HERESY OF THE DAY.

I was looking for an entirely different word in the Shorter Oxford when I ran across the mysterious term “Osiandrian.” I don’t know why religious sects so often have such recondite-sounding names, but they do; in high school I was fascinated by the word “Muggletonian” (and still am, truth be told, though I have no idea what belief it was that Muggleton held so fervently), and I couldn’t resist this. I could quote you the Oxford‘s boring definition about the Atonement of Christ being wrought by His divine nature, but instead I will serve up this pungent piece of rhetoric from “The Osiandrian Controversy” at the fundamentalist-Lutheran site Concordia Lutheran Online:

Wherever the vicarious atonement of Christ is denied or minimized as the cause of man’s justification; wherever God’s forensic act of Objective Justification is rejected; wherever the “Christ in us” is substituted for (or stressed above) the “Christ FOR us”; wherever Christians are taught to place their confidence and look for the assurance of forgiveness in their “personal experience with Jesus Christ” and their mystical relationship with the indwelling Savior; and wherever poor sinners are directed to their own works of sanctification for favor with God, as if they in any way merit His goodness—there the error of Osiander still lurks in the bushes.

Addendum. Pete, of the excellent New Companion, provides this touching testimonial:

I do believe in God alone,
Likewise in Reeve and Muggleton.
This is the Muggletonian’s faith,
This is the God which we believe;
None salvation-knowledge hath,
But those of Muggleton and Reeve.
Christ is the Muggletonians’ king,
With whom eternally they’ll sing.

Comments

  1. Eeeeeeek! These people seem even more conservative than my church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Makes me glad I’m converting to the ELCA

    Incidentally, how many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: Change? Huh?

  2. Hahahahaha! I too was raised Missouri Synod, so nobody likes a good Lutheran joke (or heresy) better than I. (Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy finding a Lutheran church in places like Tokyo and Bangkok in the ’50s and early ’60s; sometimes we had to make do with less godly denominations — the folks back in Iowa would have shaken their heads and muttered the ultimate Midwestern imprecation: “My, that’s… unusual!”)

  3. Lodowick Muggleton: Lytton Strachey wrote a beautiful little essay on Muggleton–it’s a gem. It’s been reprinted in his “Biographical Essays,” which I think is still in print.

    I do believe in God alone,
    Likewise in Reeve and Muggleton.

    This is the Muggletonian’s faith,
    This is the God which we believe;
    None salvation-knowledge hath,
    But those of Muggleton and Reeve.
    Christ is the Muggletonains’ king,
    With whom eternally they’ll sing.

  4. Pete: That’s (sob) beautiful — I’m going to post it as an addendum, and perhaps it will bring people to the True Faith of Muggleton. Thanks for that, and for giving me the chance to get acquainted with The New Companion!

  5. Thank you! I should have attributed the poem (I think it’s a Muggletonian hymn). Strachey quotes it at the end of his essay.

    Apparently, the Muggletonians held out for over 300 years–the “last Muggletonian” died in 1979 in Kent.

    Here’s an interesting page on them. It says that Muggleton “engaged in a furious polemic” with the Quakers, which is mind-blowing in itself.

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