Monday, July 3, 2017

Grow up. . .

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has a new book out called "The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis — and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance."   For Sen. Sasse, emotional and intellectual maturity is essential for the future of our nation and our culture. He describes an American crisis of loneliness and disconnection and self-absorption.  He challenges parents to stop the cycle of coddling our kids, keeping them from hard work, and giving them a false self-esteem.  He calls upon parents to take back responsibility for their children's upbringing from schools who have taken over too many responsibilities from the family -- especially the forming of values.  He urges parents to help their children to resist consumerism.  He is also a tireless champion of reading.

His book echos the calls of many who condemn the celebration of adolescence that is rampant in our culture and encourage a return to adulthood.  The mark of adulthood is not self-centered living but the opposite -- a life lived for others, a  life of hard work willingly done, and a life shaped by responsibility and accountability.  What is seldom mentioned in reports about Sen. Sasse is that he was raised a Lutheran, was president of a Lutheran college, and speaks of the very large part faith plays in his and his family's life.   Why it seems like a very good advertisement for the good old Lutheran doctrine of vocation!



20 comments:

Carl Vehse said...

According to a Cranach article, "Ben Sasse is a “Lutero-Calvinist” [actually Lufauxo-Calvinist], Ben Sasse is a member of a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) congregation, Grace Church in Fremont, Neb.

Sasse talks about his Reformed theology in the World Magazine article, "Ben Sasse: A Reformed reformer":

"In college I was very involved in evangelical and parachurch groups—Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade (my wife is a former Cru staffer). Although I grew up in the Lutheran tradition and was very involved in FCA in high school, I didn’t have a lot of clarity about the differentiation of theological views inside Protestantism. In college I became a part of evangelistic groups that were very action-oriented and not always very theologically reflective. There were things that I couldn’t make sense of about the connection between faith and practice. So I started reading theology on purpose to make sense of things I was wrestling with and to try to understand the text better. I started reading a lot of Luther and read some B.B. Warfield. Bob Godfrey (president of Westminster Seminary California), Mike Horton (White Horse Inn media and Modern Reformation magazine), and R.C. Sproul were all really influential in my college clarification of being Calvinistic, Reformed.

"It changed my mind. Sproul’s Chosen by God and The Holiness of God were really, really significant. Isaiah 6 is a lead-in passage of The Holiness of God. It scared the heck out of me.

"I was president of Midland University, a Lutheran college. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Luther and the just war tradition. My master’s thesis is on Calvin and the third use of the law. The most important use of the law is the condemnatory use that drives us to Christ. This is the 'first use'—the way the law condemns us, driving us to conversion. The 'second use' is the ceremonial or civil use for Old Testament Israel. The 'third use' is how the law is used in sanctification—as a guide to righteousness."

So much for Ben Sasse's confirmation vows, when he answered "I do" to the question, “Do you hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God and confess the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from them, as you have learned to know it from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true?”

And his answer, "I do so intend, with the help of God" to the question, "Do you also, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?"

David Gray said...

You really aren't very good with vows. He likely did intend that. If he feels he is now being more faithful to God and His Word then that is the right motive, even if not the right conclusion.

Carl Vehse said...

The meaning of a vow is clear; so is the meaning of "feelings." It's too bad that there is confusion between what one promises and what one feels. Or maybe it is treated as a case of expediency. But others notice.

"[T]he Nebraska freshman found himself rebuked Saturday by party loyalists upset at his call for a third candidate to arise and give conservatives such as himself an alternative to Donald Trump in the fall election." - Excerpted from a May 16, 2016, Omaha World-Herald article, "Delegates at Nebraska GOP convention smack down Ben Sasse's call for third-party candidate."

"It was a lopsided vote. The 'ayes' in the room of more than 400 had an audible win. Only about six or eight yelled 'nay'," according to Robynn Tysver, staff writer for the Omaha World-Herald.

David Gray said...

>>>And his answer, "I do so intend, with the help of God" to the question, "Do you also, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?"

Your own quote damns your attempt to impugn him.

All that vow addresses was his current state as a confirmand. It was not a vow to never change his mind about which Christian confession was the most faithful to God's Word.

Carl Vehse said...

Sasse admitted his "intend to" was essentially meaningless when he noted, "Although I grew up in the Lutheran tradition and was very involved in FCA in high school, I didn’t have a lot of clarity about the differentiation of theological views inside Protestantism."

Of course that might also say something about the catechesis he was given by his pastor, and what he was taught about his confirmation vows.

David Gray said...

No, that does not mean his "intend to" was essentially "meaningless." It certainly could speak to the quality of his catechesis. My son certainly had a pretty good idea of Lutheran distinctives when he was confirmed at age 11. It has nothing to do with the vows.

Carl Vehse said...

The essential meaninglessness of Sasse's "intend to" was demonstrated by his admission of his lack of clarity about Lutheranism, although he had not suffered all even death, including when in college, where he got his "clarification" in becoming a Calvinist. Sasse's description of his path to Calvinism includes absolutely no evidence of any "intend to" on his part.

David Gray said...

So your position is that Sasse should have, as an 11-13 year old child, reprimanded his pastor when asked that question and told him that he, Sasse, had not been sufficiently educated on the Lutheran distinctives?

Carl Vehse said...

No. That is your imagination.

David Gray said...

That means your critique of Sasse's actions as a child is frivolous.

Carl Vehse said...

Again, that is just your imagination.

Carl Vehse said...

Given Sasse's transformation to Calvinism, there's a load of irony in the article's statements:

"What is seldom mentioned in reports about Sen. Sasse is that he was raised a Lutheran, was president of a Lutheran college... Why it seems like a very good advertisement for the good old Lutheran doctrine of vocation!"

Carl Vehse said...

The irony is reinforced with this excerpt from a May 7, 2017, Pastoral Meandering article, "Properly catechized. . .":

"All our attempts to dumb down the things of church and school have not helped one bit to keep them in the faith or give them a solid education. They rise to the expectation we set for them. If we expect little, they will gain little. If we expect much AND give them real tools to learn through good catechesis, we will not lose so many of them as they move into young adulthood. Are we really losing kids who were properly catechized or is it more true to say we never had them, never gave them a chance, and squandered the opportunity their youthful interest and attention offered?"

David Gray said...

Lots of Calvinists are fans of Luther's doctrine of vocation.

Carl Vehse said...

From a June 3, 2016, Pastoral Meandering article, "Thoughts on the Catechism. . .":

"At one time the bulk of the catechesis was done at home and the role of the pastor and parish was to examine the catechuman and judge the faithful work of father and mother in fulfilling the most basic parental responsibility of teaching the faith to their children. That is not ordinarily the case today. Today it is more common for pastor (or other catechetical instructor) to find that the student has little awareness of and familiarity with Luther's Small Catechism (much less any other Lutheran confessional document)....

"In effect, there are Lutheran pastors and Lutheran parishes in which the Catechism is affirmed in theory but absent from the practice of catechesis for either children or adults. The faith is taught but the Catechism is seen as merely one of many possible tools to accomplish the larger purpose. This has caused great harm to the faith and to the unity of the faith within Lutheran denominations such as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod."

Carl Vehse said...

And from an August 24, 2010, Pastoral Meandering article, "How Sad to Find It There":

"Statistics tell us that many children are lost to the Lutheran Church from the font to the catechism and many more following Confirmation. I know that. It still makes me sad. I am filled with the disappointment of so many who could have, would have, should have persevered but did not."

Anonymous said...

Good grief. The man has changed his mind, forsaken his vows. Has he fallen from Grace? It is his unfortunate choice to leave Lutheranism, but do we know the church congregation he exited was traditional, or Liturgical, or "lufauxran?" I am not saying Calvinism is right, but you make it sound more like converting from Islam to Christianity than making a poor theological choice from orthodoxy to heterodoxy.

Carl Vehse said...

Good grief, Anony. You're the one spouting "fallen from Grace" and "converting from Islam to Christianity." No one's comments on this blog sound like that.

As for leaving an Lutheran church, according to Sasse's November 1, 2007, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Statement of Information, Sasse left the Lutheran church at the end of college in 1994 and has been a Presbyterian since then.

If, while in college, Sasse attended any LCMS Lutheran church, which he then left upon graduating, it likely was First Lutheran Church in Boston. Rev. Walter H. Reuning was pastor there until he retired in 1997, when Rev. Ingo Dutzmann became pastor.

However, last year, Gene Veith stated that Sasse and his wife worshipped at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), Alexandria, when Sasse was Counsellor to the HHS Secretary in DC. Veith stated, "I would visit with him after services, and he went on about how he loved the congregation and Pastor [Christopher] Esget."

There have been some other claims on Cranach about Sasse and his objections to Lutheranism while at Immanuel.

Anonymous said...

Herein lies the problem with blogs. I am sorry I came off as snarky. I was asking the things as questions, not intending sarcasm. I am not as well read ad you, and thank you for pointing me to some other sites where I can become better informed. Sorry, and thank you.

John J. Flanagan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.