Thursday, December 13, 2012

You cooperate with God...

...just not in the very act of conversion. But after your conversion and rebirth in Holy Baptism you do cooperate with God. Here is another great quotation from Gerhard's Theological Commonplaces, On Free Choice. This volume will be ready sometime in 2013, I think.

(IV) [Bellarmine again:] “God works in us to will by helping and exciting [us] so that we in truth do the willing. Yet this does not occur without us, otherwise the apostle would not say: ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling’” (Philippians 2).
      We respond. The apostle is speaking about the reborn who can cooperate after their regeneration through the new powers given by God. But the question here involves the act of conversion itself, that is, what can the human will accomplish in that act of itself and of its own natural powers? This certainly does not yet amount to cooperation but only passivity [παθητική].


  1. What a synergist! ;) How on earth have modern Lutherans managed to get so muddled on something that the Symbols treat with crystal clarity???

  2. We have a Law/Gospel problem. We mistakenly think that they are opposites, that the law is against us and against the gospel, etc. We deny that the law existed in Paradise and will also exist in heaven. We forget that it is God's good and gracious will. We think the law is only good for accusing and damning. We forget the Psalter or deny it. We forget the Levitical code. We ignore the Epistles. I could go on and on. But I think this is the fundamental confusion of our age without our church body and has been for quite some time.

  3. And unhealthy attraction to the non-confessional musings of Gerhard Forde, present at both seminaries, is not helping us either in these matters.

    1. Forde is attractive for many reasons - but it's meat, not milk. My main beef against the dogmatics teaching at both seminaries is that we don't first teach our own tradition thoroughly before delving into other traditions, pulling in sources from heterodox places and trying to sift out the good. How can we recognize the good and the bad before we have thoroughly learned the good? If I had my 'druthers no one could read Pieper before reading Gerhard, no one could read Gerhard before reading Chemnitz (Enchirdion and Loci), and no one could read Chemnitz before thoroughly reading the Confessions in their historical context. And only after you did all that reading could you try to read Forde and other modern theologians. If you've got that background, Forde's antinomian rejection of the Formula sticks out like a sore thumb (as well as his universalism) and yet you can then profitably gain a whole lot from him.


  4. Any idea when the Gerhard volume mentioned above will be released? I don't see it on the CPH website and have heard nothing about it. 'Course, we're only half-way through 2013! But, would like to budget for this one!


Comments are moderated. Neither spam, vulgarity, comments that are insulting, slanderous or otherwise unbefitting of Christian dignity nor anonymous posts will be published.