Monday, April 16, 2007

The Antinomian and the Legalist (5/5)

In a previous post, I made some general observations about the weaknesses of the papers by Dr. Scaer and Dr. Marquart.

First, I commented that both Dr. Scaer and Dr. Marquart equate the accusatory function of the law with the second use (p. 5 and p. 3, respectively).

Anonymous basically said that I was wrong. To which I respond, you cannot say the law always accuses, but then say it does not accuse in its first and third use. Because to say that the law does not accuse in its first and third use is to say that the law does NOT always accuse.

Second, I said "It is the height of arrogance that men can dissect the Law in their regular preaching."

Anonymous asked, "Are you accusing Dr. Marquart of reaching for the 'height of arrogance'?" To which I respond: This comment was not just in regards to Dr. Marquart's comment, but to any who assert that a mere mortal can preach one use of the law distinctly from its other uses.

Anonymous also took issue with my break down of who needs the uses. To which I respond: That is the issue. Only the Spirit of God knows what each individual hearer needs. Thus the preacher must preach the law and let the Spirit wield it according to uses. I let the Spirit do His work of convicting, convincing, converting. I simply want to preach the law and Gospel in their fullness.

Anonymous adds that the Christian "doesn't need any use because he doesn't need any law." To which I respond: And I'm antinomian?

Third, I disagreed with Marquart's statement of how Christian's are made holy.

Anonymous accused me of overlooking other statments from Marquart's paper. To which I respond, we are not made holy by our obedience, but solely by the merits and mediation of Christ. Dr. Marquart's later comment -- "The Law is the standard and measure of good works, but it lacks the power to produce or motivate them" -- does not speak of our holiness, but the measure. In the earlier comment -- "Our lives are holy only as they conform to the revealed will of God, in other words, to the third use of the Law" -- he defines holiness by our work (conforming). At worst, it wrong; at best, it is a poor choice of words.

Fourth, I take issue with Dr. Marquart's denial that good works are 'automatic' when the confessions speak of good works as 'spontaneous.'

Anonymous state that "'spontaneously' does not mean 'automatically' or 'the work of automata.'" To which I respond, Webster's New International Dictionary (2nd edition, unabridged) lists automatic and spontaneous as synonyms. Anonymous is wrong.

Finally, I have had the privilege of reading many works by Dr. Marquart and hearing numerous essays at symposia. I believe his paper from 2005 symposia was not one of his best. It definitely should not be used as a litmus test for orthodoxy on the subject of the Third Use of the Law. I had intended to leave that paper be, until a certain influential member of synod began using (misusing) it as a litmus test. I wish we would lay this specific paper by Dr. Marquart to rest. We should remember all the wonderful things he did and said in defense of the true doctrine in the face of our synod's difficult times. That should be his continuing legacy, not an isolated paper on a disputed topic.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Antinomian and the Legalist (4/5)

Several posts on the topic of the third of the law and Scaer and Marquart had no comments, but I will list the subject of the posts here:

First, in relationship to the Third Use of the Law, the two men work from different definitions of sanctification. This is important as one sees sanctification as who and whose you are; the other views sanctification by what you do. This difference effects how they approach the purpose of preaching and who applies the law in its third use. Marquart views the preacher as wielding the Law in its Third Use. Scaer has the preacher preaching the Law and the Spirit wields it according to its three uses.

Second, how each man reacts to the comments of an emeritus pastor effects how they approach the Third Use of the Law. Without the full details, we do not know if the emeritus pastor's evaluation is full and correct. We do not know if this emeritus pastor has correct or incorrect understanding of Law and Gospel, of Sanctification, of Third Use. We are unable to judge for ourselves whether his complaint is justified or not, because we do not have access the preacher(s) he appears to be critiquing.

Third, each man uses a different definition for good works. This is extremely important. Marquart reacts against the view that good works flow as from an automaton (without thought or effort). Scaer sees good works which are like fruit which a tree produces. Scaer does not promote an automaton view of good works, but simply as a fruit tree from its nature produces fruit, so also the Christian through the working of the Spirit brings forth good work according to his new nature in Christ. Marquart would appear to say that the fruit analogy is not effective because there was no thought put into it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Antinomian and the Legalist (3/5)

In a previous post, I observed that Dr. Scaer and Dr. Marquart appeared to have different definitions of antinomianism. Dr. Scaer defines antinomians as those who reject the entire law in all its uses. Dr. Marquart has a definition limited to the apparent rejection of the Third Use of the Law.

Aaron provides a quote from Chemnitz (via Jonathan Lange's article Using the Third Use) by which he says that Chemnitz provides the link between Scaer's and Marquart's definitions. [In an attempt at full-disclosure, I should say that I am not a Chemnitz fan (oops, I guess that gives some people a reason to call me a heretic). I think his contribution to Lutheranism is overrated.]

The readers of this blog can look at the quote themselves and make their own judgment. I prefer to follow the Formula's definition: "Therefore we justly condemn the Antinomians or nomoclasts who cast the preaching of the law out of the churches and would have us criticize sin and teach contrition and sorrow not from the law but solely from the Gospel" (FC.SD.V.15).

The Lutheran Confessions' definition of antinomianism trumps Chemnitz's definition from a non-confessional document. A disagreement over the Third Use of the Law does not constitute sufficient grounds to throw out epitaphs such as 'antinomianism.' It for this reason that I believe Marquart's label of 'antinomianism' is incorrectly applied.

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.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Antinomian and the Legalist (1/5)

A while back, I was basically asked, 'put up or shut up,' when I asserted that Professors Marquardt and Scaer of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, had distinct approaches to their views to the Third Use of the Law. I provided a number examples (which can be found in previous posts) of these differences.

In some following posts I will try to give an answer to the responses that were raised. Although I am sure that to some people that , whatever answers I do give, will be insufficient or inadequate.

My initial comments about Scaer and Marquardt were given in response to my wife being called an antinomian (and by association me, because I did not disagree with her). This moniker 'antinomian' was given because of difference of opinion on the Third Use of the Law. But the true antinomian is one who opposes the law (whether first, second, or third use). So to call someone 'antinomian' because of difference of opinion on the Third Use of the Law reveals the ignorance of the name caller. [Yes, I mean ignorance]. I have found that those who so freely call others 'antinomians' are themselves 'legalists.'

So thus if I am an 'antinomian' based on my understanding of the Third Use of the Law, I guess I would have to consider the one who calls me that is a 'legalist.'