Friday, April 28, 2006
On the advice (from long ago) of my pal Rick, I added the "My Library" feature on the sidebar.
Great post over at John ZuHone's blog.

What is it for? As Lutherans, we believe that salvation is wholly an act of God, from the moment of conversion to the first resurrection (which is baptism) to the second resurrection in Glory (the Second Coming). To use the $20 word: we are monergists. We bear some similarities to Calvinists, in that we insist that salvation is not the result of any action on part. That is, never in all of history has there ever been a person who "made a decision for Jesus." Never happened. Never will. In the Person and work of Christ, God made a decision for us, and for us. That is, God is both the decision maker, and the bestower of Grace. No prayer, no Hail Mary, no decision, no walk down the aisle to endless repititions of "Just as I am" has done ONE. SINGLE. THING.


So, if God makes all the decisions, why doesn't everyone go to heaven? Contra the Calvinists, the Lutherans agree with Scripture which places the blame squarely on the shoulders of humanity. Some will rightly observe that this creates a conundrum: why are some saved and not others? Lutherans do not answer that question, because the Scriptures do not answer that question. If you start trying to answer that question, you'll end up and Arminian or a Calvinist.

But also, some ask, if God makes all the decisions, why bother evangelizing? What use is apologetics?

Let's leave aside for the moment the fact that we're told to evangelize.

Lutherans believe that God delivers His promises to us through means, i.e., through physical things. His Spirit comes to us in our Baptisms, and we are made one body through partaking in the Lord's Supper, where we receive Christ's True body and blood. God has a long history of working "through" physical things to accomplish his purposes. He brought water forth from a rock, he healed people through a snake on a stick, spoke through a burning bush, resided in a big golden box…

And just so, Lutherans believe that dead souls are converted and brought to new life in Christ by the preaching of the Word. They are not converted by responding to the Word. They are converted by the Holy Spirit through the Word.

Well, that solves the “why evangelize?” question: the Good News doesn’t travel through a vacuum. But what about apologetics? Clearly, the Lutheran position rules out any part that human reason may play in conversion, right?

So, should we or shouldn’t we?

Related post over at John H's blog.

Thursday, April 27, 2006
You scored as Evidentialist.

You are an evidentialist! Apologetics primarily consists in showing the good reasons one has to believe the claims of Christianity. You consistently confound unbelievers with your knowledge of history, science, and Bayesian computation that you learned from John Warwick Montgomery, Gary Habermas, and Richard Swinburne.

70% -- Evidentialist
57% -- Fideist
53% -- Reformed/Presuppositional Apologist
40% -- Classical Apologist
7% --- Atheist

I suspect that the quiz found here has already made its way around, but I just found it. I am surprised to discover that I am 7% atheist. I guess we all have our doubts...Spirit willing, flesh weak and all that.

But...should Lutherans be advocates of "evidentiary apologetics"? More to follow...
Friday, April 21, 2006
So, having witnessed all the "comment wars" on other blogs, I have decided to mediate comments. Not that I'm expecting all that many...but better to play it safe. People who leave comments may notice a delay before it gets posted, but have no worries. Sean's comment, for instance, finallt showed up today, even though he left it yesterday. I'll try to be quicker, and I'm probably going to establis an email account for just for the blog comments, which means I won't have to sift through all the offers for the latest hot stock, p-n-s enlargement pill, etc., and potentially miss someone's otherwise brilliant comment.

Bear with me; I still have no idea what I'm doing.

UPDATE: Comments modding temporarily off. If things get dicey, maybe then I'll use it.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This is an inital post, just to get the blog going...sort of "priming the pump" so to speak. Things that might come up on this blog are (in no particular order!):

Brewing Beer
Science and Faith
Crypto-Baptists in the Lutheran Church
Classical Music or Punk Rock, depending on my mood.
Historical issues

Under "Brewing Beer", I might post an occasional recipe, especially if it's good. I also might solicit advice from other brewers.

Under "science and faith", I am sure that I will be taking issue with people who uncritically ascribe to the strange and novel ideas put forth by such groups as Answers in Genesis.

Under "crypto-Baptists"...well, for the most part, see above.

Under "music" soon as I figure it out, I will try to get one of those side-bar thingies that says something like, "What I'm listening to today". Until then...

Given some time, I will also develop a "blogroll".

I will warn anyone reading this that I am terrible typist, but I will always correct errors as I see them.