Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hyper and Fundamentalism

This urangutan's face shows how I stare in amazement at what passes as "confessional".

I just noticed that John H calls people who claim to be "confessional" but yet practically deny or contradict what the BoC says about repentance, good works and changed life brought about by the HS, by the term "hyper-Lutheran". See his post here. I call this Lutheran Fundamentalism, because most, I notice, are into traditionalism, liturgicalism and into negativism too. These folk are into "negativation" (a word I invented, for being anti-anything, yes, anti-anything but so called "confessional"). For this reason - it is "fundamentalistic". Fundamentalism is like that - all are bad, except itself. It also throws the baby with the bath water. Actually this is a subtle high-jacking again of another Lutheran term - "confessional". I am concerned for ex-evangelicals/ex-pentecostals like me because they are getting a spin of what passes as "confessional" but when you check what they say against Scripture and BoC, they mis-represent what that word implies.

This is the reason why I have absent myself from most blogs except for a very few and even this recent reference shows I have not been hanging out other spots lately. I encounter so much of these fundamentalistic types.

I went to Wittenberg because I was a pilgrim/a refugee in search for a confession that matches the Scripture, now that I found it, my job is full and should be spent studying it rather than spending my time reading the so called 'fathers'. They will just have to wait in the queue until I have out grown my studies because if I become ignorant of what the 'confession' says, I will also be - 'hyper'.


steve martin said...

Nice post. Right up my alley!

I am being reffered to as a hyper -Lutheran by a few on the Christian blog circuit, and I really don't mind at all.

I actualy like it that I am not lumped in with others, for what I stand for is the freedom for which Christ so dearly won for us on the cross.(Galatians 5:1)

We(Christians)are surrounded these days by folks that would bind us up again under a yoke of slavery.

What I, and many others , are trying to say to folks is this. You are free in Christ. That is the essence of the Good News!

No more religuious projects are necessary. No more self-focuse, religious navel gazing. Go, and live. To best of your ability, be the best person you can be in a world(in yourself as well)frought with sin.

If that wins me the tag of be it.

Thanks much!

- Steve Martin

Doorman-Priest said...

I concur with you both.

steve martin said...

Thank you doorman-priest!

It's sad, but for many in the Church...Christ is just not enough.

- Steve

Carrie said...


I think that picture is of a baboon.

Sorry I have no substance to add beyond that :)

steve martin said...


You are wrong. That is my picture.

- Steve (the monkey man) martin

L P Cruz said...


Actually, that is how I look, I look like a baffled baboon.


What I, and many others , are trying to say to folks is this. You are free in Christ. That is the essence of the Good News!

This is true and should be stated more loudly and I hope I am doing that too. In fact this is the source of true sanctification, also.

Only that we also add that we do not use our freedom to flaunt the Law and thus sin the more.

This is the paradox of Christianity, Christ sets us free from the Law yet that freedom wants to stay a slave of Christ. So long as you do not deny this, this is not hyper/fundamentalism.

The BoC does not deny good works, what it denies is good works that does not have faith as its source.

Most preachers I have read in the blog world practically are saying what Paul say - we should not say.

Romans 6:

1What shall we say then?(A) Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can(B) we who died to sin still live in it?

I think they are over-reacting to pietism. So they are not giving the whole picture of what our confession says.

By all means we should counter pietism, absolutely because that is phariseism. However, having some piety is good, it is pietism that is bad.

They thew the baby with the bath water.


steve martin said...

"Only that we also add that we do not use our freedom to flaunt the Law and thus sin the more."

I don't know any Christians that don't regularly flaunt the Law. We all do.

We, all of us, flat out refuse to do the things that the Law requires of us.

If that's not flaunting the law , then I don't know what is.

Or does it mattere that we should say, 'we shouldn't flaunt the Law' and that is good enough?

Do you see where I'm going with us?

I'm trying to take the whole sanctification process out of our hands and put in back where it rightfully the hands of the Holy Spirit.

So, in essence, the righteousness of Christ burns up both our vices and our virtues, in favor of His work and His work...alone.

This view is not popular...but it was Luther's view. Melancthon snuck all this third use language in the Formula of Concord and undid much of Luther's teachings.

I'm with Luther on this score.


- Steve M.

L P Cruz said...

Steve M,

I think the issue is not sanctification then in this regard. The issue is the shape or form of a repentant sinner.

Indeed we do flaunt the Law from time to time.

We do flaunt the Law but there is something in us that makes us hate ourselves for doing such, if not then this is not repentance.

If the Gospel is presented without the Law then it is no Gospel either.

In the Apology this is what it says too, see what you think of this

IV, 348-349:
We say that eternal life is promised to the justified, but those who walk according to the flesh can neither retain faith nor righteousness. We are justified for this very purpose, that being righteous, we might begin to do good works and obey God's law. For this purpose we are reborn and receive the HS, that this new life might have new works and new impulses, the fear and love of God, hatred of lust etc. The faith we speak of has its existence in penitence (repentance).

Sure I agree that we should not focus on sanctification, but we must at least recognize its existence in the Christian's life. To imply that there is no such thing and that we are walking/talking sin can be Manichean as well, is it not?


steve martin said...


"we do flaunt the law from time to time."

Are you kidding me? Like about every minute of every day!

Who is it that does the work of sanctification? Is it our doing,or is it the work of the living God?

If you answered both, you answered wrongly.

If you answered rightly, then you realize that no law will derive any good out of us that is applicable here.

'lex semper accusat'

steve martin said...


Go to my blog and read a very short piece from Forde on this topic.

It won't take but a minute and he says it so much better than I.

Thanks, L.P.!

- Steve

L P Cruz said...

Thanks Steve M.

I am interested in your reply to the AP quote I gave you and the Scripture I mentioned.


L P Cruz said...

OOps, I failed to answer, I answer it is all of God, all the way - he uses the Law/Gospel to get that done.

Do you agree with that quote I gave on AP IV? Do you subscribe to that explanation?


steve martin said...


The AP qoute is a little fuzzy.

"We say that weternal life is promised to the justified, but..."

Im always leary of 'But' language because it always puts the onus back on the person.

Luther says in his explanation to the third article of the Apostle's Creed, " ...I believe the Holy Spirt has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy, and kept me in the true faith..."

This language is more to my liking because it put the onus where it belongs...on Christ.

We must remember that the Lutheran Confessions were written at a time of attempted reconcilliation with Rome.

They could have just flat out blasted Rone with Christian freedom and blown any chance at an accord right out the the sectarians did. But they were more careful in their language.
Besides Luther didn't have a whole lot to do with writing that stuff, it was mostly Melancthon(who was a fan of the 'third use'...Luther was not.)

While there are wonderful things in the Confessions, we have to remember that they are not scripture and shouldn't be treated as such.

My focus here is putting and keeping Christ and His work for us at the center. What the third use does is move us closer to that center and opens the door to legalism.

Thanks L.P.!

- Steve

L P Cruz said...

The AP qoute is a little fuzzy

OK, I see where you are coming from, you are not quite there to being convinced that it is quite an accurate exposition of Scripture.

Now, do not get me wrong either, I do believe that the Confession was written within a historical context and should be interpreted with that context in mind.

As I said, I subscribe to the "meaning" of the words, not to the "words" themselves.

At anyrate, Luther was aware of the Apology, he commissioned Melanchton to do the reply to the attack on the Augsburg Confession by the RCC.

The Formula/Solid Declaration mention properly how this 3rd use of the Law is to be used or what function it performs.

I will comment in your blog shortly, I got the references for you.


steve martin said...


Yeah, I can't help it. Whenever someone, anyone at all (even the Reformers), trys to put any qualifications upon the complete and total work on Christ's part for us...I get a litte jumpy. For if we have any role to play in this at all...we are all in big trouble.

Many of the Lutheran Reformers did not agree with that explanation of "the third use of the law" in the Formula. It was not a slam dunk...and it still isn't.

The good fruits, or obediences that we may exibit, well, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Just saying that we need to do this or that does not make it happen. The focus on our having to live a certain way is like putting lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.

I look forward to your comments on 'the old Adam'.

Thank you, L.P.!

- Steve M.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Big Bro. Lito,

Where John H and others misses the point is that the use of the Law is not focused coram Deo, but coram homnibus. The Law as per coram homnibus establishes its proper use, i.e. the Law was intended for this world. Hence, the Law is really NATURAL Law, instead of reflecting an ETERNAL Law. Thus, the Law is grounded in the sovereign WILL of God rather than God Himself being subjected to an eternal Law in a Platonic fashion. In this respect, God's own Will is His Law. Therefore, God is truly SOVEREIGN.

So, I guess one could say that the Ten Commanments were given to us not so that we could go off on a spree to beef up our personal holiness but precisely to serve God by serving our neighbour.

I do not think either you or Steve are totally disagreeing. I have no problems myself with the FoC and so on. At the end of the day, as Lutherans we are agreed that the sequence is always Law-Gospel, not Gospel-Law or Law-Gospel-Law!

L P Cruz said...


Agreed. Good works is meant and to be directed to my neighbor, coram mundum. Take the case of personal piety. I have been getting a great hunger for prayer and I "seem" to be enjoying praying to God, but what happens is that I find myself praying more for someone else than praying for my own needs, that gives me more joy it seems to me.

Yes I think Steve and I agree in that it is the fruit of the HS which is fruit of faith - that is what sanctification is and it is works towards neighbor.

Law-Gospel again and again, amen.


steve martin said...

L.P., A.S.,

I can give a hearty Amen to that!

Thanks very much.

- Steve

Past Elder said...

Why don't you all just join WELS?

Then you can holler "Christian Freedom" at any suggestion that anyone, anywhere, ought to do anything, ever.

L P Cruz said...


If I were in USA I will not join WELS, they are too antinomian for me. I won't join LCMS, most are too Roman for me.

I probably join a micro-synod or independent one.

I am happy with the struggle my synod is in, they are not perfect but at least they are not cultic.