Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Doctines That Divide.....or are at Least Poorly Understood

Scripture: Old Testament - 1 Kings 11:42-12:19
New Testament - 2 Corinthians 7:1-16
Pslams: Morning - 96
Evening - 132, 134

Icon of the Day: St. John the Forerunner
Makup Icon for Yesterday's Feast Day: St. Augustine of Hippo

Troparion of St. John the Baptist: The memory of the Just is mentioned with praise, as for you, O Forerunner, the Lord's witness is enough. Indeed you were greater than the prophet since you were found worthy to baptize in the waters The One they could but announce. You have fought for the sake of Truth and proclaimed to those in hades: that God who appeared in the flesh has taken away this sin of the world, and bestowed His great mercy on us!

"Our thanks for John the Baptist who, till his dying day, made straight paths for the Savior and heralded His way! In witnessing to Jesus through times of threat or shame may we with faith and courage the Lamb of God proclaim."-By All Your Saints in Warfare v.24 "The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, LSB 518.

Kontakion of St. John the Baptist: Oh prophet of God and forerunner of Grace, your head has blossomed from the earth as a most sacred rose. We are ever being healed, for as of old, you preach repentance to the world.

Grace and peace! I've been reading a book entitled "The Doctrines that Divide" by Erwin Lutzer. The writer states that the book is "a fresh look at the historic doctrines that separate Christians." Mr. Lutzer is the senior pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago.

I'll be pretty frank with you. With the exceptions of the first two chapters, on Christ's humanity and divinity, this book lacks something.....scholarly. It's one thing to go into depth on your denomination's particular doctrine, but when you are detailing someone else's doctrine, PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Perhaps the reason I am most upset by the book isn't Mr. Lutzer's writing, so much as the store I found the book in. It seemed interesting since I could get a look at Roman Catholic doctrine especially from the eyes of someone who I get the impression thinks they are going to hell. The store was in Moline, IL and didn't even have a theology section. Their book sections were fiction, inspiration, and they had two racks devoted to "charismatic" books. This book was in the "pastoral helps" section. From a section of pastoral helps I would expect more research to be done on someone else's doctrine.

The chapters I have read so far include:
1. Is Christ Truly God - somewhat enjoyable and overly okay.

2. Is Christ Truly Man - same as chapter 1

3. Was Mary the Mother of God - While he doesn't deny it as Jack Chick does, he really supports Nestorius in that too much honor was being given to the Blessed Virgin. He accepts it because of the incarnation, so acceptable even though he overly goes against Roman Catholics and uses Ott (same book used by Wayne Grudem in his "Systematic Theology") and a devotional to the Virgin by cardinal Alphonse de Litouri. The latter I have never heard of and sounds more like a book by someone who Rome should have looked at more carefully from the quotes he uses.

4. Was Peter the First Pope - Somewhat oversimplified history...but hey, it's a doctrinal book! Does emphasize that the growth of the Papacy was gradual with regard to its political power. He does not however acknowledge that the title "Pope" was simply the title of the Bishop of Rome (and the Bishop of Alexandria).

5. Justification: By Faith, Sacraments, or Both - In my opinion, he butchers Roman teaching on this, and even to an extent, Luther's as well. His "both" never really even comes up! I was assuming he would mention Luther's views in such a way as to at least get across that Luther agreed with Scripture. Grace alone saves us through faith alone. The grace we get from the means Christ established through His true church. This was never addressed and this chapter felt....unfinished to me.

6. Why Can't We Agree On the Lord's Supper - Alright, just finished this one. He completely ignores what he wrote earlier in the chapter. He quotes such fathers as St. Ignatius of Antioch who said: "The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior, Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, which the Father in his goodness raised form the dead" and St. Justin Martyr who said that the elements are not regarded as ordinary bread and wine, "but as our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, was incarnated by the Word of [the elements] are both the flesh and blood of that same incarnate Jesus." He then mentions that St. Augustine differentiated between the symbol and what is symbolized (a quote I've heard before but I know of no source that I can verify the context of this teaching). After mentioning two fathers who clearly accepted Christ being physically present in the elements, and one who seemingly does not, he says: "In summary, during the first eight centuries of the church the general consensus was towards a realistic view of the elements: Christ is SPIRITUALLY present in the bread and wine. To partake is to eat the body and blood of Christ, BUT NOT IN A LITERAL SENSE." I was floored!

He mentions the doctrine of the Real Presence straight out of Pelikan, but misunderstands what it means! The Real Presence is usually used by those denominations who believe Christ is REALLY and PHYSICALLY present (as He must be since His divine and human natures are not separated), such as the Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. That and the fact that he described Luther as consubstantiation. For the last time....LUTHERANS DO NOT TEACH CONSUBSTANTIATION! We teach SACRAMENTAL UNION. He takes the side of Zwingli and possibly Calvin (though he seems a little vague on his support for his "spiritual presence" concept and treats it as a compromise between Luther and Zwingli) against Luther (who he still misunderstands).

He includes a great quote of Luther's against Zwingli though: "Your basic contentions are these: In the last analysis you wish to prove that a body cannot be at two places at once...I do not question how Christ can be God and man and how the two natures are joined. For God is more powerful than all our ideas, and we must submit to his Word. Prove that Christ's body is not where the Scripture says it is when Christ says 'this is my body.' Rational proofs I will not listen to. Corporeal proofs, arguments based on geometrical principles I repudiate absolutely. God is beyond all mathematics, and the words of God are to be revered and carried out in awe. It is God who commands, 'take, eat, this is my body.' I request therefore, valid scriptural proofs to the contrary."

That Luther believed the bread and wine to be the spiritual AND physical body and blood of Christ who is God is unmistakable. He retained the elevation of the Host in his liturgy (contrary to Newadvent's encyclopedia on Luther) and it was said of him one time at worship: "We have seen Luther throw himself on the floor with earnest and with reverence and worship Christ when the Sacrament was elevated"-WA tr5:308: 15ff.

The following chapters I have a feeling will be like 5 and 6: get ready!

7. Why Can't We Agree on Baptism
8. How Many Books Are in the Bible
9. Predestination or Free Will: Augustine v. Pelagius
10. Predestination or Free Will: Luther v. Erasmus
11. Predestination or Free Will: Calvin v. Arminius
12. Predestination or Free Will: Whitefield v. Wesley
13. Can a Saved Person Ever Be Lost

I'm sorry, I don't like tearing books down, but if this is the best of Moody Church, it's no wonder students go to Christ the Savior Orthodox Church...they are searching for more.

The Peace of Christ be with you!


Blogger Mister A Muses said...

OK, now it is after 11 and I just read your blog. It sounds "too heavy" for me, at least at this hour, so I am doing this just to prove (to myself) that my blogspot account is still active. I may read entries but not necessarily comment. I have found your blog "educational" all ready, so I will see what else I can glean as days go by. Blessings.

10:21 PM  

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