Layman to Layman: A Response to Rob Koons Conversion to Romanism
Dr. Erich Heidenreich provides this very cogent and well informed response to Rob Koons, a professor of philosophy, and a LCMS professor, who recently converted to Romanism. Koons has made available his explanation of his conversion. Erich asked me to "tackle" this issue on Cyberbrethren, but frankly, after reading his critique and response to a number of Koon’s point, I feel he has done a very fine job indeed. By the way, here is another good response to Koons. Dr. Heidenreich’s comments pertain to an earlier version of Koons paper which he had circulated to some mutual friends, and Erich was asked to respond to it. But the points Erich makes are all quite valid and very well done. He write:
Koons’ points in caps, to which I respond:
1) "ALL ISSUES OTHER THAN JUSTIFICATION ARE SECONDARY"
- We all agree that the Gospel exists in all Christian denominations.
Otherwise they would not be Christian.
- But the Gospel is contaminated and contradicted by secondary
doctrines in other churches.
- Only one confession can have the pure doctrine (since they all
differ), and this doctrine must be unadulterated in its official
- The doctrine of Justification cannot be separated from the whole of
doctrine, including those considered "secondary."
2) "LUTHERANISM’S FATAL SELF CONTRADICTION"
A) The only thing which can cause us to lose salvation is our own
stubborn will and works.
B) The only thing which can cause our gaining salvation is the work of
- Our good works (progress in Sanctification) help prevent a loss of
salvation (A) from occurring, but they do not cause our salvation (B).
- Faith is a flame lit by God alone. The fact that our cooperation
keeps the wind from snuffing out the flame does not make our
cooperation a cause of the flame, nor does the fact that we resist
snuffing it out with our own fetid breath. In addition, we agree that
our cooperation receives all its power from God, as given to the new
- God monergistically created life. The fact that we are the ones who
do the living does not make us co-creators. The fact that we can kill
ourselves doesn’t either.
- Likewise, God monergistically creates faith in our hearts at
conversion (usually baptism), which is salvation. The fact that we did
the believing at conversion (pure passive faith) does not make us
participate in our salvation, nor does the fact that we can fall from
faith by our own free will, nor does our cooperation (through active
faith) in good works (sanctification).
- Therefore, there is no "fatal self-contradiction" in Lutheranism.
There is a fatal self-contradiction in the doctrine of salvation by
Grace in RC and EO: blatant synergism which they themselves admit. A
definition of grace which is no longer Grace.
3) "LUTHER’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE IS NOVEL"
False. Here is a sample of the evidence that this doctrine has existed
in the church from the beginning.
Paul taught salvation by
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest
anyone should boast.
The early church fathers continued to
teach salvation by faith alone:
"Similarly we also, who by His will have been called in Christ Jesus,
are not justified by ourselves, or our own wisdom or understanding or
godliness, nor by such deeds as we have done in holiness of heart, but
by that faith through which Almighty God has justified all men since
the beginning of time. Glory be to Him, forever and ever, Amen." – St.
Clement of Rome (Letter to the Corinthians, par. 32)
beings can be saved from the ancient serpent in no other way than by
believing in him who, when he was raised up from the earth on the tree
of martyrdom in the likeness of sinful flesh, drew all things to
himself and gave life to the dead." – Irenaeus (Against the Heresies,
IV, 2, 7).
"Indeed, this is the
perfect and complete glorification of God, when one does not exult in
his own righteousness, but recognizing oneself as lacking true
righteousness to be justified by faith alone in Christ." – St. Basil
the Great (Homily on Humility, PG 31.532; TFoTC vol. 9, p. 479)
"They said that he
who adhered to faith alone was cursed; but he, Paul, shows that he who
adhered to faith alone is blessed." - St. John Chrysostom (First
Corinthians, Homily 20, PG 61.164)
"For you believe the
faith; why then do you add other things, as if faith were not
sufficient to justify? You make yourselves captive, and you subject
yourself to the law." – St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to Titus, Homily
3, PG 62.651)
"’To declare His
righteousness.’ What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring
of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make
others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also
that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is
Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also
is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself
righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the
putrefying sores (katasapentaj) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to
explain this, viz. what is ‘declaring,’ that he has added, ‘That He
might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’
Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the
righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is
easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For
if He Himself openly declareth (endeiknutai) Himself to do so, and He,
so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be
dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in?" – St.
John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 3)
4) WORLDWIDE CONSENSUS TO CONFIRM LEGITIMATE INNOVATION
No innovation can be legitimate.
Now, as for the necessity of worldwide consensus on matters of
doctrine, this has never existed. Scripture speaks always of a
"faithful remnant" and of the faithful repetitively being called out
from a larger population which has become heterodox. Roman Catholicism
was born in the same way, with Rome separating from the larger church.
The rest of Christendom did not agree, and still doesn’t with Rome.
God’s church has ALWAYS been represented throughout all ages by a group
of people who were faithful to Him and His pure
teachings: the "remnant." This specific group was always and still is
only a relatively small number (as the name implies). Sometimes it has
been as small as Noah and his family. At times, an entire nation:
7:6-7, "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy
God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all
people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his
love upon you, nor chose you, because ye were more in number than any
people; for ye were the fewest of all people."
greater body of so-called faithful people strayed from the Truth, God
would call out the few who were the true believers:
In Haggai 1:12 we
hear: "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of
Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed
the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet,
as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the
On into the New Testament we still hear about this
In Romans 11:5, Paul says: "Even so then at this present
time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
today there is a remnant: Confessional Lutherans. We are spread amongst
various synods, but we all hold to one common confession: the Book of
Concord of 1580. One might rightly call us the "diaspora."
5) Rob’s definition of faith in Lutheranism, "faith (L)," does not
appear to take into account the Lutheran distinction of "passive faith"
which receives forgiveness and salvation in a pure passive sense, and
"active faith" in which the believer does good works, cooperating in
sanctification with a liberated will (arbitrium liberatum).
6) Rob’s definition of faith in Roman Catholicism, "faith (R)," as
"full doctrinal assent" appears to imply that in Lutheranism we do not
believe full doctrinal assent is necessary for salvation. I believe
Lutheranism does require full doctrinal assent, with regard to
essential doctrines, both primary and secondary. For example, we
confess the Athanasian Creed.
7) That Lutheranism holds "WE ARE NOT GLORIFIED BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN
SANCTIFIED, BUT SOLELY BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED (L)."
This is looking a Glorification only in a narrow sense. Glorification
is a "now and not yet" condition. Now, we are simul iustus et
peccator. We are glorified now because we have the righteousness
of Christ, but this glorification will not be fully realized until
after death, at which we will be changed "in a
moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
(1 Cor. 15:52)
8) "PARADISE MIGHT INCLUDE SOMETHING LIKE PURGATORY, A STATE IN WHICH
THE PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION MAY CONTINUE"
Again, Glorification is instantaneously completed at death, at which
the sinful flesh that clings to the new man will die forever, purging
us. Rob should not dismiss the thief on the cross, to whom Christ says
"Today you shall be with me in paradise." Paradise, according to the early church Fathers, is the paradise
our first parents dwelt before the fall, and still exists, not on
earth, but above and beyond the world: heaven. In paradise there is no
pain, no punishment. Paradise is a place of bliss, not fire and
purgation. Such a definition is masochistic and contrary to every
definition of paradise a Christian can think of.
9) "PAUL TEACHES THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BUILT WITH STRAW WILL ENTER
ETERNAL LIFE ‘AS THROUGH FIRE’ (V. 15), CERTAINLY SUGGESTING SOMETHING
LIKE A PURGATIVE PROCESS."
"Certainly?" Let’s read in context what this fire is Paul talks about:
V. 12. Now if
any man build upon this foundation
gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, V. 13. every man’s
work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it
shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of
what sort it is. V. 14. If any man’s work abide which he hath built
thereupon, he shall receive a reward. V. 15. If any man’s work shall
be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet
so as by fire.
As Kretzmann says in his commentary, "For on that day it shall be
revealed with fire, in fire, and the work of every man, what kind it
is, that fire will assay, will show. It is a probationary, not a
purgatorial fire; and not the persons are subjected to this fire, but
their works in the Church. The idea of a physical purgatory is
absolutely remote to this passage. Consuming fire is the element of
the last day, and in flaming fire the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself
from heaven, 2 Thess. 1, 8. ‘This fire will reveal what was
worldly and perishable as well as what was spiritual and imperishable
in the building of God…’"
Lenski offers an in depth exegesis I would recommend reading. As this
is the only support for purgatory the Roman Catholics have in
Scripture, theirs is truly an argument built with straw.
10) That Lutheranism teaches "FAITH IS PURE RECEPTIVITY." (pg. 6)
"Passive faith," yes, but "active faith" is not pure passive. See #5
11) "WE NEED THE INFUSION OF GOD’S GRACE TO ENABLE US TO BECOME, ON THE
INSIDE, THE SORT OF PERSON ACCEPTABLE TO GOD"
"None is righteous, no not one." We do not become perfect on the
inside this side of death. Simul iustus et peccator. "The
spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." "There is a war in my
members…" The now and not yet of salvation says we will be changed
in the twinking of an eye into what God already sees us as: perfect.
12) 2.2.3 (pg. 7) "The no boasting argument,"
Lutheranism does not have any problem with the boasting of which Rob
speaks: "But ‘he who glories, let him glory
in the Lord.’" (2 Corinthians 10:17,
The boasting Lutheranism rejects is not boasting about the works God
performs through us, but the boasting that we merit salvation because
of them (Romans 3:27).
13) That "THE GOSPEL IS NOT UNCONDITIONAL (UNLESS WE EMBRACE
You do not have to embrace universalism to hold that the promise of the
gospel is unconditional. No one has argued against "objective
justification" (OJ) more than I have over the past few years. I used
to think that OJ was universalism. I have finally come to understand
this doctrine since realizing that it cannot be separated from the
doctrine of "subjective justification." The only condition to SJ is
faith, "and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." This
passive faith creates the repentance, active faith, sanctification,
etc. of which Rob speaks. Perseverance is not a condition of the gift
of the Gospel. Lack of perseverance is a condition of the rejection of
the Gospel (see #2 above).
14) The above distinction of OJ/SJ becomes important when understanding
the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Christus in argument 2.2.5.
"THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT RESULTS FROM OUR FAITH CANNOT BE THE
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, SINCE THAT WAS PERFECTLY COMPLETED PRIOR TO
OJ is the declaration to the world of the righteousness of Christ that
"takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). SJ is the imputation
of this righteousness to the believer. What was completed prior to our
faith is imputed to us through faith. By grace through faith, we are
spiritually righteous in Christ, though the sinful flesh clings to us
during the remainder of our earthly life.
Rob says "TRENT SEEMS TO AFFIRM THAT THE MERIT OF CHRIST’S OWN
RIGHTEOUSNESS IS APPLIED TO US." If so, why do we need any other
righteousness. Is Christ’s not enough?
15) Post-Vatican-II neo-Pelagianism: salvation through other religions.
"THE PROBLEM WITH SUCH A STRICT EXCLUSIVITY IS THAT OF ACCOUNTING FOR
THE SALVATION OF THE MANY OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS, SUCH AS ADAM, NOAH, OR
JOB, WHO SEEM TO HAVE HAD ONLY A VERY MINIMAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SAVIOR
WHO WAS TO COME."
Yes it does. The faith of Adam, Noah, and Job, is the only faith which
is necessary to lay hold of salvation. They presumably had more than
the rudimentary faith in Christ that a child has at his baptism in the
name of the Triune God, and even that is enough. This simple faith of
will and intellect is purely a gift from God, not something one must
"learn" or reach some threshold of knowledge with. "Faith comes by
hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
In addition, Muslims (for example) not only do NOT have this Word,
knowledge, and faith in Christ — they are also guilty of the mortal
sin of idolatry in worshiping the false god, Allah. "Be not deceived
…idolaters, etc., shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor.
6:9-10). Post-Vatican-II Rome gravely contradicts herself on this
point because she also confesses the Athanasian Creed.
If you and I, who know Christ, worshipped Allah, confessing this false
god to be the true god, we would be condemned forever. So will it be
with those of non-Christian religions who might have some prevenient
inchoate notion of "a" messiah, yet have never heard the Gospel.
16) 2.2.8 "THE LUTHERAN TEACHES THAT OUR ONLY MOTIVATION FOR GOOD
WORKS IS OUR LOVE AND GRATITUDE…"
False. Love is Law. Lutheranism never speaks of good works as
"motivated" by anything. They are the natural fruit that proceeds from
true faith. The motivation of love or fear does not produce good
works. If motivated by love or fear (both law) good works are not
produced, only sin. The best that "motivation" can produce is civil
righteousness, and this even the heathen have.
17) page 14: "ALTERNATELY, A LUTHERAN COULD ADMIT THAT WE CAN COOPERATE
IN OUR OWN SANCTIFICATION BUT DENY THAT PROGRESS IN SANCTIFICATION HAS
ANY EFFECT ON OUR PERSISTENCE IN SAVING FAITH… THUS IT SEEMS THAT
LUTHERANS MUST ADMIT THAT OUR WORKS DO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR FINAL
SALVATION, SO SPEAKING OF ‘SALVATION THROUGH FAITH ALONE’ IS AN
Non sequitur. See #2 above. Progress in Sanctification does have an
effect on our persistence in saving faith. That does not make it a
cause of salvation.
18) "…AT THE TIME OF THE REFORMATION, THE CHURCH WAS OBSESSED WITH
…PURGATORY. THIS DID INDEED OBSCURE THE TEACHING OF GRACE AND
MINIMIZED THE VALUE OF OUR REDEMPTION IN CHRIST. THIS UNHEALTHY
PREOCCUPATION HAS NOT ENTIRELY DISAPPEARED…"
This underscores my point that the doctrine of Justification cannot be
viewed in a vacuum. Doctrine is a whole body. Chop off the pinkie
finger and one might still be able to function, but he also might die
of blood loss or infection.
19) "WHEN LUTHERANS SPEAK OF ASSURANCE OF SALVATION, THEY MEAN THE
ASSURANCE THAT THE BELIEVER IS NOW IN A STATE OF GRACE, NOT THE
ASSURANCE THAT ONE WILL PERSEVERE UNTIL DEATH."
Lutherans do not speak of it in this way. Believers are always given
the assurance of salvation.
The elect cannot lose salvation permanently,
though they may for a period (e.g. Adam, David, etc.), ultimately
coming back to faith. Only
hypocrites who are living in unrepentant sin are told that salvation
can be lost. This appears to be a paradox, but is actually nothing
more than the proper Law/Gospel application of this doctrine.
20) "…THE LUTHERAN… MUST TO A CERTAIN DEGREE PLACE TRUST IN THE
QUALITY OF HIS OWN TRUST."
Anyone who does this cannot claim to be a lutheran.
21) "…THE EFFICACY OF THE SACRAMENT DEPENDS ON THE GENUINENESS OF THE
False. You either have faith or you don’t, and even if you don’t you
still receive the body and blood of Christ, but to your judgment.
22) "THE SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR INFANT BAPTISM IS, AS ANY CANDID LUTHERAN
WOULD HAVE TO ADMIT, LESS THAN COMPELLING."
This is a fallacy which I too once entertained. The burden of proof
regarding infant baptism is on those who would deny children baptism.
Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit…"
Acts 2:39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all
who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
Acts 16:33 "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their
stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized."
Nowhere is baptism specified as for adults only, but rather for all
people, whole families, and all nations. Those who would exclude
children bear the burden to prove children are excluded, proof which
cannot be found. The argument those who deny infant baptism usually
make is that children are incapable of possessing saving faith. This
is in error on two counts. First, it assumes that faith is something
the individual creates. Second, it denies Scripture itself:
Matthew 18:2-3 "Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in
the midst of them,
and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become
as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’"
Mark 10:14 "But when Jesus saw
it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, ‘Suffer
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such
is the kingdom of God.’"
Infant baptism is not a doctrine which requires tradition. The
Scriptural basis for infant baptism is neither lacking nor less than
23) "IF THE SCRIPTURES WERE PERSPICUOUS COMPREHENSIVELY, THERE WOULD
BE ONLY ONE MAJOR SOLA SCRIPTURA DENOMINATION, INSTEAD OF HUNDREDS."
Scripture is not perspicuous in a vacuum (see below), but there IS only
one sola Scriptura church. Lutheranism is the only confession which
holds the true doctrine of sola Scriptura, which does not accept any
interpretations "which have no
testimony from any period in the church" (see
There are not 100s of denominations who are sola Scriptura. Only
Lutherans hold the sola Scriptura position on the Lord’s Supper.
Christ says "This is my body and blood," and He calls it bread and
wine. Lutheranism alone confesses both Scriptural truths. Rome and
Geneva both confound Scripture with Logic. In fact, the Roman church
of today is fast approaching the Reformed position on the Sacrament. I
can provide more information on this if you are interested.
LUTHERANS, SCRIPTURE ALONE, APART FROM SUCH TEACHING AUTHORITY, MUST BE
THE SOLE FINAL AUTHORITY FOR EACH BELIEVER."
False. The Lutheran concept of sola Scriptura does not allow
private interpretation of Scripture. Scripture cannot be interpreted
in ways foreign to how the Church throughout all ages has interpreted
In the conclusion to the Augustana we confess: "Only those things have
been recounted whereof we thought that it was necessary to speak, in
order that it might be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies
nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the
Church Catholic. For it is manifest that we have taken most
diligent care that no new and ungodly doctrine should creep into our
churches." [emphasis mine]
We confess also that we disagree with those who invent opinions which
have no testimony from any period in the church, as Servetus, Campanus,
the Anabaptists, and others have done in our time. We also hold that no
dogma that is new in the churches and in conflict with all of antiquity
should be accepted. What could be more honorably said and thought
concerning the consensus and the testimonies of antiquity? Chemnitz, Examination
of the Council of Trent, I.258
The presence of a doctrine in the testimony of Tradition does not prove
it to be correct. However, its absence proves it to be false. This is
why it is important that I showed earlier that the Lutheran doctrine of
salvation by faith alone is not "novel" to the testimonies of antiquity.
By contrast, Roman Catholicism is
littered with doctrines which have no testimony in the early church.
For instance, the notion that
post-death cleansing happens in a place (called Purgatory) is a
mediaeval Roman addition
to the ancient Christian notion of purgation. I understand from a
friend that The Birth
of Purgatory, by Jacques LeGoff (Scolar Press, 1991. Pbk. ISBN: 0859678652), details when and how this novelty crept in.
Then we have the "infallible" teaching of the assumption of Mary. The first Church father to affirm explicitly the
assumption of Mary in the West was Gregory of Tours in 590 A.D. But the
basis for his teaching was not the tradition of the Church but his
acceptance of an apocryphal Gospel known as the Transitus Beatae
Mariae. In the early Church there
is complete silence regarding Mary’s end. The first mention of it is by
Epiphanius in 377 A.D., and he specifically states that no one knows
what actually happened to Mary.
Lutheranism, in contrast to the other two supposedly "orthodox"
churches (EO and RC), is the only confession which has the true and
secure claim as being the Catholic Church, having absolutely no
doctrine which is novel to the apostolic tradition.
26) "IT IS NOTEWORTHY THAT GOD DOES NOT INSTANTANEOUSLY TRANSFORM
BELIEVERS INTO A STATE OF SINLESSNESS AT THE MOMENT OF CONVERSION."
Yes he does. The Christian qua Christian is sinless,
having died to sin. Only the sinful flesh clings on in this life. Simul iustus et peccator.
27) Praying for the dead. "WHY SHOULD DEATH BE A BARRIER TO OUR
LOVE AND CONCERN?"
It is not. Lutheranism does not prohibit prayer for the dead.
as regards the adversaries’ citing the Fathers concerning the offering
for the dead, we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead,
which we do not prohibit…"
"…Epiphanius testifies that
Aerius held that prayers for the dead are useless. With this he
[Epiphanius] finds fault. Neither do we favor Aerius…"
[Ap XXIV (XII) 94-96, Bente]
The Confessions themselves clearly state that we
do not forbid prayers for the dead nor do we agree with Arius that
prayers for the dead are useless.
Prayers to the dead are another matter.
The acceptable content of prayers for the dead is yet an object of
scrutiny worth exploring.
"May the souls of the faithfully departed rest in
peace." ~Sarum Breviary
"Acknowledge … a sheep of your own
fold …. Receive him/her into the arms of your mercy …." ~ Lutheran
Book of Worship’s service for the Burial of the Dead, pg. 211
Timothy 1:16 (emphasis mine): The Lord give mercy unto the house of
Onesiphorus, for he
often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17 but when he was
in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me. 18 The
Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day!
In how many things he ministered unto me in Ephesus, thou knowest very
is traditionally believed that Onesiphorus had died when Paul offered
this prayer, though there is no proof. That belief seems fits the
tenor of the text. This is Kretzmann’s opinion also:
man whose name [Onesiphorus] is here recorded on account of the shining
example he gave to the Christians of all times, seems to have died
meanwhile." ~Kretzmann’s Popular Commentary on 2 Tim. 1:16-18
have personally prayed for my children who died in miscarriage. I
prayed at their burials for God to accept their souls mercifully into
heaven. Confessionally speaking, we cannot forbid such
prayer. In my less emotional moments, I tend to think that the
usefulness of such prayers the Confessions speak of is limited to the
comfort of those who grieve, just as some of the petitions of the
Lord’s prayer ask for things we already know have been or will be
given. Yet I’m not sure this limited meaning is what the Confessors
when they agreed that prayers for the dead are not useless.
hears our prayers from his timeless eternity. He heard our prayers
"before" the world was made. Prayers for the dead that ask God for the
things we already know He has given is not wrong. We know God will give
us our daily bread, yet we still ask Him for it. We know He will never
lead us into temptation, yet we ask Him not to. We know He will show
mercy to the saints who have gone before us, yet we can still ask Him
to. Such prayers are not "useless" according to our Confessions.
Nonetheless, prayers for the dead to be comforted in, or released from,
"purgatory" is unchristian and has no testimony from the early church.
28) In conclusion, there is so much more I could say and have noted
regarding this "Lutheran Case for Roman Catholicism," but I shall end
here for the time being, as I seem to be starting to ramble on. I hope
the above points are of some help in challenging the assumptions and
conclusions of Rob’s essay. The Lutheran
Confession alone has the true and secure claim as being the Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church,
the faithful remnant, having absolutely no doctrine which is novel to
the apostolic tradition.
When I am tempted by seemingly compelling arguments to the contrary, I
remember the necessity of rightly dividing the Word of Truth (1 Timothy
2:15) between Law and Gospel. Again, Lutheranism alone maintains this
distinction, the application of which is learned only by experience in
the school of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit assures me that the
Lutheran Gospel alone is pure and consistent with both Scripture and
the testimony of the Church from all ages.