I noticed that Dr. Ichabod blog about how faith becomes a four letter word here.
Yes, I wondered about this phenomenon of making faith a foul word.
I came from a Charismatic background and I know how the concept of faith has been abused in that circle. For example, faith is seen as a force. Prosperity teachers spoke of faith that way. It is like an infused stuff. Since they have been influenced heavily by Arminian Evangelicalism, Charismatics in general believe that everyone has faith, even the pagans and it is just a matter of exercising it or not. It can be turned on or off. Though my Charismatic friends may affirm it is a gift, it is not really in practice.
Take now a look at Pieper said about faith:
"I would eliminate faith as a requirement that makes justification true. That would be making faith a work of mine." Franz August Otto Pieper, A Final Word, http://www.franzpieper.com/This is the type of overstating the case that gives faith a bad rap.
Really Dr. Pieper? What about Mk 16:16? Peiper makes a non-sequitur fallacy, aside from what Dr. Maier pointed out in his paper - a tertium non datur fallacy too.
Indeed faith is a requirement, a condition! However, it is a condition that God meets for you the sinner by creating it in you through the Word and/or Sacraments. He does not give this gift without using means. It does not drop from the sky and zaps you neither is it something inside you such that you must pedal in your own steam to generate it. Like the Gospel - faith is EXTRA NOS. From the outside it comes to you. That is the payload of the Gospel (sorry for my little unsanctified way of saying it).
So a few observations I make from say Eph 2:8-9 and Heb 12:2
- It is a gift from God not internal to us.
- It is not a work, you cannot work it such that you can produce it.
- The author of your faith in the Gospel is Jesus
- It cannot boast and if it can, then it is not the faith spoken of by the Bible.
I think what was happening during Walther's time and Pieper's time was that they have been surrounded by revivalism which uses faith like a tool and they wanted to correct this abuse. However, this wrong should have been corrected through the the Scripture of which the BoC expounds well specially on faith. It cannot be corrected by going off the other way.
Oops I criticized Dr. Pieper, a UOJ proponent. That is a no no.
One thing I notice with Pentecostal preachers and pastors. The moment you question the pastor, immediately the pastor gets offended and also his members too get offended with him and so watch out. They will no longer be your friend. You will be shunned like the plague. What can I say? Words like "immature and insecure" come to my mind.
I notice this type of behaviour is present amongst UOJ pastors too. They are quick to say that the anti-UOJers are wrong, they are quick to fly off with remarks of heresy and false doctrine etc. It is a type of bullying if you ask me. So what happens? Instead of people getting closer to the truth, having dialogue, the situation becomes a political play on people's affections.
My case in point is Dr. Maier's paper. That paper was written in a scholarly manner and I have found it to be well argued and well researched. His exegesis was not even peculiar. Yet did anyone take his thesis and work with it? Nope.
Is the Christian served well in this way? I doubt it.