I find this sort of thing a bit puzzling:
It’s a bit puzzling because Lutherans are just as smart as other Christians, so I don’t know why some Lutherans find really dumb arguments like this convincing.
I have, over the years, talked to many Calvinists, in person and over the Internet. I always ask them, “Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are among God’s elect and are saved?” There are generally two reactions to that question: (1) A long and rather painful pause after which they say, “I hope I am. I do believe in Christ.”
So what? Why assume every Christian should be able to say he knows “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that he’s saved?
Also, why frame the question in terms of knowing you’re elect rather than knowing you’re saved? If a Calvinist is saved, he knows that he’s saved the same way other saved Christians know that they are saved. (I’m distinguishing “saved” believers from nominal believers.)
If our confidence that we are saved is based on our feeling that we have faith, we will flounder. The answer we must always give to the question of “Do you know you are saved?” is not, “Yes, because I have faith” but rather, “Yes, because Christ Jesus died for me” and of course, in my opinion, the very best answer of all is simply to point people to Luther’s explanation of the Creed and say, “Here, this puts it very well.”
Two glaringly obvious problems:
i) To answer that “Christ died for me” is, itself, a faith-statement. That’s an expression of your faith in what you think Jesus did for you.
ii) Since Lutherans believe that Christ died for the damned, how can our confidence that we are saved be based on universal atonement?
Never look to your subjective feeling that there is faith in your heart. Always, always, always, look to Christ and what He has done for you and the whole world. Do not confuse faith in faith, with trust in Christ. There is a key difference.
Once again, he’s ignoring the obvious. You can only “look to Jesus” through the eye of faith. Trusting in Jesus is an act of faith. So that’s hardly an alternative to faith-based assurance.
If you believe you are a child of God because you feel you have faith, this is no better than the Mormon who tells you about the “burning in his bosum” or the Muslim who tells you he feels the Koran is true, etc.
Of course, that’s blatantly equivocal.
Salvation rests on objective realities that have absolutely nothing to do with feelings or emotions. Faith is merely and only the receiving hand God gives us and into which He pours His good gifts, it is not the cause of our salvation.
We’re not saved apart from saving faith. Our salvation is contingent on faith in Christ. Salvation has subjective necessary conditions as well as objective necessary conditions.
And that’s not a problem in Calvinism, for God controls the subjective conditions as well as the objective conditions.
It’s also fallacious to act as if Christian faith is synonymous with mere feelings or emotions.
We are Christians, not Faith-ians.From Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog. Nov 20th 2012.
That’s a nice-sounding slogan, but it doesn’t survive logical or theological scrutiny.