Friday, February 1, 2013

Luther's translation of 2 Corinthians 5:19

Cross-posted from www.faithalonejustifies.com

LutherBibel1545TitlePageNoSealHere's an interesting and little-known fact about Luther's translation of 2 Corinthians 5:19.

If you look up 2 Corinthians 5:19 in an online version of what is supposedly Luther's German Bible of 1545, it reads,

19. Denn GOtt war in Christo und versöhnete die Welt mit ihm selber und rechnete ihnen ihre Sünden nicht zu und hat unter uns aufgerichtet das Wort von der Versöhnung.

Literally, this reads, "For God was in Christ and reconciled the world with himself and did not reckon their sins to them and has established among us the word about the reconciliation (- or, "the word of reconciliation")."

Some have pointed this out to demonstrate that Luther clearly saw a one-time, past tense justification of the whole world. "Reconciled the world..." "Did not reckon..."

However, students of translation history recognize that the text of this supposed 1545 Bible is corrupted in places and not always an exact replication of Luther's actual 1545 Bible. One can download digitally photographed copies of Luther's original Bibles (here's one example from 1530), or there's a handy website entitled http://lutherbibel.net/ that has reproduced the exact text in an easily searchable format. This is called the Ausgabe letzter Hand.

In the Greek, 2 Corinthians 5:19 has one imperfect main verb (God "was"), and then two present active participles ("reconciling," "reckoning"). Instead of turning these into past tense indicative verbs as the corrupt versions of Luther's Bible have it, here is Luther's original wording of 2 Corinthians 5:19 (the same in 1545 as it was in 1530):

19 Denn Gott war in Christo / vnd versönet die Welt mit jm selber / vnd rechnet jnen jre sünde nicht zu / vnd hat vnter vns auff gerichtet das Wort von der versönung.

Luther used present tense verbs, not past tense verbs. Literally, "For God was in Christ, and reconciles the world with himself, and does not reckon their sins to them, and has established among us the word about the reconciliation."

When Luther wanted to use a third person singular past tense of "to reckon," as in Genesis 15:6, he used the word "rechent." But the fact that he uses a present tense verb in 2 Corinthians 5:19 ("rechnet") is further evidence that he viewed the present tense Greek participle, not as referring back to a one-time event that took place on the cross, but to the ongoing reconciling of the world that God accomplishes through the ministry of the Word, which proclaims a God who gave His Son for the world as the price of reconciliation and as the perpetual Reconciler between God and sinners, who reconciles sinners to God, not "whether they believe in Him or not," but through faith.

In other words, Paul is teaching nothing in 2 Corinthians 5:19 but the very same thing that Jesus taught as recorded in John 3:16-18. God loved the world. God gave His Son as a sacrifice to reconcile the world to Himself. All who believe in the Son are reconciled with God. Those who don't believe in Him remain in condemnation.

137 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary's Prof. John Schaller offers this insight regarding Luther's translation of 2 Corinthians 5:19:

"If, however, μὴ λογιζόμενος denotes an action which is not identical with reconciliation nor is presupposed by it, then Luther is correctly interpreting when he inserts an 'and,' which Paul did not have. And did not impute their trespasses unto them. This sequence of thought Paul now indicates by means of καὶ before θέμενος; for also with respect to this second participle it is obvious that therewith not a presupposition but a consequence of reconciliation is to be expressed…Thus the giving or establishing of this Word (of reconciliation) is a consequence of the reconciliation and therefore at the same time includes the knowledge of the justification of the sinner, which indeed is involved in the reconciliation, but is not identical with it."

- “Redemption and Universal Justification According to Second Corinthians 5:18-2l,” Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4, October, 1975, p. 315.

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to get a handle on this whole debate, since I know some pretty good guys on both sides. So I want to make sure I'm being fair to what both sides are saying. While I realize that this will be a vast over-simplification, is it fair to summarize both sides with this?

One side (the official current WELS position) says that atonement, redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and justification (in its objective sense) are all mostly synonymous, just different word-pictures, different ways of saying essentially the same thing - that Christ died to pay for the sins of the world. Although some on the other side levy the charge, this does not intend to imply universalism, or salvation apart from the means of grace.

The other side (held by Pr. Rydecki and others) says that these terms are similar and obviously related, but that they are not synonymous. Justification, in Scripture and the Confessions, is used only in its so-called subjective sense, coming only through the means of grace; there is no objective sense to justification. Christ's atonement for sin is objective and universal, but it is inaccurate to apply those adjectives to justification. Although some on the other side levy the charge, this does not intend to imply limited atonement, or "intuitu fidei."

Over-simplification? Probably. But does that seem to be fair to both sides?

Rik Krahn

Anonymous said...

Rik,

In a general sense, at least for me, I thought your summary is reasonable. But it implies, again at least for me, an undisciplined approach with regard to the meaning of words on the one side, vs. precision of the meaning of words on the other. Quite frankly, when an issue of importance like this occurs, one would hope it would be recognized that we must be precise about the meaning of words.

Vernon

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Rik, I think you've summarized where I stand pretty well. To avoid misunderstanding, I would probably not use the phrase "there is no objective sense to justification," since God's promise to justify those who believe in His Son is objectively true. But I agree that one cannot "objectively" say that all people have already been justified.

Also, I do not accuse anyone in WELS of outright universalism, that is, of teaching that everyone goes to heaven. Instead, I accuse the official WELS position of contradicting the Scriptures regarding God's verdict concerning unbelievers. Christ calls Himself the one to whom all judgment has been entrusted in John 5, and there (and elsewhere) He reveals what His verdict is: life for believers, condemnation for unbelievers. And since all people start out life as unbelievers, all people are under condemnation until the Holy Spirit calls them by the Gospel and enlightens them with His gifts.

As for the WELS position, I will offer some quotes later, since I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Thanks for the clarification. I did not mean to imply that you accuse the official WELS position of universalism. But I have seen that accusation from others. I guess that I would expect that, since there are extremes to any position. The extreme to your position would seem to be claiming that WELS teaches universalism, while the extreme to the other position would accuse you of teaching a limited atonement. Obviously, the extremes help neither side, and only hinder a hopeful understanding.

Rik

AP said...

Reading these translations and essays here, I cannot help but to think what a terrible loss that the WELS powers-that-be have inflicted on the synod by expelling Pastor Rydecki and refusing to have this discussion with him.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Joe Krohn said...

The BoC in the Solid Declaration under "Election" confesses that the whole human race has been redeemed by the work of Jesus Christ. I have always understood this to mean that mankind on the account of Christ has been pardoned. If as Lutherans we did not believe this, we would be guilty of falling into the double predestination paradigm, or the weirder synergism of Lenski.

I ran across the following article today. Granted, one could deduce decision theology (as many reformed pastors have used this example in their preaching), but go with me on this. We are not on our own able to choose. But we can by the power of the Holy Ghost...which is the work of sanctification. I believe the story accurately describes justification, which really is objective and that it is received in faith. The caveat is; and I think this is where the WELS can go off the tracks (in my experience) in presenting this pardon subjectively in spite of rejection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Wilson

"United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. 150 (1833), was a trial in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania. Due to his friends' influence, Wilson was pardoned by Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case.

The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him." Therefore, Wilson was not released from prison early.[1]"

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Joe, I don't even know how to respond to your comparison to a pardon issued in the United States. Analogies are pretty, but unless they are Scriptural analogies, they are useless for determining or identifying the teaching of Scripture.

As to your personal belief that the finished work of Christ meant that the entire human race had been pardoned, that's why we're checking these things against the language of the Holy Spirit, who does not say that God has pardoned the entire human race. As Pr. Schulz suggested earlier, let's call redemption "redemption," and pardon "pardon."

FC:SD:XI on Election does not teach world absolution, in any way, shape or form. To avoid problems due to translation, I'll point out that some of the modern English translations have not been helpful in this article. The original German is clear, and the Latin of 1584 is even clearer. God declared in His eternal counsel and purpose "that the human race should (or shall) be truly redeemed and reconciled through Christ." Henkel translates this way, but others simplify it with "is."

Regardless, the second part of the sentence explains the first: "who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life." This language is precise and accurate. Christ has merited for us righteousness and eternal life. That doesn't mean God has declared all people righteous or made all people alive.

The same article of the FC:SD expresses clearly where the Lutheran Church places justification, in #4 of that list of 8 concurrent causes of election: "4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life."

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel said...

Even with wrongly translating this verse; that, in itself is no reason to promulgate the false teaching of "universal objective justification."

The practice of proper hermeneutics can curb even some poor translation work. But, many Christians and (so-called) "Christians" don't care to apply the principal of comparing Scripture with Scripture and taking the clear passages first to formulate correct doctrine.

Most unfortunately and sadly, this 2 Corinthians 5 Scripture is cherished by Lutheran bellwethers to the detriment of their synods' congregational flocks.

Pastor emeritus Nathan M. Bickel

www.thechristianmessage.org
www.moralmatters.org

Brett Meyer said...

Rik, there is an explanation as to why those who are confessing the gospel of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ) have been labeled Universalists. And to clarify Universalist in this sense is to teach that the whole world of unbelievers are saved.

UOJ in all of the versions taught and confessed in the Lutheran Synods teaches that the unbelieving world has been declared by God to be forgiven of all sin, justified, when God the Father accepted Christ's payment for the world's sins. Justification in Scripture, the imputation of Christ's righteousness for the forgiveness of sins, is eternal Salvation. So anyone teaching that a man is forgiven all of his sin is teaching that the man is eternally saved. In the case of UOJ the whole unbelieving world has been declared forgiven, justified and righteous. This is the reason UOJists have been labeled Universalists.

Now most, not all, but most of those people in the Lutheran Synods teaching and confessing the gospel of UOJ also teach that the forgiveness of sins is not eternal Salvation. They teach that although forgiven of all sin, justified and righteous by God's divine verdict the unbelieving world is not saved. They teach that man must have "faith" that they were declared forgiven before they can receive the benefit of God's divine verdict and be saved eternally. Clearly there are many intricate variances on this teaching and it is difficult if not impossible to cover them all. One (W)ELS CDS Principal teaches, along with Mark Zarling, that the whole unbelieving world is saved, just not Heaven saved. That itself is a testament that UOJ doesn't have a Scriptural or Confessional foundation upon which every person must subscribe - and yet in the Lutheran Synods most contradictory versions are tolerated as long as the universal justification of the whole world of unbelievers is upheld.

It's important to note that simply claiming that men are not eternally saved even though God has delivered His omnipotent divine verdict that the whole world is forgiven, justified and righteous is not protection from being labeled a Universalist. We are required to test the spirits - not against the spirit's word but against God's Word, Christ's Word.

Cont...

Brett Meyer said...

Cont...

So when a gospel is taught which states the whole unbelieving world has been forgiven all sin and Scripture teaches that the forgiveness of sins is eternal life, it is correct to expect those teaching that gospel to carry the burden of also teaching that the whole unbelieving world has been saved eternally. Simply claiming it's not true doesn't protect the individual from the proper application of Scripture. No one should be accused of slander or breaking the 8th when Scripture is a Christian's guide and Norm and not the teachings of men.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For those who teach the Huberian election of the whole world Christ declares that those God has predestined He also glorifies - saves eternally. Romans 8:30, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Martin Luther:
37. Note, Paul everywhere teaches justification, not by works, but solely by faith; and not as a process, but instantaneous. The testament includes in itself everything--justification, salvation, the inheritance and great blessing. Through faith it is instantaneously enjoyed, not in part, but all. Truly is it plain, then, that faith alone affords such blessings of God, justification and salvation--immediately and not in process as must be the case with works.
74. But what is the process whereby Christ gives us such a spirit and redeems us from under the Law? The work is effected solely by faith. He who believes that Christ came to redeem us, and that he has accomplished it, is really redeemed. As he believes, so is it with him. Faith carries with it the child-making spirit. The apostle here explains by saying that Christ has redeemed us from under the Law that we might receive the adoption of sons. As before stated, all must be effected through faith. Now we have discussed the five points of the verse.
http://www.trinitylutheranms.org/MartinLuther/MLSermons/Galatians4_1_7.html

Joe Krohn said...

"15] 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life."

I don't know how that can be construed any other way than universal. It is what the atonement accomplished. If it gets limited, as it seems you are doing by your dogmatic approach, you undoubtedly change the relationship of terminology within this whole doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Brett, It is that sort of extremism that I am hoping to avoid. And I hope that people can see that this sort of extremism does not help your arguments. I am in a position where I am trying to listen and learn from both "sides" of this debate, and tossing out extreme accusations only lessens your credibility. I have been a WELS member my whole life, have been a WELS pastor for almost 15 years, and was blessed by 21 years of WELS education before that. And in all that time, I have never heard anyone come close to asserting that all people will be in heaven. It has been the consistent teaching of WELS that Jesus is the only way to be saved, and through faith in him is the only way to enter eternal life. So for you to make this type of an accusation is incorrect, uncharitable, and frankly unhelpful.

Again, I'm still "in the middle" in this debate. I have men whom I respect on each side. A big part of the reason I'm listening and participating here is that I respect Pastor Rydecki for his scholarly, Scriptural and Confessional work, and his avoidance of the arguments so easily found other places, that generate more heat than light.

Again, this is why I'm trying, in my own mind, to clarify what each "side" is asserting. Official WELS assertion is that justification=atonement=redemption. That (correct or incorrect) is their definition of "justification." For someone on that side to take their own definition of justification, and plug that into Pr. Rydecki's words, and based on that to accuse Pr. Rydecki of asserting limited atonement, that would be unfair and unloving ("Based on my own definition of justification, when you say that all are not justified you are therefore saying that atonement was no won for all.").

That is exactly what you are doing, in reverse. Your definition (correct or incorrect) is that justification=eternal salvation. For you to use your definition of a word, and plug that into someone else's statements is unfair and unloving ("Based on my own definition of justification, when you say that all people are justified you are therefore saying that all people will be in heaven."). It is exactly the type of thing we must avoid, and must refute when it appears, if we wish to bring this to a brotherly, God-pleasing resolution.

Rik Krahn

Anonymous said...

I should clarify what I wrote above. Official WELS assertion is that justification (in its objective sense, not in its subjective sense)=atonement=redemption. I'm speaking there only of what we have come to call objective, or universal justification.

Should have caught that before I hit Publish...

Rik

Brett Meyer said...

Joe, the context of what Luther was confessing is important to understand what is being taught. Note the highlighted portion of the text:

74. But what is the process whereby Christ gives us such a spirit and redeems us from under the Law? The work is effected solely by faith. He who believes that Christ came to redeem us, and that he has accomplished it, is really redeemed. As he believes, so is it with him. Faith carries with it the child-making spirit. The apostle here explains by saying that Christ has redeemed us from under the Law that we might receive the adoption of sons. As before stated, all must be effected through faith.

Redemption is Christ’s payment for sin. The iniquity of the whole world was laid upon Christ and He paid the price for the whole world’s sins. That is redemption. Note that the transition from being under the Law to receiving the adoption of sons is worked solely by the gracious gift of faith. It is contrary to Scripture to teach that those under the Law (under God’s wrath and condemnation) have been declared adopted as sons of God and declared forgiven, justified and righteous. Unbelievers have not received the child-making spirit which comes only through faith.

Rik, do I understand you correctly that you believe saying “justification = eternal salvation” is extremism?
You state, “For you to use your definition of a word, and plug that into someone else's statements is unfair and unloving.” Rik, is there not a source of definitions which Lutherans can hold each other to? Would you agree that the Holy Scriptures and the Christian Book of Concord are those sources?

You state, “It has been the consistent teaching of WELS that Jesus is the only way to be saved, and through faith in him is the only way to enter eternal life. So for you to make this type of an accusation is incorrect, uncharitable, and frankly unhelpful.”

I don’t mean to be any of those things. My assertion that UOJ teaches the whole world has been saved was established in WELS’ public teaching.

WELS MLC President Mark Zarling
Stand In Awe Of Justification
Our salvation is an accomplished fact. It is done. It is finished. The resurrection is the proof that God
has declared the sinners justified!” Page 6
“After searching the mines of Scripture, I hope that the jewel of justification shines brightly for all of us. My feeble efforts at presenting this truth no doubt can be misunderstood or misapplied. Yet I hope that the previous discussion refreshes for all of us the glorious truth of full and free salvation in Jesus Christ. We are saved. God declares us just. Believe it.” Page 7
“God's will has been carried out on the cross. Salvation has been accomplished for all people. The world is declared just. God's will has been carried out by the work of Christ. Just because men in unbelief reject that salvation doesn't mean it was not effected.” Page 9
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/ZarlingJustification.pdf

Cont...

Brett Meyer said...

Cont...

WELS District President Jon Buchholz
Justification Expounded By Scripture
"Here is the legal or juridical nature of justification, revealed at Calvary. The change does not take place in the sinner. The change takes place in the relationship or the status between a sinner and God.2 A verdict has been rendered, which declares man free of sin and guilt, righteous in God’s sight, and worthy of eternal life, for Jesus’ sake." Page 2
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BuchholzJustification1.pdf

Buchholz
Jesus Canceled Your Debt
“God is not merely the potential Savior of all people; he is the Savior of all people. If God is the Savior of all people, and Christ’s redemptive work is complete, then we can say that God saved all people in Christ. To say that God did not save all people in Christ would be to say that Jesus’ work was incomplete or not for all.” “In the first sentence it refers to the once-for-all, completed work of Christ at Calvary, through which the Savior of the world really did save the world through the shedding of his own blood and his glorious resurrection to life.” Page 9
http://azcadistrict.com/sites/default/files/papers/Buchholz_2012-10.pdf

Pastor Nate Bourman
The Doctrine of Justification Since The Reformation
“Through God‐given faith the objective truth of the Gospel is appropriated and applied to the individual. What God did for the world, he did for me. I am not saved because I believe in Jesus. I am saved because Jesus died for me.” Page 13
http://scdwels.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/justification-paper.pdf

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I think everyone is bringing up some helpful points so far, without unfairly attributing things to other people.

The devil is playing games in the Church, corrupting language so that words become practically meaningless. It is the height of folly to say, as Buchholz does, that "God saved all people," when both in the language of the Scriptures and the understanding of the common person, "to be saved" means "to be going to heaven." The Bible doesn't speak this way, and neither do the Lutheran Confessions. Buchholz and others can insist that when they say everyone has been saved, they don't mean everyone's going to heaven. It's not that I doubt what they mean, it's that they have twisted the meaning of words beyond recognition and have obscured the simple truth of Scripture.

In all my discussions with the praesidium, I kept begging for us to return to the simple language of John 3:16-18. They insisted that those verses are inadequate. Why? Because they don't say that everyone has already been justified.

Christian Schulz said...

Regarding universalism and universal justification I understand why universalism would be a logical conclusion. It's touchy when justification is separated from life and salvation, however. I think it's important to keep it all together as Luther does in the Small Catechism, "For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.)http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

But ultimately, when it comes down to it, I think how A. Hunnius deals with it is best. Here he is talking about Huber's universal justification and election. He won't charge him with universalism because he insisted on faith as well:

"Thesis 12
In addition, whether all men are, in fact, saved, including those who do not believe in Christ. This likewise, is not at the moment, being called into question.

Thesis 13
For although that conclusion can most definitely be reached from Huber's doctrine as a consequence affirmed by the testimonies of Christ and the apostles, nevertheless, since Huber directly and intentionally does not teach in such a way, we are still not willing to charge him directly with that paradox."

Hunnius, Aegidius. Theses Opposed to Huberianism. Trans. Paul Rydecki, Rev. Malone: Repristination Press, 2012. 15-16 Print.

P.S.
Here shows that Huber insisted on faith just like today's formulation of universal justification:

Samuel Huberus: Confutatio brevis, Libri, sub alieno nomine editi, de controversia in Theologos Wittebergenses, & Samuelem Huberum de ELECTIONS, Mulhusij 1595, p. 52:

“nondum tamen ipsa participatione in status salutis & felicitatis aeternae adducit, nisi fide per verbum & sacramenta, hoc beneficium sibi applicet, atque eo modo participet.” (“Does not yet through this participation [in universal atonement] bring man to the state of eternal salvation and blessedness, if he does not apply this benefit to himself through faith in the Word and the Sacraments and participates in that way.”)

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I should add, it's not just the height of folly to say "God saved all people." If someone wants to speak improperly like this, that's bad enough. But I was specifically condemned for not mimicking their improper and unscriptural language. They insisted that I preach to my congregation that they, together with all people, had been "saved" 2000 years ago, and that they, together with all people had been justified before they were born. I refused to say those things, and was summarily kicked out of the WELS.

Anonymous said...

Brett,

No, I am not saying that claiming justification=eternal salvation is extreme. It is reasonable, and may in fact be correct. What I'm saying is extreme is to plug that definition into a statement by someone who uses a different definition, and throw out accusations based on that hybrid statement.

Permit me an illustration, very blatant and quite crass. It is clear to all that the word "gay" is defined differently by different people in different places in history. I define that word almost exclusively to mean "homosexual." The Flintstones, however, had a very different definition. So if I were to take a statement of theirs, "We'll have a gay ol' time," plug in my definition of that word in place of theirs, and then accuse Fred and Barney of homosexual sin, that would be unloving and incorrect. In their sentence, they use the word their way, and we must understand it that way.

That's what you seem to be doing with WELS. You take words that WELS uses, give them definitions that WELS does not intend, and then accuse them of heresy. That is unfair and unloving, and doesn't bring us toward any sort of resolution.

I have not seen a hint of universalism in WELS. Sloppy language, maybe, but not universalism. In the same way, I have not seen a hint of limited atonement from Pr. Rydecki. From where I stand now, we seem to be saying mostly the same thing - that Jesus paid for the sins of all, but that only those in whom the Spirit has, through the means of grace, worked faith will live forever in heaven. I am convinced that is what WELS teaches. But I am also beginning to think that we (in WELS) need to be much more careful in how we express that, so that we don't end up going beyond Scripture.

It seems to me that there are words that Scripture uses that are universal, like atonement. Then there are words that Scripture uses that are clearly only for the believer, like regeneration. To me, the crux of the issue is, where does "justification" belong? WELS places it in both columns, objective in one and subjective in the other. Pr. Rydecki (and others) seem to place it only in the second column. What I have appreciated about this forum is that Pr. Rydecki has resisted the temptation to spew venom, but has focused on answering the question "Into which column(s) do Scripture, the Confessions, and the Church place the word justification?"

Again, if I'm misunderstanding the discussion, I look to be corrected.

Rik Krahn

Brett Meyer said...

Rik, thank you for your detailed explanation. I sympathize with your current position. I admit that I am holding the Lutheran synods and those who teach and confess Universal Objective Justification to the Scriptural and Confessional meanings of the words they use to articulate and define their doctrine. It seems reasonable to do so when the clergy have sworn and oath to God that they will teach and confess no other doctrine then Christ's doctrine found in Scripture and in harmony with the sound words of the Lutheran Confessions.

Although horrific in it's implications, there was a tremendous benefit to the removal of Pastor Rydecki from the WELS for teaching that men are solely justified by faith in Christ alone. That recent act, replicating the same excommunication of the Kokomo families years ago, exemplified the chasm that exists between the gospel of Universal Objective Justification and the Gospel of Justification solely by Faith Alone. No longer can it be said that the two sides are talking past each other, that it's simply a matter of definitions or that both sides require faith to be saved. The most outspoken WELS proponent of UOJ in recent decades removed all doubt about the severity of the differences between these two doctrines by a public declaration of heresy, condemnation and removal from fellowship.

Teaching and confessing the doctrine of Justification purely is the one doctrine upon which men are judged by God to be Christian or unChristian, in Christ or outside of Christ, saved or condemned. It is the most important issue that has ever existed in the entire history of the world and will be so until Christ returns in judgement and all righteousness and glory.

By the grace and mercy of God, more people will share your concern and sincere interest in understanding what people are teaching concerning Christ's singular doctrine of Justification.

Joe Krohn said...

Brett, you are just plain wrong. And I am not denying faith, but the redemption must be there in order to believe it. I t was made clear in your quote, but you conveniently did not highlight it.

"He who believes that Christ came to redeem us, and that he has accomplished it, is really redeemed. As he believes, so is it with him. Faith carries with it the child-making spirit."

Brett Meyer said...

Joe, redeem is used with two different implications or meanings in Luther's quote.

Clearly what Luther was teaching in "He who believes that Christ came to redeem us," has a different meaning than the next phrase using redeem in "is really redeemed." The word "really" shows that there is more being communicated by his use of the word redeem, and again, in context the supposed UOJ statement is really only Justification By Faith Alone as it's preceeded by "He who believes..."

Redemption in Scripture and the Confessions means to purchase or to pay for. From what I read of both it is synonymous with Atonement. God the Father laid the iniquity, sin, of the world upon Christ and he paid for those sins.

All righteousness resides in Christ and never apart from Him. Scripture clearly teaches and the Lutheran Confessions faithfully confirm that Christ is only obtained as Mediator between God's wrath and condemnation over sin through the gracious gift of faith alone - Christ's righteousness. Therefore redeem in "He who believes that Christ came to redeem us" means "make satisfactory payment for sins" and redeemed in "is really redeemed" includes regeneration of the spirit through faith alone. That's why Luther follows with "Faith carries with it the child-making spirit" - regeneration, the adoption of sons, dying to sin, no longer under the Law but under God's grace - all is accomplished through faith.

Luther's quote I provided doesn't contain any teaching which supports unbelievers being considered by God the Father as adopted as sons, imputed Christ's inheritance, forgiven any sin by being imputed Christ's righteousness. In Scripture there is the Gospel promise of Christ's righteousness, forgiveness, adoption and eternal salvation solely through faith in Christ alone.

It is no mistake that Scripture declares in Romans 14:23, "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

Remember Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Contrary to the gospel of UOJ - Christ is of no effect to the unbelieving world who remain in unbelief.

I hope this helps clarify.

Joe Krohn said...

"Contrary to the gospel of UOJ - Christ is of no effect to the unbelieving world who remain in unbelief."

This is not justification properly delineated, Brett. In Christ is righteousness for all men. It does not mean they are all righteous since a man can reject this righteousness, justification, atonement, pardon, redemption or whatever you want to call it.

Brett Meyer said...

Joe, what is the Holy Spirit's faith created by - understanding that Scripture reveals Christ as the Author and Finisher of that faith.

Is faith created by a promise that believing in Christ, and Him crucified and risen for an individual's sins.

Or is it, as the written versions of UOJ teach, created by a declaration that an individual has already been declared by God's divine verdict to be righteous, justified: forgiven all sin, pardoned and in God's grace?

District President Pastor Jon Buchholz alluded to the second option as the correct one in his 2005 Convention essay when he stated, "God has forgiven all sins, but the unbeliever rejects God’s forgiveness." Again, this statement is true—and Luther employed similar terminology to press the point of Christ’s completed work of salvation.16 But we must also recognize that Scripture doesn’t speak this way." Page 7
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BuchholzJustification1.pdf

This is the same Universal Objective Justification teaching that is proposed in your statement. Your statement and DP Buchholz' are the same - such that the whole unbelieving world is considered by God the Father to be, righteous in Christ, forgiven all sin in Christ, pardoned and saved in Christ - but if they don't believe it then they don't benefit from it.

Whereas, Scripture and the Christian Book of Concord teach that the unbelieving world remains under God's wrath and condemnation over their sin and rejection of Christ and while they remain unbelievers they will never be considered by God the Father to be in Christ, justified: forgiven, righteous, pardoned or saved.

Unbelief in the doctrine of UOJ is the rejection of God's divine verdict that the unbeliever is considered by Him to be justified, righteous and worthy of eternal life.

Unbelief in the doctrine of one Justification solely By Faith Alone is the rejection of Christ and Him crucified for the world's sins.

Please clarify, correct and expound as necessary.

Joe Krohn said...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."

Brett you are not willing to look at it objectively. Your confession makes God look like He is choosing who is saved and who isn't. It does not work this way.

Brett Meyer said...

Joe, you state, "Your confession makes God look like He is choosing who is saved and who isn't."

Yes, it is God who chooses who is saved - all those who have faith in Christ alone:

Romans 8:29-30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

This does not contradict the fact that God would have all men be forgiven and saved:
1 Timothy 2:4, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

But it is not God who chooses those who are damned. Man is solely responsible for rejecting Christ - Matthew 23:37 as you quoted above.

It is God who calls, gathers and enlightens the whole Christian Church on earth through the righteousness of Christ - faith which is created and strengthened through the Word and Holy Sacraments.

Does the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification teach that if man is solely justified by faith in Christ alone then that faith becomes a synergistic work of man in which he cooperates with God in his justification?

Brett Meyer said...

I found the answer to my question - does UOJ teach that faith is a synergistic work of man if solely by faith in Christ alone man is justified: forgiven all sin.

(W)ELS Mark Zarling makes the statement, "Stressing faith as the cause of justification makes it a meritorious work."
Page 8
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/ZarlingJustification.pdf

I've read it elsewhere (more quotes can be provided if needed) and have been told this by those defending UOJ in opposition to one Justification solely By Faith Alone.

Question to those who confess the gospel of Unviversal Objective Justification: If faith is a synergistic work of man if solely by faith in Christ alone a man is forgiven - why then isn't it still a synergistic work of man when faith is required to be saved eternally?

Since, by UOJ's confession of what faith is and does, faith would be synergistic in forgiveness why isn't it synergistic in salvation? It doesn't seem possible to have it both ways. It doesn't seem possible to reject forgiveness solely by faith because it's a work of man and yet accept the very same faith in it's requirement for salvation.

Joe Krohn said...

Seems you are chasing your tail, Brett. That or whether or not the tail wags the dog or vice versa.

I also do no think you understand election. God does not choose. Please show this in scripture.

He foreknew and then predestined the elect for His gifts. The rest is a mystery. This is your problem.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Actually, Joe, I think Brett is making a lot of sense. I'm not sure I understand your points.

"God does not choose"? I don't know what you mean with this. "To elect" means "to choose." (Eph 1:4) If God is said to have elected certain people to salvation, that is the same thing as saying He chose certain people to be saved.

But I would ask that you please not steer this discussion toward election. If you want to talk about election sometime, that's great (A. Hunnius will be a big help on that, too.) It will only sidetrack the current discussion on justification, and whether or not God has already justified all the Muslims and Hottentots and Atheists in the world. So please, save a discussion of election for another time. Let's keep it on the topic of how sinners are justified before God.

Brett Meyer said...

Mark 13:20
John 15:16

Joe Krohn said...

Brett, those verses don't work. John is pulled out of context and you are bending Mark. That dog don't hunt.

It is on topic, Pr. Election and Justification are intertwined whether you admit it or not. He elects those He has foreseen. Big difference.

All people have Justification in Christ. Either it is received in faith or thrown away in rejection. I am done here.

Peter Prange said...

How are the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:9,10 to be understood? "This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

It seems to me that St Paul is making a distinction here between believers and unbelievers, but that it would be proper to say on the basis of this passage that, objectively speaking, Jesus is the Savior of unbelievers, that the Father's wrath over against all sin has been appeased by the perfect, once for all, sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is "especially" the Savior of those who believe, because they will actually benefit from his saving work. But, objectively speaking, Jesus is also the Savior of those who do not believe, right?

Also, isn't the basis of an unbeliever's ultimate judgment the fact that he stubbornly refused to believe something that was objectively true? (Mt 23:37) If something is not really true until I believe it, how can I be condemned for not believing it? I can't be held accountable - can I? - because it wasn't true/real, since I never believed it. (I hope that makes sense).

Help me understand what I'm missing.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Pete, those are good questions.

First, the question about 1 Tim. 4:9. “…the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” Melanchthon and Chemnitz (in their respective Loci) both conclude that God is the Savior of all men in the sense of divine Preservation, that is, with respect to the earthly gifts He gives to all men such as sunshine, rain, harvests, etc., while He is the spiritual Savior of believers in Christ.

Gerhard cites several other Fathers who share this understanding, such as Ambrose and Jerome. He cites Theophylact who explains this verse as a parallel to 1 Tim. 2:4, “God wants all men to be saved.” Gerhard’s personal understanding is that “God is the Savior of all on account of the universal acquisition of salvation obtained through Christ, and because of the universal mercy of God who seriously desires the salvation of all; but He is especially the Savior of believers on account of both the acquisition and the application of salvation.”

I am happy with any of these interpretations, though I favor Gerhard. I am more than willing to speak of Christ having obtained or acquired salvation for all, just as I am willing to say that Christ obtained or acquired righteousness for all, or that Christ has acquired eternal life for all. But not all have been made alive, not all have been declared righteous, and not all have been saved, because that includes the application of the benefit.
But I am equally persuaded by Luther’s interpretation of John 1, which would apply just as well to this passage:

He says “it enlightens all people who come into this world”; this is without a doubt said of all human beings who are born. St. Augustine says one must interpret the passage to mean that no man is enlightened except by this light, in the same way that one customarily says of a teacher in a city, where there is no other teacher, that this teacher teaches everyone in the city, i.e., there is no teacher in this city except this one. He alone has all the pupils. Saying this does not mean that he is teaching all the people in the city, but merely that there is only one teacher in the city and that nobody is taught by another person.

Thus here, too, the evangelist did not intend that John or any other human being or any creature should be the light, but that there is only one light which illumines all men and that not a single human being could come upon the earth who could be illumined by anybody else. I do not know how to disagree with this interpretation; for in the same manner also St. Paul writes in Romans 5[:18]: “As through one man’s sin condemnation has come over all men, so through one man’s righteousness justification has come over all men.” Yet not all men are justified through Christ, nevertheless he is the man through whom all justification comes. It is the same here. Even if not all men are illumined, yet this is the light from which alone all illumination comes. (AE:52:71)


Continued…

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

…Continued

When you say “the Father's wrath over against all sin has been appeased by the perfect, once for all, sacrifice of Jesus,” that is true wherever Christ is. But where Christ is not, there the Father’s wrath abides (John 3:36). Or as Luther says, To the extent that Christ rules by His grace in the hearts of the faithful, there is no sin or death or curse. But where Christ is not known, there these things remain. (AE:26:282), or This does not mean that there is no sin in us, as the sophists have taught when they said that we must go on doing good until we are no longer conscious of any sin; but sin is always present, and the godly feel it. But it is ignored and hidden in the sight of God, because Christ the Mediator stands between; because we take hold of Him by faith, all our sins are sins no longer. But where Christ and faith are not present, here there is no forgiveness of sins or hiding of sins. On the contrary, here there is the sheer imputation and condemnation of sins. (AE:26:133).

You asked, “isn't the basis of an unbeliever's ultimate judgment the fact that he stubbornly refused to believe something that was objectively true?”

Well, yes, but what is it he is supposed to believe? That all people, including he, have already been justified, or that Christ has already saved him? Not at all, but that “whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.” He is to believe a promise. He is to believe in the objective reality that is Christ Jesus and the satisfaction He made for sin and the righteousness that He offers in the Word of the Gospel.

But no, the thing promised does not already have to have happened in order for someone to believe a promise. One does not have to believe he has already been justified in order to be justified. In the same way, Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. He believed a promise. The promise is objective. Again, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (or any number of promises). God makes a promise of justification to all who believe (Rom. 3:22,26). In the same way, the Ten Lepers did not need to believe that they were already healed before they came to Jesus for healing. They came trusting in His Word, His power, and His will to heal them. Christ Himself was the object of their faith, and Jesus said to the one who returned, “Your faith has saved you.”

Brett Meyer said...

Just wanted to add an observation regarding this statement, "If something is not really true until I believe it, how can I be condemned for not believing it? I can't be held accountable - can I? - because it wasn't true/real, since I never believed it. (I hope that makes sense)."

This is a dilemma caused by the doctrine of Objective Justification establishing a false object of faith. UOJ teaches that the object of faith, the only thing that can create faith, is that the individual has already been declared by the omnipotent God to be justified: forgiven all sin, guiltless, righteous and worthy of eternal life.

But the true object of the Holy Spirit's faith is Christ, and Him crucified for each individual's sins. The promise is that by believing in Christ the individual will die to sin, die to the Law, be raised again to live under God's grace being Spiritually minded, receive Christ's righteousness for the forgiveness of all sins and eternal salvation. But mark this - the object of the faith of Holy Scripture is Christ. It is not sins already forgiven.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Clearly these are but a few of the Word's of God which declare the object of faith is Christ and not the forgiveness of sins.

Understanding this critical part of Christ's Gospel eliminates any need for the terms Objective and Subjective. Especially in light of the fact that the work of the Holy Spirit graciously working Godly contrition over sin and faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life is equally as Objective as Christ's atonement for the world's sins in that it is all a work of God without any contribution from man. There has never been a need or reason for differentiating between Objective and Subjective when faithfully confessing God's Word.

I hope this helps clarify these critical issues.

Brett Meyer said...

Providing examples that the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification teaches a false object of faith which is contrary to the object of the Holy Spirit's faith. Compare these quotes to God's Word quoted above:

District President Jon Buchholz
“But the concept of an entirely Christocentric, completed forgiveness for all people that exists before faith and as the object of saving faith is found even in the writings of the ancient church fathers.” Page 11

Kurt Marquart being approvingly quoted by Pastor Jon Buchholz
“Absolution is prior to, and creates faith, not vice versa.” Page 32

Marquart
“On the one hand forgiveness is the result of faith, and thus comes after faith, and on the other hand it is the object of faith and therefore goes before faith.” Page 34

Buchholz
“It is very clear here that forgiveness, in the form of the absolution, exists before and independently of faith, and creates or gives birth to it. Forgiveness or absolution (that is, the Gospel itself) creates faith; faith merely receives or accepts forgiveness. Absolution can exist without faith (although its benefits of course go to waste unless faith receives them), but faith cannot exist without absolution.107” Page 35
http://azcadistrict.com/sites/default/files/papers/Buchholz_2012-10.pdf

Jon Buchholz
“The general justification accomplished in God’s great exchange at the cross provides the object for justifying faith which personally grasps the objective truth.” Page 6
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BuchholzJustification1.pdf

Peter Prange said...

Thanks, Paul, for your kind attention to my question and comment.

Much as I appreciate what "the fathers" had to say about 1 Timothy 4:9,10, I'm more interested in what our Savior says through the inspired pen of the Apostle. I have a hard time understanding how most of the commentators you quoted could argue that Paul's words are analogous to Jesus' words in Matthew 5:45, that Jesus is the "Savior of all men" only with respect to their material well-being. There is absolutely nothing in those words or within the context of those words to suggest that the Apostle Paul was calling Jesus "the Savior of all men," only with respect to divine providence. Is that the message for which Paul and Timothy were "laboring and striving," that Jesus provides for your earthly needs, whether you believe in him or not? No, they were laboring and striving to proclaim the eternal salvation that is found in Christ Jesus alone, whether you believe it or not. They were called to proclaim, "Jesus is your only Savior" (whether you believe it or not, though I wouldn't suggest that you NOT believe it). I agree with you that Gerhard's understanding is the best of those of whom you quoted. The others, in my estimation, can be kindly disregarded.

As for John 3:36, I understand those words to be saying that the reason for the Father's wrath is NOT that Jesus' work of salvation for all people is somehow incomplete ("It is finished."), and I know that you yourself clearly assert that Jesus has made atonement for the sins of all people. The reason for the wrath described in John 3:36 is that an unbeliever "rejects the Son," who is, in fact, the Savior of all men. In other words, they will not be saved, even though, for all intents and purposes, salvation was theirs in Jesus. That reality highlights just how sad and stubborn unbelief is (and that God's eternal judgment is so many ways self-inflicted), as Jesus himself expresses in Matthew 23:37.

In the end, I think it's real important that we define our terms when controversy arises, otherwise we are very likely to talk past one another. It is also beneficial, I believe, to heed the advice of Prof. Joh. Ph. Koehler: "This must be observed above all in controversy. Fairness demands that we seek to understand our opponent, not as his words can or must be understood, but as he wants them to be understood. That provides first the right basis for the same understanding of the terms, without which an agreement is impossible from the outset" ("The Analogy of Faith," The Wauwatosa Theology, Vol. 1, p. 263).

I'm signing off, as I don't think I have much more to add to this discussion.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I'm more interested in what our Savior says through the inspired pen of the Apostle.

Come on, Pete. Let's not pretend that Chemnitz and Melanchthon weren't interested in what their Savior had to say. We're not talking about reprobates here. Perhaps they were simply relying on the analogy of faith, which makes it clear that God has not already "saved" all men, since most men remain condemned in Satan's kingdom and will never be "saved" at all--which isn't God's fault, but it's still the reality.

The work of "salvation," as defined by Scripture, is "finished" when the Holy Spirit brings people into the kingdom of Christ. The Holy Spirit has a vital role in God's plan of salvation. Father, Son and Spirit.

Christ's completed work was the earning or meriting or acquiring of the gift of salvation. He was not finished "saving" people at Calvary. To say that salvation was "finished" at Calvary is, at best, imprecise. That's why the Scriptures rightly say that "Baptism now saves you."

You can't say that the wrath of John 3:36 is only for "rejecting" the Son. You can't reject something that has never been presented to you, and children when they are conceived and born, like all who have never even heard the Gospel, cannot be said to "reject" the Son about whom they have never heard. Nevertheless, the Scriptures say that they are born in sin and are children of wrath until they are converted. Surely you are not saying that people are born with a righteous status before God until they hear the Gospel and reject it?

The simpler answer is that they are born as sinners, condemned because they have no righteousness with which to be justified. Since they do not know Christ, they do not trust in Christ and so do not receive His righteousness, which comes only by faith. Therefore, they remain under wrath and were never justified in the first place.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Brett, you highlighted a major sticking point in this whole discussion.

You quoted DP Buchholz as saying, "The general justification accomplished in God’s great exchange at the cross provides the object for justifying faith which personally grasps the objective truth."

First of all, history is finally revealing the truth that the Lutheran Church, from its very beginning absolutely rejected the notion of a "general justification." Hunnius has made than abundantly clear.

The second point has to do with "God's great exchange." There is a critical difference here between the two sides. The UOJ side teaches that God's great exchange was "finished" or completed 2,000 years ago.

But that is not what Luther taught about the "blessed exchange" (as he called it). More importantly, it is not what the Scriptures teach.

The Scriptures teach (2 Cor. 5:21) that God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

UOJ proponents read (or at least treat) this verse as saying that "all people were in Christ when He died on the cross and all people became the righteousness of God at that moment." In other words, the sins of all were charged to Christ, and His righteousness, in turn, was imputed to all people.

(Buchholz tries to run away from the term "imputed" here because the imputation of Christ's righteousness is so clearly tied to faith alone. But one cannot have the justification of sinners apart from the imputation of righteousness.)

The Scriptures teach that the sins of all were charged to Christ and He suffered for them all on the cross. But the other part of the "exchange," where His righteousness is imputed to sinners, was not completed 2,000 years ago, but only takes place as the Holy Spirit brings people to faith in Christ. His righteousness is only credited or imputed to believers, although He suffered for the sins of all.

The dangerous teaching of UOJ creates a fictional "completed exchange" at the cross and makes it the object of faith, so that, unless you believe that you, together with all people, were justified before you were born, you have no saving faith. I know that sounds extreme, but I have heard it put just that way from some of the more vehement supporters of UOJ.

Peter Prange said...

Dear Paul:

I also know that you know how the Ohio and Iowa men armed themselves with so-called "Analogy of Faith" in the early 20th century in order to ignore what the clear Scriptures say about the doctrine of election. My only point is that we should have our discussion on the basis of what the inspired writer has to say. Just because Paul's words in 1 Timothy 4:9,10 don't square with your fixed formula/sytem (or someone else's, for that matter), you're not allowed to dismiss clear words of Scripture by means of the so-called "Analogy of Faith." VDMA.

Grace and peace,
Peter

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Peter, that's a red herring. If you really want to stick with what the inspired writer says in 1 Tim. 4:9-10, then you will leave it at "Savior of all men" and let it refer to who the living God is, rather than interpret it to mean "the One who has already objectively saved all men and declared them righteous in His sight." I daresay, such an interpretation comes neither from the inspired text nor from the analogy of faith, but from the Analogy of UOJ.

Anonymous said...

Peter said:

"In the end, I think it's real important that we define our terms when controversy arises."

I also think that's vitally important especially in this debate.

The Book of Concord defines Justification as taking place "by grace alone, through faith alone, through the Word alone" (Solid Declaration III:25 et al.).

Today we have a new definition - or new way of parsing the definition - of Justification that does not include faith or the Word (i.e. "Objective Justification"). Hasn't this new definition been what causes confusion and contributes to faulty ways of explaining how a person is saved (righteous saints in hell, etc.)?

What was inadequate with the "old way" of defining Justification that we needed to come up with a "new and improved version." If it's because there is confusion about the role of faith in a person's salvation, how about re-affirming the definition and role of faith - as the Book of Concord does adequately.

These theologians have a definition of Justification that seem to be at odds with each other. Who's right? Who's wrong? Can there be a compromise position?:

http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2013/02/chemnitz-on-judicial-or-forensic.html

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Dear Intrepid Lutheran Readers:

Rev. Peter Prange brings up a very important, relevant, and relatively recent episode in the history of American Lutheranism -- the Election dispute of the late 19th and early 20th Century, which involved not only the doctrine of Election, but also the doctrines of Justification and Conversion. It was a dispute which literally eviscerated American Lutheranism (especially the old Norwegian Synod). If the reader would care for a brief primer on the issues, and would like to compare the claims of the Ohio and Iowa Synods against those of Rev. Rydecki (as Rev. Prange implicitly suggests), he is encouraged to read the following article posted by Intrepid Lutherans back in November of 2010: Carl Manthey-Zorn on Justification, Conversion and Election: An explanation in context. Rev. Carl Manthey-Zorn is a primary source, an eye-witness to, and participant in, this extended controversy dispute, who writes to WELS laymen in the early 20th Century who have questions about its significance. Being a primary source, his narrative is highly valuable. In my opinion, in light of this primary source material, all positive comparisons of the claims the Ohio/Iowa Synods to the position of Rev. Rydecki are ridiculous.

However, in this post, Rev. Manthey-Zorn characterizes the position of the Synodical Conference regarding Justification, as follows:

In Christ forgiveness of sins, or justification, is already accomplished and is held in store for the entire world. When God accepted Christ’s atoning sacrifice for the entire world, He forgave the sins of all the world and justified the world unto eternal life. This forgiveness of sins and justification, which is in Christ, God offers to all the world by means of His Word and Holy Spirit. And whosoever receives this forgiveness of sins and justification possesses it. In this manner we receive, by faith, the forgiveness of sins and are justified and saved.

Unlike today's advocates of Universal Objective Justification (who seem to claim that all sinners already have forgiveness of sins and righteous standing before God), this characterization seems to preclude the idea that any individual has salvation or justification apart from faith. What is "having forgiveness of sins and righteous standing before God" apart from actually possessing it? Nothing, really. At the same time, this characterization also seems to preclude any further "work" by God in the justification of sinners, outside of His work in them directly – offering the benefit of His completed work to those who, lacking faith, do not possess this benefit, through the Means of Grace, and granting this benefit only to those who quickened, regenerated, converted, etc.

Continued in next comment...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...continued from previous comment.

So, in the interest of "helping" a fruitful discussion, I pose a few questions for Rev. Rydecki:

1. How would you explain the difference between Manthey-Zorn's characterization of SC doctrine, and the doctrine you defend?

2. What differences (if any) between Manthey-Zorn's characterization of SC doctrine and the variety of current UOJ positions can you identify?

3. Some accuse those who hold to Justification by Faith Alone of Synergism. This is, apparently, a consequence of an in-time work of God in the Justification of the sinner, outside of the sinner himself – i.e., God does something objectively for man, then some condition is met in man (whether that condition is met in man by God, or in man by his own effort), to which God responds with a further “objective” work (i.e. an “in-time” declaration of forgiveness). Many are accusing you of Synergism on this account. How do you handle this? Do you say that Synergism is a Biblical doctrine, or do your accusers operate from an improper definition of Synergism? (Or have I, in this question, entirely botched the definition they are working from...?)

Just some questions...

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I'll start working up some answers to those questions. It may take the form of a separate post. :)

David Clearwood said...

Two points I want to make: whatever Luther implied by his translation of "reconciling" it has to be filtered throught the original Greek in order to arrive at the biblical teaching on Objective Justification. That said, it should also be noted that participles in Greek are dependent on the tense of the indicative verb, so even though they are present participles they are denoting actions in the past. The implication of this passage is that in the ministry of Christ during his life here on earth 2000 years ago God was in Him reconciling the world to himself then. The objective reconciliation was completed with the resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:25). This completed reconciliation is in turn delivered to the world by the Church, those proclaiming the Gospel being ambassadors for Christ with the hope of the Holy Spirit regenerating those who hear. As many as are regenerated are justified subjectively.

The other point I wanted to make is that as I have noticed about books printed in the 16th century is that the German is printed defectively. I would think that one could reliably check the Weimarer Ausgabe Deutsche Bibel volumes for the correct words of Luther's Bible on 2 Cor. 5:19. --Rev. David R. Boisclair, STM (LCMS pastor)

Peter Prange said...

One clarification, Mr. Lindee, because I think you failed to understand the point I was making when I brought up the Ohio and Iowa Synods. I was simply referring to their practice of modifying clear words of Scripture on the basis of the so-called Analogy of Faith. Actually, Joh. Ph. Koehler's "The Analogy of Faith" (Volume 1 in the Wauwatosa Theology) would be a much better prime resource to the point I was making.

FWIW. My final word.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. In reply, first, obviously Luther's German version was not the inspired one. No one claims that it was. Some, however, have pointed back to it as proof that Luther saw OJ in this verse. The evidence is against them.

Second, your point about the participle following the tense of the main verb is true, but not complete. It is still a participle, which often (usually) denotes ongoing action. It does not necessarily denote "completed" action, even if the main verb is a past tense verb, and less so when the main verb is an imperfect vs. an aorist.

You say the implication is that Christ work of "reconciling the world" was "completed" at His resurrection. That is not proven from the text, and even less so from Romans 4:25 where both the Greek and the surrounding verses make clear that "we who believe on Him who raised our Lord from the dead" are the objects of this "justification" and not the entire unbelieving world.

But back to the point about verb tenses and participles. I have made the same argument concerning Romans 3:24, where the preceding main verb is a present indicative and the verb for "being justified" is a present passive participle. There is no way one can make this a one-time past even justification, which many UOJ proponents are wont to do.

Finally, I have done much translation work in 16th Century German works. It's not that the German is not reliable or "defective," as you say. It's that it doesn't always follow modern rules of spelling. Nonetheless, it is usually consistent with itself. To assert that a 19th Century update of Luther's original manuscripts are more reliable than the original manuscripts doesn't make sense.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

*should have been "...no way one can make this a one-time past event justification."

Brett Meyer said...

The Christian Book of Concord – the Lutheran Confessions only teach reconciliation with God solely through faith alone. Prior to faith God considers no one reconciled to Him through Christ in any sense or in any other way.

The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith. Therefore, by faith alone we obtain remission of sins, when we comfort our hearts with confidence in the mercy promised for 81] Christ's sake. Likewise Paul, Rom. 5:2, says: By whom also we have access, and adds, by faith. Thus, therefore, we are reconciled to the Father, and receive remission of sins when we are comforted with confidence in the mercy promised for Christ's sake. The adversaries regard Christ as Mediator and Propitiator for this reason, namely, that He has merited the habit of love; they do not urge us to use Him now as Mediator, but, as though Christ were altogether buried, they imagine that we have access through our own works, and, through these, merit this habit, and afterwards, by this love, come to God. Is not this to bury Christ altogether, and to take away the entire doctrine of faith? Paul on the contrary, teaches that we have access, i.e., reconciliation, through Christ. And to show how this occurs, he adds that we have access by faith. By faith, therefore, for Christ's sake, we receive remission of sins. We cannot set our own love and our own works over against God's wrath.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

86] But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy. Accordingly, Scripture testifies that by faith we are accounted righteous, Rom. 3:26. We, therefore, will add testimonies which clearly declare that faith is that very righteousness by which we are accounted righteous before God, namely, not because it is a work that is in itself worthy, but because it receives the promise by which God has promised that for Christ's sake He wishes to be propitious to those believing in Him, or because He knows that Christ of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows. 115]Nor, indeed, is this faith an idle knowledge, neither can it coexist with mortal sin, but it is a work of the Holy Ghost, whereby we are freed from death, and terrified minds are encouraged and quickened. 116]
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

16] This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God sonship, and heirship of eternal life.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php

LPC said...

If I may, I wish to add what I view as the arrogance of C F W Walther when it came to the doctrine of election. Apparently his opponents kept on quoting to him the writings of the BoC writers. Here is what he had to say...
The principal means by which our opponents endeavor to support their doctrine, consists in continually quoting passages from the private writings of the fathers of our Church, published subsequent to the _Formula of Concord_. But whenever a controversy arises concerning the question, whether a doctrine is Lutheran, we must not ask: "What does this or that
'father' of the Lutheran Church teach in his private writings?" for he also
may have fallen into error;


Is it likely the BoC writers erred on the topic of election as Walther supposed? Is that the only possibility?

Granted the BoC fathers were not fallible and they could have been inconsistent with themselves, but is that likely they deviated from what they wrote?


What about the possibility that it was Walther himself who misunderstood the teaching of the BoC when it came to election?

Which possibility do you test first, I say test first Walther before you test the BoC Fathers.


This is like saying the framers of the US Constitution should not be consulted when you want to understand what they meant as they might have been confused in their writings.

Is the BoC an art work that you can extrude it from those who framed it?

That is the height of folly.

LPC

David Clearwood said...

Pastor Rydecki, thank you for taking the time to respond. I most certainly respect and extol your translation work and understanding of 16th and 17th century Lutheran theology. I appreciate your contribution to the Church of the Aegidius Hunnius theses against Huberianism. I have a copy, and I read them with interest. I would submit, though, that the WA DB scholars had before them all of the then extant editions of Luther's Bible. I suppose that I will have to look into this myself; however, from my experience I have noticed that 16th century printed books are printed very defectively and can be somewhat unreliable. I suppose that one is well served with having more than one copy to establish what the actual text is. There is not much difference between versoehnet and versoehnetet. Of course, it is immaterial if the verbs used are present or past tense as it depends on what standpoint that one is taking whether one is to look at the action in the context of the time of Jesus' sojourn on earth or the time after the resurrection. I think that it is significant that faith does not enter into this reconciling. God did it on his own in Christ irrespective of faith. Faith is implied in the call to be reconciled not in the action of God's reconciling "the world" unto Himself.

Another point I would like to make about Huber and Hunnius. Hunnius was reacting to Huber's doctrine that what we call subjective justification is universal not what we call objective justification. There is no parallel between Huber's heresy and our belief in Objective Justification.

Brett Meyer said...

David, would you show the points in which you believe Huber's doctrine of Objective Justification differs from the Lutheran Synod's teaching of Objective Justification?

From reading Hunnius and Leyser I find that Huber teaches the same doctrine.

These quotes are Hunnius' response to Huber's teaching concerning the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification:
Thesis 1
Huber professes such a justification, for the sake of whi ch Christ has properly, actually and practically conferred rede mption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been equally remitted to all men, including the Turks10 1, and that all men (in­ cluding unbelievers) have received remission of sins, and that the whole human race has, in actual fact, been received into the grace and bosom of God.


Thesis 2
Hence he says that all those to whom the Gospel is proclai•1ed are to be called "elect, justified by God, sanctified, redeen• d ," and some of these are said to be "believing and converted."


Thesis 3
This universal justification of the entire human race he considers (even without respect to faith in Christ) to be fully completed 102, sins having been remitted on account of the satisfaction made by the Son of God and swallowed up in His own blood and wounds. These things he says concerning his justification.
Page 57
Theses Opposed To Huberianism
A Defense Of The Lutheran Doctrine Of Justification
Aegidius Hunnius
Translated by Pastor Paul Rydecki

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, thank you for your kind words. I have not attempted to offer definitive proof regarding the variants in Luther's works and their transmission over the centuries. That would be interesting for someone to look into. All I have done is to pull out another historical fact that needs to be dealt with rather than written off.

The same is true with Hunnius. You cannot write him off so lightly as he deals with Huber. I wonder if you realize what a monumental assertion you have made to say that "there is no parallel between Huber's heresy and our belief in OJ." Would you mind demonstrating the truth of that statement?

I have never suggested that Walther or anyone in the Synodical Conference copied and pasted from Huber. But the similarities are striking.

Two things must be demonstrated. First, how is OJ different from what Huber taught? Whoever responds to this, I ask that you please describe the difference *without* using the words "objective/subjective."

Second, how does Hunnius present the Lutheran teaching on justification? If it is supposedly true that the Lutheran Church always assumed a "general justification," how is it that Hunnius condemns that language without ever presenting the supposed "true" (and fundamental!) Lutheran doctrine of objective justification?

Brett Meyer said...

David also makes the following statement, "I think that it is significant that faith does not enter into this reconciling. God did it on his own in Christ irrespective of faith. Faith is implied in the call to be reconciled not in the action of God's reconciling "the world" unto Himself."

Actually the direct quotes from the Christian Book of Concord (two comments above David's) clearly show that the Lutheran Confessions only teach reconciliation with God through faith alone and never before or without faith. Faith alone (the righteousness of Christ) is the only Means by which men are reconciled to God.

An example from the quotes above (there are many more quotes from the BOC to this effect):

113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows. 115]Nor, indeed, is this faith an idle knowledge, neither can it coexist with mortal sin, but it is a work of the Holy Ghost, whereby we are freed from death, and terrified minds are encouraged and quickened. 116]
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

David Clearwood said...

I must say that I find any interest in the orthodox theologians of the 16th and 17th century refreshing! There was a resurgence of it in our synod in the 70s and 80s, but it is waning away with the trendiness that we see in our churches of today.

With fear and trembling I would say that as much as I admire Aegidius and his son Nikolaus Hunnius that I would have to say that if they are teaching something that is contrary to Holy Scripture, then we sadly must decline from them insofar as that is the case. Even as orthodox a theologian as Martin Chemnitz was shown to be hesitating in his confession of the omnipresence of Christ's human nature by the communication of attributes when he refused to state straightforwardly that Christ was present according to His human nature even in dirty places. Franz Pieper points this out in his masterful dogmatics, which is thoroughly scriptural.

Now as to the theses in question in Dr. Hunnius's work:

Thesis 1
Huber professes such a justification, for the sake of which Christ has properly, actually and practically conferred redemption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been equally remitted to all men, including the Turks and that all men (including unbelievers) have received remission of sins, and that the whole human race has, in actual fact, been received into the grace and bosom of God.

This is Universalism pure and simple. The Wisconsin Synod, the ELS, and the Missouri Synod repudiate this false doctrine. The difference lies in the phrase: "... Christ has properly, actually and practically conferred redemption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been equally remitted to all men, including the Turks and that all men (including unbelievers) have received remission of sins ..." In God's reconciliation of the world unto Himself through Christ He does not confer redemption on all people nor have they all received it. This is a damnable error that we do not teach. We believe that the conferral and the reception of the reconciliation comes through the means of grace. That is why in 2 Cor. 5:20 Paul writes: "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" God completed His end of redemption, a complete and perfect redemption. As Luther said that it was won for us on Calvary and in the soon to be empty tomb, but IT IS NOT CONFERRED THERE. Huber is guilty of the false doctrine of Universal Subjective Justification not Objective Justification. Here we are agreed with A. Hunnius that this is a damnable doctrine.

In our preaching, teaching, and confessing we do not teach the same as Huber that all listeners are elect, believing, etc. What would be the need for preaching, then, if everyone already had received justification? It is true of any heresy that it is a truth that is pushed too far. In this case Huber pushed the biblical doctrine of God's perfect, universal redemption so far that he removed the need for bringing the Gospel and the other means of grace to the world. God has reconciled the world to Himself; now it remains for unbelievers in that fact to be brought to faith through the means of grace.

I do not think that anyone in WELS, ELS, or LCMS would repudiate what Aegidius Hunnius wrote against Huber. I subscribe to Hunnius's articles, but I do not find that Huber is teaching the same thing as we are when we teach OJ/SJ. Perhaps we should avoid using the Calvinist terminology and call these justifications "general" and "individual."

David Clearwood said...

Now we have Thesis 3. This would be a problem if one were to stop there. My question is: isn't Christ's redemption perfect in and of itself that we would have nothing to add? Faith adds nothing to justification it simply receives the perfect redemption gained by Christ. One thing you have to watch out for in asserting "sola fide" is that as an exclusive particle it does not bind Justification to itself insofar that Justification cannot be considered without it. It merely means that when someone is justified that he is not justified by his own righteousness. Faith is the "organum leptikon" that receives the forgiveness of sins that Christ gained for all. Faith is something wholly created by God the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who are being saved through the means of grace.

Brett Meyer said...

David, you write, "Paul writes: "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" God completed His end of redemption, a complete and perfect redemption."

Can you explain further - Would you define what you mean by Redemption? When you say "His end of redemption" you seem to indicate God isn't responsible for all of it - please clarify.

You state, "God has reconciled the world to Himself;" As noted above with the quotes from the Lutheran Confessions God has not reconciled the world to Himself. Individuals are reconciled to God through faith alone. Outside of faith in Christ alone the world remains under God's wrath and condemnation.

Regarding the error of teaching that Christ gained or won the forgiveness of sins for the whole world as though God has made a declaration that for the sake of Christ He has forgiven the world objectively - it has been addressed in a more recent post here: http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2013/02/comparing-huberianism-and-lutheranism.html

Huber was teaching Objective Justification - the same UOJ which District President Jon Buchholz removed Pastor Paul Rydecki from the (W)ELS for - and which clergy from the ELS and LCMS wish they could have had the opportunity to removed Pastor Rydecki from his divinely called office for.

David Clearwood said...

Brett, I guess that I was speaking a little loosely here in saying "God's end of it." Actually as you say God does ALL of it. This is declared in 2 Cor. 5:18: "All this is from God" (ESV). What I mean by redemption is the active and passive obedience of Christ by virtue of which God justifies the world of sinners in the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 4:25). I mean the vicarious satisfaction of Christ by which our sins were laid on Him at His crucifixion (Is. 53:6). Also 2 Cor. 5 puts it: "He died for all" (verse 15). You also have John the Baptist's words, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). "God was reconciling the world to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). Note: "the world" not believers, not the elect, but the world. This is in line with Romans 5:18: "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men." That is the first phase to make satisfaction for sin (Hebrews 1:3: After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high). The second phase is the conferral of this completed reconciliation through faith when it is delivered to humankind through the word of the Gospel and the Sacraments.

To say that God has not reconciled the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19) is to contradict Scripture. The Lutheran Confessions do not say that He has NOT reconciled the world to Himself.

For the reasons stated in my previous post but one: Huber was not teaching Objective Justification as WELS, ELS, and the LCMS teach Objective Justification. To say that WELS, ELS, and the LCMS are teaching Huberianism is to bear false witness against them. Please also look at the reasons that I gave for showing the difference between Huber and us.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, you have not yet proven that the WELS teaches differently than Huber. Huber taught that redemption had been conferred on all men. So does the WELS. In fact, that is exactly what "justification" is, the application (or conferring) of the atonement made by Christ to sinners. The WELS teaches that, in God's divine courtroom, He has already applied the redemption of Christ to the human race in such a way as to declare the entire human race righteous in His sight. He has already conferred the redemption of Christ on the human race in such a way that He has already forgiven all people their sins for the sake of Christ (all of this is stated clearly in the This We Believe statement).

But just as Huber also taught that faith was necessary for "final" justification and for sinners to go to heaven, so the WELS also teaches that faith is necessary for "final" justification and for sinners to go to heaven. Huber did not teach Universalism any more than the WELS does.

I agree that the WELS does not fully embrace Huber's "universal election," but so far I have found little if any difference in their teaching on justification.

David Clearwood said...

Paul, thank you for responding. You have to admit that Huber was a Universalist because he taught that Turks were saved without faith. Isn't that one of the theses in question? To my thinking the offense that Mehlfuherus and Hunnius were exposing was Huber's Universalism.

Let me ask you this. Is Christ's work of redemption complete or do we contribute anything to it with our faith? What do you do with Romans 5:18 as justification and life to all men?

Could you quote from This We Believe to prove that it teaches Huberianism by using the word confer?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, when I get back in the office I'll include some quotes.

But I think you're misunderstanding Huber when he says that the Turks were saved. He was *not* saying that Turks go to heaven. Far from it. Huber absolutely did not teach that Turks are saved as in going to heaven. What he taught was that God had justified the Turks, together with all people. But if the Turks do not believe, then they end up forfeiting their justification. That is exactly what the WELS teaches. And in fact, many in WELS, including DP Buchholz, insist on saying that God has already "saved" everyone in the world. But he, like Huber, denies that this means "final salvation."

David Clearwood said...

Paul, thank you. I would appreciate the quotes if you would be so kind to include them.

This debate is not a new one. It has probably been brewing before and during our present time since the time of R.C.H. Lenski and his interpretation of 2 Cor. 5. In the LCMS there is Walter A. Maier, who questioned our doctrine of Objective Justification on the basis of 2 Cor. 5, but felt that 1 Tim. 3:16 taught it in that Christ was justified for us.

I think that we have to say that even if A. Hunnius along with all the Lutheran dogmaticians are wrong about scriptural teaching, then they cannot be followed.

In confessing the doctrine of Objective Justification the idea is to be faithful to Scripture and the truth of the Gospel. Remember that Luther used the analogy of a king giving all his subjects a castle, but some did not know about it or rejected it. Luther said that any individual subject had the castle even though he didn't take possession of it. The fault was in the subject for not receiving it not in the king granting it. Luther ended by saying that just because the subject did not receive the castle did not mean that it wasn't deeded to him.

Have you read any of Huber's writings to give such a disclaimer? Perhaps in the Theses you translated this is not something that is evident. A person has to receive the forgiveness of sins by faith in order for the gift to be received. God's justifying the world of sinners does no individual any good if that individual does not have faith.

It is sad that there has to be such disagreement among confessional Lutherans.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, I'll add quotes as I find them. I'm in and out of internet for the rest of the evening.

You're certainly right that if Hunnius and Chemnitz were wrong about Scriptural teaching, they cannot be followed. The thing is, I think it was Hunnius and Chemnitz who were right about Scriptural teaching, and those who teach the justification of the world who are not teaching according to Scripture (see my latest post on the proper understanding of 2 Cor. 5 - Reconciling the world--but not without means).

You cite the Luther quote about the castle. But that very quote teaches squarely against the justification of all men. Luther is talking about the efficacy of the keys, not about universal justification without the keys. He says that if the binding key is used, it binds whether one believes or not. And if the loosing key is used (which is only to be used on the penitent in the first place), then its use is valid even if the wretch doesn't believe it. The "king giving the castle" is the use of the loosing key. To assert that all men have been "given the castle" who have never even heard the Gospel goes directly against Luther's point. Here are a few sentences of that quote in context:

Our present discussion is not about believing or not believing in the keys. We are well aware that few believe in them. But we are speaking of what the keys effect and give. Of course, if a person does not accept what they give, he has nothing; but that is not the fault of the keys. Many disbelieve the Gospel, but that does not make the Gospel a failure or a lying message. A king gives you a castle; if you do not accept it, that does not make the king a liar nor his gift spurious. You have cheated yourself; it is entirely your own fault; the king certainly gave you the castle.”

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Here are a couple of those WELS quotes you asked about:

“Romans 3:23,24 and Romans 5:18,19 affirm that all are sinners and all are justified. Through Adam all are condemned, and through Christ all are justified. The astonishing reality is that God has forgiven the sins of the whole world, whether people believe it or not.” (Bivens, FIC article)

1. We believe that God has justified all sinners, that is, he has declared them righteous for the sake of Christ. This is the central message of Scripture upon which the very existence of the church depends. It is a message relevant to people of all times and places, of all races and social levels, for "the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men" (Romans 5:18). All need forgiveness of sins before God, and Scripture proclaims that all have been justified, for "the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18). (This We Believe)

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Yes, Christ completed His work of redemption. Justification is the application of Christ's redeeming work to sinners, which is especially the task of the Holy Spirit.

You asked what I do with Romans 5:18. I do the same thing Luther did with it:

for in the same manner also St. Paul writes in Romans 5[:18]: “As through one man’s sin condemnation has come over all men, so through one man’s righteousness justification has come over all men.” Yet not all men are justified through Christ, nevertheless he is the man through whom all justification comes. (AE:52:71)

The Confessions treat this verse just as Luther did, as do Hunnius and Gerhard. I think they got it right. The fact that Christ earned justification for all men is not the same thing as to say that God justified all men. Not all are justified. There's no good reason to ever say that all men have, in fact, been justified.

David Clearwood said...

Thank you, Paul, for sharing this, but I do not believe that this has to be adverse to what "This We Believe" States. Allowing for the sake of argument that there are two types of justification or two sides of God's juridical act of justification, then WELS/ELS/LCMS would say, "Yes, it is true that not all men are justified INDIVIDUALLY. The gift in their case has not been received." By saying that the entire world of sinners has been justified in that Christ has been justified from the sins laid on Him at Calvary in His resurrection does not say that all people are saved: God's will is not fully consummated in General Justification. I know that you do not dispute the distinction between being justified and being finally saved. I maintain that this distinction was not made by Huber, at least the evidence that he might have made this distinction is not in the Hunnius theses that you translated because you have the word "conferred" and "received" involved. "This We Believe" does not state that God's justification of the whole world was conferred or received by the whole world. It is only conferred and received by those whom the Holy Spirit regenerates through Gospel and Sacraments.

In order not to compare apples and oranges you have to say that when Luther is speaking about justification in AE 52:71 he is not speaking about what WELS/ELS/LCMS is speaking about when they speak of General/Objective Justification.

Of course, this is all at an impasse, and can only be mended by the grace of God's Holy Spirit: "How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity" (Ps. 133:1).

Brett Meyer said...

David, the quotations from the Lutheran Confessions above concerning reconciliation with God solely through faith are opposed to the doctrine of Objective Justification which teaches as it's foundation the reconciliation of the unbelieving world to God as an imperative that it is without faith.

Per the BOC quotes - the unbelieving world is not acceptable to God while they remain in unbelief. The teaching is quite clear.

You point to the Sacraments as the conferring and reception of justification that was made as a divine verdict by God to the unbelieving world through Christ's atonement.

Yet, the Lutheran Church confesses faithfully with Scripture that those who receive Christ's Body and Blood in Holy Communion without faith - take it to their condemnation. How then does God, for Christ's sake, declare the unbelieving world justified: forgiven all sin, righteous and worthy of eternal life before and without faith.

Combine that contradiction with the Scriptural doctrine that Christ is only a Mediator between God's wrath and man through faith alone. This doctrine alone eliminates in any sense that God has forgiven the world in Christ while they remain in unbelief - while they have not obtained Christ as their Mediator.

Brett Meyer said...

UPDATE: I realize that the first response to my contention about Holy Communion, "...that those who receive Christ's Body and Blood in Holy Communion..." will probably be that the unbelieving world has not received nor been conferred Christ's Body and Blood in Objective Justification.

This defense would be incorrect for the following two reasons. First, the doctrine of UOJ teaches that faith (note the object of UOJ's faith is the forgiveness of sins and not Christ as Scripture teaches) only receives the benefit of God's declaration that the world is justified, righteous and worthy of eternal life. WELS refers to faith as an empty hand which simply recieves the benefit. The CELC in fellowship with the WELS referes to faith as an empty beggars hand when defending UOJ. Therefore the application of Christ's Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins has literally been applied and the sins of the whole world have literally been removed with Christ's Body and Blood. District President Buchholz made this same statement (completed realities) in the essay he wrote to defend his violent removal of Christ's faithful servant Pastor Rydecki:

We maintain:
God forgave the sin of the world by removing the sin of the world and placing it upon Christ. The world’s debt has been paid in full and canceled by Christ (universal forgiveness).

In the cross and empty tomb of Christ, God really has acquitted the world of sin, so that in Christ Jesus the world’s status has been changed to “justified” before God (universal justification). On this basis, real reconciliation has been effected between God and the world (universal acquittal, universal reconciliation).

Through the means of grace, these completed realities are proclaimed and distributed wherever the gospel goes out into the world.

Through Spirit-worked faith, these completed realities are appropriated and received through faith, so that the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of Christ become the possession of individual sinners (individual justification).

http://azcadistrict.com/sites/default/files/papers/Buchholz_2012-10.pdf

Another difficulty with the doctrine of UOJ is revealed in DP Buchholz' quotes above. UOJ teaches the WORLD has been declared justified:forgiven all sin, righteous and worthy of eternal life but that individuals do not receive the benefit of this divine verdict made by the omnipotent God unless they believe it's true.

Secondly, a significant issue is that individuals are a subgroup of the World. All that applies to the World applies to the subgroups within it. The completed reality of Christ's Body and Blood washing the world of it's sins so that God makes the divine verdict that the World is justified - by it's very nature applies to the subgroups within the world - each and every unbelieving individual. This application of Christ's Body and Blood is in Buchholz' phrase 'a completed reality'.

So again, Christ's Body and Blood applied to those without faith does not justify - it condemns.

Hope this helps clarify.

David Clearwood said...

Thanks, Brett, for keeping the dialogue going. It would be a desideratum (a desirable thing) for there to be a free conference on this issue where confessional Lutherans could seek consensus on this issue of the doctrine of Justification.

Here is a good question for you: Why must Objective Justification be seen as a contradiction of Subjective Justification?

Objective Justification is simply the forgiveness of sins won by Christ in His vicarious atonement. Subjective Justification is the sinner's receiving of this forgiveness by Spirit-wrought faith in the promises of the Gospel. This is two sides of one coin. This is what is laid out in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. God's action of reconciling the world to Himself means his not counting the world's sins against it (Objective Justification). The Gospel is the message that this has been done in the vicarious atonement of Christ. When that Gospel is proclaimed on the part of Christians to the world it is God Himself Who is making His appeal through Christians for the unbelieving to be reconciled, to believe in God's perfect redemption. As many as the Holy Spirit regenerates are justified individually by faith (Subjective Justification).

I see where you are coming from in extoling the role of faith in Justification; however, I fear that rejecting Objective Justification/General Justification is tantamount to a denial of the extensive and intensive perfection of the vicarious atonement of Christ. The proclamation of the the Gospel and the dispensing of the Sacraments are predicated upon a perfect vicarious atonement so that the delivery of the means of grace can be done in a manner that admits of no doubt.

Yes, an unbelieving eating and drinking of the Lord's Supper is an eating and drinking of judgment on such a communicant. In such a case the forgiveness of sins/justification is not received by such an unworthy (unfaithful) communicant. The Wisconsin Synod perfectly teaches this. It does not say that everyone who communes receives the forgiveness of sins.

In the same way in the reprobation of the damned they do not receive the forgiveness meant for them by God.

I still fail to see how the Wisconsin Synod agrees with Huber on the conferral and reception of justification without faith. "He that does not believe will be damned" (Mark 16:16).

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

When you say, Objective Justification is simply the forgiveness of sins won by Christ in His vicarious atonement, this is not accurate, nor is it how the WELS is treating OJ. I clearly, repeatedly and emphatically confessed before the WELS presidium that Christ won the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation for all people by the satisfaction for sins that He made on the cross. There was no doubt as to my confession of this.

Nevertheless, the WELS condemned that confession as heretical and called me to repentance for it.

It is not enough for OJ to say that Christ won forgiveness for all. OJ requires that one also say that "winning forgiveness for all" means that "God forgave all people and declared all people righteous, whether they believe in Jesus or not."

Brett Meyer said...

Thanks for your reply David.

You ask, “Why must OJ be seen as a contradiction of SJ?” The contradictions are established between the entire doctrine of UOJ and Scripture. And because the Lutheran Confessions are a faithful explanation of Scripture the contradictions are visible there as well. Here are a few:
According to UOJ, Christ’s atonement was the justification of the entire unbelieving world. According to Scripture Christ’s atonement was the payment for the world’s sins – and thereby all righteousness resides in Christ and obtaining Christ as Mediator through faith alone that righteous robe washes the individual from all sin. (it’s rationalism to extrapolate if/then doctrinal statements from this when Scripture clearly teaches differently: Buchholz teaches the unbelieving world’s debt of sin has been canceled and God is at peace with them. Scripture teaches outside of the gracious gift of faith the world remains under God’s wrath and condemnation over their sin and they will die in them if they remain in unbelief – never obtaining Christ as their Mediator through faith alone.)

According to UOJ, the object of faith is Objective Justification. UOJ teaches the only thing that can create faith is something that was true before faith. It teaches that faith clings to God’s declaration that the individual was already justified: forgiven all sin and righteous before they believed. Scripture teaches that the object of faith in Christ and Him crucified.

According to UOJ, faith is only an empty hand which simply receives the benefit of what was already declared to be true. It teaches was true was the unbelievers reconciliation with God, the adoption of sons, forgiveness and righteousness. The benefit it receives is eternal salvation. Scripture teaches faith is Christ’s righteousness which is created solely through Word and Baptism, strengthened in Holy Communion and through which an individual dies to sin, is raised to Life as an adopted son of God, regenerates the individual to be Spiritually minded, receives Christ’s righteousness for the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. (UOJ teaches that if faith does anything but receive then it becomes a work of man and that is condemned as synergism).

The list goes on.

Would you agree that if any of the tenets doctrine of Objective Justification were to fail when compared to Scripture that the whole doctrine needs to be questioned for its faithfulness to Christ and His Word?

Cont...

Brett Meyer said...

Cont...

The following are failings that have been shown in the doctrine of UOJ (both OJ and SJ):
UOJ establishes the forgiveness of sins as the object of faith. Scripture establishes Christ and Him Crucified as the object of faith.
UOJ teaches God canceled the debt of sin to the whole unbelieving world. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world remains under God’s wrath and condemnation because of their sin and will die in them if they do not repent and believe on Christ alone.
UOJ teaches God has reconciled the world unto Himself through Christ. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world is not reconciled because they have not obtained Christ as their Propitiation or Mediator through faith alone.
UOJ teaches that God canceled the world’s debt of sin at Christ’s atonement. But they will go to Hell for the sin of unbelief if they don’t believe they’ve been forgiven, declared righteous and worthy of eternal life. Scripture teaches Christ died and paid for the sin of unbelief which the whole world was born with. By faith in Christ alone all sins are forgiven by God – even unbelief.

You state, “Yes, an unbelieving eating and drinking of the Lord's Supper is an eating and drinking of judgment on such a communicant. In such a case the forgiveness of sins/justification is not received by such an unworthy (unfaithful) communicant.”
Actually UOJ teaches the unbelieving communicant is already forgiven through the body and blood of Christ (OJ) but they do not receive the benefit of that forgiveness without faith. Scripture teaches that Christ’s body and blood do not impart forgiveness (nor the benefit of it) to unbelievers but, in fact, the unbeliever is condemned by it. UOJ teaches in opposition to Scripture regarding the effect of Christ’s body and blood to unbelievers. “For Christ’s sake” is reserved only for those with the Holy Spirit’s faith as the Confessions faithfully explain.

In response to your last question – the Lutheran Synods teach that faith is not a cause by which God forgives the individual. In fact UOJ teaches forgiveness must already be in the individuals account. If only the individual would believe it was in their account then they would benefit from it and if forgiveness was conferred only by faith then faith becomes a synergistic work. This is the exact same doctrine that Huber was teaching and which the defenders of the Lutheran Confessions – the Wittenberg theologians condemned.

David Clearwood said...

Paul, you run the risk in denying Objective Justification of casting doubt on the extensiveness of Christ's atonement. I know you and I disagree on the exegesis of 2 Cor. 5:18-20 which I believe clearly teaches Objective and Subjective Justification. You disagree. That is at the center of this controversy.

Let me ask you this question: Does the Wisconsin Synod or any of its theologians ever aver what you have just posted: "God forgave all people and declared all people righteous, whether they believe in Jesus or not"?

The problem is that you stop there. There is more to be said. Jesus said it, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

Christ Himself is our "justification" (1 Cor. 1:30), whom we receive by faith. [I am taking "dikaiosyne" in one of its several meanings, "justification." In Christ the entire world is justified through His death and resurrection. However, this does no one any good if he does not believe in it by the grace of God.

What is involved here is the proclamation of Law and Gospel properly distinguished. I am certain that any time the Wisconsin Synod speaks of Objective Justification, they properly divide Law and Gospel and point out that just because the world of sinners is justified that does not mean that all are saved regardless of whether they have faith or not.

One thing that all of us can agree on is that anytime one confesses the faith or teaches the faith one should be very careful how one expresses it so as to remove doubt and misunderstanding.

David Clearwood said...

Brett, thanks for your response.

I think that the problem with many of your statements is that they betray confusion of Law and Gospel.

This statement is a conspicuous example:

"UOJ teaches God canceled the debt of sin to the whole unbelieving world. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world remains under God’s wrath and condemnation because of their sin and will die in them if they do not repent and believe on Christ alone."

First of all, UOJ does not deny the second part of this statement.

The way this statement is phrased it has the Law contradicting the Gospel. Under the Gospel the whole world is forgiven in Christ, otherwise Christ did not atone for all sins. Under the Law "the unbelieving world remains under God’s wrath and condemnation because of their sin and will die in them if they do not repent and believe on Christ alone."

What I find troubling with your position is a denial, at least, of God's being reconciled to the world through Christ. Leaving aside the concept of Justification, which, of course, I believe to be general as well as individual, AT THE VERY LEAST, it is unscriptural to assert that in Christ God is not reconciled to the entire world, and that is what I hear you saying.

What I find troubling is the accusation that those of us who believe, teach, and confess Objective Justification DO NOT proclaim Christ as the object of faith.

It would be good for those who compose these theses to make sure that they properly distinguish between Law and Gospel and not let the Law control and silence the Gospel.

Brett Meyer said...

David, you make the right deduction that I confess that God is not reconciled to the world through Christ. I would add...through Christ outside of the Holy Spirit working solely through the Means of Grace to work faith in Christ alone.

You are also correct to pivot this discussion concerning the true and faithful teaching of Justification - Christ's Gospel message - on reconciliation. As with other points of contention it is critical to our confessions.

You state, "What I find troubling with your position is a denial, at least, of God's being reconciled to the world through Christ."

I offer the following evidence that the unbelieving world is not reconciled to God through Christ outside of and before faith:

The Christian Book of Concord
"The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

"Paul on the contrary, teaches that we have access, i.e., reconciliation, through Christ. And to show how this occurs, he adds that we have access by faith. By faith, therefore, for Christ's sake, we receive remission of sins. We cannot set our own love and our own works over against God's wrath."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

"86] But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy. Accordingly, Scripture testifies that by faith we are accounted righteous, Rom. 3:26. We, therefore, will add testimonies which clearly declare that faith is that very righteousness by which we are accounted righteous before God, namely, not because it is a work that is in itself worthy, but because it receives the promise by which God has promised that for Christ's sake He wishes to be propitious to those believing in Him, or because He knows that Christ of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

"113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows. 115]Nor, indeed, is this faith an idle knowledge, neither can it coexist with mortal sin, but it is a work of the Holy Ghost, whereby we are freed from death, and terrified minds are encouraged and quickened. 116]"
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

"16] This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God sonship, and heirship of eternal life."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php

David Clearwood said...

Brett, thanks for the Confessions quotations.

I can see the difference as this:

I affirm these passages as speaking about individual justification, but I do not see them as ruling out a prior general justification while you are maintaining that the Confessions teach merely a justification by faith that rules out any prior justification.

Me: both and
You: either or

This is important to point out too: Even if A. Hunnius were condemning the doctrine of the Lutheran synods on Objective Justification, which I do not believe he is doing, his theses are not norma normata; hence, they are not authoritative.

Our salvation is all Jesus Christ, who is our justification, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). As the Christmas carol "Hark, the Herald Angels sing" puts it: "Peace on earth and mercy mild/God and sinners reconcilED"

Brett Meyer said...

David, you make this statement, "I affirm these passages as speaking about individual justification..."

Note that according to the doctrine of UOJ, Objective Justification is the teaching that the whole unbelieving world has been reconciled to God as a result of Christ's atonement. Therefore God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven the whole unbelieving world. In fact, it is this reconcilation and justification declared to unbelievers which creates faith to believe it was true before they ever believed - Subjective Justification. OJ preceeds SJ according to UOJ.

Yet, you believe the BOC quotes I provided only deal with Subjective Justification - the side of the coin where God has already been appeased and the unbelieving world is reconciled to God. But in the quotes I provided God is not appeased. God is not reconciled. The unbelieving world has not been declared acceptable to God on account of Christ's atonement. And all of this at the very point where UOJ says God is appeased, reconciled and has accepted the world on account of Christ - Subjective Justification.

BOC
80] AAC That We Obtain The Remission of Sins By Faith Alone In Christ
"The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that, for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith. Therefore, by faith alone we obtain remission of sins when we comfort our hearts with confidence in the mercy promised for Christ's sake."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

Objective Justification is rejected by the Lutheran Confessions when it is solely by faith in Christ alone that men are acceptable to God.
BOC
71] But when it is said that faith justifies, some perhaps understand it of the beginning, namely, that faith is the beginning of justification or preparation for justification, so that not faith itself is that through which we are accepted by God, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, That Faith in Christ Justifies.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

David Clearwood said...

In these quotations from Apology IV the statements affirming justification by faith are in contrast to work righteousness and not against our doctrine of Objective Justification. It is opposed to the Romanist contention that man can propitiate God with his own righteousness. Justification is an actus forensis (forensic act) by which the merciful God declares the sinner righteous for the sake of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, more specifically His vicarious satisfaction.

The doctrine of Objective Justification is centered in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. It is affirmed on the basis of Romans 5:15-18 and 2 Cor. 5:18-20. It affirms the extensive perfection of Christ's vicarious atonement that His atonement propitiates God as a ransom for ALL sins. On the basis of 1 Cor. 1:30 we believe that Christ Himself is our righteousness (justification), sanctification, and redemption. The object of faith is Jesus Christ and His vicarious atonement.

The statement that God is not reconciled to the world for the sake of Christ's perfect redemption is false because it is contrary to Scripture.

Objective Justification is a Gospel doctrine, not a Law doctrine; hence, it must not be subject to modification by the Law, which reveals the wrath of God.

Those who are in Christ receive His forgiveness by Spirit-wrought faith through the means of grace. Those who are not in Christ are not justified individually, though Christ died for them (Rom 14:15) and paid a ransom for them (2 Peter 2:1). Faith does not add anything as a ground for justification, the vicarious atonement of Christ is sufficient extensively and intensively. Faith is merely the receiving organ given by God the Holy Spirit. When we believe, teach, and confess sola fide, we are believing, teaching, and confessing that we are not justified by anything other than the perfect righteousness of Christ.

The long and short of it is that these passages from the Confessions do not rule out Objective Justification, and I do not believe that Aegidius Hunnius's theses against Huberianism condemn the doctrine of the Lutheran synods. Huber could be said to teach an objective justification of a sort, but he excluded faith. This the Lutheran synods do not do nor have never done. Huber can be said to be a Universalist, which was the offense that Hunnius was polemicizing against. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6; Mark 16:16) because faith is the organum leptikon that receives Christ's perfect righteousness (Justification). This view of Huber that I have comes from the Hunnius theses against Huberianism, and these theses indicate that Huber excluded faith from Justification. I must assume that Huber absolutely excluded faith from Justification unless there is further evidence from other things that he wrote.

Christian Schulz said...

Okay, I guess simply, I'd ask of both, even though it's been stated before in varying fashions, what's the *object of justifying faith* and *what is the meaning of the phrase "to justify"* in historic, confessional, and therefore biblical theology.

If these two definitions/answers can't be agreed on from both sides, then no wonder there is a split.

Again, what is the object of justifying faith and also what does it mean "to justify" a sinner? Or what does it mean when God is said to "justify a sinner" or "declare them righteous?"

Christian Schulz

Christian Schulz said...

As far as Huber and faith, I understand that he required it just as much as it is today:

Samuel Huberus: Confutatio brevis, Libri, sub alieno nomine editi, de controversia in Theologos Wittebergenses, & Samuelem Huberum de ELECTIONS, Mulhusij 1595, p. 52:

“nondum tamen ipsa participatione in status salutis & felicitatis aeternae adducit, nisi fide per verbum & sacramenta, hoc beneficium sibi applicet, atque eo modo participet.” (“Does not yet through this participation [in universal atonement] bring man to the state of eternal salvation and blessedness, if he does not apply this benefit to himself through faith in the Word and the Sacraments and participates in that way.”)

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Christian, those are good questions. Let's start with the historic definition of the word "to justify."

These are the two positive definitions of the word in the Book of Concord:

The word justify here means to declare righteous and free from sins and to absolve a person from eternal punishment for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, which is credited by God to faith (Philippians 3:9). This use and understanding of this word is common in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. (Formula of Concord: Solid Declaration:III:17)

To receive the forgiveness of sins is to be justified, according to Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven.” By faith alone in Christ…we receive the forgiveness of sins, although love follows faith. Therefore, by faith alone we are justified. We understand justification as the making of a righteous person out of an unrighteous one, or that a person is regenerated. (Apology to the Augsburg Confession:IV:76-78)

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

And just as a reminder, here is Chemnitz' definition. Notice that in all of these, they are actually defining the word "justify" as it is taught in the article of justification. To assert that they were only attempting to define *half* of the broader concept of "justification" is without evidence.

The meaning of the word 'justify' in this article is judicial, namely, that the sinner, accused by the Law of God, convicted, and subjected to the sentence of eternal damnation, fleeing in faith to the throne of grace, is absolved for Christ’s sake, reckoned and declared righteous, received into grace, and accepted to eternal life."

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Christian, as to your other question as to the object of justifying faith:

As often, therefore, as mention is made of mercy, we must keep in mind that faith is there required, which receives the promise of mercy. And, again, as often as we speak of faith, we wish an object to be understood, namely, the promised mercy. 56] For faith justifies and saves, not on the ground that it is a work in itself worthy, but only because it receives the promised mercy. (Ap:IV:55-56)

Yet if any one wish a distinction to be made, we say that the object of hope is properly a future event, but that faith is concerned with future and present things, and receives in the present the remission of sins offered in the promise. (Ap:V:191)


Notice that the object of faith is not a verdict that was pronounced before we were born, but the divine promise of receiving forgiveness now, in the present tense, for the sake of Christ (who certainly made satisfaction for sins before we were born).

David Clearwood said...

I cannot improve on Paul Rydecki's answers to Christian Schulz. I also cannot deny the orthodoxy and salutary doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions and Martin Chemnitz.

What I disagree with is the disjunction between justification as it is cherished within God (Objective Justification) and justification as it is conferred and received by the person with Spirit-wrought justifying faith (Subjective Justification).

At least Pastor Rydecki avers: "for the sake of Christ (who certainly made satisfaction for sins before we were born)." At least he believes in the extensiveness of Christ's vicarious atonement. Without it the Gospel could declare no certainty.

Justification is an actus forensis (forensic act) by which a sinner is declared righteous, acquitted of sin. Since the 19th century the distinction was made between analytic and synthetic justification. Analytic justification would be the declaring righteous of one who is inherently righteous by his own works (God justified Christ analytically in His resurrection), and synthetic justification is what God does in justifying the ungodly for the sake of Christ (Romans 4:5): it is purely forensic in that the righteousness is an alien righteous (i.e. that of Christ) which is imputed to the sinner by faith.

The object of saving faith is the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. I demur from Pastor Rydecki's exclusion of God's general justification from this perfect redemption.

Sadly, there is a doctrinal difference.

David Clearwood said...

I would ask Mr. Schulz what he sees Huber saying in the quotation:

“nondum tamen ipsa participatione in status salutis & felicitatis aeternae adducit, nisi fide per verbum & sacramenta, hoc beneficium sibi applicet, atque eo modo participet.” (“Does not yet through this participation [in universal atonement] bring man to the state of eternal salvation and blessedness, if he does not apply this benefit to himself through faith in the Word and the Sacraments and participates in that way.”)

What is Huber's response to the implicit question here: is someone brought to eternal blessedness if he does not apply ...?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

The object of saving faith is the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. I demur from Pastor Rydecki's exclusion of God's general justification from this perfect redemption.

That's interesting. You state the vicarious atonement as the object of faith, with which I agree. Then you "demur" from my exclusion of general justification, which you have yet to prove is actually taught in the Holy Scriptures, and was roundly rejected, by name, by the Lutherans in the 1590's. You haven't yet demonstrated either the Scriptural inclusion of this "general justification," or the orthodox Lutheran (that is, confessional) inclusion of it, and yet you fault me for excluding it.

You have invented doctrine that supersedes the Holy Spirit's revealed doctrine. I "exclude" this general justification from my doctrine, because the Holy Spirit doesn't include it in His divine teaching. I define justification with the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. You define it differently. I'm glad you recognize a doctrinal difference here. There surely is one.

David Clearwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

No, David. You depart radically from the Confessions. Where, again, do they confess this general justification "cherished in God within Himself"? That is philosophical speculation (at best), not Scriptural or confessional truth.

And since you disagree with Luther's and the Book of Concord's interpretation of Romans 5, you demonstrate that your invented doctrine has trumped the confessional standard of the Lutheran Church. And since you disagree with Chemnitz's interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5, you again exalt your interpretation over his. If that's what you wish to do, you certainly may. But don't call "general justification" any part of "Lutheran" doctrine. Call it what it is and be done with it. Be honest, at least. It's Synodical Conference doctrine, not Lutheran doctrine.

I may be an apostate from the Synodical Conference, and you can label the teaching of justification by faith alone in Christ a perversion, but I continue to stand with the pattern of sound words handed down by the Holy Spirit and the Lutheran Confessions. I stand with Christ and Him crucified. I caution you not to label Christ's servants as apostates. You reject Christ in so doing.

David Clearwood said...

I deleted my previous comment because I did not think that it was presented in Christian love, which I pray that God perserve in me.

However, Paul, yes, we will now draw a line between us and say that we agree that we disagree on the doctrine of Justification. I shake off your accusation against me of inventing doctrine. I say that you deny the biblical doctrine of general justification as enunciated in its sedes doctrinae of Romans 5:15-18 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.

I associate myself with views expressed on the thread ("Comparing Huberianism and Lutheranism on Justification, Part 1") that what is known as general justification is something that is solely within God. It was also pointed out that Justification is one, not two. On God's end His saving grace, on the sinners' end, saving faith. God reveals this gracious disposition in Scripture. As Dr. Franz Pieper of blessed and holy memory defined it: saving grace. "By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is what we in the "Lutheran synods" denote as Objective Justification and Subjective Justification. They do not exclude one another as Pastor Rydecki maintains. Nor does Aegidius Hunnius condemn general justification as Pastor Rydecki maintains. He has failed to cite specific passages of Huber's doctrine that from Huber's point of view connect faith to justification. Huber said that God confers justification to the world of sinners and the world of sinners receive this justification apart from faith. That is Q.E.D. against any identification of Pastor Buchholz's and WELS and our (LCMS) doctrine with Huber's doctrine. Even if Huber was not a universalist (a point which I do not concede) he still taught what might be labeled a UNIVERSAL SUBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION not the doctrine of the "Lutheran synods" as Brett Meyer calls them.

Pastor Rydecki, I await a quotation from Huber in which he couples Justification with faith; however, judging from The Theses against Huberianism I fail to see how anything adduced outside of them would contradict my assessment.

I have been accused in Pastor's Rydecki's previous post of not defining Justification with the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. I shake off these accusations and say that I am in accord with the Scriptures and the Book of Concord, and Pastor Rydecki is not. There it is.

Rev. David R. Boisclair, STM
Saint Louis, MO (LCMS)

David Clearwood said...

Pastor Rydecki, I know heterodoxy when I hear and see it, and you are most certainly guilty of it. I shake off these calumnies that you put on me.

You confuse Law and Gospel; you limit Christ's atonement, and you pervert the Scriptures and the Confessions by yours and Gregory Jackson's doctrine. You also bear false witness against those who believe, teach, and confess the Synodical Conference's doctrine, that is the Scriptural and Confessional doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Synodical Conference doctrine is the pattern of sound words, not your doctrine. As far as I am concerned I apply Romans 16:17 to you and to all who agree with you.

David Clearwood said...
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Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

The Synodical Conference doctrine is the pattern of sound words, not your doctrine.

There it is! Thank you for finally admitting that the Synodical Conference has its own unique doctrine and pattern of words, and that the pattern of words established by the Synodical Conference trumps the pattern of words in the Book of Concord.

There is no denying that the "pattern of words" established by the Synodical Conference is different from the "pattern of words" of the Formula of Concord. "General justification," "all people declared righteous," "justification cherished in God within Himself" -- all of these are different "patterns of words" than I have been taught in the Scriptures and Confessions. I never agreed to them. I did, however, agree to uphold the pattern of words in the Formula of Concord, so I will continue to do so.

And just to point out more of your fallacies, you say that I "confuse Law and Gospel." Where do I confuse them? I agree with the law that all men are sinners and deserve eternal condemnation. I agree with the Gospel that "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

But you seem to be confused about the message of the Gospel. While the Law certainly declares all men to be guilty and deserving of death, the Gospel does not declare all men to be righteous. The Gospel declares that the righteousness of Christ stands in for all who trust in Him and is reckoned or imputed to believers, so that if the whole world were to believe in Christ, then the whole world would be declared righteous. All who believe in Christ are covered with His righteousness. Those who don't believe are not covered with it, period.

Which do you claim, David, that God has imputed the righteousness of Christ to all people (apart from faith) and so has declared them righteous "within the Godhead"?

Or do you claim that God has declared all sinners righteous without imputing Christ's righteousness to them (as Buchholz teaches)?

In the first case, there is an imputation of righteousness apart from faith, which the Scriptures never teach.

In the second case, there is a justification of guilty men who are not reckoned with anyone's righteousness, even Christ's. The Scriptures condemn such a justification as an abomination to God.

You say I limit Christ's atonement, more fiction. Read my words again and please quote back to me with what words I limit Christ's atonement. On the contrary, I uphold it.

But with the Scriptures, I separate it from justification. "Those whom He called, He also justified" (Rom. 8:30). Not "He justified everyone within the Godhead," or "He justified everyone on the cross."

David Clearwood said...
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David Clearwood said...

Talking about reconciliation being completed and received you also have Romans 5:10-11: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

By saying that Christ's death does not reconcile the world to God contradicts this Scripture.

Christian Schulz said...

Wow, you guys are truly showing your colors. This is great for the laity reading. Keep talking, it helps us explain how ridiculous you are being. Look at this compilation and comparison of commentary on the same passages of Scripture. The two divisions are directly contradicting one another. How come one side says Rom. 5:18 means the justification of the world apart from faith whereas the orthodox side attributes these passages to only one justification -- the justification by faith through the Sacraments to individual sinners.

Could you guys please explain the complete disconnect as shown by these quotations?

Here: http://ecclesiaaugustana.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-elephant-in-room-romans-518-19.html

Brett Meyer said...

Rev. Boisclair, please detail where I confused Law and Gospel in the quote you highlighted.

You confess that Romans 5:18 teaches Objective Justification. The justification Christ declares in that verse is that justification with which an individual is eternally saved. You have repeatedly insisted that it teaches OJ - therefore to be Objectively justified as the doctrine of UOJ says the whole unbelieving world is - means that the whole unbelieving world is eternally saved.
Romans 5:18, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."

Just reading your post at 3:40pm.

Again, this Scripture passage is speaking of believers in Christ and not the unbelieving world. Unless you accept the charge of Universalism since 'we were reconciled to God' and 'now that we are reconciled' results in 'shall we be saved by his life'.

Saved by His life is eternal life for all those reconciled to God. If you intend this to be a OJ verse than the we is the whole unbelieving world which is reconciled unto eternal life. This same issue is established when UOJ uses Rom. 5:18 as an OJ verse. The entire chapter starts with, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Leave it to the doctrine of UOJ to attempt to turn a Justification by Faith Alone chapter into a justification without faith confession.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Brett makes a valid point about Rom. 5:10. The "we" who have been reconciled by the death of Christ are the very same "we" who will be saved from God's wrath through His life, according to that verse. As Gerhard says in his commentary on these verses, Paul is talking "cum renatis et de renatis." He is speaking "to the reborn and about the reborn." And Gerhard is correct. Paul is speaking to the Roman believers in the entire context of this chapter.

Yes, even before Paul or any of the Roman Christians believed in Christ, God demonstrated His love by giving His Son into death for those who were, at that time, still His enemies. (If we want to speak of "universal" or "objective" anything, let's use the words of Scripture and speak of the objective "love" of God that was demonstrated toward the entire world in the giving of His Son unto death.)

But now God has found His enemies with the Gospel (as when He found Saul on the road to Damascus and ministered to him through Ananias), and united Paul and the Roman Christians to His Son through the ministry of the Word, through faith (Rom. 5:1). Now, as believers in Christ, they (together with all believers in Christ) have received the benefit of His death and have been justified and reconciled with God.

Whenever the Holy Spirit regenerates a person through the ministry of the Word (e.g., Baptism), that person is justified/reconciled by the blood of Christ, by the death of Christ. Paul does not say that all the unbelievers in the world were reconciled to God at the time of the death of Christ, but that it is the death of Christ that, even now, justifies and reconciles sinners to God. But, as Chemnitz points out, not without means.

David Boisclair said...

Since I deleted my last post but one because I thought it unmannerly for which I ask the pardon of the posters on this blog. I would still like to courteously respond to Rev. Rydecki's post.

First of all, having me say that the Synodical Conference has a unique pattern of sound words, implying, of course, that they do not hold to Scriptures words is putting words into my mouth, which I did not say.

Secondly, the Synodical Conference doctrine does nothing more than follow the sedes doctrinae of Objective Justification (2 Cor. 5:18-20 and Romans 5:15-18).

Thirdly, the theses and antitheses against the biblical doctrine of Objective Justification are patently confusions of Law and Gospel. This "t/a" is a conspicuous example: "UOJ teaches God has reconciled the world unto Himself through Christ. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world is not reconciled because they have not obtained Christ as their Propitiation or Mediator through faith alone." This is a confusion of Law and Gospel and egregiously anti-Scriptural.

Fourthly, the position of Rev. Rydecki limits Christ's atonement by making it open ended, not being completed without faith.

And fifthly, Rev. Rydecki misrepresents Rev. Buchholz and WELS's position when he accuses them of teaching that God reconciled the world irrespective of Christ's righteousness or any righteousness.

These are serious insufficiencies of doctrine, and they are certainly not in accord with the scriptural "pattern of sound words."

Christian Schulz said...

To those who won't bother to go to the link I provided, here's a short excerpt to make my point;
"God no longer looks upon sinful man with wrath, but 'before His divine tribunal' forgives the sins of mankind... God’s action in not imputing their sins unto men, in forgiving them their sins, in justifying men in His heart, this is the meaning of objective reconciliation, as taught in 2 Cor. 5:19, Rom. 5:18; 5:10; 4:25. (CHRISTIAN DOGMATICS, by Francis Pieper, Volume 2, pages 398 & 399)

Compare this statement, of which our UOJ proponents above love to death to "prove" their beloved UOJ, as compared to the interptation of the very same passages of the very reformers themselves.

The Lutheran Confessions, the only thing Lutheran pastors have an oath to:

"Therefore it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says that we are justified by faith, Rom. 3:28, or that faith is counted to us for righteousness, Rom. 4:5, and when he says that we are made righteous by the obedience of One, Rom. 5:19, or that by the righteousness of One justification of faith came to all men, Rom. 5:18. 13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel..." (http://bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php#para11)

And even more damning a statement from Gerhardt: "If we wanted to go beyond the limits of the Apostolic comparison, someone could infer from the same that the righteousness of Christ is propagated to us through carnal generation, since the unrighteousness of Adam is communicated to us in that manner. Likewise, one could infer that the righteousness of Christ is propagated to all men together, without any regard for faith or unbelief, since the sin of Adam is propagated to all through carnal generation.
But since that is absurd, a distinction must fully be made between the acquisition and the application of the merit of Christ....[You ask,] But how did the righteousness of Christ overflow to all men for justification, since not all men are justified? We reply: The Apostle is not speaking about the application of the benefit, but of the acquisition of the benefit."

If those reading want even more testimonies which include Luther, Chemnitz, and Augustine follow the link.

So again, to all I ask, why do Chemnitz and the Confessions SPECIFICALLY regard these passages as regarding only justification by faith (so called "subjective justification"). Did they forget about the justification of the world that occurred before the justification by faith (so called "objective justification")? Of course not, because it doesn't exist in the testimonies and minds of the Church for the past 2,000 years. In addition, to the claim that, "well, the Confessors in the Lutheran Confessions weren't dealing with that time." My butt, I say. OJ would be a slam dunk against the Papist's infused grace, but this slam dunk of OJ is mysteriously absent from the Confessions themselves and from the works of those same teachers.

The only thing that comes close to OJ is from a heretic, Samuel Huber, who was condemned by the Lutheran Church in the late 1500s. I often wonder of those who spew UOJ how it feels to how more in common with a heretic than the testimony of the catholic and Lutheran Church. As I've shown above, as cited by Hardt in his paper (Justification and Easter, footnote 27 as I've cited above in this thread), Huber did in fact insist on faith in addition to his universal justification of the world apart from faith. If the evidence isn't obvious enough to make one repent then they truly are hardened to the SynCon.
Continued...

Christian Schulz said...

Continued from previous...

My final appeal here, would you, dear reader, feel more assured agreeing with the testimony of the Church for the past 2,000 years or would you feel better by agreeing with a "universal justification" which is more in common with the heretic Samuel Huber and with the Lutherans of only the past 150 years? You decide.

Brett Meyer said...

Again, please explain in detail how I confused Law and Gospel.

David Boisclair said...

This pair of thesis/antithesis:

"UOJ teaches God has reconciled the world unto Himself through Christ. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world is not reconciled because they have not obtained Christ as their Propitiation or Mediator through faith alone."

is a confusion of Law and Gospel because it quotes the Law from Scripture to counter a Gospel statement of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ).

It is the Law which declares that the world is not reconciled that it is lost, but it is the Gospel that speaks of reconciliation. This pair of theses/antitheses has the Law of the antithesis contradict the Gospel of the thesis. The Gospel statement is the same as 2 Cor. 5:18: "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself ...." I would imagine that my respondents would say that this refers to the elect or the regenerate (?) while it must refer to the whole world of sinners in that before regeneration there must reconciliation. This is part of my response to Mr. Meyer.

David Boisclair said...

There is a point that I have made that no one has responded to, and that is that Huber asserted that justification was conferred and received by the world. This was not stated by us at any time. This is the proof that what Huber said and what WELS says, for instance, are not the same regarding Justification. We have always maintained that justification is not conferred and received apart from faith worked in people by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace.

Perhaps the fact that we speak of the world being JUSTIFIED gives the implication to our opponents that we are saying that justification has been conferred to everyone that is part of the world, that everyone has received God's justification in Christ.

The reason for our use of the word "justified" is in keeping with our understanding of 2 Cor. 5:18-20.

It is significant that the Greek perphrastic "een ... katalasson" is not "estin ... katalasson," if it were our opponents, Revs. Jackson and Rydecki, would be right in referring it to what we call subjective justification; however, the main verb is in the past tense not the present tense.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

You talk about Huber teaching that God "conferred justification" on people. Would you please reference what you're talking about? I have searched the Theses and cannot find where Huber is said to teach this.

What he is said to teach in Thesis 1 in the justification section is that God has "conferred redemption" on the human race. Please note the difference.

Huber did not teach that an already-pronounced justification had been conferred on the world. He taught that Christ's work of redemption had been conferred on the whole world, and thus the whole world was justified in God's sight.

This distinction you try to make between an already-pronounced verdict on the world that "exists in the Godhead" and the "non-conferring" of this verdict is artificial and contrived.

Huber, like modern UOJ, taught that God had applied the righteousness of Christ (or the redemption of Christ) to the world's account and thus justified the world.

And to clarify, I, for one, have never asserted that modern UOJ is exactly the same as what Huber taught. I have, however, noted several similarities. So you're creating a straw man to point to one area where you think Huber and UOJ are different. What you have not at all proved is that the doctrine UOJ was ever accepted or taught by the Lutheran Church of the 16th Century.

David Boisclair said...

So, Paul,

You admit that Huberianism and the Synodical doctrine of Objective Justification are not identical. Good, because they are most certainly not identical.

I apologize for misquoting the first thesis on Huber's doctrine of Justification. So, let's look at it:

Huber professes such a justification, for the sake of which Christ has properly, actually and practically CONFERRED redemption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been EQUALLY remitted to all men, including the TURKS, and that all men (including unbelievers) HAVE RECEIVED remission of sins, and that the whole human race has IN ACTUAL FACT, been received into the grace and bosom of God (emphasis original; however, transposed from italic bold letters to capital letters). This coupled with the following theses speak of what we mean by SUBJECTIVE Justification. We most certainly do not teach Universalism, and this is Universalism. How is it not universalism? Everyone is saved according to Huber. That is the offense that Hunnius was reacting to.

I think that you raise a good point in saying that I have not proved that the doctrine of UOJ was ever accepted or taught by the Lutheran Church of the 16th century. I can safely say that in my reading of 16th and 17th century Lutheran theology I have not come across that distinction, viz. OJ/SJ. Then the question pops into mind: is it possible that they taught such a distinction using different terminology?

Let's suppose that it is true that the Lutheran Church of the 16th century never accepted or taught OR HEARD ABOUT AND UNDERSTOOD UOJ, what if Scripture accepted and taught it? How would you answer that question?

David Boisclair said...

Paul,

You posted: Huber, like modern UOJ, taught that God had applied the righteousness of Christ (or the redemption of Christ) to the world's account and thus justified the world.

However, if we were to maintain that Huber and the 16th century Lutheran theologians did not know of the distinction between OJ and SJ, how is it possible for there even to be a comparison between "modern UOJ" and Huberianism? It is like comparing apples and oranges.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, you continue to miss Huber's teaching. Maybe this will be cured by future publications, which are forthcoming.

Huber was not saying that everyone is saved, as in, going to heaven. He taught that God has saved everyone, and people must believe this in order to be regenerated and saved. If they reject it, then they fall back under condemnation. In order for their justification to count so that they are eternally saved, they must have faith. (This can be easily adduced from Hunnius' arguments against Huber, but again, I promise, future publications are forthcoming on this. Until then, I suggest you do some digging into other writings of or about Huber.)

In that respect, he is very much like modern UOJ. The WELS teaches and insists that its pastors teach that "God has saved all people," since God has imputed the work of Christ to the world and thus justified it. Yes, "saved." "Saved, forgave, justified, declared righteous." Past tense. All people, everywhere. Then the WELS adds that people must believe this in order to enjoy the benefits of it. Not very different from Huber at all.

I realize that some in the Synodical Conference churches like to make a distinction about forgiveness being "declared on all but not received by all," as if people can be forgiven and righteous before God in His divine courtroom, but it doesn't count until they "receive" it. That's strange and not presented in Scripture anywhere. But even then, that is not the uniform teaching of UOJ, especially in the WELS.

You asked, Let's suppose that it is true that the Lutheran Church of the 16th century never accepted or taught OR HEARD ABOUT AND UNDERSTOOD UOJ, what if Scripture accepted and taught it? How would you answer that question?


I would say you have presented an impossibility. The Lutheran Reformers worked meticulously to demonstrate that their doctrine was the doctrine of the Church catholic, that it had always been taught in the Church, including justification by faith alone in Christ. I believe they were right. If anyone comes along with novel interpretations of Scripture that have not been taught in the Church in its first 5800 years of existence, then I will not believe it. Rather, I would contend that modern interpreters are the ones who have erred, while the language of the Confessions got it exactly right.

This is the whole point to the "pattern of sound words." That phrase means using the actual words and phrases that have been passed down to us and teaching the Scriptures with those very words and phrases. Again, I am convinced that the Formula of Concord presented justification in exactly the right words and phrases, and I have committed to teaching it according to that pattern of words. Where modern Lutherans define justification differently, I will at best say that it is unnecessary and useless, and at worst, harmful and wrong. We were supposed to have an agreement in the Lutheran Church to teach according to the words of the Book of Concord. Those are my words and my teaching, and no other.

Brett Meyer said...

Rev. Boisclair stated, “(my quote) is a confusion of Law and Gospel because it quotes the Law from Scripture to counter a Gospel statement of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ).”

Reverend, this is clearly not a confusion of Law and Gospel. Your ‘gospel’ statement is not found in Scripture or the Lutheran Confessions – as such it is the antithesis to Christ’s Gospel of one Justification solely By Faith in Christ Alone.

My quote is a clear statement of the Law which all those who do not believe in Christ are under. Simply put, a confusion would have been to use the Law as a means of forgiveness or to use the Gospel as a requirement of man. The issue of Christ as Mediator only through faith is being avoided by the doctrine of UOJ. God does not see the unbelieving world as though they were in Christ (“…for Christ’s sake”) because they are not – and most never will be. The plain words of the Confessions that I quoted above clearly state that God’s wrath over an individual’s sin is only appeased by faith in Christ alone – God’s grace is only by the Holy Spirit’s faith.

You state that 2 Corinthians 5:18 refers to the whole unbelieving world, “…while it must refer to the whole world of sinners in that before regeneration there must (be) reconciliation.” What you fail to quote is verse 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”>/b> Reconciliation is in and through Christ alone. But Christ is only obtained as Propitiation for sin and Mediator with God through faith alone, not before and without faith as UOJ confesses.

All of your OJ passages have been shown to really be Justification solely by faith alone passages.

You claim, “We have always maintained that justification is not conferred and received apart from faith worked in people by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace.”

This is not true. The Lutheran Synods have always taught as a central tenet of UOJ that the forgiveness of sins occurred at the Cross. It is only the benefit of the forgiveness of sins and righteousness which is received by faith – salvation.

WELS AZ/CA DP Pastor Jon Buchholz
"Faith doesn’t bring anything into existence that doesn’t already exist. Faith doesn’t cause something to happen. Faith simply grasps— trusts—something that already is in place." Page 14
http://archive.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?2617&collectionID=1161&contentID=76707&shortcutID=26388

WELS MLC President Mark Zarling, "Faith does nothing more than receive the forgiveness which is offered in the Gospel. It is not a condition we fulfill nor is it a cause of forgiveness. We are already forgiven. God's message of justification in Christ is there whether we believe it or not. Faith then receives the blessings." Page 7
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/ZarlingJustification.pdf

WELS Siegbert W. Becker
"Faith does nothing more than accept the forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel. It is not a condition we must fulfill before we can be forgiven. It is not a cause of forgiveness on account of which God forgives us. The forgiveness comes first. Faith is merely the response to the message. God says to us, “Your sins are forgiven.” This is objective justification, and God’s message to us is true whether we believe it or not. Faith makes God’s message its own and says, “My sins are forgiven.” This is subjective justification. The whole doctrine is just as simple as that." Page 12, The Place of Faith
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BeckerJustification.PDF

Cont...

Brett Meyer said...

Cont...

WELS - Our Great Heritage
"And yet many Lutherans still labor under the delusion that God does not forgive us unless we believe. Instead of seeing faith as nothing more than the spiritual hand with which we make the forgiveness of God our own, they see it as a reason why God forgives us. They believe that Christ has indeed provided forgiveness for all men, that God is willing to forgive them, but before he really forgives he first of all demands that we should be sorry for our sins and that we should have faith. Just have faith they say, and then God will forgive you. All the right words are there. The only thing wrong is that the words are in the wrong order. God does not forgive us IF we have faith. He has forgiven us long ago when he raised his Son from the dead." (p. 59)"

In clear opposition to the promotion of UOJ the Christian Book of Concord teaches in harmony with Scripture:
71] "but we maintain this, that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ's sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God. And because "to be justified" means that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just. For Scripture speaks in both ways. [The term "to be justified" is used in two ways: to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, being accounted righteous. Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., receives remission of sins".
http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

Note the BOC confirms only two ways in which Scripture uses the term “justified” and neither one describe Objective Justification.

Also consider that the doctrine of OJ applies to the whole world - those who died before and after Christ atoned (paid) for the sins of the world and those who are still alive today. Therefore per the doctrine of UOJ God declared, by His divine verdict, that all the denizens of Hell at that time of Christ's resurrection to be justified: forgiven all sin, righteous and worthy of eternal life. Because those who spend eternity in the agonies of Hell for eternity are also part of the whole unbelieving world. Kokomo was the logical extension of UOJ and was deemed by WELS' father of UOJ, Siegbert W. Becker as not containing any false doctrine.

David Boisclair said...

Paul, thank you for continuing to dialogue with me. Yes, in opining that the 16th and 17th century Lutheran theologians did not know at least the concepts behind terms that we have used today posits a "novum," which must always be suspect to the confessional theologian, so if as I and "Synodical Conference" theologians believe the doctrine of UOJ is biblical it cannot have been unknown to our 16th and 17th century forebears.

For the sake of more fully informing the Church of today, whose knowledge of medieval Latin and German is nil, I consider it a boon to have this material translated.

Unless we follow the pattern of sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are ignoramouses (1 Tim. 6:3-4). Of course, in order to understand those words it is helpful to talk about them using our own words carefully.

David Boisclair said...

Brett, in pointing out that the thesis/antithesis pair was a confusion of Law and Gospel I was indicating that your antithesis should have been a Gospel statement rather than a Law statement to show what you actually believe the Scriptures teach in contradistinction to what you say UOJ teaches.

I fail to see how passages of the Confessions declaring justification by faith rule out the doctrine that the world is reconciled at the cross and the empty tomb. Luther said that our redemption was accomplished at the cross but it is not given out there. The Wisconsin Synod theologians that you quoted are merely saying that. You have to be very careful not to limit universal grace, which is the biblical companion of sola gratia. All sins were atoned for by Christ in his active and passive obedience. The Wisconsin Synod theologians are simply saying that when they espouse UOJ.

You have an interesting paragraph that I would like to unpack with you in my next post.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

FWIW, I will not be posting any comments or replies today (except for this one), since it is Ash Wednesday and the Office calls for local diligence.

David Boisclair said...

Brett, in your third full paragraph you write:

The issue of Christ as Mediator only through faith is being avoided by the doctrine of UOJ. God does not see the unbelieving world as though they were in Christ (“…for Christ’s sake”) because they are not – and most never will be. The plain words of the Confessions that I quoted above clearly state that God’s wrath over an individual’s sin is only appeased by faith in Christ alone – God’s grace is only by the Holy Spirit’s faith.

First of all I would ask, "Is Christ the Mediator only through faith?" Yes, His mediation is only accepted by faith, but He would still be the Mediator/Savior before faith in accordance with God's plan of salvation. You probably meant that His mediation is only accepted through faith.

Let's move on:

God does not see the unbelieving world as though they were in Christ (“…for Christ’s sake”) because they are not – and most never will be. UOJ does not maintain that God sees the world as in Christ or "as though they were in Christ." Looking just at objective justification it is not understood to mean that the entire world is "in Christ." Being "in Christ" means being a regenerated believer.

Then we come to the phrase "for Christ's sake." That is how God considers Christ's work of redemption. We can affirm that "for Christ's sake" God is graciously disposed to the whole world. This is the premiss on which He sends out heralds of the Gospel into the world to tell of His love "for Christ's sake." The "for Christ's sake" does not kick in only when faith is present. It precedes faith. Granted, only faith can RECEIVE God's mercy "for Christ's sake," but "Christ's sake" is taking something into consideration because of and in view of what Christ has done for the whole world of sinners.

Then comes:

The plain words of the Confessions that I quoted above clearly state that God’s wrath over an individual’s sin is only appeased by faith in Christ alone – God’s grace is only by the Holy Spirit’s faith.

Brett, no, the wrath of God is only appeased by the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. God's grace and Christ's redemption precede faith.

Now, here is something for you to consider: I have read here and there the idea that those who espouse UOJ are espousing a reconciliation with God APART from the vicarious atonement of Christ as if it were a nude action of God hanging alone out there. If there is such a conception of UOJ out there, that conception is wrong. It would be as wrong as the idea that your doctrine of reconciliation were not about reconciliation for the sake of Christ but reconciliation through the means of grace and faith apart from Christ. Faith and the means of grace reconcile no one APART from the vicarious atonement of Christ. Just some thoughts.

Brett Meyer said...

David, you state, “The Wisconsin Synod theologians that you quoted are merely saying that. You have to be very careful not to limit universal grace, which is the biblical companion of sola gratia. All sins were atoned for by Christ in his active and passive obedience. The Wisconsin Synod theologians are simply saying that when they espouse UOJ.”
Scripture teaches that the atonement is Christ’s payment for the worlds sins. The atonement is not synonymous with Justification: the forgiveness of sins. The atonement is synonymous with Redemption which is also the payment for the world’s sins. Redemption is also not synonymous with Justification. I believe you are clearly wrong in your assessment of the WELS doctrinal statements above. WELS version of UOJ as they have published it for the last several years remains consistent that the whole unbelieving world has had it’s sins removed – debt canceled – such that they are regarded by God as forgiven all sin, sinless, guiltless, righteous and worthy of eternal life and that faith simply receives the benefit of being justified – eternal life. If you disagree it simply means you teach yet another version of the foundationless doctrine and gospel of Universal Objective Justification.

You state, “Yes, His mediation is only accepted by faith, but He would still be the Mediator/Savior before faith in accordance with God's plan of salvation. You probably meant that His mediation is only accepted through faith.”
No, I disagree, this is more UOJ speak as though Christ has already mediated reconciliation with God for the whole unbelieving world which is then accepted through faith. Scripture teaches and the BOC confirms that Christ is obtained as Mediator only through faith alone. Therefore there is no pre-reconciliation with God before faith in Christ alone.

The remainder of your statements can be summed up when you wrote, “God's grace and Christ's redemption precede faith.”
There are varying uses of the word ‘grace’ in Scripture. One being God’s love for all men. The other use is in reference to being justified and reconciled to Him through Christ. I believe it is this grace that you confess precedes faith. Yet, Scripture teaches that only believers are in this grace – not the unbelieving world. The unbelieving world has access through faith alone, outside of this grace unbelievers remain under the Law and God’s wrath and condemnation.
Romans 4:16, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,”

Romans 5:2, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

David Boisclair said...

Hello, Brett, back again after an Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day hiatus!

I have been able to read a very helpful resource last night and today. It is Kurt Marquart's evaluation of a Larry Darby's error on the matter of Objective Justification. Larry Darby was a denier of OJ because he maintained that it led to the error of the Kokomo Theses of 1979. Well, he threw out the baby with the bathwater in his magpie's nest.

The sainted Dr. Kurt Marquart has an interesting paragraph on the distinction between Objective Justification and Subjective Justification. Here it is:

The best starting point is Formula of Concord (Solid Declaration) III:25:

The only essential and necessary elements of justification are the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith which accepts these in the promise of the Gospel (Tappert, p. 543, compare Apology IV:53, p. 114).

We may put these essential ingredients of justification into a list, as follows:

1. The grace of God
2. The merit of Christ
3. The promise of the Gospel
4. Faith

The first three items constitute what was later called “objective justification.” The addition of faith completes the list, which thus defines justification in the full, normal biblical and
ecclesiastical sense and usage. This ordinary sense of the word is labeled “subjective” (individual, personal) only in contexts requiring a distinction from the special
usage of “objective” (general, universal) justification.

That sums it up quite well. One does not have to give up on 16th and 17th century Lutheran theology in terms of teaching Objective Justification in that it is present in Gerhard and Calov, not to mention Luther and the Lutheran Confessions. Chemnitz is solid in the OJ court too!

Marquart does a good job of avoiding a presentation of the views of 19th and 20th century theologians, although in Walther, Hoenecke, and Pieper one has a fine crop of them!

I have also been going over Jon Buchholz's 40+ page paper, and it is good!

Suffice it to say that OJ without SJ is Universalism and SJ without OJ is Synergism and Pietism. That is what one of my dear friends has come up with.

When one takes away universal grace, the extensive and intensive perfection of the atonement of Christ, and the certainty of the Gospel as a denial of Objective Justification does, all that one has left is Synergism and Semi-Pelagianism.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

The grace of God is not that all men have already been justified. The merit of Christ is not that all men have been justified. The promise of the Gospel is not that all men have been justified. All these things combined are not that all men have been justified. So to call these things "justification" is improper, unbiblical and incorrect. It's like asserting that a man bitten by a poisonous snake has been "objectively cured" before he receives the antivenom. Absurd.

All who do not believe in Christ are still under condemnation, not justified. All who believe in Christ are not under condemnation, but are justified. This is the simple language of the Holy Spirit. I urge you to return to it.

Who is this "dear friend" of yours who has come up with this absurdity that "SJ without OJ is synergism"? That is a blasphemous statement against the Holy Spirit. Let him return to the words of Scripture instead of relying on useless human philosophies.

David Boisclair said...

Well, let's upack a few things shall we:

1. Do you believe, teach, and confess the universal grace of God?

2. Do you believe in the extensive and intensive perfection of the atonement of Christ?

That of course is taking a step back from the concept of justification. What do you do with John 1:29 that says of Christ that He takes away the sin of the world?

Don't you see if you remove the certainty of the forgiveness of sins from the Gospel and the means of grace as a denial of Objective Justification does that the Gospel and the means of grace become uncertain?

Did Christ die for all sins? as St. John puts it He is the "hilasmos" not only of our sins but of the sins of the whole world.

All men were justified in the resurrection of Christ as John Gerhard says (he is a very important 17th century theologian). 1 Tim. 3:16 speaks of Christ being justified, which is the scriptural warrant.

As I mentioned above the problem with this type of thinking (i.e. the denial of the Objective Justification of the world of sinners) is that it disjoins the subjective reception of Christ's forgiveness from God's grace, which is universal. It reintroduces the monstrum incertudines into the Christian breast.

David Boisclair said...

We need to give heed to the "third after whom there is no fourth, Johann Gerhardus:

Because Christ arose, we are therefore no longer in sins, since most assuredly full and perfect satisfaction has been made for them, and because in the resurrection of Christ we are absolved of our sins, so that they no longer can condemn us before the judgment bar of God . . . This power of the resurrection of Christ includes not only the application of the righteousness that avails before God, but also the actual absolution from sins, and even the blessed resurrection to life, since by virtue of the resurrection of Christ we are freed from the corporal and spiritual death of sins. Some bring in here the apostolic teaching in 1 Timothy 3:16, God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit (namely through the resurrection by God the Father) that is, he was absolved of the sins of the whole world, which he as Sponsor took upon himself, so that he might make perfect satisfaction for them to God the Father. Moreover in rising from the dead he showed by this very fact that satisfaction has been made by him for these sins, and all of the same have been expiated by the sacrifice of his death [Gerhard, Johann. Disputationes Theologicae (Jena, 1656) p. 1450]

Brett Meyer said...

Rev. Boisclair, you quickly move from one assertion to the next without ever dealing with the meyhem you've caused and we subsequently point out.

Your last comments are a classic defense of UOJ and overun with rational assertions. One that is a beam in the eye of UOJ is when you confess that faith is a work of man.

You implied it earlier and now stated it clearly, "When one takes away universal grace, the extensive and intensive perfection of the atonement of Christ, and the certainty of the Gospel as a denial of Objective Justification does, all that one has left is Synergism and Semi-Pelagianism."
And earlier here, "If only the individual would believe it was in their account then they would benefit from it and if forgiveness was conferred only by faith then faith becomes a synergistic work."
February 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Pastor Rydecki is correct to state this is a blasphemous teaching of the Lutheran Synod's doctrine of UOJ. Faith is Christ's righteousness, created by the Word, through the Means of Grace. This is just another in a long line of examples of why UOJ stands in complete and total contrast to Christ's Gospel of one Justification solely by faith in Christ alone.

Remember, we showed how UOJ's sedes passages were clearly Justification by faith alone passages.

It's appropriate that Pastor Rydecki brought up the case of being snake bit. Recall the Isrealites dying in the wilderness due to being snake bit. God directing Moses to place a pole with the brass serpent upon it in the midst of the dying. Were they all healed regardless who did not look upon the image? Were they like UOJ already healed before they looked on it but when they did they simply received the benefit of the prior healing?

UOJ is the great lie in the last days spoken of by Christ in Thess. 2 which is the great falling away from Christ's righteousness. It is little wonder that both the Lutheran Synods and the church of the Antichrist both declare anathema upon the doctrine of Justification solely By Faith Alone and all who faithfully confess it.

Your assertions are not new - they are old and they are tired and they lack any Scriptural or Confessional support.

Here's a link to the same being used in 2009 by the Lutheran UOJists on the Bailing Water blog - appropriate name.
http://bailingwater.blogspot.com/2009/05/synod-convention.html?showComment=1243384373009#c2310189110862258029

I also recommend reviewing carefully the statements of Christian Schulz who faithfully refuted the doctrinal claims of UOJ.

Brett Meyer said...

Oh goodness, you just keep coming with the OJ proofs.

"Because Christ arose, we are therefore no longer in sins, since most assuredly full and perfect satisfaction has been made for them, and because in the resurrection of Christ we are absolved of our sins, so that they no longer can condemn us before the judgment bar of God..."

He's talking about individuals who are in Christ through faith alone and thereby justified solely by faith alone.

Christ:
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

David Boisclair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Boisclair said...

Brett, no, to deny Objective Justification is blasphemy because it is the denial of the universal saving grace of God, the vicarious atonement of Christ, and the holy Gospel itself.

Justification is more than the generation of saving faith in the heart of the believer. I wonder if the belief of those who deny Objective Justification is that Justification by faith is what happens when the pastor gives absolution after confession of sins. (That is only the final phase of God's action of Justification.) It is a decree of God comprised of the elements that Dr. Marquart of blessed memory laid out in his paper against Larry Darby.

Your view of Gerhard's quotation is wrong because God's absolution of Christ in His resurrection is God's absolution of the whole world of sinners.

"Sola fide" is an exclusive particle like "without works" and "freely" that denotes that our justification does not consist in us performing meritorious works. "Sola fide" does not inexticably weld justification to faith to the effect that justification cannot be considered in any other way.

Answer this question: DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE UNIVERSAL GRACE OF GOD?

Then, answer this question: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT CHRIST BY HIS LIFE DEATH AND RESURRECTION HAS TAKEN AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD?

Think about it.

David Boisclair said...

Brett, I think that you should confess this statement as a sin:

UOJ is the great lie in the last days spoken of by Christ in Thess. 2 which is the great falling away from Christ's righteousness. It is little wonder that both the Lutheran Synods and the church of the Antichrist both declare anathema upon the doctrine of Justification solely By Faith Alone and all who faithfully confess it.

It makes me shudder with disbelief that a Lutheran Christian could say such a thing. I will pray for you.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, again, thank you. You have brought clarity to all of this. You quote Gerhard:

This power of the resurrection of Christ includes not only the application of the righteousness that avails before God, but also the actual absolution from sins, and even the blessed resurrection to life, since by virtue of the resurrection of Christ we are freed from the corporal and spiritual death of sins.

This is excellent, and it makes me wonder if you actually read these quotes all the way through or just copy and paste them from somewhere when you see the words "absolution" and "resurrection" in proximity to one another, imagining that it proves your point.

You have decisively demonstrated here either one of two things:

(1) Either you truly are a Universalist, since Gerhard says with the very words that he is talking about "the application" of Christ's righteousness and those who will participate in the blessed resurrection to eternal life. So if you are saying that this is "universal" and "objective" (not talking about believers only, then you are a Universalist.

But I will take your word for it when you say you are not a Universalist. So that leaves the other option.

(2) Gerhard is limiting the discussion to the absolution of believers in Christ, whose resurrection surely is essential for our justification. Believers are the only ones to whom the righteousness of Christ has been applied (in the words of Gerhard) and who will share in the blessed resurrection to life (Gerhard's words). In this case, you have demonstrated your utter folly and, if you were honest, you would stop using these Gerhard quotes to prove the false doctrine of universal justification.

David Boisclair said...

You are right I am not a Universalist, thank you, Paul.

I disagree with you about the Gerhard quotation in that if it only applies to the regenerated, then it is a declaration of a limited atonement, and you and I both know that John Gerhard was no Calvinist. Besides, when we are speaking about the resurrection of Christ we are speaking about a time before you or I were born or regenerated in the waters of holy Baptism. This gracious absolution of the world happened before all of that.

Please do me the courtesy of answering this question: DO YOU, PASTOR RYDECKI, BELIEVE IN THE UNIVERSAL SAVING GRACE OF GOD?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

You cannot disagree about the Gerhard quotation if you are taking him at his words. He says that the power of the resurrection of Christ includes the application of Christ's righteousness to us and the actual absolution of our sins and the blessed resurrection to life.

But because you are trapped in this false doctrine of an already-pronounced universal absolution that supposedly took place on Easter Sunday, you are failing to read the very words that Gerhard writes.

He does not say that anyone was absolved "at the moment of" Christ's resurrection. He is speaking of the power of Christ's resurrection to absolve.

It's fun how you try to bait me with these Pharisee-like test questions. I'm sure Jesus enjoyed it as much as I do. "If you say yes to my question, then I win! If you say no to my question, then you're an obvious heretic!" Yes, this is very much fun.

I believe that God is telling the truth when He says that He wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. I do not believe God wants anyone to be saved without coming to a knowledge of the truth.

I believe that God loved the world and gave His Son as a sacrifice of propitiation for all, in order to save the world through faith in the Son. I do not believe that all people are actually saved, because not all people believe in the Son of God.

I believe that the Holy Spirit sincerely works in the Means of Grace to bring people to saving faith in Jesus. I do not believe that all people are brought to saving faith in Jesus.

There, I have answered your question. Now deal with the Gerhard quote, in context, paying attention to his actual words.

Joe Krohn said...

Please forgive me. I said I was done.

I have seen this kind of language before in discussions here and elsewhere with Brett Meyer. Pr. Rydecki you say:

"I believe that the Holy Spirit sincerely works in the Means of Grace to bring people to saving faith in Jesus. I do not believe that all people are brought to saving faith in Jesus."

Your second statement suggests some kind of deficiency in the Holy Ghost since your premise is the Holy Ghost is the one who brings one to faith through the Gospel. Can you explain your statement?

David Boisclair said...

Paul, I am not trying to bait you in any way although I shot these questions to you a couple of times before. Thank you for your kindness in sharing your confession of faith with me.

Now, to the Gerhard quotation. I got it courtesy of my sainted friend Dr. Marquart, who is not the same one that came up with the syllogism. He believed that the Gerhard quotation was germane for two reasons: 1) that it concerned the Easter Absolution of Christ, and 2) that it most certainly contains elements of Objective Justification.

You cite phrases which deal with what we call Subjective Justification; however, there are also elements of Objective Justification here:

Because Christ arose, we are therefore no longer in sins, since most assuredly full and perfect satisfaction has been made for them, and because in the resurrection of Christ we are absolved of our sins, so that they no longer can condemn us before the judgment bar of God

I would *safely* regard this as Objective Justification that precedes faith. "In the resurrection of Christ we are absolved of our sins." That speaks for itself.

This passage would involve the life of faith, so it would refer to Subjective Justification:

This power of the resurrection of Christ includes not only the application of the righteousness that avails before God, but also the actual absolution from sins, and even the blessed resurrection to life, since by virtue of the resurrection of Christ we are freed from the corporal and spiritual death of sins

This is obviously Objective Justification:

Moreover in rising from the dead he showed by this very fact that satisfaction has been made by him for these sins, and all of the same have been expiated by the sacrifice of his death

I wonder if I can get the specific work as a digital copy online: you'd be surprized what you can get with digital copies.

Joe Krohn said...

From the Smalcald Articles under "The Office and Work of Christ":

"Part II, Article I: The first and chief article.

1] That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification, Rom. 4:25.

2] And He alone is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, John 1:29; and God has laid upon Him the iniquities of us all, Is. 53:6.

3] Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Rom. 3:23f

4] Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us as St. Paul says, Rom. 3:28: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise 3:26: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.

5] Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered [nor can anything be granted or permitted contrary to the same], even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says Peter, Acts 4:12. And with His stripes we are healed, Is. 53:5. And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the [whole] world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us."

Point 4 resides in points 1-3.

David Boisclair said...

As one can see in the previous post by the coupling at least of John 1:29 and Romans 4:25 that Luther plainly had in mind the universal saving grace of God, the vicarious satisfaction of Christ, and the proclamation of the Gospel, which Dr. Marquart has identified with what is specially called Objective Justification. In line with this thread, which investigates the tense Luther used in translating the 2 Cor. 5 passage that Luther plainly believed the doctrine of the Synodical Conference, i.e. the scriptural doctrine.

Think about what Justification is: the forgiveness of sins through the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. The creation of faith in the heart receives this forgiveness, this Justification that began in God as a fruit of His universal saving grace.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David,

Enough with the smoke screens and the redefinitions to fit what you want to prove at the moment. You quote Gerhard in favor of UOJ. I point to Gerhard's words and point out things that are incompatible with your version of UOJ, so you change it. Then you make Gerhard into an absurd rhetorician who weaves in and out of universal language without alerting anyone to it.

As for Luther, naturally he "plainly believed" all these things that Luther was never smart enough to actually say. With words. Only the Synodical Conference has been smart enough to verbalize Luther's actual thoughts for him, even though it contradicts his actual words (e.g. Rom. 5:18). I'm sure he would be grateful.

Because, silly Luther, he only knew how to speak of justification by faith. Like Jesus. And like the Apostle Paul. He didn't know how to talk about the justification that "began in God as a fruit of his universal saving grace" and pronounced all unbelievers righteous in His sight.

Are you listening to yourself?


David Boisclair said...

Oh, and in seeing my name on a certain other website regarding a post I made here it might be fitting that I reflect how a certain thesis that is made against the scriptural doctrine of Objective Justification is a confusion of Law and Gospel.

One of the thesis/antithesis pairs that Mr. Meyer made is this:

UOJ teaches God has reconciled the world unto Himself through Christ. Scripture teaches the unbelieving world is not reconciled because they have not obtained Christ as their Propitiation or Mediator through faith alone.

The "UOJ" statement is biblical, a clear statement of the Gospel while the second comes along and contradicts it. The second statement is a Law statement that declares the truth that UNDER THE LAW no sinner is reconciled but is under God's wrath. Law and Gospel are not properly distinguished when the Gospel is shut up by the Law. It is a confusion of Law and Gospel when one uses the Law to limit the Gospel, which this thesis/antithesis pair does.

Furthermore, I think that it is wrong to impute the error of the Kokomo Theses of 1979 on many of us. None of us is advocating Universalism. There are no Kokomoans here. Justification has its source in God and even when it is imparted through Spirit-wrought saving faith it is all God's doing. The Lutheran Christian doctrine of Justification upholds two pillars of Lutheranism: 1) God's universal saving grace agaisnt Calvinism and any sort of limited atonement theology and 2) Sola Gratia ("by grace alone") against all Synergism and Pelagianism of any stripe. Again, there are no Kokomoans here.

David Boisclair said...

Paul, you write:

Then you make Gerhard into an absurd rhetorician who weaves in and out of universal language without alerting anyone to it

Nothing of the sort. He is talking about Justification, which happens to be both Objective and Subjective. How can you say that Christ's vicarious atonement is not universal unless you want to limit it like John Calvin.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

David, I think we're done here. I deleted the other comment you just submitted. I won't allow you to lie about my teaching on our Intrepid Lutherans website.

How can I say that "Christ's vicarious atonement is not universal"? I can't. I've never said that, never insinuated it. You made it up. Universal atonement is one thing, and I recognize it as Scriptural. Universal justification is another thing, and I recognize it as false doctrine.

Yes, we're done here.

Peter Prange said...

Dear Paul:

Would you say that Christ's vicarious satisfaction is *sufficient* for all the world but not *efficient* apart from faith?

Just trying to get further clarification.

Cordially,
Peter

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