Posts tagged “Antinomianism

Luther on belief without works

Posted on January 16th, 2014

“My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Dr. Luther says that St. John is denouncing those who only pay lip-service to the Gospel. They retain just the froth together with their presumption that faith and the Gospel are a mere matter of words…. You can see that their doctrines are mere husks and empty shells from the way these people conduct their lives. They have no intention of living in accordance with the Gospel nor do they intend to demonstrate Christian love to show that they really do take the gospel seriously. That is why they become slothful and refuse to do any works, protesting that their field of action…

How do Lutherans use the Law?

Posted on December 10th, 2013

Several posts at Gottesdienst Online (“Are you an Antinomian?” and “Luther in the Antinomian Disputations”) have highlighted the problem among Lutherans in understanding and applying the Law. Jason Braaten notes, This is how we are to preach the law according to Luther: ” . . . so as to admonish to good. . . . by way of exhortation . . . .” The law is not just for the lawless, to terrify. It is to be preached to the pious so as to admonish to good. I agree with Jordan Cooper’s observation in “Characteristics of Lutheran Antinomianism” that there is an antinomian problem in American Lutheranism. I too have heard the kind of statements he has highlighted: The believer is not the new man-Christ…

The many forms of antinomianism

Posted on October 26th, 2012

Whether overtly or covertly, the only defense theologians of glory have against the destructive nature of law is some kind of antinomianism (anti-law-ism). Antinomianism comes in many forms. The law will be rejected as old-fashioned or pietistic or fundamentalistic, or it will be contextualized or modified according to the latest scientific discovery or genetic theory, and so on. -Gerhard O. Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross

The many forms of antinomianism

Posted on September 17th, 2012

Gerhard Forde, in On Being a Theologian of the Cross, discusses the many forms in which antinomianism comes. Whether overtly or covertly, the only defense theologians of glory have against the destructive nature of law is some kind of antinomianism (anti-law-ism). Antinomianism comes in many forms. The law will be rejected as old-fashioned or pietistic or fundamentalistic, or it will be contextualized or modified according to the latest scientific discovery or genetic theory, and so on.

Advent reading, day 4: A son of tears

Posted on December 1st, 2011

Continuing the reading of Augustine’s Confessions; today, the end of Book III and the beginning of Book IV (Schedule here) Augustine covers several topics in this section: his mother’s prayers, thoughts on the nature of sin, his Manichean folly, and the beginning of his affair with the unnamed woman with whom he lived for many years. Some points that particularly stood out to me: People commit crimes for various reasons: revenge, greed, envy. “Or it may simply be pleasure in the misfortunes of others that tempts people to crime: this is the pleasure felt by those who watch gladiators, and anyone who laughs and mocks at other people.” As I have written elsewhere, I am glad to be rid of the football obsession that…

Theology quiz

Posted on August 26th, 2010

What do you think about the following statement? True or false? Those things which have been commanded [by God] are necessary as the fruits of righteousness, even if they are not necessary for righteousness itself which comes alone from faith. For it is not the freedom of the Gospel to be able to omit the commandments of God.

The threefold pattern of Christian theology and life

Posted on December 14th, 2009

I should have learned this in Seminary, but it wasn’t until after ordination that my friend, Pastor Tom Fast (then at Christ Lutheran, Jacob, Illinois, and now in Fairmont, MN), introduced me to the basic structure of Lutheran theology, seen in the first three chief parts of the Small Catechism: Repentance, Faith, Holy Living. (This is a major emphasis of the sainted Kenneth Korby, from whom I suspect Pr. Fast learned it.) Recovering this basic structural understanding of the Lutheran faith is critical, I believe, in navigating between the twin dangers of pietism/works righteousness on the one side, and antinomianism on the other. I was reminded of this again while reading Luther this past weekend; here he lays it out quite succinctly in his…

FC VI, part 3 of 7

Posted on August 26th, 2008

For seven days, I am publishing one part per day of Article VI in the Formula of Concord (Epitome) on the Third Use of the Law. Here is the third affirmative statement: Although believers are regenerate and renewed in the spirit of their mind, in the present life this regeneration and renewal is not complete. It is only begun. Believers are, by the spirit of their mind, in a constant struggle against the flesh. They struggle constantly against the corrupt nature and character, which cleaves to us until death. This old Adam still dwells in the understanding, the will, and all the powers of humanity. It is necessary that the Law of the Lord always shine before them, so that they may not start…

FC VI, part 2 of 7

Posted on August 25th, 2008

For seven days, I am publishing one part per day of Article VI in the Formula of Concord (Epitome) on the Third Use of the Law. Here is the second affirmative statement: We believe, teach, and confess that the preaching of the Law is to be encouraged diligently. This applies not only for the unbelieving and impenitent, but also for true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified through faith. -From Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions, 1st Ed., p504

FC VI, part 1 of 7

Posted on August 24th, 2008

For seven days, I will publish one part of the Formula of Concord: Epitome, Article VI, the Third Use of the Law. Here is the first affirmative statement: We believe, teach, and confess that, even though people who are truly believing in Christ and truly converted to God have been freed and exempted from the curse and coercion of the Law, they are still not without the Law on this account. They have been redeemed by God’s Son in order that they may exercise themselves in the Law day and night (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119). Even our first parents before the fall did not live without Law. They had God’s Law written into their hearts, because they were created in God’s image. -From Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions, 1st Ed., p504