Thursday, November 20, 2008

What the editor of the BoC wrote...

They say that when bank tellers are being taught to spot fake notes, they are made to spend more time analyzing the properties of the real ones. They get so familiar with the real thing that spotting irregularities in a bill becomes second nature.

Anyway as a Christian in the Reformation movement, I believe it is of prime importance that I be familiar first with the Scripture, the confession I profess (BoC), and some classic works that expound on that confession. For lack of time, I have a thin knowledge of Augustine or any well known Fathers.

I should think it would certainly be an embarassment if I were more familiar with the I-Ching rather than Scripture and the BoC. I am not a Lutheran pastor but I should think it is certainly unbecoming for a Lutheran pastor to be unfamiliar with Scripture, the BoC, and some of its classic expounders.

On the subject of the BoC purposely misleading its readers regarding the Fathers or things like that, I wish to give an excerpt from Martin Chemnitz, one of the editors of the BoC on what he said about them and the subject of justificare...

From The Examination of Council of Trent I (Section I, Article I, 4c, p. 468), this is what Chemnitz says and you be the judge...

For although the fathers mostly take the word "justify" for the renewal, by which the works of righteousness are wrought in us through the Spirit, we do not start a quarrel with them where they according to Scripture rightly and appropriately teach the doctrine how and when a person is reconciled to God, receives the remission of sins and the adoption, and is accepted to life eternal. This difference in meanings has often been shown by our teachers, and also how the former meaning can be rightly, piously, and skillfully understood and admitterd according to the analogy of faith and the perpetual sense of the Scripture if it is accepted with the fathers according to the manner of the Latin composition. However, the papalists habe not been placated at all. For the dissension and strife in the article of justification is not only about words but chiefly about the matters themselves.

Now does this sound like someone wanting to mis-represent the Fathers to its readers? Is this not a reasonable admission where they agreed and where they differed?

More on Article II, p.469, 1.

We, indeed, also teach that newness of life is begun in the believers through the Holy Spirit; but we say that we are not by that newness justified before God, that is, that our newness is not that on account of which we are received into grace and receive the remission of sins, and that it is not that on which faith should rest when it delas with God that we may be adopted as sons and received to eternal life. Therefore the Tridentine decrees on justification are patched together out of very manifold deceptions, as we have hitherto shown.

To suggest that the BoC writers were purposeful liars is to suggest that they were brainless scholars i.e. stupid thick idiots who believed they could hoodwink the world.


Dan Woodring said...


You know it doesn't take that much time to become familiar with Augustine or other Fathers on the doctrine of justification. If your knowledge of Augustine is "thin" (by your own admission), on what basis are you in any position to evaluate whether or not Chemnitz claims are accurate and truthful, namely, that while th Fathers use the term "Iustificare" in a difference sense than the Lutherans, they are in agreement with the Lutherans in regard to the "things" themselves.

L P Cruz said...


The BoC editors like Chemnitz would be liars if they have no admission as to where they differed.

Also it is underestimating that they are reckless and do not know the Fathers.

I give them the benefit of the doubt that they wanted genuine reform. The RCC even today recognize in practice that reform is needed, is it not?

Second, it is incumbent upon me to test what they claim is sound in regards to handling the Scriptural text.

It seems to me Dan, Augustine is your infallible interpreter of Scripture.

The Orthodox and the Lutheran have no qualms considering Augustine to be in error in some ideas he developed. In fact I recall, did he not have 'Retractions' at the last stage of his life?

As I said, in the last day it is not Augustine's words that I will come under nor the words of Luther, they would be the words of Scripture.


Dan Woodring said...


I don't think Augustine was infallible. My, how you love to jump to unfounded conclusions!

Our conversation is about the Lutheran use of St. Augustine, specifically in the BOC.

Augustine is quoted, by far, more than any Church father in the BOC, and always approvingly. More than this, Luther said in his preface to Theologia Germanica (1518) that "no other book (speaking of Theologia Germanica) except the Bible and St. Augustine has come to my attention from which I have learned more about God, Christ, man and all things." Since Luther held it second only to the Bible, I would think you would desire to have more than a "thin" knowledge of him.

You said "The BoC editors like Chemnitz would be liars if they have no admission as to where they differed." Truly so.

And yet this "admission" appears nowhere in the BOC. Rather, Augustine is always quoted in favor of their position, which no indication whatsover, that he differed at all.

"The BoC editors like Chemnitz would be liars if they have no admission as to where they differed."

But isn't also true that such an admission ought to be completely forthright about where they differed on the topics under discussion?

The Chemnitz quotation only says that they differ on the meaning of the term "justify." But then goes on to say "the dissension and strife in the article of justification is not only about words but chiefly about the matters themselves."

Now on those "matters themselves" was Augustine in agreement with the Lutheran position? On works being meritorious? On the nature of concupiscense in the converted? On justification by faith alone? On the nature of justification as imputed and/or imparted righteousness? On purgatory?

On all these issues, Augustine disagreed with the Lutheran position, and this may be recognized through even the most casual reading of Augustine.

But where is this admission? Not only is it lacking. The very opposite is maintained. In the very work you cited, Chemnitz, while pointing out that the fathers (in his opinion) are not always consistent, nonetheless claims "They [the fathers] approve this our understanding (of justification)" (p. 505) and "our teaching concerning justification has the testimony of all pious men of all times." (p. 512)

L P Cruz said...


I said it "seems to me", I am not jumping I am in a way asking if Augustine was your infallible interpreter of Scripture.

What appears to me could be wrong so it is your chance to correct me.

You are faulting BoC Lutherans for not agreeing with him in places where they should, so what conclusion can be drawn except you appearing to be inconsistent. You are holding the BoC to be of sub-par contra Augustine, and yet telling us he is fallible.

If you admit that Augustine was not infallible in his handling of Scripture -- so what is the fuss?

Since Luther held it second only to the Bible, I would think you would desire to have more than a "thin" knowledge of him.

Dan, we subscribe to the BoC but we do not subsribe to Luthers' Works or to any Luther quote.

In order to prove the BoC lied - you have to provide a quote where they said something the Fathers said but the Fathers did not say such a thing. I asked where they mis-represented Augustine in the BoC and the best evidence you could muster was the quote from AP III, p.286 which I dealt with here....

Now, I have question - Dan, do you believe that Augustine does not confess Jesus to be the propitiator and justifier? I ask because that is what that quote you provided was trying to elaborate as to what it means to confess Jesus as propitiator/justifier.

As far as I know, based on your comments, you were still working on the concrete evidence.

What Chemnitz was saying was that if the Fathers were here, they would not (in his belief) object to the BoC's formulation of justification.

The answer to that question is an open question. Why? Because they are not here anymore.

Lutheran and RCC apologists can be anachronistic, the Fathers are not here to answer questions or to cast a vote for or against BoC's JBFA etc.

I believe Alistair McGrath's Iustitia Dei covers the Church's historical teaching on justification, that there is a tradition in the Church that held to JBFA and at Trent, the RCC anathematized one section of that tradition.