Saturday, February 06, 2010

Was George Tiller saved?

Lutherans don’t like the Reformed doctrine of assurance. In its place, they stress sacramental assurance. According to them, a sacrament is a divine promise, and God keeps his word. They also seem to define a promise in purely unconditional terms.

That raises an interesting question. Was George Tiller saved? And did he enjoy the assurance of salvation?

As some of you may remember, George Tiller was the prolific, late-term abortionist. He was also a Lutheran. When George Tiller took communion on Sunday, and his Lutheran pastor pronounced the words of absolution, was Tiller forgiven? Was Tiller entitled to the assurance of salvation?

Likewise, what about all the Lutheran Nazis in WWII? To be sure, some Lutherans resisted the Third Reich as best they could, but many of them simply followed orders.

Suppose a Lutheran S.S. officer murders a dozen Jews that week, goes to church on Sunday, murders another dozen Jews next week, goes back to church on Sunday, and so on and so forth. Is he in a state of grace?

13 comments:

  1. Can it be said that the Lutheran S.S. officer murdered a dozen Jews if he was just following orders?

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  2. Perhaps a better example: Lutherans following Arthur Harris' orders, week after week, to napalm civilians in the bombing raids on German cities.

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  3. hi, an off topic question. on one of manata's last posts he had a picture of himself and some paintings in the background? these were portrait type paintings, of Descartes, i think. anyway, they were watercolord or oil paintings. any ideas where i can find some of these?
    what happened to manata anyway?
    thnx

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  4. Vytautas said:
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    Can it be said that the Lutheran S.S. officer murdered a dozen Jews if he was just following orders?
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    Soldiers have a moral obligation to disobey an immoral order. This is why the Nuremberg trials took place and the "we were just following orders" defense saved no one.

    Tim said:
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    Perhaps a better example: Lutherans following Arthur Harris' orders, week after week, to napalm civilians in the bombing raids on German cities.
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    This one is, of course, trickier to examine. On the one hand, civilian casualties should be limited as much as possible. On the other hand, some governments intentionally put their civilians in harm's way as a shield. Furthermore, one must take into account the fact that many "non-combatants" are still providing support to soldiers fighting in the war in other ways, and to that extent one cannot ignore the fact that war between countries is war between everyone in each of those countries. In some cases, a typically off-limit target becomes a legitimate war target.

    When looking at the historical record, you also have to account for the fact that some weapons were simply not very accurate. You may intend to hit a weapon's factory but you hit the school next door instead. This is minimized a bit now with laser guided ordinance, etc. However, in making a moral evaluation, one must consider whether the use of an inaccurate weapon which unintentionally resulted in civilian losses (even if those losses were highly probable, yet they were never the intended target) outweighs the other aspects of warfare that come into play. A good example of where this subject is extremely complex would be the decision to drop atomic weapons on Japan. I think a good argument can be mounted for why that action was immoral (since it did intentionally target civilians), but also for why it was morally permissible (it *probably* killed fewer civilians than would have been killed during a full-scale invasion of Japan).

    In any case, as to your specific example of Arthur Harris, I would say it's difficult to justify his tactics.

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  5. (cont.)

    Harris intentionally targeted civilians, even after others pointed out that precision bombing was more effective. It should be noted that the US never helped with those "area bombings" because our Army Air Corps understood it was better to go after military targets. Examining the bombing of Dresden, for instance, it's difficult to come to the conclusion that the RAF benefited in any way from that. It didn't hasten the war's end, and it certainly didn't win any allies from the civilians who may have changed allegiances.

    Of course, we're looking at history anachronistically too. We know that the outcome wasn't useful, but at the time they could say they didn't know that's what would happen. I think that if Harris did know that his aims would not achieve any military benefit, and it was just to instill terror in German citizens, then Harris definitely did commit a war crime there. However, if he truly thought that it was a legitimate war tactic, then it may be possible to argue he was merely incompetent. (And as is oft stated, never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity.)

    Regardless, I think that enough people had complained to him about the ineffectiveness of his plan, as well as the fact that it cost the lives of many RAF pilots, that by the time Dresden occurred, Harris had few excuses left.

    That said, I'm not sure in this instance that one could charge the individual RAF pilots with war crimes, even if you could do so with Harris. And there is a difference between the RAF and the SS executing civilians. The difference is that one *can* make an argument for collateral damage not being a war crime, but one *cannot* argue that rounding up a civilian and executing him is anything other than murder.

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  6. Manata is now a college student. So he doesn't have time for blogging.

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  7. iustitiadei said...
    hi, an off topic question. on one of manata's last posts he had a picture of himself and some paintings in the background? these were portrait type paintings, of Descartes, i think. anyway, they were watercolord or oil paintings. any ideas where i can find some of these?
    what happened to manata anyway?
    thnx


    They were taken at a coffee shop in downtown Chicago. "Descartes Coffe."

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  8. Steve, thanks for keeping my cover. But I think iustitiadei can be trusted with (some of) the sensitive information. Currently, I am running some covert T-blog operations in the south of France. Updates to follow shortly . . .

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  9. Was George Tiller saved?

    I don't know.

    But if "I don't know" was eliminated as a possible choice, and I had to choose between "Yes" or "No"... I'd choose "No."

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  10. Was George Tiller saved?

    Ah, kinda abit late to be asking that question, isn't it, especially if you are George?

    Who wants to take the moral high ground now?

    If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

    It just might be everything is burnt up and you haven't much in Heaven but Heaven itself?

    If George Tiller was a model deacon in a Lutheran Church before that sharp projectile ending blast ended his service in the House of God, I don't want to know his Lutheran "justification" for what they paid him to do for them, was.

    Does complicity have any meaning here?

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  11. Sweet thnx for the info steve. Good to hear from paul. Sarcastic as ever, God bless u guys.
    Frankq

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