Monday, May 10, 2010

Some tips on Scholarship I

I may not be an ordained minister today, but I was before. Also, I had university training, a so called graduate degree in Religious Studies where I studied the original Biblical languages - both classical and Koine NT Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Early Judaism. For my Ancient Greek training, I am proud to say I studied under this professor here.

Below are a few things I learned from my studying, not in seminary, but in a university:

  1. You must never plagiarize, instead give credits for your quotes.
  2. You must go to the source documents, eliminate hearsay.
  3. You must listen/read your critics or those that have views contrary to yours.
  4. You must practice critical thinking.
  5. You must spot logical fallacies in yourself so as to correct them, and spot fallacies in others so as not to be lured by them.
This is just a nutshell list. If you have some suggestions to add let me know.

It is my hope that the readers find the above points something they can use in evaluating the merits of the arguments found in the posts and comments in this blog.


Gregory L. Jackson said...

Walther - The closer to Luther, the better the theologian. Ludwig Fuerbringer also favored constant Luther studies. When a 1987 Mequon WELS graduate saw my library, he said, "It's so Lutheran! Mine is full of Reformed books that we had to get for seminary." Case closed.

L P said...

Pr. Greg,

It is pathetic the Lutheran has to learn from the Reformed.

What makes me curious is that if they did read the Reformed, how come they cannot distinguish it from Lutheran?


Gregory L. Jackson said...

At Mequon, Gerlach, Wendland, Valleskey, and Mueller bewitched the students into thinking they could "separate the wheat from the chaff" because they were so "well trained." They made sure Paul Kelm played a prominent role as their outside, cool expert (ditto MLC and Kelm). Huebner and Olson added to the toxic overload, so the students lost their discernment. There was a definite shift each year toward Reformed apostasy. Now it is wide open, as anyone can see from the fruit of the sem: Ski, Glende, Doebler, Gunn, Hunter. To say otherwise is to admit that Holy Mother WELS is fallible. That is impossible. The Holy Spirit would never let WELS err, as the papists also say about their pope.

L P said...

I just thought of an answer to my question.

Ahh, they studied Reformed books but they never bothered with the BoC or the Lutheran writers.

Hence, they cannot detect when Calvin is coming their way, they got no standard to compare.


Brett Meyer said...

They do not have the Holy Spirit's faith by which a man is born again, through which the Holy Spirit leads a man into all Truth. Man's wisdom becomes the most aluring siren song they can hear. Not being of Christ's sheep they do not hear His voice in the faithful writings of Luther but they hear their father's voice in the Reformed theology and methods. It's to my point concerning Brigitte's statements about a person's faith. The faith of the Reformed is not the faith of Christ, which is that Righteousness from God that clings alone to the Atonement of Christ. UOJ is the great falling away and literal acting out of Galations 1. They persecute Justification by Faith alone and protect and defend justification without faith at the expense of the doctrine of Election, Christ's Righteousness, Holy Communion, Baptism, Christ's nature etc. Anyone doing so is not of Christ's sheep. That's why I won't excuse August Pieper when he states, 'You stab the Gospel in the heart...if you ever so much emphasize Justification by Faith.'

And you see how allergic the UOJist's are to the Law. "How dare you say (God's Law)!!!

By the grace of God, forever in Christ,
Brett Meyer

LutherRocks said...

I'm not saying you are right...but if you are saying then that there are no longer any Confessional Lutheran Church Bodies. So what are some solutions? All I seem to hear from your group is a lot of complaining, condescension, polemics and damning people to hell. What are you going to do about it?


Brett Meyer said...

Joe, yes, I'm saying there are no Lutheran Synods which teach as their official doctrine the true Gospel of Scripture and as is confirmed in the Lutheran Confessions.

Solution #1. Continue to teach, promote and defend the Pure Word in all it's parts which include the central doctrine of Christian faith Justification by Faith Alone. And in the form of the BOC also point out the false doctrines being taught opposed to, and along side of, the Pure Word for the benefit of the Church visible and invisible.

Solution #2. Refer to #1 as there is not other solution.

It is somewhat humorous that you don't hear the incessant promotion of Christ's pure Word and only complaining, condescension, polemics and the Law.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

L P said...

Dear Joe,

So what are some solutions? All I seem to hear from your group is a lot of
complaining, condescension, polemics and damning people to hell. What are you
going to do about it?

The posts we are making here is that attempt and I thank you for visiting.

Technically though UOJ is an American issue, where I am, pastors look up there
for leadership and inspiration. Fortunately, my synod has no official statement
on this, hence, there is some space for honest discussion. I was just speaking
to one pastor here about this last week.

However, as I visit other congregations too, some type of UOJ language some
times come out of the pulpit. It is because they used Pieper's book and
Walther's book as text book in the seminary here.

The way forward is to continue to set forth the Word of Life to others. Then
also to set forth that though good men may be good at best, they are just men,
Walther and Pieper are no exceptions.

Yet what do we get from UOJers when evidence is presented, do they not indulge
in name calling and ad hominem attacks? Rather than looking at the evidence,
they allow their flesh to take over making the discussion about people's
personal state of mind, circumstance and so forth. This behavior is what cults
and fanatics do. They believe their leaders can never be wrong.

I myself in my first years as a Lutheran read UOJ material and I thought it was
about Atonement until I studied deeper the issues. I even wrote some early posts
here which adopted that type of language. If I did not listen to the critics, I
would have not IMHO get a better understanding of the Means of Grace and
understand how God is gracious to give us guarantees as to how we may be related
to him.


L P said...


Let me quickly share what internally led me to question and finally deny UOJ
understanding of the Gospel.

I came from a logic and mathematics background. When it comes to categories and
concepts, one of its rules is TO NOT assume categories of concepts to be the
same, UNLESS you have evidence that they are synonymous. The onus is on the one
who says they are equal. Simply put, the rule for identities. In algebra, I drop
variables x and y in the conversation, can you deduce x = y? You can't unless
there are statements that lead there. So the safe rule is to assume they are not
the same.

Now apply that rule to Atonement and Justification.

You cannot prove from the Bible that the two are the same. To do so you will
have to do philosophizing, coercion of meaning, reductionism of words etc. The
verses given by say Pieper to support such equation after careful exegesis and
respect of context yields bad results and peculiar results. The Maier paper
already has shown this defect of Pieper.

Unless the UOJers turn up Scripture that solidly equates the two

Brett said this...
The faith of the Reformed is not the faith of Christ, which is that
Righteousness from God that clings alone to the Atonement of Christ

Consider the one highlighted in bold.

According to the BoC, that faith IS justification. However in UOJ, JBFA is
believing that you are already justified and if you do so you are. On the other
hand UOJ also says deny that you are already justified and so you won't be. What
you believe is what you have. Can you see how terrible this is?

Also this is not faith, this is presumption. You presume on something which is
not the way it is. Psalm 19:13.

This is where UOJ I believe misunderstands the BoC teaching on JBFA.

Lastly, I have not yet called UOJers false teachers, like Rev.McCain. I have not
called him a wolf in clerical collar, neither have I called him a spiritual
politician. Yet I have been named as a false teacher.

That is the reason why I give Brett and Pr. Greg some slack in their language,
it is because they have been persecuted earlier than me. They have suffered more
than I have, I am a new comer into this debate. I have seen some parts of their
history at Luther Quest, I saw the type of bullying Brett received there. And
yes, I judge what they did there as a type of bullying.

Who knows I might be getting fed up and hard up too by UOJ persecution, name
calling and black propaganda. I am just as capable of lashing out too.

I pray God constrains me and give me some more patience as frankly it is
getting thin.

I do appeal to you since you are I understand ministerially trained to use your
training and out the decks on the table and revisit the issues.


LutherRocks said...


Thanks for your patience. You seem pretty up and up. However, I am a layman. I have a brother who is a WELS pastor and I talked at length about this with him recently. He is without a call at present since his call as a missionary to Thailand was eliminated with the cutbacks...I digress.

Right now I see both sides of the argument. There are those with childlike faiths who will never encounter the deep behind the scene doctrinal issues/discussions and I miss those days in my own faith. I guess this is part of leadership as I have held positions in WELS churches for going on 20 years now. I never even heard of UOJ until I stumbled over Ichabod a year and a half ago. I would love to discuss the whys and wherefores of why I ended up on Ichabod for awhile; why I took my blogs down; but in the spirit of Luther I will put the best construction on it. As much as I hate to admit it, Jackson is right on some things as are a few others.

Blessed are those who are saved and will never deal with this.


L P said...


Well at least you are in the middle and that is something to work on.

I quote to you my favorite verse.Phil 3:9

9and be found in him, not having(A) a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but(B) that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.

I believe the child like faith is mentioned in BoC. AC IV. 1] Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for 2] Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. 3] This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight.

Incidentally, the US Synodical fathers were trying to do better than the BoC in saying that if justification is not there in the first place, what is there to believe? This is a fallacy a non-siquitur. Note the above please meditate on the two I quoted. I bolded them for you.

I am digressing as well.

PS. btw I am a trumpet player too but surely not as good as you. I have not been practicing for some years now.

Brett Meyer said...

LPC, I appreciate the consideration you provided when you said, "That is the reason why I give Brett and Pr. Greg some slack in their language,
it is because they have been persecuted earlier than me." and "...lashing out too."

To explain my language I would say that I stand by everything I write and I take great pains in writing precisely. It isn't a matter of lashing out but an application of the Law. Consider my approach, my language and statements, when I first started talking about UOJ with you over a year ago, and with others since that time. I did not see a history of persecuting Christ from you. I didn't see or read any contempt for Christ and His doctrine of justification or the Lutheran Confessions. You also responded to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions with open and respectful discussion by the grace of God.

When talking about doctrine we use both catagories of Scripture - Law and Gospel. When an individual consistently rejects clear Scripture in regards to the central doctrine, by which a pure confession makes one a Christian and an impure confession leaves them condemned by God, in preference to human reason and wisdom it is acceptable to apply the Law and not only show them their sin but also explain the consequences.

What help or true concern is there if a person who has separated themselves from the Gospel is kept in the dark about the consequences? When we teach the Gospel we say "this applies to you!" Likewise when we teach the Law it must also be, "this applies to you!" A rabid response is natural in this situation from one who feels the Law. A response of comfort and joy from those who through faith of the Holy Spirit receive the Gospel.

Since it is God's Word alone which the Holy Spirit works through both in Law and Gospel I suggest continued liberal use of both. It should be expected that there will be those that are offended by this.

L P said...


I need to correct the impression when I said lashing out too. Sorry if you think I was describing you or Pr. Greg.

It was not a reference to you nor to Pr. Greg.

Rather I as referencing to UOJers who lash out on people who express skepticism about their UOJ position. They lash out and immediately brand anti-UOJers as false teachers consigned to hell.

In fact I see the hardening more from them. The sad part is that it becomes a matter of pride since they already have taken the high ground without further study.

They are simply fanatics of Walther and Pieper and if you criticize these fathers, they take it personally.

This is similar to my experience when I was a Pentecostal. Pentecostals are clobbered to submission that they are not to criticize their pastors because they are God's anointed. And one does not touch God's anointed. They point you to Psalm 105:15

I have seen such abusive behavior before.

It should be expected that there will be those that are offended by this.

I agree so be it. It cannot be helped.

I have just encountered one who whatever evidence you place before is already biased.

Unfortunately one is not changed by the facts. Here Pr. Greg is so correct.


Gregory L. Jackson said...

LP, I never thought you meant me. Anyway, one advantage of polemical writing is the clarification of the issues. Those who want a fake unity based on overlooking key differences will bridle at the first sign of polemics.

I noticed the spiritual tyranny of the MDivs when two Americans took time from their domestic meddling to tell you to watch out for, ahem, certain people. I know this goes on all the time, so it was amusing to see it surface in public. And they wonder why the American Lutheran Church is in such bad shape. I do not wonder at all.

I look forward to your posts and comments.

M.A. Henderson said...


A couple of things:

a) It's a long, long time, like one or even two generations, since either Walther or Pieper was used as a textbook at Luther Seminary or ALC as it is presently. It's true you may hear UOJ language from the pulpit, but it must be because that pastor has done his own reading and imbibed it from the Missouri tradition or he comes from the generation that was trained under the old ELCA-LCMS theology (which means pre-1966 here). When I was a student at LS, we were not encouraged to read LC-MS theology, because it was regarded as too conservative; frankly, I'd rather read Walther and Pieper than the stuff we were told to read by our dogmatics lecturer, it was so bad.

b) The gist of your post, on doing your own reading in the primary texts, is excellent. In fact, I was preparing a similar post for my own blog, which I was going to call 'A Word on Theological Literature', to encourage people, especially laity, not to be afraid of reading the classics for themselves - and that applies from the Bible to Luther and even Calvin or Walther! [Now I'm being mischievous, aren't I?
So much secondary theological literature that one reads today is second-rate, and people are better off just going to Augustine or Luther or Aquinas or Calvin or whoever for themselves; when they do I think they find that the classics are not as intimidating as they thought, and the work expended on understanding them is rewarded in spades.

Gregory L. Jackson said...

Luther should be first on anyone's reading list, especially his sermons. Chemnitz and Chytraeus are essential because of their clarity and closeness to the Reformation. Melanchthon's Apology is another neglected theology text. After that I would suggest some Gerhard, but not at the expense of Luther and the Concordists. Augustine was perhaps the second greatest theologian next to Luther, but Calvin is unfortunately an Enthusiast and rationalist.

Brett Meyer said...

Did someone request Luther? Martin Luther’s quotes from his Commentary On Galatians which condemn the man made doctrine of Universal Objective Justification.

“In the sight of God, Abraham was a condemned sinner. That he was justified before God was not due to his own exertions, but due to his faith.” Verse 6

“The faith of the fathers in the Old Testament era, and our faith in the New Testament are one and the same faith in Christ Jesus, although times and conditions may differ.” Verse 6

“Are you surprised that reason thinks little of faith? Reason thinks it ludicrous that faith should be the foremost service any person can render unto God.” Verse 6

"The Scriptures ascribe no righteousness to Abraham except through faith." Verse 8

“Paul means to imply the contrast that all nations are accursed without faith in Christ.” Verse 9

“Paul goes on to prove from this quotation out of the Book of Deuteronomy that all men who are under the Law are under the sentence of sin, of the wrath of God, and of everlasting death.” Verse 10

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. The curse of God is like a flood that swallows everything that is not of faith. To avoid the curse we must hold on to the promise of the blessing in Christ.” Verse10

“I cannot tell you in words how criminal it is to seek righteousness before God without faith in Christ” Verse 10

“In observing the Law for the purpose of obtaining righteousness without faith in Christ these law workers go smack against the Law and against God. They deny the righteousness of God, His mercy, and His promises. They deny Christ and all His benefits.” Verse 10

“By faith Christ changes places with us. He gets our sins, we get His holiness.” Verse 13

“By faith alone can we become righteous, for faith invests us with the sinlessness of Christ.” Verse 13

L P said...

Pr. Greg,

I noticed the spiritual tyranny of the MDivs when two Americans took time from their domestic meddling to tell you to watch out for, ahem, certain people

You mean the MDivs who got trained in US seminaries?

If that is the type of graduates these seminaries produce, I would advice my worst enemy to get an education from there.

Their methodology is emotionally driven. I am not even sure if they get it when I mention the word "methodology", i.e. scholarship. I am not sure that they even have one!

They make me more skeptical about seminaries.


L P said...

Pr. Mark,

.but it must be because that pastor has done his own reading and imbibed it from the Missouri tradition or he comes from the generation that was trained under the old ELCA-LCMS theology (which means pre-1966 here)

This makes good sense. In controversies conservative pastors will look for material to support their arguments and since there is more published by the LC-MS world, naturally that is the material they will consume.


L P said...

Dear All,

re: Luther.

I cannot tell you how so impoverished Evangelicals are because of their neglect of Luther.

I am speaking from experience. If only I as an Evangelical/Charismaniac read more of Luther earlier I think I would have wasted less time in the instability in Evangelia.

My first ex-Pentecostal pastor was quite knowledgeable. He knew NT Greek and conducted live national TV debates with the RC Bishops of Manila, spanning several bouts.

He spoke of Luther. Judging from what I know of his theology and what I read of Luther, it is evident, he also did not read him though he spoke glowingly of Luther.

I have not read all of Luther but I have read commentaries of Calvin.

Between the two, Luther has far superior wisdom, he is more straight forward, much more clearer, much more pastoral than Calvin. I specially like his contributions found in the BoC.

I compare Luther to Louis Armstrong and Calvin to Dizzi Gillespie. The latter has more technique but the former has more elegance.


LutherRocks said...

LPC...First you tell me you are a trumpet player. Then you make comparisons of theologians to trumpet players...I'm really beginning to like you LOL...

I'm reading Luther's commentary on Romans. You are right in your analogy in that he communicates and connects with his audience just as the Satch did. I never cared for Dizzy much...I surmise I wouldn't care for Calvin either. ;)


L P said...


Bebop sounds voodoo to me.

I could never understand Dizzy. He makes me dizzy immensely.

While Satchmo has style, not too many techniques but boy the phrasing and syncopation! He has wow factor. Marvelous just marvelous.

As they say, don't do jazz without Satch. So don't do theology without Luther.


Gregory L. Jackson said...

Mrs. Ichabod and I heard Satchmo live. Top that, LP.

L P said...

Pr. Greg,

Mrs. Ichabod and I heard Satchmo live. Top that

That's tops!

I will never have the opportunity. I have to be content with my cds.

You blessed love birds!


Brett Meyer said...

The UOJists are pounding on the issue over at Luther Qwest. Reading through the discussion is a very good way to see exactly what UOJ declares. Note that Robert Beck - the subject of their attack holds to an error in his confession which is he confesses faith as his own personal act of his free will. Other than that he is contending against UOJ in defense of Justification by Faith alone. Here's the link:

L P said...


which is he confesses faith as his own personal act of his free will

Hmmm, it is better he gets some input on what words to use to better describe what is happening when we have faith.

Scripture says that our faith is a gift from God hence, it came from the outside.

I invited Mr. Beck to look at Dr. Ichabod's and on this blog.