Comments for An international fraternity of confessional Lutheran laymen and pastors, supporting proclamation of Christian doctrine in the new media. Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:58:06 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Why Do We Distinguish Between Sins? by Martin Chemnitz by George A. Marquart Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:58:06 +0000 The question I have is “How do those who have lost faith and the Holy Spirit return to the Kingdom of God?” The posting reads, “Now, the preaching of repentance, rebuking sins, is the instrument and means by which God wants to lead fallen sinners back to the way and convert them.” Are they different from any others outside of the Kingdom? The example of King David does not work for us, because in the New Covenant it is Baptism that brings us into the Kingdom. So would one who has fallen away have to be baptized again? If not, why not?
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Rev. David Mueller Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:56:18 +0000 @Tim Wood #38

Brother Wood–you *are* my brother in Christ, and will be forever, by the grace of God, when I am no longer “Pastor” Mueller :)–I appreciate what you are aiming at here in the article. And I appreciate how graciously you received what I wrote! The famous “felicitous inconsistency” is by NO MEANS an excuse to ignore sin and error of the heterodox! (Or to be slack in myself, either!) It is terribly serious and frightening and sad for folks in Calvinist pews to be taught the denial of Christ’s instituted Means. But where the Word is, even in the midst of heterodoxy, the Spirit is able to work. Here’s the problem with the Reformed’s knee-jerk reaction to our doctrine of Baptism, for example: “You have faith in Baptism! We have faith in Jesus!” “No, we Lutherans have faith in Jesus who is present and washing away our sins *in* Baptism. Where is the Jesus say you have faith in?”

But we must remember that our faith “in” the Means is properly faith in *Jesus* who is the Content of the Means. (Otherwise, we are sliding toward ex opere operato–or however you spell it.)

Comment on Why Do We Distinguish Between Sins? by Martin Chemnitz by Rev. David Mueller Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:45:10 +0000 Excellent stuff!
To add a little of the 1st Martin: “Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.” (That is, even good works.) “In the sight of God, sins are then truly venial when they are feared by men to be mortal.” (Heidelberg Disp., Theses 11 and 12.)

Comment on Conversion: To See Decisions Dead People Make, Visit the Cemetery by John Rixe Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:57:05 +0000 You have a unique talent, TR, for explaining theology to laymen in a lucid and interesting style.  I can think of no one better qualified to serve on the Catechism Drafting Committee.

Comment on Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Annunciation by Rev. John M. Young Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:54:19 +0000 Thank you for this. I noticed that the English translation of the Hippolytus quote incorrectly renders ὀκτωκαιδεκάτῳ ἔτει Τιβερίου Καίσαρος as the “fifteenth” year of Tiberius Caesar, presumably the influence of Luke 3; the “eighteenth” year makes more sense, given Luke’s timeline. But what does “forty-second year” of Augustus mean? It’s neither his age nor his reign.

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Tim Wood Fri, 09 Dec 2016 02:48:12 +0000 @Nick #39 The common ground has to be Scripture. Part of what we see is an abstraction of Law/Gospel as something that rises above the unity of Scripture. So, when we encounter someone who likes L/G but is not Lutheran, our obligation is to patiently and gently instruct them to see that it can only be “liked” as part of a whole.

I came out of American Evangelicalism first by tiptoeing through the TULIPs, and only then to Confessional Lutheranism. Listening to Fighting for the Faith had left me satisfied that it was all the same as long as we had Law and Gospel. There were Lutheran sermons, Baptist sermons, Reformed sermons and the standard was sound Law & Gospel with an emphasis on redemption. I was having difficulty coming to terms with a sacramental view of communion so, with encouragement from the White Horse Inn, it seemed fine to go the Reformed path. It was only by listening to Table Talk Radio (don’t remember which episodes) that I realized the error – it was all or nothing, and I had almost taken my family down the path to nothing.

The distribution and reception of God’s grace is critical in helping non-Lutherans understand Law/Gospel as a concrete, objective thing that you can be assured of. What assurance do we have outside of the Sacraments? That was the key that turned the lock for me, and many others by anecdotal evidence.

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Nick Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:15:31 +0000 @Tim Wood #36

Thanks for your reply sir! I appreciate it! There is much that I have been completely unaware of (until now thanks to Google).

As far as a common confession among protestants, I do find myself hoping such a thing could be possible as well. But, per the persistent and welcomed encouragement of my elders, I’ve tried to devote my studying to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions rather than try to grasp the distinctive points of other denominations and traditions. I wonder what you might do in a situation (not hypothetical for me) where someone not Lutheran at all does come across orthodox lutheran theology, and specifically enjoys Law & Gospel quite a bit? What common ground can be celebrated, if any?

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Tim Wood Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:46:18 +0000 @Rev. David Mueller #35 Thank you for clarifying those issues, Pastor. You have stated the problems better than I did. I appreciate your instruction on how I skated on the precipice of a serious error.

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Tim Wood Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:39:37 +0000 @Nick #31 Thanks, Pastor. Christ Hold Fast has several problems that should steer Confessional Lutherans away from it.

1) It’s founder and leader is disqualified from the OHM for several reasons, starting with the fact that he has a questionable call, no sending, and no ordination. Secondly, he scandalized Christ and the church with his behaviour, and returned to the pulpit without any fear of ecclesiastical oversight. 4 of the CHF contributors just yesterday released a call to repentance to TT for the same issues. That’s a problem.

2) CHF promotes unionism and syncretism. There will be protestations that there are no candles lit and no incense burned, but it is very clear that CHF is promoting the idea that Protestants have a united Confession as long as you do the Law/Gospel thing.

Look at the mix:
* Lutheran Brethren.
* Self-styled Lutheran micro synod of one.
* Synergistic American Evangelical
* Female worship leader
* PCA Presbyterian
* LCMS SMP at an urban megachurch
* Mystery
* American Baptist (“We accept no humanly devised confession or creed as binding.”)
* Sacramental Entrepreneur
* Lay Preacher
* Anglican – Lutheran Syncretist

There cannot be a common confession, but CHF is saying there is one as long as you proclaim adherence to some abstract notion of a “Law & Gospel Collective”. That’s pure nonsense, and so we should mark and avoid people who participate in the nonsense, and more so if they are proclaiming it.

Comment on Law & Gospel Does Not Make Reformed & Evangelical Churches Orthodox by Rev. David Mueller Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:29:22 +0000 “To speak about justification in an orthodox way is not the same thing as to practice its delivery and reception.”
This is true.
“Without the offices and mechanisms to distribute and receive God’s Grace, Law and Gospel is just Law.”
I don’t know what this actually means. I *think* waht you mean to say is that without the Means of Grace (“offices and mechanisms”, etc.), one is steered back to the Law in order to have some sort of confidence in the Gospel.
“When the means of grace are abridged in any way, Law and Gospel is just Law. Without the OHM, Law and Gospel is just Law. When the OHM is modified in any way, Law and Gospel ends up being just Law.”
“Ends up” just might save your own tail here. This is kinda like the issue of fides reflexiva. Errors regarding the means of grace and the Office most certainly *do* militate against the Gospel. However, someone’s formal theology may deny the means of grace, even while, without their realizing it, they actually *have* and are *benefiting from* the means of grace. A Calvinist who believes the Gospel: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, including me”, even while he confesses some other way of “coming to faith”, still believes solely by means of the Gospel–the Word (if not the Sacrament or Baptism). Whether he acknowledges it or not, where there actually is faith in Christ, it was the Holy Spirit through the external Word that worked that faith in him. “Ends up” does indicate that if he persists in this, he may very well finally deny Christ Himself, in order to maintain his own prideful “consistency”, or whatever. So, those two words may have bailed you out of being guilty of an error.