Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Rapture and Premillennialism

On today's program I did another discussion on Dispensationalism, dealing specifically with the teaching of a secret rapture and premillennialism. I demonstrated that the texts used in support of a secret rapture teach the opposite, and that Revelation 20 does not necessitate a premillennial reading.

Here is the program.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mega-Church Celebrity Culture

On today's program, I addressed the Mark Driscoll fiasco and the underlying issues of celebrity culture within evangelicalism. I addressed the recent controversies surrounding both Mark Driscoll and Ergun Caner, and how they reflect a dangerous ecclesiology inherent in contemporary evangelicalism.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Predestination, Grace, and Free Will in the Thought of St. Prosper of Aquitaine and C.F.W. Walther: A Comparison and Evaluation

An article of mine, "Predestination, Grace, and Free Will in the Thought of St. Prosper of Aquitaine and C.F.W. Walther: A Comparison and Evaluation," has been posted on Blogia: http://logia.org/blogia/?p=650

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An Example of Preaching on Sanctification

In light of the recent discussions, I would urge my readers to take a listen to one of my sermons which touches on the subject of sanctification. I will allow you to decide if such preaching is legalistic or pietistic. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

"The Lutheran Doctrine of the Lord's Supper" Now Available!

The latest volume in the American Lutheran Classics series is now available.

"There is no doctrine which distinguishes Lutheranism from the vast world of Protestantism more than the teaching of the Lord's Supper. The contention that Christ's body and blood are in, with, and under the Eucharistic elements in central to Lutheran identity. In this work, Henry Immanuel Schmidt defends the historic Lutheran teaching on this subject against some who claimed the name Lutheran, but adopted a Reformed view of the Supper. He deals with topics such as: The words of institution, the text of 1 Corinthians 11, the communication of attributes from Christ's divinity to his humanity, and the nature of figurative language in Scripture. This work is essential reading for anyone interested in learning about, or defending the Lutheran view of Holy Communion."

It can be purchased here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Francis Pieper's Doctrine of Sanctification and Good Works

One of the figures that is essential to examine in the ongoing debates over sanctification and good works is Francis Pieper. If one studies Pieper's Dogmatics, it becomes immediately apparent that he is not afraid of emphasizing the importance of justification and good works. He writes:

"The fact that sanctification in this life will always be imperfect must not be put forward as an excuse for the neglect of sanctification. On the contrary, it is God's will and the will of the Christian that he strive after perfection; he wants to be fruitful, not only in some, but in all good works. It is the characteristic of the Christian life and the will of the new man that he refrain from every sin. The Christian is eager to serve God in all good works...The Christian who does not strive to serve God alone is perilously close to losing his Christianity...Unsparing self-denial marks the Christian life." CD III, 33

After this, Pieper talks about how the drive to perfection (which is of course not achievable) should not cause us to despair, but should point us again to the grace of God found in the Gospel. It's something of a circle. We see our sin, look to the Gospel, then in light of that message strive to live holy lives. When we fail at leading such holy lives, we are once again pointed to the Gospel. But note that Pieper continually emphasizes our "striving," and not neglecting sanctification. In other words, the Christian should not simply be content to be "weak on sanctification," but should pray and strive for holiness. This is not to be done, of course, for the sake of gaining or retaining salvation, but because the Christian desires to live a God-pleasing life.

Pieper questions which evil is greater, "perfectionism or indifference to sanctification?" and he argues that both are equally bad. Pieper writes that "The Bible says to the 'Christian worldling': 'This ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them." (CD III, 34) It is clear that Pieper is concerned with both legalism and indifference to sanctification. Some in the debate today seem to think that legalism is the only real problem the church has to face, and that indifference to sanctification is almost a virtue, because it shows one's trust in justification.

Good works need to be preached, and one should strive for them. These works are to be in accord with God's law. Pieper writes that, "everything which the Christian performs in obedience to God's will is good and great, whether me prize it or not." (CD III, 39) He argues that "Christians should not be satisfied with having performed this or that good work, but they should become rich in good works...They should not sit and home and wait to be importuned to do good works, but they should go out and seek opportunities to do good works; they should be 'zealous of good works.'" (CD III, 47) Clearly, for Pieper, good works are not purely spontaneous, but one has to actually try and do them.

Preachers have a duty to proclaim the importance of good works. "Secondly, in urging members of their churches to become 'rich in good works,' pastors should not be deterred from doing this boldly and resolutely, without any fear or faltering, by the thought that this insistence on good works might crowd out its central position on the doctrine of justification without works. Only if one does not know the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith will he be timid in asking for a multitude of good works." (CD III, 48) Pieper then makes the necessary point that encouragement unto good works should always be done in light of the gospel. In one place, Pieper urges: "In addition, God has instructed the teachers and watchmen in His Church to give attention not only to the quality but also the quantity of works performed by Christians." (CD III, 48) He cites Titus 3:8 for justification in doing so. What all of this makes apparent is that Pieper saw encouragement unto good works as a necessary part of the pastoral office. He did not view this as somehow minimizing the truth of simul iustus et peccator or the centrality of justification.

Pieper did not shy away from discussing the doctrine of sanctification and the importance of good works. These are central to the Christian life, the teaching of Scripture, and the pastoral office.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Explanation of the Luther Chapter in my Book

Since the recent discussion has erupted over my book, some have attempted to see my Luther chapter as somehow an attempt to give an extensive treatment of Luther's doctrine of justification. This relies on a misunderstanding of the purpose of the book. I will explain the reasons why this chapter was written, and exactly what argument is being made.

The book is on the New Perspective on Paul's claims regarding historical theology. The two areas I am addressing are 1. The NPP view of Luther as a purely forensic theologian whose sole concern is the distinction between law and gospel, and 2. The claim that Augustine changed the church's reading on Paul as if the pre-Augustinian church was not concerned about individual salvation.

The first chapter in this volume is not intended to be an extensive treatment of Luther's theology, nor of his doctrine of justification. Rather, it is an attempt to argue that Luther held to a more multifaceted soteriology than he is often given credit for. Yes, Luther held to forensic justification, the imputation of righteousness, etc. However, that is not central to the argument of this chapter because that is a given. I am not asking if Luther's view is forensic, but if Luther's view is only forensic. I use Mannermaa to argue that there is an element of union with Christ inherent in Luther's theology of justification as expounded upon in his Galatians commentary. I do not consider myself as part of the New Finnish School of Luther interpretation, because I think they downplay the forensicism inherent in Luther's theology, and they tend not to make a careful enough distinction between the early and late Luther. I make the point in this chapter that the early Luther can often speak of justification as a process, and that he sometimes conflates justification and sanctification; the later Luther is more careful, as forensic language becomes more predominant in his thought. However, whatever issues the Finnish school has, they have brought an element of Luther's thought to the forefront which has often been neglected: union with Christ. For Luther, Christ is present in faith itself, and Christ is in a vital personal union with one who believes. Though this union is not identical to justification for Luther, they are intimately related concepts which should not be severed from one another. 

There has been a long debate in Pauline studies over whether the apostle's soteriology is forensic or participationist. Is it based on imputation of Christ's righteousness, or mystical participation in Christ? I am trying to show that in both Luther, and the fathers, this is a false dichotomy. For Luther, salvation includes legal terminology, imputed righteousness, etc. It also includes participation in Christ, and union with God. The legal aspects of Paul's soteriology are then shown to have been prominent in both Clement of Rome and the Epistle to Diognetus. The participationist motifs are prominent in both Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. 

The whole argument is that the manner in which the NPP has interpreted Paul is not in line with the earliest interpreters; the way in which Luther has interpreted Paul, however,  is consistent with Patristic exegesis. Though one would be wrong to label the fathers consistent Lutherans, the reading Luther has of Paul is more thoroughly grounded in Patristic exegesis and theology than is the NPP.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Response to Donavan Riley's "Review" of my Book

A review of my book was recently posted on Blogia by pastor Donavan Riley. It can be found here. Normally such a scathing and dishonest review would not be worth responding to, but due to the fact that the word about this seems to have gotten around, I have chosen to do so.

Riley accuses me of "pietism and radical spiritualism" in the second paragraph of his review, but fails to define either of those terms or cite an instance in my work where that is indeed the case. In fact, there are no citations of my book in the review at all. Riley chose to focus on one specific chapter of the book, rather than the entirety of my argument, and consequently attacks my view as somehow connected with Schwenkfeld. 

The heart of Riley's argument is that: "Leaning on the Finns for his critique of the New Perspective on Paul, Cooper ends up launching a similar attack on forensic justification. He argues for an essential form of justification, an ontological change in believers." 

This was certainly a surprise to me, as I hadn't realized myself to be one who disagrees with forensic justification! The purpose of my discussion of forensic/participationist soteriological motifs in Luther's theology was not to negate the historic Lutheran understanding of justification as forensic, but to argue that in Luther's theology, forensic and participationist categories are not mutually exclusive. I write in the book: "Mannermaa's contention that ontological union is part of what Luther means when discussing the concept of justification seems to be contradicted by several statements of Luther. Though they are connected concepts, Luther often distinguishes between ontological union and justification" (P.61). Justification is a forensic declaration which includes the imputation of Christ's righteousness. 

What I argue in the book is that for Luther, ontological union precedes justification. That does not mean that ontological union is justification. This statement may be controversial, as the general ordo salutis in Lutheranism has placed mystical union after justification rather than vice versa. However, I am not alone in arguing this point, as Kurt Marquart argues the same way in his article, "Luther and Theosis." There is also some precedent for this in the Lutheran dogmaticians, as David Hollaz argues that union can in some sense be said to be prior to justification. Schmid writes:

"According to another mode of considering it, it can be said that union precedes justification, inasmuch as faith precedes justification ; and in faith as the organ, by which the union is effected, its beginning is already presupposed. Therefore Holl. (933), after consenting to this view, adds: 'Although the mystical union, by which God dwells in the soul as in a temple, may, according to our mode of conception, follow justification in the order of nature, it is however to be acknowledged that the formal union of faith, by which Christ is apprehended, put on, and united with us, as a mediator and the author of grace and pardon, logically precedes justification. For faith is imputed for righteousness, so far as this receives the merit of Christ, and so unites it with ourselves as to make it ours.'" (Schmid, 497)

It is to be noted that I am not speaking of the mystical union by which believers grow in virtue and love when I am speaking about union preceding justification. This was Osiander's error, which identified the justification with growth in grace. Rather, what I am referring to is the fact that the believer has to be united to Christ in order to receive his righteousness. I have to be "in Christ," in order for God to declare me justified.

Riley further critiques the book writing: "What Luther does not seem to be up to in the Galatians commentary, since Cooper does not emphasize these matters in his book, is distinguishing law and Gospel, the theology of the cross, or the theology of the Word." The purpose of my book is to discuss Paul's view of justification as interpreted by Luther and the fathers, and thus I utilized the Galatians commentary to speak of one particular aspect of Luther's theology that is pertinent to the study. Nowhere have I argued that Luther's theology of the Word or law and gospel are not central to his thought. Clearly, they are. Of course, I was not writing a treatise on the major themes of Luther's Galatians commentary. 

Riley argues again: "Schwenkfeld was the one to start talking among Lutherans about “participation” in Christʼs glorified humanity, or having a union with “heavenly flesh.” This is the very thing the Finns and Cooper are trying to connect to the early fathers and Luther via the tradition of theosis. Theosis is, in essence, enthusiasm, which grasps for God outside the Word, deep in the flesh (logos sarkos) in which we can “participate” in divinity."

I have written a book on theosis that will be released next year. In that work, I explicitly reject the idea that one grasps God apart from Word and Sacrament. That is one of my primary criticisms of the Eastern Orthodox approach to deification. What I affirm is simply the historic Lutheran teaching of mystical union. 

The next point Riley makes is: "But where Cooper emphasizes increased holiness by divine law, there should instead be death and resurrection. Where he emphasizes ontology, there should be eschatology." First, the idea of increased holiness by divine law is not in the book at all. It appears that Riley is reading other things I have written (which don't teach that either) into this work, rather than actually digesting what is in the chapters. Regarding eschatology, I actually have a section in the Luther chapter titled "Luther and Eschatology," where I make the point that Mannermaa misses Luther's eschatological focus. It seems Riley did not read this chapter carefully.

He further claims that: "Cooper grounds his critique of the New Perspective on Paul by following Mannermaa into the Galatians commentary, where the latter emphasizes a theology of love which reflects, not Lutherʼs search for a gracious God, but Schwenkfeldʼs search for pure love, found finally in being formed in Christ himself as our complete and perfected holiness. Sin is then formulated as misdirected love. Faith is redirected love, when Jesus himself effects this in the Christian. Righteousness is an ontological reality." The theology of love that Riley discusses here is completely irrelevant to the purpose of my book and is not even mentioned here. This seems to be a description of a traditional Augustinian approach to sin and love that I do not hold to.

He then states that "This is routinely missed by Cooper in his book, who seems to think that being in Christ is a process of becoming less one thing and becoming (ontologically) more of another thing. In this case, the sinful human passing over into the holy divine." I would affirm, with Lutheran Orthodoxy, that the union with God that the Christian has is genuine and real. This grows throughout the Christian's life, but one is never absorbed into God so that personal identity is lost.

The final claim I want to examine, which is likely the most inaccurate, is where Riley writes:

"Cooper opens a way to argue that deification of human nature in Christ is a prerequisite for justification. Following the Finns allows Cooper to dance lightly around the confusion this then interjects into matters of glory-theology, faith and love, bondage of the will, simul iustus et peccator, and the works of the Holy Spirit."

I have never, nor would I argue that anything within the human person is a "prerequisite for justification." The only prerequisite for justification is the righteousness of Christ. I'm sure that such a theology might affect the areas of faith Riley mentions, but that is irrelevant to my own theology. 

Overall, the position Riley critiques is a gross caricature of my view. His review failed to use any citations, overlooked quotes which would disprove is misrepresentations, and he didn't even engage the argument of the book. The section on Mannermaa's interpretation of Luther is a small aspect of this volume, which is on the subject of the New Perspective on Paul and Patristic theology. Riley seems to have used this book as a means to expound upon his own problems with the Finnish interpretation of Luther, rather than actually engaging the text.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sanctification as Progressive in Lutheran Orthodoxy

People have often attacked the utilization of the term "progressive sanctification," as a strictly reformed or Wesleyan view. I have shown in the past that this concept is clearly taught in the Lutheran Confessions and the Pauline epistles. This teaching is also one that is taught in various Lutheran theologians throughout the centuries. It really is a given in Lutheran Orthodoxy. Here are some examples of Lutheran theologians using the term "progress" in reference to sanctification:

"Accordingly, constant progress in sanctification is the form of a true Christian life." Adolf Hoenecke,Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics III, 421.

"It is important to remember, however, that the word sanctification has aquired a definite and restricted meaning, and now refers to the progressive growth in holiness which follows in the life of the believer after his justification by faith alone." Joseph Stump, The Christian Faith, 276.

"Now it belongs to the very nature of life to develop, to increase, and to make progress. And it is this development or growth of the new life that we now wish to consider. It is called sanctification."- G.H. Gerberding, The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, 147.

"Justification being purely an act of God, is instantaneous and complete; sanctification being a work in which man has a share, is progressive." - The Way of Salvation, 148.

"Renovation [a synonym for sanctification in Lutheran orthodoxy] is therefore considered to be a continually progressive action both on God's part and on man's." Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 506.

"our renovation progresses from day to day." Quensdedt as cited in Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 506.

"Unlike Justification, Sanctification is gradual and has its degrees...Through this struggle the child of God constantly advances toward perfection." - Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, 202.

"Is Renewal or Sanctification instantaneous? The struggle as described in Rom. 7 very clearly points to a gradual process. In Col. 1:9-11, an increase of spiritual gifts is prayed for those who had already experienced a renewal (3:9, 10). So on the positive side." Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, 253.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Antinomianism Part 2

On today's program I continued the discussion from last week on antinomianism. I discussed antinomian tendencies within contemporary Lutheranism in reference to my recent post on the issue. I went through the quotes I provided and demonstrated how to correctly speak of this issue in a balanced manner. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Characteristics of Lutheran Antinomianism

The subject of sanctification, good works, and antinomianism has once again come to prominence in the blogosphere, and Gottesdienst has had a number of recent posts on this subject, utilizing quotes from the Lutheran fathers over against what are perceived antinomian tendencies in certain realms of Lutheranism. One of the things I have noticed in these debates is that one side defends the necessity of preaching good works, while others deny that antinomianism even exists within Lutheranism. Part of the problem is that antinomianism is a notoriously hard beast to define, especially since the manner in which the term is used today is not exactly as it had been used in Luther's time. But, for the sake of clarity on these issues, I think it would be beneficial to try and specifically identify what some of these antinomian tendencies are. These are all statements I have heard from Lutheran pastors, and so I guarantee they are not made up, as some seem to assume:

Sanctification is not a process, but is purely positional as is justification.

The believer is not the new man-Christ is.

The Christian does not cooperate in sanctification.

God's work of sanctification can never be evidenced by a changed life.

Pastors should not encourage people unto good works in sermons.

If you preach on sanctification, you are trying to go "beyond Jesus."

The Christian is utterly sinful, and his good deeds are as filthy rags, so that nothing other than his faith differentiates him from the unbeliever.

There are no rewards for the Christian's good works in heaven.

Lutherans should not worry about what is or is not sin, because Christian liberty negates it.

It is "unlutheran" to ask if a certain behavior is or is not sinful.

That the Christian does not in any sense cease from committing certain sins, because this is a denial of the simul.

Christians always do good works, but they are purely spontaneous, so we should never encourage people to do them, and they are not visible to us. In other words, good works exist, but we should never talk about them and we can't see them.

The doctrine of vocation is the only thing we can say about Christian living; there is no sense in which the Christian's faith grows, and holiness grows.

Because Paul's epistles were not sermon, we should never follow the gospel with imperatives as he does in our sermons.


These are, what I perceive as antinomian tendencies within Lutheranism. If you haven't heard these types of statements made: great! I hope you don't. But unfortunately, these ideas are out there, and are harmful to the church as they are completely inconsistent with our Confessions and Scripture.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Antinomianism

On today's program I discussed antinomianism in light of reformed theologian Mark Jones' new book on the topic. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Biblical Refutation of Purgatory

On today's program, I continued my response to Karlo Broussard on purgatory. I dealt with his arguments from Scripture. The two texts addressed are from 1 Corintians 3, and Matthew 5. It was demonstrated that these two texts do not say anything about purgatory.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Purgatory


On today's program I discussed the Roman Catholic teaching on purgatory. I reviewed a lecture by Karlo Broussard, a Roman Catholic apologist, and discussed our differences, pointing out the errors in his argument. This is the beginning of a two part series in response to this lecture.

Here is the program

Friday, November 8, 2013

The End of Protestantism?

Peter Leithart recently posted a provocative article on First Things titled "The End of Protestantism." In this article, Leithart argues that there is a divergence between what he labels "Reformation catholicism," and "Protestantism." Protestantism, he argues, has been characterized by it's strong aversion to anything viewed as Roman Catholic. He writes:

"When I studied at Cambridge, I discovered that English Evangelicals define themselves over against the Church of England. Whatever the C of E is, they ain’t. What I’m calling “Protestantism” does the same with Roman Catholicism. Protestantism is a negative theology; a Protestant is a not-Catholic. Whatever Catholics say or do, the Protestant does and says as close to the opposite as he can."

This anti-Roman Catholicism has characterized many Christian traditions since the Reformation, as Rome has been viewed as the ultimate enemy of the Gospel, and anything resembling her must be destroyed. This was primarily the attitude of the Anabaptists and others who are considered part of the "radical reformation," rather than the traditional Confessional church bodies. 

Anyone who is part of a Lutheran or Anglican church has heard the retort from their Baptist and evangelical friends and neighbors, that their worship too closely resembles the "great whore" or whatever other derogatory name they apply to the Roman Catholic church.  The best of Reformation traditions attempted to be truly catholic in their beliefs and practices, keeping those elements of the medieval church that were Biblical, while rejecting aspects of theology and worship which were contrary to the Gospel. 

Part of this article hinges on the use of the term "Protestant." Historically, Protestantism referred to the Confessional Reformed and Lutheran traditions, as opposed to the Roman Catholic and Anabaptist movements. In the contemporary church, Protestantism has been the term applied broadly to any church that is not Roman Catholic. Roman Catholic apologists, for example, will commonly lump Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other heretical fringe groups in with "Protestantism." The name "Protestant," like the name "evangelical" no longer has any particular meaning, other than stating that one is "not Roman Catholic." That's why most Lutherans, many Anglicans, and some Presbyterians have rejected the use of the term.

Leithart is absolutely correct that what is needed is a Reformational catholicism. What the contemporary church needs is to find it's historical roots, and identify itself not simply with the church of the Reformation, but with the historic church--and that doesn't just mean Augustine. We need to view ourselves as the church of Justin Martyr, of Chrysostom, Bernard, and even Aquinas. That doesn't, of course, mean absolute agreement with all of these figures, but we need to recognize them as our forefathers as much as Rome sees them as theirs. 

The question I have often asked of Leithart and others involved in the Federal Vision movement, is: why Presbyterian? In some ways, articles like this tend to search for catholicism in Reformed Christianity where it simply is not there. The Lutheran Confessions contain citations from the fathers and medieval theologians along with Scripture to defend their teachings; the Reformed Confessions don't do this. This points to what I think has historically been a difference between Lutheran and Reformed Christianity. Lutheranism has generally seen itself (as has Anglicanism) as a branch of the historic Western church in a way that Calvinism hasn't. Certainly figures like Augustine and even Aquinas have been influential for certain Reformed writers, but there has not been a consistent emphasis on the continuity of the church.

Luther's Reformation kept the traditional Roman Mass with some necessary changes, while Zwingli rejected the traditional Roman service. While Calvin certainly held to a liturgical form of worship, the insistence on the regulative principle of worship essentially cut off the Reformed from continuity of worship with the patristic and medieval church. The Mercersburg and Federal Vision movements certainly are valuable in their insistence on the catholicity of the church. I simply don't think such a stance can be consistently held from  Reformed perspective, which is why the Federal Vision proponents have been so vigorously attacked in Confessional Presbyterianism. 

R. Scott Clark quickly posted a rebuttal to Leithart titled: "Contra Leithart: No, the Reformation isn't Over." I don't want to speak for Leithart, but I don't think he indicated in the article that the Reformation is now over. He is simply trying to point the heirs of the Reformation back to a catholic rather than a sectarian understanding of the faith; this is consistent with the thought of many of the reformers themselves. Clark's conclusion in his post is:

"The Reformation isn’t over, not at least for the confessional Protestant churches, who don’t equivocate, who understand what Rome is really saying, who still submit to the Word of God as the sole, unique authority for faith and life, who affirm the sole sufficiency of Christ and righteousness for us for acceptance with God, for salvation from wrath, and for sanctification, who are resting in Christ and in his finished work for us, and who find their assurance in Christ for us and his promises to us."

Clark's point is correct. The Reformation is not over, and the difference that divide us are deep and important. We cannot simply ignore our difference and pretend the issues the reformers had with Rome have now suddenly been fixed. We still disagree over Sola Scriptura, as well as Sola Gratia, and Sola Fide. We can't simply ignore these issues in the interest of ecumenism. However, the fact that the Reformation is still important does not necessitate Clark's assertion that Rome is a false church. Can't we, as a church, recognize our catholic heritage without having to compromise our Reformational beliefs on the one hand, and condemning all Roman Catholics to hell on the other?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Critique of Dispensationalism

On today's program, I gave a brief overview of the history of Dispensationalism. I critiqued that position by discussing how the New Testament authors interpreted prophetic texts addressed to national Israel.

Here is the program.

I was also on the Boars in the Vineyard podcast this week, which can be found here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Titles from Just and Sinner Publications!

I am pleased to announce that two more volumes of the American Lutheran Classics series are now available. They are Elements of Religion by Henry Eyster Jacobs, and Biblical Dogmatics by A.G. Voigt. They are both available on the Just and Sinner Publications page here

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Response to Steve Ray on Sola Fide

On today's program, I interacted with a lecture by Roman Catholic apologist Steve Ray in which he argued against the doctrine of justification by faith alone. I demonstrated that this idea is clearly taught in Romans,and also discussed James 2.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Discussion with Chris Rosebrough about Strange Fire

I was joined by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith to discuss the recent Strange Fire conference.

Here is the program.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reformed and Lutheran views of Infant Baptism

I discussed a number of topics on today's program. I spent the first half hour talking about the Reformed covenantal argument for infant baptism, and how we should approach this subject. I then answered a listener question about people who are called "righteous," and "blameless" in the Old Covenant. Finally, I addressed the Church of Christ's view of baptism.

Here is the program.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Article on Original Sin

My article "The Lutheran Doctrine of Original Sin in Light of Other Christian Traditions" is out in the Reformation issue of the LOGIA Journal of Lutheran Theology . You can order the journal here in print or electronic format. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Imputation of Christ's Active Obedience


On today's program I gave some updates regarding upcoming projects, and then intended to answer a number of listener questions, but ended up spending the entire program discussing the imputation of Christ's active obedience. I discussed whether this is a Lutheran doctrine, and what texts should and shouldn't be used to support this teaching.

Here is the program.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Look to the Website

I have made some changes to www.JustandSinner.com. The site looks much cleaner, and there is now an easy way to use a blog on a Wix website. The front page of that site is now going to be a blog. For a while I will be posting both here and on the other site, but eventually I will be using that blog exclusively. Just a heads up.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Preparationism of Paul Washer

On today's program, I discussed the connection between the preparationist theology of early American Puritanism and it's connection to the theology of Paul Washer. I review of ten minute segment of a Paul Washer sermon which demonstrates his dependence on this view of Christian conversion, and discussed the danger inherent in this approach.

Here is the program

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Lutherans View the Mosaic Law

Today's program was an eclectic one. I answered listener questions on a variety of topics. First, I answered a question regarding divine monergism and Luther's work The Bondage of the Will. I then spent the majority of the program discussing the validity of the Mosaic Law for Christians today. I discussed the threefold distinction of the Law and the connection between natural law and the Ten Commandments. Finally I got into a discussion about soteriology in the church fathers, dealing specifically with penance and legalism in the North African Church.

Here is the program

Friday, September 20, 2013

Monthly Donations

I have set up an option for monthly donations on the website. Please consider donating if you have benefited from the podcast and website. The work I do takes a lot of time and money, so please consider becoming a regular contributor. Thanks!

You can donate here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Unionism and Mortal Sin

Today's program covered a number of topics as I answered listener questions. I discussed the nature of unionism and different perspectives of fellowship, the distinction between mortal and venial sin in Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, and a Lutheran view of perseverance.

Here is the program.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Final Response to Matt Haney

This is the final program in response to Matt Haney's lecture against a Lutheran view of baptism. I dealt mostly with his misrepresentation of Luther and the Anabaptists.

Here is the program.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church: a Video Introduction


Dialogue with Reformed Baptist Pastor Jeffrey Johnson

I recently was interviewed on the Confessing Baptist podcast alongside of Reformed Baptist pastor Jeffrey Johnson. We discussed the nature of baptism, its relationship to regeneration, and the assurance of salvation. It's worth your time to listen if you would like to hear a respectful and informative dialogue between these two theological and pastoral approaches.

Listen here

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Response to Matt Haney Part 4

This week's program was a continued response to Matt Haney's lecture against baptismal regeneration. I dealt with John 3, and Haney's attacks on Luther's beliefs and character. 

Here's the program.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

American Lutheran Classics Volume 1 Now Available!

The first volume in the series American Lutheran Classics is now available. It is The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church by George Henry Gerberding. This is a work that every Lutheran should read. In it, Gerberding gives a thorough understanding of how Lutherans view salvation. He talks about Baptism, Holy Communion, Sunday school, Confession, Justification, Sanctification, Christian parenting, and he discusses the subject of revivals at length. This is a great introduction to Lutheranism for those who would like to learn more, and a help for those in the Lutheran church, including pastors.

The book can be found here

The kindle edition is here

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Lutheran Rosary



Here are the two ways to use prayer beads that I recommend:

First 
1.Hold the crucifix and meditate on the cross. Recite John 3:16 or another verse.
2.Continue meditating on the cross until you get to the first large bead
3.At the medal, recall the Holy Trinity
4.Throughout the next beads, meditate on the Ten Commandments, remembering where you have fallen short
5.Meditate on the Apostle's Creed, recalling God's great acts of salvation
6.Pray the Lord's Prayer
7.Meditate on Holy Baptism using Mathew 28:19, Acts 2:38, or another verse about Baptism
8. Meditate on Confession, reciting Psalm 25:11, the Jesus prayer, or another verse of confession
9. Meditate on the Sacrament of the Altar reciting the words of institution
10. End holding the cross, with the invocation and make the sign of the cross



Second
1. Holding the crucifix, say the Invocation and make the sign of the cross;
2. Holding the crucifix, say the Apostles Creed
3. Holding the first bead, say the Our Father
4. On each of the next three beads, say the Jesus Prayer
5. On the chain, say the Doxology
6. On the large bead, say the Our Father
7. On each of the next ten beads, say the Jesus Prayer
8. Holding the chain, say the Doxology
9. Repeat these steps until you have gone through all the beads
10. Holding the medal, say  the Magnificat
11. Holding the crucifix, end with the Invocation and make the sign of the cross