Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So Huber wasn’t a Universalist after all

Several commenters on last week’s post rightly identified the anonymous quotation as the words of Samuel Huber. A compendium of some of Huber’s writings has recently been translated by seminarian Andrew Hussman and posted to the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary essay file. The whole work is worth reading in order to see through the false depictions of Huber that have been circulated recently by those who wish to distance themselves from him.

In this post, we will begin to examine Huber’s doctrine, using the same section that was cited last week:
    Those theologians charge that I have set forth a universal justification, and indeed of such a kind that makes every person righteous by the very act of salvation and by participation, and simply carries them away into heaven. To this point they have directed every weapon of accusation thus far. But I have never dreamed or written anything of this sort.
Several proponents of Objective Justification have claimed that Huber’s doctrine was rejected by the Lutheran Church in the 1590’s because he was a Universalist, that is, they claim that Huber taught a universal justification that didn’t require faith for a person to get to heaven. As I have pointed out on many occasions and as Huber’s own words demonstrate, this claim is patently false and betrays a profound and willful ignorance on the part of those who make it. Huber was no Universalist. Neither was Walther a Universalist. Neither do any of the churches of the defunct Synodical Conference teach Universalism. Huber’s error was not teaching that all people go to heaven. His error (with regard to the article of justification) was teaching that God has justified all men, whether they believe in Christ or not, but that they have to “possess” this justification in order to be saved. They “possess” it individually by faith. This is also what Walther taught.

    This, however, I had written against the Calvinists: since justification is universal according to Paul’s teaching (Rom. 5), redemption is not able to not be universal.
Huber used the same sedes doctrinae for universal justification that is still being used today to support universal justification (as noted prominently in the WELS This We Believe statement on justification). Romans 5:18 is said to teach that “all people have been justified.” That is not what the words say, however, nor is it what the context supports, nor is it what the Lutheran Church ever taught about Romans 5:18, except for Huber’s aberration.

Huber made an unfortunate error here in arguing against the Calvinists. It appears that he started with his misinterpretation of Rom. 5:18 to teach a universal justification, which has no Scriptural support, in order to prove the universal redemption made by Christ, which has plenty of Scriptural support.

    But I called universal justification that by which God, considering the satisfaction of Christ, became favorably disposed toward the entire human race because of that satisfaction, and thus he accepted it just as if everyone had made satisfaction for himself, with the law having been entirely fulfilled.
Here Huber describes universal justification in the same way as it has been described by the Synodical Conference. Examples:
    We are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of mercy, as in the beginning; yea, in Christ we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?'’ This is not the justification which we receive by faith...That is the great absolution which took place in the resurrection of Christ. It was the Father, for our sake, who condemned His dear Son as the greatest of all sinners causing Him to suffer the greatest punishment of the transgressors, even so did He publicly absolve Him from the sins of the world when He raised Him up from the dead. (Edward Preuss, "The Justification of a Sinner Before God," pp. 14-15)
    …justification is used both in the language of Scripture and the church in a twofold way not only of the fact that God counts his faith to the individual believer for righteousness and declares him righteous, but also of the fact that in his judgment God regards the whole world guiltless and ascribes to it the completed satisfaction of Christ for everyone, the righteousness earned for everyone. (H. A. Preus, 1874)
    The doctrine of objective justification is a lovely teaching drawn from Scripture which tells us that God who has loved us so much that He gave His only to be our Savior has for the sake of Christ’s substitutionary atonement declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous (Romans 5:17-19). Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement, it is not another way of expressing the fact that Christ has redeemed the world. Rather it is based upon the substitutionary work of Christ, or better, it is a part of the atonement itself. It is God’s response to all that Christ died to save us, God’s verdict that Christ’s work is finished, that He has been indeed reconciled, propitiated; His anger has been stilled and He is at peace with the world, and therefore He has declared the entire world in Christ to be righteous. (Robert D. Preus, 1981, when he still held firmly to “Objective Justification”)
    If we say that Christ has made satisfaction for the world’s sin, then we cannot refuse to say that God has remitted the sin of the world in Christ… Whether a sinner acknowledges it, or not, he was acquitted through Christ’s work; the atonement and accompanying not-guilty verdict are an objective and universal reality, regardless of personal perception. (Jon Buchholz)
Back to Huber:
    In this respect it is sensibly called universal justification, not first by me, but by Paul. In it only that act of Christ’s merit and satisfaction is considered at the tribunal of God. However, people still do not possess justification by their own act unless they apprehend by faith that which was approved and ratified by God on behalf of all.
Obviously Huber is inventing words of Scripture when he says that St. Paul “calls it universal justification” (referring to Rom. 5:18). Literally translated, the Greek of Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as through one’s trespass unto all men unto condemnation, so also through one’s righteousness unto all men unto justification of life.” It is not the Apostle’s words, but Huber’s interpretation of them that results in “universal justification.”

But the main thing to notice is that Huber here describes in almost the exact same words the “Objective/Subjective” teaching of the Synodical Conference. He teaches that God has already justified all people at His tribunal, that is, in His divine courtroom, based solely on Christ’s merit. But “people still do not possess justification unless they apprehend by faith that which was approved and ratified by God on behalf of all.” Compare this to the Synodical Conference:
    The effect of God's sin-forgiving act, which consists in this, that the sinner has the forgiveness of sins and justification as his personal possession and his heart's treasure, cannot be where there is no faith. (H.A. Preus)
    In each case, the objective aspect of justification is tied very tightly to the death and resurrection of Christ. In each case, it is emphasized that justification and absolution are not received and possessed by individuals apart from faith, or before faith. (David Jay Webber)
    Only believers take possession of these universal realities through faith. Only we believers have (ἔχομεν) redemption through his blood, and this only ἐν ᾧ, that is, in Christ. In the same way we can say that only we believers have or possess the forgiveness of sins, and this only in Christ. (Buchholz)
    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)… 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). (Buchholz)
Back to Huber:
    And so that it may be evident that I am thinking nothing foreign to Scripture…I will enumerate their testimonies respectively.
    From Scripture we have Rom. 5, “And so, just as through the fault of one it resulted in condemnation for all, so also through the justification of one it resulted in justification of life for all people;” 2 Cor. 5 “When God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins toward them.” To “be reconciled” is certainly to remove the anger toward the human race. To “be reconciled with the world,” is to remove the anger toward all people, which those theologians…bitterly deny, not without blasphemy. And “not to impute sins” is to justify or to recognize as just, with the manner of speaking being taken up from the market place. Therefore, that justification comes upon all people no less than condemnation; that the world is reconciled; that by the very judgment of God, which God carried out in his own Son, sins are not imputed to us, but are imputed to Christ; and that satisfaction has been offered by him and has been accepted by the Father—that is to set forth universal justification in its own legitimate respect.
Again, Huber uses the very same chief Bible passages (Rom. 5:18, 2 Cor. 5:19) and the very same arguments for universal justification as the modern teachers of universal justification. Jon Buchholz, Jack Kilcrease, Jack Cascione and others have vainly attempted to distance themselves from Dr. Huber, claiming that his teaching of universal justification is essentially different from theirs. Their claim is proven false by Huber’s own words and arguments when compared with theirs. In fact, their claim is proven false by Walther's own admission:
    Already in the year 1593 the Wuerttemberg theologians (Heerbrand, Gerlach, Hafenreffer, Osiander, Bidembach, and others) conceded to Huber with reference to the doctrine of justification that he seemed to deviate from them in it “in phrasi tamen magis ac loquendi modo, quam reipsa,” that is, “more however in the expression and in the manner of speaking than in the substance itself.” (Walther, Justification: Subjective and Objective, pp. 20-21)
Here Walther seems to think that the Lutheran Church always essentially agreed with Huber on the substance of his teaching of universal justification, with which Walther also agrees.  He either ignores or is ignorant of Aegidius Hunnius' later condemnation of Huber's doctrine both with regard to the terminology and with regard to the substance. No one is asserting here that Walther embraced Huber's doctrine of universal election. But Walther himself made it clear that there was essential agreement between him and Huber on universal justification. In fact, after centuries of Lutherans avoiding Huber's terminology of "universal justification" and "general justification," Walther even embraces that, to the extent that the Huberian terminology has become so common in modern Lutheran seminaries that few Lutheran pastors even know the true Huberian origin of the terms, or that there was a time when the Lutheran Church rejected the terms—and the teaching!

They can run from Huber, but they can’t hide.


Anonymous said...

Might we play round two of this guessing game? Who said the following?

"The Word teaches us both the universal will of God to save all people— the whole mass of fallen sinners—if they believe, and also the unconditional particular will to save his elect, the believers, in their final faith. The elect were chosen since God foresaw their unwavering faith to the end."

Mr. Aaron Posten

Unknown said...

Pastor Rydecki,

Thank you for setting forth these quotations which line up the fallacious notions driving both the past and present statements asserting Objective Justification. Reasonable argumentation has its place, when such reason is the product of a clear exegesis. Clear exegesis is never the reading into or reading out of the pertinent Scripture passages, either in the narrow or wider context of a section, an entire book, or the whole of the Divine Word Itself. The Divine Word is self-interpreting, never in the least dependent on the interpretation of the exegete led to mine its depths. Mining the depths of the Spirit's clear words is the most and most humbling of tasks. Yet, the product produced by the Spirit is the comfort His certain Word effects for the exegete; never a comfort felt within, but the sufficient comfort which His Truth imparts to faith.

I found myself in a confusing struggle over the years in trying to figure out the nuances of the reasoned argumentations made by proponents and opponents of the article of Justification. I would read one side and agree that there were statements which were reasonable; I would read the other side and find other reasonable statements. My conclusion for many years was that these people are smarter than I am and this discussion is beyond my abilities. This disheartening and disturbing spiritual tug of war gave me no rest unless I just ignored it. God would give my ignorance nor rest, however. He drove me, with my limited abilities in the biblical languages, to ignore the reasoned argumentations and read and listen, again and again, chiecking grammar and meaning. The questions raised by the sedes passages given in This We Believe, as you cite, Romans 5:18,19 and II Corinthians 5:19,21, were answered by the verses themselves and in harmony with the context. The article of Justification has no short or catchy summary, as you have so frequently noted, but arises from and rests in each aspect the Divine Word reveals about the grace of God, the merit of Christ, the Means of Grace, and the faith granted and sustained by the Spirit using those Means. God is good in raising clear but humbled voices which He uses to teach His Truth, even in the din of voices raging out confusion, voices whose tenor is set by reasoned, human argumentation, voices which are found to confuse and confound what God has made so clear.

Yours in Christ,

Gary Cepek

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Looking like Gerhard!

Tim Niedfeldt

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Gary, I appreciate those thoughts very much. I, too, find that when the "theologians" over-complicate an issue, the truth starts to get lost. Then it's time to go back to the simple words of Jesus, as in Jn. 3:16-18. I was roundly criticized for this approach by the WELS "theologians." So be it.

Mr. Posten, the quotation you posted (apparently from a certain Enrique Ivaldi?) doesn't seem to be relevant to Huber's arguments, or to the discussion concerning universal justification. However, Tim wasn't far off in his guess above about Gerhard being a possible author of the quote, since Gerhard was a strong supporter of intuitu fidei language. If one would change the word "since" to "in view of" in the passage you cited, it is very similar to some things Gerhard wrote in his Loci Theologici. Gerhard was careful to point out that the Lutheran Church doesn't teach election "on account of" faith, but "in view of faith as it apprehends Christ."

Anonymous said...

That quote is actually from Hunnius. And yes, the original phrase is intuitu fidei.

My point, though, is not to condemn Hunnius because he, like Huber, used a phrase which can be understood correctly but was later abused. My point is simply that both Hunnius and Huber were flawed men who were capable of overstating their cases and coining new (and perhaps unwise) ways of speaking to win an argument. Both Hunnius and Huber wrote some good stuff and some bad stuff. I don't see the point in appealing to one against the other. Appealing to Hunnius isn't a guarantee of orthodoxy.

That's not to say that I think it's useless to discuss justification, I don't. I just think the conversation should be had on the basis of Scripture and the Confessions, rather than repeatedly bringing up Hunnius and Huber.

Mr. Aaron Posten

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

No one disputes that all men are flawed men. And I'm happy to have the discussion based on Scripture and the Confessions. Of course, if that is done, then no one will ever be talking about "Objective/Subjective" justification anymore, nor about "universal/general justification." Everyone will just go back to teaching that God justifies the one believes in Christ, and only those who believe in Christ, as the Scriptures and Confessions repeatedly say and teach.

The point in bringing up Huber is to show the claim to be false that the Lutheran Church has "always taught" universal justification. On the contrary, the Lutheran Church has historically condemned universal justification.

Even so, I still do not find the Hunnius quote about election to be relevant, nor would I classify it as an example of wrong teaching. If it was offered as an example of his "bad stuff," I disagree.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rydecki,

But my point is that Hunnius isn't necessarily a trustworthy representation of "what the Lutheran Church has always taught". Who made Hunnius the official and only spokesman of true Lutheranism? Isn't it possible that Hunnius over-stated his case against Huber? Isn't it possible that the Wittenberg faculty over-reacted? I'm not necessarily claiming that's the case, but a simple argument from authority is fallacious (except an argument from the authority of Scripture, of course).

I could easily say that Hunnius was a false teacher who departed from the language of Scripture and the Confessions to introduce the novel teaching of intuitu fidei into the Lutheran Church, thus anyone who might agree with anything Hunnius ever wrote is to be disregarded as a Hunniist. (I'm not, but I could.) At the very least there are some passages in Scripture that could be interpreted to refer to UOJ; there are absolutely none that have anything to do with intuitu fidei.

Mr. Aaron Posten

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Hunnius and the faculty at Wittenberg in the 1590's, including also Polycarp Leyser, can hardly be marginalized or placed behind C.F.W. Walther as the representatives of the confessions signed in 1580. I am not aware of *anyone* in the Lutheran Church in that era (or afterward) who charged Hunnius with false doctrine or even of overstatement with regard to Huber. It's not a simple "argument from authority." It's an argument from history. Huber, on the other hand, was banished for his false doctrines.

You could say Hunnius was a false teacher, but then you would have to demonstrate the truthfulness of your claim from the Scriptures and the Confessions, and if you couldn't, then you would have to recant such an accusation. You say there are "absolutely no" passages in Scripture that have anything to do with intuitu fidei. That's quite a claim, all by itself. Gerhard and Hunnius both cite many passages that demonstrate that election and faith go together. And the Formula of Concord itself includes faith as part of God's decree of election. So to call the teaching of a view of faith in the decree of election as "novel" is not exactly accurate, either.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

(A reminder to all that no anonymous comments are allowed on this post. Please include your name, if you haven't already. Thank you!)

Rev. Rob Lawson said...

Pastor Rydecki,
Walther neither ignored, nor was he was ignorant of, Hunnius' later condemnation. The rest of the paragraph that you quoted states: "The Wittenberg theologians (Gesner, Leyser, Hunnius, and others) did not want to tolerate Huber's expression: "Christus contulit proprie redemtionem toti generi humano," that is, "Christ imparted redemption to the entire human race in the proper sense," because the actual imparting, "as it is taken in the theological schools," refers to the appropriation."

Walther was simply pointing out that the faculty at Wuerttemberg didn't seem to get quite as bent out of shape about Huber's doctrine of "universal justification" as did the Wittenberg faculty. Wuerttemberg noted mainly a terminological difference (which they didn't like) and not a substantive one. There was, after all, a temporary reconciliation between Huber and Wittenberg in 1594 (which the faculty at Tuebingen also signed on to). It fell apart not because of Huber's doctrine of universal justification per se, but because of where he took it. At least that's Tom Hardt's take in his essay "Justification and Easter" in the Robert Preus festschrift. Here is the extended quote from Hardt (sorry for the length). I'm sure you've read it, but for others who haven't:

“… When confronted with Huber’s interpretation of Romans 5:19b, where he understands ‘all’ to include also unbelievers, his opponents [i.e., ‘men such as Egidius Hunnius, Polycarp Leyser and Samuel Gesner’] introduce a distinction, saying that ‘condemnation as far as it concerns the debt belongs to all men but as far as concerns its execution (“ACTU”) belongs only to impenitents and unbelievers. So the offer of God’s grace and Christ’s merit is universal but as far as it concerns its execution (“ACTU”) it is limited to believers only, who are excluded from condemnation through the benefaction of Christ, grasped by faith.’ Hunnius et alii thus do not reject the idea of a universally valid grace. Against Huber, however, they reject the idea that somehow this grace would already be conferred on the individuals through the universality of atonement, a notion that they think to be present in Huber’s works. Huber rejects this accusation as a calumniation, assuring that he has only ‘called universal justification that whereby God, considering the satisfaction of Christ, has because of this become propitiated toward all mankind, accepting it as if everyone had made satisfaction for himself.’ He assures that every individual must partake of this gift by faith in the Word and the sacraments. On the surface this seems to be an assuring convergence of views, which explains the temporary reconciliation between the parties.”

Rev. Rob Lawson said...

continued ...

“At length no reconciliation, however, was possible. The reason cannot, strictly speaking, be said to be the fact that Huber insisted on using the unusual term ‘universal justification’ or on maintaining the idea that all mankind had been given, in some sense, part of Christ’s universal, substitutionary righteousness. It is necessary to go more deeply into the confusingly rich material. According to our conviction the essential aberration in Huber’s doctrine on justification was in the eyes of the faculty of Wittenberg – where the main struggle took place – its teaching of unicam iustificationem, only one justification, viz. the universal one, while denying the individual one as a divine action. The accusation is: ‘1) He affirms a universal justification, whereby all men are equally justified by God because of Christ’s merit, regardless of faith. 2) He denies faith’s or the believer’s individual justification to be by God or a special action of God, whereby He justifies only believers. 3) He states faith’s individual justification to be only men’s action, whereby they apply to themselves by faith the righteousness of Christ.’”

“This is not a mere question of phraseology: ‘We do not deal only with terms but mainly with realities … It is intolerable in the church of Christ that he, contrary to Scripture, states that there is only one justification common to all, equally and regardless of faith … Also when he affirms universal remission of sin in his sense, … denying the individual one by God.’ Huber’s opponents have discovered that the kind of individual justification that Huber confesses to be necessary for salvation – he never embraced universalism or the final salvation of all men – was a move from man toward God, whereby the individual applied to himself the benefits of the once-forever event. No real divine justification took place in this latter action. Huber’s opponents think that this opinion ‘tastes of pelagianism.’ They point to such Scripture passages as Romans 4, Psalm 32, and Acts 3:19, where the individual remission of sins is said to take place as a direct action of God. Against Huber’s only one action by God they do not, however, teach a corresponding only one action taking place in the individual’s justification. Rather, they teach a double set of actions, two acts by God, one in Christ and one in the believer. They stress that they ‘do not simply consider, approve and explain two different aspects (nudos respectus) but different acts of God …: one universal, viz. performed by Christ, another special one, consisting in an application, which is no less a work and an act of God than the former one.’ ‘Here Huber anew denies the individual remission of sins against Scripture’s express norm. But we teach a double remission of sins and distinct acts of God.’ The universal act of God toward mankind that Huber’s opponents want to maintain is described in the following way: ‘The benefit of redemption has been obtained and acquired for the entire world’; ‘the righteousness has been obtained for us.’” (“A Lively Legacy: Essays in Honor of Robert Preus” pp. 56-58)

Anonymous said...

Pastor Lawson,

Thank you for saying so well what I was saying so poorly.

Pastor Rydecki,

There is, of course, a huge difference between saying "election and faith go together" and "God elected some in view of their faith".

Mr. Aaron Posten

Brett Meyer said...

Tom Hardt was promoting justification without faith in his essay. Rev. Lawson, “There was, after all, a temporary reconciliation between Huber and Wittenberg in 1594 (which the faculty at Tuebingen also signed on to). It fell apart not because of Huber's doctrine of universal justification per se, but because of where he took it. At least that's Tom Hardt's take in his essay "Justification and Easter" in the Robert Preus festschrift.” To say the temporary reconciliation didn’t fall apart because of Huber’s doctrine of Objective Justification is a twist of history. Hunnius himself stated that the doctrine of OJ which Huber vomited up, confessed, he gobbled up again.

You then quote Hardt saying, ““At length no reconciliation, however, was possible. The reason cannot, strictly speaking, be said to be the fact that Huber insisted on using the unusual term ‘universal justification’ or on maintaining the idea that all mankind had been given, in some sense, part of Christ’s universal, substitutionary righteousness.” Again Hardt is playing loose with history and the Concordists motivations with no regard for being consistent with their public and thorough condemnation of Huber’s distribution of Christ’s righteousness outside of the Means of Grace working Godly contrition and faith in Christ alone. This condemnation from Hunnius can be easily read in his Theses Opposed to Huberianism – available for only $10 on Amazon. Any doubt that Huber’s false doctrine is the same as our modern UOJists is again removed in A Clear Explanation of the Controversy Among The Wittenberg Theologians Concerning Regeneration and Election also available for less than a pack of cigarettes on Amazon.

Rev. Lawson/Mr. Posten, do you reject the Hardt quote above or do you confess that all mankind has been given, in some sense, part of Christ’s universal substitutionary righteousness without faith in Christ and without the Means of Grace?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Pr. Lawson, thank you for the substantive comments you made. I don't fault you at all for the lengthy Hardt quote, and I hope you won't fault me for my even lengthier reply, since I wanted to address the many points you (and/or Hardt) made. My reply would have turned into about ten comments or so, so instead I have placed it in a post: http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2013/10/exploring-hubers-doctrine-further.html

LPC said...

Gerhard was careful to point out that the Lutheran Church doesn't teach election "on account of" faith, but "in view of faith as it apprehends Christ."

When I was a Calvinist, the one doctrine that was sacred was God's Sovereignty which he acts out in his Sovereign Decree. Carried to its final conclusion, you won't be able to distinguish by this emphasis the Christian God from Allah, the God of Muslims. They become the same person. God is Great after all, since both reasonings go that way.

So when I was a Calvinist, I concluded that the only one worth having is the Calvinism which is Supralapsarian , all else is inconsistent Calvinism to me. .

Coming now to Lutheran Theology, I myself would not have a problem in Hunnius saying we are elected "in view of faith". My argument here is very simple. In Romans 8:29 it states "For whom he did foreknew, he also did predestinate...". If God foreknew you then there are a lot of things God foreknew about you and one of them is your faith as well as other things. That stands to reason.

Here is my bit, if you do not like Hunniu's "in view of faith", and you believe that God predestines in view of NOTHING , your logic requires you to accept Supralapsarianism. That is the perfect alternative of all grace no faith. In Supralapsarianism, technically you are already saved before you were born, since you were predestined before you are born. Thus your salvation is just an after effect.

As a former Calvinist, I can see where Huber got his logic. He would be prone to Calvinise Lutheranism. In my view he was still a Calvinist in spirit even when he entered Lutheranism. There were things he could not let go, one of them was his rationalism in interpreting Scripture.


Brett Meyer said...

Speaking of rationalism in interpreting Scripture. Here is a quote from WELS DP Jon Buchholz which highlights the exegesis which gives birth to Objective Justification. It is from his second essay attempting to convince the world they were declared by the omnipotent God to be justified, righteous and worthy of eternal life before and without faith in Christ. This quote is found on page 5 of Jesus Canceled Your Debt, "Immediately preceding this passage, in Romans 4:23, 24, Paul writes, “23The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (NIV). The ἡμῶν fits perfectly with “for us who believe in him.” Understood this way, our sins means the sins of believers and our justification means the justification of believers. Yet throughout Scripture the Word teaches consistently that Jesus died for the sin of the world. Why would Paul limit Jesus’ death in this context only to believers? If we understand παρεδόθη διὰ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν to refer only to “us who believe,” Paul would be speaking of the death and atonement of Jesus in terms of its applicability to only a limited group. Granted, saying here that Jesus died for “our [believers’] sins” need not negate universal atonement, but if everywhere else Scripture refers to Jesus’ death as being for all human beings, why would Paul not speak in consonance with the rest of Scripture?9 Since Scripture speaks elsewhere of Jesus’ death being for all, it is harmonious with all of the testimony of God’s Word to understand this passage in the same way. It follows then that if ἡμῶν in the first clause refers ultimately to all people, then the ἡμῶν in the second, parallel clause also refers to all people: Jesus was given over to death for all; he was raised to life for the justification of all. Grammatically, either understanding of ἡμῶν (as referring only to “us who believe” or to all people) is possible."

Note the: Why would...?  If we...? Granted...  But if .... Why would...?  It follows then.... Either understanding...is possible.  And wah-la there's the Scriptural evidence for the false rationalistic gospel of UOJ.

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