Posts from the “Theology” Category

Death: suspension of the law of nature

Posted on April 16th, 2014

My mother sent me this quotation from Flannery O’Connor. I don’t know the source, but it’s beautiful: The virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection . . . are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of those laws. . . . [It] would never have occurred to human consciousness to conceive of purity if we were not to look forward to a resurrection of the body, which will be flesh and spirit united in peace, in the way they were in Christ. The resurrection of Christ seems the high point in the law of nature.

Roots and Orthodoxy

Posted on April 11th, 2014

In Washington, D.C., a new church held its first service on March 30. Called Roots DC, they meet in a bar and appear, from their website, very post-modern. Among other things, they present themselves as a church for those who are “looking for a way of life instead of a system of doctrine.” That’s nothing new on the American church scene. On April 4, a former Missouri Synod clergyman, Joshua Genig, wrote about his departure to Eastern Orthodoxy, after just a few years of service as a pastor. Genig has a reason for not wanting to discuss his conversion with detractors: “I have embraced a way of life, not a set of dogmatic presuppositions.” Thus you have a modern convert to an Eastern church, and…

Different understandings of faith

Posted on April 9th, 2014

How can you articulate the core difference between Eastern Orthodoxy and the theology of the West? Original sin is, of course, critical to the discussion. But there is something deeper, which I have often termed mysticism. I wonder if the difference is really as simple as what we mean by “faith.” Rod Dreher at The American Conservative (“Do You Really Want To Be Orthodox?”) shared a letter by the Orthodox nun Mother Thekla, in which she encourages the convert to the East not to embrace any knowing beyond faith. Crucial is the definition of faith which follows: Faith means accepting the Truth without proof. Faith and knowledge are the ultimate contradiction –and the ultimate absorption into each other. The classic Western definition of faith…

Expect trials, be patient

Posted on April 7th, 2014

If you lead a temperate and sensible life, you should not suppose that you will live without trials and persecution. For if you believe and lead a good, Christian life, the world will not let you alone. It must persecute you and be your enemy. You must bear this with patience, which is a fruit of faith. Luther, AE 30, p156

Are we only playing games?

Posted on April 4th, 2014

Hermann Sasse on Christ’s cross and ours: The theology of the cross is never a Christian philosophy, as is always the case with the theology of glory. I cannot stand over against the One on the cross as an objective observer and give my judgment on Him. Rather, it is He who judges me–condemns me, acquits me. Here lies the reason why the theology of the cross has such a terribly practical side. To believe in the cross always means also to carry the cross. A yes to the cross of Christ is also a yes to my cross. If this is not so, we are only playing games. It is not by chance that whenever Jesus spoke of His cross to His disciples…

Consolation for troubled hearts

Posted on April 3rd, 2014

Troubled hearts should have a firm, sure consolation. Also, due honor should be given to Christ’s merit and God’s grace. Therefore, the Scriptures teach that the righteousness of faith before God stands only in the gracious reconciliation or the forgiveness of sins, which is presented to us out of pure grace, only for the sake of the merit of the Mediator, Christ. This is received through faith alone in the Gospel promise. In the same way also, in justification before God, faith relies neither on contrition nor on love or other virtues. Faith relies on Christ alone and on His complete obedience by which He has fulfilled the Law for us. This obedience is credited to believers for righteousness. SD III.30; Concordia: The Lutheran…

The “Star Wars” God

Posted on April 2nd, 2014

God is a person and not a force. There are dangers in a “Star Wars” mentality that conceives of God as “the Force,” for we are persons, and therefore assume, correctly, that we are superior to forces. We harness and use forces; so if we conceive of God as a force, we might wrongly imagine that God is some power that we can harness and use, rather than regarding him as our Creator and Lord, who is worthy of and due our allegiance and worship. It is for him to use us, not for us to use him. John C. Lennox, Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science (p. 96). Zondervan.

Justification prior to Augustine

Posted on March 31st, 2014

This is a very serious problem – and does much to explain how modern apologists (whether Lutheran, Reformed, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox) are able to get away with deceptive statements about their position being the sole teaching of antiquity: The teaching of justification prior to Augustine seems to be largely ignored by doctrinal historians. D.H. Williams, quoted in The Righteousness of One: An Evaluation of Early Patristic Soteriology in Light of the New Perspective on Paul (by Jordan Cooper; Kindle Locations 696-697)