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Friday, November 8, 2019

How Lutherans Got Lost.
Foundations for Calvinism in American Lutherdom


To take back our neighbor's garbage barrel, I opened the gate to Mrs. Gardener's backyard. Their two dogs, Chuckee and Skinny, greeted me and ran for the western horizon. I followed them for a time but lost sight of both, running toward the Interstate, spurred onward by my calls. I could imagine the voices on my way back, "You opened the gate and let them out?"

Lutherans let the basic Biblical principles escape, too.

Any casual reader can find all the historical inroads for Calvinism in the American Lutheran Church. One was the Prussian Union effort (promoted by Schleiermacher, Halle University grad). Another was the blend of Calvin and Luther in Pietism. Spener is rightly called
"the first union theologian" in Heick's book. (He was our friend and my professor at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.)

Besides all that, each branch of American Lutheranism can be traced back to Pietism, especially the CFW Walther circle who followed their cell group guru, Martin Stephan, obsequiously.

However, the most important part of this doctrinal decline is the failure to teach basic Biblical principles. Not knowing these truths well means the door is open to Calvinism and a host of other isms.



I. Efficacy of the Word
The efficacy of the Word, which means the Spirit and Word always work together and never apart from each other. This is taught with utmost clarity in Isaiah 55, but also throughout the Old and New Testament.

In contrast, Calvin repeatedly stated in his works (see Benjamin Milner) that the Spirit is sovereign and may or not be present in the Word and Sacrament.

 Sig Becker enjoyed adoration for his Objective Justification nonsense. The LCMS and WELS began with Justification by Faith, not OJ.


II. The Ministerial Use of Reason
The Bible is inerrant and infallible, but that definition loses all value when people teach that we must use our human reason, tradition, or both - to judge the Word of God. Sig Becker, who blindly followed Walther in many ways, wrote wisely about this in The Foolishness of God. The Bible is the master, the teacher, so we subordinate our reason and experience to the Scriptures - the ministerial use of reason.

Deviously, the Calvinists repeat the inerrancy language but teach the Word is dead and lifeless unless we use our reason to make it real, relational, and relevant (the slogan of The CORE, WELS).

This perverse approach has led modern theologians, led by Barth-Kirschbaum, to consider the language of the Bible as something to play with, admire, distort, change, and improve. Calvinists are the ultimate improvers, and Barth-Kirschbaum hated Luther.


III. The Means of Grace
Our world is hopelessly in love with the media, but forgetful of the media gratiae, Latin for the Means of Grace. Everyone speaks well of God's grace, as they should. However, the Calvinists have stolen the Means of Grace from Lutherans - or the Lutherans have given them up.



The Lutheran Reformers were quite emphatic and clear about invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of the Sacraments being the only means or instruments of God's grace.

Lazy know-it-alls like Jack Cascione and Phil Hale think they are so cool in following the Calvinist line of thinking. Everyone is already forgiven (and saved)! Calvin loved to mock to efficacy of the Sacraments in his Institutes. But is it not mockery to teach everyone is born forgiven and then baptize babies, for forgiveness, washing, renewal, and rebirth?



And it is additional sacrilege and blasphemy to say everyone is already forgiven - just tell them so - and administer Holy Communion "for the forgiveness of sin!"



IV. Justification by Faith
So many clergy are poorly educated, mis-educated, and trained to hate the Scriptures and Luther. Not only the ELCA aspirants, but also the illiterate are "sent empty away" - from The Fort, Concordia St. Louis, Mordor in Mequon, the Little Seminary on the Prairie, and the almost empty CLC (sic) M.Div. program.

Because the nominal Lutherans have learned to play with the Scriptures - like Calvinists, they see and yet do not see the Chief Article in Genesis 15:6, Romans 4, Galatians, or anywhere else. They read about the Atonement and issue their rebel yell - "Objective Justification, all through the Bible!"

I could cite the academic world outside of the Stephan-Walther cult, but what really matters is the clear teaching of the Bible. We do not need to untangle the SynCon mythologies to understand the Scriptures.

The Book of Concord and Chemnitz are clear about Justification by Faith, as are Gerhard and Calov. When Robert Preus published devastating quotations against OJ, and people noticed, his son dropped Justification and Rome from his citations. Likewise, Rolf stopped chanting "Raised for our justification, Romans 4:25!" and "Behold the Lamb of God!"



V. The Traditional Text
We should not ignore the insidious effect of taking away the traditional text of the Bible in favor of the "scientific view." All the Lutheran groups promote the modern translations, which generate a lot of loot for them. They do not even bring up the King James Version or any Bible in that family (NKJV, KJV21, Third Millenium, etc) - because they adhere to the traditional text.

Is that not just like Calvin to play with the text, based on rules invented by Westcott, Hort, and Tischendorf? If one verse is shorter or longer than another, then it is preferred. Yes, I know that is a contradiction. My favorite is this one - The reading that is more difficult is the better one. Difficult? - more heretical!

Luther and his team of scholars produced the standard German Bible, to supplant lesser efforts. Luther established the German language from that Bible, and I still consult it for his reading of the text. One does not find Luther's Bible "making disciples" or laying down fog on the Sacraments.


So Tyndale modeled his translation on the Luther Bible and was burned at the stake by the King of England for his efforts. A future King of England published the standard English Bible, with Tyndale's work (Team Luther's in English) as the foundation. Translating is a special talent and few are capable of being great language students and translators.

Tyndale Wikipedia
Moynahan writes: "A complete analysis of the Authorised Version, known down the generations as 'the AV' or 'the King James' was made in 1998. It shows that Tyndale's words account for 84% of the New Testament and for 75.8% of the Old Testament books that he translated."[57] Joan Bridgman makes the comment in the Contemporary Review that, "He [Tyndale] is the mainly unrecognised translator of the most influential book in the world.
Good News! 
Skinny caught up with me while I was moping on my way home. She joyously jumped me, bumped me, followed and ran ahead of me. I let her into her backyard and told her owner. He said,  "Don't worry. Chuckee will come back and sit on the front patio. She always does."

Biblical doctrine can come back too.