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Reflections on Calvinism and Lutheranism

May 25th, 2007
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Marvin Olasky some time back wrote a colum in WORLD magazine in which he documented from several sources how profoundly
unchurched and immoral Puritan New England was. What? The bastion of
Puritanical Calvinism? Yes, none other!

More women were fornicating than attending church on Sunday morning.
Abortions were not at all uncommon. More men were sleeping off a
Saturday night binge than were in church. Church attendance was at an
all time low. No wonder the Calvinists had to pass laws to try to
legislate behavior. I found it all very interesting. The Calvinist
"system" is coming clearer for me. In the same issue there is an
article by a Calvinist columnist describing how she finds comfort,
purpose and meaning in life. But not a word about Jesus Christ. None..
Just talk of the great Sovereign God.

It has become clear to me that for Calvinism, since its foundational thinking about God flows from the
premise that the chief characteristic of God is his "Sovereignty," it
makes perfect sense that the Sovereign God would lay down hard and fast
rules and laws for all eternity but then turn right around and order
his people to break them by putting, for example, images in the house
constructed for His worship. After all, in their system, this same God
is the one who, despite telling everyone through His Son that He loves
the whole world and that the atoning sacrifice of His Son was for the
sins of the whole world, turns right around and decides to create some
people just so He can send them off to roast in Hell, while others, He
determines to be in Heaven. You don’t really need the atoning sacrifice
of Christ in this system. You see the Sovereign God simply is
Sovereign. That settles it. I’m not really sure what point there was
for Him to send His Son anyway, but I guess that too is just to be
chalked up to the Sovereign God.

And this Sovereign God is also so remote and "other" from His
creation, that we can not possibly suggest that this infinite God is
capable of associating Himself with the finite. In fact, it is an
affront to this Sovereign Other in Calvinistic thinking to suggest that
the actual humanity of a human being is so closely united to Divinity
that He is now truly, actually present in, with and under bread and
wine of the Holy Supper, even as he was in, with and under the assumed
humanity from the God-bearer, the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Jesus is God, in the flesh, in the womb of the Virgin Mother. Christ,
is God, in the flesh, on the cross, crucified, died and buried, risen
again for our salvation.

And so it then is necessary for Calvinists to speak of a "spiritual
presence" of Christ, but in such a way as to avoid at all costs
actually regarding him as truly present where He promised to locate
Himself: under bread and wine, with His actual body and blood, given
from the hand of the pastor, into the mouth of the communicant. His
Glory dwelt between the Seraphim, but it seems for Calvinism, that
can’t be truly said of the Man Jesus Christ, now and into all eternity
as our Ascended Lord and King.

All this has come very clear to me and frankly the way some of my Calvinist
friends deal with the subject of images, it is perfectly,
rationally consistent with their theology. Rather than starting in the
Mercy and Grace of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus, Calvinism proceeds
first from speculations about the Sovereign Lord and then works itself
out from there.

With the Mother of Our Lord, I rejoice in God my Savior, who has blessed
us all through the humble Virgin Mother of God, through whom He took on
human flesh and blood and now, and for all eternity, is united with our
humanity in such a way that truly we look at the man Jesus and say, "My
Lord and My God" and receive the body and blood of this God-Man as the
atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, into our mouths, for
the blessing of both body and soul.

But I find myself concerned when I survey Lutheranism. How many
Lutherans in this country believe that the best way best to reach out
to people is by using methods and techniques that embody and rely on
essential characteristics of Evangelicalism, Non-Denominationalism,
Pentecostalism and the like.

These revivalistic measures are reactions to Calvinism! They are not
compatible with Lutheranism. When there is such a rich, warm, glowing
treasure of truth at the hearth on which the fire of Biblical
Lutheranism blazes, why do we feel such a need to run outside and pick
up a few Calvinistic Reformed/Evangelical or Revivalistic sticks to rub
together for light? Do we not realize that American Evangelicalism and
Revivalism is the natural reaction to Calvinism’s dreary
double-predestination and lack of certainty about the presence of
Christ in His Word and Sacraments, its distortion and confusion of Law
and Gospel, its emphasis on the Sovereignty of God at the expense of
the mercy and love of God in Christ?

When a theological tradition holds out the message that there is
finally no way to know if one is saved, or damned, other than to throw
oneself into the arms of a Sovereign God’s whims, is it any wonder that
the response to this will be emotionalism and revivalism, trying
desperately to work up in the human psyche some assurance of salvation?
When Calvinism holds out empty sacraments that are mere legal
requirements to be obeyed, rather than actual saving actions of a
merciful, loving Christ, present among His people as He has promised to
be, is it any wonder people run from such "Sacraments" and the
"Sovereign God" and throw themselves down at the feet of false prophets
like Joel Osteen and other wolves in sheep’s clothing like him? ?But
why would we Lutherans want to mimic sterile worship spaces, and
revialistic practices? Why would we want to have among us practices and
techniques that mirror revivalism and emotionalism and then expect
anyone to bother much with what Lutheranism is all about? This has
given me much to think about indeed.

Let this point be clear and may God grant it for Jesus sake . . .
The differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism, and all those
churches that are spiritual heirs of Zwingli and Calvin, or reactions
against it: Reformed, Presbyterian, Episcopalianism, Methodism,
Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, and all the rest – these
differences are every bit as harmful, serious and threatening to the
truth of God’s Word as the differences between Lutheranism and Roman
Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. One person I know suggested that
Roman Catholicism added to God’s Word while the Reformed removed things
from it. Simply affirming an inerrant Bible is no reason to assume that
the theological differences are either relatively minor or of no great
consequence. Affirming an inerrant Bible, which I do, is no guarantee
of fidelity to what the Inerrant Word of God teaches.

Am I with these remarks suggesting that Lutherans are perfect
people? No, quite the opposite. We are poor, miserable sinners who
deserving nothing but God’s temporal and eternal punishment. We daily
sin much and deserve nothing but His wrath and condemnation. We flee
for mercy to our Lord Jesus Christ, seeking and imploring God’s mercy
for His sake. Lutheranism has many failings and faults and
imperfections. Some of my Lutheran friends find these so disturbing
that they think the "escape hatch" is to be found in Eastern Orthodoxy.
But they are just deceiving themselves with the allure of grass that
seems greener on the other side of the ecclesiastical fence.

This blog discussion and debate over images and commandments has
really helped me realize what a stark contrast there is between
Biblical Christianity, and Calvinism and all derivations, or reactions,
to it. To whatever extent Calvinism does teach and cling to the
revealed Gospel in Sacred Scripture, I thank God, but to the extent
that it does not, I, with Luther must say, "They have a different
spirit. They can expect no fellowship from me." Amen and Amen.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Pastor Daniel Skillman
    May 25th, 2007 at 09:28 | #1

    In my ministerial experience (admittedly, quite short thus far) I have found that most Lutherans with whom I have had contact (including not a few pastors) find the differences between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism primarily in outward ceremonies (chanting, vestments, etc…). Thus, they reject many salutary catholic practices which belong also to us Lutherans while they let Rome in through the backdoor. To my great consternation, this manifests itself most often in accepting Reformed American Evangelicalism as perfectly compatible with Lutheranism.
    But, in many ways, I see R.A.E. to be much like R.C. in the things that matter most.
    e.g.
    R.C.: Grace + Faith formed by Works = Salvation
    R.A.E.: Jesus has died for you + Faith conceived as a Work of the Will = Salvation
    Lutheran: Jesus has died for you. You are forgiven. = Faith where and when God wills = Salvation
    R.C.: Monasticism; Apeasing God with “religious” works.
    R.A.E.: Prayer as a Means of Grace; If I pray long enough, with the right words, with enough people, then I can convince God to do what I ask Him to do. I find forgiveness in my prayers.
    Lutheran: God gives all good things, even without our prayers, but we are told to pray so that we might recognize this and continue to seek all good things from Him alone.
    I’d sure like to see this discussed further. On my reading of the Confessions, I see R.A.E. as every bit as much a danger as R.C.. Frankly, in our context, R.A.E. is MORE of a danger because it is so uncritically accepted by so many Lutherans.

  2. Michael Zamzow
    May 25th, 2007 at 12:28 | #2

    The momentum in Calvinist theological thought leads toward Socinianism. As Pr. McCain points out, Christ becomes almost irrelevant. In my discussions with those from the Calvinist tradition, it became clear that a consequence of the prohibition of images logically extends to questioning the Incarnation of Christ and even to the point of dampening theological reflection, lest one impose an “image” in one’s mind on God. The result is a sort of deism. Trusting Christ and the promises of God are suspected of harboring some sort of crypto-idolotry. This is not a modern phenomenon. From the Reformation, Lutherans have been accused of bread-worship.
    A contemporary example of this is exemplified by the work of the nominally Lutheran James Gustafson. In his Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective, he confesses a preference for a Calvinist starting point. He proceeds to provide a basically deist approach to theology and ethics—which discards the theo-logy and muddles the ethics.
    The choice of the ELCA to proclaim fellowship with various flavors of Calvinism leads inevitably to reducing Christ to a moral teacher and Word and Sacrament to ritualized feeling good about oneself. Unfortunately the same tendency is evident in the other Lutheran bodies in the US.
    It is not a matter of no consequence. Martin Chemnitz recognized that the comfort of the Gospel is at stake in the doctrines concerning the Person of Christ and the Sacrament. We need to take stock of where we are. On a slope? How slippery is it? If we slide down it, will we still have Christ and His benefits?

  3. Liturgical Lutheran
    May 25th, 2007 at 13:44 | #3

    I live right in the heart of Reformed country (my town of 1300 has three “Reformed” churches, and several reformed cousins (Methodist, Presbyterian, E-Free). Several times a month I visit with the other pastors in town to talk about town events and theology.
    Recently they admitted that, although they preach justification by faith, they struggle with legalism in their churches (and they couldn’t be more right).
    I couldn’t hold my tongue. I said, “Here’s why: you preach justification by faith, but you turn sanctification into a grace-assisted work that we must do in order to glorify God and earn His favor. Thus the legalism.” (Roman Catholicism does this with justification and the Reformed do it with sanctification. Both extremes are wrong.)
    silence.
    “Sanctification,” I continued “is just as much God’s work as is justification. God declares us righteous and holy in Christ – who we receive in the Sacraments.”
    Well, that was a conversation stopper. They were truly stumped. This whole notion of actually experiencing and receiving Christ in worship was a little too much for them.
    I could share much more, but I’ll wait for others to jump in.

  4. Chuck Foy
    May 25th, 2007 at 15:07 | #4

    Dear Pastor McCain,
    I know what Mr. Olasky has written about Puritans in New England is true. Prior to becoming a member of the LCMS, I had put together a large library of Puritan books. Yes, there are many doctrinal issues that are espoused by Puritan writers with which I do not agree. I am neither a “five pointer” nor a “four pointer”; I am a “one pointer” when it comes to the five points of Calvinism. (one pointer = agreement on the total depravity of man). However, there is a plentiful supply of Puritan writings which honor Jesus Christ and serve to incite intense commitment and devotion to Our Savior. I have read John Calvin and there is much about his work that should be read and studied by anyone who calls himself a Christian. Discernment is needed when reading Calvinistic/Puritan works. I think it is a shame that Lutheran pastors are not acquainted with the works of the Puritans since their ministry would be enriched as well as their own spiritual lives. The finest prayer book that I have ever read is entitled “The Valley of Vision”, a compilation of Puritan prayers. I use it primarily for meditation. If you are interested, it is sold in three different formats by the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA.
    I applaud the LCMS practice of close communion.Its intention is to restrict participation in the Lord’s Table to those who share the same pure doctrine and beliefs. I have found most LCMS laity “dumb as mud” when it comes to Lutheran doctrine. My congregation has a small core of people who know what they believe and why and my assumption is that this is probably true in most LCMS churches.
    I have was raised a Roman Catholic, spent five years as a contemplative monk, left the Roman Catholic Church and joined the Presbyterian Church in America. Finally, the Lord brought me to the LCMS for which I am thankful.
    My major pet peeve with the LCMS is the lack of expository preaching. Some of the lousiest preachers I ever heard are Lutherans (right along with R.C. priests)! You spend four years in seminary and cannot stand in a pulpit and do expository preaching on the scriptures. A glaring deficiency in your education. (“you” and “your” not aimed at you personally, Pastor McCain. I have never heard you preach so I cannot make that judgement. I refer to local preachers,whom I have heard who were educated at both LCMS seminaries.)
    In terms of doctrine and beliefs, there is a wide gulf that divides the LCMS and the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Reformed Churches. That gulf will never be breached without a wholesale sellout of LCMS doctrine.
    I’ll get off my soap box now.
    Blessings to you and your family. Congratulations on your daughter’s achievements. It shows the quality of parenting provided by you and your lovely wife.

  5. Christine
    May 25th, 2007 at 16:06 | #5

    And yet to this day I am puzzled why the great Lutheran
    church historian, Jaroslav Pelikan at the last entered the Orthodox Church.
    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  6. May 26th, 2007 at 04:30 | #6

    Reformed American Evangelicalism does not really believe in salvation by grace through faith, they think they do but if you ask them to articulate what they mean by that, it comes out to be saved by faith through grace.
    One can believe in God’s sovereignty as an abstract concept yet if that sovereignty of God is not seen in the light of Christ and His Cross, then we know where that leads…no where.
    Prof Scott McKnight has been studying conversion experiences, ie why evangelicals leave for Rome, or it can be applied, for Constantinople too. See here
    http://www.etsjets.org/jets/journal/45/45-3/45-3-PP451-472_JETS.pdf
    Lito

  7. Jim Roemke
    May 26th, 2007 at 07:59 | #7

    I want to know where all the Calvinists are? The Orthodox go to great lengths to defend thier church and its teachings on these things, why not the Calvinists?

  8. Patrick Kyle
    May 27th, 2007 at 19:17 | #8

    Pastor McCain,
    Thankyou for addressing this subject. For years I have maintained that each branch of the church has built their theology on a particular cornerstone. With the Reformed it is the sovereignty of God. In reaction to this the Arminians choose the autonomy of man. The Holiness groups build on God’s Holiness, while the Pentecostals filter everything through God’s Spirit. My contention is that these are arbitrary starting places. Islam starts with the sovereigny of God. The Muslim philosophers in the middle ages devoted a great deal of thought to the doctrine of election. However the Lutherans start with God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. While the Reformed and Arminians’ whole horizon is bound by TULIP, the Lutherans are on an entirely different trajectory. (And I think the correct one.) Starting our Theology with God’s chief ‘point of contact’with us and His ultimate act on our behalf yields a far more sane theology, and a spirituality that doesn’t twist the Bible to make it work. This is one of the main reasons it is hard to really connect with the Reformed and have a meaningful discussion.

  9. Another Kerner
    May 30th, 2007 at 14:54 | #9

    It should be remarked that the contemporary and earlier Reformed/Prebysterian and Puritan writers have, and still do, offer some insights and valuable considerations for all Christians. As an adult convert, I have been very grateful for some of them.
    That said, it seems that the “infused grace” thing is a matter which should be added to this discussion.
    It was this doctrinal point which drove me to the Savior Who died for the sins of all men.
    I was troubled with the Calvinist assertion that the Gospel is proclaimed to all, but that there is an “irresistable” inner call of the Spirit which only the elect some how hear.
    Being directed “inward” for comfort leads to wrestling with the monster Doubt. In case you have not seen him, he is an enormous monster.
    Where to look for comfort?
    Separating the Holy Ghost from the Word can, and often does, ultimately frighten the heart which longs to know and worries whether it really and truly is “elect” or not. How to know?
    Work harder at evangelism? Work harder and harder?
    Could there be any comfort found in remembering my Baptism, if the Holy Ghost did not carry out my conversion as an infant with the Water and the Word? Where is the comfort if God the Holy Ghost is not found also in my Sanctification?
    Once an individual is directed “inward” and begins to look “inward” for answers, waiting and “listening” for the Spirit apart from the Word, an entire world of false notions creep in which are not necessarily subtle.
    “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine”…….but how could I be certain that Jesus was mine by looking inward?
    How blessed to have been led by friends to the comfort of confessional Lutheranism……to the cross with a Savior who takes away the sins of the world……including mine.

  10. Jeff Anderson
    May 30th, 2007 at 19:27 | #10

    Let me preface my comments by stating one thing: When Lutherans cast the “Reformed” net so wide as to include not only Calvinists but any protestant who isn’t Lutheran, they give in to a laziness which depends on caricatures and generalizations. I don’t think this is a legacy worthy of Dr. Luther or any of his successors who penned/subscribe to the BOC. As one who has often defended the Lutheran church, I am quick to differentiate Pietism from mainline Lutheranism…as well as to make sure people offering criticism are fully aware of the difference between groups like the ELCA and the LCMS…early and later Melancthon, etc. Taking a short cut and saying “Well, if they aren’t Lutheran they are ‘Reformed’ ” doesn’t take into account the real protestant landscape…it is a sad shortcut that allows Lutherans to spin out criticisms which are valid for some but not all. Settling for that approach, in my opinion,is beneath the great tradition left behind by Luther.
    With that said…I believe that Luther delineates the biblical teaching on the Supper…I believe that reprobation is a derived philosophical construct (not a biblical doctrine)…I believe the Lord truly attributes Christ’s righteousness to us for the sake of His own glory through only His grace (and that all this is offered to our undeserving souls in baptism…our faith-itself a gift from God-only receives this, not enacts it)…and I am soon to be confirmed as an elder in my presbyterian (PCA) church. I was confirmed as an adult in an LCMS church, I love the Lutheran church…but I could not unequivocally subscribe to the BOC (apostasy was my biggest objection). The simple reality is this, “Reformed” is a narrower concept than “non-Lutheran protestant,” but a broader concept than simply “Calvinist.” I am tired of hearing Lutherans build straw men and then say “no fellowship, Amen”…when those are torn down. Infused grace? I’ve heard it from Reformed pulpits…and Lutheran. That doesn’t make this doctrine a part of either. Beginning with God’s sovereignty? Any reformed/presby pastor worth his salt will tell you what the Bible tells us…in Christ we live and move and have our being. If one reads Reformed (especially Calvin’s) writings like a philosophy text, then I can understand this misrepresenation…but if one reads them like theology something quickly becomes clear…the truly Reformed believe the Holy Spirit brings us to God’s grace through Christ alone and we are the beneficiaries of the loving, redemptive sacrifice of the almighty Son of God on the cross. When I think/pray/teach theology, this is where I begin. If that is “beginning with God’s sovereignty,” so be it. Yes, I know Reformed theology has holes (and so does Lutheran). I know I’m technically more in agreement with Luther than Calvin. And I suppose a purist on either side will call me heterodox. But how tremendously sad for me to read “no fellowship, Amen and Amen.” This strikes me not as pursuing doctrinal purity,it strikes me as arrogance.
    On a final note…”Where are all the Calvinists…the Orthodox defend…” I wonder if the Orthodox aren’t on here more because Lutherans are defecting to their group (which I believe is wrong)…and so many Lutherans post on their blogs. Most of the theologically astute, likely Reformed candidates I know aren’t aware of this blog. Are you posting these same comments on Reformed blogs, or are you patting yourself on the back for what is insular rather than engaging?
    I regularly call in to Issues, Etc…I still read my BOC…I think Sasse’s “This is My Body” is the best work on the subject, and I love and have great respect for my Lutheran brethren…but I also know this is a group that can live up to the stereotypes sometimes thrown at it. Don’t stop critiquing (semper reformanda) but stop settling for the easy way out when critiquing others.
    Jeff

  11. Another Kerner
    May 31st, 2007 at 10:59 | #11

    Ah, Jeff, you are so articulate. I truly appreciate your comments.
    And perhaps some of your criticism has some merit, especially when you suggest that some Lutherans may sometimes tend to lump Protestant “evangelical land” together, painted with too broad a brush.
    I do not believe it to be, for the most part,true.
    Lutherans can and do make the distinction between Arminianism and Calvinism, between R.C.Sproul and Michael Horton, both of whom I admire, in contrast with Tim LaHaye and Rick Warren.
    Forgive me if you think I have misunderstood what Calvin proclaims. I don’t think so, however. It is good and right that we understand correctly what the Westminster confession proclaims and grasp the differences between us.
    I have no doubt that you are a brother in the household of faith. You, I, and all the elect of God will be enfolded in the arms of Christ in Glory. Be assured that Lutherans know there are more in Heaven than Lutherans.
    Do I think that sometimes Christians would do well to remember that we, all of us, need to reach the pagans in this country and around the world because Now is the is time of salvation?
    Yes.
    But are confessional Lutherans and confessional Presbyterians in accord?
    No.
    It is not possible.
    And the understanding of the Sacraments, the real Presence in with and under, and this matter of infused grace and the “inner call” which only the elect hear apart from Word and Sacrament, prevents us.
    Much brighter and bolder minds than mine have written and enunciated the differences.
    Standing with one foot in Wittenberg and one foot in Geneva means that eventually you will need to take a step: you will need to move one of your feet in one direction or the other and plant them in the same place in order to be accord.
    Doctrines flow from one to the other, making a beautiful whole.
    So keep listening and talking with the guys at Issues Etc.
    May I suggest to you that it is important to begin with the Suffering Christ who takes away the sins of the world, for if we are to see the Father, we must look at Him through the Son.
    In this sad and hurting world, it is to the Christ we turn first, broken in our agonies over death and sin: it is to Him we flee.
    The Christology of the Lutheran confessions and profound sorrow drove me to take that last step into Wittenberg, to the foot of the Cross, with tears of gratitude and joy.
    I extend my hand to you. The door is always open in Wittenberg.

  12. May 31st, 2007 at 23:02 | #12

    Hmmn, my experience with Jeff is the reverse.
    The reason I can not become a member of a Presby church is because of the apostasy clause and this is the reason I can subscribe to the BoC.
    Contrary to experience, precisely because there is a possibility of apostasy that there is assurance and certainty. If there is no possibility of apostasy, then there is no such thing as a real threat, you are left to wondering in a circle if you are indeed one of the elect Jesus died for.
    Being kept in the faith as I understand in Lutheranism is done by God by the use of means of the HS – Word and Sacrament, you are not left paddling on your own after inception of faith.
    Lito

  13. Jeff Anderson
    June 1st, 2007 at 23:19 | #13

    I don’t believe in apostasy (not for one who has truly been brought into the Christian faith), and I don’t wander around trying to guess if I’m among the elect or not. Again, a philosophical interpretation of a theological principle. Lutherans bat this around all the time…and I don’t know a single Reformed Christian who has this problem. Do Reformed Christians struggle with assurance of faith? Yes,just like Lutherans and all Christians. That is why we declare that we must receive the “Means of Grace.” How do I know I’m “elect” (the term I use is “Christian”)? Because I have confidence that Christ is true to His promise (even though I wouldn’t be true to mine), He is the redeemer and my redeemer, He gave me His grace through the Gospel preached and in baptism, He gives me this grace daily and especially through His Supper (every week at my church). I’m sorry, but this is another caricature. I dare say, if someone is of a mindset to consistently question his faith this is likely to happen no matter how he is offered assurance…which is one reason we need those means so much.
    Believe me (though you certainly don’t have to), I have poured over Luther’s works and Calvin’s…I make no claim to be a theologian, and I know some differences are real. But I have also been inside both groups and simply feel the two look at each other through glasses with too much a priori smudging. I don’t come to this blog to try to convince anyone that Lutherans and Calvinists (or the more broadly Reformed)believe all the same things…I know they don’t. I just wish each would be two things 1. More generally thoughtful and well-informed of actual belief and practice before they start commenting on the other tradition 2. Willing to consider the idea that these two traditions are not only the closest to biblical Christiany but the closest to each other. I would rather err toward the Roman Catholics/Orthodox than the Zwinglians/et al…but in hoping to avoid either I’ve been able to find wisdom and solace in the Christian faith delineated by Luther and Calvin. Before you tell me that I wander around paddling on my own and wondering if I’m elect, give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe I’ve considered the same things you have and in a suffering, waiting and imperfect world (Theology of the Cross)…we might reach different conclusions. Until the day of our perfecting (Theology of Glory), maybe we can make a little more room for our brother.
    Jeff
    McCain: Jeff, Calvinism’s teaching that Christ did not die for the sins of the whole world is anti-Biblical and anti-Gospel. It removes any ground of confidence and assurance and robs Christ of His glory and deprives terrified consciences of the sure and objective hope of eternal life. This is why we Lutherans are so opposed to the classic theology of Calvinism.

  14. June 3rd, 2007 at 20:33 | #14

    Jeff,
    By no means was I referring to you personally, my apologies if you took it that way. I meant it in a philosophical way ie as a contemplative consequence, I more meant it for myself, for I did feel like paddling on my own when I was a Calvinist.
    The reason why election comes into view in my thinking and is picked up by Pr. McCain is this, – according to Calvinism, the elect will never fall or apostasize, so understandably the question to ask is, ok I will never fall if I am elect. So am I?
    Indeed Limited Atonement of TULIP comes in view, for this doctrine will not answer that question, ie are you one of the elect?
    I was a Pentecostal looking for a confession, and for 5 years was a Calvinist ( I was at home with the Heidelberg and Belgic Confessions) but I could not get myself to sign WFC. I concluded that I can be a Calvinist but I would have to be an inconsistent one and ignore WFC assertions.
    I do believe the Lutheran Confessions got the Christian life and faith correct. However, if I no longer hear the gospel from the pulpit of my local Lutheran church, I am happy to leave it for a nearby Reformed one who faithfully proclaims it.
    Lito

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