Sanctification: Losing for Lack of a Lord

Jesus saves us from sin. But we sin on. This sinning on bothers people. We are saved from the penalty of sin in justification. We will be saved from the presence of sin in the resurrection. For the bothered, that won’t do. Salvation from penalty and presence but not from the power of sin? Sounds to them like half a Gospel.

Where is the power? The spawn of this question is the Holiness Movement, Pietism, Pentecostalism, Charismaticism, Moralism, Theosis, and so on. All of these movements fail because they locate a power intra nos, within ourselves. They try to make us lords over temptation and sin. These efforts are sincerely doomed. It’s a pitiful thing to watch. We are losing for lack of a lord. We never attain the lordship. The Devil, the world, the sinful self, and even the Law retain their tyranny.prison door open

All those theories comprise the intra nos Bataan Death March. Powers inside ourselves remain enslaved, and our enemies parade us in humiliation and torture. For many, faith dies in the prison camp.

All the “new new” things in how to try harder and try smarter are the “same old same old.” The denominations of Christendom are just Baskin-Robbins® 31 Flavors of intra nos power. Different flavors, but all ice cream.

There is no way to win, no way to unity, no way to victory unless we back up two steps.

We need to back up from intro nos to extra nos, to power outside of ourselves. Many people already know that and have written plenty about it. We should be thankful to them, and keep paying attention to their teaching. But there is a second, backing up step.

In the Small Catechism, Luther captions the Third Article of the Creed as “Sanctification.” That’s the fount of much theologizing about sanctification. But there are problems with this. Firstly, Luther is using “sanctification” in a very wide sense, whereas we now are talking about sanctification in a much narrower sense. Secondly, Luther’s view of the Third Article does not work cut loose from his view of the Second Article. We need to back up a step from the Third Article to the Second, and ask, does the extra nos power we need exist in the person and work of Christ before we ever reach the Third Article?

I propose that it does.

The Second Article confesses the person and work of Christ. As with each of the articles, Luther sought an explanation that had the following properties:

  • a single focus
  • based on a word or phrase occurring in the article
  • bringing together in a unity various elements in the article

Why did he seek a single focus? Because he was writing a catechism.

Luther reflects methodically on the structure of the article, in order to arrive at the meaning that is most comprehensible pedagogically. Attacking it from all different angles, he accentuates the central thought, which provides the structure for the commentaries in both the Large and Small Catechisms.1

For each article, he had options. The decision was not simple. He studied and struggled. His selection in each article is the fruit of a breakthrough of insight. For the Second Article, he could have centered his explanation on: (1) Jesus Christ; (2) his only Son; or (3) our Lord. He made the non-obvious choice of “our Lord.”

But wait a minute! Having done, how then is his caption the word “Redemption” rather than something to do with Jesus as Lord?

That’s just where the breakthrough of insight occurred. Albrecht Peters speaks of “Luther’s ingenious approach to articulating the entirety of what is in the Second Article in catechetical form”2 in equating Lord with Redeemer. Luther says in his explanation, Christ “is my Lord, who has redeemed me.” Luther unites lordship and redemption. How did Jesus become our Lord? By being our Redeemer. The act of redemption is the act of lordship. The act of lordship is the act of redemption.

The genius is in resolving two problems with a united answer. Peters says,

We distinguish between two aspects of this singular action of Jesus that brings about redemption … [identified] as the solutions to the question of guilt and the question of power. The question of guilt would read: By what means is my guilt expiated before God? The question of power would read: By what means am I rescued from the tyranny of the powers of destruction?3

Charles P. Arand explains how this also unites two previously competing ideas of the atonement.

Luther accents what might be called a Christus Victor motif without ignoring the Christus Victima theme. This is especially true in the Large Catechism. … The picture painted before the eyes of the catechumen is a battlefield. On one side of the battlefield, stretched as far as the eye can see, from horizon to horizon, stand Satan’s armies and powers (sin, death, and the power of the devil). Behind enemy lines, the human race lies captive under the power of the devil, condemned to death, and “entangled in sin and blindness.” Christ the champion appears on the field for battle (like David against Goliath) and defeats sin, death, and the power of the devil by means of his blood and death. Having routed the jailors and tyrants, Christ frees us, takes us as his own possession, and takes us home to his kingdom were we live in everlasting innocence, blessedness, and righteousness.”4

Peters makes more clear how Christ’s propitiation of wrath is the center and foundation, and how his liberating lordship rests on that foundation.

The reformer thus takes up both constellations of motifs: on the one hand, Christ as the one who vanquishes all the powers of destruction and powers of death and, on the other hand, Christ as our substitute and as our propitiatory offering over against God’s holy, judging wrath. Luther links both aspects in such a way that the hidden emphasis from the Western Church and the Middle Ages, on the punishing suffering of Christ, persists. The propitiation of God’s wrath remains the center, in terms of content, in the catechisms as well; at the deepest level, it is God’s curse of judgment that delivers us over to the powers of destruction. These powers stand in a unique relationship with God; according to the Large Catechism, on the one hand, they are our “tyrants,” caught up in rebellion against God, and yet, on the other hand, they are the “harsh schoolmasters” that God Himself put in place, which means that they are the authorities who run the prison; the real prison came into existence for us when God gave us over under the condemning wrath of His Law. “Death, sin, hell, all of these come from the wrath of God; they are its harsh schoolmasters.” Even among these ominous allies, Luther intimates that there is a pecking order; Satan stands at the top; he “clearly is to be identified as a prince over sin and the prince of death.” This is the specifically theological dimension; to it corresponds an anthropological aspect. As we are free, in heart and conscience, from the accusation of the Law and from the wrath of God that thereby brings its onslaught, we are free, as well, with respect to the battle against the satanic demons; for us, these have been rendered harmless, because the wrath of God no longer stands behind them.

By means of these insights, Luther deepens and personifies both the “classical theory of the atonement” of the Christus Victor model as well as Anselm’s teaching about satisfaction. By means of his hyper-realistic and drastic images of Christ’s victory over the dark comrades, sin, death and the devil, he reaches back into the tradition of the early Church and the Eastern Church and renews its emphasis on the motif of a battle that encompasses the entire earth. But because he points out, in, with and under the onslaughts of the powers of death, how Christ fully suffers the deepest, holy wrath of judgment from God that hangs over all human guilt, and inserts the Law at this point as well, into the list of the powers that effect the curse, the reformer deepens the early Church’s confession about Christus Victor by means of insights that are set forth initially by Paul: precisely by suffering the full consequences of the divine curse of judgment upon the guilt of human sin, Jesus Christ overcomes the original power of those that destroy.5

Luther – and Luther alone – has solved the problem of penalty and power, of Christus Victima and Christus Victor, and he has solved it in a single stroke: “Jesus is my Lord who has redeemed me.” In the redemption, he reversed the verdict of guilt upon which the sentence of imprisonment under the powers, our enemies, was based. Having deprived the jailers of the lawful basis of their power, their power has ceased, and Christ, not they, is our Lord. Jesus is Redeemer and Lord, or better, Redeemer-Lord.

The question of power is answered in Jesus, our Redeemer-Lord. This, like justification, is extra nos. It exists outside ourselves. It is given to us as a gift. Jesus is the Lord of grace and power. The Word of the Gospel, which reveals to us Jesus as answer to the question of guilt, at one and the same time, and in the same word, also reveals to us Jesus as answer to the question of power.

When we come to sanctification in the narrow sense, this is where we need to begin:

  • in the Second Article
  • extra nos

with Christ as Lord of power received by faith in the Word of the Gospel. We need to begin there, and then proceed into the Third Article. Anything else will be just Baskin-Robbins® 32nd flavor.

________________________

1. Albrecht Peters, Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms: Creed, (Thomas Trapp, trans.) (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), p. 106.
2. Peters, p. 107.
3. Peters, p. 148.
4. Charles P. Arand, “Luther on the Creed,” in The Pastoral Luther, Timothy J. Wengert, ed., (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), pp. 154-55.
5. Peters, pp. 161-62.

About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of LutheranCatechism.com.

Comments

Sanctification: Losing for Lack of a Lord — 44 Comments

  1. Great post TR! I didn’t think anything more could be said after your other post (Recognize Theosis) had gone on over 700 comments:) Extra nos is right on and looking back at the Second Article – Redemption is where to look. When asked about progressive sanctification on Issues,Etc., Pastor Peter Bender said, (I’m paraphrasing) “Don’t look inside yourself because that takes your eyes off Jesus”.

    Outside of ourselves, that’s where the power comes from. The explanation to the 3rd article has always been a favorite of mine. In all of the words said on your other post, I don’t remember anyone saying this –

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith…

    Extra Nos indeed! Look to Christ, our Redeemer and Lord!

    In Christ,
    Diane

  2. T.R.,

    “Holiness Movement, Pietism, Pentecostalism, Charismaticism, Moralism, Theosis, and so on. All of these movements fail because they locate a power intra nos, within ourselves. They try to make us lords over temptation and sin. These efforts are sincerely doomed. It’s a pitiful thing to watch. We are losing for lack of a lord. We never attain the lordship. The Devil, the world, the sinful self, and even the Law retain their tyranny.”

    Unfortunately, your post gets off on the wrong foot right away here. You lump theosis/deification – which is a teaching of the universal church and which no one up until recently had denied – with movements that are clearly newfangled, heterodox, and heretical.

    None of those Lutherans who are trying to draw attention to the question of theosis/deification/glorification (see II Cor. 3:18) would, of course, disagree with what you are saying here about the importance of the external word, extra nos, not looking inward for certainty of salvation, etc.

    This will be clear to anyone who reads Jordan Cooper’s excellent book on the subject.

    +Nathan

  3. @Nathan #4

    But, you are wallering off from the center of the article.

    Have we taught Luther’s idea of Christ’s power as Lord, and the removal of power from the tyrants? Do we recognize the forensic basis of Devil’s power, the world’s power, and so on? Unless we recognize that forensic condemnation made us prisonsers and forensic acquittal liberates, how can we ever expect to live liberated lives? We have disconnected the Third Article from the Second, and we treat bondage to sin as if it were a thing apart from guilt for sin. We treat Christ as Lord separately from Christ as Redeemer.

    In the rush to sanctification, we have rushed right past our weapons, and we lose the war, being disarmed.

  4. T.R.,

    “Unless we recognize that forensic condemnation made us prisonsers and forensic acquittal liberates, how can we ever expect to live liberated lives? We have disconnected the Third Article from the Second, and we treat bondage to sin as if it were a thing apart from guilt for sin. We treat Christ as Lord separately from Christ as Redeemer.

    In the rush to sanctification, we have rushed right past our weapons, and we lose the war, being disarmed.”

    Who are you talking to? Whose sermons and Bible studies are you critiquing? Are you perhaps mistaking internet debates about certain points of Christian doctrine – clearly taking place since certain things seem to be being denied – as that which all of us “sanctification folks” must be teaching to our families and congregations on a regular basis at the expense of the doctrine of justification?

    I suggest you listen to some of Pastor Cooper’s and Pastor Phillip’s actual sermons. I wish you could hear my pastor as well.

    +Nathan

  5. @Nathan #6

    Who indeed? Who said anything about Pr Cooper or Dr. Phillips? This is like the Reformed-Arminian debate, in which both of them think those two are the only ones who exist, and you act as though only Cooper-Phillips and their adversaries exist. You fail to distinguish, again, my distinct treatment of Cooper, and you act as though every article and every thread were about him. Even he doesn’t think that.

    I’ve said it before, and I repeat it here, not everyone who purportedly speaks for Pr Cooper is doing him any favors. Just subtract the word theosis from the article, and tell me, if you are Cooper’s press agent, what Cooper thinks of this article.

  6. T.R.,

    Fair enough. I apologize for thinking that you specifically had Pastor Cooper in mind when you wrote “theosis”. That is a sincere and not snarky apology.

    Why include it in your scarey list though? All those other things are fully recognized by good Lutherans as bad things. While some may have understandings of theosis that are bad, you do not do confessional Lutherans a service when you use the word in such a way as if it does not have a legitimate use in Christ’s church.

    The church that is in continuity with the one holy, catholic and apostolic church will have room for the concept of theosis, full stop.

    +Nathan

  7. @Nathan #9

    Thanks.

    What do you think of the idea of showing the Christian his weapons in the Second Article?

    Are we able to agree what weapons are available to the Christian in the Second Article?

    [Of course, they are not really in the Second Article. They are in Christ, but it is the Second Article that treats of them.]

  8. TR,

    The forensic liberation from sin is the blessed fact to which our faith returns again and again after experiences that seem to prove the opposite. But as Luther says in the passage to which you are referring, our hope lies not only in the promise of righteousness extra nos (“who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil”) but also the promise of righteousness in nobis: “that I may be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead…”). And this is something that begins in this life, as he clearly teaches elsewhere in the Catechism. I’m thinking right now of this part: “God’s Kingdom comes when our Heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.

  9. TR,

    Everlasting righteousness, innocence, blessedness, and life? Are you asking how those things are in us?

  10. @Eric Phillips #16

    You are quoting the diction without the grammar.

    “live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead”

    Me living under him is not in nobis, is it? Me serving him is not in nobis, is it?

  11. If I’m truly serving Him in righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, all the days of an eternal life, it certainly is.

  12. TR,

    There is no gloss whatsoever. Luther says we will serve God “in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.”

    Egad, man, you don’t think that in the eternal state our righteousness will just be forensic? That we’ll visit the Throne Room every morning to be absolved of all the bad stuff we did the day before?

  13. TR,

    You must be playing with me.

    I refer to two quotations from the SC in that post. The first one establishes in nobis, and the second one establishes that the godly life we live in eternity is a continuation of the godly life we live here. What you’ve done in your last two posts is inform me that the first one doesn’t explicitly mention earthly life and the second one isn’t obviously in nobis. Next you will tell me that I can’t use my hammer to butter my bread, or my butter knife to drive nails. That’s why I have a hammer and a butter knife, and why I put them back-to-back in the same post.

  14. @Nathan #28

    Welcome to the “imputation-only world”…. where no Lutheran has gone before.

    A tad premature, won’t you admit?

    This article says we need to back up two steps, and one of those is back to the Second Article. ” We need to begin there, and then proceed into the Third Article.” What happens when we do proceed to the Third Article was not the vocation of this article.

    Are you denying that it is helpful for our sanctification to receive the full help of Christ as it is revealed in the Second Article before trying to live a sanctified life? Do you claim that theosis which is found neither in the Second Article nor the Third Article is a better power than the powers that actually are found in the the two articles? People are in search of a power because they missed the power that was proclaimed as being part of the work of Christ.

    Look at the photo, the prison door swung open. Is that imputation only? Want to live a sanctified life? Take a look at your prison doors. Imputaton swung those doors open.

    Let’s get that in our heads and then proceed into the Third Article. In that way, we have more than imputation in the person and work of Christ before we even reach the Third Article, whereas the opposite procedure has the tendency to leave both the imputation and the swung open prison doors behind during a search for something else.

    If you are going to persist in claiming this is imputaton only, then you are refusing to engage the article for what it actually says. You’re not answering. You’re just erasing.

  15. T. R. Halvorson :
    That’s in nobis? How?

    T.R., I enjoyed reading your article above. Thank you for directing us back to where the freedom from sin’s condemnation and the power to do what the law requires come from — not from the law, but from the gospel! Well put. We always need to hear that time and again.

    And I think, the folks that are engaging you here as well as on the Theosis thread have done a good job assuring all that this is indeed the basis for our new lives as Christians, as it is the solid foundation on which we stand before God’s judgment seat both now and on the last day. All other ground is sinking sand, as the hymn rightly says.

    I distinctly remember quoting from Luther’s book on the councils and the church a passage where Luther affirms that Christ not only earned the forgiveness of sins for us but also the power for the cessation of sin in us. I think Trent quoted the same passage earlier as well.

    So far, so great! All Lutherans should be able to agree on this. I certainly do: Yes and amen. And as far as I followed the theosis thread, who denied it?

    However, my question is: is there not now happening also “in us” something new after coming to faith? Is our new life, the one we live in the power of baptism in obedience to our Redeemer-Lord, the thing Dr. Phillips was referring to on the basis of the Small Catechism — is that not begun “in us”?

    In fact, since faith happens “in us” (not by our own powers, of course!), is not the Spirit’s kindling of faith in us as such already also the beginning of that change and renewal “in us,” a new will that doesn’t hate what God says and does (like the old Adam, the flesh, in us continues to do!) but that says yes and amen to God’s word in law and gospel, humbly receives the salvation the gospel gives, and by this very act of receiving gives the greatest glory and worship to God that can possibly be given to him?

    In the Large Catechism, Luther wrote (II, 53, 57-58):

    Until the last day the Holy Spirit remains with the holy community or Christian people. Through it he gathers us, using it to teach and preach the Word. By it he creates and increases sanctification, causing it daily to grow and become strong in the faith and in the fruits of the Spirit [cf. Gal. 5:22-23!] … Meanwhile, since holiness has begun and is growing daily, we await the time when our flesh will be put to death, will be buried with all its uncleanness, and will come forth gloriously and arise to complete and perfect holiness in a new, eternal life. Now we are only halfway pure and holy. The Holy Spirit must continue to work in us through the Word, daily granting forgiveness until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness. In that life are only perfectly pure and holy people, full of goodness and righteousness, completely freed from sin, death, and all evil, living in new, immortal and glorified bodies.

    I suggest, just as I did already on the theosis thread, that this is referring, not to the imputed holiness of Christ (it is perfect and not “growing daily”), but to the holiness effected by the Holy Spirit “in us” by the word of forgiveness, which, as Luther said (see reference above), brings not only forgiveness of sins but also the power to stop sinning more and more and displaying more of those fruits of the Spirit in our lives (“in us”) Luther referenced there.

    And, as Dr. Phillips pointed out to you, this growing holiness in us will be perfected first in heaven, as Luther vividly describes in the quote above.

    By the way, we really can’t start with the second article “just like that.” We have no direct access to the work of redemption or Christ so that we could start there apart from the Holy Spirit’s work via the external means of grace, that is, the third article. We come to the second through the third. There is no other way about it. Everything else would be plain old enthusiasm that is the predominant religion outside of Lutheranism, as you, I’m sure, are aware based on your experiences “out there.”

    Luther says this in the Large Catechism (II, 38, 61-62):

    Neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe in him and take him as our Lord, unless these were first offered to us and bestowed on our hearts through the preaching of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit. The work is finished and completed, Christ has acquired and won the treasure for us by his sufferings, death, and resurrection, etc. But if the work remained hidden and no one knew of it, it would have been all in vain, all lost. In order that this treasure might not be buried but put to use and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to be published and proclaimed, in which he has given the Holy Spirit to offer and apply to us this treasure of salvation. … This, then, is the article which must always remain in force. Creation is past and redemption is accomplished, but the Holy Spirit carries on his work unceasingly until the last day. For this purpose he has appointed a community on earth, through which he speaks and does all his work. For he has not yet gathered together all his Christian people, nor has he completed the granting of forgiveness. Therefore we believe in him who daily brings us into this community through the Word, and imparts, increases, and strengthens faith through the same Word and the forgiveness of sins. Then when his work has been finished and we abide in it, having died to the world and all evil, he will finally make us perfectly and eternally holy. We now wait in faith for this to be accomplished through the Word.

    While the gospel shares Christ and what he has won for us in his life and death, it is the present-tense work of the Holy Spirit to share it with us and the whole world until this world is done for. We come to Christ by the work of his Spirit, to the second article through the third, where all the means of grace belong, cf. John 16:14.

  16. TR,

    Your thesis was that all of Christ’s work is summarized under the heading “Redeemer-Lord.” Glorification is half of Christ’s work.

    As Arand said in one of your quotations, “Having routed the jailors and tyrants, Christ frees us, takes us as his own possession, and takes us home to his kingdom were we live in everlasting innocence, blessedness, and righteousness.” Don’t tell me your article isn’t about glorification.

  17. T.R.

    When we come to faith in Christ it is a gift of the Holy Spirit (3rd article, as Pastor Sonntag say). He convict us of our sin (John 16:8 – see FC V where this passage is a staple) and brings us to Christ. We can even – and should even – say that both faith and repentance are given as gifts to us…

    God works faith in us in His call, on which basis He declares us justified. But must the listener be urged to have faith? Must faith even be mentioned? No, not necessarily. In fact, it is certainly conceivable that in particular pastoral circumstances it would be best if it is not mentioned – as Walther said, a starving man does not need to be told to eat.

    This is the glory of the doctrine of justification. This is the ground, basis, and fuel for the Christian life. The Gospel is for failing Christians and not just unbelievers coming to faith the first time. We are people who rightly uphold Romans 7 – even as we dare not ignore the wider context of the book (chapters 8, and 12-up, I think of specifically).

    So again – no one is denying this. People come to faith and remain in faith by the means of grace that God uses to for his people. Amen and amen and amen. By the way, when I get a chance to talk about anything I want from the Bible with a mixed crowd of believers and unbelievers, here is what I do, here is what I talk about: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/why-does-god-come-to-us-in-bread-and-wine/

    I bet you’d like that. I bet all these “sanctification guys” would probably, in general, default to something like that as well.

    Maybe my statement was premature. Show me it was not. Show me that you, along with me, can affirm what I say above as well as the things Dr. Sonntag and Dr. Phillips have just said.

    +Nathan

  18. @Eric Phillips #34

    It often happens that extended block quotes touch on things not down the strike zone of the article in which they are used. I doubt there are many authors who would want applied to them the principle you applied to me, if it was a principle and not sheer ad hoc opportunism

  19. TR,

    You can’t talk about being rescued from death without talking about eternal life, because that’s what rescue from death is. And when you talk about being rescued from sin, you can’t talk about being rescued only from the guilt of sin, and leave out the power. Especially not when the point of your whole post is that the Second Article deals with the question of power in the Christian life. How does it do this? By not stopping at the forensic aspect! Luther goes all the way, including glorification, right there in the Second Article. Otherwise, “Redeemer-Lord” would not actually have been a good solution to the catechetical problem of how to talk about all of salvation under the heading “Lord.”

  20. @Eric Phillips #38

    By fast forwarding to glorification, you are wasting the power for sanctification. Chew and taste food before swallowing.

    Also your current comments don’t run to in nobis.

    As a general observation, your comments don’t track the ones you are answering, and your later comments don’t track your own earlier ones.

    Sure, the Second Article covers deliverance from death. But must an article go into everything covered by the Second Article? Can’t there be multiple articles, each having a focus, and not becoming diffuse compendia? Diffusion has caused us to pass over a vitally useful focus that exists in Luther’s explanation. Your rush to glorification to support sanctification actually is undermining sanctification by failing to exploit the power offered by Christ for the here and now. You seem to think that the project of my writing is to deny that sanctification exists, when the patent purport of the article is that we are losing at sanctification when we wouldn’t have to be. Why don’t you want an alliance in sanctification with whoever you can get one with. Is it theosis or nothing, even if the offered alternatives support sanctification as well or better than theosis does.

  21. @Nathan #39
    True, but only as a tautology.

    Because you don’t see the prison door open, therefore you don’t see the prison door open, therefore, if I say the prison door is open, I have said nothing, and have not said “Amen” to what you want me to say “Amen” to.

    It is easy to exclude me from your closed system.

  22. T.R.,

    I am not sure what you are talking about. You seem to be completely misreading me. Yes, the prison door is open – I like what you say here (in a Luther movie, I believe a student asks Dr. Luther whether what he is saying means people are just free to sin. Luther asks the student a pertinent question in response: what kind of tree do you want to be….?). The Christian needs to continually here the message you proclaim here throughout their Christian life.

    I basically agree with your article (re-reading this thread and your question to me in #10, it seems that was not clear to you before – I thought what I said in #4 was sufficient) – again, I don’t think it “hits” me or any of the “sanctification preaching” crowd. I think Dr. Phillips and Dr. Sonntag would agree. Again -agreement!: with the exception, again, of your placing the term “theosis” with those other bad terms (the correct theosis does not locate the power for living in the Christian per se, but in Christ, who yes, gets in and stays in the Christians but comes to us from the outside – a message we need to keep hearing…).

    So, let’s be clear: you have not agreed with me here about the impropriety of your placing theosis with the bad crowd.

    So, again – we do have agreement. But, as I said to Pastor Rossow earlier, the problem with a lot of modern confessional Lutheran theology is not what is said, but what is not said. What some refuse to say.

    So what do you think of my article (if you would be so kind to engage me on it as well)? Do you have any issues with it? What is wrong with it? Do you think that if a person agrees with my article he must necessarily disagree with your article, and if so, why specifically?

    +Nathan

  23. T.R.,

    I’ll let you have the last word on this thread (need to focus on other things now). God’s blessings to you.

    Pastor Rossow,

    Thanks to you again for the open forum that is BJS. Kudos to you for the free interaction you have here. Glad to be in your house.

    +Nathan

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