Meliorists vs. Traditionalists, vs. Confessionalists

Gerald McDermott at First Things offers a fascinating discussion of a current battle going on in evangelical theology:

Evangelical theology has long been divided between those who emphasize human freedom to choose salvation (Arminians) and those who stress God’s sovereignty in the history of salvation (the Reformed). Now this old division has been overshadowed by a larger division between new opposing camps we may call the Meliorists and the Traditionists. The former think we must improve and sometimes change substantially the tradition of historic orthodoxy. The latter think that while we might sometimes need to adjust our approaches to the tradition, generally we ought to learn from it rather than change it. Most of the Meliorists are Arminian, and most of the Traditionists are Reformed, though there are exceptions on both sides.

This new division has developed from challenges by some of those who call themselves “post-conservatives.” Led by Meliorist theologians like Roger Olson and the late Stanley Grenz, they argue that “conservative” theology is stuck in Enlightenment foundationalism, which seeks certainty through self-evident truths and sensory experience, sees the Bible as a collection of propositions that can be arranged into a rational system, believes doctrine to be the essence of Christianity, and, because it does not realize the historical situatedness of the Bible, constructs a rigid orthodoxy on a foundation of culture-bound beliefs. Responding in part to evangelical excesses in the inerrancy debates of the 1970s, post-conservative theologians developed an understandable distaste for rationalistic, ahistorical, and un-literary readings of Scripture.

In Reformed and Always Reforming: The Post-Conservative Approach to Evangelical Theology, Olson suggests that this brand of evangelical theology is fundamentalist in spirit because it chases heretics out of its “small tent.” He calls his “post-conservative” brand of evangelical theology the “big tent” version.

Olson divides the conservatives—which we would call Traditionists—into two camps, “Biblicists” (a derogatory term suggesting simple-mindedness) and “Paleo-orthodox” (another derogatory term, implying a refusal to face modern realities). The Biblicists, who include Carl Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, J. I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, Norman Geisler, and D. A. Carson, see revelation as primarily propositional and doctrines as facts. But most importantly, Olson claims, they regard doctrine as the “essence” of Christian faith.

The Paleo-orthodox include Baptist D. H. Williams, the Reformed author-pastor John Armstrong, Anglicans such as the late Robert Webber and Christianity Today’s editor David Neff, and the Methodists William Abraham and Thomas Oden. For them, the ancient ecumenical consensus is the governing authority that serves as an interpretive lens through which Christians are to interpret Scripture. The critical and constructive task of theology is conducted in light of what the ecumenical Church has already decided about crucial doctrinal matters.

Olson’s division of conservatives into these two camps is partly right and partly wrong. It is true that when interpreting Scripture some conservatives look to the last few centuries of evangelical reflection for authority, and others look to the Fathers. But the post-conservative suggestion that both the so-called Biblicists and Paleo-orthodox are foundationalist is dubious. Few among the Biblicists just named—and none of the Paleo-orthodox—would affirm the possibility of intellectual certainty based on self-evident truths or sensory experience. Neither group would say doctrine alone is the essence of faith, but all would insist that experience should never be privileged over doctrine.

Meliorists such as Olson think that another basic problem with Traditionists is that they give too much weight to, well, tradition. They believe Biblicists pay too much attention to the evangelical tradition, and Paleo-orthodox to the premodern consensus. These traditions, Olson asserts, have been wrong in the past. “All tradition is in need of correction and reform,” he says, and evangelicals should reject any appeal to “what has always been believed by Christians generally” because tradition by nature protects vested interests.

The creeds, for example, are to Olson simply “man-made statements.” They all need to be re-examined for possible “revisioning of doctrine” based on a fresh reading of Scripture. Nothing is sacrosanct, everything is on the table. Only the Bible is finally authoritative. And even the Bible is too often mistaken for revelation itself, which consists more of the “acts of God” in history than the words of Scripture. Meliorists tend to reject the idea that the actual words of the Bible are inspired, and often prefer to speak of “dynamic inspiration,” in which the biblical authors but not their words are inspired. For most Meliorists, the Bible’s authority is primarily functional. God speaks through it when He chooses, and only at those times can we say the Spirit speaks through it with authority.

via Article | First Things.

The problem with the meliorists is that they are, essentially, liberal, jettisoning, in effect, any authority beyond what they want.  Furthermore, they believe that Christianity is getting better (which is what the Latin word “melior” means), so that Christians of the past had it wrong, but contemporary Christians can discover what it really means.   This strikes me as absurd and destroys the catholicity and historicity of the church.

But there can be a problem with traditionalists too.  These evangelical traditionalists, at least the paleo-orthodox, need a basis for determining which traditions they embrace and which ones they don’t.  To just embrace tradition as the means of interpreting the Bible would likely lead to either Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, and I’m not  how an evangelical paleo-orthodox traditionalist would know which one to choose. The answer, of course, would be to follow the inerrant Bible, but to also specify what they believe the Bible teaches.

That is, they need confessionalism.  As usual, debates among Bible-believing, Gospel-trusting Christians are reduced to the Reformed/Arminian distinction, as if those were the only two alternatives.  Lutheran confessionalism is not mere traditionalism, since it sets forth a theology that affirms both a major continuity with the earlier church, while also setting forth criteria for sorting out Biblical doctrine from non-Biblical teachings, whether of the past traditions or emerging heresies.

 

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  • SKPeterson

    I surmise that ‘confessionalism’ would fall under the broad tent of ‘traditionism,’ at least in the view of the Meliorists.

    I was struck by two things in the overview of Olson’s theology.

    These traditions, Olson asserts, have been wrong in the past. “All tradition is in need of correction and reform,” he says, and evangelicals should reject any appeal to “what has always been believed by Christians generally” because tradition by nature protects vested interests.

    Now, first, from a strictly secular viewpoint, we have a recognition of the tension that exists between reform and tradition, or what some might label liberal v. conservative. But, as Hayek notes in Constitution of Liberty, the burden of proof is always upon the reformer; tradition is “Tradition,” because it has proven itself over time, precisely because it works. It has met a purpose and filled it satisfactorily such that the culture or society is preserved. That does not mean that tradition is sacrosanct and cannot be changed, but it cannot be dismissed wholesale and jettisoned without serious social and cultural consequences, usually negative.

    Second, there is the argument taken by Sasse in Conservative Reformation where he argues that error can creep in under the tent of Tradition, and actually can displace vital traditions over time. He was characterizing then a notion of reform as a means to remove these later accretions to the faith and restore, if not repristinate, the Church.

    Both of the arguments presented in these works serve as concrete examples or guideposts for embracing Confessionalism; the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater. Tradition is maintained, yet reform is embraced. Confessionalism allows for a preciseness in discussing the balance between tradition and reform as to what needs to be pruned and what needs to be retained. Confessionalism identifies those branches of the faith that need to be pruned, while retaining the strength and vigor of the roots which need not be torn out.

  • SKPeterson

    I surmise that ‘confessionalism’ would fall under the broad tent of ‘traditionism,’ at least in the view of the Meliorists.

    I was struck by two things in the overview of Olson’s theology.

    These traditions, Olson asserts, have been wrong in the past. “All tradition is in need of correction and reform,” he says, and evangelicals should reject any appeal to “what has always been believed by Christians generally” because tradition by nature protects vested interests.

    Now, first, from a strictly secular viewpoint, we have a recognition of the tension that exists between reform and tradition, or what some might label liberal v. conservative. But, as Hayek notes in Constitution of Liberty, the burden of proof is always upon the reformer; tradition is “Tradition,” because it has proven itself over time, precisely because it works. It has met a purpose and filled it satisfactorily such that the culture or society is preserved. That does not mean that tradition is sacrosanct and cannot be changed, but it cannot be dismissed wholesale and jettisoned without serious social and cultural consequences, usually negative.

    Second, there is the argument taken by Sasse in Conservative Reformation where he argues that error can creep in under the tent of Tradition, and actually can displace vital traditions over time. He was characterizing then a notion of reform as a means to remove these later accretions to the faith and restore, if not repristinate, the Church.

    Both of the arguments presented in these works serve as concrete examples or guideposts for embracing Confessionalism; the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater. Tradition is maintained, yet reform is embraced. Confessionalism allows for a preciseness in discussing the balance between tradition and reform as to what needs to be pruned and what needs to be retained. Confessionalism identifies those branches of the faith that need to be pruned, while retaining the strength and vigor of the roots which need not be torn out.

  • Porcell

    When McDermott speaks of the Reformed he is likely referring to the Reformation in the broad sense including both the orthodox Calvinists and Lutherans. In my view Calvin was just as “confessional” as Luther. Michael Horton in his recent systematic theology that goes back ad fontes to both Luther and Calvin makes this point rather clearly.

  • Porcell

    When McDermott speaks of the Reformed he is likely referring to the Reformation in the broad sense including both the orthodox Calvinists and Lutherans. In my view Calvin was just as “confessional” as Luther. Michael Horton in his recent systematic theology that goes back ad fontes to both Luther and Calvin makes this point rather clearly.

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. George Robbert taught me truly when he passed down the old advice: “Master the first three centuries of church history, and everything thereafter is a repeat.” Indeed, these “meliorists” have reasoning and attitude so similar to the ‘progress’ of Seminex professors that I, as a pastor trained at St. Louis in the 90s, had a flashback to my boot camp training in the Formal Principle and the Material Principle. But I digress.

    Thank you again, Dr. Veith, for yet more good theological fodder. Yet in spite of the patent (to us) errors of the meliorists, let us not miss out on their valid point:

    ” . . . they argue that “conservative” theology is stuck in Enlightenment foundationalism, which . . . sees the Bible as a collection of propositions that can be arranged into a rational system, [and] . . . constructs a rigid orthodoxy on a foundation of culture-bound beliefs.”

    Two things stike me as salient in this. First, the church always seems to struggle in keeping up with the cultural progress. We tend to train our apologists to argue yesterday’s issue. There is some validity to the assertion that making a rational, propositional argument is largely ineffective today. This is not to say that we should jettison the foundation, (which so often is the proposed solution), but we should be constantly and genuinely striving to translate the eternal truth into the cultural language of the day.

    The second point is the reminder that ALL theological traditions, (yes, including confessional lutheranism), are to some degree “culture bound.” Indeed, it can be very difficult and challenging to sift through our theological stance and discover there some points that we hold to as foundational when they are, in fact, cultural.

    Case in point: In the Hmong culture, it is the custom for the groom to take his bride and consummate the union before they have formally obtained the blessing of parents or held the marriage ceremony. If a Hmong Christian wishes to be married in the Hmong tradition, does he sin by consummating the marriage before the public ceremony?

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. George Robbert taught me truly when he passed down the old advice: “Master the first three centuries of church history, and everything thereafter is a repeat.” Indeed, these “meliorists” have reasoning and attitude so similar to the ‘progress’ of Seminex professors that I, as a pastor trained at St. Louis in the 90s, had a flashback to my boot camp training in the Formal Principle and the Material Principle. But I digress.

    Thank you again, Dr. Veith, for yet more good theological fodder. Yet in spite of the patent (to us) errors of the meliorists, let us not miss out on their valid point:

    ” . . . they argue that “conservative” theology is stuck in Enlightenment foundationalism, which . . . sees the Bible as a collection of propositions that can be arranged into a rational system, [and] . . . constructs a rigid orthodoxy on a foundation of culture-bound beliefs.”

    Two things stike me as salient in this. First, the church always seems to struggle in keeping up with the cultural progress. We tend to train our apologists to argue yesterday’s issue. There is some validity to the assertion that making a rational, propositional argument is largely ineffective today. This is not to say that we should jettison the foundation, (which so often is the proposed solution), but we should be constantly and genuinely striving to translate the eternal truth into the cultural language of the day.

    The second point is the reminder that ALL theological traditions, (yes, including confessional lutheranism), are to some degree “culture bound.” Indeed, it can be very difficult and challenging to sift through our theological stance and discover there some points that we hold to as foundational when they are, in fact, cultural.

    Case in point: In the Hmong culture, it is the custom for the groom to take his bride and consummate the union before they have formally obtained the blessing of parents or held the marriage ceremony. If a Hmong Christian wishes to be married in the Hmong tradition, does he sin by consummating the marriage before the public ceremony?

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. Veith and SKPeterson,

    Are you using the term “confessional” to describe a theological position, or as a framework and method for doing theology? Are we talking about the content or the approach?

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. Veith and SKPeterson,

    Are you using the term “confessional” to describe a theological position, or as a framework and method for doing theology? Are we talking about the content or the approach?

  • Dan Kempin

    SK, #1,

    “Confessionalism allows for a preciseness in discussing the balance between tradition and reform as to what needs to be pruned and what needs to be retained. Confessionalism identifies those branches of the faith that need to be pruned, while retaining the strength and vigor of the roots which need not be torn out.”

    How, exactly? I don’t think I’m following you.

  • Dan Kempin

    SK, #1,

    “Confessionalism allows for a preciseness in discussing the balance between tradition and reform as to what needs to be pruned and what needs to be retained. Confessionalism identifies those branches of the faith that need to be pruned, while retaining the strength and vigor of the roots which need not be torn out.”

    How, exactly? I don’t think I’m following you.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Lutherans often miss that the Lutheran Confessions make a huge distinction between two kinds of faith:

    Doctrinal: The devils believe everything the Bible says, that the Bible is inerrant, that the Bible is the Word of God. Lutherans, in their confessions call this historical faith. God does demand this faith but this faith cannot save us. God´s saving Word is not this, but Lutherans teach that God´s Saving Word is “in, with and under” this in a way that one cannot be separated from the other. An exact example of this is the Saving Word that is “in, with and under’ the water of Holy Baptism. So right doctrine is essential and cannot be separated from saving faith. But it is not saving faith.

    Experience: Lutherans , in their Confessions, call saving faith “new movements of the heart” (Apology/Defense Art III,IV, XVIII), and even “good emotions” (apology art IV in connection with Holy Baptism). So Lutherans believe teach and confess that saving faith MUST include an experience. This experience is something that we “cannot by our reason or strength” do. (small catechism 2nd article). So emotions and feelings are an essential part of saving faith. But emotions and feelings, unteathered from the external Word of God in which, alone we find that Saving Word of God that is in , with and under it, cannot save us either.

    So saving faith then is not something we can argue people into with apologetics, or get them to do by getting their doctrine straightened out. It is literally a creative work of the Holy Spirit “ex nihilo” (latin for “out of nothing at all”). And it can only be found “in, with and under” where God has placed his Promise. It is found in the Word of God preached, splashed and eaten.

    Adam lost the Image of God that was the Original Righeousness that was faith alone in Christ alone. It is precisely this image of God that is restored in the waters of Holy Baptism.

    Other churches find the Image of God in the Law of God. The Law of God, including the Law that demands faith in God, is written in the minds of all men. The Law of God demands pure doctrine. The Law of God demands right reason and emotions. So if Calvin and Rome are right, then the Image of God is not entirely lost and the appeal to that Image of God is the basis for evangelism and apologetics. For mankind retains the ability to do the Law of God “outwardly” in the form of Reason and the ability to Love.

    In that case the Image of God is found in man´s Aristotelian “Higher Powers” that are centered in the ability to reason and to love are the almost-lost embers that are the yet-present Image of God , which is the basis for seeker-friendly-evangelism, that need to be fanned into flames by the Doctrinal Propositions found in the Word of God, or by the direct experience with the Almighty also brought through the Word of God. The error is to make this an either or, and the error is to think that the Word of God is something that is other than Christ alone Whom alone can be known by invisible faith alone. But this Christ cannot be separated from the external Word, nor can the external Word be separated from Him. But they are not the same thing.

    Lutherans simply proclaim Christ Crucified , exactly as they would do with one another, and then trust the Holy Spirit to work that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy of saving faith,when and where He wills. This is not something reason can grasp. Reason finds it to be “crazy” or “foolishness”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Lutherans often miss that the Lutheran Confessions make a huge distinction between two kinds of faith:

    Doctrinal: The devils believe everything the Bible says, that the Bible is inerrant, that the Bible is the Word of God. Lutherans, in their confessions call this historical faith. God does demand this faith but this faith cannot save us. God´s saving Word is not this, but Lutherans teach that God´s Saving Word is “in, with and under” this in a way that one cannot be separated from the other. An exact example of this is the Saving Word that is “in, with and under’ the water of Holy Baptism. So right doctrine is essential and cannot be separated from saving faith. But it is not saving faith.

    Experience: Lutherans , in their Confessions, call saving faith “new movements of the heart” (Apology/Defense Art III,IV, XVIII), and even “good emotions” (apology art IV in connection with Holy Baptism). So Lutherans believe teach and confess that saving faith MUST include an experience. This experience is something that we “cannot by our reason or strength” do. (small catechism 2nd article). So emotions and feelings are an essential part of saving faith. But emotions and feelings, unteathered from the external Word of God in which, alone we find that Saving Word of God that is in , with and under it, cannot save us either.

    So saving faith then is not something we can argue people into with apologetics, or get them to do by getting their doctrine straightened out. It is literally a creative work of the Holy Spirit “ex nihilo” (latin for “out of nothing at all”). And it can only be found “in, with and under” where God has placed his Promise. It is found in the Word of God preached, splashed and eaten.

    Adam lost the Image of God that was the Original Righeousness that was faith alone in Christ alone. It is precisely this image of God that is restored in the waters of Holy Baptism.

    Other churches find the Image of God in the Law of God. The Law of God, including the Law that demands faith in God, is written in the minds of all men. The Law of God demands pure doctrine. The Law of God demands right reason and emotions. So if Calvin and Rome are right, then the Image of God is not entirely lost and the appeal to that Image of God is the basis for evangelism and apologetics. For mankind retains the ability to do the Law of God “outwardly” in the form of Reason and the ability to Love.

    In that case the Image of God is found in man´s Aristotelian “Higher Powers” that are centered in the ability to reason and to love are the almost-lost embers that are the yet-present Image of God , which is the basis for seeker-friendly-evangelism, that need to be fanned into flames by the Doctrinal Propositions found in the Word of God, or by the direct experience with the Almighty also brought through the Word of God. The error is to make this an either or, and the error is to think that the Word of God is something that is other than Christ alone Whom alone can be known by invisible faith alone. But this Christ cannot be separated from the external Word, nor can the external Word be separated from Him. But they are not the same thing.

    Lutherans simply proclaim Christ Crucified , exactly as they would do with one another, and then trust the Holy Spirit to work that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy of saving faith,when and where He wills. This is not something reason can grasp. Reason finds it to be “crazy” or “foolishness”.

  • Porcell

    FWS, any good Christian theology makes a reasonable case for the Cross. Christianity is far from antithetical to reason.

    Christianity is foolishness to ideological secularists and neo pagans.

  • Porcell

    FWS, any good Christian theology makes a reasonable case for the Cross. Christianity is far from antithetical to reason.

    Christianity is foolishness to ideological secularists and neo pagans.

  • Dan Kempin

    FWS, #6,

    Very well said, sir!

    (Well, I’m not sure I followed your penultimate paragraph on seeker evangelism, but with regard to the lutheran articulation–well done!)

  • Dan Kempin

    FWS, #6,

    Very well said, sir!

    (Well, I’m not sure I followed your penultimate paragraph on seeker evangelism, but with regard to the lutheran articulation–well done!)

  • SKPeterson

    Dan @4 and 5 – I’m taking it more in a methodological framework in which the why’s and wherefore’s of reform are laid out, explained, and argued for within a structure. As such, it provides a framework to deal constructively with and within the tradition. As such, it would hold that Lutheran and Calvinist approaches are “Confessional” as they are “structured” critiques and responses to a “tradition” as opposed to the actions of the enthusiasts and schwarmerei. This would fall in line with Hayek’s notion that criticism of tradition is valid, but one must be prepared to express clearly what is wrong and propose a better alternative, instead of simply overthrowing the traditional order.

    As for precision in reform, I’m cueing off of the AC, where the points of agreement with the tradition, or rather the continuity of the Church are laid out clearly by confessing what the signers hold to be biblical truth or in accord with the truths of the Bible. Where they see the tradition, embodied in the RC Church, departing from those truths, they use the Confession to delineate those differences, i.e., what should be pruned and what should be retained.

    Does that make sense?

  • SKPeterson

    Dan @4 and 5 – I’m taking it more in a methodological framework in which the why’s and wherefore’s of reform are laid out, explained, and argued for within a structure. As such, it provides a framework to deal constructively with and within the tradition. As such, it would hold that Lutheran and Calvinist approaches are “Confessional” as they are “structured” critiques and responses to a “tradition” as opposed to the actions of the enthusiasts and schwarmerei. This would fall in line with Hayek’s notion that criticism of tradition is valid, but one must be prepared to express clearly what is wrong and propose a better alternative, instead of simply overthrowing the traditional order.

    As for precision in reform, I’m cueing off of the AC, where the points of agreement with the tradition, or rather the continuity of the Church are laid out clearly by confessing what the signers hold to be biblical truth or in accord with the truths of the Bible. Where they see the tradition, embodied in the RC Church, departing from those truths, they use the Confession to delineate those differences, i.e., what should be pruned and what should be retained.

    Does that make sense?

  • Dennis Peskey

    I pray I do not offend, but I’m having a difficult time getting past the humor of “constructs a rigid orthodoxy on a foundation of culture-bound beliefs. How does this not meet all the requirements of building a brick house on shifting sands?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    I pray I do not offend, but I’m having a difficult time getting past the humor of “constructs a rigid orthodoxy on a foundation of culture-bound beliefs. How does this not meet all the requirements of building a brick house on shifting sands?
    Pax,
    Dennis

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

    Fws,
    I just scanned through the articles you suggested, but I am at a loss as to where it says that emotions are an essential part of saving faith, or that it Must be an experience. I think you may go too far in those statements.
    I can’t say that faith never has these moments of emotion either.
    Or perhaps you could clarify what you mean by emotion and experience. New movements of the heart is not something I have ever read to be Emotional experience. But the work of the holy Spirit turning one away from sin and to Christ, which may or may not be accompanied by emotions and experiences.

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

    Fws,
    I just scanned through the articles you suggested, but I am at a loss as to where it says that emotions are an essential part of saving faith, or that it Must be an experience. I think you may go too far in those statements.
    I can’t say that faith never has these moments of emotion either.
    Or perhaps you could clarify what you mean by emotion and experience. New movements of the heart is not something I have ever read to be Emotional experience. But the work of the holy Spirit turning one away from sin and to Christ, which may or may not be accompanied by emotions and experiences.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 8

    A compliment from the Kempin is always a nice feeling. thanks :)

    Penultimate paragraph:

    Our Apology in Art II argues that Adamic Original Righeousness which is the very Image of God was and is alone faith in Christ alone.

    Therefore Original Sin is the COMPLETE loss of the Image of God , which is faith in Christ alone plus it is what? It is faith. It is a faith in anything BUT Christ that includes especially faith in the Law and things we can do in Church and the “Christian Moral Life.”

    This is why the Confessions spend about 80% of their time talking about the Law. This is where the confusion begins because Reason finds the Image of God where?

    Reason finds the Image of God in what Aristotle calls the “higher or nobler powers” of man. These are what the confessions call the “outward ” abilities and virtues of being able to reason morality and to love. These are what separate men from beasts we are told.

    So reason then locates “sin” in the “baser instincts” and “hungers” (greek “fomes”) of man that are centered in emotions, hunger, the sex drive or Maslow´s lower hierarchy of needs.

    So the business then of “righteousness” that is what religion is all about, is for man to employ reason and love to control the baser instincts that are emotion and baser impulses. It is about a doing that is reasoning, loving, and a curbing of doing what feels good to do.

    For Lutheran Christians, Righteousness is alone faith in Christ. A consequence of that is to do exactly as Aristotle describes, but faith is not required for aristotle´s works to be done. God will use the Law to make them happen in any case. We can either do those things willingly that serve others, or God will extort them out of us as He needs to with carrot and punishment.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 8

    A compliment from the Kempin is always a nice feeling. thanks :)

    Penultimate paragraph:

    Our Apology in Art II argues that Adamic Original Righeousness which is the very Image of God was and is alone faith in Christ alone.

    Therefore Original Sin is the COMPLETE loss of the Image of God , which is faith in Christ alone plus it is what? It is faith. It is a faith in anything BUT Christ that includes especially faith in the Law and things we can do in Church and the “Christian Moral Life.”

    This is why the Confessions spend about 80% of their time talking about the Law. This is where the confusion begins because Reason finds the Image of God where?

    Reason finds the Image of God in what Aristotle calls the “higher or nobler powers” of man. These are what the confessions call the “outward ” abilities and virtues of being able to reason morality and to love. These are what separate men from beasts we are told.

    So reason then locates “sin” in the “baser instincts” and “hungers” (greek “fomes”) of man that are centered in emotions, hunger, the sex drive or Maslow´s lower hierarchy of needs.

    So the business then of “righteousness” that is what religion is all about, is for man to employ reason and love to control the baser instincts that are emotion and baser impulses. It is about a doing that is reasoning, loving, and a curbing of doing what feels good to do.

    For Lutheran Christians, Righteousness is alone faith in Christ. A consequence of that is to do exactly as Aristotle describes, but faith is not required for aristotle´s works to be done. God will use the Law to make them happen in any case. We can either do those things willingly that serve others, or God will extort them out of us as He needs to with carrot and punishment.

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

    Veith,
    The problem is the Calvinists have coopted Luther in reformed circles, so these people do not see Luther at all as a viable option, but assume he is a Calvinist.
    The Ironic thing is it was not so much Arminianism or even pelagianism that tormented Luther and made him seek the gospel and kick off the reformation, though he was certainly against those, but double predestination as the Calvinists would later expound it, but presently being taught by the nominalists, (gabrile Biel” as Uuras Saarnivaara points out on page 30 of his excellent book “Luther Discovers the Gospel”. http://www.amazon.com/Luther-Discovers-Gospel-Catholicism-Evangelical/dp/140673229X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1302533770&sr=8-2
    So would that people would hear Lutherans talk about Luther, and Lutheran theology rather than the Calvinists!
    You are absolutely right, Lutheranism is the answer!

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

    Veith,
    The problem is the Calvinists have coopted Luther in reformed circles, so these people do not see Luther at all as a viable option, but assume he is a Calvinist.
    The Ironic thing is it was not so much Arminianism or even pelagianism that tormented Luther and made him seek the gospel and kick off the reformation, though he was certainly against those, but double predestination as the Calvinists would later expound it, but presently being taught by the nominalists, (gabrile Biel” as Uuras Saarnivaara points out on page 30 of his excellent book “Luther Discovers the Gospel”. http://www.amazon.com/Luther-Discovers-Gospel-Catholicism-Evangelical/dp/140673229X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1302533770&sr=8-2
    So would that people would hear Lutherans talk about Luther, and Lutheran theology rather than the Calvinists!
    You are absolutely right, Lutheranism is the answer!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 11

    That is a great post. Maybe my post 12 will help clarify. Post 12 provides the reasonable argument of those Scholastics who opposed the Lutherans. We can´t understand our Confessions until we can see precisely how the Scholastics built a “christian” moral system directly upon Aristotelianism. Then we can see the Lutheran teachings in contrast.

    I would suggest that you read “new movements of the heart” and the “good emotions ” that art IV say must accompany Holy Baptism by considering what would be the contrasting other .
    What would the Confessions say is the scholastic opposite idea of faith that they are contrasting with “New movements of the heart” and “that Law that perculiarly deals with movements of the heart found in the First Table of the Decalog”.

    Then read what is the content of those “new heart movements” and what the contrasting other is.

    Specifically , what is the content of Original Sin (hint: it is ALL faith and the absence of Faith)? And in contrast to that faith that is Original Sin, what is Original Righeousness which is the Image of God.

    Think in contrasts here Bror. And to think in contrasts, I pass on to you, what was given to me: One must understand Aristotle/Aquinas´ “natural law” system to get us back to the Image of God or “telos” which is all about Reason and Love as the Divine Revelation of that faint remnant of that Image and Telos versus what then?

    Faith alone in Christ alone. That´s what.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 11

    That is a great post. Maybe my post 12 will help clarify. Post 12 provides the reasonable argument of those Scholastics who opposed the Lutherans. We can´t understand our Confessions until we can see precisely how the Scholastics built a “christian” moral system directly upon Aristotelianism. Then we can see the Lutheran teachings in contrast.

    I would suggest that you read “new movements of the heart” and the “good emotions ” that art IV say must accompany Holy Baptism by considering what would be the contrasting other .
    What would the Confessions say is the scholastic opposite idea of faith that they are contrasting with “New movements of the heart” and “that Law that perculiarly deals with movements of the heart found in the First Table of the Decalog”.

    Then read what is the content of those “new heart movements” and what the contrasting other is.

    Specifically , what is the content of Original Sin (hint: it is ALL faith and the absence of Faith)? And in contrast to that faith that is Original Sin, what is Original Righeousness which is the Image of God.

    Think in contrasts here Bror. And to think in contrasts, I pass on to you, what was given to me: One must understand Aristotle/Aquinas´ “natural law” system to get us back to the Image of God or “telos” which is all about Reason and Love as the Divine Revelation of that faint remnant of that Image and Telos versus what then?

    Faith alone in Christ alone. That´s what.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 13

    I disagree Bror. We all want to accept what the Confessions especially in the Apology reject:

    We want to run with the Aristotelian vision of the Image of God/Telos and Righeousness found in the Law as their Divine Revelation. Why? It makes perfect sense!

    Geneva is just roman catholic schlastic deck chairs being rearranged into a Refomed/Armenian configuration on a theological Titannic. They all lead back to the scholastic model and we Lutherans are sorely tempted to follow along.

    Our Old Adam reason drives us there gladly.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 13

    I disagree Bror. We all want to accept what the Confessions especially in the Apology reject:

    We want to run with the Aristotelian vision of the Image of God/Telos and Righeousness found in the Law as their Divine Revelation. Why? It makes perfect sense!

    Geneva is just roman catholic schlastic deck chairs being rearranged into a Refomed/Armenian configuration on a theological Titannic. They all lead back to the scholastic model and we Lutherans are sorely tempted to follow along.

    Our Old Adam reason drives us there gladly.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @ 9

    Queue off the Apology instead. There is where the Lutheran arguments in the Augustana are sharpened by the arguments of the opposition.

    But to understand then the Apology, you must be able to articulate the views of that opposition that is winsome , powerful and is not a strawman. The Opposition´s arguments array the very best arguments of Reason , logic, and observable facts against the Lutheran position.

    Indeed Lutherans are flocking to “reevaluate ” Aristotelian Aquinas’ “natural law ” theories precisely because it is extremely reasonable and so seemingly “self evident”.

    Lutherans ignore the facts that 1) the confessors were fully aware of Saint Thomas´theories and 2) their definition of the term “natural law” in the Confessions is most certainly not one that any Roman Catholic would agree to. Lutheran´s deliberately limit that term “natural law” to be the Law written in Reason only. Then they set up a separate “amoral” (think law of gravity here to get the sense of “amoral”) category called “God´s Ordinances” that contains stuff that Aquinan “natural law” fans would say MUST be included as having the force of “divine moral law”.

    These ideas are all arranged around the core idea that man´s “telos” is the Image of God. So the Image of God in that case is about reconforming to the Law of God.

    Lutherans restrict man´s Telos to faith alone in Christ alone. The Law re-written in the heart of New Man is a fruit or consequence of that. It is not God´s Image or a revelation of such.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @ 9

    Queue off the Apology instead. There is where the Lutheran arguments in the Augustana are sharpened by the arguments of the opposition.

    But to understand then the Apology, you must be able to articulate the views of that opposition that is winsome , powerful and is not a strawman. The Opposition´s arguments array the very best arguments of Reason , logic, and observable facts against the Lutheran position.

    Indeed Lutherans are flocking to “reevaluate ” Aristotelian Aquinas’ “natural law ” theories precisely because it is extremely reasonable and so seemingly “self evident”.

    Lutherans ignore the facts that 1) the confessors were fully aware of Saint Thomas´theories and 2) their definition of the term “natural law” in the Confessions is most certainly not one that any Roman Catholic would agree to. Lutheran´s deliberately limit that term “natural law” to be the Law written in Reason only. Then they set up a separate “amoral” (think law of gravity here to get the sense of “amoral”) category called “God´s Ordinances” that contains stuff that Aquinan “natural law” fans would say MUST be included as having the force of “divine moral law”.

    These ideas are all arranged around the core idea that man´s “telos” is the Image of God. So the Image of God in that case is about reconforming to the Law of God.

    Lutherans restrict man´s Telos to faith alone in Christ alone. The Law re-written in the heart of New Man is a fruit or consequence of that. It is not God´s Image or a revelation of such.

  • SKPeterson

    FWS@16 – Yet it is precisely that reasonability which is expressed by the “tradition” that requires a Confession which holds to biblical truth in order to counter the inevitable errors that crept or sept into the catholic faith over time. The Confessions are structured critiques and defenses by the reformers, which do not deny the best elements of the tradition, but reject specific errors. Thus, I would argue that confessionalism provides a better path towards “reform,” unless reform is taken to be the complete rejection of what has gone before. In that case, reform falls off the tracks on the opposite side from those obsessed with Aquinian reason, which is, I believe, the point Veith is making.

  • SKPeterson

    FWS@16 – Yet it is precisely that reasonability which is expressed by the “tradition” that requires a Confession which holds to biblical truth in order to counter the inevitable errors that crept or sept into the catholic faith over time. The Confessions are structured critiques and defenses by the reformers, which do not deny the best elements of the tradition, but reject specific errors. Thus, I would argue that confessionalism provides a better path towards “reform,” unless reform is taken to be the complete rejection of what has gone before. In that case, reform falls off the tracks on the opposite side from those obsessed with Aquinian reason, which is, I believe, the point Veith is making.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @ 17

    Let me state the obvious and take it from there. The Confessions no where define either “problem” or “solution” in terms of a “loci-like” enumeration of doctrine that agrees to doctrinal tradition.

    I am urging you to actually study what those “critiques and defenses” are , foundationally found in the Apology/Defense.

    To do that, one needs to fully embrace the eloquent reason and the “self-evidential ” nature of the “natural law ” arguments of that aristotelian Saint Thomas Aquinas that were arrayed against the First Evangelicals. Until you understand Aristotle and how Saint Thomas eloquently “baptized” those ideas, you will not understand our Confessions.

    But when you are able to articulate the scholastic arguments from the heart, only then will you be able to argue the Lutheran Position (which is Christ alone in faith alone) in a way that will be equally effective with pagans as well.

    I am suggesting that Lutherans look for their apologetics everywhere but where they are most potently found: In the Apology to the Augustana.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @ 17

    Let me state the obvious and take it from there. The Confessions no where define either “problem” or “solution” in terms of a “loci-like” enumeration of doctrine that agrees to doctrinal tradition.

    I am urging you to actually study what those “critiques and defenses” are , foundationally found in the Apology/Defense.

    To do that, one needs to fully embrace the eloquent reason and the “self-evidential ” nature of the “natural law ” arguments of that aristotelian Saint Thomas Aquinas that were arrayed against the First Evangelicals. Until you understand Aristotle and how Saint Thomas eloquently “baptized” those ideas, you will not understand our Confessions.

    But when you are able to articulate the scholastic arguments from the heart, only then will you be able to argue the Lutheran Position (which is Christ alone in faith alone) in a way that will be equally effective with pagans as well.

    I am suggesting that Lutherans look for their apologetics everywhere but where they are most potently found: In the Apology to the Augustana.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @17

    In essence, the Lutheran Confessions fully embrace Aristotle in a sincere and loving bear hug, and usher him out of the Church and lock the door . And throw away the key. Aristotle they say, is brilliant where Reason too is brilliant. That is in the “outward” keeping of the 2nd table that is precisely and brilliantly described by pagan Aristotle as the process of employing reason and love to know morality, and then practicing that morality by curbing the emotions and baser instincts until this process becomes a habit.

    Lutherans embrace that as all that can be demanded as to earthly morality.

    But there is no Christ needed for that. This is true even if you slap the labels on it “sanctification” and “holy spirit powered”. And in the broad sense of that word “sanctification” the work of christians to subdue the Old Adam is exactly as aristotle describes. So christians get confused as to the broad sense of sanctification , which includes christians using the Law, and the narrow meaning of the word sanctification, which is pure Gospel.
    But this is the New Man using what? The Law. New man uses the Law to subdue the flesh. This is properly a fruit of sanctification.

    Sanctification , properly speaking, is alone where the Gospel regenerates hearts and restores the Image of God.

    The is the entire argument of the Apology III on love and keeping of the Law. That is where they unravel the narrow and broad meaning of the word “sanctification ” without ever using that word “sanctification” anywhere in the article!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SKPeterson @17

    In essence, the Lutheran Confessions fully embrace Aristotle in a sincere and loving bear hug, and usher him out of the Church and lock the door . And throw away the key. Aristotle they say, is brilliant where Reason too is brilliant. That is in the “outward” keeping of the 2nd table that is precisely and brilliantly described by pagan Aristotle as the process of employing reason and love to know morality, and then practicing that morality by curbing the emotions and baser instincts until this process becomes a habit.

    Lutherans embrace that as all that can be demanded as to earthly morality.

    But there is no Christ needed for that. This is true even if you slap the labels on it “sanctification” and “holy spirit powered”. And in the broad sense of that word “sanctification” the work of christians to subdue the Old Adam is exactly as aristotle describes. So christians get confused as to the broad sense of sanctification , which includes christians using the Law, and the narrow meaning of the word sanctification, which is pure Gospel.
    But this is the New Man using what? The Law. New man uses the Law to subdue the flesh. This is properly a fruit of sanctification.

    Sanctification , properly speaking, is alone where the Gospel regenerates hearts and restores the Image of God.

    The is the entire argument of the Apology III on love and keeping of the Law. That is where they unravel the narrow and broad meaning of the word “sanctification ” without ever using that word “sanctification” anywhere in the article!

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Prediction: The Meliorists will see, eventually, people tired of ever changing theology and there will be another exodus of Evangelicals to Romanism or Eastern Orthodoxy.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Prediction: The Meliorists will see, eventually, people tired of ever changing theology and there will be another exodus of Evangelicals to Romanism or Eastern Orthodoxy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rev mc cain @ 20

    but why? I suggest it is because they all really embrace the same aristotelian reasoning that the roman catholics embrace in aristotelian aquinas´”natural law” theories.

    The lost adamic Image of God is the telos that is revealed in natural Law and the Bible .

    So the return to that Image of God is about reconforming to the Telos revealed in the Law.

    Lutherans say that the Image of God and man´s Telos can only be restored alone by Faith in Christ. Reason cannot accept this.

    It seems self evident to Reason , veiled by the Veil of Moses, that a return to the Image of God must be acheived by a reconforming to the Telos revealed by Natural Law clarified by the Law found in Holy Scriptures.

    And this IS reasonable. It is why even Lutherans are tugged by this argument. It really does seem “self evident”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    rev mc cain @ 20

    but why? I suggest it is because they all really embrace the same aristotelian reasoning that the roman catholics embrace in aristotelian aquinas´”natural law” theories.

    The lost adamic Image of God is the telos that is revealed in natural Law and the Bible .

    So the return to that Image of God is about reconforming to the Telos revealed in the Law.

    Lutherans say that the Image of God and man´s Telos can only be restored alone by Faith in Christ. Reason cannot accept this.

    It seems self evident to Reason , veiled by the Veil of Moses, that a return to the Image of God must be acheived by a reconforming to the Telos revealed by Natural Law clarified by the Law found in Holy Scriptures.

    And this IS reasonable. It is why even Lutherans are tugged by this argument. It really does seem “self evident”.

  • Dan Kempin

    SK, #9,

    Yeah, I think so.

  • Dan Kempin

    SK, #9,

    Yeah, I think so.

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

    Frank,
    Of course I misspelled Gabriel in 13, but really do you know what you are disagreeing with? Because you said the exact same thing as I was saying. Luther’s reformation was a rejection of predestination as being taught under the Roman umbrella and as Calvin later espoused it. Perhaps I could have said it clearer, but that is what I said there, and it is pretty clear.

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

    Frank,
    Of course I misspelled Gabriel in 13, but really do you know what you are disagreeing with? Because you said the exact same thing as I was saying. Luther’s reformation was a rejection of predestination as being taught under the Roman umbrella and as Calvin later espoused it. Perhaps I could have said it clearer, but that is what I said there, and it is pretty clear.

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

    Fws,
    I submit that what you think a contrast may not actually be what the reformers thought to be the contrast they were going for. Sorry, but you go too far there.
    Lutheranism is not about contrasts for the sake of contrasts, lest we as drunken peasants fall off the other side of the horse.
    Now, some knowledge of Scholasticism may be helpful for studying the confessions. However, Melenchthon, Luther, and Chemnitz were fairly good at defining terms, and framing their arguments so that they could be understood by themselves. In their writings they make enough reference to the errors they are rebutting so as you do not need to pose as one who has a Phd. in Thomism to understand what they are saying. And it is not helpful either, to burden others on this site with the thought that they can neither understand scripture or the confessions without taking out a loan and first heading to South Bend Indiana for a few years of study.
    Suffice it to say, I am as yet unconvinced by your argument. That the Reformers wished to distinguish faith from intellectual, historical assent is well known. That they associated it with emotional experience or made it dependent on such is as equally unfounded.

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

    Fws,
    I submit that what you think a contrast may not actually be what the reformers thought to be the contrast they were going for. Sorry, but you go too far there.
    Lutheranism is not about contrasts for the sake of contrasts, lest we as drunken peasants fall off the other side of the horse.
    Now, some knowledge of Scholasticism may be helpful for studying the confessions. However, Melenchthon, Luther, and Chemnitz were fairly good at defining terms, and framing their arguments so that they could be understood by themselves. In their writings they make enough reference to the errors they are rebutting so as you do not need to pose as one who has a Phd. in Thomism to understand what they are saying. And it is not helpful either, to burden others on this site with the thought that they can neither understand scripture or the confessions without taking out a loan and first heading to South Bend Indiana for a few years of study.
    Suffice it to say, I am as yet unconvinced by your argument. That the Reformers wished to distinguish faith from intellectual, historical assent is well known. That they associated it with emotional experience or made it dependent on such is as equally unfounded.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bror @ 23

    I am suggesting that what you suggest is to deal with symptoms. We can rearrange the doctrinal deck chairs on the titannic till it sinks and nothing will be resolved for those who seek a return to Paradise, the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness by the Law as even pagans seek it.

    Every popular movie, book, myth, fairy tale and children´s story is based on this idea of how to return to original innocence. It is wired into us by Original Sin that is all about faith in that Idea. It is what makes sense to us.

    The root of the problem is where reason places the Image of God and Original Righeousness.

    I am suggesting , in this very context, that the Lutherans agreed with Rome and embraced the Scholastic view of aristotelian righeousness.

    Then they declare that even though this works in the court of earthly judgement of reason as to what is love and righteousness, in God´s courts things are different. There God demands an “affective” change and not one that Reason and Love are able to do.

    They then argue that the religious works that Rome demands such as mandatory celebacy, pilgrimages etc are “useless” precisely because the Word of God agrees with Aristotle as to what earthly righeousness looks like. It must be useful to others in a way that Reason can see and confirm.

    Finally they modify Aristotle´s definition of earthly righeousness by redefining “telos”. Since “Telos” (the Divine Design man was created for ) is alone faith alone in Christ, telos cannot be finding our “purpose ” by studying the Law either in nature or the Bible and reconforming to it. We already, in Holy Baptism have Telos fully realized in New Man.

    Therefore the purpose of man on earth is not “morality-as-telos” That is seeking life in death. But that death IS worked by God and is his will in all of us. And the purpose of that death is not a religious one of sacrifice and mortification to conform to God´s Image by obedience and conformity to a list or a do-it-by-the-numbers “ex opere operato”.

    The purpose of Old Adam death is alone temporal love for others. That deathing too is about perishable things and is not about things eternal.

    The Just shall live by faith. Alone. In Christ. Alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bror @ 23

    I am suggesting that what you suggest is to deal with symptoms. We can rearrange the doctrinal deck chairs on the titannic till it sinks and nothing will be resolved for those who seek a return to Paradise, the Image of God and Adamic Original Righeousness by the Law as even pagans seek it.

    Every popular movie, book, myth, fairy tale and children´s story is based on this idea of how to return to original innocence. It is wired into us by Original Sin that is all about faith in that Idea. It is what makes sense to us.

    The root of the problem is where reason places the Image of God and Original Righeousness.

    I am suggesting , in this very context, that the Lutherans agreed with Rome and embraced the Scholastic view of aristotelian righeousness.

    Then they declare that even though this works in the court of earthly judgement of reason as to what is love and righteousness, in God´s courts things are different. There God demands an “affective” change and not one that Reason and Love are able to do.

    They then argue that the religious works that Rome demands such as mandatory celebacy, pilgrimages etc are “useless” precisely because the Word of God agrees with Aristotle as to what earthly righeousness looks like. It must be useful to others in a way that Reason can see and confirm.

    Finally they modify Aristotle´s definition of earthly righeousness by redefining “telos”. Since “Telos” (the Divine Design man was created for ) is alone faith alone in Christ, telos cannot be finding our “purpose ” by studying the Law either in nature or the Bible and reconforming to it. We already, in Holy Baptism have Telos fully realized in New Man.

    Therefore the purpose of man on earth is not “morality-as-telos” That is seeking life in death. But that death IS worked by God and is his will in all of us. And the purpose of that death is not a religious one of sacrifice and mortification to conform to God´s Image by obedience and conformity to a list or a do-it-by-the-numbers “ex opere operato”.

    The purpose of Old Adam death is alone temporal love for others. That deathing too is about perishable things and is not about things eternal.

    The Just shall live by faith. Alone. In Christ. Alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 24

    I agree that the idea that a regular christian cannot understand the Confessions or teh Holy Scriptures without going to seminary IS wrong dear Bror.

    I am also suggesting that our Confessions, as with Holy Scriptures, must be read in their own context as far as we are able to.

    If we read the Confessions in our current context, then all that talk about “new heart movements” sounds like an invitation to stare at our spiritual/emotional navels. So we need to understand how they employ that phrase so very frequently in contrast to what?

    It is not unuseful to teach people then what the Scholastics taught. It is actually, I suggest, the popular folk religion about how to return to the Innocence that even fallen man longs to return to .

    In Scripture it is useful, by way of example, too, to understand that marriage is about the purchase of a woman by a man as his property. This also is the context for rape as being a property rights violation. For us to overlay victorian romantic ideals of marriage and love on this would even violate the metaphor of the Church being the Bride of Christ: The Bride does not chose the Groom. The Groom both selects and then purchases the bride.

    One does not need to go to seminary to learn these things. But one does need to be taught them nonetheless.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 24

    I agree that the idea that a regular christian cannot understand the Confessions or teh Holy Scriptures without going to seminary IS wrong dear Bror.

    I am also suggesting that our Confessions, as with Holy Scriptures, must be read in their own context as far as we are able to.

    If we read the Confessions in our current context, then all that talk about “new heart movements” sounds like an invitation to stare at our spiritual/emotional navels. So we need to understand how they employ that phrase so very frequently in contrast to what?

    It is not unuseful to teach people then what the Scholastics taught. It is actually, I suggest, the popular folk religion about how to return to the Innocence that even fallen man longs to return to .

    In Scripture it is useful, by way of example, too, to understand that marriage is about the purchase of a woman by a man as his property. This also is the context for rape as being a property rights violation. For us to overlay victorian romantic ideals of marriage and love on this would even violate the metaphor of the Church being the Bride of Christ: The Bride does not chose the Groom. The Groom both selects and then purchases the bride.

    One does not need to go to seminary to learn these things. But one does need to be taught them nonetheless.

  • Porcell

    Bror: <i<The problem is the Calvinists have coopted Luther in reformed circles, so these people do not see Luther at all as a viable option, but assume he is a Calvinist.

    Calvin himself agreed with Luther on the fundamentals of the Reformation, though he differed on some matters of emphasis including the sacrament of holy communion. The best of Calvinists have a high regard for Luther and well understand that he pioneered the Reformation. All of this has nothing to do with your negative term coopt.

    Bror:…as I was saying. Luther’s reformation was a rejection of predestination as being taught under the Roman umbrella and as Calvin later espoused it.

    Actually, Luther’s Bondage of the Will (De Servo Arbitrio) went farther than Calvin on the subject of predestination. Both Luther and Calvin paid attention to Paul’s passages on predestination that speak of the elect of God. Calvin thought the whole subject at bottom a mystery. Luther himself was adamant that God foresaw a certain elect that were destined for salvation. While Melanchthon’s confessional writings and the subsequent Lutheran Book of Concord questioned predestination, Calvin, also, in his Institutes, while noting biblical passages regarding the elect, considered the whole subject to be a mystery.

    Your effort to sharply distinguish Luther from Calvin on fundamental points of theology is mistaken and based fundamentally on a certain defensiveness and sectarianism. Both the Lutheran and Calvinist defensive sectarians are mistaken.

  • Porcell

    Bror: <i<The problem is the Calvinists have coopted Luther in reformed circles, so these people do not see Luther at all as a viable option, but assume he is a Calvinist.

    Calvin himself agreed with Luther on the fundamentals of the Reformation, though he differed on some matters of emphasis including the sacrament of holy communion. The best of Calvinists have a high regard for Luther and well understand that he pioneered the Reformation. All of this has nothing to do with your negative term coopt.

    Bror:…as I was saying. Luther’s reformation was a rejection of predestination as being taught under the Roman umbrella and as Calvin later espoused it.

    Actually, Luther’s Bondage of the Will (De Servo Arbitrio) went farther than Calvin on the subject of predestination. Both Luther and Calvin paid attention to Paul’s passages on predestination that speak of the elect of God. Calvin thought the whole subject at bottom a mystery. Luther himself was adamant that God foresaw a certain elect that were destined for salvation. While Melanchthon’s confessional writings and the subsequent Lutheran Book of Concord questioned predestination, Calvin, also, in his Institutes, while noting biblical passages regarding the elect, considered the whole subject to be a mystery.

    Your effort to sharply distinguish Luther from Calvin on fundamental points of theology is mistaken and based fundamentally on a certain defensiveness and sectarianism. Both the Lutheran and Calvinist defensive sectarians are mistaken.

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

    Porcell,
    I would suggest you read the book by Uuras.
    Second, I just finished reading JI Packer’s translation of “The Bondage of the will” having read truncated versions of it a few times before. And Sorry, Luther does not go further than Calvin as you suggest, in fact I don’t think Luther makes near the case Calvinists accuse him of making in that book. That is my point. They actually ignore huge swaths of the book, and treat Luther as they do scripture, taking what they like and ignoring the rest!
    Oh, yes and then they praise him with their lips as they abuse him with their pens. Calvinists love to praise Luther, even as they reject his teachings.
    Sorry but the distinctions go much deeper than just a little row over the sacraments, that row is just the tip of the iceberg belying a greater divergence underneath the surface.

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

    Porcell,
    I would suggest you read the book by Uuras.
    Second, I just finished reading JI Packer’s translation of “The Bondage of the will” having read truncated versions of it a few times before. And Sorry, Luther does not go further than Calvin as you suggest, in fact I don’t think Luther makes near the case Calvinists accuse him of making in that book. That is my point. They actually ignore huge swaths of the book, and treat Luther as they do scripture, taking what they like and ignoring the rest!
    Oh, yes and then they praise him with their lips as they abuse him with their pens. Calvinists love to praise Luther, even as they reject his teachings.
    Sorry but the distinctions go much deeper than just a little row over the sacraments, that row is just the tip of the iceberg belying a greater divergence underneath the surface.

  • Porcell

    Well, Bror, just how, as Luther claims in The Bondage of the Will, is the will is bound through predestination that God has foreseen and the Arminian category of essentially free will.

    Michael Horton in his recent systematic theology writes that The fact is that Luther in that book [BOW] affirmed both election and reprobation in the strongest terms, though he, also, writes that Lutheranism in its subsequent confessions simultaneously affirms unconditional election and God’s universal grace, monergism [pure unaided grace] and the possibility of losing one’s salvation….Lutheranism is its own system with its own integrity and from a Reformed perspective peculiar inconsistencies….

    Also, so what is this divergence under the surface between Lutheranism and Calvinism. In my view Luther and Calvin are ad fontes the heart of the Reformation. Those defensive sectarians who attempt to drive a wedge between them are quite mistaken. Your effusion on this blog awhile back that Calvinism is joined at the hip with Satan is at best uncharitable. The fact is that under the surface Luther and Calvin were substantially agreed. The trouble is that some of their partisan followers are involved in divisive partisanship.

  • Porcell

    Well, Bror, just how, as Luther claims in The Bondage of the Will, is the will is bound through predestination that God has foreseen and the Arminian category of essentially free will.

    Michael Horton in his recent systematic theology writes that The fact is that Luther in that book [BOW] affirmed both election and reprobation in the strongest terms, though he, also, writes that Lutheranism in its subsequent confessions simultaneously affirms unconditional election and God’s universal grace, monergism [pure unaided grace] and the possibility of losing one’s salvation….Lutheranism is its own system with its own integrity and from a Reformed perspective peculiar inconsistencies….

    Also, so what is this divergence under the surface between Lutheranism and Calvinism. In my view Luther and Calvin are ad fontes the heart of the Reformation. Those defensive sectarians who attempt to drive a wedge between them are quite mistaken. Your effusion on this blog awhile back that Calvinism is joined at the hip with Satan is at best uncharitable. The fact is that under the surface Luther and Calvin were substantially agreed. The trouble is that some of their partisan followers are involved in divisive partisanship.

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

    Porcell,
    I would ask for you to rewrite your first paragraph for clarification.
    I do not argue that Luther was an Arminian, neither do I argue that he was a Calvinist. His is a different path all together, that avoids the ditch on both sides of the road. And he is so in the Bondage of the Will, despite the tendency of Calvinists to read their theology into that book, at the expense of Luther’s own words.

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

    Porcell,
    I would ask for you to rewrite your first paragraph for clarification.
    I do not argue that Luther was an Arminian, neither do I argue that he was a Calvinist. His is a different path all together, that avoids the ditch on both sides of the road. And he is so in the Bondage of the Will, despite the tendency of Calvinists to read their theology into that book, at the expense of Luther’s own words.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Dr. Veith:

    Surely you’re not implying that Lutherans are confessional, whereas the Reformed are not. It seems to me that Arminian vs. Reformed could be called Arminian vs. Confessional. That could be due to my ignorance of any Arminian confessions, but it also reflects the impression I get from Arminians who scoff at my Calvinist confessionalism (I have the Westminster standards, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, etc.) in favor of their allegedly pure biblicism.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Dr. Veith:

    Surely you’re not implying that Lutherans are confessional, whereas the Reformed are not. It seems to me that Arminian vs. Reformed could be called Arminian vs. Confessional. That could be due to my ignorance of any Arminian confessions, but it also reflects the impression I get from Arminians who scoff at my Calvinist confessionalism (I have the Westminster standards, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, etc.) in favor of their allegedly pure biblicism.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    David Kjos @ 31

    I would agree with you David. And I am a Lutheran here who is constantly referring to the Lutheran Confessions.

    So what is it then that we Lutherans would say that you Reformed and the Arminians and Rome and Saint Augustine all have in common? And that the Lutherans reject?

    I am suggesting this: You all find the Image of God in the aristotelian “higher powers” of man which are the “outward” abilities of man to reason and to love that separate men from beast.

    These higher powers are damaged like a shattered mirror such that “for all intents and purposes they are lost” (calvin commentary on Genesis)

    So the restoration of Original Innocence and the Image of God then is the task of reason and love subduing the baser emotions and hungers of man.

    Rome sees this process as preparatory to being justified. the Reformed and Arminians both reject that. Instead they see this same process as being a necessary result of Justification that is monergistic (reformed) or cooperational (arminian).

    Here is the difference: This process is necessary why? It is necessary because it represents the essence of a reconformity to the Law. It is conformity to the Law of God that is exactly a restoration of the Image of God and Original Adamic Righeousness.

    Lutherans have a radical proposed alternative: The Image of God and Adamic Righeousness are alone faith alone in Christ, apart from any works of the Law. Once this Image of God of faith in Christ is restored, the Law is automatically written in the heart as a fruit and consequence of having that Image of God restored.

    I know David that this line of distinction might be somewhat disorienting. I am sure this is the first time you have heard this distinction between Lutheranism and the Confessional Reformed .

    I would be interested in hearing any feedback you have as a very informed Reformed person.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    David Kjos @ 31

    I would agree with you David. And I am a Lutheran here who is constantly referring to the Lutheran Confessions.

    So what is it then that we Lutherans would say that you Reformed and the Arminians and Rome and Saint Augustine all have in common? And that the Lutherans reject?

    I am suggesting this: You all find the Image of God in the aristotelian “higher powers” of man which are the “outward” abilities of man to reason and to love that separate men from beast.

    These higher powers are damaged like a shattered mirror such that “for all intents and purposes they are lost” (calvin commentary on Genesis)

    So the restoration of Original Innocence and the Image of God then is the task of reason and love subduing the baser emotions and hungers of man.

    Rome sees this process as preparatory to being justified. the Reformed and Arminians both reject that. Instead they see this same process as being a necessary result of Justification that is monergistic (reformed) or cooperational (arminian).

    Here is the difference: This process is necessary why? It is necessary because it represents the essence of a reconformity to the Law. It is conformity to the Law of God that is exactly a restoration of the Image of God and Original Adamic Righeousness.

    Lutherans have a radical proposed alternative: The Image of God and Adamic Righeousness are alone faith alone in Christ, apart from any works of the Law. Once this Image of God of faith in Christ is restored, the Law is automatically written in the heart as a fruit and consequence of having that Image of God restored.

    I know David that this line of distinction might be somewhat disorienting. I am sure this is the first time you have heard this distinction between Lutheranism and the Confessional Reformed .

    I would be interested in hearing any feedback you have as a very informed Reformed person.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    There is certainly a confessional Calvinism, just as there is a confessional Lutheranism. I also think there is or could be a confessional Arminianism, based on the writings of Arminius and Wesley. So confessionalism, as I understand it, is, first, a theological method. Confessional Lutheranism, I believe as a Lutheran, follows the contours of Scripture the most closely, avoiding not only traditionalism (while affirming the traditions that are true and valid) but also rationalism (reducing the complexities of Scripture to a rational system even when that means denying parts of Scripture, as the Calvinists do when they deny the universality of the Atonement and as the Arminians do when they deny election).

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    There is certainly a confessional Calvinism, just as there is a confessional Lutheranism. I also think there is or could be a confessional Arminianism, based on the writings of Arminius and Wesley. So confessionalism, as I understand it, is, first, a theological method. Confessional Lutheranism, I believe as a Lutheran, follows the contours of Scripture the most closely, avoiding not only traditionalism (while affirming the traditions that are true and valid) but also rationalism (reducing the complexities of Scripture to a rational system even when that means denying parts of Scripture, as the Calvinists do when they deny the universality of the Atonement and as the Arminians do when they deny election).

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Thanks for your reply. I was pretty sure of your answer, but your final paragraph seemed to put Calvinists outside of confessionalism. And of course, I expect you to stand up for Lutheran superiority. Otherwise, you would be insincere. I’ll respectfully leave those disagreements alone.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Thanks for your reply. I was pretty sure of your answer, but your final paragraph seemed to put Calvinists outside of confessionalism. And of course, I expect you to stand up for Lutheran superiority. Otherwise, you would be insincere. I’ll respectfully leave those disagreements alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror Erickson @11

    “Fws,
    I am at a loss as to where it says that emotions are an essential part of saving faith, or that it Must be an experience. I think you may go too far in those statements…. I can’t say that faith never has these moments of emotion either….Or perhaps you could clarify what you mean by emotion and experience. New movements of the heart is not something I have ever read to be Emotional experience.

    Let´s clarify what I think the Confessions say. What I mean doesn´t matter alot.

    Answer:

    It appears that the thread of the confessions is this, and I could be wrong:

    The confessions contrasts “Reason” with “New Movements of the Heart” in Apology art II, III,IV, and XVIII just to name a few. So it must be a very very important point they are making with that contrast.

    I think they are saying that “Law-written-in-mind-as-Reason ” vs “Movements of the Heart” is their central Law and Gospel distinction in the Apology.

    1) The Law found “written/revealed by God in the mind” or Reason which agrees with and is the same Law as the Decalog (Apology art IV). Fallen man has this Law.
    2) Then there is that Law of God that is “peculiarly ” (only) found in the First Table of the Decalog. This is the Law that deals with what? “Movements of the Heart”. Aside: Who would think to argue for the Holy Gospel from the 10 commandments?!
    3) Reason is veiled with a Veil of Moses that gives it the opinion that the Law can be kept outwardly with Reason and Love. (ap art III) So Reason will always find a return to Original Righeousness and the Image of God in the “outward” keeping of the Law that are the exercise of Reason and Love.
    4) “Movements of the Heart” in contrast, is what the Law, uniquely (“peculiarly”) found in the Decalog, demands of man. This “movements of the heart” is alone Faith in Christ alone.

    I would that art III suggest from this that emotional experiences, Holy Baptism, and the 2nd table works of the Law are all things that save us. The confessions see this as a case of synectoche.

    Here is how the confessions deal with an example of an emotional experience (in utah they are called “liver quivers” and “buring bosoms”:

    “And as we do not receive remission of sins through other virtues of the Law,…of patience, chastity, obedience towards magistrates, etc., and nevertheless these virtues ought to follow, so, too, we do not receive remission of sins because of love to God, although it is necessary that this should follow. 31] Besides, the custom of speech is well known that by the same word we sometimes comprehend by synecdoche the cause and effects.”

    Now read the rest of what they say about the story in Luke 7:47 here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror Erickson @11

    “Fws,
    I am at a loss as to where it says that emotions are an essential part of saving faith, or that it Must be an experience. I think you may go too far in those statements…. I can’t say that faith never has these moments of emotion either….Or perhaps you could clarify what you mean by emotion and experience. New movements of the heart is not something I have ever read to be Emotional experience.

    Let´s clarify what I think the Confessions say. What I mean doesn´t matter alot.

    Answer:

    It appears that the thread of the confessions is this, and I could be wrong:

    The confessions contrasts “Reason” with “New Movements of the Heart” in Apology art II, III,IV, and XVIII just to name a few. So it must be a very very important point they are making with that contrast.

    I think they are saying that “Law-written-in-mind-as-Reason ” vs “Movements of the Heart” is their central Law and Gospel distinction in the Apology.

    1) The Law found “written/revealed by God in the mind” or Reason which agrees with and is the same Law as the Decalog (Apology art IV). Fallen man has this Law.
    2) Then there is that Law of God that is “peculiarly ” (only) found in the First Table of the Decalog. This is the Law that deals with what? “Movements of the Heart”. Aside: Who would think to argue for the Holy Gospel from the 10 commandments?!
    3) Reason is veiled with a Veil of Moses that gives it the opinion that the Law can be kept outwardly with Reason and Love. (ap art III) So Reason will always find a return to Original Righeousness and the Image of God in the “outward” keeping of the Law that are the exercise of Reason and Love.
    4) “Movements of the Heart” in contrast, is what the Law, uniquely (“peculiarly”) found in the Decalog, demands of man. This “movements of the heart” is alone Faith in Christ alone.

    I would that art III suggest from this that emotional experiences, Holy Baptism, and the 2nd table works of the Law are all things that save us. The confessions see this as a case of synectoche.

    Here is how the confessions deal with an example of an emotional experience (in utah they are called “liver quivers” and “buring bosoms”:

    “And as we do not receive remission of sins through other virtues of the Law,…of patience, chastity, obedience towards magistrates, etc., and nevertheless these virtues ought to follow, so, too, we do not receive remission of sins because of love to God, although it is necessary that this should follow. 31] Besides, the custom of speech is well known that by the same word we sometimes comprehend by synecdoche the cause and effects.”

    Now read the rest of what they say about the story in Luke 7:47 here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

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

    Fws,
    May I ask what BOC edition you are using?
    I caution, chaange of heart, stirring of the heart, is not synonomouse with emotional experience.

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

    Fws,
    May I ask what BOC edition you are using?
    I caution, chaange of heart, stirring of the heart, is not synonomouse with emotional experience.

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

    See I wonder about this fws, what BOC you are using, because you keep mentioning Art III when you are talking about baptism, and Art III though related to baptism does not talk about baptism, except for the one Christ wished he hadn’t needed be baptized with, his death and resurrection. unless you are not talking about the AC, or the Apology, at which point you need to clarify.

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

    See I wonder about this fws, what BOC you are using, because you keep mentioning Art III when you are talking about baptism, and Art III though related to baptism does not talk about baptism, except for the one Christ wished he hadn’t needed be baptized with, his death and resurrection. unless you are not talking about the AC, or the Apology, at which point you need to clarify.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I am using the edition (which is seriously deficient) at http://www.bookofconcord.com

    I am aware the the numbering of the Articles appears to be inconsistent between editions of the BOC. Can you give me some helpful pointers to avoid confusion here Bror?

    I The Baptismal Name
    II Original Sin
    III Love and the fulfilling of the Law
    IV Justification
    XVIII Free Will

    Baptism. I am not reading the Apology as a “Loci” when I asserted this:

    “I would that art III suggest from this that emotional experiences, Holy Baptism, and the 2nd table works of the Law are all things that save us. The confessions see this as a case of synectoche.”

    I am suggesting that the argument on Love and Good Works in art III would have us treat emotions exactly as we treat all other “outward” Good Works.

    The Confessions I suggest, do not treat outward/inward as in the philosophical material/spiritual . Rather, anything that is not “movements of the heart” that is alone faith in Christ are called “outward keeping of the Law”.

    This “outward keeping” by Confessional definition especially includes right faith, right emotions , reason controlling emotions and baser appetites that we call willpower , and it especially includes those “churchly ” or “spiritual” things you do as a pastor that are all included in the expression “The right administration of Word and Sacraments”.

    These are all things 1) that the Law of God demand, 2) that we CAN know and do guided by the Law written/revealed in our Reason, and 3) in with an under these things, may or may not exist those “New Movements of the Heart” or “Good Emotions” that must accompany the outward act of Baptism (Ap art IV Justification).

    I have checked the Latin and German Bror. I am comfortable with how the only translation of the BoC employs the english here. I am not so happy with how they deal with “mortal sin” and some other terms….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I am using the edition (which is seriously deficient) at http://www.bookofconcord.com

    I am aware the the numbering of the Articles appears to be inconsistent between editions of the BOC. Can you give me some helpful pointers to avoid confusion here Bror?

    I The Baptismal Name
    II Original Sin
    III Love and the fulfilling of the Law
    IV Justification
    XVIII Free Will

    Baptism. I am not reading the Apology as a “Loci” when I asserted this:

    “I would that art III suggest from this that emotional experiences, Holy Baptism, and the 2nd table works of the Law are all things that save us. The confessions see this as a case of synectoche.”

    I am suggesting that the argument on Love and Good Works in art III would have us treat emotions exactly as we treat all other “outward” Good Works.

    The Confessions I suggest, do not treat outward/inward as in the philosophical material/spiritual . Rather, anything that is not “movements of the heart” that is alone faith in Christ are called “outward keeping of the Law”.

    This “outward keeping” by Confessional definition especially includes right faith, right emotions , reason controlling emotions and baser appetites that we call willpower , and it especially includes those “churchly ” or “spiritual” things you do as a pastor that are all included in the expression “The right administration of Word and Sacraments”.

    These are all things 1) that the Law of God demand, 2) that we CAN know and do guided by the Law written/revealed in our Reason, and 3) in with an under these things, may or may not exist those “New Movements of the Heart” or “Good Emotions” that must accompany the outward act of Baptism (Ap art IV Justification).

    I have checked the Latin and German Bror. I am comfortable with how the only translation of the BoC employs the english here. I am not so happy with how they deal with “mortal sin” and some other terms….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I appreciate your pointing to the objective Promises that are in, with and under Word and Sacrament as alone what Faith clings to in order to receive the Promised Mercy (ap art IV “Justification).

    But I suggest that the Confessional way to argue and articulate this is a little different than the form you and I were taught. I am suggesting that the Confessional approach to righteous and God required and providenced “outward works” vs “faith alone” is captured by those words “in, with and under”.

    Again I would point you to art III (“Love and …”) in their exegesis of Luke 7 to demonstrate how they argue. It is a different way than I am familiar with and comfortable with as a lifelong Lutheran. But I believe it is the better way. It does not present any false choice between works/emotions versus faith. It avoids false disagreement between St James and St Paul:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I appreciate your pointing to the objective Promises that are in, with and under Word and Sacrament as alone what Faith clings to in order to receive the Promised Mercy (ap art IV “Justification).

    But I suggest that the Confessional way to argue and articulate this is a little different than the form you and I were taught. I am suggesting that the Confessional approach to righteous and God required and providenced “outward works” vs “faith alone” is captured by those words “in, with and under”.

    Again I would point you to art III (“Love and …”) in their exegesis of Luke 7 to demonstrate how they argue. It is a different way than I am familiar with and comfortable with as a lifelong Lutheran. But I believe it is the better way. It does not present any false choice between works/emotions versus faith. It avoids false disagreement between St James and St Paul:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I am suggesting that the Confessions would have us treat emotions and faith, and reason-as-revealed-law controlling our baser emotions and instincts that we call “willpower, and all other such “outward” or “external ” Good Works in the same way.

    The right technical word to use for this is to say the the Confessions argue that saving faith is affective.

    And that is to say that it is not something that we can do. It is a change of heart not of behavior. Emotions are something we do.

    Try this: If you read the frequent lists of things that are what Original Sin looks like and then the frequent opposite lists of things that are what Faith looks like, you see that these are all heart things, emotional things, internal things. There is a point made by those two contrasting lists.

    We should not flee that point out of fear that someone will then understand, falsely, that saving faith is about conjuring up liver quivers.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bror @ 36

    I am suggesting that the Confessions would have us treat emotions and faith, and reason-as-revealed-law controlling our baser emotions and instincts that we call “willpower, and all other such “outward” or “external ” Good Works in the same way.

    The right technical word to use for this is to say the the Confessions argue that saving faith is affective.

    And that is to say that it is not something that we can do. It is a change of heart not of behavior. Emotions are something we do.

    Try this: If you read the frequent lists of things that are what Original Sin looks like and then the frequent opposite lists of things that are what Faith looks like, you see that these are all heart things, emotional things, internal things. There is a point made by those two contrasting lists.

    We should not flee that point out of fear that someone will then understand, falsely, that saving faith is about conjuring up liver quivers.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The right technical word to use for this is to say the the Confessions argue that saving faith is affective.

    Would that be the same as saying: justification is effective?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The right technical word to use for this is to say the the Confessions argue that saving faith is affective.

    Would that be the same as saying: justification is effective?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Does this apply here, Bror and Frank? I am trying to understand it.
    From Martin Brecht, Luther Shaping and Refining the Reformation, p. 451.

    In April and May 1531, Melanchthon completed his revision of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession for the press. In doing so, he made drastic changes in the original version that had been presented at the diet on 22 September 1530. Above all, he expanded the article on justification, making it as precise as possible. Melanchthon was concerned about stating that only Christ had made satisfaction for sin. On the basis of this satisfaction, God declared man righteous, and this was accepted in faith. Thereby he deliberately avoided speaking about man’s renewal in faith, i.e., about effective justification. Faith finds its comfort in Christ’s act alone. This was a very clear interpretation of justification, but also a one-sided one, and its weakness lay in not considering the new reality of justification. At the same time as Melanchthon, Luther seems to have been working on a German apology that would presumably incorporate the thoughts about justification he had had at the Coburg. All that can be determined from his extant marginal notes on Melanchthon’s Apology is that he was interested in the connection between forgiveness and man’s active love that followed it. He did not carry out his intention. In October he complained that he wanted to write the apology, but that he was prevented by many other tasks.
    In May 1531 Luther and Melanchthon engaged in a noteworthy exchange of correspondence with Brenz concerning the doctrine of justification. In it Melanchthon accused Brenz, following Augustine, of making justification depend on the fulfilling of the law worked by the Holy Spirit instead of solely on Gods’ imputation for the sake of Christ’s work. In so doing, Brenz was remaining perilously close to the views of their Catholic opponents. The conscience could not draw peace and confident hope from its own qualities, but from God’s declaration of righteousness alone. It is noteworthy that in a postscript to this letter, Luther, without directly criticizing Melanchthon, put the emphasis somewhat differently. He also wanted to ignore the qualities of the believer, of course, but he said that Christ was the ground and also the reality of justification. The believer was incorporated into the creative power of Christ’s life. This was no so precise as Melanchthon’s views, but it avoided making a separation between God’s declaration of justification and actual justification. Brenz then sought to come to terms with Melanchthon’s objections, but he clearly sympathized with Luther’s solution.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Does this apply here, Bror and Frank? I am trying to understand it.
    From Martin Brecht, Luther Shaping and Refining the Reformation, p. 451.

    In April and May 1531, Melanchthon completed his revision of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession for the press. In doing so, he made drastic changes in the original version that had been presented at the diet on 22 September 1530. Above all, he expanded the article on justification, making it as precise as possible. Melanchthon was concerned about stating that only Christ had made satisfaction for sin. On the basis of this satisfaction, God declared man righteous, and this was accepted in faith. Thereby he deliberately avoided speaking about man’s renewal in faith, i.e., about effective justification. Faith finds its comfort in Christ’s act alone. This was a very clear interpretation of justification, but also a one-sided one, and its weakness lay in not considering the new reality of justification. At the same time as Melanchthon, Luther seems to have been working on a German apology that would presumably incorporate the thoughts about justification he had had at the Coburg. All that can be determined from his extant marginal notes on Melanchthon’s Apology is that he was interested in the connection between forgiveness and man’s active love that followed it. He did not carry out his intention. In October he complained that he wanted to write the apology, but that he was prevented by many other tasks.
    In May 1531 Luther and Melanchthon engaged in a noteworthy exchange of correspondence with Brenz concerning the doctrine of justification. In it Melanchthon accused Brenz, following Augustine, of making justification depend on the fulfilling of the law worked by the Holy Spirit instead of solely on Gods’ imputation for the sake of Christ’s work. In so doing, Brenz was remaining perilously close to the views of their Catholic opponents. The conscience could not draw peace and confident hope from its own qualities, but from God’s declaration of righteousness alone. It is noteworthy that in a postscript to this letter, Luther, without directly criticizing Melanchthon, put the emphasis somewhat differently. He also wanted to ignore the qualities of the believer, of course, but he said that Christ was the ground and also the reality of justification. The believer was incorporated into the creative power of Christ’s life. This was no so precise as Melanchthon’s views, but it avoided making a separation between God’s declaration of justification and actual justification. Brenz then sought to come to terms with Melanchthon’s objections, but he clearly sympathized with Luther’s solution.

  • boaz
  • boaz
  • boaz

    I think FWS has it mostly right. The confessions agree with Aquinas/Aristotelian natural law morality, except, they completely reject Aquinas/Aristotelian anthropology. Contra Aquinas, the will dominates reason, so thoroughly that reason can’t know when it is being dominated. It makes the whole attempt to exercise practical reason rather difficult. Through great effort under the law, good habits can be formed, but even then, the will constantly fights against it, and evil thoughts only multiply. But with Faith, we give up our effort to be good, and seek to be receivers of grace. That change in framework also takes effort in meditation and study of the Word and receiving the Sacrament. But the effort is to receive the means of grace, not to act in accordance with the law. By God’s grace, faith is increased. So internally we are sanctified. That internal sanctification necessarily leads to outward sanctification by external works. But not by outward efforts. Outward efforts are governed by law.

    This is where the tree example is so perfect. Faith makes the tree good, and a good tree produces good fruit, externally. It’s not the case that external good fruits make the tree good.

    Its been too many years since I’ve had time to really be in Aquinas & Aristotle, so I’m probably misstating some things.

  • boaz

    I think FWS has it mostly right. The confessions agree with Aquinas/Aristotelian natural law morality, except, they completely reject Aquinas/Aristotelian anthropology. Contra Aquinas, the will dominates reason, so thoroughly that reason can’t know when it is being dominated. It makes the whole attempt to exercise practical reason rather difficult. Through great effort under the law, good habits can be formed, but even then, the will constantly fights against it, and evil thoughts only multiply. But with Faith, we give up our effort to be good, and seek to be receivers of grace. That change in framework also takes effort in meditation and study of the Word and receiving the Sacrament. But the effort is to receive the means of grace, not to act in accordance with the law. By God’s grace, faith is increased. So internally we are sanctified. That internal sanctification necessarily leads to outward sanctification by external works. But not by outward efforts. Outward efforts are governed by law.

    This is where the tree example is so perfect. Faith makes the tree good, and a good tree produces good fruit, externally. It’s not the case that external good fruits make the tree good.

    Its been too many years since I’ve had time to really be in Aquinas & Aristotle, so I’m probably misstating some things.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Briggitte @ 42

    I think Brecht is exactly wrong here. As in radically wrong.
    In fact article IV says that Justification has two usages. One is forensic, and the other is Infused Justification.

    The idea is that God forensically declares us to be Holy. But since it is God´s declaration and not just the declaration of man, that word actually does what it also declares. Sinful men ARE made holy.

    Lutherans believe that this actually happens in the New Man created, ex nihilo, in man in Holy Baptism. So what is the difference between Lutheran “infused grace” and the Roman Catholic version?

    It is this: Lutherans believe that Infused Justification or holiness is not just an infusion of “Holy spirit power” that makes it possible to gradually become holier. Instead it is an IMMEDIATE and COMPLETE making holy that is found in the New Man of the believer. The Old Adam still clings to us Lutherans teach. In that sense that “making holy ” is not complete. But as to the New Man, our holiness is as complete as it ever will be, even in the resurrection.

    Read here to see if you agree with my assessment Bridgitte. first I will provide text for context, then the passage that shows what I am saying.

    First the Lutherans define what saving faith is, versus all other faith as being sin that they treated in Ap art II:

    48] The adversaries feign that faith is only a knowledge of the history, and therefore teach that it can coexist with mortal sin.

    The confessor now REdefine ‘mortal sin’ as unbelief. Watch:

    Hence they say nothing concerning faith, by which Paul so frequently says that men are justified, because those who are accounted righteous before God do not live in mortal sin.

    But that faith which justifies is not merely a knowledge of history, not merely this, that I know the stories of Christ’s birth, suffering, etc. (that even the devils know,) but it is to assent to the promise of God, in which, for Christ’s sake, the remission of sins and justification are freely offered.

    Note they select “assent” precisely because the faith they describe is a totally passive receiving.

    It is the certainty or the certain trust in the heart, when, with my whole heart, I regard the promises of God as certain and true, through which there are offered me, without my merit, the forgiveness of sins, grace, and all salvation, through Christ the Mediator.

    And that no one may suppose that it is mere knowledge [including belief in an inerrant bible, having doctrine all correct, or believing that homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture] , we will add further:

    it is to wish and to receive the offered promise of the remission of sins and of justification.

    Faith is affective. It is about desire, emotion, and things of the heart. Note that the confessions also define sin exactly in the same way! Sin is not really about what we do with our “baser instincts” that are our “natural appetites”. Sin too is about this exact same kind of faith! But it is a faith that is in anything at all BUT Christ.

    Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure.

    And here we see that this faith that the Apology everywhere describes as “Movements of the Heart” cannot be our emotions. Why not? Emotions to are something the Confessions class as an “outward work”. It is important to see that the Confessions do not use the philosophical definition of outward/inner as being “material/flesh/body” vs “reason/love/spiritual. Reason, love and faith as things we can do are ALL Romans 8 “outward” that is, “flesh/body” stuff that we can do. Watch:

    It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ.

    So there is faith that is something we are commanded to do and can actually do. Then there is this Faith that the Confessions are trying here to distinguish from that other faith that is really all about Original Sin.

    49] And the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the Law can be easily discerned. Faith is the latreiva [divine service], which receives the benefits offered by God; the righteousness of the Law is the latreiva [divine service] which offers to God our merits.

    By faith God wishes to be worshiped in this way, that we receive from Him those things which He promises and offers.

    Now this is how Faith that saves, saves us. There are 3 things that happen:

    53] As often, therefore, as we speak of justifying faith, we must keep in mind that these three objects concur:

    [1} the Promise, and that, too, gratuitous, and the merits of Christ, as the price and propitiation.

    [2] This Promise is received by Faith; the “gratuitous” excludes our merits, and signifies that the benefit is offered only through Mercy; the merits of Christ are the price, because there must be a certain propitiation for our sins. 54] Scripture frequently implores Mercy; and the holy Fathers often say that we 55] are saved by Mercy.

    [3] As often, therefore, as mention is made of Mercy, we must keep in mind that faith is there required, which receives the Promise of Mercy. And, again, as often as we speak of faith, we wish an object to be understood, namely, the Promised Mercy . 56] For faith justifies and saves, not on the ground that it is a work in itself worthy, but only because it receives the Promised Mercy.

    So what does saving Faith do? The first think it does is that it terrifies us!

    61] …
    [1]we must declare how faith is obtained how the heart begins to believe.
    [2] Afterward we will show both that it justifies, and how this ought to be understood,
    [3] and we will explain the objections of the adversaries.

    [1] 2] Christ, in the last chapter of Luke 24:47, commands that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name. For the Gospel convicts all men that they are under sin, that they all are subject to eternal wrath and death, and offers, for Christ’s sake, remission of sin and justification, which is received by faith.

    The preaching of repentance, which accuses us, terrifies consciences with true and grave terrors. For the preaching of repentance, or this declaration of the Gospel: Amend your lives! Repent! when it truly penetrates the heart, terrifies the conscience, and is no jest, but a great terror, in which the conscience feels its misery and sin, and the wrath of God.

    [2] In these, hearts ought again to receive consolation. This happens if they believe the promise of Christ, that for His sake we have remission of sins. This faith, encouraging and consoling in these fears, receives remission of sins, justifies and quickens. For this consolation is a new and spiritual 63] life a new birth and a new life. The adversaries nowhere can say how the Holy Ghost is given. They imagine that the Sacraments confer the Holy Ghost ex opere operato [ie simply by obeying God´s Law] , without a good emotion in the recipient, as though indeed, the gift of the Holy Ghost were an idle matter.

    But since we speak of such faith as is not an idle thought, but of that which liberates from death and produces a new life in hearts, which is such a new light, life, and force in the heart as to renew our heart, mind, and spirit, makes new men of us and new creatures, and is the work of the Holy Ghost; this does not coexist with mortal sin .

    For how can light and darkness coexist?, but as long as it is present, produces good 65] fruits, as we will say after a while.But God cannot be treated with, God cannot be apprehended, except through the Word. Accordingly, justification occurs through the Word, just as Paul says, Rom. 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise Rom. 10:17: Faith cometh by hearing. And proof can be derived even from this that faith justifies, because, if justification occurs only through the Word, and the Word is apprehended only by faith, it follows that faith justifies. 68] But there are other and more important reasons.

    We have said these things thus far in order that we might show the mode of regeneration, and that the nature of faith what is, or is not, faith, concerning which we speak, might be understood.

    Now they will show how faith justifies:

    69] Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies. Here, in the first place, readers must be admonished of this, that just as it is necessary to maintain this sentence: Christ is Mediator, so is it necessary to defend that faith justifies, [without works]. For how will Christ be Mediator if in justification we do not USE Him as Mediator

    And here is where the speak of Justification as being Infused:

    71] But when it is said that faith justifies, some perhaps understand it of the beginning, namely, that faith is the beginning of justification or preparation for justification, so that not faith itself is that through which we are accepted by God, but the works which follow; and they dream, accordingly, that faith is highly praised, because it is the beginning.

    For great is the importance of the beginning, as they commonly say, Arch; h{misu pantov”, The beginning is half of everything;

    just as if one would say that grammar makes the teachers of all arts, because it prepares for other arts,

    This is wrong: In fact it is his own art that renders every one an artist.

    We do not believe thus concerning faith.

    We maintain this:

    that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ’s sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God.

    Here it is…

    72] And because “to be justified” means [1] that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, [2] it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just.

    For Scripture speaks in both ways. The term “to be justified” is used in two ways:

    [1] to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, [2] being accounted righteous. Accordingly we wish first to show this, that [2] faith alone [1] makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., receives remission of sins.

    You can read the entire art on Justification in the Book of Concord´s Apology/Defense here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Briggitte @ 42

    I think Brecht is exactly wrong here. As in radically wrong.
    In fact article IV says that Justification has two usages. One is forensic, and the other is Infused Justification.

    The idea is that God forensically declares us to be Holy. But since it is God´s declaration and not just the declaration of man, that word actually does what it also declares. Sinful men ARE made holy.

    Lutherans believe that this actually happens in the New Man created, ex nihilo, in man in Holy Baptism. So what is the difference between Lutheran “infused grace” and the Roman Catholic version?

    It is this: Lutherans believe that Infused Justification or holiness is not just an infusion of “Holy spirit power” that makes it possible to gradually become holier. Instead it is an IMMEDIATE and COMPLETE making holy that is found in the New Man of the believer. The Old Adam still clings to us Lutherans teach. In that sense that “making holy ” is not complete. But as to the New Man, our holiness is as complete as it ever will be, even in the resurrection.

    Read here to see if you agree with my assessment Bridgitte. first I will provide text for context, then the passage that shows what I am saying.

    First the Lutherans define what saving faith is, versus all other faith as being sin that they treated in Ap art II:

    48] The adversaries feign that faith is only a knowledge of the history, and therefore teach that it can coexist with mortal sin.

    The confessor now REdefine ‘mortal sin’ as unbelief. Watch:

    Hence they say nothing concerning faith, by which Paul so frequently says that men are justified, because those who are accounted righteous before God do not live in mortal sin.

    But that faith which justifies is not merely a knowledge of history, not merely this, that I know the stories of Christ’s birth, suffering, etc. (that even the devils know,) but it is to assent to the promise of God, in which, for Christ’s sake, the remission of sins and justification are freely offered.

    Note they select “assent” precisely because the faith they describe is a totally passive receiving.

    It is the certainty or the certain trust in the heart, when, with my whole heart, I regard the promises of God as certain and true, through which there are offered me, without my merit, the forgiveness of sins, grace, and all salvation, through Christ the Mediator.

    And that no one may suppose that it is mere knowledge [including belief in an inerrant bible, having doctrine all correct, or believing that homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture] , we will add further:

    it is to wish and to receive the offered promise of the remission of sins and of justification.

    Faith is affective. It is about desire, emotion, and things of the heart. Note that the confessions also define sin exactly in the same way! Sin is not really about what we do with our “baser instincts” that are our “natural appetites”. Sin too is about this exact same kind of faith! But it is a faith that is in anything at all BUT Christ.

    Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure.

    And here we see that this faith that the Apology everywhere describes as “Movements of the Heart” cannot be our emotions. Why not? Emotions to are something the Confessions class as an “outward work”. It is important to see that the Confessions do not use the philosophical definition of outward/inner as being “material/flesh/body” vs “reason/love/spiritual. Reason, love and faith as things we can do are ALL Romans 8 “outward” that is, “flesh/body” stuff that we can do. Watch:

    It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ.

    So there is faith that is something we are commanded to do and can actually do. Then there is this Faith that the Confessions are trying here to distinguish from that other faith that is really all about Original Sin.

    49] And the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the Law can be easily discerned. Faith is the latreiva [divine service], which receives the benefits offered by God; the righteousness of the Law is the latreiva [divine service] which offers to God our merits.

    By faith God wishes to be worshiped in this way, that we receive from Him those things which He promises and offers.

    Now this is how Faith that saves, saves us. There are 3 things that happen:

    53] As often, therefore, as we speak of justifying faith, we must keep in mind that these three objects concur:

    [1} the Promise, and that, too, gratuitous, and the merits of Christ, as the price and propitiation.

    [2] This Promise is received by Faith; the “gratuitous” excludes our merits, and signifies that the benefit is offered only through Mercy; the merits of Christ are the price, because there must be a certain propitiation for our sins. 54] Scripture frequently implores Mercy; and the holy Fathers often say that we 55] are saved by Mercy.

    [3] As often, therefore, as mention is made of Mercy, we must keep in mind that faith is there required, which receives the Promise of Mercy. And, again, as often as we speak of faith, we wish an object to be understood, namely, the Promised Mercy . 56] For faith justifies and saves, not on the ground that it is a work in itself worthy, but only because it receives the Promised Mercy.

    So what does saving Faith do? The first think it does is that it terrifies us!

    61] …
    [1]we must declare how faith is obtained how the heart begins to believe.
    [2] Afterward we will show both that it justifies, and how this ought to be understood,
    [3] and we will explain the objections of the adversaries.

    [1] 2] Christ, in the last chapter of Luke 24:47, commands that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name. For the Gospel convicts all men that they are under sin, that they all are subject to eternal wrath and death, and offers, for Christ’s sake, remission of sin and justification, which is received by faith.

    The preaching of repentance, which accuses us, terrifies consciences with true and grave terrors. For the preaching of repentance, or this declaration of the Gospel: Amend your lives! Repent! when it truly penetrates the heart, terrifies the conscience, and is no jest, but a great terror, in which the conscience feels its misery and sin, and the wrath of God.

    [2] In these, hearts ought again to receive consolation. This happens if they believe the promise of Christ, that for His sake we have remission of sins. This faith, encouraging and consoling in these fears, receives remission of sins, justifies and quickens. For this consolation is a new and spiritual 63] life a new birth and a new life. The adversaries nowhere can say how the Holy Ghost is given. They imagine that the Sacraments confer the Holy Ghost ex opere operato [ie simply by obeying God´s Law] , without a good emotion in the recipient, as though indeed, the gift of the Holy Ghost were an idle matter.

    But since we speak of such faith as is not an idle thought, but of that which liberates from death and produces a new life in hearts, which is such a new light, life, and force in the heart as to renew our heart, mind, and spirit, makes new men of us and new creatures, and is the work of the Holy Ghost; this does not coexist with mortal sin .

    For how can light and darkness coexist?, but as long as it is present, produces good 65] fruits, as we will say after a while.But God cannot be treated with, God cannot be apprehended, except through the Word. Accordingly, justification occurs through the Word, just as Paul says, Rom. 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise Rom. 10:17: Faith cometh by hearing. And proof can be derived even from this that faith justifies, because, if justification occurs only through the Word, and the Word is apprehended only by faith, it follows that faith justifies. 68] But there are other and more important reasons.

    We have said these things thus far in order that we might show the mode of regeneration, and that the nature of faith what is, or is not, faith, concerning which we speak, might be understood.

    Now they will show how faith justifies:

    69] Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies. Here, in the first place, readers must be admonished of this, that just as it is necessary to maintain this sentence: Christ is Mediator, so is it necessary to defend that faith justifies, [without works]. For how will Christ be Mediator if in justification we do not USE Him as Mediator

    And here is where the speak of Justification as being Infused:

    71] But when it is said that faith justifies, some perhaps understand it of the beginning, namely, that faith is the beginning of justification or preparation for justification, so that not faith itself is that through which we are accepted by God, but the works which follow; and they dream, accordingly, that faith is highly praised, because it is the beginning.

    For great is the importance of the beginning, as they commonly say, Arch; h{misu pantov”, The beginning is half of everything;

    just as if one would say that grammar makes the teachers of all arts, because it prepares for other arts,

    This is wrong: In fact it is his own art that renders every one an artist.

    We do not believe thus concerning faith.

    We maintain this:

    that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ’s sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God.

    Here it is…

    72] And because “to be justified” means [1] that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, [2] it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just.

    For Scripture speaks in both ways. The term “to be justified” is used in two ways:

    [1] to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, [2] being accounted righteous. Accordingly we wish first to show this, that [2] faith alone [1] makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., receives remission of sins.

    You can read the entire art on Justification in the Book of Concord´s Apology/Defense here:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Boaz @ 44

    I would suggest that this goes even further.

    The confessions deliberately REdefine the aristotelian/Aqunan definition of “natural law” to mean alone “Reason-as-revealed-Divine-Law.

    The deliberately exclude what Aquinas would include in that term by creating a whole new category they call “God´s Ordinance”. The idea is to create a category that contains God´s “laws” that are ‘amoral’ (think of the Law of Gravity here to catch the meaning of ‘amoral’). In art XXIII they place the sex drive, as an irresistable force of nature, into this category.

    This I suggest , in turn, is a necessary consequence of Lutherans REdefining the word “concupiscence ” to mean FAITH. Faith in anything BUT Christ.

    Rome had been defining concupiscence to mean man´s aristotelian “baser instincts” that is emotions/feeling good driving man´s ‘natural appetites’ such as the needs for sex, love, food, etc. Lutherans rejected this because it makes sin about what we do with our reason and love

    What is wrong with this? It IS true!

    It is this: This scheme makes the opposite of sin, or goodness, or virtue, ALSO then about something we can do!

    In that case, getting back to Original Righeousness is about employing aristotelian higher powers of “reason and love”. What Lutherans confusingly call “outward works of the Law”, to control the baser instincts of emotions and “natural apetites”. It is about an “outward ” doing, rather than being about a radical “change of heart” or “new heart movements” or even “good feelings”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Boaz @ 44

    I would suggest that this goes even further.

    The confessions deliberately REdefine the aristotelian/Aqunan definition of “natural law” to mean alone “Reason-as-revealed-Divine-Law.

    The deliberately exclude what Aquinas would include in that term by creating a whole new category they call “God´s Ordinance”. The idea is to create a category that contains God´s “laws” that are ‘amoral’ (think of the Law of Gravity here to catch the meaning of ‘amoral’). In art XXIII they place the sex drive, as an irresistable force of nature, into this category.

    This I suggest , in turn, is a necessary consequence of Lutherans REdefining the word “concupiscence ” to mean FAITH. Faith in anything BUT Christ.

    Rome had been defining concupiscence to mean man´s aristotelian “baser instincts” that is emotions/feeling good driving man´s ‘natural appetites’ such as the needs for sex, love, food, etc. Lutherans rejected this because it makes sin about what we do with our reason and love

    What is wrong with this? It IS true!

    It is this: This scheme makes the opposite of sin, or goodness, or virtue, ALSO then about something we can do!

    In that case, getting back to Original Righeousness is about employing aristotelian higher powers of “reason and love”. What Lutherans confusingly call “outward works of the Law”, to control the baser instincts of emotions and “natural apetites”. It is about an “outward ” doing, rather than being about a radical “change of heart” or “new heart movements” or even “good feelings”.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Thank you Frank; I gather from this that the terms denote different things and Martin Brecht may not always know what he is talking about. It stuck in my craw right away.

    I will also reread the suggested sections on Justification.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Thank you Frank; I gather from this that the terms denote different things and Martin Brecht may not always know what he is talking about. It stuck in my craw right away.

    I will also reread the suggested sections on Justification.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Brigitte @47

    I agree with your assessment. The Confessions spend alot of time and care in defining terms. What saving faith is vs that faith that we can do is one of those things.

    It is a very, very productive approach to reading the confessions to look for how the Confessions define terms like faith, grace, law and gospel, sanctification, good works etc etc.

    They often redefine terms that we think we know the meaning of such as “natural law”, “concupiscence” “sin” “Original sin” “faith” etc. My understanding of these word has been enriched by reading our Confessions.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Brigitte @47

    I agree with your assessment. The Confessions spend alot of time and care in defining terms. What saving faith is vs that faith that we can do is one of those things.

    It is a very, very productive approach to reading the confessions to look for how the Confessions define terms like faith, grace, law and gospel, sanctification, good works etc etc.

    They often redefine terms that we think we know the meaning of such as “natural law”, “concupiscence” “sin” “Original sin” “faith” etc. My understanding of these word has been enriched by reading our Confessions.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    To be totally honest, though, I hate to question Brecht too much. I have read a solid bit of him now, and find him incredibly knowledgeable, thorough and fair.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    To be totally honest, though, I hate to question Brecht too much. I have read a solid bit of him now, and find him incredibly knowledgeable, thorough and fair.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The other thing I’m thinking about, is that in-keeping with the original thought of this post, and with Bror saying we can’t all have advanced degrees to understand this– we should become better students, teachers and defenders of the catechism (s), along with the Bible proofs as listed in various Explanations. Just the second article of the creed and explanations should go very far by themselves.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The other thing I’m thinking about, is that in-keeping with the original thought of this post, and with Bror saying we can’t all have advanced degrees to understand this– we should become better students, teachers and defenders of the catechism (s), along with the Bible proofs as listed in various Explanations. Just the second article of the creed and explanations should go very far by themselves.