Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Quotable Sippo #12

I have an occasional feature called, "The Quotable Sippo." It's very simple, I just let Catholic apologist Art Sippo speak for himself. Recently, Dr. Sippo provided some of his insights, and well... let's just let the good doctor speak for himself.

I think Luther rejected good works because he did not believe in them. He was so depressed and introspective that he had difficulty in finding anything good in his motivation. I think he suffered from the typical scrupulosity problem. Unless he could find himself to be acting out of purely unselfish and disinterested motives, he thought that he was commiting a sin. This excessive pessimism is behind the Protestant idea of "Total Depravity".

Justification by faith alone (JBFA) was used by Luther as what psychiatrists call a catharsis. it is a strategy by which he was able to combat his depression and it kept him from committing suicide. (Read his autobiographical material and you will find this is literally true.)

If we obsessed about our motivations and kept worrying about whether or not we were acting with sufficient beneficence it would distract us from actually DOING good. Staupitz, Luther's confessor, told him to stop obsessing and just immerse himself in the work of his order. The idea was to ake his mind off himself and turn it outward towards doing good. Luther was far too self absorbed to do this and he wore himself out trying to excel at everything. This is what led him to postulate JBFA.

Based on this analysis, it is my opinion that the basis of Protestant theology is mental illness. You can imagine that this does not go over well with our sepbreth.[source]


Andrew said...

Yes, Dr. Sippo, sin really is THAT bad. Luther got it. Apparently you don't.

Viisaus said...

Or like John Bunyan put it in Pilgrim's Progress - "Christian" addressing Pelagian-minded "Ignorance":


"How! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not thy need of him!

Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see the necessity of Christ’s personal righteousness to justify thee before God."

zipper778 said...

I greatly disagree with Sippo. It is not mental illness that leads one to Protestantism, it is the Roman Catholic Church which leads to mental illness. That is of course, if you want to see someone who was one of the most devout Roman Catholics out there find Christ (Luther).

I would like to add, it is the RCC that promotes a self-centered view on life. An Evangelical recognizes that Christ has set him free of all of his sins and is now capable of preaching the Gospel to the whole world without fear of any kind.

Praise His Majesty!

Cameron said...

This excessive pessimism is behind the Protestant idea of "Total Depravity".

Rom 4:16 "Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace..."

The gospel is symultaneously the most pessimistic and optimistic worldview in existence. If it's not both, then it's not the gospel. JBFA is more optimistic than then Rome's gospel, so even if Luther was more depressed at first, he was more optimistic in the end. Take your pick.

Catholics aren't haunted by their sin, nor is anyone, who doesn't fully understand the holiness of God in the law of God, as Luther did. The one who's not haunted by their sin fails to grasp how holy God is and how unholy they are, thus are self-deluted. As the saying goes "ignorance is bliss", and a works righteousness system caters to that ignorant bliss.

Yet God's law shows that one infraction means eternal seperation from God, just like with Satan and Adam (Gal 3:10, Ja 2:10).

If Luther was phsycologicaly depressed it was simply because he was more honest about the holiness of God, and the severity of his sin than others. It's better to be honest and depressed, than happy believing a lie. The one who's honest actually has the chance of then being the most optimistic in Christ, while the other does not.