22 March 2014

What We All Naturally Believe

In 1526 Jacob Hochstraten scoffed at Luther's teaching on the "wondrous exchange" in which Christ clothes sinners in his own righteousness as they are united to him. Referring to the emerging Protestant teaching on justification, Hochstraten wrote:
What else do those who boast of such a base spectacle do than make the soul a prostitute and an adulteress, who knowingly and wittingly connives to deceive her husband [Christ] and, daily committing fornication upon fornication and adultery upon adultery, makes the most chaste of men a pimp?

As if Christ does not take the trouble to choose a pure and honorable lover! As if Christ requires from her only belief and trust and has no interest in her righteousness and the other virtues! As if a certain mingling of righteousness with iniquity were possible!
--quoted in Robert Kolb and Charles P. Arand, The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church (Baker, 2008), 47

This quote represents the mindset of the flesh, a theology of glory, our settled intuition about how the world operates. It is what we all naturally, virulently, believe. The great, confounding inversion must settle in.

With this quote Hochstraten separates himself from Christianity and essentially lumps himself in with all other religions, every one of which is, at core, salvation by works. Though using the language of the Bible, this quote is closer to Islam than Christianity.

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. Luke 5:13

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!