Tuesday, February 25, 2014

C. F. W. Walther - UOJ Theologian with no exegetical prowess, a Zitatentheolog

Over at Shaky Lutherans,  we see a celebration of ACLC's critical response to ELDONA's statement on Justification.  ELDONA, thank God, retreated away from  the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ), the doctrine that says that God has ALREADY declared the world to be righteous, when Jesus was raised from the dead (or when he breathed his last at the Cross - UOJers are not uniform on this). Obviously such a move by a synod away from UOJ carries some traction and must be averted at all cost - it is just bad publicity, so all guns from UOJ synods are pointed at ELDONA today.

Needless to say the UOJers proudly fronted their hero, C.F. W. Walther by presenting him as the man with the final say. Here is an interesting quote...from Francis Pieper presented by Mr. Jim Pierce (an enthusiastic defender of UOJ).

Should, for instance, anyone deny the universality of Christ’s redemption, negating with Calvin the Scripture truth that Christ has redeemed all mankind and that in the Gospel God seriously offers to all men His grace without any discrimination, then he subverts the doctrine of justification. If that error is maintained, then the individual sinner cannot become personally sure of his salvation unless he receives an extraordinary, immediate revelation to that effect. Again, should anyone teach that Christ has indeed redeemed all men, but not completely, in other words, that Christ has indeed made forgiveness of sins possible for all men, but that this forgiveness of sins or justification does not yet actually exist for every sinner, then he makes faith and conversion a meritorious cause of the forgiveness of sins and invalidates the doctrine of justification by grace for Christ’s sake. Or, should anyone pervert the doctrine of the means of grace by denying that God offers the sinner His grace in Word and Sacrament so that the sinner must seek grace in Word and Sacrament, then he bids the sinner seek grace in his own subjective condition, in conversion and regeneration, and so in his own good works. Finally, should anyone pervert the doctrine of faith by denying that faith is essentially trust in the grace offered in the Gospel and by identifying faith with the feeling of grace, then he will put in place of divine grace the condition of the human heart as the basis of justification and salvation. Or should anyone teach wrongly concerning faith by ascribing the creation of faith to human co-operation or to man’s good conduct, then again he surrenders the Scriptural doctrine of justification despite the fact that he may use the expressions “by faith alone” or “by grace for Christ’s sake.” This subject seems to us so very important that we shall develop more fully the three points on the basis of many statements made by Walther

I highlighted the bolded text to show how UOJers commit the fallacy of tertium non datur. The reasoning goes like this, if you do not believe in UOJ then you MUST...believe in "faith as a work" or you MUST then believe in Limited Atonement... blah blah blah. None of this is true because the statement assumes that there are only two options that are mutually exclusive. This is the fallacy, it assumes there is no third alternative. Anti-UOJers do not believe in Limited Atonement and they follow the teaching that faith is a gift created by means of grace. At first blush the fallacy makes initial sense but this is demolished by a clear exposition of passages which purports to teach a Justification without and prior to faith.

A few months ago, I was search through the Internet and I found the thesis of a certain Rev. KARL EDWIN KUENZEL. This ThD thesis (2006) was about the doctrine of church and ministry in the ELS (of USA).  Of course, the thesis could not help but mention Walther because after all Walther wrote something about this subject. The author had some glaring criticism of Walther though we can also detect somehow his political stance of not overtly lambasting Walther. he swung between respect and disdain of Walther. Here are some interesting quotes. Some of the emphasis are mine...

Walther was a tremendous leader, a dynamic preacher, a powerful lecturer, and a remarkable 
writer. However, lest we wind up worshipping the man, as many had done with Martin Stephan, 
and perhaps some do with Luther, we need to be mindful of some of Walther’s deficiencies. 
Walther was legalistic when it came to the matters of usury, dancing and going to the theater, life 
insurance, running a tavern, in-law marriage (e.g., a man marrying the sister of his deceased wife), 
geographical parish boundaries, the local congregation and the pastoral office. He often made his 
position as if it were Scripturally based and therefore God-given doctrine, when, in fact, he was 
going beyond what the Bible says and turning matters of casuistry into untenable doctrines.

Not only did Walther use terms that were readily misunderstood by others, but another cause for 
his naevi [faults], according to his student August Pieper, was that Walther depended too heavily 
on the secondary sources of theology, i.e., Luther and the lesser fathers. In spite of all his 
emphasis on Scripture, there can be no denying this. Although Walther was a great, and a very 
talented leader, he was a poor, even an inferior exegete. He had only an average knowledge of 
the original biblical languages. Frequently he would cite dozens of Bible passages merely because 
Luther and the dogmaticians had done so. Yet these passages did not prove what they were 
supposed to prove. Although very eager to express himself on matters, he failed to recognize that 
his position was based on translations and not on the original text. Thus, he could say something 
as if it were doctrinally true, but without a firm scriptural basis. Over all, the knowledge of Scripture 
that Walther had was more an intimate acquaintance with Luther’s Bible and knowledge of certain 
passages rather than knowledge of the whole line of thought of a biblical book and of the original 
text.

 Another reason that is frequently cited for his use of this format is that he 
realized how inadequate his knowledge of Scripture and doctrine really [LPC: I suppose compared to Hoenecke]was in comparison with 
Luther and Chemnitz, Gerhard and Calov, thus in all modesty he was afraid of going astray in 
even the smallest point of doctrine.

Walther was a great leader and the Lutheran Church benefited much from his leadership, still no 
matter how justified Walther’s method of citing Luther and the Lutheran dogmaticians might have 
been in the beginning, it was wrong both in principle and in practice. The problem was that unlike 
Luther, who stressed the Bible and the study of the Bible, Walther’s positions neither rested 
directly on Scripture nor did they lead one directly into it. Instead he strongly stressed, to the 
extreme, the importance of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions and the Lutheran fathers, and 
certainly much more than he cited God’s Word. Utilizing this format Walther led people to think that 
the matter under discussion or being presented had been established sufficiently by the quotations 
from Luther and the fathers; therefore it was unnecessary to study Scripture. This format actually 
hampered people in their use and study of the Bible. And eventually, it has come to the point 
where the citation theologians not only quote Luther and the old fathers but now they have also 
included Walther and others as proof of the doctrinal stand. As pastors, theologians, and 
theological students took up the study of doctrinal maters in subsequent years the subject of study 
was not as much a study of the Bible as it was a study of old synodical reports and conference and 
convention essays. And now quotations from these, not the Bible, are frequently used to support 
doctrinal positions

However, it was unsettling to have Walther take a firm stance on a matter citing the Lutheran fathers as his proof, yet not realizing that at the same time his position was in contradiction to what they had written 



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LPC: Is it any wonder why UOJ has damned souls and caused confusion? It was promoted by someone who knew more secondary sources rather than the Scripture itself, what do we expect?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Merry Christmaths

My postings have been scarce this year.

It will be even more so because I am writing a booklet for first year maths students on proofs. I got dismayed when I encountered senior maths majors having no clue and no rigour when writing proofs.

God's blessings for Christmas to those who often come here.

LPC

Sunday, November 17, 2013

UOJ Huberites do not know why faith justifies.

Over at so called LutherQuest (really HuberQuest, if you asked me), my dear friend and brother in Christ, Mr. Brett Meyer was busy evangelising its  Huberite members. Brett's interaction with these self appointed so called 'orthodox' Lutherans (just like Huber applied the label to himself and called those who disagreed with him as Calvinists) can be found here.

You can see that the Huberites are allergic to the notion of faith causing anything. They are horrified to think that faith in Christ may actually make something happen, like say cause you to be declared righteous in Christ. See the drift I am heading?

In truth, though the BoC signers did not consider faith as meritorious, they did consider it as a cause of Justification under the premise that such a faith came from the HS created through the Means of Grace.

The technical term they used for this is instrumental cause. What the BoC denied faith to was its meritorious cause as if it was inherent to man. They did not deny to faith its instrumental cause. Thus it is of some cause nevertheless.

Pr. Paul Rydecki has a lengthy post on this and you can find it here.

When these Huberites engage Brett, they are like wasps ganging up on him. They often drop names for themselves, with the intent that an outside reader might think they are genuine Lutherans. For example in answering Brett, they start off by claiming "we orthodox Lutherans believe blah blah blah, yada yada yada". You now wonder what "orthodox" means. They think they are when in fact they are devotees of Walther.

Yet, if these people have studied the orthodox Lutherans they claim they have affinity with, they would have showed knowledge as to why faith justifies as the BoC authors said and not malign faith as if each time we mention it, we are promoting faith in faith. So these Huberites are just faking it.

Let them come to this turf, if they have the fortitude to leave the safety of their haven, I dare them and would welcome their dirt and venom.

LPC

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Be sure to tell Linden and Mueller about this

Dr. Ichabod reported that so called LutherQuest forum (WaltheQuest), a certain Linden responding to my characterisation that UOJers are like Calvinists who lump Atonement and Justification as the same event. You can read about it here..

Franz Linden  remarked:

This is nonsense! UOJ does not treat the atonement with justification as one and the same event. The atonement was necessary for the justification to take place. They aren't the same event, but they necessarily go together, like heads and tails on a coin.
It is the deniers of UOJ that are the Calvinists, because they drive a wedge between the atonement and justification, trying to separate heads from tails, as it were. They give a passing nod to the atonement, but the thing they really crave is justification, as though it could be obtained for us in any other way than the atonement that was made for the sins of all on the cross.
If you ask them how they can be certain that their sins are forgiven by God and that they stand justified, what answer can they give? They can't point to the cross, because they have already debased that act by their theology that so as to deny that it is a guarantee of their justification. Instead, they point to the Means of Grace, as if the Means of Grace do anything other than deliver to the sinner the very same forgiveness that was obtained by Christ at the cross for the sins of all.
This is Calvinist theology. It's been repudiated again and again by faithful preachers of the Gospel. Alas, it must continue to be repudiated until the end of time. Sometimes I wonder if Calvin might not be the AntiChrist. He's got almost as many people believing the same lie as the papacy.

LPC: Well if Linden wants to be technical, of course to them the Atonement and Justification can be made to be different events but that distinction is artificial. For in UOJ doctrine, UOJers practically or effectively make them One and the same thing. Why do I say that? It is because they teach that when Jesus died on the Cross and rose again, which is the whole of the Atonement,  they teach that right there and then, the whole world has been declared righteous already. They do this by logic and out of context extraction of Scriptural verses. Do I need to quote LC-MS Brief Statement 1932 Article 17b again? You find that it has been quoted to death in this blog.

Just ask the UOJer when did God declare the sinner righteous already? That would be a surprise if they point out a Scripture that does not involve Romans 4:25,which again has been thoroughly dealt with in this blog.
--------

It is nice to be quoted disrespectfully by your enemies. Dr. Ichabod reported that at WaltherQuest another UOJ fanatic objected to my accusation of their Calvinism in treating the Atonement and Justification as co-equal and categorically the same  and you can read it here.

Mueller had this to say:
I'm curious, Brett. You quoted this guy Cruz. Why? I had never heard of him before and now it appears that he was trained as a Calvinist. So why are you quoting a crypto-Calvinist to attack the Lutheran doctrine? What's even worse is that this guy criticizes us orthodox Lutherans for agreeing with Calvinists on the intensive perfection of the vicarious atonement! So he thinks that as a "Lutheran" he has to abandon, not only the errors of Calvinism, but the truth they teach as well!


LPC: What is Mueller saying? He is saying that I do not have to abandon the truth that Calvinists teach. What is this truth we may ask? Well, it is the truth that as UOJers they agree with the Calvinists that the Atonement and Justification are co-equal and equivalent categories only the UOJer and Calvinists arrive at different conclusions depending on where that interchange of categories lead them. Yet make no mistake, this UOJ Lutherans admit that the Atonement and Justification are co-equal and equivalent categories.

Folks, when you equate the Atonement with Justification you can go either of two ways which I have elaborated before and have been reported by Dr. Ichabod. You can arrive at only two options:

a.) Seeing that the Atonement and Justification are assumed to be co-equal interchangeable categories, and seeing that Justification is only for a few, you can pull Justification to the left towards the Atonement since they are the same; thus you conclude that the Atonement is only for some, hence - Limited Atonement. What is the L in TULIP of the Calvinists? That one - Limited Atonement.

b.) Seeing that the Atonement and Justification are assumed to be co-equal interchangeable categories, and seeing that the Atonement is for all, you can pull  Atonement to the right towards Justification since they are the same; thus you conclude that Justification is for all irrespective of faith, or irrelevant to faith since Atonement happened without it. Hence Universal Objective Justification - UOJ.

Item b.) was the conclusion of Samuel Huber, a Calvinist turned Lutheran in the 16th century. This was his conclusion. Huber never abandoned the categories he was accustomed as a Calvinists even though he became Lutheran. He was still operating in its philosophy. Folks if you think that Calvinism is just TULIP you are wrong, it is a philosophical framework and all its roots have to be abandoned if you become Lutheran or you will wind up in a lot more mess, just look at Huber's fate.

The Reformed, allows reason, rationalisation or deduction quite a leverage in their method of theology. Hear what the Westminster Confession says I.VI.

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture
You will notice that things that are not expressly set down in Scripture but can be so called "good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture" is allowed in their theological method. Rationalisation carries some currency with the Reformed.

The same is true with Halle Pietists descendants we call UOJers.





Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The favourite UOJ Gambit - Faith In Faith

Universal Objective Justification (UOJers) teacher say that if you do not believe in their doctrine, then there is no other way but for you to believe in your faith - or, you must have faith in your faith.

This argument is directed to people who believe in One Justification Through Faith Alone, i.e. the JBFA people. This ploy is also commonly levied to people who are shaky in their confidence with UOJ and to keep these people in a coral, they throw a guilt trip saying to them - if they abandon UOJ then you must believe in your own faith.


This is also called the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, i.e., because of this, then this follows, and so on. People not accustomed to spotting fallacies are prone to slip and go along this UOJ fallacy.

Let us examine this conclusion a bit - it says if you do not believe in UOJ then you must believe in faith in your faith, or you will then have faith in your faith.

Now no where in the Bible does it teach that there is a thing called faith in your faith. Jesus often tells people who believed in him that their faith has saved them. For example  Lk 7:50. Yet it is Jesus who says this about these people's faith. No where do we see anyone who believes in Jesus commend himself/herself's faith. The very nature of the faith taught in the Bible is that it's object is not directed to itself but away from it, to Christ's person as Lord and his work of atonement. By the Bible's definition, saving faith has Christ's person and work as its object.

Consider now the published teachings of UOJ teachers we have encountered in this blog. We have clear evidence (if you search here) that for the UOJer, the object of faith is directed at that so called "justification" that has happened on all people 2000 years ago when either Jesus breathed his last or when he was resurrected from the dead (which one event specifically caused our "justification", no one knows).

Consider further what UOJers teach about people who do not believe this general or objective justification. They teach that if you reject this general objective justification you are not subjectively justified and hence, one can say you are "unjustified". It is somewhat laughable and hypocritical that they throw the "faith in your faith" on to JBFAers when in fact the same is true for them. For is it not reasonable to say the same thing applies to UOJ teaching? For if you want to be justified, you must believe that you already have been and if you don't then you are not. This too results in faith in faith and in fact far more so and worst because the object is not Christ and his work. Let us not go very far, let us simply quote their famous saint C. F. W. Walther

"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."
C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.
The emphasis there is mine. Yet note what Walther said - one thing remains ON YOUR PART... and EVERY MAN WHO WANTS TO BE SAVED MUST ACCEPT. It is indeed amazingly weird to think that the UOJer's faith can not result in faith in that faith, as if it could never happen to a UOJer.

There is one thing I want to ask a UOJer - are you sure that you believe in that general absolution pronounced 2000 years ago? For if you are not, as per Walther's teaching you are not saved.

On the other hand, the faith spoken of by JBFA teaching is a faith that can not boast and can not look at no other object except Christ's work and person. It locks the believer into the proper place to rest one's faith and hence, its very nature can not look at itself nor somewhere else.

2 Timothy 1:12

New King James Version (NKJV)
12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

My reply to those who say - I've never been to seminary

Some pastors from the UOJ camp dismiss my views because my religious education was from a university not from a seminary. So they imply it is not worth much because I have never been to seminary. Here is my reply.

Corollary Proof from St. Mark - Faith in Christ Is Forgiveness of Sins


It is understood in Christendom that 'justification' is tantamount to the forgiveness of sins. All major Christian streams, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants agree essentially that when one is  justified, one is forgiven. Where they differ is how that justification occurs. Except for Reformation based Protestants, the others teach a mixing of faith + works to be justified.

In the Lutheran confessions we have these words...

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

Further...

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

I offer further proof that the Lord Jesus Himself taught that faith in him is justification and so is also forgiveness of sins when we look at how the BoC view repentance.

In the Apology, Article XII (V) on Repentance, the Apology broke repentance into two parts - contrition for sin and faith in Christ.

In Mark 4, Jesus spoke the parable of the sower and the seeds. His disciples asked what this parable meant and why he spoke to the people in parables. He replied...

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
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.

The word used for converted is EPISTREPHO, meaning to turn around and so to repent.  A few more points...

  1. Repentance results in the forgiveness of sins. So says Jesus and repentance is contrition of sins and faith in Christ, so says the BoC.
  2. Repentance occurs through the Word. Note that repentance is linked to understanding the mystery of the Word, i.e. in this case the parable. Jesus said that to the disciples it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, to understand his Word.
  3. Clearly then, repentance comes from the Word. Since this comes no other way except through the Word of Christ, repentance is never the work of Man and is completely in a different category from works.
  4. If we observe faith, it is really an amazing thing. It is really of a divine origin to see when someone believes or trusts in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. There is indeed a mysterious aspect of faith in Christ. See John 20:29, how blessed are people who have not seen yet believe in Christ. It is not a trivial matter no matter how many times we see it often in Christians.

This passage dispels many UOJ gambits. It dispels the UOJ contention that if you do not believe in UOJ, then you must believe that faith is a work of Man. It dispels the idea that man can repent before the Word is proclaimed, i.e., before the Means of Grace is applied. It also dispels the UOJ error that everyone is forgiven before repentance, before they could believe, before they were born.





Monday, June 10, 2013

Quoting the BoC Fathers?...That's a no no!

HT:Ichabod.

A few weeks ago, Rev. Paul Rydecki wrote a fine essay entitled  The Forensic Appeal to the Throne of Grace in the Theology of the Lutheran Age of Orthodoxy: A Reflection on Atonement and Its Relationship to Justification

In this well written paper, Rydecki quoted Scripture and from the Concordian Fathers that Atonement and Justification are not one and the same thing. It should be admitted that they are related but that does not mean the two are one identical. Rydecki's paper is filled with the statements of the orthodox Lutheran fathers that showed that from their perspective, atonement and justification are not equivalent concepts where one can be used as a substitute for the other. The action of God in the Atonement is not a simultaneous action that God has Justified the whole world ALREADY right there and then.

Now we have been pointing this difference of concept to universal objective justification (UOJ) adherents for many years. Such a category mistake results in confusion, and lots of it. Let me name one right off the hat...

It makes the Means of Grace, that is right, Baptism, The Word, and the Sacrament (Lord's Supper) merely symbolic and thus Zwinglian. It other words, the Means of Grace does not confer justification when it is used and applied. They thus do not confer the present grace of Justification.

Take the case of Baptism. Here, it becomes a reminder of a Justification that has already occurred before the individual is baptised. It becomes a memorial. The same is true for the Lord's Supper, it becomes a memorial of a Justification that has already occurred. Likewise the Word does not convert but tells you to believe the Justification that has already occurred before you were born, before you could hear. These are all contrary to Scripture, for example, Romans 6:1-4, Psalm 19:7, etc.

What would the famous UOJ promoter, the late C. F. W. Walther might say about the wisdom of quoting the BoC fathers, if he were alive today?

Normal people might consider what Rydecki did a reasonable procedure but Walther would have considered Rydecki a very naughty boy.

Here is what he said when he was being challenged in his doctrine of Election...

The principal means by which our opponents endeavor to support their doctrine, consists in continually quoting passages from the private writings of the fathers of our Church, published subsequent to the _Formula of Concord_. But whenever a controversy arises concerning the question, whether a doctrine is Lutheran, we must not ask: "What does this or that 'father' of the Lutheran Church teach in his private writings?" for he also may have fallen into error;

In a typical cultic fashion Walther dismissed the words of the BoC fathers assuming that they were wrong, ... because they disagreed with his innovative view.

In cult like fashion, ala Samuel Huber, Walther did not bother to argue what might the said father meant but rather he dismissed their words as something that should not be taken seriously, a none event. That shows you the attitude of Walther towards his critics. Huber did the same, he purported to know more than the Wittenberg Reformers even charging them of Calvinism, the ideology he claimed he eschewed.

When it comes to UOJ, even UOJ famous proponents admit that it could not be found in the BoC. All of the said portions where UOJ is said to appear in the BoC is what might be called pareidolia (Google it) It is just like finding a rat amongst the rocks in mars or like seeing the Virgin Mary in a tortilla corn chip.