Saturday, October 20, 2007

Totemic Lutheranism

Filed under: From the Fathers — P. Andrew Sandlin

I would add that the classical conception of God is flawed by the same factor. Pinnock, Nash et al. have shown beyond doubt that the ideas of an impassible, static, timeless deity are pagan (Hellenic) to the core.

Whoever this god is (and snatches of him are found no less in the Westminster Confession than in Rome), He is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — the God who covenants with His people, risks His love, changes His mind, gets mad, grieves over betrayal, sends lying spirits, tempts Satan to tempt His faithful ones, drowns nearly an entire race, calls things that are not as though they are.

Both Open Theism and classical (pagan) theology proper postulate a false god.


“Another question discussed by Calov and others at this point is the problem of reconciling the simplicity of God with His decrees. According to classical Lutheran theology the decrees of God are represented in Scripture as taking place in time; but at bottom they are eternal thoughts of the divine mind. For God’s thoughts and will are in no sense conditioned by time…Therefore God’s decision, for instance, to redeem mankind, was known and determined from eternity and is therefore eternal and immutable. Ultimately the decrees of God are nothing else than God willing something from eternity, and in this sense are identical with the divine essence itself. Therefore no essential change takes place in God as He makes His decrees toward us,” R. Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism (Concordia 1972), 2:72-73.

“The immutability of God means that He is free of accidents, whims (affectus), composition, and change. In this sense it is closely related to God’s unity and simplicity…We must never think of God as some sort of whimsical ruler whose decrees may or may not take place,” ibid. 100.

“The fact that God’s decrees and actions were considered immutable, as we have seen, introduced two questions which were given a certain amount of attention in the post-Reformation Lutheran theology. First, does not the Incarnation deny God’s immutability? The answer was that the Incarnation involved no change in God, no more than change is implied in the fact that God is Creator and Preserver of all,” ibid. 102.

“More attention was devoted to the difficulties introduced by the many anthropopathisms applied to God in the Scriptures. Moods such as desire, hope, pain, or joy cannot be attributed to God absolutely; that is to say, such moods cannot be attributed to Him in such a way that they limit God or imply change or caprice in him (Job 35:6-7; 1 Cor 15:28; 1 Jn 1:5)…Brochmand deals specifically with the problem introduced by those Biblical passages which speak of God repenting that He made the world or that He made Saul king of Israel. How can such statements be reconciled with God’s immutability” ibid. 102.

“He says, ‘In order to resolve this difficulty we must point out briefly a couple of facts. The first is that, strictly speaking, there cannot be true repentance in God. In the strict sense repentance is an inner anguish of the soul and anxiety in the will which dislikes something that was done and desires that what ws done might be undone. The reason for this is either ignorance of the past, present, or future; or it is an error of judgment or it is the instability of the will’,” ibid. 102

‘’Now repentance of this kind cannot occur in God, because His knowledge is infinite and neither present or past nor future can escape Him (Ps 139:1-2; Acts 15:18; Heb 4:13), because He is of unlimited wisdom and cannot err in judgment (Isa 40:13-14; Rom 11:33-34; Eph 1:11), and finally because His essence is such that His will is utterly unchangeable (Mal 3:6). Hence the words of the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent” (Num 23:19), and, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent” (1 Sam 15:29)”, ‘” ibid. 102-103.

“’The accepted answer is that repentance is ascribed to God as an anthropopathism…There is all the while a change in created things, but in God no change at all, since in Him there is neither parallage, nor tropes aposkiasma [Jas 1:17],’” ibid. 103.


And to Steve Hays:

Suppose that God isn’t a philosophical construct. Then what?

MOD: ***spew***

Posted by: Josh S @ 4:41 pm


I’m gratified to learn that Josh was able to escape from the headhunters and Hottentots of Lutheran Scholasticism—gross, heathen idolaters all, who sacrifice vestal virgins on the superior conjunction of Venus and then bow down to worship a philosophical fetish.


  1. I'm not a big fan of Robert Preus or Lutheran theology after Gerhard reintroduced the analogy of being. Never have been. And ironically, it was Gerhard who gave up the doctrine of election.

  2. And do you regard Lutheran Scholasticism as a throwback to pagan theology?