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  1. Duane Arnold says:

    February 2
    The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple
    Candlemas

    “Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    BCP

  2. John 20:29 says:

    A lovely prayer off of the infant Jesus’ presentation at the temple…. my son was circumcised by my orthodox Jewish obstetrician – for some reason that always seemed appropriate to me…
    BTW … Why are these events marked by “feasts?” If i may ask….

  3. Jean says:

    I am not Catholic, but I grieve for my Catholic brothers and sisters in China. Christ and His Church bow before no earthly king!

    “Reuters said that the agreement between the Vatican and Beijing, which would pave the way for diplomatic relations, would be announced within “a few months.” Under the terms of the agreement, the Vatican would reportedly have some control over the appointment of new bishops, but the government-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association would also play a major role; the details of the appointment process were not disclosed.”

    https://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=35305

  4. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, that is strange… I’ve heard that some are not too sure of this present pope…

  5. Jean says:

    Em,

    I think it’s characteristic of the pragmatism of the present age. But I’ve never seen God grade on the curve. He is holy period. He shares His glory with no other period.

    A Bishop cannot serve two masters period.

  6. descended says:

    Jean
    absolutely right. God is not a pragmatist. Satan is. Machiavelli was.

  7. Jean says:

    Mach – a – hoey?

    Can you keep this discussion at an Iowa comprehension level please?

  8. John 20:29 says:

    Pragmatism is the easy out, isnt it? I thank and praise. God for His grace, but He never compromises His holy attributes to give it… amen Jean and descended – amen

    A study on the character of God (what we can know of it) is something that isnt given much thought it seems to me… Yes we grasp the horror of a man nailed to a log and hung there to die, helpless and naked… but, in light of God’s character, if we really got close to grasping what happened, wouldnt we – like the old spiritual expresses, wouldnt we tremble? The earth, itself, did that day…

    This morning i was reading of Jesus’ prayer to the Father the night before – his plea for another way… seems strange … Grace and holiness – pragmatism and compromise… hmmm… I need to think on it more than i have

  9. JD says:

    Jean,
    I love Iowa. My parents moved to SoCali from there in ’46, and I spent lots of time there during my formative years doing farm work for various relatives and staying with grandma and grandpa on both sides of the family. My wife and I last visited in 1992 when my niece was a baby.

  10. Jean says:

    What is the Original Evangelical Worship:

    “When Luther was near the end of his life and he was preaching some of his final sermons, he was invited to come to the city of Torgau in Germany, in 1544, and there he gave a famous sermon at the opening of the new church in Torgau.

    At least in Germany, this was the first new church built since the start of the Reformation. (we would call it a mission start), and when they were just beginning this new church, they decided to call old Luther to come and preach. And they had no idea how to install a new church. How do you do this when you’re an evangelical?

    They knew how to do it in the old Catholic way, in the Catholic way, that is, you used what is called the aspergillum and the censor. The aspergillum was the branch that you would put into the water of baptism and then you would spinkle it to make something holy. So with the censor, you would come and with the smoke you would make the place holy.

    And so, when Luther came to preach, he referred to this, the apergillum and the censor and he asked: What do we do now that we preach the Gospel and how is it that we will worship in this place? What will make something holy?

    Not the aspergillum and the censor, but there is only one thing that should happen in this place, in this church: God should speak, and you will hear.

    This is our evangelical worship: God will speak, and you will hear.

    People everywhere are carrying great burdens and suffering. More than you will ever know. They need a place to go, not just to talk about their troubles, but to actually hear their Lord speak to them. Not just words that come from the past, but words that are given right here and now in the present, so that they know precisely what their Lord thinks of them.”

    – Steven Paulson

  11. JoelG says:

    Cool JD! My grandparents had a farm in Waterloo but had to sell and move out to Seattle for work back in the 50’s. I don’t think my grandpa ever got over that.

    Good stuff Jean, thank you.

  12. Xenia says:

    Em, they are called “feast days” because we have feasts on these days, depending on how the Saint or Event pertains to our parish or to us, personally. My friend Xenia and I sometimes go out to a nice dinner on the Feast of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. Our parish of St. Seraphim has a big to-do with bishops and a genuine feast on the feast day of St. Seraphim. Easter, Christmas and Palm Sunday are also the occasion for nice parish meals that certainly could be called feasts. There are hundreds of Saints so obviously our parish doesn’t celebrate them all, just a few.

    Hope that helps.

  13. Xenia says:

    There are 12 major feast days on the calendar. Some we celebrate as a parish, some we are left to our own devices. On Dormition, Transfiguration, Presentation, and others my husband and I usually go to Liturgy and then have a nice restaurant meal afterwards.

    My old parish in the mountains had a wonderful custom for Theophany (Baptism of Christ in the Jordan). Directly after the Liturgy we would form a procession with banners, crosses and candles and march through the little mountain town to the covered bridge over the river. The priest would bless the waters of the river and then throw in a cross. The boys of the parish would jump in the very cold water and the one who retrieved the cross got a basket of goodies. After this, the people of the parish would gather at four or five houses in the area (predetermined by geography), eat a big meal, and then travel from house to house for house blessings, singing the Theophany hymn (“When Thou was baptized in the Jordan O Lord, the Trinity was revealed. And the Spirit, in the form of a Dove……)

    On Transfiguration the parish would climb a local mountain and have a small service at the top, then a picnic.

    Christian holidays (holy days) are the best!

  14. John 20:29 says:

    thank you, Xenia for answering my question on feasting 🙂

  15. John 20:29 says:

    Axle the 18+ year old cat is actively dying today – prayers for my daughter who loves him appreciated this weekend – we hope his little heart just stops rather than an episode of heart failure which is grim for an animal, i guess and vets are closed on weekends here
    interesting behavior, he knows better than to ever curl up on my spot on the couch – that is where i, the cat tolerator, find him now

    it’s sunny here today, i’m going to let sleeping cats lie and i’m going out and get water to some horses – the ones who saved my daughter’s life years ago… thank You, God for the animals – the good ones

  16. Michael says:

    Praying for Axle and your daughter…may our Lord bring him home in peace with those he loves.

  17. Jean says:

    Em,

    To add to what Xenia mentioned regarding feasts,

    You get the sense of a feast or festival in Leviticus 23.

    A feast is an appointed meeting, a holy convocation.

    In the Church, we honor the Sabbath both literally when we physically rest, but also when we gather together at appointed times in a holy convocation to hear God’s Word and worship Him.

    During the past couple of months, at my congregation, we have been singing canticle entitled: This is the Feast of Victory for our God. It’s a lovely song drawn from Revelation V.

    Check out the lyrics:

    http://cantusmundi.blogspot.com/2010/04/this-is-feast-of-victory.html

  18. Jean says:

    Old Time Religion:

    When the Gospel was really good news:

    “for God is superabundantly rich in His grace. First, through the spoken Word by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world; which is the peculiar office of the Gospel. Secondly, through Baptism. Thirdly, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourthly, through the power of the keys, and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, Matt. 18:20: Where two or three are gathered together, etc.”

    – Martin Luther, SA, Part III, Article IV. Of the Gospel.

  19. John 20:29 says:

    Thank you so much, Michael… I’ll tell my daughter – she just came in from a long day at the hospital …. she says, “ahh, tell him ‘thank you.” she didn’t want Axle to pass when she wasnt here with him. She brought him a tiny $3 tin of cat food and he ate a couple bites….
    Needless to say, we are lifting you up in prayer always…. still asking for healing miracles, too

    Thank you also, Jean for more info on the tradition of feasting… do you sing in the choir?

  20. John 20:29 says:

    Okay, if this is an evangelical doctrine, there is trouble – the end is near indeed
    I sat down to enjoy my Sunday morning edification with the late Adrian Rogers and the station (CTN?) had prempted Love Worth Finding for a Christian Super Bowl special
    SAY WHAT ? ? ? 😱

  21. Jean says:

    Graspable God

    “Baptism is not a metaphor or image used by the church for some other purpose than forgiveness of sin. It is an act that gives Christ’s promise to a sinner who needs forgiveness. Baptism forgives by killing and making alive through the word proclaimed to sinners. It kills not metaphorically but really. It does not kill only my lower parts, letting me preserve my imago dei. It kills all of me, even the highest parts. It gives then the Holy Spirit, who creates us anew, giving new life. That life trusts Christ and his righteousness, not one’s own righteousness, and so finds itself pleasing to God on account of Christ. We can conclude, therefore, that baptism equals justification…Baptism saves.”

    — Dr. Steven Paulson, Graspable God

    Wonderful article. Read it here:

    https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/…/32-1_Water/32-1_Paulson.pdf

  22. John 20:29 says:

    Of course there are many of us who have problems with Dr. Paulson’s declaration posted by Jean…
    but that is known by most all who come here… and for many reasonable reasons all of which are explained away by those who hold to the above – we all agree that “by the grace are we saved through faith and that it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast…”
    and then we proceed to unpack that truth according to what melds with our interpretations of doctrines….

    It is so incredibly gorgeous up here in the mountains today, i wish i could share it with all… So many hurting folk need warm sunshine glimmering on wet evergreens that wave the diamond droplets just enough to create a shimmer in the light, cool breeze, making the air feel fresh, like you are the first person to ever have felt it or inhaled it
    God keep all close and comforted this day – no matter who loses the S.Bowl

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – I like the statement by Paulson. Unlike Em, I do not believe that our own private interpretation plays any role.

  24. Jean says:

    MLD, you were a Baptist or CC for many years. I don’t understand the passion of many evangelical Christians against Baptism.

    It’s not as though it is one or two verses, but literally over a dozen clear verses in multiple NT books, which credit Baptism as a means of grace, that is as the means by which God bestows grace on sinners.

    I don’t get why anyone would want to go against so many witnesses in the Scriptures. And the odd thing is that nobody gets worked up against the Old Testament means of grace. I haven’t heard anyone yet say the sprinkling of blood on the door posts of the Israelites in Egypt was symbolic, or the bronze serpent in the Wilderness, or the Ark by which 8 were saved in the flood, or any number of other means by which God used.

    What happened to Christian hermaneutics?

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    At the time of the reformation, the Anabaptists were one whacky bunch and to gain notoriety, they denied the efficacy of baptism – even for adults.They not only forbade the baptism of babies, they required all to be re-baptized – not unto salvation, but to be able to claim – “this one is for you God!”
    It has gained great ground here in North America.

  26. Michael says:

    This is getting old and I’m putting a stop to it forever right now.

    Those who do not hold to baptismal regeneration have every bit as excellent scholarship and hermeneutics as those who do.

    This attitude of spiritual superiority over disputed doctrines ends now…it’s dishonest and misleading to pretend that everybody on another side of a doctrinal dispute of this nature haven’t wrestled with the text just as my side has.

    Respectful debate is always welcome…assuming that the opposition are Bible denying dunces ends now.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – what was being debated was the claim that we are all entitled to our own private interpretations. Anyone would have a hard time finding that one in the Bible.

  28. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The ability to privately interpret the scriptures is a Protestant foundation stone.

    In this case , the persons has clearly stated in the past what her roots and influences were.

    In any case, I find Em to be a wonderful example of a person persevering in the love and faith of Christ regardless of our theological differences.

  29. Michael says:

    In the future, feel free to state whatever your sect believes…but do it without insulting the rest of Christendom.

    Period.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I have always been partial to this verse – Ezekiel 36:25-27
    ” I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

    The salvation process does not even begin until baptism takes place (now I didn’t say that – Ezekiel did.

    If private interpretation was a protestant foundation, why did Luther and other reformers take issue with other reformer’s “private interpretations”? People were burned at the stake for their private interpretations.

    Hey, back to my Law & Order SVU marathon

  31. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Honest question: If excellent scholarship denies that Baptism bestows the remission of sins and the new birth, then what object sign are Christians given by which they may know that they are saved? If there is no objective sign, then how do we know we are saved? To me this is a soul care matter of great importance.

  32. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I understand the Lutheran position.

    I also understand other positions and know full well that their exegesis is every bit as good as the Lutherans.

    I’m a pastor…I don’t just play one on the internet.

    I’ve buried people who died in full assurance of their Lord without believing in baptismal regeneration.

    The doctrine agrees with you and brings you comfort and I’m glad it does.

    That doesn’t mean it applies universally…

  33. The New Victor says:

    Given there was a baptism in church today, I was having this very conversation. S8 told D5, “you don’t need to get baptized, you already were!” As a baby in the RCC. I talked to another parishioner, who said, “do you think it’s necessary for salvation?” He gave the usual examples, to which MLD once replied to me, “the thief on the cross was under the old covenant.” Were not even the patriarchs justified by faith? Isn’t faith the only covenant, per the first verse we had to memorize in Lutheran school, Romans 4:5.

    If, as MLD said a few months ago, baptizing babies in some third world village saves, then why preach the Gospel? When my nurse mother, at the time from a Dutch reformed background, baptized often still moving babies in the medical waste bins in the abortion clinic, I guess she thought so.

    I’d disagree that the blood on the lintels, the Ark, or Abraham’s almost sacrifice of Isaac weren’t also symbolic. What God demands is obedience, and obedience follows faith… in what God says.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    First I would never say that baptism happens void of preaching. Baptism is the word of God mixed with water.
    But let’s talk about faith. Do we muster up our own faith or is faith delivered to us?
    So is faith comes by hearing symbolic? Does God’s word have the power in it’s own promise or is that just symbolic of our own obedience?By the way, if our salvation is dependent on our obedience, is anyone saved?

  35. Jean says:

    New Victor,

    “If, as MLD said a few months ago, baptizing babies in some third world village saves, then why preach the Gospel?” (1) If the Gospel wasn’t preached how would anyone give their baby to be baptized? (2) If you read the verses in the NT regarding Baptism, wouldn’t you agree that it is the Gospel, and it comes with a word, which means it is the Gospel.

    “Isn’t faith the only covenant…?” Faith is not a covenant; it is a means of entering the new covenant people of God.. And faith vs. Baptism is a false dichotomy.

    When Saul received his sight back, what did Ananias tell him: “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” Notice that connected to the physical element (i.e., water) is the word of Gospel “wash away your sins.” So, you have both the physical element and the Gospel delivered in Baptism. Can I get an amen?

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, your Paul passage in Acts 22 is consistent with the words I quoted above as Ezekiel spoke to the church.

    A good work for some here would be to look further into the topic of baptism. There are something like 212 references to baptism in the Bible (OT & NT). Many are kind of neutral with just the mention – but far more actually tie baptism to salvation, by direct teaching or implication. Nowhere in the Bible will you find a “baptism” passage state baptism does not save.

  37. Jean says:

    The new covenant was a one way covenant made by Jesus by his blood. Those who are sprinkled with his blood are cleansed of their sin and made children of God. The “means of grace” are how Jesus sprinkles sinners with His shed blood to save them from their sins. The means consist of (1) Baptism; (2) the office of the keys; (3) the preaching of the Gospel; and (4) Holy Communion. In each one of these means the remission of sins in promised. All of God’s promises are apprehended by faith.

  38. The New Victor says:

    “Nowhere in the Bible will you find a “baptism” passage state baptism does not save.”

    Conversely, is there a passage where one is not saved without baptism?

    My personal point isn’t to impugn baptism, but how to explain to my kids that either they don’t need to be rebaptized, and if they do, does is mock God? I’m coming from the point of view that they were baptized according the the word in the RCC, as I think MLD agreed in another thread.

  39. Michael says:

    Victor,
    They don’t need re baptized, but God isn’t going to smite them if they choose to be.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Victor, I agree that if your kids received a Trinitarian baptism they do not need to be rebaptized.
    I do believe rebaptism makes a mockery of God’s salvation.

  41. John 20:29 says:

    I appreciate Michael’s affirmation of my persevering… I do not apprecuate the inaccurate statement that those who do not see baptism as salvific are exercising “private interpretation” …

    It should be obvious to even a casual observer that mainline Christianity does not approach Scripture – God given words – without a reverent desire to understand what God reveals to us and requires of us… I keep to myself what i think of what motivates some of the critics here… God knows hearts, i dont

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    While I personally hold to both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration, one should be intellectually honest and say that this is a “developed doctrine” of the Church. There is no “proof positive” of infant baptism as a universal normative practice in the early Church, while there is a great deal of evidence for adult or “believer baptism”, both archeologically and in the writings of the early Church Fathers.

    In any case, I return to Augustine. It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the despising of baptism. I’ve heard no one here despising baptism. As Michael said, there are perfectly sound exegetical proponents for another view.

    If one wishes to read the 16th century into the first century, well and good… but it is a poor argument.

  43. Jean says:

    Here is a good example of the assurance that Baptism bestows:

    “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

  44. Jean says:

    “If one wishes to read the 16th century into the first century, well and good… but it is a poor argument.”

    Duane are you talking about the anabaptists or Zwinglians? Otherwise, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  45. John 20:29 says:

    Repent and be baptized was an instruction given to the generations – i see no reason why a child could not request a baptism upon his affirmation of Faith – repentance precedes baptism and one cannot repent for their child… Is there a Scripture that teaches us that God has grandchildren? I dont think so .. each of us must individually apply for our own adoption into the family of God….
    will the infants brought by their parents to be baptized, raised in the Faith and never in their lives leaving the Faith be okay? I hope so…. it seems reasonable to me, but God knows, i dont

  46. The New Victor says:

    @40 Micheal, this is where I lean.,

    @41 MLD, this is where I worry.

    When I was likely rebaptized at 12, I had no knowledge of my likely infant baptism. My mother later shared with me my family of origin and that they were Lutherans.

    With The Law, knowledge of sin follows. I’ve told S8 he and his sister were baptized as infants. So he has knowledge. I posit that me at 12 being baptized in the American River that did not mock God (how could I have?).

  47. Michael says:

    The New Victor,

    I rebaptized someone for their peace of mind once.

    I was well aware that it wasn’t necessary, and made them aware as well.

    On the other hand, I believe that God gave us the sacraments for our benefit, not His…and if it helps someone to grow in their walk with Him, I think it a good thing.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, the only position I see of attempting the joining16th century to the first is the Anabaptist denial of the efficacy of baptism, the denial of infant baptism and the requirement for rebaptism. The other reformers joined with the RCC and EO.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, what peace of mind did you give that person?

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Victor, obviously if you did not know, you did not know.
    But let me ask this, if before your 12 year old baptism if you had asked your mom and she told you of your earlier baptism would you have gone through the re baptism?

  51. The New Victor says:

    Thanks Michael.

    My church friend told me that he forbade his younger daughter from being baptized at the same age her older sister was… because she just wanted to do it at the same age.

    I do think kids should go through some kind of confirmation before receiving communion. Last month, D5 grabbed the cracker like a snack. Mom was holding her. The next time, I made sure to hold her and talk about how this was the body and blood of Jesus. I’m limited being in a spit household. I do the best I can. I want to do the right thing.

  52. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The person has been baptized as an infant and felt very deeply the need to be baptized as an adult believer.

    There’s a point where pastoral wisdom overrides theological arguments…and that person believes they did the right thing according to their conscience.

    I’m good with that.

  53. Michael says:

    One of the reasons I love Anglicanism is that I’m free to make decisions based on pastoral considerations as our confession is broad enough to encompass all of orthodoxy.

    If parents want their infants baptized I’ll do so.
    If they want to wait until the child makes a profession of faith, I’ll bless that too.

    I’m also thankful that God isn’t waiting in the weeds for use to make a doctrinal or ritual mistake so as to smite us…and that He took all the smiting on Himself.

    I think Lutheranism has a healthy psychological tool in the rubric to “remember your baptism”.

    When I remember my baptism, I remember being baptized in a river in the middle of winter and immediately getting pneumonia.

    Small assurance in that…

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, first let me place the required disclaimer – my sect believes the following.

    You say ” repentance precedes baptism and one cannot repent for their child…” This again is a major difference we have with others —- the thought that we repent ourselves. This is not so – God repents us – therefore it is God through the act of baptism who repents the infant – saying, “this ine is mine.”
    The totality of salvation is made up of 4 parts – all performed by God – (1) Repentance (2) Justification (3) Sanctification and (4) Glorification. In many circles of American Christianity it is like a tag team effort with us and God. “God, you take the justification and glorification and I will handle repentance and sanctification (with your assistance of course).

    So back to the repentance and baptism part I would look at it this way – it is not that repentance precedes baptism, the repent and the be baptized are one action – God repents you and God baptizes you. It is more like “(Repent and be baptized) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Again, Ezekiel 36 makes baptism a total God thing.

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    “God repents you”.

    What is your definition of “repent”?

  56. Xenia says:

    The Orthodox definition of repentance, which does not agree with MLD’s:

    “Repentance is the feeling and act in which one recognizes and tries to right a wrong, or gain forgiveness from someone whom he wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to repenting for a sin against God. It always includes an admission of guilt, and also includes at least one of the following:

    -a solemn promise or resolve not to repeat the offense;
    -an attempt to make restitution for the wrong,
    or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

    (from the Orthodox Wiki: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Repentance for the rest of the article.)
    ____

    So you can see that it is us doing the repenting and God accepting it. A baby cannot repent of sins but is baptized into the family of God and made a Christian. His confessions and repentences come later, when he is old enough to understand.

    God does not “repent us.” We repent, God responds.

  57. Xenia says:

    We repent; God forgives.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “What is your definition of “repent”?”
    To be turned in a different direction — that none of us would do on our own.

    I look at it like the John 3 passage “you must be born again”
    So is it that I follow God’s command and go out and “born again” myself or does God do the “born againing?”
    God turns us, God justifies us, God sanctifies us, God glorifies us – God born agains us.

  59. Jean says:

    I’m not sure that Xenia’s definition is too far from MLD’s, but the difference may be in that MLD uses the term in a narrow sense, whereas Xenia uses the term in a broad sense which also includes the process of reconciliation.

    The key point of convergence is here: From Xenia’s definition: “Repentance is the feeling and act in which one recognizes…”

    This is the metanoeo; to change one’s mind.

    MLD’s point is that it is God’s Word of Law which accuses the conscience and works the change of mind in the sinner.

    Without the Word, Paul says: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Therefore, we credit God with working repentance.

    From the change of mind, the Christian should certainly attempt the reconciliation steps outlined by Xenia where possible and appropriate.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think we see in Lamentations 5:21 just how God continually works in the process of repentance.
    You can look us various translations – there are many but the basic lowdown is ‘turn us Lord so that we may be turned…” I think we see this concept through scripture.

    http://biblehub.com/lamentations/5-21.htm

    And we must remember that it was God who first repented from just killing us. 🙂

  61. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – is there then any human element in repentance? Is there a prerequisite of any sort, or does God just change whoever He wants, the human just and unconscious participant?

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I don’t know how it works, what it looks like or how it feels. I would just say that the human participation is the same one has in their own justification and or glorification. Whatever number you put on those, I guess you can put on the repentance part.

    Perhaps the human participation is when we stop fighting what God is trying to do.

  63. Josh the Baptist says:

    Would you then say God stopped them from fighting?

  64. Michael says:

    I find the Lutheran position odd, especially because I have a Calvinist background.

    In Calvinism, God is the actor in regeneration, but He also is the actor in perseverance, finishing the work He starts.
    In Lutheranism, God is the actor in regeneration,but then leaves it up to the person to continue in faith…

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God does have a way of wearing people down into submission – doesn’t he?

    But why don’t you give me the numbers. What percentage is you in repentance and what percentage is God. Is it all us and then God receives the gift (repentance) we give him?

  66. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just asking questions to help me understand.

  67. Jean says:

    Michael,
    “In Lutheranism, God is the actor in regeneration,but then leaves it up to the person to continue in faith…”

    LOL!

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    You would need an understanding of the proper distinction of law and gospel to ‘get it’.

    So you told us what Calvinists believe and what Lutherans believe – what is the Anglican official position?

  69. Michael says:

    MLD,

    As with many things, there is no official Anglican position.
    There are Reformed Anglicans and Anglo Catholics and everything in between.

  70. Xenia says:

    Jean @ 60

    Well no. I think my disagreement with MLD (and maybe you) is that my theology is synergistic whereas Lutheranism (and some other groups) are monergistic. The difference between the two ways of thinking about God is significant..

  71. John 20:29 says:

    #55 – i appreciate your comments on repentence… from where i sit what your tribe terms ‘repent’ (im sure it comes from scholarly study of our earliest manuscripts) i would term convict (a conclusion reached by comparable study by the teachers of my tribe).. Do we agree that God searches hearts? I think we do agree that far…
    And i would agree that it is God that works in us both to will and to do what pleases Him… But by this time we’ve parted company on the mechanics… and personal responsibility…. sigh… I think the Lutherans are wrong headed, children of God – just as they do me, but it does seem that some Lutherans i have met are not too sure of my salvation, let alone my eternal destination… I think that is dangerous ground for a Believer to walk
    It is, after all, all of God, eh? 👼

  72. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m glad you’re finding amusement this morning.

    Why don’t you show me the error in my understanding?

  73. SJ says:

    Just a casual reader here….

    About a month ago hours and hours of reading within several hundred posts where opposing view points were provided by Long, Em, Michael, Duane and Josh among others to MLDs and Jeans positions. Jean stated can we stop the Lutheran bashing? Why again this….ad nauseum…..

    Oh the humanity!
    -Newman from Seinfeld, Circa 1991

  74. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I’m quite confident you know what you did in #65. I was laughing with you, not at you.

    Were we to delve into the bare words of Scripture 🙂 , the laughing might stop. So, let’s enjoy the weather.

  75. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I wasn’t aware I had “done” anything.

    I’m simply pointing out that in your theology salvation is monergistic and perseverance is synergistic.
    That makes no sense to me, but that doesn’t mean much…

  76. Michael says:

    SJ,

    I’ve been told that we’re way too Lutheran friendly…
    Lutherans are very dogmatic (the same would be the case if we had Reformed brethren here) and dogmatism elicits responses in the same vein.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God saves absolutely — but then there are those warning passages (and many at that) that the reformed mitigate out of existence. Poof, just as if they had never been there.

  78. Michael says:

    MLD,

    There are warning passages…and passages that seem to state clear assurance because of the work of Christ.
    There is a paradox here.

    The Reformed do not mitigate the warning passages…they wrestle with the paradox and conclude differently from you.

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The assurance passages are the gospel
    The warning passages are the law
    They are both applied properly at the right time and to the right hearer.
    The hearer of the law warning passages is almost always a wayward believer – “don’t tread to close to the edge – or you will fall.”

    The reform call them hypothetical and something that will never come to pass. Funny, they do not call the assurance passages hypothetical.

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    btw, they are not a paradox. They are not for the same hearer.
    My “new man” can only hear the gospel – my “old man” (not my dad) can hear only the law.
    If the pastor is doing his job right – he is preaching to both of me. 🙂

  81. Jean says:

    Lutherans believe in clear assurance because of the work of Christ. However, that work is delivered from faith to faith. As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith.

  82. Josh the Baptist says:

    To a non-Lutheran, it sure is a tangled mess. But you are certainly entitled to it.

  83. Jean says:

    Josh,

    It’s only a tangled mess if you try to systematize the Scriptures. However, the Scriptures don’t lend themselves well to a neat system. As though man could systematize God even if he tried.

    What Lutherans are know for is doctrinal theology.

    The first and chief article.

    1] That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification.

    2] And He alone is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world; and God has laid upon Him the iniquities of us all.

    3] Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood.

    4] Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us as St. Paul says: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.

    5] Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says Peter. And with His stripes we are healed. And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us.

    – Luther SA, Part II, Article I

    Nothing messy there!

  84. John 20:29 says:

    #74 – FWIW “oh, the humanity!” was first the cry of the radio reporter who, expecting to report on the arrival of the Hindenburg in 1937, found himself describing a disaster –
    a hydrogen conflagration which killed everyone on board, i believe

    If anyone finds the responses i have made to the declarations of inviolable Lutheran doctrines offensive… too aggressive… ?… Michael can feel free to shut me up – i am the only pew sitter so commenting… for the more delicate, who hold their tribal views near to their hearts and above dispute…. dunno, tho, do i?

  85. Xenia says:

    without the deeds of the Law<<<

    "the Law" refers to the OT Law given at Mt. Sinai, not to the NT commandments of Christ.

  86. Josh the Baptist says:

    @84 – If you stopped there, we’d all say Amen, share a hug and enjoy the warmth of family.

    You don’t stop there.

  87. Michael says:

    LCMS Lutheranism is an orthodox expression of the Christian faith that obviously has strong attractions for some folk.

    It holds no attraction for me at all…but that doesn’t mean they are wrong and I am right.

    It means God made different expressions for different kids.

    I rejoice in God’s goodness for doing so and rejoice when people find a church home that helps them walk with Christ.

  88. Jean says:

    Josh,

    We could stop at #84, however, if we unpacked doctrines 1 through 4, then we would see differences begin to arise between various people here, although Xenia recognized a difference right up front in her #86.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t give out brotherly ((((hugs)))) anyway.

  89. Xenia says:

    Yes, hugs and [gluten-free] cookies all around!

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – so God made a variety of expressions of the faith so we could all play in the sandbox?
    For you here, you will have the expression of baptism saves – and you guys over there will have the expression baptism is obedience.
    For you here, you will have the expression of this is really my body & blood – and you guys over there will have the expression this is bread and wine only.
    For you here, you will have the expression of tongues are for today – and you guys over there will have the expression the miracle gifts are curtailed.
    For you here, you will have the expression of satan is bound – and you guys over there will have the expression satan runs free.

    I will need to think on that one for a while.

  91. Michael says:

    MLD,

    As usual, you oversimplify and mock the rest of the kingdom of God.

    There is huge diversity in doctrinal opinion in the Body of Christ and those arguments won’t be settled until we all get home.

    In the meantime, I’m going to focus on what is primary…a relationship with the living God…that I believe all orthodox believers have.

  92. JoelG says:

    I see the “sandbox” as a journey, not a destination. We are all learning in the sandbox and coming from different places with different experiences and personalities. Christ is drawing all in the sandbox to Himself.

  93. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I mocked the entire kingdom of God?

    May I quote you on the different expressions? “It means God made different expressions for different kids.” – you are saying God made the various expressions – not they we struggle to understand and screw it all up.

  94. Michael says:

    JoelG…that was really well said!

  95. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I look at this two ways.

    Either God has condescended to allow these different expressions of the faith or we should all be Eastern Orthodox as they have the longest lineage.

    The former makes more sense to me…Xenia chose the latter… 🙂

  96. John 20:29 says:

    One revelation that I’ve received here is not how shallow the doctrines of the churches are, but rather how shallow the experiences of those who have come out of them must have been – that is a big black mark on the priorities of these churches … I have no doubt that it is an accurate view of too many churches
    sandboxes is embarrassingly on target – if one concludes that it is all formulaic obedience to ritual that causes God to infuse one with growth in Christ, they – IMHO – still have a shallow understanding of God and their own walk from spiritual babyhood to maturity … Likewise, emotional praise gatherings leave one stunted, if that is the center of their church experience (wonderful to praise God for who He is and what we know of Him)… and the how to prosper materially in Christ sermons, so very sad at best and close to Judas’ mindset IMO….
    Just pondering the comments … Just sayin. … again. 😯

  97. Jean says:

    “if one concludes that it is all formulaic obedience to ritual that causes God to infuse one with growth in Christ, they – IMHO – still have a shallow understanding of God and their own walk from spiritual babyhood to maturity”

    This is the difference between Lutherans and others.

    Whereas, those who hold to baptism and communion, altar calls and sinners prayers, as ordinances and signs of obedience tend to be formulaic and they may believe they cause God to infuse one…. Thankfully, though, Lutherans don’t look at God’s grace that way at all.

    We see God offering his grace superabundantly through means He has ordained. This is for our benefit, not His. He wishes to give us assurance that we are in his grace. Otherwise, we are left to what? Our interior feelings? Faith comes through hearing, not interior feelings.

  98. Josh the Baptist says:

    Makes zero sensevto me, but that’s fine.

  99. JoelG says:

    For me it simply comes down to needing that assurance promised to us in His Word. And those promises/gifts come in the form of physical/material/objective forms when combined with His Word. Eating Jesus’ Body and Blood. Our sins washed away in the waters of Baptism. Being absolved by a real person given the authority to do so by Christ.

    These things are a great comfort to me and why I go to a Lutheran Church.

  100. Jean says:

    Me too Joel.

  101. Michael says:

    Joel, Jean,

    I think it’s great that you have found what you need in the Lutheran church.

    I don’t receive that benefit from those doctrinal interpretations, but I rejoice that you have whilst I enjoy the home I’ve found.

  102. JoelG says:

    And I have gone back and forth and have probably contradicted by self on this blog many many times. And that’s why I’ve settle into having to trust His Word rather than my own reasoning and feelings. That’s a comfort, as well, knowing our faith comes from the outside.

  103. JoelG says:

    Thank you Michael. I don’t take anything away from anyone else’s faith and where they find comfort. My folks are Nazarene and I’m sure they think I’m nuts lol. I look forward to the party in heaven when we all get to meet each other that will put the Superbowl party in Philly last night to shame. 🙂

  104. John 20:29 says:

    I do not believe that the New Testament walk of the individua! Christian can be, nor was it intended by God to be a formulaic one size fits all…
    Yes, as Michael and others have noted, there are the essentials that cannot be bent nor open to a plural of interpretations…
    The incarnation, the once for all sacrifice of God the Son, stands as the monument separating O.T. ritua! from N.T. Faith… we now pass from death into life by the power and grace of God… but it is by Faith in Jesus Christ, nothing else…
    Do not mistake the lack of response to some statements made here as indicating concession…
    There is so much that could be “unpacked,” but why?
    Get John 3:16 straight in your thinking and may God bless and keep all on the journey from that point on…

  105. Jean says:

    Interestingly, it is not so much how we interpret the Word that means anything. It’s how the Word interprets us that really matters.

    Jesus said: “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”

  106. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    As I’ve said many times, I think the church universal is filled with many different orthodox sects because the only real thing that matters is faith in Christ.

    I don’t think Anglicanism (or any other group) is the “one, true visible church” but I do think we’re a part of it and the part that best suits me.

    I no longer feel the need to prove I’m “right” because Jesus is and is sufficient.

  107. Michael says:

    “Interestingly, it is not so much how we interpret the Word that means anything. It’s how the Word interprets us that really matters.”

    We all interpret the Word differently…my way cannot be proven better than yours and vice versa…

  108. JoelG says:

    #107 – I agree Michael. I can’t help but believe that. I say what I believe I will never ever judge a believers relationship with their Savior.

    Going Lutheran wasn’t the easiest decision for me. It’s hard not going to church without your family. My wife will be “evangelical” until the end. I do hope over time my kids will join me. Until then I will celebrate what we have in common: Jesus as our Lord.

  109. JoelG says:

    Oops. Not going to church with your family…

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “We all interpret the Word differently…my way cannot be proven better than yours and vice versa…” – I guess the holy spirit has taken off in the 21st century – unbelievable.

    So why do you place so much in the creeds and the fathers? Just a bunch of old guys a long time ago trying to figure out what was true for them – but not anymore provable than the next guy.

    What’s true for you is true for you – and what is true for me is true for me, just doesn’t cut it with me

  111. John 20:29 says:

    What escapes MLD, or seems to, is the fact that not conceding a doctrinal interpretation does not in any way indicate a lack of respect for the whole counsel of God or a dismissal of any of the Bible’s content…

    Further, those who teach the Word should be respected. No one with any common sense should attempt to put a spin on God ‘s words to align with pet theories…but they/we are mortal and all are open to question – even centuries of accepted traditions. That is my coclusion, of course… 😇

  112. JoelG says:

    MLD,

    I’m just guessing you’re not on the LCMS Ecumenical Commission? 😉

    Great Scott, my #109/110 is a mess. Let me try this one more time:…. It’s hard going to church without your family.

  113. John 20:29 says:

    #111 “What is true for you…….” that is another distortion of what has been observed by others and is……………………….. poppycock! 😁

    Is there anyone here who does not define truth as an absolute? Not all truth has an eternal definition… But God’s truth probably does…

    Axle was returned to his creator today… My daughter is fragile right now… The first is an absolute, eternal truth, the cat is dead… the second is absolute, but not etrrnal, my daughter will heal

  114. JoelG says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Axle, Em. Very very difficult.

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, you can only say that your sect thinks it is poppycock – you cannot impose your thoughts on those of us who think that it is not poppycock.
    After all, your poppycock position cannot be proved anymore true than my non poppycock position. 🙂

  116. Michael says:

    I’ll answer MLD when I get home…wanted to give my condolences to En and her daughter. God bless you both.

  117. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Answer what? I thought we were just exchanging opinions 😉

  118. John 20:29 says:

    Your implication is that is how we view truth – it is popycock, MLD – nothing that i have read in the comments could by any intelligent person be restated as your last sentence @ 111 did
    Since you are intelligent, i have to wonder… why did you do that? 😐

    Thank you for the condolences, Michael and JoelG… He was a unique cat, so many stories… I hope my daughter, who is talented will write his story… but here’s one:
    They were building a house next door and the cat was up and down the ladders and in their hair continually. I went over to get him and lock him up.The carpenters said, “Oh, no. Let him stay. He’s not bothering us, we’re enjoying him.” Later, he jumped off a ladder into their freshly finished wet cement patio. ” Ah, he’s just a cat. We’ll fix it. ”
    He drove me berzerk, but i miss him a little bit, too.

  119. SJ says:

    @77 and 85 I was thanking you for providing an opposition.

  120. JoelG says:

    Axle sounds like a cool cat. 🙂 It’s comforting to know the Lord was and is watching over him.

    MLD,

    I’m interested in reading some books by Rod Rosenbladt. I’ve heard he was a part of the “White Horse Inn” show. I think you’ve mentioned you listened to that show.

    Despite being a committed Lutheran, was he able to find common ground with the non-Lutheran hosts of the show or was he trying to prove himself right and and the others wrong all the time? He seems to be somewhat ecumenical from the little I’ve read about him.

  121. Michael says:

    “I guess the holy spirit has taken off in the 21st century – unbelievable.”

    On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in the church.
    However, He does not mark His only work as occurring between 1517 and 1580.

    I have no doubt that he has persuaded you of the veracity of Lutheran doctrine…and He has persuaded me of my place in Anglicanism and Josh’s among the Baptists.

    How can that be?

    It can be because every one here who calls on the name of Christ affirms those fundamental early creeds of the church…those things that all Christians have affirmed at all times, everywhere.

    Those are where the rubber meets the road.

    The rest of the stuff we hang off those is of varying importance… sometimes it’s only importance seems to be to allow us to separate and declare ourselves pure.

    God laughs…or maybe weeps.

    “What’s true for you is true for you – and what is true for me is true for me, just doesn’t cut it with me”

    We get that. 🙂

    Believing that your sect alone is the one, true, visible church doesn’t cut it with me, but I’m a man of remarkable tolerance. 🙂

  122. Michael says:

    Em,

    Came home, hugged my cats, and prayed for your daughter…that’s a long relationship she just lost.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, the beauty of the White Horse Inn was their success in getting along. They often spoke that they could get along and have discussion because they understood their own differences. Horton and Riddlebarger fully understood why they were not welcome at the Lord’s Table with Rod.
    But their kumbaya really rose to height when they discuss their common foil – evangelicals, who together they spent 25 yrs warning the greater Christian world.
    I have over 200 WHI programs from the early 90s I converted from tapes to MP3.

  124. JoelG says:

    Thank you MLD

  125. Jean says:

    Joel and and Everyone,

    I don’t know if you’re a video guy or podcast guy or whether you commute or have other time to watch or listen to good stuff, but here is a link to some bible studies taught by Rosenbladt.

    It’s hard to watch his series on Luther’s Commentary on Galatians and not come away a changed man.

    http://faithcapo.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=349003&id1=-2&name=Dr.%20Rod%20Rosenbladt

  126. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, again you are not being honest. Where have I ever said I am right and everyone else is wrong? There are many non Lutherans who at specific points agree with my positions.
    I only say that 2 opposing or contradictory views can be true at the same time in the same way.
    Can you name any doctrine I defend that is unique to the time period you site? Is my view of baptism unique to that period? Is my view of the actual real bodily presence in the supper unique to that period of time? Is my view of the 2 natures in Christ unique to that period of time? Is the liturgy unique to that period of time? Is my view of election unique the the 16th century?
    Just what did you have in mind that is unique to that period?

  127. Michael says:

    “Michael, again you are not being honest.”

    Conversations end with accusations of dishonesty and I won’t tolerate it ever happening again.

    Period.

  128. Michael says:

    I’m off…Anglicans are very irenic and I’m not a good Anglican yet…

  129. JoelG says:

    Nice thank you Jean. Looking forward to it.

  130. John 20:29 says:

    Thank you, Michael for the prayer for my daughter
    Like the.fallen sparrow, JoelG – amen – a good thought to hold onto for all who have said goodby to 4 legged friend

  131. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – well at the very least you made a false statement and I think you know it. I argue for my position and many non Lutherans also hold many of my position – so I have not said what you say I said — just as I never “mock the rest of the kingdom of God.” as you claimed above.

    But that’s OK as we continue to swap opinions.

    Lutherans are very polemic, and I am a good Lutheran 🙂

  132. Michael says:

    I will not allow my character to be maligned for the sake of Lutheran polemics, nor will I allow anyone else’s to be.

    I have not been dishonest in this matter, nor have I made false statements.

    To declare such impugns everything I’ve stood for in public for sixteen years.

    The period of time I noted in my response to MLD was the period marked by the beginning of the Reformation to the publishing of the Book of Concord.

    If you’ve read here more than once you know that the BoC is the finished standard for conservative Lutheran doctrine and practice.

    MLD then tries to obfuscate what even a first year bible college student knows…Luther’s ideas were a departure from what had come before.

    While the Lutheran liturgy was rooted in the Roman mass, it was also heavily revised by Luther.

    The Lutheran understanding of both the Supper and the doctrine of election are unique to them.

    All of this rancor and accusation because I advocate for unity around the essentials and humility around everything else.

    This may not be the last time my character is impugned…but I promise it is the second to the last time.

  133. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sometimes I think I am writing my comments in English and they are being read as if I wrote them in Yiddish.
    On this thread – which is now on it’s 4th day – I am being accused of saying I am right and everyone else is wrong, along with being slapped down as one who mocks all of God’s kingdom. Hmmm –
    So I went back and I read all of my comments and challenge others to do the same.
    1.) I only stated my positions (strongly in some cases) as responses to others who have made prior position statements. Not once have I said “you are wrong because I am right.” – I even joked in my #55 – “first let me place the required disclaimer – my sect believes the following.” — and then it was my view of repentance that was not welcomed, which is perfectly OK.
    2.) As I read my statements, not once did I make an appeal to Luther or quote a single Luther statement. I rarely do — I speak for myself.
    3.) I have made no appeal to Lutheran doctrine – I state what I believe and not what the book of concord may say.

    So yes, I do say that the comments made were false and unwarranted – but that is OK also.

  134. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” and then it was my view of repentance that was not welcomed, ”

    Maybe that is the issue. You got defensive. Look back and #55 and the immediate following comments. I don’t see any indication that your view of repentance was unwelcome. I see me trying to understand your view, but I passed no judgement on it, whatsoever.

  135. Duane Arnold says:

    #134

    To paraphrase Shakespeare –
    “The gentleman protests to much, methinks…”
    Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2

  136. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, first I don’t care if it was welcomed or not. – but it was challenged by you, Xenia and Em – which is fine. This is what conversation is about — but when I challenge, I am accused of saying I am right and others are wrong. If you read along, then Michael comes in making comments about LCMS Lutheran doctrine (I think that is how he worded it) and how he was tired of it. However, I made no appeal to “LCMS Lutheran doctrine.”
    I am open to any discussion and I take no offense at being told I am wrong.

  137. Jean says:

    I do see the difficulty of discussing opposing views. I posted a quote on a theological topic at Comment #22. That quote generated comment and opposing views. This would seem the ideal situation in an open blogging forum: the exchange of different views.

    Implicit in any discussion of opposing views is the opinion “I am right and you are wrong,” unless someone confesses to holding a wrong view; that would be weird. Or I suppose someone might hold that two diametrically opposed views could both be correct at the same time; which also would be weird.

    I don’t think anyone should take offense by sharing or commenting on a view which someone holds as “incorrect.” That is part of any debate. It gives the person the opportunity to either support their position, helping their neighbor, or modify their view, bolstering their knowledge. This would seem like a win-win.

  138. Josh the Baptist says:

    @137 – I wasn’t challenging, just trying to understand. It’s all good.

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh you and I are fine you know we had the discussion I realize you asked for clarification and I gave it to you. We discussed a little more and then we were done. Even with Xenia
    there was no no response back as I let her comment Just set. I it was when Michael came back and said through these conversations I was telling everybody they were wrong that was my issue.

  140. JoelG says:

    MLD,

    I think I was the the one who used the terms “right” and “wrong” when asking about Rosenbladt’s relations with his co-hosts on White Horse Inn. That was poor phraseology on my part and I apologize.

    I understand the need to be polemic when defending the pure Gospel of Jesus. I also think there’s a fine line between helping someone understand ones theology and causing someone to despair of their relationship with God. I confess that I am probably more irenic and soft-hearted than a good Lutheran should be because of my experience conversing with Lutherans over many years on blogs. I have despaired after these discussions in e past. That is my only personal concern with polemics.

  141. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You didn’t start posting here yesterday.

    Over the last few months there has been an increasing number of posts from the Lutheran side of our aisle inferring that those who do not hold to LCMS fundamentalism are not biblical, are disobedient and in rebellion against God and the “clear words of Scripture”.

    As my grandmother used to say, I’ve had a snootfull of it and I’m done with it.

    One whose moniker is “Martin Luther’s Disciple” should not be surprised when one assumes that Lutheran doctrines are in play when debating him.

    I’ve always believed it to be respectful when arguing to access the documents that define what a sect believes, not what info I picked up on the internet.

    Thus we’ve gone to Pieper, Walther, and the Book of Concord, which you have clearly stated is your groups standard text for proper doctrine and practice.

    I would think you flattered that such an effort has been made.

    You have been crystal clear that anyone whose doctrine differs from the Book of Concord is wrong.

    That would be everyone else here.

    I understand that you and Jean believe that your group has been gifted by the Holy Spirit with the final word on all doctrinal matters. (sarcasm)

    I do not agree.

    I’m not prepared to say that any of our groups (including my own) have it all right.

    My job is to understand where we’re all coming from while advocating for Christian unity around the essentials.

    Debate and discussion in a respectful manner and in love of the brethren is acceptable…”polemics” is not.

    I can brawl with the best of you…if what I want is an ongoing brawl.

    I dont.
    I won’t.
    Period.

  142. Michael says:

    One more thing…

    I am unashamedly ecumenical.
    I’m also the blog owner.

    Thus…

  143. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael. This has become really tired and old.

  144. JoelG says:

    Well said Michael. While I find comfort and assurance at an LCMS church, I know the Holy Spirit is doing His work in and through churches outside of the LCMS. I may get excommunicated from the LCMS before my seat even gets warm. 🙂

  145. John 20:29 says:

    #138 – “Implicit in any discussion of opposing views is the opinion “I am right and you are wrong,” unless someone confesses to holding a wrong view; that would be weird.” LOL

    i really do think that our two genders (i only recognize two and birth defects) approach discussions of dogma differently…. we must because shouldn’t these discussions have a goal of searching for God’s view, what He has revealed and requires of us?

    i have no problem with MLD and Jean and others being totally sold on the church that they’re committed to – i know that they are very serious about the Faith… but in explaining and defending their dogmas, perhaps its a male trait or the way of academia or both, there is an aura of unquestioning rightness and a condemning of others for doing so… well, i’m that way, too, about God and His plan of redemption and i know that is offensive to an unbeliever… but folk here are Believers…

    God keep

  146. Jean says:

    “we must because shouldn’t these discussions have a goal of searching for God’s view, what He has revealed and requires of us?”

    Em,

    If one of use quotes verbatim a Scripture text, then we are giving an English translation of God’s view.

    If one of us gives an interpretation of that text, then it is, just that, an interpretation or view or opinion. So far no one to my knowledge is claiming the gift of prophesy, as in “thus saith the Lord” in any of our discussions. I certainly do not claim that gift. I do try to be very careful about passing on interpretations and am prepared to support them with Scripture.

  147. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will drop it but you assume wrong.

  148. Duane Arnold says:

    #146 Em

    I can assure you, it is not the “way of academia”…

    #142

    Michael, many thanks…

  149. Josh the Baptist says:

    it is not the “way of academia”…

    Yeah, “the way of academia” is kind of the opposite, really.

  150. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ha! some of the biggest fights come out of academia.
    Almost all church splits have come not from what happens in the local church but what is happening in academia.

    Another humorous statement of assumption.

  151. Jean says:

    The great (or not so great) thing about academia is that one is not even required to be a Christian. Bart Ehrman and J. D. Crossan, for example, are academics, but I don’t know where they fall on holding to the creeds.

  152. Duane Arnold says:

    #150 Josh

    Indeed…

  153. Josh the Baptist says:

    @151 – No one said that academics do not fight.

    @152 – Exactly.

  154. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, to teach verbatim seems to imply that Isaiah 28 is incorrect – being weaned from a baby’s diet of milk and building line upon line and precept upon precept is not for every child of God? Do i understand your statement correctly? Iif so, why?

  155. Jean says:

    Em #155,

    I don’t think you understood my #147. I meant to say that exposition is always interpretation.

    But, I also am not sure you understand what Isaiah is saying in his polemic to the leaders of Judah. He’s not giving them a sermon on maturing in knowledge through Bible Study; he is mocking their despising of God’s word and His repeated warnings. That Word that they would not hear, that they are weary of hearing from the prophet, will judge them by the lips of a foreign tongue.

  156. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The problem arises when we define “despising” of God’s word.

    I reject most Lutheran secondary doctrines,but I don’t despise God’s Word.

    You would reject some Anglican distinctives,but I don’t think you despise God’s word.

    I disagree with Josh’s theology more than I do anyone else…but I know he loves God and the Word with all he has.

    That…is far more important to me than our differences.

  157. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    I hope you never lose your irenic spirit.

    When I was among the Reformed we thought we had it all down and everyone else was either a dunce or a willful heretic.

    It’s a mean and hard way to live…

    The harshness never convinced anyone of anything except that Reformed people were jerks.

  158. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, i did pull a teaching from the chapter that was – IMO – universally relevant to Believers.
    Not sure i understood the chapter? There is nothing oblique in the chapter’s verbiage that i saw… the rebuke was pretty severe and straightforward
    But then…. I’m not sure of quite a few things about you either, so…. 👾 😏

  159. Jean says:

    All Scripture is relevant to Christians. All Scripture is for the Church. All Scripture points to Jesus.

    Would would imagine something otherwise? This is the Christian Canon.

  160. Jean says:

    Michael,

    If you notice any of those Secondary doctrines with which you disagree in any I write, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you either on the blog or privately.

    I respect your thirst for knowledge greatly.

  161. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I disagree with much of Lutheran doctrine.

    Sometimes, emphatically.

    However, your work has been orthodox, biblically based, and devotional and I have no need at all to argue over things we differ on.

    My main objection to LCMS Lutheranism is the same one I had with the fundamentalist Reformed.

    There was a brutal arrogance and lack of love in the way we interacted with the rest of the Body and my soul could bear it no more.

    I started backing out a few years ago and finally left completely.

    Now, there are great men and great theologians among them.

    Some of them just needed a heart transplant…

    One of my purposes here is to present things that help folks grow and think and I believe you’re doing so.

  162. Michael says:

    One of the sad truths of church history is that the Reformed have always loved Luther and Lutherans have always loathed Calvinists.

    We’re trying to change that here… 🙂

  163. John 20:29 says:

    160. – Jean, so then why did you take issue with the observation i made?

    All Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works… Amen

  164. JoelG says:

    #158 – Thank you

    I’ve been to too many different denominations to think any differently.

    I’m there at the local LCMS to worship Jesus and receive His gifts. I’m not there to be the next Martin Luther. If I need to become aggressive and offensive towards fellow brothers and sisters in Christ I’ll go elsewhere.

  165. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    “One of the sad truths of church history is that the Reformed have always loved Luther and Lutherans have always loathed Calvinists.”

    This is not so. First, at best the reformed may love Luther, but they do not like Lutherans at all. Secondly, most reform have a Luther who does not exist – they play mind games with Luther and his writings. Thirdly, the Lutherans do not despise the reformed, we just have differences that cannot be bridged. Lutherans are OK with that, the Calvinist is infuriated by it, as in “what do you mean I cannot commune with you?” or “what do you mean I cannot pray with you?”.

  166. Jean says:

    Em,

    What application of Isaiah 28 are you making in the context of this thread?

  167. JoelG says:

    “or “what do you mean I cannot pray with you?”.”

    MLD,

    Can you explain this further?

  168. Michael says:

    In all my years among the Reformed nobody I knew had any issue with Lutherans outside the obvious theological differences.

    I don’t know what mind games you’re talking about…Carl Trueman, for example is an excellent Reformed scholar who works a lot in Luther studies.

    I didn’t know you won’t pray with Calvinists either…

  169. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    We do not do inter denominational public worship and prayer. It is called Unionism.

    We also do not interfaith worship services where we would gather with the local Iman, Rabbi and Hindu monk for a prayer service like was done with Oprah Winfrey at Yankee Stadium after 911. This is called Syncretism

  170. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I hope I cleared it up some for Joel – as we speak of public worship.

    If you want to see this in action, check out what gave rise to the Lutherans who came from Germany / Prussia to escape forced communal church with the Calvinists. The crossed the Atlantic to New Orleans – paddled up the Mississippi to Missouri and began the LCMS. 🙂

  171. Michael says:

    Does this apply to private prayer as well?

    You won’t pray with anyone but another member of the LCMS?

  172. JoelG says:

    Thank you MLD. Does this mean I shouldn’t go to worship service at an evangelical church with my wife and kids even if I don’t commune with them?

  173. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will need to answer later – the wind came up and I need to run to the marina and check the boat.

    But I don’t have everyone’s answers.

  174. Jean says:

    No, Joel and Michael, let me clarify:

    What MLD meant or should have meant is that Lutherans wouldn’t participate in an interdenominational serves where a Lutheran pastor and a pastor from another church co-officiate.

    I can go to a Methodist or Baptist church, but not Communion. And visa versa.

    If I’m at the Methodist church, I can pray a prayer voiced by the Methodist pastor, but I don’t have to give my amen to anything he says.

    I can pray privately with anyone as well.

  175. Michael says:

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/01/unionism-what-is-it/

    I could never join up, but I doubt they’d want me… 🙂

  176. Jean says:

    Joel,

    If I were I were in your shoes, I would endeavor to take your children to church, so that they have a father’s example in church. Statistics demonstrate powerfully that your children will be more likely to remain Christians in college and adulthood if they had a good male role model in the church.

    Hopefully, you can occasionally take them to the Lutheran church. Or you can get their on your own as often as possible. Depending on the size, you might have an opportunity for a close and enriching relationship with the pastor. It’s been a blessing for me.

  177. Michael says:

    “The question is not: What do individual Christians in these bodies believe? but this: What is the public and official stand of these synods in matters of Christian doctrine? We believe that there are true Christians in all these Churches, because the essentials of the Gospel are still preached. Even so there are, no doubt, children of God in the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, even in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches. But all these Christians are permitting men who have departed in some point from the Gospel of Christ to determine the public and official doctrine of their bodies. These Christians are misled. They follow blind leaders.”

  178. Jean says:

    Michael 176,

    I answered this once and it drew considerable hostility, but its a cross. Protecting what we consider to be the pure Gospel for the Church catholic and for our descendants requires keeping our confessions straight.

    I spent years in the UMC and I see clearly what goes on in non-denominational mega churches, if you run into 10 people on one issue, you’re likely to get 7 different answers. The catechesis is terrible and the fellowship in doctrine is superficial. Leadership often is not all that concerned. From therre, all kinds of bad things happen to people.

    So, we will suffer the reproach, while offering the Gospel to all comers without exception.

  179. JoelG says:

    Thank you Jean and Michael.

    From the SL article:

    “….to have church-fellowship only with orthodox church-bodies, and, in case they have strayed into heterodox church-bodies, to leave them, Rom. 16,17.”

    A lot to consider….

  180. bob1 says:

    #178

    So…LCMS Lutherans get a pass? While other churches follow their “blind leaders,”
    everyone in the LCMS follows not-blind leaders?

    Sounds kinda cultish to me…

  181. Jean says:

    bob1,

    There are LCMS churches that operate similar to evangelical churches. Blogs like Michael linked are actually for Lutherans who are in congregations who are straying, while trying to bring them back.

    What I’m trying to say is that Lutheran churches are no immune to the issue of straying pastors and/or congregations. However, it is no where as pronounced as you might find in the UMC, for example.

    As long as sinners fill pulpits and pews, we won’t find any perfect churches. That being said, we all have a stewardship to protect as best we can.

  182. bob1 says:

    I spent years in the UMC and I see clearly what goes on in non-denominational mega churches, if you run into 10 people on one issue, you’re likely to get 7 different answers.

    Boy, I guess if that really bothers you, you really should become a Roman Catholic, where there’s an official teaching magisterium. Is there such a things in the LCMS?

    I’m sure it would be easy to find LCMS teachers/theologians who aren’t on the same page about everything. Didn’t the LCMS purge its ranks in the 70s because of “too liberal” seminary profs?

    Sorry, but LCMS has the same issue the rest of Protestanism does.

  183. Jean says:

    The “teaching magisterium” are the writings of the Book of Concord. We’re generally congregational in ecclesiology, but under egregious circumstances there is a synodical dispute resolution process that can result in removal of the pastor or congregation from affiliation with the LCMS.

  184. JoelG says:

    #177 – Jean

    Thank you Jean. I understand what you’re saying. I appreciate all the input. I keep coming back to the LCMS like that pretty you think is “the one” only to discover and rediscover again and again that it’s probably not going to happen as much as I want it to. 🙂

  185. John 20:29 says:

    re 167 – Jean, your 147 seemed to imply that in our reading of Scripture there is no correlation or progression in depth of understanding – i’d asked for clarification…

    You missed my point and referenced the sum of the 28th chapter which is strongly rebuking Judah
    In the 28th chapter of Isaiah beginning at verse 9 there is the teaching i referenced regarding progressing from baby food to a stronger diet/teaching…. progressing in reconciling and building upon precepts, if you will

    By now this is stale – there is no reason to keep up the “clarification” as far as i’m concerned

  186. Jean says:

    Em,

    Thanks for clarifying. Here is the relevant text:

    “To whom will he teach knowledge,
    and to whom will he explain the message?
    Those who are weaned from the milk,
    those taken from the breast?

    This is the speech of the Jewish leaders. “To whom will he” refers to Isaiah. These drunken leaders mock the Word of God given through the prophet as infantile nonsense.

    10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little.”

    These drunken leaders consider the prophets repeated warnings as childish prattle.

    The consequences are then laid out in verses 11-13. Foreigners will come give the lesson again, but this time it will bring them ruin.

    There’s nothing there about progressing from baby food to a stronger diet/teaching. Nothing at all.

  187. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – you wouldn’t find that troubling if 7 out of 10 people had varying views on important issues in your church?
    The Lutheran Church established what we consider proper Christian thought in the 16th century. These issues were not dealt with lightly as the documents were written for the most part for survival, convincing the Holy Roman Emperor that they (Lutherans) were indeed Christians. They put in writing what they believed, taught and confessed and battled the RCC for footing as the Papists were producing similar documents to discredit them. They are well, thought out, writings and came out pretty victorious, as the Lutheran reformation drew to a close.

    My point is, if it were true then and well fought out, what would change? Why would there be a Lutheran need to have 7 of 10 people with various ‘opinions’ on theological issues?

    I see nothing noble in saying “as a church, we are still trying to figure it out”. So as Jean said, we do have a teaching magisterium that we place ourselves under.

  188. bob1 says:

    bob1 – you wouldn’t find that troubling if 7 out of 10 people had varying views on important issues in your church?

    It all depends. Most Xn churches agree on the fundamentals — the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture, the two natures of Jesus, etc.

    Things like baptism and the sacraments I don’t see as in the same sphere of importance.

    I guess that’s why there are 10,000 Protestant sects.

  189. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 -but the point is wouldn’t you be troubled if 7 of 10 people in your church had different views on baptism and the other sacraments etc. Isn’t there even a guide for the participants of a single church?

    The Lutherans were the protestants – I don’t know where you and the other 9,999 sects came from. (now we protest calling ourselves protestants.)

  190. Jean says:

    Let’s say that someone reads the Bible and discovers that salvation is offered by grace through faith in Jesus.

    Then one reads in the Bible that Jesus gave his disciples 4 methods of handing out his grace: the keys, preaching, Baptism and Communion.

    If a church withholds 3 out of the 4 methods, you’re down to one. One out of four! If someone believes the grace of God in Christ is the most important doctrine in Scripture, then would it be unreasonable if all four methods of handing out grace are to him essentials?

    By the way, 4 of 4 is truly evangelical. Handing out grace to Christians…that’s truly evangelical.

  191. bob1 says:

    bob1 -but the point is wouldn’t you be troubled if 7 of 10 people in your church had different views on baptism and the other sacraments etc. Isn’t there even a guide for the participants of a single church?

    Sure……they’re called confessions of faith. Lutherans are not unique in this. The Wesleyans have their quadriennial, the Anglicans the Book of Common Prayer, etc. Even the Baptists and the Anabaptists, if you go back far enough, have their own confessions. I’m sure they have their emphases. What I find silly with you Lutherans is that you think yours is the only correct interpretation. But the other groups could argue the same way. What’s sad is that you seem oblivious to other understanding other Christian denominations. No one likes to be badgered. I don’t see other folks on here browbeating their POV.

  192. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, i read the text as a rebuke to those drunken leaders – on re-reading per your 187 i still can’t see the interpretation you read there… I assume you consulted commentary of your choice … I’m at the mercy of this little tablet, but i will look into it further to see if i have misread the text…. Thank you

  193. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bob1 – but you began by brow beating Jean about 7 of 10 having variant beliefs and you say that as no problem. Then you suggested that Jean become Roman Catholic and be under a teaching magisterium. Jean then pointed out that we are under a teaching magisterium with the BoC.
    Now you come back claiming that all protestants have placed themselves under a teaching magisterium.
    Which is it?

  194. bob1 says:

    #194

    You’re really good at putting things in peoples’ mouths they didn’t say. I never said Jean become RC. I SAID they have the teaching magisterium. It’s a hell of a lot more comprehensive than any Protestant confessions of faith. Show me in your holy book where
    it calls itself the teaching magisterium. There’s only one.

  195. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, i believe you are correct as to who is speaking… the words are true, but better said in Hebrews 5:12-14 😌

  196. Duane Arnold says:

    It is clear that our LCMS brethren are not here to discuss, but to instruct those of us who do not hold to their theological position. The intent is not a mutual exchange of views, or respect for other faith traditions. Of 73 million Lutherans in the world, we are to believe that 2.2 million affiliated with LCMS hold the “proper” view as they are the “one, true visible Church of Christ on earth”. As for those of us in other faith traditions constituting some 2 billion on the planet who claim the name “Christian”, we are all wrong in whole or in part.

    Personally, I find this hard to accept…

  197. Jean says:

    That was kind of you Duane. Thank you for for your grace.

  198. Duane Arnold says:

    #198 Jean

    Just stating the obvious.

  199. Jean says:

    I forgive you.

  200. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, check out my conversation with Josh around 55 or 56 above. There was a classic case of us exchanging information.
    Where it goes to seed is when, and I just use this as a most recent example, when someone tells Jean to become an RC, as there is no room for a teaching magisterium in the protestant world.

    But I must ask, what did you hope to add with that last comment?

  201. Duane Arnold says:

    #200 Jean

    I can provide the quotes from Pieper, Walther, Moldstadt, etc., if you wish. Again, it is simply stating the obvious…

  202. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wasn’t Jean’s exchange with with Em productive? You must not be paying attention.

  203. bob1 says:

    Recent converts to Lutheranism remind me of the old saw:

    “The worst anti-communist is an ex-Communist.”

    Substitute “evangelical” for Communist.

  204. Dan from Georgia says:

    I really think this is getting OLD.

  205. Duane Arnold says:

    #205 Dan

    Indeed…

  206. Scooter Jones says:

    Dan, how long have you been reading here? This has been going on for YEARS.

  207. Jean says:

    From what I’ve encountered, like many other things, cradle Lutherans sometimes grow up taking for granted what they have because they don’t realize what others miss. Christians who transfer in to Lutheranism typically realize and are super grateful for what they’ve found.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Xenia feels that way about EO or Michael about Anglicanism. Perhaps others have similar stories.

    Internet Monk used to have a lot of articles on this topic.

  208. Dan from Georgia says:

    Scooter…just noticed it recently/last few months…I came on board a few years back…seems to be getting worse, but that’s just from where I sit.

  209. JoelG says:

    I am grateful for what I found in the Lutheran Church. I’m just sad about the restrictions. I understand but am sad. It’s too bad that you have to choose between the conservative LCMS and the liberal ELCA.

  210. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, there are others. WELS – ELS – LCMC for example.

  211. JoelG says:

    I will look into those thank you MLD

  212. descended says:

    “The rest of the stuff we hang off those is of varying importance… sometimes it’s only importance seems to be to allow us to separate and declare ourselves pure.

    God laughs…or maybe weeps.”

    I think God walks back inside to the kitchen and waits for one of the children to come shrieking in from the backyard with a bloodied nose, and preps an ice bag.

  213. John 20:29 says:

    As a post script to my conversation regarding growing as a Christian – i still cannot see the words regarding babyhood, weaning and growing as being spoken by the drunken leaders….
    However, working off of the ESV Bible, their comment agrees with Jean’s so i must assume the original text made it clear, and thus ii concede the point
    That said, the words made be said in arrogant mockery, but they are true… if so spoken, the point implied is “who do you think you are, telling us that we need such instruction”
    IMV, the words validate the growth process.
    The sacraments, rather than being the means of growth, IMV are the catalysts, the enforcers of the Truth – it troubles me that one could rely on ceremonial obedience and miss how much rich understanding is to be gained from good teachers…
    I always hesitate to share such things as this here as they are always jumped on, restated in a distorted half correct manner in order to assert a “better,” conflicting view. This approach creates tedium at best, but no real learning
    I am well acquainted with the tactic – i grew up with a parent whose mastery of the technique could drive the very God in heaven out of His mind. 😬

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