Back 2 School

Comment by winstondelgado — August 17, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

Christopher,
Please explain where I have made an ad homenim attack against you. Was it when I guessed you were a 23 year old male?

Despite posting it twice, I really don’t see what brilliant theological gem is lost amongst all your lawyerly rhetoric. If you really want me to ‘relent and say that you might have missed out on what it is really all about.’ maybe you could try plain language for simple folks such as myself to explain what ‘it is really all about’. What I seem to be getting is that you’re saying everyone is evil, except when they find God through your particular idiomatic formulae of belief, except they’re still evil after that. Luther’s theology was ‘a glorious spire’ and Luther was ‘evil’. Am I getting this right? Furthermore, you argue that Luther’s anti-semitic ravings actually proves his theology right by showing how evil, flawed, and wrong he was, even though his theology said that by believing in that theology, you will inherently be good and bear good fruits. I know you have now twice said ‘You think that justification by faith alone means that Luther thought that he, or we, as the case may be, are made actually righteous by faith.’ So, I asked myself, where would I get a silly idea like that? And I thought, and I thought, and then I remembered! Martin Luther gave me that idea!

An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Luther’s German Bible of 1522 by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

“Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this `faith,’ either.

Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do

It would seem that Luther is arguing that faith makes you ‘freely, willingly, and joyfully do good to everyone, blah, blah, blah’. Someone better tell Luther that Christopher Neiswonger disagrees with him!

I do understand the idea of evil and original sin. I am very familiar with Catholicism. I don’t agree with it, either. This doesn’t mean that I think that I’m ‘good’. For me, faith is something that I have to struggle with on a daily basis as my guide for what is right and wrong. It’s not a simple choice that’s made once, because if it were, everyone would have made it a long time ago and we would all be living in paradise. I don’t have certainty that everything I do is good. I doubt myself so that I may improve myself. I don’t believe I’m completely helpless, lost, or opposed to God. God has blessed me with the gifts of reason and the Word. The rest is up to me.
So, have I met your latest argument? Are you going to get around to any of mine that you’ve left lying unanswered? I would really like to get back to where this discussion started. Do you believe that Jehovah is something like an invisible giant in the sky as he is described in the Old Testament? Do you really believe that God knocked over a bridge to get our attention? If your answer is positive to either of these questions, then I would like an explanation as to why this god did not intervene in a more obvious way during the Holocaust. Also do you really believe that people should seek a Divine Mandate to justify their actions? If they seek this justification and then are successful in their actions, does this indicate that the Divine Mandate was granted? If so, then please explain what happened on 9/11.

There’s plenty of other things I would love to ask you, but if you just got to these few items I would be immensely satisfied.
-WD

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