Getting treatment

Ruth Marcus, writing in the Washington Post, notes that today bad behavior is thought of in terms of “addiction” and the need for “treatment.”  She prefers the concepts of sin and absolution:

The arc of modern scandal is depressingly familiar. Transgression followed by exposure, perhaps accompanied by a fleeting detour into denial. Then tearful confession and, finally, the inevitable journey to rehab.

Didn’t you know, from the moment the story broke, that New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner would end up checking himself in somewhere?

I don’t begrudge Weiner the therapy — he could no doubt use “professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” as his spokeswoman said in announcing that he would seek a leave of absence.

But whether or not Weiner manages to hang on, the episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences.

Increasingly, in our Rehab Nation, the concept of sin has been replaced by the language of addiction. Shame has been supplanted by therapeutic intervention. The disease model of misbehavior dictates that there are no bad people, only damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts. In this scenario, personal responsibility evaporates and virtue becomes an anachronism.

“This is not something that can be treated away,” Weiner said at his tearful news conference. One excruciating week later, Weiner was, yes, getting it treated away. The congressman, his spokeswoman said, “has determined that he needs this time to get healthy.” Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior. . . .

Writing on Time.com, Maia Szalavitz, herself a former heroin and cocaine addict, described the dangers of defining addiction downward.

“If anyone can go to rehab when his actions lead to public humiliation, is rehab still a medical treatment or does it become some form of absolution?” she asked. “If every time someone behaves like a jerk and the reason behind it is addiction, doesn’t that mean addiction is just an excuse for bad behavior?”

via In Rehab Nation, sin becomes addiction – The Washington Post.

Of course, some bad behavior does need “treatment,” just as, theologically, some sin calls for spiritual counseling and pastoral care.  And yet simply medicalizing sin, as in Rep. Weiner’s case, seems like a way to duck responsibility.   How can we tell the difference?  What bad behavior calls for medical help and what calls for spiritual help?

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.

  • Pete

    Bad behavior on the part of your appendix is a medical problem. Bad behavior a la Weiner, not so much.

  • Pete

    Bad behavior on the part of your appendix is a medical problem. Bad behavior a la Weiner, not so much.

  • Isaac

    Didn’t C.S. Lewis have something to say about criminal punishment being replaced by medical therapy (in That Hideous Strength, the Abolition of Man, and elsewhere)? Only part of his point was that it was a substitute for heaven and hell, a kind of scientific pseudo-redemption or infinite punishment.

  • Isaac

    Didn’t C.S. Lewis have something to say about criminal punishment being replaced by medical therapy (in That Hideous Strength, the Abolition of Man, and elsewhere)? Only part of his point was that it was a substitute for heaven and hell, a kind of scientific pseudo-redemption or infinite punishment.

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

    This is what happens when “sin” disappears from the vocabulary of people. It’s replaced with every other soft term, and unfortunately this sort of talk is finding its way in the church. Even in the church I regularly attend, I’m disappointed with how little the pastor uses the word “sin.” Everything is a “shortcoming,” a “trouble,” or any other word, but the word “sin” is rarely uttered.

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

    This is what happens when “sin” disappears from the vocabulary of people. It’s replaced with every other soft term, and unfortunately this sort of talk is finding its way in the church. Even in the church I regularly attend, I’m disappointed with how little the pastor uses the word “sin.” Everything is a “shortcoming,” a “trouble,” or any other word, but the word “sin” is rarely uttered.

  • SKPeterson

    A confirmation of the notion that the true religion of modern America is moralistic therapeutic deism.

  • SKPeterson

    A confirmation of the notion that the true religion of modern America is moralistic therapeutic deism.

  • Stephen

    “And yet simply medicalizing sin, as in Rep. Weiner’s case, seems like a way to duck responsibility. How can we tell the difference? What bad behavior calls for medical help and what calls for spiritual help?”

    I don’t agree with this assessment. Regardless of what anyone thinks going in, therapy IS about taking responsibility. It is not about absolution per se. I think that’s a stretch. As an example, the 12 Steps. While the terminology has changed, the process is similar – learning to take responsibility, to struggle with one’s “addictions” (concupiscence – the urge to trust in anything but Christ alone?) and seeking to change bad habits. Seeking help is what we all need to do.

    It seems like a distinction is being made here between sin and “illness” that is false. How do we tell the difference? There isn’t one. These are all sin issues – our “damaged” selves. I suspect that if he were a Christian he would need a pastor too. The law is always accusing. He is being besieged by the law. This is wrecking his life and the lives of people around him. And for that matter, why is seeking absolution such a bad thing? Excuse me all you sinners out there who seek it every Sunday. He is obviously all messed up. Since when are we able to judge his level of contrition?

    Isn’t fun to chip away at the clay feet of others. Can we all just step down off our moralistic high horses for a second? It seems to me like he is being faulted for not being a Christian. And why ever would he be compelled to be? “Christians” are just another accusing voice in the culture wars shouting “you should be a better person.” Duh.

  • Stephen

    “And yet simply medicalizing sin, as in Rep. Weiner’s case, seems like a way to duck responsibility. How can we tell the difference? What bad behavior calls for medical help and what calls for spiritual help?”

    I don’t agree with this assessment. Regardless of what anyone thinks going in, therapy IS about taking responsibility. It is not about absolution per se. I think that’s a stretch. As an example, the 12 Steps. While the terminology has changed, the process is similar – learning to take responsibility, to struggle with one’s “addictions” (concupiscence – the urge to trust in anything but Christ alone?) and seeking to change bad habits. Seeking help is what we all need to do.

    It seems like a distinction is being made here between sin and “illness” that is false. How do we tell the difference? There isn’t one. These are all sin issues – our “damaged” selves. I suspect that if he were a Christian he would need a pastor too. The law is always accusing. He is being besieged by the law. This is wrecking his life and the lives of people around him. And for that matter, why is seeking absolution such a bad thing? Excuse me all you sinners out there who seek it every Sunday. He is obviously all messed up. Since when are we able to judge his level of contrition?

    Isn’t fun to chip away at the clay feet of others. Can we all just step down off our moralistic high horses for a second? It seems to me like he is being faulted for not being a Christian. And why ever would he be compelled to be? “Christians” are just another accusing voice in the culture wars shouting “you should be a better person.” Duh.

  • Stephen

    Well, forget the blockquotes.

  • Stephen

    Well, forget the blockquotes.

  • Stephen

    SK

    The term “moralistic therapeutic deism” was coined by a researcher to describe what Christianity has become in this country, especially among young people. If it is the religion of our age, it’s the fault of the church and its unfaithfulness.

  • Stephen

    SK

    The term “moralistic therapeutic deism” was coined by a researcher to describe what Christianity has become in this country, especially among young people. If it is the religion of our age, it’s the fault of the church and its unfaithfulness.

  • Tom Hering

    At least time in rehab will give Weiner the chance to grow back all his body hair.

  • Tom Hering

    At least time in rehab will give Weiner the chance to grow back all his body hair.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Okay, now that was funny.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Okay, now that was funny.

  • fws

    wow.

    the problem is that the writer also suffers from moral addictive behavior. Lutherans call this “original sin”.

    This is to put one’s faith in anything BUT faith alone in Christ alone to fix what is wrong with me and my neighbor.

    This looks exactly like putting faith in the best and truest moral solutions that God demands of us both in the Bible (eg pharisees) , and in our very noblest reasoning and ability to truly love.

    This looks like: we can think our will our way out of our Problem. Those sorry souls mired in sin only need to wake up and think right and take personal responsibility starting with feeling shame. Take the medicine and thinking and behavior will look like… death-painted-white-to-look-nice, is what Jesus calls this method. Ah, the drinks called therapeutic moralism and dualism lead to a (always “liberal”) moral hangover. So lets switch them over to a different drink (that contains the same active ingredient called the “Law” ) , and that will fix things. So we can keep on drinking from the fountain of the Law to seek our Life and wholeness there.

    The Lutheran Confessions call this moralistic addiction the “veil of moses” (Ap IV).

    So why is AA and 12 step solutions so pupular? It is a discipline for acheiving the true morality that God demands on earth, and so it actually works. So what does AA say that agrees with Holy Scripture?

    Alcoholics Anonymous says the problem is not alcohol, it is alcoholic drinking. It purely is in one’s actions this is to say. One merely needs to stop drinking. It is that simple. Stay into actions and out of thinking they say.

    The problem , and so the solution, is not with thinking. ones best thinking leads to destructive behavior. They call this “stinking thinking”. So they do not try to reprogram thinking as the solution!

    it is not will power that is the solution. will power is the enemy. It is our will that gets us to where we are.
    That , right there, IS the problem they say.

    And then they say that true morality is not in our thinking or will. It is alone in our actions. So they teach people how to lead a disciplined life that is useful to self and others. Key moral word: “useful”.

    so they get how to be a moral person right. This is why people are turning to that sort of therapy to get fixed. And Aristotelian ethics fully agrees with AA. One becomes a moral person by practicing, in ones actions , doing what a moral person would do until it becomes a habit or second nature. and the Lutheran Confessions endorse this thinking (one of the founders of the Oxford society that was the precursor to AA was Lutheran) as to second table Godly morality.

    From the comments here and this article, christians dont have a clue about any of that.

    so how is the writer an alcoholic? she says the solution is in “right thinking” really. Those seeking treatment are thinking “therapy” “illness” and if only they would think “sin” and “absolution” then what would happen?

    They would get that problem of sin fixed!!!” So like any good drunk, she is thinking that the “therapy” thinking leads to a moral hangover and the pain that entails, so then lets switch to better and more God-like thinking that instead labels things in a way that sounds more God-y like sin and absolution. Less hangover. Better results! or maybe just white knuckle it , become personally responsible, use will power and just say no to sin!

    But she missed that none of that solves mankinds true problem, which is not in our acts or actions or even our thinking.

    The problem is with the movements in our hearts according to the Lutheran Confessions.

    I repeat: What is the problem? it is in movements of the heart the Lutheran Confessions say. Reason cannot “get ” this.

    what the author treats here is the easy part that AA is so very good at. And morality WILL fix behavioral and mental and emotional problems.

    But… even the very best and truly God-pleasing , Bible-compliant outward morality is still what jesus calls “death painted white to look nice”.

    Why? “do Love (keep the Law) and you will have Life eternal!” even Jesus says. But we can’t do that.

    Only Christ can save.

    And to have that, we need what holy Baptism alone can give: New heart movements. neither Reason nor will power nor personal responsibility can achieve this.

  • fws

    wow.

    the problem is that the writer also suffers from moral addictive behavior. Lutherans call this “original sin”.

    This is to put one’s faith in anything BUT faith alone in Christ alone to fix what is wrong with me and my neighbor.

    This looks exactly like putting faith in the best and truest moral solutions that God demands of us both in the Bible (eg pharisees) , and in our very noblest reasoning and ability to truly love.

    This looks like: we can think our will our way out of our Problem. Those sorry souls mired in sin only need to wake up and think right and take personal responsibility starting with feeling shame. Take the medicine and thinking and behavior will look like… death-painted-white-to-look-nice, is what Jesus calls this method. Ah, the drinks called therapeutic moralism and dualism lead to a (always “liberal”) moral hangover. So lets switch them over to a different drink (that contains the same active ingredient called the “Law” ) , and that will fix things. So we can keep on drinking from the fountain of the Law to seek our Life and wholeness there.

    The Lutheran Confessions call this moralistic addiction the “veil of moses” (Ap IV).

    So why is AA and 12 step solutions so pupular? It is a discipline for acheiving the true morality that God demands on earth, and so it actually works. So what does AA say that agrees with Holy Scripture?

    Alcoholics Anonymous says the problem is not alcohol, it is alcoholic drinking. It purely is in one’s actions this is to say. One merely needs to stop drinking. It is that simple. Stay into actions and out of thinking they say.

    The problem , and so the solution, is not with thinking. ones best thinking leads to destructive behavior. They call this “stinking thinking”. So they do not try to reprogram thinking as the solution!

    it is not will power that is the solution. will power is the enemy. It is our will that gets us to where we are.
    That , right there, IS the problem they say.

    And then they say that true morality is not in our thinking or will. It is alone in our actions. So they teach people how to lead a disciplined life that is useful to self and others. Key moral word: “useful”.

    so they get how to be a moral person right. This is why people are turning to that sort of therapy to get fixed. And Aristotelian ethics fully agrees with AA. One becomes a moral person by practicing, in ones actions , doing what a moral person would do until it becomes a habit or second nature. and the Lutheran Confessions endorse this thinking (one of the founders of the Oxford society that was the precursor to AA was Lutheran) as to second table Godly morality.

    From the comments here and this article, christians dont have a clue about any of that.

    so how is the writer an alcoholic? she says the solution is in “right thinking” really. Those seeking treatment are thinking “therapy” “illness” and if only they would think “sin” and “absolution” then what would happen?

    They would get that problem of sin fixed!!!” So like any good drunk, she is thinking that the “therapy” thinking leads to a moral hangover and the pain that entails, so then lets switch to better and more God-like thinking that instead labels things in a way that sounds more God-y like sin and absolution. Less hangover. Better results! or maybe just white knuckle it , become personally responsible, use will power and just say no to sin!

    But she missed that none of that solves mankinds true problem, which is not in our acts or actions or even our thinking.

    The problem is with the movements in our hearts according to the Lutheran Confessions.

    I repeat: What is the problem? it is in movements of the heart the Lutheran Confessions say. Reason cannot “get ” this.

    what the author treats here is the easy part that AA is so very good at. And morality WILL fix behavioral and mental and emotional problems.

    But… even the very best and truly God-pleasing , Bible-compliant outward morality is still what jesus calls “death painted white to look nice”.

    Why? “do Love (keep the Law) and you will have Life eternal!” even Jesus says. But we can’t do that.

    Only Christ can save.

    And to have that, we need what holy Baptism alone can give: New heart movements. neither Reason nor will power nor personal responsibility can achieve this.

  • fws

    what the author does not like about AA type programs is that they are not “spiritual” in the way she defines spiritual.

    Old Adam hates that. He is deeply religious.

    And he wants to offer up the sacrifice of his death-painted-white-to-look-nice to God as his Propitiation.

    When Old Adam is informed that Good Works are ALL about death … to enable the trivial creaturely expendible pleasure of other Old Adams, no less… and not in any way about sanctification or Life, He seeks to avoid that at all costs.

    This is mercy. So by definition our neighbor does not deserve this from us. and there is no propitiation in this since God is not to be the recipient of this sacrifice.

    Old Adam yearns to make Sacrifice. Preferably sacrifice ones neighbor on that white altar of sacrifice. That is what this article is really all about isnt it?

  • fws

    what the author does not like about AA type programs is that they are not “spiritual” in the way she defines spiritual.

    Old Adam hates that. He is deeply religious.

    And he wants to offer up the sacrifice of his death-painted-white-to-look-nice to God as his Propitiation.

    When Old Adam is informed that Good Works are ALL about death … to enable the trivial creaturely expendible pleasure of other Old Adams, no less… and not in any way about sanctification or Life, He seeks to avoid that at all costs.

    This is mercy. So by definition our neighbor does not deserve this from us. and there is no propitiation in this since God is not to be the recipient of this sacrifice.

    Old Adam yearns to make Sacrifice. Preferably sacrifice ones neighbor on that white altar of sacrifice. That is what this article is really all about isnt it?

  • Dennis Peskey

    On January 30, 1798, Rep. Matthew Lyon (VT) spat upon Rep. Roger Griswold (CT) during deliberations on the floor of the House. The House Standards Committee recommended expulsion; the motion failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote. Perhaps spittoons were installed to prevent further indiscretions from transpiring.

    Since this time, the House Ethics Manual has ballooned to 456 pages of pharisaical absurdity. Since then, five members of the House have actually been expelled; three members for traiterous conduct during the Civil War, one member in 1980 for bribery and one member in 2002 for conspiring to violate the bribery statue (and various other charges). From the actual record, we can ascertain the history of conduct for members of the House has either been quite exemplary or the House itself lacks the testosterone to enforce all 456 pages of its’ Ethics Manual.

    Contrast this record with the Uniform Code of Military Justice; ethical conduct is addressed in Article 134; “Any action which brings discredit or dishonor to the Armed Forces shall be deemed a court-martial offense”. The military presumes your church or your momma taught you how to behave or when in doubt – don’t do it. Period.

    Sometime during the 1960′s, our society replace shame with self-esteem and we’ve been paying the penalty eversince. The term “bad boy” used to carry negative repercussions; I don’t wish to contemplate the current connotation. We do great harm to these individuals by failing to properly reprove behavior such as this. I would almost advocate a public spanking for Rep. Weiner but this action may nolonger produce the intended consequence (he might enjoy this as well). Such is the state of our perversion (see Romans 1:28). The consequences to the individual involved are very real as Ruth Marcus cited Tiger Woods as an example. Tiger doesn’t believe in sin which is robbing him of his vocation of being the greatest golfer ever. His Buddhist beliefs will not confront the nature of his problem – he’s a sinner who needs to repent and be absolved. Instead he tried a new swing coach (since terminated); played like a hack duffer and now is currently not even playing on weekends.

    Until our churches properly return to teaching Law and Gospel, people will continue to believe they can work their way out of sin. They don’t even acknowledge their conduct as sin and only deceive themselves. REPENT – I read that somewhere in a book and recall some German monk advocating this five centuries ago. Still a real good idea if you ever desire a life which is good.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    On January 30, 1798, Rep. Matthew Lyon (VT) spat upon Rep. Roger Griswold (CT) during deliberations on the floor of the House. The House Standards Committee recommended expulsion; the motion failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote. Perhaps spittoons were installed to prevent further indiscretions from transpiring.

    Since this time, the House Ethics Manual has ballooned to 456 pages of pharisaical absurdity. Since then, five members of the House have actually been expelled; three members for traiterous conduct during the Civil War, one member in 1980 for bribery and one member in 2002 for conspiring to violate the bribery statue (and various other charges). From the actual record, we can ascertain the history of conduct for members of the House has either been quite exemplary or the House itself lacks the testosterone to enforce all 456 pages of its’ Ethics Manual.

    Contrast this record with the Uniform Code of Military Justice; ethical conduct is addressed in Article 134; “Any action which brings discredit or dishonor to the Armed Forces shall be deemed a court-martial offense”. The military presumes your church or your momma taught you how to behave or when in doubt – don’t do it. Period.

    Sometime during the 1960′s, our society replace shame with self-esteem and we’ve been paying the penalty eversince. The term “bad boy” used to carry negative repercussions; I don’t wish to contemplate the current connotation. We do great harm to these individuals by failing to properly reprove behavior such as this. I would almost advocate a public spanking for Rep. Weiner but this action may nolonger produce the intended consequence (he might enjoy this as well). Such is the state of our perversion (see Romans 1:28). The consequences to the individual involved are very real as Ruth Marcus cited Tiger Woods as an example. Tiger doesn’t believe in sin which is robbing him of his vocation of being the greatest golfer ever. His Buddhist beliefs will not confront the nature of his problem – he’s a sinner who needs to repent and be absolved. Instead he tried a new swing coach (since terminated); played like a hack duffer and now is currently not even playing on weekends.

    Until our churches properly return to teaching Law and Gospel, people will continue to believe they can work their way out of sin. They don’t even acknowledge their conduct as sin and only deceive themselves. REPENT – I read that somewhere in a book and recall some German monk advocating this five centuries ago. Still a real good idea if you ever desire a life which is good.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • fws

    to repeat , succinctly:

    Good works, and right behavior and the Law are all about and only lead to Death.

    The Law is good even though it is always fatal to Old Adam why? Remember: the Law ALWAYS accuses and kills.

    It is the only way the HS can make both Earthly (1st, 2nd and 3rd article) and Heavenly (2nd and 3rd Article) Goodness and Mercy be done.

    The Old Adam addiction that is Original Sin is to imagine that the Law or keeping of it in some way is Life or Sanctification or being God-ly or God-like. This is the original sin: “DO this, eat this, and you will be like God!”

    This was the movement from faith in Christ alone that was the a hunger in Adam’s heart of hearts to be sustained and nourished by the tree of Life, over to DOing something to become God.

    And it still looks good to eat and irrisistable to our Old Adam. And we invite others to do it too!

  • fws

    to repeat , succinctly:

    Good works, and right behavior and the Law are all about and only lead to Death.

    The Law is good even though it is always fatal to Old Adam why? Remember: the Law ALWAYS accuses and kills.

    It is the only way the HS can make both Earthly (1st, 2nd and 3rd article) and Heavenly (2nd and 3rd Article) Goodness and Mercy be done.

    The Old Adam addiction that is Original Sin is to imagine that the Law or keeping of it in some way is Life or Sanctification or being God-ly or God-like. This is the original sin: “DO this, eat this, and you will be like God!”

    This was the movement from faith in Christ alone that was the a hunger in Adam’s heart of hearts to be sustained and nourished by the tree of Life, over to DOing something to become God.

    And it still looks good to eat and irrisistable to our Old Adam. And we invite others to do it too!

  • Tom Hering

    NEWS: Weiner said today he will resign.

  • Tom Hering

    NEWS: Weiner said today he will resign.

  • fws

    and the result of the law is what? to feel shame. The saw they were naked and were ashamed.

    Saw.

    Invisible faith in the Tree of Life , is totally and utterly absent we are being told.

    Now Adam’s focus will be addicted to being focused on covering his nakedness with what? the fig leaves of thinking and doing things right. but the conscience and reason makes those fig leaves itch like crazy.

    So God sheds blood to cover our nakedness though the innocent death of another.

    And here on earth he kills us as old adam to provide life to other Old Adams, and that only to provide a futile transitory, creaturely happiness that will perish. That they do not deserve. mercy=undeserved.

    So the law and works are all about our death. There is NO life there. And old adam wants to turn good works in a religious direction. give them religious and eternal “implications” .

    Christ alone through invisible faith alone, has eternal implications. ALL else is about Romans eight death that will perish with the earth along with all who trust in that sacrifice to gain eternal Life.

    The law and our very BEST “spirit filled” Christian, God’s Word Conforming Good works are ALL death-painted-white-to-look-nice.

    So good works of the christian are sacramental signs that faith is alive. We are to do them unceasingly. God demands this of us and he will send plagues and punishments to us to make us do them if we are not willing.

    How are they sacramental signs? our Best Good works terrify the Christian. That is how! (Apology art IV) . And if we dont feel terrified, then we trust Gods Word when it tells us that we should be terrified at even our best efforts to be good.

    So what remains is faith alone in Christ alone, apart from our best works.

  • fws

    and the result of the law is what? to feel shame. The saw they were naked and were ashamed.

    Saw.

    Invisible faith in the Tree of Life , is totally and utterly absent we are being told.

    Now Adam’s focus will be addicted to being focused on covering his nakedness with what? the fig leaves of thinking and doing things right. but the conscience and reason makes those fig leaves itch like crazy.

    So God sheds blood to cover our nakedness though the innocent death of another.

    And here on earth he kills us as old adam to provide life to other Old Adams, and that only to provide a futile transitory, creaturely happiness that will perish. That they do not deserve. mercy=undeserved.

    So the law and works are all about our death. There is NO life there. And old adam wants to turn good works in a religious direction. give them religious and eternal “implications” .

    Christ alone through invisible faith alone, has eternal implications. ALL else is about Romans eight death that will perish with the earth along with all who trust in that sacrifice to gain eternal Life.

    The law and our very BEST “spirit filled” Christian, God’s Word Conforming Good works are ALL death-painted-white-to-look-nice.

    So good works of the christian are sacramental signs that faith is alive. We are to do them unceasingly. God demands this of us and he will send plagues and punishments to us to make us do them if we are not willing.

    How are they sacramental signs? our Best Good works terrify the Christian. That is how! (Apology art IV) . And if we dont feel terrified, then we trust Gods Word when it tells us that we should be terrified at even our best efforts to be good.

    So what remains is faith alone in Christ alone, apart from our best works.

  • fws

    dennis @ 12

    I agree. but this can all be achieved by becoming a good roman catholic and following the aristotelian moral recipe of st aquinas and natural law, or by becoming a free mason, or a boy scout, join AA (an excellent choice even for persons without obvious addictive problems), or the rotary club, or maybe just a strict jewish mom can often doo the trick.

    The church or Christ-as-Example doing this or anyone teaching morality is God’s Will in fact here in earth for precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life. Period.

    The problem is that this is ALL death-painted-white-to-look-nice as Jesus said. Jesus did not disapprove of this at all. “Do this and you will live!” he says. He preaches that we are to whitewash our sepulchers in the sermon on the Mount in fact. For the good of others. God demands this of us. And He will have his way even if he has to use force and punishment.

    But this is still all bout Death. Why?

    It does not fix the heart which is the real problem.

    The Eternal Problem of Death is resolved only by new heart movements. Only the waters of holy Baptism that is the faith alone that is in Christ alone can bring these new heart movments that are romans eight spirit that will live forever.

  • fws

    dennis @ 12

    I agree. but this can all be achieved by becoming a good roman catholic and following the aristotelian moral recipe of st aquinas and natural law, or by becoming a free mason, or a boy scout, join AA (an excellent choice even for persons without obvious addictive problems), or the rotary club, or maybe just a strict jewish mom can often doo the trick.

    The church or Christ-as-Example doing this or anyone teaching morality is God’s Will in fact here in earth for precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life. Period.

    The problem is that this is ALL death-painted-white-to-look-nice as Jesus said. Jesus did not disapprove of this at all. “Do this and you will live!” he says. He preaches that we are to whitewash our sepulchers in the sermon on the Mount in fact. For the good of others. God demands this of us. And He will have his way even if he has to use force and punishment.

    But this is still all bout Death. Why?

    It does not fix the heart which is the real problem.

    The Eternal Problem of Death is resolved only by new heart movements. Only the waters of holy Baptism that is the faith alone that is in Christ alone can bring these new heart movments that are romans eight spirit that will live forever.

  • fws

    The point of ALL God ordained and God pleasing morality on earth is for us to learn to white wash our sepulchers.

    Old Adam recoils at this.

    This is original sin. Old Adam wants to trust in white paint.

  • fws

    The point of ALL God ordained and God pleasing morality on earth is for us to learn to white wash our sepulchers.

    Old Adam recoils at this.

    This is original sin. Old Adam wants to trust in white paint.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Frank (#16) I thought this situation was summed up quite directly by this: “Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior. . . .” I must agree with Ruth Marcus’ assessment; Rep. Weiner’s behavior is shameful because it is sinful.

    What I’m unsure of is this part of your post,“precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life.” No means of works righteousness, whether it be Buddhism, Romanist Theology, Rick Warren or the latest from Entertainment Tonight will garner either happiness or a well adjusted life. These are two concepts I neither fully grasp nor do I dwell upon.

    The Bible promises believers joy. Happiness is a condition apart from biblical prescription; a well-adjusted life is best left to psychologists. In fact, the Gospel does warn of persecutions, trials and guarantees you your very own cross to bear. Baptism marks us as a child of God – it also paints a very large and noticable target for Satan’s arrows (he’s not that bright so we paint bulleyes on our forehead so he know who to target). If you get the opportunity, I believe you would enjoy Pr. Matthew Harrison’s book A Little Book of Joy. Pr. Harrison does an excellent job of giving comfort to christians who are experiencing trials or tribulations. What I fear most for Rep. Weiner is he will not acknowledge his sinful condition and repent; absent this, he has no chance of regeneration and finding the goodness of Christ in his vocation.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Frank (#16) I thought this situation was summed up quite directly by this: “Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior. . . .” I must agree with Ruth Marcus’ assessment; Rep. Weiner’s behavior is shameful because it is sinful.

    What I’m unsure of is this part of your post,“precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life.” No means of works righteousness, whether it be Buddhism, Romanist Theology, Rick Warren or the latest from Entertainment Tonight will garner either happiness or a well adjusted life. These are two concepts I neither fully grasp nor do I dwell upon.

    The Bible promises believers joy. Happiness is a condition apart from biblical prescription; a well-adjusted life is best left to psychologists. In fact, the Gospel does warn of persecutions, trials and guarantees you your very own cross to bear. Baptism marks us as a child of God – it also paints a very large and noticable target for Satan’s arrows (he’s not that bright so we paint bulleyes on our forehead so he know who to target). If you get the opportunity, I believe you would enjoy Pr. Matthew Harrison’s book A Little Book of Joy. Pr. Harrison does an excellent job of giving comfort to christians who are experiencing trials or tribulations. What I fear most for Rep. Weiner is he will not acknowledge his sinful condition and repent; absent this, he has no chance of regeneration and finding the goodness of Christ in his vocation.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • DonS

    “Addiction” is a synonym for “bondage”. Which is a biblical term for the condition in which we sinners find ourselves — enslaved to sin. So, the term is not that inaccurate. It’s just that our society refuses to acknowledge the root cause of addiction as being sin.

    Unfortunately secular therapy cannot release us from our bondage to sin, though it can sometimes be useful in helping us to modify our external behaviors and to improve our relationships with our loved ones.

  • DonS

    “Addiction” is a synonym for “bondage”. Which is a biblical term for the condition in which we sinners find ourselves — enslaved to sin. So, the term is not that inaccurate. It’s just that our society refuses to acknowledge the root cause of addiction as being sin.

    Unfortunately secular therapy cannot release us from our bondage to sin, though it can sometimes be useful in helping us to modify our external behaviors and to improve our relationships with our loved ones.

  • fws

    dennis @ 18

    DENNIS Frank (#16) I thought this situation was summed up quite directly by this: “Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior. . . .” I must agree with Ruth Marcus’ assessment; Rep. Weiner’s behavior is shameful because it is sinful.

    FWS Your comment implies that one can chose not to believe what God’s Divinely Revealed Law says . This is impossible Dennis. That would be exactly like denying the Law of Gravity. How would someone do that?

    Rom2:15 [unbelievers and those who have no Decalog] show that the work of the law is written on their hearts

    note not the Law itself is written in the heart, but the “work or effect” of the Law. So where is the Law of God Divinely Revealed? (cf Apology IV)

    …, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them .

    This is why the Confessions, in Apology art IV places the same identically Divinely Revealed Law in two places: Reason and the Decalog (ie God’s Word).

    This Law always accuses. it always kils. It simply cannot be erased by either a secular or religous antinomian with a cosmic erasor that can delete the letters L.A.W. The law is relentless and remains whatever label we call it or however we try to deny it. Think of the Moral Law like you would the Law of Gravity. We can’t actually “do” the Law of Gravity. It does us. To death of we break it. We have no choice but to conform to it. Resisting results in broken bones. And then we finally get it. Or we die resisting.

    DENNIS What I’m unsure of is this part of your post,“precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life.” No means of works righteousness, whether it be Buddhism, Romanist Theology, Rick Warren or the latest from Entertainment Tonight will garner either happiness or a well adjusted life. These are two concepts I neither fully grasp nor do I dwell upon.

    FWS The Lutheran Confessions say that scriptures promise earthly blessings for those who keep God’s Commandments. These blessings include happiness, peace, joy, and everything listed in the 1st article of the Catechisms explanation of the Apostles Creed. God works Goodness and Mercy in the Earth by extorting it out of men with what? Morality. The Law. That is why the Law always kills and accuses and is at the same time about Goodness and Mercy. God uses the his Divinely Revealed Law too in Budhism etc to make his Goodness and Mercy happen.

    Luther says that there is a motive for christians to keep the Law. What is it? To offer obedience in love to God? No. it is to fear God’s wrath. If we do not do love for our neighbor on earth, then God will send punishments to us until we get with that program. The Obedience we are to offer up to God is only that of Another, that of Christ. On earth we are to be obedient to the needs of others.

    DENNIS The Bible promises believers joy. Happiness is a condition apart from biblical prescription; a well-adjusted life is best left to psychologists.

    FWS God promises blessings to all who keep his commandments. What would those be Dennis? And he provides “goodness and mercy” daily as listed in the 1st article of the small catechism. There is no apparent difference in the two lists titled “works of the law” and “fruit of the spirit” according to our confessions by the way (FC art VI).

    DENNIS In fact, the Gospel does warn of persecutions, trials and guarantees you your very own cross to bear. Baptism marks us as a child of God – it also paints a very large and noticable target for Satan’s arrows (he’s not that bright so we paint bulleyes on our forehead so he know who to target).

    FWS By definition, earthly morality is exactly to paint our sepulchers (aka Old Adam) white. Law and good works always = death. There is NO life or sanctification in the Law or Good Works. Only Only Only death. Faith alone in christ alone is marked by acceptance of the judgement of death of the Law and so accepts also God judgement, does not flee from it, and also accepts suffering when we or others do not keep God’s Law. We look in with and under that suffering to find Goodness and Mercy being done.

    Faith also is terrified of God’s Wrath and so seeks to find joy in keeping the Law so God does not need to send punishment to make us do love for others. And finally, the true mark of faith is that our best works truly terrify us! Only faith can be truly terrified by Good Works. Old adam seeks life in them.

    DENNIS: What I fear most for Rep. Weiner is he will not acknowledge his sinful condition and repent; absent this, he has no chance of regeneration…

    FWS Again Romans 2:15. Your fear is misplaced Dennis. Everyone knows the Law as to its outward keeping. It may not appear to be true. But God’s Word informs us that this is the case. None of us has a chance of regeneration with the Law. Fortunately it is alone the Gospel that is the necessary condition for regeneration, not the Law, which fallen men ALL know by Reason .

    DENNIS…and finding the goodness of Christ in his vocation.

    FWS: Vocation is ALL about death. The Goodness and Mercy of God in the first article is received indeed without our prayer, worthiness, asking etc It does not require our faithfulness in any way. Mercy=undeserved. cf Luke 18 and the story of the Lawless Lawgiver driven by a nagging conscience dead to Love. That is how Goodness and Mercy are made to happen on Earth. So you dont need to worry about this being done for Weiner or yourself. It happens alone because God does it.

    Goodness and mercy do not depend upon our faithfulness either to the Law or the Gospel . Isnt that wonderful news?

  • fws

    dennis @ 18

    DENNIS Frank (#16) I thought this situation was summed up quite directly by this: “Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior. . . .” I must agree with Ruth Marcus’ assessment; Rep. Weiner’s behavior is shameful because it is sinful.

    FWS Your comment implies that one can chose not to believe what God’s Divinely Revealed Law says . This is impossible Dennis. That would be exactly like denying the Law of Gravity. How would someone do that?

    Rom2:15 [unbelievers and those who have no Decalog] show that the work of the law is written on their hearts

    note not the Law itself is written in the heart, but the “work or effect” of the Law. So where is the Law of God Divinely Revealed? (cf Apology IV)

    …, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them .

    This is why the Confessions, in Apology art IV places the same identically Divinely Revealed Law in two places: Reason and the Decalog (ie God’s Word).

    This Law always accuses. it always kils. It simply cannot be erased by either a secular or religous antinomian with a cosmic erasor that can delete the letters L.A.W. The law is relentless and remains whatever label we call it or however we try to deny it. Think of the Moral Law like you would the Law of Gravity. We can’t actually “do” the Law of Gravity. It does us. To death of we break it. We have no choice but to conform to it. Resisting results in broken bones. And then we finally get it. Or we die resisting.

    DENNIS What I’m unsure of is this part of your post,“precisely the reason you say: to enable earthly happiness and a well adjusted life.” No means of works righteousness, whether it be Buddhism, Romanist Theology, Rick Warren or the latest from Entertainment Tonight will garner either happiness or a well adjusted life. These are two concepts I neither fully grasp nor do I dwell upon.

    FWS The Lutheran Confessions say that scriptures promise earthly blessings for those who keep God’s Commandments. These blessings include happiness, peace, joy, and everything listed in the 1st article of the Catechisms explanation of the Apostles Creed. God works Goodness and Mercy in the Earth by extorting it out of men with what? Morality. The Law. That is why the Law always kills and accuses and is at the same time about Goodness and Mercy. God uses the his Divinely Revealed Law too in Budhism etc to make his Goodness and Mercy happen.

    Luther says that there is a motive for christians to keep the Law. What is it? To offer obedience in love to God? No. it is to fear God’s wrath. If we do not do love for our neighbor on earth, then God will send punishments to us until we get with that program. The Obedience we are to offer up to God is only that of Another, that of Christ. On earth we are to be obedient to the needs of others.

    DENNIS The Bible promises believers joy. Happiness is a condition apart from biblical prescription; a well-adjusted life is best left to psychologists.

    FWS God promises blessings to all who keep his commandments. What would those be Dennis? And he provides “goodness and mercy” daily as listed in the 1st article of the small catechism. There is no apparent difference in the two lists titled “works of the law” and “fruit of the spirit” according to our confessions by the way (FC art VI).

    DENNIS In fact, the Gospel does warn of persecutions, trials and guarantees you your very own cross to bear. Baptism marks us as a child of God – it also paints a very large and noticable target for Satan’s arrows (he’s not that bright so we paint bulleyes on our forehead so he know who to target).

    FWS By definition, earthly morality is exactly to paint our sepulchers (aka Old Adam) white. Law and good works always = death. There is NO life or sanctification in the Law or Good Works. Only Only Only death. Faith alone in christ alone is marked by acceptance of the judgement of death of the Law and so accepts also God judgement, does not flee from it, and also accepts suffering when we or others do not keep God’s Law. We look in with and under that suffering to find Goodness and Mercy being done.

    Faith also is terrified of God’s Wrath and so seeks to find joy in keeping the Law so God does not need to send punishment to make us do love for others. And finally, the true mark of faith is that our best works truly terrify us! Only faith can be truly terrified by Good Works. Old adam seeks life in them.

    DENNIS: What I fear most for Rep. Weiner is he will not acknowledge his sinful condition and repent; absent this, he has no chance of regeneration…

    FWS Again Romans 2:15. Your fear is misplaced Dennis. Everyone knows the Law as to its outward keeping. It may not appear to be true. But God’s Word informs us that this is the case. None of us has a chance of regeneration with the Law. Fortunately it is alone the Gospel that is the necessary condition for regeneration, not the Law, which fallen men ALL know by Reason .

    DENNIS…and finding the goodness of Christ in his vocation.

    FWS: Vocation is ALL about death. The Goodness and Mercy of God in the first article is received indeed without our prayer, worthiness, asking etc It does not require our faithfulness in any way. Mercy=undeserved. cf Luke 18 and the story of the Lawless Lawgiver driven by a nagging conscience dead to Love. That is how Goodness and Mercy are made to happen on Earth. So you dont need to worry about this being done for Weiner or yourself. It happens alone because God does it.

    Goodness and mercy do not depend upon our faithfulness either to the Law or the Gospel . Isnt that wonderful news?

  • fws

    don s @ 19

    excellent summary Don!

    you just miss defining exactly what that “root sin” is.

    Lutherans would start by defining what Original Adamic Righteousness was and consisted of and what the Image of God was that was lost to Adam.

    How would you do this Don?

  • fws

    don s @ 19

    excellent summary Don!

    you just miss defining exactly what that “root sin” is.

    Lutherans would start by defining what Original Adamic Righteousness was and consisted of and what the Image of God was that was lost to Adam.

    How would you do this Don?

  • Dennis Peskey

    Frank;
    “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is exactly what the unregenerate do – they not only deny God’s Law – they deny God.

    Couldn’t find “happiness” in the BoC’s explanation to First Article of Creed. Blessings – yep; peace – yep; joy – yep; happiness – nope. Too many prosperity preachers equate joy to happiness; they are not the same. A suffering Christian can remain joyful in their affliction secure in the knowledge of Christ’s atoning work; telling a believer dying of cancer to “be happy” is patently absurd.

    Good works are a fruit of the Holy Spirit; only Christians can preform good works. Good works are the direct result of life (not death) found in the Holy Spirit.

    I pray often for people who are not Christians or for Christians who are in danger of departing from the faith – it’s called intercessory prayer. We are priviledged to plea with the Father for mercy to those who oppose him – their cannot pray to a God they deny. Vocation is our very reason for existence given to us by God; we exist to serve our neighbor in love.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Frank;
    “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is exactly what the unregenerate do – they not only deny God’s Law – they deny God.

    Couldn’t find “happiness” in the BoC’s explanation to First Article of Creed. Blessings – yep; peace – yep; joy – yep; happiness – nope. Too many prosperity preachers equate joy to happiness; they are not the same. A suffering Christian can remain joyful in their affliction secure in the knowledge of Christ’s atoning work; telling a believer dying of cancer to “be happy” is patently absurd.

    Good works are a fruit of the Holy Spirit; only Christians can preform good works. Good works are the direct result of life (not death) found in the Holy Spirit.

    I pray often for people who are not Christians or for Christians who are in danger of departing from the faith – it’s called intercessory prayer. We are priviledged to plea with the Father for mercy to those who oppose him – their cannot pray to a God they deny. Vocation is our very reason for existence given to us by God; we exist to serve our neighbor in love.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Stephen

    Dennis –

    This is what happiness looks like in the B of C:

    Give us this day our daily bread.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

    What is meant by daily bread?–Answer.

    Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

    What is described here is not a prosperity Gospel. Rather, it is the goodness and mercy of God that Frank is talking about. It comes “even for all the wicked” whether we pray or not. If you also look at the explanations for the commandments in the second table of the Decalog, you will notice this same kind of thing is what we do for others – make their lives not just good, but great. We serve them as if they were our masters. That is the kind of love and mercy suggested. One who is well-served is, for lack of a better term, likely to be quite happy. Love makes us happy. The word in scripture for “blessed” is “happy.” “Happy are the peacemakers, the merciful, the . . . ”

    Yes, God does desire our happiness. We get it from the love of others, even if that love (service, mercy, peacefulness, goodness) is forced out of a guilty conscience via the accusations of the law. It is a gift. The distinction you seem to be making is the joy of salvation. That is a gift of the gospel, something eternal, which does remain despite our suffering. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come” is gospel. Love one another is law.

  • Stephen

    Dennis –

    This is what happiness looks like in the B of C:

    Give us this day our daily bread.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

    What is meant by daily bread?–Answer.

    Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

    What is described here is not a prosperity Gospel. Rather, it is the goodness and mercy of God that Frank is talking about. It comes “even for all the wicked” whether we pray or not. If you also look at the explanations for the commandments in the second table of the Decalog, you will notice this same kind of thing is what we do for others – make their lives not just good, but great. We serve them as if they were our masters. That is the kind of love and mercy suggested. One who is well-served is, for lack of a better term, likely to be quite happy. Love makes us happy. The word in scripture for “blessed” is “happy.” “Happy are the peacemakers, the merciful, the . . . ”

    Yes, God does desire our happiness. We get it from the love of others, even if that love (service, mercy, peacefulness, goodness) is forced out of a guilty conscience via the accusations of the law. It is a gift. The distinction you seem to be making is the joy of salvation. That is a gift of the gospel, something eternal, which does remain despite our suffering. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come” is gospel. Love one another is law.

  • fws

    Dennis @ 22

    DENNIS”If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is exactly what the unregenerate do – they not only deny God’s Law – they deny God.

    FWS Both Scriptures (Rom 2:15 etc) and the Confessions say that those who do not have Holy Scripture still possess the same Law Jews and Christians have. This is an article of our faith Dennis. If you do not agree I can quote copiously from our Confessions on this point.

    DENNIS Couldn’t find “happiness” in the BoC’s explanation to First Article of Creed. Blessings – yep; peace – yep; joy – yep; happiness – nope. Too many prosperity preachers equate joy to happiness; they are not the same. A suffering Christian can remain joyful in their affliction secure in the knowledge of Christ’s atoning work; telling a believer dying of cancer to “be happy” is patently absurd.

    FWS I am not sure what the bone of contention here is. The confessions state that there the items contained in the lists called “fruit of the spirit” and “works of the Law” are absolutely identical. FC Art VI. Are you disputing this?

    DENNIS Good works are a fruit of the Holy Spirit; only Christians can preform good works.

    FWS Good Works of a Pagan and christian alike are Good because they conform to God’s Word, else they would not be Good Works. Pagans do Works that God promises to bless and are Goodness and Mercy. They are Good Works. The difference is not in the works done Dennis is what I am saying. Yes there is a difference, but not in what is done at all!

    DENNIS Good works are the direct result of life (not death) found in the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Again , the difference is not in any way in the Good Works themselves. In YOUR Old Adam, Good Works are the result of the Law and the death it produces. And you are a believer. The Law preached to “Dennis-as-believer” only and alone on account of the fact that you still have Old Adam (you are not yet fully regenerated is how FC art VI says that).

    And Dennis as new man? he doesnt need the Law. He died to it. Good flows out of him without any work. it just happens. FC art Vi says this is like light from sun or the obedience of the angels, or spontaneously, or automatically. See the point? the Good Works happen without the “works” part of the expression. It is as if the Law did not exist!.

    But all Dennis can see and do in his Old Adam flesh and body looks like romans 7. It is about death. Good Works happen because you Dennis , as new man , do what? you apply the LAW to your fleshly Old Adam to make him do what? subnit! this is not voluntary ! this looks like exactly the same hard work of discipline and denial that pagans also need to do to have a good and moral life and yes, be happy. Happiness and the desire for it are not a sin per se. and yes the pursuit of it can be idolatry. or not! God is not anti-happiness. that is false doctrine isnt it?

    DENNIS I pray often for people who are not Christians or for Christians who are in danger of departing from the faith – it’s called intercessory prayer. We are priviledged to plea with the Father for mercy to those who oppose him – their cannot pray to a God they deny.

    FWS Yes this is a priviledge and blessing only to those for whom God is no longer accusing and so for whom God can now become an object of love (Apology art IV)

    “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief”. Our belief is not the basis for our prayer being heard. It is our baptism.

    DENNIS Vocation is our very reason for existence given to us by God; we exist to serve our neighbor in love

    FWS So then you are telling me that it is the Law that is the reason for our God-Given existence. We exist for the purpose of conforming to and being obedient to the Revealed Law of God. Are you sure you want to say that Dennis?

  • fws

    Dennis @ 22

    DENNIS”If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is exactly what the unregenerate do – they not only deny God’s Law – they deny God.

    FWS Both Scriptures (Rom 2:15 etc) and the Confessions say that those who do not have Holy Scripture still possess the same Law Jews and Christians have. This is an article of our faith Dennis. If you do not agree I can quote copiously from our Confessions on this point.

    DENNIS Couldn’t find “happiness” in the BoC’s explanation to First Article of Creed. Blessings – yep; peace – yep; joy – yep; happiness – nope. Too many prosperity preachers equate joy to happiness; they are not the same. A suffering Christian can remain joyful in their affliction secure in the knowledge of Christ’s atoning work; telling a believer dying of cancer to “be happy” is patently absurd.

    FWS I am not sure what the bone of contention here is. The confessions state that there the items contained in the lists called “fruit of the spirit” and “works of the Law” are absolutely identical. FC Art VI. Are you disputing this?

    DENNIS Good works are a fruit of the Holy Spirit; only Christians can preform good works.

    FWS Good Works of a Pagan and christian alike are Good because they conform to God’s Word, else they would not be Good Works. Pagans do Works that God promises to bless and are Goodness and Mercy. They are Good Works. The difference is not in the works done Dennis is what I am saying. Yes there is a difference, but not in what is done at all!

    DENNIS Good works are the direct result of life (not death) found in the Holy Spirit.

    FWS Again , the difference is not in any way in the Good Works themselves. In YOUR Old Adam, Good Works are the result of the Law and the death it produces. And you are a believer. The Law preached to “Dennis-as-believer” only and alone on account of the fact that you still have Old Adam (you are not yet fully regenerated is how FC art VI says that).

    And Dennis as new man? he doesnt need the Law. He died to it. Good flows out of him without any work. it just happens. FC art Vi says this is like light from sun or the obedience of the angels, or spontaneously, or automatically. See the point? the Good Works happen without the “works” part of the expression. It is as if the Law did not exist!.

    But all Dennis can see and do in his Old Adam flesh and body looks like romans 7. It is about death. Good Works happen because you Dennis , as new man , do what? you apply the LAW to your fleshly Old Adam to make him do what? subnit! this is not voluntary ! this looks like exactly the same hard work of discipline and denial that pagans also need to do to have a good and moral life and yes, be happy. Happiness and the desire for it are not a sin per se. and yes the pursuit of it can be idolatry. or not! God is not anti-happiness. that is false doctrine isnt it?

    DENNIS I pray often for people who are not Christians or for Christians who are in danger of departing from the faith – it’s called intercessory prayer. We are priviledged to plea with the Father for mercy to those who oppose him – their cannot pray to a God they deny.

    FWS Yes this is a priviledge and blessing only to those for whom God is no longer accusing and so for whom God can now become an object of love (Apology art IV)

    “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief”. Our belief is not the basis for our prayer being heard. It is our baptism.

    DENNIS Vocation is our very reason for existence given to us by God; we exist to serve our neighbor in love

    FWS So then you are telling me that it is the Law that is the reason for our God-Given existence. We exist for the purpose of conforming to and being obedient to the Revealed Law of God. Are you sure you want to say that Dennis?

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I too liked your statement, but I would amend it to say “therapy” rather than “secular therapy.” That seems to indicate that some good Christian/sacred therapy would be different somehow, like I need to call a Christian towing service when my car breaks down because it will somehow be “better.” I don’t think so really, not when we are talking about something we do.

    What frees us from bondage to sin is not to be more spiritual (the assumption in this article) either in our thinking or acting. It is to receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. Jews make very good therapists. They invented it. But there is no Christ needed for good therapy, just like he is not needed for us to brush our teeth, eat well, get a little walking in and avoid unhealthy/destructive behaviors (like phone sex). Lots of fine, upstanding “secularists” out there doing managing that just fine.

    So therapy can be a good thing that God uses for our benefit (all things working for the good ya know) just like other kinds of medicine, self-discipline, and ethical practices. But they cannot save us from sin, and they will all perish. Only Christ can do that. His righteousness is the ONLY thing that has merit before God, as you know. And this is the good news. If we had to depend on our being “spiritual” or religious or anything else we do we’d be sunk. Don’t you think? Eph 2:8,9 my brother.

    This article and the other one on Adultery remind of the pharisee praising God for not making him like all the other sinners. Christians drunk on their personal morality – great analogy! (not saying that’s you Don)

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I too liked your statement, but I would amend it to say “therapy” rather than “secular therapy.” That seems to indicate that some good Christian/sacred therapy would be different somehow, like I need to call a Christian towing service when my car breaks down because it will somehow be “better.” I don’t think so really, not when we are talking about something we do.

    What frees us from bondage to sin is not to be more spiritual (the assumption in this article) either in our thinking or acting. It is to receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. Jews make very good therapists. They invented it. But there is no Christ needed for good therapy, just like he is not needed for us to brush our teeth, eat well, get a little walking in and avoid unhealthy/destructive behaviors (like phone sex). Lots of fine, upstanding “secularists” out there doing managing that just fine.

    So therapy can be a good thing that God uses for our benefit (all things working for the good ya know) just like other kinds of medicine, self-discipline, and ethical practices. But they cannot save us from sin, and they will all perish. Only Christ can do that. His righteousness is the ONLY thing that has merit before God, as you know. And this is the good news. If we had to depend on our being “spiritual” or religious or anything else we do we’d be sunk. Don’t you think? Eph 2:8,9 my brother.

    This article and the other one on Adultery remind of the pharisee praising God for not making him like all the other sinners. Christians drunk on their personal morality – great analogy! (not saying that’s you Don)

  • Jonathan

    I’ll bet the now-ex-congressman is kicking himself for not having gone a-whoring, like D. Vitter, for whose expulsion not one Republican or Religious Right leader has ever called.

  • Jonathan

    I’ll bet the now-ex-congressman is kicking himself for not having gone a-whoring, like D. Vitter, for whose expulsion not one Republican or Religious Right leader has ever called.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ruth Marcus says

    The episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences.

    Which is, frankly, BS. She’s saying that by “seeking professional treatment” (in the words of his spokeswoman), he took the easy way out.

    But here’s the thing. She links to an article from June 11. But on June 6, here’s what Weiner had already said:

    I’m deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, and our family, my constituents, my friends, my supporters and my staff*. … I have made terrible mistakes. I have not been honest with myself or my family. … I should not have done this, and I should not have done this particularly when I was married.

    So tell me again, Ruth Marcus, how rehab is “an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame”?

    And, in light of his not only taking time to “seek professional treatment”, but, we now learn, resigning from his position, how is rehab “an infuriatingly easy substitute for … living with consequences”?

    So, in short, Marcus’s accusation doesn’t even hold up in the particulars of this case. But her high horse certainly is well groomed.

    *Please, no puns about this particular choice of word.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ruth Marcus says

    The episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences.

    Which is, frankly, BS. She’s saying that by “seeking professional treatment” (in the words of his spokeswoman), he took the easy way out.

    But here’s the thing. She links to an article from June 11. But on June 6, here’s what Weiner had already said:

    I’m deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, and our family, my constituents, my friends, my supporters and my staff*. … I have made terrible mistakes. I have not been honest with myself or my family. … I should not have done this, and I should not have done this particularly when I was married.

    So tell me again, Ruth Marcus, how rehab is “an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame”?

    And, in light of his not only taking time to “seek professional treatment”, but, we now learn, resigning from his position, how is rehab “an infuriatingly easy substitute for … living with consequences”?

    So, in short, Marcus’s accusation doesn’t even hold up in the particulars of this case. But her high horse certainly is well groomed.

    *Please, no puns about this particular choice of word.

  • Stephen

    Jonathan -

    Touché

    Weiner’s political career is finished. I feel sorry for his wife and kid on the way. Imagine what it will be like for that child when one day they find out about daddy’s past.

  • Stephen

    Jonathan -

    Touché

    Weiner’s political career is finished. I feel sorry for his wife and kid on the way. Imagine what it will be like for that child when one day they find out about daddy’s past.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Todd (#27) I may violate the Eighth Commandment, but I’ve heard that repentance speech before and it always comes after the jury has thoroughly condemned the actions. Could be an old age problem, but I just don’t believe his mouth and his heart are on the same page. I gotta go seek absolution now.

    Stephen (#23) – I gotta admit, when the stomach is full it’s easy to smile; hungry people don’t smile alot. I can consent to your understanding of the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. I am not able to substitute the word “happy” in the Beatitudes. To be blessed is much more than “be happy”. Try this; “Happy are those who mourn” or “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” or “Happy are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Either your definition of happy is significantly different from my understanding or you or I need to revisit our biblical hermaneutic.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Todd (#27) I may violate the Eighth Commandment, but I’ve heard that repentance speech before and it always comes after the jury has thoroughly condemned the actions. Could be an old age problem, but I just don’t believe his mouth and his heart are on the same page. I gotta go seek absolution now.

    Stephen (#23) – I gotta admit, when the stomach is full it’s easy to smile; hungry people don’t smile alot. I can consent to your understanding of the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. I am not able to substitute the word “happy” in the Beatitudes. To be blessed is much more than “be happy”. Try this; “Happy are those who mourn” or “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” or “Happy are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Either your definition of happy is significantly different from my understanding or you or I need to revisit our biblical hermaneutic.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dennis (@29), what Weiner truly believes in his heart is not the point.

    The point is that “getting treatment” is not antithetical to “accepting blame” or “living with consequences”. Weiner publicly accepted the blame, and is now quite obviously living with the consequences.

    Perhaps it was all prompted solely by the fact that it all came to light so publicly. Perhaps he didn’t really mean it. Neither you or I know that, nor is it our place to speculate.

    But I do know that Marcus’s thesis, presented here for our discussion, rings false.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dennis (@29), what Weiner truly believes in his heart is not the point.

    The point is that “getting treatment” is not antithetical to “accepting blame” or “living with consequences”. Weiner publicly accepted the blame, and is now quite obviously living with the consequences.

    Perhaps it was all prompted solely by the fact that it all came to light so publicly. Perhaps he didn’t really mean it. Neither you or I know that, nor is it our place to speculate.

    But I do know that Marcus’s thesis, presented here for our discussion, rings false.

  • Jonathan

    @28 Right, Stephen.
    I don’t defend Weiner, and I cringe when I think of how his family must deal with his actions and reputation. I think he should resign, in fact.

    But his is a sex scandal without, well, sex. Ah, had he only taken a hike on the Applachian trail…or shelled out some cash.

  • Jonathan

    @28 Right, Stephen.
    I don’t defend Weiner, and I cringe when I think of how his family must deal with his actions and reputation. I think he should resign, in fact.

    But his is a sex scandal without, well, sex. Ah, had he only taken a hike on the Applachian trail…or shelled out some cash.

  • Stephen

    Dennis,

    I hate to break it to you, but “happy” is what the Greek word makarios means. We should probably have some kind of word like “happy/blessed” to express it. I dare say there is, at least for the hearer, a dose of irony in the Beatitudes. I can imagine the first hearers saying to themselves “is he putin’ us on?!” Seriously.

    I think it goes to what Frank is hammering away at – only the new man can use the law with gladness to put to death the old man. This is our baptismal life – not something we (visible old Adams) can do but something done for us, to us that is received as a gift (new creation). Merrily we roll along to our death, a death that means goodness and mercy for our neighbor – i.e. their creaturely “happiness” and/or blessings (4th petition). That blessedness for the neighbor is worked out in, with, and under each vocation here on earth, even in, with and under the mourning and persecution. This is both the message of the cross and our own yoke, which we bear lightly (happily?) because of Christ who bore it for us.

    I know, I know, Lutherans aren’t really supposed to be happy. ;)

  • Stephen

    Dennis,

    I hate to break it to you, but “happy” is what the Greek word makarios means. We should probably have some kind of word like “happy/blessed” to express it. I dare say there is, at least for the hearer, a dose of irony in the Beatitudes. I can imagine the first hearers saying to themselves “is he putin’ us on?!” Seriously.

    I think it goes to what Frank is hammering away at – only the new man can use the law with gladness to put to death the old man. This is our baptismal life – not something we (visible old Adams) can do but something done for us, to us that is received as a gift (new creation). Merrily we roll along to our death, a death that means goodness and mercy for our neighbor – i.e. their creaturely “happiness” and/or blessings (4th petition). That blessedness for the neighbor is worked out in, with, and under each vocation here on earth, even in, with and under the mourning and persecution. This is both the message of the cross and our own yoke, which we bear lightly (happily?) because of Christ who bore it for us.

    I know, I know, Lutherans aren’t really supposed to be happy. ;)

  • Stephen

    Jonathan,

    The real sadness and/or lesson to be gleaned for me is that all the worldly, creaturely goodness – gifts from God – are never enough. Why is that? I think it is because the law is always accusing and we seek life in dead and dying things. We all do this, even and especially when we try to offer our own goodness up as something worthy of eternal significance (Heidelberg Disputations are all over this). This is to rob christ of his merits. And so I smell a rat whenever we are unwilling to reflect on our own sinfulness in light of the sinfulness of others. Not saying I don’t do it either. Instead, we go to great lengths to distinguish ourselves apart form “those sinners.”

    His transgression is getting played out in front of the world. Thankfully, mine aren’t.

  • Stephen

    Jonathan,

    The real sadness and/or lesson to be gleaned for me is that all the worldly, creaturely goodness – gifts from God – are never enough. Why is that? I think it is because the law is always accusing and we seek life in dead and dying things. We all do this, even and especially when we try to offer our own goodness up as something worthy of eternal significance (Heidelberg Disputations are all over this). This is to rob christ of his merits. And so I smell a rat whenever we are unwilling to reflect on our own sinfulness in light of the sinfulness of others. Not saying I don’t do it either. Instead, we go to great lengths to distinguish ourselves apart form “those sinners.”

    His transgression is getting played out in front of the world. Thankfully, mine aren’t.

  • Stephen

    Oops, I didn’t capitalize “Christ” @33. I’m in deep trouble (piety, works, idolizing my behavior over the forgiveness of Christ alone).

    I think the author of this article suggests that better terminology (piety) will turn on the proper Holy Spirit juice and make the whole project work out better. The same is true for the article on the Adultery thread, except in that case it is “right thinking” that saves the day. This is like believing repentance gets God to be God. God IS Love. He has shown us mercy regardless of us. We don’t make him do stuff by our piety. I’m pretty sure Christ died for us “while we were yet sinners” and that this is the good news.

  • Stephen

    Oops, I didn’t capitalize “Christ” @33. I’m in deep trouble (piety, works, idolizing my behavior over the forgiveness of Christ alone).

    I think the author of this article suggests that better terminology (piety) will turn on the proper Holy Spirit juice and make the whole project work out better. The same is true for the article on the Adultery thread, except in that case it is “right thinking” that saves the day. This is like believing repentance gets God to be God. God IS Love. He has shown us mercy regardless of us. We don’t make him do stuff by our piety. I’m pretty sure Christ died for us “while we were yet sinners” and that this is the good news.

  • fws

    Bror! Are you reading this still buddy?

    Accept what Stephen says @ 34 as the condensed version of what I was trying to say is wrong with what the authors say in both posts!

    Stephen knows how do say it better than me! :)

  • fws

    Bror! Are you reading this still buddy?

    Accept what Stephen says @ 34 as the condensed version of what I was trying to say is wrong with what the authors say in both posts!

    Stephen knows how do say it better than me! :)

  • DonS

    FWS @ 21 and Stephen @ 25:

    FWS — original sin is our affliction — we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are, therefore, in bondage to it. This is true, of course, as long as we are on earth, since we still have our sin natures, but if one has not received the gift of grace and faith from Christ, and does not acknowledge their sinful state, no amount of therapy will work to overcome the bondage of sin and that person’s hopeless state.

    Stephen — I distinguished Christian therapy from secular therapy on the basis that I can at least conceive of a Christian therapist focusing on the sin at the root of the problem rather than re-characterizing the problem as a “disease” or otherwise re-focusing blame off of the person and his sinful state. We must confront our sinful state to have hope of overcoming, in Christ’s strength and through His grace, the bondage we are in. This is not to say, though, that secular therapy doesn’t have its place. As I said above, it can be helpful in helping us to modify our external behavior, and in helping us to improve our relationships with others. That is where I disagree with Marcus — she seemed to be implying that therapy is a cop-out and completely inappropriate for someone in Weiner’s position, whereas I think it is appropriate as an adjunct to his understanding that his wrongdoing is the result of a sinful human nature.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 21 and Stephen @ 25:

    FWS — original sin is our affliction — we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are, therefore, in bondage to it. This is true, of course, as long as we are on earth, since we still have our sin natures, but if one has not received the gift of grace and faith from Christ, and does not acknowledge their sinful state, no amount of therapy will work to overcome the bondage of sin and that person’s hopeless state.

    Stephen — I distinguished Christian therapy from secular therapy on the basis that I can at least conceive of a Christian therapist focusing on the sin at the root of the problem rather than re-characterizing the problem as a “disease” or otherwise re-focusing blame off of the person and his sinful state. We must confront our sinful state to have hope of overcoming, in Christ’s strength and through His grace, the bondage we are in. This is not to say, though, that secular therapy doesn’t have its place. As I said above, it can be helpful in helping us to modify our external behavior, and in helping us to improve our relationships with others. That is where I disagree with Marcus — she seemed to be implying that therapy is a cop-out and completely inappropriate for someone in Weiner’s position, whereas I think it is appropriate as an adjunct to his understanding that his wrongdoing is the result of a sinful human nature.

  • fws

    Don @ 36

    your posts continue to get better and more interesting. Thanks for sharing here.

    So how would you define Origiunal Sin then? what is it? How does it appear? how do we recognize it?

    Lutherans would define Original Sin by first identifying what Adamic Original Righteousness consisted of. And Lutherans say that Original Righeousness = The Image of God, as would, I suspect, most folk., even alot of pagans using different terminology.

    How would you go about defining Original Sin Don. You got me curious now!

  • fws

    Don @ 36

    your posts continue to get better and more interesting. Thanks for sharing here.

    So how would you define Origiunal Sin then? what is it? How does it appear? how do we recognize it?

    Lutherans would define Original Sin by first identifying what Adamic Original Righteousness consisted of. And Lutherans say that Original Righeousness = The Image of God, as would, I suspect, most folk., even alot of pagans using different terminology.

    How would you go about defining Original Sin Don. You got me curious now!

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I see the distinction you are drawing, and I’m saying therapy is therapy. A pastor who did pastoral care could certainly help someone confront their sin and offer them the forgiveness that is always available to them. That’s different. It is not unlike a pasotr who goes to the hoispital to offer comfort that doctors don’t. We can and do (and should) offer that to each other as brothers and sisters. Again, different – not therapy.

    I guess a Christian therapist might choose to help someone discuss it on the terms of sin, but theology is not likely their forte. They may be more comfortable discussing the problem on those terms to a degree – religious language is familiar to them – and thus making someone feel more comfortable because they can talk about that aspect of someone’s life. They might even be willing to pray with them.

    But the difference is that this is not their vocation. Therapists are no there to read bible verses and dish out spiritual advice. Wrong field. Therapy isn’t about eternal forgiveness, its about coping and learning to function. Part of that is certainly about confronting sin (damaged selves perhaps) but then the answer is not to seek Christ, it is to learn to cope and develop ones capacity to manage life. If they are good at what they do, they practice using the therapeutic model – psychology and such methods. Therapists are not “spritual directors” or pastors or priests. They aren’t even meant to be your friend or “brother” as that would violate their professional ethics, no?

    That is why I used the tow truck driver analogy. No difference between a Christian and a none Christian. Do they do it well. Good. A better analogy would be a Hindu heart surgeon. Is he going to be skilled and thoughtfull enough to perform my triple bypass? Are you a good lawyer? I might tend to trust you more knowing you are a Christian, but what I really need is a badass to argue my case. Maybe that makes sense. There are good lawyers and bad ones (and in between I’d guess).

    You are right to defend the practice of therapy as helpful. It is. It is a gift from God, like good lawyer when you’re in a pickle. But that doesn’t mean a Christian does it any better. I’m sure there are cases when they do it worse than the Jew down the hall.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I see the distinction you are drawing, and I’m saying therapy is therapy. A pastor who did pastoral care could certainly help someone confront their sin and offer them the forgiveness that is always available to them. That’s different. It is not unlike a pasotr who goes to the hoispital to offer comfort that doctors don’t. We can and do (and should) offer that to each other as brothers and sisters. Again, different – not therapy.

    I guess a Christian therapist might choose to help someone discuss it on the terms of sin, but theology is not likely their forte. They may be more comfortable discussing the problem on those terms to a degree – religious language is familiar to them – and thus making someone feel more comfortable because they can talk about that aspect of someone’s life. They might even be willing to pray with them.

    But the difference is that this is not their vocation. Therapists are no there to read bible verses and dish out spiritual advice. Wrong field. Therapy isn’t about eternal forgiveness, its about coping and learning to function. Part of that is certainly about confronting sin (damaged selves perhaps) but then the answer is not to seek Christ, it is to learn to cope and develop ones capacity to manage life. If they are good at what they do, they practice using the therapeutic model – psychology and such methods. Therapists are not “spritual directors” or pastors or priests. They aren’t even meant to be your friend or “brother” as that would violate their professional ethics, no?

    That is why I used the tow truck driver analogy. No difference between a Christian and a none Christian. Do they do it well. Good. A better analogy would be a Hindu heart surgeon. Is he going to be skilled and thoughtfull enough to perform my triple bypass? Are you a good lawyer? I might tend to trust you more knowing you are a Christian, but what I really need is a badass to argue my case. Maybe that makes sense. There are good lawyers and bad ones (and in between I’d guess).

    You are right to defend the practice of therapy as helpful. It is. It is a gift from God, like good lawyer when you’re in a pickle. But that doesn’t mean a Christian does it any better. I’m sure there are cases when they do it worse than the Jew down the hall.

  • Stephen

    This sounded wierd:

    “Part of that is certainly about confronting sin (damaged selves perhaps) but then the answer is not to seek Christ, it is to learn to cope and develop ones capacity to manage life.”

    Of course the answer to sin is Christ. What I mean is that therapists are no there to deal with sin. They are there to help with it on other terms, terms that have to do with coping skills, correcting false self-image, uncovering deeper attachments, etc. I’m trying to steer around absolution becasue I know that does not make sense to you as a pastoral role. But that IS the distinction. Therapists aren’t there to absolve people of guilt in the name of Jesus Christ and they know that if they are any good. That is a misconception of what psychology is about.

    Come to think of it, the way psychology has been misused in courtrooms to that kind of effect – he’s got so and so syndrome and so he cannot be held responsible – probably has more to do with that misconception than anything. Thoughts Don the Lawyer?

  • Stephen

    This sounded wierd:

    “Part of that is certainly about confronting sin (damaged selves perhaps) but then the answer is not to seek Christ, it is to learn to cope and develop ones capacity to manage life.”

    Of course the answer to sin is Christ. What I mean is that therapists are no there to deal with sin. They are there to help with it on other terms, terms that have to do with coping skills, correcting false self-image, uncovering deeper attachments, etc. I’m trying to steer around absolution becasue I know that does not make sense to you as a pastoral role. But that IS the distinction. Therapists aren’t there to absolve people of guilt in the name of Jesus Christ and they know that if they are any good. That is a misconception of what psychology is about.

    Come to think of it, the way psychology has been misused in courtrooms to that kind of effect – he’s got so and so syndrome and so he cannot be held responsible – probably has more to do with that misconception than anything. Thoughts Don the Lawyer?

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

    “I think the author of this article suggests that better terminology (piety) will turn on the proper Holy Spirit juice and make the whole project work out better. The same is true for the article on the Adultery thread, except in that case it is “right thinking” that saves the day. This is like believing repentance gets God to be God. God IS Love. He has shown us mercy regardless of us. We don’t make him do stuff by our piety. I’m pretty sure Christ died for us “while we were yet sinners” and that this is the good news.”
    since Frank sent me to this, I’ll respond to it as if this was Franks position. If this is what the authors of either of these posts were trying to get at, then right, it is wrong thinking, and they are wrong.
    I certainly did not get that this is what the author of the adultery thread was getting at, not from the snippet that Veith posted. I’m doubting this is what Ruth Marcus is getting at. I don’t think they are thinking about God, or the Holy Spirit, salvation or anything of the like. No one is trying to save Weiner by pointing him to a proper repentance.
    What was being discussed, is what is acceptable behavior according to society and how that has changed. And what is an acceptable apology according to societies standards, and how and why this has changed over time. That is all.
    If we wanted to save weiner, we might try to talk to him about Christ at some time. No one here is maintaining that Weiner is even Christian. I don’t know if he is or not. And for this conversation it is rather beside the point.

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

    “I think the author of this article suggests that better terminology (piety) will turn on the proper Holy Spirit juice and make the whole project work out better. The same is true for the article on the Adultery thread, except in that case it is “right thinking” that saves the day. This is like believing repentance gets God to be God. God IS Love. He has shown us mercy regardless of us. We don’t make him do stuff by our piety. I’m pretty sure Christ died for us “while we were yet sinners” and that this is the good news.”
    since Frank sent me to this, I’ll respond to it as if this was Franks position. If this is what the authors of either of these posts were trying to get at, then right, it is wrong thinking, and they are wrong.
    I certainly did not get that this is what the author of the adultery thread was getting at, not from the snippet that Veith posted. I’m doubting this is what Ruth Marcus is getting at. I don’t think they are thinking about God, or the Holy Spirit, salvation or anything of the like. No one is trying to save Weiner by pointing him to a proper repentance.
    What was being discussed, is what is acceptable behavior according to society and how that has changed. And what is an acceptable apology according to societies standards, and how and why this has changed over time. That is all.
    If we wanted to save weiner, we might try to talk to him about Christ at some time. No one here is maintaining that Weiner is even Christian. I don’t know if he is or not. And for this conversation it is rather beside the point.

  • Stephen

    Bror,

    I think Frank was refrring to my post @ 32. Read that one too perhaps. But to get at your point, she says this:

    “But whether or not Weiner manages to hang on, the episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences.”

    I say BS – not if people are actually getting help from a therapist doing therapy. She goes on:

    “Increasingly, in our Rehab Nation, the concept of sin has been replaced by the language of addiction. Shame has been supplanted by therapeutic intervention. The disease model of misbehavior dictates that there are no bad people, only damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts. In this scenario, personal responsibility evaporates and virtue becomes an anachronism.”

    How is terminology not exactly what she is talking about here? Somehow nailing that down will make the difference and set things straight, is tha what we are supposed to take away? Isn’t “damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts” a pretty good description of sinners? But in her mind it’s a therapeutic dodge. In fact, the Confessions say that Original sin is “damage” – an enormous accident that distorts everything. There’s your distinction without a difference. Red herring.

    If it is true that therapy is used as some way to do a “work around” one’s culpability then this is a perception created by the media too, and maybe the courts in some bad decisions that let people off for a condition they supposedly suffer. But in general , that’s not what it’s about and why people seek it. If they do go there for that kind of easy escape, they are probably in for a surprise. Guess why these car wrecking, drunk celebrities have to go back? The law is always accusing.

    I think Frank is saying that no matter what you call it, the Law (which is the Holy Spirit’s device for killing us off) will have its way with us and get at us. It will kill us. Perceptions don’t really matter, and yet that is the whole thesis of this argument. Get your head on straight about what really going on and then you’ll be on the right track. No. Sin is sin and the law will always accuse. Constantly and relentlessly. Getting our conceptual framework straight won’t matter. If we are going to theologiucal (and she is making it that) what matters is that we will be troubled in our conscience no matter whether we call it gnosticism, natural law, bipolar disorder or I can’t stop sexting teenagers. God will have his way. If it crosses the line legally, then lock ‘em up. But it is all the same Law.

    I mean really – begrudge someone for seeking rehab? Do we begrudge people for seeking medical help or a good mechanic or whatever if they have a problem because they don’t assign the proper understanding of sin to it? Addicts who have to deal with that don’t get around it somehow because they don’t call it sin. They still have to deal with it, and therapy or 12 steps or something like that can be a good way to go. If they don’t deal with it, it will get them, punishing them the way Weiner is being punished now.

    Essentially the same problem on the other article, but there it is about labeling someone “gnostic” – as if that helps. It is a pharisee labeling “them” sinners and himself/herself righteous because they have the real, secret decoder understanding of the Holy Spirit stakes, as if that somehow allows one to get a better handle on their sin. BS. It’s the same law that accuses everyone, all sinners included, even if you call it “cottage cheeseism” or “dismorphiocanthromaniacalism” or the Divine Law writtien in the mind. Nobody gets a pass no motter what they think they are pulling off. And likewise, no one gets to stand aside and say that they have an “edge” on sin because they have it figured out better, which is what these authors are doing.

    Well, maybe that makes sense.

  • Stephen

    Bror,

    I think Frank was refrring to my post @ 32. Read that one too perhaps. But to get at your point, she says this:

    “But whether or not Weiner manages to hang on, the episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences.”

    I say BS – not if people are actually getting help from a therapist doing therapy. She goes on:

    “Increasingly, in our Rehab Nation, the concept of sin has been replaced by the language of addiction. Shame has been supplanted by therapeutic intervention. The disease model of misbehavior dictates that there are no bad people, only damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts. In this scenario, personal responsibility evaporates and virtue becomes an anachronism.”

    How is terminology not exactly what she is talking about here? Somehow nailing that down will make the difference and set things straight, is tha what we are supposed to take away? Isn’t “damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts” a pretty good description of sinners? But in her mind it’s a therapeutic dodge. In fact, the Confessions say that Original sin is “damage” – an enormous accident that distorts everything. There’s your distinction without a difference. Red herring.

    If it is true that therapy is used as some way to do a “work around” one’s culpability then this is a perception created by the media too, and maybe the courts in some bad decisions that let people off for a condition they supposedly suffer. But in general , that’s not what it’s about and why people seek it. If they do go there for that kind of easy escape, they are probably in for a surprise. Guess why these car wrecking, drunk celebrities have to go back? The law is always accusing.

    I think Frank is saying that no matter what you call it, the Law (which is the Holy Spirit’s device for killing us off) will have its way with us and get at us. It will kill us. Perceptions don’t really matter, and yet that is the whole thesis of this argument. Get your head on straight about what really going on and then you’ll be on the right track. No. Sin is sin and the law will always accuse. Constantly and relentlessly. Getting our conceptual framework straight won’t matter. If we are going to theologiucal (and she is making it that) what matters is that we will be troubled in our conscience no matter whether we call it gnosticism, natural law, bipolar disorder or I can’t stop sexting teenagers. God will have his way. If it crosses the line legally, then lock ‘em up. But it is all the same Law.

    I mean really – begrudge someone for seeking rehab? Do we begrudge people for seeking medical help or a good mechanic or whatever if they have a problem because they don’t assign the proper understanding of sin to it? Addicts who have to deal with that don’t get around it somehow because they don’t call it sin. They still have to deal with it, and therapy or 12 steps or something like that can be a good way to go. If they don’t deal with it, it will get them, punishing them the way Weiner is being punished now.

    Essentially the same problem on the other article, but there it is about labeling someone “gnostic” – as if that helps. It is a pharisee labeling “them” sinners and himself/herself righteous because they have the real, secret decoder understanding of the Holy Spirit stakes, as if that somehow allows one to get a better handle on their sin. BS. It’s the same law that accuses everyone, all sinners included, even if you call it “cottage cheeseism” or “dismorphiocanthromaniacalism” or the Divine Law writtien in the mind. Nobody gets a pass no motter what they think they are pulling off. And likewise, no one gets to stand aside and say that they have an “edge” on sin because they have it figured out better, which is what these authors are doing.

    Well, maybe that makes sense.

  • Georgia

    Please help me with one thing i am confused about. I have been hearing a lot lately about Moralist Therapeutic Deism and about Pandeism? what is the difference between them. I hear about MTD from my Christian friends, and about Pandeism from a lot of non-Christians. Are they the same? Should i be worried about Pandeism? I gather Deism is a belief that God is a sort of ‘divine butler’ who is at our beck and call, like you snap your fingers and He comes to serve you, instead of your serving Him. I heard that Thomas Jefferson was a Deist or a Pandeist, so that is just crazy that someone could believe that and be president.

  • Georgia

    Please help me with one thing i am confused about. I have been hearing a lot lately about Moralist Therapeutic Deism and about Pandeism? what is the difference between them. I hear about MTD from my Christian friends, and about Pandeism from a lot of non-Christians. Are they the same? Should i be worried about Pandeism? I gather Deism is a belief that God is a sort of ‘divine butler’ who is at our beck and call, like you snap your fingers and He comes to serve you, instead of your serving Him. I heard that Thomas Jefferson was a Deist or a Pandeist, so that is just crazy that someone could believe that and be president.

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

    I assume “Pandeism” means that everything is god, though not a personal god. (“Pantheism,” I suppose would mean that everything is a personal god, as the pagans basically believe.

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

    I assume “Pandeism” means that everything is god, though not a personal god. (“Pantheism,” I suppose would mean that everything is a personal god, as the pagans basically believe.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wikipedia is your friend?

    Pandeism …, is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism (that “God”, or its metaphysical equivalent, is identical to the Universe) and deism (that the creator-god who designed the Universe no longer exists in a status where it can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly the belief that the Creator of the Universe actually became the Universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.

    Through this synergy pandeism claims to answer primary objections to deism (why would God create and then not interact with the Universe?) and to pantheism (how did the Universe originate and what is its purpose?).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wikipedia is your friend?

    Pandeism …, is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism (that “God”, or its metaphysical equivalent, is identical to the Universe) and deism (that the creator-god who designed the Universe no longer exists in a status where it can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly the belief that the Creator of the Universe actually became the Universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.

    Through this synergy pandeism claims to answer primary objections to deism (why would God create and then not interact with the Universe?) and to pantheism (how did the Universe originate and what is its purpose?).


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