“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven”

The readings in church last Sunday included this passage from John 20:

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

We get into a lot of good theological discussions on this blog.  Some of them get heated–and I apologize when they cross the line of Christian charity–but I know I learn from them.   I’d like to ask the non-Lutheran readers of this blog, what do you do with this passage?   We Lutherans, as is our wont, take it literally:  We see the office of disciple in the office of pastors today, so we believe that pastors, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, can forgive sins.  “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.”   This happens individually, in private confession and absolution, and also every Sunday in corporate confession and absolution.   The whole congregation prays a prayer in which we confess our sins, and then the pastor says, “upon this your confession, as a called and ordained servant of the Lord, I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  This often freaks out non-Lutheran visitors.   But I’ve wondered, how do they get around this passage?  One could have a different theology of the ministry and apply that ability to ALL Christians (actually, Lutherans do say that laity too can forgive sins), but surely this passage clearly gives human beings who have the Holy Spirit the power to forgive sins.  This is as clear statement as I can imagine, and I can’t see how it could be interpreted any other way.

So I’m asking, what do you Reformed, Arminian, Baptist, Pentecostal, and adherents to other Protestant Bible-believing theologies do with this passage?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Steve

    Not an answer, but a question:
    what do you Lutheran brothers do with the last part of that verse? “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    How is that expressed / applied in the service? Which / whose sins does the pastor withold forgiveness from? Why? How does this work?

    PS. My answer is, I honestly don’t know, and have not studied this. I would consider it, initially at least, by asking myself – is there an application here for me / the church? Or was this a promise made to the disciples? As in, the actual 12 guys, oops, I mean 11!! :)

  • Steve

    Not an answer, but a question:
    what do you Lutheran brothers do with the last part of that verse? “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    How is that expressed / applied in the service? Which / whose sins does the pastor withold forgiveness from? Why? How does this work?

    PS. My answer is, I honestly don’t know, and have not studied this. I would consider it, initially at least, by asking myself – is there an application here for me / the church? Or was this a promise made to the disciples? As in, the actual 12 guys, oops, I mean 11!! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @1

    Here is a Luther sermon on John 20 that is one of my favorites.

    Note that even in the 40 days after the resurrection Jesus Christ, our Lord points to what? The Prophets! Holy Scripture!

    To answer your question as to how it is that men are given the power to retain sins, you need to ponder deeply, as a Lutheran , how it is that men are given the power to forgive sins.

    It is Christ our dear Lord himself who has been given the Power by the Father over all thing in heaven and on earth. And he now gives that power to men.

    I would suggest that Christ our dear Lord gives men that power exactly as you “give ” power to a hammer or knife or other tool you wield. We are to believe that it is Christ who died for us with those wounds who is speaking and doing “in, with and under” the Pastor who absolves and retains, the water of Baptism, and the bread and wine of the Most Blessed and Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

    Now when men bind the conscience of others as to circumcision, meat and drink or cumpulsory celebacy, this is to to bind men to the seeing idolatry of Old Adam Thomas and not the unseen faith of Saint Thomas and the Holy Apostles. “My sheep hear my voice and they know me”.

    Yet even then, when men err in administering the Keys Christ gave the Holy Catholic Church, we honor those men and cover their nakedness as drunken Noah´s good sons did. They sit in a seat that is better than the seat of Moses. It is a seat of Grace and Truth, not of that Law that came from Moses.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @1

    Here is a Luther sermon on John 20 that is one of my favorites.

    Note that even in the 40 days after the resurrection Jesus Christ, our Lord points to what? The Prophets! Holy Scripture!

    To answer your question as to how it is that men are given the power to retain sins, you need to ponder deeply, as a Lutheran , how it is that men are given the power to forgive sins.

    It is Christ our dear Lord himself who has been given the Power by the Father over all thing in heaven and on earth. And he now gives that power to men.

    I would suggest that Christ our dear Lord gives men that power exactly as you “give ” power to a hammer or knife or other tool you wield. We are to believe that it is Christ who died for us with those wounds who is speaking and doing “in, with and under” the Pastor who absolves and retains, the water of Baptism, and the bread and wine of the Most Blessed and Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

    Now when men bind the conscience of others as to circumcision, meat and drink or cumpulsory celebacy, this is to to bind men to the seeing idolatry of Old Adam Thomas and not the unseen faith of Saint Thomas and the Holy Apostles. “My sheep hear my voice and they know me”.

    Yet even then, when men err in administering the Keys Christ gave the Holy Catholic Church, we honor those men and cover their nakedness as drunken Noah´s good sons did. They sit in a seat that is better than the seat of Moses. It is a seat of Grace and Truth, not of that Law that came from Moses.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws
  • http://www.thirduse.com fws
  • Dave

    Like Steve, I don’t have an answer (because I don’t know if we do anything official with that passage) but a question. How do you get from that verse, to standing in front of a congregation and pronouncing all the sins forgiven? How did that application arise? I don’t see any hints of an application in Acts or the Epistles. No further explanation is given. It seems to me we are just kind of left without knowing what it means?

  • Dave

    Like Steve, I don’t have an answer (because I don’t know if we do anything official with that passage) but a question. How do you get from that verse, to standing in front of a congregation and pronouncing all the sins forgiven? How did that application arise? I don’t see any hints of an application in Acts or the Epistles. No further explanation is given. It seems to me we are just kind of left without knowing what it means?

  • Dan Kempin

    Steve, #1,

    “How is that expressed / applied in the service? Which / whose sins does the pastor withold forgiveness from? Why? How does this work?”

    Great question. Though Dr. Veith raises the specific issue of absolution, this scripture shows us the office of the keys, whereby the church and her pastors have the obligation to bear witness to the truth. Whether it is to comfort the penitent sinner with the assurance of forgiveness, or to assure the impenitent that their sin will, indeed, bring judgment upon them, the church has the prerogative and the obligation to speak. This would, as context of the scripture indicates, be primarily personal. The “how it works” of retaining sins would be best illuminated by Matthew 18 rather than liturgical custom.

  • Dan Kempin

    Steve, #1,

    “How is that expressed / applied in the service? Which / whose sins does the pastor withold forgiveness from? Why? How does this work?”

    Great question. Though Dr. Veith raises the specific issue of absolution, this scripture shows us the office of the keys, whereby the church and her pastors have the obligation to bear witness to the truth. Whether it is to comfort the penitent sinner with the assurance of forgiveness, or to assure the impenitent that their sin will, indeed, bring judgment upon them, the church has the prerogative and the obligation to speak. This would, as context of the scripture indicates, be primarily personal. The “how it works” of retaining sins would be best illuminated by Matthew 18 rather than liturgical custom.

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

    As I understand it, I believe that it’s referring to

    1.)forgiving one another in personal matters, or

    2.)forgiving in the sense of the church administering forgiveness within her God-given scope of authority

    You have to be VERY careful with this passage; otherwise you’ll start down the road back to Roman Catholicism. It needs to be remembered that any authority given to Christians and the church must always be kept within the scope and boundaries of the whole of Scripture, and that the church may not violate one part of Scripture in favor of another (such as trying to draw a false dichotomy between James and Paul). The church cannot arbitrarily wield the power of forgiveness: I would remind us that Jesus also says in Matthew 7 that if we do not forgive others, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us.

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

    As I understand it, I believe that it’s referring to

    1.)forgiving one another in personal matters, or

    2.)forgiving in the sense of the church administering forgiveness within her God-given scope of authority

    You have to be VERY careful with this passage; otherwise you’ll start down the road back to Roman Catholicism. It needs to be remembered that any authority given to Christians and the church must always be kept within the scope and boundaries of the whole of Scripture, and that the church may not violate one part of Scripture in favor of another (such as trying to draw a false dichotomy between James and Paul). The church cannot arbitrarily wield the power of forgiveness: I would remind us that Jesus also says in Matthew 7 that if we do not forgive others, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is a picture to go with the text of John 20 of how Christ our Lord retains the sins of the entire world.

    Christ hides the sins and the Mortal Sin of the worlds doubts and unbelief in His pierced side. God, only in Christ, is incredibly merciful in our stubborness to believe and our stupidity.

    In the post on the Emergent Church some of the Lutheran brothers have been hard on our dear Porcell/Peter. We are all right there with Peter/Porcell. He is saying what all the rest of us thing. “Is it really true?” But our dear Jesus has mercy and tenderness for us in the frailty and arrogance of our reason.

    Stody the faces. Thomas is doing what the others had no courage to do. We are all so very lost without Christ and the Holy Spirit. Just as Luther´s fine easter sermon says that I linked to earlier.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caravaggio_incredulity.jpg

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is a picture to go with the text of John 20 of how Christ our Lord retains the sins of the entire world.

    Christ hides the sins and the Mortal Sin of the worlds doubts and unbelief in His pierced side. God, only in Christ, is incredibly merciful in our stubborness to believe and our stupidity.

    In the post on the Emergent Church some of the Lutheran brothers have been hard on our dear Porcell/Peter. We are all right there with Peter/Porcell. He is saying what all the rest of us thing. “Is it really true?” But our dear Jesus has mercy and tenderness for us in the frailty and arrogance of our reason.

    Stody the faces. Thomas is doing what the others had no courage to do. We are all so very lost without Christ and the Holy Spirit. Just as Luther´s fine easter sermon says that I linked to earlier.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caravaggio_incredulity.jpg

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @ 6

    I disagree. The forgiveness of sins is always wielded “arbitrarily”. It utterly opposes all we can know , see and do in our Old Adam that puts its faith in that Reason that is the Law that God has written in the minds of men that is Veiled with Mose´s Veil which is of the opinion that forgiveness and propitiation comes from how we behave.

    And we therefore imagine too that “faith” is that “faith” that Saint Thomas was seeking to acquire. That is a faith in doctrine and right thinking and apologetics. It looks alot like the Calvinism of our dear Peter/Porcell. While true faith cannot be separated from these things, it does not consist of them. To cry out “My Lord and my God” is something that only new heart movements created by the Holy Spirit can utter.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @ 6

    I disagree. The forgiveness of sins is always wielded “arbitrarily”. It utterly opposes all we can know , see and do in our Old Adam that puts its faith in that Reason that is the Law that God has written in the minds of men that is Veiled with Mose´s Veil which is of the opinion that forgiveness and propitiation comes from how we behave.

    And we therefore imagine too that “faith” is that “faith” that Saint Thomas was seeking to acquire. That is a faith in doctrine and right thinking and apologetics. It looks alot like the Calvinism of our dear Peter/Porcell. While true faith cannot be separated from these things, it does not consist of them. To cry out “My Lord and my God” is something that only new heart movements created by the Holy Spirit can utter.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 5

    I disagree. We often go to Matt 18 to look for a “scriptural pattern ” or a “scriptural how to” to do the Ministry of the Keys. Old Adam always seeks a “paint by the numbers” solution to “real life problems”.

    Old Adam abhores the clean canvas Christ our Lord has given us , that is to serve our neigbor creatively and not police and monitor whether he has used the rightly numbered color painted meticulously within the lines. We are all Saint Thomas. We want to see and do. Our sins and those of others make us anxiously cast about for someone who is going to retain sins and use the Law to fix us and make us right.

    Surrendering to the Forgiveness of Sins is the most difficult and lifelong task of any christian. It defines us as christian.

    We have died to all that.

    But our Old Adam longs for the security of all that. In fact he still urgently needs the lines and numbers and the discipline of painting by them, to avoid chaos. But this is about service to others and not to obey lines and numbers in order to please (read propitiate!) God.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 5

    I disagree. We often go to Matt 18 to look for a “scriptural pattern ” or a “scriptural how to” to do the Ministry of the Keys. Old Adam always seeks a “paint by the numbers” solution to “real life problems”.

    Old Adam abhores the clean canvas Christ our Lord has given us , that is to serve our neigbor creatively and not police and monitor whether he has used the rightly numbered color painted meticulously within the lines. We are all Saint Thomas. We want to see and do. Our sins and those of others make us anxiously cast about for someone who is going to retain sins and use the Law to fix us and make us right.

    Surrendering to the Forgiveness of Sins is the most difficult and lifelong task of any christian. It defines us as christian.

    We have died to all that.

    But our Old Adam longs for the security of all that. In fact he still urgently needs the lines and numbers and the discipline of painting by them, to avoid chaos. But this is about service to others and not to obey lines and numbers in order to please (read propitiate!) God.

  • Purple koolaid

    Where does the verse say,”as an ordained servant”? I have always been taught that this is individual forgiveness.
    Second question: I have always been taught nt doesn’t talk about ordination at all.

  • Purple koolaid

    Where does the verse say,”as an ordained servant”? I have always been taught that this is individual forgiveness.
    Second question: I have always been taught nt doesn’t talk about ordination at all.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Steve @ 1

    I suggests that our Lord, through the instruments of sinful men who are Pastors and Bishops, binds the sins of the world in his wounded side. He puts those sins there. “Losed sins” are what Adam did in the fall. It is what Satan does with sin.

    Christ has come to bind sins forever. the Law came through Moses. but… Grace and Truth came from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The binding of sins that comes from our wounded savior is all about Grace and Truth. There is now no longer any condemnation in Christ in the binding of sin.

    And that binding of sin must terrify us. Only when one has those new heart movements created by the Holy Spirit can one see the Law of God as it peculiarly is found only in the 1st table of the Decalog. There we learn that God´s Law demands new movements of the heart. It demands a circumcision that Reason´s keeping of the Law with acts and feelings of Love cannot do.

    Only then can we see that God´s Law demands that we keep his Law from the very bottom of our hearts and not begrudgingly. That we rejoice and are eager to pay our taxes, obey speed laws, and respond to the Law in the form of nagging wife and a baby needing a changed diaper at 4am. This we cannot do. So we daily use the Works of Christ to offer God as our Propitiation and not what we can do in obedience in order to please God.

    And then we go and change that diaper, pay our taxes, and love that nagging wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. And we do this by wielding the Law on our Old Adam and extorting from him the obedience by the book and by the numbers in a very legal-istic way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Steve @ 1

    I suggests that our Lord, through the instruments of sinful men who are Pastors and Bishops, binds the sins of the world in his wounded side. He puts those sins there. “Losed sins” are what Adam did in the fall. It is what Satan does with sin.

    Christ has come to bind sins forever. the Law came through Moses. but… Grace and Truth came from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The binding of sins that comes from our wounded savior is all about Grace and Truth. There is now no longer any condemnation in Christ in the binding of sin.

    And that binding of sin must terrify us. Only when one has those new heart movements created by the Holy Spirit can one see the Law of God as it peculiarly is found only in the 1st table of the Decalog. There we learn that God´s Law demands new movements of the heart. It demands a circumcision that Reason´s keeping of the Law with acts and feelings of Love cannot do.

    Only then can we see that God´s Law demands that we keep his Law from the very bottom of our hearts and not begrudgingly. That we rejoice and are eager to pay our taxes, obey speed laws, and respond to the Law in the form of nagging wife and a baby needing a changed diaper at 4am. This we cannot do. So we daily use the Works of Christ to offer God as our Propitiation and not what we can do in obedience in order to please God.

    And then we go and change that diaper, pay our taxes, and love that nagging wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. And we do this by wielding the Law on our Old Adam and extorting from him the obedience by the book and by the numbers in a very legal-istic way.

  • trotk

    As an Anglican:

    We take the verses literally. Very little private confession occurs in the Anglican church, but we corporately confess and receive forgiveness every Sunday.

  • trotk

    As an Anglican:

    We take the verses literally. Very little private confession occurs in the Anglican church, but we corporately confess and receive forgiveness every Sunday.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    purple koolaid @ 10

    Usually your questions are rhetorical and n0t real questions, but this question deserves an answer:

    Christ our dear Lord gave the power to forgive sins to the Holy Catholic Church, in which is hidden the Communion of Saints, that is , all who have that invisible faith in Christ that makes one a Christian.

    This Power is nothing more, or less, than the blessed proclaimation that Jesus Christ died and rose again to free us from sin, death and the power of the devil.

    It is given to the Holy Catholic Church to do this. And the Church is to do this by preaching and by our hearing.

    Saint Paul says “How can they hear unless God sends pastors to preach?” And to those “sent one” God entrusts the “Mysteries of God” that are the forgiveness of Sins in the form of the preached forgiveness, the Water of Holy Baptism with the splashed on Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity that gives us faith and so forgiveness, and the Most Blessed Sacrament.

    Think of it this way Purple Koolaid:

    In government, the people delegate their police power and power to judge to policemen and Judges. Those persons have a delegated power and say “by the power invested in me by the state of California, “I” “sentence you”, “pronounce you”, etc. The judge and policeman have been (1) publicly set apart and given this delegated authority, and (2) and are to wield this authority on behalf of the rest of us.

    In the case of Pastors, pastors are set apart publicly to wield the authority to forgive sins and to bind them into the death of Christ according to Apostolic authority given to the Church by Christ. This apostolic authority is not passed by palm on pate apostolic succession. This authority is passed by the very words of Christ.

    So one does not take on this authority any more than one would decide to become a judge or a policeman without being set apart by others in an authorized way to do so.

    I hope you understand this apostolic authority better now. Think of how the idea of “office ” plays out in civil government. It is the same in that earthy government that God has established and called the Holy Catholic Church. The Law works in the same way in the church as in civil government.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    purple koolaid @ 10

    Usually your questions are rhetorical and n0t real questions, but this question deserves an answer:

    Christ our dear Lord gave the power to forgive sins to the Holy Catholic Church, in which is hidden the Communion of Saints, that is , all who have that invisible faith in Christ that makes one a Christian.

    This Power is nothing more, or less, than the blessed proclaimation that Jesus Christ died and rose again to free us from sin, death and the power of the devil.

    It is given to the Holy Catholic Church to do this. And the Church is to do this by preaching and by our hearing.

    Saint Paul says “How can they hear unless God sends pastors to preach?” And to those “sent one” God entrusts the “Mysteries of God” that are the forgiveness of Sins in the form of the preached forgiveness, the Water of Holy Baptism with the splashed on Name of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity that gives us faith and so forgiveness, and the Most Blessed Sacrament.

    Think of it this way Purple Koolaid:

    In government, the people delegate their police power and power to judge to policemen and Judges. Those persons have a delegated power and say “by the power invested in me by the state of California, “I” “sentence you”, “pronounce you”, etc. The judge and policeman have been (1) publicly set apart and given this delegated authority, and (2) and are to wield this authority on behalf of the rest of us.

    In the case of Pastors, pastors are set apart publicly to wield the authority to forgive sins and to bind them into the death of Christ according to Apostolic authority given to the Church by Christ. This apostolic authority is not passed by palm on pate apostolic succession. This authority is passed by the very words of Christ.

    So one does not take on this authority any more than one would decide to become a judge or a policeman without being set apart by others in an authorized way to do so.

    I hope you understand this apostolic authority better now. Think of how the idea of “office ” plays out in civil government. It is the same in that earthy government that God has established and called the Holy Catholic Church. The Law works in the same way in the church as in civil government.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #9,

    If you are saying (as I think) that Matthew 18 is not a prescription to be slavishly followed, then I agree. The spirit of Matthew 18 is love. That said, though, it is still a teaching directly from the mouth of Jesus. We can hardly set it aside. And I think it does have a bearing on the office of the keys.

    To take a step back, and perhaps include the non-lutherans in the discussion, the “office of the keys” as we call it is about our obligation to our brothers and sisters with regard to the truth.* It goes all the way back to Ezekiel 33. If we, who know, do not give warning to those in danger of judgment, then we are culpable for our failure. This is every Christian’s obligation, but falls particularly to the pastor as the public voice of the Church. Likewise, we must also bear witness to the forgiveness of sins, regardless fo how WE feel or whether we ourselves would be able to forgive. The authority of the proclamation is in the clear Word of God, not in the person who speaks it. Nevertheless, as the person speaks on the basis of God’s Word, the person is to be received as delivering the true proclamation of the living God. If a messenger delivered a sealed proclamation from a king, one would hardly say, “You have no authority to proclaim anything–you are just a messenger!” The messenger would be honored not for his own sake, but for the sake of the one who sent him. Thus the lutheran understanding of a “mere” pastor speaking absolution.

    On a textual note, and in support of this, the greek tense in this scripture is perfect, so a literalistic translation would be something like, “if you release the sins of anyone, they [have already been and are] released.” In other words, it is not true because we proclaim it, but we proclaim it because it is already true.

    *Personally, I think the question of corporate confession in worship is an entirely different issue. I would even entertain the argument that confession and absolution is not best located in Lord’s Day worship . . . but that is not the issue of this thread.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #9,

    If you are saying (as I think) that Matthew 18 is not a prescription to be slavishly followed, then I agree. The spirit of Matthew 18 is love. That said, though, it is still a teaching directly from the mouth of Jesus. We can hardly set it aside. And I think it does have a bearing on the office of the keys.

    To take a step back, and perhaps include the non-lutherans in the discussion, the “office of the keys” as we call it is about our obligation to our brothers and sisters with regard to the truth.* It goes all the way back to Ezekiel 33. If we, who know, do not give warning to those in danger of judgment, then we are culpable for our failure. This is every Christian’s obligation, but falls particularly to the pastor as the public voice of the Church. Likewise, we must also bear witness to the forgiveness of sins, regardless fo how WE feel or whether we ourselves would be able to forgive. The authority of the proclamation is in the clear Word of God, not in the person who speaks it. Nevertheless, as the person speaks on the basis of God’s Word, the person is to be received as delivering the true proclamation of the living God. If a messenger delivered a sealed proclamation from a king, one would hardly say, “You have no authority to proclaim anything–you are just a messenger!” The messenger would be honored not for his own sake, but for the sake of the one who sent him. Thus the lutheran understanding of a “mere” pastor speaking absolution.

    On a textual note, and in support of this, the greek tense in this scripture is perfect, so a literalistic translation would be something like, “if you release the sins of anyone, they [have already been and are] released.” In other words, it is not true because we proclaim it, but we proclaim it because it is already true.

    *Personally, I think the question of corporate confession in worship is an entirely different issue. I would even entertain the argument that confession and absolution is not best located in Lord’s Day worship . . . but that is not the issue of this thread.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here are some more wonderful sermons by the sainted Dr Martin Luther on the text of John 20:

    http://www.lectionarycentral.com/easter1/LutherGospel.html

    http://www.lectionarycentral.com/easter1/LutherGospel2.html

    here is a sermon on the text immediately preceeding the text we are discussing:

    http://www2.luthersem.edu/Word&World/Archives/16-2_Islam/16-2_Luther_Sermon.pdf

    for those of you who want ALL of Luther´s sermons on John 20 this is what to purchase!

    http://www.pitchengine.com/concordiapublishinghouse/more-of-martin-luthers-works-now-available-in-english/26796/

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here are some more wonderful sermons by the sainted Dr Martin Luther on the text of John 20:

    http://www.lectionarycentral.com/easter1/LutherGospel.html

    http://www.lectionarycentral.com/easter1/LutherGospel2.html

    here is a sermon on the text immediately preceeding the text we are discussing:

    http://www2.luthersem.edu/Word&World/Archives/16-2_Islam/16-2_Luther_Sermon.pdf

    for those of you who want ALL of Luther´s sermons on John 20 this is what to purchase!

    http://www.pitchengine.com/concordiapublishinghouse/more-of-martin-luthers-works-now-available-in-english/26796/

  • Dan Kempin

    Purple, #10,

    “Where does the verse say,”as an ordained servant”?”

    You’re right. It doesn’t. That is added to the wording of pastoral absolution by application and because of context. It is by no means necessary. The authority of absolution is not found in the “credentials” of the one who speaks, but in the one who stands behind the words.

    If you carefully parse the lutheran words of pastoral absolution,* you see that the pastor speaks because of his office, but the actual absolution is spoken “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ.” It is in no way tied to ordination.

    *”Upon this, your confession, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God to you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Purple, #10,

    “Where does the verse say,”as an ordained servant”?”

    You’re right. It doesn’t. That is added to the wording of pastoral absolution by application and because of context. It is by no means necessary. The authority of absolution is not found in the “credentials” of the one who speaks, but in the one who stands behind the words.

    If you carefully parse the lutheran words of pastoral absolution,* you see that the pastor speaks because of his office, but the actual absolution is spoken “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ.” It is in no way tied to ordination.

    *”Upon this, your confession, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God to you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 14

    These are the words of Christ. They are Gospel words, even and especially in Matt 18.

    Our Apology art II tell us that sin is only truly bound when there is faith in Jesus Christ. That Faith is the Original Adamic righteousness and the Image of God that was lost and is not restored to us only by faith, only in Christ in the splashed on Name of the Holy Trinity we receive in our Baptism.

    It is alone this Faith, alone in Christ that can “bind and retain and not just “bind” and “retain” that faith that is in anything-but-Christ that we Lutherans name with the three synonyms “concupiscence/lust/coveteousness”.

    This happens in the Church as the invisible “communion of saints” which is the gathering of all who are known alone to our Lord by the invisible faith in their hearts.

    But then Christ also necessarily calls gathers and enlightens this communion of saints by earthly visible means. This is by the use of pastors and teachers who are to rightly administer the word and sacraments according to the Law Christ has given to them in the Great Commission , in Matt 18 and in Paul´s words on the Holy Supper. In this Holy Catholic Church order and discipline must be maintained. Persons who bring the chaos of their lives into the corporate lives of the church must be restrained. This looks like the ushers in a church placing someone distracting from the Divine Service outside the doors of the church. It is a police action similar to what police in a court of law would do in ushering out persons who are disruptive of the proceedings there.

    We are dealing with Two Kingdoms here. One is a Kingdom where Christ binds sin by burying them in his wounded side forever. The other Kingdom , called the Holy Catholic Church, is that visible earthly kingdom that is ruled by the Law that orders us in order for that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is uniquely found in Christ to be worked in peace and harmony .

    The 2nd and 3rd articles of the Creed always are to be found “in, with and under” the 1st article Kingdom of the Law, Man, Earth.

    And it is the same Fatherly Divine Goodness and Mercy worked in all 3 articles. Indeed without our prayer or asking , or faith or faithfulness, even for all the wicked.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 14

    These are the words of Christ. They are Gospel words, even and especially in Matt 18.

    Our Apology art II tell us that sin is only truly bound when there is faith in Jesus Christ. That Faith is the Original Adamic righteousness and the Image of God that was lost and is not restored to us only by faith, only in Christ in the splashed on Name of the Holy Trinity we receive in our Baptism.

    It is alone this Faith, alone in Christ that can “bind and retain and not just “bind” and “retain” that faith that is in anything-but-Christ that we Lutherans name with the three synonyms “concupiscence/lust/coveteousness”.

    This happens in the Church as the invisible “communion of saints” which is the gathering of all who are known alone to our Lord by the invisible faith in their hearts.

    But then Christ also necessarily calls gathers and enlightens this communion of saints by earthly visible means. This is by the use of pastors and teachers who are to rightly administer the word and sacraments according to the Law Christ has given to them in the Great Commission , in Matt 18 and in Paul´s words on the Holy Supper. In this Holy Catholic Church order and discipline must be maintained. Persons who bring the chaos of their lives into the corporate lives of the church must be restrained. This looks like the ushers in a church placing someone distracting from the Divine Service outside the doors of the church. It is a police action similar to what police in a court of law would do in ushering out persons who are disruptive of the proceedings there.

    We are dealing with Two Kingdoms here. One is a Kingdom where Christ binds sin by burying them in his wounded side forever. The other Kingdom , called the Holy Catholic Church, is that visible earthly kingdom that is ruled by the Law that orders us in order for that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is uniquely found in Christ to be worked in peace and harmony .

    The 2nd and 3rd articles of the Creed always are to be found “in, with and under” the 1st article Kingdom of the Law, Man, Earth.

    And it is the same Fatherly Divine Goodness and Mercy worked in all 3 articles. Indeed without our prayer or asking , or faith or faithfulness, even for all the wicked.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    fws @ 17

    errata. eeeek! what a difference one letter can make!

    Our Apology art II tell us that sin is only truly bound when there is faith in Jesus Christ. That Faith is the Original Adamic righteousness and the Image of God that was lost and is NOW restored to us only by faith, only in Christ in the splashed on Name of the Holy Trinity we receive in our Baptism.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    fws @ 17

    errata. eeeek! what a difference one letter can make!

    Our Apology art II tell us that sin is only truly bound when there is faith in Jesus Christ. That Faith is the Original Adamic righteousness and the Image of God that was lost and is NOW restored to us only by faith, only in Christ in the splashed on Name of the Holy Trinity we receive in our Baptism.

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

    fws @ 8,

    I understand what you’re getting at, but I don’t know that I would attribute it to being “arbitrary,” insofar as that (as I’m sure you agree) that God is not whimsical or capricious.

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

    fws @ 8,

    I understand what you’re getting at, but I don’t know that I would attribute it to being “arbitrary,” insofar as that (as I’m sure you agree) that God is not whimsical or capricious.

  • larry

    My wife dealt with this more when we came into the lutheran church. It was a bit “RC” to her. Part of that comes from the fear of the abuse, i.e. not being forgiven that Rome did in their day. Part of that is that it does pretty much unhinge the rest of the other protestant doctrines, once saved always saved, etc…

    But I can tell you this, the tinder consciences in such theologies are dying for it. That’s why you see certain one’s weekly walking up to the altar call, that NEED to be forgiven, they FEEL their sins daily and weekly, they FEEL their NEED and hear the Law. So they do the only thing they know to do, walk up and rededicate again. I’ve seen numerous tormented consciences do this (even my own).

    It parallels with a loss of the office of the pastor in such congregations, at length he is seen as basically a “hired hand”. The office is demolished as little more than sermonic speaker hired to do just that.

    It can be frightening going into a confession that gives the pastor that authority. It is in its own right “a leap of faith”, that move.

  • larry

    My wife dealt with this more when we came into the lutheran church. It was a bit “RC” to her. Part of that comes from the fear of the abuse, i.e. not being forgiven that Rome did in their day. Part of that is that it does pretty much unhinge the rest of the other protestant doctrines, once saved always saved, etc…

    But I can tell you this, the tinder consciences in such theologies are dying for it. That’s why you see certain one’s weekly walking up to the altar call, that NEED to be forgiven, they FEEL their sins daily and weekly, they FEEL their NEED and hear the Law. So they do the only thing they know to do, walk up and rededicate again. I’ve seen numerous tormented consciences do this (even my own).

    It parallels with a loss of the office of the pastor in such congregations, at length he is seen as basically a “hired hand”. The office is demolished as little more than sermonic speaker hired to do just that.

    It can be frightening going into a confession that gives the pastor that authority. It is in its own right “a leap of faith”, that move.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 14

    I am suggesting that matt 18 is about that outward , external binding of sin that is what police, parents and judges do every day in the Kingdom of God that is about the Law. In this case that unit of earthly Government God has called the Holy Catholic Church. This is really a “binding ” and not a binding. It has God´s authority. God demands this authority, which is of the sword and the Law be wielded to keep Old Adam in Check. This authority is not unique to the Holy Catholic Church. It is the same Law binding that any other government must use. “Treat him as an unbeliever” suggests what I am saying I think. This is a “binding ” of the Law that only has the power to bind outward and manifest lawlessness.

    Then there is that other binding of sin that Christ empowers uniquely to his church that Christ speaks in John 20. This is the binding that truly only Christ can do. It binds sins by creating new heart movements in the hearts of New Man that is alone faith in Christ alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 14

    I am suggesting that matt 18 is about that outward , external binding of sin that is what police, parents and judges do every day in the Kingdom of God that is about the Law. In this case that unit of earthly Government God has called the Holy Catholic Church. This is really a “binding ” and not a binding. It has God´s authority. God demands this authority, which is of the sword and the Law be wielded to keep Old Adam in Check. This authority is not unique to the Holy Catholic Church. It is the same Law binding that any other government must use. “Treat him as an unbeliever” suggests what I am saying I think. This is a “binding ” of the Law that only has the power to bind outward and manifest lawlessness.

    Then there is that other binding of sin that Christ empowers uniquely to his church that Christ speaks in John 20. This is the binding that truly only Christ can do. It binds sins by creating new heart movements in the hearts of New Man that is alone faith in Christ alone.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I heard a very revealing commentary on this a few weeks ago. More or less, the first phrase is in the present tense, the second is in the perfect. If we understand it as the church having power to forgive–as opposed to Christ Himself–we run into trouble, as what about the person listening to shortwave radio who comes to faith, but no churchman ever gets to forgive him?

    On the other hand, if we remember that phrases 1 and 3 are in the present, but 2 and 4 are in the perfect tense, one great explanation is that the person is not actually doing the binding (that is after all the Counselor’s work), but rather is doing the announcing of a forgiveness–or lack thereof–already decided in Heaven.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I heard a very revealing commentary on this a few weeks ago. More or less, the first phrase is in the present tense, the second is in the perfect. If we understand it as the church having power to forgive–as opposed to Christ Himself–we run into trouble, as what about the person listening to shortwave radio who comes to faith, but no churchman ever gets to forgive him?

    On the other hand, if we remember that phrases 1 and 3 are in the present, but 2 and 4 are in the perfect tense, one great explanation is that the person is not actually doing the binding (that is after all the Counselor’s work), but rather is doing the announcing of a forgiveness–or lack thereof–already decided in Heaven.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @ 19

    You know that God is not arbitrary or capricious only because you have faith in Christ. Apart from faith God is arbitrary and capricious. Reason can only know that God is always accusing us. So we flee his judgement by our self-justification.

    This self justification consists of us imagining that a christian´s getting right with God is about a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to keep his commandments and “walk the talk”.

    But the Law continues to accuse us. Only when we know , in Christ, that the Law no longer accuses can God become an Object of Love. Only then can we rest in the works of Christ and truly and really offer only His works as our plea to God that we are now righeousness and holy in his sight. To reason this seems arbitrary. It looks like “cheap grace”. It looks like the perspective of the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J Dean @ 19

    You know that God is not arbitrary or capricious only because you have faith in Christ. Apart from faith God is arbitrary and capricious. Reason can only know that God is always accusing us. So we flee his judgement by our self-justification.

    This self justification consists of us imagining that a christian´s getting right with God is about a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to keep his commandments and “walk the talk”.

    But the Law continues to accuse us. Only when we know , in Christ, that the Law no longer accuses can God become an Object of Love. Only then can we rest in the works of Christ and truly and really offer only His works as our plea to God that we are now righeousness and holy in his sight. To reason this seems arbitrary. It looks like “cheap grace”. It looks like the perspective of the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

  • Tom Hering

    “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    “If you … if you.” These are descriptions of a new reality, not commands. Are we commanded elsewhere to forgive? Why? Are we commanded elsewhere to withhold forgiveness? Why? Does a pastor have a power that other Christians don’t have? Or is he called to an office that has the responsibility of announcing that the whole world has been forgiven? Strengthening belief, and condemning unbelief? Is there any basis, other than unbelief, for announcing that forgiveness is withheld?

  • Tom Hering

    “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    “If you … if you.” These are descriptions of a new reality, not commands. Are we commanded elsewhere to forgive? Why? Are we commanded elsewhere to withhold forgiveness? Why? Does a pastor have a power that other Christians don’t have? Or is he called to an office that has the responsibility of announcing that the whole world has been forgiven? Strengthening belief, and condemning unbelief? Is there any basis, other than unbelief, for announcing that forgiveness is withheld?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bike Bubba @ 22

    I have read those passages in the greek more than a few times and your insight had honestly never occurred to me. That is really very very nice!

    But I would suggest that the Lutheran solution to John 20 and to Matt 18 is to be found, as always in the distinction between Law and Gospel.

    In this case “Law and Gospel” are found in the form of the doctrine of the “Two Kingdoms and Their Respective Kinds of Righeousness” that is really just another form “Law and Gospel” that is about the doctrine put into practice.

    We cant see this if we think that “Two Kingdoms” is a doctrine about separation of church and civil estates or such.

    The Apology to the Augsburg Confession suggests that in the Apostle´s Creed, the words the “Holy Catholic Church” is the outward visible Law government of the Church, that is governed by what? By the Law. This Law in the Holy Catholic Church orders pastors to rightly administer the Word and Sacraments.

    This Holy Catholic Church is called “holy” and “catholic” by virtue of the fact that “in, with and under” ONLY it, is found that “communion of saints” where sin, death and the devil are truly bound alone by faith alone in Christ alone.

    Thus also the Church is defined by the article in the Creed which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church. 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church. And that which follows, namely, the communion of saints, seems to be added in order to explain what the Church signifies, namely, the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine [who confess one Gospel, have the same knowledge of Christ] and of the same Holy Ghost, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_6_church.php

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Bike Bubba @ 22

    I have read those passages in the greek more than a few times and your insight had honestly never occurred to me. That is really very very nice!

    But I would suggest that the Lutheran solution to John 20 and to Matt 18 is to be found, as always in the distinction between Law and Gospel.

    In this case “Law and Gospel” are found in the form of the doctrine of the “Two Kingdoms and Their Respective Kinds of Righeousness” that is really just another form “Law and Gospel” that is about the doctrine put into practice.

    We cant see this if we think that “Two Kingdoms” is a doctrine about separation of church and civil estates or such.

    The Apology to the Augsburg Confession suggests that in the Apostle´s Creed, the words the “Holy Catholic Church” is the outward visible Law government of the Church, that is governed by what? By the Law. This Law in the Holy Catholic Church orders pastors to rightly administer the Word and Sacraments.

    This Holy Catholic Church is called “holy” and “catholic” by virtue of the fact that “in, with and under” ONLY it, is found that “communion of saints” where sin, death and the devil are truly bound alone by faith alone in Christ alone.

    Thus also the Church is defined by the article in the Creed which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church. 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church. And that which follows, namely, the communion of saints, seems to be added in order to explain what the Church signifies, namely, the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine [who confess one Gospel, have the same knowledge of Christ] and of the same Holy Ghost, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_6_church.php

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 24

    Yes Tom. See my previous comments. The solution is the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and their Respective two kinds of righeousness”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom @ 24

    Yes Tom. See my previous comments. The solution is the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and their Respective two kinds of righeousness”.

  • Paul

    I’ve wondered before whether this passage also admits an evangelistic interpretation. God gives us the great privilege of proclaiming the good news of His forgiveness in Christ. Romans 10:14–17 comes to mind. How are people to come to learn that Jesus has taken away their sins unless they hear that message? If the Lamb of God has taken away the sins of the world, who are we to refuse to proclaim it? Yet in practice we withhold forgiveness when we refuse to proclaim the gospel.

  • Paul

    I’ve wondered before whether this passage also admits an evangelistic interpretation. God gives us the great privilege of proclaiming the good news of His forgiveness in Christ. Romans 10:14–17 comes to mind. How are people to come to learn that Jesus has taken away their sins unless they hear that message? If the Lamb of God has taken away the sins of the world, who are we to refuse to proclaim it? Yet in practice we withhold forgiveness when we refuse to proclaim the gospel.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Paul @ 27

    Bingo.

    Note that the context is the story of Doubting Thomas. Saint Thomas´doubt was mortal sin. But Christ, in his mercy, did not leave him or the other disciples in that sin.

    Look at that marvelous picture again I linked to by Carravagio. Jesus claims his sinners again and again by allowing His Very Person, the Holy of Holies on two legs, to be desecrated again and again by those who were barred from entering the Temple of the Jews.

    See Saint Thomas finger going ALL the way into that would. And see Jesus watching him do it. And then see the woman with the issue of blood, all those spotted lambs of God desecrating that one Spotless Lamb of God in all the ways that Leviticus says makes one unclean.

    In the Roman Catholic Mass they say something before the Holy Supper like “let us but touch your garment Lord and be made clean”.

    This is the binding of sin. This binding can only happen by faith alone in Christ alone. This is how the Holy Church binds sin in heaven. At the same time it “binds” sin on earth , as a form of earthly government, exactly as the government binds the lawlessness of sin , and for the exact same reason: so that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy can be done right in the middle of our Saint Thomas unfaithfulness.

    God WILL have his Mercy and Goodness happen. Any way. Anyway.

    And it happens in , with and under the Holy Catholic Church that appears to be anything at all but “holy ” or “catholic”. We see that “communion of saints ” that is “in with and under ” it only by closing our eyes and hearing the Voice of the Wounded One.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Paul @ 27

    Bingo.

    Note that the context is the story of Doubting Thomas. Saint Thomas´doubt was mortal sin. But Christ, in his mercy, did not leave him or the other disciples in that sin.

    Look at that marvelous picture again I linked to by Carravagio. Jesus claims his sinners again and again by allowing His Very Person, the Holy of Holies on two legs, to be desecrated again and again by those who were barred from entering the Temple of the Jews.

    See Saint Thomas finger going ALL the way into that would. And see Jesus watching him do it. And then see the woman with the issue of blood, all those spotted lambs of God desecrating that one Spotless Lamb of God in all the ways that Leviticus says makes one unclean.

    In the Roman Catholic Mass they say something before the Holy Supper like “let us but touch your garment Lord and be made clean”.

    This is the binding of sin. This binding can only happen by faith alone in Christ alone. This is how the Holy Church binds sin in heaven. At the same time it “binds” sin on earth , as a form of earthly government, exactly as the government binds the lawlessness of sin , and for the exact same reason: so that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy can be done right in the middle of our Saint Thomas unfaithfulness.

    God WILL have his Mercy and Goodness happen. Any way. Anyway.

    And it happens in , with and under the Holy Catholic Church that appears to be anything at all but “holy ” or “catholic”. We see that “communion of saints ” that is “in with and under ” it only by closing our eyes and hearing the Voice of the Wounded One.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #20,

    “I am suggesting that matt 18 is about that outward , external binding of sin that is what police, parents and judges do every day in the Kingdom of God that is about the Law.”

    Well, sort of. I mean, there is the external binding and treating as an unbeliever in this text, but the main thrust of the teaching is the effort that is to be made to restore a person so that it does not get to that point. That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.

    “Then there is that other binding of sin that Christ empowers uniquely to his church that Christ speaks in John 20. . .It binds sins by creating new heart movements in the hearts of New Man that is alone faith in Christ alone.”

    I’m not sure I follow you here. Or perhaps we are using the word “bind” differently. You seem to be making the “binding” of sin in John 20 gospel rather than law. If so, I disagree. I think the binding of Matthew 18 and John 20 are the same thing.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #20,

    “I am suggesting that matt 18 is about that outward , external binding of sin that is what police, parents and judges do every day in the Kingdom of God that is about the Law.”

    Well, sort of. I mean, there is the external binding and treating as an unbeliever in this text, but the main thrust of the teaching is the effort that is to be made to restore a person so that it does not get to that point. That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.

    “Then there is that other binding of sin that Christ empowers uniquely to his church that Christ speaks in John 20. . .It binds sins by creating new heart movements in the hearts of New Man that is alone faith in Christ alone.”

    I’m not sure I follow you here. Or perhaps we are using the word “bind” differently. You seem to be making the “binding” of sin in John 20 gospel rather than law. If so, I disagree. I think the binding of Matthew 18 and John 20 are the same thing.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 29

    I would say that the binding of matt 18 is the same as that in john 20 by way of sinectoche, as are all other exercises of the Law of God. I would reference the Apology´s treatment of the woman who was saved by loving much in Luke 7 which you can find here:

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

    The heavenly Kingdom alway comes in a way that cannot be seen, that is alone by faith , in Christ alone, but …

    This heavenly Kingdom must be sought where our dear Lord Jesus has told us it will be found. And this is in that “Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ” that defines any rational evidential proof that it is holy, catholic, or apostolic except for closed eyes hearing the Voice of our Lord in, with and under the word, water, and bread and wine administered by Old Adams as a service extorted out of them (you as a pastor!) by the Law. And the Law always does what? It always accuses. Matt 18. We treat him “as ” an unbeliever. We do not pronounce that he “is ” an unbeliever. We have no authority to do that. That would be to separate wheat from weed, sheep from goat, and do soil analysis and fruit inspection.

    Our Lord has reserved this task exclusively for his own wounded Person.

    You as a pastor work in Two Kingdoms, wielding two kinds of righeousness. Both Kingdoms and both forms of righeousness are instituted by the same Lord Jesus.

    As a pastor you bind sin by being the instrument that God uses to bring us to faith alone in Christ. This is truly an end to sin. It is the literal end of sin , death and the power of the devil. It is alone what enables sinful man to now become truly righeousness so that he can renounce the devil in all his works and all his ways.

    Then also as a pastor you are a ruler. You govern. You do this with the law. You might make rules as Chemnitz did as a pastor, requireing women to come to the Blessed Sacrament dressed in simple black with no jewelwry. Or you might outlaw bermuda shorts at the altar rail. Or you might ban drums or liturgical dance in your parish. Are these Laws Dan makes from Christ himself? Yes they are. They are the Law of God every bit as much as the Federal Tax Code, poop scoop ordinances and your nagging wife telling you to take out the trash or baby crying at 4 am to have a diaper changed.

    But it is that first hat you wear as the minister of the Crucified Christ that is the reason for your job. It is why it is best for you to avoid waiting on tables . But waiting on tables too IS part of your job as a pastor, as are the adinistration of your congregational household.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 29

    I would say that the binding of matt 18 is the same as that in john 20 by way of sinectoche, as are all other exercises of the Law of God. I would reference the Apology´s treatment of the woman who was saved by loving much in Luke 7 which you can find here:

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

    The heavenly Kingdom alway comes in a way that cannot be seen, that is alone by faith , in Christ alone, but …

    This heavenly Kingdom must be sought where our dear Lord Jesus has told us it will be found. And this is in that “Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ” that defines any rational evidential proof that it is holy, catholic, or apostolic except for closed eyes hearing the Voice of our Lord in, with and under the word, water, and bread and wine administered by Old Adams as a service extorted out of them (you as a pastor!) by the Law. And the Law always does what? It always accuses. Matt 18. We treat him “as ” an unbeliever. We do not pronounce that he “is ” an unbeliever. We have no authority to do that. That would be to separate wheat from weed, sheep from goat, and do soil analysis and fruit inspection.

    Our Lord has reserved this task exclusively for his own wounded Person.

    You as a pastor work in Two Kingdoms, wielding two kinds of righeousness. Both Kingdoms and both forms of righeousness are instituted by the same Lord Jesus.

    As a pastor you bind sin by being the instrument that God uses to bring us to faith alone in Christ. This is truly an end to sin. It is the literal end of sin , death and the power of the devil. It is alone what enables sinful man to now become truly righeousness so that he can renounce the devil in all his works and all his ways.

    Then also as a pastor you are a ruler. You govern. You do this with the law. You might make rules as Chemnitz did as a pastor, requireing women to come to the Blessed Sacrament dressed in simple black with no jewelwry. Or you might outlaw bermuda shorts at the altar rail. Or you might ban drums or liturgical dance in your parish. Are these Laws Dan makes from Christ himself? Yes they are. They are the Law of God every bit as much as the Federal Tax Code, poop scoop ordinances and your nagging wife telling you to take out the trash or baby crying at 4 am to have a diaper changed.

    But it is that first hat you wear as the minister of the Crucified Christ that is the reason for your job. It is why it is best for you to avoid waiting on tables . But waiting on tables too IS part of your job as a pastor, as are the adinistration of your congregational household.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 29

    “Well, sort of. I mean, there is the external binding and treating as an unbeliever in this text, but the main thrust of the teaching is the effort that is to be made to restore a person so that it does not get to that point. That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.”

    I am arguing that you are excluding manifestly impenitent sinners from the christian congregation in matt 18 exactly as one would usher a loud and disruptive person out of the Divine Service.

    In that action you are not binding his sin in the sense that his capital S sinning, which is unbelief, is truly bound. Only faith in Christ can truly bind sin in that way.

    You are instead doing the same binding that a judge and jury does to maintain good order in society. And yes, criminal rehabilitation is always Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being done and is God´s Will.

    But relax Dan. When your church excommunicates, you are not separating wheat from weed or sheep from goat or doing soil analysis or fruit inspection. You are dealing with the “manifest”. This is Law and about earthly governance and consequences.

    Now is that to say that excommunication is not serious? No! That invisible “communion of saints ” will only be found in that visible “holy catholic and apostolic church” which is why we can, by faith alone, call it holy, catholic and apostolic against all reasonable evidence. Now if some other congregation receives that excommunicated person, I would rejoice if there in that new congreation , that person manages to avoid introducing the chaos that got him excommunicated from your congregation. In fact I would perhaps encourage that person to seek just such a solution if their pride will not let them do the better thing and become reconciled to the congretation that disciplined them.

    Some pastors avoid excommunication because they reason, rightly so, that that person can just go down the street and join another congretation that will not respect the excommuncation done. I think this is flawed reasoning but not for the normal reasoning as you can see. It would be good for that new pastor to urge, evangelically for that excommunicated person to make amends with his old congregation however. But the urgent priority is to bind his sins, it is not to tidy up his manifest sinning so much. Although that to is absolutely necessary for Old Adam.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 29

    “Well, sort of. I mean, there is the external binding and treating as an unbeliever in this text, but the main thrust of the teaching is the effort that is to be made to restore a person so that it does not get to that point. That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.”

    I am arguing that you are excluding manifestly impenitent sinners from the christian congregation in matt 18 exactly as one would usher a loud and disruptive person out of the Divine Service.

    In that action you are not binding his sin in the sense that his capital S sinning, which is unbelief, is truly bound. Only faith in Christ can truly bind sin in that way.

    You are instead doing the same binding that a judge and jury does to maintain good order in society. And yes, criminal rehabilitation is always Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being done and is God´s Will.

    But relax Dan. When your church excommunicates, you are not separating wheat from weed or sheep from goat or doing soil analysis or fruit inspection. You are dealing with the “manifest”. This is Law and about earthly governance and consequences.

    Now is that to say that excommunication is not serious? No! That invisible “communion of saints ” will only be found in that visible “holy catholic and apostolic church” which is why we can, by faith alone, call it holy, catholic and apostolic against all reasonable evidence. Now if some other congregation receives that excommunicated person, I would rejoice if there in that new congreation , that person manages to avoid introducing the chaos that got him excommunicated from your congregation. In fact I would perhaps encourage that person to seek just such a solution if their pride will not let them do the better thing and become reconciled to the congretation that disciplined them.

    Some pastors avoid excommunication because they reason, rightly so, that that person can just go down the street and join another congretation that will not respect the excommuncation done. I think this is flawed reasoning but not for the normal reasoning as you can see. It would be good for that new pastor to urge, evangelically for that excommunicated person to make amends with his old congregation however. But the urgent priority is to bind his sins, it is not to tidy up his manifest sinning so much. Although that to is absolutely necessary for Old Adam.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 29

    Casuistic application:

    A man bones the church secretary who happens to be married to the son of an important family in a smallish congretation.

    The pastor judges that the man should be excommunicated because there is simply no way to undo the chaos this has caused. He is urged to go and join another congregation nearby, and to continue to work at trying to make amends with the family he has damaged with his actions.

    I am suggesting that matt 18 is about maintaining order. Some things are done, where restoring order might be nearly impossible wityout someone leaving the congretation.

    Now if there is no congregation within practical proximity, then that repentant man who did the church secretary will remain, and it will be upon the damaged family to find some way to learn to forgive that man and have him restored.

    I am suggesting that the point of Matt 18 is a practical one. It is an earthly Law one. And of course, it cannot be done without seeing that that John 20 binding is really what you as a pastor are all ab0ut focussing on as the end result. This is not either or. In the believer there is New Man and Old Adam. So there is Gospel, but the Law must be applied with it´s killing effect that always accuses , especially in church.

    But the ministry of the Keys is from Christ and not from Moses. So it is Gospel.

    Try this another way:

    Baptism works the forgiveness of sins. John 20 binding of sin this is.

    Baptism signifies the death of Old Adam with the Law. This is Matt 18 corporately signifying what Baptism does in John 20.

    We cannot separate the two in Baptism or in the ministry of the Keys, but we MUST distinguish the two!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 29

    Casuistic application:

    A man bones the church secretary who happens to be married to the son of an important family in a smallish congretation.

    The pastor judges that the man should be excommunicated because there is simply no way to undo the chaos this has caused. He is urged to go and join another congregation nearby, and to continue to work at trying to make amends with the family he has damaged with his actions.

    I am suggesting that matt 18 is about maintaining order. Some things are done, where restoring order might be nearly impossible wityout someone leaving the congretation.

    Now if there is no congregation within practical proximity, then that repentant man who did the church secretary will remain, and it will be upon the damaged family to find some way to learn to forgive that man and have him restored.

    I am suggesting that the point of Matt 18 is a practical one. It is an earthly Law one. And of course, it cannot be done without seeing that that John 20 binding is really what you as a pastor are all ab0ut focussing on as the end result. This is not either or. In the believer there is New Man and Old Adam. So there is Gospel, but the Law must be applied with it´s killing effect that always accuses , especially in church.

    But the ministry of the Keys is from Christ and not from Moses. So it is Gospel.

    Try this another way:

    Baptism works the forgiveness of sins. John 20 binding of sin this is.

    Baptism signifies the death of Old Adam with the Law. This is Matt 18 corporately signifying what Baptism does in John 20.

    We cannot separate the two in Baptism or in the ministry of the Keys, but we MUST distinguish the two!

  • Pete

    Independent Christian (Campbellite for reference)
    Short answer, we ignore it, mainly out of fear of being RC about it. Honestly, I’m not sure that one can honestly read this verse any way but literally. And I think it is something that deserves much more attention in my circles.

  • Pete

    Independent Christian (Campbellite for reference)
    Short answer, we ignore it, mainly out of fear of being RC about it. Honestly, I’m not sure that one can honestly read this verse any way but literally. And I think it is something that deserves much more attention in my circles.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 29

    “That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.”

    Context.

    After seeing Jesus miracles, seeing him raise the dead, where were the Holy Apostles? They were stuck in Mortal Sin. They were dead to faith. Those Luther sermons, even though they do not address that “binding of sins” that is the Law binding that is in Matt 18, address that binding of sin that is a true binding. see?

    Jesus did not leave the disciples in Mortal Sin. He did not do Matt 18. He stooped down to their weakness even to let Saint Thomas violate the open wound that saved us with is dirty little finger. See the caravagio painting…. Context.

    This is a true binding of sin.

    Matt 18 is a binding of things “manifest”. It is Law. This is not the binding Jesus is talking about in john 20. But it serves that binding. This again is not either /or. But we are talking about two kinds of binding. One is Gospel in John 20. It is the binding of the Mortal Sin of Thomas and the Disciples by the Lord who alone can alone and truly bind.

    Matt 18 is about a different binding that any Old Adam can do that must be done in a world of Old Adams by government of parents, police, pastor and church council.

    Practical application: I would certainly excommunicate a gay man or lesbian or transgender who creates chaos , confusion and dissent in a congregation by insisting on some “right” to be loud and flamboyant to the distraction of the Divine Service or congregtional life. Gays and Lesbians and Transgenders need to learn to serve by being all things to all men. Ditto their heterosexual counterparts. This is all law, law , law applied to Old Adam for the sake of the Holy Gospel.

    At the same time I would expect the pastor to preach what would seem exactly contrary to the excommunication. That message would be that the congretation must learn to be ok with transgenders in high heels in an inner city congretation where the population has changed to become different than the german lutheran population it once was.

    Both the manifest action and the preached message would be to make Christ crucified what is being done. And to exclude from the congregation any idea that anything but faith in Christ alone is what propitiates us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 29

    “That loving (though difficult) effort is, I think, the heart of the text, not the sad reality that some will harden themselves to the point of destruction. It is about who can be saved, not about who might be lost.”

    Context.

    After seeing Jesus miracles, seeing him raise the dead, where were the Holy Apostles? They were stuck in Mortal Sin. They were dead to faith. Those Luther sermons, even though they do not address that “binding of sins” that is the Law binding that is in Matt 18, address that binding of sin that is a true binding. see?

    Jesus did not leave the disciples in Mortal Sin. He did not do Matt 18. He stooped down to their weakness even to let Saint Thomas violate the open wound that saved us with is dirty little finger. See the caravagio painting…. Context.

    This is a true binding of sin.

    Matt 18 is a binding of things “manifest”. It is Law. This is not the binding Jesus is talking about in john 20. But it serves that binding. This again is not either /or. But we are talking about two kinds of binding. One is Gospel in John 20. It is the binding of the Mortal Sin of Thomas and the Disciples by the Lord who alone can alone and truly bind.

    Matt 18 is about a different binding that any Old Adam can do that must be done in a world of Old Adams by government of parents, police, pastor and church council.

    Practical application: I would certainly excommunicate a gay man or lesbian or transgender who creates chaos , confusion and dissent in a congregation by insisting on some “right” to be loud and flamboyant to the distraction of the Divine Service or congregtional life. Gays and Lesbians and Transgenders need to learn to serve by being all things to all men. Ditto their heterosexual counterparts. This is all law, law , law applied to Old Adam for the sake of the Holy Gospel.

    At the same time I would expect the pastor to preach what would seem exactly contrary to the excommunication. That message would be that the congretation must learn to be ok with transgenders in high heels in an inner city congretation where the population has changed to become different than the german lutheran population it once was.

    Both the manifest action and the preached message would be to make Christ crucified what is being done. And to exclude from the congregation any idea that anything but faith in Christ alone is what propitiates us.

  • Pete

    Side note – I remember seeing this verse used by Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis. He asserted that in the rabbinic tradition, “Binding and loosing” referred to re-interpreting scripture. Then went on to say that we have the authority to do that still today. I remember being shocked and surprised that so many of my brothers and sisters seemed to be okay with that. With that interpretation, it’s not difficult to see how we get to “Love Wins”. I say that not to pick at Bell and that whole thing, but to acknowledge that I could see that at the time and still manage to ignore verse 23. To often, we see what we want, and look right past the rest.

  • Pete

    Side note – I remember seeing this verse used by Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis. He asserted that in the rabbinic tradition, “Binding and loosing” referred to re-interpreting scripture. Then went on to say that we have the authority to do that still today. I remember being shocked and surprised that so many of my brothers and sisters seemed to be okay with that. With that interpretation, it’s not difficult to see how we get to “Love Wins”. I say that not to pick at Bell and that whole thing, but to acknowledge that I could see that at the time and still manage to ignore verse 23. To often, we see what we want, and look right past the rest.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #31,

    Had I not already finished my coffee, I might have spit it on my screen when I saw your post.

    “A man [sins]. . . The pastor judges that the man should be excommunicated because there is simply no way to undo the chaos this has caused. He is urged to go and join another congregation nearby . . .I am suggesting that matt 18 is about maintaining order.”

    OK, that helps me understand your reasoning in categorizing Matt. 18 as the external (civil, order) work of the law. Yet the casuistic example is deeply flawed. Excommunication would be entirely inappropriate if issued “because there is simply no way to undo the chaos.” In fact, if he is urged to go and join another congregation, then it is not an excommunication.

    There is an argument on the level of which you speak. If a person commits a devastating sin, repents and is reconciled with the church (if not the individuals), and wishes (or is even asked) to worhip in another place so that the aftermath of the sin is not a distraction, then fine. But it is not law. It is decency and good order.

    Excommunication is the public textimony of the church that by the external evidence of impenitence (you are right that we do not judge the heart), this person is still in their sin and not forgiven. Let’s take your example of marital infidelity. Say the man who has dallied with the married secretary, after being found out, moves in with her, much to the dismay of both spouses, families, and the entire church, and continues to flaunt the relationship while still attending worship and desiring the Lord’s supper. The pastor, in the name of the church, must eventually say, “You are no Christian and have no part of Christ so long as you continue to wilfully and knowingly defy His word.” That is what it means to “bind” sin.

    (I’ll assume the secretary is a member of another church, lest I be accused of Pharisaical reasoning. ;)

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #31,

    Had I not already finished my coffee, I might have spit it on my screen when I saw your post.

    “A man [sins]. . . The pastor judges that the man should be excommunicated because there is simply no way to undo the chaos this has caused. He is urged to go and join another congregation nearby . . .I am suggesting that matt 18 is about maintaining order.”

    OK, that helps me understand your reasoning in categorizing Matt. 18 as the external (civil, order) work of the law. Yet the casuistic example is deeply flawed. Excommunication would be entirely inappropriate if issued “because there is simply no way to undo the chaos.” In fact, if he is urged to go and join another congregation, then it is not an excommunication.

    There is an argument on the level of which you speak. If a person commits a devastating sin, repents and is reconciled with the church (if not the individuals), and wishes (or is even asked) to worhip in another place so that the aftermath of the sin is not a distraction, then fine. But it is not law. It is decency and good order.

    Excommunication is the public textimony of the church that by the external evidence of impenitence (you are right that we do not judge the heart), this person is still in their sin and not forgiven. Let’s take your example of marital infidelity. Say the man who has dallied with the married secretary, after being found out, moves in with her, much to the dismay of both spouses, families, and the entire church, and continues to flaunt the relationship while still attending worship and desiring the Lord’s supper. The pastor, in the name of the church, must eventually say, “You are no Christian and have no part of Christ so long as you continue to wilfully and knowingly defy His word.” That is what it means to “bind” sin.

    (I’ll assume the secretary is a member of another church, lest I be accused of Pharisaical reasoning. ;)

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    Further, I think you are more or less equating the two kingdoms with law and gospel. They are not the same thing. The kingdom of the right is served by both law and gospel, though the law does not save. The kingdom of the left rules with only law, and furthermore with only external law. It cares nothing for the heart.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    Further, I think you are more or less equating the two kingdoms with law and gospel. They are not the same thing. The kingdom of the right is served by both law and gospel, though the law does not save. The kingdom of the left rules with only law, and furthermore with only external law. It cares nothing for the heart.

  • larry

    The issue is that we don’t naturally incline that we’ve been so forgiven. That’s our gravity. And so we need that official “you are forgiven” in as many ways as possible. It’s not as if God changed his mind and said, “Now I didn’t see that sin coming” (line in the sand), but rather as we live a breath in time and space and sin both crassly and in our own self righteousness (we all have a little Pharisee as much as a Tax Collector in us), so we decline from forgiveness being that and thus need to here it again and again. It’s a reassurance, not a fresh forgiveness for a sin heretofore not expected by God.

    It’s like my children know I forgive them yesterday, now and in the future, I always communicate that to them, “never be afraid to come to daddy I already forgive you”. But they often times after having done something hide from me because of what they did, they might bull up and their countenance sours (anyone who’s had children sees this), and they don’t want to say “what they did”. So they build up all these walls and justifications why X happened or that it didn’t happen at all, it was this sibling (the blame game), etc…, etc…. A complete Cain countenance drop. Yet, when I say I forgive them, its like washing them clean, they break down come to me, hug me, hug their sibling, apologize and then their countenance raises and they are happy again, re-engaging the family, working with the family again.

    THAT’s how it works.

    I often joke, JOKE mind you, that collection should be taken RIGHT after absolution or the Lord’s Supper, because the relief one gets over one’s build up of sin is so much, there’s probably not a better time that one is more freely and joyfully willing to turn loose of more $$$.

    But then again that would be manipulative.

    On the serious side though, that’s when your countenance changes and you really love most/more. There’s nothing like forgiveness in the absolution and sacraments and even on a personal level.

    A theologian put it this way relating to the Gospel: We should be seeing that “loosening” that comes with assurance and forgiveness given, and not that “tightening up” we saw in the Pharisees.

    A movie version and example of this of absolution/sacraments is Babette’s Feast.

  • larry

    The issue is that we don’t naturally incline that we’ve been so forgiven. That’s our gravity. And so we need that official “you are forgiven” in as many ways as possible. It’s not as if God changed his mind and said, “Now I didn’t see that sin coming” (line in the sand), but rather as we live a breath in time and space and sin both crassly and in our own self righteousness (we all have a little Pharisee as much as a Tax Collector in us), so we decline from forgiveness being that and thus need to here it again and again. It’s a reassurance, not a fresh forgiveness for a sin heretofore not expected by God.

    It’s like my children know I forgive them yesterday, now and in the future, I always communicate that to them, “never be afraid to come to daddy I already forgive you”. But they often times after having done something hide from me because of what they did, they might bull up and their countenance sours (anyone who’s had children sees this), and they don’t want to say “what they did”. So they build up all these walls and justifications why X happened or that it didn’t happen at all, it was this sibling (the blame game), etc…, etc…. A complete Cain countenance drop. Yet, when I say I forgive them, its like washing them clean, they break down come to me, hug me, hug their sibling, apologize and then their countenance raises and they are happy again, re-engaging the family, working with the family again.

    THAT’s how it works.

    I often joke, JOKE mind you, that collection should be taken RIGHT after absolution or the Lord’s Supper, because the relief one gets over one’s build up of sin is so much, there’s probably not a better time that one is more freely and joyfully willing to turn loose of more $$$.

    But then again that would be manipulative.

    On the serious side though, that’s when your countenance changes and you really love most/more. There’s nothing like forgiveness in the absolution and sacraments and even on a personal level.

    A theologian put it this way relating to the Gospel: We should be seeing that “loosening” that comes with assurance and forgiveness given, and not that “tightening up” we saw in the Pharisees.

    A movie version and example of this of absolution/sacraments is Babette’s Feast.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 36

    Ah! It appears that we have a difference as to the definition of that word “Law”. Decency and good order are all about Law all the time.
    How is decency and good order not about that Law that always accuses and kills us and all and only applies to Old Adam? And applies equally to christian and pagan alike?

    “There is an argument on the level of which you speak. If a person commits a devastating sin, repents and is reconciled with the church (if not the individuals), and wishes (or is even asked) to worhip in another place so that the aftermath of the sin is not a distraction, then fine. But it is not law. It is decency and good order.”

    There is only ONE revealed Law of God. That Law is revealed in the minds of men . It is Reason. And that reason agrees with the Decalog because it is the same law.

    But our confessions also refer to that same Law as having an understanding that cannot be know by Reason.

    Reason is veiled with the Veil of Moses, which is to say that Reason can only see that the Law is kept and ordered by a Matt 18 kind of action.

    When the confessions speak of a Law that only Christians can know, they refer to that Law that is only revealed in the 1st table of the Decalog that deals with new movements of the heart which is faith alone in Christ alone. This is the binding that Christ alone can give the power to do .

    Matt 18 exclusion can and at times must be done entirely apart from faith , and is required and commanded by Christ in governing the church. This is about dealing with “manifest” sins of the second table. This is not about the church declaring that someone is weed not wheat or goat and not sheep. It is about soil analysis and fruit inspection. It is about Saint James and judging me according to what they do.

    And in the church this is to maintain order>

    I would note that the Bible does not use that word “excommunicate”. And you are giving a definition that reflects the traditional practice of the church :

    Excommunication is the public textimony of the church that by the external evidence of impenitence (you are right that we do not judge the heart), this person is still in their sin and not forgiven.

    What is that but to separate wheat from weed and sheep from goat. That is not for the Church to do. I am suggesting that instead Matt 18 is telling us to exclude those who are disruptive from the Christian congregation.

    Yoy say that Matt 18 says something that is not in the text. You say we declare that someone is not a christian and is outside the faith.

    I read matt 18 as saying that we treat someone “as if” they are not of the faith. That is more in line with what I am saying. To tell someone they are no longer welcome to worship/commune at your congretation pastor is excommunication. That may consist of telling that man he needs to go and attend a different congretation.

    In early Lutheran times and 1st century times, there was only one parish in a practical geographic area. I suggest that the intent is what matters here, not the form. You yourself suggested that by saying that reconciliation (ie that binding of sin that only Christ can do in faith) is the real point of it all.

    But I add that that police action is the means to that end. We often lean antinomian here I am suggesting. there is an earthly mundane police action here that we don´t want to ascribe to “church” since we have been conditioned to think that “two kingdoms” is about church vs state.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 36

    Ah! It appears that we have a difference as to the definition of that word “Law”. Decency and good order are all about Law all the time.
    How is decency and good order not about that Law that always accuses and kills us and all and only applies to Old Adam? And applies equally to christian and pagan alike?

    “There is an argument on the level of which you speak. If a person commits a devastating sin, repents and is reconciled with the church (if not the individuals), and wishes (or is even asked) to worhip in another place so that the aftermath of the sin is not a distraction, then fine. But it is not law. It is decency and good order.”

    There is only ONE revealed Law of God. That Law is revealed in the minds of men . It is Reason. And that reason agrees with the Decalog because it is the same law.

    But our confessions also refer to that same Law as having an understanding that cannot be know by Reason.

    Reason is veiled with the Veil of Moses, which is to say that Reason can only see that the Law is kept and ordered by a Matt 18 kind of action.

    When the confessions speak of a Law that only Christians can know, they refer to that Law that is only revealed in the 1st table of the Decalog that deals with new movements of the heart which is faith alone in Christ alone. This is the binding that Christ alone can give the power to do .

    Matt 18 exclusion can and at times must be done entirely apart from faith , and is required and commanded by Christ in governing the church. This is about dealing with “manifest” sins of the second table. This is not about the church declaring that someone is weed not wheat or goat and not sheep. It is about soil analysis and fruit inspection. It is about Saint James and judging me according to what they do.

    And in the church this is to maintain order>

    I would note that the Bible does not use that word “excommunicate”. And you are giving a definition that reflects the traditional practice of the church :

    Excommunication is the public textimony of the church that by the external evidence of impenitence (you are right that we do not judge the heart), this person is still in their sin and not forgiven.

    What is that but to separate wheat from weed and sheep from goat. That is not for the Church to do. I am suggesting that instead Matt 18 is telling us to exclude those who are disruptive from the Christian congregation.

    Yoy say that Matt 18 says something that is not in the text. You say we declare that someone is not a christian and is outside the faith.

    I read matt 18 as saying that we treat someone “as if” they are not of the faith. That is more in line with what I am saying. To tell someone they are no longer welcome to worship/commune at your congretation pastor is excommunication. That may consist of telling that man he needs to go and attend a different congretation.

    In early Lutheran times and 1st century times, there was only one parish in a practical geographic area. I suggest that the intent is what matters here, not the form. You yourself suggested that by saying that reconciliation (ie that binding of sin that only Christ can do in faith) is the real point of it all.

    But I add that that police action is the means to that end. We often lean antinomian here I am suggesting. there is an earthly mundane police action here that we don´t want to ascribe to “church” since we have been conditioned to think that “two kingdoms” is about church vs state.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    You are right! I AM defining the Two Kingdoms exactly and exclusively as a modality of teaching Law and Gospel. That right hand /left hand stuff is no where to be found in our confessions.

    Read here to see how the Luther sermon that is part of our Lutheran Confessions (by virtue of being referenced by FC art IV as the elaboration of what they are saying in that article) uses heavenly vs earthly kingdom terminology.

    So this , right here, is where our difference is dear Dan. This confessional understanding of what is meant by the Two Kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righteousness results in the understanding of the exercise of the keys as expressed in our small catechism.

    here is the sermon:

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

    If you are wondering how this sermon has anything at all to do with art VI and “third use” that would be found in this sermon in the paragraph that starts this way:

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters. Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    It is obvious here that Luther and our confessions mean by the “two kingdoms” exactly and most pointedly a Law and Gospel distinction!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    You are right! I AM defining the Two Kingdoms exactly and exclusively as a modality of teaching Law and Gospel. That right hand /left hand stuff is no where to be found in our confessions.

    Read here to see how the Luther sermon that is part of our Lutheran Confessions (by virtue of being referenced by FC art IV as the elaboration of what they are saying in that article) uses heavenly vs earthly kingdom terminology.

    So this , right here, is where our difference is dear Dan. This confessional understanding of what is meant by the Two Kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righteousness results in the understanding of the exercise of the keys as expressed in our small catechism.

    here is the sermon:

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

    If you are wondering how this sermon has anything at all to do with art VI and “third use” that would be found in this sermon in the paragraph that starts this way:

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters. Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    It is obvious here that Luther and our confessions mean by the “two kingdoms” exactly and most pointedly a Law and Gospel distinction!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    try this:
    I am suggesting that the Lutheran Confessions understanding of the expression Two Kingdoms is exactly a Law and gospel distinction. How?

    earthly kingdom fully includes ALL that we can see and do in our bodies. This includes all “outward” good works, which would include faith, willpower, and especially (!) the administration of the word and sacraments. Further , this earthly kingdom stuff all happens and is driven by the Law applied to our Old Adams.

    Then there is a heavenly kingdom that cannot include anything we can do, not even the doing of word and sacraments or faith or love. Why not? Those things are already ALL included in that other earthly kingdom! The heavenly kingdom consists alone of invisible faith alone in Christ.

    This is how the two kingdoms is taught everywhere in our Lutheran Confessions.

    The idea that the Two Kingdoms is about the civil vs the churchly estate is not confessional. It is not Lutheran teaching.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    try this:
    I am suggesting that the Lutheran Confessions understanding of the expression Two Kingdoms is exactly a Law and gospel distinction. How?

    earthly kingdom fully includes ALL that we can see and do in our bodies. This includes all “outward” good works, which would include faith, willpower, and especially (!) the administration of the word and sacraments. Further , this earthly kingdom stuff all happens and is driven by the Law applied to our Old Adams.

    Then there is a heavenly kingdom that cannot include anything we can do, not even the doing of word and sacraments or faith or love. Why not? Those things are already ALL included in that other earthly kingdom! The heavenly kingdom consists alone of invisible faith alone in Christ.

    This is how the two kingdoms is taught everywhere in our Lutheran Confessions.

    The idea that the Two Kingdoms is about the civil vs the churchly estate is not confessional. It is not Lutheran teaching.

  • DonS

    To answer the question in the original post, I believe that the passage does parallel Matt. 16:19 and 18:18. Clearly, it does not empower human beings to forgive or not forgive sin. That act was performed, once and for all, by the Savior, and He is the One who forgives our sins (I John 1:9). I agree with Bike Bubba’s comment @ 21 and Dan Kempin’s point @ 14.

  • DonS

    To answer the question in the original post, I believe that the passage does parallel Matt. 16:19 and 18:18. Clearly, it does not empower human beings to forgive or not forgive sin. That act was performed, once and for all, by the Savior, and He is the One who forgives our sins (I John 1:9). I agree with Bike Bubba’s comment @ 21 and Dan Kempin’s point @ 14.

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

    Purple Koolaid,
    The NT. doesn’t speak about ordination? The person who told you this probably uses the same argument against the trinity, it doesn’t use that word.
    Yet the concept is there. Through out Acts but especially in 14:23 you have Paul appointing elders. In Titus and 1 and 2 Timothy you have the same thing even speaking of of laying on of hands. I Cor. 4 is another verse tied to the concept.

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

    Purple Koolaid,
    The NT. doesn’t speak about ordination? The person who told you this probably uses the same argument against the trinity, it doesn’t use that word.
    Yet the concept is there. Through out Acts but especially in 14:23 you have Paul appointing elders. In Titus and 1 and 2 Timothy you have the same thing even speaking of of laying on of hands. I Cor. 4 is another verse tied to the concept.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    any idea where that “right /left hand” terminology came from? It is not Confessional. The confessions use earthly/heavenly kingdom. visible/invisible, law/faith, and even faith/Faith.

    [1] The kingdom of the right is served by both law and gospel, though the law does not save. [2] The kingdom of the left rules with only law, and furthermore with only external law. It cares nothing for the heart.

    Let me change this to conform to the form of language of our
    confessions:

    2) The kingdom of the Earth, also called the Kingdom of the Law includes everthing we can see and do in our bodies. This fully includes faith, good works, and love in thought word and deed. It fully includes using our reason and willpower to curb our natural appetites as they are driven by emotion. and it especially includes everything we can see and do in church, which includes holy baptism, and administration of word and sacraments and confession and the preached word etc etc etc. This is the Law driving the Old Adam so Fatherly Goodness and Mercy can happen on earth.

    1) the Heavenly kingdom includes EVERYTHING that is NOT in that Earthly Kingdom. So what is that? It is alone invisible faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins.

    “in, with and under” those earthly kingdom law things of Holy Catholic Church, baptism , supper and the preached word faith is created.

    The kingdom of God comes then in ways that cannot be seen. This is true for the first article as well as the 2nd and 3rd article. But it always comes “in, with and under” Earthly Kingdom means that God has appointed.

    In those earthly Law things God attaches a Promise. Faith clings to the Promise, finding it where God says it is to be found, and there receives the Promised Mercy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 37

    any idea where that “right /left hand” terminology came from? It is not Confessional. The confessions use earthly/heavenly kingdom. visible/invisible, law/faith, and even faith/Faith.

    [1] The kingdom of the right is served by both law and gospel, though the law does not save. [2] The kingdom of the left rules with only law, and furthermore with only external law. It cares nothing for the heart.

    Let me change this to conform to the form of language of our
    confessions:

    2) The kingdom of the Earth, also called the Kingdom of the Law includes everthing we can see and do in our bodies. This fully includes faith, good works, and love in thought word and deed. It fully includes using our reason and willpower to curb our natural appetites as they are driven by emotion. and it especially includes everything we can see and do in church, which includes holy baptism, and administration of word and sacraments and confession and the preached word etc etc etc. This is the Law driving the Old Adam so Fatherly Goodness and Mercy can happen on earth.

    1) the Heavenly kingdom includes EVERYTHING that is NOT in that Earthly Kingdom. So what is that? It is alone invisible faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins.

    “in, with and under” those earthly kingdom law things of Holy Catholic Church, baptism , supper and the preached word faith is created.

    The kingdom of God comes then in ways that cannot be seen. This is true for the first article as well as the 2nd and 3rd article. But it always comes “in, with and under” Earthly Kingdom means that God has appointed.

    In those earthly Law things God attaches a Promise. Faith clings to the Promise, finding it where God says it is to be found, and there receives the Promised Mercy.

  • Grace

    The Disciples who were assembled together, it is to them Christ Jesus spoke; the statement in verses 21 and 22 was to them, not to the future popes of Rome, Lutheran pastors, fifteen hundred years later, priests, but to His Disciples.

    19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
    21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
    John 20

    The Apostles had power that was not given to those today. Rome, and the Pope believe they have the same importance today, and so do other groups such as the Lutheran Church and others

    The Apostles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. They spent 40 days with Christ after His Resurrection, they had in that time, more seminary, more Biblical knowledge than you or I – they also had power that was a special gift, that we don’t have.

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t.

    This is my point, the authority was given to the Disciples of Christ, by Christ, His Apostles, not to you or anyone else, it wasn’t HANDED DOWN, like the Roman Catholic Church believes, and other churches.

  • Grace

    The Disciples who were assembled together, it is to them Christ Jesus spoke; the statement in verses 21 and 22 was to them, not to the future popes of Rome, Lutheran pastors, fifteen hundred years later, priests, but to His Disciples.

    19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
    21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
    John 20

    The Apostles had power that was not given to those today. Rome, and the Pope believe they have the same importance today, and so do other groups such as the Lutheran Church and others

    The Apostles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. They spent 40 days with Christ after His Resurrection, they had in that time, more seminary, more Biblical knowledge than you or I – they also had power that was a special gift, that we don’t have.

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t.

    This is my point, the authority was given to the Disciples of Christ, by Christ, His Apostles, not to you or anyone else, it wasn’t HANDED DOWN, like the Roman Catholic Church believes, and other churches.

  • Albert

    So Grace, does that logic also apply to the Great Commission? Was it not also given only to his disciples/apostles?

  • Albert

    So Grace, does that logic also apply to the Great Commission? Was it not also given only to his disciples/apostles?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 45

    “The Apostles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. ”

    So your position Grace is that the gift of speaking in tongues and healings do not happen today ? that they were given only to the Apostles?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    grace @ 45

    “The Apostles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. ”

    So your position Grace is that the gift of speaking in tongues and healings do not happen today ? that they were given only to the Apostles?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C’mon Grace (@44), you keep trying this “John 20:23 only refers to the Twelve” angle over and over, though you’ve repeatedly been shown your error!

    John in this passage refers not merely to the Apostles, but to “the disciples” — John’s word for Jesus’ followers in general. When John wanted to refer to the Apostles, he called them “the Twelve” (cf. John 6:60-70).

    And who are Jesus’ disciples? I am. You are. After all, we are the result of the Great Commission: “go and make disciples of all nations”.

    You are right when you say that “the authority was given to the Disciples of Christ”. But the question then becomes: are you denying that you are a disciple of Christ?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C’mon Grace (@44), you keep trying this “John 20:23 only refers to the Twelve” angle over and over, though you’ve repeatedly been shown your error!

    John in this passage refers not merely to the Apostles, but to “the disciples” — John’s word for Jesus’ followers in general. When John wanted to refer to the Apostles, he called them “the Twelve” (cf. John 6:60-70).

    And who are Jesus’ disciples? I am. You are. After all, we are the result of the Great Commission: “go and make disciples of all nations”.

    You are right when you say that “the authority was given to the Disciples of Christ”. But the question then becomes: are you denying that you are a disciple of Christ?

  • Grace

    A thought provoking passage of Scripture:

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
    Luke 9:1

    NOTICE: It is only Christ’s Twelve disciples/Apostles

    Could that mean the UNUSUAL POWER, given the disciples was for the time these men were on earth? I believe it was. As the passage states:

    “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.”

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t. I have often wondered why those who claim to have power to cure diseases do not go through the hospitals and heal/cure all those who are dying and ill, especially the children. Have you ever been to a hospital that specialized in children, their disease? I HAVE. It is one of the most pain wrenching sights you will ever see. How could anyone, who has the gift of healing and curing diseases, overlook children?

    I believe that people can be healed, I have seen it. But I don’t believe that it happens today as it did when the Apostles were on earth.

  • Grace

    A thought provoking passage of Scripture:

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
    Luke 9:1

    NOTICE: It is only Christ’s Twelve disciples/Apostles

    Could that mean the UNUSUAL POWER, given the disciples was for the time these men were on earth? I believe it was. As the passage states:

    “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.”

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t. I have often wondered why those who claim to have power to cure diseases do not go through the hospitals and heal/cure all those who are dying and ill, especially the children. Have you ever been to a hospital that specialized in children, their disease? I HAVE. It is one of the most pain wrenching sights you will ever see. How could anyone, who has the gift of healing and curing diseases, overlook children?

    I believe that people can be healed, I have seen it. But I don’t believe that it happens today as it did when the Apostles were on earth.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    We can break down the terminology if you like–I will concede the point and clarity is always good–but it seems that we are ranging even further afield than usual. We were talking about the role of the church in forgiving and retaining sins, but now I am having a hard time following you through the many nuanced layers of law that you seem to see and the second “binding” of sin that is apparently a gospel work of the Holy Spirit.

    So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean?

    You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.” Yet be careful, for if you minimise the real and binding judgment against such unrepented sin, then you risk minimising the real and binding nature of the absolution. Indeed, if the pastor (for instance) cannot bind my hard heart, then how can he free my broken one? If he cannot set before me the certainty of condemnation, then how can I trust the certainty of his absolution?

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    We can break down the terminology if you like–I will concede the point and clarity is always good–but it seems that we are ranging even further afield than usual. We were talking about the role of the church in forgiving and retaining sins, but now I am having a hard time following you through the many nuanced layers of law that you seem to see and the second “binding” of sin that is apparently a gospel work of the Holy Spirit.

    So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean?

    You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.” Yet be careful, for if you minimise the real and binding judgment against such unrepented sin, then you risk minimising the real and binding nature of the absolution. Indeed, if the pastor (for instance) cannot bind my hard heart, then how can he free my broken one? If he cannot set before me the certainty of condemnation, then how can I trust the certainty of his absolution?

  • Dan Kempin

    Grace, #48,

    Lutherans agree that the twelve apostles were given special and unusual powers to accompany the proclamation of the gospel, and that those powers were not handed down. The argument is that the authority to forgive and retain sins here in John 20 (and elsewhere) is not one of those localised gifts, but an ongoing gift to the church (i.e. the disciples of Christ, per tODD) in the same way that baptism, the Lord’s supper, and the authority to proclaim the gospel did not expire with the apostles.

  • Dan Kempin

    Grace, #48,

    Lutherans agree that the twelve apostles were given special and unusual powers to accompany the proclamation of the gospel, and that those powers were not handed down. The argument is that the authority to forgive and retain sins here in John 20 (and elsewhere) is not one of those localised gifts, but an ongoing gift to the church (i.e. the disciples of Christ, per tODD) in the same way that baptism, the Lord’s supper, and the authority to proclaim the gospel did not expire with the apostles.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    “You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.” ”

    “The Law always accuses. ” The Law always kills.
    “Discipline and Good order” are about this very Law.

    Can you please explain to me before we go on how you feel that “discipline and good order ” in the church are not about the Law accusing and killing?

    Yes I am backing up quite a bit in our conversation I know…. thanks in advance for clarifying.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    “You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.” ”

    “The Law always accuses. ” The Law always kills.
    “Discipline and Good order” are about this very Law.

    Can you please explain to me before we go on how you feel that “discipline and good order ” in the church are not about the Law accusing and killing?

    Yes I am backing up quite a bit in our conversation I know…. thanks in advance for clarifying.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 50

    I am saying that “merely ” never describes the work of the Law. The Law always accuses and works our death.

    And yes, this is the process and means that the Holy Ghost must employ on the Old Adam of all of us to work Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    It is the fact that the Law is used to work that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that allows St Paul to say the Law is good. And forces the Law that is Reason written in the minds of me to concur with that judgement even as they at the same time hate the Law and the God who delivers that Law.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 50

    I am saying that “merely ” never describes the work of the Law. The Law always accuses and works our death.

    And yes, this is the process and means that the Holy Ghost must employ on the Old Adam of all of us to work Fatherly Goodness and Mercy.

    It is the fact that the Law is used to work that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that allows St Paul to say the Law is good. And forces the Law that is Reason written in the minds of me to concur with that judgement even as they at the same time hate the Law and the God who delivers that Law.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@48), it is peculiar that, when discussing the forgiveness of sins and John 20:23, you routinely try to make the discussion about miraculous healings and passages that are not John 20:23.

    As Dan has said, the fact that the Apostles (i.e. the Twelve) were given miraculous powers that neither your nor I possess has no bearing on John 20:23. That passage, again, is not limited to just the Twelve.

    Are you a disciple of Christ or not, Grace?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@48), it is peculiar that, when discussing the forgiveness of sins and John 20:23, you routinely try to make the discussion about miraculous healings and passages that are not John 20:23.

    As Dan has said, the fact that the Apostles (i.e. the Twelve) were given miraculous powers that neither your nor I possess has no bearing on John 20:23. That passage, again, is not limited to just the Twelve.

    Are you a disciple of Christ or not, Grace?

  • Grace

    The Word of God does not state, that anyone needs to obtain absolution for their sins from a pastor or priest. The Bible states something very different:

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    1 John 1:9

    The Roman Catholic Church, some Orthodox and Lutheran’s have not understood that only Christ can forgive sins.

  • Grace

    The Word of God does not state, that anyone needs to obtain absolution for their sins from a pastor or priest. The Bible states something very different:

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    1 John 1:9

    The Roman Catholic Church, some Orthodox and Lutheran’s have not understood that only Christ can forgive sins.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, you are correct when you say (@54) that “only Christ can forgive sins”.

    What you routinely miss, however, is that Christ delegated this authority to his disciples. In John 20:23.

    Are you a disciple of Christ?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, you are correct when you say (@54) that “only Christ can forgive sins”.

    What you routinely miss, however, is that Christ delegated this authority to his disciples. In John 20:23.

    Are you a disciple of Christ?

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #52,

    As a point of clarity, I did not say DISCIPLINE and good order, I said DECENCY and good order–as in, “so that all things may be done decently and in good order.” I meant that it was not law because it was adiaphoron–neither commanded nor forbidden. If you have committed a messy sin and it is awkward for you to remain in a particular congregation, you can stay and work through it, or you can find another fellowship. You are free to choose either. There is no right or wrong answer.

    And I still agree with you about the Law always accusing and working death. In fact, the binding of unrepentant public sin is the textbook example of “Law” applied to the individual, just as absolution is the textbook example of “Gospel,” so I’m not sure of your issue on this.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #52,

    As a point of clarity, I did not say DISCIPLINE and good order, I said DECENCY and good order–as in, “so that all things may be done decently and in good order.” I meant that it was not law because it was adiaphoron–neither commanded nor forbidden. If you have committed a messy sin and it is awkward for you to remain in a particular congregation, you can stay and work through it, or you can find another fellowship. You are free to choose either. There is no right or wrong answer.

    And I still agree with you about the Law always accusing and working death. In fact, the binding of unrepentant public sin is the textbook example of “Law” applied to the individual, just as absolution is the textbook example of “Gospel,” so I’m not sure of your issue on this.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    “So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean? ”

    1) First a technical comment just for Dan:

    my greek nt does not say ” withhold forgiveness”. It says bind and loose. deo e lho.

    “Shall be bound in heaven” (estai dedemenon) and “shall be loosed in heaven” (estai lelumenon) as you know are perfect passive participles. So more precise would be “is having been bound” and “is having been loosed.” Why was the aorist not used instead?

    I was told by someone ( I don´t remember who…) that the words translated “bind” and “loose” are from the Greek deo and lyo, are themselves translations of the Aramaic asar and sera and that this was the Jewish formula for excommunication and reinstatement. If true this provides a historical context for all this yes?

    2) What is sin? Here is more where our focus should be I suggest Dan.

    If sin is concupicscence meaning that it is our baser appetites for sex , money, power , greed driven by the emotions to do what feels good, then “binding” (restraining? making of no effect? incapacitating? applying? dispensing?) has a certain meaning an envisioned application. In that case the task is to bind “manifest” actions that are really symptoms of sin. It is to shape up. It is to prevent someone from doing damage. In secular terms that would be to incarcerate or exile someone. It might be even to repent in the outward form of stopping one´s adultery, drinking or greed. And that should happen. But this “binding” is not about a heart change is it. Let´s be clear on that.

    But to bind in this way in no way binds sin. Let´s be clear on that too. So what is it that is being bound and retained?

    In fact the sin of the pharisees was that they trusted in this kind of binding of sin as propitiation. This is also the roman catholic idea of how to bind sin.

    Sure that kind of sin does need to be bound. But any judge in any court can bind that sin. And how is it that this kind of Law binding brings one to not just the true but outward repentance of Judas that leads to death? It cannot. It is powerless to do so. So you are suggesting that the Ministry of the Keys is Law AND Gospel. I don´t see how that is. The Law has no power to bring repentance.

    If concupiscence is instead Original Sin which is to cling in faith to anything (especially our works and goodness!) but the works of Christ alone, then we matt 18 looks more like the context before john 20. It looks like how Jesus bound the Mortal sin of the Holy Apostles just before he gives then that exact same power to bind our sins.

    If capital S sin is a faith that viciously takes over when faith alone in Christ alone leaves, then how is the Church then to bind what is really sin, which is the sin of faith that crowds out Christ? Our confessions define Mortal Sin not as unbelief or unbridled sexual sinning etc. Mortal sin is to not trust in Christ. This is the capital sin.

    Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. How do we bind a faith that is in everything but Christ. What does it mean to BIND it? To inform someone that it is not forgiven?

    Are you proposing that this is to tell someone this: “You do not (appear to? ) have faith in Christ´s forgiveness and so you do not have Christ´s forgiveness?”

    Somehow that is not what I am hearing.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    “So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean? ”

    1) First a technical comment just for Dan:

    my greek nt does not say ” withhold forgiveness”. It says bind and loose. deo e lho.

    “Shall be bound in heaven” (estai dedemenon) and “shall be loosed in heaven” (estai lelumenon) as you know are perfect passive participles. So more precise would be “is having been bound” and “is having been loosed.” Why was the aorist not used instead?

    I was told by someone ( I don´t remember who…) that the words translated “bind” and “loose” are from the Greek deo and lyo, are themselves translations of the Aramaic asar and sera and that this was the Jewish formula for excommunication and reinstatement. If true this provides a historical context for all this yes?

    2) What is sin? Here is more where our focus should be I suggest Dan.

    If sin is concupicscence meaning that it is our baser appetites for sex , money, power , greed driven by the emotions to do what feels good, then “binding” (restraining? making of no effect? incapacitating? applying? dispensing?) has a certain meaning an envisioned application. In that case the task is to bind “manifest” actions that are really symptoms of sin. It is to shape up. It is to prevent someone from doing damage. In secular terms that would be to incarcerate or exile someone. It might be even to repent in the outward form of stopping one´s adultery, drinking or greed. And that should happen. But this “binding” is not about a heart change is it. Let´s be clear on that.

    But to bind in this way in no way binds sin. Let´s be clear on that too. So what is it that is being bound and retained?

    In fact the sin of the pharisees was that they trusted in this kind of binding of sin as propitiation. This is also the roman catholic idea of how to bind sin.

    Sure that kind of sin does need to be bound. But any judge in any court can bind that sin. And how is it that this kind of Law binding brings one to not just the true but outward repentance of Judas that leads to death? It cannot. It is powerless to do so. So you are suggesting that the Ministry of the Keys is Law AND Gospel. I don´t see how that is. The Law has no power to bring repentance.

    If concupiscence is instead Original Sin which is to cling in faith to anything (especially our works and goodness!) but the works of Christ alone, then we matt 18 looks more like the context before john 20. It looks like how Jesus bound the Mortal sin of the Holy Apostles just before he gives then that exact same power to bind our sins.

    If capital S sin is a faith that viciously takes over when faith alone in Christ alone leaves, then how is the Church then to bind what is really sin, which is the sin of faith that crowds out Christ? Our confessions define Mortal Sin not as unbelief or unbridled sexual sinning etc. Mortal sin is to not trust in Christ. This is the capital sin.

    Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. How do we bind a faith that is in everything but Christ. What does it mean to BIND it? To inform someone that it is not forgiven?

    Are you proposing that this is to tell someone this: “You do not (appear to? ) have faith in Christ´s forgiveness and so you do not have Christ´s forgiveness?”

    Somehow that is not what I am hearing.

  • larry

    Lawyers aside, I can tell you there are TONS of Christian consciences bound in fear and despair by not having this in other confessions and it’s the confessions they innocently believe and have been taught as true that binds them, in a very sad way. It goes something like this, I’ve heard in private conversations of those despairing more than a few times, “If I could just hear Jesus tell ME that He forgives my sin…then I’d know” (usually in the realm of election is where this comes from).

    What’s notable about that is that is the desperate plea for a “pro me”, not about John down the street that’s saved and seems to think so, or Peter the Apostle 2000+ years ago or Bubbala in Istanbul in 1742.

    But here’s the fear, Satan has done his job well with Rome paranoia; its something I wrestled with and my wife after me until it donned on us both what the issue was. As a more or less reformed type protestant if you say, “you need absolution”, you have to remember their minds are not in a Lutheran confessional paradigm/belief. So, they immediately think, especially Calvinist, that sounds like works. Something like, “You mean you are saying I have to keep going back to God for forgiveness and it wasn’t once for all?” And that smells of Arminian and Roman works righteousness and thus instant repulsion. The key here is that it appears to be an unsettled issue in the objective mind of God, I sin, I need to get forgiven AGAIN else I’m damned = works righteousness and not “once for all time”.

    What they don’t understand is that it is not an issue in God’s mind, its not on God’s side of the equation, He has once for all reconciled all sin. But that absolution is for YOU because you and I, the subjective, don’t really incline to believe this for very long. It’s not that there’s a more or less “half-life” to faith from God’s side but that OUR faith varies, weakens and wars with inherent unbelief that doubts this. So the absolution, return to baptism, return to the Lord’s Supper is NOT due to a change in God’s mind or that something for forgiveness is needed again for God, but due to our fickled faith/unbelief so that WE KNOW.

    Luther’s commentary on the Lord’s Prayer helps bring this out in the petition “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, my paraphrase, it is not as if God has not ALREADY forgiven us, we have that ALREADY and entirely once for all in the Gospel, forgiveness of sin and righteousness given us, but we pray this petition so that we may be led by God to BELIEVE IT.

    The flip for myself and my wife was to realize, “Hey this is done not from my end to appease God, but He’s saying this to me via the pastor so I WILL BELIEVE AND BE ASSURED. A very tender Fatherly thing and not a mob boss looking for loyalty!

    That’s a HUGE flip for the reformed because all their lives the picture of God painted before them is quid pro quo legal god, not a Father who sent His Son in particular FOR YOU to die in your place. You are told or implied in the doctrine that God is not really DOING ANYTHING in His expressions toward you in absolution or the sacraments. This is linked back to divine election and reprobation, you cannot tell who ACTUALLY HAS BEEN forgiven or not.

    The difference can also be displayed in this quote from Abraham Kuyper 1840 – 1920, Dutch Reformed Calvinist/minister. Quote on his Lectures On Calvinism.
    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    This plays out a huge difference in how God is “painted” to the believer. In the Reformed mind there are only two possibilities, Arminianism and Calvinism. When a Calvinist sees Lutherans going again and again to absolution for forgiveness, this smacks of works righteousness via the more or less Arminian way. But think about the paradigm one is in – in Calvinism, what you actually believe to be true/truth, you are in a paradigm of a belief system that says in the ever present that YOU are either elect or not. If you ARE elect then going back for forgiveness is really superfluous for the elect cannot fall away. If you are NOT elect then it doesn’t matter. In Arminianism you are always PROVING your faith to God. In all cases you are NOT confessing “just as much if not more a sinner than when I started”. The fear of God has been relinquished if you are “in” and thus elect, and if not then its sheer undiluted terror and despair with no hope whatsoever.

    The big flip, if you will, is the fact that God HAS ALREADY forgiven you ALL your sins forever and ever and ever even if you don’t get better (that’s Gospel for the new Adam against the old Adam that’s trying to strangle him to death on law). And that such Words as absolution from the pastor’s mouth, baptism from the pastor’s hand and the Lord’s Supper from the same are actually from God Himself explicitly. Like I teach my kids, “who baptized you.” Answer: “God did with the pastor’s hand”. Then it strikes you, the Gospel, deeply and richly, “So THIS is what God is like”. There’s no worship like it.

    The comments that many make that “only Christ forgives sin” are basically the same comments the Pharisees made to the incarnate Christ that only God can forgive sin, and ignore His means including the incarnation itself to do so.

    EVERY SINGLE THING in false Protestantism, if one takes a simple step back, militates against any form of a “for me” (pro me). EVERY SINGLE false doctrine does this so that no man may know “for me/themselves” and it stays in the generic gnosis of unknowing. This is without exception Word or Sacraments. And if there is at the end of the day no “pro me” then it is in FACT not theory a false and another gospel that is damned. Now that may sound harsh but that is the facts of the matter.

  • larry

    Lawyers aside, I can tell you there are TONS of Christian consciences bound in fear and despair by not having this in other confessions and it’s the confessions they innocently believe and have been taught as true that binds them, in a very sad way. It goes something like this, I’ve heard in private conversations of those despairing more than a few times, “If I could just hear Jesus tell ME that He forgives my sin…then I’d know” (usually in the realm of election is where this comes from).

    What’s notable about that is that is the desperate plea for a “pro me”, not about John down the street that’s saved and seems to think so, or Peter the Apostle 2000+ years ago or Bubbala in Istanbul in 1742.

    But here’s the fear, Satan has done his job well with Rome paranoia; its something I wrestled with and my wife after me until it donned on us both what the issue was. As a more or less reformed type protestant if you say, “you need absolution”, you have to remember their minds are not in a Lutheran confessional paradigm/belief. So, they immediately think, especially Calvinist, that sounds like works. Something like, “You mean you are saying I have to keep going back to God for forgiveness and it wasn’t once for all?” And that smells of Arminian and Roman works righteousness and thus instant repulsion. The key here is that it appears to be an unsettled issue in the objective mind of God, I sin, I need to get forgiven AGAIN else I’m damned = works righteousness and not “once for all time”.

    What they don’t understand is that it is not an issue in God’s mind, its not on God’s side of the equation, He has once for all reconciled all sin. But that absolution is for YOU because you and I, the subjective, don’t really incline to believe this for very long. It’s not that there’s a more or less “half-life” to faith from God’s side but that OUR faith varies, weakens and wars with inherent unbelief that doubts this. So the absolution, return to baptism, return to the Lord’s Supper is NOT due to a change in God’s mind or that something for forgiveness is needed again for God, but due to our fickled faith/unbelief so that WE KNOW.

    Luther’s commentary on the Lord’s Prayer helps bring this out in the petition “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, my paraphrase, it is not as if God has not ALREADY forgiven us, we have that ALREADY and entirely once for all in the Gospel, forgiveness of sin and righteousness given us, but we pray this petition so that we may be led by God to BELIEVE IT.

    The flip for myself and my wife was to realize, “Hey this is done not from my end to appease God, but He’s saying this to me via the pastor so I WILL BELIEVE AND BE ASSURED. A very tender Fatherly thing and not a mob boss looking for loyalty!

    That’s a HUGE flip for the reformed because all their lives the picture of God painted before them is quid pro quo legal god, not a Father who sent His Son in particular FOR YOU to die in your place. You are told or implied in the doctrine that God is not really DOING ANYTHING in His expressions toward you in absolution or the sacraments. This is linked back to divine election and reprobation, you cannot tell who ACTUALLY HAS BEEN forgiven or not.

    The difference can also be displayed in this quote from Abraham Kuyper 1840 – 1920, Dutch Reformed Calvinist/minister. Quote on his Lectures On Calvinism.
    “The children of believers are to be considered the recipients of efficacious grace in whom the work of efficacious grace has already begun and that when dying before attaining the years of discretion, they can only be regarded as saved. Of course the Calvinist never declared that these things are necessarily so, as they never permitted themselves to pronounce official judgment on an adult, but left the judgment to God. So they have never usurped the right to pronounce on the presence or absence of spiritual life in infants.”

    This plays out a huge difference in how God is “painted” to the believer. In the Reformed mind there are only two possibilities, Arminianism and Calvinism. When a Calvinist sees Lutherans going again and again to absolution for forgiveness, this smacks of works righteousness via the more or less Arminian way. But think about the paradigm one is in – in Calvinism, what you actually believe to be true/truth, you are in a paradigm of a belief system that says in the ever present that YOU are either elect or not. If you ARE elect then going back for forgiveness is really superfluous for the elect cannot fall away. If you are NOT elect then it doesn’t matter. In Arminianism you are always PROVING your faith to God. In all cases you are NOT confessing “just as much if not more a sinner than when I started”. The fear of God has been relinquished if you are “in” and thus elect, and if not then its sheer undiluted terror and despair with no hope whatsoever.

    The big flip, if you will, is the fact that God HAS ALREADY forgiven you ALL your sins forever and ever and ever even if you don’t get better (that’s Gospel for the new Adam against the old Adam that’s trying to strangle him to death on law). And that such Words as absolution from the pastor’s mouth, baptism from the pastor’s hand and the Lord’s Supper from the same are actually from God Himself explicitly. Like I teach my kids, “who baptized you.” Answer: “God did with the pastor’s hand”. Then it strikes you, the Gospel, deeply and richly, “So THIS is what God is like”. There’s no worship like it.

    The comments that many make that “only Christ forgives sin” are basically the same comments the Pharisees made to the incarnate Christ that only God can forgive sin, and ignore His means including the incarnation itself to do so.

    EVERY SINGLE THING in false Protestantism, if one takes a simple step back, militates against any form of a “for me” (pro me). EVERY SINGLE false doctrine does this so that no man may know “for me/themselves” and it stays in the generic gnosis of unknowing. This is without exception Word or Sacraments. And if there is at the end of the day no “pro me” then it is in FACT not theory a false and another gospel that is damned. Now that may sound harsh but that is the facts of the matter.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan K @ 51.

    having be raised in the WELS you would think I would remember that catch phrase “decency and good order” as the basis for the public ministry and all thing church. This is Law Dan. Law, law .law. It is Divine Law even. My moma tellin me to take out the trash is adiaphoron. It is also Divine Law from her mouth to my ear.

    Circumcision? Classic adiaphoron. The tradition of the church? Check. Ordered by God in the Bible? Check. anything wrong with it ? nope. Ok to make church members do it? Yes Paul was with that. To do it to make the Jewish converts comfy was righteousness. It was second table love for others. This is not just to keep the letter of the Law. This is more and better! this is circumcision to keep the entire SUM of the Law , which is love for neighbor.

    It was not the doing it that made it right or wrong. Adiaphoron.

    It was the doing it in order to please God by following some rule ,even and especially some rule in the Bible in order to propitiate God and make him happier with us. Yhat was the crime.
    When it became propitiatory as in “god says to do it and so we do it for obedience” then no.

    That obedience thang is what Christ alone can do. The crime is to rob Christ who alone has that honor.

    Ditto mandadory celebacy for pastors or homosexuals. Ditto doing the Lords supper or baptism as a meritorious work.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan K @ 51.

    having be raised in the WELS you would think I would remember that catch phrase “decency and good order” as the basis for the public ministry and all thing church. This is Law Dan. Law, law .law. It is Divine Law even. My moma tellin me to take out the trash is adiaphoron. It is also Divine Law from her mouth to my ear.

    Circumcision? Classic adiaphoron. The tradition of the church? Check. Ordered by God in the Bible? Check. anything wrong with it ? nope. Ok to make church members do it? Yes Paul was with that. To do it to make the Jewish converts comfy was righteousness. It was second table love for others. This is not just to keep the letter of the Law. This is more and better! this is circumcision to keep the entire SUM of the Law , which is love for neighbor.

    It was not the doing it that made it right or wrong. Adiaphoron.

    It was the doing it in order to please God by following some rule ,even and especially some rule in the Bible in order to propitiate God and make him happier with us. Yhat was the crime.
    When it became propitiatory as in “god says to do it and so we do it for obedience” then no.

    That obedience thang is what Christ alone can do. The crime is to rob Christ who alone has that honor.

    Ditto mandadory celebacy for pastors or homosexuals. Ditto doing the Lords supper or baptism as a meritorious work.

  • Joanne

    “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ….” and after he rose from the dead, he met with his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit and the keys of heaven. Forgiveness of sins is the key to heaven. Without forgiveness, heaven is locked.
    Quickly, list all the ways that Christ gives to us personally, the forgiveness of sins. (Well, if you don’t accept the “means” of grace, please don’t respond to this. We are just not of the same spirit.)
    And the means of grace we’re talking about here is absolution by the church through the pastor based on Mt 16:19, Mt 18:18, Jn 20:19.

    The very first thing Christ did when he met with his disciples on the first day of the week was breath on them the Holy Spirit. Later on Pentecost Day an outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the public sign of the birth of the Church, but I believe Jesus had privately established the Church when he breathed his Holy Spirit on his disciples when he met with them just after his resurrection. I see the presence of the Holy Spirit and I think Church.

    Confession and absolution. Confess one to another. Take it to the church. The key to heaven is the forgiveness.

    Mt 18:18 is all about church discipline, a how-to text. It’s the process that blind humans have to complete because, unlike the Holy Spirit, they cannot see into the heart and know the truth, so, unlike the Holy Spirit, the church cannot just kill Annanias and Saphira for lying. We limited humans in the church can only know words and deeds when a fellow christian in our midst freaks out and, as someone posited above, does the church secretary. We have to start the Mt 18:18 process if those involved are not immediately repentant and desistive. I read a great deal of “church discipline” in Paul’s letters. Poor Paul.

    Which gets us to the ugly, ugly word excommunicate, which is latin for “we don’t talk to him any more.” And means that the key to heaven has been turned to locked for him. Again, only after the process in Mt 18:18 is exhausted, and maybe several times exhausted.

    “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ….” and after he rose from the dead, he met with his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit and the keys of heaven. Forgiveness of sins is the key to heaven. Without forgiveness, heaven is locked.
    Quickly, list all the ways that Christ gives to us personally, the forgiveness of sins. (Well, if you don’t accept the “means” of grace, please don’t respond to this. We are just not of the same spirit.)
    And the means of grace we’re talking about here is absolution by the church through the pastor based on Mt 16:19, Mt 18:18, Jn 20:19.

    The very first thing Christ did when he met with his disciples on the first day of the week was breath on them the Holy Spirit. Later on Pentecost Day an outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the public sign of the birth of the Church, but I believe Jesus had privately established the Church when he breathed his Holy Spirit on his disciples when he met with them just after his resurrection. I see the presence of the Holy Spirit and I think Church.

    Confession and absolution. Confess one to another. Take it to the church. The key to heaven is the forgiveness is the forgiveness of sins.

    Mt 20:19 is all about church discipline, a how-to text. It’s the process that blind humans have to complete because, unlike the Holy Spirit, they cannot see into the heart and know the truth, so, unlike the Holy Spirit, the church cannot just kill Annanias and Saphira for lying. We limited humans in the church can only know words and deeds when a fellow christian in our midst freaks out and, someone posited above, does the church secretary. We have to start the Mt 18:18 process if those involved are not immediately repentant and desistive. I read a great deal of “church discipline” in Paul’s letters. Poor Paul. Which gets us to the ugly, ugly word excommunicate, which is latin for “we don’t talk to him any more.” And means that the key to heaven has been turned to locked for him. Again, only after the process in Mt 18:18 is exhausted, and maybe several times.

  • Joanne

    “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ….” and after he rose from the dead, he met with his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit and the keys of heaven. Forgiveness of sins is the key to heaven. Without forgiveness, heaven is locked.
    Quickly, list all the ways that Christ gives to us personally, the forgiveness of sins. (Well, if you don’t accept the “means” of grace, please don’t respond to this. We are just not of the same spirit.)
    And the means of grace we’re talking about here is absolution by the church through the pastor based on Mt 16:19, Mt 18:18, Jn 20:19.

    The very first thing Christ did when he met with his disciples on the first day of the week was breath on them the Holy Spirit. Later on Pentecost Day an outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the public sign of the birth of the Church, but I believe Jesus had privately established the Church when he breathed his Holy Spirit on his disciples when he met with them just after his resurrection. I see the presence of the Holy Spirit and I think Church.

    Confession and absolution. Confess one to another. Take it to the church. The key to heaven is the forgiveness.

    Mt 18:18 is all about church discipline, a how-to text. It’s the process that blind humans have to complete because, unlike the Holy Spirit, they cannot see into the heart and know the truth, so, unlike the Holy Spirit, the church cannot just kill Annanias and Saphira for lying. We limited humans in the church can only know words and deeds when a fellow christian in our midst freaks out and, as someone posited above, does the church secretary. We have to start the Mt 18:18 process if those involved are not immediately repentant and desistive. I read a great deal of “church discipline” in Paul’s letters. Poor Paul.

    Which gets us to the ugly, ugly word excommunicate, which is latin for “we don’t talk to him any more.” And means that the key to heaven has been turned to locked for him. Again, only after the process in Mt 18:18 is exhausted, and maybe several times exhausted.

    “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ….” and after he rose from the dead, he met with his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit and the keys of heaven. Forgiveness of sins is the key to heaven. Without forgiveness, heaven is locked.
    Quickly, list all the ways that Christ gives to us personally, the forgiveness of sins. (Well, if you don’t accept the “means” of grace, please don’t respond to this. We are just not of the same spirit.)
    And the means of grace we’re talking about here is absolution by the church through the pastor based on Mt 16:19, Mt 18:18, Jn 20:19.

    The very first thing Christ did when he met with his disciples on the first day of the week was breath on them the Holy Spirit. Later on Pentecost Day an outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the public sign of the birth of the Church, but I believe Jesus had privately established the Church when he breathed his Holy Spirit on his disciples when he met with them just after his resurrection. I see the presence of the Holy Spirit and I think Church.

    Confession and absolution. Confess one to another. Take it to the church. The key to heaven is the forgiveness is the forgiveness of sins.

    Mt 20:19 is all about church discipline, a how-to text. It’s the process that blind humans have to complete because, unlike the Holy Spirit, they cannot see into the heart and know the truth, so, unlike the Holy Spirit, the church cannot just kill Annanias and Saphira for lying. We limited humans in the church can only know words and deeds when a fellow christian in our midst freaks out and, someone posited above, does the church secretary. We have to start the Mt 18:18 process if those involved are not immediately repentant and desistive. I read a great deal of “church discipline” in Paul’s letters. Poor Paul. Which gets us to the ugly, ugly word excommunicate, which is latin for “we don’t talk to him any more.” And means that the key to heaven has been turned to locked for him. Again, only after the process in Mt 18:18 is exhausted, and maybe several times.

  • Joanne

    I have a laptop with a touch pad with the reflexes of a cobra. I hate it as my thumbs sit directly on the pad and cause whole blocks of text to disappear in nanoseconds or things to post while I’m editing. Suddenly I’m jumpping pages backwards or forwards. I hate it. Always keep your thumbs up. Hey, my last labtop was fine with my thumbs, touch pad and all. I hate this laptop.

  • Joanne

    I have a laptop with a touch pad with the reflexes of a cobra. I hate it as my thumbs sit directly on the pad and cause whole blocks of text to disappear in nanoseconds or things to post while I’m editing. Suddenly I’m jumpping pages backwards or forwards. I hate it. Always keep your thumbs up. Hey, my last labtop was fine with my thumbs, touch pad and all. I hate this laptop.

  • steve

    What are the conditions under which a person can forgive another? Do they have to be members of the same congregation? Does the other have to repent? Does the forgiving have to know, or even have ever seen the forgiven? Can a person pray for the forgiveness of the entire world and expect it will be forgiven them? Is there a difference between praying for the forgiveness of the other and doing the forgiving of the other?

    Personally, I pray for the salvation of every human being in every age. I find it much more satisfying that, say, Hitler will be with me in Heaven, praising and glorifying the God who redeems than that Hitler would be in eternal conscious torment in Hell with my brother who lived a better life than I, yet to my knowledge, remained unrepentant while with us in this world. Can this be affected through our prayer?

  • steve

    What are the conditions under which a person can forgive another? Do they have to be members of the same congregation? Does the other have to repent? Does the forgiving have to know, or even have ever seen the forgiven? Can a person pray for the forgiveness of the entire world and expect it will be forgiven them? Is there a difference between praying for the forgiveness of the other and doing the forgiving of the other?

    Personally, I pray for the salvation of every human being in every age. I find it much more satisfying that, say, Hitler will be with me in Heaven, praising and glorifying the God who redeems than that Hitler would be in eternal conscious torment in Hell with my brother who lived a better life than I, yet to my knowledge, remained unrepentant while with us in this world. Can this be affected through our prayer?

  • steve

    I ask the above to Lutherans, specifically, in light of the original post.

  • steve

    I ask the above to Lutherans, specifically, in light of the original post.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @ 63

    Q: What are the conditions under which a person can forgive another?
    A: Love your enemy. Forgive those who hate and persecute you. These are commandments of G0d. What would be the exceptions to this Divine Command?
    Q: Do they have to be members of the same congregation?
    A: No. They do not even have to be Christian.
    Q: Does the other have to repent?
    A; No.
    Q: Does the forgiving have to know, or even have ever seen the forgiven?
    A: No.Blessed are they who believe and have not seen.
    Q: Can a person pray for the forgiveness of the entire world and expect it will be forgiven them?
    A: Only in Christ: most certainly!
    Q: Is there a difference between praying for the forgiveness of the other and doing the forgiving of the other?
    A: Yes. Both are something we do. They are not the same thing are they?

    Personally, I pray for the salvation of every human being in every age. I find it much more satisfying that, say, Hitler will be with me in Heaven, praising and glorifying the God who redeems than that Hitler would be in eternal conscious torment in Hell with my brother who lived a better life than I, yet to my knowledge, remained unrepentant while with us in this world.

    Q:Can this be affected through our prayer?
    A: God does Goodness and Mercy indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked. Prayer does not change this.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steve @ 63

    Q: What are the conditions under which a person can forgive another?
    A: Love your enemy. Forgive those who hate and persecute you. These are commandments of G0d. What would be the exceptions to this Divine Command?
    Q: Do they have to be members of the same congregation?
    A: No. They do not even have to be Christian.
    Q: Does the other have to repent?
    A; No.
    Q: Does the forgiving have to know, or even have ever seen the forgiven?
    A: No.Blessed are they who believe and have not seen.
    Q: Can a person pray for the forgiveness of the entire world and expect it will be forgiven them?
    A: Only in Christ: most certainly!
    Q: Is there a difference between praying for the forgiveness of the other and doing the forgiving of the other?
    A: Yes. Both are something we do. They are not the same thing are they?

    Personally, I pray for the salvation of every human being in every age. I find it much more satisfying that, say, Hitler will be with me in Heaven, praising and glorifying the God who redeems than that Hitler would be in eternal conscious torment in Hell with my brother who lived a better life than I, yet to my knowledge, remained unrepentant while with us in this world.

    Q:Can this be affected through our prayer?
    A: God does Goodness and Mercy indeed without our prayer or asking, even for all the wicked. Prayer does not change this.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 64:

    I believe that Steve was referring to the forgiveness of God, available only through the blood of Christ, not our own earthly forgiveness.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 64:

    I believe that Steve was referring to the forgiveness of God, available only through the blood of Christ, not our own earthly forgiveness.

  • Joanne

    Case in point: Two Lutheran Churches in Kansas.

    Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Snodgrass Ave, Witchita
    What’s Happenin’ Now (WHN), Mall Circle, Witchita Heights

    Saint Peter’s member has a unit family, wife and two teenage children. Husband and wife have extended family at St. Peter’s. Husband and wife and children had attended the parochial school at St. Peter’s. Very involved. Member is an M.D. ob/gyn. He’s very successful and has his on clinic with a national client base. He wrote a check for the new hymnals. He’s the chair on the new gym committee.

    However, Saint Peter’s is a confessional Lutheran church, actually bound to the apostolic faith found in scripture and expounded faithfully in the Lutheran Confessions. If a thing was sinful yesterday, it will be sinful tomorrow. A thing like abortion, for instance.

    Everybody likes the doctor and his family, but slowly the members become aware that the doctor’s clinic is so famous because it does lots and lots of special abortions that nobody else will. The doctor is very proud that he performs this special service for the women who seek out his service. In an interview with a magazine he mentioned that he has even provided a baptism service to the women who had particularly late term abortions.

    Skipping about two years of Mt 18:18 process and a mountain of agony at Saint Peter’s, and remembering that this is just a complete “what if”, the doctor is excommunicated ultimately because he cannot see that what he is doing (killing babies) is sin, and he will not stop doing it.

    The doctor and his unit family begin attending What’s Happenin’ Now (WHN) where the Lutheran worship leader assures them that what he is doing is a great service to women’s health and is no sin. The doctor attends that church for several years until a stranger enters the church one Sunday morning and shoots him to death. Now the doctor doesn’t sin anymore. Is it possible that WHN got the Key of Heaven turn back open for the doctor before the angel killed him?

  • Joanne

    Case in point: Two Lutheran Churches in Kansas.

    Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Snodgrass Ave, Witchita
    What’s Happenin’ Now (WHN), Mall Circle, Witchita Heights

    Saint Peter’s member has a unit family, wife and two teenage children. Husband and wife have extended family at St. Peter’s. Husband and wife and children had attended the parochial school at St. Peter’s. Very involved. Member is an M.D. ob/gyn. He’s very successful and has his on clinic with a national client base. He wrote a check for the new hymnals. He’s the chair on the new gym committee.

    However, Saint Peter’s is a confessional Lutheran church, actually bound to the apostolic faith found in scripture and expounded faithfully in the Lutheran Confessions. If a thing was sinful yesterday, it will be sinful tomorrow. A thing like abortion, for instance.

    Everybody likes the doctor and his family, but slowly the members become aware that the doctor’s clinic is so famous because it does lots and lots of special abortions that nobody else will. The doctor is very proud that he performs this special service for the women who seek out his service. In an interview with a magazine he mentioned that he has even provided a baptism service to the women who had particularly late term abortions.

    Skipping about two years of Mt 18:18 process and a mountain of agony at Saint Peter’s, and remembering that this is just a complete “what if”, the doctor is excommunicated ultimately because he cannot see that what he is doing (killing babies) is sin, and he will not stop doing it.

    The doctor and his unit family begin attending What’s Happenin’ Now (WHN) where the Lutheran worship leader assures them that what he is doing is a great service to women’s health and is no sin. The doctor attends that church for several years until a stranger enters the church one Sunday morning and shoots him to death. Now the doctor doesn’t sin anymore. Is it possible that WHN got the Key of Heaven turn back open for the doctor before the angel killed him?

  • Ardnt

    DonS at 65, I think you missed entirely the point of Stephen’s question, but he can tell us.

  • Ardnt

    DonS at 65, I think you missed entirely the point of Stephen’s question, but he can tell us.

  • steve

    Thanks, guys, for responding.

    DonS, #65: Indeed.

    fws, #64: Certainly, I would agree that the mechanism of forgiveness, to whomever it is applied, is through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ. My question about praying for forgiveness verses forgiving is not whether the actions are the same but whether the outcomes can be the same. Looking at your answer to my last question, I assume your answer would be no. Correct?

    What confuses me is this, why give us–or even just pastors–the ability to forgive a person in the name of Christ if the decision to forgive that person is ultimately God’s? Taking a look at your earlier analogy, the Law respects the decision of the judge as an Officer of the Court. Of course, decisions can be appealed but, at some point, the decision of a bench will stand. In this case, it does seem that the decision, or declaration or the pastor may or may not ultimately stand. How, when do we know? And if we don’t know, what good is the declaration?

  • steve

    Thanks, guys, for responding.

    DonS, #65: Indeed.

    fws, #64: Certainly, I would agree that the mechanism of forgiveness, to whomever it is applied, is through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ. My question about praying for forgiveness verses forgiving is not whether the actions are the same but whether the outcomes can be the same. Looking at your answer to my last question, I assume your answer would be no. Correct?

    What confuses me is this, why give us–or even just pastors–the ability to forgive a person in the name of Christ if the decision to forgive that person is ultimately God’s? Taking a look at your earlier analogy, the Law respects the decision of the judge as an Officer of the Court. Of course, decisions can be appealed but, at some point, the decision of a bench will stand. In this case, it does seem that the decision, or declaration or the pastor may or may not ultimately stand. How, when do we know? And if we don’t know, what good is the declaration?

  • steve

    Ardnt, #67: I would just change DonS’ post to “I believe that Steve was referring to the forgiveness of God, available only through the blood of Christ, not [only] our own earthly forgiveness.”

    Maybe its the difference between forgiving in the Name of Christ, and declaring forgiveness in the Name of Christ. It appears to me that Lutheran pastors actually see themselves as the ones doing the forgiving–even if just by proxy. But ultimately, the forgiving they do will affect forgiveness for the receiving party.

    Or maybe I’m just totally misunderstanding the nature of this action. In my experience, the pastor makes a declaration of forgiveness, which is quite different than personally forgiving, it seems to me.

  • steve

    Ardnt, #67: I would just change DonS’ post to “I believe that Steve was referring to the forgiveness of God, available only through the blood of Christ, not [only] our own earthly forgiveness.”

    Maybe its the difference between forgiving in the Name of Christ, and declaring forgiveness in the Name of Christ. It appears to me that Lutheran pastors actually see themselves as the ones doing the forgiving–even if just by proxy. But ultimately, the forgiving they do will affect forgiveness for the receiving party.

    Or maybe I’m just totally misunderstanding the nature of this action. In my experience, the pastor makes a declaration of forgiveness, which is quite different than personally forgiving, it seems to me.

  • Arndt

    My apologies to DonS for assuming he misunderstood your question. It appears that I did.

  • Arndt

    My apologies to DonS for assuming he misunderstood your question. It appears that I did.

  • steve

    To be fair to you, it was kind of a jumble of questions. But the overarching concern was whether the forgiveness of men,, or prayers for the forgiveness of men, had eternal consequences. If they don’t, what is the significance in Jesus’ words? It is either a completely self-evident statement–akin to saying “if you go to the market, you will have gone to the market”, or it’s a statement of the larger effects of acts of forgiveness. Then again, the alternative sounds like a sort of works-righteousness-by-proxy.

    There is a personal impetus for my question. Oddly, its comforting to know that I can do nothing to affect my own salvation but not so comforting to know that I can do nothing to affect the salvation of my loved ones.

  • steve

    To be fair to you, it was kind of a jumble of questions. But the overarching concern was whether the forgiveness of men,, or prayers for the forgiveness of men, had eternal consequences. If they don’t, what is the significance in Jesus’ words? It is either a completely self-evident statement–akin to saying “if you go to the market, you will have gone to the market”, or it’s a statement of the larger effects of acts of forgiveness. Then again, the alternative sounds like a sort of works-righteousness-by-proxy.

    There is a personal impetus for my question. Oddly, its comforting to know that I can do nothing to affect my own salvation but not so comforting to know that I can do nothing to affect the salvation of my loved ones.

  • Arndt

    Steve, it seems to me you’re getting into the sacramental nature of the gospel. Here’s a good link from Al Kimel. Spend some time there.

    http://pontifications.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

  • Arndt

    Steve, it seems to me you’re getting into the sacramental nature of the gospel. Here’s a good link from Al Kimel. Spend some time there.

    http://pontifications.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

  • DonS

    tODD @ 56: I don’t agree with Grace’s point that John 20:23 applies only to the 12 Apostles. I do believe it applies more broadly to all of us, His disciples. I don’t have a strong sense of how it applies, as I’ve never given it a great deal of thought, quite frankly. Though, upon reading the comments originally, I thought that Bike Bubba @ 22 and Dan Kempin @ 14 made valid and interesting points about potential application, keeping in mind the undeniable truth that forgiveness of sins is by Christ’s sacrifice alone, not through any act of man. And also keeping in mind that we do not require a priestly intercessor, thanks to Christ’s death and the resultant tearing of the veil separating us from the Holy of Holies.

    But you are implying in your response to Grace that we all, as disciples, have the power granted by Christ in John 20:23. Isn’t that different than the Lutheran doctrine holding that pastors have that absolution power?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 56: I don’t agree with Grace’s point that John 20:23 applies only to the 12 Apostles. I do believe it applies more broadly to all of us, His disciples. I don’t have a strong sense of how it applies, as I’ve never given it a great deal of thought, quite frankly. Though, upon reading the comments originally, I thought that Bike Bubba @ 22 and Dan Kempin @ 14 made valid and interesting points about potential application, keeping in mind the undeniable truth that forgiveness of sins is by Christ’s sacrifice alone, not through any act of man. And also keeping in mind that we do not require a priestly intercessor, thanks to Christ’s death and the resultant tearing of the veil separating us from the Holy of Holies.

    But you are implying in your response to Grace that we all, as disciples, have the power granted by Christ in John 20:23. Isn’t that different than the Lutheran doctrine holding that pastors have that absolution power?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    don @ 74

    No. why. the forgiveness of sins in Christ IS the Holy Gospel. The words that convey this forgiveness are not just the words of men. In that case they would be an announcement.

    Instead Lutherans see those words as the powerful creative Word of God that do what they say. Let there be light. there is light. Your sins are forgiven. your sins ARE forgiven in those very words.

    Christ won that forgiveness 2000 years ago. No one who is christian differs on this. The difference is this: How is that forgiveness delivered and applied personally to sinners today in 2011? How would you say it is delivered to sinners Don?

    Lutherans say that same forgiveness is delivered to sinners in a way that creates new movements in their hearts in many ways. In with and under the word in water baptism and faith that trusts in that word of Promise. in with and under the bread and wine and the faith that trusts in that word of promise that says “this is the body and blood of christ given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins. and in the preached word of the pastor to a large group. and in nthat same word of forgiveness spoken by you Don to another or by a pastor who has been set apart , and has churchly authority to speak those words.

    Through all these means God creates faith in the hearts of men dear Don. and where faith is created in Christ, there, in that place, is the forgiveness of sins delivered.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    don @ 74

    No. why. the forgiveness of sins in Christ IS the Holy Gospel. The words that convey this forgiveness are not just the words of men. In that case they would be an announcement.

    Instead Lutherans see those words as the powerful creative Word of God that do what they say. Let there be light. there is light. Your sins are forgiven. your sins ARE forgiven in those very words.

    Christ won that forgiveness 2000 years ago. No one who is christian differs on this. The difference is this: How is that forgiveness delivered and applied personally to sinners today in 2011? How would you say it is delivered to sinners Don?

    Lutherans say that same forgiveness is delivered to sinners in a way that creates new movements in their hearts in many ways. In with and under the word in water baptism and faith that trusts in that word of Promise. in with and under the bread and wine and the faith that trusts in that word of promise that says “this is the body and blood of christ given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins. and in the preached word of the pastor to a large group. and in nthat same word of forgiveness spoken by you Don to another or by a pastor who has been set apart , and has churchly authority to speak those words.

    Through all these means God creates faith in the hearts of men dear Don. and where faith is created in Christ, there, in that place, is the forgiveness of sins delivered.

  • Joanne

    Just so, fws, “I will give to you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven ….” so that a human being can put his hand on your head and say to you, “I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” so that his body, hand and voice are there for us vicariously for Christ, the incarnate God. The pastor can forgive sins because he has been given the keys through the church by Christ himself. Confession/Absolution is one more avenue of forgiveness and one more way God tries to convince us that we are absolutely forgiven.

  • Joanne

    Just so, fws, “I will give to you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven ….” so that a human being can put his hand on your head and say to you, “I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” so that his body, hand and voice are there for us vicariously for Christ, the incarnate God. The pastor can forgive sins because he has been given the keys through the church by Christ himself. Confession/Absolution is one more avenue of forgiveness and one more way God tries to convince us that we are absolutely forgiven.

  • Pete

    I recall a Sunday school discussion once about “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The point was raised that, expecting God to forgive us as we forgive others wouldn’t be a good thing, since our forgiveness of others (like everything else about us) is flawed. And it’s true that my personal forgiveness of whatever sinful thing you’ve done to me is very flawed . It’s very likely self-serving in some manner or manipulative or incomplete or some such.
    But when the pastor (“called and ordained servant…”) stands in front of the congregation, he is fulfilling this perfectly. He is speaking for God – delivering top shelf, gold standard forgiveness. He is also, in a sense, speaking for me as a church member. I am one who needs and receives this perfect forgiveness as a sinner but who also (as part of the body of Christ) participates in giving it. The office of the Keys is given to the Church – the body of Christ. In the absolution, the minister is the mouth of the body of Christ but the remainder of the body participates in both the giving and the receiving (as does the minister, in fact). It’s a very nice working out of the Saint/Sinner thing.

  • Pete

    I recall a Sunday school discussion once about “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The point was raised that, expecting God to forgive us as we forgive others wouldn’t be a good thing, since our forgiveness of others (like everything else about us) is flawed. And it’s true that my personal forgiveness of whatever sinful thing you’ve done to me is very flawed . It’s very likely self-serving in some manner or manipulative or incomplete or some such.
    But when the pastor (“called and ordained servant…”) stands in front of the congregation, he is fulfilling this perfectly. He is speaking for God – delivering top shelf, gold standard forgiveness. He is also, in a sense, speaking for me as a church member. I am one who needs and receives this perfect forgiveness as a sinner but who also (as part of the body of Christ) participates in giving it. The office of the Keys is given to the Church – the body of Christ. In the absolution, the minister is the mouth of the body of Christ but the remainder of the body participates in both the giving and the receiving (as does the minister, in fact). It’s a very nice working out of the Saint/Sinner thing.

  • Pete

    And the minister, may I add, might even be a schmuck.

  • Pete

    And the minister, may I add, might even be a schmuck.

  • Pete

    And, several minutes previously, in the confession, I had already acknowledged that I am a schmuck.

  • Pete

    And, several minutes previously, in the confession, I had already acknowledged that I am a schmuck.

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

    The Lutheran practice, by the way, is NOT the same as that of Roman Catholics. In their rite of confession, they don’t just forgive sins “upon your confession” through the Gospel. Rather, they have created a whole penitential system under which you have to EARN your forgiveness, making SATISFACTION for your sins in a cosmic bookkeeping scheme. Absolution, on the other hand, is just the proclamation of the Gospel. And it is, indeed, Christ who forgives sin, doing so through the pastor’s vocation and voice.

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

    The Lutheran practice, by the way, is NOT the same as that of Roman Catholics. In their rite of confession, they don’t just forgive sins “upon your confession” through the Gospel. Rather, they have created a whole penitential system under which you have to EARN your forgiveness, making SATISFACTION for your sins in a cosmic bookkeeping scheme. Absolution, on the other hand, is just the proclamation of the Gospel. And it is, indeed, Christ who forgives sin, doing so through the pastor’s vocation and voice.

  • Joanne

    Gene Veith,

    Absolution is: I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

    In my view, that’s not a proclamation of the Gospel, that’s a performance of the Gospel similar to the pouring of the water in Baptism and the distribution/reception in the Lord’s Supper. It’s the part where you actually do it. It’s the exact part where sins are forgiven.

    But I guess that’s what gives Absolution it’s half-mystical quality.

    I think that when asked whose doing the forgiving in absolution, if I looked at Jesus, he’s going to shrug and say, hey, I gave you all the keys and told you to do it. Then I might ask, who actually has the keys and who is turning the key in the lock in Jesus’ plan here?

  • Joanne

    Gene Veith,

    Absolution is: I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

    In my view, that’s not a proclamation of the Gospel, that’s a performance of the Gospel similar to the pouring of the water in Baptism and the distribution/reception in the Lord’s Supper. It’s the part where you actually do it. It’s the exact part where sins are forgiven.

    But I guess that’s what gives Absolution it’s half-mystical quality.

    I think that when asked whose doing the forgiving in absolution, if I looked at Jesus, he’s going to shrug and say, hey, I gave you all the keys and told you to do it. Then I might ask, who actually has the keys and who is turning the key in the lock in Jesus’ plan here?

  • Kristen

    Dr. Veith,
    Providentially, a Reform blog linked to a series of Youtube videos called TheLutheranSatire. This video refers to the question you pose in your blog.

  • Kristen

    Dr. Veith,
    Providentially, a Reform blog linked to a series of Youtube videos called TheLutheranSatire. This video refers to the question you pose in your blog.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@74), I agree with you as to “the undeniable truth that forgiveness of sins is by Christ’s sacrifice alone”, but I disagree with the next phrase: “not through any act of man”.

    Because Christ himself connected forgiveness of sins with the acts of men: the taking and eating of bread, the washing with water, the announcing of forgiveness. Christ comes to us in these things not because of their intrinsic value — or the value of those doing them — but because of the promise of Christ himself. And he has chosen to work “through [the] act[s] of man.”

    As to your question, “Isn’t that different than the Lutheran doctrine holding that pastors have that absolution power?” I don’t think Lutherans teach that this power is solely for pastors, though I’m unsure if I can speak to the LCMS’s position on that. Regardless, nothing in the text limits it to the office of bishop/overseer/elder/pastor/whatever.

    Regardless, my wife and I make use of personal absolution whenever we have an argument, and we find it is very comforting. Not only do we say “I’m sorry” when we’re making up, and not only do we say “I forgive you”, but we remind each other that, even more so, “God forgives you.” Tends to suck a bit of wind out of the ego sails that may still be flapping in the breeze, putting the argument in its proper context as a display of human sin.

    Which isn’t to say that this obviates the need for private (or public) confession and absolution with a pastor. After all, I read my Bible at home, but I still benefit from hearing it preached at church — and as it is the pastor’s particular job to study Scripture and teach it to his flock, so is it his particular job to announce God’s forgiveness. Let’s be honest, we tend to trust the words of authorities more than just some guy. Of course, to the degree a layman is knowledgeable about God’s Word, there will be less room for my sinful nature to doubt the promises of God that he repeats to me.

    Does that make sense? Any Lutherans want to disagree with my take on this?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@74), I agree with you as to “the undeniable truth that forgiveness of sins is by Christ’s sacrifice alone”, but I disagree with the next phrase: “not through any act of man”.

    Because Christ himself connected forgiveness of sins with the acts of men: the taking and eating of bread, the washing with water, the announcing of forgiveness. Christ comes to us in these things not because of their intrinsic value — or the value of those doing them — but because of the promise of Christ himself. And he has chosen to work “through [the] act[s] of man.”

    As to your question, “Isn’t that different than the Lutheran doctrine holding that pastors have that absolution power?” I don’t think Lutherans teach that this power is solely for pastors, though I’m unsure if I can speak to the LCMS’s position on that. Regardless, nothing in the text limits it to the office of bishop/overseer/elder/pastor/whatever.

    Regardless, my wife and I make use of personal absolution whenever we have an argument, and we find it is very comforting. Not only do we say “I’m sorry” when we’re making up, and not only do we say “I forgive you”, but we remind each other that, even more so, “God forgives you.” Tends to suck a bit of wind out of the ego sails that may still be flapping in the breeze, putting the argument in its proper context as a display of human sin.

    Which isn’t to say that this obviates the need for private (or public) confession and absolution with a pastor. After all, I read my Bible at home, but I still benefit from hearing it preached at church — and as it is the pastor’s particular job to study Scripture and teach it to his flock, so is it his particular job to announce God’s forgiveness. Let’s be honest, we tend to trust the words of authorities more than just some guy. Of course, to the degree a layman is knowledgeable about God’s Word, there will be less room for my sinful nature to doubt the promises of God that he repeats to me.

    Does that make sense? Any Lutherans want to disagree with my take on this?

  • DonS

    Thanks, tODD, for your thoughtful and thorough answer. It does make sense.

    It was, I guess, my misunderstanding that the doctrine applied only to pastors. After I read your comment, I re-read the original post of Dr. Veith, and saw that he, too, believes that it applies to all Christians. So, I just hadn’t read carefully enough.

    Regardless, my wife and I make use of personal absolution whenever we have an argument, and we find it is very comforting. Not only do we say “I’m sorry” when we’re making up, and not only do we say “I forgive you”, but we remind each other that, even more so, “God forgives you.” Tends to suck a bit of wind out of the ego sails that may still be flapping in the breeze, putting the argument in its proper context as a display of human sin.

    I like that. A lot. A wise approach to a healthy, long term relationship, with both God and your spouse.

  • DonS

    Thanks, tODD, for your thoughtful and thorough answer. It does make sense.

    It was, I guess, my misunderstanding that the doctrine applied only to pastors. After I read your comment, I re-read the original post of Dr. Veith, and saw that he, too, believes that it applies to all Christians. So, I just hadn’t read carefully enough.

    Regardless, my wife and I make use of personal absolution whenever we have an argument, and we find it is very comforting. Not only do we say “I’m sorry” when we’re making up, and not only do we say “I forgive you”, but we remind each other that, even more so, “God forgives you.” Tends to suck a bit of wind out of the ego sails that may still be flapping in the breeze, putting the argument in its proper context as a display of human sin.

    I like that. A lot. A wise approach to a healthy, long term relationship, with both God and your spouse.

  • larry

    Dr. Veith makes a HUGE point. There is a difference in proclaiming the Gospel and performing it or “just talking about it” and doing the Gospel. God’s Word DOES things and its connected to the very personal “for you”. The Ethiopian eunuch danced away in great joy because HE was baptized by Christ (ref. what he was reading, “I will sprinkle the nations…”). He was reading that the God incarnate was going to baptize the nations, gentiles, of which he was and he asks, “What prevents me”. And so he was and leaped away with joy over it, God baptized Him. The Gospel was performed or done to him.

    Analogy in earthly terms: John Doe offends his very powerful former friend Bob Brown greatly. Now they can sit down with each other and talk about the subject of forgiveness, “forgiveness is this and that…”. But that’s all that has been done John’s conscience is not one bit at rest over the offense he caused Bob. Bob can talk a great deal about what forgiveness is and is not, how he, Bob, has forgiven Susan, Peter, Ann over there and a whole host of other people 30 years ago in another state. But nothing thus far has been “good news” to John in particular. It all sounds good and indeed wonderful to have that reconciliation, but John is left wanting. Until Bob says, “I forgive YOU John”. Then his conscience is washed and he now embraces his friend.

    The Gospel kept “just out of reach” by not actually DOING it, “performing” it, is ultimately no Gospel at all and just teasing and taunting a dying man/woman, like dangling food just in front of the face of a starving and dying child.

  • larry

    Dr. Veith makes a HUGE point. There is a difference in proclaiming the Gospel and performing it or “just talking about it” and doing the Gospel. God’s Word DOES things and its connected to the very personal “for you”. The Ethiopian eunuch danced away in great joy because HE was baptized by Christ (ref. what he was reading, “I will sprinkle the nations…”). He was reading that the God incarnate was going to baptize the nations, gentiles, of which he was and he asks, “What prevents me”. And so he was and leaped away with joy over it, God baptized Him. The Gospel was performed or done to him.

    Analogy in earthly terms: John Doe offends his very powerful former friend Bob Brown greatly. Now they can sit down with each other and talk about the subject of forgiveness, “forgiveness is this and that…”. But that’s all that has been done John’s conscience is not one bit at rest over the offense he caused Bob. Bob can talk a great deal about what forgiveness is and is not, how he, Bob, has forgiven Susan, Peter, Ann over there and a whole host of other people 30 years ago in another state. But nothing thus far has been “good news” to John in particular. It all sounds good and indeed wonderful to have that reconciliation, but John is left wanting. Until Bob says, “I forgive YOU John”. Then his conscience is washed and he now embraces his friend.

    The Gospel kept “just out of reach” by not actually DOING it, “performing” it, is ultimately no Gospel at all and just teasing and taunting a dying man/woman, like dangling food just in front of the face of a starving and dying child.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 85

    Amen!

    And imagine, that Ethiopian Eunuch was traveling a great distance to participate in rites where he was unclean and unwelcome. He was ceremonially defiled.

    Now. Right there IN his Baptism, he receives the Promised Mercy that he had longed for all his life and had sought at great cost and effort. “What is there to wait for?!” He hungered and thirsted for Righteousness. Now he had the Righteousness that was the righeouseness of Christ Who washed him and made him clean and whole.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 85

    Amen!

    And imagine, that Ethiopian Eunuch was traveling a great distance to participate in rites where he was unclean and unwelcome. He was ceremonially defiled.

    Now. Right there IN his Baptism, he receives the Promised Mercy that he had longed for all his life and had sought at great cost and effort. “What is there to wait for?!” He hungered and thirsted for Righteousness. Now he had the Righteousness that was the righeouseness of Christ Who washed him and made him clean and whole.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don S @84

    The Lutheran Confessions put what you are asking about this way:

    “Where is it that God locates his Promise?” Lutherans claim that God locates his Promise “in, with and under” seemingly humble and ordinary things.

    So if we want to take hold of the Promise, Faith seeks that Promise where God has told us to find it. So we find it in the words of a sinful pastor or spouse, in , with and under ordinary tap water, in with and under not so tasty bread and wine.

    God offers the Promise, Faith clings to the Promise, faith receives the Promised Mercy. Where? Where God has placed it.

    No , water, bread, wine, your pastor , your wife, did not die for you or pay for your sin. And your act of seeking forgiveness in those things also can not save you.

    But when you trust that it is God´s Word and not merely those of your wife when she says “God forgives you Don!” or “I forgive you in the Name of God!” (yes , she has that wonderful authority!) , then those words are the Life Creating, Faith Creating and Nurturing Words of God and you can trust them and believe in them exactly as that.

    You are not trusting the water of baptism or the act itself. You are trusting the Word of God that is “in, with and under ” that water that God himself has placed there.

    If you want to get really good bead and picture of what Lutherans are trying to propose here, I would encourage you to read the story in II Kings of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman , as you know, was a syrian general with leprosy. His jewish servant girl suggested he seek healing from Elisha. The promise to Naaman was spoken by Elisha and located in a ritual washing in the River Jordan.

    So ask yourself, would he have been healed by washing in another water? Was it Elisha who healed him? Was it the water that healed him? How was faith involved?

    Does that make things clearer dear brother Don?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don S @84

    The Lutheran Confessions put what you are asking about this way:

    “Where is it that God locates his Promise?” Lutherans claim that God locates his Promise “in, with and under” seemingly humble and ordinary things.

    So if we want to take hold of the Promise, Faith seeks that Promise where God has told us to find it. So we find it in the words of a sinful pastor or spouse, in , with and under ordinary tap water, in with and under not so tasty bread and wine.

    God offers the Promise, Faith clings to the Promise, faith receives the Promised Mercy. Where? Where God has placed it.

    No , water, bread, wine, your pastor , your wife, did not die for you or pay for your sin. And your act of seeking forgiveness in those things also can not save you.

    But when you trust that it is God´s Word and not merely those of your wife when she says “God forgives you Don!” or “I forgive you in the Name of God!” (yes , she has that wonderful authority!) , then those words are the Life Creating, Faith Creating and Nurturing Words of God and you can trust them and believe in them exactly as that.

    You are not trusting the water of baptism or the act itself. You are trusting the Word of God that is “in, with and under ” that water that God himself has placed there.

    If you want to get really good bead and picture of what Lutherans are trying to propose here, I would encourage you to read the story in II Kings of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman , as you know, was a syrian general with leprosy. His jewish servant girl suggested he seek healing from Elisha. The promise to Naaman was spoken by Elisha and located in a ritual washing in the River Jordan.

    So ask yourself, would he have been healed by washing in another water? Was it Elisha who healed him? Was it the water that healed him? How was faith involved?

    Does that make things clearer dear brother Don?

  • helen

    fws @ 87
    But when you trust that it is God´s Word and not merely those of your wife when she says “God forgives you Don!” or “I forgive you in the Name of God!” (yes , she has that wonderful authority!) , then those words are the Life Creating, Faith Creating and Nurturing Words of God and you can trust them and believe in them exactly as that.

    This life long Lutheran will be happy to say, “God forgives you.” But I will leave “I forgive you in the Name of God.” to my ordained shepherd.
    That is one of the things we call him for. The preface to what you quoted is “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ” [I forgive...]. He is given that authority, by Christ and the church.
    In the same way, I won’t baptize (unless in an emergency when no Pastor is available) or institute the Sacrament of the Altar (I can’t think of an emergency to justify that.)
    YMMV

  • helen

    fws @ 87
    But when you trust that it is God´s Word and not merely those of your wife when she says “God forgives you Don!” or “I forgive you in the Name of God!” (yes , she has that wonderful authority!) , then those words are the Life Creating, Faith Creating and Nurturing Words of God and you can trust them and believe in them exactly as that.

    This life long Lutheran will be happy to say, “God forgives you.” But I will leave “I forgive you in the Name of God.” to my ordained shepherd.
    That is one of the things we call him for. The preface to what you quoted is “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ” [I forgive...]. He is given that authority, by Christ and the church.
    In the same way, I won’t baptize (unless in an emergency when no Pastor is available) or institute the Sacrament of the Altar (I can’t think of an emergency to justify that.)
    YMMV

  • helen

    steve @ 70
    It appears to me that Lutheran pastors actually see themselves as the ones doing the forgiving–even if just by proxy.

    If they do, they shouldn’t. It is not their forgiveness in absolution; they are the voice of Christ.

    [In a personal situation, the pastor may forgive as an individual like anyone else.]

  • helen

    steve @ 70
    It appears to me that Lutheran pastors actually see themselves as the ones doing the forgiving–even if just by proxy.

    If they do, they shouldn’t. It is not their forgiveness in absolution; they are the voice of Christ.

    [In a personal situation, the pastor may forgive as an individual like anyone else.]

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    heleN @ 88

    amen

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    heleN @ 88

    amen

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    helen @ 89

    actually it is the pastor doing the forgiving. think “power of attorney”. it works like that. the pastor is doing, and he is doing “on behalf of”. But he is doing.

    or…

    It is not the water (pastor)that does it indeed, but the word of God that is in and with the water (pastor) and faith that trusts in that word of God in the water (pastor).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    helen @ 89

    actually it is the pastor doing the forgiving. think “power of attorney”. it works like that. the pastor is doing, and he is doing “on behalf of”. But he is doing.

    or…

    It is not the water (pastor)that does it indeed, but the word of God that is in and with the water (pastor) and faith that trusts in that word of God in the water (pastor).

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

    I once asked a Lutheran theologian who was instrumental in getting the practice of Private Confession and Absolution back into the LCMS how absolution by laymen and absolution by pastors differed. He definitely believed laymen were authorized to absolve. But he said there were advantages to pastors. They were under the seal of the confessional, so they couldn’t go blabbing about what was confessed. They were used to forgetting, unlike your friend who might always look at you funny after your confession, and their forgiveness was on behalf of the congregation as a whole.

    It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.

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

    I once asked a Lutheran theologian who was instrumental in getting the practice of Private Confession and Absolution back into the LCMS how absolution by laymen and absolution by pastors differed. He definitely believed laymen were authorized to absolve. But he said there were advantages to pastors. They were under the seal of the confessional, so they couldn’t go blabbing about what was confessed. They were used to forgetting, unlike your friend who might always look at you funny after your confession, and their forgiveness was on behalf of the congregation as a whole.

    It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rick (@92), good points. Not only are pastors, by their training, disinclined to “blab”, but they are also — as I understand it — not legally obligated to testify as to the contents of your confession. This is not true for your confession to a layman (unless it’s your spouse, I believe; lawyers, please correct me if I’m wrong, because my wife has a lot of dirt on me!)

    Back in college, I wasn’t much of a Lutheran, and I hung around with the Campus Crusade crowd. Though nominally non-denominational (say that fast!), they were of course very American Evangelical in their approach to Christianity. As such, there was no such thing as absolution, though they did urge us to have “accountability partners”, which is an approximation of confession, I guess. But what a pale approximation!

    I remember one time deciding to dive in head-first and tell my “accountability partner” of some sins of mine that were not of the sort one would typically admit to another person. The guy, though a quite nice Christian, obviously didn’t know what to do with that information, and certainly wasn’t ready to hear such a blatant confession. It wasn’t exactly edifying — I think I gave up on the whole “accountability partner” thing soon thereafter. Looking back on it, the worst thing was that he couldn’t tell me my sins were forgiven. If anything, the shocked look on his face gave me the impression that I was a particularly horrible sinner. As I recall, in typical American Evangelical fashion, the response was something along the lines of “you should try to stop doing that”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rick (@92), good points. Not only are pastors, by their training, disinclined to “blab”, but they are also — as I understand it — not legally obligated to testify as to the contents of your confession. This is not true for your confession to a layman (unless it’s your spouse, I believe; lawyers, please correct me if I’m wrong, because my wife has a lot of dirt on me!)

    Back in college, I wasn’t much of a Lutheran, and I hung around with the Campus Crusade crowd. Though nominally non-denominational (say that fast!), they were of course very American Evangelical in their approach to Christianity. As such, there was no such thing as absolution, though they did urge us to have “accountability partners”, which is an approximation of confession, I guess. But what a pale approximation!

    I remember one time deciding to dive in head-first and tell my “accountability partner” of some sins of mine that were not of the sort one would typically admit to another person. The guy, though a quite nice Christian, obviously didn’t know what to do with that information, and certainly wasn’t ready to hear such a blatant confession. It wasn’t exactly edifying — I think I gave up on the whole “accountability partner” thing soon thereafter. Looking back on it, the worst thing was that he couldn’t tell me my sins were forgiven. If anything, the shocked look on his face gave me the impression that I was a particularly horrible sinner. As I recall, in typical American Evangelical fashion, the response was something along the lines of “you should try to stop doing that”.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 93: Yes, you are right about spousal privilege. Another compelling reason to make your marriage work! :-)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 93: Yes, you are right about spousal privilege. Another compelling reason to make your marriage work! :-)

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie

    “It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.

    There is no “plural” -

    2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

    3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

    5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

    6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

    7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

    8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
    Matthew 9

    definition – men

    Strongs Greek – anthropos – anth’-ro-pos

    man-faced, i.e. a human being:–certain, man.

    There is no “plural” –

    God the Son was both man and deity, there is no one else like HIM. The passage above has no reference to ‘men’ in general, but to God. The Pharisees knew that only God could forgive sins, they were blinded as to who the LORD Jesus was.

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie

    “It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.

    There is no “plural” -

    2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

    3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

    5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

    6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

    7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

    8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
    Matthew 9

    definition – men

    Strongs Greek – anthropos – anth’-ro-pos

    man-faced, i.e. a human being:–certain, man.

    There is no “plural” –

    God the Son was both man and deity, there is no one else like HIM. The passage above has no reference to ‘men’ in general, but to God. The Pharisees knew that only God could forgive sins, they were blinded as to who the LORD Jesus was.

  • Grace

    Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins. We however, are to ask forgiveness when we have harmed another, to forgive us for what we have done to them, that would also mean we are to ask God to forgive us as well.

    To illustrate the point:

    If someone steals from another, … they would need to ask forgiveness of the one they stole from, and at the same time ask God to forgive them as well. Sins of the heart, need to be taken to the LORD asking Him to forgive us too. As the Scripture states.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    1 John 1:9

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5

    There is no man on earth who can forgive me for sins which I have NOT committed against them personally. No man stands in the place of Christ, Christ is God the Son, He does not share His glory with anyone. When Christ died on the Cross for our sins, it was HE who paid the price, it is our sin for which he walked to the cross, and willingly shed HIS blood for our sins. It is to HIM we go to for forgiveness – if man cannot believe that Christ can forgive, and only a pastor can truly forgive them for their sins, they are looking to just a man, not the LORD Jesus Christ.

    The passage below instructs us to “examine” ourselves before the LORD’s Supper, that would mean asking the LORD to forgive us our sins, to be repentant of our sinful acts.

    26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

    27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

    28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

    (NOTICE: it does not say obtain absolution for your sins from pastor/priest)

    29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11

  • Grace

    Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins. We however, are to ask forgiveness when we have harmed another, to forgive us for what we have done to them, that would also mean we are to ask God to forgive us as well.

    To illustrate the point:

    If someone steals from another, … they would need to ask forgiveness of the one they stole from, and at the same time ask God to forgive them as well. Sins of the heart, need to be taken to the LORD asking Him to forgive us too. As the Scripture states.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    1 John 1:9

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5

    There is no man on earth who can forgive me for sins which I have NOT committed against them personally. No man stands in the place of Christ, Christ is God the Son, He does not share His glory with anyone. When Christ died on the Cross for our sins, it was HE who paid the price, it is our sin for which he walked to the cross, and willingly shed HIS blood for our sins. It is to HIM we go to for forgiveness – if man cannot believe that Christ can forgive, and only a pastor can truly forgive them for their sins, they are looking to just a man, not the LORD Jesus Christ.

    The passage below instructs us to “examine” ourselves before the LORD’s Supper, that would mean asking the LORD to forgive us our sins, to be repentant of our sinful acts.

    26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

    27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

    28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

    (NOTICE: it does not say obtain absolution for your sins from pastor/priest)

    29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@95), your own quote makes quite clear that the word there is plural: “they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men“. At this point, you’re simply misusing Strong’s to deny the text you’re quoting.

    You also said (@96), “Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins,” but this is a flat-out denial of Jesus’ command in John 20:23.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@95), your own quote makes quite clear that the word there is plural: “they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men“. At this point, you’re simply misusing Strong’s to deny the text you’re quoting.

    You also said (@96), “Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins,” but this is a flat-out denial of Jesus’ command in John 20:23.

  • Grace

    Below is the sermon Peter preached after the angel of the LORD opened the prison door.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

    20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

    21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

    22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,

    23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

    24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

    25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

    26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

    27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

    28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

    29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

    31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

    32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. Acts 1

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It is Peter, in his sermon who declares that it is the LORD Jesus who gives forgiveness of sins.

  • Grace

    Below is the sermon Peter preached after the angel of the LORD opened the prison door.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

    20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

    21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

    22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,

    23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

    24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

    25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

    26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

    27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

    28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

    29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

    31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

    32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. Acts 1

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It is Peter, in his sermon who declares that it is the LORD Jesus who gives forgiveness of sins.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@98) said, “It is Peter, in his sermon who declares that it is the LORD Jesus who gives forgiveness of sins.” But you continue to miss the point, Grace. No one disagrees with that.

    But it does not change the fact that Jesus himself delegated his authority to forgive to his disciples in John 20:23.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@98) said, “It is Peter, in his sermon who declares that it is the LORD Jesus who gives forgiveness of sins.” But you continue to miss the point, Grace. No one disagrees with that.

    But it does not change the fact that Jesus himself delegated his authority to forgive to his disciples in John 20:23.

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

    The Greek text says ANTHROPOIS, which is the dative plural. I find that by looking at the Greek text itself. My Liddel & Scott Greek-English Lexicon notes that the plural of the term can mean “men in general, mankind.”

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

    The Greek text says ANTHROPOIS, which is the dative plural. I find that by looking at the Greek text itself. My Liddel & Scott Greek-English Lexicon notes that the plural of the term can mean “men in general, mankind.”

  • Stephen

    A story told to my class by my history professor in seminary went that when Luther and his fellow pastors ordained the first crop of students under their evangleical theology they were at something of a loss as to what to do. Apparently there was some hesitation and confusion because they wanted the symbolism to reflect their theology that this was NOT some kind of magical priestcraft going on with the laying on of hands. But then how to give it the solemnity and order it ought to have. So it seems they all sort of knelt down together somehow for the part where they bless the new pastors and send them out.

    I don’t know where such a thing is recorded. Maybe someone knows of it. Great story.

  • Stephen

    A story told to my class by my history professor in seminary went that when Luther and his fellow pastors ordained the first crop of students under their evangleical theology they were at something of a loss as to what to do. Apparently there was some hesitation and confusion because they wanted the symbolism to reflect their theology that this was NOT some kind of magical priestcraft going on with the laying on of hands. But then how to give it the solemnity and order it ought to have. So it seems they all sort of knelt down together somehow for the part where they bless the new pastors and send them out.

    I don’t know where such a thing is recorded. Maybe someone knows of it. Great story.

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

    Stephen, you can find some information and further citations in LW, vol. 53., pp. 122-126. (That’s the Liturgy and Hymns volume.)

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

    Stephen, you can find some information and further citations in LW, vol. 53., pp. 122-126. (That’s the Liturgy and Hymns volume.)

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    If we obey God, then we are to preach as Jesus taught in Matthew 28, which is, after all, to preach the Gospel which is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Right? So if you say that ONLY God can do this (and I agree) and that this forgiveness comes by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (I also agree. Do you?) then how is this forgiveness obtained if it is something ONLY God can do? In other words, in what sense does one have that forgiveness, know it, claim it, recieve it, access it, hold on to it ? If it is by force of willing acceptance, then it ceases to be something that ONLY God does. The believer must also DO something to make it effective – stay with it somehow. But then how is it done for you completely by God? How is it all something God does ALONE?

    My answer is by God’s Word, His Holy Spirit that comes first in the washing of regeneration that is Holy Baptism. This is what God does. It is in His name we are baptized and by his Spirit we receive the gift of faith – One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, into which we are buried with Christ, raised to live a new life, clothed in his righteousness. That is the new birth of forgiveness and life eternal. When the pastor pronounces the forgiveness of sins, the Gospel, in Word and Sacrament as our Lord gave us to do (“preach” and “teach” and “drink of it” and “do this”), this is done over and over, day after day and Sunday after Sunday FOR ME by a gracious God through earthly means such as pastors, all of it given to me, a dying man, to strengthen my faith in the salvation already obtained for me 2000 years ago. The righteous shall live by faith.

    Matthew 26:27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

    These are not even the favorite passages for use as the words of institution for the Lord’s Supper, but here we have Jesus telling us that in the Sacrament itself is the entire promise of new covenant received – forgiveness of sins and eternal life. That is amazing . . . Grace. It is for you and me right there! Who IS doing this? Is it human beings in his stead or is it the Word himself present in His Word, the promise he has given us? When we speak these words, who speaks? Indeed, when we read scripture, who are we meant to hear?

    Yes, in this act of confession and absolution, we are doing everything that can be seen and heard, but what is actually happening is what God does by his Holy Spirit through his Word. That is faith. It is for us. We already have this treasure, but our earthen vessel needs feeding. That’s why we go to church.

    Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

    And what does God desire most of all but to fulfill the promise he made to us in his Son.

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    If we obey God, then we are to preach as Jesus taught in Matthew 28, which is, after all, to preach the Gospel which is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Right? So if you say that ONLY God can do this (and I agree) and that this forgiveness comes by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (I also agree. Do you?) then how is this forgiveness obtained if it is something ONLY God can do? In other words, in what sense does one have that forgiveness, know it, claim it, recieve it, access it, hold on to it ? If it is by force of willing acceptance, then it ceases to be something that ONLY God does. The believer must also DO something to make it effective – stay with it somehow. But then how is it done for you completely by God? How is it all something God does ALONE?

    My answer is by God’s Word, His Holy Spirit that comes first in the washing of regeneration that is Holy Baptism. This is what God does. It is in His name we are baptized and by his Spirit we receive the gift of faith – One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, into which we are buried with Christ, raised to live a new life, clothed in his righteousness. That is the new birth of forgiveness and life eternal. When the pastor pronounces the forgiveness of sins, the Gospel, in Word and Sacrament as our Lord gave us to do (“preach” and “teach” and “drink of it” and “do this”), this is done over and over, day after day and Sunday after Sunday FOR ME by a gracious God through earthly means such as pastors, all of it given to me, a dying man, to strengthen my faith in the salvation already obtained for me 2000 years ago. The righteous shall live by faith.

    Matthew 26:27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

    These are not even the favorite passages for use as the words of institution for the Lord’s Supper, but here we have Jesus telling us that in the Sacrament itself is the entire promise of new covenant received – forgiveness of sins and eternal life. That is amazing . . . Grace. It is for you and me right there! Who IS doing this? Is it human beings in his stead or is it the Word himself present in His Word, the promise he has given us? When we speak these words, who speaks? Indeed, when we read scripture, who are we meant to hear?

    Yes, in this act of confession and absolution, we are doing everything that can be seen and heard, but what is actually happening is what God does by his Holy Spirit through his Word. That is faith. It is for us. We already have this treasure, but our earthen vessel needs feeding. That’s why we go to church.

    Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

    And what does God desire most of all but to fulfill the promise he made to us in his Son.

  • Stephen

    Thanks Rick! Did I kinda have the story correct?

  • Stephen

    Thanks Rick! Did I kinda have the story correct?

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

    Stephen, actually the more I look at this, the more unsure I am. It looks like George Rörer was ordained in 1525, but we don’t have the account in the American Edition. Then Luther wrote “The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests” in 1533 (not available in the American Edition, as far as I can tell). The work I cited earlier was from 1539 and also quotes from services from 1540. I would have to know when the service you mentioned took place. But nothing I’ve read on this would count against the account as you gave it.

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

    Stephen, actually the more I look at this, the more unsure I am. It looks like George Rörer was ordained in 1525, but we don’t have the account in the American Edition. Then Luther wrote “The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests” in 1533 (not available in the American Edition, as far as I can tell). The work I cited earlier was from 1539 and also quotes from services from 1540. I would have to know when the service you mentioned took place. But nothing I’ve read on this would count against the account as you gave it.

  • Stephen

    It was a story he told in class and it was very vivid. He had lots of great stories. Walter Sundberg. He had the best history lectures. Amazing details going all the way back to Iranaeus. I wish I still had my notes (oh yeah, mostly drawings!). He wrote a great history overrview with Roy Harrisville on the 19th c. historical critical stuff called “The Bible in Modern Culture.” Perhaps he got the ordination story from a German edition or through a different source than Luther (?) Dunno.

  • Stephen

    It was a story he told in class and it was very vivid. He had lots of great stories. Walter Sundberg. He had the best history lectures. Amazing details going all the way back to Iranaeus. I wish I still had my notes (oh yeah, mostly drawings!). He wrote a great history overrview with Roy Harrisville on the 19th c. historical critical stuff called “The Bible in Modern Culture.” Perhaps he got the ordination story from a German edition or through a different source than Luther (?) Dunno.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 103

    You make work out of believing in Christ and faith in Him as Savior, seeking forgiveness of sin.

    I believe Christ is who he said He was, having faith that Christ died for my sins, arose from the grave, being baptized.
    Christ my Savior forgives me, if I come to Him and ask forgiveness, I don’t need anyone to tell me that he forgives, I can read for myself in the HOLY Scriptures that He will, and then KNOW that He has. I take the LORD at His Word.

    We will most likely never agree. I don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ. I do read books, and have read all my life, and continue to read other books, but the Bible is totally my source, nothing else trumps God’s Word. Many men, believing they are much wiser and brilliant than others have tried to put their twist on Scripture, ….. they have failed, if their lives don’t match their words, or those in the Bible. I don’t ascribe to Calvin or Luther – although they were part of the Reformation, they were not the first, there were other men who went before them, no matter how famous Calvin and Luther became, they were not the beacons of virtue, nor were their stubborn stance regarding their sins.

    Jesus made it clear in John 3 how we could obtain Eternal Life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, perhaps the most quoted passage in the New Testament…. hence, we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek baptism, NOT baptism first.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 103

    You make work out of believing in Christ and faith in Him as Savior, seeking forgiveness of sin.

    I believe Christ is who he said He was, having faith that Christ died for my sins, arose from the grave, being baptized.
    Christ my Savior forgives me, if I come to Him and ask forgiveness, I don’t need anyone to tell me that he forgives, I can read for myself in the HOLY Scriptures that He will, and then KNOW that He has. I take the LORD at His Word.

    We will most likely never agree. I don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ. I do read books, and have read all my life, and continue to read other books, but the Bible is totally my source, nothing else trumps God’s Word. Many men, believing they are much wiser and brilliant than others have tried to put their twist on Scripture, ….. they have failed, if their lives don’t match their words, or those in the Bible. I don’t ascribe to Calvin or Luther – although they were part of the Reformation, they were not the first, there were other men who went before them, no matter how famous Calvin and Luther became, they were not the beacons of virtue, nor were their stubborn stance regarding their sins.

    Jesus made it clear in John 3 how we could obtain Eternal Life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, perhaps the most quoted passage in the New Testament…. hence, we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek baptism, NOT baptism first.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@107), you can claim all you want that you “take the LORD at His Word”, but that clearly isn’t true when it comes to John 20:23. While you may believe that you “don’t need anyone to tell me that he forgives”, he clearly thought otherwise — why do you disagree with him on this?

    You claim that you “don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ,” but this is so much false humility. No one is coming at you with books written by man here. We are simply quoting the Bible. And you keep trying to point us to any passage except John 20:23, even though those passages don’t contradict John 20:23 anyhow.

    “Many men, believing they are much wiser and brilliant than others have tried to put their twist on Scripture”. Yes, but in this case, a woman has done it — you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@107), you can claim all you want that you “take the LORD at His Word”, but that clearly isn’t true when it comes to John 20:23. While you may believe that you “don’t need anyone to tell me that he forgives”, he clearly thought otherwise — why do you disagree with him on this?

    You claim that you “don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ,” but this is so much false humility. No one is coming at you with books written by man here. We are simply quoting the Bible. And you keep trying to point us to any passage except John 20:23, even though those passages don’t contradict John 20:23 anyhow.

    “Many men, believing they are much wiser and brilliant than others have tried to put their twist on Scripture”. Yes, but in this case, a woman has done it — you.

  • Grace

    “You claim that you “don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ,” but this is so much false humility. No one is coming at you with books written by man here.”

    Then why quote Luther?

    There is no “false humility” – there is Christ, and HE alone came to this world to die for our sins – I accept what HE did for me in all humility -

  • Grace

    “You claim that you “don’t need 30 inches of books, written by man to explain Christ,” but this is so much false humility. No one is coming at you with books written by man here.”

    Then why quote Luther?

    There is no “false humility” – there is Christ, and HE alone came to this world to die for our sins – I accept what HE did for me in all humility -

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace asked (@109), “Then why quote Luther?” But nowhere in this thread have I quoted Luther. Nor, to my memory, have I ever quoted Luther on absolution to you. I have, however, repeatedly quoted John 20:23 to you (when this came up before). So your question makes no sense.

    If you accept Christ, then do you accept his words in John 20:23? It seems fairly clear that you do not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace asked (@109), “Then why quote Luther?” But nowhere in this thread have I quoted Luther. Nor, to my memory, have I ever quoted Luther on absolution to you. I have, however, repeatedly quoted John 20:23 to you (when this came up before). So your question makes no sense.

    If you accept Christ, then do you accept his words in John 20:23? It seems fairly clear that you do not.

  • larry

    “It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.”

    Very nice Rick.

    Confession and absolution on that personal level was one of the tougher transitions for me. What Todd said pretty much nails it, “you/they don’t know what to do with the information”. And when one did confess in evangelical circles, usually some form a “accountability partner” you may or may not know REAL well, one never REALLY confesses the REAL sin(s) one is dealing with. So you end up making up some quasi-sin or fake sin along the lines of “I was lusting after your Big Mac and fries the other day”. Maybe not that obvious but it gets the point across. But one is scared to death to be found out “just how bad a sinner you are”.

  • larry

    “It’s interesting that in Matthew 9, it is the unbelieving Pharisees who say that God alone can forgive. The believing crowd glorified God for having given authority to forgive to men, plural.”

    Very nice Rick.

    Confession and absolution on that personal level was one of the tougher transitions for me. What Todd said pretty much nails it, “you/they don’t know what to do with the information”. And when one did confess in evangelical circles, usually some form a “accountability partner” you may or may not know REAL well, one never REALLY confesses the REAL sin(s) one is dealing with. So you end up making up some quasi-sin or fake sin along the lines of “I was lusting after your Big Mac and fries the other day”. Maybe not that obvious but it gets the point across. But one is scared to death to be found out “just how bad a sinner you are”.

  • larry

    RC Sproul once lamented that he thought protestantism at length had lost something very significant in no longer doing/practicing confession and absolution.

    I think it also plays into the distance between individuals within the church, everybody tends to were the pious mask around their church family. The logical extension of which becomes the ludicrous “don’t drink, dance or smoke or go out with girls that do”. I have a very close family member that has been permantly stilted and driven away from church (in general) due to the fact that they are a life long smoker and has always felt looked down upon when they came to church. Due to their past experiences in this realm.

  • larry

    RC Sproul once lamented that he thought protestantism at length had lost something very significant in no longer doing/practicing confession and absolution.

    I think it also plays into the distance between individuals within the church, everybody tends to were the pious mask around their church family. The logical extension of which becomes the ludicrous “don’t drink, dance or smoke or go out with girls that do”. I have a very close family member that has been permantly stilted and driven away from church (in general) due to the fact that they are a life long smoker and has always felt looked down upon when they came to church. Due to their past experiences in this realm.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 50

    DAN…the second “binding” of sin that is apparently a gospel work of the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Sin can be only truly bound by creating a new heart in man. (ap art II). Again an understanding that sin too is about faith, and not the lack of faith or works, is important here.

    DAN So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean?

    FWS point me to the text please. I am reading “bind and loose””.

    DAN You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.”

    FWS “when we exclude manifestly impenitent sinners from what? Heaven? God´s Kingdom? No. the christian congretation . What does this not say? This is not to say “the church of God” or the “Holy Christian Church” or the “communion of saints”. I am saying there is an asymytry here that matters terribly.

    DAN Yet be careful, for if you minimise the real and binding judgment against such unrepented sin, then you risk minimising the real and binding nature of the absolution.

    FWS I would say that that is a logical argument seeking a logical symytry similar to how calvinists do with election. By Biblical response is that Christ has reserved for himself the separating of wead/wheat, sheep/goat analysis or even fruit inspection or soil analysis. The Ministry of the Keys is not a countermand to that other commandment of Christ that we refrain from that.

    DAN Indeed, if the pastor (for instance) cannot bind my hard heart,

    FWS This is easy I suggest. Sin has already bound and still binds your Old Adam heart. Your Old Adam heart still has a “vicious” faith in anything BUT Christ and is still a “recalcetrant ass” is how our confessions put this. And Christ has bound this sin and death of Old Adam and the power of the devil with the forgiveness of sins found only in Him, not in any Law binding.

    DAN then how can he free my broken one?

    FWS The confessions are clear that only the Holy Gospel can do this.

    DAN if he cannot set before me the certainty of condemnation, ….

    FWS Dan, you are to set before me the certainty of my condemnation every single sunday. According to my Old Adam, the Law is in “terrifying” FULL effect on me AS a believer that is still New Man and Old Adam, who is still saint, and sinner. In fact the confessions inform us that we will not be truly terrified of our sin until we believe the Holy Gospel. Only then can the Veil of Moses be removed from the Law and show us the full demand of God that is of our very heart.

    DAN then how can I trust the certainty of his absolution?

    FWS: Christ alone. In faith alone. Alone in absolution, water and bread and wine.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    dan @ 50

    DAN…the second “binding” of sin that is apparently a gospel work of the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Sin can be only truly bound by creating a new heart in man. (ap art II). Again an understanding that sin too is about faith, and not the lack of faith or works, is important here.

    DAN So let’s go back to the simple idea of what it means to “bind” or retain sin. What does it mean to say “if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” if not to declare that their sin is NOT forgiven? What else could it possibly mean?

    FWS point me to the text please. I am reading “bind and loose””.

    DAN You say that perhaps it is merely the external restraint of the Law for those who are “disruptive.”

    FWS “when we exclude manifestly impenitent sinners from what? Heaven? God´s Kingdom? No. the christian congretation . What does this not say? This is not to say “the church of God” or the “Holy Christian Church” or the “communion of saints”. I am saying there is an asymytry here that matters terribly.

    DAN Yet be careful, for if you minimise the real and binding judgment against such unrepented sin, then you risk minimising the real and binding nature of the absolution.

    FWS I would say that that is a logical argument seeking a logical symytry similar to how calvinists do with election. By Biblical response is that Christ has reserved for himself the separating of wead/wheat, sheep/goat analysis or even fruit inspection or soil analysis. The Ministry of the Keys is not a countermand to that other commandment of Christ that we refrain from that.

    DAN Indeed, if the pastor (for instance) cannot bind my hard heart,

    FWS This is easy I suggest. Sin has already bound and still binds your Old Adam heart. Your Old Adam heart still has a “vicious” faith in anything BUT Christ and is still a “recalcetrant ass” is how our confessions put this. And Christ has bound this sin and death of Old Adam and the power of the devil with the forgiveness of sins found only in Him, not in any Law binding.

    DAN then how can he free my broken one?

    FWS The confessions are clear that only the Holy Gospel can do this.

    DAN if he cannot set before me the certainty of condemnation, ….

    FWS Dan, you are to set before me the certainty of my condemnation every single sunday. According to my Old Adam, the Law is in “terrifying” FULL effect on me AS a believer that is still New Man and Old Adam, who is still saint, and sinner. In fact the confessions inform us that we will not be truly terrified of our sin until we believe the Holy Gospel. Only then can the Veil of Moses be removed from the Law and show us the full demand of God that is of our very heart.

    DAN then how can I trust the certainty of his absolution?

    FWS: Christ alone. In faith alone. Alone in absolution, water and bread and wine.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    Even if the excluding from the christian congretation is about my manifest or outward disruptiveness, I am told that that action is the very action of God himself.

    No they are not declaring that I am , in fact and truth, outside the Holy Catholic Church and the Comminion of Saints. But they, in God´s Name are treating me as an unbeliever.

    A civil judge , who I suggest is doing the same identical thing for secular reasons, is treating me as an un-citizen. I am being stripped of ALL rights. And I am being removed from the country. I am still a citizen. So what.

    If that is not a wakeup call. I don´t know what is.

    And if I don´s stop what I am doing, I will never get out. In both cases this is about choice and free will and earthly freedom, discipline and goodness and mercy. Some never learn.

    I would say to be barred from the Holy Catholic Church physically is a far worse punishment in any way we can discuss than to be incarcerated.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    Even if the excluding from the christian congretation is about my manifest or outward disruptiveness, I am told that that action is the very action of God himself.

    No they are not declaring that I am , in fact and truth, outside the Holy Catholic Church and the Comminion of Saints. But they, in God´s Name are treating me as an unbeliever.

    A civil judge , who I suggest is doing the same identical thing for secular reasons, is treating me as an un-citizen. I am being stripped of ALL rights. And I am being removed from the country. I am still a citizen. So what.

    If that is not a wakeup call. I don´t know what is.

    And if I don´s stop what I am doing, I will never get out. In both cases this is about choice and free will and earthly freedom, discipline and goodness and mercy. Some never learn.

    I would say to be barred from the Holy Catholic Church physically is a far worse punishment in any way we can discuss than to be incarcerated.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    I am glad we are talking about this. I had never really thought through the aspects you are bringing up before this. But I think what I am saying is confessional. Can we test that and see if I am full of it in this case or maybe there is something to be explored….? Thanks

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dan @ 50

    I am glad we are talking about this. I had never really thought through the aspects you are bringing up before this. But I think what I am saying is confessional. Can we test that and see if I am full of it in this case or maybe there is something to be explored….? Thanks

  • Stephen

    Grace @ 107

    “we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek baptism, NOT baptism first.”

    I think this contradicts your insistence that repentance comes first, doesn’t it? Anyway, it also contradicts the notion that God ONLY works forgiveness. In this construction, you reveal that you believe you are the primary actor here, not God. Push the “have faith”/”repent” (whichever) button first and then you get forgiveness. Baptism is pretty much just leftovers, even though it is int he name of the Most High God, the name by which you are saved (as the scriptures say).

    You are right. We won’t agree. That does not, however, come from 30 inches of books. It comes from Holy Scripture, the inspiration for the Reformation in the first place and the foundation of the Lutheran Confession’s every word and witness.

    You take the Lord at his word and you don’t need anyone else to tell you about Christ’s forgiveness. Why do you listen to all those sermons then?

  • Stephen

    Grace @ 107

    “we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek baptism, NOT baptism first.”

    I think this contradicts your insistence that repentance comes first, doesn’t it? Anyway, it also contradicts the notion that God ONLY works forgiveness. In this construction, you reveal that you believe you are the primary actor here, not God. Push the “have faith”/”repent” (whichever) button first and then you get forgiveness. Baptism is pretty much just leftovers, even though it is int he name of the Most High God, the name by which you are saved (as the scriptures say).

    You are right. We won’t agree. That does not, however, come from 30 inches of books. It comes from Holy Scripture, the inspiration for the Reformation in the first place and the foundation of the Lutheran Confession’s every word and witness.

    You take the Lord at his word and you don’t need anyone else to tell you about Christ’s forgiveness. Why do you listen to all those sermons then?

  • larry

    That’s right Stephen. What Grace outlined is basically works righteousness.

    Baptism IS the Gospel thus to restate it to bring out the clarity:

    “we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek the Gospel (baptism), NOT Gospel first.”

    A better way I’ve heard it said of true faith and repentance is tht GOD, not us, faithED us (God active – we passive) and repentED us (God active – we passive).

  • larry

    That’s right Stephen. What Grace outlined is basically works righteousness.

    Baptism IS the Gospel thus to restate it to bring out the clarity:

    “we believe and have faith first, repent, and then we seek the Gospel (baptism), NOT Gospel first.”

    A better way I’ve heard it said of true faith and repentance is tht GOD, not us, faithED us (God active – we passive) and repentED us (God active – we passive).

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    To be clear, I do not doubt you are Christian or that you believe in Jesus Christ. How one receives faith and forgiveness and is assured of them is the difference, and I wanted to know how you understand that. What I was trying to get at is the underlying logic. I still don’t think the “God only” question is answered, unless you mean to say that these things happen individually in your own private way, that it is something you “get” somehow and are assured of beyond the reach of anyone else’s participation or anything outside of you. It sounds that way, that it is an internal thing you somehow hold onto consciously and “just know” without any help from anyone else. Is it all referred back to the one experience of coming to faith? Is that where you connect to what God alone has done for you?

    If my interpretation is even close to correct, it would mean that God alone is not the actor. It seems to me it would mean that the onus of effort is actually on you – constantly in fact – to keep that up. That is, if you are going to have assurance of that forgiveness beyond the touch anything coming to you through the outside, such as a sermon, or the words of Christ spoken to you that assure you of forgiveness, or that you were indeed saved by his holy name in baptism rather than by your own efforts and agreement with his Gospel. What does God actually do ALONE other than what happened in history if he isn’t working now through such means? That is what I don’t get.

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    To be clear, I do not doubt you are Christian or that you believe in Jesus Christ. How one receives faith and forgiveness and is assured of them is the difference, and I wanted to know how you understand that. What I was trying to get at is the underlying logic. I still don’t think the “God only” question is answered, unless you mean to say that these things happen individually in your own private way, that it is something you “get” somehow and are assured of beyond the reach of anyone else’s participation or anything outside of you. It sounds that way, that it is an internal thing you somehow hold onto consciously and “just know” without any help from anyone else. Is it all referred back to the one experience of coming to faith? Is that where you connect to what God alone has done for you?

    If my interpretation is even close to correct, it would mean that God alone is not the actor. It seems to me it would mean that the onus of effort is actually on you – constantly in fact – to keep that up. That is, if you are going to have assurance of that forgiveness beyond the touch anything coming to you through the outside, such as a sermon, or the words of Christ spoken to you that assure you of forgiveness, or that you were indeed saved by his holy name in baptism rather than by your own efforts and agreement with his Gospel. What does God actually do ALONE other than what happened in history if he isn’t working now through such means? That is what I don’t get.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 118

    “If my interpretation is even close to correct, it would mean that God alone is not the actor. It seems to me it would mean that the onus of effort is actually on you – constantly in fact – to keep that up. That is, if you are going to have assurance of that forgiveness beyond the touch anything coming to you through the outside, such as a sermon, or the words of Christ spoken to you that assure you of forgiveness, or that you were indeed saved by his holy name in baptism rather than by your own efforts and agreement with his Gospel. What does God actually do ALONE other than what happened in history if he isn’t working now through such means? That is what I don’t get.”

    Referring to God as an “actor” is not respectful to Him, perhaps you didn’t mean it that way. The “onus of effort” as you call it, is not a BURDEN to me at all. God is Almighty, God is history, and all future — HE IS Omnipotence, all powerful, Omniscience, all knowing, Omnipresence, being present everywhere, HE was from Everlasting. These are facts, recorded in His Word.

    I believe and take God at His Word, he does forgive us if we repent and ask forgiveness, one either believes or they dismiss what the Bible says. Forgiveness is preached and taught from the Bible, I don’t question the LORD’s forgiveness.

    I believe man has ‘free will’

    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Romans 13:2

    As in Romans 13:2 you can see clearly the word “resisteth” used twice and the word “resist” used once. That would mean that a person can resist God, this would also mean that they had knowledge of what they were resisting

    Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Acts 7:51
    Here again we see them to “resist the Holy Ghost” so its there for you to read that it is possible to resist the Holy Ghost.
    These passages of Scripture are clear that people can “resist” the Holy Spirit. There is FREE WILL! Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 .. yet another passage which clearly defines ‘free will’

    I have a personal relationship with the LORD, His HOLY Spirit dwells within me, and has ever since I believed in Him, and repented of my sins.

    13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

    14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

    15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4

    Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
    John 14:23

    Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
    1 Corinthians 12:3

    11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world. but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

    12 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    1 Corinthians 2:11-13

  • Grace

    Stephen – 118

    “If my interpretation is even close to correct, it would mean that God alone is not the actor. It seems to me it would mean that the onus of effort is actually on you – constantly in fact – to keep that up. That is, if you are going to have assurance of that forgiveness beyond the touch anything coming to you through the outside, such as a sermon, or the words of Christ spoken to you that assure you of forgiveness, or that you were indeed saved by his holy name in baptism rather than by your own efforts and agreement with his Gospel. What does God actually do ALONE other than what happened in history if he isn’t working now through such means? That is what I don’t get.”

    Referring to God as an “actor” is not respectful to Him, perhaps you didn’t mean it that way. The “onus of effort” as you call it, is not a BURDEN to me at all. God is Almighty, God is history, and all future — HE IS Omnipotence, all powerful, Omniscience, all knowing, Omnipresence, being present everywhere, HE was from Everlasting. These are facts, recorded in His Word.

    I believe and take God at His Word, he does forgive us if we repent and ask forgiveness, one either believes or they dismiss what the Bible says. Forgiveness is preached and taught from the Bible, I don’t question the LORD’s forgiveness.

    I believe man has ‘free will’

    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Romans 13:2

    As in Romans 13:2 you can see clearly the word “resisteth” used twice and the word “resist” used once. That would mean that a person can resist God, this would also mean that they had knowledge of what they were resisting

    Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Acts 7:51
    Here again we see them to “resist the Holy Ghost” so its there for you to read that it is possible to resist the Holy Ghost.
    These passages of Scripture are clear that people can “resist” the Holy Spirit. There is FREE WILL! Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 .. yet another passage which clearly defines ‘free will’

    I have a personal relationship with the LORD, His HOLY Spirit dwells within me, and has ever since I believed in Him, and repented of my sins.

    13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

    14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

    15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4

    Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
    John 14:23

    Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
    1 Corinthians 12:3

    11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world. but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

    12 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    1 Corinthians 2:11-13

  • steve

    Arndt, #73:

    Thanks for the link. It was very interesting and taught me some things I didn’t know about my own tradition. However, I’m finding it difficult to relate to the topic at hand.

  • steve

    Arndt, #73:

    Thanks for the link. It was very interesting and taught me some things I didn’t know about my own tradition. However, I’m finding it difficult to relate to the topic at hand.

  • steve

    helen, #89:

    Thanks for the clarification. I’m learning a great deal through this blog and finding there’s a lot about the Lutheran understanding about individual participation in the Gospel that I don’t have a good grasp on.

  • steve

    helen, #89:

    Thanks for the clarification. I’m learning a great deal through this blog and finding there’s a lot about the Lutheran understanding about individual participation in the Gospel that I don’t have a good grasp on.

  • Dan Kempin

    FWS,

    Just noticed that you had posted further on our discussion. I need to go, but I will read and reflect on it when I get the chance.

    Peace.

  • Dan Kempin

    FWS,

    Just noticed that you had posted further on our discussion. I need to go, but I will read and reflect on it when I get the chance.

    Peace.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    arndt @ 73

    There is something about Carey´s article that does not sit right with me, but I cannot put my finger on it.

    Carey is a fine writer and a Lutheranized anglican. He quotes alot from Luther but does not do what Luther would have him do: look to our confessions.

    I think what bothers me is that he says that a Lutheran can only be certain of salvation now, but cannot be certain of his Election or eternal salvation or that he will persevere in the faith.

    I believe this is wrong. We look for our eternal election, and find it, in our Holy Baptism , and in what is done for us , in, with and under what is done by human hands in the Holy Catholic Church.

    There we can know for certain that we are called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and kept, together with the Holy Catholic Church and the Communion of Saints that is in, with and under that Holy Catholic Church in the one true faith that is alone in Christ Jesus.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    arndt @ 73

    There is something about Carey´s article that does not sit right with me, but I cannot put my finger on it.

    Carey is a fine writer and a Lutheranized anglican. He quotes alot from Luther but does not do what Luther would have him do: look to our confessions.

    I think what bothers me is that he says that a Lutheran can only be certain of salvation now, but cannot be certain of his Election or eternal salvation or that he will persevere in the faith.

    I believe this is wrong. We look for our eternal election, and find it, in our Holy Baptism , and in what is done for us , in, with and under what is done by human hands in the Holy Catholic Church.

    There we can know for certain that we are called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and kept, together with the Holy Catholic Church and the Communion of Saints that is in, with and under that Holy Catholic Church in the one true faith that is alone in Christ Jesus.

  • Larry

    Frank,

    I agree. I like what Carey wrote and it goes a long way at displaying the differences. However, at the end of the day he does “reason must settle this”, and I think that’s why he tends to summarize that a Lutheran cannot be “certain of his Election or eternal salvation or that he will persevere in the faith”. That’s really a Calvinistic “read” (with its inherent rationalism) if you will on Luther/Lutheranism.

    For Luther refers to Baptism specifically when the devil tempts us to reason through election, and that election is pure Gospel not “divine reprobation”.

    The way Lutheran answers the devil’s temptation to search out, “But are you sure YOU are elect” is to say, “I am baptized, I don’t care if I’m elect…that’s good enough for me.” Which is to say, “I’m not listening to your (the devil’s) word (on election) but God’s (man shall LIVE by the Word of God alone)”. Or to say, “Christ is elect and where He is there I am also.” Same thing. To BE in baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the nouns and pronouns of the Gospel (e.g. world) is to BE in the Word, to BE in Christ and Him in you.

    The devil is clever and attempts to remove or unhinge one from this Word (and/or sacrament which is another Word = Christ), simply by saying some form of “but hath God really said”, using of course other words of God to make the Word of God go away.

    Oh, it’s a battle. Reason without outside heterodox influence ALONE can invite and invent such temptations. It’s a battle, no doubt, to stay in the Word internally, let alone with outside influence. Every contrary word or idea (word in concept) that strikes against “this is My body”, “baptism saves”, “For God so loved the world” strikes against the Holy Spirit within directly.

  • Larry

    Frank,

    I agree. I like what Carey wrote and it goes a long way at displaying the differences. However, at the end of the day he does “reason must settle this”, and I think that’s why he tends to summarize that a Lutheran cannot be “certain of his Election or eternal salvation or that he will persevere in the faith”. That’s really a Calvinistic “read” (with its inherent rationalism) if you will on Luther/Lutheranism.

    For Luther refers to Baptism specifically when the devil tempts us to reason through election, and that election is pure Gospel not “divine reprobation”.

    The way Lutheran answers the devil’s temptation to search out, “But are you sure YOU are elect” is to say, “I am baptized, I don’t care if I’m elect…that’s good enough for me.” Which is to say, “I’m not listening to your (the devil’s) word (on election) but God’s (man shall LIVE by the Word of God alone)”. Or to say, “Christ is elect and where He is there I am also.” Same thing. To BE in baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the nouns and pronouns of the Gospel (e.g. world) is to BE in the Word, to BE in Christ and Him in you.

    The devil is clever and attempts to remove or unhinge one from this Word (and/or sacrament which is another Word = Christ), simply by saying some form of “but hath God really said”, using of course other words of God to make the Word of God go away.

    Oh, it’s a battle. Reason without outside heterodox influence ALONE can invite and invent such temptations. It’s a battle, no doubt, to stay in the Word internally, let alone with outside influence. Every contrary word or idea (word in concept) that strikes against “this is My body”, “baptism saves”, “For God so loved the world” strikes against the Holy Spirit within directly.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 124

    “That’s really a Calvinistic “read” (with its inherent rationalism) if you will on Luther/Lutheranism.”

    Bingo. You hit the nail on the head. That´s it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 124

    “That’s really a Calvinistic “read” (with its inherent rationalism) if you will on Luther/Lutheranism.”

    Bingo. You hit the nail on the head. That´s it.

  • larry

    It’s similar to the explaination that Calvinism tries regarding what they call “the Lutheran view” of the Sacrament, consubstantiation. I say that because that’s also the way I use to think. You hear the Lutheran confessions on the Lord’s Supper, but the one thing it NEVER does is satiate is that reason (Calvinistic, self or otherwise) that keeps asking, “Yes, yes, yes, I got all that, but HOW can this happen and be His real blood and wine seeing I only see and detect wine.”
    Reason literally wants to KILL nude faith in the Word alone (true sola fide sola Scriptura). I mean it’s a monster that cannot be satisfied. It needs to pry into the secrets of divinity (original sin). And it’s not “just Calvinism” per say, but the natural mode and inclination of fallen man, in general and in specifics.

    So, in this case, it (reason) does what thinks is a pious “run around” and says, “Oh consubstantiation” using the “in, with and under”. It takes the “in, with and under” for example and kind of “Calvinizes” or “fallen reason-izes it” it to be saying “consubstantiation”. It’s a version of how Rome eventually came up with its “transubstantiation” theory. Reason leaves the pardox. The paradox is, however, the true reality and atmosphere of nude faith. It’s an atmosphere, if you will, of entirely unsensed, unreasoned existence upon a Word spoken that is yet not realize in a way that we live and reason otherwise in this life. Literally, faith alone or nude in the Word spoken alone. “Alone” being the common weight on both statements, a literally bareness of this capacity, faith, toward the Word.

    I suppose in a limited way it could be seen this way: Man was created with the capacity for faith. This set him up above not just the animals but I suppose all other creatures, including the angels of heaven. And this faith was THE PARTICULAR ALONE relationship he had with His Creator. Infinitely SPECIAL, WORD ALONE driven, Christ ALONE existing/being. When man gave up the Word, turned from it by “other word’s” (of the serpent/devil), he some how emptied himself of the Word and left this brutally disfigured capacity for faith there that now turns in every and all directions for a god, including primarily to the self and secondarily to other gods and even the wrong worship of the true God = all idolatry.

    If there were an order to these things within man perhaps it might go like this: man is ruled by the Word which the creature faith receives which in turn rules man’s other creatures including his life and REASON. But in the fall the Word was dispatched by other words that REASON grasped to usurp and kill faith to get over top of the Word and so rule. So that in fallen man what rules first is not the Word but reason. In fact fallen reason would wish to murder faith so that ultimately it can get rid of the Word and thus become god itself of the self. Reason in this capacity RULES the will of man. This is the will’s bondage.

    What Christ does is bring the Word (and sacraments = the Word) again TO and FOR the man. In a way, I suppose, resurrects faith by, I don’t know, in filling (?) with the Word again. But that Word/faith relationship here and now is a nude one, an invisible one, a non-sensed one, a non-reasoned one (not irrational but not ruled by). It does this by blinding reason’s usurping route. The Word blinds reason, by directly and purposefully offending reason, to resurrect faith. Faith resurrected by the Word place the order of rule back and reason ruled by faith ruled ultimately, nudely/invisibly, by the Word restores/repairs fallen human reason. But reason still wars with the Word. Thus, when it hears something like “this is My body/blood…” it wishes to rationalize THAT Word again, to kill both faith and rule over the Word. So it proffers consubstantiation to stay over the Word and eliminates faith.

    But to “have faith” is to suffer (passive/passion) in a “paradox” to reason that offends reason by the Word alone in the FACE of even what appears opposite.

    What stunned me just the other day was Luther’s extended explanations of the small catechism on the confessions, like the Apostle’s Creed. Why do they say, “I/we believe”? As the catechism explains that because these are all taken by (nude) faith alone in the Word alone, the Father (including creation ex nihilo), Son (His life/work), the Holy Spirit (and His work), the Church (holy, catholic, apostolic church), the Lord’s Supper (communion of the saints), one baptism for forgiveness of sin, forgiveness of sins, resurrection, and life to come. ALL are paradoxes, ALL taken by nude faith, ALL Word alone given, ALL offend reason, etc…

  • larry

    It’s similar to the explaination that Calvinism tries regarding what they call “the Lutheran view” of the Sacrament, consubstantiation. I say that because that’s also the way I use to think. You hear the Lutheran confessions on the Lord’s Supper, but the one thing it NEVER does is satiate is that reason (Calvinistic, self or otherwise) that keeps asking, “Yes, yes, yes, I got all that, but HOW can this happen and be His real blood and wine seeing I only see and detect wine.”
    Reason literally wants to KILL nude faith in the Word alone (true sola fide sola Scriptura). I mean it’s a monster that cannot be satisfied. It needs to pry into the secrets of divinity (original sin). And it’s not “just Calvinism” per say, but the natural mode and inclination of fallen man, in general and in specifics.

    So, in this case, it (reason) does what thinks is a pious “run around” and says, “Oh consubstantiation” using the “in, with and under”. It takes the “in, with and under” for example and kind of “Calvinizes” or “fallen reason-izes it” it to be saying “consubstantiation”. It’s a version of how Rome eventually came up with its “transubstantiation” theory. Reason leaves the pardox. The paradox is, however, the true reality and atmosphere of nude faith. It’s an atmosphere, if you will, of entirely unsensed, unreasoned existence upon a Word spoken that is yet not realize in a way that we live and reason otherwise in this life. Literally, faith alone or nude in the Word spoken alone. “Alone” being the common weight on both statements, a literally bareness of this capacity, faith, toward the Word.

    I suppose in a limited way it could be seen this way: Man was created with the capacity for faith. This set him up above not just the animals but I suppose all other creatures, including the angels of heaven. And this faith was THE PARTICULAR ALONE relationship he had with His Creator. Infinitely SPECIAL, WORD ALONE driven, Christ ALONE existing/being. When man gave up the Word, turned from it by “other word’s” (of the serpent/devil), he some how emptied himself of the Word and left this brutally disfigured capacity for faith there that now turns in every and all directions for a god, including primarily to the self and secondarily to other gods and even the wrong worship of the true God = all idolatry.

    If there were an order to these things within man perhaps it might go like this: man is ruled by the Word which the creature faith receives which in turn rules man’s other creatures including his life and REASON. But in the fall the Word was dispatched by other words that REASON grasped to usurp and kill faith to get over top of the Word and so rule. So that in fallen man what rules first is not the Word but reason. In fact fallen reason would wish to murder faith so that ultimately it can get rid of the Word and thus become god itself of the self. Reason in this capacity RULES the will of man. This is the will’s bondage.

    What Christ does is bring the Word (and sacraments = the Word) again TO and FOR the man. In a way, I suppose, resurrects faith by, I don’t know, in filling (?) with the Word again. But that Word/faith relationship here and now is a nude one, an invisible one, a non-sensed one, a non-reasoned one (not irrational but not ruled by). It does this by blinding reason’s usurping route. The Word blinds reason, by directly and purposefully offending reason, to resurrect faith. Faith resurrected by the Word place the order of rule back and reason ruled by faith ruled ultimately, nudely/invisibly, by the Word restores/repairs fallen human reason. But reason still wars with the Word. Thus, when it hears something like “this is My body/blood…” it wishes to rationalize THAT Word again, to kill both faith and rule over the Word. So it proffers consubstantiation to stay over the Word and eliminates faith.

    But to “have faith” is to suffer (passive/passion) in a “paradox” to reason that offends reason by the Word alone in the FACE of even what appears opposite.

    What stunned me just the other day was Luther’s extended explanations of the small catechism on the confessions, like the Apostle’s Creed. Why do they say, “I/we believe”? As the catechism explains that because these are all taken by (nude) faith alone in the Word alone, the Father (including creation ex nihilo), Son (His life/work), the Holy Spirit (and His work), the Church (holy, catholic, apostolic church), the Lord’s Supper (communion of the saints), one baptism for forgiveness of sin, forgiveness of sins, resurrection, and life to come. ALL are paradoxes, ALL taken by nude faith, ALL Word alone given, ALL offend reason, etc…

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 126

    What Larry says. Now THAT is talk that is full of the Lutheran Confessions. It mirrors exzctly what the Confessions say about Reason and Faith.

    Great job Larry!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    larry @ 126

    What Larry says. Now THAT is talk that is full of the Lutheran Confessions. It mirrors exzctly what the Confessions say about Reason and Faith.

    Great job Larry!

  • larry

    Frank,

    Thanks for the kind words, they are kinder than I deserve, but none the less I recieve them and thank you.

    To give credit where credit is due I must thank you and many of the good Lutheran brothers/sisters that here and elsewhere keep pointing my nose to the confessions.

    I’ve noted something about myself that I’d dare say many of us Christians wrestle with. You know how we always say, “read the Word’. And we all plot and plan to do that but to some degree our flesh sort of fights about just sitting down and doing it. I use to think that it was because the Scriptures where complicated and much of the culture hard to pick up on given ours is different in many ways. There’s some truth to that I think. But the other truth is we just simply WAR within ourselves to do this.

    Here’s the thing, I’ve noted that THAT is the case with the Confessions as well. And we can’t say its because its “so foreign to us” culturally (a little maybe but not like the ancient middle east versus the modern west). And others might say, yea but its a LOT of reading, not small. True, but that’s kind of a confession of laziness we make is it not. And I say that because I’m guilty of it too. My “theory”? Same flesh, because the confessions express a true and real confession of what the Scriptures actually say. I think we just war with it.

    One has to ask one’s self why “we” tend to read several 200/300/400 page books that give basically false Christian instruction of “how/what TO DO” (works), nearly endlessly (e.g. if we are “that worried” about the length, why is Rick Warren’s or John Piper’s multiply 100 page multiple books so popular?), but then the Scriptures and the confessions largely left aside which in summary tell us what Christ/God DID FOR US?

    All this to encourage us, I hope, to return to the Scripture and confessions (i.e. the orthodox confessions of the church captured in the BoC).

    I was reading through the expanded explanations of the shorter catechism, looking ahead and cursory. It simply stunned me what all was there. I told my wife, “You we HAVE to read through this more, its all there, the Gospel, the sacraments, answers to premill/dispensationalism, etc…” Something as simple as for example the small catechism Q/A on the opening of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father…”, what does this mean? “That God TENDERLY invites us to BELIEVE (nude trust) that He IS our TRUE Father and that we are His TRUE children so that with ALL BOLDNESS, confidence (alt. ASSURANCE) we may ask of Him as dear children ask their dear father.”

    I mean think of ALL the Gospel there, all the PRO ME there. And how it connects to the first commandment, which has Gospel within it (i.e. God is our God saving us!). Think what that states positively toward the Gospel FOR ME/YOU.

    Think about what all that IS POLEMICALLY proclaiming against. It’s definitely against all non-pro me doctrines! It’s definitely against ALL doctrines that change the Word’s of Scripture to not include, maybe, YOU. It’s definitely against a LACK of assurance! It’s definitely against God not being our God! It’s definitely against ALL doctrines that seperate infants and children from the church!

    And that’s all from the “Our Father Who art in heaven” of the LORD’S prayer given to us for us to pray! And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Wait until you get to the “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Look at the positve Gospel there and the POLEMICAL declarations made there. What’s God’s will for YOU. …”this IS the good and gracious will of God.”

    And THAT is just the small catechism Q and A on one single thing, the Lord’s Prayer, on one part of that prayer.

    If it were not so expensive to print due to its size, this ought to be the Lutheran tract!

    Perhaps, in this day and age, we should get a good dramatic reader to read onto CD(s) the BoC as a media for it. I wonder if Max Mclean would be available for that! It’s hard to beat his vocational craft in dramatic reading that’s for sure.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Thanks for the kind words, they are kinder than I deserve, but none the less I recieve them and thank you.

    To give credit where credit is due I must thank you and many of the good Lutheran brothers/sisters that here and elsewhere keep pointing my nose to the confessions.

    I’ve noted something about myself that I’d dare say many of us Christians wrestle with. You know how we always say, “read the Word’. And we all plot and plan to do that but to some degree our flesh sort of fights about just sitting down and doing it. I use to think that it was because the Scriptures where complicated and much of the culture hard to pick up on given ours is different in many ways. There’s some truth to that I think. But the other truth is we just simply WAR within ourselves to do this.

    Here’s the thing, I’ve noted that THAT is the case with the Confessions as well. And we can’t say its because its “so foreign to us” culturally (a little maybe but not like the ancient middle east versus the modern west). And others might say, yea but its a LOT of reading, not small. True, but that’s kind of a confession of laziness we make is it not. And I say that because I’m guilty of it too. My “theory”? Same flesh, because the confessions express a true and real confession of what the Scriptures actually say. I think we just war with it.

    One has to ask one’s self why “we” tend to read several 200/300/400 page books that give basically false Christian instruction of “how/what TO DO” (works), nearly endlessly (e.g. if we are “that worried” about the length, why is Rick Warren’s or John Piper’s multiply 100 page multiple books so popular?), but then the Scriptures and the confessions largely left aside which in summary tell us what Christ/God DID FOR US?

    All this to encourage us, I hope, to return to the Scripture and confessions (i.e. the orthodox confessions of the church captured in the BoC).

    I was reading through the expanded explanations of the shorter catechism, looking ahead and cursory. It simply stunned me what all was there. I told my wife, “You we HAVE to read through this more, its all there, the Gospel, the sacraments, answers to premill/dispensationalism, etc…” Something as simple as for example the small catechism Q/A on the opening of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father…”, what does this mean? “That God TENDERLY invites us to BELIEVE (nude trust) that He IS our TRUE Father and that we are His TRUE children so that with ALL BOLDNESS, confidence (alt. ASSURANCE) we may ask of Him as dear children ask their dear father.”

    I mean think of ALL the Gospel there, all the PRO ME there. And how it connects to the first commandment, which has Gospel within it (i.e. God is our God saving us!). Think what that states positively toward the Gospel FOR ME/YOU.

    Think about what all that IS POLEMICALLY proclaiming against. It’s definitely against all non-pro me doctrines! It’s definitely against ALL doctrines that change the Word’s of Scripture to not include, maybe, YOU. It’s definitely against a LACK of assurance! It’s definitely against God not being our God! It’s definitely against ALL doctrines that seperate infants and children from the church!

    And that’s all from the “Our Father Who art in heaven” of the LORD’S prayer given to us for us to pray! And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Wait until you get to the “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Look at the positve Gospel there and the POLEMICAL declarations made there. What’s God’s will for YOU. …”this IS the good and gracious will of God.”

    And THAT is just the small catechism Q and A on one single thing, the Lord’s Prayer, on one part of that prayer.

    If it were not so expensive to print due to its size, this ought to be the Lutheran tract!

    Perhaps, in this day and age, we should get a good dramatic reader to read onto CD(s) the BoC as a media for it. I wonder if Max Mclean would be available for that! It’s hard to beat his vocational craft in dramatic reading that’s for sure.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 128

    How about a movie with Charleston Heston and Cecil B. De Mille as the director… the Small and Large Cathechism!

    A cast of thousands (well maybe a dozen now with computerization…)

    Seriously…

    It IS truly ALL there right in the Small Catechism. What an amazing little book!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Larry @ 128

    How about a movie with Charleston Heston and Cecil B. De Mille as the director… the Small and Large Cathechism!

    A cast of thousands (well maybe a dozen now with computerization…)

    Seriously…

    It IS truly ALL there right in the Small Catechism. What an amazing little book!

  • kristy

    I’ve been looking in to this scripture recently. I’m reading over the position that the grammatical interpretation is slightly skew and when you correctly interpret it, the contextual basis shows that we aren’t given the power to FORGIVE sins but the power to PROCLAIM forgiveness as spelled out in the gospel of Christ’s sacrifice and the Great Commission. Anyone taking this angle? An explanation of the Greek grammar issue: http://www.bibleone.net/print_tbs42.html

  • kristy

    I’ve been looking in to this scripture recently. I’m reading over the position that the grammatical interpretation is slightly skew and when you correctly interpret it, the contextual basis shows that we aren’t given the power to FORGIVE sins but the power to PROCLAIM forgiveness as spelled out in the gospel of Christ’s sacrifice and the Great Commission. Anyone taking this angle? An explanation of the Greek grammar issue: http://www.bibleone.net/print_tbs42.html

  • http://www.kiiuzgztrttder.org Janet Fillare

    Odd this submit is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, however it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing some thing proper if Google likes you sufficient to place you on the 1st page of a non associated search.

  • http://www.kiiuzgztrttder.org Janet Fillare

    Odd this submit is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, however it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing some thing proper if Google likes you sufficient to place you on the 1st page of a non associated search.

  • Jordan

    tODD @ 97

    I believe what Grace @ 96 said was accurate. You also claim that she outright denies a command from Jesus.

    “You also said (@96), “Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins,” but this is a flat-out denial of Jesus’ command in John 20:23.”

    Nowhere in John 20:23 does Jesus ever COMMAND anyone anything. He is merely informing his disciples. Also, it is not a command to know every verse in the Bible. Therefore one who wants to come to Jesus needs only to know of his story and that he freely offers forgiveness to all who repent and turn to him and accept him as their savior.

    Let’s not get lost in theology here. The Bible says to repent and turn from our sins in numerous places. It does not specify how we repent. Perhaps for some they repent to through their priest, or minister, or directly through prayer. God knows our heart. He sees our heart. Man sees the outside, but God sees the inside. God is not nearly as concerned with traditions and legalistic principles as we are.

  • Jordan

    tODD @ 97

    I believe what Grace @ 96 said was accurate. You also claim that she outright denies a command from Jesus.

    “You also said (@96), “Jesus never instructed us to go through another individual to be forgiven of our sins,” but this is a flat-out denial of Jesus’ command in John 20:23.”

    Nowhere in John 20:23 does Jesus ever COMMAND anyone anything. He is merely informing his disciples. Also, it is not a command to know every verse in the Bible. Therefore one who wants to come to Jesus needs only to know of his story and that he freely offers forgiveness to all who repent and turn to him and accept him as their savior.

    Let’s not get lost in theology here. The Bible says to repent and turn from our sins in numerous places. It does not specify how we repent. Perhaps for some they repent to through their priest, or minister, or directly through prayer. God knows our heart. He sees our heart. Man sees the outside, but God sees the inside. God is not nearly as concerned with traditions and legalistic principles as we are.

  • fws

    kristy @ 130

    Yes Kristy, alot of people have considered this. In fact the Jews criticized Jesus because he forgave sins, and they (correctly) said that only God can forgive sins.

    But what is missing here is the concept of “office” that , oddly, secular society understands perfectly, but some christians have lost.

    It it delegated authority like that of a Judge. When the judge robes and speaks in a courtroom, he is speaking according to his office. So he says “by the power invested in me by the state of California I sentence you to 20 years in prison. Nof when the judge is at home and his wife tells him to take out the trash, he is in a different vocation. Or if as judge he speaks outside of the authority invested in him and makes up his own law, then too he is without authority.

    So when a pastor forgives sin, this is an authority God has invested in him, according to his office, and we are to believe the pastor´s words of forgiveness as though our own dear Lord Jesus is speaking those words to us. Because he IS!

  • fws

    kristy @ 130

    Yes Kristy, alot of people have considered this. In fact the Jews criticized Jesus because he forgave sins, and they (correctly) said that only God can forgive sins.

    But what is missing here is the concept of “office” that , oddly, secular society understands perfectly, but some christians have lost.

    It it delegated authority like that of a Judge. When the judge robes and speaks in a courtroom, he is speaking according to his office. So he says “by the power invested in me by the state of California I sentence you to 20 years in prison. Nof when the judge is at home and his wife tells him to take out the trash, he is in a different vocation. Or if as judge he speaks outside of the authority invested in him and makes up his own law, then too he is without authority.

    So when a pastor forgives sin, this is an authority God has invested in him, according to his office, and we are to believe the pastor´s words of forgiveness as though our own dear Lord Jesus is speaking those words to us. Because he IS!

  • fws

    Jordan @ 132

    Read my post please at 133.

    Also, Jesus commands his church to preach the forgiveness of sins almost everywhere. And he tells us that he has delegated the authority to forgive sins to the church. “He who hears you hears me!” he says about this forgiveness.

    You are right that God has many ways to communicate this good news of Forgiveness in Jesus. But it needs to be communicated doesnt it? “faith comes by HEARING and hearing comes by the Word of God” and… “how shall they hear unless (pastors) be sent?”

    So yes, Christ died 2000 years ago and paid for the sins of all. But it is not dry doctrine to also say that that forgiveness needs to be delivered, and personally, now in 2011. How this gets delivered to us is the difference we are discussing. It matters. It is not just “doctrinal fine point”.

    So a question for you: Why would you as a christian not cling to and rejoice in a sent one or pastor doing his duty and forgiving you. Why would there be a need to separate Christ from those he has sent to us and who are speaking the word of forgiveness he has commanded them to speak. And if Christ has not commanded pastors to speak the word of forgiveness, then what HAS he commanded pastors to do? Why is it they even exist? To coach us on being morally better? To point out our sins?

  • fws

    Jordan @ 132

    Read my post please at 133.

    Also, Jesus commands his church to preach the forgiveness of sins almost everywhere. And he tells us that he has delegated the authority to forgive sins to the church. “He who hears you hears me!” he says about this forgiveness.

    You are right that God has many ways to communicate this good news of Forgiveness in Jesus. But it needs to be communicated doesnt it? “faith comes by HEARING and hearing comes by the Word of God” and… “how shall they hear unless (pastors) be sent?”

    So yes, Christ died 2000 years ago and paid for the sins of all. But it is not dry doctrine to also say that that forgiveness needs to be delivered, and personally, now in 2011. How this gets delivered to us is the difference we are discussing. It matters. It is not just “doctrinal fine point”.

    So a question for you: Why would you as a christian not cling to and rejoice in a sent one or pastor doing his duty and forgiving you. Why would there be a need to separate Christ from those he has sent to us and who are speaking the word of forgiveness he has commanded them to speak. And if Christ has not commanded pastors to speak the word of forgiveness, then what HAS he commanded pastors to do? Why is it they even exist? To coach us on being morally better? To point out our sins?

  • Joshua Hatch

    The word says “if you forgive ANY, they are forgiven.” So then we can forgive ourselves. Also, what if someone forgives you and someone withholds forgiveness from you, what happens?

  • Joshua Hatch

    The word says “if you forgive ANY, they are forgiven.” So then we can forgive ourselves. Also, what if someone forgives you and someone withholds forgiveness from you, what happens?

  • fws

    135 joshua

    that is not quite it Joshua I would suggest.

    Think of this working like the work that a judge does. He puts on his robes and speaks according to his OFFICE.

    When he is acting according to the authority given to that office he is saying “I pronounce you (fill in the blank)” and that is proper. He has the authority to judge.

    But this authority is a delegated authority, and it only is effective when he is acting according to an office that everyone should recognize and also he dare not act outside of the charter he has been given.

    in this case he must obey the constitution etc.

    in the case of forgiveness, we are commanded by Jesus to speak his words. and we are given the authority to speak those words. so there is a command and authority. and this authority is only when we act as christ commands us.

    This is even more certain when this is done by someone who has been publicly set apart to do it. it is not more valid than an individual christian doing it, but it IS more certain to the recipient of the words spoken. why?

    as an individual you cannot be certain I am a christian so how can you be certain that my words are valid? But a pastor could be a total unbeliever and still we could be certain that he does indeed speak in the stead of christ , just as the pharisees sat in moses seat even though many were without faith.

  • fws

    135 joshua

    that is not quite it Joshua I would suggest.

    Think of this working like the work that a judge does. He puts on his robes and speaks according to his OFFICE.

    When he is acting according to the authority given to that office he is saying “I pronounce you (fill in the blank)” and that is proper. He has the authority to judge.

    But this authority is a delegated authority, and it only is effective when he is acting according to an office that everyone should recognize and also he dare not act outside of the charter he has been given.

    in this case he must obey the constitution etc.

    in the case of forgiveness, we are commanded by Jesus to speak his words. and we are given the authority to speak those words. so there is a command and authority. and this authority is only when we act as christ commands us.

    This is even more certain when this is done by someone who has been publicly set apart to do it. it is not more valid than an individual christian doing it, but it IS more certain to the recipient of the words spoken. why?

    as an individual you cannot be certain I am a christian so how can you be certain that my words are valid? But a pastor could be a total unbeliever and still we could be certain that he does indeed speak in the stead of christ , just as the pharisees sat in moses seat even though many were without faith.

  • Dragline

    Well, I am quite late to this discussion, but it was interesting to read.

    I thought there were a couple things missing. First, the focus has been on the effect on the person being forgiven and the meaning of the retention of sin. I think this must be read in the context of John 3:17, where is it written that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn, but to save. It follows that Jesus did not give anyone the power to condemn, but only the power to forgive. We can only condemn or remain condemned as to our own selves. Thus, if you are not forgiven, you only remain as condemned as you were before asking forgiveness.

    It also follows logically that although one disciple, preacher, priest — however you might like to define the ones with the power — might withhold forgiveness, another one might grant that forgiveness, and it will be effective, perhaps to the consternation of the one who withheld forgiveness. In other words, no one person has the complete power to withhold forgiveness. If the asker keeps asking, it is more than likely that he or she will receive per Matt 7:7-8.

    But what of those that choose to withhold forgiveness — might not there be a more powerful effect that they bring upon themselves? We know that the merciful will receive mercy per Matt 5:7. More critically, the standards of judgment rendered will be applied to the would be judge per Matt 7:1-2. Such might such a person condemn themselves even while they seek to condemn another — which they have no power to do anyway.

    I think the person choosing to forgive or not here has much more at stake than the person asking forgiveness.

  • Dragline

    Well, I am quite late to this discussion, but it was interesting to read.

    I thought there were a couple things missing. First, the focus has been on the effect on the person being forgiven and the meaning of the retention of sin. I think this must be read in the context of John 3:17, where is it written that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn, but to save. It follows that Jesus did not give anyone the power to condemn, but only the power to forgive. We can only condemn or remain condemned as to our own selves. Thus, if you are not forgiven, you only remain as condemned as you were before asking forgiveness.

    It also follows logically that although one disciple, preacher, priest — however you might like to define the ones with the power — might withhold forgiveness, another one might grant that forgiveness, and it will be effective, perhaps to the consternation of the one who withheld forgiveness. In other words, no one person has the complete power to withhold forgiveness. If the asker keeps asking, it is more than likely that he or she will receive per Matt 7:7-8.

    But what of those that choose to withhold forgiveness — might not there be a more powerful effect that they bring upon themselves? We know that the merciful will receive mercy per Matt 5:7. More critically, the standards of judgment rendered will be applied to the would be judge per Matt 7:1-2. Such might such a person condemn themselves even while they seek to condemn another — which they have no power to do anyway.

    I think the person choosing to forgive or not here has much more at stake than the person asking forgiveness.


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