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.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I won't confuse you with Reformed "federal visionists" if you don't confuse me with legalistic puritans who look to their works to see if they are elect. I know I am elect because I believe the gospel but it was not by believing the gospel that I became elect. if you are elect, you also will believe the gospel.

Certain puritan experimentalists ) move “purgatory” into this life, before the first death. Max Weber called it a work-ethic to confirm to ourselves that we are elect.

The Persistence of Purgatory (Richard K Fenn) traces Western attitudes toward time back to the myth of Purgatory. . Fenn demonstrates the impact of Purgatory on the preaching of Richard Baxter.

Roman Catholics like Sungenis will always talk about a “difference” between a paradigm with quid pro quo conditions and the “in the family now” paradigm with “mysterious conditions”. But I would shift the paradigm comparison to that between those who teach that Christians are imparted with the divine nature and thus enabled to meet “conditions in the covenant” and those who refuse any notion of “conditionality”.

These puritans tend to let you by faith alone, or even without that if you are an infant, but then after a while, they will let you out the back door if your faith is still alone. In addition to faith, they ask—what have you done lately?

It’s like my wife saying to me—the wooing doesn’t stop now. Sure, I married you already but now I want to see the big house with the bird nests in the big back yard. I am not denying that a husband should do stuff for his wife. But I ask the revivalist– how much does a husband have to do in order to keep the wife! Is it always just a little bit more than what I have done already?

When I walked down that aisle 33 years ago, was I thinking— now that I am married, I don’t need to love her? It’s not strictly “quid pro quo” necessary? I need to love her, but it’s “mysteriously conditional?

Our works are not necessary to obtain God’s blessings. Romans 4:4—“To the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due”.

What I do for my wife is not like mortgage payments on a note which can never be burned. I am not like Jacob who had to work seven more years after he got in the family (and that after seven years already)

Married is married. What we do doesn’t keep us married.There is no cause-effect relationship between our works and some second final justification, because the elect are saved by Christ’s work. Christians share in what Christ has, not because of what they do but because they are still married to Christ.