My Own Efforts to Understand and Contact Dr. Steve Paulson

07 Apr


So, some of you might be aware that I have had a recent change of perspective:

“A reminder to my Radical Lutheran friends.
We aren’t talking until you email Paulson.
Listen to @PeterJScaer:
“[Radical Lutheranism] propose[s] such an orthodox sounding heresy, tailored especially for Lutheran ears.”
Get to work.

Someone in a Lutheran Facebook group I am in though asked me why I was putting the onus on them to contact Dr. Steven Paulson about his statement that Christ committed sin. “SINCE YOU ARE THE ONE WITH THE BEEF, WHY HAVE YOU NOT SENT A PERSONAL APPEAL TO REV. PAULSON?

Well… this post is for people who are of that general opinion.

And folks, remember as you read these, that in our current academically respectable context, knowledge is only “knowledge”.

Thank you.


Oct 13, 2017:

Pastor Paulson,

…I posted something on the patheos site today that calls into question your theological approach. This is not the first time I have done it, but it is the first time I felt compelled to write to you, largely because I saw Jack Kilcrease provide your email address the other day on a public forum.

I figured that since I had the address now, and this was a rather serious piece, I would drop you a line.

Hello. May the Spirit of the living Christ dwell in you richly!

I trust you’ll understand my being hesitant to do so. In my experience, evil heresy hunters like myself don’t get much of a warm reception — even if things start with my personally contacting persons and sharing my concerns (even offering to buy lunch on one occasion!).

Anyhow, not to take up too much of your time. The piece is here, and I also hope to have something published in LOGIA soon countering [your student] Pastor [Nicholas] Hopman’s Lex Aeterna piece in [Lutheran Quarterly].*

Kind regards,



Oct. 20, 2017:

Dr. Paulson,

I have tried as best I can to discern what you are saying theologically, from your writings. Where might I be going wrong? I really do want to know, as I have no interest in misrepresenting you.:

Luther tells us that “the law’s proper effect…you always ought to remain in the chief (principal) definition of the law, that it works wrath and hatred and despair…”

According to Paulson, Jesus Himself felt this wrath: “[Jesus] felt God’s wrath and took that experience as something truer than God’s own word of promise to him” (Lutheran Theology, 105).

By its own standard, which cannot be violated (as a friend once told me “When the Law says ‘stone’ you stone!*), the law “justly” but falsely accuses Jesus of being a sinner.

Why? Is this perhaps where we say that the law, though good, is weak? It is “good” temporally, and has a practical function for the time being, but ultimately is a creation of this world that is passing away?

Is it because the Law, focused on externals, can’t distinguish between a cry of dereliction that dishonors God and one which, though without faith, was, given the circumstances, in some sense justified?

When Christ “irrationally comes to confess this crime so vehemently that he believes he has committed it— and as Luther famously said, “as you believe, so it is,” does God, seeing this occur, change His mind about sin?

Is this where the will of God accepts Christ’s lack of trust and cry of dereliction that results when Christ personally takes on the sin of the whole world? – i.e. this unbelief is somehow understandable?!

For Paulson then, does the law falsely accuse Jesus of sinning when, in fact, by God’s judgment (which makes it so!) “ontologically Christ didn’t sin” (not sure where this quote is from, but someone claimed it for Paulson)?

If so, the law of God here, on the other hand, does not accept this. Because, ultimately, the law of God is not the will of God – in the end it is distinct from, apart from, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“As long as God’s anger at sin, his law, is his righteousness, then his righteousness is in the process of destroying the whole cosmos” (Lutheran Theology, 41).

“[A]ll laws that regulate men’s actions must be subject to justice [Billicheit], their mistress, because of the innumerable and varied circumstances which no one can anticipate or set down.” (LW 46:103; WA 19:632)

When it comes to law, good decisions are made “as though there were no books.” “Such a free decision is given, however, by love and natural law, with which all reason is filled ; out of books come extravagant and untenable judgments” (LW 45:128 ; WA 11:279) – see

In the end then, Jesus did not just, as the Scriptures say, “Become sin” for us – He also became a Sinner according to God’s law, which now passes away…

E.g. “The law is eternally in the past for those who have been put to death in baptism; it is a memory. Their future is without any law, since a good heart does the works of the law—without any law at all— perfectly freely” (Lutheran Theology, 225).

My conclusion: Per Paulson, God’s will does not see Him as a sinner. The law falsely does. What happens here though? What is the inevitable result? Now is it harder for us to see Him as God to…. Or is that just our theology of glory talking, which can’t stomach weakness in God, who should be strong?

* “Here Paul’s point is exact: the law is no respecter of persons, it does not identify Christ among sinners as an exception to the rule. Law as “blind lady justice” executes its judgment regardless of race, color, creed—or divinity.”


Jan. 6, 2019:

Dr. Paulson,

Hello from [Infanttheology], one of the men in the LC-MS who has been a big critic of Gerhard Forde’s theology on the online world for the past seven or so years. You may have seen my recent article critical of Nicholas Hopman’s LQ article on the Antinomian Disputations in the new CTQ.

In any case, I truly hope this short note finds you well.

I wanted to let you know that even though I think your theology is wrong and harmful, I don’t have any ill will against you. If you are up in the Twin Cities area and can make a spare moment, I would be happy to meet up for lunch, and to take you out for lunch even (I recently asked an online acquaintance to consider passing on a similar message to Dr. Pless for me).

Even though many of my recent writings on social media have been very critical of Radical Lutheranism in general and your own work in particular, I do continue to read the work of Radical Lutherans regularly and try to take them very seriously, looking to understand your concerns and matters as you understand them as best I can.

This morning’s post is a true attempt to get a conversation going about your new book, particularly about the sections that I think get to the real heart of the matter (whether or not you would agree with that, I do not know, though I would like to know):

Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you have gotten this far. I hope that I might be blessed enough to have a productive conversation with you.

God’s richest blessings to you and yours,



Since many might be wondering about this, I published this piece on Jan. 9, 2019:

Dr. Paulson replied to me on Jan. 11, 2019.

Dr. Paulson,

Since you will in all likelihood be taking a look at this post, I will be happy to get your public clarification on your teaching that Christ committed sin in the comments below.

Or, alternatively, to have shared with everyone the response you gave me to that last email above.

Thank you.


*That is here:

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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Uncategorized


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