Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Luter: wrecker or reformer?

My random notes on comments from the Fisher House talk/conversation with Prof Rober A. W. Rex from Cambrige.

Two key points:
 -  psychologically he needs absolute certainty of his salvation
 1 -  absolute certainty 
 2 -  his salvation (Jesus died pro me, not so much pro nobis) - this fits modern egocentrism 

1- Absolute Certainty

This requires that my salvation doesn’t depend on me, otherwise I can’t be certain of it.
We can’t trust in ourselves because “all men are liars”.
As faith is needed for salvation it can’t depend on me, not even my decision of believing.

The following tatement summarises the issue:
the act of faith is an act of the human person in which the human person is entirely passive.  Or as Prof Preus wrote : faith 'is an activity of man in which man is not active'. Robert Preus, Justification and Rome (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia, 1997), p. 137.

The problem is that this statement is a contradiction in terms. If the faith should be my faith I have to concur in a way, by cooperating with the grace of God, otherwise it is not *my* faith in any meaningful sense.

Finally,  seeking absolute certainty we reach a sort of vicious circle: to be saved you have to believe with certainty that people have to believe with certainly to be saved. Basically I believe if a) I am sure I go to heaven b) I am sure that only people who are sure to go to heaven are saved.


2 -  Jesus died pro me:

Jesus died for me, not for us as community. Radical egocentrism/individualism that fits well with modernity.
The consequence is that Luter has no ecclesiology. This individualism undermines the church.

Luter wants to establish his doctrine of absolute certainty with absolute certainty, therefore he can’t rely on the church, as it is relying on men, so he have to rely only on the bible. Again, every men is a liar.

Obviously disagreement soon appears, but there is no way to deal with it.

3 - Comparison to Calvin

Luter believed in the real presence.
Calvin brings ecclesiology into Luter’s theology (not sure how)
Calvin believes in double predestination
Calvin imposes no images because they are idolatry  (and as corolary real presence as idolatry).

QA:

Why didn’t Protestanism  spread to some places and not others?

The spread of Luter ideas was a matter of German Language.
He was an absolute brilliant writer who by himself fixed the German modern language. He was spread by the press. The south of Europe read other books apart from Luter, that is why it didn’t spread there. 

[ All mistakes are mine, good thing I learn from others]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

When God becomes a math problem

Here's a hymn of Kim Fabricius which addresses this issue of trying to work out a theodicy only as a theoretical problem (you'll find this him in his Paddling by the Shore, Wipf & Stock, 2015) [suggested tune: "Scarlet Ribbons", reproduced with permission]:


Children die from drought and earthquake,
children die by hand of man.
What on earth, and what for God's sake,
can be made of such a plan?
Nothing -- no such plan's been plotted;
nothing -- no such plan exists:
if such suffering were allotted,
God would be an atheist.

Into ovens men drive "others,"
into buildings men fly planes;
history's losers are the mothers,
history's winners are the Cains.
Asking where was God in Auschwitz,
or among the Taliban:
God himself was on the gibbet --
thus the question: Where was man?

God of love and God of power --
attributes in Christ are squared.
Faith can face the final hour,
doubt and anger can be aired.
Answers aren't in explanation,
answers come at quite a cost:
only wonder at creation,
and the practice of the cross.

Saturday, January 9, 2016



Leah Libresco, conversion to Catholicism from the moral argument. I quite like her move from stoicism to virtue ethics and then to the need of as platonic form of The Good who is reaches towards as, this is God. Leach is always worth listening. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Christianity and Stoicism: do Stoics have more fun?

– Some Christian thinkers have regarded Stoicism as a kind of delusion; others –Simone Weil, for instance – see it as expressing a deep piety which makes it the closest of all philosophies to Christianity. Who’s right?
It depends on which aspects of Stoicism you’re concentrating on. There’s definitely a very profound piety in traditional Stoicism, and to a large degree Stoicism and Christianity are very sympatico. Both seek to situate the human person within a larger, divinely ordained context. Both promote the cultivation of virtue — and identify a lot of the same behaviours as virtuous or vicious. Both seek to free the person from enslavement to appetites and passions. And there does seem to have been a certain amount of mutual respect between Christians and Stoics, at least for a while. Epictetus, for example, speaks with great admiration for the “Galilean” martyrs, and uses them as an example of how it’s possible to have interior freedom even in the face of death. And of course the notion of apatheia was very important in a lot of the writings of the Church Fathers, especially in the East.
But then, there were significant persecutions of Christians under the Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius — basically because Stoicism sees the social order in this world as the higher good towards which individual human life is ordered, whereas Christianity looks towards the eschatological transformation of society in the Communion of Saints. Also, God in Stoicism is imminent, whereas God in Christianity is a transcendent Being who becomes immanent through the Incarnation. And Stoicism posits human perfection through moral effort and self-discipline, whereas Christianity promises salvation through grace. So there are these very fundamental differences as well.

Read all here in Catholic Authenticity