The Canons Of Dork #18 For July 1, 2023


Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027

The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!

Posted by Sarah Perkins | Saturday, July 1, 2023 | Categorized The Canons of Dork | Tagged , , Bookmark the permalink.

About Sarah Perkins

Sarah Perkins (MSc Business and Management, University of Essex; BA Art, University of Montevallo) is a pastor’s wife, married to Harrison, and artist based out of Michigan. She recently changed from full-time work in education management to being a full-time mom to their son Scott. She is the artist behind Illustrated Theology, also doing all the art for The New Geneva, and enjoys reading, travelling, and remembering and reciting useless trivia.


  1. What would that Lutheran Clergyman have made of Calvin having referred to himself as a Lutheran (which I am told he did)?

    • Conversely, it’s the Lutherans (the “confessional” ones anyway; the mainline ones fall into the category that Machen called “a different religion”) who, because of their view of baptism and communion could be rightly accused of being “not quite Protestant.” Nevertheless, whenever there’s a chance meeting between the two they’re quick to accuse the Reformed as “predestinarians” even though the epistles clearly talk about it.

    • RSC – yeah, I know it. And I have that book on the shelf in my office. But from I’ve read, it seems that Luther is lambasting Desiderius Erasmus (Roterodamus) primarily for his view of a “free will” approach to salvation, i.e, each person is endowed with a sprinkling of “free grace” that gives him/her the ability to “accept” Christ as savior vs. a will in bondage by original sin and incapable of inviting the influence of the Holy Spirit to believe. Therefore, the Lutheran pastor in that cartoon should be very accepting of that Reformed couple (and their carrying of Luther’s book) instead of a shocked look. But who knows what anymore…

      • George,

        I’ve read it very closely and so did Theodore Beza et al. That’s not what Luther was saying. Yes, he was replying to Erasmus but in so doing he taught a high, Augustinian view of predestination. At Montbeilard, in 1580, at a colloquy with the Lutherans, Beza et al, when they came to this topic, Beza stood up, held up his copy of Bondage and said, “We stand with Luther.” The Lutherans replied: “Next topic please.”

        Don’t read the Book of Concord back into Luther c. 1525.

    • Got it. Thank you, RSC. Seems like there was a tendency of Luther’s successors (except for Melanchthon) to move more toward the tradition of the medieval church than what Luther himself taught/believed. Unfortunate, but the way things developed.

      • That a popular story about Philipp. Luther never noticed it how, which caused me to wonder about that narrative. So, I read the later editions of Philipp’s Common Places I don’t see where he abandoned predestination. He moved it to the back of the book as an explanation for why things happen as they do but he didn’t abandon it. The case for his alleged shift rests on some fairly thin evidence, e.g., a letter and a passing comment in a commentary on Colossians.

  2. Thank you Dr Clark – I had not heard of “Subtle Sacramentarianism” before.
    What was the background to your episcopal-presbyterian cartoon (I am only aware that in Scripture, whilst the terms Episkopos and Presbuteros don’t have the same meaning, they generally end up denoting the same people)?

    • Growing up in the LCMS, the pastor of our church taught a course in church history. He denied that Lutherans were Protestants. I was just an ignorant teenager at the time and don’t remember anything else from that course, but I still remember thinking how odd that seemed.

      Later, I started my own journey to discover where all the other denominations came from. When I began to discover reformed theology, the pastor gave me a book, if I remember correctly, called Religious Bodies of America, published by Concordia. In it, the Lutheran author lumped in the Arminian groups under the category of Reformed.

      • The Lutherans are typically, with a few notable exceptions, very ill-informed about Reformed history, theology, piety, and practice. As to why this is, especially among the LCMS, I tried to explain in an academic (and thus difficult to obtain) essay:

        “Calvin as Negative Boundary Marker in American Lutheran Self-Identity 1871–1934” in Johan de Niet, Herman Paul, and Bart Wallet, ed., Sober, Strict, and Scriptural: Collective Memories of John Calvin, 1800–2000 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 245–66.

    • Yes, indeed! In fact, I have another book on my office shelf by Robert Koester, entitled “Law & Gospel: Foundation of Lutheran Ministry,” Northwestern Publishing House (an ELS synod) in which he constantly lumps the Reformed in with the Evangelicals under the label of “Reformed/Evangelical” throughout his book as though they are one and the same. He clearly doesn’t get it.

Comments are closed.