C.F.W. Walther wrote in 1868: "…you often hear pastors preach, 'You are saved if you believe.' What they should be saying is, 'You are saved so that you might believe."
The quote may be found in http://www.franzpieper.com/.
My journey before coming to Wittenberg was that I considered myself a Charismaniac Calvinist (if not Calvinian) for 4 years. In those years I studied Reformed writings specially on the TULIP and I was worshiping with a wonderful group of Presbyterians near my home as I studied their confession. I was, you might say, a Christian looking for a Confession. A few things bothered me but in the end I cannot, in good conscience sign my name on the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Calvinists, by enlarge, do look at faith and their fruit to find out if they are Christians. However to me the system warps itself down because the "L" in the TULIP does not guarantee that the Atonement is yours. Then also there is no means of grace, I mean concretely delivers what is promised or concretely promises something to you, I mean what God did with Abraham when he walked in between the carcasses of dead animals through a smoke etc.
I think Walther and his mates were combating the Revivalism going on around them which taught people to look at their faith. So when people say "I am saved because I believe", Walther and Co. think that people are confessing this in the Wesleyan sense. Meaning looking at their faith, made a commitment, a decision etc. I think there is a sense that this accusation is true and I wrote about this too. However, is the accusation necessarily always true?
So now, I read blogs, listen to radio programs of Lutheran persuasion and the expositors are allergic to even mentioning faith at all.
Rev. Paul McCain says I have an ax to grind in his post here. I got in to that post because Dr. Ichabod blogged about it here, so I went there and chimed in. There was a follow up reply I made but Rev. McCain won't publish it, fair enough. It is his blog.
Do I have an ax to grind or is it my conscience saying something fishy is going on and it does not seem right ? I mean, why is it a dichotomy that being a Christian and having faith (in the Gospel) must be separated? I feel disturb about this. So I return to the Walther quote for I think it is Waltherianism to have such an attitude, and I am bothered by that attitude for many reasons:
- In the incident with the Philippian jailer, we see St Paul saying something differently when he was asked what must the jailer do to be saved. St Paul answered like the pastors Walther criticized, and I take it that these pastors he criticized were Lutherans too!
- In the ordo salutis, or order of salvation. Amazingly, Lutherans were the first to coin the phrase! Yet, Lutherans do not have a formal position on this unlike what the Calvinists have done. Their ordo affects their evangelism, apologetics and any other philosophizing and even psychologizing of justification. Look at that Walther quote again. I find Walther being Calvinistic in that quote., because in Calvinism, salvation happens first or regneration happens first before faith comes out, faith is an off shoot of regeneration. Though Walther despised Calvinists, he was quite like them in that quote.
So below is the comment I wrote to the Rev. McCain, which he won't publish, I said:
If a person is looking to Christ as his savior, i.e., the one who paid for his sins, is this not faith?If this is not faith, then what do you call this phenomenon?
What do you think, how will you answer my question?