Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Important Note for those Involved in the Lutheran/Reformed Debates

A lot of my time on this blog has been spent on dialoguing with Reformed theology, describing the differences between Lutheran and Reformed theology, and explaining why I believe Lutheranism to be the right side of the Reformation to be on. This has been of interest to me because of my Reformed background, and because several of my closest friends are still Reformed. I have talked to several readers, close to two dozen, who have become Lutheran partially through reading this blog and my articles. For that, I am extremely grateful.

I want to say that I will be stepping back from this discussion in the near future. I have written a book on the subject, which I am now editing and waiting to hear back from a publisher. Once this work is done, it will likely be my final word on the subject for some time.

I wanted to make this public so that I would give my readers and listeners time to ask me questions on this subject before I move on to other things. There are likely many questions that I have left unanswered at this point. Some people have tried to organize debates with Reformed scholars on these subjects, but nothing has worked out yet. Perhaps something will in the future. Now would be the time to do this.

I won't ever completely abandon this aspect of my studies, but there are others areas which are much more interesting to me; primarily in Patristic theology and the doctrine of justification. At some point this will become the focus of what I do my writing and podcasting on.

And to be perfectly honest, much of the reason that I am ready to move on is that, quite frankly, I'm tired. It's no secret that the Reformed internet community can be quite vicious. (This is the case of course with any internet community) I can only have these arguments for so long before I need a serious break. I simply can't deal with people telling me that Lutherans are Arminians, that I deny sola fide by being sacramental, or that I must be a heretic because I can't say with absolute certainty that the Pope is going to hell. Perhaps I will come back to this later in life, but one can only take so much of these types of hostile discussions.

For all who have been such a huge support as I have written on these topics, I want to say thank you.

20 comments:

J. Dean said...

You fought the good fight on this one, Jordan, and have really done a great job with it. I'm looking forward to your book coming out, and can say that I'm one of those who has been heading toward Wittenberg and away from Geneva in part because of your excellent work.

So I'll get my question in quick then ! :D

Rev. T. R. Holland said...

You have fought the good fight! Even the hardiest of soldiers need R&R! Besides, it's going to be nice to talk about the things of Lutheranism without the comparison to the Reformed Position, just for the sake of delving deeper for deeper's sake!

Blessings to you Brother, I can say that we all are looking forward to reading your book and the continued discussions of all things Lutheran. I think you are doing a VERY important work here with regards to Lutheranism, to my knowledge, there is no one in the mainstream who is doing what you do. Continue Brother and know you have the support of your listeners and followers, we are here to lift each other up!

Anonymous said...

Well, as an Anglican who has just discovered your blog over the past week and has gone back to read several of your previous entries, I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on differences between Lutheran and Reformed doctrine. I have noted many similarities between Lutheranism and classical Anglicanism, particularly in regards to the sacraments and in the critique of '5-point-Calvinism'. Keep up the good work!

Doubting Thomas

Chaz said...

Thank you for all your work Jordan. One question before you stop the reformed topics. The reformed say we do violence to the incarnation, when we "deify" the physical body of Christ. For example, in the Lord's Supper. They say we confuse the 2 natures in Christ and violate scripture and the council of Chalcedon. My reformed (Orthodox Presby( friend and I have be debating this for sometime. I have read the Book of Concord on this, but still need help. Thank you and God bless you and your family!

Jordan Cooper said...

Thank you everyone for all of the encouragement. It is very much appreciated.

Doubting Thomas,
There are a lot of similarities between Lutherans and Anglicans, as we are the two Reformation groups who fought to remain within the catholic heritage and have retained historic liturgy and a sacramental theology. Dialogue with Anglicans is something that we should be doing more, and is one of the things I would like to explore in the future.

Chaz,
Good question! This is one that we get all the time from the Reformed folks, and I will be sure to give you an answer sometime soon.

David Cochrane said...

Ye it is tiring to always be embroiled in those debates which turn into arguments.

It is a sadness that many seem to be unable to speak openly of differences without offense. So many take it so personal. Almost like they have not value or identity apart from their particular viewpoints. Tragic.

The Lord's blessings on what he has for you to do. I appreciate seeing your growth in understanding the differences between the two schools of thought.

God's peace. †

Nicholas said...

Being a former Calvinistic Baptist who recently became a Lutheran, I have benefited greatly from your work in this area and on all the other subjects you cover. I look forward to your study of the patristics.

I also look forward to the release of your two books.

infanttheology said...

Jordan,

You've set a great tone for these important polemical discussions. Kudos to you.

+Nathan

Steve Bricker said...

I have enjoyed the Reformed/Lutheran comparisons. I'm looking forward to Patristics though. My own preference is the North African Ante-Nicene Fathers, but I have to admit to great respect for John Chrysostom; and then Cappadocian Fathers are interesting to read as well.

James Swan said...

"And to be perfectly honest, much of the reason that I am ready to move on is that, quite frankly, I'm tired. It's no secret that the Reformed internet community can be quite vicious. (This is the case of course with any internet community)"

Your last sentence sums it up. I've been attacked by... well, everyone, Lutherans, Romanists, schwarmerei, etc. It will certainly be the case that each community will have people that are abrasive. On the other hand, The written word, while capable of tremendous depth, does have an element at times of being one-dimensional. That is, what you (or I) might see as a hostile comment might not be so if the same comment was given in a face to face encounter.

Nicholas said...

@James Swan

One of the people that you let contribute to Beggars All, named Rhology, is a "Reformed Baptist" who is rather jaundiced in his view of Lutheranism. It expresses itself in his comments made in the blogosphere.

And here is what your friend Steve Hays thinks of Lutheranism: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-death-of-lutheranism.html

Jordan Cooper said...

Wow, that post from Steve Hays is awful in so many ways. I am left speechless. I haven't seen what Rhology has said about Lutheranism, but I have heard he can be pretty vicious as well. Someone tried to put together a debate between the two of us, but he refused.

James- I wasn't aware that you read my blog. I know that Lutherans can be just as rude and arrogant, as can Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and basically everyone else.

James Swan said...

James- I wasn't aware that you read my blog. I know that Lutherans can be just as rude and arrogant, as can Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and basically everyone else.

Sure, I monitor a lot of Lutheran blogs. I'll also be interested in going through your book.

JS

Anonymous said...

Jordan, Haven't the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox done the early church fathers? They seem to live and breathe the ECF. So much so that reading on the ECF can be daunting because there is so much available.

There is a hole in the Reformed/Lutheran discussions that could be fleshed out. The Calvinists seem to know so very little about Lutheran doctrine. Lutherans do tend to know a lot about Calvinist doctrine, tho.

Just sayin' ....

Jordan Cooper said...

The RCC and EOC don't have a monopoly on the fathers. There's a lot of work that still needs to be done in that area, and I think it is essential for Lutherans to reclaim their Patristic heritage.

David Gray said...

>> The Calvinists seem to know so very little about Lutheran doctrine. Lutherans do tend to know a lot about Calvinist doctrine, tho.

Really? I think it goes both ways. Listen to something like Issues Etc and very few guests come close to accurately talking about Reformed doctrine (let alone the pup who joked about how the Reformed are the "Deformed").

I'm sorry that Jordan will be letting up on this as he's a rare bird to discuss this, do it reasonably accurately and do it without being nasty. I think very few Reformed and very few Lutherans care what each other teach.

Jordan Cooper said...

David, I think you are absolutely right. I sometimes shake my head in disbelief when listening to Issues etc. because of the terrible caricatures of Calvinism that certain guests put out there.

This certainly goes both ways.

David Gray said...

I remember talking with a fellow midway through seminary in an OPC church and asking him if he didn't have a Reformed church he could attend what would he attend. He said a Baptist church. I told him I'd attend a Missouri Synod church and he was very surprised and said he just couldn't do that.

What kind of Calvinist would go where they refuse to baptize children and believe Christ is absent from the supper? And they generally aren't monergists to boot? A very poor Calvinist.

Tara Tyler said...

Cool ! I like it.

Tomoko said...

This is cool!