Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lutheran antinomianism

Notice the predictable progression (or should I say, regression?) from Lutheran disdain for self-examination to brazen antinomianism:


February 7th, 2010 at 09:34 | #1 Reply | Quote

Pr McCain, Thanks for this. I speak as an evangelical who recently started to explore Lutheran theology. I thank God for the clear understanding of our standing before God on the basis of Christ’s merits, not ours, that is at the heart of the Lutheran faith. But indeed I have frequently encountered examples of this undermining or ignoring of sanctification that you mention. I confess I have been shocked by the aversion to speaking in terms of sanctification that I have found. As you point out, certain exhortations of St Paul himself would be out of bounds in some modern Lutheran pulpits. You mention above the influence of certain theologians. Do you see this also as an overreaction to the (probably more serious) influence of pietism in Lutheran history?
Rev Allen Yount (CRSM)

February 7th, 2010 at 18:57 | #3 Reply | Quote

I think your on to somthing when you mention that there might be an overeaction to pietisism. I also think the influence of Forde and others helped fuel the fire of this, what I call semi-antinomism. Most confessional lutherans who are in this camp, are very strong on the 2nd use of the law, but very, very weak on the 3rd use. Many also in this camp will have no problem calling the “old” Missourians pietists and disliked the preaching of Walther and Maier for example. I had a conversation with a pastor awhile back and he thought Dr. Louis Brighton was a pietist, when I heard this, I knew I wasn’t going crazy on seeing this difference.
Fom what little research that I have done on this, this began with the liturgical renewal movement back in the 1940’s. Not that liturgical renewal was bad in of it self, but the theology that was imported from Germany that came with it. If you really what to see the stark contrast between the old and modern Missourians, take a look at Kretzmann’s Commentarys of the Bible. You can read it online here: http://kretzmannproject.org/. I also think the new TLSB does a nice job going back closer to an old Missourian / Synodical Conference understanding of sanctification, thats’ reflected in the notes.
Pastor McCain,
I think we might be in the minority on this, but keep fighting the good fight and I’m glad we have you as a voice on this topic.
Matt P.

February 8th, 2010 at 09:35 | #5 Reply | Quote

Matt, it’s an interesting query you raise. I think the point here is that Luther is speaking directly to Christians who think that because they sit in Divine Service, hear sermons, and can wear the name tag: “I am a confessional Lutheran Christian” they are “free” to indulge themselves because, after all, we are baptized and take communion, etc.
First, Second, Third…call it whatever you will…some Lutherans have a problem discussing Christian living, as Luther does so powerfully and pointedly in this sermon.
Just last night I heard from a pastor who again told me, in no uncertain terms, that it is wrong to mention anything about our response to God’s grace at the end of the sermon, for that is Law, and the Law always accuses, therefore if we conclude a sermon that way we are just leading people to despair or to be hypocrites.
This is not a “made up” problem we face, it is a very real problem that has developed in our circles, and it deeply saddens me.


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