Monday, October 11, 2010

Justification - The discussion continues

As you can see in the comments on the "Law and Gospel" post, the discussion on Justification continues, and we haven’t "shut down" anything. There has been much confusion and many rumors over my attempt to end that discussion thread. I would like to clarify a few things for our readers about this and explain to you the reasons for trying to move on from this discussion.

Not threats from above – No one has threatened us at IL or ordered us to end this discussion. Yes, there are a few leaders (not all!) who want us to shut down the blog, not over the discussion on Justification, but because they don’t think we’re respecting the Eighth Commandment in general, and because they think we’re giving our synod itself a bad reputation. Obviously, we disagree with them. It is our understanding that we will come up on the agenda of the next COP meeting. We’ll see what comes of that.

Time! – The truth is that I am especially short on time to carry on a discussion of this magnitude. I knew as of last week that I would have little time to consider comments and contribute to this discussion until after the Festival of the Reformation. Local duties call. It’s not that I’m the only Intrepid Lutheran who can comment, but the fact is, we all have other responsibilities to attend to in addition to the blog, and these next few weeks are especially busy.

An issue of substance – As I commented previously, getting at the heart of the discussion on Justification that has been raging in the blogosphere for months and years will require more than a dialogue carried on in the “comments.” A serious and honest exegesis is required of several key Bible passages. I personally need to dig deeper into the Scriptures, the Confessions and other confessional writings to hone my understanding and manner of speaking. Not all who speak about "UOJ" have represented it correctly. Misconceptions already abound in this discussion, and people are talking past one another. If we are to carry on this discussion on IL, we will need to do so over time, not as a continuous barrage of comments.

And honestly, we at IL do not believe that every problem in the WELS stems from its teaching on Justification, as some claim. Are there some who are confused about the right and the wrong way to speak of Justification? I suppose there are, but we do not believe that the synod has fallen into apostasy. There are other issues that we feel need addressing.

Avoiding confusion – A danger that weighs heavily on my mind is that an argument over the details of the article of Justification will be used by the Evil One to plant confusion or doubt in the minds of some readers regarding their own justification before God, especially since we do not have the time at the moment to conduct an exhaustive study on the blog and there may be some comments made or questions raised that are not in line with sound doctrine. Such is the nature of a discussion, much like a Bible class forum. But if we don’t have the time to address this matter fully, then some of those comments may be left hanging, and the last thing we want is for doubt to result.

Unfair discussion – Another concern of mine is that this discussion won’t really be fair. We treat people with respect on this blog. We don’t allow ad hominem attacks. I do thank the commenters, who for the most part have stuck to the issue at hand, but we have also had to reject comments from all sides that resorted to personal attacks.

But regardless of what comments we post here, commenters are exposing themselves to possible personal attacks elsewhere, as was the case last Friday when this discussion was carried over to Ichabod. We have asked Dr. Jackson not to do that again. Yes, we actually communicated with Ichabod, and hope that he will respect our request. If anyone on our blog who dissents from his position becomes subject to an online thrashing on his blog, then the discussion isn’t fair at all. So commenters, be forewarned. We have no control over what others do on their blogs. All we can do is ask that they be respectful.

The risk of legitimizing the vitriol – There is one more concern I have, and that others have expressed to me. The discussion on Justification has been happening on the internet for a long time, and it has largely degenerated into a mudslinging campaign. Some have made themselves famous accusing the WELS/ELS of apostasy in this area and have resorted (elsewhere) to a level of vitriol that we do not agree with and simply cannot condone. Some who respond to the self-proclaimed “UOJ opponents” often resort to the same sort of name-calling, misrepresentation and character assassination. By opening up this discussion on IL, we run the risk that people will either 1) assume that we, at IL, are accusing the WELS of officially promoting false doctrine regarding Justification, which we are not, or 2) give legitimacy to the mockery of persons and misrepresentations of positions that have filled the blogosphere.

Nonetheless, we would like to be able to discuss this important doctrine productively. We also reserve the right to bring it to an end when we feel it is necessary, and to reject comments that we don’t feel are helpful to the discussion. We have allowed some comments from those who are not currently in fellowship with WELS/ELS, but we would prefer for the discussion to continue from those within our fellowship.

We at IL do plan on bringing up this subject again, hopefully in November after Reformation. At that time, we’ll try to outline what the issues are and what the issues aren’t.

For now, I think that, based on my understanding of the issue, I will submit the following theses:
  1. A confessional Lutheran confesses that Christ has truly and objectively made satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and that His obedience is the only righteousness that counts before God.

  2. A confessional Lutheran confesses that faith in Christ is essential in the justification of a sinner before God.

  3. A confessional Lutheran confesses that faith is not man’s work, but is God’s gift, produced by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace alone.
To deny #1 makes one a Calvinist. To deny #2 makes one a Universalist. To deny #3 makes one either an Arminian or an Enthusiast (which are not mutually exclusive). In all that I’ve read on all sides (which is hardly exhaustive), I have not found any disagreement on these points. I don’t think that the official WELS position embraces any of these heresies, in spite of accusations to the contrary. And from what I’ve read of those Lutherans who oppose “UOJ,” I have not seen them denying any of the above points, either. That’s not to say that both sides teach the same thing. But since it’ll be a month before we (the moderators) will be able to discuss the matter in more depth on the blog, I wanted to propose these three statements as food for thought.

And I will ask the readers a favor: Rather than citing what other people have stated or written with regard to these three statements (like "This We Believe" or Becker, et al.), rather than complaining about what you think other people believe about these three statements, please only comment regarding your belief or understanding of them.

37 comments:

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

"1. A confessional Lutheran confesses that Christ has truly and objectively made satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and that His obedience is the only righteousness that counts before God.

2. A confessional Lutheran confesses that faith in Christ is essential in the justification of a sinner before God.

3. A confessional Lutheran confesses that faith is not man’s work, but is God’s gift, produced by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace alone."

These three points are reality and are true. I am in agreement with them and I do understand them.
All three points put together make the "theses" true. If one point is missing the "theses" is not true.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Dear readers,

Just a reminder again that anonymous comments will be automatically deleted, regardless of content. So please sign your comments.

Anonymous said...

I can live with those three statements. I think the problem is that the concept of Christ's atoning sacrifice does not translate well to us westerners from the Hebrew culture of Bible times. I find the OT examples/illustrations to a stiff necked people extremely helpful.

Joe Krohn

Mathetes said...

It made me sad to see a few attacks in the previous plethora of blog comments. With the moderators' permission, I won't quote a theologian on Justification but rather on presentation of faith.

"When you are asked about your hope you are not to answer with haughty words and carry things off with audacity and force as though you meant to tear up trees, but with fear and humility as though you stood before God's judgment and were making answer. For if it should now come to pass that you were to be called before kings and nobles and had equipped yourself a good while with statements and thoughts: Just wait, I will answer them right! It may well come about that the devil takes the sword out of your hand, and before you are aware gives you a thrust so that you stand disgraced and have equipped yourself in vain, might also snatch out of your heart the statements which you fixed best so that you would be left even if you had them well in mind, for he has noted your thoughts in advance. Now God lets this happen to dampen your haughtiness and to humble you." -- RCH Lenski: Interpretation of First Peter 3:15, citing Martin Luther.

Anonymous said...

To deny the objective nature of Christ's forgiveness is to deny the burdened conscience peace.

When forgiveness is spoken of only in a subjective way, the sinner must invariably look to himself for comfort: "Yeah, I know that Christ's death made my forgiveness possible, but only if I have faith. Do I have faith? Do I have a strong enough faith? Don't my terrible sins prove that I don't really have faith?" And so on...

But when we say what Scripture says, and speak of forgiveness also in an objective way, it gives immense comfort: "Christ has taken away the sins of the world. Am I part of the world? Yes? Then I can be absolutely sure that my sins have been taken away. It's an objective fact. It makes no difference how serious my sins are or how weak my faith is."

Christ died to make salvation an objective reality, not a subjective possibility.

Mr. Adam Peeler

LPC said...

Pr. Paul,

On the subject of serious exegesis, I present to you for UOJ rebuttal the paper of Dr. Walther Maier II found in the WELS site...
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/MaierJustification.pdf.

I have not encountered a serious rebuttal of the points raised by this paper against UOJ.

Your UOJer readers can start with that, this is my suggestion for there, Maier countered every exegesis in support of UOJ.

LPC

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

I am glad I have the free gift of faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior. His blood was given and shed for all. My heavenly Father watches over me. The Holy Spirit lives in me. Though I am nothing, and deserve nothing good, God says I am no longer nothing, since I believe in Him and have been given faith. The Holy Spirit intercedes for me through Christ whenever I pray, and even when I groan. I have been given the free gift of God's love- Jesus Christ, and I believe in Him.
I am justified by faith. Faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I cannot come to faith in God on my own. God's love enables me as He gives me faith.
Does that make me perfect? No- though I should strive for perfection.
Am I righteous before God? Yes.
Should I recognize my sins daily and repent of them daily and at any time? Yes.
Am I considered unforgiven? No.
Am I considered forgiven when I sincerely repent of my own personal faults before God? Yes.
Who forgives me? God.
Through Who? My Savior, Jesus Christ.
How does God hear me when I pray? Through the Holy Spirit He gave me when He produced saving faith in me.
Are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit three separate Gods? No.
They are but one God? Yes.
Therefore, I am justified before God not because of works but because of faith- freely given. Yes.

Anonymous said...

LPC, I don't have time at the moment to read the paper thoroughly in its entirety, but I did read it briefly. I noticed that, throughout the paper, Maier says things along the line of: "Christ opened the door to salvation" or "Christ made salvation possible".

The claim that Christ won only potential salvation which must be effected or completed by faith has always been considered heresy by the Lutheran Church. Faith does not transform potential salvation into real salvation, it simply receives what is already real.

Thus, the objective reality of forgiveness is, at the same time, that which creates faith and that to which faith clings. That's why Maier's claim that Walther and others believed in two separate justifications is completely erroneous.

Mr. Adam Peeler

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Life Through the Son
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life... For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
John 5: 22-24, 26-27.(NIV)

LPC said...

Adam,

Your idea of faith is too foreign from the faith of Abraham. If something is already present or even have to past already in order to be believed then your concept of faith is not the same as that of Abraham, for in his case he believed in the promised Messiah.

The only thing orthodox is anything you can quote from the BoC.

LPC

AP said...

My understanding is derived from Scripture as presented in the Lutheran Confessions. I believe that Christ atoned for the sins of the entire world through his perfect life, innocent death, etc. I belief that faith, created and sustained by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace, is the only thing that can apply this atonement to an individual. Faith is not a work of man. It earns nothing. It is merely to tool through which grace is received. God does or has done all the work--work that man is not able to do. Justification--the not guilty declaration--comes through faith alone. One can be absolutely certain that faith (with Christ's work as its object) justifies, because Christ's atonement absolutely paid for the sins of the whole world.

I know and understand the terms objective and subjective justification. I am not convinced they are they best terms, and I think it is worth noting that they appear no where in the Book of Concord. I am also not a theologian and do not claim to have all the answers here. I do, however, think that serious, thoughtful discussion of this issue is of great importace, especially since the confessions discuss justification as the article upon which the church stands or falls.

We can and should have that discussion here, but it also needs to be had openly in the WELS. We cannot continue in this synod to just brush every issue of importance aside and assume that being WELS equals being doctrinally pure. WELS has to openly and officially face the issues of doctrine and practice that currently beset it. I worry about the future of the synod lest we do face the issues in this way.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

"God does or has done all the work--work that man is not able to do."
Jesus Christ the Son of God did all the work that man could not do! Jesus became man and died for our sins! His blood made atonement for all of the sins of all of the people in all of the world. Any one who comes to faith must first believe they need a Savior; that they are sinful from birth. One cannot come to faith without acknowledging that they are completely unable to keep the Ten Commandments (God's law) fully, each and every day. Only Jesus Christ was sent, perfect, without error, to do the work His Father sent him to do. And believe it or not- that was to get rid of the old law and place a new law- love. To love your neighbor as yourself.... fulfills the Ten Commandments. That's not very easy for us sinners- period. That doesn't mean there is no righteous anger though...
Jesus Christ abolished the old law,(sacrifices etc... which did nothing for the sins of the people, and which God was no longer pleased with- except for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross- God's only Son). This is all so that we may have grace and have it to the full, because we still cannot keep the law; the Ten Commandments. Therefore if we believe in the work God sent his Son to do, we also believe that through our sins, (because yes we still sin) we are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And where does the Holy Spirit come in? He is right here- as well as at the beginning, and throughout, present time and the end. The Holy Spirit creates faith and intercedes for God's children- this is so that God may know his children when they cry for help- from people who have no faith in Jesus Christ- God's only begotten Son, who was with God and in God before anything was- when the Holy Spirit was at work as well. The bible is God's words, literally- those words pretty much explain it all. Through the bible we know our sins and we know Christ and the Holy Spirit moves us- hopefully.
This really is not so difficult to grasp. The truth of God is rather of comfort, not difficult to take in since God himself allows it in or not... I have done worse in other courses.

Daniel Gorman said...

Your theses appear to be a restatement of FC,SD, III, 57. My only concern is the word "objectively." Webster's dictionary lists several definitions. Could you define "objectlvely" for us?

bored said...

LPC wrote
"On the subject of serious exegesis".

LPC is correct, Maier's paper is serious academic work. Maier is an old-school scholar, and a better writer than most in the WELS and LCMS circles. He understands (and uses) language in the antiquated manner that is borne out of Conceptual (cognitive) use of words rather than an associative use of Words. His language is far more definitional than he is colloquial. That is, when you do not understand something he says, your best course of action is to pull out your lexicon or dictionary rather than breezing over the more difficult points.

I too have searched for a serious rebuttal of Maier's paper without success. As of yet, (as far as I can tell) his Exegesis has been ignored and he has been written off by people who read his paper quickly.

It is evident that Mr. Peeler, from his comment above, completely missed the point of Maier's paper. I'm not saying this to be chiding to Mr. Peeler, but I am pointing out that Maier's paper cannot "be read quickly". It must be approached by serious students who are willing to dedicate some mental capital to the issue.

Any Pastor who defends Universal and Objective Justification must address Walter Maier's paper before they can say they have thoroughly investigated the issue.

Andy Groenwald

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

"Objectively" in the sense that, Christ made satisfaction for the sins of the world and fulfilled (vicariously) all righteousness in the sight of God, whether or not the world knows or believes it.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Regarding Maier, I have read over his paper, but still can't say I've given it the time it requires. We will discuss at least some aspects of it in the coming weeks. I think it would be a mistake for anyone to pretend that there is nothing of value in it.

For now, let me highlight this valuable aspect of Maier's paper: it was "evangelical." Maier wrote, not to prove a point or to indict a synod, but with an obvious love for the truth of Christ and for the souls who would read his paper.

Even though he rather sharply disagrees with F. Pieper, for example, he does not label Pieper a heretic or a fool. He still speaks of him as a "venerable Lutheran father," and there is not even a hint of sarcasm in that appellation. Though he disagreed with some of Walther's statements, he didn't for a moment suggest that Walther was anything less than a solid, confessional Lutheran.

As I understand it, Maier continued in brotherly dialogue with his peers after his paper was written, and finally came to a sort of consensus on the concept (if not the terms) of Justification as taught by the LCMS.

So a little caveat here for future discussion: if someone wants to cite Maier's exegesis, that's fine. But also reflect the spirit in which Maier offered his exegesis. To insist on one but refuse the other would be disingenuous.

David Jay Webber said...

As I understand it, Maier continued in brotherly dialogue with his peers after his paper was written, and finally came to a sort of consensus on the concept (if not the terms) of Justification as taught by the LCMS.

This is correct. The summary statement which essentially ended the dispute, and to which Dr. Maier agreed, is as follows:

When the Lord Jesus was "justified" (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been "made...to be sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed "made a curse for us" (Galations 3:13). In this sense the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and Sacraments of Christ.

bored said...

Rev. Rydecki

The work may have not been written for the purpose of indicting his Synod, but the fact remains that his paper does de-legitimize Universal Objective Justification. (And I would say this gentleman did so with the utmost class) His Synod was full aware of his indictment, which is why they censured him from teaching (particularly the Book of Romans) at Ft. Wayne. No matter how gentlemanly his words may have been, his words very clearly criticize the proof passages that are used to claim that all men have been Justified.

I heard the story and I continue to be surprised that no scholar refuted his claims, at least, that I can find. I would've thought there would've been abundant exegetical evidence to refute him, since he is supposedly wrong.

You're correct to point out that Walther and Pieper have many fine things to say, and any anti-UOJ student will agree. It just comes down to discerning which parts of their writings have origin in early American pietism. I imagine Walther himself would encourage us to scrap anything he said that wasn't in line with Scripture. (He wouldn't want us to interpret Scripture based on his words...)

I look forward to reading your full opinion of Maier's paper. But if I may suggest something regarding the UOJ:

Lets define terms before we move too deeply. I think that's the most important thing, because I suspect there's a lot that could improved on in terms of communication.

Andy Groenwald

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

The Greatest Commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22: 34-40.(NIV)

AP said...

It seems to me that one of the points of confusion is when / how the righteousness that Christ earned is applied to individuals. I am not sure what the best terminology is, but the objective / subjective justification terminology seems to open the door to confusion and universalism or justification without faith.

The atonement is an objective fact, so I understand the use of the term objective. However, is justification the best term to pair with that objective fact? If we are just using the term objective justification to replace atonement, then why not just use atonement?

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Andy & Dr. Palmer,

We'll add those comments/questions to the hopper.

Defining terms will be critical. People are using the word "justification" differently. Some are using it to include God's pronouncement of Christ as "righteous" in the world's place, while others are using it exclusively to refer to God's application of Christ's righteousness to the individual through faith.

And then there have been some statements made over the course of history that just hopelessly mix up both concepts.

LutherRocks said...

"In this sense the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and Sacraments of Christ."

If this is what Maier agreed to to end the dispute, he caved and it tears to shreds our example of faith, Abraham.

"The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind..." is universalism.

The saints are crying if this is true as their faith was in vain.

Joe Krohn

bored said...

Pastor Rydecki


Right on! Wouldn't you agree that we live in a time where language is degraded and used thus for the speaker's benefit?

For awhile I have recognized that the term "Justification" has been used wrongly and it would be useful to all Christians if some erudite man spelled out clearly what is, and what is not "Justification".

We must make certain that Objective Justification is a demented use of language, not a demented belief. It is imaginable that many who claim to believe Objective Justification do so out of habit, (not out of false belief) while many others intentionally use Objective Justification to teach a universal absolution--which leads to anti-nomialism, and enthusiasm.

That is to say, we must ferret out how and why exactly Objective Justification is being used to support and sustain the Church Growth Movement in the WELS.

David Jay Webber said...

When 1 Timothy 3:16 says that the Lord Jesus was "justified" in the Spirit in his resurrection and exaltation, is the word "justified" being used there in the exact same way, and to make the exact same point, as when the Bible says elsewhere that Abraham (or anyone) was or is "justified" by faith? Should we not consider that there may be more than one Biblical usage or application of this term? And is it really necessary to say that only one of these usages or applications is correct, and that any other usage or application is "demented"?

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

I do not believe the Holy Spirit is inactive when he speaks through pastors on the pulpit or elsewhere (Confessional Lutheran pastors). Confessional Lutherans believe the Holy Spirit and are not in need of testing the Holy Spirit. Test the spirits but do not test the Holy Spirit.
I find that God is mysterious- as He said- but, what He means in His Words are not mysterious. Small faith, great faith, Old Testament, New Testament- He is the same and means the same in everything He says. If faith is granted and the Bible is understood even in part, then good. If not- then go to your confessional Lutheran pastor and ask for help, but never question Scripture because your confessional Lutheran pastor will only reiterate and therefore repeat what God's Word says. So again, either way, God is God and all that he has done remains the same whether or not it is understood or questioned or rejected.
The Holy Spirit works through the confessional Lutheran pastor whenever he teaches, preaches etc... God's Word.
I think God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (three in one), He made everything clear. And if things are cloudy, He will make it clear, also.

bored said...

Pastor Webber,

I think that would be confusing connotation with meaning. The term "Justify" might be used in Scripture in a number of different connotations though it carries the same meaning. But of course a different connotation implies a different topic, so the meaning has, in a sense changed. So, to apply one connotation's sense-meaning to another is what we call "Equivocation". So no, that doesn't give use license to use the term "justify" any way we want.

Putting the best construction on the topic is to suggest that UOJ is guilty of ambiguous illogical language. UOJ's error, distinct from equivocation, is redefinition. It uses the word 'justify' to refer to the universal work of Christ, which (although Christ did pay for All sin) does not affect individuals. If you believe that God only affects individuals through the Word, start from there: weigh the language used to describe UOJ against the notion that "God only chooses to deal with man" through Word. I think if you divorce yourself from "The way we've always talked about things" and focus on what the doctrine in question means plainly, I think you will see quite quickly that it is load of horse manure. God has chosen The Cause to be his Word. The Effect is that some come to faith and have Christ's Righteousness imputed to them (are justified). Without The Cause there can be no Effect.

The worst construction on UOJ is to take people at their own words, discerning that they actually believe falsely, like Walther or Becker, that God has declared every person Righteous whether or not they ever believe. And even though it may be putting the worst construction on it, that approach is totally reasonable because the plain, simple dictionary definition of "justify", and the hundreds of Scripture references telling us that man is Justified by faith alone.

Andy Groenwald

AP said...

There seems to be but one definition of justification in the Book of Concord--no objective, no subjective, just justification. If a singular definition of justifcation was good enough in 1580, what specific, modern need is there or has there been for a dual definition of justification?

Dr. Aaron Palmer

David Jay Webber said...

Recalling that forgiveness and justification are esentially synonymous concepts, the Book of Concord does in fact testify explicitly to the "objective" side of justification - and also to the "subjective" side of justification, with which it indissolubly coheres - by means of an approved quotation from St. Ambrose, in Ap IV:103:

"But, when the Lord Jesus came he forgave all men the sin they could not escape, and canceled the decree against us by shedding his blood [Colossians 2:14]. This is what he says: 'By the Law sin abounded, but grace abounded by Jesus' [Romans 5:20], since after the whole world became subject he took away the sins of the whole world, as John bears witness, saying: 'Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' [John 1:29] Let no one glory, then, in his own works, since no one is justified by his deeds, but one who is just has received a gift, being justified by Baptism. It is faith, therefore, which sets us free by the blood of Christ, for he is blessed whose sin is forgiven and to whom pardon is granted [Psalm 32:1]."

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

And on that helpful explanation by Pr. Webber, I think it's time (really, this time!) to close this thread here.

We'll get back to talking about Justification. But the comment thread threatens to simply become an argument that perpetuates confusion.

As I said in a previous comment, it is possible to overcomplicate the gospel message to the point that gospel comfort is lost. When we come back to this subject, we will try to lay out the simple gospel truth in as clear a way as possible, along with the dangers which we must guard against in this article of faith.

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

I would refuse to let anyone take the comfort of the gospel away from me. How can the comfort of God ever be taken away? Impossible!

Anonymous said...

Thank you pastor Rydecki for closing the discussion for now. I look forward to it's continuation at the later time!

Levi Powers

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Yes, thank you.

bored said...

looks like you've killed the interest in your blog after killing two very good discussions about Justification.

Come on guys! When you claim to be Intrepid you should back it up!

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Andy,

What part of "we're really busy for the next couple of weeks" was unclear in the above post?

As for letting the discussion continue by itself, please see the part above about wanting to avoid confusion, and not letting heretical and/or confusing statements dangle out there unanswered by IL.

AP said...

Pastor Rydecki,

I certainly understand being busy. However, can you please clarify something for me? When you worry about leaving heresy or confusion out to dangle (a proper concern I think), are you suggesting that heresy has actually been spoken here? As someone who questioned / questions the terms used to describe justification, I was a bit taken aback by your most recent comment.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Dr. Palmer,

Very sorry, I didn't mean to implicate you or any of our commenters. We have rejected several comments that we at least thought could be understood incorrectly, or in some cases, were simply incorrect teaching of certain Scripture passages.

That's not to say that every comment we post will necessarily be trustworthy, just because we posted it. But in a discussion on justification, I hate to leave people wondering if the foundation of their faith is reliable.

So again, no, your questioning of terms was not what I had in mind.

Still learning how best to wade through this discussion.

AP said...

Pastor Rydecki,

I completely understand. These are complex issues, and the last thing I would ever want in this or any debate is to do damage to anyone's faith. Hopefully, discussing and learning about justification more deeply in a constructive and reasonable way will do just the opposite.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

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