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West Point cadet quits, cites 'criminal' behavior of officers promoting fundamentalist Christianity

http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=159634

Note the update - he got an honorable discharge. I'd say he earned it.

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Our Catechisms

Teach, Christ alone... we kind of made a big deal about it in the Reformation. I am a Lutheran.

As for your doctrine, I don't think you will find a better iteration of it than in the Book of Concord if you truly believe in 'Christ alone'.

It is important to have a Confession of Faith as St Paul warns that you should only break bread with those who agree with you doctrinally.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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Well said

Don't forget to add Anglicanism in that list though :)

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Anonymous
http://youtu.be/cjkvC9qr0cc

Unfortunately

Anglicans are Reformed as well. They just hide it better. Low Church Anglicanism can hardly be distinguished from true Methodism. Same with the UCC which says it is of the 'Evangelical (Lutheran) and Reformed' Traditions. What ends up winning out all the time is Reformed and Lutherans have to compromise everything. That is why the LCMS left Germany under religious persecution because the King of Prussia wanted to unite the Reformed and Lutheran Churches to have one Church under his Kingdom. The LCMS were the remnant that said no and left rather than submit. This is why we are so hardcore conservative.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

Well most

Anglicans (aka Episcopalians) these days are heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement of the 1800s. Anglicans are both Reformed and Catholic.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Anonymous
http://youtu.be/cjkvC9qr0cc

Hort you just stumbled across a Truth

In reality, Reformed and Roman Catholics are not as different as commonly believed. They both use primarily a magisterial use of Scripture rather than a ministerial.

Roman Catholics use Transubstantiation as the 'reason' behind the Lord's Supper. Calvin though Christ was bound in Heaven. That the finite pieces of bread could not contain God. Thus, the two branches use reason above scripture. Of course Zwingli and Calvin signed a joint document that said that Communion was a medieval superstition (sound familiar) so any 'differences' on Calvin and Zwingli are moot as both signed a joint confession of faith. Feast in Heaven becomes only symbolical. I commonly say that Reformed use sola scriptura in so far as reason dictates.

People who burn out on Reformed Christianity either go in two directions, direct Apostasy (Paganism: like the speaking in tongues Charismatics or Atheism) or back to Rome. Those are the trends. Lutheranism never considered to be a choice if indeed we are 'not so different'. I wonder why?

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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..?

"Fundamentalism is Calvanistic in theology."

Did you mean to say it's the other way around? There are obviously non-Calvinist fundamentalists, such as "king james only" advocates who are typically anti-Calvinist. And they wouldn't consider Calvinists to be fundamentalists.

Calvanistic

in how they deny the sacraments and a whole host of other topics.

The binding aspect of the Reformed Church is the removal of the Sacraments. Note, you are the only branch of Christianity that does so, and for only 400 years. That should give you pause that the vast majority of Christians throughout time and space have believed in the Sacraments as true.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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um

The reformation was about getting back to the original foundation thus the focus on sola scriptura. But I think there is a lot of anachronism that goes on by sacramentalists who read into the past; Just as for example Catholics would say that pre-reformation Waldensians denied the doctrine of the communion if they thought it was symbolic, or that they denied the doctrine of marriage if they believed marriages could be performed outside of the roman catholic church, or that they didn't believe in baptism if they preferred believers baptism over infant baptism.

The problem with Lutherans is that Luther didn't think people should associate themselves with his name or call themselves Lutherans. You probably know the quote right?.. about him preferring they name themselves after a sack of maggots or something? ;)

But seriously, I kind of doubt Luther would join the Lutheran church if he was alive today.

Luther wrote

large portions of the Book of Concord which is our Confession. A Confession that defines what it means to be 'Lutheran'. So, if we submit ourselves to the Book of Concord and its teaching, Luther would be right there with us.

Luther called those who deny Infant Baptism heretical fanatics. I have his Large Catechism right here. Doubt me, look it up yourself.

Those who deny the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper are also called fanatics who do not know scripture. Luther set himself against those who denied the sacraments very, very vehemently. So much so, that it will probably hurt your feelings.

Yes, Luther would be against the ELCA which denies the Book of Concord and is in communion with various reformed churches. So, if you are talking about that yes. Luther would probably be hanging out with the LCMS at this point as we are Confessional Lutherans.

Our enemies called us Lutherans. Many of our churches are called 'Evangelical' for this very reason that Luther wanted the Church named the Evangelical Church, or the Church of the Good News or the Church of the Gospel.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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You got that right

!

considering

what the catholics did to everybody I can not believe anyone would call the reformation radical. Read the foxes book of martyrs please.

That said I am a fundamentalist and I am not a Calvinist, I do not believe in predestination (at least as it is taught now, especially since every Calvinist disagree about what calvanism is it is very annoying). I am also a baptist, more in the order of george muller than anyone else. In fact I would be curious as to what a luthern like yourself would think of george muller who left the lutherens to become a baptist.

Slaying Catholics

and razing Churches which were built over thousands of years that contained tons of treasures of the faithful (statues and so on) was not 'radical'. We Lutherans love icons. Icons allow us to see what the Gospel tells us. They are visual aides. I love pulpits with the 4 Evangelists as it reminds you they were real people.

One problem with Christianity is that it is detached from its history due to the fact people cannot readily 'see' the great figures in stain glass, statues and other icons.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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George Mueller is

a man to be admired for his great faith and his work with orphans!

There was the Magisterial Reformation

and the Radical Reformation. The radicals wanted to cut off everything from the Christian past all the way down to the ground and start all over, similar to the way the French revolutionaries did. The radicals refused to accept any baptism but their own, thus their being referred to as rebaptisers, or anabaptists.

The other branch of the Reformation, involving Luther, Calvin, Knox, etc believed in purifying the church covenentally, much like the way the Americans did in breaking away from England, politically, and like the Puritans did with the Church of England. These guys are called Protestants because they were protesting catholics (catholic meaning "universal", not Roman Catholic). The radical reformers are not technically Protestants.

The Church of Rome still has not had their reformation, but it will happen, it will. That being said, the heirs of the Reformation are in dire need of another reformation, and they will have it.

Luckily

I used a ministorial approach to the scriptures. If you are really serious about another Reformation, go read the Book of Concord. That is all you need if you want to receive a Reformation in doctrine.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

There are two different Reformations

I am a part of the Conservative Reformation. We keep the Sacraments (Baptism and Communion) because they are the means of Grace in the Bible.

I don't know about George Muller, but if he was a part of the ELCA (ultra liberal) then I can understand. I am a part of the orthodox LCMS which still confesses the Book of Concord as Doctrine (the Normed Norm as the Scriptures are the Norming Norm).

Apostasy sucks. It happens.

Here is where we diverge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtQKgM6Hmqw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nh3-7bTNT0

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

Denise B's picture

Burning,

I just wanted to ask you what you mean by Baptism and Communion being the "means of Grace in the Bible"? I am just curious if you think that they are required to receive Grace and forgiveness, or is participating in them merely evidence that you have already received Grace and forgiveness? I am also quite intrigued by this whole Luther vs. Calvin dialogue. I did not know that Calvin accused Luther of being a heretic and would like to read more about it..have any links? I myself have always been uncomfortable with certain elements of Calvinism, although there are certaintly passages in the Bible which would seem to confirm it's truth, but taken to it's extreme it can also seem to contradict other passages...not an easy topic to master.. I might also add that I am not completely comfortable with Arminiasm either...

I like and respect your opinions and would appreciate your thoughts or any reference material you would recommend. :)

Luther vs. Calvin

Luther thought pretty poorly of Calvins theology as well, I think he wrote something equating him with the devil or something.. there was something about it at the museum at Luthers house in Wittenberg. Also.. Luther didn't really like Zwingli, he called him Zwingel since it sounded sort of like the german word for buzzing, and luther considered Zwingli to be sort of an annoying nobody, like a bee buzzing in his ears, meanwhile Zwingli was trying to promote political unity against Catholicism and strived to come to some sort of agreement with Luther on communion partially for political reasons, but Luther made up his mind before the discussion , showed up early and carved the phrase "this is my body" in the table and covered it up before Zwingli got there.. then he let Zwingli talk, and all Luther would say in response was the phrase "this is my body" and finally uncovered the spot he carved and walked out. If Zwingli was more successful gaining political unity with Germany through Luther, he might not have been killed in battle when the catholic army invaded.

The reason why Luther carved

"This IS my Body" on the table was to point down at the material world. The material flesh which God has promised. That communion is not a rising to feast on Christ in Heaven as if Jesus is chained and could not be freed from Heaven. (where this is in Scripture we don't know) Calvin and Zwingli formed basically an ecumenical pact.

Zwignli was like Bill Clinton before Bill Clinton in redefining what the word 'is' is. Honestly, Luther did the right thing.

The Radical Reformation razed beautiful Churches and destroyed icons for, in my opinion, no reason whatsoever. So, no wonder Catholic rulers threw down the hammer on them. To me if you really hate icons, take down all the pictures of your family, remove your computer, oh and that huge Church building is also an idol half the time to people.

" In 1531 Zwingli’s alliance applied an unsuccessful food blockade on the Catholic cantons. The cantons responded with an attack at a moment when Zurich was badly prepared. Zwingli was killed in battle at the age of 47."

Doctrines like Manifest Destiny also spring out of the Reformed Tradition (God wants the US to grow). So, as much as everyone is praising Zwingli and Calvin for getting 'religion out of the governing sphere', it was Luther's Two Kingdom's Doctrine which the Separation of Church and State is based on. Basically the two can conflux, but cannot be one. The Church and the State have to interact in society so there will be times when one touches the other (such as taxes, using government protections, and so on). Zwingli and Calvin basically set up republican theocracies in Geneva and elsewhere. The Catholic Church for the most part was not a Theocracy, but a competing institution with the State. One could appeal to the Pope if the King was wrong for instance or visa versa if the Pope or the King were weak politically at the time.

Lutherans have basically in America speak 'German' and cannot communicate effectively with Protestants. Unfortunately, Lutherans have adopted many American Protestant ways. There is a trend that I wish to capture that is going to reverse this and bring back true confessional Lutheranism. This IS my Body, and This IS my Blood is one step in that process.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

.

"The Radical Reformation razed beautiful Churches and destroyed icons for, in my opinion, no reason whatsoever. "

What about Zwingli's poor table vandalized by Luther? ;)

"To me if you really hate icons, take down all the pictures of your family, remove your computer, oh and that huge Church building is also an idol half the time to people."

Do you talk to pictures of your family, kiss them, bow to them and venerate them every time you pass? I think Zwingli's take was that he took the ten commandments literally when it said not to make or serve graven images of things in heaven.

"Doctrines like Manifest Destiny also spring out of the Reformed Tradition (God wants the US to grow)."

Can you demonstrate this with some sort of evidence? At first glance it seems an unfair statement to say, because of the negative things which happened under Manifest Destiny which go against the teachings of Calvin and Zwingli

American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny

The Ark of the Covenant had images from the Heavens. What about the bronze serpent that God ordered to be made. Jesus of course is the new bronze serpent on the pole.

God came in the flesh. How is seeing images of Jesus a violation of the 10 commandments (we number them differently)? Like I said, you are basing this entire doctrine off of a OT Proof Text from Kings that is descriptive vs pre-scripted.

Exceptionalism describes the perception of Massachusetts Bay colonists that as Puritans they were charged with a special spiritual and political destiny: to create in the New World a church and a society that would provide the model for all the nations of Europe as they struggled to reform themselves (a redeemer nation). . . . Thus America and Americans are special, exceptional, because they are charged with saving the world from itself and, at the same time, America and Americans must sustain a high level of spiritual, political and moral commitment to this exceptional destinymerica must be as "a city upon a hill" exposed to the eyes of the world. (Pp. 1)

http://www.enotes.com/puritanism-reference/puritanism

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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Denise B's picture

Thanks for

your comments b...fascinating stuff! My daughter bought me a complete book on the Reformation period, but it is like a 1,000 pages long so I haven't cracked it yet. She is a strict Calvinist, and I think maybe we should both look at it together because neither of us realized the rift between Calvin and Luther. I've always had much respect and love for Luther but was never completely comfortable with Calvin, although the Bible certainly supports the doctrine of predestination in many of it's passages...I guess I am most uncomfortable with the way many of his "followers" lift him up almost to the level of prophet, which he most certainly was not...and I don't know a lot about Zwingli either... I guess I have a lot of reading to do! :)

Lutheran Doctrine of Election

Is Single Sided Predestination. That is there are only people predestined for Heaven, not Hell. No one is condemned to Hell by God. God wants all saved. Basically, humans can only condemn themselves.

This of course flies in the face of Calvin's logic, but when Scripture and logic conflict, Lutherans turn to scripture. Calvinists turn to logic.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

Denise B's picture

While it is true

that the Bible says that God does not wish that any should perish, and He takes no delight in condemning people to Hell, I think it is more Arminian thinking that He leaves our destinations entirely to our own choices. I think the truth is, that without His intervention, fallen man's choice would never be Him. Like I stated earlier, it is a very difficult topic to master entirely, and maybe that is because "His ways are not our ways", so it is difficult for fallen man to fully grasp the mind of God and put Him into a box, so to speak.

As far as your statement "there are only people predestined for Heaven, not Hell", where would Judas fit into this type of reasoning? Was it not always his destiny to betray our Lord, and thus condemn himself to hell? I can't imagine a scenario where God might rest the salvation of mankind on one man's choice to do or not do something. I believe Judas was destined to do what he did from before his first breath. How else do you look at that besides him being predestined to hell?

Like I stated earlier, the extreme's of both Calvinism and Arminiasm both seem to fall short somehow, and I am just now learning about Lutheran theology...I think I have much prayer, learning and study to do and God willing I will figure it out, or not...ultimately my salvation rests with Christ and the realization that I am a sinner worthy of death but through grace and faith I am saved. :)

Judas convicted himself of his own guilt

thus he committed suicide. Same as with Saul.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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Denise B's picture

No doubt

that is true. I am not trying to alleviate Judas of his guilt in any manner whatsoever, or Saul for that matter, but do Lutherans believe that God did not know all along what their behavior would be and where they would end up? Is pre-knowledge different than predestination? I know that there is a statement by I believe Paul to the effect that God is just in all that He does and the clay pot has no right or authority to ask the potter why he was designed for a certain purpose...some are designed for grand purposes and others not, but all is to the glory of God.

Please don't mind me picking your brain, I am not trying to be argumentative...I have always struggled a little with understanding the line between God's sovereign will and human choice and sometimes where exactly they intersect can be a little unclear...

Like I said, more studying, learning and praying to do I guess...thanks for your responses. :)

Read the

Bondage of Will by Luther.

Read about the Theology of the Cross. Those will help you better understand how man's free will is bonded to sin and we cannot free ourselves.

Judas played his role and was dominated by the Devil. It says so even in the scriptures. The Devil does not let go of what he has easily. Judas resisted the grace that Christ gave him. Christ in his Humility (theological term of when Jesus was on Earth and was separated from his full divine powers) knew of the eternal Truth that Judas would betray given to him by God the Father through the Holy Spirit. This was preordained, however, Judas was not destined to damnation, that was his decision alone to be damned.

It is hard to explain. You cannot decide to be faithful in Christ (to do so is semi-plagianism aka theology of glory/decision), but you can resist grace. Lutherans acknowledge that the Scriptures support a 'single predestinationist' view, but this is hardly logical for the mortal mind. God is not limited to how humans think, thus Lutherans accept this on Faith Alone that we are the elect.

What Lutherans don't do is pretend we know what God is doing. We do not know what is behind the Cross, but only we look at the Cross. Even hard things like 'this was Judas' destiny'.

Also at the end of Genesis, Esau becomes a Christian again after fighting with his brother Jacob. There is no evidence that God continually hated Esau, but only hated Esau as he was an unrepentant sinner. When he repented, God forgave his iniquity. A touching story about forgiveness really. Again you ignore when Ezekiel clearly states that God desires that all be saved. The parable of the sower also states that one can lose faith. Grace is not irresistible, but in fact resistible.

Other Protestants like to pluck one verse about a topic and laud it over the other verses. I take everything in context as a whole. What does God desire, all to be saved. Are their 'vessels of wrath', yes, but God does not delight in their suffering which is also stated by Ezekiel. Taken in that context and the knowledge that Esau repented, we now know what that verse in Romans and in context with the rest of Romans actually means :), Good News, because we all deserve to be vessels of wrath.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

Denise B's picture

More food for

thought, thank you for sharing your views and the truth is that I do still have much to learn...I think that process never ends because we are dealing with an amazing, infinite God who's wonders and ways are impossible for us to fully grasp at this point. I would not say that I ignore what Ezekial states, I just endevour to put it in harmony with the rest of the Bible, but it is certainly true that it is repeatedly stated that God desires all to be saved, and that is a wonderful thing indeed! Thanks again and God Bless! :)

Np

I am always a student. I am never a master. I can never know everything. Being a student of the Word is a continual process where even at the end of the race, you are given a 1st place crown even if you did so poorly.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

...

I don't think you fully understand Calvinism or the fundamental level at which logic operates.

What you said about single sided predestination is not really all that different from what Calvinism says, the distinction is that in Calvinism, it's acknowledged that people are totally depraved, that there are none who do good, and none who seek God, as it says in Romans 3. If it is said that God condemns people to hell in Calvinism, it is because of their sin and nothing else. To accuse Calvinism of saying that God predestines people to hell in the same sense that he predestines to heaven, that they have no choice in the matter is along the lines of the error of equal ultimacy. People choose to sin, so they choose hell. The concept of double predestination is a logical argument which necessarily follows from predestination of people to Heaven. If God knows who he will choose, he also knows who he will not choose, and the ones that aren't chosen go to Hell because of their sin, and in John 6:44 Jesus says no one comes to him unless the father draws them. In philosophy, there is nothing more basic than logic, law of identity, law of excluded middle, etc. To say that scripture could disagree with logic gives a low view of scripture, and flies in the face of biblical inerrancy. Here is a good explanation of what double predestination in calvinism is and isn't: http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html