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.

1 comment:

Paul T. McCain said...

Gary, I'm still interested in your explanation for a comment you made earlier on your blog site concerning Martin Chemnitz:

I think his contribution to Lutheranism is overrated