How to recognize “Yeah…But” Syndrome

When one is confronted with the pure, sweet truth of the gospel of schizophrenia 1 by CHAZ+Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, they immediately say, “Yeah (that’s all well and good)…but you can’t just live anyway you want.”

 

It’s been a while since we’ve discussed this phenomenon here at The Old Adam lives, but I think maybe it’s a good time to revisit the “Yeah…but” syndrome.

What is at the heart of a “yeah…but“?

I believe it is a biblicist’s view of scripture which awards the same value to every line of scripture; a total inability to distinguish the law from the gospel; an ignorance of the purposes of the law and that of the gospel; a desire to have some input into the salvation project; a failure to see that the gospel always trumps the law.

So when St. Paul says in Romans that to one who works, he will receive his reward based on those works, but the one who does not work will be justified by faith (paraphrased – I forgot to get my Bible out of the car), the “yeah… but”-er goes into a state of cognitive dissonance. A sort of Christian schizophrenia results. And since the law is written upon our hearts and ‘doing’ to justify ourselves is our default position, then the law side of the equation takes over.

What happens then is that you get one who knows what the gospel is, and pays lip service to it, but ultimately is still bound to the law as a way to justify themselves before God.

They will deny this all day long. But their actions, and what comes out of their mouths betray them to another reality.

The Word of God will actually ‘DO’ to people, that for which it intends.

So when a gospel message is preached, people are forgiven, liberated, and freed, all because of what the Lord Jesus has done for them. But when the law message is preached, people are put back into the slavery which the law brings; that of accusation and condemnation.

So this is not a little thing  this “yeah…but” syndrome. It can be quite deadly and take over and drown out the gospel. St. Paul makes that painfully clear in his letter to the Galatians. One can “sever themselves from Christ.”

So, do we abandon the law?  NO!

But we don’t try and harness it to our betterment in the eyes of the Lord.

Because of Christ Jesus, the Lord already loves us before we start the day!

We use the law for our creaturely obligations that we might live as well as we can on this earth together, and the law is used by God to expose us, to accuse us, and to condemn us, so that we can in no way rely upon ourselves and what we say, do, feel, or think, to make ourselves right with God.

And then…the “yeah… buts” come again!

 

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Anybody want to refute that in any way? Anything to add?

Thanks!

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151 Responses

  1. I’m thinking that I’m probably unqualified to comment on this one.

    Cheers,

  2. I just want to say yeah but works without faith are dead, and if the faith you have is tied to the works you do, then you are dead. Yet Jesus was delivered up for your trespasses (every thing you have ever done and not done, no everything, I mean well everything) and raised for your justification.

  3. by everything above, I mean the time you picked your nose, I mean the time you cleaned your room, I mean the time you dropped five buck in the good will basket, I mean the time you gossiped, the time you kissed your girl friend good night, the time you went dancing, and the time you skipped dancing. You know what they all have in common? YOU. And your a sinner, so everything you do is tainted with sin, even when you are trying your best to obey Christ in faith. Christ forgives even your so called good works, he has to, otherwise there would be no hope for you. There isn’t any hope in dirty rags.

  4. Aaaahhh Steve but this is the essence of the issue is it not, no different today than it was when Luther and Erasmus debated the issue. In fact Luther thanked him for at least getting to the REAL hub of it all.

    The essence of the “yeah but” is really the bondage of the will, note I did not say or mean “total depravity” two entirely different concepts and religions.

    If one carefully examines Luther’s HD there is crucial way the theology of the Cross functions as opposed to ANY theology of glory. One cannot structure around them and have the same thing, this is why when all is said and done, for example, bondage of the will is not at all the same as “total depravity”.

    One has to keep in mind “what is the real on the ground functioning state of the conscience of ANY given person calling themselves a believer?” It’s hard to examine only in the abstract or hypothetical, its also hard to understand if one themselves didn’t believe a certain paradigm. Because in order to grasp the effect a belief paradigm HAS on an individual real person’s conscience, one REALLY had to believe it one time. E.g. I know a fair amount about Mormonism as a study and such, but I never WAS one, thus I cannot speak as well its effects since I didn’t intimately experience them.

    That being said:

    In the HD Luther’s paradigm is set up under the reality that in the ever existing present tense (i.e. the ONLY reality we actually move and act, think and speak – literally THE ever moving present NOW, and NOW, and NOW again, etc…where the actual conscience IS) the same saint/sinner can commit mortal (deadly sin) or works that do the same thing such that one DOES in fact not theory fall away from grace. Especially in the pious realm where we begin to see the REAL bondage of the will and not the synergistic “total depravity”. Because it is mostly by pious deeds and use of the law that men actually and really withhold from themselves grace, not looking at porn or robbing liquor stores. This is Luther’s point in thesis 1 about the Law being misused. Keep in mind that Luther turned the terms mortal/venial sin in Rome’s view back upon Rome, and by mortal (sin) and by extension good works that are in fact mortal sin is meant a sin that is such that it withholds one from grace. Here the idea is not something one has done that is so bad, so repeated, so never gotten past that it is deadly, but primarily very pious good works, again the use of the Law to withhold from one’s self Christ and Him crucified, the forgiveness of sin and grace. This is the bondage of the will that simply will not LET God be God! It refuses to go utterly passive unto its true death and let God raise from nothing new life and it primarily does this through the law doing pious “good works” and THESE are the MORTAL (deadly) sins that withhold one from grace. Thus Luther said that a true mortal sin is that which is not confessed as a mortal sin and a true venial sin is sin (and good works) confessed as mortal sin.

    Rome would define this backwards – as does ALL “cannot fall away”, the elect cannot loose faith, paradigms in Protestantism – Mortal sin in Rome’s thought was some kind of “negative sin” due to its quantity, quality, frequency, bondage to or repeated nature simply is such that God “gives up” on you concerning grace and a venial sin is a lesser thing. Here it is NOT that man uses the Law and the very best good works (mortal sin as Luther speaks, the elder brother in the Prodigal parable) to withhold themselves from grace but something “one has done” sinfully. What all other protestants have in common here, including Calvin with Rome is that concept, the protestant just does not have a “mortal”/”venial” terminology. But it is a natural necessity of “can’t fall away” or “once saved always saved” because remember we and our conscience lives in the ever present mode and in those paradigms one is either on the truly reborn/converted/elect/predestined side of the spiritual “line in the sand” or one is not. There is no “middle ground” for ANY given individual in the present tense concerning their individual consciences about themselves and their status before a holy God, its either saved or not, elect or reprobate, born again or not, converted or not, real true saving faith or a fake version of it in the ever present. THUS, there is no true MORTAL sin as Luther stated. If one is on the good side of the salvation line and thus cannot fall away one cannot sin so as to fall away, the logic is impenetrable especially in the conscience of the believer/unbeliever. Conversely is one finds somehow “I’m on the bad side of the election line” then there is no MORTAL sin because it presuppose a salvation from which to fall, again the logic cannot be breeched. Thus, one either is puffed up on the “good side” of the line, or despairing on the “bad side” of the line, and ANY good works one does over on the can’t fall away side of the line cannot ever cause a mortal fall from grace, and thus cannot in the conscience before God be confessed without shear hypocrisy of being true deadly sin and thereby be true venial sin (forgivable); but rather is confessed like Rome’s doctrine as false venial sin (good works only tainted with sin but acceptable) and are arrogantly brought before God as such. Confessed as such, false venial sin in that and Rome’s paradigm, IS in fact in Luther’s paradigm the very definition of true mortal sin that separates in reality from the grace of God. This protestant “mortal/venial” system by other names usually manifests itself informally when the question arises to a pastor, “How do I know which I am?” And the pastor then directs them inward, for there are no extra nos sacraments, to examine their ‘works’ and weigh their works good and bad quality against some more or less nebulous scale, not AT ALL unlike poor Christians under the Papacy for that “this means I’m saved/reborn/elect”, “this may mean I’m not”. That – the “this means I’m saved/reborn/elect”, “this may mean I’m not” – is the informal Protestant-Calvinistic/Arminian/Baptist/etc… “venial”/”mortal” sin paradigm that parallels exactly Rome’s system, just a bit of a different gloss covering it so that it looks opposite on the surface.

    But these two Roman/Protestant systems whether under the Pope, Calvin or Wesley are the very life blood of the fallen old Adam’s bondage of the will, love of self, seeking the self in all things, the addiction of the self to the self, and especially through the most pious of works.

    From this comes all kinds of the same death rattles from the old Adam when he first hears of Christ for real, “yeah but” being the more modern death howl. He simply will not passively lay down his weapons, his use of the law in the most pious good works way, and rather shakes and rattles his saber at God, gnashing his teeth at Christ (but externally it looks very nice, polite, pleasant, pious, virtuous, dutiful, good works-ish from the power of so called grace, and well mannered.

    That “yeah but” in whatever apologetic or timorous form it comes is really a demonic adder striking the heal of Christ. It is a more of an abject denial of Christ than rank atheist.

    Never make the mistake that the bondage of the will is the same as “total depravity” for it cannot be given the paradigms described above. True Luther’s bondage of the will is the polar opposite of all three: Calvin’s (really later day Dort’s) “total depravity”, Rome’s Mortal/Venial system, as well as Arminian/Wesley’s “free choice system”. All three are utterly synergistic, only Luther outlined true monergism. Bondage of the will is no more like total depravity than is Luther’s defense of the Lord’s Supper the same as Calvin’s defense of the “Lord’s Supper”, much less Zwinglian views. They are complete opposites.

    We have a tendency to have a false idea about “self deception”, a kind of “if I WAS REALLY self deceived I could come out side of myself and see it, I don’t see it, ergo I must not be self deceived. But self deception is EXACTLY and PRECISELY what it says, so deceived the very self is utterly and absolutely deceived. This how true bondage of the will works and the “yeah but” is an utter self deception that comes from the very bondage of the will.

    This is why Christ, and the Word and Sacraments, are likewise utterly extra nos, from the outside, because THE Word was needed to say “you are an utter and absolute addict to yourself in all ways and thus you function both as a rank sinner and a false good works saint.”

    Larry

  5. Yeah but–Jesus did it ALL, and still does it!

    Yeah but–What can I offer to Jesus that’s worth anything?

  6. So when St. Paul says in Romans that to one who works, he will receive his reward based on those works, but the one who does not work will be justified by faith

    I am guessing by this quote that you are speaking about Romans 4:4-5:
    Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

    It is important to remember that he is writing about Abraham’s example here as an illustration. Perhaps it would be wise to examine all of Scripture to get the full meaning.

    James talks about the exact same example (Abraham) in Scripture and says this:
    Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

    Is the Bible contradicting itself here? Not at all, although I am remembering why the book of James gave Luther fits at times. Using Scripture to interpret Scripture we can understand how both fit together.

    Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49:

    “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

    Peter expands on this idea in 1 Peter 2:4-8 by quoting a passage from the Old Testament regarding trusting Christ:
    4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
    “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
    and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
    “The stone the builders rejected
    has become the capstone,” 8and,
    “A stone that causes men to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

    Jesus and Peter here show us that trusting God means doing what He says to do. This is why Paul and James are not in conflict. They are writing to people struggling with the two extremes of misunderstanding why God’s Law was given to us.

    Let me close the loop if I may by returning to Paul, who supposedly championed forgoing the Law and doing any works of the Law by going to Acts 21:20-26:
    20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

    26The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

    Would somebody like to give a reason why Paul would contradict what the post assumes he is saying in Romans by going to the Temple and offering a sacrifice according to the Law?

  7. See how bound the will is, its like trying to tell a fish his wet and all the fish can say, “What’s this absurd wetness you speak of…I’m dry.” Forde well points this out that we never tire of using the Law as a defense against the wrath of grace! Grace is at the end of the day deadly and death to the old adam.

    You see, the old adam never tires of the shear terror of the Cross, he always must assert “something to do” because he actually sees in the pure Gospel his very real execution and death…so like a “dead man walking” and fool he must say as he walks on his way to the electric chair, “It’s just not true, it’s just not true, it’s just not true”, his Peter Pan faith in himself. The old adam is an expert at the law, per se, though actually blind to what it says and thinks and pretends that by it he has life. I believe Christ even points this out, “You search the scriptures and think that by them you have life, but it are these that reveal (continually) Me.”

    Paul does not contradict. One of the signatures of enthusiam is the normalizing of all Scriptures for it is not sufficient to just read them in “context” (which is necessary) but in the right order. Thus, once again its the paradigm interpretative grid you go through. We should not be surprised that the devil takes the very word of God to contradict the revelation of Christ in them, he did so from the beginning and this is how he tempted Jesus in the desert.

    In a word its as simple as this: Scripture = the Law serves the Gospel, fanatics = the Gospel serves Law. The devil takes the very words of scripture, like faith, works, etc and simply inverts everything…a subtle (or not so subtle to the theologian of the Cross) “hath God really said”.

    It is shown even in the difference between Luther and Melanchthon (who more or less followed Calvin’s thought on the matter) in what is meant even by the Law no longer applies to the Christian. Luther shows and the interpretative grid is that the end of the Law is apocalyptic of the dawning Kingdom that will come in finitude in which it is no longer in conscience of the believer. The implications in eternity which impress into time and space now through the church through the Gospel and sacraments is that the Law no longer demands nor ever will for the believer. For it is fulfilled entirely by Christ and nothing is left lacking, not even a “so you can do it”…it is finished means exactly it is finished already, judgment is already rendered nothing can change it “on earth as it is in heaven” as we pray for the Kingdom of forgiveness to come. Yet for Melanchthon (later) and Calvin always the end of the law is as Nestigen points out structural not apocalyptic. Thus ultimately in “their heaven” and their religion the gospel serves the law (which is another gospel ultimately). The implications in eternity which impresses into time and space here and now in that religion is that for the believer in eternity the Law will always be lacking and needing of the Christian to do. So that bean counting religion that only gives lip service to “Christ did it all” really understands Christ’s cry “it is finished” to mean “except for yea but”.

    Two different religions as always a theology of glory on one side that ultimately sides with the religions of the world and a theology of the Cross which reveals and gives Christ. EVEN secular folks pull out the Law to express “what we should do” and miss Christ entirely.

    The elder brother religion will forever hate the gifts the younger brother received in spite of his hog trough life style he led and thus the elder brother will forever stand outside of the great feast going on inside in hell, a place he loves and a place he calls “heaven”, “god” (his god).

    Larry

  8. more and More I begin to wonder why Paul bothered to write at all being as James, who fails to mention Christ but twice, and no one knows, wrote such a great book to make sure we don’t take grace for granted, and maybe don’t take grace at all.
    It seems James is the book by which all others must be judged, even though the early church and the father’s thought it the other way around, and weren’t sure if they should even list it next to the Pauline Corpus.

  9. Good post.

    I would like to ask a ‘yeah but’ of my own.

    Do I get to do anything I want as a believer? Yeah, but what do I want to do? I want to do what is right because God changed my heart.

    My desires are not perfect, but they have changed. I try to do things I never would have before, not because I can earn anything with what I do, but because I am grateful for what Christ did for me.

  10. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I quoted Paul, James, Jesus (via Matthew) and Peter (and did so to show that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself), and so far all anyone can say is that I am trying to interpret Scripture is a specific order or better yet want to assert that James is “second class” Scripture because he only says Jesus twice so I should never have quoted him. Is that really what you want to do with God’s Word?

    I would note that I pointed out that Paul in Acts is shown as observing the Law and it is seen as a good thing. Thus Paul who you think is telling you to not do the things of the law in Romans is doing what the Law requires there. Would someone like to take a stab at why that is?

    If Jesus canceled out the Law; why would Paul go to the Temple to pay for sacrifices to be offered for not just himself but several other young me?

    • Jeff its not that the law is a bad thing its how you are doing it. It’s what Luther meant when he said many, MANY, will talk much about faith and works and no absolutely nothing about either one of them. Luther used the nice very accurately descriptive term “they grope around for faith and good works…never finding either”. That’s 200% accurate, having been in heterdox churches that’s EXACTLY the way it operates – they use the terms faith, good works, they quote Paul, the law, etc…but find and know of none them. It’s the simple principle in that you have lost the revealed God (though you confess Him) and thus have lost the hidden God and all of Scripture. The Scriptures, though physically opened and searched, are then a dark black closed door even though much is read from them.

      This is what Christ meant when He said, “You SEARCH the scriptures (with great effort, no one is being lazy here), and think (falsely in utter delusion) that you have life, but it are these that bear witness (continually) of me.” The bible has become one’s Pope.

      Larry

  11. Bror,

    I see more and more what you said a bit back about Jamesites, hows that for a new religion, end up as a one epistle cannon.

    It’s also odd, and you know this because you are in Mormon turf, I saw it because we did a lot of “evangelism to them”, that the baptistic and reformed Jamesites pull James out to deny Christ, withhold themselves and other from grace NO DIFFERENT than does the average Mormon or Trent. In fact baptist could save themselves a lot of trouble in writing confessions by simply signing onto Trent because that’s their real confession, though informal and under differing glosses – yet functionally the same and no difference whatsoever.

    Larry

    • that the baptistic and reformed Jamesites pull James out to deny Christ

      I quoted Christ to support James. This is the most bizarre statement I have seen you make. It appears to me that you would have to have a great deal of problems with Christ Himself in this regard, say from Matthew 23:1-3

      Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you— but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

      Later in the chapter, he excoriates them again with these words in verse 23:
      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

      • No Jeff, you played Christ against himself. Your upside down reading of Scripture remains the same period.

      • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

        These are Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:21-23. Please enlighten me as to why this doesn’t mean what it says. I will allow you to turn it right side up for me.

      • Larry,
        I apologize again. I came back to see if perhaps you had responded to this request for me and realized that I was typing so quickly I left a couple of words out. In this case it changes the whole tone of the request so I wanted to rephrase it.

        Would you like to explain why the above verses in Matthew should not be read or understood in the way that I have done previously i.e. at face value as they appear in English? Tell me what the “right side up” meaning is in other words, since your claim is that I have turned them upside down.

  12. We just had a very close friend of my the family since I was a little boy find out his stomach cancer is back and in such a bad shape that they cannot stop the bleeding. The doctors sent him home basically to die and said, “you have days left”. He’s in his early 70s. He is a baptized Christian of course in this area rich heterodoxy, raised in a false church, left later in life because the so called “preaching” at length is really nothing you can’t get off of Oprah or some “Calvinistic” ratcheting up of the law. I have very fond memories of this man as a child and friend to my family and its been a blow to my parents.

    Now I could have contacted him and gave him this other gospel Jeff propounds, throw the book of James at him and misinterpret Paul’s passages for him in this late hour of his life when he can literally DO NOTHING as the gig is up. He’s dying, fast, days if not hours. I could send him off working like a good false church would, give another gospel to him, condemn his soul by this deception and my own by vomiting out this other gospel, send a damned message as Paul said. I could huff and puff about “did you do enough…do you really and truly believe…have you reconciled yourself to God…ad nausem vomitus.”

    But I did not, because one, I don’t want to be damned myself, two I DESPISE the other gospel of the false churches, and death being the final form of the Law he is surely feeling the press of the Law for real now. So I give him Christ, point him to his baptism, for Word of God never fails, is trust worthy, is assured and in his passage now dying and naked (as we all shall be one day sooner or later) all He has is Christ. Cursed is the man and preacher who points you to yourself and not Christ…cursed in the worst way.

    Larry

    • Now I could have contacted him and gave him this other gospel Jeff propounds, throw the book of James at him and misinterpret Paul’s passages for him in this late hour of his life when he can literally DO NOTHING as the gig is up. He’s dying, fast, days if not hours.

      Do you honestly think that I would tell a dying man he needs to do more on his deathbed? If so, then you haven’t understood a word I have written and that wouldn’t be a first. My heart breaks for you my friend.

      • Jeofurry,
        Two things.
        One. The fact that you think “I think Paul is telling me not to do god things” Tells me you have not listened or tried to understand a word larry or I have said either.
        Two. From much of what you wrote, all but equating faith with obedience and good works, putting the emphasis on the good works rather than the faith that produces them. Yes we would get that. Or we can at least not be faulted for asking the question. We might now ask if you wouldn’t ask your dying uncle to do something, why ask anyone, we are all dying.

      • You do it all the time Jeff, all men are dying just some more immediately. You tell men they constantly need to do more, that’s all you talk about…it’s what you are known for…a few cursory “tips of the hat to the Gospel” do not suffice. That’s why you always “pop up” when the Gospel is most pure, which is really the only Gospel there is…you pop up to stomp it down.

        That’s the blessedness of final death and suffering, it kills destroys these little theologies of glory.

        Nobody will EVER accuse you of being “antinomian” like they did Paul and there’s a reason for that.

        L

      • You do it all the time Jeff, all men are dying just some more immediately. You tell men they constantly need to do more, that’s all you talk about…it’s what you are known for…a few cursory “tips of the hat to the Gospel” do not suffice. That’s why you always “pop up” when the Gospel is most pure, which is really the only Gospel there is…you pop up to stomp it down.

        I just wanted to say thanks for playing whack-a-mole with me then. This is a funny statement to make after the comment where I just told people NOT to do anything if it were merely an obligation to them (I suppose that is what you are calling a “hat tip” to the Gospel).

        Nobody will EVER accuse you of being “antinomian” like they did Paul and there’s a reason for that.

        It is interesting by the way, how Paul answered that charge (which was said to be false); by sacrificing in the Temple. I still haven’t heard anybody tell why he did that.

  13. One. The fact that you think “I think Paul is telling me not to do god things” Tells me you have not listened or tried to understand a word larry or I have said either.

    Bror,
    You and Larry have my sincerest apologies for the misunderstanding. I didn’t realize based on your reactions to the things that i have written and the message that sparked these conversations that you felt this way. All the Scriptures I have been quoting are simply to point out that God is the one who says that a Christian’s life will be marked by works that are manifested through the Holy Spirit.

    We might now ask if you wouldn’t ask your dying uncle to do something, why ask anyone, we are all dying.

    I won’t ask any dying person to do anything. I was under the impression from Scripture however that God’s children are made alive to do these things we were talking about.

    4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:4-10

    Two. From much of what you wrote, all but equating faith with obedience and good works, putting the emphasis on the good works rather than the faith that produces them. Yes we would get that. Or we can at least not be faulted for asking the question.

    Let me work (pardon the pun) to clear up this misconception then. If anyone looks at the Word of God and His commands as a list of obligations; they should not bother to do a single one of them. God won’t care (just read those OT prophets and see what I mean) and all the “good works” in the world will not avail you for salvation.
    If on the other hand, you see God’s Word and His incredible love for you and are moved to respond to Him in love by doing the things He said pleases Him; then knock yourself out.

    After all, there is a big difference between bringing home roses for my wife because I love her as opposed to bringing home roses to my wife because it is Valentine’s Day and I feel it is my duty to do so. I may be able to hide the intentions and motives of my heart from her; but I cannot do so where God is concerned. He sees right through me and every one of us.

  14. Yes Jeff I understand that analogy and it’s a good one, there is indeed that difference between obligation and doing it from a good heart, but you DO NOT GET TO THE GOOD HEART by saying “well if you don’t then you might not be a Christian”. And that’s the difference. You point everyone in to themselves to find these “signs” of conversion and that one is a Christian, that’s antichristic religion at its best and that’s NOT AT ALL what Christ and Paul are doing. Here is where you confuse Law and Gospel mightily. It is the natural outcome of a false theology that has no sacraments (i.e. Gospel that comes TO ME). In a way you have made good works a pseudo sacrament. Because you intuitively realize that no man can know God’s for him lest a critical “FOR ME” occurs, so instead of the Gospel you point to the works (NOTHING AT ALL DIFFERENT FROM ROME, ISLAM or SECULAR HUMANISM). Every man asks and must answer “how do I know its for me”, that’s the bondage of the will, lest God come ALL the way down in the present tense TO ME, God is utterly invisible and thus men as Luther points out “speak much of faith and good works…groping about for both…grasping neither.” For there is no firm “good work” that infallibly means “AHHA now I KNOW I’m saved/elect/have faith. That’s the talking much about faith and good works and groping Luther points out, to wit goes the tyranny of the devil’s religion, “I must know for me God has saved me, what good work or package of them or duration of them and conversely what evil works and sins that I do mean I’m not NOT saved/elect/have real faith and what one’s do? See a LOT of talk about “a faith produced work”, what is one and what is not one, and a “good work” similarly what is one and what is not one…IN THE PARTICULAR (This is both Rome’s venial/mortal system and Calvin’s/other prostestantism’s same thing other wise named). A LOT OF TALK about faith and good works and a LOT OF GROPING around blindly for them, possessing nor talking of neither in reality. The blind leading the blind off of a cliff, no different than a rank pagan religion that speaks of a ‘kind of faith’ in a ‘god’ shown by ‘works’ so that one ‘knows’ this ‘god’ will ‘save’ me. This is how ALL false religions functions from rank atheism to Calvinism to Arminianism to Islam to etc… LOTS OF “faith” talk LOTS OF “good works” talk, and a WHOLE LOT OF groping around for both never grabbing either. This is the pathetic death groping of the old Adam that simply will NOT and refuses with fist in air at God to die at the sound of the Gospel. This is the bound will of the old Adam that simply WILL NOT and REFUSES to let God be God and says, “Nope can’t be in baptism, can’t be in the Lord’s Supper where Jesus plainly spoke…I’ll find it in works somewhere…” grope, grope, grope…ad infinitum, “here everyone else follow me I know the way…” grope, grope, grope. And while groping together another man asks, “I thought you said you ‘knew the way’ great leader, teacher?” “I do, stick with it…faith/works, faith/works, faith/works…blah, blah, blah” grope, grope, grope. “I thought Christ did it all?” “He did, we are past that now, we need to have assurance now for me and you, to know we are elect/have faith/saved/born again…faith/works, faith/works, faith/works…so stick with it…” grope, grope, grope.

    True story: I once was speaking to a Mormon who was 78 at Provo, he pulled James out on me pretty much the way you did, “faith is proved by works and then I know I’m saved” (all other Mormon things aside). I said to him as nice as I could, “But how will you know when you have ‘made it’ or ever will. His reply has been burned in my mind forever, “…I just keep trying and trust God will show me…”. I wanted to say, “…you know while either one of us could die tomorrow you are 78, not exactly a spring chicken, how much longer do you think you have.”

    You see such “assurances” on works that “prove” faith is really a denial of Christ Who IS the revelation of God’s will and God’s deliverer of His grace/gifts. It is as if to say, “Christ Jesus incarnate and crucified, and His baptism and His body and blood in the bread and wine is not sufficient, I shall return to my works energized under so called grace (infused grace, the protestant version).

    When we are shown that we don’t do good works, that’s not for assurance but Law that then in turn drives us to Christ again, the sacraments where assurance is had. No man can believe (have true faith) lest Christ comes and touches YOU and says, “I FORGIVE YOU” (the point of the Gospel sacraments).

    The fallacy of the Jamesite religion is this: Suppose you do observe your works, good and bad and conclude, “I’m not saved…this is the conclusion I come to observing them…”. The Jamesites then would have you turn further into yourself and say, “see you need to get busy doing some good works so you can beef up or even cause that faith you don’t have under your assessment. This is the wolf religion where the wolf pastors make the sheep become “self feeders” so as to fatten them up that they may feed their false belly gods; and not the Cross religion Whose Master said, “IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL FEED MY SHEEP.” “THE TRUE SHEPHARD COMES IN THROUGH THE GATE AND GIVES (GIVES!!!) THEM PASTURE…THEIVES AND ROBBERS COME OVER THE FENCE…”.

    The Cross religion feeds such sheep who find, in fact CONFESS as tells them they are, “have mercy on me a sinner”, feeds them His very flesh and His very blood “FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN”.

    Do you think Christ was joking on the very night when He was betrayed and said He LONGED to have this meal with them saying “…TAKE EAT…this is My Body (flesh – John 6) GIVEN FOR YOU…TAKE DRINK…this is My Blood SHED FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”. This is how I know I’m saved/elect/reborn/converted/in faith the Word of the Incarnate God not my own.

    Larry

  15. Yes Jeff I understand that analogy and it’s a good one, there is indeed that difference between obligation and doing it from a good heart, but you DO NOT GET TO THE GOOD HEART by saying “well if you don’t then you might not be a Christian”

    I will repeat this statement one more time. No one that I have noticed in this discussion (including me) has argued that you get a “good heart” by doing works or by saying this either.

    When we are shown that we don’t do good works, that’s not for assurance but Law that then in turn drives us to Christ again, the sacraments where assurance is had.
    Here you actually echo what I have been saying (except that I haven’t brought the sacraments up at all in this discussion). By pointing out that very thing; our desire is to drive people back to Christ; not to themselves.

    The Jamesites then would have you turn further into yourself and say, “see you need to get busy doing some good works so you can beef up or even cause that faith you don’t have under your assessment.

    Which would mean that I am not a Jamesite by that definition. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Jeff,

      So that also means that by definition you now believe that baptism saves and the real and true body and blood of Christ are in the bread and wine…it must otherwise this is just a word game. And I assume you would baptize infants as well. The sacraments are critical, otherwise one cannot be serious about Christ alone.

      Can you say to the question, “How do I know I’m saved/elect (in particular)?” Answer: “I am baptized!”

      If so, we could happily, JOYFULLY, commune together. If not, I’m afraid our jubulation is a bit premature.

      Larry

      • I know that it tends to be controversial when I conflate circumcision with infant baptism, but it is statements like this that make the connection impossible to miss. Those who are trusting in their baptism that say it doesn’t matter what they do are no different than the Jews that said God had shown His promises to them in circumcision and it didn’t matter what they did either.

        The Pharisees claimed Abraham as their father because of their circumcision and yet Jesus said that they weren’t legitimate because of the things they did.
        “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

        “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does.”
        “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” John 8:39-41

        Compare this with what Paul teaches in Romans 2:25-29:
        25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

        28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

        Please note that it was after Paul had written both Galatians and Romans that he showed up in Jerusalem in Acts 21 and decided to demonstrate his dedication following the commands of the Torah.

        20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.

        Can you say to the question, “How do I know I’m saved/elect (in particular)?” Answer: “I am baptized!”

        How does this line up with Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 13:5-8?
        5Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

        Did Paul forget to mention that the test was baptism or did he have something else in mind here? How would it be possible to fail that test in any case?

  16. Yeah but–Christ alone sanctifies; ALL my works are as ‘filthy rags’ and I can get no assurance from them.

    Yeah but–thankfully, Jesus forgives ALL of my works and truly makes them good works; I get this assurance from his word of promise TO and FOR me in the Gospel message delivered in the word and sacrament. (Eph. 2:10.)

    …given & shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.

    …Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatorum.

    …in the stead and by the command of my Lord JC, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the F/S/HS, Amen.

    • Yeah but-that guy in the picture up above was just standing there and two of his brothers poked him with pointy sticks…I’m gonna tell! There’re supposed to be Christians!

  17. Jesus said “depart from me…I never knew you” to those that were doing X,Y, and Z in His name. As opposed to the ones who were doing for others without even thinking about it, or doing it to show God how faithful they were. They saw a need and filled it, un-selfconciously.

    When one is constantly preaching ‘fruits of the spirit’ type sermons, one is (with the best of intentions) helping people to once again turn the focus on their own performance, or obedience.

    It’s far too late for that.

    Jesus said that to be doing the work of the Father is to believe. That’s it.

  18. “Jesus said that to be doing the work of the Father is to believe. That’s it.”

    Yeah but–we can’t even do THAT at all on our own.

    “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my lord or come to him, but that the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the one true faith, even as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian church He daily and richly forgives all sins to me and all believers, and will at the Last Day raise up me and all the dead, and give unto me and all believers in Christ eternal life.” S.C. Art. 3 Apostles’ Creed Explanation.

    “Lord I believe, but help thou my unbelief!”

  19. I think the concern over law here is a misunderstanding of what it means that in Christ via faith the cessation of the law means and simultaneously the establishment of the law actually is. The cessation is not an opening of the door to permissiveness, but rather a cessation of the law as a way or means of salvation AND an opening of the door to the neighbor. On the face of this we all say, “Amen brother.” “Amen brother Larry, now you are talking, amen see we don’t disagree.” Not so fast, we do, and the fact of the sacraments is the point of disagreement.

    Outside of Christ this is impossible, the cessation of the Law as a means of salvation (via assurance) and the simultaneous opening of the door to serve the neighbor for real. Note that well! Outside of Christ that is impossible! Only IN CHRIST IS THAT POSSIBLE And THAT presupposes and establishes a fact that assurance and certainty of “I’m saved/elect/reborn” AND THAT is ONLY given in the sure and certain “FOR ME EXTRA NOS SACRAMENTS & ABSOLUTION, ACTIONS NOT JUST ANNOUNCEMENTS OF GOD’S WILL BUT GOD’S ACTIONS TOWARD AND FOR ME IN FACT”.

    Therein lay the difference in Luther and Calvinism/Rome/Baptist etc… Because both the cessation of the Law as a means of salvation (implied or explicit) and simultaneous OPENING and establishing of the Law toward the neighbor can ONLY happen IN CHRIST, which again presupposes the above mentioned assurance. When the alleged assurance and certitude of so called “election/salvation/conversion/born again” is placed back outside of Christ and INTO the law in whatever form it may be, then the door is slammed shut on the neighbor, and the cessation of the law is reactivated and simultaneous to THAT permissiveness toward the self, both of pious (the belly gods of pietism) and impious things. Once outside of Christ by placing assurance outside of the “For me” Gospel activity in the sacraments has taken place one has arrived back to the beggarly things and wisdom of the world, the neighbor is not served and the self is exalted either by pious ways or impious ways or a combination of both.

    To wit the theological difference between the liberal homosexual and evangelical/religious conservative is zero, both are outside of Christ both serving self both using their neighbor as their stepping stone to “life” as they perceive it. And the common link between the evangelical of today and the rank pagan of today is likewise the existence of no true sacraments (actions for me that both GIVE and ASSURE Christ). Ironically a pagan no more has a sacrament than does a heterodox protestant.

    Larry

    • The cessation is not an opening of the door to permissiveness, but rather a cessation of the law as a way or means of salvation AND an opening of the door to the neighbor.

      Yes. No. And I am not sure what you mean by the last part.

      In order to say that the law ceased to be a way or means of salvation, it would first be necessary to either prove or assume that it was a means or way of salvation to begin with. This is simply unbiblical thinking. There are many places in Scripture that bear this out, but I will simply use Paul’s word to the Galatians, “for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

      The nature of your argument in fact goes against Scripture as well. God has not changed and does not change (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). Many of the questions I have posed are based upon this simple truth. We cannot say that God acted one way with the Jews and then another way with us. This demeans God’s character.
      At this point, your entire post is based on a faulty premise according to Scripture. Perhaps you just chose poor wording in that statement; but it appears that the rest of your argument is based on it so I am not sure it is a misstatement and I will have to clarify before we go on.

      I would say more, but I am not sure that would be helpful until we can clear this point up, so I will ask a simple question. Is God still the same or has He changed over time?

      • Jeff,

        You are confusing Law and Gospel all over the place. God never changes and that means the demands of the Law never change, they can only be fulfilled.

        Christ fulfilled the Law for us, nothing is more clear in Scripture than this. No wonder you are confused as to Law and Gospel and circle back around to works righteousness.

        It most clear when Jesus tells the Rich Young Ruler that if he did all these things he could live. He’s pointing out we don’t and thus need Him Christ to fulfill the Law FOR US. That is the cessation of the Law through Christ alone.

        This then ceases our fallen falsehood idea that we can be saved by the law, our doing (and the assurance answer you lack). This then opens the door to the neighbor, which then is really part of the heart of the Law…it all presupposes Christ for us in the particular and that HE actually fulfilled ALL righteousness which he did, in fact he said in numerous places in the Gospel. In fact He said it at His baptism.

        L

      • You are confusing Law and Gospel all over the place. God never changes and that means the demands of the Law never change, they can only be fulfilled.

        Christ fulfilled the Law for us, nothing is more clear in Scripture than this.

        Do you understand what it means to say that Christ “fulfilled the Law”? I can tell from your answers that you think you know what it is based on English, but you have no idea what the phrase meant during Christ’s time in Jewish theology based on your answers.

        Back then when Rabbis would argue over points of the Law and disagree, one would say to the other you are “destroying the Law” (which is to say, interpreting it incorrectly) and the other would reply in defense, “no I am ‘fulfilling the Law'”(which means, I am correctly interpreting it). When you understand this, Jesus statements in the Sermon on the Mount make a lot more sense; particularly when He talks of fulfilling the Law there. If you insist on projecting backward from our time and give it a meaning that it didn’t have then; it is easy to get confused by it.

        Years from now, think of all the fun someone may have trying to determine how high a person jumped when they were said to have “hit the ceiling” for instance. You and I both know they got mad; but vernacular is funny that way.

        This then ceases our fallen falsehood idea that we can be saved by the law, our doing (and the assurance answer you lack).

        I am not the one that ever suggested the law could save anyone, so I am left to believe you are projecting that idea on me now and hence worrying about my “lack of assurance.”

        Since God never changes, that means that the availability of His grace has never changed either. It is the OT that says the “just shall live by faith.” Paul was just quoting it. He didn’t invent the concept.

  20. Jeff,

    We can expose this hidden works/law reality in a few simple Q and As about your own confessional subscription for where you find your assurance is where your faith really is:

    1. Did Jesus save everyone universally?

    2. If not, how do you know YOU in particular are saved/elect/predestined/reborn/have faith, etc…?

    3. Since you are not the prostitute who heard from the lips of Jesus, “I (Jesus) forgive YOU (Jeff) how in particular do you receive the gift of the Gospel? For the Gospel is not just “a message” but an action given, in short the Gospel IS Absolution and in particular.

    Larry

    • 1. Did Jesus save everyone universally?

      16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
      – John 3:16-21

      Which is to say that Jesus’ work is sufficient to save everyone (i.e. the whole world), but Scripture acknowledges that some refuse the grace of God because they prefer their “evil deeds.”

      2. If not, how do you know YOU in particular are saved/elect/predestined/reborn/have faith, etc…?

      9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.
      -Romans 10:9-11

      16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

      19By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
      1 John 3:16-24

      3. Since you are not the prostitute who heard from the lips of Jesus, “I (Jesus) forgive YOU (Jeff) how in particular do you receive the gift of the Gospel? For the Gospel is not just “a message” but an action given, in short the Gospel IS Absolution and in particular.

      11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
      – Ephesians 1:11-14

      11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
      16″For who has known the mind of the Lord
      that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

      7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

      13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
      God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

      19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
      – 1 John 4:7-21

  21. Yeah but–What if you can’t perfectly love your brother? In fact, I bet you don’t, as I don’t. Do we not love God then? Are we not saved then if we can’t do this? Why do I need to look at this for assurance? I get none from it.

    We are spiritually blind, dead, and enemies of God. Because of our sinful nature, we can’t produce any of these things that your quoted passages say we need to have, to be, or to do in order to fulfill the works of the law. That’s the point, you can’t do it, but Jesus did do it and does it for us, and it is only through him that any of our so called good works are actually good or meritorious.

    • Jeff,

      Untying this knot for you is difficult. In one sense I understand why you are confused, I’ve been in your shoes. Having been there and actually really believed that way, I understand, looking back with hindsight which is always easier, how and why. It’s hard to explain this to two types of folks, 1. those still in it because that’s what they still believe and 2. those who never believed it. That is to say it’s a different thing “analyzing” a belief paradigm and seeing the falsehoods in it and altogether having been IN a falsehood (or presently IN one) whereby one believed/believes it true. The analyzer who has never “been there” and believed it really, can only analyze so far. “Faith” in ANY form whose object is true or false is of such a nature that it “has you” in its grasp evil or good, true or false. Such that even faith in false things, really has someone, they are bound by it, they really believe it and they don’t think thus, “this is false but I believe it anyway”. That’s why the Word must come from outside us. Such are convinced of it such that in the honesty of themselves, they believe it true, their hearts, albeit self deceived speak honestly in what they believe even though objectively it’s utterly false. Even atheist are SINCERE and not insincere, they do not say, “this atheism I believe in is false but I’ll trust it anyway and perpetuate this falsehood on others”. It’s the same way with ANY heterodoxy, the issue is never a lack of sincerity but objective truth. We might rightly confess that ALL men without exception are sincere to get that off of the table. The accusation of insincerity when it comes to faith and faith’s object (true or false) is a false accusation. No one who believes ANYTHING is insincere. Not an atheist, pagan or heterodox confessor (whatever that may be). So let me state up front, I truly believe you are sincere, I don’t doubt that.

      That being said:

      I’ll reask the questions Jeff because your answers need some clarity and peeling apart.

      The reality is that heterodox doctrine by its nature does not speak plainly, it evades like a slippery eel even though it quotes much of Scripture. It does as Christ says it does, “searches the scriptures and thinks that by them it has life, but it are these that bear witness of Christ”. It does not give a real and clear answer to the hope that it has, just fuzzy vagary and distilled support scriptures. It gropes around for faith and works and has neither. It makes the bible its pope.

      This is the patent signature, lack of clarity and fuzziness of answer, of all forms of Gnosticism developed out of the factory of Plato and not scripture, it evades under the cover of the “ideal” and flees from the real “earthiness” of Scripture. This is just another way of denying the revelatory incarnation which was quite earthy and not an ideal. Christianity, much less the Gospel is NOT an idea where it remains “perfect” and the incarnation merely a sign/symbol of that “more perfect idea” (the extension of Calvin’s LS to the incarnation). By keeping it gnostically high in the ethereal theoretical one thinks one can evade the very real earthiness of “how do YOU, the individual, know you are saved/elect”.

      To question #1 you “answer”: “Which is to say that Jesus’ work is sufficient to save everyone (i.e. the whole world), but Scripture acknowledges that some refuse the grace of God because they prefer their “evil deeds.”

      This is indeed an odd answer. It’s almost an amalgamation of Calvin and Arminian thought. Because you have the Calvinistic “sufficiency” (with the implied “efficiency” only for the elect, which is a tricky way of saying Christ only really died for the elect and not for the reprobate, which is to say God selected outside of His Son and be outside of Christ in eternity and had regard for personhood rather than grace without regard) argument up front, but then it shifts gears into a more arminian mode of “choice”. At least that’s the way it sounds.

      Yet as mentioned at the beginning concerning this kind of gnosticism, men’s consciences do not deal in “sufficiency” versus “efficiency” word games and ideals. Men are flesh and blood and spirit and soul. They have real earthy created minds and consciences not “ideals” in Gnostic ether. Men sweat, eat, drink, touch, see, hear, taste, digest and expell…we are created quite earthy, of dirt and soil and not in or as some wispy wraithlike spiritualistic realm. Men are flesh and blood who get and receive the grace of God via (OT) circumcision that cuts and bleeds and eats the very flesh of unspotted lambs that can be grasped by the hand and teeth…whose bodies feel and have very real hydrogen dioxide molecules (water) poured, sprinkled or otherwise upon their very flesh…whose mouth eat and drink bread and wine where the real flesh and blood of God is…and God became this very flesh, blood and soul exactly as man from conception through adulthood in order to reveal and GIVE forgiveness of sin actually TO US. God did not become this “ideal” of “sufficiency” and “efficiency” (Plato and gnosticism/eastern religion). The very real and true flesh and blood of God for the very real and true flesh and blood of man was crucified on a very real wooden cross with very real nails and very real thorns, from which from the real flesh and blood and soul of God incarnated came real blood and real sweat and real anguish of suffering of conscience in the body and soul of the abandonment of God. An ideal of “sufficiency/efficiency” (Calvin) was not crucified. An ideal or idea or theory was not postulated and then sketched in flesh and blood that other flesh and blood might attain to it. Rather, God BECAME flesh and blood for flesh and blood, very earthy very real, very black and white. Not a fuzzy, idealistic vapor of theory in words, generalistic gray area salvation in any form; sufficiency/efficiency or otherwise. Men’s consciences do not reside in ideas or the ideal where theory of sufficiency and efficiency pretend to exist and inculcate their gnosis that really does not exist. Men’s consciences do not exist in the hypothetical theater of “the sound of one hand clapping out of sufficiency/efficiency”; but in flesh, blood and soul – in the very dirt of the earth in which God breathed in which we return ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’ and from which we are resurrected in the regeneration of the creation. Thus true salvation from the true God comes in earthy realities, black and white certitudes (not gray areas of incertitude), it comes in incarnate flesh and blood (and soul), given by flesh cutting/bleeding circumcision and cooked spotless lamb flesh (OT), water, bread and wine (NT) and (just to give this dead horse one more whack for good measure) not the Gnostic idea/ideal/theory/sufficiency/efficiency or other such non-existent mere vain word games.

      Which is to say your answer to #1 seems to be a “no”? The sufficiency/efficiency argument is a calvinistic gnostic philosophical evasion. The answer you are groping for (which shows the Gnostic insertitude) in your theological frame work, whatever it is, “in the particular” seems to be a “no”. You seem to get around to that one way or the other. To reask the question with a finer point:

      1. Did Christ IN FACT die for everyone? Not “was it sufficient”. Another way to look at it “did Christ die for original sin or not?”

      Question #2 is a question of assurance and thus of faith that comes from the very earthy distribution of the gift of the Gospel and not an ideal attained to (works salvation). Your answer to #2:

      In brief all of the verses you quote do not answer #2, the verses themselves already presuppose the answer to #2, AFTER THE FACT, of the object of faith whereby assurance is given. The ONLY way you can read them as primary assurance (albeit falsely) I will spell out below.

      1. Romans 6: 9-11. In short these verses are simply reassuring the primary assurance being asked about in my question #2. In verses 9 and 10 they clearly speak of “believe”. You see it presupposes faith, and that presupposes the object of faith and that presuppose that object in the particular FOR YOU in which you put your trust. Faith thereby MUST have its object. That object can be true or false. A faith that’s just faith is no faith at all but rank fideism. Thus verse 11 states, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Which means FOR YOU. How do you know He is for you in the particular if as you say His death is merely sufficient for all? Now you are stuck, you either must Calvin’s way or Wesley’s way if you don’t have the sacraments to answer that, because you know for whatever reason ‘not every man will go to heaven’.

      2. Verse 16 same issue. In fact it very clearly says, “that he laid down his life for us” which presupposes the very ‘in the particular for me’ already, that’s why it says clearly “that he laid down his life FOR US”. You cannot very well make that leap if your answer to #1 stands, that Christ’s death is ONLY sufficient in theory for all but is only effective for some. Because there is that category of “some” which does not mean “all” and you in the particular must be in one or the other. The question is how do YOU JEFF know which one you are in. Thus, you cannot use this verse, 16, for your assurance because it presupposes that assurance based on something otherwise utterly objective to you yet in the particular FOR and given TO YOU, because it clearly states “that he laid down his life FOR US”. The “us” is the category of the saved, which is what is in question number 1 whereby you state Christ’s death is only theoretically sufficient for all but not really effective to all.

      3. 1 John 3:16-24 without being too redundant, same issue as above, it presupposes.

      Your answer to my #3 question has the same problem. In short because you know not all men go to heaven you have an issue of “who Christ in fact died for in the particular”. You, like myself, are not just a “general category” of men but a particular PERSON. Since you seem to imply Christ did not in fact die for all men but only sufficiently did (a worldly philosophical presupposition never once mentioned in Scripture) you are stuck with “how do I in particular know”. Since you refuse the actual gifts of God’s Gospel, the sacraments, you must answer them in Gnostic terms and then go to these other Scriptures which presuppose that which you reject. Yet these other scriptures PRESUPPOSE the sacraments! The very thing you refuse. Thus, the only way you can “read these verses” in a particular way for assurance and not as RE-assurance (presupposing the assurance of the sacraments which actually GIVE Christ), as they clearly state they are, is to read them in a legalistic (though not formerly stated so) “if/then” situation. E.g.

      1. I Jeff have fulfilled the if/then clause and confessed with my mouth. (faith in confession)
      2. I Jeff in spite of the fact that Scripture says the human heart is desperately wicked and deceptive above all things who can know it “believe in my heart” (faith in faith
      3. I Jeff have put my trust in Him and on the basis of that trust know I am saved (faith in faith)…etc…

      All forms of works righteousness eventually gets back around to itself even if it denies itself by name.

      But these passages are not “if/then” statements because they presuppose faith in an object in particular for me that is utterly outside of me. The ENTIRE Gospel is outside of us Luther told Melanchton. Thus they are not “if/the” statements but rather, and this is crystal clear in the text, “because/therefore”. To wit: BECAUSE you (in particular) are saved…THEREFORE…that which you have placed your trust IS TRUE…you have not rested your trust in a falsehood…it is in fact true. These verses ENCOURAGE to Christ and the sacraments, they do not discourage from them, quite the opposite. These verses say your faith in Christ, in His having baptized you and thus giving you his name, “baptism now saves you” (Peter), “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Peter), “Baptize them…” (Jesus), “baptism gives the Holy Spirit (Acts), etc…and in His having giving you the very flesh and blood that HE SACRIFICED FOR YOU to eat and drink “for you for the forgiveness of your sins” (Jesus Christ, “take eat, take drink…for you…for the forgiveness of your sins…)…IS TRUE. The verses you quoted speak to these things and thus say exactly the opposite of the way you choose to use them saying to the BAPTIZED and those who eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ (those who do…you HAVE eternal life said Jesus), that “you trust and confess in the right thing and your trust in THAT is not misplaced. That is what ALL these verses are saying.

      One cannot reject the sacraments and “get to those verses”, because to reject the sacraments is to reject the Gospel and to reject Christ. Honest ignorance due to the deception of the devil is the exception because there’s a difference in despising the sacraments which is a hidden way of despising true grace, and being deceived by false teachings to the contrary out of genuine innocence and ignorance. Children who are deceived by false teachers will be with Christ, the false teachers who deceived them will be in hell.

      Larry

    • I like that turn of the “yeah but”. NICE! It’s the rich young ruler “yeah but” from Jesus.

      Steve we need a new “yeah but” category.

      The “yeah but” of the law and the “yeah but” of the Gospel.

    • We are spiritually blind, dead, and enemies of God.

      I understand the concept of dying daily, but at what point are you going to live?
      “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
      -John 5:24-25

      We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
      – Romans 6:4

      In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
      -Romans 6:11

  22. In one sense I understand why you are confused, I’ve been in your shoes. Having been there and actually really believed that way,

    Larry,
    I appreciate the heart of what you are trying to do, but you are operating from false conclusions. You think that I am still sitting in staunch SBC theology when I am not. That much appears to be evident as you admit that you are puzzled by several of my responses. You are trying to fit my answers into your previous theological framework and coming up empty precisely because they don’t fit there. I think we are making progress toward understanding each other, but there are some things still to clear up.

    I would try to go point by point through your previous post, but it wouldn’t clear up much at this point until you understand where I am at and coming from as opposed to assuming it. However, let me touch on a couple of things.

    Did Christ IN FACT die for everyone? Not “was it sufficient”. Another way to look at it “did Christ die for original sin or not?”

    Yes, He did.

    You see it presupposes faith, and that presupposes the object of faith and that presuppose that object in the particular FOR YOU in which you put your trust. Faith thereby MUST have its object.

    For some reason, you seem to assume that faith in God through baptism is inherently better than faith in God. Either God is capable of delivering on His promises or He is not. I happen to trust that He is capable. My faith is not in my; it is in God and Him alone. This is why I continue to quote His Word as I answer. I believe He is right far more often than Martin Luther for instance.

    I Jeff in spite of the fact that Scripture says the human heart is desperately wicked and deceptive above all things who can know it “believe in my heart” (faith in faith

    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
    – 1 John 3:18-20

    God has given me a heart transplant. I don’t have faith in faith or even faith in me. My hope rests solely on God.

    Let me take you back to a previous comment that I made that I fear has been lost in the shuffle. I am going to put it in a follow up comment as this one is growing exceedingly long I fear.

  23. You keep trying to intimate that I despise baptism and the Lord’s Supper but that is simply untrue.

    Those who are trusting in their baptism and the Lord’s Supper that then say it doesn’t matter what else they do are no different than the Jews that said God had shown His promises to them in circumcision and it didn’t matter what they did either.

    The Pharisees claimed Abraham as their father because of their circumcision and yet Jesus said that they weren’t illegitimate because of the things they did.
    “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

    “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does.”
    “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” John 8:39-41

    Paul speaks in this same way in Romans 2:25-29:
    25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

    28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    Please note that it was after Paul had written both Galatians and Romans that he showed up in Jerusalem in Acts 21 and agreed to demonstrate his dedication to following the commands of the Torah.

    20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.

    Was Paul giving people the ultimate fake out here or was he acting sincerely? Why did he sacrifice at the Temple if Jesus had done away with sacrifice once and for all as many teach today?

    Can you say to the question, “How do I know I’m saved/elect (in particular)?” Answer: “I am baptized!”

    How does this line up with Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 13:5-8?
    5Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

    Did Paul forget to mention that the test was baptism or did he have something else in mind here? How would it be possible to fail that test in any case?

    • Jesus is indeed in us and also FOR us; he gives himself to us in the LS, marks us with his name in HB. Paul is not asking us to examine our belly button and see if Jesus is in there–to see if we can produced “good works.” He is saying, don’t you realize Jesus is here–and you have the benefits of his forgiveness–in word and sacrament? We fail to meet the test if we don’t recognize that Jesus is in us and FOR us where he says he is at when he gives us his forgiveness. Anything we ourselves can offer to Jesus amounts to a polished turd.

  24. “God has given me a heart transplant. I don’t have faith in faith or even faith in me. My hope rests solely on God.”

    Yeah but–then why make such a big deal about examining whether you are producing “good fruit”?

    I say, you ARE producing good fruit because Jesus makes EVERYTHING we do count as ‘good’ because he covers it with his forgiveness.

    We see and can trust in His forgiveness in water, bread/wine, and the Word (holy absolution, announced by the pastor) where he comes to us.

    Behold, everything is new/good on account of the cross. I don’t have to engage in navel-gazing and wonder if I am producing good fruit.

  25. Yeah but–then why make such a big deal about examining whether you are producing “good fruit”?

    I think you will find that it is Jesus Himself who makes the statements regarding producing “good fruit” so I would recommend taking it up with Him.

    I say, you ARE producing good fruit because Jesus makes EVERYTHING we do count as ‘good’ because he covers it with his forgiveness.

    Does this mean that lying, stealing, and adultery are all good if a “Christian” does them? I only ask because you said “EVERYTHING” so emphatically.

    • Jeff here is where you so do not understand sin nor grace, nor faith, nor the work of the Cross and confuse everything. In the realm of the world lying is evil and not lying is good. This is precisely the Pharisees and Judiazers mistake and just why Christ said that the prostitutes and tax collectors would see the kingdom of God before the scribes and pharisees. You only see the surface, the white wash.

      Sin is the inward curving and thus the most deadly sin that cuts one off from grace and thus God is the most outwardly pious and good thing. We never tire of thus using the Law to withhold ourselves from true grace.

      You do not understand that Jesus means that the good fruit tree is created by God by the Gospel “you are forgiven”, the bad fruit tree can make or become a good fruit tree. Thus, “you are forgiven” (baptized, fed the LS) produces nothing but good fruit. When he sins in the outward obvious way he is forgiven and when he does good (though he still sins) that work is equally cleansed by the “you are forgiven” and thus ALLLLLLLLL that he does is a good work. And the good works range from sleeping to helping my neighbor. In fact the one HAD by the Cross does not concern himself with “am I doing a good work” or “is this a good work”. Now the old Adam, the glory theologian does, that’s ALL he obsesses over and he white washes it with bible, christ, faith, grace, etc…just like the pope does.

      Thus, Luther points out (in his HD) that the works we speak of that cut off from grace are not outwardly sinful in the since that they are viewed as crimes (theft, lying, murder externally), and nor are the works of God spoken of worked through men clean as if they have no sin. It is here if you focus I think you may begin to see the Cross. For the crucifixion of Jesus was a good work of God though it was an evil work of men. In the eyes of men it was exactly the opposite, not the work of God but of the devil and the work they, good moral relious men and secular society, was good. The theologian of the Cross SEES this, the theologian of glory and the theologies of such sees it upside down. To them black is white and white is black, the the TOC that which is black to the TOG is actually white and that which is white to the TOG is black.

      I hope that helps.

      Let me give you a piece of advice that will REALLY help you. Buy a book by Forde called “The Theologian of the Cross”. It’s very short but packed book on Luther’s HD. Don’t be worried that it at times seems to really both draw you in but make you say, “WHAAA???”, we ALL as incurable theologians of glory react like that. But I think it will begin to open your eyes and help a bit. It’s cheap and very small, and one of those “I’ll go back and re-read” a bunch of times. Do not fear being the ethiopian eunuck and ask, “what does this mean”? That’s a good thing.

      Yours,

      Larry

      Larry

      • Larry,
        I can always trust you to confuse a little good natured prodding with hard theology. “Bad fruit” are works that intentionally break the Word of God. God has never declared murder, adultery, lying, or theft to be “good.” That is all I was trying to say.

  26. It just goes to show that theologian of glory does exactly what Luther said they do, the call evil good and good evil, and a theologian of the Cross calls a thing what it is.

    Thus, a theologian of glory callse the works of God – baptism and the Lord’s Supper (suffering that is really good) – works of man and not to be trusted (calling it evil) and then calls the works man performs (really evil even the best of them) good and to be trusted into (calling it good). It’s simply another way to get off of the cross of suffering like the first thief. The theologian of glory (the old Adam) simply hates to suffer, i.e. nakedly trust in the Works of God based on the Word and rather returns to the vomit of works and calls these “of God”.

    A theologian of the Cross, one gotten at by the Cross, calls a thing what it IS ACTUALLY. Works of men even or especially labeled under the idea of “grace” are evil (though they appear good) and suffering the Word (the naked Word and the sacraments require suffering passivity, hence “passion” and “suffering” – though they thus appear evil) as the true works of God and thus in reality good. God hidden under the signs and actions of opposites, just like the Cross.

    The one who says of the sacraments “these are of no avail and not to be trusted into” despises them, despises God, and despises the Cross – in reality. And likewise who glories in works, even labeled “from God” or “of grace” loves the works of man. This theology is no different than Romes official Trent confession. For the reality is this and always has been, Roman catholics no more trust in the sacraments than do the Reformed or the Baptist this is why their religion is precisely functionally the same. All the confession to the contrary is mere “words” (works through confession) but not reality.

    These two religions can never be together, never have been, are not today and never will be for they are the exact antithesis to each other.

    This is why Paul warns not beware of “other religions” so much as beware of other “gospels”, other “christs”, other “spirits” and other “jesus’s”. Because the devil will go under the guise of these names via the theology of glory. The devil too will tempt, just like he did Christ in the desert by saying, “…it is written…”.

    Larry

  27. A note to life long Lutherans that may be reading this very good debate by all involved and I truly appreciate Jeff hanging in there on this. Note well how the Calvinistic/baptistic paradigm of “cannot fall away” encourages getting away from the Cross, the Gospel, real forgiveness, and the sacraments as such. Because it creates a (false) reality in the present tense in one that becomes an iron clad fort against grace in reality. It is why Calvinist do not really understand bondage of the will nor the simul Justus et peccator and likewise the concept of “constantly being in baptism”. I say that because I as both a former Baptist and Calvinist in the reformed line struggled there. The concept, if believed, you have to actually believe it true, of that kind of “preservation of the saints” or “cannot fall away” (not Weslyan or Arminian) removes the reality of the ever present tense “simul” actually just by faith and in reality still a real sinner and creates this kind of pseudo Christian reality I’m within in which “yes I still sin” but I cannot fall away and sin becomes “pretend sin”. Just as John Calvin’s two nature in which the humanity of Christ is sort of a tacked on part to the bigger infinite deity of Christ, so is such pretend sin to good works. Thus; “good works” only have sin tacked onto the side of them. The Lutheran reality of really STILL simul saint by faith and sinner by reality does not apply here. Thus, even the simul Justus et peccator is understood exactly opposite between Calvinist and Lutherans though both can confess it, as is the bondage of the will understood in reality just the opposite.

    The “cannot fall away” thus becomes a way in which one in reality can “get off of” the naked suffering of the Cross, that is a real and true passive suffering on nothing more than the Word given. The reality in which faith exists, naked suffering the Word, the Cross, is taken away with “cannot fall away” and by this men can “get off of the Cross” because they don’t in reality “just want a Word from God” they want action and changed ways in reality. Luther’s simul Justus et peccator means that as far as the “peccator” is concerned I’m JUST AS evil and sinful as the unconverted heathen, maybe more so and thus I MUST CONFESS myself. The ONLY difference is the suffering faith that the Word has apprehended so that ALL they can confess for the hope (certain expectation) they have IS Christ is my ONLY righteousness and thus I’m forgiven. But they, we, must in reality see ourselves not one wit less sinful than the heathen. THAT is the reality of the simul and not some cross over to “can’t fall away” where I can NOW do the Law in a way I could not as a heathen.

    Consequently this is why there is NO THIRD USE OF THE LAW to the chagrin of Calvin, Baptist and Melancthon. To think that I know AS A CHRISTIAN can somehow “do good” I heretofore could not as a heathen is to get off of the cross, no longer suffer it (faith), that Word, and thereby fall away from true grace.

    That is just how deadly Calvin’s and subsequent versions of it the elect cannot fall away is.

    Larry

  28. Larry,
    I appreciate your willingness to discuss things with me, but I am really waiting for you to explain Paul’s actions in Acts 21. I understand that it is difficult because it goes against almost everything you were taught about Paul’s theology. I looked for any instance where Luther might have addressed this issue and I haven’t found it; so I am genuinely curious.
    Acts 21 shows believers observing sacrificial practices in the Temple; notably Paul (after he wrote both Galatians and Romans). It also shows that the Jerusalem church was proud of its Torah observance and Paul didn’t correct that either.

    I was rather fascinated by your argument about “sin being ‘pretend sin'” from my viewpoint supposedly. Since I am the one who has been speaking about the seriousness of the Law and the transgressions of the Law for “confessing believers,” I am not sure how you made this leap about me.
    Rather I do agree wholehearted with Luther in regards the the Christian life:

    1.Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

    2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

    3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.”

    94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

    95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.
    – quotes from Luther’s 95 Theses
    (Which I am sure that most of the readers here know, but I wanted to make sure it was sourced.)

    Now, if I may ask kindly one more time for the reason that Paul goes to the Temple to sacrifice in your opinion.

    • Jeff,

      In this context the Jews were not setting grace against the Law as a way of salvation but rather “live according to our CUSTOMS”. For Paul here has nothing but the Gospel in mind.

      Maybe this will help a simple example:

      Alcohol, beer and wine are generally adiaphoria, things neutral. That is you are free to partake or not. In certain societies the custom may be more to partake others not. So that it might not be a hindrance to the Gospel I might find that when I’m in Utah that I have to abstain publically as the custom of that area is to abstain so that they might hear the Gospel otherwise.

      However, when pious baptist or methodist marches into town proclaiming abstaining as it is “pleasing to God” then I have to drink to, in this case, not hide the Gospel (like Peter was doing in not eating pork with the Gentiles in Galatia). This is why one time it was ok to circumcise and another not.

      An old Reformed pastor captured this well back in the 1800s when he said, “I hate whisky and the taste of it but now that the Methodist have come to town I will HAVE to drink it.” (paraphrase from memory)

      The minute I or you tie another’s conscience down to such things neutral by binding it to law keeping with an eye to salvation, it is no longer adiaphoria, things neutral freed by the Gospel, but an enemy of the Gospel…a law.

      Keep in mind Acts is a critical eschatological transition book. Thus, the OT signs and shadows of the Jewish nation no longer need point to the reality Christ Who had come, but the customs were deeply rooted in THAT society of people…one could not expect them to just toss them out the door in order to “prove” they have faith in the Gospel…that would be asinine and in fact over throwing the very Gospel they formerly eschatologically pointed too by making of Gospel signs and shadows, now, Laws to be performed. Thus in one case Paul said it was fine to circumcise in order to not MAKE A WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS LAW out of a former OT GOSPEL sign. Yet in another case refused circumcision as it was BEING VIEWED AS A WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS LAW, again an OT Gospel sign, in order to be saved.

      Thus you have Luther refuting both Rome and Anabaptist (baptistic) as the same people making baptism a works righteousness sign rather than the Gospel reality it is, Rome via ex opera operato and anabaptist by basing it upon faith. It was neither which in reality both were the same works righteousness just simply dressed differently. Baptism is the bestowing in reality “I GOD forgive you, here is My name” and where that name is IS IN FACT NOT THEORY forgiveness of sin.

      This is why a baptist or Reformed cannot commune with the Lord’s Supper at a Lutheran altar, because fundamentally they see it as a law and works righteousness and not the Gospel. Especially baptist. They simply refuse that God actually is giving his body and blood FOR the (actual) forgiveness of sin at that time and place. Refusing the forgiveness one must necessarily be turning it into a Law and works righteousness, that’s why they see in Lutherans that Lutherans must be working their way to heaven by DOING the Lord’s Supper…this they reject. What they fail to see and resist is the fact that it IS God doing the work of forgiving. By way of analogy they would say to Noah, “Why are YOU working your own salvation by building and getting on that ark”, not seeing it is God doing the working through them to save them.

      Salvation and grace are free indeed, but you HAVE to participate in it (ala the sacraments) and that participation IS NOT works righteousness, and it is foolish to think so. It boils back down to a simple thing when a baptist says and has said before, “I hope you Lutherans eat enough of the Lord’s Supper to save yourself”. To which the reply is, “How am I saving myself when Jesus said, “Take eat/take drink…MY body/blood…FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN”. You see you are saying when Jesus hands me salvation, that if I take it, suddenly somehow I’m working my way to heaven…even though it is Christ Who says, “TAKE…EAT/DRINK…FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN”. It seems that a baptist might intervene when Christ told the blind man to go wash in the pool of Saloam to regain his sight and say, “Hey buddy where are you going what are you doing, you need to let God alone save your eye sight, if go and wash as Jesus said you are working your way to heaven.” Which is of course utterly idiotic and foolish.

      Larry

      • Keep in mind Acts is a critical eschatological transition book.

        As I mentioned in my reply to Howard’s question, this is a theological cop out. There is nothing to transition to or from as God’s plan of salvation has always been by grace through faith. The things that Paul did in Acts 21 by going to the Temple were simply “customs of the Jews.” They were actions that lined up with God’s Torah instructions. As to the issue of circumcision, let me offer a different explanation that comes from Scripture. Paul circumcised Timothy because his mother and grandmother were Jewish (although his father was not) and he was thus regarded as Jewish. Paul still saw the importance of being “obedient to Torah” regarding Jews(Romans 3:1-2). The Torah says nothing about circumcision for Gentiles except for those who wish to convert to Judaism, so Paul declined to circumcise Titus because he was not a Jew.

        It may shock you to realize this, but God’s Law applies to different people in different ways. In fact, even Jesus was unable to physically perform all of the commandments of Scripture, because some of the laws are specific to women and some to priests and so forth.

        As an additional note, I would like to point out that your analogy regarding alcohol is far from what we are talking about. The commands of God are not an optional thing. They are not something we can edit to suit ourselves. If you read Paul’s writings with an eye in the OT, you will see that Paul gives a great deal of instruction to Gentiles on how to “keep the commandments.” For example, immediately after concluding his argument against Gentile conversion to Judaism and its resulting full obligation to Torah in Galatians, Paul launches into a list of commandments that he considers to be obvious in their application to Gentile believers. He summarizes them all under the heading, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14 which is a quote from Leviticus 19:18). He follows that statement with a list of fifteen specific prohibitions which he calls deeds of the flesh, followed by a list of nine virtues which he calls “fruit of the Spirit.”

        In some passages, Paul provides extensive lists of prohibitions and positive commandments which echo the Torah. For example, consider Ephesians 4:16-6:10, where Paul presents a long list of standards of conduct with numerous allusions to the commandments of the Torah including specific prohibitions and positive commandments. It even contains a direct quotation of Exodus 20:12’s instruction to honor one’s parents. All of the epistles are filled with comparable passages of instructions in godly living, the purpose of which is to define sin, inspire repentance, and point the Gentiles towards holiness and righteousness as found in God’s Torah. As he does, he points them toward the Torah and the further testimony of scripture. He tells Timothy that all scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness … for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:16-17).

        I will say it yet again and sometime it will sink in what I am saying. The Law is not intended for an unredeemed person or even to redeem a person; it is given to the redeemed person only by the Spirit of God Himself.

        Salvation and grace are free indeed, but you HAVE to participate in it (ala the sacraments) and that participation IS NOT works righteousness, and it is foolish to think so.

        What do you know, we agree on something again. As I have said many times before, the sacraments are a part of obeying God’s commands as well. It isn’t done to be justified by works; we do these things precisely because God has made us His own.

        It boils back down to a simple thing when a baptist says and has said before, “I hope you Lutherans eat enough of the Lord’s Supper to save yourself”.

        Believe it or not that statement sounds as asinine to me as it must to you based on your comments. I have no idea why you trotted it out in our discussion here, but I am with you brother.

  29. Jeff,

    I will look at your passage even though it’s simply another rabbit trail whereby you are avoiding what is obvious. As I’ve said before the paradigm you read through is the problem. In a way we are talking two different languages about the same text. The difference, and here is the serious error on your part, I’ve BEEN in the Calvinistic and Baptist paradigms and believed them. You have YET TO BE in the Lutheran paradigm. In this way you cannot even look at them neutrally to see the issue at hand. So it is false to say, “…everything you’ve been taught about Paul…”. In a word I have the “advantage” if you will (not to win) but having been in multiple faith paradigms. It’s like you’ve never been out side of China yourself and I have, I’ve been to China, Russia, and now in the USA…(just an analogy here) and you are attempting to say to me “you’ve never been anywhere but the USA” which in fact I have and more, in fact I’ve been where you are at.

    In short you have the problem of ONLY reading it from your paradigm, and thus you will go endlessly on seeking and quoting this and that scripture in support of “your searching the Scriptures to think that you have life….” We will go on and on and on and on like this until you realize the problem, IF you ever realize it. The problem is not with Scripture but at the fundamental level.

    To give a simple example anyone can get their arms around we can take the Lord’s Supper. You simply refuse to let the Word’s mean as they speak and insist upon imposing upon them that it is symbolic. And thus you never move, even hypothetically for AT LEAST a neutral evaluation of them. Conversely I concede from a “neutral” point of view if the Baptist paradigm is correct then believers baptism is consistent given THAT paradigm. It’s like simple logic, it may be valid what we are asking is “is it true”. The same can be said of atheism and evolution, if the paradigm is true then the consequence is valid. But the atheist too refuses to allow, accept in very rare cases, a neutral “what if” glance to see the difference between no god and God. In a rare instance I heard of a famous atheist asked this question, “What if Jesus really was resurrected”. The atheist answer was stunningly rare and honest. His reply? “Well that changes everything.” At least at that moment he had an honesty of evaluation you simply refuse to make and THAT is why we are going in circles. This is why Paul at one point was willing to for sake of argument and analysis say and offer the question in the reverse, from the unbelieving paradigm’s point of view and say, “if Christ is not risen we are indeed the most pitiful of fools…”. See understood the issue. But if Christ IS risen then the honest atheist must be honest about what THAT means. Otherwise you are simply being dishonest with me and yourself on this entire issue and blindly proselytizing what many of us ex-baptist and ex-reform folks understand as well or better than you yourself understand.

    So, what you NEED to do is be as intellectually honest as that atheist was for a bit and look at the sacraments THAT way. Begin asking yourself, like I did once, “What if what Luther said is true, it IS the real and true body and blood of Christ…” what does THAT then mean about the LS all the Words Jesus and Paul said about it, the Gospel, etc… And do the same for baptism. Then and only then will you have at least approached it honestly. Because I can promise you I have already done so these same things through the lens of actually being and believing as a Baptist, then later as a Reformed Calvinist.

    So propose to yourself, what if the sacrament is the real body and blood of Christ, what if baptism saves, regenerates, gives the Spirit…etc…

    Chew on that for a while. And by a while I mean a lengthy examination that goes well beyond a few hundred posts online.

    I’m serious, and I’m not being mean.

    Yours,

    Larry

    • As I’ve said before the paradigm you read through is the problem. In a way we are talking two different languages about the same text. The difference, and here is the serious error on your part, I’ve BEEN in the Calvinistic and Baptist paradigms and believed them. You have YET TO BE in the Lutheran paradigm. In this way you cannot even look at them neutrally to see the issue at hand.

      One does not have to be in a certain denomination to understand their theology. I have read several of Martin Luther’s works, including Bondage of the Will and Table Talk. It is not as though I am ignorant of what he teaches. I don’t find him to be perfect in his theology and beliefs either (and while I say this let me add that I am well aware that my theology and beliefs are by nature imperfect as well). It is with good reason that Paul states that we see “in part” and “through a mirror dimly.”

      While it is great to realize that you have traversed through the areas of baptistic, Calvinistic and Lutheran theology; it would be sheer folly to assume that you will never move again. Paul freely admitted that he hadn’t arrived in this life and God was using him to write much of the theological treatises that we still talk about and revere as inspired by God.

      In short you have the problem of ONLY reading it from your paradigm

      I have examined the theology of multiple denominations of Christianity (I even studied other religions when I was younger, before God grabbed hold of my life and my mind). You make these statements with such certainty, but it simply isn’t true. My paradigm has shifted so drastically in the last few years that a lot of my fellow baptists have cause to do a double take at the things I say from time to time.
      You have no way to know or realize how much of my “precious theology” God has seen fit to obliterate with His Word in just the last couple of years. Part of it has come from interactions here in fact as iron continues to sharpen iron. For my part, I have been stunned at how much the attempt to be obedient to His Word has had the effect of opening my eyes to things I simply didn’t see before. Sometimes it seems as though every day brings another moment where I read a passage of Scripture that either I passed over without thinking much about it or simply decided to “trust God that it was right” and my spirit is prompted by God to see how it fits within the larger framework of His Word as a whole. I personally think of it like “connecting the dots” but that doesn’t always convey the meaning.

      It was about two weeks ago for instance that the “aha” light went on that caused me to finally understand why the writer of Hebrews spent two chapters essentially understanding why Jesus is “better than the angels.” If you have never asked yourself that question; then you never really understand anything else he is getting at in my opinion.

      Let me say this another way. I found the most fascinating quote from Martin Luther the other day:

      “All of us ought also to observe this wonderful thing about the Holy Ghost, — He willed to give the world all the books of Holy Scripture, both of the Old and New Testaments, out of the people of Abraham and through his seed, and He would not have one of them written by us Gentiles, anymore than He would choose the prophets and apostles from among the Gentiles…Therefore we Gentiles must not consider the writings of our fathers equal to Holy Scripture, but a little lower; for they are the children and heirs, we the guests and strangers, who have come to the children’s table by grace, without any promise. Nay, we ought to thank God with humility and, like the Gentile woman, desire nothing more than to be the dogs who gather up the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.”

      It is a shame that he later elected to write a 65,000 word rant against the Jews, as his former opinion was certainly more in line with the heart of God. Paul said that we see in part, but if you remember he also said that the Jews are blinded in part (which would mean they still see in part as well). What most of the modern church has forgotten; thanks in large part to a body of anti-semitic writing on the part of many theologians, is that the Jews knew and know far more about God than we give them credit for. Jesus was a Jew. Paul was a Jew and called himself a Pharisee to the end. When we minimize or block that out or ignore it, we do so to our own detriment.

  30. “Acts 21 shows believers observing sacrificial practices in the Temple; notably Paul (after he wrote both Galatians and Romans). It also shows that the Jerusalem church was proud of its Torah observance and Paul didn’t correct that either”.

    So was the Jerusalem church in some manner correct, in the context of the present, to advocate what it did, and if so, does this in any way undercut the essential teaching with regards to Christian soteriology and living so clearly taught by Paul in his epistles?

  31. So was the Jerusalem church in some manner correct, in the context of the present, to advocate what it did, and if so, does this in any way undercut the essential teaching with regards to Christian soteriology and living so clearly taught by Paul in his epistles?

    Howard,
    That is a million dollar question to be sure. Let me put my two cents in. The Jerusalem church’s example is set down in Scripture for us to observe. So if there is a disagreement between what we teach in modern theology regarding what Paul wrote and what we see the apostles actually practicing in the first century along with Paul; which side should we come down on? My bet is on the first century church.

    Our biggest problem comes from a lack of understanding regarding the sacrifices themselves. If you read the OT prophets, you will find that their vision of the Messianic Kingdom (which is still future to us as well) includes sacrifices and offerings being brought. This should be a big red flag to anyone who would teach that Jesus did away with the sacrifices or was sacrificed in their place. The fact that the early church also continued to observe the sacrificial system until the destruction of the Temple reinforces this belief.

    Larry’s answer about the book of Acts being a “transitional” book is the prevailing out that most theologians use; but it is hardly satisfactory given the fact that sacrifices will again appear with God’s blessing in the future Messianic Age. It also presents a problem when one realizes that there is no “transitional phase” in God’s plan to begin with. Salvation has always been by grace through faith. The very notion that the “just shall live by faith” came from Habakkuk 2:4. It is a modern theological error that teaches that the Jews were justified by either keeping the Law or by the sacrificial system. That was simply never the case.

    Jesus and/or Paul didn’t institute some new fangled thing. Jesus came to live out God’s Word in full obedience. Jesus spent the 40 days after His resurrection, and a good deal of time during his ministry teaching that the Scriptures had laid this plan out already and He had come to see it through(Luke 24:27; 44). Paul wrote in part to explain how it fit the picture that God had given in the Hebrew Scriptures. When Paul wrote that all Scripture is profitable the only Scripture at the time that existed was the Hebrew Scriptures; I don’t think Paul was arrogant and assuming that the letter he wrote that in would ever fall under that same category, and yet the Spirit saw fit to have it there.

    The book of Hebrews goes into great detail to explain how Jesus’ ministry worked in the heavenly temple (not the earthly one) and how it has made heaven ready and available to those who approach God through the blood of Jesus.

    There is a lot more that could be said, but this is still a journey for me as well. As Paul has said in Philippians 3:12-16:

    Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

  32. “Our biggest problem comes from a lack of understanding regarding the sacrifices themselves. If you read the OT prophets, you will find that their vision of the Messianic Kingdom (which is still future to us as well) includes sacrifices and offerings being brought”.

    So how do we define such sacrifices and offerings now, in the light of Christ’s coming and once and for all sacrifice for sin? What is often termed the ‘ceremonial’ or cultic law certainly prefigured Christ’s work, but having been fulfilled by Him, is certainly viewed as unrequired in Acts when the church grows to include gentiles.
    My question, in relation to Paul’s writings to this church still stands here – is this Apostolic contention with regards to our redemption, service and living correct, or are we in some fashion required to undo this and return to some manner of ceremonial tradition, as practiced by Jews prior to the fall of the Jerusalem temple?

  33. Jeff,

    Your lack of understanding befuddles me.

    “One does not have to be in a certain denomination to understand their theology.”

    Jeff I did not say “you have to BE IN a certain denomination” to understand it, rather you have to BELIEVE IT to understand it. That’s precisely why you DON’T understand it.

    No you don’t understand Luther at all if you did you’d understand the sacraments and you’d believe them that way. The only other option is that you do truly understand them and thus reject them and despise them. I’d prefer to believe the former of you because in that there is at least a kind of “innocent” ignorance, the later option (the one I prefer not to think of you) is a rank denial of Christ.

    So you are going to have to admit one or the other and be honest about it, there are no other options:

    Either you don’t really understand and that’s why you struggle believing them as is (the way would hope for you, the struggle I had), or

    You fully understand them as the Gospel they are and actively reject them which is dangerously close to committing the unforgiveable sin (the way I don’t think you think, because you don’t sound like you wish to reject the gospel in other things you say).

    If you arrive at the first then we can proceed, until then you really don’t wish to understand it and all the rabbit trail questions seem to reveal this. You need to stop all the “what about…” questions and hold them until the end of class and start at the basics and a lot of the “what about…” questions will begin to have light shed upon them.

    Yours,

    Larry

  34. Steve,

    Perhaps we’ve gone about the “yeah but…” in the wrong way. It’s clearly out there and hard as a rock to the Word. I think the answer lay in something I heard Rod Rosenbladt say a few months back on an interview on Issues and Etc…

    The question come up regarding the sacraments and why in general other protestants basically don’t believe them (implied was as confessed in Lutheran orthodoxy), why they don’t flee to them and in particular evangelical/baptistic circles. Dr. Rosenbladt said it was basically because the Law is not really being preached. Rather you get this kind of “gum you to death” tickle law we see with folks. Dr. Rosenbladt basically said if the Law were REALLY being preached people would flee to the sacraments. Another way of saying it is a turning away from the sacraments is a sign that the real Law is not being preached nor heard and thus the Gospel is not really either and thus not really the Word of God at all.

    I recall when I was similarly thinking as Jeff here is. I would and did say nearly everything he said here and would be incredulous that someone would say “I didn’t take sin or the Law seriously (or the Gospel or the ‘ordinances’ at that time in my denomination)”, I took it deadly serious (so I thought). I’m by nature a very disciplined person and I took God’s Law seriously and had a “high view of it” so I thought. So imagine my shock to find out I did not! Forde is right legalism and antinomianism are really the same thing, and both think they have a high view of the Law and works but have neither (part of the groping about Luther speaks of). So it never donned on me that I actually in my “high view” of the Law had a low view of the Law, even an reality an infinitely low view of the law by comparison, in fact a non-view of the Law if truth be truth, rather I had a very high view of an artificial construct of the law.

    Luther makes a point about the killing nature of the Law that does not come from the negative “you better not/you better do” aspect of the Law. Legalist and antinomians can shield themselves from the Law and thus the Cross in that sometimes. In his sermon on the passage where Jesus tells Peter and the others to cast their fishing nets out again during the day and they catch more than they can haul…Peter’s reaction is a terrifying despairing “Lord turn away from me a sinner”; Luther points out that the killing Law, the real Law often comes to us this way when we see the goodness of God in light of ourselves…that we are selfish in hidden ways deep down. It’s not enough that we act like the Rich Young Ruler, but that we see that we NEVER DO the Law or goodness, “only God is good”. When via the preaching of the true Law this strikes us we react as Peter did, “Lord turn away from me I’m a sinner”…”Lord do not look upon me”. In such we might at last see the Gospel when it is given, baptism suddenly becomes everything we see in the confessions of Luther, the LS suddenly IS what Luther and the ancient church before Rome fell apart said it is.

    But until the Law is REALLY preached and terror REALLY sets in we will not go to the sacraments as Gospel, they will seem as nothing to us, but rather we hang around the old dog vomit of our works as signs of grace and such.

    The real Gospel gets rejected because the real Law is never preached but a false ‘law’ guised as the Law…the angel of light’s (Satan) “law” and “gospel”.

    Yours,

    Larry

  35. “If you wish to know you are saved/reborn/elect/predestined by your love of others or a changed heart or by such the tangible proof that you actually have faith and believe, then go and literally sell all that you have, and literally distribute it to the poor, then come and follow Jesus and you will have treasure in heaven.”

    • Yeah But–if I just show Jesus I love him and believe in him, that’s good fruit, right? I mean, how much fruit do I need to produce? Come on, ‘sell everything,’ really? That’s a little extreme to truly KNOW I saved, isn’t it?

      • With the law, it’s always the case that “one thing you still lack” that remains the problem.

  36. Larry,

    You are so right.

    The law is watered down to managable form for so much of Protestantism.

    Even the sermon on the mount is (somehow) used to make us better, and not kill us off.

  37. Yeah But–God wouldn’t give us law which is impossible for us to follow and then condemn us for not following it, would He? That’s not a very high view of the law, now is it? We’ve got to be able to show Jesus we can obey something, right?

    • Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
      – 1 John 5:1-5

  38. Jonathan,

    Right! Now get busy and get better…make Jesus proud of you!

  39. Like my pastor says, the law acts as a kind of blender that just stirs up unrighteousness and sin…and makes things worse.

  40. Yeah But–when I accepted Jesus, I stopped swearing, and I started serving at the soup kitchen. That’s good fruit, right? It must mean my faith is real, right?

  41. That’s a good start, Jonathan…but you can’t stop there.

    You’ve got a lot more work to do.

  42. So how do we define such sacrifices and offerings now, in the light of Christ’s coming and once and for all sacrifice for sin?

    The full answer to this question would take more room and time than I can possibly manage here. At the moment, I have a four CD set teaching about these same issues that I have listened to twice and am still digesting and comparing against the Word of God and it would require a blow by blow account through Hebrews to give a fuller picture. Let me give a couple of short points to give a gist.

    The sacrifices and offerings are only “lawful” within the Temple structure itself. This is God’s design for them. The writer of Hebrews is careful to point out and explain that Jesus’ ministry is different than the ministry of the Levitical priesthood on earth; where Jesus is unqualified to be a priest! (Hebrews 8:4). In fact, the writer of Hebrews is writing at a time when the Temple sacrifices are still going on based on his use of present tense to describe them.

    Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice are based on a principle deeply rooted in Jewish thought that the righteous can suffer on behalf of the unrighteous.
    For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers
    – Hebrews 2:10-11

    Jesus’ ministry was further found in his identification with us as human beings subject to death.
    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted

    You might recognize this concept from Paul’s writings in Romans. The penalty of sin is death and Jesus has destroyed that penalty through His own death as a sinless man. Jesus’ sacrifice for sin is depicted in Hebrews as a sacrifice in the heavenly tabernacle. Without getting too technical or detailed; understand that sacrifices on earth in the Temple were designed to bring the offerer nearer to God, as one would be unable to enter His presence without them. In the same way, Jesus sacrifice allows us to enter God’s presence in Heaven itself.
    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.
    – Hebrews 10:19-22

    What is often termed the ‘ceremonial’ or cultic law certainly prefigured Christ’s work, but having been fulfilled by Him, is certainly viewed as unrequired in Acts when the church grows to include gentiles.</blockquote
    The truth of the matter is that the Law is not merely ceremonial or cultic; rather it reflects the very heart of God Himself. Like a lover writing a letter, He reveals the things that please His heart. Then Jesus came in person and confirmed that all that God had written was in fact true. This is God and His love for us embodied. That is what He meant when He said He came to "fulfill" the Law. If you study Acts at all, you will notice that far from viewing the OT as "unrequired," the church is actually continuing to follow the prescriptions of Torah.

    They were meeting on the Sabbath in synagogues and studying the Hebrew Scriptures because they could now see the Messiah clearly in every part of it:
    19Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
    -Acts 15:19-21

    If you stop to ponder what James is really saying for a moment, you will see that they are giving instruction to Gentiles in a sort of “first things” type of understanding (some have related it to the Noahic covenant) with the realization that they have the opportunity to learn more every Sabbath as the Scriptures are studied.

    Paul went from synagogue to synagogue to spread the Gospel message and often included Torah instruction in his letters to Gentile congregations. I posted about this last night, but I fear it got lost in the shuffle up there somewhere.

    I will put a “link” for it here and see if it is findable that way rather than having to repost it.
    https://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/how-to-recognize-yeah-but-syndrome/#comment-8853

    Paul also spoke of the Gentiles being “grafted in” to Israel. It is to the church’s shame that she started to chop down the tree she was grafted into over time.

    My question, in relation to Paul’s writings to this church still stands here – is this Apostolic contention with regards to our redemption, service and living correct, or are we in some fashion required to undo this and return to some manner of ceremonial tradition, as practiced by Jews prior to the fall of the Jerusalem temple?

    The Apostolic understanding is indeed correct; but it is not the same as most of modern theology teaches. Paul was a Jewish theologian; not a Greek one, and yet most of our attempts to understand his writing are done from a Greek mindset instead of a Hebraic one. This is why he is so often misunderstood and argued over. Baptism is not a Christian invention; it was a thoroughly Jewish practice in worship. In fact, the baptism of the masses on Pentecost must have taken place in the Temple mikvahs (go look at a picture of one online somewhere and you will see they look much like a modern immersion baptismal). The Lord’s Supper, as I have pointed out before, is intimately tied to Passover, which was and is commanded in Torah as well.

    We are not to follow after the customs of the Jews; for that is not what Scripture really is, rather it is the commandments of God for His people who have been redeemed by Him according to His purpose and His plan.

  43. I missed a close in my html after a blockquote and left a lot of the latter half of that comment in quote form. My apologies for that, but I hope it is still able to be followed, since you can see the word “blockquote” in the body of the comment up there.

  44. (like Peter was doing in not eating pork with the Gentiles in Galatia).

    Larry,
    Sorry for another “rabbit trail” but I meant to do this earlier. Can you please direct me to any Scriptural proof that Peter ever ate pork? I would argue that you are making an incorrect assumption here about what the issue really was that Paul confronted Peter over.

    • I should point out that this isn’t merely a “rabbit trail” at all, but rather an exercise to let you see that you have taken for granted as true something that God’s Word simply does not say. As far as we know from the Bible, Peter never ate pork or any other “unclean” animal either.

  45. I have got to stop typing for a while, as my html is getting sloppy.

  46. No you don’t understand Luther at all if you did you’d understand the sacraments and you’d believe them that way.

    One more quick one. I do understand Luther. I just don’t agree with him based on what God has shown me in His Word (Romans 14:4-5). Luther made mistakes (which might be considered sacrilege to say around here, but I said it anyway).

    Let me just say this to you, Larry, with all humility. By pointing out the long theological journey you have made to get here, you have said a couple of things. It means that you have been wrong before about many of these things. I am sure that you once argued as vehemently for the things you believed then as you do for the things you believe now (you have said as much before). You now believe that Martin Luther had it all right and I am happy for you in a sense, but I realize that the day may come when God will shake your tree once again. I read a quote once that has stuck with me to this day:

    God is a jealous God. And He will not share us even with our best ideas about Him. . .
    when Christ has stripped away everything that we have invented about Him, then maybe we will encounter Him as He really is. And we will know ourselves as we really are. So don’t be afraid that your faith gets shaken. Could be that God is shaking you forward, and shaking you free.

    And the issue is not which side of which fence you end up on. The issue is really, has to do with, what does it mean to love Christ? What does it mean to obey Him? And I’m not really even sure what that is. But if there is any meaning in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, it is this: that there is a God who created us, and who loves us so much that He would stop at nothing to bring us to Him.

    And I really suspect that of all the things we think we want to know, the only thing we really want to know, is that we are loved. And if Jesus means anything, He means that you are loved. I hope you know that.

  47. “The writer of Hebrews is careful to point out and explain that Jesus’ ministry is different than the ministry of the Levitical priesthood on earth; where Jesus is unqualified to be a priest!”

    Actually, I believe the full argument here relates to a much bigger issue – that the Levitical priesthood itself is subservient to a ‘heavenly’ priesthood which preceded them, and which was clearly acknowledged by Abraham.

    “The sacrifices and offerings are only “lawful” within the Temple structure itself. This is God’s design for them”.

    They may have still been going on when the author of Hebrews was writing, but he is clearly saying they have already been superseded by the work of Christ.

    “If you study Acts at all, you will notice that far from viewing the OT as “unrequired,” the church is actually continuing to follow the prescriptions of Torah”.

    God’s plan has always been for the redemption of His handiwork, so what we see unfolding here is the fulfillment of Christ”s words – that the Gospel would be preached first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, and then to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

    “They were meeting on the Sabbath in synagogues and studying the Hebrew Scriptures because they could now see the Messiah clearly in every part of it”.

    True, in part, but Paul went out to the Gentiles, and from that point on, the very nature and identity of the New Testament church became wider and far more diverse than what had been defined to then.

    “If you stop to ponder what James is really saying for a moment, you will see that they are giving instruction to Gentiles in a sort of “first things” type of understanding (some have related it to the Noahic covenant) with the realization that they have the opportunity to learn more every Sabbath as the Scriptures are studied.”.

    Christians met together on the Lord’s day, to partake in Apostolic doctrine and the Lord’s table. This goes beyond what had preceded it, which, no doubt, had a ‘glory’, but this is most certainly surpassed by the light of full revelation of Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth. Why would we wish to go back to the latter?

    “Paul also spoke of the Gentiles being “grafted in” to Israel. It is to the church’s shame that she started to chop down the tree she was grafted into over time”.

    I do not believe that is possible. Israel is the full body of believers, from every tribe, people and nation, who are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. We are included only by His work, nothing more.

    “Paul was a Jewish theologian; not a Greek one, and yet most of our attempts to understand his writing are done from a Greek mindset instead of a Hebraic one. This is why he is so often misunderstood and argued over”.

    Paul spoke of himself as a debtor to both the Jew and the Greek, and his scholarship and learning certainly allowed him to source from both worlds (the incident at Mars Hill springs immediately to mind).
    I have encountered the manner of argument you make here many times in recent years, especially by those who question the validity of Christianity after the first few years, stating that the church of James in Jerusalem was the ‘true’ form of the faith, and that the Pauline (gentile) version is a total aberration of this. I believe that if we are seeking to look, as Abraham himself, to the one who saves us by faith in His work and promises, that this alone amounts to true righteousness, and therein lies the saving work of God.

  48. Christians met together on the Lord’s day, to partake in Apostolic doctrine and the Lord’s table.

    Actually, they met every day in the beginning. The “Lord’s day” is only mentioned once in Scripture and it is not certain whether it refers to a particular day of the week or something else. The weekly gathering of the church is always seen on the Sabbath and not another day. If they also met on Sunday for worship, Acts 13:42 wouldn’t make much sense for instance. Sunday worship is very much a “Roman” addition to Christianity. It was solidified by Constantine; who basically declared every Roman citizen to be a Christian by fiat as well. If you read the writings of the early church fathers and the history of the Roman empire at the time, it is quite illuminating to see how we ended up with Sunday worship.

    Paul spoke of himself as a debtor to both the Jew and the Greek, and his scholarship and learning certainly allowed him to source from both worlds (the incident at Mars Hill springs immediately to mind).

    If you remember, Paul’s experience on Mars Hill was rather humbling. It was immediately after that that he went to Corinth which he later wrote about:
    And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
    – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

    Apparently Paul decided that the wisdom of God was better communicated without attempts to resort to Greek philosophy.

    I have encountered the manner of argument you make here many times in recent years, especially by those who question the validity of Christianity after the first few years, stating that the church of James in Jerusalem was the ‘true’ form of the faith, and that the Pauline (gentile) version is a total aberration of this.

    Actually, I would prefer to say that James and Paul are in total agreement with one another. They are shown as such in the book of Acts for instance. I am not trying to promote some return to the “church of Jerusalem” at all. I am not questioning the validity of Christianity either. On the contrary, God has demonstrated a remarkable ability to work right on through all of our shortcomings and outright failures. I concur with your last statement wholeheartedly.

  49. I reiterate again Jeff, or let me put it this way, I hope it is the fact that you don’t understand Luther and it is blindness in this ignorance because if it is not, then you do in fact reject the Gospel and the Cross inspite of any confession you otherwise make.

    This is why Luther said of Zwingli and Bucer in an honest moment of humility refusing them the right hand of fellowship that they were of different spirits. For Luther understood God’s Word to be true and singularly so and God is indeed a jealous God for His truth.

    Here is where we are today Jeff, you and I, of different spirits that much is fact and true, and we concur upon.

    To put it another way, I don’t just understand believer’s baptism & Calvin’s views on the sacraments, I understand them and once actually BELIEVED them in my soul to be truth. My rejection of them is active full rejection of them as false and not of God’s Word whatsoever. I don’t reject them out of ignorance as if I’ve never believed them, I reject them the way I reject my once belief in atheism as utterly false and belief I once held not just intellectually assessed but as true and TRUSTED INTO.

    Thus, it is my hope you merely reject Luther out of ignorance on the sacraments being gospel as Luther taught, because IF you REALLY understand Luther on them and THUS reject them you are in fact rejecting the Gospel, Christ and the Christian faith.

    It’s one thing to be blinded by false teachings that in essence block and interfere with the Gospel being seen in the sacraments, its quite another thing to having once tasted the truth of Christ in them (Hebrews) and then reject them. The later would indeed be the unforgivable sin, the sin that is so because it forsakes the Gospel BECAUSE it is the Gospel.

    That’s why I prefer to say you don’t understand Luther on this because the alternative is worse.

    Larry

  50. Jeff go and sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor, then come and follow Jesus then you will know you love your neighbor as yourself and are saved and thus elect.

    Otherwise no one can possiblly take you seriously, NOBODY can take you seriously.

    • Larry,
      Even though I don’t answer to you, since you asked I will let you know that I did in fact pick up and leave everything behind just over 6 1/2 years ago when God told me to GO, I went along with my family and moved 1000 miles from home. God has led us, taken care of us, and continues to do so.

      You can choose to believe whatever you want about my eternal state and condemn me based on your “perfect” theology if you wish, but I call that dangerous based on God’s Word itself.

    • And because I forgot to add this in the original comment, let me mention that I left a self-employed “dream job” where I was making over $50,000 a year to go to a place where I didn’t even have a job when I got there. God is faithful and good.

  51. The great temptation of the church, even the Jews in the Jewish sects of the times before the church formed was to form an alliance, fellowship, against the common enemy. For Jews it was Rome, for Luther it was against the Pope by Zwingli, Bucer and Calvin later. The temptation “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a great temptation the church always faces. Even in our day we find this great temptation to ‘join with’ conservative sects for the common political goal of “against the liberal policies”. Hence the most republican state is not surprisingly Utah. Likewise orthodoxy finds this great temptation to unite under the banner of “together for the Gospel” with other false and heterodox denominations against the over all general degraded christless christianity.

    This was the last temptation Luther alone resisted on the sacraments in general and the Lord’s Supper in particular. Zwingli, Bucer and Calvin all politically sought to “unite” the reformed churches over their “common enemy” Rome. But Luther saw through this as a forsaking of the Gospel and denial of Christ in particular the confession of the LS. Had it happened the church would have disappeared for it is attached to the orthodox confession of the true Lord’s Supper.

    Here we see just how God makes His naked Word alone the cause of strength and increase for His church and not political alignments for the sake of human concensus and power, not majority power rules, not even the alignment of many sects to form a bigger power against others we call our enemies, but his seemingly weak Word. For the Lutheran church nearly went out after Luther with no primary champion during the reign of sacramentarians such as Calvin and anabaptist on the one side and Rome and the Pope on the other. Here the power of the Word of God is shown in that it was singularly sustained upon its confession with no aid nor help from any of the politics of the time nor even the external presence or power of a visibly united church.

    Thus, it has always been with the orthodoxy in the orthodox church, thus it will always be under opposites, the suffering church that holds at times seemingly to go out for ever the Gospel in purity. Not until Christ returns shall its glory be revealed and all false churches and false religions and their apparently visible power is finally destroyed.

    Larry

  52. “The weekly gathering of the church is always seen on the Sabbath and not another day. If they also met on Sunday for worship, Acts 13:42 wouldn’t make much sense for instance”.

    Actually, in Acts 20:7, and possibly 1 Corinthians 16:2, there would appear to be the first traces of singling out the evening of the ‘first day of the week’ as an appropriate time for worship and the Lord’s supper.This would relate to the resurrection itself – the ‘Lord’s Day’. This distinction would grow in importance in the 2nd century, when Christian writers clearly compared and contrasted Sunday to the Jewish sabbath.

    “If you remember, Paul’s experience on Mars Hill was rather humbling”.

    Disturbing, perhaps – in the sense that it was here he truly confronted the spirit of the age in one of it’s most explicit manifestations, but also profound – research the matter of the altar to the ‘unknown god’ to discover why – there is a far deeper ‘wisdom’ abroad here than that professed by the Greeks.

    “Actually, I would prefer to say that James and Paul are in total agreement with one another”.

    I do not believe this was the case. Paul clearly reached a point in his ministry where he stood alone for the liberty of the Gospel. Thankfully, his stance on these matters prevailed, in the face of numerous attempts being made to side line the faith into legalism and/or dualism. The natural propensity of human religion is to depart from such freedom (responsibility), but the Gospel brings us only to Christ – there is no other refuge.

  53. Actually, in Acts 20:7, and possibly 1 Corinthians 16:2, there would appear to be the first traces of singling out the evening of the ‘first day of the week’ as an appropriate time for worship and the Lord’s supper.

    Acts 20:7 is not a “typical” gathering and because the days are reckoned from evening to evening in Jewish tradition may have actually begun on the evening of the Sabbath in any case. It is most definitely a special gathering on the occasion of Paul’s departure so it would be unwise to assign some hint of doctrine to it for that reason. The instruction at 1 Corinthians 16:2 is totally understandable when you understand that Jewish practice generally frowned upon taking collections on the Sabbath and Paul is telling them to do this at home anyway, which means that neither of these settings are solid cases of Sunday worship in the early church. Most theologians will concede as much.

    I do not believe this was the case. Paul clearly reached a point in his ministry where he stood alone for the liberty of the Gospel.

    I was actually referring as much to their respective writings as to the men themselves, but I cannot understand how you came to this conclusion in either case. If the two’s writings in Scripture are not in total agreement then the Word of God is in contradiction with itself and would be disqualify itself by its own standard. Paul was still referring to himself as a Pharisee late in life so I don’t know where you got the idea that he was a “lone ranger” for liberty. Paul did write these words after all, “For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.” – 1 Corinthians 7:19
    And this one too, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” – Romans 3:31

    If everything was going to be easy going and sit back and relax, why did Jesus keep telling people to count the cost of following Him?

  54. “Neither of these settings are solid cases of Sunday worship in the early church. Most theologians will concede as much”.

    Whilst many theologians would agree that the passages I refer to would agree that use of Sunday was new in the church, they would also agree that these statements point to what gradually became the norm for Christians, long before the ascendancy of the church in Rome. Sunday clearly became the normal day for Christians to assemble and worship over the time form these days to the early part of the second century because of its connection to the resurrection of Christ, and, in a secondary sense, because of a freeing of believers to see the true sabbath not as a particular day of the week, but as their salvation in Jesus Christ.

    “I cannot understand how you came to this conclusion in either case”.

    Acts 15 points clearly to the issue which underlies the trouble which Paul contended against – those who held to circumcision as required for Christians. It was those from the party of the Pharisees within the Jerusalem church which sought to speak against Paul. Whilst the final agreement in this particular instance was right, this clearly was not the end of the matter. In Galatians, he speaks boldly of an undermining of the Gospel which stems from his former life – Judaism – evident later, for example, even in Peter’s visit to Antioch.
    This was clearly a major problem, even leading to Paul’s co-worker, Barnabas being lead astray, and it had clearly found some measure of support in the Jerusalem church, leading even to gentiles believing they must be obedient to the Mosaic laws regarding circumcision.
    Paul’s argument here is clear – such a ‘faith’ amounts to slavery, a betrayal of the Gospel, so any use of the teaching of the Apostles to re-establish such an approach is anathema.
    I constantly come across Christian teaching which sides with Rome and other cults (Mormonism) here – THE evidence of our salvation is our good works. This is a total miss-use of the book of James, for it flies entirely in the face of the work and promises of God, bestowed through Jesus Christ.

    “Paul was still referring to himself as a Pharisee late in life so I don’t know where you got the idea that he was a “lone ranger” for liberty”.

    Perhaps Paul’s own words…
    He indeed had much to boast in, but as he noted himself, “I count all of this as loss to gain the surpassing richness of Jesus Christ my Lord… I suffered the LOSS of all things and counted them as rubbish in order to gain Christ, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God which depends on faith” (Philippians 3:8&9).

  55. “If everything was going to be easy going and sit back and relax, why did Jesus keep telling people to count the cost of following Him?”

    Jeff I think I find this statement of yours the most ironic. Nobody defending the Gospel, I mean NOBODY, defending the Gospel, especially when it comes to the sacraments does nothing but count that very thing every single day. Moral things, living a good life and such are a triffal compared to this. The temptation to “just let go” and clasp hands with heterodoxy is so very tempting every single day. It is infinitely more tempting than all the food, money, power and sex one could muster. It is more tempting than anything on this earth. This temptation to “get along” tempts the broad church to clasp hands with the world, it tempts the orthodox confessions to clasp hands with the heterodox. It is a constant suffering and counting of the cost of following Him. This cost counting is done both at the church level and individual member level. Every single time a Lutheran pastor must deny a heterodox confessing visitor the Lord’s Supper, knowing the utter disdaining reaction it would draw, he has to “count the cost of following Christ”, ‘do I give in now and get a relieving breath of air today or suffer and follow Christ on this?” Every single time one has to defend baptism as Gospel to others one has to count the cost and say, “do I give in just to get by today or follow Christ…do I just for the sake of argument say ‘we agree’ or do I suffer the jeers and persecutions of laughter from a baptist confessor…do I cave in or follow Christ in His very very very lonely way.” The temptation is there every single time; “do I stay at this big powerful reformed church with its heterodoxy and receive no sacrament or do I join with this very tiny poor aging orthodox Lutheran confession church and receive the body and blood of the Lord which to they eye do not look like that much worth leaving the former. For some it is a lonely suffering way of cost that seperates a family moving to orthodoxy from the larger family abroad that is deeply rooted in heterodoxy. I’ve seen this more than once, this cost counting of “do I leave for orthodoxy the rest of the family that is deeply rooted in heterodoxy (e.g. SB) and go where none in our family have gone before…is the Word, baptism and the Sacrament…worth all that”, goes the cost counting.

    I think I can speak for all orthodox confessing Lutherans that every single time one has to defend the sacraments a count of the cost goes on…an exasperated ‘do I just let go this time’ and thus the cost are counted and the answer always comes up “Christ is better” than all the friends in the world, all the family in the world, all the hand shaking communing in the world. It is an extremely lonely and suffering way. No temptation is greater than to have to suffer this cave-in for the sake of so called unity.

    As Sasse rightly says it is a lonely way, a cost counting way, “As Luther once went the lonely way between Rome and the Spiritualism, so the Lutheran Church today stands alone between the world powers of Roman Catholicism on the one hand and modern Protestantism on the other. Her doctrine which teaches that the Spirit is bound to the means of grace is as inconceivable to modern people in the twentieth century as it was to their predecessors in the sixteenth.”

    Luther expresses the same sentiment on the very same issue when he once said that “…I find that the Word of God continually makes the world smaller to me”. Which particularly included his lonely way between Rome and the sacramentarians.

    Larry

    • Moral things, living a good life and such are a triffal compared to this.

      I am going to stick with my words of Luther method for the time being.

      Christian life is but a daily baptism, which, once entered upon, requires us incessantly to fulfill its conditions. Without ceasing we must purge out what is of the old Adam, so that what belongs to the new man may come forth.
      ———————–
      Every day should witness the war against the old man and the growth of the new. For, if we wish to be Christians, we must practice the things that make for Christianity.
      ————————
      This (I say) it is profitable and necessary always to teach to the young people, to admonish them and to remind them of it, that they may be brought up not only with blows and compulsion, like cattle, but in the fear and reverence of God. For where this is considered and laid to heart that these things are not human trifles, but the commandments of the Divine Majesty, who insists upon them with such earnestness, is angry with, and punishes those who despise them, and, on the other hand, abundantly rewards those who keep them, there will be a spontaneous impulse and a desire gladly to do the will of God. Therefore it is not in vain that it is commanded in the Old Testament to write the Ten Commandments on all walls and corners, yes, even on the garments, not for the sake of merely having them written in these places and making a show of them, as did the Jews, but that we might have our eyes constantly fixed upon them, and have them always in our memory, and that we might practise them in all our actions and ways, and every one make them his daily exercise in all cases, in every business and transaction, as though they were written in every place wherever he would look, yea, wherever he walks or stands. Thus there would be occasion enough, both at home in our own house and abroad with our neighbors, to practise the Ten Commandments, that no one need run far for them.

      From this it again appears how highly these Ten Commandments are to be exalted and extolled above all estates, commandments, and works which are taught and practised aside from them. For here we can boast and say: Let all the wise and saints step forth and produce, if they can, a [single] work like these commandments, upon which God insists with such earnestness, and which He enjoins with His greatest wrath and punishment, and, besides, adds such glorious promises that He will pour out upon us all good things and blessings. Therefore they should be taught above all others, and be esteemed precious and dear, as the highest treasure given by God.

      Now you can go ahead and tell me how I am misunderstanding Luther or taking him out of context if you want.

  56. I constantly come across Christian teaching which sides with Rome and other cults (Mormonism) here – THE evidence of our salvation is our good works. This is a total miss-use of the book of James, for it flies entirely in the face of the work and promises of God, bestowed through Jesus Christ.

    “Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.”
    – Martin Luther

    We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, faith is false and not true.
    -Martin Luther

    True faith is not idle. We can, therefore, ascertain and recognize those who have true faith from the effect or from what follows.
    -Martin Luther

    For that faith which lacks fruit is not an efficacious but a feigned faith.
    – Martin Luther

    Where is the fruit that shows you really believe? . . .

    Christ has not died so that you could remain such a sinner; rather, he died so that sin might be put to death and destroyed and that you might now begin to love God and your neighbor. Faith takes sins away and puts them to death so that you should live not in them but in righteousness. Therefore demonstrate by your works and by your fruits that you have faith . . . [Whoever believes] will say it with his deeds — or forget about having the reputation of being a believer . . . Love follows true faith . . . One should do everything that is good so that faith does not become an empty husk but may be true and genuine.
    – quote from a sermon on 1 John 4:16ff by Martin Luther

    I was actually surprised to find this many quotes from Luther considering all the flack I have taken here for saying essentially the same things. I figured I wasn’t getting anywhere closer to understanding each other by quoting God’s Word so I will try Luther’s instead and see what happens.

  57. “I figured I wasn’t getting anywhere closer to understanding each other by quoting God’s Word so I will try Luther’s instead and see what happens”.

    You can quote whoever you wish on the matter, it does not in any fashion undermine the reality of what I stated in my last reply:

    1. About the nature of aberration which sought to insinuate itself as the Gospel in the days of the Apostles – the ‘good work’ of circumcision being required in order to be part of the church – which entirely undermines the work of grace.

    2. That this same manner of authentication is being required by men today, though the particular litmus test has adjusted, depending upon which stripe (denomination) you wish to wear.

    3.That we naturally adorn ourselves with the merit of our good works as easily as Adam hid behind fig leaves – such ‘merits’ merely adorn the chains of our fallen selves, and do nothing of any true worth, but deceive us to look at that which is totally insufficient to clothe us before the ‘weight’ (holiness) of God.

    Such ‘good works’ are anathema to the Gospel of God, for they, in effect, trample underfoot the ONLY redeeming work of Jesus Christ, however they are defined or justified. If that one sure foundation is in effect denied or discarded, there is not a true believer who has ever lived that will be willing to speak well of our works, whatever they may be.
    Paul and his fellow workers laid the one and only sure basis of peace with God, and it is only when I hear that ‘sound’ that I am assured that anything can be done of any true worth or merit.

    Thanks be to God, who has given us redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  58. What Jeff fails to understand is that at the end of the day we are speaking, essentially, of two differing religions here. And for any one confessing orthodoxy to confess as Jeff does willingly would be complete apostacy from the Christian faith. To so give up the sacraments (in short as Luther and Lutheran confessions confess) not out of ignorance but so willingly to his confession would be to fall from grace completely. This he fundamentally does not understand nor understand why all his proselytizing to his confessed religion in the world will never work. No orthodox confessing person who believes and trusts so in Christ, short of trickiness and ignorance would do so.

    Make no mistake about it, it is two different religions at the end of the day.

    Larry

  59. And the rudimentary difference between our two religions, Jeff’s and Lutheran Orthodoxy, can be captured in this nice quote:

    Via Franz Pieper, Christian Dogmatics Vol. 3 via Gneiso Lutheran

    Thieme reports that the Lutheran doctrine that good works are not necessary for salvation has been given up by most modern Protestant theologians, including the so-called “positive” theologians; instead, they have generally adopted the “idea of the religion of morality, that the fruit of faith is necessary for salvation (R.E. 3d ed., XXI, 120). Unfortunately that is true. Modern Protestant theology generally rejects the concept of Christ’s ’satisfactio vicaria’ as being too “juridical”; “it would deepen the concept of expiation by making the transformation of human life into its God-pleasing form a factor in the work of the Atonement.” That, however, is fundamentally the Roman doctrine of the meritoriousness of good works and agrees altogether with the Tridentinum in its rejection of the doctrine that the Gospel is the absolute promise of the eternal life “without the condition of observing the commandments” (Sess. VI, can. 20). It follows that the “good works,” which modern Protestant theology teaches as necessary for salvation, do not, as little as do the Papistical works, belong in the category of good works. Rather, they dishonor the perfect propitiation of Christ and thereby draw down God’s condemnation and curse upon all that teach and do them (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:12; Phil. 3:2; Gal. 3:10). Max Mueller has truly said that such works as are not the grateful offerings of faith, but are done for the purpose of earning salvation, belong in the realm of paganism. See Vol. II, 2, footnote 6. One cannot teach truly good works and at the same time teach that they are necessary for salvation. The latter cancels the former. When the adherent of modern Protestant theology really performs a good work, he does so because in his heart has has abandoned his theory of the necessity of good works for salvation (the theory that “the transformation of man is a factor in the work of atonement”), and does the good work solely as a thankoffering for the grace and salvation obtained ’sola fide.’

  60. It all boils down, I think, to what Paul states in Galatians – we are either offspring of one ‘line’ or another, liberty or bondage. Clearly, those who had been made free in that day by the Gospel of Jesus Christ were being preyed upon by those bound by a trust in good works, seeking to undermine the purity of salvation by God’s grace through faith. The same is most certainly true today, and we must heed the Apostle’s exhortation, as Luther surely did, to stand fast in the liberty of Christ, and not be given over to such bondage.

  61. Howard that is spot on and what those bound by good works in whatever form it comes, even under the guise of “grace” always do is HATE the distinctions because it reveals the difference. What they would love to hear is something like this, “We are saying the same thing just talking past each other”. No, we are not talking past each other in the least because if you MEAN the same thing one should be able to SAY the same thing with no problems. The very fact that we cannot SAY the same thing is proof positive that we don’t MEAN the same thing and thus are espousing two seperate religious systems.

    It’s as simple as Luther once put it to the proto-Reformed of his day, ask the pastor what he puts in his mouth…away with the word games which are nothing but sinister ways of covering up (no revealing the truth).

    The truth is never afraid of full open and clear disclosure, lies and falsehood ALWAYS are.

    Larry

  62. About the nature of aberration which sought to insinuate itself as the Gospel in the days of the Apostles – the ‘good work’ of circumcision being required in order to be part of the church – which entirely undermines the work of grace.

    The debate over circumcision was a debate over whether or not Gentiles had to “convert to Judaism” in order to be followers of Jesus. It was not about “works based salvation” at all. As I have pointed out, Judaism already understood that salvation was by grace through faith; hence the example of Abraham cited by Paul and James and the writer of Hebrews. Until you can break away from the false belief that Judaism=salvation by works; you will never understand this.

    It is ironic that many Jews believed themselves to be saved precisely because they were circumcised, because it was seen as the “promise of God” if you will, for them in their flesh. Paul disabused them of this notion in Romans(particularly in the end of chapter 2 and most of chapter 3) and in Galatians as he continually taught that only grace by faith was sufficient for right standing with God.

    See if this attitude sounds familiar:
    “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?
    -Jeremiah 7:8-10

    It turns out the Jews were guilty of thinking that they were in right standing before God because they had the Temple as a sign of His promise and they were “His children” because they were circumcised and belonged to Him and thus felt justified to do whatever they wanted because they “were delivered!” We have already established that God hasn’t changed. His character is the same yesterday, today and forever. You can read the verses immediately following the above in Jeremiah 7 and see that they sound remarkably like what Jesus says at the end of Matthew 7 about casting away those who thought they were His but refused to obey His words.

    Or take Jeremiah 7:22-24 as well:
    22For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

    This refers again to those who think they can do “whatever they want” because they “belong to the Lord.” Even Luther wouldn’t say such a thing as I have pointed out. A Christian who despises God’s Law as a way of life is making the same mistake that the Jews made which cost them so dearly. The prophets warned against it, Jesus warned against it, Paul warned against it, even Luther warned against it.

    To so give up the sacraments (in short as Luther and Lutheran confessions confess)

    If I am wrong regarding the sacraments, God knows how to show me that. I am in His Word and His Spirit is in me to guide me into truth; so it is up to Him. He knows that I despise neither baptism or the Lord’s Supper. He also knows that I don’t despise His Word or His Law contained therein. You are terribly quick to judge the thoughts and intentions of others; and the Bible is rather plain about the dangers involved in so doing. I would advise you to once again hear the words of Paul:
    Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
    – Romans 12:4

    And your favorite, James:
    Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Keep your liberty from the law (if you only understood what that means), for I am bound to God with all gladness:

    What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    -Romans 6:15-23

  63. “The debate over circumcision was a debate”.

    You think Paul is writing in Galatians about a DEBATE.

    “Until you can break away from the false belief that Judaism=salvation by works; you will never understand this”.

    I think I was pretty clear as to what I identified as the problem.
    As Jesus Himself stated, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees”.

    “A Christian who despises God’s Law as a way of life is making the same mistake that the Jews made which cost them so dearly”.

    And someone who propounds a doctrine which effectively undermines the Gospel, replacing this with a work or works which re-locates our confidence from God’s grace to the works of the flesh is truly accursed.
    The Law, if rightly understood, as Paul teaches us in Romans, leaves us in utter despair, for we cannot fulfill its requirements. I have hope in one thing alone – the redemptive work of Christ. It is God alone who justifies, by and through that perfect and complete work.

    Thanks for the quotes from Romans 6.
    Now, ask yourself, do you keep the law, taking into account Romans 7.

    There is no condemnation for His children for one reason alone:
    “Now is the RIGHTEOUSNESS of GOD revealed, APART FROM THE LAW, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are JUSTIFIED by GRACE AS A GIFT, through the REDEMPTION that is in CHRIST JESUS… that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”.
    That is the only work which matters, the only place where the requirements of the law are truly met. I will remain with that safe haven, for there can be no other.

  64. 1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
    -Romans 8:1-11

    Have you not been able to figure out that Paul is speaking of more than one “law” in Romans (I highlighted two different ones for those who may have missed it). You can look back at Romans 7:25 and see them side by side there too. The law kills us, and God makes us alive by His Spirit. God’s Law is the one that the Spirit writes on our hearts. Then we are supposed to live in His Spirit. To do otherwise is an insult to Christ who came to “give us life to the full”(John 10:10).

    I cannot figure out why so many are enamored with staying dead; I have no interest in it. When we are given so great a gift as grace that we cannot earn; why would we want to spit in God’s face?

    As Jesus Himself stated, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees”.

    I am curious what you think the leaven of the Pharisees was? That would be important in avoiding it. Try looking at Matthew 23.

    How can we say that Christ’s death has made it so we are no longer expected to obey the law? How does one decide which parts of God’s Law have been “nullified” by Christ’s death and resurrection and which haven’t? Neither of the two greatest commandments according to Christ (Matthew 22:34-40) are a part of the 10 commandments. Can we really become God’s editor to say that one law is “done away with” and another is not?

    Paul’s letters frequently teach concepts that are in line with Torah as I have pointed out before. The idea that the apostles taught the law was no longer relevant is patently false. Every time such a “charge” is mentioned in Acts; it is mentioned as a false accusation, even when it is brought against Paul. I think we should reexamine what we have been told or taught in light of God’s Word itself rather than man’s theology.

    Do you know what the real moniker for the anti-christ is? It is the lawless one; anomia in Greek (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for example). Those who wish to annul parts of God’s Law have far more in common with him than with Christ, who said that none of it would pass away until heaven and earth passed away.

  65. Sorry, my html bold tag above should have ended after “law of sin and death” in the Romans 8 passage.

  66. Let me ask a very Luther-like question. I want someone to show it to me in Scriptures because at this point, I like Luther, “I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” I will accept no other man’s word except God’s alone. Would someone kindly point to the Scripture that commands the baptism of infants? Or secondarily, the Scripture that commands the baptism of “everyone” perhaps.

    I can find Scripture that commands the baptism of disciples and of those who repent explicitly, but I can’t find any other commands regarding who is to be baptized in Scripture itself (except for a cryptic reference about being baptized for the dead, but it doesn’t appear Paul is actually advocating that practice). I am not being snide here. I am serious.

    If this doctrine is so important that Larry is ready to anathematize me for not seeing eye-to-eye with Luther on it; it must surely have as plain spoken a statement in Scripture as Jesus’ statements that if you love Him you will keep His commandments. I have looked at Luther’s catechism for his explanation of infant baptism and found it is based on logic and reason; which Larry generally decries in the comments here. After spending many sections on the words “believe and be baptized” from Mark 16, he argues that because some men from church history that we know were baptized as infants in fact went on to display the “presence of the Holy Spirit” in their lives it is proof that God approved of their baptism as infants. Really, if I made that kind of argument from the other side it would be laughed out of here and rightly so. God’s word said believe and be baptized, and these men were baptized and then believed; but that shows that the baptism did the trick?!?

    God doesn’t play hide and seek with what He desires or requires from us either in action or belief. He has spelled it out for us in His Word and confirmed it for us in the Words and actions of His Son.

    Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
    Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
    What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
    Surely you know!
    Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
    Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
    – Proverbs 30:4-6

  67. ” if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you”. -Romans 8:1-11

    That’s exactly what I believe – Christ in you is the hope of glory, nothing more, nothing less. That is how we are made free. That is how we are redeemed by God. That is how our bodies will be raised, our entire natures made anew.

    “I am curious what you think the leaven of the Pharisees was? That would be important in avoiding it. Try looking at Matthew 23”.

    That’s the passage – men who ‘shut the kingdom in people’s faces’ by their teaching – blind guides, who reject the truth even when it is standing before them.

    “How does one decide which parts of God’s Law have been “nullified” by Christ’s death and resurrection and which haven’t”…

    “Those who wish to annul parts of God’s Law have far more in common with him than with Christ”

    it’s not annulment/nullification that is at issue here, it’s fulfillment, and from what I understand, before the final day when heaven and earth are redeemed, there is but one point in sight where this is so – and that is in Christ Jesus, so it is certainly safe and sure to fix upon His wondrous work, as the Gospel surely encourages me to do.

    The key point here, I think, is that Christ alone has fulfilled the law, and given us Himself, that we might live. He is my savior, my righteousness, justification and sanctification. Apart from Him, in this sense, I can do nothing.

    “Do you know what the real moniker for the anti-christ is?”
    John is pretty clear on this – one who denies the coming of Christ in the flesh. That indeed is at the very root of the ‘lawlessness’ of those teachers who refused to hear Christ, and those who sought to seed another gospel within the church.

  68. The key point here, I think, is that Christ alone has fulfilled the law, and given us Himself, that we might live. He is my savior, my righteousness, justification and sanctification. Apart from Him, in this sense, I can do nothing.

    I completely agree.

    That’s the passage – men who ’shut the kingdom in people’s faces’ by their teaching – blind guides, who reject the truth even when it is standing before them.

    It is intriguing to notice what Jesus castigates them most strongly for. Hypocrisy. They say and do not do.

    so practice and observe whatever they tell you— but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
    -Matthew 23:3

    Hypocrites might be the most used word in that entire chapter. Even the things they did do were empty and hollow because they did them simply for show.

    So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
    – Matthew 23:28

  69. “Hypocrites might be the most used word in that entire chapter. Even the things they did do were empty and hollow because they did them simply for show”.

    Sure – we’re back to Adam in the garden, using whatever he could to cover or hide from his true state, ‘acting’ before God I’m entirely guilty of such pretense, in myself, of that very manner of contrivance, but I’m thankful that Christ will not allow that to be the status quo – He brings us out to face reality, and to find mercy (repentance and forgiveness) in time of need. My religion amounts to trash, to filthy rags, and I know how easily I can fall at that stall, but God, by His wonderful mercy, saves us, and that is the marvel.

  70. Jeff,

    I’m not anathemizing you but I am pointing out few things that are simply true:

    1. I cannot concur or believe or give the right hand of fellowship to your beliefs.
    2. And yes they are essentials.
    3. To use your approach for the sake of argument, why in the hell would I believe you a mere man over Luther another mere man? Think about it that way.
    4. In the end, however, it’s not about “believing Luther” but that Luther espoused, in the case of the confessions that which Scriptures says is true. That is to say we believe the confession to be true not “in so much that they align with Scripture” but that they confess (as Scripture requires of us) what Scriptures confess and of essentials, and confession requires condemnation of false heresies. This “you believe Luther” is a false accusation you continue to make, which by the way is sin.
    5. I cannot help nor seek to do so that “This is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN” does not support your theology and religion.
    6. When I say if you REALLY understood Luther and that, for example, “This is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN”, and THEN you rejected it that IS rejecting the Gospel. Thus, what I said is that I think and believe that you don’t understand Luther and thus “This is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN” and due to false teachings are lacking in understanding of that and due TO THAT don’t believe Luther or “This is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN”. Because the reality is this if you DO understand Luther for example “This is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN” and THEN reject it, you reject the Gospel. I prefer to think it is the very lack of understanding that you reject it and that is innocent, dangerous but innocent.

    The circumcision issue:

    Jeff, Paul NEVER rejected that men trusted in circumcision, that it was the very promise of God is clear enough in the OT and would be redundant to line out here. Here you reveal the very Gnostic problem that hears “flesh and spirit” in the Gnostic way and not the Scriptural way. You divide flesh and spirit up into “things earthly” versus “things heavenly” and fundamentally see that the goal of salvation is to escape these beggarly earthly imperfections and the “spirit” the ideal is to be sought out (Platonism, neoplatonism). But the Hebrews always understood flesh and spirit to be all that a man is such that when in the NT we see flesh and spirit, most of the time “flesh” means all that is of a man fallen, his earthly body, spirit and soul. Spirit is the Word of God and primarily the Gospel Word. That’s why you are struggling with the sacraments and circumcision. For the fleshly way they trusted into circumcision was as if it, circumcision, were a work of man (ironically the very definition that both Rome and Baptist give the sacrament of baptism) and not the work of God (e.g. Luther’s recovery of the Gospel). Paul and Luther are perfectly on the same page on this, for Paul NEVER ONCE disparages of trusting circumcision in the OT, in fact he explicitly supports it, but rather was doing for circumcision what Luther did for baptism…they are literally of one Spirit on this.

    Paul has ALREADY answered your question in Romans 3 in as clear a language as possible:

    “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in CIRCUMCISION? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.”

    “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

    Thus if men’s doctrines, be they Jews, Romanist, Baptist or other make of baptism a work of man the answer is simply this, “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Even if men make the Gospel a work of men it does not nullify the faithfulness of God but proves the lying ability of every man to not nakedly passively believe (trust) in the Word, Gospel, of God.

    The GREAT irony of Baptist religion is that it actually BELIEVES the Roman Catholic definition of Baptism, a work of man, and NOT Luther’s, a work of God alone and then thus believing rejects it. To split that hair a bit for some sympathy, they are right in rejecting the Roman Catholic confession of baptism, a work of man, they are wrong to believe THAT IS the definition and to be rejected. It would be like this: An evil man covers up some needed life giving food with a cloth that says “Poison” (Rome). Another man comes along reads that man’s sign, “Poison”, and says, “I better not touch that” (Baptist) and goes on starving to death. Then along comes an honest man and pulls that false cover label of “Poison” off showing it is in fact life giving food (Luther). The challenge now is to get the middle man to believe the truth and not the false cover before covering it.

    Larry

  71. I’m not anathemizing you but I am pointing out few things that are simply true:

    Forgive me for coming to that conclusion when you have made statements like this one:

    And for any one confessing orthodoxy to confess as Jeff does willingly would be complete apostacy from the Christian faith. To so give up the sacraments (in short as Luther and Lutheran confessions confess) not out of ignorance but so willingly to his confession would be to fall from grace completely.

    I assume you understand what anathema means, so you can hopefully see where I got that impression. Now on to the fun stuff.

    To use your approach for the sake of argument, why in the hell would I believe you a mere man over Luther another mere man? Think about it that way.

    I don’t want you to believe me; which is why I spend more time quoting God’s Word than mine or anyone else’s in every instance that I possibly can. I would prefer you struggle with the Word of God itself as opposed to my opinions about it or even Luther’s. I remember listening to a sermon on here and making some comments about it a few weeks back. One thing that I never mentioned, although it certainly was disturbing to me, is that the pastor essentially preached the message from the catechism more than from Scripture. I understand that a catechism is based on Scripture, but it is not a substitute for God’s Word. I prefer to go back to the Source, since that is what is profitable for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” This is why I keep asking for Scriptural backing for the assertions you make regarding infant baptism and so forth. I contend that this is an area that Luther justified holding on to based on logic rather than Scripture. Please feel free to correct me by pointing out the command to baptize infants or all people (whether they repent or not), or something along those lines.

    Paul and Luther are perfectly on the same page on this, for Paul NEVER ONCE disparages of trusting circumcision in the OT, in fact he explicitly supports it

    I disagree based on Romans 2:25-29 and Galatians 6:12-15:
    For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
    Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

    The practice of circumcision was the identifying mark of “converting to Judaism” and the reason the apostles disavowed it for the Gentiles is because God had shown it wasn’t necessary for them to become Jews to follow Jesus and keep Torah; which is why Paul talks this way about it. This is the point of Peter’s vision in Acts 10 (not kosher laws) as Peter himself says, “He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.’

    The reason Paul circumcised Timothy by the way, is that he was legally considered Jewish already through his mother and grandmother and thus “needed” to be circumcised to be obedient to Torah. There is a remarkable consistency here if you start to study it with some understanding of what is really going on from a Hebrew mindset and perspective.

    Your comments about Romans 3 sparked an interesting line of thinking that I hadn’t pondered before. It is certainly applicable to this conversation topic. Paul mentions that the Jews were “entrusted with the very words of God” and that this was indeed an advantage for them. I was reminded of a parable that Jesus tells in Luke 12:35-48. I won’t recount the whole thing here, but you are welcome to read it. As Jesus is explaining the parable, he makes this statement:
    “And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. – Luke 12:47-48

    It occurred to me that this is very similar to the case Paul is making regarding the Jews in Romans 2 in buildup to Romans 3. They were given much and much was required of them; more than the Gentiles who may have done some of what God expected; even without knowing it at the time. For some reason, many Christians speak as though the opposite is true for us. While we acknowledge that God has given us literally everything we have (because we can earn nothing on our own); many still speak and act as though God requires nothing of us. This contradicts what Jesus taught, both here in Luke and elsewhere that I have cited. It also contradicts Paul’s conclusions in Romans.

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
    -Romans 12:1-2

    Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
    – Romans 13:8-10

    For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed,
    – Romans 15:18

    Based on Scripture, it is apparent that God expects His children to be obedient to His Word. The question I would ask of those here is if we have been given much or not?

  72. Jeff,

    When you “get this” we can perhaps proceed, otherwise we are just going in circles.

    You do wish me to believe you Jeff, you are simply so very blind to it. You simply do not see just how arrogant this is. Because just quoting Scripture in and of itself doesn’t mean a thing, the devil quotes the Scriptures but to deceive. You should be able to confess what the Scriptures say, not just blindly quote them in great quantity. ALL manner of men quote the Scriptures from true to absolute false teachers. So you are doing NOTHING the devil and false teachers themselves do not do. Every false church that exists will say, “we believe in the bible alone, here here to the gospel”. Rome says that, JWs say that, Baptist say that, etc… So boiling it down we are left with “Jeff” quoting Scripture and the very learned and historically clearly used for the purpose of reforming the Gospel to the church Martin Luther quoting Scripture. Yet, Luther explains and confesses in addition to just quoting the Scriptures, you merely quote the Scriptures, supposedly in support, of your other doctrines. And then we have Jeff saying, “Baptism does not save, and I quote Scriptures…” yet Luther says, “Baptism saves and here is the Apostle Peter on the subject…’baptism saves’.” Jeff says, “This is not the body and this is not the blood of Christ and I quote Scriptures…”, yet Luther says, “This is the body and this is the blood of Christ…and here is what Christ and Paul say on the subject and lo and behold it says, “this is My body…this is My blood…”. We have Jeff saying, “don’t baptize your children and I quote Scripture” yet Luther says, “You must baptize your children and this is what Peter said concerning that, “…for the promise is to you and your children…etc…”. We have Jeff saying, “trust in Christ but be assured by your good works and I quote the Scriptures” yet we have Luther saying, “trust in Christ alone for he says this is My blood shed FOR YOU FOR the forgiveness of sin, take drink and here is what Christ actually says on the matter…”

    Here I think the point is sufficiently made.

    Finally, I fully understand what anathema means. Second, yes the doctrine, independent of you yourself is anathema, but that does not mean you necessarily are you yourself…which leads me to my next point I’ve been making the entire time. You miss the fact that I’m giving you the benefit of being innocently ignorant as opposed to really understanding Luther and then rejecting him. The later, if true would mean you have willingly fallen away from the truth and are not just blinded in ignorance to a thing.

    Maybe this will help:

    From a “neutral” perspective not labeling any one system inside or outside of the terms “christian” as the true Christian faith professed; you could not say of me that I’m ignorant of the Baptist confessions and therefore reject them. Rather I am fully understanding of them and thus I reject them, I ascended at one time to the level of actual really truly understanding AND BELIEVING them and so having now rejected from the “level” of understanding/belief I have rejected them utterly. The same can be said of my formerly being an actual atheist that understood and BELIEVED atheism. One might rightly say I have apostatized from both the atheist and Baptist religions, and I would concur with that fact. I am an ‘anathema-ized’, if you will, EX- atheist, EX-baptist, EX-Calvinist. The same, from a “neutral” analysis point could be said of a fallen away Lutheran, a life long Lutheran that has rejected that.

    Now once we identify “X” in the neutral zone of analysis and that this “X” is actually the truth, e.g. the compiled Lutheran confessions, that is to say that “X” is true orthodoxy, and if “X” is what one truly believed and rightly understood, and one rejects that in THAT WAY, that would be to fall away from the true faith, anathema of the person and not just the false doctrine.

    What is true of myself here by example, I actually understood and believed of atheism, Baptist, Calvinism…the ascent of actual belief in it…I’m saying, again as far as I know, you never have of Luther or Lutheranism. And as such, I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that you reject it not because you really understood and thus believed it, but due to the fog of heterodoxy do not understand it and thus never have believed it and in THIS way you reject it…which is an innocent, yet deceived, rejection. Like an innocent child being deceived by a trick and clever adult, the child is innocent, the lying adult is guilty. And thus I wish, hope, of you that you yourself are not anathema even though the doctrine you hold to is.

    I’m saying you, as far as I’m aware, never actually believed the confession found under Luther’s name, you have, as far as I’m aware, never actually BELIEVED THEM and if this is true, then it necessarily follows that your rejection is hopefully one of ignorance due to opposing (false) teachings which is innocent in a way. THAT would not be in itself in a state of fallen away, even though that which blinds you is itself anathema. In short true Christians due to ignorance or lack of being under good orthodox teaching, preaching and confession DO IN FACT exist in false/heterodox churches, its dangerous to their souls, it COULD lead them to fall away, but they are our brothers and sisters and so we call them as some of us ourselves were done. To speak as Pieper does, “…they belong TO US not to the false churches…”. But to those who actually believed the orthodoxy confessed and THEN reject it, these have fallen away from the faith completely.

    That’s distinction orthodoxy makes but heterodoxy blurs and confounds often.

    I hope that helps.

    Yours,

    Larry

  73. Jeff,

    What I am saying to you concerning orthodoxy and heterodoxy (false churches) is this, “Jeff, YOU ARE my brother in Christ, YOU don’t belong over there (in the false heterdox church) you belong over HERE with us.” I/we as individuals confessing and believing the true confession cannot come over to the place where you are for to do so would be to give up Christ for heterodoxy, nor can the orthodox confession in which we stand be a part of that same heterodoxy.

    In a way its similar to the same challenge and dynamic you run into attempting to convince an unbeliever of the Gospel. How do you get him to see and thus believe the delusion he’s under that he believes is not delusion but truth. But because we here both unbelievers and some heterodox believers then fall into the trap at various levels, “the truth then as far as disagreement goes must be relative”. That in and of itself is a hurdle and false trap to get past. One must first see, whatever it is, the one truth is the one truth and the one truth is holistic and of the one truth the things that construct are all essential and dynamically intertwined such that if you loose one you loose the whole truth eventually. If a person, unbeliever, heterodox can at least see THAT, you’ve gotten to half the battle. It’s kind of like a debate I watched RC and John MacArthur have on infant baptism one time. RC hit the nail on the head in his opening statement when he said, the two things we can agree on is 1. Both of us cannot be right and one must be wrong, and 2. It is essential. That’s at a minimum framing the debate correctly.

    Yours,

    Larry

  74. Because just quoting Scripture in and of itself doesn’t mean a thing, the devil quotes the Scriptures but to deceive.

    You are correct. And we have an example of him doing exactly that in Scripture. When he does it there, he takes a small sample and stops in mid-verse to try and make it say something it doesn’t say.

    yet Luther says, “Baptism saves and here is the Apostle Peter on the subject…’baptism saves’.
    I am having to guess at which Scripture you are vaguely referencing, but I think it must be 1 Peter 3:21 and I will add verse 22 to this as well since it completes the sentence.
    Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
    I have bolded what you considered relevant based on your quotation. I am curious why you neglected the reason Peter says it saves in the end of verse 21, “as an appeal to God for a good conscience.” The King James translated that word appeal as an “answer,” which would make it appear that baptism is a response to something. Whatever could that be?

    We have Jeff saying, “don’t baptize your children and I quote Scripture” yet Luther says, “You must baptize your children and this is what Peter said concerning that, “…for the promise is to you and your children…etc…”

    This must be a reference to Acts 2:39, so I would like to point out the context and FULL content yet again.
    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

    This time I have bolded some important words that were ignored in the previous citation of this verse. Here baptism and repentance are again tied together and the promise Larry mentions refers to them both. Notice that it was only those who “received his word” who were baptized. They didn’t baptize everyone there.

    By the way, I am not trying to call you the devil Larry, but I did want to point out which person in the conversation is using Scripture in the manner more like his manner, since you brought it up. Take it with a “grain of salt” so to speak and feel free to correct me if I misidentified the Scriptures you were hinting at.

    Let me ask you another question. How do you interpret the phrase “eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear” that Jesus uses so often? It is a Hebrew idiom and I am curious about your understanding of it as it would help illuminate why this issue (that started this comment thread in the beginning) is such a hard one for us to see in common.

  75. Jeff,

    Volume of scripture means nothing yea or nea. Jesus, Paul and the apostles did not quote great books at length but scriptures and explained them. The root hermeneutic is that it all bore witness to Christ, the Law serving the Gospel and not vice versa. You STILL are not getting that. As long as you read them “upside down” fundamentally, at the root, you will interpret nearly every single one that way. THAT was the root error of the Pharisees. Jesus said that they actually “Searched the Scriptures…” they were not lazy, they were very diligent to the effort and work of this and yet they missed God right in front of them while the prostitutes saw Him. Which is to say (real) sinners and tax collectors will in fact see the kingdom of heaven before the scribes and Pharisees (the “Christian” labeled religionist of our day). WE never tire of wanting to use the Law to prevent and keep grace from us, we still always want anything but to suffer the Cross, this is why mean eschew the sacraments…they do not want the Cross.

    This is nothing new whatsoever you are introducing to me. Nothing at all, I’ve been through and over this a million times, I use to believe it for crying out loud and you suppose to be introducing something “different to Larry”, that’s suddenly going to “turn the light on for me”…an ”oh I never saw that before” moment for me. Let me repeat so that you might “get it” I WAS a Baptist, I was an elder candidate in a Calvinistic Baptist church, and I was a deep Calvinist. I’ve read and gone through tons of reformed Baptist and “reformed” Reformed books and materials. I have extensively read Puritan writings, John Gill, Spurgeon, the LBCF, the B F&M, Calvin’s writings, Edwards writings, Owen’s works, Bunyan’s works (more than just Pilgrim’s Progress), Piper’s writings, MacArthur’s writings, Berkof, Andrew Fuller, Hodge’s systematic theology, Grudem…etc… I know the particular Baptist arguments (anti-paedobaptism) against infant baptism as opposed to just the plain old normal Baptist arguments, thus, I’m familiar with terms and concepts under anti-paedobaptism (John Tombes). In fact if you wish to at least get the “Cadillac” arguments of the Baptist realm you need to read John Tombes and stop at least wasting your time on these little BB gun arguments you throw out there. If your going to argue the Baptist side at least argue with the preeminent ones. I am not some “didn’t really get it” Baptist that was “tricked by Lutheranism”. You make a sad mistake to think that of me and are wasting your time with these tired old arguments.

    You will NEVER get this because your base hermeneutic is the gospel serves the law. You search the scriptures and think that by them you live… Until you realize that you will never realize the Gospel in the sacraments. It is precisely as Sasse says if you get the sacraments wrong you WILL in fact get the rest of scripture wrong.

    You miss content entirely and forget what Christ says elsewhere regarding baptism. If is not sufficient to get “content” correct, which you do not below, but the order. Enthusiasm is well known for normalizing scripture.

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them This must be a reference to Acts 2:39, so I would like to point out the context and FULL content yet again.
    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls., and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

    This is a tired old Baptist (and very poor) argument that in fact proves the belief that faith is a work, it’s no different from Rome. The passage is simple language describing what would happen in any such situation and does not in any way preclude the explicit statement before hand. It’s just like “this is My body…” you take the explicit, rub it out, take other passages to reinterpret it. When Peter says, “repent and be baptized…FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS…” you simply over throw the Gospel and get to your works vomit right away and “searched the scriptures below it thinking that by it you have life…” blown completely past Christ. It’s likes those who rush to James in order to over throw Paul. It’s not Scripture’s fault, its fallen man’s faulty upside down religion. Your Christ, you present, is another christ, a false christ an antichrist. This passage is no different than aliens coming to this country with their children and babies in arm wishing to escape their hell country for this better country and to become its citizens (be saved/rescued) and our country asks them to register as citizens in our country…all who seek freedom, escape from the tyranny of your old country. And so they do babies and all. And the news paper guy writes about it, “…those who wished for freedom came…” But then comes the ignorant Baptist from the communist country and says, very stupidly I might add, “Hey did you read that, they didn’t include their children only the adults came.” It’s simply so very stupid it’s hardly worth refuting. Making an entire false doctrine on this is complete folly and failing to admit the underlying issue is holding out for some works to heaven.

    To repeat: You will NEVER get this because your base hermeneutic is the gospel serves the law. Your system of belief is fundamentally this: “I (God/Christ) will save you if you believe” as opposed to Luther who would put it and did this way, “I saved you (already) so that you will believe”. Two different religions, one a theology of glory the other the theology of the Cross.

    Make no mistake, you and I are speaking about two entirely separate religions – in the neutral zone without identifying which is true and which is false for the sake of argument – that much we can agree upon and is why I cannot worship, concur with, proclaim, commune with, agree publicly with, nor support your religion or your god, and am not of your spirit…that much we can agree upon and the more you try to reach out and say this non-sacramental religion that I Jeff proclaim is like what Lutheran’s proclaim, the more I’m going to clarify very forcefully, “No it is not and before God and men in full light I confess this very thing, openly, honestly, forthrightly, and with clarity”. This is the infinite line in the sand between two separate religions.

    Larry

  76. Volume of scripture means nothing yea or nea. Jesus, Paul and the apostles did not quote great books at length but scriptures and explained them. The root hermeneutic is that it all bore witness to Christ, the Law serving the Gospel and not vice versa.
    I am not working from volume here at all. I will go an entire reply here without quoting a single passage if you wish, and I thank you for including me with Jesus and Paul as I have not wished to quote from anything but Scriptures either. You can keep quoting theologians if you wish; I won’t hold it against you.

    Just so you know, the Law doesn’t serve the Gospel or vice versa; they are completely intertwined together because they are both God’s Word, Truth and Grace if you will.

    If your going to argue the Baptist side at least argue with the preeminent ones. I am not some “didn’t really get it” Baptist that was “tricked by Lutheranism”. You make a sad mistake to think that of me and are wasting your time with these tired old arguments.

    I guess you are projecting this, because this isn’t my thinking or intention. And based on the continued bafflement you show at some of the things I say that are not baptistic, I am amused that you call my arguments tired and old. Thanks for listing all of those guys, I have read some of them.

    My entire interest in this discussion was actually to talk about deeper matters; but you insist on talking about elementary things (Hebrews 6:1-3), so it is impossible to move on. You talk about taking Jesus literally when He says, “this is my body” and so forth, but haven’t explained why you don’t take him literally or seriously when He says, “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.”

    There are serious warnings in the Bible to those who were circumcised to not trust in their circumcision to “save” them, just as there are serious warnings in the Bible to those who are baptized believers, who aren’t what they think they are either. There are plenty of instances here where it has been claimed that people can “reject” their baptism; so I don’t think I am making any controversial claim here.

    My problem isn’t with the doctrine of infant baptism; it is with the idea that someone would give false assurance to one who is actively rebelling against the Lord by telling them they are OK because they were baptized. When do you start to warn someone that they are in danger of “rejecting their baptism” might be a good question to consider in this area.

    • “Jesus and Paul as I have not wished to quote from anything but Scriptures either. You can keep quoting theologians if you wish; I won’t hold it against you.”

      Merely parroting them is not in the realm of Jesus and Paul, they explained them which you fail to do, you’ve done nothing that cannot be attributed to the devil or every gross false teacher that ever walked the earth. Your company includes Joseph Smith, et. alli., so your random self appointed association with Jesus and Paul is really meaningless.

      The scriptures themselves command that a Christian give a confession for the hope that HE in particular has, the very question you’ve been asked and evade, ironically using the Scriptures. In fact you directly evade it with generalities and vagueness when it applies to you in particular, but demand in particulars of other people, that guy over there. In essense you say, “By the Law how do you over there know you are saved in particular”. Yet when you are asked you evade this and appeal to passages you cannot apply in particular to yourself per your own confessional background…that’s called shear hypocrisy or in secular terms, “do what I say not what I do”.

      Larry

      • I have made my confessions personally for the hope that I have and you keep rejecting them because you can’t see “Jeff” in the Scriptures. I don’t see “Larry” in there either; but I take you at your word when you confess these things. I don’t expect you to see my name in there. I am vary wary of anyone who claims to know who is and isn’t saved individually. This is why I steer clear of priests and others who “absolve” people in the name of the Lord. I don’t think it is our place to do so. The Holy Spirit is the one that has the job of convicting the sinner and assuring the saint.

        I know I am saved because God has placed His Spirit within me as a deposit or guarantee as Scripture promised that He would. You can either believe me at my confession or not, but it doesn’t change the fact. Earlier in this thread you challenged my credibility based on the fact that you presumed I hadn’t given up everything to follow the call of Christ. When I answered that, it changed nothing in our discussion; so I don’t expect anything different here.

        Shalom.

  77. Jeff,

    “My problem isn’t with the doctrine of infant baptism; it is with the idea that someone would give false assurance to one who is actively rebelling against the Lord by telling them they are OK because they were baptized. When do you start to warn someone that they are in danger of “rejecting their baptism” might be a good question to consider in this area.”
    I actually agree with you here. And your answer actually gives why I agree. You are right it’s not infant baptism you have a problem with it’s the grace and Gospel in baptism you have a problem with and that is crystal clear. I’ve argued that, as has every confessing Lutheran on here I’ve read from day one. I concur. Your problem “isn’t with the doctrine of infant baptism” so much as its clear implications. Thus, it is with “the idea that someone would give false assurance…”. And there’s your problem. It’s not as if the grace of God fails, the false assurance does not lay there, it lays in rejecting the grace in baptism. It actually lays in what you are doing. But again, you are not going to see this because your entire paradigm is a theology of glory (works). See we can use the same language but we are not saying the same thing and that’s the problem. And as you admit you confuse law and gospel all over the place having the gospel serve the law, and thus you fail to understand both law and gospel, faith, and good works, not to mention the bondage of the will. You huff and puff as Luther said much about faith and works and know nothing of either, because you do not only not understand the “deep things” of Scripture but the very basics.
    Paul has answered your problem, it’s not as if the Word of God is not true and faithful. Your entire religion and thus paradigm is summed up in this likeness: Because men reject the grace of God, it must be an “if/then” religion. Thus if men fall away from faith and their baptisms the problem lay in baptism, or to be more precise you think the problem lay in the very name of God, you find His name vain. Fundamentally you blame grace for sin just like the judiazers did, not hearing Paul clearly lay out that it is the Law that motivates sin, not because the Law is bad but due to the sin nature and that it is grace that is the cure for sin and not the law or good works, and not infusa grace (yours and Rome’s grace) but “I God forgive you in particular grace”. Thus, you do not understand being “under the law”, because you are so under it you have no other perspective.
    “When do you start to warn someone that they are in danger of “rejecting their baptism” might be a good question to consider in this area.”
    Ok, but you are not going to like the answers, again your paradigm, your faith is in opposition to what I’m confessing (YOU MUST GET THAT OR YOU WILL NOT GET ANY OF THIS). It’s not an intellectual thing but rock hard unbelief. Fundamentally your problem is unbelief, and I don’t mean that in harshness, it really is your issue on this. But you are asking so I’ll answer it for you. Keep in mind you won’t like the answer but it is the answer, so don’t come back to me when you want another answer because you don’t like it, because it’s the answer given and I’m telling you point blank there is NO OTHER ANSWER. You asked so here is the answer and if you ask me again just reread this answer because it will not change. Thus,

    One is in danger of “rejecting their baptism” when…
    1. one talks about baptism as you do. I’m not being cute, seriously just like you speak.
    2. one rejects as Baptist and Calvinist do that it is not regenerative
    3. one rejects that Baptism ALWAYS brings the spirit
    4. one rejects that the Spirit ALWAYS comes in the means of grace
    5. one rejects the true and real body and blood of Christ in the other sacrament
    6. one rejects absolution
    7. one foists James over Paul
    8. one basis assurance in works or faith proofs
    9. one cannot answer to the query how do you know you are saved, “I am baptized”.
    10. one bases one’s baptism on faith or proofs of faith (idolatry)
    11. one rebaptizes.
    12. one insists on a particular mode of baptism.
    13. one insists the elect cannot fall away.
    14. one only confesses the more or less second table sins and not that all their sins and works are deadly and can in reality separate them from the grace of God.
    15. one thinks that above a rank sinner his/her post conversion works are proof of salvation, conversion, election, predestination, etc….
    16. one thinks they are improving, false sanctification
    17. one rejects what Peter says in Acts 2 concerning forgiveness of sin and baptism
    18. one rejects what Peter says in Acts 2 about baptizing children
    19. one rejects what Peter says in Acts 2 that baptism IS the promise
    20. one rejects what Peter says in his own epistle concerning ‘this baptism saves you’
    21. one rejects what Paul says about baptism actually being the death and resurrection of the believer who is by virtue of their baptism IN CHRIST for real
    22. one rejects the words of institution of the Lord’s Supper
    23. one rejects that in the LS it is Christ that is actually giving His real flesh and blood to one for the forgiveness of sin
    24. one rejects that ‘he who eats and drinks the flesh and blood of Christ HAS (already) eternal life’
    25. one rejects that ‘he who eats and drinks the flesh and blood of Christ, Christ abides in them and they in Him’
    26. one rejects that the unworthy do not eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ to their damnation.
    27. When one insists that faith is such that “if you believe, then God saves” rather than “God saved you SO you will believe”.

    Etc…
    See I told you you would not like the answers.
    I answered two questions for you. Now you answer me one question and don’t rabbit trail. You should well recognize it.

    1. “If you concur that you are not an enthusiast and the entire Gospel is extra nos (outside of you) then what is that specific thing or things (fill in the blank(s)) by which YOU in particular know you are saved (similarly: elect, reborn, born again truly, have true saving faith)?” Let’s also make sure we close a few doors like the oft used Calvinist theological escape hatches and clarify the question we are asking; by saved we mean (using Calvinist lingo) that God has given (GIVEN) to you, Jeff, (IN PARTICULAR and not the general mass of humanity) His grace… EFFECTIVELY and not ‘sufficiently’”. And the item/items must be flawless as to the assurance that God has given to you in particular said effective not sufficient grace.

    To clarify the criteria of the second question how is it that you Jeff specifically know that:

    1. The flawless marker.
    2. That you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) you said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.
    Keep in mind your name is not in scripture, I’ve not seen “Jeff…” in the OT or NT.
    I’ll start a couple of blanks to fill out to help you out:

    1. ____________

    2. ____________

  78. 1-27, etc. That is truly a list worthy of Pharisaical consideration. I would say more than that, but it keeps ending up sounding sarcastic(after several rewrites) so I will refrain.

    I kind of answered the second part of your question when I was typing my other comment above, but I will revisit your criteria for a second time here.

    1. I would suppose that the Spirit given to me as a deposit would be the only flawless marker. You may be thinking of something else.

    2. He[the Spirit] is the one that causes every one of those “for you” passages in Scripture to whisper my name to me. I know far too many people for whom those same passages are naught but “empty words” and my heart yearns for them to know the truth, but I cannot make them see; only God can.

    3. This Spirit thing should be easy for a fellow believer to understand; so I expect you to get it. I am not forced to trust some priest or pastor to come to me and say, “God has forgiven you, Jeff” because His Spirit speaks to me in His Word in all of those passages that I have quoted before, and you disdain on my behalf, because God didn’t write “Jeff” in there for all to see. It isn’t the first time you will be ignorant of the name God calls to me with and it won’t be the last (Revelation 2:17).

  79. Jeff,

    I’m not trying to read your heart, nor am I trying to indirectly read it via works like you insist upon others by trotting out what you think are proof texts to your doctrine. Let me repeat I’m not questioning your genuiness, not trying to directly read your heart, not trying to indirectly read it, I’m no longer a Baptist.

    Don’t shuck your lack of an answer off pretending its all because I “Larry doubt you”. That’s not why I ask this. I don’t doubt sincerity, I was a sincere atheist once, and I was a sincere Baptist once. As I’ve pointed out above its not about sincerity. So you can’t use THAT to dodge the question, that’s just an emotional outburst, a mere emotional howl intended to deflect serious analysis and doctrinal evaluation for the truth that is nothing short of name calling and running from the issue at hand.

    So once again you are evading the question and hiding behind generalized Scriptures that you by your own doctrine will not allow others, and that’s called hypocrisy. You realize that the “for me” is critical when it comes to Jeff’s salvation but you will not allow it for another except the route of assurance via works and/or faith as a work. When point blank asked, “Put in my hand your proof that YOU are saved EFFECTIVELY and not just that poor slob over there or some general theoretical man”, now you are faced with the reality of your own doctrine. You cannot hide behind your interpretation of the scriptures because you in particular are at issue and you don’t want to be just “the general mass of humanity” nor do you wish to find yourself in the category of those for whom Christ only “sufficiently” died for. You want to be in the efficient category to whom the grace of God was actually not hypothetically given. And where is this concrete reality for you?

    You cannot in the explicit in the concrete list any works for said assurance because then it does sound like I’m left with faith in works, or best case scenario, they are never sufficient enough to be sure, because you feel the sinner within – just like the rest of us poor slobs. So now you reach for a spiritualistic thing that has no more concrete reality than a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    You say and I quote, “I know I am saved because God has placed His Spirit within me as a deposit or guarantee as Scripture promised that He would.”

    Well how do you know that? Put that in your hand and show it to me. How is that ANY different than the mormon who says, “I have the warm burning in my bosom” or any rank pagan who says “I feel or know I have the spirit”? Answer: NONE different. Just because you attach bible terms to an otherwise pagan concept doesn’t change its stripes.

    That in NO WAY answer the question of the hope that you have nor the question I asked:
    “If you concur that you are not an enthusiast and the entire Gospel is extra nos (outside of you) then what is that specific thing or things (fill in the blank(s)) by which YOU in particular know you are saved (similarly: elect, reborn, born again truly, have true saving faith)?” Let’s also make sure we close a few doors like the oft used Calvinist theological escape hatches and clarify the question we are asking; by saved we mean (using Calvinist lingo) that God has given (GIVEN) to you, Jeff, (IN PARTICULAR and not the general mass of humanity) His grace… EFFECTIVELY and not ‘sufficiently’”. And the item/items must be flawless as to the assurance that God has given to you in particular said effective not sufficient grace.
    To clarify the criteria of the second question how is it that you Jeff specifically know that:
    1. The flawless marker.
    2. That you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) you said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.
    Keep in mind your name is not in scripture, I’ve not seen “Jeff…” in the OT or NT.
    I’ll start a couple of blanks to fill out to help you out:
    If you cannot answer this question, then your assurance is on quicksand based on consistency within your doctrine. I’m not asking this question from a Lutheran paradigm but from a Calvinistic/reformed one, in particular a Baptist one, nor again, am I questioning your sincerity, let me be very clear about that. You see, doctrine, true or false means something concrete eventually.

    You are right, my name is not in Scripture either, that’s why I rest on Baptism, the name of God given to me from Him. The reason I point that out to you is again getting to the particular for you/me effective (to use a Calvinist term) of the Gospel. Again, I’m asking the question from the Baptist/calvinist doctrine paradigm. If you cannot answer that in the particular
    How is your testimony of “I know I am saved because God has placed His Spirit within me as a deposit or guarantee as Scripture promised that He would” than “I feel the burning of my bosom”, “I just know that I know that I’m saved because I feel, assume, rationalize the Spirit is within me”.
    So I’m still waiting for the answer. Until then everything you say is simply not genuine because you have displayed for me that your actual confessed doctrine is a shame and you are asking others to “do as I say, not as I do”.

    Larry

  80. Once again Jeff you have managed to evade the question by only answering with a slippery spiritualistic subjectivity and shear gnosticism that “the spirit whispers these passages to me”. The clear Gnostic implication from this is “you too will know IF you get the whisper in the dark”. The very definition of Gnosticism turns on this very idea of this “secret” knowledge or way behind the words, in this case the clear Word’s of Scripture.

    So your answer to your theology, how I know I’m of those for whom Jesus died effectively and not sufficiently (which includes the reprobate) boils down to “the spirit whispers these passages to me” and the spirit whispers my name. And so in order to take passages that are only otherwise “sufficient” atonement for the mass of humanity and procure them for Jeff so that Jeff can say, “I have effective atonement”, you say, “the spirit whispers to me in the dark and in the dark whispers my name.”

    Gnostic nonsense, much like “the sound of one hand clapping”. Exactly the same as the Mormon affirmation of “I feel the warm feeling of the spirit in my bossom”. This is no different than a Pagan shaman saying, “I’ve been given a secret message from the great spirit…” Put that whisper in your hand and show to us. Show me in the clear revelation that whisper. In fact show me in Scripture where Scripture SAYS “I God will whisper to you in the dark and in the dark whisper your (Jeff’s) name”.

    That’s your answer for you? And that’s the answer you’d give the poor suffering doubting Christian who wishes to know for sure the same thing?

    Jeff you answered the question but you did not answer the question. So far you theological house of cards has crumbled to the ground and its painfully obvious at this point.

    Again your entire answer to how I/one knows they are saved effectively (which who in the hell within Calvinism is EVER concerned with only being in the sufficient/general mass of humanity category that includes the reprobate?) is “works for you” (as proof) and/or “a whisper in the dark from the spirit”, and “a whisper of your name” no less.

    Jeff you did not answer the question and until you do, we have no where else to go because this is the sine quo non of the entire discussion.

    Larry

  81. Larry,
    You are completely right. The reason the answer sounds so Gnostic is because that is the only way to answer your questions. Your theology in this matter is very much in the Gnostic vein and I will explain why.

    The biblical answer doesn’t satisfy you, so I tried a different tack. You don’t like that either. The truth is that you will continue to say that my answer is unsatisfactory until it matches yours.

    If baptism is God’s promise (the Word in the water) as you have stated before), then you wouldn’t feel the need to even ask me this question, because you know from previous conversations that I have been baptized. So either God’s promise is what it is and I am fine because of that; or else I need to have some “super secret state of mind about baptism” in order for it to have been as effective as you teach it to be. Your current arguments are leaning toward the latter. You guys spend all of your time it seems trying to convince other believers to “think the right way regarding baptism” for their salvation. This is the epitome of Gnosticism; where even doing certain things matters not if they are not done “in a right frame of mind.” You can keep this type of thinking; I don’t want any part of it.

    I have said before and I will say it again. If God intended baptism to be our “litmus test” for faith; He missed a perfect opportunity to tell us so over and over again. For instance, when Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” -2 Corinthians 13:5

    I will point out that just a few sentences earlier Paul had said this, “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” -2 Corinthians 12:20-21

    Let me give you something to chew on regarding baptism(s) since you are hung up about them. There are multiple instances in the bible of “rebaptism” and Hebrews 6:2 talks about baptisms in the plural. We already noticed that Paul and other Christians continued to participate in the Temple worship; which included baptisms as well. They were called mikvahs in Hebrew and you can look that up if you wish. By your standardized list up there; even the apostles were in danger of “rejecting their baptism.”

    There is much more I could say, but I don’t think you can hear it. I have certainly enjoyed the conversation to this point, as I have learned a lot and had a great time studying Scriptures as we talked. I finally have a better understanding of how it is that the ELCA managed to approve gay clergy after these conversations.

    Shalom

  82. Just to be perfectly clear, God gave a standard for His people to be judged by. Christ said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35

    If you read 1 John 3 the same thing is spelled out in much greater detail. I won’t copy the whole thing here. You can go read it in your favorite translation. The whole book of 1 John is about how we can KNOW that we belong to God and yet the word baptism doesn’t appear in the book a single time. I would suggest that you reexamine what you are teaching others in light of the entirety of God’s Word.

    This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
    -1 John 3:10

  83. And once again Jeff you evade the questions with increasingly less credible escape hatches. I clearly said I’m not asking it from my theological point of view for my edification (multiple times) but from your theological point of view to analyze that doctrinal consistency.

    You cannot on one hand deny Orthodoxy and argue against it then insert your doctrinal stance as “truth”, then on the other hand appeal to that same orthodoxy you already have denied to answer for your theology which is in opposition to it. In other words you cannot say “I’m a Baptist and baptism is not regenerative you Lutherans”, then when I ask you within your Baptist/Calvinistic theology for your answer of the hope that you have in particular and effectively to you appeal to the very theology (Luther) you say is false in the first place. In short you cannot say: on one hand Calvin/Baptist is true and Luther is wrong for every one, then when pinned down on consistently applying your so called “truth” turn around and appeal to that which you say is wrong and fail to answer IN YOUR OWN THEOLOGY that you claim is true. That is the very essence of hypocrisy.

    So, the question still stands that you have yet to answer which I reproduce for your convenience again, AND I will close one more escape hatch I thought I was clear about (answer this question which is based on your theology with your theology, you cannot appeal to Luther because you don’t believe that and deny that).

    “If you concur that you are not an enthusiast and the entire Gospel is extra nos (outside of you) then what is that specific thing or things (fill in the blank(s)) by which YOU in particular know you are saved (similarly: elect, reborn, born again truly, have true saving faith)?” Let’s also make sure we close a few doors like the oft used Calvinist theological escape hatches and clarify the question we are asking; by saved we mean (using Calvinist lingo) that God has given (GIVEN) to you, Jeff, (IN PARTICULAR and not the general mass of humanity) His grace… EFFECTIVELY and not ‘sufficiently’”. And the item/items must be flawless as to the assurance that God has given to you in particular said effective not sufficient grace.
    To clarify the criteria of the second question how is it that you Jeff specifically know that:
    1. The flawless marker.
    2. That you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) you said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.

    Post Script:

    Yes we are to love one another, and the very Apostle of love that wrote that, John, was the very same John the apostle that refused to bath with the gnostic heretic Cerenthius calling him “the enemy of the truth” for fear that the building would fall in upon them. The gnostic heretics too believed Jesus to be the only way, truth and life they just had a little issue over the two natures and I’m quite sure appealed to “love” when pinned down on their heresies. But we are reminded that it is Jesus that unites the truth with love and not without it in His high priestly prayer, “sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is truth” (Jn. 17:17) “so that they may be one” (v22)…”I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (v23). Love, truth and unity are inseparably bound together.

    So once again, I eagerly await your answer in your theology that you profess as truth.

    Larry

  84. Larry,
    Since you know my theology so much better than I do, why should I bother? Just give me my answer. And then lambaste it for being wrong. You don’t even need me to type anything. Just keep it going. It’s kind of fun to watch. Please, tells us about the flawless marker (since I am tired of guessing about what you are getting at). It sounds so intriguing.

    I enjoy you pointing out the hypocrisy in the previous post. It was your own that I was pointing to and I guess you missed that.

    I can no more doubt God’s promises to me and for me in His Word than you can doubt the promises you believe you received in your baptism. I thought you understood that from your “calvinist, baptist, atheist, whatever-else-I-have-forgotten” background.

  85. Jeff,

    Evasion again, is there no limit to your evasion to these very simple questions that are distilled from your theology and you should be able to answer if your theology is in fact true?

    Every question I put in there is from your posted theology, either give an answer for it and quit being hypocritical for your theological house of . You impress upon others what you yourself do not require of yourself. You don’t believe in universalism but have made the effective / sufficient distinction. Give an answer for it. You impress it upon others, answer for it for yourself.

    Do you believe in universalism, you’ve said no. Rather that Christ died effectually for some and sufficiently for others. Surely you wish to be in that former category, how are you there. In fact until, according to your theology, you know you are really in/of the faith whereby the grace of God has been given to you in particular effectively, according to your Baptist theology, you cannot even know you’ve been baptized…right. I mean that’s the Baptist confession against infant baptism, they were not really baptized thus ‘let’s rebaptize’ (or baptize for the first time from that perspective). Or perhaps you believe the alternative Baptist idea floating around out there now days that perhaps they, infants, were baptized, but now that they’ve “come to the light” of Baptist theology need rebaptism now that they can “exercise their faith”. But that just runs back into the same problem for you about faith and baptism whether you think in baptist lingo that the baby was not really baptized and thus this other baptism is the first real one or you just rebaptize and call it such finding rebaptism ok. Since you base it on true saving faith you must find that you have true saving faith and to find that, since universalism is out the door, and there’s that little effective/sufficient problem, you have to find that grace has been in particular given to you effectively so that you may in turn know you have faith and thus in turn know you’ve been baptized or rebaptized aright.

    Did Jesus die for you effectually or sufficiently and how do you know? How do you know you have said true saving faith? How do you know you are baptized/rebaptized correctly? How do you know YOU have been given this effectual grace you cannot fall away from?

    It’s very simple Jeff. Please, give an answer how YOU Jeff know for certain that the grace of God has effectually been given to you. You should be able to answer this, in fact if you would be shepherd of Christ’s sheep you MUST be able to answer this, how else might you aid the suffering one under trial and despair who has the same question? If you cannot answer it for yourself you cannot answer it for anyone.

    To clarify, these below, are not “my criteria” as you spouted off, they are yours according to your theology.

    1. The flawless marker.
    2. That you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) you said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.

    Larry

  86. To clarify, these below, are not “my criteria” as you spouted off, they are yours according to your theology.

    1. The flawless marker.
    2. That you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) you said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.

    Then you know something I don’t know about my “own criteria,” because I honestly have no idea what you are talking about when you refer to a “flawless marker.”

  87. Jeff,

    Sure I can clarify that, it is a criteria. I used it to highlight the point instead of “assurance”. It simply means “assurance”. In fact a faith that has no assurance is not the Christian faith at all. All baptist confession confess the term “assurance” (LBCF, SB F&M, etc…) as to all Calvinistic confessions. Assurance, gaurantee (in fact you just used this very term a few post back, “a gaurantee and deposit…” you said), a security, sure thing, warranty. If faith is not assurred then faith cannot very well be faith. As in the assurance of things hoped for or to better put it since today “hope” often mean wishful thinking; the assurance of things certainly expected. Otherwise one is working their way to heaven because they do not have assurance.

    This should help I added some more “dot connectors”:
    1. That thing that yields (flawless) assurance,
    2. that (is to) you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) to you this said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.
    I hope that helps.

    Yours,

    Larry

  88. And yet another evasion of the question, is there no end to your elusion? No it’s your theology you tell me, I don’t have a ready answer. Of course the answer is painfully revealing itself anyway. You claim you have assurance, you are elect, effectually so, it’s for you, tell me how you flawlessly know this (assurance). It’s YOUR theology I cannot answer it for you, give the hope that you have, apparently you are not ready to do this (as in always be ready to give an answer for…). Again if you cannot answer this for yourself you surely cannot lead Christ’s sheep in such suffering, fiery trials or temptations.

    It could be you are not giving an answer because you have no answer and thus you cannot identify the assurance of the specific grace of God actually not hypothetically given to you in particular (as opposed to John Doe over there) effectually (not sufficiently) that separates you from the general mass of humanity under the “sufficient only” grace of God. And thus, under your theology, not only not answer/know that, you cannot be sure you yourself were baptized or maybe need one more dunk for good measure in the future sometime. Again, all of that is spoken under that theology’s (Calvin/Baptist) paradigm.

    So, I’m still waiting for your answer. And until then we can move no further because THIS IS the crux of the issue and why we ultimately speak differently and why you read scripture the way you read it.

    Still Waiting Yours,

    Larry

  89. Larry,
    Since I don’t have time to type much and I can see you are growing impatient (we will talk about that later). Let me give you three words for the reason for the hope that I have.

    GOD IS FAITHFUL.

    If you can’t understand that, then I can’t help you at all, because ultimately your own faith rests on that same truth.

    Shalom

  90. Jeff,

    I can answer it and have, but you are still dodging this question by this little obtuse maneuver.

    I know He’s faithful, Jeff, but according to your theology how do you know he has given you this grace in particular and effectively (since you don’t believe in universalism). I want to know how YOU know it is for you in particular effectively. Because what you just said, in Calvinism/Baptistism, can be said non-specifically of the general mass of humanity only sufficiently (again using that paradigms lingo). It’s your theology that requires this now answer for it.

    My question is not about God’s faithfulness which is impeccable and without question, nor am I asking for my edification, I am asking you to answer for your theology which you report to hold to and believe. From what you’ve said thus far I cannot distinguish you, according to your theology, from the general mass of fallen humanity for which Christ has only sufficiently died for in which the end is not salvation but death, wrath and hell. Thus far you in particular look no different, according to Calvin/Baptist theology, than that. You have indicated nothing that you have been given by God that is any different than is given to general humanity, in fact you have not indicated you’ve been GIVEN anything but perhaps offered only.

    So, again, how do you know he has given you this grace in particular and effectively (since you don’t believe in universalism) that you are assured and know how YOU know it is for you effectively.

    Larry

  91. Larry,
    I don’t have much time again, and I have little patience for repeating myself. You keep accusing me of “evading” your question, but I have answered it already and you think I am wrong because I didn’t answer it to your satisfaction apparently. If you would like to reread this thread and take note of the various questions I have asked that have gone unanswered, I invite you to do so. I frankly take the fact that you and others ignore them as a sign that you either missed them or don’t have an answer.

    Let me try spelling this out one more time. God’s promise of salvation is made to whoever trusts in Him. I trust in Him to keep His promises; others do not. I am not responsible to know or determine who is in which group; I only have to know where I stand., and I do. My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness as the old song says. I don’t trust in the pronouncements of another man to tell me I am forgiven; God’s Word is sufficient for me.

    Romans 10:13

  92. Again you have not objectively answered this, you have not given me the “what in particular God has given to you” that you might know, just your subjective “I believe”. This is no different than “the fuzzy feeling of the spirit in the heart”.

    “God’s promise of salvation is made to whoever trusts in Him.”

    God’s promise of salvation is not made to the entire world, and so apparently God comes and finds faith and then rewards it with salvation. Thus, this is an “if/then” proposition, that’s works disguised as faith. So Christ didn’t die for the sins of the world but for the sins of “part of the world”.

    Then you state, “I trust in Him to keep His promises; others do not.”

    While God is faithful men are not. How do you know that you trust him? How do you know you are not one of the tares, one of the seeds who joyfully receive the word and then later will fall away. Given that the human heart is “desperately wicked and beyond all knowing”, how do you know you are not self deceived, now, 5, 10, 15 or 20 years from now. How do you know your faith is not false? How do you know your faith, again according to your own theology, is merely that mimicking faith of the sufficient crowd as opposed to the effective crowd?

    “I am not responsible to know or determine who is in which group”;

    Nobody asked you that but that’s all you do, you have no problem whatsoever doing this when you huff and puff about the sufficient group versus efficient group, but you do it generically so you have plausible deniability. You don’t say Sam is not saved.

    “I only have to know where I stand., and I do. My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness as the old song says. “

    How can you you’ve given nothing that cannot be given to the general mass of humanity and attached, “by my faith to it”.

    You are contradicting yourself all over the place. You say this but you just said and I quote, “God’s promise of salvation is made to whoever trusts in Him.”

    “God’s Word is sufficient for me.”

    Apparently not for you say according to your own criteria because you say, “My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness as the OLD SONG says.” How’s that different than quoting a theologian, quoting a hymn writer as opposed to Scripture?

    Let’s sum it up:

    “My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness as the old song says.”

    BUT

    “God’s promise of salvation is made to whoever trusts in Him.”

    Which is it? Your trust or Christ’s righteousness. I assume the later, if so and you are still in YOUR theology how do you know you’ve been given this righteousness in particular. How do you, Jeff, know Jesus has forgiven YOU in particular.

    Here’s YOUR theology:

    1. No universalism, so you cannot appeal to universal clauses concerning salvation to and for you in particular, because these only apply sufficiently to any one according to your theology,
    2. Christ only died effectively for some and only sufficiently for others (who ultimately are damned), so you need a particular.

    Now you are stuck, how do you get from the universal to the particular? Perhaps you mean to say Christ only died for those who have faith and not for all? But then you are still stuck with that same issue of moving you yourself from the general mass of humanity to the particular. What did God give you that you know Christ died for you, under your theology. You might say, “faith”, as you allude to above, but your theology puts a big red flag out here and says, “hey but false faith exists, how do I (Jeff) know that I (Jeff) in particular am not a hypocrite, further that I (Jeff) may not fall away tomorrow?” What’s the answer there, “just because”, something like that?

    Faith by its very definition is a particular thing and faith by its very definition must have an object else its nothing, and particular faith requires a particular object that comes to and for you objectively and effectively. You have no particular yet only appeals to the same general Gospel statements out there for anyone, even unbelievers. For you said, “God’s promise of salvation is made to whoever trusts in Him.” So you put faith before an object. You will surely answer with a general Gospel statement, but then there’s that “God didn’t die for all effectively but only sufficiently”.

    See you cannot escape the fact that your theology says Christ only effectively died for some and not all, but only sufficiently.

    You say, “I only have to know where I stand”, how so since you’ve not shown me anything that applies to you in particular that lets you past your own theology whereby the grace of God has been applied to you effectively and not just sufficiently (which includes the entire mass of humanity).

    And one thing confounds me, why have you not appealed to your James criteria that you constantly throw onto others? You say, “I am not responsible to know or determine who is in which group”, but you have no problem whatsoever throwing up that criteria for others, which is just surreptitious way of “determining who is in which group”. Second to that point, how in the hell then do you know who to baptized for under Baptist theology faith is required before baptism, that’s the sine quo non of Baptist theology. You read the hearts of infants carte blanche because you find that an easy thing for reason to do, but with adults its different. I Baptist Jeff is, how did you put it, “…not responsible to know or determine who is in which group…” and baptist pastor Bob is, “…not responsible to know or determine who is in which group…”, and Baptist pastor Rick is, “…not responsible to know or determine who is in which group…” and Baptist pastor Pierre is, “…not responsible to know or determine who is in which group…” and yet real saving faith is required for baptism to be baptism, then how is it you pretend to baptize anyone or even know if any one person in particular, including yourself are baptized. 10 baptist are baptized, 5 of them in reality are false (sufficient), 5 are true (effective), how many baptisms did you see (according to your theology), which ones in particular were real?

    You have yet to answer the question according to your theology and thus far your shows itself to be a shame that cannot give an answer for the hope you have, much less help out the suffering Christian under fiery trial in which the devil causes him/her to question if they have faith.

    I’m still waiting, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Larry

  93. Jeff,

    You miss the main point, your questions cannot be answer because of this issue. No answer will suffice ever. Two different religions, two different ways of reading the scriptures.

    So until you can answer this question, we really can go no further.

    Larry

  94. And one thing confounds me, why have you not appealed to your James criteria that you constantly throw onto others?

    It seems that everything I say confounds you at this point based on your responses. You are trying to force me to answer these questions by “my theology” and not accepting the answers that I give you because they aren’t what you expect. You say I am contradicting myself, but your logic is not correct. You are trying to treat the Christian faith as a mere intellectual assent to some theological propositions (i.e. the Greek way of “doing religion in the mind”) when it really is about your entire halacha – “the path that one walks,” which is why Jesus is constantly referencing the way we live.

    This is why I asked you the questions about Jesus’ sayings regarding “seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing” which you absolutely ignored. Until you can understand what that actually means; you will not grasp anything else. You have conceded that God has never changed, yet your theological constructs are predicated on the very idea that what God does with us today is different that what He did with the Hebrew people.

    For instance, baptism is for all children because God wouldn’t want to exclude any of them from His covenant; yet the corresponding sign in OT (which is circumcision) is only for males. Why is that? I ask again: Did God not know what He was going to do from the beginning? If it supposed to be about baptism now; why didn’t God just start by baptizing Adam or Noah or Abraham or David?

    Trusting God isn’t some intellectual assent that one gives; it is a complete and radical transformation of life that God undertakes in the lives of His children. It isn’t something I can “fall away from” because it isn’t up to me. I didn’t start it and can’t finish it. The life I live, Christ lives in me (I think Paul might have written about that). Why do we think that Christ would come into our life and turn us loose to live contrary to God’s way that He lived on earth.

    Baptism is indeed important, but it is just a baby step into a life of obedience.

    Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed(Proverbs 3:5-6 anyone). Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
    -Hebrews 12:12-14

    I imagine that your concept of holiness is out of whack as well. Holiness simply refers to that which is set apart or different. The antonym of holy is common (that is what unholy really means). Therefore, when those who claim to be believers look, think and act exactly like those around them who claim to not even know God by their own admission; there is an evident problem based on God’s own Word. Let me cite Peter in this instance; although it is all through the Bible.

    Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

    Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

    “All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
    The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
    but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

    And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
    1 Peter 1:13-25

    The more I read, the more it occurs to me that you have far more than the dreaded James to worry about. All of these guys keep mentioning that how we live is important.

    At some point you can stop imagining that you understand my theology, because it isn’t typical Baptistic theology either. I am just as hard on Baptist / Evangelicals who spout some kind of nonsense about walking an aisle or praying a prayer as an assurance of faith.

    and yet real saving faith is required for baptism to be baptism, then how is it you pretend to baptize anyone or even know if any one person in particular, including yourself are baptized.

    I almost forgot to include this, but I wanted to make sure and get it. Once again, you demonstrate a false assumption about what I believe. This is not what I think at all. Anyone may be baptized upon their confession of Jesus as Lord (see Acts 8:36). I don’t judge the heart. I operate under the belief that those who ask to be baptized are doing so out of a heart of obedience given to them by God (Romans 10:8-11), because He commanded us to be baptized.

    Shalom

    • “seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing”

      Jeff I understood clearly that question and realize already, having been in your shoes before, the trap you are setting toward rank spiritualism. I’m not ignoring the question, rather trying to keep you from diverting the issue at hand.

      So we shall proceed back to my original question which you continually evade.

      Larry

    • Jeff,

      It’s not that I don’t accept your answers, its that you answers don’t answer the question. It’s like this I ask you, “What is the color of the sky” and you reply, “mashed potatoes”, then cry, “why don’t you accept my answers”. Because that’s not an answer to the question at hand that could not be more clear in what is being asked:

      1. That thing that yields (flawless) assurance,
      2. that (is to) you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
      3. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) to you this said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
      4. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently.

      Larry

      • Larry,
        You can call it whatever you want. I have talked to other people who have read this thread and they understand what I am saying; so the failure isn’t necessarily on my part. If you really feel this way about my answers, I am not sure what else to do for you. I am speaking in terms that should be easy to comprehend, but it seems you are trying to view them through a prism that distorts what is being said. At this point, I don’t know what else to do about that.

  95. On the subject of hearing and seeing, I thought I might add one of Jesus’ parables to the mix to see if it would help you understand.

    28″What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

    29″ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

    30″Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

    31″Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
    “The first,” they answered.

    Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
    Matthew 21:28-32

    Both of the sons heard their father, but only one of them actually listened to him and really heard him.

  96. Jeff,

    Answer for your theology or quite trying to preach it. You are evading yet AGAIN in order to avoid the answer. There’s a reason you can’t answer your theology, I’m trying to show you that, I can’t answer it for you, you must see it.

    That’s why we cannot communicate otherwise, even on the above question you ask. Until this is resolved we speak two different religions at each other both using Scriptures, per se, even to do so. So until we get this resolved we cannot progress, its that simple.

    A few things to clarify:

    1. You are shooting the messenger (me) for the message (your message/your theology).
    2. Keep in mind these questions I ask are not “my questions” but question required of by YOUR theology.
    3. Thus you are not and I am not asking you to satisfy “me” but your theology.
    4. Therefore, if you are frustrated, which I understand, understand you are really frustrated with your theology and not me or mine per se.

    So you are faced with your theology that you proclaim to others as true, the difference here is now it is YOU and not some poor guy “over there” that is faced with it and apparently you don’t like it.

    Let’s try to simply this a bit and go back to the basics of your theology: We are not talking about “my theology” (confessional Lutheranism). You are clearly not interested in that. We are talking about YOUR theology, I’d think you’d be pleased with that after all its what you preach/teach as truth. You ought to be ecstatic about it. But you are not because now you are faced yourself with your theology. So lets start (I can answer most of these knowing already your answer but for open honesty let’s have you answer them):

    Did Christ die for everyone? Yes/no

    Let’s start there then we shall progress one question at a time to keep it very simple.

    Yours,

    Larry

  97. Jeff,

    A couple of quick house keeping things. One to help you understand and get out of “defensive mode” the other just “house keeping”.

    House keeping: I’ll keep a running tally of your exact answer to this series of questions. This is to construct from your own thinking and show your theology.

    Those who divorce the Spirit from the Word and Sacraments usually fall into one of two errors: (1) the reduction of faith to proposition crowd making it merely historical faith (e.g. where some TULIP loving baptist tend to fall and arminian Baptist ironically) and (2) the gnostic spiritualistic crowd (closer to where you tend to go as displayed in your answers, the kind of answers that tend to say “I know because I know” or “I know I have faith” type of answers).

    This is the natural disaster of such a divorce between Word/sacrament and Spirit, and quite impossible for confessional Lutheranism which is by its very confession doing exactly opposite keeping the Word/sacrament and Spirit always together and never apart ever. It’s why for example (this is not a debate to enter into but mere example for purpose of display) we say that even the unworthy eat of the flesh and blood of Christ as opposed to Calvin et. Al. It’s actually a crystal clear demarcation on that particular issue. The Spirit is always in and with the Word and sacrament, that’s why the scriptures speak of those “resisting the Spirit” (e.g. Stephen Acts 7). Because Calvin and Baptist theology makes such a divorce between Word/Sacrament and the Spirit, usually with “sign/symbol” language they fall into one of the two above errors and either reduce faith to as you say “a set of propositional truths” or the more Gnostic “spiritualistic set of operations”. That’s very different than asking “how do you know it is for you (for me/pro me), without which you have not really heard or received the Gospel, good news, seriously – which comes through the means (Word and Sacrament). In other words if you cannot identify specifically how you know it is for you, Jeff, then you have not really heard the Gospel, you’ve actually only heard about it (which is ironically ONLY historical faith). Without the pro me one can ONLY have historical faith.

    You must understand, Jeff, the Word of the Cross is theology not in the sense of the cross being the subject studied by the discipline “theology” to which the later explains it, explains the event itself. Rather that “theology” is literally God’s Word as the root of that compound word mean literally. It is DOING something always. Thus, the theo – logy of the Cross means the Word of God or God’s Word of the Cross, or better the Cross IS the Word spoken from God to us and is thus an action that operates on us, not something studied at a distance nor spoken about as “a” theology as opposed to “other” theologies. Thus, the Good News is not just “news” as in “content to be reported on” (a dead report word) but rather a living indicative/imperative creative command Word from God. Thus under Lutheran theology that never divorces Word and Sacrament from the Spirit it is quite impossible to reduce it down to propositions only, in orthodoxy the Word is DONE TO you, not just spoken about. If a “Lutheran” has reduced it to either propositions or some spiritualistic form he/she has moved into or become in reality a Baptist or Calvinist or some similar derivative and not Lutheran other than in name. Thus, the living Word operates and is DONE to us and would be like if you could say “flowers” and flowers would appear. And the Word of the Cross (theology of .the Cross) does two things, it kills FIRST and makes alive second. Or better the Word of the Cross primarily attacks sin then secondarily forgives it. And its s first and primary attack death word attacks not so much the more or less “second table” sins that are basically obvious but the very best our religion has to offer, it is a killing Word against our best works before or after grace. It is a Word of death and judgment on everything we do, good or evil. Then it forgives, makes alive. Theologies of glory are also “other words” of other gods, and not just “theologies” as a discipline to be studied. They too proclaim “other gospels” and “other words”, other visions about ‘how to get to heaven. Thus, literally a theology of glory is a god’s word that speaks of another vision in opposition to the Cross word from the real and true God. Thus, theologies of glory (that parade themselves around as Christian) ultimately make that divorce afore to mentioned between Word/Sacrament and Spirit, because they wish to ride on the coattails of ‘the bible’ and use ‘bible/Christian terms’, quoting the bible, etc… in order to append validity to their false words and false gods that they slip into in between the truth of the Scriptures. E.g. These false words take “This is My body/blood” and are not forth right about it but rather under the cloak of deception and cravenly effort alters those words in the Scripture not directly but indirectly by implying a re-interpretation of them “this represents…”, etc… If this “represents” was the truth and they really believed this, then one would think they’d have guts to interpret their bibles that way, but they do not because they are liars and deceivers and not forth right and wish to come in like a serpent under the cover of camouflage in order to bit and inject their deadly venom when they’ve drawn their victim in. If “their truth” is the “true word of God” then why lie about it and not interpret it as it means? Reason: because they wish to not appear as false as they are they “ride on the coat tails” of the real words of Scripture, divorce the Spirit from the Word with their otherwise implied/professed/taught theology and insinuate back into “This IS” a “This represents” (or similar). It’s quite cowardly and deceptive. It’s literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing and an apparent lamb that speaks like a dragon.

    So back on the original task and our tally of your answers:

    Question: Did Christ die for everyone? Yes/no

    Jeff’s Answer:

    Larry

    PS: one more house keeping item, if for some reason I appear to disappear for a while it’s not because I’m avoiding you. We are within a week of having another baby via c-section so I might suddenly get quickly moved to other pressing issues of which I’m sure you do understand.

    • “seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing”

      Jeff I understood clearly that question and realize already, having been in your shoes before, the trap you are setting toward rank spiritualism. I’m not ignoring the question, rather trying to keep you from diverting the issue at hand.

      You are proving to me that you don’t understand. I am not trying to “trap you” in anything. I fear this is more projection on your part. It seems to me from reading many threads that you have been involved in here (both with me and others) that you are under the illusion that you can argue people into the Kingdom of God. I recognize the tendency and methodology because I did it a lot when I was younger. But the Kingdom of God isn’t about flawless theology or thinking; rather it is about life both in the here and now and in eternity.

      By ignoring this question you show more clearly the “two religions” divide between us that you keep mentioning. You are promoting a “religion of the mind” that is all about thinking rightly. You have stated that baptism can be “rejected” and in your list take note that all of the ways of “rejecting” baptism have to do with the thoughts and intentions of the person. This is gnosticism my friend. Which is what you project on others constantly, but you have missed the plank in your eye.

      God defines rejection of His Word by what a person does with their life. We have seen it in the passages in Matthew and elsewhere, but I want to offer a more explicit one that I noticed today as I was studying.
      For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
      -Titus 1:10-16

      By the way, I am intentionally staying away from James at this point, since you all have such an aversion to him and also to point out that his message is not unique. This is Paul writing to Titus and instructing him. He calls those of the circumcision party, as well as others, “empty talkers.” This is similar to Jesus’ charge against the Pharisees in Matthew 23. This is directed at people who say one thing and do another. That is the meaning of empty talk.

      The problem Paul has with them is that they are promoting “Jewish myths” and “commands of people.” Paul is complaining about people who are distorting God’s Word and God’s Law by adding their own dictates to it (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6) and thus running afoul of God’s Word. He goes on to say that they profess to know God but deny Him by their works. He is not here arguing that doing any kind of work denies God as you will see in chapter 2; he is stating that the things they DO are in contradiction to the things that God teaches in His Word.

      Paul actually desires them to do the right things (and us as well).
      Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
      -Titus 2:7-8

      Paul cements this idea a few verses later:
      For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

      Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
      -Titus 2:11-15

      I have already written a lot about similar passages, so I don’t wish to repeat it all again, but I will point out that Christ has redeemed us from “lawlessness,” which emphasizes the point that He has redeemed us to Himself and He is the Living Word, the Living Torah of God. Titus chapter three does an excellent job of pointing out that we are not saved by works of righteousness that we have done, but that we are saved to do those works of righteousness in God.

      But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
      -Titus 3:4-8

      Just so you know, I do indeed see the reference to baptism in this passage and would like to remind you once again that you see it here as a first step in a lifelong process that includes works which are “excellent and profitable.”

      Shalom

      P.S. Preemptive congratulations on your new arrival.

      • Jeff, we don’t share the same religion or faith, we simply don’t. You cannot worship with me and I cannot with you, not because you are not welcome or I am not welcome, nor because we personally dislike each other. Rather because truth cannot be mingled with error and falsehood and one holds the other from the other. Your “one is not saved by perfect theology” is a false dilemma being offered as a decoy in order to allow error in, because no one ever said that only you conjecture it.

        To be clear: for the sake of understanding of the reality here for the moment we put this in the “neutral zone” without identifying which is true and which is false in order to see a true versus false base principle.

        In principle one should well understand of the Christian faith this (or at least you should if you claim the Christian faith at all); that truth can never mingle with falsehood. So we have two opposing theologies competing here, one is false and one is true. There’s no such thing as “some true” and some false”. In fact everywhere in Scripture OT and NT this is the warning we read, not to even entertain it let alone take part or affirm it. In the OT it was even more harsh with the stoning of false prophets. It’s the principle of the false teacher/teaching to say we are alike on the gospel but merely differ here and here on these “non-essentials” or something less than essential (usually meant are the sacraments). But Scripture NEVER says that and in fact the very opposite.

        Gal. 2:4, “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”
        Titus 3:9:10-11, “Reject a heretic after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
        Romans 16:17, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”
        Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
        Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”
        2 John 1:10, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.”

        1 Timothy 1:3, “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,”

        If you do not understand that in principle we are further away than just a little bit. As Sasse once said, recognizing that at the end of the day the heterodox churches are indeed false churches with false doctrines, that at least in and among them that “the serious Presbyterian, the serious Baptist, the serious Roman Catholic, the serious Lutheran, etc…” who know and adhere to the above principle are at least closer together ABOUT the reality of truth versus falsehood, and that those who by such statements as “no one is saved by their perfect theology” so as to allow for false doctrine and truth to mingle or better put ‘internal Christian relativism’ (a complete contradiction in terms) are absolutely at odds and this later group holds nothing Christian whatsoever no matter what else they confess to. Charles Spurgeon understood this even though his doctrines were mingled with heresy and he once said basically the same thing Sasse said saying those who do not demarcate these doctrines as false and true and all essential (and he meant the view on the sacraments/ordinances) and call them more or less non-essentials are false and flying under false colors. In other words Spurgeon was against what we call unionism as well and on that front he was closer to the truth and to Luther than are those who do not recognize this. That’s why, for example, closed communion ought to be practiced by all denominations like it use to be practiced, because it is at least in principle understanding the truth correct and by doing so indicates to people there is only one way, truth and life as opposed to many various shades. But true heretics always like to mix the mash up together, they stand condemned because of this not because of their errors. Thus a Spurgeon who taught inadvertently heresies is a true Christian nonetheless, but a a modern Baptist, Presbyterian or even Lutheran for that matter who mingles these things and says “together for the Gospel…the sacraments/ordinances are secondary matters” (and actually means it) is condemned and holds nothing Christian any longer. To put it another way: a Baptist church who practices closed communion and yet preaches a pure Gospel (e.g. Spurgeon) is a false church but still HOLDS some truth, but a Baptist church that practices open communion is utterly false and HOLDS nothing Christian.

        One is closer to the truth of all things who can say “Your god is not my God and vice versa” than those spiritual prostitutes who say, “these are non-essentials let us union after all”. The great irony in this is that an atheist is closer to the truth who says, “there either is or is not a god and all the necessary conclusions that go with either”, than is a professing Christian who says, “we both profess the gospel we only differ on the sacraments”.

        Thank you for your kind congratulations.

        Larry

      • It is a shame that you left out the distinguishing mark of those false prophets. They are the ones who disobey God and tell you that it is OK to do the same. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits (deeds) in Matthew 7. The verses from Titus are right after an admonition to do “good works” and are followed by a condemnation of sinfulness that will be manifest in the heretics. Do you still want to go down that route?

        The Bible says that false teachers are marked by a lack of respect for obedience to God’s commandments. (Matthew 5:17-19 for instance).

      • Sure Jeff I have no problem going down that route for good works come from faith and faith comes from the Gospel and the Gospel is the Word and Sacraments…its nothing different than what Luther notes of men like yourself, “many speak much of good works and faith and yet know nothing of either one”.

        Also you fail to mention that “the doctrine” that the false apostles brings is another gospel, like yours, as well as Christ saying “teach all that I commanded” and that includes not toying around with “this is My body and blood”, nor denying baptism saves as Peter clearly teaches.

        So I have no problem at all going down that path, it condemns false teachings such as you espouse. I don’t fear good works, I know where they come from and only come from…Christ and Christ alone.

        So don’t try that stupid stuff on me again.

        Larry

  98. Question: Did Christ die for everyone? Yes/no

    What the heck. I will play along one last time and see if I can help you out here.

    YES. – 1 John 2:2 for instance.

    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

  99. Question 1: Did Christ die for everyone? Yes/no

    Answer 1: So that’s a “yes” and a 1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    Very good.

    Question 2: So is everyone saved?

    (I won’t do this too much, anticipate your answer because you could surprise me, but an anticipation of your answer here is probably a safe bet and I can save a few posting steps.)

    Question 3: Who is not?

    And its corollary:

    Question 4: Why not?

  100. Question 2: So is everyone saved?
    Question 3: Who is not?

    And its corollary:

    Question 4: Why not?

    Q2 : No

    Q3 & Q4: Perhaps if you understood correctly what an atoning sacrifice really is according to God’s definition, you would understand why the answer to Q2 must be no and who is not saved and why. When John wrote his letter, his audience had either already learned or were actively being taught the concepts of atonement that go back to Exodus and Leviticus. Sadly, this is not true in much of Christendom today, which has adopted a Greek sacrificial mindset that Jesus’ sacrificed His life in our stead i.e. that His sacrifice was transactional in our place. This is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ work and a correcting discussion would be off track at this point. Simply suffice it to say that atonement actually refers to covering, and an atoning sacrifice is one that “covers” the offer-er.

    John’s audience had a much better understanding of this than most modern day Christians do. This is why he simply said:

    And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
    – 1 John 2:3-7

    Christianity has preserved a rudimentary understanding of the concept; which in accordance with the graciousness of God has been sufficient for many who have come to know Him. There is deeper truth here, as there is in many places of Scripture, that can help us to fuller appreciate what God has done and is doing and how He has remained true, consistent and unchanging throughout time, but going into that detail would only frustrate you at this point I am sure.

    Rather than stray too far away from the intended goal; let me try and keep it simple according to the more rudimentary ideas. All sacrifices to God had to be made willingly. God didn’t force anyone to bring a sacrifice to Him and the majority of the sacrifices that were brought had nothing to do with sin at all. The sacrifices weren’t designed to forgive sins nor were they offered for sins specifically (Hebrews 10:4). The intention of the sacrificial system was as a means for a person to draw near to God; which is a better understanding of the term used for these offerings in Hebrew (corban). The sacrifices allowed the worshiper to come into God’s space on earth.

    The writer of Hebrews explains that Jesus’ sacrifice is intended to let us draw near to God in His heavenly places, which is what the earthly sacrifices could never do. For this reason, Jesus’ sacrificial death is the only means available for us to draw near to God in that place (do a search of the words “draw near” in Hebrews and you can see what the author there is doing).

    The blunt issue of why everyone is not saved is simple in this light. Not everyone wishes to draw near to God. How I wish this were not true. Many prefer to do things their own way. They don’t want anything to do with God or His ways. These people are not saved because rather than drawing near, as Christ has enabled us to do (Hebrews 10:19-22); they go their own way in rebellion.

    Another example according to John are those who say, “I want to draw near to God” with their lips, but who chose not to walk with Him in their life (1 John 2:4; see also Titus 1:16 as another example). We as Christians have tended to downplay the seriousness of sin in light of Christ’s sacrifice far too often, but the Bible doesn’t permit such prevarication. Willful sin is still entirely deadly and earns stark condemnation from God. It was true in the OT (Jeremiah 6:16-19 for instance) and it remained true in the NT (Hebrews 10:26-31). Those are just a couple of the numerous examples.

    I could continue, but that is probably sufficient to chew on for now. You are welcome to disagree with my assessment of Scripture in this matter, but I would respectfully request that you do so by using Scripture to indicate why my view is incorrect or else explain why the Scriptures I have cited mean something different than the plain language of the text as that is what I am working with here. You are welcome to introduce appeals to meanings of the original language, but you must understand that I will do the same. I will warn you ahead of time that all such explanations must factor in a basic truth that we can and have agreed upon before.

    1. God is unchanging – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 13:8; James 1:17). This applies to this discussion in that He didn’t save people one way in the OT and another way in the NT.

    2. God’s Word will not contradict itself. If two passages seem to be inharmonious or in disagreement; we should work to try and harmonize them together if possible.

    • P.S. I wanted to apologize for poor wording in my first sentence. I didn’t mean to direct it at you personally and should have used the word we instead of you in the first sentence. It was my mistake and I didn’t catch it when I reread it before posting. I only saw it this morning when my brain was rested enough. That’s what I get for typing tired.

    • Jeff,

      Stop being a hypocrite. I mean that. It’s just a diversion tactic to elevate yourself and your (not God’s) word. I’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s an old old old enthusiast hoax. You say, “Lutheran YOU only quote Scripture to me”. But then you lie and quote songs and insert your own explanations in between the Scriptures then pretend you never did it. Do you think no one sees straight through this ruse! I’m fine with you quoting songs and giving explanations to discuss, but let’s dispense with this hypocrisy of yours about you only quoting Scriptures and Lutherans (or me) do not, because you are being deceitful about it openly. The devil and false teachers quote Scripture the way you do, so you prove nothing by your self appointed “high horse”.

      On the one hand you demand “quote Scripture” and we do but when explanation is given at length that pins you in a corner you say, “that’s not scripture”. Then you proceed to “quote scripture” or rather append it to YOUR explanations (along with some intellectual insults, which is odd sense you also hippocritically say faith is not the ascension to a set of propositions, which is, ironically, ENTIRELY what believers baptism is sense infants cannot reason says the Baptist religion) so as if by association with Scripture your flimsy efforts and explanations might be elevated to the level of the very Word of God.

      So lets dispense with this false dilemma of yours and stay on task.

      Larry

      • Larry,
        No offense intended, but do you actually read what I write before you write things like this? The definition of a hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another if I am not mistaken. I have tried quoting Scripture with no explanation given by me; and you complain about that. I offer explanation for why I have chosen a particular Scripture and what I interpret it to mean and you don’t like that either apparently. I even tried quoting Luther saying the same things I am saying and I got flack for that as well.

        I have attempted to be as charitable as I can. I even read my comments to my wife to have an extra set of ears in order to avoid being harsh or rude if I can help it. I apologized for something I didn’t fix in the previous post and you come back with insults, hostility and verbal abuse (and project to me that I am doing the same). Please point out these “intellectual insults” that you refer to. I have no idea what they are as they are so cleverly done that I didn’t realize I was doing it. I apologize again. Perhaps some day you will be able to forgive me. That is a commandment of the Lord as well.

        As to the charge of hypocrisy, the request that I made was in no way hypocritical. I asked for you to cite Scripture or explain why the Scripture I used should not be read the way I am reading it. I included a way for us to agree upon meaning if possible( see the last three paragraphs of my comment before the apology above). How is that hypocritical? Please elaborate.

        For instance, you wrote

        On the one hand you demand “quote Scripture” and we do but when explanation is given at length that pins you in a corner you say, “that’s not scripture”

        When you have quoted Scripture, such as the “baptism saves us” line that you used earlier; you don’t even bother to quote the entire verse, much less a complete sentence. In many cases, I am forced to conclude it is because the content of the remainder of the verse does not hold with the meaning you wish to convey. I have pointed this out, particularly in regard to the usage of 1 Peter 3:21 as pertains to the notion of baptism saving us as an “appeal” or “answer of a good conscience,” but you refuse to discuss these issues (calling them rabbit chases or something).

        At this point, I am not interested in continuing the conversation in this manner and atmosphere. I am doing you a disservice by causing you to get angry and hurl invectives and that is not my desire. It does not honor our Lord or those who read it, and I am saddened by that.

        I was going to quote another Scripture, but I figured that might not go over well either.

        Shalom Larry.

      • Jeff,

        No one is “mad” Jeff as you incorrectly charge and I do read your posts. Again you evade the heart of the issue, and use these side issues to create the evasions, and thus it is of no value to go further.

        I don’t evade you questions as you hypocritically imply but have answered many at length. Yet you continue to hypocritically say, “you don’t quote scripture” and when it is “its not enough” as if I wish to not go further (another false charge). I’m very well aware of the entire passages, your example for example and it does nothing to change its understanding. Paul himself on occasions only quoted portions not to “pull it out of context” as you falsely charge to me but to explain at length. What you refuse to do is explain and bear witness to your theology when it is pin pointed and continue to go on these “rabbit trail” “what about ______ (fill in the blank with your favorite proof text passage) and refusing to answer otherwise and then appoint yourself your self as “quoting scripture”. This you do ad infinitum ad nausem. Meanwhile you fill in the blanks left in between scripture with “your explanations” hoping that by appending scripture to them they may rise to the level of truth.

        The problem is not the scriptures which is the issue I’ve labored and labored with you to get at. The issue is your root theology you read INTO the scriptures. Example “this is My body/blood”, you will read into them your theology but not man up enough to change the interpretation to read what you say and are “sure” it says according to your theology. If your theology is right as you say and believe, then why not fess up and say that it means what you blue in the face otherwise say that it says? If you are so sure ‘that’s what Christ meant, then why not interpret your own version of the NT with “represents” or some such language in it? After all you are “so sure” that’s what Jesus “meant” (gnostically going into the mind/psychology of the divinity) to say. But yet you won’t, why not if its “the truth”?

        The problem is we never get to the root issue, which you refuse to answer in the line of questioning and so we can go down these rabbit trail distractions ad infinitum. The reason I’ve attempted to stay focused on this one line of reasoning and questions was to show you your theology and expose it in the open so it will not hide behind the scriptures it pretends to explain for us. Yes, I already know your theology having been in it myself and I don’t need the answers personally, I wanted you to answer for yourself.

        In an indirect way you have in fact answered for your theology and in that way it is obvious to see (the lack of an answer becomes an answer).

        So we do agree on one point, we are of different spirits and different religions at the end of the day. The one piece of advice from Luther I must confess I failed to take and should is to not allow myself to be dragged into pointless enthusiast argument over baptism. This I did not head soon enough.

        Larry

  101. I’ll ask again.

    Question 3: Now who is not in a sentence? Summarize if you will.

    And

    Question 4: Why not?

    So once you help clarify this (Qs 3 and 4), in whatever form it takes it is sufficient to establish that you establish two groups of people: those saved and those not saved. Christ died for all yet some how (fill in the arminian or Calvinistic explanation here) some are in the end not saved, two groups. The “Christ died for all” is the whole of humanity that you, I, Steve, Hitler, Dali Lamma can all fit into that group. All such universal Gospel passages apply to all in that category of people, me, you, Steve, Madonna, the Pope, etc… Now we come to the category YOU have established, those whom ARE saved versus those whom ARE NOT saved. We have no assurance in the universal passages because they apply to all some of whom in the end are not saved. The question becomes for the individual, “how do I know God has had mercy on me and will save me”. Which leads us all the way back to where we started, because at the end of the day the question is “not how am I or Joe Blow saved and know it, but how do you know YOU JEFF are saved”.

    Thus the next series of questions, in your theology which you’ve begun to reveal:

    Question 5. That thing that yields (flawless) assurance objectively,
    Question 6. that is to you in PARTICULAR as opposed to the general mass of humanity are saved,
    Question 7. and that God (God not men) has IN FACT not theory GIVEN (God and God’s action not just message) to you this said grace, and acted upon you in particular,
    Question 8. and EFFECTIVELY not sufficiently or that you are in that “saved group” versus that “not saved group”.

    I’ll start you a list again to help out:

    1. _______________

    2. _______________

    3. _______________

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