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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« Play Ball! | Main | The Canons of Dort, Third/Fourth Head of Doctrine, Article Thirteen »

A Riddleblog Update

Time for a brief update . . . Its been a while.

* I'll be cutting back on posts this next week as I've got three sermons to prepare for Easter.

* Thanks to those of you who send me links to stuff to post.  Keep it up!  I truly appreciate it, and while I may not use them all, I do look at them.

* In addition to my pastoral duties, I've been teaching a course at Westminster Seminary California this semester (Doctrine of Christ). I'm pinch-hitting for Dr. David VanDrunen who is away on sabbatical.  Needless to say, I've been very busy and therefore a bit tardy in posting original material and answering email.  But I've got a good excuse.

* I was asked to give the commencement address at Westminster Seminary California's graduation this year (May 30--for more info, click here: Click here: Westminster Seminary California currentstudents.  I'm truly honored to speak at my beloved alma mater on such a wonderful occasion.

*  We have a number of White Horse Inn tapings scheduled between now and summer break.  Please pray for everyone's health (some of the guys have some nagging stuff) and for the upcoming programs.

* In light of my current workload, please know that if you send me a question, I'll get to it when I can.  Please be patient.  If your question is one which can be answered by your pastor, please ask him.

* Several of you asked about the lack of recent video updates. I'm painting/remodeling my study (as I can), and then had a water pipe break in the attic behind my bookcases--making a huge mess.  So, when my study is ready for public display, I'll post regular video updates again.

* Several of you have asked me about upcoming publishing projects. I've been asked to write again for Tabletalk (2010). I'm working on an essay for a upcoming Academic volume (the topic of which is a secret!), but you'll find out soon enough. I'm also pretty far along on a manuscript tentatively entitled The Christian Citizen (dealing with the two kingdoms and our responsibilities as Christians to each kingdom). My goal is to make significant progress on this during my summer reading month. I'll also start shopping my material on the Canons of Dort to various publishers (this is the stuff I've been posting on the blog as a series).

* That's probably a lot more than you wanted to know . . .  But there it is! I do hope that you all have a blessed Easter.

He is risen!  Indeed!

Reader Comments (26)

I was just complaining yesterday about my busy life and numerous responsibilities. I think I'll stop now!

You are in my prayers, in particular for your duties as a minister of God's Word. I enjoy and am edified in listening to your sermons online, as well as the Academy presentations.

Many blessings.

Matt Holst
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatt
Thanks for all you do. I listen to the WHI, the Academy and read Tabletalk as well as the Riddleblog posts. All good stuff.
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris M.
I can't wait to see how you approach and write the book The Christian Citizen. I still have a lot of confusion and questions in regards to our responsibilities in each of the two kingdoms. That certainly is a timely topic for the issues confronting us today.

Approaching and relating with those in the left hand kingdom needs to be done with a proper and appropriate posture. We often are lacking in this regard and often come across as combative instead of winsome and gracious. A lot of it may be due to confusion of what our role is in this land in which we are merely pilgrims in search of the enduring kingdom. I know that I have certainly made a lot of mistakes in how I deal with others who do not share our beliefs. I hope the book is as good as some of the other projects you have set your mind to do in the past. Looking forward to its release.
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y
John Y -

Yes, you've taken the words right out of my mouth, John! I, too, am a bit confused about this topic and look forward to Dr. Kim's publication. In the meanwhile, you might consider buying a copy of Scott Clark's latest publication, "Recovering the Reformed Confessions," and reading it. Although, as yourself, not Presbyterian/Reformed by tradition, I do appreciate the things people like Dr. Scott present from a theological/historical perspective about some of the directions the "descendants" of Calvin's reformation effort have taken.

Although we Lutherans may differ a bit on some issues with Reformed, the firm, concrete foundation of sola gratia, sola fide, solo Christo (we might replace the later with "sola scriptura") is definitely there.
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
All good stuff you are doing Pastor Kim. We are looking forward to the Canons of Dort!! Been waiting on that one:) Have a blessed Easter and just know we do hold you up in prayer daily. We appreciate your work and you.
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterplw
The Lutheran and the Reformed traditions are a couple of the very few traditions left that have the doctrine of justification.

Much of evangelicalism today is semi-Pelagian -- like the Roman Catholic church, which they hate so much!
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd
I really liked the Case of Amillenianism and the Man of Sin. The topic of the two kingdoms has been the subject of much of my reading lately, including DA Carsons' book Chist and Culture Revisited, Boice's book on the Two Cities and a number of other titles and yet I feel as confused as ever in trying to figure out how my faith intersects my life as citizen of this country-so given the clarity with which your books generally address complex issues I am really looking forward to your new book project.When is your tentative publication date?
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterreg
Congratulations on being chosen to give the commencement speech!
I'm sorry about the study! That blasted water pipe - the gift that keeps on giving....
April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhb
Pitch-hitting? Is that Yankee talk or just a bad baseball analogy? =) I've heard of "pinch-hitting" before but not that. GO RED SOX!!!
April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry (Boston)
Dr. Riddlebarger,

Is there any chance that your edited version of your dissertation will be published as a book? I think it should be and would love to advocate on it's behalf with any publisher considering it. I know it's available on the website but I would love to see if made available for wider audiences in published hard copy.

I've just read B.B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thought ed. by Gary Johnson and enjoyed it a great deal. Steven Nichols references your dissertation in his essay as does Gary Johnson in his, calling it "among the best" of the dissertations he has read on Warfield.

I and many of your regulars would love to see it published in book form and would gladly buy it.

Thanks for your faithful service to the body of Christ.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Denning

I have read Scott Clark's Recovering the Reformed Confessions and learned a lot from it. I thought the section on Edwards and the still lingering idea that revivalism and confessionalism can be merged somehow was persuasively discared by Clark. The movements are really antithetical to each other. He shows that there were not only problems in the Second Great Awakening but in the First Great Awakening also. Basically what the American Church needs is a modern day reformation not a revival of anything that can be built on in its past. The Amercan Church needs a reform not a revival- just like the Catholic Church did in Luthers and Calvins time. The theological foundations of the Church in America need to be torn up and replaced. This, it seems to me, is what we are fighting for.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y
This is why I think comparing the confessions of Lutherans and Calvinists of all stripes is so important now. There are some differences that need to be resolved. It gets pretty complicated trying to figure out how Lutherans and Calvinists came to the differing conclusions they did. A lot of it seems to stem from philosophical differences in how they think. Calvinists call Lutherans nominalists and Lutherans call Calvinists realists. This leads to problems in Chistology, differing ideas of the sacraments which can then lead to problems in views of the atonement and what actually took place at the cross. It gets pretty weighty intellectually and the root of the problem,s it seems to me, have never really been resolved. Van Til also inserted his troubles with Lutherans by calling them synergists. How he came to that conclusion is a mystery to me. I have also heard Lutherans accuse Calvinists of a practical synergism in regards to their idea of the perseverance of the saints. It is more confusing than the two-kingdom theology issue which also seems to be a critcal issue for today.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y

You state, "This is why I think comparing the confessions of the Lutherans and Calvinist's of all stripes is so important now. There are some differences that need to be resolved."

From a Lutheran perspective, there are no issues remaining to be resolved. If you compare the confessions of the two traditions side by side, the Lutheran view of the sacraments and all matters of doctrine, are much more in line with what the scriptures teach.

The question is, and always will be, not so much what the Lutherans and the Reformed teach, but, what do the scriptures teach.

If you go to the scriptures with an analogy of faith, that the Bible is true in everything that it claims -- you have to come away a Lutheran.

Luther loved St. Augustine. Lutherans consider St. Augustine the greatest theologian between the time of St. Paul and Luther. But, where Luther would differ with St. Augustine, was when St. Augustine would base his opinions on man's logic, rather than on what the scriptures teach.

This is something that we all need to do. Our traditions must conform to "Sola Scriptura." Luther did not, nor would he have it any other way.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd

How do you get around the accusation that what you are saying is biblicism? Luther, during the reformation , not only appealed to scripture but also looked to the Church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, St. Bonaventure and Hugo to back his understanding of original sin, the image of God in man and what happened to man when he fell into sin (read Melanchthon's defense of the Augusburg confession Article II on original sin). Not only did Calvin conjecture about philosophy but Luther did this also in coming to some conclusions regarding doctrine. Both camps accuse each other of using certain philosophies to come to some conclusions about the sacraments too. Lutheran's claim to be more biblical but Calvinists also point that Luther often appealed to philosophy too.

Luthers philosophy of the Hidden and Revealed will of God could also be traced to some ideas of Ockham which is where the accusation of Nominalism comes into play. This gets to be quite involved and complex and I may be treading on the ground of searching for Illigtimate religious certainlty which we really cannot get to in this life. Is it better to just try to smooth over the differences between Calvinists and Lutherans because we really are in agreement regarding justification by faith alone? Imputation being the key subdoctrine regarding our justification. This idea of imputation is becoming a key point of controversy in some theological circles again today.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y
John Y:

Luther says, "No clearer book has been written on earth than the Holy Scriptures. If faith only hears Scripture, it is clear and plain enough to enable it to say WITHOUT THE COMMENTS OF ALL FATHERS AND TEACHERS: That is right. I, too, believe it."

Luther says thus, "For Scripture alone is the true lord and master of all writing and teaching on earth. If this is not to be, of what use is Scripture to us? Then we had better reject it and be satisfied with MEN'S BOOKS AND HUMAN TEACHERS."

More by Luther on "Sola Scriptura." "Who is the final judge when statements of the FATHERS CONTRADICT THEMSELVES? In this event the judgment of Scripture must decide the issue, which cannot be done if we do not give Scripture the first place. All human words are conclusions drawn from them and must be brought back to them and approved by them."

Want more Luther on "Sola Scriptura"? "We should rather allow Scripture to rule and master us, and we ourselves should not be the master, according to our own mad heads, setting ourselves above Scripture."

How about man's logic over the Scriptures? Listen to Luther here, he says, "These are statements of the Holy Spirit, taken from Moses, "God said, Let there be light" No human intellect or wisdom is able to grasp them, however high it may be. Therefore we should not consult reason in this matter but should give the Holy Spirit the honor that what He says is the divine truth, We should believe His words, meanwhile blinding, nay, gouging out, the eyes of reason. I shall and must be convinced by Scripture, not by the unreliable life and teachings of men, no matter how holy they may be."

Of course, Luther, like all of us, might have been persuaded by certain teachers and scholars, but he always went to the Scriptures as the final court of arbitration.

What made Luther the most unique of all of the great theologians, was that he used the Scriptures more than any of the others. And, when man's logic would form a system of beliefs that were contrary to the Bible, he always revered and esteemed the Bible above all.

Luthers writings, and the Book of Concord (the Lutheran confessions), also share in this zeal for the truth of the Holy Scriptures.
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd

You reallly did not answer my questions regarding how the Lutheran confessions came to conclusions on original sin, the image of God in man, and what happened to man's intellect and will when he fell into sin. What was man's original righteousness compared to his state after the fall.? The scriptures do not say a lot about this and both Luther and Calvin drew alot from the Church fathers, and other various theologians and philosophers from antiquity and even some contemporaries. I know Luther's and Calvin's postition on Sola Scriptura- they really are not different. Even though Calvin is accused by Lutherans of using reason to come to some conclusions regarding doctrine the Lutherans did this too. That is a historical fact which cannot be denied. Ask Scott Clark this question and see what he says. I am sure Kim Riddlebarger would tell you the same thing.

Lutherans claim to be more faithful to Sola Scriptura but the historical reality is that they used philosophy and other theologians just as much as the Calvinists did. When the scriptures are clear about certain aspects of doctrine then we can be certain but when there is some question and scripture is not clear then both Calvin and Luther appealed to other authorities to try to determine what the scriptures were saying.

Did you read the section on original sin in the Augsburg confession- the 6 page defense by Melanchthon? He appeals to the Church fathers and others to reach his doctrinal positions on the matter. Luther considered all of Melanchthons writings in the Book of Concord as authoritative when Luther was alive.
April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y
John Y:

Sorry, I am at work, so I will be unable to take the time to do the research for the questions that you have.

Lutherans always, always, always, always say that where the Scriptures are silent, we MUST REMAIN SILENT AND NOT SPECULATE AND GET INTO AREAS THAT ARE NOT CLEAR IN THE SCRIPTURES.

All of the solid pastors in the WELS, ELS and the LCMS will tell you the very same thing.

I read the Bible every day, for about 30 minutes. I will also study the writings of Luther every day for about 30 minutes. Luther did draw on some of the church fathers, but when in doubt, he stuck with the Scriptures, or if unclear, he was silent. (As we must do!)

These are questions that you have, so please take the time to research them. Your questions are all in the Word of God, and defined in the Lutheran confessions. There are no short cuts.

Some of your questions can be answered in WELS.NET

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd

One last thing:

I have never been the type to run up to my pastor and to ask a bunch of questions.

I take classes, a lot of notes, and do a lot of research on my own. There are no short cuts.
April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd
Luther also drew a lot from philosophy when coming to his conclusions about the two natures of Christ and what this meant. It was this which was the basis for their conclusions about the Lord's Supper. Luther claims that he was appealing to scripture alone when he went ballistic at Marburg or whatever city that was. However, he had searched philosophically also among the nominalists Ockam and Biel. Calvinists will always bring this into the debate. Lutherans accuse Calvinists of being Nestorians ( in regards the two natures of Christ) whereas Calvinists accuse Lutherans of being Monophysites. I am not trying to be contentious I am just trying to come to the truth of the matter. I still believe in the Lutheran confessions and adhere to Sola Scriptura. I am just trying to understand how both sides came to their doctrinal conclusions and why they differed when they both appeal to Sola Scriptura. Both sides misrepresented each others positions on occasion and it cannot be doubted that both sides brought some philosophy into the discussion. Both would claim that the scriptures are the final authority when clear. Calvisist claim that Luther brought some philosophy into the debates but Luther always claimed he did not and only relied on what the scriptures said- otherwise he was silent. This was not always the case though according to some Calvinists even though Luther vehemently denied it.
April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel

I read a lot too and I never run to my pastor to ask him questions. I do ask questions on the internet however because we have access now to some really good theologians. I do not bother them for answers if they choose not to respond. I like the dialog format you can have with others on the internet. I do my homework (in regards to confessions, major theologians and my own scripture reading) and read everyday too. I know there are no shortcuts to the truth. You can get information from other perspectives more quickly on the internet so why not take advantage of it if others are willing to respond. Sometimes you get accurate answers and a lot of time you do not. You can also get to primary sources quicker by asking questions on the internet.
April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Y

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