The faith of infants

A key Lutheran teaching is that infants can have faith.  This is why Lutherans see no contradiction between infant baptism and justification by faith.  Lutherans see faith not just in terms of intellectual knowledge or conscious volition, but as trust, dependence, and relationship with a Person.  Infants can trust, depend on, and have a relationship with their parents and also with their Heavenly Father.  The faith that begins with baptism then grows and matures, fed by the “milk” of God’s Word, as the child grows into adulthood, and continuing thereafter.  (That faith can also die if it is not nourished, which is why someone can have been baptized as an infant but then reject the faith and become an unbeliever in need of conversion.)

Anyway, a new book explores, from the vantage point of scientific research, the way infants and extremely young children seemed to be wired for religious belief.

Wheaton provost Stanton L. Jones reviews Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief by psychologist Justin L. Barrett:

He summarizes creative, sophisticated research establishing that in infancy, babies understand distinctions between mere objects and agents (human and non-human, visible and invisible) which initiate actions that are not predictable and yet are goal-directed or purposeful. Only agents act to bring order out of disorder.

Children over three begin to discern and attribute purpose to much of what happens around them, which they in turn are inclined to attribute to human and superhuman agents. When children are old enough to actually discuss their intuitive concepts of god(s), they seem normatively disposed to believe in a (or many) divine agent(s) possessing “superknowledge, superperception, creative power, and immortality,” as well as to believe in a purposeful design to creation, in some sort of basic universal morality, and in the persistence of human identity after death.

Roughly the first 40 percent of Born Believers summarizes this research, while the remaining portion fleshes out its implications. Barrett’s view of religious development is that “children are naturally drawn to some basic religious ideas and related practices (natural religion), and then the meat of a religious and theological tradition as taught by parents grows on this skeleton.” He discusses trends in the research that might foster effective religious education.

via Born Believers, Part 1 | Books and Culture.

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.

  • James Sarver

    This simply confirms what Christians know from Romans 1:20, that the most basic human intellect perceives God’s Law at work in creation and thus that there is a creator. This is only a definition of “faith” if one is a universalist. The developing intellect will flesh this out with something that suits it in the absence of real faith provided by God through the Holy Spirit, of which the unassisted (fallen) intellect is not capable.

  • James Sarver

    This simply confirms what Christians know from Romans 1:20, that the most basic human intellect perceives God’s Law at work in creation and thus that there is a creator. This is only a definition of “faith” if one is a universalist. The developing intellect will flesh this out with something that suits it in the absence of real faith provided by God through the Holy Spirit, of which the unassisted (fallen) intellect is not capable.

  • Michael B.

    “Anyway, a new book explores, from the vantage point of scientific research, the way infants and extremely young children seemed to be wired for religious belief.”

    Not surprising. Much of our beliefs, especially religious, are a result of the time and place where we were born. I was remarking to Todd in another thread that even though we argue sometimes on here, our worldviews have far more in common than say him and somebody living several hundred years ago. It’s just that we don’t tend to talk about stuff we agree on. You’ll never see a thread saying “civil rights for Jews is a good thing”.

  • Michael B.

    “Anyway, a new book explores, from the vantage point of scientific research, the way infants and extremely young children seemed to be wired for religious belief.”

    Not surprising. Much of our beliefs, especially religious, are a result of the time and place where we were born. I was remarking to Todd in another thread that even though we argue sometimes on here, our worldviews have far more in common than say him and somebody living several hundred years ago. It’s just that we don’t tend to talk about stuff we agree on. You’ll never see a thread saying “civil rights for Jews is a good thing”.

  • trotk

    Michael B. -

    You missed the point. This isn’t about cultural acquisitions. This is about predispositions and tendencies from birth, regardless of time and culture.

  • trotk

    Michael B. -

    You missed the point. This isn’t about cultural acquisitions. This is about predispositions and tendencies from birth, regardless of time and culture.

  • SKPeterson

    A corollary to this argument – the state of faith as relationship – is laid out here:

    http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-basic-ontic-flaw-in-rejection-of.html

    A pretty good summary. Kilcrease’s blog typos can make for some difficult reading of sometimes dense subjects, but I think this one still comes across pretty well.

  • SKPeterson

    A corollary to this argument – the state of faith as relationship – is laid out here:

    http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-basic-ontic-flaw-in-rejection-of.html

    A pretty good summary. Kilcrease’s blog typos can make for some difficult reading of sometimes dense subjects, but I think this one still comes across pretty well.

  • SKPeterson

    Just as an aside since I can’t remember what thread we discussed this on, but it was in relation to abortion and infants. A question was asked if a mother anywhere has ever been arrested for harming their infant through the use of drugs. The answer is: yes. Here it is

    http://www.newschannel5.com/story/19538051/mother-charged-after-baby-born-with-drugs-in-system

  • SKPeterson

    Just as an aside since I can’t remember what thread we discussed this on, but it was in relation to abortion and infants. A question was asked if a mother anywhere has ever been arrested for harming their infant through the use of drugs. The answer is: yes. Here it is

    http://www.newschannel5.com/story/19538051/mother-charged-after-baby-born-with-drugs-in-system

  • fjsteve

    I’ve wondered how the faith of infants squares with the doctrine of original sin. Can someone enlighten me? Or at least point me to some good reading. Thanks!

  • fjsteve

    I’ve wondered how the faith of infants squares with the doctrine of original sin. Can someone enlighten me? Or at least point me to some good reading. Thanks!

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @6:

    It’s no different than how the faith of adults squares with the doctrine of original sin. It takes God’s grace to overcome original sin to create faith in *anyone*, child or adult alike.

    This is most clearly see in infants – whatever might need to be done to be saved, there’s no way a newborn is capable of doing it. There’s no fooling ourselves that *we* somehow played a part in our own salvation, be it ever so small (“you have to accept Jesus”/”believe the following essentials”/”make Jesus the Lord of your life”) – the faith of infants can be nothing other than the gracious working of God alone, and our old Adam doesn’t like that ;).

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @6:

    It’s no different than how the faith of adults squares with the doctrine of original sin. It takes God’s grace to overcome original sin to create faith in *anyone*, child or adult alike.

    This is most clearly see in infants – whatever might need to be done to be saved, there’s no way a newborn is capable of doing it. There’s no fooling ourselves that *we* somehow played a part in our own salvation, be it ever so small (“you have to accept Jesus”/”believe the following essentials”/”make Jesus the Lord of your life”) – the faith of infants can be nothing other than the gracious working of God alone, and our old Adam doesn’t like that ;).

  • fjsteve

    forty-two,

    Thanks. I had always understood the faith of the infant as a sort of proxy faith via the faith of the parents. Is that not correct?

  • fjsteve

    forty-two,

    Thanks. I had always understood the faith of the infant as a sort of proxy faith via the faith of the parents. Is that not correct?

  • SKPeterson

    fjs @ 8 – Insofar as the faith of the parents is the mechanism by which the infant is brought to the font, hears the Word, and is baptized, then it is a proxy, but it may also then be construed that the parents are proxies of the Word in a manner similar to that of the pastor.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs @ 8 – Insofar as the faith of the parents is the mechanism by which the infant is brought to the font, hears the Word, and is baptized, then it is a proxy, but it may also then be construed that the parents are proxies of the Word in a manner similar to that of the pastor.

  • fjsteve

    SK, so, in the former case, is the mechanism through the hearing alone or through the understanding and repentance? Also, what about Acts 16:31?

  • fjsteve

    SK, so, in the former case, is the mechanism through the hearing alone or through the understanding and repentance? Also, what about Acts 16:31?

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @8:

    WRT “proxy faith” of infants, I believe that is the Calvinist understanding, but it’s not the Lutheran view. We believe the infant’s faith is for-real, just like anyone’s. There’s nothing “less than” about it – it is real saving faith from the get-go. The child does not have to “make their faith their own” at some later date, because it is theirs from the start.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @8:

    WRT “proxy faith” of infants, I believe that is the Calvinist understanding, but it’s not the Lutheran view. We believe the infant’s faith is for-real, just like anyone’s. There’s nothing “less than” about it – it is real saving faith from the get-go. The child does not have to “make their faith their own” at some later date, because it is theirs from the start.

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, what is the Biblical basis for that?

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, what is the Biblical basis for that?

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @10:

    The “mechanism” is God working through the means of grace (Word and Sacraments). We can’t understand, repent, believe in Jesus – exhibit any of the fruits of faith – without God first having given us that faith. Which He does through the means of grace.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @10:

    The “mechanism” is God working through the means of grace (Word and Sacraments). We can’t understand, repent, believe in Jesus – exhibit any of the fruits of faith – without God first having given us that faith. Which He does through the means of grace.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs – Do you have to understand to have faith or believe? Moreover, is belief sufficient? Satan and his devils believe in God, but it is to their damnation. What is the belief referring to in Acts 16:31? Is it not faith in the promises of Jesus Christ? Faith is belief and belief is faith.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs – Do you have to understand to have faith or believe? Moreover, is belief sufficient? Satan and his devils believe in God, but it is to their damnation. What is the belief referring to in Acts 16:31? Is it not faith in the promises of Jesus Christ? Faith is belief and belief is faith.

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, #13, Paul seems to indicate that there needs to be a hearer as well as a preacher. I understand the monergistic nature of salvation but does that also apply to the Word? Meaning, hearing the Word is sufficient regardless of our capacity to understand the Word?

    sk, #14, my question with regard to about Acts 16:31 was about the “you and your household” phrase. This has been used as part of the justification for infant baptism, which prompted my question about proxy faith.

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, #13, Paul seems to indicate that there needs to be a hearer as well as a preacher. I understand the monergistic nature of salvation but does that also apply to the Word? Meaning, hearing the Word is sufficient regardless of our capacity to understand the Word?

    sk, #14, my question with regard to about Acts 16:31 was about the “you and your household” phrase. This has been used as part of the justification for infant baptism, which prompted my question about proxy faith.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @12:

    The biblical basis for children having saving faith is the same as the biblical basis for adults:

    2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @12:

    The biblical basis for children having saving faith is the same as the biblical basis for adults:

    2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @ 15:

    Yes, the Holy Spirit works through the Word itself (so hearing or other senses), not our understanding of the Word. No one – not even the most learned adult – can comprehend the Word outside of God’s mediation:

    25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

  • forty-two

    fjsteve @ 15:

    Yes, the Holy Spirit works through the Word itself (so hearing or other senses), not our understanding of the Word. No one – not even the most learned adult – can comprehend the Word outside of God’s mediation:

    25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, ok, I hear you (pun intended, sort of). I’m just thinking about the means of grace being Word and Sacrament. I understand that infants can partake in the sacrament of baptism but it’s the Word, which even Luther seems to require, and belief in that Word, that I get tripped up on. I read in the Smalcald Articles that baptism is the Word of God in water (referencing Paul’s “washing in the Word” statement). But even there, belief seems to be missing from baptism of infants.

  • fjsteve

    forty-two, ok, I hear you (pun intended, sort of). I’m just thinking about the means of grace being Word and Sacrament. I understand that infants can partake in the sacrament of baptism but it’s the Word, which even Luther seems to require, and belief in that Word, that I get tripped up on. I read in the Smalcald Articles that baptism is the Word of God in water (referencing Paul’s “washing in the Word” statement). But even there, belief seems to be missing from baptism of infants.

  • fjsteve

    To append onto post 18, if belief in the Word is required, even though God himself is the source of belief, and an infant is incapable of understanding in order to believe.

  • fjsteve

    To append onto post 18, if belief in the Word is required, even though God himself is the source of belief, and an infant is incapable of understanding in order to believe.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    If the relationship of faith and hearing in infants is the question, we have some interesting testimony in Scripture that pushes this back even further, into the womb:

    39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
    (Luke 1:39-44 NASB)

    If there is at least one recorded Biblical case of prenatal spirituality, then I would think that we must concede infant spirituality to be possible, too.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    If the relationship of faith and hearing in infants is the question, we have some interesting testimony in Scripture that pushes this back even further, into the womb:

    39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
    (Luke 1:39-44 NASB)

    If there is at least one recorded Biblical case of prenatal spirituality, then I would think that we must concede infant spirituality to be possible, too.

  • Mary Jack

    I always think of the power of the Word in terms of Ezekiel preaching to the dry bones. If infant bones were there, would they too have been raised? Yep. The Word can create its own hearing.

  • Mary Jack

    I always think of the power of the Word in terms of Ezekiel preaching to the dry bones. If infant bones were there, would they too have been raised? Yep. The Word can create its own hearing.

  • Stephen

    At two and half my daughter insisted we say the Lord’s Prayer at a restaurant when we were out with extended family for a birthday celebration. She led and knew the whole thing completely and only from hearing it in church. She had been paying attention and is more truly and authentically pious (the good kind of piety that is) than I will ever be. She’s four now and will not eat without praying. All of this with no parental insistence at all. We simply practice it and she gets it.

    Water isn’t magic, but words have power. Now as I watch my son learn to talk, I am only more affirmed in that understanding. He knows they are important. Words are who we are and how we are.

  • Stephen

    At two and half my daughter insisted we say the Lord’s Prayer at a restaurant when we were out with extended family for a birthday celebration. She led and knew the whole thing completely and only from hearing it in church. She had been paying attention and is more truly and authentically pious (the good kind of piety that is) than I will ever be. She’s four now and will not eat without praying. All of this with no parental insistence at all. We simply practice it and she gets it.

    Water isn’t magic, but words have power. Now as I watch my son learn to talk, I am only more affirmed in that understanding. He knows they are important. Words are who we are and how we are.

  • aletheist

    fjsteve@19: It is a common mistake to equate faith solely with belief; we should equate faith also–perhaps more so–with trust, especially when referring to saving faith. We are not saved by that which we believe, but by Him in whom we trust. “I know whom [not what] I have believed, and I am convinced that he [not it] is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (1 Timothy 1:12, emphases added) Even if “an infant is incapable of understanding in order to believe,” he or she is certainly capable of trusting, and in fact must do so in order to survive physically as well as spiritually. “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17)

    Mary Jack@21:

    The Word can create its own hearing.

    Amen! “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

  • aletheist

    fjsteve@19: It is a common mistake to equate faith solely with belief; we should equate faith also–perhaps more so–with trust, especially when referring to saving faith. We are not saved by that which we believe, but by Him in whom we trust. “I know whom [not what] I have believed, and I am convinced that he [not it] is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (1 Timothy 1:12, emphases added) Even if “an infant is incapable of understanding in order to believe,” he or she is certainly capable of trusting, and in fact must do so in order to survive physically as well as spiritually. “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17)

    Mary Jack@21:

    The Word can create its own hearing.

    Amen! “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

  • Stephen

    aletheist

    “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

    I have wondered if Jesus was telling a joke when he said that.

    “All you earless people, just disregard what I’m about to say, but the rest of you . . . “

  • Stephen

    aletheist

    “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

    I have wondered if Jesus was telling a joke when he said that.

    “All you earless people, just disregard what I’m about to say, but the rest of you . . . “

  • kerner

    fjsteve:

    If I may add to the example given by Rick Ritchie @20, consider David’s testimony in Psalm 22:

    “8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
    Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”
    9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
    10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

    This passage seems pretty clearly based on the premise that nursing infants can trust God, and that even from mother’s womb God is not just God, but my God. This leads me to conclude that faith can exist in an infant, even a pre-born infant, notwithstanding such a person’s infant intellect. Do you conclude otherwise?

  • kerner

    fjsteve:

    If I may add to the example given by Rick Ritchie @20, consider David’s testimony in Psalm 22:

    “8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
    Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”
    9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
    10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

    This passage seems pretty clearly based on the premise that nursing infants can trust God, and that even from mother’s womb God is not just God, but my God. This leads me to conclude that faith can exist in an infant, even a pre-born infant, notwithstanding such a person’s infant intellect. Do you conclude otherwise?

  • Stephen

    hmmm Kerner,

    Not sure if that is what the text is saying. Maybe. “You have bought me from the womb” certainly is about the promise of faith, but faith itself as already given, not sure. Why then baptism?

  • Stephen

    hmmm Kerner,

    Not sure if that is what the text is saying. Maybe. “You have bought me from the womb” certainly is about the promise of faith, but faith itself as already given, not sure. Why then baptism?

  • Larry

    A couple of HUGE mistakes always happen when discussing infant faith and then these extend to adults, and is were synergism gets a toe hold, whether its the overt synergism of arminian style doctrines or Calvinisms practical synergism entrenched informally within it.

    First, original sin was the loss of this faith, the pro me, in Creation. Satan attacked, the Word, faith’s object and then man lost his “pro me” (for me). The Word here is to mean Christ. Get original sin wrong and all else will follow wrong.

    Second, saving faith is particularly and specifically “pro me” (for me). Thus, there MUST be an a priori object that is real and true ‘for me’ in order to have real saving faith (some call this trust). No pro me, no faith and no Word pro me, no pro me and thus no saving faith. If there is no Word from God that is His forgiveness not just offered by actually given then there is no pro me and there can be no faith. Thus, no absolution, no this baptism saves you, no body and blood to which forgiveness is attached and actually given not symbolized…then there can be no “pro me” and no faith. For this is the very bondage of the will and it is utterly bound without this, its why men fight against infant baptism that actually regenerates and actually gives/brings forgiveness of sin and a sacrament that ‘this sacrament saves you’ – the will is that bound, utterly.

    Those who deny and reject that the pastor’s absolution is God’s, that baptism actually saves/regenerates/forgives from God, that the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Christ and thus worshipped as forgiveness is actually, truly and really given deny the bondage of the will. It is impossible to deny these things and actually hold to the bondage of the will and if one thinks one does one has not understood Luther’s bondage of the will in the least bit.

    This is why Satan’s first attack, “hath God really said” is his same and constant attack especially regarding the sacraments and absolution. It comes in varied words but its always a form of denying that God actually said, “your sins are forgiven” (through a pastor or brother), “this baptism saves you”, being baptized “for the forgiveness of sins, drinking Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of sins. Even the older heresies of Arius, Nestorius, Mecodonius and Eutychius (sp??) are ALL forms of “hath God really said” and ALL are designed to be and are that ‘other word’ of the serpent that attacks the Word of God, faith’s object that ALREADY IS whether and before you believe it or not, in order to retain man in the bondage of his/her will to Satan and away from God.

    And this attack on the Word is not on the Word as in just scriptures as ‘words’ but on Christ Who IS the very Word Himself. This is what is different from Luther/Lutheranism and all other denominations. It is why some can say that when Christ speaks of ‘baptism’ and such that those are ‘just words of Scripture’ and not Christ himself. The Word is ALWAYS fundamentally Christ. Lotz writes, “…Luther simply identified the Bible as ‘the Word of God’, the Word as deed and the Word as proclamation were still included in the definition of what he meant by ‘word’. For the Word as deed always circumscribed the Word as proclamation. The proclamation was entitled to be called the ‘Word of God,’ only if it recited those deeds which were the ‘Word of God’ the oral proclamation had to rely on the ‘Word of God’ as Scripture.” Luther did not identify the Word of God with words but with Christ and thereby avoiding a dead literalism on one hand and what the Word said and does as deed avoiding flighty allegories on the other.

    Thus, to proclaim, preach, teach or exclaim other words about scripture (e.g. inserting “represents” or “spiritual baptism” or “believers only”) is quite literally proclaiming another christ and another jesus who is not Christ Jesus at all. These are the other words of the serpent that in essence are saying first to deny the actual Word (and thus Christ) “hath God said” (or e.g. ‘it doesn’t mean that’), then to replace them with other satanic words, “…you will not surely die” (or e.g. ‘it means represents, symbol, spiritual, etc…).

    In this satanic act the Word, Christ is removed from the hearer, thus the “pro me” (for me) and thus faith is murdered. This is one of the reasons Luther rightly saw the birds in air, Satan’s workers, in Jesus’ seed parable as the false teachers of all ages and time no matter who they were.

    God sends preachers and sacraments to do the “pro me” electing. All one can say to the person asking, “Well then who is elect?” Answer unequivocally, “YOU ARE!”

  • Larry

    A couple of HUGE mistakes always happen when discussing infant faith and then these extend to adults, and is were synergism gets a toe hold, whether its the overt synergism of arminian style doctrines or Calvinisms practical synergism entrenched informally within it.

    First, original sin was the loss of this faith, the pro me, in Creation. Satan attacked, the Word, faith’s object and then man lost his “pro me” (for me). The Word here is to mean Christ. Get original sin wrong and all else will follow wrong.

    Second, saving faith is particularly and specifically “pro me” (for me). Thus, there MUST be an a priori object that is real and true ‘for me’ in order to have real saving faith (some call this trust). No pro me, no faith and no Word pro me, no pro me and thus no saving faith. If there is no Word from God that is His forgiveness not just offered by actually given then there is no pro me and there can be no faith. Thus, no absolution, no this baptism saves you, no body and blood to which forgiveness is attached and actually given not symbolized…then there can be no “pro me” and no faith. For this is the very bondage of the will and it is utterly bound without this, its why men fight against infant baptism that actually regenerates and actually gives/brings forgiveness of sin and a sacrament that ‘this sacrament saves you’ – the will is that bound, utterly.

    Those who deny and reject that the pastor’s absolution is God’s, that baptism actually saves/regenerates/forgives from God, that the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Christ and thus worshipped as forgiveness is actually, truly and really given deny the bondage of the will. It is impossible to deny these things and actually hold to the bondage of the will and if one thinks one does one has not understood Luther’s bondage of the will in the least bit.

    This is why Satan’s first attack, “hath God really said” is his same and constant attack especially regarding the sacraments and absolution. It comes in varied words but its always a form of denying that God actually said, “your sins are forgiven” (through a pastor or brother), “this baptism saves you”, being baptized “for the forgiveness of sins, drinking Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of sins. Even the older heresies of Arius, Nestorius, Mecodonius and Eutychius (sp??) are ALL forms of “hath God really said” and ALL are designed to be and are that ‘other word’ of the serpent that attacks the Word of God, faith’s object that ALREADY IS whether and before you believe it or not, in order to retain man in the bondage of his/her will to Satan and away from God.

    And this attack on the Word is not on the Word as in just scriptures as ‘words’ but on Christ Who IS the very Word Himself. This is what is different from Luther/Lutheranism and all other denominations. It is why some can say that when Christ speaks of ‘baptism’ and such that those are ‘just words of Scripture’ and not Christ himself. The Word is ALWAYS fundamentally Christ. Lotz writes, “…Luther simply identified the Bible as ‘the Word of God’, the Word as deed and the Word as proclamation were still included in the definition of what he meant by ‘word’. For the Word as deed always circumscribed the Word as proclamation. The proclamation was entitled to be called the ‘Word of God,’ only if it recited those deeds which were the ‘Word of God’ the oral proclamation had to rely on the ‘Word of God’ as Scripture.” Luther did not identify the Word of God with words but with Christ and thereby avoiding a dead literalism on one hand and what the Word said and does as deed avoiding flighty allegories on the other.

    Thus, to proclaim, preach, teach or exclaim other words about scripture (e.g. inserting “represents” or “spiritual baptism” or “believers only”) is quite literally proclaiming another christ and another jesus who is not Christ Jesus at all. These are the other words of the serpent that in essence are saying first to deny the actual Word (and thus Christ) “hath God said” (or e.g. ‘it doesn’t mean that’), then to replace them with other satanic words, “…you will not surely die” (or e.g. ‘it means represents, symbol, spiritual, etc…).

    In this satanic act the Word, Christ is removed from the hearer, thus the “pro me” (for me) and thus faith is murdered. This is one of the reasons Luther rightly saw the birds in air, Satan’s workers, in Jesus’ seed parable as the false teachers of all ages and time no matter who they were.

    God sends preachers and sacraments to do the “pro me” electing. All one can say to the person asking, “Well then who is elect?” Answer unequivocally, “YOU ARE!”

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    You should consider becoming a preacher.

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    You should consider becoming a preacher.

  • Fws

    Fjsteve

    1)Faith comes how? By hearing. And how does that hearing come? by the Word of God.

    It seems obvious that this is a special kind of opening of the ears that ALONE Christ our dear Lord , touching us with his spit called the Holy Spirit can make happen. Adults. Infants. No matter. God literally makes children of abraham from hearts that are stone cold ….dead spiritually.

    2) original sin. What do you think at is fjsteve? Read what larry says.
    Original righteousness, which was the very Image and Likeness of God, was nothing other than faith in Christ Jesus. St Paul tells us that Baptism remakes us literally back into his Image.

    What happens in baptism is the restoration of original righteousness. And Original sin ?

    the Old Adam still clings to us, but the start of his death is right there in Baptism.

    It is the same Word of God that said let there be light that once again restores the glorious Light in our hearts that the Darkness of Original sin that is unbelief and hatred for God in the hearts of all infants , born as natural man, simply canNOT overcome.

    Men are not blocks of wood or stone needing a Word of God to magically make us animated with the Spirit.
    our situation ,starting from in the womb ,is far worse than that.
    We are born as faith-devoided enemies of God whose hearts viciously seek to place our trust in ANYthing but that dearest Lord who came to seek and to save me. Beyond total depravity. Way beyond.

    And YOU fjsteve! Christ died for YOU fjsteve.

    How do you know that? Your repentence? Your faith? Your decision? Your spiritfilled life? Really? How can a troubled conscience ever be certain that doing is enough or sincere enough? or real?

    God sent a preacher to baptize you. that Baptism is your promise that God chose you and elected you, from eternity, to be his.

    you? A liar. If that depended on you? Lost.

    But God cant lie. Fjsteve.

    hold God to his Promise in your Baptism.
    Even if you do not find in yourself one shred of true faith or repentence (which is the confession we Lutherans all have) hold God to his Word!

    Bless you dear fjsteve.

  • Fws

    Fjsteve

    1)Faith comes how? By hearing. And how does that hearing come? by the Word of God.

    It seems obvious that this is a special kind of opening of the ears that ALONE Christ our dear Lord , touching us with his spit called the Holy Spirit can make happen. Adults. Infants. No matter. God literally makes children of abraham from hearts that are stone cold ….dead spiritually.

    2) original sin. What do you think at is fjsteve? Read what larry says.
    Original righteousness, which was the very Image and Likeness of God, was nothing other than faith in Christ Jesus. St Paul tells us that Baptism remakes us literally back into his Image.

    What happens in baptism is the restoration of original righteousness. And Original sin ?

    the Old Adam still clings to us, but the start of his death is right there in Baptism.

    It is the same Word of God that said let there be light that once again restores the glorious Light in our hearts that the Darkness of Original sin that is unbelief and hatred for God in the hearts of all infants , born as natural man, simply canNOT overcome.

    Men are not blocks of wood or stone needing a Word of God to magically make us animated with the Spirit.
    our situation ,starting from in the womb ,is far worse than that.
    We are born as faith-devoided enemies of God whose hearts viciously seek to place our trust in ANYthing but that dearest Lord who came to seek and to save me. Beyond total depravity. Way beyond.

    And YOU fjsteve! Christ died for YOU fjsteve.

    How do you know that? Your repentence? Your faith? Your decision? Your spiritfilled life? Really? How can a troubled conscience ever be certain that doing is enough or sincere enough? or real?

    God sent a preacher to baptize you. that Baptism is your promise that God chose you and elected you, from eternity, to be his.

    you? A liar. If that depended on you? Lost.

    But God cant lie. Fjsteve.

    hold God to his Promise in your Baptism.
    Even if you do not find in yourself one shred of true faith or repentence (which is the confession we Lutherans all have) hold God to his Word!

    Bless you dear fjsteve.

  • Fws

    Fjsteve

    god wants us to find him in his Word. no other place FJsteve. And not just any Word of God can save us It is alone a heart-knowing and trust in Two Words that can save us Fjsteve.

    Those Two Words are “Given and shed for YOU!”

    Satan a muslim, buddhist all can now that There IS a God, that he is good and merciful, etc. But to be dead certain, in the heart , that God’s Will IS exactly to be merciful to ME!! That, ALONE, Christ with his Spirit can create in us.

    if you have not suffered and experienced the terrors of conscience FJsteve that drives men to the verge of suicide and despair, you will not understand what we Lutherans are telling you. We are talking about a faith that is born in the terrors of conscience that flees from sin and wants it to end in us. And it is exactlyin those terrors of conscience that this faith is strengthened and grows. And this terror causes us to trust not even in our faith or repentence but rather to flee all that and hide all that in the Works of Another. ALONE.

    If you have not experienced such things, you need to better understand the depths of Original sin in your heart and this can only be known from Gods Word. this judgement of our very heart only Christ himself can bring and only when he sends a preacher.

    Bless you FJsteve.

  • Fws

    Fjsteve

    god wants us to find him in his Word. no other place FJsteve. And not just any Word of God can save us It is alone a heart-knowing and trust in Two Words that can save us Fjsteve.

    Those Two Words are “Given and shed for YOU!”

    Satan a muslim, buddhist all can now that There IS a God, that he is good and merciful, etc. But to be dead certain, in the heart , that God’s Will IS exactly to be merciful to ME!! That, ALONE, Christ with his Spirit can create in us.

    if you have not suffered and experienced the terrors of conscience FJsteve that drives men to the verge of suicide and despair, you will not understand what we Lutherans are telling you. We are talking about a faith that is born in the terrors of conscience that flees from sin and wants it to end in us. And it is exactlyin those terrors of conscience that this faith is strengthened and grows. And this terror causes us to trust not even in our faith or repentence but rather to flee all that and hide all that in the Works of Another. ALONE.

    If you have not experienced such things, you need to better understand the depths of Original sin in your heart and this can only be known from Gods Word. this judgement of our very heart only Christ himself can bring and only when he sends a preacher.

    Bless you FJsteve.

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

    Faith in infants comports with evidence of the heritability of religiosity.

    Genes and environment

    The contributions of genes and environment to religiosity have been quantified in studies of twins (Bouchard et al.’, 1999; Kirk et al.’, 1999) and sociological studies of welfare, availability, and legal regulations [1] (state religions, etc.).
    Koenig et al. (2005) report that the contribution of genes to variation in religiosity (called heritability) increases from 12% to 44% and the contribution of shared (family) effects decreases from 56% to 18% between adolescence and adulthood.[2]

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

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

    Faith in infants comports with evidence of the heritability of religiosity.

    Genes and environment

    The contributions of genes and environment to religiosity have been quantified in studies of twins (Bouchard et al.’, 1999; Kirk et al.’, 1999) and sociological studies of welfare, availability, and legal regulations [1] (state religions, etc.).
    Koenig et al. (2005) report that the contribution of genes to variation in religiosity (called heritability) increases from 12% to 44% and the contribution of shared (family) effects decreases from 56% to 18% between adolescence and adulthood.[2]

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

  • Fws

    Sg

    Still this is about romans 2:15 and the divine law written in the reason of all men right sg? It has NOTHING to do with that heart knowing and trust in Two Words… “for YOU!” that ALONE makes one a christian and that ALONE require Christ and his Holy Spirit.

  • Fws

    Sg

    Still this is about romans 2:15 and the divine law written in the reason of all men right sg? It has NOTHING to do with that heart knowing and trust in Two Words… “for YOU!” that ALONE makes one a christian and that ALONE require Christ and his Holy Spirit.

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

    fws, I try to have an open mind. Consider this, researchers have some hypothesis. They try to test it by qualifying and quantifying something that can be observed or attested. This renders a set of data. They use the data to fit into their schema. However, the data exist independent of how the researcher wishes to use or interpret them. Look again at what I posted and notice that the evidence can support, verify and validate what you are saying as well as it can support the way the researchers wish to use it. Is that absolute proof? Is it conclusive? No, it isn’t. But it is statistical evidence. That is, it shows a pattern that exists in nature. It is not just asserted or assumed.

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

    fws, I try to have an open mind. Consider this, researchers have some hypothesis. They try to test it by qualifying and quantifying something that can be observed or attested. This renders a set of data. They use the data to fit into their schema. However, the data exist independent of how the researcher wishes to use or interpret them. Look again at what I posted and notice that the evidence can support, verify and validate what you are saying as well as it can support the way the researchers wish to use it. Is that absolute proof? Is it conclusive? No, it isn’t. But it is statistical evidence. That is, it shows a pattern that exists in nature. It is not just asserted or assumed.

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

    God rules nature and the supernatural. He is revealed in nature. Kepler did not use the Bible to assert planetary motion, well because it isn’t really there, anyway not explicitly so. But he did believe God ordered the universe and stuff isn’t just crazy. He just observed quantitatively what God had done and reported it mathematically based on a collection of data. Nothing wrong with that. Infants can have faith. God made them that way and we can find quantitative evidence that it has happened.

    Back to Kepler. Oh, I had such a school girl crush on him. I just fell in love when I saw that description of the planets sweeping out equal areas in equal time. So beautiful! Too bad he was long dead. Alas, star-crossed…sniff sniff.

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

    God rules nature and the supernatural. He is revealed in nature. Kepler did not use the Bible to assert planetary motion, well because it isn’t really there, anyway not explicitly so. But he did believe God ordered the universe and stuff isn’t just crazy. He just observed quantitatively what God had done and reported it mathematically based on a collection of data. Nothing wrong with that. Infants can have faith. God made them that way and we can find quantitative evidence that it has happened.

    Back to Kepler. Oh, I had such a school girl crush on him. I just fell in love when I saw that description of the planets sweeping out equal areas in equal time. So beautiful! Too bad he was long dead. Alas, star-crossed…sniff sniff.

  • Stephen

    sg

    I don’t think that anyone is disagreeing that there is “evidence” that God, or at least a god of some sort, exists, maybe even one that can be revealed through hard data.

    But none of that will give you the God who says “your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.” This is the exclusive claim of the bible that points to the mercy of God in Christ ALONE via the Word ALONE. And to take it all the way around to Larry’s point, Christ is the very Word itself that is truly for you. It’s personal, truly “person-ed” you might say – historically and actually in time in Jesus, in scripture, in the announcement and proclamation of the name of God in baptism – rather than the impersonal god of a scientist, a god who may or may not actually care about people. that god depends on how you feel from one day to the next about all the natural wonders – small and insignificant, a blip, or maybe special in some way. Doesn’t matter, it won’t get you the Word himself. Preaching and baptizing does that.

    Beauty, glory, all these things seen and experienced, quantified maybe even, in the natural world do not add up to a god that loves you personally, one that calls you by name. They do give us the sense of the divine, but everyone has that (fws’s point about Romans 2:15). All kinds of false gods are made from that perception. Knowing that there must be a god or even being convinced that there is one is still not going to give you the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • Stephen

    sg

    I don’t think that anyone is disagreeing that there is “evidence” that God, or at least a god of some sort, exists, maybe even one that can be revealed through hard data.

    But none of that will give you the God who says “your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.” This is the exclusive claim of the bible that points to the mercy of God in Christ ALONE via the Word ALONE. And to take it all the way around to Larry’s point, Christ is the very Word itself that is truly for you. It’s personal, truly “person-ed” you might say – historically and actually in time in Jesus, in scripture, in the announcement and proclamation of the name of God in baptism – rather than the impersonal god of a scientist, a god who may or may not actually care about people. that god depends on how you feel from one day to the next about all the natural wonders – small and insignificant, a blip, or maybe special in some way. Doesn’t matter, it won’t get you the Word himself. Preaching and baptizing does that.

    Beauty, glory, all these things seen and experienced, quantified maybe even, in the natural world do not add up to a god that loves you personally, one that calls you by name. They do give us the sense of the divine, but everyone has that (fws’s point about Romans 2:15). All kinds of false gods are made from that perception. Knowing that there must be a god or even being convinced that there is one is still not going to give you the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • Stephen

    Thinking a little more about it, I think it is a bit of a straw man to think that the real problem is unbelief or a true atheism of some sort. The real issue is false teaching about what is believed.

    Or put another, more philosophical way, everyone believes in something. And around that are all kinds of ideas about ultimate truth, the kind that impinges directly upon you personally. Pretty much all of them are false, some just on the face of things, and others in the sense that they are temporal, finite and deep down flawed (Christians say by sin, but we can only know what sin is by faith). Everyone dies, along with all the ideas about life that we imagined were necessary to sustain them.

    Only one thing, one word, alone, can save and justify and redeem the human person. That is the Christian confession. And that is not about whether there is or isn’t a god, per se. It is about which god and what He has done for you.

  • Stephen

    Thinking a little more about it, I think it is a bit of a straw man to think that the real problem is unbelief or a true atheism of some sort. The real issue is false teaching about what is believed.

    Or put another, more philosophical way, everyone believes in something. And around that are all kinds of ideas about ultimate truth, the kind that impinges directly upon you personally. Pretty much all of them are false, some just on the face of things, and others in the sense that they are temporal, finite and deep down flawed (Christians say by sin, but we can only know what sin is by faith). Everyone dies, along with all the ideas about life that we imagined were necessary to sustain them.

    Only one thing, one word, alone, can save and justify and redeem the human person. That is the Christian confession. And that is not about whether there is or isn’t a god, per se. It is about which god and what He has done for you.

  • George A. Marquart

    How does this affect deaf babies?

    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    How does this affect deaf babies?

    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    @ 37

    It was only a matter of time before someone went there. Luther had some good things to say to mothers of miscarried babies that are comforting.

    God’s promise given in the Word/Name of God is the assurance, not our faith in it. It is the name that saves, is it not?

  • Stephen

    @ 37

    It was only a matter of time before someone went there. Luther had some good things to say to mothers of miscarried babies that are comforting.

    God’s promise given in the Word/Name of God is the assurance, not our faith in it. It is the name that saves, is it not?

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @38 It is God Himself Who saves by His grace and mercy. When He tells us that, if we baptize with water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, He will come to dwell in that Person, then it is the fulfillment of His promise that does it. He is the Faithful One Who always keeps His promises. It is not the water, it is not the word, it is God Himself Who does it. That is how “the blind can see and the deaf can hear.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @38 It is God Himself Who saves by His grace and mercy. When He tells us that, if we baptize with water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, He will come to dwell in that Person, then it is the fulfillment of His promise that does it. He is the Faithful One Who always keeps His promises. It is not the water, it is not the word, it is God Himself Who does it. That is how “the blind can see and the deaf can hear.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • larry

    There in lies the misunderstanding of the Word. This Word that is baptism is precisely Christ and precisely therefore God and no less. Beware of the subtle sophistry of enthusiasm that divorces the Word and thus Christ and God from it. As such rejected Christ walking was God, so today they reject baptizing as Christ and the Word. Here is where the false teaching of the reformed slithers in, and begins to philosophize on such things as the “effectual call ” versus the “general call “, and loses God altogether since in this philosophy they’ve rejected Christ.

  • larry

    There in lies the misunderstanding of the Word. This Word that is baptism is precisely Christ and precisely therefore God and no less. Beware of the subtle sophistry of enthusiasm that divorces the Word and thus Christ and God from it. As such rejected Christ walking was God, so today they reject baptizing as Christ and the Word. Here is where the false teaching of the reformed slithers in, and begins to philosophize on such things as the “effectual call ” versus the “general call “, and loses God altogether since in this philosophy they’ve rejected Christ.

  • fjsteve

    Thanks for the responses, guys. Sorry it’s taken a while to respond.

    Rick Ritchie, kerner:

    I get what you’re saying but do you think we can make a direct correlation between the events surrounding the Incarnation and God’s normal working in human affairs? I mean to say that, if God conceived me in the womb of my virgin mother, I might expect a different set of prenatal experiences than the average person. Right? That’s not to say you’re wrong. I just don’t think your examples are necessarily typical.

    Aletheist:

    I was using the term belief in the same way as was being used in the Smalcald Articles when referring to the means of grace. I assumed that was in reference to a belief that leads to faith. Nonetheless, you bring up a good point about a child’s trust, faith, whatever, in the parents. In that case, it’s not an intellectual faith but a de facto faith that bears out in actions. I like that analogy but, again, all children have this faith but do all children have saving faith?

    Fws:

    Thank you. I get from what you and Larry are saying is that it is the Word proclaimed and baptism performed. Nothing on the receivers part. One thing that just popped into my head about that is that those who are baptized as infants may be a little more “blessed” than the rest of us—if I can use that term—since they have nothing to boast about in their baptism. Even that was out of their control. But I digress. Is this what you’re saying? That the power is in the Word proclaimed and not in the hearing, as in the case of deaf children, as someone else mentioned, or in the understanding? If so, why can’t it be proclaimed over a group of people or a whole town or even a country? Or does it specifically apply to infants?

  • fjsteve

    Thanks for the responses, guys. Sorry it’s taken a while to respond.

    Rick Ritchie, kerner:

    I get what you’re saying but do you think we can make a direct correlation between the events surrounding the Incarnation and God’s normal working in human affairs? I mean to say that, if God conceived me in the womb of my virgin mother, I might expect a different set of prenatal experiences than the average person. Right? That’s not to say you’re wrong. I just don’t think your examples are necessarily typical.

    Aletheist:

    I was using the term belief in the same way as was being used in the Smalcald Articles when referring to the means of grace. I assumed that was in reference to a belief that leads to faith. Nonetheless, you bring up a good point about a child’s trust, faith, whatever, in the parents. In that case, it’s not an intellectual faith but a de facto faith that bears out in actions. I like that analogy but, again, all children have this faith but do all children have saving faith?

    Fws:

    Thank you. I get from what you and Larry are saying is that it is the Word proclaimed and baptism performed. Nothing on the receivers part. One thing that just popped into my head about that is that those who are baptized as infants may be a little more “blessed” than the rest of us—if I can use that term—since they have nothing to boast about in their baptism. Even that was out of their control. But I digress. Is this what you’re saying? That the power is in the Word proclaimed and not in the hearing, as in the case of deaf children, as someone else mentioned, or in the understanding? If so, why can’t it be proclaimed over a group of people or a whole town or even a country? Or does it specifically apply to infants?

  • Stephen

    George,

    What Larry said. The Word was God as it says in John 1.

    I think along the way here there has been a category confusion between the the two different fides – quae and qua – the faith that is believed and the faith that believes. The former is the to be found in the Word as preached, claimed and proclaimed. This is the Apostle’s Creed. The second is the gift of faith that makes one a believer. But this faith is invisible. It is not recognizable as something which can be proven to exist by ones works, be they right emotions or right actions. It is passive and “naked” as Adam in the garden (thanks Larry). It is a seed that is watered by the Word. The only visible sign this side of heaven of our salvation is that Word. There is where God has placed himself and not in our act of believing. Yes, it is God who saves, and he has placed Himself in Christ in the Word. That Word is what is preached and administered in the sacraments.

  • Stephen

    George,

    What Larry said. The Word was God as it says in John 1.

    I think along the way here there has been a category confusion between the the two different fides – quae and qua – the faith that is believed and the faith that believes. The former is the to be found in the Word as preached, claimed and proclaimed. This is the Apostle’s Creed. The second is the gift of faith that makes one a believer. But this faith is invisible. It is not recognizable as something which can be proven to exist by ones works, be they right emotions or right actions. It is passive and “naked” as Adam in the garden (thanks Larry). It is a seed that is watered by the Word. The only visible sign this side of heaven of our salvation is that Word. There is where God has placed himself and not in our act of believing. Yes, it is God who saves, and he has placed Himself in Christ in the Word. That Word is what is preached and administered in the sacraments.

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

    The distinction between faith and intellectual assent was one of the prime catalysts for my switch to Lutheranism. I read the words of Jesus, that we are to have faith like a little child (for of such is the kingdom of heaven), and I thought to myself, that just can’t be – little children don’t understand the virgin birth or penal substitutionary atonement, etc. Something clicked, and I began to see all the ways and places where my tradition had displaced the plain meaning of the text with intellectual sophistry. I began approaching the text through the lens of faith – to accept first, and understand later, and found out after about two years of this that all my understandings already had a name – Lutheranism. A little tangental, I know, but I just felt like sharing that.

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

    The distinction between faith and intellectual assent was one of the prime catalysts for my switch to Lutheranism. I read the words of Jesus, that we are to have faith like a little child (for of such is the kingdom of heaven), and I thought to myself, that just can’t be – little children don’t understand the virgin birth or penal substitutionary atonement, etc. Something clicked, and I began to see all the ways and places where my tradition had displaced the plain meaning of the text with intellectual sophistry. I began approaching the text through the lens of faith – to accept first, and understand later, and found out after about two years of this that all my understandings already had a name – Lutheranism. A little tangental, I know, but I just felt like sharing that.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @42

    Thank you for your comment.

    Indeed there is a category confusion. But I think it is a lot simpler than quae and qua. It has to do with λόγος, a word which occurs 331 times in the New Testament.

    There is God, the Son, who is called λόγος.
    There is Scripture, which is referred to as λόγος, or “the Word of God” when not referring to the Son.
    Finally there is the ordinary use of the word, without any theological implications, such as when it means “sayings”, “word” in the ordinary sense, “question”, “matter’ as in subject matter, and a number of others.

    The confusion is not even between Scripture and the Son of God, but whether Scripture, the written Word of God, has an existence or power independent of It’s Author. St. Paul refers to the Word of God as being “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). No reference there to our Lord, but what is more important, the Word of God is an instrument which has no power apart from the One Who wields it. In Romans 1:16, St. Paul writes, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, …” Again, it is “the power of God,” the words that tell the story have no power apart from the power of God.

    Bente, in Historical Introductions to the Lutheran Confessions, writes, “It affirms that this real presence is effected, not by any human power, but by the omnipotent power of Christ in accordance with the words of the institution of the Sacrament.”

    Because we Lutherans have somehow developed a problem with the Holy Spirit, we have taken away His role and given it to the “Word” as an independent agent. We speak of Baptism being by “water and the Word”, even though our Lord quite clearly spoke of it being by “water and the Spirit” (I know there is a verse in Ephesians which refers to “water and the Word”, but not in a section dealing with Baptism; therefore that reference is figurative).

    What the Calvinists believe has nothing to do with this. They believe that God communicates with people apart from His Word, meaning Scripture. We believe that God uses the Word, meaning Scripture, to communicate with people. So if I do not believe in an independent power of the Word, meaning Scripture, that does not make me a Calvinist.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @42

    Thank you for your comment.

    Indeed there is a category confusion. But I think it is a lot simpler than quae and qua. It has to do with λόγος, a word which occurs 331 times in the New Testament.

    There is God, the Son, who is called λόγος.
    There is Scripture, which is referred to as λόγος, or “the Word of God” when not referring to the Son.
    Finally there is the ordinary use of the word, without any theological implications, such as when it means “sayings”, “word” in the ordinary sense, “question”, “matter’ as in subject matter, and a number of others.

    The confusion is not even between Scripture and the Son of God, but whether Scripture, the written Word of God, has an existence or power independent of It’s Author. St. Paul refers to the Word of God as being “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). No reference there to our Lord, but what is more important, the Word of God is an instrument which has no power apart from the One Who wields it. In Romans 1:16, St. Paul writes, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, …” Again, it is “the power of God,” the words that tell the story have no power apart from the power of God.

    Bente, in Historical Introductions to the Lutheran Confessions, writes, “It affirms that this real presence is effected, not by any human power, but by the omnipotent power of Christ in accordance with the words of the institution of the Sacrament.”

    Because we Lutherans have somehow developed a problem with the Holy Spirit, we have taken away His role and given it to the “Word” as an independent agent. We speak of Baptism being by “water and the Word”, even though our Lord quite clearly spoke of it being by “water and the Spirit” (I know there is a verse in Ephesians which refers to “water and the Word”, but not in a section dealing with Baptism; therefore that reference is figurative).

    What the Calvinists believe has nothing to do with this. They believe that God communicates with people apart from His Word, meaning Scripture. We believe that God uses the Word, meaning Scripture, to communicate with people. So if I do not believe in an independent power of the Word, meaning Scripture, that does not make me a Calvinist.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Stephen

    That’s good stuff George. A very nice nuance that is important.

    something which I find problematic depending on how it is stated is that the Word is “objective.” I think this is at least an unhelpful way to talk about these things. What you are saying (on the one hand, maybe) is that we remove the subject to whom the Word is spoken – actual people in time and history. What helps me resolve this is the pro me. There is always a “for you” implied. It is not spoken into an airy nothingness.

    Well, maybe I just projected my own thing in there. I notice this object/subject language a lot in confessional Lutheranism (small “c” :) I think I understand why it seems so important to state things that way, I just don’t think it plays out very well, and maybe you are correct – it removes the work of the Spirit.

    There’s something else in what you are saying. In the movie The Godfather Part II there is baptism. The words are said. There is a baby there and water is used. Is it a real baptism?

  • Stephen

    That’s good stuff George. A very nice nuance that is important.

    something which I find problematic depending on how it is stated is that the Word is “objective.” I think this is at least an unhelpful way to talk about these things. What you are saying (on the one hand, maybe) is that we remove the subject to whom the Word is spoken – actual people in time and history. What helps me resolve this is the pro me. There is always a “for you” implied. It is not spoken into an airy nothingness.

    Well, maybe I just projected my own thing in there. I notice this object/subject language a lot in confessional Lutheranism (small “c” :) I think I understand why it seems so important to state things that way, I just don’t think it plays out very well, and maybe you are correct – it removes the work of the Spirit.

    There’s something else in what you are saying. In the movie The Godfather Part II there is baptism. The words are said. There is a baby there and water is used. Is it a real baptism?

  • Stephen

    John @ 43

    I think what you say is very germane. Theology is “faith seeking understanding.” It implies faith as an a priori foundation for discourse. If not, we are doing something like religious history or anthropology.

  • Stephen

    John @ 43

    I think what you say is very germane. Theology is “faith seeking understanding.” It implies faith as an a priori foundation for discourse. If not, we are doing something like religious history or anthropology.

  • aletheist

    fjsteve@41: The issue was whether children/infants are capable of having saving faith. I used the analogy of the trust that they clearly have in their parents to suggest that the answer is yes. You then asked, “Do all children have saving faith?” That is a different question, and I do not think that we can definitively answer in the affirmative. Every human (except One) is a sinner from the moment of conception, and baptism is a means of grace by which saving faith is imparted–to people of all ages–by the Holy Spirit.

  • aletheist

    fjsteve@41: The issue was whether children/infants are capable of having saving faith. I used the analogy of the trust that they clearly have in their parents to suggest that the answer is yes. You then asked, “Do all children have saving faith?” That is a different question, and I do not think that we can definitively answer in the affirmative. Every human (except One) is a sinner from the moment of conception, and baptism is a means of grace by which saving faith is imparted–to people of all ages–by the Holy Spirit.

  • Stephen

    Okay, I’ll answer my own question about the movie.

    The answer is no. It is done apart from the Body of Christ, or so we must assume. This is pretty much Pieper’s answer to why Mormon baptisms, though they use exactly the same words, are not true, Christian baptisms and thus have no salvific effects. There’s your HS George – the third article, Body of Christ, Communion of Saints, etc. The words are not THE Word without that third article thing – the body of believers, which is to say “apart from me you can do nothing.” This the historical context of the quae that brings about the qua. Wherever you have the Trinity, you have the Christian faith and its community at least implied, still hidden in its purity and eschatological reality, whether orthodox or heterodox in confession.

    What say ye George? Larry? Where are you Frank?

  • Stephen

    Okay, I’ll answer my own question about the movie.

    The answer is no. It is done apart from the Body of Christ, or so we must assume. This is pretty much Pieper’s answer to why Mormon baptisms, though they use exactly the same words, are not true, Christian baptisms and thus have no salvific effects. There’s your HS George – the third article, Body of Christ, Communion of Saints, etc. The words are not THE Word without that third article thing – the body of believers, which is to say “apart from me you can do nothing.” This the historical context of the quae that brings about the qua. Wherever you have the Trinity, you have the Christian faith and its community at least implied, still hidden in its purity and eschatological reality, whether orthodox or heterodox in confession.

    What say ye George? Larry? Where are you Frank?

  • larry

    Calvinist would not say god works apart from scripture but they do as George points out. What they do id nuisance it between effective calling versus not effective, then run this analogy like a drs scalpel it has potential it just needs the doc to make it work = Calvinism nutshell. Luther said that strictly speaking only the ot is scripture and holds forth only the promise, the nt is proclaimtion and is why Christs did not write. Hence it, the word is in fact feeding or giving and not just “word “. Luther points out that only is that which rises to proclamation truly the Word and as such in fact Christ. Our baptisms where literally Christ not ‘just word ‘ its why “all authority is given Me…” has such active reality in the baptismal command in Matt. 28. and why it wad better for Christ to ascend to the right hand of God..His power towork everywhere

    Baptism is literally INTO Christ not words. In fact Paul says precisely this. Calvinism and its spirit tear this asunder with Word here and God there.

  • larry

    Calvinist would not say god works apart from scripture but they do as George points out. What they do id nuisance it between effective calling versus not effective, then run this analogy like a drs scalpel it has potential it just needs the doc to make it work = Calvinism nutshell. Luther said that strictly speaking only the ot is scripture and holds forth only the promise, the nt is proclaimtion and is why Christs did not write. Hence it, the word is in fact feeding or giving and not just “word “. Luther points out that only is that which rises to proclamation truly the Word and as such in fact Christ. Our baptisms where literally Christ not ‘just word ‘ its why “all authority is given Me…” has such active reality in the baptismal command in Matt. 28. and why it wad better for Christ to ascend to the right hand of God..His power towork everywhere

    Baptism is literally INTO Christ not words. In fact Paul says precisely this. Calvinism and its spirit tear this asunder with Word here and God there.

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @45.

    I suspect that what you mean is that the Gospel is “objective”. The Word, if you mean Scripture, consists of Law and Gospel. What people mean by the Gospel being “objective” is that our salvation is entirely in God’s hands and we can contribute nothing to it. This is a great consolation when we doubt our salvation, because we think we have not done all of what is expected of us. That is being “subjective”, making us somehow responsible for our own salvation. That is why Luther, when being tempted or doubting his belonging to God’s children, would say, “I have been baptized.” Nothing depends on him, everything is the work of God. This does not take away the “for you”; on the contrary, it strengthens it because it takes it out of your control, which is flawed at best, and puts it squarely into the hands of our merciful Father, whose promises never fail.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Stephen @45.

    I suspect that what you mean is that the Gospel is “objective”. The Word, if you mean Scripture, consists of Law and Gospel. What people mean by the Gospel being “objective” is that our salvation is entirely in God’s hands and we can contribute nothing to it. This is a great consolation when we doubt our salvation, because we think we have not done all of what is expected of us. That is being “subjective”, making us somehow responsible for our own salvation. That is why Luther, when being tempted or doubting his belonging to God’s children, would say, “I have been baptized.” Nothing depends on him, everything is the work of God. This does not take away the “for you”; on the contrary, it strengthens it because it takes it out of your control, which is flawed at best, and puts it squarely into the hands of our merciful Father, whose promises never fail.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

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  • Larry

    writes, “For Luther, therefore, the Word of God as gospel is nothing but “a joyous sermon concerning Christ, our Saviour,” wherein faith, created by teh proclamation, “unites us with Christ and makes us owners of all the possessions of Christ.” The Word of God as gospel, for Luther, appears throughout the OT “in the form of promises of the coming Christ, but no less in God’s gracious dealings with his covenant people for the sake of the coming Christ.” The primary substance of the OT, however, “is really the teaching of Laws, the showing up of sin, and the demanding of the good.” The OT is something written, a book of laws and promises, and the term “scripture”, die Schrift, properly designates the OT alone. The NT, on the contrary, is not Schrift, but Botschaft, that which is proclaimed: “the joyous announcement that the promised Christ has at last come, teh liberating news that the righteous God, notwithstanding his holy law and just condemnation of sin, freely forgives sinners for Christ’s sake through faith alone.” Accordingly, “the gospel should not really be understood as something written, but rather as a spoken Word which brought forth the Scriptures, as Christ and the apostles have done. This is why Christ himself did not write anything but only spoke. He called his teaching not Scriptures but Gospel, meaning good news or a proclamation that is spread not by pen, but by word of mouth.” The Word of God must therefore not be identified with the “letter” of Scripture. The OT Scriptures are precious because, according to Luther, they are “the swaddling clothes and the manger in which Christ lies.” The gospel is both hidden and contained in the OT, awaiting to be illumined by the “star of Bethlehem”-namely, “the new light, preaching and the gospel, oral and public preaching.” Christ Himself, and his apostles, brought the gospel hidden in Scripture to light, thereby “producing in speech and hearing what prior to this lay hidden in the letter and in secret vision.” The highest responsibility incumbent upon preachers is to do what Christ and the apostles once did, namely, “to extract the living Word from the Old Scripture, and unceasingly inculcate it in the people.”

    …for instance in Genesis “God speaks, and through His speaking Creation occurs…This Word must be God Himself, because he made creatures through this Word; thus the Word is God. He who speaks and the Word are two persons, yet one God…It says, “God spoke”. Yet speaking adn God are not one and the same thing.” “The Son of God Himself,” whom John spoke about in John 1:1, 14, “spoke in the first prophecy” (Gen. 3:15). The Word of God in the OT is the anticipated Christ; it is the historical Christ in the NT. “Jesus Christ is Jehovah, God and man.” Christ is fully present in the OT in the totality of His person as God-man, imparting Himself wherever His promise is grasped by faith-“there is no God outside of Christ.”

  • Larry

    writes, “For Luther, therefore, the Word of God as gospel is nothing but “a joyous sermon concerning Christ, our Saviour,” wherein faith, created by teh proclamation, “unites us with Christ and makes us owners of all the possessions of Christ.” The Word of God as gospel, for Luther, appears throughout the OT “in the form of promises of the coming Christ, but no less in God’s gracious dealings with his covenant people for the sake of the coming Christ.” The primary substance of the OT, however, “is really the teaching of Laws, the showing up of sin, and the demanding of the good.” The OT is something written, a book of laws and promises, and the term “scripture”, die Schrift, properly designates the OT alone. The NT, on the contrary, is not Schrift, but Botschaft, that which is proclaimed: “the joyous announcement that the promised Christ has at last come, teh liberating news that the righteous God, notwithstanding his holy law and just condemnation of sin, freely forgives sinners for Christ’s sake through faith alone.” Accordingly, “the gospel should not really be understood as something written, but rather as a spoken Word which brought forth the Scriptures, as Christ and the apostles have done. This is why Christ himself did not write anything but only spoke. He called his teaching not Scriptures but Gospel, meaning good news or a proclamation that is spread not by pen, but by word of mouth.” The Word of God must therefore not be identified with the “letter” of Scripture. The OT Scriptures are precious because, according to Luther, they are “the swaddling clothes and the manger in which Christ lies.” The gospel is both hidden and contained in the OT, awaiting to be illumined by the “star of Bethlehem”-namely, “the new light, preaching and the gospel, oral and public preaching.” Christ Himself, and his apostles, brought the gospel hidden in Scripture to light, thereby “producing in speech and hearing what prior to this lay hidden in the letter and in secret vision.” The highest responsibility incumbent upon preachers is to do what Christ and the apostles once did, namely, “to extract the living Word from the Old Scripture, and unceasingly inculcate it in the people.”

    …for instance in Genesis “God speaks, and through His speaking Creation occurs…This Word must be God Himself, because he made creatures through this Word; thus the Word is God. He who speaks and the Word are two persons, yet one God…It says, “God spoke”. Yet speaking adn God are not one and the same thing.” “The Son of God Himself,” whom John spoke about in John 1:1, 14, “spoke in the first prophecy” (Gen. 3:15). The Word of God in the OT is the anticipated Christ; it is the historical Christ in the NT. “Jesus Christ is Jehovah, God and man.” Christ is fully present in the OT in the totality of His person as God-man, imparting Himself wherever His promise is grasped by faith-“there is no God outside of Christ.”

  • kerner

    fjsteve @41:

    Your argument that the incarnation of Jesus was a special case may be correct, but that is why I referred to Psalm 22. David was not a special case. Couple that with Christ’s words re faith as that of a little child, and that is why I conclude that children can have faith..

    Stephen @26:

    You have a point as well, but the Psalm was written in the OT, when there was no baptism. I am not trying to distinguish the faith of little children under the old covenant and the new. I am just saying that Psalm 22 is an example of a Bible verse that indicates that trust in God (faith) can occur at a very early age; before the child’s intellect is developed.

    fjsteve in general:

    As others have said, I think this comes down to whether you believe that faith is a function of our intellect or even our will. But if you believe, really, that faith is a free gift that we really really don’t have to do anything at all to get, that God just gives it to us, then why could not an infant have it? Couldn’t God give something to an infant that He can give to an adult?

  • kerner

    fjsteve @41:

    Your argument that the incarnation of Jesus was a special case may be correct, but that is why I referred to Psalm 22. David was not a special case. Couple that with Christ’s words re faith as that of a little child, and that is why I conclude that children can have faith..

    Stephen @26:

    You have a point as well, but the Psalm was written in the OT, when there was no baptism. I am not trying to distinguish the faith of little children under the old covenant and the new. I am just saying that Psalm 22 is an example of a Bible verse that indicates that trust in God (faith) can occur at a very early age; before the child’s intellect is developed.

    fjsteve in general:

    As others have said, I think this comes down to whether you believe that faith is a function of our intellect or even our will. But if you believe, really, that faith is a free gift that we really really don’t have to do anything at all to get, that God just gives it to us, then why could not an infant have it? Couldn’t God give something to an infant that He can give to an adult?

  • kerner

    fjsteve@41:

    One more thing. I don’t know if all children have saving faith. But, I believe all baptized children have saving faith unless they later reject it. The Bible is pretty clear that the Holy Spirit works through the sacrament of baptism. An infant will not be sufficiently developed to reject the Holy Spirit, at least as far as I know.

    As for unbaptized infants, God is certainly capable of giving them saving faith too. But baptism is the means He tells us to use in the New Testament. If He uses another means, I am unaware of it.

    Why God should use the Church to spread the Holy Spirit at all is beyond me. He could just write His Word in giant letters in the sky if He wanted to. But for some reason He chooses to spread salvation by having His people preach His Word and baptize.

  • kerner

    fjsteve@41:

    One more thing. I don’t know if all children have saving faith. But, I believe all baptized children have saving faith unless they later reject it. The Bible is pretty clear that the Holy Spirit works through the sacrament of baptism. An infant will not be sufficiently developed to reject the Holy Spirit, at least as far as I know.

    As for unbaptized infants, God is certainly capable of giving them saving faith too. But baptism is the means He tells us to use in the New Testament. If He uses another means, I am unaware of it.

    Why God should use the Church to spread the Holy Spirit at all is beyond me. He could just write His Word in giant letters in the sky if He wanted to. But for some reason He chooses to spread salvation by having His people preach His Word and baptize.

  • fws

    kerner @ 53

    +1

    Faith can be intellectual assent and trust that reason can do. The faith we speak of is that heart-knowing and trust that God , in Christ, wills to be merciful to ME and is absolutely certain of that.

    Christ crucified preached, baptism and the Holy Supper are the most horrifing and condemning Law that can ever be preached.

    Those Words of God become Gospel when, ALONE the Holy Spirit uses those things to open our sin-closed ears, to give us the heart-knowing that in that Christ crucified is Mercy for ME.

    It is then only that those terrifying Law Words become Gospel Words …. for ME.

    Satan knows and believes as true all that is written in the Book of Concord. That sort of faith cannot save anyone. Baptism without those right emotions of trust and faith cant save. Instead they are condemning Law.

  • fws

    kerner @ 53

    +1

    Faith can be intellectual assent and trust that reason can do. The faith we speak of is that heart-knowing and trust that God , in Christ, wills to be merciful to ME and is absolutely certain of that.

    Christ crucified preached, baptism and the Holy Supper are the most horrifing and condemning Law that can ever be preached.

    Those Words of God become Gospel when, ALONE the Holy Spirit uses those things to open our sin-closed ears, to give us the heart-knowing that in that Christ crucified is Mercy for ME.

    It is then only that those terrifying Law Words become Gospel Words …. for ME.

    Satan knows and believes as true all that is written in the Book of Concord. That sort of faith cannot save anyone. Baptism without those right emotions of trust and faith cant save. Instead they are condemning Law.

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  • Jon

    Adult, infant baby, pre-teen, or senile geriatric…it doesn’t matter. I think the key is whose work is baptism anyway? And what is that work–and is it objective, or not?

    I think once you can get over the idea that baptism is any part MY work and that it is an OBJECTIVE declaration by God about me, the rest of it is easy to understand about saving faith being simply trust in the One who delivered His promise to me in the water and word.

    However, when one maintains that it is partly my work, and views it as a subjective feeling about it, then it’s difficult to view saving faith as anything other than just “head knowledge” about Christ.

  • Jon

    Adult, infant baby, pre-teen, or senile geriatric…it doesn’t matter. I think the key is whose work is baptism anyway? And what is that work–and is it objective, or not?

    I think once you can get over the idea that baptism is any part MY work and that it is an OBJECTIVE declaration by God about me, the rest of it is easy to understand about saving faith being simply trust in the One who delivered His promise to me in the water and word.

    However, when one maintains that it is partly my work, and views it as a subjective feeling about it, then it’s difficult to view saving faith as anything other than just “head knowledge” about Christ.

  • fws

    Jon @55

    “how can water do such great things?”

  • fws

    Jon @55

    “how can water do such great things?”

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    fjsteve@41 “I mean to say that, if God conceived me in the womb of my virgin mother, I might expect a different set of prenatal experiences than the average person. Right? That’s not to say you’re wrong. I just don’t think your examples are necessarily typical.”

    My example refers to John the Baptist, not Jesus. And the form of my argument is that infant faith is not impossible, not that it is typical. Many argue the impossibility of infant faith due to a rationalistic understanding of human cognition. This model may well be plausible, but it breaks down when we look at Scripture.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    fjsteve@41 “I mean to say that, if God conceived me in the womb of my virgin mother, I might expect a different set of prenatal experiences than the average person. Right? That’s not to say you’re wrong. I just don’t think your examples are necessarily typical.”

    My example refers to John the Baptist, not Jesus. And the form of my argument is that infant faith is not impossible, not that it is typical. Many argue the impossibility of infant faith due to a rationalistic understanding of human cognition. This model may well be plausible, but it breaks down when we look at Scripture.

  • larry

    Part I

    Jon, bingo! When Lutherans basically engage the Reformed/Baptist in the “can infants” believe/have faith and how the sacraments give salvation, the nonsense inevitably has to go in their direction because one has to discuss the subjective nature of faith to death and use so many adverbs and adjectives so as to absolutely ruin the “pro me”. I think it was Nagel that once said the great enemy of the Gospel is adverbs and adjectives, “true saving faith”…”…I truly really, really…ly…ly…ly believe”. Or the more sterile philosophical “this is effectually calling, that is not”, where/how? “Well you know that reformed whispy Gnostic spirit thing that is exactly like Pentecostalism but we’d never admit it even though a rose is a rose by any other name”.

    It’s a not so subtle, nor clever, trick they use like arguing about the “well if not transubstantiation then how Lutheran is his body/blood present”. Then they get you in their philosophical gears to grind. Once there it’s a Gordian Knot of madness and you’ve been sucked into to what you KNOW as a Lutheran you should avoid, seeking God hidden and nude apart from Christ. Then it is no wonder in the whole of such conversations, God is altogether lost in the high flying speculation soup.

    I call it the Melancthon syndrome: All too easily sucked into Calvin and school, moralism and ‘how am I doing now temperature readings”, reason and speculation and you need to write Luther a letter to pull your ass out again.
    Part II
    The problem or terror is that philosophical election (i.e. Reformed/arminian) is terrified of real election, that God would use such paltry ways of doing it. A plod footed preacher, ordinary water, bread and wine. To them there’s something (presumptively) comforting about a more whispy Gnostic spirit action electing than just an ole “you are forgiven”, said God via the preacher’s breath, water, bread and wine electing. The later seems far too unreliable, too chancy, down right terrifying and waaaaay to earthy and ordinary…too commonplace, too run of the mill, too mundane, too simply incarnate. Such is not nearly high flying spiritual enough, its too much ‘did God really say that, that way, to you/me..where’s my angelic trumpet blow from heaven conversion, where’s my shiny fruit production from the spirit that glimmers of heavenly gold so I can know…why I demand such pomp and parade!’.

    In fact in light of this, and not what the Reformed think they understand on him on this, in BOW Luther stated that it is the very height of faith to (still) believe God saves me (I’m am baptized, LS, absolution = pro me) even though he damns so many. And is that not the truth when our heads hit the pillows at night. I don’t think there is a greater challenge day to day to a Christians faith than that right there (i.e. why me?).

  • larry

    Part I

    Jon, bingo! When Lutherans basically engage the Reformed/Baptist in the “can infants” believe/have faith and how the sacraments give salvation, the nonsense inevitably has to go in their direction because one has to discuss the subjective nature of faith to death and use so many adverbs and adjectives so as to absolutely ruin the “pro me”. I think it was Nagel that once said the great enemy of the Gospel is adverbs and adjectives, “true saving faith”…”…I truly really, really…ly…ly…ly believe”. Or the more sterile philosophical “this is effectually calling, that is not”, where/how? “Well you know that reformed whispy Gnostic spirit thing that is exactly like Pentecostalism but we’d never admit it even though a rose is a rose by any other name”.

    It’s a not so subtle, nor clever, trick they use like arguing about the “well if not transubstantiation then how Lutheran is his body/blood present”. Then they get you in their philosophical gears to grind. Once there it’s a Gordian Knot of madness and you’ve been sucked into to what you KNOW as a Lutheran you should avoid, seeking God hidden and nude apart from Christ. Then it is no wonder in the whole of such conversations, God is altogether lost in the high flying speculation soup.

    I call it the Melancthon syndrome: All too easily sucked into Calvin and school, moralism and ‘how am I doing now temperature readings”, reason and speculation and you need to write Luther a letter to pull your ass out again.
    Part II
    The problem or terror is that philosophical election (i.e. Reformed/arminian) is terrified of real election, that God would use such paltry ways of doing it. A plod footed preacher, ordinary water, bread and wine. To them there’s something (presumptively) comforting about a more whispy Gnostic spirit action electing than just an ole “you are forgiven”, said God via the preacher’s breath, water, bread and wine electing. The later seems far too unreliable, too chancy, down right terrifying and waaaaay to earthy and ordinary…too commonplace, too run of the mill, too mundane, too simply incarnate. Such is not nearly high flying spiritual enough, its too much ‘did God really say that, that way, to you/me..where’s my angelic trumpet blow from heaven conversion, where’s my shiny fruit production from the spirit that glimmers of heavenly gold so I can know…why I demand such pomp and parade!’.

    In fact in light of this, and not what the Reformed think they understand on him on this, in BOW Luther stated that it is the very height of faith to (still) believe God saves me (I’m am baptized, LS, absolution = pro me) even though he damns so many. And is that not the truth when our heads hit the pillows at night. I don’t think there is a greater challenge day to day to a Christians faith than that right there (i.e. why me?).

  • Jon

    fws@56:

    “It is not the water indeed that does [such great things], but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.” SC

    Man, I love that!

    “[S]o shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
    but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Is 55:11

    “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Heb 4:11

    The Word of God works!

  • Jon

    fws@56:

    “It is not the water indeed that does [such great things], but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.” SC

    Man, I love that!

    “[S]o shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
    but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Is 55:11

    “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Heb 4:11

    The Word of God works!

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  • fws

    jon @ 59

    and not just any Word of God. That Word of God in Two Words that says “Be Perfect” is for us eternal death. It works. For for YOUALL of us.

    Then there are Two Words that are , alone, able to raise the dead. “for YOU!” Those two words, in all of scripture, are Life eternal.

    They, alone, cannot be known by our reason or willpower.

    The Holy Spirit must come, in Holy Baptism, to plant new heart movements in us that are a heart-knowing and trust in those Two Words that are rock solid certain in the believer. God sends us a preacher who opens our ears to hear with the Spit out of the mouth of our dear Lord Jesus, full of tender mercy for sinners, that is his Holy Spirit.

    And not because of anything new that is happening in the believer.

    It is because now the believer trusts in Two Words that are a Promise , applied to us by name and personally, by One who cannot lie.

    We are all liars. Unfaithful. Untrue. Unworthy, Wicked. And we are priviledged to hold God to his Promise about us.

    ALL the evidence we see in ourselves if we search, in or hearts or true faith, or true repentence or a reformed life dooms us to hell.

    But those Two Words, that come to us in the sound of splashing water and a preacher saying “I baptize YOU in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” are something that even the most sinful man can stake his entire Life upon for eternity.

  • fws

    jon @ 59

    and not just any Word of God. That Word of God in Two Words that says “Be Perfect” is for us eternal death. It works. For for YOUALL of us.

    Then there are Two Words that are , alone, able to raise the dead. “for YOU!” Those two words, in all of scripture, are Life eternal.

    They, alone, cannot be known by our reason or willpower.

    The Holy Spirit must come, in Holy Baptism, to plant new heart movements in us that are a heart-knowing and trust in those Two Words that are rock solid certain in the believer. God sends us a preacher who opens our ears to hear with the Spit out of the mouth of our dear Lord Jesus, full of tender mercy for sinners, that is his Holy Spirit.

    And not because of anything new that is happening in the believer.

    It is because now the believer trusts in Two Words that are a Promise , applied to us by name and personally, by One who cannot lie.

    We are all liars. Unfaithful. Untrue. Unworthy, Wicked. And we are priviledged to hold God to his Promise about us.

    ALL the evidence we see in ourselves if we search, in or hearts or true faith, or true repentence or a reformed life dooms us to hell.

    But those Two Words, that come to us in the sound of splashing water and a preacher saying “I baptize YOU in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” are something that even the most sinful man can stake his entire Life upon for eternity.

  • fws

    Jesus prophecied that he could make children of Abraham from stones.

    This is prophecy because he has done this to each of us in Holy Baptism.

    In my Old Adam my heart is STILL stone. Wrong. It is worse than stone. It is the ever-actively-satanicaly-creative sworn enemy of true faith in Christ Alone.

    But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.

    Instead our New Man seeks, in our Good Works, death. This is the very death that Gods Word has Worded in Judgement for our Old Adam. We embrace that judgement . So now we do Good Works seeking not Life but rather our own Death.

    Why?

    It is the urgent call of our neighbor that has us seek our death sacrificially. Because now we know that the only way we can make that recalcitrant ass that is our Old Adam do Goodness and Mercy for someone else is to make him die.

    Life? That the New Man trusts to find, alone, by hiding ALL those dead Good Works for our dying neighbor, in the Works of Another. There is where we stake our very Life. Alone. Alone. Alone.

    There is NO Life in anything we can see or are able to do. Only Death. Yet God wills that we do those good works. We are to do them , alone, because our neighbor needs those Good Works as Goodness and Mercy.

  • fws

    Jesus prophecied that he could make children of Abraham from stones.

    This is prophecy because he has done this to each of us in Holy Baptism.

    In my Old Adam my heart is STILL stone. Wrong. It is worse than stone. It is the ever-actively-satanicaly-creative sworn enemy of true faith in Christ Alone.

    But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.

    Instead our New Man seeks, in our Good Works, death. This is the very death that Gods Word has Worded in Judgement for our Old Adam. We embrace that judgement . So now we do Good Works seeking not Life but rather our own Death.

    Why?

    It is the urgent call of our neighbor that has us seek our death sacrificially. Because now we know that the only way we can make that recalcitrant ass that is our Old Adam do Goodness and Mercy for someone else is to make him die.

    Life? That the New Man trusts to find, alone, by hiding ALL those dead Good Works for our dying neighbor, in the Works of Another. There is where we stake our very Life. Alone. Alone. Alone.

    There is NO Life in anything we can see or are able to do. Only Death. Yet God wills that we do those good works. We are to do them , alone, because our neighbor needs those Good Works as Goodness and Mercy.

  • larry

    Frank @ 61 +10, that is a lot of tightly packed and succinct stuff, very good!

    “But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.”

    That struck me in a way, a bit “deeper” if you will, than I’d ever considered. The old Adam is always wanting to “pull a Cain” on this new man is he not! I.e. Trying to kill him, the man received via the non-work of baptism, with his/her works (usually through a private and/or official countering doctrine).

    Instead our New Man seeks, in our Good Works, death. This is the very death that Gods Word has Worded in Judgement for our Old Adam. We embrace that judgement . So now we do Good Works seeking not Life but rather our own Death.

    and

    There is NO Life in anything we can see or are able to do. Only Death.

    Is that not the truth if anyone is honest at all! That’s the “sin boldly”. Does not one find their heart sinning its greatest, not when it does an evil act, but when one actually does a good work! Does not the Law judge its most hammerish crushing to pieces when this happens. And does it not, the Law, bring the fear of judgment in every work this way or else one has lost the very fear of God and is in actual eternal peril. And in such a moment ALL one CAN see is death, one cannot clean up this sin, one cannot muster a clean heart ESPECIALLY when doing a good work, pride cannot be avoided unless the fear of judgment is in every work, actual fear of actual judgment present tense, not past tense “back before I was a believer”. Only then can the baptized created new man push the good work forward as if to puch and say to the old Adam, “Yes it is so, off to judgment now”, for the new man knows of life in another without this ‘good work’.

  • larry

    Frank @ 61 +10, that is a lot of tightly packed and succinct stuff, very good!

    “But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.”

    That struck me in a way, a bit “deeper” if you will, than I’d ever considered. The old Adam is always wanting to “pull a Cain” on this new man is he not! I.e. Trying to kill him, the man received via the non-work of baptism, with his/her works (usually through a private and/or official countering doctrine).

    Instead our New Man seeks, in our Good Works, death. This is the very death that Gods Word has Worded in Judgement for our Old Adam. We embrace that judgement . So now we do Good Works seeking not Life but rather our own Death.

    and

    There is NO Life in anything we can see or are able to do. Only Death.

    Is that not the truth if anyone is honest at all! That’s the “sin boldly”. Does not one find their heart sinning its greatest, not when it does an evil act, but when one actually does a good work! Does not the Law judge its most hammerish crushing to pieces when this happens. And does it not, the Law, bring the fear of judgment in every work this way or else one has lost the very fear of God and is in actual eternal peril. And in such a moment ALL one CAN see is death, one cannot clean up this sin, one cannot muster a clean heart ESPECIALLY when doing a good work, pride cannot be avoided unless the fear of judgment is in every work, actual fear of actual judgment present tense, not past tense “back before I was a believer”. Only then can the baptized created new man push the good work forward as if to puch and say to the old Adam, “Yes it is so, off to judgment now”, for the new man knows of life in another without this ‘good work’.

  • larry

    “But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.”
    That struck me in a way, a bit “deeper” if you will, than I’d ever considered. The old Adam is always wanting to “pull a Cain” on this new man is he not! I.e. Trying to kill him, the man received via the non-work of baptism, with his/her works (usually through a private and/or official countering doctrine).

    I should add to this to be clear. The old Adam is trying to kill an actual new man that came into being via baptism this way. It’s not a “philosophical” argument or situation. The old Adam’s weapons ultimately are “other words” as opposed to the Word (in baptism). For the faithed man created by baptism the Worded water is existing in the Word alone, invisible. The old Adam can’t actually get at him by a sword but by persecuting doctrines. The battle of words is “invisible” yet real if you will. In our world it sticks and stones that break bones but words never harm me, however in the realm of the battle over faith it is words that kill not sticks and stones actually. That’s why for example the words, “baptism doesn’t save you” are an all out actual real Satanic assault designed to murder the new man and faith, their design and intent can be nothing other than that for they directly oppose, “baptism saves you” – those words mock and persecute faith and send forth the darts and arrows of Satan. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with powers and principalities. Similarly “this is My body/blood…given/shed…for the forgiveness of your sins” versus “this is not (via represents and other such) My body/bloodOur…no forgiveness is conferred”, etc…nothing is more obvious. The very fact that in order to speak of the two opposing doctrines with a “versus” means they are at war with each other.
    That’s why the doctrines on baptism and the sacraments, including absolution are always where the battle is – they are real and true for one does not battle with that which is not real and fictional. No man musters up great (other/opposing) doctrines concerning fairies and leprechauns. Why? They are not real at all. The only doctrines that are actually battled against are the true Christian doctrines, they alone have true opposition because they are real and true, Satan in various ways only really attacks the Word of God not its own words. It only alters its own words just as do all lies, they change their stripes.

  • larry

    “But now in Baptism, and alone in Baptism, we receive a New Man who accepts Gods Judgement about Old Adam and does not flee that judgement by working harder at Good Works seeking Life for Old Adam.”
    That struck me in a way, a bit “deeper” if you will, than I’d ever considered. The old Adam is always wanting to “pull a Cain” on this new man is he not! I.e. Trying to kill him, the man received via the non-work of baptism, with his/her works (usually through a private and/or official countering doctrine).

    I should add to this to be clear. The old Adam is trying to kill an actual new man that came into being via baptism this way. It’s not a “philosophical” argument or situation. The old Adam’s weapons ultimately are “other words” as opposed to the Word (in baptism). For the faithed man created by baptism the Worded water is existing in the Word alone, invisible. The old Adam can’t actually get at him by a sword but by persecuting doctrines. The battle of words is “invisible” yet real if you will. In our world it sticks and stones that break bones but words never harm me, however in the realm of the battle over faith it is words that kill not sticks and stones actually. That’s why for example the words, “baptism doesn’t save you” are an all out actual real Satanic assault designed to murder the new man and faith, their design and intent can be nothing other than that for they directly oppose, “baptism saves you” – those words mock and persecute faith and send forth the darts and arrows of Satan. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with powers and principalities. Similarly “this is My body/blood…given/shed…for the forgiveness of your sins” versus “this is not (via represents and other such) My body/bloodOur…no forgiveness is conferred”, etc…nothing is more obvious. The very fact that in order to speak of the two opposing doctrines with a “versus” means they are at war with each other.
    That’s why the doctrines on baptism and the sacraments, including absolution are always where the battle is – they are real and true for one does not battle with that which is not real and fictional. No man musters up great (other/opposing) doctrines concerning fairies and leprechauns. Why? They are not real at all. The only doctrines that are actually battled against are the true Christian doctrines, they alone have true opposition because they are real and true, Satan in various ways only really attacks the Word of God not its own words. It only alters its own words just as do all lies, they change their stripes.

  • fws

    larry @ 62

    You are the ONLY one on the planet who has EVER accused me of saying something that is “tightly packed and succinct”.

    Bless you!

  • fws

    larry @ 62

    You are the ONLY one on the planet who has EVER accused me of saying something that is “tightly packed and succinct”.

    Bless you!

  • JunkerGeorg

    I’ve mentioned this before here in past threads, but one’s particular understanding of the Doctrine of Faith itself plays a big role in the differences of teaching on infant baptism (and sacramentology in general) amongst various Christian denominations and sects.

    For many of these groups, faith is defined in merely a subjective way, as something which is experiential, a matter of self-consciousness, with the telltale sign of it’s existence within one simply being those “good vibrations” of positive euphoric emotional feelings , a fire of spiritual fervor…or of what Luther in his Smalcald Articles simply called “enthusiasm”, an enthusiasm from which he rightly said all heresies flow.

    Since such a merely subjective understanding of faith is directed inward towards the self, is it easy to see why it so often leads to “fideism” (i.e., faith in our own subjective faith, rather than faith in the proper “object of faith”, Jesus Christ, coming to us “extra nos” as the Word and the Sacraments.)

    Unlike most protestants, we Lutherans teach that there are two kinds of faith and that dialectically speaking they must be distinguished while yet not separated. The two kinds of faith are “FIDES DIRECTA” (faith as a spiritually ‘receptive’ capacity created by God the Holy Spirit in order to receive/contain the Christ given to one) and “FIDES REFLEXA” (faith as a cognitively ‘reflective’ activity enabled by God). Is faith required for infant baptism? Yes it is! But the issue is what KIND of faith is required for baptism. It is the “fides reflexa” that is required and worked by God the Holy Spirit, not the “fides directa”, which indeed is not present in an infant. As God the Holy Spirit delivers Christ to the infant in holy baptism via the Word in the water, so also at the same time and by means of that same spoken Word does God the Holy Spirit create the capacity within the infant to receive or “contain” the Christ which He delivers unto it.

    This distinction (or lack thereof) between these two kinds of faith is the crux of the issue that is so often missed in debates over infant baptism vs. believer’s baptism. When one maintains the distinction between these two kinds of faith, then infant baptism becomes much easier to understand if not also appreciate all the more. It also helps as remedy against the error of “fideism” I mentioned above.

    For those here who are LC-MS Lutherans, ask your pastor to go to his library and pull out the 2nd volume from the Dogmatics series by Francis Pieper (hopefully he may not have had to blow off the dust from it from not re-reading it again since his seminary days). In that volume Pieper comments on this crucial distinction between fides directa and fides reflexa, stating:

    “The distinction between fides directa and fides reflexa must be carefully observed. The fides directa designates that act of faith (fides actualis) by which the Christian directly lays hold of the divine promises of grace set forth in the Gospel, desiring and seizing it. The fides reflexa, reflex faith, is found in those who by reflecting on the effects and fruits of faith are conscious of the existence of their faith. In all cases believers accept the promises of the Gospel with fides directa, whether they are awake or asleep, whether they are adults or infants (Luther, St. L. XI:495), even
    when in trials and afflictions (in statu temptationis) they fear that they no longer believe. It is a grave error to define faith as the conscious acceptance of the grace of God. It is not the fides reflexa, but solely the fides directa, faith grasping the Gospel of Christ, which is the medium of the grace of God.” (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics 2:443-44)

  • JunkerGeorg

    I’ve mentioned this before here in past threads, but one’s particular understanding of the Doctrine of Faith itself plays a big role in the differences of teaching on infant baptism (and sacramentology in general) amongst various Christian denominations and sects.

    For many of these groups, faith is defined in merely a subjective way, as something which is experiential, a matter of self-consciousness, with the telltale sign of it’s existence within one simply being those “good vibrations” of positive euphoric emotional feelings , a fire of spiritual fervor…or of what Luther in his Smalcald Articles simply called “enthusiasm”, an enthusiasm from which he rightly said all heresies flow.

    Since such a merely subjective understanding of faith is directed inward towards the self, is it easy to see why it so often leads to “fideism” (i.e., faith in our own subjective faith, rather than faith in the proper “object of faith”, Jesus Christ, coming to us “extra nos” as the Word and the Sacraments.)

    Unlike most protestants, we Lutherans teach that there are two kinds of faith and that dialectically speaking they must be distinguished while yet not separated. The two kinds of faith are “FIDES DIRECTA” (faith as a spiritually ‘receptive’ capacity created by God the Holy Spirit in order to receive/contain the Christ given to one) and “FIDES REFLEXA” (faith as a cognitively ‘reflective’ activity enabled by God). Is faith required for infant baptism? Yes it is! But the issue is what KIND of faith is required for baptism. It is the “fides reflexa” that is required and worked by God the Holy Spirit, not the “fides directa”, which indeed is not present in an infant. As God the Holy Spirit delivers Christ to the infant in holy baptism via the Word in the water, so also at the same time and by means of that same spoken Word does God the Holy Spirit create the capacity within the infant to receive or “contain” the Christ which He delivers unto it.

    This distinction (or lack thereof) between these two kinds of faith is the crux of the issue that is so often missed in debates over infant baptism vs. believer’s baptism. When one maintains the distinction between these two kinds of faith, then infant baptism becomes much easier to understand if not also appreciate all the more. It also helps as remedy against the error of “fideism” I mentioned above.

    For those here who are LC-MS Lutherans, ask your pastor to go to his library and pull out the 2nd volume from the Dogmatics series by Francis Pieper (hopefully he may not have had to blow off the dust from it from not re-reading it again since his seminary days). In that volume Pieper comments on this crucial distinction between fides directa and fides reflexa, stating:

    “The distinction between fides directa and fides reflexa must be carefully observed. The fides directa designates that act of faith (fides actualis) by which the Christian directly lays hold of the divine promises of grace set forth in the Gospel, desiring and seizing it. The fides reflexa, reflex faith, is found in those who by reflecting on the effects and fruits of faith are conscious of the existence of their faith. In all cases believers accept the promises of the Gospel with fides directa, whether they are awake or asleep, whether they are adults or infants (Luther, St. L. XI:495), even
    when in trials and afflictions (in statu temptationis) they fear that they no longer believe. It is a grave error to define faith as the conscious acceptance of the grace of God. It is not the fides reflexa, but solely the fides directa, faith grasping the Gospel of Christ, which is the medium of the grace of God.” (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics 2:443-44)

  • larry

    That’s a good distinction. However, which comes first the chicken or the egg? Is it a faulty definition of “faith”, the subjective (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) or is it a lack of the gifting over of the “for you” that is so particular to absolution and the sacraments? I’ve been in and believed these doctrines once, and there are two types, ‘those thinking they find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) and those despairing they don’t have or cannot find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). In either case, that’s all they are directed to or at least alluded to do to the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). This in turn kicks off the enthusiasm domino affect and the blind grasping around for that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). Some eventually land on a (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) and become the now those thinking they find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is), others temporarily land on the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) until the Law and/or failure cause doubt in the newest (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is).

    And so it is quite natural in non-sacramental theologies where the ‘pro me’ is removed from the sacrament or the sacrament is altogether removed, and absolution does not exist at all (meaning Baptist, Reformed, Methodist…in short all the sects) to be able to connect the dots from the more emotionally crazy forms of Charismatic movements to the more austere Puritan/Reformed movements. For one is pushed over time to find that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) in order to know how it is ‘pro me’, until it fails. So the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) ranges from highly intellectualized (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) to liver shivers to warm bosoms to spiritual barking and so forth. While they differ in form and the more intellectual Reformed/conservative (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) scoff at the liver shivers, they are principally the exact same form enthusiasm. They all wish to convert the subjective (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) into an objective rock to stand on. And this works for some for a time, never for others but only if they ignore the real Law and there is no Scriptural “pro me” actually attached to it. And so the progression from austere conservative (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) to more charismatic (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) waxes and wanes. Because the real objective pro me, “I am baptized”, doesn’t exist, absolution doesn’t exist, LS doesn’t exist. And it is no wonder that church “hoping” has become a way of existence among the sects for that physical relocation goes hand in hand with the desperate search for that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is).

  • larry

    That’s a good distinction. However, which comes first the chicken or the egg? Is it a faulty definition of “faith”, the subjective (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) or is it a lack of the gifting over of the “for you” that is so particular to absolution and the sacraments? I’ve been in and believed these doctrines once, and there are two types, ‘those thinking they find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) and those despairing they don’t have or cannot find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). In either case, that’s all they are directed to or at least alluded to do to the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). This in turn kicks off the enthusiasm domino affect and the blind grasping around for that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is). Some eventually land on a (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) and become the now those thinking they find the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is), others temporarily land on the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) until the Law and/or failure cause doubt in the newest (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is).

    And so it is quite natural in non-sacramental theologies where the ‘pro me’ is removed from the sacrament or the sacrament is altogether removed, and absolution does not exist at all (meaning Baptist, Reformed, Methodist…in short all the sects) to be able to connect the dots from the more emotionally crazy forms of Charismatic movements to the more austere Puritan/Reformed movements. For one is pushed over time to find that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) in order to know how it is ‘pro me’, until it fails. So the (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) ranges from highly intellectualized (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) to liver shivers to warm bosoms to spiritual barking and so forth. While they differ in form and the more intellectual Reformed/conservative (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) scoff at the liver shivers, they are principally the exact same form enthusiasm. They all wish to convert the subjective (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) into an objective rock to stand on. And this works for some for a time, never for others but only if they ignore the real Law and there is no Scriptural “pro me” actually attached to it. And so the progression from austere conservative (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) to more charismatic (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is) waxes and wanes. Because the real objective pro me, “I am baptized”, doesn’t exist, absolution doesn’t exist, LS doesn’t exist. And it is no wonder that church “hoping” has become a way of existence among the sects for that physical relocation goes hand in hand with the desperate search for that (_____ fill in the blank whatever it is).

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Larry,

    I hear what you’re saying, but the intent of pointing out the distinction was with regard to INFANTS and the argument of some that they do not and cannot have “faith”. Hence, to point what we mean by “faith” and/or what kind of faith comes into play.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Larry,

    I hear what you’re saying, but the intent of pointing out the distinction was with regard to INFANTS and the argument of some that they do not and cannot have “faith”. Hence, to point what we mean by “faith” and/or what kind of faith comes into play.


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