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.


Dr. Jack Kilcrease said...

I am not elected on the basis of my faith- that is what you are claiming (or at least you seem to be). Otherwise God's choice of me would be reaction to my faith. My faith is an effect of God's grace which chooses me. One cannot avoid saying that election is God's eternal decree mediated through the Word and sacraments. If one does, then one has said that faith some how comes from my own reason or strength and that God is reacting to it in his election of me. The fact that God monegistically works faith in me presupposes a prior decision on the part of God. Hence Paul says that we are predestined from the very foundation of the world in Ephesians 1. Romans says that those he foreknew (purposed to save in Biblical parlance) he predestined. Then he called and justified them. Here Paul sets down a very clear ordo salutis- what theologians have referred to as the golden chain.

BTW, I could care less if people call Hutter a second Luther. I've read his brief systematic theology and he is dead wrong about election. Our faith receives God's electing judgment in the Word. God does not react to our faith and thereby judges us elect. Scripture's teaching on the subject is clear.

Finally, you never dealt to my recommendation of Bondage of the Will. This book is cited in the Formula of Concord, and beyond that Luther considered it to be the only book he wrote that was worth reading (other than the Catechisms). So, if you claim to adhere to Luther's theology and that of the Formula of Concord which approvingly cites the work, you have to deal with his claims of predestination written there.

Also, this will be my only response. Having argued with you before, no doubt you will just call me names, ignore my arguments, and repeat your self 50 times. I have little interest in entering into any more non-debates with you. The point of my post over at the other website was merely to clarify the historical record, which I believed you were distorting.

Joe Krohn said...

UOJers reflect a certain kind of brainwashing IMHO...

Thank you for succinctly professing Lutheran doctrine here, Lito.

Election is the great mystery and better left alone. Why with God is never understood this side of heaven.

Brett Meyer said...

Well and faithfully stated Lito! Let each individual judge the confessions made in this debate using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

Side note: Having read Luther's Bondage of the Will, by Jack's urging months ago, I found it to be undoubtably faithful to Justification by Faith Alone and completely opposed to General Justification (Objective Justification).

LPC said...


Yes I did call you names, the same way you called Leyser and Hutter names. This sort of method exhausts my patience and I am sorry I fell for the same bad form as UOJ Missourians engage in. I should not give in to things that make me angry.

What the Lord Jesus says is so true, the student is no greater than his teacher. Walther called those who disagreed with him as heretics too, no surprises if his fans do the same..

I consider the rapid naming of people as heretics arrogance. Such self assuring arrogance makes my patience thin.

You are entitled to your opinion about Leyser, Hutter and Hunnius etc. I would have considered it solid if there were others not coming from your camp who feel the same. Interent history that I picked up showed on the record that the people you consider heretics were considered old orthodox Lutherans specially Leyser who spawned a dynasty of theologians.

There was no mention on your numbered questions on Bondage of the Will so that was skipped.


LPC said...


I wanted to say more so I am deleting and re-editing as I was on the train when I submitted my comments.

Calvinists friends often quote Eph 1:5 and Acts 13:48. However, there are also passages that say foreknowledge is the starting point of predestination and here we have 2 strong passages that teach this, a.) Romans 8:29, then 1 Peter 1:2.

The old Lutherans IMHO were correct to account for these two important passages for if one just looks at the sovereign will of God in the other, God will look arbitrary.

Now if there is anyone on earth that is Unconditional Election par execllance, it would be a Calvinist. In fact, the U in TULIP is the glue that informs the other letters. What this means is that when you along with Calvinists, which Waltherains are doing, concede unconditional/absolute election, you are bound to accept their Irristible Grace and Limited Atonement. Now we all know Lutheran theology rejects these, but this is what one is bound to accept by necessity to be logically coherent.

IMHO, this was what people like Leyser, Hutter and Hunnius and many others saw when they were fighting against Huber. They thought of Huber as muddle headed. As a side note, Walther was like Huber and he made ambiguous pronouncements that are muddle headed too - case in point his Easter Absolution Sermon - UOJ.

Here is Baier's take on the issue, which Walther himself translated from Latin. As history shows now, he and his disciples have attacked the quoted passage below.This was from the pen of Baier (edited/translated by Walther himsel), chapter XII, point 9.

9. And because God from eternity foresaw which humans might finally believe, and so that he decides to save these, that the eternal decree about the eternal salvation being shared to the finally believing, in view of the merits of Christ and the foreseen faith in Christ, done and precisely seen it is called especially by the name of predestination or election.

Note how Baier defines in tuitu fidei, in view of the merits of Christ and the foreseen faith in Christ.

It would be interesting if Jack calls Baier also a heretic. For if he does not accord him with the title, then he is just again engaging in the usual UOJ fallacy. This time it will be called special pleading.


Dr. Jack Kilcrease said...

Though I will not offer any debating points, as I promised, I just want to clarify my position regarding one of your statements:

"It would be interesting if Jack calls Baier also a heretic."

To answer your question: Regarding predestination, yes he is a heretic. So is Quenstedt, Hollaz, and most of the rest of the scholastic Lutheran theologians. Gerhard is somewhat ambiguous on the point, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. The entire section of the Schmid compendium on predestination is a stinking dung hill of heresy regarding predestination. Heretics all (at least on that point of doctrine).

BTW, telling me that someone has credentials as orthodox does not make them orthodox. Luther made this point when he said that the gospel was the gospel even if Herod or Pilate preached it. It's the doctrine and not the person that counts.

LPC said...

Dear All,

Well there we have it. According to Kilcrease, all of these people Quenstedt, Hollaz and Baier are heretics.

I wonder who else is a heretic?

Everyone is a heretic except Jack and his idol, Walther.


You are entitled to your own biased opinion. I worry for the students that sit under your classes. You seem not to care for how they might view your scholarship.

Is it the case that Leyser, Hutter and NOW Baier, Hollaz and Quenstedt are heretics, or you just can not handle the truth, the truth that their teaching runs contrary to Walther?

The truth is that when these peoples' words are studied, they point unanimously against the position of modern LC-MS, headed in that wrong direction by Walther.

This evolution of Walther and his cult was tracked by Stellhorn and Schmidt in Erros of Missouri. Schmidt is disliked because he rightly charged Walther of Calvinism. He is a bad person because he accused Walther of Calvinism right? Walther was infallible right?

Likewise, I too do not intend to debate with you. I will leave you be. You have proven once again that I should not take your scholarship seriously, thus I have no time for such nonsense.

You think by your calling people names, branding them as heretics that would end the argument. That tactic will work for some monkeys who learn monkey see, monkey do but it does not work for sensible people, people want to see the evidence for themselves.

We are not monkeys Jack.


LPC said...


I wanted to add that if there is anyone who is a firm believer in U in Unconditional Election it would be a Calvinist, but how does this go in practice?

Notice that Calvinists hate Intuitu Fidei, they believe their own straw man that it means looking at one's bare faith and assumes faith is a man's act!

But the amazing thing in my experience being a Calvinist for 4 years is that it is precisely what they eventually do, look at the evidence of faith! They look at their good works as fruit of faith.

They agonize and go suicidal (I was like this) searching for their election in themselves. The problem with this, is that since God only elected you (and not the means to elect you as they count for nothing in the light of divine sovereignty), you wind up looking no where else but inside. Try or desire how you will, wish as you might, ask God you want to be saved yet these avails nothing; read the Word, hold on to God's promises, they count for nothing because your election had nothing to do with it, it had something only in God's decree to save or not to save you. You may call Jesus to save you but if you are not one of the elect, it falls on deft ears. If you are not one of the elect, you are the hated one and had nothing to do, it all has something to do with God.

You might have faith but your faith might be a fake faith, this is what goes on to a typical Calvinist anxious about his election. It is because God has already decided your future without regard to anything, it is all in the whim of God. The result - despair.

Now combine UOJ with Unconditional Election! You then have the perfect pair, you have Huber's universalism. It is the perfect antidote for people who fall for obsessing on election.

I wish to disclaim that this is what I have been uncovering in my studying of this topic but I put a caution on me.

I repeat the motto passed on to me by my university:

anchora imparo

(I am still learning).

IMHO BoC authors were right in insisting and enumerating the 8 decrees of God and admonish never to take one in isolation from the rest. They must all go together when election is being considered. Granted that TBOW of Luther was quoted in the BoC, but note that the decision of the BoC framers as to proper formulation of the doctrine is what counts since that is the Lutheran's confession.


Joe Krohn said...

Seems to me that Hollaz was classified a pietist by Preus in his book Justification and Rome...I wrote in my blog a bit about it...I'll have to go and review.

LPC said...

But is Quenstedt also a heretic like Holaz as was suggested? Preus in that book used and quoted the former approvingly on JBFA.


LPC said...

More info on Hollaz.

But let us not detract ourselves from the Biblical witness on this topic, as well as the confessions. Ordination is not only mentioned in FC, SD Xi, but also in the Augsburg and Apology.


joel in ga said...

Isn't calling someone a heretic the same as calling for that person's excommunication from the Church?

Random thesis spawned by this topic:
UOJ is a kind of overcompensation for the erroneous and schismatic practice of closed communion (which, in the West, normally includes the denial of paedocommunion)?

LPC said...

Hi Joel,

The label heretic in my book is proper for people who have been tried of heresy and been convicted of it. That of course is a technical take on the label.

Walther in one of his essays on predestination suggested that the editors of the BoC departed from the BoC itself and why? IMHO, he said this because they did not hold the view of Walther who taught absolute predestination ala Calvinists.

The BoC editors going off is fair enough possible, but is it likely? In the book Errors of Missouri, the authors brought testimonies after testimonies of the belief of these BoC writers on the subject. They showed how these BoC authors believed that God predestines the believer in view of the merits of Christ apprehended till the end by faith. Also, they did not confine the proof of this idea from the FC, SD XI, but appealed to the statements in Augsburg and the Apology, for they reasoned, that the FC is just an elaboration in detail of the previous symbols.

Walther does not do this, in fact he jumps right at the middle of FC, SD XI. He skips paragraph 24 on how the subject should be treated and discussed.

Now did the BoC authors followed what they wrote? Yes, they did, they kept in view paragraph 24.

Your take on UOJ and open communion is very interesting indeed. For after all, if all are already saved and forgiven before they are born but they have not believed it yet, what is there to prevent anyone from going to open communion - they are saved without the sacraments in the first place so what is the big deal about closed communion, every one is a saint and a believer, they have just not believed it yet!

Interesting point you raise.