Federal Vision vs. Lutheranism

The Reformed world is all in an uproar about what they call “the Federal Vision,” with many prominent Reformed folks embracing this new way of being Reformed  with great excitement while others are denouncing it as an out-and-out heresy.  (For example, Peter Leithhart, who has written some fine things about literature, was actually tried for heresy by the Presbyterian Church in America, though he was just acquitted last week.)

We Lutherans approach all of these issues in a completely different way, so  I have to admit that I don’t understand this movement one way or the other.  It sounds like the Federal Vision people have a much higher view of baptism than is normal in Reformed circles, though they deny baptismal regeneration.  And yet they seem to have some problematic views about justification (flirting with N. T. Wright’s New Perspective on Paul) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

Here is what seems to be an authoritative account of the teachings from a website on the subject:  FV for the Average Joe « The Federal Vision.

I would be glad to hear some Reformed explanations on either side of the issue.  I would especially be grateful for a Lutheran appraisal of what is going on.

HT:  Anthony Sacramone

About Gene Veith

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

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    I’ve read a bit about it but scarcely qualify as knowing much. What I have read has led me to be pretty leering of the Federal Vision. It seems to me to chucking the entire Reformation perspective out the window and, as our host says, following the path of the New Perspective. I was taught, I teach, and I believe whole heartedly that justification by grace through faith without the works of the Law is the central doctrine of the Church–the one doctrine on which the Church stands or falls. If we follow the Federal Vision as I have understand it, we will soon find ourselves either following Rob Bell into heresy or N. T. Wright (btw one of the best theologians in the English speaking world) who calls into question whether the Reformation should have occured at all. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just a few years away we should all work and contend even harder in this world for the faith handed down once for all.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    I’ve read a bit about it but scarcely qualify as knowing much. What I have read has led me to be pretty leering of the Federal Vision. It seems to me to chucking the entire Reformation perspective out the window and, as our host says, following the path of the New Perspective. I was taught, I teach, and I believe whole heartedly that justification by grace through faith without the works of the Law is the central doctrine of the Church–the one doctrine on which the Church stands or falls. If we follow the Federal Vision as I have understand it, we will soon find ourselves either following Rob Bell into heresy or N. T. Wright (btw one of the best theologians in the English speaking world) who calls into question whether the Reformation should have occured at all. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just a few years away we should all work and contend even harder in this world for the faith handed down once for all.

  • larry

    Fundamentally it developed out of that need to find a gracious God “pro me”, though it may not be said explicitly that way. That’s why as a Lutheran one would detect, as it were, a higher view of the sacraments.
    For starters: From the Lutheran point of view Baptist theology is in reality the logical extension of Calvin on the sacraments. Thus, one might Baptist are in reality Reformed. Or put another way, Reformed (capital R) versus Arminian are just really “six one way, half a dozen another” because one ends up in works one way or the other. Or put another way whether its fulfilling the law in being faithful so that God looks down the corridor of time and says, “He/she will have faith”, OR in the true Augustinian way to pray for that “power”, called grace, to be enabled to fulfill the Law post election/conversion is really the same thing; to wit the fulfillment of the Law rolled into the idea of “grace” via Calvin versus Arminius is merely a matter of where one puts the “line in the sand”, pre or post conversion, pre or post election.
    Within the Reformed “church/confession/movement”, capital R or Calvinistic, there’s been this long love affair with certain “brethren” of the Baptistic realm usually called “Calvinistic Baptist or Reformed Baptist” or some mixture there about. This why you see, for example, mingled worship, preaching and teaching with RC Sproul and John MacArthur, other Reformed elements and John Piper, Mohler, etc…

    Over time other elements of the Reformed church, e.g. Doug Wilson, began to recognize, “hey wait a minute, but we confess a “higher view of the sacraments”, they are more than these “empty signs” pointing somewhere else. RC’s famous definition of a sign and thus sacrament, “a sign pointing elsewhere to the reality”, like a sign saying “Disneyland 50 Miles Straight Ahead”. Or the famous Reformed quip, “don’t confuse the sign with the thing signified”. This is at the end of the day a philosophical definition of a sign/sacrament and not a theological one.

    However, at length this teeter tooter cannot be maintained and one has to come down on the Baptist side, pure empty sign pointing elsewhere (e.g. Believers Baptism, memorial meal) or the sacraments must mean something else and are more. Wilson and others detected this. In fact the human soul at length, if it’s hearing the real Law must feel this need. Contra Zwingli faith does need such vehicles! Thus, what one is really seeing is the duality of Calvin who on one hand didn’t wish to go to Zwingli because the Scriptures speak clearly that more is here than a nude sign, but a refusal due to fallen damnable reason to believe the Word of God even when it offends said reason.

    So the Lutheran will detect in the FV a “higher view” of the sacraments, but they usually go into the more “covenant direction” and end up afresh in the Law and works they sought to escape (refusing regenerative baptism, true body and blood and so forth). In fact, on the flip side, some reformed see Lutheranism in FV. It’s not because it is that way, but they detect a “too high view” of the sacraments and conclude, erroneously a form of “Lutheranism”.

    The starvation and desperate need of the “pro me” is what drives the FV theology, they detect this need, they detect the vacuous nature of the logically concluding Baptist, Calvinistic/reformedish, theology – but they are not ready or willing to give up Calvin for Luther, so they are stuck trying to “patch Calvin together again”. They feel the searing doubt caused by Calvinistic theology in its double predestination or sister limited atonement on a “me” to the person level, and find within themselves uncertainty of their election and thus salvation and it manifest itself most purely in Calvinistic/Reformed Baptist theology taken to it logical conclusion. They’ll excuse such as “hyper-calvinism” but in reality ALL Calvinism is hyper if you will because the eschew the sacraments and hold high double predestination/limited atonement, it just is more “honest” among Calvinist/reformed baptist who make in roads in certain Reformed circles.

    And thus you this divide among Calvinist, “hard core” ones that find that doubting one’s election is faith on the one side. Those more logically extreme ones, I knew many who said this, “if God has not elected our children we are ok with that, glory to God alone, and then the more “awakened ones” who in essence say, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, thus what I apply to infants and the sacraments must apply to me – how do I know I am elect…etc…”, and so stricken are searching for not only a gracious God, but where do I find him. Not willing to hand Calvin over as the heretic he really was, they stick to him and attempt to “patch him over” as it where to Luther more. So you find the more “puritan” Calvinist on one side (one might call them those fooled by themselves thinking they are pulling it off in determining their election) and on the other side those seeing they are not and can’t pull it off, but not willing to give up Calvin, seeking not just a gracious God but where to find Him. The later has two forms today, the FV on one hand and the more Dr. Horton types on the other.

    This is why we saw many posts ago, many months ago, this silent dichotomy between the Calvinist that would say in some form or another “one cannot and should not be certain of their election” and the others that “would say yes you can” – but neither actually reject Calvin and grow silent TOGETHER when the sacraments sound “Lutheran”.

    Talk personal long enough with folks in these worlds, when the formal theology and arguments are peeled away, get to the soul of the matter, the very personal side, and you’ll get to the bottom of all these heterodoxies.

    Generally in EVERY heterodoxy no matter what kind of heterodoxy it is or variation thereof you will run into two types of people under its influence, keeping in mind that all heterodoxy at the end of the day is a form of works salvation somehow even if it explicitly denies such: (1) those who think they are pulling it off and (2) those secretly and quietly despairing who know they are not. And thus you will then see a SUBdivision within a given theology: E.g. the Reformed subdivisions of high and lower sacraments manifested in FV versus more “strictly Calvinistic”. You’ll see this subdivision even within Arminian theology and even Baptist theology. The sub division is rooted in those two types of people working within the heterodox framework.

  • larry

    Fundamentally it developed out of that need to find a gracious God “pro me”, though it may not be said explicitly that way. That’s why as a Lutheran one would detect, as it were, a higher view of the sacraments.
    For starters: From the Lutheran point of view Baptist theology is in reality the logical extension of Calvin on the sacraments. Thus, one might Baptist are in reality Reformed. Or put another way, Reformed (capital R) versus Arminian are just really “six one way, half a dozen another” because one ends up in works one way or the other. Or put another way whether its fulfilling the law in being faithful so that God looks down the corridor of time and says, “He/she will have faith”, OR in the true Augustinian way to pray for that “power”, called grace, to be enabled to fulfill the Law post election/conversion is really the same thing; to wit the fulfillment of the Law rolled into the idea of “grace” via Calvin versus Arminius is merely a matter of where one puts the “line in the sand”, pre or post conversion, pre or post election.
    Within the Reformed “church/confession/movement”, capital R or Calvinistic, there’s been this long love affair with certain “brethren” of the Baptistic realm usually called “Calvinistic Baptist or Reformed Baptist” or some mixture there about. This why you see, for example, mingled worship, preaching and teaching with RC Sproul and John MacArthur, other Reformed elements and John Piper, Mohler, etc…

    Over time other elements of the Reformed church, e.g. Doug Wilson, began to recognize, “hey wait a minute, but we confess a “higher view of the sacraments”, they are more than these “empty signs” pointing somewhere else. RC’s famous definition of a sign and thus sacrament, “a sign pointing elsewhere to the reality”, like a sign saying “Disneyland 50 Miles Straight Ahead”. Or the famous Reformed quip, “don’t confuse the sign with the thing signified”. This is at the end of the day a philosophical definition of a sign/sacrament and not a theological one.

    However, at length this teeter tooter cannot be maintained and one has to come down on the Baptist side, pure empty sign pointing elsewhere (e.g. Believers Baptism, memorial meal) or the sacraments must mean something else and are more. Wilson and others detected this. In fact the human soul at length, if it’s hearing the real Law must feel this need. Contra Zwingli faith does need such vehicles! Thus, what one is really seeing is the duality of Calvin who on one hand didn’t wish to go to Zwingli because the Scriptures speak clearly that more is here than a nude sign, but a refusal due to fallen damnable reason to believe the Word of God even when it offends said reason.

    So the Lutheran will detect in the FV a “higher view” of the sacraments, but they usually go into the more “covenant direction” and end up afresh in the Law and works they sought to escape (refusing regenerative baptism, true body and blood and so forth). In fact, on the flip side, some reformed see Lutheranism in FV. It’s not because it is that way, but they detect a “too high view” of the sacraments and conclude, erroneously a form of “Lutheranism”.

    The starvation and desperate need of the “pro me” is what drives the FV theology, they detect this need, they detect the vacuous nature of the logically concluding Baptist, Calvinistic/reformedish, theology – but they are not ready or willing to give up Calvin for Luther, so they are stuck trying to “patch Calvin together again”. They feel the searing doubt caused by Calvinistic theology in its double predestination or sister limited atonement on a “me” to the person level, and find within themselves uncertainty of their election and thus salvation and it manifest itself most purely in Calvinistic/Reformed Baptist theology taken to it logical conclusion. They’ll excuse such as “hyper-calvinism” but in reality ALL Calvinism is hyper if you will because the eschew the sacraments and hold high double predestination/limited atonement, it just is more “honest” among Calvinist/reformed baptist who make in roads in certain Reformed circles.

    And thus you this divide among Calvinist, “hard core” ones that find that doubting one’s election is faith on the one side. Those more logically extreme ones, I knew many who said this, “if God has not elected our children we are ok with that, glory to God alone, and then the more “awakened ones” who in essence say, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, thus what I apply to infants and the sacraments must apply to me – how do I know I am elect…etc…”, and so stricken are searching for not only a gracious God, but where do I find him. Not willing to hand Calvin over as the heretic he really was, they stick to him and attempt to “patch him over” as it where to Luther more. So you find the more “puritan” Calvinist on one side (one might call them those fooled by themselves thinking they are pulling it off in determining their election) and on the other side those seeing they are not and can’t pull it off, but not willing to give up Calvin, seeking not just a gracious God but where to find Him. The later has two forms today, the FV on one hand and the more Dr. Horton types on the other.

    This is why we saw many posts ago, many months ago, this silent dichotomy between the Calvinist that would say in some form or another “one cannot and should not be certain of their election” and the others that “would say yes you can” – but neither actually reject Calvin and grow silent TOGETHER when the sacraments sound “Lutheran”.

    Talk personal long enough with folks in these worlds, when the formal theology and arguments are peeled away, get to the soul of the matter, the very personal side, and you’ll get to the bottom of all these heterodoxies.

    Generally in EVERY heterodoxy no matter what kind of heterodoxy it is or variation thereof you will run into two types of people under its influence, keeping in mind that all heterodoxy at the end of the day is a form of works salvation somehow even if it explicitly denies such: (1) those who think they are pulling it off and (2) those secretly and quietly despairing who know they are not. And thus you will then see a SUBdivision within a given theology: E.g. the Reformed subdivisions of high and lower sacraments manifested in FV versus more “strictly Calvinistic”. You’ll see this subdivision even within Arminian theology and even Baptist theology. The sub division is rooted in those two types of people working within the heterodox framework.

  • Booklover

    It has always seemed to me that the Federal Vision folks felt the dire fragmentation of denominational Christianity, and desired to return to comforts that are found in Catholicism–strong church authority, emphasis on the sacraments, and a global ecclesiology. These exact points are itemized in the linked article. Hence their name–”Federal Vision”–an appellation for that overseeing authority and global entity. It’s what the denominations are missing after the split of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Booklover

    It has always seemed to me that the Federal Vision folks felt the dire fragmentation of denominational Christianity, and desired to return to comforts that are found in Catholicism–strong church authority, emphasis on the sacraments, and a global ecclesiology. These exact points are itemized in the linked article. Hence their name–”Federal Vision”–an appellation for that overseeing authority and global entity. It’s what the denominations are missing after the split of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Caleb Land

    I am a Baptist outsider but have followed this controversy as close as an outsider can because some of the key players have been very influential to me. The majority of the FV folks that I read (Wilson, Leithart, Auburn Avenue) would strongly deny the New Perspective on Paul connection and consider it a slander from their opponents that continues to persist in spite of their protestations.

    From what I have seen it comes down to a high view of the sacraments, Paedocommunion being a central distinctive, working out of their Federal Theology. This includes the idea that Baptism and Communion actually do something, but are not regenerative. They literally make a man or woman “Christian” by tying them to the external covenant and to the church, but they don’t make him saved.

    There are other concerns, but this issue and the misinterpretation/misunderstanding of many surrounding these issues have made it a “Controversy.”

    Interestingly there are numerous Calvinists from the past who would have been part of the FV based on their theology, including some non Presbyterians (with some obvious key theological distinctives). I believe that Benjamin Keach is a Baptist representative of this theology. See D.B. Riker’s “A Catholic Reformed Theologian: Federalism and Baptism in the Thought of Benjamin Keach” for more on this.

  • Caleb Land

    I am a Baptist outsider but have followed this controversy as close as an outsider can because some of the key players have been very influential to me. The majority of the FV folks that I read (Wilson, Leithart, Auburn Avenue) would strongly deny the New Perspective on Paul connection and consider it a slander from their opponents that continues to persist in spite of their protestations.

    From what I have seen it comes down to a high view of the sacraments, Paedocommunion being a central distinctive, working out of their Federal Theology. This includes the idea that Baptism and Communion actually do something, but are not regenerative. They literally make a man or woman “Christian” by tying them to the external covenant and to the church, but they don’t make him saved.

    There are other concerns, but this issue and the misinterpretation/misunderstanding of many surrounding these issues have made it a “Controversy.”

    Interestingly there are numerous Calvinists from the past who would have been part of the FV based on their theology, including some non Presbyterians (with some obvious key theological distinctives). I believe that Benjamin Keach is a Baptist representative of this theology. See D.B. Riker’s “A Catholic Reformed Theologian: Federalism and Baptism in the Thought of Benjamin Keach” for more on this.

  • larry

    Caleb,

    You may be on the outside as you say, but you have caught the nub of it.

    “From what I have seen it comes down to a high view of the sacraments, Paedocommunion being a central distinctive, working out of their Federal Theology. This includes the idea that Baptism and Communion actually do something, but are not regenerative. They literally make a man or woman “Christian” by tying them to the external covenant and to the church, but they don’t make him saved.”

    That’s is exactly getting close to the issue.

  • larry

    Caleb,

    You may be on the outside as you say, but you have caught the nub of it.

    “From what I have seen it comes down to a high view of the sacraments, Paedocommunion being a central distinctive, working out of their Federal Theology. This includes the idea that Baptism and Communion actually do something, but are not regenerative. They literally make a man or woman “Christian” by tying them to the external covenant and to the church, but they don’t make him saved.”

    That’s is exactly getting close to the issue.

  • larry

    It does boil down to that sub-group in a given confessional theology or denomination that has this nagging despair of “how do I know for me that I have a gracious God and where do I go to find Him”.

    That’s how heterodoxies operate, they can’t get away from implied works righteousness because fundamentally they’ve confounded Law and Gospel somewhere, so one ends up with these atomizing splits with the despairing alarmed group going in a direction, yet still, ultimately, eschewing due to fallen reason the means of grace. Fundamentally this is how Arminianism arose out of Calvinism. Each gets tired of running the others endless works ‘hamster wheel’ and bounces in the other direction. It’s like a drunk who keeps trying to get up on one side of the horse only to fall off of the other side immediately.

  • larry

    It does boil down to that sub-group in a given confessional theology or denomination that has this nagging despair of “how do I know for me that I have a gracious God and where do I go to find Him”.

    That’s how heterodoxies operate, they can’t get away from implied works righteousness because fundamentally they’ve confounded Law and Gospel somewhere, so one ends up with these atomizing splits with the despairing alarmed group going in a direction, yet still, ultimately, eschewing due to fallen reason the means of grace. Fundamentally this is how Arminianism arose out of Calvinism. Each gets tired of running the others endless works ‘hamster wheel’ and bounces in the other direction. It’s like a drunk who keeps trying to get up on one side of the horse only to fall off of the other side immediately.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    I don’t think you can do better than to look at my brother’s blog: Green Baggins, at

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/

    It’s probably the only place on the Internet where Federal Vision people and Federal Vision critics (my brother is a critic) can peaceably discuss things.

    My brother Lane was an expert witness at the Leithart trial, as well as being an assistant prosecutor for the Greg Lawrence trial in the Siouxlands Presbytery.

    From what I can gather, one of the chief features of the Federal Vision, aside from the fact that it is not monolithic, is that they want to obliterate the visible/invisible church distinction. For them, baptism means you are in the church, period. In some measure, you have some “saving graces”, even if you are non-elect. This lead my father to coin the phrase “electrobate”. How the Federal Vision squares with the parable of the wheat and the tares, I don’t know.

    Cheers.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    I don’t think you can do better than to look at my brother’s blog: Green Baggins, at

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/

    It’s probably the only place on the Internet where Federal Vision people and Federal Vision critics (my brother is a critic) can peaceably discuss things.

    My brother Lane was an expert witness at the Leithart trial, as well as being an assistant prosecutor for the Greg Lawrence trial in the Siouxlands Presbytery.

    From what I can gather, one of the chief features of the Federal Vision, aside from the fact that it is not monolithic, is that they want to obliterate the visible/invisible church distinction. For them, baptism means you are in the church, period. In some measure, you have some “saving graces”, even if you are non-elect. This lead my father to coin the phrase “electrobate”. How the Federal Vision squares with the parable of the wheat and the tares, I don’t know.

    Cheers.

  • larry

    Dr. Veith,

    As you will see you will note this background theme popping up again and again with the FV. I sum it up as the despairing and groping “how can I know God is gracious to me and where can I find a gracious God pro me”.

    Whether in Caleb’s astute observation or this one, “is that they want to obliterate the visible/invisible church distinction. For them, baptism means you are in the church, period. In some measure, you have some “saving graces”, even if you are non-elect”.

    That’s what is at the ROOT of it in all its expressions. Luther was dead on concerning faith and the pro me and the Gospel. You’ve not really heard the Gospel until its “for me” and that leads to the sacraments ala our confessions. That’s what’s missing in all their theologies of doubt, be it rationalized philosophical Arminian predestination or Calvin predestination. It cannot be escaped and has always been the issue. It was the same despairing issue among the Puritans that gave rise to such things as the “half way covenant”.

    All heterodoxies have this and within them the group 1 “fooling themselves that they are pulling it off” and group 2 the despairing. This is directly linked to Calvin’s heresy on the sacraments (and Zwingli’s) which directly effects what they actually mean by “grace”, “faith”, “forgiveness”, etc…

    Truth be known none of this new and dates back to Luther’s struggles before the Reformation, Arminianism is as old as the Scholastics on the one hand, and Calvinism as old as the German mystics on the other. Luther’s re-discovery of the Gospel rejected both of these in their med. Roman precursor forms. And the same Luther at Wittenburg was the same Luther at Marburg.

    Again, one will note that same theme underlying all of these, that despairing need for a gracious God, where and for me. That’s at its root.

  • larry

    Dr. Veith,

    As you will see you will note this background theme popping up again and again with the FV. I sum it up as the despairing and groping “how can I know God is gracious to me and where can I find a gracious God pro me”.

    Whether in Caleb’s astute observation or this one, “is that they want to obliterate the visible/invisible church distinction. For them, baptism means you are in the church, period. In some measure, you have some “saving graces”, even if you are non-elect”.

    That’s what is at the ROOT of it in all its expressions. Luther was dead on concerning faith and the pro me and the Gospel. You’ve not really heard the Gospel until its “for me” and that leads to the sacraments ala our confessions. That’s what’s missing in all their theologies of doubt, be it rationalized philosophical Arminian predestination or Calvin predestination. It cannot be escaped and has always been the issue. It was the same despairing issue among the Puritans that gave rise to such things as the “half way covenant”.

    All heterodoxies have this and within them the group 1 “fooling themselves that they are pulling it off” and group 2 the despairing. This is directly linked to Calvin’s heresy on the sacraments (and Zwingli’s) which directly effects what they actually mean by “grace”, “faith”, “forgiveness”, etc…

    Truth be known none of this new and dates back to Luther’s struggles before the Reformation, Arminianism is as old as the Scholastics on the one hand, and Calvinism as old as the German mystics on the other. Luther’s re-discovery of the Gospel rejected both of these in their med. Roman precursor forms. And the same Luther at Wittenburg was the same Luther at Marburg.

    Again, one will note that same theme underlying all of these, that despairing need for a gracious God, where and for me. That’s at its root.

  • Lou

    I’m a PCAer and can comment from experience within my own Presbytery only.

    The key problems with FV from the view of traditional Presbyterians who hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith include its disagreement with following doctrines:

    - The bi-covenantal nature of scripture (ie, there is only one covenant)
    - The distinction between the visible and invisible church
    - Baptismal role in soteriology (ie, FV claims baptismal efficacy-that baptism confer justification )
    - The eternality of the believer’s salvation (ie, someone can be saved and still technically “fall away”)
    - Sola fide (replacing faith alone with faithfulness alone, I quote: “faithfulness is the way to salvation”)
    - Union with Christ (ie, their concept of ‘mystical union’ mirrors RC by denying double imputation)
    See:
    http://www.weswhite.net
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/

    Bottom line is that these guys hold views that don’t accord with the Westminster Confession of Faith and the historical meaning of the standards. In the PCA Book of Church order an ordained minister must recuse himself if he is out of accord with the church’s beliefs. But the FV adherents refuse to do this. Instead, they let it go thru the SJC judicial process.

    Also, with regard to Leithart, keep in mind that his own presbytery acquitted him of charges, but there has already been a complaint against the action of the court which will follow another course. If the presbytery upholds its verdict, the trial will be advanced to the denomination’s Standing Judicial Commission and tried at that level. If history is any indicator, this will probably get pretty messy. The PCA has already sent other men who hold FV out of the denom.

  • Lou

    I’m a PCAer and can comment from experience within my own Presbytery only.

    The key problems with FV from the view of traditional Presbyterians who hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith include its disagreement with following doctrines:

    - The bi-covenantal nature of scripture (ie, there is only one covenant)
    - The distinction between the visible and invisible church
    - Baptismal role in soteriology (ie, FV claims baptismal efficacy-that baptism confer justification )
    - The eternality of the believer’s salvation (ie, someone can be saved and still technically “fall away”)
    - Sola fide (replacing faith alone with faithfulness alone, I quote: “faithfulness is the way to salvation”)
    - Union with Christ (ie, their concept of ‘mystical union’ mirrors RC by denying double imputation)
    See:
    http://www.weswhite.net
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/

    Bottom line is that these guys hold views that don’t accord with the Westminster Confession of Faith and the historical meaning of the standards. In the PCA Book of Church order an ordained minister must recuse himself if he is out of accord with the church’s beliefs. But the FV adherents refuse to do this. Instead, they let it go thru the SJC judicial process.

    Also, with regard to Leithart, keep in mind that his own presbytery acquitted him of charges, but there has already been a complaint against the action of the court which will follow another course. If the presbytery upholds its verdict, the trial will be advanced to the denomination’s Standing Judicial Commission and tried at that level. If history is any indicator, this will probably get pretty messy. The PCA has already sent other men who hold FV out of the denom.

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

    Read about this yesterday, and just thought to myself, I don’t have time to even try understand what the reformed are fighting about anymore. But hey if this is all about attacking N.T. Wright, why don’t they just say so. I though Fedralist was a political view, and a form of furniture from around the time of the Civil War. And couldn’t for the life of me understand why the PCA wouldn’t allow people who collect this furniture to be members in good standing with their church.

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

    Read about this yesterday, and just thought to myself, I don’t have time to even try understand what the reformed are fighting about anymore. But hey if this is all about attacking N.T. Wright, why don’t they just say so. I though Fedralist was a political view, and a form of furniture from around the time of the Civil War. And couldn’t for the life of me understand why the PCA wouldn’t allow people who collect this furniture to be members in good standing with their church.

  • Lou

    Larry, let me guess… you don’t actually know that many Calvinist theologians, right? “They feel the searing doubt caused by Calvinistic theology.”

  • Lou

    Larry, let me guess… you don’t actually know that many Calvinist theologians, right? “They feel the searing doubt caused by Calvinistic theology.”

  • Lou

    Bror, if N.T. Wright was an ordained minister in the PCA, then it might be about him. But since he isn’t, then it’s not.

  • Lou

    Bror, if N.T. Wright was an ordained minister in the PCA, then it might be about him. But since he isn’t, then it’s not.

  • MichaelZ

    So this is the Calvinist response to people who confess Christ and then leave the faith? Re-Define Christian to mean something broad and inclusively covenental? Awfully complicated response.

  • MichaelZ

    So this is the Calvinist response to people who confess Christ and then leave the faith? Re-Define Christian to mean something broad and inclusively covenental? Awfully complicated response.

  • Lou

    Michael: No, it’s not. It’s a Federal Vision response and you won’t find it in the teaching of Calvin (esp. The Institutes) or in the WCF.

  • Lou

    Michael: No, it’s not. It’s a Federal Vision response and you won’t find it in the teaching of Calvin (esp. The Institutes) or in the WCF.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure I follow the “we have a high view of baptism but we still reject baptismal regeneration” line of thought. What is so “high” about it? If baptism is merely a somewhat covenental sign of Christian belonging where God doesn’t really do anything, would this not be a “broad” view of baptism, not “high”?

    And why “Federal”? Similar to Bror, to me New Federalism sounds like some spent political movement from the 19th Century or mishmash from FDR.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure I follow the “we have a high view of baptism but we still reject baptismal regeneration” line of thought. What is so “high” about it? If baptism is merely a somewhat covenental sign of Christian belonging where God doesn’t really do anything, would this not be a “broad” view of baptism, not “high”?

    And why “Federal”? Similar to Bror, to me New Federalism sounds like some spent political movement from the 19th Century or mishmash from FDR.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    SKPeterson @ 15:

    The FV imparts to mere water baptism much more than the confessions say. That’s the “high view”. FV claims they don’t believe in baptismal regeneration, but the power afforded water baptism borders on that view, even if it’s not quite there.

    As for the name “federal”, that’s because of the Latin word “foedus”, which means covenant. The Federal Vision wants to “objectify the covenant”, which means they want an objective measure to say whether someone is in the covenant or not.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    SKPeterson @ 15:

    The FV imparts to mere water baptism much more than the confessions say. That’s the “high view”. FV claims they don’t believe in baptismal regeneration, but the power afforded water baptism borders on that view, even if it’s not quite there.

    As for the name “federal”, that’s because of the Latin word “foedus”, which means covenant. The Federal Vision wants to “objectify the covenant”, which means they want an objective measure to say whether someone is in the covenant or not.

  • larry

    Lou,

    Not quite correct, I know MANY Calvinist theologians and am very well read in Calvin and the Puritans. It’s the biggest part of my background.

  • larry

    Lou,

    Not quite correct, I know MANY Calvinist theologians and am very well read in Calvin and the Puritans. It’s the biggest part of my background.

  • larry

    See there it is again:

    Baptismal role in soteriology (ie, FV claims baptismal efficacy-that baptism confer justification ), the desire to have that assurance is what kicks it all off.

    This is where it all starts, that groping for a gracious God, where to find Him and “for me”. That’s why as Lutheran one might sense a “higher view” of the sacraments but “not quite there.

    Heterodoxy’s struggles and rank pagan religions never really get past that, “Is God gracious TO ME, where can I find this gracious God and thus FOR ME”. Sans the sacraments, all gets lost, and one way or another one gets back around to explicit or implied works righteousness. It gets back to “how do YOU know you are saved/elect, etc…”.

    Then we get into that little Reformed fire storm of half saying you shouldn’t and faith is basically ever seeking justification but never having it (Augustine) or the other Reformed that say you must and can but really cannot quite put their finger on it. They get close, like a game of “hotter”/”colder”, they get real close in knowing its somewhere in the room of the sacraments. But their adherence to Calvin’s heresies and false teachings just won’t allow them to let go.

    Bror, you are right on the spot. The Reformed are all over the maps, not quite as splattered and fragmented as Baptist “theology” is, but close. More and more turn their pulpits over to visiting Baptist and so forth, have duel worship services like “Together For the Gospel”, pure in your face heterodoxy. It’s just like Luther warned it would be after Marburg, the issue with the Sacrament being the Word of God, true sola scriptura, true sola fide (which the Reformed do not really adhere to), that giving up here specifically at the point of the Sacrament of the altar would at length “raze the country side” and no one will know what God has said. Sasse in his book quotes Luther at length on this and points out, it has come true. We are now even further out than Sasse’s life and much more Luther’s and it is increasingly true.

    Ultimately when one denies “this is the blood of the new testament, shed for the forgiveness of your sins”, that “to me” “pro me”, that’s denying God’s very words directed to you and for you, then the madness of the bondage of the will really shows itself and the entire Word of God becomes unreliable. As Luther points out, you will call God a liar at every point of Scripture, literally by saying “nothing here is pro me”. And so the groping about for God goes outside of the revelation. This increasingly fragmentation of heterodoxies, what ever mingled confession they are, is merely an out play of denying sola scriptura and sola fide. They can cry all they want the solas, but the reality and facts are quite different and on public display in such.

  • larry

    See there it is again:

    Baptismal role in soteriology (ie, FV claims baptismal efficacy-that baptism confer justification ), the desire to have that assurance is what kicks it all off.

    This is where it all starts, that groping for a gracious God, where to find Him and “for me”. That’s why as Lutheran one might sense a “higher view” of the sacraments but “not quite there.

    Heterodoxy’s struggles and rank pagan religions never really get past that, “Is God gracious TO ME, where can I find this gracious God and thus FOR ME”. Sans the sacraments, all gets lost, and one way or another one gets back around to explicit or implied works righteousness. It gets back to “how do YOU know you are saved/elect, etc…”.

    Then we get into that little Reformed fire storm of half saying you shouldn’t and faith is basically ever seeking justification but never having it (Augustine) or the other Reformed that say you must and can but really cannot quite put their finger on it. They get close, like a game of “hotter”/”colder”, they get real close in knowing its somewhere in the room of the sacraments. But their adherence to Calvin’s heresies and false teachings just won’t allow them to let go.

    Bror, you are right on the spot. The Reformed are all over the maps, not quite as splattered and fragmented as Baptist “theology” is, but close. More and more turn their pulpits over to visiting Baptist and so forth, have duel worship services like “Together For the Gospel”, pure in your face heterodoxy. It’s just like Luther warned it would be after Marburg, the issue with the Sacrament being the Word of God, true sola scriptura, true sola fide (which the Reformed do not really adhere to), that giving up here specifically at the point of the Sacrament of the altar would at length “raze the country side” and no one will know what God has said. Sasse in his book quotes Luther at length on this and points out, it has come true. We are now even further out than Sasse’s life and much more Luther’s and it is increasingly true.

    Ultimately when one denies “this is the blood of the new testament, shed for the forgiveness of your sins”, that “to me” “pro me”, that’s denying God’s very words directed to you and for you, then the madness of the bondage of the will really shows itself and the entire Word of God becomes unreliable. As Luther points out, you will call God a liar at every point of Scripture, literally by saying “nothing here is pro me”. And so the groping about for God goes outside of the revelation. This increasingly fragmentation of heterodoxies, what ever mingled confession they are, is merely an out play of denying sola scriptura and sola fide. They can cry all they want the solas, but the reality and facts are quite different and on public display in such.

  • Pete

    I once experienced a very striking example of what larry’s been talking about. I was attending a Bible study led by a PCA minister – an affable, knowledgeable fellow who would fall into larry’s “pretty sure he’s pulling it off” crowd. His wife, on the other hand was a much less loquacious and extroverted person who confessed that she struggled with doubts as to whether Christ’s death was actually for her. This in the context of a discussion of no less than John 3:16. I quickly piped up that I could provide her with actual “good news” in that the text reads “God so loved the world..” and I believe I’d heard somewhere that the actual Greek word for “world” there is “cosmos” which I would take to mean not only all the elect, but all humans – indeed, all creation. I shared that a passage like this guarantees that God’s grace is for her. For her, me, you, Mother Teresa, Hitler, etc. Her husband quickly jumped in with the typical Reformed smoke and mirrors surrounding John 3:16 but the experience has stayed with me. I think larry knows whereof he speaks.

  • Pete

    I once experienced a very striking example of what larry’s been talking about. I was attending a Bible study led by a PCA minister – an affable, knowledgeable fellow who would fall into larry’s “pretty sure he’s pulling it off” crowd. His wife, on the other hand was a much less loquacious and extroverted person who confessed that she struggled with doubts as to whether Christ’s death was actually for her. This in the context of a discussion of no less than John 3:16. I quickly piped up that I could provide her with actual “good news” in that the text reads “God so loved the world..” and I believe I’d heard somewhere that the actual Greek word for “world” there is “cosmos” which I would take to mean not only all the elect, but all humans – indeed, all creation. I shared that a passage like this guarantees that God’s grace is for her. For her, me, you, Mother Teresa, Hitler, etc. Her husband quickly jumped in with the typical Reformed smoke and mirrors surrounding John 3:16 but the experience has stayed with me. I think larry knows whereof he speaks.

  • Lou

    “Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ. For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous. If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law. Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God. The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished. The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.”

    From: Institutes III, xix, 2–3. Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

  • Lou

    “Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ. For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous. If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law. Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God. The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished. The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.”

    From: Institutes III, xix, 2–3. Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Regarding baptism, a wise man once said:

    _”Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life._

    _”For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”_

    Baptism saves, or St. Paul was wrong.

    A different wise man, Hermann Sasse, said it well when he noted that the center of Calvinist theology is the Sovereignty of God, while the center of Lutheran theology is the Cross of Christ. The former is led by its propensity into an obsessively chronological understanding of salvation, with the “before the foundation of the world” being something like a time way before created time in which God elects some people (right before he causes the Fall, mind you); Lutheran theology, on the other hand, allows for a healthy agnosticism regarding the “when” of election. My own view would place “before the foundation of the world” completely outside the line or plane of human time — even perpendicular to it, if you like. But it’s not our starting point — Jesus Christ on the cross, accomplishing the salvation of mankind, is our starting point. “We preach Christ crucified.” The one thing and one thing only which St. Paul resolved to know was not his election, but his Lord and his God atoning for the sins of the whole world in a bleeding, self-emptying embrace.

    I see little point in postulating much more on the doctrine of election. Election is like the Ark of the Covenant: getting to close to it, even out of concern for its security, i.e., the security of your own election, can lead to the death of faith — even if you, like Uzzah, have the very best of intentions. It does not matter — do not reach out with your hand to steady this ark if it looks like it’s going to fall; chances are that your human reason is probing where it ought not go. Faith, on the other hand, looks to its object, which is Christ, or else it becomes self-referential. The Calvinist’s need to be sure of the veracity of his own belief is Cartesian at best, and at worst, gnostic. Believing in the fact of one’s own election in the far-away prelapsarian proto-cosmic counsels of _Deus Absconditus_ is scarily distant from trust in Christ, _pro me_ in Word and Sacrament.

    With that said, I have no interest in wrangling any further with the interlocutors who have commented thus far, other than to say that I do not know of a God who gives “saving-graces” which do not actually save in some sort of cosmic bait-and-switch perpetrated for His own glory. I mean, in that case, why call them saving, and why call them graces?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Regarding baptism, a wise man once said:

    _”Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life._

    _”For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”_

    Baptism saves, or St. Paul was wrong.

    A different wise man, Hermann Sasse, said it well when he noted that the center of Calvinist theology is the Sovereignty of God, while the center of Lutheran theology is the Cross of Christ. The former is led by its propensity into an obsessively chronological understanding of salvation, with the “before the foundation of the world” being something like a time way before created time in which God elects some people (right before he causes the Fall, mind you); Lutheran theology, on the other hand, allows for a healthy agnosticism regarding the “when” of election. My own view would place “before the foundation of the world” completely outside the line or plane of human time — even perpendicular to it, if you like. But it’s not our starting point — Jesus Christ on the cross, accomplishing the salvation of mankind, is our starting point. “We preach Christ crucified.” The one thing and one thing only which St. Paul resolved to know was not his election, but his Lord and his God atoning for the sins of the whole world in a bleeding, self-emptying embrace.

    I see little point in postulating much more on the doctrine of election. Election is like the Ark of the Covenant: getting to close to it, even out of concern for its security, i.e., the security of your own election, can lead to the death of faith — even if you, like Uzzah, have the very best of intentions. It does not matter — do not reach out with your hand to steady this ark if it looks like it’s going to fall; chances are that your human reason is probing where it ought not go. Faith, on the other hand, looks to its object, which is Christ, or else it becomes self-referential. The Calvinist’s need to be sure of the veracity of his own belief is Cartesian at best, and at worst, gnostic. Believing in the fact of one’s own election in the far-away prelapsarian proto-cosmic counsels of _Deus Absconditus_ is scarily distant from trust in Christ, _pro me_ in Word and Sacrament.

    With that said, I have no interest in wrangling any further with the interlocutors who have commented thus far, other than to say that I do not know of a God who gives “saving-graces” which do not actually save in some sort of cosmic bait-and-switch perpetrated for His own glory. I mean, in that case, why call them saving, and why call them graces?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    I guess I needed html tags for italics, not Google’s tags for kids. Whoops.

    Any way to edit comments? I’m a little OCD…

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    I guess I needed html tags for italics, not Google’s tags for kids. Whoops.

    Any way to edit comments? I’m a little OCD…

  • fws

    Lou @ 20

    Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ.

    Lutheran response: “The Law always accuses.” “The Law always mortifies” (mortify is latinate for “deathing”) .

    The believer cannot lay aside all mention of the Law. The Law is written and revealed by God in our Reason. It will not go away.

    Application: Reformed believe in a “third use ” of the Law that is non-lethal and non-accusatory. But… the Law will simply not go away. So the Reformed call the Law “gospel imperative”, “gospel exhortation”, “gospel reminder”, and my favorite…”gospel encouragement”. Lutherans call this “antinomianism”.

    Lutherans say that we are always to look for the Gospel to come “in a way that cannot be seen” (Luke 17:20). This means that the Gospel ALWAYS comes “in, with and under” visible Good Works. Holy Baptism, the LS and the Preached Word are all Good Works, which we are commanded to do, by which God works faith. So Lutherans in a real way say that men are saved by Good Works!

    Calvin separates and spiritualizes by separating rather than merely distinguishing our Good Work from the Good Works of Christ.

    ALL we can see and do in our bodies is Old Adam being driven by the Law to do Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is the Will of God. So Luther says: “Life is mortification”. “Life is death”. This is because ALL we can see and do is, obviously, all WE can see and do.

    But the reformed say that mortification is Life! They say that this practice of sanctification is part of the Life we have in Christ. No. It is death for Old Adam for the transitory creaturly life of others. And then , “in, with and under this” our Life is there, of invisible faith alone that is NOT a faith we can do, but is of Baptismal Regeneration. And that Life is exactly that ALL our works are hidden in the Works of Another. In Baptism.

    For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous.

    Lutheran response: We are made righteous by the Good Work of Holy Baptism. This is not a putting off of the filth of the flesh. It is because baptism hides our works in the Works of Another. We are saved by Good Works this says in two ways.

    And by the way: The believer, in his New Man IS holy. He is not merely “declared” holy. Justification in Scripture has two meanings: forensic AND infused.

    If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law.

    “Be Baptized!” Law. “Do this in rememberance of me”. More Law. “Repent and believe the Gospel” and this is..um… Law. “Love one another even as I have loved you” . Law. Christ hanging dead on the Cross. Now there is the most terrifying and horrifying preachment of the Law that there is! The Law always accuses and kills! But Calvin says that this is not Law and we should not look at it as Law. But the Law will not go away. It will kill us and accuse us. So the Reformed call this all something other than Law. “Gospel Imperatives”. No. Not quite!

    The article Veith quotes has a reformed pastor saying this to someone who questions whether they have faith” “Your doubting is a sign that you have faith!”

    Not! Judas was troubled and terrified by his sin.

    Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God.

    Lutheran response. This is close but not quite it. Faith alone can accept the judgement of God. That judgement is that even our most sanctified works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon. We confess this before the judgement seat of God. We do not appease our consciences by fleeing this judgement that STILL applies to ALL our works.

    Further faith alone can look for death in it’s sanctified works rather than a Life in those works. Faith hides ALL it’s works in the Works of Another.

    The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished.

    Lutheran Response: No. they are not! Fruit of the Spirit and works of the Law are the identically SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy. How are they different. Reformed fantasize that sanctified fruits of the spirit are different than what pagans do. Nope. Give me just ONE example of this…

    God works the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy in two ways. One is with the Law extorting it out of the Old Adams of believers and pagans alike. This is ALL we can see and do in our bodies, even as works of sanctification! Then God also works this SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy in his Son and makes us New Men who are Goodness and Mercy incarnate after his Son.

    The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5).

    This is true. And it is equally true for pagans. Believers have the SAME Law as pagans. Further: in our New Man we already ARE completely and instantaneously holy because in Holy Baptism God gives us new heart movements. And our Old Adam works are hidden in Christ. So there is no seeking of holiness here. There is a seeking, by believers, of their DEATH by applying the Law to their Old Adam. Again: The christian life of Good Works is about death of Old Adam it is not about Life. Our Life is about being hidden in the Works of Another. It is not about OUR works.

    The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty.

    Nope. The Law always accuses. The Law always kills. This is the office of the Law. The Law informs Believers that they DON’T do their duty. Not. Ever. It is alone the Gospel not only “excites” the Believer to holiness. The Gospel MAKES us holy. It is alone what can make us holy. Moses cannot do this! The opposite of sin is not goodness. They opposite of sin is alone faith in Christ. “That which is not of faith is sin” is what that means.

    For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward,

    Faith stands before the judgement seat and accepts the judgement of God over ALL our works, even our sanctified ones. We con-fess (say together ) with God that this is true. We agree with God. Further , ONLY faith can see the requirements of God. Faith alone can do this. Then we see that God’s Law demands that we do everything from the very bottom of our heart and mind and soul and we realize that we dont do this.

    but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.”

    But we will always return to our vomit until the Veil of Moses is removed and Reason is made to bow to the Judgement of God. Reason is of the opinion that obeying God’s Law is about what we do. Reformed make this doing about faith and the right emotional response to God . They confuse faith that we can do with faith that only comes through the work of human hands that is Holy Baptism.

    Read II Kings and the story of Naaman to see how Holy Baptism works. God ALWAYS works and brings the Holy Gospel through the Law and Good Works.

    Calvin therefore is wrong exactly there. We don’t set aside Good Works. Why not? It is precisely “in, with and under” things we can see and do where God places his Promise. Faith clings to that Promise that is ALWAYS “in, with and under” the works of sinful human hands. It is right there, “in, with and under” those Good Works that Faith , right there, receives the Promised Mercy.

    THIS is what FV is grappling with. Faith and Works. They will never sort it out because they are stuck on Calvin , who was stuck on Augustine.

    They need to leave both and find the solution in the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms taught by St Paul in Romans 8 where he distinguishes “flesh/body ” that will perish from “spirit’ that will endure forever.

  • fws

    Lou @ 20

    Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ.

    Lutheran response: “The Law always accuses.” “The Law always mortifies” (mortify is latinate for “deathing”) .

    The believer cannot lay aside all mention of the Law. The Law is written and revealed by God in our Reason. It will not go away.

    Application: Reformed believe in a “third use ” of the Law that is non-lethal and non-accusatory. But… the Law will simply not go away. So the Reformed call the Law “gospel imperative”, “gospel exhortation”, “gospel reminder”, and my favorite…”gospel encouragement”. Lutherans call this “antinomianism”.

    Lutherans say that we are always to look for the Gospel to come “in a way that cannot be seen” (Luke 17:20). This means that the Gospel ALWAYS comes “in, with and under” visible Good Works. Holy Baptism, the LS and the Preached Word are all Good Works, which we are commanded to do, by which God works faith. So Lutherans in a real way say that men are saved by Good Works!

    Calvin separates and spiritualizes by separating rather than merely distinguishing our Good Work from the Good Works of Christ.

    ALL we can see and do in our bodies is Old Adam being driven by the Law to do Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is the Will of God. So Luther says: “Life is mortification”. “Life is death”. This is because ALL we can see and do is, obviously, all WE can see and do.

    But the reformed say that mortification is Life! They say that this practice of sanctification is part of the Life we have in Christ. No. It is death for Old Adam for the transitory creaturly life of others. And then , “in, with and under this” our Life is there, of invisible faith alone that is NOT a faith we can do, but is of Baptismal Regeneration. And that Life is exactly that ALL our works are hidden in the Works of Another. In Baptism.

    For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous.

    Lutheran response: We are made righteous by the Good Work of Holy Baptism. This is not a putting off of the filth of the flesh. It is because baptism hides our works in the Works of Another. We are saved by Good Works this says in two ways.

    And by the way: The believer, in his New Man IS holy. He is not merely “declared” holy. Justification in Scripture has two meanings: forensic AND infused.

    If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law.

    “Be Baptized!” Law. “Do this in rememberance of me”. More Law. “Repent and believe the Gospel” and this is..um… Law. “Love one another even as I have loved you” . Law. Christ hanging dead on the Cross. Now there is the most terrifying and horrifying preachment of the Law that there is! The Law always accuses and kills! But Calvin says that this is not Law and we should not look at it as Law. But the Law will not go away. It will kill us and accuse us. So the Reformed call this all something other than Law. “Gospel Imperatives”. No. Not quite!

    The article Veith quotes has a reformed pastor saying this to someone who questions whether they have faith” “Your doubting is a sign that you have faith!”

    Not! Judas was troubled and terrified by his sin.

    Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God.

    Lutheran response. This is close but not quite it. Faith alone can accept the judgement of God. That judgement is that even our most sanctified works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon. We confess this before the judgement seat of God. We do not appease our consciences by fleeing this judgement that STILL applies to ALL our works.

    Further faith alone can look for death in it’s sanctified works rather than a Life in those works. Faith hides ALL it’s works in the Works of Another.

    The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished.

    Lutheran Response: No. they are not! Fruit of the Spirit and works of the Law are the identically SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy. How are they different. Reformed fantasize that sanctified fruits of the spirit are different than what pagans do. Nope. Give me just ONE example of this…

    God works the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy in two ways. One is with the Law extorting it out of the Old Adams of believers and pagans alike. This is ALL we can see and do in our bodies, even as works of sanctification! Then God also works this SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy in his Son and makes us New Men who are Goodness and Mercy incarnate after his Son.

    The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5).

    This is true. And it is equally true for pagans. Believers have the SAME Law as pagans. Further: in our New Man we already ARE completely and instantaneously holy because in Holy Baptism God gives us new heart movements. And our Old Adam works are hidden in Christ. So there is no seeking of holiness here. There is a seeking, by believers, of their DEATH by applying the Law to their Old Adam. Again: The christian life of Good Works is about death of Old Adam it is not about Life. Our Life is about being hidden in the Works of Another. It is not about OUR works.

    The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty.

    Nope. The Law always accuses. The Law always kills. This is the office of the Law. The Law informs Believers that they DON’T do their duty. Not. Ever. It is alone the Gospel not only “excites” the Believer to holiness. The Gospel MAKES us holy. It is alone what can make us holy. Moses cannot do this! The opposite of sin is not goodness. They opposite of sin is alone faith in Christ. “That which is not of faith is sin” is what that means.

    For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward,

    Faith stands before the judgement seat and accepts the judgement of God over ALL our works, even our sanctified ones. We con-fess (say together ) with God that this is true. We agree with God. Further , ONLY faith can see the requirements of God. Faith alone can do this. Then we see that God’s Law demands that we do everything from the very bottom of our heart and mind and soul and we realize that we dont do this.

    but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.”

    But we will always return to our vomit until the Veil of Moses is removed and Reason is made to bow to the Judgement of God. Reason is of the opinion that obeying God’s Law is about what we do. Reformed make this doing about faith and the right emotional response to God . They confuse faith that we can do with faith that only comes through the work of human hands that is Holy Baptism.

    Read II Kings and the story of Naaman to see how Holy Baptism works. God ALWAYS works and brings the Holy Gospel through the Law and Good Works.

    Calvin therefore is wrong exactly there. We don’t set aside Good Works. Why not? It is precisely “in, with and under” things we can see and do where God places his Promise. Faith clings to that Promise that is ALWAYS “in, with and under” the works of sinful human hands. It is right there, “in, with and under” those Good Works that Faith , right there, receives the Promised Mercy.

    THIS is what FV is grappling with. Faith and Works. They will never sort it out because they are stuck on Calvin , who was stuck on Augustine.

    They need to leave both and find the solution in the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms taught by St Paul in Romans 8 where he distinguishes “flesh/body ” that will perish from “spirit’ that will endure forever.

  • Lou

    FWS: Sorry I don’t have time to read through all of your itemized “responses” about Reformed vs. Lutheran views. Dr. Veith asked for a Reformed perspective on what is going on with Federal Vision. That is what I was writing about. Also, Adrian Keister has some good info and references in these comments as well. I don’t think the purpose of this discussion was supposed to about who has the better view of baptism or who has a better view of the law.
    Gotta run.

  • Lou

    FWS: Sorry I don’t have time to read through all of your itemized “responses” about Reformed vs. Lutheran views. Dr. Veith asked for a Reformed perspective on what is going on with Federal Vision. That is what I was writing about. Also, Adrian Keister has some good info and references in these comments as well. I don’t think the purpose of this discussion was supposed to about who has the better view of baptism or who has a better view of the law.
    Gotta run.

  • fws

    lou @ 24

    Dr Veith wrote:

    I would be glad to hear some Reformed explanations on either side of the issue. I would especially be grateful for a Lutheran appraisal of what is going on.

    It is not about who has ” better” Law or Baptism Lou.

    You Reformed simply don’t have the Law or Baptism as taught in the Scriptures. FV simply can’t fix this deficit.

    A Law that does not accuse and kill believers or that can be “set aside” by them, but rather makes doing good works ‘exciting’ as you quote Calvin as saying, is not the Law of God. Believers do good works and use the Law to die.

    Baptism that does not make one a christian is not Biblical Baptism.

  • fws

    lou @ 24

    Dr Veith wrote:

    I would be glad to hear some Reformed explanations on either side of the issue. I would especially be grateful for a Lutheran appraisal of what is going on.

    It is not about who has ” better” Law or Baptism Lou.

    You Reformed simply don’t have the Law or Baptism as taught in the Scriptures. FV simply can’t fix this deficit.

    A Law that does not accuse and kill believers or that can be “set aside” by them, but rather makes doing good works ‘exciting’ as you quote Calvin as saying, is not the Law of God. Believers do good works and use the Law to die.

    Baptism that does not make one a christian is not Biblical Baptism.

  • fws

    lou @ 24

    Heck Lou. the title of the post is Federal Vision vs Lutheranism isnt it? What do you suppose this post is aimed at?

  • fws

    lou @ 24

    Heck Lou. the title of the post is Federal Vision vs Lutheranism isnt it? What do you suppose this post is aimed at?

  • fws

    Lou @ 24

    Calvin: the Law is supposed to be exciting for Believers.

    “The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. ”

    Luther and the Lutheran Confessions: The Law always accuses and Kills. The aim of Believers in doing Good Works and following the Law is to seek the death of Old Adam.

    Faith looks for death and not life in good works. Life is found by faith only hidden in the Works of Another.

    Luther: ” [the christian] life is death”

  • fws

    Lou @ 24

    Calvin: the Law is supposed to be exciting for Believers.

    “The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. ”

    Luther and the Lutheran Confessions: The Law always accuses and Kills. The aim of Believers in doing Good Works and following the Law is to seek the death of Old Adam.

    Faith looks for death and not life in good works. Life is found by faith only hidden in the Works of Another.

    Luther: ” [the christian] life is death”

  • larry

    Pete,

    That’s EXACTLY the experience one runs into. You have nailed it. I’ve noted first hand many times and direct second hand. A close baptist pastor friend of mine who preaches a strong Gospel as far as it goes in that doctrine, to the point of being unbaptist in some aspects concerning the sacrament of baptism had the same experience in the Reformed Baptist realm. A prospective couple/family was out to lunch with him regarding membership. They were discussing backgrounds and the husband was a lot like you just described. The wife had attended a Ref. Bap. Church all her life in TN from her birth. She finally broke down for the first time ever, totally unknown to her husband, that she had been doubting all these many years that God was gracious to her and that she was elect, in fact probably reprobate. Her husband of 20+ years was stunned that in all their 20+ years he never once even had an inkling of this.

    In fact this friend of mine, his church congregation, is made ENTIRELY up of baptist and reformed (PCA and dutch) who had been wandering in the gospel-less waste land of their respective denominations. When I say “entirely”, I’m not being hyperbolic, I mean to the man/woman that is a member…that’s their consistent story. They didn’t come from ‘arminian’ traditions but some form of calvin’s.

    The despairing are ALWAYS silent in such soul torching heterodoxies. I know this first hand and by numerous accounts of others. Another; very close friends of our in a SB “Calvinistic” church, he was a preaching elder, attending Southern, I was lay “in study to potentially be” elder. I was despairing to make a long story short the same way this lady was. And so was this friend of ours, totally, either one of us unbeknown to the other. So stunning was this that years later, two years ago, after we’d left and went PCA we get a call out of the blue from them (my wife to his). They’ d went LCMS, in fact he finished up at Ft. Wayne and is now a LCMS pastor. He and his wife had been in this silent despair, it shocked us. We thought they were the baptist of baptist as I joked with my wife. It shocked them about us, we were at the time thinking Lutheran but still PCA. He mailed us a Lutheran tract (i.e. a copy of the Book of Concord).

    Calvin’s doctrine is really double tongued. It like lure in the unsuspecting with “high talk” of referring folks over to Christ, but there really never is a “for me” Gospel in it. They don’t believe for example that baptism “confers justification”. In spite of clear scripture to the opposite. Asked why? You get back around to their idol double predestination/limited atonement. This is how they call God a liar when He says for example, “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this baptism (not a sign of a reality otherwise) saves you”, etc… They too like the Baptist look for another “baptism”, spoken against in Eph. And confessed against in the Nicene Creed, they look for that other “spiritual baptism”. That Baptist are just more doctrinally logically extended about it. Thus, their other gospel is really a form of to a freezing and starving man nothing more than an empty “be warm and filled”, they never give (confer) via the Word or Sacraments the Gospel itself. This is why at length Calvin’s gospel is nothing more than an empty bucket with a hole in it. One is not really absolved, and baptism doesn’t really “confer justification”, and one is not really eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ given into death and shed for the forgiveness of your sins (again nothing is actually conferred).

    Calvinism massively confounds Law and Gospel, even the best of them think its merely command/promise, rather than effect of the Word. As such their John 3:16 is shear Law (IF you believe/THEN you might be elect), not heard with the effect of God’s promise “because/therefore”. Their doctrine on predestination is likewise sans Christ and pure Law, not through Christ and the Gospel (a HUGE difference between Luther/Lutherans and Calvin/Calvinist).

    There can be no doubt whatsoever that these are two different religions and no middle ground exists whatsoever, because every single word, though they be the same syllables, has baseline entirely different and opposing meanings. Even the solas!

    The same reason Lutherans detect a hint of a “higher view” of the sacraments (though still bent wrong) is the same reason some of the Reformed despise the FV. Both are still damnable heterodoxies and dangerous to the souls under them, but a lot of these subdivisions like FV within a heterodox confession already come about BECAUSE they sense something is wrong. The same issue in principle arose around the halfway covenant of the Puritans and its calvinism.

  • larry

    Pete,

    That’s EXACTLY the experience one runs into. You have nailed it. I’ve noted first hand many times and direct second hand. A close baptist pastor friend of mine who preaches a strong Gospel as far as it goes in that doctrine, to the point of being unbaptist in some aspects concerning the sacrament of baptism had the same experience in the Reformed Baptist realm. A prospective couple/family was out to lunch with him regarding membership. They were discussing backgrounds and the husband was a lot like you just described. The wife had attended a Ref. Bap. Church all her life in TN from her birth. She finally broke down for the first time ever, totally unknown to her husband, that she had been doubting all these many years that God was gracious to her and that she was elect, in fact probably reprobate. Her husband of 20+ years was stunned that in all their 20+ years he never once even had an inkling of this.

    In fact this friend of mine, his church congregation, is made ENTIRELY up of baptist and reformed (PCA and dutch) who had been wandering in the gospel-less waste land of their respective denominations. When I say “entirely”, I’m not being hyperbolic, I mean to the man/woman that is a member…that’s their consistent story. They didn’t come from ‘arminian’ traditions but some form of calvin’s.

    The despairing are ALWAYS silent in such soul torching heterodoxies. I know this first hand and by numerous accounts of others. Another; very close friends of our in a SB “Calvinistic” church, he was a preaching elder, attending Southern, I was lay “in study to potentially be” elder. I was despairing to make a long story short the same way this lady was. And so was this friend of ours, totally, either one of us unbeknown to the other. So stunning was this that years later, two years ago, after we’d left and went PCA we get a call out of the blue from them (my wife to his). They’ d went LCMS, in fact he finished up at Ft. Wayne and is now a LCMS pastor. He and his wife had been in this silent despair, it shocked us. We thought they were the baptist of baptist as I joked with my wife. It shocked them about us, we were at the time thinking Lutheran but still PCA. He mailed us a Lutheran tract (i.e. a copy of the Book of Concord).

    Calvin’s doctrine is really double tongued. It like lure in the unsuspecting with “high talk” of referring folks over to Christ, but there really never is a “for me” Gospel in it. They don’t believe for example that baptism “confers justification”. In spite of clear scripture to the opposite. Asked why? You get back around to their idol double predestination/limited atonement. This is how they call God a liar when He says for example, “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this baptism (not a sign of a reality otherwise) saves you”, etc… They too like the Baptist look for another “baptism”, spoken against in Eph. And confessed against in the Nicene Creed, they look for that other “spiritual baptism”. That Baptist are just more doctrinally logically extended about it. Thus, their other gospel is really a form of to a freezing and starving man nothing more than an empty “be warm and filled”, they never give (confer) via the Word or Sacraments the Gospel itself. This is why at length Calvin’s gospel is nothing more than an empty bucket with a hole in it. One is not really absolved, and baptism doesn’t really “confer justification”, and one is not really eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ given into death and shed for the forgiveness of your sins (again nothing is actually conferred).

    Calvinism massively confounds Law and Gospel, even the best of them think its merely command/promise, rather than effect of the Word. As such their John 3:16 is shear Law (IF you believe/THEN you might be elect), not heard with the effect of God’s promise “because/therefore”. Their doctrine on predestination is likewise sans Christ and pure Law, not through Christ and the Gospel (a HUGE difference between Luther/Lutherans and Calvin/Calvinist).

    There can be no doubt whatsoever that these are two different religions and no middle ground exists whatsoever, because every single word, though they be the same syllables, has baseline entirely different and opposing meanings. Even the solas!

    The same reason Lutherans detect a hint of a “higher view” of the sacraments (though still bent wrong) is the same reason some of the Reformed despise the FV. Both are still damnable heterodoxies and dangerous to the souls under them, but a lot of these subdivisions like FV within a heterodox confession already come about BECAUSE they sense something is wrong. The same issue in principle arose around the halfway covenant of the Puritans and its calvinism.

  • Lou

    Here’s my take on the issue of the Baptist question:
    On the one side you have Baptismal Efficacy to generate salvation.
    – in which The Lutheran sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament infant baptism, regardless of the baptized obedience to the law.
    - in which The Federal Visionist (who does not conform to the historically reformed view of Baptism) sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament of infant baptism, however, a pattern of disobedience to the law will cause them to fall away from the faith and lose their salvation.

    On the other side, you have the Calvinist (traditional reformed) view of baptism.
    - in which baptism is a sign of God’s promise of salvation to the elect and a means of grace toward salvation which is only applied by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Spirit must regenerate the person, and God grant the gift of faith in Jesus Christ alone. Once regenerate, the believer immediately receives from God the forensic imputation of Christ’s righteousness, whereby their sins (past, present and future) have been place upon Christ on the cross. And they receive the righteousness of Christ by adoption as sons of the almighty, sovereign God.

    By doctrine, it’s a once for all transaction in which we have full assurance because of the work of the Holy Spirit, who testifies to and agrees with the full Truth of the Word of God.

    Note: I believe that if someone does not have assurance of faith, then they have either/or both of the following: 1) not understood the historical reformed doctrine aright (federal vision), and/or 2) a diminished faith (on account of the enemies of our faith, ie, the world, the flesh/remaining sin nature, and the devil /accuser of the brethren). Only the preaching of the true Gospel of Christ rids us of our doubt and lack of faith.

  • Lou

    Here’s my take on the issue of the Baptist question:
    On the one side you have Baptismal Efficacy to generate salvation.
    – in which The Lutheran sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament infant baptism, regardless of the baptized obedience to the law.
    - in which The Federal Visionist (who does not conform to the historically reformed view of Baptism) sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament of infant baptism, however, a pattern of disobedience to the law will cause them to fall away from the faith and lose their salvation.

    On the other side, you have the Calvinist (traditional reformed) view of baptism.
    - in which baptism is a sign of God’s promise of salvation to the elect and a means of grace toward salvation which is only applied by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Spirit must regenerate the person, and God grant the gift of faith in Jesus Christ alone. Once regenerate, the believer immediately receives from God the forensic imputation of Christ’s righteousness, whereby their sins (past, present and future) have been place upon Christ on the cross. And they receive the righteousness of Christ by adoption as sons of the almighty, sovereign God.

    By doctrine, it’s a once for all transaction in which we have full assurance because of the work of the Holy Spirit, who testifies to and agrees with the full Truth of the Word of God.

    Note: I believe that if someone does not have assurance of faith, then they have either/or both of the following: 1) not understood the historical reformed doctrine aright (federal vision), and/or 2) a diminished faith (on account of the enemies of our faith, ie, the world, the flesh/remaining sin nature, and the devil /accuser of the brethren). Only the preaching of the true Gospel of Christ rids us of our doubt and lack of faith.

  • Lou

    btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:

    “For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” – Calvin

  • Lou

    btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:

    “For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” – Calvin

  • Lou

    larry, for the record, your view of Calvinism does not match up even remotely to the way I read, for instance, The Institutes or the WCF. Also, From reading your own Larger Catechism, I really don’t see as much divergence between Luther and Calvin as you make there out to be: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-13a.html
    Perhaps would could at some time take a walk thru one of those to try to pinpoint the radical departures you accuse.

    Presently, however, I would be interested in YOUR definition of the Five Solas. In particular, how do you reconcile Sola Fide (Faith Alone) with full infant baptismal efficacy for salvation? For real. I do want to understand this. You see, R.C. Sproul’s main objection against Federal Vision is that it is a repudiation of Sola Fide. While I think you and I are in agreement over whether a believer can be saved and then lose their salvation (NO), the baptism question, on the other hand, seems to particularly highlight a problem in Lutheranism (as you are presenting it) with regard to Sola Fide.

  • Lou

    larry, for the record, your view of Calvinism does not match up even remotely to the way I read, for instance, The Institutes or the WCF. Also, From reading your own Larger Catechism, I really don’t see as much divergence between Luther and Calvin as you make there out to be: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-13a.html
    Perhaps would could at some time take a walk thru one of those to try to pinpoint the radical departures you accuse.

    Presently, however, I would be interested in YOUR definition of the Five Solas. In particular, how do you reconcile Sola Fide (Faith Alone) with full infant baptismal efficacy for salvation? For real. I do want to understand this. You see, R.C. Sproul’s main objection against Federal Vision is that it is a repudiation of Sola Fide. While I think you and I are in agreement over whether a believer can be saved and then lose their salvation (NO), the baptism question, on the other hand, seems to particularly highlight a problem in Lutheranism (as you are presenting it) with regard to Sola Fide.

  • Martin J.

    Hi!
    Thought maybe those who practice Lutheranism might want to comment as to why their views as stated here in the comments seem to contradict Luther’s instruction?

    The Small Catechism of Martin Luther
    Part Four: Holy Baptism

    The Sacrament of Holy Baptism:
    The Simple Way a Father Should Present it to His Household

    I. Q. What is Baptism?
    A. Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water contained
    within God’s command and united with God’s Word.

    Q. Which Word of God is this?
    A. The one which our Lord Christ spoke in the last chapter of
    Matthew:
    “Go into all the world, teaching all heathen nations, and
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the
    Holy Spirit.”

    II. Q. What does Baptism give? What good is it?
    A. It gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the
    Devil, gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just
    as God’s words and promises declare.

    Q. What are these words and promises of God?
    A. Our Lord Christ spoke one of them in the last chapter of Mark:
    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

    III. Q. How can water do such great things?
    A. Water doesn’t make these things happen, of course. It is God’s Word, which is with and in the water. Because, without God’s Word, the water is plain water and not baptism. But with God’s Word it is a Baptism, a grace-filled water of life, a bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul said to Titus in the third chapter:
    “Through this bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that we, justified by the same grace are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

    IV. Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?
    A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts,
    and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from
    death again. He will live forever before God in righteousness
    and purity.

    Q. Where is this written?
    A. St. Paul says to the Romans in chapter six:
    “We are buried with Christ through Baptism into death, so
    that, in the same way Christ is risen from the dead by the
    glory of the Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.”

  • Martin J.

    Hi!
    Thought maybe those who practice Lutheranism might want to comment as to why their views as stated here in the comments seem to contradict Luther’s instruction?

    The Small Catechism of Martin Luther
    Part Four: Holy Baptism

    The Sacrament of Holy Baptism:
    The Simple Way a Father Should Present it to His Household

    I. Q. What is Baptism?
    A. Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water contained
    within God’s command and united with God’s Word.

    Q. Which Word of God is this?
    A. The one which our Lord Christ spoke in the last chapter of
    Matthew:
    “Go into all the world, teaching all heathen nations, and
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the
    Holy Spirit.”

    II. Q. What does Baptism give? What good is it?
    A. It gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the
    Devil, gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just
    as God’s words and promises declare.

    Q. What are these words and promises of God?
    A. Our Lord Christ spoke one of them in the last chapter of Mark:
    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

    III. Q. How can water do such great things?
    A. Water doesn’t make these things happen, of course. It is God’s Word, which is with and in the water. Because, without God’s Word, the water is plain water and not baptism. But with God’s Word it is a Baptism, a grace-filled water of life, a bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul said to Titus in the third chapter:
    “Through this bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that we, justified by the same grace are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

    IV. Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?
    A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts,
    and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from
    death again. He will live forever before God in righteousness
    and purity.

    Q. Where is this written?
    A. St. Paul says to the Romans in chapter six:
    “We are buried with Christ through Baptism into death, so
    that, in the same way Christ is risen from the dead by the
    glory of the Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.”

  • larry

    Lou,

    Sola Scriptura is actually very simple. It was the issue at Marburg and why, for example, Calvin’s supper departs from it.

    Luther points out that all objects of faith are hidden, the purpose? So that room is made for faith and faith alone perceives them. Objects of faith are purposely hidden against fallen human empirical experience and reason, for reason, not subjected to Christ/Word, is the devil’s original mistress. The greater the gift of God in creation, the worse an enemy in the fall. Thus, all articles of faith are hidden and only revealed in the preached/revealed God (sola scriptura) whereby ONLY faith sees/hears/apprehends them (the opposite is seeing but not seeing, always hearing but not hearing – the paradox), this is sola fide. Or sola fide in sola Scriptura. This is why our confessions of faith say, “I believe…” and not “I figured out, experienced, reasoned or drew a “good and necessary consequence”.

    Luther points out that things are MOST hidden in the opposites, this best hides articles of faith where only faith may “have them/see/hear/apprehend” (we use these common realities as analogies to describe what this alien thing faith does) them. The opposites OFFEND the devil’s mistress most egregiously, reason and empirically derived experiences.

    So that for example we find omnipotence hidden in the impotence of the crucified God. Eternal life hidden in the death of God. Omnipresence hidden in the body of Christ. The church whom the gates of hell itself cannot prevail hidden in an ever failing and weak penniless church in the world. The resurrection hidden amidst grave yards fill to the brim with saints and dead men’s bones. Saints hidden in sinners for real. Righteousness hidden in sin. Efficacious baptism hidden in apparent failure. Six days of actual creation hidden in apparent billions of years science (reason or the natural religion of fallen man). The flesh of Christ hidden in bread. The blood of Christ hidden in wine. Absolution from the very lips and voice of God hidden in the sinner pastor’s lips and voice. The forgiveness of sin and justification conferred in baptism hidden in the experienced failure of “I don’t see myself improving”. The return of Christ promised hidden in the thousands of years to which reason wails “where is the promise of His coming…the fathers still sleep and all is the same” (=hath God really said). “Hidden in” can be expressed “in, with and under”. In, with and under is merely an amalgamation of the reality of sola scriptura/sola fide, that sola relationship of nude faith in the nude Word hidden to reason that says in various forms “hath God really said” and then reasons in itself (enthusiasm = god withinness = original sin) what it thinks is God.

    Thus, reason looks past the Word alone, or sola scriptura, as nothing to what it can empirically discern or rationalize or both. It sees the thing hiding cover but not the Word. Thus it sees thousands of years have past and say, “where’s the promise of His return”. It sees people fall away from the faith and says, “see water baptism is nothing, look elsewhere”. It sees only bread and wine and says, “see no flesh and blood”, etc… It formulates another doctrine, a hell derived one, leaping off of, as it were, the Word to support it. It pretends this is sola fide, but it is in reality false faith and rooted in works/law, the only thing reason and empirical experience can “see/hear/apprehend”. This is as Christ warns the seeing but never seeing and hearing but never really hearing that fallen man does with the Word of God. In which reason and experience parade around as “sola fide”.
    But faith alone, sola fide, sees/hears/apprehends the Word hidden, completely to all other creatures, under other creatures. Thus, it says, this bread is the body of Christ, this wine is the blood of Christ, this baptism saves and I am baptized, the resurrection is real my death is false, God on the cross.
    This is sola fide in sola Scriptura. Such that when Calvinist deny what is embodied in the Lutheran confessions concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, baptism, absolution they are well outside of true sola fide and sola scriptura and by extension the other solas.

    The battle at Marburg, Sasse points out, was nothing less than a battle for sola Scriptura and by extensions sola fide and the other solas. Luther at Wittenburg was Luther at Marburg.

  • larry

    Lou,

    Sola Scriptura is actually very simple. It was the issue at Marburg and why, for example, Calvin’s supper departs from it.

    Luther points out that all objects of faith are hidden, the purpose? So that room is made for faith and faith alone perceives them. Objects of faith are purposely hidden against fallen human empirical experience and reason, for reason, not subjected to Christ/Word, is the devil’s original mistress. The greater the gift of God in creation, the worse an enemy in the fall. Thus, all articles of faith are hidden and only revealed in the preached/revealed God (sola scriptura) whereby ONLY faith sees/hears/apprehends them (the opposite is seeing but not seeing, always hearing but not hearing – the paradox), this is sola fide. Or sola fide in sola Scriptura. This is why our confessions of faith say, “I believe…” and not “I figured out, experienced, reasoned or drew a “good and necessary consequence”.

    Luther points out that things are MOST hidden in the opposites, this best hides articles of faith where only faith may “have them/see/hear/apprehend” (we use these common realities as analogies to describe what this alien thing faith does) them. The opposites OFFEND the devil’s mistress most egregiously, reason and empirically derived experiences.

    So that for example we find omnipotence hidden in the impotence of the crucified God. Eternal life hidden in the death of God. Omnipresence hidden in the body of Christ. The church whom the gates of hell itself cannot prevail hidden in an ever failing and weak penniless church in the world. The resurrection hidden amidst grave yards fill to the brim with saints and dead men’s bones. Saints hidden in sinners for real. Righteousness hidden in sin. Efficacious baptism hidden in apparent failure. Six days of actual creation hidden in apparent billions of years science (reason or the natural religion of fallen man). The flesh of Christ hidden in bread. The blood of Christ hidden in wine. Absolution from the very lips and voice of God hidden in the sinner pastor’s lips and voice. The forgiveness of sin and justification conferred in baptism hidden in the experienced failure of “I don’t see myself improving”. The return of Christ promised hidden in the thousands of years to which reason wails “where is the promise of His coming…the fathers still sleep and all is the same” (=hath God really said). “Hidden in” can be expressed “in, with and under”. In, with and under is merely an amalgamation of the reality of sola scriptura/sola fide, that sola relationship of nude faith in the nude Word hidden to reason that says in various forms “hath God really said” and then reasons in itself (enthusiasm = god withinness = original sin) what it thinks is God.

    Thus, reason looks past the Word alone, or sola scriptura, as nothing to what it can empirically discern or rationalize or both. It sees the thing hiding cover but not the Word. Thus it sees thousands of years have past and say, “where’s the promise of His return”. It sees people fall away from the faith and says, “see water baptism is nothing, look elsewhere”. It sees only bread and wine and says, “see no flesh and blood”, etc… It formulates another doctrine, a hell derived one, leaping off of, as it were, the Word to support it. It pretends this is sola fide, but it is in reality false faith and rooted in works/law, the only thing reason and empirical experience can “see/hear/apprehend”. This is as Christ warns the seeing but never seeing and hearing but never really hearing that fallen man does with the Word of God. In which reason and experience parade around as “sola fide”.
    But faith alone, sola fide, sees/hears/apprehends the Word hidden, completely to all other creatures, under other creatures. Thus, it says, this bread is the body of Christ, this wine is the blood of Christ, this baptism saves and I am baptized, the resurrection is real my death is false, God on the cross.
    This is sola fide in sola Scriptura. Such that when Calvinist deny what is embodied in the Lutheran confessions concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, baptism, absolution they are well outside of true sola fide and sola scriptura and by extension the other solas.

    The battle at Marburg, Sasse points out, was nothing less than a battle for sola Scriptura and by extensions sola fide and the other solas. Luther at Wittenburg was Luther at Marburg.

  • kerner

    Lou @31 you asked:

    how do you reconcile Sola Fide (Faith Alone) with full infant baptismal efficacy for salvation?

    Have you considered the possibility that one of the means that God uses to give faith to the formerly unsaved is Holy Baptism?

    While I think you and I are in agreement over whether a believer can be saved and then lose their salvation (NO),

    I don’t think we do believe that the answer to that question is an unqualified NO. I think the parable of the sower and Hebrews 6 pretty much refute that.

  • kerner

    Lou @31 you asked:

    how do you reconcile Sola Fide (Faith Alone) with full infant baptismal efficacy for salvation?

    Have you considered the possibility that one of the means that God uses to give faith to the formerly unsaved is Holy Baptism?

    While I think you and I are in agreement over whether a believer can be saved and then lose their salvation (NO),

    I don’t think we do believe that the answer to that question is an unqualified NO. I think the parable of the sower and Hebrews 6 pretty much refute that.

  • Martin J.

    Larry you wrote: ” Calvinist deny what is embodied in the Lutheran confessions ” — I totally disagree. I just read the “Lutheran Confessions” about Baptism and they match exactly what Calvin wrote in the Institutes. You have proved nothing in the way of “heresy” found in Calvinism a la Luther.

  • Martin J.

    Larry you wrote: ” Calvinist deny what is embodied in the Lutheran confessions ” — I totally disagree. I just read the “Lutheran Confessions” about Baptism and they match exactly what Calvin wrote in the Institutes. You have proved nothing in the way of “heresy” found in Calvinism a la Luther.

  • Lou

    kerner: “Have you considered the possibility that one of the means that God uses to give faith to the formerly unsaved is Holy Baptism?”
    Kerner, you haven’t been following the discussion here, if this your question. Of course, the sacraments are God’s means of grace which result in the gift of faith. But to say that Baptism causes defacto faith is of another stripe. Martin Luther wrote that Baptism does not guarantee the salvation of the recipient – “For he may remain an unbeliever.”

    As far as your question about Hebrews 6 goes: then you are of the Arminian camp? ie, that one can be saved and yet lose his salvation later on down the road? I assumed that this was at least one area where we had agreement (ie, that somoene cannot lose theis salvation), since it is so blatantly Arminian to thus think.

  • Lou

    kerner: “Have you considered the possibility that one of the means that God uses to give faith to the formerly unsaved is Holy Baptism?”
    Kerner, you haven’t been following the discussion here, if this your question. Of course, the sacraments are God’s means of grace which result in the gift of faith. But to say that Baptism causes defacto faith is of another stripe. Martin Luther wrote that Baptism does not guarantee the salvation of the recipient – “For he may remain an unbeliever.”

    As far as your question about Hebrews 6 goes: then you are of the Arminian camp? ie, that one can be saved and yet lose his salvation later on down the road? I assumed that this was at least one area where we had agreement (ie, that somoene cannot lose theis salvation), since it is so blatantly Arminian to thus think.

  • Martin

    Dr. Veith,
    I just looked at your link to the Federal Vision page, and I was aghast at the bias there. Much of it is not based on fact and is misrepresentative.

    I suggest that a better summation of what it is all about can be found at this site:
    http://www.theopedia.com/Federal_Vision

  • Martin

    Dr. Veith,
    I just looked at your link to the Federal Vision page, and I was aghast at the bias there. Much of it is not based on fact and is misrepresentative.

    I suggest that a better summation of what it is all about can be found at this site:
    http://www.theopedia.com/Federal_Vision

  • fws

    Lou @ 29

    “– in which The Lutheran sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament infant baptism, regardless of the baptized obedience to the law.”

    Lou, can I suggest that you do not understand the Lutheran doctrine on Holy Baptism. The good news is that you have not rejected it because you simply don’t have a clue what it is.

    We believe that the Promise of the W0rd of God regenerates us because it is the same creative Word that says “let there be light”. God has attached that Promise to visible signs such as preached forgiveness and Baptism. Faith trusts in the Promise located, where God has placed it, and then receives the Promised Mercy right there.

    Curiously, if you really are sincere and want to understand the Lutheran position, you can read II Kings and the story of Naaman to see how Lutherans view all this. Was Naaman healed by the water? Was he healed by Elishah? Would Naaman have been healed by washing in other water ? Why not? What was it that healed Naaman? Water? Obedience?

    I hope that helps.

  • fws

    Lou @ 29

    “– in which The Lutheran sees salvation as guaranteed by the sacrament infant baptism, regardless of the baptized obedience to the law.”

    Lou, can I suggest that you do not understand the Lutheran doctrine on Holy Baptism. The good news is that you have not rejected it because you simply don’t have a clue what it is.

    We believe that the Promise of the W0rd of God regenerates us because it is the same creative Word that says “let there be light”. God has attached that Promise to visible signs such as preached forgiveness and Baptism. Faith trusts in the Promise located, where God has placed it, and then receives the Promised Mercy right there.

    Curiously, if you really are sincere and want to understand the Lutheran position, you can read II Kings and the story of Naaman to see how Lutherans view all this. Was Naaman healed by the water? Was he healed by Elishah? Would Naaman have been healed by washing in other water ? Why not? What was it that healed Naaman? Water? Obedience?

    I hope that helps.

  • kerner

    I am not Arminian at all. But I cannot deny what scripture clearly says. If the “seeds” of God’s Word can be received and “take root”, only to be choked out or die later, what else can that mean?

    Hebrews ^:4-5 states:

    4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance

    So, clearly there exist people who 1) are enlightened, 2) have tasted the heavenly gift, 3)have shared in the Holy Spirit, and 4) have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, and yet who 5) have fallen away.

    We can get into semantice here, becaus I know it can be argued that those who ultimately fall away were not saved in the first place, but clearly they had something and rejected it after getting it.

    What Lutherans believe is that God uses the actions of His people to save the unsaved. On some level, you probably believe it too. After all, almost nobody is saved theough a direct action of God Hiimself (a la Paul on the Damascus road). Most of us are saved by means of the preaching of God’s Word by his people, and also by Baptism and Holy Communion. Lutherans believe that Holy Baptism introduces the Holy Spirit into the one baptized, and the Holy Spirit in turn, creates faith (as only He can, since it is not our work, but His). After that, the baptized one can reject the Holy Spirit (as the parable of the sower and Hebrews 6 teaches), but the baptized one is and remains a Christian unless such a thing happens. And as you point out, sometimes it does happen.

    The doctrine of election involves God, who is eternal, working in us (who inhabit time), and this makes these things difficult to comprehend. But you can’t believe what scripture says about having the Holy Spirit and later rejecting Him, without concluding that there is such a thing as apostacy. I don’t know how anyone could tell, in advance, the difference between a prodigal, who does come back, and an apostate, who does not, so we tend to preach to those who seem fallen away as long as they live .

  • kerner

    I am not Arminian at all. But I cannot deny what scripture clearly says. If the “seeds” of God’s Word can be received and “take root”, only to be choked out or die later, what else can that mean?

    Hebrews ^:4-5 states:

    4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance

    So, clearly there exist people who 1) are enlightened, 2) have tasted the heavenly gift, 3)have shared in the Holy Spirit, and 4) have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, and yet who 5) have fallen away.

    We can get into semantice here, becaus I know it can be argued that those who ultimately fall away were not saved in the first place, but clearly they had something and rejected it after getting it.

    What Lutherans believe is that God uses the actions of His people to save the unsaved. On some level, you probably believe it too. After all, almost nobody is saved theough a direct action of God Hiimself (a la Paul on the Damascus road). Most of us are saved by means of the preaching of God’s Word by his people, and also by Baptism and Holy Communion. Lutherans believe that Holy Baptism introduces the Holy Spirit into the one baptized, and the Holy Spirit in turn, creates faith (as only He can, since it is not our work, but His). After that, the baptized one can reject the Holy Spirit (as the parable of the sower and Hebrews 6 teaches), but the baptized one is and remains a Christian unless such a thing happens. And as you point out, sometimes it does happen.

    The doctrine of election involves God, who is eternal, working in us (who inhabit time), and this makes these things difficult to comprehend. But you can’t believe what scripture says about having the Holy Spirit and later rejecting Him, without concluding that there is such a thing as apostacy. I don’t know how anyone could tell, in advance, the difference between a prodigal, who does come back, and an apostate, who does not, so we tend to preach to those who seem fallen away as long as they live .

  • fws

    Lou @ 30

    “btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:”

    Nope . Reread my post @ 23 . I commented fully on every line you quoted from Calvin.

    Bottom Line is this:

    Calvin: The Law makes believers excited to Obey God. Good Works in the life of a believer are different than those of pagans. They are Holy Spirit powered Life in the believer.

    Lutherans: For the Believer ALL Good Works and the Law are about us seeking our death. Life is death. Life is mortification. Our Life is hidden , alone, in the Works of Another. Further, we can see no evidence of that Life. It is hidden and known alone by faith in what God’s Word tells us.

    This is the difference, right here between us Lou.

    And so our difference in Holy Baptism. Baptism IS a work of the Law. Christ commands us to do it. It is our work to do. And it is how we kill the Old Adam.

    But then hidden, in with and under that work of ours is the work of God . Right there he promises to create regeneration.

  • fws

    Lou @ 30

    “btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:”

    Nope . Reread my post @ 23 . I commented fully on every line you quoted from Calvin.

    Bottom Line is this:

    Calvin: The Law makes believers excited to Obey God. Good Works in the life of a believer are different than those of pagans. They are Holy Spirit powered Life in the believer.

    Lutherans: For the Believer ALL Good Works and the Law are about us seeking our death. Life is death. Life is mortification. Our Life is hidden , alone, in the Works of Another. Further, we can see no evidence of that Life. It is hidden and known alone by faith in what God’s Word tells us.

    This is the difference, right here between us Lou.

    And so our difference in Holy Baptism. Baptism IS a work of the Law. Christ commands us to do it. It is our work to do. And it is how we kill the Old Adam.

    But then hidden, in with and under that work of ours is the work of God . Right there he promises to create regeneration.

  • kerner

    One more thing. I grant you that I have not been following this duscussion as closly as you, as this is my first time commenting, but I have followed others like it. And the sticking point usually seems to be about what it means to “have faith”, and who can have it. Lutherans believe that faith is not an act of the intellect, since it is nopt a decision we make but rather a gift that we receive from God. We also believe that God’s grace is for minfants as well as adults. Therefore, it is not necessary for a person (such as an infant or one mentally handicapped) to be intellectually capable of “making a decision” in order to “have faith”.

    So, when a baby is baptized, we believe (to use your words) that this is a sacrament that results in the gift of faith. But, there are people who reject the Holy Spirit in later life. Our job, as the Church, is to preach God’s Word so that this does not happen, because it is the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word that keeps us in the faith, as well as bringing us to faith in the first place.

  • kerner

    One more thing. I grant you that I have not been following this duscussion as closly as you, as this is my first time commenting, but I have followed others like it. And the sticking point usually seems to be about what it means to “have faith”, and who can have it. Lutherans believe that faith is not an act of the intellect, since it is nopt a decision we make but rather a gift that we receive from God. We also believe that God’s grace is for minfants as well as adults. Therefore, it is not necessary for a person (such as an infant or one mentally handicapped) to be intellectually capable of “making a decision” in order to “have faith”.

    So, when a baby is baptized, we believe (to use your words) that this is a sacrament that results in the gift of faith. But, there are people who reject the Holy Spirit in later life. Our job, as the Church, is to preach God’s Word so that this does not happen, because it is the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word that keeps us in the faith, as well as bringing us to faith in the first place.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 41

    +1

    And there IS a faith that we are commanded to do and have as well. Lutherans call this “historical faith” . Even the devil has this faith. That is the faith that believes in such things as an infallible Bible, that christ rose from the dead, died for the sins of the world etc.

    But Lutherans say that this kind of faith is not what saving faith is. Saving faith is where one looks at the terrible preaching of the Law that is Christ crucified, and then the HS makes that terrifying Law into Gospel that comforts by informing our hearts of this one thing and telling is that we can be absolutely certain that it is true:

    “Christ died for YOU!”

    Note that Calvinists cannot declare this to anyone. So Calvinists do not have the Gospel as Lutherans define it. This is the point Larry is making by the way.

    Reformed have saving faith in spite of what they teach.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 41

    +1

    And there IS a faith that we are commanded to do and have as well. Lutherans call this “historical faith” . Even the devil has this faith. That is the faith that believes in such things as an infallible Bible, that christ rose from the dead, died for the sins of the world etc.

    But Lutherans say that this kind of faith is not what saving faith is. Saving faith is where one looks at the terrible preaching of the Law that is Christ crucified, and then the HS makes that terrifying Law into Gospel that comforts by informing our hearts of this one thing and telling is that we can be absolutely certain that it is true:

    “Christ died for YOU!”

    Note that Calvinists cannot declare this to anyone. So Calvinists do not have the Gospel as Lutherans define it. This is the point Larry is making by the way.

    Reformed have saving faith in spite of what they teach.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    John Halton, a Lutheran brother across the pond, wrote an excellent post on the difference between Calvinist and Lutheran understandings of salvation sola fide. It can be viewed here, and below, because I’m going to spam the feed with a big ol’ copy and paste. I think you’ll enjoy reading his thoughts. He’s much more polite than any of us, probably because he’s British…

    In a comments thread over on iMonk, Fr Al Kimel recommended a lecture by Phillip Cary (PDF) on the difference between Luther and Calvin in their understanding of “sola fide”.

    Having now read this lecture, I’m deeply grateful to Fr Kimel for the recommendation. It is a belter, especially the section in which Cary compares the standard Protestant understanding of sola fide with the more sacramental and catholic understanding of Luther.

    Cary, himself an Anglican, begins by pointing out that, while Luther and Calvin both taught that we are justified by faith alone (“sola fide”), there are fundamental differences in their understanding:

    [W]hen the rubber hits the road and it’s a question of how we stand before God, Luther typically thinks of a different set of Scriptural promises than Calvin does, a set of distinctively sacramental promises, which have a different logic from the kind of promises Calvin and most other Protestants think about when they speak of the promises of the Gospel.

    Cary summarises the usual Protestant approach to the promises of the gospel with what he terms “the Standard Protestant Syllogism”:

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

    What this leads to is a requirement for “reflective faith”. This syllogism requires us not only to believe, but to know we believe. The conditionality of the major premise means that “I am in no position to say the Gospel promise is about me until I can say, ‘I believe’”. Hence for most Protestants, being able to profess conscious belief is “a really big deal”.

    Luther’s syllogism, as identified by Cary, is strikingly different:

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

    The major premise is not only a word of Scripture, but is also “a sacramental word”, spoken to each of us personally by Christ, through the pastor, at our baptism. Hence it is not only a word of Christ in general, but “the word of Christ spoken to me in particular”, as an external word spoken at a particular time and in a particular place.

    Crucially, and in stark contrast to the standard Protestant syllogism, the major premise in Luther’s syllogism is unconditional:

    The promise applies to me because it says so: Christ says “you” and he means me. So the promise of the Gospel, on Luther’s reckoning, is inherently, unconditionally, for me.

    Faith does not make it so but merely recognizes that it is so, a recognition that happens because we dare not call Christ a liar when he tells us, on that one momentous occasion, “I baptize you…” That is why the minor premise is not about my faith but about the truth of Christ.

    Cary argues that this is where he thinks “Luther’s got it fundamentally right”:

    What faith says, fundamentally, is “God speaks the truth.” Only secondarily, and not fundamentally, faith may also say, “I believe.” But faith may also say, “My faith is weak” or “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” or “I have sinned in my unbelief and denied my Lord, like Peter the apostle.”

    Faith may confess its own unbelief. What it cannot do, if it is to remain faith at all, is stop clinging to the truth of God’s Word. For faith does not rely on faith, but on the Word of God.

    This has important pastoral consequences, particularly in relation to those who suffer doubt and despair about their faith (what Luther called Anfechtung):

    If you want to build people up in faith, you have to direct their attention to the Word of God, not to their faith. But don’t direct them to some general principle – direct them to their baptism, and remind them that when they were baptized it was Christ himself who, through the mouth of the minister, said “I baptize you” and he meant you in particular.

    As Cary continues:

    [It is] much easier to confess, “Christ is no liar” than to profess, “I believe” – especially if what that is supposed to mean is: “I have true faith in my heart, I truly, really trust in God,” etc. For this reflective faith, faith relying on itself, is how faith becomes a work, something we must do and accomplish in order to be saved.

    Like our works, our faith will never be “good enough” in itself. It will never be entirely strong, sincere and unreserved. However, this is no cause for despair:

    My faith is not good enough, but the one I have faith in is.

    Cary concludes this section of his lecture as follows:

    If you have to make a choice between the standard Protestant agony of conscience, where you must come somehow to the conclusion that you have true saving faith, and Luther’s agony of conscience, where the only question that really matters is whether God is telling you the truth – well, take Luther’s agony of conscience. It’s the right agony to have.

    And in one form or another, it is the agony you’ll inevitably struggle with if you start with Luther’s premises about the nature of the Gospel. Honestly, in the end the only question that really matters is whether Christ is telling the truth. And there are indeed many, many times we find that hard to believe. Every time we sin, in fact.

    This is why Article 5 of the Augsburg Confession (see previous post) is so important: because it enshrines this understanding that justification by faith must involve faith in an external, objective, trustworthy word of God, rather than an inward, individualistic focus on the state of my own heart. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4).

    Again, what I think this demonstrates is that faith, for a Calvinist, is self-referential. Not only do you need to believe in Christ, you need to know that you believe in Christ. This initiates a sort of infinite regression. Perhaps I’ve just read too much Dostoevsky, but it seems to me that it’s not possible to get this kind of certainty from introspection.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    John Halton, a Lutheran brother across the pond, wrote an excellent post on the difference between Calvinist and Lutheran understandings of salvation sola fide. It can be viewed here, and below, because I’m going to spam the feed with a big ol’ copy and paste. I think you’ll enjoy reading his thoughts. He’s much more polite than any of us, probably because he’s British…

    In a comments thread over on iMonk, Fr Al Kimel recommended a lecture by Phillip Cary (PDF) on the difference between Luther and Calvin in their understanding of “sola fide”.

    Having now read this lecture, I’m deeply grateful to Fr Kimel for the recommendation. It is a belter, especially the section in which Cary compares the standard Protestant understanding of sola fide with the more sacramental and catholic understanding of Luther.

    Cary, himself an Anglican, begins by pointing out that, while Luther and Calvin both taught that we are justified by faith alone (“sola fide”), there are fundamental differences in their understanding:

    [W]hen the rubber hits the road and it’s a question of how we stand before God, Luther typically thinks of a different set of Scriptural promises than Calvin does, a set of distinctively sacramental promises, which have a different logic from the kind of promises Calvin and most other Protestants think about when they speak of the promises of the Gospel.

    Cary summarises the usual Protestant approach to the promises of the gospel with what he terms “the Standard Protestant Syllogism”:

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

    What this leads to is a requirement for “reflective faith”. This syllogism requires us not only to believe, but to know we believe. The conditionality of the major premise means that “I am in no position to say the Gospel promise is about me until I can say, ‘I believe’”. Hence for most Protestants, being able to profess conscious belief is “a really big deal”.

    Luther’s syllogism, as identified by Cary, is strikingly different:

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

    The major premise is not only a word of Scripture, but is also “a sacramental word”, spoken to each of us personally by Christ, through the pastor, at our baptism. Hence it is not only a word of Christ in general, but “the word of Christ spoken to me in particular”, as an external word spoken at a particular time and in a particular place.

    Crucially, and in stark contrast to the standard Protestant syllogism, the major premise in Luther’s syllogism is unconditional:

    The promise applies to me because it says so: Christ says “you” and he means me. So the promise of the Gospel, on Luther’s reckoning, is inherently, unconditionally, for me.

    Faith does not make it so but merely recognizes that it is so, a recognition that happens because we dare not call Christ a liar when he tells us, on that one momentous occasion, “I baptize you…” That is why the minor premise is not about my faith but about the truth of Christ.

    Cary argues that this is where he thinks “Luther’s got it fundamentally right”:

    What faith says, fundamentally, is “God speaks the truth.” Only secondarily, and not fundamentally, faith may also say, “I believe.” But faith may also say, “My faith is weak” or “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” or “I have sinned in my unbelief and denied my Lord, like Peter the apostle.”

    Faith may confess its own unbelief. What it cannot do, if it is to remain faith at all, is stop clinging to the truth of God’s Word. For faith does not rely on faith, but on the Word of God.

    This has important pastoral consequences, particularly in relation to those who suffer doubt and despair about their faith (what Luther called Anfechtung):

    If you want to build people up in faith, you have to direct their attention to the Word of God, not to their faith. But don’t direct them to some general principle – direct them to their baptism, and remind them that when they were baptized it was Christ himself who, through the mouth of the minister, said “I baptize you” and he meant you in particular.

    As Cary continues:

    [It is] much easier to confess, “Christ is no liar” than to profess, “I believe” – especially if what that is supposed to mean is: “I have true faith in my heart, I truly, really trust in God,” etc. For this reflective faith, faith relying on itself, is how faith becomes a work, something we must do and accomplish in order to be saved.

    Like our works, our faith will never be “good enough” in itself. It will never be entirely strong, sincere and unreserved. However, this is no cause for despair:

    My faith is not good enough, but the one I have faith in is.

    Cary concludes this section of his lecture as follows:

    If you have to make a choice between the standard Protestant agony of conscience, where you must come somehow to the conclusion that you have true saving faith, and Luther’s agony of conscience, where the only question that really matters is whether God is telling you the truth – well, take Luther’s agony of conscience. It’s the right agony to have.

    And in one form or another, it is the agony you’ll inevitably struggle with if you start with Luther’s premises about the nature of the Gospel. Honestly, in the end the only question that really matters is whether Christ is telling the truth. And there are indeed many, many times we find that hard to believe. Every time we sin, in fact.

    This is why Article 5 of the Augsburg Confession (see previous post) is so important: because it enshrines this understanding that justification by faith must involve faith in an external, objective, trustworthy word of God, rather than an inward, individualistic focus on the state of my own heart. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4).

    Again, what I think this demonstrates is that faith, for a Calvinist, is self-referential. Not only do you need to believe in Christ, you need to know that you believe in Christ. This initiates a sort of infinite regression. Perhaps I’ve just read too much Dostoevsky, but it seems to me that it’s not possible to get this kind of certainty from introspection.

  • larry

    Frank is right, that’s always the point of departure, the “for you”. Calvinist cannot declare that in the particular and never do. They appeal to a generic “man” as it were but never TO and FOR you in the particular. They cannot pull a man out of the fieriest of trials when the devil accuses in dual murderous mode, “God doesn’t elect everyone, limits His atonement, reprobates some, and how do you know you have faith seeing that even the many can be fooled they are elect up until the point of death (something Calvin explicitly exposits in his commentary on Hebrews) so that even an “elect” person, so he/she thinks, may surely think they are elect only to find at the end they fall away and find out they were reprobate.
    Thus, the Calvinist cannot pull a man out of the devil’s fiery trials in such, whereby the Lutheran making a crystal clear distinction between Law and Gospel can do so by simply absolving “pro me” or with a, “You (fill in name) are forgiven whether you believe it or not”. In fact Luther says the blessed sacraments are for this very purpose.

    The Calvinist will advise, “look to Christ” but he will never absolve, “you (in particular) are forgiven by God and believe that my words are God’s words in reality and truth”. And point of order here is necessary, let us be clear, absolution is not a “Roman Catholic thing”, absolution is just another way to say Gospel. Just when Christ forgave the prostitute, and others, God ABSOLVED them Himself. The Pharisee’s too cried, “only God can forgive sin”, and thereby denying Christ’s forgiveness and thus God’s. The keys simply do not exist in Reformed or Baptist circles, much less the sacraments as actual sacraments and not some Reformed redefined version of them named “sacraments”.

    Another way a same word in syllables is spoken by both but mean totally opposite things. For Calvin and Calvinism a sign is the absence of the reality, i.e. a philosophical definition. Hence, “do not confuse the thing signified with the reality” in Reformed teaching. It comes from Calvin’s Consensus Tigurnus among other places. For Luther and our confessions a sign is a theological definition, meaning the actual and very presence of the thing signified. The same with the Word. Here the term “sign” is used by both but the definitions express two entirely different religions.

    When you press a Calvinist, a non-despairing one, “how is it that you yourself KNOW you are elect”. You will never get an answer and it wriggles all over the place. Usually some generalized statement about proof works of faith or faith itself. If you press harder, “what are these”, the list doesn’t manifest itself. It really boils to nothing different, much, than the Mormon’s “burning bossom”, and how dare you question my subjective determination that I’m elect.

    For Lutherans the answer is obvious, “I am baptized”. That’s faith expressing itself sola fide sola scriptura.
    The despairing amidst the Calvinist remain silent in despair because they are also scared to even open their mouths. They have become as Luther once described “frightened at the mere rustling of a leaf” so terrorized over their election (or not). They dare not reveal their doubt for a couple of reasons. They don’t want to express their doubts and/or they know for certain they are only going to get a law answer. Especially when one does not know if they believe or not. A Calvinist will tell them hoping to comfort them in their foolish doctrine, “if you believe then you are elect”. Such might as well shove them all the way into hell. The Lutheran snatches such a one from hell and opens heaven to them by saying, “you are forgiven whether you believe it or not”. For the forgiveness of God is not presupposed upon faith.
    As Luther aptly put it one must know that he has a gracious God for himself (aprior) or he can in no way believe.

    Calvinism at length extinguishes one from every pro me pronoun in the Scriptures. This does two critical things. Removes one from Christ. e.g. the golden chain in Romans 8 is only good news IF you are elect – Calvinism turns this Gospel into PURE Law. Which by the way shows the essential difference in Lutheran confession on predestination, Romans 8’s golden chain, and Calvin’s false teaching. Predestination is ONLY Gospel in Lutheran confessions, not so in Calvinism where it is pure Law. Second by removing the believer from the “pro me” pronoun and statements to such end it unauthorizes any Apostolic teachings therein. Finally and worse of all, it at length is in fact forces one to call God a liar. E.g. when Peter says, “Repent and be baptized all of YOU in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS of your sins, and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit…” the doctrine that says, “justification is not conferred in Baptism”, calls God a liar and forces the poor sole to do so by saying, “I’m not sure if its me”. Calling God a liar it bears false witness against him violating the 8th commandment, calling God’s name vain – the second commandment – by teaching a false doctrine in His name and saying His name does not confer justification, and finally the root of all the idolatry against the first commandment. All that with just one little doctrine, and that’s not even touching the surface of its denial of God’s Word everywhere. It denies Lord’s Prayer the opening “Our Father” and petitions 1, 2 and 3. It denies one the apostles Creed. It denies the Nicene creed “I recognize one baptism for the remission of sins”. And we have not hardly scratched the surface of this one simple false doctrine.

  • larry

    Frank is right, that’s always the point of departure, the “for you”. Calvinist cannot declare that in the particular and never do. They appeal to a generic “man” as it were but never TO and FOR you in the particular. They cannot pull a man out of the fieriest of trials when the devil accuses in dual murderous mode, “God doesn’t elect everyone, limits His atonement, reprobates some, and how do you know you have faith seeing that even the many can be fooled they are elect up until the point of death (something Calvin explicitly exposits in his commentary on Hebrews) so that even an “elect” person, so he/she thinks, may surely think they are elect only to find at the end they fall away and find out they were reprobate.
    Thus, the Calvinist cannot pull a man out of the devil’s fiery trials in such, whereby the Lutheran making a crystal clear distinction between Law and Gospel can do so by simply absolving “pro me” or with a, “You (fill in name) are forgiven whether you believe it or not”. In fact Luther says the blessed sacraments are for this very purpose.

    The Calvinist will advise, “look to Christ” but he will never absolve, “you (in particular) are forgiven by God and believe that my words are God’s words in reality and truth”. And point of order here is necessary, let us be clear, absolution is not a “Roman Catholic thing”, absolution is just another way to say Gospel. Just when Christ forgave the prostitute, and others, God ABSOLVED them Himself. The Pharisee’s too cried, “only God can forgive sin”, and thereby denying Christ’s forgiveness and thus God’s. The keys simply do not exist in Reformed or Baptist circles, much less the sacraments as actual sacraments and not some Reformed redefined version of them named “sacraments”.

    Another way a same word in syllables is spoken by both but mean totally opposite things. For Calvin and Calvinism a sign is the absence of the reality, i.e. a philosophical definition. Hence, “do not confuse the thing signified with the reality” in Reformed teaching. It comes from Calvin’s Consensus Tigurnus among other places. For Luther and our confessions a sign is a theological definition, meaning the actual and very presence of the thing signified. The same with the Word. Here the term “sign” is used by both but the definitions express two entirely different religions.

    When you press a Calvinist, a non-despairing one, “how is it that you yourself KNOW you are elect”. You will never get an answer and it wriggles all over the place. Usually some generalized statement about proof works of faith or faith itself. If you press harder, “what are these”, the list doesn’t manifest itself. It really boils to nothing different, much, than the Mormon’s “burning bossom”, and how dare you question my subjective determination that I’m elect.

    For Lutherans the answer is obvious, “I am baptized”. That’s faith expressing itself sola fide sola scriptura.
    The despairing amidst the Calvinist remain silent in despair because they are also scared to even open their mouths. They have become as Luther once described “frightened at the mere rustling of a leaf” so terrorized over their election (or not). They dare not reveal their doubt for a couple of reasons. They don’t want to express their doubts and/or they know for certain they are only going to get a law answer. Especially when one does not know if they believe or not. A Calvinist will tell them hoping to comfort them in their foolish doctrine, “if you believe then you are elect”. Such might as well shove them all the way into hell. The Lutheran snatches such a one from hell and opens heaven to them by saying, “you are forgiven whether you believe it or not”. For the forgiveness of God is not presupposed upon faith.
    As Luther aptly put it one must know that he has a gracious God for himself (aprior) or he can in no way believe.

    Calvinism at length extinguishes one from every pro me pronoun in the Scriptures. This does two critical things. Removes one from Christ. e.g. the golden chain in Romans 8 is only good news IF you are elect – Calvinism turns this Gospel into PURE Law. Which by the way shows the essential difference in Lutheran confession on predestination, Romans 8’s golden chain, and Calvin’s false teaching. Predestination is ONLY Gospel in Lutheran confessions, not so in Calvinism where it is pure Law. Second by removing the believer from the “pro me” pronoun and statements to such end it unauthorizes any Apostolic teachings therein. Finally and worse of all, it at length is in fact forces one to call God a liar. E.g. when Peter says, “Repent and be baptized all of YOU in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS of your sins, and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit…” the doctrine that says, “justification is not conferred in Baptism”, calls God a liar and forces the poor sole to do so by saying, “I’m not sure if its me”. Calling God a liar it bears false witness against him violating the 8th commandment, calling God’s name vain – the second commandment – by teaching a false doctrine in His name and saying His name does not confer justification, and finally the root of all the idolatry against the first commandment. All that with just one little doctrine, and that’s not even touching the surface of its denial of God’s Word everywhere. It denies Lord’s Prayer the opening “Our Father” and petitions 1, 2 and 3. It denies one the apostles Creed. It denies the Nicene creed “I recognize one baptism for the remission of sins”. And we have not hardly scratched the surface of this one simple false doctrine.

  • kerner

    Trent: +1!

    Everyone else too.

  • kerner

    Trent: +1!

    Everyone else too.

  • fws

    Lou @ 30

    btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:

    “For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” – Calvin

    Lou: Point to Christ is the most terrifying preachment of the Law.

    From “Law and Gospel ” in the Book of Concord:

    As to the revelation of sin, the veil of Moses hangs before the eyes of all men as long as they hear the bare preaching of the Law, and nothing concerning Christ, and therefore do not learn from the Law to perceive their sins aright, but either become presumptuous hypocrites [who swell with the opinion of their own righteousness] as the Pharisees, or despair like Juda.

    So Christ takes the Law into His hands, and explains it spiritually, Matt. 5:21ff ; Rom. 7:14.

    And thus the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners [ Rom. 1:18 ], how great it is; by this means they are directed [sent back] to the Law, and then first learn from it to know aright their sins-a knowledge which Moses never could have forced out of them.

    Comment: with the Reformed 3rd use, there is a Believer’s Law that does not terrify the conscience. So this part I just quoted is different than the Reformed teach.

    The preaching of the suffering and death of Christ, the Son of God, is an earnest and terrible proclamation and declaration of God’s wrath, whereby men are first led into the Law aright, after the veil of Moses has been removed from them, so that they first know aright how great things God in His Law requires of us, none of which we can observe, and therefore are to seek all our righteousness in Christ.

    So what Lutherans teach Lou is this: the SAME Word of God can be terrifying condemning Law or it can be sweet Gospel.

    What alone, turns the Cross into Gospel? It is when the terrified conscience is told this ” Christ died for YOU!”

    The Reformed cannot say this. And so pointing to Christ as Calvin says to do, for a sincere Reformed person, remains a terrifying preachment of the Law.

  • fws

    Lou @ 30

    btw- FWS, you missed the entire context of the Calvin quote, especially the part that followed that which you plucked out:

    “For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” – Calvin

    Lou: Point to Christ is the most terrifying preachment of the Law.

    From “Law and Gospel ” in the Book of Concord:

    As to the revelation of sin, the veil of Moses hangs before the eyes of all men as long as they hear the bare preaching of the Law, and nothing concerning Christ, and therefore do not learn from the Law to perceive their sins aright, but either become presumptuous hypocrites [who swell with the opinion of their own righteousness] as the Pharisees, or despair like Juda.

    So Christ takes the Law into His hands, and explains it spiritually, Matt. 5:21ff ; Rom. 7:14.

    And thus the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners [ Rom. 1:18 ], how great it is; by this means they are directed [sent back] to the Law, and then first learn from it to know aright their sins-a knowledge which Moses never could have forced out of them.

    Comment: with the Reformed 3rd use, there is a Believer’s Law that does not terrify the conscience. So this part I just quoted is different than the Reformed teach.

    The preaching of the suffering and death of Christ, the Son of God, is an earnest and terrible proclamation and declaration of God’s wrath, whereby men are first led into the Law aright, after the veil of Moses has been removed from them, so that they first know aright how great things God in His Law requires of us, none of which we can observe, and therefore are to seek all our righteousness in Christ.

    So what Lutherans teach Lou is this: the SAME Word of God can be terrifying condemning Law or it can be sweet Gospel.

    What alone, turns the Cross into Gospel? It is when the terrified conscience is told this ” Christ died for YOU!”

    The Reformed cannot say this. And so pointing to Christ as Calvin says to do, for a sincere Reformed person, remains a terrifying preachment of the Law.

  • fws

    Lou, read Trents post @ 43

    Cary really captures the difference in the way Lutherans and Calvinists talk about faith

    And if you connect the dots you will then see why perseverance in the faith is not a burning issue for Lutherans. We can exchange some more posts if you dont catch that part.

  • fws

    Lou, read Trents post @ 43

    Cary really captures the difference in the way Lutherans and Calvinists talk about faith

    And if you connect the dots you will then see why perseverance in the faith is not a burning issue for Lutherans. We can exchange some more posts if you dont catch that part.

  • JH

    I’m the “layest” of laymen, but I have hung out with some FVers over the past couple years. They’re my favorite presby’s doctrinally. no doubt about it. And they shame us with their adoption and our rejection of paedocommunion.

  • JH

    I’m the “layest” of laymen, but I have hung out with some FVers over the past couple years. They’re my favorite presby’s doctrinally. no doubt about it. And they shame us with their adoption and our rejection of paedocommunion.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ JH: Are you John Halton? If so, I love your blog, sir, and commend you for keeping it!

    If not…

    I love John Halton’s blog, sir, and commend him for keeping it!

    I also think I agree with you about paedocommunion. Although this runs the risk of opening another can of worms far afield from the original topic (how’s that for a mixed metaphor? Maybe we’re going fishing…), I think that if we baptize infants because they, like we adults, are sinners who need to be regenerated by water and the Word, we ought also to give them the Eucharist, as it is the food which sustains the new life they have received at the font, i.e., it is the truest food and drink, the very Bread of Heaven. We need not rationally understand baptism to receive the gift it imparts; why do we need to understand Our Lord’s Supper rationally to receive it?

    I, however, would save my commendation for the Eastern Orthodox here, and not the Federal Visionists, as the latter reject anything even approaching the Apostolic doctrine of the Eucharist, and by these lights cannot really be said to have communion, let alone paedocommunion. The Eastern Church, for all its faults, never did depart from a faithful confession of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, i.e., never had to deal with scholasticism, Thomist baptizing of Aristotle, transubstantiation, et alii, and they practice paedocommunion.

    Intinction for infants! Bread of Life for babies! Can a Lutheran please comment on why this would be wrong? Not being rhetorical or flippant — I really would like to know if there’s a good reason.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ JH: Are you John Halton? If so, I love your blog, sir, and commend you for keeping it!

    If not…

    I love John Halton’s blog, sir, and commend him for keeping it!

    I also think I agree with you about paedocommunion. Although this runs the risk of opening another can of worms far afield from the original topic (how’s that for a mixed metaphor? Maybe we’re going fishing…), I think that if we baptize infants because they, like we adults, are sinners who need to be regenerated by water and the Word, we ought also to give them the Eucharist, as it is the food which sustains the new life they have received at the font, i.e., it is the truest food and drink, the very Bread of Heaven. We need not rationally understand baptism to receive the gift it imparts; why do we need to understand Our Lord’s Supper rationally to receive it?

    I, however, would save my commendation for the Eastern Orthodox here, and not the Federal Visionists, as the latter reject anything even approaching the Apostolic doctrine of the Eucharist, and by these lights cannot really be said to have communion, let alone paedocommunion. The Eastern Church, for all its faults, never did depart from a faithful confession of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, i.e., never had to deal with scholasticism, Thomist baptizing of Aristotle, transubstantiation, et alii, and they practice paedocommunion.

    Intinction for infants! Bread of Life for babies! Can a Lutheran please comment on why this would be wrong? Not being rhetorical or flippant — I really would like to know if there’s a good reason.

  • fws

    Trent @ 49

    1) Saint Paul says that a person is to examine himself to commune.
    2) The Lutheran Confessions declare that the Lutheran Churches do not commune anyone unless they have first been examined and absolved.
    3) The Administration of Word and Sacrament and Doctrine are Laws for the Church. They are things that we do by Christ’s Command and Institution and by Apostolic Order. ALL we can see and do here is Law, law, law. And God will punish us for not doing it as he has commanded.

    So even though there is an internal logic to paedobaptism… (baptized babies believe, the Blessed Sacrament strengthens faith etc.) we are better to follow apostolic command rather than a reason-able argument and thus end up making the mistake of Saul of sacrificing rather than obeying. (1 samuel 15).
    4) The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. ALL we can see and do on earth is Law. They are things that are extorted out of us by the Law. So ALL we can see and do falls into the Romans 8 category of “flesh/body” things that will perish. This especially includes ALL we can see and do in Church!

    The Holy Spirit works faith “in, with and under” the Blessed Sacraments and Absolution and the Church. It does not happen by what we do or do not do. We can follow the Apostolic instructions on the Holy Supper and trust that the Holy Spirit will not be at a loss to do His Work. We don’t need to worry and help him out by doing what seems reasonable when pastors , as rulers of the Church are ordered to ensure that those who commune are able to examine themselves.

  • fws

    Trent @ 49

    1) Saint Paul says that a person is to examine himself to commune.
    2) The Lutheran Confessions declare that the Lutheran Churches do not commune anyone unless they have first been examined and absolved.
    3) The Administration of Word and Sacrament and Doctrine are Laws for the Church. They are things that we do by Christ’s Command and Institution and by Apostolic Order. ALL we can see and do here is Law, law, law. And God will punish us for not doing it as he has commanded.

    So even though there is an internal logic to paedobaptism… (baptized babies believe, the Blessed Sacrament strengthens faith etc.) we are better to follow apostolic command rather than a reason-able argument and thus end up making the mistake of Saul of sacrificing rather than obeying. (1 samuel 15).
    4) The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. ALL we can see and do on earth is Law. They are things that are extorted out of us by the Law. So ALL we can see and do falls into the Romans 8 category of “flesh/body” things that will perish. This especially includes ALL we can see and do in Church!

    The Holy Spirit works faith “in, with and under” the Blessed Sacraments and Absolution and the Church. It does not happen by what we do or do not do. We can follow the Apostolic instructions on the Holy Supper and trust that the Holy Spirit will not be at a loss to do His Work. We don’t need to worry and help him out by doing what seems reasonable when pastors , as rulers of the Church are ordered to ensure that those who commune are able to examine themselves.

  • fws

    Trent @ 49

    There is another point to consider. Lutherans consider that God has established 3 orders in the Earthly Kingdom where he produces earthly Goodness and Mercy by driving it through the Law.
    These 3 orders or ordos are family , church and society.

    Note that what I am saying here is that Lutherans believe that the Holy Catholic Church (ie the visible church as opposed to the invisible Communion of Saints) is an earthly form of government in EXACTLY the same sense that family and societal government is government. In this church, Doctrine is the Law of the Land that everyone must learn and obey. It is good for the rulers of that government to order uniform practices to further peace and unity.

    I would not be in favor of a pastor deciding on his own to start the practice of paedocommunion. It is better to work towards consensus on church practices for so very many practical reasons of mutual christian love among the congregations that make up a church body. This is a very weighty consideration I suggest.

  • fws

    Trent @ 49

    There is another point to consider. Lutherans consider that God has established 3 orders in the Earthly Kingdom where he produces earthly Goodness and Mercy by driving it through the Law.
    These 3 orders or ordos are family , church and society.

    Note that what I am saying here is that Lutherans believe that the Holy Catholic Church (ie the visible church as opposed to the invisible Communion of Saints) is an earthly form of government in EXACTLY the same sense that family and societal government is government. In this church, Doctrine is the Law of the Land that everyone must learn and obey. It is good for the rulers of that government to order uniform practices to further peace and unity.

    I would not be in favor of a pastor deciding on his own to start the practice of paedocommunion. It is better to work towards consensus on church practices for so very many practical reasons of mutual christian love among the congregations that make up a church body. This is a very weighty consideration I suggest.

  • Lou

    FWS, Larry, Trent, et al. I’ve actually found this thread to be very enlightening and helpful in attempts to better understand Lutheranism. I do appreciate the exchange. However, I feel I have exhausted my own lay knowledge and though hopeful that another true theologian would come along in defense of Calvin, it appears obvious that no such man shall come forth. I would entreat you to follow Adrian Keister’s advice and seek out his brother’s blog, if you also are interested in learning more about the topic of discussion, ie, Federal Vision.
    I do appreciate all of the background and information on Lutheranism and hope that you too might appreciate the Reformed just a smidge more through all of these exchanges….
    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26
    Lou

  • Lou

    FWS, Larry, Trent, et al. I’ve actually found this thread to be very enlightening and helpful in attempts to better understand Lutheranism. I do appreciate the exchange. However, I feel I have exhausted my own lay knowledge and though hopeful that another true theologian would come along in defense of Calvin, it appears obvious that no such man shall come forth. I would entreat you to follow Adrian Keister’s advice and seek out his brother’s blog, if you also are interested in learning more about the topic of discussion, ie, Federal Vision.
    I do appreciate all of the background and information on Lutheranism and hope that you too might appreciate the Reformed just a smidge more through all of these exchanges….
    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26
    Lou

  • Lou

    Oh, yes. Trent @43 — thanks for the Cary quote and FWS thanks for pointing me to it.

  • Lou

    Oh, yes. Trent @43 — thanks for the Cary quote and FWS thanks for pointing me to it.

  • JH

    @49:
    No, i’m not John Halton, but I think i’ll check out his blog :)

    And I agree about the EO Church, they deserve great commendation for their practice.

    @50:
    I guess the EO and RC (until the 13th century) had it wrong all along about paedocommunion. We practice it uniformly for 1300 years (and 4 out of the original 5 patriarchates STILL do- along with the oriental orthodox) and then suddenly some papists figure out what Paul meant ALL ALONG. good logic.

  • JH

    @49:
    No, i’m not John Halton, but I think i’ll check out his blog :)

    And I agree about the EO Church, they deserve great commendation for their practice.

    @50:
    I guess the EO and RC (until the 13th century) had it wrong all along about paedocommunion. We practice it uniformly for 1300 years (and 4 out of the original 5 patriarchates STILL do- along with the oriental orthodox) and then suddenly some papists figure out what Paul meant ALL ALONG. good logic.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Lou,

    I don’t know you, but your words show you to be a brother in Christ, and a charitable and civil one, at that. I do appreciate the Reformed, immensely. Those faithful Reformed churches are truly sisters to our Lutheran congregations — and for all his critiques, Hermann Sasse was wont to defend them as such in his 1938 monograph, Here We Stand: Nature and Character of the Lutheran Faith — opposing the grievous errors of the Roman Church and confessing Christ as our sole mediator and propitiation for sin. I pray that nothing I have said overshadows the respect and appreciation I have for the Reformed. If anything that I, personally, have written here belies that, then please forgive me, and let this comment be my last word.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Lou,

    I don’t know you, but your words show you to be a brother in Christ, and a charitable and civil one, at that. I do appreciate the Reformed, immensely. Those faithful Reformed churches are truly sisters to our Lutheran congregations — and for all his critiques, Hermann Sasse was wont to defend them as such in his 1938 monograph, Here We Stand: Nature and Character of the Lutheran Faith — opposing the grievous errors of the Roman Church and confessing Christ as our sole mediator and propitiation for sin. I pray that nothing I have said overshadows the respect and appreciation I have for the Reformed. If anything that I, personally, have written here belies that, then please forgive me, and let this comment be my last word.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    You write:

    I would not be in favor of a pastor deciding on his own to start the practice of paedocommunion. It is better to work towards consensus on church practices for so very many practical reasons of mutual christian love among the congregations that make up a church body. This is a very weighty consideration I suggest.

    I agree wholeheartedly, but would add that I do not think that the credenda you set forth in #50 (“Saint Paul says that a person is to examine himself to commune”; “The Lutheran Confessions declare that the Lutheran Churches do not commune anyone unless they have first been examined and absolved”) necessarily exclude infants — that is, I think Paul speaks more to what the end result of one’s examination of oneself must be, i.e., one must confess that Christ is truly, physically present with His Body and His Blood in the Sacrament in order to commune. If faith confesses, and the truest confession of faith is not rational, but participatory, and babies have this faith…and if Christ is the Bread of Life which we must eat, or have no life in us…and since what JH points out in #54 is a matter of historical record, and true…

    It just seems that we should no more withhold the Sacrament from a baptized child than we should withhold breastmilk — and, later, solid food — from a newborn. There I go using my reason again. But the East don’t use reason, and they do it, so what gives?

    1300 years…that’s a long time.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    You write:

    I would not be in favor of a pastor deciding on his own to start the practice of paedocommunion. It is better to work towards consensus on church practices for so very many practical reasons of mutual christian love among the congregations that make up a church body. This is a very weighty consideration I suggest.

    I agree wholeheartedly, but would add that I do not think that the credenda you set forth in #50 (“Saint Paul says that a person is to examine himself to commune”; “The Lutheran Confessions declare that the Lutheran Churches do not commune anyone unless they have first been examined and absolved”) necessarily exclude infants — that is, I think Paul speaks more to what the end result of one’s examination of oneself must be, i.e., one must confess that Christ is truly, physically present with His Body and His Blood in the Sacrament in order to commune. If faith confesses, and the truest confession of faith is not rational, but participatory, and babies have this faith…and if Christ is the Bread of Life which we must eat, or have no life in us…and since what JH points out in #54 is a matter of historical record, and true…

    It just seems that we should no more withhold the Sacrament from a baptized child than we should withhold breastmilk — and, later, solid food — from a newborn. There I go using my reason again. But the East don’t use reason, and they do it, so what gives?

    1300 years…that’s a long time.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Dr. Veith, if you’re reading this…

    Sorry for hijacking your comment feed.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    Dr. Veith, if you’re reading this…

    Sorry for hijacking your comment feed.

  • larry

    Trent,

    Kudos and ditto on Carey, he does some great work. He does a very nice job in the latest issue of Logia peeling apart the difference between Augustine and Luther, something Luther identified himself late in life.

    Frank you have succinctly nailed it: “So what Lutherans teach Lou is this: the SAME Word of God can be terrifying condemning Law or it can be sweet Gospel…What alone, turns the Cross into Gospel? It is when the terrified conscience is told this ” Christ died for YOU!”

    This is a point even the best “Lutheran leaning ones” like Dr. Horton even miss concerning the Law Gospel light. It was a couple of years before I heard that real distinction. It was at first a new concept per se to hear that imperative/command versus promise distinction, but it was REALLY a bright light to learn the distinction is much deeper, if you will, and brighter than that. It first hit me when Luther could see the Gospel in the first commandment, hear it that way. It hit like a bolt of lightening that day for me. The L/G distinction is not just a grammatical categorization whereby we can rustle through Scripture and gather up all commands/imperatives into one pile and then all promises into another pile, but the EFFECT of the Word on the hearer. The effect, Law versus Gospel, can be either Law OR Gospel in a single passage.

    E.g. take a normally understood Law passage like the first commandment, “I am the Lord you God Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of bondage, you shall have no other gods beside/in front of Me.” On face value its Law, but Luther also recognized its Gospel. One can hear it a Law convicting sin against and thus it is Law, or one can hear it as a certain promise of justification FOR ME/YOU (pro me) and thus forgiveness of sins, including the very sin against it!

    Similarly, John 3:16, normally heard as a Gospel passage, and it is. But it can be heard as the strictest Law of all convicting of unbelief or untrust, and thus killing. The old man hears one way, the new another if you will.

    Thus, as you point out without the promise going “pro me”, all the “pointings in the world toward Christ” from Calvin, et. al., because of the underlying base doctrine, become shear terrifying Law. This why the Reformed as a system of doctrine and theology MASSIVELY confounds Law and Gospel all over the place. After all even the very papal system “pointed the convicted to Christ” but it was pure Law. Here the Reformed have said nothing Rome didn’t already say.

    Here’s an oft offered “comfort” by Reformed pastors theologian (it’s a direct quote from one of their best) concerning the searing trial question of ‘how do I know I’m elect’ (it is very often given and one MUST keep in mind the non-pro me sacramental system it functions in, what is believed by the hearer. You have to ‘take off your Lutheran ears’ and baseline understanding of the sacraments and pretend you believe the non-pro me of their sacraments, because you cannot go to them and say, “I am baptized”): “How do I know I’m elect”, asks the despairing soul. Answer: “If you believe these things, then you are elect.” That “comfort” just pushed that person further toward the abyss of hell and the second death (the real death). Note two things: how there is no “for me” in this and it is left in a general statement with a question mark implied. And its conditional implication. The despairing is wondering, “do I REALLY believe and thus REALLY am elect”. The Lutheran immediately sees the confounding of Law Gospel here and the dire soul murdering going on. The Lutheran gives the pro me, it could be “you are baptized and thus certain” or “you are forgiven whether you believe it or not” (that’s a faith causing/strengthening statement, not against it” (again Law versus Gospel are effect not grammar). Or could be Luther’s famous, “Devil I don’t care whether I am elect or not, you fly up to heaven and inquire of God you are so concerned, I am baptized.” Of course that presuppose the right and true doctrine on baptism in order to use baptism as Gospel in the first place.

    Luther said if there is no pro me, and that means in the particular to the man and not just a generic category of ‘all men’ or ‘some men’, then there has not been any Gospel preached at all, nor heard. Here we see where the rubber meets the road in the Reformed doctrines, as they eschew any pro me in the broad Gospel statements such as “behold the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” via “only the elect”; and no pro me in baptism by saying “justification is not conferred; and likewise with the Lord’s Supper they deny both the forgiveness of sin and the body and blood of Christ real and truly give; and there is no “pro me” absolution either. Thus, when all is said and done according to the doctrines that are distinctly Reformed, they are thoroughly antichristic because the Gospel is shut down at every turn of doctrine. Now that true Christians do come to faith in such is merely a testament that in as much as the Word of God is expressed and heard APART from the doctrine, the Word works even in such hell. Kind of like the “green convert” that is in a Baptist church and hears that “this baptism saves you” having read that scripture and has not heard and/or digested the Baptist actual doctrine on that issue – a kind of blessed ignorance in such situations.

  • larry

    Trent,

    Kudos and ditto on Carey, he does some great work. He does a very nice job in the latest issue of Logia peeling apart the difference between Augustine and Luther, something Luther identified himself late in life.

    Frank you have succinctly nailed it: “So what Lutherans teach Lou is this: the SAME Word of God can be terrifying condemning Law or it can be sweet Gospel…What alone, turns the Cross into Gospel? It is when the terrified conscience is told this ” Christ died for YOU!”

    This is a point even the best “Lutheran leaning ones” like Dr. Horton even miss concerning the Law Gospel light. It was a couple of years before I heard that real distinction. It was at first a new concept per se to hear that imperative/command versus promise distinction, but it was REALLY a bright light to learn the distinction is much deeper, if you will, and brighter than that. It first hit me when Luther could see the Gospel in the first commandment, hear it that way. It hit like a bolt of lightening that day for me. The L/G distinction is not just a grammatical categorization whereby we can rustle through Scripture and gather up all commands/imperatives into one pile and then all promises into another pile, but the EFFECT of the Word on the hearer. The effect, Law versus Gospel, can be either Law OR Gospel in a single passage.

    E.g. take a normally understood Law passage like the first commandment, “I am the Lord you God Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of bondage, you shall have no other gods beside/in front of Me.” On face value its Law, but Luther also recognized its Gospel. One can hear it a Law convicting sin against and thus it is Law, or one can hear it as a certain promise of justification FOR ME/YOU (pro me) and thus forgiveness of sins, including the very sin against it!

    Similarly, John 3:16, normally heard as a Gospel passage, and it is. But it can be heard as the strictest Law of all convicting of unbelief or untrust, and thus killing. The old man hears one way, the new another if you will.

    Thus, as you point out without the promise going “pro me”, all the “pointings in the world toward Christ” from Calvin, et. al., because of the underlying base doctrine, become shear terrifying Law. This why the Reformed as a system of doctrine and theology MASSIVELY confounds Law and Gospel all over the place. After all even the very papal system “pointed the convicted to Christ” but it was pure Law. Here the Reformed have said nothing Rome didn’t already say.

    Here’s an oft offered “comfort” by Reformed pastors theologian (it’s a direct quote from one of their best) concerning the searing trial question of ‘how do I know I’m elect’ (it is very often given and one MUST keep in mind the non-pro me sacramental system it functions in, what is believed by the hearer. You have to ‘take off your Lutheran ears’ and baseline understanding of the sacraments and pretend you believe the non-pro me of their sacraments, because you cannot go to them and say, “I am baptized”): “How do I know I’m elect”, asks the despairing soul. Answer: “If you believe these things, then you are elect.” That “comfort” just pushed that person further toward the abyss of hell and the second death (the real death). Note two things: how there is no “for me” in this and it is left in a general statement with a question mark implied. And its conditional implication. The despairing is wondering, “do I REALLY believe and thus REALLY am elect”. The Lutheran immediately sees the confounding of Law Gospel here and the dire soul murdering going on. The Lutheran gives the pro me, it could be “you are baptized and thus certain” or “you are forgiven whether you believe it or not” (that’s a faith causing/strengthening statement, not against it” (again Law versus Gospel are effect not grammar). Or could be Luther’s famous, “Devil I don’t care whether I am elect or not, you fly up to heaven and inquire of God you are so concerned, I am baptized.” Of course that presuppose the right and true doctrine on baptism in order to use baptism as Gospel in the first place.

    Luther said if there is no pro me, and that means in the particular to the man and not just a generic category of ‘all men’ or ‘some men’, then there has not been any Gospel preached at all, nor heard. Here we see where the rubber meets the road in the Reformed doctrines, as they eschew any pro me in the broad Gospel statements such as “behold the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” via “only the elect”; and no pro me in baptism by saying “justification is not conferred; and likewise with the Lord’s Supper they deny both the forgiveness of sin and the body and blood of Christ real and truly give; and there is no “pro me” absolution either. Thus, when all is said and done according to the doctrines that are distinctly Reformed, they are thoroughly antichristic because the Gospel is shut down at every turn of doctrine. Now that true Christians do come to faith in such is merely a testament that in as much as the Word of God is expressed and heard APART from the doctrine, the Word works even in such hell. Kind of like the “green convert” that is in a Baptist church and hears that “this baptism saves you” having read that scripture and has not heard and/or digested the Baptist actual doctrine on that issue – a kind of blessed ignorance in such situations.

  • fws

    Trent @56

    Well now. You are raising yet another issue here. That issue is the one that is Holy Tradition. If you have access to it, I would urge you to go get Martin Chemnitz excellent “Examination of the Coucil of Trent”. There Chemnitz ably discusses 8 levels of tradition.

    I would urge you to note that Chemnitz fully embraces 7 of those 8 levels.

    Then I would note, sadly so, that you would not get this same take on Holy Tradition from most Lutherans. I am saying that you have a high view of Holy Tradition that is very, very Lutheran indeed. And y0u would not need to jettison these views in order to remain in agreement with our Lutheran Confessions. After all Chemnitz was the editor of the Book of Concord.

    At the same time dear Trent… I would urge you to go read that section and then come back to me and we can discuss the implications of those 1300 years of tradition you seem to say is in contradiction to Western Catholicism’s practice today. If you would like my email it is fwsonnek@gmail.com

    Bless you!

  • fws

    Trent @56

    Well now. You are raising yet another issue here. That issue is the one that is Holy Tradition. If you have access to it, I would urge you to go get Martin Chemnitz excellent “Examination of the Coucil of Trent”. There Chemnitz ably discusses 8 levels of tradition.

    I would urge you to note that Chemnitz fully embraces 7 of those 8 levels.

    Then I would note, sadly so, that you would not get this same take on Holy Tradition from most Lutherans. I am saying that you have a high view of Holy Tradition that is very, very Lutheran indeed. And y0u would not need to jettison these views in order to remain in agreement with our Lutheran Confessions. After all Chemnitz was the editor of the Book of Concord.

    At the same time dear Trent… I would urge you to go read that section and then come back to me and we can discuss the implications of those 1300 years of tradition you seem to say is in contradiction to Western Catholicism’s practice today. If you would like my email it is fwsonnek@gmail.com

    Bless you!

  • fws

    Trent @ 57

    It happens all the time here! and it leads to some great discussions…. Veith’s site is like no other….

  • fws

    Trent @ 57

    It happens all the time here! and it leads to some great discussions…. Veith’s site is like no other….

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Thanks much. I thought “FWS” stood for Ft. Wayne Seminary until your post @59.

    I am much enamored of Chemnitz and am working through Vol. I of the Examen right now, actually! You have inspired me to dig into it some more. Thanks, again.

    + VDMA

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Thanks much. I thought “FWS” stood for Ft. Wayne Seminary until your post @59.

    I am much enamored of Chemnitz and am working through Vol. I of the Examen right now, actually! You have inspired me to dig into it some more. Thanks, again.

    + VDMA

  • Martin J

    Larry,
    While your stance continues to make it obvious that you have not tried to understand the reformed faith or Calvin’s teachings, in my opinion, it also betrays your view of baptism, sir, is a form of idolatry. If you had understood aright, you would have stated reformed beliefs in terms with which a reformed person would concur. However, you continue to smear the views of the reformed, charging them with heresy and all manner of accusation, with nary a reference to the esteemed work of Martin Luther himself. A sad commentary on contemporary Lutheranism, if these are views widely held to by the denomination’s adherents, IMO.

  • Martin J

    Larry,
    While your stance continues to make it obvious that you have not tried to understand the reformed faith or Calvin’s teachings, in my opinion, it also betrays your view of baptism, sir, is a form of idolatry. If you had understood aright, you would have stated reformed beliefs in terms with which a reformed person would concur. However, you continue to smear the views of the reformed, charging them with heresy and all manner of accusation, with nary a reference to the esteemed work of Martin Luther himself. A sad commentary on contemporary Lutheranism, if these are views widely held to by the denomination’s adherents, IMO.

  • Martin J

    “If you believe these things”
    What are “these things?” That Christ Died For You. The he took the payment for all your sins when he died on the cross.
    That’s the “For You” that reformed, lutheran, baptist, whoever, trust in.

    Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
    Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
    Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “by Christ alone”)
    Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)
    Sola scriptura

    Caio,
    M.J.

  • Martin J

    “If you believe these things”
    What are “these things?” That Christ Died For You. The he took the payment for all your sins when he died on the cross.
    That’s the “For You” that reformed, lutheran, baptist, whoever, trust in.

    Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
    Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
    Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “by Christ alone”)
    Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)
    Sola scriptura

    Caio,
    M.J.

  • kerner

    Martin J:

    Whoa there cowboy! If Larry’s testimony is true, he must have tried to understand Calvinist theology, because he attended a reformed church where it was taught. Now, if you think he’s got it wrong, please straighten us out, and we can discuss “reformed beliefs in terms with which a reformed person would concur”. And we’ll keep right on with this conversation.

  • kerner

    Martin J:

    Whoa there cowboy! If Larry’s testimony is true, he must have tried to understand Calvinist theology, because he attended a reformed church where it was taught. Now, if you think he’s got it wrong, please straighten us out, and we can discuss “reformed beliefs in terms with which a reformed person would concur”. And we’ll keep right on with this conversation.

  • fws

    Trent @ 61

    I am so glad you are reading Chemnitz. You will note that we modern Lutherans have lost alot of the sense of things that he and the earlier Lutherans had. And that sense was much more reverent of Holy Tradition. And Chemnitz was more clear at the same time exactly where Rome and the Orthodox have departed from the Apostolic teachings.

    I would urge you Trent to peel things back a little further. I would urge you to focus more on the Apology to the Augsburg Confession. The problem there is that it is a rich and complex document and the english translations that are really germanglish dont help at all.

    You would do well to sit down and try to outline for yourself, in your own words, what the progression of their presentation is there. I suggest that the Apology is where you will find the basis for Chemnitz thinking. And it is a very catholic basis indeed. It is one that can even say it is true that “we are saved by works” and not find that in contradiction to being saved , alone, by faith in Christ.

    The Apology homes in on the meat of the matter that addresses the problems with both Rome and the EO.

    We modern christians like Chemnitz because he presents things in the scholastic format we are all accustomed to see things presented in.

    Chemnitz had good reason for using this form in that all the parties he was dialoging with, including Lutheran pastors almost all trained by Melancthon used this format.

    I am not at all certain that the Lutheran part of the Holy Catholic Church was best served by those who continued to use the scholastic Loci format that Chemnitz continued from Melancthon. Form usually eventually drives content. I think around the time of Gerhart this scholastic form started to overwhelm the content…..

  • fws

    Trent @ 61

    I am so glad you are reading Chemnitz. You will note that we modern Lutherans have lost alot of the sense of things that he and the earlier Lutherans had. And that sense was much more reverent of Holy Tradition. And Chemnitz was more clear at the same time exactly where Rome and the Orthodox have departed from the Apostolic teachings.

    I would urge you Trent to peel things back a little further. I would urge you to focus more on the Apology to the Augsburg Confession. The problem there is that it is a rich and complex document and the english translations that are really germanglish dont help at all.

    You would do well to sit down and try to outline for yourself, in your own words, what the progression of their presentation is there. I suggest that the Apology is where you will find the basis for Chemnitz thinking. And it is a very catholic basis indeed. It is one that can even say it is true that “we are saved by works” and not find that in contradiction to being saved , alone, by faith in Christ.

    The Apology homes in on the meat of the matter that addresses the problems with both Rome and the EO.

    We modern christians like Chemnitz because he presents things in the scholastic format we are all accustomed to see things presented in.

    Chemnitz had good reason for using this form in that all the parties he was dialoging with, including Lutheran pastors almost all trained by Melancthon used this format.

    I am not at all certain that the Lutheran part of the Holy Catholic Church was best served by those who continued to use the scholastic Loci format that Chemnitz continued from Melancthon. Form usually eventually drives content. I think around the time of Gerhart this scholastic form started to overwhelm the content…..

  • fws

    Martin J @ 62 and @63

    I will grant that Larry can seem sorta like a flame thrower or like trying to take a drink from a firehydrant. Ok. But what he is saying is extremely valuable nonetheless. And that is this Martin:

    Larry is suggesting that Refomed use the same terminology as Lutherans do and as Luther did, and yet they mean something quite different by those same terms.

    I believe that Larry is right Martin J. You do not. Ok. I get that. But I would suggest that this is not cause to be offended.

    If Larry is right, can you imagine just how hard it is to overcome this and show that the same words mean something quite different to a Lutheran and a Calvinist? It is not easy to demonstrate.

    Please trust that brother Larry is not nitpicking or trying to create a controversy or enflame an argument where there is really only a trivial difference. We Lutherans agree with Larry.

    I would suggest that you Calvinists can only hold the view that Luther was really a Calvinist more than Lutherans think only if you simply dont let Luther be Luther.

    Examples of this:

    If you don’t understand why it is that Luther was so very obstinate and adamant about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, then you just dont understand Luther.

    Even in the bondage of the Will, the Reformed dont see Original Sin as Luther saw it. We Lutherans don’t think that Reformed Total Depravity gets at just how depraved man is. And for that reason we see you not get at the full Depth of the Holy Gospel either. If one does not get the Law right, that means that the Gospel won’t be right either.

    It is for that reason martin J that you should be struck by the fact that ab0ut 80% of the Lutheran Confessions talk about the Law of God. Isnt that sort of strange for a group that says Grace Alone is the cornerstone of their entire theology? So why is that? Lutherans say that Old Adam and Reason will always only see the Law as veiled by the Veil of Moses. So there needs to be alot of time tearing all that Old Adam edifice down.

  • fws

    Martin J @ 62 and @63

    I will grant that Larry can seem sorta like a flame thrower or like trying to take a drink from a firehydrant. Ok. But what he is saying is extremely valuable nonetheless. And that is this Martin:

    Larry is suggesting that Refomed use the same terminology as Lutherans do and as Luther did, and yet they mean something quite different by those same terms.

    I believe that Larry is right Martin J. You do not. Ok. I get that. But I would suggest that this is not cause to be offended.

    If Larry is right, can you imagine just how hard it is to overcome this and show that the same words mean something quite different to a Lutheran and a Calvinist? It is not easy to demonstrate.

    Please trust that brother Larry is not nitpicking or trying to create a controversy or enflame an argument where there is really only a trivial difference. We Lutherans agree with Larry.

    I would suggest that you Calvinists can only hold the view that Luther was really a Calvinist more than Lutherans think only if you simply dont let Luther be Luther.

    Examples of this:

    If you don’t understand why it is that Luther was so very obstinate and adamant about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, then you just dont understand Luther.

    Even in the bondage of the Will, the Reformed dont see Original Sin as Luther saw it. We Lutherans don’t think that Reformed Total Depravity gets at just how depraved man is. And for that reason we see you not get at the full Depth of the Holy Gospel either. If one does not get the Law right, that means that the Gospel won’t be right either.

    It is for that reason martin J that you should be struck by the fact that ab0ut 80% of the Lutheran Confessions talk about the Law of God. Isnt that sort of strange for a group that says Grace Alone is the cornerstone of their entire theology? So why is that? Lutherans say that Old Adam and Reason will always only see the Law as veiled by the Veil of Moses. So there needs to be alot of time tearing all that Old Adam edifice down.

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

    Lou, @36
    neith Calvinists nor Arminians know what to make of Lutheranism. (I suspect because they don’t know how to take God’s word for what it says, and leave it at that.) However, we are outside the pingpong match that you and arminians have.
    We are quite distince from Arminians in that we believe faith is a gift. That it is not of our own doing, our own reason, our own strength, that we do not “make a decision for Christ, but he makes a decision for us. Befroe we are converted we are dead, children of the wrath of God etc. just as Ephesians says. And dead people simply can’t do anything but decompose. However, given the parable of the sower, and to a lesser extent, for me anyway, as I hold the antilegomena at arms lenght like Luther, Hebrews 6, as Kerner mentioned above, but also other verses, the talents come to mind, we do believe a person who has faith is quite capable of losing faith, denying thier baptism. God doesn’t turn his back on us, but we are quite capable of turning our back on him. Just as a person brought back to life by a life guard, is perfectly capable of going home and blowing his brains out with a .38. Why someone would do that, I don’t know, but it does happen. So we leave it, that we believe is to the glory of God, that we don’t believe is our own damn fault.

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

    Lou, @36
    neith Calvinists nor Arminians know what to make of Lutheranism. (I suspect because they don’t know how to take God’s word for what it says, and leave it at that.) However, we are outside the pingpong match that you and arminians have.
    We are quite distince from Arminians in that we believe faith is a gift. That it is not of our own doing, our own reason, our own strength, that we do not “make a decision for Christ, but he makes a decision for us. Befroe we are converted we are dead, children of the wrath of God etc. just as Ephesians says. And dead people simply can’t do anything but decompose. However, given the parable of the sower, and to a lesser extent, for me anyway, as I hold the antilegomena at arms lenght like Luther, Hebrews 6, as Kerner mentioned above, but also other verses, the talents come to mind, we do believe a person who has faith is quite capable of losing faith, denying thier baptism. God doesn’t turn his back on us, but we are quite capable of turning our back on him. Just as a person brought back to life by a life guard, is perfectly capable of going home and blowing his brains out with a .38. Why someone would do that, I don’t know, but it does happen. So we leave it, that we believe is to the glory of God, that we don’t believe is our own damn fault.

  • fws

    martin j @ 62 & 63

    Another example: you quoted the Small Catechism on Holy baptism and told us that you could see no significant difference between that and what the Reformed Confessions teach.

    This is simply not the case. Not even close. And you don’t see it do you? So from that I would ask you to consider that maybe there is something you are missing in our dialog with you? Most of us Lutherans have indeed read all the Reformed Confessions along with Calvin’s Institutes. And the contrast between the two teachings on Baptism could not be more stark for us.

    Let me start to show you just how stark by stating that Lutherans believe that we baptize because it is Law. It is a command and ordinance of Jesus. “command and ordinance” =
    “Law”.

    Baptism then, as to anything we can see and do regarding it, is a work of man. It is something mankind is ordered and required to do. Further, God will make it be done. If it is not done willingly, God will send plagues and punishments until man submits his will to God’s and does it.

    Further, anyone who puts is trust in the naked performance of the act will be lost eternally.

    But at the same time we say that what Baptism works, delivers us from and does is pure “faith alone in christ alone “.

    And so Lutherans will declare from any convenient mountain top that “Baptism saves us!”.

    Now if what I just presented to you does not seem like a confused muddle and contradiction, then congratulations. But I strongly suspect that as a Reformed christian brother of ours, you will not be able to make a coherent sense out of what I just presented.

    Again, I suggest that it is you who are the one lacking information.

    Bless you martin J. +

    I hope that what I said seems

  • fws

    martin j @ 62 & 63

    Another example: you quoted the Small Catechism on Holy baptism and told us that you could see no significant difference between that and what the Reformed Confessions teach.

    This is simply not the case. Not even close. And you don’t see it do you? So from that I would ask you to consider that maybe there is something you are missing in our dialog with you? Most of us Lutherans have indeed read all the Reformed Confessions along with Calvin’s Institutes. And the contrast between the two teachings on Baptism could not be more stark for us.

    Let me start to show you just how stark by stating that Lutherans believe that we baptize because it is Law. It is a command and ordinance of Jesus. “command and ordinance” =
    “Law”.

    Baptism then, as to anything we can see and do regarding it, is a work of man. It is something mankind is ordered and required to do. Further, God will make it be done. If it is not done willingly, God will send plagues and punishments until man submits his will to God’s and does it.

    Further, anyone who puts is trust in the naked performance of the act will be lost eternally.

    But at the same time we say that what Baptism works, delivers us from and does is pure “faith alone in christ alone “.

    And so Lutherans will declare from any convenient mountain top that “Baptism saves us!”.

    Now if what I just presented to you does not seem like a confused muddle and contradiction, then congratulations. But I strongly suspect that as a Reformed christian brother of ours, you will not be able to make a coherent sense out of what I just presented.

    Again, I suggest that it is you who are the one lacking information.

    Bless you martin J. +

    I hope that what I said seems

  • larry

    Martin,

    What Frank said is exactly what I’m attempting to do. And he’s right I can be bit of a drink from a fire hydrant. I do attempt to analyze it though, sometimes, as I wrote a few posts above I go into the “neutral zone” of analysis (i.e. forget for now who is right and who is wrong, lets just see that we differ), but eventually I have to call a thing what it is for the sake of confessing the truth. That’s of necessity, we don’t confess “these things are possibly true” if you will.
    I do very much understand the Reformed position, I’m very well read in the confession and external books and I lived them first hand, have saw many first hand experiences of what it has done to the despairing and I remember what it was like being locked into that, so I try speak very forthrightly.
    It’s never personal at all.
    You simply cannot have understood the Lutheran confessions or anything Luther has written if you don’t see the differences and that they are confessed as essential. Our confession by design confess the positive aspect, then condemn the errors against them everywhere. Luther and the Lutherans for that matter, when at Marburg, was STUNNED that Zwingli and the others did not “hand them over to Satan” (meaning condemn their doctrines as such) just as matter of principle (Sasse’s work on the LS). In fact it was THAT very issue that made him condemn Zwingli as “of another spirit than ours” (and that meant other than the Holy Spirit and of Satan). It more incensed Luther that Zwingli was really interested in political expediency than arguing “this is what the Word of God says”. Sasse makes a point on this issue that the serious reformed, baptist, RC, Lutheran who in principle concurs with this, the other is false, heretical, damnable, etc… are closer together (in principle concerning the seriousness and unambiguous nature of God’s Word on articles of faith), than the same who wish to pretend these doctrines are more or less non-essential or “we can make them fit together anyway”.

    So, Martin, on the one hand when you say you don’t see the difference in the confessions that is worse and in reality shows that it is ultimately you who does not understand one or the other or both. However, when you say to me, “it also betrays your view of baptism, sir, is a form of idolatry,” now you are getting closer to the truth. Because I suspect you are for the first time beginning to realize that from a “reformed point of confession”, you SHOULD see our view of baptism and the LS as a form of idolatry. You cannot read Luther or the Lutheran confessions with “reformed eyes” and really understand it, especially if you are seeing no difference. But if you are starting to see our position as “a form of idolatry”, now you are beginning to see the differences.

    In fact as a reformed person I did see it as a form of idolatry. According to reformed confessions which I thoroughly believed in with all my heart, I had to see Lutheran confessions that way.
    And Frank is spot on, it DOES have to do with using same terms with different meanings behind them. E.g. Rome uses the term “Grace” but we do not mean the same thing. Just a small example. Another, when we/Luther say “sola scriptura” we mean, “this is My body…”, “this baptism saves you”, it gives forgiveness, confers justification.

    We were just at a funeral for a dearly departed sister in Christ yesterday and pastor was referring the comforting baptismal words of our Lord in Romans 6, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

    THAT is what we mean by sola scriptura, that objective given of baptism.

    That you begin to see this as idolatry is a good thing in the sense that you are beginning to hear the real difference and that difference is a difference of religions, one of heaven and one of hell.

    Our own confessions speak explicitly to this “use of same terms” but confusing erroneous meaning behind them on the VERY ISSUE of the LS and the sacramentarians (i.e. Zwingli, Calvin, et. al). Here is the very quote pulled from our confessions for you to read from the The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord:

    STATUS CONTROVERSIAE.

    The Chief Controversy between Our Doctrine and that of the Sacramentarians In This Article (i.e. the Sacrament of the altar or Lord’s Supper).

    2] Although some Sacramentarians strive to employ words that come as close as possible to the Augsburg Confession and the form and mode of speech in its [our] churches, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body of Christ is truly received by believers, still, when we insist that they state their meaning properly, sincerely, and clearly, they all declare themselves unanimously thus: that the true essential body and blood of Christ is absent from the consecrated bread and wine in the Holy Supper as far as the highest heaven is from the earth. For thus their own words run: Abesse Christi corpus et sanguinem a signis tanto intervallo dicimus, quanto abest terra ab altissimis coelis. That is: “We say that the body and blood of Christ are as far from the signs as the earth is distant from the highest heaven.” 3] Therefore they understand this presence of the body of Christ not as a presence here upon earth, but only respectu fidei (with respect to faith) [when they speak of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, they do not mean that they are present upon earth, except with respect to faith], that is, that our faith, reminded and excited by the visible signs, just as by the Word preached, elevates itself and ascends above all heavens, and receives and enjoys the body of Christ, which is there in heaven present, yea, Christ Himself, together with all His benefits, in a manner true and essential, but nevertheless spiritual only. For [they hold that] as the bread and wine are here upon earth and not in heaven, so the body of Christ is now in heaven and not upon earth, and consequently nothing else is received by the mouth in the Holy Supper than bread and wine.

    4] Now, originally, they alleged that the Lord’s Supper is only an external sign, by which Christians are known, and that nothing else is offered in it than mere bread and wine (which are bare signs [symbols] of the absent body of Christ). When this [figment] would not stand the test, they confessed that the Lord Christ is truly present in His Supper, namely per communicationem idiomatum (by the communication of attributes), that is, according to His divine nature alone, but not with His body and blood.

    5] Afterwards, when they were forced by Christ’s words to confess that the body of Christ is present in the Supper, they still understood and declared it in no other way than spiritually [only of a spiritual presence], that is, of partaking through faith of His power, efficacy, and benefits, because [they say] through the Spirit of Christ, who is everywhere, our bodies, in which the Spirit of Christ dwells here upon earth, are united with the body of Christ, which is in heaven.

    6] The consequence was that many great men were deceived by these fine, plausible words, when they alleged and boasted that they were of no other opinion than that the Lord Christ is present in His [Holy] Supper truly, essentially, and as one alive; but they understand this according to His divine nature alone, and not of His body and blood, which, they say, are now in heaven, and nowhere else, and that He gives us with the bread and wine His true body and blood to eat, to partake of them spiritually through faith, but not bodily with the mouth.

    Larry

  • larry

    Martin,

    What Frank said is exactly what I’m attempting to do. And he’s right I can be bit of a drink from a fire hydrant. I do attempt to analyze it though, sometimes, as I wrote a few posts above I go into the “neutral zone” of analysis (i.e. forget for now who is right and who is wrong, lets just see that we differ), but eventually I have to call a thing what it is for the sake of confessing the truth. That’s of necessity, we don’t confess “these things are possibly true” if you will.
    I do very much understand the Reformed position, I’m very well read in the confession and external books and I lived them first hand, have saw many first hand experiences of what it has done to the despairing and I remember what it was like being locked into that, so I try speak very forthrightly.
    It’s never personal at all.
    You simply cannot have understood the Lutheran confessions or anything Luther has written if you don’t see the differences and that they are confessed as essential. Our confession by design confess the positive aspect, then condemn the errors against them everywhere. Luther and the Lutherans for that matter, when at Marburg, was STUNNED that Zwingli and the others did not “hand them over to Satan” (meaning condemn their doctrines as such) just as matter of principle (Sasse’s work on the LS). In fact it was THAT very issue that made him condemn Zwingli as “of another spirit than ours” (and that meant other than the Holy Spirit and of Satan). It more incensed Luther that Zwingli was really interested in political expediency than arguing “this is what the Word of God says”. Sasse makes a point on this issue that the serious reformed, baptist, RC, Lutheran who in principle concurs with this, the other is false, heretical, damnable, etc… are closer together (in principle concerning the seriousness and unambiguous nature of God’s Word on articles of faith), than the same who wish to pretend these doctrines are more or less non-essential or “we can make them fit together anyway”.

    So, Martin, on the one hand when you say you don’t see the difference in the confessions that is worse and in reality shows that it is ultimately you who does not understand one or the other or both. However, when you say to me, “it also betrays your view of baptism, sir, is a form of idolatry,” now you are getting closer to the truth. Because I suspect you are for the first time beginning to realize that from a “reformed point of confession”, you SHOULD see our view of baptism and the LS as a form of idolatry. You cannot read Luther or the Lutheran confessions with “reformed eyes” and really understand it, especially if you are seeing no difference. But if you are starting to see our position as “a form of idolatry”, now you are beginning to see the differences.

    In fact as a reformed person I did see it as a form of idolatry. According to reformed confessions which I thoroughly believed in with all my heart, I had to see Lutheran confessions that way.
    And Frank is spot on, it DOES have to do with using same terms with different meanings behind them. E.g. Rome uses the term “Grace” but we do not mean the same thing. Just a small example. Another, when we/Luther say “sola scriptura” we mean, “this is My body…”, “this baptism saves you”, it gives forgiveness, confers justification.

    We were just at a funeral for a dearly departed sister in Christ yesterday and pastor was referring the comforting baptismal words of our Lord in Romans 6, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

    THAT is what we mean by sola scriptura, that objective given of baptism.

    That you begin to see this as idolatry is a good thing in the sense that you are beginning to hear the real difference and that difference is a difference of religions, one of heaven and one of hell.

    Our own confessions speak explicitly to this “use of same terms” but confusing erroneous meaning behind them on the VERY ISSUE of the LS and the sacramentarians (i.e. Zwingli, Calvin, et. al). Here is the very quote pulled from our confessions for you to read from the The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord:

    STATUS CONTROVERSIAE.

    The Chief Controversy between Our Doctrine and that of the Sacramentarians In This Article (i.e. the Sacrament of the altar or Lord’s Supper).

    2] Although some Sacramentarians strive to employ words that come as close as possible to the Augsburg Confession and the form and mode of speech in its [our] churches, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body of Christ is truly received by believers, still, when we insist that they state their meaning properly, sincerely, and clearly, they all declare themselves unanimously thus: that the true essential body and blood of Christ is absent from the consecrated bread and wine in the Holy Supper as far as the highest heaven is from the earth. For thus their own words run: Abesse Christi corpus et sanguinem a signis tanto intervallo dicimus, quanto abest terra ab altissimis coelis. That is: “We say that the body and blood of Christ are as far from the signs as the earth is distant from the highest heaven.” 3] Therefore they understand this presence of the body of Christ not as a presence here upon earth, but only respectu fidei (with respect to faith) [when they speak of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, they do not mean that they are present upon earth, except with respect to faith], that is, that our faith, reminded and excited by the visible signs, just as by the Word preached, elevates itself and ascends above all heavens, and receives and enjoys the body of Christ, which is there in heaven present, yea, Christ Himself, together with all His benefits, in a manner true and essential, but nevertheless spiritual only. For [they hold that] as the bread and wine are here upon earth and not in heaven, so the body of Christ is now in heaven and not upon earth, and consequently nothing else is received by the mouth in the Holy Supper than bread and wine.

    4] Now, originally, they alleged that the Lord’s Supper is only an external sign, by which Christians are known, and that nothing else is offered in it than mere bread and wine (which are bare signs [symbols] of the absent body of Christ). When this [figment] would not stand the test, they confessed that the Lord Christ is truly present in His Supper, namely per communicationem idiomatum (by the communication of attributes), that is, according to His divine nature alone, but not with His body and blood.

    5] Afterwards, when they were forced by Christ’s words to confess that the body of Christ is present in the Supper, they still understood and declared it in no other way than spiritually [only of a spiritual presence], that is, of partaking through faith of His power, efficacy, and benefits, because [they say] through the Spirit of Christ, who is everywhere, our bodies, in which the Spirit of Christ dwells here upon earth, are united with the body of Christ, which is in heaven.

    6] The consequence was that many great men were deceived by these fine, plausible words, when they alleged and boasted that they were of no other opinion than that the Lord Christ is present in His [Holy] Supper truly, essentially, and as one alive; but they understand this according to His divine nature alone, and not of His body and blood, which, they say, are now in heaven, and nowhere else, and that He gives us with the bread and wine His true body and blood to eat, to partake of them spiritually through faith, but not bodily with the mouth.

    Larry

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    @Martin #37,
    All due respect, brother, but the Theopedia article is primarily based upon criticisms of the Federal Vision and is therefore equally biased itself.
    As to the charge of factual accuracy, I certainly do not claim to know all the FV ins and outs (and have much to learn!), but having grown up in Douglas Wilson’s church, having studied theology under Peter Leithart, having (albeit amaturely) studied FV theology in comparison to the Westminster Confession, and having deliberately contacted and interacted with several of the FV theologians, I do believe I understand the majority of the issues, and more than one FV pastor has read the article and agreed. The factual accuracy is quite clear if you read the Joint Federal Vision Profession, found at http://www.federal-vision.com/resources/joint_FV_Statement.pdf.

    Dr. Veith, just a comment on your original words up top. Some of the FV theologians (such as Leithart and Lusk) would indeed be comfortable with a double justification, calling God’s acceptance and rewarding of His good and faithful servants (Matt. 25:33-44) a “future justification” by grace through works, but not all of them agree. Others like Douglas Wilson or Jeff Meyers would use the word “vindication;” all of them would affirm that there is no climbing to God by good works, and that we are saved by grace through faith alone.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Luke Nieuwsma

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    @Martin #37,
    All due respect, brother, but the Theopedia article is primarily based upon criticisms of the Federal Vision and is therefore equally biased itself.
    As to the charge of factual accuracy, I certainly do not claim to know all the FV ins and outs (and have much to learn!), but having grown up in Douglas Wilson’s church, having studied theology under Peter Leithart, having (albeit amaturely) studied FV theology in comparison to the Westminster Confession, and having deliberately contacted and interacted with several of the FV theologians, I do believe I understand the majority of the issues, and more than one FV pastor has read the article and agreed. The factual accuracy is quite clear if you read the Joint Federal Vision Profession, found at http://www.federal-vision.com/resources/joint_FV_Statement.pdf.

    Dr. Veith, just a comment on your original words up top. Some of the FV theologians (such as Leithart and Lusk) would indeed be comfortable with a double justification, calling God’s acceptance and rewarding of His good and faithful servants (Matt. 25:33-44) a “future justification” by grace through works, but not all of them agree. Others like Douglas Wilson or Jeff Meyers would use the word “vindication;” all of them would affirm that there is no climbing to God by good works, and that we are saved by grace through faith alone.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Luke Nieuwsma

  • Martin J.

    Sorry, Luke. Guess we will agree to disagree. The theopedia article was based on the decisions of the main denominations over a period of time engaging with the FV heresy. While, Doug Wilson puts out a lot of thoughtful and thought-provoking work that many of us appreciate greatly, he is also notorious for having stirred up A LOT of division in his previous denomination — which he was forced to leave and subsequentally started his own denomination. While I think he is working to regain his reputation and credibility, he is widely regarded as having ties to several PCA men who were sent out of the denomination for sticking to their guns on Federal Vision.

    The theopedia article is MUCH more reliable, as its reporting is factual in terms of what has actually occurred, what has been written, and what has been accepted by the general assemblies of the key denominational bodies involved.

    I wouldn’t disregard altogether everything the Federal Vision camp reports of itself, but with all due respect, I’m going to submit to the rule of the denominations involved in these case and not to what is being said by a few men who are being tried for heresy and their followers.

  • Martin J.

    Sorry, Luke. Guess we will agree to disagree. The theopedia article was based on the decisions of the main denominations over a period of time engaging with the FV heresy. While, Doug Wilson puts out a lot of thoughtful and thought-provoking work that many of us appreciate greatly, he is also notorious for having stirred up A LOT of division in his previous denomination — which he was forced to leave and subsequentally started his own denomination. While I think he is working to regain his reputation and credibility, he is widely regarded as having ties to several PCA men who were sent out of the denomination for sticking to their guns on Federal Vision.

    The theopedia article is MUCH more reliable, as its reporting is factual in terms of what has actually occurred, what has been written, and what has been accepted by the general assemblies of the key denominational bodies involved.

    I wouldn’t disregard altogether everything the Federal Vision camp reports of itself, but with all due respect, I’m going to submit to the rule of the denominations involved in these case and not to what is being said by a few men who are being tried for heresy and their followers.

  • Martin J.

    Statement from Westminster Theological Seminary on Federal Vision:
    “Today the FV movement has been rejected by several of the major denominations in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC). Among those denominations that have rejected the FV: The Presbyterian Church in America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the United Reformed Churches, the Reformed Church in the U. S., and the Orthodox Christian Reformed Churches. . . Since most of the NAPARC churches have rejected the FV, the principal ecclesiastical home of the FV movement has become a group called the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC). . . The CREC is not recognized by NAPARC as a Reformed denomination and is not in formal ecclesiastical fellowship with the OPC, the URCs, the PCA, or the RCUS.”

  • Martin J.

    Statement from Westminster Theological Seminary on Federal Vision:
    “Today the FV movement has been rejected by several of the major denominations in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC). Among those denominations that have rejected the FV: The Presbyterian Church in America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the United Reformed Churches, the Reformed Church in the U. S., and the Orthodox Christian Reformed Churches. . . Since most of the NAPARC churches have rejected the FV, the principal ecclesiastical home of the FV movement has become a group called the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC). . . The CREC is not recognized by NAPARC as a Reformed denomination and is not in formal ecclesiastical fellowship with the OPC, the URCs, the PCA, or the RCUS.”

  • fws

    Luke @ 70

    Thanks for joining the discussion. I agree it is best to let me speak for themselves. Could you please explain to me , in simpler english what this means?

    Some of the FV theologians (such as Leithart and Lusk) would indeed be comfortable with a double justification, calling God’s acceptance and rewarding of His good and faithful servants (Matt. 25:33-44) a “future justification” by grace through works, but not all of them agree. Others like Douglas Wilson or Jeff Meyers would use the word “vindication;”

    Martin J @71

    I thought that the men tried for heresy were all acquited. Have I got that wrong? Can you tell us, in your own simple words, where you feel FV crosses the line into heresy? Thanks.

    To both of you: as a Lutheran I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I am just trying to understand what is happening.

  • fws

    Luke @ 70

    Thanks for joining the discussion. I agree it is best to let me speak for themselves. Could you please explain to me , in simpler english what this means?

    Some of the FV theologians (such as Leithart and Lusk) would indeed be comfortable with a double justification, calling God’s acceptance and rewarding of His good and faithful servants (Matt. 25:33-44) a “future justification” by grace through works, but not all of them agree. Others like Douglas Wilson or Jeff Meyers would use the word “vindication;”

    Martin J @71

    I thought that the men tried for heresy were all acquited. Have I got that wrong? Can you tell us, in your own simple words, where you feel FV crosses the line into heresy? Thanks.

    To both of you: as a Lutheran I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I am just trying to understand what is happening.

  • Martin J.

    Hi FWS,
    Actually, initially several men were tried and put out early on. Steve Wilkins comes to mind. Locally, we had a minister who was excommunicated for teaching it (Chastain); there were a few others as well. DougWilson himself was put out of this former denomination for the abherent teaching. (I say aberhent and amend the previous use of heresy, because that goes too far).

    I, like 95% of the men who attend the General Assembly of the PCA, are in full agreement with the PCA’s report on the Federal Vision. The report is available here: http://www.weswhite.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/07-fvreport.pdf

    Particularly, the “Declarations” of the report, which are:
    IV. Declarations

    In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:

    1. The view that rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the Westminster Standards (i.e., views which do not merely take issue with the terminology, but the essence of the first/second covenant framework) is contrary to those Standards.

    2. The view that an individual is “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the
    Westminster Standards.

    3. The view that Christ does not stand as a representative head whose perfect obedience and satisfaction is imputed to individuals who believe in him is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    4. The view that strikes the language of “merit” from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christ’s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    The view that “union with Christ” renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    7. The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster
    Standards.

  • Martin J.

    Hi FWS,
    Actually, initially several men were tried and put out early on. Steve Wilkins comes to mind. Locally, we had a minister who was excommunicated for teaching it (Chastain); there were a few others as well. DougWilson himself was put out of this former denomination for the abherent teaching. (I say aberhent and amend the previous use of heresy, because that goes too far).

    I, like 95% of the men who attend the General Assembly of the PCA, are in full agreement with the PCA’s report on the Federal Vision. The report is available here: http://www.weswhite.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/07-fvreport.pdf

    Particularly, the “Declarations” of the report, which are:
    IV. Declarations

    In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:

    1. The view that rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the Westminster Standards (i.e., views which do not merely take issue with the terminology, but the essence of the first/second covenant framework) is contrary to those Standards.

    2. The view that an individual is “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the
    Westminster Standards.

    3. The view that Christ does not stand as a representative head whose perfect obedience and satisfaction is imputed to individuals who believe in him is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    4. The view that strikes the language of “merit” from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christ’s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    The view that “union with Christ” renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    7. The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster
    Standards.

  • fws

    Martin J @ 74

    would all your points, the way you worded them, be agreeble to the men who hold to the FV view. Would they agree that how you have presented their position is fair?

    Something I was meaning to ask you: you quoted the Luther Small Catechism on baptism and told us that it agrees with Calvin’s Institutes. Would you say then that what you quoted on Baptism from the Lutheran Confessions also agree with the Westminster Confessions?

    You are aware what you quoted teaches baptismal regeneration right?

  • fws

    Martin J @ 74

    would all your points, the way you worded them, be agreeble to the men who hold to the FV view. Would they agree that how you have presented their position is fair?

    Something I was meaning to ask you: you quoted the Luther Small Catechism on baptism and told us that it agrees with Calvin’s Institutes. Would you say then that what you quoted on Baptism from the Lutheran Confessions also agree with the Westminster Confessions?

    You are aware what you quoted teaches baptismal regeneration right?

  • larry

    Frank,
    You’ve nailed it, as well as some others here, the “pro me” is the sine quo none of the dispute between the FV and WCF standards. Ironically each sees the others hidden and implied works salvation in the “if I believe, then I’m elect” and is arguing against each other. One is attempting to get at a “pro me” somewhere in the mixture by elevating the sacraments relatively speaking in relation to general reformed standards on their sacraments. This is why a Lutheran could see a seemingly “higher view” toward the sacraments, but yet not all the way per se as in baptismal regeneration and real body and blood given, justification conferred, etc…

    Note how the arguments between the two remain in the “covenantal” argument framework and not “testament”. That may seem small but is in fact a huge issue in and of itself. So they attempt to make a two binding covenant the primary focus, when its last will and testament, PURE gift given and irrevocable by the One Who died. This is not accidental to Lutheran theology, testament, because its part a parcel with gift, given, Gospel, sacraments that do what they say, etc… and this links to the “pro me” (how I KNOW I’m elect).

    Ultimately Calvinism’s struggle is rooted in its error on predestination in which it seeks “God unpreached” via double predestination or its more passive but nonetheless deadly sister limited atonement. This is why a Calvinist will never connect, as it were, the “pro me” in the sacraments (e.g. baptism not conferring justification, baptismal regeneration, the real body and blood, true absolution, etc…). If one takes a simple 50,000 foot step back in Calvin’s doctrine in order to look at the forest of the doctrine rather than the trees, the VERY REASON that their leader, teachers, theologian now and past tense cannot, will not and do not give an actual real “pro me” in the Word or Sacraments, why their lingo is always “hedged” is because they are admitting they don’t know the elect per their own doctrine and can NEVER give an absolution in the particular “pro me”. They always turn the particular man “in upon himself” to discover this. They ignore the extra nos nature of the Gospel and its necessity to be brought “pro me” in the particular to the man/individual. That is to say that the very LACK of an actual given “pro me” absolution in Word and Sacrament (i.e. absolution, baptism, the LS) betrays and actually communicates their doctrine to the man and thus the anxious conscience remains.

    A blunt example, if I do not say to my children, “I forgive you”, but leave it up to them to figure it out that “I’m forgiving, if…they believe”, then they can never KNOW forgiveness from me but always must question it and be unbelieving of it.

    As far as our confessions being in opposition to theirs, I know it is shocking to realize this, but our confessions are crystal clear on this matter and no less has great Lutheran theologians written tons of articles concerning the soul murdering danger of heterodoxies and specifically aimed it at Calvin and Calvinism. Examples include Walther, Sasse, and Pieper. In fact Pieper had an entire lecture series on the issue of heterodoxies deadly dangers identifying so much so that one of orthodox confession must not attend their worship services even if no orthodox confession exists within 100s of miles, that one should in such extreme predicament suffer this trial and worship at home.

    So for anyone to conclude there’s no big deal or essential difference simply is in utter contradiction with the facts on the ground. Either they are reading and trying to make Luther match Calvin, or Calvin match Luther. The later generally do this because they “hear” the 200 proof Gospel of Luther and would like Calvin to be “yea me too”. The former would LOVE Luther to match Calvin so that they could use bondage of the will to confirm their double predestination/limited atonement/sacraments. I realize this effort is going on in Reformed circles but the reality is that it is in vain, because these issues have been put to rest over centuries and even by our confessions, not to mention men like Luther himself, Chemnitz, Westhphal, Walther, Sasse and Pieper to mention a few of the more visible ones. If they are the same then the Reformed could easily throw away their confessions and come up under the Lutheran confessions. Conversely if they were the same and of no real essential difference then the Lutherans could throw away their confessions and adhere to one of the confessions of the Reformed, which internally are not entirely consistent in and of themselves.

  • larry

    Frank,
    You’ve nailed it, as well as some others here, the “pro me” is the sine quo none of the dispute between the FV and WCF standards. Ironically each sees the others hidden and implied works salvation in the “if I believe, then I’m elect” and is arguing against each other. One is attempting to get at a “pro me” somewhere in the mixture by elevating the sacraments relatively speaking in relation to general reformed standards on their sacraments. This is why a Lutheran could see a seemingly “higher view” toward the sacraments, but yet not all the way per se as in baptismal regeneration and real body and blood given, justification conferred, etc…

    Note how the arguments between the two remain in the “covenantal” argument framework and not “testament”. That may seem small but is in fact a huge issue in and of itself. So they attempt to make a two binding covenant the primary focus, when its last will and testament, PURE gift given and irrevocable by the One Who died. This is not accidental to Lutheran theology, testament, because its part a parcel with gift, given, Gospel, sacraments that do what they say, etc… and this links to the “pro me” (how I KNOW I’m elect).

    Ultimately Calvinism’s struggle is rooted in its error on predestination in which it seeks “God unpreached” via double predestination or its more passive but nonetheless deadly sister limited atonement. This is why a Calvinist will never connect, as it were, the “pro me” in the sacraments (e.g. baptism not conferring justification, baptismal regeneration, the real body and blood, true absolution, etc…). If one takes a simple 50,000 foot step back in Calvin’s doctrine in order to look at the forest of the doctrine rather than the trees, the VERY REASON that their leader, teachers, theologian now and past tense cannot, will not and do not give an actual real “pro me” in the Word or Sacraments, why their lingo is always “hedged” is because they are admitting they don’t know the elect per their own doctrine and can NEVER give an absolution in the particular “pro me”. They always turn the particular man “in upon himself” to discover this. They ignore the extra nos nature of the Gospel and its necessity to be brought “pro me” in the particular to the man/individual. That is to say that the very LACK of an actual given “pro me” absolution in Word and Sacrament (i.e. absolution, baptism, the LS) betrays and actually communicates their doctrine to the man and thus the anxious conscience remains.

    A blunt example, if I do not say to my children, “I forgive you”, but leave it up to them to figure it out that “I’m forgiving, if…they believe”, then they can never KNOW forgiveness from me but always must question it and be unbelieving of it.

    As far as our confessions being in opposition to theirs, I know it is shocking to realize this, but our confessions are crystal clear on this matter and no less has great Lutheran theologians written tons of articles concerning the soul murdering danger of heterodoxies and specifically aimed it at Calvin and Calvinism. Examples include Walther, Sasse, and Pieper. In fact Pieper had an entire lecture series on the issue of heterodoxies deadly dangers identifying so much so that one of orthodox confession must not attend their worship services even if no orthodox confession exists within 100s of miles, that one should in such extreme predicament suffer this trial and worship at home.

    So for anyone to conclude there’s no big deal or essential difference simply is in utter contradiction with the facts on the ground. Either they are reading and trying to make Luther match Calvin, or Calvin match Luther. The later generally do this because they “hear” the 200 proof Gospel of Luther and would like Calvin to be “yea me too”. The former would LOVE Luther to match Calvin so that they could use bondage of the will to confirm their double predestination/limited atonement/sacraments. I realize this effort is going on in Reformed circles but the reality is that it is in vain, because these issues have been put to rest over centuries and even by our confessions, not to mention men like Luther himself, Chemnitz, Westhphal, Walther, Sasse and Pieper to mention a few of the more visible ones. If they are the same then the Reformed could easily throw away their confessions and come up under the Lutheran confessions. Conversely if they were the same and of no real essential difference then the Lutherans could throw away their confessions and adhere to one of the confessions of the Reformed, which internally are not entirely consistent in and of themselves.

  • Martin J.

    FWS (of should I say, Frank?)

    You asked: “would all your points, the way you worded them, be agreeble to the men who hold to the FV view. Would they agree that how you have presented their position is fair?”

    The points that I put forth were not my points. They are accepted declarations of my denomination, voted on with over 95% approval by the General Assembly in 2007.

    The purpose of those declarations is to state what views are considered out of conformity with our standards.

    The degree to which a FV man agrees with those views is up to them. The degree to which they teach those views to members of their churches is another matter entirely. If FV men teach these things in the PCA, then they will risk being tried and put out. There are those who are sympathetic to FV, but who would not cross into the area of declarations which are out of accord. Typically, if a man is being tried, he teaching shows that he is arguing for one of these areas, and against church government.

    So, to recap: 1) these are not “my points” – they are taken from church documents, and 2) as to whether FVers would describe themselves this way, it is for them to decide what degree they agree with or disagree with the declarations.

  • Martin J.

    FWS (of should I say, Frank?)

    You asked: “would all your points, the way you worded them, be agreeble to the men who hold to the FV view. Would they agree that how you have presented their position is fair?”

    The points that I put forth were not my points. They are accepted declarations of my denomination, voted on with over 95% approval by the General Assembly in 2007.

    The purpose of those declarations is to state what views are considered out of conformity with our standards.

    The degree to which a FV man agrees with those views is up to them. The degree to which they teach those views to members of their churches is another matter entirely. If FV men teach these things in the PCA, then they will risk being tried and put out. There are those who are sympathetic to FV, but who would not cross into the area of declarations which are out of accord. Typically, if a man is being tried, he teaching shows that he is arguing for one of these areas, and against church government.

    So, to recap: 1) these are not “my points” – they are taken from church documents, and 2) as to whether FVers would describe themselves this way, it is for them to decide what degree they agree with or disagree with the declarations.

  • Martin J.

    FWS (Frank):
    Please show me which part of the cathecism here actually teaches baptismal regeneration, because there are only statements here which are in agreement with historic Presbyterianism and Calvin’s writings:

    I. Q. What is Baptism?
    A. Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water contained
    within God’s command and united with God’s Word.

    Q. Which Word of God is this?
    A. The one which our Lord Christ spoke in the last chapter of
    Matthew:
    “Go into all the world, teaching all heathen nations, and
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the
    Holy Spirit.”

    II. Q. What does Baptism give? What good is it?
    A. It gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the
    Devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just
    as God’s words and promises declare.

    Q. What are these words and promises of God?
    A. Our Lord Christ spoke one of them in the last chapter of Mark:
    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

    III. Q. How can water do such great things?
    A. Water doesn’t make these things happen, of course. It is God’s Word, which is with and in the water. Because, without God’s Word, the water is plain water and not baptism. But with God’s Word it is a Baptism, a grace-filled water of life, a bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul said to Titus in the third chapter:
    “Through this bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that we, justified by the same grace are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

    IV. Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?
    A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts,
    and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from
    death again. He will live forever before God in righteousness
    and purity.

    Q. Where is this written?
    A. St. Paul says to the Romans in chapter six:
    “We are buried with Christ through Baptism into death, so
    that, in the same way Christ is risen from the dead by the
    glory of the Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.”

  • Martin J.

    FWS (Frank):
    Please show me which part of the cathecism here actually teaches baptismal regeneration, because there are only statements here which are in agreement with historic Presbyterianism and Calvin’s writings:

    I. Q. What is Baptism?
    A. Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water contained
    within God’s command and united with God’s Word.

    Q. Which Word of God is this?
    A. The one which our Lord Christ spoke in the last chapter of
    Matthew:
    “Go into all the world, teaching all heathen nations, and
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the
    Holy Spirit.”

    II. Q. What does Baptism give? What good is it?
    A. It gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the
    Devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just
    as God’s words and promises declare.

    Q. What are these words and promises of God?
    A. Our Lord Christ spoke one of them in the last chapter of Mark:
    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

    III. Q. How can water do such great things?
    A. Water doesn’t make these things happen, of course. It is God’s Word, which is with and in the water. Because, without God’s Word, the water is plain water and not baptism. But with God’s Word it is a Baptism, a grace-filled water of life, a bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul said to Titus in the third chapter:
    “Through this bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that we, justified by the same grace are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

    IV. Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?
    A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts,
    and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from
    death again. He will live forever before God in righteousness
    and purity.

    Q. Where is this written?
    A. St. Paul says to the Romans in chapter six:
    “We are buried with Christ through Baptism into death, so
    that, in the same way Christ is risen from the dead by the
    glory of the Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Martin (@78), maybe I don’t know what you mean exactly by “baptismal regeneration”, but it seems pretty clearly taught in the statement that baptism “gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the Devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just as God’s words and promises declare.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Martin (@78), maybe I don’t know what you mean exactly by “baptismal regeneration”, but it seems pretty clearly taught in the statement that baptism “gives the forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the Devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just as God’s words and promises declare.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Mattin J. What part of question 3 are you missing?and 2. The catechism is but one of the confessions to be read in a way that agrees with the other lutheran confessions, not to be pitted against them. I know that is hard for a reformed person to do though. Seems to be a strange penchant in that tradition to read into verses what you want, and pit things against eachother in god’s word, rather than letting them say what they say.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Mattin J. What part of question 3 are you missing?and 2. The catechism is but one of the confessions to be read in a way that agrees with the other lutheran confessions, not to be pitted against them. I know that is hard for a reformed person to do though. Seems to be a strange penchant in that tradition to read into verses what you want, and pit things against eachother in god’s word, rather than letting them say what they say.

  • Larry

    perahaps the larger catechism helps,

    26] Here you see again how highly and precious we should esteem Baptism, because in it we obtain such an unspeakable treasure, which also indicates sufficiently that it cannot be ordinary mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing, but the Word does it, and (as said above) the fact that the name of God is comprehended therein. 27] But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3:5.

  • Larry

    perahaps the larger catechism helps,

    26] Here you see again how highly and precious we should esteem Baptism, because in it we obtain such an unspeakable treasure, which also indicates sufficiently that it cannot be ordinary mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing, but the Word does it, and (as said above) the fact that the name of God is comprehended therein. 27] But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3:5.

  • Larry

    This FV problem within the presby. ranks is a confusing hodge podge. I was in PCA and they indeed had this issue come up and such were at risk of being put out and some had been or at least ‘investigated’.

    YET, many of these same presby, our former church included, and it was no ‘low end PCA church’, bodies allow Baptist ministers, like Mohler, Piper, MacArthur and other conservative Calvinistic Baptist teachers, ascend their pulpits and have their materials allowed within their church doors as teaching materials, and even preach within the worship service. Furthermore, they enjoin mixed worship services such as “Together For The Gospel” that includes such as uber Presbyterian L. Duncan. Even further, we allowed as COMMUNING members to the church Baptist retaining their confession and not having the children baptized, in spite of the WCF on the issue. Even more, we allowed Baptist and others to commune as visitors none of which baptized their children to say the least.

    YET, FV rises to the level of a problem but not Baptist doctrine?

    This again begins to show the real issue, the sacraments, and in reality shows that what was and has become Calvin’s doctrine on the sacraments was after all the huff and puff to the contrary not all that different than Zwingli’s, empty signs, despite all the flowery spiritualistic language Calvin and his followers mustered up. Which is PRECISELY what the SD recognized and addressed.

    What Luther and Lutherans of old already well identified still stands, that the sacramentarians have not, do not, nor ever will agree at all what the sacraments ARE, but the only thing they agree upon is what it is not. Lutherans are in the “what it is not” category, and there begins the divergent pathway of two, not one, but two separate and irrevocably utterly opposing religions. And it is here where the Gospel is retained or lost altogether.

  • Larry

    This FV problem within the presby. ranks is a confusing hodge podge. I was in PCA and they indeed had this issue come up and such were at risk of being put out and some had been or at least ‘investigated’.

    YET, many of these same presby, our former church included, and it was no ‘low end PCA church’, bodies allow Baptist ministers, like Mohler, Piper, MacArthur and other conservative Calvinistic Baptist teachers, ascend their pulpits and have their materials allowed within their church doors as teaching materials, and even preach within the worship service. Furthermore, they enjoin mixed worship services such as “Together For The Gospel” that includes such as uber Presbyterian L. Duncan. Even further, we allowed as COMMUNING members to the church Baptist retaining their confession and not having the children baptized, in spite of the WCF on the issue. Even more, we allowed Baptist and others to commune as visitors none of which baptized their children to say the least.

    YET, FV rises to the level of a problem but not Baptist doctrine?

    This again begins to show the real issue, the sacraments, and in reality shows that what was and has become Calvin’s doctrine on the sacraments was after all the huff and puff to the contrary not all that different than Zwingli’s, empty signs, despite all the flowery spiritualistic language Calvin and his followers mustered up. Which is PRECISELY what the SD recognized and addressed.

    What Luther and Lutherans of old already well identified still stands, that the sacramentarians have not, do not, nor ever will agree at all what the sacraments ARE, but the only thing they agree upon is what it is not. Lutherans are in the “what it is not” category, and there begins the divergent pathway of two, not one, but two separate and irrevocably utterly opposing religions. And it is here where the Gospel is retained or lost altogether.

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    @Martin 74 and following, (and @FWS)
    So much for “we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” eh? I think I understand your critique a little better now. Your basic attack on my article is that it doesn’t take into account how the PCA has viewed (& rejected) the FV teachings (along with the other “official” reformed denominations), and therefore I must be factually wrong and biased. I’m actually very glad that you brought this up, because it seems you’ve completely walked into both of those errors yourself:
    1) The PCA 2007 GA committee report (which you quoted above) was horribly inaccurate in its depiction of what the Federal Vision teaches, as is easily seen in the regular and sincere responses to its content by Jeff Meyers, Douglas Wilson, Ralph Smith, and others. The PCA is a wonderful denomination in many ways, but the men selected for the committee never made a single effort to contact the FV theologians to see if they accurately understood their positions. They treated these men like dead theologians, even though they could have easily sent an email, made a phonecall, arranged joint interviews with these men very easily. So Frank, FV men do NOT agree that the PCA’s characterization is accurate but rather a horrible mis-portrayal.
    2) The deep inaccuracy of the PCA report is clearly shown by the fact that TE’s Lawrence, Leithart, and Meyers were *all* exonerated from the charges of false teaching by wide majorities in each of their presbyteries this very year. Yes, the decisions were appealed, but by a small handful of determined men in each case, contrary to the vast majority of PCA ministers in those presbyteries. In TE Leithart’s trial, the jury voted down each charge 9-0, and the presbytery upheld those decisions by 90% majority or more in separate votes for each charge. If the 2007 PCA report had been accurate, this would not have been possible. Either that or you’ve got several entire PCA presbyteries stuffed to the brim with dishonest, aberrant, or unthinking ministers, and that I cannot believe.
    3) As for bias… the PCA special committee appointed to consider the Federal Vision was biased against the FV from the get-go. If you have a wine-making competition, and you put a bunch of men who hate red wine on the red-wine-tasting-committee… you’re going to get a lot of losing scores for ye local red wines. RC Sproul admitted as much during the Q/A of that very General Assembly, saying, “You don’t put the accused on the jury.” But the accused weren’t even allowed to speak in the courtroom, if we follow this analogy. Their statements were read by a “jury” which was already convinced of their guilt. The GA report is much more a “what problems can we find with FV?” document than a “what do FV theologians actually teach?” document. And because of that bias, it is extremely flawed, and no FV theologian has been found “guilty” of what the PCA committee report claims the FV is.

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    @Martin 74 and following, (and @FWS)
    So much for “we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” eh? I think I understand your critique a little better now. Your basic attack on my article is that it doesn’t take into account how the PCA has viewed (& rejected) the FV teachings (along with the other “official” reformed denominations), and therefore I must be factually wrong and biased. I’m actually very glad that you brought this up, because it seems you’ve completely walked into both of those errors yourself:
    1) The PCA 2007 GA committee report (which you quoted above) was horribly inaccurate in its depiction of what the Federal Vision teaches, as is easily seen in the regular and sincere responses to its content by Jeff Meyers, Douglas Wilson, Ralph Smith, and others. The PCA is a wonderful denomination in many ways, but the men selected for the committee never made a single effort to contact the FV theologians to see if they accurately understood their positions. They treated these men like dead theologians, even though they could have easily sent an email, made a phonecall, arranged joint interviews with these men very easily. So Frank, FV men do NOT agree that the PCA’s characterization is accurate but rather a horrible mis-portrayal.
    2) The deep inaccuracy of the PCA report is clearly shown by the fact that TE’s Lawrence, Leithart, and Meyers were *all* exonerated from the charges of false teaching by wide majorities in each of their presbyteries this very year. Yes, the decisions were appealed, but by a small handful of determined men in each case, contrary to the vast majority of PCA ministers in those presbyteries. In TE Leithart’s trial, the jury voted down each charge 9-0, and the presbytery upheld those decisions by 90% majority or more in separate votes for each charge. If the 2007 PCA report had been accurate, this would not have been possible. Either that or you’ve got several entire PCA presbyteries stuffed to the brim with dishonest, aberrant, or unthinking ministers, and that I cannot believe.
    3) As for bias… the PCA special committee appointed to consider the Federal Vision was biased against the FV from the get-go. If you have a wine-making competition, and you put a bunch of men who hate red wine on the red-wine-tasting-committee… you’re going to get a lot of losing scores for ye local red wines. RC Sproul admitted as much during the Q/A of that very General Assembly, saying, “You don’t put the accused on the jury.” But the accused weren’t even allowed to speak in the courtroom, if we follow this analogy. Their statements were read by a “jury” which was already convinced of their guilt. The GA report is much more a “what problems can we find with FV?” document than a “what do FV theologians actually teach?” document. And because of that bias, it is extremely flawed, and no FV theologian has been found “guilty” of what the PCA committee report claims the FV is.

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    And last, brother Martin,
    You personally have made some very serious inaccuracies regarding Douglas Wilson. I do appreciate your willingness to acknowledge some insight on his part… but I was present at his church during the time that you alleged he kicked up great controversy in his previous denomination and was kicked out. I’m sorry to say this, but you’re flat out wrong. None of that ever happened. No former denomination, no major dissension. Nada. I confirmed this by emailing Douglas Wilson this morning about Christ Church’s history (Moscow, ID), and he confirmed what I basically thought to be true:
    1) Christ Church began as a friendly “affiliate,” so to speak, of an Evangelical Free church in a nearby town, but it was an independent church without a denomination.

    2) Christ Church retained its independence as Douglas Wilson made the journey (along with a number of men in the community, including my father-in-law) from evangelical to solidly Reformed. During this period there were internal tensions with some who did not wish to accept fully Reformed theology (specifically paedobaptism) or to broaden the church’s scope to include other eschatologies besides premillennialism, but there was no major doctrinal dissension with a whole denomination.

    3) Christ Church joined its *first* denomination, the present-day CREC, in 1998 as the denomination was forming.

    Martin, you seem like a sincere, concerned Christian man. But I don’t know where you got your facts re: Doug Wilson’s past; they are simply not true.
    And as a final word, let me say that I probably have blindspots, having grown up in a FV-friendly church and having attended an FV-friendly college. But I am no longer CREC or living in Moscow, and my wife and I have continued to consider these issues now that we’re “outside the camp,” so to speak, and I am qualified to state what at least the basics of the Federal Vision are. I believe my article does that much more accurately than the 9 points you quoted above. Once again… please read the Joint Federal Vision Profession, written the same year as your PCA Report. It contains the FV men’s theology in their very own words.
    In Christ our common Lord,
    Luke Nieuwsma

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    And last, brother Martin,
    You personally have made some very serious inaccuracies regarding Douglas Wilson. I do appreciate your willingness to acknowledge some insight on his part… but I was present at his church during the time that you alleged he kicked up great controversy in his previous denomination and was kicked out. I’m sorry to say this, but you’re flat out wrong. None of that ever happened. No former denomination, no major dissension. Nada. I confirmed this by emailing Douglas Wilson this morning about Christ Church’s history (Moscow, ID), and he confirmed what I basically thought to be true:
    1) Christ Church began as a friendly “affiliate,” so to speak, of an Evangelical Free church in a nearby town, but it was an independent church without a denomination.

    2) Christ Church retained its independence as Douglas Wilson made the journey (along with a number of men in the community, including my father-in-law) from evangelical to solidly Reformed. During this period there were internal tensions with some who did not wish to accept fully Reformed theology (specifically paedobaptism) or to broaden the church’s scope to include other eschatologies besides premillennialism, but there was no major doctrinal dissension with a whole denomination.

    3) Christ Church joined its *first* denomination, the present-day CREC, in 1998 as the denomination was forming.

    Martin, you seem like a sincere, concerned Christian man. But I don’t know where you got your facts re: Doug Wilson’s past; they are simply not true.
    And as a final word, let me say that I probably have blindspots, having grown up in a FV-friendly church and having attended an FV-friendly college. But I am no longer CREC or living in Moscow, and my wife and I have continued to consider these issues now that we’re “outside the camp,” so to speak, and I am qualified to state what at least the basics of the Federal Vision are. I believe my article does that much more accurately than the 9 points you quoted above. Once again… please read the Joint Federal Vision Profession, written the same year as your PCA Report. It contains the FV men’s theology in their very own words.
    In Christ our common Lord,
    Luke Nieuwsma

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    Slight addition – accusations over FV issues did come back at Christ Church and cause some dissension with E-Free, but Christ Church had already been Calvinist and CREC for several years. Still, DW wasn’t “kicked out.”
    Blessings,
    L.N.

  • http://www.federal-vision.com/ Luke Nieuwsma

    Slight addition – accusations over FV issues did come back at Christ Church and cause some dissension with E-Free, but Christ Church had already been Calvinist and CREC for several years. Still, DW wasn’t “kicked out.”
    Blessings,
    L.N.

  • Martin J.

    Luke: true, he wasn’t formally “kicked out”. But there was some pretty big baggage (see my next post).
    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a lot of the work that Wilson does, but people need to be cautious with him. My biggest issue is that his teaching mainly represents a “minority view” within historically Reformed faith. This minority view is gaining a rampant audience in our younger generations. I’m 63 years old and have been in the PCA and OPC for almost 40 years. In the past 10 years I’ve witnessed a rampant rise in these wilson-esque doctrines that have refaced the map of everything from soteriology to apologetics to eschatology to hermeneutics to evangelism and cultural engagement. In the final analysis, I do not believe that the direction that Wilson most of his followers have gone with regard to ANY of these doctrines. Some people think his teaching has been harmful to the sheep as well. I am not entirely convinced of that, but his influence has caused issues of division in other the traditional reformed denominations.

    Like I said though, Wilson has been working really hard to realign his views on some of the more obvious issues and I respect him very much for that.

  • Martin J.

    Luke: true, he wasn’t formally “kicked out”. But there was some pretty big baggage (see my next post).
    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a lot of the work that Wilson does, but people need to be cautious with him. My biggest issue is that his teaching mainly represents a “minority view” within historically Reformed faith. This minority view is gaining a rampant audience in our younger generations. I’m 63 years old and have been in the PCA and OPC for almost 40 years. In the past 10 years I’ve witnessed a rampant rise in these wilson-esque doctrines that have refaced the map of everything from soteriology to apologetics to eschatology to hermeneutics to evangelism and cultural engagement. In the final analysis, I do not believe that the direction that Wilson most of his followers have gone with regard to ANY of these doctrines. Some people think his teaching has been harmful to the sheep as well. I am not entirely convinced of that, but his influence has caused issues of division in other the traditional reformed denominations.

    Like I said though, Wilson has been working really hard to realign his views on some of the more obvious issues and I respect him very much for that.

  • Martin J.

    Luke: Here is the account given by Pullman’s Evangelical Free Church, doug has basically confirmed all of this, except that he did not become aware of the lack of elders’ signatures at CEF until after Christ Church had started:

    In December 1993, the elders of Community Evangelical Fellowship (EFC), concerned about doctrinal shifts in their pastor, Doug Wilson’s theology, presented him with an ultimatum that he either conform to the CEF statement of faith or resign as pastor.
    Wilson drafted a letter attesting to his godly character and his qualifications to remain pastor, noting that these qualifications trumped his lack of ever having attended seminary (even to this day). Even though none of the elders signed the document attesting to Wilson’s fitness for office, Wilson continued to attest that the elders’ signatures had been obtained. Two of the three elders then resigned in disgust and the signed document was never found.
    With a new cadre of elders loyal to Wilson, he moved forward, changing the name of his church to Christ Church, and pushing his own doctrinal agenda, including paedo-communion, the rare practice of giving children the consecrated wine and bread.
    In February, 2003, two Christ Church members brought “Solemn Charges” (a 108-page document) against Wilson for maladministration, pastoral abuse, and doctrinal errors, and the unsigned/missing document of December 1993 reemerged as an issue. Wilson agreed that members of Pullman’s Evangelical Free Church (EFC) should investigate the charges against him. When EFC members asked to see the “signed” letter, no one in Christ Church could produce the signatures. Six months later the Christ Church website contained a statement conceding that the CEF elders’ signatures were never obtained. Under the veil of controversy, that same year, Wilson (with no formal training) and three other men would decide to branch out and start their own denomination and Christian Education arm.

  • Martin J.

    Luke: Here is the account given by Pullman’s Evangelical Free Church, doug has basically confirmed all of this, except that he did not become aware of the lack of elders’ signatures at CEF until after Christ Church had started:

    In December 1993, the elders of Community Evangelical Fellowship (EFC), concerned about doctrinal shifts in their pastor, Doug Wilson’s theology, presented him with an ultimatum that he either conform to the CEF statement of faith or resign as pastor.
    Wilson drafted a letter attesting to his godly character and his qualifications to remain pastor, noting that these qualifications trumped his lack of ever having attended seminary (even to this day). Even though none of the elders signed the document attesting to Wilson’s fitness for office, Wilson continued to attest that the elders’ signatures had been obtained. Two of the three elders then resigned in disgust and the signed document was never found.
    With a new cadre of elders loyal to Wilson, he moved forward, changing the name of his church to Christ Church, and pushing his own doctrinal agenda, including paedo-communion, the rare practice of giving children the consecrated wine and bread.
    In February, 2003, two Christ Church members brought “Solemn Charges” (a 108-page document) against Wilson for maladministration, pastoral abuse, and doctrinal errors, and the unsigned/missing document of December 1993 reemerged as an issue. Wilson agreed that members of Pullman’s Evangelical Free Church (EFC) should investigate the charges against him. When EFC members asked to see the “signed” letter, no one in Christ Church could produce the signatures. Six months later the Christ Church website contained a statement conceding that the CEF elders’ signatures were never obtained. Under the veil of controversy, that same year, Wilson (with no formal training) and three other men would decide to branch out and start their own denomination and Christian Education arm.

  • Martin J.

    ToDD: please go back and read what I already wrote.
    “To all who believe” automatically precludes baptismal regeneration.

  • Martin J.

    ToDD: please go back and read what I already wrote.
    “To all who believe” automatically precludes baptismal regeneration.

  • Martin J.

    larry: We get it. You hate presbyterians, baptists and calvinism in general.

  • Martin J.

    larry: We get it. You hate presbyterians, baptists and calvinism in general.

  • Martin J.

    From Larger Catechism:
    “That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.”
    and
    “Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper’s baptism). God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but ***demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended***. For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, ***you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything***; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God’s command and ordinance, and besides in God’s name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; ***but the heart must believe it.***
    Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and ***which faith apprehends***; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and ****received by faith. ****”

  • Martin J.

    From Larger Catechism:
    “That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.”
    and
    “Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper’s baptism). God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but ***demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended***. For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, ***you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything***; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God’s command and ordinance, and besides in God’s name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; ***but the heart must believe it.***
    Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and ***which faith apprehends***; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and ****received by faith. ****”

  • Martin J.

    correction: Doug Wilson and two other pastors started the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches in 1998 (not 1993). apologies for the typo.

  • Martin J.

    correction: Doug Wilson and two other pastors started the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches in 1998 (not 1993). apologies for the typo.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ Martin J.

    You’re reasoning from silence here, which is bad exegesis of any text:

    “‘To all who believe’ automatically precludes baptismal regeneration.”

    No, that is an inclusive statement.

    What benefits does baptism give?

    It works forgiveness of sins, unconditionally.

    It rescues from death and the devil, unconditionally.

    From that we can say that it confers salvation, unconditionally. Now, this salvation is eternal if one continues in faith, and does not reject Christ and disavow one’s baptism; in that human sense, it is conditional upon faith not dying.

    The fact remains, though, that Dr. Luther’s catechism absolutely comports with Scripture, the early church, and the rest of the Lutheran Confessions in teaching that baptism saves. It is a real and sincere granting of forgiveness, and it is a real rescuing. It is regenerative. It is a strange project you have undertaken, trying to say that the Catechism does not teach this, especially in light of the broader witness of the Lutheran Symbolical books.

    All your last comment has indicated is that you, as a Calvinist, are uncomfortable with the Scriptural paradox that God desires that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, desiring not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his evil ways and live. Yet some are lost, and this is not God’s doing, nor His will, nor His intention, but theirs alone. The fact is that baptized, forgiven sinners choose hell for themselves, not because God did some bait and switch at the last minute in accordance with his foreordained plan, for His own Glory. Or should we celebrate the death of unrepentant sinners, because God only created them in order to damn them, anyway?

    Only a paradox can prevent theology from turning the Christian God into the devil.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ Martin J.

    You’re reasoning from silence here, which is bad exegesis of any text:

    “‘To all who believe’ automatically precludes baptismal regeneration.”

    No, that is an inclusive statement.

    What benefits does baptism give?

    It works forgiveness of sins, unconditionally.

    It rescues from death and the devil, unconditionally.

    From that we can say that it confers salvation, unconditionally. Now, this salvation is eternal if one continues in faith, and does not reject Christ and disavow one’s baptism; in that human sense, it is conditional upon faith not dying.

    The fact remains, though, that Dr. Luther’s catechism absolutely comports with Scripture, the early church, and the rest of the Lutheran Confessions in teaching that baptism saves. It is a real and sincere granting of forgiveness, and it is a real rescuing. It is regenerative. It is a strange project you have undertaken, trying to say that the Catechism does not teach this, especially in light of the broader witness of the Lutheran Symbolical books.

    All your last comment has indicated is that you, as a Calvinist, are uncomfortable with the Scriptural paradox that God desires that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, desiring not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his evil ways and live. Yet some are lost, and this is not God’s doing, nor His will, nor His intention, but theirs alone. The fact is that baptized, forgiven sinners choose hell for themselves, not because God did some bait and switch at the last minute in accordance with his foreordained plan, for His own Glory. Or should we celebrate the death of unrepentant sinners, because God only created them in order to damn them, anyway?

    Only a paradox can prevent theology from turning the Christian God into the devil.

  • Martin J.

    “It is a strange project you have undertaken”
    I agree that it is a strange project. Just so you know, I’m not trying to prove that Lutheranism is exactly the same as Calvinsim theologically. Obviously, it is not. I’m simply defending historically reformed doctrine from endless attacks — attacks that confuse and conflate. When I say confuse, people were assuming that the Federal Vision was actually reformed doctrine, when it has been ruled to be out of bound by all of the historically reformed denominations. And when I say conflate, I mean those that would try to say that the historically reformed/Calvinistic view is anti-thetical to the five solas and is man centered.

    You came into the conversation at the point where I was simply showing that Luther and Calvin are much closer to one another than others were claiming. Taken together Luther’s catechism and Calvin’s Institutes are not so far apart as others were claiming. Especially the claims that somehow by demanding “faith”, Calvinists have set themselves up as opposed to baptism and God’s word. Some of these attacks have been ridiculous and outlandish. Like I said, you really need to go back read the trail of insult, injury and attack to understand why I turned to Luther’s catechism. Luther refutes a good deal of what a lot of commenters have tried to espouse here, in defense of their attacks. Without the context, you’re right, you couldn’t really understand this “strange project” (which is nearing its end).

  • Martin J.

    “It is a strange project you have undertaken”
    I agree that it is a strange project. Just so you know, I’m not trying to prove that Lutheranism is exactly the same as Calvinsim theologically. Obviously, it is not. I’m simply defending historically reformed doctrine from endless attacks — attacks that confuse and conflate. When I say confuse, people were assuming that the Federal Vision was actually reformed doctrine, when it has been ruled to be out of bound by all of the historically reformed denominations. And when I say conflate, I mean those that would try to say that the historically reformed/Calvinistic view is anti-thetical to the five solas and is man centered.

    You came into the conversation at the point where I was simply showing that Luther and Calvin are much closer to one another than others were claiming. Taken together Luther’s catechism and Calvin’s Institutes are not so far apart as others were claiming. Especially the claims that somehow by demanding “faith”, Calvinists have set themselves up as opposed to baptism and God’s word. Some of these attacks have been ridiculous and outlandish. Like I said, you really need to go back read the trail of insult, injury and attack to understand why I turned to Luther’s catechism. Luther refutes a good deal of what a lot of commenters have tried to espouse here, in defense of their attacks. Without the context, you’re right, you couldn’t really understand this “strange project” (which is nearing its end).

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ Martin J.

    Understood. I have been following the entire conversation, however, so I am well aware of the context. I apologize for the vitriol that has come your way; it is really a shame that online discourse so often descends to that level. It’s easy to type things at a man that you would think twice about saying to his face. I apologize for any part I have had in this.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @ Martin J.

    Understood. I have been following the entire conversation, however, so I am well aware of the context. I apologize for the vitriol that has come your way; it is really a shame that online discourse so often descends to that level. It’s easy to type things at a man that you would think twice about saying to his face. I apologize for any part I have had in this.

  • fws

    Martin J @ 93

    We are glad you are here Martin and appreciate your contributions here. I too am sorry if you felt personally attacked.

    It is more clear now where you were aiming with your reference to our Catechisms on Baptism. And I congratulate you for homing in on the solas and especially Sola Fide. You are right. We Lutherans believe that Calvinists define faith differently than we do.

    I am going to attach an article where and anglican explains where he sees this difference to be. I would like you to please do me two favors:

    1)See if you think what Cary represents as the Reformed view is fair. Is it a representation you would accept as a proper discription of how Reformed view things? And if not could you come back here and explain how it is not fair or accurate?

    2) Read the part about how Lutherans view faith and Baptism and see if you still think that Lutherans and the Reformed are not that far apart. And again, please come back and tell us what you think about this second point too.

    Thanks Martin!

    Here is the article:

    http://www.google.com.br/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=ctsfw%20cary%20baptism%20faith&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDIQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ctsfw.net%2Fmedia%2Fpdfs%2Fcarysolafide.pdf&ei=uFaoTqPYJ8qQsAKq_qWiDw&usg=AFQjCNEs94xBNnM7ZFQvZJLA1NkoACrmCA&sig2=SPB86RthzOqVJ0erH7fR7Q

  • fws

    Martin J @ 93

    We are glad you are here Martin and appreciate your contributions here. I too am sorry if you felt personally attacked.

    It is more clear now where you were aiming with your reference to our Catechisms on Baptism. And I congratulate you for homing in on the solas and especially Sola Fide. You are right. We Lutherans believe that Calvinists define faith differently than we do.

    I am going to attach an article where and anglican explains where he sees this difference to be. I would like you to please do me two favors:

    1)See if you think what Cary represents as the Reformed view is fair. Is it a representation you would accept as a proper discription of how Reformed view things? And if not could you come back here and explain how it is not fair or accurate?

    2) Read the part about how Lutherans view faith and Baptism and see if you still think that Lutherans and the Reformed are not that far apart. And again, please come back and tell us what you think about this second point too.

    Thanks Martin!

    Here is the article:

    http://www.google.com.br/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=ctsfw%20cary%20baptism%20faith&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDIQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ctsfw.net%2Fmedia%2Fpdfs%2Fcarysolafide.pdf&ei=uFaoTqPYJ8qQsAKq_qWiDw&usg=AFQjCNEs94xBNnM7ZFQvZJLA1NkoACrmCA&sig2=SPB86RthzOqVJ0erH7fR7Q

  • fws

    martin @ 93

    Brother Martin, I see my link did not work . this one should!

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

  • fws

    martin @ 93

    Brother Martin, I see my link did not work . this one should!

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

  • fws

    Trent @ 92

    “From that we can say that it confers salvation, unconditionally. Now, this salvation is eternal if one continues in faith, and does not reject Christ and disavow one’s baptism; in that human sense, it is conditional upon faith not dying.”

    Trent, I think I know what you are driving at here, but this doesn’t set right with me somehow. This in fact does make salvation conditional upon our faith. I am sure you know that Lutherans do not teach that.

  • fws

    Trent @ 92

    “From that we can say that it confers salvation, unconditionally. Now, this salvation is eternal if one continues in faith, and does not reject Christ and disavow one’s baptism; in that human sense, it is conditional upon faith not dying.”

    Trent, I think I know what you are driving at here, but this doesn’t set right with me somehow. This in fact does make salvation conditional upon our faith. I am sure you know that Lutherans do not teach that.

  • larry

    No Martin, you bear false witness against me. I’ve always been crystal clear, I do not hate presbyterians or baptist. I’ve always defended the zeal of the baptist and have numerous times said that in a sense a baptist converted to Lutheran is a person you’d want to have due to that laudable zeal. But as is its a zeal without knowledge. That’s always a straw man when doctrine is in view, that “I” or anyone “hates” X because we point the doctrinal, essential differences. I go WAY out of my way to analyze doctrine from various stand points.

    The bottomline is that Lutheran doctrine and Lutherans all the way from Martin Luther, Martin Chemnitz, Sasse, Pieper, Walther, et. al. have always taught baptismal regeneration.

    The Lutheran confessions came about DUE TO the cryptocalvinism issue, not because they agreed. That itself, the history is narrated in the Confessions.

    And it is not just baptismal regeneration, but the sacrament of the altar, absolution and much, much more. The Solid Declaration was directed against Zwinglians and Calvinist, and its part of the confession.

    “This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, which go about to deface the majesty of baptism and speak wickedly of it. Paul contrariwise commendeth and setteth it forth with honourable titles, calling it ‘washing of the new birth, the renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ (Tit. iii.) And here also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put on Christ. As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism. Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but ye are clothed with a new garment; to wit, with the righteousness of Christ. Wherefore baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy. Now, when we are apparelled with Christ, as with the robe of our righteousness and salvation, then we must put on Christ also as the apparel of imitation and example. These things I have handled more largely in another place, therefore I here briefly pass them over.” (Emphasis ours.) (This quote from Luther was taken from the unabridged: “A Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.” “This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, which go about to deface the majesty of baptism and speak wickedly of it. Paul contrariwise commendeth and setteth it forth with honourable titles, calling it ‘washing of the new birth, the renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ (Tit. iii.) And here also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put on Christ. As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism. Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but ye are clothed with a new garment; to wit, with the righteousness of Christ. Wherefore baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy. Now, when we are apparelled with Christ, as with the robe of our righteousness and salvation, then we must put on Christ also as the apparel of imitation and example. These things I have handled more largely in another place, therefore I here briefly pass them over.” (Emphasis ours.) (This quote from Luther was taken from the unabridged: “A Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.”

    ““To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save. No one is baptized in order to become a prince, but as the words say, to ‘be saved.’ To be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the kingdom of Christ and live with him forever.” — Martin Luther (Quoted from The Large Catechism)

    “In Baptism the Holy Spirit is communicated; we are “all baptized into the one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those who are baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3). These are all realities that take place, not alongside of Baptism, but in Baptism. In the New Testament, Baptism with water, inasmuch as it is a baptism into Christ, into the name of Christ, is Baptism with the Spirit, it is a being born anew and at the same time from above “of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Certainly the New Testament knows of no regeneration without Baptism and independent of Baptism. Baptism, therefore, is not a sign but a means of regeneration. To take it only as a sign of a regeneration, that also takes place without it and independently of it, is unbiblical. Herman Sasse (thoroughly Lutheran)

    And I could EASILY multiply these firmly LUTHERAN quotes to fill pages and so could any confessing Lutheran.

  • larry

    No Martin, you bear false witness against me. I’ve always been crystal clear, I do not hate presbyterians or baptist. I’ve always defended the zeal of the baptist and have numerous times said that in a sense a baptist converted to Lutheran is a person you’d want to have due to that laudable zeal. But as is its a zeal without knowledge. That’s always a straw man when doctrine is in view, that “I” or anyone “hates” X because we point the doctrinal, essential differences. I go WAY out of my way to analyze doctrine from various stand points.

    The bottomline is that Lutheran doctrine and Lutherans all the way from Martin Luther, Martin Chemnitz, Sasse, Pieper, Walther, et. al. have always taught baptismal regeneration.

    The Lutheran confessions came about DUE TO the cryptocalvinism issue, not because they agreed. That itself, the history is narrated in the Confessions.

    And it is not just baptismal regeneration, but the sacrament of the altar, absolution and much, much more. The Solid Declaration was directed against Zwinglians and Calvinist, and its part of the confession.

    “This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, which go about to deface the majesty of baptism and speak wickedly of it. Paul contrariwise commendeth and setteth it forth with honourable titles, calling it ‘washing of the new birth, the renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ (Tit. iii.) And here also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put on Christ. As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism. Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but ye are clothed with a new garment; to wit, with the righteousness of Christ. Wherefore baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy. Now, when we are apparelled with Christ, as with the robe of our righteousness and salvation, then we must put on Christ also as the apparel of imitation and example. These things I have handled more largely in another place, therefore I here briefly pass them over.” (Emphasis ours.) (This quote from Luther was taken from the unabridged: “A Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.” “This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, which go about to deface the majesty of baptism and speak wickedly of it. Paul contrariwise commendeth and setteth it forth with honourable titles, calling it ‘washing of the new birth, the renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ (Tit. iii.) And here also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put on Christ. As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism. Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but ye are clothed with a new garment; to wit, with the righteousness of Christ. Wherefore baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy. Now, when we are apparelled with Christ, as with the robe of our righteousness and salvation, then we must put on Christ also as the apparel of imitation and example. These things I have handled more largely in another place, therefore I here briefly pass them over.” (Emphasis ours.) (This quote from Luther was taken from the unabridged: “A Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.”

    ““To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save. No one is baptized in order to become a prince, but as the words say, to ‘be saved.’ To be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the kingdom of Christ and live with him forever.” — Martin Luther (Quoted from The Large Catechism)

    “In Baptism the Holy Spirit is communicated; we are “all baptized into the one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those who are baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3). These are all realities that take place, not alongside of Baptism, but in Baptism. In the New Testament, Baptism with water, inasmuch as it is a baptism into Christ, into the name of Christ, is Baptism with the Spirit, it is a being born anew and at the same time from above “of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Certainly the New Testament knows of no regeneration without Baptism and independent of Baptism. Baptism, therefore, is not a sign but a means of regeneration. To take it only as a sign of a regeneration, that also takes place without it and independently of it, is unbiblical. Herman Sasse (thoroughly Lutheran)

    And I could EASILY multiply these firmly LUTHERAN quotes to fill pages and so could any confessing Lutheran.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Then what would you say? Explicate that portion of the Catechism, if you would. There is something paradoxical to human understanding here — God’s eternal salvation, given in baptism, can be abrogated by unbelief. God’s election is sure, and Christ will lose none that the Father has given Him. Yet you can resist God’s irresistible grace.

    I am articulating the difference between Objective and Subjective Justification. Objectively, all men have been justified by Christ’s atoning death. Subjectively, not all men are justified because some reject the Word and promises of God. It is not that their sins were not covered, not atoned for — it is that they rejected the gift. So to with Baptism. Yes, I do see that in this subjective, human sense, salvation depends on faith in the promise which is absolutely given in baptism.

    If a magic talisman which keeps you safe from all harm is draped upon you at birth, don’t take it off. If you take it off, you have endangered yourself. If you don’t, then what is it that keeps you safe? It, or your wearing of it? Yes.

    Your thoughts?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Then what would you say? Explicate that portion of the Catechism, if you would. There is something paradoxical to human understanding here — God’s eternal salvation, given in baptism, can be abrogated by unbelief. God’s election is sure, and Christ will lose none that the Father has given Him. Yet you can resist God’s irresistible grace.

    I am articulating the difference between Objective and Subjective Justification. Objectively, all men have been justified by Christ’s atoning death. Subjectively, not all men are justified because some reject the Word and promises of God. It is not that their sins were not covered, not atoned for — it is that they rejected the gift. So to with Baptism. Yes, I do see that in this subjective, human sense, salvation depends on faith in the promise which is absolutely given in baptism.

    If a magic talisman which keeps you safe from all harm is draped upon you at birth, don’t take it off. If you take it off, you have endangered yourself. If you don’t, then what is it that keeps you safe? It, or your wearing of it? Yes.

    Your thoughts?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    I’m commenting needlessly in order to bag the rare honor of having comment #100, and to apologize for the typos in my last comment…

    …but mostly to have comment #100.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    I’m commenting needlessly in order to bag the rare honor of having comment #100, and to apologize for the typos in my last comment…

    …but mostly to have comment #100.

  • fws

    Trent @ 99

    I appreciate your comments. This is not an easy subject eh? I have been working through , very slowly, the Apology, which , along with the Augustana are considered to be “normative” for the rest of the confessions. I have been trying to find that objective/subjective way of explaining things and haven’t found it yet. Can you point me to the confessional basis for that mode of teaching?

    Maybe there is something in the FC that directly goes there? Dunno.

    And dont get me wrong. I think the objective/subjective mode of explaining this is ok but I think I am seeing that the Early Confessions come at things from a different perspective that I think is maybe more helpful and avoids some pitfalls.

    One of the pitfalls of couse, that has serious pastoral consequences, is to say or somehow imply that salvation is dependent in ANY way upon our faith. That would be a clear error. And it is God alone who is both the Author AND the Finnisher of our faith. It is He alone who keeps us in the faith….. yet some do fall.

    The Apology approaches all this by defining what saving faith is, and then carefully distinguishing it from faith, and love which are our works and which God does indeed demand of us.

    They call saving faith “new heart movements” and say that we find this keeping of the Law (!) “peculiarly” dealt with in the first table of the Decalog.

    They say that God’s demand for faith and love are written in the Reason (but not the hearts) of ALL men , even those without Bibles (romans 2:15) . that is why Reason agrees with the Decalog. Reason is the SAME Law. But then there is a Law that Reason cannot know because it is veiled with the veil of moses. And that Law is found only and uniquely in the first table of the Decalog that speaks of the new heart movements that are prophecied will be written in the hearts of men in jeremiah 33.

    i am suggesting that often we confuse our definitions of what saving faith is. And so that objective/subjective mode simply would not deal with that error in thinking in that case.

  • fws

    Trent @ 99

    I appreciate your comments. This is not an easy subject eh? I have been working through , very slowly, the Apology, which , along with the Augustana are considered to be “normative” for the rest of the confessions. I have been trying to find that objective/subjective way of explaining things and haven’t found it yet. Can you point me to the confessional basis for that mode of teaching?

    Maybe there is something in the FC that directly goes there? Dunno.

    And dont get me wrong. I think the objective/subjective mode of explaining this is ok but I think I am seeing that the Early Confessions come at things from a different perspective that I think is maybe more helpful and avoids some pitfalls.

    One of the pitfalls of couse, that has serious pastoral consequences, is to say or somehow imply that salvation is dependent in ANY way upon our faith. That would be a clear error. And it is God alone who is both the Author AND the Finnisher of our faith. It is He alone who keeps us in the faith….. yet some do fall.

    The Apology approaches all this by defining what saving faith is, and then carefully distinguishing it from faith, and love which are our works and which God does indeed demand of us.

    They call saving faith “new heart movements” and say that we find this keeping of the Law (!) “peculiarly” dealt with in the first table of the Decalog.

    They say that God’s demand for faith and love are written in the Reason (but not the hearts) of ALL men , even those without Bibles (romans 2:15) . that is why Reason agrees with the Decalog. Reason is the SAME Law. But then there is a Law that Reason cannot know because it is veiled with the veil of moses. And that Law is found only and uniquely in the first table of the Decalog that speaks of the new heart movements that are prophecied will be written in the hearts of men in jeremiah 33.

    i am suggesting that often we confuse our definitions of what saving faith is. And so that objective/subjective mode simply would not deal with that error in thinking in that case.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Admittedly, my immediate frame of reference was not the Confessions, but explications of them by Robert Preus and Kurt Marquart, available, among others, here. Let me know what you think.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Admittedly, my immediate frame of reference was not the Confessions, but explications of them by Robert Preus and Kurt Marquart, available, among others, here. Let me know what you think.

  • fws

    trent @ 99

    for example now, as a result of reading the Apology, when someone who is baptized , confesses to me that they doubt they have faith or lack faith , my response is to tell them that that is what every believer should confess as true about them.

    Then I tell them to trust what God’s Word has promised them in their baptism. They are without faith, liars and without any reliable sign of true repentence. Ok. Let everyone be a liar, but God is still faithful.

    See where I am going with this? Where is the faith you or I have? How can we know we have it? If our faith is dependent upon our having it arent we all in a whole lot of trouble? Where is the evidence of repentence? Even pagans do outwardly and better anything a Christian can do. But what is in our hearts still convicts us doesnt it?

    So faith alone knows to look at ALL of it’s works, even it’s faith, and repentence, and emotional response, and all that, and accept Gods judgement on ALL that. It is ALL the moral equivalent of a used tampon. This is true of ALL that is our will, our faith, and our very soul (FC art I ). And so faith alone is terrified at ALL it can see or do. this includes faith! it does not flee Gods judgement by trying to have a better attitude of gratitude or do works for the right motivation or whatever. It just drops dead to all that in sheer terror.

    And so faith knows to hide ALL its works in the Works of Another. We look to what saving faith does rather than ponder what it is really. And it is this one thing that Faith does that saves us.

    And then faith knows that the part of sanctification that it can see is ALL about contrition and repentence, which is to say that the christian life is all about seeking our death in doing Good Works. not life and certainly not Life or sanctified Life. That Life is hidden in the Works of Another. The reformed look for signs of faith and Life in the christian life. Lutherans only see death there.

  • fws

    trent @ 99

    for example now, as a result of reading the Apology, when someone who is baptized , confesses to me that they doubt they have faith or lack faith , my response is to tell them that that is what every believer should confess as true about them.

    Then I tell them to trust what God’s Word has promised them in their baptism. They are without faith, liars and without any reliable sign of true repentence. Ok. Let everyone be a liar, but God is still faithful.

    See where I am going with this? Where is the faith you or I have? How can we know we have it? If our faith is dependent upon our having it arent we all in a whole lot of trouble? Where is the evidence of repentence? Even pagans do outwardly and better anything a Christian can do. But what is in our hearts still convicts us doesnt it?

    So faith alone knows to look at ALL of it’s works, even it’s faith, and repentence, and emotional response, and all that, and accept Gods judgement on ALL that. It is ALL the moral equivalent of a used tampon. This is true of ALL that is our will, our faith, and our very soul (FC art I ). And so faith alone is terrified at ALL it can see or do. this includes faith! it does not flee Gods judgement by trying to have a better attitude of gratitude or do works for the right motivation or whatever. It just drops dead to all that in sheer terror.

    And so faith knows to hide ALL its works in the Works of Another. We look to what saving faith does rather than ponder what it is really. And it is this one thing that Faith does that saves us.

    And then faith knows that the part of sanctification that it can see is ALL about contrition and repentence, which is to say that the christian life is all about seeking our death in doing Good Works. not life and certainly not Life or sanctified Life. That Life is hidden in the Works of Another. The reformed look for signs of faith and Life in the christian life. Lutherans only see death there.

  • fws

    trent @ 99

    I know I am coming back at your question obliquely and more from a pastoral angle, but I trust you can appreciate why that is.

  • fws

    trent @ 99

    I know I am coming back at your question obliquely and more from a pastoral angle, but I trust you can appreciate why that is.

  • fws

    Trent @ 102

    I will take a look at those Trent. it is most kind of you to provide them. I trust Robert Preus work tremendously along with dr marquardts. excellent gifts to the church those men were!

    I have resolved to learn to become a confessional lutheran. I am sure that marquart and preus would welcome us making the confessions our true and real basis for our theological opinions and way of approaching holy scriptures.

    Lots say they they are confessional lutherans but only seem to quote them, if ever, in some proof text sort of way. few bear evidence that they truly rely on the confessions as the basic source of their theology beyond Holy Scriptures. I am working hard on becoming such a Lutheran Trent!

  • fws

    Trent @ 102

    I will take a look at those Trent. it is most kind of you to provide them. I trust Robert Preus work tremendously along with dr marquardts. excellent gifts to the church those men were!

    I have resolved to learn to become a confessional lutheran. I am sure that marquart and preus would welcome us making the confessions our true and real basis for our theological opinions and way of approaching holy scriptures.

    Lots say they they are confessional lutherans but only seem to quote them, if ever, in some proof text sort of way. few bear evidence that they truly rely on the confessions as the basic source of their theology beyond Holy Scriptures. I am working hard on becoming such a Lutheran Trent!

  • fws

    trent @ 102

    most lcms men follow Pieper. who is almost without parallel. they butchered his systematics when they translated it into english.

  • fws

    trent @ 102

    most lcms men follow Pieper. who is almost without parallel. they butchered his systematics when they translated it into english.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Please do note the link I sent you.

    Yes, I agree with you. Remember, it was I who brought Cary into this conversation!

    We are saved on account of Christ, by grace (the pardoning word of forgiveness) which we believe through faith; we do not of ourselves have the ability to believe this unbelievable thing (that God has freely justified not only “the ungodly,” but me); the ability to trust in the Word and promises of God is beyond us — extra nos. As Cary says, “Faith can confess its own unbelief.”

    Unfortunately, since I am a Latinist, and not a Greek scholar, so I have no idea what the sense of “through” of Ephesians 2.8-9 would be in the Greek.

    Since you are coming at this pastorally, I have to ask: are you a pastor? Or did you mean to say that you have sheep?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Please do note the link I sent you.

    Yes, I agree with you. Remember, it was I who brought Cary into this conversation!

    We are saved on account of Christ, by grace (the pardoning word of forgiveness) which we believe through faith; we do not of ourselves have the ability to believe this unbelievable thing (that God has freely justified not only “the ungodly,” but me); the ability to trust in the Word and promises of God is beyond us — extra nos. As Cary says, “Faith can confess its own unbelief.”

    Unfortunately, since I am a Latinist, and not a Greek scholar, so I have no idea what the sense of “through” of Ephesians 2.8-9 would be in the Greek.

    Since you are coming at this pastorally, I have to ask: are you a pastor? Or did you mean to say that you have sheep?

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Yeah, I want to be one of those, too. Also working on it.

    Also, working on not being idiosyncratically Lutheran, but Lutheran because I believe that to be such is to be truly catholic, to love the brethren, and to confess Christ aright. I am Lutheran in the same way I am Ambrosian, Augustinian, Anselmian, Chrysostomian (if that’s a thing), etc., i.e., in a qualitatively different way than I am a Christian. I am a Lutheran, etc., because Luther, like all of those blessed men, was a Doctor of the Church, not because I follow him, or even him more than most — truly, he’s not even author of most of our confessions.

    Anyway, since we’ve been pidgeonholed with the epithet “Lutheran,” we may as well stick with it. Though at the end of the day, I am a Christian who has found a home in Christ’s Church among the faithful churches of the Augsburg Confession. I set out my caveats thusly in a post on my own blog awhile ago:

    Obviously I believe that councils and popes can err; that the Scriptures are perspicuous and the final authority for the Church; that the best rendering and epitome of the content of the Scriptures is comprised by the Lutheran Confessions, and that this fact is born out in the Scriptures in a way that it is not for the claims of the Church of Rome, or for those of other churches, for that matter; while this sounds pompous, you probably feel the same way about whatever it is that you believe. Since you may wish to point this out, I will go ahead and admit that my acceptance of the Lutheran symbolical books is similar, even analogous, to the affinity that many Protestants have for their many and various sources of inspiration, and that it is ultimately rooted in my private judgment. I think I could do an alright job defending the specifics of Lutheran doctrine, but I’m not taking on that task right here, right now; in other words, I can pretty much tell you why I believe what I believe, and I think that, like everyone else, I have a duty to be able to do this; like most people, however, there comes a point where I can no longer tell you why. If you get me to that point, you should buy me a beer. I do not believe that non-Lutherans are non-Christians, though I do believe that the churches of the Augsburg Confession have historically been the most faithful to the Christian tradition — don’t be shocked: if I did not believe this, I wouldn’t be a Lutheran, and if you didn’t believe the same thing about your own beliefs (assuming you are a Christian), you wouldn’t think the way you do/be what you are, you’d be something else/think in another way that you thought was more correct. I’m an absolutist on absolute things and a relativist on relative things; I wholeheartedly believe in the existence of these two categories, and I’m currently working on figuring out which things go where. I believe that it’s a sin to conflate the two categories, and by this token and many others, I’m a sinner.

  • http://pseudepigraphic.blogspot.com Trent

    @fws

    Yeah, I want to be one of those, too. Also working on it.

    Also, working on not being idiosyncratically Lutheran, but Lutheran because I believe that to be such is to be truly catholic, to love the brethren, and to confess Christ aright. I am Lutheran in the same way I am Ambrosian, Augustinian, Anselmian, Chrysostomian (if that’s a thing), etc., i.e., in a qualitatively different way than I am a Christian. I am a Lutheran, etc., because Luther, like all of those blessed men, was a Doctor of the Church, not because I follow him, or even him more than most — truly, he’s not even author of most of our confessions.

    Anyway, since we’ve been pidgeonholed with the epithet “Lutheran,” we may as well stick with it. Though at the end of the day, I am a Christian who has found a home in Christ’s Church among the faithful churches of the Augsburg Confession. I set out my caveats thusly in a post on my own blog awhile ago:

    Obviously I believe that councils and popes can err; that the Scriptures are perspicuous and the final authority for the Church; that the best rendering and epitome of the content of the Scriptures is comprised by the Lutheran Confessions, and that this fact is born out in the Scriptures in a way that it is not for the claims of the Church of Rome, or for those of other churches, for that matter; while this sounds pompous, you probably feel the same way about whatever it is that you believe. Since you may wish to point this out, I will go ahead and admit that my acceptance of the Lutheran symbolical books is similar, even analogous, to the affinity that many Protestants have for their many and various sources of inspiration, and that it is ultimately rooted in my private judgment. I think I could do an alright job defending the specifics of Lutheran doctrine, but I’m not taking on that task right here, right now; in other words, I can pretty much tell you why I believe what I believe, and I think that, like everyone else, I have a duty to be able to do this; like most people, however, there comes a point where I can no longer tell you why. If you get me to that point, you should buy me a beer. I do not believe that non-Lutherans are non-Christians, though I do believe that the churches of the Augsburg Confession have historically been the most faithful to the Christian tradition — don’t be shocked: if I did not believe this, I wouldn’t be a Lutheran, and if you didn’t believe the same thing about your own beliefs (assuming you are a Christian), you wouldn’t think the way you do/be what you are, you’d be something else/think in another way that you thought was more correct. I’m an absolutist on absolute things and a relativist on relative things; I wholeheartedly believe in the existence of these two categories, and I’m currently working on figuring out which things go where. I believe that it’s a sin to conflate the two categories, and by this token and many others, I’m a sinner.

  • fws

    Trent @ 107
    Nope. Not a pastor. Lutheran layman. When I say “pastorally” I am really thinking about the wonderful posture of the entirety of our Lutheran confessions.

    They say that one can simply not get the Holy Gospel if one’s conscience is not literally terrified at what God’s Judgement says about ALL we can see and do.

    So the constant and entire aim of each and every word of our Confessions is aimed at comforting and assuring that terrified conscience that Christ not only died for the sins of the world, but that each and every troubled sinner can know and be certain that Christ died FOR HIM.

  • fws

    Trent @ 107
    Nope. Not a pastor. Lutheran layman. When I say “pastorally” I am really thinking about the wonderful posture of the entirety of our Lutheran confessions.

    They say that one can simply not get the Holy Gospel if one’s conscience is not literally terrified at what God’s Judgement says about ALL we can see and do.

    So the constant and entire aim of each and every word of our Confessions is aimed at comforting and assuring that terrified conscience that Christ not only died for the sins of the world, but that each and every troubled sinner can know and be certain that Christ died FOR HIM.

  • fws

    Trent @ 108

    That is a nice little summary of why it is you confess with the rest of us Lutherans.

    CP Krauth wrote in his book “The Conservative Reformation” just what you expressed. I will paraphrase from memory…

    “Lutherans do not claim to be the whole church, they claim to be only a piece of it. But that piece of the church that does not claim that to it, by right, should belong the whole, loses it’s very right to exist.

    In that case , if Lutherans believed that, then they would be duty bound to disband and join to another piece. “

  • fws

    Trent @ 108

    That is a nice little summary of why it is you confess with the rest of us Lutherans.

    CP Krauth wrote in his book “The Conservative Reformation” just what you expressed. I will paraphrase from memory…

    “Lutherans do not claim to be the whole church, they claim to be only a piece of it. But that piece of the church that does not claim that to it, by right, should belong the whole, loses it’s very right to exist.

    In that case , if Lutherans believed that, then they would be duty bound to disband and join to another piece. “

  • fws

    trent @ 107

    Excellent! And that was a great move to bring Cary into the discussion. I hope the Calvinists brothers here read your link.

    I am getting alot just now out of the Apology art III (or rather IVb) that is “Love and the fulfilling of the Law”.

    There they point out that we are never saved apart from Works, and that we are saved by Works.

    And faith too is a work that we do as well as being those “new heart movements” that are the regenerate New Man.

    It is so foreign a line of reasoning to this midwestern Lutheran farmboy, that I had to get out a pen and paper and literally outline the flow of their argument.

    The most elegant part is where they explain the synectoche in the story of the woman who was “saved because she loved much.”

    So was it her love that saved her? Apology III and VI “on justification” , along with II “On Original sin” are some of the toughest , densest theological works i have ever worked through. I literally needed to outline them , several times, before i could even start to get what they are saying. And I am still working through them. But doing this makes the FC come alive! along with the catechisms….. I would highly recommend it.

  • fws

    trent @ 107

    Excellent! And that was a great move to bring Cary into the discussion. I hope the Calvinists brothers here read your link.

    I am getting alot just now out of the Apology art III (or rather IVb) that is “Love and the fulfilling of the Law”.

    There they point out that we are never saved apart from Works, and that we are saved by Works.

    And faith too is a work that we do as well as being those “new heart movements” that are the regenerate New Man.

    It is so foreign a line of reasoning to this midwestern Lutheran farmboy, that I had to get out a pen and paper and literally outline the flow of their argument.

    The most elegant part is where they explain the synectoche in the story of the woman who was “saved because she loved much.”

    So was it her love that saved her? Apology III and VI “on justification” , along with II “On Original sin” are some of the toughest , densest theological works i have ever worked through. I literally needed to outline them , several times, before i could even start to get what they are saying. And I am still working through them. But doing this makes the FC come alive! along with the catechisms….. I would highly recommend it.

  • fws

    nice blog trent. I just checked it out.

  • fws

    nice blog trent. I just checked it out.

  • larry

    Trent,

    Perhaps this will help, and Frank is pointing this out too. We all need to be very careful where our faith really is, the way really is singularly narrow.

    Our faith is not in election or predestination, neither is our faith really in justification, objective or subjective. Neither is our faith in the salvation of all men or not. Predestination is not an object of faith itself. More particular, my faith cannot be in whether or not even my most loved family member is saved or not, nor can there’s be toward mine or not. Faith is not in some perceived or lack thereof a “changed life” or set of fruits. Faith is not in a “grace” that now empowers one to believe or to perform the law. Faith is not in faith.

    Faith is in, very narrowly singularly, the righteousness of Christ (I am Christ’s sin as Christ is my righteousness).

    God has predestined men in His Words, in particular this Gospel the forgiveness of sins and righteousness of Christ gifted to one and this comes down into time and space in Word and Worded Sacraments.

    Luther makes this point in BOW that all Calvinist miss (and Luther even warns in BOW will that men will do this in spite of his warning even about his own book), there is a difference between a predestination without the preached God and predestination with a preached God. God has predestined the means to be HERE, with the preacher, in the water, in the bread, in the wine and not “over there” where He is not preached, nor beside the Word and Sacrament, nor sometimes with the Word and Sacrament and sometimes not depending on faith’s presence or absence.

    Luther’s discovery in Romans really lay in Romans 10, because his base question was where do I find a gracious God! It is there where Paul outlines “how shall they know if they cannot hear and how shall they hear if there is no preacher….” (paraphrased). But just before that Paul says all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. One needs the name of God to call upon and only God can give it. But back to Luther, “Where can I find this name to call upon it”. Paul’s answer, the preacher (a means) in the preaching of the preached God (predestination). And what is preached in baptism, realize that baptizing is preaching, so what is preached in baptism that is heard? It’s obvious the very name of God, the preached God’s name is preached and given so as to be heard. And given now it can be called upon by the recipient and all who call upon it will be saved! God’s predestines in the preached God via the preacher where His name is given to be called upon. When baby is baptized, the PREACHER, and church is GIVING that infant the name of God. And God’s name is never a sign or symbol but a reality always! To take it as a sign, even pointing to a reality elsewhere (ala Calvin), is to take it in vain. Thus, the infant and adult baptized is given the name of God, the preached-predestining God, to now call upon and be saved.

    I hope that helps.

  • larry

    Trent,

    Perhaps this will help, and Frank is pointing this out too. We all need to be very careful where our faith really is, the way really is singularly narrow.

    Our faith is not in election or predestination, neither is our faith really in justification, objective or subjective. Neither is our faith in the salvation of all men or not. Predestination is not an object of faith itself. More particular, my faith cannot be in whether or not even my most loved family member is saved or not, nor can there’s be toward mine or not. Faith is not in some perceived or lack thereof a “changed life” or set of fruits. Faith is not in a “grace” that now empowers one to believe or to perform the law. Faith is not in faith.

    Faith is in, very narrowly singularly, the righteousness of Christ (I am Christ’s sin as Christ is my righteousness).

    God has predestined men in His Words, in particular this Gospel the forgiveness of sins and righteousness of Christ gifted to one and this comes down into time and space in Word and Worded Sacraments.

    Luther makes this point in BOW that all Calvinist miss (and Luther even warns in BOW will that men will do this in spite of his warning even about his own book), there is a difference between a predestination without the preached God and predestination with a preached God. God has predestined the means to be HERE, with the preacher, in the water, in the bread, in the wine and not “over there” where He is not preached, nor beside the Word and Sacrament, nor sometimes with the Word and Sacrament and sometimes not depending on faith’s presence or absence.

    Luther’s discovery in Romans really lay in Romans 10, because his base question was where do I find a gracious God! It is there where Paul outlines “how shall they know if they cannot hear and how shall they hear if there is no preacher….” (paraphrased). But just before that Paul says all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. One needs the name of God to call upon and only God can give it. But back to Luther, “Where can I find this name to call upon it”. Paul’s answer, the preacher (a means) in the preaching of the preached God (predestination). And what is preached in baptism, realize that baptizing is preaching, so what is preached in baptism that is heard? It’s obvious the very name of God, the preached God’s name is preached and given so as to be heard. And given now it can be called upon by the recipient and all who call upon it will be saved! God’s predestines in the preached God via the preacher where His name is given to be called upon. When baby is baptized, the PREACHER, and church is GIVING that infant the name of God. And God’s name is never a sign or symbol but a reality always! To take it as a sign, even pointing to a reality elsewhere (ala Calvin), is to take it in vain. Thus, the infant and adult baptized is given the name of God, the preached-predestining God, to now call upon and be saved.

    I hope that helps.

  • Martin J

    Gentlemen, Thanks so much for the exchange.
    I came across something that I wanted to share here, something that I think we can all enjoy very much:
    http://christianaudio.com/martin-luther-in-his-own-words-martin-luther
    It is a link to a free audio download of the reading of Luther’s own works, called In His Own Words. It is a limited offering as Reformation Day is just around the corner. We celebrate Reformation Day in recognition of October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg.

    This volume includes:
    The Small Catechism
    95 Theses
    On Faith and Coming to Christ
    On Confession and the Lord’s Supper
    Of the Office of Preaching
    Excerpt from Luther’s Tower Experience
    The Last Written Words of Luther

    Enjoy!!! And blessings to you…

  • Martin J

    Gentlemen, Thanks so much for the exchange.
    I came across something that I wanted to share here, something that I think we can all enjoy very much:
    http://christianaudio.com/martin-luther-in-his-own-words-martin-luther
    It is a link to a free audio download of the reading of Luther’s own works, called In His Own Words. It is a limited offering as Reformation Day is just around the corner. We celebrate Reformation Day in recognition of October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg.

    This volume includes:
    The Small Catechism
    95 Theses
    On Faith and Coming to Christ
    On Confession and the Lord’s Supper
    Of the Office of Preaching
    Excerpt from Luther’s Tower Experience
    The Last Written Words of Luther

    Enjoy!!! And blessings to you…

  • larry

    Martin,

    Thanks and a very good find!

    Yours,

    Larry

  • larry

    Martin,

    Thanks and a very good find!

    Yours,

    Larry