Friday, October 30, 2009

As my Reformation treat - I'll do Bach

When rendered properly, Bach's music, can lead me to tears. I am not joking. I am serious, his music does sometimes make me weep.

Pr. McCain has one in his blog but I am putting this version on Bach because it has documentary discussion on the Reformation of Luther.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calvin and the art of obfuscating

I was reading a book about the theology of Calvin and the author said that what Luther began, Calvin completed. I have read a bit of Calvin's expositions and I find it astounding why he is the greatest theologian after Augustine. Take the case of Calvin's comments on John 20:19.
And while the doors were shut. This circumstance was expressly added, because it contains a manifest proof of the Divine power of Christ; but this is utterly at variance with the meaning of the Evangelist. We ought, therefore, to believe that Christ did not enter without a miracle, in order to give a demonstration of his Divinity, by which he might stimulate the attention of his disciples; and yet I am far from admitting the truth of what the Papists assert, that the body of Christ passed through the shut doors. Their reason for maintaining this is, for the purpose of proving not only that the glorious body of Christ resembled a spirit, but that it was infinite, and could not be confined to any one place. But the words convey no such meaning; for the Evangelist does not say that he entered through the shut doors, but that he suddenly stood in the midst of his disciples, though the doors had been shut, and had not been opened to him by the hand of man. We know that Peter (Acts 10:10) went out of a prison which was locked; and must we, therefore, say that he passed through the midst of the iron and of the planks? Away, then, with that childish trifling, which contains nothing solid, and brings along with it many absurdities! Let us be satisfied with knowing that Christ intended, by a remarkable miracle, to confirm his disciples in their belief of his resurrection.

Calvin has a way of speaking one thing and meaning another, kinda convoluted way of saying it was a miracle, not that Jesus used his divine powers to enter the room but an angel must have helped him come in. Jesus need the assitance of angels, no? I believe the allusion to Acts 10:10 is a typographical error, I think it should be Acts 12:10. Calvin did not want to admit that Jesus' body has the capacity to appear and disappear thinking by doing so, he is capitulating to the Papist doctrine, probably of the Eucharist. Calvin is able to do this double talk at once in the same paragraph. A remarkable effort in being obfuscating. I am being polite when I say I find him confusing. I like to use the real word but this blog is rated G.

In saying that it was a miracle and in saying it was similar to what happened to Peter, he actually said more than what Scripture said. That is the drift I am getting at.

This is where Luther was different. Luther was careful not to throw the baby with the bath water. As an exegete Calvin was more rationalistic and humanistic than Luther.

So I do not know why Calvin is given such a high esteem. I donot think he completed what Luther began, it was more like over shooting Luther and even over shooting Biblical Christianity which to me, is bordering on sub-Christianity.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pope says to Anglicans... swim the river, the water is warm

Here is the article.

Looks like the Pope is making it easy for those un-easy Anglicans to switch their affiliation. Well if you are a conservative in the Anglican Church, and you are disheartened with what is going on with the your denomination, for it is obvious, the liberal group has the upper hand. They are into homosexual clergy and women's ordiantion, why not just jump ship? Kinda, take off from the frying pan, and dunk yourself down to the fire.

This behavior reminds me of the time when I was a Pentecostal. You hear of a congregation losing its pastor and another pastor hovers around and wheels and deals with members of the congregation who just lost its leader. They are like vultures (maybe the better word - wolves) circling the spoil.

Lets us face it, the Pope is a business man.

So I ask, if I was an Anglican, what am I buying when I go to Mother Church? Like I said to people I know, the Pope will allow you to be a Lutheran, Anglican and a Baptist or whatever, he will allow you to practice quietly what you will just don't make it formal and don't buck the Pope. The Pope will allow you to hold your views, so long as you know who is your daddy.

This could start a mass exodus from other denominations, there is power in what the bandwagon can do, you know.

This should give some ideas to people in the ELCA (perhaps even people from my own Synod?). Because just recently they have now allowed practicing gay/lesbian ministers to hold pastoral positions, so the conservatives in ELCA may have another option. Would that be the answer?

Why not go back to your Scripture and hold tenaciously to the Confessions? Would that not be the better option?

I guess if your loyalty is to conservatism per se and not to Scripture, you can make any excuses with your decision and won't loose sleep over where you belong.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Outward sign of inward reality - jive

I have been thinking about the jive I often hear and have been taught many years ago by my credo-baptistic pastors, in that baptism is the outward sign of an inward reality.

Now, that bit - "inward reality" technically does not play up in Scripture neither does Scripture speak of such construct. If there is one, I like to be shown which Scripture that might be.

I go back to Acts 2:38

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
This passage is commonly interpreted by Baptistic folk to mean, 1.) repent first, b.) then be baptized.

So only those that are to be baptized are those who have repented. Baptistic commentators also make bones about that repentance comes first before baptism.

The question is, how do you know you have repented? Hence, this makes the baptizer and the baptizee (sic?) look at the "inward reality" so that they may adhere to the command to be baptized. Honestly neither the credo-baptizer nor the baptizee know of such "inward reality" yet they have it in their language.

And this brings up another point, Acts 2:38 is looked at by the Baptistic person as a command.

This the reason why they have a hard time undestanding why a Lutheran can affirm JBFA and have real Sacraments of Baptism and Communion, they view the passage as a command to be performed, a Law.

If I have a Baptistic reader here, I like to throw another posibility of reading the text. That Act 2:38 passage is not a command but a promise! A gift. In fact that is what the passage says - "the promise is to you and to your children". Also the connection between the forgiveness of sins and baptism should not be ignored as some of you do. If you do not believe that forgiveness of sins is a gift, then you have to believe it is earned. Yet the passage speaks of baptism as a promise with attachments - forgiveness of sins and the gift of the HS.

That baptism is the repentance. That is why in Church History, it is not possible for someone to be considered a Christian if he is not baptized. Also in your circles, you have people questioning, "if baptism does not save, why do I have to be baptized, since I have given my heart to Jesus and I have already asked him to come in"? You have this paradigm and a conundrum of convincing the professor of the need to be baptized to fulfill a command.

In Lutheran circles, that paradigm does not compute because baptism is the gift itself, and the receiving of the gift...itself, in the name of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feeling forsaken

I wanted to post something on Calvin's take on John 20 but I thought about suffering instead.

How come when you are going through trials and temptation, through sufferings, the Lord seems so far away and you feel left swimming on your own. Then I thought about Jesus feeling the same at the Cross.

Psalm 27:9c
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation

I wish I could stay on top of the mountain but part of the trip is going through the valley.

Update: Each Tuesday Phoenix' eyes gets tested, so far dear brothers and sisters, they have not detected a noticeable decline. Please continue to pray for him and his mom.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A shout for Arnel and Journey

I heard some quip, we were born singing with a guitar in our hands. Well I am not a good singer but I do music, piano, guitar and now trumpet.

When I was growing up, the typical picture motif in our house was the picture of the Indio (The Spaniard's label for a native Filipino), lazin' away seating and leaning under a coconut tree, with his sombrero (palm hat) on his head strumming his guitar.

In the interview, you can detect some hispanic accent in the way he spoke English. I am puzzled myself, it is hard to pin down a Filipino - is he Asian or Hispanic? May be Latin Asian akin to Latin American?


Thanks Journey, for believing in Arnel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baptistic missing the point?

I got this from a Statement of Faith of a Calvino-baptistic group.

Baptism is an important action of obedience for a Christian and signifies a person's identification with Christ. It is not necessary for salvation. It is an outward manifestation of an inward reality of trust in the sacrifice for Christ, of conversion, and of identification with Christ. The act of water baptism does not save anyone. We are made right before God by faith, not by faith and baptism (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:3,5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 21; Phil. 3:9; see alsoActs 10:44-48).

Now I can see why it is so hard to understand how Baptism could be a gift. I was thought the above and that paradigm is so rationalistic it for a while makes sense, until you live the Christian life and observe that it leads Baptism to nothing. So when Jesus commanded to baptize, it was some whimsical idiosyncratic idea that Jesus decided to cook up at that time.

I just notice how Acts 2:38 is missing in the above:

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The baptism part of the verse is passive, i.e. it is being done to you. Then the kicker - "for the remissions of sins". Part and parcel of repenting is the belief that baptism is connected with the forgiveness of sins. The statement of faith extrudes the two from each other. This is what rationalistic interpretation does.