Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For those of you who don't know

I was on Issues etc. today discussing Calvinism and Lutheranism. Check it out:



David Gray said...

I enjoyed your bit on Issues Etc today and I appreciated that you tried to be fair in describing the Reformed faith. I think you misrepresented the Reformed on baptism and the Lord's Supper. I'm sure it was unintentional and the genuinely sad thing is what you described is far too commonly found among Reformed clergy. But the confessions do teach that baptism does something, as did Calvin, and that in the Lord's supper we feed on Christ's body and blood, as did Calvin. The Reformed have tended to become far more Zwinglian than they realize.

L P said...

Good interview and you set some Lutherans who lump every body who is not a Lutheran Prot to the Reformed correctly.

They need to be tuned to the nuances of Calvinism/Reformed Theology.

Glad you were interviewed.


Jordan Cooper said...

I realize that the Reformed Confessions have a much richer understanding of the sacraments than what I described. This is why I said there were multiple views on both of those topics. It's hard for me to say "the Reformed believe x,y, or z" about a specific topic if the leading theologians of that tradition don't agree. Hodge for example excepts a Zwinglian view of the Lord's Supper. I don't think I misrepresented the Reformed tradition. There was simply not enough time for me to get into all of it within such a short time period.

L P said...

You can only go with what is in the Reformed Confessions and they say quite scarce as to the actual panning out of the Sacraments.

This is because of Calvin. Calvin himself is quite confusing in trying to be a via media between Luther and Zwingli. He did not succeed and this is the reason his progenies levitate towards Zwingli, no matter what he said.

Take the case of baptism. Take two Calvinists, one will agree it regenerates the other will not.

This is not true for Luther nor with the Lutheran Confession.


Jordan Cooper said...

I agree. This is why if I describe what a Reformed view of the sacraments are, not matter what I say someone will disagree with my interpretation.
I do not buy into the theory that Calvin actually held to a form of baptismal regeneration. If this were true, he would not have denied emergency baptisms.

X said...

Are you on facebook?

EDH said...

Good job on issues. I don't think you were misinformed. A lot of reformed people today would balk at even Calvin's spiritual eating, considering it too close to Luther. Just look at the Federal Vision / Auburn Avenue theology and the flack they received, a catalyst to my Lutheran faith.

David Gray said...

The problem with the idea of taking what individuals say rather than what the confessions say is that it is the confessions that are authoritative, not the individuals. If I want to know where the LCMS stands I should look at the book of Concord, right?

Jordan Cooper said...

The problem is that the individuals disagree on what the Confessions mean. The seemingly higher sacramentology of some of the statements in the confessions have been interpreted in a symbolic fashion by many theologians. The Lutheran Confessions are much more straight forward.

L P said...

Correct one should look at the BOC for what Lutherans should believe as that is said to be their confession.

However, the Cavinist Confessions are quite terse and minimalist so much so that the range of interpretation on a subject is far and wide.

Even H O J Brown, the author of the classic Heresies, a Reformed theologian himself (now deceased), admired how in the 1500s 8,000 pastors and theologians signed the BoC.

In Calvinism, you have regional confessions, so you have Belgic, Westminster, Helvetic etc. You have none of this in Lutheranism.

Jordan Cooper said...

As both LP and I have seen, being on both sides, the Reformed do not have a precise view on many subjects, including sacraments, whereas Lutherans do.

David Gray said...

I still think if you wish to describe the Reformed the most accurate way to do so is by the confessions, not by cherry picking theologians. When the WCF says in regard to the Lord's Supper that:

"Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements, in this sacrament, do then also, inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually, receive and feed upon, Christ crucified, and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."

or regarding baptism:

"The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time."

it doesn't really leave Zwinglianism as an honest option and it certainly doesn't leave those subscribing to the confession as Zwinglists.

David Gray said...

I probably should at least add, once more, thanks for your efforts at discussion. I wish there was more informed discussion between Reformed and Lutheran.

Jordan Cooper said...

Thanks David. I wish there were too.