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Persnickety Presbyterian
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Speratus,

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Three more questions: Will God cause all the steps to occur eventually? Does anything prior to and including forensic justification involve man's unforced cooperation? Is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner by faith alone?

1) Yes, all of the points in the Ordo Salutis will occur eventually: "[For I am] confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6). God will not allow His elect to become reprobate after having been regenerated!

2) I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "forensic justification." But I don't think anything man does is "forced" upon him by God; i.e., nothing a man does is ever ultimately in opposition to his own will. His will is, however, in bondage to sin, unless he is regenerated by the Spirit, at which point his will is irreversibly altered to inherently desire the things of God (though, it is true, the sinful nature is not eradicated immediately and the will remains imperfect until glorification). To have one's will changed from the outside obviously cannot be either against or according to one's will, because one's will is destroyed and remade.

3) Yes, Christ's righteousness is imputed to the sinner by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone. A man does not receive righteousness by any other means---neither works of the law nor the sacrament of baptism. Now, I believe God can work through baptism to cause regeneration, but just as preaching the Word does not infallibly regenerate, neither does baptism, and so those baptized as infants should not be presumed regenerate.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
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CovenantInBlood,

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I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "forensic justification."

Forensic justification maintains that the only effective cause of our forgiveness is the verdict of God that takes place outside of ourselves. We are declared “not guilty” by God entirely on the basis of what Christ has done for us.

Quote
Now, I believe God can work through baptism to cause regeneration, but just as preaching the Word does not infallibly regenerate, neither does baptism, and so those baptized as infants should not be presumed regenerate.

Should they be presumed unregenerate?

The Lutheran view would be the same as yours except we assume the baptized infant is regenerate/believes (justification by faith alone). Regeneration can occur before, in, or after baptism through the ministry of the Word. If there are any Lutherans who dispute that, please show me from scripture or the confessions where I am wrong.

Last edited by speratus; Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:24 AM.
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Since the moderators have apparently assigned this thread to me, let me conclude with an appeal to so-called "Lutherans". If you believe that regeneration infallibly occurs at the time of baptism and only at the time of baptism, please read the scriptures and our confessions regarding baptism and justification. And, if you still believe that baptism regenerates by the outward act, please stop calling yourself Lutheran.

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But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God's (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper's baptism). God's works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. 36] For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God's command and ordinance, and besides in God's name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.

37] Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and which faith apprehends; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and received by faith. Therefore they do us violence by exclaiming against us as though we preach against faith; while we alone insist upon it as being of such necessity that without it nothing can be received nor enjoyed.

Luther's Large Catechism

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Let me state for the record that I am not a Lutheran, however, since you, speratus, do claim to be one please answer this for me. On page 173 of Luther's Small Catechism (copyright 1943 Concordia Publishing House) in section 251

Quote
Q. How do you prove that infants, too, are to be baptized?

A. Because they are included in the words 'all nations";


622 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: (Mt 28:19)

624 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. (Ac 2:38-39)

Because Holy Baptism is the [color:"FF0000"]only means whereby infants, who, too, must be born again, can ordinarily be regenerated and brought to faith;</font>

625 And they were bringing unto him little children, that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. (Mr 10:13-15)
According to this the ordinary means for infants to be regenerated and brought to faith is through baptism. Does this not contradict your previous statement. Also doesn't this also teach baptismal regeneration? If not please show me where in the small catechism (the only one I have right now) that this is taught different.

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Boanerges,

1. What you have quoted from is not Luther's Small Catechism. It is an explanation of Luther's Small Catechism prepared by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I, as a Lutheran, am bound only to the symbols of my church as contained in the Book of Concord, 1580.
2. The sentence you have quoted makes no sense. If baptism is the only means, how can there be any exceptions?
3. Luther's Small Catechism does teach baptismal regeneration (page 17, part III) but it does not teach that baptism is the only means whereby infants can be regenerated and brought to faith. That teaching contradicts the Lutheran Confessions in many places.
4. Contrary to the Missouri Synod explanation, the Confessions speak of Word and Sacraments as the ordinary means of grace not just baptism. Is infant baptism the ordinary means for Baptists who wickedly withhold baptism from infants yet permit their children to hear the gospel?
5. Not only does the Missouri Synod explanation make no sense and contradict the Lutheran Confessions, it contradicts itself:

Quote
Q. 256. Can anyone be saved without Baptism?

It is unbelief only that damns; and though saving faith cannot exist in the heart of one who refuses to be baptized, it can exist when for some reason Baptism cannot be obtained.

The 1943 Missouri Synod explanation is a good example of how doctrinal error is propagated in a confessional church. Fortunately, the error was caught and corrected in the 1991 revision. The offending sentence has been deleted and the explanation of infant baptism is now in agreement with the Lutheran Confessions.

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speratus said:
Boanerges,

1. What you have quoted from is not Luther's Small Catechism. It is an explanation of Luther's Small Catechism prepared by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I, as a Lutheran, am bound only to the symbols of my church as contained in the Book of Concord, 1580.
2. The sentence you have quoted makes no sense. If baptism is the only means, how can there be any exceptions?
3. Luther's Small Catechism does teach baptismal regeneration (page 17, part III) but it does not teach that baptism is the only means whereby infants can be regenerated and brought to faith. That teaching contradicts the Lutheran Confessions in many places.
4. Contrary to the Missouri Synod explanation, the Confessions speak of Word and Sacraments as the ordinary means of grace not just baptism. Is infant baptism the ordinary means for Baptists who wickedly withhold baptism from infants yet permit their children to hear the gospel?
5. Not only does the Missouri Synod explanation make no sense and contradict the Lutheran Confessions, it contradicts itself:

Quote
Q. 256. Can anyone be saved without Baptism?

It is unbelief only that damns; and though saving faith cannot exist in the heart of one who refuses to be baptized, it can exist when for some reason Baptism cannot be obtained.

The 1943 Missouri Synod explanation is a good example of how doctrinal error is propagated in a confessional church. Fortunately, the error was caught and corrected in the 1991 revision. The offending sentence has been deleted and the explanation of infant baptism is now in agreement with the Lutheran Confessions.

Well how nice, so you are saying that I've got an antiquated copy of the small catechism and it isn't even the correct one because the only correct one is from the 1580's.

Just out of curiosity which Lutheran Synod do you currently believe is the one that strictly holds to the 1580 Book of Concord? I'm interested in knowing. And thank you for answering the question about baptismal regeneration.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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Boanerges,

Yes, the LCMS Explanation of LSC is rather confusing. The first part is Luther's Small Catechism which is part of the Book of Concord, but the second part is really just a synod training aid.

The LCMS, WELS, and ELS are the largest American synods that hold an unconditional subscription to the 1580 Book of Concord. However, these synods (particularly the LCMS) are experiencing great pressure to ignore or deviate from the Confessions. The ELCA is completely apostate from the symbols although they still list them at their website.

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