Thursday, May 21, 2015

Korah's Rebellion and God's Grace...

In reading through the book of Numbers (chapters 16 - 17) this morning, I was struck by how Israel's, yet more specifically, Korah's rebellion and how it goes hand in hand with worship and God's divinely established order.  Korah and his company ultimately thought they could do better than God.

Luther addresses God's graciousness after Korah's rebellion and how he is gracious to a sinful human race:

To grace all things are possible. Korah stirs up a great rebellion, and he himself perishes. But this great miracle follows. . .his sons are nevertheless preserved. Later they became renowned by reason of most excellent virtues, since they composed very beautiful psalms which can easily stand comparison and vie with the psalms of David. Yet they were descendants of Levi and Korah. . . Accordingly, God always observes this rule. He sets forth His threats; yet He chooses something good from evil men and sinners, just as He preserves some out of the whole human race, which is lost because of sins. (Luther's Works. American Edition. 8:227-228)

 God has set forth a divine service - the way He has chosen to deal with His Church.  Much of modern Christendom has gone the way Korah and thinks it can do 'worship' better - on it own terms.  This modern iteration of the church ultimately trusts itself than God's Word.

Yet God, in His mercy, has given us His Son.  And yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and has forgiven all our iniquities.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sola Fide or Sola Electio?

“…in the Swiss town of Zurich, a more radical social as well as religious Reformation was influenced by Zwingli, who disagreed with Luther on a number of points, including interpretation of the words ‘this is my body’ in the Eucharist, leading to the Swiss notion of communion as a symbolic memorial service in contrast to the more literal Lutheran conception. In Geneva, the Frenchman John Calvin developed an altogether more logical, rational system of theology. Calvinism constituted a ‘second Reformation’ to complete what was perceived as only a partially effected reformation under the first generation of reformers. While there were different theological currents with Calvinism, it has chiefly come to be seen as distinct from Lutheranism with respect to the key notion of predestination. In Calvin’s views, not only could one not achieve salvation by good works (as in the Catholic view); one could also not achieve it by faith (the Lutheran view). Rather, the omnipotent God had predestined every individual to be either one of the elect (the saved) or among the damned; there was nothing mere mortals could to influence their predetermined destiny.”

[an excerpt from Mary Fulbrook’s “A Concise History of Germany” – on the Reformation happenings in Germany and its environs in the 16th century; italics mine]

So where does all this talk of sola fide from Calvinistic circles come from?  If they truly subscribe to the idea of double predestination then instead of sola fide, is it more accurate to say that Calvinists subscribe to sola electio?