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
example.
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.

28 comments:

David said...

It has appeared to me for quite some time that the pirate likes to flirt with pietism. Yes we do have those statements that we are to serve our neighbour and a believer will do these things unless in rebellion he or she refuses. However, to spend too much time in measuring the quality or quantity of an activity will drive one to despair. After all it is fruit of the Spirit, God's activity in us, is that which is admired and rewarded. Matthew 25:37-40

As far as feeling Lutheran I am unclear what that means. Heck as far as feelings go I don't feel saved at times. That is where faith comes in. The world, inner brat and devil always seek to derail the Christian. Been fighting those things for years. We cling to the promises that are in the word and let the feelings come and go.

As far as the other fella goes it appears he does not buy into creationism and inerrancy. That is an attack on God's word where we hear and read of God's promises. Several years ago I did all that too and that just leads to more despair and chasing after wind.

Keep your eyes on Jesus bro! Love Him and serve your neighbour in whatever ways are available to you.

God's peace. †

L P Cruz said...

Thanks for the encouragement 5Pinter. Yes, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

I think the Pirate does not feel like at times buying to the 'ism' in the Lutheran-ism. He needs to widen a bit his trickle of spiritual food from other Lutherans, it is a bit narrow.

For John H, yes, I do agree with you, I would classify myself as a creationist and inerrantist myself, so there I will differ. What I highlight in his comments is that one can slide to a tight and narrow understanding of the BoC if one stick with Walther. As we know Fundamentalism has a tendency to be cultic too.

We need to be spun around too by the Law before the Gospel comes in, then we love both Law and Gospel together. Jesus becomes sweet only when we are taken down to despair and the hurrying up to the Gospel such as what he said -- "You are declared righteous", is not what I would give, rather the atonement - rather I would say --Jesus took your punishment, your sins and nailed them to his body at the Cross and now gives that to you for the forgiveness of your sins.


God be with you,

LPC

Past Elder said...

Well, you could chuck it altogether and say, hey, the idea that the Law is completely broken unless perfectly observed is not in the Law but Paul, who created Christianity out of his own Hellenised Judaism and personal neuroses which then caught on as a way to keep on believing Jesus was the Messiah though what will happen after the Messiah comes didn't happen after Jesus came.

Personally, I think the Pirate is getting ready to chuck more than seminary, or perhaps swim somewhere.

I don't think we (LCMS) are doing anything other than preaching Law and Gospel. What some miss is the freedom part -- now you can really do good works knowing bloody well they aren't perfect and sometimes will turn out all wrong, because that's been paid for and by no works of ours.

L P Cruz said...

Thanks P.E.

As you know I am not on for criticizing a synod because I am sure my synod has a lot more to be desired. Its being a centrist synod is often mistaken for being liberal by American confessional ones, I am quite aware of that.

If you go to our churches and the way we do closed communion, LC-MS will frown on, I have no doubts about that too.

Also our pastors though they do not commune with Calvinists, do participate in local ministerial projects and do pray with them. Again this I suspect Walther would be turning in his grave but we are not going to tell him about what we do here.

I have been trying to search our synodical statements and we do not have something similar to the Thesis Statement of 1983. I would rather not find one, #42 is something I am un-easy with, because justification is always subjective while the atonement is always objective as I see from scripture. The heart cleaves to the atonement and is justified for the sake of Christ's said atonement.

I guess the Pirate is being burnt out by some narrow views in his circle and it can cause a negative counter-action, one can start being cynical when one is always confronted with a one sided view. It then boils down to credibility. One starts to lose trust in the expositions of those whose presentation is always tilted and so we get a pendulum swing.

I hope not, the fellow is filled with insights and for a young man, he is gifted.

LPC

Past Elder said...

There isn't a religion around that doesn't have its self-caricature and in-house jokes, and based on the reality of some its members. The problem comes when one starts taking them seriously. I enjoy the Pirate's blog myself, but too I sense some issues going on with him of which the Lutheran caricatures are the symptom, not the cause.

LCMS does co-operate on what in Roman circles are often called the corporal works of mercy with non-Lutheran "Lutherans" such as the ELCA, or E?CA, as well as with Christians who don't identify themselves as Lutheran at all. My parish, for example, works with Open Door Mission here in town, basically a non-denom Christian homeless refuge, among other things.

Past Elder said...

PS -- I might also add Thrivent, a company that resulted from the merger of two Lutheran aid societies, who have members from all Lutheran bodies. When my wife died we were in WELS, and Thrivent helped us with matching funds to a congregational collection, and now as LCMS I am a member of which to support extending those efforts to others, yet WELS and LCMS are not in fellowship with each other.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

You would remember my joke a while back on LCMS and WELS. I heard you are not allowed to pray together, but it is ok for you guys to go to the pub and have a drink. Now was that a caricature? I am ignorant of the US scene that is why I ask.

Now with the way my synod is having cooperative work with non-Lutheran Prots, I am sure some would criticize it as just being another denom.

But that is the reality, though how much we view it as a confession rather than denom, in human terms it is, jeepers the RCC is viewed just like that in Australia - just another denom.

I suggest that what the Pirate is experiencing is the fruit of some ideas he was fed with.

LPC

Past Elder said...

The Pirate got pretty Lutheran when the bloody Presbyterian chimed in!

He's a good guy basically. Probably just needs a girlfriend, going on some of his other posts!

Focussing on "the things of the Lord" to the exclusion of actual other people is a whole different thing when an actual person is there being excluded -- I think you and I have been there, too!

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

Let us pray that he might be given a g.f. soon.

Having one sometimes takes out the rough edges in a man.

It ain't good for a man to be alone.

He who finds a wife, finds a good thing.

LPC

orthodoxy hunter said...

Amen.
http://wittenbergtrail.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=1453099%3ATopic%3A44131

L P Cruz said...

Jen,

You are right in what you said in the Trail, there is absolutley an imbalance happening. I think more so in American COnfessional Lutheran circle and people there should be aware of such skewed and allergic reaction to sanctification. Let us soak ourselves in the BoC as well as Scripture. That is where we will get the balance and not from expositions of so called 'confessional' ones.

Frankly, I have quieted and have done selective reading of blogs coming from confessional pastors from USA. They are too Romanists for my taste and awefully un-'evangelical' in the true sense of the word.

LPC

Past Elder said...

I think the whole situation is misunderstood. Since Lutheranism was first exported here (US) by European missionaries it has suffered greatly by losing much of Lutheran identity to the Protestant mainstream and now we in turn seem to have exported this distorted proto-Protestantism overseas ourselves just as we turn to more recent forms of Protestantism to ignite ourselves.

Hell, at least in the old country the union of Lutheran and Reformed was forced by the government. Now we do it to ourselves!

Confessional Lutherans -- as if there can be any other kind -- only look Roman when Lutheranism looks Protestant.

We aren't Catholic and we aren't Protestant.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

The history here, and I believe true too, in USA, was that the Pietistic strands first landed before they appreciated and become orthodox.

Hence, the pietistic strain may have not been excised as some say, for example, in the case of CFW Walther who seems to be the strong influence there in USA.

Now a days when I read a 'confessing' (it is an in word like when I was in reformed, the password was 'being reformed') Lutheran's blog, I have to check with the BoC because I have to be aware that the guy might be presenting his view of 'confessional' Lutheranism, which in the USA is mainly Waltherian.

LPC

Past Elder said...

Yes Pietism got exported here and has been a problem ever since.

I think the present flirtation with mega-church "evangelistic" stuff is simply another surge of Pietism, seeking to locate authentic religious experience in one's feelings rather than, as you say, extra nos. In Walther's time this was a challenge too -- then it was Methodism, not what is Methodism now. Luther called them enthusiasts, from the literal Greek, seeking God within. Same deal.

I use a book for daily devotion by Walther called God Grant It. He didn't write the book per se -- it is excerpts from his sermons and writings arranged as daily devotions within the traditional calendar of the Western church rather than the latest Roman revisionist pile of crap. Can't find a thing that doesn't square with Scripture and the BOC. Pastor Weedon quotes from it often as the "Old Lutheran Quote of the Day" on his blog. Walther understood Pietism well. He was raised and taught in it, and came to see it for what it is. This was as a young man in the old country.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

I have his Law and Gospel and I enjoyed a lot of it. For example in one chapter he said that one does not have to use the word 'faith' to get the sinner to believe.

I agree, but that is true only in a few preaching in Acts that is correct, but in most preaching in Acts, the Apostles did use the word and enjoined people to believe.

However, there are couple of his Easter sermons that I am studying (once in a while when I have the time) because in one of them, it has been suggested that the 'justification of the world' found in Thesis Statement (LCMS) #42 is the source of that.

Because there it implies that people have been justified without faith, without means of grace, they just have not believed it yet hence, I have quibbled a bit about UOA vs UOJ. People being justified before faith and without means of grace is pietism and even calvinistic too.

UOJ practically makes one a functioning universalist and antinomian so if you are already prone to Rome, you will dabble more into other common things with Rome rather than assert JBFA. In effect, items like vestments, incense, chausibles, and what have you becomes the focus of conversation with them, i.e. the liturgy kicking catechisis in the you know where.

Hence, I find the aims of the Society of St Polycrap naive at best.

LPC

Past Elder said...

It's like a credit card. You've got the credit, you've got the card, but until it's activated, the card won't work and you might as well not have the credit line.

I think worrying about all this UOA and UOJ is like wondering if the person with an unactivated card truly has the credit line.

Christ paid for all sins, believer and unbeliever alike. Every sin ever has been paid for. What's Calvinistic is to say that is not so because not everyone is saved. There would be no point in preaching if all sins were not paid for. There would be no point in announcing the inheritance left if one were not an heir.

Past Elder said...

IOW, we ought not mistake not everyone taking the inheritance for not everyone being an heir.

Past Elder said...

Yo Lito, you might enjoy this link from MSNBC, which I ran across on the site of the local NBS affiliate.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23531037/

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

I read the article, I think it will come to pass that being contemporary is uncool and being traditional is. Then the fight is who is more traditional than others.

I heard in KFUO Todd Wilkin saying that what got them in keeps them in. I apply what he said in revers, So if hocus focus incense and stuff got them in, guess what, more elaborate traditionalism will follow.

Hopefully they get the Gospel any how.

we ought not mistake not everyone taking the inheritance for not everyone being an heir..

Your comment though illustrates my point.

My Bible says this bro...
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise


Only those who believe are heirs, only those who receive the means of grace are heirs.

UOJ says everyone is in Christ now even the atheist and Christ deniers. Because people are righteous even though they believe in Christ's work or not, correct?

Do not get me wrong though, I affirm UOA but I have second thoughts about UOJ as it does and can lead one to some form of functional universalism.

LPC

Past Elder said...

I still say there is a confusion here between two things that are true.

The Romans got all messed up on this in their new liturgy, where the Verba is a combination of the two accounts that say "for you" and the two that say "for many". Not wanting to sound exclusive or anything, "for many", pro multis in Latin, became "for all men", then the feminists got all mad and it became "for all", neither being what Christ said.

Sticking to what Christ said would have prevented all of that, though of course sticking to what Christ said is not the long suit of the RCC.

The point is, Christ did pay for all sins of all men (generic), it is not the Father's will that one be lost, it is the Father's will that all be saved.

It's not about whether one is from the start an heir, it's about whether one can become an heir. That is open to everyone. Christ did not die for some, or just for those for whom he chose to die, and I think people maintain that he did when what they are really observing is that so far as we can tell some are not heirs.

Similarly, some confuse this and say everyone is saved but some don't know it.

Now it may well be that not all are heirs in the result, which does not define the intent of God which is clear from Scripture.

The Verba reflect the result, not the intent. Many, not all. Whether in liturgics or theology, we need to be clear whether we are speaking of the intent or of the result, and we need to remember we have been clearly told in Scripture what the former is and that the latter is not ours to judge.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.


The point is, Christ did pay for all sins of all men (generic), it is not the Father's will that one be lost, it is the Father's will that all be saved


This is true and I agree with this, this is UOA.

God sending Jesus to die for me is not the same as him declaring me righteous.

God brings people to faith through that message of reconciliation - the atonement, but he declares me righteous only upon faith in that atonement, which he himself accomplishes by preaching that Atonement to me.

Whom he predestines, he called, whom he called he justified - Rom 8:28-31.

Hence, I have strong reservations on Thesis #42. Because this says God declares people to be righteous though they have no faith yet.

Abraham believed God and God imputed this as righteousness. God did not do it before but after the promise was believed.

This is JBFA. JBFA brings true sanctification because it is true justification.

Anyway, this is a subject I so love to study. It is a favorite and I like to all the time go back to it because it makes my faith rise and see Jesus.

LPC

Past Elder said...

Being declared righteous isn't the same as being righteous. Being declared innocent isn't the same as being innocent.

We're not righteous and we're not innocent, but we are declared so because of Christ.

We've been given a pardon. Not the same as winning the case in court and being found innocent.

I think we're into how to best express something rather than disagreement on what that something is.

L P Cruz said...

PE.

God put our sins on Jesus at the Cross. Our sins were imputed to him. What about his righteousness being imputed to us?

Jesus' righteousness is only transferred to us at the point of faith and not before. His righteousness is not imputed to us before faith, but through faith. Thesis Statement #42 says it happened without faith.

Apology IV. 44 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

LPC

Anonymous said...

Hi Lito,

Apropos the LC-MS, no doubt every church body is exposed to influences in the surrounding culture which outsiders may see more clearly than insiders, but I think it is a misnomer to call the LC-MS "confessional Lutheranism crossed with Fundamentalism".

The fact is that the classical Missourian theology pre-dated Fundamentalism by 60 or so years, and in fact was rooted in the Lutheran orthodoxy of the 17thC. In the early 1960s, an LC-MS professor by the name of Rudnick undertook research to explore the influence of Fundamentalism on the LC-MS, believing that the LC-MS had been corrupted by Fundamentalism, but he came to the conclusion that the influence was superficial. All of the distinctive LC-MS positions, including on creation and inerrancy, were in place long before the 1920s. (Btw, I'm convinced historical study would reveal the same about all the present mainline denominations - they were all once "fundamentalistic"!)
Granted, LC-MS theology was a bit hard edged and tilted strongly towards a dogmatics bias rather than exegesis or historical studies, and therein may lie some of the similarities to F-ism, but at least their ministers came out of seminary knowing the theology of the Reformation and how to preach a law-gospel sermon - a far cry from fundamentalism!
On Walther, he was a very powerful preacher and theologian, as anyone who has delved into his writings with an open mind can testify. I haven't found him to be unorthodox on anything, it is more a question of where certain emphases are located and the fact that he was a creature of his time, as we all are. An old lecturer at Luther Seminary (Adelaide) used to say that in order to truly understand someone's theology we should first look at their biography. A consideration of Walther's life can certainly help us to understand where he was coming from. His theology was refined through battles for the Gospel within and without the church, and that explains many of the idiosyncracies we may identify in his thought today. Generally, though, I find him quite balanced and irenic even; well, more so than one would expect from the caricature of him that is often presented.
Incidentally, one of his first challenges as a young pastor in America was crypto-Romanism! You would appreciate how he dealt with it :0)

Peace & Joy,
Mark

L P Cruz said...

Pr. Mark,

Thanks for this info.

I think the analogy and the use of the term Fundamentalism should be tamed and it should be 'fundamentalistic' in the sense of religious fundamentalism. I do not mean in the debate of creationism or inerrancy because I would be in that camp myself. I mean in the sense of rigidity. It does not have a strong middle or centrist group, it is quite quite thin and the poles are more populated leaving the center empty. Whereas our LCA is reverse, but I could be wrong because I am new.

It was through the LC-MS ministry that kick started me towards Concordia land. I still enjoy some of their expositions but they sometimes over state their case (as I also do).

I read Walthers Law and Gospel and I find nothing wrong in it in fact it educated me more. However, I notice that a few places Walther did overstate. For example I agree that the word 'faith' need not be mentioned when preaching Law and Gospel as it can be benign to us created by the HS.

But now looking at Scripture, the Apostles did occassionally use the word and enjoined people to believe, case in point Acts 13
38Let it be known to you therefore, brothers,(CL) that through this man(CM) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him(CN) everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything(CO) from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Lately I prefer to simply soak in the BoC, because reading some authors I would not have a stick to measure if they are representing the BoC teaching to me un-filtered or not.

Hope to see you soon.


LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

"It has appeared to me for quite some time that the pirate likes to flirt with pietism. Yes we do have those statements that we are to serve our neighbour and a believer will do these things unless in rebellion he or she refuses. However, to spend too much time in measuring the quality or quantity of an activity will drive one to despair. After all it is fruit of the Spirit, God's activity in us, is that which is admired and rewarded. Matthew 25:37-40

As far as feeling Lutheran I am unclear what that means. Heck as far as feelings go I don't feel saved at times. That is where faith comes in. The world, inner brat and devil always seek to derail the Christian. Been fighting those things for years. We cling to the promises that are in the word and let the feelings come and go.

As far as the other fella goes it appears he does not buy into creationism and inerrancy. That is an attack on God's word where we hear and read of God's promises. Several years ago I did all that too and that just leads to more despair and chasing after wind.

Keep your eyes on Jesus bro! Love Him and serve your neighbour in whatever ways are available to you."


I cannot agree more with Bro. David!

Anonymous said...

Walther would be happy with you soaking in the BOC Lito.
If there is one criticism of him that does stand, it is that he relied too much on 17th C. dogmatics and not enough on the BOC.
(And I say that as one who loves
17th C. dogmatics!)

As for the LCA, yes, we are more of a mixed bag than LC-MS in regard to our origins - from Pietists to Missourians, they have all featured in our history over 150 years, so we have had to learn to get along with each other, hence the gravitation to the centre which you speak of. Not to mention much much smaller, which makes things interesting.
Mark

L P Cruz said...

Pr. Mark,

Some people fail to appreciate the wisdom found in LCA, the mixing of pietistic and orthodox streams and successfully fusing them together takes a lot of wisdom and of course the grace of God.

Somehow I do appreciate the debate, freedom and fluidity that the Synod goes through before arriving at a decision. It may upset some, and from the outside we may look less confessional but the LCA does that because of its experience in the past.

I seem to understand now its nature of being.

LPC