Ascent theology

Useful and broadly applicable paradigms from Pastor Matt Richard:

During the time of Martin Luther there were theological presuppositions that had been ingrained in the lives, thoughts and actions of the people. For the sake of simplicity, two things summarized the theological culture and attitudes of the day: ascent theology and the theology of active righteousness.

It was commonly held from medieval teachings that mankind needed to ascend to God. It was taught that one needed to climb a metaphoric ladder towards a Holy and Righteous God through: pious good works, devotion to God, accomplishments, indulgences, holy living, penance, religious duties, etc… Eugene Klug comments on this saying,

“Ascetics (i.e. those trying to climb to God) desired to achieve more and greater conformity with the will of the holy God, climbing rung by rung the ladder of God-pleasing acceptance before the throne of the loving Lord and Savior.” (Note: Parentheses added)

People during the time of Luther saw themselves in a spiritual journey that required strenuous effort and endurance to elevate ‘self’ to the same level of God.

In ascent theology the emphasis is placed on mankind and the strategic goal becomes mankind’s climbing pursuit of God. As a result, man does not need a descending Christ; which means that Jesus becomes a simple model of holiness that needs to be emulated in the ascending journey. Consequently, how does one know if he/she has ascended enough? What are the best methods to ascend to God? What methods get the best bang for the buck?

The other presupposition that was commonly held during the time of Luther was the theology of active righteousness. Active righteousness simply taught that if one were to be considered righteous that he/she needed to achieve righteousness by the way of the Law and effort. For example: the Law says, “Do” and the person actively “Does it” which results in a presumed “Righteousness.”

The teaching of active righteousness goes right in line and is in harmony with ascent theology. Both put the emphasis on mankind’s efforts. Both have a starting point of mankind. Both appeal to the flesh. Both undercut the centrality of the work of God in Christ. . . .

According to some historians, the Heidelberg Disputation is considered as more important to the 16th century reformation than the 95 theses of 1517. The reason being, the teachings of the Heidelberg Theses adamantly argue against ascent theology and active righteousness and shows forth from scripture a completely contrary and opposite way of seeing the Christian life: descent theology and passive righteousness.

The theology of descent puts the emphasis on Christ and His strategic goal of drawing close to and pursuing mankind. As a result, man does not (and cannot) ascend to God; which means that Jesus is the one who descends to mankind as to rescues and bring sinners home to God. Consequently, one is granted confident assurance as scripture continually reveals the glory of the descending Christ to a bloody cross to completely atone for mankind, us!

The teaching of passive righteousness taught by Luther and the scriptures puts the focus on what Christ has accomplished on behalf of mankind. Passive righteousness simply teaches that if one is to be considered righteous that he/she needs to receive this righteousness by the way of the Gospel and Gift. The Gospel says, “Believe This And Receive It As Gift” because “Everything Is Already Done For You.” (Note Theses 26 of the Heidelberg Disputation)

via Steadfast Lutherans » The Laying Of Our Foundation: The Theological Framework Of The Reformation For The Church Today.

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://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    …and the descent of Christ and passive righteousness manifest themselves so beautifully in preaching, baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. It’s amazing that some who so resoundingly reject ascetics would insist that we “ascend”, for example, in the Lord’s Supper.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    …and the descent of Christ and passive righteousness manifest themselves so beautifully in preaching, baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. It’s amazing that some who so resoundingly reject ascetics would insist that we “ascend”, for example, in the Lord’s Supper.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    …so that, in the end, communion is always something you do, and that only after you’ve decided that you’re a worthy partaker.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    …so that, in the end, communion is always something you do, and that only after you’ve decided that you’re a worthy partaker.

  • larry

    There is no more profoundly written document than the HD save and since Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The difference between the 95 Thesis and the HD is that the 95 thesis speaks more to the “specifics” at the time, the abuses. Where the HD speaks to the raw principles at hand. Thus, one could “agree” with the 95 Thesis but yet still be guilty of teaching this kind of implied hidden works righteousness just not as crassly as some of M. Rome had become. E.g. one could concur that “faith formed by love” (Rome) is works, but be blind to the same principle in “faith proved by works” (the protestant version of Rome’s faith formed by love). The HD levels everything because it gets to the root principles at hand. Another example would be how Rome saw the sacraments as “means of grace” in that they ‘poured or infused the grace (as a quality as it where) needed to make the turn about and change in a man’, then off to the races he goes. Yet most protestant theology does not recognize that while we may have done away with the idea that the sacraments “pour infused grace in”, we simply moved the infusion of grace to other and more varied means such as a conversion experience, praying a prayer, walking the altar call again or the Holy Spirit regenerating and operating on the elect only in some kind in and around the Word but never always and only. The principle problem not being means of grace but what grace is.

    The HD gets to the root and principle problem and not just specific application of the problem.

    For example Luther’s Thesis 11 and its proof: “Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.”

    …We must sincerely admit, even to confession, that our best works are sinful. Because we pride ourselves in our works, our works are deadly sins. (Why? – larry added) Because we lack full confidence in God, because we cannot avoid creaturely confidence, we must fear the judgment of God in every work. Every hope built on the work of man is boastful and false, but true hope is found only in the fear of condemnation.

    And

    Thesis 24 and part of its proof: “He, however, who has emptied himself [Cf. Phil. 2:7] through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether man does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3[:7], “You must be born anew.” To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand.”

    The principles in these two thesis alone (for it speaks to the Christian) pretty much levels what passes for most Christian (protestant) theology today as much as it did Roman theology then. For whether it was Rome that worked crassly their way to heaven with their formal system or protestants today and our informal systems who are taught to find their assurance of salvation/conversion/regeneration/rebirth/election in said “post conversion” works. These two thesis alone destroy all that and its true arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope present lest damnation be feared in every work without exception. Once that fear or terror is realized then “how I know I am saved” is clearly seen and finely, at last heard” and the absolution and sacraments then become precious to one…”I am baptized” means, gives and does something for example. We so easily return to works even denying that we are returning to them all the while that’s precisely what we are doing.

  • larry

    There is no more profoundly written document than the HD save and since Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The difference between the 95 Thesis and the HD is that the 95 thesis speaks more to the “specifics” at the time, the abuses. Where the HD speaks to the raw principles at hand. Thus, one could “agree” with the 95 Thesis but yet still be guilty of teaching this kind of implied hidden works righteousness just not as crassly as some of M. Rome had become. E.g. one could concur that “faith formed by love” (Rome) is works, but be blind to the same principle in “faith proved by works” (the protestant version of Rome’s faith formed by love). The HD levels everything because it gets to the root principles at hand. Another example would be how Rome saw the sacraments as “means of grace” in that they ‘poured or infused the grace (as a quality as it where) needed to make the turn about and change in a man’, then off to the races he goes. Yet most protestant theology does not recognize that while we may have done away with the idea that the sacraments “pour infused grace in”, we simply moved the infusion of grace to other and more varied means such as a conversion experience, praying a prayer, walking the altar call again or the Holy Spirit regenerating and operating on the elect only in some kind in and around the Word but never always and only. The principle problem not being means of grace but what grace is.

    The HD gets to the root and principle problem and not just specific application of the problem.

    For example Luther’s Thesis 11 and its proof: “Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.”

    …We must sincerely admit, even to confession, that our best works are sinful. Because we pride ourselves in our works, our works are deadly sins. (Why? – larry added) Because we lack full confidence in God, because we cannot avoid creaturely confidence, we must fear the judgment of God in every work. Every hope built on the work of man is boastful and false, but true hope is found only in the fear of condemnation.

    And

    Thesis 24 and part of its proof: “He, however, who has emptied himself [Cf. Phil. 2:7] through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether man does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3[:7], “You must be born anew.” To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand.”

    The principles in these two thesis alone (for it speaks to the Christian) pretty much levels what passes for most Christian (protestant) theology today as much as it did Roman theology then. For whether it was Rome that worked crassly their way to heaven with their formal system or protestants today and our informal systems who are taught to find their assurance of salvation/conversion/regeneration/rebirth/election in said “post conversion” works. These two thesis alone destroy all that and its true arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope present lest damnation be feared in every work without exception. Once that fear or terror is realized then “how I know I am saved” is clearly seen and finely, at last heard” and the absolution and sacraments then become precious to one…”I am baptized” means, gives and does something for example. We so easily return to works even denying that we are returning to them all the while that’s precisely what we are doing.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    God is not looking to ‘make us better’…but to kill us off.

    Ascending the ladder is what ‘religion’ (at it’s worst) is all about.

    This is Rome. And this is the majority of Protestantism, as well.

    It’s everywhere.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    God is not looking to ‘make us better’…but to kill us off.

    Ascending the ladder is what ‘religion’ (at it’s worst) is all about.

    This is Rome. And this is the majority of Protestantism, as well.

    It’s everywhere.

  • fws

    Larry @ 3 and steve @4

    “God is not looking to ‘make us better’…but to kill us off.”

    two thumbs up. This says it all.

  • fws

    Larry @ 3 and steve @4

    “God is not looking to ‘make us better’…but to kill us off.”

    two thumbs up. This says it all.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Gene, if you took away the words Luther’s time and medieval, you have just described a whole swath of modern evangelicalism. As well as other forms of pietistic Christianity. I have even known some Calvinist pietists – now there is a scary phenomenon!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Gene, if you took away the words Luther’s time and medieval, you have just described a whole swath of modern evangelicalism. As well as other forms of pietistic Christianity. I have even known some Calvinist pietists – now there is a scary phenomenon!

  • Jon

    @7, KK, yes, and also every other religion out there. Ladder climbers all.

  • Jon

    @7, KK, yes, and also every other religion out there. Ladder climbers all.

  • fws

    KK @6

    +1
    And we Lutherans who call ourselves “confessional” have old adams who want to think the same way.

    It is important to recongnize this, identify when it happens, and repent of this.

  • fws

    KK @6

    +1
    And we Lutherans who call ourselves “confessional” have old adams who want to think the same way.

    It is important to recongnize this, identify when it happens, and repent of this.

  • Stephen

    I think there is a phenomenon that happens for all of us to look to our believing itself as some kind of evidence that gives assurance. “Believing faith” is a phrase you will hear from evangelicals, which is code for something (a work) required for salvation. This is to remove the offense of the cross which condemns our every work. As Larry quotes above, we can never love God and put our confidence in him as we should – completely. And this seems like hairsplitting perhaps because we get tangled up in the words “believing” and “faith.” But once that hair is split, everything else falls away. Christ ALONE – his works, his mercy, his righteousness is all in all. And it is given in a word which is the Word, the name above all names which saves.

    Could we say even “I don’t care if I have enough faith, or even if I despair (right where we go when the cross is the condemning our works) – I am baptized.”? In other words, the whole thing turns on the “pro me” of that same condemning cross – “it is for me!” – Gospel!!!!

  • fws

    Question for the Reformed and the Confessional Lutherans here, and also the Evangelicals:

    How is it that we confessionals and reformed and evangelicals sneak ascent theology and active righeousness into our beliefs and practices today? What is it that we need to repent of in our actions and thinking? How does this stuff manifest itself in us and our group?

  • Stephen

    I think there is a phenomenon that happens for all of us to look to our believing itself as some kind of evidence that gives assurance. “Believing faith” is a phrase you will hear from evangelicals, which is code for something (a work) required for salvation. This is to remove the offense of the cross which condemns our every work. As Larry quotes above, we can never love God and put our confidence in him as we should – completely. And this seems like hairsplitting perhaps because we get tangled up in the words “believing” and “faith.” But once that hair is split, everything else falls away. Christ ALONE – his works, his mercy, his righteousness is all in all. And it is given in a word which is the Word, the name above all names which saves.

    Could we say even “I don’t care if I have enough faith, or even if I despair (right where we go when the cross is the condemning our works) – I am baptized.”? In other words, the whole thing turns on the “pro me” of that same condemning cross – “it is for me!” – Gospel!!!!

  • fws

    Question for the Reformed and the Confessional Lutherans here, and also the Evangelicals:

    How is it that we confessionals and reformed and evangelicals sneak ascent theology and active righeousness into our beliefs and practices today? What is it that we need to repent of in our actions and thinking? How does this stuff manifest itself in us and our group?

  • fws

    I know that when I am having a “spiritual good hair day” I feel good about me. What I am doing. And I forget to pray.

    Those days when I am honest and everything I do and say and touch seems to turn to s**t. I find I am constantly breathing the words “Lord have mercy!” and I am literally, driven to prayer. In my feelings I feel God has abandoned me. So I only have a Promise to cling to. Those are the times I fight with God and hold him to his Promise he made to me in my baptism and makes every sunday in the general confessions and absolution.

    I know that I have utterly nothing to lose or offer God. The only thing at that point that is sure and certain is that God cannot lie and he has promised me his Son as my own.

    When I am doing ok and not sinning so much (I think) I am right there with those medieval ascendents who rely on active obedience to settle my accounts with God.

  • fws

    I know that when I am having a “spiritual good hair day” I feel good about me. What I am doing. And I forget to pray.

    Those days when I am honest and everything I do and say and touch seems to turn to s**t. I find I am constantly breathing the words “Lord have mercy!” and I am literally, driven to prayer. In my feelings I feel God has abandoned me. So I only have a Promise to cling to. Those are the times I fight with God and hold him to his Promise he made to me in my baptism and makes every sunday in the general confessions and absolution.

    I know that I have utterly nothing to lose or offer God. The only thing at that point that is sure and certain is that God cannot lie and he has promised me his Son as my own.

    When I am doing ok and not sinning so much (I think) I am right there with those medieval ascendents who rely on active obedience to settle my accounts with God.

  • Stephen

    Frank @ 11

    Oh, you mean like today, right?

  • Stephen

    Frank @ 11

    Oh, you mean like today, right?

  • fws

    stephen @ 12

    as in dog that gets to eat crumbs from masters table.
    I am just a f**k up.
    That would be a good characterization of my life.
    What I have accomplished in my life for the good of others so far is so tiny compared to what others have done.
    And often those “others” (who have served so many others and made sacrifices for others) are people I have judged very harshly.
    I have shown no mercy.

    And they are the ones who have every right to judge me and declare me very lacking in anything that would allow me to justify my existence .

    And that realization really sucks.

  • fws

    stephen @ 12

    as in dog that gets to eat crumbs from masters table.
    I am just a f**k up.
    That would be a good characterization of my life.
    What I have accomplished in my life for the good of others so far is so tiny compared to what others have done.
    And often those “others” (who have served so many others and made sacrifices for others) are people I have judged very harshly.
    I have shown no mercy.

    And they are the ones who have every right to judge me and declare me very lacking in anything that would allow me to justify my existence .

    And that realization really sucks.

  • aletheist

    fws@10: The most common slip that I come across is turning faith into a good work–something that comes from within us. Whenever I stress that faith itself is a gift from God, such that we contribute absolutely nothing to our own salvation, someone else often interjects that we have to accept that gift (or at least not reject it) in order to benefit from it. It is subtle because it makes sense when talking about gifts that we receive from other humans. In our sinful nature, we instinctively want to make faith the condition of our salvation, rather than its vehicle. The truth is that God saves us by giving us faith, not because we (already) have faith.

  • aletheist

    fws@10: The most common slip that I come across is turning faith into a good work–something that comes from within us. Whenever I stress that faith itself is a gift from God, such that we contribute absolutely nothing to our own salvation, someone else often interjects that we have to accept that gift (or at least not reject it) in order to benefit from it. It is subtle because it makes sense when talking about gifts that we receive from other humans. In our sinful nature, we instinctively want to make faith the condition of our salvation, rather than its vehicle. The truth is that God saves us by giving us faith, not because we (already) have faith.

  • Shane A.

    Well, at the risk of being labelled heretical… I think this might miss the point of “ascent” theology. The most notable example is, of course, Dante. With Virgil, Dante ascends through the levels of Purgatory, where the will is brought into harmony with God’s order. But this virtue is still insufficient to progress beyond: into Paradise. For this end, Beatrice (grace, who started Dante on this journey in the first place) must descend and carry him.

    Likewise, in such theology, Christ is no mere model of action, but rather enables human participation in Himself–especially in the sacraments (grace perfecting nature). As Lewis said, quoting George McDonald, “Christ did not suffer so that we might not [purely legal substitutionary atonement], but so that we might suffer like Christ [mystical substitution].” Luther, at his best, illustrates the descent of grace and the theology of the cross. However, the active transformation of the will, which is conformed to Christ, should not be denied either (the way of ascent). Why need Christianity divide itself over this polarity? Take Dante and Luther.

  • Shane A.

    Well, at the risk of being labelled heretical… I think this might miss the point of “ascent” theology. The most notable example is, of course, Dante. With Virgil, Dante ascends through the levels of Purgatory, where the will is brought into harmony with God’s order. But this virtue is still insufficient to progress beyond: into Paradise. For this end, Beatrice (grace, who started Dante on this journey in the first place) must descend and carry him.

    Likewise, in such theology, Christ is no mere model of action, but rather enables human participation in Himself–especially in the sacraments (grace perfecting nature). As Lewis said, quoting George McDonald, “Christ did not suffer so that we might not [purely legal substitutionary atonement], but so that we might suffer like Christ [mystical substitution].” Luther, at his best, illustrates the descent of grace and the theology of the cross. However, the active transformation of the will, which is conformed to Christ, should not be denied either (the way of ascent). Why need Christianity divide itself over this polarity? Take Dante and Luther.

  • Stephen

    Aletheist @ 14 (great name, by the way!)

    i wonder how you answer that question. I’ve encountered that response too, and I have to admit that it has stopped me in my tracks more than once. It then becomes a rationalist’s battle and an argument over the meaning of some text and not about what Grace actually means.

  • Stephen

    Aletheist @ 14 (great name, by the way!)

    i wonder how you answer that question. I’ve encountered that response too, and I have to admit that it has stopped me in my tracks more than once. It then becomes a rationalist’s battle and an argument over the meaning of some text and not about what Grace actually means.

  • Stephen

    Shane @ 15

    Because this is exactly to remove the offense of the cross. How? Making Christ an enabling spirit who takes my hand so that I may cross over to Paradise is a god who does not need to die for sin. He only needs to give us his power, much like the Greek gods did, for us to achieve divinity. God as heavenly friend rather than crucified one. Crucifixion is a destruction of the self. Our flesh is crucified with Christ in Baptism. Our selves die and are annihilated in the One who becomes our sin. And ONLY Christ can make this crucifixion of self into his glory, swallowing up all death there.

    Does that make sense?

  • Stephen

    Shane @ 15

    Because this is exactly to remove the offense of the cross. How? Making Christ an enabling spirit who takes my hand so that I may cross over to Paradise is a god who does not need to die for sin. He only needs to give us his power, much like the Greek gods did, for us to achieve divinity. God as heavenly friend rather than crucified one. Crucifixion is a destruction of the self. Our flesh is crucified with Christ in Baptism. Our selves die and are annihilated in the One who becomes our sin. And ONLY Christ can make this crucifixion of self into his glory, swallowing up all death there.

    Does that make sense?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stephen & Aletheist – I have wondered about that question too. But it occurred to me that think there is a point we have to stop hair-splitting, stop our reductio ad absurdam, and just believe – because the intellectual exercise itself, while not wrong in and of itself, can reach the point where it becomes a symptom of either works-based religion, and/or unbelief.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stephen & Aletheist – I have wondered about that question too. But it occurred to me that think there is a point we have to stop hair-splitting, stop our reductio ad absurdam, and just believe – because the intellectual exercise itself, while not wrong in and of itself, can reach the point where it becomes a symptom of either works-based religion, and/or unbelief.

  • fws

    shane a @ 15

    “However, the active transformation of the will, which is conformed to Christ, should not be denied either”

    Why should it not be denied Shane?

  • fws

    shane a @ 15

    “However, the active transformation of the will, which is conformed to Christ, should not be denied either”

    Why should it not be denied Shane?

  • aletheist

    Stephen@16: I see what you did there! I always come back to stressing that 100% of the credit for anyone’s salvation belongs to God, and 100% of the blame for anyone’s damnation belongs to that person. To me, this principle is distinctively Lutheran soteriology in a nutshell. If I “have to” accept (or not reject) the gift of faith, then my salvation is in the realm of Law rather than Gospel, and I “deserve” some of the credit for it. Dead people cannot accept any gifts offered to them!

    KK@18: Agreed. We get into trouble when we let reason carry us beyond what God has revealed in His Word. We also tend to think of faith exclusively in terms of belief (in propositions) and overlook the aspect of trust (in a Person) that is really more significant.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@16: I see what you did there! I always come back to stressing that 100% of the credit for anyone’s salvation belongs to God, and 100% of the blame for anyone’s damnation belongs to that person. To me, this principle is distinctively Lutheran soteriology in a nutshell. If I “have to” accept (or not reject) the gift of faith, then my salvation is in the realm of Law rather than Gospel, and I “deserve” some of the credit for it. Dead people cannot accept any gifts offered to them!

    KK@18: Agreed. We get into trouble when we let reason carry us beyond what God has revealed in His Word. We also tend to think of faith exclusively in terms of belief (in propositions) and overlook the aspect of trust (in a Person) that is really more significant.

  • fws

    shane a @ 15

    For what it’s worth, I agree. What dr Veith presented is a characterization of Scholastic theology. You present a more accurate picture of what Thomist Scholasticism presents itself as.

    The Lutheran Apology directly attacks exactly the views you express. http://www.bookofconcord.org Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confessions.

    I assume your questions are rhetorical. If you sincerely want to know why Lutherans abhor your theology, you can go to the Apology and read what our reasons are. The translation is poor unfortunately and is german-glish with run on sentences and poor gramatical structure. So it is a chore to read. I am sorry for that.

  • fws

    shane a @ 15

    For what it’s worth, I agree. What dr Veith presented is a characterization of Scholastic theology. You present a more accurate picture of what Thomist Scholasticism presents itself as.

    The Lutheran Apology directly attacks exactly the views you express. http://www.bookofconcord.org Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confessions.

    I assume your questions are rhetorical. If you sincerely want to know why Lutherans abhor your theology, you can go to the Apology and read what our reasons are. The translation is poor unfortunately and is german-glish with run on sentences and poor gramatical structure. So it is a chore to read. I am sorry for that.

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

    Is there really any difference at all between ascent theology and active righteousness.

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

    Is there really any difference at all between ascent theology and active righteousness.

  • fws

    J Dean @ 22

    Yes. And it is really important to recognize active righeousness, what it is, what it is not, and that God does indeed demand it.

    Active righeousness is what God the Holy Spirit extorts out of all Old Adams. This includes ALL we can see and do in ALL our internal and external powers that we can call good works. ALL we can do is Old Adam doing it this says. And it is all driven by the Holy Spirit using the Law that is divinely written in the Reason of all men.

    God WILL make us do this active righeousness. We can either learn to do it willingly as Aristotle suggests, or we can refuse and in that case God will send punishment and suffering or even the hangman until and unless we start doing the love and mercy God demands of us for others.

    This righteousness is useful for us to have a long and happy life, and to avoid punishment and suffering. This righeousness is necessary. In the sense that life on earth would be impossible without it. It pertains only to this earthly existence and will end with it.

    If we aim to deal with God, we must aim far beyond this active righeousness. We must imagine that this active righeousness is as far from what God demands of us as the earth is from the furthest star.

    So in dealing with God we must learn to be terrified at the shortcomings of our best active righeousness and learn to hide all that in the Works of Another.

  • fws

    J Dean @ 22

    Yes. And it is really important to recognize active righeousness, what it is, what it is not, and that God does indeed demand it.

    Active righeousness is what God the Holy Spirit extorts out of all Old Adams. This includes ALL we can see and do in ALL our internal and external powers that we can call good works. ALL we can do is Old Adam doing it this says. And it is all driven by the Holy Spirit using the Law that is divinely written in the Reason of all men.

    God WILL make us do this active righeousness. We can either learn to do it willingly as Aristotle suggests, or we can refuse and in that case God will send punishment and suffering or even the hangman until and unless we start doing the love and mercy God demands of us for others.

    This righteousness is useful for us to have a long and happy life, and to avoid punishment and suffering. This righeousness is necessary. In the sense that life on earth would be impossible without it. It pertains only to this earthly existence and will end with it.

    If we aim to deal with God, we must aim far beyond this active righeousness. We must imagine that this active righeousness is as far from what God demands of us as the earth is from the furthest star.

    So in dealing with God we must learn to be terrified at the shortcomings of our best active righeousness and learn to hide all that in the Works of Another.

  • Stephen

    Aletheist @ 20

    Great stuff! I think this goes to “being prepared to give a defense” in one sense. I need a script you might say, a good elevator speech that lays it on the line. That is what I wish I had better prepared for these moments. Immediately my mind grasps for all that book learnin’ I’ve got which in itself is not bad, but sometimes obscures the simple truth. I tend to want my words rather than the Word itself to be sufficient and then let it go. I think this is what KK is getting at. I like your “Dead people cannot accept any gifts offered to them!” Excellent!

  • Stephen

    Aletheist @ 20

    Great stuff! I think this goes to “being prepared to give a defense” in one sense. I need a script you might say, a good elevator speech that lays it on the line. That is what I wish I had better prepared for these moments. Immediately my mind grasps for all that book learnin’ I’ve got which in itself is not bad, but sometimes obscures the simple truth. I tend to want my words rather than the Word itself to be sufficient and then let it go. I think this is what KK is getting at. I like your “Dead people cannot accept any gifts offered to them!” Excellent!

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

    I agree with KK@6 – pietistic Calvinists are some of the scariest people on earth. And I agree with SM and others on this thread – most of evangelicalism in America claims to believe in salvation by grace, but once the magic prayer is said, everything becomes about making yourself righteous before God by not sinning.

    I grew up Baptist, basically, and one of the most fascinating things about the churches I’ve attended is the way that righteousness is always summed up in a “thou shalt not”. Endless Sundays are wasted preaching about not sinning, and yet I can’t remember ever hearing a sermon about doing good works. I don’t know why this is my experience. Perhaps someone with a deeper understanding of theology and philosophy could explain it.

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

    I agree with KK@6 – pietistic Calvinists are some of the scariest people on earth. And I agree with SM and others on this thread – most of evangelicalism in America claims to believe in salvation by grace, but once the magic prayer is said, everything becomes about making yourself righteous before God by not sinning.

    I grew up Baptist, basically, and one of the most fascinating things about the churches I’ve attended is the way that righteousness is always summed up in a “thou shalt not”. Endless Sundays are wasted preaching about not sinning, and yet I can’t remember ever hearing a sermon about doing good works. I don’t know why this is my experience. Perhaps someone with a deeper understanding of theology and philosophy could explain it.

  • Stephen

    Shane -

    You had to know it would be trouble. Sorry if you feel we are ganging up on you.

    I have been reading the Illiad. What is interesting is that the gods do grant grace of a kind. Achilles prays and cries his heart out to his mother, a goddess, and she comes to him because she is moved. She then makes a bargain with Zues to get her son what he wants. But then this is always at the cost of the good fortune of someone else, in this case, Agamemnon, who screwed Achilles over and took his honor.

    To me, this all feels like various theologies of glory, infused grace that works for my benefit so I can be “god-ish” myself. More to say, but I gotta go.

  • Stephen

    Shane -

    You had to know it would be trouble. Sorry if you feel we are ganging up on you.

    I have been reading the Illiad. What is interesting is that the gods do grant grace of a kind. Achilles prays and cries his heart out to his mother, a goddess, and she comes to him because she is moved. She then makes a bargain with Zues to get her son what he wants. But then this is always at the cost of the good fortune of someone else, in this case, Agamemnon, who screwed Achilles over and took his honor.

    To me, this all feels like various theologies of glory, infused grace that works for my benefit so I can be “god-ish” myself. More to say, but I gotta go.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    John – because in most of these churches, the pastor assumes a mantle of power and control, especially in non-denominational or nominally-denominational churches. And it is easier to control people when you control their behaviour by a list of prohibitions. Furthermore, they understand the Christian life as a search for purity, because they reject the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice, if not explicitly, then implicitly. Therefore Christianity = asceticism in that belief system.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    John – because in most of these churches, the pastor assumes a mantle of power and control, especially in non-denominational or nominally-denominational churches. And it is easier to control people when you control their behaviour by a list of prohibitions. Furthermore, they understand the Christian life as a search for purity, because they reject the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice, if not explicitly, then implicitly. Therefore Christianity = asceticism in that belief system.

  • SKPeterson

    Here is one of the “official” Lutheran rejoinders to Ascent Theology and Active Righteousness:

    From FC Solid Declaration III. The Righteousness of Faith:

    Concerning the righteousness of faith before God we believe, teach, and confess unanimously, in accordance with the comprehensive summary of our faith and confession presented above, that poor sinful man is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works,out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is reckoned to us for righteousness.

  • SKPeterson

    Here is one of the “official” Lutheran rejoinders to Ascent Theology and Active Righteousness:

    From FC Solid Declaration III. The Righteousness of Faith:

    Concerning the righteousness of faith before God we believe, teach, and confess unanimously, in accordance with the comprehensive summary of our faith and confession presented above, that poor sinful man is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works,out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is reckoned to us for righteousness.

  • SKPeterson

    The upshot: Our works? Christ’s. Our obedience? Christ’s. Our merit? Christ’s. Our condemnation and death? Christ’s. The only way we ascend is to have Christ descend and carry us kicking and screaming up the ladder.

  • SKPeterson

    The upshot: Our works? Christ’s. Our obedience? Christ’s. Our merit? Christ’s. Our condemnation and death? Christ’s. The only way we ascend is to have Christ descend and carry us kicking and screaming up the ladder.

  • reg

    Stephen @ 9
    In your post you state ““Believing faith” is a phrase you will hear from evangelicals, which is code for something (a work) required for salvation. ” I think you misunderstand how many evangelicals/reformed use this term. (I am not defending those who say “we must decide” they are wrong-we decide nothing). Believing faith is externally caused. We play no role in it. It is a gift of God. It is irresistible grace acting on us, so we have no say in accepting it. If God calls we can only say yes (his word does not return to him void without accomplishing what it set out to do). It is not something subjective arising within. It is something external working in/into us.
    I think we reformed look at baptism as a work and not pure grace; you Lutherans view saving faith as a work and not pure grace. It seems we both understand that salvation it is a gift of God and not of ourselves, but we ascribe the transmission of that gift to us as coming through either either baptism/supper or irresistible grace. On the positive side we at least can agree that it is God reaching down to us, rather than us reaching up to God. We do nothing. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, Christ is our righteousness, by grace we have been saved.

  • reg

    Stephen @ 9
    In your post you state ““Believing faith” is a phrase you will hear from evangelicals, which is code for something (a work) required for salvation. ” I think you misunderstand how many evangelicals/reformed use this term. (I am not defending those who say “we must decide” they are wrong-we decide nothing). Believing faith is externally caused. We play no role in it. It is a gift of God. It is irresistible grace acting on us, so we have no say in accepting it. If God calls we can only say yes (his word does not return to him void without accomplishing what it set out to do). It is not something subjective arising within. It is something external working in/into us.
    I think we reformed look at baptism as a work and not pure grace; you Lutherans view saving faith as a work and not pure grace. It seems we both understand that salvation it is a gift of God and not of ourselves, but we ascribe the transmission of that gift to us as coming through either either baptism/supper or irresistible grace. On the positive side we at least can agree that it is God reaching down to us, rather than us reaching up to God. We do nothing. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, Christ is our righteousness, by grace we have been saved.

  • larry

    KK, I could not agree more.

    Frank makes a great point in that this pietistic ascent is in reality the very very very natural gravity of the old man in all men, so the Gospel always has an “against the current” battle in individuals and in the amalgamation of individuals we call “groups”. This is why it appears, for example, in some practitioners of Lutheranism if you will. Thus, one can find even in the persons within orthodoxy this ascent theology, not in its codification of confession but a twisting interpretation of it (the Lutheran faltering to the Calvinistic third use of the law is the best modern example). Consequently one could hear in parts more “Lutheranesque” theology from the lips of a heterodox preacher. A Baptist preacher one time, a dear friend of mine, expressed during a baptism that God gives forgiveness in Baptism. The elders lost their minds on it and afterward reproached him with, “That’s not Baptist”. Upon hearing this story I told him, “You realize they are right don’t you.” He just looked at me. I said, “That’s Lutheran theology not Baptist”. The difference in heterodoxy is that heterodoxy officially “codifies” the ascent theology. I think it was Nagel who once said the battle of the Gospel over the history of the church has been one that men constantly want to make works out of the Gospel itself and flip everything upside down (something like that).

    What is the largest assemblage of lawyers in the world? It’s not political governments, it’s the church. Everybody has a “degree in law” in the church and EVERYBODY wants to hang out a shingle and practice.

    The idea of infused grace be Rome’s system, the arminian system of grace to decide or the Calvinist system of post conversion called the “spirit” ability to believe, the Pharisee prayed infused grace too, “I thank you God…”.

  • larry

    KK, I could not agree more.

    Frank makes a great point in that this pietistic ascent is in reality the very very very natural gravity of the old man in all men, so the Gospel always has an “against the current” battle in individuals and in the amalgamation of individuals we call “groups”. This is why it appears, for example, in some practitioners of Lutheranism if you will. Thus, one can find even in the persons within orthodoxy this ascent theology, not in its codification of confession but a twisting interpretation of it (the Lutheran faltering to the Calvinistic third use of the law is the best modern example). Consequently one could hear in parts more “Lutheranesque” theology from the lips of a heterodox preacher. A Baptist preacher one time, a dear friend of mine, expressed during a baptism that God gives forgiveness in Baptism. The elders lost their minds on it and afterward reproached him with, “That’s not Baptist”. Upon hearing this story I told him, “You realize they are right don’t you.” He just looked at me. I said, “That’s Lutheran theology not Baptist”. The difference in heterodoxy is that heterodoxy officially “codifies” the ascent theology. I think it was Nagel who once said the battle of the Gospel over the history of the church has been one that men constantly want to make works out of the Gospel itself and flip everything upside down (something like that).

    What is the largest assemblage of lawyers in the world? It’s not political governments, it’s the church. Everybody has a “degree in law” in the church and EVERYBODY wants to hang out a shingle and practice.

    The idea of infused grace be Rome’s system, the arminian system of grace to decide or the Calvinist system of post conversion called the “spirit” ability to believe, the Pharisee prayed infused grace too, “I thank you God…”.

  • larry

    Reg,

    The problem with the Reformed “faith” and “irresistible grace” is that in the end its “infusion of grace” and not really grace. That’s Luther’s point, why Christ did redeem the whole world and baptism IS the giving of forgiveness of sins, and why the absolution from the pastor’s lips IS God forgiving and why at the table one literally eats and drinks forgiveness of sins.

    The best way to see it is thus:

    Luther: Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also (consequently) life and salvation.
    Calvin: Where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sins.

    Two entirely different religions but same words. Irresistible grace is in reality hidden free will. For Calvin the emphasis was at the end of the day moral improvement. For Luther the forgiveness of sins.

    The distinction between arminianism’s free will that God in creation before conversion has given man the will to choose (a gift from God) and Calvinism’s irresistible grace given after conversions is really a distinction without a difference, it’s is at the end of the day simply a matter of where one places this grace-power (the infusion of the quality). Both end up in a “law world” of obedience even calling this “faith”. Rome pours in the infusion of grace via the sacraments and calls these “means of grace” (commanded by God to do), arminianism puts the infusion pre-conversion that all men have as a part of being created, and Reformed (big R) puts the infusion in irresistible grace and calls “holy Spirit”. Thus, all at the end of the day have plausible deniability that anyone of them says “man saves himself” for all can say, “God gave it , thus glory alone to God” or “….I thank you God” (the infused grace prayer of the Pharisee). What is notable is that all see grace more or less formerly or informally as this infusion of power to beget the quality that then “acts and does” the law, or the law wearing a tee-shirt saying “FAITH ALONE” across its chest.
    The difference in Luther is that one hears individually the “I forgive you” in the absolution or sacraments and faith arises and says, “So that is what God is really like”. Grace was not this quality of “irresistibleness” but the “I forgive you” pro me, thus the doxology of “I am baptized”.

  • larry

    Reg,

    The problem with the Reformed “faith” and “irresistible grace” is that in the end its “infusion of grace” and not really grace. That’s Luther’s point, why Christ did redeem the whole world and baptism IS the giving of forgiveness of sins, and why the absolution from the pastor’s lips IS God forgiving and why at the table one literally eats and drinks forgiveness of sins.

    The best way to see it is thus:

    Luther: Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also (consequently) life and salvation.
    Calvin: Where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness of sins.

    Two entirely different religions but same words. Irresistible grace is in reality hidden free will. For Calvin the emphasis was at the end of the day moral improvement. For Luther the forgiveness of sins.

    The distinction between arminianism’s free will that God in creation before conversion has given man the will to choose (a gift from God) and Calvinism’s irresistible grace given after conversions is really a distinction without a difference, it’s is at the end of the day simply a matter of where one places this grace-power (the infusion of the quality). Both end up in a “law world” of obedience even calling this “faith”. Rome pours in the infusion of grace via the sacraments and calls these “means of grace” (commanded by God to do), arminianism puts the infusion pre-conversion that all men have as a part of being created, and Reformed (big R) puts the infusion in irresistible grace and calls “holy Spirit”. Thus, all at the end of the day have plausible deniability that anyone of them says “man saves himself” for all can say, “God gave it , thus glory alone to God” or “….I thank you God” (the infused grace prayer of the Pharisee). What is notable is that all see grace more or less formerly or informally as this infusion of power to beget the quality that then “acts and does” the law, or the law wearing a tee-shirt saying “FAITH ALONE” across its chest.
    The difference in Luther is that one hears individually the “I forgive you” in the absolution or sacraments and faith arises and says, “So that is what God is really like”. Grace was not this quality of “irresistibleness” but the “I forgive you” pro me, thus the doxology of “I am baptized”.

  • Stephen

    reg,

    No offense, but that’s all mixed up. “Irresistible grace” implies also double pre-destination which is unbiblical. How else would one account for those who do, in fact, resist and turn away from the Gospel? They never had a chance to begin with, or so it goes, or else grace is actually resistible.

    You also do not describe any means by which this grace comes. I have to assume you mean through the hearing of the gospel i.e. the Word preached or otherwise heard from scripture. And a Lutheran would not disagree that indeed, this is a means of God’s grace coming to us. Bu then you oppose and separate the Word from Sacrament. This too is unbiblical. Sacrament is Word. It too is means of receiving the very One who redeems, Christ.

    Christ does entreat us to “do this” and so we do, because God cannot lie. In this sense, it is an ordinance we obey. And what He says happens, which is why it is a sacrament, so we do not also leave out “this is” as to what is actually received – Grace “worded” to us in the Name above all names in Baptism which itself saves, and by eating. Christ comes to us, yes.

    Is faith necessary? That is the problematic idea I was pointing to. In one sense, absolutely!!! But then how much? And how do we know if we have the faith that receives what is given? Shall I look to my “believing faith” and its sincerity or feelings of intensity or lack thereof (and thus be tormented)? No. This only condemns us. You are right. We do not do it at all.

    We do not believe in our faith. This is what I hear in the way evangelicals (some in my family) use the term. It points the arrow at the believing self and not to the “author and perfecter” ALONE. We trust in the Word which is Christ ALONE, the same One who says “this is . . . take . . .for the forgiveness of sins.” And so we do. We are thrown back on the Word and promise of Christ, which ALONE forgives sins, strengthens faith, and assures us we are his elect. And where is it received? Word AND Sacrament, which is to say Word ALONE, none of which is our work though we do it as we are commanded to do. Christ baptizes. Christ feeds. And in that he gives faith. That is His promise.

  • Stephen

    reg,

    No offense, but that’s all mixed up. “Irresistible grace” implies also double pre-destination which is unbiblical. How else would one account for those who do, in fact, resist and turn away from the Gospel? They never had a chance to begin with, or so it goes, or else grace is actually resistible.

    You also do not describe any means by which this grace comes. I have to assume you mean through the hearing of the gospel i.e. the Word preached or otherwise heard from scripture. And a Lutheran would not disagree that indeed, this is a means of God’s grace coming to us. Bu then you oppose and separate the Word from Sacrament. This too is unbiblical. Sacrament is Word. It too is means of receiving the very One who redeems, Christ.

    Christ does entreat us to “do this” and so we do, because God cannot lie. In this sense, it is an ordinance we obey. And what He says happens, which is why it is a sacrament, so we do not also leave out “this is” as to what is actually received – Grace “worded” to us in the Name above all names in Baptism which itself saves, and by eating. Christ comes to us, yes.

    Is faith necessary? That is the problematic idea I was pointing to. In one sense, absolutely!!! But then how much? And how do we know if we have the faith that receives what is given? Shall I look to my “believing faith” and its sincerity or feelings of intensity or lack thereof (and thus be tormented)? No. This only condemns us. You are right. We do not do it at all.

    We do not believe in our faith. This is what I hear in the way evangelicals (some in my family) use the term. It points the arrow at the believing self and not to the “author and perfecter” ALONE. We trust in the Word which is Christ ALONE, the same One who says “this is . . . take . . .for the forgiveness of sins.” And so we do. We are thrown back on the Word and promise of Christ, which ALONE forgives sins, strengthens faith, and assures us we are his elect. And where is it received? Word AND Sacrament, which is to say Word ALONE, none of which is our work though we do it as we are commanded to do. Christ baptizes. Christ feeds. And in that he gives faith. That is His promise.

  • larry

    Typically arminians have “prevenient-grace” that precedes human decision to engage their free will. Calvinist have “irresistible-grace” and Calvin actually calls it a “power” and the language always consists of drawing power and so forth (an infusion and quality). But both note that it is a “power” and “quality”. Rome agrees.

    Luther has a “you are forgiven-grace”, the “power” of God not being just “news” but a do word.

  • larry

    Typically arminians have “prevenient-grace” that precedes human decision to engage their free will. Calvinist have “irresistible-grace” and Calvin actually calls it a “power” and the language always consists of drawing power and so forth (an infusion and quality). But both note that it is a “power” and “quality”. Rome agrees.

    Luther has a “you are forgiven-grace”, the “power” of God not being just “news” but a do word.

  • aletheist

    reg@30: It would be more accurate to say that we Lutherans view Baptism as pure grace, an external means (along with the Word and the Supper) by which God gives and sustains our saving faith. You Reformed view Baptism as a human work that merely symbolizes the pure grace that God supposedly exerts on the elect immediately, without any external means. In other words, Baptism is primarily Gospel in Lutheran theology and primarily Law in Reformed theology. When troubled by doubts about their salvation, Lutherans objectively cling to their Baptism, receive absolution, and partake of Christ’s Body and Blood; the Reformed can only subjectively look at their own faith and works, which are likely to offer little comfort or assurance in such circumstances.

    The Gospel according to Roman Catholics is that your sins are forgiven, if you receive enough grace to merit it. The Gospel according to Calvinists is that your sins are forgiven, if you are a member of the elect. The Gospel according to Arminians is that your sins are forgiven, if you choose to believe. The Gospel according to Lutherans–and, we would argue, according to Scripture–is that your sins are forgiven, period.

  • aletheist

    reg@30: It would be more accurate to say that we Lutherans view Baptism as pure grace, an external means (along with the Word and the Supper) by which God gives and sustains our saving faith. You Reformed view Baptism as a human work that merely symbolizes the pure grace that God supposedly exerts on the elect immediately, without any external means. In other words, Baptism is primarily Gospel in Lutheran theology and primarily Law in Reformed theology. When troubled by doubts about their salvation, Lutherans objectively cling to their Baptism, receive absolution, and partake of Christ’s Body and Blood; the Reformed can only subjectively look at their own faith and works, which are likely to offer little comfort or assurance in such circumstances.

    The Gospel according to Roman Catholics is that your sins are forgiven, if you receive enough grace to merit it. The Gospel according to Calvinists is that your sins are forgiven, if you are a member of the elect. The Gospel according to Arminians is that your sins are forgiven, if you choose to believe. The Gospel according to Lutherans–and, we would argue, according to Scripture–is that your sins are forgiven, period.

  • Stephen

    Maybe what I should have added to my first paragraph @ 33 is something like: All of that adds up to emphasizing something within the believer rather than to point to the Word ALONE for assurance of salvation. It turns into “God is doing something in me and I can tell!” as evidenced by my enthusiasm for church, bible, etc. But when that enthusiasm wanes, to what does one turn? There’s the rub

  • Stephen

    Maybe what I should have added to my first paragraph @ 33 is something like: All of that adds up to emphasizing something within the believer rather than to point to the Word ALONE for assurance of salvation. It turns into “God is doing something in me and I can tell!” as evidenced by my enthusiasm for church, bible, etc. But when that enthusiasm wanes, to what does one turn? There’s the rub

  • helen

    fws @ 21
    “The Lutheran Apology directly attacks exactly the views you express. http://www.bookofconcord.org Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confessions.

    I assume your questions are rhetorical. If you sincerely want to know why Lutherans abhor your theology, you can go to the Apology and read what our reasons are. The translation is poor unfortunately and is german-glish with run on sentences and poor gramatical structure. So it is a chore to read. I am sorry for that.”

    Oh, my! That’s McCain’s edition of the BOC you are maligning? :)

  • helen

    fws @ 21
    “The Lutheran Apology directly attacks exactly the views you express. http://www.bookofconcord.org Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confessions.

    I assume your questions are rhetorical. If you sincerely want to know why Lutherans abhor your theology, you can go to the Apology and read what our reasons are. The translation is poor unfortunately and is german-glish with run on sentences and poor gramatical structure. So it is a chore to read. I am sorry for that.”

    Oh, my! That’s McCain’s edition of the BOC you are maligning? :)

  • helen

    reg @30
    “I think we reformed look at baptism as a work and not pure grace; you Lutherans view saving faith as a work and not pure grace. It seems we both understand that salvation it is a gift of God…

    We do nothing. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, Christ is our righteousness, by grace we have been saved.”

    You are right in saying “We do nothing.”
    Faith is also a gift, not a work, to Lutherans.

  • helen

    reg @30
    “I think we reformed look at baptism as a work and not pure grace; you Lutherans view saving faith as a work and not pure grace. It seems we both understand that salvation it is a gift of God…

    We do nothing. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, Christ is our righteousness, by grace we have been saved.”

    You are right in saying “We do nothing.”
    Faith is also a gift, not a work, to Lutherans.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@33: Is faith necessary? Of course! How much? A mustard seed’s worth is sufficient! The problem is that when people ask such questions, it is often because they mistakenly feel the need to generate the necessary and sufficient “amount” of faith from within themselves. If saving faith is instead a free gift from God that fundamentally consists in simply trusting the explicit promises of God, then such questions are obviously misplaced. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@33: Is faith necessary? Of course! How much? A mustard seed’s worth is sufficient! The problem is that when people ask such questions, it is often because they mistakenly feel the need to generate the necessary and sufficient “amount” of faith from within themselves. If saving faith is instead a free gift from God that fundamentally consists in simply trusting the explicit promises of God, then such questions are obviously misplaced. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

  • fws

    Helen it is not mc cains b of c. It is ours. I know what tout meant to say. But still. Yes the translation sucks. But there is not a better one out there. A good translation needs to make the Germans speak like a typical American sounds. That is what a good translation needs to do. Could I do a better translation. Probably not. So I am not throwing stones. The online b of c is a great blessing to me. Do we desperately need a better translation? Yes!
    Thethe

  • fws

    Helen it is not mc cains b of c. It is ours. I know what tout meant to say. But still. Yes the translation sucks. But there is not a better one out there. A good translation needs to make the Germans speak like a typical American sounds. That is what a good translation needs to do. Could I do a better translation. Probably not. So I am not throwing stones. The online b of c is a great blessing to me. Do we desperately need a better translation? Yes!
    Thethe

  • aletheist

    helen@37: Actually, fws linked to the online Book of Concord, which is the Triglotta edition published in 1921. Pastor McCain has been around for a while, but not that long! His 2007 version, which is advertised on that page, is no doubt more readable. I personally am most familiar with Tappert’s 1959 translation.

  • aletheist

    helen@37: Actually, fws linked to the online Book of Concord, which is the Triglotta edition published in 1921. Pastor McCain has been around for a while, but not that long! His 2007 version, which is advertised on that page, is no doubt more readable. I personally am most familiar with Tappert’s 1959 translation.

  • Stephen

    I’m enjoying my Kolb 2000 edition. Fantastic notes. It appeals to my need for detail. I’m reading it lately for law and gospel, marking every thing I read as either/or. Try it!

  • Stephen

    I’m enjoying my Kolb 2000 edition. Fantastic notes. It appeals to my need for detail. I’m reading it lately for law and gospel, marking every thing I read as either/or. Try it!

  • reg

    You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t. Nor do we look at our works, etc. for assurance Like Paul said I am the worst of sinners. I am saved in spite of my sin, by faith, which is a gift of God. I rely on the promises of God for my assurance. I reiterate we chose nothing-if that is double predestination so be it. Paul says the same thing in discussing Pharoah and vessels meant for destruction. There is nothing infused, there is something imputed. Your view of how a reformed views salavation is wacky. It is a straw man to justify your faith in the works (of your parents’) in baptizing you. Basically you are pelagian by proxy.

    Let us disagree, but do not set up a straw man for your “opponents” and then think you are scoring points with your arguments. I would say that at least on it not being of ourselves we agree. Beyond that we disagree,

  • reg

    You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t. Nor do we look at our works, etc. for assurance Like Paul said I am the worst of sinners. I am saved in spite of my sin, by faith, which is a gift of God. I rely on the promises of God for my assurance. I reiterate we chose nothing-if that is double predestination so be it. Paul says the same thing in discussing Pharoah and vessels meant for destruction. There is nothing infused, there is something imputed. Your view of how a reformed views salavation is wacky. It is a straw man to justify your faith in the works (of your parents’) in baptizing you. Basically you are pelagian by proxy.

    Let us disagree, but do not set up a straw man for your “opponents” and then think you are scoring points with your arguments. I would say that at least on it not being of ourselves we agree. Beyond that we disagree,

  • aletheist

    reg@43: How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether you are a member of the Elect? Regarding Baptism, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).

  • aletheist

    reg@43: How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether you are a member of the Elect? Regarding Baptism, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).

  • reg

    alethist @44
    How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether your baptism while an infant actually saves you? Regarding saving faith, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).’

    The more I read the Lutheran views on this blog the more I am convinced that you all don’t have clue about what evangelicals mean by being born again. It is external and it is a change where there is a before and an after. In the after there is no uncertainty and the promises of God are what I look too, with confidence having the assurance of things hoped for , the conviction of things not seen. Moreover I have no illusions that there is anything in me of any merit, either before or after. In Christ alone do I trust, knowing he and only he is my righteousness having achieved on my behalf what I could never achieve.

  • reg

    alethist @44
    How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether your baptism while an infant actually saves you? Regarding saving faith, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).’

    The more I read the Lutheran views on this blog the more I am convinced that you all don’t have clue about what evangelicals mean by being born again. It is external and it is a change where there is a before and an after. In the after there is no uncertainty and the promises of God are what I look too, with confidence having the assurance of things hoped for , the conviction of things not seen. Moreover I have no illusions that there is anything in me of any merit, either before or after. In Christ alone do I trust, knowing he and only he is my righteousness having achieved on my behalf what I could never achieve.

  • Larry

    Reg,

    I was deeply reformed once and that’s a pure punt.

    All you managed to do was evade aletheist question by disagreeing how he knows. He didn’t ask you do you believe how he aletheist knows or whether or not you disagree with Lutheranism. He asked you how do YOU REG KNOW that YOU REG are elected? That’s the question before you. I concede the point that you don’t believe how Lutherans know they are saved. Now the question is according to your theology how do YOU REG know.

    Here is the executive summary lay of the Reformed theological land:

    FACT #1: Not everyone is elect. (e.g. not everyone is in “John 3:16” and the like. I.e. no particular “For you” there and your name is no where mentioned by name in Scripture so that you can say, “see my name = elected”.

    FACT #2: By no sacrament can you be assured that you yourself are elect.

    Thus, you are left wandering which is it for me, elect or reprobate? Yea Jesus died but for some, which side of the “some” do I fall and how do I know. Worse still even Calvin himself in his exposition of Hebrews states that a person could have false faith all his/her life and think it real up until the last dying breath only to find themselves reprobate.

    So all the huff and puff about “Jesus is my savior and I know” is just huff and puff because you have no item in your hand to assure you that you are elected, not in general redemption and not via particular imparting of forgiveness of sins.

    How then will it go? Well, some realize the logic and despair others they start vaguely thinking they are pulling it off and in reality are trusting either directly “in their faith” or indirectly in fruits (i.e. works) that indicate faith.

    So, since it is a fact of reformed theology that the atonement is limited to some to whom it extends and others are beyond the limits of the atonement (soft Calvinism) or reprobate (or Owenian hard Cavlinism), and since you Reg are not just a category but a person, how do YOU know which category that YOU belong to and what is the proof.

    I’ll aid you by beginning an enumeration that you may fill as you wish:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”

    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:

    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

    Feel free to use the back of the page if extra space is needed.

    Just to be clear, the question is not how do Lutherans, or aletheist or Larr know by their theology they are saved, but how does the man in particular Reg know by his theology that he is elected and by extension not reprobate?

  • Larry

    Reg,

    I was deeply reformed once and that’s a pure punt.

    All you managed to do was evade aletheist question by disagreeing how he knows. He didn’t ask you do you believe how he aletheist knows or whether or not you disagree with Lutheranism. He asked you how do YOU REG KNOW that YOU REG are elected? That’s the question before you. I concede the point that you don’t believe how Lutherans know they are saved. Now the question is according to your theology how do YOU REG know.

    Here is the executive summary lay of the Reformed theological land:

    FACT #1: Not everyone is elect. (e.g. not everyone is in “John 3:16” and the like. I.e. no particular “For you” there and your name is no where mentioned by name in Scripture so that you can say, “see my name = elected”.

    FACT #2: By no sacrament can you be assured that you yourself are elect.

    Thus, you are left wandering which is it for me, elect or reprobate? Yea Jesus died but for some, which side of the “some” do I fall and how do I know. Worse still even Calvin himself in his exposition of Hebrews states that a person could have false faith all his/her life and think it real up until the last dying breath only to find themselves reprobate.

    So all the huff and puff about “Jesus is my savior and I know” is just huff and puff because you have no item in your hand to assure you that you are elected, not in general redemption and not via particular imparting of forgiveness of sins.

    How then will it go? Well, some realize the logic and despair others they start vaguely thinking they are pulling it off and in reality are trusting either directly “in their faith” or indirectly in fruits (i.e. works) that indicate faith.

    So, since it is a fact of reformed theology that the atonement is limited to some to whom it extends and others are beyond the limits of the atonement (soft Calvinism) or reprobate (or Owenian hard Cavlinism), and since you Reg are not just a category but a person, how do YOU know which category that YOU belong to and what is the proof.

    I’ll aid you by beginning an enumeration that you may fill as you wish:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”

    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:

    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

    Feel free to use the back of the page if extra space is needed.

    Just to be clear, the question is not how do Lutherans, or aletheist or Larr know by their theology they are saved, but how does the man in particular Reg know by his theology that he is elected and by extension not reprobate?

  • helen

    altheist @ 41
    helen@37: Actually, fws linked to the online Book of Concord, which is the Triglotta edition published in 1921.

    Thanks! I wasn’t paying attention!

    Stephen, I’ve used Kolb, too, when I was doing a comparative study of the English versions. I think it may still be used in the seminary. The Reader’s Edition also has generous notes and helps, so I bought that one. I had the English portion of the Triglotta in school, so that’s most familiar to me.
    At our BOC class, all the translations are represented. (We used to have the Bekenntnisschrifte, too.) :)

  • helen

    altheist @ 41
    helen@37: Actually, fws linked to the online Book of Concord, which is the Triglotta edition published in 1921.

    Thanks! I wasn’t paying attention!

    Stephen, I’ve used Kolb, too, when I was doing a comparative study of the English versions. I think it may still be used in the seminary. The Reader’s Edition also has generous notes and helps, so I bought that one. I had the English portion of the Triglotta in school, so that’s most familiar to me.
    At our BOC class, all the translations are represented. (We used to have the Bekenntnisschrifte, too.) :)

  • reg

    Larry,
    I know I am talking a different language here from what you Lutherans speak so communication is difficult and you will not understand this. As an adult I began reading the Bible. It was not particularity a choice I was compelled to do so. Eventually there was a complete change in my world view. I went from not believing to believing with absolute certainty. (Not an altar call, literally a change from one day to the next overnight). From the first when I was asked if I found God, I responded that no, he found me. I had no sense that I chose anything. I was called and there was no saying no.
    Since that time I have never once doubted my salvation. I do not believe I was particularly transformed in terms of my sinfulness, but I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness. I believe the Scripture and the promises of God-I know them to be true. There is no sentimental, warm and fuzzy about it. Salvation just is. I suspect that if you asked many of my Baptist persuasion they would respond the same way. There is no emotional “I know because” factor. It just is-why I cannot fathom. I was pretty much an actual or functional atheist and was not particularly looking for God. Since my salvation I remain a sinful human being who depends on God for everything I have or do, every breath I take. I know that justification and sanctification are purely by his grace.

    I know this won’t satisfy you, but then again you have to ask yourself what Scripture means by being born again. I am sure you will think its a figure of speech or a metaphor but I would tell you you are wrong. It is something that happens to us.

    No punt here, but perhaps we speak different theological languages and therefore cannot communicate effectively. Perhaps any others who share my view can weigh in as well.

  • reg

    Larry,
    I know I am talking a different language here from what you Lutherans speak so communication is difficult and you will not understand this. As an adult I began reading the Bible. It was not particularity a choice I was compelled to do so. Eventually there was a complete change in my world view. I went from not believing to believing with absolute certainty. (Not an altar call, literally a change from one day to the next overnight). From the first when I was asked if I found God, I responded that no, he found me. I had no sense that I chose anything. I was called and there was no saying no.
    Since that time I have never once doubted my salvation. I do not believe I was particularly transformed in terms of my sinfulness, but I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness. I believe the Scripture and the promises of God-I know them to be true. There is no sentimental, warm and fuzzy about it. Salvation just is. I suspect that if you asked many of my Baptist persuasion they would respond the same way. There is no emotional “I know because” factor. It just is-why I cannot fathom. I was pretty much an actual or functional atheist and was not particularly looking for God. Since my salvation I remain a sinful human being who depends on God for everything I have or do, every breath I take. I know that justification and sanctification are purely by his grace.

    I know this won’t satisfy you, but then again you have to ask yourself what Scripture means by being born again. I am sure you will think its a figure of speech or a metaphor but I would tell you you are wrong. It is something that happens to us.

    No punt here, but perhaps we speak different theological languages and therefore cannot communicate effectively. Perhaps any others who share my view can weigh in as well.

  • aletheist

    reg@45: You are certainly under no obligation to answer questions posed to you in a blog comment, but it seems like bad form to try to turn them around on the one who asked them without providing your own response. Even so . . .

    How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether your baptism while an infant actually saves you?

    You started out by making a couple of unfounded assumptions. One is that I was baptized as an infant, which happens to be true although I never said so previously. The other is that I do not (and cannot) know for certain whether my baptism saves me, which is blatantly false, at least according to the New Testament.

    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16)

    “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

    “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

    “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .” (1 Peter 3:21)

    Regarding saving faith, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).

    Where exactly did I suggest this? On the contrary, I think that I have stated pretty clearly that saving faith is a gift of God, not a human work. You seem to be confusing me with an Arminian, which happens to be the theological tradition in which I grew up. Consequently, I know exactly what evangelicals mean by being born again; for most of them, it is “making a decision for Christ,” which I know you reject as strongly as I do.

    The real issue, as Larry@46 pointed out, is the external basis on which a Reformed evangelical–specifically, a Calvinist like yourself–can be confident of his or her salvation while holding consistently to the doctrines of unconditional election and (especially) limited atonement. I sincerely would like to know.

  • aletheist

    reg@45: You are certainly under no obligation to answer questions posed to you in a blog comment, but it seems like bad form to try to turn them around on the one who asked them without providing your own response. Even so . . .

    How do you know that the reassuring promises of God apply to you, since you do not (and cannot) know for certain whether your baptism while an infant actually saves you?

    You started out by making a couple of unfounded assumptions. One is that I was baptized as an infant, which happens to be true although I never said so previously. The other is that I do not (and cannot) know for certain whether my baptism saves me, which is blatantly false, at least according to the New Testament.

    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16)

    “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

    “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

    “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .” (1 Peter 3:21)

    Regarding saving faith, you are still making the common mistake of viewing it as a good work that humans do (Law). It is not–it is something that God does (Gospel).

    Where exactly did I suggest this? On the contrary, I think that I have stated pretty clearly that saving faith is a gift of God, not a human work. You seem to be confusing me with an Arminian, which happens to be the theological tradition in which I grew up. Consequently, I know exactly what evangelicals mean by being born again; for most of them, it is “making a decision for Christ,” which I know you reject as strongly as I do.

    The real issue, as Larry@46 pointed out, is the external basis on which a Reformed evangelical–specifically, a Calvinist like yourself–can be confident of his or her salvation while holding consistently to the doctrines of unconditional election and (especially) limited atonement. I sincerely would like to know.

  • aletheist

    reg@48: If you think that your language is not being properly understood, by all means please explain it. However, there is nothing difficult to comprehend in this statement:

    As an adult I began reading the Bible. It was not particularity a choice I was compelled to do so. Eventually there was a complete change in my world view. I went from not believing to believing with absolute certainty.

    It seems obvious to me that the Word of God was the external means by which the Holy Spirit worked to give you saving faith. No doubt He continues to use His Word to maintain that faith in you. You do not have to worry about whether you were elected before the foundation of the world because you know from God’s Word that He has forgiven all your sins. But what happens if you wake up one day not believing, just as suddenly and inexplicably as when you first found yourself believing? I suspect that you will run to open your Bible again.

    The thing is, this is a very Lutheran basis for personal assurance of one’s salvation. A consistent Calvinist cannot simply cling to the external Word of God because, as Larry@46 noted, Scripture does not provide the complete list of those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

    I know this won’t satisfy you, but then again you have to ask yourself what Scripture means by being born again. I am sure you will think its a figure of speech or a metaphor but I would tell you you are wrong. It is something that happens to us.

    Lutherans may be the least likely Christians to treat “born again” as “a figure of speech or a metaphor.” Despite its ubiquity in evangelical discourse, the term appears in only one passage of Scripture. And what does it say there?

    “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ . . . Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3,5)

    The parallel wordings here make unmistakable precisely what Christ Himself meant by being “born again”: being “born of water and the Spirit”; i.e., being baptized!

  • aletheist

    reg@48: If you think that your language is not being properly understood, by all means please explain it. However, there is nothing difficult to comprehend in this statement:

    As an adult I began reading the Bible. It was not particularity a choice I was compelled to do so. Eventually there was a complete change in my world view. I went from not believing to believing with absolute certainty.

    It seems obvious to me that the Word of God was the external means by which the Holy Spirit worked to give you saving faith. No doubt He continues to use His Word to maintain that faith in you. You do not have to worry about whether you were elected before the foundation of the world because you know from God’s Word that He has forgiven all your sins. But what happens if you wake up one day not believing, just as suddenly and inexplicably as when you first found yourself believing? I suspect that you will run to open your Bible again.

    The thing is, this is a very Lutheran basis for personal assurance of one’s salvation. A consistent Calvinist cannot simply cling to the external Word of God because, as Larry@46 noted, Scripture does not provide the complete list of those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

    I know this won’t satisfy you, but then again you have to ask yourself what Scripture means by being born again. I am sure you will think its a figure of speech or a metaphor but I would tell you you are wrong. It is something that happens to us.

    Lutherans may be the least likely Christians to treat “born again” as “a figure of speech or a metaphor.” Despite its ubiquity in evangelical discourse, the term appears in only one passage of Scripture. And what does it say there?

    “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ . . . Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3,5)

    The parallel wordings here make unmistakable precisely what Christ Himself meant by being “born again”: being “born of water and the Spirit”; i.e., being baptized!

  • Stephen

    Reg,

    I think the slam against Lutheran parents who bring their children to be baptized is revealing. The underlying assumption is that the primary actor in this whole thing is the human person. Lutherans say no – the primary actor is God Himself in his Holy Word. The truth rests there, not in what we do. When a parent brings their child forth, they do so because Christ himself commands that we do it. And we trust that His promise is found there, in the Word which is present with the water.

    I think you separate the Word from the Sacrament. It is one way of saying God’s Word does not actually do what it says – save, that is. God’s name in the context of Baptism is therefore essentially meaningless, a mere symbol, and in the long run, quite unnecessary. What matters is me, the way I feel, the way I “just know.”

    I don’t doubt that your sense of being saved is profound for you. The issue is not whether or not your experience of salvation is true. It is about what, or rather Who, is truth itself and where can it be found. It is about which truth can be counted upon to actually deliver you. And it matters what one is encouraged to cling to when trouble comes both internally and externally. It sure does for me, otherwise I am left angling for a reason.

    So, is it to be found in a sensation of knowing (that is what you seem to say, and you stake your claim to election on this ALONE), or perhaps it is found in an act of believing (this, I think you would disagree with, but not sure). Or maybe it is in the way I do or do not do something? This last one you say you oppose, but then your statement about parents who bring kids to the font militates against that. Is it something individuals (must!) ascent to or not? If so, how do I know my ascent to this external truth has accomplished its goal of really grasping true faith? How do I know I’m not kidding myself, and what shall I do when, heaven forbid, I begin to despair.

    In other words, is it about something within me or something external (as you rightly say)? (All of the examples above, by the way, are forms of ascent.) The Lutheran answer is that in this life, all we can “know” is externally in the Word ALONE. There, in that Word is Christ for you. I think that this is what you are trying to say about your reading of scripture. I don’t think anyone wants to take that away from you. But there in scripture is that very same Word which says “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and The Son and Holy Spirit” and in the Word which also says “This is my body and blood given for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This is the Word that delivers what it promises without fail, the same one you hear in scripture. They are not separate realities. The difference is that the Sacrament contains the “for you Reg” which Satan himself cannot get, though he knows the bible better than any of us and knows it is true.

    It is for you Reg. That is what Lutheran proclamation of the Gospel is all about and why it sets itself apart. The certainty of faith rests where the truth is, in Christ ALONE – the Word made flesh – and not in my ascent or understanding or reason.

  • Stephen

    Reg,

    I think the slam against Lutheran parents who bring their children to be baptized is revealing. The underlying assumption is that the primary actor in this whole thing is the human person. Lutherans say no – the primary actor is God Himself in his Holy Word. The truth rests there, not in what we do. When a parent brings their child forth, they do so because Christ himself commands that we do it. And we trust that His promise is found there, in the Word which is present with the water.

    I think you separate the Word from the Sacrament. It is one way of saying God’s Word does not actually do what it says – save, that is. God’s name in the context of Baptism is therefore essentially meaningless, a mere symbol, and in the long run, quite unnecessary. What matters is me, the way I feel, the way I “just know.”

    I don’t doubt that your sense of being saved is profound for you. The issue is not whether or not your experience of salvation is true. It is about what, or rather Who, is truth itself and where can it be found. It is about which truth can be counted upon to actually deliver you. And it matters what one is encouraged to cling to when trouble comes both internally and externally. It sure does for me, otherwise I am left angling for a reason.

    So, is it to be found in a sensation of knowing (that is what you seem to say, and you stake your claim to election on this ALONE), or perhaps it is found in an act of believing (this, I think you would disagree with, but not sure). Or maybe it is in the way I do or do not do something? This last one you say you oppose, but then your statement about parents who bring kids to the font militates against that. Is it something individuals (must!) ascent to or not? If so, how do I know my ascent to this external truth has accomplished its goal of really grasping true faith? How do I know I’m not kidding myself, and what shall I do when, heaven forbid, I begin to despair.

    In other words, is it about something within me or something external (as you rightly say)? (All of the examples above, by the way, are forms of ascent.) The Lutheran answer is that in this life, all we can “know” is externally in the Word ALONE. There, in that Word is Christ for you. I think that this is what you are trying to say about your reading of scripture. I don’t think anyone wants to take that away from you. But there in scripture is that very same Word which says “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and The Son and Holy Spirit” and in the Word which also says “This is my body and blood given for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This is the Word that delivers what it promises without fail, the same one you hear in scripture. They are not separate realities. The difference is that the Sacrament contains the “for you Reg” which Satan himself cannot get, though he knows the bible better than any of us and knows it is true.

    It is for you Reg. That is what Lutheran proclamation of the Gospel is all about and why it sets itself apart. The certainty of faith rests where the truth is, in Christ ALONE – the Word made flesh – and not in my ascent or understanding or reason.

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

    Related to this, how do Lutherans treat I Corinthians 1:17?

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

    Related to this, how do Lutherans treat I Corinthians 1:17?

  • Stephen

    J. Dean,

    The way I read it in the context of what Paul is saying is that, for one thing, Paul is making a distinction for the sake of clarity among the Corinthians as to who among the apostles does what, essentially saying that it really doesn’t matter. It isn’t them that is doing things, it is the Spirit. What matters is that they all received that same message and are baptized into Christ – not Paul or Cephas (Peter) or Apollos. He is using as an example his own particular calling – to preach Christ crucified. He had baptized Corinthians, which is exactly what one would do if they were planting new communities/congregations. I think he is also making the point that it is the Word that has power and not the particular individual who brings it. Thus his downplaying of his abilities as an orator.

    VS 13 says it all really. What Paul suggests with his rhetorical questions is “Is Christ divided” – no, and neither are you all. One Lord, one Faith one Baptism as Paul says. “Was Paul crucified for you?” no, of course not – Christ was. “Were you baptized in the name of Paul? NO! These all make the exact same point – They are one in Christ – because of Christ, his crucifixion, and your baptism into it. All of these things go together.

  • Stephen

    J. Dean,

    The way I read it in the context of what Paul is saying is that, for one thing, Paul is making a distinction for the sake of clarity among the Corinthians as to who among the apostles does what, essentially saying that it really doesn’t matter. It isn’t them that is doing things, it is the Spirit. What matters is that they all received that same message and are baptized into Christ – not Paul or Cephas (Peter) or Apollos. He is using as an example his own particular calling – to preach Christ crucified. He had baptized Corinthians, which is exactly what one would do if they were planting new communities/congregations. I think he is also making the point that it is the Word that has power and not the particular individual who brings it. Thus his downplaying of his abilities as an orator.

    VS 13 says it all really. What Paul suggests with his rhetorical questions is “Is Christ divided” – no, and neither are you all. One Lord, one Faith one Baptism as Paul says. “Was Paul crucified for you?” no, of course not – Christ was. “Were you baptized in the name of Paul? NO! These all make the exact same point – They are one in Christ – because of Christ, his crucifixion, and your baptism into it. All of these things go together.

  • aletheist

    J. Dean@52: That verse does not require a uniquely Lutheran interpretation. In context, Paul was addressing the tendency of some Corinthian believers to identify themselves as followers of different individuals. If Paul had baptized more of them, then more of them might have been tempted to say, “I follow Paul.” Instead, his particular ministry was evidently focused primarily on preaching: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel.” Note that Jesus Himself apparently did not baptize, either (John 4:1-2).

    My turn: How do the Reformed treat all of the Scriptures that I cited above in #49 and #50? I could add Acts 2:38-39, as well as Romans 10:14-15, John 20:22-23, Matthew 26:26-28, and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Of course, ultimately our doctrine should not be grounded in individual proof texts, but on the whole counsel of God as revealed in the entire Bible.

  • aletheist

    J. Dean@52: That verse does not require a uniquely Lutheran interpretation. In context, Paul was addressing the tendency of some Corinthian believers to identify themselves as followers of different individuals. If Paul had baptized more of them, then more of them might have been tempted to say, “I follow Paul.” Instead, his particular ministry was evidently focused primarily on preaching: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel.” Note that Jesus Himself apparently did not baptize, either (John 4:1-2).

    My turn: How do the Reformed treat all of the Scriptures that I cited above in #49 and #50? I could add Acts 2:38-39, as well as Romans 10:14-15, John 20:22-23, Matthew 26:26-28, and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Of course, ultimately our doctrine should not be grounded in individual proof texts, but on the whole counsel of God as revealed in the entire Bible.

  • fws

    reg @ 48

    Reg, I was not raised reformed or armenian or evangelical or bapticostal as Larry and Dr Veith and many others here were.

    You would do me a great personal service by honestly trying to answer the questions Larry posed or explain why it is that you dont want to.

    Did Larry not summarize reformed theology accurately? was he missing something? Is that why you dont want to answer?

    You are saying you just KNOW you are saved, but you dont have a clue why you are so certain that this is so? That is what I am hearing Reg., Something doesnt sound right. I think I MUST be misunderstanding you. What you really seem to be saying, parsing the plain grammar of your sentences, is that you have a “burning in your bosom ” or something. that is what mormons tell people to look for.

    Again Reg. what is it I am not hearing right? What am I missing here? Can you please please please with sugar on it try to answer Larry;s questions to you?

  • fws

    reg @ 48

    Reg, I was not raised reformed or armenian or evangelical or bapticostal as Larry and Dr Veith and many others here were.

    You would do me a great personal service by honestly trying to answer the questions Larry posed or explain why it is that you dont want to.

    Did Larry not summarize reformed theology accurately? was he missing something? Is that why you dont want to answer?

    You are saying you just KNOW you are saved, but you dont have a clue why you are so certain that this is so? That is what I am hearing Reg., Something doesnt sound right. I think I MUST be misunderstanding you. What you really seem to be saying, parsing the plain grammar of your sentences, is that you have a “burning in your bosom ” or something. that is what mormons tell people to look for.

    Again Reg. what is it I am not hearing right? What am I missing here? Can you please please please with sugar on it try to answer Larry;s questions to you?

  • fws

    J Dean @ 52

    I would read the passage, certainly, in the full context of whatever the rest of the New Testament says about baptism. As in Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations by baptizing, and all those passages Aletheist quoted. But then I am not a member of the Salvation Army , so I don’t think baptism is sorta optional.

    The weight of all those passages, some from St Paul would lead me to believe that, being buried with Christ and raised up with him and what Baptism has to do with that, and baptism being a “washing of regeneration and renewal of the HS” (titus)….. whew…. is important.

    So wouldnt I want to make sure that however I read that 1 cor passage, that it doesnt in any way war with the other passages on baptism, as though Paul could somehow be saying ‘heck baptism aint that important, whats important is preaching!” Somehow, that doesn’t seem right does it?

  • fws

    J Dean @ 52

    I would read the passage, certainly, in the full context of whatever the rest of the New Testament says about baptism. As in Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations by baptizing, and all those passages Aletheist quoted. But then I am not a member of the Salvation Army , so I don’t think baptism is sorta optional.

    The weight of all those passages, some from St Paul would lead me to believe that, being buried with Christ and raised up with him and what Baptism has to do with that, and baptism being a “washing of regeneration and renewal of the HS” (titus)….. whew…. is important.

    So wouldnt I want to make sure that however I read that 1 cor passage, that it doesnt in any way war with the other passages on baptism, as though Paul could somehow be saying ‘heck baptism aint that important, whats important is preaching!” Somehow, that doesn’t seem right does it?

  • fws

    reg and J Dean:

    Dear Reg and J Dean. I dont want either of you to feel ganged up on. And neither do the other Lutherans here. I think I can speak for them.

    So may I suggest a thought experiment? You both know I am a gay man.
    Let’s pretend that I am NOT a capital L Lutrun. I don’t believe that Baptism saves. I am troubled about my sins and terrified that what the Bible says could not possibly apply to me.

    What would you say to me? “good luck?” “I wish you well, can’t help ya. nothin to tell ya?”

    what would you say to assure me of the Gospel. Or would you even try?

    Let me be “it”. Maybe that would be a more fair and friendly exercise. And you Lutherans, what would YOU tell me ?

    Let’s make this more interesting shall we? I am gay , I have been married to another homo ever since Mass legalized gay marriage. I desperately want to believe that Christ is my savior.

    What would you have to tell me?

  • fws

    reg and J Dean:

    Dear Reg and J Dean. I dont want either of you to feel ganged up on. And neither do the other Lutherans here. I think I can speak for them.

    So may I suggest a thought experiment? You both know I am a gay man.
    Let’s pretend that I am NOT a capital L Lutrun. I don’t believe that Baptism saves. I am troubled about my sins and terrified that what the Bible says could not possibly apply to me.

    What would you say to me? “good luck?” “I wish you well, can’t help ya. nothin to tell ya?”

    what would you say to assure me of the Gospel. Or would you even try?

    Let me be “it”. Maybe that would be a more fair and friendly exercise. And you Lutherans, what would YOU tell me ?

    Let’s make this more interesting shall we? I am gay , I have been married to another homo ever since Mass legalized gay marriage. I desperately want to believe that Christ is my savior.

    What would you have to tell me?

  • fws

    oh. And me and my spouse want to join your church and enroll our two daughters in your church elementary school.

    And you are the pastor of the church.

  • fws

    oh. And me and my spouse want to join your church and enroll our two daughters in your church elementary school.

    And you are the pastor of the church.

  • SKPeterson

    I think reg is becoming one of those Reformed crypto-Lutherans.

  • SKPeterson

    I think reg is becoming one of those Reformed crypto-Lutherans.

  • SKPeterson

    I think a good Scriptural analogy to the Lutheran theology of Baptism and objections to parents bringing infants is the feeding of the 5000. Who was fed? Five thousand men and their families including women and children. Who did the feeding? Well, Jesus did the blessing and dividing of the fish and loaves, and the disciples did the distribution to the people. So, was it Jesus or the disciples who fed the people? And the people simply sat there in the presence of the Lord, and let Him do the work. The gifts of the Lord came in simple bread and fish, through no work on the part of the crowd.

  • SKPeterson

    I think a good Scriptural analogy to the Lutheran theology of Baptism and objections to parents bringing infants is the feeding of the 5000. Who was fed? Five thousand men and their families including women and children. Who did the feeding? Well, Jesus did the blessing and dividing of the fish and loaves, and the disciples did the distribution to the people. So, was it Jesus or the disciples who fed the people? And the people simply sat there in the presence of the Lord, and let Him do the work. The gifts of the Lord came in simple bread and fish, through no work on the part of the crowd.

  • rlewer

    Jesus became angry when the disciples tried to keep the babies from him. Has He changed?

  • rlewer

    Jesus became angry when the disciples tried to keep the babies from him. Has He changed?

  • reg

    SKP,
    I have great respect for almost all Lutheran theology until it comes to the sacraments. That is where I just don’t see it. I love the whole theology of the cross vs. theology of glory approach, I love the doctrine of vocation, I am perhaps more 2K than most of you but still see commonality. It is on the sacraments that we disagree, Now with that said, I certainly was baptized when I came to faith and I partake of the Lord’s Supper, but I don’t ascribe to them the talismanic properties you all seem to. We do agree however that we do nothing to advance or attain our salvation. It is all about God descending, not us ascending.
    The difference is in the order. We repent/believe and then are baptized. You say you are baptized and then/thus believe.
    FWS,
    Spare me the burning in my bosom crap-that is not what I am talking about. If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. The promise is unbreakable.
    Addressing your questions. You are gay and want to know Christ. You are welcome to attend my church, your children are welcome to attend my church, you will hear preaching on sin (but not singling out homosexuality), your children are welcome in Sunday school. You cannot be a member of the church however or hold office so long as you persist in an openly sinful lifestyle (the same rule would apply if you and a woman were just shacking up). The sin issue is not the proclivity or even an occasional transgression. Rather it is the persistent, unrepentant pursuit of what the Bible calls sin. I would never however judge whether you were saved or not-only God knows who are his own. I am not to go there., its not my place.

  • reg

    SKP,
    I have great respect for almost all Lutheran theology until it comes to the sacraments. That is where I just don’t see it. I love the whole theology of the cross vs. theology of glory approach, I love the doctrine of vocation, I am perhaps more 2K than most of you but still see commonality. It is on the sacraments that we disagree, Now with that said, I certainly was baptized when I came to faith and I partake of the Lord’s Supper, but I don’t ascribe to them the talismanic properties you all seem to. We do agree however that we do nothing to advance or attain our salvation. It is all about God descending, not us ascending.
    The difference is in the order. We repent/believe and then are baptized. You say you are baptized and then/thus believe.
    FWS,
    Spare me the burning in my bosom crap-that is not what I am talking about. If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. The promise is unbreakable.
    Addressing your questions. You are gay and want to know Christ. You are welcome to attend my church, your children are welcome to attend my church, you will hear preaching on sin (but not singling out homosexuality), your children are welcome in Sunday school. You cannot be a member of the church however or hold office so long as you persist in an openly sinful lifestyle (the same rule would apply if you and a woman were just shacking up). The sin issue is not the proclivity or even an occasional transgression. Rather it is the persistent, unrepentant pursuit of what the Bible calls sin. I would never however judge whether you were saved or not-only God knows who are his own. I am not to go there., its not my place.

  • fws

    skpeterson @ 60

    amazing analogy. It will be interesting to see what Reg does with that.

    Rlewer
    Heck naw. He’s still angry. That’s why even most Lutheran churchs now cart the kids off to sunday school during the Divine Service. See?

  • fws

    skpeterson @ 60

    amazing analogy. It will be interesting to see what Reg does with that.

    Rlewer
    Heck naw. He’s still angry. That’s why even most Lutheran churchs now cart the kids off to sunday school during the Divine Service. See?

  • Pete

    reg @ 43 sez “You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t.”

    I’m sure not all of you do. But Larry has intimated, elsewhere on this blog, that he did, back in his reformed days – when he really thought about it. And I have encountered another person who was very anxious relative to the question of assurance as a result of reformed theology. By my math that’s two – a small number – and maybe they just aren’t/weren’t understanding it correctly. But it seems to me that it might very well be the case that they are understanding it and it’s the others who aren’t “getting it”.
    Regardless, I’m piling on with those who point out the importance of the “for you” principle as set forth so wonderfully in Lutheranism. The 5,000 who were fed certainly understood that it was “for them” – or, perhaps more precisely, it was “for them” whether they understood it or not. The adulterous woman surely understood that Jesus’ lack of condemnation was “for her”. Ditto the thief on the cross. Ditto Lazarus. Ditto all of us Lutherans who understand that the only way we can wind up on the “elect” pile is via an act of God. And, as alluded to above, Jesus identified that act to Nicodemus as being Holy Baptism.

  • Pete

    reg @ 43 sez “You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t.”

    I’m sure not all of you do. But Larry has intimated, elsewhere on this blog, that he did, back in his reformed days – when he really thought about it. And I have encountered another person who was very anxious relative to the question of assurance as a result of reformed theology. By my math that’s two – a small number – and maybe they just aren’t/weren’t understanding it correctly. But it seems to me that it might very well be the case that they are understanding it and it’s the others who aren’t “getting it”.
    Regardless, I’m piling on with those who point out the importance of the “for you” principle as set forth so wonderfully in Lutheranism. The 5,000 who were fed certainly understood that it was “for them” – or, perhaps more precisely, it was “for them” whether they understood it or not. The adulterous woman surely understood that Jesus’ lack of condemnation was “for her”. Ditto the thief on the cross. Ditto Lazarus. Ditto all of us Lutherans who understand that the only way we can wind up on the “elect” pile is via an act of God. And, as alluded to above, Jesus identified that act to Nicodemus as being Holy Baptism.

  • fws

    reg @

    That was actually a pretty cool answer to the homo example. I am glad to see your church be like that. Why would church membership even matter Reg? A practicing homo could come to your church and do everything but vote or hold office. And he would not be singled out as a special sinner. Cool. That sounds like me here in Brasil with a permanent visa!
    But that raises some more questions doesn’t it Reg? Tell me more about what church membership means to you? Is there ANY eternal consequence in being a member or NOT a member of the church? Could I and my imaginary “spouse” get our two daughters baptized there?

    I like your answer to the burning bosom stuff. You ARE a Lutheran Reg! You, of all persons, know that a true 5 point Calvinist could not say this:
    “If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. The promise is unbreakable.”
    You have just, completely and utterly destroyed calvinism. Congratulations.

    How?
    1) You can hold God to his promise that you read where? on paper, in ink, printed and brought to you by someone who wasn’t God, or by the sound waves generated by a human mouth that was not God’s mouth speaking to you. Yet , even though it was a pastor or publisher who’s words you say cannot be broken, you identify those words as not being those of a pastor or publisher. No. Those words you heard are God’s very own Words that are unbreakable.

    Unbreakable! Predestination! Your know you are predestined how? God sent you a preacher! God baptized you! That is where you have found your predestination. God sent you an unbreakable promise Reg!

    And in turn, you have told my imaginary couple of practicing homos that they too can hear that same word from where? Your preacher! And believe that those are not just the words of your preacher. No. Those are the very words of Christ Himself. And those two fags can robe themselves, with dead certainty, doing nothing else, than relying indeed, upon those very words they hear!

    Excellent. Reg: Welcome to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. You are now Reformed in name only.

  • fws

    reg @

    That was actually a pretty cool answer to the homo example. I am glad to see your church be like that. Why would church membership even matter Reg? A practicing homo could come to your church and do everything but vote or hold office. And he would not be singled out as a special sinner. Cool. That sounds like me here in Brasil with a permanent visa!
    But that raises some more questions doesn’t it Reg? Tell me more about what church membership means to you? Is there ANY eternal consequence in being a member or NOT a member of the church? Could I and my imaginary “spouse” get our two daughters baptized there?

    I like your answer to the burning bosom stuff. You ARE a Lutheran Reg! You, of all persons, know that a true 5 point Calvinist could not say this:
    “If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. The promise is unbreakable.”
    You have just, completely and utterly destroyed calvinism. Congratulations.

    How?
    1) You can hold God to his promise that you read where? on paper, in ink, printed and brought to you by someone who wasn’t God, or by the sound waves generated by a human mouth that was not God’s mouth speaking to you. Yet , even though it was a pastor or publisher who’s words you say cannot be broken, you identify those words as not being those of a pastor or publisher. No. Those words you heard are God’s very own Words that are unbreakable.

    Unbreakable! Predestination! Your know you are predestined how? God sent you a preacher! God baptized you! That is where you have found your predestination. God sent you an unbreakable promise Reg!

    And in turn, you have told my imaginary couple of practicing homos that they too can hear that same word from where? Your preacher! And believe that those are not just the words of your preacher. No. Those are the very words of Christ Himself. And those two fags can robe themselves, with dead certainty, doing nothing else, than relying indeed, upon those very words they hear!

    Excellent. Reg: Welcome to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. You are now Reformed in name only.

  • Larry

    Reg,

    What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but it is not.

    I well understand the lingo I was in no way raised “Lutheran”. My background went from atheist to Calvinistic Baptist to true Reformed Calvinist and deeply rooted into it. There are likely few books or treatise you could mention that I have not read thoroughly and deeply imbibed from them. Thus, I was around it, in it, with it and deeply ensconced in it way prior to Luther. Your description varies little from the kind of feelings one finds in varieties of Pentecostalism, just differing subjective forms. It is pure subjectivity and nothing whatsoever rooted in the sure word of God. “Born again”, it certainly is no metaphor (a deflection you’ve asserted to avoid answering) no more than “this is my body/blood” or “this baptism saves you”. “You don’t understand X” is a standard MO when one’s argument gets watery thin.

    Keep in mind in this discussion I’m staying within the Calvinistic theological system and asserting nothing whatsoever Lutheran. Thus, one should examine your thoughts accordingly to that system because it is that system, more or less, that you assert is truth and thus salvation. As such, your description in no way assures one of election due to its subjectivity and is very easily over thrown by the Word of God in several places as Jeremiah the prophet says, “the heart is so desperately wicked above all things who can know”. That is the very nature of SELF deception…how does the self know? It cannot, hence SELF deception. Also, staying within the system you profess as Calvin points out concerning Hebrews 6:4 that a man may go his entire life believing that he believes, precisely what you are saying, only to find out at the end he is at last reprobate. Here let John Calvin speak for himself:

    But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate;. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up.

    You say you were compelled to, had a complete world view change and believing with certainty, yet, this language of Calvin’s precisely describes what you, Reg, describe as your assurance. Thus if your assurance whereby you yourself know that you yourself are elect and not reprobate is this even whereby his word is engraved on the hearts of the reprobate, then how do you know you are not reprobate but elect?

    Secondly, you say that you “ I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness” but only the elect are cloaked in Christ’s righteousness, so you’ve made a leap. You must first know you are elect or reprobate for the reprobate are not “cloaked with Christ’s righteousness”. As Calvin says, “for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts”. You saying that YOU believe… is simply a subjective assertion and has no objective root. It’s little more than say, “You know because you know that you know”. Not to mention it’s purely circular.

    Thirdly, you say God did it all, but this is little more than the Pharisee prays, “I thank you God…” and again like everything else is simply subjective assertion, anybody can say “God did it all” (even the arminian argues this ultimately!)

    Fourthly, you say you were called, but that’s just it YOU SAY you were called you have no objective proof to point to that says God/Jesus called me and here’s where He said it. Even the heathen claim God calls them, even Joseph Smith said God called him, even the Mormons say “they know” because their bosoms burn. Perhaps your bosom does not burn as to the type but your principle is the same its subjectivity and inwardly, you just exchange the type from a burning bosom to your own narrated type of subjective detection.

    Put another way, what would you say to a Mormon who says “He knows because of the subjective burning of the bosom” and demand that he knows this way (subjectively) and would not move from it? Then take your answer and apply it to what you just said. Same thing.

    One final analysis: If then you derive your assurance of election and thus rebirth and thus salvation from your compelling, world view change & and even believing with absolute certainty what is this when all boiled down nothing more than faith in faith and not the objective Word of God! Faith in faith is idolatry and a sin against the first commandment, in fact it is original sin itself! Thus, your assurance that you are elect is basically “I’m sure because I’ve repeated original sin”.

    This is why, and I know this both first hand and from NUMEROUS first and second hand accounts, the despairing within your ranks don’t really come to people like you because they know this is the kind of ‘like’ answer you will give them in their moments of despair. Thus, I am not surprised one wit that you think “reformed don’t sit around and ponder whether they are elect or not” because they would NOT come to you that you may know they even exist for this very reason.

    So objectively and with Calvin in mind:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”
    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • Larry

    Reg,

    What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but it is not.

    I well understand the lingo I was in no way raised “Lutheran”. My background went from atheist to Calvinistic Baptist to true Reformed Calvinist and deeply rooted into it. There are likely few books or treatise you could mention that I have not read thoroughly and deeply imbibed from them. Thus, I was around it, in it, with it and deeply ensconced in it way prior to Luther. Your description varies little from the kind of feelings one finds in varieties of Pentecostalism, just differing subjective forms. It is pure subjectivity and nothing whatsoever rooted in the sure word of God. “Born again”, it certainly is no metaphor (a deflection you’ve asserted to avoid answering) no more than “this is my body/blood” or “this baptism saves you”. “You don’t understand X” is a standard MO when one’s argument gets watery thin.

    Keep in mind in this discussion I’m staying within the Calvinistic theological system and asserting nothing whatsoever Lutheran. Thus, one should examine your thoughts accordingly to that system because it is that system, more or less, that you assert is truth and thus salvation. As such, your description in no way assures one of election due to its subjectivity and is very easily over thrown by the Word of God in several places as Jeremiah the prophet says, “the heart is so desperately wicked above all things who can know”. That is the very nature of SELF deception…how does the self know? It cannot, hence SELF deception. Also, staying within the system you profess as Calvin points out concerning Hebrews 6:4 that a man may go his entire life believing that he believes, precisely what you are saying, only to find out at the end he is at last reprobate. Here let John Calvin speak for himself:

    But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate;. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up.

    You say you were compelled to, had a complete world view change and believing with certainty, yet, this language of Calvin’s precisely describes what you, Reg, describe as your assurance. Thus if your assurance whereby you yourself know that you yourself are elect and not reprobate is this even whereby his word is engraved on the hearts of the reprobate, then how do you know you are not reprobate but elect?

    Secondly, you say that you “ I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness” but only the elect are cloaked in Christ’s righteousness, so you’ve made a leap. You must first know you are elect or reprobate for the reprobate are not “cloaked with Christ’s righteousness”. As Calvin says, “for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts”. You saying that YOU believe… is simply a subjective assertion and has no objective root. It’s little more than say, “You know because you know that you know”. Not to mention it’s purely circular.

    Thirdly, you say God did it all, but this is little more than the Pharisee prays, “I thank you God…” and again like everything else is simply subjective assertion, anybody can say “God did it all” (even the arminian argues this ultimately!)

    Fourthly, you say you were called, but that’s just it YOU SAY you were called you have no objective proof to point to that says God/Jesus called me and here’s where He said it. Even the heathen claim God calls them, even Joseph Smith said God called him, even the Mormons say “they know” because their bosoms burn. Perhaps your bosom does not burn as to the type but your principle is the same its subjectivity and inwardly, you just exchange the type from a burning bosom to your own narrated type of subjective detection.

    Put another way, what would you say to a Mormon who says “He knows because of the subjective burning of the bosom” and demand that he knows this way (subjectively) and would not move from it? Then take your answer and apply it to what you just said. Same thing.

    One final analysis: If then you derive your assurance of election and thus rebirth and thus salvation from your compelling, world view change & and even believing with absolute certainty what is this when all boiled down nothing more than faith in faith and not the objective Word of God! Faith in faith is idolatry and a sin against the first commandment, in fact it is original sin itself! Thus, your assurance that you are elect is basically “I’m sure because I’ve repeated original sin”.

    This is why, and I know this both first hand and from NUMEROUS first and second hand accounts, the despairing within your ranks don’t really come to people like you because they know this is the kind of ‘like’ answer you will give them in their moments of despair. Thus, I am not surprised one wit that you think “reformed don’t sit around and ponder whether they are elect or not” because they would NOT come to you that you may know they even exist for this very reason.

    So objectively and with Calvin in mind:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”
    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • fws

    Reg:

    Our Apology in our Confessions tell us that Justification always happens with three things going on:
    God offers a Promise.
    Faith clings to the Promise for dear Life.
    Faith receives the Promised Mercy right there where it is offered.

    And so Baptism becomes the Gospel Reg, and a preachment as well of Grace Alone! How?

    1) God offers a Promise:
    “He who believes and is Baptized shall be saved!’

    2) Faith trusts in that Promise that God has placed, in his Word. That Promise, in this case, is placed into ordinary tap water. As a diamond (word) could be set into a ring made of base and common materials. Note Reg your formula is deficient isn’t it? It should read this way: “confess with one’s mouth, believe with one’s heart…. and…. be baptized!” ALL of those are God’s work. None are our work even though it seems that humans are doing those things and we are. This is why Lutherans confess, in the 3rd article of our small catechism: ” I believe that I cannot … believe!”

    3) Faith receives the Promised Mercy. But where? Right there where the pastor’s lips are moving and forming sound waves your ear can hear. Right there when light hits the printed page, your optical nerve sees it, and right there, where there is the splashing sound of water being poured or someone is immersed in accompanied by the Name that alone has the power to save. How? Just by some human saying it! Why? there is a Promise God himself has located and placed right there. That promise, just as you say, is unbreakable!

  • fws

    Reg:

    Our Apology in our Confessions tell us that Justification always happens with three things going on:
    God offers a Promise.
    Faith clings to the Promise for dear Life.
    Faith receives the Promised Mercy right there where it is offered.

    And so Baptism becomes the Gospel Reg, and a preachment as well of Grace Alone! How?

    1) God offers a Promise:
    “He who believes and is Baptized shall be saved!’

    2) Faith trusts in that Promise that God has placed, in his Word. That Promise, in this case, is placed into ordinary tap water. As a diamond (word) could be set into a ring made of base and common materials. Note Reg your formula is deficient isn’t it? It should read this way: “confess with one’s mouth, believe with one’s heart…. and…. be baptized!” ALL of those are God’s work. None are our work even though it seems that humans are doing those things and we are. This is why Lutherans confess, in the 3rd article of our small catechism: ” I believe that I cannot … believe!”

    3) Faith receives the Promised Mercy. But where? Right there where the pastor’s lips are moving and forming sound waves your ear can hear. Right there when light hits the printed page, your optical nerve sees it, and right there, where there is the splashing sound of water being poured or someone is immersed in accompanied by the Name that alone has the power to save. How? Just by some human saying it! Why? there is a Promise God himself has located and placed right there. That promise, just as you say, is unbreakable!

  • Larry

    Reg,

    What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but it is not. I’m trying to help.

    I well understand the lingo I was in no way raised “Lutheran”. My background went from atheist to Calvinistic Baptist to true Reformed Calvinist and deeply rooted into it. There are likely few books or treatise you could mention that I have not read thoroughly and deeply imbibed from them. Thus, I was around it, in it, with it and deeply ensconced in it way prior to Luther. Your description varies little from the kind of feelings one finds in varieties of Pentecostalism, just differing subjective forms. It is pure subjectivity and nothing whatsoever rooted in the sure word of God. “Born again”, it certainly is no metaphor (a deflection you’ve asserted to avoid answering) no more than “this is my body/blood” or “this baptism saves you”. “You don’t understand X” is a standard MO when one’s argument gets watery thin.

    Keep in mind in this discussion I’m staying within the Calvinistic theological system and asserting nothing whatsoever Lutheran. Thus, one should examine your thoughts accordingly to that system because it is that system, more or less, that you assert is truth and thus salvation. As such, your description in no way assures one of election due to its subjectivity and is very easily over thrown by the Word of God in several places as Jeremiah the prophet says, “the heart is so desperately wicked above all things who can know”. That is the very nature of SELF deception…how does the self know? It cannot, hence SELF deception. Also, staying within the system you profess as Calvin points out concerning Hebrews 6:4 that a man may go his entire life believing that he believes, precisely what you are saying, only to find out at the end he is at last reprobate. Here let John Calvin speak for himself:

    But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate;. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up.

    You say you were compelled to, had a complete world view change and believing with certainty, yet, this language of Calvin’s precisely describes what you, Reg, describe as your assurance. Thus if your assurance whereby you yourself know that you yourself are elect and not reprobate is this even whereby his word is engraved on the hearts of the reprobate, then how do you know you are not reprobate but elect?

    Secondly, you say that you “ I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness” but only the elect are cloaked in Christ’s righteousness, so you’ve made a leap. You must first know you are elect or reprobate for the reprobate are not “cloaked with Christ’s righteousness”. As Calvin says, “for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts”. You saying that YOU believe… is simply a subjective assertion and has no objective root. It’s little more than say, “You know because you know that you know”. Not to mention it’s purely circular.

    Thirdly, you say God did it all, but this is little more than the Pharisee prays, “I thank you God…” and again like everything else is simply subjective assertion, anybody can say “God did it all” (even the arminian argues this ultimately!)

    Fourthly, you say you were called, but that’s just it YOU SAY you were called you have no objective proof to point to that says God/Jesus called me and here’s where He said it. Even the heathen claim God calls them, even Joseph Smith said God called him, even the Mormons say “they know” because their bosoms burn. Perhaps your bosom does not burn as to the type but your principle is the same its subjectivity and inwardly, you just exchange the type from a burning bosom to your own narrated type of subjective detection.

    Put another way, what would you say to a Mormon who says “He knows because of the subjective burning of the bosom” and demand that he knows this way (subjectively) and would not move from it? Then take your answer and apply it to what you just said. Same thing.

    One final analysis: If then you derive your assurance of election and thus rebirth and thus salvation from your compelling, world view change & and even believing with absolute certainty what is this when all boiled down nothing more than faith in faith and not the objective Word of God! Faith in faith is idolatry and a sin against the first commandment, in fact it is original sin itself! Thus, your assurance that you are elect is basically “I’m sure because I’ve repeated original sin”.

    This is why, and I know this both first hand and from NUMEROUS first and second hand accounts, the despairing within your ranks don’t really come to people like you because they know this is the kind of ‘like’ answer you will give them in their moments of despair. Thus, I am not surprised one wit that you think “reformed don’t sit around and ponder whether they are elect or not” because they would NOT come to you that you may know they even exist for this very reason.

    So objectively and with Calvin in mind:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”
    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • Larry

    Reg,

    What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but it is not. I’m trying to help.

    I well understand the lingo I was in no way raised “Lutheran”. My background went from atheist to Calvinistic Baptist to true Reformed Calvinist and deeply rooted into it. There are likely few books or treatise you could mention that I have not read thoroughly and deeply imbibed from them. Thus, I was around it, in it, with it and deeply ensconced in it way prior to Luther. Your description varies little from the kind of feelings one finds in varieties of Pentecostalism, just differing subjective forms. It is pure subjectivity and nothing whatsoever rooted in the sure word of God. “Born again”, it certainly is no metaphor (a deflection you’ve asserted to avoid answering) no more than “this is my body/blood” or “this baptism saves you”. “You don’t understand X” is a standard MO when one’s argument gets watery thin.

    Keep in mind in this discussion I’m staying within the Calvinistic theological system and asserting nothing whatsoever Lutheran. Thus, one should examine your thoughts accordingly to that system because it is that system, more or less, that you assert is truth and thus salvation. As such, your description in no way assures one of election due to its subjectivity and is very easily over thrown by the Word of God in several places as Jeremiah the prophet says, “the heart is so desperately wicked above all things who can know”. That is the very nature of SELF deception…how does the self know? It cannot, hence SELF deception. Also, staying within the system you profess as Calvin points out concerning Hebrews 6:4 that a man may go his entire life believing that he believes, precisely what you are saying, only to find out at the end he is at last reprobate. Here let John Calvin speak for himself:

    But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate;. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up.

    You say you were compelled to, had a complete world view change and believing with certainty, yet, this language of Calvin’s precisely describes what you, Reg, describe as your assurance. Thus if your assurance whereby you yourself know that you yourself are elect and not reprobate is this even whereby his word is engraved on the hearts of the reprobate, then how do you know you are not reprobate but elect?

    Secondly, you say that you “ I do believe I am cloaked with Christ’s righteousness” but only the elect are cloaked in Christ’s righteousness, so you’ve made a leap. You must first know you are elect or reprobate for the reprobate are not “cloaked with Christ’s righteousness”. As Calvin says, “for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts”. You saying that YOU believe… is simply a subjective assertion and has no objective root. It’s little more than say, “You know because you know that you know”. Not to mention it’s purely circular.

    Thirdly, you say God did it all, but this is little more than the Pharisee prays, “I thank you God…” and again like everything else is simply subjective assertion, anybody can say “God did it all” (even the arminian argues this ultimately!)

    Fourthly, you say you were called, but that’s just it YOU SAY you were called you have no objective proof to point to that says God/Jesus called me and here’s where He said it. Even the heathen claim God calls them, even Joseph Smith said God called him, even the Mormons say “they know” because their bosoms burn. Perhaps your bosom does not burn as to the type but your principle is the same its subjectivity and inwardly, you just exchange the type from a burning bosom to your own narrated type of subjective detection.

    Put another way, what would you say to a Mormon who says “He knows because of the subjective burning of the bosom” and demand that he knows this way (subjectively) and would not move from it? Then take your answer and apply it to what you just said. Same thing.

    One final analysis: If then you derive your assurance of election and thus rebirth and thus salvation from your compelling, world view change & and even believing with absolute certainty what is this when all boiled down nothing more than faith in faith and not the objective Word of God! Faith in faith is idolatry and a sin against the first commandment, in fact it is original sin itself! Thus, your assurance that you are elect is basically “I’m sure because I’ve repeated original sin”.

    This is why, and I know this both first hand and from NUMEROUS first and second hand accounts, the despairing within your ranks don’t really come to people like you because they know this is the kind of ‘like’ answer you will give them in their moments of despair. Thus, I am not surprised one wit that you think “reformed don’t sit around and ponder whether they are elect or not” because they would NOT come to you that you may know they even exist for this very reason.

    So objectively and with Calvin in mind:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”
    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • Pete

    Consider the prodigal son. He was the son of his father by virtue of his (physical) birth. His stint with the Gentiles and their pigs didn’t change that relationship. And when the wanton living gig wore thin, he knew whose child he was. By virtue of the objective, external (to him) fact of his birth into his father’s family. So it is with Holy Baptism. Jesus led the way in His baptism. When He was baptized, the Father announced His (the Father’s) pleasure and the Spirit descended. So it now is with our baptisms. And all of us in the reformation theology tradition know that the only way God the Father can be pleased with us is if He has become our Father through a new birth.. a second birth.. a birth “from above”.

  • Pete

    Consider the prodigal son. He was the son of his father by virtue of his (physical) birth. His stint with the Gentiles and their pigs didn’t change that relationship. And when the wanton living gig wore thin, he knew whose child he was. By virtue of the objective, external (to him) fact of his birth into his father’s family. So it is with Holy Baptism. Jesus led the way in His baptism. When He was baptized, the Father announced His (the Father’s) pleasure and the Spirit descended. So it now is with our baptisms. And all of us in the reformation theology tradition know that the only way God the Father can be pleased with us is if He has become our Father through a new birth.. a second birth.. a birth “from above”.

  • reg

    Pete,
    Was the thief on the cross whom you alluded to baptized?

  • reg

    Pete,
    Was the thief on the cross whom you alluded to baptized?

  • fws

    Reg:

    When a sinner, terrified over his sin, reads or hears the Promise of God, Lutherans tell that sinner to hold onto that Promise.

    To demand that God honor that Promise.
    To tell God that his Promise is unbreakable.

    How do we tell the sinner he can be certain? He personally has received that promise. How can he know that?

    This way:

    Let’s say you are walking down the street, and there is a huge crowd forming around someone. That someone is promising a fist full of Kruggerands gold to anyone who is qualified to accept the offer.

    You are an honest man. And so you assume that, since you have done nothing at all to earn it, and maybe even have done lots to not qualify, you don’t!

    But this is where something interesting happens. The man broadcasting that Promise to everyone who can hear the words (which is what qualifies everyone!), sees you timidly starting to walk away from the crowd.

    So he sends one of his associates and authorizes and orders him to single you, Mr Reg, former-calvinist-now-closet-Lutheran, out.

    So that associate takes that Promise of unlimited Gold, and commits it to a piece of paper with the name “Mr Reg” on it. And rushes to you and grabs your reluctant hand, and thrusts that Promissory Note into your hand. It is the SAME Promise that the speaker is broadcasting to ALL. But in this case, it is different. Reg cannot now deny that that Promise is for Reg. Personally. And that Promise is unbreakable.

    Now Reg might say, naw. impossible. And Reg might put that Promissory Note away in a drawer. But someday he needs help. He needs a loan. So he calculates this way… “Hmmm. It was the Speaker who sent out his associate commanding him to give me that Promissory Note (baptism/supper). It’s just a piece of paper. But it sure does look official and solemn. What if I take that piece of paper back to the Speaker of the Promise and demand that he honor what the Promissary Note, with MY name in it, promises to me? ”

    And Reg resolves to do just that. He will hold the Giver of the Promise responsible for the act of his authorized agent.

    He will tell the Giver ” Your Promise, (now adding these words… “to ME!” is irrevokable!

    see Reg?

  • fws

    Reg:

    When a sinner, terrified over his sin, reads or hears the Promise of God, Lutherans tell that sinner to hold onto that Promise.

    To demand that God honor that Promise.
    To tell God that his Promise is unbreakable.

    How do we tell the sinner he can be certain? He personally has received that promise. How can he know that?

    This way:

    Let’s say you are walking down the street, and there is a huge crowd forming around someone. That someone is promising a fist full of Kruggerands gold to anyone who is qualified to accept the offer.

    You are an honest man. And so you assume that, since you have done nothing at all to earn it, and maybe even have done lots to not qualify, you don’t!

    But this is where something interesting happens. The man broadcasting that Promise to everyone who can hear the words (which is what qualifies everyone!), sees you timidly starting to walk away from the crowd.

    So he sends one of his associates and authorizes and orders him to single you, Mr Reg, former-calvinist-now-closet-Lutheran, out.

    So that associate takes that Promise of unlimited Gold, and commits it to a piece of paper with the name “Mr Reg” on it. And rushes to you and grabs your reluctant hand, and thrusts that Promissory Note into your hand. It is the SAME Promise that the speaker is broadcasting to ALL. But in this case, it is different. Reg cannot now deny that that Promise is for Reg. Personally. And that Promise is unbreakable.

    Now Reg might say, naw. impossible. And Reg might put that Promissory Note away in a drawer. But someday he needs help. He needs a loan. So he calculates this way… “Hmmm. It was the Speaker who sent out his associate commanding him to give me that Promissory Note (baptism/supper). It’s just a piece of paper. But it sure does look official and solemn. What if I take that piece of paper back to the Speaker of the Promise and demand that he honor what the Promissary Note, with MY name in it, promises to me? ”

    And Reg resolves to do just that. He will hold the Giver of the Promise responsible for the act of his authorized agent.

    He will tell the Giver ” Your Promise, (now adding these words… “to ME!” is irrevokable!

    see Reg?

  • fws

    Reg @ 70

    Exceptions to the rule confirm that there IS a rule. They do not overthrow the general rule.

    That same Crucified Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and told us to make disciples of all nations, how? by joining those nations to his own baptism. The Maker of that Rule gets to make whatever exceptions to the rule that he wants to. Yet it remains: It is he who makes the rule and only He then, who gets to make an exception to the rule.

  • fws

    Reg @ 70

    Exceptions to the rule confirm that there IS a rule. They do not overthrow the general rule.

    That same Crucified Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and told us to make disciples of all nations, how? by joining those nations to his own baptism. The Maker of that Rule gets to make whatever exceptions to the rule that he wants to. Yet it remains: It is he who makes the rule and only He then, who gets to make an exception to the rule.

  • fws

    Reg,

    as a new Lutheran, you are new at using Law and Gospel as the two reading lenses for all of Scripture. But instead of looking for that ONE proof passage that maybe disproves what Lutherans say is wrong,…

    why not see if what we are saying fits all the text you read in a more natural way without being forced or shoehorned into the text somehow brother?

    If what we Lutherans say about the Word being, as you say, a “talisman”, or something that ACTUALLY does precisely what it SAYS, then how would that make the Scriptures read on , not only Baptism, but in II Kings, in the story of Naaman the Leper, and in Genesis “Let there be Light”. And st Peter “Repent and Believe the Gospel for the promise is to both you and your children, to those both near and far…. to everyone!” Why not read st peter this way.

    “Repent and Believe!” =”Let there be light!”=”be baptized with water and… Word to be born again!”
    Those were not St Pete’s words. Those were God’s Words!

    That is really all we Lutherans, and now you Reg, are asking all to do.

  • fws

    Reg,

    as a new Lutheran, you are new at using Law and Gospel as the two reading lenses for all of Scripture. But instead of looking for that ONE proof passage that maybe disproves what Lutherans say is wrong,…

    why not see if what we are saying fits all the text you read in a more natural way without being forced or shoehorned into the text somehow brother?

    If what we Lutherans say about the Word being, as you say, a “talisman”, or something that ACTUALLY does precisely what it SAYS, then how would that make the Scriptures read on , not only Baptism, but in II Kings, in the story of Naaman the Leper, and in Genesis “Let there be Light”. And st Peter “Repent and Believe the Gospel for the promise is to both you and your children, to those both near and far…. to everyone!” Why not read st peter this way.

    “Repent and Believe!” =”Let there be light!”=”be baptized with water and… Word to be born again!”
    Those were not St Pete’s words. Those were God’s Words!

    That is really all we Lutherans, and now you Reg, are asking all to do.

  • Marie

    “You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t.”

    My husband’s family is Reformed (of the London 1689 confession), and many in their congregation most certainly do. Uncertainty–or doubt about another’s true faith–comes up all the time. It is especially troubling for the youth in their teens and twenties, and they usually abandon all faith (or “they never had it to begin with”). Baptism is put off as long as possible so everyone can “make sure” the candidate is really a Christian and their testimony is acceptable.

    I have a lot of respect for the Old lifers and 2kers and Horton and other paleo-Calvinists. If my inlaws don’t become Lutheran next, Presbyterian is a step in the right direction (not to scandalize my Lutheran brothers and sisters)–but really it’s all the same. Recently my brother-in-law was married by the same pastor who married us. The pastor is probably accused of being “crypto-Lutheran” by his fellow Reformed. His sermon distinguished Law and Gospel well. However, he could only say “Christ died for you” to the couple he was marrying (whereas a Lutheran pastor would have said it to the whole assembly–elect and unelect). (Incidentally, he also made a clear point to say “Christ is not present in any bodily way on earth.”)

    I believe there are Reformed who have assurance, like my mother-in-law, because they appeal to God’s objective Word. But it’s no thanks to their Reformed confessions.

  • Marie

    “You Lutherans act in a mistaken belief that we reformed folk sit around and fret as to whether we are truly saved or not-we don’t.”

    My husband’s family is Reformed (of the London 1689 confession), and many in their congregation most certainly do. Uncertainty–or doubt about another’s true faith–comes up all the time. It is especially troubling for the youth in their teens and twenties, and they usually abandon all faith (or “they never had it to begin with”). Baptism is put off as long as possible so everyone can “make sure” the candidate is really a Christian and their testimony is acceptable.

    I have a lot of respect for the Old lifers and 2kers and Horton and other paleo-Calvinists. If my inlaws don’t become Lutheran next, Presbyterian is a step in the right direction (not to scandalize my Lutheran brothers and sisters)–but really it’s all the same. Recently my brother-in-law was married by the same pastor who married us. The pastor is probably accused of being “crypto-Lutheran” by his fellow Reformed. His sermon distinguished Law and Gospel well. However, he could only say “Christ died for you” to the couple he was marrying (whereas a Lutheran pastor would have said it to the whole assembly–elect and unelect). (Incidentally, he also made a clear point to say “Christ is not present in any bodily way on earth.”)

    I believe there are Reformed who have assurance, like my mother-in-law, because they appeal to God’s objective Word. But it’s no thanks to their Reformed confessions.

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

    Fws,

    No problem. I’m not at all feeling ganged up on here. If I ask a question, then I should take the answer while assuming the best of intentions on the part of the respondent.

    And thank you all for the response on I Cor. 1:17.

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

    Fws,

    No problem. I’m not at all feeling ganged up on here. If I ask a question, then I should take the answer while assuming the best of intentions on the part of the respondent.

    And thank you all for the response on I Cor. 1:17.

  • aletheist

    reg@62: Your insistence on a particular sequence of events–”We repent/believe and then are baptized”–is nowhere mandated by Scripture and leads to . . .

    reg@70: Please tell me where in the Bible we are told that the thief on the cross had never been baptized. I am not saying that he was, I am just pointing out that we cannot say for sure that he was not. Furthermore, his exchange with Jesus happened before the Great Commission; i.e., the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them and teaching them.

    No response to my #49 and #50? I was really hoping to get your take on those.

  • aletheist

    reg@62: Your insistence on a particular sequence of events–”We repent/believe and then are baptized”–is nowhere mandated by Scripture and leads to . . .

    reg@70: Please tell me where in the Bible we are told that the thief on the cross had never been baptized. I am not saying that he was, I am just pointing out that we cannot say for sure that he was not. Furthermore, his exchange with Jesus happened before the Great Commission; i.e., the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them and teaching them.

    No response to my #49 and #50? I was really hoping to get your take on those.

  • fws

    Reg @ 62

    Again: welcome to the Evangelical Lutheran Church Reg.
    Only a Lutheran could say these two things:

    1) The difference is in the order. We repent/believe and then are baptized. You say you are baptized and then/thus believe.
    **You are saying that the order doesn’t matter. This is what Lutheranism teaches** BOTH orders work exactly the same way. It is the Promise in the Spoken Word that turns hearts of stone into children of Abraham, that works the New Birth by water and… the Word. Not just water only, the Word/Promise of God in and with that water and printed page and preacher, and faith that trust in that Promise located , right there , in those creaturely things.

    2) If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. ***The promise is unbreakable.*** Note: It is the Promise that is unbreakable! Where are we told to find that Promise? Where has God located the Promise? In the Preacher. In the sent ones. Who are commanded to exercise that Promise and impart it to all , and their children, how? Preaching and Baptizing. It is the Word of Promise, placed, by God, in both, and administered or applied by….. a sinful human preacher… that does such great things Reg!

    Reg. NO Calvinist could ever dare say what you are now confessing to us here! I know that . YOU know that . Don’t you.

    You are on your way Reg.

    Welcome!

  • fws

    Reg @ 62

    Again: welcome to the Evangelical Lutheran Church Reg.
    Only a Lutheran could say these two things:

    1) The difference is in the order. We repent/believe and then are baptized. You say you are baptized and then/thus believe.
    **You are saying that the order doesn’t matter. This is what Lutheranism teaches** BOTH orders work exactly the same way. It is the Promise in the Spoken Word that turns hearts of stone into children of Abraham, that works the New Birth by water and… the Word. Not just water only, the Word/Promise of God in and with that water and printed page and preacher, and faith that trust in that Promise located , right there , in those creaturely things.

    2) If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved. ***The promise is unbreakable.*** Note: It is the Promise that is unbreakable! Where are we told to find that Promise? Where has God located the Promise? In the Preacher. In the sent ones. Who are commanded to exercise that Promise and impart it to all , and their children, how? Preaching and Baptizing. It is the Word of Promise, placed, by God, in both, and administered or applied by….. a sinful human preacher… that does such great things Reg!

    Reg. NO Calvinist could ever dare say what you are now confessing to us here! I know that . YOU know that . Don’t you.

    You are on your way Reg.

    Welcome!

  • helen

    A Lutheran church I attended briefly tried that “church during SS, get it all over in one hour” bizness.
    [The service during SS was also a "praise" affair, but I don't think that enters into this.]

    There was a little girl there, not yet 2, whose parents had sat with her in the front row at Divine Service, so she could see and hear everything. She was very good.
    The first “get it over with” Sunday she came toddling happily down the hall to “church” and her Dad said, “No, we’ve done that.” The little one was crying, “Church!” as they went out the door.
    Two Sundays later they were back in the regular service with their little one.

    “…of such is the Kingdom of God” !

  • helen

    A Lutheran church I attended briefly tried that “church during SS, get it all over in one hour” bizness.
    [The service during SS was also a "praise" affair, but I don't think that enters into this.]

    There was a little girl there, not yet 2, whose parents had sat with her in the front row at Divine Service, so she could see and hear everything. She was very good.
    The first “get it over with” Sunday she came toddling happily down the hall to “church” and her Dad said, “No, we’ve done that.” The little one was crying, “Church!” as they went out the door.
    Two Sundays later they were back in the regular service with their little one.

    “…of such is the Kingdom of God” !

  • reg

    Larry,
    I can know because of the promises of God in his Word. I rest on them, having had my eyes opened by faith. He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion; it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. To go to a hymn: “twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved…..twas grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.”

    While I find much/most of Calvinism I agree with, it is ultimately Scripture that informs me not Calvin himself. He is useful in understanding, systematizing Scripture, he does not replace Scripture. (Sometimes in reading this blog it seems some Lutherans place Luther’s writings above Scripture, which seems a little Romish to me)

    In your readings I assume you have read Modern Reformation/Horton, Riddlebarger, Johnson and the other Westminster Theo. Sch. California writers. That school of reformed thinking seems to be closest to what I see in Scripture (although even they go beyond where I would go in regard to the sacraments (they view them as a means of grace, which i don’t understand either))

    Ultimately our disagreement is simply on which comes first faith or baptism-beyond that we probably agree on much.

    Addressing a few of your other points:
    The Pharisee example is not what I am talking about. I certainly don’t pray “I thank God I am not like…” Rather it is “I thank you Lord for your Grace, I cannot believe you showed me mercy given who/what I was; I can’t believe you don’t cast me out given who/what I am”-”oh wretch that I am.”
    There are many who will say didn’t we do this or that in your name who the Lord will not recognize. The fault lies in the look what I did view this reflects. They looked for their merit in their own deeds, not in Christ.
    Anyway, out of time to write more right now……

  • reg

    Larry,
    I can know because of the promises of God in his Word. I rest on them, having had my eyes opened by faith. He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion; it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. To go to a hymn: “twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved…..twas grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.”

    While I find much/most of Calvinism I agree with, it is ultimately Scripture that informs me not Calvin himself. He is useful in understanding, systematizing Scripture, he does not replace Scripture. (Sometimes in reading this blog it seems some Lutherans place Luther’s writings above Scripture, which seems a little Romish to me)

    In your readings I assume you have read Modern Reformation/Horton, Riddlebarger, Johnson and the other Westminster Theo. Sch. California writers. That school of reformed thinking seems to be closest to what I see in Scripture (although even they go beyond where I would go in regard to the sacraments (they view them as a means of grace, which i don’t understand either))

    Ultimately our disagreement is simply on which comes first faith or baptism-beyond that we probably agree on much.

    Addressing a few of your other points:
    The Pharisee example is not what I am talking about. I certainly don’t pray “I thank God I am not like…” Rather it is “I thank you Lord for your Grace, I cannot believe you showed me mercy given who/what I was; I can’t believe you don’t cast me out given who/what I am”-”oh wretch that I am.”
    There are many who will say didn’t we do this or that in your name who the Lord will not recognize. The fault lies in the look what I did view this reflects. They looked for their merit in their own deeds, not in Christ.
    Anyway, out of time to write more right now……

  • reg

    FWS,
    understand and agree with law-gospel distinction…now really have to go.

  • reg

    FWS,
    understand and agree with law-gospel distinction…now really have to go.

  • fws

    J Dean @ 75

    Thanks for responding J Dean. I have come to consider you one of our honorary Luthruns here and a dear brother in Christ.

    I would not want you to feel in any way gang up on or less than honored here. You contribute some excellent (and very Lutheran !) stuff. You are , in many ways, more Lutheran than lots of us Lutherans are.

    Bless you brother! +

  • fws

    J Dean @ 75

    Thanks for responding J Dean. I have come to consider you one of our honorary Luthruns here and a dear brother in Christ.

    I would not want you to feel in any way gang up on or less than honored here. You contribute some excellent (and very Lutheran !) stuff. You are , in many ways, more Lutheran than lots of us Lutherans are.

    Bless you brother! +

  • fws

    helen @ 78

    Excellent story!
    A Lutheran service is just not the same with an occasional outburst of Old Adam in some baby in the form of crying! It’s probably the misbehaving that most desperately need what the Liturgy feeds to them. Misbehaving babies and adults.

    I have seen kids playing in the pews and drawing and seeming very distracted, and then I listen… I hear them mouthing the words of the Holy Liturgy as they contort their action figure or caress their baby doll.

  • fws

    helen @ 78

    Excellent story!
    A Lutheran service is just not the same with an occasional outburst of Old Adam in some baby in the form of crying! It’s probably the misbehaving that most desperately need what the Liturgy feeds to them. Misbehaving babies and adults.

    I have seen kids playing in the pews and drawing and seeming very distracted, and then I listen… I hear them mouthing the words of the Holy Liturgy as they contort their action figure or caress their baby doll.

  • fws

    Reg @ 80

    Reg, too late. you are Lutheran. Give into it man.

  • fws

    Reg @ 80

    Reg, too late. you are Lutheran. Give into it man.

  • Pete

    reg @70

    What aletheist said @76. I would add that the question of whether the thief on the cross had ever been baptized gets a big “mox nix” (pidgen German). The Son of God welcoming you into the Kingdom of God is a sweet deal regardless of whether He accomplishes it by baptism or by direct verbal fiat (“let there be life”.) Particularly if you’re in the process of being executed – likely deservedly.
    Here’s a thought that occurred to me while watching Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”. (Fellow blogsters please tell me if this is just too wacky – I’m sure you will.) I was intrigued by Gibson’s handling of the blood and water coming from Jesus’ side when the Roman soldier pierced it – big spray, high-pressure deal. I’d never thought of it that way (still don’t, really) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t so. (I vaguely remember being wrong once or twice before.) So if that WAS how it happened, and the spray would have gone to one side – not the other and just suppose the “elect” thief was positioned to that side of Jesus, and of course the centurion testified that Jesus was dead at that point but the thief was not.. Well you know where I’m going with this. Perhaps the thief on the cross was actually the first recipient of New Testament baptism.
    Yeah, yeah – I shoulda taken my medications this morning.

  • Pete

    reg @70

    What aletheist said @76. I would add that the question of whether the thief on the cross had ever been baptized gets a big “mox nix” (pidgen German). The Son of God welcoming you into the Kingdom of God is a sweet deal regardless of whether He accomplishes it by baptism or by direct verbal fiat (“let there be life”.) Particularly if you’re in the process of being executed – likely deservedly.
    Here’s a thought that occurred to me while watching Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”. (Fellow blogsters please tell me if this is just too wacky – I’m sure you will.) I was intrigued by Gibson’s handling of the blood and water coming from Jesus’ side when the Roman soldier pierced it – big spray, high-pressure deal. I’d never thought of it that way (still don’t, really) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t so. (I vaguely remember being wrong once or twice before.) So if that WAS how it happened, and the spray would have gone to one side – not the other and just suppose the “elect” thief was positioned to that side of Jesus, and of course the centurion testified that Jesus was dead at that point but the thief was not.. Well you know where I’m going with this. Perhaps the thief on the cross was actually the first recipient of New Testament baptism.
    Yeah, yeah – I shoulda taken my medications this morning.

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    When my daughter was born I recalled this moment from the crucifixion. When a child is born it is a rush of fluid – water and blood. I think there is a reason John made a point of putting that in. It goes to the Incarnate nature of Jesus, that in his very dead flesh on the cross is presaged baptism and communion.

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    When my daughter was born I recalled this moment from the crucifixion. When a child is born it is a rush of fluid – water and blood. I think there is a reason John made a point of putting that in. It goes to the Incarnate nature of Jesus, that in his very dead flesh on the cross is presaged baptism and communion.

  • fws

    stephen @ 85

    That must be right Stephen. We need to remember that the first readers of the Gospels had first head the Pauline Epistles. They would listen to the Gospels with Pauls words ringing in their ears and say Aha!

  • fws

    stephen @ 85

    That must be right Stephen. We need to remember that the first readers of the Gospels had first head the Pauline Epistles. They would listen to the Gospels with Pauls words ringing in their ears and say Aha!

  • JonSLC

    reg @ 79
    “(they view them as a means of grace, which i don’t understand either)”

    May I offer my humble explanation of “means of grace” (borrowing from one of fws’s posts)?

    reg, by your account (correct me if I’m off) you read and heard the Word of God. Then you were born again and are now confident of your salvation. We Lutherans would say that those two things (Word & rebirth) are connected. No, ink on paper did not change your heart, nor did light reflecting off the page to your optic nerve, etc. However, God did use these created things to bring you his grace, to give you new birth and confidence of your righteousness in Christ. He used the written words as his instrument (or “means”) to deliver his grace to you. He also might have used a sinful, flesh-and-blood person to make sound waves reverberate through the air with the promises of grace that he made to you. In that case, the spoken/heard Word was the “means” he used to bring his grace to your heart.

    Can we agree on that, reg? That God used his read/spoken/heard Word as his means to bring you his grace? Even though in and of themselves these things are ink on page, sound waves in the air? Yet they can be used by God to convey his grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness to people?

    That’s what Lutherans mean by “means of grace”.

    I believe that God can and does use other created things to convey his grace to people, just as he uses created things like light, sound waves and words. In and of themselves, these created things are just that: things. Inanimate and with no “talismanic powers” (your phrase). However, I believe that God uses these things as his instruments, or “means”, of bringing his grace to people. The things he uses are more words along with regular water, and more words along with bread and wine. Not as talismans or magic charms and incantations (Lutherans make this distinction repeatedly in their writings, over against the Roman ex opere operato view of the sacraments), but as created things the Lord uses to convey spiritual blessings, even as he used spoken/heard/read words to bring about your new birth, reg.

    (Thanks for letting me interject. I’ve been lurking and following your thread with great interest. The Lord bless you!)

  • JonSLC

    reg @ 79
    “(they view them as a means of grace, which i don’t understand either)”

    May I offer my humble explanation of “means of grace” (borrowing from one of fws’s posts)?

    reg, by your account (correct me if I’m off) you read and heard the Word of God. Then you were born again and are now confident of your salvation. We Lutherans would say that those two things (Word & rebirth) are connected. No, ink on paper did not change your heart, nor did light reflecting off the page to your optic nerve, etc. However, God did use these created things to bring you his grace, to give you new birth and confidence of your righteousness in Christ. He used the written words as his instrument (or “means”) to deliver his grace to you. He also might have used a sinful, flesh-and-blood person to make sound waves reverberate through the air with the promises of grace that he made to you. In that case, the spoken/heard Word was the “means” he used to bring his grace to your heart.

    Can we agree on that, reg? That God used his read/spoken/heard Word as his means to bring you his grace? Even though in and of themselves these things are ink on page, sound waves in the air? Yet they can be used by God to convey his grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness to people?

    That’s what Lutherans mean by “means of grace”.

    I believe that God can and does use other created things to convey his grace to people, just as he uses created things like light, sound waves and words. In and of themselves, these created things are just that: things. Inanimate and with no “talismanic powers” (your phrase). However, I believe that God uses these things as his instruments, or “means”, of bringing his grace to people. The things he uses are more words along with regular water, and more words along with bread and wine. Not as talismans or magic charms and incantations (Lutherans make this distinction repeatedly in their writings, over against the Roman ex opere operato view of the sacraments), but as created things the Lord uses to convey spiritual blessings, even as he used spoken/heard/read words to bring about your new birth, reg.

    (Thanks for letting me interject. I’ve been lurking and following your thread with great interest. The Lord bless you!)

  • reg

    Jon,
    Agree and understand the Word is a “means of grace.” How can we believe unless we have heard/read the Word with eyes opened by the HS. Also believe that man does not live by bread alone and that regular bible study is needed spiritual food. Its when we move on to baptism and communion that I can’t see it. (Mind you when I was dunked, it was awesome and the death/resurrection symbolism was quite palpable, but the belief preceded it. As to communion I view it as an ordinance and a remembrance, but not as giving rise to any change in status of the recipient. Is Christ present, yes but in the sense of “when two or three of you are gathered. . .”)

  • reg

    Jon,
    Agree and understand the Word is a “means of grace.” How can we believe unless we have heard/read the Word with eyes opened by the HS. Also believe that man does not live by bread alone and that regular bible study is needed spiritual food. Its when we move on to baptism and communion that I can’t see it. (Mind you when I was dunked, it was awesome and the death/resurrection symbolism was quite palpable, but the belief preceded it. As to communion I view it as an ordinance and a remembrance, but not as giving rise to any change in status of the recipient. Is Christ present, yes but in the sense of “when two or three of you are gathered. . .”)

  • Pete

    reg sez @88 “Mind you when I was dunked, it was awesome and the death/resurrection symbolism was quite palpable, but the belief preceded it.”

    I suspect that’s correct – the belief preceded the baptism. Similar, I’m sure, to the Ethiopian eunuch. And as somebody above – fws, maybe – said, the order of events doesn’t preclude the Lutheran understanding of baptism. It’s all one ball of wax.

  • Pete

    reg sez @88 “Mind you when I was dunked, it was awesome and the death/resurrection symbolism was quite palpable, but the belief preceded it.”

    I suspect that’s correct – the belief preceded the baptism. Similar, I’m sure, to the Ethiopian eunuch. And as somebody above – fws, maybe – said, the order of events doesn’t preclude the Lutheran understanding of baptism. It’s all one ball of wax.

  • Pete

    Fellow Lutherans : Hard to fault those who have been brought to faith as adults for having reg’s perspective, eh? Certainly their experience of the whole deal is “I don’t believe / I hear the Gospel / I then believe (God gave me the faith) / Then I’m baptized.” It surely wouldn’t feel like the baptism was all that integral to the process. I think a fairly common narrative is someone who comes to Christianity in this manner, then through subsequent examination of the matter comes to realize that there was more benefit (more ” for you”, if you will) in the baptism than they originally understood. Certainly that progression has been attested to by many on this blog. I believe that was my Dad’s spiritual trajectory – converted at a Billy Sunday revival and eventually winding up as a Lutheran seminary professor.

  • Pete

    Fellow Lutherans : Hard to fault those who have been brought to faith as adults for having reg’s perspective, eh? Certainly their experience of the whole deal is “I don’t believe / I hear the Gospel / I then believe (God gave me the faith) / Then I’m baptized.” It surely wouldn’t feel like the baptism was all that integral to the process. I think a fairly common narrative is someone who comes to Christianity in this manner, then through subsequent examination of the matter comes to realize that there was more benefit (more ” for you”, if you will) in the baptism than they originally understood. Certainly that progression has been attested to by many on this blog. I believe that was my Dad’s spiritual trajectory – converted at a Billy Sunday revival and eventually winding up as a Lutheran seminary professor.

  • aletheist

    Pete@90: You make a valid point. On the flip side, as an Arminian growing up I struggled to understand what it meant to be “born again,” because I had no firsthand knowledge of what it was like to be an unbeliever. I responded to several different altar calls over the years, but could not identify a particular one as the time when I “got saved.” My personal testimony always began with the not-very-exciting statement, “I was raised in Christian home . . .” Lutheran theology helped me to recognize that mine is one of those cases where infant baptism “took,” and thus is a clear example of how salvation is purely by the grace of God and not the result of an individual’s decision or anything else that a person wills or does.

    reg@88: Is the problem perhaps that baptism and communion seem to lack the explicit cognitive content that you find in the Word?

  • aletheist

    Pete@90: You make a valid point. On the flip side, as an Arminian growing up I struggled to understand what it meant to be “born again,” because I had no firsthand knowledge of what it was like to be an unbeliever. I responded to several different altar calls over the years, but could not identify a particular one as the time when I “got saved.” My personal testimony always began with the not-very-exciting statement, “I was raised in Christian home . . .” Lutheran theology helped me to recognize that mine is one of those cases where infant baptism “took,” and thus is a clear example of how salvation is purely by the grace of God and not the result of an individual’s decision or anything else that a person wills or does.

    reg@88: Is the problem perhaps that baptism and communion seem to lack the explicit cognitive content that you find in the Word?

  • reg

    aletheist,
    can you expand on your question-not sure I understand what you are asking.What do you mean by “explicit cognitive content?”

  • reg

    aletheist,
    can you expand on your question-not sure I understand what you are asking.What do you mean by “explicit cognitive content?”

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

    Fws @ 81,

    I’m a “closet Lutheran,” eh? ;)

    Well, I can’t say that I’m far from that position, particularly after reading Tullian Tchvidjian’s book Jesus plus Nothing = Everything which draws a lot from Lutheranism.

    The biggest difference I’m seeing between the evangelical and the Lutheran understandings of the gospel is more of application. Both profess “Christ alone,” but Lutheranism seems to be more consistent about it.

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

    Fws @ 81,

    I’m a “closet Lutheran,” eh? ;)

    Well, I can’t say that I’m far from that position, particularly after reading Tullian Tchvidjian’s book Jesus plus Nothing = Everything which draws a lot from Lutheranism.

    The biggest difference I’m seeing between the evangelical and the Lutheran understandings of the gospel is more of application. Both profess “Christ alone,” but Lutheranism seems to be more consistent about it.

  • Larry

    Reg,

    Very familiar with Horton, et. al. read their stuff and spoken with them.

    You dodged the question again and simply answer “I know I believe because I know I’ve been given to believe” which is again a subjective assertion not at all different than what Mormons say other than type. Again, many men say “God did it…therefore what I say is true”. That’s all you’ve said. That’s all you’ve managed to say.

    And “I read only like Calvin as far as I like him” is yet another convenient dodge. You cannot run to arminianism when you wish or reformed when you wish. Either way you’ve yet to answer the question.

    No our disagreement is not on which comes first faith or baptism, our disagreement is on what is faith and ultimately the Gospel. Which you as of yet have come to show “how you Reg know”. Simply asserting “I know I have faith because I have faith and this I assert God alone gave me” is nothing more than subjective assertion. And I don’t have to go to Calvin to prove it I can go to places like Jer. where he says the heart is so deceived no one can know it, not even the one’s self.

    Either, in your system, you are elect or reprobate, for you would assert I am sure that not all men are saved and Christ only died for the elect (unless you are arminian and then that’s a different side to speak about). If you are not elect you cannot have faith or have been reborn. You are Baptist that much is clear too. So if you cannot say, according to your theology, how you are elect and thus reborn and thus have faith you cannot even say that you were really baptized (according to Baptist theology). For Baptist theology roots the reality of baptism in faith itself and not the Word. Thus, if you are reprobate (Calvinist side of the Baptist house), and then dunked, then a baptism never really occurred just some water right sense in that case faith would not be present. Thus the empty sign of baptism, your theology, was not even an empty sign but a nothing.

    Also, to root baptism in faith, hence your order of faith first, is idolatry per the first commandment putting even faith as god beside God. It is further a blaspheme against the second commandment by rooting and putting faith the signature ear mark of baptism above the name of God for which makes baptism baptism (in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Finally to say as you stated regarding baptism it being full of symbolism really proves the idolatry as you have placed this above the very name of God that makes baptism actually baptism and placed above God’s name the symbolism you prescribe to it. And to call baptism “symbolism” which you do, would be to call the name of God “symbolism” which is idolatry and blaspheme, for nothing is more clear in Scripture that where His name is there He is also in reality and truth not symbolically.

    Also very clear in all of Scripture where His name is – is in fact the forgiveness of sins as in 1 Kings 8:28-30.

    You cannot root yourself in the promises because as you well know the promises are only for the elect, not the reprobate, you keep making the same jump. If you are not in fact first elect the promises are in fact not yours.

    Oh but you do pray just like the Pharisee, “I thank you God I’ve been elected and reborn this way and am not like those deceived infants baptized by Lutherans…”. Your theology is precisely the Pharisees prayer and you’ve expressed so already. You are looking precisely at your faith and saying, “Lord didn’t I believe”, you show no objective reality of how you know the promises belong to the man Reg, rather you continually say, “I believe that I believe and God gave that to me” which is simply attaching God to your own works of faith and saying, “see God did it all”. This differs only in type from Rome and heathen and the Pharisee who give God the credit for their good works as proofs and say they did X in His name.

    If the scriptures inform you as you say and not Calvinism, yet you believe God elects some and others not and the atonement is limited, then how do the scriptures inform YOU REG that YOU REG are elect, because no man that is not elect can actually have been reborn and thus have faith. You jump waaaay ahead and say ‘whala faith’ and bypass whether you are elect or not. But you have no proof of this from the very Word of God that these promises are for you Reg and your name nowhere appears in the Scriptures identifying the promises as yours. How is it that you procure these promises for yourself and not for the reprobate?

    Lastly, you don’t really believe the Word IS a means of grace. You understand it pretty much like Rome as a “means of grace” a means of communicating the infusion of grace and that which only communicates news. But that is not how the Word of God operates nor is it what Luther means by “means of grace”. Rather that it actually gives what it states, namely the forgiveness of sins. That’s the difference, baptism actually forgives sins as the Word actually states it does (Acts 2) and that the flesh and blood of Christ that IS the forgiveness of sins actually gives the forgiveness of sins.

    You say Word alone informs you but Jesus does not say, “This is my spiritual presence like where 2 or 3 are gathered together” nor a memorial toast as you state. Rather the Word plainly says “This is My body…blood…given into death…for the forgiveness of your sins”. Thus, according to the Words of Christ the Lord it gives forgiveness of sins.

    This is why we have two differing spirits at the end of the day. That’s the reality. Yours may be expressed thus:

    Where there is life and salvation, then there is forgiveness (this is of course Calvin, Rome and Arminius too)

    Luther says it this way: “Where there is forgiveness of sins (already), then (consequently) there is life and salvation.

    Two different spirits, two different religions no matter how you slice it. At length we don’t agree on a single point of religion.

    So again according to your theology one cannot know if you are elect, reborn, where baptized or have the faith you say you have unless he first know his election because only the elect are atoned for and only the elect may be baptized (in the Baptist version of Calvinism). So let’s try again:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”

    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • Larry

    Reg,

    Very familiar with Horton, et. al. read their stuff and spoken with them.

    You dodged the question again and simply answer “I know I believe because I know I’ve been given to believe” which is again a subjective assertion not at all different than what Mormons say other than type. Again, many men say “God did it…therefore what I say is true”. That’s all you’ve said. That’s all you’ve managed to say.

    And “I read only like Calvin as far as I like him” is yet another convenient dodge. You cannot run to arminianism when you wish or reformed when you wish. Either way you’ve yet to answer the question.

    No our disagreement is not on which comes first faith or baptism, our disagreement is on what is faith and ultimately the Gospel. Which you as of yet have come to show “how you Reg know”. Simply asserting “I know I have faith because I have faith and this I assert God alone gave me” is nothing more than subjective assertion. And I don’t have to go to Calvin to prove it I can go to places like Jer. where he says the heart is so deceived no one can know it, not even the one’s self.

    Either, in your system, you are elect or reprobate, for you would assert I am sure that not all men are saved and Christ only died for the elect (unless you are arminian and then that’s a different side to speak about). If you are not elect you cannot have faith or have been reborn. You are Baptist that much is clear too. So if you cannot say, according to your theology, how you are elect and thus reborn and thus have faith you cannot even say that you were really baptized (according to Baptist theology). For Baptist theology roots the reality of baptism in faith itself and not the Word. Thus, if you are reprobate (Calvinist side of the Baptist house), and then dunked, then a baptism never really occurred just some water right sense in that case faith would not be present. Thus the empty sign of baptism, your theology, was not even an empty sign but a nothing.

    Also, to root baptism in faith, hence your order of faith first, is idolatry per the first commandment putting even faith as god beside God. It is further a blaspheme against the second commandment by rooting and putting faith the signature ear mark of baptism above the name of God for which makes baptism baptism (in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Finally to say as you stated regarding baptism it being full of symbolism really proves the idolatry as you have placed this above the very name of God that makes baptism actually baptism and placed above God’s name the symbolism you prescribe to it. And to call baptism “symbolism” which you do, would be to call the name of God “symbolism” which is idolatry and blaspheme, for nothing is more clear in Scripture that where His name is there He is also in reality and truth not symbolically.

    Also very clear in all of Scripture where His name is – is in fact the forgiveness of sins as in 1 Kings 8:28-30.

    You cannot root yourself in the promises because as you well know the promises are only for the elect, not the reprobate, you keep making the same jump. If you are not in fact first elect the promises are in fact not yours.

    Oh but you do pray just like the Pharisee, “I thank you God I’ve been elected and reborn this way and am not like those deceived infants baptized by Lutherans…”. Your theology is precisely the Pharisees prayer and you’ve expressed so already. You are looking precisely at your faith and saying, “Lord didn’t I believe”, you show no objective reality of how you know the promises belong to the man Reg, rather you continually say, “I believe that I believe and God gave that to me” which is simply attaching God to your own works of faith and saying, “see God did it all”. This differs only in type from Rome and heathen and the Pharisee who give God the credit for their good works as proofs and say they did X in His name.

    If the scriptures inform you as you say and not Calvinism, yet you believe God elects some and others not and the atonement is limited, then how do the scriptures inform YOU REG that YOU REG are elect, because no man that is not elect can actually have been reborn and thus have faith. You jump waaaay ahead and say ‘whala faith’ and bypass whether you are elect or not. But you have no proof of this from the very Word of God that these promises are for you Reg and your name nowhere appears in the Scriptures identifying the promises as yours. How is it that you procure these promises for yourself and not for the reprobate?

    Lastly, you don’t really believe the Word IS a means of grace. You understand it pretty much like Rome as a “means of grace” a means of communicating the infusion of grace and that which only communicates news. But that is not how the Word of God operates nor is it what Luther means by “means of grace”. Rather that it actually gives what it states, namely the forgiveness of sins. That’s the difference, baptism actually forgives sins as the Word actually states it does (Acts 2) and that the flesh and blood of Christ that IS the forgiveness of sins actually gives the forgiveness of sins.

    You say Word alone informs you but Jesus does not say, “This is my spiritual presence like where 2 or 3 are gathered together” nor a memorial toast as you state. Rather the Word plainly says “This is My body…blood…given into death…for the forgiveness of your sins”. Thus, according to the Words of Christ the Lord it gives forgiveness of sins.

    This is why we have two differing spirits at the end of the day. That’s the reality. Yours may be expressed thus:

    Where there is life and salvation, then there is forgiveness (this is of course Calvin, Rome and Arminius too)

    Luther says it this way: “Where there is forgiveness of sins (already), then (consequently) there is life and salvation.

    Two different spirits, two different religions no matter how you slice it. At length we don’t agree on a single point of religion.

    So again according to your theology one cannot know if you are elect, reborn, where baptized or have the faith you say you have unless he first know his election because only the elect are atoned for and only the elect may be baptized (in the Baptist version of Calvinism). So let’s try again:

    “I Reg know and am assured that I Reg am elect and thus saved because ___________.”

    And the objective infallible proof whereby I Reg know this is:
    1. _________
    2. _________
    3. _________

  • reg

    Larry,
    So much anger. Where is that coming from?
    I have answered your questions over and over. Ultimately it is what the Word says that matters. God’s promises are eternal and unbreakable-naked to the cross I cling. He has done it. I am the passive recipient of his grace and mercy-I add nothing. What more can I say. “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Just because I don’t understand my salvation as being rooted in baptism as you do there is no need to get this worked up. To use tit for tat language, I see your view of Baptism a bit RC and idolatrous, just like you accuse me of being.

    Chill, be charitable and have beer and relish the fact that this is the day the Lord made. (Wait a minute, the Baptist urged you to have a beer-will wonders never cease? ;-)

  • reg

    Larry,
    So much anger. Where is that coming from?
    I have answered your questions over and over. Ultimately it is what the Word says that matters. God’s promises are eternal and unbreakable-naked to the cross I cling. He has done it. I am the passive recipient of his grace and mercy-I add nothing. What more can I say. “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Just because I don’t understand my salvation as being rooted in baptism as you do there is no need to get this worked up. To use tit for tat language, I see your view of Baptism a bit RC and idolatrous, just like you accuse me of being.

    Chill, be charitable and have beer and relish the fact that this is the day the Lord made. (Wait a minute, the Baptist urged you to have a beer-will wonders never cease? ;-)

  • Timothy

    For the record, the word “ascetic” is completely unrelated to the word “ascend”. I’m not sure if the article thinks the one word is derived from the other, but it seems that way because of the way they define ascetic (“one who climbs up to God”, or something like that).

    Anyway, this kind of thing annoys me (because it is very common!). Just because two words have a similar doesn’t mean their meanings are connected, and hence doesn’t strengthen your argument.

  • Timothy

    For the record, the word “ascetic” is completely unrelated to the word “ascend”. I’m not sure if the article thinks the one word is derived from the other, but it seems that way because of the way they define ascetic (“one who climbs up to God”, or something like that).

    Anyway, this kind of thing annoys me (because it is very common!). Just because two words have a similar doesn’t mean their meanings are connected, and hence doesn’t strengthen your argument.

  • aletheist

    reg@92: You acknowledge that the Word is a means of grace, but when it comes to baptism and communion, you say that you “can’t see it.” What is it that you cannot see in the latter that you do see in the former? What is the key difference in your mind? You mention “the death/resurrection symbolism” of baptism and view communion “as an ordinance and a remembrance.” What holds you back from recognizing that baptism is death/resurrection, the bread is the body of Christ, and the wine is the blood of Christ? Why do you deny that baptism and communion actually convey the forgiveness of sins, just as much so as the Word?

  • aletheist

    reg@92: You acknowledge that the Word is a means of grace, but when it comes to baptism and communion, you say that you “can’t see it.” What is it that you cannot see in the latter that you do see in the former? What is the key difference in your mind? You mention “the death/resurrection symbolism” of baptism and view communion “as an ordinance and a remembrance.” What holds you back from recognizing that baptism is death/resurrection, the bread is the body of Christ, and the wine is the blood of Christ? Why do you deny that baptism and communion actually convey the forgiveness of sins, just as much so as the Word?

  • reg

    Aletheist,
    “Do this in remembrance of me.” for one.
    “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” for another.
    remember and proclaim.

  • reg

    Aletheist,
    “Do this in remembrance of me.” for one.
    “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” for another.
    remember and proclaim.

  • JonSLC

    reg,

    Lutherans agree that Communion is a remembrance of Christ’s death for us, and that the Lord’s death is proclaimed in Communion. (In fact, Luther has a neat observation about “proclaim”: in Communion, Christ’s death “for you” is being proclaimed to each individual recipient, rather than to the whole group as when the gospel is proclaimed in a sermon.) However, we do not stop there. It’s not only a remembrance and proclamation, but also an actual coming of Christ with his grace and forgiveness to the sinner. It’s a coming of Christ in grace comparable to when he comes in the Word when it is spoken and read.

    Biblical basis (I’m not giving fleshed-out arguments here, but just jotting down some things that come to mind): the words of Christ “this is my body, given for you… this is my blood, poured out…”, coupled with the fact that Christ’s power could make such a real presence of his body and blood happen.
    Also 1 Co 10:16,17: the bread a participation in the body of Christ (or “communion of the body”) and the cup a participation in the blood of Christ.
    And 1 Co 11, including the verse you mentioned: Why is Paul making such a big deal of abuses of the Lord’s Supper? Isn’t the worst that could happen that some people would miss out on remembering and proclaiming? Yes, that was happening. But also worse: people were messing with the body and blood of Jesus, present in a miraculous way, AND with the forgiveness that Jesus won and was imparting to them.

  • JonSLC

    reg,

    Lutherans agree that Communion is a remembrance of Christ’s death for us, and that the Lord’s death is proclaimed in Communion. (In fact, Luther has a neat observation about “proclaim”: in Communion, Christ’s death “for you” is being proclaimed to each individual recipient, rather than to the whole group as when the gospel is proclaimed in a sermon.) However, we do not stop there. It’s not only a remembrance and proclamation, but also an actual coming of Christ with his grace and forgiveness to the sinner. It’s a coming of Christ in grace comparable to when he comes in the Word when it is spoken and read.

    Biblical basis (I’m not giving fleshed-out arguments here, but just jotting down some things that come to mind): the words of Christ “this is my body, given for you… this is my blood, poured out…”, coupled with the fact that Christ’s power could make such a real presence of his body and blood happen.
    Also 1 Co 10:16,17: the bread a participation in the body of Christ (or “communion of the body”) and the cup a participation in the blood of Christ.
    And 1 Co 11, including the verse you mentioned: Why is Paul making such a big deal of abuses of the Lord’s Supper? Isn’t the worst that could happen that some people would miss out on remembering and proclaiming? Yes, that was happening. But also worse: people were messing with the body and blood of Jesus, present in a miraculous way, AND with the forgiveness that Jesus won and was imparting to them.

  • larry

    Reg no anger so cease the unnecessary distraction. No you have not answered the question. I appreciate that you see mind as another spirit that saves s lot of time in explaining no we don’t believe the same faith.

    Faith in faith is not the faith. Your explanation is nothing more than that. This is why you ate blind to the despairing in your midst, this is why your explanation to such actually denies Christ.

    The words of Jesus are this is my body and not this is a memorial where like 3 or 3 are present. Those words are not there yet you claim only scripture. Scripture says be baptized FOR the forgiveness of sins and baptism saves you, not sign this and symbol here, yet you say scripture alone.

    How do you know YOU arr elect that the promises are yours. Its a simple straight question.

  • larry

    Reg no anger so cease the unnecessary distraction. No you have not answered the question. I appreciate that you see mind as another spirit that saves s lot of time in explaining no we don’t believe the same faith.

    Faith in faith is not the faith. Your explanation is nothing more than that. This is why you ate blind to the despairing in your midst, this is why your explanation to such actually denies Christ.

    The words of Jesus are this is my body and not this is a memorial where like 3 or 3 are present. Those words are not there yet you claim only scripture. Scripture says be baptized FOR the forgiveness of sins and baptism saves you, not sign this and symbol here, yet you say scripture alone.

    How do you know YOU arr elect that the promises are yours. Its a simple straight question.

  • reg

    Larry,
    Sorry but I am not doing the Spanish Inquisition thing with you. I have found interacting with your fellow posters interesting, positive and respectful (i.e., Pete, Jon, FWS and others) , but in your case the tone is too off putting.

  • reg

    Larry,
    Sorry but I am not doing the Spanish Inquisition thing with you. I have found interacting with your fellow posters interesting, positive and respectful (i.e., Pete, Jon, FWS and others) , but in your case the tone is too off putting.

  • fws

    j dean @ 93

    “The biggest difference I’m seeing between the evangelical and the Lutheran understandings of the gospel is more of application. Both profess “Christ alone,” but Lutheranism seems to be more consistent about it.”

    Justification always happens with three things J Dean:
    God gives a Promise
    Faith clings to the Promise
    And Faith receives the Promised Mercy right there, where it is Promised.

    It’ in that part 3 that Lutherans differ, from both Rome and from Geneva. You put your finger right on it J Dean.

    For Lutherans faith simply says this : “God promised me.”
    All three words matter.
    GODs Promise. It is HIS promise outside of our faith or believing and whether we even believe it or not.

    Gods PROMISE: It is something that is sure and certain since God cannot lie. We are all liars and the truth is not in us.

    Faith RECEIVES the Promised Mercy. Note that in these 3 parts (from our Apology III) I didn’t capitalize that word “faith”. It is the Promise that matters.

    Here is why that is important J Dean: If you were to tell me “Frank, I am not sure I really believe or what I believe any more. I really feel my sins. Feel faith? Not so much. ”

    I would point you to look at a crucifix. I would point you to your baptism. I would point you to the Holy Supper. I would point you to the Promise that God has placed in all those things. I would then say this to you J Dean:

    “screw your faith then. Damn it to hell. But cling to that same Promise God has repeated in various ways to you, and to you Personally. Cling to that cross. The sins of J Dean were nailed there. Christ there was the perfect Jacob who wrestled with God on your behalf to secure for you the Promise first made to Abraham. Cling to that SAME Promise made to you in the waters of Baptism. And cling to that same Body and Blood that is the payment that makes the Promise sealed and certain that is… for YOU J Dean!

    It is for YOU!
    You are right to doubt everything in you. Even your faith. But God cannot lie. Hold him to his Promise J Dean. You are washed and sanctified and his forever. He has Promised that to you in several ways.

  • fws

    j dean @ 93

    “The biggest difference I’m seeing between the evangelical and the Lutheran understandings of the gospel is more of application. Both profess “Christ alone,” but Lutheranism seems to be more consistent about it.”

    Justification always happens with three things J Dean:
    God gives a Promise
    Faith clings to the Promise
    And Faith receives the Promised Mercy right there, where it is Promised.

    It’ in that part 3 that Lutherans differ, from both Rome and from Geneva. You put your finger right on it J Dean.

    For Lutherans faith simply says this : “God promised me.”
    All three words matter.
    GODs Promise. It is HIS promise outside of our faith or believing and whether we even believe it or not.

    Gods PROMISE: It is something that is sure and certain since God cannot lie. We are all liars and the truth is not in us.

    Faith RECEIVES the Promised Mercy. Note that in these 3 parts (from our Apology III) I didn’t capitalize that word “faith”. It is the Promise that matters.

    Here is why that is important J Dean: If you were to tell me “Frank, I am not sure I really believe or what I believe any more. I really feel my sins. Feel faith? Not so much. ”

    I would point you to look at a crucifix. I would point you to your baptism. I would point you to the Holy Supper. I would point you to the Promise that God has placed in all those things. I would then say this to you J Dean:

    “screw your faith then. Damn it to hell. But cling to that same Promise God has repeated in various ways to you, and to you Personally. Cling to that cross. The sins of J Dean were nailed there. Christ there was the perfect Jacob who wrestled with God on your behalf to secure for you the Promise first made to Abraham. Cling to that SAME Promise made to you in the waters of Baptism. And cling to that same Body and Blood that is the payment that makes the Promise sealed and certain that is… for YOU J Dean!

    It is for YOU!
    You are right to doubt everything in you. Even your faith. But God cannot lie. Hold him to his Promise J Dean. You are washed and sanctified and his forever. He has Promised that to you in several ways.

  • larry

    Reg another convenient puny while you arrogantly make the the claim that reformed don’t have those dispairing over their election. I did not expect you to actually answer when I asked which proves the point. Thus the usual train of false accusations when a simple honest question is asked. First “we speak different languages, next “you are getting angry and at last “you are just mean. All untrue.

  • larry

    Reg another convenient puny while you arrogantly make the the claim that reformed don’t have those dispairing over their election. I did not expect you to actually answer when I asked which proves the point. Thus the usual train of false accusations when a simple honest question is asked. First “we speak different languages, next “you are getting angry and at last “you are just mean. All untrue.

  • fws

    reg @ 101

    Aw reg. be fair to brother Larry.
    I am glad, we all are glad, that you are certain of your salvation. And we are glad to hear you place your faith in the Word and not something in you.

    Larry really suffered from the theology you still claim to hold to (even you are really already Luthrun…. ).

    And he looks around and sees lots of Reformed and baptists suffering. He is married into so many of them. And we other Lutherans also see alot of suffering there.

    You will find maybe one church that is like Horton’s. He is a great anomaly. He is the very best the Reformed have to offer now.

    And you are saying Reg that Horton is representative of Reformed groups? Hogwash. He is so not. And the reason you gravitate to him is why? He is as Lutheran as can get and still claim to be Reformed.

    So what is your plan to be of service to other Reg who ARE suffering from Reformed or Arminian theology? Point them to horton? They can point to the Reformed Confessions. What other Reformed teach is much more faithful to those confessions than what Horton teachs.

  • fws

    reg @ 101

    Aw reg. be fair to brother Larry.
    I am glad, we all are glad, that you are certain of your salvation. And we are glad to hear you place your faith in the Word and not something in you.

    Larry really suffered from the theology you still claim to hold to (even you are really already Luthrun…. ).

    And he looks around and sees lots of Reformed and baptists suffering. He is married into so many of them. And we other Lutherans also see alot of suffering there.

    You will find maybe one church that is like Horton’s. He is a great anomaly. He is the very best the Reformed have to offer now.

    And you are saying Reg that Horton is representative of Reformed groups? Hogwash. He is so not. And the reason you gravitate to him is why? He is as Lutheran as can get and still claim to be Reformed.

    So what is your plan to be of service to other Reg who ARE suffering from Reformed or Arminian theology? Point them to horton? They can point to the Reformed Confessions. What other Reformed teach is much more faithful to those confessions than what Horton teachs.

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

    Honestly, a good portion of this discussion hinges on plausibility structures. The reformed tradition (at least the part that I know) is rooted firmly in logic. I mean, prior to Protestant Scholasticism, what Christian would even have the idea of an ordo solutis, let alone think it was a meaningful pursuit? The reformed understanding of conversion is punctiliar and causal – X causes Y, etc. After reading Scripture, I just don’t see that any more. God has revealed some things to us, and it is up to us to receive them by faith, or to “explain them away” with our plausibility structures. For example, many Calvinists I know spend much energy trying to explain away the numerous passages about “falling away”. Within the logical construct of Calvinism, falling away can’t mean what it says, or it contradicts the paradigm (side note: Calvin and other reformers firmly believed in falling away; this tendency has more to do with the “once saved always saved” crowd and their influence in American evangelicalism). I see the passages on baptism the same way. Either we are saved through baptism, like Peter says, or not. I for one am more comfortable just accepting the plain text than trying to reason it into my own box. It may be a bit of a reductio, but if we start here, what is to keep us from rationalizing away creation, a virgin birth (really? impregnated by the holy spirit? We all know how zygotes are formed…), or even substitutionary atonement. But, that is just my perspective.

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

    Honestly, a good portion of this discussion hinges on plausibility structures. The reformed tradition (at least the part that I know) is rooted firmly in logic. I mean, prior to Protestant Scholasticism, what Christian would even have the idea of an ordo solutis, let alone think it was a meaningful pursuit? The reformed understanding of conversion is punctiliar and causal – X causes Y, etc. After reading Scripture, I just don’t see that any more. God has revealed some things to us, and it is up to us to receive them by faith, or to “explain them away” with our plausibility structures. For example, many Calvinists I know spend much energy trying to explain away the numerous passages about “falling away”. Within the logical construct of Calvinism, falling away can’t mean what it says, or it contradicts the paradigm (side note: Calvin and other reformers firmly believed in falling away; this tendency has more to do with the “once saved always saved” crowd and their influence in American evangelicalism). I see the passages on baptism the same way. Either we are saved through baptism, like Peter says, or not. I for one am more comfortable just accepting the plain text than trying to reason it into my own box. It may be a bit of a reductio, but if we start here, what is to keep us from rationalizing away creation, a virgin birth (really? impregnated by the holy spirit? We all know how zygotes are formed…), or even substitutionary atonement. But, that is just my perspective.

  • Grace

    Larry, reg is right @101, minus one.

    As you quipped: Reg another convenient puny while you arrogantly make the the claim that reformed don’t have those dispairing over their election. I did not expect you to actually answer when I asked which proves the point. Thus the usual train of false accusations when a simple honest question is asked. First “we speak different languages, next “you are getting angry and at last “you are just mean.”

  • Grace

    Larry, reg is right @101, minus one.

    As you quipped: Reg another convenient puny while you arrogantly make the the claim that reformed don’t have those dispairing over their election. I did not expect you to actually answer when I asked which proves the point. Thus the usual train of false accusations when a simple honest question is asked. First “we speak different languages, next “you are getting angry and at last “you are just mean.”

  • Grace

    Larry,

    The problem you have, and others join in is: until the individual, (this time it’s reg) answer your question EXACTLY the way you want it delivered, you hound and pound! Reg doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.

    Speaking for myself, I look to the Word of God, not the B of C or any other book. The minute you start using and quoting another individual, other than the LORD or HIS Apostles, on a regular basis, it falls flat. Using commentaries is good, but not when it’s used ‘instead of’ -

  • Grace

    Larry,

    The problem you have, and others join in is: until the individual, (this time it’s reg) answer your question EXACTLY the way you want it delivered, you hound and pound! Reg doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.

    Speaking for myself, I look to the Word of God, not the B of C or any other book. The minute you start using and quoting another individual, other than the LORD or HIS Apostles, on a regular basis, it falls flat. Using commentaries is good, but not when it’s used ‘instead of’ -

  • larry

    Reg,

    Really inquisition that’s your false claim against me. When I am simply asking you according to your theology how you know. Look at it another way and you will see its not an inquisition at all, rather how you would answer those despairing in your theology who wonder and plead with deep tears in their suffering souls, in your theology, “how can I know? I hear that only the elect and the word is clear regarding self deception even of faith”. And your answer to them is your answer above which is the very thing they suffer because they know “only the elect” and faith can be false and your “objective” answer is little more than a warm burning in ones bosom.

    No far from the false accusation and postering of this being an inquisition. you are called to give an answer for the hope you have. Thus you either are sneaking around youryheology or you in reality are denying your beliefs about baptism and election you say you believe.

    But one thing is certain you cannot sustain both.

  • larry

    Reg,

    Really inquisition that’s your false claim against me. When I am simply asking you according to your theology how you know. Look at it another way and you will see its not an inquisition at all, rather how you would answer those despairing in your theology who wonder and plead with deep tears in their suffering souls, in your theology, “how can I know? I hear that only the elect and the word is clear regarding self deception even of faith”. And your answer to them is your answer above which is the very thing they suffer because they know “only the elect” and faith can be false and your “objective” answer is little more than a warm burning in ones bosom.

    No far from the false accusation and postering of this being an inquisition. you are called to give an answer for the hope you have. Thus you either are sneaking around youryheology or you in reality are denying your beliefs about baptism and election you say you believe.

    But one thing is certain you cannot sustain both.

  • larry

    Grace no you are wrongplain and simple, I don’t let you punt and pretend you have answered. How do you know as an individual when ones theology posits election of some only and first is an obvious and fair question. To dance around a real answer then conveviently sling inquisition slanders is…well quite convenient.

    Are the promises for the reprobate or the elect only? For if the promises are only for the elect then one must know which one is. And it is impossible for faith to precede or even be a priority to the object it trusts into, namely that God HAS forgiven ones, the individuals sin and thus saved. Or where there IS forgiveness there is life and salvation.

  • larry

    Grace no you are wrongplain and simple, I don’t let you punt and pretend you have answered. How do you know as an individual when ones theology posits election of some only and first is an obvious and fair question. To dance around a real answer then conveviently sling inquisition slanders is…well quite convenient.

    Are the promises for the reprobate or the elect only? For if the promises are only for the elect then one must know which one is. And it is impossible for faith to precede or even be a priority to the object it trusts into, namely that God HAS forgiven ones, the individuals sin and thus saved. Or where there IS forgiveness there is life and salvation.

  • fws

    Larry @ 108

    Reg has already admitted that he believes that the Word is what does it,.

    Aletheist asked him why he doesnt believe that the word in Baptism does the same thing… And reg didnt get the question.

    Reg used the word “talisman” (sorry to speak about you in the 3rd person Reg….. ) I think he is seeing that we Lutherans DO regard the Word in that abra-ca-da-bara or open sesame sense. That the spoken Word, since it is that same Word that made light when “God said”. Reg finds this to look like Magic.

    Reg: aletheist was approaching this part of what you are saying. We are all trying to get at what you are saying and what it means. Please dont feel ganged up on by that. We all pretty much know what the Reformed teach. We are interested in seeing what YOU believe. What you believe does, in fact, seem to be more Lutheran.

  • fws

    Larry @ 108

    Reg has already admitted that he believes that the Word is what does it,.

    Aletheist asked him why he doesnt believe that the word in Baptism does the same thing… And reg didnt get the question.

    Reg used the word “talisman” (sorry to speak about you in the 3rd person Reg….. ) I think he is seeing that we Lutherans DO regard the Word in that abra-ca-da-bara or open sesame sense. That the spoken Word, since it is that same Word that made light when “God said”. Reg finds this to look like Magic.

    Reg: aletheist was approaching this part of what you are saying. We are all trying to get at what you are saying and what it means. Please dont feel ganged up on by that. We all pretty much know what the Reformed teach. We are interested in seeing what YOU believe. What you believe does, in fact, seem to be more Lutheran.

  • fws

    Grace,

    so you agree with Reg. Cool. Your theology is improving that means!

  • fws

    Grace,

    so you agree with Reg. Cool. Your theology is improving that means!

  • larry

    Grace I agree with you. I do hound and don’t let myself be shaken off the trail by logical red herrings which is there very purpose, design and use. So I concur with you.

  • larry

    Grace I agree with you. I do hound and don’t let myself be shaken off the trail by logical red herrings which is there very purpose, design and use. So I concur with you.

  • larry

    Frank,

    I recognize that in what reg stated. My point is to bring out that one cannot sustain that and Calvin (shot hand for the whole theology there in). Of course, but you cannot confuse the debate that’s why I said I’m staying in Calvin’s theology to bring it out. If one dabbles Luther in all it does is lock them into Calvin at this point. You have to keep in mind this is much bigger than just asking them ‘how they know’. But how they drive into hell the despairing among them and those who have been and escaped via the truth know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Remember this all began with the blind assertion that we Lutherans think that the reformed ponder their election or not and he stated they do not. That’s not true and the despairing among them, ex or presently, know this. And precisely due to their despair they are the ones suffering in hired silence. For they hear rev’s answer and wonder why not them…concluding further “reprobate”. Its the Calvinist version of the arminisn ‘you need to try garret’s only here God is against you so you can never win.

  • larry

    Frank,

    I recognize that in what reg stated. My point is to bring out that one cannot sustain that and Calvin (shot hand for the whole theology there in). Of course, but you cannot confuse the debate that’s why I said I’m staying in Calvin’s theology to bring it out. If one dabbles Luther in all it does is lock them into Calvin at this point. You have to keep in mind this is much bigger than just asking them ‘how they know’. But how they drive into hell the despairing among them and those who have been and escaped via the truth know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Remember this all began with the blind assertion that we Lutherans think that the reformed ponder their election or not and he stated they do not. That’s not true and the despairing among them, ex or presently, know this. And precisely due to their despair they are the ones suffering in hired silence. For they hear rev’s answer and wonder why not them…concluding further “reprobate”. Its the Calvinist version of the arminisn ‘you need to try garret’s only here God is against you so you can never win.

  • Grace

    Larry,

    “I do hound and don’t let myself be shaken off the trail by logical red herrings which is there very purpose, design and use. So I concur with you.”

    Your “hound” approach, shakes you, it takes you away from the Scriptures, and points to a mans words, rather than the Bible. The trail aways leads nowhere. Your “logic” is the red herring.

  • Grace

    Larry,

    “I do hound and don’t let myself be shaken off the trail by logical red herrings which is there very purpose, design and use. So I concur with you.”

    Your “hound” approach, shakes you, it takes you away from the Scriptures, and points to a mans words, rather than the Bible. The trail aways leads nowhere. Your “logic” is the red herring.

  • Grace

    One must repent of their sins and Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ first and then comes Salvation and then Baptism

    Doctrine which cannot be substantiated in the Bible, but is twisted around Scripture to mean — Regeneration Preceding Faith is nothing short of making Jesus death on the Cross and Words of no affect. Either we repent and believe or we don’t – you can’t be regenerated unless you are Born Again, and you can’t be Born Again unless you Believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and have faith in HIM, and repent, it is Christ’s blood which cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we can’t be cleansed after we are regenerated, it makes NO SENSE. In other words you can’t recover (regenerate) unless you have been cleansed by the blood of Christ FIRST, without the cleansing of our sins we are still unregenerate and sitting in our sin. When we Believe in Christ, have faith in HIM as Savior we have become HIS child, we are by faith saved from sin, we have Salvation.

    We are made whole when we believe and have faith in Christ as Savior. It is backwards to believe that Regeneration Preceding Faith can be true, it is FAITH first, not last.

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

    When you put Baptism first, you are ignoring the passage above.

  • Grace

    One must repent of their sins and Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ first and then comes Salvation and then Baptism

    Doctrine which cannot be substantiated in the Bible, but is twisted around Scripture to mean — Regeneration Preceding Faith is nothing short of making Jesus death on the Cross and Words of no affect. Either we repent and believe or we don’t – you can’t be regenerated unless you are Born Again, and you can’t be Born Again unless you Believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and have faith in HIM, and repent, it is Christ’s blood which cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we can’t be cleansed after we are regenerated, it makes NO SENSE. In other words you can’t recover (regenerate) unless you have been cleansed by the blood of Christ FIRST, without the cleansing of our sins we are still unregenerate and sitting in our sin. When we Believe in Christ, have faith in HIM as Savior we have become HIS child, we are by faith saved from sin, we have Salvation.

    We are made whole when we believe and have faith in Christ as Savior. It is backwards to believe that Regeneration Preceding Faith can be true, it is FAITH first, not last.

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

    When you put Baptism first, you are ignoring the passage above.

  • reg

    Larry,
    I think we all look to God’s Word and promises as the source of our assurance. The difference is you start with baptism, others (me) with the Word. I feel secure. The Bible tells me God’s promise and I know He is faithful even when I am faithless. Perhaps you should look at my “i know” comments in the same way the Israelites always remembered (and God reminded them) that it was God who brought them out of slavery and through the sea. I look at my past and can simply point to God leading me out of slavery and through the sea. This is something I can look on and treasure and draw comfort from. (and yes FWS I see the baptism metaphor there) But the promises in the Word are what is paramount.

    Perhaps FWS’ comment about your background explains your vehemence. If you truly despaired I am sure you resented those who did not seem to have doubts. That is carrying over. I even wonder by your tone whether you still have that anxiety and this is what is driving you nuts when I tell you I don’t fret about salvation.

    Ultimately if a brother came to me with fear as to his salvation I would point him to scripture-about Jesus losing none of his, about God finishing what he began, about his love and mercy, etc. When we worry our eyes are set on ourselves-the answer is to look up, not within. (which if I am not mistaken is where this post began.) Jehovah Nissi, God our banner is where I eyes should be focused, As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness . . . .

    Finally, Grace, Thanks for the support. I will try to be less sarcastic with you on the political issues, although it won’t be easy since the flesh is weak ;-).

  • reg

    Larry,
    I think we all look to God’s Word and promises as the source of our assurance. The difference is you start with baptism, others (me) with the Word. I feel secure. The Bible tells me God’s promise and I know He is faithful even when I am faithless. Perhaps you should look at my “i know” comments in the same way the Israelites always remembered (and God reminded them) that it was God who brought them out of slavery and through the sea. I look at my past and can simply point to God leading me out of slavery and through the sea. This is something I can look on and treasure and draw comfort from. (and yes FWS I see the baptism metaphor there) But the promises in the Word are what is paramount.

    Perhaps FWS’ comment about your background explains your vehemence. If you truly despaired I am sure you resented those who did not seem to have doubts. That is carrying over. I even wonder by your tone whether you still have that anxiety and this is what is driving you nuts when I tell you I don’t fret about salvation.

    Ultimately if a brother came to me with fear as to his salvation I would point him to scripture-about Jesus losing none of his, about God finishing what he began, about his love and mercy, etc. When we worry our eyes are set on ourselves-the answer is to look up, not within. (which if I am not mistaken is where this post began.) Jehovah Nissi, God our banner is where I eyes should be focused, As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness . . . .

    Finally, Grace, Thanks for the support. I will try to be less sarcastic with you on the political issues, although it won’t be easy since the flesh is weak ;-).

  • Grace

    Reg, the flesh is weak. We both have strong beliefs, perhaps that is why we have butted heads all to often.

    After reading your posts, it’s heartwarming to see clearly, your STRONG belief in our LORD and Savior, and assurance that you are truly saved, and headed home to be with Christ, when you are called. I too believe. If I didn’t I would be miserable.

  • Grace

    Reg, the flesh is weak. We both have strong beliefs, perhaps that is why we have butted heads all to often.

    After reading your posts, it’s heartwarming to see clearly, your STRONG belief in our LORD and Savior, and assurance that you are truly saved, and headed home to be with Christ, when you are called. I too believe. If I didn’t I would be miserable.

  • fws

    Reg 116

    That was a nice post!

    Shouldn’t we all feel a little wild thinking about those who are deeply troubled by their sins and full of doubt and despair? Our Lutheran Confessions are aimed at terrified consciences Reg. That is the audience for Lutheranism. I am certain that that is where Larry is seeming maybe too passionate for you. You should actually love that. Yes we all can learn how to better present ourselves to others. You and me too.

    I am very pleased with what you wrote. Think of Baptism as a preachment exactly as the brazen serpent Reg. Think of Baptism as a visible Word of God or the Holy Supper likewise. Why not? Is not God’s Word of Promise embedded, inseparably, from that act commanded by Christ? Does not that Word embedded their, grasped by faith, DO the same thing as that Word you heard preached or read written . How is it different? the preached word is embedded in a preacher. a human. But it is Gods Word. the Word on the printed page is just paper and Ink. but it is that SAME Living Word of God.

    We say that it is not baptism itself, the water, or the commanded act. it is the Word of God, in with and under that water, and faith that trusts in what? the act? no. In that Word of God that God has chosen to place in with and under that Water, and Bread and Wine Reg.

    Why is it that you see a difference between the Word Preached or Written and that same Word of Promise placed in Baptism and the Supper.

    Altheist asked if it is because the printed and preached Word has intellectual content. that it contains a message reason can process and assent to? Did you catch that Reg? of course you did.

    I would be interested in discussing this at this level with you.
    you are well aware that faith is not intellectual assent. It can exist without it even. a woman with alsheimers or in a coma does not lose saving faith does she? Intellectual assent , along with our actions are certainly all part of the life of a believer. I think we agree there. but that is not the question. And the word faith can mean, and does mean, intellectual assent to the propositions of the bible. Lutherans though, pose the idea that “saving faith” is something that is beyond that and is not exactly that.
    To distinguish this against the Roman scholastics, the early lutherans distinguished “historical faith” or “philosophical faith” from saving faith. I know that you too find this distinction an important one and affirm it. Lutherans tried to show the difference by saying that saving faith is really the restored emotions of fear love and trust in God. This sorta seems strange even to modern Lutherans, but it was meant as a way to get at that very very important distinction between intellectual assent to truth versus saving faith.

  • fws

    Reg 116

    That was a nice post!

    Shouldn’t we all feel a little wild thinking about those who are deeply troubled by their sins and full of doubt and despair? Our Lutheran Confessions are aimed at terrified consciences Reg. That is the audience for Lutheranism. I am certain that that is where Larry is seeming maybe too passionate for you. You should actually love that. Yes we all can learn how to better present ourselves to others. You and me too.

    I am very pleased with what you wrote. Think of Baptism as a preachment exactly as the brazen serpent Reg. Think of Baptism as a visible Word of God or the Holy Supper likewise. Why not? Is not God’s Word of Promise embedded, inseparably, from that act commanded by Christ? Does not that Word embedded their, grasped by faith, DO the same thing as that Word you heard preached or read written . How is it different? the preached word is embedded in a preacher. a human. But it is Gods Word. the Word on the printed page is just paper and Ink. but it is that SAME Living Word of God.

    We say that it is not baptism itself, the water, or the commanded act. it is the Word of God, in with and under that water, and faith that trusts in what? the act? no. In that Word of God that God has chosen to place in with and under that Water, and Bread and Wine Reg.

    Why is it that you see a difference between the Word Preached or Written and that same Word of Promise placed in Baptism and the Supper.

    Altheist asked if it is because the printed and preached Word has intellectual content. that it contains a message reason can process and assent to? Did you catch that Reg? of course you did.

    I would be interested in discussing this at this level with you.
    you are well aware that faith is not intellectual assent. It can exist without it even. a woman with alsheimers or in a coma does not lose saving faith does she? Intellectual assent , along with our actions are certainly all part of the life of a believer. I think we agree there. but that is not the question. And the word faith can mean, and does mean, intellectual assent to the propositions of the bible. Lutherans though, pose the idea that “saving faith” is something that is beyond that and is not exactly that.
    To distinguish this against the Roman scholastics, the early lutherans distinguished “historical faith” or “philosophical faith” from saving faith. I know that you too find this distinction an important one and affirm it. Lutherans tried to show the difference by saying that saving faith is really the restored emotions of fear love and trust in God. This sorta seems strange even to modern Lutherans, but it was meant as a way to get at that very very important distinction between intellectual assent to truth versus saving faith.

  • fws

    “Jehovah Nissi, God our banner is where I eyes should be focused, As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness . . . .”

    Reg, excellent. This is precisely how Lutherans view Baptism. It is a preachment of God’s Promise. And the preachment of the Promise ALWAYS has the power to create faith. It is not just an argumentatively persuasive word. It is creative Word. I am certain you know and embrace the very distinction I am now making reg.

  • fws

    “Jehovah Nissi, God our banner is where I eyes should be focused, As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness . . . .”

    Reg, excellent. This is precisely how Lutherans view Baptism. It is a preachment of God’s Promise. And the preachment of the Promise ALWAYS has the power to create faith. It is not just an argumentatively persuasive word. It is creative Word. I am certain you know and embrace the very distinction I am now making reg.

  • JonSLC

    fws @119. Yes. Very well said.

    reg, we view baptism as a way, in addition to the Scriptures themselves, that God communicates his promises to us. That is why baptism is a source of comfort. Not because of the water or ritual per se, but because baptism is — according to God’s own Word — an embodiment of his promises. These promises sustain our faith.

  • JonSLC

    fws @119. Yes. Very well said.

    reg, we view baptism as a way, in addition to the Scriptures themselves, that God communicates his promises to us. That is why baptism is a source of comfort. Not because of the water or ritual per se, but because baptism is — according to God’s own Word — an embodiment of his promises. These promises sustain our faith.

  • fws

    grace @ 117
    what a fine confession of sin and repentance you have made.
    Yes, we would all be quite miserable without faith in our Christ.

  • fws

    grace @ 117
    what a fine confession of sin and repentance you have made.
    Yes, we would all be quite miserable without faith in our Christ.

  • Grace

    Baptism continues to be set forth before believing in Christ. However, the Word of God contradicts that belief, very clearly below in Acts.

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

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
    Acts 8

  • Grace

    Baptism continues to be set forth before believing in Christ. However, the Word of God contradicts that belief, very clearly below in Acts.

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

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
    Acts 8

  • Grace

    ” Our Lutheran Confessions are aimed at terrified consciences Reg.”

    The Word of God gives us assurance. It can easily be found in the Bible. One needs to point those who tremble to the REAL source, which is God’s Word.

    Gods Word makes it so direct and easy to understand, it’s man who re-writes what is clearly written in Scripture, believing that he can make it easier to comprehend. What a pity.

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    Romans 10

    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3

    1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    1 John 5:13

  • Grace

    ” Our Lutheran Confessions are aimed at terrified consciences Reg.”

    The Word of God gives us assurance. It can easily be found in the Bible. One needs to point those who tremble to the REAL source, which is God’s Word.

    Gods Word makes it so direct and easy to understand, it’s man who re-writes what is clearly written in Scripture, believing that he can make it easier to comprehend. What a pity.

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    Romans 10

    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3

    1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    1 John 5:13

  • Pete

    No, no, no, Grace – I got the eunuch first. Way back up @89. He’s our eunuch, not your eunuch.

  • Pete

    No, no, no, Grace – I got the eunuch first. Way back up @89. He’s our eunuch, not your eunuch.

  • fws

    Pete +1

  • fws

    Pete +1

  • Grace

    Well Mr. Pete – I’m sorry for giving the Scripture again. ;) It does bear repeating. There are people who believe that Baptism comes first, but the passage in Acts states differently.

  • Grace

    Well Mr. Pete – I’m sorry for giving the Scripture again. ;) It does bear repeating. There are people who believe that Baptism comes first, but the passage in Acts states differently.

  • Grace

    Pete,

    Being Baptized without believing in Christ saves no one. Do you agree with that?

  • Grace

    Pete,

    Being Baptized without believing in Christ saves no one. Do you agree with that?

  • fws

    Grace @ 127
    Believing in Baptism without faith in Christ saves no one.
    Believing in Scripture without faith in Christ saves no one.
    Satan believes that both are true.

    So yes Grace. Pete believes that.
    But how is it that one comes to faith in Christ?
    God’s Word of Promise.
    What is that Word of Promise attached to? Baptism and Bible.
    Christ command us to make disciples how?
    Baptize and Teach the Bible.
    That is a command. Follow the Order of the Order.
    Not : Teach and Baptize.
    Note the order of Christ’s command Grace!
    Baptize and Teach.

  • fws

    Grace @ 127
    Believing in Baptism without faith in Christ saves no one.
    Believing in Scripture without faith in Christ saves no one.
    Satan believes that both are true.

    So yes Grace. Pete believes that.
    But how is it that one comes to faith in Christ?
    God’s Word of Promise.
    What is that Word of Promise attached to? Baptism and Bible.
    Christ command us to make disciples how?
    Baptize and Teach the Bible.
    That is a command. Follow the Order of the Order.
    Not : Teach and Baptize.
    Note the order of Christ’s command Grace!
    Baptize and Teach.

  • fws

    Grace @ 126

    Just giving you the Scripture. Again Grace.
    And no one needs to apologize for that eh?

  • fws

    Grace @ 126

    Just giving you the Scripture. Again Grace.
    And no one needs to apologize for that eh?

  • Grace

    fws,

    We disagree – you twist Scripture!

  • Grace

    fws,

    We disagree – you twist Scripture!

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

    I think we all need to meet up at a local tavern and discuss these things face to face so that our actual vocal inflections can be understood along with our words… and we can enjoy some food, too!

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

    I think we all need to meet up at a local tavern and discuss these things face to face so that our actual vocal inflections can be understood along with our words… and we can enjoy some food, too!

  • fws

    grace,

    so you disagree with my post 128?
    Of course you dont. You cant. It is what scripture says isnt it?

  • fws

    grace,

    so you disagree with my post 128?
    Of course you dont. You cant. It is what scripture says isnt it?

  • fws

    j dean @ 131

    I was thinkin the same thing my fellow Luthrun.
    the beer is really good and cold here in Brasil.
    And I make a great pizza.

    Yes lots is missing here in terms of communication.
    Sometimes our messages here take on a tone and tenor that we would never ever take if we had to look someone in the eye and say it.

    It’s settled. I will win the Brasilian mega-lottery and buy everyone a ticket to rio for a Cranach Summit.

    We can discuss all this stuff over some good beers and pizza.

  • fws

    j dean @ 131

    I was thinkin the same thing my fellow Luthrun.
    the beer is really good and cold here in Brasil.
    And I make a great pizza.

    Yes lots is missing here in terms of communication.
    Sometimes our messages here take on a tone and tenor that we would never ever take if we had to look someone in the eye and say it.

    It’s settled. I will win the Brasilian mega-lottery and buy everyone a ticket to rio for a Cranach Summit.

    We can discuss all this stuff over some good beers and pizza.

  • fws

    yes grace would be invited too.

  • fws

    yes grace would be invited too.

  • Larry

    I’m still scratching my head as to how it is that baptism is not the Word of God? That’s a real head scratcher.

    Let’s see the bible as canonized is the Word of God (everyone agrees with that) and “B-a-p-t-i-s-m” is written in the Bible so it appears to be the Word of God. The apostles speak the Word of God, afterall that’s part of the requirement for canonization as the Word of God (everyone agrees with that) and Paul, Peter and the apostles all speak of baptism so the word baptism appears here to be the very Word of God. The Holy Spirit, i.e. God, inspires the apostles and thus the Scriptures making and constituting the Scriptures as the very Word of God and the Holy Spirit speaks forth the word Baptism thus the breath of God which formulates the Word of God breaths “baptism” and thus baptism must be the Word of God. Where God’s name is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the Word of God and baptism is given in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thus is the Word of God. And of course there is Jesus, i.e. God the Son, i.e. God, i.e. the Word of God and God is the Word, i.e. the incarnate Word Who is of course God…and thus if Jesus speaks, i.e. opens his lips and speaks it is by definition scripture and thus the very Word of God. What then comes formed via the diaphragm of God, forced by the abdomen of God, through the larynx of God, sound formed by the tongue of God, the lips of God, the palate of God with wind from the lungs of God, expressing through the mouth of God and out beyond the teeth and lips of God, carried as sound energy and breath on that which is created by God to the ear holes of men and captured by the pens of men is would be by the most strict definition the very Word of God spoken by the Word of God Himself. And Jesus says, “Make disciples by baptizing and teaching…” and thus “baptize” by the afore mentioned paragraph is in fact, truth and reality the Word of God.

    It’s not as if Bob said baptize thus it is Bob’s word!

  • Larry

    I’m still scratching my head as to how it is that baptism is not the Word of God? That’s a real head scratcher.

    Let’s see the bible as canonized is the Word of God (everyone agrees with that) and “B-a-p-t-i-s-m” is written in the Bible so it appears to be the Word of God. The apostles speak the Word of God, afterall that’s part of the requirement for canonization as the Word of God (everyone agrees with that) and Paul, Peter and the apostles all speak of baptism so the word baptism appears here to be the very Word of God. The Holy Spirit, i.e. God, inspires the apostles and thus the Scriptures making and constituting the Scriptures as the very Word of God and the Holy Spirit speaks forth the word Baptism thus the breath of God which formulates the Word of God breaths “baptism” and thus baptism must be the Word of God. Where God’s name is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the Word of God and baptism is given in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thus is the Word of God. And of course there is Jesus, i.e. God the Son, i.e. God, i.e. the Word of God and God is the Word, i.e. the incarnate Word Who is of course God…and thus if Jesus speaks, i.e. opens his lips and speaks it is by definition scripture and thus the very Word of God. What then comes formed via the diaphragm of God, forced by the abdomen of God, through the larynx of God, sound formed by the tongue of God, the lips of God, the palate of God with wind from the lungs of God, expressing through the mouth of God and out beyond the teeth and lips of God, carried as sound energy and breath on that which is created by God to the ear holes of men and captured by the pens of men is would be by the most strict definition the very Word of God spoken by the Word of God Himself. And Jesus says, “Make disciples by baptizing and teaching…” and thus “baptize” by the afore mentioned paragraph is in fact, truth and reality the Word of God.

    It’s not as if Bob said baptize thus it is Bob’s word!

  • Larry

    Oh and I forgot, thus, to point those who tremble in conscience to the REAL source, which is God’s Word…then by the clearest definition given above that the dullest of individuals could see would be Baptism, the very Word of God.

  • Larry

    Oh and I forgot, thus, to point those who tremble in conscience to the REAL source, which is God’s Word…then by the clearest definition given above that the dullest of individuals could see would be Baptism, the very Word of God.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 135

    YOU WROTE: “I’m still scratching my head as to how it is that baptism is not the Word of God? That’s a real head scratcher.”

    Baptism is in the Word of God. Repentance comes first, before Baptism, that’s why you have a scratchy head. ;)

    Belief FIRST, then Baptism:

    Acts 8, answers your question Larry. The eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – that is the key, Philip wanted to know that the eunuch actually believed. Faith first then baptism.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 135

    YOU WROTE: “I’m still scratching my head as to how it is that baptism is not the Word of God? That’s a real head scratcher.”

    Baptism is in the Word of God. Repentance comes first, before Baptism, that’s why you have a scratchy head. ;)

    Belief FIRST, then Baptism:

    Acts 8, answers your question Larry. The eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – that is the key, Philip wanted to know that the eunuch actually believed. Faith first then baptism.

  • Grace

    Larry @ 136

    YOU WROTE: “then by the clearest definition given above that the dullest of individuals could see would be Baptism, the very Word of God.”

    You’re right Larry – you have the itchy head, because you didn’t read the post I wrote regarding the Eunuch in Acts 8. See how that all fits together?

  • Grace

    Larry @ 136

    YOU WROTE: “then by the clearest definition given above that the dullest of individuals could see would be Baptism, the very Word of God.”

    You’re right Larry – you have the itchy head, because you didn’t read the post I wrote regarding the Eunuch in Acts 8. See how that all fits together?

  • fws

    Grace @ 138

    Pete @ 124 No, no, no, Grace – I got the eunuch first. Way back up @89. He’s our eunuch, not your eunuch.

    Christ gave us an order Grace.
    Make disciples. How?

    Baptize and teach.
    Follow the order of the order Grace.

  • fws

    Grace @ 138

    Pete @ 124 No, no, no, Grace – I got the eunuch first. Way back up @89. He’s our eunuch, not your eunuch.

    Christ gave us an order Grace.
    Make disciples. How?

    Baptize and teach.
    Follow the order of the order Grace.

  • Grace

    The book of Mark makes it clear, as Christ Jesus lays out clearly the way to be saved. It’s little man who wants to switch the way around to meet his beliefs.

    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
    Mark 16:16

  • Grace

    The book of Mark makes it clear, as Christ Jesus lays out clearly the way to be saved. It’s little man who wants to switch the way around to meet his beliefs.

    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
    Mark 16:16

  • aletheist

    reg@98: What is it that we are to remember and proclaim in the Lord’s Supper? What effect does such remembrance and proclamation have on us and others? Can you really not see how eating His body and drinking His blood conveys forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to us just as much as when we read or hear the Word of God? Also, what is your corresponding response with respect to baptism?

    I hope that you can put the best construction on all of my comments here and recognize that I am sincerely seeking to understand your views on these matters, and then challenge you to consider another perspective–iron sharpening iron is the goal. This is certainly not about “scoring points” as you alleged in #43.

  • aletheist

    reg@98: What is it that we are to remember and proclaim in the Lord’s Supper? What effect does such remembrance and proclamation have on us and others? Can you really not see how eating His body and drinking His blood conveys forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to us just as much as when we read or hear the Word of God? Also, what is your corresponding response with respect to baptism?

    I hope that you can put the best construction on all of my comments here and recognize that I am sincerely seeking to understand your views on these matters, and then challenge you to consider another perspective–iron sharpening iron is the goal. This is certainly not about “scoring points” as you alleged in #43.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 141

    You wrote this “challenge” to Reg:

    “then challenge you to consider another perspective–iron sharpening iron is the goal.”

    Why don’t you take the “challenge” yourself? Have you ever seriously looked “another perspective” ? Have you been a Lutheran before you became an adult?

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 141

    You wrote this “challenge” to Reg:

    “then challenge you to consider another perspective–iron sharpening iron is the goal.”

    Why don’t you take the “challenge” yourself? Have you ever seriously looked “another perspective” ? Have you been a Lutheran before you became an adult?

  • aletheist

    Grace@107: I acknowledged previously that no one is obligated to answer questions posed to them in a blog comment. What does get a bit frustrating is when someone stays involved in the discussion but only selectively addresses some of the issues raised. For example, I cited numerous Scriptures, and only Scriptures–not the Book of Concord, commentaries, or any other strictly human source–in #49, #50, and #54 regarding baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper; but reg has not offered a response, nor have any of the other non-Lutherans here. Would you care to take a stab at it?

  • aletheist

    Grace@107: I acknowledged previously that no one is obligated to answer questions posed to them in a blog comment. What does get a bit frustrating is when someone stays involved in the discussion but only selectively addresses some of the issues raised. For example, I cited numerous Scriptures, and only Scriptures–not the Book of Concord, commentaries, or any other strictly human source–in #49, #50, and #54 regarding baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper; but reg has not offered a response, nor have any of the other non-Lutherans here. Would you care to take a stab at it?

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 143

    I have answered, repeatedly question posed as to; Baptism, The LORD’S Supper and Absolution. In fact, all too often, meaning 99% of the time, unless I agree with Lutheran doctrine, I am accused of not answering the question, ie: “you didn’t answer my question” – As this is the normal MO, I refrain from going about in circles.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 143

    I have answered, repeatedly question posed as to; Baptism, The LORD’S Supper and Absolution. In fact, all too often, meaning 99% of the time, unless I agree with Lutheran doctrine, I am accused of not answering the question, ie: “you didn’t answer my question” – As this is the normal MO, I refrain from going about in circles.

  • Grace

    The game is, UNLESS one AGREES with your doctrine, (Lutheran)aletheist, they have never answered your question.

  • Grace

    The game is, UNLESS one AGREES with your doctrine, (Lutheran)aletheist, they have never answered your question.

  • aletheist

    Grace@115:

    One must repent of their sins and Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ first and then comes Salvation and then Baptism

    This sounds very much like Law, not Gospel. On our own, we are incapable of repenting; i.e., turning around and going toward God, rather than away from Him. Faith cannot precede salvation, because faith is salvation; God saves us by giving us faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    Likewise, who here has argued that regeneration precedes faith? Regeneration is what creates faith; the two go hand in hand. It is impossible to have faith before being regenerated; i.e., while one is still dead in one’s trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-7). Faith is not a condition for being born again, it is the result of being born again! Furthermore, I already noted how Jesus Himself made clear precisely what He meant by being “born again” in #50. You acknowledge that being “cleansed” after regeneration makes no sense, yet you claim that baptism (i.e., cleansing; see Titus 3:4-7) must always come after someone has faith, which is precisely what regeneration accomplishes.

  • aletheist

    Grace@115:

    One must repent of their sins and Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ first and then comes Salvation and then Baptism

    This sounds very much like Law, not Gospel. On our own, we are incapable of repenting; i.e., turning around and going toward God, rather than away from Him. Faith cannot precede salvation, because faith is salvation; God saves us by giving us faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    Likewise, who here has argued that regeneration precedes faith? Regeneration is what creates faith; the two go hand in hand. It is impossible to have faith before being regenerated; i.e., while one is still dead in one’s trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-7). Faith is not a condition for being born again, it is the result of being born again! Furthermore, I already noted how Jesus Himself made clear precisely what He meant by being “born again” in #50. You acknowledge that being “cleansed” after regeneration makes no sense, yet you claim that baptism (i.e., cleansing; see Titus 3:4-7) must always come after someone has faith, which is precisely what regeneration accomplishes.

  • aletheist

    Grace@122: Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote in most Bibles these days because it is only found in some manuscripts. Of course, without that verse, your whole argument falls apart, because Philip apparently baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch without first ascertaining that he already has faith. In any case, others have already acknowledged that Lutherans have no objection to cases where adults come to faith by means of the Word, as reg has and the Ethiopian eunuch may have, and then are baptized subsequently.

  • aletheist

    Grace@122: Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote in most Bibles these days because it is only found in some manuscripts. Of course, without that verse, your whole argument falls apart, because Philip apparently baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch without first ascertaining that he already has faith. In any case, others have already acknowledged that Lutherans have no objection to cases where adults come to faith by means of the Word, as reg has and the Ethiopian eunuch may have, and then are baptized subsequently.

  • aletheist

    fws@139, Grace@140: Both Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:16 use the word “and,” which is a conjunction that does not necessarily indicate a logical or temporal order. Christ did not say, “Go therefore and make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . and then (subsequently) teaching them.” Likewise, He did not say, “Whoever believes and then (subsequently) is baptized will be saved.”

  • aletheist

    fws@139, Grace@140: Both Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:16 use the word “and,” which is a conjunction that does not necessarily indicate a logical or temporal order. Christ did not say, “Go therefore and make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . and then (subsequently) teaching them.” Likewise, He did not say, “Whoever believes and then (subsequently) is baptized will be saved.”

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 147

    YOU WROTE:
    “Grace@122: Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote in most Bibles these days because it is only found in some manuscripts. Of course, without that verse, your whole argument falls apart, because Philip apparently baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch without first ascertaining that he already has faith.”

    You are wrong aletheist. It’s not “placed in a footnote” which would then give you some sort of loophole to dodge the entire passage. Your explanation is unlearned, good grief!

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 147

    YOU WROTE:
    “Grace@122: Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote in most Bibles these days because it is only found in some manuscripts. Of course, without that verse, your whole argument falls apart, because Philip apparently baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch without first ascertaining that he already has faith.”

    You are wrong aletheist. It’s not “placed in a footnote” which would then give you some sort of loophole to dodge the entire passage. Your explanation is unlearned, good grief!

  • aletheist

    Grace@142: That is a fair question; thanks for asking!

    I already mentioned in #49 and #91, as well as in previous comments on other posts, that I grew up as an Arminian; I have only been a Lutheran as an adult. I was baptized in the United Methodist Church and raised in the Church of the Nazarene. Then my family attended an Evangelical Free Church for a few years, followed by an independent Bible church; so I received some exposure to Calvinism, as well. I returned to the Church of the Nazarene while in college, and also got involved in an interdenominational student group, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, becoming one of its leaders.

    Then I met my wife, who came from the Roman Catholic tradition. When it became apparent that we were headed toward marriage, we both felt strongly that we needed to agree on a church going forward. I was in graduate school at the time, so I was able to do a lot of reading and research on all of the options. I obviously cannot go into the details here, but suffice it to say that at the end of the process, the Lord had led both of us to Lutheranism. Nearly 20 years later, my appreciation for distinctively Lutheran theology has only grown; in particular, the fundamental emphasis on carefully distinguishing what humans do (Law) from what God does (Gospel) in accordance with Scripture.

    So yes, I have seriously looked at several other perspectives and found all of them wanting when measured against the sole source and norm of all doctrine, which is God’s infallible Word. Lutheranism is certainly not perfect, either, but I am convinced that it comes the closest.

  • aletheist

    Grace@142: That is a fair question; thanks for asking!

    I already mentioned in #49 and #91, as well as in previous comments on other posts, that I grew up as an Arminian; I have only been a Lutheran as an adult. I was baptized in the United Methodist Church and raised in the Church of the Nazarene. Then my family attended an Evangelical Free Church for a few years, followed by an independent Bible church; so I received some exposure to Calvinism, as well. I returned to the Church of the Nazarene while in college, and also got involved in an interdenominational student group, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, becoming one of its leaders.

    Then I met my wife, who came from the Roman Catholic tradition. When it became apparent that we were headed toward marriage, we both felt strongly that we needed to agree on a church going forward. I was in graduate school at the time, so I was able to do a lot of reading and research on all of the options. I obviously cannot go into the details here, but suffice it to say that at the end of the process, the Lord had led both of us to Lutheranism. Nearly 20 years later, my appreciation for distinctively Lutheran theology has only grown; in particular, the fundamental emphasis on carefully distinguishing what humans do (Law) from what God does (Gospel) in accordance with Scripture.

    So yes, I have seriously looked at several other perspectives and found all of them wanting when measured against the sole source and norm of all doctrine, which is God’s infallible Word. Lutheranism is certainly not perfect, either, but I am convinced that it comes the closest.

  • aletheist

    Grace@144: I would imagine that you have indeed previously addressed those issues elsewhere, but I was mainly seeking a non-Lutheran response to each of the Scriptures that I specifically cited in #49, #50, and #54; or rather, to all of those passages taken together. Like I said, no one is obligated to offer one.

    Grace@145: This seems frankly uncharitable. I would gladly accept an answer clarifying a position that I myself do not hold. In fact, I could probably suggest a few such answers of my own, since I used to be a non-Lutheran.

  • aletheist

    Grace@144: I would imagine that you have indeed previously addressed those issues elsewhere, but I was mainly seeking a non-Lutheran response to each of the Scriptures that I specifically cited in #49, #50, and #54; or rather, to all of those passages taken together. Like I said, no one is obligated to offer one.

    Grace@145: This seems frankly uncharitable. I would gladly accept an answer clarifying a position that I myself do not hold. In fact, I could probably suggest a few such answers of my own, since I used to be a non-Lutheran.

  • aletheist

    Grace@149: Do you exclusively use the King James version? It is the only English translation on my shelf that includes Acts 8:37 in the main body of the text without any qualifications. The New American Standard Bible puts it in brackets, and a note in my (Calvinist) Ryrie Study Bible states, “Most manuscripts do not include this verse.” The New International Version puts it in a footnote, because it appears only in “some late manuscripts.” Ditto for the New Revised Standard Version, which states, “Other ancient authorities add all or most of verse 37.” Likewise, the English Standard Version indicates, “Some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37.”

    So this is not “some sort of loophole,” much less an “unlearned” explanation; it is a genuine problem with that particular verse if our objective is to reconstruct what the original authors really wrote down. And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.

  • aletheist

    Grace@149: Do you exclusively use the King James version? It is the only English translation on my shelf that includes Acts 8:37 in the main body of the text without any qualifications. The New American Standard Bible puts it in brackets, and a note in my (Calvinist) Ryrie Study Bible states, “Most manuscripts do not include this verse.” The New International Version puts it in a footnote, because it appears only in “some late manuscripts.” Ditto for the New Revised Standard Version, which states, “Other ancient authorities add all or most of verse 37.” Likewise, the English Standard Version indicates, “Some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37.”

    So this is not “some sort of loophole,” much less an “unlearned” explanation; it is a genuine problem with that particular verse if our objective is to reconstruct what the original authors really wrote down. And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    YOU WROTE: “Grace@149: Do you exclusively use the King James version? It is the only English translation on my shelf that includes Acts 8:37 in the main body of the text without any qualifications.

    You might want to check a few more translations, below are nine:

    New American Standard Bible
    And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    And Philippus said, “If you believe with all the heart, it is authorized.” And he answered and said, “I do believe that Yeshua The Messiah is The Son of God.”

    GOD’S WORD
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American King James Version
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

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

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    And Philip said, ‘If thou dost believe out of all the heart, it is lawful;’ and he answering said, ‘I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God;’

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    YOU WROTE: “Grace@149: Do you exclusively use the King James version? It is the only English translation on my shelf that includes Acts 8:37 in the main body of the text without any qualifications.

    You might want to check a few more translations, below are nine:

    New American Standard Bible
    And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    And Philippus said, “If you believe with all the heart, it is authorized.” And he answered and said, “I do believe that Yeshua The Messiah is The Son of God.”

    GOD’S WORD
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American King James Version
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

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

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    And Philip said, ‘If thou dost believe out of all the heart, it is lawful;’ and he answering said, ‘I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God;’

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    YOU WROTE:
    “So this is not “some sort of loophole,” much less an “unlearned” explanation; it is a genuine problem with that particular verse if our objective is to reconstruct what the original authors really wrote down. And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.

    It’s a problem for Lutherans!

    If you try and twist this Scripture, you are no different than the RCC which has twisted many passages, with the same excuse.

    Belief in Christ is always first, not after Baptism.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    YOU WROTE:
    “So this is not “some sort of loophole,” much less an “unlearned” explanation; it is a genuine problem with that particular verse if our objective is to reconstruct what the original authors really wrote down. And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.

    It’s a problem for Lutherans!

    If you try and twist this Scripture, you are no different than the RCC which has twisted many passages, with the same excuse.

    Belief in Christ is always first, not after Baptism.

  • Grace

    Your problem aletheist, is this .. you’re trying to justify what Luther believed. It can’t be done, it was wrong, nothing will change this fact, NOTHING!

  • Grace

    Your problem aletheist, is this .. you’re trying to justify what Luther believed. It can’t be done, it was wrong, nothing will change this fact, NOTHING!

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    “And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.“

    “Even if it is authentic”

    The above statement to justify, being wrong – simply means there is nothing you won’t do to change the HOLY Word of God, to suit Luther’s doctrine.

    Believing in Christ as Savior is essential to Salvation.

    It’s just this simple, to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” –

    9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

    10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    1 John 5

    Some people think that their Baptism saves them, from infancy, but nowhere in Scripture is this stated. It’s a doctrine born out of Luther, it doesn’t exist in the Bible. One MUST BELIEVE in Christ as Savior for Salvation, Baptism follows.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 152

    “And even if it is authentic, it does not mandate that faith always precede baptism; it simply describes a particular instance when that happend to be the case.“

    “Even if it is authentic”

    The above statement to justify, being wrong – simply means there is nothing you won’t do to change the HOLY Word of God, to suit Luther’s doctrine.

    Believing in Christ as Savior is essential to Salvation.

    It’s just this simple, to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” –

    9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

    10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    1 John 5

    Some people think that their Baptism saves them, from infancy, but nowhere in Scripture is this stated. It’s a doctrine born out of Luther, it doesn’t exist in the Bible. One MUST BELIEVE in Christ as Savior for Salvation, Baptism follows.

  • Grace

    The Word of God is getting a work-over from those who wish to change the meaning of the Bible. In which case changes doctrine.

    There are groups of people who have tried to manipulate Scripture to align with their doctrine within the cults. The Trinity is one area, that has been attacked by cults, with amazing reasons and excuses, all of which are false.

    Can we expect less now, as the days become shorter?

  • Grace

    The Word of God is getting a work-over from those who wish to change the meaning of the Bible. In which case changes doctrine.

    There are groups of people who have tried to manipulate Scripture to align with their doctrine within the cults. The Trinity is one area, that has been attacked by cults, with amazing reasons and excuses, all of which are false.

    Can we expect less now, as the days become shorter?

  • Pete

    Grace @156

    “Some people think that their Baptism saves them, from infancy, but nowhere in Scripture is this stated. ”

    I’m drowning. You, in the boat, throw me a rope. You saved me and the rope saved me.

    Jesus saved me. Baptism saved me.

    And pretty much everywhere in Scripture this is stated. The verses have been cited ad nauseum – including “baptism now saves us.”. Not to mention the baptisms of families. Not to mention the baptism/circumcision analogy.

  • Pete

    Grace @156

    “Some people think that their Baptism saves them, from infancy, but nowhere in Scripture is this stated. ”

    I’m drowning. You, in the boat, throw me a rope. You saved me and the rope saved me.

    Jesus saved me. Baptism saved me.

    And pretty much everywhere in Scripture this is stated. The verses have been cited ad nauseum – including “baptism now saves us.”. Not to mention the baptisms of families. Not to mention the baptism/circumcision analogy.

  • reg

    Aletheist @146,
    I think that with the exception of the order of baptism and faith we agree on most of everything else. Regeneration must precede faith. Faith is the result of regeneration. Regeneration is all God’s work.

    On another note, the exchanges on this topic have given me joy and made me thank God all the more for his mercy and grace and for the fact that he reveals Himself to us. He is awesome and unbelievably merciful, patient and kind. I think that we can all agree upon. So I thank you all for the dialog!

  • reg

    Aletheist @146,
    I think that with the exception of the order of baptism and faith we agree on most of everything else. Regeneration must precede faith. Faith is the result of regeneration. Regeneration is all God’s work.

    On another note, the exchanges on this topic have given me joy and made me thank God all the more for his mercy and grace and for the fact that he reveals Himself to us. He is awesome and unbelievably merciful, patient and kind. I think that we can all agree upon. So I thank you all for the dialog!

  • reg

    Pete,
    The baptism/circumcision analysis does not help here. It may help a in a debate over paedo vs. credo baptism (which I believe is why the Presbyterians believe in infant baptism, without claiming it saves-it is a covenental sign of membership in the the covenant community, be it Israel or the visible church), but it does not indicate salvation, any more than mere circumcision of the flesh equaled circumcision of the heart.

    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save? In other words do we all agree faith is essential for salvation? If so then we are debating how we get to faith more than anything else (and we all agree it is of God regardless of whether it comes through the Word or baptism)? Just trying to clarify the parameters of this debate.

  • reg

    Pete,
    The baptism/circumcision analysis does not help here. It may help a in a debate over paedo vs. credo baptism (which I believe is why the Presbyterians believe in infant baptism, without claiming it saves-it is a covenental sign of membership in the the covenant community, be it Israel or the visible church), but it does not indicate salvation, any more than mere circumcision of the flesh equaled circumcision of the heart.

    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save? In other words do we all agree faith is essential for salvation? If so then we are debating how we get to faith more than anything else (and we all agree it is of God regardless of whether it comes through the Word or baptism)? Just trying to clarify the parameters of this debate.

  • fws

    reg @ 160

    “Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?”

    Abraham was saved by a Promise before the Law was given, before he was circumcized, before he (almost!) sacrificed Isaac.

    Would Abraham have been saved if he refused circumcision? If he had refused to sacrifice the bearer of the Seed?

    Would Naaman have been cured of leprosy in II Kings if he regarded the instructions of Elisha as merely those of a man?

    Why not Reg?
    The presbyterians regard circumcision in the wrong way. Could abraham or any of israel, have been circumcized in the heart without having their penis surgically altered? What kinda faith would that be Reg? Faith in what?

  • fws

    reg @ 160

    “Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?”

    Abraham was saved by a Promise before the Law was given, before he was circumcized, before he (almost!) sacrificed Isaac.

    Would Abraham have been saved if he refused circumcision? If he had refused to sacrifice the bearer of the Seed?

    Would Naaman have been cured of leprosy in II Kings if he regarded the instructions of Elisha as merely those of a man?

    Why not Reg?
    The presbyterians regard circumcision in the wrong way. Could abraham or any of israel, have been circumcized in the heart without having their penis surgically altered? What kinda faith would that be Reg? Faith in what?

  • reg

    FWS,
    Your analogies don’t hold. Absent extreme circumstances which make baptism impossible I would be troubled by someone who professed faith and who refused to be baptized (or at least view a prior infant baptism as serving that purpose.) So if Namaan did not go to the Jordan and dip 7 times he would not have shown much faith would he? The question is not whether both faith an baptism are the ordinary way salvation is manifested (after all credo-baptism at a minimum is a public confession of our faith). The question is which one is of first importance for salvation.

  • reg

    FWS,
    Your analogies don’t hold. Absent extreme circumstances which make baptism impossible I would be troubled by someone who professed faith and who refused to be baptized (or at least view a prior infant baptism as serving that purpose.) So if Namaan did not go to the Jordan and dip 7 times he would not have shown much faith would he? The question is not whether both faith an baptism are the ordinary way salvation is manifested (after all credo-baptism at a minimum is a public confession of our faith). The question is which one is of first importance for salvation.

  • Stephen

    reg,

    What of the believer who loses awareness of faith or God or Jesus or anything like bible or church or even their own name to a disease like Alzhiemer’s? In what sense would faith be “essential” in that instance? In other words, what if they are incapable of any kind of conscious “clinging” to the cross/promise, etc.

    By the way, this is not hypothetical, it is a reality for many Christians. Is there some sort of special dispensation? And what biblical reasons would you give for an answer?

  • Stephen

    reg,

    What of the believer who loses awareness of faith or God or Jesus or anything like bible or church or even their own name to a disease like Alzhiemer’s? In what sense would faith be “essential” in that instance? In other words, what if they are incapable of any kind of conscious “clinging” to the cross/promise, etc.

    By the way, this is not hypothetical, it is a reality for many Christians. Is there some sort of special dispensation? And what biblical reasons would you give for an answer?

  • reg

    ps-I have a confession to make. Yesterday when I went into my history and my post-faith adult dunking, I realize I omitted one fact, which I don’t view as significant, but I know you would.. When I first started reading the Bible, before I was a believer (as I now understand the term) I asked a liberal pastor I knew to baptize me since I had not been baptized as a child. Some months later I became a believer (as I now understand the term) and thereafter the pastor in the Baptist Church I was attending suggested I have a believer’s baptism. I don’t put much stock on the pre-real faith baptism, but just as I felt compelled to study the Bible, I also felt it was something I had to do.
    Just being honest here. Full disclosure.

  • reg

    ps-I have a confession to make. Yesterday when I went into my history and my post-faith adult dunking, I realize I omitted one fact, which I don’t view as significant, but I know you would.. When I first started reading the Bible, before I was a believer (as I now understand the term) I asked a liberal pastor I knew to baptize me since I had not been baptized as a child. Some months later I became a believer (as I now understand the term) and thereafter the pastor in the Baptist Church I was attending suggested I have a believer’s baptism. I don’t put much stock on the pre-real faith baptism, but just as I felt compelled to study the Bible, I also felt it was something I had to do.
    Just being honest here. Full disclosure.

  • Grace

    Reg @164

    <blockquote.“Some months later I became a believer (as I now understand the term) and thereafter the pastor in the Baptist Church I was attending suggested I have a believer’s baptism. I don’t put much stock on the pre-real faith baptism, but just as I felt compelled to study the Bible, I also felt it was something I had to do.”

    Reg, I believe it was right for you to be Baptized after you became a Believer.

    I will clarify in stating; those who are urged to be Baptized, after they believed, and then urge the individual to again be Baptized, perhaps for reasons to join a church, is wrong. But in your case, where you became a Believer and then Baptized, this is the right order.

  • Grace

    Reg @164

    <blockquote.“Some months later I became a believer (as I now understand the term) and thereafter the pastor in the Baptist Church I was attending suggested I have a believer’s baptism. I don’t put much stock on the pre-real faith baptism, but just as I felt compelled to study the Bible, I also felt it was something I had to do.”

    Reg, I believe it was right for you to be Baptized after you became a Believer.

    I will clarify in stating; those who are urged to be Baptized, after they believed, and then urge the individual to again be Baptized, perhaps for reasons to join a church, is wrong. But in your case, where you became a Believer and then Baptized, this is the right order.

  • larry

    If. I’m reg right now id be thinking “with friends like
    gtace…who needs Lutherans. Reg I’m glad grace is on your side.

  • larry

    If. I’m reg right now id be thinking “with friends like
    gtace…who needs Lutherans. Reg I’m glad grace is on your side.

  • Grace

    Stephen @ 163

    Those who lose memory, due to any cause, be it a disease or accident – would have no control over the deterioration of their mind, therefore their beliefs before such a situation would stand.

    My father witnessed such situations as a pastor. People develop brain tumors, accidents of all kinds which affect the mind.

  • Grace

    Stephen @ 163

    Those who lose memory, due to any cause, be it a disease or accident – would have no control over the deterioration of their mind, therefore their beliefs before such a situation would stand.

    My father witnessed such situations as a pastor. People develop brain tumors, accidents of all kinds which affect the mind.

  • Tom Hering

    I was baptized as an infant in a Lutheran church. Later, as an adult in my 30s, and while attending a Baptist church, I was rebaptized in a river. Now it crosses my mind that I should, perhaps, be rebaptized yet again. I’m not sure I believed what I ought to, the way I ought to, for the right reasons, or with enough faith, when I was rebaptized the first time. How can I know for sure? It was so long ago. Who here can tell me?

  • Tom Hering

    I was baptized as an infant in a Lutheran church. Later, as an adult in my 30s, and while attending a Baptist church, I was rebaptized in a river. Now it crosses my mind that I should, perhaps, be rebaptized yet again. I’m not sure I believed what I ought to, the way I ought to, for the right reasons, or with enough faith, when I was rebaptized the first time. How can I know for sure? It was so long ago. Who here can tell me?

  • reg

    Tom,
    Come on man, you can do better than that. Not the point of what I said. If that is what you heard I must not have written what I wrote very clearly.
    I still would ask one of you to answer my question @ 160:
    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?
    Stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just get everybody baptized they all will be saved, are you? If you are then baptism under threat of the sword would be justified-which I am sure you are not suggesting. Such a baptism would be no more involuntary than an infant brought to the font by his parents.

  • reg

    Tom,
    Come on man, you can do better than that. Not the point of what I said. If that is what you heard I must not have written what I wrote very clearly.
    I still would ask one of you to answer my question @ 160:
    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?
    Stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just get everybody baptized they all will be saved, are you? If you are then baptism under threat of the sword would be justified-which I am sure you are not suggesting. Such a baptism would be no more involuntary than an infant brought to the font by his parents.

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “So if Namaan did not go to the Jordan and dip 7 times he would not have shown much faith would he?”

    Faith in what? water? Elisha? the jewish slave girl? the ones elisha sent to meet the ones naaman sent? Faith in who?

    Faith in baptism is faith in who and what?
    What if the leper had been naaman’s 3 month old son? would the son needed to have faith for the Word of Promise to DO something to him?

    From the way the story tells it, do you really think Naaman had faith in God or even in Elisha? Wasnt he really just an illustration of Pascal’s gambit? “Nothin lost to give it a try?”

    What was it that healed Naaman? Was it Naaman’s faith? What WAS the active Thing that healed Naaman Reg?

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “So if Namaan did not go to the Jordan and dip 7 times he would not have shown much faith would he?”

    Faith in what? water? Elisha? the jewish slave girl? the ones elisha sent to meet the ones naaman sent? Faith in who?

    Faith in baptism is faith in who and what?
    What if the leper had been naaman’s 3 month old son? would the son needed to have faith for the Word of Promise to DO something to him?

    From the way the story tells it, do you really think Naaman had faith in God or even in Elisha? Wasnt he really just an illustration of Pascal’s gambit? “Nothin lost to give it a try?”

    What was it that healed Naaman? Was it Naaman’s faith? What WAS the active Thing that healed Naaman Reg?

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “The question is which one is of first importance for salvation.”

    You mean is first important, for salvation, faith or is it baptism.
    Wrong question!

    Naaman’s story. What was it that was of first importance? Washing/Baptism? the Jordan. Elisha? Naaman’s faith? In God? In Elisha? In the ones Elisha sent to meet the dudes Naaman sent?

    Who did the healing? What did the healing? Was it the water that did it? Could it have been water in Damascus? why or Why not?

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “The question is which one is of first importance for salvation.”

    You mean is first important, for salvation, faith or is it baptism.
    Wrong question!

    Naaman’s story. What was it that was of first importance? Washing/Baptism? the Jordan. Elisha? Naaman’s faith? In God? In Elisha? In the ones Elisha sent to meet the dudes Naaman sent?

    Who did the healing? What did the healing? Was it the water that did it? Could it have been water in Damascus? why or Why not?

  • fws

    reg @ 169

    “Stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just get everybody baptized they all will be saved, are you?”

    Here is exactly how I hear this as a Lutheran christian reg:

    “stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just preach the Holy Gospel that tells everyone they can simply trust that the Word says Christ died for THEM that they will ALL be saved , are you?”

    So why is it that we don’t baptize everyone Reg? We catechize parents who want their kids baptized. Why? The order of Christ is to baptism AND to teach. not baptize and THEN to teach, or teach and THEN to baptize. And we catechise then, adults and then we baptize them as believers for exactly the same reason. Baptizing and teaching MUST always be done together. So we baptize babies and instruct their parents. and we instruct adults before we baptize them.

    Faith cannot exist unless it is continually watered by the Gospel. But babies ARE sinners. They MUST be born again by water and the word. Jesus commands us to bring those babies to him. We do that. And we believe that it is the Word in baptism that creates faith in those babies.

  • fws

    reg @ 169

    “Stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just get everybody baptized they all will be saved, are you?”

    Here is exactly how I hear this as a Lutheran christian reg:

    “stephen, et al, you are not suggesting a kind of universalism, that if we can just preach the Holy Gospel that tells everyone they can simply trust that the Word says Christ died for THEM that they will ALL be saved , are you?”

    So why is it that we don’t baptize everyone Reg? We catechize parents who want their kids baptized. Why? The order of Christ is to baptism AND to teach. not baptize and THEN to teach, or teach and THEN to baptize. And we catechise then, adults and then we baptize them as believers for exactly the same reason. Baptizing and teaching MUST always be done together. So we baptize babies and instruct their parents. and we instruct adults before we baptize them.

    Faith cannot exist unless it is continually watered by the Gospel. But babies ARE sinners. They MUST be born again by water and the word. Jesus commands us to bring those babies to him. We do that. And we believe that it is the Word in baptism that creates faith in those babies.

  • fws

    reg @ 164

    Arent you curious what a Lutheran pastor would have done about your pre believing baptism?

    he would have preached you into that baptism. And if you had not yet been baptized, then… he would have preached you into baptism Reg.

    when I meet someone that is a stranger at starbucks reg, and religion becomes the topic, then I , as a Lutheran christian, need to ask them as early as possible : “were you baptized?” Why? I need to know if I am supposed to preach them back into their infant or adult baptism or… if I am to pre catechise them into a baptism they do not have.

    if that person has been baptised, I have the joy of addressing that person as a believer. I assume that they have faith. And I will tell them Law and Gospel just as I would any pagan. Same Law. Same Gospel. but I will invite them to step back into their Baptism. I will ask them to trust that Baptism. I will assure them that the Promise is … just as you say…. unbreakable!

    and if that person has not yet been baptized? I will tell them the Law and Gospel. I will make them eager and hungry to receive baptism and to get baptized. i will make them nagg my pastor to baptize them.

    It is such a joy to be a Lutheran and be free to witness in this way, and trust the Word of God in with and under Baptism and the Promise God puts in that act of Baptism. It is unshakable!

  • fws

    reg @ 164

    Arent you curious what a Lutheran pastor would have done about your pre believing baptism?

    he would have preached you into that baptism. And if you had not yet been baptized, then… he would have preached you into baptism Reg.

    when I meet someone that is a stranger at starbucks reg, and religion becomes the topic, then I , as a Lutheran christian, need to ask them as early as possible : “were you baptized?” Why? I need to know if I am supposed to preach them back into their infant or adult baptism or… if I am to pre catechise them into a baptism they do not have.

    if that person has been baptised, I have the joy of addressing that person as a believer. I assume that they have faith. And I will tell them Law and Gospel just as I would any pagan. Same Law. Same Gospel. but I will invite them to step back into their Baptism. I will ask them to trust that Baptism. I will assure them that the Promise is … just as you say…. unbreakable!

    and if that person has not yet been baptized? I will tell them the Law and Gospel. I will make them eager and hungry to receive baptism and to get baptized. i will make them nagg my pastor to baptize them.

    It is such a joy to be a Lutheran and be free to witness in this way, and trust the Word of God in with and under Baptism and the Promise God puts in that act of Baptism. It is unshakable!

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “Your analogies don’t hold.”

    This tells me you missed my point. I am asserting nothing less that that Naamans outer leprosy was healed, by a baptism, in EXACTLY the same way God heals our inner leprosy, by Holy Baptism to give us a new heart.

    I am not suggesting an analogy. See that now?
    I am suggesting something far more radical than that.

    Ask the questions that I posed about the Who and What in II Kings. You might not agree, but at least you will gain an understanding of how Lutherans connect Word and Promise to human Prophet/Pastor and Water in Holy Baptism.

    As they say in real estate: location! location! location! Where is the Word of Promised placed? Are we to separate Word/Promise from what God has place it in? Why or why not?

  • fws

    reg @ 162

    “Your analogies don’t hold.”

    This tells me you missed my point. I am asserting nothing less that that Naamans outer leprosy was healed, by a baptism, in EXACTLY the same way God heals our inner leprosy, by Holy Baptism to give us a new heart.

    I am not suggesting an analogy. See that now?
    I am suggesting something far more radical than that.

    Ask the questions that I posed about the Who and What in II Kings. You might not agree, but at least you will gain an understanding of how Lutherans connect Word and Promise to human Prophet/Pastor and Water in Holy Baptism.

    As they say in real estate: location! location! location! Where is the Word of Promised placed? Are we to separate Word/Promise from what God has place it in? Why or why not?

  • fws

    Reg,

    I hope you did not miss that I said that a Lutheran Pastor would not have baptized you without catechizing you.
    And if you came wanting to baptize your babies and wife and older children as well, That pastor would have insisted upon first catechising you, and teaching you how to catechize your family.

  • fws

    Reg,

    I hope you did not miss that I said that a Lutheran Pastor would not have baptized you without catechizing you.
    And if you came wanting to baptize your babies and wife and older children as well, That pastor would have insisted upon first catechising you, and teaching you how to catechize your family.

  • aletheist

    Grace@153-156: Thanks for the additional references. The fact remains that Acts 8:37 does not appear in most manuscripts, in particular the oldest extant manuscripts, which suggests that it may have been a later addition. I have zero interest in changing the Word of God; the issue with that verse is whether it really is the Word of God.

    Again, even if it was in the original text, it is not a problem for Lutherans. We do not demand that baptism precede faith; rather, we believe, teach, and confess that baptism is a means by which faith is conveyed from God to humans, along with the written or spoken Word of the Gospel and the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. I cited the Biblical basis for this doctrinal position in #49, #50, and #54.

    It is uncharitable to suggest that I am “twisting” this or any other Scripture, or that I am “trying to justify what Luther believed,” when in fact what I am doing is simply communicating my own understanding. Sincere disagreement between believers does not entail that one party or the other is deliberately misusing the text; and I have cited only Scripture in this conversation, not the Book of Concord or Luther’s writings.

    No one here denies that “Believing in Christ as Savior is essential to salvation.” The debate is over how someone comes to believe in Christ as Savior. It is not a decision that the individual makes, it is a gift that God bestows; and Lutherans believe that baptism is one of several ways that He does so. Salvation, faith, and baptism are all fundamentally God’s works, not ours.

    As for infant baptism, it is false that “It’s a doctrine born out of Luther”; history shows that the church was baptizing infants centuries before he was born, and the book of Acts indicates that the apostles themselves baptized entire households. Jesus Himself criticized the disciples for keeping infants away from Him (Luke 18:15-17), saying that “to such belongs the kingdom of God” and that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

  • aletheist

    Grace@153-156: Thanks for the additional references. The fact remains that Acts 8:37 does not appear in most manuscripts, in particular the oldest extant manuscripts, which suggests that it may have been a later addition. I have zero interest in changing the Word of God; the issue with that verse is whether it really is the Word of God.

    Again, even if it was in the original text, it is not a problem for Lutherans. We do not demand that baptism precede faith; rather, we believe, teach, and confess that baptism is a means by which faith is conveyed from God to humans, along with the written or spoken Word of the Gospel and the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. I cited the Biblical basis for this doctrinal position in #49, #50, and #54.

    It is uncharitable to suggest that I am “twisting” this or any other Scripture, or that I am “trying to justify what Luther believed,” when in fact what I am doing is simply communicating my own understanding. Sincere disagreement between believers does not entail that one party or the other is deliberately misusing the text; and I have cited only Scripture in this conversation, not the Book of Concord or Luther’s writings.

    No one here denies that “Believing in Christ as Savior is essential to salvation.” The debate is over how someone comes to believe in Christ as Savior. It is not a decision that the individual makes, it is a gift that God bestows; and Lutherans believe that baptism is one of several ways that He does so. Salvation, faith, and baptism are all fundamentally God’s works, not ours.

    As for infant baptism, it is false that “It’s a doctrine born out of Luther”; history shows that the church was baptizing infants centuries before he was born, and the book of Acts indicates that the apostles themselves baptized entire households. Jesus Himself criticized the disciples for keeping infants away from Him (Luke 18:15-17), saying that “to such belongs the kingdom of God” and that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

  • aletheist

    reg@159: Well, we presumably still disagree on whether baptism and the Lord’s Supper are means of grace just as much as the Word of God; whether the bread and wine in communion are literally the body and blood of Christ; whether Christ died for the whole world or only for the elect; and so on. But hopefully we have indeed made some progress on at least understanding each other better, and I agree that the discussion has been enjoyable and edifying. May God lead all of us more and more into His truth and into the unity for which Christ earnestly prayed!

  • aletheist

    reg@159: Well, we presumably still disagree on whether baptism and the Lord’s Supper are means of grace just as much as the Word of God; whether the bread and wine in communion are literally the body and blood of Christ; whether Christ died for the whole world or only for the elect; and so on. But hopefully we have indeed made some progress on at least understanding each other better, and I agree that the discussion has been enjoyable and edifying. May God lead all of us more and more into His truth and into the unity for which Christ earnestly prayed!

  • aletheist

    reg@160:

    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?

    For a Lutheran, “baptism without faith” is inconceivable; baptism creates faith. However, it is not the only means by which God creates faith, so it is certainly possible to have faith without first having been baptized. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) Notice that Christ does not say anything here about “whoever believes and is not baptized.”

  • aletheist

    reg@160:

    Can we agree that baptism without faith does not save, but faith even without baptism (thief on the cross) may save?

    For a Lutheran, “baptism without faith” is inconceivable; baptism creates faith. However, it is not the only means by which God creates faith, so it is certainly possible to have faith without first having been baptized. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) Notice that Christ does not say anything here about “whoever believes and is not baptized.”

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    The fact remains that Acts 8:37 does not appear in most manuscripts, in particular the oldest extant manuscripts, which suggests that it may have been a later addition.”

    Your assertion is false, with no evidence. It’s no different than what the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with their New World Translation – excluding, changing passages which would support the doctrine which says their is no Trinity, or Deity. They claim the same mistakes in manuscripts just as you have. It’s bogus!

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    The fact remains that Acts 8:37 does not appear in most manuscripts, in particular the oldest extant manuscripts, which suggests that it may have been a later addition.”

    Your assertion is false, with no evidence. It’s no different than what the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with their New World Translation – excluding, changing passages which would support the doctrine which says their is no Trinity, or Deity. They claim the same mistakes in manuscripts just as you have. It’s bogus!

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    “It is uncharitable to suggest that I am “twisting” this or any other Scripture, or that I am “trying to justify what Luther believed,” when in fact what I am doing is simply communicating my own understanding. “

    It has nothing to do with ‘charity’ – the point being you have no facts, just assumptions, based on what you might have heard.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    “It is uncharitable to suggest that I am “twisting” this or any other Scripture, or that I am “trying to justify what Luther believed,” when in fact what I am doing is simply communicating my own understanding. “

    It has nothing to do with ‘charity’ – the point being you have no facts, just assumptions, based on what you might have heard.

  • Tom Hering

    reg @ 169, I wasn’t addressing any particular point made by you. Now, I’d still like to know how I can know if my believer’s baptism was good enough.

  • Tom Hering

    reg @ 169, I wasn’t addressing any particular point made by you. Now, I’d still like to know how I can know if my believer’s baptism was good enough.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    YOU WROTE BELOW:
    Jesus Himself criticized the disciples for keeping infants away from Him (Luke 18:15-17), saying that “to such belongs the kingdom of God” and that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

    Jesus Christ never mentioned “Baptism” in the passages of Scripture which speak of “Suffer little children” – This has been distorted for a very long time.

    13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
    14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. Matthew 19

    Verse 13 makes clear the children had been brought so that Jesus could put HIS hands on them and pray. That doesn’t mean Baptism, it means touching them and praying. The Scripture is crystal clear. It is man who chooses to change the clear meaning of God’s Word.

    Jesus Christ’s silence regarding Baptism of infants and children in this passage of Scripture is obvious, it didn’t happen “he laid his hands on them” he didn’t baptize them, nor did HE suggest that they receive Baptism. No where is it mentioned that Jesus suggested baptizing children.

    Usage of this passage of Scripture (Matthew 19) is distorted when you try to change the meaning from “laid his hands on them” to baptism.

    Again we see very clearly in Mark that children were brought to Jesus so that he could touch them – HE took them up in HIS arms and put HIS hands on them and blessed them. Many of us who are affiliated with Evangelical Churches bring our infants to be dedicated, to ask for God’s blessing upon their lives, very much the same as in this passage of Scripture below:

    13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
    14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
    16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
    Mark 10:14

    We come to the Gospel of Luke – it doesn’t mention Baptism, but instead makes clear that they brought infants to Jesus so that HE might “touch” them, that isn’t Baptism.

    15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
    16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Luke 18

    It’s imperative that people read and understand the Scriptures, as to what Christ actually did, not what someone else uses as a directive which doesn’t exist in the Bible, namely Baptizing infants.

  • Grace

    aletheist @ 176

    YOU WROTE BELOW:
    Jesus Himself criticized the disciples for keeping infants away from Him (Luke 18:15-17), saying that “to such belongs the kingdom of God” and that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

    Jesus Christ never mentioned “Baptism” in the passages of Scripture which speak of “Suffer little children” – This has been distorted for a very long time.

    13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
    14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. Matthew 19

    Verse 13 makes clear the children had been brought so that Jesus could put HIS hands on them and pray. That doesn’t mean Baptism, it means touching them and praying. The Scripture is crystal clear. It is man who chooses to change the clear meaning of God’s Word.

    Jesus Christ’s silence regarding Baptism of infants and children in this passage of Scripture is obvious, it didn’t happen “he laid his hands on them” he didn’t baptize them, nor did HE suggest that they receive Baptism. No where is it mentioned that Jesus suggested baptizing children.

    Usage of this passage of Scripture (Matthew 19) is distorted when you try to change the meaning from “laid his hands on them” to baptism.

    Again we see very clearly in Mark that children were brought to Jesus so that he could touch them – HE took them up in HIS arms and put HIS hands on them and blessed them. Many of us who are affiliated with Evangelical Churches bring our infants to be dedicated, to ask for God’s blessing upon their lives, very much the same as in this passage of Scripture below:

    13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
    14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
    16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
    Mark 10:14

    We come to the Gospel of Luke – it doesn’t mention Baptism, but instead makes clear that they brought infants to Jesus so that HE might “touch” them, that isn’t Baptism.

    15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
    16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Luke 18

    It’s imperative that people read and understand the Scriptures, as to what Christ actually did, not what someone else uses as a directive which doesn’t exist in the Bible, namely Baptizing infants.

  • Pete

    I’m wondering if something we’re all avoiding is the original topic of this blog post: ascent theology. There’s no doubt that there are any number of scripture references to baptism that can be taken, in isolation, to support any of a number of views. Lutheran theology carries a natural prejudice against the creeping ingrowth of ascent theology. This prejudice is in favor of Divine monergism and arises from both an overall view of scripture as well as the observation, in history, that ascent theology tends to work its way into the church over time. (Think indulgences.) Thus, for instance, Baptism morphs from an act of God (a means of grace) which is administered by the Church to helpless sinners into an act of man in response to God’s grace. We humans don’t do passivity well. As has been repeatedly emphasized here, Lutherans tend not to get overly hung up on the temporal relationship of faith, regeneration and baptism – rather on what God has promised to us in His Word. And, as some (notably aletheist and larry) have pointed out, any amount of contamination of what God has presented to us (for us) as Gospel with Law can have really bad consequences for the individual Christian.

  • Pete

    I’m wondering if something we’re all avoiding is the original topic of this blog post: ascent theology. There’s no doubt that there are any number of scripture references to baptism that can be taken, in isolation, to support any of a number of views. Lutheran theology carries a natural prejudice against the creeping ingrowth of ascent theology. This prejudice is in favor of Divine monergism and arises from both an overall view of scripture as well as the observation, in history, that ascent theology tends to work its way into the church over time. (Think indulgences.) Thus, for instance, Baptism morphs from an act of God (a means of grace) which is administered by the Church to helpless sinners into an act of man in response to God’s grace. We humans don’t do passivity well. As has been repeatedly emphasized here, Lutherans tend not to get overly hung up on the temporal relationship of faith, regeneration and baptism – rather on what God has promised to us in His Word. And, as some (notably aletheist and larry) have pointed out, any amount of contamination of what God has presented to us (for us) as Gospel with Law can have really bad consequences for the individual Christian.

  • reg

    Grace,
    Aletheist is right Here is the ESV version of Acts 8. The verse is generally left out by most modern translations and dealt with as a footnote:
    34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”[e] 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
    Footnotes:
    Acts 8:36 Some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37: And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

  • reg

    Grace,
    Aletheist is right Here is the ESV version of Acts 8. The verse is generally left out by most modern translations and dealt with as a footnote:
    34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”[e] 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
    Footnotes:
    Acts 8:36 Some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37: And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

  • aletheist

    Grace@179: Are you really equating mainstream, well-respected translations prepared by reputable scholars and used by a large percentage of American evangelicals with the intentional distortions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Are you seriously suggesting that the NIV, NRSV, and ESV translators were lying or deliberately deceptive when they noted that Acts 8:37 only appears in some (not all) later (not earlier) manuscripts? Why does the NASB, which you quoted in #153, put brackets around that verse? What additional evidence do you require?

    Grace@180: It is not about charity, but about being charitable; that is, always putting the best construction on someone else’s words, in accordance with the commandment not to bear false witness against one’s neighbor. We all have assumptions and biases that color our interpretations of the facts, no matter how hard we try to assess them critically and compensate for them accordingly.

    Grace@182: I agree that Matthew 19:13-15 and Luke 18:15-17 are not specifically about baptism. Their relevance is that they show how Jesus welcomed infants into His kingdom and held them up as examples for everyone else. What does it mean to “receive the kingdom of God like a child”? Must an infant understand and believe anything cognitively about his or her parents before receiving nourishment from them?

  • aletheist

    Grace@179: Are you really equating mainstream, well-respected translations prepared by reputable scholars and used by a large percentage of American evangelicals with the intentional distortions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Are you seriously suggesting that the NIV, NRSV, and ESV translators were lying or deliberately deceptive when they noted that Acts 8:37 only appears in some (not all) later (not earlier) manuscripts? Why does the NASB, which you quoted in #153, put brackets around that verse? What additional evidence do you require?

    Grace@180: It is not about charity, but about being charitable; that is, always putting the best construction on someone else’s words, in accordance with the commandment not to bear false witness against one’s neighbor. We all have assumptions and biases that color our interpretations of the facts, no matter how hard we try to assess them critically and compensate for them accordingly.

    Grace@182: I agree that Matthew 19:13-15 and Luke 18:15-17 are not specifically about baptism. Their relevance is that they show how Jesus welcomed infants into His kingdom and held them up as examples for everyone else. What does it mean to “receive the kingdom of God like a child”? Must an infant understand and believe anything cognitively about his or her parents before receiving nourishment from them?

  • reg

    Pete,
    “We humans don’t do passivity well. . . . And, as some have pointed out, any amount of contamination of what God has presented to us (for us) as Gospel with Law can have really bad consequences for the individual Christian.”
    AMEN!

  • reg

    Pete,
    “We humans don’t do passivity well. . . . And, as some have pointed out, any amount of contamination of what God has presented to us (for us) as Gospel with Law can have really bad consequences for the individual Christian.”
    AMEN!

  • Grace

    The ESV has taken out of their new translation GOD 38 times – JESUS CHRIST 51 times – LORD 66 times – JESUS 18 times – CHRIST 39 times –

    Add to the above: ESV took/removed the words devils/devil 83 times – and HELL 40 times.

    The five translations below, who have omitted Matthew 18:11. This is a serious error on their part. This is an attack on the Word of God, while the church stands by and thinks little of it. Believing all that has been translation errors.

    Matthew 18:11

    New International Version

    New Living Translation

    English Standard Version

    New American Standard Bible
    “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    International Standard Version

    For the Son of Man came to save the lost.”

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    For The Son of Man has come to save whatever has been lost.

    GOD’S WORD

    King James 2000 Bible
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    American King James Version
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    American Standard Version
    For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    Darby Bible Translation
    For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost.

    English Revised Version

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    Weymouth New Testament

    World English Bible
    For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    for the Son of Man did come to save the lost.

  • Grace

    The ESV has taken out of their new translation GOD 38 times – JESUS CHRIST 51 times – LORD 66 times – JESUS 18 times – CHRIST 39 times –

    Add to the above: ESV took/removed the words devils/devil 83 times – and HELL 40 times.

    The five translations below, who have omitted Matthew 18:11. This is a serious error on their part. This is an attack on the Word of God, while the church stands by and thinks little of it. Believing all that has been translation errors.

    Matthew 18:11

    New International Version

    New Living Translation

    English Standard Version

    New American Standard Bible
    “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    International Standard Version

    For the Son of Man came to save the lost.”

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    For The Son of Man has come to save whatever has been lost.

    GOD’S WORD

    King James 2000 Bible
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    American King James Version
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    American Standard Version
    For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    Darby Bible Translation
    For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost.

    English Revised Version

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    Weymouth New Testament

    World English Bible
    For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    for the Son of Man did come to save the lost.

  • Grace

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into our language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, and the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • Grace

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into our language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, and the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • reg

    Grace,
    I think the modern translations look at all of the ancient manuscripts and if a verse is missing in the oldest and best they conclude that the verse at issue (and there are very few of these) was a later editorial addition. Personally I would rather rely on manuscripts most close to Jesus’ time than later ones. Usually the questionable verse is still included either as a footnote or in brackets. While we may give some weight to the omitted verses to the extent they are consistent with other parts of the Bible (for example the adulterous woman in John 8), we should not draw doctrinal conclusions based primarily on them (for example we should not drink poison or play with venomous snakes in reliance on the last few verses of Mark). This is not some demonic conspiracy. It is using the best and oldest exemplars of the text available and assuming they are the most accurate having the least likelihood/opportunity of scribal errors.
    Nobody doing this is taking a low view of God’s word. Rather it is precisely because they take a high view of his word that they do this.

  • reg

    Grace,
    I think the modern translations look at all of the ancient manuscripts and if a verse is missing in the oldest and best they conclude that the verse at issue (and there are very few of these) was a later editorial addition. Personally I would rather rely on manuscripts most close to Jesus’ time than later ones. Usually the questionable verse is still included either as a footnote or in brackets. While we may give some weight to the omitted verses to the extent they are consistent with other parts of the Bible (for example the adulterous woman in John 8), we should not draw doctrinal conclusions based primarily on them (for example we should not drink poison or play with venomous snakes in reliance on the last few verses of Mark). This is not some demonic conspiracy. It is using the best and oldest exemplars of the text available and assuming they are the most accurate having the least likelihood/opportunity of scribal errors.
    Nobody doing this is taking a low view of God’s word. Rather it is precisely because they take a high view of his word that they do this.

  • Grace

    Reg,

    The best and oldest manuscripts were used – the new editions and translations are poor at best, no amount of excuses, excuse omitting, adding and rewriting Scripture.

    As I stated before the New World Translation did the same thing, to align the Scripture to their doctrine. There is nothing new with man subverting the Scripture.

  • Grace

    Reg,

    The best and oldest manuscripts were used – the new editions and translations are poor at best, no amount of excuses, excuse omitting, adding and rewriting Scripture.

    As I stated before the New World Translation did the same thing, to align the Scripture to their doctrine. There is nothing new with man subverting the Scripture.

  • aletheist

    Grace@187,188,190: What reg@189 said. However, I would be interested in knowing your source for the claim about all those specific words that the ESV supposedly removed. Relative to what? On what basis, apart from personal conviction, do you consider translations that uncritically retain Acts 8:37–and, for that matter, Matthew 18:11, although I do not see what bearing it has on the current discussion–to be more reliable? Will you at least acknowledge that those two verses fall within the 0.5% of the New Testament on which the manuscripts are not entirely consistent? It is simply false that “the best and oldest manuscripts” support their inclusion in the text. If you cannot accept this documented fact, then there is no point in arguing about it any further. Zeal for the Word of God should drive us to ascertain as carefully as possible what it most likely said in the original autographs, rather than retaining content that appears to have been added later, no matter how well-meaning the change might have been.

  • aletheist

    Grace@187,188,190: What reg@189 said. However, I would be interested in knowing your source for the claim about all those specific words that the ESV supposedly removed. Relative to what? On what basis, apart from personal conviction, do you consider translations that uncritically retain Acts 8:37–and, for that matter, Matthew 18:11, although I do not see what bearing it has on the current discussion–to be more reliable? Will you at least acknowledge that those two verses fall within the 0.5% of the New Testament on which the manuscripts are not entirely consistent? It is simply false that “the best and oldest manuscripts” support their inclusion in the text. If you cannot accept this documented fact, then there is no point in arguing about it any further. Zeal for the Word of God should drive us to ascertain as carefully as possible what it most likely said in the original autographs, rather than retaining content that appears to have been added later, no matter how well-meaning the change might have been.

  • Grace

    aletheist @191

    “Grace@187,188,190: What reg@189 said. However, I would be interested in knowing your source for the claim about all those specific words that the ESV supposedly removed.

    You ask me a question such as the one above? The question you pose is very telling.

    I highly suggest you research this, it will give you some insight into the mis-translation, the severity of changing, omitting the words, verses within the Word of God.

  • Grace

    aletheist @191

    “Grace@187,188,190: What reg@189 said. However, I would be interested in knowing your source for the claim about all those specific words that the ESV supposedly removed.

    You ask me a question such as the one above? The question you pose is very telling.

    I highly suggest you research this, it will give you some insight into the mis-translation, the severity of changing, omitting the words, verses within the Word of God.

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

    For anyone interested, the ESV leaves out Acts 8:37 because it does not appear in any of the Eastern manuscripts, and in no Western manuscript prior to the middle sixth century AD. Also, for those interested in textual criticism, I would recommend David Allen Black’s short book, “New Testament Textual Criticism, a concise guide”. This book helps to expose some simple but common logical fallacies regarding textual transmission, such as the belief that a large number of extant single-family texts renders any accuracy to the family (consider for a moment the Mormon bible – there are millions of extant copies, but that doesn’t make it accurate).

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

    For anyone interested, the ESV leaves out Acts 8:37 because it does not appear in any of the Eastern manuscripts, and in no Western manuscript prior to the middle sixth century AD. Also, for those interested in textual criticism, I would recommend David Allen Black’s short book, “New Testament Textual Criticism, a concise guide”. This book helps to expose some simple but common logical fallacies regarding textual transmission, such as the belief that a large number of extant single-family texts renders any accuracy to the family (consider for a moment the Mormon bible – there are millions of extant copies, but that doesn’t make it accurate).

  • Grace

    You are wrong John. It’s a passage of Scripture which is a bur in the saddle of those who want to twist Baptism around.

  • Grace

    You are wrong John. It’s a passage of Scripture which is a bur in the saddle of those who want to twist Baptism around.

  • Grace

    From here you can research yourself.

    “ESV the copyright information reads: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

  • Grace

    From here you can research yourself.

    “ESV the copyright information reads: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

  • aletheist

    Grace@192: I asked you the question so that I would know where to start such research. How can I proceed if you refuse to tell me where to look?

  • aletheist

    Grace@192: I asked you the question so that I would know where to start such research. How can I proceed if you refuse to tell me where to look?

  • Grace

    aletheist

    From your posts, you argue as though you knew. Research helps people understand what they are debating and why. Do you know how to research?

    Do you know what “National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA ” is, or what they believe? See post 195.

  • Grace

    aletheist

    From your posts, you argue as though you knew. Research helps people understand what they are debating and why. Do you know how to research?

    Do you know what “National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA ” is, or what they believe? See post 195.

  • aletheist

    Grace@194: For John@193 to be wrong, Acts 8:37 would have to appear in at least one Eastern manuscript, or in a Western manuscript dated prior to about 550 AD. It has nothing to do with the content of that verse, just whether it shows up in “the best and oldest manuscripts,” as you have claimed. Can you point us to such a manuscript? Oh, and I have noted more than once that this verse does not refute the Lutheran doctrine of baptism anyway.

    Grace@195: That does not tell me where you got all of those numbers of alleged changes, which is what I requested.

  • aletheist

    Grace@194: For John@193 to be wrong, Acts 8:37 would have to appear in at least one Eastern manuscript, or in a Western manuscript dated prior to about 550 AD. It has nothing to do with the content of that verse, just whether it shows up in “the best and oldest manuscripts,” as you have claimed. Can you point us to such a manuscript? Oh, and I have noted more than once that this verse does not refute the Lutheran doctrine of baptism anyway.

    Grace@195: That does not tell me where you got all of those numbers of alleged changes, which is what I requested.

  • Grace

    aletheist,

    After all your debate, you don’t know how to research or find the answers? I don’t believe you will understand, until you do a bit of digging, it takes time, but that’s how you learn.

    YOU WROTE: “Oh, and I have noted more than once that this verse does not refute the Lutheran doctrine of baptism anyway.”

    Oh yes it does – one has to BELIEVE, before they are Baptized. That doesn’t agree with many Lutherans. Maybe you haven’t been around when this discussion, regarding the Eunuch has come up. It’s been discussed many times here on this blog.

  • Grace

    aletheist,

    After all your debate, you don’t know how to research or find the answers? I don’t believe you will understand, until you do a bit of digging, it takes time, but that’s how you learn.

    YOU WROTE: “Oh, and I have noted more than once that this verse does not refute the Lutheran doctrine of baptism anyway.”

    Oh yes it does – one has to BELIEVE, before they are Baptized. That doesn’t agree with many Lutherans. Maybe you haven’t been around when this discussion, regarding the Eunuch has come up. It’s been discussed many times here on this blog.

  • Larry

    The Word of God defends itself quite plainly. For example Acts 2:37-39 is plain and needs no elaboration, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.

    Or Saul now Paul the apostle, in Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

    Or Galatians 3:27, “or all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    Or Romans 6:3 where the apostle Paul speaks plainly, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

    Or 1 Peter 3:21, “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    Note that the symbolizing sign water was the baptism of Noah and his family, the type to the archtype of NT Christian baptism. And Peter says that just as in the symbol baptism of Noah in the OT the eight were saved, BAPTISM now SAVES you also. How? Not washing dirt from the body as normal water does but the pledge of the clear or cleansed conscience toward God (i.e. forgiveness given just as Acts 2 states), it SAVES YOU Peter repeats a SECOND time and adds to it not just the forgiveness of sin as though that were not enough! But by the resurrection of Jesus Christ as Paul also points out in Romans 6 and other places!

    Or what about this great text and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8? The eunuch was reading the OT prophet Isaiah and without the modern use of chapter and verse and asks, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then, “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”

    Or 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Paul says baptized by one Spirit, i.e. baptized by God Himself!

    Or when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-3, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Here Paul points out, liken it to us, that they were ALL baptized, this clearly includes the children and only the poisoned mind and granite heart cannot see this!

    But what about the “great gun of the Baptist”, this passage in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian eunuch? This eunuch a nation person a gentile heretofore outside of the salvation of Israel reading? What prompted him to BE baptized? We find, in our chapter and verse system it is Isaiah around chapters 53 & 54. And what does it say whereby the Eunuch hears and wants baptism, what was the prophesy that MUST be fulfilled lest it be false? The passages are CLEARLY speaking of Christ and what is Christ doing?

    We read: “See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness — so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

    “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. Several obvious points here. The eunuch is a nation person, a gentile outside of the nation Israel heretofore. Christ has come to fulfill the prophecy that would go out to the nations, the gentiles, who this very eunuch IS! And the eunuch reads “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations” and the eunuch asks who is this? And Phillip preaches Christ to him the nation person, the eunuch. And the eunuch has just read that ok then this person, Jesus, what will He do? Why He Jesus will sprinkle many nations, the eunuch is a nation person. Note here it says Jesus will be doing the sprinkling and here we read it is sprinkling, not men’s works but Jesus works, God is sprinkling the nations of whom the eunuch IS! For he the eunuch just read “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. Whose work is it? Jesus, God’s and he will be doing it to many nations of whom the eunuch is. And what then does the eunuch ask? Does he say go and find me God or Jesus to baptize me? No he says, “here is water what prevents me from being baptized!” For he just read, “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. And when Phillip baptized him the eunuch does not turn his head down cast thinking, ‘tis only this man Phillip baptizing me I need God to do it’. No he skips and dances away rejoicing because it is what he read “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations” and Phillip did it in the stead of Christ and just like Saul and the promise in Acts 2 his sins were washed away, forgiveness was given him and that is why he dances and skips away REJOICING. No verse is more against Baptist religion than this very verse and it is crystal clear!

    It is all too clear that two different spirits, not mere opinions, is at work here. On one hand is declared a God and Christ that did say these things and did not say “this is My body/blood…given/shed for the forgiveness of sins”, another Christ and God that said “represents”, “symbolizes” and such. But this is not the Christ confessed, proclaimed, preached and taught in the Lutheran confessions (assuming the individual churches remain true to their confessions). No this is another god, another christ, another gospel, another spirit plain and simple. A different type of god being proclaimed.

    Justification by faith alone was the theme of the Lutheran Reformation. Robin Leaver writes, “From the time of this experience whenever it was the doctrine of justification by faith alone became his controlling principle”.

    For Luther, justification began as an objective fact. IN other words, the basis for his hope was not that Christ justified Martin Luther by faith, but that God justified the entire world before anyone actually received the benefit of Christ’s work by faith. In discussing the 5th petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Large Catechism he says, “This is why there is great need here again to pray and cry: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not that He does not forgive sin even without and before our prayer; for He has given us the gospel, in which there is nothing but forgiveness, even before we prayed for it or ever thought about it. What we are concerned about in this petition is that we may recognize and accept this forgiveness.”

    This is not universalism as that term is understood today. Luther wrote, “Christ did indeed suffer for the whole world; but how many are there who believe and cherish this fact? Therefore, although the work of redemption itself has been accomplished, it still cannot help and benefit a man unless he believes it.”

    Luther’s entire theology centered in the teachings of the gospel of God’s justification of the world. Faith lays hold of the fact of Chris’s message of forgiveness: “Christ came for my sake, in order to free me from the Law, not only from the guilt of sin but also from the power of the Law. If you are able to say yes to this, you have what is called faith.”

    Even when Luther speaks of Christ being ‘in us’ he has in mind the work that Christ did “FOR US”. For Luther, when Christ comes to live within us, it is to lead us to faith in what he has done FOR US. He wrote, “Faith justifies because it apprehends and possesses this Treasure, to wit, the present Christ….Therefore Christ, apprehended by faith and dwelling in the heart, is Christian righteousness, for the sake of which God considers (reputat) us just and gives us eternal life. Here there certainly is no work of the Law, no love, but a righteousness different by far and a kind of the new world, outside and above the Law.”

    …Whereas Luther’s religion centered on his desire to find a gracious God, Calvin’s religion-without denying that forgiveness is important-centered on a desire to become holy.”

    Angelican writer Alister McGrath, who clearly states the point I’m trying to make:

    “It will, however, be clear that Calvin is actually concerned not so much with justification, as with incorporation into Christ (which has, as one of its necessary consequences, justification). It is this point which goes some considerable way towards explaining the lack of importance which Calvin appears to attach to justification in the 1559 Institutio. It is a well known fact that, in the 1559 edition of this work, Calvin defers his discussion of justification until Book III, and it is then found only after a detailed exposition of sanctification. This has proved a serious embarrassment to those who project Luther’s concern with the articulus justificationis on to Calvin, asserting that justification is the “focal centre” of the Institutio. In fact, Calvin’s concern is with the manner in which the individual is incorporated into Christ, and the personal and corporate consequences of this insitio in Christum- of which justification is but one.”

    …While Calvin had a high regard for God’s sovereign grace, his emphasis on grace being an infused quality (i.e. Roman scholasticism), in my opinion, was conducive for the future Arminian emphasis. Arminianism asserts that natural man has a certain indwelling desire to become righteous; the decision “to receive Christ into him” brings man the sought after infusion of virtue.” –“Law and Gospel: Foundation of Lutheran Ministry”, Robert J. Koester.

  • Larry

    The Word of God defends itself quite plainly. For example Acts 2:37-39 is plain and needs no elaboration, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.

    Or Saul now Paul the apostle, in Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

    Or Galatians 3:27, “or all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    Or Romans 6:3 where the apostle Paul speaks plainly, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

    Or 1 Peter 3:21, “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    Note that the symbolizing sign water was the baptism of Noah and his family, the type to the archtype of NT Christian baptism. And Peter says that just as in the symbol baptism of Noah in the OT the eight were saved, BAPTISM now SAVES you also. How? Not washing dirt from the body as normal water does but the pledge of the clear or cleansed conscience toward God (i.e. forgiveness given just as Acts 2 states), it SAVES YOU Peter repeats a SECOND time and adds to it not just the forgiveness of sin as though that were not enough! But by the resurrection of Jesus Christ as Paul also points out in Romans 6 and other places!

    Or what about this great text and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8? The eunuch was reading the OT prophet Isaiah and without the modern use of chapter and verse and asks, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then, “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”

    Or 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Paul says baptized by one Spirit, i.e. baptized by God Himself!

    Or when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-3, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Here Paul points out, liken it to us, that they were ALL baptized, this clearly includes the children and only the poisoned mind and granite heart cannot see this!

    But what about the “great gun of the Baptist”, this passage in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian eunuch? This eunuch a nation person a gentile heretofore outside of the salvation of Israel reading? What prompted him to BE baptized? We find, in our chapter and verse system it is Isaiah around chapters 53 & 54. And what does it say whereby the Eunuch hears and wants baptism, what was the prophesy that MUST be fulfilled lest it be false? The passages are CLEARLY speaking of Christ and what is Christ doing?

    We read: “See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness — so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

    “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. Several obvious points here. The eunuch is a nation person, a gentile outside of the nation Israel heretofore. Christ has come to fulfill the prophecy that would go out to the nations, the gentiles, who this very eunuch IS! And the eunuch reads “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations” and the eunuch asks who is this? And Phillip preaches Christ to him the nation person, the eunuch. And the eunuch has just read that ok then this person, Jesus, what will He do? Why He Jesus will sprinkle many nations, the eunuch is a nation person. Note here it says Jesus will be doing the sprinkling and here we read it is sprinkling, not men’s works but Jesus works, God is sprinkling the nations of whom the eunuch IS! For he the eunuch just read “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. Whose work is it? Jesus, God’s and he will be doing it to many nations of whom the eunuch is. And what then does the eunuch ask? Does he say go and find me God or Jesus to baptize me? No he says, “here is water what prevents me from being baptized!” For he just read, “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations”. And when Phillip baptized him the eunuch does not turn his head down cast thinking, ‘tis only this man Phillip baptizing me I need God to do it’. No he skips and dances away rejoicing because it is what he read “so he (Jesus) will sprinkle many nations” and Phillip did it in the stead of Christ and just like Saul and the promise in Acts 2 his sins were washed away, forgiveness was given him and that is why he dances and skips away REJOICING. No verse is more against Baptist religion than this very verse and it is crystal clear!

    It is all too clear that two different spirits, not mere opinions, is at work here. On one hand is declared a God and Christ that did say these things and did not say “this is My body/blood…given/shed for the forgiveness of sins”, another Christ and God that said “represents”, “symbolizes” and such. But this is not the Christ confessed, proclaimed, preached and taught in the Lutheran confessions (assuming the individual churches remain true to their confessions). No this is another god, another christ, another gospel, another spirit plain and simple. A different type of god being proclaimed.

    Justification by faith alone was the theme of the Lutheran Reformation. Robin Leaver writes, “From the time of this experience whenever it was the doctrine of justification by faith alone became his controlling principle”.

    For Luther, justification began as an objective fact. IN other words, the basis for his hope was not that Christ justified Martin Luther by faith, but that God justified the entire world before anyone actually received the benefit of Christ’s work by faith. In discussing the 5th petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Large Catechism he says, “This is why there is great need here again to pray and cry: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not that He does not forgive sin even without and before our prayer; for He has given us the gospel, in which there is nothing but forgiveness, even before we prayed for it or ever thought about it. What we are concerned about in this petition is that we may recognize and accept this forgiveness.”

    This is not universalism as that term is understood today. Luther wrote, “Christ did indeed suffer for the whole world; but how many are there who believe and cherish this fact? Therefore, although the work of redemption itself has been accomplished, it still cannot help and benefit a man unless he believes it.”

    Luther’s entire theology centered in the teachings of the gospel of God’s justification of the world. Faith lays hold of the fact of Chris’s message of forgiveness: “Christ came for my sake, in order to free me from the Law, not only from the guilt of sin but also from the power of the Law. If you are able to say yes to this, you have what is called faith.”

    Even when Luther speaks of Christ being ‘in us’ he has in mind the work that Christ did “FOR US”. For Luther, when Christ comes to live within us, it is to lead us to faith in what he has done FOR US. He wrote, “Faith justifies because it apprehends and possesses this Treasure, to wit, the present Christ….Therefore Christ, apprehended by faith and dwelling in the heart, is Christian righteousness, for the sake of which God considers (reputat) us just and gives us eternal life. Here there certainly is no work of the Law, no love, but a righteousness different by far and a kind of the new world, outside and above the Law.”

    …Whereas Luther’s religion centered on his desire to find a gracious God, Calvin’s religion-without denying that forgiveness is important-centered on a desire to become holy.”

    Angelican writer Alister McGrath, who clearly states the point I’m trying to make:

    “It will, however, be clear that Calvin is actually concerned not so much with justification, as with incorporation into Christ (which has, as one of its necessary consequences, justification). It is this point which goes some considerable way towards explaining the lack of importance which Calvin appears to attach to justification in the 1559 Institutio. It is a well known fact that, in the 1559 edition of this work, Calvin defers his discussion of justification until Book III, and it is then found only after a detailed exposition of sanctification. This has proved a serious embarrassment to those who project Luther’s concern with the articulus justificationis on to Calvin, asserting that justification is the “focal centre” of the Institutio. In fact, Calvin’s concern is with the manner in which the individual is incorporated into Christ, and the personal and corporate consequences of this insitio in Christum- of which justification is but one.”

    …While Calvin had a high regard for God’s sovereign grace, his emphasis on grace being an infused quality (i.e. Roman scholasticism), in my opinion, was conducive for the future Arminian emphasis. Arminianism asserts that natural man has a certain indwelling desire to become righteous; the decision “to receive Christ into him” brings man the sought after infusion of virtue.” –“Law and Gospel: Foundation of Lutheran Ministry”, Robert J. Koester.

  • aletheist

    Grace@199: There you go again, making unfounded assumptions. Sure, I can do research, but why should I bother if you will not even back up the very specific claims that you have made here? A quick Google search led me to http://www.av1611.org/kjv/ESV_Fruit.html, confirming my suspicion that this is all about adhering exclusively to the King James Version, or at least to the Textus Receptus, a position that I find untenable.

    I guess that you missed my earlier comments about the eunuch. According to Acts 8:37, Philip told him that he could be baptized if he believed with all his heart. This does not entail that no one may be baptized unless he or she already believes. It is an account of one particular case, not a universal prescription.

  • aletheist

    Grace@199: There you go again, making unfounded assumptions. Sure, I can do research, but why should I bother if you will not even back up the very specific claims that you have made here? A quick Google search led me to http://www.av1611.org/kjv/ESV_Fruit.html, confirming my suspicion that this is all about adhering exclusively to the King James Version, or at least to the Textus Receptus, a position that I find untenable.

    I guess that you missed my earlier comments about the eunuch. According to Acts 8:37, Philip told him that he could be baptized if he believed with all his heart. This does not entail that no one may be baptized unless he or she already believes. It is an account of one particular case, not a universal prescription.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace @ 149 – Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote. At least in every ESV version of the Bible, it actually skips from 8:36 right to 8:38. It is probably still included in KJV or some others. Aletheist was absolutely correct to note that it is a footnoted verse, and not even in the same manner as the Gospel account of the stoning of the adulteress, which appears to be part of one of the other Gospels (Luke I believe being the favorite contender).

  • SKPeterson

    Grace @ 149 – Acts 8:37 is placed in a footnote. At least in every ESV version of the Bible, it actually skips from 8:36 right to 8:38. It is probably still included in KJV or some others. Aletheist was absolutely correct to note that it is a footnoted verse, and not even in the same manner as the Gospel account of the stoning of the adulteress, which appears to be part of one of the other Gospels (Luke I believe being the favorite contender).

  • Pete

    Sorry to backrack so far up the thread but reg @160 beat me up for citing an analogy between baptism and circumcision. If any of you theologically astute types are still looking at this thread, am I wrong? Isn’t there a correspondence between an act applied to children in the OT that brought them into God’s chosen nation and an act applied to children in the NT that brings them into His heavenly Kingdom?

  • Pete

    Sorry to backrack so far up the thread but reg @160 beat me up for citing an analogy between baptism and circumcision. If any of you theologically astute types are still looking at this thread, am I wrong? Isn’t there a correspondence between an act applied to children in the OT that brought them into God’s chosen nation and an act applied to children in the NT that brings them into His heavenly Kingdom?

  • SKPeterson
  • SKPeterson
  • SKPeterson

    Upshot: Acts 8:37 is a creedal formulation, a central doctrine of the faith, not an argument against infant baptism. It’s use in the early Church was as a catechetical instruction for adult converts.

    To a great extent over the last 2000 years, most of the Church has held to the following practices: infants – baptism, then instruction; adults – instruction, then baptism. However, there have been many periods and places in which it has been the practice of Preach (Word), Baptize (Word), Instruct (What Does This Mean?), or Baptize, Preach, Instruct. I would argue that many of our northern European forebears followed the Baptize, Preach, Instruct model of conversion. All of the various methods and means are valid because the promises of God made manifest in Baptism are trustworthy.

  • SKPeterson

    Upshot: Acts 8:37 is a creedal formulation, a central doctrine of the faith, not an argument against infant baptism. It’s use in the early Church was as a catechetical instruction for adult converts.

    To a great extent over the last 2000 years, most of the Church has held to the following practices: infants – baptism, then instruction; adults – instruction, then baptism. However, there have been many periods and places in which it has been the practice of Preach (Word), Baptize (Word), Instruct (What Does This Mean?), or Baptize, Preach, Instruct. I would argue that many of our northern European forebears followed the Baptize, Preach, Instruct model of conversion. All of the various methods and means are valid because the promises of God made manifest in Baptism are trustworthy.

  • aletheist

    I have tried to post another comment here several times, without success. The last time, when I tried copying and pasting the exact same text, I got a message saying that my comment appeared to be a duplicate; so it seems to be in the system somewhere, but is not being displayed. Does anyone know what is going on here?

  • aletheist

    I have tried to post another comment here several times, without success. The last time, when I tried copying and pasting the exact same text, I got a message saying that my comment appeared to be a duplicate; so it seems to be in the system somewhere, but is not being displayed. Does anyone know what is going on here?

  • aletheist

    Trying again . . .

    Grace@199: Of course I know how to do research, but why should I bother if you will not even back up the very specific claims that you have made here? A quick online search confirmed my suspicion that this is all about adhering exclusively to the King James Version, or at least to the Textus Receptus. I am already familiar with that debate and find such a position untenable. This is not to say that the KJV and TR should be discarded; just that they should not be considered the default text, such that any deviations–no matter how well-grounded in other manuscripts, especially older manuscripts–are regarded as somehow changing Scripture itself.

    I guess that you missed my previous comments about the Ethiopian eunuch. According to Acts 8:37, Philip told him that he could be baptized if he believed with all his heart. This does not entail that everyone must believe (and say so) prior to being baptized. It is an account of a particular instance, not a universal prescription. Furthermore, an adult who is baptized in a Lutheran church today will typically receive instruction and make a profession of faith (Apostles’ Creed) beforehand, so there really is no issue here.

  • aletheist

    Trying again . . .

    Grace@199: Of course I know how to do research, but why should I bother if you will not even back up the very specific claims that you have made here? A quick online search confirmed my suspicion that this is all about adhering exclusively to the King James Version, or at least to the Textus Receptus. I am already familiar with that debate and find such a position untenable. This is not to say that the KJV and TR should be discarded; just that they should not be considered the default text, such that any deviations–no matter how well-grounded in other manuscripts, especially older manuscripts–are regarded as somehow changing Scripture itself.

    I guess that you missed my previous comments about the Ethiopian eunuch. According to Acts 8:37, Philip told him that he could be baptized if he believed with all his heart. This does not entail that everyone must believe (and say so) prior to being baptized. It is an account of a particular instance, not a universal prescription. Furthermore, an adult who is baptized in a Lutheran church today will typically receive instruction and make a profession of faith (Apostles’ Creed) beforehand, so there really is no issue here.

  • aletheist

    Okay, apparently the problem was that I was trying to provide a link; when I took that out, my comment appeared as soon as I submitted it. Others have included links in their comments, including SKPeterson@203, so I do not understand why mine was a problem. I wanted to indicate where I found Grace’s numbers–an article called “The Fruit of the ESV” on the website of Dial-the-Truth Ministries.

  • aletheist

    Okay, apparently the problem was that I was trying to provide a link; when I took that out, my comment appeared as soon as I submitted it. Others have included links in their comments, including SKPeterson@203, so I do not understand why mine was a problem. I wanted to indicate where I found Grace’s numbers–an article called “The Fruit of the ESV” on the website of Dial-the-Truth Ministries.

  • kerner

    According to biblegateway.com, the NIV puts Acts 8:37 in a footnote as well. Which I never noticed till now.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%208&version=NIV

  • kerner

    According to biblegateway.com, the NIV puts Acts 8:37 in a footnote as well. Which I never noticed till now.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%208&version=NIV

  • SKPeterson

    I have found some on-line commentaries (apparently from the “The KJV is the only translation of the Bible” crowd aletheist notes) that lists the ESV, the NASB, the RSV, the OEV, and several others as all having “corrupted” or “bastardized” the text by relegating 8:37 to a footnote. Particularly evil are the Orthodox and Catholics who obviously did this for reasons of spreading their pernicious falsities throughout Christendom. Or something to that effect.

    BTW aletheist – no idea what might have happened to your post. I’ve had some go oddball in the past – sometimes due to a “blocked” choice of terminology. I once made a comment using the phrase “doubled-down” and it was blocked since it was a gambling term. There might be something in your post of the attachment that is violating the censor settings. Todd can usually clear it up – if he checks the thread.

  • SKPeterson

    I have found some on-line commentaries (apparently from the “The KJV is the only translation of the Bible” crowd aletheist notes) that lists the ESV, the NASB, the RSV, the OEV, and several others as all having “corrupted” or “bastardized” the text by relegating 8:37 to a footnote. Particularly evil are the Orthodox and Catholics who obviously did this for reasons of spreading their pernicious falsities throughout Christendom. Or something to that effect.

    BTW aletheist – no idea what might have happened to your post. I’ve had some go oddball in the past – sometimes due to a “blocked” choice of terminology. I once made a comment using the phrase “doubled-down” and it was blocked since it was a gambling term. There might be something in your post of the attachment that is violating the censor settings. Todd can usually clear it up – if he checks the thread.

  • aletheist

    SKPeterson@209: Grace seems to feel that way about Martin Luther, even though he used the TR for his landmark translation of the Bible into German, so it includes Acts 8:37.

    It would be nice if the system would tell us when it blocks something, rather than just hiding the comment and pretending that it was never submitted. The link must have been the problem in this case, because I just tried to post it again, without success.

  • aletheist

    SKPeterson@209: Grace seems to feel that way about Martin Luther, even though he used the TR for his landmark translation of the Bible into German, so it includes Acts 8:37.

    It would be nice if the system would tell us when it blocks something, rather than just hiding the comment and pretending that it was never submitted. The link must have been the problem in this case, because I just tried to post it again, without success.

  • SKPeterson

    We used to have problems whenever we discusses “socialism” for example. If you remove the “so” and the “m” you get a certain drug, which didn’t pass censorious muster. It was cleaned up, but it often has to be modified on a case-by-case basis.

  • SKPeterson

    We used to have problems whenever we discusses “socialism” for example. If you remove the “so” and the “m” you get a certain drug, which didn’t pass censorious muster. It was cleaned up, but it often has to be modified on a case-by-case basis.

  • aletheist

    Okay, one more try, just because I am stubborn:
    www dot av1611 dot org slash kjv slash ESV_fruit.html

  • aletheist

    Okay, one more try, just because I am stubborn:
    www dot av1611 dot org slash kjv slash ESV_fruit.html

  • Stephen

    The Nestle-Aland Greek NT which is used for making translations and contains all the current extent texts available for its sources continues to put Acts 8:37 in the footnotes.

    The question is not always about the age of a text either. Sometimes it has to do with what became the canon. Texts like Sinaticus B from the 4th century, a complete text of the NT discovered in the 19th c., is considered to be more authoritative than certain earlier fragments that have variant readings, for one thing, because it is a complete text.

    The reason to include verse 37 as a footnote is to inform the translators of its existence in certain fragments. That fragment may have been older, but not as widely accepted and distributed among other, more complete texts like Sinaticus. These are just some of the variables at work when a translation is done.

    Read up on the Tischendorf manuscripts and how that stirred things up in the 19th c. Bruce Metzger’s books are good. He’s the editor of the NRSV. The “textus receptus” crowd that only reads the KJV really started in the 19th c. when new manuscripts were being discovered and made public.

    Anyway, the upshot is that this verse is not authoritative because it is questionable as to whether it really belongs in the canon at all.

  • Stephen

    The Nestle-Aland Greek NT which is used for making translations and contains all the current extent texts available for its sources continues to put Acts 8:37 in the footnotes.

    The question is not always about the age of a text either. Sometimes it has to do with what became the canon. Texts like Sinaticus B from the 4th century, a complete text of the NT discovered in the 19th c., is considered to be more authoritative than certain earlier fragments that have variant readings, for one thing, because it is a complete text.

    The reason to include verse 37 as a footnote is to inform the translators of its existence in certain fragments. That fragment may have been older, but not as widely accepted and distributed among other, more complete texts like Sinaticus. These are just some of the variables at work when a translation is done.

    Read up on the Tischendorf manuscripts and how that stirred things up in the 19th c. Bruce Metzger’s books are good. He’s the editor of the NRSV. The “textus receptus” crowd that only reads the KJV really started in the 19th c. when new manuscripts were being discovered and made public.

    Anyway, the upshot is that this verse is not authoritative because it is questionable as to whether it really belongs in the canon at all.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@213: That is an interesting way of approaching the issue. Can you recommend any good sources (preferably online) linking the authoritativeness of particular manuscripts with the development of the canon?

  • aletheist

    Stephen@213: That is an interesting way of approaching the issue. Can you recommend any good sources (preferably online) linking the authoritativeness of particular manuscripts with the development of the canon?

  • reg

    Aletheist @212,
    That site has some truly wacky stuff. Not just the KJV only view. Check out the linked site 666 watch- really weird dispensational stuff.

  • reg

    Aletheist @212,
    That site has some truly wacky stuff. Not just the KJV only view. Check out the linked site 666 watch- really weird dispensational stuff.

  • Stephen

    aletheist

    I googled Nestle Aland and found:

    http://www.ntgateway.com/greek-ntgateway/greek-new-testament-texts/

    Lots of stuff on the above for links. And there’s this:

    http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/start/wiss-bibelausgaben/griechisches-nt/nestle-aland/

    You can look up any book, chapter, verse in the current NA. On this site it plainly shows that verse 37 is left out of the body of the text. This site is in German.

    I would suggest finding Bruce Metzger’s “The Text of the New Testament.” It’s pricey, but I think if you looked around you might find it used. It’s a standard text for NT students at many seminaries. But you are also wading into dicey territory. This is a foot in the door of the the stuff that blew up in St. Louis in the 70s. Approach with caution.

    When I get home today I’ll look at the variant readings in the editions I have, one of which is from the 50s, and tell you what I find.

    If you really want to get into it, buy a Nestle Aland for yourself. There is a Greek English one available. Buy it new or make sure that if you buy it used it has all the extra inserts. These are charts of all the extent texts of the NT to date, where they are kept, etc. I believe it is in its 27th edition now. 28th should be coming. I’m somewhat out of the loop these days. There are still new manuscripts being discovered/worked on. Go here for that stuff:

    http://www.csntm.org/

  • Stephen

    aletheist

    I googled Nestle Aland and found:

    http://www.ntgateway.com/greek-ntgateway/greek-new-testament-texts/

    Lots of stuff on the above for links. And there’s this:

    http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/start/wiss-bibelausgaben/griechisches-nt/nestle-aland/

    You can look up any book, chapter, verse in the current NA. On this site it plainly shows that verse 37 is left out of the body of the text. This site is in German.

    I would suggest finding Bruce Metzger’s “The Text of the New Testament.” It’s pricey, but I think if you looked around you might find it used. It’s a standard text for NT students at many seminaries. But you are also wading into dicey territory. This is a foot in the door of the the stuff that blew up in St. Louis in the 70s. Approach with caution.

    When I get home today I’ll look at the variant readings in the editions I have, one of which is from the 50s, and tell you what I find.

    If you really want to get into it, buy a Nestle Aland for yourself. There is a Greek English one available. Buy it new or make sure that if you buy it used it has all the extra inserts. These are charts of all the extent texts of the NT to date, where they are kept, etc. I believe it is in its 27th edition now. 28th should be coming. I’m somewhat out of the loop these days. There are still new manuscripts being discovered/worked on. Go here for that stuff:

    http://www.csntm.org/

  • aletheist

    Stephen@216: I appreciate the links, but I was hoping to find something specifically addressing the classification of manuscript variations as “canonical” vs. “non-canonical.” I have already come across some stuff on the debate over which version of each New Testament book has the more valid claim to divine inspiration and authority, the autograph (which has always been my understanding) or the transmitted text (which seems to be advocated by some KJV/TR-only types).

  • aletheist

    Stephen@216: I appreciate the links, but I was hoping to find something specifically addressing the classification of manuscript variations as “canonical” vs. “non-canonical.” I have already come across some stuff on the debate over which version of each New Testament book has the more valid claim to divine inspiration and authority, the autograph (which has always been my understanding) or the transmitted text (which seems to be advocated by some KJV/TR-only types).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Note from the Blog Elf: I’ve restored one (out of, um, quite a few!) of the many attempts Aletheist made at writing that comment. It can be seen now at comment #201. Of course, that means that all the references to comment numbers between 202 and 217 are off now. Oh well.

    I can’t see any obvious reason for why the comment got put in the spam quarantine. This is boring stuff, but for those who want to know, Dr. Veith’s blog actually has two spam systems. There’s a fairly dumb one that just scans for any and all instances of words (even if they’re embedded in other words, as we all discovered with the whole “socialism/Cialis” fiasco), and there’s Akismet. The dumb one is fairly easily managed, and I’ve gone over it to remove any words that a person might reasonably say on this blog. So you should be able to say “double down” now, among other things.

    But Akismet is just a plugin that flags comments as spam based on a wide-net analysis that remains opaque to me and everyone else. Its data set appears to be most WordPress blogs, however.

    Anyhow, all I know is that Akismet flagged all of Aletheist’s comments with that URL in it — Akismet doesn’t tell me why. Maybe there are lots of KJV-only spammers on other blogs? Regardless, I marked all those comments as “not spam”, in the hopes of “training” Akismet accordingly. But I only released one of them from the spam queue, because they all seemed fairly similar.

    Sorry for your troubles.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Note from the Blog Elf: I’ve restored one (out of, um, quite a few!) of the many attempts Aletheist made at writing that comment. It can be seen now at comment #201. Of course, that means that all the references to comment numbers between 202 and 217 are off now. Oh well.

    I can’t see any obvious reason for why the comment got put in the spam quarantine. This is boring stuff, but for those who want to know, Dr. Veith’s blog actually has two spam systems. There’s a fairly dumb one that just scans for any and all instances of words (even if they’re embedded in other words, as we all discovered with the whole “socialism/Cialis” fiasco), and there’s Akismet. The dumb one is fairly easily managed, and I’ve gone over it to remove any words that a person might reasonably say on this blog. So you should be able to say “double down” now, among other things.

    But Akismet is just a plugin that flags comments as spam based on a wide-net analysis that remains opaque to me and everyone else. Its data set appears to be most WordPress blogs, however.

    Anyhow, all I know is that Akismet flagged all of Aletheist’s comments with that URL in it — Akismet doesn’t tell me why. Maybe there are lots of KJV-only spammers on other blogs? Regardless, I marked all those comments as “not spam”, in the hopes of “training” Akismet accordingly. But I only released one of them from the spam queue, because they all seemed fairly similar.

    Sorry for your troubles.

  • Stephen

    Hmmm, not sure what to tell for Internet resources. there’s not a simple answer to your question about the difference. Any time a translation is done there are these kinds of questions. in regards to this particular verse, the decision rests with the translator(s) based on the best sources. What the “best” sources are is where the rubber hits the road, and there are both scholarly criteria that have to do with how ancient manuscripts are studied, criteria that are historical, as well as other kinds of criteria based on prejudices and what we need the bible to be for us.

    The TR feels safe for people, but it is based on a narrow slice of available manuscripts. As I said, this goes back to the 19th c. when new manuscripts began to pop up because scholars developed and interest in the bible as historical artifact – hence, they hunted down other manuscripts. It’s not that these manuscripts were never used, they just were not widely known or distributed. But using the tools of historical research, they can be judged as better sources on a number of criteria such as I described. These have been used in most of the newer translations and their use is widely accepted as “canonical.” Not sure what Pieper would say.

    Not sure I am answering your question. I’ll go over my books and see what I can come up with. “The Bible in Modern Culture” by two of my former teachers, Roy Harrisville and Wlater Sundberg could also be helpful in understanding this stuff.

  • Stephen

    Hmmm, not sure what to tell for Internet resources. there’s not a simple answer to your question about the difference. Any time a translation is done there are these kinds of questions. in regards to this particular verse, the decision rests with the translator(s) based on the best sources. What the “best” sources are is where the rubber hits the road, and there are both scholarly criteria that have to do with how ancient manuscripts are studied, criteria that are historical, as well as other kinds of criteria based on prejudices and what we need the bible to be for us.

    The TR feels safe for people, but it is based on a narrow slice of available manuscripts. As I said, this goes back to the 19th c. when new manuscripts began to pop up because scholars developed and interest in the bible as historical artifact – hence, they hunted down other manuscripts. It’s not that these manuscripts were never used, they just were not widely known or distributed. But using the tools of historical research, they can be judged as better sources on a number of criteria such as I described. These have been used in most of the newer translations and their use is widely accepted as “canonical.” Not sure what Pieper would say.

    Not sure I am answering your question. I’ll go over my books and see what I can come up with. “The Bible in Modern Culture” by two of my former teachers, Roy Harrisville and Wlater Sundberg could also be helpful in understanding this stuff.

  • aletheist

    tODD@219: Thanks. I actually managed to post everything that I had wanted to say in #207, and even snuck in the URL in #213.

    Stephen@220: What caught my attention was your comment in #214 that Acts 8:37 “is not authoritative because it is questionable as to whether it really belongs in the canon at all.” One of the Roman Catholic arguments against sola scriptura is the notion that a separate institutional authority is required to establish what does and does not qualify as Scripture–both the overall list of books and the resolution of inconsistencies among extant manuscripts. If as Protestants we take the position that the canon emerged early, long before it was formally confirmed in the late fourth century, then which version of each book do we identify as the one that was canonized? Furthermore, are confessional Lutherans bound to the particular version that was in use at the time when the Book of Concord was compiled (TR)?

    This is not to say that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the Word of God. None of the variations, numerous though they may be, ultimately affects the overall doctrinal content of the New Testament. However, I find this to be an interesting wrinkle and would like to ponder it further.

  • aletheist

    tODD@219: Thanks. I actually managed to post everything that I had wanted to say in #207, and even snuck in the URL in #213.

    Stephen@220: What caught my attention was your comment in #214 that Acts 8:37 “is not authoritative because it is questionable as to whether it really belongs in the canon at all.” One of the Roman Catholic arguments against sola scriptura is the notion that a separate institutional authority is required to establish what does and does not qualify as Scripture–both the overall list of books and the resolution of inconsistencies among extant manuscripts. If as Protestants we take the position that the canon emerged early, long before it was formally confirmed in the late fourth century, then which version of each book do we identify as the one that was canonized? Furthermore, are confessional Lutherans bound to the particular version that was in use at the time when the Book of Concord was compiled (TR)?

    This is not to say that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the Word of God. None of the variations, numerous though they may be, ultimately affects the overall doctrinal content of the New Testament. However, I find this to be an interesting wrinkle and would like to ponder it further.

  • fws

    altheist @ 221 responding to stephen @ 220

    stephen will give you more on this, but here is the deal:

    The Church did not create the Scriptures.
    The Scriptures created the Church.

    So Lutherans h0nor the canonization process, but they don’t canonize that process! It is as Lutherans treat all other traditions. They must be tested by the Word of God. Reformed and people like Grace are accepting good Roman Catholic dogma on what is or is not to be included in Scriptures.

    Luther actually originally arranged his new testament in order of how reliably we can include the books of the NT into the canon.

    I hope stephen talks about the homolegomenous and antelegomenous books and why that historical distinction came to be.

  • fws

    altheist @ 221 responding to stephen @ 220

    stephen will give you more on this, but here is the deal:

    The Church did not create the Scriptures.
    The Scriptures created the Church.

    So Lutherans h0nor the canonization process, but they don’t canonize that process! It is as Lutherans treat all other traditions. They must be tested by the Word of God. Reformed and people like Grace are accepting good Roman Catholic dogma on what is or is not to be included in Scriptures.

    Luther actually originally arranged his new testament in order of how reliably we can include the books of the NT into the canon.

    I hope stephen talks about the homolegomenous and antelegomenous books and why that historical distinction came to be.

  • Stephen

    Those are great questions and I will own that statement. Others might disagree, such as those who are married to the TR. Which brings up the second question. I think you answer it in your last paragraph. You describe it precisely. It is a wrinkle to ponder. For some it is deeply troubling though. For me, it brings the text to life. I don’t think sola scriptura implies that things be chiseled in stone. And by the same token, I think there are things we can say definitively about the text of the bible. Not everything is up for grabs, not by a long shot.

    Another example. Romans 5:1 is usually translated as “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” But it could just as easily be translated “we may/might have peace with God” based on variant readings which have pretty much the same weight historically. However, tradition takes precedence here and it is usually rendered “we have peace” even though from one edition of the NA to the other it changes.

    In some of these particulars it is a question of degree. The last half of Mark 16 remains in the body of the text even though it is an obvious later addition. Again, tradition trumps though it is usually noted in many translations that this part is suspect. Acts 8:37 gets footnoted. Why is that? I suspect the sources for it really do not stack up at all, but because it was part of the Western tradition there is a compulsion to have it in there somewhere. So there are levels you might say. As a whole, we do not flatten the scriptures out making every word have the same value as every other. Context has meaning, and in this case, there is a context of extent manuscripts with variant readings. Ultimately, decisions need to be made. It’s why we need trained theologians, biblical scholars and pastors. I think that is different than the demand that institutional church authorities must “control” what is an isn’t bible.

    I wish I knew more about Luther’s bible. It does seem he had some issues with the canon but eventually caved in for the sake of peace. That makes sense. If you read his introductions to his works, he regrets every having to write a lot of things. He seems to regret he caused so much trouble.

    I may be naive, but I don’t think anyone working in the field of NT studies no matter how liberal wants to discredit the bible per se. They really do want to know the truth about how the scriptures came to be. The fact is that when we read the scriptures in our own language there are a number of factors that have come into play, and continue to do so, to give us the text we are reading. God will make the best of it for our purposes.

  • Stephen

    Those are great questions and I will own that statement. Others might disagree, such as those who are married to the TR. Which brings up the second question. I think you answer it in your last paragraph. You describe it precisely. It is a wrinkle to ponder. For some it is deeply troubling though. For me, it brings the text to life. I don’t think sola scriptura implies that things be chiseled in stone. And by the same token, I think there are things we can say definitively about the text of the bible. Not everything is up for grabs, not by a long shot.

    Another example. Romans 5:1 is usually translated as “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” But it could just as easily be translated “we may/might have peace with God” based on variant readings which have pretty much the same weight historically. However, tradition takes precedence here and it is usually rendered “we have peace” even though from one edition of the NA to the other it changes.

    In some of these particulars it is a question of degree. The last half of Mark 16 remains in the body of the text even though it is an obvious later addition. Again, tradition trumps though it is usually noted in many translations that this part is suspect. Acts 8:37 gets footnoted. Why is that? I suspect the sources for it really do not stack up at all, but because it was part of the Western tradition there is a compulsion to have it in there somewhere. So there are levels you might say. As a whole, we do not flatten the scriptures out making every word have the same value as every other. Context has meaning, and in this case, there is a context of extent manuscripts with variant readings. Ultimately, decisions need to be made. It’s why we need trained theologians, biblical scholars and pastors. I think that is different than the demand that institutional church authorities must “control” what is an isn’t bible.

    I wish I knew more about Luther’s bible. It does seem he had some issues with the canon but eventually caved in for the sake of peace. That makes sense. If you read his introductions to his works, he regrets every having to write a lot of things. He seems to regret he caused so much trouble.

    I may be naive, but I don’t think anyone working in the field of NT studies no matter how liberal wants to discredit the bible per se. They really do want to know the truth about how the scriptures came to be. The fact is that when we read the scriptures in our own language there are a number of factors that have come into play, and continue to do so, to give us the text we are reading. God will make the best of it for our purposes.

  • Stephen

    Frank,

    Maybe not what you expected, but it’s what I’ve got at the moment. I’ll check in tonight.

  • Stephen

    Frank,

    Maybe not what you expected, but it’s what I’ve got at the moment. I’ll check in tonight.

  • Stephen

    I will say that I wish more pastors preached from the Greek. WE could get a fuller sense of the text. When I was in seminary in the 90s, the assumption was that a pastor would take the pericope for each week, do their own translation (that is, study it properly in the original language) and then write their sermon. And that was in the ELCA!

  • Stephen

    I will say that I wish more pastors preached from the Greek. WE could get a fuller sense of the text. When I was in seminary in the 90s, the assumption was that a pastor would take the pericope for each week, do their own translation (that is, study it properly in the original language) and then write their sermon. And that was in the ELCA!

  • Stephen

    O heck I can’t stop . . .

    The Church did not create the Scriptures.
    The Scriptures created the Church.

    That’s really great! That is what we call a hermeneutic. And as the scriptures continue to be studied, the church will continue to be created. But the truth of them remains. The thing I saw when I began studying the NT in Greek was the way God actually works in history through people, even to bring us his written word.

    When Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

    Was he talking about his own writings too? Probably not, and I’ve heard the argument that this does not apply to the NT. But I disagree. The reason Paul is considered scripture and God’s truth is because it is in perfect concord with the rest of scripture, including the gospels which actually came after him as written texts. I’d sure like to know what he thought about those three days he was blind. But it is also true that his theology was birthed out of OT scripture and that Paul himself relied on oral tradition to inspire his writing too. Phil 2:5-11 is my favorite example. There is a passage in Eusebius from the 3rd c. that he actually preferred the oral tradition over the written one available at that time. Go figure. Maybe that is because the antilegomena were still in dispute and he found oral tradition more reliable and consistent. In my mind, the antilegomena are something like a secondary source, but that does not mean they are unreliable or uninspired. Personally, I think the term “inerrent” is unhelpful and not very useful. Too reified. That may disqualify me to some as confessional, but then that term was generated by fundamentalists attempting to build a hedge against modernity, or so they thought, and conservative Lutherans mostly signed on to that particular qualification.

    Preaching becomes scripture becomes church. And there is no kabal conspiring to pervert the scriptures. The curtain is torn. “God is on the loose” as one of my teachers put it. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against it.

  • Stephen

    O heck I can’t stop . . .

    The Church did not create the Scriptures.
    The Scriptures created the Church.

    That’s really great! That is what we call a hermeneutic. And as the scriptures continue to be studied, the church will continue to be created. But the truth of them remains. The thing I saw when I began studying the NT in Greek was the way God actually works in history through people, even to bring us his written word.

    When Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

    Was he talking about his own writings too? Probably not, and I’ve heard the argument that this does not apply to the NT. But I disagree. The reason Paul is considered scripture and God’s truth is because it is in perfect concord with the rest of scripture, including the gospels which actually came after him as written texts. I’d sure like to know what he thought about those three days he was blind. But it is also true that his theology was birthed out of OT scripture and that Paul himself relied on oral tradition to inspire his writing too. Phil 2:5-11 is my favorite example. There is a passage in Eusebius from the 3rd c. that he actually preferred the oral tradition over the written one available at that time. Go figure. Maybe that is because the antilegomena were still in dispute and he found oral tradition more reliable and consistent. In my mind, the antilegomena are something like a secondary source, but that does not mean they are unreliable or uninspired. Personally, I think the term “inerrent” is unhelpful and not very useful. Too reified. That may disqualify me to some as confessional, but then that term was generated by fundamentalists attempting to build a hedge against modernity, or so they thought, and conservative Lutherans mostly signed on to that particular qualification.

    Preaching becomes scripture becomes church. And there is no kabal conspiring to pervert the scriptures. The curtain is torn. “God is on the loose” as one of my teachers put it. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against it.

  • Grace

    I believe the material written below to be excellent.

    The blog below was written by brandplucked – member

    Proof that the ESV, NIV, NASB are “Catholic bibles”

    “So, what exactly is the primary basis for such modern bibles as the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Daniel Wallace’s NET versions etc? It’s is the United Bible Society’s ever changing and evolving “nothing is settled or sure” Greek text based primarily on the VATICANUS manuscript found in the Vatican library, and put out by a joint effort of Evangelicals and the Catholic Church! Hello? Is any body home? I like to call this ever changing Greek text used by many of today’s “No Bible is inerrant” crowd the Textus Corruptus.

    King James Bible defender David Cloud writes: “It is also important to note that there is no comparison between the situation with Erasmus and what we find in the field of modern textual criticism and the modern Bible versions today.

    Erasmus edited the Greek New Testament on his own. He was not doing that work in any official capacity in the Catholic Church nor did he have Rome’s backing but rather was criticized for it and his work was condemned in the strongest terms. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church has accepted modern textual criticism and the modern Bible versions with open arms. In 1965, Pope Paul VI authorized the publication of a new Latin Vulgate, with the Latin text conformed to the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome, p. 201). In 1987 a formal agreement was made between the Roman Catholic Church and the United Bible Societies that the critical Greek New Testament will be used for all future translations, both Catholic and Protestant (Guidelines for International Cooperation in Translating the Bible, Rome, 1987, p. 5). Most of the translations produced by the United Bible Societies are “interconfessional,” meaning they have Roman Catholic participation and backing.” (David Cloud)

    Guess which bible versions match the Catholic bibles today. Check out any modern Catholic bible version today like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 or the New Jerusalem bible 1985 and compare the following New Testament verses: Matthew 6:13 “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (gone), all of verses Matthew17:21 (gone), Matthew 18:11 (gone), Matthew 23:14 (gone), Mark 9:44, 46 (gone); Mark 11:26 (gone), Mark 15:28 (gone), Most of Luke 9:55-56 (gone) Luke 17:36 (gone), Luke 23:17 (gone) John 5:4 (gone), Acts 8:37 (gone), Acts 15:34 (gone), Acts 24:6 (gone), Acts 28:29 (gone), Romans 16:24 (gone) and 1 John 5:7-8 missing are the words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth”. Then check your modern versions like the NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the Jehovah Witness version called “The New World Translation”. Surprise! What’s missing? Why… it’s the same verses!”

    READ THE REST http://www.christianforums.com/t7575124/

    You also might read: Julian of York, post #2

    The facts presented above are most important – I believe both these indivduals explain the situation regarding the Roman Catholic Church, NIV,ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the Jehovah Wtinesses translation “The New World Translation” very well -

  • Grace

    I believe the material written below to be excellent.

    The blog below was written by brandplucked – member

    Proof that the ESV, NIV, NASB are “Catholic bibles”

    “So, what exactly is the primary basis for such modern bibles as the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Daniel Wallace’s NET versions etc? It’s is the United Bible Society’s ever changing and evolving “nothing is settled or sure” Greek text based primarily on the VATICANUS manuscript found in the Vatican library, and put out by a joint effort of Evangelicals and the Catholic Church! Hello? Is any body home? I like to call this ever changing Greek text used by many of today’s “No Bible is inerrant” crowd the Textus Corruptus.

    King James Bible defender David Cloud writes: “It is also important to note that there is no comparison between the situation with Erasmus and what we find in the field of modern textual criticism and the modern Bible versions today.

    Erasmus edited the Greek New Testament on his own. He was not doing that work in any official capacity in the Catholic Church nor did he have Rome’s backing but rather was criticized for it and his work was condemned in the strongest terms. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church has accepted modern textual criticism and the modern Bible versions with open arms. In 1965, Pope Paul VI authorized the publication of a new Latin Vulgate, with the Latin text conformed to the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome, p. 201). In 1987 a formal agreement was made between the Roman Catholic Church and the United Bible Societies that the critical Greek New Testament will be used for all future translations, both Catholic and Protestant (Guidelines for International Cooperation in Translating the Bible, Rome, 1987, p. 5). Most of the translations produced by the United Bible Societies are “interconfessional,” meaning they have Roman Catholic participation and backing.” (David Cloud)

    Guess which bible versions match the Catholic bibles today. Check out any modern Catholic bible version today like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 or the New Jerusalem bible 1985 and compare the following New Testament verses: Matthew 6:13 “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (gone), all of verses Matthew17:21 (gone), Matthew 18:11 (gone), Matthew 23:14 (gone), Mark 9:44, 46 (gone); Mark 11:26 (gone), Mark 15:28 (gone), Most of Luke 9:55-56 (gone) Luke 17:36 (gone), Luke 23:17 (gone) John 5:4 (gone), Acts 8:37 (gone), Acts 15:34 (gone), Acts 24:6 (gone), Acts 28:29 (gone), Romans 16:24 (gone) and 1 John 5:7-8 missing are the words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth”. Then check your modern versions like the NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the Jehovah Witness version called “The New World Translation”. Surprise! What’s missing? Why… it’s the same verses!”

    READ THE REST http://www.christianforums.com/t7575124/

    You also might read: Julian of York, post #2

    The facts presented above are most important – I believe both these indivduals explain the situation regarding the Roman Catholic Church, NIV,ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the Jehovah Wtinesses translation “The New World Translation” very well -

  • fws

    stephen @ 226

    Amen!

    and another thought just occurred to me:

    Our Lord did not say “This is the Scriptures. Careful! Don’t break them!

    He said rather this: “The Scriptures cannot be broken! ” and “The gates of hell cannot prevail against them (St Peter’s testimony to Christ=Scripture’s testimony to Christ)!”

  • fws

    stephen @ 226

    Amen!

    and another thought just occurred to me:

    Our Lord did not say “This is the Scriptures. Careful! Don’t break them!

    He said rather this: “The Scriptures cannot be broken! ” and “The gates of hell cannot prevail against them (St Peter’s testimony to Christ=Scripture’s testimony to Christ)!”

  • aletheist

    fws@222: That formulation nicely captures the fundamental distiniction between the Roman Catholic and Protestant views of doctrinal authority. When I was seriously investigating Roman Catholicism, the argument that the Church wrote, compiled, and canonized the New Testament carried considerable force. Ultimately my response was that the apostles and their associates recorded their essential teachings in Scripture, precluding any subsequent additions or deviations. I am aware of Luther’s distinction between books that are definitively authoritative and those whose authority is uncertain. Some have even suggested that for Lutherans, the canon is not necessarily closed.

  • aletheist

    fws@222: That formulation nicely captures the fundamental distiniction between the Roman Catholic and Protestant views of doctrinal authority. When I was seriously investigating Roman Catholicism, the argument that the Church wrote, compiled, and canonized the New Testament carried considerable force. Ultimately my response was that the apostles and their associates recorded their essential teachings in Scripture, precluding any subsequent additions or deviations. I am aware of Luther’s distinction between books that are definitively authoritative and those whose authority is uncertain. Some have even suggested that for Lutherans, the canon is not necessarily closed.

  • Stephen

    What is the Word after all? Is it primarily what is written about Christ (scripture) or Christ himself? It is both. And we are the body of Christ – “I believe in the communion of saints.” So it also what is preached. Not static. Alive. And eternal, never passing away. In, with and under what we can see and know is what God is doing to call and enlighten, to speak us into everlasting life. Truly present.

  • Stephen

    What is the Word after all? Is it primarily what is written about Christ (scripture) or Christ himself? It is both. And we are the body of Christ – “I believe in the communion of saints.” So it also what is preached. Not static. Alive. And eternal, never passing away. In, with and under what we can see and know is what God is doing to call and enlighten, to speak us into everlasting life. Truly present.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@223-226: Good stuff! In my own research today I came across an approach called “Byzantine priority.” Are you familiar with it? It seems like a middle ground between rigid adherence to the TR and the modern “Eclectic” methodology, which is criticized for producing a final text that in many cases does not match any particular extant manuscript.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@223-226: Good stuff! In my own research today I came across an approach called “Byzantine priority.” Are you familiar with it? It seems like a middle ground between rigid adherence to the TR and the modern “Eclectic” methodology, which is criticized for producing a final text that in many cases does not match any particular extant manuscript.

  • aletheist

    Grace@227: It is unhelpful, and I would argue counterproductive, to keep raising unwarranted doctrinal objections, conspiracy theories, and fallacious ad hominem arguments to make the case against modern Bible translations. Instead, I suggest providing (if you can) some solid reasons to believe that the KJV/TR is the result of a more reliable transmission process than earlier complete manuscripts like the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.

  • aletheist

    Grace@227: It is unhelpful, and I would argue counterproductive, to keep raising unwarranted doctrinal objections, conspiracy theories, and fallacious ad hominem arguments to make the case against modern Bible translations. Instead, I suggest providing (if you can) some solid reasons to believe that the KJV/TR is the result of a more reliable transmission process than earlier complete manuscripts like the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.

  • Grace

    aletheist

    There are no conspiracy theories. But there are facts, which I pointed to earlier.

    The NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have the same missing verses. This is known to may students of the Bible, it isn’t a news event.

    I’m glad to see you are attempting to research.

  • Grace

    aletheist

    There are no conspiracy theories. But there are facts, which I pointed to earlier.

    The NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB and the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have the same missing verses. This is known to may students of the Bible, it isn’t a news event.

    I’m glad to see you are attempting to research.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This thread has come to illustrate very nicely the difference between Scriptural orthodoxy, and Scriptural Fundamentalism. The former is well illustrated by Frank @ 222, and Stephen at 226. Grace is the sole representative of the latter.

    The orthodox (note, small ‘o’) takes into account the origin and history of Scripture. It takes into account the facts. The fundamentalist approach is not dissimilar from other religions where you have single source, “drop from the sky” religious text. We have a God that deals with people as they are, within their context and time. Those other religions have texts, that, though possibly beautiful, are essentially rule books.

    And if anything, fundamentalist Christianity, even in its evangelical guises, is a religion of rules. It is Pelagian/ semi-pelagian.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This thread has come to illustrate very nicely the difference between Scriptural orthodoxy, and Scriptural Fundamentalism. The former is well illustrated by Frank @ 222, and Stephen at 226. Grace is the sole representative of the latter.

    The orthodox (note, small ‘o’) takes into account the origin and history of Scripture. It takes into account the facts. The fundamentalist approach is not dissimilar from other religions where you have single source, “drop from the sky” religious text. We have a God that deals with people as they are, within their context and time. Those other religions have texts, that, though possibly beautiful, are essentially rule books.

    And if anything, fundamentalist Christianity, even in its evangelical guises, is a religion of rules. It is Pelagian/ semi-pelagian.

  • fws

    grace @ 233

    You are right. It is not a news event.
    It is also very old news WHY those passages are missing.

    Those sites you are quoting from ARE saying, precisely so, that the verses are missing because of some conspiracy.

    You are saying you disagree with that part of what they say. So your point in quoting them is what exactly Grace?

  • fws

    grace @ 233

    You are right. It is not a news event.
    It is also very old news WHY those passages are missing.

    Those sites you are quoting from ARE saying, precisely so, that the verses are missing because of some conspiracy.

    You are saying you disagree with that part of what they say. So your point in quoting them is what exactly Grace?

  • Grace

    Does the site I LINKED to say it is a “conspiracy” ?

    http://www.christianforums.com/t7575124/

  • Grace

    Does the site I LINKED to say it is a “conspiracy” ?

    http://www.christianforums.com/t7575124/

  • Grace

    Why do all these translations omit the same verses, even The New World Translation (NWT Jehovah Witness) NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB – They all agree!

  • Grace

    Why do all these translations omit the same verses, even The New World Translation (NWT Jehovah Witness) NIV, ESV, RSV, NET, NASB – They all agree!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@237), you don’t know the answer to your own question, do you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@237), you don’t know the answer to your own question, do you?

  • Grace

    Come now tODD, it’s not all that difficult.

  • Grace

    Come now tODD, it’s not all that difficult.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Then it won’t be difficult for you to tell us all, Grace (@239).

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Then it won’t be difficult for you to tell us all, Grace (@239).

  • aletheist

    Grace@236: The site to which you linked criticizes modern translations for being based on a manuscript named after and kept at the Vatican, and for being consistent with Roman Catholic Bibles when it comes to certain disputed verses. The problem, it says, is that the United Bible Society Greek text was the result of a joint effort between evangelicals and Roman Catholics, supposedly led by a “New Age Catholic Cardinal.” Although the word “conspiracy” indeed does not appear, this all sounds very much like a conspiracy theory to me, mixed with ad hominem arguments and the genetic fallacy.

    Grace@237:

    Why do all these translations omit the same verses

    Because the compilers of the Greek text, and subsequently the translators, adhered in each case to what they honestly believed to be the rendering that was most faithful to the original. There is room for disagreement and debate on whether all of their decisions in this regard were correct–they inevitably involved the exercise of fallible human judgment–but it serves no helpful purpose to attribute ulterior motives to them and allege that they were knowingly tampering with the Word of God and seeking to deceive His people.

    Again, please provide (if you can) some solid reasons to believe that the TR and KJV are the results of a more reliable transmission process than older manuscripts and newer translations. After all, like every extant manuscript and translation, the TR and KJV are also products of fallible human judgment–even though the Word of God itself is divinely inspired and infallible.

  • aletheist

    Grace@236: The site to which you linked criticizes modern translations for being based on a manuscript named after and kept at the Vatican, and for being consistent with Roman Catholic Bibles when it comes to certain disputed verses. The problem, it says, is that the United Bible Society Greek text was the result of a joint effort between evangelicals and Roman Catholics, supposedly led by a “New Age Catholic Cardinal.” Although the word “conspiracy” indeed does not appear, this all sounds very much like a conspiracy theory to me, mixed with ad hominem arguments and the genetic fallacy.

    Grace@237:

    Why do all these translations omit the same verses

    Because the compilers of the Greek text, and subsequently the translators, adhered in each case to what they honestly believed to be the rendering that was most faithful to the original. There is room for disagreement and debate on whether all of their decisions in this regard were correct–they inevitably involved the exercise of fallible human judgment–but it serves no helpful purpose to attribute ulterior motives to them and allege that they were knowingly tampering with the Word of God and seeking to deceive His people.

    Again, please provide (if you can) some solid reasons to believe that the TR and KJV are the results of a more reliable transmission process than older manuscripts and newer translations. After all, like every extant manuscript and translation, the TR and KJV are also products of fallible human judgment–even though the Word of God itself is divinely inspired and infallible.

  • fws

    Todd @ 240

    I was tempted to say that to Grace too. We shouldn’t try to embarass her like that. We all know she doesnt know the answer to her own question. Let’s just let it lie.

  • fws

    Todd @ 240

    I was tempted to say that to Grace too. We shouldn’t try to embarass her like that. We all know she doesnt know the answer to her own question. Let’s just let it lie.

  • kerner

    reg @164:

    I don’t know if you are still reading this, or if you still care to talk about the subject anymore, but I just started reading this thread today, and your comment left me with some questions.

    What I think you said was that you were baptized by a “liberal pastor”, later concluded that you were not a believer when you were baptized by the liberal pastor, and then decided to be baptized again after you concluded that you were really, this time, a believer.

    Am I right? I’m not trying to pick a fight over that, I just want to make sure I understand what you said.

    Next, what did the “liberal pastor” do by way of instruction prior to baptism? Also, a Lutheran pastor baptising an adult would have required during the baptism some affirmative statement of belief from you. Did the liberal pastor do that?

    Also, what do you mean by “liberal pastor”? That may mean something subtly different in your circles from what it means in our circles. As you have pointed out, sometimes we seem to be speaking different languages.

    I have a lot of other questions about why some people decide to be baptized more than once, but I think it would be best to clarify some basic questions before asking you anything more.

    Finally, you’ve been kind of outnumbered here and I know that eventually gets old. But I still want to hear more if you are of a mind to continue.

  • kerner

    reg @164:

    I don’t know if you are still reading this, or if you still care to talk about the subject anymore, but I just started reading this thread today, and your comment left me with some questions.

    What I think you said was that you were baptized by a “liberal pastor”, later concluded that you were not a believer when you were baptized by the liberal pastor, and then decided to be baptized again after you concluded that you were really, this time, a believer.

    Am I right? I’m not trying to pick a fight over that, I just want to make sure I understand what you said.

    Next, what did the “liberal pastor” do by way of instruction prior to baptism? Also, a Lutheran pastor baptising an adult would have required during the baptism some affirmative statement of belief from you. Did the liberal pastor do that?

    Also, what do you mean by “liberal pastor”? That may mean something subtly different in your circles from what it means in our circles. As you have pointed out, sometimes we seem to be speaking different languages.

    I have a lot of other questions about why some people decide to be baptized more than once, but I think it would be best to clarify some basic questions before asking you anything more.

    Finally, you’ve been kind of outnumbered here and I know that eventually gets old. But I still want to hear more if you are of a mind to continue.

  • Grace

    aletheist 241

    “Although the word “conspiracy” indeed does not appear, this all sounds very much like a conspiracy theory to me, mixed with ad hominem arguments and the genetic fallacy.”

    I’m not surprised at your response, it’s exactly what I expected. You don’t research, you play the ‘critique game. The corrupt translations have been a top subject for years – for the most part it started with the JW’s/New World Translation. Those of us who have studied the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, are aware of the omitted passages and verses, and then the other group of translations who have followed suit.

    “it serves no helpful purpose to attribute ulterior motives to them and allege that they were knowingly tampering with the Word of God and seeking to deceive His people.”

    Subverting the Word of God isn’t innocence!

    IF, you are really interested, you can research it for yourself.

  • Grace

    aletheist 241

    “Although the word “conspiracy” indeed does not appear, this all sounds very much like a conspiracy theory to me, mixed with ad hominem arguments and the genetic fallacy.”

    I’m not surprised at your response, it’s exactly what I expected. You don’t research, you play the ‘critique game. The corrupt translations have been a top subject for years – for the most part it started with the JW’s/New World Translation. Those of us who have studied the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, are aware of the omitted passages and verses, and then the other group of translations who have followed suit.

    “it serves no helpful purpose to attribute ulterior motives to them and allege that they were knowingly tampering with the Word of God and seeking to deceive His people.”

    Subverting the Word of God isn’t innocence!

    IF, you are really interested, you can research it for yourself.

  • kerner

    Grace @54 you said:

    “Belief in Christ is always first, not after Baptism.”

    I am probably going to regret asking this, but where in scripture is it written that belief in Christ must always be first, not after Baptism?

  • kerner

    Grace @54 you said:

    “Belief in Christ is always first, not after Baptism.”

    I am probably going to regret asking this, but where in scripture is it written that belief in Christ must always be first, not after Baptism?

  • kerner

    oops. I meant @154.

  • kerner

    oops. I meant @154.

  • reg

    Kerner,
    still reading. Love the rabbit trails this post has followed. Found the earlier sections and Larry’s last post helpful in understanding where Lutheran’s are coming from on the sacraments. (Don’t necessarily agree, but understand better than before). I also found Pete’s comment helpful that perhaps we shouldn’t over think the order of regeneration baptism and faith.
    Anyway to answer your questions:
    Liberal Pastor: UCC (ugh! and not much of a believer). No instruction from him but I did have to affirm the same same propositions that parents are asked when their child is baptized. He had never done an adult baptism so he improvised.
    Liberal pastor gave no instruction before or after baptism-as I said I would not consider him in the faith, I think 6 months after I started reading the Bible I understood it better than him. He was into the social gospel more than anything else.

    When I was rebaptized I had moved to a Baptist Church (I was still a newbie in the faith, but had kind of catechized myself through bible study) and the Pastor there encouraged me to do a full adult dunking since at that point I was a born again believer. I am glad I did not resist the suggestion, since it was an awesome experience. This was a basic evangelical church, where works lite was preached and Christ was “assumed” to use Horton’s phrase.
    I am now in a very reformed Baptist church-Pastor into Horton et al, like me.

    I don’t feel ganged up on. I think in the end all of us rely on the promises of God and nothing else. You Lutherans view these as embodies in the sacraments and the Word. I view them in the Word. Beyond that we are in agreement that it is all God’s work and that to him only belongs all glory. Since I love theology and theological discourse I am glad for these exchanges.

    Does this answer your questions?

  • reg

    Kerner,
    still reading. Love the rabbit trails this post has followed. Found the earlier sections and Larry’s last post helpful in understanding where Lutheran’s are coming from on the sacraments. (Don’t necessarily agree, but understand better than before). I also found Pete’s comment helpful that perhaps we shouldn’t over think the order of regeneration baptism and faith.
    Anyway to answer your questions:
    Liberal Pastor: UCC (ugh! and not much of a believer). No instruction from him but I did have to affirm the same same propositions that parents are asked when their child is baptized. He had never done an adult baptism so he improvised.
    Liberal pastor gave no instruction before or after baptism-as I said I would not consider him in the faith, I think 6 months after I started reading the Bible I understood it better than him. He was into the social gospel more than anything else.

    When I was rebaptized I had moved to a Baptist Church (I was still a newbie in the faith, but had kind of catechized myself through bible study) and the Pastor there encouraged me to do a full adult dunking since at that point I was a born again believer. I am glad I did not resist the suggestion, since it was an awesome experience. This was a basic evangelical church, where works lite was preached and Christ was “assumed” to use Horton’s phrase.
    I am now in a very reformed Baptist church-Pastor into Horton et al, like me.

    I don’t feel ganged up on. I think in the end all of us rely on the promises of God and nothing else. You Lutherans view these as embodies in the sacraments and the Word. I view them in the Word. Beyond that we are in agreement that it is all God’s work and that to him only belongs all glory. Since I love theology and theological discourse I am glad for these exchanges.

    Does this answer your questions?

  • aletheist

    Grace@244: I read the page to which you linked. It offered no substantive evidence that the modern Greek texts and English translations thereof are less credible attempts to reconstruct the originals than the TR and KJV. They are certainly different, but I still see no reason to presume that the latter are 100% correct and any variations from them must be nefarious subversions of the Word of God.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses and Roman Catholics use the same Greek texts as the starting point for their translations; so what? You know that Mormons use the KJV, right? And that the KJV-only movement originated with a 1930 book written by a staunch Seventh-Day Adventist?

  • aletheist

    Grace@244: I read the page to which you linked. It offered no substantive evidence that the modern Greek texts and English translations thereof are less credible attempts to reconstruct the originals than the TR and KJV. They are certainly different, but I still see no reason to presume that the latter are 100% correct and any variations from them must be nefarious subversions of the Word of God.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses and Roman Catholics use the same Greek texts as the starting point for their translations; so what? You know that Mormons use the KJV, right? And that the KJV-only movement originated with a 1930 book written by a staunch Seventh-Day Adventist?

  • reg

    Grace,
    I am sure you know that lumping JW bible with modern translations is wrong. The JW translation actually alters the text to deny Jesus’ divinity and to promote works righteousness. That is different from deciding which ancient manuscripts are more reliable. One is an honest judgment call, the other is affirmatively mistranslating the bible. The fact that in other areas where the JW are not altering the text they make the same manuscript decisions as other modern translators does not warrant your painting them all with the same brush.

  • reg

    Grace,
    I am sure you know that lumping JW bible with modern translations is wrong. The JW translation actually alters the text to deny Jesus’ divinity and to promote works righteousness. That is different from deciding which ancient manuscripts are more reliable. One is an honest judgment call, the other is affirmatively mistranslating the bible. The fact that in other areas where the JW are not altering the text they make the same manuscript decisions as other modern translators does not warrant your painting them all with the same brush.

  • Grace

    reg 249

    YOU WROTE: “I am sure you know that lumping JW bible with modern translations is wrong. The JW translation actually alters the text to deny Jesus’ divinity and to promote works righteousness.”

    No it isn’t wrong, it is what happened, they are “lumped” together for a reason. Those of us who have studied the cults have a much different view. Whether you or others on this blog agree, doesn’t change the facts, or my stance on this issue.

    Most of us knew about this, soon after the translations appeared on the market.

  • Grace

    reg 249

    YOU WROTE: “I am sure you know that lumping JW bible with modern translations is wrong. The JW translation actually alters the text to deny Jesus’ divinity and to promote works righteousness.”

    No it isn’t wrong, it is what happened, they are “lumped” together for a reason. Those of us who have studied the cults have a much different view. Whether you or others on this blog agree, doesn’t change the facts, or my stance on this issue.

    Most of us knew about this, soon after the translations appeared on the market.

  • Grace

    “The fact that in other areas where the JW are not altering the text they make the same manuscript decisions as other modern translators does not warrant your painting them all with the same brush.

    The BRUSH, is the same, when used to change the meaning of God’s Word to suit a doctrine.

  • Grace

    “The fact that in other areas where the JW are not altering the text they make the same manuscript decisions as other modern translators does not warrant your painting them all with the same brush.

    The BRUSH, is the same, when used to change the meaning of God’s Word to suit a doctrine.

  • Pete

    I think all us Lutherans oughtta bring out the “hearty applause” emoticon (if not the “standing ovation” one) for reg, eh? He’s a great non-Lutheran to have aboard. (I know – way back up there somewhere fws sez he already is..) Thanks for the excellent contributions, reg.

  • Pete

    I think all us Lutherans oughtta bring out the “hearty applause” emoticon (if not the “standing ovation” one) for reg, eh? He’s a great non-Lutheran to have aboard. (I know – way back up there somewhere fws sez he already is..) Thanks for the excellent contributions, reg.

  • aletheist

    Grace@251: One more time–the differences between mainstream modern translations and the KJV do not “change the meaning of God’s Word to suit a doctrine.” They reflect a sincere attempt to reconstruct the original texts faithfully, and they do not significantly affect any doctrines. God has preserved His Word, even in the versions that you reject.

  • aletheist

    Grace@251: One more time–the differences between mainstream modern translations and the KJV do not “change the meaning of God’s Word to suit a doctrine.” They reflect a sincere attempt to reconstruct the original texts faithfully, and they do not significantly affect any doctrines. God has preserved His Word, even in the versions that you reject.

  • Grace

    aletheist

    “One more time”

    They reflect a sincere attempt to reconstruct the original texts faithfully, and they do not significantly affect any doctrines. God has preserved His Word, even in the versions that you reject.”

    You can do it over and over again –

    The Scriptures made clear that man would not accept “sound doctrine” as time went on. Sincerety has nothing to do with it, anyone can ‘paint a face on FALSE DOCTRINE.

  • Grace

    aletheist

    “One more time”

    They reflect a sincere attempt to reconstruct the original texts faithfully, and they do not significantly affect any doctrines. God has preserved His Word, even in the versions that you reject.”

    You can do it over and over again –

    The Scriptures made clear that man would not accept “sound doctrine” as time went on. Sincerety has nothing to do with it, anyone can ‘paint a face on FALSE DOCTRINE.

  • fws

    reg & aletheist and todd

    Has grace given you even the teensiest evidence that she care about or is willing to listen or consider anything you have to say to her other than to lump you all in with the JWs?

    So then?

  • fws

    reg & aletheist and todd

    Has grace given you even the teensiest evidence that she care about or is willing to listen or consider anything you have to say to her other than to lump you all in with the JWs?

    So then?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Let’s see, let’s see … whom should I take as an authority here? The people who actually know what the Nestle-Aland Greek NT is and can refer to it (and translate from it, even), or the woman who quotes from a site like av1611.org? The people actually know how the Bible came to be, and how we arrive at a Greek source text, or the woman who believes that an anonymous posting from ChristianForums.com is not only “excellent”, but better research than the other people have done.

    Yes, it’s a tough choice, isn’t it?

    No need to reply to this, Grace. I’m sure I can imagine your reply to a great degree of accuracy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Let’s see, let’s see … whom should I take as an authority here? The people who actually know what the Nestle-Aland Greek NT is and can refer to it (and translate from it, even), or the woman who quotes from a site like av1611.org? The people actually know how the Bible came to be, and how we arrive at a Greek source text, or the woman who believes that an anonymous posting from ChristianForums.com is not only “excellent”, but better research than the other people have done.

    Yes, it’s a tough choice, isn’t it?

    No need to reply to this, Grace. I’m sure I can imagine your reply to a great degree of accuracy.

  • Stephen

    “The Scriptures made clear that man would not accept “sound doctrine” as time went on. Sincerety has nothing to do with it, anyone can ‘paint a face on FALSE DOCTRINE.” – Grace @ 254

    Oh, the irony!!!

  • Stephen

    “The Scriptures made clear that man would not accept “sound doctrine” as time went on. Sincerety has nothing to do with it, anyone can ‘paint a face on FALSE DOCTRINE.” – Grace @ 254

    Oh, the irony!!!

  • kerner

    reg:

    Thanks for the responses. Among them was:

    “Liberal Pastor: UCC (ugh! and not much of a believer). No instruction from him but I did have to affirm the same same propositions that parents are asked when their child is baptized.”

    So I assume that the pastor asked you whether you believed the basic principles of the Christian faith and you told him you did. Correct?

    also:

    “I would not consider him (the liberal pastor) in the faith…”

    How could you tell? Your comment does give me some idea already, but could you be more specific?

    (Ambush disclaimer: Yes, I am asking these questions anticipating that you eventually say something I disagree with and can debate. But I have no interest in playing “gotcha”. Also. I kind of enjoy debating, and I hope you do too.)

    You also said:

    “I think in the end all of us rely on the promises of God and nothing else. You Lutherans view these as embodies in the sacraments and the Word. I view them in the Word. Beyond that we are in agreement that it is all God’s work and that to him only belongs all glory.”

    which is a great common starting point for any theological discussion..

  • kerner

    reg:

    Thanks for the responses. Among them was:

    “Liberal Pastor: UCC (ugh! and not much of a believer). No instruction from him but I did have to affirm the same same propositions that parents are asked when their child is baptized.”

    So I assume that the pastor asked you whether you believed the basic principles of the Christian faith and you told him you did. Correct?

    also:

    “I would not consider him (the liberal pastor) in the faith…”

    How could you tell? Your comment does give me some idea already, but could you be more specific?

    (Ambush disclaimer: Yes, I am asking these questions anticipating that you eventually say something I disagree with and can debate. But I have no interest in playing “gotcha”. Also. I kind of enjoy debating, and I hope you do too.)

    You also said:

    “I think in the end all of us rely on the promises of God and nothing else. You Lutherans view these as embodies in the sacraments and the Word. I view them in the Word. Beyond that we are in agreement that it is all God’s work and that to him only belongs all glory.”

    which is a great common starting point for any theological discussion..

  • Stephen

    Dear reg,

    I’m with Pete and Frank. You are almost a Lutheran, and I very much appreciate your “full disclosure.” Now, get this part and you’ll be there:

    Sacrament is Word is Sacrament. Stop pulling them apart! The Word does what it says. No magic, just in, with and under what we do and experience comes Grace and a new creation. This is what you “just know.” You were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified. You were called to that lame pastor for baptism. And you were called to read the bible. And that is not to take away from the awesomeness of your second baptism experience, but only to say that as you have affirmed over and over, and rightly so, God has done a great work in you! Remember, remember, remember. You were bought with a price. Trust that when Jesus says to you “this is my body and blood” he is in fact giving you what the words, His words, say – his very self, completely, for the forgiveness of all your sins.

    God bless you brother.

    And you didn’t answer my question. ;)

  • Stephen

    Dear reg,

    I’m with Pete and Frank. You are almost a Lutheran, and I very much appreciate your “full disclosure.” Now, get this part and you’ll be there:

    Sacrament is Word is Sacrament. Stop pulling them apart! The Word does what it says. No magic, just in, with and under what we do and experience comes Grace and a new creation. This is what you “just know.” You were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified. You were called to that lame pastor for baptism. And you were called to read the bible. And that is not to take away from the awesomeness of your second baptism experience, but only to say that as you have affirmed over and over, and rightly so, God has done a great work in you! Remember, remember, remember. You were bought with a price. Trust that when Jesus says to you “this is my body and blood” he is in fact giving you what the words, His words, say – his very self, completely, for the forgiveness of all your sins.

    God bless you brother.

    And you didn’t answer my question. ;)

  • Stephen

    Hi brother kerner. Hope you are well.

  • Stephen

    Hi brother kerner. Hope you are well.

  • kerner

    Thank you Stephen, I am cautiously optimistic. And how are things in Austin, TX these days?

  • kerner

    Thank you Stephen, I am cautiously optimistic. And how are things in Austin, TX these days?

  • Stephen

    Hot, but it finally came a gulley washer last night. Otherwise, the usual tale of woe, mayhem and redemption. And oh yeah, my son is almost a year old now. He still doesn’t sleep!

  • Stephen

    Hot, but it finally came a gulley washer last night. Otherwise, the usual tale of woe, mayhem and redemption. And oh yeah, my son is almost a year old now. He still doesn’t sleep!

  • kerner

    He may keep you awake even more when he is a teenager. But I’m glad you and yours are well.

  • kerner

    He may keep you awake even more when he is a teenager. But I’m glad you and yours are well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “It finally came a gulley washer” (@262)? In all my years in Texas, I never once heard that phrase.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “It finally came a gulley washer” (@262)? In all my years in Texas, I never once heard that phrase.

  • SKPeterson

    tODD- Really? I heard that on many occasions, but also heard it up Io-way. There’s more to life than “God willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”

  • SKPeterson

    tODD- Really? I heard that on many occasions, but also heard it up Io-way. There’s more to life than “God willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    You must at least know what a cleachy road is?

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    You must at least know what a cleachy road is?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@266), no. But, having looked it up, it appears to be a corruption of “caliche” — which is a term I only learned in the past year or so. Until you told me about “cleachy roads”, I’d assumed “caliche” was pronounced “caleesh”.

    Anyhow, I’d heard the term “gulley washer” before. It was the “it finally came a…” phrasing I found so peculiar.

    Life in the Texas big-city suburbs, I guess.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@266), no. But, having looked it up, it appears to be a corruption of “caliche” — which is a term I only learned in the past year or so. Until you told me about “cleachy roads”, I’d assumed “caliche” was pronounced “caleesh”.

    Anyhow, I’d heard the term “gulley washer” before. It was the “it finally came a…” phrasing I found so peculiar.

    Life in the Texas big-city suburbs, I guess.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, you know that “cleachy” is used by the JW’s, and “caleesh” sounds so, so Franco-Roman. Even caliche is Spanish from the Latin! calx. The official KJV word is “hardpan” and serves to ward off you and your Catholicizing ways.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, you know that “cleachy” is used by the JW’s, and “caleesh” sounds so, so Franco-Roman. Even caliche is Spanish from the Latin! calx. The official KJV word is “hardpan” and serves to ward off you and your Catholicizing ways.

  • reg

    Kerner,
    The liberal pastor preached a political/social Gospel-the sermons were on the order of “we must protect the rain forest” or “dang those multinationals” or “the US is an imperialist power”. The text was never exegeted-it was simply a spring board to preach as to what we all had to do to create a better world here and now. No message of forgiveness of sins. In fact in my brief time there (3 years) the church abolished the unison prayer of confession and declaration of absolution after the head of the deacons complained that he did not view himself or consider himself a sinner. So I am not even sure the label “Christian” applied to this church. (And therefor one could argue that the baptism was no different than if a Hindu had officiated it). The pastor once opined that he wished he had time to read the Bible like I did.

    On the topic of preaching in my second church (basic evangelical/Baptist) we were treated to sermons like “why you should be in a small group” or a myriad of “transforming your life to be fully Christian and enjoy the blessings of the abundant life” type sermons. Christ, forgiveness of sins, etc were only mentioned in passing. I would get boiling mad during the sermons and looked to any edification to a small group Bible study I was leading. (stayed there almost 10 years)

    Finally on my third attempt I am in a Church where the Gospel is preached, Christ is proclaimed and the Word is properly understood. But for the credo-baptism position, my (very young) pastor is probably as close to a Horton/WTS Reformed pastor as a Baptist can get.

    Stephen.
    I get how you understand the sacrament. You view the bread and wine as another way of conveying what the Word conveys (continuing Grace). I guess my question would be does taking communion have any subjective effect on you while you partake or is this more an intellectual understanding of it?

    BTW if you hail form Austin have you had occasion to hear the Gourds and/or Shinyribs. They are a recent discovery to me and I really like their music.

  • reg

    Kerner,
    The liberal pastor preached a political/social Gospel-the sermons were on the order of “we must protect the rain forest” or “dang those multinationals” or “the US is an imperialist power”. The text was never exegeted-it was simply a spring board to preach as to what we all had to do to create a better world here and now. No message of forgiveness of sins. In fact in my brief time there (3 years) the church abolished the unison prayer of confession and declaration of absolution after the head of the deacons complained that he did not view himself or consider himself a sinner. So I am not even sure the label “Christian” applied to this church. (And therefor one could argue that the baptism was no different than if a Hindu had officiated it). The pastor once opined that he wished he had time to read the Bible like I did.

    On the topic of preaching in my second church (basic evangelical/Baptist) we were treated to sermons like “why you should be in a small group” or a myriad of “transforming your life to be fully Christian and enjoy the blessings of the abundant life” type sermons. Christ, forgiveness of sins, etc were only mentioned in passing. I would get boiling mad during the sermons and looked to any edification to a small group Bible study I was leading. (stayed there almost 10 years)

    Finally on my third attempt I am in a Church where the Gospel is preached, Christ is proclaimed and the Word is properly understood. But for the credo-baptism position, my (very young) pastor is probably as close to a Horton/WTS Reformed pastor as a Baptist can get.

    Stephen.
    I get how you understand the sacrament. You view the bread and wine as another way of conveying what the Word conveys (continuing Grace). I guess my question would be does taking communion have any subjective effect on you while you partake or is this more an intellectual understanding of it?

    BTW if you hail form Austin have you had occasion to hear the Gourds and/or Shinyribs. They are a recent discovery to me and I really like their music.

  • SKPeterson

    reg – The Gourds are a Texas institution. Glad you found them.

    I’ll weigh in on your last question, though, but defer to Stephen when he answers. I don’t think it is a subjective v. intellectual dichotomy at play. When I partake of the Sacrament, I don’t “feel” any different, but I “know” that God’s promises have been made physically manifest. I suppose that is intellectual, but Lutherans would probably use the terms objective and forensic. Something has been done to us, that comes from outside of us, and it is true because it is God doing the work. Further, it is His Word that declares us righteous forensically. We have faith then that this is true. Whether that faith is subjective or intellectual is again not the right dichotomy. It is subjective, in the sense that my faith is my faith, but it isn’t because even my faith is not really my own – it is given to, grafted upon even, me from the outside work of the Holy Spirit. Ontologically, I don’t feel saved by grace, I know I am saved by grace because God has said so in the water, the body and the blood combined with His promise that it is so.

  • SKPeterson

    reg – The Gourds are a Texas institution. Glad you found them.

    I’ll weigh in on your last question, though, but defer to Stephen when he answers. I don’t think it is a subjective v. intellectual dichotomy at play. When I partake of the Sacrament, I don’t “feel” any different, but I “know” that God’s promises have been made physically manifest. I suppose that is intellectual, but Lutherans would probably use the terms objective and forensic. Something has been done to us, that comes from outside of us, and it is true because it is God doing the work. Further, it is His Word that declares us righteous forensically. We have faith then that this is true. Whether that faith is subjective or intellectual is again not the right dichotomy. It is subjective, in the sense that my faith is my faith, but it isn’t because even my faith is not really my own – it is given to, grafted upon even, me from the outside work of the Holy Spirit. Ontologically, I don’t feel saved by grace, I know I am saved by grace because God has said so in the water, the body and the blood combined with His promise that it is so.

  • SKPeterson

    Looking back, I got the directionality of the grafting metaphor wrong. Faith is not grafted onto me, but rather I am grafted into the Faith and given faith, vine and branches style.

  • SKPeterson

    Looking back, I got the directionality of the grafting metaphor wrong. Faith is not grafted onto me, but rather I am grafted into the Faith and given faith, vine and branches style.

  • reg

    Grace,
    Having researched the KJV on Wikipedia, I want to know if the 1611 version of the text is the inerrant one or the 1760 or the 1769 edition. I was shocked, shocked to find the wholesale alteration of the text by the later redactors (perhaps a conspiracy??).
    Per Wikipedia: “In addition, Blayney and Parris thoroughly revised and greatly extended the italicization of “supplied” words not found in the original languages by cross-checking against the presumed source texts. Unfortunately, Blayney assumed that the translators of the 1611 New Testament had worked from the 1550 Stephanus edition of the Textus Receptus, rather than from the later editions of Beza; accordingly the current standard text mistakenly “corrects” around a dozen readings where Beza and Stephanus differ. . . .. Altogether, Blayney’s 1769 text differed from the 1611 text in around 24,000 places

  • reg

    Grace,
    Having researched the KJV on Wikipedia, I want to know if the 1611 version of the text is the inerrant one or the 1760 or the 1769 edition. I was shocked, shocked to find the wholesale alteration of the text by the later redactors (perhaps a conspiracy??).
    Per Wikipedia: “In addition, Blayney and Parris thoroughly revised and greatly extended the italicization of “supplied” words not found in the original languages by cross-checking against the presumed source texts. Unfortunately, Blayney assumed that the translators of the 1611 New Testament had worked from the 1550 Stephanus edition of the Textus Receptus, rather than from the later editions of Beza; accordingly the current standard text mistakenly “corrects” around a dozen readings where Beza and Stephanus differ. . . .. Altogether, Blayney’s 1769 text differed from the 1611 text in around 24,000 places

  • reg

    SKP,
    Your phrase “Ontologically, I don’t feel saved by grace, I know I am saved by grace because God has said so” is not very different from where I was coming from many posts up this thread.

  • reg

    SKP,
    Your phrase “Ontologically, I don’t feel saved by grace, I know I am saved by grace because God has said so” is not very different from where I was coming from many posts up this thread.

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    I’m relieved you know what “cleachy” is. I suppose I should have put it in scare quotes to connote the southern accent. That’s how they say it where I’m from.

    reg,

    As to the sacrament having a subjective effect I can only say sometimes, but not always, that furthermore, I don’t think it matters. Whether it creates a feeling of release and warmth or I leave the rail with complete ennui is not what it’s about for me. If I go there looking for an experience of a particular kind, I can be sorely disappointed. Often I am distracted by having one of my kids with me anyway.

    And it is not that I am so perfectly detached either. I guess I can say more about what I bring there in terms of feelings or sensations rather than whether or not my expectations are satisfied. What matters is to listen, eat, drink and trust. And I think it is perhaps a life-long project to do just that and only that, believing that what “happens” is certain and eternal regardless of my experience of the moment or any kind of sensation I take away. That is the alone part of alone. In this sense, I feel blessed to have been baptized as an infant because it is removed from any subjective thrill or otherwise profound feeling I might attach to it and consequently expect to either maintain or re-experience in some measure.

    And none of that is to say again that I have mastered the art of detachment and do not invest spiritual meaning in my experiences. It is simply to say that finally, this is not where the truth is likely to be found, and it can cause one to lose their head in search of the right set of subjective experiences to validate their faith, which I have spent a lot of years chasing. It is faith alone, Word alone, Grace alone, which is to say Christ alone where these things abide.

    “Sanctify them with your truth. They Word is truth”

  • Stephen

    tODD,

    I’m relieved you know what “cleachy” is. I suppose I should have put it in scare quotes to connote the southern accent. That’s how they say it where I’m from.

    reg,

    As to the sacrament having a subjective effect I can only say sometimes, but not always, that furthermore, I don’t think it matters. Whether it creates a feeling of release and warmth or I leave the rail with complete ennui is not what it’s about for me. If I go there looking for an experience of a particular kind, I can be sorely disappointed. Often I am distracted by having one of my kids with me anyway.

    And it is not that I am so perfectly detached either. I guess I can say more about what I bring there in terms of feelings or sensations rather than whether or not my expectations are satisfied. What matters is to listen, eat, drink and trust. And I think it is perhaps a life-long project to do just that and only that, believing that what “happens” is certain and eternal regardless of my experience of the moment or any kind of sensation I take away. That is the alone part of alone. In this sense, I feel blessed to have been baptized as an infant because it is removed from any subjective thrill or otherwise profound feeling I might attach to it and consequently expect to either maintain or re-experience in some measure.

    And none of that is to say again that I have mastered the art of detachment and do not invest spiritual meaning in my experiences. It is simply to say that finally, this is not where the truth is likely to be found, and it can cause one to lose their head in search of the right set of subjective experiences to validate their faith, which I have spent a lot of years chasing. It is faith alone, Word alone, Grace alone, which is to say Christ alone where these things abide.

    “Sanctify them with your truth. They Word is truth”

  • Stephen

    Oh, and I have not been hip for years. I do know of the Gourds and our local radio is flooded with what’s going on here. As I’ve gotten older I have become less interested in the music scene here even though I used to play. My tastes have migrated to other things. But it’s a small community and even if one is not going out much to hear bands, one likely knows a musician (or four). I have friends that I use for reference just so I’m not a complete dinosaur. And you can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting someone with severe ink who plays in a band.

  • Stephen

    Oh, and I have not been hip for years. I do know of the Gourds and our local radio is flooded with what’s going on here. As I’ve gotten older I have become less interested in the music scene here even though I used to play. My tastes have migrated to other things. But it’s a small community and even if one is not going out much to hear bands, one likely knows a musician (or four). I have friends that I use for reference just so I’m not a complete dinosaur. And you can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting someone with severe ink who plays in a band.

  • Stephen

    Oops, that should read “THY Word is truth” John 17:17

  • Stephen

    Oops, that should read “THY Word is truth” John 17:17

  • reg

    Stephen,
    Your post is helpful in that I have never felt communion was subjectively particularly transcendent. I am glad to hear I am not the only one who gets distracted or is not necessarily focused. (Although I hope I never receive the cup and the bread in an unworthy manner.)

    Thanks for the explanation.

  • reg

    Stephen,
    Your post is helpful in that I have never felt communion was subjectively particularly transcendent. I am glad to hear I am not the only one who gets distracted or is not necessarily focused. (Although I hope I never receive the cup and the bread in an unworthy manner.)

    Thanks for the explanation.

  • Stephen

    His mercies never end. It is a meal for sinners. I take comfort in that. The Word is there, doing what it promises, even in spite of me – my need to feel forgiven or my intellect that wants to comprehend it or the sense I have that I am not ever going to “get better.” There’s this from the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord:

    “And worthiness does not depend upon great or small weakness or strength of faith, but upon the merit of Christ, which the distressed father of little faith [ Mark 9:24 ] enjoyed as well as Abraham, Paul, and others who have a joyful and strong faith.”

    I’m glad what I said helps. It’s for you.

  • Stephen

    His mercies never end. It is a meal for sinners. I take comfort in that. The Word is there, doing what it promises, even in spite of me – my need to feel forgiven or my intellect that wants to comprehend it or the sense I have that I am not ever going to “get better.” There’s this from the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord:

    “And worthiness does not depend upon great or small weakness or strength of faith, but upon the merit of Christ, which the distressed father of little faith [ Mark 9:24 ] enjoyed as well as Abraham, Paul, and others who have a joyful and strong faith.”

    I’m glad what I said helps. It’s for you.

  • fws

    reg @ 273 and 277

    Have you seen this reg? This might explain how Lutherans practically use the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#qanda

    Note that the Sacrament of the Altar (what Lutherans prefer to call the Lord’s Supper) has not only a Gospel content, it also is a preachment of the Law!

  • fws

    reg @ 273 and 277

    Have you seen this reg? This might explain how Lutherans practically use the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#qanda

    Note that the Sacrament of the Altar (what Lutherans prefer to call the Lord’s Supper) has not only a Gospel content, it also is a preachment of the Law!

  • kerner

    Listening to the Gourds version of “Gin and Juice” may be one of my “besetting sins”. But I can’t seem to help myself.

    OK reg, a little more to the point. You didn’t answer this, but I’m going to assume that the first time you were baptised the pastor aksed you whether you believed certain essentials about the Christian faith and you told him that you did, and on that basis he baptised you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If I am correct in assuming all that, what was wrong with that baptism? I assume you weren’t lying to the liberal pastor when you answered him, so it would have been a “believer’s baptism”, wouldn’t it?

    Now, you have indicated that you question the liberal pastor’s faith, and now, after the fact, you doubt the reality of your own faith at the time of the original baptism. You’ve explained about the pastor preaching about everything except sin and repentence, and confession and absolution leaving the order of service (which would really bother me, by the way). But I still don’t understand why that makes your original baptism unacceptable to you.

    Which kind of brings me to the problem Lutherans classically have with the whole concept of “believers baptism”. How do any of us really know who the “believers” are?

  • kerner

    Listening to the Gourds version of “Gin and Juice” may be one of my “besetting sins”. But I can’t seem to help myself.

    OK reg, a little more to the point. You didn’t answer this, but I’m going to assume that the first time you were baptised the pastor aksed you whether you believed certain essentials about the Christian faith and you told him that you did, and on that basis he baptised you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If I am correct in assuming all that, what was wrong with that baptism? I assume you weren’t lying to the liberal pastor when you answered him, so it would have been a “believer’s baptism”, wouldn’t it?

    Now, you have indicated that you question the liberal pastor’s faith, and now, after the fact, you doubt the reality of your own faith at the time of the original baptism. You’ve explained about the pastor preaching about everything except sin and repentence, and confession and absolution leaving the order of service (which would really bother me, by the way). But I still don’t understand why that makes your original baptism unacceptable to you.

    Which kind of brings me to the problem Lutherans classically have with the whole concept of “believers baptism”. How do any of us really know who the “believers” are?

  • reg

    Kerner,
    ‘Intellectually I of course wondered about its necessity. But when the pastor suggested I should, I went with it.

    I will add what started this whole dialog — that while I trust on the promises of God as being unbreakable, it is also true that conviction of that which is promised is also something I know without doubt since my conversion. This is the part that I think is difficult to get across. It is not that I rely on any warm and fuzzy feelings, but I have a certainty of the truthfulness of the promises “for me” to use the phrase you all use, which is difficult to explain. It is a difficult thing to articulate because it is not really a feeling or a belief, it is something other. Don’t jump on me for this. Just accept that this is how I experience faith. (Even without it I would trust the promises alone-this is just a bonus)

  • reg

    Kerner,
    ‘Intellectually I of course wondered about its necessity. But when the pastor suggested I should, I went with it.

    I will add what started this whole dialog — that while I trust on the promises of God as being unbreakable, it is also true that conviction of that which is promised is also something I know without doubt since my conversion. This is the part that I think is difficult to get across. It is not that I rely on any warm and fuzzy feelings, but I have a certainty of the truthfulness of the promises “for me” to use the phrase you all use, which is difficult to explain. It is a difficult thing to articulate because it is not really a feeling or a belief, it is something other. Don’t jump on me for this. Just accept that this is how I experience faith. (Even without it I would trust the promises alone-this is just a bonus)

  • Stephen

    reg @272

    I mean to try to answer that. This is exactly the problem with the term inerrent. The term is not really helpful in talking about variations in different translations. Last night I reread the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrency (google it). If you read this, the definition these folks are going with, one of whom was a confessional Lutheran, has little to do with the way that Grace uses it here or the way you seem to understand it. In this document, the writers are talking about the “autographs” or original texts which we do not have. Erasmus did not have them when he did his Greek that was used for the KJV (in fact, he used Jerome’s Latin, translating it back into Greek, to fill in where he didn’t have a good source for certain parts). In other words, as originally written, they are inerrent. And, as the Chicago statement affirms, the process of making various English translations does not, in general, threaten the concept of inerrency.

    When you hear a number like 1800 or 2500 referring to differences in various critical Greek texts it need not be alarming. In most instances these do not change the sense of the text in any great measure. The issue with text criticism was never that the bible was flawed per se, only that it should be studied diligently and not subjected to the whims of current secular thinking. This latter thing remains a concern and pops up whenever we discuss translations and their value. None of which is to say it is a bad thing necessarily to seek out better language to get at the meaning of the Greek for our time either. Simply put, biblical translation is a project for faith and, though we employ its tools, not purely of science or the historical method.

    That’s probably as clear as mud, but it is a complex issue with a long history, and it continues.

  • Stephen

    reg @272

    I mean to try to answer that. This is exactly the problem with the term inerrent. The term is not really helpful in talking about variations in different translations. Last night I reread the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrency (google it). If you read this, the definition these folks are going with, one of whom was a confessional Lutheran, has little to do with the way that Grace uses it here or the way you seem to understand it. In this document, the writers are talking about the “autographs” or original texts which we do not have. Erasmus did not have them when he did his Greek that was used for the KJV (in fact, he used Jerome’s Latin, translating it back into Greek, to fill in where he didn’t have a good source for certain parts). In other words, as originally written, they are inerrent. And, as the Chicago statement affirms, the process of making various English translations does not, in general, threaten the concept of inerrency.

    When you hear a number like 1800 or 2500 referring to differences in various critical Greek texts it need not be alarming. In most instances these do not change the sense of the text in any great measure. The issue with text criticism was never that the bible was flawed per se, only that it should be studied diligently and not subjected to the whims of current secular thinking. This latter thing remains a concern and pops up whenever we discuss translations and their value. None of which is to say it is a bad thing necessarily to seek out better language to get at the meaning of the Greek for our time either. Simply put, biblical translation is a project for faith and, though we employ its tools, not purely of science or the historical method.

    That’s probably as clear as mud, but it is a complex issue with a long history, and it continues.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@282: What I gather is that at least some TR/KJV-only advocates deny the importance of trying to reconstruct the original texts, since we do not have the actual autographs and presumably never will. Instead, they claim that God providentially preserved His inerrant Word over the centuries, with the TR as the divinely guided result; hence the passionate resistance to any deviations from it whatsoever.

    Per my #231, which you may have missed in the surrounding flurry of comments on other things, I would still be interested in getting your take (if you have one) on the alternative “Byzantine priority” approach championed by Maurice Robinson. He makes an interesting argument that some later manuscripts may actually be more faithful to the originals than earlier ones, based on the different circumstances surrounding the transmission of the text.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@282: What I gather is that at least some TR/KJV-only advocates deny the importance of trying to reconstruct the original texts, since we do not have the actual autographs and presumably never will. Instead, they claim that God providentially preserved His inerrant Word over the centuries, with the TR as the divinely guided result; hence the passionate resistance to any deviations from it whatsoever.

    Per my #231, which you may have missed in the surrounding flurry of comments on other things, I would still be interested in getting your take (if you have one) on the alternative “Byzantine priority” approach championed by Maurice Robinson. He makes an interesting argument that some later manuscripts may actually be more faithful to the originals than earlier ones, based on the different circumstances surrounding the transmission of the text.

  • Stephen

    By the way, Acts 8:37 is footnoted in the 1952 edition of Nestle’s Greek text. It’s the one my dad had. He told me it was a status symbol at Springfield. Seems not much has changed as to how that verse is regarded – not very highly. The only reason to keep it in there somewhere, it would seem, is because it was given a number in 1551 prior to the discovery of better sources. The entire chapter would have to be renumbered, and no one is going to advocate for that for obvious reasons.

    I think it is worth noting that it was Luther’s wrestling with the Greek text that helped clarify his emerging theology. He wrestled with it until it blessed him.

  • Stephen

    By the way, Acts 8:37 is footnoted in the 1952 edition of Nestle’s Greek text. It’s the one my dad had. He told me it was a status symbol at Springfield. Seems not much has changed as to how that verse is regarded – not very highly. The only reason to keep it in there somewhere, it would seem, is because it was given a number in 1551 prior to the discovery of better sources. The entire chapter would have to be renumbered, and no one is going to advocate for that for obvious reasons.

    I think it is worth noting that it was Luther’s wrestling with the Greek text that helped clarify his emerging theology. He wrestled with it until it blessed him.

  • kerner

    reg:

    I’m not jumping on you, especially about your attempt to describe your present understanding of your faith. I take you at your word.

    But what I don’t understand is what you think about baptism, now, or at the times when you were baptised.

    Lutherans understand baptism to be a “means of grace”, i.e. an instrumentality God uses to bring a person to salvation. There are Bible passages that baptism has (or at least in the case of the saved, did have) an effect on the one baptised, and alethist listed some of them @49. Accordingly, I believe the Holy Spirit worked through your original baptism, the same way He worked through your listening to and studying God’s Word, to bring you to and/or strengthen your faith.

    But that is just my conclusion based on my understanding of Scripture and what little I can know about you from this blog, which, I admit, isn’t very much.

    So what I am asking you is, if you don’t think that Baptism washes away your sins, or buries you and raise you with Christ, or has any part in saving you, then what is baptism, and why do we do it, and what Scripture verses support your conclusions?

  • kerner

    reg:

    I’m not jumping on you, especially about your attempt to describe your present understanding of your faith. I take you at your word.

    But what I don’t understand is what you think about baptism, now, or at the times when you were baptised.

    Lutherans understand baptism to be a “means of grace”, i.e. an instrumentality God uses to bring a person to salvation. There are Bible passages that baptism has (or at least in the case of the saved, did have) an effect on the one baptised, and alethist listed some of them @49. Accordingly, I believe the Holy Spirit worked through your original baptism, the same way He worked through your listening to and studying God’s Word, to bring you to and/or strengthen your faith.

    But that is just my conclusion based on my understanding of Scripture and what little I can know about you from this blog, which, I admit, isn’t very much.

    So what I am asking you is, if you don’t think that Baptism washes away your sins, or buries you and raise you with Christ, or has any part in saving you, then what is baptism, and why do we do it, and what Scripture verses support your conclusions?

  • kerner

    What I was asking you before was why were you willing to be baptised the first time, and why did you think that you should be baptised a second time? But the answers to those questions would be derived from your answer to the underlying questions above.

  • kerner

    What I was asking you before was why were you willing to be baptised the first time, and why did you think that you should be baptised a second time? But the answers to those questions would be derived from your answer to the underlying questions above.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I’ll try. I must admit you all had me cracking books and searching around the Internet last night. The short answer is that there are problems with just about all of these arguments. Some are finessed better than others, and for my money, all of them should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I learned as a general rule of thumb the “brevio Lectio” idea (sp?) that says that the shorter version of a text is to be preferred. It sound almost like Occam I guess, but the thinking goes that what tended to happen with copying was that the texts were extended here and there for clarity. This seems to be one issue with Byzantine texts as I understand it. On the plus side, these texts seem to be quite consistent and thus, it is assumed, more reliable as copies. And there are quite a lot of them.

    But then they are all later (8 or 9th c.) texts. So, lots of reasons why that would be the case. Maybe they had a better system for making copies and at the same time instituted some kind of “style manual” of sorts. Or, a general consensus arose as to how the texts should read. Actually, to be honest, I’d need to study it a lot more.

    And like I said to reg, the differences are mostly minor ones with word additions that do not change the meaning of the text. The instance of Romans 5:1 is more of an anomaly, and there is no way to resolve it conclusively that I know of. Even using a majority text priority, a very popular idea, it cannot be resolved.

    There are also scholars who study various text families and try to trace the genealogies of them. At that point I am out of my element, but that sounds compelling to me. I think it is important to keep in mind that none of these approaches will get to something like terra firma word for word. They are best guesses made by people of incredible rigor, a rigor I don’t possess quite frankly. And much of the dis agreements have almost no significance for making translations on the ground.

    The project for translation is to hear the text as clearly as possible, with proper emphasis, and find language that makes that get as close as possible. But there are Greek verbs that just do not make for good English prose, and so, as I said, we need to have people to keep at this stuff. And I think, perhaps contrary to some arch conservatives, that we shouldn’t let the academics have all the fun. I think one can use the historical critical method to be a good pupil (disciple). I think the real enemy of faith is false doctrine, especially the kind that calls itself “biblical.”

    Does that help?

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I’ll try. I must admit you all had me cracking books and searching around the Internet last night. The short answer is that there are problems with just about all of these arguments. Some are finessed better than others, and for my money, all of them should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I learned as a general rule of thumb the “brevio Lectio” idea (sp?) that says that the shorter version of a text is to be preferred. It sound almost like Occam I guess, but the thinking goes that what tended to happen with copying was that the texts were extended here and there for clarity. This seems to be one issue with Byzantine texts as I understand it. On the plus side, these texts seem to be quite consistent and thus, it is assumed, more reliable as copies. And there are quite a lot of them.

    But then they are all later (8 or 9th c.) texts. So, lots of reasons why that would be the case. Maybe they had a better system for making copies and at the same time instituted some kind of “style manual” of sorts. Or, a general consensus arose as to how the texts should read. Actually, to be honest, I’d need to study it a lot more.

    And like I said to reg, the differences are mostly minor ones with word additions that do not change the meaning of the text. The instance of Romans 5:1 is more of an anomaly, and there is no way to resolve it conclusively that I know of. Even using a majority text priority, a very popular idea, it cannot be resolved.

    There are also scholars who study various text families and try to trace the genealogies of them. At that point I am out of my element, but that sounds compelling to me. I think it is important to keep in mind that none of these approaches will get to something like terra firma word for word. They are best guesses made by people of incredible rigor, a rigor I don’t possess quite frankly. And much of the dis agreements have almost no significance for making translations on the ground.

    The project for translation is to hear the text as clearly as possible, with proper emphasis, and find language that makes that get as close as possible. But there are Greek verbs that just do not make for good English prose, and so, as I said, we need to have people to keep at this stuff. And I think, perhaps contrary to some arch conservatives, that we shouldn’t let the academics have all the fun. I think one can use the historical critical method to be a good pupil (disciple). I think the real enemy of faith is false doctrine, especially the kind that calls itself “biblical.”

    Does that help?

  • Stephen

    Ya know, I really don’t like the headings conservative and liberal. They too have become unhelpful for theology it seems to me.

  • Stephen

    Ya know, I really don’t like the headings conservative and liberal. They too have become unhelpful for theology it seems to me.

  • reg

    Stephen,
    In post 272 I was trying to get Grace to see the foolishness of her KJV only position. So my comment was more facetious than serious.

  • reg

    Stephen,
    In post 272 I was trying to get Grace to see the foolishness of her KJV only position. So my comment was more facetious than serious.

  • reg

    Kerner,
    The first baptism I just felt I needed to do it, not much great thought. Perhaps a little RC by osmosis that to be saved you must be baptized. I was troubled about how I could even attempt to become a Christian without a baptism (my parents were of different religions so I was neither baptized, nor trained in any religion).

    The second baptism (dunking) most certainly made me feel like I (old me) had died and (new me) was raised from the dead. However this was a very subjective/emotional feeling, which I know is not trusted by Lutherans. (“the heart is deceitful above all things” )

    So did the baptism in both instances make me feel closer to God-yes, but I am not sure at the time I had the grasp of the timeless reliability and certainty of God’s Word (“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” “if we are faithless, he remains faithful”)

  • reg

    Kerner,
    The first baptism I just felt I needed to do it, not much great thought. Perhaps a little RC by osmosis that to be saved you must be baptized. I was troubled about how I could even attempt to become a Christian without a baptism (my parents were of different religions so I was neither baptized, nor trained in any religion).

    The second baptism (dunking) most certainly made me feel like I (old me) had died and (new me) was raised from the dead. However this was a very subjective/emotional feeling, which I know is not trusted by Lutherans. (“the heart is deceitful above all things” )

    So did the baptism in both instances make me feel closer to God-yes, but I am not sure at the time I had the grasp of the timeless reliability and certainty of God’s Word (“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” “if we are faithless, he remains faithful”)

  • aletheist

    Stephen@287: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that there is no “killer argument” for any of the various approaches to the manuscripts, and as I have said before, God has preserved His Word through all of them.

    One suggested explanation for the lateness of the extant Byzantine manuscripts is that the scribes tended to destroy earlier (and presumably identical) copies upon completion of new ones. This may have been especially common during the transition from uncials to minuscules, which just happens to have occurred primarily during the 9th century.

    Here are a few links, in case you did not already find them yourself or someone else is interested in reading more. I am certainly not qualified to advocate or refute this particular line of thinking, but I do find it interesting and perhaps worth at least considering.

    http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/v06/Robinson2001.html
    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/RobPier.html
    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ByzPrior.html

  • aletheist

    Stephen@287: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that there is no “killer argument” for any of the various approaches to the manuscripts, and as I have said before, God has preserved His Word through all of them.

    One suggested explanation for the lateness of the extant Byzantine manuscripts is that the scribes tended to destroy earlier (and presumably identical) copies upon completion of new ones. This may have been especially common during the transition from uncials to minuscules, which just happens to have occurred primarily during the 9th century.

    Here are a few links, in case you did not already find them yourself or someone else is interested in reading more. I am certainly not qualified to advocate or refute this particular line of thinking, but I do find it interesting and perhaps worth at least considering.

    http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/v06/Robinson2001.html
    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/RobPier.html
    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ByzPrior.html

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    Thanks for the links. I’ll check it out.

    The Wikipedia article on Tischendorf has the story of him noticing what turned out to be the oldest copy of the Septuagint in a basket where old manuscripts were being used as kindling in the monastery at Mt. Sinai, the same place where he later discovered Codex Sinaiticus. I read that story in Metzger. What one comes to realize is how unconcerned people of the past were when it came to preservation of texts as artifacts. They saw them in terms of usefulness. The obsession with history and attempts to be precise about things like this is really a value born out of the Enlightenment that we have come to make a priority.

    And it’s fun!

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    Thanks for the links. I’ll check it out.

    The Wikipedia article on Tischendorf has the story of him noticing what turned out to be the oldest copy of the Septuagint in a basket where old manuscripts were being used as kindling in the monastery at Mt. Sinai, the same place where he later discovered Codex Sinaiticus. I read that story in Metzger. What one comes to realize is how unconcerned people of the past were when it came to preservation of texts as artifacts. They saw them in terms of usefulness. The obsession with history and attempts to be precise about things like this is really a value born out of the Enlightenment that we have come to make a priority.

    And it’s fun!

  • kerner

    reg @290:

    As you say, I consider the subjective emotional feelings as unreliable (not quite irrelavant, but certainly not to be depended upon by themselves). I don’ think you rely on them either. We both look to God’s Word, and trust in that.

    But it is exactly BECAUSE God’s Word (Romans 6:3-4) says that, in that moment of your original baptism (to the extent that we can say that anything an eternal God does can be confined to a moment), you died and were raised again by God Almighty, that I believe that’s what happened and you can believe it too. You may not have understood everything you learned later or know now, but none of that changes God’s Word on the subject. And it is ironic, but not unheard of, that God did this through a man whose understanding of Him was weaker, and probably remained weaker, than your own.

    Now, God also called you out before the foundation of the world. And it also can be said that your faith came by hearing the Word of God. What I do not understand is why some Christians seem so dead set on agruing that believing one such Biblical doctrine necessarily excludes the others. They are all in Scripture, therefore they should all be believed and trusted.

  • kerner

    reg @290:

    As you say, I consider the subjective emotional feelings as unreliable (not quite irrelavant, but certainly not to be depended upon by themselves). I don’ think you rely on them either. We both look to God’s Word, and trust in that.

    But it is exactly BECAUSE God’s Word (Romans 6:3-4) says that, in that moment of your original baptism (to the extent that we can say that anything an eternal God does can be confined to a moment), you died and were raised again by God Almighty, that I believe that’s what happened and you can believe it too. You may not have understood everything you learned later or know now, but none of that changes God’s Word on the subject. And it is ironic, but not unheard of, that God did this through a man whose understanding of Him was weaker, and probably remained weaker, than your own.

    Now, God also called you out before the foundation of the world. And it also can be said that your faith came by hearing the Word of God. What I do not understand is why some Christians seem so dead set on agruing that believing one such Biblical doctrine necessarily excludes the others. They are all in Scripture, therefore they should all be believed and trusted.

  • Stephen

    reg -

    This might seem like a trap, but how does the concern you had over the faith (or lack thereof) of the liberal pastor who baptized you with faithful parents who bring their children to be baptized? Do you see what I am asking? It sounds like you are relying on the faith of others in some sense to make baptism effective.

    Lutherans say that even a “scoundrel” can baptize. It is the office of the pastor which is set within the context of a broader community of believers who trust in the one God of scripture which makes it a Christian baptism. So a floundering liberal who isn’t so sure about things can still baptize. It isn’t his baptism per se, it is the Lord’s, the same one that took place in the Jordon.

    As a for instance, Mormons baptize using the trinitarian formula. However, set within that community it is not a Christian baptism exactly because the Mormon confession decidedly ascribes those names to three different gods and not the one God of the scriptures. In other words, it is baptism withing the context of the trinitarian confession which makes baptism Christian. So, given the necessity of this context, speaking the words is not hocus pocus. Humans do not “do” what is done in baptism. Those words that are spoken within the community which is the Body of Christ, the Body which has the one Lord as its head through faith.

  • Stephen

    reg -

    This might seem like a trap, but how does the concern you had over the faith (or lack thereof) of the liberal pastor who baptized you with faithful parents who bring their children to be baptized? Do you see what I am asking? It sounds like you are relying on the faith of others in some sense to make baptism effective.

    Lutherans say that even a “scoundrel” can baptize. It is the office of the pastor which is set within the context of a broader community of believers who trust in the one God of scripture which makes it a Christian baptism. So a floundering liberal who isn’t so sure about things can still baptize. It isn’t his baptism per se, it is the Lord’s, the same one that took place in the Jordon.

    As a for instance, Mormons baptize using the trinitarian formula. However, set within that community it is not a Christian baptism exactly because the Mormon confession decidedly ascribes those names to three different gods and not the one God of the scriptures. In other words, it is baptism withing the context of the trinitarian confession which makes baptism Christian. So, given the necessity of this context, speaking the words is not hocus pocus. Humans do not “do” what is done in baptism. Those words that are spoken within the community which is the Body of Christ, the Body which has the one Lord as its head through faith.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I read some of that stuff last night. Please tell me I have not muddied the waters here. I threw a bunch of stuff out there, but I’m not sure this is the best way to discuss the text of the NT.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I read some of that stuff last night. Please tell me I have not muddied the waters here. I threw a bunch of stuff out there, but I’m not sure this is the best way to discuss the text of the NT.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@295: I am not sure what you mean by “muddied the waters.” I have found the discussion of the NT text here to be interesting myself. I just am curious whether you think that the “Byzantine priority” approach offers anything worthwhile. I certainly do not expect the dominance of the “electic” method to diminish anytime soon.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@295: I am not sure what you mean by “muddied the waters.” I have found the discussion of the NT text here to be interesting myself. I just am curious whether you think that the “Byzantine priority” approach offers anything worthwhile. I certainly do not expect the dominance of the “electic” method to diminish anytime soon.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    Honestly, to answer that one way or the other I’d really need to get up to speed. At first glance, there does not seem to be a “pure” method, and frankly, you have me covering ground I passed over quite a long time ago. Much more reading is needed on my part. I was sort of trained in the majority text idea – that if supported by the big boy codexes, the point goes to the side with the most witnesses, with the added caveat that longer versions are to be generally discounted. For all intents and purposes, this is really Alexandrian priority to some degree, but not always. It seems the allure of the Byzantine priority is that the texts are more streamlined (if that’s the way to say it), consistent and plentiful. This being the case, it is more likely that their sources were based in a solid tradition, and this is more likely to make them consistent with the autographs (which is the goal). An eclectic view basically cannot get one to that goal at all goes the critique, precisely because it ends up being a mixture of sources that do not reflect any actual text. But I may be understanding it all wrong. Like I said, I need to read a lot more. There’s some kernel of logic in there I am not seeing I think. It was late and my son was crying a lot when I was trying to soak this stuff up.

    I guess what I mean about muddied waters is that I certainly get a lot out of this conversation, but I am sometimes concerned that a less informed person (not necessarily you) that is not accustomed to thinking about the bible this way might be harmed in some way. It’s a concern for the weaker brother I suppose. It is a delicate subject and why some get really worked up, even conjuring up all kinds of conspiracies and boogey men to attack.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    Honestly, to answer that one way or the other I’d really need to get up to speed. At first glance, there does not seem to be a “pure” method, and frankly, you have me covering ground I passed over quite a long time ago. Much more reading is needed on my part. I was sort of trained in the majority text idea – that if supported by the big boy codexes, the point goes to the side with the most witnesses, with the added caveat that longer versions are to be generally discounted. For all intents and purposes, this is really Alexandrian priority to some degree, but not always. It seems the allure of the Byzantine priority is that the texts are more streamlined (if that’s the way to say it), consistent and plentiful. This being the case, it is more likely that their sources were based in a solid tradition, and this is more likely to make them consistent with the autographs (which is the goal). An eclectic view basically cannot get one to that goal at all goes the critique, precisely because it ends up being a mixture of sources that do not reflect any actual text. But I may be understanding it all wrong. Like I said, I need to read a lot more. There’s some kernel of logic in there I am not seeing I think. It was late and my son was crying a lot when I was trying to soak this stuff up.

    I guess what I mean about muddied waters is that I certainly get a lot out of this conversation, but I am sometimes concerned that a less informed person (not necessarily you) that is not accustomed to thinking about the bible this way might be harmed in some way. It’s a concern for the weaker brother I suppose. It is a delicate subject and why some get really worked up, even conjuring up all kinds of conspiracies and boogey men to attack.

  • aletheist

    Stephen@297: Your first paragraph sounds consistent with my own limited understanding of the case for Byzantine priority, which is also based on insufficient reading. Although I do find it interesting, I doubt that I will pursue it much farther at this point; I have to get back to my day job!

    The concern that you expressed in your second paragraph is why I keep stressing that God has preserved His Word, regardless of which version of the Greek text someone prefers for whatever reason. I previously assumed that everyone was striving to reconstruct the autographs, so it has been enlightening to discover that some are adamant about the TR/KJV on different grounds. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • aletheist

    Stephen@297: Your first paragraph sounds consistent with my own limited understanding of the case for Byzantine priority, which is also based on insufficient reading. Although I do find it interesting, I doubt that I will pursue it much farther at this point; I have to get back to my day job!

    The concern that you expressed in your second paragraph is why I keep stressing that God has preserved His Word, regardless of which version of the Greek text someone prefers for whatever reason. I previously assumed that everyone was striving to reconstruct the autographs, so it has been enlightening to discover that some are adamant about the TR/KJV on different grounds. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I think there is a general concern for making the best approximation of the autographs among scholars regardless of what their personal beliefs are about the text. They work on these manuscripts because they love them. For me, I think without a Lutheran “in, with and under” sensibility at work, it might be pretty exasperating when one cannot know beyond a shadow of doubt what they said in every word and/or grammatical construction. Which is to say we can and do, and that is the work of HS that is promised through faith. Fundamentalists and rationalists do not have this it seems to me. They want facts, which is, ironically, quite modern in the fullest sense.

    One of the books I recommended “The Bible in Modern Culture” by two of my former profs at Luther prefaces their entire book with the statement that they are believers even as the book goes on to teach the history of historical criticism. I think it can be done and still be faithful. More conservatives, like the LCMS where I was born and have now returned, dis agree. It may get me into hot water at some point and I worry about that too. But ultimately it is the Lord’s work and not ours. I try to take comfort in that.

  • Stephen

    aletheist -

    I think there is a general concern for making the best approximation of the autographs among scholars regardless of what their personal beliefs are about the text. They work on these manuscripts because they love them. For me, I think without a Lutheran “in, with and under” sensibility at work, it might be pretty exasperating when one cannot know beyond a shadow of doubt what they said in every word and/or grammatical construction. Which is to say we can and do, and that is the work of HS that is promised through faith. Fundamentalists and rationalists do not have this it seems to me. They want facts, which is, ironically, quite modern in the fullest sense.

    One of the books I recommended “The Bible in Modern Culture” by two of my former profs at Luther prefaces their entire book with the statement that they are believers even as the book goes on to teach the history of historical criticism. I think it can be done and still be faithful. More conservatives, like the LCMS where I was born and have now returned, dis agree. It may get me into hot water at some point and I worry about that too. But ultimately it is the Lord’s work and not ours. I try to take comfort in that.

  • Stephen

    300!!!!

  • Stephen

    300!!!!

  • fws

    Stephen @ 299

    Amen!

    While it is true that an attack upon the objective historicity of Holy Scripture is an attack upon the basis for our Faith (Faith can never be separated from the Promise and where it is Placed),

    it is ALSO true that we often idolatrously deny that the men you describe must be devoid of faith in Christ.

    And that IS idolatry. It is to make an idol out of the Bible.

  • fws

    Stephen @ 299

    Amen!

    While it is true that an attack upon the objective historicity of Holy Scripture is an attack upon the basis for our Faith (Faith can never be separated from the Promise and where it is Placed),

    it is ALSO true that we often idolatrously deny that the men you describe must be devoid of faith in Christ.

    And that IS idolatry. It is to make an idol out of the Bible.

  • Stephen

    The ones I have known are certainly not devoid of faith at all that I could ever tell. Some of the most incredible, unrelenting gospel sermons I’ve ever heard came from a man who was a student of Rudolph Bultmann. Go figure!

  • Stephen

    The ones I have known are certainly not devoid of faith at all that I could ever tell. Some of the most incredible, unrelenting gospel sermons I’ve ever heard came from a man who was a student of Rudolph Bultmann. Go figure!

  • Larry

    Here is the issue, assent theology. Now the question heretofore of how do YOU know that this forgiveness is for you is not an inquisition but a question of “what is your hope”. And one’s otherwise professed theological moorings, Calvin or otherwise, must be born in mind. It’s not about getting the “right answer” but “what is YOUR hope”.

    The answers heretofore have been like this:

    An eye doctor who takes your bandages off to see if you actually tells you to open your eyes (gives the command) and his assistant asks “what you see” (what indicates its for you…the hope you have) and you reply basically “my eyes are open”. Tells nothing. The assistant asks again, “What do you see” (i.e. what is the hope that you have, your confession) and you basically say, “my eyes are open” (i.e. I believe) again confesses and tells nothing.

    Likewise to communicate basically I believe and know I believe is nothing different than saying “my eyes are open”. It does describe the situation but one is not confessing that objective reality that says “one is saved/forgiven and his is how I know”. Likewise, “my eyes are open” doesn’t really say to anyone that you actually see a thing, in fact one is not describing anything being seen but merely proclaiming that ones eyes are open.

    Thus, how does the Calvinist or Baptist know it is pro me, for them given their theological construct that 1. Christ did not atone for all (limited atonement) which removes the universal so that now there are two groups one of which one must belong and 2. sacraments do not give what they say namely salvation, forgiveness and rebirth (again according to the CLEAR doctrines as written, taught, preached and confessed by Reformed and Baptist that in fact distinguish them as their names from say Lutherans).

    Thus, the question is “what do you see” (that it is FOR YOU), not “are your eyes open” (I believe).

    If you asked Luther or the Lutheran or for that matter the church since day one the answer would be in parallels so we track the analogy as opposed to the Calvinist/Baptist you’d see the following parallel but opposing confession:

    Reformed/Baptist: What do you see (know that it is FOR YOU): My eyes are opened, the doctor fixed them (I believe, its all glory to God).

    What do you see (know that it is FOR YOU): I see light and men standing like trees (I am baptized).

    When then asked “what is your hope” is nothing different than in Acts 2 when stricken they cried, “what shall we do” and Peter rightly says “be baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins” and whereby the E. Eunuch dances away cheerfully. That cheerful dancing away is the same intrinsic confession of the “I am baptized”…both are joyfully dancing in their baptisms, consciences cleansed (1 Pet. 1:21), forgiven and given the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), named God’s (Matt. 28)…etc…

    Thus the Reformed/Baptist doctrine never answers the “pro me” but remains without it. Individuals within attempting to straddle the fence of knowing they themselves are saved and retaining the doctrine of the Reformed/Baptist must then attempt to bridge this gap. They cannot confess, “I am baptized” (or the Lord’s Supper or absolution), else they give up the doctrine. So they patch it over with what is equivalent to a “my eyes are open” that doesn’t confess and thus PRESENT their hope that they themselves have. They can generically leap over their doctrine and say I know Christ is for me, but in doing so whether they realize it or not, they’ve just denied their very Reformed and Baptist doctrines whereby the Reformed doctrine is in and of itself Reformed and the Baptist doctrine is in and of itself Baptist. I.e. they confess themselves, rightly, as Christian when they affirm Christ died FOR THEM (i.e. the orthodox Christian doctrine) and have just denied and in opposition to their other (heterodox) doctrine that says there is no “pro me”. I.e. when a Reformed person or Baptist explicitly says “Christ died FOR THEM/ME”, they speak orthodoxy and simultaneously they are denying “limited atonement/double destination”, “believers baptism”, “sign/symbol baptism”, “that Christ’s body is not in the bread and wine” and that “absolution is not so”. In essence they are battling their old man’s religion who confesses these fallen religions against themselves when it comes to “for me” in the person. In a sense their “right hand” orthodoxy does not know what their left hand heterodoxy is doing and vice versa.

    Thus, even though their old man denies “I am baptized” and “this baptism saves you”, their baptism and its attending work (that the old man is in the very act of denying with their formulated Reformed and Baptist doctrines)…is nonetheless and to the chagrin of their old man taking hold of them and forcing them to confess “Christ died pro me”, even if it (baptism) suffers for the time being of being named as part of that “pro me”. Thus, much like the atheist of recent time that wished to be “unbaptized” by an unbaptizing ceremony, their very confession of “Christ died for me” shows that baptism, nonetheless, has taken hold of them and IS doing the doing they deny. And thus baptism is working against this form of Ascent Theology! This is why Christians are really Christians, happily, even when they are formerly “Lutheran”.

  • Larry

    Here is the issue, assent theology. Now the question heretofore of how do YOU know that this forgiveness is for you is not an inquisition but a question of “what is your hope”. And one’s otherwise professed theological moorings, Calvin or otherwise, must be born in mind. It’s not about getting the “right answer” but “what is YOUR hope”.

    The answers heretofore have been like this:

    An eye doctor who takes your bandages off to see if you actually tells you to open your eyes (gives the command) and his assistant asks “what you see” (what indicates its for you…the hope you have) and you reply basically “my eyes are open”. Tells nothing. The assistant asks again, “What do you see” (i.e. what is the hope that you have, your confession) and you basically say, “my eyes are open” (i.e. I believe) again confesses and tells nothing.

    Likewise to communicate basically I believe and know I believe is nothing different than saying “my eyes are open”. It does describe the situation but one is not confessing that objective reality that says “one is saved/forgiven and his is how I know”. Likewise, “my eyes are open” doesn’t really say to anyone that you actually see a thing, in fact one is not describing anything being seen but merely proclaiming that ones eyes are open.

    Thus, how does the Calvinist or Baptist know it is pro me, for them given their theological construct that 1. Christ did not atone for all (limited atonement) which removes the universal so that now there are two groups one of which one must belong and 2. sacraments do not give what they say namely salvation, forgiveness and rebirth (again according to the CLEAR doctrines as written, taught, preached and confessed by Reformed and Baptist that in fact distinguish them as their names from say Lutherans).

    Thus, the question is “what do you see” (that it is FOR YOU), not “are your eyes open” (I believe).

    If you asked Luther or the Lutheran or for that matter the church since day one the answer would be in parallels so we track the analogy as opposed to the Calvinist/Baptist you’d see the following parallel but opposing confession:

    Reformed/Baptist: What do you see (know that it is FOR YOU): My eyes are opened, the doctor fixed them (I believe, its all glory to God).

    What do you see (know that it is FOR YOU): I see light and men standing like trees (I am baptized).

    When then asked “what is your hope” is nothing different than in Acts 2 when stricken they cried, “what shall we do” and Peter rightly says “be baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins” and whereby the E. Eunuch dances away cheerfully. That cheerful dancing away is the same intrinsic confession of the “I am baptized”…both are joyfully dancing in their baptisms, consciences cleansed (1 Pet. 1:21), forgiven and given the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), named God’s (Matt. 28)…etc…

    Thus the Reformed/Baptist doctrine never answers the “pro me” but remains without it. Individuals within attempting to straddle the fence of knowing they themselves are saved and retaining the doctrine of the Reformed/Baptist must then attempt to bridge this gap. They cannot confess, “I am baptized” (or the Lord’s Supper or absolution), else they give up the doctrine. So they patch it over with what is equivalent to a “my eyes are open” that doesn’t confess and thus PRESENT their hope that they themselves have. They can generically leap over their doctrine and say I know Christ is for me, but in doing so whether they realize it or not, they’ve just denied their very Reformed and Baptist doctrines whereby the Reformed doctrine is in and of itself Reformed and the Baptist doctrine is in and of itself Baptist. I.e. they confess themselves, rightly, as Christian when they affirm Christ died FOR THEM (i.e. the orthodox Christian doctrine) and have just denied and in opposition to their other (heterodox) doctrine that says there is no “pro me”. I.e. when a Reformed person or Baptist explicitly says “Christ died FOR THEM/ME”, they speak orthodoxy and simultaneously they are denying “limited atonement/double destination”, “believers baptism”, “sign/symbol baptism”, “that Christ’s body is not in the bread and wine” and that “absolution is not so”. In essence they are battling their old man’s religion who confesses these fallen religions against themselves when it comes to “for me” in the person. In a sense their “right hand” orthodoxy does not know what their left hand heterodoxy is doing and vice versa.

    Thus, even though their old man denies “I am baptized” and “this baptism saves you”, their baptism and its attending work (that the old man is in the very act of denying with their formulated Reformed and Baptist doctrines)…is nonetheless and to the chagrin of their old man taking hold of them and forcing them to confess “Christ died pro me”, even if it (baptism) suffers for the time being of being named as part of that “pro me”. Thus, much like the atheist of recent time that wished to be “unbaptized” by an unbaptizing ceremony, their very confession of “Christ died for me” shows that baptism, nonetheless, has taken hold of them and IS doing the doing they deny. And thus baptism is working against this form of Ascent Theology! This is why Christians are really Christians, happily, even when they are formerly “Lutheran”.

  • larry

    One thing that gets missed often when others say, that’s Lutheran confessions. This affects Reformed more than Baptist, but some Baptist leaning reformed confess it too…the Nicene Creed. If one does not confess it one confesses heresry by default. But reformed confess it openly and so do some Baptist. Yet it says plainly that baptism saves, explicitly that it forgives sin, “I recognize one baptism for the remission of sins “.

    One ought know what one is confessing and one caanot point and say “that’s Lutheran only “.

  • larry

    One thing that gets missed often when others say, that’s Lutheran confessions. This affects Reformed more than Baptist, but some Baptist leaning reformed confess it too…the Nicene Creed. If one does not confess it one confesses heresry by default. But reformed confess it openly and so do some Baptist. Yet it says plainly that baptism saves, explicitly that it forgives sin, “I recognize one baptism for the remission of sins “.

    One ought know what one is confessing and one caanot point and say “that’s Lutheran only “.


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