Search This Blog

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lutheran confusion on SOLA fide?… not Triglotta! Part 2c

      This continues from Part 2b (Table of contents in Part 1) in connection with the unveiling of the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta on Google Books this year, 2017.  —  Along with outright warfare against the doctrine of "sola fide", there is substantial confusion… a confusion that aids the enemy of the truth.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Although its "ongoing discussion" is silent since 2010, the below Book Of Concord blog at least published some defense of "sola fide", a basic doctrine of the Lutheran Reformation, albeit a weakened defense (in 2008).
Rev. Paul T. McCain
In his blog post "Roundtable 36: The Papacy (Smalcald Articles II.iv)" (archived copy) of July 26, 2008, Rev. Paul T. McCain used the word "alone" 18 times!  Quite magnificent!  We learn from Rev. McCain that he speaks at times officially for the LC-MS ("yours truly authored" FAQ).  In an official LC-MS FAQ, he states the following that gives a true Lutheran some clear counsel (emphasis mine):
“Rome's view of justification is that they view it as a process, whereby we cooperate with God's grace in order to merit eternal life for ourselves, and even for others (that is a paraphrase of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches). They view grace as a sort of “substance” that God infuses into us that permits us to do those works that are necessary in order that we might earn more grace.”
The reader will note that McCain gives a similar explanation of Rome's duplicity as Franz Pieper does – "infused grace".  And it was helpful that McCain published a Vatican statement showing that papists have not changed since 1910 or 1530:
"... good works of the justified are always the fruit of grace. But at the same time, and without in any way diminishing the totally divine initiative, they are the fruit of man, justified and interiorly transformed."
"Interiorly transformed" is another term for "infused grace".  The Roman Catholic Church still teaches that "good works... are the fruit of man ... interiorly transformed" or by "infused grace", not the fruit of faith alone. John 15:5.

So why then?
      So why then is there such great emphasis in this same article and in the LC-MS that the person or the individual of the Pope is not the Antichrist?  Compare this with Luther's writing in the Smalcald Articles:
LC-MS / Paul McCain
Smalcald Articles,
“The LCMS does not teach, nor has it ever taught, that any individual Pope as a person, is to be identified with the Antichrist.” …
Today we can be thankful that there the extravagant claims made for Papal authority on heaven and on earth are no longer being made by the Papacy, and we praise God for any movement more toward the proclamation of Christ that we do see and notice in more recent Papal sermons and addresses.
“Just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord.”
I would invite the reader to form their own judgment as to whether the LC-MS and Paul McCain are here speaking in the spirit of the Smalcald Articles (i.e. the Lutheran Confessions) or not.  Nowhere does the Smalcald Articles II, iv teach what the LC-MS teaches on this point.  No, rather than McCain's assertion that "confessional Lutherans must be sensitive", they must remain vigilant so that they do not succumb to the duplicity of the Papists. They must rather continue to sharply warn of the Pope as the very Antichrist and the reason why: sola fide!  That is the proper way to be truly "sensitive".
      And why is McCain's blog on the Book of Concord now silent since 2010?  Could it be that McCain and his partners were already showing weakness as Lutherans by their rhetoric that "the person of the Pope is not the Antichrist"?  Could it be that as Paul McCain and the LC-MS teachers attempt to be "sensitive confessional Lutherans", they need to be reminded of Luther's sharp warning to Philip Melanchthon?

"Bible Fundamentalists"?
To: Rev. Paul T. McCain:
      As I scanned through your blog article, I first thought you were raised Catholic since you attended a Roman Catholic High School.  And so I wondered that you had later been confronted with the errors of the Roman Church and left it for the Bible truth of the Lutheran Church.  But then I read your article more closely and what did I find?  No, you were "a Lutheran kid"!  But why were you, as "a Lutheran kid", sent to a Roman Catholic High School?  I also grew up among many Roman Catholic families who attended a large church in the neighborhood that had an attached school.  But my LC-MS parents (farm family) would not have dreamed of sending their children to that Roman Catholic school!  But you speak of this schooling without embarrassment, indeed you speak with affection:
"There is so much in the Roman Catholic Church that I love and cherish"
– Rev. Paul T. McCain
In your blog article, you disparage "Bible fundamentalists", but would it not be natural for them to group you with the Roman Catholics because you attend their church school with them, even though you were "a Lutheran kid"?… but you attack the so-called (ignorant?) "Bible fundamentalists" who do just this?  Maybe those "Bible fundamentalists" were aware that Martin Luther defied the Roman Pope!… but there was that "Lutheran kid" Paul McCain going to school with the Roman Catholic students, being taught by a Jesuit priest ("S.J."), nuns, and "sisters and brothers", presumably because he either wanted this or his parents sent him there.  Could it be Rev. McCain, that with your "sensitivity" towards Roman Catholicism today you are one of the many victims of the LC-MS's confusion of Lutheranism?  I have gleaned from some LC-MS modernists (e.g. Carl S. Meyer, A.C. Piepkorn, etc.) the charge that the old Missouri teachers were actually "Bible fundamentalists"!  In that charge, I too am a "Bible fundamentalist"!  Franz Pieper praised Bible fundamentalists for their stand against liberal attacks on the Bible.  And in his 1921 essay to the North Dakota-Montana District, Pieper said:
"The Pope's Church curses the Gospel of Christ, and against that Gospel it teaches that the works of men are the way to obtaining forgiveness of sins and salvation.  Of this path, however, the Scripture says: "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse" (Gal.3:10). … Thus all those who enter into the celebrated "unity" of the papal church go into eternal perdition. If there are still people in the Pope's Church who are saved, this is because they inwardly leave the "unity" of the papal church and enter into the unity of the Christian Church, that means, they cease their trust in men's works and in the distress of trial and in the anguish of death they hold firmly alone to Christ's merits obtained by His work of redemption." [translation courtesy Australian ELCR pastor BLW]
And again, Franz Pieper wrote about the Papacy in his Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3 (as quoted earlier):
It has been urged that the Papacy still confesses "fundamental articles" of the Christian faith, such as the article of the Trinity and of the theanthropic Person of Christ. We answer: These "fundamental articles" save no man if at the same time he denies and curses the Christian doctrine of justification. Without the article of justification all other doctrines are empty husks.   That the Papacy still confesses some "fundamental articles" is part of the external adornment by which it seeks to cover up its apostasy from the Christian doctrine.
How is that for "sensitivity"?  Dr. Franz Pieper, President of Concordia Seminary–St. Louis, speaks for the Lutheran Church, just like Smalcald Article II, iv!  Could Pieper's strong stand against the Pope's Church be the reason why you (CPH) are no longer selling the Index to Pieper's Christian Dogmatics?   Rev. McCain, I wonder that Franz Pieper is just a "Bible fundamentalist" to you, for he is as sharp in his attacks against the Roman Church and the Pope as… Martin Luther and Smalcald Articles II, iv! –  But there you are, Rev. Paul T. McCain, in your article explaining to the whole world purportedly as a spokesman for Lutheranism (ostensibly defending the Lutheran Confessions) but saying "there is so much in the Roman Catholic Church that I love and cherish". (Hmmmm...)
      I put it to you, Rev. Paul McCain, that I am not challenging you on old Missouri's teachings of Usury, Life Insurance, or Copernicanism…, no, I am challenging you on the confusion you bring to the Lutheran doctrine of "sola fide" by your over-sensitivity to Roman Catholicism.  As I read your article, one wonders that now, in your times of great distress, you wish that a nun would again whisper to you, you pride yourself for having been awarded (twice!) by them as "religion student of the year", you long for the "Roman Catholic Church that you love and cherish".  I challenge you that you are indeed watering down the Lutheran Confessions' Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article IV Of the Papacy with your fine distinctions that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist (at least not as an individual or person).  And in this, you are watering down the "SOLA fide".
==>> Could it be, Rev. Paul T. McCain, that you are not the prime spokesman for the Lutheran Church that you would have us believe?
      And Rev. McCain, I've seen you compliment the following blogger who identifies himself as Reformed, but since he defends the "sola fide" against a Romanist based on the bare words of Holy Scripture, maybe you should call him a "Bible fundamentalist"?

A Reformed defense?

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics
      It is distressing as a Lutheran to see a Reformed blog by James Swan present a splendid defense of sola fide against a Roman Catholic on his BeggarsAllReformation blog.  Why is this distressing?  Because he rests his case on the bare words of Holy Scripture… there are so few Lutherans who do the same thing.  But that is exactly what the Lutheran Confessions do!  They stand on the bare Word of God.  Indeed, I might have switched to some conservative Baptist or Reformed fellowship had I not gone all the way back to Martin Luther and the old (German) Missouri Synod.  By these faithful Lutheran teachers, it became apparent that those Reformed defenders who seemed to hold to the Scripture doctrines, at least on the "sola fide", were only demonstrating what Walther pointed out

All the Reformed sects... were first Lutheran.

A Lutheran shibboleth! 
      >>> HERE <<< is the Triglotta page spread (especially p.141) where the Apology Article IV deals with this basic Christian doctrine, "sola fide".  All Lutherans should refresh their faith by reading this short section.  All Christians will be strengthened by witnessing where the true Evangelical church, the Church of the Reformation, had it written down, that the teaching of

sola fide, by faith alone, not of works

was the heart and soul of every Christian.

      And although Paul McCain's Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions has some benefits, especially for readability of the English translation, yet I first go to the Triglotta because it came from those old (German) Missouri Synod "Bible fundamentalists" who never leave a Lutheran questioning their Lutheran Confessions!  —  The old Concordia Triglotta is still being attacked by prominent teachers in today's LC-MS.  In the last Part 3, I will examine one of the criticisms and hold it up to a comparison with other commentators.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.