Take it on faith

Sally Quinn marks 5 years of doing her On Faith discussions for the Washington Post.  She says after all of this religion coverage that she is no longer an atheist.  She doesn’t have a personal relationship with God, though, and she believes that all religions are equally valid.  Still, her reflections contain some good stories:

An atheist father was trying to explain to his son that there was no such thing as God. “But dad,” asked the boy, “how do you know?”

“You’ll just have to take it on faith,” said the father.

That says it all.

We are all taking our beliefs or lack of beliefs on faith. . . .

 

My friend, Welton Gaddy, a Southern Baptist minister, told me about a friend who informed him that she had absolutely no interest in religion. “Well,” he asked her, “are you interested in national politics or foreign policy?”

“Yes.”

“ What about abortion, gay marriage, immigration and the environment?” he asked.

Of course she was.

“Well, then,” he replied, “you’re interested in religion.”

Gaddy might well have added the financial bailout, poverty, disease, movies, music, holidays, separation of church and state, parenting, sexual abuse, animal rights, sports, books, the internet, the military, women’s rights, racism, violence, crime, marriage, families, science, medicine and on and on. Everyone is interested in religion. They just don’t know it. . . .

 

We are all searching for the transcendent, for a sense of the divine. Even those who claim no faith, no belief, cannot ignore the three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What then must I do?

Life is hard. No matter whether you are religious or not, you will have periods of extreme doubt which will make you ask, “What is the point?” Nobody gets a pass.

Viktor Frankl, in his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” written after the Holocaust, asks the question and answers it for himself. I think I know what gives my life meaning, what the sense of the divine is for me, what I find transcendent. I have found this out by studying religion. That doesn’t mean I have any answers. It only means I believe I know why I am here.

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.

  • #4 Kitty

    A man who did not believe in leprechauns was trying to explain to his son that there were no such thing as leprechauns. “But dad”, asked the boy, “how do you know”?
    “You’ll just have to take it on faith.” said the father.

    I think that says it all.

  • #4 Kitty

    A man who did not believe in leprechauns was trying to explain to his son that there were no such thing as leprechauns. “But dad”, asked the boy, “how do you know”?
    “You’ll just have to take it on faith.” said the father.

    I think that says it all.

  • Tom Hering

    “Everyone is interested in religion. They just don’t know it …”

    How can you be interested in something without knowing it, since interest is “the state of wanting to know or learn about something”?

  • Tom Hering

    “Everyone is interested in religion. They just don’t know it …”

    How can you be interested in something without knowing it, since interest is “the state of wanting to know or learn about something”?

  • Leslie4

    I would say that everyone needs religion, they just don’t know it.

  • Leslie4

    I would say that everyone needs religion, they just don’t know it.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d say everyone needs the free forgiveness of sins given in Christ, only people don’t want to know they’re sinners.

    Next. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    I’d say everyone needs the free forgiveness of sins given in Christ, only people don’t want to know they’re sinners.

    Next. :-)

  • Michael B.

    The implication in this article is that faith is a bad thing. It’s as if atheists are being told, “See, you have faith too. Don’t act like you can base your beliefs on reason and evidence”.

  • Michael B.

    The implication in this article is that faith is a bad thing. It’s as if atheists are being told, “See, you have faith too. Don’t act like you can base your beliefs on reason and evidence”.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom Hering @4
    +1 or thumbs up, whatever social media thing applies.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom Hering @4
    +1 or thumbs up, whatever social media thing applies.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Religion is religion and faith is faith. Faith is really only faith when it’s object is Jesus Christ.

    Everything else will incur the wrath of God.

    This I know, for the Bible tells me so.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Religion is religion and faith is faith. Faith is really only faith when it’s object is Jesus Christ.

    Everything else will incur the wrath of God.

    This I know, for the Bible tells me so.

  • Jonathan

    @4 Good thing we wised up, huh? Faith is God’s gift. Lots of folks may not ‘know’ yet that they’re sinners who need Christ because God has yet to open the minds to that fact – when He does, they will believe.

  • Jonathan

    @4 Good thing we wised up, huh? Faith is God’s gift. Lots of folks may not ‘know’ yet that they’re sinners who need Christ because God has yet to open the minds to that fact – when He does, they will believe.

  • Dennis Peskey

    From the article Ms. Quinn penned it seems she truly is no longer an atheist – she has annointed herself as god. Consider this comment near the conclusion of her article, “God is what you or I or anyone else says God is.” Given this belief, I can answer her question, “How could a loving, all-powerful God allow suffering?” Obviously, since she creates god and this god allows suffering – ergo, the fault lies with the creator – Ms. Quinn.

    Her testimony demonstrates the consequence of exposure to apologetics; the veneer of atheism has been stripped away. For her to come to a knowledge of the Lord will require the proclamation of Law and Gospel, in that order. It is a most unfortunate conclusion she embraces when proclaiming, “ I do not have a personal relationship with God.” In God’s eyes, by his Law, she does have a personal relationship with the Almighty. She opposes God and if she were to die today, this is the basis on which she would be judged. God made it quite clear in 2Tim 2:12, “If we deny him, he will also deny us.”

    What Ms. Quinn needs most is to free herself of her worldview that “Pluralism was the goal” which always leads to the conclusion “I don’t understand the concept of having no tolerance for the beliefs of others or the notion that there is only one true religion.” What Ms. Quinn needs most is a prophet like Nathan who will clearly proclaim God’s Law to her and with the help of the Holy Spirit, come to the understanding she is sinning against God. It will do only harm to proclaim the Gospel to an unrepentant sinner; God does not love unrepentant sinners and will send them to the place prepared for the rebellious angels, aka hell. I would counsel Ms. Quinn to compare the similarities in the religions she has studied; a close examination will reveal all the gods of the many world religions require us to serve and obey them. All except one religion – for Christ came to serve, not to be served. There is where her answer can be found and this is not hidden knowledge but to those who believe on his Name, it is the power of salvation.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    From the article Ms. Quinn penned it seems she truly is no longer an atheist – she has annointed herself as god. Consider this comment near the conclusion of her article, “God is what you or I or anyone else says God is.” Given this belief, I can answer her question, “How could a loving, all-powerful God allow suffering?” Obviously, since she creates god and this god allows suffering – ergo, the fault lies with the creator – Ms. Quinn.

    Her testimony demonstrates the consequence of exposure to apologetics; the veneer of atheism has been stripped away. For her to come to a knowledge of the Lord will require the proclamation of Law and Gospel, in that order. It is a most unfortunate conclusion she embraces when proclaiming, “ I do not have a personal relationship with God.” In God’s eyes, by his Law, she does have a personal relationship with the Almighty. She opposes God and if she were to die today, this is the basis on which she would be judged. God made it quite clear in 2Tim 2:12, “If we deny him, he will also deny us.”

    What Ms. Quinn needs most is to free herself of her worldview that “Pluralism was the goal” which always leads to the conclusion “I don’t understand the concept of having no tolerance for the beliefs of others or the notion that there is only one true religion.” What Ms. Quinn needs most is a prophet like Nathan who will clearly proclaim God’s Law to her and with the help of the Holy Spirit, come to the understanding she is sinning against God. It will do only harm to proclaim the Gospel to an unrepentant sinner; God does not love unrepentant sinners and will send them to the place prepared for the rebellious angels, aka hell. I would counsel Ms. Quinn to compare the similarities in the religions she has studied; a close examination will reveal all the gods of the many world religions require us to serve and obey them. All except one religion – for Christ came to serve, not to be served. There is where her answer can be found and this is not hidden knowledge but to those who believe on his Name, it is the power of salvation.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Exactly, Janathan.

    Exactly.

    There’s no shoehorning people into, or reasoning them into it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Exactly, Janathan.

    Exactly.

    There’s no shoehorning people into, or reasoning them into it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Typing too fast. ‘Jonathan’.

    Sorry, my friend.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Typing too fast. ‘Jonathan’.

    Sorry, my friend.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Spot on, Dennis Peskey!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Spot on, Dennis Peskey!

  • Carl Vehse

    Yeah, Sally’s electrospray coating of religiosity is on full display here:

    Last Wednesday at Tim [Russert]‘s funeral mass at Trinity Church in Georgetown (Jack Kennedy’s church), communion was offered. I had only taken communion once in my life, at an evangelical church. It was soon after I had started “On Faith” and I wanted to see what it was like. Oddly I had a slightly nauseated sensation after I took it, knowing that in some way it represented the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Last Wednesday I was determined to take it for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I’m so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it. After I began “On Faith,” Tim started calling me “Sister Sal” instead of “Miss Sal.”

    or in Sally’s column, “Oprah: America’s high priestess“:

    More people have left traditional religions to join congregations which are self validating. Gone were the fire and brimstone, you’re-all-going-to-hell-unless-you-accept-Jesus-Christ-as-your-personal-savior, the judgment, the fear, the punishment. Many religious and spiritual leaders have taken the lead on this, realizing people don’t want to be lectured to and made to feel guilty for common human failings. People want to feel hopeful, as though they matter. They want to feel empowered.

    “Oprah led the way. It may be a reach to say that she has changed the direction of modern religion… This is ministry at its best and something that more religious leaders should pay attention to… It was a flawless performance, an inspirational sermon… The pope couldn’t have done better.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Yeah, Sally’s electrospray coating of religiosity is on full display here:

    Last Wednesday at Tim [Russert]‘s funeral mass at Trinity Church in Georgetown (Jack Kennedy’s church), communion was offered. I had only taken communion once in my life, at an evangelical church. It was soon after I had started “On Faith” and I wanted to see what it was like. Oddly I had a slightly nauseated sensation after I took it, knowing that in some way it represented the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Last Wednesday I was determined to take it for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I’m so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it. After I began “On Faith,” Tim started calling me “Sister Sal” instead of “Miss Sal.”

    or in Sally’s column, “Oprah: America’s high priestess“:

    More people have left traditional religions to join congregations which are self validating. Gone were the fire and brimstone, you’re-all-going-to-hell-unless-you-accept-Jesus-Christ-as-your-personal-savior, the judgment, the fear, the punishment. Many religious and spiritual leaders have taken the lead on this, realizing people don’t want to be lectured to and made to feel guilty for common human failings. People want to feel hopeful, as though they matter. They want to feel empowered.

    “Oprah led the way. It may be a reach to say that she has changed the direction of modern religion… This is ministry at its best and something that more religious leaders should pay attention to… It was a flawless performance, an inspirational sermon… The pope couldn’t have done better.”

  • George A. Marquart

    Jonathan @ 8. I will write again what I usually write when I see the Gospel proclaimed so clearly: Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, dear Brother, but our Father in Heaven. We Lutherans pay lip service to Luther’s explanation of the Third Article, but we tend to think of the Holy Spirit as some elixir, or magic potion, that is poured into us and makes us behave in remarkable ways. But He is the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the most blessed Trinity, who dwells in His people, protects us, guides us, intercedes for us and gives us His most precious gifts. At the same time He gives His power to His Word, in Law and Gospel, to draw His Elect into His Kingdom.

    But, Dennis Peskey @ 9, He is even able to get things straightened out if we somehow get the order reversed. After all, what we call conversion, most likely does not take place because in one session Law and Gospel are scrupulously proclaimed, purely and in the right order. During one’s lifetime, an unbeliever is likely to hear bits of Law here and bits of Gospel there. Ultimately, it is the same Lord, the Holy Spirit, Who works the miracle of conversion. After all, none of us has the power to discern at what moment a person becomes “truly repentant” so the Gospel can begin to be applied. What if you misjudge and slip in a bit of Gospel at the wrong moment? Woops. But that ”God does not love unrepentant sinners” is simply not true. Were we not all unrepentant sinners before God made us new creatures by Water and the Spirit?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Jonathan @ 8. I will write again what I usually write when I see the Gospel proclaimed so clearly: Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, dear Brother, but our Father in Heaven. We Lutherans pay lip service to Luther’s explanation of the Third Article, but we tend to think of the Holy Spirit as some elixir, or magic potion, that is poured into us and makes us behave in remarkable ways. But He is the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the most blessed Trinity, who dwells in His people, protects us, guides us, intercedes for us and gives us His most precious gifts. At the same time He gives His power to His Word, in Law and Gospel, to draw His Elect into His Kingdom.

    But, Dennis Peskey @ 9, He is even able to get things straightened out if we somehow get the order reversed. After all, what we call conversion, most likely does not take place because in one session Law and Gospel are scrupulously proclaimed, purely and in the right order. During one’s lifetime, an unbeliever is likely to hear bits of Law here and bits of Gospel there. Ultimately, it is the same Lord, the Holy Spirit, Who works the miracle of conversion. After all, none of us has the power to discern at what moment a person becomes “truly repentant” so the Gospel can begin to be applied. What if you misjudge and slip in a bit of Gospel at the wrong moment? Woops. But that ”God does not love unrepentant sinners” is simply not true. Were we not all unrepentant sinners before God made us new creatures by Water and the Spirit?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Tom Hering

    “@4 Good thing we wised up, huh?” – Jonathan @ 8.

    Did you think I was bragging? Since repentance follows faith, it follows that repentance, too, is a gift. And no one may boast.

  • Tom Hering

    “@4 Good thing we wised up, huh?” – Jonathan @ 8.

    Did you think I was bragging? Since repentance follows faith, it follows that repentance, too, is a gift. And no one may boast.

  • Dennis Peskey

    George A. Marquart (#14) If your church is on the three year lectionary, the Holy Gospel for Proper 29 is Matthew 25:31-46 (for the one year lectionary, this should have been the Gospel reading for Trinity 26 – two weeks ago). With either pericope, I would be most interested in your exegesis of Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

    Unless your prepared to assert God still loves Satan and his rebellious group, your “simply not true” assertion lacks foundation. Jesus was very clear what awaits the unrepentant sinner -HELL. At this point, I would be remiss if I did not remind other readers of this post that hell was not prepared for unrepentant sinners – hell was prepared for Satan and his angels. If you go there, it is strictly by your own choosing.

    Does God also love repentant sinners; yes. He loved us so much He sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. This was a price we could not pay for the Father poured out his wrath on his Son punishing him for our iniquity and Jesus bore all for us. But please do not diminish the suffering Christ undertook for us; the wrath of the Father was very real to the point of being forsaken by his Father. Those who proclaim the Rob Bell Love Wins theology do not serve their neighbor. I suggest you read again Ms. Quinn’s view of God (beyond her god being a creature of her design). Ms. Quinn’s god includes not only the Trinity, but Allah, Buddhah, Oprah or the tree in your back yard. Do you perceive a disconnect between this belief and the First Commandment?

    The reason I choose Nathan the prophet was the comfort King David found in his sin. Things were pretty good for the King until the prophet showed up. Nathan did not proclaim any Gospel to King David until David repented with the lament “I have sinned against the Lord.” Only then, after the comfortable have been afflicted by the Law should the Gospel be proclaimed as comfort for the afflicted. Were it not for the terrors of the Law, Luther would have become another chariot-chasing lawyer of his time. It was the Law that drove him to the sweetness of the Gospel. But for those who choose to stand by themselves on judgment day, Christ will deny you; He has already announced the judgment awaiting you.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    George A. Marquart (#14) If your church is on the three year lectionary, the Holy Gospel for Proper 29 is Matthew 25:31-46 (for the one year lectionary, this should have been the Gospel reading for Trinity 26 – two weeks ago). With either pericope, I would be most interested in your exegesis of Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

    Unless your prepared to assert God still loves Satan and his rebellious group, your “simply not true” assertion lacks foundation. Jesus was very clear what awaits the unrepentant sinner -HELL. At this point, I would be remiss if I did not remind other readers of this post that hell was not prepared for unrepentant sinners – hell was prepared for Satan and his angels. If you go there, it is strictly by your own choosing.

    Does God also love repentant sinners; yes. He loved us so much He sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. This was a price we could not pay for the Father poured out his wrath on his Son punishing him for our iniquity and Jesus bore all for us. But please do not diminish the suffering Christ undertook for us; the wrath of the Father was very real to the point of being forsaken by his Father. Those who proclaim the Rob Bell Love Wins theology do not serve their neighbor. I suggest you read again Ms. Quinn’s view of God (beyond her god being a creature of her design). Ms. Quinn’s god includes not only the Trinity, but Allah, Buddhah, Oprah or the tree in your back yard. Do you perceive a disconnect between this belief and the First Commandment?

    The reason I choose Nathan the prophet was the comfort King David found in his sin. Things were pretty good for the King until the prophet showed up. Nathan did not proclaim any Gospel to King David until David repented with the lament “I have sinned against the Lord.” Only then, after the comfortable have been afflicted by the Law should the Gospel be proclaimed as comfort for the afflicted. Were it not for the terrors of the Law, Luther would have become another chariot-chasing lawyer of his time. It was the Law that drove him to the sweetness of the Gospel. But for those who choose to stand by themselves on judgment day, Christ will deny you; He has already announced the judgment awaiting you.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Jonathan

    @15, No, Tom, I didn’t, and I shouldn’t have put it that way. I also struggle wtih those who don’t believe — will they ever? Then I think how long it took me…..

  • Jonathan

    @15, No, Tom, I didn’t, and I shouldn’t have put it that way. I also struggle wtih those who don’t believe — will they ever? Then I think how long it took me…..

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    OOH, WHEE!

    “More people have left traditional religions to join congregations which are self validating.”

    itching ears?

    “Gone were the fire and brimstone, you’re-all-going-to-hell-unless-you-accept-Jesus-Christ-as-your-personal-savior, the judgment, the fear, the punishment.”

    antinomian?

    ” Many religious and spiritual leaders have taken the lead on this, realizing people don’t want to be lectured to and made to feel guilty for common human failings.”

    false teachers?

    “People want to feel hopeful, as though they matter. They want to feel empowered.”

    he who exalts himself will be humbled?

    “Oprah led the way.”

    projection?

    “It may be a reach to say that she has changed the direction of modern religion… ”

    Is it really fair to blame her? Isn’t she more symptom than cause?

    “This is ministry at its best and something that more religious leaders should pay attention to… It was a flawless performance, an inspirational sermon…”

    Perhaps the devil himself would agree. He also wants us to focus on ourselves.

    “The pope couldn’t have done better.”

    the anti Christ?

    Okay, this woman writes like a self parody. Five years of writing on religion, and she is yet utterly clueless. She should be promoted to gossip columnist.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    OOH, WHEE!

    “More people have left traditional religions to join congregations which are self validating.”

    itching ears?

    “Gone were the fire and brimstone, you’re-all-going-to-hell-unless-you-accept-Jesus-Christ-as-your-personal-savior, the judgment, the fear, the punishment.”

    antinomian?

    ” Many religious and spiritual leaders have taken the lead on this, realizing people don’t want to be lectured to and made to feel guilty for common human failings.”

    false teachers?

    “People want to feel hopeful, as though they matter. They want to feel empowered.”

    he who exalts himself will be humbled?

    “Oprah led the way.”

    projection?

    “It may be a reach to say that she has changed the direction of modern religion… ”

    Is it really fair to blame her? Isn’t she more symptom than cause?

    “This is ministry at its best and something that more religious leaders should pay attention to… It was a flawless performance, an inspirational sermon…”

    Perhaps the devil himself would agree. He also wants us to focus on ourselves.

    “The pope couldn’t have done better.”

    the anti Christ?

    Okay, this woman writes like a self parody. Five years of writing on religion, and she is yet utterly clueless. She should be promoted to gossip columnist.

  • Carl Vehse

    “She should be promoted to gossip columnist.”

    Sorry, the National Enquirer has higher journalistic standards; Sally will have to stay with the Washington Compost.

  • Carl Vehse

    “She should be promoted to gossip columnist.”

    Sorry, the National Enquirer has higher journalistic standards; Sally will have to stay with the Washington Compost.

  • Jon

    Interesting reax here; tells me that someone who’s thoughtfully gone from atheism to belief in God, albeit yet without faith in gospel, should not come near Lutherans…..you’ll get an earful of abuse.

  • Jon

    Interesting reax here; tells me that someone who’s thoughtfully gone from atheism to belief in God, albeit yet without faith in gospel, should not come near Lutherans…..you’ll get an earful of abuse.

  • Tom Hering

    Jon @ 20, do you think there might be a difference between talking about a journalist’s writings – the public words of a public figure – and talking with a private individual about their private journey from atheism to theism? Do you think Lutherans might know the difference, and respond appropriately in each case? If not, why not?

  • Tom Hering

    Jon @ 20, do you think there might be a difference between talking about a journalist’s writings – the public words of a public figure – and talking with a private individual about their private journey from atheism to theism? Do you think Lutherans might know the difference, and respond appropriately in each case? If not, why not?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “Apart from Jesus Christ, God might as well be the devil.”

    ( I don’t remember who said it – hopefully many)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “Apart from Jesus Christ, God might as well be the devil.”

    ( I don’t remember who said it – hopefully many)

  • George A. Marquart

    Dennis @ 16, going into the exegesis of that particular verse would take too long and really be pointless. Let me assure you that I don’t believe God loves Satan or his followers. But I need to say this: those on His right did not become His sheep because they fed, clothed, or visited the least of His brethren, but the fact that they do these things demonstrates that they are His sheep.

    But the rest of your post opens a can of worms that I need to deal with. There was never, I repeat never, any wrath by the Father toward the Son. And the Son was never forsaken, in the sense that the Father willfully abandoned Him, because He was angry with Him. God the Father abandoned His Son in the sense that He did not intercede to stop the sacrifice of His Son. The Son had to bear the sins of the whole world as a human being; as sin came into the world by one man, so it had to be overcome by one Man. It was not some kind of a Passion play – now I love you (Baptism and Transfiguration), now I hate you (Golgotha), and now, after the resurrection, I love you again. The syllogism, God hates sin, He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, therefore He hates His Son, is flawed. The minor premise is metaphorical. OK?

    I haven’t really read the religious opinions of any of the people you mentioned, but I take your word for it. As we say, “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” All these others are imposters, except Buddha, who never claimed to be God.

    But when you mention David and Nathan, I do have a problem, because I assume (maybe wrongly, in which case please forgive me), that this is related to what Luther writes in the Smalcald Articles about the False Repentance of the Papists, and that when David sinned, the Holy Spirit left Him. If He did, how could David repent of his sin? Oh, the Holy Spirit waited until David had made himself better again, and then came back? This article is wrong. For one thing, it makes the awful assumption that when we need God the most, He abandons us. It ignores our Lord’s saying, “Every sin against the Son will be forgiven.” Since David repented, he had not committed the Sin against the Holy Spirit. We Lutherans do not always distinguish between the Repentance we undergo by the power of the Holy Spirit when He makes us His children, and the repentance we practice as His children, when no sin is unforgivable.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dennis @ 16, going into the exegesis of that particular verse would take too long and really be pointless. Let me assure you that I don’t believe God loves Satan or his followers. But I need to say this: those on His right did not become His sheep because they fed, clothed, or visited the least of His brethren, but the fact that they do these things demonstrates that they are His sheep.

    But the rest of your post opens a can of worms that I need to deal with. There was never, I repeat never, any wrath by the Father toward the Son. And the Son was never forsaken, in the sense that the Father willfully abandoned Him, because He was angry with Him. God the Father abandoned His Son in the sense that He did not intercede to stop the sacrifice of His Son. The Son had to bear the sins of the whole world as a human being; as sin came into the world by one man, so it had to be overcome by one Man. It was not some kind of a Passion play – now I love you (Baptism and Transfiguration), now I hate you (Golgotha), and now, after the resurrection, I love you again. The syllogism, God hates sin, He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, therefore He hates His Son, is flawed. The minor premise is metaphorical. OK?

    I haven’t really read the religious opinions of any of the people you mentioned, but I take your word for it. As we say, “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” All these others are imposters, except Buddha, who never claimed to be God.

    But when you mention David and Nathan, I do have a problem, because I assume (maybe wrongly, in which case please forgive me), that this is related to what Luther writes in the Smalcald Articles about the False Repentance of the Papists, and that when David sinned, the Holy Spirit left Him. If He did, how could David repent of his sin? Oh, the Holy Spirit waited until David had made himself better again, and then came back? This article is wrong. For one thing, it makes the awful assumption that when we need God the most, He abandons us. It ignores our Lord’s saying, “Every sin against the Son will be forgiven.” Since David repented, he had not committed the Sin against the Holy Spirit. We Lutherans do not always distinguish between the Repentance we undergo by the power of the Holy Spirit when He makes us His children, and the repentance we practice as His children, when no sin is unforgivable.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Dennis Peskey

    George A Marquart (#23) Please consider the following; “We do not admit that God was ever hostile to him (Christ), or angry with Him. For how could He be angry with His beloved Son, ‘in whom His soul delighted’ (Is 42:1)” This quote was taken from the Institutes, II, 16,11 penned by none other than John Calvin. I am hard-pressed to find where your posting disagrees with Dr. Calvin’s assertion.

    I took the quote in Francis Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics, Vol II, pg 313. Your Pastor should have the three volume set in his library; I recommend for your edification you read the 50 pages on II. The Doctrine of the States of Christ. From the CTS archives, I can offer you the following paper prepared by Professor Walter W. F. Albrecht titled, “Does God hate sin or the sinner?“. You may download the essay here: http://www.soundwitness.org/misc/Does_God_Hate_Sin_or_the_Sinner_Albrecht.pdf

    My purpose in stressing this issue is the current climate of Christianity in our country today. The Law preached in too many congregations is but a shadow of Mt. Sinai and people have little fear of shadows for they lack substance. But the Word of the Lord does endure forever and changes not. I do rejoice in the salvation freely given to me as a gift and the joy of being released from the curse of the Law. But this was not my doing; it was the power of the Holy Spirit entering through my ears and into my heart. It took both Law and Gospel for me to come to salvation. If we permit the Law to be reduced in status or power, we diminish God’s Word and reject His power. It is easy to say “Jesus loves you”; to confess what that love cost Him is painful for it was for my sin He endured the cross. The cross is a curse; despised and rejected. The only love found on the cross was Christ’s willingness to endure the suffering to the end – death, so that He could conquer death for us. I have grave difficulties in what you perceive as a flaw in the Passion being outside the what Lutherans believe, teach and confess. If I err, please forgive me; my intent is to proclaim only Christ and Him crucified for my sins.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    George A Marquart (#23) Please consider the following; “We do not admit that God was ever hostile to him (Christ), or angry with Him. For how could He be angry with His beloved Son, ‘in whom His soul delighted’ (Is 42:1)” This quote was taken from the Institutes, II, 16,11 penned by none other than John Calvin. I am hard-pressed to find where your posting disagrees with Dr. Calvin’s assertion.

    I took the quote in Francis Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics, Vol II, pg 313. Your Pastor should have the three volume set in his library; I recommend for your edification you read the 50 pages on II. The Doctrine of the States of Christ. From the CTS archives, I can offer you the following paper prepared by Professor Walter W. F. Albrecht titled, “Does God hate sin or the sinner?“. You may download the essay here: http://www.soundwitness.org/misc/Does_God_Hate_Sin_or_the_Sinner_Albrecht.pdf

    My purpose in stressing this issue is the current climate of Christianity in our country today. The Law preached in too many congregations is but a shadow of Mt. Sinai and people have little fear of shadows for they lack substance. But the Word of the Lord does endure forever and changes not. I do rejoice in the salvation freely given to me as a gift and the joy of being released from the curse of the Law. But this was not my doing; it was the power of the Holy Spirit entering through my ears and into my heart. It took both Law and Gospel for me to come to salvation. If we permit the Law to be reduced in status or power, we diminish God’s Word and reject His power. It is easy to say “Jesus loves you”; to confess what that love cost Him is painful for it was for my sin He endured the cross. The cross is a curse; despised and rejected. The only love found on the cross was Christ’s willingness to endure the suffering to the end – death, so that He could conquer death for us. I have grave difficulties in what you perceive as a flaw in the Passion being outside the what Lutherans believe, teach and confess. If I err, please forgive me; my intent is to proclaim only Christ and Him crucified for my sins.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • George A. Marquart

    Dennis @24. About the Calvin quote. You should not be so hard pressed; I agree with it 100%. But please do not jump to the conclusion that because I agree with one statement by Calvin, I am a Calvinist or agree with everything he had to say. May I add that the rest of your post does not deal with this question at all, so you have not contributed anything to this part of your argument.

    Now, about God hating sinners. The most widely known verse from the New Testament states: “For God so loved the world ….” Even with all those sinners in it? If we, the children of God, are “simul justus et peccator”, does God hate and love “simul”?

    You were right in referring to the sheep and the goats our Lord spoke about. His sheep are those destined to be His children before the beginning of time: the Elect. God never hated any of them, unless there is a conflict between the Father and the Son. If you read what our Lord has to say about being the Good Shepherd in John 10, you cannot at the same time insist that God hates the sheep.

    But He obviously hates the goats. They are not His, they do not hear His voice. They are the weeds from the Parable about the Wheat and the Weeds. The enemy did not sow a disease that affected the Wheat; he sowed an entirely different culture. You can preach the Law as severely as you want, and they will never be anything but goats. The problem is that we don’t know who they are, but we don’t need to. It is enough that He does, for “’Judgment is Mine,’ says the Lord.”

    I am not convinced by Pieper’s argument from Romans 5:10. Paul is not dealing with who hates whom here, but with the love of God that made Him sacrifice His own Son to overcome the enmity. It is not a good idea to accept a doctrine based on the voice of a particular Greek adjective. Does Paul not write, just before, in verse 8, “God proves His love for us …”?

    I too am concerned about what is going on in our Church today. But Walther taught clearly that it is a gross error to preach to the regenerated as if they were not. We do not need the Law to convert us every Sunday. We have the Third Use, and that is the Law without compulsion. It is exhortation, pleading, an appeal, as Luther points out in his commentary, Paul appeals to the Romans in the beginning of Chapter 12.

    You write “I have grave difficulties in what you perceive as a flaw in the Passion being outside the what (sic) Lutherans believe, teach and confess. If I err, please forgive me; my intent is to proclaim only Christ and Him crucified for my sins.” I perceive no flaws in the Passion; Lutherans believe what is taught in Scripture and explained in the Confessions – not what Pieper or even Luther, outside of the Book of Concord, have to say. And I really don’t understand why you cannot proclaim Christ crucified without His Father hating Him.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dennis @24. About the Calvin quote. You should not be so hard pressed; I agree with it 100%. But please do not jump to the conclusion that because I agree with one statement by Calvin, I am a Calvinist or agree with everything he had to say. May I add that the rest of your post does not deal with this question at all, so you have not contributed anything to this part of your argument.

    Now, about God hating sinners. The most widely known verse from the New Testament states: “For God so loved the world ….” Even with all those sinners in it? If we, the children of God, are “simul justus et peccator”, does God hate and love “simul”?

    You were right in referring to the sheep and the goats our Lord spoke about. His sheep are those destined to be His children before the beginning of time: the Elect. God never hated any of them, unless there is a conflict between the Father and the Son. If you read what our Lord has to say about being the Good Shepherd in John 10, you cannot at the same time insist that God hates the sheep.

    But He obviously hates the goats. They are not His, they do not hear His voice. They are the weeds from the Parable about the Wheat and the Weeds. The enemy did not sow a disease that affected the Wheat; he sowed an entirely different culture. You can preach the Law as severely as you want, and they will never be anything but goats. The problem is that we don’t know who they are, but we don’t need to. It is enough that He does, for “’Judgment is Mine,’ says the Lord.”

    I am not convinced by Pieper’s argument from Romans 5:10. Paul is not dealing with who hates whom here, but with the love of God that made Him sacrifice His own Son to overcome the enmity. It is not a good idea to accept a doctrine based on the voice of a particular Greek adjective. Does Paul not write, just before, in verse 8, “God proves His love for us …”?

    I too am concerned about what is going on in our Church today. But Walther taught clearly that it is a gross error to preach to the regenerated as if they were not. We do not need the Law to convert us every Sunday. We have the Third Use, and that is the Law without compulsion. It is exhortation, pleading, an appeal, as Luther points out in his commentary, Paul appeals to the Romans in the beginning of Chapter 12.

    You write “I have grave difficulties in what you perceive as a flaw in the Passion being outside the what (sic) Lutherans believe, teach and confess. If I err, please forgive me; my intent is to proclaim only Christ and Him crucified for my sins.” I perceive no flaws in the Passion; Lutherans believe what is taught in Scripture and explained in the Confessions – not what Pieper or even Luther, outside of the Book of Concord, have to say. And I really don’t understand why you cannot proclaim Christ crucified without His Father hating Him.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart


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