Author Topic: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?  (Read 40148 times)

pearson

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #345 on: May 26, 2020, 10:33:33 PM »

There is some relation between the two table of Moses, the Decalogue, and sanctification that Luther has in mind.  It is more than the antithesis that some Lutherans make it out to be.  I don't think it is sanctification through obedience to the Law, but what is it? At the very least, it appears that the two table continue to represent God's will for us in this life.  If not, why would the Holy Spirit sanctify us according to the two tables?  I also think that it has something to do with the kind of people we will be in the age to come, but I guess a person could argue that eternal life is so different from this that there is no correlation.
 

Well, if you can stand the sight of Gerhard Forde (some can't), he's the one who made famous the remark, "Sanctification is thus simply the art of getting use to justification" (in "The Lutheran View of Sanctification," in The Essential Forde, page 83).  But that doesn't seem to improve things; it only bends justification all out of shape. 

However, in the paragraph just before that apothegm, Forde writes this:

"In German there is a nice play on words that is hard to reproduce in English.  Salvation is das Heil -- which gives thr sense both of being healed and of being saved.  Sanctification is die Heiligung -- which would perhaps best be translated as "being salvationed."  Sanctification is "being salvationed," the new life arising from the catastrophe suffered by the old upon hearing that God alone saves.  It is the pure flower that blossoms in the desert, watered by the unconditional grace of God."

Maybe that helps.

Tom Pearson

readselerttoo

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #346 on: May 26, 2020, 11:12:22 PM »

Being created in God's image means to have the capacity to obey perfectly God's directive. 


That's what it means to be created in the image of God?  Since the Fall, then, no one but the Son of God has been made in the image of God?  That seems to be the conclusion.

Tom Pearson

For Adam before the Fall it was.  I was not referencing what is after the Fall although the image of God continues in the creature after the Fall or the creature could not be God’s creature.  Elert talks of the ebenbild which is prior to the Fall.  The bild continues in the creature post-Fall but not the ebenbild. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 11:21:00 PM by readselerttoo »

DCharlton

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #347 on: May 27, 2020, 12:34:48 AM »

There is some relation between the two table of Moses, the Decalogue, and sanctification that Luther has in mind.  It is more than the antithesis that some Lutherans make it out to be.  I don't think it is sanctification through obedience to the Law, but what is it? At the very least, it appears that the two table continue to represent God's will for us in this life.  If not, why would the Holy Spirit sanctify us according to the two tables?  I also think that it has something to do with the kind of people we will be in the age to come, but I guess a person could argue that eternal life is so different from this that there is no correlation.

Well, if you can stand the sight of Gerhard Forde (some can't), he's the one who made famous the remark, "Sanctification is thus simply the art of getting use to justification" (in "The Lutheran View of Sanctification," in The Essential Forde, page 83).  But that doesn't seem to improve things; it only bends justification all out of shape. 

However, in the paragraph just before that apothegm, Forde writes this:

"In German there is a nice play on words that is hard to reproduce in English.  Salvation is das Heil -- which gives thr sense both of being healed and of being saved.  Sanctification is die Heiligung -- which would perhaps best be translated as "being salvationed."  Sanctification is "being salvationed," the new life arising from the catastrophe suffered by the old upon hearing that God alone saves.  It is the pure flower that blossoms in the desert, watered by the unconditional grace of God."

Maybe that helps.

Tom Pearson

I never met Forde in person, but I've read and own almost everything of his that has been published.  That alone reveals that I have always liked his theology.  Just the other night I reread his essay on Radical Lutheranism.  He talks there about how people tend to lose their nerve when it comes to preaching the Gospel.  Ironically, I think he loses his nerve as well.  If we really believe, as he does, that a proper understanding of justification by faith establishes the Law, why be so shy about acknowledging the legitimate place of the Law?  If we preach the Gospel as radically as he asks us to, there should be no need to deny that the role of the Law in the civil realm and in vocation.  I can remember my reaction when I read an essay by Marc Kolden in the Forde festschrift By Faith Alone.  It was entitled "Earthy Vocation as a Corollary of Justification by Faith."  My reaction was to say to myself, "If Forde had ever come out and said as much himself, it would have undercut the notion that he opposed good works." 

Nor will there be a need to deny that the shape of the sanctified life, a life never fully realized in this life, has an uncanny resemblance to the kind of life once demanded of us by the Law.  We won't get there by our own efforts, using the Law as a guide.  Sanctification is as passive as justification. It is all the work of the Holy Spirit, who puts the Old Adam to death through the Law and raises New Adam to life through the Gospel.  But in the end, the New Adam bears an uncanny resemblance to the kind of person that the Law demand we be.  The New Adam fulfills the first and second tables of the Law willingly, without any compulsion by the Law.   If its too dangerous to call that uncanny resemblance the Law fulfilled, then I'm fine with that.  Call it something else.     
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 12:40:27 AM by DCharlton »
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Nathan Rinne

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #348 on: May 28, 2020, 02:41:09 PM »
Hello again all,

I’m just going to take up the time to saliently sum up the key content as I see it from the past three pages.

Namely, since when I last commented here and said:

“Brian German writes in his new CTQ aritcle: "...if the law is not in its essence God’s eternal will but construed as something else—whether that be “its condemning office” or any sort of “legal scheme,” “nasty tool,” or “disposable tool” —Luther’s understanding of the fulfillment of the law will suffer catastrophically."

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/GermanLutherontheFulfillmentoftheLaw.pdf

The footnote shows it is Steven D. Paulson who describes the law in all of those ways.

Being a heresy-hunter of the first class, it is my contention that Paulson denies the third use of the law for the same reason that He believes Christ committed sin, namely, because, for him, the law of God is not His eternal will we are created to walk in but is really something else.”

...Peter Speckhard has said, among other things:

“Our “view” of eternity is only what God reveals. For example, we know in this world that God is eternally triune. We know God is Love. And we know we live in eternity. So unless you’re saying that we live in eternity with the triune God who is love but it is not His will that we live in love in eternity, it seems obvious that His revealed will, that we live God and neighbor, applies to eternity as much as His self-revelation that He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit….

It seems to me your objection to the idea that the Law reflects God’s eternal will relies on some knowledge that either God doesn’t want us to live Him and our neighbor in eternity or on an objection to the idea that loving God and neighbor summarizes the Law….

The issue was be been looking at here is whether the law as revealed expressed God’s eternal will. You might compare the question to whether the written instructions (for a dish or a building) represent the ultimate pattern in the mind of the chef/architect. In eternity, when we can do it without the instructions, what we will be doing apart from the instructions will still conform to the pattern the instructions outlined. The pattern is eternal whether the written instructions are or not….

The 3rd Use relates to the idea that the Law is God's eternal will. That is, the Law as a guide is just that, a guide or map. It describes what is. It doesn't tell you what to do so much as give you a true blueprint of divine, eternal reality.”

Hear! Hear! Some home runs there…

Meanwhile… readselerttoo does not have me nearly as excited….

“It is a waste of time trying to reflect on an essence of God’s will, etc.  because at that point we are attempting to hide from God’s inescapable judgment over us.”

Didn’t Jesus tell us what God’s will is and what the law meant (see above)? Who is hiding? As a new creature in Christ, I like the idea of God’s law being fulfilled in love, even if I don’t and can’t love the way Jesus did and He means for me to as well….

“But sanctification is not as our Methodist friends would have it.  It is a making holy but not without a death involved.  Sanctification (and Forde/Paulson may be in agreement here, I don't know about them)) is not without suffering and death.  See how Jesus uses sanctification in John's Gospel, chapter 17.”

Why are the Methodists always brought up here? One is either Elertian or a Methodist? Poor Luther… nowhere to go….

“Anyone who believes that the telos, the end and goal to life in Christ falls back upon whether the law gets done or not is to fall into the clutches of Calvinism and Karl Barth in particular.”

Mercy… Elert saw Calvinism everywhere…

“Why would Luther rely so much on Galatians and Romans if there wasn't something else besides the endpoint being fulfillment of the law?”

Is true love between persons boring or something? I’m not saying there isn’t more to eternal life, enjoying the whole of the New Heavens and Earth, but why in the world would we want to discount this or throw it into doubt for a minute?

“…life in Christ is not necessarily against the law but it is not FINALLY built upon law.  If it was then Christ's death on the cross would have no meaning, no import, no force in history, our own or in general.”

No one, I think, is saying it is finally built upon law…  More in next answer below.

“Jesus is alive and active forgiving sins and there to be with us forever...  If that is law-filled life then I may as well go into Judaism or simply live as an atheist or even an agnostic.”

Only Jesus perfectly embodies the law – which, yes, involves compassion and mercy – for our sakes, so not sure at all why you would say this either.

“…the directives given to Adam and Eve in the Garden prior to the Fall were not laws per se but directives given to persons who were created responsibly in God's image.”

Well, Luther called it law. He also said that it threatened, although Adam and Eve also felt no threat (perhaps warning would have been a better word).

DCharlton:

“While the Old Adam would attempt to use the Law as a guide to holy living, the New Adam is guided by the Spirit to willingly (without the compulsion of the Law) the things called for by the decalogue.  Is this decalogue to which the sanctified person is conformed the Law, or not?... The Holy Spirit will make us into people who just do have true faith in God, and who just do love our neighbors as ourselves.  We will do all that without either the compulsion or the guidance of the Law.  Nevertheless, the decalogue will accurately describe the shape of our sanctified lives. ”

Why can the New Man not use the Law as a guide to holy living? Why is this somehow antithetical to the Spirit guiding the New Man willingly? Luther talked about how the command given in the Garden would have increased Adam and Eve’s knowledge. Even our Lord Jesus, according to his human nature, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” He became perfect.

I know Forde wouldn't like me talking that way....

+Nathan
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 02:42:44 PM by Nathan Rinne »

readselerttoo

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #349 on: May 28, 2020, 03:16:12 PM »
N. Rinne:   How can Jesus embody the law when it was fulfilled and set aside through his death on the cross for us?  No.  The resurrection brought something new and different (unique, never before seen)  certainly not against the law but definitely not law per se.  You are returning to the law as a basis when you say that Jesus embodies the law as stated above in your post as a response to me.  Jesus brings something totally new and it has to do with living in his Body, ie. the Church.

Of course the law is still valid for us sinners as it always was to both inform but at the same time accuse us for not doing the law perfectly.  You can’t talk about any use of the law including a so-called third use without talking about lex semper accusat.  St. Paul continues to be correct when he addresses us sinners:  “...with the law comes the knowledge of sin....the law brings wrath...”

Christ’s resurrection et.al. has most to do not with just himself but most of all for us and for our salvation.  For me the great joy of Easter is that being a member of His Body through the sacrament of Holy Baptism and in faith the problem of sin, guilt and death have been resolved in Christ not for him alone but for us and in general. 

Now tell that to my sinner nature as well!  Lol

readselerttoo

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #350 on: May 28, 2020, 04:47:02 PM »
Many folks who insist on a third use of the law cannot deal with the fact that God’s judgment over sin continues even when we pose questions as to whether love has been done or not.  Or expecting God to accept our attempts to do what is right.  It is too late for that.  We have been thrown out of tHe Garden of Eden.  Now for us sinners God demands perfect love all the time to my neighbor let alone God.  In our questioning and in our theological reflections we are already under judgment by God for not being righteous in love every moment and at this moment.   It is too much for me to handle and the guilt for indebtedness is excruciatingly present if one were honest enough ie. repentance.

DCharlton

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #351 on: May 28, 2020, 06:56:36 PM »
Why can the New Man not use the Law as a guide to holy living? Why is this somehow antithetical to the Spirit guiding the New Man willingly? Luther talked about how the command given in the Garden would have increased Adam and Eve’s knowledge. Even our Lord Jesus, according to his human nature, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” He became perfect.

Do you think that is what Luther meant when he talked about being sanctified according the first and second tables of Moses?
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Nathan Rinne

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Re: Can/Should Laymen Counter Heretical Views?
« Reply #352 on: June 04, 2020, 04:32:51 PM »
DCharlton,

Sorry so long getting back here.

"Do you think that is what Luther meant when he talked about being sanctified according the first and second tables of Moses?"

I'm not sure I understand the relevance of your question. I think Luther mean being sanctified according to the first and second tables of Moses. It must happen and will happen in Christ.

readselertoo

"How can Jesus embody the law when it was fulfilled and set aside through his death on the cross for us?  No.  The resurrection brought something new and different (unique, never before seen)  certainly not against the law but definitely not law per se."

I don't think that you are on very firm ground here. Jesus fulfills the law not only by being executed by its judgment for carrying the burden of our sins. He also lived the life of love that the law describes that we were meant to live but could not.

Here is my own more exact position, which I stated as a result of careful listening to Steve Paulson more exactly in my online article “The Biggest Radical Lutheran Straw Man of Them All”: “Understood most simply, legal righteousness, or righteousness according to the law, specifically in the Ten Commandments, proclaims an imperfect picture of what must be done, what is prescribed. Even better, given that it is from God, reflects God, and is for man, legal righteousness simply proclaims what real righteousness looks like. And it does us well to note here that legal righteousness involves both justice and compassion (see, e.g., Matthew 23:23).”

Earlier, I state the following: “Orthodox Christianity does not teach that God was “subject to the law” (Paulson and Hopman, Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions, 51), but that law and gospel exists precisely because of the character of God the Father and His Son. This character also explains the true significance of the cross in Romans 3: we see the reconciliation of justice (“so that he might be just”) and mercy (“and [be] the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”).”

David Scaer has gone so far recently to say "God is the law". I say it is fine to call God the law in the larger context of how we use human language. I think its fine to say this because God is the One who is ultimately in charge, who judges the world. He is the boss, the sheriff, the one who deals with us outlaws. I also make a point of saying it is also fine to say “the Bible is God” in some contexts (as in "yes, that is God speaking there...")

In the paper from German mentioned above Luther says that the law is:

“all His will and counsel” (AE 9:51)
"serves to indicate the will of God” (AE 22:143)
"commands firmly and forever (inaeternum et stabiliter),” (WA 5:560.39–40),
“the eternal and immutable judgment of God” (AE 7:275)

For Luther:

-“the purpose of all laws is love”
-“[love] agrees in all things with the law”
-“[love is] the essential meaning of the law,”
- “all the commandments of the law depend on love.”

Also:

“the love of the law” is synonymous with “the fulfilling of the law”
“[the law] is satisfied and fulfilled if it is loved”

And not only that, but “the love of righteousness and the hatred of iniquity: that is, the fulfillment of all laws.”

More from the paper:

“…in the coming life things will be like what the Decalogue has been demanding here.”

“In the future life, however, they will have the will to do the law not only in Spirit, but also in flesh.”

“In heaven it will not be necessary to admonish to love God. But then we will truly and perfectly do what Christ did here. At that time you will not say: ‘I should love the Father,’ but: ‘I love the Father,’ and ‘as he has given me command, thus I do.’”

Christ's perfect life and innocent death are both involved in the fulfilling of the law.

+Nathan