Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Gift of Communion (Communion and Mass) by Carl F. Wisløff

 Thank you very much to Rev. Benjamin D. Hertel of Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Rensselaer, IN for giving us a review of Carl F. Wisløff's The Gift of Communion (Nattverd og messe/Communion and Mass). While not strictly an L-TOM, nor written by an American Lutheran, it was an influential work, translated by Joseph M. Shaw and published by Augsburg Publishing House in 1964. It is included in the Concordia Heritage Series (the dark green hardback series). You can buy it on Amazon or find a copy through Bookfinder.

Wisløff (1908-2004) was a Norwegian theologian known for his opposition to liberal theology. He was also influenced by Norwegian Pietism, especially in regards to lay preaching and evangelistic endeavors. His most influential book with the Norwegian public was Jeg vet på hvem jeg tror (I Know in Whom I Believe).

Review of Carl F. Wisløff's The Gift of Communion
by Rev. Benjamin D. Hertel

A short, but thick book, Carl Wisløff’s work is not something I would recommend to the layman or the arm-chair theologian. The concepts are easy enough, but the way Wisløff presents his points can be a bit congested and repetitious at times.

Wisløff seems to assume a lot from his reader and that he is a trained pastor. Knowledge of certain terms, events, and theology are sometimes not explained. Nevertheless, Wisløff has, in this short book, amassed a large amount of Luther quotes. Though it reads like a text-book, for this we should be grateful.

Wisløff's main claim is that not enough attention has been paid to Luther speaking against the “sacrifice of the Mass”. He says that Lutherans would rather speak against the Reformed or the enthusiasts and probably find Luther lacking on the subject.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Index of Posts on Theodore Engelder's series of essays concerning the "Hades Gospel"

The issue of the fate of the soul after death and the idea of a "second chance," with all the surrounding questions, is important for the Christian. Pastors especially ought to be able to give  clear answers concerning this topic. Engelder's essays offer a firm biblical footing on the subject.

Posts on Engelder's essays on the "Hades Gospel":

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Prof. Th. Engelder on The Hades Gospel Part VI: "The Hades Gospel and the Apocatastasis Gospel"

Another name for those who believe in the Apocatastasis has been Origenists

In Part VI, Engelder confronts the related error of apocatastasis, the eventual redemption and restoration of all the damned. This dangerous and unscriptural doctrine is the end of the road of the Hades Gospel.

[Note: Here is the link to the first (and introductory) post in this series: Prof. Th. Engelder on The Hades Gospel Part I: "The Hades Gospel", the second post: Part II, "The Argument in Support of the Hades Gospel,", the third post: Prof. Th. Engelder on the Hades Gospel Part III: "The Evil of The Hades Gospel" the fourth post: Prof. Th. Engelder on the Hades Gospel Part IV: "Some Remarks on the Question of the Salvation of the Heathen", the fifth post: Prof. Th. Engelder on the Hades Gospel Part V: "The Protestant Purgatory"]

He divides his critique into three sections. First he attacks on exegetical grounds, including an extensive discussion on the word "age(s)" means. He shows how that the denial of the eternality of damnation also undermines the beauty, surety, and everlasting nature of the promise of eternal life. Secondly, he attacks their elevation of reason over the Word of God [with a brief side trip to make the logical and historical connection between the belief in the apocatastasis and Pelagianism, and the dependence and example of Origen].

He states:
But it is a wicked business. "Men derive this dogma from their reason, their sense of justice, their conception of mercy. And men have not the right to use the argument under discussion. For what it amounts to is this: reason presumes to tell God what He must do in order to retain His character as a merciful and just God. And shall reason teach God ethics? Presumptuous reason is telling God that unless He conducts His judgment according to human standards, His conduct would be unfair, partial, unrighteous, unethical. ...Will a man judge God?" (CON. THEOL. MONTHLY, 1945, p.395.) These words were addressed to the Hades theologians, who demand, because of their "merciful" sentiments, that God must save half of the inmates of hell, Hades. They apply no less to the apocatastasis theologians, who because of their sense of "mercy and justice," require God to lead all the damned out of hell to heaven. And since the God of the Bible speaks a different language, they make out of the God of the Bible "a devil." Presumptuous reason will stop at nothing.