Archive for March, 2009

Luther: Justification is a Stand-or-Fall Article of the Christian Faith

March 31, 2009

David Waltz has sparked my interest afresh in the quotation allegedly from Luther that Justification is a doctrine upon which the church stands or falls (link to Waltz’s article). I agree that the expression may not be Luther but is easily derivable from Luther’s teachings.

Waltz has traced it back to Valentin E. Löscher in 1718, but — with some help from Eberhard Jüngel (link) — I have traced it back a bit further to my own favorite Theologian, Francis Turretin, who stated, in his Institutes of Elenctic Theology at Tomus II, Locus 16, Question 1, Section 1:

“Luthero dicitur Articulas stantis et cadentis Ecclesiœ

You can see for yourself:

Text not available

The image above is from the 1819 printing of Turretin’s work, but (of course) Turretin’s first edition is much older. The second volume of Turretin’s work was published in 1682, which would beat out Löscher. Turretin (at least in the editions I can find) doesn’t provide any citation, and it is not clear to me whether Turretin had intended to quote or paraphrase Luther.

I don’t have access, at the moment, to a first edition of Turretin’s Institutes to verify that the quotation appeared in the original edition. Both Waltz and Jüngel (linked above) provide some interesting bases for the pseudo-quotation or paraphrase. Jüngel notes that previous attempts to definitively track down the quotations origin have proved fruitless.

On the other hand, the Smalcald Articles do suggest that Luther viewed the issue as being a stand-or-fall principle, and so do many other of Luther’s writings. The Smalcald Articles provide a good basis for the quotation as a paraphrase when they state:

5] Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered [nor can anything be granted or permitted contrary to the same], even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says Peter, Acts 4:12. And with His stripes we are healed, Is. 53:5. And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the [whole] world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us.



P.S. Luthero dicitur means “It was said by Luther.”
P.P.S. See p. 633 of Volume 2 of Turretin’s Institutes in the Giger-Dennison edition, if you wish to see how Giger-Dennison handled this.

Steve Ray Continues to Endorse Albrecht

March 31, 2009

I wasn’t overly surprised, but I was amused to see that Steve Ray is continuing to endorse William Albrecht (aka GNRHead):

“Here is a picture of me with William Albrecht, a Catholic apologist who can [sic] to the conference to spend some time with me. He is a good guy and a good apologist for the Catholic faith.” (source)

Personally, I think William Albrecht is a much more brave apologist for his religion than Steve Ray is. But regardless of what I personally think of Mr. Albrecht’s quality as an apologist, these sorts of endorsements from Mr. Ray (and others in the Romanist apologetic community) help to keep Mr. Albrecht on the map as a legitimate target for our criticism as representing his religion in the lay sphere.


Contrasting Views on Contraceptive Devices

March 31, 2009

Although some people (mostly conservative Romanists) would like you to think that the Roman Catholic Church has only one view on contraceptives, the issue is actually one on which there is a degree of disagreement, as illustrated in the following two articles:

On the “pro” side, Manuel Clemente, Bishop of Porto (link to article).

“Speaking to journalists, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Porto Manuel Clemente said condoms in such cases are ‘not only recommendable, they can be ethically obligatory.'”


On the “con” side, Matthew Bellisario, editor of the “Catholic Champion” web site (link to article)

“Well how does this genius think that AIDS is spread? Does MR Juppe know that it spreads by having sex, and that condoms promote sexual intercourse among people in Africa that have AIDS? Condoms are not 100% effective and the disease is primarily spread by sexual intercourse. Wow, I just wonder how someone like this clown becomes a Prime Minister in any country outside of Wonderland.”


Obviously, Mr. Bellisario is not making his comment directly to Bishop Clemente, and perhaps he’d be embarrassed to call one of the bishops of his church a “clown” – though he does not hesitate to law on the compliments when it comes to the former prime minister. But leaving aside the bombastic nature of Bellisario’s remarks, what we see from this comparison of views is that the typical Romanist apologetic argument that we need Rome to give us unity on issues like contraception (which are not explicitly addressed in Scripture) is wrong as a matter of fact: although Rome provides organizational unity, that organizational unity masks great doctrinal and moral disunity.


Why Women are Leaving Men for Other Women

March 31, 2009

The headline of this post is the same as a recent headline in the “Lifestyle” section of MSN (link to article – Caution Inappropriate Subject Matter at Link). The article tries to take a naturalistic approach, focusing essentially on biological explanations.

For example, the article quotes Lisa Diamond, Ph.D., as stating that regarding a woman’s desires, “It doesn’t appear to be something a woman can control.” The article, focusing on these biological explanations, also notes that men seem more “rigid” in these things and women more “fluid.”

All this misses the point. The Bible has the answer to why it is that women leave men for other women, and why men leave women for other men. The answer is God’s judgment on sin.

Romans 1:25-32
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

How fitting that a society who worships biology, as though biology in itself could provide the answers, is turned over to this perversion of the natural order. God has turned over the minds of this generation to such an extent that these shameful behaviors are no longer the skeleton in the closet, or even an elephant in the living room, but the open talk of all. The article puts it this way, “we’ve arrived at a moment in the popular culture when it all suddenly seems almost fashionable — or at least, acceptable.”

May God forgive us of these sins, and show mercy on us, bringing repentance to our society before it is swallowed up in judgment. There is a solution to this problem: conformity to the Law of God (not out of servile fear, but out of love for our Creator), which may be found in the Holy Scriptures.


Ehrman is Not a Debunker of Christianity?

March 30, 2009

I was surprised to find this sentence: “Ehrman is not a debunker of Christianity,” in a recent article in the Charlotte Observer (link to article).

On what basis does the author of the article make that claim? On the basis that Ehrman acknowledges that Jesus was an historical figure. Apparently, to be a “debunker of Christianity” today, one must not only be opposed to the miraculous, but also a denier of the most-well attested historical figure of 2000 years ago.

It’s amazing what the world’s come to.


Works of Cyril of Alexandria (in Greek) – Index Page

March 30, 2009

I realize that the Opera Omnia of Cyril of Alexandria (lived from about A.D. 375 to about A.D. 444) may not be the thing you were hoping to find today, but one never knows when one will need to refer to the Greek originals. When that time comes, you should be able to find the relevant work in one of the following five volumes:



Cross-Examination in the Atonement Debate Complete

March 30, 2009

My atonement debate with Roman Catholic “Catholic Nick” is entering its final stages, now that the cross-examination round is complete (direct link to debate posts)(link to index of debate).

There’s no plan, right now, for audience participation in this debate, though parts of the debate intersect with an ongoing discussion I have with Jay Dyer (at least I think it is ongoing – Jay may have gone on to other things)(link to Jay Dyer stuff).


The Real Turretin on: The Absurdities of Universal Atonement

March 28, 2009

Moses Cho at No Mo’ Condemnation has a nice quotation from the real Francis Turretin on the absurdities of any doctrine of universal atonement (link). Turretin addresses not only the errors of Arminianism, but also those Amyraldianism with this short identification of four absurdities.

Machina, Ora Pro Nobis?

March 27, 2009

If this “worked,” which (of course) it doesn’t, it would be simony (link). It’s yet another example of life being stranger than fiction.


Archbishop Raymond Burke and Priorities

March 27, 2009

This article (link) suggests that Archbishop Raymond Burke knows where his priorities lie.

Previously, according to the article: “In his remarks, Burke told Terry that American parishioners should press U.S. bishops to withhold the sacrament. ‘It is weakening the faith of everyone,’ Burke said.”

Now, according to the article, “‘If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it,’ said Burke, the former St. Louis archbishop.”

He continued, “I am deeply sorry for the confusion and hurt which the wrong use of the videotape has caused to anyone, particularly to my brother bishops.”

Before my critics say it, I’ll say it. Randall Terry is something of a firebrand, and his single issue is the abortion issue. He feels, and seems to be justified in this, that the American bishops are not doing what their church law says they should. He’s ticked, he wants blood, and he’s (as the Americans would say) “loaded for bear.” He had hoped to get Archbishop Burke on his side (against the American bishops) on this issue, presumably in view of Burke’s high rank within the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

I am puzzled as to how Burke could not have known of Terry’s purpose in the interview: even this blog knew what the purpose of this interview was, and reported it out on March 12, 2008 (link).


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