Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Antinomian and the Legalist (2/5)

In a previous post, I observed that Dr. Scaer approached the topic – of the Third Use of the Law – from a descriptive view and Dr. Marquart approached the topic from a prescriptive view.

To which PTM responded: “Is this descriptive, or proscriptive? Possibly both? And since you and I are both Lutheran enigmas, isn't that ok?” Followed by a quote from the Lutheran Confessions (Large Catechism III.39-47; McCain, p. 412-413).

First, is Scaer’s approach ‘descriptive’ or ‘proscriptive’? [I had to get out my Webster’s New International Dictionary (2nd edition, unabridged) to try to figure out the difference between the two words. Because the definitions used the verb form in the definition, I am providing the definitions to the verbs.]

Describe – to write down or write out or to give an account
Proscribe – to put outside the law or to denounce or condemn
Prescribe – to describe in advance or to lay down authoritatively as a guide

Well, I certainly do not think Dr. Scaer was denouncing or condemning. Although Dr. Marquart denounced certain things, his approach was more prescriptive. So, I must admit that I do not understand the point PTM was trying to make; oh well, nothing new there.

Second, in regards to the quote from the Large Catechism: I agree with it. The question remains: does the new man act ungodly or the old Adam? Answer: old Adam. Does the old Adam need the Third Use of the Law or the Law in all its points? Answer: the Law in all its points. Who lives according to the Word? Answer: the new man or Christ in us; born in us through the Spirit. Does Christ and His Church live by the law or the Gospel? Answer: the Gospel.

PTM’s quote from the Large Catechism does not prove his point, but proves the necessity of preaching the Law in all its points and to let the Spirit ‘use’ it as He knows it should be.

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