Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Open Theism…

(or, to the Greg Boyd fans, open futurism)

I’m OK with people quoting Christian theologians in debates with me. Why not? Gives me a better feel for where they come from. For practical purposes, we’ll claim Greg Boyd as an authority, and I’ll say that I like Vox Day’s explanation on open-theism. The premise of open theism is that God knows the future in a broad sense, for example, He knows the end of the world, etc. He also knows all of the different options a man can take and the different possible outcomes, but lets man choose which path he will take. It is much like a choose-your-own-adventure story or like a role playing computer game.

Open theism touches upon a variety of doctrines of faith, not just the nature of God. It touches on doctrines that explain the nature of man, as well. Open theism touches on the Doctrine of Free Will, the Doctrine of Good Works, the Doctrine of Justification, and doctrines relating to the nature of God.

This is, likely, going to take several posts, and several weeks (seven month old infant at home) to frame out, so I hope anonymous is patient. I hope anonymous will do me the favor of giving him or herself some initials in case I run into other anonymous people in this debate.

For resources, here is an on-line copy of the Book of Concord , though I will site from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, Readers Edition, for purchase here .

I’ll use the ESV version of the Bible on-line here .

It is my hope that if I am in error, someone will point it out.

Let’s define Free Will first. Augsburg Confessions, Article XVIII 1,2: “Our churches teach that a person’s will has some freedom to choose civil righteousness and to do things subject to reason. It has no power, without the Holy Spirit, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness.” Apology, Article XVIII 73,74: “Although we admit that free will has the freedom and power to perform the extreme works of the Law; we do not assign spiritual matters to free will. These are to truly fear God, believe God, be confident and hold that He cares for us, hears us, and forgives us. These are the true works of the First Table, which the heart cannot produce without the Holy Spirit, as Paul says, “The natural person [namely, a person using only natural strength] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). People can determine this if they consider what their hearts believe about God’s will, whether they are truly confident God cares for and hears them. Even the saints find keeping such faith difficult (which is not possible in unbelievers). But, as we have said before, it begins when terrified hearts hear the Gospel and receive comfort.” I am also going to refer, in general, the Formula of Concord Solid Declaration, II. Free Will, or Human Powers, but will not quote as it is very extensive.

Free Will is very important to establish right away as it is a foundational doctrine behind open theism. Open theists hold that man pretty much determines his path and God knows all of the potential outcomes for each decision a man makes. Open theists ascribe more Free Will to man, or more correctly more free will to choose good than do Lutherans.

Romans 3:10-18: “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ’The venom of asps is under their lips.’ ‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’”

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

I Corinthians 2:14: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

In other words, man cannot make a decision for Christ, which is necessary in open-theism.

More to come…

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Believe, teach, and Confess…

Yesterday was fun with thinking about decision theology. I heard something about open theism and also from someone who claims to be an orthodox Christian but is really more of a Buddhist/Gnostic.

Open theists claim something along the lines that God knows all of the possible decisions a person can make and wrote an outcome for each decision, but doesn’t know what path a person is going to take. Kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure story.

This is very problematic because it denies that God is omniscient. The Lutheran belief is all men choose, through their sinful nature, damnation but God calls us to salvation through the Holy Spirit. (Correct me if I misunderstand the teaching.)

The other problem I ran into relates to self-interpretation. I ran into the site of an acquaintance of mine where the acquaintance uses her vocation and what she knows about the subject matter of her vocation to come up with an explanation to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In the process she implies that she is more insightful and correct than Augustine.

The problem with self interpretation outside the confines of a confession and the historical doctrines of the Christian faith is we, in our own self-righteousness, fall into the heresies of old. You see, there are no new ideas about God or the questions that plague man. We claim we are more brilliant, more inspired, more intelligent than the church fathers, or Luther, or Walther, or Lewis, or Sproul, or Chesterton.

When one reads the historical works and literature of the Christian faith, one learns the arguments against heresy and the proof texts supporting. Christian history does not start with my conversion, nor does Biblical interpretation begin with me. There are proper methods and correct beliefs. It doesn’t matter what a passage means to you, it matters what it means. To presume to put your own interpretation on scripture is to presume universalism, that all interpretations of scripture are equally valid.

I am an armchair theologian. I have no training. I didn’t even go to a Bible College, so I have never taken a college level Bible class. However, I have a natural curiosity about religions and I love reading Christian literature and theology and dabble in the important works of other faiths (eastern religion and Mormon). Because theology is a hobby of mine, even more so should I bear the scrutiny of others because my study has not been guided by anyone. The faith that I cling to and the interpretation of scripture I cling to should not be subject to my degree in economics or the subsequent work I perform, nor should it be shaped by my vocation as mother and wife, it should be shaped by scripture itself and the sound teaching of our church fathers. To presume anything else is to assume a rebellious and hateful spirit.

It doesn’t matter what I think scripture is about, it matters what scripture is about. And scripture is not about me and how it relates to my world, scripture is about God being glorified through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection for my sins and the sins of the world.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lutheran Theology ruined CCM for me…

So, last night, I went to this once in a not very often while opportunity, a PFR concert. My eyes were opened and I realized yet again that not all Christians believe the same things about conversion. I could say that there were uniquely Christian themes running through the music, and the music was GREAT! So, I will remain a PFR fan.

On a side note, PFR was the soundtrack to Jr. High, High School, and College for me. So, I went with a gal I knew back in high school, and we met up with other youth group gals. It was eye opening to see them again. They’re all very nice, but I can’t believe how I used to value their good opinion. I felt a little left out of their chatter as I haven’t kept in touch with any of them, but I am glad I was left out of some of their chatter. My regret? I didn’t put a stop to the parts of their chatter that were sinful. Sigh.

Monday, January 05, 2009

One of the benefits of remembering history…

It has become trendy amongst Confessional Lutherans of the LCMS variety to shun the church calendar. I mentioned here about the commemoration of the Holy Innocents. Turns out that Chad the Elder, though not specifically writing about the Holy Innocents, writes about how Catholics have also been culpable in abortion as well.

Let’s be honest here. Most of us would agree that learning American History and World History are both beneficial and important for American citizens. Why then, do we not extend this philosophy in regards to the church calendar? Would we be commemorating Roe v. Wade if we remembered the Holy Innocents? Would we have allowed history to repeat itself? Further, would we have op-eds like this that say we should increase the population to increase tax revenue (by the way, in that op-ed, more baby making is not mentioned as an option)? There are currently 40 odd million who would be alive now, many of whom would be paying taxes at this time.

In the next Congressional Session, important topics like physician conscious will be discussed. Josh, Mallory, and I have an NFP only Catholic physician who is very pro-breast feeding. Our physician also advertises himself, even within a well known hospital and health care system, as one who does not even prescribe contraception. Do we remember history or do we force him either out of practice or into the sins of Herod?

Why do we remember church history? We remember church history so we are warned against the sins of our fathers. Right now, a beautiful baby girl is listening to her daddy talk about Twins Baseball, and she thinks it is the funniest thing ever. Her sweet giggle drifts up stairs to my ears. How many sweet giggles are we missing for our sins? God forgive us.

Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memories, Carl Pohlad. I'll post more later.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Consecutive Odds

To whom it may concern, Happy Consecutive Odds! And Happy Birthday to HG, I love you a lot!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Years!

And my presents to all of you:

Blonde Liz’s Bread Pudding (Don’t skimp and please reference back to me when passing the recipe out)

16 slices of dried white bread, torn into bite sized pieces

3 c whole milk

1 stick of butter

2 cups of brown sugar or maple syrup or honey

1 T vanilla

1 T cinnamon

4 eggs

20ish oz of almond pastry filling

2 cups of walnuts or pecans

1 cup dried fruit of choice (I recommend figs, dates, raisins or craisins)

Combine milk, butter, and sugar in a sauce pan and heat to 110ish degrees (no need for thermometer, hot bath hot to touch). Temper into eggs and mix well with vanilla, cinnamon and pastry filling. Fold in bread pieces and refrigerate for 2 hours. Fold in nuts and fruit. Pour into greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake 350 for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, until golden on top and firm. Toothpick may not come out clean, this is a moist dish.

Let set for half hour, serve with ice cream or topping of choice. Cream cheese and caramel sauce is popular amongst my family that likes bread pudding.

And what good is bread pudding without buttered rum? Check out this recipe from the Pan Galactic Blogger Blaster . I just tried it. I ended up doubling the rum, butter, and sugar and using 10 cloves. I am generally not a clove person, but it works well. (As an aside… one could probably take a cup or so of this, combine with a simple glaze, and it would be fabulous on my bread pudding recipe.)

Not to be the grammar police…

You know, nor do I, you know, have any reason, you know, that I should presume, you know, to correct the, you know, speech patterns, you know, of a, you know, woman who was, you know, raised by a book editor, and you know, Ivy League educated, you know, but…

I completed 17 years of public education and I could tell you, for free, that you turn off the slang, the verbal tics, and the casual grammar in professional settings. I spent a week my senior year of college not saying “like.” It was fun. I learned other words to use when comparing things, and I got rid of an annoying verbal tic.

Verbal tics are endearing and folksy when the speaker comes from a common and folksy background. When the verbal tics come from a member of the Duchy of Massachusetts, it sounds like someone wasted their education.