Thursday, May 26, 2011

Show me...

It's a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it's a family motto. Are you ready, everybody?


I don't care about your wisdom, your thoughts, your citations from the theologians old or new. I don't care whether you say it's nature or reason, new or dye-in-the wool. Say it again.


I don't care if it will fix the world in a jif. I don't care if everyone else is doing it. I don't care if you are published, trusted, or Confucius. I don't care if people applaud your every idea and thought. I don't care if your plans are the best, if on the Word they do not rest.

Say it again.


If you cannot cite it, I will not buy it.

Say it again.


I don't need Athens, I don't need Rome. I don't need some guy sitting under a tree alone. I don't need wisdom from the east or wisdom from the west. In theology, none of them pass the test.

Say it again.


+ + + + + + + + + +

In all seriousness - if we people were as focused on studying the Scriptures as a good agent is in tracking down a good deal for his player, we'd all be much richer spiritually. Not the latest theory. Not the latest trend. Not the latest refurbishing of Aristotle or Pharisaism or any of that. Not the dreams of that great time back in the day of when things were great and how we can get back there.

Just the Word. Showing us our sin. Showing us our Savior. Showing us that this world is judged and that we will rise.

You know, all the things we focused on back when we weren't bored of being Lutheran and decided that we would find that magical theological twist that would change the world.

As though anything other than the Gospel of Christ Jesus ever really changes anything in a sinful world. Here we get nothing but death... people left without any excuse but dying anyway. One Man, the Word of God, is the exception. He proclaims Himself, gives Himself to you in His Word - and that actually changes things. Brings life to death - and Him alone.

Show me the Scriptures.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I thought I was doing a parody of Jerry McGuire.

My wife said this sounded like an infomercial.

I thought I was cool, like Cuba Gooding Jr.

My wife thinks I'm annoying, like Vince from Slap Chop.

William Weedon said...

Actually, I like it. A LOT.

Mike Baker said...

It's okay, my wife often finds me annoying, too. :P

Why go to a cheap, fuzzy copy when you have the pure source at your fingertips?

Why stand on natural law when the declared law is there for you to read? Why stand on your reason when the mind of God is opened to you in His Word? Why stand on your own feeble qualities when Christ stands in your stead?

Anonymous said...

Nice double standard.

IX. The Descent of Christ Into Hell.

Chief Controversy concerning This Article.

1] It has also been disputed among some theologians who have subscribed to the Augsburg Confession concerning this article: When and in what manner the Lord Christ, according to our simple Christian faith, descended to hell: whether this was done before or after His death; also, whether it occurred according to the soul alone, or according to the divinity alone, or with body and soul, spiritually or bodily; also, whether this article belongs to the passion or to the glorious victory and triumph of Christ.

2] But since this article, as also the preceding, cannot be comprehended by the senses or by our reason, but must be grasped by faith alone, it is our unanimous opinion that there should be no disputation concerning it, but that it should be believed 3] and taught only in the simplest manner; according as Dr. Luther, of blessed memory, in his sermon at Torgau in the year 1533 has explained this article in an altogether Christian manner, separated from it all useless, unnecessary questions, and admonished all godly Christians to Christian simplicity of faith.

4] For it is sufficient that we know that Christ descended into hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of death and of the devil, from eternal condemnation and the jaws of hell. But how this occurred we should [not curiously investigate, but] reserve until the other world, where not only this point [mystery], but also still others will be revealed, which we here simply believe, and cannot comprehend with our blind reason.

IX. Christ's Descent To Hell

1] And since even in the ancient Christian teachers of the Church, as well as in some among our teachers, dissimilar explanations of the article concerning the descent of Christ to hell are found, we abide in like manner by the simplicity of our Christian faith [comprised in the Creed], to which Dr. Luther in his sermon, which was delivered in the castle at Torgau in the year 1533, concerning the descent of Christ to hell, has pointed us, where we confess: I believe in the Lord Christ, God's Son, our Lord, dead, buried, and descended into hell. For in this [Confession] the burial and descent of Christ to hell are distinguished as different articles; 2] and we simply believe that the entire person, God and man, after the burial descended into hell, conquered the devil, destroyed the power of hell, and took from the devil all his might. 3] We should not, however, trouble ourselves with high and acute thoughts as to how this occurred; for with our reason and our five senses this article can be comprehended as little as the preceding one, how Christ is placed at the right hand of the almighty power and majesty of God; but we are simply to believe it and adhere to the Word [in such mysteries of faith]. Thus we retain the substance [sound doctrine] and [true] consolation that neither hell nor the devil can take captive or injure us and all who believe in Christ.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Dear Nameless one.


1. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20because they formerly did not obey," - 1 Peter 3:18-19

Now, note the questions in the controversy - when and how did the descent into hell occur. I'd argue that it would be clear from here that it is after the Crucifixion - but the Scriptures do not specifically say at what point in the resurrection and such.

However, you miss the main point of the problem -- the debate at this time was with the Calvinists, who thought that Christ's descent (as confessed in the Apostles' Creed) was part of His suffering.

That is why the rest of the article deals with Christ demonstrating victory of sin and death and hell - which meshes well with Scripture.

2. "Who [Jesus] has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." - 1 Peter 3:22

Again, not that defeat language there - that authorities and powers (a common way of describing the demonic) have been made subject to Him.

3. "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." Hebrews 2:14-15

Again - blowing up Satan and destroying the fear of death.

4. "We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him." - Romans 6:9

Again, you have here the idea of the destruction of death.

Shall I go on - are 2 or 3 witnesses enough here? Christ's death always moves to a defeat of death, and this movement happens quickly. Thus, the Church has understood 1 Peter 3 to be Christ demonstrating victory over sin in Satan's face.

And this is Scriptural.


And show me a name next time.

Anonymous said...

Fine, he might have been triumphant if he descended, but the argument he actually descended into hell is weaker than the argument for Mary being crowned Regina Caelorum, and no stronger than the argument for Mary's assumption. Lots of times prison or chains are referred to in Scripture and no says it means hell. You say he descended into hell because the church says so, but you don't accept when the church says Mary's Queen of Heaven or was assumed. No reason not to pray a "Hail Mary" next to the Apostle's Creed. They're both unclear from the Bible.

Johnny Traduzione

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Well Johnny,

I'm guessing you're Italian, which means you might be a little behind the Jewish power curve. What we have in 1 Peter 3 is a description of "Sheol"... and perhaps the language in the Creed would be clearer or better if we said "Sheol" - but Greek doesn't make that distinction.

Listen again to the text.

"in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey"

Who are these folks?

1. Spirits. Meaning they are dead, not resurrected.
2. In prison. Bound, in chains.
3. They didn't believe.

So, tell me what the proper theological term for the place where dead unbelievers go?

See, this is the thing about the Scriptures -- sure, there are lots of "prisons" or pits or things like that. However, if you read the Scriptures, most of the time they will give you an immediate context, and most of the remaining times they will be explained elsewhere in the Word.

This is a little thing we like to call: "Scripture Interprets Scripture."

I make a claim, based on the context of the verse, that this "prison" refers to what we would call in normal English parlance - hell. I'd also accept Sheol.

You claim it could be anything. Well... prove, from the Scripture, from the text that we *ought* to think of it as something else. Show from Scripture that what I have said with the 3 points from the verse are... faulty? Off? Wrong?

Also - note how you do a really sleazy and tricky rhetorical move. You introduce red herrings - you know, like Mary being the Queen of heaven. Not germane to the discussion at hand. More over, you attempt to introduce guilt by association -- these are Roman Catholic ideas - here is a Lutheran, if he doesn't yield to me, he'll look Roman Catholic and I win - woo hoo.

Not so fast my friend.


Didn't you read above? That's the motto, chief.

I do not care what you assert,
I do not care what you blurt
I do not care what you deny
When the Scriptures testify.


See, you falsely attribute an argument to me: "You say he descended into hell because the church says so"

No, I didn't. While it is true that for the past 1800 years the Church HAS confessed this (and thus said so) - that's not the source. I made no appeal to tradition. See - "Thus" - important word. The Church's teaching on this flows directly from the Scriptures. The Scriptures speak, and *thus* the Church says. That's not an argument from tradition or Churchly Authority. I didn't say, "You must believe because the Bishop just says." What did I do?


So, you see, to keep to your position, you have to:

1. Introduce disingenuous arguing techniques to distract from the topic at hand.
2. At best, ignore what I have said, and at worst claim that I have said things which I clearly have not said.

Now - you want to say that Christ didn't descend into Hell - when I can quote a Scripture verse that teaches that He went to preach to the dead unbelievers in prison (you know, Hell), you had better come hard and fast with some Scriptural references to support your position.