Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Faith fallacies of mega proportions

Faith always gets denigrated now a days. Either you hear how it is cr*p, or if not that, you hear it misrepresented and maligned. Sometimes when I hear people speak about it, I get the impression they hate it. Yeah, they hate something Jesus marveled at and commended in people's lives.

I often hear the following fallacies on saving faith:

1.) In order to believe in something, that something must already have occurred else faith has nothing to cling to.

Have you heard of this reasoning? I hear this all the time. This is a rationalistic view of how faith is depicted in the Bible and it is so erroneous. In the Bible, such as the case of Abraham, people believed in what God says not because God has already brought it about but because of who God is, the only person worthy of our trust. Biblical proof of this in Hebrews 11 where men of faith looked at the promises of God that went beyond their time with respect to fruition.

For example, if I say to you, I shall meet you tomorrow at such a time and place, has that event - that is me, being there, already occurred in order for you to believe or turn up? No. I tell you, the basis of your belief in me is based on what kind of character I am. The basis of you believing my words is backed up by my reputation of being reliable. Now transfer that idea to God.

Abraham, believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Abraham believed in many future promises that God gave to him. There is something non-trivial about this phenomenon of believing God, that is why when one does believe, it is always a miracle - a work of God. For faith in God's promises is not something you can easily come by.

2. Another fallacy is - well, do you believe ENOUGH?
This is a red herring. It is like asking your maths teacher to tell you the four sides of a circle. How much faith do I have to believe that Jesus died for me? Can I believe more and enough that Jesus died for my sins? This question which is asked, by surprise, surprise - fellow Christians, denies what Jesus taught about faith as big as the mustard seed. The question only arises if there is a doubt that Jesus did not die for you but the Bible says he did so how much do you have to believe this? This question is not even valid to ask. For the question is not about believing enough, the question is - did he or did he not die for you? The answer has only two possibilities, yes or no.

I am finding it hard to be nice with such people who throw these fallacies around.

Guess who falls for this fallacy? They are people like me who came from Evangelia or Charismania. Having been burnt to dust by the preaching of the Law they throw the baby with the bath water and hang on to the words of Walther and Pieper rather than the words of Scripture and the Confessions. They become another pawn of the cult called repeat-after-me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Verb

New words are coming up ... here is one found at Luther Rocks, who has been rocking the boat lately. Go to Joe's blog here. Then at Dr. Ichabod's too found here. The word is about the art of deleting comments which was demonstrated by a commenter here at Extra Nos a few months ago.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

JBFA in Luther's Rose

I was in my son's church the other day and I took a tract produced by my synod that explain's Luther's rose. The tract was the explanation of Luther about his seal.

I was amazed at the words of Luther (note for Lutherans: that means how un-UOJ the words are). My admiration for his Biblicism and dogged understanding of justification rose another level. To use Wesley's words - it strangely warms my heart.

Here are the words which he penned and addressed to Lazarus Spengler:

Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. "For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Rom. 10:10[2]). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17[3]) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27[4]). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matt. 28:3[5]; John 20:12[6]). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.This is my compendium theologiae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen. [7][1]

Dr. Luther, I do appreciate it my friend, the emphasis are mine.