How is Pietistic Lutheranism Different From FV?

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Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
This question got my attention today, and it's one I've been wondering about.

Luther-Lutherans seem not to be within this mold at all, but pietistic Lutheranism seem have a lot in common with FV in regard to their view of the Church, Sacramentalism, and apostasy. Perhaps the answer lies in Law/Gospel?

Am I missing something? If this is true, then why do the FVers chide the Reformed for operating with a "Lutheran" doctrine of Justification? Several good friends are Lutheran and I'm worried about these parallels.
 

raderag

Puritan Board Sophomore
There seem to be similarities, but the end on the road is in the distinction of law and Gospel. The best way to get a hold of what Lutherans (LCMS or WELS) teach is to read their confessions. I think you will agree with 90% of it:

Book of Concord

Lutherans are pre-TULIP, do hold different views on the sacraments of which I strongly disagree, but agree on the issues of election, imputation, and justification.
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
This question got my attention today, and it's one I've been wondering about.

Luther-Lutherans seem not to be within this mold at all, but pietistic Lutheranism seem have a lot in common with FV in regard to their view of the Church, Sacramentalism, and apostasy. Perhaps the answer lies in Law/Gospel?

Am I missing something? If this is true, then why do the FVers chide the Reformed for operating with a "Lutheran" doctrine of Justification? Several good friends are Lutheran and I'm worried about these parallels.

The answer to your question is laid out in some detail in this book:

Covenant Theology and Justification by Faith: The Shepherd Controversy and Its Impacts, by Jeong Koo Jeon

I have been reading it this week, and find it very interesting. The author claims that Calvin and classical Reformed authors operated with a dual interpretive principle in building their theology: 1) Union With Christ and 2) the Law/Gospel distinction. But, he says, after Murray retired, the second principle was dropped by Westminster Seminary theologians, and this created the Union With Christ School of theology, which consequently misreads Calvin and the Confessions (by not recognizing one of Calvins principles), and which gave rise to Shepherdism, the Federal Vision etc. In dropping the Law/Gospel principle, the Westminster Seminary people argued (wrongly) that the principle was Lutheran and not Reformed.

The Federal Vision people were educated in this Union With Christ School of theology, which is why they act and believe as they do. Which also means that in dealing with the FV, as the PCA has been doing, the PCA is only treating symptoms, and not the underlying problem. The underlying problem is the Union With Christ School which is entrenched in the seminaries and in the churches, though all the pastors trained in it.

The second point to observed is that besides differing with the Lutherans on the law/gospel distinction, the FV differs with them sacramentally. The Lutherans hold that at baptism there is a miracle of faith, and the child who is baptized is also justified. But then they must also hold that justification can be lost. The Federal Vision don't want to hold that this sort of automatic miracle of faith creation takes place as the consequence of baptism, but rather baptism is a change of legal status which inaugurates a covenantal relationship with God. The problem for the FV is how this relates to grace and justification, and it is one that forces them to equivocation on the meaning of terms. In other words, it is a problem they have not worked out.
 
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