Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't use love

We can not use love to find out if we are a Christian. A couple of years ago, I read internet cousellors counselling anxious Christians to use their love for Jesus to assure them that they are Christians.

Well, we do not love Jesus the way we should.

John 14:15“If you love Me, keep My commandments.

The equivalent statement to this is -- if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus, then you do not love Jesus. In logic this is called the contra-position and equivalent way of saying the first.

We know how to evaluate that. Honestly, am I keeping the commandments of Jesus? No. Then I do not really love Jesus. I might have some emotional affection for him, but I do not really love him the way I know I should. So by this way we are toast. We can not use love.

Here is what Apology of Augsburg IV, says...
112] And yet we must not think on that account [love]that by confidence in this
love or on account of this love we receive the remission of sins and
reconciliation, just as we do not receive the remission of sins because of other
works that follow. But the remission of sins is received by faith alone, and,
indeed, by faith properly so called, because the promise cannot be received
except by faith. 113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to
the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The
promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And
because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this
faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love
and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows

(I like my Tappert translation better than this, but this is the best available in the internet).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why I like (Korean) Tele-Novelas Better

This is from SuperChick, a Christian artist/singer.

Now compare this with the one from SpamaLot, which we saw last Valentine's Day.

The message is the same, no? SuperChick's version is the Christianized version of SpamaLot's, yeah? Well, both give good advice.

Now can you see why most of the time, I enjoy so much watching Korean cutsie romantic love stories, than these? Let me know if you are into tele-novelas too and I can give you some philosophical analysis/critique of themes and lessons in life found in them. If you have not seen any, I can recommend some that will surely give you warm fuzzies and a good cry too. They are addictive.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why Muslims Convert ---- because they want Jesus

[HT: Dave Gosse]

Article by Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship: They Want Jesus Instead

According to this piece, thousands of Muslims are converting to Christianity each year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What is wrong with the old sins?

I am sure by now you have heard of the "new sins" proposed/suggested by a Vatican official when he was interviewed. You can read the interview here, if it has not crossed you yet.

Please do not talk to me about new sins.

I am already having trouble fulfilling these two...

Mk 12: 29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[f] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[g]There is no commandment greater than these."

Once we are done with these, you can go ahead and talk to me about moving up to the next level of new sins. Until we go pass these, I am not interested in hearing of new ones.

What's the matter, these two don't cover new sins?

Friday, March 21, 2008

No more Issues and Mt. Zion

The famous LC-MS ministry, Issues Etc. is no longer on the air. The program has been canceled and the ministry supporters are wondering what happened?

It was Issues Etc. in late 2004 that finally got me taking out that Book of Concord of mine off my shelves. It had been sitting there quietly since 1993. It finally made it to my desk so I could consider what it said. Thanks to the Internet.

I must say though that lately the program featured and of course critiqued movements like the Emergent Church movement and interviews done by the female Head Bishop of Episcopal Church USA. It did pass my mind the possibility of external pressure being exerted from the outside, mainly from other church bodies being pressuring LC-MS leadership. Some discussions lately could have invited that, they were pretty controversial and people from outside (specially those featured, I guess) may have not appreciated what was said.

Some listeners are of course saddened, angered and understandably disappointed towards the Synod itself.

I am not LC-MS, my church is with LC-Aus and so I have no business nosing at other people's business.

However, I do have an attitude towards Synods. No matter how lofty or un-lofty the ideals of your Synod may be, it is still composed of people and in this respect it is no different from other denominations. I just do not believe people who say otherwise, my experience with human nature says so.

The thing is, it is not in your Synod where the action is, it is in your local church. Your contact to your Synod is your local church and through your pastor. So the main concern is what does your pastor teach - is it coming from Scripture and interpreted through the Confession? If so, then work with it. If not, then go somewhere else where Word and Sacrament is delivered to you faithfully. They are out there, it just takes some work to find that faithful shepherd.

This is not the time to slip into the Elijah complex, God says he has not left us without a witness. We have to wake up, we are not in Mt. Zion yet and anyone who implies we have arrived is short changing us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freddie the Burping Caller and the F..ting Preacher

Apparently Freddie thinks it is the sign of being filled.

I am suspecting he is Filipino. His accent and the frequent exchanging of the sound of 'f' for a 'p' is a dead give away. This is a typical English pronounciation mistake, committed by Filipinos. Couple that with the humor like asking --- how do you reconcile burping with being filled and well, what can I say?

Yeah, how do you reconcile that?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tradition vs Traditionalism

The WhiteHorse Inn last week discussed the above topic and a commentary is found here.

The broadcast is found here.

Here is an excerpt...
The larger point that this episode raises in my mind is the relationship between
tradition and traditionalism. Jaroslav Pelikan once said that there is a big
difference between the living tradition of the dead and the dead tradition of
the living. You see, in the living tradition of the dead, "the faith once and
for all delivered to the saints" gets passed down from generation to generation.
We are enriched and our faith is deepened by our brothers and sisters who lived
long before we arrived on the scene. We sing their songs, pray their prayers,
join our hearts and minds in the same confession, and read their works. If we
cut ourselves off from tradition, we are consigning ourselves to a life of
narrow-mindedness, imprisoned within the narrow confines of our own experience
and our own time and place. At the same time, traditionalism-the dead tradition
of the living-is a different kind of narrowness, but narrowness just the same.
"That's the way we've always done it" is a cop-out. It means that we don't
actually have to know why we believe what we believe or do what we do; we don't
have to reflect, we don't have to think. Don't ask questions that folks might
not know the answers to around here. Both the rejection of tradition and the
passive acceptance of traditionalism reflect a certain kind of laziness.
Tradition itself is neither a blessing nor a curse. Like all interpretations of
Scripture, there are good traditions and bad traditions. We have to exercise
discernment-and not just by ourselves, but with the cloud of witnesses, both
dead and alive.

I once asked my daughter who used to attend a Pentecostal church if she thought her contemporaries knew or have heard the Apostles Creed. She said "I don't think they know about that Dad, I know it, because we discussed it at home but I doubt if they even heard of it".

At the same time I have noticed folk who can recite the Small Catechism but when asked how people go to heaven, they still replied ... "you have to be a good person".

Good night!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bum Steer

Take my advice, I am done with it.

Just an advice to the Evangelical readers of this blog. Greetings once again.

Quickly, I wish to say that if you think the heart of debate in Evangelicalism is Calvinism or Arminianism, you are getting a bum steer. If you think you have to choose between the two and that is something you should worry about, hang it. It is a false lead. The issue is not predestination. It is the Gospel. What is it?

This word Gospel has been thrown around, first be clear as to what it is, because many people use the word in a very vague sense, like the word - love, it has been tortured a thousand times to mean no longer what it originally means. If you think this Gospel is so basic, you got it in the bag and you can move on from it, you are giving your self a bum steer.

You think you are a Protestant right? Then find out first, what did the First Protestants believe in? What did they say this Gosple happens to be? How were they able to assert JBFA in JCA and yet have Sacraments? That should signal may be you have not fully understood them and they may have been mis-represented in your mind. That should make you wonder and you should dig further how come that was so.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Satisfaction - AP IV

I have been soaking and reading the Apology of Augsburg, IV. I so thoroughly savor reading this chapter. I come back to it over and over again. For me, the longest chapter in the Book of Concord, is so nice to read, a really fine exposition on Justification. I have read modern authors but nothing to my taste can compare to this fine exposition by Melanchton, of which I gather he got from some of Luther's writtings.

Here are a few snippets. I like my Tappert version than the one online, but it is easy just cutting and pasting from it for the sake of discussion. So here...

43] But since justification is obtained through the free promise it follows that we cannot justify ourselves. Otherwise wherefore would there be need to promise? [And why should Paul so highly extol and praise grace?] For since the promise cannot be received except by faith, the Gospel which is properly the promise of the remission of sins and of justification for Christ's sake, proclaims the righteousness of faith in Christ, which the Law does not teach. Nor is his the righteousness of the Law. 44] For the Law requires of us our works and our perfection. But the Gospel freely offers, for Christ's sake, to us, who have been vanquished by sin and death, reconciliation which is received not by works, but by faith alone. This faith brings to God not confidence in one's own merits, but only confidence in the promise, or 45] the mercy promised in Christ. This special faith, therefore, by which an individual believes that for Christ's sake his sins are remitted him, and that for Christ's sake God is reconciled and propitious, obtains remission of sins and justifies us. And because in repentance, i.e. in terrors, it comforts and encourages hearts, it regenerates us and brings the Holy Ghost that then we may be able to fulfil God's Law, namely, to love God, truly to fear God, truly to be confident that God hears prayer, and to obey God in all afflictions; it mortifies concupiscence etc. 46] Thus, because faith, which freely receives the remission of sins, sets Christ, the Mediator and Propitiator, against God's wrath, it does not present our merits or our love [which would be tossed aside like a little feather by a hurricane]. This faith is the true knowledge of Christ, and avails itself of the benefits of Christ, and regenerates hearts, and precedes the fulfilling of the Law.

Notice the following:

1. The word Gospel is thrown around in Christian circles but it has been tortured to some nebulous connotations. The Gospel is the Promise. Well we can say it is Proclamation of the Promise as well. Note that Promise-Faith go hand in hand and only at faith is justification enjoyed and possessed too. This faith uses Jesus as mediator in front of God. It presents Christ to God. It brings the merits of Christ to God. God sees his seed in the hands of faith. Holding on to Christ, God sees the apple of his eyes - Jesus and is satisfied.

2. The quote speaks of sanctification as well, but the Gospel is about the Promise of God and not about sanctification. And though sanctification follows as fruit of justification, the Gospel is not about it but rather about Promise of reconciliation. The BoC does not seem to be alergic towards sanctification, as can be seen. The thing is that it can not be measured and it can not be used to gain favor with God. But sanctification, there is, and is asserted by this chapter. It places justification as its source.

This is good news, Jesus paid it all.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"We use faith in maths, too, Lito". These were the words that came from the lips of my thesis Professor, a few days ago as we discussed philosophy of maths.

"We have no proof that our axioms in maths are true, we assume them to be TRUE, but we have not proven them to be TRUE", he added.

"Assume? You mean this is by faith too"? I retorted. "Yes", he smilingly replied, "but it is all good, it works, doesn't it"?

All the while the discipline I so love and believe to be objective is not so objective after all. It is a known fact, axioms in logic and maths are not proven to be so, we believe them to be so, not that we have evidence that they are thus and so.

If maths is the foundation of science, and the other disciplines like physics etc are building on top of it and utilizing it etc., then the whole world is founded on faith.

I am stumped. That threw me. I think I will go home and be depressed.

Heb 11:3
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Don't read that so loud, these so called objective scientists might hear you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Merry Marty ain't so herc after all

I got this from Beggars All.

This UK Times news is predicting that Pope B16 will probably declare the Holy Heretic St. Martin Luther ain't a heretic after all. So we could be seing an example of one Pope undoing what another Pope has done.

I bet ya the popesters in Concordia land will be so happy at this it will bring tears in their eyes. O how sweet, Il Papa finally saw the light, let's all go home. Look how fair and reasonable he is. If he signs the BoC, I will reconsider my opinion of him, but until that happens...I say to the cryptos, no deal (and I spit on their gravy too).

Look, folks, you do not get extra credit for stating the obvious. In Maths, we call this - trivial.

Historians have been saying Merry Marty was not a herc all along.

Look, it is like the physicists of today who are now dwelling on theology. May be one day, they might come out and say "oh, we are convince of this - a personal God created everything".

What are we going to do when this happens? Give them a medal? The reward for an ass who stops being an ass is its own reward - freedom from being an ass.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Let it cook

The Pirate posted that he sometimes do not feel that of a Lutherite at times. I feel like that myself too. It is interesting that one of the things makes him feel being un-Lutheran is his point #2...

2. I don't look at every time God or Jesus tells someone to do something
through this lens of "You must do this absolutely perfectly from the bottom of
your soul if you want to earn your salvation." When Lutherans mention that Jesus
said to do this or that, they tend immediately add, "But you can't do this
perfectly! There's only one person who didn't commit adultery perfectly, and
that's Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to YOU
!" No one in the Bible ever
speaks that way. Paul seems quite comfortable with telling the Corinthians to
love each other without reminding them over and over that they can never love
each other well enough to earn their salvation.

I highlighted the sentences that drew my attention in italics.

Honestly, I think that way of putting things is more of an American Lutheran Waltherian take on Lutheranism. Some confessing Lutherans are not quick to put it that way specially I guess the non-American ones. It is interesting too that the British John H of Confessing Evangelical replied and added this...
As others have pointed out, I think this is an LCMS issue in many ways. I don't
think the caricature you paint is anything like so prevalent in the ELCE, for
I know I'm oversimplifying here, but the impression I often get of
the LCMS is that it looks like what you get if you cross confessional
Lutheranism with 1920s/30s American fundamentalism, especially as regards
creationism and inerrancy.

I am not here to nose into any synod's business, no synod is immune to any Reformation, I am aware of that now (translate: denominations all of them need Reformation). However, there is one thing that may be at the heart of this -- this is the notion of universal objective justification (UOJ). Do not get me wrong please, there is universal objective atonement (UOA), but it is not the same as UOJ.

I too grant what the Pirate has stated might be a caricature of sarcastic note, but I do not think it is baseless. Notice how quickly the statement-- His righteousness is imputed to YOU, is inserted before the Law is finished working its way. Indeed, no one in the Bible speaks that way! Absolultely, but why do some do?

This speedy ushering of the sinner to the Gospel before the Law is finished doing its job of toasting the sinner (we humans) is to me, like doing stir-fried cooking, the sinner is only half-cooked, and half convinced , so he gets half repentance and then half faith. Since he is not yet given time to be fully convinced that he is utterly in ruin, but quickly taken off the hook i.e. quickly given the declaration of righteousness, he walks away saying -- all is ok after all. It is all good!

You know, I have no doubts about UOA it is Biblical, but this is one of the reasons why I am a bit cynical now about UOJ.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Let's take a break...let's do the Papaya

Let us take a break, let us dance the Papaya!

This is becoming the national dance of Filipinos. The tune was from Urzula Dudziak, a Polish disco singer of the 70s, but I think her style is what we would call in Jazz as skat (to use Louise Armstrong's lingo).

I heard that this is becoming a dance craze in P.I. It has been said that in supermarkets while shopping, you might hear this song and shoppers and staff would suspend whatever they are doing and do the dance. We are just so so so dance crazy.

This just shows you how Filipinos can be so happy and have fun about....nothing. Well, at least you do not have to be loaded just to get some.