Monday, November 06, 2006

simul justus et peccator

Pontifications has posted a longish piece by Von Balthasar on Catholic responce/interpretation/clarifiction of the Lutheran formula simul justus et peccator (at once justified and sinner, or both justified and sinner). I commend reading of it because it is always good to hear what von Balthasar has to say. But I am also linking to it because as I read it, I found nothing in it that I as Lutheran Pietist would object to. Not only that but (technical and theological language asside) everything he said I was taught growing up in the Covenant Church. Thus it seems like something a Lutheran Pietist would say in interpreting this formula.
But I wonder if I am correct in this sense. Did I pick some of these things up elsewhere and simply mold them into the faith I was being raised in? So, I would like to know what some other Covenanter's think of von Balthasar's quote, Pastor Gaving what a try at it? would your Covenant parishoner's basicaly share von Balthasar's view or would they more share his understanding of the deficient Lutheran understanding of this formula?
Also, other protestants, what do you think of von Balthasar's exposition? Is it really far from your sense of protestant understanding of these issues? Also, it might be interesting for some Orthodox to jump in here as well, since this doesn't to my mind seem that far from understanding of theosis . Am I just conflating things here?
This passage intreagues me because my reading of it is exemplary of my experience of reading most great Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians: I read and I think wow that is a very good exposition of my faith. It's a puzzle to me because I see my faith as being Lutheran Pietist, and yet it seems to me that in being such I am firmly within the tradition of the Church, yet divided from it.
But also, I see von Balthasar's sense of the Lutheran position as somewhat of a charicature, at least from how I perceive and interpret Luther and Lutheranism. Or perhaps more to the point as a Lutheran Pietist I see von Balthasar's view of Lutheranism as a distorted form of Lutheran theology, of those hyper orthodox Lutherans who betrayed the reformation (Yes that is perhaps a bit strong but it is pretty much how my forebears saw it, we were the "true' Lutheran's).
Any takers on any aspec of this.