A conversation with one of my critics #2

More of my debate with Ken Witherington, author of  Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor, which takes issue with what I say about vocation in God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Focal Point):

 WITHERINGTON: Let’s take one of these issues where we really do have a difference. While I am not going to suggest that human beings, Christians in particular, never are co-operating with God in some sense, I am going to insist on is that there are plenty of times where we have been graced and empowered to do things for God. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. Doubtless he could have done it without us, or by using others, but Gene, he’s decided to do it by empowering you and me, for example.

Now what this in turn means is that while I am happy to talk about God empowering or leading or guiding such activities, at the end of the day, they would not happen as my action, unless I decided to do it and acted on the decision. The matter was not fore-ordained, and so I am not merely going along with what God is doing, without God coercing me (and so ‘freely’ in the Edwardsian sense of not compelled to do it), I am actually acting as a free agent of God, and indeed God will hold me responsible for my behavior, accordingly. He will not be holding himself responsible. I bring this all up because it affects the way we look at the notion of vocation and the notion of calling, as we can discuss further in due course.

VEITH: Ben, I think I agree with your first paragraph.

I’m not sure I fully understand your second paragraph. (Do you mean “with God coercing me”?) Is it that you are bringing “free will” into the doctrine of vocation, as with the Arminian doctrine of salvation? As a Lutheran, I can actually agree with much of the former without agreeing with the latter. (Luther wrote “The Bondage of the Will,” but he also wrote “The Freedom of the Christian,” in which he develops his theology of vocation.)

I guess the main difference would be that we Lutherans might have a greater emphasis on sin in the human agency that we do have.

Say a man has the calling to work in a bank. He lends people money and takes care of other financial needs of the community, so that he is indeed loving and serving his neighbors. God is in what he does. But one day he decides to embezzle money. He is stealing from his neighbors. He is certainly free to do that, but God will indeed hold him responsible. Perhaps then he goes to church, hears a sermon from God’s Word, and is convicted of his sin. He repents and puts the money back before anyone notices. From that time on, he works as an honest employee. He has the agency to do that also, though we would say the credit for his repentance goes to the Holy Spirit working through God’s Law. Now that he is doing what he should, does he earn merit for that before God? Well, not really. He is now doing what he was supposed to do all  along.  “When you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10).   The man, however, assuming he is a Christian, is in the process of being sanctified.   The struggle with sin, finding forgiveness, and doing what is right made him grow in his faith, which bears fruit in good works, and so he has grown in sanctification.   (Vocation is where sanctification happens.  You make that point too, associating our work with our sanctification, but you seem to think Lutherans don’t believe that.  We do!)

WITHERINGTON: Interesting.   I don’t think a banker has a calling to be a banker in the Biblical sense of the term calling, but let’s leave that aside for a moment.  A big part of my objection to what you write about work is the Lutheran understanding of God’s involvement in human work, that He uses human beings as His instruments and is somehow “hidden” in vocation.

Continue reading.

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.

  • Dave (in Michigan)

    Reading your book on vocation (about 3 years ago) was a real life changing experience for me. In fact, I recently bought the kindle version and I’m going through it again. I’m a better computer programmer because of it.

    But I never knew this about Lutheran theology, “Lutherans actually agree with Wesleyans in affirming the Universal Atonement, that it is possible to lose salvation.” I knew about the view of atonement, but not that someone could lose salvation. Where could I go to learn more about the details and reasoning of that.

    I guess I thought Lutherans taught election in such a way that if you’re elect, you will always be one of the elect.

  • Dave (in Michigan)

    Reading your book on vocation (about 3 years ago) was a real life changing experience for me. In fact, I recently bought the kindle version and I’m going through it again. I’m a better computer programmer because of it.

    But I never knew this about Lutheran theology, “Lutherans actually agree with Wesleyans in affirming the Universal Atonement, that it is possible to lose salvation.” I knew about the view of atonement, but not that someone could lose salvation. Where could I go to learn more about the details and reasoning of that.

    I guess I thought Lutherans taught election in such a way that if you’re elect, you will always be one of the elect.

  • Dennis Peskey

    “He uses human beings as His instruments and is somehow “hidden” in vocation.” Dr. Witherington’s finger is on the page, now he only need to embrace the script; God work’s through means, including us. As an arminian approaches this conclusion, he will confront the nature of the Sacraments – let there be light!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    “He uses human beings as His instruments and is somehow “hidden” in vocation.” Dr. Witherington’s finger is on the page, now he only need to embrace the script; God work’s through means, including us. As an arminian approaches this conclusion, he will confront the nature of the Sacraments – let there be light!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Louis

    Witherington is falling into the “Two Storey Universe” trap, as one well-known Orthodox priest calls it (Fr Freeman, I think?). IOW, lowly occupations such as banker are down here, but elevated occupations such as missionary and preacher are way up there. Thus there is secular life on one storey, and a lofty “spiritual life” on another storey.

  • Louis

    Witherington is falling into the “Two Storey Universe” trap, as one well-known Orthodox priest calls it (Fr Freeman, I think?). IOW, lowly occupations such as banker are down here, but elevated occupations such as missionary and preacher are way up there. Thus there is secular life on one storey, and a lofty “spiritual life” on another storey.

  • Tom Hering

    Dave @ 1, as Lutherans we warn ourselves we can indeed fall from grace and become lost, because the Bible teaches us it’s possible. But we also comfort ourselves (through faith) with the Bible’s teaching that the elect will always remain the elect, otherwise they could not be elect. In other words, the elect can fall from grace and be lost, but not right up to the moment of death. So, we know we’re still sinful (old Adam), and therefore warn ourselves about falling from grace, but we comfort ourselves through faith (trust) in the Word’s promises concerning the elect (new creation). And if you have faith in the Word’s promises (even the tiniest hope they’re true), you haven’t fallen from grace, because you only believe by grace. :-)

    You might want to look up the Thirteen Theses on Election or Predestination adopted by the Missouri Synod in 1881 during the Predestinarian Controversy.

  • Tom Hering

    Dave @ 1, as Lutherans we warn ourselves we can indeed fall from grace and become lost, because the Bible teaches us it’s possible. But we also comfort ourselves (through faith) with the Bible’s teaching that the elect will always remain the elect, otherwise they could not be elect. In other words, the elect can fall from grace and be lost, but not right up to the moment of death. So, we know we’re still sinful (old Adam), and therefore warn ourselves about falling from grace, but we comfort ourselves through faith (trust) in the Word’s promises concerning the elect (new creation). And if you have faith in the Word’s promises (even the tiniest hope they’re true), you haven’t fallen from grace, because you only believe by grace. :-)

    You might want to look up the Thirteen Theses on Election or Predestination adopted by the Missouri Synod in 1881 during the Predestinarian Controversy.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Gotta love this discussion.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Gotta love this discussion.

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

    Yes, Dave, what Tom Hering says @4. It’s paradoxical, like much of Lutheranism. But here is the bottom line: We teach the assurance of salvation. You can know you are saved and be utterly confident in that, by virtue of your baptism and by experiencing the Lord’s Supper, in which Christ Himself promises that He has given His broken Body and His spilled blood “for you.” Calvinists do believe in “the perseverance of the saints,” but the difficulty there is that it’s never certain whether you are really a saint or not! Thus Calvinists often worry about whether they are true of the elect. Lutherans affirm what experience and Scripture both show, the fact that faith can die in someone who no longer feeds on the Word and Sacraments–just as physical life can die in someone cut off from food and water. And yet Lutherans typically don’t worry about their election.

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

    Yes, Dave, what Tom Hering says @4. It’s paradoxical, like much of Lutheranism. But here is the bottom line: We teach the assurance of salvation. You can know you are saved and be utterly confident in that, by virtue of your baptism and by experiencing the Lord’s Supper, in which Christ Himself promises that He has given His broken Body and His spilled blood “for you.” Calvinists do believe in “the perseverance of the saints,” but the difficulty there is that it’s never certain whether you are really a saint or not! Thus Calvinists often worry about whether they are true of the elect. Lutherans affirm what experience and Scripture both show, the fact that faith can die in someone who no longer feeds on the Word and Sacraments–just as physical life can die in someone cut off from food and water. And yet Lutherans typically don’t worry about their election.

  • Dan Kempin

    There does seem to be some understandable confusion about the term “vocation,” which could literally be rendered, “calling.” Yet we do not teach that a person is “called” to a particular occupation in a fatalistic sense (God ordained you to be a plumber) or even in the formal sense that we are “called” into an occupation and thereby morally obligated to remain in it. (Notable exceptions like Moses and Samuel aside.)

    Vocation is not a calling to a particular occupation, (though God’s hand and gifting can certainly be seen in this), but our calling is to serve God in our occupation, whatever it may be. “Slaves, obey your masters . . .”

    And yes, vocation is definitely in the realm of cooperation and decision. Not predestination.

  • Dan Kempin

    There does seem to be some understandable confusion about the term “vocation,” which could literally be rendered, “calling.” Yet we do not teach that a person is “called” to a particular occupation in a fatalistic sense (God ordained you to be a plumber) or even in the formal sense that we are “called” into an occupation and thereby morally obligated to remain in it. (Notable exceptions like Moses and Samuel aside.)

    Vocation is not a calling to a particular occupation, (though God’s hand and gifting can certainly be seen in this), but our calling is to serve God in our occupation, whatever it may be. “Slaves, obey your masters . . .”

    And yes, vocation is definitely in the realm of cooperation and decision. Not predestination.

  • Tom Hering

    Aaargh! I mucked up my response to Dave. My third sentence @ 4 should read: “In other words, believers can fall from grace and be lost.” Believers, not the elect – and just drop the whole “moment of death” part. Election doesn’t include those who “believe for awhile” (Luke 8:13).

    Also, the Theses are actually adamant that we should assure ourselves of our election from the Word (and not in any other way).

    Obviously, I haven’t read the Theses for a while. :-)

    http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=T&word=THIRTEENTHESES

  • Tom Hering

    Aaargh! I mucked up my response to Dave. My third sentence @ 4 should read: “In other words, believers can fall from grace and be lost.” Believers, not the elect – and just drop the whole “moment of death” part. Election doesn’t include those who “believe for awhile” (Luke 8:13).

    Also, the Theses are actually adamant that we should assure ourselves of our election from the Word (and not in any other way).

    Obviously, I haven’t read the Theses for a while. :-)

    http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=T&word=THIRTEENTHESES

  • Tom Hering

    “… vocation is definitely in the realm of cooperation and decision. Not predestination.” – Dan @ 7.

    Not strict predestination, no. But I still wonder if our vocations are callings to limited realms, because of the specific capacities, talents, desires we’re created with as unique individuals. You know, that whole thing about how “we are His workmanship, created for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Our agency doesn’t seem to be all that the defenders of a fully free will say it is.

  • Tom Hering

    “… vocation is definitely in the realm of cooperation and decision. Not predestination.” – Dan @ 7.

    Not strict predestination, no. But I still wonder if our vocations are callings to limited realms, because of the specific capacities, talents, desires we’re created with as unique individuals. You know, that whole thing about how “we are His workmanship, created for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Our agency doesn’t seem to be all that the defenders of a fully free will say it is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Tom (@9) hit on the verse I wanted to bring up here, especially in light of Witherington’s argument:

    While I am happy to talk about God empowering or leading or guiding such activities, at the end of the day, they would not happen as my action, unless I decided to do it and acted on the decision. The matter was not fore-ordained.

    I mean, come on:

    We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    How much credit can we take for our good works, again?

    This whole discussion seems be little more than a hashing out of Arminianism vs. Lutheranism with regard to free will. Much as Arminians believe (and stress) their own involvement in coming to salvation (“I prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart”), so here we see the Arminian impact on vocation: ultimately, it’s up to me. Lutheranism, as always, embraces the paradox and says that if it’s good, it’s to God credit, though we (alone) can take all the credit for all the sinning we do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Tom (@9) hit on the verse I wanted to bring up here, especially in light of Witherington’s argument:

    While I am happy to talk about God empowering or leading or guiding such activities, at the end of the day, they would not happen as my action, unless I decided to do it and acted on the decision. The matter was not fore-ordained.

    I mean, come on:

    We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    How much credit can we take for our good works, again?

    This whole discussion seems be little more than a hashing out of Arminianism vs. Lutheranism with regard to free will. Much as Arminians believe (and stress) their own involvement in coming to salvation (“I prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart”), so here we see the Arminian impact on vocation: ultimately, it’s up to me. Lutheranism, as always, embraces the paradox and says that if it’s good, it’s to God credit, though we (alone) can take all the credit for all the sinning we do.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I haven’t read ‘The Bondage of the Will’, but I suspect that Luther covers the extent to which our will is corrupt. Whenever I hear these discussions I often am under the impression that the ‘free agency’, ‘free will’ folks are giving humanity more credit than it deserves, and God much less credit than He deserves.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I haven’t read ‘The Bondage of the Will’, but I suspect that Luther covers the extent to which our will is corrupt. Whenever I hear these discussions I often am under the impression that the ‘free agency’, ‘free will’ folks are giving humanity more credit than it deserves, and God much less credit than He deserves.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #10,

    “This whole discussion seems be little more than a hashing out of Arminianism vs. Lutheranism with regard to free will.”

    Not to quibble with your take, but there is a hair here that probably ought to be split, namely that error of Arminian theology is with regard to justification. We (lutherans)* rightly abhor and condemn any credit given to man in coming to salvation. That is pure and unadulterated gift from God, without any merit or worthiness in us. No decision, not cooperation, no nothin’.

    Nevertheless, while applying this justification lens to the case of vocation certainly works–i.e. recognizing that even the good we do is only a product of God’s gracious work in us–we should make it clear that when it comes to our sanctification–after God has given us life by the Holy Spirit–we can indeed speak of free will to do good, cooperation with God, and even “decisions for Christ.” Preserving the honor of divine monergism does not assume that we are automatons or spectators in our sanctification, but rather we rejoice in the certainty of the outcome in our own personal and genuine struggle.

    I’m not saying that’s what you’re saying, but it may be what a non-lutheran would hear.

    *I hope it is not presumptuous to declare this limited doctrinal fellowship with you. ;)

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #10,

    “This whole discussion seems be little more than a hashing out of Arminianism vs. Lutheranism with regard to free will.”

    Not to quibble with your take, but there is a hair here that probably ought to be split, namely that error of Arminian theology is with regard to justification. We (lutherans)* rightly abhor and condemn any credit given to man in coming to salvation. That is pure and unadulterated gift from God, without any merit or worthiness in us. No decision, not cooperation, no nothin’.

    Nevertheless, while applying this justification lens to the case of vocation certainly works–i.e. recognizing that even the good we do is only a product of God’s gracious work in us–we should make it clear that when it comes to our sanctification–after God has given us life by the Holy Spirit–we can indeed speak of free will to do good, cooperation with God, and even “decisions for Christ.” Preserving the honor of divine monergism does not assume that we are automatons or spectators in our sanctification, but rather we rejoice in the certainty of the outcome in our own personal and genuine struggle.

    I’m not saying that’s what you’re saying, but it may be what a non-lutheran would hear.

    *I hope it is not presumptuous to declare this limited doctrinal fellowship with you. ;)

  • larry

    Luther makes the point that the Word of God (and he links this too to the institution of the sacrament of the altar the first time) by His virtue of saying a thing it IS. He differentiates our speech with His creative speech that DOES something in reality.

    Thus the Word at creation says, “be fruitful and multiply”, is a powerful Word man cannot avoid but to “do this”. In part this is why the sex drive is so impossible to avoid without a special gift to the contrary which is quite rare (Luther points this out too). Now man can outwardly sin against this in act and deed or within the appropriate bounds, internally he is always sinning against it or wrestling with it which is in and of itself the sin nature (the internal weighing out of a thing itself is itself outside of being within the will of God, not just the doing, speaking and thinking itself).

    The serving of the neighbor in the will of God is part of the creative Word, the Word causes all things. Ideally pre-fall Adam could do this as did Jesus, i.e. He IS in the flow of the will of God. There was no, for Adam pre-fall, nor was/is for Jesus this internalized needing to weigh the options and decided to do or not do X or Y. The very internal needing to weigh out whether to do or not do X in and of itself is fallen nature, it stutters, as it were at the will of God rather than in perfect confluence of it. What Witherington considers free will weighing a choice is actually linked to original sin, the weighing itself. Luther aptly points out that “you realize that when the Law comes to you and says do/don’t do, that you have ALREADY fallen into damnable sin”. This is to be under the Law.

    But man has fallen away from the will of God and is underneath the Law. Thus, every vocation in and of itself is a biblical one (a point Witherington misses, which is not surprising given his base theology). Luther points out that when Christ ate, slept and drank He was doing the will of God just as much as other things such as healing and things particular to His vocation. A banker no less has a biblical calling.

  • larry

    Luther makes the point that the Word of God (and he links this too to the institution of the sacrament of the altar the first time) by His virtue of saying a thing it IS. He differentiates our speech with His creative speech that DOES something in reality.

    Thus the Word at creation says, “be fruitful and multiply”, is a powerful Word man cannot avoid but to “do this”. In part this is why the sex drive is so impossible to avoid without a special gift to the contrary which is quite rare (Luther points this out too). Now man can outwardly sin against this in act and deed or within the appropriate bounds, internally he is always sinning against it or wrestling with it which is in and of itself the sin nature (the internal weighing out of a thing itself is itself outside of being within the will of God, not just the doing, speaking and thinking itself).

    The serving of the neighbor in the will of God is part of the creative Word, the Word causes all things. Ideally pre-fall Adam could do this as did Jesus, i.e. He IS in the flow of the will of God. There was no, for Adam pre-fall, nor was/is for Jesus this internalized needing to weigh the options and decided to do or not do X or Y. The very internal needing to weigh out whether to do or not do X in and of itself is fallen nature, it stutters, as it were at the will of God rather than in perfect confluence of it. What Witherington considers free will weighing a choice is actually linked to original sin, the weighing itself. Luther aptly points out that “you realize that when the Law comes to you and says do/don’t do, that you have ALREADY fallen into damnable sin”. This is to be under the Law.

    But man has fallen away from the will of God and is underneath the Law. Thus, every vocation in and of itself is a biblical one (a point Witherington misses, which is not surprising given his base theology). Luther points out that when Christ ate, slept and drank He was doing the will of God just as much as other things such as healing and things particular to His vocation. A banker no less has a biblical calling.

  • Dan Kempin

    Re: #12,

    I should add, for clarification, that when I said, “the error of Arminian theology is with justification,” I did not mean to imply that this is the only error. They fundamentally deny original sin inasmuch as they say that man is able to avoid sin, even as he is able to do good, as you allude in your post.

  • Dan Kempin

    Re: #12,

    I should add, for clarification, that when I said, “the error of Arminian theology is with justification,” I did not mean to imply that this is the only error. They fundamentally deny original sin inasmuch as they say that man is able to avoid sin, even as he is able to do good, as you allude in your post.

  • Another Kerner

    Dan @ #7

    When I was a teenager, I thought I might like to be a dancer or a singer or even ride a horse in the Kentuckey Derby.

    My mother tried to explain to me that first I needed to be gifted with a voice, not be tone deaf, have a measure of grace and balance, and certainly be very much shorter than 5 feet 8 inches tall.

    As someone once remarked:
    “Anyone can put paint on a canvas. It takes an artist to bring it to life.”

    The Lord does direct and order our steps by the talents he gives us.

  • Another Kerner

    Dan @ #7

    When I was a teenager, I thought I might like to be a dancer or a singer or even ride a horse in the Kentuckey Derby.

    My mother tried to explain to me that first I needed to be gifted with a voice, not be tone deaf, have a measure of grace and balance, and certainly be very much shorter than 5 feet 8 inches tall.

    As someone once remarked:
    “Anyone can put paint on a canvas. It takes an artist to bring it to life.”

    The Lord does direct and order our steps by the talents he gives us.

  • Jonathan

    @15 Your mother did you no service.
    Gifts are overrated; persistence is what counts.

  • Jonathan

    @15 Your mother did you no service.
    Gifts are overrated; persistence is what counts.

  • fws

    The man, however, assuming he is a Christian, is in the process of being sanctified. The struggle with sin, finding forgiveness, and doing what is right made him grow in his faith, which bears fruit in good works, and so he has grown in sanctification. (Vocation is where sanctification happens. You make that point too, associating our work with our sanctification, but you seem to think Lutherans don’t believe that. We do!)

    This statement is not quite right Dr Veith. And I dont know how it can be fixed.

    Consider what you know to be true:

    The Law ALWAYS does what?
    The Law ALWAYS accuses. It always kills.
    sanctification=baptismal regeneration=faith in Christ,.
    We are COMPLETELY sanctified , as new man IN CHRIST.
    We can’t “progress” in it.
    We either are or we are not holy in Christ…
    In Baptism we ARE washed and sanctified. Completed action.

    Sanctification is the “gospel in action”.
    Making Holy is what the Gospel, alone, can do!
    Sanctify means to make holy.

    The Law ALWAYS does what?
    The Law ALWAYS accuses. It always kills.
    So the Law ONLY applies to Old Adam, who cannot be sanctified.
    He must die.
    Mortification (latinate for deathing) is the “Law in action”.

    Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.
    Our Life is hidden , in Christ alone, by invisible faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.

    But in one sense dying is part of sanctification. How? the New Man now employs the Law on Old Adam. That is always how our Good Works happen! This is how vocation happens!

    So vocation is about death. It is not about life.
    Our Life is hidden in Christ.
    Only the Sanctified, in Christ , can accept this judgment of God and not flee it by trying to work harder.

  • fws

    The man, however, assuming he is a Christian, is in the process of being sanctified. The struggle with sin, finding forgiveness, and doing what is right made him grow in his faith, which bears fruit in good works, and so he has grown in sanctification. (Vocation is where sanctification happens. You make that point too, associating our work with our sanctification, but you seem to think Lutherans don’t believe that. We do!)

    This statement is not quite right Dr Veith. And I dont know how it can be fixed.

    Consider what you know to be true:

    The Law ALWAYS does what?
    The Law ALWAYS accuses. It always kills.
    sanctification=baptismal regeneration=faith in Christ,.
    We are COMPLETELY sanctified , as new man IN CHRIST.
    We can’t “progress” in it.
    We either are or we are not holy in Christ…
    In Baptism we ARE washed and sanctified. Completed action.

    Sanctification is the “gospel in action”.
    Making Holy is what the Gospel, alone, can do!
    Sanctify means to make holy.

    The Law ALWAYS does what?
    The Law ALWAYS accuses. It always kills.
    So the Law ONLY applies to Old Adam, who cannot be sanctified.
    He must die.
    Mortification (latinate for deathing) is the “Law in action”.

    Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.
    Our Life is hidden , in Christ alone, by invisible faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.

    But in one sense dying is part of sanctification. How? the New Man now employs the Law on Old Adam. That is always how our Good Works happen! This is how vocation happens!

    So vocation is about death. It is not about life.
    Our Life is hidden in Christ.
    Only the Sanctified, in Christ , can accept this judgment of God and not flee it by trying to work harder.

  • Another Kerner

    Jonathan @ #16

    Tom @ #9 and I are in agreement on this matter.
    You are mistaken about my mother.
    She saw to it that I had 11 years of piano lessons, ballet and dancing lessons and bought me a horse.

    Perseverance and persistence couldn’t have turned me into a Derby jockey anyone would hire to ride his/her horse.

    Winston Churchill, my mother and I are agreed that a person must “never, never, give up”…..however we need to be aware of our strengths and abilities in order to direct our energies.
    Modesty does not allow me to recite the successes in my life with which the LORD has blessed.

    However, to make the point, Mother also bought me a German Shepherd puppy.
    I have a measure of success in the Sport of Pure Bred Dogs.
    Modesty does not allow me to recite the successes here. ;-)

    Tell me, Jonathan: Is there nothing at which a person, you or I or anyone, can fail when searching for a vocation?

    Additionally, I could never play wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers either.
    Mother told me that also. :-)

  • Another Kerner

    Jonathan @ #16

    Tom @ #9 and I are in agreement on this matter.
    You are mistaken about my mother.
    She saw to it that I had 11 years of piano lessons, ballet and dancing lessons and bought me a horse.

    Perseverance and persistence couldn’t have turned me into a Derby jockey anyone would hire to ride his/her horse.

    Winston Churchill, my mother and I are agreed that a person must “never, never, give up”…..however we need to be aware of our strengths and abilities in order to direct our energies.
    Modesty does not allow me to recite the successes in my life with which the LORD has blessed.

    However, to make the point, Mother also bought me a German Shepherd puppy.
    I have a measure of success in the Sport of Pure Bred Dogs.
    Modesty does not allow me to recite the successes here. ;-)

    Tell me, Jonathan: Is there nothing at which a person, you or I or anyone, can fail when searching for a vocation?

    Additionally, I could never play wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers either.
    Mother told me that also. :-)

  • http://www.sjlmidland.org/pastors-blog/teamblog/listings/pastors-blog Dan Kempin

    Another Kerner, #18,

    I’m glad your vain aspirations of NFL glory are for the right team.

  • http://www.sjlmidland.org/pastors-blog/teamblog/listings/pastors-blog Dan Kempin

    Another Kerner, #18,

    I’m glad your vain aspirations of NFL glory are for the right team.

  • Another Kerner

    Dan @19

    The best I could do was cheer the team on….. and on.
    Even when Gene Ronzani and Ray “Scooter” Mclean were coaching.

    My father started taking me to Packer games when I was an infant. ;-)

  • Another Kerner

    Dan @19

    The best I could do was cheer the team on….. and on.
    Even when Gene Ronzani and Ray “Scooter” Mclean were coaching.

    My father started taking me to Packer games when I was an infant. ;-)

  • larry

    Frank,

    “Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.”
    That’s a subtle but HUGE point. We often, at least formerly/confessionally “get” “Our Life is hidden , in Christ alone, by invisible faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.” But we are far too often blinded by the subtle sneaky crafty operation in the idea of sanctification that we are “seeking life” in our good works, affirmation if you will. When instead “Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.” And when in sanctification we end up, often blinded to it ourselves, more or less seeking life in good works the hidden life we have in Christ alone by faith alone equally subtly slips away (even blinded to it ourselves).

    It’s a very crafty “bait and switch”.

    “…Only the Sanctified, in Christ , can accept this judgment of God and not flee it by trying to work harder.”
    That’s a packed but true statement!

  • larry

    Frank,

    “Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.”
    That’s a subtle but HUGE point. We often, at least formerly/confessionally “get” “Our Life is hidden , in Christ alone, by invisible faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.” But we are far too often blinded by the subtle sneaky crafty operation in the idea of sanctification that we are “seeking life” in our good works, affirmation if you will. When instead “Christian Good Works are ALL about dying , for others. We do not seek our Life in them.” And when in sanctification we end up, often blinded to it ourselves, more or less seeking life in good works the hidden life we have in Christ alone by faith alone equally subtly slips away (even blinded to it ourselves).

    It’s a very crafty “bait and switch”.

    “…Only the Sanctified, in Christ , can accept this judgment of God and not flee it by trying to work harder.”
    That’s a packed but true statement!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@12), I’m not sure I agree with your gentle correction. You said:

    when it comes to our sanctification–after God has given us life by the Holy Spirit–we can indeed speak of free will to do good, cooperation with God, and even “decisions for Christ.”

    I think I understand what you’re saying here, and this may boil down simply to semantics or a matter of emphasis, but I think such talk could easily be misleading.

    After all, I’m not sure that “free will” is the correct way to describe it. After all, doesn’t Paul call us “slaves to righteousness”? Now, I will grant that there is more freedom within this “slavery” than there was in the “slavery to sin” that Paul also mentions.

    But more importantly, what — or Who — is the source of that “free will” within us? I think many a discussion about sanctification and/or Christian living would be helped by a clear definition of whom — Old Adam or New Man — we’re referring to (even as I concede that Scripture itself doesn’t take this tactic). I only say this because, to my ears, when I talk about “me”, more often than not, I’m referring to my Old Adam. So if I take credit for something by saying “I did that”, it’s because it’s a sin I’m owning up to, not a good work.

    Here’s my point, in a less belabored fashion: “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” God wills, God acts, according to God’s purpose. And he does that through my New Man. But that New Man, is it distinct from Christ, with whom I clothed myself at baptism?

    So does my New Man make “cooperate with God”? Naturally, it is God working in me. Would he do otherwise? Does my new man have the “will to do good”? Again, of course.

    What I guess I don’t get is your point about “decisions for Christ” (a term I have only ever heard used in the context of coming to faith, and thus predating your use of it in the post-conversion sense). And your insistence on the “free” part of “free will”. certainly, in my person, I am free to choose to sin, to reject the New Man’s leading. Is my New Man “free” to choose to do anything other than good, though? No. So what, exactly, is “free” about this to you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@12), I’m not sure I agree with your gentle correction. You said:

    when it comes to our sanctification–after God has given us life by the Holy Spirit–we can indeed speak of free will to do good, cooperation with God, and even “decisions for Christ.”

    I think I understand what you’re saying here, and this may boil down simply to semantics or a matter of emphasis, but I think such talk could easily be misleading.

    After all, I’m not sure that “free will” is the correct way to describe it. After all, doesn’t Paul call us “slaves to righteousness”? Now, I will grant that there is more freedom within this “slavery” than there was in the “slavery to sin” that Paul also mentions.

    But more importantly, what — or Who — is the source of that “free will” within us? I think many a discussion about sanctification and/or Christian living would be helped by a clear definition of whom — Old Adam or New Man — we’re referring to (even as I concede that Scripture itself doesn’t take this tactic). I only say this because, to my ears, when I talk about “me”, more often than not, I’m referring to my Old Adam. So if I take credit for something by saying “I did that”, it’s because it’s a sin I’m owning up to, not a good work.

    Here’s my point, in a less belabored fashion: “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” God wills, God acts, according to God’s purpose. And he does that through my New Man. But that New Man, is it distinct from Christ, with whom I clothed myself at baptism?

    So does my New Man make “cooperate with God”? Naturally, it is God working in me. Would he do otherwise? Does my new man have the “will to do good”? Again, of course.

    What I guess I don’t get is your point about “decisions for Christ” (a term I have only ever heard used in the context of coming to faith, and thus predating your use of it in the post-conversion sense). And your insistence on the “free” part of “free will”. certainly, in my person, I am free to choose to sin, to reject the New Man’s leading. Is my New Man “free” to choose to do anything other than good, though? No. So what, exactly, is “free” about this to you?

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #22,

    Yeah, my comment wasn’t very carefully thought out, and I’ve been chafing at that. For that matter, I’m not really sure why I glommed on to your comment in particular, since I have no objection to what you said.

    What spurred me, I think, is my perception that lutherans are sometimes (read: seemingly always) so concerned to defend the monergism of conversion that we co-opt our ability to speak meaningfully of sanctification. We get so aggressively defensive that the net message comes out something like, “Look, stop talking about doing good, because you are a sinner and you could not do good if you tried, and the good that you do accomplish is not really done by you anyway.” Well, ok. There is a theological point in there, but what is the message, really? “Stop trying to do good, you arrogant schmuck! You are clearly trying to justify yourself, so quit it.” Is that what we mean to say? Because I am afraid that is what sometimes comes across.

    (Again, I am not responding to you, but you triggered something that has been stuck in my craw.)

    Of course my use of “free will” and “decisions for Christ” was provocative. I know that they are loaded phrases. But does someone’s misuse of a word preclude us from using it properly? I daily make decisions for (and alas, frequently against) Christ. Does that mean that I am finding security for my justification in my decisions? No. It is a part of my struggle to deny myself and serve my neighbor. Is not the very call to daily repentance a call to decision? (No, not a justifying decision as in “I just chose God and now I know I am saved because I finally got off my duff and chose for myself.”) Still, our fear to use the word lest we be accused of using it falsely is hindering our ability to argue the point. In my humble opinion.

    Perhaps it goes back to the overuse of the new man/old man dichotomy. Sin is not a part of me, nor is God’s work something alien that is within me. Sanctification is about simul iustus et peccator. At the same time I, I, I am a saint and a sinner. I don’t have a sinner part, I AM a sinner. It is who I am. Yet in Christ also I AM also a new creation. It is also who I am, and that’s what I wanted to touch in my earlier post. True, I owe everything good in me to God, for everything good about me is God’s work in me. Still, it is God’s work IN ME, not just something that God is doing to me. It honors God to confess my sin, but it does not honor him to deny the good that He works in me.

    So . . . anyway . . . I guess you got me to thinking. I’ll stop now.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #22,

    Yeah, my comment wasn’t very carefully thought out, and I’ve been chafing at that. For that matter, I’m not really sure why I glommed on to your comment in particular, since I have no objection to what you said.

    What spurred me, I think, is my perception that lutherans are sometimes (read: seemingly always) so concerned to defend the monergism of conversion that we co-opt our ability to speak meaningfully of sanctification. We get so aggressively defensive that the net message comes out something like, “Look, stop talking about doing good, because you are a sinner and you could not do good if you tried, and the good that you do accomplish is not really done by you anyway.” Well, ok. There is a theological point in there, but what is the message, really? “Stop trying to do good, you arrogant schmuck! You are clearly trying to justify yourself, so quit it.” Is that what we mean to say? Because I am afraid that is what sometimes comes across.

    (Again, I am not responding to you, but you triggered something that has been stuck in my craw.)

    Of course my use of “free will” and “decisions for Christ” was provocative. I know that they are loaded phrases. But does someone’s misuse of a word preclude us from using it properly? I daily make decisions for (and alas, frequently against) Christ. Does that mean that I am finding security for my justification in my decisions? No. It is a part of my struggle to deny myself and serve my neighbor. Is not the very call to daily repentance a call to decision? (No, not a justifying decision as in “I just chose God and now I know I am saved because I finally got off my duff and chose for myself.”) Still, our fear to use the word lest we be accused of using it falsely is hindering our ability to argue the point. In my humble opinion.

    Perhaps it goes back to the overuse of the new man/old man dichotomy. Sin is not a part of me, nor is God’s work something alien that is within me. Sanctification is about simul iustus et peccator. At the same time I, I, I am a saint and a sinner. I don’t have a sinner part, I AM a sinner. It is who I am. Yet in Christ also I AM also a new creation. It is also who I am, and that’s what I wanted to touch in my earlier post. True, I owe everything good in me to God, for everything good about me is God’s work in me. Still, it is God’s work IN ME, not just something that God is doing to me. It honors God to confess my sin, but it does not honor him to deny the good that He works in me.

    So . . . anyway . . . I guess you got me to thinking. I’ll stop now.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@23), I think you raise some interesting questions. I’m not sure I agree with your conclusions, but don’t stop thinking now! I think this is a very important topic right now, and one that people like FWS and Stephen (among others) have really been hitting on for some time on this site.

    I sometimes get the impression (and I have personal experiences that inform this) that Lutheran pastors are really annoyed with how inertial their members are. “They don’t do anything! How can I get them to actually, you know, live out their faith?” Perhaps there is a longing glance at the Baptists or even the Mormons, a sigh, and then a thought like, “I don’t want to adopt their bad theology, but I do think our people could learn a thing or two about putting their faith into action from those groups.” Maybe that’s how it is with you, maybe not.

    The fundamental question boils down to: How do we motivate Christians? And, I would further submit, the fundamental answers boil down to two approaches: heavy preaching of the Law, or heavy preaching of the Gospel.

    I’ve been to Lutheran churches where the Law seemed to predominate. Sure, like any good Lutheran church, the sermon always had some Gospel in it. But it was almost never the last thing in a sermon. No, the last thing in the sermon was usually an exhortation, a call to action, Law. And, you know, there’s no one way to format a sermon. But the repetition does have an effect.

    Because I’ve gotten the impression that some of the pastors I’ve had thought that all that talk of what I should be doing was somehow encouraging, somehow driving my New Man, giving me ideas of what to do. You know, the “third use” of the Law. But that’s not how I’ve received it. No, as the Law does, such talk of doing good has always killed me, confirmed just how much of a sinner I am. It sounds like death. And such death needs to be preached! But it is not encouraging.

    No, hearing the pure Gospel is encouraging. I understand that there is a certain counterintuitiveness in suggesting that telling people what they don’t have to do will inspire them to action. But, I submit, that’s the truth.

    I’ve never understood the suggestion that our New Man needs training on what to do. As if my New Man simply didn’t know that God loves a cheerful giver, or that the poor need our care, or that our neighbor needs love. “Oh!”, he says, “I should consider others better than myself. Good idea. I will make a note of that.” Doesn’t make sense.

    Nor have I understood the language of sanctification so often employed in our Lutheran churches, as if justification sort of got us out of the red, and now it was our job to (with God’s help, of course), move the needle into the black. How far? That always seems to be the wrong question, but the implication is clear that you really should be moving it forward. Will the needle get to “perfect” before you die (I am probably butchering this/these metaphor[s])? No, upon dying, the needle jumps all the way to “perfect”. But you have to grow! You have to get better! Show improvement, at least!

    It’s all quite troubling, really. And seems to ignore the whole “new creation” teaching of Scripture. I could go on. I’ll stop here, in case I’ve gone completely off the rails.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@23), I think you raise some interesting questions. I’m not sure I agree with your conclusions, but don’t stop thinking now! I think this is a very important topic right now, and one that people like FWS and Stephen (among others) have really been hitting on for some time on this site.

    I sometimes get the impression (and I have personal experiences that inform this) that Lutheran pastors are really annoyed with how inertial their members are. “They don’t do anything! How can I get them to actually, you know, live out their faith?” Perhaps there is a longing glance at the Baptists or even the Mormons, a sigh, and then a thought like, “I don’t want to adopt their bad theology, but I do think our people could learn a thing or two about putting their faith into action from those groups.” Maybe that’s how it is with you, maybe not.

    The fundamental question boils down to: How do we motivate Christians? And, I would further submit, the fundamental answers boil down to two approaches: heavy preaching of the Law, or heavy preaching of the Gospel.

    I’ve been to Lutheran churches where the Law seemed to predominate. Sure, like any good Lutheran church, the sermon always had some Gospel in it. But it was almost never the last thing in a sermon. No, the last thing in the sermon was usually an exhortation, a call to action, Law. And, you know, there’s no one way to format a sermon. But the repetition does have an effect.

    Because I’ve gotten the impression that some of the pastors I’ve had thought that all that talk of what I should be doing was somehow encouraging, somehow driving my New Man, giving me ideas of what to do. You know, the “third use” of the Law. But that’s not how I’ve received it. No, as the Law does, such talk of doing good has always killed me, confirmed just how much of a sinner I am. It sounds like death. And such death needs to be preached! But it is not encouraging.

    No, hearing the pure Gospel is encouraging. I understand that there is a certain counterintuitiveness in suggesting that telling people what they don’t have to do will inspire them to action. But, I submit, that’s the truth.

    I’ve never understood the suggestion that our New Man needs training on what to do. As if my New Man simply didn’t know that God loves a cheerful giver, or that the poor need our care, or that our neighbor needs love. “Oh!”, he says, “I should consider others better than myself. Good idea. I will make a note of that.” Doesn’t make sense.

    Nor have I understood the language of sanctification so often employed in our Lutheran churches, as if justification sort of got us out of the red, and now it was our job to (with God’s help, of course), move the needle into the black. How far? That always seems to be the wrong question, but the implication is clear that you really should be moving it forward. Will the needle get to “perfect” before you die (I am probably butchering this/these metaphor[s])? No, upon dying, the needle jumps all the way to “perfect”. But you have to grow! You have to get better! Show improvement, at least!

    It’s all quite troubling, really. And seems to ignore the whole “new creation” teaching of Scripture. I could go on. I’ll stop here, in case I’ve gone completely off the rails.

  • Stephen

    That was great Todd!!!

    You expressed how I feel hearing Lutheran sermons lately. They start out describing the perdicament (Law) and I can sort of feel the mess I’m in because the law is true. Internally, for me, I am thrashing about. And then comes that Gospel claim. When it is done well, clearly, without too much flourish, I sense all of that stuff just disappear. I have even noticed myself leaning in towards the pulpit when I know it’s coming, like I am getting ready to launch.

    And then there is this jumbled mess at the end and I kind of go “huh?” like the air just got sucked out of the room. I’m back in a fog sort of casting about again, wondering what’s next on my spiritual agenda, and trying to remember that stuff he said about Jesus. Then it becomes a thought and worse, a memory. It can seem manipulative.

    Bring on the food! I’m starving. I long for that meal and when I get there and I want to stay. Move along, move along . . .

    And now after I said all that, it probably sounds like some kind of emotionalism, like I depend on feeling something. But then spend a few years in churches where there is such a layer of piety over everthing and one gets tired. I need a long baptismal shower to refresh me. I have only ever heard that from a Lutheran pulpit. Perhaps that is the disappointing thing. When preachers don’t articulate sanctification in terms of baptism I seem to end up where I began.

    fws @ 17 (and Larry @ 21) “Making Holy is what the Gospel, alone, can do!” Wash, rinse, repeat.

  • Stephen

    That was great Todd!!!

    You expressed how I feel hearing Lutheran sermons lately. They start out describing the perdicament (Law) and I can sort of feel the mess I’m in because the law is true. Internally, for me, I am thrashing about. And then comes that Gospel claim. When it is done well, clearly, without too much flourish, I sense all of that stuff just disappear. I have even noticed myself leaning in towards the pulpit when I know it’s coming, like I am getting ready to launch.

    And then there is this jumbled mess at the end and I kind of go “huh?” like the air just got sucked out of the room. I’m back in a fog sort of casting about again, wondering what’s next on my spiritual agenda, and trying to remember that stuff he said about Jesus. Then it becomes a thought and worse, a memory. It can seem manipulative.

    Bring on the food! I’m starving. I long for that meal and when I get there and I want to stay. Move along, move along . . .

    And now after I said all that, it probably sounds like some kind of emotionalism, like I depend on feeling something. But then spend a few years in churches where there is such a layer of piety over everthing and one gets tired. I need a long baptismal shower to refresh me. I have only ever heard that from a Lutheran pulpit. Perhaps that is the disappointing thing. When preachers don’t articulate sanctification in terms of baptism I seem to end up where I began.

    fws @ 17 (and Larry @ 21) “Making Holy is what the Gospel, alone, can do!” Wash, rinse, repeat.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #24,

    We seem to be inspiring one another to deep thoughts that are not necessarily related to the previous. I do love me some deep conversations with Fws about the Law, but what I’m talking about here is not a law/gospel issue, but a justification/sanctification issue. The fundamental point of my thought was not “how do we motivate Christians.” (I don’t even consider that my job, actually, though the pressure is always there.)

    My point was how we talk about God’s work in our sanctification, but based on your penultimate paragraph I think you have some scars that need healing in your personal baggage if that paragraph represents what you were taught by lutherans about sanctification. (Now THAT’s butchering a metaphor!). What you describe is essentially Roman Catholicism, and that is indeed troubling. Bear in mind that the “new creation” teaching was precisely what I was trying to articulate at the end of #23.

    Let me try putting it this way: You don’t have a “new man” and an “old man” who are either duking it out for dominance or who take turns as your alter-ego. You just have your sinful human nature, in which there is nothing good. Yet in your case, and to our great wonder and God’s eternal praise, the Lord and the Giver of life has chosen to dwell within you, making your human nature a temple of the living God. I am confident that you agree with me in this.

    Yet while it is proper to clarify and emphasize that nothing that is good is from us, why do we seem afraid to proclaim that God is working good in us? What is there that threatens a proper understanding of the gospel? St. Paul himself, in Romans 7, says that he has the desire to do good. Whoa there, Paul! Don’t you know what we teach about sin?

    But wait. There IS something good in Paul, for God lives within him and His presence there is not without effect. Sin always objects and fights with fury, but let us not forget the whole “thanks be to God” of Romans 7. God has come to dwell with us. He has come to dwell within us. And while we should always remember that we brought nothing to this arrangement, it does not follow to proclaim that there is nothing there.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #24,

    We seem to be inspiring one another to deep thoughts that are not necessarily related to the previous. I do love me some deep conversations with Fws about the Law, but what I’m talking about here is not a law/gospel issue, but a justification/sanctification issue. The fundamental point of my thought was not “how do we motivate Christians.” (I don’t even consider that my job, actually, though the pressure is always there.)

    My point was how we talk about God’s work in our sanctification, but based on your penultimate paragraph I think you have some scars that need healing in your personal baggage if that paragraph represents what you were taught by lutherans about sanctification. (Now THAT’s butchering a metaphor!). What you describe is essentially Roman Catholicism, and that is indeed troubling. Bear in mind that the “new creation” teaching was precisely what I was trying to articulate at the end of #23.

    Let me try putting it this way: You don’t have a “new man” and an “old man” who are either duking it out for dominance or who take turns as your alter-ego. You just have your sinful human nature, in which there is nothing good. Yet in your case, and to our great wonder and God’s eternal praise, the Lord and the Giver of life has chosen to dwell within you, making your human nature a temple of the living God. I am confident that you agree with me in this.

    Yet while it is proper to clarify and emphasize that nothing that is good is from us, why do we seem afraid to proclaim that God is working good in us? What is there that threatens a proper understanding of the gospel? St. Paul himself, in Romans 7, says that he has the desire to do good. Whoa there, Paul! Don’t you know what we teach about sin?

    But wait. There IS something good in Paul, for God lives within him and His presence there is not without effect. Sin always objects and fights with fury, but let us not forget the whole “thanks be to God” of Romans 7. God has come to dwell with us. He has come to dwell within us. And while we should always remember that we brought nothing to this arrangement, it does not follow to proclaim that there is nothing there.

  • fws

    the law always accuses.
    the law always accuses.
    the law always accuses.

    this is always true whatever function or use of the law we are talking about. ANY function use of the law does what? It ALWAYS accuses and kills us.

    Dan, our entire sanctification happens in holy baptism. But sanctification can also be said to be about being killed and accused.

    How is that? consider that Luther says, in the large catechism that baptism is really nothing more than repentance.

    what this means is that baptism/sanctification has a narrow (gospel)or proper meaning and then a broad( law+glsoep) meaning.

    so what is the broad part of both sanctification and repentence that is about the Law? it accuses us. it kills us. it condemns us to death. real death. eternal death. It REALLY accuses us is what I am saying.

    Even after our baptism, the FULL force threat and result of the Law still applies to us . we will die. that is the proof.

    Now then, what you say about both old adam and new man being “I” is true. but the believer , according to FC art VI I suggest is two persons sharing the same body and there is NO communication of attributes between these two persons.

    Note that this is the issue that came before the Evangelical Lutheran church and was settled in Art I of the FC. Here is how I suggest Chemnitz resolved this issue.

    FC art I on original sin is a prime example of how the FC can be easily misunderstood if one does not first really become grounded in the Apology and it’s arguments and conclusion, read in light of our catechisms.

    Many modern Lutherans read FC art I and see it as a rejection of Flacius, who said that original sin is a part of the very essense or substance of being human. and then they also see in FC art I an endorsement of the use of Aristotelian reason, logic and categories in thology by Chemnitz, citing no less that Luther for this permission. The exact opposite is true I would suggest. Please read on and see if you can agree with my assessment here. Chemnitz completely embraces Flacius’ position I am saying. Please read on to see exactly how I mean this dear reader.

    Here is how Chemnitz rejects Flacius error and endorses his doctrine, wholesale, at the same time. Chemnitz does it this way:

    Chemnitz creates an “aristotelian category” that aristotle would never recognize.

    How so?

    He creates an”accident” that walks, talks, smells, and appears in utterly ALL ways to be “of the substance ” and “of the essence”. Original Sin then is an “accident” that appears, utterly and completely so, in every way to be “of the substance” or “of the essence” of human nature.

    Then Chemnitz drives this point home with three observations. Chemitz says that only God can separate our sin nature from our essence in the resurrection, and that we can only know the full extent of our sin nature from the Word of God. Reason eg: the use of Aristotelian categories ) will always attenuate the sin nature too much.

    Chemnitz is so very certain of this, that he, and so too our Confessions, condemns as heresy anyone who cannot sing a hymn written by Flacius’ supporters that says we are sin in our very nature and essense. This you can see, I am quite confident, from a naive reading of the text of FC art I.

    At the same time Chemnitz preserves the doctrine of the Blessed Incarnation by the “trick” of that bogus aristotelian category that allows us to confess that Christ, by assuming human nature, did not also assume our sin nature.

    This is theological brilliance, and it is truly Lutheran: doggedly, it clings to the doctrines in the earlier Confessions. It precisely reasserts them in the newer context of dispute with Calvinist arguments introduced by Melancthon that I argue are really merely a “neo” , or more refined version of the scholasticism that the earlier Confessions aimed to reject.

    But this will not be always seen clearly and why is that? I suggest it is because FC art I assumes that readers understand fully the definition of Original Righteousness and the Image of God as presented in the Apology’s article I. So Flacius’ valid points will only really be seen if one has fully digested article II of the Apology as to the depths of Original Sins and the TOTAL loss of Original Righteousness and the Image of God.

    How do we know that the Original Righeousness and Image was totally lost? The Image of God and the Original Righeousness of Adam was alone, faith alone, in Christ alone. Period.

    Only when we know and have digested this definition of Original sin, righteousness, and Image of God, can we know what was all fully and utterly lost in the Fall.

    Calvinists and rome locate Original Righteousness and the Image of God where? in conformity to the Law of God.

    So here is the problem with that: All men , by nature, know this Law of God as it is written in their reason , that is, in their conscience (Apology art IV in the first introductory paragraphs of that article says this is what Rom 2:15 says.

    Ok so?

    So then, if, the Law is the Image and Original Righeousness is conformity to the Law, in that case righteousness and the Image of God was not entirely lost. Maybe horribly damaged, but some small flicker remains. That is precisely where non Lutherans differ from us. Until one sees that in Apology art II, Rome and Geneva can look very very similar to the Lutheran position. But once this is clearly seen, the arguments and positions of Lutherans vs others are not that hard to distinguish I would suggest.

  • fws

    the law always accuses.
    the law always accuses.
    the law always accuses.

    this is always true whatever function or use of the law we are talking about. ANY function use of the law does what? It ALWAYS accuses and kills us.

    Dan, our entire sanctification happens in holy baptism. But sanctification can also be said to be about being killed and accused.

    How is that? consider that Luther says, in the large catechism that baptism is really nothing more than repentance.

    what this means is that baptism/sanctification has a narrow (gospel)or proper meaning and then a broad( law+glsoep) meaning.

    so what is the broad part of both sanctification and repentence that is about the Law? it accuses us. it kills us. it condemns us to death. real death. eternal death. It REALLY accuses us is what I am saying.

    Even after our baptism, the FULL force threat and result of the Law still applies to us . we will die. that is the proof.

    Now then, what you say about both old adam and new man being “I” is true. but the believer , according to FC art VI I suggest is two persons sharing the same body and there is NO communication of attributes between these two persons.

    Note that this is the issue that came before the Evangelical Lutheran church and was settled in Art I of the FC. Here is how I suggest Chemnitz resolved this issue.

    FC art I on original sin is a prime example of how the FC can be easily misunderstood if one does not first really become grounded in the Apology and it’s arguments and conclusion, read in light of our catechisms.

    Many modern Lutherans read FC art I and see it as a rejection of Flacius, who said that original sin is a part of the very essense or substance of being human. and then they also see in FC art I an endorsement of the use of Aristotelian reason, logic and categories in thology by Chemnitz, citing no less that Luther for this permission. The exact opposite is true I would suggest. Please read on and see if you can agree with my assessment here. Chemnitz completely embraces Flacius’ position I am saying. Please read on to see exactly how I mean this dear reader.

    Here is how Chemnitz rejects Flacius error and endorses his doctrine, wholesale, at the same time. Chemnitz does it this way:

    Chemnitz creates an “aristotelian category” that aristotle would never recognize.

    How so?

    He creates an”accident” that walks, talks, smells, and appears in utterly ALL ways to be “of the substance ” and “of the essence”. Original Sin then is an “accident” that appears, utterly and completely so, in every way to be “of the substance” or “of the essence” of human nature.

    Then Chemnitz drives this point home with three observations. Chemitz says that only God can separate our sin nature from our essence in the resurrection, and that we can only know the full extent of our sin nature from the Word of God. Reason eg: the use of Aristotelian categories ) will always attenuate the sin nature too much.

    Chemnitz is so very certain of this, that he, and so too our Confessions, condemns as heresy anyone who cannot sing a hymn written by Flacius’ supporters that says we are sin in our very nature and essense. This you can see, I am quite confident, from a naive reading of the text of FC art I.

    At the same time Chemnitz preserves the doctrine of the Blessed Incarnation by the “trick” of that bogus aristotelian category that allows us to confess that Christ, by assuming human nature, did not also assume our sin nature.

    This is theological brilliance, and it is truly Lutheran: doggedly, it clings to the doctrines in the earlier Confessions. It precisely reasserts them in the newer context of dispute with Calvinist arguments introduced by Melancthon that I argue are really merely a “neo” , or more refined version of the scholasticism that the earlier Confessions aimed to reject.

    But this will not be always seen clearly and why is that? I suggest it is because FC art I assumes that readers understand fully the definition of Original Righteousness and the Image of God as presented in the Apology’s article I. So Flacius’ valid points will only really be seen if one has fully digested article II of the Apology as to the depths of Original Sins and the TOTAL loss of Original Righteousness and the Image of God.

    How do we know that the Original Righeousness and Image was totally lost? The Image of God and the Original Righeousness of Adam was alone, faith alone, in Christ alone. Period.

    Only when we know and have digested this definition of Original sin, righteousness, and Image of God, can we know what was all fully and utterly lost in the Fall.

    Calvinists and rome locate Original Righteousness and the Image of God where? in conformity to the Law of God.

    So here is the problem with that: All men , by nature, know this Law of God as it is written in their reason , that is, in their conscience (Apology art IV in the first introductory paragraphs of that article says this is what Rom 2:15 says.

    Ok so?

    So then, if, the Law is the Image and Original Righeousness is conformity to the Law, in that case righteousness and the Image of God was not entirely lost. Maybe horribly damaged, but some small flicker remains. That is precisely where non Lutherans differ from us. Until one sees that in Apology art II, Rome and Geneva can look very very similar to the Lutheran position. But once this is clearly seen, the arguments and positions of Lutherans vs others are not that hard to distinguish I would suggest.

  • fws

    Dsn , what Todd is saying about old adam vs new man is exactly what FC art VI instructs us to understand as to new man and old adam. and the small catechism on baptism teaches us the same thing.

    there IS and old adam and a new man duking it out. and the Old adam IS who we were before baptism . not it is still , experientially, utterly and completely indistinguishable from who we are. this is what Fc art I asserts. so there you are right.

    at the same time, in faith, we are told to confess and believe, in faith, that in us now is a new man that is who we are, and that old adam is who we were. it is that new man that is exhorted by st paul to subdue and kill the old adam. this is the life of the christian in baptism. Life is mortification is what Luther says. that is why he says it.

  • fws

    Dsn , what Todd is saying about old adam vs new man is exactly what FC art VI instructs us to understand as to new man and old adam. and the small catechism on baptism teaches us the same thing.

    there IS and old adam and a new man duking it out. and the Old adam IS who we were before baptism . not it is still , experientially, utterly and completely indistinguishable from who we are. this is what Fc art I asserts. so there you are right.

    at the same time, in faith, we are told to confess and believe, in faith, that in us now is a new man that is who we are, and that old adam is who we were. it is that new man that is exhorted by st paul to subdue and kill the old adam. this is the life of the christian in baptism. Life is mortification is what Luther says. that is why he says it.

  • fws

    dan what you assert about new man and old adam truly being “I” is found in FC art I. but then in art VI it also teaches what Todd is teaching, and it is about new man and Old adam duking it out.

    these are not opposing propositions. they are necessary complements according to the Formula.

    Proof: art VI says that the Law does not in any way apply to us ” Insofar as we are regenerate”. It is clear from the content of art VI that this is about our new man. secondly art VI says that the Law applies to us only because of the Old Adam that still clings to us. Yes the Law applies to “us”. but it does not apply to that (completely separate it seems…) part of us , that is not Old Adam.

    Art VI demands that when we use the term “believer” we are to ask whether we are addressing “be.liever” (aka “I”) that is “new man” or are we addressing the “believer” (aka “I” ) that is “old adam”. The quote are not to imply that any of these terms are platonic etherial or some sort of gnostic thing. It is to assert that these are terms and categories that are more then categories. they refer to something real, and not just a form of identifying ourselves , like we would identify ourselves as republican or democrat or…

  • fws

    dan what you assert about new man and old adam truly being “I” is found in FC art I. but then in art VI it also teaches what Todd is teaching, and it is about new man and Old adam duking it out.

    these are not opposing propositions. they are necessary complements according to the Formula.

    Proof: art VI says that the Law does not in any way apply to us ” Insofar as we are regenerate”. It is clear from the content of art VI that this is about our new man. secondly art VI says that the Law applies to us only because of the Old Adam that still clings to us. Yes the Law applies to “us”. but it does not apply to that (completely separate it seems…) part of us , that is not Old Adam.

    Art VI demands that when we use the term “believer” we are to ask whether we are addressing “be.liever” (aka “I”) that is “new man” or are we addressing the “believer” (aka “I” ) that is “old adam”. The quote are not to imply that any of these terms are platonic etherial or some sort of gnostic thing. It is to assert that these are terms and categories that are more then categories. they refer to something real, and not just a form of identifying ourselves , like we would identify ourselves as republican or democrat or…

  • fws

    dan

    So I am suggesting that art I teaches what you insist on. that we are fully Old adam and new man. it is impossible to separate old adam from who we are. this is so true that to deny what flaccius asserted about sin being of our very nature and essence would be wrong and to attenuate sin. Yet art I also asserts that Flacius went to far. to say that human nature=original sin would be to say christ became sinful by virtue of being incarnate. see my earlier post as to how chemnitz resolved this without removing what flaccius said. we can only know this depth of old adam/original sin being a part of us from Gods Word. the law teaches us this but we can only see it once we have believed the Gospel (art I of the apology)

    then at the same time, art VI asserts that we are truly both New man AND old adam, but this is in such a way that just as art I says, but there is another truth that can only be known from Gods Word. that sin nature is who we were. and to that sin nature, the full and deathly threat and effect of the Law still applies , and it applies to us AS BELIEVERS. but how? it applies ONLY to the Old Adam that still “clings to : the believer. “clings to”. It IS us, but it is the us that is who we were. It is an unwelcome parasite.

    and here is what that means: whatever we can see or do in our bodies is Old Adam! and new man drives that Old Adam now with what? with the Law. New man has no need for the Law art six says.

    This is especially clear when one turns, as the sd asks us to do, to the Luther sermon on the two kingdoms and two kinds of righeousness that is the entire basis for article VI.

    so exactly as luther says, art VI repeats : all we can see and do in life is mortification of the old adam. Life is mortification. so we come full circle back to art I of the formula. we do not look for new man to peek through in any think we can see and do. life is death. but it does not follow that death is life. Life is alone in Christ. it is not at all in our life that is all about mortification by the Law upon our Old adam.

  • fws

    dan

    So I am suggesting that art I teaches what you insist on. that we are fully Old adam and new man. it is impossible to separate old adam from who we are. this is so true that to deny what flaccius asserted about sin being of our very nature and essence would be wrong and to attenuate sin. Yet art I also asserts that Flacius went to far. to say that human nature=original sin would be to say christ became sinful by virtue of being incarnate. see my earlier post as to how chemnitz resolved this without removing what flaccius said. we can only know this depth of old adam/original sin being a part of us from Gods Word. the law teaches us this but we can only see it once we have believed the Gospel (art I of the apology)

    then at the same time, art VI asserts that we are truly both New man AND old adam, but this is in such a way that just as art I says, but there is another truth that can only be known from Gods Word. that sin nature is who we were. and to that sin nature, the full and deathly threat and effect of the Law still applies , and it applies to us AS BELIEVERS. but how? it applies ONLY to the Old Adam that still “clings to : the believer. “clings to”. It IS us, but it is the us that is who we were. It is an unwelcome parasite.

    and here is what that means: whatever we can see or do in our bodies is Old Adam! and new man drives that Old Adam now with what? with the Law. New man has no need for the Law art six says.

    This is especially clear when one turns, as the sd asks us to do, to the Luther sermon on the two kingdoms and two kinds of righeousness that is the entire basis for article VI.

    so exactly as luther says, art VI repeats : all we can see and do in life is mortification of the old adam. Life is mortification. so we come full circle back to art I of the formula. we do not look for new man to peek through in any think we can see and do. life is death. but it does not follow that death is life. Life is alone in Christ. it is not at all in our life that is all about mortification by the Law upon our Old adam.

  • fws

    dan at 26

    “But wait. There IS something good in Paul, for God lives within him and His presence there is not without effect

    dan, the scriptures say that that something is a NEW something. a new new something, not a transformed Old something. it is something that was NOT there before. and that something , that is an entirely. new. creation. is who we … are.

    and the whole of us, old adam and new man got sucked down into the water of baptism and into the death and resurrection of christ.

    Old adam was crucified with Christ even though he still lives on in us, and New man is joined , now not to the dying Old adam. no we died too. we died to Old Adam precisely by being joined, in baptism , to the Death of Christ. in exactly the same way and at the same time we also died to the Law. both Old adam and the Law live on in their duel to the very death. but we are hidden from that duel and from both of them in the wounds of Christ. that is the ONLY us now that exists. but ….

    it is also true that we are INSEPARABLY joined to the old adam untill our death, in such a way and to such an extent that it fully appears, in our thoughts, in our will, in our reason and to the very depths of our heart and in all our faculties, that we are completely Old Adam. these two truths, that who we really are is new man. a new new new man. and also that Old adam still “clings to us” to the extent that we must confess he is us in our very essence and nature in any way we can see, both these truths can only be known by faith and Gods word.

  • fws

    dan at 26

    “But wait. There IS something good in Paul, for God lives within him and His presence there is not without effect

    dan, the scriptures say that that something is a NEW something. a new new something, not a transformed Old something. it is something that was NOT there before. and that something , that is an entirely. new. creation. is who we … are.

    and the whole of us, old adam and new man got sucked down into the water of baptism and into the death and resurrection of christ.

    Old adam was crucified with Christ even though he still lives on in us, and New man is joined , now not to the dying Old adam. no we died too. we died to Old Adam precisely by being joined, in baptism , to the Death of Christ. in exactly the same way and at the same time we also died to the Law. both Old adam and the Law live on in their duel to the very death. but we are hidden from that duel and from both of them in the wounds of Christ. that is the ONLY us now that exists. but ….

    it is also true that we are INSEPARABLY joined to the old adam untill our death, in such a way and to such an extent that it fully appears, in our thoughts, in our will, in our reason and to the very depths of our heart and in all our faculties, that we are completely Old Adam. these two truths, that who we really are is new man. a new new new man. and also that Old adam still “clings to us” to the extent that we must confess he is us in our very essence and nature in any way we can see, both these truths can only be known by faith and Gods word.

  • fws

    note dan that the very fact that fc art I saying that we ARE original sin and old adam to the extent that only God can separate the two, means that there are in fact two things that must be separated. this separating happened at our baptism, but it is not complete until our death. but then art Vi says that at the same time it IS complete.

    i have hear the formula, “is and not yet” and I reject it. the confessions do not present it that way.

    the confessions instead , I suggest present two realities that fully are an is here and now. the only not yet is that one of those two, fully realized realities, will end at the time of our physical death.

    there is old adam and original sin that truly and really and substantially IS in any and all ways we can assert.
    and then , in,,with and under that true and complete and utterly complete reality, is another reality that we can not see and can only be known by faith. this is the new man. this second reality is separate from the reality we can see as far as the earth is from the heavens.. this is the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom existing within the believer. this is the kingdom of the Law and the kingdom of grace.
    we are talking about the truly lutheran teaching of the two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righteousness.

    please dan read the luther sermon that is the basis for art six of the formula. this is what it teaches.

  • fws

    note dan that the very fact that fc art I saying that we ARE original sin and old adam to the extent that only God can separate the two, means that there are in fact two things that must be separated. this separating happened at our baptism, but it is not complete until our death. but then art Vi says that at the same time it IS complete.

    i have hear the formula, “is and not yet” and I reject it. the confessions do not present it that way.

    the confessions instead , I suggest present two realities that fully are an is here and now. the only not yet is that one of those two, fully realized realities, will end at the time of our physical death.

    there is old adam and original sin that truly and really and substantially IS in any and all ways we can assert.
    and then , in,,with and under that true and complete and utterly complete reality, is another reality that we can not see and can only be known by faith. this is the new man. this second reality is separate from the reality we can see as far as the earth is from the heavens.. this is the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom existing within the believer. this is the kingdom of the Law and the kingdom of grace.
    we are talking about the truly lutheran teaching of the two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righteousness.

    please dan read the luther sermon that is the basis for art six of the formula. this is what it teaches.

  • fws

    dan try this…

    There are many ways that theologians have tried to deal with the tension between simul justus et pecator. one is to throw it into paradox. it is to say things that sound ;profound like ” is and not yet”.

    May I suggest that this is not the confessional way to resolve it. The way the Confessions resolve this apparent tension is instead with the teaching of the Two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righeouseness. How does this work?

    this way: This teaching suggests that there are two parallel and completely true and real realities that are coexistent but are “as far from each other as the heavens are from the earth” there are , within each believer, as there is in the earth, two kingdoms or powers. the kingdom of old adam, which is all we can see and do in our bodies, wills and all our faculties ( fc art i) . this earthly kingdom of the old adam is ruled and completely driven by the Law.

    and then,,, and here are the juice words… “in with and under” this old adam existence of original sin that is all we can see and do is the new man and the heavenly kingdom that is all and only about invisible faith alone in christ alone. it comes in a way that cannot be seen as our Lord says in the gospel of Luke. This new man is a new new man that is a new creation that did NOT exist in any way in what we see as being us. and how this is , is described exactly in the apology in art I defines original sin. it says original sin is the utter lack or loss of faith alone in christ alone. and it is also a faith that viciously has faith in anything BUT Christ. this faith in christ this is restored in baptism. it was not there before. it is the restored image of God. and this is not a transformation of the old adam into the new man. it is a new new new man. and that faith that viciously insists on trusting in anything but Christ and is utterly devoid of faith in Christ, lives on in our Old Adam until our death.

    All of this is something that cannot be reasoned but focusing on “i”. it can only be known from Gods Word.

    we must affirm both realities. it is the formula in with and under that expresses exactly the relationship between these two realities.

  • fws

    dan try this…

    There are many ways that theologians have tried to deal with the tension between simul justus et pecator. one is to throw it into paradox. it is to say things that sound ;profound like ” is and not yet”.

    May I suggest that this is not the confessional way to resolve it. The way the Confessions resolve this apparent tension is instead with the teaching of the Two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righeouseness. How does this work?

    this way: This teaching suggests that there are two parallel and completely true and real realities that are coexistent but are “as far from each other as the heavens are from the earth” there are , within each believer, as there is in the earth, two kingdoms or powers. the kingdom of old adam, which is all we can see and do in our bodies, wills and all our faculties ( fc art i) . this earthly kingdom of the old adam is ruled and completely driven by the Law.

    and then,,, and here are the juice words… “in with and under” this old adam existence of original sin that is all we can see and do is the new man and the heavenly kingdom that is all and only about invisible faith alone in christ alone. it comes in a way that cannot be seen as our Lord says in the gospel of Luke. This new man is a new new man that is a new creation that did NOT exist in any way in what we see as being us. and how this is , is described exactly in the apology in art I defines original sin. it says original sin is the utter lack or loss of faith alone in christ alone. and it is also a faith that viciously has faith in anything BUT Christ. this faith in christ this is restored in baptism. it was not there before. it is the restored image of God. and this is not a transformation of the old adam into the new man. it is a new new new man. and that faith that viciously insists on trusting in anything but Christ and is utterly devoid of faith in Christ, lives on in our Old Adam until our death.

    All of this is something that cannot be reasoned but focusing on “i”. it can only be known from Gods Word.

    we must affirm both realities. it is the formula in with and under that expresses exactly the relationship between these two realities.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    Wow! You have blessed me with a very thorough response and I, as usual, am edified. I will quickly respond to your posts and try to do them justice.

    Re: #27,
    Right on!
    Right on!
    Right on!

    (With one exception. I’m not sure what you mean by “our entire sanctification takes place in holy baptism.” That seems convoluted to me.)

    Re#28, #29, #30

    When I said, “Let me try putting it this way: You don’t have a “new man” and an “old man” who are either duking it out for dominance” to tODD, I was not denying the new man-old man framework, just attempting to step back and see the context of it. You do a good job of explicating and econciling that here.

    In particular I like your statement that “whatever we can see or do in our bodies is Old Adam! and new man drives that Old Adam now with what? with the Law. New man has no need for the Law”

    Re: #32,
    “the confessions . . . present two realities that fully are here and now.” Yes! That is what I was trying to say. We confess the reality of our sinful self, and we confess also the REALITY of our new self, which is not divorced from our daily living. We confess BOTH realities at the SAME TIME, which is NOW!

    Re: #33,

    Hmm. I’ll have to think on that one. I’m not sure about the two realities being separated and unrelated. That seems to tend toward the compartmentalization of self that concerned me in the first place. When I speak of my sin as “something my old Adam did,” I distance myself from the reality of my guilt. When I speak of my own growth in faith or love as though it is the circumscribed work of God to which I can lay no claim, I distance myself from the reality of His new creation. (I suppose I am seeing a distinction between claiming credit and claiming ownership.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    Wow! You have blessed me with a very thorough response and I, as usual, am edified. I will quickly respond to your posts and try to do them justice.

    Re: #27,
    Right on!
    Right on!
    Right on!

    (With one exception. I’m not sure what you mean by “our entire sanctification takes place in holy baptism.” That seems convoluted to me.)

    Re#28, #29, #30

    When I said, “Let me try putting it this way: You don’t have a “new man” and an “old man” who are either duking it out for dominance” to tODD, I was not denying the new man-old man framework, just attempting to step back and see the context of it. You do a good job of explicating and econciling that here.

    In particular I like your statement that “whatever we can see or do in our bodies is Old Adam! and new man drives that Old Adam now with what? with the Law. New man has no need for the Law”

    Re: #32,
    “the confessions . . . present two realities that fully are here and now.” Yes! That is what I was trying to say. We confess the reality of our sinful self, and we confess also the REALITY of our new self, which is not divorced from our daily living. We confess BOTH realities at the SAME TIME, which is NOW!

    Re: #33,

    Hmm. I’ll have to think on that one. I’m not sure about the two realities being separated and unrelated. That seems to tend toward the compartmentalization of self that concerned me in the first place. When I speak of my sin as “something my old Adam did,” I distance myself from the reality of my guilt. When I speak of my own growth in faith or love as though it is the circumscribed work of God to which I can lay no claim, I distance myself from the reality of His new creation. (I suppose I am seeing a distinction between claiming credit and claiming ownership.)

  • fws

    dan @ 34

    re:#33

    It works this way I think in confessional-speak:

    in good works a christian , uniquely , does not seek life. He seeks his death. His death meaning the death of his Old Adam.

    Now, only in faith, we can call Old Adam “who we were” and we can and should speak of him as now an unwanted parasite that “still clings to … US”.

    But…. at the same time we confess that this Old adam fully appears and is the totality of our will, reason, strength and heart. we must confess that Old Adam is of our very nature and essence! But we confess that it is not us? it is an “accident” that is an aristotelian cagetory that aristotle would not recongize or accept. Old Adam is an “accident” that fully and utterly appears to us to be of the very nature and essence of who we are.

    And this is so much true, that only God will be able to separate this old adam from us at our death, and has already separated him from the us that is New Man, as completely as he ever will…. totally, in our baptism.

    there is the reality that is FULLY all we can see and do.

    The words the confessions use to explain this I suggest are the words “in, with and under.” in with and under this true brute and ugly reality of the us that is the ALL of us, old adam, which alone reason can see, is now another baptismal reality which is the heavenly kingdom come to us in a way that cannot be seen. It is known by and is alone faith alone in christ alone.

    two realities. one is ALL we can see and know and do in our reason acts thoughts and will…. this is the earthly kingdom of old adam and the law. there godly righeousness is in an outward keeping of the law for the good of others.

    then there is that other reality that comes alone by faith trusting in the Promise that is in with and under water word bread wine and sinful pastors administering because they are driven by the Law. In with and under those things that contain the Promise, we receive right there the Primised Mercy. and the kingdom then comes to us in a way that cannot be seen.

    I hope this clarifies dear Dan. I think this is the better way. it is the confessional way to explain the old vs the new man. the simul justus et pecator,. The confessions in fact use the doctrine of the two kingdoms to do this. The other ways to describe this, do not explain it in a way that is useful for casuistry. I am referring to the way forde and nestingen try to explain this.

    I would suggest that the real doctrine of the two kingdoms, which is illustrated in Luthers sermon that is the basis for FC art VI is best seen as the casuistic version of the doctrine of Law and Gospel.

    I would urge you to ponder why a sermon on the two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righeousness forms the basis for FC art VI. My comments here will then come fully alive to you dear pastor.

  • fws

    dan @ 34

    re:#33

    It works this way I think in confessional-speak:

    in good works a christian , uniquely , does not seek life. He seeks his death. His death meaning the death of his Old Adam.

    Now, only in faith, we can call Old Adam “who we were” and we can and should speak of him as now an unwanted parasite that “still clings to … US”.

    But…. at the same time we confess that this Old adam fully appears and is the totality of our will, reason, strength and heart. we must confess that Old Adam is of our very nature and essence! But we confess that it is not us? it is an “accident” that is an aristotelian cagetory that aristotle would not recongize or accept. Old Adam is an “accident” that fully and utterly appears to us to be of the very nature and essence of who we are.

    And this is so much true, that only God will be able to separate this old adam from us at our death, and has already separated him from the us that is New Man, as completely as he ever will…. totally, in our baptism.

    there is the reality that is FULLY all we can see and do.

    The words the confessions use to explain this I suggest are the words “in, with and under.” in with and under this true brute and ugly reality of the us that is the ALL of us, old adam, which alone reason can see, is now another baptismal reality which is the heavenly kingdom come to us in a way that cannot be seen. It is known by and is alone faith alone in christ alone.

    two realities. one is ALL we can see and know and do in our reason acts thoughts and will…. this is the earthly kingdom of old adam and the law. there godly righeousness is in an outward keeping of the law for the good of others.

    then there is that other reality that comes alone by faith trusting in the Promise that is in with and under water word bread wine and sinful pastors administering because they are driven by the Law. In with and under those things that contain the Promise, we receive right there the Primised Mercy. and the kingdom then comes to us in a way that cannot be seen.

    I hope this clarifies dear Dan. I think this is the better way. it is the confessional way to explain the old vs the new man. the simul justus et pecator,. The confessions in fact use the doctrine of the two kingdoms to do this. The other ways to describe this, do not explain it in a way that is useful for casuistry. I am referring to the way forde and nestingen try to explain this.

    I would suggest that the real doctrine of the two kingdoms, which is illustrated in Luthers sermon that is the basis for FC art VI is best seen as the casuistic version of the doctrine of Law and Gospel.

    I would urge you to ponder why a sermon on the two kingdoms and their respective two kinds of righeousness forms the basis for FC art VI. My comments here will then come fully alive to you dear pastor.

  • fws

    dan @ 34

    #33

    this is where the rubber hits the road!

    luther states that the heavenly kingdom is totally separate from the earthly kingdom. that is to say that the gospel is totally separate from the law. “as far as the heavens are separated from the earth”. and in the commentary on Galations luther makes a similar comment to the effect of when we talk about the Law we imagine the Gospel does not exist for us. and when we talk about the Gospel we are to imagine that the Law does not exist for us.

    But of course, in our lives here on earth, we have law and gospel. we have old adam to whom alone the law is addressed in us, and we have the new man, to whom alone the gospel applies,

    to the believer as old adam the law says : die! There is no good news for him.

    to the believer as new man the gospel says: take cheer , you live safely tucked away and hidden in Christ!

    So I suggest that the confessional language to express this is in those words ‘in, with and under”. the new man is in with and under ALL we can see and do in our bodies. he is completely and utterly separated from the old adam. we can only know this from Gods Word and faith however.

    then too , only from God’s Word, can we understand that old adam is not merely a defect, or burden or accident in the aristotelian sense. Old adam is utterly all of our heart will mind soul and of our very nature and essence. We can know too, this truth, only from God’s Word!

  • fws

    dan @ 34

    #33

    this is where the rubber hits the road!

    luther states that the heavenly kingdom is totally separate from the earthly kingdom. that is to say that the gospel is totally separate from the law. “as far as the heavens are separated from the earth”. and in the commentary on Galations luther makes a similar comment to the effect of when we talk about the Law we imagine the Gospel does not exist for us. and when we talk about the Gospel we are to imagine that the Law does not exist for us.

    But of course, in our lives here on earth, we have law and gospel. we have old adam to whom alone the law is addressed in us, and we have the new man, to whom alone the gospel applies,

    to the believer as old adam the law says : die! There is no good news for him.

    to the believer as new man the gospel says: take cheer , you live safely tucked away and hidden in Christ!

    So I suggest that the confessional language to express this is in those words ‘in, with and under”. the new man is in with and under ALL we can see and do in our bodies. he is completely and utterly separated from the old adam. we can only know this from Gods Word and faith however.

    then too , only from God’s Word, can we understand that old adam is not merely a defect, or burden or accident in the aristotelian sense. Old adam is utterly all of our heart will mind soul and of our very nature and essence. We can know too, this truth, only from God’s Word!

  • fws

    dan..

    get ahold of that luther sermon that is the basis for our FC art Vi. it is a gem. it is THE place for Lutherans to go to understand FC art VI. it is where chemnitz points us to in fact…. and it is the place to go for a Lutheran to understand that the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms is really just another modality of law and gospel.

    that other idea that two kingdoms is about the churchly estate vs the civil estate is really just scholasticism or neo-scholasticism (read calvinism).

    the lutheran true doctrine of the two kingdoms is nothing less than the Lutheran comentary and understanding of romans 8 flesh vs spirit I am suggesting. it is THE breakthrough the made “the just shall live by faith alone” come alive for Luther.

    so in this understanding, if you look at the apology in the article on the church, the Holy Catholic church refers to the church according to its earthly kingdom form that is just another form of earthly governance that includes pagan and christian alike, and then there is the communion of saints which is the heavenly kingdom of all believers which is where? it is in with and under the holy catholic church!

    so the two kingdoms doctrine in the confessions is wherever one sees the distinction of law and gospel and vica versa! they are the same doctrine only in different modalities. one is the formal doctrinal formulation, and the other is the casuistic playing out of the doctrine in our daily lives.

  • fws

    dan..

    get ahold of that luther sermon that is the basis for our FC art Vi. it is a gem. it is THE place for Lutherans to go to understand FC art VI. it is where chemnitz points us to in fact…. and it is the place to go for a Lutheran to understand that the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms is really just another modality of law and gospel.

    that other idea that two kingdoms is about the churchly estate vs the civil estate is really just scholasticism or neo-scholasticism (read calvinism).

    the lutheran true doctrine of the two kingdoms is nothing less than the Lutheran comentary and understanding of romans 8 flesh vs spirit I am suggesting. it is THE breakthrough the made “the just shall live by faith alone” come alive for Luther.

    so in this understanding, if you look at the apology in the article on the church, the Holy Catholic church refers to the church according to its earthly kingdom form that is just another form of earthly governance that includes pagan and christian alike, and then there is the communion of saints which is the heavenly kingdom of all believers which is where? it is in with and under the holy catholic church!

    so the two kingdoms doctrine in the confessions is wherever one sees the distinction of law and gospel and vica versa! they are the same doctrine only in different modalities. one is the formal doctrinal formulation, and the other is the casuistic playing out of the doctrine in our daily lives.

  • fws

    Dan

    (With one exception. I’m not sure what you mean by “our entire sanctification takes place in holy baptism.” That seems convoluted to me.)

    try tbis…

    whatever you can say about repentence , you can say about holy baptism. (cf large catechism that tells us that baptism is nothing other than repentence), and then think ….. those first two things are nothing other than … sanctification!

    now repentence has a broad (read law + gospel) meaning, and so does baptism, and Luther expresses this in his dichotomy in the small catechism as to what baptism does, works and delivers from vs what it signifies. narrow or proper sense of baptism vs the broad implications of baptism which is gospel + law!

    and so now sanctification. properly speaking it is regeneration. it is putting on christ. we are new creations. and we dont become any more in Christ in the resurrection than we are right now. Our being made holy is complete, in christ, right now. and in fact art IV of the apology talks about infused justification. we are declared holy. and that same creative word that declares forrensically at the same time makes it, concretely so. In Christ. In our new Man.

    but then, as in baptism and repentence, there is sanctification in the broad sense. this is precisely where st paul tells new man to use the Law to kill the old adam. so this is mortification as what…. mortification is a fruit of sanctification it is not sanctification proper or properly speaking…

    and the interesting thing is this. how does st paul empower the new man to courageously use the killing law to commit hari kari…. st paul uses the holy gospel. this is a declaring to us as new man who we now are. this is benediction. this is so very NOT exhortation or even worse. a gospel exhortation (what in the heck would that wierd creature be…. john calvins third use is what that is…. it is heresy__).

    so even there there is the broad law plus gospel. st paul declares the gospel to new man. reminds him of it. and then he says. see you are dead to the old adam the devil and all his works and all his ways. you have nothing to lose by losing your very life! for your Life is hidden, safely tucked away, in christ! and even that Old adam body, that is totally of essence and nature sin sin sin…. is what … it is joined to Christ even though it is dead dead dead. So even that part is safely tucked away in christ.

    when we read the old testament and the promised land…. for the new man that is his body. it IS his. here and now. but this is only according to the Promise of the blessed resurrection, that faith clings to and here and now possesses the Promised Mercy. these three things are always always at play in our justification. a Promise, faith that clings to the Promise and then, receiving the Promised Mercy.

  • fws

    Dan

    (With one exception. I’m not sure what you mean by “our entire sanctification takes place in holy baptism.” That seems convoluted to me.)

    try tbis…

    whatever you can say about repentence , you can say about holy baptism. (cf large catechism that tells us that baptism is nothing other than repentence), and then think ….. those first two things are nothing other than … sanctification!

    now repentence has a broad (read law + gospel) meaning, and so does baptism, and Luther expresses this in his dichotomy in the small catechism as to what baptism does, works and delivers from vs what it signifies. narrow or proper sense of baptism vs the broad implications of baptism which is gospel + law!

    and so now sanctification. properly speaking it is regeneration. it is putting on christ. we are new creations. and we dont become any more in Christ in the resurrection than we are right now. Our being made holy is complete, in christ, right now. and in fact art IV of the apology talks about infused justification. we are declared holy. and that same creative word that declares forrensically at the same time makes it, concretely so. In Christ. In our new Man.

    but then, as in baptism and repentence, there is sanctification in the broad sense. this is precisely where st paul tells new man to use the Law to kill the old adam. so this is mortification as what…. mortification is a fruit of sanctification it is not sanctification proper or properly speaking…

    and the interesting thing is this. how does st paul empower the new man to courageously use the killing law to commit hari kari…. st paul uses the holy gospel. this is a declaring to us as new man who we now are. this is benediction. this is so very NOT exhortation or even worse. a gospel exhortation (what in the heck would that wierd creature be…. john calvins third use is what that is…. it is heresy__).

    so even there there is the broad law plus gospel. st paul declares the gospel to new man. reminds him of it. and then he says. see you are dead to the old adam the devil and all his works and all his ways. you have nothing to lose by losing your very life! for your Life is hidden, safely tucked away, in christ! and even that Old adam body, that is totally of essence and nature sin sin sin…. is what … it is joined to Christ even though it is dead dead dead. So even that part is safely tucked away in christ.

    when we read the old testament and the promised land…. for the new man that is his body. it IS his. here and now. but this is only according to the Promise of the blessed resurrection, that faith clings to and here and now possesses the Promised Mercy. these three things are always always at play in our justification. a Promise, faith that clings to the Promise and then, receiving the Promised Mercy.


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