"Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it."


- Martin Luther




Luther's Rose


I wish most importantly to state a case for Christ and His Cross for the unbeliever, but I also wish to make the case for both the unbeliever and the "blessedly inconsistent" towards the true apostolic and catholic teachings of the blessed and orthodox Lutheran Church.



SOLI DEO GLORIA



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Do not worry about the date it was written.

I promise that I or the articles author will answer.


Have you read...



A Brief Study: What Does This Mean?


by: Stephen C. Lomax

Exodus 4:24-26 ~ circumcision of the son


Even after many readings, some Bible verses and passages are obscure and seem to stand isolated from the larger narrative, like an unexpected intruder. One such text is from the Old Testament -- Exodus 4:24-26.


(v.24) And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

(v.25) Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

(v.26) So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.


Abrupt and unsettling, it is hard to deny that this passage appears to lie unconnected to everything surrounding it. As Christians, we are certain it has something to teach us. As Lutherans, we believe that, like the rest of Scripture, it in some way points to the Messiah, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). Below, we will be examining commentary that illumines and which is in accord with the entire Scriptures...Click here to continue the rest...


Give it a read, it's very interesting!

10 comments:

"10. Nowhere are we suggesting that Baptism is always and under every circumstance absolutely necessary to salvation. If such were true, then the promise of paradise with Christ to the malefactor on the cross (Lk. 23:43) is not trustworthy."

Why does the author deny infallible scripture (John 3:5)? Is baptizing the malefactor with water before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ? This statement is pure rationalism!

September 19, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

Daniel Gorman said...
"10. Nowhere are we suggesting that Baptism is always and under every circumstance absolutely necessary to salvation. If such were true, then the promise of paradise with Christ to the malefactor on the cross (Lk. 23:43) is not trustworthy."

Why does the author deny infallible scripture (John 3:5 … Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.)? Is baptizing the malefactor with water before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ? This statement is pure rationalism! -- September 19, 2009 11:38 AM.

continued in next comment...

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This is St. Luke’s account of the malefactors:

Luke 23:39-43 … 39) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40) But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The other three Gospels briefly refer to the same account:

Matt. 27:38, 44 … 38) Then there were two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. 44) The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same [v.41: mocking Christ by the chief priests, scribes, and elders] in his teeth.

Mk. 32b … 32b) … And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Jn. 19:18 … Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

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Dear Mr. Gorman,

In your response, you have made three charges against my study. I wish to examine them in turn:

“Why does the author deny infallible scripture?”
Answer: St. Luke’s account makes no mention of the waters of baptism being applied to the thief on the cross. Neither does the other Gospel accounts. We can always surmise that he had been baptized at some earlier time by John the Baptist or another follower of Christ. There’s no textual hint that that took place, however, so we must admit it is, to put the best face on it, speculation. In this, I’m adhering to Scripture alone.

“Is baptizing the malefactor with water before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ?”
Answer: Of course not! With God all things are possible (Lk. 18:27). Again, no where in the text is room for your supposition; again, this is purely speculative. And your question can easily be turned on you … ‘Might Christ promise the malefactor eternity with Him in paradise despite his never having been baptized?’

“This statement is pure rationalism!”
Answer: How so??? You’ll have to lay out a more complete case than simply a “naked” charge. Formerly a Calvinist and finding in the Reformation doctrine of the Lutheran Church pure and therefore orthodox and apostolic teaching, pinning the label rationalist on me won’t tee-up unless you’ve smuggled some Velcro into our disagreement. I think it is the historic Lutheran teaching which has continuously stressed, in things theological, the necessary distinction between the “magisterial” use of reason as opposed to its “ministerial” use -- that is, reason in subjection to God’s Word. [suggested reading: Siegbert W. Becker’s The Foolishness of God: Northwestern Pub., Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod; still in print] Or perhaps you believe I momentarily lapsed into old ways of thinking. Then … please … demonstrate.

September 22, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

continued from last comment...

Which leads to this from Charles Porterfield Krauth’s The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (text version on internet, pgs. 562-563) In the next place, our Church regards Baptism not as "essential " in its proper sense, but as " necessary.'' That which is properly "essential," allows of no degree of limitation; but that which is "necessary," may be so in various degrees with manifold limitations. It is "essential" to our redemption that Christ should die for us; therefore, without limits of any kind, we affirm that no human being could be saved without His atoning work. It is "necessary" that we should hear the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation; but the necessity of hearing is limited in various ways. It does not comprehend both infants and adults, as that which is essential does. … The Augsburg Confession (Art. IX.) says, not that Baptism is essential, but simply that it is necessary — to which the Latin, not to show the degree of necessity, but merely its object, adds "to salvation."

[continuation of Krauth, p.563] She [i.e. the Church] has limited the necessity, first of all, by the "possibility of having it" — has declared that it is not absolutely necessary, and that not the deprivation of Baptism, but the contempt of it condemns a man — that though God binds us to the means, as the ordinary instruments of His grace [now see Jn. 3:5], He is not Himself limited by them. She [the Church] teaches, moreover, that all the blessings of Baptism are conditioned on faith. … The "Shorter Catechism" of Luther teaches that whatever Baptism gives, it gives alone to those "who believe that which the Word and promises of God assure us of." "The water cannot do such a great thing, but it is done by the Word of God, and faith which believes the Word of God, added to the water." We shall not give the reference for this, as, even the little children are supposed to know it by heart, nor stultify ourselves or our readers by adducing authorities for the catechetical doctrines of our Church. … The Lutheran Church holds that Baptism is necessary to salvation, inasmuch as God has commanded it, and obedience to His commands is necessary to salvation; and, furthermore, because He has appointed Baptism, as one ordinary and positive channel of His grace, through which channel we are to seek the grace He offers. But our Church denies that, where the command cannot be carried out, because of a necessity which is of God's creating [i.e., God and a thief each hanging on a cross], the lack of the sacrament involves the loss of the soul. [bracketed comments mine; emphasis added]

Your criticism nonetheless has been beneficial to all, as clarity has been gained and the study improved. The existing statement as it stands might cause confusion due to imprecision. I will amend it as shown below:

"10. Nowhere are we suggesting that Baptism is always and under every circumstance [essential] to salvation. If such were true, then the promise of paradise with Christ to the malefactor on the cross (Lk. 23:43) [might admit doubt in the believer.]"

God bless,
S.C. Lomax

September 22, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

S.C. Lomax opines, “St. Luke’s account makes no mention of the waters of baptism being applied to the thief on the cross. Neither does the other Gospel accounts. We can always surmise that he had been baptized at some earlier time by John the Baptist or another follower of Christ. There’s no textual hint that that took place, however, so we must admit it is, to put the best face on it, speculation. In this, I’m adhering to Scripture alone."

No, you are denying one scripture to rationalize another. Fixing a specific time to the baptism of the thief on the cross is pure speculation (i.e., before, during, or after his crucifixion). I won't go there.

S.C. Lomax opines, "With God all things are possible (Lk. 18:27). Again, no where in the text is room for your supposition; again, this is purely speculative. And your question can easily be turned on you … ‘Might Christ promise the malefactor eternity with Him in paradise despite his never having been baptized?’"

You're speculating not me. Christ never lies. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter paradise. Christ did not list any exceptions in John 3:5.

S.C. Lomax opines, "Or perhaps you believe I momentarily lapsed into old ways of thinking."

Yes!

S.C. Lomax opines, "Which leads to this from Charles Porterfield Krauth’s The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (text version on internet, pgs. 562-563) In the next place, our Church regards Baptism not as "essential " in its proper sense, but as " necessary.'' That which is properly "essential," allows of no degree of limitation; but that which is "necessary," may be so in various degrees with manifold limitations. It is "essential" to our redemption that Christ should die for us; therefore, without limits of any kind, we affirm that no human being could be saved without His atoning work. It is "necessary" that we should hear the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation; but the necessity of hearing is limited in various ways. It does not comprehend both infants and adults, as that which is essential does. … The Augsburg Confession (Art. IX.) says, not that Baptism is essential, but simply that it is necessary — to which the Latin, not to show the degree of necessity, but merely its object, adds "to salvation.""

Charles Porterfield Krauth, not only rationalizes scripture, he rationalizes the clear teaching of the AC in order to defend Anabaptism ("Children are saved without baptism")!

S.C. Lomax quotes, "[continuation of Krauth, p.563] ... The Lutheran Church holds that Baptism is necessary to salvation, inasmuch as God has commanded it, and obedience to His commands is necessary to salvation; and, furthermore, because He has appointed Baptism, as one ordinary and positive channel of His grace, through which channel we are to seek the grace He offers."

Krauth once again manifests his Anabaptism. Krauth turns the gospel of baptism into a work of obedience to the law. The Large Catechism teaches, "For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself."

September 27, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

You are on the border of making an idol of baptism.

The act of baptism is water joined with the Word, without the Word of God and the promises of death to sin, and life in the resurrection given us in regard to baptism by God's word (namely, the work of Christ; the very Gospel itself), the physical means of mere water are without merit. I think we can all agree with that statement. But, the importance of baptism is not the water, the act, but the Gospel given us in Christ, is it not?

Luther agrees with Augustine (which means in this case, that Augustine agrees with scripture) that the sacraments are a visual Gospel. Something objective and physical we can lay hold of that is truly outside us; independent of us and our faith. This is something we can bring to the forces of evil, whether demonic or human, who insist that we are outside of the faith due to our ineptness in things spiritual. We can say to them, "Aha, you claim that I am doomed to perdition based on the worthlessness and evilness of my deeds, etc., and to walk away from the faith, but God has put his seal on me by his Word in baptism, and neither devil or man can take that away from me." We can walk away from such an attack sure of our salvation, and realize, with a repentant heart, that Christ is the one who has saved us; it is His thoughts, words, and deeds which have earned us heaven.

So, what did Christ give the malefactor on the cross? Did he give him the Word of promise and the benefits of baptism (i.e. the Gospel), or did He give him a "supernatural baptism" (i.e. one that we cannot see, with invisible water, etc.) as you suggest?

D. Goreman says, "Is baptizing the malefactor with water before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ?"

Can't this be, as S.C. Lomax so aptly pointed out be inverted? Can we not say, "Is saving the malefactor with the Gospel, sans baptismal water, before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ?" When you invoke the omnipotence of God, and then claim that he is strictly bound to just the means of baptism to save people, and subsequently without the act of baptism you are not saved, you are the one being inconsistent by employing fallen human reason beyond the plain reading of scripture here! I'm sorry but it's true.

I will give you a hypothetical situation for consideration. Let's say there are two patients in a hospital room, both on the verge of death. One is conscious, and one is comatose, yet, the comatose patient still has the ability to hear and comprehend what's going on outside him. The family of the conscious patient, who are faithful Christians, believe that there son, an avowed atheist, has fallen from his baptism, and, as a result they ask their pastor to minister the Gospel to him before he dies. The pastor does so properly, however, the conscious patient denies the works of Christ as his own, and seemingly dies in despair. However, unbeknown to the others in the room, the unconscious comatose patient, who, prior to being a patient was never baptized, hears every word of the pastor and believes in his heart that the works of Christ are now his. Would the comatose man, standing before the throne of God be denied eternity in heaven based on the fact that he was never baptized?

I can affirm, according to the plain reading of the scripture, that Christ gave the malefactor the Gospel, and that this is what that man laid hold of in his final moments. We, fortunately, can lay hold of our baptism in our final moments, trusting that we are saved by the Gospel of Christ given us in our baptism. Baptism, itself, does not save us, Christ does!

God's blessings,
Drew

September 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

Drew Lomax opines, "The act of baptism is water joined with the Word, without the Word of God and the promises of death to sin, and life in the resurrection given us in regard to baptism by God's word (namely, the work of Christ; the very Gospel itself), the physical means of mere water are without merit. I think we can all agree with that statement. But, the importance of baptism is not the water, the act, but the Gospel given us in Christ, is it not?"

The importance of baptism is that it saves us. The importance of water to baptism is that without water there is no baptism.

Drew Lomax opines, "So what did Christ give the malefactor on the cross? Did he give him the Word of promise and the benefits of baptism (i.e. the Gospel), or did He give him a "supernatural baptism" (i.e. one that we cannot see, with invisible water, etc.) as you suggest?"

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter paradise. Since I have no specific information regarding the malefactor's baptism, I will not go beyond scripture.

Drew Lomax opines, "Can we not say, "Is saving the malefactor with the Gospel, sans baptismal water, before he enters paradise somehow too hard for the omnipotent Christ?" When you invoke the omnipotence of God, and then claim that he is strictly bound to just the means of baptism to save people, and subsequently without the act of baptism you are not saved, you are the one being inconsistent by employing fallen human reason beyond the plain reading of scripture here! I'm sorry but it's true."

There is no binding of God or human reasoning involved. Christ will perform what He promises. He promises that no one will enter heaven without baptism. This isn't rocket science.

Drew Lomax opines, "I will give you a hypothetical situation for consideration. Let's say there are two patients in a hospital room, both on the verge of death. One is conscious, and one is comatose, yet, the comatose patient still has the ability to hear and comprehend what's going on outside him. The family of the conscious patient, who are faithful Christians, believe that there son, an avowed atheist, has fallen from his baptism, and, as a result they ask their pastor to minister the Gospel to him before he dies. The pastor does so properly, however, the conscious patient denies the works of Christ as his own, and seemingly dies in despair. However, unbeknown to the others in the room, the unconscious comatose patient, who, prior to being a patient was never baptized, hears every word of the pastor and believes in his heart that the works of Christ are now his. Would the comatose man, standing before the throne of God be denied eternity in heaven based on the fact that he was never baptized?"

You say God works hearing of the word and faith in this unconscious comatose man. But God then denies him baptism? That doesn't make any sense. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Scripture does not address a category of person who believes and is not baptized.

Drew Lomax opines, "I can affirm, according to the plain reading of the scripture, that Christ gave the malefactor the Gospel, and that this is what that man laid hold of in his final moments. We, fortunately, can lay hold of our baptism in our final moments, trusting that we are saved by the Gospel of Christ given us in our baptism. Baptism, itself, does not save us, Christ does!"

"Baptism doth also now save us" 1 Peter 3:21. Christ saves us through baptism.

September 27, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

I say, "Baptism, itself, does not save us, Christ does!"

You answer, ""Baptism doth also now save us" 1 Peter 3:21. Christ saves us through baptism."

This is most certainly true!

First, I'd like to make it known that I do not say now, nor have I ever said that I disagree with the fact that Christ saves us through baptism. And that, he certainly does. My only contention is that He is the reason that baptism saves us. And, in 1 Peter 3:21 (that is, if the scripture is given a chance to clarify itself) bares witness to this:

...baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...

If the malefactor, or the hypothetical semi-conscious/comatose patient were given the opportunity to receive the physical act of baptism, then surely they would not deny it, for to deny baptism is to deny Christ Himself. Please understand that that is not the point I'm trying to make here. I'm only attempting (perhaps feebly) to point out that by their receiving the Gospel through Word and Sacrament (a Sacrament being the Word joined with a physical object) they were able to receive the benefits of baptism (i.e. the Gospel) without ever receiving an actual, physical baptism. That is not the same as saying that they would deny, or despise baptism. One can, and should trust in all the means of grace God has given us, however, if due to error or horrible circumstance only one part of the means can be employed before someones death, it will not negate the Object of our faith by which the means deliver us to, namely, Christ and His Work on the cross.

I may be in error in regards to the malefactor, but if I err, I err only on the side of putting Christ first and foremost. It is He Who is the center in everything, yes, even in baptism.

God's blessings,
Drew

September 28, 2009 at 12:54 AM  

I reject your premise that the believing unconscious/comatose patient will never be born of water. Christ will baptize him at a time and place of His choosing. All devils of hell cannot prevent it.

September 28, 2009 at 5:00 PM  

While that may be, I can only say that baptism is only made effectual upon the resurrection of Christ, as is affirmed 1 Peter 3:21

...baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...

Now, one can take this Scripture in Peter at face value, as a applying to the malefactor, that indeed the malefactor was not yet saved by virtue of baptism because Christ had not yet been resurrected.

I don't know! I know that I don't despise baptism, nor do you, the malefactor, my fictitious comatose character, or any faithful Christian.

God be with you,
Drew

September 28, 2009 at 5:50 PM  

Amen! Before the foundation of the world, God determined that He would save us through baptism by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians either look forward or back to these events eternally ordained by God for their salvation. Old testament believers, unborn believers, believing minor children of disobedient parents, etc. look forward to a baptism that eternally saves them through the resurrection of Christ.

September 30, 2009 at 7:40 AM