Sunday, September 07, 2008

Chopsuey

Over here, chopsuey is equivalent to stir fried. The chopsuey I remember back home is so yummy, it has that greasy starchy saucy element in it you can eat it all day - with rice of course. What is up with chopsuey? Well you can throw in it all meats and vegies you like and it will still taste good.




So where is this conversation going? It goes into the reduction of Christianity.

Recenly I have been encountering RC folk who are just at home with mixing world views from Taoism or Budhism. They are not bothered at all and even quite at home in importing these ideas into their catholic spirituality.


There is one theme that runs in my observation - when you reduce Christianity as also a religion of works, then Christianity is just one of those religions that incite you to work for your own salvation. It is just one amongst the rest. So if Christianity is giving you a formula for work - what is so special about that compared to Taoism or Budhism? None.


So it is not nonsense when one mixes Christian ideas with these eastern ideas. It is simply the fruit of what happens when Christianity has been reduced, levelled to the ground like the rest.

But Christianity is not another method of working out your own salvation.







36 comments:

steve martin said...

"But Christianity is not another method of working out your own salvation."

No it isn't!
Working out your own salavation is nothing more than "religion".

God put an end to "religion" on the cross.

It is all about faith. Faith in Jesus.

L P Cruz said...

SM

God put an end to "religion" on the cross

Thanks for that - that is an insightful angle on the word "religion".

At the cross - God said - game over.

LPC

The Dude said...

"when you reduce Christianity as also a religion of works, then Christianity is just one of those religions that incite you to work for your own salvation"

Just curious, 3rd use - for or against? If against, do you view Calvin's and the Reformed denoms' strong acceptance of it as a big problem?

L P Cruz said...

Hey Dude,

I don't know how to classify myself.

I see a 3rd use but not for salvation of course but it reveals God's will for us. I do fall short of that 3rd use never the less - I guess Dude my take on this is 1 John 2:1-2. God does not want us to sin, but if anyone does sin, our loving and sweet saviour is our defendant.

I am not againts I guess, but I do have a problem with the Reformed denom's strong acceptance of it - I do, being an ex-Calvinisticus myself.

2nd Use is primary, 3rd Use is secondary but in Calvinism these are equal and so you can not serve two masters at the same time, you either love one or dispise the other. When the two are made equal, being works oriented by nature, the brat will tilt to the 3rd use nullifying the 2nd use in the end.

You note that Calvin and Melanchton where friends, but Calvin had a different tact on what 'repentance' is, and in my light reading, it seemed a bit conceding to the RC understanding.

I was going to do a good deal of study on this but no time for doing fun stuff. It is an interesting study on where Calvin differed on the idea of repentance contra the Concordians.

We are not under the Law but under Grace but the funny thing is that guy under Grace is heart broken because he falls short of the Law.

His freedom from the Law does not result in happiness but rather it results in humility.

LPC
LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Yes. The key word is USE. The Reformers spoke of the uses of the Law. Hence, with regards to the third use (usus pedagogicus), we have to know precisely what is it for. For some Lutherans, if one wants to speak of a third use, it is always turned coram homnibus (i.e. towards the world). In other words, the Law is not used so that we can go off on a quest for personal holiness and its concommittant of personal holiness. This is a standard feature of Puritanism (early, Westminster, Baptistic, etc.) and yes, of the Reformed tradition in general (including Calvin). Rather, the Law is used for the sake of the neighbour. That is to say, the Law is upheld and re-established in its PROPER use.

We who were under the curse of the Law are now set FREE to obey the Law - do good works. Thus, we are free to use the Law as it was originally INTENDED. The Law is summed in "love the Lord thy God and love thy neighbour as thyself". We love the Lord only because He loved us and demonstrated His love by dying on the Cross so that our sins would be forgiven. Justification by faith alone sets us free to love others. Justification is total - it covers the whole of the Christian life. Our experience of justification is what we might call sanctification. And in our daily lives, we receive the world back from God as a gift to care and to serve the neighbour for his sake. In the church, we hear Law and Gospel. The preaching of the Law produces repentance (second use) so that Old Man in us is killed; the preaching of the Gospel produces faith so that the New Man is raised up again. The New Man is then turned back to the world for service in his daily vocation and calling (first use).

L P Cruz said...

A.S.

Justification by faith alone sets us free to love others. Justification is total - it covers the whole of the Christian life. Our experience of justification is what we might call sanctification. And in our daily lives, we receive the world back from God as a gift to care and to serve the neighbour for his sake.

Unless we are free from minding ourselves we will never mind our neighbour. If we are not secure in God's attitude towards us, we will be busy working to get God to favor us while we leave on the side of the road our bleeding neighbour. We will still be busy in effect with ourselves.

If we are not yet set free from the Law then there is still a debt owed and a work not yet done, so we get busy working to save ourselves.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

"If we are not yet set free from the Law then there is still a debt owed and a work not yet done, so we get busy working to save ourselves."

How true, Kuya!

steve martin said...

The Dude,

No 3rd use for me.

Lex semper accusat. The law always accuses.

The law is written upon our hearts. We don't need to be shown what a good work is. (as if we didn't know)

We know exactly what to do. We just refuse to do it. That's all.

Now the Holy Spirit working in and through us is another matter.
And believe me...the Holy Spirit needs the law to inform it on how to do good works like it needs a hole in the head.

The Holy Spirit acts from love, and not the goading of the law.

Third use...baloney. All it does is open the door to legalism.

Past Elder said...

It amazes me how strong the human idea that I must do something to be OK with God is, that it makes such a simple thing so hard to understand.

The third use of the Law (Law of Moses) is not to be Law again, but to be a guide. The Law retains its validity: it is God's Law, there is no expiration date, but rather a fulfillment date, namely, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which satisfied the Law that we could not, and which satisfaction is imputed to us by faith in him -- we are counted righteous for his sake, not ours, by his works, not ours.

We appear to be so afraid of trusting in works that we will not speak of works at all. Like the humourous post I mentioned on another thread, You might be Lutheran if your house is a mess because we are saved by grace not works. Effectively, many of us live like that, refusing to clean up our houses (figuratively) or even learn how, let alone show someone else, and groove on being saved while rats eat the food and termites eat the house. This is not Lutheranism.

If the Law were written perfectly on our hearts, there would have been no need for the Old Testament, a Chosen People, or any of it. That is why all of that came first. I suspect that if some Christians go wrong on the fulfillement, it is because they do not know the promise, and that because they think the fulfillment means they no longer have to bother about the promise.

We are free to do good works indeed. We know in advance that our works will be incomplete and inadequate, and we also know thay completeness and adequacy were accomplished by Christ, not ourselves, so we are free not from works but from depending on them even in part for our salvation.

Past Elder said...

Re chop suey, I like chow mein, which I think actually was invented here in the US.

But it is always to to go to a Chinese restaurant here, because not only am I the only round-eye eating with chopsticks, a lot of the time younger Asians use Western utensils too. I can understand my having to ask for chopsticks since I look Occidental, but they don't bring them out for anyone unless asked! I reckon if you don't go to a steakhouse and ask for chopsticks, you don't go to a Chinese restaurant and use a knife and fork.

steve martin said...

The law is written upon our hearts.

Our sinful nature keeps us from doing it.

"... we are free not from works but from depending on them even in part for our salvation."

If you men the work of Christ and Him alone...I would agree with you.

The first two uses of the law doesn't abrogate the law...on the contrary...when understood properly it accuses, (kills) and contains.

We trust that in Holy Spirit for our good works. (At least some of us do)

L P Cruz said...

S.M.

All it does is open the door to legalism

Good point and I have seen that happen.

We are into formulas and the Bible is very popularly used that way in the 3rd Use.

On the other hand I have seen what P.E. just described. I have seen people leave Lutheranism thinking that it is equal to Antinomianism.

In preaching the Gospel you need to come close to the edge but not cross it - hence Paul retorted Rom 6:1. Some do.

But if we look for Christ in the Scripture I think it will prevent us from misusing the Bible as a formula book but as a book promises of God's love and care. It is the one that inspires us to be what God wants us to be without focusing on what we must do but God making us focus on what he did and does today.

When I want to be assured of my wife's love I will go to the promises she made to me, not the letter that said - be sure to close the cabinets when you open them, put the toothpaste back in its place, always put down the toilet seat when finishe yada yada yada. These do not tell me that she loves me.

Correct?
I know you agree.

P.E.

You are a culturally sensitive guy.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Antinomianism is the attempt to end *all* uses of the Law from life of the Christian. It is based on a wrong anthropology, i.e. that the Christian is a continuous existing subject, who is only "altered" by grace. Grace is understood, subliminally, as a "repair work" and this is the prevalent idea of many many modern evangelicals.

However, the radical Gospel of Lutheranism ought to elicit the charge of Antinomianism. It is THAT radical and antithetical to the Law, its polar opposite, the discontinuity; the Gospel establishes something totally new, extra nos, from another world. The Gospel destroys, shatter, smashes, etc. our pretentions, presuppositions, prejudices, etc. rips our comfort zone apart ... the Gospel IS explosive ... justification by faith apart from the deeds of the Law is indeed a time-bomb when properly preached in all its totally - the effective legal Word of the Gospel in killing and making alive.

Augustinian Successor said...

The Gospel, in short, is *opposed* to the natural man in bondage to sin.

steve martin said...

LPC,

You are absolutely right (I am a culturally sensitive guy).

That some people leave the Lutheran Church because they think it is antiniomian is not a third use issue. It is an abandoning of law altogether (in some circles).

I contend that two use people have a greater understanding as to the depth that sin has a hold on us and a greater respect for the unmitigated, uncompromising demand of the law.

I'm late for a church council meeting...gotta run...I can tell you firsthand, my pastor in not an antinomian - he'll chew me out bigtime!

Thanks!

L P Cruz said...

A.S.

In my experience when there is Gospel and no preamble of Law, one can sound Antinomian. One guy in the internet who started out LC-MS went to tbecome an RC because he concluded that Lutherans are anti-nomians. That guy was pro high liturgy and was into Lutheran Rosaries. If there is such an animal (??#@$%?).

Somewhere down the line, I think he missed the central doctrine - JBFA.

Kuya Lito

L P Cruz said...

S.M.

I listened to your pastor's bible study and I find it enjoyable because what he says is true.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Kuya,

That guy has made a fool of himself, as all those who think that confessional Lutheranism is defined by high church liturgy, smells and bells, and those petty rituals. It amazes me how foolish folks can be Lutheranism and indeed Christianity is defined by them as everything except the Gospel. In fact, Lutheranism and Christianity is defined as much as how Rome defines the Christian religion! These lot call themselves confessional Lutherans and yet they always want to leave a foot free on the other side. No man can serve two masters, Our Lord says. The bastards want to serve both their current institutional church which makes them denominationalists(!!!) and the broader ecumenical designs with a eye on reunion with Rome. This explains why their conduct, which only beguile the wilfully blind. And I stress "wilfully".

The Dude said...

Interesting posts here. Yes, I could see how the charge of antinomianism might emerge; wasn't the point of the 3rd use promoted by Melancthon and others and enshrined in the confessions to combat Agricola's antinomian leanings? Somewhat related to that, for those against 3rd use, would you say your viewpoints are still compatible with the confessions/formula/apology or instead that those documents were less than perfect in expounding on the issue?

Another question, I had for a while merely assumed Reformed and Lutheran views of sanctification were pretty much identical which obviously I have seen is incorrect. Would you say the central difference between the 2 perspectives lies in the differing views of the sacraments, especially baptism? Or are there other factors in play? Feel free to direct me to books if this is a subject can't be treated adequately in a combox - I know there's that 5 views on sanctification book which I intend to read but I wonder if there's some more scholarly works out there as well that examine this issue.

Augustinian Successor said...

The Dude,

I guess it would all depend on which denomination one belongs to ... it would be virtually impossible in principle to ignore the 3rd use within the LCMS. It's different in the ELCA which is more "latitudinarian". And yes, the Reformed and Lutheran differ on sanctification, but there are convergences when one brings the confessional-scholastic traditions together. Consult, e.g. the ordo salutis. But confessional Lutheranism insists all the more strictly on the monergistic character of sanctification.

On books, I would personally Gerhard Forde's Where God Meets Man: Luther's Down-To-Earth Gospel, On Being A Theologian of the Cross, The Preached God, and A More Radical Gospel. I don't agree with him on the inspiration of Scriptures. But that said, he is perhaps North America's best expositor of Luther's theology.

L P Cruz said...

Hey Dude,

Bo. A.S. beat me to it But confessional Lutheranism insists all the more strictly on the monergistic character of sanctification.

The continental reformed are a bit more in line with the Concordians with this, but the Western and specially the American one is way convoluted on sanctification - their language do not sound monergistic perhaps being influenced by revivalism.

I am with Dr. Ichabod on the sectarianism of American Lutheranism being attributed to CFW Whalter - I think CFW overstated his case and so you see the synodism dividing the American Lutherans.

A.S.

Knowing you read both CFW and Forde, would you say that Forde is still the better of the two when it comes to expounding Luther's theology?

LPC

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Kuya,

I haven't really read much of Walther. Only his classic The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel. But having said this, there's no doubt in mind that, with the exception the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, Forde is the foremost interpreter of Luther's theology. Forde had the issue of inspiration and inerrancy wrong, prejudiced perhaps by his own commitment to the theological principle of gospel reductionism and concessions to higher criticism, not that he was an avowed exponent like his contemporaries such as the late Robert Bertram (Seminex).

Those blemishes aside, Forde is a mcuh needed corrective to the Neo-Legalism in the *Reformed* circles as well as the revisionism in Lutheran circles such as Finnish school (Tuomo Mannermaa).

steve martin said...

I think the Lutheran Confessions were great...but could have been better.

Melancthon was a humanist, he had a strong affinity for Erasamus and Aristotillian philosophy. Luther was quite often pulling Melancthon back down (to the fact that God does everything with respect to our salvation and justification).
But Melancthon had a cadre of his students from the university and other followers sympathetic to Roman Catholic notions of synergism, to bolster this 3rd use stuff (which came about as an attempt to answer the charge of antinomianism).

We shouldn't forget the political climate of the time as well. People were losing their lives over theological distinctions and kingdoms were at stake. Political as well as theological compromise may have been what was necessary to avoid the snuffing out of the Reformation and the needed cohesion to battle the Turks and Spanish. That is simplistic, but I think you get my drift

While Melancthon was the chief writer of the Confessions there were many Lutherans theologians and parish pastors that disagreed with him.

This debate on the third use has been going on right from the start of Lutheranism. I asked my pastor his thoughts on the subject and he said "the Reformers had their chance to really set forth an absolutely locktight statement as to the total sufficiency of Christ...and they blinked."

I think Forde was(is)the best voice out there to get across this idea of Christ's sufficiency.

Glad you enjoyed the bible study snipett L.P.C. - Thanks for letting me know.

Brigitte said...

"For some Lutherans, if one wants to speak of a third use, it is always turned coram homnibus (i.e. towards the world). In other words, the Law is not used so that we can go off on a quest for personal holiness and its concommittant of personal holiness. This is a standard feature of Puritanism (early, Westminster, Baptistic, etc.) and yes, of the Reformed tradition in general (including Calvin). Rather, the Law is used for the sake of the neighbour. That is to say, the Law is upheld and re-established in its PROPER use."

I find this really helpful. Thanks, A.S.

Augustinian Successor said...

Thanks, Brigitte.

L P Cruz said...

Yes, thanks Brigitte for dropping by to comment.

I am glad you have listened to our conversation.

LPC

The Dude said...

"But confessional Lutheranism insists all the more strictly on the monergistic character of sanctification."

Does not confessional Lutheranism also hold to some concept of mortal/grave sin and that the justified can fall away? Is that still compatible with a monergistic view of sanctification and/or views that think the 3rd use is unnecessary and superfluous? I also wonder how the mortal sin distinction can fit in with the Lutheran view of the law/gospel (or perhaps the mortal sin distinction is largely neglected/ignored nowadays?)

L P Cruz said...

Dude,

Monergism says God gets the credit for all aspect of our salvation, even sanctification.

He supplies (faith) what he demands (faith).
He does this by bringing the means of grace to us.
Sanctification is effected by God by also giving us Law/Gospel.

Yes monergism is compatible with falling away. What it says is that God's face is turned already towards the sinner on account of Christ. When you turn your face to him, he does not react and turn his face to you, because he is already turned to you and is bringing the Gospel to you.


Man can do two things - he can say - I do not need anyone to die for my sins cause I am not a sinner. Or yes I am a sinner but I can pay for it myself, thanks very much.

When we say amen we are not meriting anything.

When we turn our back and are lost it is not because Jesus did not die for us but we reject his gift.

Also mortal sin in Lutheran language means sin that kills faith - apostasy or leads to apostasy. In otherwords suppressing the truth that God loves us and gave his son to us. This is an active stance in killing faith itself.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Dude,

The distinction between mortal and venial sin is actually rooted in the Law-Gospel distinction. And it has important pastoral implications.On the "imcompatibility" between monergism and defectibility, it is a paradox. And "paradox theology" is not only confined to Lutheranism; it is found in the modern mainstream Reformed - the free offer/desire of God to save the non-elect in tension with God's sovereignty; Reformed Baptist - prevenient grace in tension with believers' only Baptism, Anglican - the theological understanding of the Lord's Supper is a manward movement in tension with the liturgical office where the Words of Institution is recited in the context of a prayer, i.e. a Godward movement.

All in all, the monergism of justification is maintained, unlike of course the damned fools of the Auburn Avenue, Shepherds-que, NT Wright, etc, proponents which speak of two justifications or a justification is dependent on perseverance.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Is that still compatible with a monergistic view of sanctification and/or views that think the 3rd use is unnecessary and superfluous?"

The 3rd use of the Law is part and parcel of mainstream confessional Lutheranism. It is not a dominant theme at all in Luther. For some confessional Lutherans, it is impossible for to use the Law to increase in holiness. Holiness is a total gift, and sanctification is included in it. Holiness is not personal but extra nos. And hence, one does not speak of progress, not before God. One only speaks of progress before the world, where we are free to enter into service in our *daily* calling.

The Dude said...

LPC,
Hmm, it *seems* that one is saved by faith alone and the avoidance of mortal sin/rejecting His grace then (unless you take the Reformed route of such people never were saved in the first place) no? If so, I fail to see how this differs from Rome/Constantinople much, for they would say the same thing, we do not earn salvation, but we can reject it. Yes, I am deliberately using salvation rather than justification here, as I believe in Lutheranism even if one does fall away through mortal sin, they may still be restored and repent (justified again?) yes?

AS,
If the 3rd use is not important, how does one examine one's self? Or perhaps examining one's self really is a fruitless and despair-inducing endeavor (yet does seem endorsed by Scripture) as non-3rd use people seem to think? But maybe you're cool with the 3rd use.

Augustinian Successor said...

The Dude,

The Law is not for righteous man, but for the sinner. The Law is there to curb, accuse and guide - for the SINNER. Not to increase holiness for it is not personal, but an alien righteousness. The whole Christian is both the Old and New Adam. The Old Adam needs the Law to restrain him; the New Adam has the Spirit to motivate him. But as the Christian lives in this world, he serves the neighbour according to both Law and Gospel.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Hmm, it *seems* that one is saved by faith alone and the avoidance of mortal sin/rejecting His grace then (unless you take the Reformed route of such people never were saved in the first place) no? If so, I fail to see how this differs from Rome/Constantinople much, for they would say the same thing, we do not earn salvation, but we can reject it. Yes, I am deliberately using salvation rather than justification here, as I believe in Lutheranism even if one does fall away through mortal sin, they may still be restored and repent (justified again?) yes?"

Dude, the Reformed route is far from perfect, as it seems you might be suggesting. If you take the Reformed route, you can't even have the minister saying that Christ died for you, at least corporately. And you are mistaken about Lutheranism and Rome et al. Justification is monergistic in Lutheranism; it is ultimately synergistic in Rome where increase of grace and holiness depends on cooperation. No such thing exists in Lutheranism. Lutheranism appeals to divine mystery to explain how a truly justified person can apostatise finally. Rome appeals to lack of perseverance. Nuanced, but different nonetheless. Sure, ultimately in the mind of the Reformed, it amounts to the same thing. But the same goes for the Reformed who cannot tell who is the elect, unless he looks at works and other so-called evidences which even the hypocrite possesses. Or how can one knows that he is elect. So, he has to go through a series of syllogisms to arrive at the proper conclusion. It turns to Gospel into Law. Since Christ died only for the elect, belief or trust is a duty to be performed by all.

The Dude said...

AS,
"The Law is not for righteous man, but for the sinner."
"he serves the neighbour according to both Law and Gospel."

A little confused here - do you accept the 3rd use as expounded in the confessions? You seemed to imply above you did. I ask because I'm not sure you agree with the following statements?

Augsburg Apology:
"We, therefore, profess that it is necessary that the Law be begun in us, and that it be observed continually more and more."

"Therefore [Christ] reminds us that, if good fruits do not follow, the repentance is hypocritical and feigned. The other reason is, because we have need of external signs of so great a promise, because a conscience full of fear has need of manifold consolation. As, therefore, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs that continually admonish, cheer, and encourage desponding minds to believe the more firmly that their sins are forgiven, so the same promise is written and portrayed in good works, in order that these works may admonish us to believe the more firmly."

Concord on 3rd use:
"We unanimously believe, teach, and confess that although the truly believing and truly converted to God and justified Christians are liberated and made free from the curse of the Law, yet they should daily exercise themselves in the Law of the Lord, as it is written, Ps. 1, 2; 119, 1: Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. For the Law is a mirror in which the will of God, and what pleases Him, are exactly portrayed, and which should [therefore] be constantly held up to the believers and be diligently urged upon them without ceasing."

"Thereafter the Holy Ghost employs the Law so as to teach the regenerate from it, and to point out and show them in the Ten Commandments what is the [good and] acceptable will of God, Rom. 12, 2, in what good works God hath before ordained that they should walk"

"So, too, this doctrine of the Law is needful for believers, in order that they may not hit upon a holiness and devotion of their own"

"Accordingly, we reject and condemn as an error pernicious and detrimental to Christian discipline, as also to true godliness, the teaching that the Law, in the above-mentioned way and degree, should not be urged upon Christians and the true believers, but only upon the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent."

Luther's exposition of the 10 Commandments:
"Only occupy yourself with them [the commandments], and try your best, apply all power and ability, and you will find so much to do that you will neither seek nor esteem any other work or holiness."

"[We should] have our eyes constantly fixed upon them, and have them always in our memory, and that we might practise them in all our actions and ways, and every one make them his daily exercise in all cases, in every business and transaction, as though they were written in every place wherever he would look, yea, wherever he walks or stands"

Of course, Concord refers to the controversy even then between pro/non-3rd use views so it's not surprising to see some Lutherans still disagreeing with it, and I'm not sure you actually do, but if someone claims to be confessional, I would think they would not be against 3rd use then.

On your other post, I agree completely with you on the Reformed view.

"Justification is monergistic in Lutheranism; it is ultimately synergistic in Rome where increase of grace and holiness depends on cooperation. No such thing exists in Lutheranism. Lutheranism appeals to divine mystery to explain how a truly justified person can apostatise finally. Rome appeals to lack of perseverance. Nuanced, but different nonetheless"

Right. It just seems that in Lutheranism one "cooperates" in mortal sin/apostasy by their rejection of grace, although they don't do so in justification (and apparently sanctification as well, though again if one fails to cooperate with grace in sanctification to such a degree as to fall, seems to become essentially synergistic), but I can appreciate the appeal to divine mystery; it's a complicated issue. But I am still curious, if one falls away, and then are restored/repent, have they then been "re-justified"?

Of course Rome also says the ability to "cooperate" in justification/salvation is itself a gift of grace. Nonsense to some perhaps, but they also appeal to divine mystery to reconcile sovereignty and responsibility and indeed allow a certain form of unconditional election (intrinsic efficacious grace) through Thomism's framework. And "lack of perseverance" can also be attributed to grace, as Rome (and Augustine) say that gift is itself a special grace. But I don't want to sidetrack this too much into election/predestination and such - just making the observation that when one introduces mortal sin/justified falling away, the hard distinctions between Rome/EO and monergism/synergism on the issue become somewhat less defined as compared to a system like Calvinism (which has its own problems as you've mentioned).

Augustinian Successor said...

"...little confused here - do you accept the 3rd use as expounded in the confessions? You seemed to imply above you did. I ask because I'm not sure you agree with the following statements?"

Dude, I do not subscribe to mainstream confessional Lutheranism.


As for Luther, you have to understand that not accommodating the 3rd use does not mean that there is other use other than the theological use. Let me repeat ... the Law is not made for the righteous but the unrighteous. The 10 Commandments still apply to the Christian because as Luther says, the whole man is both saint and sinner.

"..just seems that in Lutheranism one "cooperates" in mortal sin/apostasy by their rejection of grace, although they don't do so in justification (and apparently sanctification as well, though again if one fails to cooperate with grace in sanctification to such a degree as to fall, seems to become essentially synergistic), but I can appreciate the appeal to divine mystery; it's a complicated issue. But I am still curious, if one falls away, and then are restored/repent, have they then been "re-justified"?"

One does not "cooperate", Dude. One can commit mortal sin and hence lose the gift of faith for a while, and be restored. All by the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit. If one is not an elect, then no restoration happens and apostasy is final.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Of course Rome also says the ability to "cooperate" in justification/salvation is itself a gift of grace. Nonsense to some perhaps, but they also appeal to divine mystery to reconcile sovereignty and responsibility and indeed allow a certain form of unconditional election (intrinsic efficacious grace) through Thomism's framework. And "lack of perseverance" can also be attributed to grace, as Rome (and Augustine) say that gift is itself a special grace. But I don't want to sidetrack this too much into election/predestination and such - just making the observation that when one introduces mortal sin/justified falling away, the hard distinctions between Rome/EO and monergism/synergism on the issue become somewhat less defined as compared to a system like Calvinism (which has its own problems as you've mentioned)."

Rome does not appeal to divine mystery to account for the compatibility between predestination and responsibility. They only appeal to divine mystery to explain why some are predestined to glory and some are not. There is a difference. Anyhow, this type of discussion is barely relevant these days to Rome. Mainstream Rome ignore predestination and emphasise "free will".

You do not agree with the venial/mortal sin distinction. That's fine. But this does not make Lutheranism synergistic anymore than its sacramental theology makes Lutheranism Roman.