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. 


David Gray said...

Good program, good discussion of antinomianism.

J. Dean said...

Agree with David, this is a good topic to discuss and you did a good job of tackling the topic without doing what Jones did (falling into the legalism camp).

Question, Jordan: I've heard Lutherans assert that the second use of the Law can do the job of the third use if it's used correctly (some say that Walther does this in his Law/Gospel volume). Would you agree?

Mike G. said...


Matthew Tuininga, a licensed URC minister, has written several posts about the use of the Law in the N.T

I was wondering if some of the discussions about the 3rd use of the Law in Lutheranism would be helped from this perspective?

the Old Adam said...

The 1st and 2nd uses do the job (already} of the supposed "3rd use".

"The law is written upon our hearts."

We already know what to do. We just won't do it.

So much for the "3rd use".

"Christ is the end of the law for all those who have faith…"

Jordan Cooper said...

I have yet to see you quote that verse correctly.

the Old Adam said...

What are you talking about?

We all know the rest of the verse and it does not change it's meaning.

You cannot use the law to make yourself a better Christian.
It can only make you worse.

Jordan Cooper said...

"Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness," which means that the law is not a means of our justification, but that does not mean it is completely invalid and cannot act as a guide for the believer.

the Old Adam said...


When we hear the law accuse us, we know what it was after. (there's your guide)

We believers are not after living by prescribed rules. You wouldn't need any faith then. The law will do.

But we live by faith…in Him. In freedom to live and love…not worried about slipping up. It's far too late for that anyway.

Levi Nunnink said...

I just read through Luther's 8 sermons at Wittenberg. Anyone who thinks Luther didn't support exhortation to good works in preaching needs to read those. IMHO they are a perfect case study of evangelical exhortation to love.

Jordan Cooper said...

Thanks Levi! I'll give these a read.

rmotsen said...

If Forde represents one extreme on the issue of antinomianism, I wonder if you would agree that Bonhoeffer represents the other. In THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP, Bonhoeffer writes, "We Lutherans have gathered like eagles round the carcase of cheap grace, and there we have drunk of the poison which has killed the life of following Christ..., in fact we have exalted that doctrine (Justification by faith alone) to the position of God himself." In one of the sharpest condemnations of his own church, Bohhoeffer claims that "To be 'Lutheran' must mean that we leave the following of Christ to legalists, Calvinists,and enthusiasts..." I realize that Bonhoeffer is talking about discipleship and not about sanctification, and perhaps such terms as "cheap grace" and "costly grace" do not apply to the topic of antinomianism, but I think that these issues do overlap theologically. Bonhoeffer says that "the word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works." He would completely agree with Pastor Cooper about making exhortations to do good works because all to often preachers fail to call us to true discipleship. They preach cheap grace and snuff out the desire to lead a life of discipleship and obedience. Luther's explanations to the Ten Commandments is my favorite part of the Small Catechism. Many years ago, a syndicated columnist wrote about how Luther's explanations added so much more depth to his understanding of the Law. They could be an outline for sanctification. To your average evangelical, the third commandment means simply going to church every Sunday or Sabbath day. For Luther, the third commandment means to "not neglect His Word and the preaching of it, but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it." If next Sunday you sleep through the entire sermon, Luther would probably say that you have broken that commandment even though you were physically in a church. Finally, I wanted to mention Adolf Koberle and his book, Justification and Sanctification(THE QUEST FOR HOLINESS). Koberle writes that the New Testament "speaks of sanctification both in the imperative and indicative moods. It is described as a divine gift and at the same time as a result of our obedient choice...This antithesis must be maintained in Christian ethics with the utmost care. Man must be denied all credit but dare never be relieved of his full responsibility." positional and process?

Jordan Cooper said...

You very well may be right about Bonhoeffer. It's been a long time since I read The Cost of Discipleship, and I wasn't Lutheran at the time I read it.