2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
PROBLEMS WITH LUTHER?
You have read my enthusiastic references to Martin Luther's writings on this website, specifically his soteriology. That's a theological word for the mechanism of salvation, that is, how we are saved as Christians. I love Luther for his faithfulness to Paul, and his pithy clarity on the most important issue of all, Sola Fide, FAITH ALONE!
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident:
for, The just shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:11).
Luther's stand upon the Bible as authority in the matter of salvation was the catalyst for The Reformation and light of Scripture that ended the dark ages, the period when Rome craftily hid from the world the knowledge of God's grace in Christ. But like every vessel that God uses, Luther was imperfect, flawed. Just like Adam who sinned, Noah who got drunk, Abraham who pawned off his wife as his sister, Sarah who laughed, Hagar, Moses the murderer, Samson the womanizer, David, Peter the denier, Paul the Christian killer, and ourselves, God uses faulty instruments. Though "justified freely by the grace that is in Christ Jesus" we remain human creatures. "For in many things we offend all" James reminds us. And the Apostle John adds "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). These verses are just one reason why we cannot keep joy under Wesleyan theology.
All who seek to be justified by works are under a curse, and are worse than dead men, who are at least harmless. Luther explains this most clearly. But he had his blind spots, as we all do. One of his pet errors was infant baptism, which D. Patrick Ramsey explains in the conclusion of his article here:
"There is no question as to the significant service that Martin Luther rendered to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. His recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, along with his doctrine of Scripture, stands at the fore of his many accomplishments. All true believers owe a tremendous debt to this great Reformer. Yet, no one this side of eternity is fully sound or completely consistent in doctrine or practice. Indeed, it is possible to be inconsistent with those doctrines we regard to be of the greatest importance. Martin Luther, so we have argued, is a case in point. Although he made noted advancements concerning the doctrine of baptism, especially with his discussion on promise and faith, Luther failed to undo every rope that the medieval sacramental system had used to bind the Christian. By maintaining that baptism is the ordinarily necessary occasion of justification and by holding to an essentially ex opere operato understanding, Martin Luther unwittingly compromised his cherished doctrine of justification by faith alone. Stressing the objectivity of baptism as God’s saving word and work, as does Trigg, is not enough to vindicate Luther. For when baptism becomes the means of justification, responding to the gospel in faith is no longer sufficient. One must believe and be baptized".
Lutherans will protest his conclusion emotionally, but cannot scripturally. Was the thief on the cross baptized? And Luther's understandable (who has not grasped for something in moments of doubt?) error here is no different than our own, and does not make him less an instrument of God. How many of us have believed wrongly in our past? How many still do? Exactly. (reason number two why I'm reformed). So, if I've got this right, none of us are fully obedient (all will agree), none of us have full understanding (all agree), none of us have 100% of our doctrinal ducks all in a row (all agree, at least publicly). I could go on, but where does that leave us? I've said before and i say it again here, if a sovereign God does not choose a people - apart from their ability to respond to Him - and move Heaven, Earth and Hell to present these blameless before His throne . . All is lost (reason #3). But I digress.
Luther inherited his eschatology (or lack of it) from Rome. Dispensationalists tell us that the "church" began in 2nd chapter of Acts with the supernatural outpouring of the Holy spirit. The Jerusalem church then was predominantly Jewish and immediately came into conflict with the Jewish high priests, Annas and Caiphas who were instrumental in crucifying Jesus. Jesus' promise to return for his followers was considered immanent, and the new believers sold homes and possessions in the fervent excitement that spread. The persecution started with beatings of the Apostles who continued to preach Christ to the anger of Jewish leader (Acts 5:42). IN chapter 6 of Acts we can see that gentiles were already part of this ONE body, and a disagreement arose over the preferential treatment of Jewish widows. Phillip is appointed along with others to oversee this need. In chapter 7 Stephen is stoned, and persecution builds under Saul of Tarsus. Chapter 8 begins " And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles". The new believers headed for the hills, the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem - presumably waiting for Jesus' return. In chapter 9 Phillip preaches the gospel to the Samaritans with success. In Acts 9 Saul is converted and becomes Paul, the Jew's Jew who is immediately given a fatwa by the Jews.