Not knowing if you are a Christian

Picking up on some earlier discussion, I came across this list of ways that a person can know whether or not they have been truly saved.  They are from a book by Jim Wilson entitled (ironically, it seems to me) Assurance of Salvation:

1. The Holy Spirit seals, guarantees, and assures us (1 Jn. 4:13, Rom. 8:16-17, Eph. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 5:5, 1 Cor. 2:11-16).

2. Change of Character: read the lists of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:19-25. Which list characterizes you? Jesus saves out of the first list into the second.

3. Confessing Jesus as Lord (1 Cor. 12:3, Rom. 10:9-10, Lk. 6:45).

4. Obedience: People who are saved obey Jesus (1 Jn. 3:6, 3:9-10, 5:18, 2:3).

5. Discipline: If you are getting away with disobedience, you are not a child of God. If you are being disciplined, pay attention and repent (Heb. 12:5-11).

6. Loving Christians: People who have passed from death to life love the brothers and it’s obvious to everyone (1 Jn. 3:14, Jn. 13:34-35).

7. Loving Enemies: Sinners can act with civility; saints are enabled to imitate their Father in heaven (Lk. 6:27-36).

8. Jesus said so: If you hear the word of Jesus and believe in Him, then you have eternal life, you have crossed from death to life (Jn. 5:24).

via Assurances of Salvation | Having Two Legs.

The poster, Toby Sumpter, to his credit, adds Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to the list, but Heaven help us!   People aren’t sure whether or not they are Christians?   It’s not enough to, you know, have faith in Jesus?

I realize that Christians who don’t think the sacraments do anything have to make check -off lists, but how horrible!   I want to ask those who go by a list like this, how are you doing with these?  Has your character been changed enough?  How’s your discipline? How are you getting along with your fellow Christians?  How are you getting along with your enemies?

Doesn’t this circle right back to salvation by works?  Can this formula for attaining “assurance” do anything but drive an honest Christian to despair?

That can only be a good thing if it drives you to the Cross of Jesus Christ, who has done all of this for you!

The problem with such exercises is that they end up DESTROYING faith, whereas faith is exactly what those who are struggling with such questions need.  That is to say, MORE trust, confidence, assurance in the Gospel of what Christ has freely done for them.

TGTBL

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

    Okay, but what about all of those verses cited? Certainly they’re not just there for the fun of it.

    While I agree that a Christian needs to remember that he/she is a sinner and will never be perfect, a person who has no change of heart and no signs of obedience whatsoever should not be led into thinking they are saved.

    As for the sacraments, isn’t there a danger of putting faith in the sacrament itself apart from the work of Christ on the cross, much in the same way a person may put faith in “coming down the aisle” or “saying a sinner’s prayer”? The man who lives as he wishes without conscience or remorse and has no signs whatsoever of a rengerated heart, yet says when somebody questions his faith says “Well, I was baptized, and I take communion” should not be given the impression that he is exercising true saving faith. That’s no different from a person saying “Well, I walked down the aisle when I was a teenager..” yet for all intents and purposes lives as an atheist!

    Can’t the sacraments-even though intended to be a means of grace-become a substitute for the cross of Christ, as they seem to have done in Rome? Can’t they be misunderstood in the same sense the modern evangelical altar call is often misunderstood?

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

    Okay, but what about all of those verses cited? Certainly they’re not just there for the fun of it.

    While I agree that a Christian needs to remember that he/she is a sinner and will never be perfect, a person who has no change of heart and no signs of obedience whatsoever should not be led into thinking they are saved.

    As for the sacraments, isn’t there a danger of putting faith in the sacrament itself apart from the work of Christ on the cross, much in the same way a person may put faith in “coming down the aisle” or “saying a sinner’s prayer”? The man who lives as he wishes without conscience or remorse and has no signs whatsoever of a rengerated heart, yet says when somebody questions his faith says “Well, I was baptized, and I take communion” should not be given the impression that he is exercising true saving faith. That’s no different from a person saying “Well, I walked down the aisle when I was a teenager..” yet for all intents and purposes lives as an atheist!

    Can’t the sacraments-even though intended to be a means of grace-become a substitute for the cross of Christ, as they seem to have done in Rome? Can’t they be misunderstood in the same sense the modern evangelical altar call is often misunderstood?

  • Michael B.

    But the book of Matthew tells us that many (most?) people are delusional about their salvation:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7)

    The book also talks about a narrow path: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” To hear many Christians talk, you would think the verse says this: “But small is the gate but wide is the road that leads to life”. That is, everyone who starts by confessing Christ makes it to heaven, even though they travel on very different moral roads.

  • Michael B.

    But the book of Matthew tells us that many (most?) people are delusional about their salvation:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7)

    The book also talks about a narrow path: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” To hear many Christians talk, you would think the verse says this: “But small is the gate but wide is the road that leads to life”. That is, everyone who starts by confessing Christ makes it to heaven, even though they travel on very different moral roads.

  • http://Drhambrick.com Drhambrick

    I think the point is that more credence is given to these check-off lists for assurance that what Christ did FOR you was actually FOR you than the very things that Christ himself instituted to give our faith assurance.
    I’m sure many people partake of the sacraments as a talisman, but to give them any power at all takes at least the tiniest amount of faith in the very thing that they are all about, namely, the cross of Christ, and are certainly more powerful to save than the law which is what the check-lists are.
    The Gospel is what we are commissioned to spread and is found in Word and Sacrament, not check-lists.

  • http://Drhambrick.com Drhambrick

    I think the point is that more credence is given to these check-off lists for assurance that what Christ did FOR you was actually FOR you than the very things that Christ himself instituted to give our faith assurance.
    I’m sure many people partake of the sacraments as a talisman, but to give them any power at all takes at least the tiniest amount of faith in the very thing that they are all about, namely, the cross of Christ, and are certainly more powerful to save than the law which is what the check-lists are.
    The Gospel is what we are commissioned to spread and is found in Word and Sacrament, not check-lists.

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

    Yes, Michael. This is what worries me about such lists. The passage says that those who depend on doing “mighty works,” even those performed in the name of Christ, will not be saved. The key is knowing Christ. The path is indeed narrow and the gate small and highly specific: You have to get in by Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. Lists that encourage people to look at their own works rather than outside themselves to Christ lead people away from salvation.

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

    Yes, Michael. This is what worries me about such lists. The passage says that those who depend on doing “mighty works,” even those performed in the name of Christ, will not be saved. The key is knowing Christ. The path is indeed narrow and the gate small and highly specific: You have to get in by Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. Lists that encourage people to look at their own works rather than outside themselves to Christ lead people away from salvation.

  • Quahog

    Michael B. @ 2:

    I always thought that passage from Matthew 7 referred to people who didn’t work hard enough or whose way wasn’t narrow enough. It was only recently that I understood what these people were saying: did WE not prophesy, cast out devils and other wondrous works? In other words, isn’t all about OUR works ?

    Christ rebukes them because it is IS work that saves, not ours.

    I agree that while testing our faith and lives against the Scriptures is healthy and necessary, it only leads the honest Christian to despair, because he knows in his heart that he is wicked. Nothing but faith in Christ alone will save him. For every look at your own imperfect life, take ten looks at your all-sufficient Savior.

  • Quahog

    Michael B. @ 2:

    I always thought that passage from Matthew 7 referred to people who didn’t work hard enough or whose way wasn’t narrow enough. It was only recently that I understood what these people were saying: did WE not prophesy, cast out devils and other wondrous works? In other words, isn’t all about OUR works ?

    Christ rebukes them because it is IS work that saves, not ours.

    I agree that while testing our faith and lives against the Scriptures is healthy and necessary, it only leads the honest Christian to despair, because he knows in his heart that he is wicked. Nothing but faith in Christ alone will save him. For every look at your own imperfect life, take ten looks at your all-sufficient Savior.

  • Pete

    “If you are getting away with disobedience, you are not a child of God.”

    If you are getting away with disobedience you’re the first one ever. Unless you’ve kept God’s law perfectly you’ll die someday. Not to mention that God’s Son died to clear the account of your disobediences as well as everyone else’s. Nobody “gets away” with disobedience.

  • Pete

    “If you are getting away with disobedience, you are not a child of God.”

    If you are getting away with disobedience you’re the first one ever. Unless you’ve kept God’s law perfectly you’ll die someday. Not to mention that God’s Son died to clear the account of your disobediences as well as everyone else’s. Nobody “gets away” with disobedience.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I am baptized.

    That’s how I know.

    ________

    All that self examination stuff will either lead to pride…or despair.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I am baptized.

    That’s how I know.

    ________

    All that self examination stuff will either lead to pride…or despair.

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

    I certainly affirm all of those Bible passages, and I certainly believe that Christians are called to love their neighbors, etc. My problem with this list is that it uses those texts to help Christians establish their ASSURANCE of salvation. The idea is that a person can rest assured because “I do all of that!” This kind of self-scrutiny can produce despair, but, perhaps more dangerously, it can also produce self-righteousness. The proper theological use of the law is to produce repentance and the embrace of the Gospel. (Which is not just for when a person first “got saved,” a notion behind a lot of these lists, but for every moment of the Christian life.)

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

    I certainly affirm all of those Bible passages, and I certainly believe that Christians are called to love their neighbors, etc. My problem with this list is that it uses those texts to help Christians establish their ASSURANCE of salvation. The idea is that a person can rest assured because “I do all of that!” This kind of self-scrutiny can produce despair, but, perhaps more dangerously, it can also produce self-righteousness. The proper theological use of the law is to produce repentance and the embrace of the Gospel. (Which is not just for when a person first “got saved,” a notion behind a lot of these lists, but for every moment of the Christian life.)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    Wow. Thanks for posting this. I continue to be unable to figure out why persons pit faith vs. the sacraments as well. I see them as the liquid word and the edible word, and as means whereby God comforts us in the most personal of ways.

    As regards certainty and the oral word alone, I just wrote this this morning, and I think it complements this post nicely:

    http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-roman-penitential-system-and-the-emergence-of-reformation-doctrine-extra-1/

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    Wow. Thanks for posting this. I continue to be unable to figure out why persons pit faith vs. the sacraments as well. I see them as the liquid word and the edible word, and as means whereby God comforts us in the most personal of ways.

    As regards certainty and the oral word alone, I just wrote this this morning, and I think it complements this post nicely:

    http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-roman-penitential-system-and-the-emergence-of-reformation-doctrine-extra-1/

    +Nathan

  • Booklover

    This is what I love about this blog.

  • Booklover

    This is what I love about this blog.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – exactly: In my sectarian days, those were the only options – pride or despair. I tended to go for the latter, and it wasn’t pretty. Also, it destroyed much of my childhood.

    Millstones and the deep, blue sea…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – exactly: In my sectarian days, those were the only options – pride or despair. I tended to go for the latter, and it wasn’t pretty. Also, it destroyed much of my childhood.

    Millstones and the deep, blue sea…..

  • Tony

    Stupid question alert!!!

    What does TGTBL stand for???

    You may now carry on with the real conversation.

  • Tony

    Stupid question alert!!!

    What does TGTBL stand for???

    You may now carry on with the real conversation.

  • Stephen

    KK -

    The Confessions call that pride or despair “pharisee or Judas.” The list is all pharisee. In other words, even in the John 24 reference, the emPHASis is on the wrong sylLABle. I can actually do something (pharisee). And when that fails, like you say, nothing else but despair (Judas).

    Ditto Steve @ 7. Larry quoted Luther on another thread where he said “Satan, I don’t care if I’m elect, I’m baptized” Or, as dear a elderly pastor I know put it “When the devil is pestering me with doubts, I tell him to go to hell where he belongs!”

  • Stephen

    KK -

    The Confessions call that pride or despair “pharisee or Judas.” The list is all pharisee. In other words, even in the John 24 reference, the emPHASis is on the wrong sylLABle. I can actually do something (pharisee). And when that fails, like you say, nothing else but despair (Judas).

    Ditto Steve @ 7. Larry quoted Luther on another thread where he said “Satan, I don’t care if I’m elect, I’m baptized” Or, as dear a elderly pastor I know put it “When the devil is pestering me with doubts, I tell him to go to hell where he belongs!”

  • WisdomLover

    On I John 4, can anyone find a passage that says “This is how you know that you are saved, by your knowledge that you love God and neighbor”?

    You see passages that argue like this (v 7 and 8):

    A1. God is love.
    Therefore:
    A2. All and only those who love on another know God .
    Therefore:
    A3. We ought to love one another.

    Or like this (v 19-21).

    B1. You have seen your neighbor.
    B2. It is impossible an unseen person, if you hate a seen person.
    B3. You have not seen God.
    Therefore:
    B4. It is impossible to love God if you hate your neighbor, even if you believe that you do love God.
    Therefore:
    B5. You should love, not hate, your neighbor.

    These are all arguments toward a commandment to love your neighbor.

    OK. So one thing John definitely has to say in this passage is that we should love our neighbor. I know of no Christian who would dream of denying this. So this message comes across loud and clear and is certainly true.

    But if that’s all I John 4 had to say, then it would be entirely irrelevant to the issue of the assurance of salvation.

    Fortunately, there is more. John links perfected love to an assurance of salvation in v 17 and 18:

    By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

    So is that the final word on our assurance of salvation? We know we are saved because we know love is perfected in us?

    If that’s it, then forget about any assurance.

    Well, this passage does not actually say that. The passage certainly says that the fact that love is perfected in us is part and parcel with our assurance of salvation. But the question of whether we have any knowledge at all about whether love is perfected in us is left unsettled by that passage.

    And whether love exists in us, perfect or imperfect, is a highly problematic proposition. One which we could only know to be true by argument.

    Note the intermediate conclusion, B4, of that second line of argument above. It has this consequence: it is possible to be mistaken or self-deceived about whether we love someone.

    And that gives rise, quite naturally, to this question:

    How on earth we would I ever know that I really do love my neighbor?

    John as much as acknowledges this riddle when he says in v 12 “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

    Our love of one another, and the perfection of that love, is linked to something that no one can see.

    What John does not say, what he conspicuously does not say, is that we can see our love of one another.

    We can see one another, yes, but not our love of one another.

    As a side note, I’ll grant that other people may see our love, or its absence. And God certainly does. But we are uniquely unqualified to see our own love of God or neighbor.

    So John leaves us stymied. Unless the answer comes in passages like v 13-16:

    By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.

    We know because He has given us of His Spirit.

    Fine.

    But how do we know that?

    According to the passage, by something we believe in and confess:

    C1. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
    C2. Jesus is the Son of God.

    If we believe and confess this, then we abide in God (Love) and He (Love) in us.

    And it is by this confession that we come to know that God loves us.

    Then a little later (v 19), John tells us that we love because God first loved us.

    So we know that we love one another, not because of a warm feeling we have toward one another, or even because of our benevolent acts toward one another. We can have a warm feeling toward someone and be wrong about loving them. We can perform benevolent acts toward someone we hate for all sorts of unrighteous motives, many of them completely invisible to us.

    We know that we love because we know that God first loved us.

    And we know that because of something we believe in and confess. Or rather, someone we believe in and confess: Christ.

    Now, you might think that this question arises in turn:

    How do we know that we believe and confess?

    Well, on the one hand, I’d like to point out that belief about belief is pretty incorrigible. The real question seems to be “How could we be wrong about it?”

    But, perhaps the worry isn’t aimed at the mere fact of whether one does believe. But at the quality of that belief. All our beliefs are co-mingled with doubt. Though we believe a thing, we are almost always also aware that we could be wrong. We don’t doubt that we believe (how could we). We do doubt how sure we are that what we believe is true. We doubt how strong that belief really is. So we have this modified form of the question:

    How do you know that you believe and confess enough?

    Well.

    Can you be brought to the font?

    Can you confess your sinfulness?

    Can you hear God’s forgiveness and promise of salvation?

    Can you open you mouth to receive Christ in the Supper?

    Then you believe enough.

  • WisdomLover

    On I John 4, can anyone find a passage that says “This is how you know that you are saved, by your knowledge that you love God and neighbor”?

    You see passages that argue like this (v 7 and 8):

    A1. God is love.
    Therefore:
    A2. All and only those who love on another know God .
    Therefore:
    A3. We ought to love one another.

    Or like this (v 19-21).

    B1. You have seen your neighbor.
    B2. It is impossible an unseen person, if you hate a seen person.
    B3. You have not seen God.
    Therefore:
    B4. It is impossible to love God if you hate your neighbor, even if you believe that you do love God.
    Therefore:
    B5. You should love, not hate, your neighbor.

    These are all arguments toward a commandment to love your neighbor.

    OK. So one thing John definitely has to say in this passage is that we should love our neighbor. I know of no Christian who would dream of denying this. So this message comes across loud and clear and is certainly true.

    But if that’s all I John 4 had to say, then it would be entirely irrelevant to the issue of the assurance of salvation.

    Fortunately, there is more. John links perfected love to an assurance of salvation in v 17 and 18:

    By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

    So is that the final word on our assurance of salvation? We know we are saved because we know love is perfected in us?

    If that’s it, then forget about any assurance.

    Well, this passage does not actually say that. The passage certainly says that the fact that love is perfected in us is part and parcel with our assurance of salvation. But the question of whether we have any knowledge at all about whether love is perfected in us is left unsettled by that passage.

    And whether love exists in us, perfect or imperfect, is a highly problematic proposition. One which we could only know to be true by argument.

    Note the intermediate conclusion, B4, of that second line of argument above. It has this consequence: it is possible to be mistaken or self-deceived about whether we love someone.

    And that gives rise, quite naturally, to this question:

    How on earth we would I ever know that I really do love my neighbor?

    John as much as acknowledges this riddle when he says in v 12 “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

    Our love of one another, and the perfection of that love, is linked to something that no one can see.

    What John does not say, what he conspicuously does not say, is that we can see our love of one another.

    We can see one another, yes, but not our love of one another.

    As a side note, I’ll grant that other people may see our love, or its absence. And God certainly does. But we are uniquely unqualified to see our own love of God or neighbor.

    So John leaves us stymied. Unless the answer comes in passages like v 13-16:

    By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.

    We know because He has given us of His Spirit.

    Fine.

    But how do we know that?

    According to the passage, by something we believe in and confess:

    C1. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
    C2. Jesus is the Son of God.

    If we believe and confess this, then we abide in God (Love) and He (Love) in us.

    And it is by this confession that we come to know that God loves us.

    Then a little later (v 19), John tells us that we love because God first loved us.

    So we know that we love one another, not because of a warm feeling we have toward one another, or even because of our benevolent acts toward one another. We can have a warm feeling toward someone and be wrong about loving them. We can perform benevolent acts toward someone we hate for all sorts of unrighteous motives, many of them completely invisible to us.

    We know that we love because we know that God first loved us.

    And we know that because of something we believe in and confess. Or rather, someone we believe in and confess: Christ.

    Now, you might think that this question arises in turn:

    How do we know that we believe and confess?

    Well, on the one hand, I’d like to point out that belief about belief is pretty incorrigible. The real question seems to be “How could we be wrong about it?”

    But, perhaps the worry isn’t aimed at the mere fact of whether one does believe. But at the quality of that belief. All our beliefs are co-mingled with doubt. Though we believe a thing, we are almost always also aware that we could be wrong. We don’t doubt that we believe (how could we). We do doubt how sure we are that what we believe is true. We doubt how strong that belief really is. So we have this modified form of the question:

    How do you know that you believe and confess enough?

    Well.

    Can you be brought to the font?

    Can you confess your sinfulness?

    Can you hear God’s forgiveness and promise of salvation?

    Can you open you mouth to receive Christ in the Supper?

    Then you believe enough.

  • Pete

    What Tony (@12) asked!

  • Pete

    What Tony (@12) asked!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    What J. Dean notes. There are a number of places where the Bible gives you a “gut check” about your faith. If you’re not growing in character and obedience, you’ve got to question whether your faith is real. And if it’s just dead works masquerading as obedience, well, the Scriptures have plenty to say about that, too.

    And for that matter, there’s the passage about working out one’s salvation with fear and trembling. Now I don’t think that means we’re to be wetting our pants all the time, but it does speak to a bit of introspection being pretty wise in this matter.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    What J. Dean notes. There are a number of places where the Bible gives you a “gut check” about your faith. If you’re not growing in character and obedience, you’ve got to question whether your faith is real. And if it’s just dead works masquerading as obedience, well, the Scriptures have plenty to say about that, too.

    And for that matter, there’s the passage about working out one’s salvation with fear and trembling. Now I don’t think that means we’re to be wetting our pants all the time, but it does speak to a bit of introspection being pretty wise in this matter.

  • Orianna Laun

    Can one assure one’s self ? No we cling to Christ, His Word , and our baptism. Still Satan tries to turn us away with the oldest trick in the book–”Did God really say. . .?” Yet it is the Spirit who keeps us in the one true faith. The assurance comes from outside–Word and Sacraments, that is, our assurance comes from God Himself. To try to convince ourselves by ourself is an exercise in futility.

  • Orianna Laun

    Can one assure one’s self ? No we cling to Christ, His Word , and our baptism. Still Satan tries to turn us away with the oldest trick in the book–”Did God really say. . .?” Yet it is the Spirit who keeps us in the one true faith. The assurance comes from outside–Word and Sacraments, that is, our assurance comes from God Himself. To try to convince ourselves by ourself is an exercise in futility.

  • The Jones

    I was recently asked a question that is along the same lines of this post, but slightly different. It came from a person who knew that you must have faith to be saved, but he asked how he knows his FAITH is real. The actual wording was “How do we know that our faith is not just something our parents taught us and instead is something that is really our own?”

    I answered by saying that his faith probably IS just what his parents taught him, and I questioned why he seems to think that’s a bad thing. I also said that his faith is NOT his own, and instead was a gift of God (Eph 2:8-9) via the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7-8, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Titus 3:5 among others).

    This is actually a rather pervasive question with many people I’ve found. I also think there is more to the answer than just to have faith in Jesus for it to be satisfactory to people. They also need an answer to the 2 Corinthian 13:5 command, “Examine yourselves, to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”

    I think this list mixes EFFECTS of faith (2, 4, 5, 6, & 7) and ASSURANCES of faith (1, 3, & 8) and tries to turn them into a checklist. Not a very good job. But at least it was an effort. I think we should be making SOME effort to distinguish those who actually believe and those who parrot-talk while continuing to do whatever they please.

  • The Jones

    I was recently asked a question that is along the same lines of this post, but slightly different. It came from a person who knew that you must have faith to be saved, but he asked how he knows his FAITH is real. The actual wording was “How do we know that our faith is not just something our parents taught us and instead is something that is really our own?”

    I answered by saying that his faith probably IS just what his parents taught him, and I questioned why he seems to think that’s a bad thing. I also said that his faith is NOT his own, and instead was a gift of God (Eph 2:8-9) via the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7-8, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Titus 3:5 among others).

    This is actually a rather pervasive question with many people I’ve found. I also think there is more to the answer than just to have faith in Jesus for it to be satisfactory to people. They also need an answer to the 2 Corinthian 13:5 command, “Examine yourselves, to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”

    I think this list mixes EFFECTS of faith (2, 4, 5, 6, & 7) and ASSURANCES of faith (1, 3, & 8) and tries to turn them into a checklist. Not a very good job. But at least it was an effort. I think we should be making SOME effort to distinguish those who actually believe and those who parrot-talk while continuing to do whatever they please.

  • Mockingbird

    One thing that really changed my focus as a pastor was the birth of my daughter. Suddenly all those father/child passages in the Bible took on new meaning, so now when I speak about assurance with people I ask “What would you say to your child if he asked if he really belonged in your family? Would you direct him to his behavior or to his birth (or adoption)? Why would you expect our Father in Heaven to act differently?”

    This does not excuse sin or give license to immoral behavior; those who sin need to be confronted with the Law. But it is a reminder that when a person is asking the question “Am I really a Christian, a child of God?” it is probably time for the Gospel.

  • Mockingbird

    One thing that really changed my focus as a pastor was the birth of my daughter. Suddenly all those father/child passages in the Bible took on new meaning, so now when I speak about assurance with people I ask “What would you say to your child if he asked if he really belonged in your family? Would you direct him to his behavior or to his birth (or adoption)? Why would you expect our Father in Heaven to act differently?”

    This does not excuse sin or give license to immoral behavior; those who sin need to be confronted with the Law. But it is a reminder that when a person is asking the question “Am I really a Christian, a child of God?” it is probably time for the Gospel.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Do you believe? Then you are in.

    Are you aware that your belief is imperfect? Welcome!

    Do you think you have confident faith? Get off your high horse!

    What is more telling about these questions is what they reveal about people’s beliefs/understanding of God. Is he ready to nail you if there is a tiny ounce of sin/unbelief, or is He the Lord who calls, forgives, and gives?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Do you believe? Then you are in.

    Are you aware that your belief is imperfect? Welcome!

    Do you think you have confident faith? Get off your high horse!

    What is more telling about these questions is what they reveal about people’s beliefs/understanding of God. Is he ready to nail you if there is a tiny ounce of sin/unbelief, or is He the Lord who calls, forgives, and gives?

  • #4 Kitty

    I’m confused about the term “Salvation”.
    I know Christ. To me salvation has never been anything more than that.

  • #4 Kitty

    I’m confused about the term “Salvation”.
    I know Christ. To me salvation has never been anything more than that.

  • Jon

    To Good To Be Listed?

    Well, that’s a pretty short list anyway.

    Might be tempting for stricter religionists!

  • Jon

    To Good To Be Listed?

    Well, that’s a pretty short list anyway.

    Might be tempting for stricter religionists!

  • Paul

    I find it highly suspect when people add modifiers to words like “saved” and “faith”, turning them into the phrases “truly saved”, “saving faith”, etc. Perhaps such people have in view James 2. It seems to me that the purpose of that passage is to describe faith and its effects rather than to actually distinguish between a saving faith and a faith that doesn’t save. I believe that by merely using the phrases “truly saved” and “saving faith” we encourage doubt and cultivate what is at best a guarded trust of God and His promises. It is no longer enough that if we confess Christ then we will be saved or that we are saved through faith. No, rather, we have to be truly saved and our faith has to be saving faith!

  • Paul

    I find it highly suspect when people add modifiers to words like “saved” and “faith”, turning them into the phrases “truly saved”, “saving faith”, etc. Perhaps such people have in view James 2. It seems to me that the purpose of that passage is to describe faith and its effects rather than to actually distinguish between a saving faith and a faith that doesn’t save. I believe that by merely using the phrases “truly saved” and “saving faith” we encourage doubt and cultivate what is at best a guarded trust of God and His promises. It is no longer enough that if we confess Christ then we will be saved or that we are saved through faith. No, rather, we have to be truly saved and our faith has to be saving faith!

  • DonS

    #8 on the list should be the whole list. Delete #’s 1-7. Trust in the work Christ did on your behalf on the Cross. Trust His Word that He did it for you.

    Amen.

  • DonS

    #8 on the list should be the whole list. Delete #’s 1-7. Trust in the work Christ did on your behalf on the Cross. Trust His Word that He did it for you.

    Amen.

  • larry

    All of these passages cited are mixed and matched and put into the paradigms that don’t find assurance in the sacraments. E.g. #1 well this one is given in Baptism (Act 2:2). The connotation in this list is where they pull apart the Spirit from the water, but Scripture NEVER does that. This is where you get in Baptist and other circles “spiritual baptism” and “non-water baptisms”. They divorce what God has put together water and Word, water and Spirit, His name and water, etc… When a baptist friend of mine was discussing Acts 2 with me “repent and be baptized everyone of you FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS, and you WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, the promise is TO YOU and TO YOUR CHILDREN, and to all who are far off…”. He said in light of the reference to children the oft given baptist defense, “children” means “spiritual children” (that asserts the water/word doctrinal wedge that begets the divorce of the two) I replied, “but those words are not written there, ‘spiritual’”. He paused for a moment, and said, “I guess your right”. God did not say that.

    #2 These list of character traits, especially the oft cited Gal. 5 list the actions of the simul Justus et peccator. Paul explicitly is saying this when the flesh wars with the spirit. He is not saying this spirit list here is your assurance. In fact in Galatians he references baptism as the assurance, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27).

    #3 Confessing Baptism is Confessing Jesus as Lord, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.
    #4 Obedience: “Take Eat…take drink…be baptized”.
    #5 Being driven by the Law to empty one’s self even of assurance in “good works” and to return to baptism and the LS IS being driven as a child of God to the favor of God. The problem is they see discipline ONLY in the light of “for bad immoral things” and not for “assurance in works”, they don’t see the later AS rebellion, but it is.
    #6 Loving Christians, this is done when people who have no other earthly connection or reason to even come within a 1000 miles of each other, often on opposite sides of every earthly perspective (e.g. conservatives and liberals), come together and commune in an infinitely closer communion via the very body and blood of Jesus Christ at the sacrament, and with those around the world, and with those who have fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ in heaven…there is no GREATER loving act/moment than that.
    #7 This happens when the forgiven love and lead to the forgiveness they’ve been given, desire them baptized as they are, etc…, even what they normally morally despised.
    #8 “Take eat, take drink all of you…this is My body/blood…given/shed for the forgiveness of sins…be baptized for the forgiveness of sin…”. Do you believe this?

    His list works against him!

  • larry

    All of these passages cited are mixed and matched and put into the paradigms that don’t find assurance in the sacraments. E.g. #1 well this one is given in Baptism (Act 2:2). The connotation in this list is where they pull apart the Spirit from the water, but Scripture NEVER does that. This is where you get in Baptist and other circles “spiritual baptism” and “non-water baptisms”. They divorce what God has put together water and Word, water and Spirit, His name and water, etc… When a baptist friend of mine was discussing Acts 2 with me “repent and be baptized everyone of you FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS, and you WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, the promise is TO YOU and TO YOUR CHILDREN, and to all who are far off…”. He said in light of the reference to children the oft given baptist defense, “children” means “spiritual children” (that asserts the water/word doctrinal wedge that begets the divorce of the two) I replied, “but those words are not written there, ‘spiritual’”. He paused for a moment, and said, “I guess your right”. God did not say that.

    #2 These list of character traits, especially the oft cited Gal. 5 list the actions of the simul Justus et peccator. Paul explicitly is saying this when the flesh wars with the spirit. He is not saying this spirit list here is your assurance. In fact in Galatians he references baptism as the assurance, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27).

    #3 Confessing Baptism is Confessing Jesus as Lord, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.
    #4 Obedience: “Take Eat…take drink…be baptized”.
    #5 Being driven by the Law to empty one’s self even of assurance in “good works” and to return to baptism and the LS IS being driven as a child of God to the favor of God. The problem is they see discipline ONLY in the light of “for bad immoral things” and not for “assurance in works”, they don’t see the later AS rebellion, but it is.
    #6 Loving Christians, this is done when people who have no other earthly connection or reason to even come within a 1000 miles of each other, often on opposite sides of every earthly perspective (e.g. conservatives and liberals), come together and commune in an infinitely closer communion via the very body and blood of Jesus Christ at the sacrament, and with those around the world, and with those who have fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ in heaven…there is no GREATER loving act/moment than that.
    #7 This happens when the forgiven love and lead to the forgiveness they’ve been given, desire them baptized as they are, etc…, even what they normally morally despised.
    #8 “Take eat, take drink all of you…this is My body/blood…given/shed for the forgiveness of sins…be baptized for the forgiveness of sin…”. Do you believe this?

    His list works against him!

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

    Tony, TGTBL stands for Thank God to be Lutheran. That’s an acronym I suggested some time ago on this blog. I don’t think it has caught on, due to its similarity to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgendered).

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

    Tony, TGTBL stands for Thank God to be Lutheran. That’s an acronym I suggested some time ago on this blog. I don’t think it has caught on, due to its similarity to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgendered).

  • Fws

    Gene @ 26

    So the l in lgbt isn’t L-utheran?

  • Fws

    Gene @ 26

    So the l in lgbt isn’t L-utheran?

  • Robin

    These books used to be my go to material. I read several because I was unsure if I was saved. I would read the book, fall into despair, beg God to save me and never be sure if “it took.” I was terrified. One day I came across The White Horse and Dr. Rosenbladt and I began to hear the announcement of good news that Christ was crucified for MY SINS. It was the beginning of a turning point in my life. For the first time in my life Jesus was compelling to me on grounds other than getting my act together to prove I am saved.
    Thank you Dr. Veith for posting this today.

  • Robin

    These books used to be my go to material. I read several because I was unsure if I was saved. I would read the book, fall into despair, beg God to save me and never be sure if “it took.” I was terrified. One day I came across The White Horse and Dr. Rosenbladt and I began to hear the announcement of good news that Christ was crucified for MY SINS. It was the beginning of a turning point in my life. For the first time in my life Jesus was compelling to me on grounds other than getting my act together to prove I am saved.
    Thank you Dr. Veith for posting this today.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@18) said:

    I also think there is more to the answer than just to have faith in Jesus for it to be satisfactory to people.

    I don’t know if you meant it that way, but that certainly sounds indicative of most people’s approach to Christianity (sadly): “‘Faith alone’? I don’t know, I want there to be more to it than just that.”

    I think we should be making SOME effort to distinguish those who actually believe and those who parrot-talk while continuing to do whatever they please.

    Yes, these tares are out of control! I know it’s not harvest time yet, but can’t we do something about these horrible weeds?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@18) said:

    I also think there is more to the answer than just to have faith in Jesus for it to be satisfactory to people.

    I don’t know if you meant it that way, but that certainly sounds indicative of most people’s approach to Christianity (sadly): “‘Faith alone’? I don’t know, I want there to be more to it than just that.”

    I think we should be making SOME effort to distinguish those who actually believe and those who parrot-talk while continuing to do whatever they please.

    Yes, these tares are out of control! I know it’s not harvest time yet, but can’t we do something about these horrible weeds?

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

    Oh, Robin, God bless you, as He has in Christ Jesus!

    Friends, if any of the rest of you are where Robin was, click that item in the sidebar of this blog with the picture of Rod Rosenbladt. It will take you to a free download from New Reformation Press of Dr. Rosenbladt’s “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church.” You need to hear what Robin heard.

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

    Oh, Robin, God bless you, as He has in Christ Jesus!

    Friends, if any of the rest of you are where Robin was, click that item in the sidebar of this blog with the picture of Rod Rosenbladt. It will take you to a free download from New Reformation Press of Dr. Rosenbladt’s “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church.” You need to hear what Robin heard.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@16):

    If you’re not growing in character and obedience, you’ve got to question whether your faith is real.

    Which of course prompts the follow-up question. Are you growing in character and obedience, Bubba? Are you sure? Are you growing enough?

    What a horrible message. What a Christ-less message.

    That’s one reason I remain a Lutheran. Because, when you do a spiritual self-assessment and find yourself lacking, you can either listen to Bubba’s suggestion (“Well, maybe you’re actually going to Hell?”), or you can find a church that will tell you that Jesus died for you and that your sins are forgiven.

    “You’ve got to question whether your faith is real.” I mean, honestly! Why not also add, “Have you considered suicide?”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@16):

    If you’re not growing in character and obedience, you’ve got to question whether your faith is real.

    Which of course prompts the follow-up question. Are you growing in character and obedience, Bubba? Are you sure? Are you growing enough?

    What a horrible message. What a Christ-less message.

    That’s one reason I remain a Lutheran. Because, when you do a spiritual self-assessment and find yourself lacking, you can either listen to Bubba’s suggestion (“Well, maybe you’re actually going to Hell?”), or you can find a church that will tell you that Jesus died for you and that your sins are forgiven.

    “You’ve got to question whether your faith is real.” I mean, honestly! Why not also add, “Have you considered suicide?”

  • The Jones

    tOOD,

    Yeah, I didn’t want my words to suggest that just having faith in Jesus was not enough. I hope I communicated that while that is sufficient, people are not happy with that answer. That’s not a problem with Faith, that’s a problem with people.

    While we can point out the lack of faith that is involved in not being assured that faith alone is enough, we also need to give people an answer that actually gives them assurance and also is truthful, as the authors of scripture had to constantly do. Sometimes the truthful part can show them that they’re actually NOT in the faith. Sometimes the assurance part can take the form of a line of reasoning that seems silly to us, but is totally satisfactory to them. I think we should be satisfied with both of these hypothetical tracks.

    Finally, I’d like to pose my own input on “lists” of things that are applied to being a Christian: People often see Luke 6:43 and 44, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.” After reading it, they think the point of this passage is to encourage people in the importance of “fruit.” No. The important thing is to be a good tree, not to try and produce fruit. Fruit is merely the way you identify a tree. Good trees produce fruit by their nature.

    How do you become a good tree? That’s the regeneration that comes by the Holy Spirit, and there is no effort in that. There’s only Faith in Jesus.

  • The Jones

    tOOD,

    Yeah, I didn’t want my words to suggest that just having faith in Jesus was not enough. I hope I communicated that while that is sufficient, people are not happy with that answer. That’s not a problem with Faith, that’s a problem with people.

    While we can point out the lack of faith that is involved in not being assured that faith alone is enough, we also need to give people an answer that actually gives them assurance and also is truthful, as the authors of scripture had to constantly do. Sometimes the truthful part can show them that they’re actually NOT in the faith. Sometimes the assurance part can take the form of a line of reasoning that seems silly to us, but is totally satisfactory to them. I think we should be satisfied with both of these hypothetical tracks.

    Finally, I’d like to pose my own input on “lists” of things that are applied to being a Christian: People often see Luke 6:43 and 44, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.” After reading it, they think the point of this passage is to encourage people in the importance of “fruit.” No. The important thing is to be a good tree, not to try and produce fruit. Fruit is merely the way you identify a tree. Good trees produce fruit by their nature.

    How do you become a good tree? That’s the regeneration that comes by the Holy Spirit, and there is no effort in that. There’s only Faith in Jesus.

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

    All that self examination stuff will either lead to pride…or despair.

    Doesn’t it really lead to repentance?

    I am thinking of the first of Luther’s 95 theses.

    1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

    2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

    3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

    4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

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

    All that self examination stuff will either lead to pride…or despair.

    Doesn’t it really lead to repentance?

    I am thinking of the first of Luther’s 95 theses.

    1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

    2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

    3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

    4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

  • Fws

    sg @33

    excellent! You are walking down the very path that Luther walked down now. But careful here. Luther in the 95 theses was still very scholastic in his theology.

    Our Confessions tell us that the preaching of the Law will always result in Pharisee (self justifying by doing something) or Judays (despair). This is true until Christ takes the Law into his own hands and makes us terrified by showing us that no matter what we do, our heart is never in it. The proof for this is that we have to work very hard at learning to do. It requires extreme effort, self discipline and focus. Civil Law is kept by doing. In God’s court things are different. God demands that we love.

    Sg: think of this fact this way: your husband one day says “SG I DEMAND that you love me!” Your reason-able response would be this thought: ” No one can even demand or order his own heart that way, so in this case, my obeying him can only be acting as if I loved him, and then also maybe wishing or wanting to really love him.” And you would be right!

    That is way men flee from God as a tyrant. They act loving. They do the list found in the Bible that is the check list (how silly to think we can obey this law by following a list!) and they even wish to be more loving. And … their conscience STILL accuses them! So they hate God. We do exactly as he says, yet the Divine Law written in our reason just keeps on accusing us. Relentlessly. Not even a pat on the back as in “you did your best” or “you did all that was in you to do”. Nope. “You will die for all you did. That will be your reward. I spit out what you have done while at the same time I demand you do it.”

    And now put yourself in God’s place. Imagine your husband thinking he can give you the love you want by following a list, begrudgingly, only doing so to avoid your being angry. You would spit out that sorta “love ” too I suspect! And yet you would still demand it be done for the sake of others.

    one more thought here on that word “repentence”. Look up the Formula of Concord on Law and Gospel. They say that repentence has two meanings. And Luther says, in the Large Catechism, that Baptism is identical to Repentence! And then he urged us all to go to private confessions. Why? because we will find the Gospel there. Not just repentence.

    So Luther got alot more insights into repentence by around 1528 when the catechisms were written. That is less than 10 years later eh?

  • Fws

    sg @33

    excellent! You are walking down the very path that Luther walked down now. But careful here. Luther in the 95 theses was still very scholastic in his theology.

    Our Confessions tell us that the preaching of the Law will always result in Pharisee (self justifying by doing something) or Judays (despair). This is true until Christ takes the Law into his own hands and makes us terrified by showing us that no matter what we do, our heart is never in it. The proof for this is that we have to work very hard at learning to do. It requires extreme effort, self discipline and focus. Civil Law is kept by doing. In God’s court things are different. God demands that we love.

    Sg: think of this fact this way: your husband one day says “SG I DEMAND that you love me!” Your reason-able response would be this thought: ” No one can even demand or order his own heart that way, so in this case, my obeying him can only be acting as if I loved him, and then also maybe wishing or wanting to really love him.” And you would be right!

    That is way men flee from God as a tyrant. They act loving. They do the list found in the Bible that is the check list (how silly to think we can obey this law by following a list!) and they even wish to be more loving. And … their conscience STILL accuses them! So they hate God. We do exactly as he says, yet the Divine Law written in our reason just keeps on accusing us. Relentlessly. Not even a pat on the back as in “you did your best” or “you did all that was in you to do”. Nope. “You will die for all you did. That will be your reward. I spit out what you have done while at the same time I demand you do it.”

    And now put yourself in God’s place. Imagine your husband thinking he can give you the love you want by following a list, begrudgingly, only doing so to avoid your being angry. You would spit out that sorta “love ” too I suspect! And yet you would still demand it be done for the sake of others.

    one more thought here on that word “repentence”. Look up the Formula of Concord on Law and Gospel. They say that repentence has two meanings. And Luther says, in the Large Catechism, that Baptism is identical to Repentence! And then he urged us all to go to private confessions. Why? because we will find the Gospel there. Not just repentence.

    So Luther got alot more insights into repentence by around 1528 when the catechisms were written. That is less than 10 years later eh?

  • larry

    Robin,

    We’ve discussed this before, but that’s exactly the same thing that happened to me. I recall coming deeply through more books on “assurance” than I can count & back into despair you’d go. I’d ask people, “how do you know”, not being a smart eleck but desperately wanting to know. One, among many things I learned, is that the assurance given by such is ALWAYS nebulous, ALWAYS lawish, and ALL over the maps depending on whom you were reading (even within one denomination on supposedly unified doctrine). I still have many of those books, for reference, on my shelf. They are now on the “heretic/caution before your read” shelf but I’ve kept them for reference like my copy of the Quad.

    But the “how I know” is all over the map. A few I ran into, and as dumb as some of these sound, the people that wrote/spoke them were deadly serious about it:

    1. A book I read for a class on spiritual warfare by a calvinist prof. at Southern tells his own account of struggling with “how he couldn’t find assurance”. I recall distinctly with anxious breath wanting to get to the answer, because I was needing it badly. I got to the end of that chapter and he finally said that “God gave me assurance that I was saved by a supernatural revelation”. He didn’t describe it just left it there. See what I mean. It knocked the air out of me, so I went praying for that for days on days and nights on nights – because I trusted the source.

    2. I heard this one a lot in the SB church: “you just know that you know that you know”. I’m not joking, seriously!

    3. Here’s one from a well known Reformed teacher concerning assurance, “There’s something sweet about the inward witness of Holy Spirit”. So I’d look inward for that, of course there was NOTHING sweet found and quite the opposite.

    4. From a former Calvinistic baptist pastor of mine, dearly trusted and loved, “You know you are saved because you feel the love in your heart”. That one nearly sent me off of a cliff literally off of a cliff, I had to talk myself down.

    5. Variations on “a changed heart” are considered assurance or “improved moral life”. Problem was, I was always very moral and conservative. I didn’t have one of those “horrible drug ridden running from the law lifes” and pretty much diligently did what I was suppose, so my conversion was not really one from one of immorality to morality.

    But despair is where it all takes you.

    When I first heard “Luther” through Dr. Rosenbladt I thought many times: Either this is very dangerous or the greatest message in all creation and eternity combined.

  • larry

    Robin,

    We’ve discussed this before, but that’s exactly the same thing that happened to me. I recall coming deeply through more books on “assurance” than I can count & back into despair you’d go. I’d ask people, “how do you know”, not being a smart eleck but desperately wanting to know. One, among many things I learned, is that the assurance given by such is ALWAYS nebulous, ALWAYS lawish, and ALL over the maps depending on whom you were reading (even within one denomination on supposedly unified doctrine). I still have many of those books, for reference, on my shelf. They are now on the “heretic/caution before your read” shelf but I’ve kept them for reference like my copy of the Quad.

    But the “how I know” is all over the map. A few I ran into, and as dumb as some of these sound, the people that wrote/spoke them were deadly serious about it:

    1. A book I read for a class on spiritual warfare by a calvinist prof. at Southern tells his own account of struggling with “how he couldn’t find assurance”. I recall distinctly with anxious breath wanting to get to the answer, because I was needing it badly. I got to the end of that chapter and he finally said that “God gave me assurance that I was saved by a supernatural revelation”. He didn’t describe it just left it there. See what I mean. It knocked the air out of me, so I went praying for that for days on days and nights on nights – because I trusted the source.

    2. I heard this one a lot in the SB church: “you just know that you know that you know”. I’m not joking, seriously!

    3. Here’s one from a well known Reformed teacher concerning assurance, “There’s something sweet about the inward witness of Holy Spirit”. So I’d look inward for that, of course there was NOTHING sweet found and quite the opposite.

    4. From a former Calvinistic baptist pastor of mine, dearly trusted and loved, “You know you are saved because you feel the love in your heart”. That one nearly sent me off of a cliff literally off of a cliff, I had to talk myself down.

    5. Variations on “a changed heart” are considered assurance or “improved moral life”. Problem was, I was always very moral and conservative. I didn’t have one of those “horrible drug ridden running from the law lifes” and pretty much diligently did what I was suppose, so my conversion was not really one from one of immorality to morality.

    But despair is where it all takes you.

    When I first heard “Luther” through Dr. Rosenbladt I thought many times: Either this is very dangerous or the greatest message in all creation and eternity combined.

  • Fws

    the jones @ 32

    excellent!

    Lutherans say that we learn to become good trees right within a life of being terrified in our conscience exactly when we look at the fruit we produce. We are to listen to judgement of the Law on all our fruit being the moral equivalent of a used tampon (it was Isaiah who said that. And yes it is gross and crass. So is our sin). And we are to be terrified at ALL we can see, think, do, and emote. In our wills, our bodies, our minds and even our very souls.

    And this is for the Law to drive us to the Gospel , which invites us to hide ALL we can do inside the Works of Another.

    The Lutheran Confessions say that it is this terrifying of the conscience and the consolation of the Holy Gospel that is what the Christian life must look like.

    Even the Lord’s Supper is a serious Law to remind us of the gravity of our Sin, along with being a certain Promise that those sins are covered for the specific person eating and drinking. Another reason for Closed Communion.

    Bless you Jones!+

  • Fws

    the jones @ 32

    excellent!

    Lutherans say that we learn to become good trees right within a life of being terrified in our conscience exactly when we look at the fruit we produce. We are to listen to judgement of the Law on all our fruit being the moral equivalent of a used tampon (it was Isaiah who said that. And yes it is gross and crass. So is our sin). And we are to be terrified at ALL we can see, think, do, and emote. In our wills, our bodies, our minds and even our very souls.

    And this is for the Law to drive us to the Gospel , which invites us to hide ALL we can do inside the Works of Another.

    The Lutheran Confessions say that it is this terrifying of the conscience and the consolation of the Holy Gospel that is what the Christian life must look like.

    Even the Lord’s Supper is a serious Law to remind us of the gravity of our Sin, along with being a certain Promise that those sins are covered for the specific person eating and drinking. Another reason for Closed Communion.

    Bless you Jones!+

  • Abby

    Besides the Word and Sacraments (which I can’t get enough of), Dr. Rosenbladt’s message “The Gospel for those Broken by the Church” is my life preserver. I have read it several times, listened to it, quoted it, and sent it to some pastors that I know. I have the same feeling as Larry: “Either this is very dangerous or the greatest message in all creation and eternity combined.” The understanding I have now of Grace is such that I’m not sure I ever understood it before. And I can tell people about it in a way that I coudn’t before. I told my pastor that I understand justification and grace now much deeper and clearer. I’m working on understanding sanctification, but I don’t think I can make head or tails of that. THAT makes me feel like I’m still not good enough — not making it. But then I reread Dr Rosenbladts paper. And just realize with awe that I don’t have to do anything to produce God’s favor.

    I believe that I’ve been in God’s grace my whole life. It’s just the struggle and despair and tricks of the devil that have robbed me — of the knowledge of assurance — for a long time. Each day is still a struggle as I seek to remember who is “talking” to me.

    The other resource I found was Dr. Rosenbladt’s teaching of Galatians. That too was amazingly freeing. My favorite verse now is, “For freedom Christ has set you free . . .” Try to plumb the depths of that!

    So, I thank Dr Veith for this blog — which is my morning newspaper — and all the avenues I have discovered and things I have learned from being here.

  • Abby

    Besides the Word and Sacraments (which I can’t get enough of), Dr. Rosenbladt’s message “The Gospel for those Broken by the Church” is my life preserver. I have read it several times, listened to it, quoted it, and sent it to some pastors that I know. I have the same feeling as Larry: “Either this is very dangerous or the greatest message in all creation and eternity combined.” The understanding I have now of Grace is such that I’m not sure I ever understood it before. And I can tell people about it in a way that I coudn’t before. I told my pastor that I understand justification and grace now much deeper and clearer. I’m working on understanding sanctification, but I don’t think I can make head or tails of that. THAT makes me feel like I’m still not good enough — not making it. But then I reread Dr Rosenbladts paper. And just realize with awe that I don’t have to do anything to produce God’s favor.

    I believe that I’ve been in God’s grace my whole life. It’s just the struggle and despair and tricks of the devil that have robbed me — of the knowledge of assurance — for a long time. Each day is still a struggle as I seek to remember who is “talking” to me.

    The other resource I found was Dr. Rosenbladt’s teaching of Galatians. That too was amazingly freeing. My favorite verse now is, “For freedom Christ has set you free . . .” Try to plumb the depths of that!

    So, I thank Dr Veith for this blog — which is my morning newspaper — and all the avenues I have discovered and things I have learned from being here.

  • Abby

    And I also TGTBL!

  • Abby

    And I also TGTBL!

  • Fws

    abby @ 37

    You will not find that word “sanctification” really defined or fleshed out much in the Confessions. Maybe that is why Lutherans sorta spin on that word.

    Try this: Baptism=Sanctification. Sanctification has two parts, there is what God does in baptism: He delivers us from death and the devil, he works the forgiveness of sins, and he gives eternal life to all who trust in the Works of Another.

    Then there is what Baptism signifies or symbolizes: It signifies the life of a christian. It symbolizes first that we are to kill our Old Adam by daily grinding him down and sorrow for sin. So it symbolizes that we are to be terrified of our sins and all we can do and at the same time we don’t despair or flee God’s judgement by working harder. We work harder instead because we know all we can do is hidden in the Works of Another.

    Here is the trick Abby:
    1) that part we do looks identical to what any pagan can do. And we exercise self discipline in exactly the same non spiritual ways a pagan or aristotle would do. Self-discipline, self-control, etc. So what makes what we DO different than what a pagan does?

    It is only this: 1) we seek our death in doing, not Life or even life. and 2) we hide all that we do inside the Works of Another.

    Note: Good Works are the SAME good and God’ desired fruit whether they are fruit of the Law or the Gospel. So Good Works therefore cannot be proof of faith. The Law produces the same identical fruit in pagans by the Law and in our Old Adams by the Law, The difference is not in what is done but in the doer. Adding faith to our works does not change the nature or essence of the works done in any way.

    So when you think sanctification, think of what the catechisms say about baptism. It looks like that. And Luther says that Baptism is nothing other than repentence!

  • Fws

    abby @ 37

    You will not find that word “sanctification” really defined or fleshed out much in the Confessions. Maybe that is why Lutherans sorta spin on that word.

    Try this: Baptism=Sanctification. Sanctification has two parts, there is what God does in baptism: He delivers us from death and the devil, he works the forgiveness of sins, and he gives eternal life to all who trust in the Works of Another.

    Then there is what Baptism signifies or symbolizes: It signifies the life of a christian. It symbolizes first that we are to kill our Old Adam by daily grinding him down and sorrow for sin. So it symbolizes that we are to be terrified of our sins and all we can do and at the same time we don’t despair or flee God’s judgement by working harder. We work harder instead because we know all we can do is hidden in the Works of Another.

    Here is the trick Abby:
    1) that part we do looks identical to what any pagan can do. And we exercise self discipline in exactly the same non spiritual ways a pagan or aristotle would do. Self-discipline, self-control, etc. So what makes what we DO different than what a pagan does?

    It is only this: 1) we seek our death in doing, not Life or even life. and 2) we hide all that we do inside the Works of Another.

    Note: Good Works are the SAME good and God’ desired fruit whether they are fruit of the Law or the Gospel. So Good Works therefore cannot be proof of faith. The Law produces the same identical fruit in pagans by the Law and in our Old Adams by the Law, The difference is not in what is done but in the doer. Adding faith to our works does not change the nature or essence of the works done in any way.

    So when you think sanctification, think of what the catechisms say about baptism. It looks like that. And Luther says that Baptism is nothing other than repentence!

  • Fws

    abby @ 37

    try dr Luther’s commentary on Galatians. Dr Rosemblat is plagarizing big time! hahahaha. He would approve of my comment without shame!

  • Fws

    abby @ 37

    try dr Luther’s commentary on Galatians. Dr Rosemblat is plagarizing big time! hahahaha. He would approve of my comment without shame!

  • Abby

    FWS: Thank you for your explanation! That is much easier! As a child, growing up in a Lutheran school, I remember being to taught to look to our Baptism whenever we felt like we were under “attack.” I used to do that, but along the way I forgot to do it. I am realizing again the power of Baptism and I look to it often for comfort.

    I am planning to pick up the commentary on Galatians since I am in St. Louis right now and will get it from CPH before I head home. I’m also thinking of getting the one on Romans.

    Thank you for telling me that we Lutherans don’t define sanctification much. No wonder I felt lost! I couldn’t find anything about it. Maybe, indeed, it should stay lost! The list that was posted in the initial topic maybe could be thought to be a means to “sanctification” instead of a means to “assurance of salvation.” I believe I’m quoting Dr. Rosenbladt correctly, that our salvation does not even depend on our sanctification. Maybe that is where all the confusion lies.

  • Abby

    FWS: Thank you for your explanation! That is much easier! As a child, growing up in a Lutheran school, I remember being to taught to look to our Baptism whenever we felt like we were under “attack.” I used to do that, but along the way I forgot to do it. I am realizing again the power of Baptism and I look to it often for comfort.

    I am planning to pick up the commentary on Galatians since I am in St. Louis right now and will get it from CPH before I head home. I’m also thinking of getting the one on Romans.

    Thank you for telling me that we Lutherans don’t define sanctification much. No wonder I felt lost! I couldn’t find anything about it. Maybe, indeed, it should stay lost! The list that was posted in the initial topic maybe could be thought to be a means to “sanctification” instead of a means to “assurance of salvation.” I believe I’m quoting Dr. Rosenbladt correctly, that our salvation does not even depend on our sanctification. Maybe that is where all the confusion lies.

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

    Abby @ 41,
    I don’t think I’d go so far as to say sanctification “should stay lost.” After all, it is a scriptural concept, both in initial sanctification and progressive sanctification (or what Lutherans refer to as “mortification of the flesh”). While some in the evangelical movement have abused sanctification, that doesn’t mean sanctification should be ignored or not defined.

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

    Abby @ 41,
    I don’t think I’d go so far as to say sanctification “should stay lost.” After all, it is a scriptural concept, both in initial sanctification and progressive sanctification (or what Lutherans refer to as “mortification of the flesh”). While some in the evangelical movement have abused sanctification, that doesn’t mean sanctification should be ignored or not defined.

  • Ross

    Could someone please explain the difference between faith and assurance? Do Lutherans separate them like the Reformed?

  • Ross

    Could someone please explain the difference between faith and assurance? Do Lutherans separate them like the Reformed?

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

    You know, Ross, I don’t think we do. Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for,” according to Hebrews. I’ll let others more knowledgeable than I am address that, but I think you’ve hit on a major difference that leads to a lot of misunderstanding on both sides. The Reformed tend to separate all kinds of things that, for Lutherans, go together. In at least some of the Calvinist theology I’ve been, justification, regeneration, conversion, etc., etc., are all considered to be separate things and to happen to a Christian sequentially. (I don’t know if I am listing the order correctly.)

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

    You know, Ross, I don’t think we do. Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for,” according to Hebrews. I’ll let others more knowledgeable than I am address that, but I think you’ve hit on a major difference that leads to a lot of misunderstanding on both sides. The Reformed tend to separate all kinds of things that, for Lutherans, go together. In at least some of the Calvinist theology I’ve been, justification, regeneration, conversion, etc., etc., are all considered to be separate things and to happen to a Christian sequentially. (I don’t know if I am listing the order correctly.)

  • Fws

    ross @ 43

    Let me give it a try.

    For a Lutheran, assurance is not about whether or not we have faith.
    We Lutherans believe that if our salvation depended in even the slightest way upon our faith or repentence or reformed lives we would be lost. Why is that?

    Lutherans believe that ALL we can see and do in our will, reason, faith, life, emotions and very soul is 100% sin. This is true even after we become Christians. We really mean this literally. 100% .

    So then there can be no assurance at all in any of that. So where do we find assurance, and not just assurance but 100% dead certainty?

    It is about the Object of our faith.

    We would point you to your baptism and not your faith-experience.
    You were baptized. In that baptism Ross God has given to you, personally a Promise. He has marked you with the sign of the Holy Cross. He has told you that he has chosen and elected you from eternity and for eternity.

    So if you were to go to a Lutheran pastor and make a confession, and you were to say that you honestly have to admit that you have no true faith, or repentence and can see no real sincere fruit of the Spirit in your life, we would tell you to cling to the Promise of being hidden in Christ with all that. And we would urge you to trust that and to hang onto that Promise as though your Life depended… on that Promise!

    It does. You are a liar. That is the dead honest truth about you. And that should terrify you Ross. And being terrified at ALL you can see and do is not such a bad think for someone like you who has been baptized. It is to acknowledge the truth of God’s judgement on you and your sin and then to know, in baptism, that ALL of that is fully hidden in the Works of Another. That is , alone, where there is Life for you Ross.

    For a Lutheran, faith is born and strengthened in the midst of terror over all we can see and do, and yet we still do, knowing that our doing is all death. So why do we keep doing? Our neighbor needs it. God doesn’t. And God demands us to go out and serve the transitory creaturely carnal needs of our neighbor with our carnal creaturely works that are identical to the works of any virtue seeking pagan. And this work is good here in our earthly existence to have a happy life, help the happiness of others, and to avoid the punishment of those in authority and also of God if we fail to serve others. But this work is all about this life and will perish and end with it.

    If we wish to deal with God we must reach as far from anything we can do as the earth is from the stars. We need to trust in the Works of Another. And we are bound to those Works in our Baptism. That is the proof that God has given us all that Christ has won.

    Cling to your baptism Ross! Baptism was a work of sinful men done to you perhaps by a pastor and parents by God’s command even before you could remember it being done. But God has attached to that sinful earthly work his Promise of eternal Life. And infant baptism is the perfect picture of the fact that nothing depends upon you or your faith or repentence or doing. It depends upon the Promise of a God who seeks you out and cannot lie. His Promise is sure and absolutely certain.

    Bless you Ross !

    frank +

  • Fws

    ross @ 43

    Let me give it a try.

    For a Lutheran, assurance is not about whether or not we have faith.
    We Lutherans believe that if our salvation depended in even the slightest way upon our faith or repentence or reformed lives we would be lost. Why is that?

    Lutherans believe that ALL we can see and do in our will, reason, faith, life, emotions and very soul is 100% sin. This is true even after we become Christians. We really mean this literally. 100% .

    So then there can be no assurance at all in any of that. So where do we find assurance, and not just assurance but 100% dead certainty?

    It is about the Object of our faith.

    We would point you to your baptism and not your faith-experience.
    You were baptized. In that baptism Ross God has given to you, personally a Promise. He has marked you with the sign of the Holy Cross. He has told you that he has chosen and elected you from eternity and for eternity.

    So if you were to go to a Lutheran pastor and make a confession, and you were to say that you honestly have to admit that you have no true faith, or repentence and can see no real sincere fruit of the Spirit in your life, we would tell you to cling to the Promise of being hidden in Christ with all that. And we would urge you to trust that and to hang onto that Promise as though your Life depended… on that Promise!

    It does. You are a liar. That is the dead honest truth about you. And that should terrify you Ross. And being terrified at ALL you can see and do is not such a bad think for someone like you who has been baptized. It is to acknowledge the truth of God’s judgement on you and your sin and then to know, in baptism, that ALL of that is fully hidden in the Works of Another. That is , alone, where there is Life for you Ross.

    For a Lutheran, faith is born and strengthened in the midst of terror over all we can see and do, and yet we still do, knowing that our doing is all death. So why do we keep doing? Our neighbor needs it. God doesn’t. And God demands us to go out and serve the transitory creaturely carnal needs of our neighbor with our carnal creaturely works that are identical to the works of any virtue seeking pagan. And this work is good here in our earthly existence to have a happy life, help the happiness of others, and to avoid the punishment of those in authority and also of God if we fail to serve others. But this work is all about this life and will perish and end with it.

    If we wish to deal with God we must reach as far from anything we can do as the earth is from the stars. We need to trust in the Works of Another. And we are bound to those Works in our Baptism. That is the proof that God has given us all that Christ has won.

    Cling to your baptism Ross! Baptism was a work of sinful men done to you perhaps by a pastor and parents by God’s command even before you could remember it being done. But God has attached to that sinful earthly work his Promise of eternal Life. And infant baptism is the perfect picture of the fact that nothing depends upon you or your faith or repentence or doing. It depends upon the Promise of a God who seeks you out and cannot lie. His Promise is sure and absolutely certain.

    Bless you Ross !

    frank +

  • Fws

    J dean @ 42

    I suggest that usually the way we look at sanctification is in the reformed matrix. that is why we get confused. “progressive sanctification” is just such a concept.

    There is a broad and then also a proper/narrow use of the word sanctification.

    In the narrow sense, to be made holy can only be the result of regeneration. It is not anything we can do. It is pure Gospel. It it is something God does that says.

    Then in the broad sense, sanctification means Gospel + Law. It is something God does, and that results in something WE do. here is what is important to remember: “WE” do = Law. We do=mortification. we do = death. So in this sense, sanctification means our death. There is NO Life there. This sense of “sanctification will perish with our earthly existence . It is not necessary for new man, nor will it be necessary in the resurrection. But here it is. Why? Old Adam needs to die and our neighbor needs carnal needs met.

    Justification in fact is also used in two ways according to Apology III: It means to declare righteous forensically, and it also means to make sinful men holy. These are both instantaneous events. In regeneration we are declared holy, and… we are made completely holy in our new man, or insofar as we are regenerated. That is why , insofar as we are regenerated, the law is abolished. New man has no need of the Law even as instruction.

    There is no confusion on the God part of Sanctification. The confusion is always in trying to make the “we ” part of “sanctification” somehow spiritual rather than the purely carnal thing it is.

    The works we do in sanctification and how we achieve those good works is absolutely identical to how a pagan does them. Yet we would not call the works of a pagan “sanctification” would we? That is where some confusion lies. We try to identify some quality in christian works that is different than the quality of pagan works. And there is none! A good work IS a good work no matter who does it!
    Reason knows this to be true. Reason here is right!

    But there is still a difference. Where? It is in the doer not in what is done. Here.

    Before regeneration: The HS uses the Law to kill our Old Adam for the purpose of making him do Goodness and Mercy for other Old Adams.

    After regeneration: The HS AND New Man both use the Law to kill our Old Adam for the purpose of making him do the SAME Goodness and Mercy for other Old Adams!

    See? Both before and after regeneration it is the Law that is making Old Adam do the same Goodness and Mercy! No Gospel. The difference? Before regeneration, there is no New Man who is participating in this killing of Old Adam. All Good Works still have to happen in, with and under Old Adam. And he cant be reformed or transformed. He simply must be worked to death.

    I hope that helps! You are on the right track brother Dean!

    But the Old Adam still clings to us. Because of that ALL we can think, see, do, emote in ALL our will, thoughts, emotions and even soul are 100% sin. Old Adam at work. Anything we can perceive or see evidentially in our entire existence, even after the new birth, is 100% sinful Old Adam doing it. And there we speak of

  • Fws

    J dean @ 42

    I suggest that usually the way we look at sanctification is in the reformed matrix. that is why we get confused. “progressive sanctification” is just such a concept.

    There is a broad and then also a proper/narrow use of the word sanctification.

    In the narrow sense, to be made holy can only be the result of regeneration. It is not anything we can do. It is pure Gospel. It it is something God does that says.

    Then in the broad sense, sanctification means Gospel + Law. It is something God does, and that results in something WE do. here is what is important to remember: “WE” do = Law. We do=mortification. we do = death. So in this sense, sanctification means our death. There is NO Life there. This sense of “sanctification will perish with our earthly existence . It is not necessary for new man, nor will it be necessary in the resurrection. But here it is. Why? Old Adam needs to die and our neighbor needs carnal needs met.

    Justification in fact is also used in two ways according to Apology III: It means to declare righteous forensically, and it also means to make sinful men holy. These are both instantaneous events. In regeneration we are declared holy, and… we are made completely holy in our new man, or insofar as we are regenerated. That is why , insofar as we are regenerated, the law is abolished. New man has no need of the Law even as instruction.

    There is no confusion on the God part of Sanctification. The confusion is always in trying to make the “we ” part of “sanctification” somehow spiritual rather than the purely carnal thing it is.

    The works we do in sanctification and how we achieve those good works is absolutely identical to how a pagan does them. Yet we would not call the works of a pagan “sanctification” would we? That is where some confusion lies. We try to identify some quality in christian works that is different than the quality of pagan works. And there is none! A good work IS a good work no matter who does it!
    Reason knows this to be true. Reason here is right!

    But there is still a difference. Where? It is in the doer not in what is done. Here.

    Before regeneration: The HS uses the Law to kill our Old Adam for the purpose of making him do Goodness and Mercy for other Old Adams.

    After regeneration: The HS AND New Man both use the Law to kill our Old Adam for the purpose of making him do the SAME Goodness and Mercy for other Old Adams!

    See? Both before and after regeneration it is the Law that is making Old Adam do the same Goodness and Mercy! No Gospel. The difference? Before regeneration, there is no New Man who is participating in this killing of Old Adam. All Good Works still have to happen in, with and under Old Adam. And he cant be reformed or transformed. He simply must be worked to death.

    I hope that helps! You are on the right track brother Dean!

    But the Old Adam still clings to us. Because of that ALL we can think, see, do, emote in ALL our will, thoughts, emotions and even soul are 100% sin. Old Adam at work. Anything we can perceive or see evidentially in our entire existence, even after the new birth, is 100% sinful Old Adam doing it. And there we speak of

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I have to agree with Robin, since I share some of her experience. The continual, manufactred repentant experiences, the trying oh so hard to be both sinless and have perfect assurance (yes, in my Pelagian background, those were strongly linked). But the change started not with some excellent words like those from Dr Rosenbladt, but with, of all things, a documentary on the Vatican by Peter Ustinov. One thing led to another, and the shackles (yes, shackles, because heretical versions of the faith binds ever so strongly) started falling away.

    It was still over a decade, with many stumblings, before I joined a Lutheran Church, but it started there.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I have to agree with Robin, since I share some of her experience. The continual, manufactred repentant experiences, the trying oh so hard to be both sinless and have perfect assurance (yes, in my Pelagian background, those were strongly linked). But the change started not with some excellent words like those from Dr Rosenbladt, but with, of all things, a documentary on the Vatican by Peter Ustinov. One thing led to another, and the shackles (yes, shackles, because heretical versions of the faith binds ever so strongly) started falling away.

    It was still over a decade, with many stumblings, before I joined a Lutheran Church, but it started there.

  • Stephen

    If anyone doubts what many are saying here about this kind of list being the very thing that leads to despair, visit and atheist or better, “former” Christian website and listen to the conversations there. You will find that all of those people have suffered from just this kind of “assurance” that eventually wears them out and drives them away. These are generally people that have heard the gospel somewhere along the way but then despair of it because law is attached (which is not gospel after all is said and done). Luther addresses this in the Heidelburg Disputations – that it is doubly damning to the conscience to seek to place our works before God as a proof of our election.

  • Stephen

    If anyone doubts what many are saying here about this kind of list being the very thing that leads to despair, visit and atheist or better, “former” Christian website and listen to the conversations there. You will find that all of those people have suffered from just this kind of “assurance” that eventually wears them out and drives them away. These are generally people that have heard the gospel somewhere along the way but then despair of it because law is attached (which is not gospel after all is said and done). Luther addresses this in the Heidelburg Disputations – that it is doubly damning to the conscience to seek to place our works before God as a proof of our election.

  • Fws

    stephen @ 48

    amen. Most atheists, militant gays, feminists, agnostics, followers of new age, eastern cults etc are those whose hearts have been broken by the church.

  • Fws

    stephen @ 48

    amen. Most atheists, militant gays, feminists, agnostics, followers of new age, eastern cults etc are those whose hearts have been broken by the church.

  • Fws

    klassie @ 47

    Ok. Now you got me all curious. Peter Ustinov? Documentary on the vatican? lutheranism? tell us more please!

  • Fws

    klassie @ 47

    Ok. Now you got me all curious. Peter Ustinov? Documentary on the vatican? lutheranism? tell us more please!

  • Abby

    “Assurance” : “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 11:1; 12:1-2

  • Abby

    “Assurance” : “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 11:1; 12:1-2

  • Fws

    aabby @ 51

    Thanks for sharing that. I can see where that passage would lead someone with a Reformed or evangelical background now. Note that in other translations the word for assurance is translated as “substance”. And whatever it is, it is not about something we can see or do, or about the race that we run (our christian life). It is rather about fixing our eyes on Christ.

    May I suggest that this passage says that the very substance or matter of faith is precisely the Object of our Faith, who is Christ.

    We lack faith and repentence. So we dont look to those for assurance. But Christ is certain and true and faithful. Even suffering death, for you and me, on the Cross. And so we cling to the Promise that we are joined to him in our Baptism.

  • Fws

    aabby @ 51

    Thanks for sharing that. I can see where that passage would lead someone with a Reformed or evangelical background now. Note that in other translations the word for assurance is translated as “substance”. And whatever it is, it is not about something we can see or do, or about the race that we run (our christian life). It is rather about fixing our eyes on Christ.

    May I suggest that this passage says that the very substance or matter of faith is precisely the Object of our Faith, who is Christ.

    We lack faith and repentence. So we dont look to those for assurance. But Christ is certain and true and faithful. Even suffering death, for you and me, on the Cross. And so we cling to the Promise that we are joined to him in our Baptism.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD; did not our Lord say “you will know them by their fruit”?? Did not J. Dean and the inspiration for this point out that the claims here are Biblical?

    Let’s try dealing with the concepts of Scripture instead of tossing out casual mockery, OK? The Scripture clearly notes that there is fruit that arises out of the Spirit’s indwelling. If that fruit is absent, yes, it is absolutely right to doubt one’s salvation.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD; did not our Lord say “you will know them by their fruit”?? Did not J. Dean and the inspiration for this point out that the claims here are Biblical?

    Let’s try dealing with the concepts of Scripture instead of tossing out casual mockery, OK? The Scripture clearly notes that there is fruit that arises out of the Spirit’s indwelling. If that fruit is absent, yes, it is absolutely right to doubt one’s salvation.

  • Fws

    Bubba @53

    I agree with you bubba! So we can recognize a christian by the fact that he does not flee from the judgement of God right? And what is Gods judgement of the best good works and righeousness of believers? Saint Isaiah , by Divine Inspiration declares that ALL those works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon. This s a gross thng to say. but it is Gods Judgement Bubba. So we confess that we can present really NO evidence of faith in even our best works. Rright?

    This is the truth: ALL men are to do the carnal righteousness God demands on earth in the decalog. And if we dont, then God will send plagues and punishments until we start to d the goodness and mercy for our neighbors carnal good that the decalog demands. this work requires no Holy Spirit and no Christ. it only requires the Law threAtening your old adam bubba. there is nothing at all in this that you can do bubba that a hypocrite and false christian can not also do! Name just one thing!

    But there are two things that ONLY a christian can do. These:

    So what is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that Alone a christian can have? Two things:

    1) to be terrified at all we can see, think, do, will and feel in our hearts because we accept Gods judgement of it rather than flee that judgement by working harder to avert Gods anger.
    2) then we know to hide ALL we can possibly do in the Works of Another.

    And these two things are not things that are evidential. That is why Christ say that it is he who must sepArate the wheat from the false wheat.

  • Fws

    Bubba @53

    I agree with you bubba! So we can recognize a christian by the fact that he does not flee from the judgement of God right? And what is Gods judgement of the best good works and righeousness of believers? Saint Isaiah , by Divine Inspiration declares that ALL those works are the moral equivalent of a used tampon. This s a gross thng to say. but it is Gods Judgement Bubba. So we confess that we can present really NO evidence of faith in even our best works. Rright?

    This is the truth: ALL men are to do the carnal righteousness God demands on earth in the decalog. And if we dont, then God will send plagues and punishments until we start to d the goodness and mercy for our neighbors carnal good that the decalog demands. this work requires no Holy Spirit and no Christ. it only requires the Law threAtening your old adam bubba. there is nothing at all in this that you can do bubba that a hypocrite and false christian can not also do! Name just one thing!

    But there are two things that ONLY a christian can do. These:

    So what is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that Alone a christian can have? Two things:

    1) to be terrified at all we can see, think, do, will and feel in our hearts because we accept Gods judgement of it rather than flee that judgement by working harder to avert Gods anger.
    2) then we know to hide ALL we can possibly do in the Works of Another.

    And these two things are not things that are evidential. That is why Christ say that it is he who must sepArate the wheat from the false wheat.

  • George A. Marquart

    Certainly Luther’s “I am baptized” is a good thing to remember when doubts (Luther’s good old Anfechtungen) trouble you. Because whenever you can point to something, or Someone outside of yourself, you are not dependent on the miserable being that you know you are. But what he wrote on his deathbed (or cart), “This is true, we are all beggars” is also important. To us, particularly to us Americans, who are so enamored of material things, being a beggar is a bad thing. But as he neared death, Luther realized what a wonderful thing it is to be a beggar in the Kingdom. Nobody expects anything from a beggar, the beggar has nothing to give to anyone, and everything he has he gets from the mercy of Someone else. Like, “I am baptized”, it points outside of ourselves.
    We Lutherans have erected our own barrier to assurance of Salvation, called the Book of Concord. Before I write anything else, let me reiterate what I have often written: the Lutheran Confessions are the best exposition of the Christian faith I know. But with regard to the assurance of salvation, they are a disaster. First, we have invented this “Old Adam”, of whom Scripture knows nothing. He is sort of a separate being who lives inside of us (Alien?) and who “should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” This is a concept that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. We are simul iustus et peccator; that is we are always sinful, and we will be sinful until we die. But that does not prevent God from declaring us simul iustus because of the perfect life, suffering and death of His Son, our Savior.
    St. Paul is clear, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I have.” No “Old Adam” here; it is just “I”. That’s the way I am. But nevertheless, “there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.”
    From somewhere we have established a rule about sanctification, that says we should constantly become better, without having any criterion for measuring the degree of our sanctification. It is as if we cannot simply accept that “there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus”, or “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.” Without any Scriptural support we are to believe that gross and willful sinning will cause faith and the Holy Spirit to depart from us, as supposedly They did when David sinned with Bathsheba. Except that David writes, “and take not Your Holy Spirit from me,” as Nathan confronts him with his sin.
    We confuse the Repentance a person undergoes with the daily repentance, or contrition that a child of God practices. Thus the chief occupation of a citizen of the Kingdom of God is to repent and to become better. If He does not do these things, it is clear that he does not have “real” faith, or even “real” repentance (as someone pointed out in an earlier posting). The whole point of the Gospel is that we need not worry about our own standing with God; the new nature we have received in Baptism makes it possible for us to be concerned about the least of His brethren, which is what we will hear on that glorious day.
    The doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran Church, as Sasse points out, taking from us a major source of assurance of our salvation. Very rarely do we mention the Kingdom of God as part of our faith, even though our Lord said, ““I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose” and ““Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” and “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    We will not be able to have the assurance of our salvation, which our Savior wants His children to have, until we can admit, that there are some major problems in our Confessions.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Certainly Luther’s “I am baptized” is a good thing to remember when doubts (Luther’s good old Anfechtungen) trouble you. Because whenever you can point to something, or Someone outside of yourself, you are not dependent on the miserable being that you know you are. But what he wrote on his deathbed (or cart), “This is true, we are all beggars” is also important. To us, particularly to us Americans, who are so enamored of material things, being a beggar is a bad thing. But as he neared death, Luther realized what a wonderful thing it is to be a beggar in the Kingdom. Nobody expects anything from a beggar, the beggar has nothing to give to anyone, and everything he has he gets from the mercy of Someone else. Like, “I am baptized”, it points outside of ourselves.
    We Lutherans have erected our own barrier to assurance of Salvation, called the Book of Concord. Before I write anything else, let me reiterate what I have often written: the Lutheran Confessions are the best exposition of the Christian faith I know. But with regard to the assurance of salvation, they are a disaster. First, we have invented this “Old Adam”, of whom Scripture knows nothing. He is sort of a separate being who lives inside of us (Alien?) and who “should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” This is a concept that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. We are simul iustus et peccator; that is we are always sinful, and we will be sinful until we die. But that does not prevent God from declaring us simul iustus because of the perfect life, suffering and death of His Son, our Savior.
    St. Paul is clear, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I have.” No “Old Adam” here; it is just “I”. That’s the way I am. But nevertheless, “there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.”
    From somewhere we have established a rule about sanctification, that says we should constantly become better, without having any criterion for measuring the degree of our sanctification. It is as if we cannot simply accept that “there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus”, or “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.” Without any Scriptural support we are to believe that gross and willful sinning will cause faith and the Holy Spirit to depart from us, as supposedly They did when David sinned with Bathsheba. Except that David writes, “and take not Your Holy Spirit from me,” as Nathan confronts him with his sin.
    We confuse the Repentance a person undergoes with the daily repentance, or contrition that a child of God practices. Thus the chief occupation of a citizen of the Kingdom of God is to repent and to become better. If He does not do these things, it is clear that he does not have “real” faith, or even “real” repentance (as someone pointed out in an earlier posting). The whole point of the Gospel is that we need not worry about our own standing with God; the new nature we have received in Baptism makes it possible for us to be concerned about the least of His brethren, which is what we will hear on that glorious day.
    The doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran Church, as Sasse points out, taking from us a major source of assurance of our salvation. Very rarely do we mention the Kingdom of God as part of our faith, even though our Lord said, ““I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose” and ““Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” and “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    We will not be able to have the assurance of our salvation, which our Savior wants His children to have, until we can admit, that there are some major problems in our Confessions.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Fws

    George marquart @ 53

    “We have invented this Old Adam of which scripture knows nothing”

    Ahem. genesis 5:3. Old Adam is who we are with the Image of God completely missing and lacking in us.

    That Image of God, which is alone new heart movements that are fear , love and trust in God (faith), is what is restored in our New Man George. it is new. As in newly created. As in “ex nilhilo” . It was totally lacking in our “old adam” which is called , by st paul ” our flesh”.

  • Fws

    George marquart @ 53

    “We have invented this Old Adam of which scripture knows nothing”

    Ahem. genesis 5:3. Old Adam is who we are with the Image of God completely missing and lacking in us.

    That Image of God, which is alone new heart movements that are fear , love and trust in God (faith), is what is restored in our New Man George. it is new. As in newly created. As in “ex nilhilo” . It was totally lacking in our “old adam” which is called , by st paul ” our flesh”.

  • Grace

    George Marquart writes:

    “But with regard to the assurance of salvation, they are a disaster. First, we have invented this “Old Adam”, of whom Scripture knows nothing. He is sort of a separate being who lives inside of us (Alien?) and who “should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” This is a concept that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.”

    fws mentions Genesis 5:3 @ 56

    And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
    Genesis 5:3

    What does that mean, connecting the rest of his comments:

    - – “That Image of God, which is alone new heart movements that are fear , love and trust in God (faith), is what is restored in our New Man George. it is new. As in newly created. As in “ex nilhilo” . It was totally lacking in our “old adam” which is called , by st paul ” our flesh”.” – -

    That is not what Genesis 5:3 states or alludes to.

  • Grace

    George Marquart writes:

    “But with regard to the assurance of salvation, they are a disaster. First, we have invented this “Old Adam”, of whom Scripture knows nothing. He is sort of a separate being who lives inside of us (Alien?) and who “should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” This is a concept that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.”

    fws mentions Genesis 5:3 @ 56

    And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
    Genesis 5:3

    What does that mean, connecting the rest of his comments:

    - – “That Image of God, which is alone new heart movements that are fear , love and trust in God (faith), is what is restored in our New Man George. it is new. As in newly created. As in “ex nilhilo” . It was totally lacking in our “old adam” which is called , by st paul ” our flesh”.” – -

    That is not what Genesis 5:3 states or alludes to.

  • George A. Marquart

    This is not meant as proof positive that all of my earlier assertions are correct, but here is part of a wonderful posting by Jason Braaten on Gottesdienst Online, http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/

    “Here we should take a cue from Luther. We are all beggars. It was the last thing he wrote. We are all beggars. This is true. That is, we receive. Nothing we have is because we have made it ourselves. We simply receive. And so God gives some to be rich and some to be poor. Blessed be the name of the Lord. For we are all beggars. But we are the Lord’s beggars. We all sit at the receiving end of what He gives. And so we are who God makes us to be, who God gives us to be. Consider your life according to the Ten Commandments. Consider your life according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. Who are you? I am who God has made me to be according to His Word and His giving.

    And so some he makes to be rich. And he gives them five fingers on each hand so that what they receive from God can fall through his fingers into the hands of others who need it. And some he makes to be beggars so that the rich have someone to give their wealth to.

    And so consider your life according to the Ten Commandments, according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. For you are whom He has made you to be. And He has made you to be Christians, given the name of your heavenly Father with the sign of the cross, by means of water and the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism. He has made you to be His bride, immaculate, and holy. He has made you to be His brothers, co-heirs of His Kingdom. You belong to Him. You are not your own for you were bought with a price, bought, sanctified, and justified with the blood of Jesus, poured out for you from His cross onto your heads and into your mouths. Consider your life according to the Ten Commandments, according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. For you are who it says you are. And you are forgiven.

    This is what it means to be blessed to receive everything from the hand of the Lord and recognize it. To have it any other way is a curse.”
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    This is not meant as proof positive that all of my earlier assertions are correct, but here is part of a wonderful posting by Jason Braaten on Gottesdienst Online, http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/

    “Here we should take a cue from Luther. We are all beggars. It was the last thing he wrote. We are all beggars. This is true. That is, we receive. Nothing we have is because we have made it ourselves. We simply receive. And so God gives some to be rich and some to be poor. Blessed be the name of the Lord. For we are all beggars. But we are the Lord’s beggars. We all sit at the receiving end of what He gives. And so we are who God makes us to be, who God gives us to be. Consider your life according to the Ten Commandments. Consider your life according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. Who are you? I am who God has made me to be according to His Word and His giving.

    And so some he makes to be rich. And he gives them five fingers on each hand so that what they receive from God can fall through his fingers into the hands of others who need it. And some he makes to be beggars so that the rich have someone to give their wealth to.

    And so consider your life according to the Ten Commandments, according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. For you are whom He has made you to be. And He has made you to be Christians, given the name of your heavenly Father with the sign of the cross, by means of water and the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism. He has made you to be His bride, immaculate, and holy. He has made you to be His brothers, co-heirs of His Kingdom. You belong to Him. You are not your own for you were bought with a price, bought, sanctified, and justified with the blood of Jesus, poured out for you from His cross onto your heads and into your mouths. Consider your life according to the Ten Commandments, according to Moses and the Prophets, according to the Word of God. For you are who it says you are. And you are forgiven.

    This is what it means to be blessed to receive everything from the hand of the Lord and recognize it. To have it any other way is a curse.”
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Fws

    Grace @ 57

    That is the question I was hoping would be asked and you were the only one who asked it. Here is the connection:

    1) When God made man and woman they where in whose Image and Likeness?
    2) Then man fell. And we know then that what that meant, exactly so, was that the Image and Likeness of God was completely and utterly lost. How do we know that? This:
    3) Genesis 5:3. Adam’s children were born in the image and likeness of whom?
    And we can confirm this by comparing New Adam before the fall to Old Adam fallen. And we can examine the nature of his descendants. Finally we can compare the Second Adam to the New Adam before the fall And fallen Old Adam , and compare this to what God says about the New Man that is identical to the Second Adam and New Adam before the fall.

    Why does this matter?

    1) New man is created by regeneration. And new man is made into what? 2:cor 3:18, Eph 4:23, col 3:10.

    2) So what is it that we receive in regeneration that Old Adam after the fall lacked and his Old Adam descendants lack? The Image of God restored. What can we conclude then is alone that Image restored? What alone does the Image of God consist of ? Faith alone in Christ alone!

    The Image of God cannot be therefore, found in anything “natural ” to man after the fall. It cannot be the essence of the human soul, intellect, will, free will. It cant be mans dominion. Most importantly of all it cannot be “natural law” which is that law written in the Reason of all men (rom 2:15) or conscience!

    This last point is proven by eph 5:8, rom 8:7, rom 7:23, eph 2:1.

    here is the sylogism:

    major premise:
    if the Image of God is to be restored then it must have been lost in the Fall.
    Minor premise:
    The Image of God must be restored.
    Conclusion:
    The Image of God must have been lost in the Fall.

  • Fws

    Grace @ 57

    That is the question I was hoping would be asked and you were the only one who asked it. Here is the connection:

    1) When God made man and woman they where in whose Image and Likeness?
    2) Then man fell. And we know then that what that meant, exactly so, was that the Image and Likeness of God was completely and utterly lost. How do we know that? This:
    3) Genesis 5:3. Adam’s children were born in the image and likeness of whom?
    And we can confirm this by comparing New Adam before the fall to Old Adam fallen. And we can examine the nature of his descendants. Finally we can compare the Second Adam to the New Adam before the fall And fallen Old Adam , and compare this to what God says about the New Man that is identical to the Second Adam and New Adam before the fall.

    Why does this matter?

    1) New man is created by regeneration. And new man is made into what? 2:cor 3:18, Eph 4:23, col 3:10.

    2) So what is it that we receive in regeneration that Old Adam after the fall lacked and his Old Adam descendants lack? The Image of God restored. What can we conclude then is alone that Image restored? What alone does the Image of God consist of ? Faith alone in Christ alone!

    The Image of God cannot be therefore, found in anything “natural ” to man after the fall. It cannot be the essence of the human soul, intellect, will, free will. It cant be mans dominion. Most importantly of all it cannot be “natural law” which is that law written in the Reason of all men (rom 2:15) or conscience!

    This last point is proven by eph 5:8, rom 8:7, rom 7:23, eph 2:1.

    here is the sylogism:

    major premise:
    if the Image of God is to be restored then it must have been lost in the Fall.
    Minor premise:
    The Image of God must be restored.
    Conclusion:
    The Image of God must have been lost in the Fall.

  • George A. Marquart

    fws @59

    The Hebrew word in Genesis 1, which we translate as “image”, is צֶלֶם (tselem). It occurs 17 times in the Old Testament, but it is not the only word that means “image” in Hebrew. But this word, צֶלֶם (tselem), is always, without exception used as the concrete image of a concrete thing. Therefore, such Church Fathers as Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Palamas proposed that when God was creating Adam, He used the image of His own incarnate Son, Whom He saw in the future, as the model.

    I know that enough books have been written about the image of God in man, but the concept has always struck me as somewhat presumptuous, because we may know a little bit about what man is like, but our real knowledge of God is way too limited to make authoritative statements about His image.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    fws @59

    The Hebrew word in Genesis 1, which we translate as “image”, is צֶלֶם (tselem). It occurs 17 times in the Old Testament, but it is not the only word that means “image” in Hebrew. But this word, צֶלֶם (tselem), is always, without exception used as the concrete image of a concrete thing. Therefore, such Church Fathers as Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Palamas proposed that when God was creating Adam, He used the image of His own incarnate Son, Whom He saw in the future, as the model.

    I know that enough books have been written about the image of God in man, but the concept has always struck me as somewhat presumptuous, because we may know a little bit about what man is like, but our real knowledge of God is way too limited to make authoritative statements about His image.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Grace

    fws

    “The Image of God must have been lost in the Fall.”

    I don’t believe that’s true, according to the passage of Scripture below and other passages.

    For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
    1 Corinthians 11:7

    Colossians 3:10 and James 3:9

  • Grace

    fws

    “The Image of God must have been lost in the Fall.”

    I don’t believe that’s true, according to the passage of Scripture below and other passages.

    For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
    1 Corinthians 11:7

    Colossians 3:10 and James 3:9

  • Grace

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Genesis 1:27

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
    Genesis 9:6

    NOTE:
    This passage refers to Noah, after the fall.

    image – - Strong’s Greek

    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Grace

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Genesis 1:27

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
    Genesis 9:6

    NOTE:
    This passage refers to Noah, after the fall.

    image – - Strong’s Greek

    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Fws

    Grace @ 61

    Are these two passages referring to those who are reborn and have the new man or those who are unbelievers Grace?

    Remember that my assertion is that the Image and likeness of God was lost in the fall and that Image and Likeness of God is restored in regeneration. And frm that i say that the Image of God is adam original righteousness. Grace: what is it that is your righteousness before God? What is the difference between those who are born again and those who are not?

  • Fws

    Grace @ 61

    Are these two passages referring to those who are reborn and have the new man or those who are unbelievers Grace?

    Remember that my assertion is that the Image and likeness of God was lost in the fall and that Image and Likeness of God is restored in regeneration. And frm that i say that the Image of God is adam original righteousness. Grace: what is it that is your righteousness before God? What is the difference between those who are born again and those who are not?

  • Fws

    Grace @ 62

    There are two words here used. Image and likeness.

    Gen 9:6. Where does the text refer to noah or say that noah is in the image of God? I am not seeing that.

    Are you saying that the Image of God was not lost in the fall? So what is the Image of God in that case?

  • Fws

    Grace @ 62

    There are two words here used. Image and likeness.

    Gen 9:6. Where does the text refer to noah or say that noah is in the image of God? I am not seeing that.

    Are you saying that the Image of God was not lost in the fall? So what is the Image of God in that case?

  • Fws

    George @ 60

    Ok George. It is a key teaching of the Lutheran confessions that the image of God was lost in the fall. you seem to reject that. So you identify As Lutheran on what basis? As you “tradition”?

    I am saying that whatever the Image is, it is what was lost in the fall completely and is restored in regeneration in Christ. This is more to say what the Image cannot be (ie conformity to the Law) rather than defining what it is. Apology art II identifies the Image as being Original Righteousness which is Faith in Christ. Interesting you disagree, but then You quot John Stott on this so….

  • Fws

    George @ 60

    Ok George. It is a key teaching of the Lutheran confessions that the image of God was lost in the fall. you seem to reject that. So you identify As Lutheran on what basis? As you “tradition”?

    I am saying that whatever the Image is, it is what was lost in the fall completely and is restored in regeneration in Christ. This is more to say what the Image cannot be (ie conformity to the Law) rather than defining what it is. Apology art II identifies the Image as being Original Righteousness which is Faith in Christ. Interesting you disagree, but then You quot John Stott on this so….

  • Grace

    fws,

    The definiton of the word in Greek should help you.

    fws, you have no passage of Scripture that supports your statement, which I used in my first post to you on this subject.

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
    Genesis 9:6

    “for in the image of God made he man.”

    God making that clear in HIS Word,
    does not mean, man became God, because man was made in God’s “image” –

    You’ve taken these words and twisted them. Just like you’ve twisted Romans 1 regarding homosexuality.

    image – – Strong’s Greek

    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Grace

    fws,

    The definiton of the word in Greek should help you.

    fws, you have no passage of Scripture that supports your statement, which I used in my first post to you on this subject.

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
    Genesis 9:6

    “for in the image of God made he man.”

    God making that clear in HIS Word,
    does not mean, man became God, because man was made in God’s “image” –

    You’ve taken these words and twisted them. Just like you’ve twisted Romans 1 regarding homosexuality.

    image – – Strong’s Greek

    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Grace

    fws @ 64
    YOU WROTE: “Gen 9:6. Where does the text refer to noah or say that noah is in the image of God? I am not seeing that.”

    1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

    2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

    3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

    5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

    6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

    7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
    Genesis 9

  • Grace

    fws @ 64
    YOU WROTE: “Gen 9:6. Where does the text refer to noah or say that noah is in the image of God? I am not seeing that.”

    1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

    2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

    3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

    5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

    6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

    7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
    Genesis 9

  • Fws

    Grace @ 66

    Stop being wierd Grace. No one says that man becomes God because he is made in the Image of God.

    Our conversation is over. This was a worthless exchange. You are just wierd Grace. there is really no other way to put it.

  • Fws

    Grace @ 66

    Stop being wierd Grace. No one says that man becomes God because he is made in the Image of God.

    Our conversation is over. This was a worthless exchange. You are just wierd Grace. there is really no other way to put it.

  • Grace

    fws,

    You ask me a question regarding Noah in your post 64, regarding Genesis 9 – I answer your question, posting the Scripture, (so you don’t have to look it up) and now you state I’m “weird” –

    fws, when you can’t cope with Scripture, and a thoughtful reponse as I gave you,…… coming back with a snarky kiddish answer, you are the one who’s confused.

    I doubt you knew those passages existed, so in essence the conversation is most likely over – Who would have ever guessed!

  • Grace

    fws,

    You ask me a question regarding Noah in your post 64, regarding Genesis 9 – I answer your question, posting the Scripture, (so you don’t have to look it up) and now you state I’m “weird” –

    fws, when you can’t cope with Scripture, and a thoughtful reponse as I gave you,…… coming back with a snarky kiddish answer, you are the one who’s confused.

    I doubt you knew those passages existed, so in essence the conversation is most likely over – Who would have ever guessed!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba asked (@53):

    tODD; did not our Lord say “you will know them by their fruit”??

    He did. Now go and read that passage again and tell me: is that passage given to us to help us assess our own standing with God? And by “fruit”, does that passage refer to good works?

    No, that passage is about identifying false prophets, and the “fruit” that it refers to is their teaching. After all, in the same passage (here I refer to the one in Matthew 7), we see people pointing to their own works (prophesying, driving out demons, performing miracles), and yet Jesus tells them that they are “bad trees”, as it were. So obviously, he is not telling us to look at other people’s good works to assess whether they are false prophets are not, or else we would be deceived by these miracles.

    In short, you’re completely misapplying that passage to this discussion of assurance.

    Let’s try dealing with the concepts of Scripture instead of tossing out casual mockery, OK?

    I assure you my “mockery” is not casual. Your teaching here — “you’ve got to question whether your faith is real” — is one that kills faith, by driving men to look at their own sinful selves, rather than look to Christ for their salvation. That is the key “concept of Scripture”, so yes, I think we very much should be dealing with that.

    If that fruit is absent, yes, it is absolutely right to doubt one’s salvation.

    I happen to think the fruit you’re offering to me here is fairly rotten, if not poisoned. And yet, Bubba, I would tell you the same thing I would tell anyone: you are sinful, you are not good enough. Jesus is sinless, and he died to make you more than good enough. Trust Jesus, you cannot trust yourself.

    But you seem content to tell people, “Oh well, looks like you’re going to Hell. Sucks, right?” If you think that’s the key concept of Scripture, I’ll have to fight you when and where you promote that teaching.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba asked (@53):

    tODD; did not our Lord say “you will know them by their fruit”??

    He did. Now go and read that passage again and tell me: is that passage given to us to help us assess our own standing with God? And by “fruit”, does that passage refer to good works?

    No, that passage is about identifying false prophets, and the “fruit” that it refers to is their teaching. After all, in the same passage (here I refer to the one in Matthew 7), we see people pointing to their own works (prophesying, driving out demons, performing miracles), and yet Jesus tells them that they are “bad trees”, as it were. So obviously, he is not telling us to look at other people’s good works to assess whether they are false prophets are not, or else we would be deceived by these miracles.

    In short, you’re completely misapplying that passage to this discussion of assurance.

    Let’s try dealing with the concepts of Scripture instead of tossing out casual mockery, OK?

    I assure you my “mockery” is not casual. Your teaching here — “you’ve got to question whether your faith is real” — is one that kills faith, by driving men to look at their own sinful selves, rather than look to Christ for their salvation. That is the key “concept of Scripture”, so yes, I think we very much should be dealing with that.

    If that fruit is absent, yes, it is absolutely right to doubt one’s salvation.

    I happen to think the fruit you’re offering to me here is fairly rotten, if not poisoned. And yet, Bubba, I would tell you the same thing I would tell anyone: you are sinful, you are not good enough. Jesus is sinless, and he died to make you more than good enough. Trust Jesus, you cannot trust yourself.

    But you seem content to tell people, “Oh well, looks like you’re going to Hell. Sucks, right?” If you think that’s the key concept of Scripture, I’ll have to fight you when and where you promote that teaching.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I have to strongly agree with Todd at #70: The misapplication is on Bubba’s part, and that leads to all sorts of abominations, from religiously-induced depression, to pride, to legalism, and from there to all sorts of heresies, and eventually, a different faith. I’m not saying Bubba is an evil fellow, btw – he is merely repeating what he has been conditioned to believe. I too was there. Ang god doesn’t save us because of our correct beliefs, but because of our faith in HIM.

    But nonetheless, I agree with Todd, that when things like that are said, it ought to bring out the warrior in us.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I have to strongly agree with Todd at #70: The misapplication is on Bubba’s part, and that leads to all sorts of abominations, from religiously-induced depression, to pride, to legalism, and from there to all sorts of heresies, and eventually, a different faith. I’m not saying Bubba is an evil fellow, btw – he is merely repeating what he has been conditioned to believe. I too was there. Ang god doesn’t save us because of our correct beliefs, but because of our faith in HIM.

    But nonetheless, I agree with Todd, that when things like that are said, it ought to bring out the warrior in us.

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

    FWS@46, thank you for the clarification.

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

    FWS@46, thank you for the clarification.

  • Fws

    todd and klassie @ 70 & 71

    + 1

  • Fws

    todd and klassie @ 70 & 71

    + 1

  • Fws

    Grace you are wierd for two reasons:

    You read what I wrote as meaning that being restored in the Image and Likeness of God = to become God. Only someone with low reading comprehension skills could take what I wrote in that sense. That is just a fact Grace.

    Secondly I asked where the passage you quoted in Gen 9 actually says that Noah was born with the Image of God. You just requoted the passage withhout answering my question thinking that quoting is the same as “thoughtful” and “explaining”. No it is not. The passage does not say what you are saying I suggest. Somehow, your reading comprehension level failed you. Again.

  • Fws

    Grace you are wierd for two reasons:

    You read what I wrote as meaning that being restored in the Image and Likeness of God = to become God. Only someone with low reading comprehension skills could take what I wrote in that sense. That is just a fact Grace.

    Secondly I asked where the passage you quoted in Gen 9 actually says that Noah was born with the Image of God. You just requoted the passage withhout answering my question thinking that quoting is the same as “thoughtful” and “explaining”. No it is not. The passage does not say what you are saying I suggest. Somehow, your reading comprehension level failed you. Again.

  • Grace

    fws @ 74

    YOU WROTE: “You read what I wrote as meaning that being restored in the Image and Likeness of God = to become God. Only someone with low reading comprehension skills could take what I wrote in that sense.”

    NO fws – I was stating what I wanted to say.

    If you want to get into “low reading comprehension skills” read Romans 1, and all the LENGTHY EXCUSES you make for homosexuality.

    The Bible clearly states “in the image of God made he man” – the Word of God is clear on this, not just in Genesis 1, but in Genesis 9. But if the meaning isskewed within the pages of Lutheran doctrine, you’ll take that over the Bible anyday.

  • Grace

    fws @ 74

    YOU WROTE: “You read what I wrote as meaning that being restored in the Image and Likeness of God = to become God. Only someone with low reading comprehension skills could take what I wrote in that sense.”

    NO fws – I was stating what I wanted to say.

    If you want to get into “low reading comprehension skills” read Romans 1, and all the LENGTHY EXCUSES you make for homosexuality.

    The Bible clearly states “in the image of God made he man” – the Word of God is clear on this, not just in Genesis 1, but in Genesis 9. But if the meaning isskewed within the pages of Lutheran doctrine, you’ll take that over the Bible anyday.

  • George A. Marquart

    Fws @65. It is a key teaching of the Lutheran Confessions that all humanity is heir to the sin of Adam. To define exactly what was lost when Adam sinned is very difficult. If “image” indeed means some kind of a quality of God which Adam had, it is very difficult to know exactly what that was; Scripture does not tell us, so that the Confessions can only speculate. We can make up countless attributes of God, but Adam did not possess them all. So the point of our faith is not that “the image of God was lost”, even though our Confessions do mention that, but in knowing what the nature of people became after the fall.

    I think this is the passage from the Apology you are referring to, “And Scripture testifies to this, when it says, Gen. 1:27, that man was fashioned in the image and likeness of God. What else is this than that there were embodied in man such wisdom and righteousness as apprehended God, and in which God was reflected, i.e., to man there were given the gifts of the knowledge of God, the fear of God, confidence in God, and the like?” Does Melanchton exhaust the possible meaning of the “image of God” in this statement? Is it possible that Adam was created in the physical likeness of the Incarnate Son of God, and still have the characteristics listed in the Apology, without these being part of the “image of God”? Are the “knowledge of God, the fear of God, and confidence in God” “images” of God?

    Just a little later on, the Apology continues, “And Paul shows in the Epistles to the Ephesians 5:9, and Colossians 3:10, that the image of God is the knowledge of God, righteousness, and truth.” Here is Ephesians 5:9, “for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” Here is Colossians 3:9-11, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” Well, in all fairness, the Ephesians passage does not mention “image” at all. But does the Colossians passage say that “the image of God is the knowledge of God, righteousness, and truth”?

    Fsw, please do not pronounce judgment on me because of some trivia. To be, or not to be a Lutheran is a very important matter. Have you kicked J.R.W. Stott out of the Kingdom of God entirely? Here is something he wrote from which many Lutherans could learn, “Certainly we must never conceive ‘salvation’ in purely negative terms, as if it consisted only of our rescue from sin, guilt, wrath and death. We thank God that it is all these things. But it also includes the positive blessing of the Holy Spirit to regenerate, indwell, liberate and transform us.” (John R. W. Stott, Baptism and Fullness. The Work of the Holy Spirit today. Inter Varsity Press, P. 25, 26.)

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Fws @65. It is a key teaching of the Lutheran Confessions that all humanity is heir to the sin of Adam. To define exactly what was lost when Adam sinned is very difficult. If “image” indeed means some kind of a quality of God which Adam had, it is very difficult to know exactly what that was; Scripture does not tell us, so that the Confessions can only speculate. We can make up countless attributes of God, but Adam did not possess them all. So the point of our faith is not that “the image of God was lost”, even though our Confessions do mention that, but in knowing what the nature of people became after the fall.

    I think this is the passage from the Apology you are referring to, “And Scripture testifies to this, when it says, Gen. 1:27, that man was fashioned in the image and likeness of God. What else is this than that there were embodied in man such wisdom and righteousness as apprehended God, and in which God was reflected, i.e., to man there were given the gifts of the knowledge of God, the fear of God, confidence in God, and the like?” Does Melanchton exhaust the possible meaning of the “image of God” in this statement? Is it possible that Adam was created in the physical likeness of the Incarnate Son of God, and still have the characteristics listed in the Apology, without these being part of the “image of God”? Are the “knowledge of God, the fear of God, and confidence in God” “images” of God?

    Just a little later on, the Apology continues, “And Paul shows in the Epistles to the Ephesians 5:9, and Colossians 3:10, that the image of God is the knowledge of God, righteousness, and truth.” Here is Ephesians 5:9, “for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” Here is Colossians 3:9-11, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” Well, in all fairness, the Ephesians passage does not mention “image” at all. But does the Colossians passage say that “the image of God is the knowledge of God, righteousness, and truth”?

    Fsw, please do not pronounce judgment on me because of some trivia. To be, or not to be a Lutheran is a very important matter. Have you kicked J.R.W. Stott out of the Kingdom of God entirely? Here is something he wrote from which many Lutherans could learn, “Certainly we must never conceive ‘salvation’ in purely negative terms, as if it consisted only of our rescue from sin, guilt, wrath and death. We thank God that it is all these things. But it also includes the positive blessing of the Holy Spirit to regenerate, indwell, liberate and transform us.” (John R. W. Stott, Baptism and Fullness. The Work of the Holy Spirit today. Inter Varsity Press, P. 25, 26.)

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Grace

    SIMILITUDE is an often time forgotten word in the Bible.

    8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

    10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. James 9

    - – - – SIMILITUDE Strong’s Greek

    dmuwth -dem-ooth’

    resemblance; concretely, model, shape; adverbially, like:–fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Genesis 1:27

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:6
    NOTE: This passage refers to Noah, after the fall.

    - – - – IMAGE Strong’s Greek
    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Grace

    SIMILITUDE is an often time forgotten word in the Bible.

    8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

    10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. James 9

    - – - – SIMILITUDE Strong’s Greek

    dmuwth -dem-ooth’

    resemblance; concretely, model, shape; adverbially, like:–fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Genesis 1:27

    Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:6
    NOTE: This passage refers to Noah, after the fall.

    - – - – IMAGE Strong’s Greek
    tselem – tseh’-lem

    from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure,

  • Michael B.

    Let’s give Bike Bubba a fair shot though before outright dismissing him (not that I’m saying I’m agreeing with him). Let’s say we have a woman who professes faith in Jesus, but she’s been in several adulterous relationships after supposedly being a Christian. Do we have a right to wonder if her faith is guinine? We don’t want to set up a straw man where we say people like Bubba are saying that you’re going to live in sinless perfection or are trusting in your works rather than your faith. But rather he is saying there may be some sort of evidense of works that shows you have true faith.

    Consider James 2:
    “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

  • Michael B.

    Let’s give Bike Bubba a fair shot though before outright dismissing him (not that I’m saying I’m agreeing with him). Let’s say we have a woman who professes faith in Jesus, but she’s been in several adulterous relationships after supposedly being a Christian. Do we have a right to wonder if her faith is guinine? We don’t want to set up a straw man where we say people like Bubba are saying that you’re going to live in sinless perfection or are trusting in your works rather than your faith. But rather he is saying there may be some sort of evidense of works that shows you have true faith.

    Consider James 2:
    “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

  • Grace

    Michael @ 78

    Bike Bubba makes very good points @ 16 and 53. I have a great deal of respect for him.

  • Grace

    Michael @ 78

    Bike Bubba makes very good points @ 16 and 53. I have a great deal of respect for him.

  • Fws

    Michael b @ 78

    ok i will bite Michael. The moral and ethical situations you have provided us with…. Are you really certain that ONLY a true Christian would be able to know what is right or wrong in these situations?

    Of course not. so in that case, what is proven?

  • Fws

    Michael b @ 78

    ok i will bite Michael. The moral and ethical situations you have provided us with…. Are you really certain that ONLY a true Christian would be able to know what is right or wrong in these situations?

    Of course not. so in that case, what is proven?

  • Grace

    Michael,

    There are those who are living in obvious sin, such as adultery or homosexuality – they don’t see it as being a sin per se. All the same they hide.

    Anyone can have what is classified as “WORKS” but if they have NO FAITH, nor do they “repent” or believe in Christ as their Savior, but depend solely on their Baptism to save them, without repentance – they are lost. You can’t sin over and over again, knowing full well what you’re doing and then expect to be escape damnation, because you were baptised as an infant, and go straight for the LORD’s Supper every Sunday.

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

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

    It’s repentance that is difficult for many to admit, and come to terms with – humbleness is the takes away all the bells and whistles.

    Jesus was the the most humble of all, HE represents the ultimate when HE died on the Cross or our sins –

    The passage below is explicit:

    28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

    29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

    30
    Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

    31
    And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

    32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.

    33
    Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.

    34
    Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

    35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?

    36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?

    37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

    38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    John 7

  • Grace

    Michael,

    There are those who are living in obvious sin, such as adultery or homosexuality – they don’t see it as being a sin per se. All the same they hide.

    Anyone can have what is classified as “WORKS” but if they have NO FAITH, nor do they “repent” or believe in Christ as their Savior, but depend solely on their Baptism to save them, without repentance – they are lost. You can’t sin over and over again, knowing full well what you’re doing and then expect to be escape damnation, because you were baptised as an infant, and go straight for the LORD’s Supper every Sunday.

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

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

    It’s repentance that is difficult for many to admit, and come to terms with – humbleness is the takes away all the bells and whistles.

    Jesus was the the most humble of all, HE represents the ultimate when HE died on the Cross or our sins –

    The passage below is explicit:

    28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

    29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

    30
    Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

    31
    And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

    32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.

    33
    Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.

    34
    Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

    35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?

    36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?

    37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

    38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    John 7

  • larry

    Looks like I’m a day late and a dollar short as I see Todd and KK have already handles this quite well and I could not agree more.

    Such “gut check” faith versus are always pulled out of context heterodoxy, such as, “you shall know them by their fruits”. NOTHING could be further from their argument and more against them. For this verse is the very verse that Christ the Lord of His church not only authorizes but commands His sheep to measure and assess false teachers and to be IN FACT aware of their “sheep’s cloth”. Luther points this out.

    Their sheep’s cloth being the very fine piety but their inward being, the doctrine revealed when they speak and show their teeth, as ravenous wolves. By this we, the sheep, will know that such as the pope, Calvin and a slew of heterodoxies luminaries where false teachers. You shall know them, false teachers, by their fruits, i.e. what the fruit of their teaching brings. If it leads men not to strong and sure faith but to despair of such or false pride in their good works, and not true repentance whereby they trust in the Word and Sacraments, then these are false teachers and wolves and they are deceptive by their very outward fine piety, their “sheep’s wool”. It is when they speak, their doctrines preached, taught and confessed that THEN, like the antichrist that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon, they are revealed. And Christ commands and gives authority to His sheep to do this, even more says they “will not listen to the voice of another” but only Christ.

    Every verse they muster is against them.

    Stepping back a few feet, note how on this discussion enthusiasm, which always wishes to make a way for works, implicitly or explicitly, gravitates the “debate” to basically, “well what about this or that passage (law)”, and steers the conversation away from the sacraments (Gospel) every single time. Once it does, enthusiasm, it becomes a mad hatters hornets nest of ‘law’ debate. Why? Mostly because if they don’t defend it, then their false assurance is destroyed. Truly, the Gospel is attacking and thus the debate back to the Law. This is why judgment at the last day is not according to the Law but according the Gospel (Paul). As “this baptism saves you”, then all such works, so called “fruits”, etc…stand judged by the Cross. Regardless of their wind ‘these words still stand’, “This is My body/blood…given/shed…for you/for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this baptism saves you”, “and whosever sins you remit…”,and all the haranguing to the contrary simply will not change them. These are at the end of the day two different spirits and its obvious as the noon day sun.

  • larry

    Looks like I’m a day late and a dollar short as I see Todd and KK have already handles this quite well and I could not agree more.

    Such “gut check” faith versus are always pulled out of context heterodoxy, such as, “you shall know them by their fruits”. NOTHING could be further from their argument and more against them. For this verse is the very verse that Christ the Lord of His church not only authorizes but commands His sheep to measure and assess false teachers and to be IN FACT aware of their “sheep’s cloth”. Luther points this out.

    Their sheep’s cloth being the very fine piety but their inward being, the doctrine revealed when they speak and show their teeth, as ravenous wolves. By this we, the sheep, will know that such as the pope, Calvin and a slew of heterodoxies luminaries where false teachers. You shall know them, false teachers, by their fruits, i.e. what the fruit of their teaching brings. If it leads men not to strong and sure faith but to despair of such or false pride in their good works, and not true repentance whereby they trust in the Word and Sacraments, then these are false teachers and wolves and they are deceptive by their very outward fine piety, their “sheep’s wool”. It is when they speak, their doctrines preached, taught and confessed that THEN, like the antichrist that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon, they are revealed. And Christ commands and gives authority to His sheep to do this, even more says they “will not listen to the voice of another” but only Christ.

    Every verse they muster is against them.

    Stepping back a few feet, note how on this discussion enthusiasm, which always wishes to make a way for works, implicitly or explicitly, gravitates the “debate” to basically, “well what about this or that passage (law)”, and steers the conversation away from the sacraments (Gospel) every single time. Once it does, enthusiasm, it becomes a mad hatters hornets nest of ‘law’ debate. Why? Mostly because if they don’t defend it, then their false assurance is destroyed. Truly, the Gospel is attacking and thus the debate back to the Law. This is why judgment at the last day is not according to the Law but according the Gospel (Paul). As “this baptism saves you”, then all such works, so called “fruits”, etc…stand judged by the Cross. Regardless of their wind ‘these words still stand’, “This is My body/blood…given/shed…for you/for the forgiveness of your sins”, “this baptism saves you”, “and whosever sins you remit…”,and all the haranguing to the contrary simply will not change them. These are at the end of the day two different spirits and its obvious as the noon day sun.

  • larry

    Why do such discussions about the sacraments, with Rome or sacramentarian doctrines, always bring fiery debate? Luther recognized this well; BECAUSE the sacraments contain the Word of God, literally THE Gospel and the Gospel when lit and revealed always brings immediately the stomping foot of the devil’s false teaching. Literally immediately because it is an announcing judging Word it immediately brings gnashing of teeth and by this world’s fallen religion cannot be allowed to stand for a single hour. The very essence of actually receiving from God via a pastor’s mouth absolution (forgiveness from God), baptism forgiving and the Lord’s Supper forgiving simply cannot stand in the darkness of fallen religion whether that fallen religion be explicitly outside of Christianity or a doppelganger of it.

    It literally judges and condemns even the most hidden of works righteousness, the way assurance is had that “one is saved/elected/converted/born again/regenerate and so forth.

    “Hath God really said” asks such teachings/doctrines? And the answer is simple and obvious, “Yes He has said explicitly that baptism saves you, washes away your sins, imparts the forgiveness of sin, that the body and blood of Christ are in fact given to you for the forgiveness of your sins and put into your mouth and to don’t forget to keep doing this, and that when the servant of Christ, the shepherd forgives your sins it is He God doing it”. These things are plain in Scripture.

  • larry

    Why do such discussions about the sacraments, with Rome or sacramentarian doctrines, always bring fiery debate? Luther recognized this well; BECAUSE the sacraments contain the Word of God, literally THE Gospel and the Gospel when lit and revealed always brings immediately the stomping foot of the devil’s false teaching. Literally immediately because it is an announcing judging Word it immediately brings gnashing of teeth and by this world’s fallen religion cannot be allowed to stand for a single hour. The very essence of actually receiving from God via a pastor’s mouth absolution (forgiveness from God), baptism forgiving and the Lord’s Supper forgiving simply cannot stand in the darkness of fallen religion whether that fallen religion be explicitly outside of Christianity or a doppelganger of it.

    It literally judges and condemns even the most hidden of works righteousness, the way assurance is had that “one is saved/elected/converted/born again/regenerate and so forth.

    “Hath God really said” asks such teachings/doctrines? And the answer is simple and obvious, “Yes He has said explicitly that baptism saves you, washes away your sins, imparts the forgiveness of sin, that the body and blood of Christ are in fact given to you for the forgiveness of your sins and put into your mouth and to don’t forget to keep doing this, and that when the servant of Christ, the shepherd forgives your sins it is He God doing it”. These things are plain in Scripture.

  • Michael B.

    @FWS

    “Are you really certain that ONLY a true Christian would be able to know what is right or wrong in these situations? Of course not. so in that case, what is proven?”

    I don’t know that Bubba is claiming that committing sin x proves someone is not a sincere believer. But he might be claiming that he has “probable cause” in some cases. One preacher who had similar theology to Bubba put it something like this: “Imagine that I arrive late to this sermon, and my excuse is that I was hit by a semi. You of course find this very hard to believe as I don’t look any different than last Sunday. How could someone have contact with a semi and be totally unchanged? Well, how then can you have a conversion experience from God and be totally unchanged?”. I don’t particularly agree with Bubba on this, but I don’t think we should be just outright dismissing him as a legalist.

  • Michael B.

    @FWS

    “Are you really certain that ONLY a true Christian would be able to know what is right or wrong in these situations? Of course not. so in that case, what is proven?”

    I don’t know that Bubba is claiming that committing sin x proves someone is not a sincere believer. But he might be claiming that he has “probable cause” in some cases. One preacher who had similar theology to Bubba put it something like this: “Imagine that I arrive late to this sermon, and my excuse is that I was hit by a semi. You of course find this very hard to believe as I don’t look any different than last Sunday. How could someone have contact with a semi and be totally unchanged? Well, how then can you have a conversion experience from God and be totally unchanged?”. I don’t particularly agree with Bubba on this, but I don’t think we should be just outright dismissing him as a legalist.

  • Fws

    Michael B @ 84

    That semi analogy is great. So let’s go with that. I really like it actually. So here is the scenario. I show up always on time and everyone else I see is late and has been very obviously hit by a semi. They are really banged up. But me? Not a scratch on me.

    And that preacher who was late? He says we were both not just banged up. We are actually dead. He tells me that that is, in fact, the very purpose of his ministry, to show me that I am dead.

    And I say “well, look at me compared to those other people. What you say makes no reasonable sense at all. You are evidentially and obviously wrong from everything I can see and do to verify what you are saying.

    This is precisely the situation Lutherans present when we preach the Law Michael.

  • Fws

    Michael B @ 84

    That semi analogy is great. So let’s go with that. I really like it actually. So here is the scenario. I show up always on time and everyone else I see is late and has been very obviously hit by a semi. They are really banged up. But me? Not a scratch on me.

    And that preacher who was late? He says we were both not just banged up. We are actually dead. He tells me that that is, in fact, the very purpose of his ministry, to show me that I am dead.

    And I say “well, look at me compared to those other people. What you say makes no reasonable sense at all. You are evidentially and obviously wrong from everything I can see and do to verify what you are saying.

    This is precisely the situation Lutherans present when we preach the Law Michael.

  • Fws

    larry @ 83

    Yes Larry!

    The Sacraments are a word of firey judgement and apocalypse for those who see the sacraments with cows eyes and as alone, something we are commanded to do. As something we are commanded to do the Sacraments condemn man and tell him that he is already dead. this is not some future judgement. This is Our Lord here and now announcing our death.

    Without those two words faith clings to “for YOU!” the crucifix and any other sign of Christ’s immanent presence among us means our death and is a law more terrifying than any veiled Moses could present us. This is the Law withhout Moses as intermediary. This is the Law taken into hand by Christ himself. We can run but the Law gives us no where to hide.

    And so communion is to be closed communion for them. And the message is to repent less you perish.

  • Fws

    larry @ 83

    Yes Larry!

    The Sacraments are a word of firey judgement and apocalypse for those who see the sacraments with cows eyes and as alone, something we are commanded to do. As something we are commanded to do the Sacraments condemn man and tell him that he is already dead. this is not some future judgement. This is Our Lord here and now announcing our death.

    Without those two words faith clings to “for YOU!” the crucifix and any other sign of Christ’s immanent presence among us means our death and is a law more terrifying than any veiled Moses could present us. This is the Law withhout Moses as intermediary. This is the Law taken into hand by Christ himself. We can run but the Law gives us no where to hide.

    And so communion is to be closed communion for them. And the message is to repent less you perish.

  • Robin

    Dr. Veith, I wanted to ask you about the lutheran confessions that I could read to my infant son. I am not Lutheran but if my husband and I were on in agreement with this I would be. We grew up Baptist and he is very uncertain about Lutheranism. However, I want my son to know the proper distinction of the law and gospel. I don’t want him to walk around for nearly thirty years agonizing over God and whether he actually would save me or not. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated.

  • Robin

    Dr. Veith, I wanted to ask you about the lutheran confessions that I could read to my infant son. I am not Lutheran but if my husband and I were on in agreement with this I would be. We grew up Baptist and he is very uncertain about Lutheranism. However, I want my son to know the proper distinction of the law and gospel. I don’t want him to walk around for nearly thirty years agonizing over God and whether he actually would save me or not. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated.

  • larry

    Robin,

    I’ll let Dr. Vieth give his very sound advice. My wife and I dealt with this in part as she grew up baptist her whole life, family in the ministry, etc… There were some “shock moments” especially for her, though I had a few. One cannot help it growing up in and around a thing so much. One piece of advice might help is if you have a local Lutheran church with a solid pastor on board. You could go on a weekly basis or something outside of the normal church service and simply sit and learn, ask questions, etc… A very harmless enquiring if you will. That’s how we did it moving from Baptist to Reformed then finally to Lutheran. And don’t be afraid to ask the questions.

    I would be the first to admit upon hearing Luther the first time I did say to myself as I mentioned, “This is either very dangerous or the greatest message ever…”. It’s alomst like stepping off a ledge for the first time and Luther is saying that Paul is saying, “Go ahead, you will not fall but fly”.

    Having gone through this ourselves that’s the advice I’d give.

  • larry

    Robin,

    I’ll let Dr. Vieth give his very sound advice. My wife and I dealt with this in part as she grew up baptist her whole life, family in the ministry, etc… There were some “shock moments” especially for her, though I had a few. One cannot help it growing up in and around a thing so much. One piece of advice might help is if you have a local Lutheran church with a solid pastor on board. You could go on a weekly basis or something outside of the normal church service and simply sit and learn, ask questions, etc… A very harmless enquiring if you will. That’s how we did it moving from Baptist to Reformed then finally to Lutheran. And don’t be afraid to ask the questions.

    I would be the first to admit upon hearing Luther the first time I did say to myself as I mentioned, “This is either very dangerous or the greatest message ever…”. It’s alomst like stepping off a ledge for the first time and Luther is saying that Paul is saying, “Go ahead, you will not fall but fly”.

    Having gone through this ourselves that’s the advice I’d give.

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

    Well, Robin, may God bless you in your desire to bring up your son in light of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. The main resource from the confession would be Lutheran’s Small Catechism. It’s priceless, simple enough for children and yet profound enough for the most mature and experienced Christians, who can never fully plumb its depths.

    Lutherans, who believe that little children can indeed have faith, do a lot with children’s education in the faith. Concordia Publishing House has some great resources, including a whole line of children’s books for both fun and Christian education, all of which embody, model, and teach the centrality of Christ and His work for us, properly distinguishing Law & Gospel.Here are some links:

    CATECHISMS & CATECHISM RESOURCES:

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=catechism+&SearchTerm_Vldt=++++++++++++++++++++++reqlen%3D2blankalert%3DPlease+enter+something+to+search+for!++++++++++++++++++++

    THE CATECHISM PUT TO MUSIC (FOR CHILDREN TO LISTEN TO AND TO HELP THEM LEARN IT BY HEART):

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=catechism+music

    CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=children%27s+books

    By the way, see if you can have your infant son baptized. God Himself will work on him.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for Robin?

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

    Well, Robin, may God bless you in your desire to bring up your son in light of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. The main resource from the confession would be Lutheran’s Small Catechism. It’s priceless, simple enough for children and yet profound enough for the most mature and experienced Christians, who can never fully plumb its depths.

    Lutherans, who believe that little children can indeed have faith, do a lot with children’s education in the faith. Concordia Publishing House has some great resources, including a whole line of children’s books for both fun and Christian education, all of which embody, model, and teach the centrality of Christ and His work for us, properly distinguishing Law & Gospel.Here are some links:

    CATECHISMS & CATECHISM RESOURCES:

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=catechism+&SearchTerm_Vldt=++++++++++++++++++++++reqlen%3D2blankalert%3DPlease+enter+something+to+search+for!++++++++++++++++++++

    THE CATECHISM PUT TO MUSIC (FOR CHILDREN TO LISTEN TO AND TO HELP THEM LEARN IT BY HEART):

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=catechism+music

    CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=children%27s+books

    By the way, see if you can have your infant son baptized. God Himself will work on him.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for Robin?

  • larry

    Robin,

    I think most if not all Lutheran pastors would be willing to do this, and it could be just you all.

  • larry

    Robin,

    I think most if not all Lutheran pastors would be willing to do this, and it could be just you all.

  • larry

    It kind of depends on how far one’s spouse is willing to “go along”. If the “infant baptism” is presently a “line in the sand” and so forth.

    I learned, more from my wife, a lot of the hold backs are a mixed bag of (1) old denom. theology, (2) sounds Roman Catholic & (3) what the family will think (assuming one’s family is steaped in another denom. like Baptist (don’t underestimate the hold this can have on a person).

    I have to admit, I thought I was ready theologically for the Lutheran church, and was, but some of that old stuff can cause a pause as you immerse into it. E.g. the exorcism right in the baptism, I wasn’t ready for that and had not heard of it. Even when we first visited our present church, I went first by myself to “feel it out”, I told my wife to go by herself so she could do the same without the burden of kids pulling at her. I forewarned, “Now its going to look and feel what you’ve been told is “roman catholic” so be prepared. BUT, here what/how it is said and you’ll find that though the outer forms “look/sound RC, the theology is Gospel, Gospel, Gospel and then you’ll realize that even though our old Baptist churches don’t look RC at all their theology was RC.” She saw that too. We did the same with some visiting family and their reaction was, “Well one things for sure and you cannot say otherwise, they certainly are about the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins”.

    So too beware of the initial “fright” of the externals.

  • larry

    It kind of depends on how far one’s spouse is willing to “go along”. If the “infant baptism” is presently a “line in the sand” and so forth.

    I learned, more from my wife, a lot of the hold backs are a mixed bag of (1) old denom. theology, (2) sounds Roman Catholic & (3) what the family will think (assuming one’s family is steaped in another denom. like Baptist (don’t underestimate the hold this can have on a person).

    I have to admit, I thought I was ready theologically for the Lutheran church, and was, but some of that old stuff can cause a pause as you immerse into it. E.g. the exorcism right in the baptism, I wasn’t ready for that and had not heard of it. Even when we first visited our present church, I went first by myself to “feel it out”, I told my wife to go by herself so she could do the same without the burden of kids pulling at her. I forewarned, “Now its going to look and feel what you’ve been told is “roman catholic” so be prepared. BUT, here what/how it is said and you’ll find that though the outer forms “look/sound RC, the theology is Gospel, Gospel, Gospel and then you’ll realize that even though our old Baptist churches don’t look RC at all their theology was RC.” She saw that too. We did the same with some visiting family and their reaction was, “Well one things for sure and you cannot say otherwise, they certainly are about the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins”.

    So too beware of the initial “fright” of the externals.

  • paul

    Fascinating discussion.
    I was raised Catholic, `born-again’ at a pentecostal meeting, then went to the latin mass people, then became eastern orthodox and then discovered Christianity in the Lutheran confessions.
    Because of my insatiable mental curiosity I then looked at Calvinism and have discovered that the entire reformed movement is a mirror image of Catholicism.
    We have to get ourselves totally out of the picture, which is not easy because we are still old adam.
    It really is all Christ – how marvellous and how wonderful!!
    Sanctification, assurance is all a side show. And as for that serial adulterous woman – if she does not try to excuse her behaviour and acknowledges her sinfulness what is the problem?
    I too sin daily.

  • paul

    Fascinating discussion.
    I was raised Catholic, `born-again’ at a pentecostal meeting, then went to the latin mass people, then became eastern orthodox and then discovered Christianity in the Lutheran confessions.
    Because of my insatiable mental curiosity I then looked at Calvinism and have discovered that the entire reformed movement is a mirror image of Catholicism.
    We have to get ourselves totally out of the picture, which is not easy because we are still old adam.
    It really is all Christ – how marvellous and how wonderful!!
    Sanctification, assurance is all a side show. And as for that serial adulterous woman – if she does not try to excuse her behaviour and acknowledges her sinfulness what is the problem?
    I too sin daily.

  • Fws

    paul @ 92

    Bingo. Calvinism is really a return to Scholasticism. But there is more Paul. Calvin learned his stuff from the late Melancthon. Melancthon in late life could not help himself and returned to the ideas of scholasticism. So even though the Concordia fixed alot of the worst problems, it was true at the same time that 90% of the clergy roster in 1580 at the time of the Concordia were trained in Melanthon’s final Loci (his book of systematic theology). Chemnitz in fact spent years lecturing out of Melancthon’s Loci as well.

    So what you are seeing is also in the Lutheran DNA and keeps on popping back up.

    Scholastics, as you probably know, took Aristotle’s Virtue ethics that was controlling desire with right thinking until it became a habit. And to place more confidence in this error they said that “grace” or the infusion of the HS was necessary (St Thomas). Nominalists like Occam went even beyond Thomas here with their theories.
    The scholastics placed this prior to justification and as preparation for it.

    Melancthon, and calvin following him, place this same Aristotelian process after Justification and as a result of it and call it “sanctification”.

    And modern Lutherans often follow Calvin here on sanctification. They make faith into “right motive” that transforms our works and also the doer.

    They all take the sin outta the sinner. They need to take the sinner outta the sin. The way to do this is Baptism. The sinner has to die before he can live.

    You will see now that Robert Baker and Paul McCain are actually inviting the LCMS to embrace Thomist Scholastic Natural Law as what will preserve the LCMS from the homosexuals and liberalism.

    The Old Adam just refuses to die. He wants Transformation. He thinks there is Life in the Law and that the return to Original Righeousness and God’s Image restored is to reconform to the Law.

    No. He must simply drop dead to sin. The Image of God restored is faith in Christ that receives all that is his and gives to him all that is ours , which is our sin.

  • Fws

    paul @ 92

    Bingo. Calvinism is really a return to Scholasticism. But there is more Paul. Calvin learned his stuff from the late Melancthon. Melancthon in late life could not help himself and returned to the ideas of scholasticism. So even though the Concordia fixed alot of the worst problems, it was true at the same time that 90% of the clergy roster in 1580 at the time of the Concordia were trained in Melanthon’s final Loci (his book of systematic theology). Chemnitz in fact spent years lecturing out of Melancthon’s Loci as well.

    So what you are seeing is also in the Lutheran DNA and keeps on popping back up.

    Scholastics, as you probably know, took Aristotle’s Virtue ethics that was controlling desire with right thinking until it became a habit. And to place more confidence in this error they said that “grace” or the infusion of the HS was necessary (St Thomas). Nominalists like Occam went even beyond Thomas here with their theories.
    The scholastics placed this prior to justification and as preparation for it.

    Melancthon, and calvin following him, place this same Aristotelian process after Justification and as a result of it and call it “sanctification”.

    And modern Lutherans often follow Calvin here on sanctification. They make faith into “right motive” that transforms our works and also the doer.

    They all take the sin outta the sinner. They need to take the sinner outta the sin. The way to do this is Baptism. The sinner has to die before he can live.

    You will see now that Robert Baker and Paul McCain are actually inviting the LCMS to embrace Thomist Scholastic Natural Law as what will preserve the LCMS from the homosexuals and liberalism.

    The Old Adam just refuses to die. He wants Transformation. He thinks there is Life in the Law and that the return to Original Righeousness and God’s Image restored is to reconform to the Law.

    No. He must simply drop dead to sin. The Image of God restored is faith in Christ that receives all that is his and gives to him all that is ours , which is our sin.

  • Fws

    Paul @ 92

    My theory on the adulterous woman is this:

    Whenever takes the Law into his hands his intent is to show man that the Law cannot be done. It is to remove the reasonable argument that Divine “must” and “ought” and “should” must also mean “can”.

    The Sermon on the Mount is to remove the Law from any real possibility that it can be done. How? Christ shows us that God demands that we do the Law from the depths of our heart. This is quite impossible. “ex opere operato” or how we keep civil law is all we are able to really do.

    I suggest that his saying to that adulterous woman “go and sin no more” was not THE exception to this treatment of the Law by Christ. He who knew hearts I suspect knew that she was thinking rather arrogantly when Jesus forgave her. as in “those Jewish hypocrites! Jesus sure unmasked their hypocracy!” She felt rigthteously indignant maybe. So Jesus, rather than saying what we would expect , which would have been “Now go and stop being a whore” instead took things alot further. He meant exactly what he said: “go and sin no more!”. Whoa.

    This is the same think he said to the man to sell all he had and give it to the poor, to hate father and mother, to “go and do it and you will live” to the man who was seeking to be justified after saying the sum of the Law (love God and love Neighbor with your entire heart). I would suggest that his comment to this adulterous woman was to show her that she simply could not keep the Law. She simply had to drop dead to that idea and trust in Christ.

    It is a nice bit of legend and tradition that says this same woman was the one who washed his feet with her tears, and was Mary Magdalene. I like that.

    Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
     
    “Multum Dilexit”
     
    Hartley Coleridge (1796–1849)
     
     
    SHE sat and wept beside His feet; the weight
    Of sin oppress’d her heart; for all the blame,
    And the poor malice of the worldly shame,
    To her was past, extinct, and out of date:
    Only the sin remain’d,—the leprous state;         5
    She would be melted by the heat of love,
    By fires far fiercer than are blown to prove
    And purge the silver are adulterate.
    She sat and wept, and with her untress’d hair
    Still wip’d the feet she was so bless’d to touch;         10
    And He wip’d off the soiling of despair
    From her sweet soul, because she lov’d so much.
    I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears:
    Make me a humble thing of love and tears.
     

  • Fws

    Paul @ 92

    My theory on the adulterous woman is this:

    Whenever takes the Law into his hands his intent is to show man that the Law cannot be done. It is to remove the reasonable argument that Divine “must” and “ought” and “should” must also mean “can”.

    The Sermon on the Mount is to remove the Law from any real possibility that it can be done. How? Christ shows us that God demands that we do the Law from the depths of our heart. This is quite impossible. “ex opere operato” or how we keep civil law is all we are able to really do.

    I suggest that his saying to that adulterous woman “go and sin no more” was not THE exception to this treatment of the Law by Christ. He who knew hearts I suspect knew that she was thinking rather arrogantly when Jesus forgave her. as in “those Jewish hypocrites! Jesus sure unmasked their hypocracy!” She felt rigthteously indignant maybe. So Jesus, rather than saying what we would expect , which would have been “Now go and stop being a whore” instead took things alot further. He meant exactly what he said: “go and sin no more!”. Whoa.

    This is the same think he said to the man to sell all he had and give it to the poor, to hate father and mother, to “go and do it and you will live” to the man who was seeking to be justified after saying the sum of the Law (love God and love Neighbor with your entire heart). I would suggest that his comment to this adulterous woman was to show her that she simply could not keep the Law. She simply had to drop dead to that idea and trust in Christ.

    It is a nice bit of legend and tradition that says this same woman was the one who washed his feet with her tears, and was Mary Magdalene. I like that.

    Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
     
    “Multum Dilexit”
     
    Hartley Coleridge (1796–1849)
     
     
    SHE sat and wept beside His feet; the weight
    Of sin oppress’d her heart; for all the blame,
    And the poor malice of the worldly shame,
    To her was past, extinct, and out of date:
    Only the sin remain’d,—the leprous state;         5
    She would be melted by the heat of love,
    By fires far fiercer than are blown to prove
    And purge the silver are adulterate.
    She sat and wept, and with her untress’d hair
    Still wip’d the feet she was so bless’d to touch;         10
    And He wip’d off the soiling of despair
    From her sweet soul, because she lov’d so much.
    I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears:
    Make me a humble thing of love and tears.
     

  • Grace

    fws @ 93

    YOU posted: “Melancthon, and calvin following him, place this same Aristotelian process after Justification and as a result of it and call it “sanctification”. “

    You compare Aristotle to Calvin, and Melancthon? – adding “sanctification” ? I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity” – However, there is nothing about Calvin that can be construed as Aristotelian, that’s untrue.

    “Tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
    Aristotle

    Aristotle was noted for praising Philolaus and Diociese a same sex couple – living together until they died, even being buried side by side.

    Is that why you mention Aristotle so often, even to the point of comparing him to John Calvin?

  • Grace

    fws @ 93

    YOU posted: “Melancthon, and calvin following him, place this same Aristotelian process after Justification and as a result of it and call it “sanctification”. “

    You compare Aristotle to Calvin, and Melancthon? – adding “sanctification” ? I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity” – However, there is nothing about Calvin that can be construed as Aristotelian, that’s untrue.

    “Tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
    Aristotle

    Aristotle was noted for praising Philolaus and Diociese a same sex couple – living together until they died, even being buried side by side.

    Is that why you mention Aristotle so often, even to the point of comparing him to John Calvin?

  • Fws

    Grace @ 95

    no.

    You can stop being wierd again.

  • Fws

    Grace @ 95

    no.

    You can stop being wierd again.

  • larry

    “Because of my insatiable mental curiosity I then looked at Calvinism and have discovered that the entire reformed movement is a mirror image of Catholicism.”

    Paul,

    There are not 1 in a 1000 who get that even, unfortunately, among many Lutherans today. Frank’s spot on the money. Because Calvinism mimics so many Lutheran sounding words it sneaks in and many think for example total depravity = bondage of the will. Arminianism most Lutherans “get”, Calvinism’s hidden synergism and hidden works salvation, that could sneak into most Lutheran churches totally unknown. All a Calvinist has to do is to not talk much about election up front. Many Lutherans of past have warned, Pieper, Sasse, etc…that the most dangerous of all is in fact Calvinism to the Lutheran confessions (particularly on the sacraments). But it is the Calvinist that are “entertained” far too much, mostly because yes they are “conservative”, “erudite” and “serious”. So we pick on easy targets and bafoon theology like Olstean and Warren (a pagan can finger these guys), meanwhile Calvin’s doctrine in its various forms is attacking and murdering souls left and right.

  • larry

    “Because of my insatiable mental curiosity I then looked at Calvinism and have discovered that the entire reformed movement is a mirror image of Catholicism.”

    Paul,

    There are not 1 in a 1000 who get that even, unfortunately, among many Lutherans today. Frank’s spot on the money. Because Calvinism mimics so many Lutheran sounding words it sneaks in and many think for example total depravity = bondage of the will. Arminianism most Lutherans “get”, Calvinism’s hidden synergism and hidden works salvation, that could sneak into most Lutheran churches totally unknown. All a Calvinist has to do is to not talk much about election up front. Many Lutherans of past have warned, Pieper, Sasse, etc…that the most dangerous of all is in fact Calvinism to the Lutheran confessions (particularly on the sacraments). But it is the Calvinist that are “entertained” far too much, mostly because yes they are “conservative”, “erudite” and “serious”. So we pick on easy targets and bafoon theology like Olstean and Warren (a pagan can finger these guys), meanwhile Calvin’s doctrine in its various forms is attacking and murdering souls left and right.

  • larry

    “Three persons one God”
    Aristotle (Arians): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must mean modes or some such.

    (Pointing at Jesus walking) “There goes God walking”
    Aristotle (gnostics): This doesn’t make sense, must mean something like an avatar or apparition.

    “God said ‘light be’ and it was…first day”
    Aristotle (modern science): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), day must symbolic or some such.

    “Justification by faith alone”
    Aristotle (Rome): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), faith must mean ‘formed by love’.

    “Resurrected from the dead”
    Aristotle (various): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must have swooned or some such.

    “This baptism saves you…gives forgiveness”
    Aristotle (various sacramentarian): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must mean a sign of inward reality otherwise.

    “This is My body/blood…”
    Aristotle (Calvin/Zwingli, et. ali.): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must have meant “represents”, “symbolizes”, “sign of”.

    That what Frank means.

  • larry

    “Three persons one God”
    Aristotle (Arians): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must mean modes or some such.

    (Pointing at Jesus walking) “There goes God walking”
    Aristotle (gnostics): This doesn’t make sense, must mean something like an avatar or apparition.

    “God said ‘light be’ and it was…first day”
    Aristotle (modern science): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), day must symbolic or some such.

    “Justification by faith alone”
    Aristotle (Rome): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), faith must mean ‘formed by love’.

    “Resurrected from the dead”
    Aristotle (various): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must have swooned or some such.

    “This baptism saves you…gives forgiveness”
    Aristotle (various sacramentarian): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must mean a sign of inward reality otherwise.

    “This is My body/blood…”
    Aristotle (Calvin/Zwingli, et. ali.): This doesn’t make sense (hath God really said), must have meant “represents”, “symbolizes”, “sign of”.

    That what Frank means.

  • Fws

    larry @98

    And all those are schemes to not let Christ be everything.

    How? They are attempts to not die or be dead.
    But the Law always accuses and works death.

    So how do we escape the Law. We tell it we died in Christ. So the Law has nothing more to do with us. It’s work is to kill. And we are dead. So we tell it to go work on our Old Adam and kill him and leave us and our conscience in Peace.

  • Fws

    larry @98

    And all those are schemes to not let Christ be everything.

    How? They are attempts to not die or be dead.
    But the Law always accuses and works death.

    So how do we escape the Law. We tell it we died in Christ. So the Law has nothing more to do with us. It’s work is to kill. And we are dead. So we tell it to go work on our Old Adam and kill him and leave us and our conscience in Peace.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Have you ever notice how it is all forms of gnosticism? And the $0.05 definition of gnosticism, spiritualizing (i.e. glory theologies) and all similar concepts, a good working definition is that, it always seeks to “dematerialize” the “ideal” and put it up just out of reach of the material. So God is up there/out there out of reach. What does that set up? Well you gotta get to God somehow and that sets up works and synergism (morals, reason, envisioning, emotions trips, experiencing, etc…).

    But Christ, i.e. God, is the one that came all the way down into dirt with the fallen creature intimately. And still does when his body and blood is poured into the dirts mouth, for after all of dirt we began.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Have you ever notice how it is all forms of gnosticism? And the $0.05 definition of gnosticism, spiritualizing (i.e. glory theologies) and all similar concepts, a good working definition is that, it always seeks to “dematerialize” the “ideal” and put it up just out of reach of the material. So God is up there/out there out of reach. What does that set up? Well you gotta get to God somehow and that sets up works and synergism (morals, reason, envisioning, emotions trips, experiencing, etc…).

    But Christ, i.e. God, is the one that came all the way down into dirt with the fallen creature intimately. And still does when his body and blood is poured into the dirts mouth, for after all of dirt we began.

  • Fws

    Larry @ 100

    I am working through Steve Paulsons amazing book now. “Lutheran Theology” . He really drives home this point. I wonder is someone fresh outta the reformed churches would get Paulsons book.

  • Fws

    Larry @ 100

    I am working through Steve Paulsons amazing book now. “Lutheran Theology” . He really drives home this point. I wonder is someone fresh outta the reformed churches would get Paulsons book.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow. Does Grace’s comment (@95) really say what it appears to say?!

    I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity”

    “The ‘Trinity’”?! Are you putting scare-quotes around that doctrine now, too, Grace?

    Please tell me I’m misreading your comment, Grace! Please!

    Is belief in the Trinity now optional even among Calvary Chapelites?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow. Does Grace’s comment (@95) really say what it appears to say?!

    I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity”

    “The ‘Trinity’”?! Are you putting scare-quotes around that doctrine now, too, Grace?

    Please tell me I’m misreading your comment, Grace! Please!

    Is belief in the Trinity now optional even among Calvary Chapelites?

  • Grace

    tODD

    YOU WROTE: “Is belief in the Trinity now optional even among Calvary Chapelites?”

    In regards to my comment below:

    “I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity”

    John Calvin hated anyone who did not believe in “infant baptism” or “the Trinity” – I don’t believe anyone has the right to hate another person. Calvin wanted Servetus “exterminated” – he was burned at the stake for disagreeing with Calvin on the doctrine of “infant baptism” and the “Trinity.

    Of course I believe in the “Trinity” you know that, you’re just looking for something to quibble over.

    “Calvary Chapelites?” ?

    You can’t help yourself – that’s a grade school comment!

  • Grace

    tODD

    YOU WROTE: “Is belief in the Trinity now optional even among Calvary Chapelites?”

    In regards to my comment below:

    “I don’t agree with Calvin on a variety of issues. Especially his hatred of those who did not believe in “infant baptism” or the “Trinity”

    John Calvin hated anyone who did not believe in “infant baptism” or “the Trinity” – I don’t believe anyone has the right to hate another person. Calvin wanted Servetus “exterminated” – he was burned at the stake for disagreeing with Calvin on the doctrine of “infant baptism” and the “Trinity.

    Of course I believe in the “Trinity” you know that, you’re just looking for something to quibble over.

    “Calvary Chapelites?” ?

    You can’t help yourself – that’s a grade school comment!

  • Robin

    Dr. Veith and Larry, thank you for the sound advice. I am going to speak with my husband about baptizing our son. I want my son to hear the law and the gospel every day even if he is one month old. Actually, today is his second day on this earth. Thank you again for the advice and which catechism to use. Also, I will be reading your book about the vocation of parenting. I am quickly seeing what a calling it is to be a mother and father.

  • Robin

    Dr. Veith and Larry, thank you for the sound advice. I am going to speak with my husband about baptizing our son. I want my son to hear the law and the gospel every day even if he is one month old. Actually, today is his second day on this earth. Thank you again for the advice and which catechism to use. Also, I will be reading your book about the vocation of parenting. I am quickly seeing what a calling it is to be a mother and father.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@103):

    Of course I believe in the “Trinity” you know that, you’re just looking for something to quibble over.

    I didn’t know that, or I wouldn’t have asked. It’s not like you talk about the Trinity with any degree of regularity on this blog — show me otherwise!

    And while I’m glad to hear that to do subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity, yet you continue to write the word in scare quotes. Which, frankly, is a bit odd. There’s also the fact that you created a parallel between infant baptism — your position against which you have made quite clear on this blog — and the Trinity.

    I’m glad I was wrong in my (reasonable) inference, but for you to claim I “knew” the real answer and was merely “looking for something to quibble over” is just silly.

    As to “Calvary Chapelites”, I honestly have no idea why you’re offended by that, but I can see that you’re taking your favored tack of acting as offended as possible. Honestly, what do you call people in your denomination?

    As to Calvin, I seriously doubt you have any better insight into what he thought than you have into my mind. Ahem. You seem to be equating his defense of his beliefs — combined with his particular authority — with “hatred”, which I consider fairly unwarranted, even if I also disagree with Calvin on a number of levels. suffice it to say, though, that your account of Servetus seems just a wee bit simplistic, from what I’ve read.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@103):

    Of course I believe in the “Trinity” you know that, you’re just looking for something to quibble over.

    I didn’t know that, or I wouldn’t have asked. It’s not like you talk about the Trinity with any degree of regularity on this blog — show me otherwise!

    And while I’m glad to hear that to do subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity, yet you continue to write the word in scare quotes. Which, frankly, is a bit odd. There’s also the fact that you created a parallel between infant baptism — your position against which you have made quite clear on this blog — and the Trinity.

    I’m glad I was wrong in my (reasonable) inference, but for you to claim I “knew” the real answer and was merely “looking for something to quibble over” is just silly.

    As to “Calvary Chapelites”, I honestly have no idea why you’re offended by that, but I can see that you’re taking your favored tack of acting as offended as possible. Honestly, what do you call people in your denomination?

    As to Calvin, I seriously doubt you have any better insight into what he thought than you have into my mind. Ahem. You seem to be equating his defense of his beliefs — combined with his particular authority — with “hatred”, which I consider fairly unwarranted, even if I also disagree with Calvin on a number of levels. suffice it to say, though, that your account of Servetus seems just a wee bit simplistic, from what I’ve read.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I’ve stated, posted OH SO OFTEN of Scripture which proves the Deity and Trinity.

    BTW, it isn’t “scare quotes” as you claim. :razz:

    POOR tODD, “As to “Calvary Chapelites”, I honestly have no idea why you’re offended by that, but I can see that you’re taking your favored tack of acting as offended as possible.”

    I’m not offended, I find your need for attention rather silly.

    Calvin was hateful. Anyone who disputed his belief in the “Trinity” or “infant Baptism” …… Calvin hated.

    Below is a sample of John Calvin’s rage:

    “Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that (they allege) I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face.”
    John Calvin

    “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt.”
    John Calvin

    Did Christ authorize those who didn’t believe in HIM to be killed? NO, Christ said nothing of the kind.

    Your comment: → “even if I also disagree with Calvin on a number of levels. suffice it to say, though, that your account of Servetus seems just a wee bit simplistic, from what I’ve read.

    From your remark above, it’s obvious you know very little of Servetus, or the cruel death he suffered at the hands of John Calvin, because he didn’t agree with his doctrine. Christ didn’t preach what Calvin authorized, as a way to silence those who didn’t believe.

    “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”
    John Calvin
    letter to Marquis Paet, the chamberlain to King Navarre in 1561

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I’ve stated, posted OH SO OFTEN of Scripture which proves the Deity and Trinity.

    BTW, it isn’t “scare quotes” as you claim. :razz:

    POOR tODD, “As to “Calvary Chapelites”, I honestly have no idea why you’re offended by that, but I can see that you’re taking your favored tack of acting as offended as possible.”

    I’m not offended, I find your need for attention rather silly.

    Calvin was hateful. Anyone who disputed his belief in the “Trinity” or “infant Baptism” …… Calvin hated.

    Below is a sample of John Calvin’s rage:

    “Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that (they allege) I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face.”
    John Calvin

    “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt.”
    John Calvin

    Did Christ authorize those who didn’t believe in HIM to be killed? NO, Christ said nothing of the kind.

    Your comment: → “even if I also disagree with Calvin on a number of levels. suffice it to say, though, that your account of Servetus seems just a wee bit simplistic, from what I’ve read.

    From your remark above, it’s obvious you know very little of Servetus, or the cruel death he suffered at the hands of John Calvin, because he didn’t agree with his doctrine. Christ didn’t preach what Calvin authorized, as a way to silence those who didn’t believe.

    “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”
    John Calvin
    letter to Marquis Paet, the chamberlain to King Navarre in 1561

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@106) said:

    I’ve stated, posted OH SO OFTEN of Scripture which proves the Deity and Trinity.

    Have you? Bet you can’t actually point me to one of those “OH SO OFTEN” times.

    BTW, it isn’t “scare quotes” as you claim.

    Well, you’re obviously not actually quoting anyone when you keep putting quotes around the word “Trinity” — you were the first person to use the term on this page — so perhaps you can explain why you keep doing that. I’ll hold my breath.

    I’m not offended…

    And yet nor have you explained why you think the phrase “Calvary Chapelites” is “a grade school comment”. So it kind of ends up looking like you were offended. Seriously, tell me, what name should I use for people in your denomination?

    I find your need for attention rather silly.

    Come now, Grace, we both know that statement is loaded with just a wee bit of irony.

    Calvin was hateful. Anyone who disputed his belief in the “Trinity” or “infant Baptism” …… Calvin hated.

    And yet, Calvin wrote in a letter to Servetus:

    I neither hate you nor despise you; nor do I wish to persecute you; but I would be as hard as iron when I behold you insulting sound doctrine with so great audacity.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@106) said:

    I’ve stated, posted OH SO OFTEN of Scripture which proves the Deity and Trinity.

    Have you? Bet you can’t actually point me to one of those “OH SO OFTEN” times.

    BTW, it isn’t “scare quotes” as you claim.

    Well, you’re obviously not actually quoting anyone when you keep putting quotes around the word “Trinity” — you were the first person to use the term on this page — so perhaps you can explain why you keep doing that. I’ll hold my breath.

    I’m not offended…

    And yet nor have you explained why you think the phrase “Calvary Chapelites” is “a grade school comment”. So it kind of ends up looking like you were offended. Seriously, tell me, what name should I use for people in your denomination?

    I find your need for attention rather silly.

    Come now, Grace, we both know that statement is loaded with just a wee bit of irony.

    Calvin was hateful. Anyone who disputed his belief in the “Trinity” or “infant Baptism” …… Calvin hated.

    And yet, Calvin wrote in a letter to Servetus:

    I neither hate you nor despise you; nor do I wish to persecute you; but I would be as hard as iron when I behold you insulting sound doctrine with so great audacity.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But does it matter, Grace? Aren’t you doing the same thing to Calvin that we’ve seen you doing to Luther time and time again on this blog? That is, repeating (and repeating) a few slanderous accusations that, as it happens, are baseless — probably because you found them on some anti-Calvin website and are pasting them (and re-pasting them) whenever you want to attack Calvin (and this from a woman who supposedly disdains hatred!)?

    After all, it’s not hard to notice that someone (who writes a lot like you) pastes the exact same alleged Calvin quotes — with the exact same, word-for-word attributions on the World Magazine site, Grace (or should I say, Victoria?).

    And what of this quote, which you (and/or Victoria) attribute to a “letter to Marquis Paet”? Well, first of all, you’ve gotten the Marquis’ name wrong. Repeatedly. It’s the Marquis du Poet (or de Poët).

    But more importantly, the quote you repeatedly brandish is a forgery. Oh, don’t take my word for it! Instead, read the section (appropriately titled “An Historical Calumny Refuted“) from Letters of John Calvin by Jules Bonnet. Here, I’ll quote some of it for you:

    1st. These originals, written by Calvin’s own hand (as Voltaire affirms), are anything but autographs. They are neither in the handwriting of Calvin, nor in that of Jonvillers his secretary, nor of Antony Calvin, who sometimes held the pen under the dictation of the Reformer during the latter years of his life.

    2nd. If these pieces are not in the handwriting of Calvin, still less do we find in them his style, admired by Bossuet himself and one of the finest in our language. That style is concise, nervous, and dignified, bearing the impress of a strong individuality more easy to caricature than to imitate.

    3d. From the form let us pass to the substance. The two letters swarm with mistakes and historical blunders which betray the work of an unskilful forger. … The second, dated the 13th September, 1561, has for superscription—to M. du Poet, grand chamberlain of Navarre and Governor of Montelimart, dignities with which he was invested only twenty years later, in 1584. It is one of Calvin’s accusers, M. Aubenas himself, who informs us of that, without remarking that the notice which he has devoted to M. du Poet is the best refutation of the authenticity of the letters attributed to the Reformer. … We should have but too easy a task in pursuing in detail the analysis of these letters. But how is it possible to go through with it? How take up one by one the errors, the improbabilities, the nonsense, the enormities of every sort accumulated as if on purpose in these pages, in which the absurd vies with the odious, in which men and things are so sillily travestied, in which the grand and holy revolution of the sixteenth century is represented by a shameless scribbler as a coarse farce played by impudent mountebanks! Here the pen drops from our hands! When anonymous calumny dares to attack by abject defamation the most venerated names, it deserves not the honour of a reply; to confound it, it is enough to show it up in open day. To quote these pretended letters of Calvin’s to M. du Poet is to refute them!

    Anyhow, the real question is whether you’ll admit to your error of passing around forgeries in order to defame a man whose teaching you disagree with.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But does it matter, Grace? Aren’t you doing the same thing to Calvin that we’ve seen you doing to Luther time and time again on this blog? That is, repeating (and repeating) a few slanderous accusations that, as it happens, are baseless — probably because you found them on some anti-Calvin website and are pasting them (and re-pasting them) whenever you want to attack Calvin (and this from a woman who supposedly disdains hatred!)?

    After all, it’s not hard to notice that someone (who writes a lot like you) pastes the exact same alleged Calvin quotes — with the exact same, word-for-word attributions on the World Magazine site, Grace (or should I say, Victoria?).

    And what of this quote, which you (and/or Victoria) attribute to a “letter to Marquis Paet”? Well, first of all, you’ve gotten the Marquis’ name wrong. Repeatedly. It’s the Marquis du Poet (or de Poët).

    But more importantly, the quote you repeatedly brandish is a forgery. Oh, don’t take my word for it! Instead, read the section (appropriately titled “An Historical Calumny Refuted“) from Letters of John Calvin by Jules Bonnet. Here, I’ll quote some of it for you:

    1st. These originals, written by Calvin’s own hand (as Voltaire affirms), are anything but autographs. They are neither in the handwriting of Calvin, nor in that of Jonvillers his secretary, nor of Antony Calvin, who sometimes held the pen under the dictation of the Reformer during the latter years of his life.

    2nd. If these pieces are not in the handwriting of Calvin, still less do we find in them his style, admired by Bossuet himself and one of the finest in our language. That style is concise, nervous, and dignified, bearing the impress of a strong individuality more easy to caricature than to imitate.

    3d. From the form let us pass to the substance. The two letters swarm with mistakes and historical blunders which betray the work of an unskilful forger. … The second, dated the 13th September, 1561, has for superscription—to M. du Poet, grand chamberlain of Navarre and Governor of Montelimart, dignities with which he was invested only twenty years later, in 1584. It is one of Calvin’s accusers, M. Aubenas himself, who informs us of that, without remarking that the notice which he has devoted to M. du Poet is the best refutation of the authenticity of the letters attributed to the Reformer. … We should have but too easy a task in pursuing in detail the analysis of these letters. But how is it possible to go through with it? How take up one by one the errors, the improbabilities, the nonsense, the enormities of every sort accumulated as if on purpose in these pages, in which the absurd vies with the odious, in which men and things are so sillily travestied, in which the grand and holy revolution of the sixteenth century is represented by a shameless scribbler as a coarse farce played by impudent mountebanks! Here the pen drops from our hands! When anonymous calumny dares to attack by abject defamation the most venerated names, it deserves not the honour of a reply; to confound it, it is enough to show it up in open day. To quote these pretended letters of Calvin’s to M. du Poet is to refute them!

    Anyhow, the real question is whether you’ll admit to your error of passing around forgeries in order to defame a man whose teaching you disagree with.

  • Grace

    “I neither hate you nor despise you; nor do I wish to persecute you; but I would be as hard as iron when I behold you insulting sound doctrine with so great audacity.”
    John Calvin

    Calvin’s rage went further:

    Here is the reflection, or rather the fire that John Calvin used to extengish a man for not agreeing with his doctrine. Christ told us to love our enemies, HE didn’t tell us to burn them at the stake, or to encourage others to condemn them to death.

    If he(Servetus) comes(to Geneva), I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight.”
    John Calvin

    “I hope that the verdict will call for the death penalty.”
    John Calvin

    “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”
    John Calvin
    letter to Marquis Paet, the chamberlain to King Navarre in 1561

    If that isn’t HATE, I don’t know what is. Sounds very much like Islam.

  • Grace

    “I neither hate you nor despise you; nor do I wish to persecute you; but I would be as hard as iron when I behold you insulting sound doctrine with so great audacity.”
    John Calvin

    Calvin’s rage went further:

    Here is the reflection, or rather the fire that John Calvin used to extengish a man for not agreeing with his doctrine. Christ told us to love our enemies, HE didn’t tell us to burn them at the stake, or to encourage others to condemn them to death.

    If he(Servetus) comes(to Geneva), I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight.”
    John Calvin

    “I hope that the verdict will call for the death penalty.”
    John Calvin

    “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”
    John Calvin
    letter to Marquis Paet, the chamberlain to King Navarre in 1561

    If that isn’t HATE, I don’t know what is. Sounds very much like Islam.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, perhaps you didn’t see my comment (@108) as you were writing yours (@109), but I’d appreciate it if you addressed the matter of this forged quote of Calvin’s you keep bandying about.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace, perhaps you didn’t see my comment (@108) as you were writing yours (@109), but I’d appreciate it if you addressed the matter of this forged quote of Calvin’s you keep bandying about.

  • Grace

    IF Calvin, or anyone else knew/knows the Scriptures, WHY would they want Servetus or anyone else murdered or harmed, for NOT believing as they did?

    No where did Jesus or HIS disciples request or desire others to be killed because they didn’t believe. John Calvin wasn’t reading his Bible when he became so incensed with Servetus, the passage of Scripture below is in the books of Mark and Luke as well, do you think Calvin had studied those books? No more so, than anyone else who demands the demise of another because his doctrine doesn’t line up with Scripture.

    Jesus made it clear — And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Matthew 10:14

    That’s it, “dust off your feet” -

    John Calvin like others, was unable to contain his anger against Servetus, or anyone else who didn’t accept their doctrine – the way in which Calvin conducted himself was despicable!

  • Grace

    IF Calvin, or anyone else knew/knows the Scriptures, WHY would they want Servetus or anyone else murdered or harmed, for NOT believing as they did?

    No where did Jesus or HIS disciples request or desire others to be killed because they didn’t believe. John Calvin wasn’t reading his Bible when he became so incensed with Servetus, the passage of Scripture below is in the books of Mark and Luke as well, do you think Calvin had studied those books? No more so, than anyone else who demands the demise of another because his doctrine doesn’t line up with Scripture.

    Jesus made it clear — And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Matthew 10:14

    That’s it, “dust off your feet” -

    John Calvin like others, was unable to contain his anger against Servetus, or anyone else who didn’t accept their doctrine – the way in which Calvin conducted himself was despicable!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I am forced to wonder how many other of the Calvin quotes you’ve presented here are also easily proved fraudulent, if only I’d put a little time into researching them (something you apparently haven’t done). I don’t agree with the man, but nor do I agree with ignorantly propagating fraudulent quotes just to make him look bad.

    Are you going to address the fact that you’ve done this, at some point? If not, I’ll be forced to wonder if you knew the quote was fraudulent but went ahead and pasted it, anyhow. After all, you (or “Victoria”) has been pasting that exact same quote and attribution on the Web for around five years now. You never once bothered to check where it came from in all that time?

    Reminds me of the number of times you repeatedly bandied about a fraudulent Luther quote until the guy who initially botched the quote showed up on this blog and (more or less) admitted his error. It does seem to be a thing you do not infrequently, Grace/Victoria.

    Anyhow, while I don’t agree with Calvin’s use of secular power (though, again, you’ve oversimplified things — Calvin wasn’t the only one who seemingly wanted Servetus dead for his religious beliefs, nor was he actually the one who decided that he should die), you do seem to be conveniently ignoring the numerous times in the Old Testament where, yes, God’s people were commanded to kill those with different beliefs. You do realize that the same God commanded those deaths as said, “shake off the dust of your feet”, right?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I am forced to wonder how many other of the Calvin quotes you’ve presented here are also easily proved fraudulent, if only I’d put a little time into researching them (something you apparently haven’t done). I don’t agree with the man, but nor do I agree with ignorantly propagating fraudulent quotes just to make him look bad.

    Are you going to address the fact that you’ve done this, at some point? If not, I’ll be forced to wonder if you knew the quote was fraudulent but went ahead and pasted it, anyhow. After all, you (or “Victoria”) has been pasting that exact same quote and attribution on the Web for around five years now. You never once bothered to check where it came from in all that time?

    Reminds me of the number of times you repeatedly bandied about a fraudulent Luther quote until the guy who initially botched the quote showed up on this blog and (more or less) admitted his error. It does seem to be a thing you do not infrequently, Grace/Victoria.

    Anyhow, while I don’t agree with Calvin’s use of secular power (though, again, you’ve oversimplified things — Calvin wasn’t the only one who seemingly wanted Servetus dead for his religious beliefs, nor was he actually the one who decided that he should die), you do seem to be conveniently ignoring the numerous times in the Old Testament where, yes, God’s people were commanded to kill those with different beliefs. You do realize that the same God commanded those deaths as said, “shake off the dust of your feet”, right?

  • Grace

    The Critical thinking Community

    A History of Freedom of Thought
    Project Gutenberg’s A History of Freedom of Thought, by John Bagnell Bury

    “Luther was quite opposed to liberty of conscience and worship, a doctrine which was inconsistent with Scripture as he read it. He might protest against coercion and condemn the burning of heretics, when he was in fear that he and his party might be victims, but when he was safe and in power, he asserted his real view that it was the duty of the State to impose the true doctrine and exterminate heresy, which was an abomination, that unlimited obedience to their prince in religious as in other matters was the duty of subjects, and that the end of the State was to defend the faith. He held that Anabaptists should be put to the sword. With Protestants and Catholics alike the dogma of exclusive salvation led to the same place.

    Calvin’s fame for intolerance is blackest. He did not, like Luther, advocate the absolute power of the civil ruler; he stood for the control of the State by the Church—a form of government which is commonly called theocracy; [79] and he established a theocracy at Geneva. Here liberty was completely crushed; false doctrines were put down by imprisonment, exile, and death. The punishment of Servetus is the most famous exploit of Calvin’s warfare against heresy. The Spaniard Servetus, who had written against the dogma of the Trinity, was imprisoned at Lyons (partly through the machinations of Calvin) and having escaped came rashly to Geneva. He was tried for heresy and committed to the flames (1553), though Geneva had no jurisdiction over him. Melanchthon, who formulated the principles of persecution, praised this act as a memorable example to posterity. Posterity however was one day to be ashamed of that example. In 1903 the Calvinists of Geneva felt impelled to erect an expiatory monument, in which Calvin “our great Reformer” is excused as guilty of an error “which was that of his century.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/a-history-of-freedom-of-thought/649

  • Grace

    The Critical thinking Community

    A History of Freedom of Thought
    Project Gutenberg’s A History of Freedom of Thought, by John Bagnell Bury

    “Luther was quite opposed to liberty of conscience and worship, a doctrine which was inconsistent with Scripture as he read it. He might protest against coercion and condemn the burning of heretics, when he was in fear that he and his party might be victims, but when he was safe and in power, he asserted his real view that it was the duty of the State to impose the true doctrine and exterminate heresy, which was an abomination, that unlimited obedience to their prince in religious as in other matters was the duty of subjects, and that the end of the State was to defend the faith. He held that Anabaptists should be put to the sword. With Protestants and Catholics alike the dogma of exclusive salvation led to the same place.

    Calvin’s fame for intolerance is blackest. He did not, like Luther, advocate the absolute power of the civil ruler; he stood for the control of the State by the Church—a form of government which is commonly called theocracy; [79] and he established a theocracy at Geneva. Here liberty was completely crushed; false doctrines were put down by imprisonment, exile, and death. The punishment of Servetus is the most famous exploit of Calvin’s warfare against heresy. The Spaniard Servetus, who had written against the dogma of the Trinity, was imprisoned at Lyons (partly through the machinations of Calvin) and having escaped came rashly to Geneva. He was tried for heresy and committed to the flames (1553), though Geneva had no jurisdiction over him. Melanchthon, who formulated the principles of persecution, praised this act as a memorable example to posterity. Posterity however was one day to be ashamed of that example. In 1903 the Calvinists of Geneva felt impelled to erect an expiatory monument, in which Calvin “our great Reformer” is excused as guilty of an error “which was that of his century.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/a-history-of-freedom-of-thought/649

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You’re not going to address the fraudulent quote you keep pasting in and referring to, are you, Grace/Victoria? Now I have to wonder when you knew it was fake — before or after you posted it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You’re not going to address the fraudulent quote you keep pasting in and referring to, are you, Grace/Victoria? Now I have to wonder when you knew it was fake — before or after you posted it?

  • larry

    Frank,

    Paulson’s book “Lutheran Theology” is a book chalked full of insights, I couldn’t book mark it enough. His pulling apart of what an idol actually is (per Luther per Paul) to me is one of those baseline things if one gets wrong the rest of theology will suffer. Here in America, cannot speak for other countries, we suffer FAR too much from the Calvin/reformed definition of an idol (its in part why the Lord’s Supper is hard to get across). But it is rooted in gnosticism and that “dematerializing” of created things and the consequential spiritualizing (e.g. what they do with the sacraments in particular).

    This is at root the difference, essential difference as to why we Lutherans actually worhip the bread/body and wine/blood (only God can receive worship and it not be idolatry!) and they don’t. That’s why I keep making the point that Reformed, following their doctrine, if they mean it, if they really confess it as ‘truth’ would not even WANT to commune with us and should not if they believe their confessions on the matter. I didn’t, that was the primary reason when I was baptist then reformed I would have never done so and did not. To the reformed, as with myself back then, its idolatry per their concept of idolatry. It’s why no Lutheran congregation should open their communion, they are either (1) asking the reformed, so invited, to commit sin against their own consciences driven by their very own confessions and engage in what they confess to be idolatry OR (2) such a Lutheran church is implicitly confessing its not really God at the altar (again what’s on the altar is the REAL issue/question). There is no middle ground on this and its obvious.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Paulson’s book “Lutheran Theology” is a book chalked full of insights, I couldn’t book mark it enough. His pulling apart of what an idol actually is (per Luther per Paul) to me is one of those baseline things if one gets wrong the rest of theology will suffer. Here in America, cannot speak for other countries, we suffer FAR too much from the Calvin/reformed definition of an idol (its in part why the Lord’s Supper is hard to get across). But it is rooted in gnosticism and that “dematerializing” of created things and the consequential spiritualizing (e.g. what they do with the sacraments in particular).

    This is at root the difference, essential difference as to why we Lutherans actually worhip the bread/body and wine/blood (only God can receive worship and it not be idolatry!) and they don’t. That’s why I keep making the point that Reformed, following their doctrine, if they mean it, if they really confess it as ‘truth’ would not even WANT to commune with us and should not if they believe their confessions on the matter. I didn’t, that was the primary reason when I was baptist then reformed I would have never done so and did not. To the reformed, as with myself back then, its idolatry per their concept of idolatry. It’s why no Lutheran congregation should open their communion, they are either (1) asking the reformed, so invited, to commit sin against their own consciences driven by their very own confessions and engage in what they confess to be idolatry OR (2) such a Lutheran church is implicitly confessing its not really God at the altar (again what’s on the altar is the REAL issue/question). There is no middle ground on this and its obvious.

  • fws

    grace @ 113

    stop being wierd Grace.
    Answer Todd’s question. Be polite.

  • fws

    grace @ 113

    stop being wierd Grace.
    Answer Todd’s question. Be polite.

  • fws

    larry @115

    That was cool Larry.

    Luther once was able to ask how it could be even possible that one would not bow (ie worship) the Blessed Sacrament at the words of Institution.

    Maybe if we acted more like real Lutherans and practiced what we preached, there would not be alot of discussion about open communion. If the Reformed could see that we actually worship the Sacrament of the Altar then they would need to think and we could have some interesting discussions that would be more salutary that the legalism that is the discussion of Closed Communion. It would simply be closed. No other option. You want in? Worship and bow before the body and blood of Christ along with us Lutherans.

    We Lutherans would do well to confess our shortcomings. And closed communi0n is not one of those.

  • fws

    larry @115

    That was cool Larry.

    Luther once was able to ask how it could be even possible that one would not bow (ie worship) the Blessed Sacrament at the words of Institution.

    Maybe if we acted more like real Lutherans and practiced what we preached, there would not be alot of discussion about open communion. If the Reformed could see that we actually worship the Sacrament of the Altar then they would need to think and we could have some interesting discussions that would be more salutary that the legalism that is the discussion of Closed Communion. It would simply be closed. No other option. You want in? Worship and bow before the body and blood of Christ along with us Lutherans.

    We Lutherans would do well to confess our shortcomings. And closed communi0n is not one of those.

  • larry

    Frank,

    You NAILED it, do we look like we are worshipping at the altar. It would practically take care of itself.

    I recall this being the very reason as a baptist and then reformed of not going to the RC altar at a couple of weddings I attended that did the sacrament. I recall that very specifically, the bowing, and saying, per the doctrine I held to, “I’m not bowing to worship mere bread and wine”. And so we did not even desire to partake per our confessions. It practically would take care of itself.

  • larry

    Frank,

    You NAILED it, do we look like we are worshipping at the altar. It would practically take care of itself.

    I recall this being the very reason as a baptist and then reformed of not going to the RC altar at a couple of weddings I attended that did the sacrament. I recall that very specifically, the bowing, and saying, per the doctrine I held to, “I’m not bowing to worship mere bread and wine”. And so we did not even desire to partake per our confessions. It practically would take care of itself.

  • fws

    Larry @ 118

    Cool. I would love to see the sanctus bell, some incense goin on and pastors always fully vested in chasuble etc. Oh and making the sign of the Holy Cross as the small catechism tells us to do would also be very nice….. ha!

    No one is more “ritualistic” than the baptists and penticostals when it comes to weddings and graduations and other such stuff. Oddly this is all forbidden for them in church. Unless it is their own wierd non-ritual-non-traditional-ritualistic-traditions. Odd that.

  • fws

    Larry @ 118

    Cool. I would love to see the sanctus bell, some incense goin on and pastors always fully vested in chasuble etc. Oh and making the sign of the Holy Cross as the small catechism tells us to do would also be very nice….. ha!

    No one is more “ritualistic” than the baptists and penticostals when it comes to weddings and graduations and other such stuff. Oddly this is all forbidden for them in church. Unless it is their own wierd non-ritual-non-traditional-ritualistic-traditions. Odd that.


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