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Terrible Swede the "Earthy" Lutheran Blog vs The Largest Filipino on Earth vs "The Fluffy"
Doctrinal differences are important to the Lutherans because at the root of every false doctrine is the devil, seeking to destroy the Gospel.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 AD

Metal vs. McCain's Pietism

Since the Dawn of Time
One genre of music has ruled with an iron fist: Heavy Metal

You can't kill the metal
The metal will live on

Punk rock tried to kill the metal
But they failed as they were smited to the ground

New wave tried to kill the metal
But they failed as they were stricken down to the ground

Grunge tried to kill the metal
Hahahahaha they failed as they were thrown to the ground

(Screaming) Aiieee Aiieee

No one can destroy the metal
The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow
We are the vanquished foes of the metal
We tried to win for why we do not know

New wave tried to destroy the metal
But the metal had its way
Grunge then tried to dethrone the metal
But the metal was in the way
Punk rock tried to destroy the metal
But the metal was in the way
Punk rock tried to destroy the metal
But metal was much too strong
Techno tried to defile the metal
But techno was proven wrong

It comes from hell

Slow mo
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest
Satanic dog pile! Satanic dog pile!

Google results: here.

I'd like to include this verse:

Pastor Paul McCain's pietism tried to destroy the metal
The metal had it's way with him

If you're gonna talk shit on a layman, Pr. McCain - you could at least tell me (with a courtesy link or even an email).

Pastor McCain, WhyTF, are you doing this? We use to talk cordially on Table Talk. You can contact my pastor: Michael Brockman of Christ Ev. Lutheran, in Hutchinson, KS, if you have a problem with the way I live (which you know so little.) You cannot judge a person by his blog - a blogging fundamental.

WTF does righteousness look like? I know exactly what it does NOT look like.

(BTW, there is a good and bad pietism. The good is useful to society and the bad is detrimental to the Christian.)



  • No, there's good piety, and there's bad pietism.

    Without meddling in the issues that you and the Rev. McCain seem to be having, I'd take issue with the assertion that "you cannot judge a person by his blog," that which you term a blogging fundamental. But that's not right, is it? We certainly can. And we certainly do. Each of us, when reading another's scribblings assess them and make judgments about them, or at least about the validity, importance, and value of what they've written. By extension, as someone claims responsibility for a bit of expression, we might also make inferences (judgments) about them as well. Authors write for a reason. In writing what they write, they reveal something about themselves (e.g., I find this subject matter to be interesting or important; I find this to be humorous or disturbing; I write about trivial things; I have no patience for thus-and-such; I don't take myself or my writing seriously; etc.) To suggest that they do not is either ludicrous or an absolute undermining of everything that they write, for then none of it is to be taken seriously or at face value. This, too, would reveal something about the author.

    You seem to subscribe to the notion that you can write anything you choose to write and it reveals nothing about yourself. At the very least, no one ought to make any assumptions about you based on what you write. This is a pipedream. Additionally, your handling of the odd dissenting commentator belies a judging of a person by his comments on a blog.

    What, if anything, can be said about Ron Olson, from reading his blog? He's Filipino. He calls himself Lutheran. He was raised in a family whose culture is largely Swedish. He loves his wife. She is also a blogger. They live in Kansas.

    Is any of the above untrue? Do you feel the need to defend yourself when you hear people saying such things about you because they read it on your blog? Ron, they don't even know you! How can they say such things?

    What else, then, might someone come to know about the Terrible Swede? He served in the Air Force, and is proud of that service. He enjoys math; chess; aircraft maintenance. How am I doing so far?

    He is a capable Russian linguist. He drinks beer. He likes drinking beer. He plays poker--for money. Do I know him? Nope. Do I have a growing picture of the kind of person he is? It seems like it, but of course it's only based on that which he has revealed of himself in his blog.

    What else has he revealed to us? He has a penchant for blue language. He likes to shock his readers. He seems hellbent on offending the American Evangelical Christian, probably because he's been there, done that, and come out of it.

    Is this standing in judgment over him or honest and objective observation and dot connecting?

    More to the point, where is the line in the sand? At what point is the reader expected to understand that the information can no longer be taken as self-revelatory? I don't think you can logically expect anyone to read your blog and not get a picture of you--or at least, the picture of you that you reveal. And it's likewise illogical to expect them not to take issue with it when they see it.

    Concretely, one cannot read your blog and miss that you tend to revel in your own sinfulness. But you know, I get it. I get what you seem to be trying to do. It appears to be a backlash from the emphasis on works and piety in your Evangelical past. It seems to be an attempt to offend them out of their works emphasis. I get it. But you miss the boat. My concern is that you wear the Lutheran badge so proudly while offering, as Rev. McCain aptly named it, an Antinomian view. This this flatly wrong, and it paints the Lutheran faith as something that it is not.

    Luther read Scripture and identified two kinds of righteousness: alien and proper righteousness. Alien righteousness is that righteousness that is ours in Christ. It's the righteousness of Christ that we are given by grace through faith. It's about Christ's works on our behalf and us getting credit for them.

    Then there's proper righteousness. As Luther wrote, "This is that manner of life spent profitably in good works, in the first place, in slaying the flesh and crucifying the desires with respect to the self, of which we read in Gal. 5:24, 'And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.' In the second place, this righteousness consists in love to one's neighbor, and in the third place, in meekness and fear towards God. The Apostle is full of references to these, as is all the rest of Scripture. He briefly summarizes everything, however, in Titus 2:12, 'In this world let us live soberly (pertaining to crucifying one's own flesh), justly (referring to one's neighbor), and devoutly (relating to God).'"

    You, on your blog, tend to elevate the alien righteousness and ignore the proper righteousness. And when you are called on it, in comments or elsewhere, you cry out loud, "Pietist! Pietist!" All of a sudden they're innapropriately judging.

    And all because you cannot judge a person by his blog. Or perhaps you can't hold a blogger to account for what he's posted because it's his blog. Either way, that dog don't hunt.

    By Anonymous OSC, at 12/05/2006 3:32 PM  

  • Wow! I was also going to comment to that effect but OSC has said it so much more eloquently.

    I don't know you EXCEPT from your blog and what little my brother-in-law has mentioned of you. But I will say that whatever Rev. McCain may or may not have said about you does less to weaken your character than the language you use in your post. How is using foul language loving a brother in Christ regardless of what he may have said?

    By Anonymous Rachel, at 12/07/2006 1:46 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger ptmccain, at 12/07/2006 3:40 PM  

  • Dear Ron,

    You are my brother in Christ and I'm very concerned about you, and for you and your dear wife. I referred to your blog site at my blog site in a discussion of sanctification, but never named you, or the site.

    I believe you are sadly confused about what the new life in Christ is, and is not. I believe that you are confusing freedom in Christ with license.

    I'm very concerned that you feel you are free in Christ to use obscenity and vulgarity on this open, public site. I'm concerned that you would link to a semi-porno picture advertising slasher movies. I'm concerned that you "enjoy" being "entertained" watching people tortured and brutalized in the most graphically horrible movies avaialble, so bad they are not even shown in theaters by and large.

    I pray you will very seriously -- very seriously -- reconsider your choices and behaviors. The e-mail message you sent to me and a number of other people in which you chose to use obscenity and vulgarity was truly incomprehensible to me.

    You have explained that you have come from a legalistic background in another church, but rolling around in the mud is not how you need to celebrate your freedom in Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We are all, always, poor, miserable sinners and precisely so we flee for refuge to His infinite mercy, seeking and imploring His grace, whch He bestows. Our Lord forgives and says to us, "Go and sin no more." We are set free to serve Him and our neighbor, not free to live like swine and behave like them.

    Your behaviors are not keeping with our high calling in Christ. I know you love Jesus and His Word and I pray that you will think very seriously on all these things, for yourself and your wife and your friends and your church and any children that the Lord may choose to give you both. God grant it for Jesus' sake.

    I urge you, again, to sit down with your pastor and talk these things over. I'm sure he will be very helpful to you. May God bless as you do.

    Cordially in Christ,
    Pastor Paul T. McCain

    By Blogger ptmccain, at 12/07/2006 3:48 PM  

  • I've been following closely, and contributing to, the ongoing discussion in the Lutheran blogosphere concerning sanctification. I've been rebuked by some of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have told me I've come across as being harsh and judgmental. For that I truly apologize. That was not my intention, of course, but in the concern I have over this issue I can well imagine my way of expressing myself has struck some as unkind, unloving, harsh and judgmental. I am sorry. I ask you to forgive me.

    Let me now offer some thoughts, respectfully and prayerfully. I have come to several conclusions.

    I've become convinced that part of the explanation for the different opinions being expressed have to do with different concerns motivating them. Some folks are speaking out of a context of deep concern, rightfully so, with the Calvinist/Evangelical way of speaking about these issues, a way that is distressingly devoid of Jesus. [A concern I share and have spoken about at length on my blog site, much to the chagrin of Calvinsts who listen in who have excoriated me mercilessly for my claim that Calvinism's chief problem is that Jesus is not at the very heart and center of their theological system].

    My "Houston, we have a problem" moment on these issues was a conversation I was having with some Lutherans who were quite able to repeat all the proper distinctions between faith and works, but then they proceeded, quite literally, I assure you, to indulge themselves in profanity and obscenity and when I cautioned them, they defended their behavior by appealing to the fact that they are forgiven in Christ and, "after all, everything we do is sinful since we can never do anything that is truly good." They proceeded to defend Christians "enjoying" the filthy, and obscene music lyrics of Eminem. I thought, "Hmmm...they can babble off the proper cliches about faith and justification, but somehow they have received the impression that they can continue in sin because they are covered by Christ's forgiveness. I realized right then that in our zeal to keep works and faith separate, we have been neglecting proper teaching about the meaning of the new life in Christ. We've left people with the impression that the Christian life is simply hearing, over and over, that we are lost sinners, and that Jesus forgives us, now go in peace! But, not much is said about the shape of the cruciform life in Christ. Not much is said about the works prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2).

    We've been telling people that they are so entirely and hopelessly sinful and nothing they do can please God that some have taken the opportunity to say, "OK, well then, we'll just continue to sin, and take our comfort in the fact that God loves and forgives us no matter what we do, or intend to do." I have even heard a pastor excuse sin by saying, "Well, in the kingdom of the left, you just have to sin sometimes, as long as you are trying to accomplish good things." I've heard others speak what amounts to an "end justifies the means" attitude. This is not right. It is wrong. It is sing. Houston, we have a problem!

    Our Confessions caution precisely on this point that we dare not use the proper distinction between faith and works in such a way that people are confused to the point that they defend sinful behaviors. We read in the Solid Declaration, Article IV, that if we do teach that good works are really nothing to give much thought to, that, "Discipline and decency might be impaired by it, and a barbarous, loose, secure, Epicurean life be introduced and strengthened. A person should avoid what is harmful to his salvation with the greatest diligence." (Concordia, p. 552).

    Therefore, perhaps folks can understand the context from which I've been speaking. And I understand the context some others have been speaking; namely, that there is great concern that we never speak of good works in such a way to encourage the view that justification and salvation and the Gospel, that is, the forgiveness of sins, is something that happens and then from there we move on to talk about doing good works leaving the Gospel behind. I understand that concern. I agree with that concern. I appreciate that concern. Please read that again. Truly, I do!

    Now, I ask that you take very seriously my very real concern, one based on very real situations in which some Lutheran Christians are hearing that we are saved by grace alone and have been led to believe that what they do truly doesn't matter and that they are free to sin! Some even latch on to the horribly misunderstood and misquoted Luther comment "Sin boldly" to defend drinking too much and using vulgarity in their speech as a matter of course. I've been told by another one of these self-appointed "experts" on sanctification that sanctification is not about moral behaviors. I've heard one of these confused persons say that good works in this life are really just "civil righteousness." Wow, what sad confusion and delusion!

    I must also respectfully point out that there are some pastors out there who are mistaken as well on some of these issues. There are those who have suggested that in order to avoid the danger of mixing sanctification with justification, or leaving people thinking that their works are how they can be sure they are at peace with God, a pastor should not in his sermon ever conclude the sermon by talking about the works Christians are to do, for that is to end with "Law" and therefore throw people back on the conviction of their sin. I've also noticed in many Lutheran sermons on the blogosphere an acute absence of any conversation in sermons about good works, addressed to the regenerate, not simply telling people how they fail to keep God's law, but instructing them in how they are to live according to God's Law, in other words, the great "therefore, how then shall we live?" of the Pauline epistles and of Luther's great sermons is strangely missing in many of the sermons I read posted on Lutheran blog sites.

    I've been told that this is not appropriate in sermons. I've been told that this is the proper realm of teaching, but not preaching. I've been informed by some that any such conversation only takes people's eyes off Jesus and puts it on themselves. I've been told, by those who are honest and consistent, that Martin Luther didn't preach correctly, nor did Chemnitz, or Gerhard, or any of our Lutheran fathers. Neither did Walther. I've been told that sermons are not teaching, the are preaching. They are sacramental acts and therefore the sole purpose us to convict of sin and comfort with Christ and any talk of works is muddying the waters. This is better left to Bible class. [Which only a minority of those who attend church actually go to!] I'm told that only in our generation have we really understood what it is to preach in such a way as to extol the "presence of Jesus in the Divine Service." I've been told that Kurt Marquart was wrong when he wrote about a growing concern he had about what he termed an "aversion to sanctification" in our midst. And with all these comments and ideas, I must respectfully, but forcefully disagree. There was a time when I actually did believe that Luther didn't "get it" and Walther didn't "get it" and the Church Fathers didn't "get it." I should have, at that point, reached up and felt around on my head for the long jackass ears that I would have found there. I've since realized that perhaps we are the ones who are missing something.

    With respect and sincere love for the brethren, I must say that these newer positions on preaching and talking about the Christian's life of sanctification and good works are wrong, plainly and simply, they are just wrong. They are not properly reflecting what our Confessions have to say on these things. They are well motivated and sincere, but they are wrong.

    The problem is not works, it is how we talk about them. To the extent that we speak of good works apart from the grace of Christ that gives us the power and motivation to do them, of course, that is wrong. But, the solution to avoiding the pitfalls of Calvinism or Evangelicalism or legalism or moralism, or any other -ism is not to stop properly teaching and preaching about good works.

    The other problem I notice is that folks are not adequately keeping clear the distinction between justification and sanctification, but trying to make them nearly synonymous. When I went to the seminary there were some who said that it is wrong to talk about progress in sanctification. That is wrong. That causes difficulties as well in talking about these things. Someone once said that theology is the art of making proper distinctions. When those proper distinctions are not made, it makes it very hard, if not impossible, to speak or teach clearly on theological issues. I see some of this happening here as well. The way to avoid mixing sanctification and justification is not to stop properly teaching and preaching about the good works Christians do. That is the point. The Confessions make this point very clear:

    Even though people who are converted and believe in Christ have the beginning of renewal, sanctification, love, virtue, and good works, these cannot and should not be drawn into, or mixed with, the article of justification before God. This is so the honor due to Christ may remain with Christ the Redeemer and tempted consciences may have a sure consolation, since our new obedience is incomplete and impure (FC SD III.35; Concordia, p. 542).

    We can never, we must never, we should never, and may God grant it, may we never mix works into faith and ever give anyone the impression that it is by their working, their striving, their doing, their trying, their willing that they are sustained in grace and salvation. No, that is always by grace, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and on account of Christ alone. But, does this mean that preachers should not preach and teach about good works? Not only as they condemn sin, but as they urge and describe the new life in Christ? No.

    What a refreshment it is once more to return to our Confessions and there read such powerfully clear and helpful comments about works. I ran across this one today that I found particularly useful, from the FC Epitome IV: Good Works:

    "In these last times it is certainly no less needful to encourage people to Christian discipline, to the way of right and godly living, and to do good works. We need to remind them of how necessary it is that they exercise themselves in good works as a declaration of faith and gratitude to God. But works should not be mingled in the article of justification. People may be just as damned by an Epicurean delusion about faith as they are by papistic and Pharisaic confidence in their own works and merits." (Concordia, pg. 484).

    And again, in the Solid Declaration, Article IV:

    Christians should not be frightened away from good works, but should be admonished and urged to do them most diligently. (Concordia, p. 552).

    I do not want to see Lutheran sermons turn into Evangelical pulpit-therapy sessions. I've seen that happen and it is revolting to me. "Jesus as afterthought" is not what I'm advocating here. I do not want to listen to sermons that give me thirty second of Gospel and twenty minutes of law and good work preaching. I'm not asking for that. I am asking, with respect, that we do not neglect proper preaching about sanctification and good works in our concern to avoid the pitfalls of Evangelicalism and legalism. May God grant it, for Jesus sake. Amen.

    By Blogger Paul T. McCain, at 1/14/2007 5:12 PM  

  • I just happened on your site. I've been blogging for a little over a year. Last week, a church office worker took my anonymous blog public by distributing posts all over the church. This led me to resigning my membership.

    Blogging is a form of expression and I use it because my so-called leadership would not address the issues. They were too busy protecting themselves, the status quo and their country club attitudes.

    Obviously, this blogger has needs that his Pastor or the others in church haven't bothered to address. Leave him alone. This is his blog and if you don't like it, don't visit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 7:27 PM  

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