Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Revisiting "Faith is a Cause" and the "Four Components of Justification"

Whether by happenstance or design, Ecclesia Augustana’s contributors typically refrain from publicly exposing individuals, preferring instead to focus on their errant paradigms. Exceptions have been made where the severity and public nature of the abuse warrants it. In this instance, I’m going to address an individual who is misrepresenting this blog in a separate venue.

Recently, Dr. Jack Kilcrease visited this blog and left a comment.  Because the blogger system records referring sites, we realized that a number of users were accessing Ecclesia Augustana through his blog, Theologia Crucis. After visiting the blog, we discovered that he wrote an article about Ecclesia Augustana. I briefly hoped that it might result in an opportunity for meaningful dialogue.  But before finishing the first sentence of Dr. Kilcrease’s post, I realized that the article was going to be little more than an attempt to demonstrate his own intellectual prowess at the expense of attacking Ecclesia and the competence of its authors.

He begins with the insinuation that this blog is little more than fanatics “fixated on the anti-objective justification heresy.” While I certainly do not deny the “heresy” of justification by faith alone, the fact is that justification has only been the topic of a mere seven posts on this blog. That’s barely 20% of our total posts, which discuss such varied themes as the necessity and ubiquity of Holy Baptism, the non-adiaphoric nature of the Divine Liturgy, the dangers of sectarian practices, the Church's perspective on contraception, the importance and meaning of the Hypostatic Union, and the paramount importance of the Blessed Means of Grace and their impact on Christian living and theology - among many other topics. In reality, justification has not been a topic of our posts more than twice per month in the four short months that this blog has been extant.  I guess for that we ought to apologize to our readers. If justification is truly the chief doctrine of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, upon which its very existence stands or falls, it should occupy our thought more than a mere 20% of the time. Especially in a time when the very integrity of the doctrine is being assaulted on every hand.

Regardless, the assertion that we speak on the topic ad nauseam doesn’t speak very well of Dr. Kilcrease’s investigative abilities, at the very least; it might even indicate that he himself is suffering from some sort of fixation on the universal justification heresy.  In fact, every post he made this month over at Theologia Crucis has been dedicated to the heresy of universal justification. What's more, he makes a habit of going around the internet promoting the Huberian paradigm (I can attest to having discussed the topic with him a number of times on Facebook - albeit that he seems to have blocked me on account of it!). I will let the reader decide who is “fixated.”

All of that, of course, is tangential, though I find the context somewhat useful in demonstrating the character of the parties involved. The actual thrust of Dr. Kilcreae’s post is dedicated to examining one of the blurbs I wrote last month, “Faith is a Cause.” My post was written primarily to direct the reader to some of Pastor Paul Rydecki’s excellent translations of the Fathers of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Dr. Kilcrease summarizes my post as follows:

“The gist of what is said here is as follows: Polycarp Leyser states that faith is the ‘instrumental cause’ of justification. The theologians of the old Synodical Conference said that it was God's Word and the merit of Christ that was the cause of justification, and not faith in and of itself. Hence, they are out of step with orthodox Lutheran theology and wrong.”

Dr. Kilcrease seems to be saying that my article implies God’s Word and the merit of Christ are not causes of justification. I certainly am not making that implication. In fact, in an even earlier article I wrote entitled the “Four Components of Justification,” where I actually treat this topic in greater depth than the passing reference I give to it in the article Dr. Kilcrease is addressing, I demonstrate that the grace of God and the promise of the Gospel are integral parts of justification.

After this misleading summary, the doctor goes into a long diatribe about Aristotlean metaphysics and its influence on medieval scholastic theology.  By virtue of our manifesto, as an Ecclesia Augustana contributor I admit to being less than the esteemed theologian and learned academic that Dr. Kilcrease imagines himself to be (as he puts it, most of the contributors here at Ecclesia are just “college kids”). So I will defer to his explanations of the categories of cause for our purposes here. Using his classifications, the scheme of four causes can be understood in terms of the following example:

“For example, a hammer is the instrumental cause of a table. It is used by the efficient cause (the acting agent, the carpenter). It isn't the idea what what a table is (formal cause) or the wood the table is made out of (material cause). Neither is it an acting agent (the efficient cause). Rather it is merely the passive means through which the material receives its shape based on the idea of the mind of the builder.”

In the form of a list, we have:

Causes of a Table
1. The formal cause (“the idea what what [sic] a table is”)
2. The material cause (“the wood the table is made out of”)
3. The efficient cause (“an acting agent”)
4. The instrumental cause (“a hammer”)

When it comes to Justification, one could put it like this:

Causes of Justification
1. The formal cause (the grace of God)
2. The material cause (the merits of Christ)
3. The efficient cause (the Holy Spirit in the promises of the Gospel)
4. The instrumental cause (faith)

Well what do you know, this list looks strangely similar to the one that I drew up in the “Four Components" article. So let’s take faith out of the justification equation. The grace of God is still there. The merits of Christ are still there. The promises of the Holy Gospel are still there. But just as wood, the Carpeter, and His plan exist objectively, without that “hammer” by which the Holy Spirit puts it all together, there is no “table.”

Now I freely admit that the “scheme of causes” analogy isn’t perfect and I’d rather stick to the way I put it in the "Four Components" article, which is none other than the words of the Solid Declaration itself. Still, per Dr. Kilcrease’s own formula, I don’t see how he can claim that justification is an “existing reality.” Does the table exist before the hammer puts it together? It can surely be the desire of the Carpenter, but until that hammer is available, it’s just a desire. It isn’t a reality. 

So too, it is most certainly true: God has decreed that all should be justified (FC:SD:XI:14-15); He alone provides the means of that justification. But unless one actually has that faith - as Dr. Kilcrease would put it, without that “hammer” - there is no justification. Thus, all who have not received the gift of faith from God the Holy Spirit stand condemned from eternity for not believing on the Name of God’s one and only Son. They are not justified from eternity. They are condemned (St. John 3:18).

Dr. Kilcrease wants us to be familiar with the terminology he ostensibly learned after studying medieval scholastics. That is all well and good, and I freely admit that understanding the context of a given text is immensely helpful in reading it. But perhaps instead of directing us to the schematic formulas of Aristotle, Dr. Kilcrease could take some time to examine the plain words of Holy Writ, which clearly say that the reprobate are “condemned already,” not justified, and with the Confessions in saying that the unbeliving and unconverted person “is not reconciled to God” (FC:SD:IV:8).

17 comments:

  1. I only started reading Jack's posts since October. I think..the one where he noted Rydecki's removal was the first. I made an unfortunate comment on that post that I fell on the opposite side of the controversy at the time. It was a bad week. I had just read the Marquardt paper and was almost shaken by it. Plus I was not ready to come out of the JBFA closet.

    With that unfortunate moment of weakness behind me...I have noted some of the posts Jack has made. I would comment that for a guy in his position, he is a bit of an intellectual hack. Most of his posts sound like the acedemic equivalent of writing an Executive Summary in the business world. (e.g "..with the goal to empower our partners in the globization of opportunities while maintaining a vision of mission critical virtualization...). The point being there are a lot of trendy $5 words that in reality say nothing.

    I would expect someone in his position to be somewhat proficent in exegetical study but I don't think he could function if all he was handed was a Bible and a BoC.

    Perhaps I'll expound one day on my theories about people with Phd's.

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  2. Dr. Jack Kilcrease made this statement back in 2010 in a post titled A Discussion On UOJ:

    Dr. Kilcrease
    "But if a sin is paid for, why is not forgiven? I would suggest that it is. I mean, if you deny that payment=forgiveness, what sort of ontological status does the payment have? To clarify: If a sin is "washed away" then how can it still be around? Did Jesus only potentially make a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, which we then activate via the means of grace? I think not."
    JUNE 9, 2010 3:31 AM

    Jack has since deleted the entire post and 64 of the 66 comments.

    Jack is a rationalist. He once chided me for simply quoting Scripture against UOJ without revealing what the concept was that the words were attempting to communicate.

    UOJ is the perfect storm for rationalists. It establishes a religion that declares and assures the unbeliever of God's forgiveness and righteousness without faith because the faith they have is not in Christ but in a false declaration that never occurred. Rationalists war against the faith of the Holy Spirit which brings the peace and comfort that passes all understanding because they do not have it. They claim a higher assurance of sins forgiven because their forgiveness comes without faith. The catch is that they do not have the comfort of the Holy Spirit's faith and therefore easily rage against Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and anyone who does not condone their rational man-made doctrine.

    In these last days Satan has achieved the acceptance of a lie - the Lutheran Synods in harmony with the church of the Antichrist - the Roman Catholic Church - announce anathema upon one Justification solely by Faith in Christ Alone.

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  3. As insightful as it is describe me as an "intellectual hack" and as a "rationalist" perhaps I could add to the discussion a bit and respond to three points in your post.

    "Dr. Kilcrease seems to be saying that my article implies God’s Word and the merit of Christ are not causes of justification."

    Nope. I understand you believe that. You just don't understand the full implications of that statement, I would humbly suggest.

    "as Dr. Kilcrease would put it, without that “hammer” - there is no justification."

    Correct- in that there would be no reception of subjective justification. The act of God declaring a thing "you sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus" and you receiving it (trusting in that promise) are distinct realities. Hence the difference between OJ and SJ. Very simple stuff.

    "Dr. Kilcrease wants us to be familiar with the terminology he ostensibly learned after studying medieval scholastics. That is all well and good, and I freely admit that understanding the context of a given text is immensely helpful in reading it. But perhaps instead of directing us to the schematic formulas of Aristotle, Dr. Kilcrease could take some time to examine the plain words of Holy Writ,"

    Yes, I realize it is indeed a terribly thing to get myself all confused by the study of the history of theology. Nevertheless, this is part of my point about the things you are saying. The Lutheran Scholastics whom you all claim to idolize all read Aristotle and organized everything in their theology according to Aristotle's causes or their finer gradation worked out by the medieval scholastics. Sit down and read a few of the Gerhard volumes published by CPH and you'll see what I mean. It's therefore not an either/or, it's a matter of understanding the Lutheran fathers on their own terms. They studied Scripture and organized it's teaching through the means of Aristotle. Knowledge of Aristotle's causes is therefore essential to get their meaning.

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    1. True to form, Dr. Kilcrease, fails to address the substance of my arguments, opting instead to quibble and argue about words. He writes:

      "Correct- in that there would be no reception of subjective justification. The act of God declaring a thing "you sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus" and you receiving it (trusting in that promise) are distinct realities. Hence the difference between OJ and SJ. Very simple stuff."

      This totally misses the point of my argument. Dr. Kilcrease asserts that I don't understand the OJ/SJ dichotomy he holds to. I understand it fully. I simply reject it as blasphemous and illogical. Dr. Kilcrease argues that justification exists outside of us (OJ) but doesn't benefit us unless passively received by faith (SJ). This ammounts to saying that the "table" exists irrespective of the "hammer" that formed it. It's lunacy.

      The "declaration that a thing is forgiven for the sake of Jesus" is justification. This declaration or "table" occurs when the "hammer" of faith shapes the "wood" of the merits of Christ according to the "idea" of the grace of God by the working of the "Carpenter," God the Holy Spirit in the promises of the Gospel. There is no table without the hammer. Period. This is very simple stuff.

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  4. I would expect someone in his position to be somewhat proficent in exegetical study but I don't think he could function if all he was handed was a Bible and a BoC.

    Tim, you have my amen. Exegesis ought to be the primary craft of a systematic theologian but for pro-LC-MS "scholars" that is not the case.

    Jack is fallacy city. His method functions only in his chosen crowd, it is not sustainable in wider community

    LPC

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  5. The Lutheran Scholastics whom you all claim to idolize all read Aristotle and organized everything in their theology according to Aristotle's causes or their finer gradation worked out by the medieval scholastics. Sit down and read a few of the Gerhard volumes published by CPH and you'll see what I mean

    Stop poisoning the well Jack. So now you are delving into psycho-analysis of Gerhard. Last time I looked one has to have an MD and a PhD to practice that art.

    The issue is this - talking about Gerhard etc, did he exegetically handle Scriptural text.

    That should be your first point but you render no such argument so you are just poisoning the well and playing up argumentum verbosium.

    LPC



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  6. "True to form, Dr. Kilcrease, fails to address the substance of my arguments, opting instead to quibble and argue about words."

    Except, not really. Actually I have addressed the substance of your argument.

    Here's the deal: You are actually guilty of precisely what LPC has accused me of: the fallacy of equivocation. This means that you construct an argument based on the ambiguous or equivocal use of a particular term. You do here what you do with the justification issue, namely, you misleadingly use the term "cause" in order to prove your point. Allow me to demonstrate:

    You: Justification means the communication of salvation. Consequently, when the Syncon theologians said "God has justified the whole world" they meant universalism. Therefore, they destroy justification by faith and suggest that God has saved the world apart from the means of grace.

    Now, as we observed, you are misconstruing the concept of OJ by using the term "justification" univocally, when it has an analogical meaning in the case of "OJ" and "SJ." Since the adjective "subjective" and "objective" qualify how the term is being used in both cases, you really have no excuse of accusing the other side of equivocating.

    When it is understood that OJ is the proclamation of God's unilateral forgiveness and that SJ is the reception of that objective forgiveness, your objections melt away.

    The same thing applies to your argument here. Your argument only works if you assume that the word "cause" has a univocal meaning. Nevertheless, my whole point was that it obviously doesn't, since, if we follow Aristotle (as the Lutheran scholastics do) there are different causes and that these differences a qualified by different adjectives "form" "material" etc.

    In this particular argument then, you are making the mistake of using the terms "justification" and "cause" in a univocal sense. Yes, faith is a cause of the human subject receiving the offer of salvation that God's unilateral forgiveness that God offers in the gospel (OJ). In that sense, it is a cause of subjective justification. Nevertheless, it is a cause in a different sense than God's promise and the merits of Christ, which are what justification is built out of, so to speak. In other words, it isn't a cause in the sense that it 1.) creates the reality of justification (since the substance and reality of justification would by definition be found in the formal and material causes). 2. It doesn't actively cause the verdict of justification (which of course lies in God's grace, the merits of Christ, the word of unilateral forgiveness). Hence, to say that something is a cause is not to always say that it is a cause in the same sense, much like to use the term "justify" does not suggest that the term automatically means the salvation and communication of forgiveness.

    LPC: As usual, I have no idea what you are talking about here. I was simply making an observation about how Gerhard organizes his theology, which has nothing to do with psychology. I'm willing to bet no one else here understands what you mean either.

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    1. Yet again, Dr. Kilcrease proves his inability to read the actual words of his opponents. He writes:

      "You: Justification means the communication of salvation. Consequently, when the Syncon theologians said "God has justified the whole world" they meant universalism. Therefore, they destroy justification by faith and suggest that God has saved the world apart from the means of grace."

      I have never claimed that UOJ advocates teach universalism, nor that justification, in their minds, is the equivalent of the communication of salvation. I've never claimed it. Dr. Kilcrease is putting words in my mouth to bolster the ineptitude of his argumentation.

      His entire response is superfluous when it comes to addressing the points I've actually raised. I've acknowledged his Aristotlean use of the word "cause" and I've tried to discuss the matter with him in those terms. For the final time, I will ask: How can the "table" exist in the formal and material causes, vis a vis the "idea of a table" and the "wood" from which it is made, when the "Carpenter" by means of the "hammer" has not put it together?

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  7. A couple of other points, now that I think of them:

    "I simply reject it as blasphemous and illogical."

    "Jack is fallacy city."

    "Jack is a rationalist."

    So, which is it? Am I uber Rationalistic or not? Also, is UOJ to be rejected because it contradicts the Word of God, or because it's irrational? Am I to be blamed because I make reasonable arguments (rather than just list off confessional and scriptural sources, uncontextualized and uninterpreted no less!) or am I to be blamed becuase the arguments I make are irrational. Maybe you guys can get together and decide.

    Secondly, one last point about the analogy of the table Daniel: The table is subjective justification, not objective justification. No one claims that the benefits of Christ as communicated apart from faith. It's the strawman you endlessly rage against in your arguments. Therefore, again, you are correct. No one gets saved without faith, just as no table get built without the hammer. Nevertheless, the hammer doesn't cause the wood or the idea of the table to exist.

    When I say that the reality of justification exists apart from and causes faith, what I mean is that the reason we are declared righteousness is because of the merit of Christ and God's gift of it to us. Faith receives this, but God doesn't count us righteous because of any particular quality in our faith, but because it is a receptive organ that unites us with those other things that pre-exist our faith. Those other things are that which constitute the reality of justification and make us righteous coram Deo.

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    1. "Secondly, one last point about the analogy of the table Daniel: The table is subjective justification, not objective justification. No one claims that the benefits of Christ as communicated apart from faith. It's the strawman you endlessly rage against in your arguments. Therefore, again, you are correct. No one gets saved without faith, just as no table get built without the hammer. Nevertheless, the hammer doesn't cause the wood or the idea of the table to exist."

      I fully recognize that the hammer doesn't cause the wood or the idea of the the table to exist. I simply reject calling the wood (merits of Christ) and the idea of a table (grace of God) the actual table (justification). But that's an argument over words. If you want to call those things "justification," I may view it as foolish, but it isn't necessarily heretical (however unLutheran the formulation may be, vis a vis the Book of Concord).

      The problem I have is when you say that this somehow translates into God declaring the whole world righteous and forgiven in His sight. This amounts to saying that the wood/idea of a table is actually in and of itself a table, already extant, that simply has to be "realized" by the hammer.

      It isn't the OJ/SJ dichotomy that is inherently blasphemous. It is the fact that you use OJ to say that the whole world is righteous and forgiven in God's sight; it doesn't matter whether or not you believe this results in the "communication" of these benefits in any meaningful way. The fact is that your dichotomy flies in the face of Holy Writ, which clearly indicates that the world is neither righteous nor forgiven in God's sight, but "condemned already."

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  8. Daniel- We actually were writing at the same time and I so I wrote above was before I had the opportunity to read your reply. Sorry about that.

    You're doing it again. What you are actually saying to me is this: How can salvation be communicated [justification] apart from faith? And so you're assuming that the word has the same meaning when applied to OJ and SJ.

    Again, when we speak of OJ, we are not talking about the communication of salvation, but it's reality as an accomplished fact and an objective and universal promise- btw, the only conditions it can exist in to appropriated by an act of faith.

    As I was telling your Dad over at my blog, I suspect that part of the issue here is that you are in a sense taking the forensic courtroom metaphor (which has dominated Protestant theology since the time of Osiander) too literally. In other words, when a judge makes a declaration, it's irrelevant whether or not the prisoner accepts the verdict. Consequently, you assume that if a particular verdict is passed apart from faith, it should be irrelevant if people have faith in it or not. So, as you see it, if justification is by faith, then the judge should declare it subsequent to seeing that the sinner has faith. Unfortunately, faith (according to the NT and Reformation definition) is trust that something is already the case and so the sinner wouldn't be able to have faith if what he is trusting in doesn't alraedy exist. And so the judge could never declare him not guilty. Why? Becuase he would be asking him to trust in the fact that he is not guilty when he can't be declared not guilty until he has faith. A real catch 22.

    Over at my blog, I gave other analogies, including eating a dinner. We could also use that of the acceptance of debt repayment. Overall, I would still contend that you simply don't really understand how the Word functions as a both effective and forensic reality. I would encourage you to read some Gerhard Forde and Oswald Bayer on this subject. Possibly Gerhard Ebeling as well- that is, the idea of "word-event" rooted in Austin's work "How to do Things with Words." A very helpful lens through which to read Luther, I think.

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    1. You are correct that I believe the judge should declare righteousness on account of faith, such as the Apology says: "faith itself is imputed for righteousness. Faith, therefore, is that thing which God declares to be righteousness" (IV:89).

      When it comes to the object of our faith, I don't believe it is a declaration of "not guilty" in some cosmic facade of a courtroom. Our faith is placed in Christ and His merits. We find this faith in the Means of Grace, where forgiveness is truly offered and distributed. I don't see that as a catch-22 at all.

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    2. "You are correct that I believe the judge should declare righteousness on account of faith, such as the Apology says: "faith itself is imputed for righteousness. Faith, therefore, is that thing which God declares to be righteousness" (IV:89)."

      Correct- not faith itself though, but what faith grasps- Christ. As Luther says, faith holds Christ like a ring holds a diamon.

      Christ and his promise are good prior to us receiving it by faith. If not, then there would be nothing to place faith in. Moreover, such a promise is clearly universal.

      "When it comes to the object of our faith, I don't believe it is a declaration of "not guilty" in some cosmic facade of a courtroom. Our faith is placed in Christ and His merits. We find this faith in the Means of Grace, where forgiveness is truly offered and distributed. I don't see that as a catch-22 at all."

      Again, for the 50th time Daniel, no one who holds to OJ rejects the fact that God's declaration is channeled through the means of grace. You can, I suppose, like your dual mentors Jackson and Rydecki, simply repeat this falsehood again and again and again. But it isn't true.

      Also, again, the object of faith is not the merit of Christ alone, but also the promise that God has attached to them. If God didn't promise and designate the merit of Christ as a means of salvation, it would be meaningless. Sit down and read Luther's Easter sermons and you'll get the point. Christ did his work Luther notes, but it wasn't meaningful unless God attached a promise to the work and had it proclaimed in the means of grace. I actually addressed this issue on my blog a while back. Look at what I wrote here:

      http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2012/10/gerhard-on-romans-425.html

      Also, here are two articles from the sainted Kurt Marquart which explain what I'm getting at when I say that it's a catch 22 (I think I was perfectly clear, but you apparently didn't follow the argument.)

      http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/MarquartReformationRootsofObjectiveJustification.pdf

      http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.marquartjustification.html

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    3. "Correct- not faith itself though, but what faith grasps- Christ. As Luther says, faith holds Christ like a ring holds a diamon."

      I love how you say "Correct" to a statement which clearly says "faith itself," and then proceed in the very next breath to say "not faith itself." Priceless.

      Faith is imputed for righteousness *because* of Christ, the object it grasps. But faith is certainly declared to be righteous, as the Apology says. The world is not declared righteous. Faith is declared righteous. Why? Because its object is Christ and it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Why is that so difficult to admit?

      "Again, for the 50th time Daniel, no one who holds to OJ rejects the fact that God's declaration is channeled through the means of grace. You can, I suppose, like your dual mentors Jackson and Rydecki, simply repeat this falsehood again and again and again. But it isn't true."

      Again, for the 80th time Dr. Kilcrease, I don't deny that you see the Means of Grace as necessary to channel the cosmic facade declaration. You can repeat this ad nauseam, but it doesn't make it any less duplicitous and down right slanderous (btw - I was wondering how long it would take you to bring Dr. Jackson into this! Kudos on holding out as long as you did!).

      "Also, again, the object of faith is not the merit of Christ alone, but also the promise that God has attached to them." Fair enough; I have said as much in a number of posts on this site. Obviously it must be true, since in the Old Testament the saints of God were justified on account of faith in the *promise* of Christ's coming.

      "(I think I was perfectly clear, but you apparently didn't follow the argument.)" I followed your argument, I just don't see it as a problem in my understanding of justification. I admit it is a problem in your understanding of justification, where God issues declarations that aren't true until someone believes them.



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  9. This is the cherry on the cake of misapprehension!:

    "I admit it is a problem in your understanding of justification, where God issues declarations that aren't true until someone believes them."

    Read this post:

    http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-basic-ontic-flaw-in-rejection-of.html

    This discussion is obviously going nowhere. Basically I started the discussion because your remark about faith as a cause was too good to pass up! I shouldn't have allowed myself to be tempted.

    In any case, I wish you all the best and I strongly encourage you to sit down and read the papers that I gave you links to. To say the least, I find it puzzling that you are unable to see how your own position makes it impossible to understand the gospel as unilateral and unconditional promise (something which the Lutheran Confession, the Bible, and Luther clearly describe it as, and you (at leat appear) to reject). So, read up and maybe we can talk again in the future.

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  11. Jack,

    LPC: As usual, I have no idea what you are talking about here. I was simply making an observation about how Gerhard organizes his theology, which has nothing to do with psychology. I'm willing to bet no one else here understands what you mean either.

    To allege what is going on in the writer's mind, in this case your reference to Gerhard's Aristotelian influence, is to practice psycho-analysis. Your mentioning it in the discussion is to obviously cast aspersion on Gerhard's bias in handling Scriptural text.

    So what if Gerhard was being Aristotelian in his presentation? What about it?

    The Aristotelian assertion about Gerhard is not relevant in judging the truthfulness of what he said.

    That is not what judges Gerhard as a worthy theologian to be heard and taken seriously.

    He is judged by how accurately derived doctrine X from the Scriptural evidence, which means properly interpreting the text via sound exegetical method - respecting the linguistic and contextual principles used by the Sacred author. That is what judges Gerhard.

    Daniel:I love how you say "Correct" to a statement which clearly says "faith itself," and then proceed in the very next breath to say "not faith itself." Priceless.

    Well of course that is priceless, that is how SOPHISTRY works and you just saw a nice example of that in Dr. Kilcrease.

    LPC

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