Monday, 10/16/17

  1. Luther’s challenge to Protestants
  2. Consent: not all it’s cracked up to be
  3. Retweetables


[T]he most serious challenges in Luther’s theology may be to the Protestant tradition …

By the end of 1518, he was teaching that Christians hearing the word of absolution in the sacrament of penance (“I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”) should simply believe their sins are absolved …

[B]ecause the Gospel in this sense tells us the truth about Christ given for us, it is in effect an external means of grace just like a sacrament, because it gives us what it signifies.

In fact, in a sermon on Christmas Day, 1519, Luther comes right out and says the Gospel is a sacrament …

Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone thus depends on a sacramental notion of the Gospel. It means we take hold of Christ and make him ours by receiving the Gospel the same way we receive a sacrament, not doubting that it confers what it signifies—for what it signifies is nothing less than Jesus Christ. Simply by believing this word, we are united with Christ himself, God in the flesh, and thus receive all that is his, like a bride inheriting every good thing that belongs to her husband …

If asked whether we are truly Christians, the answer Luther teaches us to give is simply “Yes, I am baptized.”

When it comes to the Eucharist, Luther does not simply reject transubstantiation but regards it as a permissible theological opinion that he personally finds implausible. So long as Christ’s body and blood are really present in the sacrament, what need is there for the extra miracle of doing away with the bread and wine and making them into mere appearances? His disagreement with Catholic teaching on this score is shallow compared to his deep and vehement rejection of Protestant theologies that deny Christ’s body is literally present with the bread in our mouths and pressed with our teeth ….

(Phillip Cary, Luther at 500)

From what I’ve seen, there are Lutherans who are catholic in sensibility, Lutherans that are protestant in sensibility. The “catholic Lutherans” are presumably more or less in accord with Luther on these points, but I doubt very much that the protestant Lutherans are, and I know that Evangelicals are not.

Just a caveat if you’re a generic Evangelical, but planning in a few weeks to “party like it’s 1517.”


David French has another terrific column. It’s short, but here’s a taste:

You can sum up the sexual ethic of the sexual revolutionary in one sentence: Except in the most extreme circumstances (such as incest), consenting adults define their own moral norms …

The problem, of course, is that people don’t walk around broadcasting their desires. We don’t have a flashing “yes” or “no” that hovers over our heads. So someone has to make the ask. Someone has to make the move. Consent is determined by the request, and in a completely sexualized culture, the request can come at any time, anywhere, and from any person you encounter — regardless of the power imbalance or the propriety of the location.


Well, this should be embarrassing:

And this should put a chill on empty boosterism:

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.