Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bored Again (synodic?) Lutherans?

Earlier in my blogging career, I used to read the blog of a young Lutheran guy who has been blogging longer than I can remember. I have not wondered off to his blog for many many years so I got curious, I went and visited. He seemed to be tired of the same old same old type of preaching he hears from pastors of his denomination. He was asked, if he leaves Lutheranism, what tradition would he consider? He said

If I leave Lutheranism, I will probably stop going to church entirely.

I am just thinking, well, if the pastor believes the Gospel should predominate, like Walther did, then I am ok, you are ok, so what is the problem? Nothing. So, life becomes boring.

The BoC says the Law and the Gospel should be preached equally, I read that as saying neither one should predominate.

I am typical Walther critic so here I go....

Preaching the Law I believe is the problem. There are those who preach it with the idea that you can do it. That is a problem.

Then there are those that, well, do not preach it all, following Walther's theorem, the Gospel should predominate. This theorem believes that the man in the street is already taken in by the Law. This theorem believes that man admits already that he is a sinner. This presupposition is not correct.

This is not true. The man down the street, does not believe he is a sinner. This is one of the blunders of Walther. In fact, according to Romans 1, people deny or suppress this truth.

I read once Luther even said, he needed to go to the Scriptures to make him believe he is a sinner.

After leaving Pentecostalism, I joked of Andre Crouch's song Christ is the Answer, famous in Pentecostal circle. Well, I said with the others, if Jesus is the answer, so what is the problem?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

To my USA readers, thank you for your continuing visit to this blog.

I appreciate your coming and reading the posts and the comments.

God bless you as you celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

My wife and I treated ourselves last night for a good turkey dinner. We wanted to join family members in the US in counting the blessings God has done. It is important not to lose track of them for if we do, we will fail to see God's hand in our lives.

My daughter-in-law is from Florida, USA and we will have another get together in their home tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gross: Kilcrease calls Leyser and Hutter heretics

I do not wish to distract readers from the previous post so please click here while I deal with the sweeping statements below.

At the Intripid Lutherans' post on Some Musings on the Article of Election, I quoted Polycarp Leyser to the post of Pr. Paul Rydecki. He then asked for more details on the quote. I have since answered his query but before that Jack Kilcrease had this comment directed to me...

The quotation is part of the reaction against the doctrine of particular election that occurred at the University of Wittenberg 20 years or so after the Formula of Concord. This is when Leyser and Leonard Hutter invented the inuitu fidei heresy. Bear in mind that many of these folks were students of the students of Melanchthon, and essentially revived a version of the Philippist heresy of synergism. The Formula of Concord upholds the orthodox Lutheran understanding of the divine election taught by Luther in "The Bondage of the Will." For a good summary of the history of the controversy over election in early Lutheranism, see the following:


Now, LPC will likely say something about "psychological Calvinism." My question (which I guessing he will probably ignore it based on his general rhetorical style), is this: 1. How is it that you can reject particular election when it is taught by Luther and the Formula of Concord? This is not a matter of debate, but well attested by all modern scholarship on this subject. 2. How can you reject particular election by God's eternal decree when it is explicitly taught by the Bible (Romans 8, Ephesian 1, etc.)? 3. If salvation does not occur by particular election, does it not follow that we are ourselves partially the cause of our salvation either by the preservation of our faith or by our cooperation with grace? Does this not then abrogate solas christus, sola fidei, and sola gratia?
Here is my reply:


Firstly, I admire your boldness and I am amazed that you accused Polycarp Leyser, a person who was one of those who drafted the Formula of Concord, and Leonhard Hutter, a person known as Luterus Revivivus (Luther reborn) as heretics! I have searched the Internet for any suggestion of this but all I came up with were high praises for these old orthodox Lutherans. But, where did you get the idea that they were heretics? Where else but through the work of a Missouri professor himself? That is just so obvious. If I were you I would have cited an author who had no dog in this debate.

I am amazed as to how far Missouri-ambigo-psycho- Calvino-quasi-Universalists would go to malign those who disagree with Walther's teachings.

You must believe that Stellhorn ,who quotes them in Errors of Missouri, must be a complete idiot to cite reputable heretics to aid his arguments against the Election doctrine of Missouri, no?

Jack, I do answer questions of people that can be taken seriously. In answering you, I do not imply you are such a person but I am extending kindness. For for by the first part of the comment above, I have every reason not to take you seriously once again. So I am being kind.

You asked...
1. How is it that you can reject particular election when it is taught by Luther and the Formula of Concord? This is not a matter of debate, but well attested by all modern scholarship on this subject

This is a straw man, I never said I reject particular election en toto or per se. What I do refuse to do is to talk about election without regard to items 1-8 of FC, Solid Declaration, XI, paragraphs 15-22 as suggested by the BOC paragraph 24. The BoC says that each of items 1-8 is an ordination of God, or decreed by God. The problem is that you are operating in a non-Lutheran paradigm in thinking that when faith is mentioned anywhere, it means faith must have been a work of man. That is why you have this straw man. I quoted Leyser to Rydecki and you jumped the gun. I quoted Leyser to blunt the possible sharpness on thoughts about particularism.

2. How can you reject particular election by God's eternal decree when it is explicitly taught by the Bible (Romans 8, Ephesian 1, etc.)?

This question is so Calvinistic, and reminds me of my former self.

I believe the BoC teaches single predestination and so does the Scripture. However, I have no evidence it is teaching single unconditional election. In fact there is strong evidence the Scripture teaches single conditional election as does the BOC. Proof: Scripture says, those who believe in Christ are saved, those who disbelieve in Christ are damned. The BOC does not want you to speak of predestination with out the other ordination of God, items 1-8 as stated in FC, SD, XI.

I say this because single unconditional election amounts to double predestination, it logically follows. Further, it logically follows that one can never be lost. Yet the Smalcald Articles teach that one's faith may be lost. If single unconditional election where true, then it is unthinkable that one's faith can ever be destroyed, yet the BoC warns of this. Further, the BoC teaches that the Holy Spirit's work in the means of grace can be rejected, but then one must accept therefore irresistible grace, the I in TULIP if one talks about unconditional election without regard.

3. If salvation does not occur by particular election, does it not follow that we are ourselves partially the cause of our salvation either by the preservation of our faith or by our cooperation with grace?

Not true, this presumes the fallacy of false dilemma. When Jesus says to Jairus - be not afraid only believe, was he then teaching Jairus that he can believe on his own? This is absurd since the Bible teaches faith is a gift of God lest anyone should boast. The problem is that you are following the straw man of Walther who taught that when faith is demanded, and when faith is mentioned, that must mean a thing controlled by man. The Bible calls my faith in Christ as being authored by Christ, so why should I fall under your paradigm and call my faith my own doing? Are you not a Lutheran? Well Lutherans do not believe that faith is the work of man, but is produced by the HS through the means of grace, so by your question, you already fell under the straw man of the Reformed.

Does this not then abrogate solas christus, sola fidei, and sola gratia?

No, it affirms it the right way.

The term In Tuitu Fidei, does not mean in view of faith itself. Stellhorn says this was coined by Hunnius, but it was a short hand phrase for this - in view of the merits of Christ embraced and held fast in the end by faith. They did not mean naked faith as your straw man generators make of it.

Hutter, the man you say was a heretic, but was considered Luther Reborn known for his orthodoxy, was very sensible and very simple in his logic. I will summarise his argument for you.

Do you believe you are justified through faith? If so, then you should believe that you are elected through faith too! Why? It is because there is no justification with out faith. Since, there is no justification with out faith, there is no election/predestination with out faith too, for the two are correlative to each other. You can not have justification with out the other, election. For what is election without justification? That is meaningless. If one is through faith, the other is through faith too. Hutter was being ultra reasonable in his logic. Romans 8:28-30 says that.

Oops, my mistake, you describe yourself as UOJer par excellance. You do not believe in JBFA, like the heretics you called such as Leyser and Hutter, rather you believe in justification without faith, my bad.

At any rate this is what Hutter says about Calvinising Lutherans like you and your idol Walther. That is safe to say right? You have not found anything about Walther to question right? I quote from Stellhorn...emphasis mine....

It is a horrible blindness or instability of mind that will not recognize the same condition and relation of faith in the article of election, especially as it is established that faith, is not to be considered the source or foundation of election or of justification, but only the organ apprehending that true and only fountain of election and justification, God's gratuitous grace prepared for us in Christ

Lastly, may I have a question? You should also be able to affirm this summary statement below, right? I expect you should agree, but I do not wish to misrepresent your position so I want to hear it from you verbatim, you would agree with the statement below, correct?

Before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, God chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why ex-Calvinists fall for Walther

One will notice that ex-Calvinists becoming Lutheran get attracted to C. F. W. Walther.

Why is that the case?

Because most ex-Calvinists becoming Lutherans had the sad experience of being burnt by Calvinists teachings. You can read about their testimonies in the Internet. However, in their excitement to hurriedly know Lutheranism, rather than scrutinising the Book of Concord and going through the Scriptures evaluating if the Confession complies with Scripture, they are coached instead to read C F Dubya's works. The light starts to burn specially bright when they get to read how C F Dubya hated Calvinism.

Calvinism is not just confined to TULIP, but it is a whole world view, a paradigm, a spirit of doing theology. It is no mystery but it is well documented in history books that Lutherans have had issues with Calvinists as well as Zwinglians alike.

Where I came from, we have a funny saying, it is not the cops who hate thieves, but fellow thieves themselves.

Of course, when Lutherans read of Walther's critique of Calvinism, the Lutheran hears him singing their refrain. Walther did not like Calvinism, but his paradigm in collapsing atonement with justification and in his belief in unconditional election, makes him a psychological Calvinist himself. What is a psychological Calvinist? It is someone who operates in Calvinistic paradigm without realising or being conscious of it.

Unfortunately, only a few well educated and astute American Lutherans can see and recognise this in Walther. Those that protests and who point this out are ganged up, bullied and hurriedly shut up.

My sincere advice for former Calvinists or anyone from another denomination studying Lutheran theology, do not go to the works of the Lutheran Fathers first, rather go to the Book of Concord. Read it with your Bible open, read it critically and match what it says with Scripture because if you don't you will be floating in the air, still a Christian, but without a confession.