Monday, April 29, 2013

My Post Mortem On 'The Great Sanctification Debate'


Romans 12: 17-18

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

In retrospect, the "Great Sanctification Debate" was anything but great.  Touted as some great schism among confessional Lutherans, it really amounted to two sides saying the same thing, and a case of theological nitpicking over terms; and depending on which term you held to ("progressive sanctification", "new obedience", etc)  you were either a pietist, Calvinist, an antinomian; or at worst, a 'follower of Gerhard Forde'.  After listening and reading to Pr.  Fisk, Cooper and others, I saw no signs of pietism, or antinomianism from either camp except a small minority.  What I did see was two sides talking past each other, and misrepresenting the other's position to the point of parody.  For the record, I agreed with everything Pr. Jonathan Fisk and Jordan Cooper had to offer in this debate, and I'm glad they were able to sort out their differences privately.  As for the rest of us involved in the scuffles,  this debate over sanctification does prove one thing, "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"; and that growth in the Christian life is oftentimes painfully slow.



  1. You're probably right. However, I do think there's a genuine problem to do with preaching, which is what this debate is really about. There is a whole host of Lutheran preaching that refuses to instruct the hearer, forcing every sermon text into a predetermined Law-Gospel straitjacket. I call it functional antinomianism.