Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Great Antinomian Challenge!

In this whole discussion on antinomianism and exhoration and all that sort of jazz, there are aspersions cast wide and far... and I've gotten slopped with some of them  I've been called an antinomian, and even this morning someone simply asserted that I was somehow violating the Formula (but with no citation of either me or the Formula... or even a name).

It is enough.

Behold, I am starting, on this thread the "GREAT ANTINOMIAN CHALLENGE!"

As the issue is about preaching, and specifically preaching the Law... here is the Challenge.  On this very blog, there are 7 and a half years worth of sermons.  Plenty of material.

Your challenge, if you are convinced that I am an antinomian is this:  Show me the sermon.  Go to the comments, link to the sermon posted here, and explain how that sermon reveals me to be a vile antinomian.


Now, I actually think this will be a boring challenge, because even though I've been called an antinomian, even though I'm glad to discuss the theory of preaching... my preaching rarely comes up.  Fine - open invitation - I will be the guinea pig.  If we want to dissect sermons - let's do it here.  I volunteer.

Indeed, I challenge - show me where I am an Antinomian!

(Or, if you don't think I am, and rather you think there is a sermon where I rather well handle the Law, you may point that out too.)



Rev. Eric J Brown said...

What - no takers yet?

I'll wait.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rev. Eric J Brown said...


Um... not the challenge. That isn't mine.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...


the Old Adam said...

If you are being called an antinomian, then you are barking up the RIGHT tree.

It's funny, isn't it, that those who throw that word around so casually, usually believe that they are able to control sand use the law to their benefit.

They don't really take the law with the deadly seriousness that it needs to be taken.

"Things aren't that bad…theory are much worse than that." - Forde

the Old Adam said...

Should read "they are…" …not "theory"…


mqll said...

I have to admit that the term "vile antinomian" seems a bit much. I have not been following all of the Gottenstdienest posts (where I assume the issue rings up) but I suppose I'll play along.

Let's take Circumcision, New Year's Eve 2010:

Anyway, this will serve as a good test of what you mean by antinomian as opposed to what I understand by antinomian. Because certainly there is Law involved and but I certainly don't see any exhortation to the new life — unless your intent was to say that we don't have to be circumcised anymore.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with this sermon. I'm sure that I have preached many like this. But for me, I would expect that an antinomian would simply not have any true exhortation of what pious living in Christ now looks like.

Is that what you understand? Or do you see something different?

mqll said...

Let's give a positive example:

Here, we see you state very clearly about pride in the final paragraph and speak about avoiding it. So, we see very clearly a desire to change behavior through the sermon.

So, obviously this is not an antinomian sermon.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Interesting looking at the New Year's Eve, as that is the shortest text of the year: “And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”

I'm not quite sure what there would be to exhort there with that text. =o)

Of course, I don't think every text calls for exhortation, and this would be one, I would guess, that doesn't really call for much. Unless you've got bunches of people who are starting to teach circumcision.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Well, I think my point has been that not every sermon needs exhortation - and that preaching a sermon without exhortation can be a fine thing -- and that New Year's Eve could very well be a fine one.

Thanks for playing!

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Looking at the second example (found directly here: ) I note what I do with the last paragraph. It reads:

And so, my dear friends, abandon and forsake pride. It does you no good in life, in your relationships, but only brings pain, disappointment, isolation, and embarrassment. But more than that, do not let your pride keep you from confessing your sin, for Christ Jesus has died to give you forgiveness, and in His love He promises that you who by faith in Him know that you are humble will be exalted by Him forever. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and Holy Ghost +

So basically, the recap of the sermon at the end, the recap of the Law is given in as exhortation. But then, it is followed by Gospel. Hmmm, I will have to see if that is a standard trope that I use... I think it might be.

mqll said... is a New Year's Eve sermon. New Year. New opportunities. New Year resolutions.

It seems to me that there could easily be some exhortation here. So helpful thoughts about the New Year that these Christians are looking to live in.

I understand your point about not every sermon needing exhortation. But how many sermons will I find that don't have exhortation, right?

I mean, I was being nice about the second sermon — but let's look at that exhortation. Forsake pride. Ok, what does that mean though? How do I do that in my life? I mean, surely it is more than just repenting when I am prideful. How do I catch myself?

And what exactly does it look like in today's world? How do I know if I am confident or prideful? After all, in the text, it all has to do with taking a place of honor. Well, how does that translate into today's world? How exactly do I do that?

I don't think you are an antinomian — I don't think any labels like this are helpful usually. But I do wonder what exactly your thinking is about the proclamation of the law in the sermon. Is it legitimate to have that helpful hint (that you downplay in the sermon, right).

I think people need some additional instruction on pious living. Just like John the Baptist gave. How a person feels about this view is really the divide and what some (I believe) of the ruckus is all about.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Ah - see I purposefully do not do a "New Years' Eve" sermon with a focus on the New Year - it's the Eve of the Circumcision and the Name of Jesus.

+ + + + + + +

As for the additional question: I don't generally give too many "hints" in the sermon, because I'm preaching to a diverse group of people.

I will say to love your neighbor -- and people really can fill in the blanks. If they want help with something specific -- I give that to them... but the advice that Bob might need isn't what Terry and isn't want aunt Bertha needs.

I suppose there are times where I have done that in the sermon - but I am much more apt to do that in a class (where it's just kids in confirmation, or just 10-15 people) where I can get somewhat specific.

Terry said...

Ah - see I purposefully do not do a "New Years' Eve" sermon with a focus on the New Year - it's the Eve of the Circumcision and the Name of Jesus.


Ok. Why?

I mean, you yourself talk about the shortness of the text. Why is it so important to proclaim this year and year?

The funny thing is that the little comments that you make on your blog are often more pointed and helpful than what is in the sermon.

Do you see that these are what some would speak about being antinomian — not a hard antinomian position. But no real instruction (in the sermon, not on the blog). No outlining the behavior of the christian. And sometimes that will be what Bob needs and not Aunt Bertha.

But I have to admit that most of the sermons I have seen have also been from the gospels. How do you handle the epistles? Is there a section there to peruse?

I can appreciate your talking about this outside the sermon — my issue is that so many just don't show up for anything else. You have to meet people where they are.

mqll said...

Sorry the above post is me

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Why is it important to proclaim it year after year?!? Because it's the first time Jesus sheds His blood! That's sort of a big thing. =o)

That given text doesn't really call for specific instruction.

Should I make up something for New Year's Eve -- maybe mandate or suggest resolutions? No, that's not the point of the Church day.

Partially this is due to the time of the Church Year -- from Christmas through Easter, you get many events in the life of Christ - when you move into the Trinity season (or Pentecost) that is when you get more stuff about living.

And I always preach off of the Gospels. The Words of Jesus take precedence. Precisely because if I only get Bob and Aunt Bertha for 15 minutes, I'll spend that 15 minutes focusing primarily on Christ and the forgiveness of their sins -- good advice, however good it is, must be secondary.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I Also do a weekly e-mail on Monday morning where I talk about one of the other texts -- this year I am going over the OT... the year before it was the Collect, before that it was the Introit, and before that it was Epistle or OT (I've done them both before)