Thursday, January 22, 2009

SOME LUTHERAN BALANCE FOR CALVINISTS

I thought the following thoughts from Martin Luther, as mentioned by my friend Jamey Bennett, are very useful and helpful to us Calvinists. As Calvinists, we have a tendency to *focus* on predestination. We say that we believe Christ is more important, but I'm afraid that our reactions against Arminianism may have inadvertently caused us to focus on and start with what should have come later.

The doctrine of predestination is biblical. But the doctrine of Christ and His gospel is more important. Consider, as taken from my friend's website:

"[Martin Luther] spoke of predestination and said that when a man begins to dispute about it, it is like a fire that cannot be extinguished, and the more he disputes the more he despairs. Our Lord God is so hostile to such disputation that he instituted Baptism, the Word, and the Sacrament as signs to counteract it. We should rely on these and say: 'I have been baptized. I believe in Jesus Christ. I have received the Sacrament. What do I care if I have been predestined or not?' In Christ, God has furnished us with a foundation on which to stand and from which we can go up to heaven. He is the only way and the only gate which leads to the Father. If we despise this foundation and in the devil's name start building at the roof, we shall surely fall. If only we are able to believe that the promises have been spoken by God and see behind them the one who has spoken them, we shall magnify that Word. But because we hear it as it comes to us through the lips of a man, we are apt to pay as little attention to it as to the mooing of a cow."

3 comments:

Josh Brisby said...

Notice, we cannot start building at the roof. We cannot place the cart before the horse. Any position wrapped up in eternal decrees as prominent will inevitably lead to a Law-orientedness, since the nature of God is perfection. This is why Luther spoke of the hidden God (Deus absconditus) versus the revealed God in Christ (Deus revelatus). If you want to know God, it is *there* that you will find Him: in the revealed God in Christ. Otherwise you are doomed for Law and terror.

Anonymous said...

Bahnsen says predestination is the heart of the gospel....



B.J.

Josh Brisby said...

B.J.,

I would most certainly disagree there. The heart of the gospel is the work of Jesus Christ. He would need to explain what he means by that.