Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Thoughts on the "Western Wall"

The Western Wall is the wall known as the Wailing Wall, where Rabbinic Jews in Israel come to pray. It is specially now called the "Western Wall" to emphasise the "fact" that it is the western wall of the 2nd Temple. Indeed many of Jewish faith use this term to highlight this idea.

I would like to express my opinion as to why I do not believe this wall is part of the 2nd Temple. I do not mean any dis-respect to those who disagree with my opinion, they are entitled to their beliefs just as I am.

Now, there are evidences from historians and archaeologists who do not believe this wall is part of the last Temple. I admit they are a small number. I won't go into those evidences, for example that the wall was actually the wall of Fort Antonia and it used to be a Christian dump site, etc. Josephus an eye-witness of the 70 AD destruction by the Romans, wrote that the Temple was completely destroyed.

As a Christian, I will however offer my reason why I disbelieve that the "Western Wall' is part of the 2nd Temple. The reason is Jesus Christ - Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said in Mk 13:And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Think of that for a moment,  that statement is very very crucial to your faith - be you a Christian or of another persuasion. Jesus said that no stone will be left upon another -  now if that wall is indeed part of the 2nd Temple and is even the western side of the Temple, then Jesus' prophecy failed and so Jesus is found to be a false prophet. He said no stone will be on top of another and yet there is that wall - a part of the Temple standing. So he is a false prophet and thus a false Messiah. This then mean also that the whole Christian faith crumbles, for we believe in a person who just lied and falsely prophesied to us. Did you get it?

Now, we have Josephus himself a non-believer of Christ who as a historian and eye-witness of the 70 AD destruction of the Temple by the Romans testified indeed that the whole Temple was completely destroyed.

Now assume for a moment if you come from Jewish persuasion and admit that the "Western Wall" might not be a part of the Temple, then Jesus' prophecy came to pass and that means he is worth pursuing. However I doubt and am pessimistic if the Jewish authorities in Israel will change their minds about this - the reason is that asserting the "Western Wall" to be part of the Temple is also asserting that Jesus is a false Messiah and that justifies ignoring the claims of Jesus of Nazareth.

If the real location of the Temple is not in the "Western Wall", then Jews and Muslims can give up the fight for  the control of this area.  Everybody wins.

As a Christian, we have no care of any Temple at all, at least I for one do not care. The reason again is Jesus and what Apostle Paul said - Jesus said in Jn 4:21 that we will not worship in any mountain nor in Jerusalem and in Mt 12:6  he said -- But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.    Then the Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 6:19 that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Won't it be a shame if WWWIII began based on a false belief of a holy site?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why I listen to Dr. Ichabod's Sermons.

Why do I listen to Dr. Greg Jackson's sermons? Very simple reason. Not for the eloquence, not for lofty and clever speeches, not for terrific engaging style, none of that. Only one thing - he encourages me to have faith in Christ and in Christ's Word by simple exposition of the text.

How pathetic, Lutheran preachers, reads a text of Scripture but then go talk about something else during the homily so you wonder after the service, what was it all about? Did I get something from that?

I observe that people have an over estimation of themselves. I observe most Lutherans in particular and Protestants in general, believe they have no problem with faith that is why they listen to false teachers that pat them in their sin.

I live with myself all the time and I know how I allow my anxiety to overwhelm me.

Luther was right when he said, we neither fear, nor love nor trust God. At least what he said was true about me. I confess my sins each Sunday but the root of those sins is one source - my lack of faith.

I need to be prodded to believe God, that Christ covers my sin, that God will take care of me even though I have been unfaithful, that God will not leave me nor forsake me and will provide for me etc etc. Lack of faith, that is the diagnosis of my decease - I go for the preacher who stirs me in this faith direction, that is why I listen to Dr. Jackson's sermons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Christ my only hope

I have just been thinking the other day.

I was alone with my thoughts. It dawned on me in a deep and profound sense that without Christ, I have no hope for the forgiveness of sins and how hopeless I would be without Christ. There is no other way, but to look to Christ for the forgiveness of all my sins.

Is this what it means to hope in Christ?

Romans 5:2-7


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

C. F. W. Walther - UOJ Theologian with no exegetical prowess, a Zitatentheolog

Over at Shaky Lutherans,  we see a celebration of ACLC's critical response to ELDONA's statement on Justification.  ELDONA, thank God, retreated away from  the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ), the doctrine that says that God has ALREADY declared the world to be righteous, when Jesus was raised from the dead (or when he breathed his last at the Cross - UOJers are not uniform on this). Obviously such a move by a synod away from UOJ carries some traction and must be averted at all cost - it is just bad publicity, so all guns from UOJ synods are pointed at ELDONA today.

Needless to say the UOJers proudly fronted their hero, C.F. W. Walther by presenting him as the man with the final say. Here is an interesting quote...from Francis Pieper presented by Mr. Jim Pierce (an enthusiastic defender of UOJ).

Should, for instance, anyone deny the universality of Christ’s redemption, negating with Calvin the Scripture truth that Christ has redeemed all mankind and that in the Gospel God seriously offers to all men His grace without any discrimination, then he subverts the doctrine of justification. If that error is maintained, then the individual sinner cannot become personally sure of his salvation unless he receives an extraordinary, immediate revelation to that effect. Again, should anyone teach that Christ has indeed redeemed all men, but not completely, in other words, that Christ has indeed made forgiveness of sins possible for all men, but that this forgiveness of sins or justification does not yet actually exist for every sinner, then he makes faith and conversion a meritorious cause of the forgiveness of sins and invalidates the doctrine of justification by grace for Christ’s sake. Or, should anyone pervert the doctrine of the means of grace by denying that God offers the sinner His grace in Word and Sacrament so that the sinner must seek grace in Word and Sacrament, then he bids the sinner seek grace in his own subjective condition, in conversion and regeneration, and so in his own good works. Finally, should anyone pervert the doctrine of faith by denying that faith is essentially trust in the grace offered in the Gospel and by identifying faith with the feeling of grace, then he will put in place of divine grace the condition of the human heart as the basis of justification and salvation. Or should anyone teach wrongly concerning faith by ascribing the creation of faith to human co-operation or to man’s good conduct, then again he surrenders the Scriptural doctrine of justification despite the fact that he may use the expressions “by faith alone” or “by grace for Christ’s sake.” This subject seems to us so very important that we shall develop more fully the three points on the basis of many statements made by Walther

I highlighted the bolded text to show how UOJers commit the fallacy of tertium non datur. The reasoning goes like this, if you do not believe in UOJ then you MUST...believe in "faith as a work" or you MUST then believe in Limited Atonement... blah blah blah. None of this is true because the statement assumes that there are only two options that are mutually exclusive. This is the fallacy, it assumes there is no third alternative. Anti-UOJers do not believe in Limited Atonement and they follow the teaching that faith is a gift created by means of grace. At first blush the fallacy makes initial sense but this is demolished by a clear exposition of passages which purports to teach a Justification without and prior to faith.

A few months ago, I was search through the Internet and I found the thesis of a certain Rev. KARL EDWIN KUENZEL. This ThD thesis (2006) was about the doctrine of church and ministry in the ELS (of USA).  Of course, the thesis could not help but mention Walther because after all Walther wrote something about this subject. The author had some glaring criticism of Walther though we can also detect somehow his political stance of not overtly lambasting Walther. he swung between respect and disdain of Walther. Here are some interesting quotes. Some of the emphasis are mine...

Walther was a tremendous leader, a dynamic preacher, a powerful lecturer, and a remarkable 
writer. However, lest we wind up worshipping the man, as many had done with Martin Stephan, 
and perhaps some do with Luther, we need to be mindful of some of Walther’s deficiencies. 
Walther was legalistic when it came to the matters of usury, dancing and going to the theater, life 
insurance, running a tavern, in-law marriage (e.g., a man marrying the sister of his deceased wife), 
geographical parish boundaries, the local congregation and the pastoral office. He often made his 
position as if it were Scripturally based and therefore God-given doctrine, when, in fact, he was 
going beyond what the Bible says and turning matters of casuistry into untenable doctrines.

Not only did Walther use terms that were readily misunderstood by others, but another cause for 
his naevi [faults], according to his student August Pieper, was that Walther depended too heavily 
on the secondary sources of theology, i.e., Luther and the lesser fathers. In spite of all his 
emphasis on Scripture, there can be no denying this. Although Walther was a great, and a very 
talented leader, he was a poor, even an inferior exegete. He had only an average knowledge of 
the original biblical languages. Frequently he would cite dozens of Bible passages merely because 
Luther and the dogmaticians had done so. Yet these passages did not prove what they were 
supposed to prove. Although very eager to express himself on matters, he failed to recognize that 
his position was based on translations and not on the original text. Thus, he could say something 
as if it were doctrinally true, but without a firm scriptural basis. Over all, the knowledge of Scripture 
that Walther had was more an intimate acquaintance with Luther’s Bible and knowledge of certain 
passages rather than knowledge of the whole line of thought of a biblical book and of the original 

 Another reason that is frequently cited for his use of this format is that he 
realized how inadequate his knowledge of Scripture and doctrine really [LPC: I suppose compared to Hoenecke]was in comparison with 
Luther and Chemnitz, Gerhard and Calov, thus in all modesty he was afraid of going astray in 
even the smallest point of doctrine.

Walther was a great leader and the Lutheran Church benefited much from his leadership, still no 
matter how justified Walther’s method of citing Luther and the Lutheran dogmaticians might have 
been in the beginning, it was wrong both in principle and in practice. The problem was that unlike 
Luther, who stressed the Bible and the study of the Bible, Walther’s positions neither rested 
directly on Scripture nor did they lead one directly into it. Instead he strongly stressed, to the 
extreme, the importance of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions and the Lutheran fathers, and 
certainly much more than he cited God’s Word. Utilizing this format Walther led people to think that 
the matter under discussion or being presented had been established sufficiently by the quotations 
from Luther and the fathers; therefore it was unnecessary to study Scripture. This format actually 
hampered people in their use and study of the Bible. And eventually, it has come to the point 
where the citation theologians not only quote Luther and the old fathers but now they have also 
included Walther and others as proof of the doctrinal stand. As pastors, theologians, and 
theological students took up the study of doctrinal maters in subsequent years the subject of study 
was not as much a study of the Bible as it was a study of old synodical reports and conference and 
convention essays. And now quotations from these, not the Bible, are frequently used to support 
doctrinal positions

However, it was unsettling to have Walther take a firm stance on a matter citing the Lutheran fathers as his proof, yet not realizing that at the same time his position was in contradiction to what they had written 

LPC: Is it any wonder why UOJ has damned souls and caused confusion? It was promoted by someone who knew more secondary sources rather than the Scripture itself, what do we expect?