Author Topic: Is God Now a "Ze"?  (Read 15468 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #165 on: May 07, 2018, 04:39:30 PM »
Brian, re post # 144 - was I mistaken or did Jesus not say that if you have lusted after a woman you have already committed adultery in your heart?  How can saying that the sin has already occurred be a fence designed to keep you from committing the sin?  Also, while I respect all the researching you do about rabbinical traditions, do you equate those teachings as equal to Scripture?  If not, then at best they are insights into how some people at various times have understood the Hebrew scriptures (which ironically Jesus often notes as being faulty insights among the rabbis of his day and previous to his day).


Yes, Jesus said that. However, I would also say that committing adultery in one's heart, is not breaking the command given by God in Exodus 20. Similarly, calling someone "a fool" is a sin according to Jesus, but it isn't breaking the command in Exodus against murder.


Specifically, the issue is whether or not Christians should speak the divine name represented by יהוה. I gave a possible reason why the Jewish folk refrain from speaking it - as a fence around the command.


I also note that when the Hebrew scripture was translated into Greek, they didn't try to translate or even transliterate the tetragrammaton. יהוה seems to be related to the Hebrew verb for "to be," אהיה = "I am," as explained in Exodus 3:14. The LXX uses forms of the verb "to be" in that verse, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν, and, ὁ ὤν. In the next verse where the Hebrew has יהוה the LXX used κυρίος. At least a couple centuries before Christ, 'adonai and κυρίος, (that is, Lord), had replaced the proper, divine name. For the first three-four centuries of Christianity, the LXX was the scripture that they used. It wasn't until Jerome argued for using the Hebrew Scripture as the basis for his Latin translation did Christians start using the Hebrew. κυρίος became both the proper name of the Hebrew God, and the earliest confessions about Jesus:     Κύριος Ἰησοῦς (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3)

Timothy Michael Law in When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible argues that that early Christian confession grew out of their use of the LXX and it's language for God.

The English use of "Lord" both for the divine name and as our confession about Christ keeps a connection that was made by the earliest believers who used κυρίος for both.
"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: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #166 on: May 07, 2018, 04:48:32 PM »
On the other hand, we already purposely offend Jewish folks by regarding Jesus Christ as God.  So seeking to not-offend them is a bit of a non-starter for Christians.  We simply can't not-offend them as long as we believe this, except when they become Christian.


No, I don't think that we offend Jews by regarding Jesus Christ as God. They weren't offended by Romans or Greeks worshiping their gods and goddesses. Jews see the Torah as God's instructions for the Jews. For the most part, it doesn't apply to Gentiles. We can eat shrimp and pork and work on Saturdays.


Should Jews, like Jesus and his early disciples, consider Jesus to be God, that was blasphemy.
"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: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #167 on: May 07, 2018, 04:55:00 PM »
While wanting to spend (waste?) time arguing about the first section of your post, I will content myself with just the last paragraph, in particular, this: "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."

Does that mean you don't believe that the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article IV of the AC is "necessary"?  Or the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article III?  What gospel do you have if you don't teach of Christ or the forgiveness of sins? 

Really, Rev. Stoffregen, sometimes you outdo yourself.  And not in a good way.


Articles III and IV are wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel. It tells us that even infants, who cannot yet read all those wonderful words, are saved by God's grace given to them in baptism. If they grow up and never read those wonderful words, they are still saved by God's grace that was given to them in baptism.


It wasn't until I was in college (an LCMS one) that I even knew that there was a Book of Concord. I then checked. We didn't even have one in our church library. If the pastors I had ever mentioned it, it didn't register with me. I don't think that I was an uncommon Lutheran lay folk. A vast majority of them will never read the Augsburg Confession - and many don't even know it exists. I am not willing to say that God will not save them because they haven't read and understood and believe what's in Articles III and IV.
"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]

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #168 on: May 07, 2018, 04:57:50 PM »
The same holds for false doctrine. Doctrine matters.

Doctrine matters, but doctrine does not save. God certainly saves many people whose have faulty doctrine.

"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Tim 4:16

“[An overseer]] must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9)... so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10)"

As one commentator put it, "Doctrine matters so much so that our very faith hinges on it as it is the only way we can be saved (Acts 16:30-31) for without the right gospel you’ve got the wrong Savior."


You seem to be quoting a translator who believes doctrine matters more than I and other translators. The same verses from the CEB which doesn't use "doctrine".


Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this you will save yourself and those who hear you. (1 Tim 4:16)


They [supervisors] must pay attention to the reliable message as it has been taught to them so that they can encourage people with healthy instruction and refute those who speak against it. (Titus 1:9)


… Instead, they [slaves] should show that they are completely reliable in everything so that they might make the teaching about God our savior attractive in every way. (Titus 2:10)


The "sound teaching" or "healthy instruction" is defined in 1 Timothy 1:11: "That which agrees with the glorious gospel of the blessed God …." It is the teaching that we are sinners saved by God's grace through Jesus Christ that is the "doctrine" that we proclaim.


There are many other doctrines (διδασκαλία) that scriptures speak against: Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7 quote Isaiah 29:15. Ephesians 4:14 and Colossians 2:22 speak against "doctrines". Paul uses the word only twice in Romans (a key scripture for Lutherans): 12:7; 15:4; and not at all in Galatians.


Folks who believe the glorious gospel of the blessed God are saved. That's the only teaching that's necessary. All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation.

While wanting to spend (waste?) time arguing about the first section of your post, I will content myself with just the last paragraph, in particular, this: "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."

Does that mean you don't believe that the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article IV of the AC is "necessary"?  Or the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article III?  What gospel do you have if you don't teach of Christ or the forgiveness of sins? 

Really, Rev. Stoffregen, sometimes you outdo yourself.  And not in a good way.
I'm arguing that words are metaphors.

I can't quite discern whether you don't know what a metaphor is, or you don't know what a word is, or both.

It seems to be an ongoing problem. Brian doesn't seem to understand that "teaching" and "belief" are synonyms of "doctrine."
Don Kirchner

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #169 on: May 07, 2018, 05:01:13 PM »

Should Christians be offended at the anti-Christ and anti-Christian statements in the Talmud?  Or offended at the twisting of Christian teaching done by those few who have attempted to construct a Christian version of Hinduism with Jesus as a Hindi avatar?  There are a number of points where Christianity and Judaism are in agreement,  Similarly there are a number of points where Christianity will agree with Hinduism or Buddhism.  For example most world religions have some form of the Golden Rule.  But there will inevitably be points at which we disagree.  Otherwise we would not be different religions.


As with other areas of life we need to learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.  The Faith in which I have faith makes a number of assertion about life and how it should be lived as well as what happens after life and the importance of having a proper relationship with the being my faith holds to be God, and how such a proper relationship may be gained.  It is the nature of assertions that when one states something positively, one also states that contradictory assertions are wrong and those who hold such contradictory assertions are wrong.  That should not be offensive especially since I understand that they also consider me with my faith assertions to be wrong.  Nonetheless, I should not consider those who hold those counter-assertions to be necessarily crazy, stupid or (in most cases) evil.  The attitude on the part of some Christians that because Jews did not believe in Jesus as we did that they were evil, sub-human, or lacking in rights was itself an evil attitude.  Similarly, the early persecution of Christians by Jews (when the Jews were more powerful than the Christians) was wrong.


I agree that should not consider those with counter assertions to be crazy, stupid, or (in most cases) evil. However, is it possible to believe that God can still save those who have contradictory assertions to orthodoxy? Can we consider the idea that God might even speak to us through them?


I have argued that Mormon teachings and the teachings of Jehovah Witnesses are not Christian teachings. However, I believe that it's above my pay grade to condemn them to hell because of their false teachings. It is God who saves by grace, not because we might have the right knowledge in our heads.
"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: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #170 on: May 07, 2018, 05:03:12 PM »
It seems to be an ongoing problem. Brian doesn't seem to understand that "teaching" and "belief" are synonyms of "doctrine."


I don't have problems with that. When you make "teaching" and "belief" and "doctrine" synonyms with "salvation" then you've nullified grace.
"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]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #171 on: May 07, 2018, 05:08:18 PM »
While wanting to spend (waste?) time arguing about the first section of your post, I will content myself with just the last paragraph, in particular, this: "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."

Does that mean you don't believe that the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article IV of the AC is "necessary"?  Or the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article III?  What gospel do you have if you don't teach of Christ or the forgiveness of sins? 

Really, Rev. Stoffregen, sometimes you outdo yourself.  And not in a good way.


Articles III and IV are wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel. It tells us that even infants, who cannot yet read all those wonderful words, are saved by God's grace given to them in baptism. If they grow up and never read those wonderful words, they are still saved by God's grace that was given to them in baptism.


It wasn't until I was in college (an LCMS one) that I even knew that there was a Book of Concord. I then checked. We didn't even have one in our church library. If the pastors I had ever mentioned it, it didn't register with me. I don't think that I was an uncommon Lutheran lay folk. A vast majority of them will never read the Augsburg Confession - and many don't even know it exists. I am not willing to say that God will not save them because they haven't read and understood and believe what's in Articles III and IV.

OK, so now some of the teaching -- DOCTRINE -- contained in the Book of Concord are "wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel"?  You talk out of both sides of your mouth....

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #172 on: May 07, 2018, 05:10:32 PM »
It seems to be an ongoing problem. Brian doesn't seem to understand that "teaching" and "belief" are synonyms of "doctrine."


I don't have problems with that. When you make "teaching" and "belief" and "doctrine" synonyms with "salvation" then you've nullified grace.

And no one has done that, have they?  Oh, you puff up the accusation, but it is out of thin air. 

Dan Fienen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #173 on: May 07, 2018, 05:20:10 PM »

all of these aforementioned understandings of Baptism and Communion and how the church body's stance on Christology and Trinity can toss their Baptisms and Communions out... and that a stance always denies??... I am really not contesting questioning of those church bodies but such certainties that are stated are coming (as I read them) not from Scripture and the Confessions as other texts where decisions have already been reached by writers other than the biblical writers and writers of our Confessions....

and then you get something like this:

"Let it suffice to say we acknowledge bread (with or without yeast) and “fruit of the grape vine” (normally fermented but not absolutely excluding unfermented) as the proper elements for the Lord’s Supper."

oh, so when in this volume will we know about unfermented absolutely?  I grant you I do not want to celebrate with grape juice... it has been placed/forced onto an altar where I celebrated and I ignored it and I refused to distribute it... some lay folks did... and what they distributed I cannot say for sure... all that aside... BUT NOT ABSOLUTELY EXCLUDING... as wishy washy as you get in the midst of solid for sure stuff about what others believe and teach and do and what God thinks and does about it.... 

I am a Lutheran but I must let God deal with Pentecostals, Baptists and others that I am not nor do I wish to be...


Harvey, sometimes I have difficulty figuring out just what you are trying to say.


For those churches whose belief in God is not the New Testament Trinitarianism as has been handed down by the Church Fathers, and whose Christ Jesus is believed to be other than as has been taught by the Church Fathers in, for example, the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, the Creed of Chalcedon or Article III of the Augustana, they are for God to decide as to their fate.  But I cannot find in Scripture promises that those whose worship goes to mental constructs, gods, other than what has been proclaimed in the Bible and the orthodox church as the one true God, and who rely for salvation on a Jesus who is other than what has been proclaimed in the Bible and the orthodox church as the God/Man Jesus, begotten by the Father and born of Mary will nevertheless be saved.  On the contrary, I read warnings about not departing from what the Apostles taught.


If I were a doctor and patient came to me suffering from an ailment for which the medicine that I have been taught has a specific and effective remedy, yet the patient wants to take not that remedy but an herbal concoction that has been shown to have toxic effects and does not have proven effectiveness, should I tell that patient that it was fine to forgo the medicine that I know will heal him for a nostrum of at best dubious effectiveness that could quite possibly make him sicker or kill him?  Would I not be remiss if I didn't warn him?


If groups want to baptize in the name of a Jesus whom they believe is the entire God, no Trinity, I have no way to stop them.  If they ask my opinion, I will tell them that I believe them to be wrong and their baptism worthless.  But they do not need my permission to practice their religion as they see fit.  Here in America they have every right to do so.  However, there is nothing that says that I must accept their baptism as good, valid and efficacious as is the baptism that I practice according to what I have been taught and believe is what Jesus instituted and promised to bless.  Nor, if one of their members decides to join my church, do I have to accept their baptism as valid and not rebaptize. 


Similarly with the Lord's Supper, however there the concern is not just the Name of God refers to the Triune God of the Bible, but also that the Word that is connected to the sacrament refers to what Jesus intended it to be rather than changing it to some sort of symbolic meal.  There is also concerns as to the community gathered around the table.  For brevity, I would rather than hash all that our here, we have all be over this at length in the past.


Again, other groups can set up their own Lord's Supper according to however they want to interpret Jesus' institution and intent.  Use whatever words they wish and explain them to mean whatever they decide they should mean.  They can also use whatever material elements that they wish.  There is nothing that I can do to stop them, unless they also want to claim to be members of the same church body that I am.  But neither do I have accept their formulations and practice as valid and efficacious, nor do I have to partake in their rite if I happen to be present.  Nor (and here I expect push back) do I have to accept their interpretation as perfectly valid and allow them to partake at the Altar for which I have responsibilities as though our Lord's Supper is the same as theirs.  Again, this is land which we have extensively worked over and haggled over, I rather not go back to that discussion.


Believe what you want, and practice how you want (within certain legal limits, no human sacrifices for example), but I feel no compulsion to say that you are right of that you are not actually harming yourself spiritually.
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #174 on: May 07, 2018, 05:25:38 PM »
My pastor told us last night  about a meeting he had with the Rabbi down the street from our church.  She said, "So you are the Lutheran Pastor up the street?   At least we worship the same God".   Our Pastor said, "No, we don't worship the same God since you do not believe Jesus is God".   Her reply, "You really believe that Jesus is God?"

I am thankful I have a Pastor that is brave enough to speak the truth.

Hmm . . . wouldn't it be more accurate, in talking with a Jew, to acknowledge that we worship the same God, even though the Jewish understanding of that God (as Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is incomplete? To say "we don't worship the same God" seems to push the differences a bit too far.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #175 on: May 07, 2018, 05:37:06 PM »


Should Christians be offended at the anti-Christ and anti-Christian statements in the Talmud?  Or offended at the twisting of Christian teaching done by those few who have attempted to construct a Christian version of Hinduism with Jesus as a Hindi avatar?  There are a number of points where Christianity and Judaism are in agreement,  Similarly there are a number of points where Christianity will agree with Hinduism or Buddhism.  For example most world religions have some form of the Golden Rule.  But there will inevitably be points at which we disagree.  Otherwise we would not be different religions.


As with other areas of life we need to learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.  The Faith in which I have faith makes a number of assertion about life and how it should be lived as well as what happens after life and the importance of having a proper relationship with the being my faith holds to be God, and how such a proper relationship may be gained.  It is the nature of assertions that when one states something positively, one also states that contradictory assertions are wrong and those who hold such contradictory assertions are wrong.  That should not be offensive especially since I understand that they also consider me with my faith assertions to be wrong.  Nonetheless, I should not consider those who hold those counter-assertions to be necessarily crazy, stupid or (in most cases) evil.  The attitude on the part of some Christians that because Jews did not believe in Jesus as we did that they were evil, sub-human, or lacking in rights was itself an evil attitude.  Similarly, the early persecution of Christians by Jews (when the Jews were more powerful than the Christians) was wrong.


I agree that should not consider those with counter assertions to be crazy, stupid, or (in most cases) evil. However, is it possible to believe that God can still save those who have contradictory assertions to orthodoxy? Can we consider the idea that God might even speak to us through them?


I have argued that Mormon teachings and the teachings of Jehovah Witnesses are not Christian teachings. However, I believe that it's above my pay grade to condemn them to hell because of their false teachings. It is God who saves by grace, not because we might have the right knowledge in our heads.
I agree that it is above my pay grade to condemn people to hell.  But is
it
also above my pay grade to point out that God does not promise to save those who have their own construct of who God and Jesus are that contradict the orthodox belief?  Can you point to where God promises that those who disbelieve what He has revealed will be saved?  God can and will do anything He wants, blessed be His name.  But as a pastor, is it given me to tell people that they can be or will be saved even if they reject Christian belief?


To again use the medical analogy.  At one time it was believed the mercury was a cure for syphilis.  We now know that the mercury will usually kill faster than the syphilis would and have other effective cures for that disease.  If I were a doctor and had a patient that wanted to try mercury to cure syphilis, should I tell him to go on ahead because who am I to say that it would kill him?


Or less extremely, should I as a doctor allow patients to refuse treatments for ailments that I know are effective in favor of treatments that I not only do not know are effective but have good medical reasons to suspect would be ineffective or even make them worse? 


I cannot stop people from believing all sorts of unbiblical things about God and salvation.  Nor do I have the power to absolutely condemn them hell for it.  But should I therefore allow that their beliefs are just fine or warn them of the dangers?
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #176 on: May 07, 2018, 05:49:55 PM »
I will stick with the Athanasian Creed - one of the confessions to which I made a quia subscription when ordained. It ends with the words "This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved."

I believed it on December 2, 1984 and I still believe, teach and confess its truth.

I guess that makes me a dinosaur in the brave new world of relativism.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 05:52:58 PM by Daniel L. Gard »

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #177 on: May 07, 2018, 05:53:34 PM »
My pastor told us last night  about a meeting he had with the Rabbi down the street from our church.  She said, "So you are the Lutheran Pastor up the street?   At least we worship the same God".   Our Pastor said, "No, we don't worship the same God since you do not believe Jesus is God".   Her reply, "You really believe that Jesus is God?"

I am thankful I have a Pastor that is brave enough to speak the truth.

Hmm . . . wouldn't it be more accurate, in talking with a Jew, to acknowledge that we worship the same God, even though the Jewish understanding of that God (as Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is incomplete? To say "we don't worship the same God" seems to push the differences a bit too far.
They do not worship the Trinity.  Ask them.  But you do worship the Trinity.  Different Gods.  Is Jesus God?  You say so and worship Him.  They say no and do not.  Different Gods.  Not "incomplete" understanding but DIFFERENT understanding, different Gods.

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #178 on: May 07, 2018, 06:09:44 PM »
Who is the Christian God?  Is it ever important to name the Christian God?  Does the Christian God have a name?
These are good questions. Why have we allowed tradition (and, perhaps, Calvinist translators) to keep us saying Lord, Lord, Lord, when the name God has given appears over and over again in the Scriptures, though we strenuously avoid saying YHWH? The concordance of the Lutheran Study Bible has an interesting choice — listing Lord separately by where the Hebrew says (as we might in English) Lord and where YHWH appears; the sheer number of places this has happened shows how blurred this distinction is in the minds of modern Christians. Not only does a chunk of the Church have a problem with God's own use of masculine language to speak about Himself, the larger Church has a problem using the name He Himself used to talk about Himself.

The ancient Jews, when printed scriptures were rare, when reading the scriptures in worship, said 'adonai when the text had YHWH. Hearers wouldn't know what word was in the text. Confusion goes back a long, long, time.

Bibles for centuries, back to at least the King James Version, have let us readers know the distinction between YHWH and 'adonai. The first uses all upper-case letters: "LORD". The second uses upper and lower case letters: "Lord." In a few verses where both words occur in Hebrew, "Lord GOD" is used. (Nearly every time that comes up in a Bible study class, I point it out.)

The LXX uses κύριος for both Hebrew words. Perhaps that's where the confusion started - a couple centuries before Christ was born.
Thanks for stating what is known. The question still stands: why do modern translations stick with this, when there is no good reason to? I'm still partial to the suggestion made by Dr Reed Lessing when he was still at CSL, that YHWH Sabaoth be transated General Yahweh.


First of all, we don't know that Yahweh is how the word was pronounced when it was spoken by the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The vowel pointing under יהוה are the vowels for 'adonai to remind the readers not to speak the Holy Name. An older pronunciation was Jehovah.


Secondly, why would we want to purposively offend Jewish folks who would find it as misusing God's name; breaking the commandment?

This is one of the few times you and I find agreement, Brian. I agree with both of your arguments here. Good job.
1. Exact pronunciation of any ancient language is questionable; I don't see why that's necessarily an impediment to using them. Consider how modern Latin liturgies use the execrable Medieval pronunciations rather than the crisp, clear ancient style it is believed was used — they still work.

2. I have great sympathy with the wish to not offend. That said, there are invitations by God to call on God in the OT — that is a truly proper use of God's name, and is not a misuse of the Name, which is what all the futzing about with vowels was intended to avoid (Hey! If we never actually use it, we can't break that commandment! Sweet!). Yet what do we find when we read the OT? We find that it was used by God's people to address God directly; see, for instance, 2 Samuel 24.10. Avoiding the use of the name of the Lord is an accreted practice, and certainly not commanded.


The early rabbis developed a process of building a fence around God's commandments. The image is like building a fence around and three-feet away from a deep hole. The purpose is to make sure that no one falls into the hole, so rules (the fence) are created to keep people away from falling. So, while God's command doesn't forbid the use of the divine name, traditional developed a fence around the name to keep people from misusing it - they wouldn't say it.

I see Jesus doing something similar in Matthew 5. The Old Testament command against adultery doesn't forbid lusting after a woman. Jesus' words create a fence around adultery, a command so that we don't get close to falling into that sin. Similarly, the command against murder. In the OT, it doesn't forbid anger, but Jesus does. It's a fence to keep us from falling into that sin.
While others have dealt with these matters well above, some few comments.

First, the installation of that fence (the "accreted practice" I mentioned) may have been well-intentioned, but, as with most well-intentioned things, it was a wretched mistake and failure. This is for two reasons. Reason one is that it taught people to fear God's name — fear as in having terror of using it — which is to instill greater terror of God himself, even in is His gracious invitation to call on Him in the day of trouble. Reason two is that it did what we Lutherans recognize well and soundly reject — manage to (intentionally or not) set up laws and commands not found in Scripture on the same level as those given within it.

Second, Jesus does no such thing as "creat[ing] a fence" in Matthew 5; rather, He demonstrates (down to the marrow) that there is no escaping the condemnation found in God's commandments. To paraphrase: "You think you haven't committed adultery because you haven't touched a woman who is not your wife? Not so fast..." Jesus at once shows us the width, depth, all-pervasiveness, and danger of sin — your reading makes him little more than a new Moses.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #179 on: May 07, 2018, 06:14:59 PM »
While wanting to spend (waste?) time arguing about the first section of your post, I will content myself with just the last paragraph, in particular, this: "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."

Does that mean you don't believe that the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article IV of the AC is "necessary"?  Or the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article III?  What gospel do you have if you don't teach of Christ or the forgiveness of sins? 

Really, Rev. Stoffregen, sometimes you outdo yourself.  And not in a good way.


Articles III and IV are wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel. It tells us that even infants, who cannot yet read all those wonderful words, are saved by God's grace given to them in baptism. If they grow up and never read those wonderful words, they are still saved by God's grace that was given to them in baptism.


It wasn't until I was in college (an LCMS one) that I even knew that there was a Book of Concord. I then checked. We didn't even have one in our church library. If the pastors I had ever mentioned it, it didn't register with me. I don't think that I was an uncommon Lutheran lay folk. A vast majority of them will never read the Augsburg Confession - and many don't even know it exists. I am not willing to say that God will not save them because they haven't read and understood and believe what's in Articles III and IV.

OK, so now some of the teaching -- DOCTRINE -- contained in the Book of Concord are "wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel"?  You talk out of both sides of your mouth....


It doesn't take page after page to say, "You are saved by God's grace in Jesus Christ." That's the simple gospel. That's what saves us. When we further explain that, we end up with pages and pages of stuff. It's wonderful to help better understand it all (for those who want to try and understand the finer details of the simple Gospel, but the explanation doesn't replace the simple gospel. One mouth. One side. Two topics: simple gospel and our confessional expressions and explanation of that simple gospel.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 07:00:07 PM 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]