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Why Do Christians Lose Faith? Lutheran vs. Calvinism

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by jinc1019, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. paul becke

    paul becke Regular Member Supporter

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    Indeed. Hence the paradox.
     
  2. BNR32FAN

    BNR32FAN He’s a Way of life Supporter

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    The very definition of the words faith, believe, and believer all include faithfulness, trustworthiness, and fidelity. Check the definitions of the Greek words translated to these English words and you will see these are in fact qualities associated with these words.
     
  3. John the Ex-Baptist

    John the Ex-Baptist New Member Supporter

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    Whilst I admire your obvious hatred of sin, and willingness to excercise the gift of repentance, I don't believe your statement makes room enough for the sheer broadness and vastness of human sinfulness. Yes it's a good thing for us to be mindful of those times we have knowingly transgressed the commands of our God, and of course we should confess those things and appeal for forgiveness on account of the sacrifice of Christ for us. However if that is solely how we define sin, then in my opinion that is a very blinkered view of it.

    We can sin against God in thought, word and deed. There are sins of commission (doing the things we shouldn't), and sins of omission (not doing the things we should). We can do seemingly righteous works from unrighteous motives, which is an offense to God. We can fail to give thanksgiving where thanksgiving is due, praise where praise is due etc.. We can pray with fear and unbelief in our hearts mixed in with faith. Daily we fail to fear, love and trust God with all our heart, soul and mind. And daily we transgress His command by failing to love our neighbour as ourself. And what is more, as the book of James instructs us; to break the least command of God's Law is to break it all.

    We can guarantee that God will fellowship with us and listen to our prayers, but solely on account of the sacrifice Christ made on behalf of sinners. It is His faithfulness, His righteousness, and His holiness that is credited to us as our own, and our sins and transgressions that are credited as His own upon the Cross. And it is on account of this divine exchange that has taken place that we approach God, not as servants seeking to be made right with Him, but as His children and rightful co-heirs with Christ.
     
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  4. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I totally agree.
    Paul said, "there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh".
    Charles Spurgeon quoted, probably a verse from a hymn:
    "I'm just a poor sinner and nothing at all,
    But Jesus Christ is my all in all."
    That's how we come to God, boldly to God's throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

    But, if we willfully sin, and do not use 1 John 1:9 to confess it as sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing, then the consciousness of our sinful act will upset our faith and open up for the devil to give us a "condemnation bomb" that will hinder our prayers. But once we take hold of that promise our conscience then becomes clear and our prayers are no longer hindered.
     
  5. Nova Scotian Boy

    Nova Scotian Boy Grand Sasquatch

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    It comes down to the Crux Theologorum "Why are some saved and not others."

    Calvinist answer the question by saying Gods sovereign choice,

    Lutherans say "its actually two different questions, WHy are some saved? 100% God, Why are some not saved/ fall away? 100% mans choice.
     
  6. A Shield of Turquoise

    A Shield of Turquoise New Member

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    Calvin also taught that God basically tricks some people into thinking they are saved, giving them a taste of grace before withdrawing it. This is supposed to even further accent God's great mercy toward those who are not toyed with so. How anyone is supposed to derive comfort in the Calvinist religion, in light of this teaching, I don't know.
     
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  7. James Murphy

    James Murphy LCMS Lutheran

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    It's funny, but a lot of the Lutherans I run into in Facebook Lutheran groups seem to think Lutheranism is Calvinism plus the Real Presence. This despite the fact that half the Book of Concord was spent refuting the Calvinists. They spend most of their time ripping Arminians whom they absolutely despise.
     
  8. A Shield of Turquoise

    A Shield of Turquoise New Member

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    The Calvinist/ Reformed system is attractive to some because it looks like an elegant, almost clockwork design. It seems to have a clear, unambiguous answer to most questions. This is very comforting if we are looking for a religion of mathematical formulae rather than the living God. This is an outgrowth of Renaissance humanism and Neoplatonism. Lutheranism of course has its influence from this current too but does not allow it to override the Gospel.
     
  9. James Murphy

    James Murphy LCMS Lutheran

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    It seems to me that the Calvinist conception of God is not a personal God at all, but rather an impersonal, mechanistic, force.
     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    The irony in that is that Arminianism is, in a way, just another flavor of the Reformed tradition.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  11. James Murphy

    James Murphy LCMS Lutheran

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    In a semi-related note, I've seen a bunch Lutherans complaining loudly about Evangelicals being "heart Christians" instead of "head Christians". Are they even aware that Martin Luther was absolutely contemptuous of the Scholastics who tried to intellectualize Christianity?
     
  12. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    I think it is a reaction to many Evangelicals taking the complete extreme from what Luther was speaking about. There really can be a happy medium for "the head and the heart" (also the name of a good band ;) )
     
  13. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Agreed. Christianity can neither be reduced to mere academia or to emotion-driven enthusiasm. The error of both is very nearly the same: Looking inward instead of outward.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  14. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    Luke 8...

    "11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of g]">[g]temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."

    I think we complicate this far too much.
     
  15. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    As a member of the Reformed tradition, I can tell you that there are lots of complexities hiding in this statement.

    This statement can only describe things from God's point of view. God (assuming complete foreknowledge, which both groups do) knows who will really be saved and who will not. He can see how even things that seem inconsistent with salvation or rejection work in our lives to lead to their final end.

    But other people, and even we ourselves, don't have that perspective. There are people who are at the moment are as far as even they know, real Christians, who will not end up that way.

    I think it's best to keep those two perspectives separate. This dual-perspective view is also an implication of compatibilism, which is pretty much mandatory for the Calvinist position to work.

    Even Reformed writers are often not clear on what questions can be addressed by this and what cannot. This does not allow us to know whether someone will in the end be saved. There were attempts in the Reformed tradition to develop tests for whether one was elect. They were never considered to be perfect, but there were tests whose results were considered presumptive. The problem is that they can only rest on what we do, and this ends up degenerating into justification by works.

    So a real Reformed answer is the same as a Lutheran answer: if we want confidence in our acceptance by God, we can only look at Christ's death for us. In this context, perseverance of the saints makes sense. We can have confidence that God will not allow his people to fall.

    But when we start trying to ask about election outside the context of our faith and trust in God, we run into terrible problems. So in the end we get a kind of paradoxical situation that may not be all that different from the Lutheran paradoxes.

    I note that this may not be so common among Reformed writers. There's too much of the tests for election going around. Here's an example of the perspective I suggest: "The Assurance of Salvation" by Sinclair Ferguson. Here's an example of a treatment that I find problematical: Insecurity and Assurance of Salvation. It's just fine until about halfway through. It describes the principles correctly, but it then falls into the trap of basing assurance upon self-examination.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  16. CaliforniaJosiah

    CaliforniaJosiah Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Two things, if I may....

    1. The problem with the Calvinist position is: A) It's unbiblical. B) it means that no one - EVER - REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING - can know if they are saved. I'm more than willing to explain both but such is not your question here.

    2. Lutherans do not answer the question you ask. ONLY that such is not God's will or act. We'd also be apt to say it's not because of sin (if it were, no one would remain in faith for all sin). Again, I'll explain if you desire.


    THIS is how my theology teacher taught us on this (sorry, it's not very systematic, lol)

    Let's say Bob, a Christian, commits a specific sin. And he is sorry. And he repents in faith. Does God forgive him? Of course, it is His promise and heart. Next day, the same sin is committed and the same repentance happens. Does God forgive Bob? Of course, it is His promise and heart.

    This continues for 10 zillion days. The sin continues as before, the ritual of repentance continues as before. And does God forgive? Yup, 70 times 7. It is His promise. It is His heart. BUT here's the deal.... likely, Bob is turning all this into a game... repentance has come to mean permission to sin and not feel guilty about out and not worry about his relationship to God and eternity. BUT does God forgive him? Ahha.... it is His promise. 70 times 7. Bob/s game has two eventual likely consequences: God's heart is breaking (with the intentional PLAYING with His grace and Jesus' blood).... and Bob is slowly wrecking his faith. Eventually, Bob is not being repentant at all..... and not really looking to Jesus as His Savior. He is just playing his game. Bob has abandoned the faith.... abandoned Jesus.... abandoned God. Did God withdraw from Bob? NO! Did God's mercy run out? NO! Did Bob's sin cause him to loose faith? NO! Bob played with God's grace.... and in the process, eventually wrecked his faith. Bob has only Bob to blame. BUT even here..... God heart longs for Bob to return, the Holy Spirit is working to grant faith to him again! Even his game can be forgiven.


    I hope that helps.


    - Josiah



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  17. Brigid63

    Brigid63 Traditional Lutheran/Anglican

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    :clap: That was an excellent explanation!!
     
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