the appointment to receive from the HOLY Spirit God’s infallible, Word, so that we might know HIM the Savior.

    I do not, as you know, call myself anything other than a Christian Believer or Born Again – I am a Biblicist, I take God’s Word literally

    Porcell – 61 – “Todd, the truth is that you see through a glass darkly just like the rest of us, as Paul remarked.

    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

    We will know God, face to face. We haven’t seen HIM yet, we have the HOLY Scriptures, but we haven’t gazed upon HIM, as we will one day if one believes in HIM as their Savior, repenting of sin.

    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

    God bless you my friend.

    Porcell – 61- . Christians know that while the Bible was principally written through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it was set down by fallen humans, subject to the limitations of time and language, not dictated by a secretary like the Koran or the Book of Mormon. Wise people learn to live with the limitations of human knowledge, though they, also, maintain a rock like faith in Christ.

    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.

  • SKPeterson

    From a historical standpoint, many of the early reformed branched off of Lutheranism, in many cases quite quickly – devolving into the Mennonites, Amish, and the Anabaptist movements. Some of these later Baptists emerged and formed expressly pietistic groups such as the Dunkers and later manifestations of the Moravians. Many did also drift into the broader stream of the Reformed, I would argue in more of a Zwinglian current than strictly Calvinist. These groups often came into close contact with each other in Germany, such that German Lutherans did pick up certain pietist elements over time and in some places.

    It was noted briefly above that there have been not a few different strains of pietism in Lutheranism over the centuries, roughly corresponding to German and Scandinavian. As to Czech, Estonian or Latvian strains I confess ignorance. Even within the Scandinavian strain it was split primarily between Norwegian and Swedish varieties. In some cases, this pietistic movement led to whole new denominations emerging in the Americas – the Evangelical Free Church is a direct descendant of the Swedish pietists for example, but also pietistic overtones and traditions within the Lutheran church bodies that grew up with immigrant communities in the U.S. such as the Augustana (Sweden), later part of the LCA, and the old Evangelical Lutheran Church which later became part of the ALC. It has been argued, and I tend to agree with the assessment, that these pietistic strains actually have won out theologically within the ELCA, which formed from the LCA, the ALC and the arguably pietist-friendly rump of the LCMS that became the AELC. Jim Nestigen, an old ALC theologian, has noted that Bp. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, is the descendant of a prominent Swedish pietist family. A cursory reading of Hanson’s commentary on matters theological and ecclesial does provide indications that an inward-looking pietism is central to his world-view.

    So, in short, it really is Calvin’s fault.

  • SKPeterson

    From a historical standpoint, many of the early reformed branched off of Lutheranism, in many cases quite quickly – devolving into the Mennonites, Amish, and the Anabaptist movements. Some of these later Baptists emerged and formed expressly pietistic groups such as the Dunkers and later manifestations of the Moravians. Many did also drift into the broader stream of the Reformed, I would argue in more of a Zwinglian current than strictly Calvinist. These groups often came into close contact with each other in Germany, such that German Lutherans did pick up certain pietist elements over time and in some places.

    It was noted briefly above that there have been not a few different strains of pietism in Lutheranism over the centuries, roughly corresponding to German and Scandinavian. As to Czech, Estonian or Latvian strains I confess ignorance. Even within the Scandinavian strain it was split primarily between Norwegian and Swedish varieties. In some cases, this pietistic movement led to whole new denominations emerging in the Americas – the Evangelical Free Church is a direct descendant of the Swedish pietists for example, but also pietistic overtones and traditions within the Lutheran church bodies that grew up with immigrant communities in the U.S. such as the Augustana (Sweden), later part of the LCA, and the old Evangelical Lutheran Church which later became part of the ALC. It has been argued, and I tend to agree with the assessment, that these pietistic strains actually have won out theologically within the ELCA, which formed from the LCA, the ALC and the arguably pietist-friendly rump of the LCMS that became the AELC. Jim Nestigen, an old ALC theologian, has noted that Bp. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, is the descendant of a prominent Swedish pietist family. A cursory reading of Hanson’s commentary on matters theological and ecclesial does provide indications that an inward-looking pietism is central to his world-view.

    So, in short, it really is Calvin’s fault.

  • SKPeterson

    WARNING – ALMOST TOTALLY OFF TOPIC:

    To back up what Grace pointed out in #63 – there are also thousands of early documents in Syriac/Aramaic, which was the other primary language spoken in Judea at the time of Christ which also agree overwhelmingly with the early Greek texts. There are also extant copies of early Coptic and Ethiopian which agree as well. The evidence is that, although the Canon was not established for several centuries, most of the books of the New Testament, the Apocrypha and some others (the Ethiopians and Armenians have additional Apocryphal books that did not make it into the Western Church) were in fairly wide circulation within both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, and even beyond into the imperial fringe in the Persian Empire, Africa and the Caucasus, and that the textual agreement was and is extremely high, on the order of 99% as Grace notes. Most of the variation is in a few misspellings or word alterations that do not undermine the clear exposition of the Gospel message. The level of agreement and number of copies also puts the arguments of advocates of forgery and conspiracy like Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels to shame.

  • SKPeterson

    WARNING – ALMOST TOTALLY OFF TOPIC:

    To back up what Grace pointed out in #63 – there are also thousands of early documents in Syriac/Aramaic, which was the other primary language spoken in Judea at the time of Christ which also agree overwhelmingly with the early Greek texts. There are also extant copies of early Coptic and Ethiopian which agree as well. The evidence is that, although the Canon was not established for several centuries, most of the books of the New Testament, the Apocrypha and some others (the Ethiopians and Armenians have additional Apocryphal books that did not make it into the Western Church) were in fairly wide circulation within both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, and even beyond into the imperial fringe in the Persian Empire, Africa and the Caucasus, and that the textual agreement was and is extremely high, on the order of 99% as Grace notes. Most of the variation is in a few misspellings or word alterations that do not undermine the clear exposition of the Gospel message. The level of agreement and number of copies also puts the arguments of advocates of forgery and conspiracy like Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels to shame.

  • Stephen

    Porcell @ 58

    “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.””

    Wow!

    Are you sure you want to reject salvation in Jesus Christ as foolish sentimentality? I’m not sure that goes together with being any kind of Christian at all.

  • Stephen

    Porcell @ 58

    “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.””

    Wow!

    Are you sure you want to reject salvation in Jesus Christ as foolish sentimentality? I’m not sure that goes together with being any kind of Christian at all.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 66

    Porcell didn’t say he rejected Salvation – don’t make this something it isn’t -

  • Grace

    Stephen – 66

    Porcell didn’t say he rejected Salvation – don’t make this something it isn’t -

  • Booklover

    I love this blog.

  • Booklover

    I love this blog.

  • Stephen

    I suspect also that the Lutheran pietist influences are cultural too. German culture has been noted by art and cultural historians for its highly individualistic strains. Bach gets lots of points as a pietist as does much of our hymnody. Jakob Spener’s reaction, though, was in one important sense to a church that was entrenched in the emerging state. His project was to free it from the impersonal nature of a state enforced institutional form and return it to the individual believer. Hey, sounds kind of like American evangelicalism and its anxieties about the state. Lots of cultural forces were at work then as they are now which make this kind of religion happen when it does.

    SK is right about the ELCA I think. They have carried on a different kind of “feel good” piety in the form of a different kind of politics. That politics, in my view, drives the doctrine (what there is of it) rather than the other way round. But they do love to sing and put on a liturgical show. The new ELCA hymnal has 10 worship settings. 10!!!! I’d say that is some creeping Scandinavian pietism.

    But there is one thing to behaving like a pietist and quite another to preaching like one. Doctrine is where the rubber hits the road, and the Lutheran Confessions mitigate against pietism it seems to me, by placing the truth of the Gospel outside of us – in Word and Sacrament – that is, in Christ alone. Calvinism, beyond some of the other obvious things listed earlier which don’t help its case much, looks for the assurance of election in the believing experience, placing the affirmation of truth within the believer. One must, at some point, find their assurance of election “somehow.” This causes the kinds of uneasiness Pete recounts @62. The assurance of salvation, it seems to me, is a constant process of measuring, gaining on, and assessing. It must be found within one’s person or it cannot finally be believed as actually true or real. Existential authenticity within the self becomes the psychological dynamic at work rather than trusting the promises proclaimed in the Word.

    This is not biblical. Though we are earthen vessels, there is no doubt we have this treasure. Christ did not die to “kind of” set us free. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” says Jesus. Unless we hear this word, we end up with the inward gaze of rationalism, demanding that all truth be squared with the understanding. Faith, on the other hand, hears the word and receives it as true, as promise from God himself. It looks to that promise as a given. That promise is first received and assured in the name of God at Holy Baptism. That same faith is strengthened through teaching, preaching and the Holy Supper. God does these things by his spirit. We know (through faith) that he does because we have the witness of Christ himself on the cross.

    Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

    His word is there for us, outside our emotions or thoughts, coming to us as gift. The Gospel is done for us and to us by the Holy Spirit through pastors, a community of believers, and through the scriptures. It is the Word that is truth in which we trust. If we despair, shall we look for an experience or understanding of faith, or to Christ and his mercy, to his word and promise, to Christ alone? Baptism itself preaches to us something:

    Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    The truth is we are all pietists. We all flail about for feelings and ideas and thoughts and actions that will make things better and soothe and calm and bring things into stasis again when life gets hazy or shaky. And even when things are good we want them to remain so, and we work at keeping things that way. We pour our passions into it. We give it everything we’ve got either way. We are despairing all the time. It is actually how we build the world – saving ourselves by our works, living by the law. I think that is what Romans 7 is all about. We are pietists to the bone. We think our works matter, or we can somehow make them matter in an ultimate sense. But the never will.

    Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    And yet like I said, there is a difference between behaving like a pietist and preaching like one.

  • Stephen

    I suspect also that the Lutheran pietist influences are cultural too. German culture has been noted by art and cultural historians for its highly individualistic strains. Bach gets lots of points as a pietist as does much of our hymnody. Jakob Spener’s reaction, though, was in one important sense to a church that was entrenched in the emerging state. His project was to free it from the impersonal nature of a state enforced institutional form and return it to the individual believer. Hey, sounds kind of like American evangelicalism and its anxieties about the state. Lots of cultural forces were at work then as they are now which make this kind of religion happen when it does.

    SK is right about the ELCA I think. They have carried on a different kind of “feel good” piety in the form of a different kind of politics. That politics, in my view, drives the doctrine (what there is of it) rather than the other way round. But they do love to sing and put on a liturgical show. The new ELCA hymnal has 10 worship settings. 10!!!! I’d say that is some creeping Scandinavian pietism.

    But there is one thing to behaving like a pietist and quite another to preaching like one. Doctrine is where the rubber hits the road, and the Lutheran Confessions mitigate against pietism it seems to me, by placing the truth of the Gospel outside of us – in Word and Sacrament – that is, in Christ alone. Calvinism, beyond some of the other obvious things listed earlier which don’t help its case much, looks for the assurance of election in the believing experience, placing the affirmation of truth within the believer. One must, at some point, find their assurance of election “somehow.” This causes the kinds of uneasiness Pete recounts @62. The assurance of salvation, it seems to me, is a constant process of measuring, gaining on, and assessing. It must be found within one’s person or it cannot finally be believed as actually true or real. Existential authenticity within the self becomes the psychological dynamic at work rather than trusting the promises proclaimed in the Word.

    This is not biblical. Though we are earthen vessels, there is no doubt we have this treasure. Christ did not die to “kind of” set us free. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” says Jesus. Unless we hear this word, we end up with the inward gaze of rationalism, demanding that all truth be squared with the understanding. Faith, on the other hand, hears the word and receives it as true, as promise from God himself. It looks to that promise as a given. That promise is first received and assured in the name of God at Holy Baptism. That same faith is strengthened through teaching, preaching and the Holy Supper. God does these things by his spirit. We know (through faith) that he does because we have the witness of Christ himself on the cross.

    Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

    His word is there for us, outside our emotions or thoughts, coming to us as gift. The Gospel is done for us and to us by the Holy Spirit through pastors, a community of believers, and through the scriptures. It is the Word that is truth in which we trust. If we despair, shall we look for an experience or understanding of faith, or to Christ and his mercy, to his word and promise, to Christ alone? Baptism itself preaches to us something:

    Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    The truth is we are all pietists. We all flail about for feelings and ideas and thoughts and actions that will make things better and soothe and calm and bring things into stasis again when life gets hazy or shaky. And even when things are good we want them to remain so, and we work at keeping things that way. We pour our passions into it. We give it everything we’ve got either way. We are despairing all the time. It is actually how we build the world – saving ourselves by our works, living by the law. I think that is what Romans 7 is all about. We are pietists to the bone. We think our works matter, or we can somehow make them matter in an ultimate sense. But the never will.

    Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    And yet like I said, there is a difference between behaving like a pietist and preaching like one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@59), I was worried that’s what you believed.

    I have to say, it made me more than a little sad to see you admit as much. Given the history of our interactions here, I suspect you won’t believe me when I say that it made me sad. And that in itself is also sad — that you might read this comment as just another attack from some sort of online enemy. This is about way more than scoring imaginary points in an online debate, Peter.

    You say, “I should hardly presume to be saved.” But, of course, what you should actually hardly presume to do is doubt God’s promises to you — in his Word and, I assume, in your baptism. But that is exactly what you are doing, Peter. You doubt God. I could hardly quote a random chunk of the New Testament that was not written to assure you of God’s love for you and how he carried out your salvation, but all of that you disparage in favor of … what? “Serious Calvinism”? Then to Hell with “serious Calvinism” — as Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” And the gospel of uncertainty you hold to, Peter, is no gospel at all.

    I have no capacity to judge how accurately you’re representing true Calvinism (whatever that might be), Peter, but your statement that “Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved”, if true, so clearly belies your oft-stated claim that there isn’t much difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, or that Luther and calvin were essentially in agreement. That statement of yours also very much justifies the statements with which you so frequently take umbrage which call Calvinism erroneous, or even Satanic as to its errors. Indeed, what else could you call a religion that (as you claim) overtly attacks people’s faith in Jesus as their savior? And, make no mistake, that is exactly what you have laid out here. When you say “I should hardly presume to be saved”, you deny that Jesus is your savior — after all, you don’t know, do you? He might be your savior, he might not. Such a statement is antithetical to both Lutheranism and Christianity.

    You continue, “The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism.” Which can easily be disproven merely by observing that Lutherans also reject universalism. Your false dichotomy doesn’t work.

    “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian…” If, as you admit, you are “abundantly fallen”, then it is necessarily also true that you are not “faithful”. This is all the more literally true since you, by your own admission, do not possess faith in Christ as your savior. Remember, you do not know if you are saved. Since the Bible teaches salvation is by faith in God’s grace, how could you therefore know if you have faith? And yet you call yourself “faithful”. What “faith” are you speaking of, then, if not the one the Bible speaks of? And what is the object of your “faith”, if not Christ?

    As to your apparently sneering reference to the “foolish sentiment of being ‘saved’”, I was reminded of this passage from 1 Corinthians:

    God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

    You apparently allude (@62), Peter, to your “rock like faith in Christ”, even as you make clear you don’t have faith in Christ — not as the Bible speaks of faith. Stop boasting in the quality of your own power, Peter, and put your faith in Christ your Savior. You, like all humans, are faithless, but God is faithful. Faithful to save. To save even you. Believe it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@59), I was worried that’s what you believed.

    I have to say, it made me more than a little sad to see you admit as much. Given the history of our interactions here, I suspect you won’t believe me when I say that it made me sad. And that in itself is also sad — that you might read this comment as just another attack from some sort of online enemy. This is about way more than scoring imaginary points in an online debate, Peter.

    You say, “I should hardly presume to be saved.” But, of course, what you should actually hardly presume to do is doubt God’s promises to you — in his Word and, I assume, in your baptism. But that is exactly what you are doing, Peter. You doubt God. I could hardly quote a random chunk of the New Testament that was not written to assure you of God’s love for you and how he carried out your salvation, but all of that you disparage in favor of … what? “Serious Calvinism”? Then to Hell with “serious Calvinism” — as Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” And the gospel of uncertainty you hold to, Peter, is no gospel at all.

    I have no capacity to judge how accurately you’re representing true Calvinism (whatever that might be), Peter, but your statement that “Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved”, if true, so clearly belies your oft-stated claim that there isn’t much difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, or that Luther and calvin were essentially in agreement. That statement of yours also very much justifies the statements with which you so frequently take umbrage which call Calvinism erroneous, or even Satanic as to its errors. Indeed, what else could you call a religion that (as you claim) overtly attacks people’s faith in Jesus as their savior? And, make no mistake, that is exactly what you have laid out here. When you say “I should hardly presume to be saved”, you deny that Jesus is your savior — after all, you don’t know, do you? He might be your savior, he might not. Such a statement is antithetical to both Lutheranism and Christianity.

    You continue, “The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism.” Which can easily be disproven merely by observing that Lutherans also reject universalism. Your false dichotomy doesn’t work.

    “I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian…” If, as you admit, you are “abundantly fallen”, then it is necessarily also true that you are not “faithful”. This is all the more literally true since you, by your own admission, do not possess faith in Christ as your savior. Remember, you do not know if you are saved. Since the Bible teaches salvation is by faith in God’s grace, how could you therefore know if you have faith? And yet you call yourself “faithful”. What “faith” are you speaking of, then, if not the one the Bible speaks of? And what is the object of your “faith”, if not Christ?

    As to your apparently sneering reference to the “foolish sentiment of being ‘saved’”, I was reminded of this passage from 1 Corinthians:

    God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

    You apparently allude (@62), Peter, to your “rock like faith in Christ”, even as you make clear you don’t have faith in Christ — not as the Bible speaks of faith. Stop boasting in the quality of your own power, Peter, and put your faith in Christ your Savior. You, like all humans, are faithless, but God is faithful. Faithful to save. To save even you. Believe it.

  • Grace

    IF there is something wrong here – a miss-communication of words? MANY of the statements here aren’t helping – is that the neighbor you’re all trying to be? or convey to someone else who is not of your denomination, deserving of God’s love?

  • Grace

    IF there is something wrong here – a miss-communication of words? MANY of the statements here aren’t helping – is that the neighbor you’re all trying to be? or convey to someone else who is not of your denomination, deserving of God’s love?

  • larry

    “To say the least, I should hardly presume to be saved. Serious Calvinists well know the doctrine of limited atonement along with the limitation of human knowledge. The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved…I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

    Porcell,

    Wow! Now everything makes sense. As an ex-Calvinist let me say one thing, most Calvinist don’t consistently follow their Calvinism and in the end have to revert, for a lack of another way of saying it and for brevities sake (because I’m always brief;-)), to some form of Luther in the end and end up basically informally denying their Calvinism.

    But I must say you are consistent in your personal confession of Calvinism, I mean that. I was that way too. I.e. the conclusion sum totality of Calvinism MUST NECESSARILLY lead to what you just confessed. You are precisely correct that consistent serious Calvinist can merely hope to be saved. “Hope” here is not the biblical meaning of “absolute certain expectation” but closer to “wishful but doubting thinking possibility at best”.

    And that’s because the Calvinist doctrine has violently torn the Word’s of Scripture apart whereby there is no “for me” in any of it. I know, I know how believing that one reads all the “for us” etc…versus, they sound nice, if your in, if not then they are a torment to your soul.

    E.g. “For unto US a child is born”; good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. The golden chain, as it is known, in Romans 8, “for those He justified…etc…”; , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “For God so loved the world…”, , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “not only for Abraham but for US also…” , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “For the promise is to you, and your children…” (Baptism), good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure…not the least would include the sacraments and Word attending them, good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. When the words of institution are given, “this is My body/blood…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sin…”, , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure.
    You are accurate, Porcell, in what you say regarding Calvinism, in fact this precisely what happened with Puritans. This is what led one lady, it is reported by a Puritan writer, to toss her infant down a well and respond, “Well NOW I KNOW I’m going to hell”. The knowing of hell was less hell than the doubts over divine election or reprobation.

    And that is PRECISELY pietism in all its deadly soul murdering glory whether its sourced from Lutherans gone astray from their confessions, which is what specific Lutheran Pietism was, or a heterodoxies confession. You should realize that Lutheran pietist slowly moved away from the Sacraments and toward an understanding, if not formerly informerly, that was more Calvinistic and Baptistic.

    So, you should, then, have no problem seeing why we say that in the end Confessional Lutheranism is an entirely, not just different, but OPPOSING (by open confession) religion to Calvinism’s religion. The two do not meat AT ALL. Because we are saying that certainty is absolute.
    That’s why consistent Calvinist religion ultimately defines faith as “I believe” and Luther defined it as “God cannot lie”.
    What you said is not any different than when I was out in Provo witnessing to Mormons and asking, “But when will you know your good works are enough”, the guys response to me, I’ll never forget it, “We just hope that it will before we die”. The guy was 78.

    All these uncertain religions produce are one of two types whether it’s a religion completely outside of Christianity, a cult, a sect of some kind, or more specifically Rome, Arminianism, Calvinism and even pietistic “Lutheranism”; those thinking they are pulling it off versus those despairing because they know they are not.

  • larry

    “To say the least, I should hardly presume to be saved. Serious Calvinists well know the doctrine of limited atonement along with the limitation of human knowledge. The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen, notwithstanding the abundant sentiment otherwise. Calvinists at best may merely hope to be saved…I’m content to be a faithful though abundantly fallen Christian without any foolish sentiment of being “saved.”

    Porcell,

    Wow! Now everything makes sense. As an ex-Calvinist let me say one thing, most Calvinist don’t consistently follow their Calvinism and in the end have to revert, for a lack of another way of saying it and for brevities sake (because I’m always brief;-)), to some form of Luther in the end and end up basically informally denying their Calvinism.

    But I must say you are consistent in your personal confession of Calvinism, I mean that. I was that way too. I.e. the conclusion sum totality of Calvinism MUST NECESSARILLY lead to what you just confessed. You are precisely correct that consistent serious Calvinist can merely hope to be saved. “Hope” here is not the biblical meaning of “absolute certain expectation” but closer to “wishful but doubting thinking possibility at best”.

    And that’s because the Calvinist doctrine has violently torn the Word’s of Scripture apart whereby there is no “for me” in any of it. I know, I know how believing that one reads all the “for us” etc…versus, they sound nice, if your in, if not then they are a torment to your soul.

    E.g. “For unto US a child is born”; good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. The golden chain, as it is known, in Romans 8, “for those He justified…etc…”; , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “For God so loved the world…”, , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “not only for Abraham but for US also…” , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. “For the promise is to you, and your children…” (Baptism), good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure…not the least would include the sacraments and Word attending them, good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure. When the words of institution are given, “this is My body/blood…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sin…”, , good if you are elect, torment if you are not or not sure.
    You are accurate, Porcell, in what you say regarding Calvinism, in fact this precisely what happened with Puritans. This is what led one lady, it is reported by a Puritan writer, to toss her infant down a well and respond, “Well NOW I KNOW I’m going to hell”. The knowing of hell was less hell than the doubts over divine election or reprobation.

    And that is PRECISELY pietism in all its deadly soul murdering glory whether its sourced from Lutherans gone astray from their confessions, which is what specific Lutheran Pietism was, or a heterodoxies confession. You should realize that Lutheran pietist slowly moved away from the Sacraments and toward an understanding, if not formerly informerly, that was more Calvinistic and Baptistic.

    So, you should, then, have no problem seeing why we say that in the end Confessional Lutheranism is an entirely, not just different, but OPPOSING (by open confession) religion to Calvinism’s religion. The two do not meat AT ALL. Because we are saying that certainty is absolute.
    That’s why consistent Calvinist religion ultimately defines faith as “I believe” and Luther defined it as “God cannot lie”.
    What you said is not any different than when I was out in Provo witnessing to Mormons and asking, “But when will you know your good works are enough”, the guys response to me, I’ll never forget it, “We just hope that it will before we die”. The guy was 78.

    All these uncertain religions produce are one of two types whether it’s a religion completely outside of Christianity, a cult, a sect of some kind, or more specifically Rome, Arminianism, Calvinism and even pietistic “Lutheranism”; those thinking they are pulling it off versus those despairing because they know they are not.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell@ 59

    “That’s why consistent Calvinist religion ultimately defines faith as “I believe” and Luther defined it as “God cannot lie”.”

    Dear peter,
    Consider my case dear Peter.

    I am a 55 year old gay man who spent about 47 of those years doing everything I could to avoid going to hell that I was certain was my fate. And I was raised to be a “confessional Lutheran”.

    I read I cor 6 and read it exactly as telling me that a homosexual would NOT get to heaven unless he fit this description: “and that is what some of you WERE .

    I tried and tried. Emotions are just another work we do. That is how the Pietists are all about works. “A christian will never commit a willful sin is how they put that. So that puts our willpower, not even just our outward actions, on the cross replacing Christ on that cross. So I found that it was actually pretty easy to avoid sexual sinning. I avoided sex for about 28 years. I was a homosexual. I did not will to be that. And a “Lutheran” doctrine that was really not Lutheran at all told me I was still going to hell. Why? This: I could not imagine a romantic relationship with a female. I longed for one with another man. Hell. But my actions and life were a perfect picture of sexual chastity.

    Now I am going to throw out that I no longer read I corinthians 6 that way, and I don´t believe that homosexuality or even homosexual sex, depending, is necessarily a sin. It can be.

    But now let´s just assume that I am wrong here. It really doesn´t matter if one is a Lutheran. Those things will all perish. Sex is something that will perish.

    So I returned to church. I decided that I needed to be honest about my situation at least with the pastor. If one fears honesty in the Church of Christ, then ….

    And I resolved to admit that I am a still a liar. But I will hold God to his Word in Christ. “Saint Paul; “Christ died for sinners of whom I am the chief sinner”.

    I do not read Christ´s words as hyperbole Peter. And I do not read this a “seeing through a glass darkly” as you do. I see Paul holding God to his promise. Let all me be liars, but God is faithful and true.

    Peter: Buy a crucifix. Look at it daily. Cling to what it pictures and the Promise that is there in the middle of the consequences of your sin. You are a sinner. Christ is there because of that. He did enough to save you. He died for you Peter.

    God cannot lie. Just cling to that hope Peter.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell@ 59

    “That’s why consistent Calvinist religion ultimately defines faith as “I believe” and Luther defined it as “God cannot lie”.”

    Dear peter,
    Consider my case dear Peter.

    I am a 55 year old gay man who spent about 47 of those years doing everything I could to avoid going to hell that I was certain was my fate. And I was raised to be a “confessional Lutheran”.

    I read I cor 6 and read it exactly as telling me that a homosexual would NOT get to heaven unless he fit this description: “and that is what some of you WERE .

    I tried and tried. Emotions are just another work we do. That is how the Pietists are all about works. “A christian will never commit a willful sin is how they put that. So that puts our willpower, not even just our outward actions, on the cross replacing Christ on that cross. So I found that it was actually pretty easy to avoid sexual sinning. I avoided sex for about 28 years. I was a homosexual. I did not will to be that. And a “Lutheran” doctrine that was really not Lutheran at all told me I was still going to hell. Why? This: I could not imagine a romantic relationship with a female. I longed for one with another man. Hell. But my actions and life were a perfect picture of sexual chastity.

    Now I am going to throw out that I no longer read I corinthians 6 that way, and I don´t believe that homosexuality or even homosexual sex, depending, is necessarily a sin. It can be.

    But now let´s just assume that I am wrong here. It really doesn´t matter if one is a Lutheran. Those things will all perish. Sex is something that will perish.

    So I returned to church. I decided that I needed to be honest about my situation at least with the pastor. If one fears honesty in the Church of Christ, then ….

    And I resolved to admit that I am a still a liar. But I will hold God to his Word in Christ. “Saint Paul; “Christ died for sinners of whom I am the chief sinner”.

    I do not read Christ´s words as hyperbole Peter. And I do not read this a “seeing through a glass darkly” as you do. I see Paul holding God to his promise. Let all me be liars, but God is faithful and true.

    Peter: Buy a crucifix. Look at it daily. Cling to what it pictures and the Promise that is there in the middle of the consequences of your sin. You are a sinner. Christ is there because of that. He did enough to save you. He died for you Peter.

    God cannot lie. Just cling to that hope Peter.

  • Porcell

    Todd, Larry, and FWS , I appreciate your sincere concern about my orthodox Calvinist view, though in truth I hold resolutely and comfortably to this view that Calvin and his best followers based on careful reading of scripture, particularly that of Paul.

    My view is based essentially on the following sections of Chapter III of the Westminster Confession:

    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

    VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

    That anyone may know the secret counsel of God on their ultimate status is preposterous.

    A carful reading of both the Old and New Testaments makes clear the paradox that men are both free and foreordained. The whole thing is at best a mystery. The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.

  • Porcell

    Todd, Larry, and FWS , I appreciate your sincere concern about my orthodox Calvinist view, though in truth I hold resolutely and comfortably to this view that Calvin and his best followers based on careful reading of scripture, particularly that of Paul.

    My view is based essentially on the following sections of Chapter III of the Westminster Confession:

    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

    VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

    That anyone may know the secret counsel of God on their ultimate status is preposterous.

    A carful reading of both the Old and New Testaments makes clear the paradox that men are both free and foreordained. The whole thing is at best a mystery. The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    “The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    You do realize you are espousing the Roman Catholic dogma on not being absolutely sure/assured/certain that you are saved, do you not? You do realize that John Calvin himself rejected that as damnable heresy, and, ironically, considered assurance of salvation and election absolutely necessary. In fact Rome used some of your precise language such as, “presumption”.

    I don’t think you understand pietism at all based on the above answer, and you would actually love Lutheran pietism because it too considered such assurance and “presumption” and had a disdain for the sacraments. It’s Lutheran orthodoxy you hate, Lutheran pieitism is right up your alley.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    “The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    You do realize you are espousing the Roman Catholic dogma on not being absolutely sure/assured/certain that you are saved, do you not? You do realize that John Calvin himself rejected that as damnable heresy, and, ironically, considered assurance of salvation and election absolutely necessary. In fact Rome used some of your precise language such as, “presumption”.

    I don’t think you understand pietism at all based on the above answer, and you would actually love Lutheran pietism because it too considered such assurance and “presumption” and had a disdain for the sacraments. It’s Lutheran orthodoxy you hate, Lutheran pieitism is right up your alley.

  • larry

    “The principle heresy of Protestants is that saints may obtain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned state before God.” (Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, 1542-1621)

  • larry

    “The principle heresy of Protestants is that saints may obtain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned state before God.” (Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, 1542-1621)

  • Albert

    I like what Pastor Cwirla once said, and I paraphrase: We (Lutherans) do not have assurance, we have certainty. What I believe he was referring to was the certainty we have in the external Word and Sacrament(s).

    That’s where our assurance lies, in Christ’s Word for me in my baptism, in the Lord’s Supper (This is my Body given for you, this is my blood shed for you, for the forgiveness of your sin), and in His absolution spoken through the mouth of my pastor, as well as through the preaching of His Word (both Law and Gospel).

  • Albert

    I like what Pastor Cwirla once said, and I paraphrase: We (Lutherans) do not have assurance, we have certainty. What I believe he was referring to was the certainty we have in the external Word and Sacrament(s).

    That’s where our assurance lies, in Christ’s Word for me in my baptism, in the Lord’s Supper (This is my Body given for you, this is my blood shed for you, for the forgiveness of your sin), and in His absolution spoken through the mouth of my pastor, as well as through the preaching of His Word (both Law and Gospel).

  • Grace

    It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. Psalms 118:8

    Confusion begins and never ends, when one sits under the direction of men who believed/believe the Bible isn’t clear, but needs a makeover, which they are better suited, than the writers, to deliver – Apostles, being given the gift by the HOLY Spirit to write the Gospels, giving God the Son’s Words – showing mankind, the way of Salvation. Instead what some churches have are ‘other books’ they believe give a better understanding than the Bible, that is where the problem starts and spreads discord.

    Granted there are books that are helpful, with explanations. But for the most part, the Bible is not that difficult to understand. The third chapter of John is explicit regarding Salvation, the problem arises when man doesn’t want to take the simple words of the Gospel from Christ and believe them, but instead looks to another book, another man for his rendition.

    Here is the verse that gives man fits:

    For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
    I have witnessed too often an attempt to upgrade oneself by announcing by persistent statements, making predestination and election/chosen so important, that those who are un-Believers read or listen and shrink away, saying to themselves “I am not sure I’m a very good person, my sins are too great, my life has so many sins, I couldn’t be one of the elect” .. it happens, and people walk away, or feel dejected. It serves no purpose,.. what it does is, hurt those who are hungry for the Gospel, but know they are sinners, it is difficult for them to grasp the love of God, when they don’t feel ‘predestined’.

    GOD is in charge, not those who distribute these attitudes which hurt the cause of Christ. Jesus told us the first shall be last, and the last first. Jesus made it plain we were to be humble, preaching and teaching HIS Word – we were to spread the Gospel. Instead we have a select group of denominations which love nothing more than to preach predestination with glee, I doubt it is pleasing to Christ.

    Jesus never based His teachings and message on predestination, He preached to those who were lost in need of a Savior, Jesus told people to repent of their sins.

    1. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘chosen’ five times in Scripture – three of those occasions were in reference to HIS disciples.

    2. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘elect’ seven times in Scripture

    3. Jesus Christ never mentioned ‘predestination’

    4. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘repentance’ ten times

    5. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘repent’ nine times

    6. Jesus made mention of ‘saved’ 20 times

    7. Jesus mentioned ‘Salvation’ 5 times

    7. Jesus made statements about LOVE, and LOVETH fifty (50) times in the New Testament.

    I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. I don’t know how God created the world, or why some people are sinful and proud of it, or why others are shamed by their sins and ask God to forgive them. I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t. You and I don’t know these things. We do know from Scripture that Christ died for everyone, but we don’t know who will accept his forgiveness and repent- But we can’t forget, God sent HIS Son to die for the sins of “the whole world” – but at the same time, HE knew who would and wouldn’t believe and stay the course.

    I believe that Jesus Christ died “for the whole world” I John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

  • Grace

    It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. Psalms 118:8

    Confusion begins and never ends, when one sits under the direction of men who believed/believe the Bible isn’t clear, but needs a makeover, which they are better suited, than the writers, to deliver – Apostles, being given the gift by the HOLY Spirit to write the Gospels, giving God the Son’s Words – showing mankind, the way of Salvation. Instead what some churches have are ‘other books’ they believe give a better understanding than the Bible, that is where the problem starts and spreads discord.

    Granted there are books that are helpful, with explanations. But for the most part, the Bible is not that difficult to understand. The third chapter of John is explicit regarding Salvation, the problem arises when man doesn’t want to take the simple words of the Gospel from Christ and believe them, but instead looks to another book, another man for his rendition.

    Here is the verse that gives man fits:

    For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
    I have witnessed too often an attempt to upgrade oneself by announcing by persistent statements, making predestination and election/chosen so important, that those who are un-Believers read or listen and shrink away, saying to themselves “I am not sure I’m a very good person, my sins are too great, my life has so many sins, I couldn’t be one of the elect” .. it happens, and people walk away, or feel dejected. It serves no purpose,.. what it does is, hurt those who are hungry for the Gospel, but know they are sinners, it is difficult for them to grasp the love of God, when they don’t feel ‘predestined’.

    GOD is in charge, not those who distribute these attitudes which hurt the cause of Christ. Jesus told us the first shall be last, and the last first. Jesus made it plain we were to be humble, preaching and teaching HIS Word – we were to spread the Gospel. Instead we have a select group of denominations which love nothing more than to preach predestination with glee, I doubt it is pleasing to Christ.

    Jesus never based His teachings and message on predestination, He preached to those who were lost in need of a Savior, Jesus told people to repent of their sins.

    1. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘chosen’ five times in Scripture – three of those occasions were in reference to HIS disciples.

    2. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘elect’ seven times in Scripture

    3. Jesus Christ never mentioned ‘predestination’

    4. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘repentance’ ten times

    5. Jesus Christ made mention of ‘repent’ nine times

    6. Jesus made mention of ‘saved’ 20 times

    7. Jesus mentioned ‘Salvation’ 5 times

    7. Jesus made statements about LOVE, and LOVETH fifty (50) times in the New Testament.

    I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. I don’t know how God created the world, or why some people are sinful and proud of it, or why others are shamed by their sins and ask God to forgive them. I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t. You and I don’t know these things. We do know from Scripture that Christ died for everyone, but we don’t know who will accept his forgiveness and repent- But we can’t forget, God sent HIS Son to die for the sins of “the whole world” – but at the same time, HE knew who would and wouldn’t believe and stay the course.

    I believe that Jesus Christ died “for the whole world” I John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

  • Craig

    Porcell 75
    orthodox Calvinist WOW and I thought Lutherans embraced paradox!

    Really Porcell I believe that the main problem with the Reformed is in the Limited Atonement. Your WCF is based on that horrible L in tulip. I once embraced the tulip . But it never jived with the Scriptures. I read Owen on the Death of Death and was convinced that the argument for L is nowhere in the Scriptures. Calvinists spend their efforts diverting the TRUE and PLAIN reading of the text i.e. All doesn’t really mean all. In the final analysis at the Throne of Judgement if the Lutheran is wrong he will have to admit the he put too much emphasis on Christ and put Him in the center of all theology. He will also have to apologize for thinking that Christ’s death covered more people than it really did. He will also apologize for taking Jesus too literally with this real Body and real Blood stuff. Sorry that I believed that simple historic reading of your Book.

    If the Calvinists is wrong he will have to tell the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the World that he is sorry for LIMITING the GRACE OF GOD and scaring His children. He will also have to apologize for not believing the plain words This IS… but rather trusting a tyrannical Frenchman’s rationalistic view of His Holy Supper where Christ stays in Heaven but us mortals ascend into Heaven and fellowship up at the Right Hand.

    Porcell it is not boorish to believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world and that His salvation comes to me through Word and Sacrament. That is not presumption but rather belief in His Word that is For You!

    I think that this is boorish:
    So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel. (WCF)

    That is slavery and fear not Gospel. I don’t know of anyone who sincerely obeys the Gospel or how anyone can???

    Please know that Lutherans look outside of themselves for security. Lutherans are not strong but rather weak. That is why we need the Word preached and the sacrament delivered often; our faith is weak and frail.

  • Craig

    Porcell 75
    orthodox Calvinist WOW and I thought Lutherans embraced paradox!

    Really Porcell I believe that the main problem with the Reformed is in the Limited Atonement. Your WCF is based on that horrible L in tulip. I once embraced the tulip . But it never jived with the Scriptures. I read Owen on the Death of Death and was convinced that the argument for L is nowhere in the Scriptures. Calvinists spend their efforts diverting the TRUE and PLAIN reading of the text i.e. All doesn’t really mean all. In the final analysis at the Throne of Judgement if the Lutheran is wrong he will have to admit the he put too much emphasis on Christ and put Him in the center of all theology. He will also have to apologize for thinking that Christ’s death covered more people than it really did. He will also apologize for taking Jesus too literally with this real Body and real Blood stuff. Sorry that I believed that simple historic reading of your Book.

    If the Calvinists is wrong he will have to tell the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the World that he is sorry for LIMITING the GRACE OF GOD and scaring His children. He will also have to apologize for not believing the plain words This IS… but rather trusting a tyrannical Frenchman’s rationalistic view of His Holy Supper where Christ stays in Heaven but us mortals ascend into Heaven and fellowship up at the Right Hand.

    Porcell it is not boorish to believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world and that His salvation comes to me through Word and Sacrament. That is not presumption but rather belief in His Word that is For You!

    I think that this is boorish:
    So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel. (WCF)

    That is slavery and fear not Gospel. I don’t know of anyone who sincerely obeys the Gospel or how anyone can???

    Please know that Lutherans look outside of themselves for security. Lutherans are not strong but rather weak. That is why we need the Word preached and the sacrament delivered often; our faith is weak and frail.

  • Craig

    Grace at 79

    You are a very smart lady for sure. I like a lot of what you have to say. However you said
    “I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. ”
    and
    “I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t.”

    That is salvation by works and not Grace Alone. God does not look into the future and save people because they “would” believe and condemn other because they don’t believe. That is the classical Arminian heresy. Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.

  • Craig

    Grace at 79

    You are a very smart lady for sure. I like a lot of what you have to say. However you said
    “I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. ”
    and
    “I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t.”

    That is salvation by works and not Grace Alone. God does not look into the future and save people because they “would” believe and condemn other because they don’t believe. That is the classical Arminian heresy. Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    God knows everything, He always did before the foundation of the world. He knew who would and would not accept Him. That would mean He knew that Adam and Eve would sin – how else would He know who would and wouldn’t be chosen, after the fall, and then after God the Son shed His blood on the Cross.

    Craig, these and many other things we read in Scripture are mysteries, which we cannot possibly understand now. We see through a glass darkly, but one day we will know what is hidden from us now. One thing I know for certain, I am saved, I believe strongly in my Savior, He is my ROCK.

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    Ephesians 1

    “before the foundation of the world” would mean before it was formed. I believe we have free will, but God knows exactly what we will and won’t believe. He is God Almighty Omnipresence and Omniscience, all knowing –

    Psalms 139

    1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

    2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

    3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

    4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

    5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

    Forget Arminian heresy – I am not Arminian, Calvinist nor Lutheran, I study the Word of God, I am a Christian Believer, a Biblicist, nothing less.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    God knows everything, He always did before the foundation of the world. He knew who would and would not accept Him. That would mean He knew that Adam and Eve would sin – how else would He know who would and wouldn’t be chosen, after the fall, and then after God the Son shed His blood on the Cross.

    Craig, these and many other things we read in Scripture are mysteries, which we cannot possibly understand now. We see through a glass darkly, but one day we will know what is hidden from us now. One thing I know for certain, I am saved, I believe strongly in my Savior, He is my ROCK.

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    Ephesians 1

    “before the foundation of the world” would mean before it was formed. I believe we have free will, but God knows exactly what we will and won’t believe. He is God Almighty Omnipresence and Omniscience, all knowing –

    Psalms 139

    1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

    2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

    3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

    4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

    5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

    Forget Arminian heresy – I am not Arminian, Calvinist nor Lutheran, I study the Word of God, I am a Christian Believer, a Biblicist, nothing less.

  • Craig

    Grace a “Biblicist” is one who believes that they personally have the right understanding/interpretation of the Scriptures. That is a prideful pietism. Someone who is Lutheran, Reformed or Southern Baptist signs their name to an agreement to their confessions as the right interpretation of Scripture. My hunch is that you have your “Biblicist” positions based on the teachings of others and not just flowing from the text of the Bible.

    Question when Jesus said This is my Body did he really mean it?
    When Peter said “Baptism now saves you” did he really mean saves?
    Does your Free Will Decision for Christ have any bearing on your salvation?
    Do you believe that there will be a “pre-tribulation rapture” of the Church?
    When a pastor says “I forgive you all of your sins” are the peoples sins really forgiven?

  • Craig

    Grace a “Biblicist” is one who believes that they personally have the right understanding/interpretation of the Scriptures. That is a prideful pietism. Someone who is Lutheran, Reformed or Southern Baptist signs their name to an agreement to their confessions as the right interpretation of Scripture. My hunch is that you have your “Biblicist” positions based on the teachings of others and not just flowing from the text of the Bible.

    Question when Jesus said This is my Body did he really mean it?
    When Peter said “Baptism now saves you” did he really mean saves?
    Does your Free Will Decision for Christ have any bearing on your salvation?
    Do you believe that there will be a “pre-tribulation rapture” of the Church?
    When a pastor says “I forgive you all of your sins” are the peoples sins really forgiven?

  • Grace

    Craig – 81

    “That is salvation by works and not Grace Alone. God does not look into the future and save people because they “would” believe and condemn other because they don’t believe. That is the classical Arminian heresy. Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.”

    Here is the problem Craig, Lutherans can reject whatever they like according to their “Book of Concord” but if their rejection contradicts the Word of God, then they are believing a false doctrine. As I stated in post #79:

    “I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. ”

    “I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t.”

    For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 1 John 3:20

    Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8

    Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34

    ( obviously the “kingdom” is heaven, which was prepared before the foundation of the world, meaning before Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden existed. )

    When I studied the Bible, finding out the many truths of God’s Word, I was astonished as I searched and found that “before the foundation” or “from the foundation of the world” God knew everything. Putting all that together isn’t easy nor can all of it be understood as we try. One day we will understand, but for now, we must trust God and HIS Word.

    Craig – 83

    I study every day, not just a few hours, I have done this for about eight years. The reason? – I wanted to know what the Bible really said, not what others tell me it says, or what their church denominations have written, such as Calvin, Luther and others, but what the Bible says. This means a great deal of research, cross reference of Scripture.

    Is it prideful to study the Scripture, and see the errors that many have made, demanding that everyone believe them? NO it isn’t. I just proved in post #82 that God does know everything, as you questioned that point – and I brought Scripture to prove you’re wrong – as you state: “Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.” you might get your information from the BoC, but I get mine from the Word of God -

  • Grace

    Craig – 81

    “That is salvation by works and not Grace Alone. God does not look into the future and save people because they “would” believe and condemn other because they don’t believe. That is the classical Arminian heresy. Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.”

    Here is the problem Craig, Lutherans can reject whatever they like according to their “Book of Concord” but if their rejection contradicts the Word of God, then they are believing a false doctrine. As I stated in post #79:

    “I don’t know who is going to believe and who isn’t, but God knows. ”

    “I do know this, God knew before the world who would believe, who would follow HIM and who wouldn’t.”

    For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 1 John 3:20

    Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8

    Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34

    ( obviously the “kingdom” is heaven, which was prepared before the foundation of the world, meaning before Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden existed. )

    When I studied the Bible, finding out the many truths of God’s Word, I was astonished as I searched and found that “before the foundation” or “from the foundation of the world” God knew everything. Putting all that together isn’t easy nor can all of it be understood as we try. One day we will understand, but for now, we must trust God and HIS Word.

    Craig – 83

    I study every day, not just a few hours, I have done this for about eight years. The reason? – I wanted to know what the Bible really said, not what others tell me it says, or what their church denominations have written, such as Calvin, Luther and others, but what the Bible says. This means a great deal of research, cross reference of Scripture.

    Is it prideful to study the Scripture, and see the errors that many have made, demanding that everyone believe them? NO it isn’t. I just proved in post #82 that God does know everything, as you questioned that point – and I brought Scripture to prove you’re wrong – as you state: “Lutherans reject this in The Book of Concord.” you might get your information from the BoC, but I get mine from the Word of God -

  • Grace

    The Word of God says:

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

    The Word of God does not say:

    Study the Book of Concord and Luther, and or, the Institutes by Calvin,…. to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    “rightly dividing the word of truth” comes from the Bible, it’s the most precious book we have.

    We are to study HIS Word to understand HIS truths – every time the books of ones denomination become the mainstay of truth, it becomes very apparent the Bible needs to be dusted off, and put to the use as it was given by the HOLY Spirit, penned by Christ Jesus Apostles, the Words from our Savior’s mouth.

  • Grace

    The Word of God says:

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

    The Word of God does not say:

    Study the Book of Concord and Luther, and or, the Institutes by Calvin,…. to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    “rightly dividing the word of truth” comes from the Bible, it’s the most precious book we have.

    We are to study HIS Word to understand HIS truths – every time the books of ones denomination become the mainstay of truth, it becomes very apparent the Bible needs to be dusted off, and put to the use as it was given by the HOLY Spirit, penned by Christ Jesus Apostles, the Words from our Savior’s mouth.

  • Porcell

    Larry, at seventy-six: You do realize that John Calvin himself rejected that as damnable heresy, and, ironically, considered assurance of salvation and election absolutely necessary.

    Could you give us a citation for this? I’ve read most of Calvin’s primary works and not a few secondary sources; nowhere may one find a remark that the assurance of salvation is necessary. Actually, Calvin thought it foolish and presumptuous to inquire of God whether one is saved or not. His view was actually similar to that of Cardinal Belarmine on the point that The principle heresy of Protestants is that saints may obtain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned state before God.

    The most I would concede to your side on this issue of profound mystery would be Thomas Watson’s remark in A Body of Practical Divinityas follows:

    The jewel of assurance is best kept in the cabinet of a humble heart. Unfortunately in my experience many Christians who regard themselves as saved tend to boorishly wear it as a badge of honor.

    Christians need to summon the courage to live with the uncertainty of their salvation.

  • Porcell

    Larry, at seventy-six: You do realize that John Calvin himself rejected that as damnable heresy, and, ironically, considered assurance of salvation and election absolutely necessary.

    Could you give us a citation for this? I’ve read most of Calvin’s primary works and not a few secondary sources; nowhere may one find a remark that the assurance of salvation is necessary. Actually, Calvin thought it foolish and presumptuous to inquire of God whether one is saved or not. His view was actually similar to that of Cardinal Belarmine on the point that The principle heresy of Protestants is that saints may obtain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned state before God.

    The most I would concede to your side on this issue of profound mystery would be Thomas Watson’s remark in A Body of Practical Divinityas follows:

    The jewel of assurance is best kept in the cabinet of a humble heart. Unfortunately in my experience many Christians who regard themselves as saved tend to boorishly wear it as a badge of honor.

    Christians need to summon the courage to live with the uncertainty of their salvation.

  • Craig

    Ok Grace,
    I will answer your questions please answer the ones I gave you.

    Yes Lutherans believe that God knows everything and the verses you sited say nothing about God seeing our faith and then making a decision to save us because of it. Sorry Grace it’s just not in any of your well studied verses. On the contrary the scriptures are loaded with God’s choice for our salvation. Eph 1:11

    And yes I do content that your position that you can read the Bible all day and point out everyone’s errors in a vacuum is prideful. The Book of Concord is loaded with Scriptural references and written by several authors and signed by many scholars as to the normal plain interpretation of the Scriptures. The word Concord means agreement. This was not done in a vacuum but rather in the open and with their very lives on the line.
    Now Grace please answer the questions that I asked on 83 so you can show me how well you rightly divide the word of truth.

  • Craig

    Ok Grace,
    I will answer your questions please answer the ones I gave you.

    Yes Lutherans believe that God knows everything and the verses you sited say nothing about God seeing our faith and then making a decision to save us because of it. Sorry Grace it’s just not in any of your well studied verses. On the contrary the scriptures are loaded with God’s choice for our salvation. Eph 1:11

    And yes I do content that your position that you can read the Bible all day and point out everyone’s errors in a vacuum is prideful. The Book of Concord is loaded with Scriptural references and written by several authors and signed by many scholars as to the normal plain interpretation of the Scriptures. The word Concord means agreement. This was not done in a vacuum but rather in the open and with their very lives on the line.
    Now Grace please answer the questions that I asked on 83 so you can show me how well you rightly divide the word of truth.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    I have answered those questions repeatedly, meaning over, and over and over again – I don’t take the bait any longer.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    I have answered those questions repeatedly, meaning over, and over and over again – I don’t take the bait any longer.

  • Craig

    Grace it’s not bait. Just honest questions. And you have not been direct with your “answers” you just throw out Bible verses without giving answers. You are a pietist who thinks that your personal revelations on interpreting the Scriptures stand above the Church. And there is no small number of people like you. The Biblicist have been around the scene for years and it’s always the same thing. My Bible reading, my quiet time, my prayer life, etc. All internal. Much like the Calvinists and the Spiritualists. Lost is navel gazing and inner personal devotions not based on an outside word being preached to you. If you are ever in despair and need the Word of Truth given to you and for you please find a Confessional Lutheran congregation that is committed to proclaiming Christ though Word and Sacrament.

  • Craig

    Grace it’s not bait. Just honest questions. And you have not been direct with your “answers” you just throw out Bible verses without giving answers. You are a pietist who thinks that your personal revelations on interpreting the Scriptures stand above the Church. And there is no small number of people like you. The Biblicist have been around the scene for years and it’s always the same thing. My Bible reading, my quiet time, my prayer life, etc. All internal. Much like the Calvinists and the Spiritualists. Lost is navel gazing and inner personal devotions not based on an outside word being preached to you. If you are ever in despair and need the Word of Truth given to you and for you please find a Confessional Lutheran congregation that is committed to proclaiming Christ though Word and Sacrament.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    “Christians need to summon the courage to live with the uncertainty of their salvation.”

    Whatever is the point then? Are you hearing yourself? You sound like . . . Nietzsche. I mean, what an incredible waste of time and torment is such an uncertain god! No thanks.

    I suggest reading the article cited by Albert @49. It is very good and has the citations you are looking for from Larry regarding where Calvin places emphasis on assurance of salvation. Calvin, however, does not place this assurance in the promise of God but rather in the experience of believing faith, resulting in an inward sanctification that produces fruits as proof one possess faith that perseveres. Thus one must endlessly prove to themselves they are among the elect.

    My dear brother, hear Jesus when he says to you “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus does not lie. He loves you and has forgiven you all your sins, whatever they are. That word, the Word, that One, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of Lords, is for you Peter. Trust him at his word.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    “Christians need to summon the courage to live with the uncertainty of their salvation.”

    Whatever is the point then? Are you hearing yourself? You sound like . . . Nietzsche. I mean, what an incredible waste of time and torment is such an uncertain god! No thanks.

    I suggest reading the article cited by Albert @49. It is very good and has the citations you are looking for from Larry regarding where Calvin places emphasis on assurance of salvation. Calvin, however, does not place this assurance in the promise of God but rather in the experience of believing faith, resulting in an inward sanctification that produces fruits as proof one possess faith that perseveres. Thus one must endlessly prove to themselves they are among the elect.

    My dear brother, hear Jesus when he says to you “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus does not lie. He loves you and has forgiven you all your sins, whatever they are. That word, the Word, that One, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of Lords, is for you Peter. Trust him at his word.

  • Craig

    Stephen 90
    Procell is a true Calvinist and I appreciate that he is honest enough to say that with the Limited Atonement there is no assurance for anyone. That is consistent Calvinism 101. I lived it…it sucked!

  • Craig

    Stephen 90
    Procell is a true Calvinist and I appreciate that he is honest enough to say that with the Limited Atonement there is no assurance for anyone. That is consistent Calvinism 101. I lived it…it sucked!

  • Stephen

    Craig @ 91

    “I lived it…it sucked!”

    I’d be falling out of my chair if it wasn’t so bloody sad.

    Oh, and a little hint – Grace won’t answer your questions. Give up now! She’s here to scold you. Watch!

  • Stephen

    Craig @ 91

    “I lived it…it sucked!”

    I’d be falling out of my chair if it wasn’t so bloody sad.

    Oh, and a little hint – Grace won’t answer your questions. Give up now! She’s here to scold you. Watch!

  • Stephen

    What’s really distrubing is to see the doctrine laid bare and how it leads to, at best doubt and at worst denial, of the sure and certain promises of Christ. It’s as if all that dying on the cross that the only begotten Son of God did for the sins of the world was a lot of half-assed, gerry-rigged stuff that may or may not work depending on how you look at it, give or take. It’s just awful! I now feel terrible for anyone under that regime and see even more clearly why St. Paul would admonish us to flee false doctrine. “Run, do not walk” to your nearest confessing church (ahem, Lutheran) that actually preaches Jesus Christ and his promises for you for your salvation – his grace, his mercy, his baptism, his forgiveness – outside of anything you can or need to do or achieve yourself.

  • Stephen

    What’s really distrubing is to see the doctrine laid bare and how it leads to, at best doubt and at worst denial, of the sure and certain promises of Christ. It’s as if all that dying on the cross that the only begotten Son of God did for the sins of the world was a lot of half-assed, gerry-rigged stuff that may or may not work depending on how you look at it, give or take. It’s just awful! I now feel terrible for anyone under that regime and see even more clearly why St. Paul would admonish us to flee false doctrine. “Run, do not walk” to your nearest confessing church (ahem, Lutheran) that actually preaches Jesus Christ and his promises for you for your salvation – his grace, his mercy, his baptism, his forgiveness – outside of anything you can or need to do or achieve yourself.

  • Craig

    Stephen 92
    I like to be scolded. Remeber I used to be a Calvinists :)

  • Craig

    Stephen 92
    I like to be scolded. Remeber I used to be a Calvinists :)

  • Grace

    Craig – 89

    ” And you have not been direct with your “answers” you just throw out Bible verses without giving answers. “

    The Scripture verses are the answer!

  • Grace

    Craig – 89

    ” And you have not been direct with your “answers” you just throw out Bible verses without giving answers. “

    The Scripture verses are the answer!

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Richard and Porcell,
    The divisions among the reformed on the sacrament of baptism is a result of ambiguous language used in the “3 forms of ‘unity’ “. Kuyper taught presumptive regeneration, Schilder taught some confusing form of baptismal regeneration. The whole reformed camp is in division on key doctrinal points, and when it’s not divided then it falls back on the default position – Zwingli. It’s all very confusing and it’s the reason I’m now LCMS which (whether you agree or not) at least does not send fundamentally conflicting messages in doctrine…..
    And I know your HC, BC and CoD inside-out. I’ll gladly point out the inconsistencies in these pamphlets….

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Richard and Porcell,
    The divisions among the reformed on the sacrament of baptism is a result of ambiguous language used in the “3 forms of ‘unity’ “. Kuyper taught presumptive regeneration, Schilder taught some confusing form of baptismal regeneration. The whole reformed camp is in division on key doctrinal points, and when it’s not divided then it falls back on the default position – Zwingli. It’s all very confusing and it’s the reason I’m now LCMS which (whether you agree or not) at least does not send fundamentally conflicting messages in doctrine…..
    And I know your HC, BC and CoD inside-out. I’ll gladly point out the inconsistencies in these pamphlets….

  • Stephen

    Craig @94

    See Grace @ 95? I told ya! Watch yourself. She will be on you like stink on sh . . . Oh crap! I blew it! I better prepare for some scolding.

  • Stephen

    Craig @94

    See Grace @ 95? I told ya! Watch yourself. She will be on you like stink on sh . . . Oh crap! I blew it! I better prepare for some scolding.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 97

    Your latest sleazy remark to Craig, regarding me is pathetic, from you, a man who claims to be a Christian,… and on a so called Christian blog, ….. to a woman no less.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 97

    Your latest sleazy remark to Craig, regarding me is pathetic, from you, a man who claims to be a Christian,… and on a so called Christian blog, ….. to a woman no less.

  • Craig

    Grace 89 sorry but your Bible Verses don’t answer my questions. Nice try though!

    Stephen you must be the prophet here…but it looks like your the one getting the spanking :0) Ouch!

    Oh my gosh Mark 96 HC BC CoD the Reformed holy trinity rrrr three forms of unity referred to as pamphlets. I know funny that my friend is funny!!! Sorry for forgetting to mention that you are spot on with the Reformed, brilliant.

  • Craig

    Grace 89 sorry but your Bible Verses don’t answer my questions. Nice try though!

    Stephen you must be the prophet here…but it looks like your the one getting the spanking :0) Ouch!

    Oh my gosh Mark 96 HC BC CoD the Reformed holy trinity rrrr three forms of unity referred to as pamphlets. I know funny that my friend is funny!!! Sorry for forgetting to mention that you are spot on with the Reformed, brilliant.

  • Stephen

    Grace

    I wanted to give you the opportunity to do what you do best. It was my gift to you.

    Why don’t you tell us why you are here if not to scold, shame, humiliate and judge people? It certainly isn’t to discuss, learn, or honestly debate. You never answer a question directly, for one thing, nor do you show any interest in what others are actually talking about. Instead, you bring your own agenda and insert it into nearly every thread, which is usually to criticize and belittle Luther, Lutheranism and everyone who does not agree with everything you write. I could care less what you think. You are certainly no shining example of anything to emulate.

  • Stephen

    Grace

    I wanted to give you the opportunity to do what you do best. It was my gift to you.

    Why don’t you tell us why you are here if not to scold, shame, humiliate and judge people? It certainly isn’t to discuss, learn, or honestly debate. You never answer a question directly, for one thing, nor do you show any interest in what others are actually talking about. Instead, you bring your own agenda and insert it into nearly every thread, which is usually to criticize and belittle Luther, Lutheranism and everyone who does not agree with everything you write. I could care less what you think. You are certainly no shining example of anything to emulate.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Grace, if you really want to score points here and be influential you need not stop any of what you are doing.

    You just need to take one more step: When you quote something, be it the Bible or Luther or whoEVER, you would then need to tell us, in your own words, what you think the quote means.

    I am not sure you are able to do that, having carefully followed your presentation for a while, but following my suggestion would win alot more readers.

    Most readers here have already read the passages you quote and simply have a different understanding of what those passages mean. So how is quoting them accomplishing anything at all Grace?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Grace, if you really want to score points here and be influential you need not stop any of what you are doing.

    You just need to take one more step: When you quote something, be it the Bible or Luther or whoEVER, you would then need to tell us, in your own words, what you think the quote means.

    I am not sure you are able to do that, having carefully followed your presentation for a while, but following my suggestion would win alot more readers.

    Most readers here have already read the passages you quote and simply have a different understanding of what those passages mean. So how is quoting them accomplishing anything at all Grace?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Grace @ 97

    You tell us that you are a woman. But you also tell us, by your comments that you are not a Lady.

    Respect earns respect.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Grace @ 97

    You tell us that you are a woman. But you also tell us, by your comments that you are not a Lady.

    Respect earns respect.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    I’m beginning to think you’ve read very little Reformed doctrine, including Calvin. In spite of Lutherans seeing the inconsistency of Calvin and Calvinist on this issue, NO Calvinist would say what you’ve been saying and I mean the primo of the theologians. And I mean men like Dr. Horton, Dr. Riddlebarger. To quote something they personally told me in dark days when I was still Reformed, “Calvin considered himself before all things a preacher of assurance”.

    Now I will grant to you that Calvin’s doctrine at the end of the day did not and does not achieve what he desired, assurance of salvation. But at least in principle John Calvin sought to create assurance. If fact, ironically, that’s the basis for what ultimately became the “P” in TULIP, perseverance of the saints (a.k.a. ‘once saved always saved’ in more Baptistic quarters). I mean, in principle, that’s the ENTIRE point of being elect and cannot fall away in the here and now – at theoretically it is for assurance.

    So to say that Calvin never taught assurance or of its necessity is in reality to miss Calvin ENTIRELY, as least in what he desired to do. He was a bit like Melancthon, though, torn and unresolved and thus very confused on issues due to his rationalism – not at all like Luther.

    “In this way, also, we dispose of certain objections by which some anxious minds are annoyed. If we ascribe either an increase or confirmation of faith to creatures, injustice is done to the Spirit of God, who alone ought to be regarded as its author. But we do not rob him of the merit of confirming and increasing faith; nay, rather, we maintain that that which confirms and increases faith, is nothing else than the preparing of our minds by his internal illumination to receive that confirmation which is set forth by the sacraments. But if the subject is still obscure, it will be made plain by the following similitude: Were you to begin to persuade a person by word to do something, you would think of all the arguments by which he may be brought over to your view, and in a manner compelled to serve your purpose. But nothing is gained if the individual himself possess not a clear and acute judgment, by which he may be able to weigh the value of your arguments; if, moreover, he is not of a docile disposition, and ready to listen to doctrine; if, in fine, he has no such idea of your faith and prudence as in a manner to prejudice him in your favour, and secure his assent. For there are many obstinate spirits who are not to be bent by any arguments; and where faith is suspected, or authority contemned, little progress is made even with the docile. On the other hand, when opposite feelings exist, the result will be, that the person whose interests you are consulting will acquiesce in the very counsels which he would otherwise have derided. The same work is performed in us by the Spirit. That the word may not fall upon our ear, or the sacraments be presented to our eye in vain, he shows that it is God who there speaks to us, softens our obdurate hearts, and frames them to the obedience which is due to his word; in short, transmits those external words and sacraments from the ear to the soul. Both word and sacraments, therefore, confirm our faith, bringing under view the kind intentions of our heavenly Father, in the knowledge of which the whole assurance of our faith depends, and by which its strength is increased; and the Spirit also confirms our faith when, by engraving that assurance on our minds, he renders it effectual. Meanwhile, it is easy for the Father of lights, in like manner as he illumines the bodily eye by the rays of the sun, to illumine our minds by the sacraments, as by a kind of intermediate brightness. –John Calvin, Institutes, Sacraments.”

    And no Calvin is not, in principle closer to Bellarmine, but (in principle, though his system ends up playing out the same) was against such.

    In Calvin’s response to Cardinal Sadolet (who takes Bellermine’s position)

    “Hence, I observe, Sadolet, that you have too indolent a theology, as is almost always the case with those who have never had experience in serious struggles of conscience. For, otherwise, you would never place a Christian man on ground so slippery, nay, so precipitous, that he can scarcely stand a moment if even the slightest push is given him. Give me, I say not some unlearned man from among the people, but the rudest clown, and if he is to belong to the flock of God, he must be prepared for that warfare which He has ordained for all the godly. An armed enemy is at hand, on the alert to engage-an enemy most skillful and unassailable by mortal strength; to resist him, with what guards must not that poor man be defended, with what weapons armed, if he is not to be instantly annihilated? Paul informs us, (Eph. vi. 17,) that the only sword with which he can fight is the word of the Lord. A soul, therefore, when deprived of the word of God, is given up unarmed to the devil for destruction. Now, then, will not the first machination of the enemy be to wrest the sword from the soldier of Christ? And what the method of wresting it, but to set him a doubting whether it be the word of the Lord that he is leaning upon, or the word of man? What will you do for this unhappy being? Will you bid him look round for learned men on whom reclining he may take his rest? But the enemy will not leave him so much as a breathing time in this subterfuge. For when once he has driven him to lean upon men, he will keep urging and repeating his blows until he throws him over the precipice. Thus he must either be easily overthrown, or he must for-sake man, and look directly to God. So true it is, that Christian faith must not be founded on human testimony, not propped up by doubtful opinion, not reclined on human authority, but engraven on our hearts by the finger of the living God, so as not to be obliterated by any coloring of error. There is nothing of Christ, then, in him who does not hold the elementary principle, that it is God alone who enlightens our minds to perceive his truth, who by his Spirit seals it on our hearts, and by his sure attestation to it confirms our conscience. This is, if I may so express it, that full and firm assurance commended by Paul, and which, as it leaves no room for doubt , so not only does it not hesitate and waver among human arguments as to which party it ought to adhere, but maintains its consistency though the whole world should oppose.”

    I think the great irony of your entire argument is you attack “mean ole Lutherans” for causing others to quote you at 23, “many have some need to disparage other faiths, especially the Reformed.” Here is the irony, you defend your so called faith by saying others “disparage” (meaning Lutherans) of said faith so that, as it were, we would cause you struggle to loose said faith. Yet, “your faith” has no assurance as you explain it, “The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” So that you have on one hand your accusation that Lutherans are tearing your “salvific faith” apart tempting you to not believe in it, yet that “salvific faith” that you have is how did you say, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” And how exactly is it that Lutheran’s are “tempting” you (and supposedly the Reformed) from your faith? By saying, you can have utter and absolute assurance and here is how? So you disdain the religion/faith that tempts you by saying “you can be assured absolutely you are saved and have eternal life” that is pulling you away from your self confessed religion/faith that says, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    Two things: Forget about “who is right (true) and who is wrong (false) for a moment. What is crystal clear and nothing could be more clear than the fact that we have two entirely differing religions in utter opposition here. What you confess, by your own words, and what we confess. Again, forget for the moment who is true and who is false. And these two confessed religions are in fact at utter spiritual war with each other. And thus we cannot commune, cannot be considered the same, nor mingle them. What you confess is against what we confess and vice versa – nor can they ever be. Your confessed religion/faith says, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” (i.e. no assurance). Our confession says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW that YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” (i.e. assurance)

    Nothing could be more clear.

    Second thing that is clear: Though I agree you espouse the reality of Reformed doctrine, i.e. you are in principle CONSISTENT in what the doctrine ACTUALLY teaches and thus you are INDEED in line with “true to form” Reformed, you are not in line with the Reformed that are happily inconsistent and preach assurance in spite of the confessions of faith they sign on to. In short you are in line with the Reformed that fall into the more “Owenian” “neo-Puritan” and Zwinglian leaning Reformed that are in opposition to the happily inconsistent Reformed who lean back towards Luther and preach assurance of salvation objectively (e.g. Dr. Horton, et. al). The former actually despise the sacraments really based on the ground of the assurance that is in them. The later, though greatly confused on the sacraments, actually love the sacraments for the very reason the former despise them, the assurance they give. It is the latter’s doctrine that prevents them from coming all the way over to Lutheran Confessions, though in principle they desire as opposed to the former Reformed. This at the end of the day was the difference between John Calvin (the man as opposed to his heirs) and Zwingli. Calvin actually DESIRED the sacrament as and for assurance, his doctrinal hang ups due to his internal war with his reason sadly and tragically kept him from the desire of his heart. Zwingli on the other hand flat despised the sacraments and had NO desire for them whatsoever and was fake from head to toe.

    In reality that is how the Reformed camp breaks down today. Both equally err on the sacraments as to what they are. But one group is the despisers of the sacraments in principle and thus assurance this is the majority report of the Reformed. Then there is the other group that desire the sacraments and their assurance they bring, even though they err and their doctrine keeps them from them. This is the minority report group in the Reformed often derisively called “cryptolutherans” – from a Lutheran point of view that’s a compliment to them!

  • larry

    Porcell,

    I’m beginning to think you’ve read very little Reformed doctrine, including Calvin. In spite of Lutherans seeing the inconsistency of Calvin and Calvinist on this issue, NO Calvinist would say what you’ve been saying and I mean the primo of the theologians. And I mean men like Dr. Horton, Dr. Riddlebarger. To quote something they personally told me in dark days when I was still Reformed, “Calvin considered himself before all things a preacher of assurance”.

    Now I will grant to you that Calvin’s doctrine at the end of the day did not and does not achieve what he desired, assurance of salvation. But at least in principle John Calvin sought to create assurance. If fact, ironically, that’s the basis for what ultimately became the “P” in TULIP, perseverance of the saints (a.k.a. ‘once saved always saved’ in more Baptistic quarters). I mean, in principle, that’s the ENTIRE point of being elect and cannot fall away in the here and now – at theoretically it is for assurance.

    So to say that Calvin never taught assurance or of its necessity is in reality to miss Calvin ENTIRELY, as least in what he desired to do. He was a bit like Melancthon, though, torn and unresolved and thus very confused on issues due to his rationalism – not at all like Luther.

    “In this way, also, we dispose of certain objections by which some anxious minds are annoyed. If we ascribe either an increase or confirmation of faith to creatures, injustice is done to the Spirit of God, who alone ought to be regarded as its author. But we do not rob him of the merit of confirming and increasing faith; nay, rather, we maintain that that which confirms and increases faith, is nothing else than the preparing of our minds by his internal illumination to receive that confirmation which is set forth by the sacraments. But if the subject is still obscure, it will be made plain by the following similitude: Were you to begin to persuade a person by word to do something, you would think of all the arguments by which he may be brought over to your view, and in a manner compelled to serve your purpose. But nothing is gained if the individual himself possess not a clear and acute judgment, by which he may be able to weigh the value of your arguments; if, moreover, he is not of a docile disposition, and ready to listen to doctrine; if, in fine, he has no such idea of your faith and prudence as in a manner to prejudice him in your favour, and secure his assent. For there are many obstinate spirits who are not to be bent by any arguments; and where faith is suspected, or authority contemned, little progress is made even with the docile. On the other hand, when opposite feelings exist, the result will be, that the person whose interests you are consulting will acquiesce in the very counsels which he would otherwise have derided. The same work is performed in us by the Spirit. That the word may not fall upon our ear, or the sacraments be presented to our eye in vain, he shows that it is God who there speaks to us, softens our obdurate hearts, and frames them to the obedience which is due to his word; in short, transmits those external words and sacraments from the ear to the soul. Both word and sacraments, therefore, confirm our faith, bringing under view the kind intentions of our heavenly Father, in the knowledge of which the whole assurance of our faith depends, and by which its strength is increased; and the Spirit also confirms our faith when, by engraving that assurance on our minds, he renders it effectual. Meanwhile, it is easy for the Father of lights, in like manner as he illumines the bodily eye by the rays of the sun, to illumine our minds by the sacraments, as by a kind of intermediate brightness. –John Calvin, Institutes, Sacraments.”

    And no Calvin is not, in principle closer to Bellarmine, but (in principle, though his system ends up playing out the same) was against such.

    In Calvin’s response to Cardinal Sadolet (who takes Bellermine’s position)

    “Hence, I observe, Sadolet, that you have too indolent a theology, as is almost always the case with those who have never had experience in serious struggles of conscience. For, otherwise, you would never place a Christian man on ground so slippery, nay, so precipitous, that he can scarcely stand a moment if even the slightest push is given him. Give me, I say not some unlearned man from among the people, but the rudest clown, and if he is to belong to the flock of God, he must be prepared for that warfare which He has ordained for all the godly. An armed enemy is at hand, on the alert to engage-an enemy most skillful and unassailable by mortal strength; to resist him, with what guards must not that poor man be defended, with what weapons armed, if he is not to be instantly annihilated? Paul informs us, (Eph. vi. 17,) that the only sword with which he can fight is the word of the Lord. A soul, therefore, when deprived of the word of God, is given up unarmed to the devil for destruction. Now, then, will not the first machination of the enemy be to wrest the sword from the soldier of Christ? And what the method of wresting it, but to set him a doubting whether it be the word of the Lord that he is leaning upon, or the word of man? What will you do for this unhappy being? Will you bid him look round for learned men on whom reclining he may take his rest? But the enemy will not leave him so much as a breathing time in this subterfuge. For when once he has driven him to lean upon men, he will keep urging and repeating his blows until he throws him over the precipice. Thus he must either be easily overthrown, or he must for-sake man, and look directly to God. So true it is, that Christian faith must not be founded on human testimony, not propped up by doubtful opinion, not reclined on human authority, but engraven on our hearts by the finger of the living God, so as not to be obliterated by any coloring of error. There is nothing of Christ, then, in him who does not hold the elementary principle, that it is God alone who enlightens our minds to perceive his truth, who by his Spirit seals it on our hearts, and by his sure attestation to it confirms our conscience. This is, if I may so express it, that full and firm assurance commended by Paul, and which, as it leaves no room for doubt , so not only does it not hesitate and waver among human arguments as to which party it ought to adhere, but maintains its consistency though the whole world should oppose.”

    I think the great irony of your entire argument is you attack “mean ole Lutherans” for causing others to quote you at 23, “many have some need to disparage other faiths, especially the Reformed.” Here is the irony, you defend your so called faith by saying others “disparage” (meaning Lutherans) of said faith so that, as it were, we would cause you struggle to loose said faith. Yet, “your faith” has no assurance as you explain it, “The largely Lutheran Pietist view that we can know that we are saved is a pleasant comfort though far from the truth. My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” So that you have on one hand your accusation that Lutherans are tearing your “salvific faith” apart tempting you to not believe in it, yet that “salvific faith” that you have is how did you say, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” And how exactly is it that Lutheran’s are “tempting” you (and supposedly the Reformed) from your faith? By saying, you can have utter and absolute assurance and here is how? So you disdain the religion/faith that tempts you by saying “you can be assured absolutely you are saved and have eternal life” that is pulling you away from your self confessed religion/faith that says, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    Two things: Forget about “who is right (true) and who is wrong (false) for a moment. What is crystal clear and nothing could be more clear than the fact that we have two entirely differing religions in utter opposition here. What you confess, by your own words, and what we confess. Again, forget for the moment who is true and who is false. And these two confessed religions are in fact at utter spiritual war with each other. And thus we cannot commune, cannot be considered the same, nor mingle them. What you confess is against what we confess and vice versa – nor can they ever be. Your confessed religion/faith says, “Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.” (i.e. no assurance). Our confession says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW that YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” (i.e. assurance)

    Nothing could be more clear.

    Second thing that is clear: Though I agree you espouse the reality of Reformed doctrine, i.e. you are in principle CONSISTENT in what the doctrine ACTUALLY teaches and thus you are INDEED in line with “true to form” Reformed, you are not in line with the Reformed that are happily inconsistent and preach assurance in spite of the confessions of faith they sign on to. In short you are in line with the Reformed that fall into the more “Owenian” “neo-Puritan” and Zwinglian leaning Reformed that are in opposition to the happily inconsistent Reformed who lean back towards Luther and preach assurance of salvation objectively (e.g. Dr. Horton, et. al). The former actually despise the sacraments really based on the ground of the assurance that is in them. The later, though greatly confused on the sacraments, actually love the sacraments for the very reason the former despise them, the assurance they give. It is the latter’s doctrine that prevents them from coming all the way over to Lutheran Confessions, though in principle they desire as opposed to the former Reformed. This at the end of the day was the difference between John Calvin (the man as opposed to his heirs) and Zwingli. Calvin actually DESIRED the sacrament as and for assurance, his doctrinal hang ups due to his internal war with his reason sadly and tragically kept him from the desire of his heart. Zwingli on the other hand flat despised the sacraments and had NO desire for them whatsoever and was fake from head to toe.

    In reality that is how the Reformed camp breaks down today. Both equally err on the sacraments as to what they are. But one group is the despisers of the sacraments in principle and thus assurance this is the majority report of the Reformed. Then there is the other group that desire the sacraments and their assurance they bring, even though they err and their doctrine keeps them from them. This is the minority report group in the Reformed often derisively called “cryptolutherans” – from a Lutheran point of view that’s a compliment to them!

  • larry

    Porcell,

    Let me take another tact if you will. Because I don’t want to falsely understand you. I know a lot of Reformed folks, including myself back then, who were not against assurance per se but the doctrine never allowed it. For example you seem to say one need not necessarily have that. Now that can be understood one of two ways:

    1. Due to false teachings there seems, in the present, no way to have that, thus “one needing not to have it” to be believer means; since (according to the known and believed doctrine at the time per the person) there seems no way to have this, this becomes a “law” burden i.e. ‘you must have assurance or your lost’.
    OR
    2. You can have it and there is a way objectively, yet I don’t trust God saying.

    Here’s what I mean, put yourself in these hypothetical situations as ‘what you believe and is real’:

    Situation 1: If Jesus Christ walked right up to you and said (to you Porcell), “your sins are forgiven, you are saved, you have eternal life”. Would you believe Him? Then would you have assurance?

    The answer to this will help peel apart what you mean I think.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    Let me take another tact if you will. Because I don’t want to falsely understand you. I know a lot of Reformed folks, including myself back then, who were not against assurance per se but the doctrine never allowed it. For example you seem to say one need not necessarily have that. Now that can be understood one of two ways:

    1. Due to false teachings there seems, in the present, no way to have that, thus “one needing not to have it” to be believer means; since (according to the known and believed doctrine at the time per the person) there seems no way to have this, this becomes a “law” burden i.e. ‘you must have assurance or your lost’.
    OR
    2. You can have it and there is a way objectively, yet I don’t trust God saying.

    Here’s what I mean, put yourself in these hypothetical situations as ‘what you believe and is real’:

    Situation 1: If Jesus Christ walked right up to you and said (to you Porcell), “your sins are forgiven, you are saved, you have eternal life”. Would you believe Him? Then would you have assurance?

    The answer to this will help peel apart what you mean I think.

  • Richard

    Larry,

    Nice breakdown, very good. Count me as a “cryptolutheran.”

  • Richard

    Larry,

    Nice breakdown, very good. Count me as a “cryptolutheran.”

  • larry

    Thanks Richard, I understand and have been there.

    YOurs,

    Larry

  • larry

    Thanks Richard, I understand and have been there.

    YOurs,

    Larry

  • Porcell

    Larry, I understand that Calvin, Horton, et al teach the perseverance of saints, while at the same following the biblical doctrine of limited atonement. One must, however, distinguish perseverance from assurance or certainty, something that ultimately depends on knowing the mind of God regarding ones soteriological status.

    Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty. Belarmine was right in remarking that however persevering no Christian may be assured of their gracious and pardoned state before God.

    Just this morning I happened to read on page 722 of Horton’s systematic theology some remarks as follows that bear on this discussion:

    God’s prerogative in election has always been upheld in redemptive history, separating not only Cain from Seth, but Ishmael from Isaac and Esau from Jacob…. not all who belong outwardly to the people of God actually belong to God. ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ (2 Ti 2:19).

    I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.

    Also, being a close follower of Leo Strauss, I’m well aware of the tendency of both the best philosophers and theologians to hide their hardest truths with pleasant obscurities; this was probably true of Luther whose On the Bondage of the Will is adamant about both election and reprobation, though he and Melanchthon softened this with pleasantries about assurance.

  • Porcell

    Larry, I understand that Calvin, Horton, et al teach the perseverance of saints, while at the same following the biblical doctrine of limited atonement. One must, however, distinguish perseverance from assurance or certainty, something that ultimately depends on knowing the mind of God regarding ones soteriological status.

    Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty. Belarmine was right in remarking that however persevering no Christian may be assured of their gracious and pardoned state before God.

    Just this morning I happened to read on page 722 of Horton’s systematic theology some remarks as follows that bear on this discussion:

    God’s prerogative in election has always been upheld in redemptive history, separating not only Cain from Seth, but Ishmael from Isaac and Esau from Jacob…. not all who belong outwardly to the people of God actually belong to God. ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ (2 Ti 2:19).

    I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.

    Also, being a close follower of Leo Strauss, I’m well aware of the tendency of both the best philosophers and theologians to hide their hardest truths with pleasant obscurities; this was probably true of Luther whose On the Bondage of the Will is adamant about both election and reprobation, though he and Melanchthon softened this with pleasantries about assurance.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me, those last two paragraphs ought not to have been italicized.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me, those last two paragraphs ought not to have been italicized.

  • larry

    “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    Oh I have no doubt about that, I well understand Calvinism. It makes the point, we don’t share the same religion at all and via fallen human reason is against the witness of Scripture which state ‘these things were written, this is my body/blood given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sin, etc…”

    What your grandfather espouses is precisely unbelief. In fact it differs little from Islam.

    For to not take God at His Word when He has so plainly spoken, is to in fact disdain Him and call Him a liar.

    All should take note of this, what Porcell espouses is without a doubt the logical conclusion of Calvinism. He’s not in the minority in that religion. I’ve heard more than a few tell me their stories of utter and absolute despair that God was ever gracious and they wept for years, some decades, despairing over the Christ they thought once saved them. These are real people and the real effects of such false doctrines. And YES we are to judge a teacher’s doctrine by its fruits and if its fruits do not bring the certitude and assurance (hope in scripture means “certain expectation”) “you shall know them (false teachers) by their fruits” said Christ. The Gospel of such Calvinist is not “I have good news for you” but rather “I have good news for some of you and you’ll never know which”.

    It is as Luther warned if God did not want us to know without doubt, then he wasted His time sending us His Son and GIVING us the sacraments. The sacraments at such reformed churches might as well not be practiced at all, for they no more assure people of salvation, under that doctrine, than does giving sacrificing some fruit, a chicken and some incense before a stone idol. Such Reformed know no more about the eternal destination, assurance, than does a rank pagan. A pagan can espouse as much assurance as has Porcell. And I mean that, that is not hyperbole.

    Porcell, you have what you say you have, I agree.

  • larry

    “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    Oh I have no doubt about that, I well understand Calvinism. It makes the point, we don’t share the same religion at all and via fallen human reason is against the witness of Scripture which state ‘these things were written, this is my body/blood given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sin, etc…”

    What your grandfather espouses is precisely unbelief. In fact it differs little from Islam.

    For to not take God at His Word when He has so plainly spoken, is to in fact disdain Him and call Him a liar.

    All should take note of this, what Porcell espouses is without a doubt the logical conclusion of Calvinism. He’s not in the minority in that religion. I’ve heard more than a few tell me their stories of utter and absolute despair that God was ever gracious and they wept for years, some decades, despairing over the Christ they thought once saved them. These are real people and the real effects of such false doctrines. And YES we are to judge a teacher’s doctrine by its fruits and if its fruits do not bring the certitude and assurance (hope in scripture means “certain expectation”) “you shall know them (false teachers) by their fruits” said Christ. The Gospel of such Calvinist is not “I have good news for you” but rather “I have good news for some of you and you’ll never know which”.

    It is as Luther warned if God did not want us to know without doubt, then he wasted His time sending us His Son and GIVING us the sacraments. The sacraments at such reformed churches might as well not be practiced at all, for they no more assure people of salvation, under that doctrine, than does giving sacrificing some fruit, a chicken and some incense before a stone idol. Such Reformed know no more about the eternal destination, assurance, than does a rank pagan. A pagan can espouse as much assurance as has Porcell. And I mean that, that is not hyperbole.

    Porcell, you have what you say you have, I agree.

  • larry

    I think an interesting debate, revealing debate would not be of a Lutheran versus Porcell the Calvinist, but maybe someone of the “cryptolutheran” label Calvinist with Porcell, maybe Richard? That way there cannot be any of this false accusation that it is “just the mean ole Lutherans”. I would have done it three years ago when I was in Richard’s position but I can’t rightly or honestly say I’m cryptolutheran anymore but a confessional Lutheran all the way. I assume cryptocalvinist have assurance because I knew many that did and 100% disagreed with Porcell type Calvinist.

    Which IS Calvinism? For we know that Porcell the Calvinist does not know if he is saved or not. He might not be elect, he might be reprobate, thus not even a CHRISTIAN – which is completely ironic in that by his own admission he may not be elect but reprobate and thus a false Christian or unbeliever, and if he does not know then certainly no one else can know outside of him thus as far as we know we are reading the religious speculation of a complete self confessed possible reprobate unbeliever. Why would a believer or even unbeliever listen to a potential reprobate unbeliever say, “this is salvation”? For to be reprobate is by definition to be an unbeliever and not a Christian at all.

    But a cryptolutheran knows they are saved, are assured of it.

    So why not? Richard, any other cryptolutheran Calvinist? What do you think of Porcell the Calvinist’s Calvinism. Let’s hear from that aspect so that “mean ole Lutherans” may not be further falsely accused by potentially reprobate unbelievers like Porcell.

  • larry

    I think an interesting debate, revealing debate would not be of a Lutheran versus Porcell the Calvinist, but maybe someone of the “cryptolutheran” label Calvinist with Porcell, maybe Richard? That way there cannot be any of this false accusation that it is “just the mean ole Lutherans”. I would have done it three years ago when I was in Richard’s position but I can’t rightly or honestly say I’m cryptolutheran anymore but a confessional Lutheran all the way. I assume cryptocalvinist have assurance because I knew many that did and 100% disagreed with Porcell type Calvinist.

    Which IS Calvinism? For we know that Porcell the Calvinist does not know if he is saved or not. He might not be elect, he might be reprobate, thus not even a CHRISTIAN – which is completely ironic in that by his own admission he may not be elect but reprobate and thus a false Christian or unbeliever, and if he does not know then certainly no one else can know outside of him thus as far as we know we are reading the religious speculation of a complete self confessed possible reprobate unbeliever. Why would a believer or even unbeliever listen to a potential reprobate unbeliever say, “this is salvation”? For to be reprobate is by definition to be an unbeliever and not a Christian at all.

    But a cryptolutheran knows they are saved, are assured of it.

    So why not? Richard, any other cryptolutheran Calvinist? What do you think of Porcell the Calvinist’s Calvinism. Let’s hear from that aspect so that “mean ole Lutherans” may not be further falsely accused by potentially reprobate unbelievers like Porcell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@110), I have appreciated your take on things (here and elsewhere) as one clearly more knowledgeable than I when it comes to all things Calvinism. And, frankly, based on your experiences — to say nothing of Porcell’s claims here — I thank God that I know as little about Calvinism as I do!

    But I’ve been pondering Porcell’s assertions, and I’d come to the same conclusion that you have: namely, that if there is no assurance of salvation, then there is no assurance that one is a Christian. For what is a Christian except one who has faith in Jesus Christ as his savior?

    But it’s worse than that. Because the above makes it sound like it’s a matter of chance — one holding to Porcell’s religion might be a Christian, or he might not, and we’ll only find out at the Last Day. But again, what is a Christian except one who has faith in Jesus Christ as his savior?

    If one cannot say with any certainty that Jesus’ death paid for his sins — even if one believes he might have a shot at it, anyhow — then by that same confession, he lacks faith. Porcell — and those who share his religion — cannot say, as Christians do, that he trusts Jesus for his salvation.

    Ultimately, those holding to this false religion are not much different than your average pagan, who also confesses, “I don’t know what will happen when I die, but I have been a good person.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@110), I have appreciated your take on things (here and elsewhere) as one clearly more knowledgeable than I when it comes to all things Calvinism. And, frankly, based on your experiences — to say nothing of Porcell’s claims here — I thank God that I know as little about Calvinism as I do!

    But I’ve been pondering Porcell’s assertions, and I’d come to the same conclusion that you have: namely, that if there is no assurance of salvation, then there is no assurance that one is a Christian. For what is a Christian except one who has faith in Jesus Christ as his savior?

    But it’s worse than that. Because the above makes it sound like it’s a matter of chance — one holding to Porcell’s religion might be a Christian, or he might not, and we’ll only find out at the Last Day. But again, what is a Christian except one who has faith in Jesus Christ as his savior?

    If one cannot say with any certainty that Jesus’ death paid for his sins — even if one believes he might have a shot at it, anyhow — then by that same confession, he lacks faith. Porcell — and those who share his religion — cannot say, as Christians do, that he trusts Jesus for his salvation.

    Ultimately, those holding to this false religion are not much different than your average pagan, who also confesses, “I don’t know what will happen when I die, but I have been a good person.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    … Not that I would encourage anyone to rely merely on their own faith, as this is a mere looking inward. I was arguing from Porcell’s framework.

    No, one should look to the promises God makes in Scripture, over and over — but Porcell has found in 1 Cor. 13:12 a verse that he wields to deny any and all promises and truths he chooses to ignore: You can’t be sure of what Scripture teaches! A glass darkly! A glass darkly! A glass darkly! We can’t know anything for sure, least of all salvation or God’s love!

    One will note that he never applies the “glass darkly” passage to his own understanding of Scripture, of course. Only to those who would contradict him. But, of course, he has also walled himself off even from those he claims to learn from:

    Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.

    In short, there is nothing you can show Porcell, whether in Scripture, or in works of theology he supposedly subscribes to, that will change his opinion. His religion is his religion, and you cannot change it. But it is not Christianity.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    … Not that I would encourage anyone to rely merely on their own faith, as this is a mere looking inward. I was arguing from Porcell’s framework.

    No, one should look to the promises God makes in Scripture, over and over — but Porcell has found in 1 Cor. 13:12 a verse that he wields to deny any and all promises and truths he chooses to ignore: You can’t be sure of what Scripture teaches! A glass darkly! A glass darkly! A glass darkly! We can’t know anything for sure, least of all salvation or God’s love!

    One will note that he never applies the “glass darkly” passage to his own understanding of Scripture, of course. Only to those who would contradict him. But, of course, he has also walled himself off even from those he claims to learn from:

    Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.

    In short, there is nothing you can show Porcell, whether in Scripture, or in works of theology he supposedly subscribes to, that will change his opinion. His religion is his religion, and you cannot change it. But it is not Christianity.

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s exactly right. The one thing Porcell gets right is the logical conclusion of Calvinism. When I was in that camp that was a heated, still is, “in house” debate even war between the “cryptocalvinist” and the other Calvinist. Now I love the Gospel as much as they do it that the cryptocalvinst have, but I also want to say, “don’t you see, you are at least nearly Lutherans come on over”. Because Porcell is right and consistent when he states;

    “Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    And the most telling part of that is the last part of the statement: “…doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    Which ultimately shows what is in fact the obvious basis of Calvin’s theology and its not really Sola Scriptura.

    Todd, one of the biggest eye openers for me coming on over to confessional Lutheranism was not really the Sacraments. It was sola scriptura. It was such an eye opening shocker it was like my drastic conversion to Christianity. I was reading Sasse in his landmark book on the sacraments and he was making that very connection near the end. It hit me like a ton of bricks, “you know all those days as a Calvinist I said and confessed “sola scriptura” but the sneakiness of reason blinded me to the fact that that was not the reality at all.

    If you are in strict logical conclusion Calvinisim as we were, at length you even loose how to present the Gospel to another person because, “you can’t know and say Jesus actually died for X person”. So how do you present the Gospel?

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s exactly right. The one thing Porcell gets right is the logical conclusion of Calvinism. When I was in that camp that was a heated, still is, “in house” debate even war between the “cryptocalvinist” and the other Calvinist. Now I love the Gospel as much as they do it that the cryptocalvinst have, but I also want to say, “don’t you see, you are at least nearly Lutherans come on over”. Because Porcell is right and consistent when he states;

    “Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    And the most telling part of that is the last part of the statement: “…doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    Which ultimately shows what is in fact the obvious basis of Calvin’s theology and its not really Sola Scriptura.

    Todd, one of the biggest eye openers for me coming on over to confessional Lutheranism was not really the Sacraments. It was sola scriptura. It was such an eye opening shocker it was like my drastic conversion to Christianity. I was reading Sasse in his landmark book on the sacraments and he was making that very connection near the end. It hit me like a ton of bricks, “you know all those days as a Calvinist I said and confessed “sola scriptura” but the sneakiness of reason blinded me to the fact that that was not the reality at all.

    If you are in strict logical conclusion Calvinisim as we were, at length you even loose how to present the Gospel to another person because, “you can’t know and say Jesus actually died for X person”. So how do you present the Gospel?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meanwhile, Porcell, you may, along with your grandfather, attempt to kill the faith of those you encounter on this blog, as indeed you have attempted. But I think you wholly underestimate what it is you are up against when you try that. And what you are up against is the faith given by God himself, and not mere human reason and logic. Your Bible may have tens of thousands of penciled-in footnotes, all reading “(maybe)” or “(not necessarily)” or “(can’t know to whom this applies)”, but mine does not.

    As such, a few (unaltered) selections from my Bible:

    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. … Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. [Romans 5]

    Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. [Romans 6]

    Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [Paul, being "boorish" to Timothy and presuming to know God's mind with regard to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6]

    If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. [The doctrine of limited atonement, as found in 1 John 2; Porcell, can you honestly say that you "have one who speaks to the Father in your defense"?]

    Dear children, … you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. [John, on how we can't know the truth, a glass darkly, etc., in 1 John 2]

    See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. … And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. ["Boorish" John on assurance of salvation, in 1 John 2]

    Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. [John, being "boorish" again in 1 John 5; so, Porcell, do you believe God or not? Is God a liar or not?]

    And I could go on, Porcell. It was trivial to find those passages — there are many more. You can believe the Scripture, or you can put your (lack of) hope that your reading of 1 Cor. 13:12 is one done with perfect vision, even as you claim one cannot read Scripture with such clarity.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meanwhile, Porcell, you may, along with your grandfather, attempt to kill the faith of those you encounter on this blog, as indeed you have attempted. But I think you wholly underestimate what it is you are up against when you try that. And what you are up against is the faith given by God himself, and not mere human reason and logic. Your Bible may have tens of thousands of penciled-in footnotes, all reading “(maybe)” or “(not necessarily)” or “(can’t know to whom this applies)”, but mine does not.

    As such, a few (unaltered) selections from my Bible:

    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. … Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. [Romans 5]

    Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. [Romans 6]

    Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [Paul, being "boorish" to Timothy and presuming to know God's mind with regard to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6]

    If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. [The doctrine of limited atonement, as found in 1 John 2; Porcell, can you honestly say that you "have one who speaks to the Father in your defense"?]

    Dear children, … you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. [John, on how we can't know the truth, a glass darkly, etc., in 1 John 2]

    See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. … And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. ["Boorish" John on assurance of salvation, in 1 John 2]

    Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. [John, being "boorish" again in 1 John 5; so, Porcell, do you believe God or not? Is God a liar or not?]

    And I could go on, Porcell. It was trivial to find those passages — there are many more. You can believe the Scripture, or you can put your (lack of) hope that your reading of 1 Cor. 13:12 is one done with perfect vision, even as you claim one cannot read Scripture with such clarity.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 113

    “If you are in strict logical conclusion Calvinisim as we were, at length you even loose how to present the Gospel to another person because, “you can’t know and say Jesus actually died for X person”. So how do you present the Gospel?”

    1) You reason people into it.
    2) You suggest that it will lead to practical improvements such as moral betterment.
    3) You say that God demands such belief (much like sharia law).
    4) You make things into a sort of “para-Natural Law”: “The Bible is God´s Word, so it must be that if we follow that blueprint for life, life will flourish.

    Observation
    These points are all true and are very reasonable actually.
    No Christ is really necessary for any of this.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 113

    “If you are in strict logical conclusion Calvinisim as we were, at length you even loose how to present the Gospel to another person because, “you can’t know and say Jesus actually died for X person”. So how do you present the Gospel?”

    1) You reason people into it.
    2) You suggest that it will lead to practical improvements such as moral betterment.
    3) You say that God demands such belief (much like sharia law).
    4) You make things into a sort of “para-Natural Law”: “The Bible is God´s Word, so it must be that if we follow that blueprint for life, life will flourish.

    Observation
    These points are all true and are very reasonable actually.
    No Christ is really necessary for any of this.

  • Porcell

    Larry, at 109: What your grandfather espouses is precisely unbelief. In fact it differs little from Islam.

    Actually my grandfather was an exemplary Christian. He made a careful study of Christian Reformation doctrine, tithed his considerable income, and was an extraordinary helper of poor and disabled people. He fought as a naval officer in WWI and well understood the difference between autocratic Islam and free Christianity. He, also, founded a highly respected investment banking outfit that served many New England families rather well.

    He loathed self-righteous, fundamentalist Christians who claimed to be “saved” being sensible enough to know that fallen humans hardly could know the mind of God on the subject of their soteriological status. In fact he was a devout Calvinist Christian who well understood the biblical doctrine of limited atonement and its logical and practical consequences.

    You would be exactly the sort of defensive, righteous Christian, full of the arrogant Christianity that turns off most sensible Americans.

  • Porcell

    Larry, at 109: What your grandfather espouses is precisely unbelief. In fact it differs little from Islam.

    Actually my grandfather was an exemplary Christian. He made a careful study of Christian Reformation doctrine, tithed his considerable income, and was an extraordinary helper of poor and disabled people. He fought as a naval officer in WWI and well understood the difference between autocratic Islam and free Christianity. He, also, founded a highly respected investment banking outfit that served many New England families rather well.

    He loathed self-righteous, fundamentalist Christians who claimed to be “saved” being sensible enough to know that fallen humans hardly could know the mind of God on the subject of their soteriological status. In fact he was a devout Calvinist Christian who well understood the biblical doctrine of limited atonement and its logical and practical consequences.

    You would be exactly the sort of defensive, righteous Christian, full of the arrogant Christianity that turns off most sensible Americans.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 116

    What you state perfectly agrees with the Lutheran Confessions Peter:

    What you say IS “sense-ible”. It is what Reason can grasp and is the only real opinion that reason and reason-able people can come to.

    What you say fully agrees with what the Lutheran Confessions say. You are missing only one thing to become a Lutheran Christian.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 116

    What you state perfectly agrees with the Lutheran Confessions Peter:

    What you say IS “sense-ible”. It is what Reason can grasp and is the only real opinion that reason and reason-able people can come to.

    What you say fully agrees with what the Lutheran Confessions say. You are missing only one thing to become a Lutheran Christian.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@116), remember, by your own religion, you cannot know whether your grandfather was a “Christian” or not — who are you to say whether he was saved?

    Still, your defense of him was very telling:

    He [did some good works], [did some good works], and [did some good works]. He [did some good works] and [did some good works]. He, also, [did some good works].

    None of which actually makes anyone a Christian. Christianity has to do with faith. And your grandfather, by his own confession, did not possess faith in Jesus as his savior — why, that “exemplary” man even set out to kill the faith you once had in Jesus!

    You say your grandfather “was a devout Calvinist Christian who well understood the biblical doctrine of limited atonement and its logical and practical consequences” — and he certainly did understand the full implications of “limited atonement” very well! — but how could you claim he’s a Christian?

    I can understand why you and your grandfather both “loathe” those Christians who, by faith in Jesus, possess assurance of their salvation. If I held to your religion and believed in a capricious god who saves some, damns most, and won’t even tell them who’s who, I’d be upset a lot, too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@116), remember, by your own religion, you cannot know whether your grandfather was a “Christian” or not — who are you to say whether he was saved?

    Still, your defense of him was very telling:

    He [did some good works], [did some good works], and [did some good works]. He [did some good works] and [did some good works]. He, also, [did some good works].

    None of which actually makes anyone a Christian. Christianity has to do with faith. And your grandfather, by his own confession, did not possess faith in Jesus as his savior — why, that “exemplary” man even set out to kill the faith you once had in Jesus!

    You say your grandfather “was a devout Calvinist Christian who well understood the biblical doctrine of limited atonement and its logical and practical consequences” — and he certainly did understand the full implications of “limited atonement” very well! — but how could you claim he’s a Christian?

    I can understand why you and your grandfather both “loathe” those Christians who, by faith in Jesus, possess assurance of their salvation. If I held to your religion and believed in a capricious god who saves some, damns most, and won’t even tell them who’s who, I’d be upset a lot, too.

  • Richard

    Let me chime in with an excerpt from remarks by Dr. Scott Clark, a minister in the United Reformed Church (and a prof at WSCAL), on the nature of faith:

    Joel asks, “Is it possible for a person to want/desire to know Christ as his/her Savior and not be among the elect?”

    21. What is true faith?

    True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit 3 works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.

    Yes, you and all Christians can and should have assurance. How? Trust the gospel promises of Christ! “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    Do you trust in Christ as your righteousness alone? I didn’t ask if you trust enough but only if you trust him. When it comes to assurance, faith is a binary operation. It either exists or it doesn’t. Full stop. There’s no degree or faith, when it comes to justification and assurance.

    Does faith grow? Yes, it does, day by day, but that is the fruit of justification not the ground of assurance. Yes, there is a secondary place for reflecting upon fruit. HC 86 does this:

    86. Since then we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why should we do good works?

    Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing, and also that He be glorified through us; then also, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by the fruits thereof; and by our godly walk win also others to Christ.

    The fruit of faith strengthens our assurance but it is not the basis of it. The sole basis/ground of assurance is Christ’s righteousness for us and his unshakeable promises to us.

    To refuse to have assurance on the ground that one is not sufficiently sanctified is a form of unbelief. Stop it. Repent of it. Of course you are not sanctified enough! You’re a wretch. Jesus didn’t obey and die for nice, sanctified people. He obeyed and died for you and me.

    Will your assurance always be perfect and equally strong? No. The Westminster Confession ch 14 (as quoted above) deals with that question brilliantly. Our assurance ebbs and flows. We learn more and more to stop looking at ourselves — just as we learn to stop looking at garbage heaps — and we learn more and more to look at Christ and his promises.

    One writer encouraged us to

    Look to the Spirit for guidance and comfort, Romans 8:26-27 . Honestly and earnestly search your heart for the true fruits of the Spirit. And ask yourself, “Do I truly love Jesus?”, for He said “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” – John 8.42.
    To which I respond:

    If I may take issue with some of the advice here. The question: “Do I truly love Jesus?”

    That’s not the gospel. That’s law. The law and our obedience to it is no basis for assurance. Should we love Jesus? Yes. Must we love Jesus? Yes! Will we, by the grace of God, come to love Jesus more truly and fully than we do now? Yes. Do we now love Jesus as we ought? No. Substitute: “Do I love the Lord with all my faculties?” (Matt 22:37-40) The honest answer is no! We’re sinners. We don’t any of us love God as we ought. Thus, to ask, “do I love Jesus?” as part of the ground of justification or assurance is the path to doubt and despair. Our obedience will always ebb and flow. When our obedience is, or at least seems to us, to be at high tide, we will be confident, but as soon as we see ourselves, in the mirror of God’s law, for what we really are, then our assurance will be decimated — as it must be on such a basis.

    To find genuine assurance, we start with the objective work of Christ. Secondarily, we may ask if we have any fruit. Yes, we look to the Spirit and we ask him to operate, as he has promised to do, through the preaching of the gospel. We should be careful about an overly subjective approach to this question.

    The objective work of Christ is the oasis in the desert. But since faith is the means by which Christ’s objective work is appropriated, how can one escape the subjectivity of it?

    This definition of faith is too subjective. It’s not my believing that makes faith efficacious. What makes faith, in the act of justification and relative to assurance, efficacious is the object of faith. Christ and his righteousness makes faith what it is: the sole instrument of justification and the sole means of resting in and receiving Christ and his finished work. Thus, there is nothing, relative to justification or assurance, inherent to faith itself that makes it one thing or another. It either exists or it doesn’t.

    For example, Christ’s work is only appropriated to some and in Reformed circles we say those “some” are the elect.

    Some believe and some do not. Both of those are in the visible church and most all of those outside the visible church do not believe (there may be some extraordinary case where one is outside the visible church and yet believes).

    We don’t decide for whom Christ died or who is elect a priori. We do it after the fact (a posteriori. We never ask, “Am I elect?” or “Did Christ die for me?” We only ask, “Do I believe?” If I believe, it is because I am elect and Christ died for me etc. Never, ever try to guess the secret will and providence and decree of God. It is forbidden in Deut 29:29.

    In the works of the Puritans and others, there is a seemingly constant introspection about whether or not one is truly resting in Christ or is it Christ + something else and that the latter are damned because they are not trusting Christ alone.

    Yes, but not in the better Reformed writers (whether they were English speaking or not). There were subjectivists on the continent too. So what? What do we confess as churches?

    Just because we sin doesn’t mean we’re not justified. We are simultaneously sinners and justified. We’re not Papists. We don’t confess that only the sanctified can be justified. Am I a sinner? Yes! Do I, sola gratia, trust that Christ is my righteousness? Yes.

    When it comes to assurance, the equation stops with Christ. Did he finish the work? Is he enough? You will NEVER (yes, I’m yelling) achieve the sanctity you want without first trusting in the sufficiency of the finished work of Christ. Must we die to self? Yes. We must die daily. Does my lack of mortification mean I am not justified? No. It means I’m not yet glorified.

    ***

    I, too, have never understood how one can be completely objective. I can look at Christ and his work for sinners and believe that he truly died for the elect and yet doubt that I am one of them. How do you get from looking at Christ to knowing that you are in Christ? It seems like it has to be subjective to some extent.

    Faith isn’t completely objective. The ground/basis of our justification and of our assurance is completely objective. Faith apprehends that ground: Christ and his righteousness for me. Is faith perfect? No, but it is sufficient. That’s why it’s the sole instrument. It looks away from self and to Christ.

    Faith doesn’t do it. Christ does it and we receive his benefits through faith, as defined in HC 21 and WCF 11 and 14.

  • Richard

    Let me chime in with an excerpt from remarks by Dr. Scott Clark, a minister in the United Reformed Church (and a prof at WSCAL), on the nature of faith:

    Joel asks, “Is it possible for a person to want/desire to know Christ as his/her Savior and not be among the elect?”

    21. What is true faith?

    True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit 3 works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.

    Yes, you and all Christians can and should have assurance. How? Trust the gospel promises of Christ! “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    Do you trust in Christ as your righteousness alone? I didn’t ask if you trust enough but only if you trust him. When it comes to assurance, faith is a binary operation. It either exists or it doesn’t. Full stop. There’s no degree or faith, when it comes to justification and assurance.

    Does faith grow? Yes, it does, day by day, but that is the fruit of justification not the ground of assurance. Yes, there is a secondary place for reflecting upon fruit. HC 86 does this:

    86. Since then we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why should we do good works?

    Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing, and also that He be glorified through us; then also, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by the fruits thereof; and by our godly walk win also others to Christ.

    The fruit of faith strengthens our assurance but it is not the basis of it. The sole basis/ground of assurance is Christ’s righteousness for us and his unshakeable promises to us.

    To refuse to have assurance on the ground that one is not sufficiently sanctified is a form of unbelief. Stop it. Repent of it. Of course you are not sanctified enough! You’re a wretch. Jesus didn’t obey and die for nice, sanctified people. He obeyed and died for you and me.

    Will your assurance always be perfect and equally strong? No. The Westminster Confession ch 14 (as quoted above) deals with that question brilliantly. Our assurance ebbs and flows. We learn more and more to stop looking at ourselves — just as we learn to stop looking at garbage heaps — and we learn more and more to look at Christ and his promises.

    One writer encouraged us to

    Look to the Spirit for guidance and comfort, Romans 8:26-27 . Honestly and earnestly search your heart for the true fruits of the Spirit. And ask yourself, “Do I truly love Jesus?”, for He said “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” – John 8.42.
    To which I respond:

    If I may take issue with some of the advice here. The question: “Do I truly love Jesus?”

    That’s not the gospel. That’s law. The law and our obedience to it is no basis for assurance. Should we love Jesus? Yes. Must we love Jesus? Yes! Will we, by the grace of God, come to love Jesus more truly and fully than we do now? Yes. Do we now love Jesus as we ought? No. Substitute: “Do I love the Lord with all my faculties?” (Matt 22:37-40) The honest answer is no! We’re sinners. We don’t any of us love God as we ought. Thus, to ask, “do I love Jesus?” as part of the ground of justification or assurance is the path to doubt and despair. Our obedience will always ebb and flow. When our obedience is, or at least seems to us, to be at high tide, we will be confident, but as soon as we see ourselves, in the mirror of God’s law, for what we really are, then our assurance will be decimated — as it must be on such a basis.

    To find genuine assurance, we start with the objective work of Christ. Secondarily, we may ask if we have any fruit. Yes, we look to the Spirit and we ask him to operate, as he has promised to do, through the preaching of the gospel. We should be careful about an overly subjective approach to this question.

    The objective work of Christ is the oasis in the desert. But since faith is the means by which Christ’s objective work is appropriated, how can one escape the subjectivity of it?

    This definition of faith is too subjective. It’s not my believing that makes faith efficacious. What makes faith, in the act of justification and relative to assurance, efficacious is the object of faith. Christ and his righteousness makes faith what it is: the sole instrument of justification and the sole means of resting in and receiving Christ and his finished work. Thus, there is nothing, relative to justification or assurance, inherent to faith itself that makes it one thing or another. It either exists or it doesn’t.

    For example, Christ’s work is only appropriated to some and in Reformed circles we say those “some” are the elect.

    Some believe and some do not. Both of those are in the visible church and most all of those outside the visible church do not believe (there may be some extraordinary case where one is outside the visible church and yet believes).

    We don’t decide for whom Christ died or who is elect a priori. We do it after the fact (a posteriori. We never ask, “Am I elect?” or “Did Christ die for me?” We only ask, “Do I believe?” If I believe, it is because I am elect and Christ died for me etc. Never, ever try to guess the secret will and providence and decree of God. It is forbidden in Deut 29:29.

    In the works of the Puritans and others, there is a seemingly constant introspection about whether or not one is truly resting in Christ or is it Christ + something else and that the latter are damned because they are not trusting Christ alone.

    Yes, but not in the better Reformed writers (whether they were English speaking or not). There were subjectivists on the continent too. So what? What do we confess as churches?

    Just because we sin doesn’t mean we’re not justified. We are simultaneously sinners and justified. We’re not Papists. We don’t confess that only the sanctified can be justified. Am I a sinner? Yes! Do I, sola gratia, trust that Christ is my righteousness? Yes.

    When it comes to assurance, the equation stops with Christ. Did he finish the work? Is he enough? You will NEVER (yes, I’m yelling) achieve the sanctity you want without first trusting in the sufficiency of the finished work of Christ. Must we die to self? Yes. We must die daily. Does my lack of mortification mean I am not justified? No. It means I’m not yet glorified.

    ***

    I, too, have never understood how one can be completely objective. I can look at Christ and his work for sinners and believe that he truly died for the elect and yet doubt that I am one of them. How do you get from looking at Christ to knowing that you are in Christ? It seems like it has to be subjective to some extent.

    Faith isn’t completely objective. The ground/basis of our justification and of our assurance is completely objective. Faith apprehends that ground: Christ and his righteousness for me. Is faith perfect? No, but it is sufficient. That’s why it’s the sole instrument. It looks away from self and to Christ.

    Faith doesn’t do it. Christ does it and we receive his benefits through faith, as defined in HC 21 and WCF 11 and 14.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 117 What you say fully agrees with what the Lutheran Confessions. You are missing only one thing to become a Lutheran Christian.

    Actually there is little fundamental difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, notwithstanding the sectarian puffery on this blog. Calvin very much admired and followed Luther.The only difference between them had to do with the Supper, which if one carefully looks into the subject, wasn’t really a large difference.

    Calvin himself thought it a tragedy that the principal players in the Reformation allowed small differences to separate the main body.
    What happened back in the early days of the Reformation is that small differences were allowed to dominate. On the subject of this thread any fair reading of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will [De Servo Arbitrio] would make clear that Luther understood the biblical realities of election and reprobation. Once the implications of this under the heading of limited atonement is understood no one can legitimately claim an assurance of being saved.

    The trouble is that defensive Lutheran and Calvinism sectarians make a big deal out of small differences. Larry, as an example, has breathlessly converted from some supposedly bad Calvinistic faith to the sunny uplands of Lutheranism and now distinguishes between these traditions in black and white terms; how utterly foolish. Personally, I am a Protestant Christian proud of both my Lutheran and Calvinist heritage. The Calvinistic angularity may predominate, though that doesn’t in the slightest disparage the Lutheran background. A pox on sectarian fools.

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 117 What you say fully agrees with what the Lutheran Confessions. You are missing only one thing to become a Lutheran Christian.

    Actually there is little fundamental difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, notwithstanding the sectarian puffery on this blog. Calvin very much admired and followed Luther.The only difference between them had to do with the Supper, which if one carefully looks into the subject, wasn’t really a large difference.

    Calvin himself thought it a tragedy that the principal players in the Reformation allowed small differences to separate the main body.
    What happened back in the early days of the Reformation is that small differences were allowed to dominate. On the subject of this thread any fair reading of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will [De Servo Arbitrio] would make clear that Luther understood the biblical realities of election and reprobation. Once the implications of this under the heading of limited atonement is understood no one can legitimately claim an assurance of being saved.

    The trouble is that defensive Lutheran and Calvinism sectarians make a big deal out of small differences. Larry, as an example, has breathlessly converted from some supposedly bad Calvinistic faith to the sunny uplands of Lutheranism and now distinguishes between these traditions in black and white terms; how utterly foolish. Personally, I am a Protestant Christian proud of both my Lutheran and Calvinist heritage. The Calvinistic angularity may predominate, though that doesn’t in the slightest disparage the Lutheran background. A pox on sectarian fools.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at 118: and he certainly did understand the full implications of “limited atonement” very well! — but how could you claim he’s a Christian?

    Simply because there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement, particularly in Paul passim and the Augustinian/Lutheran interpretation of Paul. Could you cite for us any contradiction to the Christian doctrine of limited atonement? You apparently claim some sort of biblical authority. Do enlighten us.

    An excellent short article on this subject is by Wayne Camp, THE LIMITED ATONEMENT including:

    Jesus taught the first church that he would be laying down his life for his sheep. John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Now most will admit that all men are not sheep. However, some consider the unsaved goats, and in no way sheep. The Bible teaches, however, that some are lost sheep and some are saved sheep. And, a sheep is a sheep, whether a lost one or a saved one. That Jesus has lost sheep is evident from the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son. In that parable Jesus says that when the man had found the sheep and brought it home, he said to his friends, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:6). It is evident from this that Christ’s sheep which were given to him by the Father are his sheep before they are found. He has lost sheep and he has saved sheep but there are those who are not sheep at all. John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    Since all are not his sheep and he laid down his life for the sheep, is that not a limited purpose in the death of Christ? He purposely declared, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” That his sheep involved more than those who were already saved is obvious from his statement in the next verse. John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Jesus is here referring to the Gentiles who were given to him by the Father and for whom he would lay down his life. Those disciples with him were Jewish and he said he had sheep who were not Jewish. Note also he considered it compulsory that he bring them in to the fold. He had not yet begun to visit the Gentiles to take out them a people for his name, yet he considered it a “must” that he bring them into the fold. Moreover he was sure they would hear his voice and enter the fold. “They shall hear my voice.” He did not say, “I hope they will hear my voice. I am going to try my best to get them to hear my voice. Maybe they will hear my voice.” No! He was absolutely confident and bold in his declaration, “They shall hear my voice.” There was no doubt about the matter. He was not hedging or hesitant or dawdling in his declaration.

    When you suggest that limited atonement is not a biblically established Christian doctrine you merely reveal a certain theological ignorance.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at 118: and he certainly did understand the full implications of “limited atonement” very well! — but how could you claim he’s a Christian?

    Simply because there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement, particularly in Paul passim and the Augustinian/Lutheran interpretation of Paul. Could you cite for us any contradiction to the Christian doctrine of limited atonement? You apparently claim some sort of biblical authority. Do enlighten us.

    An excellent short article on this subject is by Wayne Camp, THE LIMITED ATONEMENT including:

    Jesus taught the first church that he would be laying down his life for his sheep. John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Now most will admit that all men are not sheep. However, some consider the unsaved goats, and in no way sheep. The Bible teaches, however, that some are lost sheep and some are saved sheep. And, a sheep is a sheep, whether a lost one or a saved one. That Jesus has lost sheep is evident from the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son. In that parable Jesus says that when the man had found the sheep and brought it home, he said to his friends, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:6). It is evident from this that Christ’s sheep which were given to him by the Father are his sheep before they are found. He has lost sheep and he has saved sheep but there are those who are not sheep at all. John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    Since all are not his sheep and he laid down his life for the sheep, is that not a limited purpose in the death of Christ? He purposely declared, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” That his sheep involved more than those who were already saved is obvious from his statement in the next verse. John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Jesus is here referring to the Gentiles who were given to him by the Father and for whom he would lay down his life. Those disciples with him were Jewish and he said he had sheep who were not Jewish. Note also he considered it compulsory that he bring them in to the fold. He had not yet begun to visit the Gentiles to take out them a people for his name, yet he considered it a “must” that he bring them into the fold. Moreover he was sure they would hear his voice and enter the fold. “They shall hear my voice.” He did not say, “I hope they will hear my voice. I am going to try my best to get them to hear my voice. Maybe they will hear my voice.” No! He was absolutely confident and bold in his declaration, “They shall hear my voice.” There was no doubt about the matter. He was not hedging or hesitant or dawdling in his declaration.

    When you suggest that limited atonement is not a biblically established Christian doctrine you merely reveal a certain theological ignorance.

  • Pete

    I haven’t read this entire thread, so I hope I’m not bringing up something that may have already been covered. A Lutheran theologian (my dad, actually) who is well-versed in both Lutheranism and Calvinism once made the point to me that the Calvinist understanding of election is – in keeping with the rest of their theology – grounded in the sovereignty of God. This places their doctrine of election in the realm of God’s hidden will. Lutherans, on the other hand, emphasize that we are elect in Christ who embodies God’s revealed will. Thus, we are elect both in time (Christ – who we have access to) and eternity (God’s hidden will, which none of us do have access to.)

    This understanding, I believe, allows for the universal atonement of Christ, well attested to in Scripture as well as the (just as well attested) doctrine of election. The Lutheran confessions are strong in pointing out that the doctrine of election is really only for believers. Believers know they’re saved by virtue of all the verses harvested by tODD above. Unbelievers can’t know (they may never come to faith, but on the other hand, they might) until they’re dead. As such, the doctrine of election is intended purely for the comfort of believers, according to the Lutheran confessions.

  • Pete

    I haven’t read this entire thread, so I hope I’m not bringing up something that may have already been covered. A Lutheran theologian (my dad, actually) who is well-versed in both Lutheranism and Calvinism once made the point to me that the Calvinist understanding of election is – in keeping with the rest of their theology – grounded in the sovereignty of God. This places their doctrine of election in the realm of God’s hidden will. Lutherans, on the other hand, emphasize that we are elect in Christ who embodies God’s revealed will. Thus, we are elect both in time (Christ – who we have access to) and eternity (God’s hidden will, which none of us do have access to.)

    This understanding, I believe, allows for the universal atonement of Christ, well attested to in Scripture as well as the (just as well attested) doctrine of election. The Lutheran confessions are strong in pointing out that the doctrine of election is really only for believers. Believers know they’re saved by virtue of all the verses harvested by tODD above. Unbelievers can’t know (they may never come to faith, but on the other hand, they might) until they’re dead. As such, the doctrine of election is intended purely for the comfort of believers, according to the Lutheran confessions.

  • Stephen

    Yes, foolishness and a stumbling block. That certainly is what the cross of Christ is. St. Paul said it. Porcell affirms it over and over.

    After the Civil War there were lots of Confederates who tried for a few years, mostly in vain, to spend their Confederate dollars. They simply weren’t “certain” whether or not they had value. They begged southern governors in letters to see if they would get some kind of merciful treatment. I’ve seen such letters. They are very sad. But their money was worthless. I’m seeing an analogy here, though perhaps not a perfect one.

    Lutheran doctrine teaches Christians that they have sure and certain Union dollars that can be taken to the bank, sealed with the cross of Christ forever in their baptism. Look there. That is your real currency, not in your works, your feelings, or even some degree of reasonable certainty. It is in the promissory note of the true God who cannot lie, who always and eternally keeps his promises even though sinners cannot and do not. He has his name upon you. Spend that when your certainty falters, because it will save you for sure. All else passes away but that Word is eternal.

    But I guess that is puffery.

  • Stephen

    Yes, foolishness and a stumbling block. That certainly is what the cross of Christ is. St. Paul said it. Porcell affirms it over and over.

    After the Civil War there were lots of Confederates who tried for a few years, mostly in vain, to spend their Confederate dollars. They simply weren’t “certain” whether or not they had value. They begged southern governors in letters to see if they would get some kind of merciful treatment. I’ve seen such letters. They are very sad. But their money was worthless. I’m seeing an analogy here, though perhaps not a perfect one.

    Lutheran doctrine teaches Christians that they have sure and certain Union dollars that can be taken to the bank, sealed with the cross of Christ forever in their baptism. Look there. That is your real currency, not in your works, your feelings, or even some degree of reasonable certainty. It is in the promissory note of the true God who cannot lie, who always and eternally keeps his promises even though sinners cannot and do not. He has his name upon you. Spend that when your certainty falters, because it will save you for sure. All else passes away but that Word is eternal.

    But I guess that is puffery.

  • Stephen

    Pete -

    That was excellent!!!! You get 5 out of a possible 4 stars in my book.

  • Stephen

    Pete -

    That was excellent!!!! You get 5 out of a possible 4 stars in my book.

  • Pete

    Richard @119 “We don’t any of us love God as we ought.”

    This is a huge point. I live in the south – Baptist country. A popular admonition down here is to “put God first in your life”. Always makes me respond – “Too late, He’s already done it!” And always makes me concerned that some of these folks actually think they are doing it!

  • Pete

    Richard @119 “We don’t any of us love God as we ought.”

    This is a huge point. I live in the south – Baptist country. A popular admonition down here is to “put God first in your life”. Always makes me respond – “Too late, He’s already done it!” And always makes me concerned that some of these folks actually think they are doing it!

  • Pete

    Stephen,

    Thanks for the compliment, but you run the risk of drawing attention to our Lutheran down-playing of Reason. It’s simply not possible to get 5 out of 4 stars.

  • Pete

    Stephen,

    Thanks for the compliment, but you run the risk of drawing attention to our Lutheran down-playing of Reason. It’s simply not possible to get 5 out of 4 stars.

  • Albert

    Porcell,

    While it is true that Christ died for His church, it is equally true that he died for the sins of the world!! These two truths are neither contradictory nor incompatible! (See a sample of verses below in support of a universal atonement) Not to mention that even using sheer reason, if Christ affirms that He died for a limited subset, that in and of itself does not logically require the conclusion that He did not die for the larger group. But I digress.

    That’s the problem with Calvinists (and Arminians): they pis scripture against scripture and depending on which side they wish to believe, discount or argue/reason away the scriptures that plainly say otherwise. Instead, we should confess all of scripture, not only one or two verses that appear at first blush to support a given position.

    Additionally, the so-called “gospel” of limited atonement is no gospel at all. In fact, I would say it is the anti-gospel. What would you tell a person you’re evangelizing? “I have good news for you!! Christ may have died for you”? If you way anything else, you’re being dishonest. If so, what’s such good news about that? What if Christ didn’t die for him, can you even evangelize in good faith? We’re back to where you are now, struggling over whether or not you’re elect.

    Without a universal atonement the gospel simply does not exist because there’s nothing certain (or good) to proclaim to lost souls.

    1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.”

    1 Timothy 4:10: “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”

    1 John 2:2: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

  • Albert

    Porcell,

    While it is true that Christ died for His church, it is equally true that he died for the sins of the world!! These two truths are neither contradictory nor incompatible! (See a sample of verses below in support of a universal atonement) Not to mention that even using sheer reason, if Christ affirms that He died for a limited subset, that in and of itself does not logically require the conclusion that He did not die for the larger group. But I digress.

    That’s the problem with Calvinists (and Arminians): they pis scripture against scripture and depending on which side they wish to believe, discount or argue/reason away the scriptures that plainly say otherwise. Instead, we should confess all of scripture, not only one or two verses that appear at first blush to support a given position.

    Additionally, the so-called “gospel” of limited atonement is no gospel at all. In fact, I would say it is the anti-gospel. What would you tell a person you’re evangelizing? “I have good news for you!! Christ may have died for you”? If you way anything else, you’re being dishonest. If so, what’s such good news about that? What if Christ didn’t die for him, can you even evangelize in good faith? We’re back to where you are now, struggling over whether or not you’re elect.

    Without a universal atonement the gospel simply does not exist because there’s nothing certain (or good) to proclaim to lost souls.

    1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.”

    1 Timothy 4:10: “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”

    1 John 2:2: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

  • Albert

    Oops I meant to say in the second paragraph @ 127:

    That’s the problem with Calvinists (and Arminians): they pit scripture against scripture . . .

  • Albert

    Oops I meant to say in the second paragraph @ 127:

    That’s the problem with Calvinists (and Arminians): they pit scripture against scripture . . .

  • Albert

    I once had this short conversation with a Calvinist friend of mine:

    Me: Is the Gospel also for unbelievers?

    Calvinist: Yes, in that it damns them.

    Me: How is this “good news”?

    Calvinist:

  • Albert

    I once had this short conversation with a Calvinist friend of mine:

    Me: Is the Gospel also for unbelievers?

    Calvinist: Yes, in that it damns them.

    Me: How is this “good news”?

    Calvinist:

  • Stephen

    Pete @ 126

    Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  • Stephen

    Pete @ 126

    Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  • Stephen

    Pete -

    I’m assuming your dad was a pastor (?). Mine was. He never claimed to be much of a theologian, but there were a few gems he dropped on me as a kid. One was “God keeps his promises or else he wouldn’t be God.” To see the whole narrative of scripture that way is the trick, especially for moderns who put the self at the center of every drama.

  • Stephen

    Pete -

    I’m assuming your dad was a pastor (?). Mine was. He never claimed to be much of a theologian, but there were a few gems he dropped on me as a kid. One was “God keeps his promises or else he wouldn’t be God.” To see the whole narrative of scripture that way is the trick, especially for moderns who put the self at the center of every drama.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    Again, I grant to you, even applaud your nude honesty that your Calvinism is consistent as opposed to the cryptolutheran Calvinist, who basically have to ignore what you are so honest bold to admit and espouse. Cryptolutheran Calvinist are kind of like Baptist who say they are “Calvinist” yet don’t baptize infants, totally inconsistent with their signed on confessions and constantly attempting to fit Baptist round pegs into Calvinist square holes, or in this case Calvinist round pegs into Lutheran square holes. They also have a tendency to read Calvin very anachronistically in order to more marry him up to Luther. It took Westphal to ferret Calvin out.

    Yet still Porcell, the question remains, for as far as I (we) know by admission of your own confessed doctrine and working within that framework alone (not espousing or working from confessional Lutheranism); you yourself in the very present as we speak may just be an eternally damned reprobate unbeliever, and potentially as such no one can trust even your judgment of, “Actually my grandfather was an exemplary Christian.” For if you are in fact an eternally damned reprobate to whom the limited atonement did not extend, then you do not in the present have the Holy Spirit and thus can discern anything of Scripture whereby your judgment on spiritual things and things concerning the faith can be accepted. Thereby even your assessment of your grandfather is specious.

    Similarly, by the admission of your own confessed doctrine you cannot know that your grandfather was elect and not to mention your grandfather’s own words. Every “good work” listed can be imitated. How was it he put it, “He averred that such surety likely meant that I (i.e. PORCELL – emphasis added) would be in for a rude surprise; further that NO fallen human is capable of such assurance.” (emphasis added)

    And any and all works done, even the best and greatest are of no value in this assessment since even they hypocrites can imitate them so that as your grandfather averred, “..that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    Thus, the question always remains to the Calvinist “how do you know that YOU in particular are saved”, and they ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS answer as we’ve heard even here so many times, either in long form or short form, explicitly or implicitly say, “Because I believe”. They may caveat “not a perfect faith” but it boils down to even “an imperfect I believe” and thus “I believe”. This is the same logic, as it were, that Calvinist excoriate Arminians with when they perceive that no matter how much the Arminian tries to make it look like monergism that saves, that teeny tiniest bit of synergism is in sum total still just synergism.
    But you see you can even deceive yourself in the ever present existence of yourself for Scripture says so, Jer. 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” So that when it is said in answer how do you KNOW YOU are elect and thus saved, “I believe”, the reply comes, “Yes BUT The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” All men are liars.

    When God has said in so many ways He has forgiven you in Word and Sacrament and you basically say “no, one may be reprobate” then you are calling God a liar and God cannot lie.

  • larry

    Porcell,

    Again, I grant to you, even applaud your nude honesty that your Calvinism is consistent as opposed to the cryptolutheran Calvinist, who basically have to ignore what you are so honest bold to admit and espouse. Cryptolutheran Calvinist are kind of like Baptist who say they are “Calvinist” yet don’t baptize infants, totally inconsistent with their signed on confessions and constantly attempting to fit Baptist round pegs into Calvinist square holes, or in this case Calvinist round pegs into Lutheran square holes. They also have a tendency to read Calvin very anachronistically in order to more marry him up to Luther. It took Westphal to ferret Calvin out.

    Yet still Porcell, the question remains, for as far as I (we) know by admission of your own confessed doctrine and working within that framework alone (not espousing or working from confessional Lutheranism); you yourself in the very present as we speak may just be an eternally damned reprobate unbeliever, and potentially as such no one can trust even your judgment of, “Actually my grandfather was an exemplary Christian.” For if you are in fact an eternally damned reprobate to whom the limited atonement did not extend, then you do not in the present have the Holy Spirit and thus can discern anything of Scripture whereby your judgment on spiritual things and things concerning the faith can be accepted. Thereby even your assessment of your grandfather is specious.

    Similarly, by the admission of your own confessed doctrine you cannot know that your grandfather was elect and not to mention your grandfather’s own words. Every “good work” listed can be imitated. How was it he put it, “He averred that such surety likely meant that I (i.e. PORCELL – emphasis added) would be in for a rude surprise; further that NO fallen human is capable of such assurance.” (emphasis added)

    And any and all works done, even the best and greatest are of no value in this assessment since even they hypocrites can imitate them so that as your grandfather averred, “..that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    Thus, the question always remains to the Calvinist “how do you know that YOU in particular are saved”, and they ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS answer as we’ve heard even here so many times, either in long form or short form, explicitly or implicitly say, “Because I believe”. They may caveat “not a perfect faith” but it boils down to even “an imperfect I believe” and thus “I believe”. This is the same logic, as it were, that Calvinist excoriate Arminians with when they perceive that no matter how much the Arminian tries to make it look like monergism that saves, that teeny tiniest bit of synergism is in sum total still just synergism.
    But you see you can even deceive yourself in the ever present existence of yourself for Scripture says so, Jer. 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” So that when it is said in answer how do you KNOW YOU are elect and thus saved, “I believe”, the reply comes, “Yes BUT The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” All men are liars.

    When God has said in so many ways He has forgiven you in Word and Sacrament and you basically say “no, one may be reprobate” then you are calling God a liar and God cannot lie.

  • larry

    Todd is right on with his unaltered selections of the Bible of what the Word says, that’s true Sola Scriptura.

    But the Reformed are not Sola Scriptura in reality, that’s why the WCF also adds that interpretation includes “good and necessary consequence” nixing the idea of true Sola Scriptura.

    Proof: Every verse Todd quoted Sola Scriptura has added to it either explicitly or implicitly via Reformed doctrine at every single point where the personal pronouns are “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate” or similarly “to those only in which the atonement is extended”.

    Proof E.g. (this is what I mean when these “pro me” verses become a TERROR to the despairing Calvinist the doctrine ROBS them) NOTE: how reason, the ‘good and necessary consequence’ is inserted and attempts to rule over the Word – this is no different than what the devil said to Eve, “hath God really SAID (AS HE SAID IT)”:
    “Don’t you “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” know that all of us “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate” were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” too may live a new life. If we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have been united with him like this in his death, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” [Romans 6]

    Therefore, since we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have been justified through faith, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have gained access by faith into this grace in which we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” now stand. And we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” also rejoice in our sufferings, because we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. … Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” were God’s enemies, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have now received reconciliation. [Romans 5]

    Now I DO NOT recommend that you hold in your mind long the examples I gave you for it robs the comfort of the what God ACTUALLY states, I only do so as to show and fend off the lying doctrine of Calvinism and to show starkly the warning. But that’s how a Calvinist reads those verses true to the doctrine and produces either the group that thinks they are pulling it off or the despairing. The ONLY way a Calvinist can read those verses AS IS, is to inconsistently deny the doctrine. Which is apropos point Porcell made that even the cryptolutheran type Calvinist must have in the back of their minds the logic of the doctrine of double predestination or it’s so what less rough edged but nonetheless despairing mother limited atonement.

    In reality, this is not at difficult. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with intellect or ability to grasp but has EVERYTHING to do with unbelief rejecting point blank the what the Word of God so plainly says BECAUSE OF EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS. Thus, sola scriptura becomes scripture subdued by reason (or hath God said). In the end Calvinism’s doctrine holistically and consistently and truthfully taken is nothing less than original sin. “A good and necessary consequence” is exactly “hath God really said”.

    You know I saw Joseph Smith’s bible copy when in Utah a few years ago on a mission trip, and Bror will know this well because he deals with this a lot, and Smith scratched out the parts of the Scripture he did agree with what or how it said it, added in places right there on the page. The reformed and the baptist do this implicitly and hiddenly. No they don’t crassly do it as Smith did actually scratching out the words then adding in, but they do do it implicitly by the doctrine added and sometimes in the footnotes of Reformed Study Bibles. So that when Jesus said, “This is My body/blood…” there’s either an implied scratch out or explicit footnote added to say, “This is NOT actually My body/blood but sign/symbol/represents…”. Same with “this baptism saves you”, the same in the examples given above.

    Now I’m taking Todd’s succinct point, who like many on here can assemble thoughts in writing much better than I, and perhaps beating a dead horse to death, but then again for a reason.

    I would hope that this gives the cryptocalvinist something to pause and ponder over, for having been there I know they hunger for the assurance of Christ, that’s their desire but the doctrine locks them out – especially the despairing who are too despairing and so timid due to it to speak on the matter.

  • larry

    Todd is right on with his unaltered selections of the Bible of what the Word says, that’s true Sola Scriptura.

    But the Reformed are not Sola Scriptura in reality, that’s why the WCF also adds that interpretation includes “good and necessary consequence” nixing the idea of true Sola Scriptura.

    Proof: Every verse Todd quoted Sola Scriptura has added to it either explicitly or implicitly via Reformed doctrine at every single point where the personal pronouns are “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate” or similarly “to those only in which the atonement is extended”.

    Proof E.g. (this is what I mean when these “pro me” verses become a TERROR to the despairing Calvinist the doctrine ROBS them) NOTE: how reason, the ‘good and necessary consequence’ is inserted and attempts to rule over the Word – this is no different than what the devil said to Eve, “hath God really SAID (AS HE SAID IT)”:
    “Don’t you “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” know that all of us “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate” were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” too may live a new life. If we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have been united with him like this in his death, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” [Romans 6]

    Therefore, since we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have been justified through faith, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have gained access by faith into this grace in which we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” now stand. And we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” also rejoice in our sufferings, because we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. … Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” were God’s enemies, we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we “the elect only as opposed to the reprobate”/ “to those only in which the atonement is extended” have now received reconciliation. [Romans 5]

    Now I DO NOT recommend that you hold in your mind long the examples I gave you for it robs the comfort of the what God ACTUALLY states, I only do so as to show and fend off the lying doctrine of Calvinism and to show starkly the warning. But that’s how a Calvinist reads those verses true to the doctrine and produces either the group that thinks they are pulling it off or the despairing. The ONLY way a Calvinist can read those verses AS IS, is to inconsistently deny the doctrine. Which is apropos point Porcell made that even the cryptolutheran type Calvinist must have in the back of their minds the logic of the doctrine of double predestination or it’s so what less rough edged but nonetheless despairing mother limited atonement.

    In reality, this is not at difficult. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with intellect or ability to grasp but has EVERYTHING to do with unbelief rejecting point blank the what the Word of God so plainly says BECAUSE OF EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS. Thus, sola scriptura becomes scripture subdued by reason (or hath God said). In the end Calvinism’s doctrine holistically and consistently and truthfully taken is nothing less than original sin. “A good and necessary consequence” is exactly “hath God really said”.

    You know I saw Joseph Smith’s bible copy when in Utah a few years ago on a mission trip, and Bror will know this well because he deals with this a lot, and Smith scratched out the parts of the Scripture he did agree with what or how it said it, added in places right there on the page. The reformed and the baptist do this implicitly and hiddenly. No they don’t crassly do it as Smith did actually scratching out the words then adding in, but they do do it implicitly by the doctrine added and sometimes in the footnotes of Reformed Study Bibles. So that when Jesus said, “This is My body/blood…” there’s either an implied scratch out or explicit footnote added to say, “This is NOT actually My body/blood but sign/symbol/represents…”. Same with “this baptism saves you”, the same in the examples given above.

    Now I’m taking Todd’s succinct point, who like many on here can assemble thoughts in writing much better than I, and perhaps beating a dead horse to death, but then again for a reason.

    I would hope that this gives the cryptocalvinist something to pause and ponder over, for having been there I know they hunger for the assurance of Christ, that’s their desire but the doctrine locks them out – especially the despairing who are too despairing and so timid due to it to speak on the matter.

  • Porcell

    Larry, the fundamental problem with your argument is that grace comes only from God [Sola Deo gratia]. Those evangelical Protestants who try to get around this by universal atonement coupled with limited election lose the concinnity of Calvinism that faces the issue that grace comes only and individually from God through the Holy Spirit. B.B. Warfield in his Plan of Salvation remarks on this as follows:

    Meanwhile, it is not the consistent universalism that demands the actual salvation of all sinners, which has been embraced by the mass of universalizing Protestants. For one thing, the Scriptures are too clear to the contrary to permit the indulgence of this pleasant dream: it is all too certain that all men are not saved, but at the last day there remain the two classes of the saved and the lost, each of which is sent to the eternal destiny which belongs to it. The great problem requires to be faced by universalizing evangelicalism, therefore, of how it is God and God alone who saves the soul, and all that God does looking towards the saving of the soul he does to and for all men alike, and yet all men are not saved. Their attempts to solve this problem have given us the doctrinal constructions known as Evangelical Lutheranism and Evangelical Arminianism, both of which profess to combine an express evangelicalism and an express universalism, and yet to provide for the diverse issues of salvation and damnation. That these systems have succeeded in solving this (let us say it frankly, insoluble) problem, we of course do not believe; and the element in the problem which suffers in the forcible adjustments which they propose, is in both cases the evangelical element. But it is nevertheless to be frankly recognized that both systems profess to have found a solution and are therefore emphatic in their professions of both a pure evangelicalism and a complete universalism in the operation of God looking to salvation. It will be worth our while to make this clear to ourselves. In doing so, however, we shall choose statements from which we may learn something more of the spirit and points of view of these great systems than the particular facts which are more immediately engaging our attention.

    The truth is that often Protestants swear sola Deo gratia up and down and then somehow manage to work in some universalizing sacerdotal solution.

  • Porcell

    Larry, the fundamental problem with your argument is that grace comes only from God [Sola Deo gratia]. Those evangelical Protestants who try to get around this by universal atonement coupled with limited election lose the concinnity of Calvinism that faces the issue that grace comes only and individually from God through the Holy Spirit. B.B. Warfield in his Plan of Salvation remarks on this as follows:

    Meanwhile, it is not the consistent universalism that demands the actual salvation of all sinners, which has been embraced by the mass of universalizing Protestants. For one thing, the Scriptures are too clear to the contrary to permit the indulgence of this pleasant dream: it is all too certain that all men are not saved, but at the last day there remain the two classes of the saved and the lost, each of which is sent to the eternal destiny which belongs to it. The great problem requires to be faced by universalizing evangelicalism, therefore, of how it is God and God alone who saves the soul, and all that God does looking towards the saving of the soul he does to and for all men alike, and yet all men are not saved. Their attempts to solve this problem have given us the doctrinal constructions known as Evangelical Lutheranism and Evangelical Arminianism, both of which profess to combine an express evangelicalism and an express universalism, and yet to provide for the diverse issues of salvation and damnation. That these systems have succeeded in solving this (let us say it frankly, insoluble) problem, we of course do not believe; and the element in the problem which suffers in the forcible adjustments which they propose, is in both cases the evangelical element. But it is nevertheless to be frankly recognized that both systems profess to have found a solution and are therefore emphatic in their professions of both a pure evangelicalism and a complete universalism in the operation of God looking to salvation. It will be worth our while to make this clear to ourselves. In doing so, however, we shall choose statements from which we may learn something more of the spirit and points of view of these great systems than the particular facts which are more immediately engaging our attention.

    The truth is that often Protestants swear sola Deo gratia up and down and then somehow manage to work in some universalizing sacerdotal solution.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A few notes on your arguments here, Porcell.

    You may recall that you started out this conversation complaining (@12) about “Calvin bashing”, going on to complain (@17) about Larry’s “declaring none too subtly that Lutheranism is about truth and Calvinism about falsehood” and declaring him an “ordinary divisive Lutheran partisan”. You then claimed (@23) to “have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith”, but made clear that such “upholding” could not include “disparaging other faiths” — and, moreover, that you took any dividing of truth and falsehood to be the “disparaging other faiths”.

    Of course, your subsequent behavior has shown these comments to be so much bullshit.

    Because, as is your wont, you’ve gone on to engage in vast amounts of divisive sectarianism, including no small amount of Lutheran-bashing and disparaging the faiths of any number of Christian groups. And, what’s more, you’ve employed a healthy number of epithets — which, in case you didn’t know, are something of a tell for you when you don’t have an actual argument to make.

    So it is that you declare (@31) “Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.” And you continue (@59), “The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism,” sneeringly concluding with a swipe at “any foolish sentiment of being ‘saved.’” But wait, there’s more (@75)! “That anyone may know the secret counsel of God on their ultimate status is preposterous,” you say, going on to call those who know they are saved “rather boorish”. Repeatedly. You then possess the gall to decry (@116) “arrogant Christianity”! Oh, but you’re not done! No, you say to me (@121), “you merely reveal a certain theological ignorance”.

    Why, you even engage in intra-Calvinist sectarianism, going so far as to separate (@38) “serious Calvinists” (who of course agree with you — that’s pretty much all the word “serious” means to you) with “déclassé ‘Calvinists’” who must, in your opinion, “live in some God forsaken part of the world”! Of course, you claim these others “were and are on the fringe of serious Calvinism.” You are always telling us that the majority of people agree with you and hold to your opinions, even when that clame is obviously fallacious.

    And, to top it all off, you still somehow, after all that, manage to claim (@120) — with nary a hint that you recognize the cognitive dissonance — that “there is little fundamental difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, notwithstanding the sectarian puffery on this blog”.

    Well bravo, Porcell! You’re a full-blown arrogant, sectarian, faith-disparaging, Lutheran- and Protestant-bashing hypocrite. You clearly don’t believe your own words here, so why should anyone else?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A few notes on your arguments here, Porcell.

    You may recall that you started out this conversation complaining (@12) about “Calvin bashing”, going on to complain (@17) about Larry’s “declaring none too subtly that Lutheranism is about truth and Calvinism about falsehood” and declaring him an “ordinary divisive Lutheran partisan”. You then claimed (@23) to “have no problem with Lutherans upholding their branch of the faith”, but made clear that such “upholding” could not include “disparaging other faiths” — and, moreover, that you took any dividing of truth and falsehood to be the “disparaging other faiths”.

    Of course, your subsequent behavior has shown these comments to be so much bullshit.

    Because, as is your wont, you’ve gone on to engage in vast amounts of divisive sectarianism, including no small amount of Lutheran-bashing and disparaging the faiths of any number of Christian groups. And, what’s more, you’ve employed a healthy number of epithets — which, in case you didn’t know, are something of a tell for you when you don’t have an actual argument to make.

    So it is that you declare (@31) “Those who claim absolute truth are correctly regarded as fanatics.” And you continue (@59), “The very idea that any one of themselves may know that they are saved suffers from the pleasant fallacy of universalism,” sneeringly concluding with a swipe at “any foolish sentiment of being ‘saved.’” But wait, there’s more (@75)! “That anyone may know the secret counsel of God on their ultimate status is preposterous,” you say, going on to call those who know they are saved “rather boorish”. Repeatedly. You then possess the gall to decry (@116) “arrogant Christianity”! Oh, but you’re not done! No, you say to me (@121), “you merely reveal a certain theological ignorance”.

    Why, you even engage in intra-Calvinist sectarianism, going so far as to separate (@38) “serious Calvinists” (who of course agree with you — that’s pretty much all the word “serious” means to you) with “déclassé ‘Calvinists’” who must, in your opinion, “live in some God forsaken part of the world”! Of course, you claim these others “were and are on the fringe of serious Calvinism.” You are always telling us that the majority of people agree with you and hold to your opinions, even when that clame is obviously fallacious.

    And, to top it all off, you still somehow, after all that, manage to claim (@120) — with nary a hint that you recognize the cognitive dissonance — that “there is little fundamental difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism, notwithstanding the sectarian puffery on this blog”.

    Well bravo, Porcell! You’re a full-blown arrogant, sectarian, faith-disparaging, Lutheran- and Protestant-bashing hypocrite. You clearly don’t believe your own words here, so why should anyone else?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And that’s still not all, Porcell! Because my last comment (@135) didn’t even address your risible interpretation of 1 Cor. 13:12 as a secret decoder ring by which Paul told Christians that they can’t know anything in the Bible for sure! And, as is so often the case with you, it is your own actions that point out how risible this interpretation is — because you don’t even believe it yourself! It’s just more rhetorical bullshit you toss out when you want to ignore certain sections of Scripture!

    Let’s recall your reading (@31) of this passage that is possibly one of two passages of Scripture you seem to know by heart:

    No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly.

    Why, let’s go right to your source of “great confidence” (@41): “I have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament.” You then clarified this with some truly awe-inspiring gobbledygook when you said (@48), “A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.”

    But, as I’ve noted before, you never apply to yourself your reading of 1 Cor. 13:12. Oh no. For anyone disagreeing with you, you tell us we can’t know for sure, but when Porcell makes an argument from Scripture (such as it is)? … “The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen” (@59). Naturally, anyone you think agrees with you also gets attributed with such clarity (@75): “I hold resolutely and comfortably to this view that Calvin and his best followers based on careful reading of scripture … A carful reading of both the Old and New Testaments makes clear the paradox that men are both free and foreordained.”

    Of course, when those who you previously claimed to have agreed with you can be shown to not agree with you, you throw them under the bus as quickly as you lauded them, and yet still claim with certainty your peculiar Bible interpretation (@107): “Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    And, of course, you try to pull in Luther and make him conform to your own religion as well (@120), at which point he gets your approval to understand “biblical realities”: “any fair reading of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will [De Servo Arbitrio] would make clear that Luther understood the biblical realities of election and reprobation.”

    Of course, one can’t help but notice that, when you do point to Scripture to back up your claims (“there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement” @121 — where, oh where, is your “glass darkly” verse now, hmm?), you don’t actually point to anything in Scripture. You just make your assertion, or you quote from some book that you’re apparently reading (though your nods to several works both here and in the past have brought into question whether or not you’re actually understanding them), as if that settled the matter as to Scripture. Humorously, you then demand Scriptural citations from those who disagree with you, even as they have already been given in the thread, and even as you have provided none of your own.

    Anyhow, point being, if you don’t believe your own interpretation of 1 Cor. 13:12 — and merely use it to engage in boorish, sectarian, faith-disparaging — why should anyone else?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And that’s still not all, Porcell! Because my last comment (@135) didn’t even address your risible interpretation of 1 Cor. 13:12 as a secret decoder ring by which Paul told Christians that they can’t know anything in the Bible for sure! And, as is so often the case with you, it is your own actions that point out how risible this interpretation is — because you don’t even believe it yourself! It’s just more rhetorical bullshit you toss out when you want to ignore certain sections of Scripture!

    Let’s recall your reading (@31) of this passage that is possibly one of two passages of Scripture you seem to know by heart:

    No fallen human,whether Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin possesses absolute truth. All humans as Paul remarked see through a glass darkly.

    Why, let’s go right to your source of “great confidence” (@41): “I have great confidence in the biblical covenant of grace explained fully in the New Testament and typologically in the Old Testament.” You then clarified this with some truly awe-inspiring gobbledygook when you said (@48), “A person of faith may have confidence though not certainty in the biblical covenant of grace.”

    But, as I’ve noted before, you never apply to yourself your reading of 1 Cor. 13:12. Oh no. For anyone disagreeing with you, you tell us we can’t know for sure, but when Porcell makes an argument from Scripture (such as it is)? … “The Bible makes abundantly clear the hard truth that only a few are chosen” (@59). Naturally, anyone you think agrees with you also gets attributed with such clarity (@75): “I hold resolutely and comfortably to this view that Calvin and his best followers based on careful reading of scripture … A carful reading of both the Old and New Testaments makes clear the paradox that men are both free and foreordained.”

    Of course, when those who you previously claimed to have agreed with you can be shown to not agree with you, you throw them under the bus as quickly as you lauded them, and yet still claim with certainty your peculiar Bible interpretation (@107): “Whatever contradictory remarks Calvin, Horton, et al might have made regarding Christian assurance or certainty, they well know or knew that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement doesn’t allow logically or practically assurance or certainty.”

    And, of course, you try to pull in Luther and make him conform to your own religion as well (@120), at which point he gets your approval to understand “biblical realities”: “any fair reading of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will [De Servo Arbitrio] would make clear that Luther understood the biblical realities of election and reprobation.”

    Of course, one can’t help but notice that, when you do point to Scripture to back up your claims (“there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement” @121 — where, oh where, is your “glass darkly” verse now, hmm?), you don’t actually point to anything in Scripture. You just make your assertion, or you quote from some book that you’re apparently reading (though your nods to several works both here and in the past have brought into question whether or not you’re actually understanding them), as if that settled the matter as to Scripture. Humorously, you then demand Scriptural citations from those who disagree with you, even as they have already been given in the thread, and even as you have provided none of your own.

    Anyhow, point being, if you don’t believe your own interpretation of 1 Cor. 13:12 — and merely use it to engage in boorish, sectarian, faith-disparaging — why should anyone else?

  • Porcell

    Todd, when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument stated at 34, I might pay attention to your present ranting.

  • Porcell

    Todd, when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument stated at 34, I might pay attention to your present ranting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@137), please. Do you really think I could write all that (@135, 136) and remain so naive?

    Todd, when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument stated at 34, I might pay attention to your present ranting.

    There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to my “ranting”, whether earlier on this thread or at present. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to the comments left by other people here. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to what Lutherans actually confess and believe. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to what other Calvinists also believe. There has been nothing stopping you from listening to (and maybe, just maybe, also sharing with us) the clear words of Scripture.

    Nothing, of course, except your own obstinance and arrogance. And now you want me to believe those will magically disappear … if only I rebut your argument in an earlier comment (@134)?

    Oh, but wait! It’s not actually your argument, is it? It almost never is. No, I have to rebut some argument you copied and pasted from some book you read — notably, never an actual book of Scripture.

    And who will be the judge of whether I have “refuted” said argument? Why, none other than you, who have already made clear that you, cacaphonous sectarian and faith-disparager that you are, disagree with my position and agree with Warfield’s.

    As to “when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument”! Let’s see, look that up in my Porcell-to-English dictionary … ah, here we go. In English, that would be, “when you attempt to refute Warfield’s argument in a way that agrees with me.” Except that’s not possible, as you hold to Warfield’s position.

    So, let’s see. You can’t formulate your own argument, relying on others to make one for you. You can’t point to any passages of Scripture that back up your own position. But you insist that I provide my own Scripture verses to back up my position. And you insist that I refute the most recent argument you’ve pasted in, even as you have largely failed to address most preceding points that have been addressed to you.

    Yeah, see, I’m not that stupid.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@137), please. Do you really think I could write all that (@135, 136) and remain so naive?

    Todd, when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument stated at 34, I might pay attention to your present ranting.

    There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to my “ranting”, whether earlier on this thread or at present. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to the comments left by other people here. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to what Lutherans actually confess and believe. There has been nothing stopping you from paying attention to what other Calvinists also believe. There has been nothing stopping you from listening to (and maybe, just maybe, also sharing with us) the clear words of Scripture.

    Nothing, of course, except your own obstinance and arrogance. And now you want me to believe those will magically disappear … if only I rebut your argument in an earlier comment (@134)?

    Oh, but wait! It’s not actually your argument, is it? It almost never is. No, I have to rebut some argument you copied and pasted from some book you read — notably, never an actual book of Scripture.

    And who will be the judge of whether I have “refuted” said argument? Why, none other than you, who have already made clear that you, cacaphonous sectarian and faith-disparager that you are, disagree with my position and agree with Warfield’s.

    As to “when you seriously attempt to refute Warfield’s argument”! Let’s see, look that up in my Porcell-to-English dictionary … ah, here we go. In English, that would be, “when you attempt to refute Warfield’s argument in a way that agrees with me.” Except that’s not possible, as you hold to Warfield’s position.

    So, let’s see. You can’t formulate your own argument, relying on others to make one for you. You can’t point to any passages of Scripture that back up your own position. But you insist that I provide my own Scripture verses to back up my position. And you insist that I refute the most recent argument you’ve pasted in, even as you have largely failed to address most preceding points that have been addressed to you.

    Yeah, see, I’m not that stupid.

  • Richard

    Sigh.
    As I predicted, a thread devoted to the theory that the origins of American evangelicalism are now understood to lie not in Puritanism or frontier revivals but in 17th century German Pietism has turned into a cussing match between tODD and Porcell. Who would have though it?

  • Richard

    Sigh.
    As I predicted, a thread devoted to the theory that the origins of American evangelicalism are now understood to lie not in Puritanism or frontier revivals but in 17th century German Pietism has turned into a cussing match between tODD and Porcell. Who would have though it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I will, however, quote Scripture for you, as you clearly need to read (and, God willing, understand) it more.

    Paul speaks with certainty and assurance about his — and the Ephesians’ — standing with God, Ephesians 1:

    He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure . . . . And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. … I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

    John (already quoted by Larry @103, and ignored by you) on the assurance of salvation, 1 John 5:

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Paul, on the assurance of salvation and the ability to know what God reveals:

    My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

    To be fair, the arguments you’re quoting aren’t really “fine-sounding”, but the principle holds.

    John the Baptist on assurance of eternal life, John 3:

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him

    Jesus on assurance of eternal life, John 5:

    I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

    Peter on assurance of eternal life, Acts 10:

    All the prophets testify about him [i.e. Jesus] that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

    Paul on assurance of eternal life, Acts 13:

    Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’”

    (Guess who the “scoffer” is on this thread, Porcell!)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I will, however, quote Scripture for you, as you clearly need to read (and, God willing, understand) it more.

    Paul speaks with certainty and assurance about his — and the Ephesians’ — standing with God, Ephesians 1:

    He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure . . . . And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. … I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

    John (already quoted by Larry @103, and ignored by you) on the assurance of salvation, 1 John 5:

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Paul, on the assurance of salvation and the ability to know what God reveals:

    My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

    To be fair, the arguments you’re quoting aren’t really “fine-sounding”, but the principle holds.

    John the Baptist on assurance of eternal life, John 3:

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him

    Jesus on assurance of eternal life, John 5:

    I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

    Peter on assurance of eternal life, Acts 10:

    All the prophets testify about him [i.e. Jesus] that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

    Paul on assurance of eternal life, Acts 13:

    Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’”

    (Guess who the “scoffer” is on this thread, Porcell!)

  • Larry

    No, Todd is right on point and Calvinism is doing its usual “throw smoke bomb diversion to get the attention from its confessed doctrines while it skulks away pretending to be “not that different from Luther”. At the end of the day despite proclivity to ignore doctrine or smooth over it with “love talk”, doctrine either saves or murders souls eternally. That’s why Scripture NEVER ONCE encourages but rather warns, depart from them!

    The issue of pietism is rooted the inward look and not in extra nos sacraments, in fact the later is in direct polemical WAR with pietism. Yet, when Calvinism is asked “how do you know…inward we go” (as with Lutheran pietism). I would agree to this, Lutheran pietism is linked to the hip with Calvinism, et. al. and its not surprising that under Lutheran pietism communion and union with Reformed churches occur.

    I’d even go further, concerning Porcell’s cavlinism. When one theorhetically agrees with Porcell’s clavinism that he has so richly portrayed that no man can know or be assured he is elect and its correlative thus may be reprobate, which an unbeliever and not Christian – when one plays “on that field” with Porcell (i.e. I agree for sake of argument) – then turns that to Porcell, who himself admits he does not know he’s elect and correlatively a possible reprobate unbeliever, he wafts it away as “too many notes”.

    So maintaining play on his field, namely that neither I nor anyone else can know and by his own admission and by his quoting of his grandfather, etc…that no one can know and thus potentially even likely a reprobate unbeliever (not a Christian), and that everybody is a deceived boorish idiot who does know they are saved, elect, and thus a Christian; why should one listen to syllable ONE from Porcell the unbelieving reprobate any more than an admitted atheist? For it’s just merely six one way, half a dozen another.

    I can think of no better way of saying (hypothetically) that “I agree with Porcell’s religion” than saying, “Porcell you are likely an unbelieving faithless non-Christian reprobate”. Because that’s the default and ONLY real position in opposition to KNOWING one is saved and thus assured. For between truth and falsehood – again still playing ball on Porcell’s religious field and for sake of argument saying Porcell’s religion “IS the truth” and thus no one CAN know in the here and now, and by his grandfather’s quote if one does it’s a “sure sign” you are in for a big surprise (i.e. damned reprobate in eternity) – excluded middle applies and there is no “middle ground”, thus the only conclusion of assurance one CAN have is to be assured one is indeed reprobate and eternally damned. For if one dare to think otherwise, according to sage Puritan grandfather, then that’s a sure sign of reprobate damnation.

    And it would be nice to hear something beside crickets and frogs from cryptolutheran Calvinist concerning their fellow Porcell Calvinist.

    Will the real Calvinism please stand up!

  • Larry

    No, Todd is right on point and Calvinism is doing its usual “throw smoke bomb diversion to get the attention from its confessed doctrines while it skulks away pretending to be “not that different from Luther”. At the end of the day despite proclivity to ignore doctrine or smooth over it with “love talk”, doctrine either saves or murders souls eternally. That’s why Scripture NEVER ONCE encourages but rather warns, depart from them!

    The issue of pietism is rooted the inward look and not in extra nos sacraments, in fact the later is in direct polemical WAR with pietism. Yet, when Calvinism is asked “how do you know…inward we go” (as with Lutheran pietism). I would agree to this, Lutheran pietism is linked to the hip with Calvinism, et. al. and its not surprising that under Lutheran pietism communion and union with Reformed churches occur.

    I’d even go further, concerning Porcell’s cavlinism. When one theorhetically agrees with Porcell’s clavinism that he has so richly portrayed that no man can know or be assured he is elect and its correlative thus may be reprobate, which an unbeliever and not Christian – when one plays “on that field” with Porcell (i.e. I agree for sake of argument) – then turns that to Porcell, who himself admits he does not know he’s elect and correlatively a possible reprobate unbeliever, he wafts it away as “too many notes”.

    So maintaining play on his field, namely that neither I nor anyone else can know and by his own admission and by his quoting of his grandfather, etc…that no one can know and thus potentially even likely a reprobate unbeliever (not a Christian), and that everybody is a deceived boorish idiot who does know they are saved, elect, and thus a Christian; why should one listen to syllable ONE from Porcell the unbelieving reprobate any more than an admitted atheist? For it’s just merely six one way, half a dozen another.

    I can think of no better way of saying (hypothetically) that “I agree with Porcell’s religion” than saying, “Porcell you are likely an unbelieving faithless non-Christian reprobate”. Because that’s the default and ONLY real position in opposition to KNOWING one is saved and thus assured. For between truth and falsehood – again still playing ball on Porcell’s religious field and for sake of argument saying Porcell’s religion “IS the truth” and thus no one CAN know in the here and now, and by his grandfather’s quote if one does it’s a “sure sign” you are in for a big surprise (i.e. damned reprobate in eternity) – excluded middle applies and there is no “middle ground”, thus the only conclusion of assurance one CAN have is to be assured one is indeed reprobate and eternally damned. For if one dare to think otherwise, according to sage Puritan grandfather, then that’s a sure sign of reprobate damnation.

    And it would be nice to hear something beside crickets and frogs from cryptolutheran Calvinist concerning their fellow Porcell Calvinist.

    Will the real Calvinism please stand up!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to your question on limited atonement (@121), Porcell:

    Simply because there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement, particularly in Paul passim and the Augustinian/Lutheran interpretation of Paul. Could you cite for us any contradiction to the Christian doctrine of limited atonement? You apparently claim some sort of biblical authority. Do enlighten us.

    I can’t believe that someone who would spend as much time as you have here, arguing that limited atonement is a teaching of Scripture, wouldn’t have even a guess as to which passages are commonly held up as teaching unlimited atonement. Heck, I know which passages Calvinists typically claim support their teaching. But whatever. Here you go.

    Paul, 1 Timothy 2:

    This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.

    Paul, 1 Timothy 4:

    We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

    Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:

    Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    John, John 3:

    God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    John, 1 John 2:

    If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    John, 1 John 4:

    We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

    Peter, 2 Peter 3:

    He [i.e. the Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    John the Baptist, John 1:

    “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to your question on limited atonement (@121), Porcell:

    Simply because there is ample biblical justification of limited atonement, particularly in Paul passim and the Augustinian/Lutheran interpretation of Paul. Could you cite for us any contradiction to the Christian doctrine of limited atonement? You apparently claim some sort of biblical authority. Do enlighten us.

    I can’t believe that someone who would spend as much time as you have here, arguing that limited atonement is a teaching of Scripture, wouldn’t have even a guess as to which passages are commonly held up as teaching unlimited atonement. Heck, I know which passages Calvinists typically claim support their teaching. But whatever. Here you go.

    Paul, 1 Timothy 2:

    This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.

    Paul, 1 Timothy 4:

    We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

    Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:

    Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    John, John 3:

    God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    John, 1 John 2:

    If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    John, 1 John 4:

    We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

    Peter, 2 Peter 3:

    He [i.e. the Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    John the Baptist, John 1:

    “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

  • Larry

    Wait for it, hold, hoooold, HOOOOOLD: as Calvinist fire of the “good and necessary consequence” non-sola scriptura: All those passages refer only to the elect and not to those to whom the atonement does not apply. But who the hell those elect ACTUALLY are is ANYBODY’S guess. Maybe we could draw straws for who is elect.

    Really there’s no point to becoming a Calvinist from ANY other religion or atheism, you already “don’t know” so all Calvinism is going to do is redundantly confirm what you already know, namely “you don’t nor can know”.

    Assuming this true, who on here IS in fact elect? Given Porcell’s argument, “How do you know?”

  • Larry

    Wait for it, hold, hoooold, HOOOOOLD: as Calvinist fire of the “good and necessary consequence” non-sola scriptura: All those passages refer only to the elect and not to those to whom the atonement does not apply. But who the hell those elect ACTUALLY are is ANYBODY’S guess. Maybe we could draw straws for who is elect.

    Really there’s no point to becoming a Calvinist from ANY other religion or atheism, you already “don’t know” so all Calvinism is going to do is redundantly confirm what you already know, namely “you don’t nor can know”.

    Assuming this true, who on here IS in fact elect? Given Porcell’s argument, “How do you know?”

  • Larry

    Let’s take one cryptocalvinist defense (and I agree with his happy inconsistency but let’s look at it with Porcell’s consistent Calvinism):

    “Yes, you and all Christians can and should have assurance. How? Trust the gospel promises of Christ! “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    The “all” in “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Cannot be universal but must mean only the elect to whom the LIMITED atonement extends and not to those to whom the atonement thus limited does not extend, or the reprobate in the more Owenian Puritan Calvinist stream.

    Likewise, “To find genuine assurance, we start with the objective work of Christ.” How might this be? How can it be objectively pro me? For the atonement is limited and thus all the universal verses such as John 3:16 and the like mean “only to the elect”. So one cannot find it in the object general or universal Gospel. And of course we already know that NO one can find it in ANY of the sacraments nor absolution (for there is none to the man specifically in Reformed dogma).

    Now around this time the Reformed “effective versus sufficient” grace argument or atonement comes about. But who under terror of the law and sin is slightest bit interested in knowing or even attempting to split the hair of sufficient grace. For in the end, just as the Calvinist point out against the Arminians concerning “just a little bit on our part”, “sufficient grace” = damned eternally. So it’s a ostrich with its head in the sand defense or a kid plugging his ears saying, “LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”.
    :So no one CAN derive from ANY of the pronouns in Scripture, e.g. you, we, they, us, etc…” ANY comfort for those MUST, in order to sustain the doctrine, become only to the elect to which the limited atonement extended and not to the reprobate to which the limited atonement did not nor does not extend.

    Thus, anyway one slices it no amount of Calvinistic doctrinal Jedi mind tricks (you will take me to Jabba) can get around the fact that in order for ANY of the universal pronouns to apply, any of the sacraments to help, one must discover first, somehow, one is in FACT not theory elect.

    And as Luther put it the battle for the faith is ALWAYS in the conscience, which is what Scripture says, and all one needs to lay waste to explicit or secret works righteousness or other wise figuring out one’s election and thus salvation is ONE SINGLE WORD OR VERSE from Scripture to destroy the entire edifice.

  • Larry

    Let’s take one cryptocalvinist defense (and I agree with his happy inconsistency but let’s look at it with Porcell’s consistent Calvinism):

    “Yes, you and all Christians can and should have assurance. How? Trust the gospel promises of Christ! “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    The “all” in “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Cannot be universal but must mean only the elect to whom the LIMITED atonement extends and not to those to whom the atonement thus limited does not extend, or the reprobate in the more Owenian Puritan Calvinist stream.

    Likewise, “To find genuine assurance, we start with the objective work of Christ.” How might this be? How can it be objectively pro me? For the atonement is limited and thus all the universal verses such as John 3:16 and the like mean “only to the elect”. So one cannot find it in the object general or universal Gospel. And of course we already know that NO one can find it in ANY of the sacraments nor absolution (for there is none to the man specifically in Reformed dogma).

    Now around this time the Reformed “effective versus sufficient” grace argument or atonement comes about. But who under terror of the law and sin is slightest bit interested in knowing or even attempting to split the hair of sufficient grace. For in the end, just as the Calvinist point out against the Arminians concerning “just a little bit on our part”, “sufficient grace” = damned eternally. So it’s a ostrich with its head in the sand defense or a kid plugging his ears saying, “LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”.
    :So no one CAN derive from ANY of the pronouns in Scripture, e.g. you, we, they, us, etc…” ANY comfort for those MUST, in order to sustain the doctrine, become only to the elect to which the limited atonement extended and not to the reprobate to which the limited atonement did not nor does not extend.

    Thus, anyway one slices it no amount of Calvinistic doctrinal Jedi mind tricks (you will take me to Jabba) can get around the fact that in order for ANY of the universal pronouns to apply, any of the sacraments to help, one must discover first, somehow, one is in FACT not theory elect.

    And as Luther put it the battle for the faith is ALWAYS in the conscience, which is what Scripture says, and all one needs to lay waste to explicit or secret works righteousness or other wise figuring out one’s election and thus salvation is ONE SINGLE WORD OR VERSE from Scripture to destroy the entire edifice.

  • Stephen

    Preach on brother Larry!

    “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy are those who take refuge in him.”

  • Stephen

    Preach on brother Larry!

    “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy are those who take refuge in him.”

  • Stephen

    Todd, you also get an Amen!

  • Stephen

    Todd, you also get an Amen!

  • Porcell

    Larry, at 143-44, passim.

    These posts essentially caricature Calvinism as an essentially evil branch of religion that teaches both of God’s election and cruelly denies any assurance or certainty of election.

    Warfield in his Plan of Salvation in fact explains that in the long run the particularism of Calvinism protects Christianity’s broad, even universal, interests.

    It seems particularly worth while to make these things explicit, because there is perhaps nothing which more prejudices Calvinism in the general mind than the current identification of it with an abstract doctrine of sovereignty, without regard to the concrete interests which this sovereignty safeguards. In point of fact the sovereignty of God for which Calvinism stands is not only the necessary implicate of that particularism without which a truly religious relation between the soul and its God cannot exist; but is equally the indispensable safeguard of that complementary universalism of redemption equally proclaimed in the Scripture in which the wideness of God’s mercy comes to manifestation. It must be borne well in mind that particularism and parsimony in salvation are not equivalent conceptions; and it is a mere caricature of Calvinistic particularism to represent it as finding its center in the proclamation that there are few that are saved.” What particularism stands for in the Calvinistic system is the immediate dealing of God with the individual soul; what it sets itself against is the notion that in his saving processes God never comes directly into contact with the individual-is never to be contemplated as his God who saves him-but does all that he does looking to salvation only for and to men in the mass. Whether in dealing with the individual souls of men, he visits with his saving grace few or many, so many that in our imagination they may readily pass into all, does not lie in the question. So far as the principles of sovereignty and particularism are concerned, there is no reason why a Calvinist might not be a universalist in the most express meaning of that term, holding that each and every human soul shall be saved; and in point of fact some Calvinists (forgetful of Scripture here) have been universalists in this most express meaning of the term. The point of insistence in Calvinistic particularism is not that God saves out of the sinful mass of men only one here and there, a few brands snatched from the burning, but that God’s method of saving men is to set upon them in his almighty grace, to purchase them to himself by the precious blood of his Son, to visit them in the inmost core of their being by the creative operations of his Spirit, and himself, the Lord God Almighty, to save them. How many, up to the whole human race in all its representatives, God has thus bought and will bring into eternal communion with himself by entering himself into personal communion with them, lies, I say, quite outside the question of particularism. Universalism in this sense of the term and particularism are so little inconsistent with one another that it is only the particularist who can logically be this kind of a universalist.

    Warfield, also, explains the tendency of Lutheranism to smuggle in a naturalistic dimension while all the while proclaiming the supernaturalism of God’s grace.

    A passage like this reveals the difficulty a Lutheran who wishes to abide by his official confession has in giving effect to his evangelical profession. He may declare that all the power exerted in saving the soul is from God, but this is crossed by his sacerdotal consciousness that grace is conveyed by the means of grace, otherwise not. The grace of regeneration, for example, is conveyed ordinarily (some say only) by baptism. And this grace of regeneration is the monergistic operation of God. Even so, however, it cannot be said that the effect is all of God. For, in the first place, whether it takes effect at all, is dependent on the attitude of the recipient. He cannot cooperate with God in producing it; but he can fatally resist. And therefore Baier carefully defines: “God produces in the man who is baptized and who does not resist the divine grace, the work of regeneration or renovation through the Sacrament, in the very act itself (hoc actu ipso).” And then, in the second place, whether this gift of regeneration proves a blessing or a curse to the recipient depends on how he takes it and deals with it. “An absolutely new power is created in him by God,” says Haller, “the action of which, whether for blessing or cursing, is dependent on the subject’s subsequent, or even already presently operative decision.” This carries with it, naturally, what is here covered up, that this self-determination of the recipient is his natural self-determination. For if it were itself given in the new power communicated in regeneration, then it were inconceivable that it could act otherwise than for blessing. Whether man is saved or not, depends therefore in no sense on the monergistic regeneration wrought by God in his baptism. It depends on how man receives this “new power communicated to him and how he uses it. And thus we are back on the plane of pure naturalism.

    Luther himself understood this humanistic tendency in his book The Bondage of the Will, which was written in response to Erasmus’ Freedom of the Will. According to Michael Horton, Luther in this book was adamant about both God’s election and reprobation.

    Here

  • Porcell

    Larry, at 143-44, passim.

    These posts essentially caricature Calvinism as an essentially evil branch of religion that teaches both of God’s election and cruelly denies any assurance or certainty of election.

    Warfield in his Plan of Salvation in fact explains that in the long run the particularism of Calvinism protects Christianity’s broad, even universal, interests.

    It seems particularly worth while to make these things explicit, because there is perhaps nothing which more prejudices Calvinism in the general mind than the current identification of it with an abstract doctrine of sovereignty, without regard to the concrete interests which this sovereignty safeguards. In point of fact the sovereignty of God for which Calvinism stands is not only the necessary implicate of that particularism without which a truly religious relation between the soul and its God cannot exist; but is equally the indispensable safeguard of that complementary universalism of redemption equally proclaimed in the Scripture in which the wideness of God’s mercy comes to manifestation. It must be borne well in mind that particularism and parsimony in salvation are not equivalent conceptions; and it is a mere caricature of Calvinistic particularism to represent it as finding its center in the proclamation that there are few that are saved.” What particularism stands for in the Calvinistic system is the immediate dealing of God with the individual soul; what it sets itself against is the notion that in his saving processes God never comes directly into contact with the individual-is never to be contemplated as his God who saves him-but does all that he does looking to salvation only for and to men in the mass. Whether in dealing with the individual souls of men, he visits with his saving grace few or many, so many that in our imagination they may readily pass into all, does not lie in the question. So far as the principles of sovereignty and particularism are concerned, there is no reason why a Calvinist might not be a universalist in the most express meaning of that term, holding that each and every human soul shall be saved; and in point of fact some Calvinists (forgetful of Scripture here) have been universalists in this most express meaning of the term. The point of insistence in Calvinistic particularism is not that God saves out of the sinful mass of men only one here and there, a few brands snatched from the burning, but that God’s method of saving men is to set upon them in his almighty grace, to purchase them to himself by the precious blood of his Son, to visit them in the inmost core of their being by the creative operations of his Spirit, and himself, the Lord God Almighty, to save them. How many, up to the whole human race in all its representatives, God has thus bought and will bring into eternal communion with himself by entering himself into personal communion with them, lies, I say, quite outside the question of particularism. Universalism in this sense of the term and particularism are so little inconsistent with one another that it is only the particularist who can logically be this kind of a universalist.

    Warfield, also, explains the tendency of Lutheranism to smuggle in a naturalistic dimension while all the while proclaiming the supernaturalism of God’s grace.

    A passage like this reveals the difficulty a Lutheran who wishes to abide by his official confession has in giving effect to his evangelical profession. He may declare that all the power exerted in saving the soul is from God, but this is crossed by his sacerdotal consciousness that grace is conveyed by the means of grace, otherwise not. The grace of regeneration, for example, is conveyed ordinarily (some say only) by baptism. And this grace of regeneration is the monergistic operation of God. Even so, however, it cannot be said that the effect is all of God. For, in the first place, whether it takes effect at all, is dependent on the attitude of the recipient. He cannot cooperate with God in producing it; but he can fatally resist. And therefore Baier carefully defines: “God produces in the man who is baptized and who does not resist the divine grace, the work of regeneration or renovation through the Sacrament, in the very act itself (hoc actu ipso).” And then, in the second place, whether this gift of regeneration proves a blessing or a curse to the recipient depends on how he takes it and deals with it. “An absolutely new power is created in him by God,” says Haller, “the action of which, whether for blessing or cursing, is dependent on the subject’s subsequent, or even already presently operative decision.” This carries with it, naturally, what is here covered up, that this self-determination of the recipient is his natural self-determination. For if it were itself given in the new power communicated in regeneration, then it were inconceivable that it could act otherwise than for blessing. Whether man is saved or not, depends therefore in no sense on the monergistic regeneration wrought by God in his baptism. It depends on how man receives this “new power communicated to him and how he uses it. And thus we are back on the plane of pure naturalism.

    Luther himself understood this humanistic tendency in his book The Bondage of the Will, which was written in response to Erasmus’ Freedom of the Will. According to Michael Horton, Luther in this book was adamant about both God’s election and reprobation.

    Here

  • Larry

    We see to what great lengths Calvinism must necessarily verbally hip hops around to apologize for its denial of the Gospel. E.g. once you say “is” doesn’t mean “is” all you CAN do is grope around for other words in order to explain it. This is in fact original sin as Luther said Eve was first tempted, her faith, to deny the Word of God (hath God really said). Once faith was put on trial this way and gave up the very word of God death immediately followed and Eve must necessarily inwardly turn that faith into the self and to all other things, anything but God/Christ alone, and thus the flailing and groping for God in the darkness began. This is the price for trying to be more good and pious than God.

    Calvinism always diverts the conversation from and never actually answers the simplicity put before it, foists its reason (its real sola and not sola scriptura) forth and attempts to draw men’s eyes away from the Word alone to its rationalistic arguments. It is like a prostitute that shows ‘leg’ to draw men’s eyes toward it and away from one’s spouse. It tempts men with men’s pride toward rationalism with something so simple as “hath God really said” using just enough Scripture to make it sound godly. This is exactly the method of Satan’s temptation of Christ in the desert, “if you are the Son of God, then….”, its what steered Mohamed away from the Trinity (absurd to all reason said Mohamed), the Pope away from justification by faith alone (absurd to all reason said the Pope), and Calvin and Zwingli away from the Lord’s Supper (absurd to all reason said both Calvin and Zwingli).

    Therefore, this is not a caricature of Calvinism but precisely what it is and all the verbal gymnastics in the world cannot save it. It is as simple as Luther’s “ask them plainly what it is they put into your mouth”. This is the problem when you deny the very Word of God.

    It’s also very notable that how at length in conversation that the centrality of the conversation, language and such leads away from “Christ and Him crucified” to election, covenant. Listen long enough and study long enough with the Reformed and one would think that “all of Scripture proclaims covenant” rather than “…it is these that proclaim Me (Jesus)”.

    Thus, the fundamental problem with Calvinism, similar to Islam, is that they view “salvation” by power and sovereignty and this due to reason, after its God. Yet, Scripture is crystal clear that salvation and the very glory of God comes not by power and sovereignty but by the weakness and foolishness of the Cross, God conceived in the womb of a the virgin Mary, God growing in that womb, God born of that womb, God feeding on the breast of a woman Mary, God raised by parents, God growing up through childhood to adulthood, God run out of town, God threatened and mocked of men, God crucified, God bled, God suffered, God whipped by us, God dressed in a crown of thorns, God having a spear thrust into His side by a man, God dying, God taken down dead from a manmade Cross, God buried by the very hands of men in a tomb for three days, God rejected at the very point of salvation the Cross and likewise at baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    Porcell,

    We still cannot get past the simple confession of your own self that you don’t know you are elect, which means not a Christian. By your very own confession;

    “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    “My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian. Until you resolve that no one can remotely take anything theologically as to the Christian faith seriously.

    Until then the rest of what you say or quote is pointless for by your very own confession we must treat you as an unbeliever for you have (1) so confessed yourself to be an unbeliever and (2) mocked believers (i.e. persecution, as Paul calls such in Gal. as Ishmael was toward Isaac in laughing mockery of him).

    So you must first answer that question, are you a believer and thus elect (and that means assured), then how do you know?

  • Larry

    We see to what great lengths Calvinism must necessarily verbally hip hops around to apologize for its denial of the Gospel. E.g. once you say “is” doesn’t mean “is” all you CAN do is grope around for other words in order to explain it. This is in fact original sin as Luther said Eve was first tempted, her faith, to deny the Word of God (hath God really said). Once faith was put on trial this way and gave up the very word of God death immediately followed and Eve must necessarily inwardly turn that faith into the self and to all other things, anything but God/Christ alone, and thus the flailing and groping for God in the darkness began. This is the price for trying to be more good and pious than God.

    Calvinism always diverts the conversation from and never actually answers the simplicity put before it, foists its reason (its real sola and not sola scriptura) forth and attempts to draw men’s eyes away from the Word alone to its rationalistic arguments. It is like a prostitute that shows ‘leg’ to draw men’s eyes toward it and away from one’s spouse. It tempts men with men’s pride toward rationalism with something so simple as “hath God really said” using just enough Scripture to make it sound godly. This is exactly the method of Satan’s temptation of Christ in the desert, “if you are the Son of God, then….”, its what steered Mohamed away from the Trinity (absurd to all reason said Mohamed), the Pope away from justification by faith alone (absurd to all reason said the Pope), and Calvin and Zwingli away from the Lord’s Supper (absurd to all reason said both Calvin and Zwingli).

    Therefore, this is not a caricature of Calvinism but precisely what it is and all the verbal gymnastics in the world cannot save it. It is as simple as Luther’s “ask them plainly what it is they put into your mouth”. This is the problem when you deny the very Word of God.

    It’s also very notable that how at length in conversation that the centrality of the conversation, language and such leads away from “Christ and Him crucified” to election, covenant. Listen long enough and study long enough with the Reformed and one would think that “all of Scripture proclaims covenant” rather than “…it is these that proclaim Me (Jesus)”.

    Thus, the fundamental problem with Calvinism, similar to Islam, is that they view “salvation” by power and sovereignty and this due to reason, after its God. Yet, Scripture is crystal clear that salvation and the very glory of God comes not by power and sovereignty but by the weakness and foolishness of the Cross, God conceived in the womb of a the virgin Mary, God growing in that womb, God born of that womb, God feeding on the breast of a woman Mary, God raised by parents, God growing up through childhood to adulthood, God run out of town, God threatened and mocked of men, God crucified, God bled, God suffered, God whipped by us, God dressed in a crown of thorns, God having a spear thrust into His side by a man, God dying, God taken down dead from a manmade Cross, God buried by the very hands of men in a tomb for three days, God rejected at the very point of salvation the Cross and likewise at baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    Porcell,

    We still cannot get past the simple confession of your own self that you don’t know you are elect, which means not a Christian. By your very own confession;

    “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    “My experience with those Christians who somehow know that they are saved is that they are involved in sentiment and presumption, along with often being rather boorish.”

    If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian. Until you resolve that no one can remotely take anything theologically as to the Christian faith seriously.

    Until then the rest of what you say or quote is pointless for by your very own confession we must treat you as an unbeliever for you have (1) so confessed yourself to be an unbeliever and (2) mocked believers (i.e. persecution, as Paul calls such in Gal. as Ishmael was toward Isaac in laughing mockery of him).

    So you must first answer that question, are you a believer and thus elect (and that means assured), then how do you know?

  • Larry

    Three problems with the Reformed using “Bondage of the Will” for their arguments:

    1. It was early in Luther’s thought and before his final matters on the Gospel were settled.
    2. That they would ignore that even so, IN BOW Luther said that men would do exactly what the Reformed do and ignore the rest of what he said regarding election and ignore the sacraments. And so they do.
    3. The reformed must necessarliy read Luther from their Reformed anti-sacramental paradigm. In short reading Luther from that paradigm one cannot in any sense understand Luther, because one has already fallen into the trap of rationalism and is denying the sacraments and thus much like a liberal theologian interpreting the Word of God mostly metephorically. Same words in Scripture, but interpreting from a false paradigm that basically is saying underneath it all, “hath God really said”.

    That is the key to Reformed thought, “hath God really said”.

    The problem is that Calvinist wish to procure Luther for themselves, but no man would more highly have and did rebuke them. It can be not doubted that Luther would not extend to Calvinist the right hand of fellowship, especially due to the Lord’s Supper which he said “is the Gospel”. He would extend to them the same he did the Zwingli. That’s the mistake Calvinist make, they imagine the Luther at Marburg got of the path from the Luther at Wittenburg, and thus view his tower experience as the “beginning of” his reformational journey, when in fact by his own admission it was the culmination of it. Thus, the Luther at Marburg was the same EXACT Luther at Wittenburg, and the issue of the righteousness of God was exactly in parallel with the Lord’s Supper.

    Make no mistake about it when reformed wish to procure Luther to themselves, he would today more harshly deny utterly the right hand of fellowship with the Reformed and in no uncertain terms. One of his final confessions on the LS in which he was crystal clear is what he wished to be known and at his dying hour.

  • Larry

    Three problems with the Reformed using “Bondage of the Will” for their arguments:

    1. It was early in Luther’s thought and before his final matters on the Gospel were settled.
    2. That they would ignore that even so, IN BOW Luther said that men would do exactly what the Reformed do and ignore the rest of what he said regarding election and ignore the sacraments. And so they do.
    3. The reformed must necessarliy read Luther from their Reformed anti-sacramental paradigm. In short reading Luther from that paradigm one cannot in any sense understand Luther, because one has already fallen into the trap of rationalism and is denying the sacraments and thus much like a liberal theologian interpreting the Word of God mostly metephorically. Same words in Scripture, but interpreting from a false paradigm that basically is saying underneath it all, “hath God really said”.

    That is the key to Reformed thought, “hath God really said”.

    The problem is that Calvinist wish to procure Luther for themselves, but no man would more highly have and did rebuke them. It can be not doubted that Luther would not extend to Calvinist the right hand of fellowship, especially due to the Lord’s Supper which he said “is the Gospel”. He would extend to them the same he did the Zwingli. That’s the mistake Calvinist make, they imagine the Luther at Marburg got of the path from the Luther at Wittenburg, and thus view his tower experience as the “beginning of” his reformational journey, when in fact by his own admission it was the culmination of it. Thus, the Luther at Marburg was the same EXACT Luther at Wittenburg, and the issue of the righteousness of God was exactly in parallel with the Lord’s Supper.

    Make no mistake about it when reformed wish to procure Luther to themselves, he would today more harshly deny utterly the right hand of fellowship with the Reformed and in no uncertain terms. One of his final confessions on the LS in which he was crystal clear is what he wished to be known and at his dying hour.

  • Larry

    The reformed error on election is related to their error on the sacraments and hence their false teaching on the subjects at hand. All doctrines, true or false, are connected. Underlying the error is the foisting of fallen human reason above the revelation of Scripture and the abandonment of Sola Scriptura for “a good and necessary consequence” as it is more formally put. This error, reason over the Word, is fundamental. It was fundamental to Mohamed and the Trinity, the Pope and justification and Calvin/Zwingli concerning the sacraments. It is fundamental to the very fallen human nature, and the essence of original sin. It is fundamental to both Calvinist and Arminians who both attempt to resolve the paradox of revelation to their reasoning. It’s fundamental to all who deny the incarnation, the two natures, all sorts of Gnosticism. It was fundamental to the RC scholastics and the later more refined scholastics that came from Calvin.

    The Pope spoke of “justification” as did Luther but the two did not mean the same thing for the same word. Likewise, the reformed speak of election and so does Luther and Lutheranism as they do the term “sacraments” but the two do not mean the same thing for the same words. This is how doctrine is examined, not by just looking to the words of similarity. Thus, the Reformed will not find support from Luther on their error and view of divine election any more than for the sacraments.

    Luther writes concerning doubts of election being from hell and hell itself, “When a person is tempted by anxious thoughts about his election, it is like being tempted by hell itself. The Psalms are full of cries about this. The man who triumphs in this struggle has triumphed over sin, hell and death at once.” A cursory reading of the Psalms reveals EXACTLY what Luther says here!

    Luther further warns, “Here the sophists dispute about election, which takes place according to the purpose of God. But I have often warned men to abstain from speculations about the majesty of God in the abstract (nuda maiestas); for besides being untrue, these thoughts are very far removed from being wholesome. Let us rather think of God as He reveals Himself to us in His Word and in the Sacraments.”

    This is why true “Bondage of the Will” is not the same as the Reformed “Total Depravity”, and thus the later is in reality a hidden synergism while the former is pure monergism. For the Reformed, in the end, imagine that man can believe while they still think God is angry at them and may or may not have elected them. Because they cannot and refuse to say one has been given forgiveness of sin, salvation, eternal life, etc…and most assuredly in the Word and in the Sacraments (e.g. actually the body and blood of Christ and given right then and there the forgiveness of sin. Similarly in absolution, similarly ‘this baptism saves you’ really and truly). So as general Gospel, e.g. John 3:16, is taken away via their divine election (i.e. world = elect and not the reprobate to whom the limited atonement does not extend) and there is no hope in the sacraments actually given, they create a synergism not at ALL differing from Arminianism. Because they do not see that the bondage of the will consists in that man cannot come to God with God still angry at them “pro me”.

    What is telling is that Roman Catholics, Arminians, Calvinist and Baptist (and piestistic Lutherans) have no assurance and anxious consciences are never given rest equally in these three. The presence of a anxious consciences due to doctrine is the highest sign that some kind of synergism, explicit or implicit, is present. Because it is that synergism that produces the anxious conscience (is X enough to be/get saved and be assured). For Christ is 100 percent sure, and as Christ is the sacraments they are 100%, thus where this pure Word and true Sacraments are anxiety disappears as faith arises and is strong defeating this anxiety. Monergism = the Word and Sacraments and this yields faith alone and is absolutely sure and assured and certain. The other common link of Roman Catholic, Arminian, Calvinist and Baptist (and piestistic Lutherans) doctrine is that NONE of them actually trusts in and are assured by the sacraments. In these, anxiety over “am I saved” and no assurance in the Word or Sacraments is due to the explicit or implied synergism that as usurped the monergism of the Word and Sacraments.

    The cause ALWAYS begets the effect (keeping in mind that as fallen men, all battle unbelief internally, here we are expressing the doctrine and effects to one side of that battle or the other, not “do I sometimes nonetheless battle unbelief and lack of assurance which is all the more argument for the Sacraments and their need:

    No sacrament = no monergism = synergism = works = unbelief = anxiety = no assurance.

    Sacrament = monerism = no synergism = no works = faith = no anxiety = assurance.

  • Larry

    The reformed error on election is related to their error on the sacraments and hence their false teaching on the subjects at hand. All doctrines, true or false, are connected. Underlying the error is the foisting of fallen human reason above the revelation of Scripture and the abandonment of Sola Scriptura for “a good and necessary consequence” as it is more formally put. This error, reason over the Word, is fundamental. It was fundamental to Mohamed and the Trinity, the Pope and justification and Calvin/Zwingli concerning the sacraments. It is fundamental to the very fallen human nature, and the essence of original sin. It is fundamental to both Calvinist and Arminians who both attempt to resolve the paradox of revelation to their reasoning. It’s fundamental to all who deny the incarnation, the two natures, all sorts of Gnosticism. It was fundamental to the RC scholastics and the later more refined scholastics that came from Calvin.

    The Pope spoke of “justification” as did Luther but the two did not mean the same thing for the same word. Likewise, the reformed speak of election and so does Luther and Lutheranism as they do the term “sacraments” but the two do not mean the same thing for the same words. This is how doctrine is examined, not by just looking to the words of similarity. Thus, the Reformed will not find support from Luther on their error and view of divine election any more than for the sacraments.

    Luther writes concerning doubts of election being from hell and hell itself, “When a person is tempted by anxious thoughts about his election, it is like being tempted by hell itself. The Psalms are full of cries about this. The man who triumphs in this struggle has triumphed over sin, hell and death at once.” A cursory reading of the Psalms reveals EXACTLY what Luther says here!

    Luther further warns, “Here the sophists dispute about election, which takes place according to the purpose of God. But I have often warned men to abstain from speculations about the majesty of God in the abstract (nuda maiestas); for besides being untrue, these thoughts are very far removed from being wholesome. Let us rather think of God as He reveals Himself to us in His Word and in the Sacraments.”

    This is why true “Bondage of the Will” is not the same as the Reformed “Total Depravity”, and thus the later is in reality a hidden synergism while the former is pure monergism. For the Reformed, in the end, imagine that man can believe while they still think God is angry at them and may or may not have elected them. Because they cannot and refuse to say one has been given forgiveness of sin, salvation, eternal life, etc…and most assuredly in the Word and in the Sacraments (e.g. actually the body and blood of Christ and given right then and there the forgiveness of sin. Similarly in absolution, similarly ‘this baptism saves you’ really and truly). So as general Gospel, e.g. John 3:16, is taken away via their divine election (i.e. world = elect and not the reprobate to whom the limited atonement does not extend) and there is no hope in the sacraments actually given, they create a synergism not at ALL differing from Arminianism. Because they do not see that the bondage of the will consists in that man cannot come to God with God still angry at them “pro me”.

    What is telling is that Roman Catholics, Arminians, Calvinist and Baptist (and piestistic Lutherans) have no assurance and anxious consciences are never given rest equally in these three. The presence of a anxious consciences due to doctrine is the highest sign that some kind of synergism, explicit or implicit, is present. Because it is that synergism that produces the anxious conscience (is X enough to be/get saved and be assured). For Christ is 100 percent sure, and as Christ is the sacraments they are 100%, thus where this pure Word and true Sacraments are anxiety disappears as faith arises and is strong defeating this anxiety. Monergism = the Word and Sacraments and this yields faith alone and is absolutely sure and assured and certain. The other common link of Roman Catholic, Arminian, Calvinist and Baptist (and piestistic Lutherans) doctrine is that NONE of them actually trusts in and are assured by the sacraments. In these, anxiety over “am I saved” and no assurance in the Word or Sacraments is due to the explicit or implied synergism that as usurped the monergism of the Word and Sacraments.

    The cause ALWAYS begets the effect (keeping in mind that as fallen men, all battle unbelief internally, here we are expressing the doctrine and effects to one side of that battle or the other, not “do I sometimes nonetheless battle unbelief and lack of assurance which is all the more argument for the Sacraments and their need:

    No sacrament = no monergism = synergism = works = unbelief = anxiety = no assurance.

    Sacrament = monerism = no synergism = no works = faith = no anxiety = assurance.

  • Porcell

    Larry, you still haven’t reconciled Sola Deo Gratia with the Lutheran view of universal atonement. Nor, have you explained Lutheranism’s universal and objective atonement along with limited and unconditional election. Horton views this essentially as an inconsistent attempt to have one’s cake and ear it.

    According to the Bible Jesus said that he came to actually save everyone that the Father gives me. Jesus adds that And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day… This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the father has sent him. [John 6:37-39, 65 NIV] This hardly suggests universal atonement.

    Larry: If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.

    Calvinists are properly and strictly taught to devoutly hope that they are elect, though at the risk of their souls never to boorishly presume so. Declaring any Calvinist to be an unbeliever is errant, uncharitable rhetoric.

  • Porcell

    Larry, you still haven’t reconciled Sola Deo Gratia with the Lutheran view of universal atonement. Nor, have you explained Lutheranism’s universal and objective atonement along with limited and unconditional election. Horton views this essentially as an inconsistent attempt to have one’s cake and ear it.

    According to the Bible Jesus said that he came to actually save everyone that the Father gives me. Jesus adds that And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day… This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the father has sent him. [John 6:37-39, 65 NIV] This hardly suggests universal atonement.

    Larry: If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.

    Calvinists are properly and strictly taught to devoutly hope that they are elect, though at the risk of their souls never to boorishly presume so. Declaring any Calvinist to be an unbeliever is errant, uncharitable rhetoric.

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.”

    Right, now which are you? It was YOUR profession/confession, not mine. I won’t even waste time requiting YOU on this as it has been done plenteously, answer for your profession/confession. You yourself profess and confess you do not know and are not assured you are elect so as you say, “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.” That’s your profession, your OWN profession. You are so double tongued. Your ‘sage’ grandfather’s words YOU quoted me.

    So until you can tell me you are assured that you are elect and how, we are done.

    We clearly do not have the same religion and my confession is in opposition to yours utterly. That is a crystal clear fact.

    Answer this otherwise I will no longer reply back to you, because all you do is evade:

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how?

    If that is not answered this is my last reply to you.

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.”

    Right, now which are you? It was YOUR profession/confession, not mine. I won’t even waste time requiting YOU on this as it has been done plenteously, answer for your profession/confession. You yourself profess and confess you do not know and are not assured you are elect so as you say, “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.” That’s your profession, your OWN profession. You are so double tongued. Your ‘sage’ grandfather’s words YOU quoted me.

    So until you can tell me you are assured that you are elect and how, we are done.

    We clearly do not have the same religion and my confession is in opposition to yours utterly. That is a crystal clear fact.

    Answer this otherwise I will no longer reply back to you, because all you do is evade:

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how?

    If that is not answered this is my last reply to you.

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.”

    Right, now which are you? It was YOUR profession/confession, not mine. I won’t even waste time requiting YOU on this as it has been done plenteously, answer for your profession/confession. You yourself profess and confess you do not know and are not assured you are elect so as you say, “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.” That’s your profession, your OWN profession. You are so double tongued. Your ‘sage’ grandfather’s words YOU quoted me.

    So until you can tell me you are assured that you are elect and how, we are done.

    We clearly do not have the same religion and my confession is in opposition to yours utterly. That is a crystal clear fact.

    Answer this otherwise I will no longer reply back to you, because all you do is evade:

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how do you Porcell know?

    If that is not answered this is my last reply to you.

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how do you Porcell know?

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.”

    Right, now which are you? It was YOUR profession/confession, not mine. I won’t even waste time requiting YOU on this as it has been done plenteously, answer for your profession/confession. You yourself profess and confess you do not know and are not assured you are elect so as you say, “If you are not elect then you are not a believer and thus not a Christian.” That’s your profession, your OWN profession. You are so double tongued. Your ‘sage’ grandfather’s words YOU quoted me.

    So until you can tell me you are assured that you are elect and how, we are done.

    We clearly do not have the same religion and my confession is in opposition to yours utterly. That is a crystal clear fact.

    Answer this otherwise I will no longer reply back to you, because all you do is evade:

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how do you Porcell know?

    If that is not answered this is my last reply to you.

    Are you sure you are elect? If so, how do you Porcell know?

  • Larry

    The silence is deafening.

    I’m still waiting for the real Calvinism to please stand up. Is it the “cryptolutheran” version that Richard hails from who quotes Dr. Clark who comes from the school of though of Dr. Horton that says a Christian does and should have assurance. Or is it Porcell who quotes his grandfather, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, et. al. that says one cannot and should not lest he/she be in for a big surprise?

    Will the real John Calvin, Calvinism, Reformed doctrine please stand up, man up and confess which it is? I’ve never seen even among pagans such contradiction, language gymnastics, complete squirming around and uncertainty about what it says.

    Calvinist A says: Should not be boorishly assured.

    Calvinst B says: Should be assured.

    So is Calvinst B equally boorishly assured as a Lutheran?

    It is similar to what Luther said of the sacramentarians on their supper, the ONLY thing they agree on concerning the Lord’s Supper is what it is not.

  • Larry

    The silence is deafening.

    I’m still waiting for the real Calvinism to please stand up. Is it the “cryptolutheran” version that Richard hails from who quotes Dr. Clark who comes from the school of though of Dr. Horton that says a Christian does and should have assurance. Or is it Porcell who quotes his grandfather, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, et. al. that says one cannot and should not lest he/she be in for a big surprise?

    Will the real John Calvin, Calvinism, Reformed doctrine please stand up, man up and confess which it is? I’ve never seen even among pagans such contradiction, language gymnastics, complete squirming around and uncertainty about what it says.

    Calvinist A says: Should not be boorishly assured.

    Calvinst B says: Should be assured.

    So is Calvinst B equally boorishly assured as a Lutheran?

    It is similar to what Luther said of the sacramentarians on their supper, the ONLY thing they agree on concerning the Lord’s Supper is what it is not.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 151

    Let me try to take a crack at this for you dear Peter. And I do call you dear Peter sincerely. We have known one another for a while now here. It is hard not to like you.

    One thing sort of stands out here Peter. Lutherans try to take in passages in a way that does not remove the full force of the meaning in the full context of an epistle ect. So a Lutheran reads “God would have that none should perish but all should come to the knowledge of the truth”, we simply are forced to take that “none” and “all” literally. For example, in the Epistle of Romans Peter, the grand theme is “God has condemned ALL that he might have mercy on ALL”.

    Now Peter, I would really love to understand how and why you see it as necessary to remove the force of those two “alls” and that one “none”. This theme is “all” over the scriptures. I mean that request sincerely.

    So what is the proof? That Lutherans need to be logically consistent? If that is your argument then I am just going to reject that as a Lutheran and so are the rest of us Lutherans here. So state that to us and we are all done with this argument.

    If your argument is an exegetical one, and a purely scriptural one, then you need to present that to us and start quoting AND exegeting Scripture and not Warfield, wonderful (mean that sincely) as he is.

    Now we as Lutherans fail to follow our own exegetical principles often. Notable examples are how we tend to clip the wings of St James when it comes to the Law. We fail to understand the Two Kingdoms and so don´t like it when St James observes in 2:24 that we are justified by our works and not by our faith. But then this is so obviously the way it must work in any court of Law eh? Saint James is not talking about the way things work in God´s court where alone Christ is our Propitiation.

    Another example is in I Cor 6 when St Paul says “ALL” things are legal/lawful 3 times. Commentators turn that comment into sarcasm. Odd that. And not Lutheran. But that Peter, is because we Lutherans, even us confessional ones, including me, don´t really know and understand our Confessions as we should.

    So I am saying Peter that if you turn your argument into an exegetical one, then it will enlighten all of us far more. We all err there at times. Logical consistency? Meh. For a Lutheran… not so much.

    The main passage that I see quoted is that “Esau have I loved but Jacob have I chosen”. This feels like proof texting to me. That is, it feels like someone comes to a logical position and then goes to Scripture to mine proof for that position. This is really to let Reason rule. Now Reason IS that natural Law, which God has written and revealed and is the same Law one finds in the second table of the Decalog, So it is rightfully a powerful thing.

    But that Reason cannot be allowed to negate what God uniquely demands in the 1st table of the Decalog which deals with those movements of the heart that are alone faith in Christ.

    That faith trusts the words of Christ over what Reason tells us Peter. And Christ informed you , in your Baptism, that you are one of his Elect. That is where you can know, with great certainty, that you are Elect. That is exactly where Lutherans place the doctrine of Election. “The Promise is ‘unto you’ and your children, to those near and far off.” Why is it that you should not simply trust the promise God made by splashing the Most Holy and Blessed Name of the Most Holy Trinity on you Peter? Is that a trivial thing? Just some outward ritual ?

    If there is something we cannot understand in all that , a Lutheran would just say: so be it. “Amen ” is where we simply end. It is not that Reason is wrong. It is that Reason , as St Paul points out, is veiled at that point. It simply cannot see what the 1st table demands and so it demands that everything must conform to Logic.

    “The kingdom of God comes in a way that cannot be seen” is what Jesus informs us in the Gospel of Luke. We Lutherans would include the good gifts of Reason and Logic in that word “seen”.

    You would apparently not. Maybe that is what we need to to tease out in our conversation? What would be your authority for using Reason exegetically to accept or reject various possible understandings of Scriptural passages Peter?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 151

    Let me try to take a crack at this for you dear Peter. And I do call you dear Peter sincerely. We have known one another for a while now here. It is hard not to like you.

    One thing sort of stands out here Peter. Lutherans try to take in passages in a way that does not remove the full force of the meaning in the full context of an epistle ect. So a Lutheran reads “God would have that none should perish but all should come to the knowledge of the truth”, we simply are forced to take that “none” and “all” literally. For example, in the Epistle of Romans Peter, the grand theme is “God has condemned ALL that he might have mercy on ALL”.

    Now Peter, I would really love to understand how and why you see it as necessary to remove the force of those two “alls” and that one “none”. This theme is “all” over the scriptures. I mean that request sincerely.

    So what is the proof? That Lutherans need to be logically consistent? If that is your argument then I am just going to reject that as a Lutheran and so are the rest of us Lutherans here. So state that to us and we are all done with this argument.

    If your argument is an exegetical one, and a purely scriptural one, then you need to present that to us and start quoting AND exegeting Scripture and not Warfield, wonderful (mean that sincely) as he is.

    Now we as Lutherans fail to follow our own exegetical principles often. Notable examples are how we tend to clip the wings of St James when it comes to the Law. We fail to understand the Two Kingdoms and so don´t like it when St James observes in 2:24 that we are justified by our works and not by our faith. But then this is so obviously the way it must work in any court of Law eh? Saint James is not talking about the way things work in God´s court where alone Christ is our Propitiation.

    Another example is in I Cor 6 when St Paul says “ALL” things are legal/lawful 3 times. Commentators turn that comment into sarcasm. Odd that. And not Lutheran. But that Peter, is because we Lutherans, even us confessional ones, including me, don´t really know and understand our Confessions as we should.

    So I am saying Peter that if you turn your argument into an exegetical one, then it will enlighten all of us far more. We all err there at times. Logical consistency? Meh. For a Lutheran… not so much.

    The main passage that I see quoted is that “Esau have I loved but Jacob have I chosen”. This feels like proof texting to me. That is, it feels like someone comes to a logical position and then goes to Scripture to mine proof for that position. This is really to let Reason rule. Now Reason IS that natural Law, which God has written and revealed and is the same Law one finds in the second table of the Decalog, So it is rightfully a powerful thing.

    But that Reason cannot be allowed to negate what God uniquely demands in the 1st table of the Decalog which deals with those movements of the heart that are alone faith in Christ.

    That faith trusts the words of Christ over what Reason tells us Peter. And Christ informed you , in your Baptism, that you are one of his Elect. That is where you can know, with great certainty, that you are Elect. That is exactly where Lutherans place the doctrine of Election. “The Promise is ‘unto you’ and your children, to those near and far off.” Why is it that you should not simply trust the promise God made by splashing the Most Holy and Blessed Name of the Most Holy Trinity on you Peter? Is that a trivial thing? Just some outward ritual ?

    If there is something we cannot understand in all that , a Lutheran would just say: so be it. “Amen ” is where we simply end. It is not that Reason is wrong. It is that Reason , as St Paul points out, is veiled at that point. It simply cannot see what the 1st table demands and so it demands that everything must conform to Logic.

    “The kingdom of God comes in a way that cannot be seen” is what Jesus informs us in the Gospel of Luke. We Lutherans would include the good gifts of Reason and Logic in that word “seen”.

    You would apparently not. Maybe that is what we need to to tease out in our conversation? What would be your authority for using Reason exegetically to accept or reject various possible understandings of Scriptural passages Peter?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 153

    It seems that Peter is saying that he cannot know that he is one of the Elect and that that would be pure presumption and arrogance on his part to claim to know that. I think that is really his main point.

    Did I get that wrong Peter?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 153

    It seems that Peter is saying that he cannot know that he is one of the Elect and that that would be pure presumption and arrogance on his part to claim to know that. I think that is really his main point.

    Did I get that wrong Peter?

  • Porcell

    Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.

    Calvinist B in your terms who claims assurance is indeed being a presumptuous boor.

    Martin McKeown in a paper Calvin’s Institutes: A Comparison Between the 1536 and 1559 Editions captures well Calvin’s view on assurance of election as follows:

    Concerning its importance, Calvin writes, “We shall never be clearly persuaded as we ought to be that our salvation flows from the wellspring of God’s free mercy until we come to know his eternal election” (p. 921). He issues a word of caution to those who are overly curious: those who, without the revealed Word of God, seek to pry into God’s decrees “will enter a labyrinth” (p. 923). However, this does not mean that we should not mention the subject out of fear. Scripture, being “the school of the Holy Spirit” contains all things “necessary and useful to know” (p. 924). To deny this is to “accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness” as if He had included something in the Bible that is harmful for His church to know (p. 926)!

  • Porcell

    Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.

    Calvinist B in your terms who claims assurance is indeed being a presumptuous boor.

    Martin McKeown in a paper Calvin’s Institutes: A Comparison Between the 1536 and 1559 Editions captures well Calvin’s view on assurance of election as follows:

    Concerning its importance, Calvin writes, “We shall never be clearly persuaded as we ought to be that our salvation flows from the wellspring of God’s free mercy until we come to know his eternal election” (p. 921). He issues a word of caution to those who are overly curious: those who, without the revealed Word of God, seek to pry into God’s decrees “will enter a labyrinth” (p. 923). However, this does not mean that we should not mention the subject out of fear. Scripture, being “the school of the Holy Spirit” contains all things “necessary and useful to know” (p. 924). To deny this is to “accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness” as if He had included something in the Bible that is harmful for His church to know (p. 926)!

  • Pete

    This thread is still alive? Man, did Richard ever hit it on the head. But I think that shows how central these issues really are.

    Porcell – “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    I dunno – Does anyone doubt that the (elect) thief on the cross had assurance of salvation? Interesting to me, also in that scenario, is that Jesus only addressed the (apparently) elect thief. He did not turn to the other and say, “And you, pal, are on the bad list – I hate to break it to you.”

    And in terms of reconciling Sola Deo Gratia with the Lutheran view of universal atonement – whose means of grace (gratia) is baptism? The Lutheran (read: orthodox Christian) answer is God alone (sola Deo).

  • Pete

    This thread is still alive? Man, did Richard ever hit it on the head. But I think that shows how central these issues really are.

    Porcell – “I once declared to my staunchly Calvinist/Puritan grandfather that I was pretty sure of being among God’s elect. He averred that such surety likely meant that I would be in for a rude surprise; further that no fallen human is capable of such assurance.”

    I dunno – Does anyone doubt that the (elect) thief on the cross had assurance of salvation? Interesting to me, also in that scenario, is that Jesus only addressed the (apparently) elect thief. He did not turn to the other and say, “And you, pal, are on the bad list – I hate to break it to you.”

    And in terms of reconciling Sola Deo Gratia with the Lutheran view of universal atonement – whose means of grace (gratia) is baptism? The Lutheran (read: orthodox Christian) answer is God alone (sola Deo).

  • Porcell

    FWS, I’d like to believe in the “all” view of salvation, though there is too much in the Bible, especially with Paul, that men are elect and predestined by God from the foundations of the world. Luther, who near his end claimed the truth of his Bondage of the Will, was clear on both the subject of election and reprobation. Softer men later compromised this in the Lutheran confessions.

  • Porcell

    FWS, I’d like to believe in the “all” view of salvation, though there is too much in the Bible, especially with Paul, that men are elect and predestined by God from the foundations of the world. Luther, who near his end claimed the truth of his Bondage of the Will, was clear on both the subject of election and reprobation. Softer men later compromised this in the Lutheran confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 159

    BOW was Luther still as Augustinian. He left St Augustine for St Paul. Calvin, and the later Melancthon were uber augustinians. that is an important difference Peter.

    Note that what the Augsburg Confession and the Apology and catechisms and smalcald say ARE Luther´s formal confession of faith. He would urge you to accept what they say over any writings such as the BOW.

    But Luther,Calvin and Warfield were men. Can we please look at those scripture passages? I would welcome a look at how Lutheran employs those passages in his BOW.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 159

    BOW was Luther still as Augustinian. He left St Augustine for St Paul. Calvin, and the later Melancthon were uber augustinians. that is an important difference Peter.

    Note that what the Augsburg Confession and the Apology and catechisms and smalcald say ARE Luther´s formal confession of faith. He would urge you to accept what they say over any writings such as the BOW.

    But Luther,Calvin and Warfield were men. Can we please look at those scripture passages? I would welcome a look at how Lutheran employs those passages in his BOW.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Peter. God has condemned ALL. Lutherans start there. And I do believe that Saint Paul , along with the entire Bible starts there. We need to start with that ALL inclusive “all” in the Law. Not in the Gospel.

    What exactly does Saint Paul mean when he says that God has condemned “all” in the Epistle to the Romans. Lutherans would first urge on you that “all” not the gospel “all”.

    I would encourage you to note that about 75-80% of the ink spilled in the Lutheran Confessions is about the Law of God and not the Gospel or Justification or even Christ as Propitiator.

    Law. Lutherans do alot of Law. There is a reason for that. Can we start there please?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Peter. God has condemned ALL. Lutherans start there. And I do believe that Saint Paul , along with the entire Bible starts there. We need to start with that ALL inclusive “all” in the Law. Not in the Gospel.

    What exactly does Saint Paul mean when he says that God has condemned “all” in the Epistle to the Romans. Lutherans would first urge on you that “all” not the gospel “all”.

    I would encourage you to note that about 75-80% of the ink spilled in the Lutheran Confessions is about the Law of God and not the Gospel or Justification or even Christ as Propitiator.

    Law. Lutherans do alot of Law. There is a reason for that. Can we start there please?

  • Porcell

    FWS, Luther is said to have declared shortly before his death that the two works he would stand by without revision were his Bondage of the Will and Catechism.

  • Porcell

    FWS, Luther is said to have declared shortly before his death that the two works he would stand by without revision were his Bondage of the Will and Catechism.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 162

    I don´t believe that. Give me the cite please.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 162

    I don´t believe that. Give me the cite please.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Again. Can we start, as the Lutheran Confessions everywhere do with that “all ” that is the Law. How do you read that all? Now I know that this is not gonna be something you are going to find quickly in warfield or calvin etc. But in the Lutheran Confessions you will find that about 70%+ of those confessions focus on that question.

    It is pointless to focus on an “all” as in salvation without first dwelling , for a while , on what the Law is and says.

    I said it was fine to quote luther from the BOW. What is it that he says as to St Paul´s proposition that God has condemned all?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Again. Can we start, as the Lutheran Confessions everywhere do with that “all ” that is the Law. How do you read that all? Now I know that this is not gonna be something you are going to find quickly in warfield or calvin etc. But in the Lutheran Confessions you will find that about 70%+ of those confessions focus on that question.

    It is pointless to focus on an “all” as in salvation without first dwelling , for a while , on what the Law is and says.

    I said it was fine to quote luther from the BOW. What is it that he says as to St Paul´s proposition that God has condemned all?

  • Grace

    161

    “I would encourage you to note that about 75-80% of the ink spilled in the Lutheran Confessions is about the Law of God and not the Gospel or Justification or even Christ as Propitiator.

    That’s one of the problems, ….. the Gospel and Christ as our Redeemer takes second place, or less than 25% according to your estimation. I don’t expect you to see this, anymore than I think you can understand many of the other truths of God’s Word.

  • Grace

    161

    “I would encourage you to note that about 75-80% of the ink spilled in the Lutheran Confessions is about the Law of God and not the Gospel or Justification or even Christ as Propitiator.

    That’s one of the problems, ….. the Gospel and Christ as our Redeemer takes second place, or less than 25% according to your estimation. I don’t expect you to see this, anymore than I think you can understand many of the other truths of God’s Word.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 165

    Actually, the percentage of Gospel that is in the Scriptures is even less. There is a reason for that. What do you suppose that reason is? Show me I am wrong.

    Don´t just bash me and then say something silly about me not getting it.

    Do you think “gospel” in the strict sense of the word means anything beyond the Life, death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 165

    Actually, the percentage of Gospel that is in the Scriptures is even less. There is a reason for that. What do you suppose that reason is? Show me I am wrong.

    Don´t just bash me and then say something silly about me not getting it.

    Do you think “gospel” in the strict sense of the word means anything beyond the Life, death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins?

  • Grace

    165

    “Actually, the percentage of Gospel that is in the Scriptures is even less. There is a reason for that. What do you suppose that reason is? Show me I am wrong.”

    Christ spent three years on this earth teaching the Gospel to save the lost. HIS mission was the Gospel HIS death on the Cross was the atonement for our sins. Christ’s Apostles were taught, and then spent 40 days AFTER Christ had arisen from the grave alone with HIM, as HE further instructed them (Acts 1)

    The Apostles lived longer, as they traveled to preach the saving Gospel of Christ to the lost, and then penned it as the HOLY Spirit instructed, so naturally the Gospels are shorter than the rest of the New Testament. Having said that .. it is also most important, that what Christ did, HIS Gospel being preached by HIM is the most important aspect of the Word of God, if it were not for Christ dying for our sins, the New Testament wouldn’t exist.

    The three years Christ spent teaching and HIS sacrifice, supersedes all else. The problem with many teachers/preachers/evangelists is …. they spend too little time on the Gospels – they are far more interested in teaching from their church books, by men other than Christ and HIS Apostles.

    The LORD Jesus Christ spoke clearly about Salvation, believing, and repentance, it’s little man who wants to write tomes, believing he can do a better job at explaining the Gospel and Salvation. I believe that man believes much to highly of himself, rather than depending on the Gospel, but instead making many attempts at an intellectual achievement of his OWN, which he can then take credit for.

  • Grace

    165

    “Actually, the percentage of Gospel that is in the Scriptures is even less. There is a reason for that. What do you suppose that reason is? Show me I am wrong.”

    Christ spent three years on this earth teaching the Gospel to save the lost. HIS mission was the Gospel HIS death on the Cross was the atonement for our sins. Christ’s Apostles were taught, and then spent 40 days AFTER Christ had arisen from the grave alone with HIM, as HE further instructed them (Acts 1)

    The Apostles lived longer, as they traveled to preach the saving Gospel of Christ to the lost, and then penned it as the HOLY Spirit instructed, so naturally the Gospels are shorter than the rest of the New Testament. Having said that .. it is also most important, that what Christ did, HIS Gospel being preached by HIM is the most important aspect of the Word of God, if it were not for Christ dying for our sins, the New Testament wouldn’t exist.

    The three years Christ spent teaching and HIS sacrifice, supersedes all else. The problem with many teachers/preachers/evangelists is …. they spend too little time on the Gospels – they are far more interested in teaching from their church books, by men other than Christ and HIS Apostles.

    The LORD Jesus Christ spoke clearly about Salvation, believing, and repentance, it’s little man who wants to write tomes, believing he can do a better job at explaining the Gospel and Salvation. I believe that man believes much to highly of himself, rather than depending on the Gospel, but instead making many attempts at an intellectual achievement of his OWN, which he can then take credit for.

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    And therein I’ve never said anything less than you said for you and I function in the here and now:

    “Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.”

    Elect = Christian, thus what you say is this:

    Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be a Christian, though have no such assurance (that I am a Christian). Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the Christians.”

    That is YOUR ‘here and now’ ever present statement of the status of your very own soul and existence before us. And the corollary follows that you may NOT be elect, thus reprobate, thus not now or ever was or ever will be a Christian (=elect).

    Keep in mind I myself am not saying you are not a Christian, you are baptized and thus according to my/our confessions you are a Christian. I’m rather arguing from your confessed paradigm, in fact this very quote you gave:

    “Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.”

    You say you devoutly “hope” but you do not either define that hope, i.e. do you mean wishful thinking or certain expectation. If the former then that is not hope but at least logically consistent with your confession, if the latter then your confession which continually recalls “devout hope” (you’ve used that term a number of times) then certain expectation would in fact be assurance. If so assured or certain expectation, then how?

    For as Calvinist you don’t derive it from the sacraments, as you yourself confess, nor do you from the “all” type pronouns in the Word (=neither from Word or Sacrament). E.g. John 3:16 in which the Reformed interpret “the world” as “the elect” to whom which the limited atonement ONLY extends. This interpretation is standard among the Reformed. E.g. from the Reformed Study Bible, commentary on John 3:16, “The point made by ‘the world’ is that Christ’s saving work is not limited to one time and place but applies to the elect from all over the world.” Thus, saving work of Christ IS limited to only the elect.

    “Calvinist B in your terms who claims assurance is indeed being a presumptuous boor.”

    How about that cryptolutheran Calvinist?

    I must point out here that Porcell in this is consistent in his Calvinism up to the point nobody has assurance, but utterly inconsistent when plays word games with terms like “devoutly hopes”. Such a hope is little more than pagan guess work.

    For by definition in Calvinism such hope does exist based on the Word or Sacrament. For no Word in Scripture, no pronoun extends to anyone not elect and already so determined for they only extend to the elect and you must know that first. And we already know Calvinist don’t rest in the Sacraments either, a “I don’t care if I am elect, devil, I am baptized” is not the answer given to the accusing conscience that asks, “but am I really elect”.

    So were is the REAL Calvinism?

    I ask that already knowing the answer, it lies more Porcell’s definition than in the cryptolutherans position. Yet the cryptolutheran Calvinist see the issue, see problem of assurance an so they try to pull toward Lutheranism.

    Thus we have cryptolutherans attempting, on the one hand, to pull Calvin in line with Martin Luther and anachronistically read Calvin more Lutherish.

    Then on the other hand, we have the Porcell Calvinist attempting to procure Luther, especially early Augustinian Luther in line with Calvin.

    Luther in tower experience and all there after over threw Augustine. In fact that was the sine quo none of his tower experience in which he pulled Aristotle out of the Christian faith. Calvin on the other hand, reasserted Augustine and Aristotle and thus never really left Rome, which is why Procell agrees with Bellerman…not at surprising.

    Hopefully, Lutherans will awake to this great danger, the Reformed, who are just as if not more dangerous than Rome and secularism.

    Sasse writes, “As Luther once went the lonely way between Rome and Spiritualism, so the Lutheran Church today stands ALONE between the world powers of Roman Catholicism on the one hand and modern Protestantism on the other. Her doctrine which teaches that the Spirit is bound to the means of grace is as inconceivable to modern people in the twentieth century as it was to their predecessors in the sixteenth.”

    This warning hopefully strengthens the faithful within these confessions for faith is ALWAYS assailed by false doctrine and to simultaneously draw out and extract the faithful deceived within heterodox confessions. For confession is NEVER a neutral matter and one’s soul is never NOT in danger among heterodox/false confessions.

  • Larry

    Porcell,

    And therein I’ve never said anything less than you said for you and I function in the here and now:

    “Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.”

    Elect = Christian, thus what you say is this:

    Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be a Christian, though have no such assurance (that I am a Christian). Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the Christians.”

    That is YOUR ‘here and now’ ever present statement of the status of your very own soul and existence before us. And the corollary follows that you may NOT be elect, thus reprobate, thus not now or ever was or ever will be a Christian (=elect).

    Keep in mind I myself am not saying you are not a Christian, you are baptized and thus according to my/our confessions you are a Christian. I’m rather arguing from your confessed paradigm, in fact this very quote you gave:

    “Larry, I’ve made it amply clear that as Calvinist Christian, I devoutly hope to be among the elect, though have no such assurance. Further, I have been taught that one puts his soul at risk by claiming to be among the elect.”

    You say you devoutly “hope” but you do not either define that hope, i.e. do you mean wishful thinking or certain expectation. If the former then that is not hope but at least logically consistent with your confession, if the latter then your confession which continually recalls “devout hope” (you’ve used that term a number of times) then certain expectation would in fact be assurance. If so assured or certain expectation, then how?

    For as Calvinist you don’t derive it from the sacraments, as you yourself confess, nor do you from the “all” type pronouns in the Word (=neither from Word or Sacrament). E.g. John 3:16 in which the Reformed interpret “the world” as “the elect” to whom which the limited atonement ONLY extends. This interpretation is standard among the Reformed. E.g. from the Reformed Study Bible, commentary on John 3:16, “The point made by ‘the world’ is that Christ’s saving work is not limited to one time and place but applies to the elect from all over the world.” Thus, saving work of Christ IS limited to only the elect.

    “Calvinist B in your terms who claims assurance is indeed being a presumptuous boor.”

    How about that cryptolutheran Calvinist?

    I must point out here that Porcell in this is consistent in his Calvinism up to the point nobody has assurance, but utterly inconsistent when plays word games with terms like “devoutly hopes”. Such a hope is little more than pagan guess work.

    For by definition in Calvinism such hope does exist based on the Word or Sacrament. For no Word in Scripture, no pronoun extends to anyone not elect and already so determined for they only extend to the elect and you must know that first. And we already know Calvinist don’t rest in the Sacraments either, a “I don’t care if I am elect, devil, I am baptized” is not the answer given to the accusing conscience that asks, “but am I really elect”.

    So were is the REAL Calvinism?

    I ask that already knowing the answer, it lies more Porcell’s definition than in the cryptolutherans position. Yet the cryptolutheran Calvinist see the issue, see problem of assurance an so they try to pull toward Lutheranism.

    Thus we have cryptolutherans attempting, on the one hand, to pull Calvin in line with Martin Luther and anachronistically read Calvin more Lutherish.

    Then on the other hand, we have the Porcell Calvinist attempting to procure Luther, especially early Augustinian Luther in line with Calvin.

    Luther in tower experience and all there after over threw Augustine. In fact that was the sine quo none of his tower experience in which he pulled Aristotle out of the Christian faith. Calvin on the other hand, reasserted Augustine and Aristotle and thus never really left Rome, which is why Procell agrees with Bellerman…not at surprising.

    Hopefully, Lutherans will awake to this great danger, the Reformed, who are just as if not more dangerous than Rome and secularism.

    Sasse writes, “As Luther once went the lonely way between Rome and Spiritualism, so the Lutheran Church today stands ALONE between the world powers of Roman Catholicism on the one hand and modern Protestantism on the other. Her doctrine which teaches that the Spirit is bound to the means of grace is as inconceivable to modern people in the twentieth century as it was to their predecessors in the sixteenth.”

    This warning hopefully strengthens the faithful within these confessions for faith is ALWAYS assailed by false doctrine and to simultaneously draw out and extract the faithful deceived within heterodox confessions. For confession is NEVER a neutral matter and one’s soul is never NOT in danger among heterodox/false confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 168

    what Larry says!

    Porcell, you are saying that you would be arrogant to be certain that you should be rightfully called a Christian. Larry is right.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 168

    what Larry says!

    Porcell, you are saying that you would be arrogant to be certain that you should be rightfully called a Christian. Larry is right.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 167

    “Christ spent three years on this earth teaching the Gospel to save the lost. HIS mission was the Gospel HIS death on the Cross was the atonement for our sins. ” Ok Grace great. That is the gospel. It is what HE did, not our response to it…

    But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?) So even in what you are talking about, the commands to Baptize, teach, lead moral lives, … that is all about the Law isnt it? it is not about HIS story. So why is that Grace? what is up with that? Why is it that the Law is so much more in the bible than the gospel?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 167

    “Christ spent three years on this earth teaching the Gospel to save the lost. HIS mission was the Gospel HIS death on the Cross was the atonement for our sins. ” Ok Grace great. That is the gospel. It is what HE did, not our response to it…

    But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?) So even in what you are talking about, the commands to Baptize, teach, lead moral lives, … that is all about the Law isnt it? it is not about HIS story. So why is that Grace? what is up with that? Why is it that the Law is so much more in the bible than the gospel?

  • Porcell

    By the way, those who accuse me of skewing this thread to the subject of knowledge of salvation forget that the whole thing got started at post thirty-eignt with FWS’s question: porcell @ 38 Ok. I will bite: How do you know you are saved Porcell?

    I gave him an honest answer and got jumped on by Lutherans who passionately “know” they are saved. I’ll end my part of this now wearisome question with the biblical passage that influenced Calvin, Two Corinthians, 17-18:

    Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord. For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends.

    We may fervently hope and pray that we are commended by the Lord, though only the boorish and boastful suffer the illusion of such commendation.

  • Porcell

    By the way, those who accuse me of skewing this thread to the subject of knowledge of salvation forget that the whole thing got started at post thirty-eignt with FWS’s question: porcell @ 38 Ok. I will bite: How do you know you are saved Porcell?

    I gave him an honest answer and got jumped on by Lutherans who passionately “know” they are saved. I’ll end my part of this now wearisome question with the biblical passage that influenced Calvin, Two Corinthians, 17-18:

    Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord. For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends.

    We may fervently hope and pray that we are commended by the Lord, though only the boorish and boastful suffer the illusion of such commendation.

  • Pete

    Porcell @171: “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord” seems to imply that some WILL or perhaps SHOULD boast. And should he boast by commending himself? No, he boasts by understanding himself to be “the man whom the Lord commends”. Who is the “man whom the Lord commends”? The first such man was Jesus, commended by the Father at His baptism. The subsequent such men/women are those of us commended by the Lord in OUR baptisms, by virtue of union (in baptism) with God’s Son, in Whom our righteousness resides.
    I understand that you read this passage differently, but I think the reading I just put forth is so much better.

  • Pete

    Porcell @171: “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord” seems to imply that some WILL or perhaps SHOULD boast. And should he boast by commending himself? No, he boasts by understanding himself to be “the man whom the Lord commends”. Who is the “man whom the Lord commends”? The first such man was Jesus, commended by the Father at His baptism. The subsequent such men/women are those of us commended by the Lord in OUR baptisms, by virtue of union (in baptism) with God’s Son, in Whom our righteousness resides.
    I understand that you read this passage differently, but I think the reading I just put forth is so much better.

  • Grace

    - 170 –

    “Ok Grace great. That is the gospel. It is what HE did, not our response to it…”

    I answered your question (165) in post 167, a question that made no sense, using your percentages as your argument, NOW you want to change course, asking another question. Jesus made many statements, our response in Believing, repentance to Salvation, turning from sin … isn’t a small thing, it results in Eternal life with HIM, or separation from the LORD for eternity.
    “But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?) So even in what you are talking about, the commands to Baptize, teach, lead moral lives, … that is all about the Law isnt it? it is not about HIS story. So why is that Grace? what is up with that? Why is it that the Law is so much more in the bible than the gospel?”

    The LORD Jesus did speak about the Commandments, there is no question of that, however HE gave man Salvation, if man repents, believes in Him as the Savior and turns from sin, You can talk about law all you like, but if you minimize the Gospel to preach law, you make a great error. You yourself stumble all over the moral law, this has resulted in endless discussions on this blog, yet you continue to stand on your stool talking about law, and avoiding the obvious moral law, with trumped up excuses.

    You don’t stick to the Word of God, instead you read what the BoC and other material state, and then further confuse yourself, by writing endless tomes, regarding the law – I believe this is an attempt on your part, to smooth out a direct conviction of sin that you continue to argue, to no avail.

  • Grace

    - 170 –

    “Ok Grace great. That is the gospel. It is what HE did, not our response to it…”

    I answered your question (165) in post 167, a question that made no sense, using your percentages as your argument, NOW you want to change course, asking another question. Jesus made many statements, our response in Believing, repentance to Salvation, turning from sin … isn’t a small thing, it results in Eternal life with HIM, or separation from the LORD for eternity.
    “But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?) So even in what you are talking about, the commands to Baptize, teach, lead moral lives, … that is all about the Law isnt it? it is not about HIS story. So why is that Grace? what is up with that? Why is it that the Law is so much more in the bible than the gospel?”

    The LORD Jesus did speak about the Commandments, there is no question of that, however HE gave man Salvation, if man repents, believes in Him as the Savior and turns from sin, You can talk about law all you like, but if you minimize the Gospel to preach law, you make a great error. You yourself stumble all over the moral law, this has resulted in endless discussions on this blog, yet you continue to stand on your stool talking about law, and avoiding the obvious moral law, with trumped up excuses.

    You don’t stick to the Word of God, instead you read what the BoC and other material state, and then further confuse yourself, by writing endless tomes, regarding the law – I believe this is an attempt on your part, to smooth out a direct conviction of sin that you continue to argue, to no avail.

  • Larry

    That is exactly right Pete, for to boast in Baptism is to boast as Paul says in the Lord for that Baptism is defined and created and made not by nude water but Worded water (to borrow Frank’s excellent adjective) that contains the very NAME of the Lord, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. To boast in baptism is to boast in the blessed Trinity in the full sense. To boast in baptism is to boast in the name of the Son Whose name is Jesus, Yaweh saves (alone), Emmanuel, God is with us, Hosanna, save us now Lord. To boast in baptism is to boast in the Lord, the only name under heaven by which men are saved. Baptism is the Worded Water and the Trinitarian Named Water, it is holy by virtue of its Wordedness and Namedness.

    Likewise to boast in the Lord is to boast in the very body and blood of the Son of God actually given, present and put into our mouths from which (alone) is given actually and not hypothetically the forgiveness of sins and thus to proclaim, that is to say boast, in the Lord’s death until He returns.

    To boast in the Lord is to receive the forgiveness He authorizes, earned and has given us and thus absolutely assured of it for it is in the Lord alone to the man for certain, for sure, most assuredly via absolution for “he hears you hears Me” says Christ – this is to boast in Christ and Christ’s Words.

    “The greatest comfort comes from this doctrine, that the highest worship in the Gospel is the desire to (actually) receive the forgiveness of sin, grace, and righteousness (Christ’s).”

    Where His Word is not, there He is not for me but in condemnation.

    Thus, to boast in the Lord is to not seek out “my” election without the Word (which includes ALL the pronouns) or Sacraments, for Christ IS elect and where He is there I will be also. And where He is is in His Word, in the Worded and Named water of baptism, and His real and true body given into death for me, and precious blood shed for me for the forgiveness of sin. To be in the pronouns of the Word, in Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper IS TO BE in the WORD literally and literally the Word incarnate, the Son of God.

    As Christ so clearly says, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood HAS eternal life”, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, he is IN Me and I in him.”

    He or she who changes these words do not boast in the actual Word of God and therefore does not boast in the Lord, but rather boasts in the words of men and the temptation of Satan. For the Word’s of Christ are crystal clear. All temptation boils down to a form of “hath God really said” which may be said many and numerous ways such as “good and necessary consequence”, “this is against all reason”, “the finite cannot contain the infinite”, “baptism does nothing”, etc…all forms of “hath God REALLY said”.

  • Larry

    That is exactly right Pete, for to boast in Baptism is to boast as Paul says in the Lord for that Baptism is defined and created and made not by nude water but Worded water (to borrow Frank’s excellent adjective) that contains the very NAME of the Lord, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. To boast in baptism is to boast in the blessed Trinity in the full sense. To boast in baptism is to boast in the name of the Son Whose name is Jesus, Yaweh saves (alone), Emmanuel, God is with us, Hosanna, save us now Lord. To boast in baptism is to boast in the Lord, the only name under heaven by which men are saved. Baptism is the Worded Water and the Trinitarian Named Water, it is holy by virtue of its Wordedness and Namedness.

    Likewise to boast in the Lord is to boast in the very body and blood of the Son of God actually given, present and put into our mouths from which (alone) is given actually and not hypothetically the forgiveness of sins and thus to proclaim, that is to say boast, in the Lord’s death until He returns.

    To boast in the Lord is to receive the forgiveness He authorizes, earned and has given us and thus absolutely assured of it for it is in the Lord alone to the man for certain, for sure, most assuredly via absolution for “he hears you hears Me” says Christ – this is to boast in Christ and Christ’s Words.

    “The greatest comfort comes from this doctrine, that the highest worship in the Gospel is the desire to (actually) receive the forgiveness of sin, grace, and righteousness (Christ’s).”

    Where His Word is not, there He is not for me but in condemnation.

    Thus, to boast in the Lord is to not seek out “my” election without the Word (which includes ALL the pronouns) or Sacraments, for Christ IS elect and where He is there I will be also. And where He is is in His Word, in the Worded and Named water of baptism, and His real and true body given into death for me, and precious blood shed for me for the forgiveness of sin. To be in the pronouns of the Word, in Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper IS TO BE in the WORD literally and literally the Word incarnate, the Son of God.

    As Christ so clearly says, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood HAS eternal life”, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, he is IN Me and I in him.”

    He or she who changes these words do not boast in the actual Word of God and therefore does not boast in the Lord, but rather boasts in the words of men and the temptation of Satan. For the Word’s of Christ are crystal clear. All temptation boils down to a form of “hath God really said” which may be said many and numerous ways such as “good and necessary consequence”, “this is against all reason”, “the finite cannot contain the infinite”, “baptism does nothing”, etc…all forms of “hath God REALLY said”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 174

    again. what larry says.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 174

    again. what larry says.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 173

    I was not making an argument. I was making an observation. The bible is mostly law. law. law. I think that means something.

    Then you pointed to the 3 gospels. I merely responded that those two are mostly full of Law. And i asked why you think that is.

    I am not sure where you see an argument Grace.

    What is it you thought my “argument” was?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 173

    I was not making an argument. I was making an observation. The bible is mostly law. law. law. I think that means something.

    Then you pointed to the 3 gospels. I merely responded that those two are mostly full of Law. And i asked why you think that is.

    I am not sure where you see an argument Grace.

    What is it you thought my “argument” was?

  • Grace

    - 176 –

    “I was not making an argument. I was making an observation. The bible is mostly law. law. law. I think that means something.

    Then you pointed to the 3 gospels. I merely responded that those two are mostly full of Law. And i asked why you think that is.

    fws – you clearly wrote: post 170 “But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?”

    I did not point to “3 ” Gospels. You are confused, there are four Gospels in the New Testament, not 2 or 3, but 4.

    You aren’t following along, ..

  • Grace

    - 176 –

    “I was not making an argument. I was making an observation. The bible is mostly law. law. law. I think that means something.

    Then you pointed to the 3 gospels. I merely responded that those two are mostly full of Law. And i asked why you think that is.

    fws – you clearly wrote: post 170 “But still, arent even the Gospels full of Law (that is, what we are commanded to do in response to the Gospel?”

    I did not point to “3 ” Gospels. You are confused, there are four Gospels in the New Testament, not 2 or 3, but 4.

    You aren’t following along, ..

  • Bruce Gee

    Just a quick interjection, here, Grace. There are four writings in the New Testament that we refer to as the “Gospels”. Frank does know that, I assure you. The point he wishes to make is that, even within these four “Gospel” writings, what we call “law” and what we call “gospel” can be found. The “gospel” is the good news that God became man, lived a perfect life; that God died on the cross as a payment for the sins of the whole world and was resurrected from death so that we, who trust that message, may be granted eternal life in Christ. The “law” is that Word from God that is meant to curb our sinful natures, show us our sinfulness, and also to provide guidance as to how to live our lives. Lutherans realize that law and gospel are meant to be together, but also insist that they be clearly delineated, so that we don’t call “law”, “gospel”. And vice versa. Thus, the law of God “kills” in the sense of showing us our sinfulness and leading us to repentance, while the good news of the gospel gives us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
    So Frank’s suggestion that there is more “law” than “gospel” in the Bible is correct, if you understand what he means by that. Believe me, in the Lutheran Divine Service, both are present, and the intent is strictly and strongly to give people the life-giving gospel, the reassurance that their sins have been and are forgiven, and that they are , getting back to the subtopic at hand, “one of the elect”.

  • Bruce Gee

    Just a quick interjection, here, Grace. There are four writings in the New Testament that we refer to as the “Gospels”. Frank does know that, I assure you. The point he wishes to make is that, even within these four “Gospel” writings, what we call “law” and what we call “gospel” can be found. The “gospel” is the good news that God became man, lived a perfect life; that God died on the cross as a payment for the sins of the whole world and was resurrected from death so that we, who trust that message, may be granted eternal life in Christ. The “law” is that Word from God that is meant to curb our sinful natures, show us our sinfulness, and also to provide guidance as to how to live our lives. Lutherans realize that law and gospel are meant to be together, but also insist that they be clearly delineated, so that we don’t call “law”, “gospel”. And vice versa. Thus, the law of God “kills” in the sense of showing us our sinfulness and leading us to repentance, while the good news of the gospel gives us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
    So Frank’s suggestion that there is more “law” than “gospel” in the Bible is correct, if you understand what he means by that. Believe me, in the Lutheran Divine Service, both are present, and the intent is strictly and strongly to give people the life-giving gospel, the reassurance that their sins have been and are forgiven, and that they are , getting back to the subtopic at hand, “one of the elect”.

  • Grace

    Bruce – 178

    Just a quick interjection, here, Grace. There are four writings in the New Testament that we refer to as the “Gospels”. Frank does know that, I assure you. The point he wishes to make is that,”

    Your endeavor, using ‘the Lutheran glue bank’ to try and interpret what fws said falls flat. The attempt is the essence of a manipulator for a confused marionette.

    I know fully well the difference between the Gospels and law. One needs to understand that the New Testament would not exist if Christ had not come to die for the sins of the world – if Christ had not come, animal sacrifice and the law would have prevailed as the ONLY way. The Gospels are paramount to Eternal life with the LORD.

    “So Frank’s suggestion that there is more “law” than “gospel” in the Bible is correct, if you understand what he means by that.”

    We were not speaking of the whole Bible.. but the New Testament .. the four Gospels. Another attempt at ‘Lutheran glue bank’ …..

    When Christ spoke about the Gospel, HE was making clear the way in which one could obtain Salvation,

  • Grace

    Bruce – 178

    Just a quick interjection, here, Grace. There are four writings in the New Testament that we refer to as the “Gospels”. Frank does know that, I assure you. The point he wishes to make is that,”

    Your endeavor, using ‘the Lutheran glue bank’ to try and interpret what fws said falls flat. The attempt is the essence of a manipulator for a confused marionette.

    I know fully well the difference between the Gospels and law. One needs to understand that the New Testament would not exist if Christ had not come to die for the sins of the world – if Christ had not come, animal sacrifice and the law would have prevailed as the ONLY way. The Gospels are paramount to Eternal life with the LORD.

    “So Frank’s suggestion that there is more “law” than “gospel” in the Bible is correct, if you understand what he means by that.”

    We were not speaking of the whole Bible.. but the New Testament .. the four Gospels. Another attempt at ‘Lutheran glue bank’ …..

    When Christ spoke about the Gospel, HE was making clear the way in which one could obtain Salvation,

  • Porcell

    Grace: Your endeavor, using ‘the Lutheran glue bank’ to try and interpret what fws said falls flat. The attempt is the essence of a manipulator for a confused marionette.

    Well said with a fine combination of acuity and humour.

  • Porcell

    Grace: Your endeavor, using ‘the Lutheran glue bank’ to try and interpret what fws said falls flat. The attempt is the essence of a manipulator for a confused marionette.

    Well said with a fine combination of acuity and humour.

  • Grace

    Porcell,

    It’s late, however my husband and I have been discussing a trip to Israel, Rome and England, this evening. When were you last in Jeruslaem or Rome? I would dearly love to visit Jerusalem at this time. Whatever your suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you Porcell for all your contributions….

  • Grace

    Porcell,

    It’s late, however my husband and I have been discussing a trip to Israel, Rome and England, this evening. When were you last in Jeruslaem or Rome? I would dearly love to visit Jerusalem at this time. Whatever your suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you Porcell for all your contributions….

  • Larry

    Todd,

    That’s something I began to notice and it’s a SERIOUS danger today, as it has always been.

    Take Porcell’s quote of a Reformed theologian, “are matter of nuance, not good and evil”, that is really nothing new. Lutheran’s of old during the cryptocalvinism days noted well that that is how they try to creep in. Note how it sounds “nice” and ecumenical but the real evil behind it is faith destroying.

    E.g. the Lord’s Supper, the real body and blood of Christ and the actual giving at the moment of the forgiveness of sin versus Calvin’s and Zwingli’s more crass doctrine denying both in the Lord’s Supper, that’s not just a mere “…matter of nuance”, it is in fact a matter of a Satanic doctrine on one hand and the Word of God on the other. Take the conscience stricken by the Law that comes that week to the Lord’s table to receive forgiveness of their sin, not because they’ve lost it because God requires another trip, but due to our own sin, unbelief and the holiness of God (we don’t naturally incline to such infinitely lavish forgiveness) but incline the other way. Without this doctrine, the real body and blood of the Son of God and the actual real forgiveness given to the man, pro me, for ASSURANCE of such this person will go to despair, or conversely into fleshly confidence and hidden self righteousness.

    We like to call such “tender consciences”, but a Christian of any cut stricken by the Law and his/her sin is a tender conscience. Yet, if a Lutheran on our confessions agreed that such was nothing more than a “…matter of nuance, not good and evil”, the tender conscience stricken by the Law and their sin WILL be driven into despair, at length utter despair, in some cases suicide or at least the depressive thoughts thereof.

    That is hardly a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. In fact that concept, “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, more incensed Luther with Zwingli than anything and was the key for him the death blow statement of Zwingli being of a different spirit than “ours”.

    Another example on the alleged, “are matter of nuance, not good and evil”, baptism. It either IS life eternal or it is not. It is of course we confess and faith clings DESPERATELY to it, especially in time of anfecthtungen, temptation and trial! But let us suppose as a Baptist pastor friend of mine once said to me, honestly attempting to be agreeable, he said, “If they think God has given them something in baptism (speaking of infants baptized), I’m not going to take that away from them and rebaptize them”. But note how that statement does just that. “If THEY think”, not a real and true objective confession “God HAS given…for sure”. This hardly a matter of nuance.

    The concept of these are just “matters of nuance, not good and evil” in and of itself makes absolutely uncertain the Word of God! What was put into your mouth, for real and in utter truth. It either was the body and blood of the Son of God or it was just crackers and grape juice, maybe just wine in some residual cases. That’s HARDLY “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. If Christ really said and meant, “this is My body and blood…given/shed…for you…for the forgiveness of sin”, then some other word making this a mere sign or spiritualistic elevation (Calvin), that hardly a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. It’s an entirely different word!

    What was put into your mouth is no less a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, than was the Gnostic heresies of old that denied the incarnation and such. One could argue that those were “matters of nuance, not good and evil”, as surely those heretics did!

    This trick of the Calvinist is as old as the cryptocalvinist incursion that nearly wiped out the orthodox confessions. Sasse well points out that Calvinist ALWAYS, on the Lord’s Supper, say, as Calvin and Zwingli themselves did, “its just a matter of modes we disagree on and that’s the mystery”. A “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. But Sasse rightly points out that was NEVER the controversy for Luther and the Lutherans, but rather the real and true presence of the flesh and blood of the Son of God and the MYSTERY we don’t understand is how THAT is so.

    This is how the Calvinist sneak in, under the cover of it being a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. That’s how all false doctrine and heresy sneaks in. It’s as old as the original temptation of the devil. The serpent did not directly oppose the word of God but nuanced it, “hath God really said…”. That’s the devil’s trick EVERY TIME, even when Christ was tempted. The devil takes words from God to make other words of God go away.

    That’s the subtle craftiness of the devil and all heresy, “hath God really said this is my body and blood, that baptism save you, or rather are these not just a mere matter of nuance, not good and evil”. Faith is then put on trial toward the Word of God, disconnects and turns inward, to know good and evil for itself now being WORDLESS.

    There’s not one single Word for Porcells doctrine of no assurance but wishful thinking, not one. But tons of Word FOR assurance. Thus, Calvinism goes to work craft from other words of Scripture to make go away the “body and blood of Christ”, that “this baptism saves you”, that “these things were written so YOU would know you have eternal life”.

    E.g. Calvinism takes the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine for comfort and meant so, a word from God (the devil’s method) to make GO AWAY other Word’s of God like John 3:16, and the other “pro me” pronouns so that we may not find ourselves IN THESE Words. “shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”, taken away under double predestination and limited atonement.

    So yea, Calvinism today, if not more due doctrinal weakness and temptation to “make friends’ is as deadly to confessional Lutheranism as it was during the time of Westphal, et. al. and maybe even more doctrinally deadly to confessional Lutheranism than was/is the Papacy.

    Men are wooed by such nice sounding things as “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, hell who wants to NOT make friends. Who in the hell likes not being friends fundamentally and united. I mean we even desire rank unbelievers and atheist to be with us as believers, yet we cannot let it tempt us into false doctrine else we loose everything.

    Do we think Jesus’ warnings of the necessity of being ready to not deny him even for mother, father, brother, sister were just so much hyperbolic fluff. The temptation is BECAUSE these people we tend to like not some person we might naturally have animosity toward. Even the heathen are not tempted by their explicit enemies.

    Temptation is VERY VERY VERY REAL, its not a pseudo temptation as if, “Oh, I see that coming”. There’s no greater temptation to orthodoxy than Reformed or other that say it’s just a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    And so they attempt to procure Luther for themselves. And what is that but to tempt today’s confessing Lutherans to their side. It’s just like an enemy camp that gets your old general or a leader figure to appear to suddenly confess their side, to woo you out. It’s a form of propaganda. It’s a form of what we might call today ‘peer pressure’; “Well you know Luther agreed with Calvin on X.”

    We know better because Luther wrote in uncertain terms, but even still, the confession, and Luther would concur with this because the faith is bigger than Luther protects us against all such delusions.

    Remember what Luther warned in his last confession on the Lord’s Supper that if men would twist the Words of Christ they will surely twist mine (Luther’s) and so he wrote as clearly as he could what his confession on this was realizing that tricksters would still yet say, “Luther said”. And one way to do that is to say the disarming, it’s a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    In a recent but apropos article in Logia a writer quotes Sasse:

    “As a teacher of the church he (Luther) stepped back behind his doctrine. For by this a true teacher of the church gives proof of his mission, just as a genuine apostle and prophet: that he is only a mediator of a doctrine which is not his own…Ist doch die leer nit meyn, “the doctrine is not mine”. Luther is protesting against those who label his followers by his name, which grew into a custom. That makes the difference between a reformer and the founder of a sect.”

    Luther saw himself as dispensable;

    “…in the history of the Reformation in Germany the person of Luther steps rather soon into the background. By far, Luther’s person did not play a role in the years after 1530 as Calvin’s person did until the end of his life.”

    If somebody can falsely say that “Paul said or meant…”, then they easily do this to Luther. After all this is how Word is often removed by stating “what is meant”. If they can take the Word’s of the Son of God that are so very plain that simple child can understand them, and twist them as if to dare to get into the psychology of God and say when Jesus said “This is My body/blood…given/shed…for you for the forgiveness of sin”, then they can easily procure falsely for themselves Luther with subtle arguments that “sound” pious such as it is “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    Look at all they remove from this Gospel, the body of the Son of God, the blood of the Son of God, the actual given and shed to you, the “pro me” for you via double predestination and the ACTUAL given forgiveness of sin. When you think about it they ENTIRELY rob the Gospel out of this sacrament and strip it bare into another gospel. It’s not just a matter of the word “is”, it’s the whole Gospel here. That’s why Luther saw tinkering with these Words were in fact to tinker with the Gospel and do war against the Word of God.

    This HARDLY a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, it is a matter of the doctrine of Christ versus the doctrine of Satan and demons and not one tiny bit less than that.

  • Larry

    Todd,

    That’s something I began to notice and it’s a SERIOUS danger today, as it has always been.

    Take Porcell’s quote of a Reformed theologian, “are matter of nuance, not good and evil”, that is really nothing new. Lutheran’s of old during the cryptocalvinism days noted well that that is how they try to creep in. Note how it sounds “nice” and ecumenical but the real evil behind it is faith destroying.

    E.g. the Lord’s Supper, the real body and blood of Christ and the actual giving at the moment of the forgiveness of sin versus Calvin’s and Zwingli’s more crass doctrine denying both in the Lord’s Supper, that’s not just a mere “…matter of nuance”, it is in fact a matter of a Satanic doctrine on one hand and the Word of God on the other. Take the conscience stricken by the Law that comes that week to the Lord’s table to receive forgiveness of their sin, not because they’ve lost it because God requires another trip, but due to our own sin, unbelief and the holiness of God (we don’t naturally incline to such infinitely lavish forgiveness) but incline the other way. Without this doctrine, the real body and blood of the Son of God and the actual real forgiveness given to the man, pro me, for ASSURANCE of such this person will go to despair, or conversely into fleshly confidence and hidden self righteousness.

    We like to call such “tender consciences”, but a Christian of any cut stricken by the Law and his/her sin is a tender conscience. Yet, if a Lutheran on our confessions agreed that such was nothing more than a “…matter of nuance, not good and evil”, the tender conscience stricken by the Law and their sin WILL be driven into despair, at length utter despair, in some cases suicide or at least the depressive thoughts thereof.

    That is hardly a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. In fact that concept, “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, more incensed Luther with Zwingli than anything and was the key for him the death blow statement of Zwingli being of a different spirit than “ours”.

    Another example on the alleged, “are matter of nuance, not good and evil”, baptism. It either IS life eternal or it is not. It is of course we confess and faith clings DESPERATELY to it, especially in time of anfecthtungen, temptation and trial! But let us suppose as a Baptist pastor friend of mine once said to me, honestly attempting to be agreeable, he said, “If they think God has given them something in baptism (speaking of infants baptized), I’m not going to take that away from them and rebaptize them”. But note how that statement does just that. “If THEY think”, not a real and true objective confession “God HAS given…for sure”. This hardly a matter of nuance.

    The concept of these are just “matters of nuance, not good and evil” in and of itself makes absolutely uncertain the Word of God! What was put into your mouth, for real and in utter truth. It either was the body and blood of the Son of God or it was just crackers and grape juice, maybe just wine in some residual cases. That’s HARDLY “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. If Christ really said and meant, “this is My body and blood…given/shed…for you…for the forgiveness of sin”, then some other word making this a mere sign or spiritualistic elevation (Calvin), that hardly a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. It’s an entirely different word!

    What was put into your mouth is no less a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, than was the Gnostic heresies of old that denied the incarnation and such. One could argue that those were “matters of nuance, not good and evil”, as surely those heretics did!

    This trick of the Calvinist is as old as the cryptocalvinist incursion that nearly wiped out the orthodox confessions. Sasse well points out that Calvinist ALWAYS, on the Lord’s Supper, say, as Calvin and Zwingli themselves did, “its just a matter of modes we disagree on and that’s the mystery”. A “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. But Sasse rightly points out that was NEVER the controversy for Luther and the Lutherans, but rather the real and true presence of the flesh and blood of the Son of God and the MYSTERY we don’t understand is how THAT is so.

    This is how the Calvinist sneak in, under the cover of it being a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”. That’s how all false doctrine and heresy sneaks in. It’s as old as the original temptation of the devil. The serpent did not directly oppose the word of God but nuanced it, “hath God really said…”. That’s the devil’s trick EVERY TIME, even when Christ was tempted. The devil takes words from God to make other words of God go away.

    That’s the subtle craftiness of the devil and all heresy, “hath God really said this is my body and blood, that baptism save you, or rather are these not just a mere matter of nuance, not good and evil”. Faith is then put on trial toward the Word of God, disconnects and turns inward, to know good and evil for itself now being WORDLESS.

    There’s not one single Word for Porcells doctrine of no assurance but wishful thinking, not one. But tons of Word FOR assurance. Thus, Calvinism goes to work craft from other words of Scripture to make go away the “body and blood of Christ”, that “this baptism saves you”, that “these things were written so YOU would know you have eternal life”.

    E.g. Calvinism takes the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine for comfort and meant so, a word from God (the devil’s method) to make GO AWAY other Word’s of God like John 3:16, and the other “pro me” pronouns so that we may not find ourselves IN THESE Words. “shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”, taken away under double predestination and limited atonement.

    So yea, Calvinism today, if not more due doctrinal weakness and temptation to “make friends’ is as deadly to confessional Lutheranism as it was during the time of Westphal, et. al. and maybe even more doctrinally deadly to confessional Lutheranism than was/is the Papacy.

    Men are wooed by such nice sounding things as “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, hell who wants to NOT make friends. Who in the hell likes not being friends fundamentally and united. I mean we even desire rank unbelievers and atheist to be with us as believers, yet we cannot let it tempt us into false doctrine else we loose everything.

    Do we think Jesus’ warnings of the necessity of being ready to not deny him even for mother, father, brother, sister were just so much hyperbolic fluff. The temptation is BECAUSE these people we tend to like not some person we might naturally have animosity toward. Even the heathen are not tempted by their explicit enemies.

    Temptation is VERY VERY VERY REAL, its not a pseudo temptation as if, “Oh, I see that coming”. There’s no greater temptation to orthodoxy than Reformed or other that say it’s just a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    And so they attempt to procure Luther for themselves. And what is that but to tempt today’s confessing Lutherans to their side. It’s just like an enemy camp that gets your old general or a leader figure to appear to suddenly confess their side, to woo you out. It’s a form of propaganda. It’s a form of what we might call today ‘peer pressure’; “Well you know Luther agreed with Calvin on X.”

    We know better because Luther wrote in uncertain terms, but even still, the confession, and Luther would concur with this because the faith is bigger than Luther protects us against all such delusions.

    Remember what Luther warned in his last confession on the Lord’s Supper that if men would twist the Words of Christ they will surely twist mine (Luther’s) and so he wrote as clearly as he could what his confession on this was realizing that tricksters would still yet say, “Luther said”. And one way to do that is to say the disarming, it’s a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    In a recent but apropos article in Logia a writer quotes Sasse:

    “As a teacher of the church he (Luther) stepped back behind his doctrine. For by this a true teacher of the church gives proof of his mission, just as a genuine apostle and prophet: that he is only a mediator of a doctrine which is not his own…Ist doch die leer nit meyn, “the doctrine is not mine”. Luther is protesting against those who label his followers by his name, which grew into a custom. That makes the difference between a reformer and the founder of a sect.”

    Luther saw himself as dispensable;

    “…in the history of the Reformation in Germany the person of Luther steps rather soon into the background. By far, Luther’s person did not play a role in the years after 1530 as Calvin’s person did until the end of his life.”

    If somebody can falsely say that “Paul said or meant…”, then they easily do this to Luther. After all this is how Word is often removed by stating “what is meant”. If they can take the Word’s of the Son of God that are so very plain that simple child can understand them, and twist them as if to dare to get into the psychology of God and say when Jesus said “This is My body/blood…given/shed…for you for the forgiveness of sin”, then they can easily procure falsely for themselves Luther with subtle arguments that “sound” pious such as it is “matter of nuance, not good and evil”.

    Look at all they remove from this Gospel, the body of the Son of God, the blood of the Son of God, the actual given and shed to you, the “pro me” for you via double predestination and the ACTUAL given forgiveness of sin. When you think about it they ENTIRELY rob the Gospel out of this sacrament and strip it bare into another gospel. It’s not just a matter of the word “is”, it’s the whole Gospel here. That’s why Luther saw tinkering with these Words were in fact to tinker with the Gospel and do war against the Word of God.

    This HARDLY a “matter of nuance, not good and evil”, it is a matter of the doctrine of Christ versus the doctrine of Satan and demons and not one tiny bit less than that.

  • http://www.baylyblog.com/ Tim Bayly

    Your list of Scriptures purportedly opposed to limited atonement are just as easily used to prove the point made in Galatians–namely, that God’s Covenant People now will not be limited to the Jews, only, but will extend to the whole world.

    And in fact, that’s clearly what they mean. Why Lutherans hate the Biblical doctrine of election is beyond me. John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ has never been refuted. It is the definitive work on the Atonement and Lutherans would do well to think more about God’s power and election and particularity and less about the man’s vaunted potentiality. If there’s one thing Luther’s Bondage of the Will should have taught us, it’s this.

    Those who don’t come to faith in Jesus Christ don’t come because the Father didn’t give them to His Son. We have not chosen Him, but He has chosen us.

    Get back to Augustine, men.

    Love,

  • http://www.baylyblog.com/ Tim Bayly

    Your list of Scriptures purportedly opposed to limited atonement are just as easily used to prove the point made in Galatians–namely, that God’s Covenant People now will not be limited to the Jews, only, but will extend to the whole world.

    And in fact, that’s clearly what they mean. Why Lutherans hate the Biblical doctrine of election is beyond me. John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ has never been refuted. It is the definitive work on the Atonement and Lutherans would do well to think more about God’s power and election and particularity and less about the man’s vaunted potentiality. If there’s one thing Luther’s Bondage of the Will should have taught us, it’s this.

    Those who don’t come to faith in Jesus Christ don’t come because the Father didn’t give them to His Son. We have not chosen Him, but He has chosen us.

    Get back to Augustine, men.

    Love,

  • fws

    tim bayly @ 183

    Luther relied heavily upon St Augustine, who was maybe just a step behind St Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics in baptizing Aristotelian Sylogistic Logic as the method of employing reason to understand and parse Holy Scripture.

    Then Luther discovered St Paul and he no longer needed St Augustine.

    I would agree that John Calvin and his spiritual heirs are the pinnacle and logical heirs of Saint Augustine. And from that I would observe that in all doctrine you are really just neo-Scholastics then.

    Lutherans reject the notion that aristotelian logic can or should be applied to arrive at any understanding of Holy Scripture. We use Aristotelian and Scholastic rules and terminology only descriptively and not as a basis or part of any of our arguments.

    Your sect, unlike our own, sees things as the Roman Catholic Scholastics do on this score. Cf Natural Law as a great example.

    Bless you dear brother in Christ.

  • fws

    tim bayly @ 183

    Luther relied heavily upon St Augustine, who was maybe just a step behind St Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics in baptizing Aristotelian Sylogistic Logic as the method of employing reason to understand and parse Holy Scripture.

    Then Luther discovered St Paul and he no longer needed St Augustine.

    I would agree that John Calvin and his spiritual heirs are the pinnacle and logical heirs of Saint Augustine. And from that I would observe that in all doctrine you are really just neo-Scholastics then.

    Lutherans reject the notion that aristotelian logic can or should be applied to arrive at any understanding of Holy Scripture. We use Aristotelian and Scholastic rules and terminology only descriptively and not as a basis or part of any of our arguments.

    Your sect, unlike our own, sees things as the Roman Catholic Scholastics do on this score. Cf Natural Law as a great example.

    Bless you dear brother in Christ.

  • fws

    tim Bayley @ 183

    By the way, no Lutheran would ever dispute that what you propose makes eminently flawless logical sense. It is the ONLY doctrinal solution in fact that would or could make perfect and airtight sense to Reason.

    Let me be clear that I am very willing to fully grant that to you and the rest of your Calvinist errorists and heretics.

    Heretic too strong? You are denying the authority of the Word of God. And even as someone in a post modernist world, I do believe that it is possible to assert this difference of Truth from error as a point of fact and still call you a brother in Christ.

    And this matters greatly. How is it you can be certain that the Father has given YOU to Christ? You can’t be! This fact is a direct attack on THE very reason that the Holy Scriptures exist. May our dear Lord Jesus preserve you in whatever faith you do have in the face of this faith destroying error you cling to as your chosen life style.

    But at the same time it is contrary to the clear Word of God.

  • fws

    tim Bayley @ 183

    By the way, no Lutheran would ever dispute that what you propose makes eminently flawless logical sense. It is the ONLY doctrinal solution in fact that would or could make perfect and airtight sense to Reason.

    Let me be clear that I am very willing to fully grant that to you and the rest of your Calvinist errorists and heretics.

    Heretic too strong? You are denying the authority of the Word of God. And even as someone in a post modernist world, I do believe that it is possible to assert this difference of Truth from error as a point of fact and still call you a brother in Christ.

    And this matters greatly. How is it you can be certain that the Father has given YOU to Christ? You can’t be! This fact is a direct attack on THE very reason that the Holy Scriptures exist. May our dear Lord Jesus preserve you in whatever faith you do have in the face of this faith destroying error you cling to as your chosen life style.

    But at the same time it is contrary to the clear Word of God.

  • fws

    tim bailey @ 183

    And in fact, that’s clearly what they mean. Why Lutherans hate the Biblical doctrine of election is beyond me. John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ has never been refuted.

    Yes it has been:
    http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php

    I am sorry you didn’t get that memo till just now.

    It is the definitive work on the Atonement and Lutherans would do well to think more about God’s power and election and particularity and less about the man’s vaunted potentiality.

    Please do not lump us in with your arminian bastard theological heirs. Lutherans believe that the Eternal Will of God in both the Law and the Holy Gospel is the same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    The same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy are Providenced by God and not the Will or Doing of Mankind.

    It is not Obedience to Sovreign Divine Design and Telos.

    Go take a look at the “Gospel” Alliance. You seem to be all confused. There is endless talk there about our response to the Mercy of God in Christ as though our doing Mercy is somehow a part of the Work of Christ. And this is pushed because are all nervous as a non kosher pig at breakfast time over whether the Father has given you to Christ for his mercy to be FOR YOU.

    So you look to the progress and manifestations of your own works of Mercy. And even those don’t look like mercy. They look like the Sacrificial Obedience to the Sovreign that only our dear Lord Jesus , alone, can render to appease the wrath of God.

    You all deny total depravity after sanctification. You all deny, in practice and often in theory that ALL your best and most virtuous sanctified good works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon . This is nasty to say. But it IS what Saint Isaiah says. Exactly.

    So you are not terrified of your works. You should be brother Bayley! And then you should know that the ONLY way your works become sanctified is to hide their intrinsic putrification inside of the Works of Another.

    But you all do not surrender your works in that way. Instead you insist that you are able to render the Sacrifice of Obedience to God now that you are sanctified and have the Holy Spirit. This process looks rather remarkably identical to the Aristotelian process of how one acquires virtue. One becomes virtuous by practicing what virtuous person would do until it becomes a habit.

    Renaming this piece of pagan philosophy and calling it “sanctification” does not make it that.. And you insist on feeding this confusion in exactly this way:

    Mercy is, by definition, always undeserved. That sounds alot like the Holy Gospel. But Mercy, done even by a sanctified believer, is accomplished by PURE Law.

    Mercy is NOT the Gospel, even if the Gospel IS Mercy.

    But you all can’t really see that can you?

    If there’s one thing Luther’s Bondage of the Will should have taught us, it’s this.

    Dr Martin Luther points to the certainty of Divine Election in Holy Baptism. Don’t insult anyone’s intelligence by telling us that Luther is more Calvinistic than the Lutheran Confessions are. The name for that is Bullshit.

  • fws

    tim bailey @ 183

    And in fact, that’s clearly what they mean. Why Lutherans hate the Biblical doctrine of election is beyond me. John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ has never been refuted.

    Yes it has been:
    http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php

    I am sorry you didn’t get that memo till just now.

    It is the definitive work on the Atonement and Lutherans would do well to think more about God’s power and election and particularity and less about the man’s vaunted potentiality.

    Please do not lump us in with your arminian bastard theological heirs. Lutherans believe that the Eternal Will of God in both the Law and the Holy Gospel is the same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    The same Fatherly Goodness and Mercy are Providenced by God and not the Will or Doing of Mankind.

    It is not Obedience to Sovreign Divine Design and Telos.

    Go take a look at the “Gospel” Alliance. You seem to be all confused. There is endless talk there about our response to the Mercy of God in Christ as though our doing Mercy is somehow a part of the Work of Christ. And this is pushed because are all nervous as a non kosher pig at breakfast time over whether the Father has given you to Christ for his mercy to be FOR YOU.

    So you look to the progress and manifestations of your own works of Mercy. And even those don’t look like mercy. They look like the Sacrificial Obedience to the Sovreign that only our dear Lord Jesus , alone, can render to appease the wrath of God.

    You all deny total depravity after sanctification. You all deny, in practice and often in theory that ALL your best and most virtuous sanctified good works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon . This is nasty to say. But it IS what Saint Isaiah says. Exactly.

    So you are not terrified of your works. You should be brother Bayley! And then you should know that the ONLY way your works become sanctified is to hide their intrinsic putrification inside of the Works of Another.

    But you all do not surrender your works in that way. Instead you insist that you are able to render the Sacrifice of Obedience to God now that you are sanctified and have the Holy Spirit. This process looks rather remarkably identical to the Aristotelian process of how one acquires virtue. One becomes virtuous by practicing what virtuous person would do until it becomes a habit.

    Renaming this piece of pagan philosophy and calling it “sanctification” does not make it that.. And you insist on feeding this confusion in exactly this way:

    Mercy is, by definition, always undeserved. That sounds alot like the Holy Gospel. But Mercy, done even by a sanctified believer, is accomplished by PURE Law.

    Mercy is NOT the Gospel, even if the Gospel IS Mercy.

    But you all can’t really see that can you?

    If there’s one thing Luther’s Bondage of the Will should have taught us, it’s this.

    Dr Martin Luther points to the certainty of Divine Election in Holy Baptism. Don’t insult anyone’s intelligence by telling us that Luther is more Calvinistic than the Lutheran Confessions are. The name for that is Bullshit.

  • fws

    Tim Bayley @ 183

    Ah one more thing. I love you too brother!

    Repent! Be terrified over your best sanctification. Hide ALL your works in Christ.

    And look for absolute certainty in your Divine Election exactly where Martin Luther would point you: You can be certain you are Elect and that the Father gave you to the Son because you had a Name splashed onto you in your Baptism!

    If you do not understand this last point, then how is it that you can claim to understand the Bondage of the Will on the doctrine of Divine Election by the same author? the simple answer is that you can’t. You understand Luther by reading what your heretics say about him.

    Try reading Luther and letting Luther speak for his own self. You might learn something.

  • fws

    Tim Bayley @ 183

    Ah one more thing. I love you too brother!

    Repent! Be terrified over your best sanctification. Hide ALL your works in Christ.

    And look for absolute certainty in your Divine Election exactly where Martin Luther would point you: You can be certain you are Elect and that the Father gave you to the Son because you had a Name splashed onto you in your Baptism!

    If you do not understand this last point, then how is it that you can claim to understand the Bondage of the Will on the doctrine of Divine Election by the same author? the simple answer is that you can’t. You understand Luther by reading what your heretics say about him.

    Try reading Luther and letting Luther speak for his own self. You might learn something.

  • Pingback: hogan outlet civitanova marche


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X