Episode 103: Law and Gospel (part 17)



Anglican hymnody, Genesis 1, Christopher Hitchins, erotica, and when we finally get around to it – mortal and venial sins according to CFW Walther, and a little quarrel with Walther on the proper distinction of mortal and venial sin.  It’s a moment.

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5 Responses to “Episode 103: Law and Gospel (part 17)”

  1. Chris E says:

    Aren’t the statements by Walther that you took exception to basically in accord with what some (Pr McCain) and others are claiming in the comments to this post?


  2. Erich says:

    I had the same question as Chris, regarding the Holy Spirit departing from David (or one who sins). Maybe you guys could clarify Smalcald Article III.III.43. Thanks!

  3. wcwirla says:

    Chris E. and Erich: Yes, this seems to be an extension of that conversation. Much of it appears to flow out of Luther’s observation concerning David. Luther is addressing teachings in the radical side of the Reformation that were saying essentially “once saved, always saved” and that sin no longer matters and poses no threat to faith and salvation. Walther, on the other hand, seems to identify this with intentionality, so that what makes a sin faith-destroying is its intentionality. Coupled with this is the so-called “third use of the Law.” A lot of this hinges on how one sees the “simul” of “simul justus et peccator” and the proper distinction of the Law and the Gospel as applied to the sinner/saint.

    This would be a great topic for further discussion.

  4. Obsessive Mike says:

    Responding to the professor’s statement “Christ forces his forgiveness on no one”…

    Then no one would be saved.

    Or else we’re saying that some sinners are less dead than others. Saying those who don’t resist will be saved is still salvation by works but at its most subtle.

    Take the Stand had an episode where he read “The Art of Getting Used to Justification” by Gerhard Forde where he discussed this topic.


    Forde made the point that God’s promise in Christ is radically unconditional. It throws our old being into shock. In protest we offer up pious questions to fight for some measure of control, to introduce conditionality back into the scheme.

    But the answer to our objections is always a resounding “Yes” …

    Do you mean there’s nothing for me to do? …
    Yes! It’s all been done for you.

    Do you mean that everything depends on Christ?
    Yes! God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.

    “Do you mean I can’t say no?” …
    “Yes!, you can’t say no” … “one is not forced here … one is made new”
    “The old being cannot survive the promise”

    The language of “forced” is the language of decision theology. Repentance and faith are a package deal … you get one, you get them both. We were dead. We’ve been raised to life. We are not robots, but we are new creatures in Christ and as such we do what we now want to do which is repent and believe (sometimes).

  5. Jim Anthony says:

    Concerning your comments on Genesis: Have you listened to Wilken’s discussion on Genesis (first 20 minutes) regarding authorship of Genesis (24 hr marathon)? A prof at St. Louis is writing the CPH commentary. He puts forth the idea that Moses was more of an editor compiling various writings: Adam, Noah, Abraham etc. Moses is more like Luke in Genesis. Moses is the author but like Luke, he puts together history from those who were there. The thought intrigues me and I like the thought that we have Adam’s words, Noah’s, Abraham’s and others. Yes, Moses could have been inspired to write these words apart from these saints, but it seems a bit ahistorial. Your thoughts…

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