My critique of Gerhard Forde has been published

My book length critique of Gerhard Forde's understanding of the law is now available. Here is the description:Martin Luther's theological revolution depended in a significant part upon the distinction between law and gospel. Within the last hundred years, several authors have reevaluated the reformer's understanding of this paradigm in light of its development within the Lutheran orthodox tradition. Some authors have argued that the Lutheran scholastic view of God's law departs from that of … [Read more...]

A New Q&A Program!

On today's program, I spent time answering listener questions on a variety of topics. This included: the third use of the law in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, Luther's opinion of the book of James, my favorite Psalter, my opinion of Rogue One, and many other topics!Here is the program … [Read more...]

Christians are Evil Hypocrites Who Always Need Threats from the Law

Post by Nathan Rinne"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." (Proverbs 27:6)First things first: I'm not anti-Christian and the "Law" in the title is referring to God's law. If you're disappointed though, please stick around.In the online Merriam Webster's dictionary hypocrisy is defined as “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do: behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.” Another def … [Read more...]

The First Table of the Commandments’ Relationship to the Third Use of the Law (Part II of II)

Post by Nathan RinneI really don't want anyone to feel like they should read this post. Truth. I would simply prefer that they read part I, say "Amen", and "rejoice evermore" (I Thes. 5:16) with me. I think the words I shared there cover the topic of this article well and are reliable and life-giving words - they basically should not need to be supplemented.But that, sadly, has not been my experience. Hence this part II, which gets into some very painful and even annoying detail in … [Read more...]

The First Table of the Commandments’ Relationship to the Third Use of the Law (Part I of II)

       Post by Nathan RinneDuring the 16th century Reformation, church reformers such as Martin Luther identified, from the Scriptures, three uses of God’s law. Simply put, God's law is that which He commands, and is often accompanied by the threat of punishment and the promise of reward. The first use of the law serves as a curb (as in the curb on a road) which prevents gross outbreaks of human sin, the second use of the law s … [Read more...]

Why Every Christian Should be Tempted by “Radical Lutheranism”

Post by Nathan Rinne(Or at least some aspects of “Radical Lutheranism”)There is evidence that even Martin Luther was concerned about appearing too strict. No believer in Christ ever wants to be – or to be labeled – a legalist or Pharisee. They do not want to be seen as persons who live by and from law. They want to be – and be known as – people of grace.This is especially true of Radical Lutherans.“Radical Lutheranism” was a term coined by the conservative ELCA Lutheran theologian … [Read more...]

Diagnosing Christian Bad Boy Syndrome

Post by Nathan RinneActually, I am dealing with Lutheran bad boys in particular here, but perhaps some of what I talk about may be more broadly applicable.(and for those inclined to diagnose me, I have never been nor ever will be a "charismatic figure" and/or "bad boy", though, I confess that according to my flesh I have, pathetically and sinfully, imagined myself capable of being one - and imagined the "benefits" I might accrue thereby. "Ah, sounds like 'sour grapes"' some may think.. : … [Read more...]

Is “You May Not Use Your Conscience to Guide My Behavior” a Christian Way of Speaking?

Post by Nathan Rinne "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." -- I Timothy 1:5Recently, I read the following quotation from a conservative Lutheran pastor: “You may use your conscience to guide your behavior. You may not use your conscience to guide my behavior.”Needless to say, I found the quote rather jarring. It reminded me of a statement from another like-minded Lutheran pastor (though this one a [relatively] con … [Read more...]

The Second and Third Uses of the Law: Coram Deo-Coram Mundo

One of the distinctive characteristics of Lutheran theology in contradistinction to Reformed theology is the notion that the second, or condemnatory, use of the law is primary. For Calvin, the third, or the didactic use, of the law is the primary purpose of God's law within the Christian life. The distinction between the two kinds of righteousness helps to explain exactly how these two uses of the law comport with one another, and why the Lutheran view differs from that of Calvin.The three … [Read more...]

A Response to Pastor Matt Richards and Dr. Jack Kilcrease Regarding the Third Use of the Law

NOTE: When it comes to the best way of how to understand Christian anthropology, I do not purport to speak for any person here except for myself, even as I am confident that what I say is harmonious with FC VI.*Following up on the heels of Trent's fine post... (also note this relevant post from his own blog)It is my good guess that the recent discussion that occurred at the Brothers of John the Steadfast blog about Pastor Jordan Cooper’s new book** (mentioned in the last post on my own … [Read more...]