Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lex Lutheranism


“It's all a matter of emphasis.”

Really? Edward Reiss seems to think it’s a matter of principle.

“But since there is no such a thing as ‘a Christian good work’, no one will be able to tell the works of a Christian apart from those of an unbeliever.”

Which fails to draw an elementary distinction between what we can know about ourselves and what we can know about a second party.

“And since no one knows the heart (and therefore the motive), no one but God Himself really can know.”

So Lutheranism denies the assurance of salvation. No Christian can really know whether he’s bound for heaven or bound for hell.

“To place an emphasis on works, or feelings, is to play into the hands of the devil.”

God is Lord over works and feelings. You suffer from a Manichaean dualism.

“(St. paul reminds us that the devil can come ‘all dressed up as an angel of light’ - did he not?).”

So it’s possible that Luther was a personification of the devil. Is that your point?

“That is why Lutherans rely on nothing other than the works that God does (has done, is doing) ...for us.”

Regeneration and sanctification are works of the Spirit. Or do Lutherans deny the deity of the Holy Spirit?

“The Holy Spirit is the one who inspires good works.”

Therefore, we’d be examining the evidence of God’s own handiwork.

“No goading of the law will do that, and filthy rags will be the fruit of any such efforts on our part.”

You’re schizophrenic. You lurch back and forth between works as “filthy rags” and works as good deeds inspired by the Holy Spirit. Which is it?

“There is never assurance when you are left to examining yourself.”

But you just attributed good works to the inspiration of the Spirit. Are you capable of thinking straight from one sentence to the next?

“This IS my body.”

So you worship the Pillsbury Doughboy?

“This IS my blood, I AM Baptized. This is where I receive my comfort and my assurance...because it comes from outside of me. To me. From God.”

Circumcision also came from the outside. From God. Did St. Paul therefore urge the Judaizers to find assurance in their circumcision?

“And that is somethimg that I can trust in...absolutely.”

But according to you, hell is full of baptized communicants.


“There is no such a thing as a ‘nominal Christian’. One is either in Christ..or he is not.”

I take it that you’re ignorant of standard terminology. A nominal Christian is a professing Christian who is not, however, a true believer.

Do Lutherans think that every professing Christian, however perfunctory his faith, is a true believer?

“And who are we to say who the strong Christians are, since ‘all our righteous deeds are as filty rags’?”

Since St. Paul admonished the strong brethren to be gentle to the weak brethren, Christians would be unable to obey his directive if it were impossible to distinguish one from the other.

“Dis not Christ HImself turn many away who were doing works in His name? (‘depart from Me, I never knew you’)”

There are multiple grounds for assurance in Scripture.

“Baptism isn't a sure fore way to Heaven because we can abandon our Baptisms.”

So by your own admission, you can’t ground the assurance of salvation in baptism.

“But St. paul clearly tells us that those who have been Baptized, have put on Christ.’ That is clear enough to me. So is Romans 6.”

What’s clear is your selective, one-sided prooftexting.

“The Calvinist answer is to look to yourself. To work harder.”

What Reformed preachers or theologians have you actually read, anyway? Your attempt to describe Calvinism resembles Richard Dawkins attempt to describe Christianity. You sound as though you got all your information filtered through hostile thirdhand sources. Lutheran caricatures of Calvinism.

If, in fact, you hand any firsthand acquaintance with Reformed theology, then it’s obvious that you didn’t grasp what you read or heard.

“To strive more and to examine yourself for that inner...whatever (works, feelings, etc.).”

i) To begin with, Scripture itself treats introspection as a legitimate spiritual exercise.

ii) Moreover, there’s nothing wrong with “doing” certain things–like prayer, Christian fellowship, Bible reading, and other means of grace–to foster the assurance of salvation in case that’s lacking in one’s life.

“The Lutheran way is to look OUTSIDE of yourself and to God's promises.”

Sorry to disillusion you, but Lutherans don’t own the copyright to God’s promises. Calvinists also look to God’s promises in Scripture.

“That is exactly why I believe our Lord commanded that we do the Sacraments (He really is the One who 'does them'...to us).”

Sorry to disillusion you, but Lutherans don’t own the patent to the sacraments. Calvinists also celebrate baptism and communion.

“Luther told us to ‘return to our Baptisms...daily.’”

And whatever Luther says, God says. Who needs the Bible when we’ve got Luther? He’s the seal of the prophets.

“No lucky charms there. Just a return (a repentance) and a re-trusting of what God has done for us on the cross, in His Supper, and in our Baptisms.”

To the contrary, you have the same superstitious veneration of the sacraments as idolatrous Israelites abode in the ark of the covenant (1 Sam 4) and the Nehushtan (2 Kgs 18:4).

Indeed, you’re no different than a Catholic clutching his crucifix and prayer beads.


“And Calvinists do not have the same regard for the Sacraments.”

True. I don’t subscribe to the Real Rabbit’s Foot or baptismal Rabbit’s-footsie.

“’Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, so how could He be present in the bread and the wine?’ Does that sound familiar? It makes God into a puny god.”

I see. So you don’t actually subscribe to the real presence of the True Body & Blood.

Instead, you subscribe to the presence of Jesus’ divinity in the bread in wine. Why bother with an Incarnation at all?

“Good luck with your spiritual navel gazing, Steve.”

Good luck with your spiritual Rabbit’s-foot, Theoldadam.

“Those of us who actually trust in Christ do not have to go there.”

But you don’t trust in Christ. You really put your trust in a wafer.


  1. That's just assinine, Steve.

    This IS my body, He said. This IS my blood...He said. He is in it. How? How the hell should I know? But if He commanded it, then He is in it.

    You guys are eating a wafer...and nothing more...because you have no faith in His promise to be there for us. "Lo, I am with you until the end of the age."

    You don't need Him! You're doing as fine job of it on your own!

  2. This IS my body, He said. This IS my blood...He said. He is in it. How? How the hell should I know? But if He commanded it, then He is in it.

    He also said He is a gate...ergo, He's in a gate...which gate? He also said He is the way...which road?

    You prooftext like a Catholic. That's just assinine theoldadam
    ou guys are eating a wafer...and nothing more...because you have no faith in His promise to be there for us. "Lo, I am with you until the end of the age."

    The passage you quoted was never uttered in connection with a wafer.

    You spooftext like a Romanist.

  3. The Old Adam,

    Now can you explain what just happened recently with the vote of the ELCA to become even more liberal allowing for Gays and Lesbians to govern the Holy Body of Christ and members in particular? Wasn't there a one of a kind tornado that just happen to strike exactly at 2 p.m. where and when the vote came forth there in Minnesota? I may be off on my facts a bit??

    For a church group and a church person, you seem to be out of touch with God and His Holiness?

    Not knowing much about you THE OLD Adam, but reading the way you are addressing this "Brother" in Christ, Steve, as I read you doing in here, I will make you this prediction to which you should heed!

    Psa 143:9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
    Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
    Psa 143:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
    Psa 143:12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

    You start touching the Lord's anointed, whether or not you are a Saint or sinner, you will not only have a knock at your spiritual door, the One knocking, won't be nice.

    Or do you think those verses should be overlooked in your case, THE OLD Adam?



    "This IS my body, He said."

    So, according to Lutheran sacramentology, Jesus is the Pillsbury Doughboy.

    "He said. This IS my blood...He said. He is in it."

    And when did "is" become a synonym for "in"?

    "How? How the hell should I know? But if He commanded it, then He is in it."

    i) But your prooftext doesn't say he's "in" the bread and wine. So even though you put the copulative verb in caps ("IS"), you immediately do a bait-and-switch.

    ii) And, of course, Calvinists also celebrate communion. So we do observe his command.

    "You guys are eating a wafer...and nothing more...because you have no faith in His promise..."

    So you think Jesus is really present except when he's really absent–depending on what the communicant happens to believe. Here one moment, gone the next.

    "...to be there for us. 'Lo, I am with you until the end of the age.'"

    Where did Jesus say he'd be with us until the end of the age in the wafer? Is that a textual variant in some Greek MS?

    Once again, you're prooftext doesn't say what you want it to say.

    "You don't need Him! You're doing as fine job of it on your own!"

    What I don't need is a substitute Christ. You substitute the wafer for Jesus.

    In Lutheran theology, God so loved the world that he gave us wafers, that whosoever believes in wafers should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  5. I have homework, but I am curious about something.

    "You guys are eating a wafer...and nothing more...because you have no faith in His promise..."

    If this were true wouldn't that mean the those improperly partaking of the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 would not have had any consequences?

  6. "This IS my body, He said. This IS my blood...He said. He is in it. How? How [...] should I know? But if He commanded it, then He is in it."

    He didn't say "I am in this bread," he said "This is my body."


  7. Now, if it be asked whether the bread is the body of Christ and the wine his blood, we answer, that the bread and the wine are visible signs, which represent to us the body and blood, but that this name and title of body and blood is given to them because they are as it were instruments by which the Lord distributes them to us. This form and manner of speaking is very appropriate. For as the communion which we have with the body of Christ is a thing incomprehensible, not only to the eye but to our natural sense, it is there visibly demonstrated to us.

    Thus it is with the communion which we have in the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. It is a spiritual mystery which can neither be seen by the eye nor comprehended by the human understanding. It is therefore figured to us by visible signs, according as our weakness requires, in such manner, nevertheless, that it is not a bare figure but is combined with the reality and substance. It is with good reason then that the bread is called the body, since it not only represents but also presents it to us. Hence we indeed infer that the name of the body of Jesus Christ is transferred to the bread, inasmuch as it is the sacrament and figure of it. But we likewise add, that the sacraments of the Lord should not and cannot be at all separated from their reality and substance. To distinguish, in order to guard against confounding them, is not only good and reasonable, but altogether necessary; but to divide them, so as to make the one exist without the other, is absurd.

    Now to maintain that, it must be confessed either that the body of Christ is without limit, or that it may be in different places. In saying this we are brought at last to the point, that it is a mere phantom. To wish then to establish such a presence as is to enclose the body within the sign, or to be joined to it locally, is not only a reverie, but a damnable error, derogatory to the glory of Christ, and destructive of what we ought to hold in regard to his human nature. For Scripture everywhere teaches us, that as the Lord on earth took our humanity, so he has exalted it to heaven, withdrawing it from mortal condition, but not changing its nature.

    - Good stuff from Calvin. Short Treatise on the Supper of Our Lord

  8. I AM the true Vine.

    How? How the hell should I know?