If you died tonight, do you know you would go to heaven? Or do you not care?

“If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven?”  That question, or some variation, has started thousands of evangelism conversations and is the opening line for many evangelism programs (especially “Evangelism Explosion” started by D. James Kennedy).  The conversation then goes on to “how you know,” and it exposes people who trust in their good works, or perhaps are just uncertain, whereupon the evangelist can point to the finished work of Christ and to the free salvation He promises.

Today, though, according to a survey by the Southern Baptist publisher LifeWay, over half of Americans never wonder about that question.  A Christianity Today feature calls this “The Evangelistic Question That Died,” but I’m not so sure that the evidence is that people as a whole are no longer concerned about their eternal destiny.

The breakdown of the survey results is telling:  67% of Americans who never attend worship services have never wondered about whether or not they will go to Heaven.  (Perhaps the general consensus today is that everyone enters some kind of white-light paradise–or that if we just die, that death isn’t all that bad–so worrying about the prospect of going to Hell is no longer as much of  an issue as it once was.  Since those who don’t go to church are the main targets for evangelism efforts, maybe the question is not the best evangelism-starter.)

Meanwhile, 57% of “born-again or evangelical” Protestants also never ask the question.  (But perhaps this is because they have an assurance of salvation. Then again, 43% of them do wonder if they will make it to Heaven, so maybe they don’t have as much assurance from the Gospel that they should have.)  Interestingly, only 34% of non-Evangelical Protestants–presumably those from the more liberal mainline church bodies–never ask the question.  So 66% of “liberals” do worry about their salvation, so perhaps might be open to the conversation!

Significantly, only 36% of those aged 18-29 never wonder if they will go to Heaven, which means that, despite laments about young people leaving the church, this is an issue for nearly two-thirds of them (64%).

The regional breakdowns are also interesting.  In the so-called Bible Belt of the South, 50% of the population never wonder if they will go to Heaven.  (Again, this probably includes both secularists and Christians who know they will get there.)  In the lesser-churched West, the percentage of those who never ask that question is 52%.  In the Midwest, it’s 45%, which means that a majority of 55% do wonder.  And in the ostensibly secular Northeast, supposedly the most secular part of the country, only 31% never ask that question.  Over two-thirds of the population, including New Yorkers and New Englanders, 69%, the largest percentage surveyed, do wonder about their eternal destiny.

 

The Evangelistic Question That Died | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

About Gene Veith

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

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

    As R.C. Sproul has stated, in conjunction with the first premise, Americans believe in a justification by death. Basically meaning that “all people with half a decent life go to heaven,” save for those who are really bad, like a Hitler, Stalin, Dahmer, Manson, etc.,

    I would dare say too that either we’ve lost our theology of hell a la Rob Bell, or we tuck it away and only make veiled references to it with the words “Christless eternity” (which sounds so much less harsh). To be honest, hell is a disappearing subject in the church, and while I certainly do not believe in “scaring” people to Christ, I do say that ministers reminding their congregations that there is a Final Judgment which will be a horrible day for the unbeliever would do the church some good, not to scare us, but because it is as much a reality as the eternal life we as believers look forward to.

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

    As R.C. Sproul has stated, in conjunction with the first premise, Americans believe in a justification by death. Basically meaning that “all people with half a decent life go to heaven,” save for those who are really bad, like a Hitler, Stalin, Dahmer, Manson, etc.,

    I would dare say too that either we’ve lost our theology of hell a la Rob Bell, or we tuck it away and only make veiled references to it with the words “Christless eternity” (which sounds so much less harsh). To be honest, hell is a disappearing subject in the church, and while I certainly do not believe in “scaring” people to Christ, I do say that ministers reminding their congregations that there is a Final Judgment which will be a horrible day for the unbeliever would do the church some good, not to scare us, but because it is as much a reality as the eternal life we as believers look forward to.

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  • #4 Kitty

    Today, though, according to a survey by the Southern Baptist publisher LifeWay, over half of Americans never wonder about that question. A Christianity Today feature calls this “The Evangelistic Question That Died,”

    The implication here is that in the past this question (or its underlying concern) was much more prevalent. However, the survey does not indicate this and is, as far as I know, the first of its kind.

  • #4 Kitty

    Today, though, according to a survey by the Southern Baptist publisher LifeWay, over half of Americans never wonder about that question. A Christianity Today feature calls this “The Evangelistic Question That Died,”

    The implication here is that in the past this question (or its underlying concern) was much more prevalent. However, the survey does not indicate this and is, as far as I know, the first of its kind.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    That form of the question is slightly above average. I address it in my book on Baptism that’s coming out next year. The best answer to it would be something along the lines of, “Yes, because I am baptized.”

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    That form of the question is slightly above average. I address it in my book on Baptism that’s coming out next year. The best answer to it would be something along the lines of, “Yes, because I am baptized.”

  • Michael B.

    “Meanwhile, 57% of “born-again or evangelical” Protestants also never ask the question. ”

    One question that none of us have ever asked is will we go to Islamic hell, or Zoroastrian hell, or a Jainist hell? And if we were born in one of those countries at a different time, none of us for one second would have ever worried about burning in a Christian hell.

  • Michael B.

    “Meanwhile, 57% of “born-again or evangelical” Protestants also never ask the question. ”

    One question that none of us have ever asked is will we go to Islamic hell, or Zoroastrian hell, or a Jainist hell? And if we were born in one of those countries at a different time, none of us for one second would have ever worried about burning in a Christian hell.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Meanwhile, 57% of “born-again or evangelical” Protestants also never ask the question. (But perhaps this is because they have an assurance of salvation. Then again, 43% of them do wonder if they will make it to Heaven, so maybe they don’t have as much assurance from the Gospel that they should have.)

    Paul encouraged the Corinthians to test themselves, to be sure they were in the faith. (2 Cor 13:15-16) Although he said the answer would come back as yes, it was still important to think about it and ask the question. Even believers should be asking this question you raise.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Meanwhile, 57% of “born-again or evangelical” Protestants also never ask the question. (But perhaps this is because they have an assurance of salvation. Then again, 43% of them do wonder if they will make it to Heaven, so maybe they don’t have as much assurance from the Gospel that they should have.)

    Paul encouraged the Corinthians to test themselves, to be sure they were in the faith. (2 Cor 13:15-16) Although he said the answer would come back as yes, it was still important to think about it and ask the question. Even believers should be asking this question you raise.

  • Mike

    @Michael B.

    Heh…great point. The questions assume that the answerer has some knowledge of the Christian hell. You’ve demonstrated how parochial the questions are.

  • Mike

    @Michael B.

    Heh…great point. The questions assume that the answerer has some knowledge of the Christian hell. You’ve demonstrated how parochial the questions are.

  • Cincinnatus

    Perhaps it is because we are a culture that has sequestered death from our common consciousness. Why ponder what happens after death when we aren’t even acquainted with the idea of death itself?

  • Cincinnatus

    Perhaps it is because we are a culture that has sequestered death from our common consciousness. Why ponder what happens after death when we aren’t even acquainted with the idea of death itself?

  • Edward Bryant

    My observation is that most people believe in an “afterlife” to which all people go. It’s a place for the soul; there is no thought of a resurrection. This afterlife is also not divided into heaven or hell, but is the place for all – somewhat like the Greek idea of hades. If there is a hell, it is only for Hitler and the like.

    If this place is the afterlife it’s as much heaven as anything else, and everybody goes there. So why worry?

    This isn’t the evangelism question that died, it is just irrelevant until the law is proclaimed with some specificity.

  • Edward Bryant

    My observation is that most people believe in an “afterlife” to which all people go. It’s a place for the soul; there is no thought of a resurrection. This afterlife is also not divided into heaven or hell, but is the place for all – somewhat like the Greek idea of hades. If there is a hell, it is only for Hitler and the like.

    If this place is the afterlife it’s as much heaven as anything else, and everybody goes there. So why worry?

    This isn’t the evangelism question that died, it is just irrelevant until the law is proclaimed with some specificity.

  • John C

    And what happens if you get to heaven and you don’t bloody like it?

  • John C

    And what happens if you get to heaven and you don’t bloody like it?

  • Dan Kempin

    I think this reflects the larger shift in culture. The older basic model is to “show people their sin” in order to prepare them for the gospel. That is good so far as it goes, but as some have already pointed out, there are some fundamentals that are assumed in that approach.

    I think the current problem is not that the culture has no knowledge of sin, but rather that they have no fear of God. One must first know who God is before a proclamation of the law will cause fear.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think this reflects the larger shift in culture. The older basic model is to “show people their sin” in order to prepare them for the gospel. That is good so far as it goes, but as some have already pointed out, there are some fundamentals that are assumed in that approach.

    I think the current problem is not that the culture has no knowledge of sin, but rather that they have no fear of God. One must first know who God is before a proclamation of the law will cause fear.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Edward, that’s a great point. Without a specific, coherent proclamation of the law, the gospel’s hope is less evident, and thoughts of eternity are less urgent.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Edward, that’s a great point. Without a specific, coherent proclamation of the law, the gospel’s hope is less evident, and thoughts of eternity are less urgent.

  • Jon

    John C. @9–not bloody likely, m8!

  • Jon

    John C. @9–not bloody likely, m8!

  • MikeD

    @3 Rev. Charles Lehmann:

    Could not every pope that burned believers at the stake say that in truth?

    Could not every apostate say this also?

    I do not know if you see a strict continuity with circumcision as Presbyterians do, but could not Judas have said, “Because I am circumcised”?

  • MikeD

    @3 Rev. Charles Lehmann:

    Could not every pope that burned believers at the stake say that in truth?

    Could not every apostate say this also?

    I do not know if you see a strict continuity with circumcision as Presbyterians do, but could not Judas have said, “Because I am circumcised”?

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    MikeD,

    I am baptized points to God’s action on the Christian’s behalf. That is what makes it a hundred times better than almost any other answer a person could give.

    An apostate wouldn’t say it, and neither would an inquisitor.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    MikeD,

    I am baptized points to God’s action on the Christian’s behalf. That is what makes it a hundred times better than almost any other answer a person could give.

    An apostate wouldn’t say it, and neither would an inquisitor.

  • George A. Marquart

    Rev. Lehmann @3. Amen! Amen! I find it somewhat puzzling that although this “I am baptized” originates with Martin Luther, my feeling is that the section on Baptism in the Small Catechism could use some clarification, to say the least. This business about “a new man daily come forth and arise” does not, at least to me, seem to agree with the principle of “simul justus and peccator.”

    My biggest concern, though, as a Lutheran, is that the Holy Spirit is hardly in evidence in our Confessions when it comes to Baptism. If it were not for the section on Infant Baptism in the Large Catechism, Lutherans would be hard put to know that when a person is baptized, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them.

    I hope your book will address these matters, as well as the apparent confusion of the Repentance (μετάνοια) a person undergoes at conversion (or Baptism), and the daily (or more frequent, or even less frequent) repentance and contrition of the child of God. Where we read in the Smalcald Articles and the Solid Declaration, “And in Christians this repentance continues until death”, many don’t realize that “repentance” is a noun; i.e. not that we continue repenting, but that the repentance (μετάνοια) once made, is valid until death.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

    PS.: and Amen to you also on #14.

  • George A. Marquart

    Rev. Lehmann @3. Amen! Amen! I find it somewhat puzzling that although this “I am baptized” originates with Martin Luther, my feeling is that the section on Baptism in the Small Catechism could use some clarification, to say the least. This business about “a new man daily come forth and arise” does not, at least to me, seem to agree with the principle of “simul justus and peccator.”

    My biggest concern, though, as a Lutheran, is that the Holy Spirit is hardly in evidence in our Confessions when it comes to Baptism. If it were not for the section on Infant Baptism in the Large Catechism, Lutherans would be hard put to know that when a person is baptized, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them.

    I hope your book will address these matters, as well as the apparent confusion of the Repentance (μετάνοια) a person undergoes at conversion (or Baptism), and the daily (or more frequent, or even less frequent) repentance and contrition of the child of God. Where we read in the Smalcald Articles and the Solid Declaration, “And in Christians this repentance continues until death”, many don’t realize that “repentance” is a noun; i.e. not that we continue repenting, but that the repentance (μετάνοια) once made, is valid until death.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

    PS.: and Amen to you also on #14.

  • TE Schroeder

    Even people who say they believe that all people will go to heaven don’t really believe that. I consider it a plus that people will still acknowledge that the likes of Hitler, Stalin, et al. should go to hell. That seems to be the place we begin.

    If someone should go to hell, it means that he violated some standard. Now the question becomes: Who sets the standard?

    Few will be so arrogant to say, “I do,” though they may feel that they should have no answer to no one but themselves. Here we get to proclaim God’s standard: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

    Prepare for excuses, because God’s standard will terrify them. Perhaps they will finally know some fear of God. While the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is only the beginning. No one will crave this Savior until he sees how badly he needs the Savior. Then we get to reveal the wisdom of God for salvation — Jesus Christ.

  • TE Schroeder

    Even people who say they believe that all people will go to heaven don’t really believe that. I consider it a plus that people will still acknowledge that the likes of Hitler, Stalin, et al. should go to hell. That seems to be the place we begin.

    If someone should go to hell, it means that he violated some standard. Now the question becomes: Who sets the standard?

    Few will be so arrogant to say, “I do,” though they may feel that they should have no answer to no one but themselves. Here we get to proclaim God’s standard: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

    Prepare for excuses, because God’s standard will terrify them. Perhaps they will finally know some fear of God. While the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is only the beginning. No one will crave this Savior until he sees how badly he needs the Savior. Then we get to reveal the wisdom of God for salvation — Jesus Christ.

  • Jonathan

    Wouldn’t a Lutheran have to answer the question, “I don’t know”? I thought there was no eternal security in Luther’s writings.

  • Jonathan

    Wouldn’t a Lutheran have to answer the question, “I don’t know”? I thought there was no eternal security in Luther’s writings.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    George,

    Much of what you mention in your post found its way into my manuscript. As for the Holy Spirit indwelling through baptism, I suspect that the reasons you don’t find this in the Confessions very often are that a) it’s taught very clearly in the Scriptures, and b) no one the Lutherans were contending with denied it.

    Jonathan,

    Luther answered it, “I am baptized.” That is the location of the security.

    Luther writes:

    “[Every Christian] has always enough to do by believing firmly what Baptism promises and brings: victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God’s grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with His gifts. In short, Baptism is so far beyond us that if timid nature could realize this, it might well doubt whether it could be true. Think about it. Imagine there was a doctor somewhere who understood the art of saving people from death or, even though they died, could restore them quickly to life so that they would afterward live forever. Oh, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain. No one could find access to him because of the throng of the rich! But here in Baptism there is freely brought to everyone’s door such a treasure and medicine that it utterly destroys death and preserves all people alive.

    “We must think this way about Baptism and make it profitable for ourselves. So when our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say, “Nevertheless, I am baptized. And if I am baptized, it is promised to me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body” (LC 4:41-44).

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    George,

    Much of what you mention in your post found its way into my manuscript. As for the Holy Spirit indwelling through baptism, I suspect that the reasons you don’t find this in the Confessions very often are that a) it’s taught very clearly in the Scriptures, and b) no one the Lutherans were contending with denied it.

    Jonathan,

    Luther answered it, “I am baptized.” That is the location of the security.

    Luther writes:

    “[Every Christian] has always enough to do by believing firmly what Baptism promises and brings: victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God’s grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with His gifts. In short, Baptism is so far beyond us that if timid nature could realize this, it might well doubt whether it could be true. Think about it. Imagine there was a doctor somewhere who understood the art of saving people from death or, even though they died, could restore them quickly to life so that they would afterward live forever. Oh, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain. No one could find access to him because of the throng of the rich! But here in Baptism there is freely brought to everyone’s door such a treasure and medicine that it utterly destroys death and preserves all people alive.

    “We must think this way about Baptism and make it profitable for ourselves. So when our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say, “Nevertheless, I am baptized. And if I am baptized, it is promised to me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body” (LC 4:41-44).

  • MikeD

    @14 Thanks for the response. But many times on this very blog (representative of Lutheranism) the definition of a Christian has been, one who has had a trinitarian baptism. Any mention of one’s faith is supposedly doomed to subjectivism, or worse, works righteousness.

    I’m not sure and apostate or inquisitor would not console themselves with he thought that they are baptized. How many Jews prided themselves on their circumcision, or their being covenant children? I could very well see the opposite, since they’ve been taught that they have been regenerated and restored to the grace of justification by their baptism. One may reply that they have not persevered in faith. But this statement is only true in the context of a proper definition of faith. If faith is construed as trusting in your baptism, then they’ve got saving faith.

    But what I do appreciate in your response is that you seem to be saying that one who would give your prefered response would have a genuine faith in the Christ of Scripture, by which alone, they are justified. I disagree that this is the case, but I think we’d agree that he who believes in Him shall be saved.

  • MikeD

    @14 Thanks for the response. But many times on this very blog (representative of Lutheranism) the definition of a Christian has been, one who has had a trinitarian baptism. Any mention of one’s faith is supposedly doomed to subjectivism, or worse, works righteousness.

    I’m not sure and apostate or inquisitor would not console themselves with he thought that they are baptized. How many Jews prided themselves on their circumcision, or their being covenant children? I could very well see the opposite, since they’ve been taught that they have been regenerated and restored to the grace of justification by their baptism. One may reply that they have not persevered in faith. But this statement is only true in the context of a proper definition of faith. If faith is construed as trusting in your baptism, then they’ve got saving faith.

    But what I do appreciate in your response is that you seem to be saying that one who would give your prefered response would have a genuine faith in the Christ of Scripture, by which alone, they are justified. I disagree that this is the case, but I think we’d agree that he who believes in Him shall be saved.

  • Jonathan

    @18 Charles, thanks for that clarification. What I should have said was that Lutherans, I think, believe one can lose his salvation. Therefore, a Lutheran, when asked if he was going to heaven, would say, yes, I hope so because I’m baptized, but when my time comes to die, I may have lost my salvation. Is that right?

  • Jonathan

    @18 Charles, thanks for that clarification. What I should have said was that Lutherans, I think, believe one can lose his salvation. Therefore, a Lutheran, when asked if he was going to heaven, would say, yes, I hope so because I’m baptized, but when my time comes to die, I may have lost my salvation. Is that right?

  • –helen

    Pr. Lehmann,
    Re your “b” [nobody was arguing the point]

    Did the Anabaptists arise after the Confessions were written?

    How did Baptists and others arrive at the conclusion that baptism is a “symbol” which does nothing special (but [you] have to do it?)

    If that is a totally bad interpretation anyone can correct me.

  • –helen

    Pr. Lehmann,
    Re your “b” [nobody was arguing the point]

    Did the Anabaptists arise after the Confessions were written?

    How did Baptists and others arrive at the conclusion that baptism is a “symbol” which does nothing special (but [you] have to do it?)

    If that is a totally bad interpretation anyone can correct me.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Jonathan,

    No. The fact that we don’t believe in the perserverance of the saints doesn’t mean that we put a question mark on the certainty of our salvation. Our salvation rests in what God has done, and it’s certain.

    Helen,

    No. Anabaptists were around, but Lutherans were seldom in conversation with them. They had very little influence upon Lutherans in the sixteenth century. The confessors had bigger fish to fry (like Rome and Geneva).

    As for the question of how the view of baptism as symbol arose, my answer would be that it came through a misreading of John 3, Matthew 28, Acts 2, Titus 3, 1 Peter 3, and a few other biblical texts.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Jonathan,

    No. The fact that we don’t believe in the perserverance of the saints doesn’t mean that we put a question mark on the certainty of our salvation. Our salvation rests in what God has done, and it’s certain.

    Helen,

    No. Anabaptists were around, but Lutherans were seldom in conversation with them. They had very little influence upon Lutherans in the sixteenth century. The confessors had bigger fish to fry (like Rome and Geneva).

    As for the question of how the view of baptism as symbol arose, my answer would be that it came through a misreading of John 3, Matthew 28, Acts 2, Titus 3, 1 Peter 3, and a few other biblical texts.

  • Jonathan

    Charles, would you agree that it is possible for a believer to fall from faith and lose salvation, and it is possible for a believer to have complete assurance of eternal salvation through faith
    in Jesus Christ.

  • Jonathan

    Charles, would you agree that it is possible for a believer to fall from faith and lose salvation, and it is possible for a believer to have complete assurance of eternal salvation through faith
    in Jesus Christ.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Jonathan,

    Yes.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Jonathan,

    Yes.

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

    Frankly, I find the “going to heaven” thing a bit odd. This whole question presumes a certain set of beliefs and ideas, not just about hell (as previous commentators have noted), but also about heaven. I don’t think of the resurrection as “going to heaven”; it is more like Jesus recreating this world in perfect harmony. I think this question is built upon a simplistic and probably errant (and over individualistic) gospel.

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

    Frankly, I find the “going to heaven” thing a bit odd. This whole question presumes a certain set of beliefs and ideas, not just about hell (as previous commentators have noted), but also about heaven. I don’t think of the resurrection as “going to heaven”; it is more like Jesus recreating this world in perfect harmony. I think this question is built upon a simplistic and probably errant (and over individualistic) gospel.

  • MikeD

    For your consideration:

    How many baptized persons have not gone to heaven? Many.
    How many who count Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency go to hell? None.

    So how is, “Because I was baptized,” the best answer for this particular question?

  • MikeD

    For your consideration:

    How many baptized persons have not gone to heaven? Many.
    How many who count Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency go to hell? None.

    So how is, “Because I was baptized,” the best answer for this particular question?

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

    Mike D.,

    Because they trust in that external Word of promise (Baptism).

    Many baptized, do not trust in it, or have abandoned it.

    But no one can say for sure who has gone, or not gone to Heaven.

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

    Mike D.,

    Because they trust in that external Word of promise (Baptism).

    Many baptized, do not trust in it, or have abandoned it.

    But no one can say for sure who has gone, or not gone to Heaven.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Another great discussion today. Great questions and some great responses. Thanks Veith! (And pastor Lehmann, 2 thumbs up.)

    John has a good point @ 25 regarding a lot of confusion over “going to heaven” and the promise from the Savior of the “resurrection of the body” and the “life of the world to come”. I think it always important to acknowledge here that there is a lot that we don’t yet know about this, seeing as we forgiven sinners do “as through a glass darkly”. But we also have the comforting promise of Christ to the thief: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” What does this mean? I’m not precisely sure, but I sure am looking forward to being free from my sinful flesh and with Christ, especially with the whole bodily resurrection thing where there will be real and full life lived completely free from the sting of death. Wow, that’s a lot of promise! I wonder if some reject the gift because it sometimes just sounds too good to be true. But that Easter tomb was in fact empty and Christ is risen! Hosanna (or something like that)!

    Amen also to Jon @ 12.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Another great discussion today. Great questions and some great responses. Thanks Veith! (And pastor Lehmann, 2 thumbs up.)

    John has a good point @ 25 regarding a lot of confusion over “going to heaven” and the promise from the Savior of the “resurrection of the body” and the “life of the world to come”. I think it always important to acknowledge here that there is a lot that we don’t yet know about this, seeing as we forgiven sinners do “as through a glass darkly”. But we also have the comforting promise of Christ to the thief: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” What does this mean? I’m not precisely sure, but I sure am looking forward to being free from my sinful flesh and with Christ, especially with the whole bodily resurrection thing where there will be real and full life lived completely free from the sting of death. Wow, that’s a lot of promise! I wonder if some reject the gift because it sometimes just sounds too good to be true. But that Easter tomb was in fact empty and Christ is risen! Hosanna (or something like that)!

    Amen also to Jon @ 12.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I get the point of this would-be diagnostic question, but I could see that it misses both the whole aspect of Christianity (it is a short question), as well as what might interest people more these days.

    After all, we don’t believe Christianity is some sort of prep school trying to get us ready for the big test of the day we die. That is, Christianity isn’t just about what happens when you die. It’s also about now, about the struggles and feelings you’re currently dealing with. Or, as Scripture puts it, it’s about the “grace in which we now stand.”

    And while many people in our culture today are actively trying to avoid thinking of death, or at least simply not thinking about it, they still have issues — broken relationships, feelings of guilt, feelings of inadequacy, of not belonging, and so on. They might not be terribly interested in the eternal consequences of their sins, but they still are all too familiar with the temporal consequences of them.

    I guess I say this all not so much by way of saying why that diagnostic question is wrong (it’s … okay), but rather why the survey results might point us to what we need to focus on in talking to others.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I get the point of this would-be diagnostic question, but I could see that it misses both the whole aspect of Christianity (it is a short question), as well as what might interest people more these days.

    After all, we don’t believe Christianity is some sort of prep school trying to get us ready for the big test of the day we die. That is, Christianity isn’t just about what happens when you die. It’s also about now, about the struggles and feelings you’re currently dealing with. Or, as Scripture puts it, it’s about the “grace in which we now stand.”

    And while many people in our culture today are actively trying to avoid thinking of death, or at least simply not thinking about it, they still have issues — broken relationships, feelings of guilt, feelings of inadequacy, of not belonging, and so on. They might not be terribly interested in the eternal consequences of their sins, but they still are all too familiar with the temporal consequences of them.

    I guess I say this all not so much by way of saying why that diagnostic question is wrong (it’s … okay), but rather why the survey results might point us to what we need to focus on in talking to others.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeD asked (@26):

    How many baptized persons have not gone to heaven? Many.
    How many who count Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency go to hell? None.

    Steve already pointed this out (@27), but as to your first assertion, um, [citation needed]. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying your whole argument hinges on a claim you’re completely incapable of substantiating. Less than convincing.

    Moreover, what exactly, is the difference between someone who “counts Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency” and one who trusts in his baptism and the promises which God attached thereto?

    The problem you seem to have is that someone can be baptized and yet later reject the faith.

    What you don’t seem to grasp fully is that baptism is a comfort for the person seeking assurance from God. The apostate is, by definition, not seeking such assurance.

    Oh, and it’s not merely a case of “six of one, half a dozen of the other”, either. After all, do you count Christ’s righteousness as your sole sufficiency, Mike? Are you sure? Your sole sufficiency? Don’t you sometimes trust in your own works? And if you can honestly say that you do trust in Christ solely, well, it kind of sounds like you’re bragging about your own ability, which undermines your very claim.

    Which is why I will not point to my ability, whether to trust enough, to confess enough, to believe enough. I will point to what God has done, even if I do so with feeble, sin-stained hands. I will point to my baptism. Which covers over even the fact that I have all-too-often not counted Christ as my sole sufficiency, looking to myself or others.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeD asked (@26):

    How many baptized persons have not gone to heaven? Many.
    How many who count Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency go to hell? None.

    Steve already pointed this out (@27), but as to your first assertion, um, [citation needed]. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying your whole argument hinges on a claim you’re completely incapable of substantiating. Less than convincing.

    Moreover, what exactly, is the difference between someone who “counts Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency” and one who trusts in his baptism and the promises which God attached thereto?

    The problem you seem to have is that someone can be baptized and yet later reject the faith.

    What you don’t seem to grasp fully is that baptism is a comfort for the person seeking assurance from God. The apostate is, by definition, not seeking such assurance.

    Oh, and it’s not merely a case of “six of one, half a dozen of the other”, either. After all, do you count Christ’s righteousness as your sole sufficiency, Mike? Are you sure? Your sole sufficiency? Don’t you sometimes trust in your own works? And if you can honestly say that you do trust in Christ solely, well, it kind of sounds like you’re bragging about your own ability, which undermines your very claim.

    Which is why I will not point to my ability, whether to trust enough, to confess enough, to believe enough. I will point to what God has done, even if I do so with feeble, sin-stained hands. I will point to my baptism. Which covers over even the fact that I have all-too-often not counted Christ as my sole sufficiency, looking to myself or others.

  • jonathan

    i think it’s cool there’s another jonathan on the boards!

    don’t usually see that..kind of fun..

    sorry to waste the space, just wanted to holla at my brother!

  • jonathan

    i think it’s cool there’s another jonathan on the boards!

    don’t usually see that..kind of fun..

    sorry to waste the space, just wanted to holla at my brother!

  • Sara

    Did Paul, any apostle, Jesus, or any prophet in the Old Testament EVER ask that question?…

  • Sara

    Did Paul, any apostle, Jesus, or any prophet in the Old Testament EVER ask that question?…

  • Timothy

    @Sara I do not recall that being the case.

    From the statistics, it seems to me that the liberals are more thoughtful (about this issue) than others (whether religious not). I think that is a good thing as a whole.

  • Timothy

    @Sara I do not recall that being the case.

    From the statistics, it seems to me that the liberals are more thoughtful (about this issue) than others (whether religious not). I think that is a good thing as a whole.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sara (@32), what is the point of your question?

    Is it to suggest that we only ask questions ourselves that can be found verbatim in Scripture? Because if so, the question that forms your post would appear to fail by the very rule it implies.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sara (@32), what is the point of your question?

    Is it to suggest that we only ask questions ourselves that can be found verbatim in Scripture? Because if so, the question that forms your post would appear to fail by the very rule it implies.

  • Joanne

    I am going to heaven because God controlled the will of my parents and they brought me to God and the church added the Word to the water and washed me in the Word of God which washed off the sin and dirt, it washed me in a bath of the Holy Spirit which then entered me and created faith and gave me eternal life.

    I was just a tiny baby, but as a sinful human being, I still had the choice to refuse God, I don’t have the ability to say yes to God, but I can still say no, even as an infant. But through the questions asked by the pastor to my Godparents and parents, God said yes for me through the power of his Word and the by the bath in his Holy Spirit. On the rim of the marble font the old Germans had carved “Lasset die Kindern zu mir kommen.”

    So you see the dicotomy. Anything good that leads to heaven is the act of God. Anthing bad and that leads to hell, is my act. It’s a card game with odds that only a fool would take from the Devil.

  • Joanne

    I am going to heaven because God controlled the will of my parents and they brought me to God and the church added the Word to the water and washed me in the Word of God which washed off the sin and dirt, it washed me in a bath of the Holy Spirit which then entered me and created faith and gave me eternal life.

    I was just a tiny baby, but as a sinful human being, I still had the choice to refuse God, I don’t have the ability to say yes to God, but I can still say no, even as an infant. But through the questions asked by the pastor to my Godparents and parents, God said yes for me through the power of his Word and the by the bath in his Holy Spirit. On the rim of the marble font the old Germans had carved “Lasset die Kindern zu mir kommen.”

    So you see the dicotomy. Anything good that leads to heaven is the act of God. Anthing bad and that leads to hell, is my act. It’s a card game with odds that only a fool would take from the Devil.

  • Helen K.

    Joanne @35. To me, a relatively “new” Lutheran, but a long-time believer, your explanation is very helpful and enlightening AND comforting. Thank you!

  • Helen K.

    Joanne @35. To me, a relatively “new” Lutheran, but a long-time believer, your explanation is very helpful and enlightening AND comforting. Thank you!

  • MikeD

    @30 tODD

    You said, “but as to your first assertion, um, [citation needed]. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying your whole argument hinges on a claim you’re completely incapable of substantiating. ”

    So do you disagree or not that some people who have been baptized have gone to hell? If you agree with me, the following, um, citation is moot, and by your agreement the argument is substantiated as a reductio, but here goes at least some rationale. Two main lines of thought here, namely, baptism was needed for inclusion in the visible body and so it’s likely that the Judaizers, Demas, and the apostates of Heb 6 and 10 were baptized. Yet they were anathema, left for the cares of the world, and cannot be renewed unto repentance, respectively. Secondly, as least as I understand it, paedobaptists need rely on a continuity from old testament circumcision, and so by parallel, seeing that a great deal of those who received the sign of the covenant in the OT were not Jews inwardly, not of the remnant, via that strict continuity this is true of the visible NT community as well. That is to say, the church universal is, by and large, a subset of the visible church.

    tODD again, “What you don’t seem to grasp fully is that baptism is a comfort for the person seeking assurance from God. The apostate is, by definition, not seeking such assurance.”

    I’ll admit I do not fully grasp what you have stated. Would it then not be proper to ask you in the same vein of your questions to me, “do you [fully grasp the question at hand, tODD?] Are you sure? [You full grasp it]?…it kind of sounds like you’re bragging about your own ability.” In your words to Sara @ 32, “Because if so, the question that forms your post would appear to fail by the very rule it implies.” Besides that, I still contend that it’s plausible, if not undeniable, that many in history have counted on their baptism, in vain, to get them in to heaven. From the many writings of the fathers to Constantine postponing baptism until the very last moment to wash away all their sins just before they (or their sick children) dies.

    But to answer your question about my trusting in Christ alone, yes and no. Like the publican, “Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.” In a micro sense I struggle all the time with sin and self, as did Paul (Rom 7). But he could still say, “we place no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3) Can you? If so, you are with me and Paul. If not, repent before it’s everlasting too late.

    I agree very much with your sentiment when you rhetorically asked, “Moreover, what exactly, is the difference between someone who ‘counts Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency’ and one who trusts in his baptism and the promises which God attached thereto?” I would say there’s no difference. But also notice this is not what I objected to. I objected to, “I have been baptized.” There was no mention of trusting God, nor of his promises. Note also that the promise attendant with baptism is to repent (Acts 2) which is necessarily subjective. (i.e. Even if one wants to hold that baptism is strictly objective, repentance can’t be).

    Lastly, I’m not counting on my ability or degree of faith. I’m counting, literally (logizomai), on Christ. The faith that any Christian has is the gift of God, and even a mustard seed of faith is enough to move mountains or, even more radical, be the sole instrument of justification. But that does not change the fact that without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord. Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.

  • MikeD

    @30 tODD

    You said, “but as to your first assertion, um, [citation needed]. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying your whole argument hinges on a claim you’re completely incapable of substantiating. ”

    So do you disagree or not that some people who have been baptized have gone to hell? If you agree with me, the following, um, citation is moot, and by your agreement the argument is substantiated as a reductio, but here goes at least some rationale. Two main lines of thought here, namely, baptism was needed for inclusion in the visible body and so it’s likely that the Judaizers, Demas, and the apostates of Heb 6 and 10 were baptized. Yet they were anathema, left for the cares of the world, and cannot be renewed unto repentance, respectively. Secondly, as least as I understand it, paedobaptists need rely on a continuity from old testament circumcision, and so by parallel, seeing that a great deal of those who received the sign of the covenant in the OT were not Jews inwardly, not of the remnant, via that strict continuity this is true of the visible NT community as well. That is to say, the church universal is, by and large, a subset of the visible church.

    tODD again, “What you don’t seem to grasp fully is that baptism is a comfort for the person seeking assurance from God. The apostate is, by definition, not seeking such assurance.”

    I’ll admit I do not fully grasp what you have stated. Would it then not be proper to ask you in the same vein of your questions to me, “do you [fully grasp the question at hand, tODD?] Are you sure? [You full grasp it]?…it kind of sounds like you’re bragging about your own ability.” In your words to Sara @ 32, “Because if so, the question that forms your post would appear to fail by the very rule it implies.” Besides that, I still contend that it’s plausible, if not undeniable, that many in history have counted on their baptism, in vain, to get them in to heaven. From the many writings of the fathers to Constantine postponing baptism until the very last moment to wash away all their sins just before they (or their sick children) dies.

    But to answer your question about my trusting in Christ alone, yes and no. Like the publican, “Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.” In a micro sense I struggle all the time with sin and self, as did Paul (Rom 7). But he could still say, “we place no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3) Can you? If so, you are with me and Paul. If not, repent before it’s everlasting too late.

    I agree very much with your sentiment when you rhetorically asked, “Moreover, what exactly, is the difference between someone who ‘counts Christ’s righteousness as their sole sufficiency’ and one who trusts in his baptism and the promises which God attached thereto?” I would say there’s no difference. But also notice this is not what I objected to. I objected to, “I have been baptized.” There was no mention of trusting God, nor of his promises. Note also that the promise attendant with baptism is to repent (Acts 2) which is necessarily subjective. (i.e. Even if one wants to hold that baptism is strictly objective, repentance can’t be).

    Lastly, I’m not counting on my ability or degree of faith. I’m counting, literally (logizomai), on Christ. The faith that any Christian has is the gift of God, and even a mustard seed of faith is enough to move mountains or, even more radical, be the sole instrument of justification. But that does not change the fact that without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord. Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    because I have sinned and have fallen short of the glory –
    and – also because my C]Creator sent Jesus the Christ – to take upon himself my sins- and because I believe and have have been Baptized – in His glorious gift- I will be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm-
    Carol-CS
    LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    because I have sinned and have fallen short of the glory –
    and – also because my C]Creator sent Jesus the Christ – to take upon himself my sins- and because I believe and have have been Baptized – in His glorious gift- I will be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm-
    Carol-CS
    LA LFL

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeD (@37), continuing our conversation:

    So do you disagree or not that some people who have been baptized have gone to hell?

    I think you miss the point. I can no more rule it out than you can prove it. But while I don’t need to rule it out (I’m not claiming that everyone who has ever been baptized never lost their faith), your argument depends on your proving it’s so. Which you haven’t. And can’t. Because you don’t know who is in Hell.

    baptism was needed for inclusion in the visible body and so it’s likely that the Judaizers, Demas, and the apostates of Heb 6 and 10 were baptized.

    Again, we see you arguing from what you claim (by fiat?) to be “likely”. Your argument seems incredibly shaky. Also, are you claiming all those people ended up in Hell?

    as least as I understand it, paedobaptists need rely on a continuity from old testament circumcision

    Hmm? Need I? News to me.

    I still contend that it’s plausible, if not undeniable, that many in history have counted on their baptism, in vain, to get them in to heaven.

    Yes, I know this is your contention. It just remains as much your personal conjecture as when you first stated it. Will you, at some point, be offering more than your own opinion?

    Besides, how “vain” is it to trust in the promises God offers us in baptism? What makes it “vain”, that they were horrible sinners? Does man’s unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? If so, you’re as lost as I am.

    In a micro sense I struggle all the time with sin and self, as did Paul (Rom 7). But he could still say, “we place no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3) Can you?

    In a “micro sense”. Ha. What does that mean?

    It is, though, good that you bring up “flesh”. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and spirit gives birth to spirit. And no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. So let me ask you: when I trust (God) in my baptism, is my confidence in the flesh, or in the Spirit?

    I objected to, “I have been baptized.” There was no mention of trusting God, nor of his promises.

    Well that’s not true! The problem here is that you don’t understand what God promises us in baptism. It’s a curious conception you have of baptism that has nothing do to with trusting God and his promises?

    Note also that the promise attendant with baptism is to repent (Acts 2) …

    Read it again. “Repent” isn’t a “promise”, it’s a command. The promises attached to baptism in Acts 2 are these: “the forgiveness of your sins” and “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. I know you don’t believe in those promises, but there they are.

    without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord.

    Again, [citation needed].

    Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.

    So John was saved because he leaped?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    MikeD (@37), continuing our conversation:

    So do you disagree or not that some people who have been baptized have gone to hell?

    I think you miss the point. I can no more rule it out than you can prove it. But while I don’t need to rule it out (I’m not claiming that everyone who has ever been baptized never lost their faith), your argument depends on your proving it’s so. Which you haven’t. And can’t. Because you don’t know who is in Hell.

    baptism was needed for inclusion in the visible body and so it’s likely that the Judaizers, Demas, and the apostates of Heb 6 and 10 were baptized.

    Again, we see you arguing from what you claim (by fiat?) to be “likely”. Your argument seems incredibly shaky. Also, are you claiming all those people ended up in Hell?

    as least as I understand it, paedobaptists need rely on a continuity from old testament circumcision

    Hmm? Need I? News to me.

    I still contend that it’s plausible, if not undeniable, that many in history have counted on their baptism, in vain, to get them in to heaven.

    Yes, I know this is your contention. It just remains as much your personal conjecture as when you first stated it. Will you, at some point, be offering more than your own opinion?

    Besides, how “vain” is it to trust in the promises God offers us in baptism? What makes it “vain”, that they were horrible sinners? Does man’s unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? If so, you’re as lost as I am.

    In a micro sense I struggle all the time with sin and self, as did Paul (Rom 7). But he could still say, “we place no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3) Can you?

    In a “micro sense”. Ha. What does that mean?

    It is, though, good that you bring up “flesh”. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and spirit gives birth to spirit. And no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. So let me ask you: when I trust (God) in my baptism, is my confidence in the flesh, or in the Spirit?

    I objected to, “I have been baptized.” There was no mention of trusting God, nor of his promises.

    Well that’s not true! The problem here is that you don’t understand what God promises us in baptism. It’s a curious conception you have of baptism that has nothing do to with trusting God and his promises?

    Note also that the promise attendant with baptism is to repent (Acts 2) …

    Read it again. “Repent” isn’t a “promise”, it’s a command. The promises attached to baptism in Acts 2 are these: “the forgiveness of your sins” and “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. I know you don’t believe in those promises, but there they are.

    without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord.

    Again, [citation needed].

    Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.

    So John was saved because he leaped?

  • Daniel

    @C-Christian Soldier

    In your statement, “and because I believe and have have been Baptized – in His glorious gift.” Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever reason(s), you will not, “be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm?”

  • Daniel

    @C-Christian Soldier

    In your statement, “and because I believe and have have been Baptized – in His glorious gift.” Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever reason(s), you will not, “be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm?”

  • Joanne

    God creates mysteries that he uses to communicate himself to us. This one is the mystery of the washing of regeneration. Let me wash you in my strong Word and my Spirit of Truth and I will give you faith and eternal life. The water is holy because it has been set apart for a special purpose, to carry the promises of God and the gifts of his Spirit into those whom he has chosen to make his own.

    Because God loves us, he has mercy on us and gives us the gift of his grace, which is his sacrficed son. One might call all that an objective truth.

    So, how does God turn an objective truth into a personally saving truth? By means of mysteries so simple and understandable, that even suckling babes can grasp them, but only suckling babes can grasp them, because they do not use human reason to attempt to understand the Kingdom of God.

    Unless you accept the Kingdom of God just as these suckling-babes do, you will never enter it.

    God’s word is not a retorical exercise meant to be read like an Hellenic homework assignement. Our logic, our reason are here only to help us to understand the words. But, to understand the message, we become new born babes so that we may enter into the Kingdom of God.

    No man takes the Kingdom of God by his own wit, but by the same faith with with his new born child takes it. When it comes to the faith, we pass on what we have received from the apostles, even the unbelievable parts.

  • Joanne

    God creates mysteries that he uses to communicate himself to us. This one is the mystery of the washing of regeneration. Let me wash you in my strong Word and my Spirit of Truth and I will give you faith and eternal life. The water is holy because it has been set apart for a special purpose, to carry the promises of God and the gifts of his Spirit into those whom he has chosen to make his own.

    Because God loves us, he has mercy on us and gives us the gift of his grace, which is his sacrficed son. One might call all that an objective truth.

    So, how does God turn an objective truth into a personally saving truth? By means of mysteries so simple and understandable, that even suckling babes can grasp them, but only suckling babes can grasp them, because they do not use human reason to attempt to understand the Kingdom of God.

    Unless you accept the Kingdom of God just as these suckling-babes do, you will never enter it.

    God’s word is not a retorical exercise meant to be read like an Hellenic homework assignement. Our logic, our reason are here only to help us to understand the words. But, to understand the message, we become new born babes so that we may enter into the Kingdom of God.

    No man takes the Kingdom of God by his own wit, but by the same faith with with his new born child takes it. When it comes to the faith, we pass on what we have received from the apostles, even the unbelievable parts.

  • Tom Hering

    “If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven?”

    I suspect this question was designed to be a sheep-stealing question. One that was meant to be asked of Catholics and mainline Protestants, i.e., people who already know something about the Christian heaven, and have some concerns about getting there. With the upshot being that Evangelicalism can show you the way to get there – unlike the church you’re in now.

    If you’re talking with someone who has never been part of a Christian church, I would think you’d start by asking, “Do you have any questions about God, or about life after death?” Or simply, “What concerns you?”

  • Tom Hering

    “If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven?”

    I suspect this question was designed to be a sheep-stealing question. One that was meant to be asked of Catholics and mainline Protestants, i.e., people who already know something about the Christian heaven, and have some concerns about getting there. With the upshot being that Evangelicalism can show you the way to get there – unlike the church you’re in now.

    If you’re talking with someone who has never been part of a Christian church, I would think you’d start by asking, “Do you have any questions about God, or about life after death?” Or simply, “What concerns you?”

  • Dan Kempin

    Mike D, #37,

    “But that does not change the fact that without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord. Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.”

    So what happens to someone who dies in infancy? What about someone who is uncapable of understanding an explicit message?

    (Also, where is the backing from scripture that no one can see the Lord without personal assent? It seems to me that the language of “born again” kind of rules that out. One does not assent in any degree to being born.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Mike D, #37,

    “But that does not change the fact that without some personal explicit assent to an understood message, no one will see the Lord. Even John has this in the womb, for he leaped for joy at the proclamation of the good news.”

    So what happens to someone who dies in infancy? What about someone who is uncapable of understanding an explicit message?

    (Also, where is the backing from scripture that no one can see the Lord without personal assent? It seems to me that the language of “born again” kind of rules that out. One does not assent in any degree to being born.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel, #40,

    “Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever reason(s), . . . ”

    What reason could a believer give for not being baptized? Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and do not do what I say?”

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel, #40,

    “Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever reason(s), . . . ”

    What reason could a believer give for not being baptized? Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and do not do what I say?”

  • Daniel

    @Dan Kempin

    Hi Dan, I think one could be for the same reason believers don’t obey the plethora of commands which we’re given by the Lord, disobedience. If we took Jesus’ statement in the way which I think you’re using it then none of us are “making it” to heaven because “we” are not “doing” something (obeying his commands). I’m not saying that this is what you believe, because I don’t know. It’s just that it reads like that to me.

    Another reason could be a death bed profession of faith, where literally, a person could be in their final throes of death and make a credible profession of faith

    I could probably come up with all kinds of hypothetical situations, many of which are plausible and some which are likely to have actually happened. I’ve answered your question, but mine remains unanswered, “Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever the reason(s), you will not, “be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm?”

  • Daniel

    @Dan Kempin

    Hi Dan, I think one could be for the same reason believers don’t obey the plethora of commands which we’re given by the Lord, disobedience. If we took Jesus’ statement in the way which I think you’re using it then none of us are “making it” to heaven because “we” are not “doing” something (obeying his commands). I’m not saying that this is what you believe, because I don’t know. It’s just that it reads like that to me.

    Another reason could be a death bed profession of faith, where literally, a person could be in their final throes of death and make a credible profession of faith

    I could probably come up with all kinds of hypothetical situations, many of which are plausible and some which are likely to have actually happened. I’ve answered your question, but mine remains unanswered, “Are you saying that if you believed only and weren’t baptized, for whatever the reason(s), you will not, “be in heaven when I leave this earthly realm?”

  • Helen K.

    …and then that’s well known statement that I was raised with i.e. the “age of accountability”. It can vary from person to person. And of course it was taught and accepted that infants and children under that age and even developmentally disabled would go to Heaven. God is a merciful Father.

  • Helen K.

    …and then that’s well known statement that I was raised with i.e. the “age of accountability”. It can vary from person to person. And of course it was taught and accepted that infants and children under that age and even developmentally disabled would go to Heaven. God is a merciful Father.

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K.

    “And of course it was taught and accepted that infants and children under that age and even developmentally disabled would go to Heaven. God is a merciful Father.”

    Are the 50 million dead fetuses since 1973 all in heaven right now?

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K.

    “And of course it was taught and accepted that infants and children under that age and even developmentally disabled would go to Heaven. God is a merciful Father.”

    Are the 50 million dead fetuses since 1973 all in heaven right now?

  • Tom Hering

    Will people who confront the faithful with unanswerable questions be in heaven?

  • Tom Hering

    Will people who confront the faithful with unanswerable questions be in heaven?

  • Helen K.

    Michael @47 I was taught to believe that they are, the aborted fetuses.

    Tom @48, I don’t know. I have struggled all my life with many unanswerable questions. In the mid ’80′s I finally plead with God to reveal Himself to me as I could never achieve the “feelings” and assurance that the churches and individuals I grew up with seemed to have accomplished. I looked into some forms 0f Zen Buddism and other philosophies but knew in my heart that they couldn’t be correct. I think all of these religions are searching for the true God of the Scriptures, only they don’t know or accept it. I have finally stopped trying to answer all the mysteries and take the Lord at His Word. I will say again, Dr. Veith’s little book, “Spirituality of the Cross” somehow conveyed to me that Christianity was the ultimate Truth and Reality. And I’m still learning.

  • Helen K.

    Michael @47 I was taught to believe that they are, the aborted fetuses.

    Tom @48, I don’t know. I have struggled all my life with many unanswerable questions. In the mid ’80′s I finally plead with God to reveal Himself to me as I could never achieve the “feelings” and assurance that the churches and individuals I grew up with seemed to have accomplished. I looked into some forms 0f Zen Buddism and other philosophies but knew in my heart that they couldn’t be correct. I think all of these religions are searching for the true God of the Scriptures, only they don’t know or accept it. I have finally stopped trying to answer all the mysteries and take the Lord at His Word. I will say again, Dr. Veith’s little book, “Spirituality of the Cross” somehow conveyed to me that Christianity was the ultimate Truth and Reality. And I’m still learning.

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K. @49
    I was taught to believe that [the aborted fetuses] are [in heaven],

    Does this at all take any of the sting out of abortion? (Assuming that there really is this place after death of infinite suffering and anguish, as well as a place of infinite delight.)

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K. @49
    I was taught to believe that [the aborted fetuses] are [in heaven],

    Does this at all take any of the sting out of abortion? (Assuming that there really is this place after death of infinite suffering and anguish, as well as a place of infinite delight.)

  • Tom Hering

    Helen K, my question was a poke at Michael B.

    One nice thing about the gift of faith is that it frees us from the need to know all the answers. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Helen K, my question was a poke at Michael B.

    One nice thing about the gift of faith is that it frees us from the need to know all the answers. :-)

  • fws

    todd @ 39 and miked @ 37

    There is an element missing in the discussion. The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms .

    That is this: God rules everything, and he rules in two ways, on earth by extorting the Goodness and Mercy that is his will with the Law and in his spiritual kingdom e restores Goodness and Mercy as something that requires no work by faith alone in the Gospel.

    So what does this have to do with who is and who is not included in the Kingdom and how this relates to Holy Baptism?

    In the Apology art VII the Lutherans point out that God rules in the earthly kingdom , by the Law in a government called the Holy Catholic Church. The entrance into this government is Baptism. Whoever is baptized is a citizen of this government. Period. This is true in the same way that whoever was circumcized was a member of israel. And Israel too included true believers and also hypocrites. The Church is such an earthly government and it is ruled by the Law, not the Gospel. The Law of this government is Christian Doctrine, and it is the goverments job to make sure that all of its citizens are a) baptized, and b) know the laws and ordinances of the government even though that government cannot force anyone to believe.

    There are two other governments of the Law on earth called society and family/marriage. And they function to wield the law upon old Adam to make goodness and mercy happen just as the H0ly Catholic Church does.

    This government called the Holy Catholic Church fully and completely includes everyone baptized. this includes gays, murderers, good church going folk and well, anyone baptized. Think israel here. And the Promises of Christ fully also apply even to those who do not believe them. And this government knows no boundaries of nationality, denomination, race, etc. it is scattered throughout the earth. This fact is a great comfort when the church seems hidden completely because its leaders seem to have become fully apostate.

    But the earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church has something, in with and under it… that is something invisible and unseen that other governments do not have. Only within the confines of the eartly Law government called the Holy Catholic Church will be , in with and under it, the C0mmunion of Saints. Everyone in this communion is also among the baptized. Exceptions to this are not the rule, they prove that the rule exists. And these are those within whom the Promise contained in and conveyed by Holy Baptism have taken root. These are those who trust, alone, in the works of Another. They do not even trust in the works of man called Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper and Churchly sanctification as what gains salvation. But they trust in what God Promises to them in with and under those very Law acts or Good Works that God extorts out of Old Adam pastors parents and such within the church. And who within the Holy Catholic Church is also a member of the Communion of Saints? That MikeD is not our task to know. Our dear Lord tells us to tend to the field and allow the wheat and the looks-like-wheat weeds grow up together until the harvest. Our work is to do our part, as the Law demands, as Christ demands and commands in that Holy Catholic Church until our dear Lord returns. We trust that in doing this, God will grow the Communion of Saints that is in ,with and under it. And we are to treat ALL the baptized as full members off both Holy Catholic Church and Communion of Saints. We address ALL the baptized thussly.

    And there are great and wonderful practical consequences to knowing and understanding Holy Baptism in the context of the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which really is just and only another casuistic form of the Distinction between Law and Gospel.

    therefore, when I meet someone at Starbucks and do evangelism, my very first question is to ask someone if they have been baptized. if the answer is yes, I am priviledged and commanded to assume that that person is indeed a member of the Holy Catholic Church. I address him as such. I do this even if he has lapsed into budhism or some other such sin and has seemingly lost his faity. My work is to call him back into his baptism, or in the case of someone who attends a church, to strengthen him by teaching him into his baptism with no need to convert him into my own Lutheranism.

    To be able to approach another in this way is a great pleaure and priviledge that I only know Lutherans as being able to do among all the christian sects. It truly is an honor.

    I hope this helps a little.

  • fws

    todd @ 39 and miked @ 37

    There is an element missing in the discussion. The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms .

    That is this: God rules everything, and he rules in two ways, on earth by extorting the Goodness and Mercy that is his will with the Law and in his spiritual kingdom e restores Goodness and Mercy as something that requires no work by faith alone in the Gospel.

    So what does this have to do with who is and who is not included in the Kingdom and how this relates to Holy Baptism?

    In the Apology art VII the Lutherans point out that God rules in the earthly kingdom , by the Law in a government called the Holy Catholic Church. The entrance into this government is Baptism. Whoever is baptized is a citizen of this government. Period. This is true in the same way that whoever was circumcized was a member of israel. And Israel too included true believers and also hypocrites. The Church is such an earthly government and it is ruled by the Law, not the Gospel. The Law of this government is Christian Doctrine, and it is the goverments job to make sure that all of its citizens are a) baptized, and b) know the laws and ordinances of the government even though that government cannot force anyone to believe.

    There are two other governments of the Law on earth called society and family/marriage. And they function to wield the law upon old Adam to make goodness and mercy happen just as the H0ly Catholic Church does.

    This government called the Holy Catholic Church fully and completely includes everyone baptized. this includes gays, murderers, good church going folk and well, anyone baptized. Think israel here. And the Promises of Christ fully also apply even to those who do not believe them. And this government knows no boundaries of nationality, denomination, race, etc. it is scattered throughout the earth. This fact is a great comfort when the church seems hidden completely because its leaders seem to have become fully apostate.

    But the earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church has something, in with and under it… that is something invisible and unseen that other governments do not have. Only within the confines of the eartly Law government called the Holy Catholic Church will be , in with and under it, the C0mmunion of Saints. Everyone in this communion is also among the baptized. Exceptions to this are not the rule, they prove that the rule exists. And these are those within whom the Promise contained in and conveyed by Holy Baptism have taken root. These are those who trust, alone, in the works of Another. They do not even trust in the works of man called Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper and Churchly sanctification as what gains salvation. But they trust in what God Promises to them in with and under those very Law acts or Good Works that God extorts out of Old Adam pastors parents and such within the church. And who within the Holy Catholic Church is also a member of the Communion of Saints? That MikeD is not our task to know. Our dear Lord tells us to tend to the field and allow the wheat and the looks-like-wheat weeds grow up together until the harvest. Our work is to do our part, as the Law demands, as Christ demands and commands in that Holy Catholic Church until our dear Lord returns. We trust that in doing this, God will grow the Communion of Saints that is in ,with and under it. And we are to treat ALL the baptized as full members off both Holy Catholic Church and Communion of Saints. We address ALL the baptized thussly.

    And there are great and wonderful practical consequences to knowing and understanding Holy Baptism in the context of the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which really is just and only another casuistic form of the Distinction between Law and Gospel.

    therefore, when I meet someone at Starbucks and do evangelism, my very first question is to ask someone if they have been baptized. if the answer is yes, I am priviledged and commanded to assume that that person is indeed a member of the Holy Catholic Church. I address him as such. I do this even if he has lapsed into budhism or some other such sin and has seemingly lost his faity. My work is to call him back into his baptism, or in the case of someone who attends a church, to strengthen him by teaching him into his baptism with no need to convert him into my own Lutheranism.

    To be able to approach another in this way is a great pleaure and priviledge that I only know Lutherans as being able to do among all the christian sects. It truly is an honor.

    I hope this helps a little.

  • Tom Hering

    “And these are those within whom the Promise contained in and conveyed by Holy Baptism have taken root. These are those who trust, alone, in the works of Another. They do not even trust in the works of man called Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper and Churchly sanctification as what gains salvation. But they trust in what God Promises to them in with and under those very Law acts or Good Works that God extorts out of Old Adam pastors parents and such within the church.” – @ 52.

    Nicely stated.

  • Tom Hering

    “And these are those within whom the Promise contained in and conveyed by Holy Baptism have taken root. These are those who trust, alone, in the works of Another. They do not even trust in the works of man called Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper and Churchly sanctification as what gains salvation. But they trust in what God Promises to them in with and under those very Law acts or Good Works that God extorts out of Old Adam pastors parents and such within the church.” – @ 52.

    Nicely stated.

  • fws

    why thanks tom @ 53

    The dunkin donuts coffee was awesome. still owe you what I promised in return. Havent forgotten! Money is tight now and the postage will cost me more than what I got ya. yikes. Brasil is expensive.

  • fws

    why thanks tom @ 53

    The dunkin donuts coffee was awesome. still owe you what I promised in return. Havent forgotten! Money is tight now and the postage will cost me more than what I got ya. yikes. Brasil is expensive.

  • Tom Hering

    Jubilee! You owe me nothing. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Jubilee! You owe me nothing. :-D

  • MikeD

    fws @ 52,

    Thanks for the clear enunciation of Lutheran doctrine. Without opening a can of Worms, I’ll just say I have deep disagreement with much and hearty agreement with some of what you’ve expressed. I do feel, though, that I understand Lutheran doctrine better and may chew on it with more clarity. I’m glad to see that there is, at least in theory, room for not equating those that have been baptized and those that believe in God’s promises. FWIW, I do not think it’s our job to know who is, as you put it, in the Communion of the Saints. I have no idea who the individuals of the invisible church are, as I’d put it, except for myself. My entire stream of thought was that an individual must personally (read explicitly) believe the gospel message to be in the invisible Communion of Saints, and that baptism in an act in and of itself (as I saw @3 saying with no mention of promises) could at most give confidence that one is a member of a visible body of people that are as a whole called Christian. Perhaps that’s nothing to be scoffed at, and yet I do not see it as the best answer to the original question of the post.

    Also, in an attempt to rejoice in agreement with such an agreeable tone, let me say that those of my theological ilk are often guilty of what your system avoids. Namely, the ability to rejoice upon meeting one who names Christ. Too often that joy is taken by hang ups about small theological differences or things like, “They can’t be a Christian because they do thus and such.” Too much law-doggin’! I’ve found it liberating to be more inclusive from the outset and then see where the conversation and relationship lead. Exhort, encourage, rebuke, and call to repentance as needed.

    One question for you, fws. We know neither of us have election goggles, but what status would you (or Lutheranism) give to one who has been excommunicated from the Holy Catholic Church? For example, a baptized man commits fornication regularly, clearly agrees it is against God’s law, is contrary to the Spirit of his baptism, but openly values that pleasure more than godliness and simply says he’s gonna keep doing it. The protocols of Matt 18 are followed and still, open defiance to the elders and the church. He’s excommunicated and treated “as an unbeliever.” Would this man now not be considered a member of the HCC and/or the Communion of the Saints? I’m not talking about infallible knowledge of the future state of this man. Again, how should we regard him? Thanks in advance.

  • MikeD

    fws @ 52,

    Thanks for the clear enunciation of Lutheran doctrine. Without opening a can of Worms, I’ll just say I have deep disagreement with much and hearty agreement with some of what you’ve expressed. I do feel, though, that I understand Lutheran doctrine better and may chew on it with more clarity. I’m glad to see that there is, at least in theory, room for not equating those that have been baptized and those that believe in God’s promises. FWIW, I do not think it’s our job to know who is, as you put it, in the Communion of the Saints. I have no idea who the individuals of the invisible church are, as I’d put it, except for myself. My entire stream of thought was that an individual must personally (read explicitly) believe the gospel message to be in the invisible Communion of Saints, and that baptism in an act in and of itself (as I saw @3 saying with no mention of promises) could at most give confidence that one is a member of a visible body of people that are as a whole called Christian. Perhaps that’s nothing to be scoffed at, and yet I do not see it as the best answer to the original question of the post.

    Also, in an attempt to rejoice in agreement with such an agreeable tone, let me say that those of my theological ilk are often guilty of what your system avoids. Namely, the ability to rejoice upon meeting one who names Christ. Too often that joy is taken by hang ups about small theological differences or things like, “They can’t be a Christian because they do thus and such.” Too much law-doggin’! I’ve found it liberating to be more inclusive from the outset and then see where the conversation and relationship lead. Exhort, encourage, rebuke, and call to repentance as needed.

    One question for you, fws. We know neither of us have election goggles, but what status would you (or Lutheranism) give to one who has been excommunicated from the Holy Catholic Church? For example, a baptized man commits fornication regularly, clearly agrees it is against God’s law, is contrary to the Spirit of his baptism, but openly values that pleasure more than godliness and simply says he’s gonna keep doing it. The protocols of Matt 18 are followed and still, open defiance to the elders and the church. He’s excommunicated and treated “as an unbeliever.” Would this man now not be considered a member of the HCC and/or the Communion of the Saints? I’m not talking about infallible knowledge of the future state of this man. Again, how should we regard him? Thanks in advance.

  • fws

    MikeD @56

    MIKE what status would you (or Lutheranism) give to one who has been excommunicated from the Holy Catholic Church?

    FRANK This is a really excellent question MikeD! Remember that we Lutherans consider the Holy Catholic Church a government in the exact same sense as the two other governments of family and society/government. So from that we can know a few things. 1) excommunication is a form of exile or holding at arms length from the christian congregation. The purpose is to maintain peace and order. It looks like the ushers removing a person who is disrupting a church service. And it´s purpose, for Lutherans, is the same. One is not excommunicated for habitual sinning. This is true even if that habitual sinning becomes publicly known. As an example this might be an alcoholic who cannot manage to control his drinking, and, as a result ends up creating many public problems and scandals. Now if those problems disrupt the functioning of the church.

    This is precisely why Luther´s Small Catechism says that excommunication is to be done to remove “manifestly impenitent sinner” from “the christian congregation”.

    Note that we are not removing someone because they sin or even sin habitually. We are all guilty of that. And habitual sinning is not evidence of impenitence. Nor are we removing impenitent sinners. We are all guilty, in all honestly, of that too. We are removing those who are manifestly impenitent. Further, we are not even really removing them from the Holy Catholic Church and certainly not judging them to be removed from the Communion of Saints! We are removing them from the Christian Congregation. Maybe they need to join another congretation. And often that is what happens and that is often not a bad result at all!

    MIKED: For example, a baptized man commits fornication regularly, clearly agrees it is against God’s law, is contrary to the Spirit of his baptism,

    FRANK Here we would need to know more right: How is it that we have this information? Is he bragging about it? Is it the pastor doing the church secretary? From what I wrote earlier, the circumstances matter greatly. How is it disrupting the work of the congretation?

    MikeD but openly values that pleasure more than godliness and simply says he’s gonna keep doing it.

    FRANK Again, who knows this information? How did they come to know it? How is it that we come to know his inner thinking that he is valuing the pleasure of doing it more than caring about who he is hurting by his actions?

    MikeD The protocols of Matt 18 are followed and still, open defiance to the elders and the church. He’s excommunicated and treated “as an unbeliever.”

    FRANK: The problem is that this is too hypothetical. We can continue the hypothetical by filling in what-if details but still the problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all set of regulations we are to follow here.

    Secondly, how is it that we are to treat unbelievers? We are to evangelize them! we are to urge them to come to church! We are to seek them out, talk to them . etc etc. Is that what most churchs visualize when they excommunicate someone? Is that how they react?

    MikeD: Would this man now not be considered a member of the HCC and/or the Communion of the Saints?

    FRANK: As a Lutheran christian, the basis of my continuing wooing and seeking out of this blood-bought soul would be Holy Baptism. I would remind him of his baptism. I would urge him to cling to it and the Promises that God has attached to it and delivered to him personally there. Justfication always happens in 3 steps. God makes a promise. 2) he offers that promise to us in the word and baptism , the holy supper and the church´s absolution delivered by its pastors, and 3) faith clings to that promise exactly in the means whereby God offers it. See the story of Naaman in II Kings. It was not elijah nor the jordan river nor the actions of naaman that cured him. It was the fact that Naaman held onto God´s Promise exactly where God offered that promise!

    MikeD : I’m not talking about infallible knowledge of the future state of this man. Again, how should we regard him? Thanks in advance.

    FRANK I can only speak to this as a Lutheran Christian. I am certain that Jesus paid for this man´s sins. I am certain that God intends the Gospel for him. Further, I seek any knowledge of election not abstractly, but in the fact that this man was baptized. Baptism was God´s act. It means that God placed his name upon this man. So my task is to encourage this man to climb back into the boat called Baptism. It is there for him always for him to return to it. I am speaking of Baptism here exactly in the way St Peter refers to Baptism as saving us exactly as Noah was saved in the Flood.

    So in summary, I would address him as one who IS a member of the HCC and the communion of saints. Our dear Lord Jesus says we are to treat wheat and looks-like-wheat in the same way. And that way is to proclaim the Holy Gospel which is , alone, about hiding all our own doings in the Works of Another and to be truly terrified at ALL we can see and do in our own selves.

    We are all in the same boat! And that boat is Holy Baptism. There is really no difference between me and that man we are talking about. What would you think is the difference?

  • fws

    MikeD @56

    MIKE what status would you (or Lutheranism) give to one who has been excommunicated from the Holy Catholic Church?

    FRANK This is a really excellent question MikeD! Remember that we Lutherans consider the Holy Catholic Church a government in the exact same sense as the two other governments of family and society/government. So from that we can know a few things. 1) excommunication is a form of exile or holding at arms length from the christian congregation. The purpose is to maintain peace and order. It looks like the ushers removing a person who is disrupting a church service. And it´s purpose, for Lutherans, is the same. One is not excommunicated for habitual sinning. This is true even if that habitual sinning becomes publicly known. As an example this might be an alcoholic who cannot manage to control his drinking, and, as a result ends up creating many public problems and scandals. Now if those problems disrupt the functioning of the church.

    This is precisely why Luther´s Small Catechism says that excommunication is to be done to remove “manifestly impenitent sinner” from “the christian congregation”.

    Note that we are not removing someone because they sin or even sin habitually. We are all guilty of that. And habitual sinning is not evidence of impenitence. Nor are we removing impenitent sinners. We are all guilty, in all honestly, of that too. We are removing those who are manifestly impenitent. Further, we are not even really removing them from the Holy Catholic Church and certainly not judging them to be removed from the Communion of Saints! We are removing them from the Christian Congregation. Maybe they need to join another congretation. And often that is what happens and that is often not a bad result at all!

    MIKED: For example, a baptized man commits fornication regularly, clearly agrees it is against God’s law, is contrary to the Spirit of his baptism,

    FRANK Here we would need to know more right: How is it that we have this information? Is he bragging about it? Is it the pastor doing the church secretary? From what I wrote earlier, the circumstances matter greatly. How is it disrupting the work of the congretation?

    MikeD but openly values that pleasure more than godliness and simply says he’s gonna keep doing it.

    FRANK Again, who knows this information? How did they come to know it? How is it that we come to know his inner thinking that he is valuing the pleasure of doing it more than caring about who he is hurting by his actions?

    MikeD The protocols of Matt 18 are followed and still, open defiance to the elders and the church. He’s excommunicated and treated “as an unbeliever.”

    FRANK: The problem is that this is too hypothetical. We can continue the hypothetical by filling in what-if details but still the problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all set of regulations we are to follow here.

    Secondly, how is it that we are to treat unbelievers? We are to evangelize them! we are to urge them to come to church! We are to seek them out, talk to them . etc etc. Is that what most churchs visualize when they excommunicate someone? Is that how they react?

    MikeD: Would this man now not be considered a member of the HCC and/or the Communion of the Saints?

    FRANK: As a Lutheran christian, the basis of my continuing wooing and seeking out of this blood-bought soul would be Holy Baptism. I would remind him of his baptism. I would urge him to cling to it and the Promises that God has attached to it and delivered to him personally there. Justfication always happens in 3 steps. God makes a promise. 2) he offers that promise to us in the word and baptism , the holy supper and the church´s absolution delivered by its pastors, and 3) faith clings to that promise exactly in the means whereby God offers it. See the story of Naaman in II Kings. It was not elijah nor the jordan river nor the actions of naaman that cured him. It was the fact that Naaman held onto God´s Promise exactly where God offered that promise!

    MikeD : I’m not talking about infallible knowledge of the future state of this man. Again, how should we regard him? Thanks in advance.

    FRANK I can only speak to this as a Lutheran Christian. I am certain that Jesus paid for this man´s sins. I am certain that God intends the Gospel for him. Further, I seek any knowledge of election not abstractly, but in the fact that this man was baptized. Baptism was God´s act. It means that God placed his name upon this man. So my task is to encourage this man to climb back into the boat called Baptism. It is there for him always for him to return to it. I am speaking of Baptism here exactly in the way St Peter refers to Baptism as saving us exactly as Noah was saved in the Flood.

    So in summary, I would address him as one who IS a member of the HCC and the communion of saints. Our dear Lord Jesus says we are to treat wheat and looks-like-wheat in the same way. And that way is to proclaim the Holy Gospel which is , alone, about hiding all our own doings in the Works of Another and to be truly terrified at ALL we can see and do in our own selves.

    We are all in the same boat! And that boat is Holy Baptism. There is really no difference between me and that man we are talking about. What would you think is the difference?

  • Joanne

    I know you didn’t aim this question toward me, however I suspect some disengenuity in the question. But, I’ll ignore that.

    Whosoever sins you forgive on earth are forgiven in heaven; and whosoever sins you do not forgive on earth are not forgiven in heaven. We call it the office of the keys and every Lutheran child learns it in the Small Catachism in junion high school/middle school. It’s focus is on confession and absolution, but the unlocking and locking of the gates of heaven are clearly there.

    Lutherans avoid excommunication like the plague, well Luther never avoided the plague even with his wife and children, but you know what I mean. We are very reluctant to do it taking a long time and repeating some of the steps several times, even postponing the meeting a month or two.

    Because if the impenetent just says, I quit being a Lutheran and goes down the street to the What’s Happening Now church, we just ask him for a release request letter, like we did for Representative Michelle Bachmann when she needed to officially leave the Wisconcin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Just request a letter of release for no particular reason, and we release you, with some chatter about your soul and your need to still attend a Christian church.

    But, you’re really asking about what happen when we finally, finally do it. It is of cource done by the pastor by the authority of the congregation. The impenetent has to demand to remain a member of this Lutheran church and has to demand to remain a thinker and doer of this forbidden activity. He maintains he is not sinning and is not asking for forgivness for what he says is not sin. And, so that nobody can miss the point, this is a very pubic sin. The church can’t ignore it (as they would really prefer to do).

    One wonders, with so many ways to avoid it and still remain a sinner, why would anyone hang about this Luthereran Church long enough to get excommunicated. But it happens.

    You know the big news story about the Kansas uber-abortionist at Wichita that made national news a couple years ago. Horrorfying story. (gotta run now for a daily radiation treatment, will fill out details when we get back)

  • Joanne

    I know you didn’t aim this question toward me, however I suspect some disengenuity in the question. But, I’ll ignore that.

    Whosoever sins you forgive on earth are forgiven in heaven; and whosoever sins you do not forgive on earth are not forgiven in heaven. We call it the office of the keys and every Lutheran child learns it in the Small Catachism in junion high school/middle school. It’s focus is on confession and absolution, but the unlocking and locking of the gates of heaven are clearly there.

    Lutherans avoid excommunication like the plague, well Luther never avoided the plague even with his wife and children, but you know what I mean. We are very reluctant to do it taking a long time and repeating some of the steps several times, even postponing the meeting a month or two.

    Because if the impenetent just says, I quit being a Lutheran and goes down the street to the What’s Happening Now church, we just ask him for a release request letter, like we did for Representative Michelle Bachmann when she needed to officially leave the Wisconcin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Just request a letter of release for no particular reason, and we release you, with some chatter about your soul and your need to still attend a Christian church.

    But, you’re really asking about what happen when we finally, finally do it. It is of cource done by the pastor by the authority of the congregation. The impenetent has to demand to remain a member of this Lutheran church and has to demand to remain a thinker and doer of this forbidden activity. He maintains he is not sinning and is not asking for forgivness for what he says is not sin. And, so that nobody can miss the point, this is a very pubic sin. The church can’t ignore it (as they would really prefer to do).

    One wonders, with so many ways to avoid it and still remain a sinner, why would anyone hang about this Luthereran Church long enough to get excommunicated. But it happens.

    You know the big news story about the Kansas uber-abortionist at Wichita that made national news a couple years ago. Horrorfying story. (gotta run now for a daily radiation treatment, will fill out details when we get back)

  • MikeD

    fws @ 57

    What I had in mind when I gave the hypothetical is a situation that is not really that rare. It has happened, so sadly, at my church and the way the information was made know was by the unrepentant person themself to the elders when he was confronted. Notice I’m not talking about habitual sin as if it were a matter of numeric quantity. I’m speaking of a man who sins knowingly and has no regard for the authority of the word, nor the church, when they’ve come along to help him as one who has been overcome with sin. In effect, they are saying “No thanks, I’ve got my own thing here” to Christ. My hypothetical is exactly what a “manifestly impenitent sinner” is.

    This is not a cheap shot but I coulda swore you would have agreed that after ex-communication, and keeping at arm’s length, the person would no longer be recognized as a member of the communion of the saints, while hoping that they repent and praying for them. To be honest I find it so unsatisfactory that you would say perhaps they should just go to another church. While this may be true for a disagreement about the color of the carpet, certainly not for a manifestly impenitent sinner, right? I mean, if Hymenaeus and Philetus bounced from Ephesus and the church at Philippi knew about it all, should they welcome them into their communion? I would think not.

    About the 2K you’ve mentioned so much. I’ve always scratched my head at all the 2K talk of Lutherans because of their use of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state. Is it the case that modern day Lutherans do not hold to a view of church and state that Luther did? Perhaps you could refer me to a book, not a tome, or even a confession that could summarize the Lutheran 2K model and particularly its historic manifestation. For now my assumption is that like American Presbyterians, Lutherans also have become more Baptistic in their view of church and state than their theological forbears would approve of.

  • MikeD

    fws @ 57

    What I had in mind when I gave the hypothetical is a situation that is not really that rare. It has happened, so sadly, at my church and the way the information was made know was by the unrepentant person themself to the elders when he was confronted. Notice I’m not talking about habitual sin as if it were a matter of numeric quantity. I’m speaking of a man who sins knowingly and has no regard for the authority of the word, nor the church, when they’ve come along to help him as one who has been overcome with sin. In effect, they are saying “No thanks, I’ve got my own thing here” to Christ. My hypothetical is exactly what a “manifestly impenitent sinner” is.

    This is not a cheap shot but I coulda swore you would have agreed that after ex-communication, and keeping at arm’s length, the person would no longer be recognized as a member of the communion of the saints, while hoping that they repent and praying for them. To be honest I find it so unsatisfactory that you would say perhaps they should just go to another church. While this may be true for a disagreement about the color of the carpet, certainly not for a manifestly impenitent sinner, right? I mean, if Hymenaeus and Philetus bounced from Ephesus and the church at Philippi knew about it all, should they welcome them into their communion? I would think not.

    About the 2K you’ve mentioned so much. I’ve always scratched my head at all the 2K talk of Lutherans because of their use of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state. Is it the case that modern day Lutherans do not hold to a view of church and state that Luther did? Perhaps you could refer me to a book, not a tome, or even a confession that could summarize the Lutheran 2K model and particularly its historic manifestation. For now my assumption is that like American Presbyterians, Lutherans also have become more Baptistic in their view of church and state than their theological forbears would approve of.

  • MikeD

    Joanne @ 58,

    You do not do your Lutheranism well by assuming I was being disingenuous, nor your Christian brother as one who names Christ. For one that repudiates naval gazing in favor of a more objective baptism, it’s especially ironic of you to peer into my soul past my patently honest inquiry. But you were right about me not aiming the question at you.

  • MikeD

    Joanne @ 58,

    You do not do your Lutheranism well by assuming I was being disingenuous, nor your Christian brother as one who names Christ. For one that repudiates naval gazing in favor of a more objective baptism, it’s especially ironic of you to peer into my soul past my patently honest inquiry. But you were right about me not aiming the question at you.

  • MikeD

    Ahhh! My last sentence was snarky. Sorry.

  • MikeD

    Ahhh! My last sentence was snarky. Sorry.

  • Joanne

    (Still ignoring your possible disingenuousness, especially since you didn’t attack Frank in your further conversation)

    The uber-abortionist of Wichita was national news for months. He had one of the largest abortion clinics nationally and prided himself on his kind treatment of his patients. And it seems he was remarkably kind to them. For a good Christian girl who worried about the eternal salvation of her unborn child, this uber-abortionist offered to baptise the tiny, little life-form right before he killed it. He was a very, very public sinner who insisted that helping girls kill their unwanted babies, was a kind, kind service that God wanted him to provide for unfortunate girls.

    Now, if Dr. Death had belonged to the Church of What’s Happening Now, no problem, they all think he walked on water and girls were damn lucky such a God-fearing man walked among them.

    But, Dr. Death belonged to a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Wichita. And, luckily for him his nearby CoWHN, was also Lutheran, the kind of Lutherans who officially deny sin. Their list of sins gets shorter every day. They support abortion nationally in a big, big way. So, Dr. Death avoided excommunication at the Missouri Synod church by getting a letter of release so he could go be a member of the nearby Lutheran CoWHN. Well, he could have.

    And the poor LC-MS congregation would have been so relieved had he done that, but instead Dr. Death insisted to his Missouri church (the Lutherans who will lock you out of heaven if you make them do it) that what he did at his abortion clinic, one of the best in the Nation, was good and right – it was not a sin for him to help unfortunate girls by ending their inconvenient pregnancies. Foetuses are not people and I can kill as many as I want to. And yet the Missouians in Wichita disagreed; they said sin doesn’t change; that abortion was murder and that Dr. Death must stop doing what he did in large numbers down at this very good clinic.

    Now just imagine this mid-sized congregation of regular ole Kansas neighborhood city folk, and the pastor who very well might never have faced an excommunication before in his ministry. We start St. Paul’s process and notify Dr. Death, now maybe he’ll just go away. No. Dr. Death insists that he is not sinning and he has every right in the world to be a member of this Missouri Synod Lutheran church.

    The excommunication finally happened but after years and years of meetings and it tore the congreagation to pieces. I would bet you dollars to donuts there are still hearts bleeding over this matter at the Missouri church. But finally, after a full and complete excommunication (key to the gates of Heaven turned to locked), the Kind hearted abortionist walked down the street and joined the Other Lutheran Church of What’s Happen Now, and became an Elder fairly soon and a leader of the congregation. These other Lutherans that are so well known for their toleration (women’s ordination, homosexual marriage and ordination, abortion …) opened their warm soft arms to Dr. Death, consoled him for the harsh treatment of those legalistic Missouri Lutherans and life went on.

    Can you see that there was no reason in the world why this Dr. had to be excommunicated? He insisted upon it and forced it to happen. He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin and on national news. He said that the church were the real sinners for not tolerating what he did down at his clinic. And in the end, after making like miserable for his home congregation for years, he did what he could have done with no fanfare at all and walked down the street to the kind, tolerant Lutheran church who would and did greatly appreciate his work among them. They especailly liked that baptism service he provided the soon to be departed.

    And then on a Sunday morning, years later, Dr. Death was ushering at the CoWHN when a deranged man came in with a gun and killed him, bringing all the pain back alive for the Missouri Lutherans who had always wanted his penetance and change of mind. Now the national media could let the whole world know how unloving and untolerant they had been, although Dr. Death had been so happy among these soft-hearted, tolerant, accepting Lutherans.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the gates of Heaven and the gates are locked. The loving, kind-hearted, tolerant Lutherans had agreed with the Dr. He had done nothing wrong and certainly was wrongfully excommunicated by the heart-less Missourians. Dr. Death’s new church had approved his sin and required no repentance.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven and his new, loving, tolerant church had never bothered to reopen the gates for him, because they believed the gate weren’t really locked. A lot of modernish, tolerant, heart-feeling folk are a bit causual about the afterlife, should it exist.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven looking for Jesus to be as tolerant, and warm-hearted as his modernistic church on earth. He looks to Jesus through the still-locked gates and Jesus points back down to that miserable, little Missouri congregaton of Wichita clodhoppers and says:

    “I gave them the keys and you forced them to use them.”

  • Joanne

    (Still ignoring your possible disingenuousness, especially since you didn’t attack Frank in your further conversation)

    The uber-abortionist of Wichita was national news for months. He had one of the largest abortion clinics nationally and prided himself on his kind treatment of his patients. And it seems he was remarkably kind to them. For a good Christian girl who worried about the eternal salvation of her unborn child, this uber-abortionist offered to baptise the tiny, little life-form right before he killed it. He was a very, very public sinner who insisted that helping girls kill their unwanted babies, was a kind, kind service that God wanted him to provide for unfortunate girls.

    Now, if Dr. Death had belonged to the Church of What’s Happening Now, no problem, they all think he walked on water and girls were damn lucky such a God-fearing man walked among them.

    But, Dr. Death belonged to a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Wichita. And, luckily for him his nearby CoWHN, was also Lutheran, the kind of Lutherans who officially deny sin. Their list of sins gets shorter every day. They support abortion nationally in a big, big way. So, Dr. Death avoided excommunication at the Missouri Synod church by getting a letter of release so he could go be a member of the nearby Lutheran CoWHN. Well, he could have.

    And the poor LC-MS congregation would have been so relieved had he done that, but instead Dr. Death insisted to his Missouri church (the Lutherans who will lock you out of heaven if you make them do it) that what he did at his abortion clinic, one of the best in the Nation, was good and right – it was not a sin for him to help unfortunate girls by ending their inconvenient pregnancies. Foetuses are not people and I can kill as many as I want to. And yet the Missouians in Wichita disagreed; they said sin doesn’t change; that abortion was murder and that Dr. Death must stop doing what he did in large numbers down at this very good clinic.

    Now just imagine this mid-sized congregation of regular ole Kansas neighborhood city folk, and the pastor who very well might never have faced an excommunication before in his ministry. We start St. Paul’s process and notify Dr. Death, now maybe he’ll just go away. No. Dr. Death insists that he is not sinning and he has every right in the world to be a member of this Missouri Synod Lutheran church.

    The excommunication finally happened but after years and years of meetings and it tore the congreagation to pieces. I would bet you dollars to donuts there are still hearts bleeding over this matter at the Missouri church. But finally, after a full and complete excommunication (key to the gates of Heaven turned to locked), the Kind hearted abortionist walked down the street and joined the Other Lutheran Church of What’s Happen Now, and became an Elder fairly soon and a leader of the congregation. These other Lutherans that are so well known for their toleration (women’s ordination, homosexual marriage and ordination, abortion …) opened their warm soft arms to Dr. Death, consoled him for the harsh treatment of those legalistic Missouri Lutherans and life went on.

    Can you see that there was no reason in the world why this Dr. had to be excommunicated? He insisted upon it and forced it to happen. He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin and on national news. He said that the church were the real sinners for not tolerating what he did down at his clinic. And in the end, after making like miserable for his home congregation for years, he did what he could have done with no fanfare at all and walked down the street to the kind, tolerant Lutheran church who would and did greatly appreciate his work among them. They especailly liked that baptism service he provided the soon to be departed.

    And then on a Sunday morning, years later, Dr. Death was ushering at the CoWHN when a deranged man came in with a gun and killed him, bringing all the pain back alive for the Missouri Lutherans who had always wanted his penetance and change of mind. Now the national media could let the whole world know how unloving and untolerant they had been, although Dr. Death had been so happy among these soft-hearted, tolerant, accepting Lutherans.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the gates of Heaven and the gates are locked. The loving, kind-hearted, tolerant Lutherans had agreed with the Dr. He had done nothing wrong and certainly was wrongfully excommunicated by the heart-less Missourians. Dr. Death’s new church had approved his sin and required no repentance.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven and his new, loving, tolerant church had never bothered to reopen the gates for him, because they believed the gate weren’t really locked. A lot of modernish, tolerant, heart-feeling folk are a bit causual about the afterlife, should it exist.

    And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven looking for Jesus to be as tolerant, and warm-hearted as his modernistic church on earth. He looks to Jesus through the still-locked gates and Jesus points back down to that miserable, little Missouri congregaton of Wichita clodhoppers and says:

    “I gave them the keys and you forced them to use them.”

  • Helen K.

    Wow, Joannie….I had no idea this man belonged to a LCMS congregation. I do recall when he was shot, however, but don’t recall the details.

  • Helen K.

    Wow, Joannie….I had no idea this man belonged to a LCMS congregation. I do recall when he was shot, however, but don’t recall the details.

  • Helen K.

    Sorry, I mispelled your name, Joanne.

  • Helen K.

    Sorry, I mispelled your name, Joanne.

  • fws

    MikeD @ 59

    I think I agree that part of my answer is incorrect Mike. I appreciate the discussion. This sort of irenic and charitable discussion sharpens me. I appreciate your taking the time to discuss this all with me.

    Let me respond point by point to your latest post.

    MikeD: …the way the information was made know was by the unrepentant person themself to the elders when he was confronted.

    FRANK: I hear you saying that it was the “information” that the man was unrepentant that was “made known”. The elders “confronted ” him with what? Can you say without revealing a confidence what it is the elders knew and how they came to know it? I believe that that matters a great deal.

    MikeD: Notice I’m not talking about habitual sin as if it were a matter of numeric quantity.

    FRANK: I am imagining that the man was engaged in some sort of sexual sinning. How could I guess that? Interesting how and why I CAN assume that I think! I am almost positive it was not a fat person approached for gluttony or a businessman approached for the sin of coveteousness or even someone approached for spreading false doctrine. I am almost certain that the situation was about someone a) cheating on his wife with some other known person, b) a homosexual , c) some close variation like that. How good is my crystal ball?

    MikeD: I’m speaking of a man who was sinning knowingly.

    FRANK: This implies that there is a distinction between willing sinning and unwilling or unconscious sinning. Roman Catholics make this distintion as Mortal and Venial Sin.

    We Lutheran say that ALL sinning is “capital ” or “mortal” sinning. It brings nothing less than the death of the sinner. Why we believe that is this:

    “Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers.

    Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin.

    No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul.

    In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart.

    Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works.

    That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3). ”
    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    MikeD: …..he has no regard for the authority of the word, nor the church, when they’ve come along to help him as one who has been overcome with sin.

    FRANK: I hope you take me as being sincere when I say I am not sure about this. I am not saying this happened in the case you are talking about, but often a church will literally confront someone. They dont approach the person as Nathan approached David. In that case pride can get in the way. Or… sometimes someone is not rejecting the authority of God or his Word, they simply are not convinced that the elders have a right understanding of it. For example: A homosexual may not be convinced that Scriptures call out homosexuality as a sin. Yes he believes he is a sinner. Yes he even believes that he sins sexually. So approaching him with “the bible says this, end of discussion, accept this or else” might not be a great approach. This is a doctrinal difference in this case, much like you and I probably disagree on Baptism, the Lords Supper and Election. Ok. What to do about that? Excommunicate him? If you were Lutheran and decided to become Reformed would I excommunicate you and tell you that you are outside the Church of God? I wouldn’t do that.

    Or say a senior couple is shacked up to avoid losing social security benefits messing up other financial considerations. So the elders approach the couple and tell them they “need to get married or else”. Excommunicate them? Or a younger couple that are together in a common law marriage with kids. Excommunicate them? Or…. a couple both previously divorced from other persons and now living with each other. Excommunication?

    Let’s not get into the details of each of these. I am merely illustrating the point that the details matter alot. In the 20s there were Lutheran churches who excommunicated women for cutting their hair!

    MikeD: In effect, they are saying “No thanks, I’ve got my own thing here” to Christ. My hypothetical is exactly what a “manifestly impenitent sinner” is.

    FRANK: In the Lutheran understanding, manifest and impenitent sinning is always second table sinning. It is someone hurting or harming their neighbor and refusing to stop. First table sinsthat are against God, are sins of the heart, and so by definition are not manifest. So I was assuming that whatever sin was manifest meant there were two parties to the sinning in the congregation. In the scenario you preesented, maybe one side repented and the other side was then confronted. In that case the manifest sinning came to an end. The “unrepentance ” could have been pride rearing up at the way the sinner was literally “confronted”. again I dont know. And I am not saying that was the case in your church.

    MikeD: This is not a cheap shot but I coulda swore you would have agreed that after ex-communication, and keeping at arm’s length, the person would no longer be recognized as a member of the communion of the saints, while hoping that they repent and praying for them.

    FRANK: This would be contrary to the commandment of Christ. Only God can judge what is in the heart. And it is what is in the heart, alone, that makes one a christian or not. The Church, as any government, is to judge the actions of its members and mitigate the harm those actions cause. Society removes the rights of persistent lawbreakers and also removes them from society so they can do no more harm. Yet they remain citizens.

    And I hope they would do more than hope for repentence and pray. That does not look like missionary work. And to treat someone as an unbeliever , I suggest, is to take on the responsiblity of a full on missionary effort, as in “come to church, you are welcome here!!” and as much contact with as much Gospel content as possible. Why Gospel? The Law cant overcome sin. Only the Gospel can do that.

    MikeD: To be honest I find it so unsatisfactory that you would say perhaps they should just go to another church. While this may be true for a disagreement about the color of the carpet, certainly not for a manifestly impenitent sinner, right? I mean, if Hymenaeus and Philetus bounced from Ephesus and the church at Philippi knew about it all, should they welcome them into their communion? I would think not.

    FRANK : I too find that part of my answer very unsatisfactory and wrong. I am not sure what I was thinking. I guess I was thinking that even when there is repentence, the damage of the sin is done and sometimes it is best for someone to move on to another church. And actually, usually an excommunication ends uo either that way, or the person has left already and doesnt really care about the excommunication anyway.

    MikeD : About the 2K you’ve mentioned so much. I’ve always scratched my head at all the 2K talk of Lutherans because of their use of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state.

    FRANK: If you are thinking of the peasants revolt and muentzer and the anabaptist uprising, I would argue this was not case of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state. What other example are you thinking of here MikeD? or was that it? Can we keep this as a sidebar discussion? I think the other points you raise here are more vitally urgent to our situation today.

    MikeD: Is it the case that modern day Lutherans do not hold to a view of church and state that Luther did?

    FRANK: I believe that yuo are exactly right here Mike actually.

    MikeD: Perhaps you could refer me to a book, not a tome, or even a confession that could summarize the Lutheran 2K model and particularly its historic manifestation.

    FRANK: I don’t believe that there are any “historic manifestations” at all. Why not? I believe that Luther and the writers of the Lutheran Confessions taught Two Kingdoms as merely a different modality of the Distiction of Law and Gospel. I call it a “casuistic” modality. It is true that most modern Lutherans see Two Kingdoms as some sort of theory of the proper roles of church vs state. I believe that this is really totally at odds with what the Lutheran Confessions teach actually.

    Here is something short and sweet that summarizes, I believe faithfully, the Lutheran teaching of 2K as it is presented in our Lutheran Confessions. I can take you to our Confessions and show you precisely where this is taught if you like. And I can also point you to a Luther Sermon that demonstrates that what I say is what Luther taught as the 2k doctrine.

    2k=old adam vs new man = holy catholic church vs communion of saints = god ruling through the Law vs ruling by faith in Christ = all works we do vs the Work Christ did = sanctification as faith alone vs sanctification as the law work of killing Old Adam. etc etc etc.

    here is where you can read up on the real Lutheran Two Kingdoms doctrine, which is nothing other than another expression of the distinction between Law and Gospel I repeat. Here ya go!…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

    MikeD: For now my assumption is that like American Presbyterians, Lutherans also have become more Baptistic in their view of church and state than their theological forbears would approve of.

    FRANK: My view is that Lutherans are returning to the Roman Catholic Scholasticism that Melancthon and Calvin, as NeoScholastics returned to. Baptists, to the extent they are influenced by Calvin fall along those lines. To the extent they are influenced by arminianism and methodism, they veer into yet another direction. Your mileage may vary here. So may that of many Lutherans.

  • fws

    MikeD @ 59

    I think I agree that part of my answer is incorrect Mike. I appreciate the discussion. This sort of irenic and charitable discussion sharpens me. I appreciate your taking the time to discuss this all with me.

    Let me respond point by point to your latest post.

    MikeD: …the way the information was made know was by the unrepentant person themself to the elders when he was confronted.

    FRANK: I hear you saying that it was the “information” that the man was unrepentant that was “made known”. The elders “confronted ” him with what? Can you say without revealing a confidence what it is the elders knew and how they came to know it? I believe that that matters a great deal.

    MikeD: Notice I’m not talking about habitual sin as if it were a matter of numeric quantity.

    FRANK: I am imagining that the man was engaged in some sort of sexual sinning. How could I guess that? Interesting how and why I CAN assume that I think! I am almost positive it was not a fat person approached for gluttony or a businessman approached for the sin of coveteousness or even someone approached for spreading false doctrine. I am almost certain that the situation was about someone a) cheating on his wife with some other known person, b) a homosexual , c) some close variation like that. How good is my crystal ball?

    MikeD: I’m speaking of a man who was sinning knowingly.

    FRANK: This implies that there is a distinction between willing sinning and unwilling or unconscious sinning. Roman Catholics make this distintion as Mortal and Venial Sin.

    We Lutheran say that ALL sinning is “capital ” or “mortal” sinning. It brings nothing less than the death of the sinner. Why we believe that is this:

    “Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers.

    Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin.

    No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul.

    In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart.

    Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works.

    That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3). ”
    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    MikeD: …..he has no regard for the authority of the word, nor the church, when they’ve come along to help him as one who has been overcome with sin.

    FRANK: I hope you take me as being sincere when I say I am not sure about this. I am not saying this happened in the case you are talking about, but often a church will literally confront someone. They dont approach the person as Nathan approached David. In that case pride can get in the way. Or… sometimes someone is not rejecting the authority of God or his Word, they simply are not convinced that the elders have a right understanding of it. For example: A homosexual may not be convinced that Scriptures call out homosexuality as a sin. Yes he believes he is a sinner. Yes he even believes that he sins sexually. So approaching him with “the bible says this, end of discussion, accept this or else” might not be a great approach. This is a doctrinal difference in this case, much like you and I probably disagree on Baptism, the Lords Supper and Election. Ok. What to do about that? Excommunicate him? If you were Lutheran and decided to become Reformed would I excommunicate you and tell you that you are outside the Church of God? I wouldn’t do that.

    Or say a senior couple is shacked up to avoid losing social security benefits messing up other financial considerations. So the elders approach the couple and tell them they “need to get married or else”. Excommunicate them? Or a younger couple that are together in a common law marriage with kids. Excommunicate them? Or…. a couple both previously divorced from other persons and now living with each other. Excommunication?

    Let’s not get into the details of each of these. I am merely illustrating the point that the details matter alot. In the 20s there were Lutheran churches who excommunicated women for cutting their hair!

    MikeD: In effect, they are saying “No thanks, I’ve got my own thing here” to Christ. My hypothetical is exactly what a “manifestly impenitent sinner” is.

    FRANK: In the Lutheran understanding, manifest and impenitent sinning is always second table sinning. It is someone hurting or harming their neighbor and refusing to stop. First table sinsthat are against God, are sins of the heart, and so by definition are not manifest. So I was assuming that whatever sin was manifest meant there were two parties to the sinning in the congregation. In the scenario you preesented, maybe one side repented and the other side was then confronted. In that case the manifest sinning came to an end. The “unrepentance ” could have been pride rearing up at the way the sinner was literally “confronted”. again I dont know. And I am not saying that was the case in your church.

    MikeD: This is not a cheap shot but I coulda swore you would have agreed that after ex-communication, and keeping at arm’s length, the person would no longer be recognized as a member of the communion of the saints, while hoping that they repent and praying for them.

    FRANK: This would be contrary to the commandment of Christ. Only God can judge what is in the heart. And it is what is in the heart, alone, that makes one a christian or not. The Church, as any government, is to judge the actions of its members and mitigate the harm those actions cause. Society removes the rights of persistent lawbreakers and also removes them from society so they can do no more harm. Yet they remain citizens.

    And I hope they would do more than hope for repentence and pray. That does not look like missionary work. And to treat someone as an unbeliever , I suggest, is to take on the responsiblity of a full on missionary effort, as in “come to church, you are welcome here!!” and as much contact with as much Gospel content as possible. Why Gospel? The Law cant overcome sin. Only the Gospel can do that.

    MikeD: To be honest I find it so unsatisfactory that you would say perhaps they should just go to another church. While this may be true for a disagreement about the color of the carpet, certainly not for a manifestly impenitent sinner, right? I mean, if Hymenaeus and Philetus bounced from Ephesus and the church at Philippi knew about it all, should they welcome them into their communion? I would think not.

    FRANK : I too find that part of my answer very unsatisfactory and wrong. I am not sure what I was thinking. I guess I was thinking that even when there is repentence, the damage of the sin is done and sometimes it is best for someone to move on to another church. And actually, usually an excommunication ends uo either that way, or the person has left already and doesnt really care about the excommunication anyway.

    MikeD : About the 2K you’ve mentioned so much. I’ve always scratched my head at all the 2K talk of Lutherans because of their use of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state.

    FRANK: If you are thinking of the peasants revolt and muentzer and the anabaptist uprising, I would argue this was not case of persecuting heretics with the arm of the state. What other example are you thinking of here MikeD? or was that it? Can we keep this as a sidebar discussion? I think the other points you raise here are more vitally urgent to our situation today.

    MikeD: Is it the case that modern day Lutherans do not hold to a view of church and state that Luther did?

    FRANK: I believe that yuo are exactly right here Mike actually.

    MikeD: Perhaps you could refer me to a book, not a tome, or even a confession that could summarize the Lutheran 2K model and particularly its historic manifestation.

    FRANK: I don’t believe that there are any “historic manifestations” at all. Why not? I believe that Luther and the writers of the Lutheran Confessions taught Two Kingdoms as merely a different modality of the Distiction of Law and Gospel. I call it a “casuistic” modality. It is true that most modern Lutherans see Two Kingdoms as some sort of theory of the proper roles of church vs state. I believe that this is really totally at odds with what the Lutheran Confessions teach actually.

    Here is something short and sweet that summarizes, I believe faithfully, the Lutheran teaching of 2K as it is presented in our Lutheran Confessions. I can take you to our Confessions and show you precisely where this is taught if you like. And I can also point you to a Luther Sermon that demonstrates that what I say is what Luther taught as the 2k doctrine.

    2k=old adam vs new man = holy catholic church vs communion of saints = god ruling through the Law vs ruling by faith in Christ = all works we do vs the Work Christ did = sanctification as faith alone vs sanctification as the law work of killing Old Adam. etc etc etc.

    here is where you can read up on the real Lutheran Two Kingdoms doctrine, which is nothing other than another expression of the distinction between Law and Gospel I repeat. Here ya go!…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

    MikeD: For now my assumption is that like American Presbyterians, Lutherans also have become more Baptistic in their view of church and state than their theological forbears would approve of.

    FRANK: My view is that Lutherans are returning to the Roman Catholic Scholasticism that Melancthon and Calvin, as NeoScholastics returned to. Baptists, to the extent they are influenced by Calvin fall along those lines. To the extent they are influenced by arminianism and methodism, they veer into yet another direction. Your mileage may vary here. So may that of many Lutherans.

  • fws

    joanne @ 62

    “And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven looking for Jesus to be as tolerant, and warm-hearted as his modernistic church on earth. He looks to Jesus through the still-locked gates

    I am hopeful that this monster did precisely that. I hope that he looked alone to Jesus for mercy . In that case he is now in heaven.

    My sins too are equally monsterous and inhuman and quite terrifying. And it is not my repentance that turns the key in the lock……it is alone the Works of Christ.

  • fws

    joanne @ 62

    “And so Dr. Death appears before the locked gates of Heaven looking for Jesus to be as tolerant, and warm-hearted as his modernistic church on earth. He looks to Jesus through the still-locked gates

    I am hopeful that this monster did precisely that. I hope that he looked alone to Jesus for mercy . In that case he is now in heaven.

    My sins too are equally monsterous and inhuman and quite terrifying. And it is not my repentance that turns the key in the lock……it is alone the Works of Christ.

  • fws

    and this is also precisely what that LCMS church should have been praying for when they excommunicated him. I am sure it was what they were praying for in fact.

  • fws

    and this is also precisely what that LCMS church should have been praying for when they excommunicated him. I am sure it was what they were praying for in fact.

  • fws

    the bible says “treat him AS an unbeliever.” The bible says no where that the church has the actual power to judge whether or not someone is in or out.

    Also, the earliest manuscripts do not have the part of the passage that say “and whosoever sins you retain they are retained.”

  • fws

    the bible says “treat him AS an unbeliever.” The bible says no where that the church has the actual power to judge whether or not someone is in or out.

    Also, the earliest manuscripts do not have the part of the passage that say “and whosoever sins you retain they are retained.”

  • fws

    joanne: and no where in the Lutheran Confessions do we teach that excommunication excludes someone from the Communion of Saints. Correct me if I am wrong here.

  • fws

    joanne: and no where in the Lutheran Confessions do we teach that excommunication excludes someone from the Communion of Saints. Correct me if I am wrong here.

  • Daniel

    @Joanne #62

    Maybe you should use a different word, because you’re definitely not doing this to MikeD, “to refrain from noticing or recognizing.” See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ignore for more details.

  • Daniel

    @Joanne #62

    Maybe you should use a different word, because you’re definitely not doing this to MikeD, “to refrain from noticing or recognizing.” See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ignore for more details.

  • Joanne

    Hi Daniel,
    I don’t think that MikeD is being disengenuous with Frank, at this point. It was just a fleeting and misguided notion of mine.
    Joanne

  • Joanne

    Hi Daniel,
    I don’t think that MikeD is being disengenuous with Frank, at this point. It was just a fleeting and misguided notion of mine.
    Joanne

  • George A. Marquart

    Dear Rev. Lehmann: Thank you for your response (#18). I wanted to comment sooner, but was out of town for a few days.

    When you write, “no one the Lutherans were contending with denied it,” (i.e. indwelling) I suspect the Lutherans, and Martin Luther himself, were extremely concerned about too much emphasis on the Holy Spirit by the “Schwärmer” from Geneva, and His supposed whispering of personal messages to the “true” believers. Therefore, they preferred to speak about the power of the “Word” rather than of that of the Lord, the Holy Spirit. In our day, pastors and professors in the LCMS think there is nothing wrong with praying to God that “He would fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit”, thereby denying the reality of His indwelling, and reducing Him to some magic elixir Whose effect on us depends on the quantity of Him present in us. Pentecost will be upon us again soon, and in many Lutheran churches we will hear the Roman Catholic introit, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” Thereby we will deny the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as well as the regeneration of the child of God in Baptism. I find this to be a sad perversion of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart
    PS.: I will look for your book with great interest.

  • George A. Marquart

    Dear Rev. Lehmann: Thank you for your response (#18). I wanted to comment sooner, but was out of town for a few days.

    When you write, “no one the Lutherans were contending with denied it,” (i.e. indwelling) I suspect the Lutherans, and Martin Luther himself, were extremely concerned about too much emphasis on the Holy Spirit by the “Schwärmer” from Geneva, and His supposed whispering of personal messages to the “true” believers. Therefore, they preferred to speak about the power of the “Word” rather than of that of the Lord, the Holy Spirit. In our day, pastors and professors in the LCMS think there is nothing wrong with praying to God that “He would fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit”, thereby denying the reality of His indwelling, and reducing Him to some magic elixir Whose effect on us depends on the quantity of Him present in us. Pentecost will be upon us again soon, and in many Lutheran churches we will hear the Roman Catholic introit, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” Thereby we will deny the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as well as the regeneration of the child of God in Baptism. I find this to be a sad perversion of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart
    PS.: I will look for your book with great interest.

  • Joanne

    Imagine this Frank,

    You’re in Sweden, you’re a surgeon, you’re required by law to perform abortions, yet you refuse. You say you have religious reasons, that you believe it is murder to kill these infants. The medical authorities take your working papers away and the Church of Sweden begins excommunication proceedings against you for refusing to perform this good work for women’s health.

    I hate hypotheticals, surly the Nordic peoples’ churches have not yet begun to exclude members who will not perform abortions. Still, when church and state is so closely mixed, odd things could happen.

    Joanne

  • Joanne

    Imagine this Frank,

    You’re in Sweden, you’re a surgeon, you’re required by law to perform abortions, yet you refuse. You say you have religious reasons, that you believe it is murder to kill these infants. The medical authorities take your working papers away and the Church of Sweden begins excommunication proceedings against you for refusing to perform this good work for women’s health.

    I hate hypotheticals, surly the Nordic peoples’ churches have not yet begun to exclude members who will not perform abortions. Still, when church and state is so closely mixed, odd things could happen.

    Joanne

  • fws

    joanne @73

    we are still deep in hypotheticals arent we? and….? if i were a swedish doctor faced with that, I would follow the law as in, allow my license to practice medicine be taken away, or immigrate….

    I am not sure where you are taking this actually dear sister.

  • fws

    joanne @73

    we are still deep in hypotheticals arent we? and….? if i were a swedish doctor faced with that, I would follow the law as in, allow my license to practice medicine be taken away, or immigrate….

    I am not sure where you are taking this actually dear sister.

  • fws

    Joanne

    st paul held the cloaks of those who stoned the saints. All the apostles abandoned our dear Lord in his time of greatest need and anguish. Monstrous acts. And so is the act of an abortionist and his aides.

    Yet if forgiveness can or should, in any real or hypothetical way, be withheld from them, then by all rights and justice it MUST be withheld from me.

    Lord have mercy.

  • fws

    Joanne

    st paul held the cloaks of those who stoned the saints. All the apostles abandoned our dear Lord in his time of greatest need and anguish. Monstrous acts. And so is the act of an abortionist and his aides.

    Yet if forgiveness can or should, in any real or hypothetical way, be withheld from them, then by all rights and justice it MUST be withheld from me.

    Lord have mercy.

  • fws

    Joanne:

    It is not my repentence or failure to repent that is the difference between heaven and hell. in that case suicides would all go to hell since they had no chance to repent of their sin.

    I know that even some Lutherans teach that this is so, but this is a doctrine from the devil and hell itself and is thinking that must be repented of since it robs Christ of his work ALONE being what saves us.

  • fws

    Joanne:

    It is not my repentence or failure to repent that is the difference between heaven and hell. in that case suicides would all go to hell since they had no chance to repent of their sin.

    I know that even some Lutherans teach that this is so, but this is a doctrine from the devil and hell itself and is thinking that must be repented of since it robs Christ of his work ALONE being what saves us.

  • Joanne

    Every good work is God’s work. Every bad work is my work. If anything good happens to me, it’s God’s work. If any thing bad happens to me it is only my due, what was supposed to have happened if God had not spared me from it. When God stopped sparing Job and all his family from the just result of their sin, Satan laid down a bet. “These miserable creatures don’t love you, they love the goodies you give them.”

    But we’re talking about the forgivness of sins. Jesus loved to piss off the religious by forgiving sin when he performed a miracle. He can obviously make a man see who was born blind, but can he really forgive sins. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus was a big tease to the righteous. The idea being either that Jesus is God or that others besides God can forgive sin. Or both as it happened.

    Jesus has just returned from the harrowing of Hell, when he appeared to his deciples in the dark upper room where they were hiding. He just appeared among them in the flesh; didn’t walk through any walls or doors. He says little to them, but almost right away he gives them the power to forgive sins, and though he needn’t have said it, that automatically gives them the power not to forgive sins.

    So you are the gatekeepers and the holders of the Keys of Heaven. Is the church really the portal to heaven? Can any man enter into paradise if the church has ought against him; if the church has not forgiven him? I do see Jesus founding his church this night in this darkened room, when he breathed out on them his Holy Spirit (his specially set aside breath). And anyway, what does the Holy Spirit have to do with the forgiveness of sins? If I give you the Holy Spirit have I also, because of that, forgiven your sins?

    Interesting though that here they call it a breathing rather than a washing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed out his Holy Spirit and they breathed Him in, and Jesus has created his church. And he immediately give his church the power to forgive or to not forgive sins. Why is the forgivness of sins the first thing to talk about when creating a church? I’d guess because Jesus has just worked the forgiveness of all sins and he was eager to tell them. You have the key to unlock the forgivness of sins and the key to lock up sins in a person. My church, the one I am creating at this very minute, has the power to forgive sins on earth and in heaven.

    I went all over Israel forgiving sins; you will too.

    But there will be goats, and they will try to kill you.

    And another but, is the church’s power to forgive sins, or not, is that limited only to members of the church? You can’t forgive the sins of unbelievers, and only church members would care about not being forgiven in heaven?

    Whatever, the Gospel is the good news of the forgivness of sins and the church is the portal that makes forgivness on earth, forgiveness in heaven.

  • Joanne

    Every good work is God’s work. Every bad work is my work. If anything good happens to me, it’s God’s work. If any thing bad happens to me it is only my due, what was supposed to have happened if God had not spared me from it. When God stopped sparing Job and all his family from the just result of their sin, Satan laid down a bet. “These miserable creatures don’t love you, they love the goodies you give them.”

    But we’re talking about the forgivness of sins. Jesus loved to piss off the religious by forgiving sin when he performed a miracle. He can obviously make a man see who was born blind, but can he really forgive sins. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus was a big tease to the righteous. The idea being either that Jesus is God or that others besides God can forgive sin. Or both as it happened.

    Jesus has just returned from the harrowing of Hell, when he appeared to his deciples in the dark upper room where they were hiding. He just appeared among them in the flesh; didn’t walk through any walls or doors. He says little to them, but almost right away he gives them the power to forgive sins, and though he needn’t have said it, that automatically gives them the power not to forgive sins.

    So you are the gatekeepers and the holders of the Keys of Heaven. Is the church really the portal to heaven? Can any man enter into paradise if the church has ought against him; if the church has not forgiven him? I do see Jesus founding his church this night in this darkened room, when he breathed out on them his Holy Spirit (his specially set aside breath). And anyway, what does the Holy Spirit have to do with the forgiveness of sins? If I give you the Holy Spirit have I also, because of that, forgiven your sins?

    Interesting though that here they call it a breathing rather than a washing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed out his Holy Spirit and they breathed Him in, and Jesus has created his church. And he immediately give his church the power to forgive or to not forgive sins. Why is the forgivness of sins the first thing to talk about when creating a church? I’d guess because Jesus has just worked the forgiveness of all sins and he was eager to tell them. You have the key to unlock the forgivness of sins and the key to lock up sins in a person. My church, the one I am creating at this very minute, has the power to forgive sins on earth and in heaven.

    I went all over Israel forgiving sins; you will too.

    But there will be goats, and they will try to kill you.

    And another but, is the church’s power to forgive sins, or not, is that limited only to members of the church? You can’t forgive the sins of unbelievers, and only church members would care about not being forgiven in heaven?

    Whatever, the Gospel is the good news of the forgivness of sins and the church is the portal that makes forgivness on earth, forgiveness in heaven.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 77

    I will suggest there is an asymytry here.

    The church has the power to forgive sins. What is it that that power looks like and how is it wielded? It is used and wielded whenever the words are spoken “Christ has died for YOU and forgiven YOUR sins!”

    This is the reason for the Church’s existence. It is to declare this message that literally creates children of Abraham out of stones called our Old Adam hearts. And this power is exercised only by those in the church. This can be both hypocrite and true believers. We can believe the words are true not because it is the church speaking them but because Christ has commanded them to be spoken.

    So we can be sure and most very certain that whenever and wherever they are spoken we can apply them to ourselves personnally. This is especially true even if we have just been excommunicated. Luther was excommunicated after all.

    Then there are the words spoken, by the church, but also by the other two governments of family and society: “your sins and transgressions are retained.” I would suggest that this is a word, also from God himself (for the government is also ordained of God) and we are to receive it too as being from God himself. But this is s different word of God. Here the 3 governments God has ordered here on earth will retain sin precisely to restrain evildoers. That is the purpose. It is a visible purpose. It has nothing to do with the internal faith of that one whose sin has been retained as to judging that internal faith.

    And then in this second word of God, a man can have his sinning retained, and yet, believing in the Works of Christ in faith, he is still released, in faith alone, from that sin that would exclude him from the Communion of Saints.

    The church is both the Communion of Saints , that is the entirely invisible group created invisibly by the faith that is planted in, with and under word, water and bread and wine and palm on pate. And it is also charged to be an earthly government. Earthly governments exist to retrain lawlessness in what we can visibly see and do.

    I hope what I am saying makes more sense to you now, whether you agree with it or n0t is another matter.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 77

    I will suggest there is an asymytry here.

    The church has the power to forgive sins. What is it that that power looks like and how is it wielded? It is used and wielded whenever the words are spoken “Christ has died for YOU and forgiven YOUR sins!”

    This is the reason for the Church’s existence. It is to declare this message that literally creates children of Abraham out of stones called our Old Adam hearts. And this power is exercised only by those in the church. This can be both hypocrite and true believers. We can believe the words are true not because it is the church speaking them but because Christ has commanded them to be spoken.

    So we can be sure and most very certain that whenever and wherever they are spoken we can apply them to ourselves personnally. This is especially true even if we have just been excommunicated. Luther was excommunicated after all.

    Then there are the words spoken, by the church, but also by the other two governments of family and society: “your sins and transgressions are retained.” I would suggest that this is a word, also from God himself (for the government is also ordained of God) and we are to receive it too as being from God himself. But this is s different word of God. Here the 3 governments God has ordered here on earth will retain sin precisely to restrain evildoers. That is the purpose. It is a visible purpose. It has nothing to do with the internal faith of that one whose sin has been retained as to judging that internal faith.

    And then in this second word of God, a man can have his sinning retained, and yet, believing in the Works of Christ in faith, he is still released, in faith alone, from that sin that would exclude him from the Communion of Saints.

    The church is both the Communion of Saints , that is the entirely invisible group created invisibly by the faith that is planted in, with and under word, water and bread and wine and palm on pate. And it is also charged to be an earthly government. Earthly governments exist to retrain lawlessness in what we can visibly see and do.

    I hope what I am saying makes more sense to you now, whether you agree with it or n0t is another matter.

  • fws

    Joanne. think about what you are saying:

    You have just been excommunicated for committing some flagrant sin that has done dammage to your christian community and its work of proclaiming the Gospel.

    Are you to think ” Christ himself has told me that if I believe in what he has done for me I am forgiven and a member of his kingdom and saved…. but wait…. some church has excommunicated me, so therefore I am not permitted to cling, in faith alone, to those words. there is something first I must DO in order for those words to apply to me? ”

    No. It very we may be the case that you must do something to reconcile yourself to those who excommunicated you. but your reconciliation to Christ and his church would not be found within that act. it is alone by faith in the Works of Another.

    I applaud you for delving into such a very important question.

  • fws

    Joanne. think about what you are saying:

    You have just been excommunicated for committing some flagrant sin that has done dammage to your christian community and its work of proclaiming the Gospel.

    Are you to think ” Christ himself has told me that if I believe in what he has done for me I am forgiven and a member of his kingdom and saved…. but wait…. some church has excommunicated me, so therefore I am not permitted to cling, in faith alone, to those words. there is something first I must DO in order for those words to apply to me? ”

    No. It very we may be the case that you must do something to reconcile yourself to those who excommunicated you. but your reconciliation to Christ and his church would not be found within that act. it is alone by faith in the Works of Another.

    I applaud you for delving into such a very important question.

  • fws

    joanne @ 77

    “Every good work is God’s work. Every bad work is my work. ”

    while this is true Joanne, I would suggest that it is a framework that does not yield a clear answer as we attempt to deal with life’s situations. Your formulation doesnt really allow for a clean distinction of Law and Gospel.

    The better framework is to think of the Lutheran Two Kingdoms.

    here is where you can read up on that:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

    Many who start out with your formulation say that when we do good, it is not us doing it, but God doing it in and through us. Again this can be taken in the right way, but it can lead to two errors;

    we are the glove and the HS is the hand in the glove doing the doing so to speak. this is wrong.

    or…

    we are a ball, the HS pitches the ball and releases it. So the vector and force of what is being done is the HS but the doing is ours independent, in a certain way, from the HS.

    both these ideas are wrong.

  • fws

    joanne @ 77

    “Every good work is God’s work. Every bad work is my work. ”

    while this is true Joanne, I would suggest that it is a framework that does not yield a clear answer as we attempt to deal with life’s situations. Your formulation doesnt really allow for a clean distinction of Law and Gospel.

    The better framework is to think of the Lutheran Two Kingdoms.

    here is where you can read up on that:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

    Many who start out with your formulation say that when we do good, it is not us doing it, but God doing it in and through us. Again this can be taken in the right way, but it can lead to two errors;

    we are the glove and the HS is the hand in the glove doing the doing so to speak. this is wrong.

    or…

    we are a ball, the HS pitches the ball and releases it. So the vector and force of what is being done is the HS but the doing is ours independent, in a certain way, from the HS.

    both these ideas are wrong.

  • fws

    Joannne:

    the lutheran way to deal with this is to say that whatever it is WE can see and do is the Law making it happen through our Old Adam. it is about our death. the eternal consequences of all we can see and do then is death.

    and what Christ has done alone then has the eternal consequence of Life.

  • fws

    Joannne:

    the lutheran way to deal with this is to say that whatever it is WE can see and do is the Law making it happen through our Old Adam. it is about our death. the eternal consequences of all we can see and do then is death.

    and what Christ has done alone then has the eternal consequence of Life.

  • fws

    so the task of a christian is to be terrified at ALL we can see and do, and to hide all we can see and do in the Works of another. And yet keep doing. why keep doing? because our neighbor needs it!

    and if we do not feel terrified as we should over our sins then what do we do? we follow Luthers suggestion that can be found in “christian questions and answers in preparation for the holy supper” found in the last part of the small catechism.

    16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death?
    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.

    17. What motivated Christ to die and make full payment for your sins?
    His great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14; Romans 5; Galatians 2 and Ephesians 5.

    18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?
    That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, and also learn from Him to love God and my neighbor.

    19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?
    First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.

    20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
    To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.

    http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

  • fws

    so the task of a christian is to be terrified at ALL we can see and do, and to hide all we can see and do in the Works of another. And yet keep doing. why keep doing? because our neighbor needs it!

    and if we do not feel terrified as we should over our sins then what do we do? we follow Luthers suggestion that can be found in “christian questions and answers in preparation for the holy supper” found in the last part of the small catechism.

    16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death?
    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.

    17. What motivated Christ to die and make full payment for your sins?
    His great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14; Romans 5; Galatians 2 and Ephesians 5.

    18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?
    That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, and also learn from Him to love God and my neighbor.

    19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?
    First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.

    20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
    To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.

    http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Joanne, #62,

    One of the very best comments I’ve ever read on Cranach.

    Much Deep Thanks for writing it.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Joanne, #62,

    One of the very best comments I’ve ever read on Cranach.

    Much Deep Thanks for writing it.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    If you died tonight, do you know you would go to heaven?

    If this question causes someone to ponder and reflect about the Triune God, it’s a good question.

    Here’s a book review of a book that pertains:

    Authors Tackle Epidemic of False Conversions

    Excerpts:

    “In their new book, Falsified: The Danger of False Conversion, authors Vincent and Lori Williams seek to use Scripture to identify what they define as an “epidemic” of false conversions currently sweeping evangelical churches in the U.S. The couple speak from personal experience, as they too were once false converts.

    “That’s the problem. All these people think ‘I just have to believe in Jesus and then I’m saved.’ And that’s what is cranking out the false conversions. There’s no repentance, there’s no turning from the sin,” she added.

    Other victims of false conversion include those who are baptized as children, believing that because they underwent this sacrament as a child, they are forever saved, no matter their moral compass as adults.

    Although the couple emphasizes right living as a sign of true conversion, the Williams also insist that Salvation can only be achieved by the grace of God.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    If you died tonight, do you know you would go to heaven?

    If this question causes someone to ponder and reflect about the Triune God, it’s a good question.

    Here’s a book review of a book that pertains:

    Authors Tackle Epidemic of False Conversions

    Excerpts:

    “In their new book, Falsified: The Danger of False Conversion, authors Vincent and Lori Williams seek to use Scripture to identify what they define as an “epidemic” of false conversions currently sweeping evangelical churches in the U.S. The couple speak from personal experience, as they too were once false converts.

    “That’s the problem. All these people think ‘I just have to believe in Jesus and then I’m saved.’ And that’s what is cranking out the false conversions. There’s no repentance, there’s no turning from the sin,” she added.

    Other victims of false conversion include those who are baptized as children, believing that because they underwent this sacrament as a child, they are forever saved, no matter their moral compass as adults.

    Although the couple emphasizes right living as a sign of true conversion, the Williams also insist that Salvation can only be achieved by the grace of God.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, TUaD (@84). So you’re here to shake people’s faith in God’s promises (e.g. baptism) as found in Scripture, and instead encouraging people to look to their own “right living” as a sign that they are saved. And you have the gall to try to warn us about “false conversions”?

    That’s rich.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, TUaD (@84). So you’re here to shake people’s faith in God’s promises (e.g. baptism) as found in Scripture, and instead encouraging people to look to their own “right living” as a sign that they are saved. And you have the gall to try to warn us about “false conversions”?

    That’s rich.

  • fws

    tud @ 84

    the word to describe what you are pitching here is “satanic”. it is that bad.

  • fws

    tud @ 84

    the word to describe what you are pitching here is “satanic”. it is that bad.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Joanne, #62: “Can you see that there was no reason in the world why this Dr. had to be excommunicated? He insisted upon it and forced it to happen. He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin and on national news. He said that the church were the real sinners for not tolerating what he did down at his clinic. And in the end, after making like miserable for his home congregation for years, he did what he could have done with no fanfare at all and walked down the street to the kind, tolerant Lutheran church who would and did greatly appreciate his work among them.”

    If memory serves correctly, this was Abortionist Dr. George Tiller, and he forced the LCMS church to excommunicate him and then upon his excommunication, he promptly joined an ELCA church.

    Mass Abortionist Lutheran Dr. George Tiller was presumably baptized, and he could look to his baptism and the promises therein that’s he’s been informed of, and he could… still. be. a. false. convert.

    Dr. George Tiller might just be a baptized Lutheran in Hell.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Joanne, #62: “Can you see that there was no reason in the world why this Dr. had to be excommunicated? He insisted upon it and forced it to happen. He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin and on national news. He said that the church were the real sinners for not tolerating what he did down at his clinic. And in the end, after making like miserable for his home congregation for years, he did what he could have done with no fanfare at all and walked down the street to the kind, tolerant Lutheran church who would and did greatly appreciate his work among them.”

    If memory serves correctly, this was Abortionist Dr. George Tiller, and he forced the LCMS church to excommunicate him and then upon his excommunication, he promptly joined an ELCA church.

    Mass Abortionist Lutheran Dr. George Tiller was presumably baptized, and he could look to his baptism and the promises therein that’s he’s been informed of, and he could… still. be. a. false. convert.

    Dr. George Tiller might just be a baptized Lutheran in Hell.

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

    TUAD, we would say that Dr. Tiller used to be a Christian. As a baptized child, he had faith. (Lutherans believe in infant faith, that just as they trust and depend upon their parents, they can trust and depend upon their Heavenly father.) We would then say that Dr. Tiller later lost that faith in favor of repeatedly committing a monstrous sin (partial birth infanticide) and not repenting of that sin. (Lutherans do not believe, as Calvinists do, in the perseverance of the saints, though we do believe we should cultivate the assurance of salvation by trusting God’s promises to us, including those we received in baptism, that Christ’s redemption is “for you.” Nevertheless, just as an infant will die without being nourished and cared for, faith can die. Though it can at any time be brought back to life.)

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

    TUAD, we would say that Dr. Tiller used to be a Christian. As a baptized child, he had faith. (Lutherans believe in infant faith, that just as they trust and depend upon their parents, they can trust and depend upon their Heavenly father.) We would then say that Dr. Tiller later lost that faith in favor of repeatedly committing a monstrous sin (partial birth infanticide) and not repenting of that sin. (Lutherans do not believe, as Calvinists do, in the perseverance of the saints, though we do believe we should cultivate the assurance of salvation by trusting God’s promises to us, including those we received in baptism, that Christ’s redemption is “for you.” Nevertheless, just as an infant will die without being nourished and cared for, faith can die. Though it can at any time be brought back to life.)

  • fws

    actually, we always hope that such a person doing such monstrous things did repent and turn to his Lord and Savior. it is not for us to judge what happened to dr tiller at the end.

  • fws

    actually, we always hope that such a person doing such monstrous things did repent and turn to his Lord and Savior. it is not for us to judge what happened to dr tiller at the end.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Thanks for your reply, Dr. Veith. There are some parts that puzzle me, especially when I compare them with the many things that I’ve read from fws’s comments over a number of Cranach posts and threads.

    We would then say that Dr. Tiller later lost that faith in favor of repeatedly committing a monstrous sin (partial birth infanticide) and not repenting of that sin.”

    Who is this “we”? Presumably, conservative and historically faithful Lutherans. Second, in terms of saying that Dr. Tiller lost his faith, the aforementioned “we” would have to have made the judgment or determination that Dr. Tiller lost his faith. Third, that judgment that Dr. Tiller lost his faith was premised on the observation that he refused to repent of the sin that he was charged with. I.e., no repentance = lost faith.

    And then I compare this with fws’s earlier comment in :

    “My sins too are equally monsterous and inhuman and quite terrifying. And it is not my repentance that turns the key in the lock……it is alone the Works of Christ.”

    FWS is saying that repentance of sin is not the key. I have seen repeated remarks from FWS for folks to put their faith in their baptism which is touted to be evidence of the Promises and Works of Christ for the person being baptised.

    So with regards to Dr. Tiller and the allegation that he has lost his faith, it would not or should not surprise folks that ELCA Lutherans and other “liberal” Lutherans will claim that Tiller did not lose his faith (contra Dr. Veith and other “conservative” Lutherans), and that he likely still possessed faith in Christ and in his baptism til the end!

    If memory serves, Dr. Tiller was shot in the foyer of his ELCA church. So he was still an active Lutheran congregant. So liberal Lutherans would say that he didn’t lose his faith, nor did he lose his faith in his baptism.

    With regards to Joanne’s writing here: “He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin”

    Frankly, that reminded me of fws (Frank Sonntek). He denies that his same-sex behavior is a sin as taught repeatedly and clearly in Scripture.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Thanks for your reply, Dr. Veith. There are some parts that puzzle me, especially when I compare them with the many things that I’ve read from fws’s comments over a number of Cranach posts and threads.

    We would then say that Dr. Tiller later lost that faith in favor of repeatedly committing a monstrous sin (partial birth infanticide) and not repenting of that sin.”

    Who is this “we”? Presumably, conservative and historically faithful Lutherans. Second, in terms of saying that Dr. Tiller lost his faith, the aforementioned “we” would have to have made the judgment or determination that Dr. Tiller lost his faith. Third, that judgment that Dr. Tiller lost his faith was premised on the observation that he refused to repent of the sin that he was charged with. I.e., no repentance = lost faith.

    And then I compare this with fws’s earlier comment in :

    “My sins too are equally monsterous and inhuman and quite terrifying. And it is not my repentance that turns the key in the lock……it is alone the Works of Christ.”

    FWS is saying that repentance of sin is not the key. I have seen repeated remarks from FWS for folks to put their faith in their baptism which is touted to be evidence of the Promises and Works of Christ for the person being baptised.

    So with regards to Dr. Tiller and the allegation that he has lost his faith, it would not or should not surprise folks that ELCA Lutherans and other “liberal” Lutherans will claim that Tiller did not lose his faith (contra Dr. Veith and other “conservative” Lutherans), and that he likely still possessed faith in Christ and in his baptism til the end!

    If memory serves, Dr. Tiller was shot in the foyer of his ELCA church. So he was still an active Lutheran congregant. So liberal Lutherans would say that he didn’t lose his faith, nor did he lose his faith in his baptism.

    With regards to Joanne’s writing here: “He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin”

    Frankly, that reminded me of fws (Frank Sonntek). He denies that his same-sex behavior is a sin as taught repeatedly and clearly in Scripture.

  • fws

    tud @ 90

    see if this helps. This is what our Lutheran Confessions teach:

    THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD “LAW OF GOD”
    God’s Law is not to be understood as a regulation about what sort of works must be done or must not be done.
    That’s the way it is with human laws: you satisfy the demands of the law with works, whether your heart is in it or not.
    God judges what is in the depths of the heart.
    Therefore his law … doesn’t let the heart rest content in works; rather it punishes as hypocrisy and lies all works done apart from the depths of the heart.
    All human beings are called liars (Psalm 116), since none of them keeps or can keep God’s law from the depths of the heart.
    Everyone finds inside himself an aversion to good and a craving for evil.
    Where there is no free desire for good, there the heart has not set itself on God’s law. There also sin is surely to be found and the deserved wrath of God, whether a lot of good works and an honorable life appear outwardly or not.

    Therefore in chapter 2, St. Paul adds that the Jews are all sinners and says that only the doers of the law are justified in the sight of God. What he is saying is that no one is a doer of the law by works. On the contrary, he says to them, “You teach that one should not commit adultery, and you commit adultery. You judge another in a certain matter and condemn yourselves in that same matter, because you do the very same thing that you judged in another.” It is as if he were saying, “Outwardly you live quite properly in the works of the law and judge those who do not live the same way; you know how to teach everybody. You see the speck in another’s eye but do not notice the beam in your own.”

    Outwardly you keep the law with works out of fear of punishment or love of gain.
    Likewise you do everything without free desire and love of the law; you act out of aversion and force.
    You’d rather act otherwise if the law didn’t exist. It follows, then, that you, in the depths of your heart, are an enemy of the law. What do you mean, therefore, by teaching another not to steal, when you, in the depths of your heart, are a thief and would be one outwardly too, if you dared. (Of course, outward work doesn’t last long with such hypocrites.) So then, you teach others but not yourself; you don’t even know what you are teaching. You’ve never understood the law rightly. Furthermore, the law increases sin, as St. Paul says in chapter 5. That is because a person becomes more and more an enemy of the law the more it demands of him what he can’t possibly do.

    In chapter 7, St. Paul says, “The law is spiritual.”
    What does that mean?
    If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart.

    You must get used to the idea that it is one thing to do the works of the law and quite another to fulfill it.
    The works of the law are every thing that a person does or can do of his own free will and by his own powers to obey the law.
    But because in doing such works the heart abhors the law and yet is forced to obey it, the works are a total loss and are completely useless.
    That is what St. Paul means in chapter 3 when he says, “No human being is justified before God through the works of the law.”How can such a work please God, if it proceeds from an averse and unwilling heart?

    THE DEFINITION OF SIN
    Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers.

    THE DEFINITION, IN SCRIPTURE , OF THE WORD DO.
    Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin.
    No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul.
    In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart.
    Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3).

    tud,you reject Baptism as being God’s work. That is a denial of God’s Word. It is a sin. You are unrepentant. So what are we to conclude about you and your faith from that?

  • fws

    tud @ 90

    see if this helps. This is what our Lutheran Confessions teach:

    THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD “LAW OF GOD”
    God’s Law is not to be understood as a regulation about what sort of works must be done or must not be done.
    That’s the way it is with human laws: you satisfy the demands of the law with works, whether your heart is in it or not.
    God judges what is in the depths of the heart.
    Therefore his law … doesn’t let the heart rest content in works; rather it punishes as hypocrisy and lies all works done apart from the depths of the heart.
    All human beings are called liars (Psalm 116), since none of them keeps or can keep God’s law from the depths of the heart.
    Everyone finds inside himself an aversion to good and a craving for evil.
    Where there is no free desire for good, there the heart has not set itself on God’s law. There also sin is surely to be found and the deserved wrath of God, whether a lot of good works and an honorable life appear outwardly or not.

    Therefore in chapter 2, St. Paul adds that the Jews are all sinners and says that only the doers of the law are justified in the sight of God. What he is saying is that no one is a doer of the law by works. On the contrary, he says to them, “You teach that one should not commit adultery, and you commit adultery. You judge another in a certain matter and condemn yourselves in that same matter, because you do the very same thing that you judged in another.” It is as if he were saying, “Outwardly you live quite properly in the works of the law and judge those who do not live the same way; you know how to teach everybody. You see the speck in another’s eye but do not notice the beam in your own.”

    Outwardly you keep the law with works out of fear of punishment or love of gain.
    Likewise you do everything without free desire and love of the law; you act out of aversion and force.
    You’d rather act otherwise if the law didn’t exist. It follows, then, that you, in the depths of your heart, are an enemy of the law. What do you mean, therefore, by teaching another not to steal, when you, in the depths of your heart, are a thief and would be one outwardly too, if you dared. (Of course, outward work doesn’t last long with such hypocrites.) So then, you teach others but not yourself; you don’t even know what you are teaching. You’ve never understood the law rightly. Furthermore, the law increases sin, as St. Paul says in chapter 5. That is because a person becomes more and more an enemy of the law the more it demands of him what he can’t possibly do.

    In chapter 7, St. Paul says, “The law is spiritual.”
    What does that mean?
    If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart.

    You must get used to the idea that it is one thing to do the works of the law and quite another to fulfill it.
    The works of the law are every thing that a person does or can do of his own free will and by his own powers to obey the law.
    But because in doing such works the heart abhors the law and yet is forced to obey it, the works are a total loss and are completely useless.
    That is what St. Paul means in chapter 3 when he says, “No human being is justified before God through the works of the law.”How can such a work please God, if it proceeds from an averse and unwilling heart?

    THE DEFINITION OF SIN
    Sin in the Scriptures means not only external works of the body but also all those movements within us which bestir themselves and move us to do the external works, namely, the depth of the heart with all its powers.

    THE DEFINITION, IN SCRIPTURE , OF THE WORD DO.
    Therefore the word do should refer to a person’s completely falling into sin.
    No external work of sin happens, after all, unless a person commit himself to it completely, body and soul.
    In particular, the Scriptures see into the heart, to the root and main source of all sin: unbelief in the depth of the heart.
    Thus, even as faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit and the desire to do good external works, so it is only unbelief which sins and exalts the flesh and brings desire to do evil external works. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (cf. Genesis 3).

    tud,you reject Baptism as being God’s work. That is a denial of God’s Word. It is a sin. You are unrepentant. So what are we to conclude about you and your faith from that?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “tud @ 90

    see if this helps. This is what our Lutheran Confessions teach:”

    While I appreciate many, many teachings in the Lutheran Confessions, I’m not a Confessional Lutheran.

    “tud,you reject Baptism as being God’s work. That is a denial of God’s Word. It is a sin. You are unrepentant. So what are we to conclude about you and your faith from that?”

    I’ve been baptized.
    The Lutheran Confessions are not God’s Word.
    You may conclude whatever you wish about me and my faith.

    The end of #90 remains: With regards to Joanne’s writing here: “He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin”

    Frankly, that reminded me of fws (Frank Sonntek). He denies that his same-sex behavior is a sin as taught repeatedly and clearly in Scripture.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “tud @ 90

    see if this helps. This is what our Lutheran Confessions teach:”

    While I appreciate many, many teachings in the Lutheran Confessions, I’m not a Confessional Lutheran.

    “tud,you reject Baptism as being God’s work. That is a denial of God’s Word. It is a sin. You are unrepentant. So what are we to conclude about you and your faith from that?”

    I’ve been baptized.
    The Lutheran Confessions are not God’s Word.
    You may conclude whatever you wish about me and my faith.

    The end of #90 remains: With regards to Joanne’s writing here: “He denied his sin, he denied that his sin was a sin”

    Frankly, that reminded me of fws (Frank Sonntek). He denies that his same-sex behavior is a sin as taught repeatedly and clearly in Scripture.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Pastor Paul McCain has written the following which I think Dr. Gene Veith would agree with in substance and principle:

    “Yes, some Lutherans are antinomian. Witness the actions of the ELCA in formally embracing as acceptable and good, what God’s Word has declared to be sin and wrong. Witness the rhetoric we hear among so-called “conservative” and “confessional” Lutherans who make excuses for sin, who shrug it off, who bristle at any talk in a sermon of the way Christians are to live. I have recently had a conversation with a fellow pastor who told me about certain incidents involving fellow Lutheran pastors that shocked me. The excuse made for bad behavior was that they were enjoying the “freedom” of the Gospel. Such “freedom” be cursed to hell where it belongs and from which it comes. It is only the “freedom” pigs have to wallow in mud and their own filfth.

    We have been preaching comfort into the ears of people, and avoiding telling them the consequences of being a Christian. I’ll say it again, and it always irritates people when I do, but the reality is that there are those who have been so “comforted” that they think nothing of engaging in sin and pursuing vile activities, all the while appealing to their Baptism, or being “free in Christ.””

    From HERE

    Also, here’s an excerpt from a Martin Luther sermon which was contained in Pastor McCain’s post. I’m going to substitute in one concept.

    “If you truly believe, you would not commit same-sex sin or adultery; you would not be disobedient. Let each one think: I have been made a believer; I have been washed in Baptism with the blood of the Son of God, so that my sins might be dead. [I will] not be disobedient and will declare this with my deeds.” Otherwise, give up the boast of being a believer. You know that you are a disobedient son, an unrepentant homosexual; do not boast of faith and the blood of Christ. You belong to the devil, the way you are going, etc. You are bringing the name of the Lord into shame and yourself to eternal damnation.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Pastor Paul McCain has written the following which I think Dr. Gene Veith would agree with in substance and principle:

    “Yes, some Lutherans are antinomian. Witness the actions of the ELCA in formally embracing as acceptable and good, what God’s Word has declared to be sin and wrong. Witness the rhetoric we hear among so-called “conservative” and “confessional” Lutherans who make excuses for sin, who shrug it off, who bristle at any talk in a sermon of the way Christians are to live. I have recently had a conversation with a fellow pastor who told me about certain incidents involving fellow Lutheran pastors that shocked me. The excuse made for bad behavior was that they were enjoying the “freedom” of the Gospel. Such “freedom” be cursed to hell where it belongs and from which it comes. It is only the “freedom” pigs have to wallow in mud and their own filfth.

    We have been preaching comfort into the ears of people, and avoiding telling them the consequences of being a Christian. I’ll say it again, and it always irritates people when I do, but the reality is that there are those who have been so “comforted” that they think nothing of engaging in sin and pursuing vile activities, all the while appealing to their Baptism, or being “free in Christ.””

    From HERE

    Also, here’s an excerpt from a Martin Luther sermon which was contained in Pastor McCain’s post. I’m going to substitute in one concept.

    “If you truly believe, you would not commit same-sex sin or adultery; you would not be disobedient. Let each one think: I have been made a believer; I have been washed in Baptism with the blood of the Son of God, so that my sins might be dead. [I will] not be disobedient and will declare this with my deeds.” Otherwise, give up the boast of being a believer. You know that you are a disobedient son, an unrepentant homosexual; do not boast of faith and the blood of Christ. You belong to the devil, the way you are going, etc. You are bringing the name of the Lord into shame and yourself to eternal damnation.”

  • Joanne

    The work of Christ on a bloody, much-used, filthy, smelly cross, created forgiveness of sins of all men of all time. The forgiveness of Adam and Eve and all their progeny required the death of God as a sacrifice on an altar of wood. There is no forgiveness of sin without the spilling of blood. Christ’ sacrifice created the forgiveness of all sins for all time. So where is paradise and why must we still grow old and die if the curse of Adam and Eve has been atoned for? And, if all sins are forgiven, why are many still going to hell? Christ’s work is done, why are we still suffering?

    God has chosen to save people through his children, the communion of saints, the church. We received the good news of the forgiveness of sins from the preached word of God, through a washing of regeneration that instills the Holy Ghost into us, through confession and absolution, and through feeding our souls on the body and blood of God.

    Christ’s work created a universal truth. The church’s work creates personal truth. Christ’s work on the cross saved the world, Christ’s work in the church through his children saves individuals, one at a time. You know that your sins are forgiven just like everybody else’s sins, yet sin remains, and somehow this universal forgiveness has to get into me, to save me in particular.

    The sins of all those who are going now to Hell have been forgiven by Christ’s work on the cross. Then why aren’t they going to Heaven instead. You know; people are always rejecting what Jesus has to offer them, just like in the Bible. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often have I yearned to gather you beneath my wings as a mother hen to protect you from your sins, and you would not.

    We’re still free to reject salvation. God will force paradise upon no one. The church is peopled with the believers and is always looking for those who might believe, and trying to keep those it already has from falling away. Satan stalks about like a roaring lion seeking men to destroy. Christ says that no man and no thing can ever snatch you out of his hand, and yet there are fools who will walk right out. Christ the gate of the sheepfold blocks the way, and still the lost will get out. They prefer to maintain sin unforgiven than the free gift of forgiveness.

    For those of us within the sheepfold, many, many sins are and will be forgiven because God does not count the iniquities of his children. For those who refuse to be his children, the universal atonement of all their sins does not become the personal atonement of their sins and one tiny sin, because it is not forgiven, is lethal. Without Jesus, it is impossible to please God. All our works are as filthy rags that God accepts as bolts of silk because of his love for his son and his son’s children.

    So, in Christ’s sheepfold, sin does not kill. Outside of Christ’s sheepfold even one tiny sin kills.

    So, can sin ever kill a Christian. Short answer, no. Subtle answer, sin can kill your christianity. Persistant, public, and unrepented sin can drive the Holy Spirit out of you, in disgust. Your brothers in the faith have the obligation to bring you back, to help you kill that potentially deadly sin. Persistant, public, and unrepented. Your brothers want you to repent, to admit that what you are doing (with Bathsheba) is a sin. And then, they want you to stop doing the sin before it drives away the Holy Spirit.

    Some sins are yukky and your brothers in Christ will be slow to help you, a sin they will hear about from God through their father confessor and if it persists even from the preacher in the pulpit.

    And it is always a great failure of the church whenever any member must be put out and treated as an unbeliever.

    The third use of the Law is a comforting guide to help us live as new men sanctified and in harmony with the Holy Spirit and the good Angels while we wend our weary ways to our Father in heaven.

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/09/27/the-third-use-of-the-law/

  • Joanne

    The work of Christ on a bloody, much-used, filthy, smelly cross, created forgiveness of sins of all men of all time. The forgiveness of Adam and Eve and all their progeny required the death of God as a sacrifice on an altar of wood. There is no forgiveness of sin without the spilling of blood. Christ’ sacrifice created the forgiveness of all sins for all time. So where is paradise and why must we still grow old and die if the curse of Adam and Eve has been atoned for? And, if all sins are forgiven, why are many still going to hell? Christ’s work is done, why are we still suffering?

    God has chosen to save people through his children, the communion of saints, the church. We received the good news of the forgiveness of sins from the preached word of God, through a washing of regeneration that instills the Holy Ghost into us, through confession and absolution, and through feeding our souls on the body and blood of God.

    Christ’s work created a universal truth. The church’s work creates personal truth. Christ’s work on the cross saved the world, Christ’s work in the church through his children saves individuals, one at a time. You know that your sins are forgiven just like everybody else’s sins, yet sin remains, and somehow this universal forgiveness has to get into me, to save me in particular.

    The sins of all those who are going now to Hell have been forgiven by Christ’s work on the cross. Then why aren’t they going to Heaven instead. You know; people are always rejecting what Jesus has to offer them, just like in the Bible. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often have I yearned to gather you beneath my wings as a mother hen to protect you from your sins, and you would not.

    We’re still free to reject salvation. God will force paradise upon no one. The church is peopled with the believers and is always looking for those who might believe, and trying to keep those it already has from falling away. Satan stalks about like a roaring lion seeking men to destroy. Christ says that no man and no thing can ever snatch you out of his hand, and yet there are fools who will walk right out. Christ the gate of the sheepfold blocks the way, and still the lost will get out. They prefer to maintain sin unforgiven than the free gift of forgiveness.

    For those of us within the sheepfold, many, many sins are and will be forgiven because God does not count the iniquities of his children. For those who refuse to be his children, the universal atonement of all their sins does not become the personal atonement of their sins and one tiny sin, because it is not forgiven, is lethal. Without Jesus, it is impossible to please God. All our works are as filthy rags that God accepts as bolts of silk because of his love for his son and his son’s children.

    So, in Christ’s sheepfold, sin does not kill. Outside of Christ’s sheepfold even one tiny sin kills.

    So, can sin ever kill a Christian. Short answer, no. Subtle answer, sin can kill your christianity. Persistant, public, and unrepented sin can drive the Holy Spirit out of you, in disgust. Your brothers in the faith have the obligation to bring you back, to help you kill that potentially deadly sin. Persistant, public, and unrepented. Your brothers want you to repent, to admit that what you are doing (with Bathsheba) is a sin. And then, they want you to stop doing the sin before it drives away the Holy Spirit.

    Some sins are yukky and your brothers in Christ will be slow to help you, a sin they will hear about from God through their father confessor and if it persists even from the preacher in the pulpit.

    And it is always a great failure of the church whenever any member must be put out and treated as an unbeliever.

    The third use of the Law is a comforting guide to help us live as new men sanctified and in harmony with the Holy Spirit and the good Angels while we wend our weary ways to our Father in heaven.

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/09/27/the-third-use-of-the-law/

  • fws

    Joanne @ 94

    Dear sister, as a Lutheran christian, I need to urge you to reject what Tullian Tcividjian wrote.

    So where is he in error? He says (and claims falsely that Luther says), that there is a Law that does not always kill and accuse.

    1) Even for the Believer, the Law ALWAY accuses. The Law ALWAYS kills.
    2) In any goodness and mercy that we can do in thought, word and deed, it is the Law literally “extorting” it out of our Old Adam (Formula of Concord “The [Lutheran] Third Use of the Law”. Whenever it is God doing Goodness and Mercy totally apart from anything we can do in thought, word and deed, then that is the Holy Gospel. See the difference? The Reformed, including Tullian don’t!

    So now what about that Galatians passage that Tullian T leads off with that he says is some sort of “Gospel exhortation” or “gospel reminder” or “gospel imperative” or, in otherwords, an example of a Law (imperative is always Law), that does not kill and accuse?

    Luther and Lutherans say no. First Paul speaks the Holy Gospel. Note that it is ALONE the Gospel that can really overcome and kill sin. And that word is this declaration: “it was for freedom that Christ set us free.”

    We know he is addressing us as New Men since he is addressing us with the Holy Gospel.

    Then comes the imperative: stand firm. Do not be subject to the yoke of slavery. Commands! Law. And the Law always does what? it kills. it accuses. And it always does that. So what is going on here?

    St Paul is telling us , as New Men to do what? We are to take up the Law and use it to kill our Old Adams.

    We are not to think that we are able to do something that is not about killing or not about doing the Law which always accuses and kills.

    And so Luther says “Life is Mortification”. That is Luther telling us that in all we can do in our body and life here on earth, all we can do is about applying the Law to our Old Adam and killing him.

    So life is death. Mortification is latinate for “deathing”. It does not follow, as Tullian would have us believe, that there is Life in this deathing. There is not. Life is alone in the Works of Another. We are to be terrified of ALL we can see and do in our bodies as the death that it really and truly is, and so know to hide ALL we can see and do in the Works of Another. There alone is our Life!

    See my post #8 in what you linked to Joanne.

    So our life is not in our ability to avoid sinning. It IS sin that kills and the Law that kills us for our sinning. But the Law cannot kill sin. It is only and alone the Works of Another and faith alone in that that can put an end to sinning.

    We sin daily in thought , word and deed in ALL we do. And it all is moral, capital sin. It all deserves death and its eternal consequence is death.

    So to have someone urge us to stop our major or more obvious sinning is not how God helps us avoid hell. This is what you suggest isnt it? How is that wrong Joanne?

  • fws

    Joanne @ 94

    Dear sister, as a Lutheran christian, I need to urge you to reject what Tullian Tcividjian wrote.

    So where is he in error? He says (and claims falsely that Luther says), that there is a Law that does not always kill and accuse.

    1) Even for the Believer, the Law ALWAY accuses. The Law ALWAYS kills.
    2) In any goodness and mercy that we can do in thought, word and deed, it is the Law literally “extorting” it out of our Old Adam (Formula of Concord “The [Lutheran] Third Use of the Law”. Whenever it is God doing Goodness and Mercy totally apart from anything we can do in thought, word and deed, then that is the Holy Gospel. See the difference? The Reformed, including Tullian don’t!

    So now what about that Galatians passage that Tullian T leads off with that he says is some sort of “Gospel exhortation” or “gospel reminder” or “gospel imperative” or, in otherwords, an example of a Law (imperative is always Law), that does not kill and accuse?

    Luther and Lutherans say no. First Paul speaks the Holy Gospel. Note that it is ALONE the Gospel that can really overcome and kill sin. And that word is this declaration: “it was for freedom that Christ set us free.”

    We know he is addressing us as New Men since he is addressing us with the Holy Gospel.

    Then comes the imperative: stand firm. Do not be subject to the yoke of slavery. Commands! Law. And the Law always does what? it kills. it accuses. And it always does that. So what is going on here?

    St Paul is telling us , as New Men to do what? We are to take up the Law and use it to kill our Old Adams.

    We are not to think that we are able to do something that is not about killing or not about doing the Law which always accuses and kills.

    And so Luther says “Life is Mortification”. That is Luther telling us that in all we can do in our body and life here on earth, all we can do is about applying the Law to our Old Adam and killing him.

    So life is death. Mortification is latinate for “deathing”. It does not follow, as Tullian would have us believe, that there is Life in this deathing. There is not. Life is alone in the Works of Another. We are to be terrified of ALL we can see and do in our bodies as the death that it really and truly is, and so know to hide ALL we can see and do in the Works of Another. There alone is our Life!

    See my post #8 in what you linked to Joanne.

    So our life is not in our ability to avoid sinning. It IS sin that kills and the Law that kills us for our sinning. But the Law cannot kill sin. It is only and alone the Works of Another and faith alone in that that can put an end to sinning.

    We sin daily in thought , word and deed in ALL we do. And it all is moral, capital sin. It all deserves death and its eternal consequence is death.

    So to have someone urge us to stop our major or more obvious sinning is not how God helps us avoid hell. This is what you suggest isnt it? How is that wrong Joanne?

  • Joanne

    It is said that the Holy Spirit in our sactified life of faith within the church, works with us, along with all the myriad of good Angels, and along with all our brothers and sisters in the faith to resist sin.

    Frank, have you ever thought of inviting the Good Angels over for an evening of TV and popcorn? The whole evening allow youself to be keanly aware of what, during the evening, is a pleasant experience for the Angels, and what coming out of your TV would drive them away. It’s the 3rd use of the Law that informs us of what the Angels will enjoy and what they will despise while spending time with us.

    Christ’s angels are our best friends. Besides being wonderful company, I understand that they are woppingly powerful, and that they have a great deal of “pull” with God. (Just remember, they do not have God’s attributes. You have to talk to them outloud because they cannot hear your thoughts.)

  • Joanne

    It is said that the Holy Spirit in our sactified life of faith within the church, works with us, along with all the myriad of good Angels, and along with all our brothers and sisters in the faith to resist sin.

    Frank, have you ever thought of inviting the Good Angels over for an evening of TV and popcorn? The whole evening allow youself to be keanly aware of what, during the evening, is a pleasant experience for the Angels, and what coming out of your TV would drive them away. It’s the 3rd use of the Law that informs us of what the Angels will enjoy and what they will despise while spending time with us.

    Christ’s angels are our best friends. Besides being wonderful company, I understand that they are woppingly powerful, and that they have a great deal of “pull” with God. (Just remember, they do not have God’s attributes. You have to talk to them outloud because they cannot hear your thoughts.)

  • Joanne

    “Olá meu irmão Frank,

    Deus tem me confundiu em sua mensagem através de Paul. Paulo nos diz que se nós queimar com paixão nós deveria casar para pacificar a sociedade. Ainda Deus recusa-se a oferecer o mesmo cartão “começ fora da cadeia grátis” aos seus filhos gays. O que dá com isso? Seus filhos homossexuais cristãos não precisam viver em uma sociedade pacificada demasiado?

    Deus exige celibato de seus filhos gays ou que eles mudar e terem relações sexuais com pessoas de quem eles tem nenhum desejo sexual. Ou é Deus apenas fazendo seu jogo habitual direito de exigir o impossível de imperfeito.

    Se Deus tem oferecido para curar a atração de pessoas do mesmo sexo, eu não vi ele. Eu sou velho e eu vi o mundo, como uma criança, antes da libertação gay. Old maid professores iria comprar uma casa juntos, viver juntos e a Comunidade fingiu que marms dois old school foram empregadas apenas assexuadas, velhas. Agora, nós sabemos exatamente o que foi e pais seria medo de que seus filhos iria ser molestados.

    Libertação Gay fez homossexualidade em um pecado público, público, persistente, impenitente. Ele devia ter ficado despercebido (realmente ou fingiu), quando, pelo menos, algumas pessoas gays poderiam ter vivido entre sociedade regular. Quantos pai confessores, ao longo dos séculos já deve ter ouvido a confissão de atração de pessoas do mesmo sexo e sexo em confessionário?

    Gays filhos de Deus apenas mentir ou parar de ir à confissão. Ou a Igreja tem uma forma estabelecida de perdoar os pecados arrependidos, não pública, mas ainda persistentes de que é gay crianças? Eu acho que estava lá fora.

    E se o pecador penitentes tinha um acordo com Deus? Quando você retirar essa paixão por meus irmãos, eu vai levar uma vida casta e decente ou vai casar, de acordo com sua promessa em St. Paul. Deus certamente exigiria castidade de seus filhos gays, apaixonadas agora, se ele nunca tira essa paixão roubo de vida.

    Deus tem me confundiu profundamente sobre esta questão. Vêm de Deus. Corrigi este problema de paixão. Podes David, através de Nathan, manter Bathsheba, a mulher que ele conseguiu através do assassinato. Eles assassinar seu marido, Urias, todo novamente cada vez que eles tiveram o sexo? Você encontrou uma correção para Davi e Betsabá para que eles poderiam viver na paixão juntos (com muitas outras esposas David). Você ama seus filhos homossexuais não menos do que você amava Davi e Betsabá tona-pais de nosso Senhor.

    Por favor, Senhor Deus, de seu filho sofrimento, paixão e amor por nós miseráveis vermes, corrigir esse problema. Amor não correspondido dói como o inferno, mas você sabe disso.

    Você sabe apenas como mal dói ter paixão para aqueles que não podem ter paixão para nós. Vemos esta dor mesmo em nossos filhos. Tem misericórdia, Oh Lord. Tem misericórdia!

  • Joanne

    “Olá meu irmão Frank,

    Deus tem me confundiu em sua mensagem através de Paul. Paulo nos diz que se nós queimar com paixão nós deveria casar para pacificar a sociedade. Ainda Deus recusa-se a oferecer o mesmo cartão “começ fora da cadeia grátis” aos seus filhos gays. O que dá com isso? Seus filhos homossexuais cristãos não precisam viver em uma sociedade pacificada demasiado?

    Deus exige celibato de seus filhos gays ou que eles mudar e terem relações sexuais com pessoas de quem eles tem nenhum desejo sexual. Ou é Deus apenas fazendo seu jogo habitual direito de exigir o impossível de imperfeito.

    Se Deus tem oferecido para curar a atração de pessoas do mesmo sexo, eu não vi ele. Eu sou velho e eu vi o mundo, como uma criança, antes da libertação gay. Old maid professores iria comprar uma casa juntos, viver juntos e a Comunidade fingiu que marms dois old school foram empregadas apenas assexuadas, velhas. Agora, nós sabemos exatamente o que foi e pais seria medo de que seus filhos iria ser molestados.

    Libertação Gay fez homossexualidade em um pecado público, público, persistente, impenitente. Ele devia ter ficado despercebido (realmente ou fingiu), quando, pelo menos, algumas pessoas gays poderiam ter vivido entre sociedade regular. Quantos pai confessores, ao longo dos séculos já deve ter ouvido a confissão de atração de pessoas do mesmo sexo e sexo em confessionário?

    Gays filhos de Deus apenas mentir ou parar de ir à confissão. Ou a Igreja tem uma forma estabelecida de perdoar os pecados arrependidos, não pública, mas ainda persistentes de que é gay crianças? Eu acho que estava lá fora.

    E se o pecador penitentes tinha um acordo com Deus? Quando você retirar essa paixão por meus irmãos, eu vai levar uma vida casta e decente ou vai casar, de acordo com sua promessa em St. Paul. Deus certamente exigiria castidade de seus filhos gays, apaixonadas agora, se ele nunca tira essa paixão roubo de vida.

    Deus tem me confundiu profundamente sobre esta questão. Vêm de Deus. Corrigi este problema de paixão. Podes David, através de Nathan, manter Bathsheba, a mulher que ele conseguiu através do assassinato. Eles assassinar seu marido, Urias, todo novamente cada vez que eles tiveram o sexo? Você encontrou uma correção para Davi e Betsabá para que eles poderiam viver na paixão juntos (com muitas outras esposas David). Você ama seus filhos homossexuais não menos do que você amava Davi e Betsabá tona-pais de nosso Senhor.

    Por favor, Senhor Deus, de seu filho sofrimento, paixão e amor por nós miseráveis vermes, corrigir esse problema. Amor não correspondido dói como o inferno, mas você sabe disso.

    Você sabe apenas como mal dói ter paixão para aqueles que não podem ter paixão para nós. Vemos esta dor mesmo em nossos filhos. Tem misericórdia, Oh Lord. Tem misericórdia!

  • http://theusedprayerbook.blogspot.com/ Peter Brandt-Sorheim

    This question is foreign to me. In my mind it arises out of some gimicry of the conventicles of the sectarians. I am not concerned with going to heaven or hell but simply learning to become a friend of God as was Abraham who trusted God and it was counted to him for righteousness. I find this path in Jesus thorough whom I have fellowship with the Father. If I can but touch the hem of His garment I shall be made whole.

  • http://theusedprayerbook.blogspot.com/ Peter Brandt-Sorheim

    This question is foreign to me. In my mind it arises out of some gimicry of the conventicles of the sectarians. I am not concerned with going to heaven or hell but simply learning to become a friend of God as was Abraham who trusted God and it was counted to him for righteousness. I find this path in Jesus thorough whom I have fellowship with the Father. If I can but touch the hem of His garment I shall be made whole.

  • fws

    Joanne @97

    The translator in google really comes up with some very wierd results. I kinda sorta get what you are trying to tell me in portuguese, but then…not really! better to send me a side email Joanne and I would be very happy to discuss this all with you dear sister fwsonnek@gmail.com

    I have found that the good thing about discussing all this is that the gay issue is often a great diagnostic for other theological thinking about faith, and repentance and the work of our dear Lord in relation to all of this. You are seeing this for your own self aren’t you Joanne in our conversation. The conversation has turned from TUDs focus on homosexuality to one of the role of repentance , sin ,forgiveness and the Holy Gospel in the lives of… well…. everyone.

    That , I think, is as it really should be!

  • fws

    Joanne @97

    The translator in google really comes up with some very wierd results. I kinda sorta get what you are trying to tell me in portuguese, but then…not really! better to send me a side email Joanne and I would be very happy to discuss this all with you dear sister fwsonnek@gmail.com

    I have found that the good thing about discussing all this is that the gay issue is often a great diagnostic for other theological thinking about faith, and repentance and the work of our dear Lord in relation to all of this. You are seeing this for your own self aren’t you Joanne in our conversation. The conversation has turned from TUDs focus on homosexuality to one of the role of repentance , sin ,forgiveness and the Holy Gospel in the lives of… well…. everyone.

    That , I think, is as it really should be!

  • fws

    Peter @ 98

    I think you are right. It is the sort of question Jehovah’s witnesses ask to get a religious conversation started that is about trying to persuade someone to accept a point of view. And it is manipulative and there is no Gospel in it. And it is the Holy Gospel alone that can change a heart and create a Child of Abraham from the stone that is our heart without Christ. this is a miracle. this is not about persuasion.

  • fws

    Peter @ 98

    I think you are right. It is the sort of question Jehovah’s witnesses ask to get a religious conversation started that is about trying to persuade someone to accept a point of view. And it is manipulative and there is no Gospel in it. And it is the Holy Gospel alone that can change a heart and create a Child of Abraham from the stone that is our heart without Christ. this is a miracle. this is not about persuasion.

  • Joanne

    Hi Frank,
    I have a friend who has leared Brazilian Portuguese from his wife who is from Brazil and from spending much time in Brazil. I asked him to translate the message for me and he began by using the online translator and then had planned to work the message into proper Portuguese, but the message itself confused him too, so he had dificulty and had sent me the online tanslation with a little work, but not ready for prime time. He had not intended for me to send it in that condition, but I was rushing out the door in a thunderstorm and precipitously sent the message, although my friend had hoped he had caught most of the “weird results.” I will email you though.

  • Joanne

    Hi Frank,
    I have a friend who has leared Brazilian Portuguese from his wife who is from Brazil and from spending much time in Brazil. I asked him to translate the message for me and he began by using the online translator and then had planned to work the message into proper Portuguese, but the message itself confused him too, so he had dificulty and had sent me the online tanslation with a little work, but not ready for prime time. He had not intended for me to send it in that condition, but I was rushing out the door in a thunderstorm and precipitously sent the message, although my friend had hoped he had caught most of the “weird results.” I will email you though.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 101

    I appreciate the kind thought and effort you put into all of that dear sister in Christ.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 101

    I appreciate the kind thought and effort you put into all of that dear sister in Christ.

  • Joanne

    Aw shucks, it was nothing.
    My left eye swelled shut yesterday for no damn good reason. That’s going to slow me down a bit.

  • Joanne

    Aw shucks, it was nothing.
    My left eye swelled shut yesterday for no damn good reason. That’s going to slow me down a bit.


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