Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Theory of Defection

I have a theory of defection.

It is no longer strange to hear some pastor from here or there defecting to Rome or Constantinople. 

Here is my theory why this thing happens. Well, if you believe people are already saved, they just have not believed it yet, you will defect too. Doctrine or what not won't matter, because if in the end, people are already declared righteous they just haven't believed it yet, what is the problem? It won't make a hill of beans if one moves to Rome or Constantinople, so they do move.

A few months ago, I sat under a lecture by a Lutheran theologian. I was just amazed how he spoke sweetly of Rome. I credit him for being composed at my questions, I challenged him why he hasn't converted yet! I really respect his gentlemanly way of answering my questions, but I was somewhat disappointed at his apparent naive romantic way of looking at Rome. I could have sworn he was a crypto-papist.


The more I read the Large Catechism, the more I am convinced Luther did not believe in this business - all are saved, they just have not believed it yet, or all are declared righteous, they just  have not believed it yet.  One time, one guy was trying to prove to me that God already was treating Abraham righteous because God was already speaking to him. I said Rom 4:3 was the time when he was declared righteous and not before, it was just water off duck's back.

In fact in the Large Catechism, Luther believed that those who do not believe the Gospel are under God's wrath - today, now!!! 

We could have people sitting with us in our churches who could be denying the Gospel, i.e., those who do not trust the Gospel, and are then in God's wrath. In fact Luther referred to them as false Christians.

Here is what Luther said...
Apostle's Creed III
61] This, now, is the article which must ever be and remain in operation. For creation we have received; redemption, too, is finished But the Holy Ghost carries on His work without ceasing to the last day. And for that purpose He has appointed a congregation upon earth by which He speaks and does everything. 62] For He has not yet brought together all His Christian Church nor dispensed forgiveness. Therefore we believe in Him who through the Word daily brings us into the fellowship of this Christian Church, and through the same Word and the forgiveness of sins bestows, increases, and strengthens faith, in order that when He has accomplished it all, and we abide therein, and die to the world and to all evil, He may finally make us perfectly and forever holy; which now we expect in faith through the Word.
---

66] These articles of the Creed, therefore, divide and separate us Christians from all other people upon earth. For all outside of Christianity, whether heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites, although they believe in, and worship, only one true God, yet know not what His mind towards them is, and cannot expect any love or blessing from Him; therefore they abide in eternal wrath and damnation. For they have not the Lord Christ, and, besides, are not illumined and favored by any gifts of the Holy Ghost.




65 comments:

Steve Martin said...

The wheat and tares grow together.

There are plenty of non-believers in my congregation.

We are thankful that they are there, in the path of the living Word, that they might (by God's grace) hear the gospel someday (I mean REALLY hear it).

People love structure. People love religion. It's no wonder that many defect to Rome.

Once you have tasted the true freedom of Christ alone, with NO add on's...I say you'll never again go back into the bondage of "religion".

Acroamaticus said...

Lito,

You're drawing a conection between objective justification and conversion to Rome through doctrinal indifference; interesting, I've never thought of that link before. I think there are a few difficulties though: historically, some of the strongest advocates of objective justification have been thoroughly anti-Roman; if one really thought this way, why go to Rome, whose doctrine of justification actually endagers one's status before God?, better to remain Lutheran and have assurance; are you sure you understand the doctrine of objective justification fully? Properly understood, it does not lead to latitudinarianism, but to evangelical fervour, because the consequence of a proper understanding of objective justification is the realisation that people then need to be "subjectively justified" to receive the merits of Chirst's perfect life and atoning death: how can they be saved if they do not hear..."

I think you are getting close to the nexus of the question by linking it with justification, but I rather think the problem is not objective justification but that those who convert to Rome, while they may have a raft of relatively minor issues they quote in support of their decision, have never fallen into the hands of the living God and experienced his wrath; therefore, they do not apprecaite the pure sweetness of the unalloyed Gospel that Rome mixes with human works (JDDJ notwithstanding, as the last ten years have shown).

Brett Meyer said...

Acro, I believe Lito understands both Objective and Subjective very well. I've read his comments around the globe and using Scripture and the Confessions has left no air for the false doctrine to live.

On this point I would pull back from such a sharp focus and state that Universal Justification as the Lutheran Synods teach by way of Objective and Subjective enables people to move from one denomination to another is that UOJ is a false gospel and having denied Scriptures Gospel they follow the devil and are attracted to the vast array of false doctrines.

UOJ teaches every unbeliever has been declared by God to have Christ's righteousness (his body and blood) and as such that righteousness removes their sin (forgiveness) justifies them in God's eyes (divine verdict) and they stand sinless, guiltless and at total peace with Him. Objectively they have everything they need to be saved by God's declaration. Now this is not an objective declaration based on Joe Schmo's verdict but the verdict of God the Father who made everything that was made in a Word. God said let there be every fruitful plant - and there WAS! Likewise UOJ has God declaring everyone justified prior to faith in fact UOJ teaches we had to have been declared forgiven of all sin before faith (whether or not we believe it) so that faith would have something to hold onto. UOJ's faith is not the faith of the Holy Spirit...I could literally go on and on. UOJ is a false gospel teaching a false way to the forgiveness of sins, a false gospel, makes God a liar, makes a mockery of what it means to be delcared by God to be justified, destoys the Holy Spirit's faith, destroys the doctrine of election, destroys the faith of Abraham and as Christ says is the same way we are justified....Horrible doctrine this UOJ.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Brett Meyer said...

I posted this excerpt from the WELS promotion of Universal Objective Justification on Bailing Water blog and thought it would be appropriate here.

I've added Scripture passages which show the false doctrine that Becker is promoting and WELS defends. Full on blasphemy can be read in the entire essay here:http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BeckerJustification.PDF

Becker, "But universal and objective justification is one doctrine whose place in the victorious Christian life is clear. Wherever men teach that faith comes first as a condition that must be fulfilled or a work that must be done or even as a fact that must be recognized before forgiven(ess) is bestowed (Note here bestowed = imputed) (Mark 2:5, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.") or becomes real, (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.") men will be trained to look into their own hearts for assurance rather than to the words and promises of God. If my sins are forgiven only if I first have faith (Acts 10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.") then I have no solid foundation on which to rest my hope for eternal life (Romans 8:24, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"). I must then know that I have faith before I can know that my sins are forgiven (John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.")

But there are times when a Christian does not know that he has faith(Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.") (Romans 10:9, "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."). And many people who think they have faith do not have it, and many that think they are not believers are believing children of God (Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."). In regard to
our own faith we may be in error or filled with doubt (Romans 14:23, "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.") But there is nothing uncertain in the truth that is proclaimed in the Gospel. Your sin is taken away, wiped out, forgiven, cancelled, swallowed up in the empty grave in Joseph’s garden. To that we must cling. To that we can cling. On that we can build a solid hope that will not make us ashamed.

Cont -

Brett Meyer said...

Cont -

In times of temptation when I am no longer aware of my faith, when my heart tells me that I am an unbeliever, I have no place to turn for assurance if faith must come before forgiveness (Romans 4:16, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all"). But if forgiveness comes first, if it is always there, if it is true whether I believe it or not, I do not need to know whether I have faith or not before I can cling to God’s promise (Romans 11:20, "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.") (2 Cor. 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?). I know that my sins are forgiven whether I feel forgiven or unforgiven. I know that my iniquity is pardoned whether I believe it or not (Romans 9:31-32, "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith"). And when I know that, then I know also that I am a believer (James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Knowledge without faith does not make someone a believer - the devils know Christ paid for the worlds sin but are not believers). John teaches us that when he writes, “Brethren, if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” Take away objective and universal justification and you have gone a long way toward cutting the heart out of the Gospel message."


That should clearly show the false faith UOJ promotes.
Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Luke 7:50, "And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace"
Luke 8:48, "And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."
Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

L P said...

Pr. M.

UOJ is an unfortunate equivocation with the atonement and is confusing - it is traced by Dr. Greg Jackson to pietism...http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2008/11/two-justifications-from-pietism.html

I believe UOJ equates justification with the atonement/reconciliation and this is not correct. If you ask me if there is anything objective I will say yes - the universal atonement/reconciliation of Jesus but justification is not universal.

View it from the doctrine of imputation. Our sins have been imputed to Christ, that is the Gospel, but the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us never get imputed unless we believe the Gospel. UOJ makes the imputation of our sin and Jesus' righteousness one and the same a great blunder because always justification is through faith in the Gospel.

My study of Scripture says these two should not be collapsed ecause that is also the error or Calvinists. Calvinists equate justification with the atonement, they see justification as not universal but the swing this towards atonement and so they conclude the atonement must be limited. UOJ swings the other way and says justification must be universal. Same error as the Calvinist but over a different direction.

Justification happens only through faith in the Gospel. If the person does not believe in the Gospel, Jesus' righteousness never gets to be imputed to him and so remains in the wrath of God.

LPC

Acroamaticus said...

Brett,

With leave from Lito...

You wrote: "UOJ teaches every unbeliever has been declared by God to have Christ's righteousness (his body and blood) and as such that righteousness removes their sin (forgiveness) justifies them in God's eyes (divine verdict) and they stand sinless, guiltless and at total peace with Him. Objectively they have everything they need to be saved by God's declaration."

With respect, no, that is not what objective justification teaches, at least not according to its classical formulation in Lutheran theology. That statement confuses God's work of justification with the process of personal salvation; if that were how objective justification is usually understood, I would be happy to forego the use of the term, for that is not what I am referring to.

Objective justification has to do with preserving the great saving acts of Christ as the sole foundation and basis for the redemption of the world (which John the Baptist foresaw in his announcement in John 1:29) and the proclamation of the Gospel (2 Cor 5:19). Without such an objective understanding of the theo-centric grounds of our redemption, the church will forever teeter between the false alternatives of synergism or Calvinism in its preaching of the Gospel.

It seems you are viewing the doctrine through the prism of a dispute about a particular professor's teaching in the WELS. May I refer you to the articles dealing with soteriology in the "Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod", adopted by that church body in 1932, for a classic and concise statement of objective justification as usually understood, which also sets out the grounds of our subjective appropriation of our Redeemer's work?

I hope you do not also charge the Missouri Synod with preaching a false Gospel?

Acroamaticus said...

Lito,

I think I see where you're coming from, and I don't think there's any real disageement here, as I agree, without faith, the OJ benefits no-one.

You'll just have to get used to relating everything to the central article in order to be understood by Lutherans ;0).
PS

Acroamaticus said...

Oops!

PS
Have you read the Brief Statement of Missouri?

David Cochrane said...

St Lito,

It is my understanding that Jesus did indeed atone for the sins of the entire human race. This is in stark contrast to the Limited Atonement that I previously had the misfortune to believe. The reason that not all are saved is left unanswered in scripture except that it is not received by faith.

I have been told that there is a third view of justification to be had. UOJ is wrong as well as LA that our calvinists teach is equally wrong.

What, in your understanding, is this third doctrine of which I have yet to hear?

God's peace. †

David

Brett Meyer said...

Acro, thanks for your response. Your reference to the Brief Statement would be section 17 here: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/mosynod/web/doct-08.html - correct me if I'm wrong.

The false UOJ claim in this section is, "Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ." I confess the subsequent statement is a correct confession that contradicts the statement above, "He justifies, accounts as righteous, all those who that is believe..." Now I'm willing to say that Section 17 is Scriptural and Confessional if the statement, "God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ" (Note: IN Christ) is confessed to be understood that as Christ paid for the sins of all the world, all the righteousness for the world is IN Christ, and the righteousness that is in Christ is not imputed to the unbeliever without the unbeliever first having faith, by grace of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament alone, to apprehend Christ as his mediator (propitiation) for the forgiveness of sins. Thus without being in Christ and Christ in him God the Father does not and cannot pronounce anyone forgiven of sins, righteous or justified. Christ righteousness is only distributed through the Means of Grace.

I am imagining that you will not agree with what I've said because the LCMS has fully confessed the doctrine of UOJ as accepted by the other Lutheran Synods. Kurt Marquart dealt with Objective Justificaiton here: http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.marquartjustification.html
My first reading of this months ago gave me the impression Marquart support UOJ but reading it again I think he actually professes in line with my adjustment to the Brief Statement above. As for the LCMS I would say the majority embrace the UOJ of S.W. Becker and H.A. Preus enthusiastically.

Clarifying questions for you if you're willing.

1. Has God the Father declared the whole world forgiven of all sin prior to faith?
2. Does the Holy Spirit's faith worked in an unbeliever do anything other than just accept what was already declared to be a reality? (Is there a change in the person)
3. Do you agree with the excerpt of Becker's essay quoted above concerning faith? (note: added Scripture passages in () were added by me)

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Acroamaticus said...

Brett,

Ah, when you put it that way, I understand -thanks.
I agree with your interpretation of para 17, that's what I've always understood Pieper was saying, especially when read in the larger context of the document and his theology. I would venture to suggest that's how it was originally understood, at least from reading Missouri theology of the period? What do you think?
Yes, I've read the Marquart essay previously, and found it illminating, as his writing usually is.
I don't know if your assessment of the current state of Missouri is correct, though - how could one tell? But, Sasse long ago wrote that the confessions no longer function as they ought in LC-MS - replaced by evangelicalism, but that is a danger we (LCA) face too.

As for your questions:

1. No, I wouldn't put it that way.
2. Yes! (whilst avoiding Osiandrism, etc)
3. No (without going back to re-read)

Brett Meyer said...

Acro, LCA stands for Lutheran Church in Australia? I see this on the What We Believe page:
"Lutherans believe God's forgiveness is a free gift
Because of Jesus, God has forgiven all sins of all people. God offers his forgiveness to everyone as a free gift. We don't have to earn God's forgiveness or pay for it. It is ours when we believe in Jesus as our Saviour. God offers us his forgiveness in the good news about Jesus, and in baptism and holy communion."
http://www.lca.org.au/lutherans/beliefs.cfm

"God has forgiven all sins of all people." This is the same UOJ as S.W. Becker confesses it.

It is impossible to make this statement without confessing at the same time that God the Father distributed the righteousness that is only in Christ to the entire unbelieving world prior to and without faith. The subsequent requirement that unbelievers must believe it in order to make it thiers is moot since God has already declared it. This statement by the LCA is unScriptural.

What is your opinion of this?

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Acroamaticus said...

Brett,

Yes, I agree, there is a contradiction in that statement. At best it is poorly worded, at worst it is a doctrinal error. That's not an official statement, btw, even if it's posted on the website; to be official it would have to go through synod, and I doubt it would pass.

L P said...

Pr. M (Acro).

With what Brett spoke about for our synod, LCAus, I somewhat rejoice that we do not have a statement similar to that of the LC-MS 1932, because I truly think that statement is confusing and even contradictory. Our statement is mild and easily corrected if we include IN Christ in it.

The old Lutherans have no such statement and it is not in our BoC.


Here are my points.

Lutherans do not collapse Justification with Sanctification. They are distinguished but not separated, but distinguished nevertheless. I recall that this was the issue with the Reformation, Rome collapsed the two.

The same thing, with Justification and Reconciliation. What UOJ does is to collapse the two and in fact equate the two! Justification should be distinguished from Reconciliation, the first is subjective because it is through faith, the other is objective because it happened without our consent nor our approval. God did this on his own.

Many people who agree with the term UOJ will retract once they understood what the issue is all about. The sad thing is that the Atonement gets collapsed with Justification because of the mixing of categories. And so, some pastors think they affirm UOJ but what they are actually affirming is UOA.

Brett spent countless hours discussing this with folk at Luther QUest. However, instead of dealing with the issue in fairness, he was hounded out and chased away.

Let us be fair, the old Lutherans did not have such a statement like that of LC-MS 1932. That is a fair point isn't it?


LPC

L P said...

Bro. David,

My view is that I am allergic to the term UOJ. I believe that Salvation is IN Christ and this is the job of the HS through the means of grace to bring people into Christ. Word and Sacraments of Baptism/Lord's Supper are God's way of creating faith in us in the Gospel.

Technically, the Gospel answers the accusation of the Law, it is about payment, remission of debt, the Gospel is about being paid for, our sins have been paid for by Christ.


The Law accuses us of a debt we cannot pay and we are doomed but the Gospel says Jesus paid for you. That is what is to be trusted.

When I heard about the Gospel I did not hear about justification, nor regeneration, nor glorification etc. I heard about the Atonement, the Reconciliation, that Christ died and did it all for me.

Justification is something that happens in God's heart, not in my heart. Abraham believed God's word and God reckoned it to him as righteousness, or God treated it as righteousness, so Abraham did not hear a voice saying "Oh, what a nice guy you are, I will treat you now as righteous". No. So justification is not a mystical experience it is also by faith that for Christ's sake we are forgiven. Faith takes a hold of Christ and since that is where forgiveness is found, it possess forgiveness, but not before faith but at faith and the means of grace continually creates this faith in our hearts as we hear the Gospel proclaimed to us and we see visibly the means of Grace.


I believe it is only the Lutherans who take the means of grace seriously. Both Calvinism and Romanism do not take the means of grace seriously. No.

So David, to answer the question, this I think is what the old Lutherans believed, they did not have statements such as UOJ, this came later and Dr. Ichabod has traced the origin of the term from a Pietist universities.

LPC

L P said...

Brett/Pr M.

I think we are in general agreement that UOJ as a term is confusing and is not helpful and in fact our old Lutheran fathers did not have such a statement.

But I come now to how do we addess Becker's crisis of faith. Becker answered it by positing UOJ. For Becker, this was the answer to anxiety of our souls. This need not be the answer.

I want to hear your views and perhaps Brett, how would you counsel the one who is getting worried about his assurance?

For me, it is to direct the weak brethren to the means of Grace.

more on this later.


LPC

Acroamaticus said...

Lito,

I'll leave the Becker question as I'm not familiar enough with the issues raised. I only know that author from a book he wrote about Luther and Reason.

Yes, the phrase IN CHRIST would be a good addition to the LCA web-document. I don't know who authored that document, in fact I've never even read it before Brett drew our attention to it (should read our own synodical website more, huh?), but we need to suggest a revision of the wording. I'm inclined to think it's an error of "omission" rather than "comission" though. I don't know of any LCA pastors who teach universalism as a result of believing OJ (oops! I'll put a dollar in the swear jar for using that term ;0)).

L P said...

Pr. M,

I agree with you, it is more by omission, they think it can be read as being implied (In Christ) but of course it is problematic as it can be read the other way too.

LIto

Brett Meyer said...

Speaking to how the LCA statement on Justification is in error I would say it is in comission. This sentence needs to be removed, "Because of Jesus, God has forgiven all sins of all people." Since all unbelievers are servants to sin Christ cannot be in them and if Christ is not in them and thus they being dead to sins and alive in Christ, under grace, God the Father does not declare any unbeliever forgiven - even in Christ.

Lito, in your post to David you made this statement, "Word and Sacraments of Baptism/Lord's Supper are God's way of creating faith in us in the Gospel." I would disagree that Holy Communion creates faith. It strengthens faith as visible means of grace sanctifying believers. But incorrect to say it creates faith since anyone taking Christ's body and blood without faith, unworthily, are condemned. This is actually a very good response to UOJ since that false doctrine has Christ's body and blood applied to unbelievers for the forgiveness of sins outside of and before faith. They do not become forgiven but condemned - if this were the case. I'm still working through this but I think it's correct.

Becker's crisis of faith is to be expected since UOJ teaches a different faith than that of the Holy Spirit since they say it's only an empty hand. UOJ says if faith does anything it makes faith a work in man. This issue of doubting forgiveness is directly due to UOJ because they do not have the Holy Spirit who uses Word and Sacrament (the true Gospel)to comfort the hearts of God's children. Note also in Becker's essay that they treat believers needing comfort and unbelievers the same way - pointing them to the fact that even before they believed God declared them forgiven. Note Becker's statement here, "and many that think they are not believers are believing children of God" - What?? Truly amazing what people will believe when they depart from Scripture.

Comfort for someone who believes in Christ is to first ask, "Do you believe that Christ Jesus died and paid for your sins, that by believing in Him alone you are forgiven of all sins, righteous and justified in Christ?" If the answer is yes, then provide them the comfort that even though they may not feel it with sinful human emotion Christ in the Word says they are indeed forgiven and a child of God. Rebuke their sinful flesh and the devil who nags them and trust alone in Christ praying for comfort from the Holy Spirit that in the Lord's time and will their faith will be strengthened through Word and Sacrament. If the answer is no, then they need the law to show them thier sin that through contrition over sin they can once again hear and believe the Gospel message through the Holy Spirit. Purely Law and Gospel.

I just completed another lengthy discussion of UOJ with the pastors and laymen of the WELS here:
http://bailingwater.blogspot.com/2009/05/synod-convention.html

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Brett Meyer said...

CORRECTION:

I stated in my 2:47PM post, "thus they being dead to sins and alive in Christ" it should read, "thus they being dead to sins and not alive in Christ..."

My apologies.

Brett Meyer

L P said...

Brett.

Lito, in your post to David you made this statement, "Word and Sacraments of Baptism/Lord's Supper are God's way of creating faith in us in the Gospel." I would disagree that Holy Communion creates faith

Of course what I said was only one side of the story. For example the Word of the Gospel can be rejected. Thus it becomes the condemnatory means, hence, the very thing that God uses to create faith is rejected therefore the person is condemned by his own fault, but not God's. The same is true for Baptism and the Lord's Supper. If one rejects what Baptism delivers which is to point the baptized to the payment of Christ then his baptism profits him nothing, he is in unbelief and thus not in faith. One can reject or resist what the means of grace is trying to deliver. I wish to make that clear.

However if God is going to create faith at all, it will have to be through the means of grace. I see no other tool that God uses to supply what he demands.

Whoever rejects the means of grace is not privy to me only God sees the heart. But to comfort the anxious, I see no other way except to direct them to the means of grace.

Even Luther confessed "But I am baptized" when he was assaulted by doubts about his salvation. He did not point to what was inside him such as his faith. The fact that he confessed that says he was of course believing that God has a promise for him and united him to Christ by his baptism.

This was the counsel of the FC and SD. In discussing the issue of predestination such as asking if one is elect, I read both in the FC and SD that the anxious Christian assaulted with such insecurities are to diligently use the means of grace. In one other place I read an exposition that even the desire to believe is also a consequence of that one is believing, for why would anyone desire what one does not believe to be beneficial?


Lito

L P said...

Brett,

To be clear further on the means of grace such as the Supper, what I mean was that the same is true for the Word of God preached in Law and Gospel.

One can say - thanks very much I am not a sinner I need no one to die for me. Or thanks very much, I am indeed am a sinner but I will pay it myself.

Both of these make God a liar and are attitudes of unbelief and so the very means to deliver faith is rejected. So the unbeliever lies condemned in his resistance or unbelief in God.

I see the same in the Supper as a parallel. The same way when one rejects the Word as true, one is in unbelief yet the promise is the one that creates faith. In the Supper there is a word mix with the elements - this is the Lord's body broken for you - a declaration - words of institution, and because of that word it has capacity to create faith as the HS wills.

I do confess I also have not worked out the terminology here whether in your case it sustains faith that is already there or in my case it creates faith that may not be there. I tend to go on the latter by virtue of the fact that there is also the visible Word in the Sacrament.

So if God is going to supply what he demands - which is faith it will always be connected to the Word and Sacrament.

The problem in the anxious soul is this - he will be asking the very question that needs to be proved - do I have faith in the Gospel and therefore justified? Corollary to this is the equivalent question, am I therefore elect?

So we cannot direct him inside because that is the very thing that is in question, he must therefore be directed outside himself - so Word and Sacrament. The FC/SD direct him there so that if faith is indeed not there, in God's promise, he will use the means of Grace to create/sustain (or whatever it is), that faith may be present.

Of course, the person who does apostate will have no care for the means of grace and perhaps will not even be anxious.

To me the effect of UOJ is not to care if he believes or not, because after all since he is saved without his faith then it does not matter if he has it or not. This to me is an effect of UOJ, faith in a confusing way is made or effectively optional. There is confusing concepts and throws one off in a spin.


What I like to do is to interview those who moved to Rome or Constantinople, and ask if before their move, they believed in UOJ.

LPC

Acroamaticus said...

Lito,

You wrote:

"What I like to do is to interview those who moved to Rome or Constantinople, and ask if before their move, they believed in UOJ."


I thought of asking you this right up front, if you had any empirical evidence for your theory,because I have personally spoken with several in Australia who have defected (two while they were in the midst of their struggle, one after the decision was amde) and UOJ has never been mentioned, in fact, I would dare to venture that it has never even been heard of by them, as this is simply not an issue in the LCA. This is why it was difficult for me to "get my head around" your initial theory; if it applies at all, it would seem only to apply to someone from LC-MS or WELS who has misinterpreted Pieper's original presentation of the doctrine a la Becker.
What does feature strongly in the Australian cases is the issue of the ecclesial authority of the Lutheran Church, supplemented by the belief that JDDJ has resolved the issues betwen Lutherans and Catholics on justification -strange, I know, to major on authority and minor on justification in this way, but that is what I have found.

L P said...

Pr. M.

I do concur with you if the blog is an indication, I have seen one who argues that JDDJ fixes things up and the issue of authority. However I am just curious if UOJ is lurking behind the scenes in those cases because I should think that UOJ provides the impetus.

As far as I know, almost all American Synods have UOJ as a synodical statement. I do not think we have an official statement to this (I mean the LCAus). I searched but could not find one official statement except what Brett mentioned in the web site which I take it is a web site statement and not a Synodical statement necessarily.

I am willing to be generous and lean on the thought that it was an imprecise statement borne out of sloppiness, I am not sure as I do not see people's hearts.

LPC

Acroamaticus said...

Lito,

No, we have no statement on objective justification. Some who come from the old ELCA (Australian ELCA, that is) which was in fellowship with Missouri until 1965 may know of it, but they are now a minority, and in any case I have never heard of Becker's view or the Kokomo theses having any impact here.
Yes, the web document is sloppy, and probably reflects an aversion to precision on th epart of whoever write it rather than a doctrinal aberration, I'm almost sure. I will write to Mike Semmler about it, in any case.

Brett Meyer said...

Acro/Lito, I believe you'll find that all UOJ defending articles are equally offensive as Becker's essay. Nature of the beast.

Which leads right into why you probably won't find any defector to Rome confessing UOJ. UOJ is not found anywhere in the Book of Concord. The Confessional writers stated they were addressing the chief articles of Christian faith, of Scripture. One defence that UOJ defenders have over the doctrine not being in the BOC is they say only works righteousness was an issue so only Subjective Justification was confessed. Actually the more offensive doctrine to Rome is Objective Justification - where the whole world has been declared by God to be forgiven of all sin, justified, righteous and at peace with Him. You probably could'nt find a doctrine more offensive to Rome than that. So I would guess you wouldn't find that in the defectors.
UOJ does enable the Church Growth movement where the Law is no longer required since everyone is already forgiven. Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal practices have gained much ground in Lutheran circles with the Church Growth focus. All they need to do is get an unbeliever to accept they've already been forgiven.

To clarify my earlier statement about Holy Communion, I confess that it is God's visible means of strengthening the faith of believers but it shouldn't be used as a means to create faith in known unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 11:27, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."

1 Corinthians 11:29, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

That is why the Lutheran Church teaches to examine yourself prior to taking Communion. Christ's body and blood are effectual as the Word is, they are Christ. The BOC in the Large Catechism speaks of this issue, "58] We must, therefore, make a distinction here among men. For those who are wanton and dissolute must be told to stay away; for they are not prepared to receive forgiveness of sin, since they do not desire it and do not wish to be godly. 59] But the others, who are not such callous and wicked people, and desire to be godly, must not absent themselves, even though otherwise they be feeble and full of infirmities, as St. Hilary also has said: If any one have not committed sin for which he can rightly be put out of the congregation and esteemed as no Christian, he ought not stay away from the Sacrament, lest he may deprive himself of life. 60] For no one will make such progress that he will not retain many daily infirmities in flesh and blood."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/lc-7-sacrament.php

I very much enjoy talking of these issues with you,

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

L P said...

Brett,

I will study more on the issue of Communion. I have not thought about this deeply.

Thanks for the input also.

God be with you bro. Amen.

LPC

Acroamaticus said...

Brett,

Your mention of CG inroads into orthodox Lutheranism has oddly reminded me of something approximating UOJ I read in one of Carl Braaten's books ten or so years ago - I still remember because I strongly objected to it at the time AND he tied it directly to the question of the motivation for mission: "if everyone is already saved, why preach the Gospel?" was how he put it.
Now, Braaten is certainly not in the orbit of the old Synodical Conference, BUT it is intriguing to speculate as to where he got this belief from: the liberal theological milieu in general, or, the Scandinavian Pietism he was heir to (Braaten I think is a Danish name?? and I believe his family came from one of the mid-west Scandinavian synods that later merged into the ELCA). Just another line of thought to explore...I'll have to track down the original reference.

Brett Meyer said...

Yes, most UOJ defenders claim it was always a central doctrine of the Lutheran church. When challenged though they devolve into finally calling it a 'thought' or 'concept' of Scripture, very vague. They can only trace it back to Walther's famous Easter sermon where he declared all unbelievers forgiven of all sin. Lito provided the link a few posts back which shows that it started with Pietist Knaap and Tholuck. Tholuck being a self proclaimed Universalist who taught at Haale University being the favored teacher of the Pieper's and the WELS' Hoenecke. The research even shows the Pietists using the same Objective and Subjective words and definitions. Excellent research but for the most part even if the dead would rise and tell the Lutheran Synods pastor's and laymen the truth they refuse to believe it. UOJ is as close to a perfect lie as I've seen - and at the same time destroys saving faith.

Yesterday Ichabod and Bailing Water posted an open letter written by a WELS layman. It clearly points to the carnage the Church Growth doctrine and practices, enabled by UOJ, have caused within the synod.

Acroamaticus said...

OK. I need to do more research on this(I like to follow things through for myself, rather than take for granted what someone else says -that's why I was a pain to my dogmatics lecturer in seminary!)

I read Becker's 1982 essay last night for the first time, and I need to go over it again, checking the references. It appears Becker is saying that Luther taught OJ but didn't use the terminology. Is there a published essay available on-line that responds to Becker? Or is Marquart's essay the closest thing?

As I said previously, I'm not bothered about dropping the term OJ if it is tainted by universalism, provided universal atonement is preserved, along with the belief that the completed saving work of Christ establishes the possibility of forgiveness for the sins of all people, subject to personal faith.

Maybe it IS Tholuck & Halle - more research, if only I had ready access to a decent theological library.

L P said...

Pr. M.

Well meaning pastors, once you state your objections to UOJ and explain the effect of equating justification with the atonement would retract from UOJ subscription. Because though they may use the UOJ term, what they actually believe is UOA.

The sad thing is that since the Synods made synodical statements on it the situation has become grave and subject to equivocation. So much so that anyone who even gives a hint that UOJ might be wrong or even questions it is immediately treated as someone in error or a heretic.

I was discusted at Luther Quest when I saw the dialog Brett conducted with the folk there. They would not listen or even give his question the benefit of doubt.

Often what is quoted to me is Rom 3:24 and they stop there. Yet verse 25, clearly teaches that faith in the atonement results in justification. No faith, no justification.

Clearly atonement and justification cannot be the same. They are related just as justification is related to sanctification but the two are not the same. So is reconciliation with justification, they are related but not the same.

Another is Rom 4:25b. Here they claim that raising of Jesus we are justified. Try exegeting this. Mine says that "justification" there means "with a view of our justification".

UOJ implies there are 2 justifications, one at the Cross or at Resurrection (no one can tell), and another at faith.

Even philosophically this situation results in muddled up thinking.

When God imputes our sins to Jesus at the Cross, it does not mean that God is imputing righteousness to us, because precisely we are not righteous that is why our unrighteousness is being imputed to him, but his righteousness gets imputed to us only on faith in the righteous of Christ that atoned for our sins.

I do not know what you guys might think of this post...
http://extranos.blogspot.com/2008/11/does-faith-create-justification.html

In there I quoted Heerbrand and Calov from R. Preus' Justification and Rome.

I specially highlighted Heerbrand's critical statement that I believe would knock out UOJ.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

Lito, I like your post linked above. Steve Martin though would fit right in with the ELS, WELS and LCMS. Interesting that those who confess UOJ are unable to speak clearly and concisely about Scripture and Christian doctrine. They have to rely on analogies to communicate what is really human reason's concept or thought of Scripture declaring the whole unbelieving world forgiven.

There's a book out now called The Shack. It's written by a non Christian, William P. Young promoting the New Age religion (Satan with a dress on). In it he promotes UOJ which I find very telling. Here's some quotes taken from an article written by Baptist David Cloud, "The Shack's Cool God" in the June 1st Christian News. On page 8 it quotes the book saying, "Through his (Christ's) death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. …In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine." (pp. 192, 225)

Another quote on the same page, "Young's god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is nonjudgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn't like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as "myth"."

Acro, if you read through the UOJ history link provided earlier by Lito you'll find direct Google Books links to the Pietistic books written by Knaap and Tholuck.

By the grace of God, forever in Christ,
Brett Meyer

L P said...

Something has gone wrong when Christian leaders can endorse such a book - it means doctrine does not count anymore.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

As yet I haven't heard a specific Christian leader endorse it - When I say Christian I mean a three solas Christian. But...check this link to see how it's being recieved: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=the+shack+best+seller&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1

Jim Pierce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Pierce said...

Hi Lito,

I have read the above exchange with great interest. I have a question for you though. What is the difference between paying for another's debt of sin in full and the forgiveness of that debt?

Jim Pierce

L P said...

Jim,

Good point.

Here is how I see it and I believe here is also how the Scripture tells it ...

We have a debt we owed that we could never pay. Jesus came to pay that debt we owe to God without our consent, he did it freely of his own as a gift. However, we may not recognize that payment or we may reject his payment on our behalf, therefore though God is reconciled already to us, we may refuse to be reconciled to him (thus Paul's admonition - 2 Cor 5:20) hence we remain at war with God hence, we remain in the state of debt as we refuse the payment given for us by another, thus, no forgiveness.

The presence of faith in the Gospel, so far as I have read in the BoC, is salvation/forgiveness/justification.

That is why the theme is JBFA. IMHO, UOJ muddles and even negates JBFA because it equates the atonement (the payment) with justification (the forgiveness). The two are related but they are not one and the same thing.

The means of grace (I believe) has been designed by God to make us look at that atonement, therefore keeps us in faith in that payment, and thus keeps us justified/forgiven.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

Lito, you state, "therefore though God is reconciled already to us,…" I'm not sure that this is what you meant to say. The Bible says that we are only reconciled to God through faith in Christ.

2nd Corinthians 5:17-20, " Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

Note that verse 17 says if any man be in Christ. That is also to say not all men are in Christ. Those who are in Christ are in Him through faith, Romans 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." The BOC explains it this way in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession Part 5, That We Obtain Remission of Sins by Faith Alone in Christ, "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. Secondly. It is certain that sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ, as Propitiator, Rom. 3, 25: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation. Moreover, Paul adds: through faith. Therefore this Propitiator thus benefits us, when by faith we apprehend the mercy promised in Him, and set it against the wrath and judgment of God."

And here too in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession: Justification, "But the Gospel freely offers, for Christ's sake, to us, who have been vanquished by sin and death, reconciliation which is received not by works, but by faith alone. This faith brings to God, not confidence in one's own merits, but only confidence in the promise, or the mercy promised in Christ. This special faith, therefore, by which an individual believes that for Christ's sake his sins are remitted him, and that for Christ's sake God is reconciled and propitious, obtains remission of sins and justifies us."

And also the BOC "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." This is very important to emphasize, those reconciled to God are accounted righteous and children of God because they have obtained Christ as their mediator through faith, worked by the Holy Spirit, by grace through Word and Sacrament alone.

This should also answer Jim's question. Jim, it's also important to remember that all analogies offered to explain Scriptural Justification fall short because they only use human experience and reason to clarify something that is purely God's Word, will and design. Fully inadequate. For instance you ask, "What is the difference between paying for another's debt of sin in full and the forgiveness of that debt?" With a human issue between you and me there's no difference. But with God he has revealed in Scripture and confirmed in the Confessions that Christ's payment for the sins of the whole world (the Atonement) is not the same as justification or the forgiveness of the whole worlds sin just as Lito explained. The righteousness and forgiveness of sins are only in Christ and only ours when by faith we believe in Christ as our Savior.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Jim Pierce said...

Hi Lito,

Thanks for your response. However, I don't see an answer to my question. You are correct that God is reconciled to the world, but what does that mean? The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world, the debt of all sins have been paid, God is reconciled to the world because of His Son's sacrifice; but what is the difference between paying the debt in full and forgiveness of the debt? Wouldn't it be the case if the debt of sin is paid for in full—which it is—, that is the same as saying the debt is forgiven? Which means all the sins of the world have been absolved. Right? Or, are there some sins not paid for by Christ on the cross? That is, the whole debt hasn't been forgiven?

Thanks again for responding to my questions.

Jim Pierce said...

Brett,

1 John 2:2 tells us Jesus is the atoning sacrifice not just for the sins of the Christian but for the sins of all. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). God nailed the debt that stood against us to the cross (Col. 2:13-15); Jesus bearing all our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

These scriptures don't support universal salvation, but what could they possibly mean other than the sins of the world have been bought and paid for, i.e. absolved?

Acroamaticus said...

Jim & Lito,

Pardon me for interrupting, but...

Which is better to say, "God is reconciled to the world"? Or, "God has reconciled the world to himself"?
I don't mean to be pedantic, but the second way of putting it is more consistent with NT usage, yes?

Still working through this issue - as sole pastor of a 500 member parish I don't have as much time as I would like for theological reflection. (However, one interesting thing I came across is that - believe it or not - Seventh Day Adventists have had a similar debate going back to the 19th C., except they call UOJ "Universal Legal Justification".)

Anyway, I don't know if I'm prepared to write off Walther and Pieper yet; I'm inclined to think that what they intended to say with this term OJ was orthodox, but later developments have rendered the use of justification in this context somewhat problematic - I take Lito's point on that. Also of interest is that some notable theologians from the same milieu as CFW & FP refused (or did not) to use the terminology OJ. Was there a debate of the question in 19th C. U.S. confessional circles? If so, it is probably only recorded in German.

What I need to do for my own satisfaction is unravel the historical development - and thanks for the references Brett & Lito - as it happens, I'll be in Adelaide next week and I hope to have some time to research this further.

Acroamaticus said...

Meant to comment also on your reference to the "romanticism" of the Lutheran theologian in question, Lito. The Oxford Movement of the 1830s, which changed the nature of the Church of England (Sasse said after this it was no longer a Church of the Reformation) and propelled so many to Rome, was born out of the Romanticism that arose in W. Europe in the second half of the 18th C. and developed thereafter. The Romantics had a horror of the modern world created by the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, and a reactionary fascination with medievalism. For many, the authority of the Pope was the last Christian bastion against modernism. I think these characteristics are still evident in the modern "Rome is Home" movement. Ironically, Romanticism developed out of the thought-world of Lutheran Pietism!

L P said...

Jim,

I will respond by way of the clarification which Brett alluded to.

I left out an important phrase in echoing Scripture...when I meant God being reconciled to us I should have said IN CHRIST.

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them 2 Cor 5:19.

So yes the full payment has been made but it is not everywhere but it is specifically located in one place - IN CHRIST, in his person and work. It is not floating in space everywhere but in a specific location where God says it may be found. So those passages you mentioned qualifies that such benefit is IN CHRIST alone. The fact though is that not all are in Christ!

Thus the job of the HS is to put us in Christ and he does that through the means of grace.

So while the atonement is finished the task of the HS in putting men to be in Christ is still ongoing - so that we may be forgiven. The HS offers the forgiveness to us through the preaching of the Word and Sacraments as the Gospel is being believed (that free atonement), they are placed in Christ. In short, the HS brings people to where that forgiveness is found, in Christ.

Is this explanation ok now?

On a pastoral side, without the means of grace, we will be uncertain if we are one of those that Jesus came to save or question if we are in or not in Christ. For example, I now look at Baptism, to remind me of Rom 6:1-5, when I am anxious, I no longer disregard it as I used to, instead I remind myself that God has a promise to me. So I notice that Baptism has a way of enjoining you to faith.

As I said, we can resist the work of the HS even scripture says that not all have faith, therefore sadly not all are saved. They may be paid for but they are do not possess the benefit of payment because they reject it and hence, they remain in their original state, at war with God. Through Christ's sacrifice, the HS is offering a peace treaty with man by announcing the Gospel to man.

I look at this too through the doctrine of imputation. Where as our sins have been imputed to Christ at the Cross, there is another side that needs to happen which the HS is busy to do, that is the imputation of Christ's righteousness and this clearly happens only through faith in the Gospel.

I am running out of analogies and as you know they always fall short.

To me, JBFA is the one that makes us concern for preaching and gives confidence in the means of grace.

UOJ on the other hand, seems to me, gives room for laxity and indifference for souls and doctrine.

LPC

L P said...

Jim,

I re-read again, but see how you go.

I would focus the question on the meaning of justification first, declared righteous or treated righteous, nothing can be brought against you etc.

In Christ our sins have been paid for, all of our sins, so there is payment supplied by Christ and that is the Gospel, hence, if we are looking for God to be at peace with us, we have a place to God and present to God - Jesus.

The Bible describes that people with that faith as being in Christ.

Rom 3:24-25.


LPC

L P said...

Pr. M,

I stand corrected if I was imprecise, yes I with the whole heart would rather echo the NT-
God reconciled the world to himself, definitely.

Romanticism from Pietism? I would have not thought of that - wow that is an interesting factoid.


Do share your findings, give us a link to your blog post at the proper time.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett Meyer said...

Jim, I agree with Lito's follow up statements. Also, I agree that Scripture declares that Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. I don't agree that Scripture, anywhere, says that payment equals absolved (fogiveness). I would point again to the Confessions I quoted above. Quite clear that apart from faith in Christ we are servants to sin, under the law and thus do not have Christ or the righteousness that is only in Him.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Jim Pierce said...

Hi Lito,

I don't have any question at all that justification of the sinner is received by faith alone. I don't believe in universal salvation.

The scriptures I provided above point directly to a historical event in time; namely when our sins were put on Christ, nailed to the cross, and absolved. At that point in time my sins were nailed to the cross in Christ and my debt was paid. My sins were absolved with everyone else's. Right? Or, is that not the case? That is, there are some sins not paid for on the cross?

The issue I think I see here is that there is hesitation in agreeing with the idea that the sins of the world are absolved on the cross because of what Jesus did. Why? Because the absolution of the sin of the world means those sins are remitted; meaning the world is now seen as worthy of redemption, or is "justified".

Jim Pierce said...

Hi Brett,

You write, "I don't agree that Scripture, anywhere, says that payment equals absolved (fogiveness)."

Could you please explain then what it means that the debt of sin has been paid for on the cross? What does it mean that Jesus took away the sins of the world on the cross?

Thanks.

Brett Meyer said...

It's just that. Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. You are taking the leap of reason which says that if the sins of the whole world are paid for then the whole world is forgiven.

This is how Luther explained it:
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--and constitutes us children
and heirs who voluntarily discharge their duties, not presuming to become godly
and worthy by a servile spirit. No merit is needed; faith secures all gratuitously--
more than anyone can merit. The believer performs his works gratuitously, being
already in possession of all the Cain-like saints vainly seek through works and
never find--justification and divine inheritance, or grace.

73. In the fifth place, we are to believe that Christ's motive was to benefit us. He
desired to make children of us servants. What is meant by the phrase "that he
might redeem them that were under the law"? Unquestionably, that he might
redeem us from under the Law. But how does Christ effect that? As said before,
not by the threats or the rewards of the Law, but by bestowing a voluntary spirit;
a spirit prompted neither by compulsion nor restraint; a spirit that regards not the
terrors nor the rewards of the Law, but proceeds as if no Law existed and all
action were voluntary, as was the case with Adam and Eve before the fall.

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.

Cont -

Brett Meyer said...

Cont -

99. In persecuting faith and defaming and condemning it as heresy and
presumption, the unbelievers conduct themselves as their father Cain did to his
brother Abel. Thus in themselves they slay Christ their brother. His innocent
blood will not cease to cry toward heaven against them, as the blood of Abel
cried against Cain.

108. Paul adds "through Christ" to avoid the implication that the inheritance is
bestowed upon us without any merit or cost whatever. Although it costs us
nothing, and although it is bestowed without merit on our part, yet Christ was
placed under great obligations. For the sake of that inheritance he was put under
the Law for us; he paid the cost to secure, or to merit, the inheritance for all who
believe in him. When we confer an unmerited favor upon a neighbor, it costs him
nothing. But what we bestow on him freely, of our pure goodness, as Christ
bestows blessings upon us, costs us labor and substance.

109. The unlearned may be somewhat confused by Paul's assertion that men are
no longer servants, but children, and when the fact is, there are few believers in
Christ, few children, while the world is filled with heretics and Cain-like people.
But we must remember he speaks in a doctrinal connection. His meaning is:
Before Christ came, and before the preaching of the Gospel whereby children
are made, only the Law was preached--the Law which can make only servantswith its work.
The Gospel being preached at the present time, we have no need
for the servant-maker, the Law. All who aforetime were, through the Law and its
works, servants like Cain, now may become, through faith, righteous and saved
without works. Therefore, to say there are no more servants, but children, is
practically saying that now no servile doctrine is to be taught; now we become
children, not servants. Only faith and the Gospel are to be preached. Only they are to be our doctrine. This
doctrine imparts the Spirit and teaches us to confide in God and to serve only our
neighbor. Thus the whole Law is fulfilled.

http://www.trinitylutheranms.org/MartinLuther/MLSermons/Galatians4_1_7.html

Jim Pierce said...

Brett,

Thank you for the Luther quote on justification. I do not disagree with what I am reading in Luther in the slightest, since it is all scriptural.

Here is what I am reading from you. I asked, what does it mean that the sins of the world are paid for in full on the cross, and thus far your response has been "just that". That is not an answer to my question, but it is, with all due respect, a dodge. You aren't answering my question. A few posts ago I provided the scriptures which tell us what it means that the sins of the world are paid for. God is reconciled to the world in Christ. In Jesus all sin has been "taken away", or forgiven. That doesn't mean all are saved, but it does mean that God sees the world as something worth saving because of what His Son has accomplished. That is what is meant by OJ, from what I have read and have been taught.

If a person receives in faith the forgiveness of sins already provided to each person in the world because of Jesus, then they are saved. Doubting this gift brings damnation.

L P said...

Jim,

I can see the problem of your question, and again it is the way the terms are used.

Your question is this is payment for sins the same as forgiveness of sins, I can answer yes provided IN CHRIST is attached there.

Also the question is, does justification equate to forgiveness of sins or does atonement equate to forgiveness of sins.

UOJ says that justification is the same as atonement. We say no because there is a problem in words being equivocated.

Non-UOJers equate forgiveness of sins with justification and not with atonement. UOJers do.


If forgiveness is the same as atonement then all are forgiven and so there should be no people in hell.

So you wind up hearing phrases like "Everyone is forgiven" because of the atonement and the IN CHRIST is left off.

Also you wind up hearing all are declared righteous and again IN CHRIST is left off, clearly being declared righteous is faith in the Gospel so the two - atonement and forgiveness of sins (justification) are not the same, properly speaking.

So I go back to truth and the benefit of that truth.

The Scripture to which the BOC of course agrees, promote faith in Christ, always.

In a way, Brett is also correct in saying - just that because I go back to what the Law accuses and what the Gospel declares. Law accuses sin/debt, Gospel declares payment.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

Thanks for your response and for the exchange.

You and Brett have given me much to think about and I will continue reading.

Brett Meyer said...

Jim, I don't mean to frustrate you or dodge your question. Bear with me on this explanation. Let's look at the passages you posted and link them to the BOC and Luther's statements that you agree with. 1 John 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." BOC quoted and linked in a post above, "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. Secondly. It is certain that sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ, as Propitiator, Rom. 3, 25: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation. Moreover, Paul adds: through faith. Therefore this Propitiator thus benefits us, when by faith we apprehend the mercy promised in Him, and set it against the wrath and judgment of God." Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Yes Christ is the mediator and propitiation for the whole world but note that Scripture (Romans 3:25) and the Confessions declare we receive the benefits of Christ as our mediator only through faith. What are the benefits? The forgiveness of sins, justification and life. Without obtaining Christ as our mediator through faith we remain dead in our sins and under the wrath and judgement of God. As Romans 3:25 clearly and simply states, God placed Christ to be a mediator THROUGH FAITH and when received as a Mediator through faith His righteousness washes our sins and makes us white as snow. Without faith our sins are not forgiven. That's why God says that if we do not believe in Christ we will die in our sins. John 8:24, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."

John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Since no Scripture passage stands alone which is most definitely the case with the central doctrine of Christian faith - Justification. This verse states that Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. This is the Atonement. 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." Both Scripture passages must be in harmony for God is perfect. Note in Mark 4:12 their sins are not forgiven them prior to conversion (contrition over sin and faith in Christ). John 1:29 is the Gospel message that Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. How God distributes Christ's righteousness for the forgiveness of sins is only though faith.

Note that the context of Collosians 2:13-15 state that the passages are speaking to believers, Verse 12, "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead..." And 1 Peter 2:24 declares the Atonement that Christ died and paid for the sins of the whole world and not forgivness before faith.

John 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

L P said...

Jim,

Likewise, I get the point of your question as to where forgiveness should be equated or attached.

Your question has provoked me for more deep thinking.

Even the term objective justification to me is not appropriate because justification has only one kind and that is by faith and hence, always subjective, there is no sense saying there is objective justification. There is objective atonement for sure but not justification.

Anyway, if there is any lesson, it is that we are to speak forth clearly and precisely specially in such a very important topic.

God bless,


Lito

Jim Pierce said...

Hi Brett,

Thank you for taking the time to provide an answer to my questions. Once again I find myself in agreement with much of what you are writing. I am now convinced that what is happening in this dialogue is that an argument is being raised against a perception of OJ, or a view of OJ that is not mine, or the position of anyone I am familiar with to date (e.g. Walther and Pieper). Lito raises an excellent point about defining terms precisely and I am certain I haven't done so in our exchange, and so have left you with little to accurately respond to. In which case, you wouldn't have much of a choice but to address what you know of OJ.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to "hammer out" my terms right now. I will say this though, I am more comfortable with the terms "forensic justification", or "objective atonement", as opposed to "objective justification", since I think OJ, as a term, causes confusion.

In wrapping up my remarks I want to reiterate the point that I believe that our justification is in Christ and can only be received by faith given to us by God. I firmly believe that the scriptures tell us (as well as our confession) that God has chosen to work through means in order to bring to us the forgiveness of sins wrought on the cross 2000 years ago. The revealed word of God is given to us to induce faith through hearing it, that we may receive the forgiveness of sins. Likewise, we have baptism and the Lord's Supper that brings to us forgiveness of sins through faith in the work of Christ that was finished on the cross over 2000 years ago.

One day, after more study (since I am a layman), I might be in a better position to lay out all the theological terminology to my own satisfaction. Right now I am not equipped to do so, and therefore I thank you in advance for your patience and thank you again for considering my questions and in answering them.

:)

Jim

Brett Meyer said...

Jim, it was good to discuss this issue with you. If I get a final statement it would be that OJ in all it's forms and as taught by Walther and August Pieper is a false doctrine and teaches a false gospel, a false faith, a false justification and finally a false god. Justification by faith alone is incompatible with any current definition of Objective Justification. God judges the heart and only He knows whether the false doctrine of OJ has removed pure faith from a person's heart.

Final quote from Luther, "The Scriptures ascribe no righteousness to Abraham except through faith. The Scriptures speak of Abraham as he stands before God, a man justified by faith. Because of his faith God extends to him the promise: "In thee shall all nations be blessed." Abraham was justified because he believed. Paul's argumentation runs like this: "Since this is the unmistakable testimony of Holy Writ, why do you take your stand upon circumcision and the Law? Was not Abraham, your father, of whom you make so much, justified and saved without circumcision and the Law by faith alone?" Paul therefore concludes: "They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." The faith of the fathers in the Old Testament era, and our faith in the New Testament are one and the same faith in Christ Jesus, although times and conditions may differ. Luther, "The Scriptures ascribe no righteousness to Abraham except through faith."
http://www.bibleteacher.org/luthercom_3.htm

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Jim Pierce said...

"If I get a final statement it would be that OJ in all it's forms and as taught by Walther and August Pieper is a false doctrine and teaches a false gospel, a false faith, a false justification and finally a false god. Justification by faith alone is incompatible with any current definition of Objective Justification."

Brett,

I can't possibly leave such a statement without going on the record expressing deep disagreement and disappointment. I have read both Pieper and Walther and they sure are NOT heretics who spread false teachings of the gospel, God, etc. Your remark is completely and utterly reckless given that you haven't proven your very serious charges against these faithful Confessional Lutheran, Christian, men.

L P said...

Jim/Brett,

Re:Walther.

You guys may disagree with me at places on this and will have mix opinions against mine.

I have read a few essays of him and read his book on Law and Gospel. I found most of his essays on Law and Gospel helpful.

I do believe he was wrong on OJ terminology and his conceptualization on it. Not only that, I do believe he was responsible for sharpening the divisions in Lutheranism which to me was unfortunate influence.


I think his OJ must have been influenced by the current trend of his time and I think he was a sincere man, but also sincerely wrong at that point. Just like any man who do not get all things right.

However, I am not yet sure I would put it strongly to imply that he was a purposeful false teacher. I have not read a lot of his work.

I say this because for a very brief start in my early walk in Lutheranism, I too was swayed by OJ until I started proving deeper. What led me to where I am in putting my hand up against UOJ was a.) an interaction I had with someone who had no clue what OJ was and challenged me b.) the need not to repeat the same mistake I took in evangelicalism, not checking my sources, so I was willing to listen to some opposing views and here Dr. Ichabod's maverick website of critiques helped me conclude UOJ does not seem quite right.

UOJ appeared to me similar to the teaching of Word Faith. Just believe you are and so you are. In this case, just believe you are justified and so you are. This rang some bells to me.


LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

UOJ is not even similar to word of faith. I was a Pentecostal for years and practiced "word of faith", I preached it across pulpits.

The misrepresentations about objective justification here are simply bizarre. I think you and Brett need to take more time to study this issue; as I do, before you do go too far. And, Brett, has already gone too far, imo, consigning many a God fearing Lutheran to hell because they believe, teach, and confess, that 2000 years ago all of our sins were forgiven on the cross; but that it does us no good without faith to receive that free gift (OJ in a nutshell).

I won't be back to this thread.

Thank you Lito for the dialogue.

L P said...

Jim,

I do not expect you to reply but I do hope you continue to read and hope you go beyond the dialog here.

We are growing in our understanding of things and we do share many beliefs in common. I confess I have not arrived.

For continued study, please note that my synod does not have an official statement on UOJ unlike LC-MS which has one that I like to repeat here.

Here is LC-MS's 1932 Statement Section 17 Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25;

But the whole world are not in Christ because some still do not yet believe.

Secondly, to be declared righteous is through faith in the Atonement, not faith in Justification- Rom 3:24-25.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world - i.e., Christ was the sin payer.

When Jesus cried "it is finished", it was a payment language, no more owing. This is what they put on the receipt in Roman times, paid in full.

Justification is the result of believing the Atonement (payment). Thus Justification and Atonement are not the same, the former results when the latter is believed.

LPC

L P said...

Jim,

In my insistence on faith, I hope I am not misunderstood as if I am making faith the cause rather the means of justification...

See here
http://extranos.blogspot.com/2008/11/does-faith-create-justification.html

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

August Pieper in the third volume of the Quartalschrift, "But whoever molests the doctrine of justification stabs the gospel in the heart and is on the way of losing entirely Christian doctrine and personal faith and of falling into the arms of heathenism, even if he ever so much emphasizes justification by faith."

Pieper, "But whoever molests the doctrine of justification stabs the gospel in the heart...even if he ever so much emphasizes justification by faith."

This is false doctrine. It is in harmony with the doctrine of UOJ.

In Walther’s Easter sermons this focus on objective justification is especially prominent. In a sermon on Mark 16:1-8 Walther preaches on the theme, "Christ’s Resurrection – Your absolution." In this sermon he declares, "Christ's Glorious Resurrection from the Dead, the Actual Absolution of the Whole World"

"Jesus, when He was raised from the dead, was absolved for all sin, but since it was not for Himself but for all people that Christ died, who was it really that was set free, who was it really that was absolved when Jesus rose from the dead? It was all people! Just as all Israel triumphed when David defeated Goliath, so all humanity triumphed when Jesus defeated sin, death and Hell. And so we hear Paul saying in his second epistle to the Corinthians, "We are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." And again in his epistle to the Romans, "Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men." Just as Christ’s condemnation was the condemnation of all mankind, Christ’s death the death of all mankind, Christ’s payment the payment for all mankind, even so Christ’s life is now the life of all mankind, His acquittal the acquittal of all mankind, His justification the justification of all mankind, His absolution the absolution of all mankind."

Walther, "who was it really that was set free, who was it really that was absolved when Jesus rose from the dead? It was all people!"
http://books.google.com/books?id=VGAUFhxs9BoC&pg=PA86&dq=walther+second+sermon+on+holy+easter

Walther taught false doctrine concerning the declaration that the whole world was absolved of all sin.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer