Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Co-operation... Where's the Wonder in That?

Apparently there is this great fear of some sort of new, bizarre wave of Lutheran theologians who deny that human beings cooperate with the Holy Spirit after regeneration in doing good works.

And apparently some think I am one of this bizarre wave.

Which I think is odd.  I mean, come on - I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life.  I have life due to the Holy Spirit, and I do good.

But... where's the wonder in that.

I mean, by simple observation, I'm aware of being a thinking, acting being.  I do stuff all the time.  I make decisions.  That's mundane.  That's ho-hum.

But then, consider what we are taught in the Scriptures about what our life is -- it isn't just a summation of our actions or our decisions.  "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."

THAT is something that is wondrous, that is something that is earth shaking.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me.  In the first chapter of Ephesians, it speaks of who we as Christians are "in Christ" 10 times!  That's wonder, that's amazing!

I mean... when I could talk about Christ, when I could behold Christ in all things... even behold Christ in my own actions to where I can say it's no longer about me but about Him - where everything that I do is nothing but a good work that God has created for me...

... why would I talk about me?  Christ Jesus is much cooler than me.  Pagans make decisions - but I, I am in Christ.  How is that for wonderful!


Steve Martin said...

What are our decisions worth?

Not a whole lot. If I look back I can see a lot of decisions that didn't do much for me, or those around me.

I too, am happy to focus on the decision that He made for me.

Christopher D. Hall said...

It is not a new, bizarre wave, it is a perversion of the Erlangen school, of which Elert is chief example, that is fairly rampant in the Confessional circles. You know it as well as I do, and it is characterized by the fellows who so want to give Jesus all monoergistic credit that they pervert Scripture and the Confessions and reduce us to completely passive people in all things. No, you are not one of them....though you are suspect. JK.

And you actually crack the door open again in your last sentence. Yes, you do makes decisions, and you are responsible for them.

Sorry to vent. I do it because you are a friend. :)

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Eh, people are so scared of people being lazy that we have to steal God's credit and stop focusing on Him.

Don't talk about yourself and "good". He's good. Now quit talking about yourself and go love your neighbor. Your blather about progress is self-focused and selfish... strive to better serve your neighbor.

(Actually, that ends up being my biggest qualm -- I hate looking at works in view of myself and how I am doing. Blech. How is my neighbor being served... and seek to improve that!)

Christopher D. Hall said...

See, and that is where you redeem yourself. Hah. Get it? Seriously, I'm okay with that language of looking to your neighbor and Christ and keeping your eyes off yourself.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I think what happens with the argument for "passivity" is that it is not speaking against any resultant activity or any "cooperation"... it is rather emphasizing that all good begins with Christ and His work, which is then carried out through us.

So don't try to manipulate me into more life -- warn me of my sin (including by showing me what is good over and opposed to the works of my flesh), and give me Christ, and let Jesus be Jesus for me and in me and through me.