The megachurch bubble?

There was the dot.com bubble and, more recently, the real estate bubble, markets that grew and grew until they they burst.  Some experts are saying that we may be in for a megachurch bubble:

In the 1970s, only a handful of churches drew more than 2,000 people on Sundays. Now they number in the thousands.

But the collapse of the Crystal Cathedral near Los Angeles, which is being sold to pay off more than $40 million in debt, has prompted fears that the megachurch bubble may be about to burst.

Most megachurches — which earn that label around the 2,000-attendance level — are led by baby boomer pastors who soon will hit retirement age and without suitable replacements in the pipeline. And some fear the big-box worship centers with lots of individual programs no longer appeal to younger generations.

Skye Jethani, a senior editor of Leadership, a prominent evangelical magazine for pastors, compared megachurches to the real estate market of a few years ago.

“If you asked people back in 2007 if the housing market was doing well, people would have said yes,” he said.

Jethani said megachurches have become so big that their economics are unsustainable. They often have multimillion-dollar mortgages and hundreds of staff members. That works while a church is growing.

But churches often shrink when a longtime minister leaves, Jethani said.

“If you are a church of 400 people and you lose 200 people, you can still keep going,” he said. “If you are a church of 10,000 and you go down to 5,000, you may not be able to survive.”

via Some fear megachurch bubble may soon burst | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

The article goes on to quote other people who deny that megachurches are creating a bubble ready to pop.  What do you think?

HT: Tim Challies

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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.

  • Booklover

    Here I arrive with my snarky response. Megachurches have grown on the backs of other smaller churches–sheep transferral. When that supply has been depleted, the megachurch will stop growing.

    The megachurch in our vicinity is focused on building a community swimming pool right now.

  • Booklover

    Here I arrive with my snarky response. Megachurches have grown on the backs of other smaller churches–sheep transferral. When that supply has been depleted, the megachurch will stop growing.

    The megachurch in our vicinity is focused on building a community swimming pool right now.

  • SKPeterson

    People were adamantly insisting that the previous secular bubbles were not bubbles and weren’t in any danger of bursting right up to the very moment (and in several cases, well after) the bubbles burst.

    I am particularly amused by the contention from Rick Warren that most Christians will be members of congregations larger than 20, ooo.

  • SKPeterson

    People were adamantly insisting that the previous secular bubbles were not bubbles and weren’t in any danger of bursting right up to the very moment (and in several cases, well after) the bubbles burst.

    I am particularly amused by the contention from Rick Warren that most Christians will be members of congregations larger than 20, ooo.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I worked at the Crystal Cathedral in the late 80′s and early 90′s. It comes as no shock to me that this model is not viable for the long term. It was a ‘project’ driven model that required some huge new task or project to get behind every few years. New buildings were a favorite. I was sent by my boss to pick up a large check from a donor for the ‘Bell Carillon.’ The donor’s wife wrote out a million dollar check from her personal check book and handed it to me.
    I could see then that the model was flawed, and would continue to need these projects to sustain itself.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I worked at the Crystal Cathedral in the late 80′s and early 90′s. It comes as no shock to me that this model is not viable for the long term. It was a ‘project’ driven model that required some huge new task or project to get behind every few years. New buildings were a favorite. I was sent by my boss to pick up a large check from a donor for the ‘Bell Carillon.’ The donor’s wife wrote out a million dollar check from her personal check book and handed it to me.
    I could see then that the model was flawed, and would continue to need these projects to sustain itself.

  • helen

    Booklover,
    Is it “snarky” when it’s a factual statement?
    I have known two large churches which grew at least partly by gathering the cream of the talent from around a large area with a dozen smaller congregations. One did it with a choir program advertised to “train musicians to go back to their own congregations”. Only after a bit, you didn’t hear about that because the musicians transferred to the large one instead.
    In another, it was a charismatic Pastor…the church was known by his first name. The surrounding Pastors could tell you where he got his members. Of course, it was a church full of “programs”, too.

    I take a very dim view of all the urgent slogans to “save the lost!” In my experience those churches are more likely to deliberately drive out Lutherans with their watered down “Praise me” programs than they are to bring in people truly new to the Gospel.

  • helen

    Booklover,
    Is it “snarky” when it’s a factual statement?
    I have known two large churches which grew at least partly by gathering the cream of the talent from around a large area with a dozen smaller congregations. One did it with a choir program advertised to “train musicians to go back to their own congregations”. Only after a bit, you didn’t hear about that because the musicians transferred to the large one instead.
    In another, it was a charismatic Pastor…the church was known by his first name. The surrounding Pastors could tell you where he got his members. Of course, it was a church full of “programs”, too.

    I take a very dim view of all the urgent slogans to “save the lost!” In my experience those churches are more likely to deliberately drive out Lutherans with their watered down “Praise me” programs than they are to bring in people truly new to the Gospel.

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

    I once attended a church in down town ft. Wayne, run by a pastor who loved innercity mission work. He was in retirement, and it seems kept the doors open himself. He took on huge amounts of field workers just to make the place look like it was a bit more well attended than it was. It was a huge building. I was told in the 70′s the congregation had 3,ooo on a sunday. Then white flight hit. (Can’t tell you how embarrassing that is.)
    Then I read some history. I have a lady in my congregation, a German from Poland, she showed me pictures of her old church, it too would have thousands on a sunday. High liturgy no less. Evidently it was that way generation after generation. I suppose this is partly because it was Poland, and there were some restrictions or something on where Lutherans could and could not worship, how many congregations were allowed and so on. I marvel at these stories. It tells me that at least under some circumstances large congregations are sustainable, that pastoral care can be done well in these situations too. That we have our own, history of “mega church” and it doesn’t have to be without content.
    But I do think for the most part these are exceptions to the rule, and the church is better off with congregations a bit smaller than that and more of them.
    For these larger Lutheran congregations, I think there is a sense that the liturgy, the doctrine, etc. created and fostered a community. But that isn’t what I get when I see other larger congregations, when I talk to people from them and so on. There it seems they want to be almost anonymous. The larger congregations entertain, but give one the self satisfying thought that they have gone to church, they are a good person. I don’t know that that is true of all larger congregations. But I don’t think I could think I had been nourished, or participated in the sacred having attended the Crystal Cathedral, or Rick Warrens church, I don’t think I could stand very long in Mars Hill. I don’t get the sense that these places foster community, Christian identity. When your target demographic is the 20s to mid thirties, and you see precious few older or younger than that, well it doesn’t make sense it isn’t sustainable. It’s worse than that its detrimental.

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

    I once attended a church in down town ft. Wayne, run by a pastor who loved innercity mission work. He was in retirement, and it seems kept the doors open himself. He took on huge amounts of field workers just to make the place look like it was a bit more well attended than it was. It was a huge building. I was told in the 70′s the congregation had 3,ooo on a sunday. Then white flight hit. (Can’t tell you how embarrassing that is.)
    Then I read some history. I have a lady in my congregation, a German from Poland, she showed me pictures of her old church, it too would have thousands on a sunday. High liturgy no less. Evidently it was that way generation after generation. I suppose this is partly because it was Poland, and there were some restrictions or something on where Lutherans could and could not worship, how many congregations were allowed and so on. I marvel at these stories. It tells me that at least under some circumstances large congregations are sustainable, that pastoral care can be done well in these situations too. That we have our own, history of “mega church” and it doesn’t have to be without content.
    But I do think for the most part these are exceptions to the rule, and the church is better off with congregations a bit smaller than that and more of them.
    For these larger Lutheran congregations, I think there is a sense that the liturgy, the doctrine, etc. created and fostered a community. But that isn’t what I get when I see other larger congregations, when I talk to people from them and so on. There it seems they want to be almost anonymous. The larger congregations entertain, but give one the self satisfying thought that they have gone to church, they are a good person. I don’t know that that is true of all larger congregations. But I don’t think I could think I had been nourished, or participated in the sacred having attended the Crystal Cathedral, or Rick Warrens church, I don’t think I could stand very long in Mars Hill. I don’t get the sense that these places foster community, Christian identity. When your target demographic is the 20s to mid thirties, and you see precious few older or younger than that, well it doesn’t make sense it isn’t sustainable. It’s worse than that its detrimental.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Jethani said megachurches have become so big that their economics are unsustainable. They often have multimillion-dollar mortgages and hundreds of staff members.

    There will always be people who prefer the mega-model, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Insert short blurb on theology of glory here. I don’t think hearts are changing – only the economy. Given the economic chance, plenty of professing Christians will push and pursue mega-church.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Jethani said megachurches have become so big that their economics are unsustainable. They often have multimillion-dollar mortgages and hundreds of staff members.

    There will always be people who prefer the mega-model, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Insert short blurb on theology of glory here. I don’t think hearts are changing – only the economy. Given the economic chance, plenty of professing Christians will push and pursue mega-church.

  • mikeb

    We attended a large LCMS congregation when we lived in another city. It had about 900 in worship on Sundays and close to 2,000 total members. I wouldn’t call it a megachurch though–it was quite intimate and very similar to our current congregation of some 300 baptized members. The focus was Christ crucified, not the pastor or programs. I was shocked to learn some megachurches have such a large payroll. Not counting the self-sustaining elementary school, that church employed about 7 FTE’s: 2 pastors, a DCE, music director, 2 secretaries, an administrator, and a custodian, and of course some part time organists.

    Bubble? I think it’s likely that some megachurches are going away do to unsustainable business models and because they were built around a man (or woman, as the case may be). Fewer still will grow into megachurch status because its becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace for members. We have a very large AG congregation with a charismatic preacher and lots of programs about an hour away–we know several people who attend and drive up to 75 miles one way! I wouldn’t be surprised to see some mini-megachurches develop, though, geared toward a specific set of programs rather than being all things to all people. Somewhere between 300 and 1,000 there is a critical mass of people that I think these churches will settle into.

    One thing that isn’t going away: worshitainment.

  • mikeb

    We attended a large LCMS congregation when we lived in another city. It had about 900 in worship on Sundays and close to 2,000 total members. I wouldn’t call it a megachurch though–it was quite intimate and very similar to our current congregation of some 300 baptized members. The focus was Christ crucified, not the pastor or programs. I was shocked to learn some megachurches have such a large payroll. Not counting the self-sustaining elementary school, that church employed about 7 FTE’s: 2 pastors, a DCE, music director, 2 secretaries, an administrator, and a custodian, and of course some part time organists.

    Bubble? I think it’s likely that some megachurches are going away do to unsustainable business models and because they were built around a man (or woman, as the case may be). Fewer still will grow into megachurch status because its becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace for members. We have a very large AG congregation with a charismatic preacher and lots of programs about an hour away–we know several people who attend and drive up to 75 miles one way! I wouldn’t be surprised to see some mini-megachurches develop, though, geared toward a specific set of programs rather than being all things to all people. Somewhere between 300 and 1,000 there is a critical mass of people that I think these churches will settle into.

    One thing that isn’t going away: worshitainment.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    One of the problems so-called mega-churches and their many imitators seem to have comes from their focus on what church growth folks call people’s “felt needs.” Now personally, I couldn’t care less what anyone’s felt needs might be–what they need is Jesus. Over the long term churches that preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified will live, those who do not will die. It seems to me that we worry way too much about the size of churches when the One who said “where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them.” BTW, I think a great many RC congregations would qualify as mega-churches under a lot of definitions. Ever wonder why they’re not mentioned?

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    One of the problems so-called mega-churches and their many imitators seem to have comes from their focus on what church growth folks call people’s “felt needs.” Now personally, I couldn’t care less what anyone’s felt needs might be–what they need is Jesus. Over the long term churches that preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified will live, those who do not will die. It seems to me that we worry way too much about the size of churches when the One who said “where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them.” BTW, I think a great many RC congregations would qualify as mega-churches under a lot of definitions. Ever wonder why they’re not mentioned?

  • helen

    Roman Catholic churches, historically, were the church of a particular locality; you lived there, you went to that church. (I don’t know if that is strictly true anymore.) The order of the service (as we are learning from their advertised change) is prescribed from above, so you should be able to expect the same in every parish.
    [I wonder what will happen to some of the "novelty" masses.]

    Lutherans and other Protestants may go to the nearest congregation of their faith… or they may drive miles to see an entertainer… or [these days] to find a Pastor & people faithful to the church’s confession and practice.

  • helen

    Roman Catholic churches, historically, were the church of a particular locality; you lived there, you went to that church. (I don’t know if that is strictly true anymore.) The order of the service (as we are learning from their advertised change) is prescribed from above, so you should be able to expect the same in every parish.
    [I wonder what will happen to some of the "novelty" masses.]

    Lutherans and other Protestants may go to the nearest congregation of their faith… or they may drive miles to see an entertainer… or [these days] to find a Pastor & people faithful to the church’s confession and practice.

  • DonS

    I worship at a relatively small church, at least by southern California standards, and always have. I prefer them. I want to know my fellow congregants and to consider myself a friend of my senior pastor. I like the sense of the Body that is present in a smaller environment.

    That being said, the Crystal Cathedral is by no means a typical megachurch, if “megachurch” is broadly defined as any church having a congregation of 2,000 or more. Our host tends to like to generalize and to disparage all larger churches as a group, seemingly without much discernment as to the vast differences between individual churches, or at least non-Lutheran churches, regardless of their size.

    Why is the Crystal Cathedral different? Because Robert H. Schuller seems to be a particularly selfish and materialistic man, particularly for a pastor. His entire family has taken on that unfortunate characteristic, at least by appearances, and the bankruptcy filings revealed that fact to the world. They were skimming millions of dollars per year for salaries and benefits, particularly tax-free housing allowances. In its prime over 2/3 of the annual budget of the church flowed in from the Hour of Power television broadcasts, and Schuller’s books earned him many millions more. When the church began to look at transition 15 or 20 years ago, Schuller refused to cooperate or to plan for his demise. Finally, after increasing pressure, he installed his son, Robert A. as the new teaching pastor, but then failed to support him fully, and presided over a family power struggle, which his oldest daughter, Sheila, finally won. Robert A. was forced out, given a $10 or more million settlement, and Sheila took over the head pastorate. So adherence to biblical teaching, never an important factor to Robert H., went completely out the window, and so did any care for the congregation. During the bankruptcy, the family went against the will of the congregation and chose the Catholic church to buy the property because they offered more cash, ensuring that the family’s bankruptcy claims would be met.

    The Crystal Cathedral is a singular case. Not saying there is no other church in similar straits, but to smear all larger churches based on the demise of the Crystal Cathedral is a huge injustice.

  • DonS

    I worship at a relatively small church, at least by southern California standards, and always have. I prefer them. I want to know my fellow congregants and to consider myself a friend of my senior pastor. I like the sense of the Body that is present in a smaller environment.

    That being said, the Crystal Cathedral is by no means a typical megachurch, if “megachurch” is broadly defined as any church having a congregation of 2,000 or more. Our host tends to like to generalize and to disparage all larger churches as a group, seemingly without much discernment as to the vast differences between individual churches, or at least non-Lutheran churches, regardless of their size.

    Why is the Crystal Cathedral different? Because Robert H. Schuller seems to be a particularly selfish and materialistic man, particularly for a pastor. His entire family has taken on that unfortunate characteristic, at least by appearances, and the bankruptcy filings revealed that fact to the world. They were skimming millions of dollars per year for salaries and benefits, particularly tax-free housing allowances. In its prime over 2/3 of the annual budget of the church flowed in from the Hour of Power television broadcasts, and Schuller’s books earned him many millions more. When the church began to look at transition 15 or 20 years ago, Schuller refused to cooperate or to plan for his demise. Finally, after increasing pressure, he installed his son, Robert A. as the new teaching pastor, but then failed to support him fully, and presided over a family power struggle, which his oldest daughter, Sheila, finally won. Robert A. was forced out, given a $10 or more million settlement, and Sheila took over the head pastorate. So adherence to biblical teaching, never an important factor to Robert H., went completely out the window, and so did any care for the congregation. During the bankruptcy, the family went against the will of the congregation and chose the Catholic church to buy the property because they offered more cash, ensuring that the family’s bankruptcy claims would be met.

    The Crystal Cathedral is a singular case. Not saying there is no other church in similar straits, but to smear all larger churches based on the demise of the Crystal Cathedral is a huge injustice.

  • helen

    It is not unusual for men in far smaller “fiefdoms” than Robert Schuller’s, to put their own wants ahead of the congregational good.

  • helen

    It is not unusual for men in far smaller “fiefdoms” than Robert Schuller’s, to put their own wants ahead of the congregational good.

  • steve

    Of course large congregations can be sustainable. I think what his article points out is when the church is about an individual, it can’t be sustainable because nobody lives forever on this earth. The Schulers, Warrens, and Heibels of this world will all eventually retire or otherwise move on.

    However, everything in this world is transient. Even good churches can fail. Jobs move out, people move out. Something newer and shinier comes around. It happens all the time. So I don’t really think the question is whether its sustainable long-term to build a mega-church around an individual but whether it’s right.

  • steve

    Of course large congregations can be sustainable. I think what his article points out is when the church is about an individual, it can’t be sustainable because nobody lives forever on this earth. The Schulers, Warrens, and Heibels of this world will all eventually retire or otherwise move on.

    However, everything in this world is transient. Even good churches can fail. Jobs move out, people move out. Something newer and shinier comes around. It happens all the time. So I don’t really think the question is whether its sustainable long-term to build a mega-church around an individual but whether it’s right.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Well, given the “bait” in most megachurches (and wanna-be’s) is cotton-candy, carnival schtick…people gradually atrophy on that spiritually, if they ever had muscle to begin with. They might go for the “show” a couple times a month and/or whenever they feel the need for a spiritual “fix.” Hence, we can see such in terms of the lack of “fruits”–not just money in the offering plate, but time and energy offered, as well as simply lack of attendance in bible class (= a lack of a desire for ongoing catechesis), etc. (Actually, a telling statistic on Mega-churches is the percentage who actually regularly attend a bible-class—last time I researched it a few years ago, it was less than 5%.) I’ve seen it too many times: Many a wanna-be-a-mega-church congregation will adopt the methods/marketing strategies, along with starting a new building project with that “if you build it they will come” mentality, only to end up seeing themselves bankrupt and begging for money (as that charismatic, CG pastor conveniently gets a timely call with the aid of his DiP somewhere else only to do the same thing over again at another congregation.)

  • JunkerGeorg

    Well, given the “bait” in most megachurches (and wanna-be’s) is cotton-candy, carnival schtick…people gradually atrophy on that spiritually, if they ever had muscle to begin with. They might go for the “show” a couple times a month and/or whenever they feel the need for a spiritual “fix.” Hence, we can see such in terms of the lack of “fruits”–not just money in the offering plate, but time and energy offered, as well as simply lack of attendance in bible class (= a lack of a desire for ongoing catechesis), etc. (Actually, a telling statistic on Mega-churches is the percentage who actually regularly attend a bible-class—last time I researched it a few years ago, it was less than 5%.) I’ve seen it too many times: Many a wanna-be-a-mega-church congregation will adopt the methods/marketing strategies, along with starting a new building project with that “if you build it they will come” mentality, only to end up seeing themselves bankrupt and begging for money (as that charismatic, CG pastor conveniently gets a timely call with the aid of his DiP somewhere else only to do the same thing over again at another congregation.)

  • Lou

    I agree with most of what has been said here and especially wanted to reiterate what JunkerGeorge wrote about the pattern that often happens in what many affectionately call “Purpose Driven Takeovers”. Leadership.net is particularly culpable in publishing the marketing-focused, business growth model mentality for “doing church” over against the biblical model for ecclessiology.

    So, it may not be the mega-churches themselves that have bubbled, but as with the dot.com and the real estate bubbles, it has been the flawed “business models” that they were built upon. In each case, there were discerning prophets who had spotted and called out the inevitable unsustainability that had always been there.

    Leadership.net sounding the unsustainability of purpose-driven megachurch is like S&P warning that it is downgrading our country’s credit rating because it has lost confidence in the economy. They are one of the main influences behind the problem from the beginning.

  • Lou

    I agree with most of what has been said here and especially wanted to reiterate what JunkerGeorge wrote about the pattern that often happens in what many affectionately call “Purpose Driven Takeovers”. Leadership.net is particularly culpable in publishing the marketing-focused, business growth model mentality for “doing church” over against the biblical model for ecclessiology.

    So, it may not be the mega-churches themselves that have bubbled, but as with the dot.com and the real estate bubbles, it has been the flawed “business models” that they were built upon. In each case, there were discerning prophets who had spotted and called out the inevitable unsustainability that had always been there.

    Leadership.net sounding the unsustainability of purpose-driven megachurch is like S&P warning that it is downgrading our country’s credit rating because it has lost confidence in the economy. They are one of the main influences behind the problem from the beginning.

  • Lou

    correction: LeadershipJournal.net

  • Lou

    correction: LeadershipJournal.net

  • Suzanne

    Seems to me this mirrors our economy which relies on an ever upward spiral of more, more, more! As we’ve seen, there is a limit to the newest and coolest that you can and should buy, but the economy depends on consumerism. Same with these mega-churches that rely on more, more, more, the coolest, newest program to get your spiritual life in order. And then, one day, no one is buying and it all falls apart.

  • Suzanne

    Seems to me this mirrors our economy which relies on an ever upward spiral of more, more, more! As we’ve seen, there is a limit to the newest and coolest that you can and should buy, but the economy depends on consumerism. Same with these mega-churches that rely on more, more, more, the coolest, newest program to get your spiritual life in order. And then, one day, no one is buying and it all falls apart.

  • Abby

    In a message titled: “On the Other Side of Complexity: Christian Conviction in the Late Modern Age” Dr. Albert Mohler talks about “evangelicalism” and puts it in the “failed rescue attempt” category. Some of what he says: ” . . . Another ‘failed rescue attempt’ is evangelicalism — the reduction of evangelicalism to a ‘para-church’ movement which is now largely a form of mass cult consumer religion — non-confessional — and experiential and pragmatic. That resuce attempt didn’t resuce either. We see what is happening among young evangelicals — what kind of failure we’re talking about . . . a process called ‘cognitive barbaining . . . when young people leave their childlike cocoon of the family and church. They arrive at the college and univeristy and are confronted with a ‘war’ of ideas and cognitive claims. They immediately set into a process of cognitive bargaining . . . they walk in with a certain basket of cognitive beliefs, and when they leave the university process they have bargained away, in an intellectually sophisticated and largely non-self conscious process, that leaves them with a far smaller set of cognitive beliefs. A far reduced core of theological content.

    Most young adults beliefs (based on a massive study by Chritian Smith) comes down to ‘moralistic therapeutic deism.’ Their actual belief system is secularized. They have been secularized in our homes and churches. All that remains in moralistic therapeutic deism is that 1) God wants you to behave; 2) God wants people to be happy; 3) and that there is a God but He doesn’t have a particular claim on my life and He is not a central reference point for my decision making or my understanding of self confidence or self identity.

    Where did evangelical people come up with this infection? From their parents and from the pulpits of their churches. . . Many of our churches have precious little Christianity. And many Christian families are so uncommitted to catechesis and perhaps even are so unable to engage these issues. . .”

    So what is the answer?

    According to Mohler: ” . . . There is only one mode of theology. There is only one mode of churchmanship. There is only one mode of ministry –that is up to the challenge. The challenge of presenting with authenticity the simpllicity on the far side of complexity. And that is CONFESSIONAL PROTESTANTISM. . . the only answer is an absolute, undiluted affirmation of the possibility and actuality of divine revelation — is found ONLY in confessional protestantism. . . the Reformers found this simplicity and distilled it down to Sola Scripture, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Gratia, Solo Deo Gloria.”

    If a church confesses the truth and lives the truth, it may not matter the size–if handled properly. The danger is in the ‘cognitive bargaining’ and secularization. Sounds like Joel Osteen. Churches and Sunday Schools should be doctrinal universities.

    The whole of Dr. Mohler’s message: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/02/on-the-other-side-of-complexity-christian-conviction-in-the-late-modern-age/

    The part that is quoted is from the last quarter of the message.

  • Abby

    In a message titled: “On the Other Side of Complexity: Christian Conviction in the Late Modern Age” Dr. Albert Mohler talks about “evangelicalism” and puts it in the “failed rescue attempt” category. Some of what he says: ” . . . Another ‘failed rescue attempt’ is evangelicalism — the reduction of evangelicalism to a ‘para-church’ movement which is now largely a form of mass cult consumer religion — non-confessional — and experiential and pragmatic. That resuce attempt didn’t resuce either. We see what is happening among young evangelicals — what kind of failure we’re talking about . . . a process called ‘cognitive barbaining . . . when young people leave their childlike cocoon of the family and church. They arrive at the college and univeristy and are confronted with a ‘war’ of ideas and cognitive claims. They immediately set into a process of cognitive bargaining . . . they walk in with a certain basket of cognitive beliefs, and when they leave the university process they have bargained away, in an intellectually sophisticated and largely non-self conscious process, that leaves them with a far smaller set of cognitive beliefs. A far reduced core of theological content.

    Most young adults beliefs (based on a massive study by Chritian Smith) comes down to ‘moralistic therapeutic deism.’ Their actual belief system is secularized. They have been secularized in our homes and churches. All that remains in moralistic therapeutic deism is that 1) God wants you to behave; 2) God wants people to be happy; 3) and that there is a God but He doesn’t have a particular claim on my life and He is not a central reference point for my decision making or my understanding of self confidence or self identity.

    Where did evangelical people come up with this infection? From their parents and from the pulpits of their churches. . . Many of our churches have precious little Christianity. And many Christian families are so uncommitted to catechesis and perhaps even are so unable to engage these issues. . .”

    So what is the answer?

    According to Mohler: ” . . . There is only one mode of theology. There is only one mode of churchmanship. There is only one mode of ministry –that is up to the challenge. The challenge of presenting with authenticity the simpllicity on the far side of complexity. And that is CONFESSIONAL PROTESTANTISM. . . the only answer is an absolute, undiluted affirmation of the possibility and actuality of divine revelation — is found ONLY in confessional protestantism. . . the Reformers found this simplicity and distilled it down to Sola Scripture, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Gratia, Solo Deo Gloria.”

    If a church confesses the truth and lives the truth, it may not matter the size–if handled properly. The danger is in the ‘cognitive bargaining’ and secularization. Sounds like Joel Osteen. Churches and Sunday Schools should be doctrinal universities.

    The whole of Dr. Mohler’s message: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/02/on-the-other-side-of-complexity-christian-conviction-in-the-late-modern-age/

    The part that is quoted is from the last quarter of the message.

  • michael henry

    ““If you are a church of 400 people and you lose 200 people, you can still keep going,” he said. “If you are a church of 10,000 and you go down to 5,000, you may not be able to survive.”

    Really?

    I don’t recognize a God and savior who is so pathetic his church “may not be able to survive” because some “experts” say so.

    The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock. I don’t recognize the God of the “leadership magazine”. In fact, I would have to question their credentials to even be “leaders”.

  • michael henry

    ““If you are a church of 400 people and you lose 200 people, you can still keep going,” he said. “If you are a church of 10,000 and you go down to 5,000, you may not be able to survive.”

    Really?

    I don’t recognize a God and savior who is so pathetic his church “may not be able to survive” because some “experts” say so.

    The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock. I don’t recognize the God of the “leadership magazine”. In fact, I would have to question their credentials to even be “leaders”.

  • Grace

    michael henry @18

    You stated: ….. The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock. I don’t recognize the God of the “leadership magazine”. In fact, I would have to question their credentials to even be “leaders”.”

    Jesus can have a church of any size,…. the smaller it is, does not make it more Godly, nor does the larger, make it more worldly. God uses all sizes to spread HIS Gospel. It’s not the size, it’s the content. Don’t confuse the nonsense within the Emergent Church or the Crystal Cathedral, that isn’t the issue, it’s just an excuse to confuse.

    Michael Henry YOU STATED: “The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock.”

    That rock is Christ.

    4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32

    And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthian 10:4

    Christ is the ROCK – none other!

  • Grace

    michael henry @18

    You stated: ….. The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock. I don’t recognize the God of the “leadership magazine”. In fact, I would have to question their credentials to even be “leaders”.”

    Jesus can have a church of any size,…. the smaller it is, does not make it more Godly, nor does the larger, make it more worldly. God uses all sizes to spread HIS Gospel. It’s not the size, it’s the content. Don’t confuse the nonsense within the Emergent Church or the Crystal Cathedral, that isn’t the issue, it’s just an excuse to confuse.

    Michael Henry YOU STATED: “The God and savior I serve is mighty, and his church is built on a rock.”

    That rock is Christ.

    4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32

    And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthian 10:4

    Christ is the ROCK – none other!

  • larry

    The rich irony of Ablert Mohler, a sect leader himself, saying “confessional” or “sola” anything is almost too much to bear. For it is the “loose confessional” confessions like the SB that leads to these churches. Unhinge the sacraments (which beget the solas) and you’ve unhinged the Word from the means and set forth the “unpreached God” (original sin). Once unpreached God is “sought out”, men then grope in blindness and vanity for God “pro me” (where do I find a gracious God since He cannot be found in His Words, the sect doctrine on the sacraments). When this happens the sects ever increasingly unwind into further and further out away from the Word ‘searchings’ for God in the nude, without his words. Because the conscience cannot stand the searing reality of not having God for them. In short believers baptism and sign/memorial suppers are merely a hope skip and a jump from “mega church methods” and all charisma, all enthusiam (god-withinness) is fundamentally the same whether it is believers baptism, Joel O., Warren, or any other.

    It all boils down to where does one find a gracioius God for one, either in His Words as He meant them, or all else is groping, be it Mohler (the erudite version of enthusiam) or Olstean (the more obvious clown version of enthusiam).

    “The sect cannot wait, for it must have everything at once, for it has no future. The church can wait, for it does have a future. We Lutherans should think of that”

    Herman Sasse, The Lonely Way

  • larry

    The rich irony of Ablert Mohler, a sect leader himself, saying “confessional” or “sola” anything is almost too much to bear. For it is the “loose confessional” confessions like the SB that leads to these churches. Unhinge the sacraments (which beget the solas) and you’ve unhinged the Word from the means and set forth the “unpreached God” (original sin). Once unpreached God is “sought out”, men then grope in blindness and vanity for God “pro me” (where do I find a gracious God since He cannot be found in His Words, the sect doctrine on the sacraments). When this happens the sects ever increasingly unwind into further and further out away from the Word ‘searchings’ for God in the nude, without his words. Because the conscience cannot stand the searing reality of not having God for them. In short believers baptism and sign/memorial suppers are merely a hope skip and a jump from “mega church methods” and all charisma, all enthusiam (god-withinness) is fundamentally the same whether it is believers baptism, Joel O., Warren, or any other.

    It all boils down to where does one find a gracioius God for one, either in His Words as He meant them, or all else is groping, be it Mohler (the erudite version of enthusiam) or Olstean (the more obvious clown version of enthusiam).

    “The sect cannot wait, for it must have everything at once, for it has no future. The church can wait, for it does have a future. We Lutherans should think of that”

    Herman Sasse, The Lonely Way

  • Martin J.

    So, Grace you want to defend the LeadershipJournal Magazine?? Odd.

  • Martin J.

    So, Grace you want to defend the LeadershipJournal Magazine?? Odd.

  • Martin J.

    Ah hah. I was wondering if anyone would “come to the rescue” and make sure we are all informed that Al Mohler and the Baptists are heretics.

  • Martin J.

    Ah hah. I was wondering if anyone would “come to the rescue” and make sure we are all informed that Al Mohler and the Baptists are heretics.

  • larry

    One can laugh and mock heresy as if its not at all such nor drives men to despair or leads them astray all one wishes, of which our time abundantly does (which is why Joel O., Warren, Hinn are not really a surprise), but it is no laughing matter neither in Scripture or reality of which Scripture speaks. This is because in such laughter no weight is put upon the very real eternal hell it leads to in reality for very real people, not theory or hypotheticals. This is why heresy in our day and age is pretty much eschewed as such and men are confounded all over the place for behind it, laughter at heresy as such, is laughter at the wrath of God as if it is not real nor revealed to us.

    In fact when Paul speaks of Ishmael persecuting Isaac he is speaking of his laughter of the faith in the promised Word that could not fail, thus attacking the very life blood Isaac’s soul trusted in.

    Such have no real right to call men like Ostean or Warren or Crystal Cathederal heretics either for there is no basis for it, since heresy is such a light thing at best and nothing at worst.

    Why men grope around for God in such is because heretics give them no gracious God to have, so they search via variations of the law for God, for they have no other means. Faith cannot create itself nor sustain itself. Thus, many of us have experienced this first hand and know many despairing souls that have come out of it. There’s a reason despairing souls often end up on the house doorsteps of Luther and Lutheran Confessions, they’ve hit rock bottom, starving and thirsting to death for “where is there a gracious God for me”.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  • larry

    One can laugh and mock heresy as if its not at all such nor drives men to despair or leads them astray all one wishes, of which our time abundantly does (which is why Joel O., Warren, Hinn are not really a surprise), but it is no laughing matter neither in Scripture or reality of which Scripture speaks. This is because in such laughter no weight is put upon the very real eternal hell it leads to in reality for very real people, not theory or hypotheticals. This is why heresy in our day and age is pretty much eschewed as such and men are confounded all over the place for behind it, laughter at heresy as such, is laughter at the wrath of God as if it is not real nor revealed to us.

    In fact when Paul speaks of Ishmael persecuting Isaac he is speaking of his laughter of the faith in the promised Word that could not fail, thus attacking the very life blood Isaac’s soul trusted in.

    Such have no real right to call men like Ostean or Warren or Crystal Cathederal heretics either for there is no basis for it, since heresy is such a light thing at best and nothing at worst.

    Why men grope around for God in such is because heretics give them no gracious God to have, so they search via variations of the law for God, for they have no other means. Faith cannot create itself nor sustain itself. Thus, many of us have experienced this first hand and know many despairing souls that have come out of it. There’s a reason despairing souls often end up on the house doorsteps of Luther and Lutheran Confessions, they’ve hit rock bottom, starving and thirsting to death for “where is there a gracious God for me”.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  • Grace

    Martin @ 21

    “So, Grace you want to defend the LeadershipJournal Magazine?? Odd.”

    I didn’t mention Leadership Journal. Get your facts straight before you assume my position, or is that too difficult?

  • Grace

    Martin @ 21

    “So, Grace you want to defend the LeadershipJournal Magazine?? Odd.”

    I didn’t mention Leadership Journal. Get your facts straight before you assume my position, or is that too difficult?

  • Grace

    Larry @ 23

    You speak of “heresy”

    “Such have no real right to call men like Ostean or Warren or Crystal Cathederal heretics either for there is no basis for it, since heresy is such a light thing at best and nothing at worst.”

    Have you ever been to Dr. Schuller’s church (Crystal Cathedral)? OR Rick Warren’s church? I have visted both twice. I have never visited Ostean’s church, but I have viewed him on TV and his televised program, have you?

    Larry, YOU STATE: “There’s a reason despairing souls often end up on the house doorsteps of Luther and Lutheran Confessions, they’ve hit rock bottom, starving and thirsting to death for “where is there a gracious God for me”.”

    Larry, those who have been mislead by the Schullers, Ostean’s, Hinn’s and Warrens of this world, …. will find the truth, IF they ask God to lead the way, open their Bibles to hear the truth. The HOLY Spirit will guide any soul who asks, .. God will forgive any repentant heart of their sins. The Lutheran church is not the answer, Christ Jesus is. There are many solid Biblical churches, who preach the Gospel, .. don’t fool yourself in believing that their is only one church such as the Lutheran.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 23

    You speak of “heresy”

    “Such have no real right to call men like Ostean or Warren or Crystal Cathederal heretics either for there is no basis for it, since heresy is such a light thing at best and nothing at worst.”

    Have you ever been to Dr. Schuller’s church (Crystal Cathedral)? OR Rick Warren’s church? I have visted both twice. I have never visited Ostean’s church, but I have viewed him on TV and his televised program, have you?

    Larry, YOU STATE: “There’s a reason despairing souls often end up on the house doorsteps of Luther and Lutheran Confessions, they’ve hit rock bottom, starving and thirsting to death for “where is there a gracious God for me”.”

    Larry, those who have been mislead by the Schullers, Ostean’s, Hinn’s and Warrens of this world, …. will find the truth, IF they ask God to lead the way, open their Bibles to hear the truth. The HOLY Spirit will guide any soul who asks, .. God will forgive any repentant heart of their sins. The Lutheran church is not the answer, Christ Jesus is. There are many solid Biblical churches, who preach the Gospel, .. don’t fool yourself in believing that their is only one church such as the Lutheran.

  • larry

    Actually Grace the Holy Spirit has spoke quite clearly on this matter, that baptism is the forgiveness of sins, the reception of the Holy Spirit and name of God and where His name is He IS, this baptism saves you etc… and Christ has said very crystal clearly where He, the gracious preached God is to be found in that place and “take eat this is My body/blood…given into death/shed for the forgiveness of your sins”, etc… It’s the heretical doctrines of such churches/denom. as Mohler, as much as Warrens, et. al. that redirects the poor despairing soul into the high flights of original sin to seek out and “search for God” where He has not spoken, asking for another sign, wonder, effect or experiential/experimental way (i.e. original sin) than where He has so very clearly spoken. Because the Holy Spirit has no where said this baptism does not save you, does not forgive your sin, does not give the Holy Spirit. No where has Christ, i.e. God preaching, said “take and eat this is not My body or blood not given into death, not shed for the forgiveness of your sins…go and look elsewhere and by the way pray for this elsewhere.

    And I happened to attend both Mohler’s church, and one of his prize churches, a Piper like church locally and very well versed in Mohler’s theology having grown up in the Southern Seminary area of Louisville. And I very much understand what his and SB theology teaches, preaches and confesses such that despairing souls wonder aimlessly for “how they got saved”, “if they got saved”, “if they are elected”, “endlessly rededicating just one more time, endlessly praying a version of the “sinners prayer”, endlessly begging God to show them, etc…”

    The reality is this, under such doctrine, because denies directly God’s Words, you cannot point anyone to where they can find the gracious God or Jesus in the present real world for them (pro me). Because at every single point of doctrine on the sacraments or absolution (Gospel) it is denied, and thus heresy.

  • larry

    Actually Grace the Holy Spirit has spoke quite clearly on this matter, that baptism is the forgiveness of sins, the reception of the Holy Spirit and name of God and where His name is He IS, this baptism saves you etc… and Christ has said very crystal clearly where He, the gracious preached God is to be found in that place and “take eat this is My body/blood…given into death/shed for the forgiveness of your sins”, etc… It’s the heretical doctrines of such churches/denom. as Mohler, as much as Warrens, et. al. that redirects the poor despairing soul into the high flights of original sin to seek out and “search for God” where He has not spoken, asking for another sign, wonder, effect or experiential/experimental way (i.e. original sin) than where He has so very clearly spoken. Because the Holy Spirit has no where said this baptism does not save you, does not forgive your sin, does not give the Holy Spirit. No where has Christ, i.e. God preaching, said “take and eat this is not My body or blood not given into death, not shed for the forgiveness of your sins…go and look elsewhere and by the way pray for this elsewhere.

    And I happened to attend both Mohler’s church, and one of his prize churches, a Piper like church locally and very well versed in Mohler’s theology having grown up in the Southern Seminary area of Louisville. And I very much understand what his and SB theology teaches, preaches and confesses such that despairing souls wonder aimlessly for “how they got saved”, “if they got saved”, “if they are elected”, “endlessly rededicating just one more time, endlessly praying a version of the “sinners prayer”, endlessly begging God to show them, etc…”

    The reality is this, under such doctrine, because denies directly God’s Words, you cannot point anyone to where they can find the gracious God or Jesus in the present real world for them (pro me). Because at every single point of doctrine on the sacraments or absolution (Gospel) it is denied, and thus heresy.

  • jack middendorf

    i thought willow creek church by bill hybels would have been included in your megachurch bubble blog . why not? as it is a really large megachurch in Barrington, il. regardless I really enjoy your column everyday and your books too.

    When are you coming back to Nebraska?. Only time i recall was your visit to concordia in seward. How can I help another visit?

  • jack middendorf

    i thought willow creek church by bill hybels would have been included in your megachurch bubble blog . why not? as it is a really large megachurch in Barrington, il. regardless I really enjoy your column everyday and your books too.

    When are you coming back to Nebraska?. Only time i recall was your visit to concordia in seward. How can I help another visit?

  • larry

    And yes Grace I’ve seen old smiling jack on TV, I also attended pre-Calvin days a Warrenite church that followed his methodology to the nth degree, baseball diamond analogy, levels of types of churches based on business principles, etc…we did it all.

  • larry

    And yes Grace I’ve seen old smiling jack on TV, I also attended pre-Calvin days a Warrenite church that followed his methodology to the nth degree, baseball diamond analogy, levels of types of churches based on business principles, etc…we did it all.

  • Martin J.

    Grace you need to read #18 again and then rethink your reply in #19.

  • Martin J.

    Grace you need to read #18 again and then rethink your reply in #19.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 26

    “Holy Spirit has spoke quite clearly on this matter, that baptism is the forgiveness of sins, the reception of the Holy Spirit and name of God and where His name is He IS, this baptism saves you etc…”

    Believe – repent and then be baptized.

    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

    The above passage means “repent” first and be “baptized” next. That’s difficult for those who are determined to SIDESTEP REPENTANCE.

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Romans 10

    Belief FIRST, then Baptism

  • Grace

    Larry @ 26

    “Holy Spirit has spoke quite clearly on this matter, that baptism is the forgiveness of sins, the reception of the Holy Spirit and name of God and where His name is He IS, this baptism saves you etc…”

    Believe – repent and then be baptized.

    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

    The above passage means “repent” first and be “baptized” next. That’s difficult for those who are determined to SIDESTEP REPENTANCE.

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Romans 10

    Belief FIRST, then Baptism

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@30):

    The above passage means “repent” first and be “baptized” next.

    I’m sure that’s how you read it, but that’s not what it says. If the Greek actually contained an imperative with chronological ordering, then those words would be translated for us. But they are not. Because all there is in the Greek is the equivalent of the word “and”. You want there to be an implied ordering because your theology depends on that. But it isn’t there.

    You might as well argue that the writer of Ecclesiastes, when he said

    a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry

    meant that men should eat first, then drink, and finally to be merry. That’s not what the text says — or means — but that’s how you would have to read it, isn’t it?

    Anyhow, you continued:

    That’s difficult for those who are determined to SIDESTEP REPENTANCE.

    Which of course is a falsehood leveled at Larry. He’s not trying to “sidestep repentance” at all. I guess that’s just another baseless inference that your theological positions require?

    Anyhow, one can’t help but notice that you completely ignored all the other Bible passages to which Larry referred. Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@30):

    The above passage means “repent” first and be “baptized” next.

    I’m sure that’s how you read it, but that’s not what it says. If the Greek actually contained an imperative with chronological ordering, then those words would be translated for us. But they are not. Because all there is in the Greek is the equivalent of the word “and”. You want there to be an implied ordering because your theology depends on that. But it isn’t there.

    You might as well argue that the writer of Ecclesiastes, when he said

    a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry

    meant that men should eat first, then drink, and finally to be merry. That’s not what the text says — or means — but that’s how you would have to read it, isn’t it?

    Anyhow, you continued:

    That’s difficult for those who are determined to SIDESTEP REPENTANCE.

    Which of course is a falsehood leveled at Larry. He’s not trying to “sidestep repentance” at all. I guess that’s just another baseless inference that your theological positions require?

    Anyhow, one can’t help but notice that you completely ignored all the other Bible passages to which Larry referred. Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

  • Abby

    Larry, sorry I gave you so much angst by quoting Al Mohler. I am in total agreement with you and Todd on the Sacraments as a Lutheran. However, I also agree with Mohler on his cultural analysis which identifies the Gospel lite approach of many churches. He describes the secularization of young people beginning with their parents and moving on into the colleges and universities. The remedy he prescribes is strong and uncompromising doctrine taught in churches and Sunday Schools. I agree with him — as a Lutheran — in his advocacy of CONFESSIONAL PROTESTANTISM. And that is Lutheran! I think you could agree with that, for that is the only point I was making in quoting him.

    You may be blessed with a good Lutheran pastor who is doing as he should. There are many rising up in our ranks who are beginning to take the Gospel lite approach of evangelicalism. And also some “cognitive bargaining” which eliminates some doctrine for the sake of appeal and popularity. (I hope and pray not!) Which, in Mohler’s words, will be a “failed rescue attempt.”

    But also for me, you, and many others who read this blog our view of the Sacraments will be uncompromising. Honestly, we have pure gold! If only we would realize and appreciate what we have. The burden is on the pastors and teachers to faithfully keep presenting to our people. And the Holy Spirit will do the work.

    In my family, the men have come to the LCMS through marriage from Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Southern Baptist. ALL have come to love the riches that they have learned here. Justification by grace, our love and confession of Scripture and our view of the Sacraments. All were well trained by the pastor’s classes when they entered. There are many who teach well. And we can praise God for that.

    I hope I have helped you understand better what I meant to say.

  • Abby

    Larry, sorry I gave you so much angst by quoting Al Mohler. I am in total agreement with you and Todd on the Sacraments as a Lutheran. However, I also agree with Mohler on his cultural analysis which identifies the Gospel lite approach of many churches. He describes the secularization of young people beginning with their parents and moving on into the colleges and universities. The remedy he prescribes is strong and uncompromising doctrine taught in churches and Sunday Schools. I agree with him — as a Lutheran — in his advocacy of CONFESSIONAL PROTESTANTISM. And that is Lutheran! I think you could agree with that, for that is the only point I was making in quoting him.

    You may be blessed with a good Lutheran pastor who is doing as he should. There are many rising up in our ranks who are beginning to take the Gospel lite approach of evangelicalism. And also some “cognitive bargaining” which eliminates some doctrine for the sake of appeal and popularity. (I hope and pray not!) Which, in Mohler’s words, will be a “failed rescue attempt.”

    But also for me, you, and many others who read this blog our view of the Sacraments will be uncompromising. Honestly, we have pure gold! If only we would realize and appreciate what we have. The burden is on the pastors and teachers to faithfully keep presenting to our people. And the Holy Spirit will do the work.

    In my family, the men have come to the LCMS through marriage from Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Southern Baptist. ALL have come to love the riches that they have learned here. Justification by grace, our love and confession of Scripture and our view of the Sacraments. All were well trained by the pastor’s classes when they entered. There are many who teach well. And we can praise God for that.

    I hope I have helped you understand better what I meant to say.

  • Grace

    tODD @31

    Do you believe REPENTANCE is of value, or is that something one chooses later, after Baptism, and then Salvation?

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
    2 Corinthians 7:10

  • Grace

    tODD @31

    Do you believe REPENTANCE is of value, or is that something one chooses later, after Baptism, and then Salvation?

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
    2 Corinthians 7:10

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 33

    Do you just look through your concordance to find passages you think fit your argument? A proof text proves nothing if its taken out of context, to wit:

    In 2 Cor. v8 and following Paul talks about how God brought the Corinthians the Word, through Paul, to bring them to faith. It clearly shows that God is the actor and the people are the reactors, responding to the message. In Romans Paul touches on similar points writing that faith comes by hearing–this is what he meant (and what He meant, too!).

    So what then is repentance? It’s a response to faith. The Apology to the Augsburg Confession (XIIA) describes repentance as being composed of contrition, or “true terror of conscience”, and faith. It is a response to having heard the Good News, recognizing that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

    Of course repentance is important and it has value. But it does not merit salvation–repentance is the kind of work James discusses as showing forth our faith. But thank God we’re saved by grace not through works, lest who could ever be sorrowful or contrite enough to warrant salvation? Repentance isn’t something we choose, any more than choosing to have faith. Faith is a gift of God, repentance is a gift of faith. Both are a result of having the Word proclaimed.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 33

    Do you just look through your concordance to find passages you think fit your argument? A proof text proves nothing if its taken out of context, to wit:

    In 2 Cor. v8 and following Paul talks about how God brought the Corinthians the Word, through Paul, to bring them to faith. It clearly shows that God is the actor and the people are the reactors, responding to the message. In Romans Paul touches on similar points writing that faith comes by hearing–this is what he meant (and what He meant, too!).

    So what then is repentance? It’s a response to faith. The Apology to the Augsburg Confession (XIIA) describes repentance as being composed of contrition, or “true terror of conscience”, and faith. It is a response to having heard the Good News, recognizing that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

    Of course repentance is important and it has value. But it does not merit salvation–repentance is the kind of work James discusses as showing forth our faith. But thank God we’re saved by grace not through works, lest who could ever be sorrowful or contrite enough to warrant salvation? Repentance isn’t something we choose, any more than choosing to have faith. Faith is a gift of God, repentance is a gift of faith. Both are a result of having the Word proclaimed.

  • helen

    2nd Corinthians 7:10 is a fragment (we do not usually slice and dice Scripture so thinly) of Paul’s letter which needs to be read in context. In his first letter to the Corinthians he rebuked public sin quite sharply and rebuked the congregation for letting it go on.
    In the second, then, he is commenting that their sorrow and repentance would save them.
    But please note: he is not speaking to the unbaptized but to a Christian congregation already brought into the faith with Word and Sacrament. They had spcific sins to deal with, and they did. So, in this case, yes, repentance was following baptism. It may also come before.

    We have sin to deal with and we do, with the same Word which works repentance and Sacrament which bestows forgiveness.

    Re baptism: I’m new here, so I don’t doubt that someone before I came has told you that adults are instructed before baptism in Lutheran churches, while babies are baptized and instructed as soon as they are able to understand (which is younger than most think). To suggest that babies should not be baptized “because they cannot have faith” is to put faith in the realm of reason (where it is not) and put a limit on the ability of the Holy Spirit to work faith in a human heart, whether it is 7 minutes old or 77 years. You cannot limit the Holy Spirit.

  • helen

    2nd Corinthians 7:10 is a fragment (we do not usually slice and dice Scripture so thinly) of Paul’s letter which needs to be read in context. In his first letter to the Corinthians he rebuked public sin quite sharply and rebuked the congregation for letting it go on.
    In the second, then, he is commenting that their sorrow and repentance would save them.
    But please note: he is not speaking to the unbaptized but to a Christian congregation already brought into the faith with Word and Sacrament. They had spcific sins to deal with, and they did. So, in this case, yes, repentance was following baptism. It may also come before.

    We have sin to deal with and we do, with the same Word which works repentance and Sacrament which bestows forgiveness.

    Re baptism: I’m new here, so I don’t doubt that someone before I came has told you that adults are instructed before baptism in Lutheran churches, while babies are baptized and instructed as soon as they are able to understand (which is younger than most think). To suggest that babies should not be baptized “because they cannot have faith” is to put faith in the realm of reason (where it is not) and put a limit on the ability of the Holy Spirit to work faith in a human heart, whether it is 7 minutes old or 77 years. You cannot limit the Holy Spirit.

  • helen

    mikeb has been clearer than I.
    When I said that sorrow and repentance would “save” them, I spoke carelessly.
    It enabled the Corinthian Christians to “clean up their act” (having recognized their sin), but grace and the gift of faith was their salvation, as Mike says..

  • helen

    mikeb has been clearer than I.
    When I said that sorrow and repentance would “save” them, I spoke carelessly.
    It enabled the Corinthian Christians to “clean up their act” (having recognized their sin), but grace and the gift of faith was their salvation, as Mike says..

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 34

    YOU WROTE: “Grace @ 33 Do you just look through your concordance to find passages you think fit your argument? A proof text proves nothing if its taken out of context, to wit:”

    No mike, I don’t use a “concordance” but I can see where YOU would find that an trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.

    Here’s one for you:

    You wrote: “In 2 Cor. v8 and following Paul talks about how God brought the Corinthians the Word, through Paul, to bring them to faith. It clearly shows that God is the actor and the people are the reactors, responding to the message. “

    God Almighty isn’t an “actor” in any way, no matter how glib you try and present a point you don’t have. The LORD God Almighty is God, HE is not an “actor” you my friend are playing a ‘dramatic role, that doesn’t measure up to Scripture, but is born out of an attempt for attention.

    I cannot imagine calling the LORD God Almighty an “actor” -

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 34

    YOU WROTE: “Grace @ 33 Do you just look through your concordance to find passages you think fit your argument? A proof text proves nothing if its taken out of context, to wit:”

    No mike, I don’t use a “concordance” but I can see where YOU would find that an trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.

    Here’s one for you:

    You wrote: “In 2 Cor. v8 and following Paul talks about how God brought the Corinthians the Word, through Paul, to bring them to faith. It clearly shows that God is the actor and the people are the reactors, responding to the message. “

    God Almighty isn’t an “actor” in any way, no matter how glib you try and present a point you don’t have. The LORD God Almighty is God, HE is not an “actor” you my friend are playing a ‘dramatic role, that doesn’t measure up to Scripture, but is born out of an attempt for attention.

    I cannot imagine calling the LORD God Almighty an “actor” -

  • mikeb

    helen @ 36

    I liked your response and I don’t think you were so careless when you say “that sorrow and repentance would ‘save’ them”. This reminds me of James’ letter and even the Athanasian Creed where we learn about the importance of works.

  • mikeb

    helen @ 36

    I liked your response and I don’t think you were so careless when you say “that sorrow and repentance would ‘save’ them”. This reminds me of James’ letter and even the Athanasian Creed where we learn about the importance of works.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 37

    Did I say God was an actor, as in a play or movie? Nope. I did say He is the actor, in this case taking action and bringing about faith. God acts, we react. God is the doer; He creates. He leads, we follow. It’s not glib, it’s a simple truth.

    As for your comment about my approval of using a concordance

    “but I can see where YOU would find that an [sic] trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.”

    I use a concordance all the time (I have trouble remembering specific verses while I do better remembering broader themes) and don’t have a problem with that. My concern with your earlier post was that part of a single verse was shredded and taken out of context to make it mean something it doesn’t in order to support your assertion.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 37

    Did I say God was an actor, as in a play or movie? Nope. I did say He is the actor, in this case taking action and bringing about faith. God acts, we react. God is the doer; He creates. He leads, we follow. It’s not glib, it’s a simple truth.

    As for your comment about my approval of using a concordance

    “but I can see where YOU would find that an [sic] trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.”

    I use a concordance all the time (I have trouble remembering specific verses while I do better remembering broader themes) and don’t have a problem with that. My concern with your earlier post was that part of a single verse was shredded and taken out of context to make it mean something it doesn’t in order to support your assertion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@37):

    No mike, I don’t use a “concordance” but I can see where YOU would find that an trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.

    Um, that’s patently false, Grace. You repeatedly copy and paste from Strong’s Concordance to attempt to make some point on this blog. Do I even need to Google the many, many examples of this? Are you just not aware that the Strong’s you copy from is a concordance? What’s the issue here?

    God Almighty isn’t an “actor” in any way, no matter how glib you try and present a point you don’t have.

    Sigh. C’mon, Grace. You need to expand your vocabulary here, as you’re completely missing Mike’s point. No, trust me, you are. For someone like you who frequently pastes in dictionary definitions of obvious terms, you really need to look up all the definitions of “actor” before you get offended on God’s behalf here.

    Here, I’ll paste in the first definition from Merriam-Webster for you:

    1) one that acts : doer

    There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

    I cannot imagine calling the LORD God Almighty an “actor” -

    That’s because you like to play the offended role when it serves you, even if your reaction is based on ignorance. I mean, have you never read Philippians 2?

    It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@37):

    No mike, I don’t use a “concordance” but I can see where YOU would find that an trademark excuse for expelling what is truth.

    Um, that’s patently false, Grace. You repeatedly copy and paste from Strong’s Concordance to attempt to make some point on this blog. Do I even need to Google the many, many examples of this? Are you just not aware that the Strong’s you copy from is a concordance? What’s the issue here?

    God Almighty isn’t an “actor” in any way, no matter how glib you try and present a point you don’t have.

    Sigh. C’mon, Grace. You need to expand your vocabulary here, as you’re completely missing Mike’s point. No, trust me, you are. For someone like you who frequently pastes in dictionary definitions of obvious terms, you really need to look up all the definitions of “actor” before you get offended on God’s behalf here.

    Here, I’ll paste in the first definition from Merriam-Webster for you:

    1) one that acts : doer

    There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

    I cannot imagine calling the LORD God Almighty an “actor” -

    That’s because you like to play the offended role when it serves you, even if your reaction is based on ignorance. I mean, have you never read Philippians 2?

    It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I can’t help but notice, Grace (@33), that your reply to me (@31) was actually nothing of the sort. That is, you didn’t actually reply to anything I said. You just repeated (in question form) the accusation you leveled at Larry:

    Do you believe REPENTANCE is of value, or is that something one chooses later, after Baptism, and then Salvation?

    That’s really not the question at issue here, as we were discussing baptism. And you completely dodged the (very Bible-based) questions I asked you about baptism that were relevant to the claims you were making.

    But I will do something you apparently cannot: I will answer a question asked me. Yes, Grace, repentance is of value. But it does not contribute to our salvation, as others here have pointed out. Context.

    Will you, then, now answer my questions? If you know your Bible, the answers will be easy:

    Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I can’t help but notice, Grace (@33), that your reply to me (@31) was actually nothing of the sort. That is, you didn’t actually reply to anything I said. You just repeated (in question form) the accusation you leveled at Larry:

    Do you believe REPENTANCE is of value, or is that something one chooses later, after Baptism, and then Salvation?

    That’s really not the question at issue here, as we were discussing baptism. And you completely dodged the (very Bible-based) questions I asked you about baptism that were relevant to the claims you were making.

    But I will do something you apparently cannot: I will answer a question asked me. Yes, Grace, repentance is of value. But it does not contribute to our salvation, as others here have pointed out. Context.

    Will you, then, now answer my questions? If you know your Bible, the answers will be easy:

    Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 39

    Your excuse for calling God Almight an “actor” are not worthy of HE who has given us everything.

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 39

    Your excuse for calling God Almight an “actor” are not worthy of HE who has given us everything.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@42), still haven’t looked up the definition of “actor”, have you? There are several online dictionaries.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@42), still haven’t looked up the definition of “actor”, have you? There are several online dictionaries.

  • Grace

    tODD

    “Um, that’s patently false, Grace. You repeatedly copy and paste from Strong’s Concordance to attempt to make some point on this blog.”

    Strong’s has a Hebrew and Greek Dictionary – perhaps you didn’t know this.

  • Grace

    tODD

    “Um, that’s patently false, Grace. You repeatedly copy and paste from Strong’s Concordance to attempt to make some point on this blog.”

    Strong’s has a Hebrew and Greek Dictionary – perhaps you didn’t know this.

  • Grace

    tODD

    Here is Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary
    http://www.biblerick.com/4000Hebrew.htm

    You are welcome!

  • Grace

    tODD

    Here is Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary
    http://www.biblerick.com/4000Hebrew.htm

    You are welcome!

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 42

    I wasn’t making an excuse–but would it matter to you?

    You speak about unworthiness–that’s kinda the point! Of our own merit we’re nothing but guess what? It doesn’t end there, because God says we’re a royal priesthood, a chosen people. The KJV says “peculiar people”–we’re different, odd, set apart. Why? because God says so!

    But to belabor the point a little more, I think you should really re-examine your understanding of my use of the word “actor” including the definition that tODD provided. I don’t use the term lightly–and I hope you’re not shocked to learn that God has been called by many other names in his Word:

    + Alpha and Omega
    + …like a thief
    + Wonderful Counselor
    + possessing(?) eagles wings
    + “I am the way”
    + Immanuel
    + Deliverer
    + Prince of Peace
    + Redeemer
    + Burning bush
    + a lamp for my feet
    + a smoking firepot with a blazing torch
    + I Am
    + the Word
    + Shepherd / Good Shepherd
    + Mighty One
    + My rock
    + My fortress
    + a Dove
    + Judge
    + Love
    + Father

    So what’s the point? Why do we get all these extra terms for the Almighty Sovereign Lord God? ‘Cause they all teach us something different about Him when taken in context. Sooooo me saying God is the “actor” doesn’t have to that mean he’s a fake, playing a fictitious role, but rather in context it means that He is the one acting, doing, working in the lives of the Corinthians bringing salvation, faith, forgiveness, et. all.

    And, incidentally (and I’m really disappointed you didn’t try to call me on this one), saying that the people at Corinth, and us today, are reactors does not mean that we are vessels filled with Uranium atoms which are split via atomic reaction releasing energy which can be used to generate steam to turn into electrical power. We’re not that kind of reactors, just as God is not that kind of actor.

    I suppose all this is moot, though, because if He can speak through the mouth of an ass, me saying he’s an actor (and that we are merely reactors) pales in comparison. I mean really, is calling God an actor (even in the thespian meaning) such a bad thing, if he deigns to speak through a farm animal? But guess what, he stooped even lower than the barnyard he was born in, and clothed himself in human form, to take on my–our–sin.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 42

    I wasn’t making an excuse–but would it matter to you?

    You speak about unworthiness–that’s kinda the point! Of our own merit we’re nothing but guess what? It doesn’t end there, because God says we’re a royal priesthood, a chosen people. The KJV says “peculiar people”–we’re different, odd, set apart. Why? because God says so!

    But to belabor the point a little more, I think you should really re-examine your understanding of my use of the word “actor” including the definition that tODD provided. I don’t use the term lightly–and I hope you’re not shocked to learn that God has been called by many other names in his Word:

    + Alpha and Omega
    + …like a thief
    + Wonderful Counselor
    + possessing(?) eagles wings
    + “I am the way”
    + Immanuel
    + Deliverer
    + Prince of Peace
    + Redeemer
    + Burning bush
    + a lamp for my feet
    + a smoking firepot with a blazing torch
    + I Am
    + the Word
    + Shepherd / Good Shepherd
    + Mighty One
    + My rock
    + My fortress
    + a Dove
    + Judge
    + Love
    + Father

    So what’s the point? Why do we get all these extra terms for the Almighty Sovereign Lord God? ‘Cause they all teach us something different about Him when taken in context. Sooooo me saying God is the “actor” doesn’t have to that mean he’s a fake, playing a fictitious role, but rather in context it means that He is the one acting, doing, working in the lives of the Corinthians bringing salvation, faith, forgiveness, et. all.

    And, incidentally (and I’m really disappointed you didn’t try to call me on this one), saying that the people at Corinth, and us today, are reactors does not mean that we are vessels filled with Uranium atoms which are split via atomic reaction releasing energy which can be used to generate steam to turn into electrical power. We’re not that kind of reactors, just as God is not that kind of actor.

    I suppose all this is moot, though, because if He can speak through the mouth of an ass, me saying he’s an actor (and that we are merely reactors) pales in comparison. I mean really, is calling God an actor (even in the thespian meaning) such a bad thing, if he deigns to speak through a farm animal? But guess what, he stooped even lower than the barnyard he was born in, and clothed himself in human form, to take on my–our–sin.

  • larry

    Abby,

    I’m not upset at all and I didn’t mean to “aim” it at you personally. I apologize for coming off that way. I just know what’s behind Mohler’s quote having been steeped in that theology. Yes in principle we (orthodoxy) would agree with those words “confessional Protestantism”, but that’s not really what he means. If I might peel this apart a bit to help?

    Though in words we’d concur, in real meaning we are worlds apart. He means if I might clarify “confessional (heterodox) Protestantism”, which we would not concur with. Why do I say that? Because they don’t mean a single confession but a mélange of confessions whereby things like the sacraments (e.g. baptism) are relegated as more or less “non-essential”. But we know that the sacraments ARE the Gospel, where forgiveness of sin per the Word is actually given and distributed “pro me” and that this alone really creates faith, that forgiveness pro me communicated. The bound will cannot “repent” and thus “believe” unless this is given in Word and/or ‘worded’ sacraments. No pro me, no Gospel, no faith is possible. And every confessed point of their doctrine, that which distinguishes, for example, baptist AS baptist as opposed to another denies this – EVERY “distinctive” of their confession because its built into their doctrinal “grid” (note Grace’s necessary insertions but not dealing with the Words of Scripture “for you”). So he’s not speaking of “confessional Protestantism” but “confessional heterodoxy” that happens to not be Roman Catholic, which is not “confessional Protestantism”. Things like “Together For The Gospel” in which he participates and helps lead along with a handful of Reformed and Presby., yet their confessions don’t agree and at supposedly essential levels, i.e. the sacraments among some notable points. Thus what is the “gospel” for which they gather together and agree. The reality is that Mohler, Piper, MacArthur (to name a few of the leaders in the more conservative Baptist realm) in really deny the real Gospel. How can I say that? Because they deny that it is actually GIVEN to you, for you in the Words of Scripture and/or the Words wording the Sacraments. That is precisely the Gospel, the given pro me, and THAT is precisely the point they deny. Thus, they deny the Gospel. They will tell or imply to you that “…given for the forgiveness of sins” is not so. They will tell you that “the promise is to you and to your children…” (Baptism Acts 2) doesn’t mean that. First they loosen from the “your children” (which IS a PRO ME by connection) and say what Grace has said and/or that it means “spiritual children” (later converting and making a rational decision) which of course HAS to extend to the adult in that same “to you” (pro me) statement of Gospel. Thus, what such confess is NOT confessional Protestantism but in reality the same enthusiasm (finding god-withinness without his words) that Rome confesses, they just don’t baptize babies in this case.

    Which led to why I related it to the very mega churches like Ostean and Warren, et. al. They are the logical extension TO Mohler’s, et. al. theology and confession. The irony of him saying that when it is such heterodoxy that leads to that in the first place. The mega-church movement and all the methods and “loose” doctrines that they become do not just “spring up” spontaneously out of thin air. No, they are the logical extensions of the more compact and conservative heterodox theologies in the first place. In short they are the resultant OF the more concise London Baptist Confession of Faith, the WCF, the Baptist Faith and Message, etc… Because such have created the way and door to the more overt ‘mega-churches’ by hinging the sacraments and Gospel altogether. One can easily trace similar movements arising, for example, out of the staunchly conservative Calvinist Puritans from the first “Great Awakening” to the more overtly ridiculous “Second Great Awakening” to complete apostates like Charles Grandison Finney. One can, as you well point out, trace similar false movements that arise out of heterodoxies that arise within the doors of Lutheranism, such as pietism, to these temptations too. That’s not against the written orthodox confession but indeed in support of it, i.e. pietism is NOT OF the orthodox confession.

    When men are guided away from the clear Word of “forgiveness FOR YOU” in the preached Word to “find God elsewhere”, it begets the unraveling groping and searching then one day you find you’ve arrived at the most overtly ridiculous (to conservative minded eyes) doctrines like Warren, Ostean, et. al.

    You just saw it operating in a very short discussion above with Grace and myself (and Todd and others in defense of Orthodoxy). How? I point out the problem, the unhinging from the Word, especially the Sacraments (which really are the Gospel and display most pointedly the Gospel = forgiveness actually given particularly pro me). The Grace begins to display the doctrine she confesses, and it denies the pro me then proceeds to offer up variations of “you have to search for God” and that search is ‘outside the word’ now, pointed inwardly then upwardly (enthusiasm and original sin = hath God really said, then search for Him without His words creating an idol to do so, not in His Worded things if you will). THAT is the Mohler, Piper, MacArthur conservative position with subtle variations. THAT begins the pathway and searching (=groping for God) that we later see, further down the pathway of the same original error (i.e. precisely false teaching, heresy and nothing less) we see in the mega church and other such movements. It’s just “further down the same false road” and thus MORE obvious to the eye that its further down the road. It’s not the nearness to orthodoxy that is the point (e.g. Mohler) but the direction they head. If orthodoxy is “in X direction”, and some conservative is 10 feet in a direction eschew or directly opposing or some other direction, he “appears” close to the truth by proximity. Therein lay the danger, the appearance. But he is heading and directing either explicitly or implicitly himself and others to continue further down some other direction. So a man like Warren goes on down the pointed direction of the heterodoxy. 5 hours later he’s 5 miles out in that false direction. So he’s more easily identified as “false” because it is so much further out in the wrong direction. Then a man like Mohler comes along who is only 10 feet out and says, “What’s this fool doing”. Well, he’s following YOUR doctrine, so check YOUR doctrine and stop pretending you confess the truth.

    Such men have never really left Rome for Protestantism, the true orthodoxy, they just don’t follow under the Pope and tweak a few things. One might say that many sectarian doctrines are nothing more than the logical errors of medieval carried out further down the error pathway from the scholastics to Calvin and Arminius, et. al. if you will.

    Ex-Piper followers, those of us who got really enthused about his ministry and writings who have moved to Lutheranism (orthodoxy) always have the same basic story and they always strongly identify with Luther himself, his “journey” if you will. I’ve talked with many. There’s a reason for that. I always tell today’s folks, if you want to understand in a modern way, application or setting what scholastic thought was, the baptism of Aristotle and Plato as some would well say, read and study John Piper’s works (e.g. Future Grace, Desiring God and others). His thought is precisely a reintroduction of that scholastic thought that Luther found was covering up the Gospel and reformed. He just doesn’t baptize infants, which is really the logical extension of not really believing the will is bound (which neither Calvinist nor Arminians really do, not per Luther).

    These men may make assertions like “confessional Protestantism” and “sola Scriptura”, but it is not really what they mean. Their “sola scriptura” stops at things like “this baptism saves you”, “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this is My body”, etc… This is what Lutherans need to be absolutely utterly constantly crystal clear about, words mean things, and the solas don’t really exist among the other protestant confessions, not really “SOLA”. Otherwise we are defending what we confess but by silence presenting a deafening argument in concurrence with all sorts of heterodoxy.

  • larry

    Abby,

    I’m not upset at all and I didn’t mean to “aim” it at you personally. I apologize for coming off that way. I just know what’s behind Mohler’s quote having been steeped in that theology. Yes in principle we (orthodoxy) would agree with those words “confessional Protestantism”, but that’s not really what he means. If I might peel this apart a bit to help?

    Though in words we’d concur, in real meaning we are worlds apart. He means if I might clarify “confessional (heterodox) Protestantism”, which we would not concur with. Why do I say that? Because they don’t mean a single confession but a mélange of confessions whereby things like the sacraments (e.g. baptism) are relegated as more or less “non-essential”. But we know that the sacraments ARE the Gospel, where forgiveness of sin per the Word is actually given and distributed “pro me” and that this alone really creates faith, that forgiveness pro me communicated. The bound will cannot “repent” and thus “believe” unless this is given in Word and/or ‘worded’ sacraments. No pro me, no Gospel, no faith is possible. And every confessed point of their doctrine, that which distinguishes, for example, baptist AS baptist as opposed to another denies this – EVERY “distinctive” of their confession because its built into their doctrinal “grid” (note Grace’s necessary insertions but not dealing with the Words of Scripture “for you”). So he’s not speaking of “confessional Protestantism” but “confessional heterodoxy” that happens to not be Roman Catholic, which is not “confessional Protestantism”. Things like “Together For The Gospel” in which he participates and helps lead along with a handful of Reformed and Presby., yet their confessions don’t agree and at supposedly essential levels, i.e. the sacraments among some notable points. Thus what is the “gospel” for which they gather together and agree. The reality is that Mohler, Piper, MacArthur (to name a few of the leaders in the more conservative Baptist realm) in really deny the real Gospel. How can I say that? Because they deny that it is actually GIVEN to you, for you in the Words of Scripture and/or the Words wording the Sacraments. That is precisely the Gospel, the given pro me, and THAT is precisely the point they deny. Thus, they deny the Gospel. They will tell or imply to you that “…given for the forgiveness of sins” is not so. They will tell you that “the promise is to you and to your children…” (Baptism Acts 2) doesn’t mean that. First they loosen from the “your children” (which IS a PRO ME by connection) and say what Grace has said and/or that it means “spiritual children” (later converting and making a rational decision) which of course HAS to extend to the adult in that same “to you” (pro me) statement of Gospel. Thus, what such confess is NOT confessional Protestantism but in reality the same enthusiasm (finding god-withinness without his words) that Rome confesses, they just don’t baptize babies in this case.

    Which led to why I related it to the very mega churches like Ostean and Warren, et. al. They are the logical extension TO Mohler’s, et. al. theology and confession. The irony of him saying that when it is such heterodoxy that leads to that in the first place. The mega-church movement and all the methods and “loose” doctrines that they become do not just “spring up” spontaneously out of thin air. No, they are the logical extensions of the more compact and conservative heterodox theologies in the first place. In short they are the resultant OF the more concise London Baptist Confession of Faith, the WCF, the Baptist Faith and Message, etc… Because such have created the way and door to the more overt ‘mega-churches’ by hinging the sacraments and Gospel altogether. One can easily trace similar movements arising, for example, out of the staunchly conservative Calvinist Puritans from the first “Great Awakening” to the more overtly ridiculous “Second Great Awakening” to complete apostates like Charles Grandison Finney. One can, as you well point out, trace similar false movements that arise out of heterodoxies that arise within the doors of Lutheranism, such as pietism, to these temptations too. That’s not against the written orthodox confession but indeed in support of it, i.e. pietism is NOT OF the orthodox confession.

    When men are guided away from the clear Word of “forgiveness FOR YOU” in the preached Word to “find God elsewhere”, it begets the unraveling groping and searching then one day you find you’ve arrived at the most overtly ridiculous (to conservative minded eyes) doctrines like Warren, Ostean, et. al.

    You just saw it operating in a very short discussion above with Grace and myself (and Todd and others in defense of Orthodoxy). How? I point out the problem, the unhinging from the Word, especially the Sacraments (which really are the Gospel and display most pointedly the Gospel = forgiveness actually given particularly pro me). The Grace begins to display the doctrine she confesses, and it denies the pro me then proceeds to offer up variations of “you have to search for God” and that search is ‘outside the word’ now, pointed inwardly then upwardly (enthusiasm and original sin = hath God really said, then search for Him without His words creating an idol to do so, not in His Worded things if you will). THAT is the Mohler, Piper, MacArthur conservative position with subtle variations. THAT begins the pathway and searching (=groping for God) that we later see, further down the pathway of the same original error (i.e. precisely false teaching, heresy and nothing less) we see in the mega church and other such movements. It’s just “further down the same false road” and thus MORE obvious to the eye that its further down the road. It’s not the nearness to orthodoxy that is the point (e.g. Mohler) but the direction they head. If orthodoxy is “in X direction”, and some conservative is 10 feet in a direction eschew or directly opposing or some other direction, he “appears” close to the truth by proximity. Therein lay the danger, the appearance. But he is heading and directing either explicitly or implicitly himself and others to continue further down some other direction. So a man like Warren goes on down the pointed direction of the heterodoxy. 5 hours later he’s 5 miles out in that false direction. So he’s more easily identified as “false” because it is so much further out in the wrong direction. Then a man like Mohler comes along who is only 10 feet out and says, “What’s this fool doing”. Well, he’s following YOUR doctrine, so check YOUR doctrine and stop pretending you confess the truth.

    Such men have never really left Rome for Protestantism, the true orthodoxy, they just don’t follow under the Pope and tweak a few things. One might say that many sectarian doctrines are nothing more than the logical errors of medieval carried out further down the error pathway from the scholastics to Calvin and Arminius, et. al. if you will.

    Ex-Piper followers, those of us who got really enthused about his ministry and writings who have moved to Lutheranism (orthodoxy) always have the same basic story and they always strongly identify with Luther himself, his “journey” if you will. I’ve talked with many. There’s a reason for that. I always tell today’s folks, if you want to understand in a modern way, application or setting what scholastic thought was, the baptism of Aristotle and Plato as some would well say, read and study John Piper’s works (e.g. Future Grace, Desiring God and others). His thought is precisely a reintroduction of that scholastic thought that Luther found was covering up the Gospel and reformed. He just doesn’t baptize infants, which is really the logical extension of not really believing the will is bound (which neither Calvinist nor Arminians really do, not per Luther).

    These men may make assertions like “confessional Protestantism” and “sola Scriptura”, but it is not really what they mean. Their “sola scriptura” stops at things like “this baptism saves you”, “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this is My body”, etc… This is what Lutherans need to be absolutely utterly constantly crystal clear about, words mean things, and the solas don’t really exist among the other protestant confessions, not really “SOLA”. Otherwise we are defending what we confess but by silence presenting a deafening argument in concurrence with all sorts of heterodoxy.

  • Martin J.

    Broken record. Diatribes upon anecdotes.
    urgh.
    (and… down the proverbial rabbit trail we go…..)

  • Martin J.

    Broken record. Diatribes upon anecdotes.
    urgh.
    (and… down the proverbial rabbit trail we go…..)

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 46

    “But to belabor the point a little more, I think you should really re-examine your understanding of my use of the word “actor” including the definition that tODD provided. I don’t use the term lightly–and I hope you’re not shocked to learn that God has been called by many other names in his Word:

    Your list of names which God is called in the Bible don’t refer to an “actor” – I’m not “shocked” when individuals ‘smart off regarding the LORD’s name, it’s to their shame that they do so.

    The definition of an “actor” does not represent the LORD God Almighty -

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 46

    “But to belabor the point a little more, I think you should really re-examine your understanding of my use of the word “actor” including the definition that tODD provided. I don’t use the term lightly–and I hope you’re not shocked to learn that God has been called by many other names in his Word:

    Your list of names which God is called in the Bible don’t refer to an “actor” – I’m not “shocked” when individuals ‘smart off regarding the LORD’s name, it’s to their shame that they do so.

    The definition of an “actor” does not represent the LORD God Almighty -

  • Grace

    larry @ 47

    Your attempt to tell me or anyone else what I was stating or believe through YOUR experience, (faulty at best) doesn’t say much.

    I have found here, and elsewhere, those who state their previous relationships in other churches, pretending they ‘know what Evangelicals believe, based on their scant knowledge – it never ceases to amaze me how confused it all becomes, simply because they don’t have the facts.

  • Grace

    larry @ 47

    Your attempt to tell me or anyone else what I was stating or believe through YOUR experience, (faulty at best) doesn’t say much.

    I have found here, and elsewhere, those who state their previous relationships in other churches, pretending they ‘know what Evangelicals believe, based on their scant knowledge – it never ceases to amaze me how confused it all becomes, simply because they don’t have the facts.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@49), so you’re choosing to double down on your ignorance here, then? You just refuse to either learn what a word means, or to admit that your comments have so far been made in ignorance?

    It’s kind of funny-sad that you’re attempting to shame MikeB here, given your actions. You truly should be ashamed of what you’re doing here. MikeB has nothing to be ashamed of. Because he actually understand the definitions of words he’s using.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@49), so you’re choosing to double down on your ignorance here, then? You just refuse to either learn what a word means, or to admit that your comments have so far been made in ignorance?

    It’s kind of funny-sad that you’re attempting to shame MikeB here, given your actions. You truly should be ashamed of what you’re doing here. MikeB has nothing to be ashamed of. Because he actually understand the definitions of words he’s using.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Grace (@41), you still haven’t answered my questions (@41, 31) about baptism. They’re very straightforward questions, taken straight from Scripture.

    I guess rather than tell us what you actually believe, you’d rather complain (@50) about people misrepresenting your beliefs … even though you won’t answer straightforward questions about what you believe.

    So that’s a reasonable approach you’re taking, he said sarcastically, belaboring the obvious, because it apparently needs belaboring here.

    But knowing that Larry himself is personally familiar with Evangelicalism, having spent time in those churches … and also being quite familiar with it myself, my wife being a former Southern Baptist, and growing up myself in Texas, where there are many times more Evangelicals than Lutherans … and having read your comments on this blog, when you do bother to tell us what you believe instead of just whining … well, I think Larry’s comments are pretty accurate.

    Maybe you just like to complain?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Grace (@41), you still haven’t answered my questions (@41, 31) about baptism. They’re very straightforward questions, taken straight from Scripture.

    I guess rather than tell us what you actually believe, you’d rather complain (@50) about people misrepresenting your beliefs … even though you won’t answer straightforward questions about what you believe.

    So that’s a reasonable approach you’re taking, he said sarcastically, belaboring the obvious, because it apparently needs belaboring here.

    But knowing that Larry himself is personally familiar with Evangelicalism, having spent time in those churches … and also being quite familiar with it myself, my wife being a former Southern Baptist, and growing up myself in Texas, where there are many times more Evangelicals than Lutherans … and having read your comments on this blog, when you do bother to tell us what you believe instead of just whining … well, I think Larry’s comments are pretty accurate.

    Maybe you just like to complain?

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 49

    The definition of an “actor” does not represent the LORD God Almighty -

    So are you saying that the definition of “actor” that tODD provided via Merriam-Webster:

    1) one that acts : doer

    is not descriptive of God? Does he do nothing but sit in His heaven all day? It seems to me that you are conflating proper nouns and common nouns here. God is not the Almighty Actor but most certainly is an actor–He acts, He works, He does things. He takes action. He descends from Heaven, dies on the Cross, and redeems the world. Sounds like action to me. And serious, too.

    Which brings me to your accusation that I’m smarting off. What makes you think so? I’ve indicated that I was not being glib, that I deliberately chose the word. Why make it personal–can’t you stick to discussing ideas?

    But more importantly, will you answer this question: Does God act?

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 49

    The definition of an “actor” does not represent the LORD God Almighty -

    So are you saying that the definition of “actor” that tODD provided via Merriam-Webster:

    1) one that acts : doer

    is not descriptive of God? Does he do nothing but sit in His heaven all day? It seems to me that you are conflating proper nouns and common nouns here. God is not the Almighty Actor but most certainly is an actor–He acts, He works, He does things. He takes action. He descends from Heaven, dies on the Cross, and redeems the world. Sounds like action to me. And serious, too.

    Which brings me to your accusation that I’m smarting off. What makes you think so? I’ve indicated that I was not being glib, that I deliberately chose the word. Why make it personal–can’t you stick to discussing ideas?

    But more importantly, will you answer this question: Does God act?

  • Grace

    tODD @52

    I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times –

    YOU WROTE: “But knowing that Larry himself is personally familiar with Evangelicalism, having spent time in those churches … and also being quite familiar with it myself, my wife being a former Southern Baptist, and growing up myself in Texas, where there are many times more Evangelicals than Lutherans … and having read your comments on this blog, when you do bother to tell us what you believe instead of just whining … well, I think Larry’s comments are pretty accurate.”

    “Whining” isn’t my style pal, you own that one all by yourself.

    Growing up in Texas doesn’t make anyone an expert on Evangelicals. There are many different denomination in that state – there are also many different variations , just as there is within the Lutheran group.

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty – that’s because most of them are cradle Lutherans and, or Roman Catholics – their knowlege of anything other than these two groups is what they read in the newspaper, watch on TV, or hearsay, or ‘perhaps have gone through the doors of Evangelical churches a few times, therefore giving them (what they think) will be substantial knowledge and evidence of what a Bible Believing Evangelical church is – When all else fails, people such as Rick Warren, Crystal Cathedral, Benny Hinn, TBN, any and all versions of the Emergent Church, are brought to the front as a means to discredit the many Bible Churches whose congregants are dedicated to Christ, and call themselves Born Again Christians.

    Christ Jesus made it plain to Nicodemus that one “must be Born Again” – yet many scoff at Christ’s own words – thinking they can change the fact. One must read John 3 carefully. It’s probably one of the most important passages, as Christ lays out the way to Salvation.

  • Grace

    tODD @52

    I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times –

    YOU WROTE: “But knowing that Larry himself is personally familiar with Evangelicalism, having spent time in those churches … and also being quite familiar with it myself, my wife being a former Southern Baptist, and growing up myself in Texas, where there are many times more Evangelicals than Lutherans … and having read your comments on this blog, when you do bother to tell us what you believe instead of just whining … well, I think Larry’s comments are pretty accurate.”

    “Whining” isn’t my style pal, you own that one all by yourself.

    Growing up in Texas doesn’t make anyone an expert on Evangelicals. There are many different denomination in that state – there are also many different variations , just as there is within the Lutheran group.

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty – that’s because most of them are cradle Lutherans and, or Roman Catholics – their knowlege of anything other than these two groups is what they read in the newspaper, watch on TV, or hearsay, or ‘perhaps have gone through the doors of Evangelical churches a few times, therefore giving them (what they think) will be substantial knowledge and evidence of what a Bible Believing Evangelical church is – When all else fails, people such as Rick Warren, Crystal Cathedral, Benny Hinn, TBN, any and all versions of the Emergent Church, are brought to the front as a means to discredit the many Bible Churches whose congregants are dedicated to Christ, and call themselves Born Again Christians.

    Christ Jesus made it plain to Nicodemus that one “must be Born Again” – yet many scoff at Christ’s own words – thinking they can change the fact. One must read John 3 carefully. It’s probably one of the most important passages, as Christ lays out the way to Salvation.

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 53

    “But more importantly, will you answer this question: Does God act?”.

    AHHH when all else fails, change the word, to save face. The LORD God Almighty is not an “actor” – the word “act” and “actor” are not the same.

    Oxford Dictionary:

    ACTOR – definition

    a person who performs on the stage, on television or in films/movies, especially as a profession

    ACT – definition

    act of God (law) an event caused by natural forces beyond human control, such as a storm, a flood or an earthquake

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 53

    “But more importantly, will you answer this question: Does God act?”.

    AHHH when all else fails, change the word, to save face. The LORD God Almighty is not an “actor” – the word “act” and “actor” are not the same.

    Oxford Dictionary:

    ACTOR – definition

    a person who performs on the stage, on television or in films/movies, especially as a profession

    ACT – definition

    act of God (law) an event caused by natural forces beyond human control, such as a storm, a flood or an earthquake

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    This is so like you, Grace (@54). You have all the time in the world to whine about how nobody understands you (or, bizarrely, Evangelicalism), but you simply can’t answer questions asked directly of you. I have a pretty good suspicion of why that is.

    If you took half the words on this thread alone that you spent telling people that they don’t understand you, and instead used them answering questions asked of you, then there might be something like a productive discussion.

    You complain that “I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times”, but guess what? You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you. I don’t need to hear you tell me that anymore. But I would like you to answer my questions. But you refuse. Again, the reason why seems clear. Actual discussion isn’t your strong suit, you know. Which leaves me with nothing to respond to except this meta-conversation.

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty – that’s because most of them are cradle Lutherans and, or Roman Catholics – their knowlege of anything other than these two groups is what they read in the newspaper, watch on TV, or hearsay, or ‘perhaps have gone through the doors of Evangelical churches a few times

    This is, of course, hilarious. I just told you that I married a (former) Southern Baptist. We have had countless conversations about her former church, of which she was a member until we got married. I’m not going to be lectured by you from your ignorance of what I know about Evangelicals. I know what I know — you do not.

    I’m sure it’s comforting to you to assume (incorrectly) that every Lutheran you talk to doesn’t know anything about you. It’s just easier for you to remain ignorant that way, rather than have your worldview challenged. So you tell Larry — who was himself a Evangelical — that his knowledge is only TV deep. That’s so very, very rich, Grace.

    And still you can’t answer basic questions — from Scripture! — about baptism. You are pure bluster, Grace. You don’t want to have a conversation about baptism, do you? You just want to come here and be offended. It’s easier than thinking, isn’t it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    This is so like you, Grace (@54). You have all the time in the world to whine about how nobody understands you (or, bizarrely, Evangelicalism), but you simply can’t answer questions asked directly of you. I have a pretty good suspicion of why that is.

    If you took half the words on this thread alone that you spent telling people that they don’t understand you, and instead used them answering questions asked of you, then there might be something like a productive discussion.

    You complain that “I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times”, but guess what? You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you. I don’t need to hear you tell me that anymore. But I would like you to answer my questions. But you refuse. Again, the reason why seems clear. Actual discussion isn’t your strong suit, you know. Which leaves me with nothing to respond to except this meta-conversation.

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty – that’s because most of them are cradle Lutherans and, or Roman Catholics – their knowlege of anything other than these two groups is what they read in the newspaper, watch on TV, or hearsay, or ‘perhaps have gone through the doors of Evangelical churches a few times

    This is, of course, hilarious. I just told you that I married a (former) Southern Baptist. We have had countless conversations about her former church, of which she was a member until we got married. I’m not going to be lectured by you from your ignorance of what I know about Evangelicals. I know what I know — you do not.

    I’m sure it’s comforting to you to assume (incorrectly) that every Lutheran you talk to doesn’t know anything about you. It’s just easier for you to remain ignorant that way, rather than have your worldview challenged. So you tell Larry — who was himself a Evangelical — that his knowledge is only TV deep. That’s so very, very rich, Grace.

    And still you can’t answer basic questions — from Scripture! — about baptism. You are pure bluster, Grace. You don’t want to have a conversation about baptism, do you? You just want to come here and be offended. It’s easier than thinking, isn’t it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and Grace (@55), sorry, but I’d assumed that English was your first language. Clearly, it isn’t. Perhaps a local ESL class will help clear up your confusion on this topic.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and Grace (@55), sorry, but I’d assumed that English was your first language. Clearly, it isn’t. Perhaps a local ESL class will help clear up your confusion on this topic.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 55

    If you read on, Oxford continues to define “actor” as

    a participant in an action or process

    and indicates that the origin is in the Latin ager from the late middle ages. The theatrical sense did not arise until the 16th century.

    They define “act” as

    [to] take action; do something

    and again the origins are traced to the late middle ages without any theatrical meaning.

    So, I’ll ask again: will you answer this question, which I will augment: Does God act, do things, take action? Is He active or passive? Does He take action or remain idle? Has God ever acted–Has he done things, taken action?

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 55

    If you read on, Oxford continues to define “actor” as

    a participant in an action or process

    and indicates that the origin is in the Latin ager from the late middle ages. The theatrical sense did not arise until the 16th century.

    They define “act” as

    [to] take action; do something

    and again the origins are traced to the late middle ages without any theatrical meaning.

    So, I’ll ask again: will you answer this question, which I will augment: Does God act, do things, take action? Is He active or passive? Does He take action or remain idle? Has God ever acted–Has he done things, taken action?

  • Grace

    tODD

    “You complain that “I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times”, but guess what? You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you. I don’t need to hear you tell me that anymore.”

    I’ve never said “nobody understands” me – that’s your rendition.

    POOR YOU! :lol:

  • Grace

    tODD

    “You complain that “I’ve given my beliefs on Baptism many times”, but guess what? You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you. I don’t need to hear you tell me that anymore.”

    I’ve never said “nobody understands” me – that’s your rendition.

    POOR YOU! :lol:

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 59

    All through with your misuse of “actor” – as you would like to identify the LORD God Almighty, it’s disrespectful!

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 59

    All through with your misuse of “actor” – as you would like to identify the LORD God Almighty, it’s disrespectful!

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 59

    Notice how tODD didn’t use quotation marks when he wrote

    You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you.

    That means he isn’t saying you used those words. What he is saying is that you communicate those concepts. So yeah, it is his rendition of your collective statements. Good job noticing!

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 59

    Notice how tODD didn’t use quotation marks when he wrote

    You’ve also repeatedly expressed your opinion that nobody understands you.

    That means he isn’t saying you used those words. What he is saying is that you communicate those concepts. So yeah, it is his rendition of your collective statements. Good job noticing!

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 60

    Don’t like the word act or actor? Fine. I won’t use it but will you answer the question–does God do things, does He work, or is He passive?

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 60

    Don’t like the word act or actor? Fine. I won’t use it but will you answer the question–does God do things, does He work, or is He passive?

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 61

    That’s a lame excuse for tODD’s comment -

  • Grace

    mikeb @ 61

    That’s a lame excuse for tODD’s comment -

  • Grace

    mikeb

    ” I won’t use it but will you answer the question–does God do things, does He work, or is He passive?”

    You know the answer to that one. Again you’re looking for an excuse. If I were you, I wouldn’t belabor the point, unless of course you’re trying to regain ………

  • Grace

    mikeb

    ” I won’t use it but will you answer the question–does God do things, does He work, or is He passive?”

    You know the answer to that one. Again you’re looking for an excuse. If I were you, I wouldn’t belabor the point, unless of course you’re trying to regain ………

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    I want to hear your answer. What say you? Be clear so we can all understand you.

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    I want to hear your answer. What say you? Be clear so we can all understand you.

  • mikeb

    Grace your silence is deafening…

  • mikeb

    Grace your silence is deafening…

  • Abby

    Larry @ 47: “In words we agree in meanings we do not.” I concur. I understand that by my own training in Lutheranism. I know what we “mean” when we say certain things. Others outside of our training don’t understand because they judge the “words” by their own understanding of the “meaning.” I guess that’s why we and the Reformed stay worlds apart when it comes to the “meaning” of the Sacraments.

    I remember being in an “undenominational” Bible study group years ago. The other group members being primarily Baptist. At that time I was a “baby” in understanding things cross-denominationally. All I can remember of it all was that, at the bottom line, I said that “I needed more Grace than that.” And because I was well taught as a child (Lutheran parochial school) I was able to recognize that I would never give up faith in what God promises to give us through the New Covenant of His Sacraments.

    I’m so glad you “see” what you see now and you understand our words and meanings. One of my favorite questions of all time is: “What does this mean?” :) Thank you Dr. Luther!

  • Abby

    Larry @ 47: “In words we agree in meanings we do not.” I concur. I understand that by my own training in Lutheranism. I know what we “mean” when we say certain things. Others outside of our training don’t understand because they judge the “words” by their own understanding of the “meaning.” I guess that’s why we and the Reformed stay worlds apart when it comes to the “meaning” of the Sacraments.

    I remember being in an “undenominational” Bible study group years ago. The other group members being primarily Baptist. At that time I was a “baby” in understanding things cross-denominationally. All I can remember of it all was that, at the bottom line, I said that “I needed more Grace than that.” And because I was well taught as a child (Lutheran parochial school) I was able to recognize that I would never give up faith in what God promises to give us through the New Covenant of His Sacraments.

    I’m so glad you “see” what you see now and you understand our words and meanings. One of my favorite questions of all time is: “What does this mean?” :) Thank you Dr. Luther!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    See, Grace? You really do just want to be offended, don’t you? Somehow you find that much more enjoyable than actually answering questions and engaging in discussion. I’d rather discuss your views on baptism, but you’d rather feign offense on God’s behalf, predicated entirely on your failure to understand the English language. I mean, go ahead, be offended. But do we have to be involved? Can’t you go have a snit on your own, without pretending it’s part of a conversation? Because it’s not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    See, Grace? You really do just want to be offended, don’t you? Somehow you find that much more enjoyable than actually answering questions and engaging in discussion. I’d rather discuss your views on baptism, but you’d rather feign offense on God’s behalf, predicated entirely on your failure to understand the English language. I mean, go ahead, be offended. But do we have to be involved? Can’t you go have a snit on your own, without pretending it’s part of a conversation? Because it’s not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@59):

    I’ve never said “nobody understands” me – that’s your rendition.

    But, of course, Grace also said (@50):

    Your attempt to tell me or anyone else what I was stating or believe through YOUR experience, (faulty at best) doesn’t say much.

    I have found here, and elsewhere, those who state their previous relationships in other churches, pretending they ‘know what Evangelicals believe, based on their scant knowledge – it never ceases to amaze me how confused it all becomes, simply because they don’t have the facts.

    And then went on to say (@54):

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty

    So is this another issue of yours that might be cleared up by an ESL course? Or what?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@59):

    I’ve never said “nobody understands” me – that’s your rendition.

    But, of course, Grace also said (@50):

    Your attempt to tell me or anyone else what I was stating or believe through YOUR experience, (faulty at best) doesn’t say much.

    I have found here, and elsewhere, those who state their previous relationships in other churches, pretending they ‘know what Evangelicals believe, based on their scant knowledge – it never ceases to amaze me how confused it all becomes, simply because they don’t have the facts.

    And then went on to say (@54):

    I’ve found when talking to Lutherans’ and Roman Catholics, their knowledge of Bible believing Evangelicals is ‘faulty

    So is this another issue of yours that might be cleared up by an ESL course? Or what?

  • mikeb

    tODD,

    Can I ask your thoughts about Baptism?

    To give you an idea of where I’m coming from: I grew up Christmas-and-Easter-Baptist in its free will and general settings (but wholly Arminian) and attended various non-denoms, Nazarene, and Church of God before discovering Luther’s writings while studying history in college. I now realize I’ve been a lifelong confessional Lutheran and never looked back.

    I fully subscribe to your thesis @ 41.

    So here’s the question: why do so many evangelicals place so much emphasis on their concept of born again, as if we Lutherans are not? My study bible indicates that (in John 3:3) the use of the word here indicates that one must be born ‘from above’, i.e. that God has worked in us, not our choosing to convert. I’m left feeling that so much emphasis is placed on acting certain ways or speaking certain phrases (‘God laid it on my heart’) that born again tends to be a destination for some, and not simply recognition that to see the kingdom of heaven you must be born again, thus, if you are a Christian then it follows that you have been reborn.

  • mikeb

    tODD,

    Can I ask your thoughts about Baptism?

    To give you an idea of where I’m coming from: I grew up Christmas-and-Easter-Baptist in its free will and general settings (but wholly Arminian) and attended various non-denoms, Nazarene, and Church of God before discovering Luther’s writings while studying history in college. I now realize I’ve been a lifelong confessional Lutheran and never looked back.

    I fully subscribe to your thesis @ 41.

    So here’s the question: why do so many evangelicals place so much emphasis on their concept of born again, as if we Lutherans are not? My study bible indicates that (in John 3:3) the use of the word here indicates that one must be born ‘from above’, i.e. that God has worked in us, not our choosing to convert. I’m left feeling that so much emphasis is placed on acting certain ways or speaking certain phrases (‘God laid it on my heart’) that born again tends to be a destination for some, and not simply recognition that to see the kingdom of heaven you must be born again, thus, if you are a Christian then it follows that you have been reborn.

  • larry

    Todd’s nailed it. Grace is pretty typical when such are backed against a wall. Questions are NEVER answered. If you are genuinely despairing (meaning still in their confession and trying to make it all work) they some how attribute it to some faulty thing on your part (which is why the despairing are mostly silent while still within – they are trying to not be “mean” because that would drive them deeper into assurance they are lost/reprobate/etc…). If after you come out on the outside no amount of time spent within, doctrinal digging ever arises to a level that you understood the doctrine and better than they did. It matters little that you attended the BEST of their theologians, read the BEST of their materials and books and some much one cannot even number any longer, one can never arise to the level of having understood it. It matters little that you read every confession, X times over, within, Puritan materials galore, Calvin galore, all the top systematic theology books (and the BEST out there at that), etc… None of that matters (now), for if/since you’ve found it false, and hence rejected it suddenly you “didn’t/couldn’t have possibly/not enough ever, ever, ever understood it. One could cite book after book, confession after confession one has digested excessively, cite conference after conference, cite the excruciating effort after effort that one (and others similarly) did to FOLLOW the doctrine (not eschew it), but now that you reject it as false – one just didn’t know enough, one is a “liar” or ‘didn’t quite get it’. Which is in reality the same answer one always got when asking, “well I’m struggling but you seem to not, so honestly how is it you know and assured so much.” Crickets and frogs, blame and rabbit trails is all one will ever get from such doctrines, attempting to grasp slippery eels covered in grease layered in butter with your elbows.

    They never do answer how they know (if they do), just slip slide every where, then redirect the blame to you for it, you’ve “failed” somehow. Never directly answer their anti-sola scriptura over “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”, etc…

    If as they say the truth of Scripture is basically “this baptism DOES NOT save you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus NOT for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL NOT RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized NOT washing away your sin”, “this NOT is My body…NOT given into death for you…”, “this is My NOT blood…NOT shed for you”, etc…then why do they not translate their bibles that way and cease hiding behind their commentary notes at the bottom of the page. The only difference in that kind of doctrinal “shooting from the bushes” and Joseph Smith is that in Joseph Smith’s copy of the bible he scratched out with his own pen the parts he interpreted differently or disagreed with and inserted what he said they really meant, rather than foot noting it.

  • larry

    Todd’s nailed it. Grace is pretty typical when such are backed against a wall. Questions are NEVER answered. If you are genuinely despairing (meaning still in their confession and trying to make it all work) they some how attribute it to some faulty thing on your part (which is why the despairing are mostly silent while still within – they are trying to not be “mean” because that would drive them deeper into assurance they are lost/reprobate/etc…). If after you come out on the outside no amount of time spent within, doctrinal digging ever arises to a level that you understood the doctrine and better than they did. It matters little that you attended the BEST of their theologians, read the BEST of their materials and books and some much one cannot even number any longer, one can never arise to the level of having understood it. It matters little that you read every confession, X times over, within, Puritan materials galore, Calvin galore, all the top systematic theology books (and the BEST out there at that), etc… None of that matters (now), for if/since you’ve found it false, and hence rejected it suddenly you “didn’t/couldn’t have possibly/not enough ever, ever, ever understood it. One could cite book after book, confession after confession one has digested excessively, cite conference after conference, cite the excruciating effort after effort that one (and others similarly) did to FOLLOW the doctrine (not eschew it), but now that you reject it as false – one just didn’t know enough, one is a “liar” or ‘didn’t quite get it’. Which is in reality the same answer one always got when asking, “well I’m struggling but you seem to not, so honestly how is it you know and assured so much.” Crickets and frogs, blame and rabbit trails is all one will ever get from such doctrines, attempting to grasp slippery eels covered in grease layered in butter with your elbows.

    They never do answer how they know (if they do), just slip slide every where, then redirect the blame to you for it, you’ve “failed” somehow. Never directly answer their anti-sola scriptura over “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”, etc…

    If as they say the truth of Scripture is basically “this baptism DOES NOT save you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus NOT for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL NOT RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized NOT washing away your sin”, “this NOT is My body…NOT given into death for you…”, “this is My NOT blood…NOT shed for you”, etc…then why do they not translate their bibles that way and cease hiding behind their commentary notes at the bottom of the page. The only difference in that kind of doctrinal “shooting from the bushes” and Joseph Smith is that in Joseph Smith’s copy of the bible he scratched out with his own pen the parts he interpreted differently or disagreed with and inserted what he said they really meant, rather than foot noting it.

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    I’m still waiting…

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    I’m still waiting…

  • Grace

    Larry @ 71

    You mentioned many, many books, materials, etc., but you left out the most important, and that is the Bible. Your post is long, but without the Bible it has no substance!

    The only time you mention the “Bible” is in connection with Joseph Smith – The leader of the Mormon Church.

    You Larry, forgot the Bible! You might try it – the Word of God has all the answers.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 71

    You mentioned many, many books, materials, etc., but you left out the most important, and that is the Bible. Your post is long, but without the Bible it has no substance!

    The only time you mention the “Bible” is in connection with Joseph Smith – The leader of the Mormon Church.

    You Larry, forgot the Bible! You might try it – the Word of God has all the answers.

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    Have you had a chance to consult the Word to find my answer?

  • mikeb

    Grace,

    Have you had a chance to consult the Word to find my answer?

  • Lou

    Grace, you do realize that your presence here emboldens some to become more entrenched in their misalignment of and false witness against the traditions outside liberal Lutheranism, right?

  • Lou

    Grace, you do realize that your presence here emboldens some to become more entrenched in their misalignment of and false witness against the traditions outside liberal Lutheranism, right?

  • Grace

    Lou @ 75

    “Grace, you do realize that your presence here emboldens some to become more entrenched in their misalignment of and false witness against the traditions outside liberal Lutheranism, right?”

    IF….. individuals feel ‘braver to express themselves, because of what I believe, which appears to be contrary to their belief .. without THEIR clear knowledge of what true Bible Believing Evangelicals ACTUALLY believe – rather than the trumped up ideas, gleaned from hearsay, and a few trips into liberal churches, who use the name Evangelical – it would be wise of them to study the Bible, then taking a few trips to a strong Bible Believing church to hear for themselves, rather than making statements which are false.

    All the books in the world will never supplant the Word of God, the Bible – Unfortunately, man has depended upon others to define what the Bible says, rather than searching the Scriptures for themselves. This is what is meant in this passage from the Bible.

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 2:15

    This means everyone, every Believer. We are to study HIS Word, the Bible. Bible teachers and pastors are very important, but they should never take the place of one taking the Bible and doing their own study of HIS Word.

    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Hebrews 12:4

    No other book is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, only the Bible.

  • Grace

    Lou @ 75

    “Grace, you do realize that your presence here emboldens some to become more entrenched in their misalignment of and false witness against the traditions outside liberal Lutheranism, right?”

    IF….. individuals feel ‘braver to express themselves, because of what I believe, which appears to be contrary to their belief .. without THEIR clear knowledge of what true Bible Believing Evangelicals ACTUALLY believe – rather than the trumped up ideas, gleaned from hearsay, and a few trips into liberal churches, who use the name Evangelical – it would be wise of them to study the Bible, then taking a few trips to a strong Bible Believing church to hear for themselves, rather than making statements which are false.

    All the books in the world will never supplant the Word of God, the Bible – Unfortunately, man has depended upon others to define what the Bible says, rather than searching the Scriptures for themselves. This is what is meant in this passage from the Bible.

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 2:15

    This means everyone, every Believer. We are to study HIS Word, the Bible. Bible teachers and pastors are very important, but they should never take the place of one taking the Bible and doing their own study of HIS Word.

    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Hebrews 12:4

    No other book is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, only the Bible.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, Grace, Grace (@73)…

    You mentioned many, many books, materials, etc., but you left out the most important, and that is the Bible.

    The irony here is, really, too much. Because Larry directly quoted from the Bible, many times, in his comment — it seems only too telling that you didn’t notice!

    Discussing people just like you, he said they

    Never directly answer their anti-sola scriptura over “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”, etc…

    All quotes straight from the Bible. Most of which I’d directly asked you about before, of course — to which you still haven’t given an answer.

    The irony, of course, being that, while you say you adhere only to the Bible, while you tell us that it is the “most important” thing for you … you deny these very words of the Bible with your theology! It’s no surprise you thought Larry “forgot the Bible” in his response — he quoted the bits you continuously ignore, whenever the Sacraments come up!

    After all, if you knew those passages of Scripture, then you would know the answers to these questions, which I have now asked you repeatedly, without any answer from you:

    Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

    Well, Grace, allow me to quote your own words back to you: “the Word of God has all the answers.” You should look up the passages Larry quoted, and read them in context. Without your Matthew Henry commentary. Try it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, Grace, Grace (@73)…

    You mentioned many, many books, materials, etc., but you left out the most important, and that is the Bible.

    The irony here is, really, too much. Because Larry directly quoted from the Bible, many times, in his comment — it seems only too telling that you didn’t notice!

    Discussing people just like you, he said they

    Never directly answer their anti-sola scriptura over “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”, etc…

    All quotes straight from the Bible. Most of which I’d directly asked you about before, of course — to which you still haven’t given an answer.

    The irony, of course, being that, while you say you adhere only to the Bible, while you tell us that it is the “most important” thing for you … you deny these very words of the Bible with your theology! It’s no surprise you thought Larry “forgot the Bible” in his response — he quoted the bits you continuously ignore, whenever the Sacraments come up!

    After all, if you knew those passages of Scripture, then you would know the answers to these questions, which I have now asked you repeatedly, without any answer from you:

    Do you believe that baptism now saves you — by the resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that this promise is for you and your children? That in baptism, sins are washed away? That, in baptism, we were buried with Christ, in order that we might share also in his resurrection?

    Well, Grace, allow me to quote your own words back to you: “the Word of God has all the answers.” You should look up the passages Larry quoted, and read them in context. Without your Matthew Henry commentary. Try it.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    Your Matthew Henry comments make no sense, I RARELY use them, I don’t depend on Matthew Henry – if that’s what you’re hanging on, to make a point, you’re wrong.. what’s new? :lol:

  • Grace

    tODD,

    Your Matthew Henry comments make no sense, I RARELY use them, I don’t depend on Matthew Henry – if that’s what you’re hanging on, to make a point, you’re wrong.. what’s new? :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeB (@70), I’m not sure what about baptism you wanted me to talk about. Do you have a specific question? Or was it more about the term “born again”, which people like Grace have twisted into something else? If so, then I’ll just proceed to your next question:

    why do so many evangelicals place so much emphasis on their concept of born again, as if we Lutherans are not?

    Well, I would argue that it’s part and parcel of their denying of what Scripture teaches us about baptism. If you understand what baptism is from Scripture — salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit, the death of our Old Man and the uniting with Christ in his Resurrection — then it’s quite obvious that baptism is the being “born again” that Jesus referred to with Nicodemus. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit — and God tells us that he does this through baptism.

    But if, like Grace, you deny this doctrine of baptism, then “born again”, apparently, has to mean something else. It becomes that same, comfortless terror that is “salvation” to all too many Evangelicals — looking to one’s self for proof, putting faith in your own “decision” for Christ, or to the proof of one’s salvation in one’s works.

    The joke, of course, being on anyone who thinks that you can “decide” to be born. You didn’t decide to be born when you were born of the flesh — it just happened to you. Should we then be surprised that, when Jesus tells us that we must be “born again” that, well, our volition still isn’t involved? After all, Jesus tells us that “the Spirit gives birth to spirit” — not our own decision, not our own righteous behavior. God does this. To us. For us.

    But not to those who so frequently label themselves Born Again. They ignore the Spirit’s role and point to themselves, as if they could say, “I born-again-ed myself.” Which is as ridiculous a concept as it is a painful phrase.

    But hey, ask Grace. (Or, rather, don’t — she won’t answer.) Ask her what being born again is about. She’ll tell you all about what you have to do. But she won’t say much about God has done in you. And she certainly won’t quote anything from Scripture about how he accomplishes it through baptism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeB (@70), I’m not sure what about baptism you wanted me to talk about. Do you have a specific question? Or was it more about the term “born again”, which people like Grace have twisted into something else? If so, then I’ll just proceed to your next question:

    why do so many evangelicals place so much emphasis on their concept of born again, as if we Lutherans are not?

    Well, I would argue that it’s part and parcel of their denying of what Scripture teaches us about baptism. If you understand what baptism is from Scripture — salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit, the death of our Old Man and the uniting with Christ in his Resurrection — then it’s quite obvious that baptism is the being “born again” that Jesus referred to with Nicodemus. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit — and God tells us that he does this through baptism.

    But if, like Grace, you deny this doctrine of baptism, then “born again”, apparently, has to mean something else. It becomes that same, comfortless terror that is “salvation” to all too many Evangelicals — looking to one’s self for proof, putting faith in your own “decision” for Christ, or to the proof of one’s salvation in one’s works.

    The joke, of course, being on anyone who thinks that you can “decide” to be born. You didn’t decide to be born when you were born of the flesh — it just happened to you. Should we then be surprised that, when Jesus tells us that we must be “born again” that, well, our volition still isn’t involved? After all, Jesus tells us that “the Spirit gives birth to spirit” — not our own decision, not our own righteous behavior. God does this. To us. For us.

    But not to those who so frequently label themselves Born Again. They ignore the Spirit’s role and point to themselves, as if they could say, “I born-again-ed myself.” Which is as ridiculous a concept as it is a painful phrase.

    But hey, ask Grace. (Or, rather, don’t — she won’t answer.) Ask her what being born again is about. She’ll tell you all about what you have to do. But she won’t say much about God has done in you. And she certainly won’t quote anything from Scripture about how he accomplishes it through baptism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@78), do you think I’m surprised that, out of all I wrote (@77), the only, single thing you had to reply was about Matthew Henry, who I merely mentioned in passing at the end of my comment?

    Of course not. Just another thing you can play offended about, without addressing the real issue here.

    And that issue is this: you’re clearly, repeatedly ignoring what God’s Word teaches about baptism. It’s the only thing you won’t talk about on this thread. It’s the 800-lb. gorilla you keep trying to tiptoe around.

    So go ahead, try and deflect the conversation yet again. I could cite the many times on this blog you’ve tried to convince us with Matthew Henry’s words. “Rarely” isn’t the term I’d use for a repeated action like that. But hey, that isn’t the issue, is it? The issue is that you don’t want to discuss what God’s Word actually says about baptism.

    Hope you enjoy playing offended. Make sure to check your blood pressure now and then.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@78), do you think I’m surprised that, out of all I wrote (@77), the only, single thing you had to reply was about Matthew Henry, who I merely mentioned in passing at the end of my comment?

    Of course not. Just another thing you can play offended about, without addressing the real issue here.

    And that issue is this: you’re clearly, repeatedly ignoring what God’s Word teaches about baptism. It’s the only thing you won’t talk about on this thread. It’s the 800-lb. gorilla you keep trying to tiptoe around.

    So go ahead, try and deflect the conversation yet again. I could cite the many times on this blog you’ve tried to convince us with Matthew Henry’s words. “Rarely” isn’t the term I’d use for a repeated action like that. But hey, that isn’t the issue, is it? The issue is that you don’t want to discuss what God’s Word actually says about baptism.

    Hope you enjoy playing offended. Make sure to check your blood pressure now and then.

  • Grace

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10

    Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior has received Salvation.

    In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Ephesians 2:8

    In the passage below, the eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – that is the key, Philip wanted to know that the eunuch actually believed.

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8

  • Grace

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10

    Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior has received Salvation.

    In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Ephesians 2:8

    In the passage below, the eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – that is the key, Philip wanted to know that the eunuch actually believed.

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@81), we know the Bible passages you can recite from Scripture — and we confess those, too.

    The issue here (and elsewhere), however, is and remains the Scripture passages you continue to ignore. Larry and I have referred to them, above. You have yet to address them. I doubt you ever will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@81), we know the Bible passages you can recite from Scripture — and we confess those, too.

    The issue here (and elsewhere), however, is and remains the Scripture passages you continue to ignore. Larry and I have referred to them, above. You have yet to address them. I doubt you ever will.

  • Grace

    Here they go again, with the same questions, by the same people, for the most part regarding “Baptism” –

    Here is the LINK, which will answer your questions, YET AGAIN –

    Check out posts 422, 426, 431 and then there is post 472 :lol:
    then on to 509 –

    This isn’t the first time tODD and larry have chosen to ‘once again ….. well you get the idea.

  • Grace

    Here they go again, with the same questions, by the same people, for the most part regarding “Baptism” –

    Here is the LINK, which will answer your questions, YET AGAIN –

    Check out posts 422, 426, 431 and then there is post 472 :lol:
    then on to 509 –

    This isn’t the first time tODD and larry have chosen to ‘once again ….. well you get the idea.

  • Grace
  • Grace
  • larry

    With this Grace, “Your Matthew Henry comments make no sense, I RARELY use them, I don’t depend on Matthew Henry – if that’s what you’re hanging on, to make a point, you’re wrong. What’s new?” You AGAIN evaded Todd’s question about the bible passages.”

    Your constant tactic is evade the question at hand in this form: Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “The price of tea in China is…”. Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “I rarely eat peanuts”. Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “Too many notes, just cut a few.” Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “Squirrel!”
    You continue this continuous evasive tactic and this is the way it is with enthusiast doctrine does.

    Then you accuse of us “saying what your doctrine is” when one merely parrots what you yourself say it is. When we say you say “this is NOT My body” or “this baptism does NOT save you”, etc…(YOUR spoken doctrine on the matter), you say, “you are putting words into my mouth”. But yet these are your own doctrinal words.

    These are very straight forward and the truth of the matter is – is that the reason you cannot give up your doctrine for these is your religion is a differing religion and hidden within its language and doctrine (not so obscure as it cleverly pretends), is a denial of original sin which goes way beyond actual personal sins committed to condemn even before we’ve done, said or thought a single thing, a denial of God’s wrath which is above even the Law itself that without the preached God, seeking predestination in his majesty at the end of the day says the Law is really not the matter at all, and a denial of His Word where God wishes to be justified (in) (Romans 3, Psalm 51 – the bible by the way). To the old man baptism (worded water) is a direct attack of God onto the sinner who is really seeking to justify him/herself.

    “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”.
    Make it simple just one piece of scripture, “This is My blood shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”. If you mean sola scriptura (bible alone in Baptist transliteration), these are the very words of the son of God on an exact overt article of faith. Why do you add to and thus take away from them, which is forbidden by Scripture new and old testament? Why don’t you just scratch through them as Joseph Smith did and interpret them the way you say they “really mean”. If they really in essences say according to your doctrine and mean “This is NOT My blood shed NOT for you NOT for the forgiveness of sin”.

    Cults, while dangerous, are more like wolves howling and snarling right in front of one at a distance, so that you can at least see the danger and steer from it. But heterodoxy its more like a silent pit viper camouflaged so much that it looks like a harmless set of leafs whereby one might touch it only to too late be bitten by it and finding one’s self near deaths door.

  • larry

    With this Grace, “Your Matthew Henry comments make no sense, I RARELY use them, I don’t depend on Matthew Henry – if that’s what you’re hanging on, to make a point, you’re wrong. What’s new?” You AGAIN evaded Todd’s question about the bible passages.”

    Your constant tactic is evade the question at hand in this form: Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “The price of tea in China is…”. Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “I rarely eat peanuts”. Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “Too many notes, just cut a few.” Question: “What color is the sky?” Grace’s answer, “Squirrel!”
    You continue this continuous evasive tactic and this is the way it is with enthusiast doctrine does.

    Then you accuse of us “saying what your doctrine is” when one merely parrots what you yourself say it is. When we say you say “this is NOT My body” or “this baptism does NOT save you”, etc…(YOUR spoken doctrine on the matter), you say, “you are putting words into my mouth”. But yet these are your own doctrinal words.

    These are very straight forward and the truth of the matter is – is that the reason you cannot give up your doctrine for these is your religion is a differing religion and hidden within its language and doctrine (not so obscure as it cleverly pretends), is a denial of original sin which goes way beyond actual personal sins committed to condemn even before we’ve done, said or thought a single thing, a denial of God’s wrath which is above even the Law itself that without the preached God, seeking predestination in his majesty at the end of the day says the Law is really not the matter at all, and a denial of His Word where God wishes to be justified (in) (Romans 3, Psalm 51 – the bible by the way). To the old man baptism (worded water) is a direct attack of God onto the sinner who is really seeking to justify him/herself.

    “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you WILL RECEIVE the Holy Spirit”, “rise up and be baptized washing away your sin”, “this is My body…given into death…”, “this is My blood…shed for you”.
    Make it simple just one piece of scripture, “This is My blood shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”. If you mean sola scriptura (bible alone in Baptist transliteration), these are the very words of the son of God on an exact overt article of faith. Why do you add to and thus take away from them, which is forbidden by Scripture new and old testament? Why don’t you just scratch through them as Joseph Smith did and interpret them the way you say they “really mean”. If they really in essences say according to your doctrine and mean “This is NOT My blood shed NOT for you NOT for the forgiveness of sin”.

    Cults, while dangerous, are more like wolves howling and snarling right in front of one at a distance, so that you can at least see the danger and steer from it. But heterodoxy its more like a silent pit viper camouflaged so much that it looks like a harmless set of leafs whereby one might touch it only to too late be bitten by it and finding one’s self near deaths door.

  • Martin J.

    No, Larry. Grace does does not represent those who are outside of liberal Lutheranism. You and I have been over this before (example: http://www.geneveith.com/2011/10/18/federal-vision-vs-lutheranism/). I had hoped you would’ve tempered your enthusiasm a bit since then, but alas… ’tis not so…
    I do appreciate your enthusiasm and fervency, but the false witness and false associations and false demonization are just too much.

  • Martin J.

    No, Larry. Grace does does not represent those who are outside of liberal Lutheranism. You and I have been over this before (example: http://www.geneveith.com/2011/10/18/federal-vision-vs-lutheranism/). I had hoped you would’ve tempered your enthusiasm a bit since then, but alas… ’tis not so…
    I do appreciate your enthusiasm and fervency, but the false witness and false associations and false demonization are just too much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Martin J (@86), you’re not exactly contributing much to the conversation here. I mean, I get that you disagree with Larry … but that’s about all I get from your comments to him here.

    Grace does does not represent those who are outside of liberal Lutheranism.

    First of all, what do you mean by “liberal Lutheranism”? You’re the second person here to use the phrase, which makes me suspect it has some special meaning beyond the obvious. I also suspect that because Larry (and I) quite obviously represent the conservative, confessional side of Lutheranism — or at least try to, and usually are accused of doing so by Lutherans who are truly more liberal. So are you just lumping all Lutherans in with the official teachings of ELCA, for instance, or do you just not know what you’re talking about, or what?

    But more to the point, could you do something besides complain here? It’s kind of exactly what we’re berating Grace for, you know (and, as such, she does seem to represent you, your protestations notwithstanding). I mean, take this statement of yours:

    the false witness and false associations and false demonization are just too much

    Much as Grace has done, you complain that Larry (et al.) are getting your (or someone’s?) position wrong, but you give no details. You don’t respond to the points he’s making. You just complain about … something.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Martin J (@86), you’re not exactly contributing much to the conversation here. I mean, I get that you disagree with Larry … but that’s about all I get from your comments to him here.

    Grace does does not represent those who are outside of liberal Lutheranism.

    First of all, what do you mean by “liberal Lutheranism”? You’re the second person here to use the phrase, which makes me suspect it has some special meaning beyond the obvious. I also suspect that because Larry (and I) quite obviously represent the conservative, confessional side of Lutheranism — or at least try to, and usually are accused of doing so by Lutherans who are truly more liberal. So are you just lumping all Lutherans in with the official teachings of ELCA, for instance, or do you just not know what you’re talking about, or what?

    But more to the point, could you do something besides complain here? It’s kind of exactly what we’re berating Grace for, you know (and, as such, she does seem to represent you, your protestations notwithstanding). I mean, take this statement of yours:

    the false witness and false associations and false demonization are just too much

    Much as Grace has done, you complain that Larry (et al.) are getting your (or someone’s?) position wrong, but you give no details. You don’t respond to the points he’s making. You just complain about … something.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Didn’t you know Todd? Complaining on online forums is so much fun!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Didn’t you know Todd? Complaining on online forums is so much fun!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    KK (@88), er, no … I had no idea. ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    KK (@88), er, no … I had no idea. ;)

  • mikeb

    Grace re: 83 & 84,

    I read some of the posts you linked to and I have a question–

    You say that faith comes first, then repentance, then baptism. Where did the faith come from? How much is required to proceed to baptism for it to be valid in your theology?

  • mikeb

    Grace re: 83 & 84,

    I read some of the posts you linked to and I have a question–

    You say that faith comes first, then repentance, then baptism. Where did the faith come from? How much is required to proceed to baptism for it to be valid in your theology?

  • Martin J.

    Hi t ODD, I actually did give you my context. Larry (and several others) and I went around and around debating his brand of Lutheranism vs. Calvinism in the link that I provided@86. Forgive me for not rehashing the same discussion here again, but it’s simply not worthwhile and is a distraction from Dr. Veith’s original post. Also, there were way too many hours and too much type spilled over on that last thread. So, feel free to visit the link for context if you’d like. I think you’ll find that there was a substantial case for mutual understanding and respect that transcends the present distortions.
    Finally, perhaps when I have time, I’ll elaborate on why I see the commenters of this blog holding a much more liberal bent on Lutheranism than that of Dr. Veith himself (or his Pastor Douthwaite– see http://www.geneveith.com/2011/10/21/gods-likeness-and-inscription/ )

  • Martin J.

    Hi t ODD, I actually did give you my context. Larry (and several others) and I went around and around debating his brand of Lutheranism vs. Calvinism in the link that I provided@86. Forgive me for not rehashing the same discussion here again, but it’s simply not worthwhile and is a distraction from Dr. Veith’s original post. Also, there were way too many hours and too much type spilled over on that last thread. So, feel free to visit the link for context if you’d like. I think you’ll find that there was a substantial case for mutual understanding and respect that transcends the present distortions.
    Finally, perhaps when I have time, I’ll elaborate on why I see the commenters of this blog holding a much more liberal bent on Lutheranism than that of Dr. Veith himself (or his Pastor Douthwaite– see http://www.geneveith.com/2011/10/21/gods-likeness-and-inscription/ )

  • Martin J.

    Klasie Kraalogies — I’d have to disagree. Complaining on other people’s blogs really isn’t that much fun at all and I am not one who desires to participate in such an activity. I would much rather have an intelligent and respectful conversation. I know it’s hard to see that in this particular thread.
    But, in case you haven’t noticed, there is too much of a group-think mentality here when it comes to certain topics. Unfortunately, Grace sets herself up as the perfect bait, as she falls right into the trap, making it way, way too easy for the group to validate their stereotype of those who do not agree with them entirely as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.

    I’m not sure whether tODD has a weak memory or has intentionally chosen to disregard the many, numerous discussions that I’ve participated over the course of several months on a wide range of topics at this blog. His exhortation toward me stating: “could you do something besides complain here?” was unfounded and he knows it.

  • Martin J.

    Klasie Kraalogies — I’d have to disagree. Complaining on other people’s blogs really isn’t that much fun at all and I am not one who desires to participate in such an activity. I would much rather have an intelligent and respectful conversation. I know it’s hard to see that in this particular thread.
    But, in case you haven’t noticed, there is too much of a group-think mentality here when it comes to certain topics. Unfortunately, Grace sets herself up as the perfect bait, as she falls right into the trap, making it way, way too easy for the group to validate their stereotype of those who do not agree with them entirely as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.

    I’m not sure whether tODD has a weak memory or has intentionally chosen to disregard the many, numerous discussions that I’ve participated over the course of several months on a wide range of topics at this blog. His exhortation toward me stating: “could you do something besides complain here?” was unfounded and he knows it.

  • Grace

    Martin

    I don’t concern myself as to whether I’m “bait” or not. Jesus was used as bait all the time, HE was asked questions to trick HIM, to confuse those who were standing by, who cleverly worded their questions, all disguised as innocent. I’m a sinner saved by faith in HIM, the blood of Jesus Christ who died for my sins on the Cross at Calvary. I believe with all my heart that Christ is the Messiah, I have repented of my sins, and continue to repent when I fall – I have been Baptized.

    I have explained repeatedly what I believe regarding Baptism, Absolution and the LORD’s Supper.

    I’ve been ridiculed since early school days, .. the interesting part is, there are always those who do listen, and understand. Many an individual has heard the Gospel, and checked for themselves the truth of God’s Word, the Salvation that awaits them if they believe, just like the Eunuch.

    Bait is a cheap trick, the Pharisees used this method all the time – today it’s used throughout the world to confuse. Satan used it in the garden to confuse Eve, .. she touched and bit into it, offered it to Adam, .. therefore sin was born.

  • Grace

    Martin

    I don’t concern myself as to whether I’m “bait” or not. Jesus was used as bait all the time, HE was asked questions to trick HIM, to confuse those who were standing by, who cleverly worded their questions, all disguised as innocent. I’m a sinner saved by faith in HIM, the blood of Jesus Christ who died for my sins on the Cross at Calvary. I believe with all my heart that Christ is the Messiah, I have repented of my sins, and continue to repent when I fall – I have been Baptized.

    I have explained repeatedly what I believe regarding Baptism, Absolution and the LORD’s Supper.

    I’ve been ridiculed since early school days, .. the interesting part is, there are always those who do listen, and understand. Many an individual has heard the Gospel, and checked for themselves the truth of God’s Word, the Salvation that awaits them if they believe, just like the Eunuch.

    Bait is a cheap trick, the Pharisees used this method all the time – today it’s used throughout the world to confuse. Satan used it in the garden to confuse Eve, .. she touched and bit into it, offered it to Adam, .. therefore sin was born.

  • larry

    I think the assumption Martin makes in calling one “liberal” is similar to the accusation Luther constantly received from many and still does to this day. Something like this, “Luther so just wanted to give into his baser side that he over-emphasized the Gospel”. The legal mind reads the Gospel that way.

    Nothing could be further from the truth, it reality its simply a false accusation. It assumes that a strong pure argument for the Gospel begets this “you don’t work hard or invest yourself…etc…”. But that doesn’t bother me because I really do and those that know me actually personally would verify this. As Luther said once we are not saying don’t do good works and work hard, we are showing you were they only come from. But the legal mind hears this freedom and assumes laxity for it cannot conceive of a strong work ethic coming from freedom as it is motivated by a legal principle. Strong work ethic and freedom are incomprehensible to it.

    Martin would be sorely wrong about me not understanding Calvinism. I lived and consumed it day and night for years, this too could be confirmed by those who actually know me personally. But it goes back to Grace’s approach; no amount of one saying how much involved, how well read (and the Bible by the way, just in case Grace forgets again), how exhaustively invested in the system, believed in it, etc… one sacrificially was will ever suite their counter argument. For if you have arrived at now not believing it, found it false (utterly), somehow the system (Reformed, Baptist) wasn’t wrong “you were”.

    And that’s exactly what the “end of the rope” despairing find. They are despairing because they more than these others are investing themselves into the system, they actually believe it more than those thinking they are pulling it off – they hear what it is saying, they hear that forgiveness is not actually given in the sacraments, they hear double predestination/limited atonement, they take the Law with deadly seriousness, that the heart (THEIR heart, not the other guys) is so desperately wicked that one could be fooling themselves. This is why they despair, not because they don’t know the system or are not taking seriously, but precisely because they do and are. Those thinking they are pulling it off are glibbly in the calvinist or baptist system. Because if you can finely get them to take seriously the Law, the wrath of God, that their hearts in the present tense are so deceived they could be deceived, and since there’s limited atonement and no sacraments actually giving one something – you can literally watch the color drain from their faces.

    This is the blinding effect of good works and the Law that Luther spoke of in his HD. That even though salutary and good the Law not only doesn’t help a man toward life, it in fact hinders him. But because they don’t see this they assume and blame the Gospel for laxity. When in fact the laxity and negative sin list is a turning over by God Himself in His wrath to those very things (Romans 1:18-ff), because of the initial idolatry (of which the heresies on the sacraments most pointedly show forth). That’s the part so glazed over when people begin to develop their positive works list versus negative sins list. Paul’s very point is because they exchanged God’s Worded things in creation, being our God for us, emptied created things of the Word (the giving / thanksgiving worship communication) and in place of the Word began to cast imaginations that now makes idols of the creatures – for this reason Paul says that God in His revealed wrath THEN TURNS THEM OVER Himself to this darkened and foolish mind so that they now invent sins and committ the “negative sin list”. Because men sought to justify themselves by works, God gives them over to themselves all the way, and off they go.

    Another way to see this is that in the removal of the Word via the doctrine (Calvin or Zwingli) from the supper, the alteration of what Jesus said by way of explaning them other than so that if written by the explanation plainly other words would have been spoken than the one’s we find Jesus actually saying; and likewise by removing the Word’s of God from baptism like “this baptism saves you” by the same means, thus taking the Word from the creature means and in the Word’s place putting the other explanatory doctrine is the same original sin that took created things spoken into being, Worded, by God and removing that Word and imagined something else in its place. Putting God above or beyond the creature and placated elsewhere. This is seeking God without His Word in His majesty. This is what His wrath comes about for (Romans 1:18).

    The false doctrines on the sacraments is a repitition of the original sin. By eating the fruit we went past the Word and gazed through the creature thinking to know God in the nude or wholely mathematically, if you will, which is to seek to be above Him. This is the same thing as for example with the Sacrament. To go beyond His Speech or Word given to the creature means, denying what is actually said, then to peer through it for God, for example, up in the fiery heaven. Same thing.

  • larry

    I think the assumption Martin makes in calling one “liberal” is similar to the accusation Luther constantly received from many and still does to this day. Something like this, “Luther so just wanted to give into his baser side that he over-emphasized the Gospel”. The legal mind reads the Gospel that way.

    Nothing could be further from the truth, it reality its simply a false accusation. It assumes that a strong pure argument for the Gospel begets this “you don’t work hard or invest yourself…etc…”. But that doesn’t bother me because I really do and those that know me actually personally would verify this. As Luther said once we are not saying don’t do good works and work hard, we are showing you were they only come from. But the legal mind hears this freedom and assumes laxity for it cannot conceive of a strong work ethic coming from freedom as it is motivated by a legal principle. Strong work ethic and freedom are incomprehensible to it.

    Martin would be sorely wrong about me not understanding Calvinism. I lived and consumed it day and night for years, this too could be confirmed by those who actually know me personally. But it goes back to Grace’s approach; no amount of one saying how much involved, how well read (and the Bible by the way, just in case Grace forgets again), how exhaustively invested in the system, believed in it, etc… one sacrificially was will ever suite their counter argument. For if you have arrived at now not believing it, found it false (utterly), somehow the system (Reformed, Baptist) wasn’t wrong “you were”.

    And that’s exactly what the “end of the rope” despairing find. They are despairing because they more than these others are investing themselves into the system, they actually believe it more than those thinking they are pulling it off – they hear what it is saying, they hear that forgiveness is not actually given in the sacraments, they hear double predestination/limited atonement, they take the Law with deadly seriousness, that the heart (THEIR heart, not the other guys) is so desperately wicked that one could be fooling themselves. This is why they despair, not because they don’t know the system or are not taking seriously, but precisely because they do and are. Those thinking they are pulling it off are glibbly in the calvinist or baptist system. Because if you can finely get them to take seriously the Law, the wrath of God, that their hearts in the present tense are so deceived they could be deceived, and since there’s limited atonement and no sacraments actually giving one something – you can literally watch the color drain from their faces.

    This is the blinding effect of good works and the Law that Luther spoke of in his HD. That even though salutary and good the Law not only doesn’t help a man toward life, it in fact hinders him. But because they don’t see this they assume and blame the Gospel for laxity. When in fact the laxity and negative sin list is a turning over by God Himself in His wrath to those very things (Romans 1:18-ff), because of the initial idolatry (of which the heresies on the sacraments most pointedly show forth). That’s the part so glazed over when people begin to develop their positive works list versus negative sins list. Paul’s very point is because they exchanged God’s Worded things in creation, being our God for us, emptied created things of the Word (the giving / thanksgiving worship communication) and in place of the Word began to cast imaginations that now makes idols of the creatures – for this reason Paul says that God in His revealed wrath THEN TURNS THEM OVER Himself to this darkened and foolish mind so that they now invent sins and committ the “negative sin list”. Because men sought to justify themselves by works, God gives them over to themselves all the way, and off they go.

    Another way to see this is that in the removal of the Word via the doctrine (Calvin or Zwingli) from the supper, the alteration of what Jesus said by way of explaning them other than so that if written by the explanation plainly other words would have been spoken than the one’s we find Jesus actually saying; and likewise by removing the Word’s of God from baptism like “this baptism saves you” by the same means, thus taking the Word from the creature means and in the Word’s place putting the other explanatory doctrine is the same original sin that took created things spoken into being, Worded, by God and removing that Word and imagined something else in its place. Putting God above or beyond the creature and placated elsewhere. This is seeking God without His Word in His majesty. This is what His wrath comes about for (Romans 1:18).

    The false doctrines on the sacraments is a repitition of the original sin. By eating the fruit we went past the Word and gazed through the creature thinking to know God in the nude or wholely mathematically, if you will, which is to seek to be above Him. This is the same thing as for example with the Sacrament. To go beyond His Speech or Word given to the creature means, denying what is actually said, then to peer through it for God, for example, up in the fiery heaven. Same thing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t know, Martin (@91), you really do seem to be pulling from Grace’s handbook here, refusing to spend any time providing details to questions asked of you, but with plenty of time to repeatedly complain about how you’re being maligned in same vague way.

    Perhaps when I have time, I’ll elaborate on why I see the commenters of this blog holding a much more liberal bent on Lutheranism than that of Dr. Veith himself

    I won’t hold my breath, of course. But if you think that “the commenters of this blog” could even be described as having a lot in common, I think you’re not paying very good attention, and any conclusions you’ve based on such sweeping generalities aren’t going to interest me much. I honestly think you’re confusing Larry with someone else.

    Complaining on other people’s blogs really isn’t that much fun at all and I am not one who desires to participate in such an activity.

    Well, see, there’s what you say and then there’s what you do…

    Anyhow, you said my

    exhortation toward me stating: “could you do something besides complain here?” was unfounded and he knows it

    is particularly odd, given that all of several sentences earlier, you’d admitted that

    I would much rather have an intelligent and respectful conversation. I know it’s hard to see that in this particular thread.

    My “something besides complain” comment (@87) was aimed solely at this particular thread — which I think is pretty darn clear from the full context of that comment.

    And sorry, but no, I don’t remember your participation on this blog on other threads. Does that offend you or something?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t know, Martin (@91), you really do seem to be pulling from Grace’s handbook here, refusing to spend any time providing details to questions asked of you, but with plenty of time to repeatedly complain about how you’re being maligned in same vague way.

    Perhaps when I have time, I’ll elaborate on why I see the commenters of this blog holding a much more liberal bent on Lutheranism than that of Dr. Veith himself

    I won’t hold my breath, of course. But if you think that “the commenters of this blog” could even be described as having a lot in common, I think you’re not paying very good attention, and any conclusions you’ve based on such sweeping generalities aren’t going to interest me much. I honestly think you’re confusing Larry with someone else.

    Complaining on other people’s blogs really isn’t that much fun at all and I am not one who desires to participate in such an activity.

    Well, see, there’s what you say and then there’s what you do…

    Anyhow, you said my

    exhortation toward me stating: “could you do something besides complain here?” was unfounded and he knows it

    is particularly odd, given that all of several sentences earlier, you’d admitted that

    I would much rather have an intelligent and respectful conversation. I know it’s hard to see that in this particular thread.

    My “something besides complain” comment (@87) was aimed solely at this particular thread — which I think is pretty darn clear from the full context of that comment.

    And sorry, but no, I don’t remember your participation on this blog on other threads. Does that offend you or something?

  • larry

    One of the constant loop holes heterodoxy uses is to place the “biblical issue” within the distinction of “liberal” versus “conservative” rather than orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. The later is a Law Gospel distinction when all is said and done, the former allows for a law/law distinction so that it can read the Gospel as being “too loose and dangerous for kind moral society”. By this liberal/conservative distinction one can cut away liberal false teachers/teachings, like Schuller, but retain conservative false teachers/teachings, like Mohler, et. ali. And this is done because the religious “bone” in us sees “conservative” more or less salvific as opposed to the more loosey goosey liberal. But its looking to earthly things not heavenly eternal things. Orthodoxy versus heterodoxy does not allow this game to occur for orthodoxy calls conservative false teachings and liberal false teachings – false teachings out of hell that are eternally dangerous to the souls of men.

    This is a distinction far better Lutherans than I’d dream to be have always made, Pieper does so, Sasse does so explicitly in “Here We Stand” (against the Reformed), and these writings are abundant yet rarely bothered with in our day.

    Why? It gets back to not really seeing the danger of false doctrine and taking it seriously, what it does to men and women, souls. Siegbert Becker, now fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ, but formerly LCMS moving to WELS during part of that issue, and a thoroughly “conservative” theologian captures this well in one of his lectures on Revelation following from his book on the same:

    “…that the smoke from the bottomless pit are all the false doctrines that come out of hell. Now you know that the Bible so often describes false doctrines in those terms. Paul says for example in 1 Timothy 4, “in the later days some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” So doctrines of devil’s lead men astray. Or St. John saying, “beloved believe not every spirit but try the spirits to see whether they be of God for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The false prophets who preach are simply the spokesman for these evil spirits that spread all kind of false doctrine in the world. And through this false doctrine the light of the sun (Christ) is obscured and through that false doctrine men are killed. Men are destroyed. Now this is one of the things that makes it very difficult for us to see false doctrine in these chapters sometimes because the chapters describe terrible terrible calamities that come into the world because of the things that are described here. And there really is no more terrible calamity in the world than false doctrine. Everything else really you can learn to overcome, persecution, death, loss of all your property. That does not directly rob you of your faith. But when false doctrine is taught then people are robbed of their faith and then they end up in the bottomless pit. Then they really die. See “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. And just as the Word of God nourishes faith so anything that obscures God’s Word, anything that twists and changes God’s Word undermines faith. Now the bible says that again and again, for example, Jer. 23 God describes the false prophets whom He didn’t send and he says, “They cause My people to err by their lies and by their lightness”. If you wonder for example how many children have been lost because the Baptist church teaches that babies should not be baptized. What a terrible thing that is. God has given us baptism for the salvation of children particularly. And when people are taught not to baptize their babies, when they are taught that the bible does not allow us to baptize babies or that God does not want us to baptize babies, that means that thousands upon thousands of little children are not baptized. How are they going to come to faith see. He that believeth not shall be damned. Or if churches teaches that Christ did not die for all men how are people ever going to be sure or really sure that Christ died for them. Or if people teach that God forgives our sins only after we believe. First you believe, then God will believe you. That’s a false doctrine that you will find among many Lutherans. And the minute you are told that, first you believe and then God will forgive you, what question do you always ask yourself first? Am I a believer? And sometimes you don’t know for sure right. Sometimes you don’t know you are a believer and so if you don’t know you are a believer and you believe God forgives sins only after people believe, then you are going to be led to despair…you can invent that false doctrine for yourself because the sinful heart always wants to be saved by what we do and if we’ve lost everything else that we can do we can at least then say, ‘well I can believe’, and then thus be saved. Or if you have to be sure that you are sorry for your sin, or that you are believer before you receive forgiveness, then you can really never be fully sure. And that may easily lead somebody to despair. Now if you once realize this that false doctrine the light of the sun so that people walk in darkness, that false doctrine leads people astray so that they loose their lives, really, a Christian who dies with faith in Jesus does not loose his life on the day he dies. He goes right on living, “he that liveth and believe in me though he were dead shall never die”. But if you don’t believe in Him then the only thing you have before you is death. And so false doctrine destroys men. And if you keep that in mind it is not so hard to see that this is the main lesson in these chapters.”
    –End Quote

  • larry

    One of the constant loop holes heterodoxy uses is to place the “biblical issue” within the distinction of “liberal” versus “conservative” rather than orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. The later is a Law Gospel distinction when all is said and done, the former allows for a law/law distinction so that it can read the Gospel as being “too loose and dangerous for kind moral society”. By this liberal/conservative distinction one can cut away liberal false teachers/teachings, like Schuller, but retain conservative false teachers/teachings, like Mohler, et. ali. And this is done because the religious “bone” in us sees “conservative” more or less salvific as opposed to the more loosey goosey liberal. But its looking to earthly things not heavenly eternal things. Orthodoxy versus heterodoxy does not allow this game to occur for orthodoxy calls conservative false teachings and liberal false teachings – false teachings out of hell that are eternally dangerous to the souls of men.

    This is a distinction far better Lutherans than I’d dream to be have always made, Pieper does so, Sasse does so explicitly in “Here We Stand” (against the Reformed), and these writings are abundant yet rarely bothered with in our day.

    Why? It gets back to not really seeing the danger of false doctrine and taking it seriously, what it does to men and women, souls. Siegbert Becker, now fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ, but formerly LCMS moving to WELS during part of that issue, and a thoroughly “conservative” theologian captures this well in one of his lectures on Revelation following from his book on the same:

    “…that the smoke from the bottomless pit are all the false doctrines that come out of hell. Now you know that the Bible so often describes false doctrines in those terms. Paul says for example in 1 Timothy 4, “in the later days some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” So doctrines of devil’s lead men astray. Or St. John saying, “beloved believe not every spirit but try the spirits to see whether they be of God for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The false prophets who preach are simply the spokesman for these evil spirits that spread all kind of false doctrine in the world. And through this false doctrine the light of the sun (Christ) is obscured and through that false doctrine men are killed. Men are destroyed. Now this is one of the things that makes it very difficult for us to see false doctrine in these chapters sometimes because the chapters describe terrible terrible calamities that come into the world because of the things that are described here. And there really is no more terrible calamity in the world than false doctrine. Everything else really you can learn to overcome, persecution, death, loss of all your property. That does not directly rob you of your faith. But when false doctrine is taught then people are robbed of their faith and then they end up in the bottomless pit. Then they really die. See “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. And just as the Word of God nourishes faith so anything that obscures God’s Word, anything that twists and changes God’s Word undermines faith. Now the bible says that again and again, for example, Jer. 23 God describes the false prophets whom He didn’t send and he says, “They cause My people to err by their lies and by their lightness”. If you wonder for example how many children have been lost because the Baptist church teaches that babies should not be baptized. What a terrible thing that is. God has given us baptism for the salvation of children particularly. And when people are taught not to baptize their babies, when they are taught that the bible does not allow us to baptize babies or that God does not want us to baptize babies, that means that thousands upon thousands of little children are not baptized. How are they going to come to faith see. He that believeth not shall be damned. Or if churches teaches that Christ did not die for all men how are people ever going to be sure or really sure that Christ died for them. Or if people teach that God forgives our sins only after we believe. First you believe, then God will believe you. That’s a false doctrine that you will find among many Lutherans. And the minute you are told that, first you believe and then God will forgive you, what question do you always ask yourself first? Am I a believer? And sometimes you don’t know for sure right. Sometimes you don’t know you are a believer and so if you don’t know you are a believer and you believe God forgives sins only after people believe, then you are going to be led to despair…you can invent that false doctrine for yourself because the sinful heart always wants to be saved by what we do and if we’ve lost everything else that we can do we can at least then say, ‘well I can believe’, and then thus be saved. Or if you have to be sure that you are sorry for your sin, or that you are believer before you receive forgiveness, then you can really never be fully sure. And that may easily lead somebody to despair. Now if you once realize this that false doctrine the light of the sun so that people walk in darkness, that false doctrine leads people astray so that they loose their lives, really, a Christian who dies with faith in Jesus does not loose his life on the day he dies. He goes right on living, “he that liveth and believe in me though he were dead shall never die”. But if you don’t believe in Him then the only thing you have before you is death. And so false doctrine destroys men. And if you keep that in mind it is not so hard to see that this is the main lesson in these chapters.”
    –End Quote

  • Martin J.

    t ODD, nice try, but sorry: ‘fail’.
    Notice that you quoted me partially, cutting my sentence off midstream, when I referenced a particle article by Dr. Veith.

    Also, notice that you’ve obviously not taken the time to visit the link I provided to the previous conversation between several folks (including Larry) highlighting the closeness between Luther’s theological statements on baptism in his catechism and Calvin’s own understanding as written in The Institutes.

    No, I’m not offended that you are either apathetic toward or have no recall of the previous discussions. I simply made a statement of fact.

  • Martin J.

    t ODD, nice try, but sorry: ‘fail’.
    Notice that you quoted me partially, cutting my sentence off midstream, when I referenced a particle article by Dr. Veith.

    Also, notice that you’ve obviously not taken the time to visit the link I provided to the previous conversation between several folks (including Larry) highlighting the closeness between Luther’s theological statements on baptism in his catechism and Calvin’s own understanding as written in The Institutes.

    No, I’m not offended that you are either apathetic toward or have no recall of the previous discussions. I simply made a statement of fact.

  • Martin J.

    larry:
    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.”

    Of particular note in II.:
    “all who believe this” “Whoever believes and is baptized ….whoever does not believe will be damned”
    Faith/believe is a gift of God and cannot be self-generated, therefore it is dishonest and theologically incorrect to assume that the requirement of faith is in anywise a work of the law. Sola Fide!!!

    And IV.
    “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”
    “must we walk in a new life”

    Those are Luther’s words and Calvin’s words do not contradict them. I am not saying that you should embrace a reformed or baptist view of Baptism. My point has been and will be that we should have mutual respect for one another’s positions and refrain from casting heresy stones against those who are also blood-bought believers in the name of Christ.

    Blessings to you in the name of our Lord.
    M.J.
    Sola Fide, my brother!!

  • Martin J.

    larry:
    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.”

    Of particular note in II.:
    “all who believe this” “Whoever believes and is baptized ….whoever does not believe will be damned”
    Faith/believe is a gift of God and cannot be self-generated, therefore it is dishonest and theologically incorrect to assume that the requirement of faith is in anywise a work of the law. Sola Fide!!!

    And IV.
    “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”
    “must we walk in a new life”

    Those are Luther’s words and Calvin’s words do not contradict them. I am not saying that you should embrace a reformed or baptist view of Baptism. My point has been and will be that we should have mutual respect for one another’s positions and refrain from casting heresy stones against those who are also blood-bought believers in the name of Christ.

    Blessings to you in the name of our Lord.
    M.J.
    Sola Fide, my brother!!

  • larry

    Martin,

    I clearly recall our conversations and nothings changed. You simply do not understand the confessions or Luther, or really Calvin on the matter. The fact that you don’t see the clearly confessed differences that Calvin HIMSELF condemned of Luther in the consensus tigurinus which he signed shows this. In fact Calvin’s and his later cup bearer Theodore Beza were at least in principle correct to say of Luther’s view that it was heresy. This was precisely what Luther (and your position by the way) and the Lutheran’s at Marburg were both most offended by and stunned by that Zwingli and his folks didn’t as Sasse put “turn them (Luther, et. ali.) over to Satan too” (i.e. state it was heresy). In fact it was this “refrain from casting heresy stones” by Zwingli that garnered Luther’s later refusal to offer him the right hand of fellowship and explicitly state he was of a different spirit than ours (meaning the devil). Thus, Calvin is in fact more respectable for condemning Luther’s position on the sacraments as false/heresy, not because his content is correct, but that he understands that God’s Word and thus doctrine are not to ever be moveable. This what Sasse points out that “the serious Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, RC, etc…are closer in principle together when they do this” (paraphrase from memory), than are the same (like yourself) who do not.

    It is in this sense, and I’ve said this before, though I (and Todd and others) debate Grace vigorously and she us, I have far more respect for her position in principle than yours and those similar to yours. Because Grace too at least understands that the Word of God is not malleable and we are not speaking about unessential issues. She is right to call Lutheran positions, as principle, false teachings and heresy as we are Baptist and Reformed, on the principle understanding of the Word of God. And I’ve always respected Grace for that and have said so several times – even within the heat the debate. Your position and those like it are of the “neither hot nor cold but luke warm such that God vomits it out of His mouth”. This is also the “lightness” that prophet Jer. 23 speaks of concerning false teachers, they make light of the issue.

    Secondly, all heretics and heresies come from within the church, not external (the Scriptures state this explicitly). Your rejoinder to “have mutual respect for one another’s positions and refrain from casting heresy stones against those who are also blood-bought believers in the name of Christ”, holds no water. You will find Scripture against you here as well as St. Peter states explicitly concerning the rise of false prophets, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1).

    Thirdly, I might even quote another thorough Lutheran Hermann Sasse from “Here We Stand” starting with a quote from Luther concerning the Gospel and justification, “’If only this article remain in pure view, the Christian church also remains pure, and is harmonious and without all sects; but if it do not remain pure, it is not possible to resist any error or fanatical spirit…and concerning this article Paul especially says that ‘a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump’…If this is a valid standard for determining the unity of the church and the possibility of church fellowship-and its validity has never been contested-it must be applicable also to the relationship between the Lutheran Church and Reformed Church. This being so, the separation of these two churches must lie ultimately in a profound difference in their understanding of the Gospel as the message of the sinner’s justification-a difference which is so much the more unfortunate because it is concealed behind an apparent agreement.

    This is actually the case. Although both churches hold that Justification by Faith is a doctrine without which the church cannot exist at all as a true church, the place of this article of faith in the sum of Christian doctrine differs in such a way that Lutherans and Reformed also give it a different meaning.” —-End Quote

    Fourthly, you contradict yourself when you say “Those are Luther’s words and Calvin’s words do not contradict them.” Which mean they would be in concord, Calvin’s with Luther’s. But then you state in contradiction to this, “I am not saying that you should embrace a REFORMED (emphasis added) or baptist view of Baptism.” Why not, if Calvin (i.e. Reformed) does not contradict Luther on baptism? If they are the same (and the supper too) we MUST embrace them, otherwise any church split of communion/fellowship is PURELY sectarian. You thus advocate that we maintain a sectarian split condemned by Scripture itself!

    Fifthly on baptism particularly, it is true that modern Reformed do not really hold nearly to Calvin as they think and are shocked by his actual often “Lutheran sounding language”. Modern Reformed and Presbyterians really do have a more pure believers baptism understanding of baptism and their infant baptism really is little more, doctrinally played out, than a “wet dedication” service, dedicating the infant to the covenant community. This however begins to reveal the very real difference between Calvin and Luther’s view. For Luther the grace is given to the recipient adult or infant and so is the Holy Spirit himself. For Calvin, however, the gift given is a “grace”, but this “grace” comes in the form of entrance into the covenant community (hence very similar to the Baptist “dry” dedication service, where practiced). But the Spirit is not in baptism given pro me, but only as the Spirit is present with the church corporate (a direct denial of Acts 2). This of course is the logical requirement of what would be more formerly labeled post-Calvin as double predestination or its more passive version limited atonement, and how Calvin does not accept that one can be regenerate and fall away, but Luther does.

    So yes, Calvin does contradict Luther on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    The reality is that Martin Luther on the sacraments clearly condemns Calvin’s teaching on the same and Calvin’s Triglotta

  • larry

    Martin,

    I clearly recall our conversations and nothings changed. You simply do not understand the confessions or Luther, or really Calvin on the matter. The fact that you don’t see the clearly confessed differences that Calvin HIMSELF condemned of Luther in the consensus tigurinus which he signed shows this. In fact Calvin’s and his later cup bearer Theodore Beza were at least in principle correct to say of Luther’s view that it was heresy. This was precisely what Luther (and your position by the way) and the Lutheran’s at Marburg were both most offended by and stunned by that Zwingli and his folks didn’t as Sasse put “turn them (Luther, et. ali.) over to Satan too” (i.e. state it was heresy). In fact it was this “refrain from casting heresy stones” by Zwingli that garnered Luther’s later refusal to offer him the right hand of fellowship and explicitly state he was of a different spirit than ours (meaning the devil). Thus, Calvin is in fact more respectable for condemning Luther’s position on the sacraments as false/heresy, not because his content is correct, but that he understands that God’s Word and thus doctrine are not to ever be moveable. This what Sasse points out that “the serious Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, RC, etc…are closer in principle together when they do this” (paraphrase from memory), than are the same (like yourself) who do not.

    It is in this sense, and I’ve said this before, though I (and Todd and others) debate Grace vigorously and she us, I have far more respect for her position in principle than yours and those similar to yours. Because Grace too at least understands that the Word of God is not malleable and we are not speaking about unessential issues. She is right to call Lutheran positions, as principle, false teachings and heresy as we are Baptist and Reformed, on the principle understanding of the Word of God. And I’ve always respected Grace for that and have said so several times – even within the heat the debate. Your position and those like it are of the “neither hot nor cold but luke warm such that God vomits it out of His mouth”. This is also the “lightness” that prophet Jer. 23 speaks of concerning false teachers, they make light of the issue.

    Secondly, all heretics and heresies come from within the church, not external (the Scriptures state this explicitly). Your rejoinder to “have mutual respect for one another’s positions and refrain from casting heresy stones against those who are also blood-bought believers in the name of Christ”, holds no water. You will find Scripture against you here as well as St. Peter states explicitly concerning the rise of false prophets, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1).

    Thirdly, I might even quote another thorough Lutheran Hermann Sasse from “Here We Stand” starting with a quote from Luther concerning the Gospel and justification, “’If only this article remain in pure view, the Christian church also remains pure, and is harmonious and without all sects; but if it do not remain pure, it is not possible to resist any error or fanatical spirit…and concerning this article Paul especially says that ‘a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump’…If this is a valid standard for determining the unity of the church and the possibility of church fellowship-and its validity has never been contested-it must be applicable also to the relationship between the Lutheran Church and Reformed Church. This being so, the separation of these two churches must lie ultimately in a profound difference in their understanding of the Gospel as the message of the sinner’s justification-a difference which is so much the more unfortunate because it is concealed behind an apparent agreement.

    This is actually the case. Although both churches hold that Justification by Faith is a doctrine without which the church cannot exist at all as a true church, the place of this article of faith in the sum of Christian doctrine differs in such a way that Lutherans and Reformed also give it a different meaning.” —-End Quote

    Fourthly, you contradict yourself when you say “Those are Luther’s words and Calvin’s words do not contradict them.” Which mean they would be in concord, Calvin’s with Luther’s. But then you state in contradiction to this, “I am not saying that you should embrace a REFORMED (emphasis added) or baptist view of Baptism.” Why not, if Calvin (i.e. Reformed) does not contradict Luther on baptism? If they are the same (and the supper too) we MUST embrace them, otherwise any church split of communion/fellowship is PURELY sectarian. You thus advocate that we maintain a sectarian split condemned by Scripture itself!

    Fifthly on baptism particularly, it is true that modern Reformed do not really hold nearly to Calvin as they think and are shocked by his actual often “Lutheran sounding language”. Modern Reformed and Presbyterians really do have a more pure believers baptism understanding of baptism and their infant baptism really is little more, doctrinally played out, than a “wet dedication” service, dedicating the infant to the covenant community. This however begins to reveal the very real difference between Calvin and Luther’s view. For Luther the grace is given to the recipient adult or infant and so is the Holy Spirit himself. For Calvin, however, the gift given is a “grace”, but this “grace” comes in the form of entrance into the covenant community (hence very similar to the Baptist “dry” dedication service, where practiced). But the Spirit is not in baptism given pro me, but only as the Spirit is present with the church corporate (a direct denial of Acts 2). This of course is the logical requirement of what would be more formerly labeled post-Calvin as double predestination or its more passive version limited atonement, and how Calvin does not accept that one can be regenerate and fall away, but Luther does.

    So yes, Calvin does contradict Luther on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    The reality is that Martin Luther on the sacraments clearly condemns Calvin’s teaching on the same and Calvin’s Triglotta

  • Lou G.

    Calvin’s Triglotta comprises twenty-six articles, which treat only of the sacrament of the Supper. (ref: http://bookofconcord.org)

    “Why not, if Calvin (i.e. Reformed) does not contradict Luther on baptism?” I said that Calvin in The Institutes does not contract Luther’s catechism, as quoted above. I did not say that Luther and Calvin agreed in whole on the doctrine of baptism. What I did say was that Calvin’s Institutes and Luther’s catechism say essentially the exact same thing. So there’s our baseline.

    It is ALWAYS better to refer to the primary sources, rather than later twists and adapations, such as Sasse — (and really that is the crux of my point.)

    I reiterate, faith is not a work, but a gift from God. A person’s baptism without faith only damns them. That’s what Luther said and what the Bible says as well.

    Sola Fide

  • Lou G.

    Calvin’s Triglotta comprises twenty-six articles, which treat only of the sacrament of the Supper. (ref: http://bookofconcord.org)

    “Why not, if Calvin (i.e. Reformed) does not contradict Luther on baptism?” I said that Calvin in The Institutes does not contract Luther’s catechism, as quoted above. I did not say that Luther and Calvin agreed in whole on the doctrine of baptism. What I did say was that Calvin’s Institutes and Luther’s catechism say essentially the exact same thing. So there’s our baseline.

    It is ALWAYS better to refer to the primary sources, rather than later twists and adapations, such as Sasse — (and really that is the crux of my point.)

    I reiterate, faith is not a work, but a gift from God. A person’s baptism without faith only damns them. That’s what Luther said and what the Bible says as well.

    Sola Fide

  • Martin J.

    Oops.. Lou wsa using my computer!! We go to the same church.

    #100 above was my me, Martin J. Not Lou…. (Sorry Lou)

  • Martin J.

    Oops.. Lou wsa using my computer!! We go to the same church.

    #100 above was my me, Martin J. Not Lou…. (Sorry Lou)

  • larry

    That’s like saying, “yea but we agree with Rome now because they too say “grace”.

    But THAT IS the issue. They do not say the same thing and anyone who has read the primary documents of Calvin knows this. Every term is essentially different, even ‘grace’ and ‘gift’. That’s the very point of pointing out that Calvin EXPLICITLY denies that the Holy Spirit, for example, is received in particular but rather corporately.

    Furthermore, the Lutheran confessions themselves speak against what was the burgeoning Reformed confessions on these issues.

    Yes, “faith is not a work, but a gift from God. A person’s baptism without faith only damns them. That’s what Luther said and what the Bible says as well”, but even THAT is viewed differently in Calvin versus Luther. For Luther said explicitly regarding the sacrament that “where there is forgiveness of sin, there is life and salvation”. Calvin’s is opposite of that, “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin”.

    And Sasse is thoroughly orthodox, so your comment on that tells me whole lot.

    Furthermore, Calvinist theologians of highest calibre (Calvin was not in isolation), which I dare say understand Calvin better than you, will not absolve in baptism, the Lord’s Supper or general absolution because they dare not declare what they do not know. They do not have nor use nor confess the keys.

    Calvin defines baptism as, “the sign of the initiation by which we are received into the society of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God’s children”(Inst.4, 15, 1). The corporate note is in this definition and precisely why the Spirit is not given IN baptism but to the side, in front of, behind, after or around.

    We also note the difference when Calvin thoroughly defines what a sacrament is by reducing all the sacraments, new and old testament, down to their lowest common denominator. This is why he and Reformed so equate baptism and circumcision. Luther does not, Luther defines a sacrament according to its in time and place of redemptive history strict instituted definition.

    Calvin argues, based on his root definition of a sacrament that the children of Christians are considered holy; and by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolators in 1Cor.7:14. Thus, he, unlike Luther, saw no need and even condemned emergency baptisms. Not so with Luther. This too exhibits the essential difference.

    As he defines and compares circumcision with baptism Calvin argues that we must diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. Thus, Calvin maintains that the covenant is common, and the reason for confirming the covenant is common, namely regeneration (Inst.4, 16, 6). According to Calvin, “only the manner of confirmation is different” (Inst.4, 16, 6). What was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. The function of baptism is the same as the function of circumcision.

    Calvin defines what he means concerning regeneration’s relation to baptism that it is the SYMBOL of the promise REPRESENT the same thing (I.e. circumcision/baptism), “namely, regeneration” (Inst.4, 16, 4). Hence the Reformed constant of “do not confuse the thing with the thing signified” (a charge they level at Luther/Lutherans). This is entirely opposite of Luther/Lutheranism which confesses explicitly that Baptism does not “just represent in symbolism” regeneration but IS regeneration. Or to put it in their lingo, “the sign IS the reality”. This too is what explicitly rejects concerning the sacrament of the altar. For Luther the sacrament IS Christ’s body and blood, this Calvin specifically rejected, and similarly the same issue baptism.

    Thus the gifts as spoken by Luther/Lutheranism ARE the very things given, Christ’s body and blood, regeneration, the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit IS the token given in Baptism. But for Calvin the gifts given are only signs and tokens of the reality elsewhere.

    Their essential difference and thus why we are two different religions is fundamentally because for Calvin the sacraments, the “signs”, are philosophical platonic signs (and so is the Word in Reformed doctrine), i.e. the signification of the absence of the reality. For Luther the sacraments, the signs, are purely theological, i.e. the signification of the very presence of God/Christ/Holy Spirit. “Where two or three are gathered in My name there I am” for Luther/Lutheranism is not just some nebulous spiritualized thing, but precisely a reality in the sacraments too, baptism where the name of God is and gathered around (baptism preaches), and too the sacrament of the altar.
    Hence, we bow at the sacrament giving the sacrament worship because it IS Christ’s body and blood true and very. Calvinist do not give it worship.

    Therefore, they mean nothing similar whatsoever in spite of the superficial language that fools many.

  • larry

    That’s like saying, “yea but we agree with Rome now because they too say “grace”.

    But THAT IS the issue. They do not say the same thing and anyone who has read the primary documents of Calvin knows this. Every term is essentially different, even ‘grace’ and ‘gift’. That’s the very point of pointing out that Calvin EXPLICITLY denies that the Holy Spirit, for example, is received in particular but rather corporately.

    Furthermore, the Lutheran confessions themselves speak against what was the burgeoning Reformed confessions on these issues.

    Yes, “faith is not a work, but a gift from God. A person’s baptism without faith only damns them. That’s what Luther said and what the Bible says as well”, but even THAT is viewed differently in Calvin versus Luther. For Luther said explicitly regarding the sacrament that “where there is forgiveness of sin, there is life and salvation”. Calvin’s is opposite of that, “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin”.

    And Sasse is thoroughly orthodox, so your comment on that tells me whole lot.

    Furthermore, Calvinist theologians of highest calibre (Calvin was not in isolation), which I dare say understand Calvin better than you, will not absolve in baptism, the Lord’s Supper or general absolution because they dare not declare what they do not know. They do not have nor use nor confess the keys.

    Calvin defines baptism as, “the sign of the initiation by which we are received into the society of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God’s children”(Inst.4, 15, 1). The corporate note is in this definition and precisely why the Spirit is not given IN baptism but to the side, in front of, behind, after or around.

    We also note the difference when Calvin thoroughly defines what a sacrament is by reducing all the sacraments, new and old testament, down to their lowest common denominator. This is why he and Reformed so equate baptism and circumcision. Luther does not, Luther defines a sacrament according to its in time and place of redemptive history strict instituted definition.

    Calvin argues, based on his root definition of a sacrament that the children of Christians are considered holy; and by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolators in 1Cor.7:14. Thus, he, unlike Luther, saw no need and even condemned emergency baptisms. Not so with Luther. This too exhibits the essential difference.

    As he defines and compares circumcision with baptism Calvin argues that we must diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. Thus, Calvin maintains that the covenant is common, and the reason for confirming the covenant is common, namely regeneration (Inst.4, 16, 6). According to Calvin, “only the manner of confirmation is different” (Inst.4, 16, 6). What was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. The function of baptism is the same as the function of circumcision.

    Calvin defines what he means concerning regeneration’s relation to baptism that it is the SYMBOL of the promise REPRESENT the same thing (I.e. circumcision/baptism), “namely, regeneration” (Inst.4, 16, 4). Hence the Reformed constant of “do not confuse the thing with the thing signified” (a charge they level at Luther/Lutherans). This is entirely opposite of Luther/Lutheranism which confesses explicitly that Baptism does not “just represent in symbolism” regeneration but IS regeneration. Or to put it in their lingo, “the sign IS the reality”. This too is what explicitly rejects concerning the sacrament of the altar. For Luther the sacrament IS Christ’s body and blood, this Calvin specifically rejected, and similarly the same issue baptism.

    Thus the gifts as spoken by Luther/Lutheranism ARE the very things given, Christ’s body and blood, regeneration, the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit IS the token given in Baptism. But for Calvin the gifts given are only signs and tokens of the reality elsewhere.

    Their essential difference and thus why we are two different religions is fundamentally because for Calvin the sacraments, the “signs”, are philosophical platonic signs (and so is the Word in Reformed doctrine), i.e. the signification of the absence of the reality. For Luther the sacraments, the signs, are purely theological, i.e. the signification of the very presence of God/Christ/Holy Spirit. “Where two or three are gathered in My name there I am” for Luther/Lutheranism is not just some nebulous spiritualized thing, but precisely a reality in the sacraments too, baptism where the name of God is and gathered around (baptism preaches), and too the sacrament of the altar.
    Hence, we bow at the sacrament giving the sacrament worship because it IS Christ’s body and blood true and very. Calvinist do not give it worship.

    Therefore, they mean nothing similar whatsoever in spite of the superficial language that fools many.

  • Martin J.

    Larry, I haven’t even read your comment yet, but I’ve gotta stop you right here:
    “anyone who has read the primary documents of Calvin knows this”

    Dude. I have read Calvin dozens of times and you know this. So, what is up with this statement? Come on, man!

  • Martin J.

    Larry, I haven’t even read your comment yet, but I’ve gotta stop you right here:
    “anyone who has read the primary documents of Calvin knows this”

    Dude. I have read Calvin dozens of times and you know this. So, what is up with this statement? Come on, man!

  • Martin J.

    ” Calvin EXPLICITLY denies that the Holy Spirit, for example, is received in particular but rather corporately” Source please.
    I’ve read The Institutes dozens of times, and unless you’ve got some strange translation over there, this is a baseless accusation.

  • Martin J.

    ” Calvin EXPLICITLY denies that the Holy Spirit, for example, is received in particular but rather corporately” Source please.
    I’ve read The Institutes dozens of times, and unless you’ve got some strange translation over there, this is a baseless accusation.

  • Martin J.

    “Calvin’s is opposite of that, “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin”. ”
    Source please.

  • Martin J.

    “Calvin’s is opposite of that, “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sin”. ”
    Source please.

  • Martin J.

    “for Calvin the sacraments, the ‘signs’, are philosophical platonic signs (and so is the Word in Reformed doctrine), i.e. the signification of the absence of the reality.”

    you are serious when you try to accuse Reformed doctrine of making the Word of God a platonic sign, not signifying reality?? Larry, larry, larry… you’ve built yourself a nice little fortress of fiction there. This is why I wanted to avoid going into this discussion, because we only end up in the same rut again…

    Ciao,
    MJ

  • Martin J.

    “for Calvin the sacraments, the ‘signs’, are philosophical platonic signs (and so is the Word in Reformed doctrine), i.e. the signification of the absence of the reality.”

    you are serious when you try to accuse Reformed doctrine of making the Word of God a platonic sign, not signifying reality?? Larry, larry, larry… you’ve built yourself a nice little fortress of fiction there. This is why I wanted to avoid going into this discussion, because we only end up in the same rut again…

    Ciao,
    MJ

  • mikeb

    tODD @ 79

    We’re thinking along the same lines…

    But I particularly enjoyed this:

    But not to those who so frequently label themselves Born Again. They ignore the Spirit’s role and point to themselves, as if they could say, “I born-again-ed myself.” Which is as ridiculous a concept as it is a painful phrase.

    When I read this I see ‘me, me, me’, ‘my, my, my’; it’s becomes all about my choice, my vote if you will. I read a comment on another blog (I don’t mean to plagiarize but don’t have a citation) that we just had Christ the King Sunday, not Christ the Popularly Elected President Sunday. They were talking about a different concept but I think the illustration applies here and may give some insight to how so many American’s view their coming to faith: Namely that if we’re sovereign in civil matters why not spiritual?

    But, thanks be to God that we don’t get a vote, because Christ is the King.

  • mikeb

    tODD @ 79

    We’re thinking along the same lines…

    But I particularly enjoyed this:

    But not to those who so frequently label themselves Born Again. They ignore the Spirit’s role and point to themselves, as if they could say, “I born-again-ed myself.” Which is as ridiculous a concept as it is a painful phrase.

    When I read this I see ‘me, me, me’, ‘my, my, my’; it’s becomes all about my choice, my vote if you will. I read a comment on another blog (I don’t mean to plagiarize but don’t have a citation) that we just had Christ the King Sunday, not Christ the Popularly Elected President Sunday. They were talking about a different concept but I think the illustration applies here and may give some insight to how so many American’s view their coming to faith: Namely that if we’re sovereign in civil matters why not spiritual?

    But, thanks be to God that we don’t get a vote, because Christ is the King.

  • Lou

    The Reformed Doctrine of Irresistible Grace:
    When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.

  • Lou

    The Reformed Doctrine of Irresistible Grace:
    When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.

  • Lou

    Nothing in the reformed doctrine lends itself to me, me, me, but rather a full-orbed understanding of the working of our Trinitarian God. Seems as though the Lutherans here do not have even a modicum of understanding of the reformed faith.

  • Lou

    Nothing in the reformed doctrine lends itself to me, me, me, but rather a full-orbed understanding of the working of our Trinitarian God. Seems as though the Lutherans here do not have even a modicum of understanding of the reformed faith.

  • Grace

    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    Romans 13:2

    As in Romans 13:2 you can see clearly the word “resisteth” used twice and the word “resist” used once. That would mean that a person can resist God, this would also mean that they had knowledge of what they were resisting

    Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
    Acts 7:51

    These passages of Scripture are clear that people can “resist” the Holy Spirit. There is FREE WILL!

  • Grace

    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    Romans 13:2

    As in Romans 13:2 you can see clearly the word “resisteth” used twice and the word “resist” used once. That would mean that a person can resist God, this would also mean that they had knowledge of what they were resisting

    Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
    Acts 7:51

    These passages of Scripture are clear that people can “resist” the Holy Spirit. There is FREE WILL!

  • Lou

    So, Grace. Just so everyone understands. You are neither Lutheran nor Reformed (Calvinist), Correct?

  • Lou

    So, Grace. Just so everyone understands. You are neither Lutheran nor Reformed (Calvinist), Correct?

  • Grace

    Lou @ 111

    I am not a Lutheran or a Calvinist –

    Everyone who has read this blog KNOWS I identify ONLY as a Born Again Believer in Jesus Christ, a Christian Believer. I find it very strange that people label themselves under the name of mere men, rather than our Savior.

    4 For while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?
    5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

    6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

    7 So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

    8 Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

    9 For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3

    God should receive the credit, glory and praise, not men. God uses men to spread the Gospel, but to identify with these men as your label is wrong, it is Christ to whom we identify.

    Too often doctrine is distorted within a denomination, therefore making the congregants servants of that doctrine, even though it’s wrong.

  • Grace

    Lou @ 111

    I am not a Lutheran or a Calvinist –

    Everyone who has read this blog KNOWS I identify ONLY as a Born Again Believer in Jesus Christ, a Christian Believer. I find it very strange that people label themselves under the name of mere men, rather than our Savior.

    4 For while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?
    5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

    6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

    7 So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

    8 Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

    9 For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3

    God should receive the credit, glory and praise, not men. God uses men to spread the Gospel, but to identify with these men as your label is wrong, it is Christ to whom we identify.

    Too often doctrine is distorted within a denomination, therefore making the congregants servants of that doctrine, even though it’s wrong.

  • larry

    Martin,

    I know you’ve read it, but you do not understand it nor the Lutheran confessions if you do not understand this fundamental divorce between the two. In fact I cited the sources, but because you blind in your understanding, obvious, since you see an agreement that does not exist ANYWHERE except in your world I stated what I stated.

    You simply will not understand the difference, or refuse to, if you do not understand the covenant underpinning of Calvin/Cavlinism versus Luther/Lutheranism concerning baptism and hence his disconnection of the Holy Spirit in Baptism placing the Holy Spirit in the communal covenanted people and not in Baptism itself (the sign). Thus, the reality signified, regeneration, the Holy Spirit and thus forgiveness of sin is placed in the corporate covenanted people not the Baptismal (Worded) Water. This MUST be done in order to maintain the system of double predestination.

    The external “prettiness” of the words that you only see Martin does not examine the doctrine!

    Calvin does not believe in baptismal regeneration (as espoused by Luther/Lutheran confessions and this is in FACT an ESSENTIAL doctrine speaking to the Gospel versus another gospel that is not the Gospel in Calvinism) due to the fact that he divorces the Spirit from the Word. This is why, for example, in Calvinist camps one man hears the Word and another the same Word and yet a third man the same time and place. One comes to faith, the other never does, the third only temporarily and then falls away completely. Calvin’s answer, because of his limited atonement/double predestination, the Spirit only worked the “inner call” in the first and not the second. Thus, the external Word come impotently upon the later two without the Spirit working the “inner call” or “inner Word”. Calvinism is really original sin when all said and done.

    In the Inst. 4.15.1, Calvin defines baptism as, “THE SIGN of the initiation by which we are received into THE SOCIETY of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God’s children”.

    The Reformed, Calvin included only “PRESUME” regeneration until otherwise shown, not so for Luther/Lutheranism and this gets to two separate Gospels when all is said and done, this is due to the double predestination. Thus, in order to patch this up it is set in the Covenant setting of the corporate church where the Holy Spirit is, not the individual:

    Here are some reformed quotes regarding the PRESUMPTIVE Regeneration of Christian infants based on this system – to wit you must be in proximity of the covenant people, hence apriori holiness of the believer’s children per 1 Cor. 7. Not so with Luther that performs during the baptism of the infant an exorcism, where exorcism originally came from, to have the unclean spirit come out, and “make room FOR the Holy Spirit” about to be given in the Baptism (Worded) Waters.

    Henry Bullinger a co-author of the TC with Calvin:

    “Therefore it is certain, that infants are partakers of purification and remission of sins through Christ. . . for by their nature and birth they are unclean, and sinners; but for Christ’s sake they are purified. Children are God’s; therefore they have the Spirit of God. Therefore, IF they have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we; if they be accounted among the people of God, as well as we that be grown in age; who, I pray you, can forbid these to be baptized with water in the name of the Lord?”

    “But we, which condemn both Pelagius and Pelagians, do affirm both those things which they deny; to wit, that infants are born in original sin, and therefore that the sanctification of Christ is necessary unto them, without which they are not saved. Again we defend and maintain, that the same infants ought to be baptized, if it be possible, though BY THE RIGHT OF THE COVENANT they belong to the body of Christ and are sanctified by the blood of Christ.”

    “As easily is that objection confuted, that baptism profiteth not infants, if we still say that sacraments without faith profit not; for infants have no faith. Thus they babble. We answer first, That the baptism of infants is grounded upon the free mercy and grace of God, who saith: “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed;” and again: “Suffer children to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of God,” etc. Infants therefore are numbered and counted of the Lord himself among the faithful; so that baptism is due unto them (NOTE: that counted among the faithful apriori to baptism, hence the covenant emphasis we find in 1Cor.7), as far forth as it is due unto the faithful. For by the imputation of God infants are faithful.”

    Caspar Olevianus (co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism):

    “When a baby is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the parents should be assured that just as certainly as the water cleanses his or her body, so certainly does the Father through the Holy Spirit seal in his or her heart gemeynschafft [COMMUNITY, FELLOWSHIP, OR COMMON IDENTITY] with the blood of Christ and, through that communion, the double benefit of the COVENANT – the forgiveness of sins and the beginnings of righteousness and holiness.”

    “To be sure, these children are conceived in sin, but EVEN BEFORE THEIR BAPTISM THEY ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE POWER OF THE COVENANT PROMISE.”

    “Salvation, therefore, IS NOT BY BAPTISM but solely by grace (THE PROMISE OF THE COVENANT) AND BY FAITH (THE PARENTS’ BELIEF IN THE PROMISE).”

    Zacharias Ursinus (co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism):

    (NOTE: One has to keep in mind the Covenant underpinning and not a Lutheran understanding to see this variant doctrine) “Those are NOT TO BE EXCLUDED FROM BAPTISM, TO WHOM THE BENEFIT OF THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND OF REGENERATION BELONGS. But this benefit belongs to the infants of the church; for redemption from sin, by the blood of Christ and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult . . . .”

    “Those unto whom the things signified belong, unto them the sign also belongs. . . . (NOTE: Here we see the divorce of the sign versus the thing signified, hence the often Reformed rejoinder and accusation against Lutherans who say, “Don’t confuse the reality (thing signified, regeneration) with the reality (sign, baptism). This in fact is the philosophical sign (Calvin, et. al. versus Luther, et al.).)”

    (NOTE: Why is baptism to be given to infants) “Baptism ought to be administered to infants also; for they are holy (apriori to Baptism, again the covenant issue); the promise is unto them; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

    Guido de Bres (author of the Belgic Confession):

    “And indeed Christ shed His blood no less for the washing of the children of believers (NOTE: the covenant aspect again) than for adult persons.”

    John Calvin:

    from Calvin’s “Form of Administering Baptism at Geneva”:

    “All these graces are bestowed upon us when he is pleased to incorporate us into his Church by baptism; for in this sacrament he ATTESTS the remission of our sins (NOTE: The sacraments are not testimonies in Lutheran theology but facts). And he has ordained the symbol of water to figure to us, that as by this element bodily defilements are cleansed, so he is pleased to wash and purify our souls.

    Now then since the Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth, not to diminish the grace of God his Father, but to extend THE COVENANT OF SALVATION over all the world, instead of confining it as formerly to the Jews, there is no doubt that our children are heirs of the life which he has promised to us.”

    From Calvin’s Institutes:

    “How I wish that we might have kept the custom which, as I have said, existed among the ancient Christians . . . a catechizing, in which children or those near adolescence would give an account of their faith before the church . . . A child of ten would present himself to the church to declare his confession of faith, would be examined in each article, and answer to each; if he were ignorant of anything or insufficiently understood it, he would be taught.

    If this discipline were in effect today, it would certainly arouse some slothful parents, who carelessly neglect the instruction of their children as a matter of no concern to them; for then they could not overlook it without public disgrace.

    (NOTE: Nothing wrong so far…but…)

    . . . BAPTISM, INSTEAD OF REGENERATING OR SAVING THEM, ONLY SEALS THE SALVATION OF WHICH THEY WERE PREVIOUSLY PARTAKERS.

    . . . THEY ARE ALREADY THE FLOCK OF CHRIST, OF THE FAMILY OF GOD, SINCE THE COVENANT OF SALVATION WHICH GOD ENTERS INTO WITH BELIEVERS IS COMMON ALSO TO THEIR CHILDREN. . . . In one word, unless we choose to overturn all the principles of religion, we shall be obliged to confess that the salvation of an infant DOES NOT DEPEND ON, BUT IS ONLY SEALED BY ITS BAPTISM.

    The Synod of Dort (Canons of Dort):

    Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word, which testifies that THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE HOLY, NOT BY NATURE, BUT IN VIRTUE OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE, (NOTE: Again the aprior due to the Covenant) in which they together with their parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14). “

    Francis Turretin:

    “Because to infants belongs the kingdom of heaven according to the declaration of Christ. . . . Why should the church not receive into her bosom those whom Christ received into him? . . . BECAUSE THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE HOLY; THEREFORE THEY OUGHT TO BE BAPTIZED. For since they have THE THING SIGNIFIED, they cannot and ought not to be deprived of THE SIGN.

    Matthew Henry:

    From his Catechism for Children:

    Q. 29. What relation do you stand to the Lord Jesus?
    A. I am one of his disciples; for I am a baptized Christian . . .

    Q. 31. What was the meaning of your being so baptized?
    A. I was thereby given up IN A COVENANT WAY, to Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    Charles Hodge:

    So much has this covenanting spirit died out, so little is the relation of our baptized children to God and their interest in his promises regarded or recognized, that we have heard of men who strenuously objected to children being taught the Lord’s prayer, for fear they should think God was really their Father!

    It is, therefore, a scriptural truth that THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD, AS BEING WITHIN HIS COVENANT WITH THEIR PARENTS, HE PROMISES TO THEM HIS SPIRIT, HE HAS ESTABLISHED A CONNEXION BETWEEN FAITHFUL PARENTAL TRAINING AND THE SALVATION OF CHILDREN.

    Where is the parent whose children have turned aside from God, whose heart will not rather reproach him, than charge God with forgetting his promise? Our very want of faith in the promise is one great reason of our failure. WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THE COVENANT. WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT OUR CHILDREN BELONG TO GOD; THAT HE HAS PROMISED TO BE THEIR GOD, IF WE ARE FAITHFUL TO OUR TRUST.

    There is an intimate and divinely established connexion between the faith of parents and the salvation of their children; such a connexion as authorizes them TO PLEAD GOD’S PROMISES, AND TO EXPECT WITH CONFIDENCE THAT THROUGH HIS BLESSING ON THEIR FAITHFUL EFFORTS, THEIR CHILDREN WILL GROW UP THE CHILDREN OF GOD.

    Synod of Utrecht of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands:

    That according to the Confession of our Church the seed of the Covenant by virtue of the promise of God IS TO BE REGARDED AS REGENERATED AND SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST, UNTIL THE CONTRARY IS SHOWN IN THEIR CONFESSION AND CONDUCT WHEN THEY ARE REACHING THE YEARS OF DISCRETION

    In Calvin symbolism subverts the reality. In Lutheran theology the sacraments are not symbols or figures. This in fact was the later day battle with Calvin, Bullinger and even Melcanthon that increasingly symbolized the sacraments rather than the fact that these are the REALITIES themselves and not parallel symbols (Calvin or Zwingli) where in Luther/Lutheranism the Word hidden in the water is fact and reality, where God speaks reality IS. Calvin moves from the material to the ideal, the Gnostic/platonic tone in his theology, as such baptism and the sacrament increasingly become the ideal as opposed to the material. They move away from the promise, given, (Luther) to the ideal. But real saving faith MUST have a material reality to believe in, this is what we sought to escape in the fall. A move away from the Worded Creatures where God is for us and did not worship God in His Worded Things. Then looked behind the creatures for God not in them, thus the idolatry of worshipping creatures as creatures in and of themselves, then flying high into the gnosis to find God in the nude and naked majesty, but not in His Worded things. This is Calvin to a tee on the sacraments. One may well say if you wish to understand precisely what original sin was, then study Calvin and Zwingli on the sacraments for it is precisely, the Reformed doctrine on the sacraments, a repetition of original sin.

  • larry

    Martin,

    I know you’ve read it, but you do not understand it nor the Lutheran confessions if you do not understand this fundamental divorce between the two. In fact I cited the sources, but because you blind in your understanding, obvious, since you see an agreement that does not exist ANYWHERE except in your world I stated what I stated.

    You simply will not understand the difference, or refuse to, if you do not understand the covenant underpinning of Calvin/Cavlinism versus Luther/Lutheranism concerning baptism and hence his disconnection of the Holy Spirit in Baptism placing the Holy Spirit in the communal covenanted people and not in Baptism itself (the sign). Thus, the reality signified, regeneration, the Holy Spirit and thus forgiveness of sin is placed in the corporate covenanted people not the Baptismal (Worded) Water. This MUST be done in order to maintain the system of double predestination.

    The external “prettiness” of the words that you only see Martin does not examine the doctrine!

    Calvin does not believe in baptismal regeneration (as espoused by Luther/Lutheran confessions and this is in FACT an ESSENTIAL doctrine speaking to the Gospel versus another gospel that is not the Gospel in Calvinism) due to the fact that he divorces the Spirit from the Word. This is why, for example, in Calvinist camps one man hears the Word and another the same Word and yet a third man the same time and place. One comes to faith, the other never does, the third only temporarily and then falls away completely. Calvin’s answer, because of his limited atonement/double predestination, the Spirit only worked the “inner call” in the first and not the second. Thus, the external Word come impotently upon the later two without the Spirit working the “inner call” or “inner Word”. Calvinism is really original sin when all said and done.

    In the Inst. 4.15.1, Calvin defines baptism as, “THE SIGN of the initiation by which we are received into THE SOCIETY of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God’s children”.

    The Reformed, Calvin included only “PRESUME” regeneration until otherwise shown, not so for Luther/Lutheranism and this gets to two separate Gospels when all is said and done, this is due to the double predestination. Thus, in order to patch this up it is set in the Covenant setting of the corporate church where the Holy Spirit is, not the individual:

    Here are some reformed quotes regarding the PRESUMPTIVE Regeneration of Christian infants based on this system – to wit you must be in proximity of the covenant people, hence apriori holiness of the believer’s children per 1 Cor. 7. Not so with Luther that performs during the baptism of the infant an exorcism, where exorcism originally came from, to have the unclean spirit come out, and “make room FOR the Holy Spirit” about to be given in the Baptism (Worded) Waters.

    Henry Bullinger a co-author of the TC with Calvin:

    “Therefore it is certain, that infants are partakers of purification and remission of sins through Christ. . . for by their nature and birth they are unclean, and sinners; but for Christ’s sake they are purified. Children are God’s; therefore they have the Spirit of God. Therefore, IF they have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we; if they be accounted among the people of God, as well as we that be grown in age; who, I pray you, can forbid these to be baptized with water in the name of the Lord?”

    “But we, which condemn both Pelagius and Pelagians, do affirm both those things which they deny; to wit, that infants are born in original sin, and therefore that the sanctification of Christ is necessary unto them, without which they are not saved. Again we defend and maintain, that the same infants ought to be baptized, if it be possible, though BY THE RIGHT OF THE COVENANT they belong to the body of Christ and are sanctified by the blood of Christ.”

    “As easily is that objection confuted, that baptism profiteth not infants, if we still say that sacraments without faith profit not; for infants have no faith. Thus they babble. We answer first, That the baptism of infants is grounded upon the free mercy and grace of God, who saith: “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed;” and again: “Suffer children to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of God,” etc. Infants therefore are numbered and counted of the Lord himself among the faithful; so that baptism is due unto them (NOTE: that counted among the faithful apriori to baptism, hence the covenant emphasis we find in 1Cor.7), as far forth as it is due unto the faithful. For by the imputation of God infants are faithful.”

    Caspar Olevianus (co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism):

    “When a baby is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the parents should be assured that just as certainly as the water cleanses his or her body, so certainly does the Father through the Holy Spirit seal in his or her heart gemeynschafft [COMMUNITY, FELLOWSHIP, OR COMMON IDENTITY] with the blood of Christ and, through that communion, the double benefit of the COVENANT – the forgiveness of sins and the beginnings of righteousness and holiness.”

    “To be sure, these children are conceived in sin, but EVEN BEFORE THEIR BAPTISM THEY ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE POWER OF THE COVENANT PROMISE.”

    “Salvation, therefore, IS NOT BY BAPTISM but solely by grace (THE PROMISE OF THE COVENANT) AND BY FAITH (THE PARENTS’ BELIEF IN THE PROMISE).”

    Zacharias Ursinus (co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism):

    (NOTE: One has to keep in mind the Covenant underpinning and not a Lutheran understanding to see this variant doctrine) “Those are NOT TO BE EXCLUDED FROM BAPTISM, TO WHOM THE BENEFIT OF THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND OF REGENERATION BELONGS. But this benefit belongs to the infants of the church; for redemption from sin, by the blood of Christ and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult . . . .”

    “Those unto whom the things signified belong, unto them the sign also belongs. . . . (NOTE: Here we see the divorce of the sign versus the thing signified, hence the often Reformed rejoinder and accusation against Lutherans who say, “Don’t confuse the reality (thing signified, regeneration) with the reality (sign, baptism). This in fact is the philosophical sign (Calvin, et. al. versus Luther, et al.).)”

    (NOTE: Why is baptism to be given to infants) “Baptism ought to be administered to infants also; for they are holy (apriori to Baptism, again the covenant issue); the promise is unto them; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

    Guido de Bres (author of the Belgic Confession):

    “And indeed Christ shed His blood no less for the washing of the children of believers (NOTE: the covenant aspect again) than for adult persons.”

    John Calvin:

    from Calvin’s “Form of Administering Baptism at Geneva”:

    “All these graces are bestowed upon us when he is pleased to incorporate us into his Church by baptism; for in this sacrament he ATTESTS the remission of our sins (NOTE: The sacraments are not testimonies in Lutheran theology but facts). And he has ordained the symbol of water to figure to us, that as by this element bodily defilements are cleansed, so he is pleased to wash and purify our souls.

    Now then since the Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth, not to diminish the grace of God his Father, but to extend THE COVENANT OF SALVATION over all the world, instead of confining it as formerly to the Jews, there is no doubt that our children are heirs of the life which he has promised to us.”

    From Calvin’s Institutes:

    “How I wish that we might have kept the custom which, as I have said, existed among the ancient Christians . . . a catechizing, in which children or those near adolescence would give an account of their faith before the church . . . A child of ten would present himself to the church to declare his confession of faith, would be examined in each article, and answer to each; if he were ignorant of anything or insufficiently understood it, he would be taught.

    If this discipline were in effect today, it would certainly arouse some slothful parents, who carelessly neglect the instruction of their children as a matter of no concern to them; for then they could not overlook it without public disgrace.

    (NOTE: Nothing wrong so far…but…)

    . . . BAPTISM, INSTEAD OF REGENERATING OR SAVING THEM, ONLY SEALS THE SALVATION OF WHICH THEY WERE PREVIOUSLY PARTAKERS.

    . . . THEY ARE ALREADY THE FLOCK OF CHRIST, OF THE FAMILY OF GOD, SINCE THE COVENANT OF SALVATION WHICH GOD ENTERS INTO WITH BELIEVERS IS COMMON ALSO TO THEIR CHILDREN. . . . In one word, unless we choose to overturn all the principles of religion, we shall be obliged to confess that the salvation of an infant DOES NOT DEPEND ON, BUT IS ONLY SEALED BY ITS BAPTISM.

    The Synod of Dort (Canons of Dort):

    Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word, which testifies that THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE HOLY, NOT BY NATURE, BUT IN VIRTUE OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE, (NOTE: Again the aprior due to the Covenant) in which they together with their parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14). “

    Francis Turretin:

    “Because to infants belongs the kingdom of heaven according to the declaration of Christ. . . . Why should the church not receive into her bosom those whom Christ received into him? . . . BECAUSE THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE HOLY; THEREFORE THEY OUGHT TO BE BAPTIZED. For since they have THE THING SIGNIFIED, they cannot and ought not to be deprived of THE SIGN.

    Matthew Henry:

    From his Catechism for Children:

    Q. 29. What relation do you stand to the Lord Jesus?
    A. I am one of his disciples; for I am a baptized Christian . . .

    Q. 31. What was the meaning of your being so baptized?
    A. I was thereby given up IN A COVENANT WAY, to Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    Charles Hodge:

    So much has this covenanting spirit died out, so little is the relation of our baptized children to God and their interest in his promises regarded or recognized, that we have heard of men who strenuously objected to children being taught the Lord’s prayer, for fear they should think God was really their Father!

    It is, therefore, a scriptural truth that THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD, AS BEING WITHIN HIS COVENANT WITH THEIR PARENTS, HE PROMISES TO THEM HIS SPIRIT, HE HAS ESTABLISHED A CONNEXION BETWEEN FAITHFUL PARENTAL TRAINING AND THE SALVATION OF CHILDREN.

    Where is the parent whose children have turned aside from God, whose heart will not rather reproach him, than charge God with forgetting his promise? Our very want of faith in the promise is one great reason of our failure. WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THE COVENANT. WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT OUR CHILDREN BELONG TO GOD; THAT HE HAS PROMISED TO BE THEIR GOD, IF WE ARE FAITHFUL TO OUR TRUST.

    There is an intimate and divinely established connexion between the faith of parents and the salvation of their children; such a connexion as authorizes them TO PLEAD GOD’S PROMISES, AND TO EXPECT WITH CONFIDENCE THAT THROUGH HIS BLESSING ON THEIR FAITHFUL EFFORTS, THEIR CHILDREN WILL GROW UP THE CHILDREN OF GOD.

    Synod of Utrecht of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands:

    That according to the Confession of our Church the seed of the Covenant by virtue of the promise of God IS TO BE REGARDED AS REGENERATED AND SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST, UNTIL THE CONTRARY IS SHOWN IN THEIR CONFESSION AND CONDUCT WHEN THEY ARE REACHING THE YEARS OF DISCRETION

    In Calvin symbolism subverts the reality. In Lutheran theology the sacraments are not symbols or figures. This in fact was the later day battle with Calvin, Bullinger and even Melcanthon that increasingly symbolized the sacraments rather than the fact that these are the REALITIES themselves and not parallel symbols (Calvin or Zwingli) where in Luther/Lutheranism the Word hidden in the water is fact and reality, where God speaks reality IS. Calvin moves from the material to the ideal, the Gnostic/platonic tone in his theology, as such baptism and the sacrament increasingly become the ideal as opposed to the material. They move away from the promise, given, (Luther) to the ideal. But real saving faith MUST have a material reality to believe in, this is what we sought to escape in the fall. A move away from the Worded Creatures where God is for us and did not worship God in His Worded Things. Then looked behind the creatures for God not in them, thus the idolatry of worshipping creatures as creatures in and of themselves, then flying high into the gnosis to find God in the nude and naked majesty, but not in His Worded things. This is Calvin to a tee on the sacraments. One may well say if you wish to understand precisely what original sin was, then study Calvin and Zwingli on the sacraments for it is precisely, the Reformed doctrine on the sacraments, a repetition of original sin.


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