The Ritual Christendom Captivity of the Churches

Those who would defend Constantine and slavery must also always defend the rituals of Christendom. I refer not only to the attempt to eliminate heresy by means of the heresy of violence. I refer to infant baptism, and to the “federal vision” deconstruction of any difference between water and union with Christ.

Those who warn against the “anabaptist captivity” of “the church” are also willing to reject any difference between a ritual Lord’s Supper and God’s “real or legal” means of union and communion. They will defend anything (slavery, the confederacy) old just so long as it is anti-liberal.

Instead of visible congregations, they write books of theory against theory. Unwilling as individuals to return to the Roman Catholic Church, despite a common faith in justification by works, as optimists they write essays against not only individualism but even against counter-cultures. The most consistent Reformed idealogues (theonomic postmillenialists) plan an end of exile by means of ordained violence.

The next time they are Constantine they promise to do it better. But as inductive theologians, they remind us that even what Constantine did in the past was a result of God’s sovereign providence. And so they hope for a liberal-free future in which cross-bearing will no longer be necessary.

To get at the error of ritual Chrsitendom, we need to do more than talk about associations with Romanism. That’s like criticizing Billy Graham for his associations instead of his false gospel. He runs with those with false gospel because he has false gospel.

Those who cannot tell the difference between the gospel and “the nonvoluntary church” are trying to sell us a narrative in which the visibility of the kingdom of Jesus has to do with the traditional rituals inherited from Augustine and others who used violence in the name of God.

“Reformed” people like J I Packer and Timothy George associate with Romanist ritualists because they themselves are ritualists (George, who calls himself a “baptist sacramentalist”, has much more in common with JI Packer than he doe with predestinarians like Roger Williams or Obadiah Holmes.

If we are going to escape the ritual Christendom captivity of the churches, we need to talk about the sacramental errors of John Calvin, Martin Luther and all “mystical catholic” people who define the Lord’s Supper as something God does instead of as the human obedience of Christians.

We need to oppose ecclesiastical anti-nomianism which equates ecumenical ritualism with spiritual revival and reformation. The fight about sacramentalism is a fight about politics, because it’s a fight about judging saved and lost.

Sacramentalists want to hand out grace without judging saved and lost. They want to include you in their “church” and tell you it’s God’s will and not your decision. Sacramentalists don’t trust anabaptists because they see that suspicion of the state might also mean suspicion of their big broad “the church”.

The majority culture of the state and the powerful (and the would be powerful!) always opposes any attempt for “sects” to judge who is saved. This is why the Reformers kept on killing the Anabaptists the Romanists also killed.

Ecclesiastical antinomians want to say that “sacrament” is a secondary issue and not a gospel issue. But when you refuse the political responsibility of judging saved and lost in terms of knowing and believing the gospel, then you have opened the way for assuming that everyone handed out the sacrament (or listening to the “minister’s” sermon) is a Christian. To not judge by the gospel is to compromise the gospel.

What we believe about who’s in the church has everything to do with the politics of evangelism. Do we see everyone with whom we talk as already Christians who simply need to know more (of what we know)? Or do we see that even Christ’s sheep are not yet all justified yet?

Do we think of church as one universal church which includes saints now living in heaven (to whom we pray or not, is not the only issue) or do we think of local fellowship around a table which is closed to those who do not yet obey the gospel?

In these days, to be more ecumenical means not only to be more romantic about ritual Christendom but also to be more open to “deification”. The “federal vision” way down this path usually begins with II Peter 1:4 (become partakers of the divine nature) and ends up replacing justification by Christ’s death with “union with Christ”.

Just as the word “sacrament” is left undefined or given multiple definitions, so also the idea of “union with Christ” is left undefined or given various (unbiblical) definitions in ecumenical discussions.

What does it mean to be in Christ, and how is it different from Christ indwelling us? This is the kind of question we need to begin asking. Does this indwelling in Christ have anything to do with being handed the sacrament? Certainly Calvin thought so.

We need to read Calvin on this, to see what he did and did not believe. Calvin, for example, only believed in an union with the humanity of Christ, and did not teach an union with God defined as creatures indwelling the Creator, even though that is left an open possibility in undefined ecumenical discussion. But Calvin’s anti-rational streak, which cannot explain and refuses to explain, becomes very mystical when it comes to “sacrament”. (See Bruce McCormack and Michael Horton essays in Tributes to Calvin).

Does the Bible teach that God effects “union with Christ” by means of water, or with bread and wine? NO. My opinion is that we baptists will never get away from that sacramental idea until we get away from the idea that “union with Christ” is only about regeneration. As long as our categories for judging saved and lost are “regenerate” and “unregenerate”, we will be assuming (even if we don’t define it at all) that “union” means regeneration and that union/regeneration precedes justification.

1. We need to define what we mean by “regeneration”. Since the Bible word is “new birth”, we need to think about this new birth in terms of “effectual calling” by the power of the Holy Spirit with the word of the gospel. We need to get away from the idea that “regeneration” is a “change in substance or nature” and then a time gap between that and the hearing of the gospel.

2. We need to define “in Christ” in terms of justification. Although the Bible does teach that the sheep are always in Christ by election, Romans 16 teaches that some of the sheep are in Christ before other of the sheep. This change is not a first of all a change of regeneration or birth but legally a change of state before God. To be in Christ in this way is to be justified. Union with Christ is justification, legal union with Christ and His work and His benefits. Immediately after this legal change, the sheep are born again and believe the gospel, but “union” does not precede justification, because union IS justification.

3. God justifies the ungodly. God does not justify because of faith. God does not justify because God knows that God is going to regenerate and change the person. God changes the person because God has justified the person. The change from a belief in the false gospel to the true gospel is evidence of justification, but it is never the reason for God justifying.

Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God, that you were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were called…”

Roman 6:20 “When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?”

As long we define union as regeneration and judge saved and lost by regeneration, we will be tempted to ignore the gospel of justification and judge by morality and immorality.

Romans 6 describes two legal states, one of which is “free from righteousness”. We tend to judge people (even ourselves) to be saved on the evidence of morality. But God sees that morality as something to be ashamed of, when those moral people are still in their sins, still not yet justified.

Romans 6 defines the “in Christ” in terms of legally being placed into the death of Christ. Union with Christ is justification. Instead of an “ritual done by an ordained minister” which makes you a participant in Christ ( understood in many places as indwelling even the deity of God!), our hope as the justified is that God has counted the death of Christ as our death.

Is this unbalanced? Why do I pit regeneration against justification? Well, I could ask you, why do you always draw the line between the regenerate and the unregenerate? Why don’t you draw the line between the justified and the condemned? Why don’t you judge by if a person knows and believes the gospel?

I am not denying the new birth or the absolute necessity for it. I am only saying that the new birth and faith are not all there is to “union with Christ”. I am only say that the “new creation” has to do with a change in legal state, and not first of all with a change of substance or nature.

II Corinthians 5:14 “one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sakes died and was raised. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh (judging by morality or immorality or by other non-gospel standards)….If anyone is in Christ, there is a NEW CREATION. The old has passed; the new has come.”

“Those who live” means first of all those who are justified. The category of “we died” is not about a change of substance or nature but about an imputed legal reality. So also the category of “those who live” is also not about a change of substance or nature but about an imputed reality, legal life because of justification.

The “new creation” (or “new man”) is not first of all about regeneration or birth but about a legal change of identity, a legal before and after. It’s not gradual; it’s an either or. The new is not effected by a “sacramental feeding on Christ” but by God’s imputation of what God did in Christ in His death and resurrection.

Christ is here, yes, but not in some different way because of water or bread and wine. And also, Christ is not here, not yet, and we believe and obey and hope, waiting for the day when Christ will be here. He is not now coming down from heaven as He will someday, and we are not now going to heaven, no matter what the “minister of the sacrament” might say. The church is not Christ, and the church is not the gospel.

So how then are we in Christ? We are in Christ legally. The old has passed. The legal verdict has already been declared. One day, at the resurrection, there will be visible evidence of that verdict. No ritual is a sign from God that we in particular have been justified or united to Christ.

Even if our children were to eat the “sacrament” with us, still that’s no seal that either we or our children have been justified or that God is our God. What is the gospel? Judge justified and lost by the gospel.

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14 Comments on “The Ritual Christendom Captivity of the Churches”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    John Howard Yoder writes about the national sacrament of voting.


    Precisianist Strain: Disciplinary Religion and Antinomian Backlash in Puritanism to 1638 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia), by Theodore Dwight Bozeman, p20:

    “Penitential teaching expressly echoed and bolstered moral priorities. In contrast, again, to Luther, whose penitential teaching stressed the rueful sinner’s attainment of peace through acknowledgment of fault and trust in unconditional pardon, many puritans E included moral renewal. In unmistakable continuity with historic Catholic doctrine that tied ‘contrition, by definition, to the intention to amend,’ they required an actual change in penitent. For them, a renewal of moral resolve was integral to the penitential experience, and a few included the manifest alteration of behavior. They agreed that moral will or effort cannot merit forgiveness, yet rang variations on the theme that repentance is ‘an inward sorrow . . . whereunto is also added a . . . desire to frame our life in all points according to the holy will of God expressed in the divine scriptures.”


    Theodore D. Bozeman, “Inductive and Deductive Polities”, Journal of American History, December 1977, p722–Materially comfortable and conspicuously toward the leading groups in society, the old school carried forward traditional Calvinist support for business and professional vocations….Having supported from the beginning a version of Protestantism supportive of property consciousness, the Old School leadership had incentive enough for worry about social instability… Old School contributions to social analysis may be viewed as a sustained attempt to defend the inherited social structure…The General Assembly found it necessary to lament the practice of those who ‘question and unsettle practice which have received the enlightened sanction of centuries’… Social naturalists assumed that the laws of society were not merely true, that is, given in the scheme of nature. They bore too the humbling force of prescription; they demanded compliance. The desire was to draw the ought out of the is…to make facts serve a normative purpose.”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink
    Involuntary water baptism sometimes need to be part of the mission of Christianizing the world. If the true churches don’t accept some assistance from the magistrates, then some sectarians will inevitably think that water baptism is optional and that church is voluntary. These gnostic individualissts need to be taught that the water torture is God’s work and not a human work, and if takes magisterial torture to get that done, so be it. And if we can find certain “redemptive” practices in common, that’s good also, because religion is a benefit for the entire culture.

    Collectivism allowed for a certain amount of laxity in the Spanish Roman Catholic conversion of the Indian population in Mexico, because many outward practices were similar. Both systems practiced a type of baptism with subsequent renaming of the child and the practice of communion had parallels with eating replicas of Aztec divinities with blood. Franciscan and Dominican studies of Indian culture and language led to a certain amount of appreciation. It was definitely different from the Islam they had to deal with before .

    Indigenous Mexican religion was branded as paganism, but as an authentic religious experience corrupted by demonic influences. Many parallels could be drawn between the gods and the cults of the saints as well as the Virgin Mary. For this reason, evangelization did not result in a direct onslaught against indigenous belief but was rather more an attempt to be realistic about that which had come about with the passing of time, so instead of repenting of their former baptismal practice, they shifted (more or less) the paradigms which justified the practice of involuntary baptism. .

    While in theory Christianity was to have absolutely supremacy in all things religious, in practice, the Church did not oppose many common habits, like killing for one magistrate against another magistrates or taking interest even from other Christians,as long as it was for the common good, which is what business is….

    Let your leaders decide what religion the masses will be, and if the conquered masses have a leader with whom the conquering leaders can negotiate, so much the better….

  5. markmcculley Says:

    But if Christian freedom is principally about freedom from the penalty of sin and eternal punishment, if it is a spiritual as opposed to a political reality, and if it is something enjoyed as much by Christians in a liberal democracy as by believers once persecuted by Roman emperors, why all the fuss about the infringement of religious liberty? D.G.Hart, A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State

    But then perhps there is no reason to care about liberty or about separation of military from the church, and it would not be an absolute evil to go back (or forward) to a Presyberian Christendom.

    Crawford Gribben
    This reading of Rutherford’s Free Disputation, set in the context of its times, challenges any idea that the modern, politically passive Presbyterian main- stream can be identified either with the theology of the Westminster Confession or that of its most influential divines.’”s Rutherford’s commitment to shaping an entirely Presbyterian world, where public deviations from orthodox faith or practice should be met with the most severe of legal consequences, is a world away from the political complacency of modern evangelicalism and the self- justifying myth it sponsors of the pluralistic benevolence of the Scottish Cove- nanting movement. Rutherford did believe in “liberty of conscience,” but, as the Confession argued, this was a liberty that provided no license to sin (WCF 20.3-4).

    It is certainly true that we cannot simply read the Confession as a summary statement retaining the unqualified approval of all those who participated in its negotiation. The final text of the Confession was “a consensus statement, broad enough to be agreed with by Divines who held somewhat different views of the contemporary applications of the Mosaic judicial laws.” Rutherford seems to stand at one extreme of the Assembly’s range of opinions, arguing, with the apparent approval of the Commission of the Kirk’s General Assembly, that the OT judicial laws ought indeed to be the basis of the Presbyterian state for which they were working. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that Rutherford’s theonomic opinions were shared by many puritans who could not have endorsed his narrow ecclesiastical ambitions. Even those who favored a broader toleration of those orthodox Calvinists outside the Presbyterian system looked to the OT judicial laws as their program of action. Cromwell’s Rump Parliament established the death penalty for incest, adultery, and blasphemy.’” John Owen was prepared to argue that some of the judicial laws were “everlastingly binding.” The Fifth Monarchist radicals were famous exponents of a Hebraic legal renaissance.

    However we understand the text and context of the Westminster Confession, therefore, we must recognize that the Confession is not committed to the separation of church and state in any modern understanding of that idea. The doctrine of the “two kingdoms,” where church and state operated independently but with mutual reliance on the law of God, did not at all favor a religiously neutral state. Thus the Confession charged the state with the highest of responsibilities: “The Civil Magistrate. . . hath Authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that Unity and Peace be preserved in the Church, that the Truth of God be kept pure, and intire; that all Blasphemies and Heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in Worship and Discipline prevented, or reformed; and all the Ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed” (WCF 23.3). (Crawford Gribben, “Samuel Rutherford and Freedom of Conscience,” Westminster Theological Journal, 2009, 372-73)

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion.

    Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me

    In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe.

    For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Puritan sacraments—which is to say, mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need.

    the Reformed tradition generates pastoral problems that cannot be helped by the sacrament, because neither word nor sacrament can assure me that I have true saving faith. The logic of the matter, it seems to me, makes it impossible to split the difference between these two positions and get the best of both.

    mcmark—-Talk of the sacrament “for us” always replaces talk of definite atonement only for the elect, and crowds out any good news of justice requiring the final salvation of all for whom Christ died. The Lutheran “us” claims to be everybody, but for Lutherans, it’s not the death for “us” which saves anyone, because what saves anyone is present faith. Present faith, present salvation, and losing faith is losing salvation, and Christ’s satisfaction of the law has nothing to do with it.

  7. markmcculley Says:

    see if we could take what Leithart writes in First Things to the “church catholic” ( the Romanists on the Supreme Court?) and re-translate them into something more sectarian and/or confessional.

    1) Whether the sword is good or evil depends on its use. So it’s better to have a sword than to be weak in Christ, because being weak is tempting God, it’s like jumping over the mountain and thinking the angels will save your…. It is better to have the power of making them blind instead of being blind yourself, better to starve them out than ever have your own dna covenant children go hungry. You cannot leave “government” to God alone, because God would rather not use bad nation-states to achieve His purposes. So it’s necessary to take at least two swords if you can, and to turn the nation into an empire if you can. And pacifists who claim not to want this power are really dishonest liars and insincere because pacifists are filled with ressentiment and want the power too, as Nietzsche has taught us, but they tell themselves “not yet” because they are too cowardly to take enough swords to get the job done now.

    2) Some people have more swords than others, and you really can’t ever have too many swords, and we have seen in history that two are not enough. The power of the Roman empire to put Jesus Christ to death is a necessary corollary to the restraint of evil and to even have a life together. Because even if the earth is the Lord’s, you should see the earth if we don’t take dominion of it. And the only way you can do anything of any value now is if you have somebody with a sword backing you up. War is simply politics by other means.

    3) Being an empire will keep your people alive. Except when it doesn’t, because there are exceptions when individuals act on their “theonomic” impulses. But in these situations, you need to be careful not to think of them as non-nations but instead call for a war, just as if everything was still normal.

    4) Those who kill by the sword will live by the sword, and the one and only solution to being weak and threatened is swords because we can’t simply know what providence might bring us, and we don’t want to ever show any weakness. If your neighbor is too loud, sword. If your neighbor is a practicing homosexual, sword. Better for your response to sometimes be “disproportionate” than for you to be abused in any way. Forget those antiquated notions of “just war”. You can’t afford
    for your people to ever become victims, and if it takes genocide to prevent that, you do it, even if the majority disagrees with you, since of course you are doing it for their own good, for their sake.

    5) Never fail to remind the pacifists that they owe you for their right to be pacifists. Tell them they wouldn’t have any freedom to privately object if you had not killed many outsiders as the
    necessary means to that end, so therefore they should shut up. The roads they walk on?– the sword built them. The plays of Shakespeare– the sword made them possible. Smart phones?– there simply would be no “culture” without the sword. If you vote, you agree with the sword. If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. The earth that used to belong to the Lord has now been conquered, and if you accept any benefits from the earth, then you have the empire to thank.

    6) Hitler is better than nothing, and everything God has predestined is legitimate and good, because nothing evil is in God’s sovereign plan. So it is your responsibility not only to submit to but to collaborate with the lesser of two evils, because what looks evil is not evil because it is necessary if we are going to have hot showers. We didn’t used to be an empire. And also we didn’t use to have hot showers. We didn’t use to have a wonderful magazine like First Things, which is always right, even when it advocates pre-emptive warson non-military targets.

    7) Of course mistakes were made. Constantine did kill his children. Constantine did wait to get sacramental baptism until just before he died. But we have learned from these mistakes, and we won’t make the same ones again. And never forget that Constantine stopped calling war and the death penalty “sacrifices” for the imperial cult. The killing continued, but it was no longer described as sacrifice but seen as more of a practical 2k necessary thing.

    8. Violence is our life, and therefore should not be seen as entertainment in video games and movies. Greed also can be a bad thing, but if we do it together it can work out for us all. Greed is more of a matter of the heart, and therefore nothing yet that the empire can do anything abou

  8. markmcculley Says:

    SOLA ECCLESIA: The Lost Reformation Doctrine
    by Michael J. Glodo
    With which of the following statements are you in greater agreement?

    1. “Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”

    2. “Away from [the church] one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation.”

    For the average evangelical Christian the first statement may lack some balance, but the second sounds downright Romish. If this describes your reaction, then your ecclesiology is closer to the author of the first, Lenny Bruce, than to the author of the second, John Calvin (Institutes 4.1.1). Bruce, satirist of organized religion and nemesis to hypocrisy, a comedian notorious for his vulgarity and impiety, nevertheless expressed a common contemporary assessment of organized religion, while Calvin’s statement seemed to betray his role as one of the primary catalysts of the Protestant Reformation

    There is no invisible baptism,. The person who says, “I’m a member of the Kingdom of God, not organized religion” is inherently contradictory. How do we know that such a person is truly converted? For that matter, how does he or she know? They have refused Christ’s appointed administration of his Kingdom and, thus, stand apart from his kingship. For this reason, one cannot possess assurance of salvation indefinitely if he remains outside of the Church . He may have saving faith, but have none of Christ’s means of assuring him of it. Paul wrote, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26, NASV). Hence, Cyprian wrote, “No one has God as his father without the Church as his mother.”
    Ridderbos described that view, “liberal theology asserted that, as a visible gathering of believers with a certain amount of organization, the Church lay entirely outside Jesus’ vision.”

    mark: like the fundy slippery slope from no head covering to evolution and same-sex marriage, the sacramentalists accuse all who disagree with them of being “liberals”

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom , Peter Leithart, IVP, 2010, p 333: “The Creator made man to participate in and prosecute His wars.”

    Constantine really subverted the empire (you see) because he used his great power in the empire to change the empire! How could Constantine have ended the gladiatorial shows, if he had retreated into 2k cultural dis-engagement? If you can kill to protect religious liberty, then the killing itself becomes civilization!

    And shame on Constantine for refusing to wear the purple when he thought he was near death, as if being emperor and being Christian were in competition. Leithart suspects that your (modern) anti-Constantinianism is a cover for your being less “catholic” than you could be. . Augustine was a Christian. .Therefore Christians need only to reject sectarian wars of peasant rebellion against the magistrate. . But when Constantine becomes a Christian, then the magistrate’s wars become Christian wars.

    Yes of course Constantine’s history Is somewhat messy (especially his family life) but the alternative is the impatience of perfectionism. Leithart appeals to all of us who grew up in dispensationalism and now see ourselves as superior to all that. Surely, “church history is not an empty parenthesis.” (p325) We need to work with that which has come about with the passing of time, and if we resist the gradualism of the Magisterial Reformers, we will end up with no church at all, and no more religious liberty to maintain conservative culture!

    In order to “de-sacrifice the empire” and thus eliminate the confusion of patriotism and religion, we need to do two things, according to Leithart. First, we need to sacrifice the enemies of the Christian nation. . Second, we need to move the patriotic rituals out of the secular realm and move them into the church (which will support the Christian nation). Remember that blood sacrifice ended in the Jewish temple in Ad 70. Constantine means the beginning of the end of exile.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    stop your collaborating with the world,, because voting with the world is consent, and the world is not church, and church is not the world

    to turn politics into voting
    every two years or so
    betrays lack of patience
    to wait for the second coming
    Jesus back to earth,

    so the grand inquisitor,
    the priestly class of “the church”.
    wishes for the old days of Christendom
    when the south was segregated and Christian morality
    was at least respected

    now we even have to coexist with
    tolerate these sectarians who deny that each atom of the bread
    contains God completely,
    without the sacrament what is left to stand between us and the secular?

    N T Wright—“present justification consists not so much in words but in an event, the event in which one dies with the Messiah and rises to new life with him. In other words, baptism. I was delighted to rediscover…that not only Chrysostom and Augustine but also Luther would here have AGREED with ME.”

  11. It does get a little boring that we continue hearing the Scotus story as narrated by John Milbank and “radical orthodoxy”. Making anti-sacramental sectarians the scapegoat for nihilism is a little like thinking that the “vast right wing conspiracy” put those classified emails on Hilary’s account.

    John Calvin—“The integrity of the sacrament lies here, that the flesh and blood of Christ are not less truly given to the unworthy than to the elect believers of God; and yet it is true, that just as the rain falling on the hard rock runs away because it cannot penetrate, so the wicked by their hardness repel the grace of God, and prevent it from reaching them…There are some who define the eating of the flesh of Christ, and the drinking of his blood, to be, in one word, nothing more than believing in Christ himself. But Christ seems to me to have intended to teach something more sublime in that noble discourse, in which he recommends the eating of his flesh—viz. that we are quickened by the true partaking of him, which he designated by the terms eating and drinking, lest any one should suppose that the life which we obtain from him is obtained by simple knowledge.”

    Calvin—“For as it is not the sight but the eating of bread that gives nourishment to the body, so the soul must partake of Christ truly and thoroughly, that by his energy it may grow up into spiritual life. According to them, to eat is merely to believe; while I maintain that the flesh of Christ is eaten by believing, because it is made ours by faith, and that that eating is the effect and fruit of faith.
    According to them, eating is faith, whereas it rather seems to me to be a consequence of faith. The difference is little in words, but not little in reality.”

    Calvin–“Although the apostle teaches that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, no one will interpret that dwelling to be faith All see that it explains the admirable effect of faith, because to faith it is owing that believers have Christ dwelling in them. In this way, the Lord was pleased, by calling himself the bread of life, not only to teach that our salvation is treasured up in faith in his death and resurrection, but also, by virtue of true communication with him, his life passes into us and becomes ours.” Institutes 4:17:5

  12. markmcculley Says:

    I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. But this does not mean to leave the kingdom of creation, where there are many immoral people. And it also does not mean in the visible church, because a visible church is always a mixed bag, and only people who are too certain of themselves would ever judge other people in the church. Otherwise you would have to leave the church. . Do not even eat with such persons, unless they are receiving the means of grace from ordained clergy, or working with you in the secular kingdom for the extermination of Muslims. But even then, when you eat together in the army, don’t forget that it’s not heaven and you are not eating as a Christian but as a secular American. Even though it’s not our business to judge outsiders, we must judge those who were born in the visible church, and keep them from coming to the table too soon, in our opinion. When we judge those who have been baptized in water and in the name of the Trinity, we are not judging those who are outside. And as long as we make a distinction between church and world, we can kill for the world. As long as we make a distinction between creation and redemption, we can kill other creatures as long as we do not do so in the name of redemption. As for sabbath, we do sabbath for both reasons. on a different day of course but the different day is the ceremonial part but the creation reason for sabbath proves that it’s moral, because the redemption reason maybe could be ceremonial, depending on what we decide and who we are talking to.

    maybe we should look up I Cor 5 and see what it really says–come out

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Marilynne Robinson–Two terrible scandals mar Luther’s life. One was his response to the Peasants’ War, in which he urged extreme violence against the rebels. The other was his writing against the Jews, whom he assailed in very similar, very violent terms. There is no excuse to be made for this, but a reason for it might have been that the existence of communities considered heretical was tenuous. Whole villages of Waldensians had been slaughtered. Wittenberg, where Luther lived most of his life, was protected by important German princes, but to tip it in the slightest degree toward association with any disfavored population would be to put it at risk.

    The Peace of Augsburg, signed in 1555, which for a while established a truce between Catholics and Lutherans within the Holy Roman Empire, did not acknowledge other Protestant groups, who had little or nothing in the way of princely protection and who remained liable to prosecution as heretics by both Catholics and Lutherans. Luther was no longer alive, but his readiness to dissociate himself from vulnerable groups seems to have survived him.

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