Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How come he gets it ?

Jeff of Onebread, a fellow [Filipino] blogger gave an interesting comment. I am so amazed that Jeff who happens to be RC gets the implication of what happens when the word "Protestant" is dropped from your psyche!

Jeff said:

Interesting discussion here. I was forming a thesis in my mind recently about Evangelicals, confessional Protestants, and Roman Catholics. There seems to be a trajectory for Evangelicals towards an increasingly Roman Catholic outlook, which seems to also translate a diminishing level of hostility towards Roman Catholics. The thesis is simple, really: by identifying themselves as Evangelicals, born again, or simply Christians, these folks are not as grounded on the Reformation. Hence they are no longer steeped in the bitterness of the Reformation.

....

Anyway, the Evangelicals I know seem to have shed all identification with being "Protestant" and, instead of defining themselves as being against something, are embracing the way forward as being for something else.

You can read the full context of his comments here.

I do not know why he who happens to be an RC gets it but those in the camp don't. My theory is that this is what happens too, if you are Lutherite and you chuck away your vocabulary of the vestiges of "Protestantism".




30 comments:

Steve Newell said...

Those both in the Reformation and Reformed traditions have confessional statements by which they subscript to, that being the Book of Concord and the Westminster Confession. Compare this to many "evangelical" churches which has no strong confessional position in a theological document that they can use.

The result of this is that many churches may trend from an objective view of Christianity to a subjective view of the Faith. This movement shifts the focus from Christ to the Christian.

Finally, Jesus protested against the false teaching of his day. So does that make Jesus the first Protestant?

L P Cruz said...

Absolutely Steve!

Jesus's encounter with the religious hypocrites of his day always resulted in protest.

Even when Jesus was struck in the face though Jesus did not retaliate he protested:

John 18:

22When He had said this, one of the (AG)officers standing nearby (AH)struck Jesus, saying, "Is that the way You answer the high priest?"

23(AI)Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?"

Anything that does not get JBFA will always focus people on what they do, be Evangelical or RC.

I do not want to lose that term Protestant away not because it is precious to me but because it describes what I stand for. It is just being honest.

I do believe there are crypto-papists in confessionalism whose reaction to this is quite revealing.

Guilt by association? Sometimes circumstantial evidence can convict a criminal.

If a thing wags like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck --- it is a duck.


LPC

Past Elder said...

I stand for X. Someone else stands for Y. This does not mean that X = Not Y. X is not Y, but Not Y is not an equivalent expression with X.

Particularly if X and Y are considered as sets. It conveys no information about the content of my set to define it as not your set, other than it is not your set.

I'd be more interested in setting out the content of my set. You'll see soon enough where it differs from the content of your set -- and where they contain common elements, which I will probably either not see or misunderstand if I understand my set to be defined by reference to your set, a reference which was not mine but yours when you found my set not your set.

L P Cruz said...

But it does convey information if both X and Y are subsets of P. I can determine what X is because I know P since X has got to be define by the elements of P which I know.

I posit that X ^ Y is not null.

I say this is the situation, your arguments are all correct, but it does not destroy my argument that X ^ Y is not null.

It so happens that all your elements also is a member of P.

It got to be, at least the axiom says every set is a subset of a universal set.

I grant, your argument will stand if you redefine Lutheranism a-historically. However, this is rather wishful thinking. History has been done already.


At any rate, I do not see anymore contention because you already asserted that you are in agreement with the LCMS answer to it being Protestant or not. LCMS admits it is yes in one sense and no on another. At least historically for which I was arguing, LCMS admits that it is!

Even from a logical standpoint your contention I doubt will stand, bro.

Consider the definition-- any non-Roman Catholic is Protestant (for practical purposes).

You just admitted you are non-RC, then you are a Protestant.

At least if you grant that definition.

Also by your method, I can prove that you nor I should not be called Christian.

Look at the Bible, in Acts, the word Christian was introduced by observers Acts 11:26.

It was a name given to them. They did not call themselves Christians originally originating from them!

Fr. Bollywood's "I don't see why I *should* use a word that others use to describe us ".

Therefore he should not be called Christian too.





LPC

Jeff Tan said...

I guess I can sum up what I get as "names matter" and, perhaps as a corollary, "anchors matter". In a perfect world, we would need no other appellation except Christian for self-identification. But as the early history of the word "Catholic Church" might illustrate, the appellations we use can be necessitated by circumstances. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is reason to believe the same came about with the appellations "Protestant" and "Evangelical". Regardless of the fact that "Protestant" might have been used differently at first, there is no point denying that the self-identification with the name was deliberate for many. Likewise for Evangelicals, perhaps -- maybe affirming that their mission is simply to evangelize.

Ironically, all these names should apply to all who subscribe to the Nicene Creed. We all claim to be Catholic in the sense that our faith is not regionally restricted (and we claim to be in the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church). We are also all orthodox in adhering to the faith of the Apostles and hence. We are all Evangelical, called to evangelize to the world. And dare I say that we are Protestant in whatever we are compelled to correct in the Church and among the nations.

And yet.. I think those who simply call themselves Christian have got that part right in all simplicity while diving right into the very heart of what (or whom) we believe: Jesus Christ.

One day, God willing..

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

there is no point denying that the self-identification with the name was deliberate for many

You got that right again.

Taxonomy is quite important, I contend that since Adam was placed in the garden his children have always indulged in name calling (pun intended) ;-)


LPC

Past Elder said...

I think that to assign any real significance to defining oneself by what one is not is to be more obssessed by what one is not than those who define themselves by being that which the other is not.

In other words, to find ones identity primarily in not being Catholic is to be as obssessed with Rome as those who find their identity in being in communion with Rome.

We call it Reformation.

We should hope indeed for the reunion of the various churches, including Rome. I don't suppose there is the slightest chance of the black being read here, but here it is:

Reunion does not mean giving in, or accepting what we know to be false as true, or coming up with worthless faithless documents, not worthy to line a bird cage, like the Joint Declaration.

But we would hope that at some point Rome (and all other bodies that mix true and false doctrine) comes to accept the pure Gospel as we believe we confess it.

I don't see that happening, any time soon or frankly ever, but who am I or we to tell the Holy Spirit what is possible? Who am I or we to tell Jesus, hey, that thing about us being one as you and the Father are one, we gotta drop that cause it ain't happening?

And say it does, one day as Jeff puts it? What then? No, Rome, you can't repent because then we can't be those who protest against you! You gotta be Roman Catholic so we can be Protestant!

All of these terms -- catholic, evangelical, orthodox, protestant -- depend entirely one what one means by them.

Not one in a thousand people, if you tell them I am a Protestant, would exclaim Ah! so you protest the Second Diet of Speyer! More likely they would think the Second Diet of Speyer is some sort of challenge to Adkins for crying out loud.

So, if the term is understood as the LCMS quotation and Pastor put it, count me in and call me Protestant, no problem. The problem is, that is not always how the term is understood, and even in its mildest meaning of a Christian who isn't Roman Catholic, it conveys nothing about what exactly I stand for, and lumps me with all kinds of other stands that I protest, as it were, equally with some of Rome's.

The fact is, the central problem for American Lutheranism is not Roman Catholicism but Protestantism as a whole. Ever since the first missionaries came here, we have had one wave after another, and are currently in yet another one, of trying to make ourselves over in their apparently more successful image. To the extent we make ourselves Protestant in that sense we lose what is Lutheran as much as swimming the Tiber.

L P Cruz said...

Dear P.E.

defining oneself by what one is not is to be more obssessed by what one is not than those who define themselves by being that which the other is not.

This is a two edged sword, because that is also what Lutherans who deny they are Protestants are doing.

No, Rome, you can't repent because then we can't be those who protest against you! You gotta be Roman Catholic so we can be Protestant!

Of course this is not what Lutherans who claim Protestants for the term mean. There is no more need to Protest when the barrier has disappeared. I do not believe it is impossible for Rome to repent although Luther believed she is incapable of Reforming. Rome is able to contradict herself in many places, she can again contradict herself by rescinding her former teachings. A long shot but not impossible.

My point is this further - We call our sector, the Lutheran Reformation. By using that word alone, invites speculation - huh, Reformation? Something must be wrong such that it entails Reformation, correct? Or is the word Reformation being dropped in American Lutheran parlance also?

I understand bro the predomination of Reformed/Evangelical Protestantism in USA, it is sometimes sickening, but it is only in the USA, certainly other Lutherans from other parts of the world, I doubt share the negation of the term Protestant, my example is my Synod.

SO here is what I propose.

Let us agree ......that there are Lutherans that ARE Protestants, they are folk from my Synod (me included) LC(Aus), and that for example of Jason's (A.S.) Synod LC-(Malaysia-Singapore).

Then there are Lutherans who are NOT Protestants - they are folk such as yourself and the SSP in the LCMS, plus others.

(However though, I suspect that there are a few of those in the LCMS who would agree with me).


LPC

Past Elder said...

That there are some Lutherans who are Protestant and some who are not Protestant misses the point, or at least my point, altogether.

And that point is, the term Protestant denotes and connotes a variety of things, some of which are apt to Lutheranism and some of which are as far from Lutheranism as Romanism, or Calvinism and the Reformed tradition for that matter.

So it is not that some are and some aren't, but that depending on what exactly among the many possibilities one means by Protestant the term may be apt for Lutheranism or not. Therefore, the term is not useful at all but a source of confusion.

I confess what is taught in the BOC. I don't wear two hats. Call it what you will. Any terms of reference admit of misunderstanding, even by those who hold them, even the term Lutheran, which is in the names of synods and federations of synods that are barely Lutheran at all, something I am reminded of when I watch the telecast Sunday service from a local ELCA church on cable from time to time.

Depending on what one means by them, the terms catholic, protestant, orthodox and evangelical can mean what I confess or something quite different than what I confess, and therefore I refuse to use any of them as defining or essential.

In my writing, I try to express this by distinguishing the adjective from the adjectival proper noun: catholic/Catholic; orthodox/Orthodox, etc.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Steve,

Just in case you are listening bro, here is one for you.

I do believe it is important not to be allergic to the word "Protestant" in fact it is a wonderful opportunity to correct the misunderstanding of the Gospel by Evangelicals.

Here is the reason...

We know today Evangelicals are wandering aimlessly and they are being burnt out by the Law. We also know they identify themselves as Protestants.

What will we counsel an Evangelical who comes to us assuming we were Protestants and wanting to know what Protestants believe in????

Case A.) If you are a Lutheran Protestant Denier: Here is how you will reply...
"Oh, we Lutherans, we are not Protestants you see, you should go to the Presbyterians and the Baptists, you should look at their confession - the WCF and LBCF. You are mistaken we are not Protestants".

This is how SSP people will answer this inquirer...I imagine.

Can you see the lost opportunity?

But what if you are a Lutheran Protestant Affirmer?

Case B: Here is what you can say if you are a Lutheran Protestant Affirmer:

Yes, by george! (my oath!) We are the Original Protestants - here is the BoC read it, it will tell you what the Original and the First Protestants believed in. What you thought was Protestantism is not the original one, by golly here is the BoC!

My depiction might be a straw man, I agree but my depiction is not implausible.

In fact, I contend my depiction is quite reasonable.


LPC

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

Therefore, the term is not useful at all but a source of confusion.

It is only a source of confusion if you start redefining the term Protestant, and as A.S. said, this is quite a modern 19th century innovation. My contention is that it is a twisting of Waltherian teaching. I believe he taught to deny you are Reformed or Revivalistic Evangelical but not "Protestant", I like to see some documentation on this however.

If I am wrong then this might be the 2nd point I will disagree with him.

Where I am we call those Protestants over there as Reformed - it does not matter be they Calvinist or Arminian - the source is the same. They are non-Lutheran Protestants. We do not say we are not Protestants, that is quite dishonest and makes us candidate for not being taken seriously by the public.

As I said, it is also academically unacceptable.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Bro. Lito,

Thank the Good Lord that you and I agree on Protestant being an authentic title for Lutherans. It's plain ridiculous to assert otherwise. Not only that, it's wrong too.

Having said this, on the third use of the law, I do not wish to argue it out since there has never been a consensus on the issue, as I said to PE. Scholars like Gerhard Forde, Hans Joachim Iwand, Werner Elert, Lowell Green, James Arne Nestingen, etc. all held that Luther did not teach a third use consistent with the Law-Gospel, Death-Resurrection paradigm of the Justification.

In other words, the Law is still valid for the justified sinner, but continues in its accusatory form (lex semper accusat). That is to say, i would conflate or merge the third use into the second AND first use and not distinguish or separate. The Law is for the death of the Old Being. In so far as "guide" for the New Being, it would not be in sanctification, but vocation. Vocation grounded in sanctification. Vocation for the sake of the neighbour - coram mundo. The "third use' is for vocation.

The third use as is promoted by Melancthon is incipiently synergistic, in so far as it is used in sanctification. Yes, the roots of the third use of law is Melanchthon who became a synergist towards latter in life. There is an inner contradiction between sanctification as being institutional and existential aspect of justification and therefore entirely the work of God and sanctification under the third use.

The uses of the law is not so much we who use the law but the Spirit using the law. Sanctification is the tree; good works are the fruits. Justified sinners produces good works. The third use pertains to vocation: the fruits. The realm of vocation is in the etates of life and done for the sake of man, not God for in Christ, the law has ended before God. The law then is re-established for the sake of man. For the third use, man is reversed to face the world.

Dear Bro. Lito, please visit reclaiming Walther website. It is an eye-opener to learn how many people in the LCMS are so keen to depart from their Waltherian heritage. It's sad ... very sad indeed.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Bro. Lito,

I'm afraid some Lutherans are just engaging in self-denial for denying themselves as Protestants, don't you agree? It's something not to be despised but cherished. It's our birth-right and birth-mark!

But on the third use, I have no wish to claim that it's unLutheran. But the inconsistency, the inner contradiction is there as the theologians I have mentioned pointed out.

L P Cruz said...

Bro A.S.

The uses of the law is not so much we who use the law but the Spirit using the law

I wanted to say this but you beat me to it ;-)

I agree, it is indeed Coram Mundo now, because Coram Deo has been taken cared of by our High Priest. Even now the thought that HE is there intereceeding for us and being our Attorney is so comforting. He takes care that God might be gracious to us so that then through us HE may express His love for the world.

I visited Luther Quest just this morning and I scanned through the threads.

My comment is that there is in-breeding of ideas. Even in biology we know this is fatal.

I also visit other Lutheran bloggers, and look at the commenters. Sadly those who comment are fellow Lutherans themselves - so we are preaching to the choir.

There is only one blog site that is visited and commented on by Reformed/Evangelical/ RC/EO & Lutheran - that is the MetaLutheran -- Josh S.

At least here so far, we have RC, Calvinist and Lutheran participants, and I hope it stays that way.

Some American Lutheran's I have read observe that in confessional American Lutheranism, there is no healthy middle ground centrist Lutheranism now in USA I have read. Either it is "loose" or it is "strict", between these the "strict" tend to be Fundamentalistic (akin to Islamic Fundamentalism), in my observation.

There is no more tension in the middle it seems, so I have read.

See this presentation here
http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache:O4Ziu3bGXjUJ:www.elcm.org/2ndTriennial/CentristLutheranPresentation.ppt+strict+centrist+lutheranism&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=au


LPC

Past Elder said...

I don't think anyone in the SSP or any other confessional Lutherans would respond to such an inquiry in anything like such a way.

What is Protestant teaching? Well, don't ask me, I ain't Protestant.

They would simply lay out what we believe, and let the labels sort themselves out. What is important is to understand what we teach is the true faith revealed in Scripture.

That is exactly the way I was catechised. Not the least concern with labels, the only focus being is this the faith of Scripture. Which is also the paedogogical structure of the LC. I said nothing in my public profession about being Protestant, but in subscribing to the faith set out in the Book of Concord, especially the LC, as a correct exposition of the true faith of Christ revealed in Scripture.

Among ourselves we may have such discussion, but in the spreading of the faith confessionals are about the content, the confession, not the label. Which is not served by making "Protestant alone" into a fourth sola.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

The scenario I gave depicts an Evangelical inquirer who comes to a Lutheran, thinking the latter to be Protestant. I should have been clearer, what if he said "You are a Lutheran aren't you and Lutherans are Protestants so what did the early Protestants believe in"?

You mean to tell me, that the SSP will not clarify the meaning of the word Protestant in that context, and right away give his confession, one of which is that he is not a Protestant?

As you said, one can not wear two hats. He can be Lutheran and Protestant at the same time.

I think it would be inconsistent for the SSP to answer that question since the SSP denies being a member of a class called "Protestant".

But then again, in the first place the Evangelical won't probably go to a Lutheran after hearing the exposition that they are not Protestants (by at least Fr. Hollywood).


I am just curious bro, you were an RC before right? Lutherans were already around before you were born, but as an RC, did you not consider the Lutherans Protestants? Is that what you are saying? If so I find that odd.

I ask because you brought the topic of subscription to the BoC in relation to the word Protestant. Is that the reason why you subscribe to the BoC in the understanding that it is not Protestant? But what if it happened to be, would you retract? For historically as I said the term is used that way?

Jeff and I (he can correct me if I am wrong) would find that odd, that an RC do not think of Lutherans as Protestants.

Please understand bro, the position is looking ridiculous to me.

I am arguing that it is unhelpful and even silly to deny the word, one can clarify but should not deny. "I am not that sort of Prot"... because you are not, that is fair enough. You can even deny you are not that sort of Lutheran (some Lutherans are liberals).

Because some Lutherans are Liberals does that mean you should deny yourself of the word Lutheran because you do not happen to be in league with their non-confessional stance on the BoC.

You do not seem to do that, correct ? In fact you cover yourself with the adjective "confessional".

Now apply the same for "Protestant", that is what I am saying.


However, I think there is some commonality we can build on we have in common, at least the word Reformation this is still present within us.

I think if you admit the word Reformation we can build from there.


LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Well, if you aren't a Protestant, then you aren't an authentic Lutheran either. Simple as that. Because when the word Protestant is used in the classical sense, one still denies ihmself to be a Protestant, then something is WRONG. There is no escaping that. Flying in the face of facts and truth is one of the most unhelpful ways to claiming to be a Lutheran. That's for starters ...

Augustinian Successor said...

One more thing, SSP, STS cannot claim to represent confessional Lutheranism. The liturgical fad, yes, confessional Lutheranism no ... the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is not only the official document of Lutheranism, we have Smalcald Articles and Formula of Concord too ... the WHOLE Book of Concord and yes including the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope ..

L P Cruz said...

I observe the same. Groups I suspect of poping love to cite UAC, (AC Preface to XXII, 1, Latin).

Notice how one can do sophistic work on the words "catholic" and "faith".

One can clearly do selective citing.

An example was this gentleman but his web site is no longer around but you can read the idea here..

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/05/orthodox-lutheran-internet-apologist.html

He cited that portion (AC Preface to XXII, 1, Latin) too if my memory serves me right. Too bad I can not locate the site anymore I think it has been decommissioned.



LPC

Past Elder said...

Of course as an RC I considered Lutherans Protestants. In fact, I was taught they are the original and true Protestants -- meaning, the first to pick and choose from the Catholic Faith what they would accept and mix in someone else's opinion about the rest, setting the stage for all the other mixes of the Catholic Faith and private opinion now called Protestant. I was further taught that the Protestant Reformation is more aptly called the Protestant Revolt, and that Reformation came from the only place from which it can come, within, and not without, the church, ie, Trent. Finally, I was taught that we RCs are more to blame than the Protestants for the split, because the moral abuses we tolerated led to scandal which in turn led to rightful protest, which in understandable over-reaction to the evils of the age, led to doctrinal error on the part of the protesters. So, while the valuation of it differs, the identity of what is Protestant championed in this thread as classically Protestant is exactly that of the classic RC church.

And you thought you were protesting! You've bought their designation of you hook, line and sinker, just valued it differently!

I thought Lutherans were Protestants, in the usual meaning of the term and not the historical origin of the first use of the term, right up until I started reading the BOC. Reform happens in continuity. One does not form something else, one reforms what already is, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we profess in the Creed, and the BOC in Germanically long detail sets out exactly that church in contrast to the works righteousness of the Roman Church and the works righteousness of the Protestants, as they are now called.

That is exactly what the protest in Protestant originally was -- the recognition of churches were the Gospel is rightly preached and the Sacraments rightly administered, Lutheran we would now say, are to be considered valid parishes of the one church, the rest of what is now called Protestant out of the deal.

To adapt the well known phrase, I would rather drink blood with Benedict that wine with Warren, Osteen or the entire World Council of Churches, including such "Lutherans" as may align with it!

Maybe the difference in perspective has to do with this -- for those who come to Lutheranism from RC, it is finding what is truly catholic, and for those who come to Lutheranism from Protestantism, it is finding what is truly Protestant. Both are right. And the terms catholic and protestant alike need clarification since the original meanings lie under centuries of connotation. But we start where we are: so while among ourselves it's fine to go on about this, the real deal is to preach, teach and confess the faith accurately taught in the BOC, whatever label one may wish to hang on it later.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

Benedict that wine with Warren, Osteen or the entire World Council of Churches, including such "Lutherans" as may align with it

I wont drink blood or wine with any of them Benedict included, why should he be excused?


It is interesting that the LCMS can drink beer together with the WELS but they won't pray together. They are allowed to drink but not pray. I find that peculiar.

But we start where we are: so while among ourselves it's fine to go on about this, the real deal is to preach, teach and confess the faith accurately taught in the BOC, whatever label one may wish to hang on it later.


Here is my hand, bro, let us shake on this one...


LPC

Past Elder said...

In honour of Australia Day, a little time off from the heavy lifting, a shake on that one, and some anecdotes.

My wife's family is half LCMS and half LCMS converted to Catholic. When we were WELS, we would be expected to share not so much as grace at meals with any of them, as a sign that we do not share fellowship in the same faith. And of course when I started attending LCMS I was expected to not commune, for the same reasons. Drinking beer has no such meaning.

Oddly enough, now that we are LCMS our grace is still different than theirs. We say it, sign of the cross and all, as given in the LC; they use the common "Come, Lord Jesus ... ".

I love eating with Catholic friends. They get all ecumenical and say some Protestant prayer, so I ask if I may pray as Luther encouraged us to pray before meals, and then watch them as they hear the very prayer they just dropped as being "Catholic" (Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts ... ).

In Luther's original comment, it was "the pope" and Zwingli. I just updated it. Benedict (RC) may have it garbled up with trans-substantiation and all, but at least he (RC) understands the Real Presence in there, whereas Zwingli (Protestants) haven't a clue. The statement, Luther's or mine, is to make the point, not state intent.

L P Cruz said...

Hi P.E.

You know I do not subscribe to some few stupid things that Luther said. Only those bits that are in BoC, is what concerns me and above all Scripture.

As for me, I try not to repeat the animosity that started 500 years ago with Calvinist/Zwinglians. I have read the Marburg Colloquy.

For example Calvinist Protestants specially the Continental ones, repeat the words of Institution without editing or side comment.

So I consider them taking the Lord's Body and Blood when they do.

The anti-Non Lutheran Protestantism I see amongst "confessional" ones against the Reformed are mostly, fanatical repetition of gossip, meant to rally the troops.

I was a Calvinist and some of the things I see written against the Reformed are caricatures.

Some educated Lutheran ones do get it right, but for the most, they are just parotization of long held myths.

LPC

Jeff Tan said...

Ooh.. someone mentioned Osteen: may I please have your opinion (off-track, of course)?

My Evangelical wife checked out "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living .." by Osteen. I imagine it was recommended by another friend of ours who is also Evangelical.

I am aware of today's many prosperity gospel preachers, and I think Osteen is usually lumped in as one of them. I find that such a gospel is misleading and detracts from the real gospel of salvation. However when I flipped through Osteen's book, I found that he did deal, in one chapter, with tribulations. However I do not know if the rest of the book was too much of prosperity gospel in it.

Might I inquire, if any of you have read Osteen, how I should warn my wife about the book? My thanks for any helpful feedback on this.

Past Elder said...

Haven't read him, Jeff. I do catch his show on Sunday mornings sometimes. He IMHO does have a lot of the prosperity thing to him, but I think he would think of it more as victorious living. He reminds me of a younger Kenneth Copeland, whom I once heard say the reason Christians have problems is they don't know how to receive from the Lord. Osteen always closes his show with a TV altar call -- an invitation to pray with him accepting Jesus as your Saviour.

Now, IMHO, it's works righteousness to the max, all based on my actions and feelings which appear to be Christianity because they have to do with Christ.

But I'll tell you why these guys draw thousands while the confessional pastor sends out the elders to see why they aren't showing up (been there, done that!).

We can be clear as can be about your sins being forgiven, being redeemed by the blood of Christ -- and the person goes home to a marriage they can't stand, a family that drives them nuts, a job or boss they hate, a life that makes no sense to them, and not a clue from church about what to do, except tough it out until next Sunday when they can hear that Jesus died for their sins again.

In my time as an elder, I never visited one single absentee who stayed away because he was just unable to straighten out a doctrinal issue. It was always living stuff. Always.

Now, to be sure, we're not life coaches here, we're not Tony Robbins with Bibles, and we bloody well should make the cross of Christ central to all our preaching. That said, the Gospel, we know then how to use the Law -- not as a source of merit, not in any sense that we can be perfect, but as a curb to society, a mirror showing us our sin and our need for a saviour, and a guide to God pleasing action.

People flock to these guys in reaction to the antinomianism they too often find among us. Salvation isn't in our feelings and actions, and it's good we're clear on that, but, the fact that our works contribute nothing to our salvation is not a reason to never speak of our works. Sadly, many leave and find these guys who do offer something in that regard, at the expense of the Gospel which becomes more works of ours (my decision for Christ, etc).

Brother Lito had an excellent comment a few posts ago about thinking in the past how inconsiderate it was to be expected to mow the lawn or do grocery shopping when here he was a man of God who needed time with the Bible!

To quote one of your guys, and a Aussie too (Frank Sheed, I hope the Intergalactic Pontifical Commission for the Spirit of Vatican II hasn't proscribed his works!), people would be a lot less resistant to the idea of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist if they could see more of a real presence of Christ in the Christian!

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

Did I tell you that some pastors here have that title 'life coach' at the back of their calling cards?

People flock to these guys in reaction to the antinomianism they too often find among us

Agree totally.

people would be a lot less resistant to the idea of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist if they could see more of a real presence of Christ in the Christian!

Each time I try to say Amen, what comes out is Ouch!

LPC

Past Elder said...

I hope they aren't any of our (Lutheran) guys, but wouldn't be surprised if they are.

My former WELS pastor once went with a couple of the elders (not me) to a service at our local Lutheran mega-church Willow Creek affiliate -- yes, LCMS. The sermon was primarily about how to be a good friend.

That's the thing. It does not have to be that one must have a diet only of Jesus died for your sins or here's how to live. We speak of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. The Law remains, no longer as the source of justification, as Jesus has done that, but as a curb, mirror and guide.

So here we either don't mention works at all, or only as a mirror for our need for a Saviour since we cannot save ourselves by them.

When we act as if the Gospel has removed the Law, we drive them to where the Gospel is more Law. And the sinner will always like the Law better, because without the Gospel he thinks he can do something, he thinks he's got a plan. That's why the megachurch Lutheran pastor gets two or three thousand at a service and my confessional one two or three hundred. But the plan will fail if not first the Gospel, or if it is mistaken for the Gospel itself.

You can't do anything. Here is what Christ did. You still can't do anything to add to that, but here is what you can do because of that.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

You can't do anything. Here is what Christ did. You still can't do anything to add to that, but here is what you can do because of that.

What a treat, lots of goodies to keep in my pocket, for my self edification and for sharing in witnessing.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

On Osteen, I have featured him in this blog.

Poison. He is not even sure if Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Him. Listen to his interviews in th FoxNews site.

Notice the doggy smile of the man?

In Pinoy talk, we know what doggy smile means right? That is the clue.

LPC

Jeff Tan said...

Concerning the Osteen book, my wife agrees that there's quite a bit of prosperity gospel flavors in it. She wants me to read it when she's done though. I've had my share of self-help books in the past, so I don't know if I want to make room for this one. I just told my wife to be aware that this is not a Christian book, and not to treat it as such. Thanks for all the feedback.