Episode 98: Law and Gospel (part 14)



A caller takes issue with one of Donofrio’s statements about forgiveness.  Donofrio gets slapped around by Cwirla at the caller’s request.  And then it’s on to Thesis 14 of the Proper Distinction of the Law and the Gospel and the improper understanding of faith as a cause of justification.  All here on a very physical smack down edition of the God Whisperers.

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6 Responses to “Episode 98: Law and Gospel (part 14)”

  1. Janet Young says:

    Count me as one who listens for the theology!!!

  2. Kelly says:

    The commentary on the nature of blessings reminds me a conversation I had last year with a Baptist pastor. I emailed him to ask some questions about his church’s practice of infant dedication, and he basically admitted that any sort of “blessing” that was spoken over the child was really more of a statement of wishful thinking, completely conditional on the work of the parents to do their job properly and on the child to make good future choices. After all, the whole point is that we can’t baptize this child because it is thought that the child will not receive the Gospel in faith this way, being unable to. So, if this child is unable to receive the blessing of God’s Word in faith anyway, the whole scenario of blessing a baby during an infant dedication is in some ways just as impossible as baptizing them. Is there actually an entirely different biblical concept of “blessing” for evangelical Protestants? A favorite line of a former Baptist pastor of mine was “Jesus blessed children; he didn’t baptize them.” Do they think that Jesus was just pronouncing a statement of wishful thinking over the child, that his words didn’t accomplish anything…?

    Sorry, that was kind of a digression. But it’s curious.

  3. Bob Waters says:

    Jesus’s commentary on His reception of little children belies that Baptist pastor’s remarks. He states that the Kingdom of God is precisely of such as these; nowhere in Scripture do we ever read, on the other hand, that infants need to become like adults in order to enter the Kingdom.

    Of all candidates for admission to the Kingdom, Jesus says, infants are ideal- and it is through baptism that we enter the Kingdom.

  4. James Leistico says:

    I would think that a Baptist would say that your comparison is apples and oranges – since Jesus is omniscient, He did not need to make conditional blessings, knowing which children would make the right decision to believe in Him.

  5. Kelly says:

    James, having been a Baptist I’m really not sure they’d say that. We don’t get a sense in the text that Jesus is blessing some children and refusing the bless others based on his foreknowledge. I think it might down to an altogether different concept of what a blessing is. Not able to speak for everyone, I think many Christians have an idea that Jesus just patted them on the head and said something like “Have a nice day.”

  6. Mike Hughes says:

    Hi … I’m the violent and out of breath caller …

    In response to Pastor Donofrio’s assertion that grace is (always?) resistible (otherwise you’re a Calvinist) I wanted to post this discussion where Dr. Robert Kolb weighed in on the subject …

    (from Jordan Cooper’s blog at justandsinner.blogspot.com)

    A Final Note on the Irresistible Grace Controversy

    Some of you know I (Jordan Cooper) had a debate with an LCMS pastor over the issue of irresistible grace. I made the claim that as Lutherans we must believe in the doctrine in some sense, though without denying the universalis gratia. See my post on immutable election to see what point I was trying to argue. I emailed Dr. Robert Kolb amidst this controversy on this issue with this specific question:

    Dr. Kolb,
    I have been having a conversation with an LCMS pastor on the subject of election. I made the point that Lutherans agree with some of what Calvinists are saying when using the term irresistible grace. What I mean by this is that God’s election will always result in the salvation of that individual. One who is elect cannot become non-elect, thus in that sense election is “irresistible”, though I realize it is not the best term to use. I also made the point that election is particular and does not extend to everyone as does the universalis gratia. Not everyone is elect.
    This pastor seemed to think that I was espousing Calvinistic doctrines when saying this. However, when I read through Pieper, Walther, and Hoenecke on the topic, they all seem to be saying the same thing that I am. Am I being faithful to Lutheran theology by making the points that: 1. election will always necessarily result in final salvation and 2. not all men are elect?

    This was Dr. Kolb’s response:

    Your reading of Pieper, Walther, and Hoenecke is correct, I believe. Under the proclamation of the law, Lutherans clearly believe with Luther in the Smalcald Articles III,4,43-45, that believers can lose the faith and fall from grace. Otherwise, as the Formula of Concord strives to make clear, the distinction of law and gospel disappears, and we fall into either an antinomian arrogance and false security, or despair. But under the teaching of the gospel Lutherans teach that God’s gospel promise in the means of grace is sure because it is God’s promise. What, I think, John Calvin did not grasp, much less his followers, is how Luther understood the doctrine of election only in the context of distinguishing law and gospel in delivering God’s Word to his people, and how God actually is present and working with his saving power in the means of grace. The Calvinists who have become Lutherans – the ones I know, at least – point especially to the second point and the insecurity they had when there was no certain place to look, only to one’s own life, for assurance that God loved them in Christ.
    I have gone into this in some detail in my book Bound Choice, Election, and Wittenberg Theological Method (Eerdmans, 2005, I think). That may help some.

    This should settle the issue as Dr. Kolb is a competent scholar and has written on the subject.


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