Paradigms, Tradition, and the Lexicon, Part 1

Or, Jason Stellman’s “already-existing apostolic tradition” Bryan Cross and Jason Stellman have got a problem. Modern Biblical scholarship is locating the content of their “Tradition”. And it’s not what they think it is. First, let’s see what Bryan says about it, and let’s quote him precisely so he doesn’t get ticky about it. In his …

Rehabilitating “Evangelical Obedience”

No, this is not about evangelicals obeying Rick Warren’s purpose-driven popery (whose infallibility is assured not by apostolic succession, but good-old pragmatic results).  “Evangelical obedience” is a grand old phrase, which has sadly faded from use & familiarity in Reformation circles.  It captures the old, Reformed orthodoxy regarding sanctification and its source – not the …

Does regeneration mean we are now able to “keep” God’s Law?

Have you ever heard a Christian say, “Now that we’re regenerated, we can keep God’s Law”?  I have.  Usually this is based on the new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31.   In fact, I’ve heard well-meaning Reformed believers say such.  Is such an idea true / biblical / Reformed?  Well, it all depends on what you …

Objective GUILT or therapeutic “brokenness”?

“Brokenness” is a widely used word today in some trendier reformed circles.  What’s in a word?  This word is often used as a synonym for “sinfulness.”  Everyone can relate to feeling “broken,” that is, we say or do things we are ashamed of, we fail, we’re selfish, we damage those closest to us, we are …

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Last Letter, Christmas 1944

Related by his then fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer: Dietrich was moved to the Gestapo prison in October 1944. It was then impossible to obtain visitation permits, and it is improbable that any of my letters reached him there. When the prison was badly damaged during an air raid in February he was moved out of …

More on the nonsensical distinction between “Mortal Sins” and “Venial Sins”

There is still a bit of a discussion going on, in a thread that’s several months old, between a Protestant writer Curt Russell, and Bryan Cross, on the topic of sin. More specifically, it involves the nonsensical distinction between “mortal sins” and “venial sins”. I know, I know, the interlocutor is “Curt” Russell”, not “Kurt” …

Bonhoeffer on Luther and Costly Grace, part 2

Justification by God’s costly grace involves the justification of the sinner, not the justification of the sin. Following up on the first part of Bonhoeffer’s treatment of Luther and Costly Grace, I want to point out that it’s Roman Catholics who want to “justify sin”. Consider this explication from the not too distant past: What’s …

Bonhoeffer on Luther and Costly Grace, part 1

In his formerly world-renowned book “The Cost of Discipleship” (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. edition, printed 1963), Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the distinction between “cheap grace” and “costly grace”. In his words, “cheap grace is the deadly enemy of the church” (45). Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The …

Martin Luther’s Understanding of Baptism

Since most of our readers are Reformed, and since the Lutheran concept of baptism has been brought up, I thought it would be helpful to share what Bernhard Lohse, a Lutheran Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, has written about Luther’s view of the sacraments in general and of baptism in particular: Formation of …