Author Topic: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal  (Read 17577 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2009, 06:17:54 PM »
Those who object to a distinctive third use place the "doing good to others" under the first use -- it is part of keeping and promoting order in society. Or, in other terms, achieving civil righteousness.
This can really only be true in a society that considers itself explicitly Christian. However, in a society that is not so, the positive commands enumerated by Luther in the SC aren't so easily applied to civil society as a whole. They are expectations for Christians, but can't be enforced on non-Christians. Thus, third use can't merely be collapsed into first use.
Ironically, the Ten Commandments were originally given by God to the Jewish people. It is part of their religion and how to order their civic life together. There is nothing particularly Christian about the Ten Commandments. (The Ten Commandments is the topic from Luther's Small Catechism for our midweek Lenten worship tonight.)
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2009, 06:27:10 PM »
Those who object to a distinctive third use place the "doing good to others" under the first use -- it is part of keeping and promoting order in society. Or, in other terms, achieving civil righteousness.
This can really only be true in a society that considers itself explicitly Christian. However, in a society that is not so, the positive commands enumerated by Luther in the SC aren't so easily applied to civil society as a whole. They are expectations for Christians, but can't be enforced on non-Christians. Thus, third use can't merely be collapsed into first use.

Have to disagree with this because in the Ten Commandments we are dealing with natural law.  They are found universally throughout cultures, Christian and pagan, in words similar to the Biblical ten.  So when Paul speaks of 'elemental principles' in Galatians, for instance, he is speaking of the laws written on the heart.  Luther made no such distinction in his explanations to the ten commandments, that this part of the law is for everybody, and this part is solely for Christians...
It is part and parcel of our righteousness coram mundo.  I had posted a quote several months ago from The Genius of Luther's Theology by Kolb and Arand which speaks about this notion of two kinds of righteousness.
I've been thinking lately about the two kinds of righteousness as related to the uses of the Law.

Civil righteousness comes about by obedience to the first use of the law, which some of us refer to as the curb and the prod. It curbs bad behaviors and prods us to do good deeds. Both the curbing and prodding functions help bring order to society, to a household, or to a church. In a sense, civil righteousness is about creating right relationships between peoples on earth. As I have studied the fruit of the Spirit, it struck me that many of those are about our relationship with other people (so also are many of the works of the flesh).

I'm not sure of Luther's term for the other righteousness, but I'll call it divine righteousness -- it's concerned about creating the right relationship between God and humankind. It comes about only as a gift from God to sinners. For this the second use of the law and the Gospel work together. We are convicted of sins and our sinfulness state so that we might repent and throw ourselves on the mercy of God's grace by by Jesus through the gospel.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 09:57:14 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

mariemeyer

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2009, 07:19:03 PM »
Thanks, I missed it   Jet lag after a 48 hour return trip from India blurred my vision.

Marie Meyer

Pr. Jerry Kliner

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2009, 08:28:59 PM »
Is what we have here a dispute between "clumpers" and "splitters" or is there something more going on.  "Clumpers" tend to group things together into fewer categories than do "splitters" who tend to be more alert to distinctions and want separate categories for each one.  In this case, does grouping the "third use of the law" under the first use of the law change anything significant.  Can the first use of the law function in all ways as the third use of the law?  If so, this is perhaps less of a controversy than a matter of style. 

It may appear to be a matter of style, but what I have experienced is that people will make the claim that now that they are converted, they do a better job of fulfilling the law in a third use way, as described by pastors Kliner and Charlton upthread.  And such people will then wonder how "any supposed Christian" could do some of the things they do.  The teaching of the people I hang out with is that no one fully keeps the law, in either its positive language (which is called third use above) or its negative language (which is called first use).  If no one keeps the law and we all feel accused, why does it not then fit under Luther's description of two uses of the law in the Smalcald Articles (to curb sin and drive to Christ)?  Which is also the language Luther uses in his Galatians commentary.

Quote
However, since those who wish to dispense with a "third use of the law" seem also to perceive the law saying little about homosexual relations that it does not also say about heterosexual relations, perhaps there is more going on here than simply clumping the two uses together under one heading.        Dan

The people I hang out with do not make this move; indeed we consistently name ourselves 'chief of sinners,' along with St. Paul.   My experience has been that revisionists tend to be just as legalistic and third use of the law oriented as any pietist; it's just that their law is different.  They can be very intolerant of those who don't see issues the same way they do.  It's very rare one runs across a true antinomian.  Even prison inmates have their hierarchies of law.

Lou

Lou;
That's why I was careful to note that the "Third Use" is still the Law.  It is not a matter of "doing a better job fulfilling it" anymore than those who claim that they are better than "sinning less" with the First Use...

So frankly I think you're objection is a bit of a "straw man," set up to beat an imaginary opponent rather than to deal with the substance.  Because self-justification can happen just as easily without a "third use" than with it...

Better is the objection, I think, to note that Luther himself never names or claims an explicit category of "Third Use."  But then we still have Luther's explanations of the Commandments in the SC to deal with.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2009, 09:26:37 PM »

Ironically, the Ten Commandments were originally given by God to the Jewish people. It is part of their religion and how to order their civic life together. There is nothing particularly Christian about the Ten Commandments. (The Ten Commandments is the topic from Luther's Small Catechism for our midweek Lenten worship tonight.)

Gosh, really? How lucky we are to have such a champion exegete to reveal these wonderful hidden truths to us. Why, you're almost as stimulating as Bart Ehrman! How fortunate your midweek worshipers will be tonight to get this new insight!  :o
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Paul L. Knudson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2009, 10:12:07 PM »
John Pless in an article referred to recently on this online forum addressed two different Lutheran theologians, one being Gerhard Forde.  As I read his article, he seemed to be emphasizing that the real issue is whether antinomianism is in order and leading us astray.  While Forde is not enamored by the third use of the law manner of speaking, Pless shows that Forde clearly attacks antinomianism as destructive to the faith.

Instead of us getting back into one more lengthy debate about the third use wouldn't we be better served by dealing with the antinomianism that Braaten sees in the document?

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2009, 10:14:43 PM »

Ironically, the Ten Commandments were originally given by God to the Jewish people. It is part of their religion and how to order their civic life together. There is nothing particularly Christian about the Ten Commandments. (The Ten Commandments is the topic from Luther's Small Catechism for our midweek Lenten worship tonight.)

Gosh, really? How lucky we are to have such a champion exegete to reveal these wonderful hidden truths to us. Why, you're almost as stimulating as Bart Ehrman! How fortunate your midweek worshipers will be tonight to get this new insight!  :o
I'm sure glad that you are the moderator and get to write what I'm thinking.  ;)  Thanks!

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DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2009, 11:00:09 PM »
Those who object to a distinctive third use place the "doing good to others" under the first use -- it is part of keeping and promoting order in society. Or, in other terms, achieving civil righteousness.
This can really only be true in a society that considers itself explicitly Christian. However, in a society that is not so, the positive commands enumerated by Luther in the SC aren't so easily applied to civil society as a whole. They are expectations for Christians, but can't be enforced on non-Christians. Thus, third use can't merely be collapsed into first use.

Have to disagree with this because in the Ten Commandments we are dealing with natural law.  They are found universally throughout cultures, Christian and pagan, in words similar to the Biblical ten.  So when Paul speaks of 'elemental principles' in Galatians, for instance, he is speaking of the laws written on the heart.  Luther made no such distinction in his explanations to the ten commandments, that this part of the law is for everybody, and this part is solely for Christians...
It is part and parcel of our righteousness coram mundo.  I had posted a quote several months ago from The Genius of Luther's Theology by Kolb and Arand which speaks about this notion of two kinds of righteousness.
Lou

Perhaps someone who has studied under Kolb and Arand could tell us their position on the Third Use. I'd be interested to know.

When I read The Genius of Luther's Theology, I was surprised by how positively they were able to talk about good works under Active Righteousness.  They talked specifically about the good works that are done by Christians and that grow out of faith.

David Charlton
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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2009, 11:37:38 PM »
That's why I was careful to note that the "Third Use" is still the Law.  It is not a matter of "doing a better job fulfilling it" anymore than those who claim that they are better than "sinning less" with the First Use...

So frankly I think you're objection is a bit of a "straw man," set up to beat an imaginary opponent rather than to deal with the substance.  Because self-justification can happen just as easily without a "third use" than with it...

Better is the objection, I think, to note that Luther himself never names or claims an explicit category of "Third Use."  But then we still have Luther's explanations of the Commandments in the SC to deal with.

Pastor Jerry,
     In Luther's explanations in the small catechism, he never makes any distinctions about use of the law.   Those distinctions are made elsewhere in the confessions.  Jesus' language of the two greatest commandments are stated positively (love the Lord your God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength -- and-- love your neighbor as yourself).  Do we not hear explicit accusation in those positive statements?  Do those expressions of law not make us realize we have fallen short and despair of our own abilities?  I see only two uses, and in fact, I feel more condemned by falling short of the 'shoulds' than of the 'shalt not's.  After all, I've never killed anyone, but I have not loved everyone as I should.
    Lou
     As long as we are in the flesh the law will continue to accuse, whether it's shalt nots or shoulds. 

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2009, 11:39:18 PM »
Perhaps someone who has studied under Kolb and Arand could tell us their position on the Third Use. I'd be interested to know.
When I read The Genius of Luther's Theology, I was surprised by how positively they were able to talk about good works under Active Righteousness.  They talked specifically about the good works that are done by Christians and that grow out of faith.

I think that's the only way one can properly speak of good works -- fruits of the real presence of the Holy Spirit within us, having nothing to do with the law.
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2009, 11:44:27 PM »

Ironically, the Ten Commandments were originally given by God to the Jewish people. It is part of their religion and how to order their civic life together. There is nothing particularly Christian about the Ten Commandments. (The Ten Commandments is the topic from Luther's Small Catechism for our midweek Lenten worship tonight.)

Gosh, really? How lucky we are to have such a champion exegete to reveal these wonderful hidden truths to us. Why, you're almost as stimulating as Bart Ehrman! How fortunate your midweek worshipers will be tonight to get this new insight!  :o

Actually, esteemed moderator Richard, I think you went a little too far in this post towards snarky.  Sometimes Brian is a little prideful about his exegesis, but Christian charity should ask us to examine the content of his posts rather than remembering past indiscretions.  Some people do forget that the ten commandments are an expression of natural law.
Paul, in Galatians, refers to the elemental principles that the Galatians were aware of prior to ever knowing or meeting a Jew.
Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2009, 11:50:43 PM »
Perhaps someone who has studied under Kolb and Arand could tell us their position on the Third Use. I'd be interested to know.
When I read The Genius of Luther's Theology, I was surprised by how positively they were able to talk about good works under Active Righteousness.  They talked specifically about the good works that are done by Christians and that grow out of faith.

I think that's the only way one can properly speak of good works -- fruits of the real presence of the Holy Spirit within us, having nothing to do with the law.
Lou

I agree with you up to the point you say, "having nothing to do with the law."  If I read Kolb and Arand correctly, they are not against being specific about what good works are.  Whether it's teaching Christians about the Table of Duties, the Ten Commandments, or Christian virtues, when there is specific content to the teaching, it involves the law.  Otherwise the term good work is without form and content.

David Charlton
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2009, 01:44:34 AM »

Actually, esteemed moderator Richard, I think you went a little too far in this post towards snarky. 

Ah come on, after his nearly 8,000 posts and my many swats at people who seem to think Brian is at the root of all the problems of the ELCA and maybe the universe, aren't I allowed one little whiff of snarky?
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FrPeters

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2009, 07:40:56 AM »
Snarky?????   I guess I have been away from this thread too long...
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2009, 10:00:22 AM »

Ironically, the Ten Commandments were originally given by God to the Jewish people. It is part of their religion and how to order their civic life together. There is nothing particularly Christian about the Ten Commandments. (The Ten Commandments is the topic from Luther's Small Catechism for our midweek Lenten worship tonight.)

Gosh, really? How lucky we are to have such a champion exegete to reveal these wonderful hidden truths to us. Why, you're almost as stimulating as Bart Ehrman! How fortunate your midweek worshipers will be tonight to get this new insight!  :o
While such things might be obvious to the participants in this forum, I don't know how many times I've had people say to me -- after they learn I'm an ordained minister -- "I try to keep the Ten Commandments" as if such attempts at keeping the Law are what make them Christian.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]