“I Believe That Sin was God’s Idea”: Radical Lutheranism and the Nuking of Article I of the Creed

"Whoa, pretty! Look at how that 'deals with the problem'!"

“Whoa, pretty! Look at how that ‘deals with the problem’!”


Dr. Jack Kilcrease writes in response to the following question on Facebook:

Cooper and company seems (sic) all out to get Forde and Paulson. Wonder why.

Dr. Kilcrease:

I think it has to do with two things. First of all, the issues that Forde and Paulson grapple with are not things that seem to be problems for this group. They tend to like American/German 19th century text-book theology quite a bit.

I’ve never read any “American/German 19th century text-book theology”; I’m pretty sure that I read a lot of the same stuff that Dr. Kilcrease reads. Moving on…

They’re not very engaged in contemporary theology, which they largely regard as pointless.

…no, I don’t regard it as pointless. Guys? Rest of Cooper & Co.? Show of hands?

Here’s the denouement:

So, if Paulson and Forde are solving problems that you don’t have, because you’re not engaged in the same dialogues as them, then you probably wouldn’t appreciate them. I noticed a similar response to the American tour of Oswald Bayer among many clergymen. Secondly, I think they (much like others in our synod, whom I will not name) think that engagement with modern theologians like Forde is driving the synod into antinomianism and a kind of theological-liberalism. And as I’ve said in the past, I think that’s not really the case. But it is one response to institutional decline-something we are definitely experiencing at the moment.

So, what “problems” are Paulson and Forde “solving”? Well, those of their own creation, apparently. If the following doesn’t blow your mind, I’m not sure what will. Ironically enough, it’s Kilcrease’s own assessment:

One thing Phillips is correct about is that Paulson rather disturbingly rejects the idea of the Fall. Having had conversations about this [with him], I can say that his position is that God created the world through the brutality of biological evolution. And so death, violence, and strife are not the result of the Fall, but are built into creation. Of course so is sin. And so the hidden God then builds sin and death into creation, and then punishes us for sin. The revealed God in Christ then redeems us from sin and death. This is rather interesting because he is unwilling (as when I had him in class, I noticed again and again) to naturalize death and take away the connection with sin. Nevertheless, rejecting the Biblical and Creedal concept of creation, he has to suggest that God is in some sense the author of evil. This not only is a rejection of scriptural authority, but it comes very close to the Gnostic notion of the conflation of creation with the Fall. If people remember, this is something I warned might be an implicit problem with Forde (though, interestingly enough, Forde does in some sense uphold the idea of a historic Fall!).

First of all, ten out of ten points for honesty to Dr. Kilcrease.



Wake up, people! This is Manichaeism through and through, with a bouquet of Marcionism and a nose of the Flacian error (which looks mild by comparison). There you have it — Dr. Kilcrease’s own words! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Is this some minor thing that we should just overlook for the sake of “nuggets” that are baked into the BS? For the love of God, this makes hay out of the first article of the Creed! This is a doctrine of demons…and we want to sift it for gems?

“[I]f Paulson and Forde are solving problems that you don’t have, because you’re not engaged in the same dialogues as them, then you probably wouldn’t appreciate them.”

Nuking Article I of the Creed and then attempting to build mud-huts out of the scorched earth does not count as “solving problems.”

For the record, here’s Forde “upholding the idea of an historic fall,” as Dr. Kilcrease mentioned above:

Indeed, so seductive has the exiled soul myth been throughout history that the biblical story itself has been taken into captivity by it. The biblical story of the fall has tended to become a variation on the theme of the exiled soul. The unbiblical notion of a fall is already a clue to that. Adam, originally pure in soul, either by nature or by the added gift of grace was tempted by baser lusts and ‘fell,’ losing grace and drawing all his progeny with him into a “mass of perdition” (On Being a Theologian of the Cross, p. 6)

Rev. Dr. Phillips’s gloss is apposite:

The posse non peccare denied by Forde and Paulson isn’t just the version restored by the work of the Holy Spirit in the regenerate, but the original kind too. They don’t believe in the Fall. Adam and Eve’s sin was the first, but in a trivial way, because it was inevitable. Forde calls the Augustinian and Lutheran understanding of the Fall — you guessed it — “theology of glory.”

I guess the operative qualifier in Dr. Kilcrease’s description is “in a certain sense.” Right. Those “senses” — they sure do amazing things. In a “certain sense” I suppose Jesus wasn’t the Messiah.

No further comments. I should be able to rest my case, but for some reason, I don’t think I’ll be able to.




One Comment

  1. Kilcrease uses big words in order to mask the fact that he not only refuses to read and assess texts honestly, but he also attributes to texts motivations that are not necessarily the motivations of the author. Even more egregious, he does so in forums where those whom he is critiquing cannot defend themselves. He thrives on this. To say that “Rev. Cooper & Co” find contemporary theology pointless is, plainly put, wrong. I know for a fact that Rev. Cooper and many of the others who have been participating in this conversation have read their fair share of contemporary theology. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you don’t read it, or that you find it pointless.

    He is a dishonest scholar who lacks any care for Christian dialogue with his random slinging of insults and highfalutin language that only serves to make himself appear smarter than he actually is. Man up, Dr. Kilcrease, and have a real conversation in which you read a text and allow the author to help you interpret it. You don’t know better than the person who wrote it. How arrogant.

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