Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Lutheran understanding of 2 Corinthians 5:19

We Lutherans who hold to the Scriptural and Lutheran doctrine that sinners are only justified by God through faith in Christ (as opposed to the supposed universal justification of all men, whether they believe in Christ or not) are often accused of ignoring the Bible and elevating the Book of Concord to inspired status.  What these vain accusers fail to understand is that the doctrine confessed in the Book of Concord is the direct result of the Biblical exegesis of the Lutherans who originally published and subscribed it.  The Christian doctrine of justification by faith is taught everywhere in the Scriptures.  The supposed universal justification of all men apart from faith is said to be taught in a handful of passages.  Chief among this handful of passages is 2 Corinthians 5:19.

As I have demonstrated before (from the words of Chemnitz and of Melanchthon), the historic Lutheran Church never viewed that passage as teaching that God has declared all men righteous, whether they believe or not.  This fact is most emphatically demonstrated in the Censure of the Tübingen Theologians against Samuel Huber, and I agree wholeheartedly with their exegesis.  Tom Hardt's "Justification and Easter" essay contains one sentence reflecting the Lutheran Church's exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5:19, where they state that "Paul never teaches universal justification."  I have finally acquired a copy of Hardt's source material in Latin, and I offer here the whole paragraph translated into English:

    Actorum Huberianorum Pars Posterior, Tübingen 1597, p. 122-123.
    Paul never teaches universal justification. For with regard to the passage in 2 Cor. 5, those words, “not imputing sins to them,” are not to be understood universally concerning all men without respect to faith. For although the Apostle does not expressly mention faith there, nonetheless no mention is ever made in the Scriptures of an imputation where a consideration of faith is excluded. For just as God imputes righteousness to no one except for the believer, so also it is to believers only that He does not impute sins.
    Paul expressly teaches this very thing in Rom. 4: “Not to the one who works, but to the one who believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is imputed as righteousness.” And: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord has not imputed sin.” Paul refers these words to the justification of faith, through which sins are remitted to a man, or in other words, not imputed. And such a man is pronounced blessed. But no one is blessed and saved without faith. Now, if those words are to be understood universally concerning all men, according to Huber’s opinion, then all men would be blessed and saved, for he is said to be blessed to whom God does not impute sins.
    How is it, then, according to the declaration of Christ, that “he who does not believe has been condemned already”? How does the wrath of God remain on him (John 3)? And since unbelievers have already been condemned, therefore their sins are imputed to them, and consequently those words of the Apostle are not to be understood universally and simply concerning any and all men, both believers and unbelievers. Rather, they include the means revealed in the Word of God, namely, a consideration of faith. That is, that God does not impute sins to men if they believe in Christ the Propitiator. If they do not believe, their sins are imputed to them, and they are condemned on account of them.
    The same thing is revealed in the Book of Concord, page 657, where it says this: “For justification, these things are required and necessary: the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and FAITH, which embraces these very benefits of God in the promise of the Gospel. In this way (that is, through faith), the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us.” And shortly before: “The righteousness of faith before God consists in the free and most gracious imputation of the righteousness of Christ (apart from any merit of our works). That is, that sins have been remitted to us and covered, nor are they imputed to us.” The meaning, therefore, of the Apostle’s words is: “not imputing sins to them by the means ordained in God’s Word.” Indeed, if the words are to be understood simply, without a consideration of faith, then why does God condemn the world to which God, according to Huber’s opinion, does not impute sins?

52 comments:

Christian Schulz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christian Schulz said...

I find this embarrassing to say the least:

“When Paul uses the word ‘reconciling’ here, [2 Corinthians 5:19] he clearly means that forgiveness of sins is really imputed to ‘the world.’" -- John Moldstad, current ELS President, Lutheran Sentinel, October, 1996, p. 11

Contrast with above:

"For although the Apostle does not expressly mention faith there, nonetheless no mention is ever made in the Scriptures of an imputation where a consideration of faith is excluded."

Joe Krohn said...

No one is denying the subjective side of justification.

But, there is an objective side. It is clearly acknowledged in 2 Pet. 2:1 which you tiptoed around in a recent discussion.

And I recently posted regarding Isaiah 53 which never saw the light of day. That chapter never seems to be addressed by those who reject a general justification. I wonder why...

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Joe, when you can demonstrate that "bought them" = "justified all people, whether they believe in Christ or not," then we'll take 2 Pet. 2:1 as a new proof passage for UOJ (since all the traditional proof passages have fallen one by one). Until then, it just means what it says, "bought them."

As for your other comments, please do not confuse Intrepid Lutherans with Luther (sic) Quest, where you can post any wild interpretation and baseless accusation in the world and they will herald you as a hero of Lutheranism (sic).

Brett Meyer said...

Funny coincidence. I just posted the following BOC quotes on the LutherQuest UOJ forum which teach in harmony with Pastor Rydecki's translated statements. The BOC is faithful to Scripture by teaching that Christ is not apprehended as Mediator except by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone, worked solely through the Means of Grace. The doctrine of UOJ is unfaithful by teaching the wrath of God upon those who do not believe in Christ was mediated by Christ at the cross so that God divinely declared the whole unbelieving world to be free from sin and righteous 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 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.

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.

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

Brett Meyer said...

Compare and contrast with the doctrine of UOJ:

BOC quoted above “…,because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God,…”

Scripture Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

Gary said...

When you boil it all down...what difference does this issue make? OUJers are not saying that everyone gets into heaven; only those who are subjectively justified by faith will receive eternal life.

This whole argument seems like "much ado about nothing". Is it really worth dividing up Lutheranism, and therefore the Body of Christ, over this issue?

Gary said...

My full name is Gary Matson, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Gary's comment has been my concern on this as well. I have tried, and am still trying, to make up my own mind on this. I have great respect for the scholarship on both "sides" of this. And I certainly understand the desire to fight for correct doctrine - there is no teaching in Scripture that is unimportant, or that is ok to get wrong. But where I'm finally settling on is this: There are clearly some things in Scripture, terminology used in reference to the work of Christ, that belong at the universal end of the spectrum. Christ paid for the world's sins. Christ's atonement for sin is universal. Neither "camp" in this debate would deny this; no Lutheran would deny this. At the same time, there are some things that clearly come only through faith, that apply only to believers. "Regeneration" is at this end of the spectrum. Again, neither "camp" in this debate would deny this; no Lutheran would deny this. Some things are clearly universal; some things are clearly only delivered through faith.

To me, the crux of the question is: where on this spectrum does the term "justification" fall? Some are insisting that it falls only at the "through faith" end. Others say that it falls closer to the middle, and can be used either way, as can some other terms in Scripture.

In the end, I wonder how much it really matters. I have heard no one who teaches Justification in a universal sense who teaches universalism. That charge is sometimes made, but it is baseless. And I don't believe that those among us who feel that justification is only "subjective" believe in a limited atonement, that Jesus' death was only for believers.

So I'm beginning to fall closer to Gary. While I certainly agree that all doctrine is worth defending, and I also agree that WELS may have at times gotten sloppy in some of its terminology (Meyer's 2 Corinthians commentary, the Kokomo statements), I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything other than much ado about nothing.

Rik Krahn

Gary said...

Here is an example from a Lutheran blog that reflects the shameful, un-Christ-like level of vitriol and outright hatred that this issue has engendered between orthodox (confessional) Lutherans:

Left-Wing Mainline Denoms, WELS-LCMS-ELCA, and Church of Rome Are United by One Dogma - Universal Forgiveness and Salvation.

Daryl Meyer said...

2 Pet 2:9 speaks of the punishment of the unjust. But how can anyone be unjust if the forgiveness of sins has been imputed to the world, according to the inspired words of St. Moldstad, et al.?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Here is an example from a Lutheran blog that reflects the shameful, un-Christ-like level of vitriol and outright hatred that this issue has engendered between orthodox (confessional) Lutherans:

The presidium of the AZ-CA district of the WELS, with the approval of the seminary, synod president, and vast majority of pastors, kicked me out of the synod and permanently divided my congregation for teaching that sinners are only justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

(I should have substituted the word "blog" with "synod")

Pastor Spencer said...

Ah - "the great unwashed middle" has finally been heard from! Any others, besides Gary and Rik. Let's hear from you too.

P.S. - Gary, be careful not to become vitriolic in commenting on vitriol!

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, the doctrine of Justification is the chief and central article of God's Word. It is the Gospel message of Holy Scripture. Paul's inspired letter to the Galatians clarifies the difference that this issue clearly, Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

UOJ is another gospel because it teaches in direct contradiction to Holy Scripture.

UOJ: the object of faith is the declaration that God forgave all of your sins, declared you righteous in Christ and saved before you were born.
Scripture: the object of the Holy Spirit's faith is Christ alone, and Him crucified for the sins of the whole world.

UOJ: faith is nothing but an empty hand recieving that which was already declared to be true (your justification) and thereby receiving the benefit (eternal salvation)
Scripture: faith is Christ's righteousness, worked solely by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace whereby an individual who has been called by God is clothed in Christ's righteousness, washed of all sin, receives the inheritance of Christ, is forgiven all sin, justified and saved eternally. By faith an individual dies to sin, is no longer under the Law, wrath and condemnation of God but is under God's Grace. Christ is the Author and Finisher of the Holy Spirit's gracious gift of faith.

There are endless contradictions that the doctrine has to Scripture. In summary: There is no aspect of the gospel of UOJ which does not contradict Holy Scripture. There is no aspect of one Justification solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone that is not in perfect harmony with Holy Scripture.

Proof that UOJ is incompatible with Justification solely by faith in Christ alone is the excommunication of the Kokomo families who rejected UOJ in favor of Scriptural Justification. The excommunication of Pastor Paul Rydecki who confessed in harmony with Scripture and rejected the contradictory gospel of UOJ.

Romans 10:2-4, "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

Pastor Spencer said...

Rest assured, Gary, et al, BELIEVERS are "saved before they are born;" indeed even before the creation of the universe. (See Eph.1:4, Rev. 13:8) Unbelievers - not. 'Tis always been so.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Spencer has illustrated another term: "saved" is used only for believers. Yes there was that unfortunate ad campaign a few years back, but I'd consider that as an example of the occasional sloppiness. And many others have lamented that campaign as well.

Rik

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

There is no such thing, Biblically, as being "justified" but not "saved."

Still, "saved" is the word used by both Pastors Buchholz and Clark when they presented UOJ to my congregation. "Saved, but not saved. Forgiven, but not forgiven. Justified, but not justified." Of course! That helps a lot!

Pr. Clark even told my members they can go to their unbelieving friend and tell them, "Jesus saved you." (So much for Baptism!) So if some are uncomfortable with the word "saved," realize that it's part of the way UOJ has been presented and still is being presented in the WELS. "Sloppy" is not the word for it.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Here is a post from Pr Jim Schulz in another conversation that started out talking about the dangers of CoWo but the topic of Justification by faith entered in and he had the following to say. I think it is a good observation as to why it is not "just about terminology." It is a slippery slope that leads nowhere but to apostacy in time.
*****
"Although Prof. Bivens won't engage in the debate here, you can read online what he presented at the very first WELS National Conference on Worship (1996) and see how an inaccurate teaching of doctrine of Justification does determine worship practice. In his "The Primary Doctrine in Its Primary Setting: Objective Justification and Lutheran Worship" http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BivensPrimary.pdf, there is no mention of the sacraments. WELS teaches that by so-called Objective Justification all people HAVE the forgiveness of sins without faith. If that is the "primary doctrine" and if its "primary setting" is the worship service, then there is little need for the sacraments, which deliver the forgiveness of sins, creating and strengthening faith (cf. Third Article of the Apostles Creed; or also so-called Subjective Justification). All you need to do is REMIND people of how they received Christ's forgiveness ALREADY by his death and resurrection. And that is best done through communication technique, rather than the objective means of grace. Bivens: "The task of communicating the gospel message accurately and adequately will remain one of utmost importance. If we are poor communicators, complaints from those inside and outside our churches are likely legitimate." So, if persuasive communication is the "utmost important task" of the Lutheran worship service in order to highlight "Objective Justification," (already received forgiveness of sin without faith), then what captures and keeps a person's attention in the worship service will become the focus, i.e. emotional-entertainment-Law-oriented practices.

Bivens: "As a final word on the issue of attracting and serving visitors and the unchurched, let us repeat the truth: the primary reason our traditional approach to worship fails to attract people is that it expresses and presents a totally different value system than the one they currently have...." (p.7)

Solution?: "Our task, as always, is to seek some point of contact where we can present the gospel to people who aren’t explicitly interested in it." (Bivens, p.7)

Result: So-called "Contemporary Worship" which looks and feels more worldly than godly because the forms and formats (the "point" or "points of contact") are designed to attract people, who "...seek things (including churches and religions) that make them feel good about themselves, allow them to achieve personally chosen goals and accomplishments, and further them in their quest for “meaning,” “fulfillment,” and “purpose." (Bivens, p.7)

Unintended consequence: Because the forms and formats are largely borrowed and copied from Evangelical sources, which deny the efficacy of the means of grace, but do "work" to attract people, we run the risk of losing the sure and certain means by and through which we can know God loves us and forgives us: Word and Sacrament. Or, it's a "bait and switch" when finally the "totally different value system" (Justification by faith alone?) comes out from behind the "point of contact."

Brett Meyer said...

Believers.

This is a term that is used by both those confessing, teaching and defending the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification and those doing the same for the doctrine of Justification solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone (JBFA). It deserves clarification since Matthew 7:21-24 shows us that not everyone who cries Lord, Lord to Jesus Christ is a Christian and saved eternally, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

The distiction between a believer according to UOJ or JBFA revolves around the object of that doctrine's faith.

UOJ teaches that the object of faith, the only thing that can create faith, is the declaration that the individual was already declared justified (forgiven all sin), righteous in Christ and worthy of eternal life.

JBFA teaches that the object of faith is Christ alone.

Nowhere does Scripture teach that the object of faith is a man's prior justification while he was an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture is the clear declaration that men are to believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sins and salvation. As it was for Abraham, before Christ was crucified, so it is with us today.

Gary said...

Once again I want to point out, that this issue is solely in the realm of theory. It has no practical affect on the lives of the confessional Lutheran sitting in the pew. No confessional Lutheran pastor is saying that sinners are "saved"/on their way to heaven due to objective justification. You are arguing over terminology. No confessional Lutheran pastor is teaching that the entire world has been "justified" in the sense that all are saved. No one.

You are fighting over terminology, not true doctrinal differences.

This subject is something for you pastors and theologians to sit down, have a beer, and debate passionately over a game of checkers, not drag all this nasty vitriol in front of the laity.

Is this issue important enough to divide confessional Lutheranism?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Is this issue important enough to divide confessional Lutheranism?

Gary, you should ask those who thought it was so important that they should brand me a heretic in front of my congregation and remove me from the synod over it. Now that they have branded it a false teaching to say that sinners are only justified by faith in Christ (and not apart from faith in Christ), it is the duty of all godly men to stand up to these charges and refute them.

As for the laity, you're wrong. They are greatly affected. You should have seen the disarray caused by the presidium coming in and telling these Christians that they are saved, just like their unbelieving friends. That they are forgiven, just like all men are forgiven. They thought "forgiven" meant "not going to be condemned." Then they found out from the presidium that most of the forgiven people on earth are, indeed, going to be condemned. The confusion was palpable. So please don't pretend that the laity are not affected. They are.

Brett Meyer said...

Is this issue important enough to divide confessional Lutheranism?

The false gospel of UOJ - having established a new object of faith - has replaced JBFA in all of the Lutheran Synods. Check the WELS Gausewitz Catechism. There is no reference to justification before faith and only JBFA. The WELS paid Kuske to edit the catechism and insert UOJ as the gospel - Kuske used brackets ( ) to clarify that the whole unbelieving world was declared forgiven and righteous without faith.

The LCMS and WELS clergy have stated on LutherQuest that if the Lutheran Confessions taught JBFA to the exclusion of UOJ then the Book of Concord is wrong.

It's the Lutheran Synods who are rewritting the classic Lutheran hymns and removing references to JBFA. It is the Lutheran grade and high schools who are teaching UOJ and declaring JBFA to be a false, synergistic teaching. It is the Lutheran Seminary professors who tell their students to make notes next to JBFA Scriptural passages stating, "could be misleading". It is the Lutheran Synods adoption of UOJ as the new gospel that causes it's clergy to mistake false gospel declarations from excommunicated reformed apostates as orthodox confessions of Martin Luther. And as Tim correctly points out it is UOJ which has enabled the rampant adoption of Church Growth apostasy since it teaches everyone has been forgiven - they just need to believe it.

In classic fashion - those propagating the false gospel of UOJ are claiming that the JBFA defenders are dividing the church. It is the gospel of UOJ which the BOC confessors rejected in totality that has divided the church, excommunicated the Church's faithful pastors and laity and are now demanding complete subjection to their rationalistic doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rydecki, you say that you agree wholeheartedly with the exegesis in this statement, but it's not really exegesis at all, is it? There's no discussion of vocabulary or grammar or context. The authors of the statement never actually wrestle with the text of 2 Corinthians 5. They simply explain it away and dismiss it in favor of other passages that seem to agree better with their preconceived position.

Bill Butler

Gary said...

I am sorry about what happened in your congregation and in your Synod. I am LCMS so I don't know a lot about your situation. Here is my "two cents" for what its worth coming from a layman:

If your Synod introduced UOJ against the stated Doctrinal Statements of your Synod, and you then spoke out against this change, I find fault with THEM, not you. However, if UOJ was the stated official position of your Synod in its Doctrinal Statements and you, after doing your own Bible study, decided that the existing position of your Synod was in error, and began preaching that your Synod held an unscriptural position on this issue to your congregation, and also posted your denunciations of your Synod on the internet and in other public forums, then the fault lies with you.

If you came to the realization that your Synod held a non-Scriptural position, and you quietly tried to resolve the issue among the pastors and the authority structure of your Synod, but failed to sway them to your position, you should have left your Synod. If you stayed and fomented turmoil, your Synod had every right to expel you. You were insubordinate to the authority that God placed above you.

Again, I did hear about this controversy in the WELS some months back, but I never delved into the details, so I have no idea how you handled the situation. I am just giving you what, in my humble opinion, I believe would be the Scriptural approach to such a controversy.

Anonymous said...

This is what the WELS is teaching its laity in line with UOJ:

Q: Should we forgive others for all sins they may commit against us? If they show no remorse or repentance, are we still to offer our forgiveness?

A: Especially to those who have wronged us yet have given no evidence of contrition before God or reliance on Jesus as their sin-bearer, we may say: I fully and freely forgive you, sinner to sinner....You have my forgiveness, given cheerfully in love.


If that sounds right to you, then you are a proponent of pure, unadulterated UOJ. Imagine saying to an unrepentant child molester or unbelieving wife beater: "I fully and freely forgive you. You have my forgiveness, given cheerfully in love." Yet that is the advice a WELS Seminary professor gives through the WELS official magazine here: http://www.wels.net/news-events/forward-in-christ/april-2012/question-and-answer?page=0,0

Scripture, on the other hand, tells us this is what you are to say to unrepentant sinners (and Peter actually says these words to those whom he said acted in ignorance by crucifying Jesus): "Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). Or this through Ezekiel: "Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall" (18:30). But UOJ doesn't allow for that kind of preaching because the unbelieving, unrepentant already have forgiveness. Per UOJ, they simply are just not enjoying the benefits of the forgiveness they already have without repentance or faith.

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, Christians, including all clergy, are to be subordinate to Christ and Him only, Scripture and it only. Pastor Rydecki was faithful to Christ. The WELS was and is unfaithful. To God alone be the glory for bringing Pastor Rydecki to a clear and faithful confession of the Truth.

Gary said...

"This is what the WELS is teaching its laity in line with UOJ:

Q: Should we forgive others for all sins they may commit against us? If they show no remorse or repentance, are we still to offer our forgiveness?

A: Especially to those who have wronged us yet have given no evidence of contrition before God or reliance on Jesus as their sin-bearer, we may say: I fully and freely forgive you, sinner to sinner....You have my forgiveness, given cheerfully in love."


I apologize for my ignorance on this issue, but didn't Christ forgive those who beat him and crucified him without demanding their repentance first?

Are you saying that if my neighbor sins against me, that before I turn my cheek and forgive him, he has to sincerely apologize first?

I'm not a theologian, but don't all Lutherans, along with all other catholic Christians, believe that Christ shed his blood for all and thereby paid the penalty for all sins of all mankind?

The sinner's penalty for sin has been paid. If they are paid, they are forgiven, and if they are forgiven, the judge has declared him justified, his record has been expunged. However, that sinner must, by faith, believe...believe that he has been justified...to experience the benefits of his expunged record. If he sits in his prison cell and refuses to budge, what good does the judge's declaration of justification do him?

The benefit of justification must always be believed, by faith, to be of any benefit to the sinner.

Isn't that what confessional/orthodox Lutherans have ALWAYS taught? Again, I think we are all saying the same thing but using similar terminology with differing understandings of the meaning/significance of our terms.

Anonymous said...

Gary said: "Are you saying that if my neighbor sins against me, that before I turn my cheek and forgive him, he has to sincerely apologize first?"

Yes. Jesus said, "Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).

Loving your unrepentant neighbor, not holding a grudge against your unrepentant neighbor, being willing to forgive 70x7 times your unrepentant neighbor is not the same thing as saying "I forgive you" to your unrepentant neighbor. Forgiveness is a gift offered through the vocal cords (absolution, preaching), water (Holy Baptism), wine and wheat (Holy Communion) and requires God-given faith in order to receive and benefit from it.

If not, then John 20:23 are just empty words: "If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." Also Luther's Large Catechism (a Confessional document): "But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness...(III:56).

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Brett Meyer said...

Gary asks, "I apologize for my ignorance on this issue, but didn't Christ forgive those who beat him and crucified him without demanding their repentance first?"

No Christ didn't forgive the unbelieving horde who crucified Him. He prayed, "Father forgive them,for they know not what they do." Now, as a professing UOJist you would say that God the Father then forgave the unbelieving crucifiers. Scripture contends against this teaching and profession of doctrine. How does the Father forgive - by working faith in Christ alone in those He has called to believe. Mark 4:12, "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." Acts 10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 13:39, "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." And Mark 11:24-25, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

Note that the false gospel of UOJ destroys the Office of the Keys. What sins are to be forgiven by the Priesthood of believers that in the doctrine of UOJ God has not already forgiven - removed. What sins are to be retained in the unbelieving world that in the doctrine of UOJ God has not already forgiven - removed. The BOC addresses UOJ's contradicting doctrine this way, "6] Let any one of the adversaries come forth and tell us when remission of sins takes place. O good God, what darkness there is! They doubt whether it is in attrition or in contrition that remission of sins occurs. And if it occurs on account of contrition, what need is there of absolution, what does the power of the keys effect, if sins have been already remitted?…" http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_10_repentance.php

Gary states, "If they are paid, they are forgiven" This is the rationalism of UOJ which contradicts Scripture and perverts the Gospel of Christ. In my BOC quotes in my first comment above the Concordists clearly show that you're verbalization of UOJ's rationalism is thoroughly rejected.

Gary states, "However, that sinner must, by faith, believe...believe that he has been justified...to experience the benefits of his expunged record. If he sits in his prison cell and refuses to budge, what good does the judge's declaration of justification do him?" This is additional rationalism and blasphemy as UOJ makes God's Word and Will subordinate to man's rational mind by limiting His omnipotent Word to the will of man. Man refuses to accept God's declaration that the man is justified and righteous and therefore man's will impedes God's omnipotent declaration. Read the book of Job.

Gary states, "Isn't that what confessional/orthodox Lutherans have ALWAYS taught?"

No.

Gary states, "Again, I think we are all saying the same thing but using similar terminology with differing understandings of the meaning/significance of our terms."

No.

Gary said...

First of all, Brett, I had no idea what a UOJer was until I read the blog by the above blogger I referred to who attacked the LCMS as if it were the Great Whore.

I believe that Christ died for all, shed his blood for all, and that the penalty has been paid for the sins of all men.
I believe that God has already decided/elected who will be believe and be saved. In the hypothetical scenario I presented, the prisoner sitting in his cell is the sinner who made a free will decision to reject God and send himself to hell. The prisoner who walks out of the jail as a "free man" does so, not by his free will decision, but by the power and divine election of God alone.

God decides who will go to heaven. Sinners chose to send themselves to hell.

The sinner's debt has been paid. But the benefits of that payment, the payment in Christ's blood, is not available to the sinner unless God has predestined that sinner to Election and quickened his dead soul, giving him the gift of faith, creating belief. Just because your record has been expunged, does not mean that you get out of "jail". Getting out of jail (salvation) only occurs when the Judge of Heaven and Earth makes the decision to give you the benefits of your newly cleaned record and sets you free.

If that makes me a UOJer...so be it.

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, your articulation of the intricacies of the convoluted and contradictory doctrine of UOJ is remarkable. By your doctrinal confession of Justification and admission that you have never heard of the term UOJer (ist) you have provided an excellent example of the nearly complete replacement of JBFA with UOJ in the Lutheran Synods - and the laity, yourself included, are none the wiser.
Your "Sinners chose to send themselves to Hell" is a classic UOJ idiom highly used by Joe Krohn. This idiom though is false. Inidividuals who reject Christ, reject the Triune God and reject Justification solely by faith in Christ alone are not making a decision for Hell. They in their original sin and rejecting the Holy Spirit are doing the only thing natural man can. It is solely by the grace of God that the Holy Spirit works Godly contrition over sin and trust in the promises of Christ alone in those God has called to faith.
You state, "The sinner's debt has been paid (record expunged)."
This is more UOJ dogma that is false as we have provided sufficient quotes from the Christian Book of Concord to show. Christ indeed paid for the whole worlds sins, the iniquity of us all was laid upon Him and He suffered the punishment for those sins to God the Fathers satisfaction. This is the atonement. It is man's rationalism that equates that atonement with 'debt removed', 'debt expunged', 'a million dollars deposited in our account'. Scripture clearly doesn't teach that. What Scripture does declare consistently is found in 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." Notice that in contrast to UOJ teaching that God has expunged the unbelieving world's debt but ardent unbelievers choose to go to Hell instead of receiving the benefit of the million dollar debt removal - they in Scriptures reality die in their sins, die in debt, die in their crimson rags - never having been given Christ's righteous robe that washes them clean as snow as the false gospel of UOJ teaches.

Yes, your doctrinal confession makes you a UOJer but there is more that makes you ignore the clear Confession of the BOC and Scripture, the examples provided in this brief discussion by individuals that have suffered and witnessed particular events that show that your assumptions are incorrect - and yet you continue to hold to your assumptions as though these men had never responded.

UOJ, by it's tenets, declares anathema upon the Scriptural doctrine of Justification solely by faith in Christ alone. Scripture declares anathema upon any perversion of the Gospel of Christ revealed in Scripture. Scripture also declares anathema upon any who would add to or subtract from the revealed Word of God. So, clearly no, this eternal war between these two contrary doctrines is not merely a matter of confusing terms and talking past one another. Pastor Rydecki's violent excommunication is sufficient to prove that assertion to be completely wrong.

Vernon Knepprath said...

Gary,

I too thought and felt like you at one time, that the issue of objective justification was nothing more than a dispute in terminology. But, as I listened and read and observed, I became convinced otherwise by the nagging feeling that long standing basic teachings were being changed or ignored. The three solas is a good example. Grace, Faith and Scripture, all are present and important in this basic teaching of Scripture. Minimizing one is taking away the full truth of Scripture. And that's what I witness many of the most vocal and ardent promoters of objective justification do. They minimize faith. And in the extreme cases, they even declare outright war on faith. But this isn't the language of the Bible. There is no minimization of faith in the Bible.

In my work, the manufacturing operation is driven to produce. Production is the life blood of manufacturing. But a wise leader always makes sure that he never emphasizes production output at the expense of safety or quality. The best manufacturing leaders always say, "We must produce, but we must produce safely and with the highest quality". The wise leaders understand that without safety and quality, production output becomes meaningless. The balance is essential. I see many objective justification advocates focussing solely on grace, at the expense and neglect and even outright rejection of faith and Scripture, with faith being declared as a human work rather than a gift of God by the means of grace, and Scripture being replaced by man-made opinions and teachings. I encourage you to listen to the words. Is there a balance in the three solas, a basic teaching of Scripture, or is one being advanced and promoted over the others?

The basic simple teachings found in and coming from the Lutheran Confessions, such as the Apostles Creed and the three solas, were there for a purpose, to confess the truths of Scripture. Test what you see and hear against these simple basic teachings. Confusing terminology should be a warning sign that efforts are being made to convolute the truth. This is true in all aspects of life, not just theology. So-called experts who are enveloped in their own brilliance will seek to impress and confuse those who are beneath their level of intellect, with big words and contradictory logic. But the best teachers, the faithful teachers are those who profess truth in the simplest of terms.

Finally, I would point out that those who are the most ardent advocates of objective justification don't see this issue as just an issue of terminology.

Vernon

Gary said...

Thank you for your comments and clarification, Vernon.

So, if I state the following: I believe that salvation/justification is a gift from God...in its ENTIRETY...including the gift of faith. Faith is not a product of man's intelligence, maturity, or decision-making skills. God "gifts" faith to those he has predestined, before the world existed, to be his children. God gifts faith to his Elect at the time and place of HIS choosing, not ours. God has said that he gifts faith and salvation in Holy Baptism, by the power of his Word and he also can gift faith to an older child or adult who hears/reads the Word. Salvation is ALL God. The sinner is a passive participant in his salvation. The sinner does NOTHING.

When Martin Luther spoke of being justified by faith, he was not talking about an evangelical "born again" experience in which I, the sinner, use my intelligence and free will to produce faith and thereby choose God and salvation. What Luther meant is that the just, the saved, shall live by faith, they do not need to live a life of fear that they must frantically do good works to assist in their justification to decrease their torment in Purgatory.

That is "Lutheranism" as I understand it. Is that UOJ? Is that NOT correct Lutheran teaching as stated in the Confessions?

Gary said...

I posted the comment below an hour ago but I don't see it published. Here it is again.

Is this a true statement regarding Salvation/Justification as taught in the Lutheran Confessions or is it not:

I believe that salvation/justification is a gift from God...in its ENTIRETY...including the gift of faith. Faith is not a product of man's intelligence, maturity, or decision-making skills. God "gifts" faith to those he has predestined, before the world existed, to be his children. God gifts faith to his Elect at the time and place of HIS choosing, not ours. God has said that he gifts faith and salvation in Holy Baptism, by the power of his Word and he also can gift faith to an older child or adult who hears/reads the Word. Salvation is ALL God. The sinner is a passive participant in his salvation. The sinner does NOTHING.

When Martin Luther spoke of being justified by faith, he was not talking about an evangelical "born again" experience in which I, the sinner, use my intelligence and free will to produce faith and thereby choose God and salvation. What Luther meant is that the just, the saved, shall live by faith, they do not need to live a life of fear that they must frantically do good works to assist in their justification, to decrease their torment in Purgatory.

Gary said...

Wow. Everyone went silent.

Brett Meyer said...

Since your question was directed toward Vernon I was going to allow him to answer. I would like to comment that your statements point out a critical distinction regarding Justification. That is, every element of Scriptural Justification is Objective. Objective meaning with no active involvement from man. It is God who does everything including delivering the Means of Grace which the Holy Ghost graciously works through to create Godly contrition and faith in Christ alone. It is all equally Objective. There is no need or purpose behind identifying anything as subjective.
Many people who confess the doctrine of UOJ state that differentiating between Objective and Subjective and establishing man's justification firmly in OJ avoids synergism that would result if man's justification occured in SJ - by faith alone. Thereby showing their hand - that UOJ believes that if man is justified solely by faith in Christ alone it makes our justification synergistic in that man's faith is required for the forgivness of sins. Because faith is in man the doctrine of UOJ maintains that faith becomes a work attributable to man. This contention is proven over and over when UOJists write their essays and charge those defending JBFA of synergism.

Also, I disagree with your statement about Martin Luther's meaning behind being justified by faith alone.

Martin Luther, "12. As before said, they regard faith of slight importance; for they do not understand that it is our sole justifier. To accept as true the record of Christ--this they call faith. The devils have the same sort of faith, but it does not make them godly. Such belief is not Christian faith; no, it is rather deception.
15. ...You see how they make faith of no value to themselves, and so must regard as heresy all doctrine based upon it. Thus they do away with the whole Gospel. These are they who deny the Christian faith and exterminate it from the world. Paul prophesied concerning them when he said (1 Tim 4, 1): "In later times some shall fall away from the faith." The voice of faith is now silenced all over the world. Indeed, faith is condemned and banished as the worst heresy, and all who teach and endorse it are condemned with it. The Pope, the bishops, charitable institutions, cloisters, high schools, unanimously opposed it for nearly four hundred years, and simply drove the world violently into hell. Their conduct is the real persecution by Antichrist, in the last times.
22. Now, the Cain-like saints have not, as they themselves confess, the Christian faith which would assure them of being the children of God.
29. You cannot extricate yourself from unbelief, nor can the Law do it for you. All your works in intended fulfilment of the Law must remain works of the Law and powerless to justify in the sight of God, who regards as just only believing children. 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

Gary said...

I am not an expert in Luther's writings, but I think it is important that Lutherans always keep in mind that our doctrine is not based on everything Martin Luther wrote, only on our agreed upon Lutheran Confessions. Baptists and the Reformed love to read Luther's writings on Romans and his Bondage of the Will. The Baptists think that in his study of Romans he is teaching that one must have an evangelical "born again" experience, and the Reformed believe that because of his writings in the Bondage of the Will, that Luther believed in Double Predestination.

Luther was a man and men make mistakes. Luther's writings were not divinely inspired. They were his opinion.

Vernon Knepprath said...

Gary,

I've been giving your question(s) some thought, and I don't think I can give a "yes" or "no" answer. Striving again to keep it simple, I see the theology of the confessional Lutheran, including our salvation/justification, as being consistent with the "theology of the cross". By that I mean that true confessional Lutheranism, consistent with Scripture, is not about us. It's not about what we do or how we feel. It's about what God has done for use. God has created us, He has redeemed us and He sanctifies us through the means of grace. This seems to be the main point of your question. In that regard, I really like Brett's statement about every aspect of our jusification being objective in the sense that it is entirely the work of God. This is one of the few cases of the use of the word "objective" that I have heard over the past few years that I would say fits quite well with Scripture.

Vernon

Gary said...

I agree with Brett's statement that salvation is all God, that it does not involve us, but isn't that the exact same thing I said in my previous statement?

Faith is a gift from God. The sinner does nothing to produce it or earn it. The moment of salvation occurs when God chooses to quicken the dead soul of the sinner by the power of his Word at the moment of Baptism or by the preaching of the Word. That is the moment that the sinner is "gifted" faith. The sinner is NOT saved (receives the promise of eternal life) until God chooses to give him faith. The fact that Christ has already paid the penalty for all his sins does the sinner no good until God chooses to give him faith in (the majority of instances) his Baptism. The LCMS and WELS do not deny faith is needed for salvation, but it is not man's faith, it is God's. "For by grace are you saved, through faith..."

I have never heard a "UOJ" pastor preach that the sinner produces faith in order to be saved or that because the sinner is already "objectively justified" by Christ's death on the cross, that he is already saved, without Baptism or without the power of the preaching of the Word saving him.

Am I missing something?

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, my quote from Martin Luther was in response to your statement, "When Martin Luther spoke of being justified by faith, he was not talking about an evangelical "born again" experience... What Luther meant is that the just, the saved, shall live by faith, they do not need to live a life of fear that they must frantically do good works to assist in their justification, to decrease their torment in Purgatory"

Whether you agree with him or not, what he clearly meant by men being justified by faith is that faith in Christ alone is our sole justifier. In fact he clearly condemns the doctrine of UOJ because the doctrine of UOJ teaches that faith is nothing (and definitely not the righteousness of Christ) but an empty hand receiving what is already declared to be true - UOJ's object of faith is a declaration of justification which supposedly came before and without faith, without the Means of Grace and without the Holy Spirit working through either. UOJ's faith is the false faith Martin Luther speaks of when he states, "To accept as true the record of Christ--this they call faith. The devils have the same sort of faith, but it does not make them godly. Such belief is not Christian faith; no, it is rather deception."

Luther's statements are Scripturally sound and faithful to the Christian Book of Concord. It would help if you would detail what you reject about Luther's statements that I posted.

Regarding your statements at 11:05AM - We all understand that UOJ teaches salvation is by faith alone.
What is under contention is that Scripture and the BOC teach that an individual is only acceptable to God the Father through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone.
That the forgiveness of sins is by faith alone so that it might be by grace alone. Romans 4:16
That an individual is only declared/considered righteous by God the Father solely through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone.
That an individual is only reconciled to God the Father solely through the gracious gift of faith alone.
That God's wrath and condemnation over man's sin abides, remains, on everyone who doesn't have faith in Christ alone.
That God is not double minded as UOJ teaches where He is at the same time reconciled to the unbelieving world (UOJ teaches this is also true for believers) while they are under His abiding wrath and condemnation.
That the forgiveness of sins is Life and Salvation. UOJ separates the two in contradiction to God's Word. Romans 5:17-18 where 'justification of life' and 'reign in Life' is eternal salvation.

You state, "
WELS DP Jon Buchholz and lead pike in the WELS war on Justification solely by faith alone stated, "The forgiveness acquired by Jesus for all at the cross gives us confessional Lutherans, among all the church bodies of the world, the highest motivation to share our Savior. In contrast to the “Jesus Saves” churches, we don’t preach a salvation that is incomplete and just waiting for the sinner to do something to complete the transaction. We proclaim boldly, “Jesus Saved,” past tense, finished, certain." Page 23
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BuchholzJustification1.pdf

Gary said...

If Brett's statement above is meant to say that Luther believed that "Catholics" were, and are not today, saved, then the Church ceased to exist sometime shortly after Nicea up until October 31, 1517. That sounds a lot like the fundamentalist Baptists who state that the Church disappeared after the last apostle died and reappeared with the first Baptist, John Smith.

So much for the "Gates of Hell" not prevailing against Christ's Church.

Brett Meyer said...

Sorry, got ahead of myself. I meant to include your quote.

You state, "I have never heard a "UOJ" pastor preach that the sinner produces faith in order to be saved or that because the sinner is already "objectively justified" by Christ's death on the cross, that he is already saved, without Baptism or without the power of the preaching of the Word saving him."

WELS DP Jon Buchholz.......

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, do you believe that a Roman Catholic who is 100% faithful to the official teachings of the Catholic Church is a Christian and saved?

Please elaborate on your answer. Thank you.

Gary said...

Response to Brett's 11:05 statement:

Correct me if I am wrong, Brett, but it sounds like you are saying that the sinner must produce faith to be saved. That sounds awfully synergistic.

We receive God's gift of grace, through HIS gift of faith. God "gifts" you faith to receive his grace (his gift of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life." The sinner does not produce his own faith to receive God's grace. That was what I was taught as a fundamentalist Baptist and evangelical growing up. These groups refuse to believe that God saves infants in Holy Baptism because they believe that an infant cannot believe, because an infant cannot make a decision to have faith and accept God's "free gift" of salvation. However, by requiring the sinner to make a decision, and requiring that the sinner possess sufficient intelligence and maturity to understand the concept of "how to have faith", which is the same as saying, "how to produce faith out of my own abilities", that is not a free gift, that is a transaction. I bring my faith to the salvation transaction table and God brings forgiveness and eternal life, we agree to do a trade, and WA-LA, I am now saved by (my) faith!

THAT is Synergism, and is NOT Lutheran!

You sound like you are saying the same thing as the Baptists and evangelicals, Brett. I sincerely hope that I am misunderstanding you, brother.

Brett Meyer said...

Gary please elaborate - what exactly did I say that sounded like "the sinner must produce faith to be saved (forgiven)"?

Also, could you respond to my 1:14pm question as it was in response to your statements directed at my confession. Thanks.

Gary said...

"In contrast to the “Jesus Saves” churches, we don’t preach a salvation that is incomplete and just waiting for the sinner to do something to complete the transaction. We proclaim boldly, “Jesus Saved,” past tense, finished, certain."

I don't have all the context to Pastor Buchholz' comments but if he was saying that everyone in the world is saved because Christ "saved everyone" on the cross, or that all the Elect are BORN saved, then he is dead wrong. He is teaching, with the former, universalism, and with the latter, a form of Calvinism.

I highly doubt that either interpretation is what he meant.

My guess is that what he meant was this: Your redemption, your "ticket" to heaven, has already been purchased by Jesus Christ in his death on the cross and by his resurrection. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANY WORK TO BE SAVED! This free gift from God is yours. It is not a reward for good deeds or good behavior. It is free! All that is necessary to receive the benefits of this free gift is this: Believe/Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When someone gives you a free gift, when is it yours? Is it yours... only after YOU make a decision that you want it, and then reach out and take it? No. If you refuse to reach out for it, the giver gives it to someone else or takes it back to the store??

No! The free gift if yours the very second that your Father decided he wanted to give it to you! It is yours without your decision. It is yours without you reaching out for it. It is your gift, regardless of anything that you do or don't do.

But if after your Heavenly Father places your gift in your lap, you throw it on the floor, and walk away from him...you will fail to receive any benefit from his gift...and will perish in hell. But it was yours, not because YOU decided to accept it by faith, but because your Father willed it to by yours.

Faith, given to you by God, receives grace. "Previent" grace does not produce faith. That is Arminianism. That is Synergism. That is not Lutheran.

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, allow me to briefly address your statements.
”All that is necessary to receive the benefits of this free gift is this: Believe/Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins”
According to the doctrine of UOJ, which you defend, the individual already had his sins forgiven before he was baptized. Why do you then repeat “and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins”? UOJ makes baptism nonsensical.

“No! The free gift if yours the very second that your Father decided he wanted to give it to you! It is yours without your decision. It is yours without you reaching out for it. It is your gift, regardless of anything that you do or don't do.”
The doctrine of UOJ teaches God divinely declared out of His omnipotent will that the whole unbelieving world has had their sins removed, debt eliminated by the merits of Christ and therefore He declared them justified, righteous and worthy of eternal life. Since it is their own ‘regardless of anything you do or don’t do’ they are saved.

”But if after your Heavenly Father places your gift in your lap, you throw it on the floor, and walk away from him...you will fail to receive any benefit from his gift...and will perish in hell. But it was yours, not because YOU decided to accept it by faith, but because your Father willed it to by yours.
So you’re saying if an individual doesn’t throw God’s gift on the floor they will benefit from Christ’s righteousness and justification which He gave them – they will be saved eternally. Also when you make the bolded statement you are confessing that faith is a work of man and that the forgiveness of sins and salvation are available without faith in Christ.

”Faith, given to you by God, receives grace.”
Your statement is a bit jumbled and it’s due to the doctrine of UOJ which separates Grace and Faith. UOJ teaches men are justified by grace alone – no faith. UOJ teaches men are saved by faith in their preceding justification. By this teaching UOJ rejects Scriptural justification and God’s Will and Word when in Romans 4:16 God declares, “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,”

Also, and again, please elaborate - what exactly did I say in my 12:17pm comment that sounded like "the sinner must produce faith to be saved (forgiven)"?

Also, could you respond to my 1:14pm question as it was in response to your statements directed at my confession.
Thanks.

Gary said...

Brett said "So you’re saying if an individual doesn’t throw God’s gift on the floor they will benefit from Christ’s righteousness and justification which He gave them – they will be saved eternally."

No, I'm not saying that. If I believed that I would be Baptist.

What I'm saying is that the sinner has zero ability to choose righteous, to choose or produce faith, or to choose God. They cannot choose any of these things because sinners do NOT have a free will in spiritual matters. Believers/Christian DO have a free will in spiritual matters.

After the free gift of salvation is mine, by God's grace alone, received through his gift of faith alone, I as a Christian can abandon, out-right reject, or neglect my faith and perish in hell for all eternity.

Lutherans do not believe in "eternal security" otherwise known as "once saved, always saved".

Gary said...

I will answer your question regarding Roman Catholics with this preface: As I said in a previous comment, I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. I was taught that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the following people to get into to heaven; to be truly saved:

--people who believe that salvation occurs at the time of Baptism
--people who cannot recall a specific day when they prayed a version of the Sinner's Prayer in which they asked Jesus into their hearts, repented of all sins, and promised to live a life pleasing to God.
-anyone who does not believe in "eternal security".


So what they were teaching in a nutshell was this: What you believe determines whether or not God will save you. That is the epitome of Synergism!

I believe that God commands us to baptize all nations: senior citizens, middle aged adults, young people, teenagers, children and infants. I don't find anywhere in Scripture where Christ or his apostles gave a "Doctrine Test" prior to baptism. I believe that anyone wanting to come to the waters of Baptism, should be baptized, without needing to pass screening tests. If the priest/pastor is a corrupt servant, that does not effect the validity of your Baptism. If you didn't have all the correct doctrinal beliefs at the time of your Baptism, that does not effect the validity of your Baptism. Even if you came to the font under false pretenses (you just wanted to have an "in" with the pretty Lutheran girls in the church), that doesn't effect the validity of your Baptism. Unlike the Baptists, we would not re-baptize that person after they admitted their previous false profession of faith and now made a seemingly genuine profession. Why wouldn't we Lutherans re-baptize this "faker"? We wouldn't re-baptize this man because salvation is not dependent on sinners, their beliefs, or their decisions. Salvation is all God. God says he saves when the Word is spoken and water is applied, so we must believe him and accept the validity of all Trinitarian baptisms.

So what about the Roman Catholics?

Rome does not teach that one must pay money to the Church, climb 20 flights of stairs, or perform so many good deeds before God will save you in Holy Baptism. They teach that God saves by his grace in Holy Baptism, received through faith. Where they go wrong is in their use of the word "justification". They teach that AFTER God saves you in Baptism, you as a believer must do good deeds to complete your "justification". Unfortunately most Protestants take that to mean "complete your salvation". The RCC does NOT teach that if you don't do enough good deeds you will go to hell. What they teach is that you must do good deeds to pay the temporal punishment for sins committed after Baptism. Any of these sins for which you have not made "satisfaction" must be "satisfied" after your death by purification in the fires of Purgatory.

The only way a believer loses his salvation and goes to hell when he dies is the same as for Lutherans: by a rejection, abandonment, or neglect of his faith manifested by mortal sins.

I believe that what a Roman Catholic "believes" regarding his justification plays no role in hindering the effectiveness of Baptism. Why? Because God's Word says he saves in Baptism. It doesn't say that he only saves in Baptism if the sinner believes the correct doctrine...or is old enough or mature enough to make a decision to have faith.

Faith is a gift from God. Sinners do not produce faith. If you believe that they do, you are an Arminian.

Gary said...

I believe that a Trinitarian-baptized Roman Catholic is saved, just like every other sinner, due to God's gifting him eternal life in Holy Baptism. I believe that this same Roman Catholic will remain saved as long as he believes in Christ as his Savior and God and genuinely repents regularly of his sins. Whether he understands that his believing and repenting are based on a concept called "faith", is irrelevant. Jesus said that little children are members of the Kingdom of God and that adults should have the faith of these same children. Ask your five year old to explain the concept of "faith" to you. I doubt he will pass the Beliefs Test. Then ask your child if he believes in and loves Jesus, you will most likely receive a very simple answer: Yes! I believe!

Any person who trusts in his infant baptism alone to get him into heaven...may wake us one day to a rude shock...the flames of hell!

Brett Meyer said...

Gary, thank you for your responses.

Amoung others of your statements, these stand out for me:
"So what they were teaching in a nutshell was this: What you believe determines whether or not God will save you. That is the epitome of Synergism!"
"The only way a believer loses his salvation and goes to hell when he dies is the same as for Lutherans: by a rejection, abandonment, or neglect of his faith manifested by mortal sins.

I believe that what a Roman Catholic "believes" regarding his justification plays no role in hindering the effectiveness of Baptism. Why? Because God's Word says he saves in Baptism. It doesn't say that he only saves in Baptism if the sinner believes the correct doctrine..."


I disagree with you. What is believed is a direct reflection of what is in your heart and therefore a direct reflection of what your faith rests upon. If a man's faith rests solely on Christ and Him crucified then that faith is a gracious gift from the Holy Spirit having been worked through Word and Sacrament. If it rests upon anything else than that faith is from man and by it's trust in something other than Christ alone it is condemned. False faith, faith that rests in a false declaration of justification that happened without faith in Christ alone, or rests in anything but Christ alone is a rejection of the baptism that the person may have received (assuming a baptism rightly administered). The following Scripture verses confirm.

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.
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I appreciate your articulation of this particular confession/belief because it does explain why so many downplay the eternal conflict between UOJ and JBFA. I wonder how many more people in the Lutheran Synods have this same belief.

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