Sunday, January 13, 2013

How could it happen? / 6/ Theologians

Those Lutheran pastors who today emphasize pious sentiment over true doctrine, who stress subjective religious experience over-against the truth of the Gospel, drive people to "other gospels," to self-deification, to a new kind of Christianized paganism. They've gradually forgotten, writes Hermann Sasse, "what the Reformation had emphasized: the profound seriousness of truth."

-- from someone's Facebook thread.  

It appears imperative to also read some Sasse.  

Of course, these "Lutheran" pastors are not real "Lutheran" pastors, they are the pastors of the united State Church infected with liberalism. 

Neo-orthodoxy's distinction between faith in Christ and faith in statements, or 'faith in a book,'  is artificial and contrary to reason.  By rejecting "propositional revelation" and making the Bible only a "record of" and "witness to" revelation, the neo-orthodox theologians drain faith of its intellectual content.  They make it little more than an emotional response to a "divine self-disclosure"  which takes place not through the words of Scripture, though possibly in conjunction with them.
Emil Brunner, for example, says that:  "faith means to be gripped by the Word of God [by this he does not mean the words of Scripture];  it means that a person submits in the very center of his being, in his heart, to Him to whom he belongs, because He has created him for Himself....  But this does not mean an intellectual understanding, but a personal encounter." [emphasis added]
The false antithesis which Brunner sets up here is one against which we must always be on our guard.  In positing such a sharp distinction between "intellectual understanding" and "personal encounter" (as some call it "total commitment"), neo-orthodoxy betrays its Calvinistic and Zwinglian roots.

The Formula of Concord teaches that the assurance of our faith is to be based on the fact that God's grace and the promise of the gospel are universal and that this promise is made in all earnestness by God.  Since Calvinism rejects the universality of the gospel promise, a consistent Calvinist can never find assurance in that promise.  Instead, he seeks it within the experience of his conversion, or, in neo-orthodox terms, in his "personal encounter" with God, who speaks directly to the heart.  

From Becker "The Foolishness of God." 

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